I’m thrilled to write that my story, Teeth of the Lion, has been published in the latest issue of Abyss and Apex. You can click here to read it now, along with many other wonderful stories.
This market is one of my favorites and I’m so pleased to finally place a story with them. Granted, Teeth of the Lion is a bit of a weirdling, possibly of a genre I might call ‘dandelionpunk,’ and I may have jokingly referred to it as ‘dandelion erotica’ when I shared it with my critique partners. I’m exaggerating, but I’ll let you be the final judge. Give it a read here.
Everything has been confirmed, so it’s finally time to tell you my big news. I’ve been invited to archive a collection of my published short stories in a time capsule on the Moon!! My collection is going to be included in the Polaris Capsule sent to the Moon by Lunar Codex as part of the Astrobotic Griffin Mission 1 to the Lunar South Pole planned for late 2024.
The Lunar Codex is the first project where work by women is archived on the Moon, the Polaris Capsule is the third of the Lunar Codex capsules, and I am the first recorded New Brunswick author to be included in the Lunar Codex. Eek!! I’m so pleased to introduce you to Borrowed Wings and Other Stories:
There is a tonne of time consuming work involved with sending a capsule to the Moon, so I’ve been busy getting my collection together before the August 31st (2022) deadline. Yes, that’s a long wait till launch. I plan to release a Terrestrial Edition in print and ebook with extra stories and a special novelette closer to the late 2024 launch, but for now I’ve decided to offer the Lunar Edition of Borrowed Wings and Other Stories as a free ebook to anyone who signs up for my new monthly newsletter about magic and wonder: Enchanted Side Quests. That’s right, I finally got my newsletter up and running. Feel free to make jokes that it took the Moon to make it happen, I deserve them.
Once you’re signed up, you’ll get your ebook download links right away. I won’t use your email for anything except for the monthly newsletters and the Mailerlite system I’m using has a good reputation.
Needless to say, it’s been a wild month around here. When I first got the Lunar Codex invite I sat around in shock for a bit, not really believing any of this was real. Then I started getting excited about what stories I would choose to send the Moon (there’s more on that in the Introduction to Borrowed Wings). I ordered a cover. Someone recommended Scrivener to me and that seemed like a good interface to arrange the stories into some sort of order, so I started learning that program. Then… came compile.
I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to compile something in Scrivener, or had a friend that warned you off of it, but. It did not go well. Part of me wonders if it had been September when I tried this, and it wasn’t me trying to learn software in between getting snacks and fetching toys for the kids, it might have gone better. I blew my (non-existent) budget for this project on the cover, so buying Atticus or Vellum at this point wasn’t an option. Someone had already offered to use their Atticus to do it for me, but I, a fool, wanted to figure this out for myself, at least once.
Nine days later, the book was finally compiled. I’ll spare you the details, except to say I reached a determined, calm state of plodding through one issue at a time that surprised me. My author friend and crit partner Peter J. Foote is a damn saint for the help he offered. My grand plans of turning my book in early were all smashed, but I’m so very glad I had that extra time before the deadline.
The cover situation wasn’t going the way I thought, mainly because I got bored one day, played around with making my own cover, and fell in love with it. Which made the cover I ordered look pretty dull in comparison. Apparently the only thing to do in this situation was to download Krita and watch a thousand youtube videos to figure out how to make passable typography. Because that’s logical? The thing is, I had so much fun working on the cover that it was a decent foil for the compile stress and – I want to learn more. For what it’s worth, I did pay for the cover that I ordered, the artist did the work I asked of them and it’s not their fault I have a weakness for pretty moths.
By the time the book was compiled, I’d pretty much made up my mind that it was time to launch the newsletter I’ve been putting off. Here was a ready-made reader magnet and a decent marketing strategy all laid out for me. It was time.
This I couldn’t have done without Peter, either. I was burnt out juggling summer activities and new-to-me software, and somehow in a flurry of bored kids I lost the instruction page for the newsletter software and was left wading through search engines without any of the jargon I needed to know to find what I needed. A week off might have helped, but in lieu of that Peter demystified everything and helped me find my way. I’ll make it up to him someday, somehow.
Today Enchanted Side Quests is launched and I’m excited about it. I have several ideas for fun ways to incorporate my latest non-writing obsessions (hence the Side Quests part of the name) into the newsletter and I’ve got this newfound confidence in myself as a capable human being from this past month’s experience.
I’m blown away by the amount of resources available for indie authors today as well – when I self-pubbed The Incredibly Truthful Diary of Nature Girl more than a decade ago, I had a word processor and photo editing program that google gave up on years back. Maybe there was more, but it wasn’t visible to me back then, just a few back alleys in the NaNoWriMo forums and some blogger dot com sites. Things have changed and I’m glad I had this chance to discover what’s out there and re-evaluate what’s possible. I think I have more adventures ahead with these tools.
