08:20:00 am, by Nic Wilson   , 168 words  
Categories: Blog, Announcements


Nic's published works are now available for e-reader at Smashwords and Amazon. They include "Homeless," "Banksters," "The Necromancer's Gambit", "Nexus", and"Dag," along with "Whores: Not Intended To Be a Factual Account of the Gender War" and the short story collections "Ghost Dust," "Cinderella Shoes," "New Corpse Smell," "Cockfight," "Save As," "Cry Wolf," and "Analog Memory"

HomelessBankstersThe Necromancer's GambitNexusWhores book coverDagCinderella Shoes CoverNew Corpse SmellCockfightCry WolfSave As

This blog showcases the ongoing and in-process work of Nicolas Wilson, full of wierd, fuzzy, wriggly things to tickle your brain. There tend to be several different projects ongoing at once, with their own posting schedules. Nic's publishing schedule briefly broke Nic's brain, but we replaced it with a melted Kit Kat bar we found under his toilet, and that seems to have him back online- better, even. Every November, check back daily to watch a novel birth itself in a month. Expect posting to return to its regular, if slightly assymetrical schedule outside of July and November novel writing marathons. 2014's project will be Next of Kin, a cyberpunk dystopia following a man chasing his brother's murderer.

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  05:59:00 pm, by Nic Wilson   , 474 words  
Categories: Lunacy

Lunacy: Booty Calls

Laura didn't trust phone calls at 3 am. She’d had calls about dead relatives, and sick house pets, but only once did she have a 3 am call she didn’t regret- a booty call from her Freshman-year ex. And even that time, she got Chlamydia. “I need you,” the man on the other end of the phone said. She knew it was Ken, even though his voice was rough, like he'd smoked an entire carton of cigarettes and downed a full bottle of cognac before calling her. “If this is you breaking your not hitting on me rule, let me start by responding that I’ve taken krav maga classes.” “Is that anything like hot yoga?” “It’s everything like an Israeli martial art focused on crotch-punching.” “Regardless, the only thing I want with your ass is for you to bring it to Control. Paul needs you. He’s falling apart. And we really need that not to happen. I could threaten you, insinuate the government could do something bad to your underpants or whatever. But that only goes so far. And the truth is your relationship with Paul is one of those inflatable lifeboats. It could save him; but when you know what I'm going to tell you, you just might choose to stick a knife in it, instead.” “Then why tell me?” “Because I've thought about it from all angles- including giving you an edited version of his message with fake static over parts of it. But the conclusion I came to is that this doesn't work without you fully aware and fully cooperative. There's a car waiting outside your place, it'll bring you here.” She didn't talk to the driver. She was fairly certain from the buzzcut he was military. Ken met her at the entrance, and walked her through the facility, back into the same room she'd sat in on her last 'visit.' He played a video for her, of Paul. She sat silently through the recording, until it ended with “...through the things I do. But I've always loved you.” She sighed, and felt relieved despite herself. Ken didn't know how to interpret her sigh. “You're probably the last chance I've got to save him-” he said, “and maybe the rest of the astronauts on that crew. So?” “Who’s seen this?” she asked. “Me. And the communications officer on-shift at the time. After last time, we tightened the loop considerably.” “Can you destroy it?” “At this point NASA’s a giant web of multiply redundant computer networks. There are probably dozens of copies at several different locations.” “Can you?” “I can make sure no one else ever sees it. And that’s my intention.” “For Paul?” she asked. “For my program. And he's part and parcel.” “That'll have to be good enough,” she said. “But once I've recorded this message, you're going to tell me everything.”


