Shimmer and Mothership Zeta

I’ve got a brand new story out in Shimmer Magazine this month, entitled “A Drop of Ink Preserved in Amber.” Amber is a genetically modified human in a time where genetic modifications could spell government-sanctioned euthanization.  She must struggle to keep her secrets secret, while not letting bigotry erase her history.

Here’s an excerpt:

They flew from New York to LA. Mama called it a “test flight.”  Daddy said her drawers were big enough to use now, but they had to be sure.  Neither of those things made much sense to Amber, but, they were her parents, and she wanted to do them proud.

Six long hours later, they landed and retrieved their bags. Emerging from the terminal into the hot California sun, her parents gleefully loaded her into a rental car, laughing.  Daddy drove, and Mama sat with her in the backseat.

“You can open them up now,” Mama said with a smile. “You did a very good job.  You’re a very good girl.”

Amber didn’t feel like a good girl. She didn’t know why, but hiding her drawers from the lady in New York felt wrong.

She took off her shirt anyway–the one with the cartoon dinosaur with googly eyes–and pressed the center of what should have been her breast bone.

When closed, the drawers were invisible; she looked like any other pudgy child, with uninterrupted contours, a round belly, and tiny limbs. But when she pressed just right, large sphincters unfurled like flowers, letting the bony drawers slide out.

Supple skin covered in fine, velvety hair encased the calcium structures. The drawers were well padded with cartilage and thick skin, protecting whatever she–or her parents–chose to hide in them.

Mama kissed her forehead and gently plucked a piece of cut amber from her daughter’s chest. It was set in a roughly worked bronze brooch, with small accent rubies encircling the main stone.


The full story will be available online in December, and I’ll post a link again then. Right now you can purchase the issue for download here (click the cover):

shimmer nov 15

I’ve also got a reprint out in the inaugural issue of Mothership Zeta. If you are familiar with Escape Artist publications, you know this new endeavor is bound to be a good one!  “Imma Gonna Finish You Off,” a humor story about immortality and killer robots, is just one of many fun romps you’ll find inside.  Click the cover for more:



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It’s November!

Demon!Dean would like to remind you that Halloween is unfortunately over, so you should change all of your October handles back to their regularly scheduled dullness…or else.

Demon Dean with pumpkin by MJNL

But luckily Castiel is here to welcome you to November, which is, of course, National Novel Writing Month.

Castiel Nanowrimo final by MJNL



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My Exceptionally Late and Exceptionally Brief Post-Sasquan Post

I came, I saw, I choked to death in the apocalyptic-levels of forest-fire smoke. Awesome people were hung-with, I met old friends for the first time, spent time with three-thirds of a brain, created an epic photobomb when I didn’t mean to, and basically had a blast. All while maintaining the utmost professionalism, of course.

I present to you my limited collection of pictures (as I am awful at stopping the party to pull out my phone):

On the Street sasquan

Above: C. Stuart Hardwick, Martin L. Shoemaker, Gama Ray Martinez, Austin DeMarco, Tina Gower

Austin and Beth

Above: Austin n Beth Cato

Jeremy Tina Andrea

Above: Jeremy Honer, Tina Gower, Andrea G. Stewart

Photo 3 by Lezli Robyn

Above: Tina, Kary English, Me, Mike Resnick, Lezli Robyn

Tina n Tardis

Above: Tina, the TARDIS, and Dr. Bashir

At the Hugos!

Me n Jackie

Above: Jacquelyn Bartel n Me

Hugos 1

Above: Gama, Thomas K. Carpenter, Jacquelyn, Jeremy, Andrea

Hugos 2

Above: Stuart and Dominick D’Aunno

Hugos 3

Above: The awards stage, before the place was packed.

After the Hugos!

Photo 1 by Lezli Robyn

Here’s an extremely blurry picture of the Alfies (an award created and distributed and voted upon by GRRM, which you’ve probably heard the run down on by now):

GRRM n alfies

Above: GRRM and company

And the epic photobomb.  Which I actually did not mean to do. Obviously it is the best picture take of me during the con:

photo bomb

Above: John Scalzi and Jason Gurley and me being an idiot (photo by Annie Bellet).

Others took much less–ahem–insane pictures of me as well, here’s an example. Note lack of crazy groundhog face:

Photo 2 by Lezli Robyn

Above: Me n Tina being photobombed by Writer Dad and Robert Silverberg (photo by Lezli Robyn)

Anywho, there’s my drama-free roundup. Informative and controversial, I know.


