Tag Archives: stories

Barstone

Shimmer13Cover_small

“Barstone” was my first publication in an honest-to-goodness real print magazine, back in April 2011. The kind with actual physical paper that you can pick up and thumb through and then put on a shelf. And not a crappy cheapsie magazine either that looks like it was run off on a Xerox and stapled together in someone’s basement. No, a real high-quality perfect-bound magazine with a glossy cover and sharp, crisp pages.

At the time of publication¬†Shimmer was a semi-pro magazine, but they’ve since begun paying professional rates. They’re a great market for urban fantasy or surrealist pieces with a melancholy tone and a literary flavor. Which is why “Barstone” fit nicely. It’s a surrealist piece about a giant or a hill or a giant who became a hill or something. A love story about conservation of momentum, loosely based on an actual three-legged dog and a park in Mississippi. The word “Barstone” popped into my head one night as I was falling asleep, and then I tried to build a story around him.

Unfortunately, this is the first story of mine that’s also behind a paywall. I guess it’s not perfectly inexpensive to publish nice, glossy magazines of good stories and pay authors for contributing. If you want to read “Barstone” (and some other fine stories) you can come over to my house and borrow my contributor’s copy. Or you can purchase Issue 13 of¬†Shimmer here. You’ll be supporting good art, good people, and a good publication.

The Silver Khan

Beneath Ceaseless Skies, RuinsBeneath Ceaseless Skies is an elegant online magazine with gorgeous covers, award-winning stories, and a growing following. It publishes “literary adventure fantasy,” with an emphasis on “literary” in the best sense, and pays contributors professional rates. (In the speculative fiction world that means at least five cents per word.)

“The Silver Khan” was my first professional sale, and it appeared in Issue 29, back in November 2009. Like “The Glorious Revolution,” the story treats a revolution of sorts, though a much more abrupt and haphazard revolution. In a caliphate by the sea, a foreign visitor tries to uncover the secret of the Silver Khan’s floating palace (hint: it’s not magic) and decipher the meaning of the frozen statues scattered about its gardens.

Like much of my writing, this story was driven primarily by setting. I had an image of the palace and the gardens, and I wrote this story to explore them. The physical mechanics of the Khan’s palace was almost as much of a surprise to me as it was to the narrator when he suddenly pieced it together. Once I realized how it flew, I knew how it would fall. The epistolatory style I probably borrowed from Gene Wolfe, though to nothing like his effect.

You can read “The Silver Khan” here.