gwox: me2017 (me2017)

CAM Charity Anthology Horror and Science Fiction 1“All of the CAM Charity Anthologies are made up of donated short fiction stories. Some of these tales are written by well-known authors, others by ordinary people who just want to try and make a difference. 100% of the profits from these collections will go to charity as explained below.

“Michael Robb Mathias Jr. aka M. R. Mathias, owner of Mathias Publishing, is producing the C.A.M anthologies in honor of his mother, Carol Ann Mathias, who passed away in 2017 after a grueling five year battle with cancer. The profits of these collections will be divided equally, each year, between three of her favorite charities.

“A collection of Fantasy stories is also available and we hope there are more volumes to come.”

The C.A.M. Charity Anthology: Horror & Science Fiction #1 is an anthology of science fiction and horror originally published June 8th, 2017, by Mathias Publishing, with cover art by Jack Hoyle and interior art by Gideon Deschain, and includes my horror short story The Path of Needles. It’s available as a Kindle e-book from Amazon.

While you’re at it, get The C.A.M. Charity Anthology: Fantasy #1 as well! More great fiction, more cancer-fighting donations — this one too is available from Amazon.

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Table of Contents:
“The Uninvited Guest” by Brian Barr
“Giving It Fourteen Percent” by Ani Fox
“Autumn’s Breath” by Michael Robb
“Inbound” by J.T. Arralle
“The Devil & Klaus Kristiansen” by Jeremy Hicks
“The Path of Needles” by Gary W. Olson
“Star Dragon 13” by Michael Ender
“Ozymandias Revisited” by Ani Fox
“They Thought the Brain Would Be the Hardest Part” by Michael Pogach
“Brainwaves” by Ed Faunce
“Upgrade” by J.T. Arralle
“Demons” by J.T. Arralle
“The Bungen-Strausse” by Matt Broadway

***

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthologies Fairly Wicked Tales and The C.A.M. Charity Anthology: Horror and Science Fiction #1. His blog originates here. C.A.M. Charity Anthology: Horror & Science Fiction #1 cover art by Jack Hoyle.

Mirrored from Gary W. Olson.

gwox: me2017 (me2017)

WritingLook, I didn’t mean to be gone for so long. I took a wrong turn on the expressway, and next thing I knew, I was in Tijuana, herding llamas and putting worms in those little bottles. You know how it is. I only just now got back.

Well, ok, maybe not. Maybe I just took an ill-advised two-and-a-half-year detour into buying, owning, and then ultimately selling a house someplace I shouldn’t have considered in the first place. Maybe I made a few starts at writing during that time, but couldn’t keep it going because of the constant distractions and pressure. Maybe there were llamas, but they were herding me.

Whatever the case, all those maybes are in the past. I’m in a new place, the lessons are learned, the pressures are lessened, the llamas are on their way to Hollywood, and I’ve carved out a regular block of time when I can just write (or edit, or blog, or whatever). I’m finally back to writing.

I’ve revamped the blog, and this site–added a new picture of my meaty mug, and cut down on the clutter of the sidebars. I also added a mobile theme for people viewing the site on their magic rectangles, figuring it was about time the site joined this decade.

As far as my books go… I regained the rights to my novel Brutal Light at the start of this year, and plan on self-publishing a new edition later this summer. I took down all my self-published short stories at the same time, and am planning on publishing my first collection in the spring of 2018.

Writing-wise, my top goal for the last seven months of this year is to finish my next novel, Redscale: Severance, though I’ll likely do a couple short stories in that time as well.

Finally, I do have a new short story, “The Path of Needles,” that will soon be published, in The C.A.M. Charity Anthology: Horror & Science Fiction #1 in a couple days. I’ll ramble on about that in another entry.

It’s good to be back! Watch out for llamas!

***

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthologies Fairly Wicked Tales and The C.A.M. Charity Anthology: Horror and Science Fiction #1. His blog originates here.

Mirrored from Gary W. Olson.

gwox: me2014 (me2014)

Fairly Wicked TalesFairly Wicked Tales, the anthology of twisted fairy tales (including my contribution, “Sweetheart, the Dream is Not Ended”) which was published by Angelic Knight Press last summer, only to go out of print at the end of the year when Ragnarok Publications bought AKP, has now been reissued by Ragnarok (under its AKP imprint). To your left is the hella-awesome new cover art by Shawn T. King.

The e-book is available from Amazon only at the moment, though I expect it will be arriving at other fine sellers of e-consumables soon. The print edition with the new cover isn’t available yet, but should be soon.

For more information on FWT, check out my Fairly Wicked Tales page, which includes links to reviews as well as buy links, and will be updated as un-irregularly as I can manage given that my brain got changed out for a whack-a-mole game last year and I keep eating the replacements I order.

***

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthology Fairly Wicked Tales. His blog originates here. Fairly Wicked Tales cover art: Shawn T. King.

Mirrored from Gary W. Olson.

gwox: me2014 (me2014)

Fading LightIn case you haven’t read the news, Angelic Knight Press, which published two anthologies featuring stories of mine, has been acquired by another press (and is set to become that press’s new horror imprint).

That’s good news for Fairly Wicked Tales (which includes my story “Sweetheart, the Dream is Not Ended”), which will be reissued in early 2015. Not such good news for Fading Light: An Anthology of the Monstrous (which includes my story “Goldilocks Zone”), which will be going out of print at the end of the year.

So… if you’re still hoping to get a copy of Fading Light, either ebook or dead-tree version, you don’t have a lot of time left. Get thee hence to a bookseller!