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Here, Have Some Fiction:

“Cyberplant” is out in issue numero sixteen of Galaxy’s Edge. This one is near and dear to my heart because I wrote it after taking a bucket-list trip with my mom to Peru, where I fell in love with the country. It’s also the story I wrote for the 24hr challenge during the WotF workshop week.


The sun hardly shines in Lima, and never in October. Maybe it’s because Mama Cocha is jealous of the sun god, Inti. Maybe it’s because she is enamored of Ilyap’a, and his clouds give her comfort.

Either way, Mother Sea rules. It is her city. The other gods have kingdoms of their own.

My pilgrimage was to Inti’s domain: Machu Picchu.

The flight from Miami lasted six hours. The two other passengers in my row asked for new seat assignments. No one wanted to sit next to the giant of a man with passionflower leaves growing out of his ears and red wires circling his head like a turban. If it hadn’t been for the sick baby across the aisle, maybe I could have stretched out and slept. It would have been the first time in forty-eight hours.

A deep numbness clutched my limbs and my chest—not just a lack of physical sensation, but a deadening of emotion. I thought sleep might restore some semblance of feeling to my body, if not my person. But no go.

From the Lima airport I took a taxi into the city proper. We skirted along the ocean, mirroring the undulation of the cliffs. Surfers paddled out into the meager waves, and a briny stench permeated the air.

The taxi driver dropped me at a bus station where I could get a ride to Cusco. He shot me a scowl when I tipped him. Because of my implants, he thought I could afford more.

The journey from the coast to south-central Peru took fifteen hours, with only the briefest of pit stops. Suddenly my plane ride didn’t look so bad. Sleep was still elusive, and an elderly man from Puno grilled me the whole way. He asked me why my skin was green, and if my palm-scanners could fry his brain, and if it were true that all cyberplants believe rainbows have feelings.

I did not know the Spanish word for chlorophyll, or how to explain to a non-believer that rainbows not only have feelings, they are each Cuichu. If nothing else, I was able to communicate that my scanners would have zero effect on his brain.

Thankfully he was polite enough not to ask about my pilgrimage, or my family.

Click to keep reading:



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MaryLin’s Special Brand of Magic up at DSF

My story MaryLin’s Special Brand of Magic is up at Daily Science Fiction.  Below is an excerpt and a link!

The magic appeared in 2019, when a rogue comet performed an impossible loop-de-loop while passing Earth. The strange astrological phenomenon was a sign, a sigil, a portent–or perhaps just a pretense. Whatever it was, the day after, millions of people around the world awoke to find themselves blessed–or cursed–with magical abilities. The magic appeared random, with no rhyme or reason as to why some people had received powers when others had not. Worse, the majority of the new warlocks, sorceresses, alchemists and whatnot couldn’t pin down the rules to their particular brand of hocus-pocus before things got out of hand.

Luckily, MaryLin wasn’t like most people. She’d figured out her place in the new world right away. Having been raised by a professional poker player turned semi-professional con man, she’d learned early on: find an angle. All you need to survive is an angle.
Well, she’d found her angle, and her powers had become the most desired around.
Her brand of magic was… unique.
Click to keep reading.  You know you want to!
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Audio Version of “Imma Gonna Finish You Off” Up at Escapepod

In a world where  immortality is a thing, what is detective Harry Sordido to do when a homeless man is murdered and won’t freaking come back to life to tell him who the killer is?


On the examining table lounged a body.  It was an unremarkable body–rather wrinkly, with an inordinate amount of hair in all the wrong places and too few clothes for most people’s liking, but otherwise nothing to write your congressman about.  The only thing special about the body was that it was dead–a problem that Detective Harry Sordido hoped would resolve itself quite soon.

“Will he just get on with the coming back to life already?” Harry huffed, checking the glowing numbers embedded in his left wrist.  With his right hand, he patted his ample, middle-aged girth.  “He’s not the only victim I’ve got to question today.”

“I’m not sure what’s the matter with him,” said the medical examiner, lifting the dead man’s wrist between two thin fingers.  “He should have let out a nice scream-of-life by now.”  He let the limb flop back to the sanitary paper.

“What do you think it was?” asked the detective, “Accidental? Experimental? Purposeful?  What do you think he died of?”

“You’ll have to ask him to be sure.  He was found out on the sidewalk.  No indications of violence or a struggle, but he does look a tad flaccid.”

