StarShipSofa: Submissions and Slush Update

Hey guys,

Just an update for you in regards to StarShipSofa’s submissions. I’m so sorry that it’s taking so long – I got far many more submissions than I could possibly have expected, many of which were in the 8k+ and upwards length. Additionally, I became very ill at one point and couldn’t muster the strength to sit up in bed, let alone read slush. And now that I’m back at university, things are more hectic than ever. I’m starting to read submissions during my lunch breaks between classes, it’s the only way I can keep up.

But enough excuses. At this point, I’ve read and responded to everything up to June 23. If you haven’t heard back from me at this point, I’ve put your story in the 2nd round and I’ll be holding onto it before making a final decision. And good lord, you guys have made those decisions hard as hell. Seriously, there have been some pieces I’ve found so hard to let go, but ultimately had to. This is both a good and bad thing, as it means I can take the crème de la crème, but also makes it very difficult to send that rejection. But if I took everything that I wanted to, StarShipSofa would be backlogged for years. Several years. Yes, I got that many submissions. You guys are awesome.

Also, just so you know I always personalize my rejections, and I try to give some feedback as to why I had to say no. And if I asked you to submit next time we’re open, I definitely mean it.

I’ll keep reading as fast as I can. If I haven’t gotten back to you that means you’re still under serious consideration. Please be patient, and thanks again for sending me your work.

– Jeremy

Massive Announcement: First “Professional” Sale!

I’ve been quiet about this for the past week, but I can’t keep the lid on any longer.

Exactly one week ago, I signed a contract for a short story, selling it to a magazine. Which magazine, may you ask? That magazine would be Nature magazine, published by Nature Publishing Group, a division of PAN MACMILLAN/TOR!

I won’t lie, my jaw smacked the desk when I saw that Nature had accepted my story. At 19 years old, I sold fiction to a magazine published by a division of one of “Big Five”.

Phew. Wow.

So, I scrapped my brains off the wall and popped a beer in the fridge to celebrate (it was first thing in the morning, and even by Australian standards that’s a tad early). Then I saw that Nature publishes anthologies with names like Arthur C. Clarke, Stephen Baxter, Philip K. Dick and others, and that Nature is the most cited science journal in the world, with over 3 million visitors to the website per month.

And I scrubbed my brains from the ceiling one more time. I seriously couldn’t believe it. Even now, it’s a little surreal. Hell, even family, teachers and people I barely know, who don’t even read science-fiction (some don’t even read at all) know about Nature magazine.

There are no words that can express just how riveted I feel. My editor has been phenomenal in making the story the best it could possibly be. I’ve seen the page proofs and artwork, and I love it.

But I’m not getting side tracked. This is the first step in a long, long journey that I won’t be quitting any time soon.

Look for my story in a future issue. For me, I’m back to my editing and writing. And who knows? Maybe I’ll sell another story with them in the future.

Actually, scratch that. You can bet that I will.

Hugo Nominations 2015 – My thoughts

Before we get started, I’d like to clarify one or two things. Yes, I am aware of all the controversy that’s been going on this year. No, I did not get involved in it. I am not a member of WorldCon, and I did not vote. And quite honestly, the sort of books I read rarely, rarely get covered in the Hugos, with the exception of The Wind-Up Girl (which I loved) and A Song of Ice and Fire.

So, rather than name everything I disagreed with, I’m going to highlight the ones I thought worthy of being there. There’s enough negativity in the world, and I’d rather not get into pointless debates. I don’t have the time for that, and I’m here to have fun, not make enemies. Life is too short for that.

Anyway, the full list of awards is here, incase you wanted to check them out. Here are my highlights:

Abyss and Apex: Very well deserved. I’ve enjoyed almost every story I’ve read of theirs. They’re an exceptional magazine, publishing marvelous stories, and it’s great to see them on here.

Andromeda Space In-Flight Magazine: Now this one is excellent. Based down in the tiny corner of the world that is Australia, they’re one of the last surviving SF/F magazines down here that still publishes regularly in print. PRINT! Not to mention that they have one of the best submission systems I’ve seen for any magazine ever, and the high quality of their stories, their place on this list is very well deserved.

Beneath Ceaseless Skies: I adore this magazine. One of the few on the market that actually (consistently) publishes high/epic/medieval fantasy, their fiction is free to read online and pays their contributors very well. If I could get published by any venue, it would be this one. I’m a fan and always will be.

Anne Sowards: She’s the acquisitions editor for Ace and Roc/Penguin, and she’s brilliant. She edits a colossal range of marvelous books and series and it’s great to see her on this list. Picking what books to publish is no easy task, but she does it. A round of applause!

Black Gate: I’ve been a long-time reader of this publication, and although they no longer publish fiction, it’s still great to check them out and read up on fantasy news and the like. Glad to see them on here.

Laura J. Mixon: She’s only written one major piece that I’m aware of, but that alone makes her worthy of being on here. I won’t say more than that.

Game of Thrones: “The Mountain and the Viper”: It’s Game of Throne, what do you expect? If this doesn’t win I’ll take the black. I mean that half-seriously.

Almost everything on the Dramatic Presentation (long form) list: Guardians of the Galaxy, Edge of Tomorrow, Interstellar….great films. It’s going to be hard picking between them!

Anyway, that’s about it. I haven’t read any of the short stories, novelettes, novella, or novels on this list, something that’s seriously going to need to change! Otherwise, I’m more or less pleased with the works that I’ve noted. It will be interesting to see the outcome in August!

New Publication: Grimdark Magazine Issue #2

Issue 2 of Grimdark Magazine was released earlier this month, and I’m super excited. Why? Because I have a publication in it.

