M-Brane SF Quarterly #2 released yesterday. Collecting three issues of M-Brane, the book features fifteen sci-fi stories, including my very own “When We Were Mutants.”

I’ve read a third of the stories in it–they’re a strong, diverse bunch. At $9.95 on Amazon, would you call that a fine bargain? Or the greatest bargain in the history of things that cost less than their true value?

Pretty cool, right? And that big “NEW AETHER AGE FICTION!” on the cover? Why, that’s me!

That feels pretty good, being advertised that way. It says Hey, there are fans of the Aether Age, and here’s something new for them. I’ve been wanting to invent an SF/F subgenre for a while now. I didn’t invent the Aether Age, but I did help make it real. And now it exists outside the first anthology, too.

Fantastique Unfettered #2 releases in April.

I forget if I just write “[number]” or “#[number]” in these posts. Probably a sign I should blog more.

Fact remains, a few hours ago, one year ago, I sold another story to M-Brane SF (pardon HTML errors, I’m drunk on margarita shooters, an idea compliments of Farscape). It’s my first sale in a few months and is thus pretty cool. And, if you’re into the whole “dividing time into years thing,” it was my last sale of 2010, which was a moderately productive year.

I’ve got some resolutions in mind, but lack the sobreital capacity to declare them. More, perhaps, tomorrow; or, more likely, January 2, the day I plan to be able to continue functioning.

Look: I know every third man, woman, and manwoman in America is walking around with an unpublished technothriller, cozy mystery, category romance, or space opera stashed on their hard drive. An agent might get fifty novel queries a day; a strong short story market is probably reading through 200-300 stories a month. I know this is an incredible amount of work, and each agent and editor deals with it in whatever way they can best manage.

That said.

Fantasy and Science Fiction, one of the SFF short fiction markets, has a reading time of one or two days–when I mail them something from Washington state, I can bank on getting my SASE back in a week. I remember reading John Joseph Adams, their soon-to-be-former slushreader and assistant editor, saying they did this so they would always be the first market people sent their new stories to, meaning they would have the best possible stories to draw from. This is probably a mixed blessing–it means they have to read all kinds of slush from bozos like me–but writers notice these things, and you can be damn sure their strategy works.

When I was querying my last novel, one agent from a big firm sent me back a short but nice and personalized rejection within a day. You can bet that, when I’m ready to query my next one, he’ll be the first guy I go to.

Around noon, I emailed a magazine submission, then went off to watch Brothers to review for the paper. When I got back at three, I already had a no in my inbox. Was I happy about that? Fuck no, rejection always sucks. But I do sometimes write publishable fiction. You can be sure when I’m looking at markets in the future, they’ll be high on my list. And in the meantime, I can get this story off to a different editor who might be looking for exactly what I’ve now got on their electronic desk.

I know everyone in publishing is putting in crazy hours, frequently for too little pay. But these guys have found a way to be really, really fast. We notice. After that, they get our best work first. It’s worth keeping in mind.

Found for Labyrinth Inhabitant Magazine, an SFF zine dedicated, as the name suggests, to stories about people living in mysterious and labyrinthine environments. This is one of the things they don’t want to see: “a sensitive, brooding guy who roams around a labyrinth for the whole story thinking about things, and then at the end he looks in a mirror and it turns out he’s the minotaur. This is Labyrinth Inhabitant Magazine. I am not going to be surprised by that twist ending.

Part of me would love to read a few hundred submissions for a magazine’s slush pile. Before the suicide-urge kicked in, I’m sure you’d find some interesting and hilarious patterns.

See this post for details, but Crossed Genres, a cool and recent SFF zine, is losing more money than they can handle.

If you like short sci-fi/fantasy, give them a look. Think about subscribing, or ordering their anthology. I know we’re used to getting everything on the internets for free, but the people who create and distribute quality content sometimes need a little cash to keep doing it.

Off to review New Moon for my one remaining job. Good luck, Crossed Genres.

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