New Story in Factor Four Magazine!

Cover Art:
“Sunset City” by Holly Heisey

Hey-ooo! I have a new story out this week! “The Half-Life of a Broken Heart” is in Issue 2 of Factor Four Magazine. You can read it online (with a subscription) or get Issue 2 as a stand-alone in print or digital formats (additional retail links below).

This story means a lot to me–it’s one of my most personal, even though it doesn’t involve any actual personal details…it’s kind of hard to explain. I’m so excited it’s out in the world and in such fantastic company (seriously, fantastic)–I hope you’ll check it out soon!

Also, since this is a story about loss and grief*, please consider donating to RAICES Texas to help alleviate some of the grief we’re currently inflicting on children here in America.


Print:
Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble

E-Book
Amazon ~ Smashwords ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Subscriber Download

*and since I can’t do anything these days without also trying to chip away at some of the actual horror out there…

So Many Metaphorosis Updates

I have a bunch of updates from Metaphorosis Magazine, so I’m grouping them together–fun and efficient!

First up, Metaphorosis‘s talented editor, B. Morris Allen, has collected together all of the January 2017 stories into one fine-looking Kindle edition. The January 2017 issue includes my story, “Business As Usual,” which, unfortunately, becomes relevant again every 1.2 days or so.

If you’re interested in reading all the stories published by Metaphorosis in 2017, check out Metaphorosis 2017: The Complete Stories available on Amazon in paperback, hardcover, and Kindle editions.)

To my delight, “Business As Usual” was also selected for Metaphorosis‘s Best Vegan Science Fiction & Fantasy of 2017 anthology, available in print and Kindle editions. All the stories in this collection are meat-free and excellent–check ’em out!

Finally, if you enjoyed “Business As Usual” in any of its appearances, I encourage you to support Everytown or March for Our Lives.

New Story on PseudoPod!

I’m so excited for everyone to check out my new story, “When the Slipling Comes to Call,” which is up now at horror fiction podcast, PseudoPod.

Brilliantly narrated by M.K. Hobson and Tina Connolly, “When the Slipling Comes to Call,” is my first story-turned-podcast and finally hearing it on PseudoPod–the song is a real song now!–is an actual daydream come true. Seriously, ask my crit group! Speaking of, a hearty round of virtual high-fives to those wildly talented folks (Asha, Beth, David, Frances, and Shannon), as well as to my stoic first and final readers (Jon and Allison)–thank you, all!

Also, big thanks to Rebekah McKendry and David Ian McKendry, the fantastic hosts of this episode, as well as to producer Chelsea Davis. Finally, super extra special thanks to Artemis Rising 4 guest editor, Karen Bovenmyer, and associate editor Shawna Borman, for making all this possible. Now, go listen!

If you like what you hear, consider supporting Escape Artists by donating here or subscribing via Patreon so they can (fingers crossed) buy more of my stories. If you don’t like what you hear, consider supporting Escape Artists by donating here or subscribing via Patreon so they can buy different stories.

Also, read more about this episode’s wonderful cover art!

Coming Soon: Escape Artists’ Artemis Rising 4

Escape Artists revealed the absolutely GORGEOUS cover for Artemis Rising 4 today and gah! did I mention it is gorgeous? As if I wasn’t already ridiculously excited to be part of PseudoPod’s Artemis Rising 2018 line-up, this pushed me into all-the-Kermit-arms-times-infinity territory.

The artist behind this year’s cover is the exceptionally talented Geneva Benton. I’ve swooned over Benton’s work for FIYAH in the past, so I was especially delighted to see her art featured here as part of this event.

If you’re wondering, Artemis Rising is “a special month-long event across the Escape Artists podcasts featuring stories by women and nonbinary authors in genre fiction” and you can check out previous years’ stories via the Escape Artists’ archive.

Escape Artists podcasts are all FREE to enjoy (and they pay their writers professional rates). If you like FREE (and also like writers and artists to get paid), consider supporting Escape Artists by donating here or subscribing via Patreon. While you’re doing smart things with money, be sure to check out Geneva Benton’s shop for prints and tees featuring her incredible art–I recommend these fetching tees with the Artemis Rising 4 illustration. Also, be sure to take a look at Benton’s current Kickstarter for her forthcoming storybook, Allie & Gator.