“Ah, disgruntled lover, then.”

“No, I mean on the whole.  Like he’s been wrung out.”

They both stared at the body for a long while.

“You don’t think he’s really–?” began Detective Sordido.

“It is starting to seem a bit permanent.”

“That’s impossible! No one’s really died for damned near a millennium.”

The examiner shrugged.  “There’s a first time for every eventuality.”

Wanna listen to the whole thing read by Alasdair Stuart?  Ya know ya do:

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New Story: “Lifeboat” out in Vitality Magazine

The July issue of Vitality is now free to download!  “Lifeboat” is the cover story for the issue, and has four beautiful accompanying illustrations.

The story takes place post-Earth, when the crew of a mining spacecraft–who believe themselves to be the last remnants of life–discover a strange vessel. It could be a dangerous trap left over from the final war, or it could be proof that they aren’t alone in the universe.

Here’s an excerpt:

“We’ve finished our initial sweep.  It’s all one room.  This is it.  There are a few access panels to the inner workings, but nothing we can identify as an inhabitable space.”

“What’s it for?” Martinez wondered aloud.  “There’s nothing in here.”

“I don’t know, but I get the feeling you’re right: it’s not a remnant from the war.”

“But where did it come from?  Why’s it here?”  She turned back to the bramble.  “Keep searching.  I want signs of life.  A hair, a scale, a flake of skin, whatever.  There have to be remnants of whoever made it.”

Could it really be that we’re not alone?  That it’s not man-made?  Her heart leapt.  Not alone.

On a whim, she stuck out two gloved fingers, hooked them under one of the twisted metal pieces on the console, and pulled.

The ship groaned and shuddered.  There was a great screech of metal on metal, as though the vessel had not been given commands for a very long time.

The away team stopped, and everyone looked up.  Something moved in the dark.

Clat, clat, clat–a huge metal turbine, the length of the ship, slowly rolled overhead.  The walls quivered.

The garish protrusions she’d noted before jerked out of the walls, like plaster figures popped from silicon molds.  They were attached to long coils of wire, which the turbine rolled up, forming a sort of tent over the bay.  Hidden row after row of the objects came forth from their compartments.  When the ship lay quiet again, the vast room was filled with dangling, glittering shapes.  They looked like fancy party decorations or Christmas ornaments with the way they glimmered in the flashlight beams.

A few tinkled like chimes as they bounced lightly off one another.

You click the cover to go to the download page:

July-Issue-Cover Vitality

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A Debt Repaid and Sojourn for Ephah

A Debt Repaid (which was my contribution to Lightspeed’s Women Destroy Science Fiction issue) is now up for a quarter at QuarterReads.

Also, did you know that Intergalactic Medicine Show posts its previous issue for free when the new issue comes out?  I didn’t!  I found out after  Sojourn for Ephah was reprinted in this special (also free) sampler issue.  Click here to see IGMS’s ‘Free Issues’ page.


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Loki Wishes You a Happy Free Comic Book Day!

It’s Free Comic Book Day 2015 today!  That means you can visit this site: and type in your zip code to see participating retailers near you, then walk in, and receive one of these 50 titles for free!

And, you do realize Avengers: Age of Ultron is out, right?

Loki n Staff by MJNL

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March and April Nightmare Artist Spotlights

I have been remiss in my posting of Nightmare interviews!  Here are the two you might have missed:

Most recently we have Dariusz Zawadzki:

MJNL: Who has influenced you artistically?

DZ: As a child I liked Salvador Dali. I also remember a booklet with Schiller’s ballades I found as a toddler on my parents’ shelf. I spent hours, mesmerized, with my eyes fixed on the illustrations. Later, of course, I had some painters I particularly liked and still like, but what actually influences me is rather a profound world of emotions, not necessarily raised by art. Eyesight is not everything.


And in March we had Robert Emerson:

MJNL: First off I’d like to ask you a question in the spirit of Nightmare: What scares you the most?

RE: Spiders! Can’t stand them, I hate them . . . If they were put on Earth just so birds would have something to eat, then we need more birds.

MJNL: What is your favorite medium to work with and why?

RE: I used to work in pen and ink, pencils, pastels, and oils but lost the use of my right arm/hand. On my journey to being left-handed, I’ve learned to work exclusively in digital mediums, which I truly love.


Click on their respective covers to get the full interview and to see galleries of their beautiful work!


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