“Why I Don’t Drink Anymore”

If you’ve been to my website recently you may have noticed that I changed the theme dramatically. Along with that I’ve been cleaning up some of the pages and making this place a more useful calling card for myself.

Right now I’m working on the Fiction page. It’ll probably be done by the time you read this. In the process of checking links I discovered that a story I published long, long ago at Abyss & Apex no longer exists on the website. That’s not a huge surprise. I think the archives got pruned long ago. And none of the editors working there now were working there back then.

I dug the page out of the Wayback Machine to reclaim the story, which I remembered as being rather short. I was right. Here it be:

Why I Don’t Drink Anymore

by not-K Tempest Bradford because I had a different pen name then

I’m sitting at my favorite café drinking absinthe when this guy comes up to me.

You’re a writer, aren’t you? he says.

Yeah, I says. How did you know?

You have that Hemingway thing going on, he says. Sitting around in a café all day. Drinking absinthe. Scribbling in your little notebook.

At this point I’m starting to get offended.

This isn’t Paris, you know, he says. This is Oregon. And you’re drinking in the middle of the day. Do you know what we call you types where I come from? Drunks. Damn drunks.

Then he walks away.

Oh, did I mention that this guy was a big scary eight foot tall monster with six arms? What a loser.

Story Notes: Uncertainty Principle (from Diverse Energies)

Story Notes: Uncertainty Principle (from Diverse Energies)

So I may have jumped the gun a bit early on the release date for Diverse Energies! However, according to the publisher, it is available now. And I’m seeing it in eBook format on Amazon and B&N, so I suspect print copies will be forthcoming very soon. Check your local, indie book sellers first!

I’m looking forward to hearing from people who read the stories to see what everyone thinks. Rachel Manija-Brown wrote a very thoughtful review here which then led into this post about dystopias and genre labels. One thing I find intriguing is that where Rahul Kanakia was told to write an SF action story, I was told to write a dystopia, yet his story is way more classic dystopia and mine has little shades of it but is more actiony.

Given the discussion on that post, I thought I’d give folks who read my story “Uncertainty Principle” a little peek into the background of it and my thinking around the whole dystopia thing.

As you might expect, these story notes are full of spoilers, so they’re going behind a cut. Don’t read unless you’ve read the story or don’t mind knowing some things about it! (also, ‘ware spoilers in the comments.)

[Read more...]

I Still Have That Dream

I Still Have That Dream

Been wondering why I’m in such a funk lately, then my calendar reminded me again this morning that today is my mother’s birthday. Her name is Marjorie Bradford and she died 13 years ago now, but the pain feels pretty fresh whenever I stop to think about her (which is often).

For many years after her death I tried to write a story that encapsulated how I felt about what happened and how much I loved her, but nothing ever came out quite right.

After she died, I had tons of dreams about her, but most of them had a common theme. In them, I was often aware that I only had a little bit of time to spend with her because I understood that she was sick and still dying. In some dreams she was very sick, in others almost completely healthy. A few times in my dreams I even asked her “How much time do we have?” and she’d say “Only a little while” or “A few days” or something.

It was as if, in my dreamscape, I was able to roll back the clock a little and revive her, but not completely and for good.

In mulling over why she almost always manifested in this way in my dreams led me to finally being able to write a story about her that did all of my memories and feelings and her impact on me justice. The story is “Elan Vital” and you can read or listen to it over at Escape Pod.

I’ve never read that story in public and probably never will because any attempt to do so will end up with me curling up in a ball sobbing. I don’t even read it to myself for that same reason.

However, when the story first appeared on the podcast I saw so many people praising the reading of it, I decided to listen to just a few minutes. I ended up listening to the whole thing. Mur Lafferty, as you may know, is an extremely talented reader. She did such justice to that story I can’t praise her enough.

Happy birthday, mom. I miss you and love you and I still have that dream.

Diverse Energies Launches Today!

Diverse EnergiesThe Diverse Energies anthology is now officially available in fine bookstores near you. Find it at a local, independent bookstore through IndieBound or grab it from Barnes & Noble or Amazon. I haven’t yet seen any eBook versions, but I think you’ll be able to find them through GoodReads.

Diverse Energies has 11 stories on a dystopian them for YA readers. Editors Tobias S Buckell and Joe Monti wanted to create an anthology full of characters that reflected the diversity they see in their own lives, so all of the protagonists are of color. Many of the authors are of color as well, and the stories well up from our perspective and experiences.