This isn’t just any other venue. This a professional venue, one that’s on the standards of the SFWAs. They’ve published incredible authors such as Mark Lawrence, Adrian Tchaikovsky, but in Issue #2 of the magazine they’ve published R. Scott Bakker, Kameron Hurley, Richard K. Morgan, and more. And guess what?

I’m published there too!

Goodreads*sniffles*

I honestly can’t say how stoked I am to have my name alongside theirs. I’ve been a fan of R. Scott Bakker for a while now (reading about the controversy is books have stirred is amusing), Kameron Hurley is a Hugo award winner of incredible work that’s also been “slammed” by a someone we shall call Requires Attention. (That’s all I’ll say. Google is your friend – or in this case, your enemy), and I’m a huge follower of Richard K. Morgan and his work. He’s actually worked on the videogames Crysis 2 and Syndicate. He’s written work that’s considered to be a classic in science-fiction and fantasy. In fact, his novel, Altered Carbon, is getting turned into a film by James McTeigue, the director of V for Vendetta.

And I’m published alongside them. In a professional SF/F magazine dedicated to grimdark.

Even now I’m still busy wrapping my brain around it. Sitting in a boiling hot room, pounding away a cheap keyboard in the summer holidays, I never dreamed I’d be up to this point. And I am.

But I’m just getting started.

You can pick up the issue of the magazine here, on the home website. It’s also on Amazon, smashwords, etc, so pick where you’d like, but remember that this is a new publication that’s going pro straight out of the bat. Do what you can to support them, so grabbing it from the home website would be much better for ’em.

Also, if you could nab along to Goodreads, give it the appropriate rating, and add it to your list, that would be swell, too.

Thanks for reading, folks!

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Special Announcement…

It would seem that something quite major has just happened. Actually, major is an understatement. It’s pretty big.

I’m now an Assistant Editor at StarShipSofa.

I’ve been an avid listener of them in the past, so it’s an honour and a privilege to be working with them. They’ve won the Hugo Award, (which is essentially Best Picture at the Oscars but for literature. Except the Hugo is for the cool kids.)

Suffice to say that it’s going to be a fantastic experience, working with authors, writers, editors and fellow nerds alike. You know you’re onto a good thing when the people running the joint rival your enthusiasm for fantastic science fiction. And believe me, that’s not something that’s easy to do. Not at all. And I’m not sorry in the slightest.

I’ll be getting an interview sometime in the near future, which will likely consist of me stuttering awkwardly and droning on endlessly.

But either way, check the website out. It’s a fantastic place for writers, authors, readers and fans alike, and not just because I’m going to be lurking in the shadows. Just look at this gorgeous artwork:

 

Come on, just how awesome is that?

If you have a favourite story that you’d like to hear podcasted, give me a buzz. I’m looking for fresh new talent, brilliant classics, and the big players out there. If it’s good, I’m interested. Send me the loudest, pulpiest, most daring, and viciously excellent stuff you know of. You know, the stuff that your mother, Harold Bloom and your teachers told you not to read. Send me Space Opera, cyberpunk, steampunk, dieselpunk, hard SF, post-apocalyptic, military SF, time-travel, alternate history, science-fantasy, silpstream, dystopian SF, biopunk, golden age SF, adventure SF…the possibilities are endless. I couldn’t list all the possible combinations and genre styles if I typed for the rest of my life.

But no fantasy and no horror. And definitely nothing “realistic”, literary or serious. The sort of stuff that literary critics would find “profound” and call existential . We don’t want that stuff. At all. Keep far away, shredded into a million pieces, locked in a box of onyx and launched into a black hole on the far outer edges of space.

But it’s a little harder to distinguish between speculative fiction genres, especially as most short stories tend to be hybrids. If you’re uncertain, tell me about it anyway. But if it’s along the lines of medieval Europe, urban fantasy, etc, then I’m sorry to say we don’t want it. Again, genres do cross over (Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter novels, and even to a degree Mark Lawrence’s The Broken Empire are examples), but strictly fantasy or horror ain’t what we’re looking for. They’re fantastic writers, but we’re after science fiction. Tell us about the dystopian futures, alien invasions, galaxy-spanning space operas, hiveminds, cyborgs and everything in between.

You can tweet me at @JeremySzal or just use the Contact Me form.

It’s going to be wild ride. Welcome aboard, good citizens, and enjoy the flight.

Fantasy author of the day on Reddit!

It seems that I’m fantasy author of the week on reddit. It would be greatly appreciated if you could pop along to visit, have a mug of ale, and even leave a question/comment for good measure.
Seriously, I would really, really appreciate it. I’ve been waiting for this for months now. I’m in Thailand as I type this, but I’ll do my best to answer questions by people who I’m sure will turn up…eventually.

Anyway, do come and visit!

The link is here…

Podcast nomination for 2014 Parsec award!

Hello there, internet. What’s going on? Well, Folly Blaine’s superb reading of my short story, Heart of Steel, published by EveryDayFiction, has been nominated for the 2014 Parsec Award!

For those of you who aren’t in the mood to click the link, I’ve taken the trouble to provide a screenshot of the nomination.

 

Parsecnom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is thanks to Folly Blaine, whom without you would have had to put up with my snarky and  pretentious voice. A round o’ drinks for Folly!

One other thing: can you pre-order the first issue of Silver Apples Magazine – which contains a publication of mine. Do you want it? Of course you do.

Also, this is cool. Always nice to be mentioned in fan magazines. They support authors, artists and publishers more than you think.

That’s about it, really.

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