Friday, August 31, 2012

SFFS: Snippet #1 from "Dakota's Gate" in The Worlds of Philip José Farmer 3

"Dakota's Gate" from The Worlds of Philip José Farmer 3: Portraits of a Trickster

"Dakota's Gate" is a continuation of Farmer's novel Two Hawks from Earth. I fell in love with Roger Two Hawks' character--he's a displaced, romantic soldier just trying to get home. He relies on his instincts as much as his intellect to see him through one crisis after another, and never loses his spirit, though he is quite lonely. What's not to love?! So, I gave him a special someone by introducing a new character, Dakota Cummings, into the Farmer-verse.

Now about the anthology...

A third venture through the works of Philip José Farmer focusing on his penchant for literary tricksterism featuring essays by Frederik Pohl, Michael Bailey, Steven Connelly, Bruce Sterling, Chris Garcia, Tom Wode Bellman, Jonathan Swift Somers III, David M. Harris, Leo Queequeg Tincrowdor, and Rick Lai and fiction by Charlotte Corday-Marat, Win Scott Eckert, Heidi Ruby Miller, Octavio Aragão & Carlos Orsi, and S.M. Stirling as well as hard to find, and never before seen works by Philip José Farmer himself.

"I get the gist of it from a translator," Dakota said.

"Translator?" Two Hawks looked around as though expecting to see a spectacled little man who whispered translations to her.

"Implanted in here." She tapped at a spot behind her ear, then inclined her head for his inspection.

The night wind teased wisps of her dark hair from her ponytail. He watched those errant strands tickle her neck and became a little jealous. Spiting them, he stooped down and used his fingertips to slide the pieces of hair behind her ear, brushing the side of his hand against her neck in the process. Now he could see a half-moon scar, no bigger than an impression from a fingernail.

"Where did you come from?" Two Hawks asked.


Find other wonderful snippets at Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday!

Event: Novel d'Tales Blogiversary


I'm helping Hily Bee over at Novel d'Tales celebrate her one year Blogiversary (September 1-2) by giving away 5 eBooks: AMBASADORA, GREENSHIFT, MANY GENRES ONE CRAFT, HAZARD YET FORWARD, and TWISTED TALES!

And I wrote a love letter/thank you note to my readers. It's the last one in the post:

Here's more from Hily Bee about the event:

Novel d'Tales will be turning ONE YEAR OLD!! *annnddddd cue fireworks*

Events will be held on September 1st and 2nd.

September 1
*Welcome to Novel d'Tales Blog Anniversary post
*Prizes galore!
*Twitter Hangman, Scavenger hunts
*Twitter Party
*Facebook Party
*Tons of fun people to meet and chat with - you don't want to miss this!

September 2
*The surprises will continue!
*Flash giveaways
*MORE Twitter Hangman!
*MORE scavenger hunts!
*MORE Twitter and Facebook parties!

The event times will vary so check out @HilyBee on Twitter and Novel d'Tales on Facebook. If you don't have a Twitter or Facebook account, but still wish to participate, don't worry! There will be plenty of opportunities for you at the blog without the use of social media sites.

Twitter hashtags for the event: #NdTBlogAnniv or #HappyBdayNdT

Good luck and see you there!!

Friday, August 24, 2012

SFFS: Snippet from "Feeling Blue Today" in Hazard Yet Forward

"Feeling Blue Today" from HAZARD YET FORWARD

"Feeling Blue Today" is an excerpt from my current speculative thriller ATOMIC ZION. I decided not to use this piece in the novel, but it worked well as a short story.

And about the anthology...

Seventy-six writers connected to the Seton Hill University Writing Popular Fiction program have created a multi-genre charity anthology entitled Hazard Yet Forward. All proceeds from this project will benefit Donna Munro, a 2004 graduate of the program. Munro, a teacher living in St. Louis, Missouri, was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.

Genres represented in the book range from horror to romance to mystery - and everything in between. Some of the notable writers in the anthology are World Fantasy Award winner Nalo Hopkinson, Bram Stoker winners Michael A. Arnzen and Michael Knost, Bram Stoker nominees Lawrence C. Connolly and John Edward Lawson, ALA/YALSA Best Book for Young Adults winner Jessica Warman, Rita finalist Dana Marton, Spur award winner Meg Mims, Asimov's Reader's Award winner Timons Esaias, Rhysling Award nominee K. Ceres Wright, Ronney Award winner Jason Jack Miller, and WV Arts and Humanities literary fellowships winner, Geoffrey Cameron Fuller.


"Now, tell me why you colored the entire page with the grey crayon first," Dr. Srockman said.

