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Showing posts from 2008

Resolutions Update

Well, it's been a year since I made my last set of New Year writer resolutions. So, how did I do?

1) I will start/finish the damn book
Did that. I completed my short novel 'The Hotel Galileo' back in August and sent it to small US small press Wolfsinger in early September. No response yet...
2) I will always have at least three stories on submission, while working on a fourth
This has been a year for taking a breather, taking stock of the past four years and then going back into it with renewed energy. I see the last two stories which are still on submission as the end of a "first phase", and the new stories I'm working on are part of a new phase. Suffice to say I'm quietly excited about the new stuff.
3) I will attend at least one writer's conference, and introduce myself to agents, editors, and other writers
FantasyCon 2008 back in Septemeber. This is the achievement of 2008 I am most proud of. It took a lot for me to go out into the world and meet other …

Some haikus

Just stumbled across three haikus I wrote in my notebook last year. Poetry is something I'd love to write a lot more of. These are quite sweet, I think:

Rain runs down the glass
The clouds above cast shadows
On my empty lawn

If she says 'No way'
I will walk out that door now
Never to return

The flowers I bought
Are beginning to dwindle
Water cannot save them

And there you have it. I have no recollection of composing them, either, but knowing my state of mind in recent times it's not a surprise. Amazing what you find in your old notebooks, though.

Estronomicon FantasyCon 2008 Special

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The FantasyCon issue of the FREE Estronomicon eZine is now available. Although I don't have a story in this issue my "Newbie's Guide to..." report is in there. Lots of great fiction from other writers including Allyson Bird, Neil Davies, Charles Black, Stephen Bacon, Tony Richards, Paul Kane and Marie O'Regan. The cover art is by Award-winning Vincent Chong.


It's a great issue, containing short stories by some of the FantasyCon attendees, art by award-winner Vincent Chong and lots of pictures of the event. I thoroughly enjoyed this convention and yes, there is a photo of me in there somewhere, but keep it quiet, won't you?

See the webpage for more info and to download :http://www.screamingdreams.com/index.html?target=d90.html


or you can get it directly here (2.48mb) :


http://www.screamingdreams.com/ezine/FantasyCon2008.pdf

Incoming

It's been a relatively quiet year for getting stories published, but I have a handful of stories about to be published in the coming months.

First up is "The Weight of Shadows" which is a science fiction story due to appear in the next issue of Jupiter SF in January 2009. This is my second appearance in this fine sf zine and I'm pleased to say there will be artwork accompanying my story provided by yours truly. I admit I have neglected my art for the last few years to concentrate on the fiction side of things. It was the encouraging comments from an old school friend that made me pick up the brush again.I hope the result isn't too shoddy. If feedback is positive I may look at doing more artwork in the future. We'll see.

Second imminent publication is in new online venue Arkham Tales, the personal project of editor Nathan Shumate. The first issue is online now and available to download as a PDF. My story "Inheritance", a weird western story, should be …

Stop the world I want to get off!

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Blimey! Where did that month go? I've been so busy lately that I haven't even had a chance to blog! So, what has happened in the last month? Well, I started my latest Open University course, Advanced Creative Writing. Submitted my first TMA last Thursday. Despite it being an added pressure to everyday life, I am enjoying the course a lot so far.

I've got a stack of stories that have either been published or are about to be published. Since my last blog entry, a new issue of Estronomicon has appeared: The Hallowe'en Special, and it contains another one of my stories, 'The Witch is Dead'. It originally appeared at Whispers of Wickedness, but I thought it was perfect for Halowe'en. You can find the issue over at Screaming Dreams:
Hallowe’en Special Coming up: 'Inheritance' is scheduled to appear in a future issue of Arkham Tales; 'The Man Who Ate Planets' to be reprinted in the Permuted Press anthology Best New Apocalyptic Fiction; two stories (&…

A World Without Men

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Ever wondered what the world would be like if every single man disappeared tomorrow? Come on, you've all thought about it at one time or another.