Anyway, this blog post is quickly turning into a novel, so I should probably wrap this up. I hope you sign up for Enchanted Side Quests because I’d love to send you the ebook of Borrowed Wings and Other Stories. This site isn’t going anywhere, though it probably will pick up one of those sign-up pop-up windows over the next month; they kind of annoy me but I do see their function.
My latest publication,Free Hugs, is now available to read or listen to at Metaphorosis magazine. I wrote this story in early days of this never-ending pandemic and it began as a response to several of my elder family members lamenting not being able to hug their grandkids. It was such a small, human lament, that I wound up writing a draft about an engineering grandson who designed a special robot to go give his Gram a hug on her birthday. He padded the bot’s chest and neck so that if she closed her eyes, it would feel like a real hug. Then, the idea kind of took on a life of its own, caught up in capitalism, the hugbots got sensors to measure happiness hormones, and suddenly they were EVERYWHERE.
And, you know, that story just never quite grabbed me. It seemed like something everyone would be writing during lockdown, so I put it away and went back to my pandemic depression. It wasn’t until I started wondering what would happen to all of those robots after the pandemic was over that I found the story I wanted to write. Free Hugs is that story. I hope you like it, I hope you’re well, and I hope you stay that way.
Today is June 1st, a day I’ve dreaded and anticipated in equal amounts, because today marks the release of Luna Station Quarterly #046 and inside this issue is my story, The Voiceless of Shalott.
This is the first story I’ve ever written about myself. Obviously, it’s highly stylized and a retelling of Tennyson’s The Lady of the Shalott, but at it’s core, there’s me, waving hello. Or probably hiding her face, if I’m honest, because this is a little terrifying. There’s certain things that, if you tell people about yourself, can overwhelm everything they know about you. Things that change how they see you. I stopped telling people that I was raised in a cult pretty quick when I started seeing that change. People on the outside call this ‘reserved’ and people on this inside call this ‘survival.’ I needed this to stop being the defining element of my life so I could learn how to live my life.
Then the apocalypse of 2020 happened. The upheaval of the pandemic churned up a great deal of cult mentalities and signals. If you’ve been inside and get out, your survival instincts hone in on these elements and set off mental alarms to turn and walk in the opposite direction RIGHT NOW. Except this time… I stayed. Heck, it’s the end of the world, I decided I might as well as engage and try and use my experiences to see if they can help someone. So I picked up my pen, started writing, and after twenty years of keeping this stuff inside, the anger and frustration that poured onto the page startled me. Spun inside my creativity, my fears and anger turned into something else all it’s own. I know that some people are going to be angry with me for writing this story, and there were others who wanted me to force this story into a more acceptable narrative framework, but that’s the thing, I was voiceless then and I’m not voiceless anymore. This is my story.
I also hope there’s no pitchforks in my future. I have this vivid memory from grade 5 or so, going into someone else’s classroom and spying a verse of poetry on the blackboard. We weren’t learning poetry in my class, so I stood there as long as I could, memorizing this one line: “I spread my dreams under your feet, tread softy…” (Yeats).
Today’s the big day, Worlds of Light and Darkness: the Best of DreamForge and Space & Time Volume 1 is released! Click here to check it out. This is the first time I’ve had a story included in a ‘best of’ collection and I’m so pleased. The Feline, the Witch, and the Universe seems to have struck a chord with its readers and I’m glad to see my workaholic witch, her trusty bike, and her missing kitty have made people smile.
In other projects, a wonderful writing group that I’m in, Genre Writers of Atlantic Canada, has put together a bundle of our previously published stories to send out into the world. I submitted my award-winning Gothic fantasy story, Dragon Crossing, into the bundle. I’ve written a few other blog posts about Dragon Crossinghere and here if you’d like to know more. We’ve titled this collection Realms of Fantasy and there are fourteen stories all told in the collection.
Here are Realms of Fantasy‘s links if you’re interested:
In a fun coincidence, these two particular stories, Feline and Dragon Crossing were originally published close together, just as their reprints are now. Coincidence or… magical linkage? Does my workaholic witch need to meet my Gothic dragon in the Underworld, uh… **jots down idea**
I hope all of you are doing well. Things seem to be winding down, pandemic-wise, but I know we’re all still dealing with the emotional scars. I lost my Gram a few months back and I’m still coming to terms with that, especially with what dying this year means and doesn’t mean. It’s been a hard year for all of us and I hope you, like me, are starting to let a little light in.