  05:58:00 pm, by Nic Wilson   , 1681 words  
Categories: Lunacy

Lunacy: Boomerang

“Why are the magnets running?” Bill asked, shifting his weight nervously. David shook his head. “So this wasn't you?” “You've been with me the whole time. What would I have done to kick the magnets back on?” “There weren't two different supply runs from Alpha, were there?” Melissa asked. “Nope,” David said, pulling up the schedule on the screen. “Besides which, as you can see, all the cars are accounted for- except our ballistic one.” “So it is still moving?” Bill asked. “Hard to tell; the system seems to think it is. But the car itself isn't communicating with the terminal anymore. Which is largely irrelevant- aside from double-checking data on speed and acceleration and the like, the cars are pretty stupid- they aren't handling any of the controlling, anyway.” Bill swallowed. “What are the chances somebody could have gotten inside it?” “Slim to none,” David said. “It was traveling at hundreds of miles per hour. It would have broken every bone in that... thing's body. Probably would have liquefied its organs.” “Probably?” Bill asked. “I hit an animal with the rough kinetic equivalent to a tank shell.” “Which it might be riding here to murder us,” Bill said, his voice rising an octave. “Whoa, man. If that thing could survive that, what possible hope did we have?” David asked. “I'm- sorry. I don't do good with dogs. I got chewed up pretty bad by the neighbor's mutt as a kid- they sure as fuck aren't my best friend. So seeing a giant one, bounding our way- I'm feeling a little edgy.” “Me, too,” David said, putting his hand on Bill's shoulder. “Not the mauled by a dog, part, but- this is definitely cause for a little freaking out.” “You two suck,” Melissa said. “I fucking told you. But because I'm a woman-” “No,” Bill said. “Because I'm not part of the boy's club-” “Closer,” David said. He sighed. “Melissa, you seem like a perfectly nice person, and you're definitely capable at your job. But your job is also to be the corporate shill amongst a band of scientists and space cowboys- and even most of the space cowboys up here still work on the science.” “I went through astronaut training the same as any of you,” she said. “Really?” Bill asked. “Because there've been times I had my doubts.” “When?” “Like how long it took you to acclimate to the moon's microgravity, for one.” “Well I went through the astronaut candidate program, same as everybody else. No favors, no special treatment.” “And how were your scores?” “Fuck you. If I were a man you wouldn't ask me that.” “Bill's a goddamned terrible astronaut,” David said, “but a hell of an engineer. I'd be damned reluctant to let him pilot a shuttle anyplace, but I respect him for the job he does up here- crap-ass astronaut though he is.” “And not to gang up,” Bill said, “because again, you seem like a fine person, but it's... it's harder to appreciate the shillery in the same way I appreciate him keeping the trains running, or people appreciate me keeping the lights on.” “I keep the elevator going.” Bill winced. “Not really. Dante takes care of that- and even he sometimes has to borrow a better-trained hand when things rise above the level of grease-monkey.” “I've been up here long enough I served with some of the lifers,” David said. “Most of the first few crews on the Station did time on the ISS. They were hardened fucking spacemen- and women. And even some of them lost their shit, from time to time. Usually it meant somebody got yelled at, or heaven forbid had a spanner winged at their head, and then the next day there was a subdued apology and all was right with the world. I kind of figured your beef was along those kinds of lines. But I think the lack of respect you're taking issue with comes down to the fact that astronauting isn't supposed to have middle management. And to some, just by being here you’re… emblematic of us whoring out the space program. And that’s shitty, because that isn’t your fault- and it sure as hell isn’t something we should hang on you.” “And you were right. That was one big goddamned wolf. I'm sorry I doubted you- and if it seems like I'm taking my anxiety out on you right now, because that's the furthest from what I'd want.” “That apology sucked,” she said. “But it was honest. And... I don't know if I'd disagree with you. There are certainly days when I feel like... like my slot would have been better utilized by a scientist or an engineer or even some fucking cargo. But when I got offered the job- I would have come up here to be your damn fry cook to be one the moon.” “That makes me like you a hell of a lot more,” Bill said. The electromagnets started to hum, and they all lost interest in the conversation. “Care to put money on whether or not there's really a train, or if your system's just being retarded?” Bill asked. “No I would not,” David said. He closed his eyes. He didn't want there to be a train. He could configure the maintenance drones to clean up whatever damage the collision might have caused- and worst-case scenario maybe he'd have to do some of the heavy lifting himself after they'd cleared the car and the carcass. But he had a bad feeling about what was coming towards them- so he hoped there was nothing at all. Melissa grabbed his shoulder, because it was handy, and sunk her fingernails into his skin. It jolted his eyes open. A battered maglev car pulled into the station with a hiss. It slowed up right where it was supposed to. The damage to the train was extensive. The front was caved in, blunting its usual bullet to resemble a recently erupted stratovolcano. Bill was the first running towards it, with Melissa running behind him. David stood up reluctantly from his work chair. The others stopped fifteen feet from the car. “You're sure nothing could have gotten inside?” Bill asked. He was looking at a hole about the size of a man in the front of the car. “I doubt it. I mean, what we're likely to find is some wolf shrapnel. Maybe a skull, or something.” Bill sighed. “Only one way this is getting any less mysterious,” he said. He walked purposefully towards the car doors. The doors remained closed. He touched the manual button. “Open,” he said. He tried to get his fingers between the doors to pry it open, see if he could get it to start that way. “Mechanism's jammed,” David said. “Happens sometimes- usually when there's damage to the car.” “Damage being an understatement in this case,” Bill said. David led them around to the front of the car. He leaned into the hole, and touched a button on his collar to activate an LED. “Jesus,” he said, and pulled his head out. “What is it?” asked Bill. “Just look,” he said. Bill turned on his collar LED, and he and Melissa peered through the breach together. Lying in the middle of the car, in a pool of mucus and blood, was Skot. “He looks like a newborn,” Melissa said. “I was with my sister in the delivery room... seriously, if there were a little more white goo, and it weren't so insane a thought, I'd say that he just popped out of somebody's womb.” “That'd have to be some womb,” Bill said. “My god,” David said. “We killed him. We hit the poor bastard with a train...” “I swore I saw a wolf,” Bill said, “but...” “Maybe that thing had swallowed Skot,” David said. “And when the train hit, the wolf absorbed most of the impact, smashing a hole for Skot into the car.” “I don't think ballistically...” “Yeah, well I don't see any more reasonable answer,” David said. “Actually...” Melissa interrupted. “I wasn't... brass at the Station was trying to keep things quiet, but I thought they said something about the wolf being Maria. I- it didn't make any sense at the time. But- what if that thing was Skot?” Skot's eyes opened wide- too wide, in fact, and she jumped back from the hole. Bill and David crowded back in to see what was going. Skot blinked them, as if for the first time. Then he started to stand. “Skot?” Bill asked. “You okay, buddy? You look an afterbirth.” “He's not Skot,” Melissa said, and dropped her mug. Cocoa splashed across the tracks. Bill and David still didn't understand what she meant, and exchanged a glance. When they looked back at her, she was thirty feet away and still running, though Alpha was a small enough station that there wasn't really anywhere to go. They heard movement inside the car. “Skot?” Bill called. He pivoted, but Skot was no longer in the parts of the car his LED reached. “We're having trouble getting in to you. It might take us a few minutes to get the doors open. But sit tight. David's here, and he's the best expert you could want to have here working on the car for you. And you might be hurt, so just-” Bill heard the grinding of metal on the other side of the car, the side with the door. “Take it easy?” he finished, but it came out a question. They ran around the side with the doors. They could see a pair of hands pushing their way between the doors. “Or you could shove your way out, too,” Bill said, ”that could also work.” Bill rolled his eyes at David, but jumped at how quickly the doors slid open. He could see a figure standing in the doorway of the open car, but he couldn't make him out. Bill turned his body so that his collar LED lit up the doorway. “Good lord,” David. What stood in the doorway wasn't Skot.


  05:58:00 pm, by Nic Wilson   , 387 words  
Categories: Lunacy

Lunacy: Isolation Chamber

The isolation was having a negative effect on Paul. In truth, it was having a negative impact on all of them, but Paul knew he was taking it harder than anyone else. He was spending more and more time in his room. Worse than the loneliness was the way that Clod and Levy looked at him, and he wanted desperately to minimize that. That was why he was in his room, staring straight ahead, trying to make himself talk. “I slept with my ex-wife at the Lunar Base and I killed one of the crew,” Paul said into the camera. He remembered the last time he felt this way, when he told Laura he tried to kill himself. But that had been a lie, of sorts. Because the truth had been worse, more horrifying, and also, he understood now, something he wasn't sure he believed. He thought perhaps he'd been insane, and that perhaps they'd stop him from practicing medicine on the ship. And even crazy, he was an asset he knew they couldn't afford to do without. This time was different. He had been human when he fought Alisa. Clod and Levy were in the room with him. There wasn't any more doubt about what had happened to him. And there wasn't any doubt that he tore a woman's throat out with his teeth. He closed his eyes, but tears slid out, anyway. “I'm not doing well, babe. I... Things are bad. Worse than they've ever been. I'm a danger, to myself, and the rest of the crew. And... I've let problems taint them, too, so now I'm not the only one threatening the mission.” “It's not fair that I'm leaning on you for any of this. And I'd understand if you just walked away. I couldn't blame you- I wouldn't. This is all my own fault- because I wasn't cautious when I should have been; I didn't ask hard questions because I knew the answers might take away something I wanted.” “I was a selfish fool. I don't know how you loved me, but right now, it's the only thing I've got left to hold onto. I love you. I know, I know it sometimes doesn't show through the things I do. But I've always loved you.” Paul got up and turned off the recording.


  01:00:00 pm, by Nic Wilson   , 156 words  
Categories: Nexus, The Necromancer's Gambit, Announcements

Update on Nexus 2: Sins of the Past, and The Gambit 2: Kindred Spirits

My writing schedule kind of resembles a mad scientist puttering around his lab. Originally, Nexus 2 was intended for August release, and Kindred Spirits for October. They won't be very far behind that, but they will be somewhat behind that. Next of Kin, this year's NaNoWriMo project will eat up a good month, but other than that, I'm aiming to have them both out to you as soon as I can. That's meant several all nighters already, and will put many more in the future. But that's what caffeine is for. I think my blood could make an awesome vodka and Red Bull, for a vampire, at this point.

