IF WE HAD KNOWN – Beyond the Cradle 1 – eSpec Books


It’s official, I made the cut! This is the little story that could. Born in an exercise at the Writers of the Future workshop where authors are given 24 hours to write a complete story that must include a random object and other elements, The Janus Choice actually changed very little over time. Except for the ending, as I was never really satisfied by it. (There was a point where I actually put the story on a micro-SD card and froze that in my freezer. I literally put it on ice since I couldn’t come up with an ending that satisfied me.) The final result is definitely dark and it certainly fits the theme of the anthology. The Janus Choice explores alien decisions that are difficult to comprehend as a human and the sad nature of humanity to focus on its goals while ignoring the consequences.

That means in May, I will have a story in IF WE HAD KNOWN and TV GODS -SUMMER PROGRAMMING, an anthology that I am also one of the editors for, put out by Fortress Publishing. Both books will launch at Balticon 51.

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2017 – “The Janus Choice” off to Beyond the Cradle : If We’d Only Known

Thanks to the help of my fearless beta reader Raven, “The Janus Choice” is off to eSpec Books for consideration for inclusion in the upcoming hard science fiction collection BEYOND THE CRADLE edited by Mike McPhail. This is the little story that finally could. Born seven years ago as a 24 hour story challenge at Writers of the Future, it’s finally come to fruition. It took a long time to find the right ending for this one because before it was too warm and fuzzy. That’s not a problem now, this ones about as dark as “Blankets”.

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2016 in Review – Writing

Gaslight and Grimm – including my story “The Walking House” was released at Balticon this year as well as the reissue of Dogs of War which contained my story -“Covert Strike”

Trail of Indiscretion Special Edition 2 – a five story collection of my work, debuted at Confluence in August

The Best of Defending the Future – came out at Philcon and I was very happy that my story “Blankets” made the cut.

Man and Machine, Defending the Future 6 was released right before Christmas and includes “Armistice” another In Rim/Out Rim story

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Halloween Blog Post

Raven Eckman was kind enough to let me post on her blog A New Look On Books. Given the time of the year, I chose the blog about writing disturbing things …

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Works Released into the Wild

This is a catch-up post to cover new anthologies and collections of my stories:

Trail of Indescretion Special Edition #2 Diversiforms, debuted at Confluence, July 2016. Contains five of my short stories in Science Fiction, Fantasy, Military Science Fiction, Alternate History and Steampunk. First thing ever that is solely composed of my material. Five stories for $5. Contact me at ironmind42@gmail.com for copies.

Front cover jpg









IMG95201607289511473672995HDR IMG952016072895175846975



Two out of four Fortress team members say it tastes great








Gaslight and Grimm – launched at Balticon 50, May 2016, by eSpec Books – a steampunk faerie tale collection. Contains my story “the Walking House” based on the Russian faerie tales about Baba Yaga.  Available wherever fine books are sold and via eSpec Books.












Dogs of War – Reissued by eSpec Books, relaunched at Balticon 50, May 2016 – military science fiction featuring man’s animal assistants at war. Contains my story “Covert Strike” in the Out Rim/In Rim universe, where an Insystem operative investigates a mysterious hollowed out asteroid with the help of his trained and augmented hawk. Available wherever fine books are sold and via eSpec Books.











Upcoming releases :

Man and Machine – Defending the Future, from eSpec Books. Military Science Fiction containing my story “Armistice” set in the Out Rim/In Rim universe. Scheduled for release at Philcon in November.

Beyond the Cradle – If We had Known, from eSpec Books. Hard Science fiction containing my story “The Janus Choice”. Scheduled for release in 2017.

The Kassandra Leyden Adventures, from eSpec Books. A collection of my Kassandra Leyden stories, coming soon.


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Interview on A New Look On Books

Raven Eckman was kind enough to not only interview me on her blog about writing, but to also post an excerpt from my latest publication, “The Walking House” in the Gaslight and Grimm Anthology.