Evie had done this on every observable occasion, but had never explained why.

She squished her mouth up like she was debating on whether to answer. "Because," she finally said. "That’s how everything starts out." She avoided the psychiatrist's gaze.

"What do you mean?" Dr. Srockman needed to be careful. Rule number one in sessions was no leading questions. Diagnosing synesthesia of any sort relied heavily on participant honesty.


Find more snippets from other wonderful authors at Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday.

Event: Morgantown B&N Weekend Signing


I'll be joining a wonderful group of West Virginia authors plus Many Genres One Craft editor Michael A. Arnzen, and contributors Jason Jack Miller, Timons Esaias, and Diane Turnshek for a book signing event this weekend at the Morgantown Barnes & Noble.

You can catch me both Saturday and Sunday at the University Town Center B&N from 1 - 4 PM.

Literary agent Christine Witthohn of Book Cents will also be available to hear pitches.

For more information, check out the event's Facebook page:

Thursday, August 23, 2012

HEIDI'S PICK SIX: Leland Pitts-Gonzalez


Leland Pitts-Gonzalez

1. Which of your characters is your favorite?
I think my favorite character in the book is the daughter, Sylvia. As the writer, I was able to develop a lot of empathy for her; plus, in the beginning, she’s very rambunctious and rebellious, morphs into someone who is more introspective, but still has a lot of verve. Sections which involved her were a lot of fun to write because I allowed myself the freedom of messing with the language, as well as mimicking her internal voice. She seems to be the smartest, most empathetic, and most humane character in the novel.

2. Tell me about your travels.
Ah, jeez. I have traveled to very few physical places, and with even fewer physical people. I did, though, discover myself in a trance while traipsing through the Duomo di Firenze; full of rage in the hot-springs of some remote out-birth of a Canadian province; and being kicked out of a restaurant in Rome simply for saying "hi." Do trips across time, space, and my childhood backyard count? How about encounters in Queens, NY?

3. Coffee, tea, or milk?
Coffee. Or, perhaps more religiously, Dr. Brown’s Black Cherry Soda.

4. What else can you do besides write?
I’m one of the great empathizers of our era. I cannot, however, juggle fire while thinking; walk in a straight line unless tethered to my inimitable, faceless, and enraged “OTHER”; and cannot stay awake long enough to fall asleep—stuck in this meager, half-lit spleen of a life my religion has deemed "OUR FAMILY ROOM," but is usually envisioned by the masses as a "CREAMY GREASE-MARKED AND BLOODIED HEAVEN."

5. Who are you reading right now?
I was rereading a book called THE BLOOD POETRY, but got sick of it. So, I moved on to Michel Houellebecq’s new novel THE MAP OF THE TERRITORY.

6. Pop culture or academia?
Pop culture in academia! Both kind of suck. Is there a fringe culture any longer? There are no genuine maniacs anymore. It’s so hip to be a killer, and even better to study that mass murder, pierced, tattooed, dangerously nostalgic, and faux youth culture. We need to get back to ORIGINAL SIN.

7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?
Truly comic and intelligent scenes are difficult. Also, crafting scenes where characters display sincere affection for each other is almost impossible. Why is that?

8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?
I write about where, and to what, my mind wanders. I consistently find myself in gauzy, cubby-hole universes during my conscious life. Sometimes I dream about the living; but I also bump into the walls of dreamers while awake. Have I met you before, or was that just last night in my head? Neighbor, didn’t that fence impale me and then you? I take suggestions and transcribe the meanderings of a brain genetically predisposed to screwing up the Rorschach. I’m forced to simply edit my inkblots enough to make them amenable (entertaining?) to an imagined public.

9. Food you could eat everyday.
Crisp bacon. Burgers from grass-fed cows. Gelato, or plain old mint ice cream, or some frozen Cool Whip. Pineapple. French toast. Pupusas. Over easy eggs with home fries and ketchup. Ethiopian food. Sushi, sashimi, but not sand. Ice. And more ice cream.

10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?
Eh, used to watch quite a bit of baseball. I lost interest, though. And then I started doing Kiyokushin karate at a dojo in Queens, NY. I had no idea that it is one of the most combative forms of the sport—which, of course, fed my dream to finally be a bad-ass. I was absolutely terrible at it—I mean, totally uncoordinated. Imagine Woody Allen or Jerry Lewis mastering the graceful and lethal strokes of the sport. Yet, I persevered! Persevere is one of my middle names. Well, I eventually quit.

11. What kind of music speaks to you?
I have varied tastes in music—from 80s hardcore and post-punk, to 70s electronica, some industrial, and am very particular about jazz (mainly the work of John Zorn). I’m also keen on depressing neo-folk music, like Matt Elliot.

