Monday, November 28, 2016

A Banana-Cream Pie Dropped from a Stepladder: My 2016 Award Eligibility Post

So we seem to have entered the time of year when I have to look away from the trainwreck of American democracy and list the works I've had published this year! Between the election and -- okay, it's all election -- I haven't been doing much writing or submitting. I only had four things published this year, which is half of what I had published in 2015 and and also 2014. As a certain President-elect would say, sad!

However, one of them is a novel! Stay Crazy is 65,000 words of paranoid Walmart alien fighting action, and it's already gotten some amazing reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. As a debut novel, it's eligible for all first-novel awards as well as the standard ones, and while I'm not convinced a little book like this has a hope of being nominated for a big-time award, I'd be honored if folks would consider it. (And for the rest of today, November 28, it's available for 40% off directly through Apex.)

I am also equally proud of my short story "After We Walked Away," which was published last week by Apex Magazine. It's an answer to Le Guin's story, but a million times more dark and desperate and gory. It's so new that I haven't really gotten many reviews of it yet, but people who've read it seem to be digging it, and at 3700 words it's also a bit on the short side. If you know Ursula, feel free to send her a copy, I'm too scared.

The other stories I had published this year are "Human Resources" in Fireside and "The Panoptimom" in Ember: A Journal of Luminous Things. They are also good stories that don't take much time to read!

If you like my story or book, or any others, you can list it/them on the SFWA Reading List if you're a member, or on your own site if you're not. Trust me when I say that no matter how dire things in the world are right now, every writer still feels a little lift when someone says they like our stories, and it lasts until the next time we check Twitter.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Apex Black Friday Sale!


Survived another contentious Thanksgiving dinner? Celebrate with cheap books from the Apex Publications Black Friday sale!!! From Black Friday to the snort-inducing neoholiday of Cyber Monday, you can get a copy of Stay Crazy or any other Apex book for 40% off! For the math-challenged among us (like me) that means you can get the ebook for $4.20 (heh) and the paperback for $9.57. All orders of physical books above $25 also receive free shipping! Just use the checkout code GIVE16.

Already have my book? Then check out Jennifer Pelland's Unwelcome Bodies (one of my top five single-author story collections), the varied mil-SF anthology War Stories, or E. Catherine Tobler's transcendent 2016 novella The Kraken Sea. Or anything else! You know you want to buy books anyway, so get them from the small-press source instead of giving Amazon your business.

(However, if you have a moment to spare, please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads! They really do help.)

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Story Notes: "After We Walked Away"

My short story "After We Walked Away" is now available to be read free at the Apex Magazine website!

Of note: this is my last short story scheduled to be published. I still have a handful of them out on submission, but due to the election my writing volume has gone way down. The results of the election obviously haven't helped matters. There are a couple other things wrapped up in this as well, but in short, living in a Philip K. Dick world is not really that much of an inspiration for writing Phildickian fiction. Who knew?

But! I do have this story, which draws its inspiration not from my #1 Patronus but instead from the seminal story by his high-school classmate. If you haven't already read "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas," then I'm actually kind of surprised! You should read it now, because my story may not make as much sense without knowing the background. Also it's pretty fucking dark, maybe the darkest thing I've ever written.

So the complaint I've always had about Le Guin's story is that leaving doesn't really fix anything. I'm not the first person to point this out, but it seems to me that leaving Omelas isn't only useless for the child scapegoat that powers the city's uncanny joy, but it's also not a good decision for the leavers. While the original doesn't describe the world outside (saying only that it is "less imaginable to most of us than the city of happiness"), one can easily posit that the world outside is our world, where there is not one scapegoat but many, and misery is not "concentrated to a single point."

From a utilitarian standpoint, Omelas is a paradise with no asterisk. Of course it's better that one suffer greatly so that many don't have to suffer moderately. It's logical. However, most human beings aren't logical. I'm certainly not. And so, Omelas is a horror, a place that knowingly makes a Faustian bargain in order to enjoy an easy, magical happiness.

