Anthology Opportunities: June 2015

Depositphotos_7200270_originalThere are quite a number of science-fiction and fantasy anthologies looking for submissions right now, so I thought I’d share some of the ones that interest me, in case you might find them useful as well. (Of course, these are all time-sensitive and subject to change.)

Clockwork Phoenix 5

Looking for “stories that sidestep expectations in beautiful and unsettling ways, that surprise with their settings and startle with the ways they cross genre boundaries, that aren’t afraid to experiment with storytelling techniques. But experimentation is not a requirement: the stories in the anthology must be more than gimmicks, and should appeal to genuine emotions, suspense, fear, sorrow, delight, wonder. I will value a story that makes me laugh in its quirky way more than a story that tries to dazzle me with a hollow exercise in wordplay.

“The stories should contain elements of the fantastic, be it science fiction, fantasy, horror or some combination thereof, [but] bring something new and genuine to the equation.”

6 cents/word,  stories under 5,000 words STRONGLY PREFERRED. Submit by July 26, 2015.

Defying Doomsday

Looking for stories of “apocalypse-survival fiction with a focus on disabled characters. (One of) the protagonist(s) must be a character with disability, such as physical impairments, chronic illnesses, mental illnesses and/or neurodiverse characters etc. We will consider stories with characters experiencing all kinds of disability and hope that submitting authors will be creative with the possibilities.”

7 cents/word, 3000-7000 words. Submit by June 30, 2015 to clear the July 1 Australian deadline.

Futuristica Volume 1

“We prize diversity, specifically stories that include multicultural backgrounds or lead characters of atypical ethnic origins. Basically, while we have nothing against heterosexual white American males, we feel they are already adequately represented in science fiction and we want stories about the rest of humanity.

“We are interested in character-oriented fiction.” They stress their desire for women-positive, sex-positive, and science-positive stories.

7 cents/word, 3000-10,000 words. Submit by August 31, 2015.

Hidden Youth: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History

“Your story must be set before 1935 C.E. (NO exceptions), and take place primarily in our world or an alternate historical version of our world. (Travel to other worlds, other dimensions, Fairyland, the afterlife, etc. is fine but should not be the focus.) Your protagonists must be young people (under the age of 18) who were marginalized in their time and place.”

6 cents/word, 2000-8000 words. Submit by July 31, 2015.

SNAFU: Future Warfare

“We want ORIGINAL military-style combat with strong elements of future technology/sci-fi, and we want horror. Give us fear… suspense and tension… we want originality and speculation about future aspects of war. Most of all we want action, action, ACTION! We want something jaw-droppingly amazing.”

4 cents/word AUD (so 3 cents/word USD, per Google), 2000-10,000 words. Submit by August 13, 2015 (or August 12 to be safe again, because Australia).


Header image purchased from and copyright innovari/depositphotos.com.

Review: Crooks & Straights

Crooks and StraightsCrooks and Straights by Masha du Toit

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a wonderful read which I suppose falls into the YA category but suited me just fine as an adult reader. It is the story of a young girl in a magical version of South Africa who gets caught between the magical and non-magical world around her. The world itself is full of everyday magic, but also tension as it becomes increasingly clear that magical people and creatures are an oppressed underclass. As such, the book deals with civil rights issues and the topic of children with special needs, through the lens of a world uncomfortable with magical or odd things.

The book is full of inventive magical details and feels very real and well-constructed, and the writing flows well and is often quite beautiful. I recommend Crooks and Straights to fans of Harry Potter, movies like Howl’s Moving Castle, and the books of Neil Gaiman.

View all my reviews

Review: A Noble’s Quest

anoblesquest

Review of A Noble’s Quest
by Ryan Toxopeus
ISBN-10: 1492170127

If you’ve ever played Dungeons and Dragons, chances are you and your group of fellow adventurers sometimes waded into combat without asking a lot of questions first. Or justified a slaughter when diplomacy fell through. Or found it easier to kill the King’s guards and hide the bodies than face up to some perhaps well-deserved justice.

You did all this in the name of fun and because, as the main characters in your own story, you were obviously the heroes. You saved the world, or at least the town, and if you left a lot of bodies behind along the way, well, that’s the life of an adventurer.

Maybe someone in your group jokingly brought up how your actions must appear to everyone else in the game world. “We’re murder hobos!” But it’s just a game and everyone’s having fun, so who cares, right?