12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?
13. Celebrity crush.
14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?
15. Do you still watch cartoons?

Leland Pitts-Gonzalez studied Creative Writing and Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University where he discovered the enormous possibilities of poetry, experimentation, and critical theory. He eventually earned an MFA in Writing from Columbia University on a merit fellowship. He has published fiction in Open City, Fence, Dark Sky Magazine, Drunken Boat, and Monkey Bicycle, among other literary journals. He is also the project director for an upcoming literary event series, Phantasmagoria, for which he received fiscal sponsorship from the New York Foundation for the Arts. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Find Leland online at

Is Epstein a despicable man?

He's certainly trying desperately at something. When his wife disappears he's frantic to talk to his daughter. But what can he tell her? There must be a reason and he's all but sure about the gruesome answer. Can he protect Sylvia from the truth, from her terrible lineage and, ultimately, from himself?

Off-beat and sordid, The Blood Poetry is a twisted, yet honest look at our desire to connect with others and the ways in which we are often stymied by our own efforts to get closer. Epstein is a curious mix of monster and romantic struggling to maintain a shred of dignity in his dingy, beat down world.

Available at

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

HEIDI'S PICK SIX: Larry Ivkovich

Larry Ivkovich

1. Which of your characters is your favorite?
I'd have to say Kim Yoshima, my protagonist in The Sixth Precept. I originally created Kim in three previous short stories (one of which, "Time Noir," was published in M-Brane SF; another "A Concerned Citizen" was a runner-up in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest and is now available from IFWG Publishing, Amazon and Barnes & Noble as an ebook) so it's fair to say I do like her and wanted to continue her adventures. She’s intelligent, strong, compassionate, has an interest in history and old traditions, but she’s weighed down by these esper/telepathic abilities she’s acquired, didn’t ask for, and is trying to cope with the consequences of using them. She’s an ordinary person thrown into really extraordinary circumstances.

2. Tell me about your travels.
3. Coffee, tea, or milk?
4. What else can you do besides write?

5. Who are you reading right now?
SEEKER by Jack McDevitt. It’s a hard science fiction mystery using the "Lost Colony" trope and is very good. It’s the third in his Alex Benedict and Chase Kolpath antiquity dealers series. I had overdosed on a lot of urban fantasy lately and needed a shot of good old Sci-Fi.

6. Pop culture or academia?

7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?
The members of the two writing/critique groups I belong to, the Pittsburgh SouthWrites and the Pittsburgh Worldrights, tell me I write good action scenes but those are the hardest for me to write. I really have to concentrate and try to visualize how the fights, battle scenes, chase scenes, etc. go together and if they’re even physically possible. I was pinged by the SouthWrites for a scene I wrote as violating the laws of physics where my character made this incredible diving, twisting, turning leap to save another character. So, I’d have to say it’s never been one scene individually but action scenes collectively that are tough for me to write.

8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?
A lot of what inspires my writing on a fundamental level comes from growing up reading comic books and watching television in the 1960s. I tend to give my characters special powers, not necessarily super powers, but ones of deduction or stealth or some sense or ability all of us possess but haven’t fine-tuned or use much. The action scenes I watched in shows like "The Wild, Wild West" or "The Man From U.N.C.L.E" have stuck with me over the decades. Certain current events or historical periods (like medieval Japan in The Sixth Precept) or medical/scientific discoveries also inspire me. I wrote a short story called "About Face" a few years ago that was published in a Scottish horror anthology called Raw Terror. It was about a woman suffering from Prosopagnosia or “Face Blindness” where she couldn’t recognize facial features, even on herself when she looked in a mirror. It’s an actual neurological condition I had read about in a magazine and wrote a story where, even though my protagonist can’t really "see" people’s faces, she’s able to see other things--things that aren’t of our world.

9. Food you could eat everyday.
10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?
11. What kind of music speaks to you?

12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?
I go along for the ride. I’ve tried outlining but it just doesn’t work for me; I’m just not that organized. I do jot down notes when I get a story idea and will refer to them but I usually just start writing and see where it takes me. The incidence of a writer’s characters taking on lives of their own happens to me a lot. I do a lot of rewriting so things do change in the body of the piece during that process--add text, delete text, move chapters around, etc. Most of the time this method works for me but I have several unfinished short stories and an unfinished novel waiting to be completed because I didn’t know how to finish them. I just ran out of steam!

