New Stories Accepted by Asimov's and Analog

May Day was very good to me! For the first time in my writing career, I received two short story contracts on the same day.

The contracts are signed and will shortly be in the mail, so I feel as if it’s safe to broadcast the details.

After a minor rewrite a couple of weeks ago, Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine accepted my novelette “The Second Engineer.” I posted news of the story acceptance on Facebook, but didn’t identify the magazine because I didn’t want to get ahead of the paperwork. So yesterday the contract showed up in my e-mail …

… along with a contract from Analog Science Fiction & Fact for my novelette “SEAGULLs, Jack-o-Lanterns, and Interstitial Spaces.”

So on the same day I got contracts for my second story for Asimov’s and my third story for Analog. My head is still spinning.

On a Related Subject: My short story “The Song of Uullioll” is in the July/August issue of Analog Science Fiction & Fact, which has been mailed to subscribers and should be on newsstands soon. (I’ll post the cover when I get the image file for my web site.)

Color me overwhelmed!


P.S. I understand “The Second Engineer” is scheduled to appear in the October/November issue of Asimov’s. GWR

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My Story in Asimov’s and My StellarCon Schedule

My near future military science fiction short story “Sensitive, Compartmented” is in the April/May double issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine. Subscribers have been sent their copies (at least, I got my subscription copy), so it should show up on newsstands and the web site soon.

(Look for this cover to get my latest short story.)

Also, this weekend I’ll be a guest at StellarCon in High Point, NC. StellarCon is sponsored by the Science Fiction Fantasy Federation of UNC-Greensboro, and this year’s Guest of Honor is bestselling author Patrick Rothfuss.

Here’s what I’ll be doing at the Con:


  • 5 p.m. – “Hard Science Fiction” panel
  • 8 p.m. – Panel on “Short Stories and Publication”
  • 9 p.m. – Filk


  • Noon – “Character Building” panel
  • 4 p.m. – Baen Books Traveling Road Show
  • 8:30 p.m. – Reading
  • 9 p.m. – More Filk (though I likely will have run out of songs)

I’m not sure yet what I’m going to read at my reading. Nor am I sure what I’m going to sing at my reading. I should probably figure that out.

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Last Titan-IIIB Launch … and the Latest Asimov's

Twenty-five years ago today — February 12, 1987 — a Titan-IIIB launched from Vandenberg AFB carrying a Satellite Data System (SDS) spacecraft.

(Undated Titan-IIIB [34B] launch. Image from Lee Brandon-Cremer via Wikimedia Commons. Almost certainly this was originally a USAF photograph.)

According to the National Space Science Data Cnter, SDS satellites operated in highly elliptical orbits and

served as a communications link between the Air Force Satellite Control Facility at Sunnyvale, CA, and 7 remote tracking stations located at Vandenberg AFB, Hawaii, Guam, Nahe Island, Greenland, the UK, and Boston.

This is significant to me because I know the tracking station in Greenland well. Many years later I commanded it: callsign POGO, the Thule Tracking Station.

According to this Wikipedia page, this was the last launch of the Titan-IIIB series. This particular vehicle was one of the -34B variants.

At the time of that launch, I was stationed at the AF Rocket Propulsion Laboratory at Edwards AFB, helping prepare for a static test of a full-scale solid rocket motor in support of the Titan-34D “recovery” program. But that’s another story.

And speaking of stories: yesterday my contributor’s copies of the April/May issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction arrived, and there on page 72 is my story, “Sensitive, Compartmented.”

So … space history that relates in part to my own USAF experience, and a new short story. That makes for a pretty good weekend.

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Look What I Found: A Podcast of My Story, Memorial at Copernicus

Okay, technically I didn’t “find” it — Google Alerts did its job and told me about it — but never mind that: one of my stories is now on audio!

“Memorial at Copernicus” is an alternate-history story that occurs on the Moon, and was my first story to be considered a “professional” sale. It originally appeared in the third issue of Redstone Science Fiction, in August 2010.

And now it’s also the first of my stories to ever be recorded. New Zealand author Amanda (AJ) Fitzwater recorded the story, and I’m especially pleased with how well she rendered the main character’s Russian accent.

You can find the audio story on Redstone Science Fiction’s audio page or by this direct link: “Memorial at Copernicus” audio.

And, while I’m at this, I think I’ll throw in a look at the cool cover art from that RSF issue:

One last thing: I find it a little odd that no one from the magazine told me this was happening [cough, cough]. But, it’s still pretty cool.

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Hello, 2012

I spent the last few days of 2011 in Myrtle Beach, finishing several projects that I’d left undone through the year. Now, it seems appropriate to start 2012 with a “year in review” post.

Happy New Year 2012! by Creativity103, on Flickr

My biggest news of 2011 was having “Therapeutic Mathematics and the Physics of Curve Balls” published in the September 2011 issue of Analog Science Fiction & Fact.

In other 2011 news, I got involved in filk, which is fannish folk singing — i.e., writing and performing folk songs with a science fiction or fantasy focus. A few of my meager efforts are now on YouTube, and they’ve generally been well-received … especially “The Monster Hunter Ballad”.