(If you’re into the whole actual physical book thing, you hardcore antiquarian you, you can get a copy of Fading Light from CreateSpace for 25% off with this coupon code: EQHG7CPV )

Happy Christmas! Merry holidays! Hail Krampus!

Edit (4/24/15: Removed links, as Fading Light is now out of print)

***

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthologies Fading Light and Fairly Wicked Tales. His blog originates here. Fading Light cover art: Jesse Lucero.

Mirrored from Gary W. Olson.

gwox: hovereye (hovereye)

(Edit 4/24/15: updated links to point to current reissue of this anthology by Ragnarok Publications)

Fairly Wicked Tales“Once upon a scream…

“Think you know the real story behind those fables and fairy tales you read as a child? Stories are written from the viewpoint of the heroes, but the lines between hero and villain, good and evil, are often blurred.

“We’ve gathered twenty three tales that turn those stories you think you know on their heads by letting the villains have their say. What if Snow White wasn’t as pure as the newly driven snow? What if Red Riding Hood was far more dangerous than the Big Bad Wolf? What if Rapunzel was hell bent on revenge? Forget Disney, forget the Brothers Grimm, say hello to Fairly Wicked Tales—re-imaginings of both fairy tales and fables.

“Fairly Wicked Tales, a book for adults who harbor the wicked child within.”

(Click on the cover art by Rebecca Treadway to see it in full-sized wicked beauty!)

Fairly Wicked Tales, edited by Stacey Turner, is an anthology of dark fantasy and horror published August 6th, 2014, by Angelic Knight Press, and includes my horror short story Sweetheart, the Dream is Not Ended (a reimagining of the lesser-known Grimm fairly tale “The Robber Bridegroom”). I’ve got a blog post in the works regarding how utterly strange “The Robber Bridegroom” is and why I had to make it the basis for my tale, but for now, I wanted to get the word out that the anthology’s been released.

So far just as e-books, but fear not, dead tree lovers, physical book form is on its way. Fairly Wicked Tales is now available from Amazon.com for Kindle and in Print.

Here’s the table of contents, in the format of: “Story Title” by Author: Fairy tale it gives a good hard twisting to.

Table of Contents

“Song of Bones” by Vekah McKeown: A retelling of “The Singing Bone”.

“Red” by Katie Young: A retelling of “Little Red Riding Hood”.

“Sweetheart, the Dream is Not Ended” by Gary W. Olson: A reimagining of “The Robber Bridegroom”.

“Crumbs” by Adam Millard: A retelling of “The Crumbs on the Table”.

“A Thrice Spun Tale” by Suzi M: A retelling of “The Three Spinners”.

“His Heart’s Desire” by Fay Lee: A retelling of “Sleeping Beauty”.

“Little Beauty” by Matthew Hughes: A retelling of “Beauty and the Beast”.

“Hare’s Tale” by Jay Wilburn: A retelling of “The Tortoise and the Hare”.

“The Golden Goose” by Robert Holt: A retelling.

“A Prick of the Quill” by Lizz-Ayn Shaarawi: A retelling of “Hans My Hedgehog”.

“Sacrificed” by Laura Snapp: A reimagining of “Snow White”.

“The Glass Coffin” by D R Cartwright: A retelling of “The Glass Coffin”.

“The Price of the Sea” by David R. Matteri: A retelling of “The Little Mermaid”.

“A Blue Light Turned Black” by Wilson Geiger: A retelling of “The Blue Light”.

“Let Down Your Hair” by Eugenia Rose: A retelling of “Rapunzel”.

“The Wolf Who Cried Boy” by Armand Rosamilia: A retelling of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”.

“It Comes At Night” by JP Behrens: A reimagining of “The Billy Goats Gruff”.

“Bloodily Ever After” by Reece A.A. Barnard: A retelling of several fairy tales.

“Al-Adrian and the Magic Lamp” by Tais Teng: A retelling of “The Arabian Nights”.

“The Fisherman and His Wife” by Bennie L. Newsome: A retelling of the story “The Fisherman and His Wife.”

“Rum’s Daughter” by T. Eric Bakutis: A retelling of “Rumplestiltskin”.

“The Ash Maid’s Revenge” by Konstantine Paradias: A retelling of “Cinderella”.

“Gingerbread” by Hal Bodner: What happened afer “Hansel and Gretel”.

***

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthologies Fading Light and Fairly Wicked Tales. His blog originates here. Cover art: Rebecca Treadway.

Mirrored from Gary W. Olson.

gwox: hovereye (hovereye)

Fairly Wicked Tales

Alright, alright, I know it’s been far too long. And I’ve got a blog entry that explains everything, along with where those scratch marks on the sofa came from and why the basement smells like quicklime. But for now, I just wanted to show you all the cover of Fairly Wicked Tales, the next anthology in which I have a short story (“Sweetheart, the Dream is Not Ended”) included, with gorgeous art by Rebecca Treadway. Click upon it to see it in all its wicked glory!

***

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthologies Fading Light and Fairly Wicked Tales. His blog originates here. Cover art: Rebecca Treadway.

Mirrored from Gary W. Olson.

gwox: hovereye (hovereye)

(Edit 4/24/15: Updated buy links)

Fabulous BeastsReeling from a breakup with his girlfriend Jean, Paul Miller encounters Cyane, a wealthy model who wants to hire him to create disturbing paintings for nameless clients. But that work is only the start of what she wants from him. With her seductive song, she lures both he and Jean past desires for flesh, into a hallucinatory hunger for ecstasy and transcendence. To save Jean, himself, and his unborn child, he must learn who and what Cyane really is, and make a harrowing choice.

