Jean Marie Ward

fiction, nonfiction and all points in between

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My first annual awards suggestion post

Yeah, I’m late to the awards nomination party. Surprise! But if you’ve still got space on your Hugo or Nebula ballots–or are looking forward to the 2015 World Fantasy Awards–have I got some suggestions for you.

First the writing. This year I had three eligible stories published. How you classify them depends on the award, so I’ll give you all the relevant details. In ascending order of size, they are:

“The Wizard of Woodrow Park” published in The Clockwork Universe: Steampunk vs. Aliens (Zombies Need Brains, LLC)
Hunting for a rogue anthropologist, Aviann Special Agent Hreaak Meekram finds himself confronting a wizard.
(7,000 words)

“The Gap in the Fence” published in Athena’s Daughters (Silence in the Library Publishing)
Ten-year-old Ana will do anything to save her best friend’s dog–even challenge the fairies who live beyond “The Gap in the Fence”.
(9,600 words)

“Glass Transit” in Hellfire Lounge 4: Reflections of Evil (Bold Venture Press)
Bumbling sorcerers Eddie Woodhouse and Ducky “Duke” Orr get more than they bargain for when they leap from a magical bottle into the skies over Lakehurst, New Jersey, on May 6, 1937.
(13,500 words)

And don’t forget all those anthologies are eligible for Best Anthology or Best Related Work, depending on the award. But honestly, one 2014 anthology knocks them and every other potential contender out of the park: Unconventional Fantasy, a celebration of 40 years of World Fantasy Cons published by the Baltimore Washington Area Worldcon Association.

Go ahead, accuse me of favoritism. I’m one of the editors, along with Peggy Rae Sapienza, Sam Lubell and Bill Campbell. But look at the stats.

The six (yep, six!) volumes of Unconventional Fantasy comprise over 250 short stories, essays and poems by best-selling, award-winning authors and amazing new talent. We’re talking writers like Neil Gaiman, Hideyuki Kikuchi, Guy Gavriel Kay, Patricia McKillip and Joyce Carol Oates. Then there’s the art. In addition to the catalogue of the Virgil Finlay exhibit hosted by World Fantasy Con 2014 and the fifty-image gallery of WFC 2014 Artist Guest of Honor Les Edwards, the collection features over two hundred images of artists from around the world–artists like Alicia Austin, Kathleen Jennings, Dr. Moro and Mahendra Singh. To cap it off, there’s a 100-image pictorial gallery of World Fantasy Cons past. Taken together it’s over 3,200 pages of text.

The anthology was formatted in PDF, MOBI and EPUB on a souvenir thumb drive given away (yep, as free!) to all members of WFC2014. As publications go, it was a very limited edition, but thanks to the generosity of our contributors, we just might be able to offer an electronic version to 2015 Worldcon and World Fantasy Con members if the collection makes it to the final awards ballots.

And if that’s not a reason to vote it on every major ballot, I don’t know what is.

Happy voting!

Posted 2 years, 9 months ago at 10:02 am.

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Clockwork Universe: Steampunk vs. Aliens
is officially ticking

Just in time for you to see what all the fuss is about before Zombies Need Brains starts up another Kickstarter, ZNB’s first anthology, Clockwork Universe: Steampunk vs. Aliens has landed at a retailer near you. It’s got Steampunk. It’s got little green men, bug-eyed monsters, secret agent chickens and Chihuahuas. What more do you need to know?

A table of contents? We can do that:

“The Cavorite Job” by Ian Tregillis

“Gracie’s Fire” by Leah Cutter

“Quinta Essentia” by Bradley P. Beaulieu

“When Comrade Ekaterina Died for the Motherland” by J.R. Hargenrader

“A Clockwork Alien” by Gini Koch

“Heart of the Empire” by Jason Palmatier

“The Red Queen and the White” by C.B. Pratt

“The Wizard of Woodrow Park” by Jean Marie Ward (me!)

