Educator, writer and documentarian based out of central China. Catch the full story at www.findthefabulist.com.
The Splendor and Sorrow of Small Press Publishing
To most would-be authors, there are only two routes to publication - get an agent and go for a big publisher or self-publish. But there is an alternative - the small press. Small presses can be a great opportunity for a writer who wants the prestige of being published, but there are some things you need to understand before contacting them.
Diplomatic Etiquette and the Alien Menace
Welcome to the Exterran Federation Guide to Human-Kro'dyl Relations. Perhaps you are reading this because you are an Envoy considering a xenodiplomatic post, or a businessman seeking practical advice on alien relations, or a member of the public curious about this strange new species. The members of the Kro'dyl Dominion have a reputation for belligerence, but they are also a species marred by cruel and inaccurate rumors as well as simple cultural misunderstandings. These guides are intended to set the record straight on this species while also helping the reader navigate their culture with caution and sensitivity.
I Swear I Saw the Whole Thing
Fine, man, don't believe me - here I go out of my way and come to you with a story that could change the way you see the world forever and you just brush me off like some lunatic in the street. I listen to all your boring, pointless stories and don't complain, but here I see a miracle and you shrug it off. No, not a miracle, something better than a miracle because anyone can do this. I'm talking about turning the impossible into the possible, and you're going to be a little prick about it. Well, fine.
There's One Just Like it Everywhere
"Tell me a story, stranger." The guy on the opposite stool was a typical weekday drunk, full of good humor at the pain of others and caustic remarks at nothing at all. That he was polite to me was an oddity; perhaps he sensed that I was different, that I was less tethered to this place and its vices than those of his usual company.
The Gun That Didn't Fire
The self-firing gun had a faulty trigger - so the experts assumed, for it could be nothing else. Acru-12 was infallible in the art of combat, thus his failure to execute a mission that was well within his operational parameters must have been a simple mechanical fault. It was a jam in his feeding mechanism, a badly calibrated reticle, a glitchy sensor, an overstressed servo. When a thorough check of his various components came back clean, they merely upgraded their assumption.
Second Chance, Stolen to Order
Six solid years of ferrying mysterious packages for shady people, and that was the first and only time any of them insisted on shackling the parcel to my wrist. My contact was a jerk about it, too, and not just by accident like with some of these guys. He made a point to fasten the handcuff way too tight around my wrist and I could feel the muscles throbbing gently in time with my pulse the whole time. Of course I complained, but the bastard wouldn't adjust it as much as a smidge. Stickler for the contract, that one, and the contract said that the cuffs didn't come off under any circumstances until after delivery. “We pay you well enough to put up with a little discomfort,” he said, and I couldn't argue the point – the customer is always right and all that nonsense, even (maybe especially) when the customer is an asshole. And usually, it’s the assholes who pay the best, at least when they’re self-aware.
A Pleasant Night on Ichorous Waves
There was no question that the blade resting in Cosette's hands was a genuinely unique artifact, a custom weapon from a far-removed time. Most swords sold by the antique dealers of the Maghreb were made from common iron that vanished beneath centuries of rust and rot, hastily ornamented and sold to unwary Europeans for fifty times their actual worth. This piece, on the other hand, was authentic Damascus steel – Cosette could tell that much as she ran her knowledgeable fingers along the distinctive patterns that ran the length of the blade. Authentic, too, was the ruby-eyed silver sea serpent that twined around the hilt, its hungry jaws eternally clamped around the tang. Each detail, each tiny etching and delicate feature, was the work of a master who had toiled at the ornament for untold hundreds of hours.
The Ego Collector
The morning greeted me as it always does, in a strange room surrounded by strange things and a strange face staring back at me in the mirror. I know that I am now Heather, and by the end of the day I will know much more about Heather, and tomorrow it will no longer matter. I learned a great deal about Tyler, whom I was yesterday, and plenty about Cassandra, the self I was before that. But what I know about them doesn't matter at all to Heather, the me of today, and it will matter less to the me of tomorrow - whomever that will be.