My story, “Uncertainty Principle”, features a girl of mixed Latina and Middle Eastern background who finds that the world changes around her — big changes that no one else but her notices.

Here’s the full TOC:

“The Last Day” by Ellen Oh
“Freshee’s Frogurt” by Daniel H. Wilson
“Uncertainty Principle” by K. Tempest Bradford
“Pattern Recognition” by Ken Liu
“Gods of Dimming Light” by Greg van Eekhout
“Next Door” by Rahul Kanakia
“Good Girl” by Malinda Lo
“A Pocket Full of Dharma” by Paolo Bacigalupi
“Blue Skies” by Cindy Pon
“What Arms to Hold” by Rajan Khanna
“Solitude” by Ursula K. Le Guin

Thus far I’ve seen many positive reviews of the book from advance readers. The Kirkus review even mentions my story:

Readers will find poor children working in mines and factories, a have-not yao boy kidnapping a rich you girl and a girl reeling as the world inexplicably changes around her, and no one else notices. Although many stories imagine bleak futures, their tones are refreshingly varied. Daniel Wilson’s tale of a robot attack at a frozen-yogurt shop takes the form of an almost-comical police-interview transcript. Ursula K. LeGuin’s “Solitude” is a sweeping, nostalgic epic. K. Tempest Bradford’s “Uncertainty Principle” is a character-driven time-travel tale. Understanding many of the stories takes patience: Readers are plunged quickly into complex worlds, and exposition often comes slowly.

There are a couple of other reviews that mention it as well, but everything is full of spoilers!

If you read the book and like it, please let folks know and leave reviews where possible. Also, buy it for the young persons in your life who like SF or like to read anything and everything.

Kindred Reading Series September: K. Tempest Bradford (that’s me!) & Ibi Zoboi

Next month I have the pleasure of reading alongside Ibi Zoboi at the Kindred Reading Series. September’s reading will take place at Bluestockings Books in New York City and it starts at 7PM.

I will likely read my story from Dark Faith: Invocations and maybe a teaser from “Uncertainty Principle”, my story in Diverse Energies. But, who knows, I may change my mind :)

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned the Kindred Reading Series here before, but it’s the brainchild of Jenn Brissett, an African-American writer from Brooklyn. She wanted to create a reading series for genre writers of color since there’s a general misconception that POC don’t write or read science fiction, fantasy or horror.

A secondary goal was to raise money for the Octavia E. Butler scholarship which helps writers of color attend Clarion and Clarion West, two intensive writing workshops for new authors.

If you’re in the New York area the last week of September, please drop by!

Coming Soon: My stories in Dark Faith: Invocations and Diverse Energies

Coming Soon: My stories in Dark Faith: Invocations and Diverse Energies

Those of you who view the blog proper may notice a couple new covers on the sidebar. I have stories in two anthologies coming out this fall and I’m very excited about both.

Dark Faith Invocations

The first one to come out will be Dark Faith: Invocations. From the Apex website:

Religion, science, magic, love, family — everyone believes in something, and that faith pulls us through the darkness and the light. The second coming of Dark Faith cries from the depths with 26 stories of sacrifice and redemption.

My story is “The Birth of Pegasus”. The full TOC is here and includes such awesome authors as Nisi Shawl, Jeffrey Ford and Tim Pratt. It launches at WorldCon in Chicago. If you won’t be there but want to pre-order a copy, click here. (You can get 10% off with coupon code: DFBradford)

 

Next is Diverse Energies, a YA dystopian anthology where all the stories feature characters of color. It will be out in October. I’m sharing a TOC with Ursula K LeGuin. I have not yet stopped doing the boggie about that.

You can’t pre-order Diverse Energies yet but I’ll let you know when you can.

What do you think of the covers?

As Always, My Thoughts On 9/11

Are best expressed in fiction.

Others have also raised concerns over the ongoing nature of the haitai ritual. Though performing it after the first or second anniversary isn’t unheard of, most clerics don’t recommend it. Wassirian cleric Anes Mshai is an outspoken opponent of further Red Seteshday haitai.

“Bringing closure and allowing family members to say goodbye is healthy. Especially in the case of such a massive disaster. But reliving and recreating the event over and over again every year may be keeping them from moving on.”

Until Forgiveness Comes at Strange Horizons

The Unblinking Eye [Part 1, rough]

The Unblinking Eye [Part 1, rough]

The cold open of my TNG/Doctor Who fanfic is done, so I thought I would share it with you all. I also came up with a tentative title. It will likely change.