Both of them are nearly ready for ARC readers, so if you are interested in providing a review for their release, email me. NicWilson.Writer @ Gmail.com. Otherwise, stay tuned for news of the updated release date, and feel free to tag along for Next of Kin while you wait.


  05:55:00 pm, by Nic Wilson   , 1069 words  
Categories: Lunacy

Lunacy: Bullet Train

“What the fuck?” Bill asked, staring at the security camera footage of the maglev tracks streaming onto the monitor. “I'm no zoologist,” David said, “but if I had to guess, I'd say that’s a big goddamned wolf.” Bill stared at David. “We only just got her to calm down,” he said, trying to keep his voice low and calm, so as not to draw Melissa's attention. But she was still on edge. Despite his attempts at subtlety, she knew something was up. She set down her cup of cocoa on the bench, and walked over to the workstation they were on. Bill tried to stand between her and the screen, but she started pointing excitedly. “Those are the things that attacked us,” she said, breathless. “Huh,” Bill said. “Huh?” she asked. “I thought you were just having a psychotic break. It seemed more plausible than, you know, that,” he pointed at the screen. “We've been on lockdown for nearly a week, now. And we piped you the video from earlier,” she said. She was tired of being treated like a crazy person just because she was in a crazy situation. “You mean the grainy ass video of a 'wolf' on the station? No offense, but I've seen more convincing shots of Big Foot. But we’ve still got power along the train track- and that footage is a horse of a different color. And that is most definitely a big assed wolf.” “And big fanged, too,” David added. “What's it want you so badly for?” he asked, turning to Melissa. “How the hell should I know? And why do you think it's coming here specifically for me? You two combined smell like cheeseburger left to molder for a week in a fat man’s back pocket - which I have to assume is a smell wolves would like.” “Hmm,” David said. “Hmm,” Bill agreed. “Hmm?” Melissa asked. “It's coming for us. We can't just wait for it to get here. We have to do something.” “It's coming,” Bill said, “but slow. It's not exactly a short walk her from the Station. Even at the speed it's going, which I doubt is sustainable- since it's going about a hundred kilometers an hour- it'll be hours before it gets here.” “Kilometers?” Melissa asked. “Not all of us are engineers.” “That's around 60 miles per hour,” David said. “And I'd say it's going to take it another twenty hours for it to get here.” “I was sort of hoping to live more than another twenty hours,” Melissa said. “You didn't see what those things are capable of. The raw power,” she shuddered. “I have an idea,” David said, splitting the screen of the workstation so he could work on the right side while they continued to watch the footage of the wolf running. “I think there’s a supply train running from the Station,” The screen split again, showing a train running along the tracks from the Station somewhere behind the wolf. The video had to flick between cameras at a rapid pace to keep the speeding train in view, which made Melissa feel nauseous. “It's something I've always wanted to try. Really, I think it's something anybody who's ever seen a Snidely Whiplash cartoon has wanted to try.” “You mean Dudley Do-Right, right? Whiplash wasn't the main character- he was the villain.” “Not all of us are old enough to know what the hell either of you are talking about.” “Ahem,” Bill said. “That show was from the 50s and 60s; none of us are old enough to have seen it originally airing.” There was a hiss and a pop as the front car of the maglev train disconnected from the rest. “Maximum acceleration?” Bill asked. “Yep,” David said. He struck a few keys on the console and the car whooshed away almost silently from the rest of the train. He hit several more keys. “I'm having the system calculate the impact location, so we can queue up the right camera. The monitor flickered through a half a dozen cameras before settling on one. “You sure?” Bill asked. “I don't see any-” “There!” Melissa squeaked, jabbing the monitor where a patch of fur crossed it. Then the screen was filled for an instant with the passing train, and then wolf and train were gone. “Holy crap,” David said. “Wicked,” Bill said. “No, I mean, it knocked all the sensors on the train. I can't be sure, but I think that car's dead on the tracks.” “Worth it,” Bill said. “Is it?” David asked. “It could take the maintenance bots weeks to get the tracks cleared.” “We have rations here,” Bill said. “And sleeping quarters. And a distinct lack of giant man-eating wolf.” “That's easy for you to say, since you're not the one who will have to put in the overtime to make sure that the rail gets fixed quick as possible.” “You bitch and you moan- but I know you're thrilled you get to spend more time with your trains. And there's the pretty strong possibility that while the electronics are all knocked out, that you can just send another set of cars through to push it back to the station. It's not likely the wolf caused it to derail.” “No. It's likely he's a paste that the maintenance bots will have to pressure wash off the tracks.” He flicked through several cameras. “Damn,” he said. “What is it?” Bill asked. “I can’t find the train.” “Well, duh.” “I know the sensors are fucked, but- I’d feel better if I could see it.” “Right… but only about 15% of the track is actually wired up with cameras, so that leaves an 85% chance it’s in a dead zone. And on the off chance the sensors crapped out but the car’s still going, there’s no way in hell you’d be able to catch it on a camera at speed. So…” “Yeah. But still…” he hit a few keys, and heavy metal slabs extended from the floor, cocooning the end of the tracks. “Blast shield?” “Just in case,” David said. “Just in case?” Melissa asked. “In case the train is still going, and doesn’t respond to the protocols that tell it to stop.” “And that will stop it from smashing its way out of Alpha?” “75 percent chance,” David shrugged. “But it’s the best we’ve got,” turning to walk away. “Engineers,” Bill said with a smile, and rolled his eyes.


