Friday, December 30, 2016

More STAY CRAZY Reviews!

Response to Stay Crazy has been trickling in slowly but surely. Over on LiveJournal (still!) Nick Mamatas lists it as one of his best five books of the year, saying "I blurbed this one! 'Had Philip K. Dick lived through riot grrrl and the collapse of America's industrial economy, Stay Crazy would be his memoir. Erica Satifka is a prophet.' I think this book was hilarious, telling, and raw. It definitely worked hard to avoid crazy-person-is-magic cliches at the same time. Plus, after the largely unexpected election result, the United States will become more and more like the town in Stay Crazy. I'd said that Satifka was a prophet before Trump won the election—I hate to be a prophet myself, but..."

Meanwhile, at Bogi Reads the World, Bogi Tak√°cs also puts it on eir year-end list, with this blurb: "On the surface a snarky, cynical romp with a mentally ill woman battling aliens in a big-box store, then a semi-autobiographic examination of class issues in rural America, and then sheer Dickian existential vertigo. At one point I had to stop reading this and wait for the sun to come up, just to make sure all was right with the world. Then Trump got elected. (To make it clear, I am not blaming the book.)"

(Maybe I did cause Trump! Uh, sorry about that? Like, really really sorry?)

Jason Sanford calls Stay Crazy the best SF debut of the year, remarking "Stay Crazy mixes a fast-paced science fiction plot with deft social criticism, characters you'll love, and laugh-out-loud humor. The novel is also an excellent exploration of neurodiversity and how there are multiple ways to see both your own life and the world around us." (And if you haven't read it, check out his easy fix for the execrable film Passengers.)

And last but not least, James Nicoll (one of my fave reviewers) posted a review saying in part: "Mentally unstable protagonists offer authors an easy way to keep the audience unsure as to whether what seems to be going on is what’s actually going on. Also, they offer an even easier way to for authors to treat their protagonists in a shallow, exploitative way. Satifka avoids that trap: Em is a rounded character. She may be an unreliable observer but she’s not a caricature."

Not doing a 2016 wrap-up post because I wrote very little this year what with the election and all. Next year's output will depend on whether we're fighting Civil War II or World War III or both (the smart money is on both), but hopefully I will squeeze in some fiction. After all, who doesn't want to escape reality by reading a book? Oh wait, what do I write again.... aw, crap.

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:

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

STAY CRAZY Review Roundup!

I am not a very good blogger, and I'm only barely a better Twitterer. However, I have been getting some pretty great reviews of Stay Crazy, out RIGHT NOW from Apex Publications, and I might as well share them on Ye Olde Blog, for the three people who might follow me here and not on Twitter or FB. Some highlights:

"We really need more stories like this. Not just in the sense of how it deals with mental illness, but which acknowledge struggles that don’t end cleanly or may not end at all after the big ugly has been banished beyond our realms, while, at the same time, showing us people coming to realize this and accepting it as part of their life while finding value in the small, daily victories." --Cemetery Dance Online

"Stay Crazy was a blast to read. This is a tale where “crazy” runs amok, not only in the title, but in just about every aspect of the story. If you’ve ever felt just the slightest bit crazy yourself, then this book is for you." --Books, Bones & Buffy

"Stay Crazy treads the common ground between science fiction, horror, and fantasy. It taps a common plot thread, the gap between the fantastical and the insane, but doesn’t scruple to twist convention for its own purpose. The persistent tragic undercurrent to both the setting and the characters keeps it grounded in a grim reality, without being overwhelmed by despair. That alone, in my estimation, makes it well worth a read." --Hazel Gold (mild spoilers)

"What I liked about the book is that the take feels so genuine. Satifka isn’t trying to reach some fundamental of mental illness that we have to tease out or extrapolate. She’s writing about one condition that she has clearly done her homework on, and has built a character and story around. And once things start moving, it becomes a nail-biter pretty quickly."
 --Alligators & Aneurysms

So yeah, buy a copy of Stay Crazy, wherever fine books are sold! Which now includes the Portland independent bookstores Another Read Through and Annie Bloom's Books! Or get your local library to order it for you! It's all good.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

STAY CRAZY Released: We Have Book Sign!

