Archive for the 'Short Stories' Category
July 14th, 2012 by jdsawyer
The South. Home to a deep culture steeped in African mythology and religion, Native American spirituality, Catholicism and Charismatic Christianity, the blues, and the deep, pounding heat. It is the source of one of the richest literary traditions in the world: Southern Gothic.
If you’ve seen The Twilight Zone, or read Ray Bradbury and Flannery O’Connor, or heard the Delta Blues, you’ve tasted it–maybe without realizing it. It’s always been one of my favorite genres, but I’ve only dipped into it rarely. If you’ve read Buried Alive in the Blues or some of The Lombard Alchemist Tales you’ve read my take on some of the lighter, more humorous and romantic sides of the Southern Gothic. This time, though, we’re going deep into the darkest heart of the mythic world where the Devil teaches the Blues at the crossroads, where the mystic communes with the spirits of the land, and where the gods and demons roll dice for the souls of the dead.
Turn off the lights and light the candles. Get a good blanket and a comfy chair in a safe corner. Make sure you’re facing the door so you can see if anything comes for you, and step with me into my nightmare as I present you with the twisty tale The Society of Miserable Bastards.
Thee decades ago, ten children were abandoned in a pit of quicksand by mile-marker thirty-five to protect the reputation of the all-powerful Chiswick family. Saved by the local bag lady, they now meet annually as The Society of Miserable Bastards to bestow blessings upon the family that abandoned them, one by one. And tonight, they have a very special guest indeed…
Available now in the Kindle store, the Nook store, and in all formats at Smashwords.
July 9th, 2012 by jdsawyer
I used to own a menagerie of boids. Burmese or Ball or Reticulated pythons, or Boa Constrictors, they’re not exactly warm and fuzzy, but they are fascinating creatures. In a very real sense, living dinosaurs.
Of course, they’re not exactly cheap, so I had to justify their existence by using them in movies, photo shoots, and other projects. Though the menagerie is now mostly gone, I’m still using them. I used one of the photo shoots featuring Brian the Burmese Python as the basis of my story Lilith. Now, I give you a fun adventure story starring Judith the Burmese and Monty the Ball Python, a summer afternoon, and a great deal of mischief wrought by a certain pawnbroker.
I proudly present to you the latest Lombard Alchemist tale: The Serpent and the Satchel
What’s a little daydream between friends?
A cubicle is no place to waste a golden summer afternoon, which is why Albert escaped early to spend some time at the park. But when his boss piles on extra deadlines, he’s forced to work through his time off–at least, that’s the plan.
But neither Albert nor his boss could have planned planned on a surprise adventure courtesy a broken briefcase, an escaped python, and a mischievous pawnbroker who keeps a creepy little shop out on the edge of nowhere.
Available now on Kindle and at Smashwords. Coming soon to Nook.
February 11th, 2012 by jdsawyer
I am proud to announce my first steampunk story collection Frock Coat Dreams: Romances, Nightmares, and Fancies from the steampunk Fringe, which includes two brand new stories: “A Goblet of Fifty-Three” and “Sleep, Walk.” This will be the first of two or three collections this year of steampunk stories grouped together for easy reading. Unlike the Sculpting God collections, these don’t have special features, but they will be an excellent place to get early releases and load up on short stories for about half of what you would pay to purchase them individually.
Here’s the back-of-book copy:
The author of The Antithesis Progression and The Clarke Lantham Mysteries brings you delicate, humorous, and brutal visions of a future that never was and a past that might have been. Collected her are stories of satire, romance, horror, and promise to delight every sensibility.
On Matters Most Austere
A Goblet of Fifty-Three
and Cold Duty: Selected Readings from the Diary of a Gelusian Repairman, the story that Steampunk Scholar Mike Perschon calls “…probably the single best steampunk short story I’ve read.”
Get it now for all platforms from Smashwords, or grab it for your Kindle direct from Amazon or your Nook direct from B&N.