As for the goals I set myself in 2011, I had mixed results:

  • I continued searching, though not very diligently, for a willing publisher for my novel. It’s still on the waiting list at a couple of houses.
  • I did not begin a new novel.
  • I completed four short stories, and revised a couple of old “flash fiction” pieces along the way.
  • I maintained this blog and my web site, including my series of occasional “space history” items.
  • I revised one of my unpublished nonfiction manuscripts.
  • I kept my Baen Books job, and succeeded in eliminating the backlog of electronic slush (with the exception of a goodly number of better submissions held for special review). In addition, one of my recommendations was contracted for publication.
  • I kept my NC State job, in which I still primarily write for the IES Executive Director.
  • I continued to plan and present praise and worship at North Cary Baptist Church.
  • I completed my term of service on the Town of Cary Public Art Advisory Board.

In general, in 2011 I tried to achieve an overall goal of “less pressure, more fun.” Unfortunately, the daily/weekly/monthly grind of juggling multiple jobs, various church functions, and other responsibilities made that a bit difficult. In the end, while I didn’t exactly fail at it, I certainly didn’t succeed … so I call it even.

And now I suppose I should put together some goals for 2012.

Hope your old year was good and your new year is better!

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Spotlight on Books: the 'Mother of Milstar,' Eating Clouds, and Subversion

A few new books that have come to my attention, that I’d like to bring to yours …

Over at New Scientist, there’s a review of a new book about actress Hedy Lamarr, who invented the frequency-hopping and spread-spectrum techniques that made Milstar satellite communications secure … and that make WiFi and other modern communications possible.

(Artist’s conception of Milstar satellite. USAF image.)

My commander at the 4th Space Operations Squadron, where I “flew” Milstar satellites, called Ms. Lamarr the “mother of Milstar” because of her invention. This new book sounds as if it captures not only the essence of her invention but also the trouble she ran into as a movie star who also happened to be a first-rate thinker.

Meanwhile, my writing friend Edmund Schubert has a new short story collection out entitled The Trouble with Eating Clouds.

Ed’s stories are very entertaining, often thought-provoking, and sometimes a little quirky. You might already have guessed that from the title, if not from the striking cover art, but I figure there’s no harm in stating the point.

And speaking of short stories, the folks behind Crossed Genres magazine (which published my story “The Tower” in one of their quarterlies) have brought out an anthology entitled Subversion, which they describe as “science fiction & fantasy tales of challenging the norm.”

Of course, ’tis the Season: if you know someone who might enjoy one of these books, now you can satisfy their Christmas wishes.

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Read Any Good Books (or Shorter Works) Lately?

Hey, blogosphere and Facebook folks: YOU can help me fulfill my solemn duty to the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America!

It’s “award season,” and this will be the first time I’m able to nominate and vote for the Nebula Awards.

I’m pretty excited about being able to take part in the Nebula voting: It feels good to be able to participate in this professional ritual. Plus, my writing friends Eric James Stone and Rachel Swirsky won Nebulas last year, and I’ve enjoyed several of the award-winning novels of recent years.

Problem is, I don’t get to do a lot of reading for pleasure. I’ve collected together all of my 2011 issues of Analog, Asimov’s, Bull Spec, Realms of Fantasy, etc., to go through them, but I’m also looking for suggestions. What else should I read, in hopes that I’ll enjoy it enough to nominate it?

Some of my writing friends have sent me their eligible work,* but if you read — or wrote — a novel or story that was published this year that you think I should consider, let me know about it!

I have until mid-February to submit my nominations, but the sooner I get suggestions the more time I’ll have to read the stories.

And if you haven’t read any good books or good stories lately, WHY NOT?

*And a few of them are also kindly reading my eligible novelette: “Therapeutic Mathematics and the Physics of Curve Balls,” from the September Analog.

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Part of the Profession

Meet the newest Active member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America: me.

It’s nice to check that off the “writing career” list —

  • First story sale … CHECK (2007)
  • First professional story sale … CHECK (2010)
  • SFWA qualification (3 pro stories or a novel) … CHECK

— especially as my entry into SFWA was a little unconventional. I originally joined as an Affiliate member, based on my work with Baen Books, since I hadn’t yet made any qualifying sales of my fiction. Even my first professional-level story, “Memorial at Copernicus,” didn’t qualify me for Associate membership because Redstone Science Fiction was too new and had not yet been recognized as a professional market.

Of all the professional organizations I’ve joined at various times in my life (e.g., Air Force Association, American Society for Quality Control [now just ‘ASQ’]) SFWA’s entrance qualifications were the hardest to meet. Now that they’ve let me in, I’m reminded of the Groucho Marx bit — wondering if I should be leery of joining a group that would have me as a member — especially as I feel more like a lucky hack than a professional. Maybe it’s something I have to live up to.

Of course, this doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things. To paraphrase one of my parents’ favorite sayings, to account for inflation and personal preference: that and a buck will buy me a diet soda.*

So, on to the next thing: finishing the next story.

*Even though “That and 50 cents will buy you a cup of coffee” sounds better, since I don’t drink coffee I’m not sure how many places still sell it for 50 cents.

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It's Official, for My Part: Story Sale to Asimov's

I’ve mentioned this before in other contexts, but now that I’ve signed the contract it feels more real: my short story “Sensitive, Compartmented” is slated to appear in Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine.

They currently plan to run the story in the April/May 2012 double issue.

For those of a military or Intelligence Community bent, the title should be suggestive. But not only in the way they might think.

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Second Sale to Analog

I’m very pleased to announce that I’ve signed the contract for my second sale to Analog Science Fiction & Fact. My story, “The Song of Uullioll,” should appear, I think, in the first half of 2012.

It was surreal when my first Analog story was published this past year. It’s even more surreal that I have stories slated for publication next year in the two biggest science fiction magazines, Analog and Asimov’s Science Fiction.

This is a nice dream I’m living.

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