Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

In a Shameless Attempt to Encourage Reviews, a One-Day Push for Reviews to Happen on Any Book, in Many Places

This particular place in the interweb is probably the least useful place to announce this, because I know most of the people who swing through here regular-like have also reviewed books - mine, other people's - etc. Still, it's a very helpful thing to do to review books, particularly on-line in the eBook future. Your reviews on commerce sites matter more than they have ever mattered before.You can make a difference in the life and livelihood of your preferred creators.

I'm going to do this, too, in approximately three minutes. I'm going to post a review on these three sites for two books I liked that I realize I hadn't reviewed. I will be reviewing "The Honey Month" by Amal El-Mohtar, and "The Book of Cthulhu" edited by Ross Lockheart.

Ergo, here's the thing, I'm going to be very Catholic about this. I want you to go review a book today.

Any book.

I want the review on Amazon, and Barnes and Noble, and one other place like GoodReads or Kobo or LibraryThing or your own blog.

Post your review @Amazon+Barnes & Noble+one more place

e-mail me a link to the reviews you post today.

I'm going to be very Catholic about this. I don't care what book you review, or who wrote it. It could be Eragon. It could be Of Blood and Honey. It could be a manual for the proper comment procedure for computer code, or something equally tedious. Pick a book you read recently, that you liked. Post your reviews on the major commerce sites. Do this, and point me to the links to your reviews, and I will send you one eBook of any of my eBooks. And, if you happen to review my books, I thank you.

Remember, in our digital future, you matter more than you have ever before.

In other news, I'm moving, so though I'm so close to done with this steampunk cinderella novel I can taste it, I don't have time to finish it, because I am packing and moving boxes and doing stuff involved with moving. I hate moving.

Monday, December 26, 2011

[Free Fiction] Tiresius


Everyone remembers how he was blind, but nobody remembers the why of it. He blinded himself, when he was made a woman for seven years by pitiless gods.

When he was young and he wasn’t yet a prophet, the gods turned Tiresius into a woman. She found, after being a man among men, that she could not live among her people as a woman. She learned the truth about the men and women of her time and place in a flash of violence: men were drunk and laughing together all the time; women endured. Tiresius could not walk the streets alone without the risk of rape. She could not stand in a doorway and say hello to the men that used to be her friends. They looked at her differently now. They had a smile that should not have been there. They had a lingering touch that promised of unwanted advances, and soon.

Want to read the rest? head over to to read the rest. Or, one could go to the nearest eBook retailer for a copy of the whole collection, now before it goes live.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Shamelessly, I Direct You Towards My eBooks Because I Know People Be Getting Them Some Nooks and Kindles.

Merry Christmas, Kwanzaaa, Chanukkah, Festivus, etc.!

Santa Claus, and his various and diverse cast of sidekicks and NPCs, are coming to town. They are, undoubtedly, carrying a lot of eReaders and Tablet devices along to drop at households all over the world.

So, just in case you happen to be one of those households, or if you happen to acquire a gift card for your favorite retailer and decide to look for something me-related regardless of format, I'd just like to point out that there are things available, and you could purchase them, read them, etc.

At Barnes & Noble, there are many things. Here's a link with all the things:

There is even something I haven't announced, yet, because I haven't had two seconds to spare and put together the website for it... Nor do I particularly like the cover that's on it, at the moment...

There's an Amazon page with all sorts of stuff, too.

Also, if you just want the things I did for fun and experimental purposes as eBooks, there's a Smashwords page with links to many formats:

So, that's the shameless post where I am the selfish dude who demands your retail dollars.

It's an American Christmas Tradition.

Monday, December 19, 2011

[Free Fiction] Siren

“Yet lost were I not won;
For beauty hath created been
T’ undo, or be undone.”

– from Ulysses and the Siren by Samuel Daniel

Don’t let that lying creep, my first manager that we fired, suggest it was him. Odysseus was my first.

My Odysseus walked up the beach with his friends and a surfboard under his arm, an olive-skinned man with hair curled and dark. Muscular, and famous, I knew him on sight. I was posing with a book I didn’t read for the camera men along the edge of the sand. I was alone, against the rules my parents had set for me. There I was. I believed I could sing, but it was a voice that came from deep inside of me, passed through microphones and soundboards and sound men. I had never heard my voice alone in an empty room. I never sang unless I had to, for joy. It was my job, and I was told to rest my voice outside the studio.

