New story coming in License Expired: The Unauthorized James Bond

jamesbondI’m thrilled that editors David Nickle​ and Madeline Ashby​ have accepted my novelette The Gladiator Lie for the upcoming ChiZine Publications​ anthology License Expired: The Unauthorized James Bond. Actually, I’m double-thrilled, because my darling Alyx’s story has also been accepted. This will be the first time we’re sharing a TOC. Ain’t that romantic?

My story is an alternate ending to From Russia with Love, focusing on Tatiana Romanova and Rosa Klebb. Though the title is from Lord Byron and the story starts with a quote from Childe Harold, let me assure you this is no highbrow contemplation of Bond’s inner manpain. It could properly be subtitled James Bond and the Lesbian Dwarves.

The story is deviant as hell. Why deviant? Well, it explores a few things I believe with all my heart:

1. Women are not inherently nicer or kinder than men. With the right opportunities, women are capable of committing every possible crime and indecency.

2. Just because a woman is gorgeous and charming doesn’t mean she’s nice (I’m looking at you, Tatiana Romanova).

3. Beautiful romances can happen between unbeautiful people (I’m looking at you, Rosa Klebb and [redacted]).

I love this deviant freakshow of a story with all my heart and can’t wait for the antho to come out in November.

My novella Waters of Versailles is available for pre-order

Cover art for Waters of Versailles by Kathleen Jennings
Cover art for Waters of Versailles by Kathleen Jennings

My upcoming historical fantasy novella WATERS OF VERSAILLES (edited by Ellen Datlow​ and coming June 10th) is now available for pre-order at Amazon, OmniLit, Chapters Indigo, Barnes and Noble, and Apple iBooks.

For less than a buck (yes, only 99 cents!) you get nearly 19,000 words of sex, magic, and plumbing — including hot guys in hose and wigs, hotter women in amazing dresses who put makeup in unmentionable places, a mischievous and powerful water spirit who just wants someone to sing to her, Louis XV who loves his cat and his mistress in equal measure, adorable monkeys, saucy parrots, bejeweled leopards, manly best friends, courtly intrigue, champagne fountains, and home renovation disasters in France’s most sumptuous and luxurious palace.

Waters of Versailles, because you need to know what these people got up to in 1738. Oh yeah.

Reading at ChiSeries Peterborough, May 15

ChiSeries Peterborough

On May 15 I’ll be reading at ChiSeries Peterborough along with wonderful writers Alyx Dellamonica, David Nickle, and Madeline Ashby. The ChiSeries Peterborough is a regular reading event organized by Derek Newman-Stille of the Speculating Canada blog and radio show, and hosted by Trent University’s Sadleir House.

Derek will also interview the four of us on Trent Radio before the reading, on the topic of being writer couples.

Why I wrote a rape scene

Okay. Oh god. Here it goes.

My first published short story came out this February. It got some fantastic positive reactions out of the gate, and then a few weeks later this happened:

A little disheartening to hear that my very first story was considered not worth reading, especially by someone for whom the political aspect of the story should be apparent. And also not great to have someone with a sizable following tell everyone that it’s not worth reading. But that’s neither here nor there. Not everything works for everyone.

But then someone retweeted a K. Tempest Bradford blog post “Portrayals of Rape in Fiction: An Exploration of Where It’s Done Wrong or Right and Why.” And I feel I should justify my choice to include a rape scene and defend how I did it. I don’t need to, but I want to. And it’s pretty simple:

Highway 16
Highway 16, near where I grew up
1. It’s honest.
My story is based on a real (and ongoing) epidemic of murders along Highway 16 in BC and Alberta. I grew up on this highway, always very aware of the danger it represented. One of my high school classmates was one of the victims. As we speak, an epidemic of serial killers is still preying on Aboriginal women in Canada (a situation that the government and the police still barely acknowledge). Writing about this but pulling a curtain over the violence would be dishonest.

2. I did it as briefly as I could.
The sexual assault and murder scene is 350 words. I focused on the sensory aspect and kept it matter of fact. No pretty language. Just get it done.

3. I gave the rapist/murderer nothing.
I hate it when movies/TV treat rapist and murderer characters like they’re interesting people. It’s fetishistic and disgusting. I’m not interested in adding to that. He gets nothing from me, and I specifically divested him of his humanity in one line, “He didn’t exist except as a medium for pain.”

4. It worked.
The story has received a strong response, especially from men. On the whole, their reactions could be summarized as, “That was harsh. Really disturbing, but effective. I get it.”

I call that a success and a good justification for writing something violent and awful.

Edited to add: Derek Newman-Stille nicely summarized the political aspects of the story on the Speculating Canada blog.

Also edited to reflect the fact that the blog post wasn’t new.

In the Shadow of the Towers TOC revealed

In the Shadow of the Towers, edited by Douglas Lain
In the Shadow of the Towers, edited by Douglas Lain

My Science Fiction horror story “The Three Resurrections of Jessica Churchill,” which appeared in the February 2015 Clarkesworld Magazine (text | podcast), will be reprinted in the In the Shadow of the Towers, Speculative Fiction in the Post-9/11 World, an anthology edited by Douglas Lain.

The antho will be released by Night Shade Books on September 1, 2015, and is available for pre-order on Amazon.

I’m thrilled to share a Table of Contents with so many absolutely amazing writers. Just look at the names in the table of contents. These people are gods.

