Altered Fluid: Home of the Altered Fluid writers group

confessions of a male YA author

y-the-last-man-movie_222When my first YA novel, Fair Coin, was published in 2012, and I started participating in author panels, library visits, and book store events, it seemed that I was usually the only guy on the program. This wasn’t too surprising — I know that more YA books are written by women than men, so statistically speaking, it made perfect sense. For my first few panels, I even introduced myself as the “Y chromosome,” which got some laughs. But I’ve stopped using that line, because a) I don’t want to keep using the same old material, and more importantly, b) I realized it might imply that I thought my inclusion was an act of tokenism, and it wasn’t that. (It also probably isn’t as funny as I thought it was, and people were just laughing to be polite. “There’s only one guy up there, let’s take pity on him.” So, thanks for that.)

Granted, I’m aware that I do get invited to more YA panels because I’m a male YA author, and hey, it’s nice to be welcomed whatever the reason. My author friends are often asked if they know any male authors to invite to participate in programs with them, and I’m happy that they think of me. Perhaps by virtue of my geographic location and the events and conventions that I attend, there generally aren’t that many guy YA authors to choose from. Sorry, I’ll at least try to be a good one for you!

But we aren’t exactly as rare as unicorns. We aren’t an endangered species. And we certainly don’t need the attention.

Continue reading at The League of Extraordinary Writers


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“Atlantic Rim”: A GISHWHES Story

elopusI wrote this 140-word drabble for a friend’s GISHWHES team, to fulfill scavenger hunt item #78: “Get a previously published Sci-Fi author to write an original story (140 words max) about Misha, the Queen of England and an Elopus.”

There was no room for a title in my submission, but I’m calling it “Atlantic Rim”, for reasons which may soon be obvious. Enjoy!

“Atlantic Rim” by E.C. Myers

Misha didn’t know why the Queen of England summoned him for an audience, but when a queen calls, you don’t let it go to voicemail.

“Please approach the throne.” The Queen’s aide frowned. “You’ve shaved.”

“Sorry?” Misha stroked his chin.

“At least you wore the trenchcoat.” The man beckoned him forward. “Kneel.”

Misha kneeled.

“By decree of Elizabeth II, Queen of the Commonwealth, Misha Collins is hereby conferred an honorary knighthood for service to the Crown. Etcetera.”

Misha squinted at the elderly woman. “Does she ever talk? Also, what service?”

The room trembled. Outside the window, a ten-story-tall beast crawled toward the palace on eight squishy tentacles. Its elephantine trunk swung ominously.

“Um,” Misha said. “You know I’m not really an angel?”

“Then you’ll need the Royal Mecha-Corgi to battle Elopus.” The aide tossed him a key ring. “Good luck.”



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A Response to Amazon’s Letter to Kindle Authors

Ugh. Amazon’s letter to Kindle authors makes me physically ill. So much wrong there I don’t know where to begin. Well, for starters a single bookseller should not demand nor have the power to set book prices in the industry, and this is the primary argument authors have with Amazon. The authors, as manufacturers of the work, must be the ultimate arbiter of the value of their words. Authors overwhelmingly choose to have publishers, rather than booksellers, determine what that cost should be, since they are the compositors of the work. To intentionally devalue a book to something below a ham sandwich or even a pack of gum not only harms authors but the expression of ideas in general, since it says those ideas are worth less and less. That is what Amazon is doing: devaluing books.

Second, Amazon presents itself as the victim, as if it has offered gracious terms to Hachette and its authors. But those terms only serve to grant Amazon more power than it already has. And seeing that Amazon is basically lying to its customers by delaying books and suggesting other books instead of those from Hachette, should we trust them with even more power?

Thirdly, Amazon says, “With an e-book, there’s no printing, no over-printing, no need to forecast, no returns, no lost sales due to out of stock, no warehousing costs, no transportation costs, and there is no secondary market – e-books cannot be resold as used books. E-books can and should be less expensive.” But this is a fallacy that plays into the public’s overwhelming belief that just because something is digital that it must be worth only the electrons used to store it, in other words, cheap and/or free. With an e-book there is the WRITING, and more WRITING, and months and months of WRITING, and this labor should NEVER, EVER be taken out of the equation when factoring price. And then there is the editing and the copy-editing and the graphic design and the layout, and the distribution (even ebooks need distribution) and you have to factor accounting time into that, not to mention publicity. To say that just because something is digital it must therefore be cheaper is to say that the source digitized information is worth less too. The value of a book lies in its content and not in the method the book is delivered to its readers. Amazon would do well to learn this soon.

