Saturday, June 6th, 2009
Steven R. Southard’s “Sea-Wagon of Yantai ” debuts tomorrow.
“The Sea-Wagon of Yantai” is a well-researched tale, set in ancient China, of what might have been. A very good read.
Here’s the publisher promo:
In ancient China, a young man of war and an old man of peace clash over the use and future of the world’s first submarine.
In 206 B.C., China is torn by warring dynasties. A young warrior, Lau, receives orders to verify the legend of a magic wagon that can cross rivers unseen. He encounters Ning, the wagon-maker in the seaside village of Yantai. Ning has constructed an unusual wagon that can submerge, travel along the bottom of the Bay of Bohai, and surface in safety—the world’s first practical submarine.
Ning enjoys the peace and beauty of his undersea excursions and will not allow the military to seize his wagon or learn its secrets. Lau must bring the valuable weapon back to his superior. In the hands of these two men rest the future of the submarine, as an instrument of war or exploration.
I had an opportunity to ask Steve a few questions:
Why did you write Sea Wagon?
Steve: I study submarine history and am writing a series of historical short stories involving man’s attempt to conquer the depths. While doing research, I came across references that suggested somebody had constructed a submarine in China at about 200 B.C. That seemed interesting, but the references were vague, with no specifics about the inventor, the sub, the location, etc. That freed me to write the story any way I wanted!”
Have you written any other sea/submarine stories?
Steve: I’ve written a number of stories that fictionalize the history of submarine development. One of those, “Alexander’s Odyssey,” appears in the [Ricasso Press] anthology Magic & Mechanica. I’m also writing another series of stories about the future of man’s colonization of the sea.
I envision the establishment of ‘aquanations’ with people living in ‘seasteads.’ I’ve written other stories that don’t fit these series, but mostly involve the sea in some way. My sole horror story, “Blood in the River,” has been selected to appear in the upcoming anthology Dead Bait. My story “Target Practice” is in the anthology Lower than the Angels.
Where does your interest in submarines come from?
Steve: From reading Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and from reading the Tom Swift series of books as a boy. I grew up in the Midwest, and the ocean seemed distant and exotic, full of adventure.
What is the likely audience for your stories?
Steve: I suppose my writing would appeal most to readers who enjoy either historical fiction or science fiction, and who are looking for a setting not often written about these days — the sea. My Sea-Wagon story, in particular, might attract those who are interested in ancient China, and who might wonder whether somebody could have solved the problems of traveling underwater way back then. Actually my stories could attract anybody who likes to read about intriguing characters having to contend with vexing technical problems, an unforgiving environment, and the ugliness of war.
Steve’s a very interesting guy. I wish I’d had time to chat with him. I do encourage you to pick up “The Sea-Wagon of Yantai,” available June 7, from Eternal Press.
Find out more about Steven R. Southard’s work and read free stories at his Web site.
Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009
I just learned that David Eddings died today.
I’m stunned and saddened.
I won’t get maudlin. I didn’t know the man…but I loved his books. The Belgariad holds a special place in my heart.
Thursday, May 28th, 2009
I received the signed contract back from Pete Butler today (Editor for Triangulation: Dark Glass).
On the Path is one step closer to publication…just 56 days away! The anthology will be published in time to be distributed during Confluence, Pittsburgh’s Literary Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention (now in it’s 21st year)!
This is the fastest I’ve ever had any fiction published. (My non-fiction pieces at various newspapers? Totally different story.)
What’s the fastest you’ve ever had anything published? The slowest?
Wednesday, May 13th, 2009
There’s another five-star review on Amazon.com for Black Dragon, White Dragon. The review mentions my story — by (a minimalist) description, if not by name — as the reader’s favorite!
5.0 out of 5 stars. Beyond the covers of this book there be dragons… I didn’t realize until I got this book that what had been missing from my shelves was an anthology of dragon stories, lots of them. All kinds of dragons here – good dragons, ordinary working dragons and dragons you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley. My current favorite is a dragon who protects a village in return for cave and boards. The book is just a lot of fun! ⋅ “Scatter Prevalent” – Gilbertsville, NY at Amazon.com ⋅ April 30, 2009
I know I’m a little late mentioning this. My writer friend Steve Southard pointed it out to me. I have to admit, as much as I like seeing good reviews, I don’t go looking for them… (Thanks, Steve!)