And yet, I can't see the real world as being all that much better than Omelas. In fact, it's probably much worse than Omelas, because there are a lot more people in pain, and suffering is entirely random. If Omelas/Solved City is a utopia with a rotten open secret at its heart, the outside world is just rotten. The characters can't organize a fight against all these injustices, because there are too many of them. It would have been easier to stay and fight, or if not fight, then acquiesce to a world powered by "violence-magic." It's not a brave choice, but if the only other option is misery for all including you, then maybe that changes things a little. Humans aren't logical, but we're even less brave. (I told you this story was dark!)

Anyway, if you have a few minutes to spare, read the story. I can't promise you a fun time but at least it's a way to divert your post-election depression for a short while.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

My OryCon 2016 Schedule

First of all: Yep, world's a shitshow. I'm not gonna go into politics here not because I don't want to but because this blog is pretty much a dumping ground for my con schedules and reviews of my book and stories. If you want to know my up-to-the-minute thoughts on the waking nightmare we all live in you can check out my Twitter and Facebook.

So with that in mind, OryCon 2016 is this coming weekend (November 18-20) and here is my schedule!


FRIDAY

1:00 pm - 2:00 pm: Women Role Models in Science Fiction - Are there any good female role models in science fiction? Or are they still relegated to being damsels in distress? A discussion of both weak and strong female science fiction characters across all media.Christina Hartley, David Weber, Erica Satifka (M), Mike Shepherd


SATURDAY

12:00 pm - 12:30 pm: Erica L. Satifka Reading - Erica L. Satifka reads from her debut novel Stay Crazy.

2:00 pm - 3:00 pm: Underpinnings of World Building - Waste water treatment, civil engineering, power generation - how much do you need to have to make your world believable? Erica Satifka (M), JJ Ark, Ken Lizzi, Mark Ezell, Vannessa McClelland

6:00 pm - 7:00 pm: We Can't Talk to Flipper, so How Can We Talk to Aliens? - The real problems of inter-species communications, and things we might be able to do to deal with them. Universal translator? Let's start with *a* translator. Erica Satifka (M), Gerald Nordley, Howard Davidson, Peter Wacks

8:00 pm - 9:00 pm: Political Economy for World Builders - Learn the basics of political philosophy, forms of government and economic systems to inspire your story, game or more informed voting habits. Erica Satifka, Matt Bellet


SUNDAY
11:00 am - 12:00 pm: The Death of the Stand-Alone Book - Trilogies, tetralogies--we're not even sure of the right names for five, six, seven-book series! Where does the madness end? Is there no market any more for non-series books? Diana Francis, Erica Satifka, Maura van der Linden, Tori Centanni (M), William Hertling

1:00 pm - 2:00 pm: Structurally Speaking - Stories have rhythm. Is there One True Pattern, or can we mess with it? Are we really bound to the Hero's Journey, or are there other models? David Boop, Erica Satifka, John C. Bunnell, Sharon Joss (M), Theresa Reed


And that's it! I will also have copies of Stay Crazy both in the dealers room and with me if you'd like to get one. I'm told it's quite humorous, which might make it a pleasing diversion from this hellscape.

Monday, October 3, 2016

The STAY CRAZY Ridiculous Cosplay Giveaway

So at least one person is a Stay Crazy superfan. Here's one of my spouse/in-house editor Rob's coworkers in Em cosplay:


And... we have an idea for a giveaway. Take a photo of yourself or someone else holding a hairdryer and communicating with a package of frozen food, and Twitter-tag both @ericasatifka and @ApexBookCompany. Battle pose is optional, but recommended. I'll retweet everything, then randomly pick one person to receive a signed physical copy of Stay Crazy. You must live in the United States! I'll be closing the competition at ten entries or Halloween evening, whichever comes later. And hey, horror is one of the genres in which people keep trying to stick this book (along with urban fantasy, science fiction, young/new adult, and humor), so it even kind of fits! You can read the first two chapters of Stay Crazy here if you'd like, but keep in mind this is right before all the weird shit goes down. I promise you, however, weird shit does indeed go down.

In the meantime, if you've read Stay Crazy, please consider leaving a review on Goodreads or Amazon. They really do help, especially for small press books that don't get a lot of mainstream attention. It is easy much of the time for writers to believe we're shouting into the void, and it's not a great place to be, and not only because Donald Trump is there.

And lastly, here is a picture of my book fort. These babies will see you at OryCon: