Tag Archives: news

All the Updates!

Yes, THAT Rachael K. Jones! (Photo credit: Penumbra)

Hello, hello, blogosphere! It’s been a couple months since my last update, and that’s because I’ve been busy with some exciting things!

The first big announcement: You probably guessed it from the photo above, but I made my first pro fiction sale a couple of weeks ago to Penumbra! My story, “Photon Girl Ascending,” is forthcoming in their May Superheroes-themed issue. I’m very excited about this, since it’s a big benchmark in my writing career, and I have been learning a lot in the process. I have also been invited to write a guest post for the Penumbra blog. I’ll be sure to link it for you when it goes live.

And if that wasn’t enough, a week later, I made my second pro sale to Daily Science Fiction! I haven’t yet gotten the scheduled release date for this story yet, but I’ll talk more about that when I have details. If you’d like, click over their site now and subscribe (it’s free!) to receive a story in your inbox every day.

I have much to say about both these stories, but I’ll say a few more words about them once they have been published, along with links so you can enjoy them firsthand.

I plan to do some more blogging in the near future, too, but probably won’t get back into a good schedule for another 3-4 weeks (because things are really busy right now). But when I return, it will be with a full blog tune-up, just in time for the one-year anniversary of this blog. I will be updating everything across the site and adding some new features (such as a bibliography!). I also have some interesting new stories to tell you, both fictional and factual.

What have you been up to in the past few weeks? What’s been happening on your blog?

Advertisements

Motley Microfiction: Revision History

When Danny turned eight, reality warped. All the dinosaurs un-extincted, schools imploded, and broccoli went AWOL, preserved in our minds only as a sense of relief at its absence.

By 2018, the year of his surprise World Cup victory, Danny’s army of naked babes overran everything: Hogwarts, Asgard, Gondor, Irkutsk, Canada, and Narnia. Even the Jedi Council obeyed him.

As we hated him, so we loved our god-king.

We know how he did it, of course. The problem’s the anonymity. Without knowing which Wikipedia articles he edited, we can’t be sure what changed, or even who existed before his coming.

———————————————————————————————————

Fifa world cup org
Don’t YOU remember when Danny won the World Cup? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I love Wikipedia. It’s one of the best worldwide collaborations to arise from the internet. By allowing anyone to edit while simultaneously enforcing and rewarding proper research and adherence to an academic standard, the Wikipedia has put together a body of knowledge that covers a breadth and depth that no single encyclopedia to date has managed.

Of course, the downside to  Wikipedia is how much we come to rely upon it for quick answers. It’s only a problem when we read an article that’s not so rigorously put together, and come to accept things that are either untrue or biased. Such implicit trust is not a wise habit, but it’s hard to resist when Wikipedia is just so dang convenient.

In today’s story, Danny literally has the ability to bend reality by editing Wikipedia articles. What lazy teen wouldn’t love that superpower? Of course, the world would look much weirder if shaped by the whims of a child in this way. We’d definitely have more awesome dinosaurs, and I’d imagine the plots of several movies and books would come true. Oh, well! Best to pack our bags for Hogwarts and enjoy the ride!

So you tell me: what would the world look like if you could change it by editing Wikipedia? What fictions would become fact, and what facts fiction? How would the past and future change? And what role would you write for yourself?

Link Roundup 8-12-13

A multicolored Perseid meteor striking the sky...
A multicolored Perseid meteor striking the sky just to the right from Milky Way. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve conquered my first day of the semester with no problems, so I’m taking the suggestion of a reader and writing a little nightcap article. That means it’s time for a link roundup! Here’s some interesting reads that caught my eye around the interwebs this week. What’s happening on your blog? What fun or thought-provoking articles did you run across?

Writing

When you hire that poet on Craigslist to mock you, good things happen. I want to hire this guy for my birthday!

Author Cat Rambo shares some advice on the topic of wordy prose. When can you get away with it, and when should you just say no? It’s a longish read, but trust me it’s well worth your time.

I discovered a tool called Submissions Grinder this week that has been a treasure trove of information. It lets you search for fiction markets by word count, genre, and style, and additionally provides some interesting data on response time and percent rejections. I’m a bit of a data junkie, so this kind of thing sucks me in.

Science

Cool things afoot in the world of epidemiology as scientists test out a vaccine against malaria. My other favorite anti-malaria solution involves weedkiller.

This chemist writes an excellent rebuttal to a fear-mongering list that made its way around the ‘net about allegedly dangerous food additives. I love this article because it puts into words both our fear of all things “artificial” and “chemical” while showing why there’s no need to be so afraid.

Tiger cubs! Tiger cubs! Tiger cam!