You can find the interview here – https://anewlookonbooks.wordpress.com/2016/07/14/july-authors-gallery-interview/

Excerpt from “The Walking House” – https://anewlookonbooks.wordpress.com/2016/07/15/july-authors-gallery-piece/

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CJcover-Mockup copy



On May 23rd, eSpec Publishing will launch the anthology The Society for the Preservation of C.J. Henderson, but if you can’t wait you can find the ebook on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Society-Preservation-CJ-Henderson-ebook/dp/B00WEW9AAS/?hc_location=ufi only $4.99. The book is a collection of short stories inspired by, from the worlds of or including writer C.J. Henderson who influenced a great many of us before he passed away.

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TV Gods Signing

TV Gods - Editor

Cupboard Maker Books www.cupboardmaker.com will be hosting a signing for Fortress Press and the authors of the TV Gods anthology. Just in time for the one year anniversary authors Michael D’Ambrosio, Jon Sprunk, Brian Kosckienski, Chris Pisano, Kelly Metz, Cliff Ackman and myself will be signing from 1:00PM to 3:00PM.

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There are two things that a bookstore can never have enough of and I’m going to shock you by telling you that one of them is not books. The two vital elements are time and space. Let’s start with space. Just as space and time are related according to Einstein, time will certainly pop up as we move along. Some quick math, let’s design a model bookstore of say 20k square foot of selling space (a real bookstore needs more space to have room to receive and store books, spots for employees and the coffee shop for that latte you’ve been dreaming of since I mentioned the word “bookstore”). At an off-hand guess, let’s bet that one way or another we can fit 350 displays of 4 foot units, with six shelves each in unit and still leave room to maneuver about. So that’s about 8400 feet to shelve books and with a book on average being about 1 inch thick, we can stick 100,800 books in our store – if we only have one copy of each title. That’s pretty good, but there are a few problems.

Every Monday night in the bookstore is like Christmas Eve. The new books are unpacked with care and brought out to be discovered by the bibliophiles the following morning when the doors are thrown open. On average there are any where from 20-30 new titles or new formats of books that arrive. Books have a life cycle typically starting with hardcovers, leading to large paperback or trade papers to the final version mass markets, the small paperbacks with each kind generally taking 9-12 months to arrive. So we’re not just shelving one title anymore, but up to two versions of the same title. Let’s add to the fun that you just don’t get one copy of a new book, instead its more like 3 to 30 or more depending on whether or not it’s the new Stephen King or James Patterson. Those take space to display and to make matters more interesting that old saw about judging a book by its cover suddenly comes into play. Covers intrigue customers, and it makes it easier for them to identify the author’s name by the larger print. Bookstores are also paid advertising dollars by publishers to ensure you get a good long look at the artwork. Suddenly, we have a shelving problem, if we want to show the customers the covers we can usually only fit around 7 books across on a shelf. Our 288 books per shelving unit becomes 42 just like that. So if 50 of our units show off new books (let’s face it most of the sales are new books), now our title number drops to lower than 84,600 that the math gives us since we have multiple formats as well. Greater than 16% of our space just disappeared.

But here comes the real sticking point, everyone wants new books. People come in looking for the classics for gifts, summer reading and more, however what sells more than any other are the new books. So with an average of 25-30 new books every week, each year a bookstore acquires 1300 or more new titles every year. It really is a never-ending cycle based around the demand for new material. Realistically, that estimate of 25 titles is probably low. So, something must go in order to make room for the new books. So we sacrifice our depth of titles and the breadth of subjects we can sell in order to satisfy the need for new titles. It’s a business game to decide what to keep, what to bring in and what to send back. It’s the reason your favorite book isn’t always on the shelf. But you wanted that book right now and that brings us to time.