But when those adventures are the basis for a book, as they are here, those ruthless antics are not as simple. As a reader, I expect the main characters to act heroic, work toward becoming a hero, or at least recognize that they’re not heroes at all, but they’re doing what they think is right.

If I had one huge disconnect with the book, it is that while the main characters are proclaimed to be heroic, the book never really addresses that they often act like murderers and thieves, without having any sense that their actions are justified. They’re doing it because they’ve been sent on a series of quests to achieve a secret goal, and they repeatedly talk about these quests in a way that seemed a little too meta for the characters, as if they were aware they were an adventuring party in a game.

One of the main characters repeatedly worries about the group’s seemingly unjustified murders, but eventually has an epiphany in which he realizes they were all justified after all because he was defending himself and his friends. I didn’t buy the logic and I never really felt the characters were heroic.

That being said, the book is well-written and it kept me reading. There’s a good sense of humor throughout and, even though a lot of the world-building is stock Player’s Handbook in many parts, the original touches are clever and engaging. I especially enjoyed a scene of some dwarves dealing with an interesting type of alarm, and any scene that had to do with the Dwarven religion, which seems like a clever, Dwarven take on Christianity.

I think if you approach this book as the account of a role-playing group acting out the lives of Player Characters, you’ll be more likely to enjoy it for what it is. And when all is said and done, I want to know what happens next in this world. Good thing then that the second book, A Wizard’s Gambit, is in the works.

Review: Helen & Troy’s Epic Road Quest

helentroyquestI used to read humorous fantasy all the time when I was younger: John DeChancie’s Castle Perilous Series, Craig Shaw Gardner’s trilogies, and Robert Lynn Aspirin’s Myth series being some of the books I read and reread several times. Somewhere along the way, though, I fell out of the habit of reading funny books.

Helen & Troy’s Epic Road Quest, by A, Lee Martinez, definitely falls into the humor fantasy category. I might not have picked it up except for it being the book chosen for a local book club I am going to attend for the first time. I won’t say it has rekindled my love of the genre, but it was good enough that I’ll sprinkle similar books back into my reading queue. (Since I’ve had Terry Pratchett recommended to me more times than I count, that seems like a good place to start.)

So who are Helen and Troy and why are they going on this epic quest? Without revealing too much, Helen is a minotaur and Troy is your usual perfect hero type. They live in our world, if myths and legends were true and the fantastical had long since become commonplace. Their Call to Adventure comes by way of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, where they end up being tasked with a quest by an insane god.

In other words, just another day in the fantastical world Martinez has created. Of course, everything is taken so much for granted and treated with a dry, been-there-done-that attitude, that the book doesn’t have much of a sense of wonder. Instead, it’s a by-the-book quest to get the McGuffins, and it wears this on its sleeve. The characters themselves are aware that they are on a quest and must abide by certain tropes.

It’s done with a dry wit and gentle touch, spending as much time on building the friendship between Helen and Troy as on describing the mythical beings they encounter along the way.

Above all, it’s a quick read that kept me amused me and worked by itself and as a meta narrative on the nature of heroic quests.

Moorcock and Tolkien

The scales of justice, photo by James Cridland.I can’t get worked up about a lot of things, and certainly not about what books people like to read, so it is always with some amusement when I see someone or other trash someone else’s writing. It is even more amusing (or perhaps confusing) when I find out one of my writer heroes, Michael Moorcock, despised another of my writer heroes, J.R.R. Tolkien.

I’ll spoil the ending of this post right now: I like both of them and I’m cool with that. But I think it’s interesting to look at their different styles, as I experienced them, and see what I can make of Moorcock’s attitude and what effect each writer has had on my own style.

In a recent piece in the New Yorker, “The Anti-Tolkien,” Peter Bebergal writes: “Moorcock, one of the most prolific living fantasists, sees Tolkien’s creation as little more than a conservative vision of the status quo, an adventure that brings its hero “There and Back Again,” rather than into a world where experience means you can’t go home again.”

Moorcock’s work, especially the Elric series, is presented as a rebellion against Tolkien’s traditional fantasy.

Bebergal again: “In the nineteen-seventies, swimming in the shadows like a remora alongside Tolkien’s legacy, was a hero of sorts with a slightly darker nature than that of Bilbo or Gandalf. His name is Elric, a frail, drug-addicted albino and the reluctant ruler of the kingdom of Melniboné, where revenge and hedonism are abiding characteristics, and human beings are enslaved. The inhabitants of Melniboné are not the spiritual, almost angelic elves of Lothlórien, but a race of decadent autocrats whose magical gifts are bestowed by demons.”