Okay kids, keep in mind that this is a first draft. Like a really, really first draft. Have fun.

The Unblinking Eye

Captain’s Log, Stardate 46389.2. We’ve just entered the Davien system and commander LaForge informs me that the test of the new subspace field generator will commence within the hour. If successful, the new engine will increase dilithium efficiency three-fold.

“All right, Data. Activate the field.” Goerdi LaForge swept his rolling chair between consoles, keeping track of half a dozen monitors at once. This first test was going to be tricky, and he didn’t want to give the engineering core back at Starfleet Headquarters any reasons to shut him down before he could prove this new engine scheme would work.

“Subspace field activated.” Data stood at Engineering’s central console while the rest of the crew moved between the warp vestibule and their consoles, keeping almost as diligent an eye on the outputs as their boss.

All signs were good, and Geordi was about to give the order to go to warp 1 when a sharp, rushing sound interrupted the normal thrumthrum of the room. It lasted only seconds, hardly enough time for panic to well up in his chest at what might be going wrong. And when it was over a body lay sprawled on the floor.

“What–”

“Intruder alert,” the computer announced in her faux alarmed tone.  [Read more...]

Happily Ever After Is Now Out

Happily Ever After Is Now Out

Happily Ever After Cover

The Happily Ever After anthology is now on bookstore shelves (both virtual and physical). You should certainly go pick up a copy if you’re a fan of fairy tales, subversion of fairy tales, mythpunk, and other related things, as this book is FULL of such wonderful nonsense. The table of contents alone is enough to tempt people, and that cover is to die for. Here, I shall make it easy for you:

Amazon | Kindle | B&N / Nook | IndieBound

Best Birthday Present EVAR: Happily Ever After TOC

Best Birthday Present EVAR: Happily Ever After TOC

Many moons ago the awesome John Klima emailed and asked if I had any fairy tale retellings since he was putting together an anthology of such things. I sent him Black Feather (my Interfictions story), he accepted, I made a happy face. Life is good. Yesterday, for the first time, I saw who else is also in this anthology from a post on SFSignal. People, I had No Idea. I sporfled so hard on the subway train New Yorkers gave me the side eye.

Just look here and sporfle with me, won’t you?

  1. “The Seven Stage a Comeback” by Gregory Maguire
  2. “And In Their Glad Rags” by Genevieve Valentine
  3. “The Sawing Boys” by Howard Waldrop
  4. “Bear It Away” by Michael Cadnum
  5. “Mr. Simonelli or the Fairy Widower” by Susanna Clarke
  6. “The Black Fairy’s Curse” by Karen Joy Fowler
  7. “My Life As A Bird” by Charles de Lint
  8. “The Night Market” by Holly Black
  9. “The Rose in Twelve Petals” by Theodora Goss
  10. “The Red Path” by Jim C. Hines
  11. “Blood and Water” by Alethea Kontis
  12. “Hansel’s Eyes” by Garth Nix
  13. “He Died That Day, In Thirty Years” by Wil McCarthy
  14. “Snow In Summer” by Jane Yolen
  15. “The Rose Garden” by Michelle West
  16. “The Little Magic Shop” by Bruce Sterling
  17. “Black Feather” by K. Tempest Bradford
  18. “Fifi’s Tail” by Alan Rodgers
  19. “The Faery Handbag” by Kelly Link
  20. “Ashputtle” by Peter Straub
  21. “The Emperor’s New (And Improved) Clothes” by Leslie What
  22. “Pinocchio’s Diary” by Robert J. Howe
  23. “Little Red” by Wendy Wheeler
  24. “The Troll Bridge” by Neil Gaiman
  25. “The Price” by Patricia Briggs
  26. “Ailoura” by Paul Di Filippo
  27. “The Farmer’s Cat” by Jeff VanderMeer
  28. “The Root of The Matter” by Gregory Frost
  29. “Like a Red, Red Rose” by Susan Wade
  30. “Chasing America” by Josh Rountree
  31. “Stalking Beans” by Nancy Kress
  32. “Big Hair” by Esther Friesner
  33. “The Return of the Dark Children” by Robert Coover

Susanna Clarke, Kelly Link, Jeff Vandermeer, Genevieve Valentine, Holly Black, Neil Gaiman, the list of awesome just keeps getting longer and longer! Nancy Kress was my first Clarion West instructor and now I am in an anthology with her. What.