One Awesome Video

Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy brings us time-lapse footage of the sky over Australia during an eclipse.

Podcasts I liked:

 Drabblecast #97 – “Daydream Nation”: Ever wondered what the dating scene would be like if we could share our dreams when we met each other? This episode notably had one of my favorite pieces of 100-word flash fiction I’ve ever heard. It made me want to stand and applaud, and stayed with me for days afterward.

Drabblecast #99 – “Sarah’s Window”: a haunting little tale that explores the difference between how parents love their children and how, in turn, children love their parents. Reminded me of this E.M. Forster quote: “A wonderful physical tie binds the parents to the children; and — by some sad, strange irony — it does not bind us children to our parents. For if it did, if we could answer their love not with gratitude but with equal love, life would lose much of its pathos and much of its squalor, and we might be wonderfully happy.”

Link Roundup 8-5-13

It’s been a couple of weeks since our last link roundup! Here’s a few things that caught my eye around the interwebs recently:

Coffee and Sunshine
Coffee might bring the sunshine! (Photo credit: Frank Gruber)

Science

Toilet technology is getting a bump as scientists work to perfect a loo that can be sterilized by solar-powered steam. This is a big, big deal for those parts of the world that still lack sanitary facilities.

Research says both good and bad things about drinking coffee, but I’m all for looking at the positive. It might not do much for your hypertension, but coffee drinkers have a decreased risk of suicide compared to their decaffeinated peers. I’d love to hear what happens when you deprive those coffee drinkers from their beverage in the mornings though!

Writing

Tor has released a FREE speculative fiction anthology e-book of 151 stories published over the last 5 years. The list of authors is top-notch, but Tor is only leaving up the download for a few more days, so grab it NOW!

Speaking of lists of great authors, check out this list of 100 Great Science Fiction Stories written by women since the inception of the genre, busting the myth once and for all that women haven’t always been into sci-fi. A lot of these stories are also available online for free, so check it out if you’re looking to brush up your reader creds.

Also from I09, a discussion of the 7 Deadly Sins of Worldbuilding. I have personally broken at least four of these in my longer pieces of fiction. How about you?

Self-promotion without being a jerk, particularly relevant to writers, bloggers, and other creatives. I love his tips because he recognizes the whole awkward “I don’t want to annoy people” wall that keeps so many of us creatives from telling the world that we might have something it would enjoy seeing. 🙂

Podcasts I Liked

Drabblecast #83: “Floating Over Time” – My archive-crawl landed me on a tearjerker this time. A story about two lives in conjunction set against the size of the universe and the desperate need in each of us for someone to hear our story. Warning: it’ll make you cry in public. Take precautions.

Drabblecast #91: “Gifting Bliss” – another poignant episode, but also funny. This story is a parody/tribute to Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain in a fictionalized setting. It explores the symbiotic and often parasitic relationship between a creative person and his fans. Norm Sherman wrote a ton of original music for this episode, which takes a great story to a whole new level. If you’re not into podcasts yet, this one would be a great place to start.

Escape Pod #405: “Vestigial Girl” – Medical microfiction alert! This one’s got a speech-language pathology theme that warms the cockles of my SLP heart. It’s the story of a toddler who just wants to communicate with her parents, and takes it upon herself to perform surgery on her own throat to make it happen.

What’s happening on your blogs right now? See anything interesting around the interwebs this week?

Link Roundup 7-21-13

English: Leafcutter ant Acromyrmex octospinosu...
Leafcutter ant! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s the weekend! Here’s a few interesting links on science, medicine, writing, and more from around the blogosphere:

Someone finally explains the real strength of the Bechdel Test, as applied to movies and books. I’ll be keeping this in mind in the future when I write about characters whose backgrounds fall outside of the privileged arenas in society.

Io9 brings us video of the world’s tiniest protest rally, brought to you courtesy of Phylum Arthropoda. Video embedded for your viewing pleasure:

Speaking of adorable things, don’t miss Dreamwalkeramrita’s whimsical re-imagining of common text abbreviations as fuzzy little superheroes!

A portrait gallery of the elderly reflected in mirrors as their younger selves. I found these pictures haunting and beautiful.

All about vitamins, and why many of them might not be as helpful as you think. In the future we’ll spend a whole week here at Medical Microfiction talking about vitamins, thanks to the suggestion of author and reader CJ Friend.

Podcasts I Liked:

What’s going on in your blog this week? What caught your eye around the interwebs?

Link Roundup 7-14-13

Toy Story
Toy Story (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A little extra reading to scratch those scientific and writing-related itches. Which are totally not deadly symptoms. I checked WebMD; we’re good.