I had never really thought of Moorcock’s work this way, probably because I read Moorcock before I read Tolkien (the Lord of the Rings trilogy seemed dense and overwhelming to me in my teens, when I devoured dozens of books each month and formed some of my strongest reader/author bonds).

Granted, I always found something cooler about Moorcock’s worlds and heroes. They were tragic, usually barely hanging on to their lives, and even when they succeeded, it wasn’t long before a cruel world swept the rug out from under them once more. Perhaps Moorcock’s writing better agreed with the way the world felt to teenaged me (and, I’ll admit it) adult me.

I rarely participate in epic quests and ultimately conquer evil. Life is a series of small battles and the outcome is usually questionable, so I can relate more to Moorcock’s heroes in this way. As Bebergal writes, “Elric is not about abstract ideas of good and evil, with faceless powers looking to strip the world of its trees and its hobbit holes. Elric is about law and chaos, and how, sometimes, choosing one over the other is no more or less just.”

All that being said, epic fantasy, with the forces of good eventually winning a hard-fought victory over the nameless evil, definitely has its time and place. I love the scope, the world-building, the mix of characters and personalities. I love that Tolkien’s world feels like a real place, a piece of our own history, with a sense that around any corner of the world, something else awaits, some adventure or hero or villain or ruin with a story all its own.

Even though I tend more toward stories about individual heroes trying to balance law and chaos within themselves, often with bittersweet victories at the end, I don’t feel the need to dismiss one type of story over another.

As a writer I tend toward one side of the balance, but as a reader I enjoy both equally, at least until the next book I read tips me more toward one side or the other.

(Speaking of which, Michael Moorcock’s new book, The Whispering Swarm, is out on January 13!)

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Photo credit: The scales of justice, James Cridland.

Review: Talus and the Frozen King

Talus and the Frozen King by Graham Edwards

£7.99 (UK) ISBN 978-1-78108-198-3

$8 .99/$10.99 (US & CAN) ISBN 978-1-7810-8-199-0

Published by Solaris Books

TALUS AND THE FROZEN KING

 

I started to read Talus and the Frozen King right after A Discourse in Steel by Paul S. Kemp, and at first I worried it would be too similar, a fantasy buddy adventure. As it turned out, I was pleasantly surprised when I realized the book was not really an action-adventure story, but rather a murder mystery. Now, if I had read the book cover, which proclaims that the book introduces the world’s first detective, maybe I wouldn’t have been surprised, but then again I might not have given it a chance because mysteries aren’t my first choice of reading.

At its base, Talus and the Frozen King is much like a familiar Sherlock Holmes and Watson story, except in this case, Holmes is a bard named Talus and Watson a former fisherman named Bran.

Talus is emotionally-stunted but clever and insightful. Bran, his sidekick, is more rough-and-tumble. He may not figure things out as fast as Talus does, but he understands human motivations in a way the bard-sleuth does not. It’s a familiar trope but both characters are fleshed out well enough that I had as much interest in them as in solving the mystery.

The details of the world building kept me interested at first, especially as I was going into the story blind, unsure of what type of fantasy it was. Interestingly, the level of magic in the story is open to interpretation. Many of the characters believe in it, but as it is a historical fantasy, this could simply reflect that many people in our history believed in magic and spirits.

While the world-building pulled me in to the story at first, the mysteries surrounding the frozen king’s murder eventually grabbed hold of me. By the halfway point of the novel, with mystery piling on top of mystery, including those in Bran and Talus’ past, I found myself racing to the end. I’d definitely buy the next book in the series, because while the book works as a stand-alone mystery, I definitely want to know where Talus and Bran’s adventures take them next.

Reviewer’s Note: I received a review copy of this book but as always this review is my honest reaction. I use Amazon Affiliate links so if you follow the link and buy the book, I might someday make enough to afford to buy a book on Amazon. :)

Free E-Books #2

books2

 

I ran across two sources for free e-books lately, so here’s a quick post to share them.

1) Free stories by Philip K. Dick: Open Culture collected a list of the PKD stories that are available as free e-books for download through Project Gutenberg. These include Beyond Lies the Wub and Second Variety. If you’re looking for longer works by PKD, you can’t go wrong with The Man in the High Castle or Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the latter of which was the basis for the movie Blade Runner. They’re not free but they’re well worth the price.