Here’s an excerpt of the start of the story:

The ropes that held me to the mast of the ship were loose. I found that as frightening as the dark shapes that thrashed just over the side. The men around me rowed on, ears stopped with wax, oblivious to the howls that rose above the roiling waters. I pitied them, for they wouldn’t know what they missed–voices sharp enough to cut thought and honeyed enough to clot the wound.

Though I could have easily freed myself, I remained still. In this place, I could hear the song. If I moved, it would dissolve into feral noise. My understanding of this grew with every change of the vast and beautiful voices that wove through the near-liquid air.

My ropes fell to the deck with the fading of the last octave. The men stopped rowing and stared with fearful eyes at the sea.

I walked toward the bow. The rush of her feathers came as a gasp of hungry breath that voided every other sound.

“Not this way.”

Her voice held a quiver from the song.

The wooden deck barked my knees when I slumped. She landed before me, dark brown wings in angelic spread, eyes locked with mine. Her human face could have been real, though my instincts whispered that it was not. Her sinuous body moved in ways more reptilian than avian. Her sharp red lips drew back into a grin.

Talons flashed. Blood ran down my neck.

“There is no easy way,” she said. “If you want it, it will hurt.”

(continued…)

***

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthology Fading Light. His blog originates here. Fabulous Beasts cover art: Sergey Nivens/BigStock.com.

Mirrored from Gary W. Olson.

gwox: hovereye (hovereye)

PersonalLAST TIME ON GARY’S BLOG: Our hero, the looming yet strangely beguiling Writer Lad, was hip deep in writing a first draft of an urban fantasy with talking raptors and flying sharks and things like that, unaware that he was moments from being captured by Amphi-dodecahedron, the Avatar of Fish-Based Geometry, to be used as an oblique angle in his decidedly fussy war against Cartanga, Finder of Small Pebbles, whose underhanded tactics and undercooked pasta were the subject of thousands of savage Yelp reviews, all written by Professor Ivan Sharpski, ex-KGB tap dancer and girl friday to Gummo Lemmingsnort, noted New York Times Bestselling Author of “That’s Not Chicken, and Probably Not a Taco, Either” and several not-so-bestselling horror novels featuring occult detective and part-time spatula Bacon McGee, a concept derived from a 1923 article on Bootlegging Badgers and the Flappers who Love Them, as mis-transcribed by Randall Everwood, a.k.a. the Shadow Over the Breakfast Nook, aided by a ratty English-Klingon dictionary, a vole paid off by Joe Don Baker, and Dr. Leslie Ann Cartier, inventor of the least joyful whoopee cushion ever documented.

We join Gary, already in progress.

Hmmm, guess it’s been a while since I last wrote a non-repost blog-entry. See, what happened was I broke free from the chains that bound me to the black pit and roamed the moors, slaking my thirst for blood just got busy with a lot of stuff, both writing and non-writing, and something had to give. Also, an anniversary trip to Niagara Falls, some car crash and replacement car buying drama, work stress, and so on. I’ve moved on, why can’t you?

Ha! Seriously, though, you don’t want to hear my lame, lame excuses. You want to know what’s going on now. And that is… writing. I’ve got a steampunk horror story I’m trying to wrestle into shape, and another short that may or may not get written after that. Redscale is on hold until the new year. Possibly longer, if I go and rewrite/polish/finish off/ship out The Morpheist, the biopunk novella I first-drafted more than a year ago. I’m putting together another short, Fabulous Beasts, for self-publicational glory later this month. My next non-self-publication is coming in January, with a story in Angelic Knight Press’s Fairly Wicked Tales.

Plus, December is eating my head, and we’ve barely started the month. So there’s that.

Reading-wise, there’s a lot of good stuff out there that I’m gonna take this opportunity to push at you. If you’re an urban fantasy fan, you’ve gotta check out Manifesto: UF edited by Tim Marquitz and Tyson Mauermann. It’s got twenty-three envelope-pushing urban fantasy tales by the likes of Lincoln Crisler, Jake Elliot, Teresa Frohock, and many more. If ghost stories are more your speed, check out Bryan Hall’s The Girl. It’s an evocative and compelling story heavy on atmospheric dread that I enjoyed a lot.

My friend Eric Burns-White has been putting out entries in his Mythology of the Modern World series on Amazon and Smashwords. They’re short, sharp, sometimes satirical, sometimes haunting mythological stories composed as answers to reader questions posed to him. The Sky of L.A. is Yellow/Gray is my favorite of these so far, but all of them are highly entertaining.

Another friend, Angi Shearstone, put out the second issue of her BloodDreams comic not too long ago. It’s a sharp tale of a conflict between vampires and hunters that ensnares a troubled punk rock singer and his friends, with gorgeous fully-painted artwork. Absolutely no sparkling going on, I promise. (I reviewed issue 1 a long while ago.)

Bryan Thomas Schmidt, meanwhile, has two anthologies out, both of which began life as Kickstarter projects. Beyond the Sun, which features science ficton tales of colonization of new worlds, has a number of outstanding stories (by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Cat Rambo, and Maurice Broaddus, among others). Raygun Chronicles, an anthology of golden-age-style space opera stories, just recently came out, and I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but I’m looking forward to it.

Speaking of books I’m really looking forward to reading, Emmy Jackson’s second novel, Empty Cradle: Shiloh in the Circle (set in the world of his previous novel, Empty Cradle: the Untimely Death of Corey Sanderson, which I reviewed a long time ago). The first one was damn good, and I’m expecting this one will be as well. Plus there’s Greg Chapman’s new horror novella, The Last Night in October… holy crap I have a lot of reading to catch up on!