  05:55:00 pm, by Nic Wilson   , 695 words  
Categories: Lunacy

Lunacy: Into the Ordinary

Clod didn’t show up for her shift in the infirmary the next day. Paul worried about leaving Rica alone, so he worked a double. He knew he wouldn’t sleep, regardless, so it didn’t seem a waste. He slept in the infirmary that first night, because he didn’t want to leave her alone. He woke up smelling himself. He usually tried to keep himself pristinely clean, because at a moment’s notice it was possible he’d need to operate on a crew member- and every germ was an opportunity to make a risky surgery riskier. He knew he couldn’t stay in the infirmary indefinitely. So he programmed an alert for Rica’s vitals, and waited for her next round of sedatives. Out of curiosity, he pinged Clod’s location after leaving the shower. She was in the infirmary. Which meant she’d been waiting for him to leave to take her shift. It probably meant she was remotely monitoring Rica’s vitals, too. In a way, he was relieved. He didn’t know what to say, not to anyone, about what had happened. And he’d been glad to have the time to wall himself off in the lab, not to have a moment alone to think. Paul was restless. He tried to sleep, but after four hours of reliving what happened with Alisa, he knew he wasn't going to be able to. And he also knew that he wasn't going to be able to relax cooped up in his room. He was also hungry. He walked down to the kitchen, and served himself a plate of a goulash Levy made earlier. He carried the plate into TV room. He regretted it immediately, because Levy was there, watching an old episode of Firefly. He wanted to take his food elsewhere, but if he continued in that direction, he'd be eating in the gym, or in storage, making it obvious he was avoiding Levy. So he sat down on the couch. Levy eyed him on his way in, but pretended not to notice he was there. During a lull in the episode, when his fork made a louder than expected noise against his plate, Paul said “This is really good. You've outdone yourself.” Levy didn't respond, just shifted uncomfortably in his seat. “How's the arm?” Paul asked after a few minutes. He could tell from the dressing that it had been changed recently; and he could tell from how well it had been done it was Clod’s work. “Eh,” Levy said, and went back to pretending he was alone. After a few minutes more, he paused the episode. “I know why you did what you did, Paul. But… it wasn’t wolf-you that killed Alisa. And it wasn’t wolf-her whose throat you tore out with your teeth in front of us. It was- I watched you murder her. And I think I’m grateful, but at the same time it’s a lot to process. I had to pick up her body, Paul, haul it back to cold storage. I mopped up her blood. I was crying, the whole fucking time, and laughing, because this is fucking absurd. I want to believe I died, or am in a crazy kind of coma, after trying to kill myself, because I can’t be an astronaut who sopped the blood of a werewolf my doctor friend bit the jugular out of. That can’t be reality. And I know it probably makes me about as crazy as you are, but I can’t not see her blood on your teeth right now. And I know how insane that is, but I can’t talk to you. I’m trying not to look at you. And that’s unfair, and it probably makes me a lousy friend, but- but I can’t cope with this right now- so I really can’t help you cope with it. And if you’re going to be here, I just can’t be.” Paul nodded. There was a lot of that going around. He wanted to hide, more than anything, but he stopped. “Talk to Clod,” he said. “I understand if you can’t talk to me. But you two shouldn’t have to deal with this alone.” “Yeah,” Levy said, and left the room.


  05:54:00 pm, by Nic Wilson   , 694 words  
Categories: Lunacy

Lunacy: Sanctuary

“Sir, we're getting communications from the array at Alpha.” “Hmm?” Ken asked. “Clever spacemonkeys.” He pushed out of his seat. “Forward that call to my office. No recording, nobody else listening. Keep them talking until I get on the line- but keep it light, unless we're afraid of losing them. You'll disconnect when I arrive on the line. I'm repeating: this call is for my ears only.” Ken double-timed it back to his office. He hated that this secrecy was endangering his astronauts, but the alternatives... would have complicated things to the point of chaos. Ken picked up his office phone. “I'm here,” he said, and hit the video conference button. David, Bill and Melissa appeared on his wall. “It's nice to see a familiar face,” David said. “I thought you liked my face,” Bill deadpanned. “Gentleman,” Ken said, “and lady. I can't tell you how pleased I am to hear from you. We're... somewhat aware of what's happening at the Station, but communication's... compromised. How are things at Alpha?” Ken pretended not to notice Alan slinking into his office. “Wiggy, sir. But no big bad wolves. And thanks to the Arrays, we've got power. In fact, I don't understand how they've lost power at the station.” “Sabotage,” Ken said. “Those things aren't just wolves, are they?” Bill asked. “They're smarter than beasts,” Ken said. “How smart I can't tell you. But they managed to cut the power, and cripple Speed.” “There's something you aren't telling us,” Melissa said. “We don't know much,” Ken admitted. “But we think we can confirm that it's a contagion, and can be passed from one person to another, that those creatures are your fellow astronauts. Which brings us to the twenty million dollar question,” he said, and all of them understood him to mean it as the cost of launching a shuttle from Earth, “are the three of you uncompromised?” “Fit as fiddles,” David said. “Good to hear. Hunker down someplace defensible with food, water and toilets. It's going to take me some time to assemble things on the ground, here. I'm not even sure when our launch window's going to be.” Alan narrowed his eyes; Ken always knew when the launch window was. “Take care of each other,” he said. “You're coming for us, right?” Melissa asked, on the verge of tears. “Sit tight,” he said, “we're bringing you home.” Ken hung up. Then he turned to Alan. “What part of my ears only confused you?” “The part where I'm your personal assistant. Or the part where you keep secrets from the agency, and die of a heart attack or in a drunk driving accident without anyone knowing about it.” “I was going to leave a post-it,” Ken said, dryly, and walked over to his wet bar. “I'm surprised they let you keep that in here,” Alan said. “It helps,” Ken said, and poured himself a drink. “Because sometimes you hit a roadblock, where realistically you can't do a thing for your astronauts, and the only peace of mind you can get comes in a bottle.” “So you are going to just leave them there.” “You ever seen The Thing?” Ken asked. “Horrific monsters fortuitously in quarantine that are virtually undetectable in a human host.” “You're really going to risk the lives of three astronauts, and possibly more, based on a John Carpenter movie?” “Based on the idea, maybe,” Ken said. “But we can't know if they're infected. We failed to see it in Paul with some of the brightest medical minds working the case. I sure as hell can't risk compromising our entire species based on their assertions that they aren't alien infiltrators- whatever the fuck those things are.” He raised his glass. “Now, I'm going to get sloppy drunk. You can stay and join in, or get the hell out.” “Pour me a glass,” Alan said. “I better not come to with your knob in my mouth,” Ken said, and tilted the carafe till vodka dribbled out of it. “You can go ahead and consider that mutual,” Ken handed him the glass, and he raised it. “Cheers.” Ken clinked glasses with him, “Not fucking likely.”


  11:12:00 pm, by Nic Wilson   , 403 words  
Categories: Announcements

Any writers interested in teaming up to create a diverse sandbox fantasy world, come on in.

I decided I wanted to assemble an anthology of diverse high fantasy stories after reading about a fan of Game of Thrones. She confronted the author about a lack of diversity, and how much it hurts not to see herself reflected in something she loves.

Representation in media isn't about political correctness. It's about belonging. About feeling comfortable and accepted in your world. In that regard, I'm lucky. I'm already well-represented.

But I also grew up introverted enough to get a taste of what it means not to feel accepted, and to know how important it is when you find a story, or a movie, or a TV show or a song, that really speaks to you, personally, that touches you so intimately it becomes a part of who you are.

If I were a film or movie producer, I'd push in the direction of making more diverse casting and hiring decisions. But I'm a writer, so my instinct is to write. But the point wasn't for me alone to ponder what it's like not to be me, but for our community of authors to think about this together, and write different, more inclusive narratives.

If you're happy with Game of Thrones, I want you to enjoy it. The purpose of this collection isn't to attack the show, the producers, or Martin. It's to look at ourselves, and to tell stories that might not have been told, otherwise.

As to the specifics, I want the stories to create a cohesive world. To that end, I'm asking that people interested submit synopses ahead of time, closing at the end of November of this year. We're shooting for publication sometime in the first half of 2015. I'm hoping to be able to spend time during December to synthesize the synopses.

