Sunday, October 21, 2012


It's almost 1 a.m., so this is going to be a quick post. This weekend is MileHiCon here in Denver, which is my only convention of the year. I love conventions and wish I could do more, but getting time off to do so can be difficult. Mostly I've been attending panels, catching up with local writer friends and making new acquaintances. The last of those things isn't easy for me -- I'm very much an introvert -- but I'm making the effort to come out of my shell.

Tonight, I participated in a reading with six other writers of weird west and steampunk stories. Some of us read excerpts from short stories and others from novels. I read from my only story that combines weird west and steampunk, called Snake Oil. The evening was a lot of fun with some great stories, but also tiring. We started at 10 p.m. finished about midnight.

So now I am heading to bed to rest up for the last day of the convention.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Stuff and fluff

I can't believe we're already halfway through October. This month and this year are flying by. The goal I set myself for this month was to write four flash pieces, one each week. So far, I've written two. The first one was dead on arrival, just didn't work at all. The second one is a fun piece of fluff, but I don't know whether it will find a market. And now an idea for a short story has wormed its way into my brain and won't let me go. I might have to abandon flash pieces No. 3 and 4 and write the longer story instead. That wouldn't be a heartbreaker, as neither of the first two flashes hit the bull's-eye (and one missed the target completely).

In other news:
  • The Kickstarter campaign for Fireside issue No. 3 has five days left, which means there's still time to contribute.
  • MileHiCon is this weekend in Denver. I will be there all three days, and I'm taking part in a reading Saturday night of weird west and steampunk stories. I haven't decided what I'm reading yet, but I'm sure it will be from my new ebook collection. If you're at the con, please drop by!

Monday, October 8, 2012

"Father Francis and His Mechanical Bees" is up

Today marks the publication of my steampunk flash story "Father Francis and His Mechanical Bees" at Every Day Fiction. This story was so much fun to write. The idea came to me when I was out watering the backyard vegetable garden and a bee almost flew in my ear. It got me wondering what the world would be like without bees. The story went from there. There's a dirigible, a swarm of, yes, mechanical bees, and an AI who thinks she's Annie Oakley. I hope you enjoy.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Political neutrality in public

It's that time of year again, when pollsters and campaign volunteers knock on doors. I get asked many times in an election season if I'll "answer a few questions." I always say no. I don't put bumper stickers on my car or signs in my driveway. I am officially registered as an independent. And you won't ever, ever see me at a political rally.

This isn't because I disdain the political process. In fact, I'm quite passionate about it, so much so that I had to delete my Facebook account last year when I couldn't stop getting into heated debates with my in-laws. It's because I'm a journalist. Specifically, I'm the wire editor for a major city newspaper, and most of the paper's national election coverage is my responsibility. I cannot under any circumstances make my political leanings public if I am to maintain my journalistic credibility. Occasionally, I get an e-mail or call from a reader (usually angry and yelling), about how I am obviously bias and have an agenda to get so-and-so elected. But here's the thing: the comments are just about evenly split between those accusing me of being a liberal and those accusing me of being a conservative. I guess that means I'm doing my job right.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Kickstarter for Fireside has begun

The Kickstarter drive for Fireside Magazine issue No. 3 is going on right now. If you contribute $9, you get ebooks of all three issues. For $10, you get a printed copy of issue No. 3, which will include stories by Daniel Abraham, Elizabeth Bear, Mary Elizabeth Kowal and Lucas J.W. Johnson. And for a larger contribution, there are other rewards. So please go support this great, up-and-coming magazine.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Adventures in epublishing

After about a month of wrestling through ebook formatting, editing, etc., my first ebook is available for purchase on Kindle. It will also be available on Smashwords, Kobo and wherever else I can think to put it over the next few days. Here's the description:

Snake Oil and Other Tales of the Weird West
"A boy's life changes when a snake oil salesman with a dirigible comes to town ... An easygoing cowboy's troubles begin with a six-shooter, some moon men and a girl ... Annie Oakley travels west incognito on a train attacked by a gang of ghost bandits. A collection of three weird west short stories from Jennifer Campbell-Hicks: Snake Oil, Cowboy Jake and the Moon Men, and The Great Ghost Train Robbery."