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In Translation.

My Nebula-nominated story “The Sounds of Old Earth” just came out in the August issue of Czech magazine XB-1. Also in the issue are Sofia Samatar’s multiple award-nominated “Selkie Stories are for Losers” and multiple award-nominated “The Political Officer” by C.c. Finlay.

I think the cover is pretty smashing! Also, this is my first translated story, so I’m darn excited. Now for a serious question: can you read Czech? I’m curious to see how my story turned out!

image description

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New Old Stuff, And A Nice Review

Space Opera

Hooray!  This is the package containing my contributor’s copies of Space Opera, edited by Rich Horton.  It’s an anthology of reprints by some great authors, and it also includes my story “The Muse of Empires Lost.”

I’ve been looking forward to this delivery for a  long time. The original plan for this book started years ago, and then got back-burnered.  The lineup of stories must have changed when it was resurrected, because several of them were published more recently.

On the cover my name appears with its more common spelling (“…And More”) but I can’t say I mind,  considering the company.  I’m flattered as all get out to be included in this collection — and that Horton kept me in it despite the other changes — and I can’t wait to start reading.

Here’s the table of contents:

“The Knight of Chains, the Deuce of Stars” by Yoon Ha Lee (Lightspeed, August 2013)
“The Wreck of the Godspeed” by James Patrick Kelly (Between Worlds, August 2004)
“Saving Tiamaat” by Gwyneth Jones (The New Space Opera, June 2007)
“Six Lights off Green Scar” by Gareth L. Powell (The Last Reef, August 2008)
“Glory” by Greg Egan (The New Space Opera, June 2007)
“The Mote Dancer and the Firelife” by Chris Willrich (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, #90, March 2012)
“On Rickety Thistlewaite” by Michael F. Flynn (Analog, January-February 2010)
“War Without End” by Una McCormack (Conflicts, April 2010)
“Finisterra” by David Moles (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, December 2007)
“Seven Years from Home” by Naomi Novik (Warriors, March 2010)
“Plotters and Shooters” by Kage Baker (Fast Forward 1, Feb 2007)
“The Muse of Empires Lost” by Paul Berger (Twenty Epics, August 2006)
“Boojum” by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette (Fast Ships, Black Sails, 2008)
“Lehr, Rex” by Jay Lake (Forbidden Planets, Nov 2006)
“Cracklegrackle” by Justina Robson (The New Space Opera 2, July 2009)
“Hideaway” by Alastair Reynolds (Interzone #157, July 2000)
“Isabel of the Fall” by Ian R. MacLeod (Interzone #169, 2001)
“Precious Mental” novella by Robert Reed (Asimov’s Science Fiction, June 2013)
“The Two Sisters in Exile” by Aliette de Bodard (Solaris Rising 1.5)
“Lode Stars” by Lavie Tidhar (The Immersion Book of SF, Sept 2010)
“Silent Bridge, Pale Cascade” by Benjanun Sriduangkaew (Clarkesworld, December 2013)
“The Tear” novella by Ian McDonald (Galactic Empires, Feb 2008)

Space Opera is available here.


Other News –


Patrick Mahon at SFcrowsnest just reviewed the current issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction, guest edited by C.C. Finlay and containing my story “Subduction.”  He concludes Finlay did “a fine job … pulling together uniformly high quality stories that kept me entertained throughout.”

In his review of “Subduction,” he writes:

This is an excellent story, full of telling details and subtle character interactions. Despite having no memory, Oliver comes across as a strong person but the real star of the story is Moira, who is tough, independent and the unacknowledged saviour of her island and everyone on it.

In case I still need to remind anyone, a free Kindle download of “Subduction” will be available through the end of August here.

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new short story available today!

20140805_000310My short story “Kiss and Kiss and Kiss and Tell” is available today in the anthology Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories!

I’m honored to be in this collection with amazing authors Garth Nix, Karen Healey, Sean Williams, Ken Liu, Sofia Samatar, Vylar Kaftan, Amal El-Mohtar, William Alexander, Shveta Thakrar, and many more. From the flap copy:

What do a disabled superhero, a time-traveling Chinese-American figure skater, and a transgendered animal shifter have in common? They’re all stars of Kaleidoscope stories! Kaleidoscope collects fun, edgy, meditative, and hopeful YA science fiction and fantasy with diverse leads. These twenty original stories tell of scary futures, magical adventures, and the joys and heartbreaks of teenage.