Read this one, for free, at or pick up the whole collection or go grab a copy of the PopFicReview where this particular story first appeared

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Today is my Birthday. Send me a Dollar. So I can Buy Beer.

Today is my birthday. Do you know what I got for my birthday?

So, that's pretty cool. I haven't been translated into a foreign language before, and it is probably not supposed to be as exciting as I find the whole prospect, once I've done it a few times, but I am new enough at this whole thing that it is still very, very exciting.

Translation by Kamil Lesiew
Irina Pozniak design with art by someone calling themselves anotherwanderer

Also, since today is my birthday, you should send me a dollar. That way I can buy beer. The best way to send me a dollar is by picking up an inexpensive eBook at your preferred eBook retailer. You know you have an eBook-capable device, and even if you don't care for them, the art world is moving that way, so the sooner we all get used to reading our art off screens, the better. Also, that way I get to buy beer.

Today is my birthday. Send me a dollar. So I can buy beer.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Invocation and Happenings

I have a moment lingering between drafts, and I'm about to push through to the end of what I hope should be the final on something. It's something. Maybe it will be something good. It's a boost to the body and mind to know that early reviews of WHEN WE WERE EXECUTIONERS are turning up, and it looks to be a well-received book. I particularly want to point out the SFSignal article, because it is not everyday my work is described in the same breath as Ann McCaffery. I was sad to hear she had passed on. As a young reader, I became hooked on Lloyd Alexander novels in the third or fourth grade, tearing through them and re-reading them all, because my path in life was changed forever when I encountered "The First Two Lives of Lukas Kasha" in about the 3rd grade. After Lloyd Alexander, in junior high school and high school, I was swallowed up by the dragons of Pern and Ann McCaffery. Many of the sci-fi/fantasy fans around me were devouring Heinlein and Philip K. Dick, which is cool, I liked them, too. But, I didn't like them as much as I did Ann McCaffery who seemed concerned less about dystopias as she was about people living their lives in impossible circumstances, colonizing worlds, and working together towards making humanity a better, grander, more beautiful species in conjunction with the forces of their worlds. I preferred Ann McCaffery. After I finished reading all I could find by Ann McCaffery, I moved on to Stephen King, and from there, I grew up beyond the need to obsess so much in just one imagination, when I could obsess about dozens of imaginations, all at once. I wish she was still around to know that, that she was a part of this career I seem to have, and an important part, and that her worked fundamentally mattered, because it inspired people.

Anyway, I'm procrastinating when I need to get back to work work work work work.

The Erudite Ogre writes about my work in the same breath as Ann McCaffery:

The more improbable this is, the more intensely we must imagine, the more creatively we must invoke, the more audaciously we must believe the lie. All fiction is a lie at the start, and what makes it true is what we can produce from it. This occurred to me while reading J. M. McDermott's forthcoming book When We Were Executioners, with its fantastical secondary-world that is made alive by the finely-grained details and the palpably convincing characters. It is, on one level, a simple world, of kings and criminals, of sadness and malice. The worldbuilding is neither complex nor epic, and it is certainly not a place to which one might wish to escape. But the world comes viscerally alive in the reading, and its bleakness and desperation are strongly mirrored in the shabby edges and sticky innards of the world's workings. Despite the darkness and desperation that suffuse the novel, it comes alive because what enters the reader's mind are not baroque details of social structure or the coolness of a complex magic system, but people trying to survive, to do their duty, in the hustle and muck of everyday life.

Publisher's Weekly Reviews WHEN WE WERE EXECUTIONERS:

The second Dogsland novel picks up where Never Knew Another left off, with a wolfskin-wearing priest and priestess of Erin reconstructing the last days of Jona, Lord Joni, a half-demon corporal of the King’s Men, from residual dreams that imbue his found skull. Hoping to track down and terminate two similarly demon-tainted Dogslanders of Jona’s acquaintance—Rachel Nolander, his lover, and Salvatore Fidelio, his detested enemy—the priestly pair follow Jona’s memories through adventures that include his clashes with drug smugglers and his assassination of suitors to the daughter of a powerful lord, whereby Jona hopes to manipulate the succession. McDermott make Jona a compelling antihero, by turns ruthless and compassionate. The author’s real achievement, though, is his vivid evocation of Dogsland, a quasi-medieval realm whose squalor, depravity, and brutality give credible context for the best and worst behaviors, as well as the novel’s subtly fantastic goings-on. Agent: Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Feb.)