(Note: there are a lot of Amazon links above. I’m not participating in any affiliate thing here, I promise–it’s just convenient for me to link there, to show you I didn’t just come up with these things in a caffeine-and-pork-rind-fueled fever dream. Because I know that’s what you’re thinking.)

That’s all for now. I’m signing off and heading for the tub. Don’t forget to tip your server!

***

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthology Fading Light. His blog originates here. Photo: Elena Ray/Bigstock.com.

Mirrored from Gary W. Olson.

gwox: (robotmonster)

Brutal Light

I originally wrote this in December 2011 as part of my Brutal Light blog promo tour. As the blog it originally appeared on no longer exists, I’m reposting it here. Yay?

One of the things I’m frequently asked about are my influences. As someone who’s read a lot, in a lot of genres, that’s a topic I can go on about for quite a while–the list of authors range from Stephen King to Terry Pratchett to Michael Connelly to Clive Barker to… well, you get the idea. But even within this list, there are certain books I can pick out that exerted great influence on both my reading choices and my storytelling style. I can’t rightly say how much any particular one of these examples influenced me when it came to writing my debut dark fantasy novel Brutal Light, but collectively, I think it’s safe to say they left their mark. Here are seven books that made me, and my writing, weird(er):

At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft

This was not my first introduction to Lovecraft–that had been the wonderfully-titled Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre, a collection of some of his short fiction–but it was the one that left the deepest impression on me. The deliberate, atmospheric pacing of this journey into the ruins of a lost civilization had me on edge the first time I read it, and it excited my mind around the details of what would later become the Mythos the way it had not quite been before.

The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson

This one took a while to win me over–at first I didn’t know what to think of the careening strangeness of the narrative and the hyperbolic mix of what I assume is every conspiracy theory out there up to the point of the novel’s publication. Then at some point, maybe a hundred pages in, it started gelling, and from that point I was hooked. It’s lost a little of its lustre over the years–the conspiracy stuff is a bit dated, and some passages seem more juvenile than provocative–but overall it’s still a hell of a trip.

Valis by Philip K. Dick

Valis was my introduction to Philip K. Dick’s strange and addictive works. Probably it wasn’t the best one to start with; it came at a point late in his career and life where he was evidently not too concerned with being ‘accessible.’ It’s a bizarre story to begin with, with its main character, Horselover Fat, contacted directly by God via a mysterious pink laser. Then it gets stranger, as Horselover seeks to understand his experience, with esoteric theories and crackpot paranoia continually throwing the events of his life into newer and weirder lights. I just recently re-read this one, and its as baffling and entertaining as I remember.

Dead Boys, Dead Girls, Dead Things by Richard Calder

By the time I got to this book, I’d read my share of cyberpunk science fiction, and had my head spun around by the likes of Philip K. Dick and Robert Anton Wilson. I thought I was ready. But I don’t think anything could have prepared me for the convoluted, paranoid, utterly perverse, high-voltage trip that is the Dead trilogy. The first book, Dead Boys, makes at least a passing attempt at a standardized story structure, but the next two sail off into rampaging, obsessive apocalyptic madness. This one left my head spinning for weeks. I really wish Calder’s publisher would get his books into e-format; I’d buy them all in a heartbeat.

God Emperor of Dune by Frank Herbert

Now, I’d taken the first three books in the Dune series in stride. They were fine, weird beasts in and of themselves, full of complex ideas and strange events. But this one trumped them all. It took me a long time to really come to terms with Leto’s merger with a sandworm and his transformation into a near-immortal, unstable tyrant, and to appreciate the paradoxical depths of the philosophical discussions within. It’s a flawed book, certainly, but unlike anything I had read to that point (the mid-eighties, when I was an impressionable lad). One of these days I’ll have to read it again, just to see if it stands up to my memories of it.

Zod Wallop by William Browning Spencer

While the idea of a book as a doorway into another world is hardly new, I was unprepared for how this book would affect me. The action takes place both in the ‘real’ world, where ex-children’s book author Harry Gainesborough has escaped the institution where he was being treated for depression following the death of his daughter, and the world of Zod Wallop, the fantasy world of the books he wrote with said daughter as the central character. The transitions between worlds are seamless, and the climax is as emotionally stunning as I’ve ever read. It’s a strange and amazing journey.

Imajica by Clive Barker

This was my introduction to Clive Barker. You might as well have dropped a bus on me. Barker’s framework of a hidden world behind the superficial façade of this one completely drew me in with the depth of its obsessive detailing, the complicated story threads, and the sheer power of its metaphysical invention. It’s a beautiful, perverse, and terrifying work–still my favorite of Barker’s, and one that undoubtedly left its mark on my writing since.

***

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthology Fading Light. His blog originates here. Brutal Light cover art: Dawne Dominique.

Mirrored from Gary W. Olson.

gwox: (robotmonster)

WritingI don’t always write short blog entries, but when I do, it’s because I’ve been on a writing tear. And this month I have–about 19k words into a first draft of a new urban fantasy novel, Redscale. If I can sustain that pace, I expect to have the draft finished, or at least close to, by the end of the year.

Why it is that I always find myself of being in the position of either doing bloggy, tweety, updatey things or doing some actual writing, I don’t know. I mean, I’d always expected one or the other would take center stage at any given time, based on what was going on, but I didn’t expect right stage and left stage would be taken up as well! It’s a case of something’s gotta give, and better this give than the writing.