13. Celebrity crush.

14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?
Andre Norton, Edgar Rice Burroughs and Ray Bradbury initially. These authors were the big three I grew up with and still love reading today. I can never attain their levels of excellence and uniqueness (who can?) but their individual styles do creep into my own writing from time to time--Norton’s fantasy world building, Burroughs’ action and hybrid beasties, Bradbury’s descriptive brilliance. More recently William Gibson’s early cyber-punk and recent contemporary-noir sensibilities have fired my imagination. These four aren’t the only writers I admire but they’ve helped shape my own writing more than any others. If I could write something a third as good as any of them, I’ll be happy!

15. Do you still watch cartoons?

IT professional Larry Ivkovich is the author of several science fiction, fantasy and horror short stories and novellas, published online and in various print publications and anthologies including M-Brane SF, Afterburn SF, Twisted Cat Tales, Penumbra, Abaculus III, Raw Terror, Triangulations and Aoife’s Kiss Shelter of Daylight. He has also been a finalist in the L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future contest and was the 2010 recipient of the CZP/Rannu Fund Award for fiction. His debut urban fantasy novel, The Sixth Precept, is now available from IFWG Publishing and and He is a member of two local writing/critique groups, the Pittsburgh Southwrites and the Pittsburgh Worldrights, and lives in Coraopolis, PA with his wife Martha and cats Trixie and Milo.

Find Larry online at


In 16th century medieval Japan, Yoshima Mitsu, who is gifted with psychic powers, uses her prescient abilities to send her young attendant, Shioko, into the future. There, Mitsu believes Shioko will be safe from the purges of the maniacal warlord Omori Kadanamora, his warrior monks and his half-human, half-bestial Shadow-Trackers.

In present-day Pittsburgh, police Lieutenant Kim Yoshima is attacked by a creature out of someone’s twisted nightmare. In the aftermath of that terrifying struggle, Kim finds a young Japanese girl named Shioko, lost, confused and calling Kim “Mitsu” and her monstrous attacker a “Shadow-Tracker.”

Wayne Brewster dreams of the costumed hero, ArcNight. But more than that, he feels bizarrely connected to the fictional crime fighter as if ArcNight and his comic book world are real. And in all of his dreams, Brewster sees one constant, one face repeated over and over--the face of Kim Yoshima.

Empowered by a mysterious book, The Five Precepts to Enlightenment, Kim realizes her destiny is in the past. Using her own burgeoning esper powers, Kim, accompanied by Shioko and Brewster, travel by means of a temporal rift to feudal Japan. There they must assume different personas to fight Omori and creatures of Japan’s mythological world to fulfill ancient prophesy and modern historical fact. If they fail, history will be altered and the world will change forever.


Sunday, August 05, 2012

Book: Hazard Yet Forward Anthology


Giant multi-author anthology on sale Tuesday, August 7 to benefit cancer fighter.

My story "Feeling Blue Today" is part of the charity anthology, Hazard Yet Forward. This story is a tie-in to my thriller Atomic Zion. And I am in excellent company.

Matt Duvall, Natalie Duvall, and Deanna Lepsch compiled the nearly 700 page, multi-genre eBook with stories from seventy-six writers who are connected to the Seton Hill University Writing Popular Fiction program.

All proceeds from this project will benefit Donna Munro, a 2004 graduate of the program. Munro, a teacher living in St. Louis, Missouri, was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. An active member of the SHU WPF alumni committee, Munro helps organize the school’s annual writing conference, the In Your Write Mind Workshop.

To aid Munro and her family, faculty members, alumni, students and friends of the Writing Popular Fiction program quickly responded to compile this massive anthology. The book features flash fiction, short stories and even a full-length novella. In total, there are 75 works from various genres, which makes this anthology one that features something for everyone. Genres represented in the book range from horror to romance to mystery – and everything in between.

Some of the notable writers in the anthology are:
World Fantasy Award winner Nalo Hopkinson
Bram Stoker winner Michael A. Arnzen
Bram Stoker winner Michael Knost
Bram Stoker nominee Lawrence C. Connolly
ALA/YALSA Best Book for Young Adults winner Jessica Warman
Rhysling nominees John Edward Lawson and K. Ceres Wright
Rita finalist Dana Marton
Spur winner Meg Mims
Asimov’s Readers’ Award winner Timons Esaias
WV Arts and Humanities literary fellowships winner Geoffrey Cameron Fuller.

Hazard Yet Forward co-compiler Matt Duvall says, "It’s an unprecedented collection of stories from every genre imaginable."

This large volume is available for purchase on Kindle through Amazon starting August 7 for just $9.99.

More information about the anthology can be found at

To learn about the unique and exciting Writing Popular Fiction program, please visit

Contact: Natalie Duvall -