So there comes a time in every manuscript's life where they must be fed into a computer, rendered into pixelated symbols corresponding to various phonemes, and then stamped on the thinly flayed corpse of a thousand-year-old tree.

Anyway, this is just a rambling way of saying that Stay Crazy was officially released today. It's available everywhere: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powell's, and the Apex Publications site itself. Here is a terrible picture of it:



And like all 21st century authors, I took a little blog tour. Here's where I've been so far:

Starting at the beginning, at Alex Shvartsman's The Hook I have an essay about the beginning chapter of the novel and why I started my weird SF/horror/WTF book so mundanely. At the South African Speculative Fiction Review blog I talked about the real villain in Stay Crazy (capitalism), and at Midnyte Reader I had a post about some of the darker themes in the book.

One of the main things I wanted to do with Stay Crazy is fight the stigma of psychosis, and so over on John Wiswell's blog I wrote about why I thought it was so important to show a heroic (kinda) character with schizophrenia. And on Mary Robinette Kowal's My Favorite Bit I spoke a little about the interaction between my protagonist Em and her mentally ill coworker Roger, which is the novel's most significant relationship.

I did interviews with Nick Mamatas, Shimmer Magazine, J. Kathleen Cheney, M. Darusha Wehm, and Andrea Johnson the Little Red Reviewer.

Here are some more early reviews:

"Stay Crazy succeeds in its defiance of convention, in taking the most familiar story arc in existence and turning it inside out. As a first novel, it's a promising showcase of Satifka's talent, and fans of Philip K. Dick will feel right at home." --The Semiotic Standard (with bonus interview!)

"What I like about Em is that she is kind of a jerk. I like to have to try hard to find the redeeming qualities in characters." --The Booktrovert

You can add Stay Crazy on Goodreads. I myself am a horrible user of Goodreads, preferring to announce my book recommendations from a megaphone out of the side of a helicopter, but the kids seem to dig it. And lastly I did a reading at the Another Read Through bookstore in Portland, and you can buy it off the shelf there right now!

And finally, I'll be at WorldCon, where there will be a release party on Friday night in the Consuite. I'll be holding one of these:



...and just generally being as awkward as possible so you might as well come over and awkwardly eat cookies with me. YAY BOOK!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Early STAY CRAZY reviews and weekend discount!

Some early reviews of Stay Crazy have come in, and they're good! Nebula-nominated author Beth Cato says:
"Stay Crazy is dark and intense sci-fi with a twist, in turns disturbing, amusing, and enlightening. It's not a book that fits into tidy genre boxes, so kudos to Apex for publishing a book that is that complicated--and good."

And over at 10 Bad Habits, Justin Howe writes:
"Overall it’s that mix of the weird and the downtrodden that makes Stay Crazy fun – maybe not ha-ha fun, but fun of a kind all the same. It would be a slipstream novel, except no one knows what Slipstream is. It could be science fiction or horror, except it’s not. It’s one of those weird novels that sits oddly in the joints between categories. Resume With Monsters mixed with Bubba Ho-Tep with some Kurt Vonnegut by way of Nick Mamatas added in. And that’s all great stuff. So if any of that sounds interesting to you, don’t hesitate to check it out, you’ll enjoy the trip."

 Also, from now through Monday, subscribers to the Apex newsletter can pre-order Stay Crazy or any other Apex title for 30% off, which means you can temporarily order it for only $11.17! Just use the discount code 2016bonus. And if you're not a subscriber to the Apex newsletter, why not? Sign up at the site!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Stay Crazy pre-orders now open!!!