Among other things that can’t give: I’m working with my wife, Kristyn, on Onyx Fire, a short puppet movie based on a mid-grade fantasy book we co-wrote (but did not publish) a couple years back. It’s quite different than my adult horror and dark fantasy writing, and I really can’t imagine any sort of crossover audience, but I’m finding I’m enjoying the slow process of getting it ready for filming (with puppets and a greenscreen background)–doing the storyboards, working on the website, and so on. I probably won’t mention it (much) on this blog, at least not until the film’s done, but it’s going to take up some time for the next few months.

Finally, I’m reading. Not that this should come as a shock to anyone. But this reading is research–specifically, into Chicago circa 1893, the backdrop of a steampunk horror story I’ll be working on later this year. Not only will it be my first steampunk story, but also my first (alternate) historical fiction, which puts me under tremendous mental pressure to READ ALL THE HISTORY THINGS. Fortunately, many of these THINGS were already on my bookshelves, in the form of research I’d done more than a decade ago for a novel that got abandoned halfway through (one of the failed precursors to Brutal Light). And fortunately, 1890s Chicago is proving as fascinating to me now as it did then.

Oh, and I went to Cedar Point this month. Rode most of the coasters, and finished off with my favorite, the Top Thrill Dragster. And though I was kinda worn out by the end of the day, and a bit sunburned as well, it was a real good time.

Ok, I guess this blog entry wasn’t so short.

***

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthology Fading Light. His blog originates here. Photo: Andres/Bigstock.com.

Mirrored from Gary W. Olson.

gwox: (robotmonster)

WritingI don’t seem to be doing so well with the blogging; I suspect it’s because I’m too busy actually writing. Which is a good thing. Since my last missive (announcing a self-published short story, “The Body in Motion”), I completed three short stories–one of which (“Sweetheart, the Dream is Not Ended”) has already been accepted to an anthology, Fairly Wicked Tales, set to come out in late September or early October from Angelic Knight Press.

I’m also working on placing the other two, along with the one older work I’d really like to see land somewhere. Tunnel vision tends to overtake me once a work has left my hands… once I’m off to the next project, it can be hard for me to come back, dust off a piece, and send it someplace else. I’ve not always been the best for keeping at the slushpile shuffle, but of late I’ve gotten better at it.

Back when I was laying out my goals for the year, I tossed off the idea of writing four shorts. I’ve already got three done, and I know what the fourth one will be, which should mean I’m back to working on reworking The Morpheist, or plowing ahead on the first draft of This Island Monstrous, right?

Ha ha. Right.

My brain has decided that nothing would be so fine as to write an urban fantasy novella set in the world I created for one of the aforementioned short stories. I’d barely scratched the surface of all the ideas I’d had when writing that story, but they wouldn’t go and sit back down, so, out they come. No title yet, but I’m determined to get it out and on its way by summer’s end.

It’s also the first project I’ve started using the Scrivener writing program, which I downloaded from Amazon about a month ago when it was half-off its already reasonable $40 price. So far I’m really loving it. Instead of just starting at chapter one and seeing what came out of me, I’m using its corkboard setup to write up some character profiles. It started as just a way to consolidate what I already determined in the short story, but it’s blossomed into sort of an org chart of characters from that story, plus characters who’ll be appearing in that story, characters they know, and so on. I didn’t take this approach with This Island Monstrous, which may be why it foundered.

All this means, of course, that my other goals for this year are up in the air. I may or may not return to The Morpheist this year, but I’m definitely going to return to This Island Monstrous, this time with Scrivener to help me keep track of things. Plus one more short story to write, and a couple older short works to self-publish.

And then… light refreshments will be served.

***

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthology Fading Light. His blog originates here. Photo: Andres/Bigstock.com.

Mirrored from Gary W. Olson.

gwox: (robotmonster)

The Body in Motion

On an apocalyptic future Earth, the remains of humanity engage in endless virtual reality battles to determine who will get food–and who will become food. One of these remnants, Vel, attracts the attention of All, the A.I. that manages the battles. Reeling from the death of his lover, Vel is drawn into her plans for fulfilling her ancient directive to save humanity… plans he may not survive.

I originally wrote The Body in Motion in 1999, and it was a departure from the science fiction I’d attempted to write at that point. I’d recently read Harlan Ellison’s short fiction collection Deathbird Stories and was in a mood to write something that really pushed my boundaries and skills of the time. It came out of my fingers quick and hot, the way stories for me all too rarely do, and ended up being my third story sale, appearing in Outer Darkness‘s spring 2001 issue.

I put the story through a vigorous re-editing, mainly to improve the prose by curbing my then-tendency to use sentence fragments to excess. And now, it’s the second short story I’ve self-published (the first being Something You Should Know early in 2012). It still stands up, I think, but if your tastes run to horror and science fiction and you’re inclined to take a look, I’ll let you be the judge of that.

Here’s an excerpt of the start of the story:

Vel watched through the translucent leaves of the meat-pod, hoping and fearing a glimpse. She had once passed close, but had not stopped to take him. He had known her at once–unlike the others, she was identical to her image in Eden, with decay-green skin, glowing eyes, fanged teeth, and meat to spare on her bones. Small bones were tangled in her wild black hair, and Vel could never escape the thought that one day, one of his would be among them.

He had been unable tell her destination. Possibly she hunted her Bond, or sought to elude a pursuer by taking an unused pod for a new residence. The sloping ground in this sliver of the World was spattered with clumps of them, some waiting with hungry leaves down, others containing moldering remains, a few sustaining life. The miasma caught the scant light provided by the machines far above.

A furtive creature with wide eyes and a skeletal torso skittered into view. The human’s nostrils flared, and Vel realized it was tracking a life. It glistened with desperation. He considered his own body, starved despite the pod’s nutrient-feed, and wondered if he would behave in this way if he once more won a day of Downtime.