But the most exciting bit is this. No anthology of this kind would be complete without Theodora Goss, that goes without saying. But the story in here, “The Rose in Twelve Petals,” is one of my favorite stories of All Time[1]. One of the first that ever moved me to track down an author’s website and email her[2]. That one of my stories gets to be in the same book as that is a most excellent way to begin my next year of life.

The book is out in June, and you can pre-order it from Nightshade or Amazon or Barnes & Noble or likely your local bookshop.

P.S. I would also like to point out that, once again, I’m in a book with a gorgeous cover.

Footnotes

  1. I just came across this blog post where Dora talks about how the story came to be. She mentions that it was her first story ever published — a surprise to myself — and that it’s been 10 years now. That… makes me feel old.[]
  2. the other was “The Run of the Fiery Horse,” which I talked about in the PodCastle introduction.[]

Zira’s Heart, Shannon’s Life Force, and Tempest’s Back

Zira's Heart, Shannon's Life Force, and Tempest's Back

Several bits of fictiony news for you! First, I’m experimenting with self-publishing short stories as eBooks just to see what the process is like and to feel out interest in this arena. I have no plans to completely abandon sending my stories out to magazines and such. But there are a few stories that I love and still believe are good, but I’ve run out of markets for them. One such is Zira’s Heart, which is a bit too long for most markets. So, I decided to submit it to Smashwords and get it listed in most major eBook stores to see how that goes.

Shorts never receive the same kind of attention that books get in these situations, but I still think it could be interesting (and fun). I uploaded it last night and it’s already in the Smashwords catalog. Now I’m waiting to see if they’ll accept it for distribution to Amazon, B&N, iBooks and the like. I put the cover and link up on the sidebar of my site and I’m tracking how many clicks it gets. I’ll report as time goes on.

In other news, I don’t know why but I keep forgetting to blog about my first Escape Pod story! Elan Vital, which first appeared in Sybil’s Garage no 6, was podcasted in Escape Pod and read by Mur Lafferty. I’m completely excited to have cracked that market and really glad Mur is the editor now, as I enjoy her other podcasts quite a bit.

I did not intend to actually listen to the piece since I always get emotional even looking at that story. But as several people had praised Mur’s reading of it, I decided to listen to just a little. I ended up listening to the entire thing (crying almost the whole time, arg). Mur is fantastic, as others have said. She strikes the perfect notes all the way through. I’m so lucky! All of my Escape Artists stories have been read by such excellent and talented people[1].

The discussion about my story is filled with people saying they really loved it (squee!) and some who bounced off hard. I am amused, however, by the person who said early on that the story “isn’t science fiction“. Also amused by the person who pointed out that, whatever happens in the future, he is sure companies will always find ways to charge us subscription fees. Too right.

Over at the Biology in Science Fiction blog, the poster asks “What would you be willing to give to keep someone you love alive?” which is more the center of my story than the actual science. I do enjoy some hard SF now and then. But I’m int he camp of people who think that the science or technology in SF is meant to serve the characters and the plot and the idea, not the other way around. Too much Star Trek as a child?

And finally, this weekend I went to Macy’s in my quest to find a new mattress (as described here) on the advice of those who said they had great deals. Those people? Have a weird idea of what constitutes a great deal. Nothing below $1,000 in the quality I need, and salespeople who didn’t even want to admit that they might be able to sell me a mattress without a box spring. They looked horrified that I should want such a thing. My old box spring is clearly inferior to anything they have. Cue eyeroll.

PayPal being under attack by Anonymous affected a couple of family members from donating to my mattress fund last week, but I think that’s over now. Yay? I haven’t even looked at the account yet since a bunch of people sent me a note saying they wouldn’t be able to send money until next week or so, which is fine. I’m going to ask my new roommate to help me flip my current mattress tonight and try to sleep on the less fucked up side so that my back will stop screaming at me in the night.

Here’s what I don’t get: how did we, as humans, survive all this time without natural latex memory foam individually-wrapped coil mattresses? I mean, this is crazy. There must be a solution for sleeping that is not bad for your back and also comfortable. Also one that does not cost $600+. Fie.

Footnotes

  1. Yeah, that’s right, Amal. I am talkin’ about you. Whatcha gunna do about it, huh?[]

Audible Tempest

Audible Tempest

Due to a great lack of spoons (and the evil hacking of my web server), I have not yet made a post telling you about wonderful things! Fiction-related things! I shall do so now.