If I can figure out a way to link the stories together in a sensical fashion with minimal editorial interference, that's a possibility, but most likely it just means building out a shared sandbox where we can all play together. Essentially, I want to know the tools you think you'll need to tell your story, and create a world that provides them.

If you are interested in being a part of this project, email me or Katie de Long for specifics. My email is nicwilson.writer@gmail.com, and hers is katiedelong.writer@gmail.com . Please tell us whether you are interested in reviewing, submitting a story, or helping spread the word.


  05:53:00 pm, by Nic Wilson   , 492 words  
Categories: Lunacy

Lunacy: Getaway

Melissa was terrified. Inside the maglev train she was the fastest thing on the Moon, but she felt like she could never get away from the horrors she'd seen. And she knew by now Vince and Colleen were dead- probably all of them. She'd never worked one of the trains herself before. She felt stupid trying. Everything on the station made her feel stupid, though she knew she wasn't. She graduated fourth in her class, got a high profile job with a high tech firm. But working with doctors and astronauts... they always made her feel stupid. So she felt stupid for leaving Vince and Colleen. She'd been curled into a ball for hours, now. She didn't know how much time had passed, which only made her feel worse. The train began to slow down, and she tensed. The wolves were responsible- she knew it. She was going to die, anyway. She only managed to draw it out. The doors opened and she started to shake violently. “You okay?” Bill asked. She shook harder, convinced that she hallucinated the question, and the familiar voice behind it. It was a growl, a wolf's fetid, rumbling growl. “Come on,” David said, and she felt hands on her arms that pulled her to her feet. She opened her eyes. “You okay?” Bill asked again. “No,” she whispered. “Nothing's okay. The Station. It's under attack by giant wolves.” “What?” Bill asked. “Didn't you see the footage from the security cameras?” “I figured somebody was making a crap joke. It was so grainy, and-” “The Station is down to reserve power. Which means almost no lights, and even the cameras are functioning intermittently. I was surprised the trains worked.” “Main power for the trains comes from the solar arrays up here,” David said. “There's a backup that can draw from the Station- but unless there's a problem it doesn't need the redundancy.” “But the wolves are real?” Bill asked. “As real as you or me.” Bill pinched himself. “Huh,” he said. “Well I'm not dreaming.” He swallowed. “Which means we're under attack by giant wolves. So what are we going to do?” Melissa shrugged. “My plan was to come here. Vince went for the elevator,” she said, “but the Station was riddled with those things.” “Assuming Vince didn't make it, the Elevator's on the surface now. We could make a run for it.” “Or,” David broke in. “The array was built first. It has its own dock, its own communications hardware. It's all old-school and probably in need of some maintenance, but it should work.” “Should?” “I can make it work,” David said. “I know we lost communications early, but... I'm pretty sure Vince got off an SOS before that. What if... what if we call but nobody comes?” David and Bill were silent a moment. They shared a glance, and David relented first. “They'll come,” he said, and put his hand on her shoulder. “They'll come.”


  05:52:00 pm, by Nic Wilson   , 460 words  
Categories: Lunacy

Lunacy: Rubberband

Alisa's neck snapped in Paul's jaws like a popsicle stick. Her body went limp, but he could still hear the strained sounds of her breathing, and through the flesh of his mouth he could feel the dying beat of her heart. He wondered, in her state, if that was enough, if it would control her, or at least buy him time enough to look for other ways to help her. He must have taken a long time in thinking, because he noticed her body changing the rest of the way, the long, thick hairs receding back into her body, and her bones reshaping. Still she hung, motionless, from his jaws, her body pink and vulnerable. She started to slip from his teeth, and he reached up to steady her, and was surprised to see his hands were completely human. For the first time since the fight began, Paul realized they weren’t alone in the room. Clod and Levy were standing defensively around Rica’s empty bed. He was holding his arm; Clod had tied a loose wrap around it. They were staring at him, horrified. Paul could feel his strength failing him. Their fight had taken far more out of him than he’d hoped. In a moment, he wouldn’t be strong enough to beat Levy at arm-wrestling, let alone handle Alisa again. The muscles in his jaw tensed, preparing for what he knew he needed to do. “Don’t,” Clod whispered. His teeth cut into Alisa’s throat. Blood flowed into his mouth, choking him. He felt the remnants of his last meal rising on him, and he swallowed it, along with a mouthful of her blood. That made him nearly vomit again, and in pushing that back, he dropped Alisa to the floor. He fell down in half a kneel on top of Rica, with his hand against her stomach. She whimpered, and her ears went back. She was submitting. Paul forced himself to move off her, then crouched in preparation of lifting her back onto the bed. But even though she was smaller than him, perhaps even smaller than Rica was, he knew he didn't have the strength alone to lift her. “Levy,” Paul said. The physicist stared at him, dumbly. Paul didn't think Clod would be able to help him lift Rica back onto the bed, and for some reason Levy's lack of acknowledgement infuriated him. “Levy!” he yelled, and the other man scurried across the room, finally understanding. They got her into the air, and set her gently down on the bed. “More straps,” Paul managed to get out. But already the world was falling away. His head smashed into the corner of the bed on his way down, and he was thankful for the peace it brought him.


  05:51:00 pm, by Nic Wilson   , 634 words  
Categories: Lunacy

Lunacy: Out of Service

Colleen shifted her feet nervously in the dark. She never liked the elevator, not since her first descent on it after she arrived. She made it through her training without puking once- a rare feat for an astronaut. She lasted four minutes on the elevator- something about the way it descended just made her legs go wobbly. Riding the elevator up to her shuttle home had been the only part of leaving the Station that made her nervous. And the fact that Dante, who never left the elevator unless it was dinner time, was missing, and that only made her more nervous. “This is stupid,” she said. “So you've said,” Vince replied. “And yet, you came with me.” “It is stupid,” she reiterated. “Just because it's the least stupid option doesn't make it not stupid.” “Your trepidation's noted.” He said. “But if you don't mind, I'd prefer it if we could trepidate in a shuttle on our way the hell out of lunar orbit.” He struck the last of several keys. Red lights started to flash inside the elevator, and gave them a modicum of visibility. But he grabbed the intercom. “Dante or anybody else on the elevator, we're making for orbit. We've got a more than minor emergency on our hands, and that's likely to be the safest place to be. So strap in, tight, because I shouldn't have to tell you, the g-forces are going to make the vomit comet look like a damn merry-go-round.” “Oh, lord,” Colleen said. “That's right,” Vince said with a smile. “I forgot how much you puked on the way down. You're going to hate the way back up. Especially the first part. It's energy-assisted, to give the climber a boost. It means a higher acceleration, and-” “Extra puking?” she asked. “Probably,” Vince said. She was shaking by the time they made their way to the seats, so he helped her strap in. “You aren't scared?” she asked him. “Of this part?” he asked. “Nope. Of reentry? Sure. Of those big goddamned things? Absolutely? But this? This is cake.” “For you,” she said. “For me, yeah. Reentry's the dangerous part, to me. This is... unpleasant. But nobody's burned up on the elevator, before. “Are you trying to jinx us?” she asked. “Or just make me vomit before we start moving?” “We'll be fine,” Vince said. “Ahem,” a voice said from behind them. Vince whirled around, not quite recognizing who it belonged to, other than that it was female. He could make out a woman's form standing in the unlit doorway, and from the silhouette, was fairly certain she was naked- not that he had much experience with naked women. Then she stepped into the light. “Maria?” he asked, surprised. “We thought you were... a monster, I guess. And not naked. Maybe covered in fur, but not naked. But I'm so glad you're oh-” He stopped. The red warning light had obscured it before, but he now saw that a large o amount of blood slicked Maria from her mouth down. “Are you okay?” he asked. “I'm more alive than I've ever been. Though I don't think I appreciate you calling me a monster. Men- even gay men- am I right?” she asked Colleen. “Horrified of a woman with even a little power. Of course, if I were them, I'd probably be scared, too.” The automated countdown began on the intercom. “Space Elevator launching sequence will commence in T-minus ten seconds. Proceed to the nearest secure launching point. Nine. Eight. Seven.” Vince eyed the abort button on the wall. Maria was between him and the button. “You'd never make it,” she said, and sat in the seat next to Colleen. She touched the frightened woman's knee. “Now buckle up,” she said. “It's going to be a bumpy ride.”