“Of War and Wings” by Tansy Raynor Roberts

“Airship Down: A Sound and Fury Adventure” by Gail Z. and Larry N. Martin

“Steamsuit” by David J. Fortier

“Fingers of Steam, Veins of Gold” by Brad Hafford

“Heart of Clockwork” by S.C. Butler

“Lady Antheia’s Guide to Horticultural Warfare” by Seanan McGuire

All edited by the irrepressible Joshua Palmatier and Patricia Bray, the same folks who brought you The Modern Fae’s Guide to Surviving Humanity and After Hours: Tales from the Ur-Bar. Wanna taste? I’ve got your excerpt right here. Or you could check out one of the early reviews:

“They take a steampunk nineteenth century…and add aliens. Would Earth even recognize the threat? It’s a nod to industrialism… A high-five to technological advancement… And, above all, kudos to the genius of action-packed prose.”
Word of the Nerd

Not only that, the book comes in all your favorite flavors:

Trade Paperback

Kindle

Kobo

Nook

What are you waiting for? Those Chihuahuas can’t hold out forever, you know. ;-)

Posted 3 years, 2 months ago at 9:57 am.

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Athena’s Daughters Has Achieved Cover

Isn’t the print cover just gorgeous? Click the image for a larger view if you don’t believe me. I can’t wait to hold this book in my hands. Even better, from a purely selfish point of view is the illustration for my story, “The Gap in the Fence” (below).

Want to know more? Well, you can read a taste of my story here. Or better yet, pre-order the entire book here. You won’t be disappointed!

Posted 3 years, 7 months ago at 9:30 am.

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Looking ahead

Art by Kelli Neier

Those of you who obsessively check sidebars (there’s gotta be one of you, right?) will have noticed the release of Hellfire Lounge 4: Reflections of Evil has been pushed back again, and I still don’t have a release date for Gaslight & Grimm. (Boo.) But a new story and a new convention have joined the list. (Win!)
First and foremost in any writer’s mind is the latest acceptance. “The Gap in the Fence” is one of my favorite contemporary fantasies, but I wasn’t sure it would find a home. Then Janine Spendlove and Ron Garner of Silence in the Library Publishing invited me to submit a story to Athena’s Daughters. The fit between story and anthology was so close, it’s almost as if I wrote it with Athena’s Daughters in mind.
Athena’s Daughters will be the subject of a Kickstarter later in the year. The first level will fund the ebook, which features the beautiful cover by Kelli Neier shown here. As we go up the levels, there will be additional authors, illustrations and a paper edition. You better believe I’ll have more about that as we get closer to launch.
Also listed is my first confirmed con of 2014: World Fantasy Con. The 2014 edition will be happening just a few minutes from my home. But this is one local on I won’t be commuting to. I plan to party!
I also plan to party at next weekend’s Capclave, and I’ll be posting my schedule early next week. Hope to see you there!

Posted 4 years, 1 month ago at 10:00 am.

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“Burning Down the House” for Fun and Promo

I missed the posting deadline for Six Sentence Sunday for the second week in a row. Bad blogger, that’s me. By way of apology, I thought I’d offer a slightly longer excerpt from “Burning Down the House” from Hellfire Lounge 3: Jinn Rummy which will be launched at Balticon, May 25-28. I promise to share the date, time and details as soon as I learn them. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy what happens after our poor protagonist Eddie Woodhouse sits in that big comfy chair:

“Do you have the bottle?” he asked.

A flash from the dance floor lit her eyes like an evil smile. She placed an empty absinthe bottle on the table.

“May your next transfer run as smoothly as the one from your bank.” The blare of the music muted the scrape of her scimitar nails along the glass. “Are you sure you wouldn’t rather do this someplace more private?”

“No.” The jinni inside him lashed his face. He couldn’t hide the bulge of their shared skin or his flinch of pain.

The woman added teeth to her smile. “Your funeral. I trust you’ll be more careful where you stick your straw in the future.”

Her exit line raised a different kind of welt, but he didn’t care as long as she left. Nobody paid any attention to a fat man in a club full of beautiful people. More importantly, the security cams and warding spells focused on the tables would keep her from trying anything more than what he paid for. He’d never been a contender in the magical department, but he never thought he’d sink so low that he’d owe his life to the sorcerous paranoia of Ducky “Duc d’Or”.

Eddie’s teeth chattered against the glass as he closed his lips around the neck of the bottle and chanted the first of the thirty-one goetic evocations from The Secret Key of Solomon under his breath. The words didn’t always make sense, but he suspected the real spell lay in his mind’s desperate prayer: “Take this damned thing outta me and I’ll never do magic. I’ll never so much as make a wish. Never. Ever.”

