The Story Behind: The Story Behind

The History of Soul 2065I haven’t talked a lot about my upcoming book The History of Soul 2065. Hell, in another month the word “upcoming” will no longer be appropriate, which strikes me as extremely weird — I’ve been anticipating it for so long that, psychologically, I feel almost as if it will never actually happen.

But it’s gonna be available soon — June 11th, to be precise — and I thought it might be nice to provide a little background for each story, just to provide a little extra interest. I’ll talk about which of the characters are based on real people, which incidents are based on something that either happened, or that I was told happened — and which stories are pure, unadulterated imagination.

So I will soon start with the first story, “The Clearing in the Autumn.” But first, I thought I’d give a bit of an explanation for the book as a whole.

The History of Soul 2065 is what has been called (appropriately, I think) a mosaic novel. In other words, it’s a collection of stories that are woven together by a common theme. It came about when (with the help of a friend named Carolyn Fireside) I began to realize that many of the characters in my various short stories were either the same person at different stages of their lives, or individuals from different generations of the same family.

So a couple of years ago, I began to pull the stories together into what I hoped what a coherent whole. I organized them, reorganized them, created two family trees for each of the two families they represented, and then reorganized them several more times.

In the end, the 15 stories (out of 20) that were previously published have all been altered in some fashion. Some were only tweaked very slightly; others went through somewhat more radical alterations (for example, one was switched from first to third person). The five stories that are original to the book have either been written specifically to fill in a few blanks, or were simply never published before. I’ll let you know which is which.

Finally, I want to be absolutely clear that, while several of the characters here are based on people in my family, none of the characters represent a real, whole, once-lived-or-still-living person. First, I couldn’t recreate a living person if I wanted to; the inner lives and the experiences of individuals are theirs alone, and not something that I have access to. Second — these are all fictional stories. Like many writers, I simply started with a person I knew, or something I had heard of, and went from there.

So there it is. Next up: What was behind “The Clearing in the Autumn,” the first story in The History of Soul 2065.


Want to read The History of Soul 2065? Here are some links:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Powell’s | Google Play

More links, and direct purchase of ebooks, can be found at Mythic Delirium.


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New story in Lost Signals of the Terran Empire

lost signalsMy name may not be on the cover or on the Amazon site, but I am indeed a contributor to the new anthology Lost Signals of the Terran Empire, assembled by Chuck Gannon. It’s a set of stories set in the universe of his Caine Riordan series, about the clashes between humans and several alien races.

It’s my first venture into writing a story in someone else’s universe, and it wasn’t easy. But in the end, it was a great challenge, and it was a lot of fun. My story, “Blaming Caine,” follows my current obsession: What happens to the people in the background, those who aren’t the great heroes who are at the front of most stories. Yejide is a student at the University of Mars whose parents died when their spaceship exploded. The intended victim was Caine Riordin, the protagonist of Chuck’s series, but in Yejide’s world, Riordin is not important — she wants to know why her parents died, and who killed them.

There are a lot of good authors represented in this book, including Chuck, Alex Schvartsman, Lawrence M. Schoen, Tom Doyle, and loads of others. These are fun, traditional sci-fi space adventure tales, so if that’s what you’re into, it’s a great fix; the book is now available at the usual sources.

Next week: The Heliosphere con

Heliosphere is a nice local con that Jim and I have gone to for the past couple of years and enjoyed — and we’re going again this year. If you’re in the NYC / Westchester area on the weekend of April 5-7 and would like to spend a weekend with some science fiction / fantasy fans in Tarrytown, NY, then come over and say hi.

The con starts Friday evening; we’ll be there Saturday and Sunday. Here’s my schedule:

Saturday, April 6th

11: 30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.
The Anniversary Year Panel
Ballroom 1
W/Darrell Schweitzer, Barbara Krasnoff (M), Keith R.A. DeCandido, Ken Gale, Daniel Kimmel
Come and discuss all the movies, books, series, etc. which are enjoying a major (or minor) anniversary this year.

Readings
5:30 p.m. to 6:45 p.m.
Ballroom 4
W/Lorraine Schein, Alex Shvartsman, C.S.E. Cooney, Barbara Krasnoff

Sunday, April 7th

11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.
Can You Succeed As A Writer If You’re A Recluse?
Ballroom 1
W / April Grey, Barbara Krasnoff, Mike McPhail, Russ Colchamiro

Oh, hell, I’ve got a book coming out!

2065_EPUB_Cover_DraftIt’s been a while since I wrote a blog entry in BrooklynWriter, and I realize that this is a Very Bad Thing, especially because my first book is actually within months of being released.

So first, the details so far: The name of the book is The History of Soul 2065. It’s a mosaic novel — a collection of interconnected short stories — based on stories that I’ve written over the years, and which I realized a little while ago were actually about the same two families. It’s being published by an independent press called Mythic Delirium, which is owned and operated by the very talented Mike and Anita Allen. The official publication date is June 11, 2019, and it will be available in a number of online venues (where it’s currently in pre-order). We’ve having a number of events to publicize/celebrate it, including at NYRSF Readings this coming Tuesday (7 p.m. at The Brooklyn Commons, 388 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY) with myself and Theodora Goss (author of Snow White Learns Witchcraft), and at Readercon this July, where the book will be officially launched.