His heart did not pound; his blood did not race. The pod regulated his spindly body, keeping him just alive and just sane, giving him air and water while removing his wastes and toxins with uncaring efficiency. He could not break free, though he well knew the leaves could be ripped open from the outside.

The human moved on, disappearing in the tangle of pods beyond the periphery of his sight. Minutes were left in the Downtime, scant time before his day of fear would end. He thought of Lana, and how her flesh would be his if he won the next combat and she did not. He contemplated the reverse. She was somewhere near, perhaps only a pod or two distant. Their dance was almost–

The green-skinned woman appeared again, scarlet distorting her face and chest, her body the sated predator. She stopped before his pod, sixty meters away, visible between two dead-bearing pods, and tilted her head. He was prevented from panicking. Only minutes to go.

(continued…)

***

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthology Fading Light. His blog originates here. The Body in Motion cover art: feoris/Bigstock.com.

Mirrored from Gary W. Olson.

gwox: (robotmonster)

LinksThe good news is that I’m working on first drafts of not one but two dark fantasy short stories, with the aim of shuffling them off to a couple different anthologies for their editors’ consideration sometime in late February. It’s been a good time since I’ve written at this fast a clip, and it feels pretty damn good.

The other good news is that I’m fixin’ to self-pub one of my older short stories, The Body in Motion, sometime in March. It’s a far far faaaar future science fiction horror story that mixes virtual reality, cannibalism, and creative problem-solving. Good times! It’ll be available on Kindle and from Smashwords initially, and later on for Nook, iTunes, and so on, all for 99 cents.

The bad news is that because of all this busy-ness, I’m fobbing this links post off on you, instead of more considered content. (Yeah, it’s also true we’re living in a world ruled (in both the public and private spheres) by short-sighted, malicious, and moronic meatbags hellbent on grabbing those final tiny bits of power and money they aren’t already squatting over, whilst plotting how to escape the now-inevitable financial, social, and environmental collapse they’ve engineered by using our starvation-plagued bodies as rocket fuel to take them to their secret underground compounds on the moon. But that’s not news anymore, is it?)

Someday, I’m going to have to get one of those new-fangled 3D printers. It turns out you can now print your own life-size robot for under $1,000. Or you can (someday) print yourself a new kidney.

Here’s Charlie Jane Anders with advice on how to write fiction for money without selling out too much. I’m filing this one away for when I find someone’s who’s buying.

Author Chuck Wendig serves up 25 hard truths about writing and publishing. Hard, terrible, monkey-laden, and recommended reading.

There’s a geneticist out there who claims to have sequenced Bigfoot’s DNA. Can’t wait to see what the sterling skeptical minds at the History Channel make of it!

Meanwhile, back in the land where real science kicks the awesome, scientists have developed a Star Trek-like tractor beam. For microscopic objects, mind, but still kickin’ the microscopic awesome.

Finally, here’s a video of Gary Busey explaining things about Hobbits. I… have to go lie down now.

***

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthology Fading Light. His blog originates here. Picture: 3poD/Bigstock.com.

Mirrored from Gary W. Olson.

gwox: (robotmonster)

Writing2012 started off as a good year for me, writing-wise, and then sort of fell apart as it went on. While continuing to promote my debut novel, Brutal Light, I finished the first draft of biopunk novella The Morpheist, wrote a weird short story that got accepted into Fading Light: An Anthology of the Monstrous, and started in on the first draft of mad science novel This Island Monstrous. And then, somewhere in the belly of summer, life events outside of writing barged in, and didn’t so much unbarge as slowly seep back into the shadows. My fall and winter writing ended up being short bursts of activity between large swatches of unfocused meh-ness and my growing, news-driven desire to dig a hole, jump in it, and pull it in after me.

But the good thing about a new year is that it gives me a chance to reset my head. I’ve been taking a look at what I’ve got going, what I’d like to do, and what I think I can realistically do in the upcoming year, and it basically looks like this:

* Wander through park, looking for that damn squirrel.

* Blow up moon.

* Telepathically control a pack of howler monkeys, arm them with machetes and rum, and–

Wups. Wrong list! Let’s try this:

* Redraft, polish, and send The Morpheist out into the world. This was last fall’s goal, if you’ll recall. This time I mean it.

* Write, redraft, polish, and send out four or five short stories. I’m already working on an urban fantasy one, though I’m taking no bets on what the others will be. I only have one short work right now that I’m pushing around to different places, and would like to have more.

* Finish the first draft of This Island Monstrous. I’ve got a good first quarter done, I just need to get cracking on the rest… and figure out how it’s all going to end.

* Write the first draft of biopunk novella The Fabulist, wherein one of the supporting characters in The Morpheist takes over as the main protagonist.

That’s about it. I’ll likely scale back blogging to once every two weeks, at least for the first half of the year, just to give me more focus-on-words-on-page-dammitall time. I may write all my blog entries with bullet points from here on out. I may take a stab at gathering up all the short fiction I’ve had published so far into a collection for self-publication. I may see how the howler monkeys do with a few quarts of bourbon and a word processor.

So. Yay? Yay.

***

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthology Fading Light. His blog originates here. Photo: Andres/Bigstock.com.

Mirrored from Gary W. Olson.

gwox: (robotmonster)

WritingSo, I was tagged for this Next Big Theme writer meme going around. Twice in fact, by Bernie Mojzes and then by Lee Mather. And finally, I slouch into action and answer!

Essentially, this meme is ten questions about one of one’s work-in-progresses. I’ve got two at the moment: a mad science novel tentatively titled This Island Monstrous and a biopunk novella I’m just starting on second-drafting, The Morpheist. TIM will take a long time to finish, never mind find a publisher for, while I’m hoping to get The Morpheist to a good home sometime early next year. So I’ll make The Morpheist the subject of this here thing.