February 10th, 2012 by jdsawyer
Sometimes, I have bouts of madness. In 2010 at OryCon, a particularly whimsical bout of madness struck. I’d just gotten out of a panel on Steampunk and run into someone with a table advocating for public awareness of something-or-other, and it occurred to me that in the world of the Steampunk genre there would be a number of such groups going around trying to cope with large societal changes caused by the sudden disinclination of their fellows to stay dead.
Magazine editors loved it, and sent glowing rejection notes apologizing to me that the premise was simply too weird for their readers. Now, it’s your turn. If you need a draught of the truly daft and funky, check out this Guide for Her Majesty’s Subjects On Matters Most Austere.
From the Greater London chapter of the Committee to Restrict the Accidental Population:
A comprehensive guide for Her Majesty’s subjects on dealing with the social problems and legal issues created by the so-called “accidental population.” If you are finding your world complicated by vampires, resurrectionists, or the undead, this pamphlet will give you the vital information you need to survive awkward situations with your life and social standing intact, and in the process restore the dignity of the Empire.
Read it now on your Kindle or other e-reader.
February 6th, 2012 by jdsawyer
For those of you who liked my recent story on Escape Pod (which will hit ebook format this month), I’ve got another tale from the pawnshop for you. Call it a fable about the value of a healthy sense of self. And for me, personally, this is a favourite. So, step into the pawnshop and pay no attention to the cold. The bald cat and his pet man will give you what you need, even if it isn’t what you want.
Sunday Morning Giraffe: A Lombard Alchemist Tale
Aldo is a five-year-old who always gets his way. When he doesn’t, bad things happen. So when he wakes up his father at 3AM on Sunday and demands a giraffe–in spite of the fact that giraffes do not live in the high desert in the middle of winter–his father grudgingly takes him on a giraffe-hunting safari.
Unfortunately, his parents know nothing about the source of Aldo’s will power, and would be shocked to discover that his chief ally is a demon-posessed rat with an agenda of its own involving a toy giraffe from a creepy little pawnshop way out on the edge of nowhere.
Buy it now for the Kindle and for all other readers.
January 7th, 2012 by jdsawyer
Being that it’s the beginning of the year, I’ve been a busy boy laying my evil plans. Since some of you have asked on twitter what’s looming on the horizon for the next few month, here’s a tentative schedule (subject to change if I work faster or get bogged down):
Launch a Kickstarter campaign in concert with Gail Carriger. Yup, we’re gonna be working together on something audio-oriented (this will happen toward the end of the month).
Recording Free Will (big project) and the first 3 Lantham audiobooks
Free Will podcast re-launches (probably. If not Feb, then early March, as I’ll be travelling in late Feb).
Commercial release of the first (or more) Lantham audiobooks
MAYBE the DF10 soundtrack, if the timing works out with me and Schadey
Throwing Lead (the long-awaited “Gun Book”) will see the light of day this month.
Silent Victor (Clarke Lantham #4) will also show up late this month.
Chicken Noodle Gravity (Lombard Alchemist #2, featured last month on Escape Pod) will release as an ebook
There are two other short stories as well that will release, assuming I can find time to do the cover art.
The Auto Motive (Motives, book 1–a steampunk urban fantasy YA adventure series–might release after I get back from my travels in March)
He Ain’t Heavy (Lantham #5, again, this is a maybe)
March or April:
The Summer Town (standalone Southern Gothic romance/horror)
Sunday Morning Giraffe (Lombard Alchemist #3, short story)
Several other short stories, perhaps as many as five
April or May:
Probably either Student Culture or The Last Uploader (both standalone SF novels, both currently in progress)
Down From Ten
Predestination (re-release–we had problems with the printer that have dogged us for months on this one)
Sculpting God, Vol. 1
A Ghostly Christmas Present/Smoke Rings (Lantham #2 and #3 in a single ace-double style volume)
February or March:
April or May
The Auto Motive
He Ain’t Heavy (assuming it winds up being long enough for a solo paperback release)
The Summer Town
The Last Uploader or Student Culture
Projects that might jump to the front:
The book version of Principles of Contracts (with lots more content and a better title)
A podcast to accompany Throwing Lead
— — —
Like I said, this is all tentative and subject to change at my imperious whim. The stuff slated for January is basically a lock, the stuff further out is less certain. There’s also more going on behind the scenes here that is not directly tied to writing output, some of which will produce results that you’ll see on the blog and in other places around the ‘net.
