I'm a speculative fiction writer and stay-at-home dad. I've had a number of stories and poems published over the past few years in a variety of venues. Prior to moving here and staying at home with my kids, I worked in experiential education (high ropes courses, teambuilding, climbing walls) and more traditional education as well as freelance writing.
Looking through the ads I'd created for the Spire City stories, I came across this image that I'd forgotten about. I probably created it between writing Season 1 and Season 2, long before the series was picked up by Musa.
It's the same newspaper masthead that I've posted before, but there's an entire article, written as if those who are infected are merely delusional. Not that the infections aren't real, but that the effects described in the episodes are imagined.
The font (done on an old computer I no longer use, so I don't recall the name) mimics the way older printing used an s that looks to us more like an f (sometimes), and some other differences from modern printing. That's from a considerably earlier time period than the late Victorian-ish era of the stories, but still fun to play with.
Not the easiest to read, though...
If you puzzle through the odd letters, it's a fun tongue-in-cheek look at how those in power might undermine the claims of those infected by Orgood's serum.
My story "By the Light of the Sputtering Sun" will be appearing in SFFWorld's Dying Earth anthology. Dying Earth may make you think of Jack Vance's far future stories. The anthology isn't meant as a pastiche of or tribute to his work, but that is that basic milieu for these stories, that sense of a far future world, a sun that is old, a place filled with the memories and weight of thousands of generations of people.
The full Table of Contents hasn't been announced yet, but I know that Matthew Hughes (rightly seen as an heir of sorts to Jack Vance--his penultimate-age-of-the-earth stories are fun, droll stories that I often recommend) and Sue Burke (whose novel Semiosis is generating a lot of buzz on award shortlists and recommended reading lists) will be included.
I'm very curious to see the approaches other writers took to this theme. I'll write more about my story when we get closer to publication time (which should be in just a few months, if all goes as planned).
The people of Spire City need to be able to travel sometimes, like anywhere else.
By the way, I've been blog silent for a while as I've been doing a variety of things in the background. The truth is that blogging feels like a carryover from an earlier time. Speaking with other writers, many nonfiction writers find it to be an essential part of their platform. Speaking to fiction writers...many don't. I've been on Twitter for years, ever since I sold a Twitter-serial to Thaumatrope something like 10 years ago, but I've always found that too overwhelming to be helpful. I always resisted creating a separate author page on Facebook from my regular one—I'm an open book, folks—but some other writers convinced me I should create a writer page to be able to make use of some of Facebook's tools. So I have a new page at https://www.facebook.com/authordanielausema/. Not a lot there yet, but planning to try my hand at that for now. I'm also dipping my toes in Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dausema/. I had an account there at some point, it looks like. Probably some app I used and didn't even realize it was adding pictures to Instagram. But I'll be putting things up there regularly too.
It doesn't mean I'm abandoning my blog. I'll still post updates when new stories sell (in fact I'll have a new announcement soon, once I'm cleared to begin talking about it!) and new things published. And I'll cross post some of what ends up on those other pages here. But if you're one of the blogging holdouts like me (or just happen across this blog for whatever other reason), you may want to follow me on those other sites as well. I'd love to see you joining me over there!
So you've been curious about this chapbook but wanting the ebook version instead? Well, National Poetry Month is an excellent time to give it a try. It combines poems, some previously published and some new, with poetic flash-story prose into something that I think you'll find entertaining.
And now the Kindle version is available for pre-order and will be released next week Tuesday. If you have Kindle Unlimited, you'll be able to read it for free. And even if you don't, consider buying a copy for your phone/tablet/ereader or whatever.
My story "Amid Sun and Stone, an Alias," is in the latest issue of Mirror Dance. I've longed enjoyed the stories written by the editor of Mirror Dance, Megan Arkenberg, and kept thinking I should submit a story...and never got around to it before sending in this one.
This story is a lyrical fantasy that I wrote...quite a few years ago, I guess. I was trying to capture a flavor of mythic writing that I was enjoying in various novels and stories at the time, and ended up with this story of a woman who flees her home, but leaves behind her name. And names, as any reader of fairy knows, are far more important than we humans might imagine, whether it's the name we're given or the ones we choose for ourselves.
The writers in the issue were asked to share any writing advice they might like. So read to the end, and you'll see my advice, coming from the world of improv comedy. (Not that I'm a stand-up comedian, mind you...)
Spire City isn't only infections, callous wealthy, and dirty alleys and tunnels. People can enjoy themselves here. When they aren't running for their lives... So maybe they'll even get a chance to hear this traveling troupe:
Like the last ad, this is a multi-column ad. Clearly a high budget campaign.
If you want to patronize stores outside the Amazon milieu, Smashwords is a great source for buying ebooks. This week is Read an Ebook Sale at Smashwords, and all my Spire City novels/seasons are on sale there. Season One: Infected, Season Two: Pursued, and Season Three: Unwoven are each 50% off. One week only!
Where do the people of Spire City go for their banking? Probably not here if they have the steampunk equivalent of a good credit score... But if not, this is the place to go. This is one of the ads that would have crossed multiple columns of the Spire Song's news stories and cheap serials.
Doing print copies through KDP's print-on-demand service (as with Createspace previously) always gives you this moment of wondering how the final product will look. You can examine the pdfs all you want, launch the viewer, order proof copies. But until you have the final version in hand, it always feels a little surreal, a little too unknown.
So I love finally getting my hands on copies of the books. I'm impressed with the quality of the books KDP produces. These chapbooks look very good, inside and out.
Lots of talk about ads today... Here are some very different kinds of advertising.
It was roughly 11 years ago when I began the pre-writing for the Spire City episodes, dreaming up the characters, the effects of their terrible infections, and details of the city itself. Early on I had the idea to have an in-world explanation that these episodes were appearing, serialized, in some pulp newspaper within the same setting. I even created letterhead for the newspaper:
That was fun to create. I started playing around with other grunge and distressed fonts. Of course, the official claim is that these infections are something natural, that the warnings of those who are infected arise from delusions caused by the same infection. So I created this warning to appear within the pages of the newspaper as well. It likely appeared on lamp-posts throughout the city as well.
For those who've read the stories, you know how cruelly false "easily treatable" is...
Anyway, I kept playing around with free images and various fonts and came up with dozens of in-world ads to appear alongside the episodes. They're meant to look...like they'd appear in a cheap newspaper, nothing fancy. I've always loved when writers create in-world...things, realia to go along with the story. It gives the story world an extra dimension, extra weight as it were.
I've shared some of the single-column ads on my blog before, though I had to go back quite a few years to find the latest. I'm planning to continue sharing more of them in the weeks ahead. But first, here are all the ads that I've already shared. You can follow this link to see the original posts for each one as well as new ads in the series. I hope you enjoy it!