Writing is still hard, but I’m working harder. I have a deeply personal story coming out in Luna Station Quarterly this coming June and it marks the first story where I’ve written about my personal experiences of escaping a cult. I’m more than a little nervous of it’s reception for multiple reasons. It’s fierce and angry and… a retelling of the Lady of Shalott? It’s titled the Voiceless of Shalott and I will most certainly be sharing links here when it comes out.
After that, I’ve got another story coming out, my second story to appear in Metaphorosis, this one called Free Hugs. It also has a character who escaped a cult because I opened some sort of floodgate with Voiceless and now it’s all rushing out.
Do you have any good news or stories to share? I’d love to hear about them and I’d love to read your stories, so drop me some links in the comments.
I’m pleased to announced that my short story, The Moths of Luness, will be appearing in the Mythology from the Rock anthology coming out from Engen Books on April 30th, 2020.
In The Moths of Luness, a witch bespells a moth to tell her the story of its species; an original myth that stretches across the galaxy in the arms of a goddess named Luness. As some of you may know, I spend my summers in awe of the lovely moths that surround my forest home. Daydreaming a mythology for these fairy-like creatures was a wonderful escape from the reality of the pandemic, and I hope reading the story gives you as much of an escape as you might need, too.
In other news, I recently received an acceptance for a deeply personal retelling of Tennyson’s the Lady of Shalott, titled The Voiceless of Shalott, from Luna Station Quarterly. Voiceless will be coming out in their June issue and to say I’m on tenterhooks would be an understatement. I’ll reveal more about what this story means to me as we get closer to the publication date (I need to stock up on courage for this one, hoo boy).
My flash story, Hellion Babysitting Services, is now available to read in Speculative North Issue #4. You can snag a free e-copy of this one until Friday, February 26, 2021 so run don’t walk to this handy link right here.
Hellion Babysitting Services was born of my parental desperation for any possible babysitting service during the first lockdown. I mean, have you tried demon possession? Warning: tongue firmly in cheek.
And if that doesn’t pique your interest, look at this amazing cover. It has a ROBOT RHINO.
Today’s the day! Book #5 of the multi-author Slipstreamers series, The Plague of the Dreamless, written by me, Jennifer Shelby, is officially released into the wild. If your book kingdom could use a little Indiana Jones meets Doctor Who adventure, a splash of otherworldly cephalopods, and a brand new world to explore, hold onto your imaginations because have I got a book for you!
My novella can be read as a stand-alone adventure though I do recommend the entire Slipstreamers series. With a new novella coming out every three weeks, you won’t have to wait long before Cassidy’s next adventure. Engen Books has curated an epic crew of authors to create a fun and engaging multiverse that is content-safe for all ages, though I do classify Plagueof the Dreamless as YA dystopian SF.
My first-ever SF novella, Plague of the Dreamless, is officially on pre-order! Yes, I’m terrified (a whole book! That people might read! Aaaaah) But BESIDES that Plague of the Dreamless is also book #5 in Engen Books’ multi-author Slipstreamers series. Engen is producing a new Slipstreamers episode every three weeks featuring the adventures of anthropologist Cassidy Cane, an adventuress hired by a professor to explore the far side of a series of portals he’s discovered. She gets adventure, he gets funky alien tech. It was described to me as “Indiana Jones meets Doctor Who” and right away I knew I wanted to be involved in the project (hashtag: Whovian).
Okay, I’m nervous enough that I’m about to start rambling, so without further ado, here are five things you should know about my book Plague of the Dreamless:
the sky in the alien story world is inhabited by giant cephalopods who exude a gaseous fog in their sleep that powers all of the industry in the endless human cities.
2. the cityscape is filled with rickety skyscrapers, each floor added haphazardly on top of the last, mismatched in size and function, and prone to collapse.
3. on their sixteenth birthday, all citizens must submit to having their imaginations removed to make them better, more compliant workers
4. in the absence of imagination, the humans’ brains cease to dream, leading to physical breakdown that becomes fatal over time. The locals refer to individuals suffering from this affliction as ‘Dreamless’
5. The only way to cure the Dreamless is to buy them a dream from the Dreamkeeper… *if* they can afford one (whispers: no one can afford one)
Cassidy Cane arrives on this world in search of alien tech but soon stays to help the citizens of this SF dystopia. Unfortunately, she might have accidentally introduced the common cold to this new world and… MAKES STORY HAPPEN. Dun dun dunnnnnnnnnnnnn. *flails*
The ebook is scheduled to release on November 27th and you can pre-order it at the links below. Paperbacks should soon follow but I don’t have those dates just yet.