 

On Stands Now! Rise of the Superhero: From the Golden Age to the Silver Screen

When I began working on my essay, “World War II & Nationalism” (one of several I wrote for LIFE: Rise of the Superhero), the 2016 election was just kicking into high gear and Nazis were primarily relegated to the past. Sure, we all knew pockets of white supremacists/neo-Nazis/alt-whatever-the-f*ck-else-these-guys-call-themselves, existed around the world. But a full-on Nazi rally? On American soil? In 2017? I never would have believed it. Nor that the President of the United States would then tap-dance around denouncing Nazis, or even publicly validate them by trying to create some sort of equivalence between the actions of actual self-identifying, muthereffing Nazis and the actions of the brave Americans protesting the rally.

And yet, here we are, America 2017. Rallies like the one in Charlottesville are on the rise, at home and abroad; seething losers emboldened and encouraged by 45’s victory. It’s a shameful affront against Holocaust survivors and their families, Japanese Internment Camp survivors and their families, and World War II veterans and their families–especially relatives of the murdered, lost, and fallen–that they must now watch the horrific resurgence of these monsters in their own backyards. It’s extra offensive that these alt-holes then hide behind a faux nationalism that reveals an agenda having nothing to do with patriotism and everything to do with hate. How else does one flip from getting one’s Dixie-print briefs all bunched up over athletes “disrespecting” America, veterans, the U.S. military, and idk, maybe golden-lab-puppies-with-bandanas, to being A-OKAY with marching as the very anti-American, anti-freedom groups that their grandparents and great-grandparents risked their lives to fight? Who’s really disrespecting America here? Hint: It’s not the athletes.

Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer for how to end hate or hate groups (though it would be very on-brand for 2017 if I suddenly solved one of humanity’s biggest issues in the void of my deserted blogscape). But I’ll say this: Leading up to WWII, comic publishers created many (many, many) all-American superheroes in part to unify Americans under our country’s best qualities, even if those qualities were, and still are, mainly aspirational. But in this round against the rising tide of hate groups–and here’s where I get a little corny, please bear with me–I don’t think we need to look outside ourselves for inspiration. For those of us who think the country can do better than what hate mongers offer, this is an opportunity to fashion ourselves into our own superheroes.*
*Star-spangled spandex completely optional, but encouraged.

We have the tools, the platforms, and the connections we need to motivate and activate each other, and as of now, we still have the freedom to utilize them. But we’ve all seen how quickly the status-quo can change, abroad and at home, so it’s important that we exercise those freedoms. Because, as much as we still love them (or huh? them), it wasn’t Captain America (or Spy Smasher) that defeated the Nazis in World War II, it was the real-life people that inspired those superheroes to be created in the first place. To that end, I encourage you to find an anti-hate organization in your community, or online, and put your voice, your time, and if possible, your money into supporting them.

LIFE Rise of the Superhero: From the Golden Age to the Silver Screen features an exclusive introduction by the legendary Stan Lee. In addition to “WWII & Nationalism,” I wrote a couple of other pieces for this special issue, including “Super Spoofs and Satire.” If you’d like to read more, LIFE Rise of the Superhero is available at magazine stands, in bookstores, and online.

What I Did This Summer: The Launch Pad Astronomy Workshop

This summer I had the pleasure and honor of attending the 2017 Launch Pad Astronomy Workshop. Organized by University of Wyoming professor (and SFF author) Michael S. Brotherton, PhD. (who founded the program) and astronomer Christian Ready, Launch Pad is hosted at University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyoming.

Mike and Christian at WIRO.

The Launch Pad Astronomy Workshop’s tagline is “Improving science literacy through words and media.” As Mike and Christian explained on the first day of the workshop, many people obtain their science through fiction and media. If the science is wrong in the fiction they’re reading (or watching), they won’t know and will walk away at best misinformed, at worst with a radically incorrect view of how the universe operates.

Creators have a responsibility to the story, absolutely, but they also have a responsibility to their audience. If creators do their best to keep the science accurate and plausible in their works, the audience gets a little bit of knowledge along with their rollicking space battle scene and may be inspired to learn more, or even apply what they’ve learned to their own creations, thus spreading knowledge instead of misinformation. The Launch Pad site sums this up nicely:

“Our primary goal is to teach writers, editors, and creative professionals about modern science, specifically astronomy, and in turn reach their large and diverse audiences. We hope to both educate the public and inspire the next generation of scientists.”

On Day One, Mike and Christian warned us they’d be compressing a lot of information into just one week (I believe the term “fire-hosing” was bandied about). Now, I implore you to imagine how impossible a feat it is to further compress that week into a singularity single blog post. So this will be a highlights-only post–and in a week packed with literally nothing but highlights, it will inevitably fall short of even that modest goal.

