So apparently I’m writing short stories now.
If you’re an artist, you understand — you have to go where inspiration takes you. And sometimes your muse can take you to some strange places, indeed…
I’m no stranger to short stories — I wrote close to two dozen in college as part of my Creative Writing workshops, and while I regard the quality of that work with nothing short of despair at the time I greatly enjoyed the quick and easy thrill of assembling a story and having it out of your hands in a matter of weeks, rather than months. With the exception of the Tales of a Blood Earth stories and Crucifix Point, I hadn’t written a short story in quite some time (and honestly I’m not sure if those count, since all three of them took place in the Blood Skies world, one of them starred the regular series characters, and one was a rip-off of my own work from City of Scars).
Recently, however, as I was editing Red Tide At Morning, I found myself (as I often do) deep in the throes of editing but not getting any actual writing done. At that point I was still struggling with how to end Dead Planet, and I wasn’t quite ready to start working on Bloodstar or The Veilfire Trilogy, but I wanted to write something.
So I did what ever writer does at that point…I moped. And drank.
Then I came up with a Plan B, and started reading some of my favorite short fiction: Clive Barker’s The Books of Blood, Stephen King’s Skeleton Crew, and China Mieville’s Waiting for Jake.
And starting around June I was bitten by the short-story writing bug.
There’s a lot to like about short stories, aside from the fact that, yes, they’re short. (Duh.) Short stories are a breeding ground for crazy ideas, some stuff you might not normally try to base an entire novel around — bizarre concepts, unorthodox storytelling techniques, tales that eschew a traditional narrative. Granted, these are all things you could accomplish with a novel, but something about short stories makes them seem like a natural field for sowing the seeds of outlandish creativity.
So, to that effect, in the past four months I’ve written five full-length short stories, with a sixth on the way. Most of these will likely be submitted for publication in magazines or e-zines, or else I’ll release them in a collection later on (something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time).
One, however, will wind up in your hands soon, and I want you to help me pick which one.
Here’s a breakdown of the stories written so far, as well as the one being “hatched” (I’ll be a good deal into it by the time you read this post). Subscribe to my newsletter if you haven’t already (that’s how I’ll be sending the stories), and let me know which one you’d like by leaving a comment here or on our Facebook page or by using the contact page. I’ll leave the votes open until the end of October, and then send out the completed and edited story by the end of November.
There are bound to be more stories on the way — I intend to keep going until the ideas dry up — but here’s what we have to work with so far…
Black Dogs: A band of slavers gets more than they bargained for when they raid a shattered coastal town and wake an ancient evil.
Carnivore: The dead rise, the world ends, and one woman finds herself inexorably tied to humanity’s fate…if only she can survive long enough.
The Slaver’s Chain: A young witch turned paranormal investigator witnesses the dark history of a powerful and evil artifact.
Eyes: Space mercenary Rike, locked away in a fringe territories prison, is in for the fight of his life when a most unusual fellow inmate starts trouble.
Pillars: Silent creatures appear in holes left by mysterious blasts of flame, and one man believes they may hold the key to getting his wife back.
Old One-Eye: Years after the last superhero was hunted down and incarcerated, a team of corporate engineers stumble upon a dark secret buried in a temple in Eastern Europe.