The words burned his throat. Never. The jinni swelled inside his lungs until he thought his ribs would explode. Ever.

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What happens next? Well, you’ll just have to read the story–or come to the launch–to find out.

Posted 5 years, 6 months ago at 1:51 pm.

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We’ve got reviews! And award nods!

Modern Fae Cover for "On the Shelves"

While I’ve been groveling–er, adjusting to The New Management, things have been popping on the news front. Hellebore and Rue has been named as a Goldie Award Finalist in Speculative Fiction, along with a collaboration between our editor Joselle Vanderhooft and Hellebore and Rue contributor and publisher Steve Berman. Which makes it a great time to plug Joselle’s freelance editorial services and fellow Hellebore editor Catherine Lundoff’s fiction and editorial projects. Speaking of Hellebore & Rue and Catherine, they’re both up for Lesbian Fiction Reader’s Choice Awards. Vote early and often.

Meanwhile, the world has been showing review love for The Modern Fae’s Guide to Surviving Humanity. The first is from Night Owl Sci-Fi, which mentions my story “Fixed” along side Elizabeth Bear’s, Anton Strout’s and April Steenburgh’s. (You should see my grin.) The second is from Janicu’s Book Blog on Live Journal, which gives you a little taste of every story in the collection. Obviously it’s time to update my review links. :-)

Posted 5 years, 6 months ago at 9:34 am.

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Six Sentence Sunday: “Burning Down the House”

Jinn Rummy, Draft Cover

Hellfire Lounge 3: Jinn Rummy

Balticon is less than four weeks away, and I’ll be participating in two (count ‘em, two!) launch parties for two amazing anthologies, The Modern Fae’s Guide to Surviving Humanity and Hellfire Lounge 3: Jinn Rummy. In honor of the occasions, this month’s Six Sentence Sundays will be devoted to the stories featured in those anthologies. Since you’ve already had several snippets from “Fixed”, let’s take a taste of “Burning Down the House”, my story in Hellfire Lounge 3. Enjoy!

Eddie Woodhouse lurched between the tables of the Sixth Circle Club, apologizing every ponderous step of the way. Carrying a full-grown jinni inside his skin was hell. Its spine-crushing weight was only the start. Despite the swelter of July in New York, his thermal fleece sweatsuit, the heat of the crowd and the flames jetting in the six upright iron cages evenly spaced along the club’s circular wall, it was all he could do to keep from shivering as he approached the sorceress waiting at the shadowed table furthest from the door.

Gritting his teeth, he eased his tripled girth into the wide-armed leather chair across from her. The puffy cushions clenched around him like a boxing glove around a fist.

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To read the rest, you’ll have to buy the book–and you can get it at Balticon. Hope to see you there.

Posted 5 years, 6 months ago at 8:00 am.

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Six Sentence Sunday: “Fixed”, Part 4

Modern Fae Cover for "On the Shelves"

Here it is, your last Six Sentence Sunday entry for the month of “Fixed”, my story in The Modern Fae’s Guide to Surviving Humanity. And because I am evil, it is a cliffhanger. If you want to read more, well, you just have to buy the book. ;-)

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“Just as I thought,” she said. “Prepare this animal for surgery. I need to operate immediately.”
His head shot upward. Backed against the steel bars, he couldn’t help seeing past her glamour. The lines scoring her forehead and bracketing the corners of her wide, lipsticked mouth floated like a painted veil over a pale, ageless face as perfect as a marble Madonna.

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Posted 5 years, 7 months ago at 8:00 am.

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Six Sentence Sunday: “Fixed”, Part 3

Modern Fae Cover 1400

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Last week I fell down on the Six Sentence Sunday job. Hey, a girl and her sweetie get only one anniversary a year. But I’m back with a third selection from “Fixed”, my story in the fabulous anthology The Modern Fae’s Guide to Surviving Humanity. Enjoy!

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Even the kittens shut up, pressing their bodies to the wet plastic floor of their cage. A chill brushed his spine, lifting fur that had just begun to relax. Jack’s ability to sense magic was no better than human. The difference was he knew it existed and taught himself to read the warning signs in other animals. This one was lit up in neon. He hunkered down and tried to think cat thoughts; the last thing he wanted was to attract any kind of magical attention.