2) A collection of (nearly) all fiction eligible for  this year’s John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. It’s a gigantic trove of short stories, novellas, and novel excerpts. Stupefying Stories is hosting the ebook, but due to popular demand, Tor.com and other sites are mirroring it. It says it’s up for a limited time only, but that time isn’t specified, so get it while you still can!

The writers eligible for the 2014 award must have had their first work of science fiction or fantasy published in a professional publication in 2012 or 2013.

Image of books by Peter Dutton on Flickr (CC BY).

Michael Moorcock E-Book Master List

This is my master list of e-book availability for Michael Moorcock’s works as of November 2013, as seen as a customer in the United States. Due to different publishing rights by territory, books available inside the U.S. may not be available to customers from other parts of the world, and vice versa. In fact, many more e-books are available in the UK, released recently by Gollancz. It’s enough to make a US fan pull out their hair, because the pickings are rather slim here in the United States.

Moorcock’s works have been reprinted many times with different titles, different edits, and different story order, so even when there is an e-book available (for Elric, say), it might be a different version than the volume on your shelf.

I’ll try to keep this list updated periodically, but if you notice anything that needs to be updated, please let me know.

I used Michael Moorcock’s bibliography from Wikipedia in compiling this list. You can find out more about Michael Moorcock at Moorcock’s Miscellany.

Elric of Melniboné

Elric of Melniboné
The Sailor on the Seas of Fate
The Weird of the White Wolf
The Sleeping Sorceress/The Vanishing Tower
The Bane of the Black Sword
Stormbringer
Elric at the End of Time

Later novels featuring Elric include:
The Fortress of the Pearl
The Revenge of the Rose

An additional trilogy, featuring Oona von Bek as well as Elric, was published from 2001–2005:
The Dreamthief’s Daughter (later titled Daughter of Dreams)
The Skrayling Tree (later titled Destiny’s Brother)
The White Wolf’s Son (later titled Son of the Wolf)

Del Rey reprinted the series as Chronicles of the Last Emperor of Melniboné from 2008–2010. Elric: To Rescue Tanelorn included a reprint of Moorcock’s British Fantasy Award-winner “The Jade Man’s Eyes” while Elric: Swords and Roses included the first book publication of “Black Petals”, a story originally published in the March–April 2008 issue of Weird Tales.

Del Rey reprints

Elric: The Stealer of Souls
Elric: To Rescue Tanelorn
Elric: The Sleeping Sorceress
Duke Elric
Elric in the Dream Realms
Elric: Swords and Roses

A new Elric story, “Red Pearls”, was featured in the 2010 anthology Swords and Dark Magic.

Corum Jhaelen Irsei

The first trilogy

The Knight of the Swords
The Queen of the Swords
The King of the Swords

The second trilogy

The Bull and the Spear
The Oak and the Ram
The Sword and the Stallion

Dorian Hawkmoon

The first quadrilology

The Jewel in the Skull
Sorcerer’s Amulet/The Mad God’s Amulet
The Sword of the Dawn
Secret of the Runestaff /The Runestaff

The Chronicles of Castle Brass

Count Brass
The Champion of Garathorm
The Quest for Tanelorn

Jerry Cornelius

The Final Programme
A Cure for Cancer
The English Assassin
The Condition of Muzak

The Lives and Times of Jerry Cornelius

The Entropy Tango
The Adventures of Una Persson and Catherine Cornelius in the 20th Century
The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle (a.k.a. Gold Diggers of ’77)
The Alchemist’s Question

Firing the Cathedral
Modern Times 2.0

Cornelius also appeared in The Distant Suns (with James Cawthorn)

The von Bek family

The War Hound and the World’s Pain
The Brothel in Rosenstrasse
The City in the Autumn Stars

Erekosë

The Eternal Champion
Phoenix in Obsidian
The Dragon in the Sword

Kane of Old Mars

Warriors of Mars (aka City of the Beast)
Blades of Mars (aka Lord of the Spiders)
Barbarians of Mars (aka Masters of the Pit)

Jherek Carnelian and the Dancers at the End of Time

The original trilogy

An Alien Heat (Harper and Row, 1972)
The Hollow Lands (Harper and Row, 1974)
The End of All Songs (Harper and Row, 1976)

Legends from the End of Time
The Transformation of Miss Mavis Ming (aka A Messiah at the End of Time)

The Multiverse trilogy

The Sundered Worlds (aka The Blood Red Game)
The Fireclown (aka The Winds of Limbo)
The Twilight Man (aka The Shores of Death)

