Jean Marie Ward

fiction, nonfiction and all points in between
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Ah, that new paint smell!

Earlier this year, I got disgusted with the duplication of effort involved in maintaining a blog (which, I admit, I use more as a newsletter than a daily/weekly journal) and a “News” page on my website. Techno-dummy that I am, I wasn’t sure I could rectify the problem on my own. The header needed to be changed and that entailed reconstructing the accidental combination of typeface and format I blundered into three versions of image/photo software ago. But I did it–I did it!–without breaking the site.

Tonight’s blog is something of a shakedown cruise for the refreshed site. The basic organization remains the same. The pages don’t look noticeably different. But instead of the redundant “News” in the header, there’s a shiny new “Articles” tab, which links to my web-based nonfiction. At the moment you’ll find about fifty links to interviews on Buzzy Mag, a global link to Crescent Blues, and links to two YouTube features I did for personal research and entertainment.

My ultimate goal is to resurrect the articles I did for SciFi Weekly back in the day, and post them on the site. Whether I can will depend on the copyright status of the articles. Resolving that will involve buttonholing my former editor at a con, because naturally the program where the electronic contracts were stored crashed and wiped all the data. Lesson to remember, folks, paper is still god.

I’m also experimenting with a subscription button to provide email updates when I blog, but the first version I tried doesn’t appear to work. Obviously, this calls for more experimentation. I’ll let you know when it’s operational. Until then, you can try, but don’t expect the email they keep promising you. Mine has yet to arrive.

On a more writerly note, The Mammoth Book of Tales from the Vatican Vaults has accepted my equally mammoth retelling of the 1814 Burning of Washington, “Cooking up a Storm”. When I say “mammoth” I mean effing HUGE. I turned in over seventeen thousand words on a call for six. And, oh yeah, the editor and publisher are British, so of course, I made the Brits my villains. The saga of its acceptance is a textbook example of how not to get published. The only thing missing was the typo in the first paragraph (which I managed to do in another submission earlier this year–oops!) Needless to say there was much mad flailing and ecstatic happy dancing when the contract appeared in my inbox.

I’ll post more on the anthology as details become available. But for now just let me say I’ll be sharing page space with my good friends John Grant and Dave Hutchinson, as well as folks like Mary Gentle and Storm Constantine. Release is set for spring 2015.

As you might have gathered from the sidebar, I’ve got a lot of stories appearing in pixels and print this year. “District Coincidental” made it to the Akashic Books website in February. The link will take you to all 750 words of noir-ish goodness (badness? Who knows with noir?)

Hellfire Lounge 4: Reflections of Evil hit the stands at the end of May. In it you’ll find the latest adventures of Eddie “WOOD LOUSE!” Woodhouse and Ducky “Duc” Orr. The two hapless sorcerers were last seen at the bottom of a jinni’s bottle stinking of absinthe. “Glass Transit”, my story in HF4 tells the tale of how they escape that predicament only to land in a mirror on the Hindenburg on May 6, 1937. Oh the humanity! Oh, the teeny tiny excerpt!

Speaking of Eddie and Ducky, their first adventure (“Burning down the House” from Hellfire Lounge 3: Jinn Rummy) will be reprinted with added monkey and Tuckerization in Dance Like a Monkey, the charity anthology to support the inimitable C.J. Henderson during his cancer treatments. That anthology is scheduled for release in a month or two.

It should appear on the shelves about the same time as The Clockwork Universe: Steampunk vs. Aliens, the first anthology from Zombies Need Brains, Joshua Palmatier’s new publishing venture. Joshua and Patricia Bray were the editors of The Modern Fae’s Guide to Surviving Humanity. They had so much fun with that anthology and After Hours: Tales from the Ur Bar they decided to create their own press to publish more.

My contribution to The Clockwork Universe, “The Wizard of Woodrow Park”, involved stuffing a sentient chicken into the head of a Daniel Craig clone and sending him after an anthropologist missing for seventeen years in a steam-powered world. I also punked out a Chihuahua. Imagine my consternation when I discovered people really are putting titanium crowns on the teeth of dogs attached to Special Forces teams. DUDES! I was trying for ABSURD! Though I suppose the secret agent chicken probably has that covered…

Finally, this entry would not be complete without mentioning Athena’s Daughters, the record-busting Kickstarter literary anthology. The anthology’s tag line is: Stories about strong women by strong women. To which I should add: Introduced and illustrated by strong women, too. Both the print and electronic versions are now available from Silence in the Library Publishing and should be available from online and bricks-and-mortar retailers soon.

Given the company–Mary Robinette Kowal, Sherwood Smith, Gail Z. Martin, Diana Peterfreund, Jean Rabe, Janine Spendlove and so many more–I can’t tell you how honored I was to be included. But it gets better. My story, “A Gap in the Fence”, closes the collection. I still can’t believe it. It’s a gentle story, but one that means a lot to me. I hope readers will feel the same.

That’s it for now. Happy reading!

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Posted in jean marie ward and jeanmarieward.com and short stories 3 years, 3 months ago at 8:05 pm.

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