Humanity has spread throughout the galaxy, but its ships and settlements remain isolated by the limits of light speed. Even simple messages would take years to travel between settlements. But one thing keeps the network of mankind connected: the Flames.

Portals linking two places together, Flames can be crossed in an instant–but if you don’t know how to navigate them, you’ll be lost in the void. Fewer than one in a million people can cross the Flames without getting lost. Known as Ferrymen, these men and women are the one thing that holds the universe together.

Their stories are found in the new Walk the Fire anthology.

* * *

Man. Lot of topics to cover here. I suppose I will start with the people who made it possible: my fellow authors. Walk the Fire is a shared universe anthology edited by John Mierau, and he’s established quite a crew of authors here. Nathan Lowell, whose Solar Clipper Trader Tales are regularly high up the science fiction charts. Jason Andrew Bond, author of the bestselling Hammerhead. Patrick E. McLean, the guy behind the hilarious-looking How to Succeed in Evil series, the stories of a hapless consultant to the world’s supervillains.

And, of course, me.

It’s funny how small the real universe can be. I’ve spoken with Nathan Lowell on a handful of occasions. Just a few weeks back I was on a video chat about ebook pricing with our coauthor Brand Gamblin. I’ve been aware of fellow contributor Matthew Sandborn Smith for years now–I used to see his name all over the place when I was focused on selling SF/F short stories to traditional magazines.

And now we’re all in an anthology together.

Shared universes are so much fun. I have previously participated in one for The Aether Age (holy crow! Just $0.99 and it has two of my stories in it buy it now now now) and it was a total blast. First, you get to fool around in someone else’s world, finding the corner of this strange place you want to write about, and then when the book comes out, you get to see which corners of it your coauthors found to make their own. It’s a pretty gleeful experience, really. I highly recommend giving it a shot, if just once. Me, I leap at the chance.

The chance to be in Walk the Fire, incidentally, came as an invitation. That is So. Cool. A few years ago, back in my previously-mentioned short story period, one of my goals was to reach the point where editors were inviting me to submit to their magazines/anthologies–as opposed to me writing stories on spec and submitting them unsolicited. I imagined I would reach this point by selling to a lot of pro markets, where I would then be read by other editors, who would nod sagely and then fire me an email.

Well, I made a couple pro sales, and a whole bunch of semipro sales, but it wasn’t until I started self-publishing that this modest little dream came true–I believe the editor found my work during a giveaway of Breakers. (P.S.: Breakers sequel coming soon! Join my spam-free mailing list if you want to be notified.) How weird is that? This business is so weird! I’m getting where I wanted to go, but the path I’m on is utterly, starkly different from the one I expected to take.

And speaking of different paths–my story is weird. I mean, there are weirder stories out there. I am sure that if Jeff VanderMeer had been asked to contribute my story would look like a condensed Reader’s Digest story in comparison. But by my standards, my story is pretty weird. That’s one of the fun bits about short stories in general: you get to branch out. Spread your wings. Learn things that may help your later works down the road. Short stories are a very different beast from novels, so I understand why some writers don’t bother, but I am very glad I spent a couple years focused on the form.

Anyway, I’m ramblin’ again. Walk the Fire is live (currently on Amazon, think it will be elsewhere soon), it’s jam-packed with an array of authors, and it’s just $3.99. If it sounds like your cup of tea, please go give it a look.

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I am a Science Fiction and Fantasy author, based in LA. Read More.
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