The reviewer’s description doesn’t quite do my story justice. Read an excerpt here.
Would you like to buy a copy?
Saturday, May 9th, 2009
I received via email today my contract for Triangulation: Dark Glass. I’ll be signing it post-haste and winging it back to the Editor via snail mail Monday.
“On the Path” will appear in July. Very exciting!
Saturday, April 25th, 2009
I just got word that my story, On the Path, has been accepted for publication in the ParsecInk publication, Triangulation: Dark Glass.
The anthology coincides with Confluence, Pittsburgh’s Science Fiction convention, July 24-26, 2009, so even though I’ve had some earlier acceptances this year…this story will be in print the soonest!
Friday, April 24th, 2009
“San Marino and the Dragon” by Kelly A. Harmon is about one city’s bargain with a dragon and how forgetfulness can lead to destruction. Set in 1600s Italy, the dragon’s bargain with the city is a traditional fairy tale about greed and complacency. A pleasant and entertaining read. – John Ottinger III ⋅ March 10, 2009
Read the full review at The Fixx – Short Fiction Review.
“5.0 out of 5 stars. Some great original stories, especially “An Ordinary Dragon” (Jennifer Schwabach), “The Elephant and the Dragon” (Sean Melican), “I Dreamed of Griffons in Flight” (Jeff Crook), and “The Dragonkeeper’s Wife” (Peter M. Ball). The book would be worth it for these stories alone, but there are many others as well. “A Pet of Her Own” (M.L. Burch) would be a great story to read aloud to a child, even a very young one, and especially to one who’s lobbying for a pet. “San Marino and the Dragon” (Kelly A. Harmon) is one of several light-hearted, positive stories, while others are more grim. They range from at least one story with no characters other than dragons to at least one story in which the dragon is never actually seen. Happy, sad, violent, peaceful — dragons for everyone!. – Naill Renfro at Amazon ⋅ March 31, 2009
“5.0 out of 5 stars. Excellent theme anthology. I really enjoyed the diversity of Black Dragon, White Dragon. So much imagination, so few knights and virgins, and when they appeared, there were interesting twists. I liked most of the stories; my favorites were Herbert and the Wym (great hero), Hardcastle’s Dragon (good dialogue; oh, the paperwork!), An Ordinary Dragon (great twist), Dragon’s Hide (another good twist), Western Front, 1914 ( I’m not an AH fan, but I enjoy it most with magic), and Rip-Snorter (lots of fun; perfectly executed). I love a good theme anthology, but it is rare to find one with all the stories worth reading–or rereading. This anthology is a keeper. – Joy V. Smith at Amazon ⋅ March 12, 2009.
Friday, April 3rd, 2009
Here’s the cover of the Ricasso Press Anthology: Black Dragon White Dragon. You’ll find my story, The Dragon and San Marino inside.
You can buy it at Amazon or from me, if you want an autographed copy.
Monday, March 30th, 2009
I’ve signed a contract with Eternal Press for my novella, Blood Soup, a dark fantasy about a king who sacrifices his twin daughter so that his twin son might live. Technically, Blood Soup is a reprint since it won a contest in July last year, but I’m not complaining.
Eternal Press suggests that their authors create their own Web site. I had one at www.sff.net, but nothing really speaks “professional” like buying your own domain. So here it is.
It feels a little strange, not unlike having your name up in lights…but with some permanency. I’m certain it will feel as comfortable as a worn pair of Levis after my 50th post or so.
Do you like the layout? I hope so. I agonized over it.
The big question is: Do I port all the old stuff over or just start fresh? Inquiring minds want to know. Or, at least, this one does. I’ll think about it.
For now, it’s a blank slate: sort of like that fresh notebook in September when you’re starting the new school year. I’ve always liked that newness…