Pre-orders for my forthcoming novel Stay Crazy are now open. You know what to do. Right now it's $12 for a print copy, which is the absolute cheapest it will ever be, more so than Amazon. And if you pre-order from Apex, you get a free 2015 Apex Magazine sampler! Besides, you know you want a physical copy of that cover art on your shelf, c'mon.

There's a Goodreads page for it now as well, and I must admit to being extremely interested in what books that algorithm pairs it with. Put it on your to-read list now and get an alert when the giveaway goes live! You can also add it using this handy link:


Stay Crazy

Saturday, June 18, 2016

My Westercon schedule!

Westercon 69 is happening in Portland in three short weekends, from July 1-4, at the Doubletree Hotel near the Lloyd Center. As usual with cons, I am on a lot of panels, and a lot of these are political which I'm really looking forward to.


SATURDAY

5:00:pm - 6:00:pm: Creativity and Mental Health - The care and watering of the creative brain. Ways of actively taking care of mental health to optimize creativity rather than coping or thinking mental health struggles as the price of creativity. Blythe Ayne, Erica Satifka, Langley Hyde, Kristin Landon

6:30:pm - 7:00:pm: Erica Satifka Reading - (This will be something from Stay Crazy, just don't know what yet!)

7:00:pm - 8:00:pm: Obligatory Paranoia Panel - What's the government really doing? And why is this panel obligatory? Ari Goldstein, Erica Satifka, Frog Jones, Rhiannon Louve


SUNDAY

10:00 am - 11:00 am: Kaffeeklatsch - Small group discussions with authors, artists, and other interesting personalities (referred to as "hosts") Sessions are limited to the host and a small group of attendees. A.M. Brosius, Erica Satifka, Sharon Joss, Wendy Wagner

11:00 am - 12:00 pm: Future Laws - How is copyright law going to deal with 3D printers? Piracy laws on movies/music still don't work with the invention of videos/DVRs now, how will it handle physical mass copying of objects? Ari Goldstein, Andrew P Mayer, Erica Satifka, Sean Robinson, William Hertling

2:00 pm - 3:00 pm: Zombies, Vampires, and Capitalism - If the modern vampire may have functioned as an apt metaphor for the predatory practices of capital in colonial and post-colonial societies, today's zombie hordes may best express our anxieties about capitalism's apparently inevitable byproducts: the legions of mindless, soulless consumers who sustain its endless production, and the masses of 'human debris' who are left to survive the ravages of its poisoned waste." How apt are these analogies? Are there other ways to link our modern capitalist practices to the creatures of horror and fantasy? And if capitalism is a horror story, do other economic philosophies offer more hope of a happy ending? Emily Jiang (M), Bob Brown, Gwen Callahan, Andrew P. Mayer, Erica Satifka

6:00 pm - 7:00 pm: The Leisure Society: Phantom or Just Around the Corner? - People are working harder and longer hours over the last couple of decades, despite increased productivity and automation. Was the leisure society we were promised simply a fevered dream born of the a drug-fueled decade, or has the promise been somehow perverted or inverted? Bob Brown, Erica Satifka, Ramez Naam, Rhiannon Louve


And that's it! See you in two weeks!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

It's Gonna Be June

Some things that are going on with me, in no particular order...

1. Over on the Apex blog, there's a post with the cover art (YES!!) for Stay Crazy and a longer description of the book! In case you don't want to click over, it's right below:


Isn't it awesome?! Go check out Nick Brokenshire's stuff right now.

2. I have a rare young adult story out now in the latest issue of Ember Journal, "The Panoptimom," It's a story that equates parents with the surveillance state so yep, kid's story. Check out the art! (This is apparently my season for original art.)