Oswald Bastable

The Warlord of the Air
The Land Leviathan
The Steel Tsar

Travelling to Utopia

The Wrecks of Time (aka The Rituals of Infinity)
The Ice Schooner
The Black Corridor

Second Ether

Blood
Fabulous Harbours
The War Amongst the Angels

Karl Glogauer

Behold the Man
Breakfast in the Ruins

Jerry Cornell

A duology of comic spy adventures (revised from two Nick Allard books, see below):

The Chinese Agent (revised from Somewhere in the Night)
The Russian Intelligence (revised from Printer’s Devil)

Nick Allard

The first was as by Roger Harris (who had written the book, with some edits by Moorcock), the other two were by Moorcock writing as Bill Barclay:

The LSD Dossier
Somewhere in the Night (later revised as the Jerry Cornell novel, The Chinese Agent)
Printer’s Devil (later revised as the Jerry Cornell novel, The Russian Intelligence)

Colonel Pyat

Byzantium Endures
The Laughter of Carthage
Jerusalem Commands
The Vengeance of Rome

Doctor Who

The Coming of the Terraphiles

Sexton Blake and Monsieur Zenith

A Caribbean Crisis (Sexton Blake)
The Metatemporal Detective (Monsieur Zenith)
Another Moorcock Zenith story, Curare, appeared in the 2012 anthology Zenith Lives!

Other novels

The Time of the Hawklords (with Michael Butterworth)
Gloriana
The Golden Barge
Mother London
Silverheart (with Storm Constantine)
King of the City
The Sunday Books (with Mervyn Peake)
Sojan the Swordsman

C.J. Cherryh E-Book Master List

This is my master list of e-book availability for C.J. Cherryh’s works as of November 2013, as seen as a customer in the United States. Due to different publishing rights by territory, books available inside the U.S. may not be available to customers from other parts of the world, and vice versa.

One of my pet peeves is the spotty availability of authors’ works in e-book format, and while C.J. Cherryh has many books available, there are some huge gaps in her bibliography, too. I’m especially disappointed that in the nearly two years since I last checked this list, only two books have been added.

I’ll try to keep this list updated periodically, but if you notice anything that needs to be updated, please let me know.

I used C.J. Cherryh’s bibliography from Wikipedia in compiling this list. You can find out more about C.J. Cherryh on Closed Circle and her personal website, Wave Without a Shore. You can also find a recent interview at Curiosity Quills Press.

The Alliance-Union universe

The Company Wars

Heavy Time
Hellburner
Downbelow Station
Merchanter’s Luck
Rimrunners
Tripoint
Finity’s End

The Era of Rapprochement

Serpent’s Reach
Forty Thousand in Gehenna
The Scapegoat (novella)
Cyteen

The Chanur novels

The Pride of Chanur
Chanur’s Venture
The Kif Strike Back
Chanur’s Homecoming
Chanur’s Legacy

The Mri Wars

The Faded Sun: Kesrith
The Faded Sun: Shon’Jir
The Faded Sun: Kutath

Merovingen Nights (Mri Wars Period)

Angel with the Sword – Merovingen Nights #0
Festival Moon – Merovingen Nights #1 (as editor)
Fever Season – Merovingen Nights #2 (as editor)
Troubled Waters – Merovingen Nights #3 (as editor)
Smuggler’s Gold – Merovingen Nights #4 (as editor)
Divine Right – Merovingen Nights #5 (as editor)
Flood Tide – Merovingen Nights #6 (as editor)
Endgame– Merovingen Nights #7 (as editor)

The Age of Exploration

Alternate Realities (contains Port Eternity, Voyager in Night, Wave Without a Shore)
Cuckoo’s Egg

The Hanan Rebellion

At the Edge of Space (contains Brothers of Earth and Hunter of Worlds)

The Morgaine Cycle

Gate of Ivrel
Well of Shiuan
Fires of Azeroth
Exile’s Gate

Other science fiction

The Foreigner universe

Foreigner
Invader
Inheritor
Precursor
Defender
Explorer
Destroyer
Pretender
Deliverer
Conspirator
Deceiver
Betrayer
Intruder
Protector
Peacemaker (due April 2014)

Finisterre universe

Rider at the Gate
Cloud’s Rider

Gene Wars

Hammerfall
Forge of Heaven

Miscellaneous

Hestia

Fantasy

The Fortress series

Fortress in the Eye of Time
Fortress of Eagles
Fortress of Owls
Fortress of Dragons
Fortress of Ice

Ealdwood

The Dreamstone ( includes material from Cherryh’s short story “The Dreamstone” and the novelette Ealdwood)
The Tree of Swords and Jewels

The Russian stories

Rusalka
Chernevog
Yvgenie

Heroes in Hell

The Gates of Hell (with Janet Morris)
Kings in Hell (with Janet Morris)
Legions of Hell

Miscellaneous

The Paladin (was available from Baen, but has since been pulled)
The Goblin Mirror
Faery Moon (updated version of Faery in Shadow)

The Evolution of The Only City Left: Part One

Cover by S.A. Hunt.