First, as I mentioned, I was on the radio the other week. Hour of the Wolf, 5am, reading the first draft of a story and having it critiqued on air by my wonderful writing group, Altered Fluid. For those of you not up at 5am on a Saturday, the archive of the show is here[1]. Those of you subscribed to my first draft journal have seen that story in its very, very first incarnation.

In other news, my Interfictions story, “Black Feather”, recently went up on PodCastle. You can check out the story here if you haven’t already[2]. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the folks on the forum did not hate it! Not everyone loved it, of course, but there appears to be some nice balance to the responses.

I am amused by the discussion going on surrounding the line “Flying is nothing more than controlled falling.”

The mighty Amal El-Mohtar read the story beautifully, and the awesome M. K. Hobson did the introduction. These are two of my favorite ladies, so it was all squeeness for me. Amal wondered how her reading compared to the one I did below. I have to say, I had the benefit of a band behind me. Normally, I feel like my readings suck. But that night everyone who read was on fire. I still need to make an MP3 of Veronica reading “Rats”.

Anyway, if you listen to both versions, I think Amal and I would both enjoy hearing what you think of them.


Footnotes

  1. Once the archive goes away, expect to find that file in, uh, other places.[]
  2. You should subscribe to PodCastle if you like audio fiction that fits neatly into a commute[]

I turned it into a story but the hole in my heart is still there

I turned it into a story but the hole in my heart is still there

Last year when I was a guest on Hour of the Wolf I read my 9/11-inspired story Until Forgiveness Comes on the air. Jim Freund liked it so much and liked the radio-y/NPR-esque-ness that he suggested we should record it as a radio play. I am all for that, so I wrote a script and we’ve been slowly, slowly working our way toward making that happen.

Jim will produce, we’ll likely get studio time at WBAI, and the fabulous Andrea Hairston will direct. She has some actors in mind, Jim keeps insisting I should do a part, and I am crossing my fingers for a guest appearance by Margo Adler (the original host of Hour of the Wolf and fancy NPR contributor). But I know we’ll need to bring in a few actors to read, and it would be nice if those actors could be paid. This is the part that’s holding up the works, unfortunately.

I’m hoping to get that all resolved because I would really love to have the play ready to go on next year’s anniversary. Despite the fact that many of us here in NYC are truly Not On about the spectacle that these anniversaries have become, it’s not likely to get any better next year due to the West’s love of base 10. So I’d like to make a small contribution to the conversation that isn’t about politics or publicity.

Somehow the money will emerge. That or we’ll find really excellent actors who don’t mind working for free. Still, I’d rather give everyone involved something for their time.

You can still read Until Forgiveness Comes at Strange Horizons or you can listen to the second half of my appearance on HotW where I read the story then take calls.

I’ll be back on the show next Saturday with my writing group, Altered Fluid. They will be critiquing a story of mine live on the air. At 5am… Yes, there will be a podcast you can download later, but you’ll miss the call-in part!

(x-posted)

Trying Out This eBook Thang

Trying Out This eBook Thang

So I have a couple of stories that I’d like to sell as individual eBooks, just to try the whole process out. I’ve made the ePub file — which took more doing than should have been necessary… — and I’ve tried it out on the eReaders I have around. But I’d really appreciate it if those of you out there with an eReader or a smartphone that has an EPUB-reading app would check it for me as well. Just let me know in the comments if you’d like a copy and I’ll send it to the email you leave there. Thanks!

Next step is getting accounts on and uploading my story to some eBook stores. I’m thinking iBooks, Kindle, Sony, Kobo, B&N, Scribd and maybe B&N once their self-publishing thing happens. Anyone have experience with these they want to share?

Hugo Nominations

First, a reminder. Hugo nominations close this Friday. If you are eligible to nominate, you should. You can nominate if you were a member of last year’s WorldCon or if you are a member of this year’s already. If you don’t know how to nominate, go here.

That said.

There were many fine stories and novels and novelettes and such published last year. I hope that if you read one you liked you will nominate it. Even if you didn’t read every story ever, you should nominate. And, if you are so inclined, I would not object to you nominating one of my stories.

I am not smooth at all, but whatever.

If I were to choose one story that I would ask people to consider it would be Elan Vital from Sybil’s Garage no 6. I personally think it’s the best short story of mine published last year, though I am excessively fond of Enmity and Different Day as well. It’s up to you to make that choice.

Also, I am eligable for Fan Writer. Just so you know.

Now I will stop my shameless plugging and get back to my regularly scheduled programming.