Artist Showcase Interview with Johnny Dombrowski

Nightmare’s February cover artists is Johnny Dombrowski.  He works as the Art Handler at the Society of Illustrators in New York while also pursuing a freelance career.

Here’s a sample from the interview:

MJNL: Your website mentions your fascination with film noir, and I think its influence is readily visible in your art. What is it about this particular style of film that inspires you?

JD: The atmosphere. You can pick a shot at random from any film noir and it will be composed and lit beautifully. When the first stage of working is in black and white, stills from those movies are a wealth of inspiration. At the same time, loving the bold style of comics, I love the smoky feel noir gives off, so I’ve tried to put that in to my work. Starting with the flat colors, then building more depth and atmosphere within the image.

To learn more about Johnny and his work, click the cover!

nightmare 29



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Jim Baen Memorial Writing Award Finalists

Just a quick post to let y’all know I made the finalist list for this year’s Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest.  Whoohoo!  Lots of great writers right there with me, so the competition is at least as stiff as last year, if not stiffer!  The list includes:

Robert Dawson

John Eckelkamp

C. Stuart Hardwick

Jamie Lackey

Stanley Love

Angus McIntyre

Karen Birkedahl Rylander

Shawn Scarber

Martin L. Shoemaker

And… me.

Link to the Locus announcement:


Happy Groundhog Day!

If the groundhog sees his shadow, we’ll have six more weeks of winter.

If instead he sees Predator’s shadow, he’ll get eaten, and we’ll have at least six more years of Schwarzenegger movies.


Pred Shadow of Doom small 2 by MJNL


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Super Bowl XLIX and Writing — What can We Learn from Football?

It’s Super Bowl Sunday!  And to celebrate, I’ve got an article up on fellow author Kate Heartfield’s blog about football and what writers can learn from the sport in terms of creating conflict and tension.  It’s all part of an ongoing series she’s hosting about writers and their unlikely influences.

Why does someone root for the Packers instead of the Bears? Why, if you’re a Washington fan, do you “hate” the Dallas team and vice-versa? What exactly do the people of Oakland have against the people of Denver?

And why do we sometimes root for cheaters?

Find out in the post! Check it out here:


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Stories (by Me and Others) Eligible for Awards this Year

Hello all!  If you by any chance are nominating for either the Nebulas or Hugos, here is a list of my publications from 2014 that are awards-eligible (which excludes  reprints and shared-world stories).

I’ve linked to the stories that are available on line.

Best Short Story category:

Elsa’s Spheres, sci-fi (IGMS)

Imma Gonna Finish You Off, sci-fi humor (Galaxy’s Edge)

A Debt Repaid, sci-fi flash fiction (Lightspeed Magazine, WDSF special issue)

Lenora of the Low, dark fantasy (Fantasy for Good anthology)

Best Novelette category:

Balance, sci-fi ( (also won second in the Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest)


And here’s a list of other people’s short work that I recommend. I’m specifically choosing lesser-known pieces that I think deserve far more attention than they’ve received.

Best Short Story category:

The Thing About Shapes To Come by Adam-Troy Castro, sci-fi (Lightspeed Magazine)

Rules For Killing Monsters by David Sklar, dark fantasy (Nightmare Magazine)

Unfilial Child by Laurie Tom, fantasy (Streets of Shadows anthology)

Intersection by Gio Clairval, sci-fi flash fiction (Galaxy’s Edge)

A Dragon’s Doula by M.K. Hutchins, fantasy (IGMS)

Best Novella:

On the Winds of the Rub’ Al-Khali (part 1, part 2), by Stephen Gaskell (IGMS) (ETA: NOTE.  Only part 1 is technically eligible for nomination this year.  The novella will be eligible as a whole next year if part 1 does not make the ballot this year.)


And there are a few wonderful people I think you should consider for the Campbell Award for best new writer. I admit to a bias here, seeing as how they are some of my WotF vol. 29 classmates, but I genuinely think they deserve recognition this early in their careers:

Andrea G. Stewart (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Daily Science Fiction, and more)

Tina Gower (Galaxy’s Edge, Black Denim Lit, and more)

Brian Trent (Apex, Analog, and more)

Shannon Peavey (Urban Fantasy magazine, Daily Science Fiction, and more)


Go forth, read, nominate!


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This is Why I Won’t Use Uber

Vader small Uber Tie by MJNL

You never know who’s going to show up.

No way I’m getting in your tie-fighter, man.


P.S.  Also feels like a good time to announce a story sale!  Look for “The Stem” in a upcoming volume of Spark: A Creative Anthology.  I’ll post a link once it goes live.

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Artist Spotlight Interview: Tran Nguyen

Tran Nguyen is a Georgia-based gallery artist and freelance illustrator. Born in Vietnam and raised in the States, she is fascinated by visuals that can be used as a psycho-therapeutic support vehicle.

MJNL: Your art has been featured in many publications, including Spectrum, and you’ve done work for high-profile businesses such as Tor, Hatchet, McDonald’s, and Playboy Magazine.  You’ve also had many gallery exhibitions. To what do you attribute your success?

TN: It’s absolutely all because of my selfless family.  I know it may sound super-saiyan cheesy, but my parents brought my brothers and I to the States with absolutely nothing at hand.  Since we’ve moved here from Vietnam in 1990, I’ve seen my dad work in harsh conditions for meager pay so that I could have a better lifestyle, attend a wonderful school, and pursue my artistic endeavors (which is uncommon in Vietnam).  In witnessing their endless devotion and hard work, I can’t but be inspired to work just as hard and make them proud as well as myself.

To learn more about Tran, and to see a gallery of her work, click on the cover below.











Happy Reading in 2015!

It’s 2015!  Hope the new year brings you lots of laughs and loves and good stories.  I look forward to sharing more new fiction and new artists’ interviews with you soon!

If you’d like to start 2015 off with warm fuzzies and a good book, might I suggest Fantasy for Good?  It was officially released on December 9th.  Don’t forget that all of the work was donated and the proceeds go to the Colon Cancer Alliance.  This book helps fight cancer!  The anthology contains stories by George R.R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, Piers Anthony, Katherine Kerr, Carrie Vaughn, the late Jay Lake and Roger Zelazny.  Not to mention many more.  And I might have something in there, too.  Here’s an excerpt from my story, Lenora of the Low:

Lenora turned to the claw-footed bathtub and pulled the cracked curtain from around its edge. Beyond lay her flesh-garden.

Like insects pinned to a collector’s cardstock, sections of skin lay mounted on fragments of wood in a saline bath.  Small wires slithered into the tub and provided mild shocks every few moments.  The flesh crawled with the energy, flexing and shivering at the stimulation.

Each stolen piece of living tissue equated another day on Earth for a Low One such as she.  Another day beyond the reach of the reaper’s clawing spirit.

Exiting the bathroom, she began preparations for her last harvest.  With giddy, fidgeting fingers, she pulled her tobacco pouch and pipe from their hiding place between the bedsprings and lit up.

Thin smoke curled around her like a halo. Avoiding her grotesque reflection in the vanity mirror, she pulled a small chain with a rose charm from a drawer and secured it around her neck.  It was a reminder that this night didn’t belong to her alone.  She would get her revenge and become a savior all in one glorious swoop.

Click on the cover to pick up a copy:

Fantasy for Good cover

And if you’re looking for yet more great fiction, grab a copy of the Best of Galaxy’s Edge 2013-2014.  It’s the best of the best from the publication’s first year–curated by Mike Resnick.

Click the cover to get a copy:

Best of Galaxy's Edge One

Happy New Year, and happy reading!



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