Tag Archives: humor

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:

Mothership-Zeta-Volume-1-Issue-1-Escape-Artists-Inc_-194x300

~Marina

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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: http://escapepod.org/2015/07/28/ep501-imma-gonna-finish-you-off/

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QuarterReads: Great Stories for Pocket Change

Forget about bang for your buck–how much bang can you get for a quarter? I’ve uploaded three of my sci-fi humor reprints to QuarterReads, a new website that lets you purchase individual stories for a quarter. Though the site design is simple, I think the idea behind it is wonderful. Here are the highlights:

*All stories are 2,000 words or under. They’re quick, satisfying reads.

*Of that quarter spent, twenty-two cents goes directly to the author.

*Browsing and buying are both simple. So far, finding things I’d like to read is easy. There’s a search by genre, popularity, and they suggest stories based on what you’ve already read. And you purchase a set amount of reads ahead of time, so it only takes one click to buy the story (you don’t have to worry about the hassle of going through paypal every time you want to read).

*The site is curated, meaning all stories have to be approved before they display, so you shouldn’t find stories with tons of typos or incredibly wonky formatting. And nothing will be incomplete.

*Tipping is encouraged, but not necessary. If you thought your read was worth more than a quarter, you can tip the author extra.

If you’d like to check it out, you can visit my author page here: https://quarterreads.com/writer.php?id=80

Happy reading!

~Marina

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Short Story Sale!

I’ve just sold a sci-fi humor detective story to Galaxy’s Edge. My first story with this venue is set to appear in the September issue, so I’m very glad to have another one in the works.

Happy dance time.

~Marina

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Penumbra Lost Issue Out Today

The April issue of Penumbra is out.  It contains my humor-flash piece entitled: Ol’ Soapy’s Revenge.  Here’s a sample:

End-of-timers flocked to the streets, sure the anomaly would pass over the Earth and send us all to Hell.  Some said it was an alien creation meant to take us out before we could take them out.  Others said it was an alien, pure and simple.

The inception of the Church of Star Trek: Doomsday Machine was an especially low point, in my opinion.

Check it out!

Penumbra Lost Cover

http://penumbra.musapublishing.com/

~Marina

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Of Profiles and Pitches

I open my email and find I have a new twitter follower. Cool. That’s a pretty rare event for me, seeing as I how I’m sitting at nobody status at the moment and I don’t go on following rampages looking for random hoards to follow me back.

I like to visit followers’ profiles to see if they’re fly-bys or people I’d actually like to network with. So, I go to this guy’s profile and read: “Can a man who throws his dates in a dungeon succeed romantically?”

And the first thing I think is, “Holy crap.” Followed by, “This guy probably thinks that’s a funny way to describe himself and has no idea how creepy it sounds.”

For the record, I know nothing about this individual. He seems nice enough, but his twitter profile gave me the wrong impression. I quickly got over that impression after I, you know, read past the first sentence in his profile, but it got me thinking — there are certain places you want to put things like loglines and summaries, and certain places you do not.

Yes, that is a logline for the humor novel he currently has out. In that context, it is funny. But I had no indication he was a writer until after the creepy first impression.

Profiles are bad places to put loglines, especially if you don’t preface them. When someone goes to an ‘about me’ page or a twitter profile, they expect to learn about the person, not be pitched a product. That expectation can color their impression of whatever they find there.

I was halfway to the block tab before I decided to go back and read the second sentence. I’ve gotten followed by random creepy people before (“Just looking for someone to spend hot, steamy, guilt-free nights with” — er, no thank you. Or ” #&$%ing bitches be hating.  You one of them?” — Take your chauvinism elsewhere), and wasn’t about to trade tweets with a guy who thinks joking about abusing the women he meets is funny.

When we promote our products we want to make sure we’re promoting what we think we’re promoting. We want to be sure that we’re reaching the right audience in the right way.

I might be his target audience.  I love humor novels.  But, if I’d done what I typically do when I get “that vibe” — run to block — I wouldn’t have even realized I’d passed over a writer’s profile.

There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with his approach, but it did make me do a double take. I’m not saying, “Don’t promote your book this way,” just, “Think about it for a while before you take this approach.” Make sure it’s getting you what you think it’s getting you.

Those of you with loglines that follow a more sinister vein might want to be extra cautious.

And, who knows, maybe his strategy did work. After all, I’m posting about it.

Ever run across a profile that made you do a double take? Tell me about it!

~Marina

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