And if you’re an Antithesis fan, don’t worry. I start work in earnest on Avarice (Antithesis #3) in April.
I now return you to your regularly scheduled Internet
December 10th, 2011 by jdsawyer
Last April, Mur Lafferty was the subject of a fan-driven firestorm around at Escape Pod. The prevalence of lesbians in her magazine was raising a few eyebrows among both people who don’t like lesbians and people who wanted to see more gay men. As is the case with Internet controversies, the point at issue was more or less just an excuse for a good old-fashioned flame war, and in a frustration-inspired bid at surrealism Mur posted to twitter something along the lines of “Escape Pod is now soliciting stories containing gay men, soup cans, and singularities.”
I ask you, how could I pass up a challenge like that? I sent back to her “You’ll have it next week.” Not only did she have it next week, but she liked it, and she bought it. The result is this week’s Escape Pod episode, Chicken Noodle Gravity.
Read by Paul Haring, Chicken Noodle Gravity is the second of The Lombard Alchemist Tales, a series of short stories I kicked off earlier this year with At The Edge of Nowhere. The Lombard Alchemist Tales are stories of mystery, and darkness, and wonder. At the borders of society, around the next quarter, lurking in the shadows, all around us are dark and comic stories fit to unmake our darkest dreams. My job? Find them, bring them to you, and let you figure out how to survive them. Centered around a spooky pawn shop run by a devilish shopkeeper in a broken-down gambling boomtown where some people go there for salvation, some for curiosity, and some to scrape up a little bit of money to buy a few more cans of soup. And sometimes, they get more than they bargain for.
So, with that said, I hope you enjoy Chicken Noodle Gravity. Stay tuned for more fun news coming to this space in the days leading up to Christmas.
June 24th, 2011 by jdsawyer
Much apologies for the delays, but B&N’s backlog seems to have caught up with itself finally.
As a result, both of the new short stories are now available on the Nook. You can find Self-Sustaining here, and We Create Worlds here.
Now, back to getting Free Will squared away…
June 21st, 2011 by jdsawyer
Theo is a monk–or as near to it as makes no difference–but don’t worry about it if he invites you to dinner. You won’t be left with bread and water. Although he may deny himself the pleasures of the flesh, he is generous with his hospitality–and his money.
Tonight, he hosts dinner with his chief researcher who’s just made one of the biggest applied biology breakthroughs in history; the culmination of a lifelong dream, and a grand occasion for the greatest hospitality he’s ever shown.
Being a kindly soul, it has never occurred to Theo that there can be too much of a good thing. His guest, however, may have ideas of his own…
Now available for your Kindle, Nook, and all other readers.
—Story Sample Below the Cut—
Continue reading ‘New Fiction: Self-Sustaining’
June 20th, 2011 by jdsawyer
Rick is a scurrilous, irascible scoundrel, with a heart of gold—not because he’s warm and fuzzy underneath, but because his heart is totally devoted to money. His favorite goldmine is his shop, where he vends virtual reality and manufactured novels. He keeps his customers happy, and he always knows the right party to hit to find a pliable college girl with more cocaine than sense. Life is good. But life has a way of doing unexpected things, and the world has a way of changing around the most adaptable people.
Step into Rick’s parlor. Don’t mind the bell on the door or the old fashioned cash register. Buy a manufactured novel, fresh from the computer—a first edition. Sit in the easy chair or lay out on the sofa. Strap on a helmet and a skinsuit and take a swim on Europa. He can be trusted. Really. It says so on the door. In ten foot high letters, right above the shop front, he tells you exactly what they do:
“We Create Worlds”
And they do it on the cheap.
You can find the story at Amazon and Smashwords.
—Story Sample Below the Cut—
Continue reading ‘Released: We Create Worlds’