Well, I'm very pleased to have my story "A World Without Men" published in the latest edition of Estronomicon magazine. This story was actually my final piece for my Creative Writing course last year. The mag comes in PDF format, downloadable for free at the website. This link will enable you to download the issue directly: http://www.screamingdreams.com/ezine/Recovery2008.pdf
Or, if you prefer, you can visit the Screaming Dreams site ( http://www.screamingdreams.com/) first and check it out. There's lots of free stuff there, including back issues of Estronomicon available for download, as well as free ebooks and excerpts from their range of excellent print books.
I would be proper chuffed if you found the time to read my story and if you do, and it moves you in any way (good or bad), please feel free to leave me a comment…

Reading

Taking some time out to do some serious reading (as opposed to jocular reading which is not to be encouraged). My To-Read Pile includes such works as Temeraire by Naomi Novik, Un Lun Dun by China Mieville, Shadows and Other Tales by Tony Richards, Lisey's Story by Stephen King and many more. But first on my list are two collections which I'm zipping through now: Allyson Bird's Bull Running for Girls and Twentieth-Century Ghosts by Joe Hill. Both are collections of similar length and in similar genres, so it should be interesting to see in what ways the "girls" may differ from the "boys", as it were, in terms of style. After I've completed those two I'm jumping straight into Joe Hill's much-acclaimed debut novel Heart-Shaped Box. So, as you can see, much great fiction to devour over the coming few weeks/months. I begin the fifth year of my Open University course on Saturday, Advanced Creative Writing, so I will seriously have to manage my tim…

Report: FantasyCon 2008

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What is a ‘FantasyCon’ and what can the first-time attendee realistically expect? Men dressed as Orcs? Women dressed as Ice Queens? Well, not quite.

FantasyCon is an annual event hosted by the British Fantasy Society which takes place in the spacious surroundings of The Britannia Hotel, Nottingham. The convention is open to everybody, although BFS members get preferential membership rates.
The website (http://www.fantasycon.org.uk/) states: “At FantasyCon, you can meet your favourite authors, attend book launches and listen to panels. Or, if you prefer, you can sit in the bar with friends old and new and perhaps win a prize in the acclaimed FantasyCon Raffle!”

I went primarily as an observer, to sample the delights (and the beer) of this auspicious event. As a writer who is relatively new on the scene it was a great opportunity to say “Hi” and shake the hands of some of the publishers I have had the privilege of being published by, including Steve Upham of Screaming Dreams Press, Lee Har…

On Writing, On Waiting, On Stuff

Well, I'm very happy to have just completed the first draft of The Silver Sea this weekend. As well as the huge sense of achievement which comes with completing any such undertaking, I also felt an odd sense of surprise at completing it without any real strenous effort. The best way to describe it is that the novel sort of wrote itself. I never nailed down the plot specifically (keeping only key moments and scenes in my head as markers to guide the narrative to its conclusion), and yet the story just flowed along quite nicely, filled with drama and tension and conflict and surprises; and a bitter-sweet ending which ties into the second volume, which I hope to be writing at some point in the near future. Very very happy with how it's turned out, and although I have forced myself to put it away for a few weeks I am already chomping at the proverbial to get back to it and make it even better.

Good news on the story submission front: The Devil's Bones is now slated to appear in…

Murky Depths Review

Murky Depths #5 has just received its first review, and a very positive one it is too. With regard to my story Halls of the Tollomai, reviewer Michele Lee had this to say:

In the war story “Halls of the Tollomai” by Lee Moan, a group of Marines are stuck in combat on an alien world with shifting landscapes, a mind-controlling enemy, and infectious locals. The heart of this isn’t about who wins and loses, but what it costs to get there.

You can read the entire magazine review here: Murky Depths Review

Dr Steel - Back and Forth

The Silver Sea hits 30k

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Some great advances this week during my time off work. Managed to hit the 30,000 word mark with my steampunk detective novel The Silver Sea. Right now I'm in that all-consuming, totally invigorating period where the characters are really coming to life and the fluid plot elements are slipping into a configuration that is very pleasing, and I am finding myself jotting down sentences, character nuances and snippets of dilaogue at the strangest times. This, for me, is the true joy of writing.