  05:49:00 pm, by Nic Wilson   , 721 words  
Categories: Lunacy

Lunacy: Threeway

Paul ran, faster than he ever had, faster, he realized, than any human could. He ran with such speed that the air rushing past his ears sounded like the squeal of a French Horn. He touched his arm, but he knew before he felt them that it was going to be covered in those same, long, spiny hairs. He was afraid of what he was becoming, and what he'd do when he arrived, but he also knew he couldn't stop, or he'd be too late- he needed that speed, and he was going to need the strength that came with it when he got there. He took one final step outside the threshold of the medical bay, and paused on all fours to center himself and prepare his muscles to pounce. He landed front paws first on Alisa's chest. She was standing upright when he hit her, and the force knocked her over and into a wall of medical equipment. She snarled at him and snapped as she pushed herself back to her feet. The smell of burnt fur attacked his nostrils, and as she struggled to her feet he could see a black patch the size of her head across her back. Then he heard it, too soft for Clod or Levy to notice, a whimper, coming from Rica. It wasn't a human noise at all. Paul turned in time to see Rica snap the straps Clod had tied her to the bed with. Rica lunged at Clod, and Levy pushed her out of the way, and tried to hold her on the bed. She raked her claws across his arm, opening a deep and bloody gash, and he let her go. Paul swore, but it came out a snarl. Rica attacked first, leaping at his back, biting indiscriminately at his shoulder. Alisa was warier; she circled him, waiting for an opportunity, waiting for Rica's attack to progress from nuisance to distraction. Rica bit into Paul's ear and tore a strip of it away. Paul half-turned towards her, and grabbed hold of the back of her neck. Then he rolled her forward, throwing her into Alisa as she approached. The two of them fell in a heap to the floor. Paul pounced, trying to pin the both of them down. But they were too strong for him, and shoved him back. Rica was faster, more feral, than Alisa. She lunged at his stomach and latched on with her teeth. They dug into his flesh, but her jaws weren't strong enough to rend their way clear. He caught her unaware with the flat of his forearm, and Rica's back clapped against the floor. In the recesses of his mind, Paul wondered if she dislocated a vertebrae- but he knew that wasn't enough. He stomped his foot down on her throat- a foot he realized was more human than it had been before. He knew that made it less likely he'd try to kill Clod or Levy- but he worried it might also mean Rica and Alisa could overpower him. He noticed Alisa's fur retracting as she approached him. He saw the broken tip from the needle he'd used to inject her with poison, and realized that in combination with her injuries, she was probably weak, and needed rest. But she was desperate, too. She lunged at him, trying to deflect his arms to get a clean path at his throat. Paul shuddered as the bones in her face shifted and popped. Instinct grabbed him, and he wrapped his mouth around her throat. Under his foot, he felt Rica already trying to pry herself free. “I'll kill you all,” Alisa said through grit teeth. “I have to.” She believed it, too, and that belief gave her a rush of strength. “We don't have to,” Paul said. It was only a moment before she broke free from his grip, and when that happened he wouldn't be able to hold Rica, either. “You're a predator,” she snapped at him with a voice that deepened as her teeth sharpened and extended, “or you're meat.” She raked her claws across his face, trying to pry herself free. Every instinct told Paul to kill her, or to let her go and flee. Paul hated himself, but he knew she was right. He bit down on her neck.


  05:48:00 pm, by Nic Wilson   , 858 words  
Categories: Lunacy

Lunacy: Love in an Elevator

“What the fuck?” Dante asked standing in the doorway of the lunar elevator. “I've been stranded in orbit for close to a goddamned month with nothing to do but jack it. By which I mean, I've been in my own personal Valhalla, attended by big-tittied Valkyries. But the first time I get called down in all that time, and nobody even deigns to show up? Speed, you want to get Vince on the comms? It was his signature that called me down here.” He waited a few seconds. “Speed? Oh, come on, man. I know I said your mother was an iPad, but you can't still be pissed about that. Christ, I wouldn't have thought a supercomputer could be hypersensitive. Speed? Son of several indigent whores.” He sighed, and turned around, rubbing his beard. He wasn't supposed to leave the elevator after it was called. But he also wanted to get back to sleep. Or a sandwich from the cafe. Or maybe check the latest feed for any new porn. He felt a hand on his work pants. “Hmm,” he said, and looked down, and was more than a little surprised it wasn't his own. “Whoa, um,” long, painted fingernails, coupled with slender and dainty digits, convinced him it was a woman's hand. He took a moment to ponder if there was a woman on the Station he wouldn't let grope him. Colleen gave him kind of a friend's stepmom vibe he normally wouldn't have been into, but he was basically in a lady desert, so any oasis would do. Hell, it had been long enough since someone had shown a little interest in him, he probably wouldn’t have minded if Vince painted his fingernails and put a hand in his pants. He spent another moment wondering if it was hotter to have a foreign hand on his crotch and not know the owner. But the thought didn't last long- the temptation and the not knowing was too much for him. He felt breasts press against his arm, naked, and large enough he could narrow things down. It wasn't Mai- which made sense, because he was fairly certain she didn't play for that team. Probably not Melissa, from how high up on his arm they were. And it wasn't Bella- her fingernails were much longer- scary longer. Which left Maria or Colleen. The one of them was definitely a cougar- the other might have been by porno standards. He turned, but before he could confirm it Maria leaned her head against his shoulder and kissed his cheek. He felt disappointed, which made him wonder if it was because he was more into the friend's stepmom thing than he'd thought. But then her tongue was in his mouth, and his brief disappointment was gone. She walked around to his front and Dante was a little sad the lights were fritzing again, because although she was naked he couldn't see much of anything. She kissed her way down his neck, then licked her way back up. She pinched his ear in her teeth and pulled it until it hurt. His right hand brushed up against her thigh, and came back moist. He smiled to himself, rubbing the fluid between his fingers. But there was something odd about the consistency, and he held his hand up into a dull beam of luminance coming off the emergency lighting. The warm wetness on his hand was shiny and red. “Eh,” he shrugged, “when in Transylvania, right.” She didn't say a word. “Sorry. I may have been pickling too long in orbit. All I meant is, a woman's time of the month- it's a natural thing; not something I shy away from. It's just as much a part of her as her lips.” Maria leaned forward and kissed him. “Or her hips.” Maria pressed her pelvis against his, then slid her hand into his pants. “Or her big hands.” He was surprised by how warm it was; she was naked, after all, and the station air felt cooler than usual. “Her breasts,” he said, and reached his left hand to her chest, “or her eyes,” he slid the hand up her shoulder, along her neck, to her jaw, where he guided her head forward to look at him. “Wait,” he said, “what's wrong with your eyes?” He didn't know Maria well, but they'd eaten across a table before. And there was something different about her pupils, something... inhuman. She wasn't looking at him with those big eyes- she was staring at the world that just happened to include him- the way a dog did. “Are you o-” She lunged forward at him, seizing his throat in her teeth. Only they weren't her teeth anymore, they were larger, sharper, and crowding the space in her mouth where his neck was. He felt her jaw quake, and the vice around his neck tightened. He couldn't breathe, and the world was dark, lit only by a bright, sparkling light that didn't illuminate anything. There was a sharp pain in his neck, and a wet pop, and he couldn't feel his body. He tried to scream, but couldn't.


