- “Tattooed Love Boys” is now up for your (absolutely free) reading pleasure at GigaNotoSaurus.
- “Liam and His Dads,” the third Liam story, has sold to Icarus: The Magazine of Gay Speculative Fiction and will appear in issue 12—later this month, I believe. Liam #1, “and the Wild Fairy,” featured in issue 5, and #2, “and the Ordinary Boy,” last fall in issue 10. I’d better think harder about #4 now.
- “Seb and Duncan and the Sirens” is not completed yet. But I’m only a day past self-imposed deadline.
These are lovely.
Over the weekend, I encountered a thoughtful and complimentary 1 February review of Steve Berman’s anthology of inspirational stories for queer teens Speaking Out, released last September. On the GayYA.org blog (a resource you should bookmark right fast), Lydia Sharp writes:
And as much as I hate to play favorites, I have to admit that my personal favorite of all the stories is “Captain of the World” by Alex Jeffers.
Then just this morning I was forwarded the first blurb for my forthcoming story collection You Will Meet a Stranger Far from Home…from legendary speculative-fiction writer TANITH LEE, author of Tales from the Flat Earth, Disturbed by Her Song, etc, &c, whose work I have been reading a very long time:
It’s a marvelous book. This guy is a major talent…. The stories compliment yet satisfyingly differ from each other, the atmospheres are like different-colour palettes. Jeffers can be cruel, pragmatic, tender, sweet, funny, sexy, and devastating. The stories, and their underlying themes and currents, linger. A most collectable collection.
That may give me the oomph required to go out and do a nearly literal ton of laundry….
My next book will be a collection of short(ish) fiction that teeters along the edges between several genres. Lethe Press will issue You Will Meet a Stranger Far from Home: wonder stories on 14 July 2012. Yes, my birthday, so what, the publisher’s a dear, indulgent friend.
From the preface:
My first fiction sale, when I was sixteen, was a short story of the science-fictional far future entangled with myths of the far past. My first fiction publication, when I was seventeen (that first sale took two years to see print), was an even shorter story set in the mundane here-and-then and containing no elements that contradicted consensus reality.
Neither story is reprinted here. I would just as soon nobody ever read either ever again.
Still, they offer a productive exemplum: As a writer of fiction, I’ve always been a chimeric amphibian, unwilling to commit to a single mode or genre, scuttling from the antique, oblique, oceanic depths of myth and fantasy onto the muddy shores of the known and knowable, now and then leaping for the enigmatic stars. A very few of the very recent works in You Will Meet a Stranger Far from Home place themselves fairly securely in their appointed modes: realistic, fantastical, science-fictional. Most, however, are quite pleased not to be entirely one thing or another: chimerae. Amphibians.
The table of contents:
Wheat, Barley, Lettuce, Fennel, Blood for Sorrow, Salt for Joy
The Arab’s Prayer
Then We Went There
Firooz and His Brother
Haider and His Dog
Liam and the Wild Fairy
Ban’s Dream of the Sea
Tattooed Love Boys
“Then We Went There” and “Haider and His Dog” (a sequel of sorts to “Firooz and His Brother”) will be published for the first time in You Will Meet a Stranger. “Tattooed Love Boys” and “Wheat, Barley, Lettuce, Fennel…” will make their débuts a few months before the collection, respectively online at GigaNotoSaurus in March and in the print anthology Boys of Summer in May. “Ban’s Dream of the Sea” will appear almost simultaneously in You Will Meet a Stranger and the anthology The Touch of the Sea, also due from Lethe Press in July. The other five have already appeared in various places.
Well, it’s a tradition, I suppose, the year-end sum up, hardly subverted by being posted on the first day of the new year instead of the last of the old. So.
In 2011, I published two books, a marvel of unprecedented proportion.
The New People (and its companion-between-the-covers, Brandon Bell’s Elegant Threat) made little impression on the world that Google can discover. Sad but not surprising for a book from a micro press whose publisher’s real life (read: more-than-full-time job) seems to have swallowed him whole in the last six months and at least one of whose authors is pathologically averse to self promotion. But it’s out there.
The Abode of Bliss: Ten Stories for Adam did somewhat better. The first month’s excellent reviews are catalogued here. Since, the estimable Out in Print: Queer Book Reviews published George Seaton’s appreciation. Hilicia of Impressions…of a Reader, who reviewed Abode very thoughtfully back in August, named it as her favorite LGBT read of the year and among her three favorites in any genre, and I am immensely gratified. [edited to add: Novelist and critic Alan Chin calls Abode one of his five favorites of 2011.] The book’s publisher, in his own year-end sum up, lists it among the titles he’s most proud to have released in 2011.
I published four stories, a personal best as far as my inadequate records reveal.
“The Arab’s Prayer” appeared in January in the second-anniversary issue of Chris Fletcher’s ’zine M-Brane SF (#24) and the print M-Brane SF Quarterly (#2) in March, some months before his job swallowed him up and the ’zine went on hiatus. Chris has plans to revive M-Brane SF in different, probably less frequent than monthly, form in the near future. Its return will be welcomed. Meanwhile, “The Arab’s Prayer” has been selected as the lead story in Wilde Stories 2012: The Year’s Best Gay Speculative Fiction.