The Only City Left has been a long time in the works, and has been through three phases of existence so far. In this post I’m going to talk about its origin and the first phase of its life as a serial.

The Only City Left was inspired first and foremost by the many fine independent webcomics I was reading. I was impressed that artists, writers, and artist/writers were throwing their work out there for all the world to see, and often learning and improving as they went. I thought, “Why can’t I do the same thing with my writing?” I hadn’t written consistently for a while, and it seemed like a great way to encourage myself to write more: write for fun, set a schedule, and don’t worry about mistakes. (That last part turned out to be the most difficult of course.)

My first entry for The Only City Left was posted on 2/26/12, and there wasn’t that much preparation that went into it. In my writing notebook for 2/24/2012, I have this entry: “The entire world is underground to the level of the tops of skyscrapers. (Think Trantor, but run-down and dying.)” Yup, The Only City Left was invented and begun in less than two days. This lack of lengthy world-building meant that I didn’t get stuck on the details, but it also meant that I had some sections of the story that were bogged down while I spun my wheels trying to figure out what happened next.

In my 2/24/12 notes, I went on to list every trope, cliché, and straight-up stolen idea that I could throw into the mix: “Vampires, kung fu, robots, werewolves, nano-swarms, aliens, mutants, mutated animals, treasure caches, ghosts, guns, lasers, swords, martial weapons, avatars of gods, underground oceans w/ preserved cities, twisted gravity, portals, bad air/no air, undead/zombies, charms.”

Several of these items made it into the first draft of The Only City Left, especially early on as I struggled to write 1,000 words each week to get the story started. One goal I had, though, was to put a twist on my use of familiar tropes.

Yes, there are werewolves, but how do they transform deep underground without moonlight?

There are ghosts, but there’s a pseudo-scientific explanation of their existence.

There are mutated animals, but they’re more civilized than the remaining humans in this tired, battered Earth.

I described my planned story to myself as “Trantor meets Cube meets Mad Max meets monster movies.” While that vision of the world and the story has changed over time (and through rewrites), this description has stayed essentially the same: “1st person viewpoint of young man, orphaned, only goal is to see the surface once before he dies, but he has no idea how far down he is, and there is no clear path up.”

That young man is Allin Arcady, whose name is a nod to Arcadia “Arkady” Darell from Isaac Asimov’s Second Foundation. Asimov is a big influence on The Only City Left (see my The Caves of Steel re-read for more discussion on that), and there were even some subconscious connections I made that I didn’t realize until later, such as Allin’s mother being named Jessie, the same name as Lije Baley’s wife in The Caves of Steel.

From February to November of 2012, I wrote The Only City Left as a 1,000-word-per-week cliffhanger serial. I used NaNoWriMo to write the last 50,000 or so words, but continued to post the story one week at a time. I figured that by the time the story ended online, I would have a second book in The Only City Left series ready to go. (That didn’t happen as planned, but more on that next time.)

During that time, I learned some of the ropes of the online serial game. Share your post each week at Tuesday Serial, submit it to the Web Fiction Guide (which also gets it added to the Top Web Fiction list), respond to every comment someone leaves, and keep to your schedule as much as possible.

For a while, I posted links to each new post on all the regular social media sites, but over time I felt like this was too much bluster for too little results. (Your mileage may vary.) Most of my visitors found me through one of the sites I shared in the previous paragraph.

If I had it all to do over again, I don’t think I would change a thing about the serial. I met my goals of finishing a book, I had fun, and I earned some dedicated readers. Even without new entries, people continue to find and read through The Only City Left, which is immensely gratifying. I was even invited to have the first three sections of The Only City Left made into a podcast by Webfiction World, which was a very cool and unexpected accomplishment.

The next step in the process was to convert the serial into a novel and work on the second book in the series. More on that next time.