  11:57:00 am, by Nic Wilson   , 1596 words  
Categories: Whores

Whores: Counting On It

A quick little flash fiction starring Detective Campbell from Whores. Dedicated to Kennedy, Roberts, Thomas, Scalia, Alito, for doing their best to make Whores come true.

Counting On It

“Glad you could make it, Campbell.” He gets one alligator of ogling me before I tell him to knock it off; I'm just getting to the second when he notices my glare and averts his eyes.

“Detective, Sargeant. Why am I here?” It's raining, and it's clear from where his squad car is that it's going to be an outdoor crime scene. That already has me pissed off. It's Sargeant Roberts, and that's strike fucking two.

“Because I hear you like your steak bloody.” He shines a flashlight down the alley. There's a woman propped against a wall with several gashes in her torso, with a hell of a lot of blood soaking the cardboard she was left on.

“You got yourself a corpse. Congratulations. So why am I here?”

“Look again, past your own smug sense of self-satisfaction,” he says. But then he looks, and realizes there's more blood and rain in the gaping torso wound than when he arrived.

He puts his boot on the body. It's a shit thing to do to a corpse, but it creates enough of a valley that the blood and water flow out of the wound, enough that I can see the internals. I put on a pair of rubber gloves, because while Roberts is willing to leave his foot and fingerprints all over this dead woman, I'm not. “Outside, guy really went to town, thing you'd expect of a sick fuck.”

“But internally he was very precise. See this indentation- he clamped this flap of tissue back, so it wasn't in his way when he went for the ovary. He remembered, here, that he was pretending to be a psychopath, and slashed the crap out of her fallopian tube. But here, there's a section missing. Not dangling by a thin piece of sinew, but gone, surgically removed. But made to look like an attack.”

“And she was raped,” he says.

“And you know because...”

“Gut wound wasn't the only bleeding she was doing. And I've been around enough to know the nasty side of a sexual assault.”

“Hmm. So they were thorough, then.”

“They?” he asks.

“Have you found the husband?”

“I never said she was married.”

“Married, or longtime boyfriend. Somebody committed.”

“Married. And we've been looking. He's not home. But we found his car. Edge of town.”

“That was fast.”

“It stalled out in a place with no parking. Looks like he pushed it as far as he could, but ended up abandoning it in the middle of the road. We found it before the body.”

“Have you got an address?”

“Sure,” he says, “but he's not there. We checked already.” I hand him my phone and he taps the address in. The database pulls up a license, with a current address. “So what should I do, then?” he asks.

“Wait for crime scene. They'll be here eventually.”

“And in the fucking meantime?”

“Try not to catch pneumonia?” He flips me off as I turn away. I don't blame him, and I return the gesture.

In this rain, there aren't a lot of people on the street. Really, only those who can't afford not to be. I roll slowly past a few, but they're too put together, or have umbrellas and rain gear. It's not until I find a man shivering, and thoroughly slicked from head to toe that I stop, before I even get a good look at his face. “Car troubles?” I ask him.

“Something like that.”

“Want a ride?” I ask. He's certainly heard all manner of stories about not accepting rides from strangers. But he's not a girl, so he's not concerned about getting raped, or having to carry a rape baby to term, so he figures it's safer than the rain.

If only he knew. “Thank you,” he tells me in jittery speech. He's exhausted, and sopping. He collapses, all but asleep. So he doesn't notice where I'm driving him.

We stop at his house, and that's when he starts to worry. “I never told you where I lived.”

“You didn't have to,” I tell him, and show him my phone, which is displaying my police credentials. He pulls his phone out of his pocket, and scans mine, to verify I am who I say. “Care to talk inside?”

He lets me in, though he does it in this strange way, like I'm a vampire he could perhaps banish if only he doesn't invite me in. “What's your name?” I ask him.

“You don't know?” he asks, bewildered.

“I didn't ask your driver's license; I asked you.”

“Antonin. Everybody calls me Toni.”

“I work homicide, a specific branch. Your wife was murdered.”

“God...” he says, and he very nearly sells it. But he can't quit break apart, because he's broken already- he broke hours ago, and there's just nowhere worse for him to get.

“Your wife was raped. Violently.” He swallows. “Because my coworker's a moron, he didn't check into her medical history. I'm not, so I did.

“I'm going to tell you a story. And when I'm done, you can tell me what you think of it. A man and his wife, we'll call her Alita, were poor. In part, this was because she had a specialized medical condition. See, her connective tissues were fucked, so she couldn't survive carrying a child to term. Because of that, they fought for, and eventually won, an exemption to get her an IUD.

“But then the husband lost his job. Without his job, he lost his health insurance. When he lost his insurance, they lost their exemption, and they don't give those out like Halloween candy anymore.

“They waited. They were patient. They tried to find some doctor in town who would sign off on the medication. Then the decision was taken out of their hands. Alita got pregnant. Their new insurance provided for natal care. Their doctor told them it was ectopic, a baby growing outside the womb. This could be life-threatening for damned near anyone, but Alita in particular would not survive such a pregnancy- probably not even a surgery to transplant the ovum into her uterus- which has its own risks.