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Posted 5 years, 8 months ago at 8:00 am.

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Thursday 13, Modern Fae-style

You already know about “Fixed” my story in The Modern Fae’s Guide to Surviving Humanity (aka #ModernFae in the Twitterverse), the wonderful fantasy anthology edited by Joshua Palmatier and Patricia Bray. (My blurb and an excerpt can be found here, if you somehow escaped my blog the first time through.) But what you may not know is there are thirteen (yes, exactly thirteen—for Thursday, no less) other wonderful reasons to buy the book. To quote the web site’s table of contents:

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“We Will Not Be Undersold” by Seanan McGuire
Dan discovers the sinister reason why the employees of Undermart are always cheerful and ready to help consumers buy the latest cheap plastic imports. But when his snooping takes him to Oberon’s realm, Dan must pay the price for his trespass.

“The Changeling” by Susan Jett
Marisol Martinez thinks her son Tomas died in childbirth, until a midwife tells her it’s been stolen by the fae. Now she needs to save her son from the fairy’s clutches…by heading into the hill hidden in…Brooklyn?

“Water-Called” by Kari Sperring
The water spirit Jenny had once ruled a wide expanse of marshland, but now she was hemmed in by the modern world of concrete and drainage canals. But when a killer dares to hunt in Jenny’s realm, Jenny ventures into the modern city, and returns to her old ways.

“The Roots of Aston Quercus” by Juliet E. McKenna
A copse full of dryads is threatened by the construction of a new road, right through their heart. But how can they save their precious trees without exposing themselves to the world? All they have is their copse…and their memories, built up over hundreds of years.

“To Scratch an Itch” by Avery Shade
Young Autumn Sky has been told to always, always act normal. But when a storm threatens her roof garden, she acts without thinking, using powers she didn’t know she had…endangering not only her family, but all of the fae as well.

“Continuing Education” by Christine Smith
Stuck in a dead-end career, Lee had returned to college, seeking a different life. But when a fellow student disappears, she learns that the picturesque brick and ivy buildings of the old campus hide ancient secrets, and corporations aren’t the only ones recruiting students.

“How to Be Human” by Barbara Ashford
Is there anything more pathetic than a menopausal faery? Yes. A menopausal male faery leading a motivational seminar. For humans. At the New Rochelle Radisson. And when some of the local fae youngsters stop by to cause trouble, Finn rediscovers his own passion, and that his talks may apply more to the fae than the humans he’s glamoured his whole life.

“How Much Salt?” by April Steenburgh
Cut off from his clan as humans claimed the beaches once reserved for selkies, Dan finds a new home–and a new place to hunt–when he joins an aquarium show.

“Hooked” by Anton Strout
A rogue fairy lures unwary New Yorkers to their deaths in the heart of Central Park. But her latest victim is more than he seems, and the predator has just become the prey.

“Crash” by S.C. Butler
Where would a crafty leprechaun hide out in the modern world? Wall Street, of course! And Janet has just found the end of the rainbow. But stealing the leprechaun’s “gold” has consequences that she couldn’t have imagined.

“A People Who Always Know” by Shannon Page and Jay Lake
Someone is stealing the changelings and returning them to the fae world before their time. Hestia, the former queen of faerie, knows who is behind the kidnappings, but proving her suspicions requires her to venture into the mortal world.

“The Slaughtered Lamb” by Elizabeth Bear
Edie, a drag queen werewolf, has always been an outcast–from the fae and her pack. But when the Wild Hunt rides through the streets of Manhattan, she ends up learning that times have changed, and perhaps the pack needs her after all.

“Corrupted” by Jim C. Hines
Jessica had spent years as an FBI agent, protecting humans from rogue fae. But the years–and the steel of modern life–have taken their toll, threatening to turn her into one of the very monsters that she hunts. When the rogues threaten to destroy the fae realm, can Jessica find the strength for one last case?

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Photos of The Modern Fae’s Guide in the wild at the Tustin Ranch, California, Barnes and Noble taken by the wonderful Catherine Gross-Colten on March 7.


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Posted 5 years, 8 months ago at 3:36 pm.

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