I think this is an important book, and I also think “Kiss” is one of my best stories. (See an excerpt below the fold.) I wrote a bit more about the anthology and diversity in YA over at the League of Extraordinary Writers today, and there have already been a couple of very favorable reviews that offer deeper glimpses at the stories within:



I hope you’ll check out this collection and enjoy my story. It’s available now in eBook and print (available Oct. 1 in Australia) wherever books are sold. You can also enter to win one of ten free copies at Goodreads through Aug. 20 and enter another giveaway at the Book Smugglers (and read an interview with the editors) through Aug. 9.


“Kiss and Kiss and Kiss and Tell” by E.C. Myers

Everyone leaned forward to watch the animated beer bottle spin on the iPad in the center of their circle. Everyone but Rene. She tilted back slightly, as though that would help the bottle pass her by.

She wrapped her hands around a warm can of PBR, open but still as full as when Cedric had handed it to her at the door. Dad had insisted she take her medication before she left the house; he’d even watched her swallow the white and yellow capsule. If he’d known there would be alcohol—and worse—at this party, she wouldn’t be here at all. She was beginning to think that might have been for the best; thanks to her medication, she didn’t really feel like part of the group anyway.

Braden reached around Yasi’s waist and pulled her into a tipsy kiss. Whatever they’d seen together during their turn in the closet must have been good because they had been all over each other since.

“Hey, you two. Save it,” Cedric said. “Respect the bottle.”

The animated bottle slowed, wobbled, and settled on Rene. The iPad emitted a tinny chorus of “Oooohhhh!”

“Finally,” Jenny said. “You’re up, Rene.” She reached across the circle and handed Rene a battered Altoids tin. Jenny’s peach lipstick was smeared suggestively on the right side of her mouth after her turn with Kell two spins ago.

Rene wondered what it would be like to kiss Jenny Trinh—not in a dark closet in Braden’s basement rec room, but after they had enjoyed dinner at Norton’s and seen a romantic movie, when they were saying good night to each other in Jenny’s Prius.

Rene put down her beer and opened the creaky lid of the tin. There were two tiny blue pills inside.


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“Allosaurus Burgers” is out now from Shimmer

Issue #20 of the phenomenal speculative fiction magazine Shimmer is out, and I’m so proud and excited because it contains my short story “Allosaurus Burgers.”

I wrote this story during week five of Clarion 2012. It benefited immensely from the insights and critiques of my Brother and Sister Robots, as well as anchor team extraordinaire Holly Black and Cassandra Clare…. and after that it made the rounds for a little while, racking up rejections and getting some good notes from editors that helped me make it extra awesome. Also my mom and dad and sister and husband read it. And they made it awesome too.

There’s an interview with me here, about the story.

I’m happy this one is out in the world. Mostly because I love dinosaurs. But also because I really like this story.

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space camp: the final frontier

LaunchPad_MeA couple of weeks ago, I was thrilled to participate in one of the most exciting and memorable things I’ve ever done: the Launch Pad Astronomy Workshop. Dubbed a “space camp for writers,” it brings together established writers, editors, and creators for an intensive, week-long crash course in astronomy: basically a semester’s worth of Astronomy 101 classes in  seven days. It was breathtaking (literally—it takes place in Laramie, Wyoming, about 7,100 feet above sea level), mind-blowing, and, most of all, inspiring.

It was inspiring not only because of all the story ideas it generated and the opportunity to learn more about our incredible, mysterious universe, but because there’s nothing like meeting and spending time with other writers and creative professionals…

Read more at Pub(lishing) Crawl


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Some Good News

2014_2_cover_1-reklThe good news this week is that one of my favorite publications, Clarkesworld Magazine, will be publishing a new story of mine called “Cameron Rhyder’s Legs.” Editor Neil Clarke says the story will likely appear this fall. “Cameron Rhyder’s Legs” is in some ways my most ambitious story. I wanted to tell a story without pausing for the usual infodumps and backstories. I take it for granted that the reader is with me, even though she may not be. The world my characters inhabit is complex, ever-shifting. Bewilderment is part of what I want the reader to experience. I’m really excited to see how this one is received as it’s definitely one of my favorites.

The other good piece of news I received this morning is from Belarus. The Belarusian magazine Kosmoport will be publishing my Nebula-nominated short story “The Sounds of Old Earth” in Russian, translated by Togrul Safarov. They have great covers, and they’ve published translated work by Ken Liu.

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“Subduction” Interview

C.C. Finlay has posted an interview promoting my F&SF story “Subduction” on the Fantasy & Science Fiction blog.   It has a comic!

And remember, there’s a free Kindle version of the story available here.   Fantasy & Science Fiction, Free Exclusive Digest

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