“The Bear with the Quantum Heart” in Strange Horizons

They say humans form their first memories at about three years old. I don’t remember when Kayla’s parents first activated me, but I do remember Christmas Eve. My skin was a honey-colored bear cub, all brown eyes and big paws. I was programmed to sing and recite the alphabet, the pad-screens on my paws loaded with scripts to flash colors, letters, and numbers. They tucked me carefully into a big green box with a red bow.

Mom patted me between the ears. “Go to sleep.” The words triggered hibernation mode, and I felt my eyes close.

They hadn’t named me yet. They wanted Kayla to do that herself…

My story “The Bear with the Quantum Heart” is now online in this week’s issue of Strange Horizons. (Squee!) *ahem* You can read it (and comment) here:


Black Static #29 now available

Issue #29 of the UK horror magazine Black Static is now available, which includes my short story “Horseman”:


It’s a print publication which can be ordered direct from the publisher, but it should also be available soon in electronic format from Amazon and Smashwords:


Free short story collection and other writing-related updates

I’m a bit behind on publication announcements, so let’s get caught up…

First, I’ve put together a sort of ‘sampler’ ebook called Six Impossible Things, made up of six of my short stories. The collection includes “Childish Things,” “Moon, June, Raccoon,” “Norma the Wal-Mart Greeter Meets the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,” “Swear Not By the Moon,” “Drawn From Memory,” and “The Garden.” It’s available for free on Smashwords, where you can download it in Kindle format, EPUB, PDF, plain text… pretty much everything except semaphore and interpretive dance. (It’s also on Amazon, but the process of making a book free on Amazon has taken longer than expected, so at the moment the Amazon price is still 99 cents. It will eventually be free, permanently; it may just take a couple more weeks. I’ll make another announcement when the price finally changes.)

Six Impossible Things

Second, the issue of Black Static including my story “Horseman” is due out next month, and as a preview, check out the awesome illustration done for it by artist Rich Sampson. It’ll be in black and white in the actual magazine, but at least you can enjoy it here in all its glory. 🙂

Third, this month saw a really exciting acceptance for one of my stories — “The Bear with the Quantum Heart” was accepted to the online sf/f magazine Strange Horizons, tentatively slated to appear sometime around December. It’s a place I’ve dreamed of being published in for some time now, and tough to get into, so this was an especially satisfying ego boost. The story is about a state-of-the-art educational toy who grows up alongside the child he was bought for, and ends up having a much deeper relationship with her than either of them expected. Call it “Velveteen Rabbit” meets “A.I.,” I suppose. 🙂

As for writing new stuff, a lot of real-life issues have interfered with my writing time and energy over the past several weeks, but at this point I’m still planning on doing Camp NaNoWriMo again in August. Before that, though, I’m working on my next Smashwords/Kindle offering (a novella called “Signal”) and trying to get a short story together to submit to this quarter of the Writers of the Future contest before the deadline slips past me.

And, of course, I’ll try to update here more often so I’m not doing these long omnibus posts instead of sticking to one topic and keeping things short, the way all the blog-writing how-to blogs say you should. (Which is one of several reasons I consider this an online journal and not a real “blog.”) :p

New story online: “Best of Breed”

My show name is Silver Willow, but he calls me Mina. The first two things I remember are my mother’s scent and his.

Mina’s feline charms win ribbons at the shows, but the titles she’s awarded mean nothing to her beyond pleasing her human handler. When he’s happy, so is she — until betrayal breaks her world open and leaves her questioning who she really is.

My short story “Best of Breed” appears in the first issue of Allasso, a new magazine of anthropomorphic art and literature from Pink Fox Publications that’s being published both online and in a print version. Volume 1, “Shame,” just went live on the first of this month, and “Best of Breed” was the winner of this issue’s Editor’s Choice awards both for best story and best overall piece — which is a bit ironic, given the setting of the story.

You can find the issue here:


(I should mention that “Best of Breed” does contain some mature themes and language, so I’d recommend it for older teens and up.)

As always, comments/discussion welcome, whether here, on the story’s page, or privately. 🙂