This novel is more challenging than anything I've done before because it is the first volume in what will be a five-part series featuring the detective character, Inspector Darknoll. I am constantly thinking "how will that affect future events?", or "will we see this character again, if so, where and why?". It's all very exciting. Right now, I am desperate to get the first draft finished, so I can begin the exciting process of hammering it into shape.

So you want to be a writer?

Great article on the true value of devoting your life to being a writer by R J Ellroy, author of A Quiet Belief in Angels:
http://www.orionbooks.co.uk/blogDetails.aspx?id=6.

Here's a quote from Kaari Itrio which I like:

I can’t help but to write, I have a inner need for it. If I’m not in the middle of some literary project, I’m utterly lost, unhappy and distressed. As soon as I get started, I calm down.

Then there's Jack Dann:

For me, writing is exploration; and most of the time, I'm surprised where the journey takes me.

And finally from Jules Renard:

Writing is the best way to talk without being interrupted.

Getting Somewhere

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I'm off work for a week, so I've been working on two projects:

First off, finishing The Transmuted Engine. This long short story (it's come in around 7500 words) is all but complete now. One more polish and then I shall be submitting it for the Aeon Award. I have a lot of faith in it.

The second project is my novel The Silver Sea. I am very pleased with the work so far. I'm just about halfway with this one, and desperate to get that first draft done.

Sent The Hotel Galileo to WolfSinger Publications back on August 3rd. Waiting with bated breath... Also waiting to hear back on some stories with painfully-long response times. Feel like I'm starting to get somewhere, though...

Steampunk Girl (2)

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Okay, I can reveal that the mystery girl in my last blog entry is model and fashion designer Kato, who, amongst other things, has a fashon line devoted to all things steampunk. You can check out her gear at: http://www.steampunkcouture.com/. As a lover of all things steampunk myself, it's hard not to love someone devoted to this wonderful style.

Yeah, and she's mighty pretty, too.

Steampunk Girl

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Who is she?

Murky Depths

When I was a young lad I wanted to be a comic strip artist. I would have given my right arm to draw for 2000AD (which would have been a problem as I'm right-handed!!!) Okay, things change. Now I'm a thirty-something father of four who is carving out a career as a writer and trying not to get too jaded by the pressures of life and work and all the crap in between. But my love of comic strips hasn't faded at all. And here I am, at the age of thirty...well, in my thirties...with one of my stories appearing in Murky Depths, one of the most exciting venues for upcoming writers and artists I've seen in a long time. The production values are of the highest standard, and the content, a generous mixture of prose and comic strips, is nothing short of inspirational. Is just works. If you don't believe me, go check it out yourself. Nothing is more convincing than feeling the magazine in your own sweaty hands, turning the glossy pages, smelling that fresh-print smell. Terry Mar…

Finished!

The final edit of my steampunk mystery The Hotel Galileo is complete. I feel a massive sense of achievement right now. This project began back in 2005. It's been through several big changes, and to see it now reading so coherently, so complete, gives me a wonderfully warm feeling. I am hoping to submit the manuscript to Carol Hightshoe of Wolfsinger Publications at some point in the next few days. Just tinkering with the formatting now, making sure I've done everything correctly. I don't want to jump the gun (but I'm going to anyway!) but I have so many ideas for marketing the book, as well as some exciting ideas for further mysteries for Barclay Heath.

Murky Depths #5

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It's here...

The Steam-Powered Typewriter Rides Again

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I use this title for my forum page at Whispers and just figured that as my longer works are all firmly embedded in the steampunk/dieselpunk/alternate history genres, it would be a wise move to give my blog that title too. I love the entire steampunk universe, both aesthetically (all those cogs and wheels and dials and valves!) and dramatically, too. My completed short novel The Hotel Galileo is set in alternate version of the Roaring Twenties, one in which humanity has branched out into space. The novel I am currently working on, The Silver Sea, is a crime novel set in a much darker universe, an alternate earth circa 1898, with airships and steam-powered automatons, and many other retro-sf ideas, all observed by a detective from our own reality lost at sea in this grim dystopia.

