Saturday, May 6, 2023

Spring 2023

If you haven't heard, during the pandemic I drew hundreds of daily cartoons that were collected in Cats in Quarantine,  A Cartoon Memoir of the COVID-19 Pandemic, published by Hex Publishers. When Josh Viola, the head guy at Hex, and I were deciding on the title, I mentioned that we should be specific about referring to the COVID-19 virus because God knows, we might get another pandemic!



Here's a sample cartoon that captured some of the anxiety I felt at the time.



Sunday, January 29, 2023

Winter 2023

The year is off to a great start as 2022 ended with a fantastic launch of Cats In Quarantine.

And I've got more awesome news. I was invited to join the Unioverse.

Say what? Unioverse is an amazing venture of Hex Publishers teaming with Random Games, the same people responsible for the hugely popular video games such as Grand Theft Auto, Donkey Kong Country, The Walking Dead, Stars Wars...you get the picture. 

But Universe is more than a video game, it's an epic franchise encompassing games, dazzling artwork, comic books, anthologies, merchandise, and more. What makes Unioverse different is that it opens content to the public so that you can expand the Unioverse anyway you want and monetize it to your benefit. 


The concept for the Unioverse is that 150 years in the future, during the colonization of Mars, explorers discover an ancient alien spaceship. An analysis of the ship reveals a transporter device that can zap your consciousness across the universe into a system known as the Mass-O. 

Here, using the technology of that extinct civilization, intelligent species interact in ways that are good and not so much. After all, the best stories come from conflict and bad decisions. My contribution so far is a futuristic crime story in a forthcoming anthology that introduces various worlds and narratives. Stay tuned.


Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Summer 2022

 Here I am, right on time to catch the end of the season. 


I have a short story in Shadow Atlas (awesome cover, no?) which won the Colorado Book Award for Anthology. I think this was the sixth time an offering from Hex Publishers was in the running so the recognition was long overdue. 

Luther, Wyoming was also in the line up for Historical Fiction in the CBA and for Best Novel, Historical Fiction in the International Latino Book Awards, but as we say, in both cases, close but no cigar. 



Some of you might have known that during the pandemic, I sketched a daily cartoon called Cats In Quarantine that I shared on social media. I'm excited to announce that Hex Publishers will offer Cats In Quarantine: A Cartoon Memoir of the COVID-19 Pandemic received a Starred Review from Kirkus! Pub date of October 25, 2022. Pre-order your copies here. My cat cartoons were also picked up by Westword. Check it out.










Monday, June 6, 2022

Spring 2022

These last few months have kept me busy with the publication of three awesome anthologies, of which I'm proud to be in.


Shadow Atlas: Dark Landscapes of the Americas is the latest offering by Hex Publishers. It's a layered and especially imaginative approach to speculative fiction, being the suppressed journal of the Umbra Arca Society who sought to unearth the ancient history behind fables and myth in the Americas. Though the mood was horror, the included pieces range from short fiction to flash fiction to poetry, lavishly illustrated by Aaron Lovett. My story, "Xipe Totec," draws from the Aztec migration out of Aztlán and a particularly gruesome form of ritual sacrifice. 

Denver Noir brings together many neighborhoods that make up the Denver metroplex with stories that drop their protagonists off a cliff, much to the reader's delight. I described my story "El Armero" in my last posting here and it's a tale I'm especially proud of.

El Provenir ¡Ya: Citlalzazanilli Mexicatl! gives a decidedly sideways look at the future from a collection of literary cholas and vatos. Definitely first-rate what-if and what-might-be cuentos. Mine, "El Chivo," gives chilling glimpse into a disturbing future. Imagine Basic Uniform Income as benefitting The Animator.

Speaking of the future, what's next in line? Something truly exciting, another book. Title? Cats In Quarantine: A Cartoon Memoir of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Stay tuned.
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Saturday, February 12, 2022

Winter 2022

My news this post is that I've got stories in two new anthologies. What the stories have in common besides their dark narratives is that they were both previously rejected by other venues. When "El Amero" was first passed over, I was bummed and conflicted over I should take it. That night I attended a reading by Stephen Graham Jones and he commented that he was in a blue mood because earlier that day he'd gotten a rejection on a submission. If someone as esteemed as him had been 86ed, then I shouldn't feel all that bad. A short time later, Cynthia Swanson asked if I had anything for her proposal to Akashic Books for Denver Noir. She said I'd have to set the story in a specific Denver neighborhood and I chose Globeville, an industrial barrio named after a smelter. Personally, it's the most noir place in Denver. Go visit if you don't believe me. Although my story takes place in the near future, the neighborhood descriptions aren't too far off. 



"El Chivo" had likewise been given the boot by someone else but I didn't feel as bad because that anthology never got off the ground. When the editors at Somos en escrito Literary Foundation Press contacted me for a submission about the future from the perspective of la raza for El Porvenir Ya, I had this story ready to go. With this narrative I got to amalgamate several ideas that had been percolating in my head for some time. The title, which means "The Goat," refers to the way my parents used to call my dad's paycheck. This was when government checks were printed on IBM punch cards. I also commented on future tech (always a challenge because tech moves so fast) and personal relationships in this Brave New World. But my story is mostly a reflection on Basic Uniform Income, that it's a trap to keep the lower class in poverty and where their best options are to do the ghastly bidding of the rich. So how is this different from now? Read my story and find out. 





Sunday, August 15, 2021

Summer 2021

These past years I've had several short stories published, which throws me back to my first attempts at writing fiction. Thankfully those early stories remain forever disappeared, like Mafia snitches. This year I signed contracts for three short stories, all horror. The first was "Blucifer" for the StokerCon 2021 Souvenir Anthology, that I wrote about in my last post. The second story "Xipe Totec" was for Shadow Atlas: Dark Escapades of the Americas. Check out the awesome cover below. This tale draws upon Mexican fables that I heard as a kid. I also included a particularly gruesome account of human sacrifice as practiced by the Aztecs. Strange as how we file details in our memory to be repurposed later. The third story I'll explain in my next post. 



This year I had two books published, the Western novel Luther, Wyoming, and Broken Destiny, that I co-wrote with Mark Verwiel. As a WWII armchair historian, I've always wanted to write a novel about that war but never had a good story idea gel. Two such attempts are likewise buried and decomposing with my first short stories. Then as a ghostwriter, some of my clients proposed manuscripts about WWII and off I went. The other stories were about the Pacific, one of which was Forgotten Letters. However, Broken Destiny is not a novel, but a historical account of Sergeant William M. O'Loughlin, who perished when his airplane was shot down over Italy. The setting and events have links to A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller and Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (all three men served on B25s). Both Miller and O'Loughlin were tail gunners and bombed some of the same targets though they were posted to different units so probably never met. Heller served as a bombardier. In the book I mused that had O'Loughlin survived the war, perhaps he too might've penned a literary classic.









Monday, February 8, 2021

Winter 2021

 Lot's of writing going from 2020 to 2021. Here are two big projects that are close to going public.


At long last, here's my Western novel, Luther, Wyoming, that I co-authored with Tomas Alamilla. It's a gritty blend of Frontier drama and pulp fiction from Five Star Publishing. Because of Covid, the pub date has been delayed several times. Keep an eye out for mid-April. Stay tuned. 












In May, the anthology, Blucifer, for Hex Publishers, begins its rampage across the Colorado Front Range. I've got a work of horror short fiction and an interview with Silvia Moreno-Garcia, exclusive for the StockerCon 2021 Con. Sadly, because of Covid, the event will be virtual. Order your copy of Blucifer for the awesome cover alone.