We used to communicate via mail, then by phone and now by the Internet, skype and texts in an immediate fashion. Our social media connections are instantaneous and we can connect around the globe in real time. Therefore people assume that they should be able to have their needs gratified instantaneously including having whatever book they want right now. Not only have we increased the speed at which we can discover the title we’re looking for via search engines and recommendation lists, but also the depths of titles as well. Google shows you everything from what is easily available to that original Guttenberg Bible and it removes the sense of scarcity or difficulty of acquisition since you found the item with a single click. Bookstores strive to narrow down the time of transit constantly, even offering same day delivery in some large cities. But until there is a machine in the store to print the books as the customer demands them, the nature of travel across the country extends the amount of time if the title desired is on the opposite coast. All of which is why the concept of the ebook is so appealing. Instantaneous books whenever you want them. But then you don’t need a bookstore anymore and that’s sidestepping our discussion. On the whole it becomes – we want our books yesterday and whatever book we can imagine.

So just like Borges infamous library, a bookstore in that fabulous traveling contraption belonging to a certain Timelord is the complete answer. In the Tardis there is the ability to generate whatever space is necessary since the machine’s interior measurements are dimensionally transcendent. So when the new releases roll in, there’s always another shelf for them. In fact you can have a room just for every coming Tuesday, so as long as you know when the book was published you can find it easily. No need to ever send those books back. However, the Tardis is a little like ordering a book from a website. I did leave the website off the discussion until now because this is the closest that bookstores can come to having a Tardis. Our 86k title catalog suddenly blossoms to millions and can include connections to other sellers as well making available used and hard to find items. Books come from far and near to your hands – however, it takes time. Even in the Tardis going from one room to the next takes time. In fact there is no magic doorway that will open and take you directly to where you need to be. Often the Doctor and companions are running down that same style of staircase several times and even passing the pool at least once before arriving at their destination. Similarly, unless it’s ebook, it takes time to get your book.

We’re finding new ways to transport books, new ways to read books and even new ways to write books every day. Also the amount of literature available to the consumer continues to grow. Self-publishing; small and micropresses and epubing all challenge the status quo of the traditional houses while the demand for the product ebbs and flows. Social media phenomena drive super-sellers like Harry Potter, the Hunger Games and 50 Shades of Grey. Bookstore consolidation and competition have allowed for the reintroduction of independents in many markets. But the ultimate truth is there are no absolute answers to bookselling, which is why we’d have to resort to a fictional device to make it work perfectly.

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Today is the first day of my local convention – Balticon – http://balticon.org/.


My schedule is as follows :


  • WHERE DID YOU GET THE IDEA? (Panel) (Participant), Fri 21:00 – 21:50, Salon B (Hunt Valley Inn)
  • Designing Aliens (Panel) (Participant), Sun 08:00 – 08:50, Salon B (Hunt Valley Inn)
  • How To Read Writers We Don’t Understand (Panel) (Participant), Sun 12:00 – 12:50, Salon B (Hunt Valley Inn)
  • Best Entry Level Books To Recommend (Panel) (Participant), Mon09:00 – 09:50, Derby (Hunt Valley Inn)
  • Moments and Mechanics in History & their Potential in Steampunk (Panel) (Participant), Mon 10:00 – 10:50, Salon C (Hunt Valley Inn)
  • My Favorite Planet (Panel) (Participant), Mon 12:00 – 12:50, Salon B (Hunt Valley Inn)
  • When A Dwarf Is A Midget And Other Fantasy Conundrums (Panel) (Participant), Mon 13:00 – 13:50, Salon B (Hunt Valley Inn)
  • The Secret Life of Project Editors (Panel) (Participant), Mon 14:00 – 14:50, Chase (Hunt Valley Inn)

With a reading Friday 10:00

and a signing Sunday at 1:00

Most importantly, the launch of TV Gods Anthology Saturday 6-8PM in the Consuite.

Hope to see familiar faces and meet new folks.


TV Gods - Editor

TV Gods – Editor


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