While I Was Gone (Speaking of White Cats. . . .)

No, Wednesday’s a gray cat, gray and black mostly, much like her ADDAMS FAMILY namesake (a cute little girl, a somber wardrobe, likes playing with spiders).  While I was gone, especially while waiting in airports and riding on planes, I read the most part of the anthology STEAMPUNK’D, edited by Jean Rabe and Martin H. Greenberg.  Then Saturday night the panel du soir was “Turn Up the Steam.”  Can’t get away from that steampunk stuff!  And even I, while not necessarily making my settings high Victorian (though I do that too sometimes), have some things out that are at least associational steampunk.  For one example click the cover of VANITAS in the center column, originally published as a somewhat Gothic mystery in ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE.

But what about new work?  Well, yesterday’s walkthrough of mounting up email revealed a quick and at first slightly cryptic, more probably from my still starry-eyed condition from Worldcon than any real failing in its wording, message from Chuck Zaglanis of White Cat Publications (have I mentioned WHITE CAT MAGAZINE, and pointing out at Sunday’s reading that my story “La Fatale” is scheduled for their winter issue?).  The slight ambiguity now removed though, the import is that a hitherto unpublished story, “Raising the Dead,” has been accepted for the upcoming anthology AIRSHIPS & AUTOMATONS.  “We seek steampunk stories featuring strong characters, exciting plotlines, and automatons and/or airships.  . . .  Dystopian, humorous, pulp, Lovecraftian, upbeat or dark — all have a place here.  Please don’t feel constrained to write in a Victorian setting.  It’s steampunk, push the boundaries.  We’re looking for that certain flavor of writing that’s hard to explain, but obvious when it’s present.”

“Raising the Dead” is at heart a love story with curators, ghouls, Necromancers, graves . . . and an airship.  It’s one of my “Tombs” stories set on a far-future dying Earth and, as I noted in my cover letter, “dystopic but with a sort of transcendent hope.”

Thus the first fiction sale of September to start a hopefully productive fall.  As I understand it, the stories in AIRSHIPS & AUTOMATONS will follow a chronological order, beginning with one set in ancient Greece, and progressing to . . . maybe the world of the Tombs?  In other words, as in the guidelines quoted in part above, to take it away from the run of the mill of exclusively Victorian settings and add, I think, an extra level of novelty and excitement.  I’m looking forward to it myself and, as more is revealed, will post it here.


  1. Congrats on yet another sale! Steampunk –I can write poems about it, but not stories–that is your department! White Cat is great! I’m still waiting to be paid for my flash fiction, there, though.

    So glad you are back and sounds like a rip-roaring good time with good friends/company and food. Glad you had an audience for your reading, too.

  2. Marge, thanks. I’m still waiting on payment from WHITE CAT too from the summer issue, though it’s not quite been a month and a half. Hopefully soon! My “AIRSHIPS” story is really more associational steampunk, not Victorian and actually not even with steam (though there is a clockwork engine), but the guidelines said a broad interpretation was okay — and I do think the flavor is there. (Possibly even farther afield is my story to be in TECHNO-GOTH CTHULHU, though again I think the flavor is there.)

    The reading went well and, for 10 a.m. Sunday morning, I thought the approx. half dozen a good crowd. I ran into an old friend at the masquerade Saturday night who I told about it and she and her husband showed up, plus two or three or four others including the one person who was early for the following session 🙂 .

  3. I think having a reading audience on a Sunday morning at a Convention is practially a miracle! Unless everyone is related to you, which was not the case. Good show!

  4. Well, another old friend (in fact, quite a good friend back when) and husband, on the other hand, were of the opinion “Ten a.m. Sunday — ARE YOU KIDDING!?” so I think I agree with that “practically a miracle.” I also mentioned it in introducing myself on the Vampire panel Friday (and may have said something on the Thursday DAILY SF panel, I don’t remember — on that one I read the poem “The List” with an excerpt from “Naughty or Nice” where Mignonette first starts to open her presents to show the evolution of the story idea).

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