Classroom sessions were super full days–from 10 a.m. to about 5 p.m.–packed with a science-tsunami (not a real term) of engaging lectures and presentations from Mike and Christian, as well as special guest lectures and lab activities. The “Kirchhoff’s Laws and Spectra” lab with the affable Jim Verlay, PhD. seemed to especially delight the class. All the instructors, especially Mike and Christian, excelled at making the covered material accessible to a wide range of comprehension levels.

Training montage, BYO Rocky music.

After dinner, we kept going with observation sessions, a planetarium show, and several guided discussions about “Science Fiction Science,” wherein Mike walked us through examples of science and astronomy as portrayed in fiction (TV, film, and books), covering who got it right and who got it wrong (in some cases, hilariously wrong, see: Armageddon). These discussions yielded some of my favorite (and funniest) moments of the week.

On our penultimate evening, Launch Pad organized a trip to the Wyoming Infrared Observatory (WIRO), where we got to tour the facility, be jealous of the students studying there, and take in the stunning views from the top of Mt. Jelm at 9656 ft. (Much props to our T.A., Doug Farren, who navigated a rental van through some ridiculous switchbacks to get our group up the mountain. Also, for his patience while we all jammed our phones out the windows in an attempt to capture the incredible sunset that night.)

8

Phillip Jeffries. (Okay, no, it’s WIRO…probably…)

Let me pause a moment to rave about my wonderful co-attendees–what a talented, inspiring, and kind group of humans with whom to share this experience (see the full list of names under 2017 Attendees on the Launch Pad site). Between them, I think they’ve covered every genre and subgenre of science fiction and fantasy; so definitely go check out their books and stories.

2017 Attendees, all super-bleeping-awesome.

In addition to a cubic shit ton (not a real measurement) of information, Launch Pad also provides room and board–we stayed at the gorgeous Honors House, where we enjoyed private dorm rooms bigger than most NYC apartments. Also, the lucky (and hardworking) students that stay there during the school year have a huge rec room (and a laundry room!!! and a dishwasher!!!–can you tell New York has warped me?). The staff and volunteers at the University of Wyoming were equally impressive. I can’t speak for all attendees’ experiences, but everyone I interacted with seemed exceptionally warm and friendly. The campus and buildings were gorgeous, and as for Wyoming itself—wow…

Moon over Wyoming, from Mt. Jelm/WIRO.
(If you squint you can just make out Jerry Horne bashing his binoculars.)

Just. Gorgeous. Actual rolling prairies! Actual snow capped mountains! Actual pronghorns and buffalo and camels (idk, but they were there)! Blue skies for miles. Sunsets that you wouldn’t believe. Absolutely breathtaking. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit a lot of incredibly beautiful places in the world, and Wyoming ranks up there (altitude* pun!) with the best of them.

*Speaking of altitude: As a life-long New Yorker I’ve always lived at (or, occasionally below) sea level. I didn’t really think about this until the first “Hydrate or Die” emails started zipping through my inbox in advance of our arrival. Hogwash! I thought. Surely I’d been at a similar altitude before! But no, Fake News! The startling truth was that I’d never even visited a place higher than about 2,000 ft. above sea level. So I arrived in Laramie more than a little nervous about altitude sickness, but it turned out to be just fine. Better than fine actually. There may be less oxygen in Laramie (elevation: approx 8,000 ft.) but the quality of that oxygen is apparently much, much better (no surprise) than here in NYC. Also, as advised, I hydrated like a m-er f-er. And as such, I saw just about every bathroom on the UW campus—all lovely. Five stars. Would visit again.

I am so grateful for this incredible once-in-a-lifetime** experience. Not only did I gain valuable material for a series I’m currently writing; I also walked away with a notebook filled with story ideas that will probably take me several lifetimes to complete. (But I’ll still try to get though them all in this one.) So huge thanks to Mike and Christian, my co-attendees, the sponsors (see below), and everyone at Launch Pad for providing a week of education and inspiration that I’ll never forget.

**Unless…Alumni workshop? Just saying…

NOTES:
Launch Pad is a funded workshop, generously sponsored by Space Telescope Science Institute and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). If you are an author/editor/creative professional who is interested in attending, the application period for the 2018 workshop should open sometime in Spring 2018.

If you are interested in helping support this excellent program, please donate via the Launch Pad fundraising page.

It came from Metaphorosis…

Metaphorosis runs a fun regular feature called, “It came from…,” wherein they allow their authors talk a bit about the origins of their recently published stories. Today they posted “It came from N. R. Lambert,” where I discuss my near-future sci-fi story, “Business As Usual.”

Please take a look and if you’re inspired to read the story itself, you can find that on Metaphorosis as well. Please consider supporting Metaphorosis on Patreon or donating to Everytown via link at the bottom of the story page.