1. What is the title of your book?

The Morpheist.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

In the late nineties, when I was making my first stabs at writing short stories, I wrote a short called The Morpheist, set in a vaguely cyberpunkish future, wherein my protagonist and a techno-dream-eater entered a relationship for reasons that were especially sketchy for the techno-dream-eater. It was not a good story, exactly, but there was the kernel of a good story there, rooted in ruminations I’d had at the time about the nature and value of dreams.

So, casting about for something to write last year (after Brutal Light was published and my idea for Entering Cadence went to pot), I looked it over and decided there was Something I Could Do with it. I decided to recast the future it was set in as more of a biopunk-esque setting, as so much of what I read of future science these days points to a convergence of the technological and the biological. I didn’t want to expand the short story, though, so I came up with a new situation and set of protagonists, with the protagonist from the old story showing up as another character (which also allowed me to break up and include the old story, rewritten heavily, in interludes).

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Science fiction.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

The only one I have a clear idea for is my main protagonist, Cal. As I was writing it, I thought increasingly of a youngish version of Adrian Brody. It wasn’t until I saw Skyfall, though, that I realized Ben Whishaw (Q) was close to ideal.

5. What is a one-sentence synopsis of the book?

“In a world dreams and the technology to make them real have all but merged, Cal Silen seeks to rid himself of his ability to dream by hiring a rogue dream-eater with a tragic past, a hidden agenda, and enemies determined to expand their hold on millions of minds.”

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Of course these are the only two possible options, aren’t they? Pffft.

Being as it’s a novella, I don’t see this as something to shop to an agent. I’m also not keen on self-publishing, given my low visibility as an author right now. So, I’ll look for a small publisher for which this kind of material will be a good fit.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

About 2-3 months.

8. What other books would you compare this story to in your genre?

I’m sure there are comparables, but I’m drawing a blank right now as to what they would be. The world it’s neither dystopian nor utopian, exactly, but rather a sort of collision of a number of dystopian and utopian trends. The story itself is about the place and function of dreams, and what might be lost if the ability to dream is given up.

As far as influences go, there are several, starting of course with Paul di Filipo’s Ribofunk, which both started the biopunk subgenre and attempted without success to give it a less derivative name. William Gibson’s Neuromancer is up there, particularly as regards the ‘original’ short story. Probably also a few volumes from Philip K. Dick.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

As is usual with me, it’s a confluence of things. I follow futurist news with great interest, and find myself caught up in speculation about how trends in nanotechnology, biotechnology, virtual reality, social interaction, body modification, and climate change might play out. I’ve long had an interest in dreams, lucid dreaming, and nightmares, and their value in our lives, beyond being a purge of subconscious detrius.

10. What else might pique the reader’s interest?

Despite the subtext of dreams and their meaning, it’s not weighted down with metaphysical speculation (unlike, say, Brutal Light). It is science fiction, and while I’m only a layperson in my understanding of the science I delve into, I do try to be true to it as I can. I also embrace, as much as I can, how effing weird and perverse I think the future is going to be.

So… now it’s my turn to tag some hella-talented writer folks whose next big things are things I would love to hear more about. There’s some what I know have already posted their answers, or at least been tagged to do so, so I’ll try not to be duplicative. I hereby tag Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Eric A. Burns-White, Greg Fishbone, Su Halfwerk, and Emmy Jackson. (Which in no way obligates, as I didn’t ask beforehand, and even if I did, it still doesn’t obligate, so I don’t know why I even brought it up.)

***

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthology Fading Light. His blog originates here. Photo: Andres/Bigstock.com.

Mirrored from Gary W. Olson.

gwox: (robotmonster)

LinksWhere has the week gone? Hmmph. Once again, I’ve not gotten much writing done, due to a combination of business, tiredness, and procrastination. I’m also suspecting I need to stop putting off going to the eye doctor for a new prescription–though my contact lenses are mostly good, my glasses are getting further and further off, to the point where I have to take them off if I want to read (when I don’t have contacts in). I suspect that factors in to my procrastinating tendencies.

There’s a meme going around in writing circles called “The Next Big Thing,” in which an author answers a set of questions regarding a project he or she is working on. I’ve done been tagged, and my answers will appear next week. This week, though… you get links!

There’s something recently started up called Rolling Jubilee, focused on buying up debt (held by U.S. consumers) that’s being sold by banks to a speculative market of debt buyers (with the intent of abolishing the purchased debt, rather than trying to collect it). An inspired idea!

Large-scale commercial production of biofuel from waste is close to starting up. This looks like a game-changer for ethanol and other alternative fuels.

TheOatmeal.com put up this awesome comic on various aspects of the creative life. I loffed.

Here’s a Tumblr account near and dear to my heart: Why Authors Are Crazy. Loads of snark on the publishing process as seen from the authorial perspective, mainly in the form of reaction .gifs.

That’s… about it. (Told you I had the tiredness.) Have a weekend, why don’tcha.

***

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthology Fading Light. His blog originates here. Picture: 3poD/Bigstock.com.

Mirrored from Gary W. Olson.

gwox: (robotmonster)

Authors at Schulers

(Left to right: Sidney Ayers, DJ Desmyter, Gary W. Olson (i.e. me), Cindy Spencer Pape, Megan Parker, Roxanne Rhoads, and Nathan Squiers)

A couple weeks ago, I did a couple of signings back-to-back: one at Schulers Books & Music in Lansing, Michigan, and one at the public library in Davison, Michigan. They were both multi-author events, as evidenced by the picture above. While they ended up being a bit sparsely attended, I had a great time nonetheless, talking with various readers and fellow authors. The library signing was especially cool for me, as it took place in my hometown’s library, which I observed had changed very little in the twenty-one years since I’d left, and it makes me happy to know that it now has copies of Brutal Light and Fading Light: An Anthology of the Monstrous in its system (which means that so does the Genessee District Library system its part of).