I'm very excited to have found (possibly) the perfect publisher for The Hotel Galileo. Right now I am doing one final sweep of the novel before it goes out into the big wide world. Watch this space.

GUD Goodies Contest

GUD (Greatest Uncommon Denominator) has just launched a pre-buzz contest to promote the release of their third issue. You can check out the details out here.

GUD is published twice a year and chief editor Kaolin Fire has already implemented many good ideas which are innovative and realistic for the publishing world of today (such as being able to download individual stories for a small price and promotional contests like the one mentioned above). They seem to be going places. Good luck to them, or should that be GUD luck?

Stories and Longer Works

Things are moving steadily in all areas at the moment. In Short Story Land I've just done a "final edit" on The Transmuted Engine before sending it to my first reader for a serious critique. I'm looking at entering this one for the Aeon Award this year. I made the long-list with Juju in 2005 (see here) which made me very proud. (Juju went on to appear in the second print issue of Hub Magazine). I've also been working on a dark fiction piece called The Postal Worker, which is delving into some creepy new territory for me. It's very much in the tradition of "weird" fiction. Spiders of Suburbia has a strong start but I'm putting it on the shelf for the time being as I'm not too happy with the way the story's heading.

In Novel-Land I'm steaming across The Silver Sea, which is demanding mosty of my time right now (I'm actually thinking about it the moment I wake up, which is disturbing!) I'm bracing myself for a final-final edit of…

Doctor Who Series 4

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I went off the series last year. There was something missing from the show that I couldn't put my finger on, and even now, a year later, I'm still not exactly sure what it was that 'stuck in me clack'. I know for certain that I disliked the Daleks in Manhattan episodes without apology, and the series finale was ruined for me by the way the Doctor got out of the (almost) impossible situation. It was a nice idea in theory, but dramatically it was only one step away from a deus ex machina resolution. Then again, maybe I was just in a bad mood. I would love to watch the series again, just to see if the problem lay with me or the series itself.

Anyway, that lengthy preamble brings me to the current series which finished last Saturday with a bang (lots of them actually), a screaming Davros, and a plethora of guest characters all getting their moment to shine in the biggest series finale yet. And I enjoyed every minute of it. In fact, the series as a whole was, for me, the mos…

Art for Art's Sake

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Just thought I would post some of my art on the site, if only for the sake of having it in one place for future reference. It's only a small selection, some of it new, some old. The first pic is the most recent: it was a sketch I did the other day using Artweaver software. I'm moving more into digital art of late. More to come soon...


Bits and Pieces

A few bits and pieces of news.

Story Acceptances:

The Weight of Shadows has been accepted by Jupiter SF and is due to appear in issue 23 (Jan '09), my second appearance in this quality UK-based sf quarterly.

The Man Who Ate Planets has been accepted for the Permuted Press anthology Best New Tales of the Apocalypse. This is a reprint anthology, and "Planets" first appeared last year in the final issue of Revelation Magazine which is sadly no more.

Conventions

The Welsh Event (see earlier post):
Due to forces beyond my control (most forces are beyond my control, unfortunately!) I was unable to attend this con. I've seen some reports of the day already and it looked like a great success.
Back on January 1st, I made myself a resolution to attend one con this year, so I have now resolved to make it to Fantasycon in September. Paying my membership fee this week. Can't wait.

Writing Progress

Finished 'The Transmuted Engine' last week and very pleased so far with the firs…

Niteblade Anthology Poll

The e-zine Niteblade is running a month-long poll to decide which stories and poems from the first four issues will be included in the Niteblade print anthology Lost Innocence.

Two of my stories appear on the poll: "The Midnight Men" (Issue 1), and "The Glamour" (issue 3). "Midnight Men" got a very favourable review at Whispers of Wickedness a while back. If you managed to catch either of my tales, and you thought they were spiffing, and think they're deserving of inclusion in the anthology, I would much appreciate your vote. Here's a link to the poll: http://niteblade.com/lost-innocence/

Voting closes June 30.

Thank you for your support!