Now, in other news entirely, it is Monday, and another story from Women and Monsters is going live to the dedicated website: This one is about Cerynitis:
The 12 Labors of Hercules include numerous instances of impossible animals. For instance, the Cerynean Hind was sacred to Artemis, and could outrun arrows and the spring of traps. Hercules had to present it, still alive, to his taskmaster.

Animals like me do not speak, but if we could, we would tell you about my brother, the legendary boar and how he plagued the king of the mountains. My brother the boar ravaged ground, tearing up crops and eating it, and spears bounced from his back and men died at his tusks and walls tumbled before his fury. A man was sent after him in the skin of a lion. The two, brother and man, wrestled until winter came, and snow fell and all the mountains of the world were red with both of their blood and struggling.

To him, the man in the skin of a lion, he was in a battle with a terrible monster, determined to drag it back to a menagerie of wild beasts and mysterious things from the deep places of the world.

To read the rest of this story, head on over to the Nook, Kindle, Kobo, Smashwords, etc. and pick up a copy of the full collection for just 6.99!

Or, go to the website, and wait for every Monday, as the stories slowly seep out into the internet.

I am writing a book, at the moment, that could be described as steampunk, though I don't feel the term has much meaning beyond mere art direction and costume design. But, there it is. And I am writing it. And I am going back to it, now. Be at peace, intertubes.

Oh, one more thing. INVOCATION is the name of a craft beer local to me, here in Decatur, GA, from WILD HEAVEN brewery. It is delicious, roasty
and toasty, Belgian-style ale and a perfect beverage for a dreary December evening. If you have a chance, check out their stuff. It's very nice after a long day of pulling words out of my head.

Update to Add: Hey, THE FATHOMLESS ABYSS got it's first review at!
I'm the type of reader who typically goes for the safe bet... ie top sellers printed by major publishing houses, with reems of reviews to peruse before making a purchase. As a reader of Athan's blog however, I knew the guy had the know how to take on something like this and not disappoint.

Tales From The Fathomless Abyss does not disappoint.

This is a professional, polished collection of very original and very different short stories. I've read other fantasy and sci-fi short story collections, and TFTFA is every bit as good as any of them. There's a very seasoned editor at the helm here, and it shows.

With any collection, there are bound to be some stories that one likes better than others. Of the six here, three I thought were quite good, and three were decent-but-not-great. The setting (the Fathomless Abyss) is interesting for various shorts, although I wonder how it'll do in a full-length novel (there are several novels based on this setting on the way, so I hear). I guess time will tell.

Overall, 4 stars. It's an entertaining read, and well worth the $5 it costs.

Monday, December 5, 2011

[Free Fiction] Io

“For I am full of fear when I behold

Io, the maid no human love may fold,

And her virginity disconsolate”

– Aeschylus, from Prometheus Unbound


I speak bee. No one believes it, except maybe my friend Europa, but I learned the language. My mother taught it to me, when I was very young. What you do is you place honey on your finger, your nose, and then a splash of floral perfume upon the back of your jeans. Then, you go into a field to speak to the bees, who find you because of the smell, and then they watch you to see what you have to say. You shiver, and move forward, then shiver again. Shivering looks like shaking your butt, like shimmying, but it’s not. It’s shivering. It’s a complex language. It took years of practice. I’ve gotten so I can get their attention even if I don’t have any honey or floral perfume.

read the rest?

The Abyss Collective

If you see a big hole in the ground, lined with cities, don't go in. Once you do, you might find yourself the unfortunate protagonist in a story by one of us author types.

My contribution? It's Mine.

Friday, December 2, 2011

radio silence, going dark, down down down

be at peace, intertubes.

trying to finish this bloody thing...