Mike has been working very hard to get word out about the book. And he’ll need to, in order to battle the author’s (in other words, my) natural pessimism, which is even now busily and silently screaming, “nobody will read it” “nobody will like it” “you’ll sell a few copies to your close friends, and that will be it” etc. etc. All my writer friends  know exactly what I’m talking about. Well, most of them, anyway.

So I’d better stop listening to that voice and get to it — keeping this blog updated, keeping this site updated, and perhaps talking a bit about the various stories that make up the book, why they were written, and how. And taking some time to create more stories.

Capclave is next weekend!

Capclave dodoI haven’t attended too many conventions this year, but I (and Jim, of course) will be at Capclave, a small but very nice SF literary con with a slight tilt toward short fiction that will take place at the Hilton Washington DC/Rockville  starting this coming Friday, September 28th. We’ve enjoyed Capclave for several years, sometimes doing the tourist thing beforehand (this is in the D.C. area, after all!), sometimes just hanging out at the con and seeing friends. This year, the guests of honor are Nancy Kress and Alyssa Wong, two very worthy honoree

If you’re planning to be at the con (or in the area), and would like to know where I’ll be, here’s my schedule thus far:

Friday
6:30 pm in Lincoln room:
Reading
Haven’t decided what I’m going to read yet… Either a recently written story or one from The History of Soul 2065.

8:00 pm in Jackson room
Age issues in SF lit & fandom: Reality or perception? 
Panelist:Stafford Battle, Jim Freund, Inge Heyer, Barbara Krasnoff (M)
Is fandom really greying? There seems to be plenty of opportunity for new authors, but is it primarily in small press or online venues, as opposed to traditional publishing? What about how older characters are written?

9:00 pm in Eisenhower Room
Dealing With Rejection 
Panelists:Neil Clarke, Scott Edelman, Barbara Krasnoff (M), Michael A. Ventrella
Everyone in the field has to deal with rejection at some point. Panelists will talk about how they handle rejection, and in the case of editors, panelists will offer suggestions on how NOT to handle rejection

Saturday
12:00 pm in Monroe room
Overcoming Assumptions
Panelist:Barbara Krasnoff, LH Moore, Kathryn Morrow (M)
Expectations are created based on gender, race, sexuality, disability, etc. How do we move past those assumptions?

Hope to see you there!

Lost Signals, or how I wrote out of my comfort zone

Lost Signals

So here’s the story: Some time ago, Chuck Gannon, a fine writer and a very nice guy, asked me if I’d like to try to contribute a story to an anthology he was putting together that would take place in his Caine Riordan universe.

I had only read one of the novels in the series a year or two earlier, and had made the rather serious mistake of starting with Book 2 (Trial by Fire), which meant I really had very little idea of what was going on.  At first, while I liked the space opera vibe, I was a little confused by the action and why the characters were doing what they were doing, so I finally put it aside. But I really respect Chuck as a writer, and was very pleased by being asked to the party, so I said, “I’d like to give it a try. Let me start the series from the beginning, and try to come up with a story, and we’ll take it from there.”

That’s what I did. I read the first book in the series, enjoyed it, and found I was now able to appreciate the second, and the third. At that point, I came up with an idea for a character and a story that Chuck (thankfully) liked. The result: The story (“Blaming Caine”) is part of this really nifty anthology called Lost Signals of the Terran Empire, alongside some really talented writers. It’s now in the midst of copy editing and production; stay tuned for publication dates, etc.

One final note: Even if I hadn’t made it into the anthology (and I’m happy I did!), I found this an excellent opportunity to stretch my wings a bit. Writing in somebody else’s universe made me step out of my comfort zone in a way that I found rather difficult — and extremely worthwhile. So my thanks to Chuck for that as well.

Kickstarter Kraziness

17e01f1d0bd5c9e20699d6e2524e2954_originalI honestly don’t know how they do it. Folks who do Kickstarters, I mean.

I’ve contributed to a few Kickstarters, and I’ve had friends and colleagues who have run them. I was very happy when they succeeded, and disappointed for them when they didn’t.

But this is one of the first times that I have a horse in what is turning out to be a close race, and now I honestly don’t know how people do this without going absolutely insane.

Okay, here’s the story: Two months ago, at the Readercon SF convention, I was invited by Crossed Genres’ Bart Leib to contribute to an anthology called Resist Fascism: A Call To Action. Crossed Genres is a small publishing concern run by Bart and co-founder Kay Holt that used to put out a magazine, and has published a few anthologies, including at least a couple I’ve had stories in.

The idea, Bart told me, was that this would be a fast-and-furious publication of several speculative fiction stories that could be released just before the mid-term elections. I said sure, what a great idea! I’d love to try.

I went home and, over the next couple of weeks, worked on the story when I could get away from my pay-the-rent freelance work. After several discarded tries, I actually got a story in by deadline. Which was, to my delight, accepted.

However, as I write this, the Kickstarter for this anthology, which I’m very much hoping will be a reality, is four days from deadline and about $2,000 away from its $6,000 goal. The result? I’m running out of fingernails to chew.

How the heck do they do it? Bart and Kay are both exceptionally nice, talented folks, and apparently can set up the Kickstarter, arrange for the contributor rewards, organize the anthology, and then spend hours on social media publicizing it, and watch the clock tick down to deadline, without completely losing it. I certainly would. Am. Might.

Phew! Okay, enough of that. I should take a breath, and go back to my writing — after I check what’s going on with the Kickstarter, of course….