3. But the biggest news in my life right now isn't writing-related at all, it's that we bought a house. Yes, in Portland. Yes, if you live in Portland you can come visit, although we're still painting the thing. And yes, I did convince Rob to let me paint the house all kinds of wacky colors:



So, writing has been on the backburner for... uh, pretty much this entire year now. I'm not proud about this by any means, but it is what it is. Now that we're moved into the thing and are almost set up for good, I should get back to it. As well as back to reading, riding my bike, and basically a whole plethora of things that aren't this house. At least I never have to move again? But I seriously love this house, even if it did derail the entire last six months of my life

4. Are you a true buckaroo? Love is so real, you guys.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

2015 Short Fiction Round-Up: Short Stories

Okay, time for the "big one." (No, not novels. I barely read any novels released in 2015 and of those few I'd only recommend one, so no post for them.) If you haven't already, here are my posts about novelettes and novellas. And I'd be remiss to not point out that I have an awards eligibility post please read it please love me. Anyway, on to the stories!

This category always has the most things to consider, so even more than any other category, this is just basically "stuff I really liked/stayed with me" rather than "the best." I also tried to pick stories that I think have been more overlooked than others, not that there aren't good reasons for some stories to go viral, but I prefer to signal boost more obscure work. (And I still wish there was a flash category in Nebulas/Hugos. There's SO MUCH flash being published now, but flash would have a hell of a hard time getting nominated. It's different enough from short stories that I think there's a need for the category. But that's a post for another time, or more likely, never.) Nine stories, online links where available:

Thursday, January 28, 2016

2015 Short Fiction Round-Up: Novellas

You may have seen my previous post about 2015 novelettes. Now, time for the novellas! Only three this time, because there just aren't that many novellas published in a year. But these ones were, and they're well worth checking out. No links, because I got these through the SFWA forum or private channels. If you're interested in reading them, you'll just have to find out how to get them yourself!

Monday, January 18, 2016

2015 Short Fiction Round-Up: Novelettes

I've always avoided doing best-of-year posts in the past, because a) nobody reads this blog and b) no matter how much I read, it never feels like enough. But then I realized that everybody feels the second thing, and views to this blog have grown steadily, so yes, let's have some best-of-year posts up in here.

First up is the novelette category. This is a length of story that I really like, because it allows for a more involved narrative but without the scene-stretching that defines many novellas. Also, there are fewer of them published every year, so it's a lot easier to make a decision! Submitted for your approval, six "little novels" that I really dug:

Thursday, January 7, 2016

January Hot Takes

1. My flash fiction story "Human Resources" is now live at Fireside magazine! Here's a clip:
I used to be vain. I didn’t want my body carved up, so when things got rough I auctioned off a small piece of my brain for a luxury condo and free food for a year. You’ll never miss it, the broker said, and most of the time he’s right. I can’t focus too well anymore, and my memory is shot, but it’s actually kind of nice sometimes. Like living in a dream. 
Celia only got a car. The economy really is weak right now.

Economics and mutilation, a winning combination. The rest of the issue contains stories by A.K. Snyder, A. Merc Rustad, and Aidan Doyle, with gorgeous art from Galen Dara. And if you like what Fireside is doing, consider contributing to their Patreon!

2. You may have a word count tracker for your writing, but do you have the best word count tracker, the one that has colors to keep you motivated but which doesn't have all that crap you don't need? The word count tracker that's basically perfect in every way? Well, now you do. All credit to Christie Yant, creator of the best word count tracker.

3. I read a lot of single-author short fiction collections. Partially for learning, mostly for enjoyment. In 2013 I picked up an e-copy of Jennifer Pelland's Unwelcome Bodies based on a vague memory of reading and enjoying one of her stories in a defunct magazine called Helix. The notable thing about this collection is that every story was basically perfect. The collection closer "Brushstrokes" (a novella) was especially moving, a dark SF love story with extremely unique worldbuilding. Reading Unwelcome Bodies taught me a LOT about writing, and I can guarantee that if you like my stories you'll like this collection. All of this is a long-winded way of saying that it's only a dollar this month for Kindle so pick this sucker up now.