Section One: The Dead

  1. “There’s a Hole in the City” by Richard Bowes
  2. “My Eyes Your, Your Ears” by Ray Vukcevich
  3. “Beyond the Flags” by Kris Saknussemm
  4. “Beautiful Stuff” by Susan Palwick

Section Two: Reaction and Repetition

  1. “Excerpt from Zenith Angle” by Bruce Sterling
  2. “Our Lady of Toledo Transmission” by Rob McCleary
  3. “The Three Resurrections of Jessica Churchill” by Kelly Robson
  4. “Retribution” by Tim Marquitz
  5. “Until Forgiveness Comes” by K. Tempest Bradford
  6. “Pipeline” by Brian Aldiss

Section Three: The New Normal

  1. “Excerpt from Little Brother” by Cory Doctorow
  2. “Unexpected Outcomes” by Tim Pratt
  3. “Out of My Sight, Out of My Mind” by David Friedman
  4. “Closing Time” by Jack Ketchum

Section Four: Civilization?

  1. “The Last Apollo Mission” by Douglas Lain
  2. “Giliad” by Gregory Feeley
  3. “Apologue” by James Morrow

New Canadian Noir Launch March 31

New Canadian Noir launch March 31

On Tuesday, March 31 I will be reading from my story Good for Grapes at the Toronto launch for The Exile Book of New Canadian Noir at the Dora Keogh Tavern, 141 Danforth Avenue. The event is organized by publisher Exile Editions, and will be hosted by anthology co-editor David Nickle, with readings by David Menear, Michael Mirolla, Ada Hoffman, Michael S. Chong, and myself.

It’s not a large venue, and it’s going to be packed so everyone best get there early!

Good for Grapes in New Canadian Noir

New Canadian Noir interviewsCorey Redekop is doing a nifty series of quick bite interviews with authors featured in The Exile Book of New Canadian NoirIn mine, I wax poetic — but ever so briefly — about Bogart and Bacall. Because my first taste of noir was watching The Big Sleep on videodisk (remember those?) while babysitting.

What does “noir” mean to you?
More Bogart and Bacall than Kaiser Soze. Noir should be sexy, understated, and tense.

My story Good for Grapes is heavily influenced by the his-and-her cut-and-thrust scenes that make The Big Sleep so deliciously re-watchable.

Which is not to say it’s a romantic story — not at all, though I do believe it’s mighty sexy in its trappings. Wineries and wine cellars are extremely sexy places.

The romance in noir is all in the tension and the tone. In The Big Sleep, Bogart and Bacall’s characters are highly empowered, confident in their point of view, and in full control of their worlds. When two people like that come together, sparks fly.

The Three Resurrections of Jessica Churchill

Art by Atilgan Azikuzun
Art by Atilgan Azikuzun

Clarkesworld issue 101 (February 2015) includes my Science Fiction story The Three Resurrections of Jessica Churchill. I’m just over the moon about it.

Three Resurrections is my most recently completed story, and thanks to the magic of the Internet, it’s the first to see publication. I have three other stories coming out this year, and am terribly proud of each one. But for a variety of reasons, Three Resurrections is very much a screaming, raving, ranting child of my heart.

I’m very much looking forward to hearing what people think of it.

What editors want

A writer actively submitting stories to market might spend a lot of time wondering what editors want. I just came across this lovely group interview on Clarkesworld, grilling a bunch of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror editors on just that topic.

The story’s almost six years old, but it’s not that much out of date. Gordon Van Gelder isn’t editing S&SF anymore, for example (though he’s still the publisher and owner). Fantasy Magazine is now merged with Lightspeed.  Jim Baen’s Universe is defunct, and so is Weird Tales. But most of the editors are still powerhouses in the field, and their answers are fascinating.


My first Asimov’s

Asimov's magazine January 1984I just heard that my SF story The Three Resurrections of Jessica Churchill will be appearing very soon — in Clarkesworld‘s February issue.

I’m thrilled to death, of course. Three Resurrections is my most recently completed story, and strangely, it will be my first published piece of fiction. Thus is the magic of the Internet!

And something else exciting has happened recently. I haven’t yet made much of it publicly (though I crowed on Facebook* because I just couldn’t help myself). So here it goes:

I just sold a story to Asimov’s Science Fiction.

And when I found out I cried my little eyes out. Bawled like a baby in my cubicle at work. Silently, I hope.

Why did I cry? Well, Asimov’s changed my life. Specifically, the January 1984 issue changed my life.

I bought it on a long road trip from Kelowna to Hinton. I’d been reading SF, of course, all my life, but this issue of Asimov’s introduced me to the cutting edge of contemporary SF at my tenderest of teenage years.

I have vivid memories of sitting in the front seat of our 1977 Suburban, reading Connie Willis’ Blued Moon and feeling my mind expand as I laughed and laughed. Connie’s story is about linguistics and happenstance and romance and coincidence, and the sponge of my little teenage brain just sopped it up. I’d never experienced anything like it.

From then on I went to the local drugstore about three times a week to check for the next issue of Asimov’s. I bought Analog and F&SF too, of course, and enjoyed them, but Asimov’s was special. Asimov’s introduced me to the writers who would form my adult mind — to Octavia Butler, James Tiptree, Michael Bishop, Nancy Kress, Maureen McHugh, John Kessel, Jack Womack, Pat Cadigan, of course Connie Willis, and so many others.

Asimov’s made me who I am. And in July my story Two-Year Man will appear in its pages.



*And on the SFWA forums, too. Because now I’m a SFWA member! Which is another thing to cry tears of joy over.