“They got desperate. Made phone calls, because time was short enough they couldn't waste the time to go to doctor appointments they increasingly couldn't afford.

“So they hatched a plan. They got into his beat up old piecer, and tried to leave the city. Maybe to go to one of the underground clinics in the burbs, maybe all the way to Canada. It doesn't honestly matter, for the story to ring true.

“But the gods weren't smiling on the pair tonight, and their car broke down. Alita was bad off, but they had a plan b. Her husband had tools. He used them to make it look like Alita was held down in an alley, raped, then mutilated at knife point. He felt like he could do it, remove the embryo from his wife, even in an alley, even in the rain, even still burning from the excruciatingly rough sex. She was never supposed to be in any real danger. He'd been careful. Checked out books from the library, read papers on his phone.” His face turns red at that.

“But she bleeds out. Maybe it's the anesthesia, maybe he nicks something vital. He tries to save her. He even calls in an anonymous tip, but she's dead long before an ambulance can show up- long enough he knows her brain's dead, even if they somehow manage to get her heart started again.

“So he runs. Or walks, as the case may be, meandering his way back towards their home. He's avoiding it, he's moving so slowly, because he knows it's going to be nothing but an empty husk when he gets there. What do you think?”

“I think it's an ugly story,” he says bitterly.

“It's an ugly world. Which is why you're going to have to show me your penis.” He looks at me like I'm an insane person. “That kind of friction burns both ways. You can show me your penis, or I can call in a male officer, if that would make you feel less like a scumbag.” He frowns.

“There's no point,” he whimpers. “You already know everything that I did. And she's gone, so nothing the fuck else matters.” He's wrong, so I ask him the only thing that does.

“Where's the baby?” I ask him.

“Baby?” he frowns, then he gets my meaning, and his voice gets larger, filling the room. “It's a zygote, in this case little more than a tumor that was killing my wife, slowly. Transplantation would have been the same kind of death, only a few months removed. I didn't kill my wife. I was the one- the only one in this insane world, that lifted a finger to try to help her. You're the monster, here- people like you are the reason she's gone.” I toss a pair of cuffs onto his coffee table.

“I'd be wearing those, when the Sargeant comes in. Trust me, they won't go on so gentle if he puts them on you.” I hear one side snap before I clear his front door.

Roberts is there, like I figured he would be. “You got our man?”

“Yep. Arrest and book him.”

“What's the charge?” Roberts asks.

“Do him for murder. Two counts.”


  11:21:00 am, by Nic Wilson   , 917 words  
Categories: Announcements

Spec Fic Blog Hop

There's an ongoing blog hop highlighting speculative fiction writers and their processes. I've jotted a little getting-to-know-you interview below,

What are you working on?

Several things. At the moment, I'm prepping the second book in my space opera trilogy, the second book in my urban fantasy series, and a biopunk dystopian collaboration with Michelle Browne, as well as participating in a short story anthology due in the fall, and various other bits and sundries. I have approximately ten novels in varying stages of revision, and every spare minute not drafting a new project goes to rereading and tweaking those. So the next few years will give readers a lot of fun new stuff, but right now it's all a blur. The moment I finish a draft of one thing, I pick up another draft of something else.


How does your work differ from others in its genre?

Mostly due to my personality, I'd say.

I write across so many genres, that it's hard to pick out one idea or theme that always stands out in each work. I like quirky, minimalist fiction that has the sort of punchy humor and sensuality you might see on TV. I'm a sucker for off-color banter and surreality, and most of my work reflects that very particular tone. I write like I talk- with, at best, a very thin filter. I'm very heavily influenced by writers such as Hunter S. Thompson, Chuck Palahnuik, Garth Ennis, and Warren Ellis, who weren't afraid to let their own particular brands of crazy filter through their work; true impartiality is a dream, so the themes and ideas in my work very closely reflect how I see the world or my life at any particular time. I love entertaining people, but I love relating to people more.

Why do you write what you do?

That depends on the project. There have been some projects that I felt compelled to write, because I felt I had a framework to provide some general insight on something that bothered me. There's others that I wrote because it seemed like a fun story, or because I pitched the idea to my wife/plot-doctor/ballbuster, and she said "I'd read that." I'm a huge sucker for schlocky film and surreal visuals, so a lot of times, it can be something as simple as "Werewolves..... IN SPACE!" that captures my imagination.  Perhaps the best answer would be that I'm afflicted with literary ADHD. Although most of my work loosely qualifies as "speculative fiction," I tend to have a more difficult time focusing on the usual writers' trajectory, of exploring one setting or idea through a series, through its completion, before picking up another. I like my series ideas, but at the same time, it's hard not to resent the characters I've already spent time with for pulling me away from the characters I could be flirting with.

How does your writing process work?

At this point, I've been steadily writing for more than a decade, so I'm not especially finicky about where/when/how, although I prefer to not have other people present, and I keep other distractions like music and TV to a minimum.

I have far more ideas than I can use, and I keep a little gladiator pit of fragments jostling for attention at any given time. When I think that a plucky little fighter is beefy enough for a go at the big time, I fill in the plot, outline it further, and then begin writing. I'm lucky to be a fast writer, and the generic "write a novel in a month" November challenge for me has been gradually been becoming tougher and tougher. Last year I wrote two novels in approximately 5-6 weeks. They're in varying stages of revision now; I usually like to sit on projects a while between drafts, to be sure that I am approaching them with as much clarity as I can.

On the note of that November thing, I do it as a public spectacle every year, and those who are inclined can tag along this year to see daily updates as I complete Next of Kin, a cyberpunk dystopia. I generally post a chapter a day, so posts may run after the end of the month if the book has more than 30 chapters. It's a fun little way of flaunting my process, and giving readers a taste of what'll be coming to their kindles soon. Both of last year's projects are in revision, though the first draft for one of them, Twist, is still elsewhere on the blog.

Next week visit Marilyn Peake's Blog to get a look at her writing. Marilyn Peake is the author of both novels and short stories. Her publications have received excellent reviews. Marilyn’s one of the contributing authors in
BOOK: THE SEQUEL, published by The Perseus Books Group, with one of her entries included in serialization at THE DAILY BEAST. In addition, Marilyn has served as Editor of a number of anthologies. Her short stories have been published in seven anthologies and on the literary blog, GLASS CASES. Awards: Silver Award, two Honorable Mentions and eight Finalist placements in the ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards, two Winner and two Finalist placements in the EPPIE Awards, Winner of the Dream Realm Awards, and eight Top Ten Finisher Awards in the Preditors and Editors Readers Poll.

Marilyn Peake’s website: http://www.marilynpeake.com

Thanks for dropping by, and stay tuned for news regarding Sins Of The Past (The Sontem Trilogy 2), and Kindred Spirits (The Gambit 2).

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Nicolas Wilson is a writer and journalist. An archive featuring hundreds of short stories, comics and essays can be found here.


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