From ScienceDaily: Some exciting new research proposes to starve out cancer cells while keeping the other cells in your body well-fed. It’s sort of a reverse-angiogenesis from what I understand.

It’s Okay to Be Smart posted this stunning video of a super-slow-motion lightning strike via National Geographic. Things are back to normal at my house post-lightning strike, although some of our neighbors in the surrounding townhouses haven’t fared so well. I also saw an exploded tree on my running route the next day. Will try to snap a picture of it for you if it hasn’t been cleaned up just yet.

John Negroni proposes a Universal Theory of Pixar that ties together all their movies. I love Pixar because almost all their movies are such stellar examples of good storytelling. I’ve taken quite a bit of inspiration from this list of Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling, particularly #19: “Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.”

Slate brings us a physician’s meditations on blood transfusions and how an unusual example of interfaith cooperation could save lives. I was personally very moved by Dr. Karkowsky’s article, and it gave me an idea for a sci-fi story. Inspiration’s such a random beast, eh?

Eric Alagan of Written Words Never Die provided a whole gallery of flash fiction on the theme of vampires generated by people around the blogosphere, which I highly recommend.

Since I spent 14 hours on the road, I listened to a LOT of old Drabblecast episodes as I continue to work my way through the archives. Therefore my list of best podcasts is exclusively Drabblecast this week — not that that’s a bad thing!

  • Drabblecast 288 – “Bayou Witch”: If you want a good introduction to this podcast, this would not be a bad place to start. The main story has a medical theme that I won’t spoil here. Also, the episode opens with my first-ever credited, published work of fiction, which made this a week to remember for me.
  • Drabblecast 058 – “Eggs”: Hilarious, gross, and all about helminthiasis, or parasitic worms. This is the definition of a terrible day in my book.
  • Drabblecast 069 – “The Storyteller”: a tale by the classic author Saki. I think this story had some profound things to say about good storytelling, and the tension between entertaining an audience and communicating a certain message.
  • Drabblecast 055 – “Circe’s”: Do you like truly surreal stories? Then check this one out. I found it especially memorable because of the great production values and fantastic sound effects/music.
  • Drabblecast 052 – “Sleep Age”: Thought-provoking sci-fi that also explores the problem of economic bubbles and fuel efficiency, all tied to the concept of sleeping for a living. The original song at the end of the episode might just be better than the episode itself.

That’s it for this week! What’s happening on your blogs? What caught your eye around the internet this week?

Link Roundup 7-9-13

English: Henry, the world's oldest Tuatara in ...
English: Henry, the world’s oldest Tuatara in captivity at Invercargill, New Zealand (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Science news and writing-related links from around the blogosphere, and a brief review of my favorite podcasts of the week:

In a huge breakthrough, scientists were able to derive tiny livers from human skin cells. Very awesome.

Whose heart skips a beat for epigenetics? Learn all about this innovative new branch of genetics from the fine folks at Discover Magazine.

The Artificial Selection Project is calling for submissions for the first edition of their new literary magazine. I like these guys and their project, and am polishing a few pieces to submit. If you write and are looking for interesting new markets, check ’em out!

Rochelle Wisthoff-Fields ponders the problem of sequels. It was good brain-fodder for me, as I’m prepping to write a sequel when NaNoWriMo starts up again in November.

Meanwhile, on MissKZebra’s blog, they’re talking about the tricky business of incorporating sexual elements into a story.

A coat made out of human chest hair: the ultimate upcycling project, or just plain gross? I vote gross, but I’d certainly buy one as a gag gift for my more hirsute friends.

And just for fun, Jason tells the traumatizing story of the first time he saw “A Clockwork Orange”. Yes, I’m responsible for the fact he had to watch it twice. Personally, I thought the movie was brilliant. Just as twisted as they say it is, though.

Favorite podcasts I heard this week (I’m almost always behind, so these are “new to me”):

  • Escape Pod #400: “Rescue Party” by Arthur C. Clarke. Full-cast production of this amazing golden-age sci-fi classic. The episode blew me away, and epitomizes everything a fiction podcast can be, what with amazing performances and production values. It went nicely with my Kubrick marathon as well; I promptly rented 2001: A Space Odyssey after listening to this episode.
  • Drabblecast #286: “Unique Chicken Goes in Reverse” by Andy Duncan. A bizarre and appropriate send-up of one of my all-time favorite short story authors. I won’t give away the twist ending, but I’ll give you a hint: think “Southern Gothic”. Don’t miss my Twabble at the end, too!
  • Drabblecast #42: “40 Quarters” by Tom Williams. The life you save may be your own, so compensate those public servants properly, folks.

What’s happening on your blog? What interesting articles have you seen around the blogosphere this week?