General Update

Writing
Have been getting down to it with new short story 'The Transmuted Engine'. This piece has turned into something quite remarkable and, after such a long hiatus, deeply satisfying. It's proved to be the perfect forum in which to let my imagination run wild. I am close to completing it, despite suffering from bouts of inexplicable fatigue over the past couple of weeks. Can't wait to finish this one and move onto 'The Spiders of Suburbia'.

Still wondering what to do with my completed novella The Hotel Galileo. Have looked at various options but none of them particylarly satisfying. I want to find the right publisher for this special story and am prepared to wait a while to find them.

Convention
I'm planning to attend the Space, Time, Machine and Monster: A Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Conference for the Valleys on Saturday 21 June 2008, 10:00am - 4:30pm at the University of Glamorgan, Treforest. (Tickets £5 / £3 concessions; available on the door onl…

Killing Gloria

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Just about to be published: the latest edition of Estronomicon, the short-fiction ezine published by Screaming Dreams Press, featuring my story 'Killing Gloria'. It's one of my earlier stories, and still one of my personal favourites. The story appeared previously in Scifantastic #2, and received a very favourable review at Whispers of Wickedness. Steve Redwood had this to say:

Quite different in tone is Lee Moan's Killing Gloria, a successful action-packed mixture of serious and a bit tongue-in-cheek, as a man tries to rid himself of an android or replicant who (though more like Desdemona than Othello, but I do so want to throw in the one Shakespearean quote I can remember!) 'loved not wisely but too well', and more to the point, 'one not easily jealous, but being wrought, perplexed in the extreme'. After the husband has 'killed' the too-devoted lady for the second time, she is getting tetchy, and indeed rather ominously 'perplexed': &qu…

Three Books

I’ve read more books on the craft of writing than I care to remember, but there are three in particular which I frequently return to, each one for different reasons.

The three books are:

Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande
On Writing by Stephen King
The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr and E. B. White.

The Brande book I go to for inspiration. It sets itself apart from most books about writing, because it isn’t really about the nuts and bolts of writing – it’s about what it means to be a writer, what it takes to be a writer, and what you need to do (both internally and externally) to write successfully.
The King book I go to for rejuvenation. I’ve posted before about the healing powers of King’s fiction and how, for me, a dose of King can set me back on the right path when things have gone awry. That also applies to his brilliant non-fiction pieces, too. (Danse Macabre is also great, but it’s really concerned with horror, not writing.) On Writing is a fantastic, heart-warming book abo…

Back to it

After a long and unexpected hiatus on the short story front, I'm pleased and relieved to be working on some new material. It was down to a combination of factors, but mainly burnout, I think. After producing forty short stories in four years I think the short story well just dried up, and I figured it was best just to walk away from it for a while, let it refill, even though at times it seemed to be refilling at a very slow trickle, if at all. I was never too worried during the drought, though. I mean, it wasn't exactly writer's block--I was still working on my novels (one all but finished, one awaiting editing, one being written now), and writing other bits and pieces--so I didn't get myself all depressed and tearing my shirt in frustration or anything. In fact it was a nice break from the (self-imposed) pressure to keep coming up with new short story ideas. It also helped to have a clutch of about eight completed stories in the out tray (which are still being subbed …

Murky Depths

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As a writer it's good to have goals. Some of them are easily attainable, some of them you know are going to be a long shot, and others are the kind usually relegated to the realms of fantasy. This is applicable to the kinds of magazines you wish to see your work appear in. Hey, wouldn't we all love to be regularly featured in F & SF, Asimov's, Analog, Interzone, Weird Tales, and the like? I know I would. Unfortunately, most of us have to find other venues for our work. But that doesn't mean you have to compromise on quality. There are a good few small press magazines out there which actually look fantastic, streets ahead of the Big Mags in terms of presentation, art design, etc. These magazines include such labours of love as Zahir: Unforgettable Tales, Midnight Street Magazine, and 'new kid on the block', Murky Depths. None of these mags pay vast amounts, but what they offer the submitting author is a wonderful home for their story, a place where you know …

Ebook Publication at Screaming Dreams

Medea's Children
This long short story, my longest to date, is scheduled to appear as an eBook at Screaming Dreams Press in the very near future. I'm very excited about this. Screaming Dreams is growing in reputation as a serious small press outlet, publishing paperback books, ebooks and, of course, its quarterly ezine Estronomicon. Editor/Publisher Steve Upham is also publishing my story Killing Gloria in the next issue of the zine, which I am very pleased about.

