“A Salt on the Rise” is Published

“A Salt on the Rise” has now been published, as part of OnThePremises.com’s 30th Issue. It is the Guest piece, and the tag line the editors came up with for it is a “speculative story about a problem-solving bureaucrat in a particularly complex afterlife.”

I should probably introduce this world a little bit, as it is where most of the stories I’m currently writing take place in, as well as the book I’m going to have finished by the end of the year.

“A Salt on the Rise” takes place on a secondary world similar to our own, but one where magic and fantasy races abound. In this world, one of two things happens to people when they die:

1. Their souls leave their bodies, enter the River Styx, and make the journey straight to the afterlife.
2. Their souls linger, either in their bodies or in some physical object they’re attached to (Rings, swords, etc) and they become part of the undead.

The undead are cursed to wander the earth until they either resolve whatever is keeping them on this side of the veil, or they are exorcised and their suffering souls are utterly vanquished. To keep the undead from becoming a menace on the living and to protect them from the fate of non-existence, the God of Death created a city that sits at the point where the River Styx crosses over to the other side. This is Necrolopolis, a sprawling city of some four million restless souls of various types: ghouls, skeletons, ashlings, mummies, free-floating spirits, even two distinct groups of vampires. All are waiting for their chance to meet with the God of Death to determine what is keeping them here so that they can resolve it and cross over.

But, the wait time is long, and the undead are quite restless. To keep the peace, the God of Death depends on two people: his half-human daughter Grimina, and her full-human assistant Adelvell, a necromancer with a knack for getting caught up in other people’s messes. He may have poor luck (And an even poorer disposition), but this dead-end job in this dead-end town is all Adelvell’s got, and he’s got bills to pay.

This is the first published Necrolopolis story, but it is not the first published Adelvell story. If you enjoyed “A Salt on the Rise” and would like to get a glimpse of our hero prior to his tenure as Grimina’s assistant, check out “Lost in the Mail” in Third Flatiron Publishing’s anthology Astronomical Odds. Also be on the lookout for other announcements. I had several short stories making the submission rounds, and if/when any stick I will let you know the where and when.

WIPika Fridays: Of Refrigerators and Furnaces

There’s not a whole lot to show at this point of the week, unfortunately. I mean, I did get two stories finished, but they’re so short they can’t be considered much of an accomplishment. Not for a whole week’s worth of effort, in any event.

On the Premises is wrapping up Mini-Contest #24 today. They wanted a story no shorter than 20 words and no longer than 40 words. And of those words, exactly one had to be the word “refrigerator.” A single instance of a single refrigerator. I managed to come up with two stories concerning refrigerators and fantastical elements, but could only send in one. After some deliberation, I chose one and sent it off. We should get results back from that in a week. Several other members of the Writers of the Future forum submitted as well, so it will be neat to see how many – if any – of us make it into the prize or honorable mention categories. I would be ecstatic with either designation, as recognition is its own reward.

I have to admit I’ve started growing fonder of attempting flash and micro fiction. I haven’t been keeping up with my December plan of writing a flash fiction piece each week, but I really do want to get back into it again. It’s a manageable goal, even with some of the other demands I’ve placed on myself. And regardless of manageability, it’s good experience. You learn something every time you complete a piece of fiction, provided you have an open mind willing to accept either criticism from others (Readers, editors, etc) or criticism from yourself. I’ve read several books and articles on the art of fiction writing (From novels to shorts) and have discovered new things about stories I’ve previously written. I now know why certain stories did not make it past the slush gates, and what’s better: I now know how to fix them, if I’m of a mind to. The problem is having so many new ideas pressing that I now understand why a lot of well-established writers simply trunk stories that did not make the cut.

Anyway, that is all for this week. Next week will probably involve a lot less writing as well. My wife is taking the week off from work, but I won’t be sitting idle the entire time. Even if I don’t write any prose, there will be brainstorming and outlining going on. My goal is to get at least four stories outlined, and to make headway into the re-outlining of the first Wendigo novel.

Submission Sunday – Week Ending 02/02/14

Starting today and continuing each Sunday I will post a list of submissions completed for the previous week.  This will serve as a form of accountability for me, as when weeks go by where I submit nothing (Either new or resubmissions) I can now be publicly shamed over it!  Even with writing happening, if nothing is getting submitted it can’t be considered a productive week.  From a short story standpoint, anyway.

So, without further ado, here are my submissions for the week:

Summary: 4 New, 0 Resubmissions

New Submissions:

January 29th, “Starting from Zeroth” submitted to Penumbra Magazine.

January 31st, “Supply Chain Management” submitted to Crossed Genres.

January 31st, “False Light” submitted to On the Premises.

February 1st, “Paper Planet” submitted to Unlikely Story.