The following week was a blur to me, for various personal and family reasons not to be gotten into here. Much of this week was lost to distraction, both due to the recent U.S. election (the results of which pleased me overall) and getting a replacement smartphone (and having to fuss with it to get everything set back up right). But I’m getting back into the swing of writing.

I’m nearly done with the first quarter of my Untitled Mad Science Novel (which I’m tentatively calling This Island Monstrous, until I think of something better). It’s taken me much longer than I anticipated just to get this far, but I’m pleased with how it’s going. Soon, I’ll be switching gears and going back to work on my SF biopunk novella The Morpheist, with a goal of getting it rewritten, edited, polished, and ready to send out somewheres by the end of the year. That’s pretty much it for my rest-of-the-year writing plans; anything I may have blathered on about before (such as rewriting my old Electricity in the Rain serial fiction) is back on the shelf.

As for next year… that remains to be seen. Anytime I plan, it seems, life gets on with the thwarting, so I’m just gonna play it by ear.

Books on Shelves

(Picture from the shelves at Schuler’s, including both Brutal Light and Fading Light.)

***

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthology Fading Light. His blog originates here. First photo: Someone in the audience at Schulers. Second photo: Gary W. Olson.

Mirrored from Gary W. Olson.

gwox: (me2011)

Brutal LightJust a quick reminder for Michigan folks reading this blog, today (Wednesday, October 24th, 2012), at 7 p.m., I’ll be at Schuler Books & Music in Lansing, Michigan, participating in a multi-author panel discussion on paranormal fiction, then signing copies of my dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and the dark fiction anthology in which I have a short story, Fading Light: An Anthology of the Monstrous. Then tomorrow, I’ll be selling and signing even more copies of Brutal Light and Fading Light at the public library in Davison, Michigan… which will also be a multi-author event, the Flint Fang Fest Book Signing. Addresses for both are on the other end of the links.

Also, congratulations to Jen Lavinski, the commenter who won the PDF copy of Karina Fabian’s Neeta Lyffe 2 that I was raffling off last week!

***

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthology Fading Light. His blog originates here. Brutal Light cover art: Dawne Dominique.

Mirrored from Gary W. Olson.

gwox: (me2011)

Brutal LightOn Wednesday, October 24th, 2012, at 7 p.m., I’ll be at Schuler Books & Music in Lansing, Michigan, participating in a multi-author panel discussion on paranormal fiction. With me will be authors Sidney Ayers, D.J. Desmyter, Bruce Jenvey, Megan Parker, Cindy Spencer Pape, and Nathan Squiers. After that will be the selling and signing of books, including my dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and the dark fiction anthology in which I have a short story, Fading Light: An Anthology of the Monstrous.

After that, I wake up naked in a cornfield outside of Grand Rapids, wondering what happened.

Fading LightOn Thursday, October 25th, 2012, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., I’ll also be selling and signing even more copies of Brutal Light and Fading Light at the public library in Davison, Michigan… which just happens to be my home town! Once again this will be a multi-author event, the Flint Fang Fest Book Signing, with fellow authors Cindy Spencer Pape, Bruce Jenvey, Roxanne Rhoads, Nathan Squiers, and Megan Parker also on hand.

I once blinded (for a few seconds) Olympic hockey champion Ken Morrow at this library. True story.

So if you’re in either vicinity at those times, save the dates, as I hope to see you there!

***

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthology Fading Light. His blog originates here. Brutal Light cover art: Dawne Dominique. Fading Light cover art: Jessy Lucero.

Mirrored from Gary W. Olson.

gwox: (me2011)

LinksWork on the Untitled Mad Science Novel continues apace, though not as quickly as I would like. I’m on chapter 5 now (17k words); when I get done with chapter 7, about 11k in verbiage from now, I’ll switch tracks and get to revising The Morpheist. I want to get that one in the hands of some beta readers–or possibly a freelance editor–before year’s end. For months after I finished the first draft, I was content to leave it in a dark folder on the hard drive, with only vague intentions to deal with its problems… but now it’s talking to me again. (A’course, the problem with this is that UMSN won’t shut up. I’m having a blast with it.)

My friend Bryan Thomas Schmidt has a Kickstarter going to fund a science fiction anthology titled Beyond the Stars, with some big headliner names attached. I like me some meat-and-potatoes SF sometimes, and this is all that with some tasty, tasty gravy, so I’m supporting it. Take a look, and consider doing so too!

If your world domination plan revolves around the use of remote-controlled cyborg cockroaches, the way mine does, this is some good news.

3D printers are proving to have many uses here, but they have even more uses–some critical and potentially revolutionary–in third world countries.

Here’s an article on cellulose nanocrystals, and their potential uses as Building Materials of the Future. The future will be weirder than you or I can imagine (and believe me, I’m pushing at it when I work on The Morpheist…).

Would you plug your brain into the Internet? Yes. Next question?

Finally, here’s some news that makes me fear for the safety of Canada’s borders: Canadian cheese-smuggling ring busted. The cheese cartels in Wisconsin and Minnesota will have their vengeance, I assure you.

***

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthology Fading Light. His blog originates here. Photo: 3poD/Bigstock.com.

Mirrored from Gary W. Olson.

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