Writing
Whilst my short novel The Hotel Galileo is having a final read-through with friends/relatives, I've been concentrating on writing my next book. The work so far is incredibly exciting, and I'm literally bursting to talk about it to anyone who might listen; but long ago I made it a golden rule never to talk about a project whilst it was 'in progress'. I found early on that this can be the kiss of death for any project. You can never describe to someone in a few words what you are imagining in the m…

A Year of Anthologies

Antho, antho, antho...
Up until now my stories have only ever appeared in magazines. I've submitted to a few anthologies over the past few years but without success, but then, if I'm honest, I haven't really pursued that avenue with any great verve. No particular reason. When looking to sub a new story I always weigh up the pros and cons no matter what the potential market, be it zine or antho: response time, pay rate, level of potential exposure, print vs. electronic, being the main considerations. Most of the time, magazines win out.

This year, however, it seems to be all about anthologies.
Of the eight stories I have on submission at the moment three of them are with anthologies. Also, 'Wizard's Gambit' is due to appear in the Arcane Whispers anthology from Sorcerous Signals editor Carol Hightshoe in May. Two of my stories, Guardian and The View from the Bridge, will appear in Tales From the Asylum's fourth annual collection later this year.
And Niteblade ed…

New Look

After seeing the blog of fellow writer Lawrence Dagstine, I decided to give my blog an overhaul and try and make it look a little more like a website. I really must get round to doing a website one of these years, but this old thing will have to do for now.

I'm very pleased that The Hotel Galileo is finally finished--well, almost. I'm sending it out to friends and relatives for a read and, hopefully some feedback, before I try sending it to publishers. But after all the hard work editing it, it's a really nice feeling having something solid and substantial ready to send out.

I've got about eight short stories being considered at the moment at various venues, and I'm hoping for some good news soon. This has been the longest period in recent times where I've not had an imminent publication. The only thing lined up for 2008 is the appearance of 'Wizard's Gambit' in the Arcane Whispers anthology due in May.

Dead of Night Awards Update

Oh, yeah, just to mention: I didn't win the coveted Dead of Night Award (obviously). Instead the award for best author went to Hugh McDonald, and best artist went to, deservedly in my opinion, Vincent Chong. He provided the cover art for Hub issue 2 (featuring my story 'Juju'). He got my vote! Congrats to Hugh and Vincent.

Arcane Whispers Anthology

Wizard's Gambit

Great news yesterday that I wasn't expecting. My story 'Wizard's Gambit' was published in Sorcerous Signals ezine last May and it was voted the favourite story of that issue. Praise enough. Now editor Carol Hightshoe is producing a Best-of Anthology: Arcane Whispers: The Best of Sorcerous Signals, and 'Wizard's Gambit' has been selected to appear in it. The antho is due for publication in May this year. Fantastic!

The story is still available to read online: check it out here: Sorcerous Signals


The Hotel Galileo - Update

This 35k novella (short novel?) is virtually completed. The extensive re-jig has taken a good few weeks (and much eyestrain) to get it into shape ready for submitting to prospective publishers. And although I don't expect publishers to be falling over each other to get their hands on it (novellas are notoriously hard to sell anyway) I do think it's a great little story and I had an absolute ball writing it. I've …

Dead of Night Awards 2007

Hello folks! I'm pleased to say my name has been included in the annual Dead of Night Awards for work published through the Screaming Dreams publishing stable. I've only had one short story, Defence Mechanism, published in issue 6.5 of their ezine Estronomicon (you can still download the issue for free at the website!) so I don't expect to be walking away with the award this year, but hey, if you have a few moments, and that's all it takes, please mention my name in passing, as it were. I'd be eternally grateful if you did. I have two stories due for publication in future issues of Estronomicon, so if I don't win this time around, there's always next year.

Go here to cast your vote. If you have time. Thanks!!!