“Captain of the World,” a story I was hounded into writing, appeared in the anthology of inspirational stories for GLBT teens Speaking Out, edited by Steve Berman and released by Bold Strokes Books in September. There is some thought of expanding the story into a novel. We’ll see if anything comes of that.
“Liam and the Ordinary Boy,” second in an on-going series, appeared soon after in the fall issue (#10) of Icarus: The Magazine of Gay Speculative Fiction. First in the series, “Liam and the Wild Fairy,” previously appeared in Icarus #5 (Summer 2010). Whether Icarus will take the third, “Liam and His Dads,” or the contemplated but as yet unwritten fourth through seventh remains in question.
“Turning,” finally, a long magical-realist story, appeared in the first issue of Chelsea Station. Under an earlier title, “Like Spinning Stars, Like Flowers,” it was one of fourteen finalists selected by John Berendt for the annual short-fiction competition of the Saints & Sinners Literary Festival. Not one of the ten selected for the annual anthology, though. Just as well, perhaps: Chelsea Station’s editor, Jameson Currier, suggested several very productive changes.
I sold two long stories to appear before the midpoint of 2012. Both, coincidentally (they were written two years apart), tales of American teenagers on vacation in Europe. “Tattooed Love Boys,” written first, sold second, will appear on line at GigaNotoSaurus.org, probably in March. “Wheat, Barley, Lettuce, Fennel, Salt for Sorrow, Blood for Joy” is scheduled for May, in Boys of Summer, Steve Berman and Bold Strokes Books’ follow up to Speaking Out.
I wrote three stories—not a record, but not bad. All, oddly or not, for projects edited by Steve Berman. The aforementioned “Captain of the World” in late winter and “Wheat, Barley, Lettuce, Fennel…” in late summer/early fall. Between them, “Ban’s Dream of the Sea,” which may or may not appear in The Touch of the Sea, an anthology of marine fantasy scheduled for July publication.
I sold a collection of fantastical stories, tentatively titled You Will Meet a Stranger Far from Home, which Lethe Press has scheduled for July release, just in time for my mumblety-fifth birthday. The table of contents keeps changing but needs to be fixed soon, as production of Advance Reader Copies can’t be delayed much past February. But I have to write one more story….
As editor/designer/entrepreneur, I published the first BrazenHead novella, Dayna Ingram’s ferocious and delightsome Eat Your Heart Out, which garnered BrazenHead’s parent Lethe Press its first starred review in Publishers Weekly and, I’m told, is selling briskly. (More briskly than my books.) Any day now, I hope to see the revised MS of the novella I expect to release as BrazenHead #2. Submissions are always open to works of queer spec fic between thirty and sixty thousand words.
As designer, I laid out a bunch of handsome books, the last several months’ worth of which have not yet made an appearance in the gallery. Because I have been busy with other things. Later in the day, perhaps.
As novelist, I completed a draft of The Unexpected Thing, an immense novel that I love unreservedly. Whether anybody else will love it I have no notion: potential early readers have mostly begged off—“144,000 words? I don’t have time!” they cry. Reasonably enough, I suppose. (No, I don’t.) Anyway, one of these days soon I’ll pester my agent, who’s had a copy of the MS since May. One of these days soon I’ll come up with an all-consuming project to take its place in my head.
And that’s it. What, you expected a recount of my personal, everyday life and interactions with the real world? Not bloody likely. (Charlotte and Jane are both well.)
Possibly my favorite of the stories I’ve written in the last two-three years, “Tattooed Love Boys,” has just sold to GigaNotoSaurus. What’s a GigaNotoSaurus, you ask, besides an oddly capitalized giant carnivorous dinosaur? An intriguing webzine dedicated to the notion that science-fiction and fantasy stories want more meat on their bones than allowed by the 5,000-word limit preferred by most other markets, on or off line. To which end, GigaNotoSaurus publishes one new longish story (novelette to novella) a month. If I had thought to go into webzine publishing instead of boutique-imprint book publishing, GigaNotoSaurus is almost precisely what I would have liked to do. Congratulations to editor Ann Leckie on getting there first (probably better).
Ann expects to feature “Tattooed Love Boys” in the March or April 2012 issue. I’m excited.
Further to the entry of two days ago, I’m relieved to report the revisions to my summer story were less painful than I feared. Mr Berman’s editorial eye is keen and true: if I had but outlined the story in the first place instead of winging it (perish the thought) I might have known to do it his way from the start.
And so I am delighted to report the sale is confirmed: “Wheat, Barley, Lettuce, Fennel, Salt for Sorrow, Blood for Joy”* will appear in Boys of Summer, edited by Steve Berman, from Bold Strokes Soliloquy, next year—May, I now learn, not July.
* Possibly with a different title. We’re still wrangling over that. There’s plenty of time: Steve’s only settled on four stories so far.
I am less pleased to report that my prediction as to weather and ambient temperature in this neck of the woods was correct. While certainly not cold or even chilly, it has definitely turned cool and a whole spate of trees that were green on Sunday have since gone yellow and orange. I shall have to close my windows tonight. Pfaugh. This superannuated boy of summer is not pleased.