The Digital Fantasy Fiction short-story collection Uncommon Senses came out yesterday and contains reprints of two my stories, "The Beast of the Bosporus" and "Lord Giovanni's Daughter," along with eight others. Today (7/10) is the last day you can get it for $0.99--the anthologies are released at special introductory prices.
I haven't read it yet (I'm set up to get all the Digital Fiction Pub products on my Kindle), but I can tell you about my two stories...
"The Beast of the Bosporus"-I wrote this story as a freshman at the University of Georgia, probably around 2003-2004. A lot of H.P. Lovecraft's fiction took place in New England in the 1920s and I wanted to write something set elsewhere, so Ottoman Constantinople in the aftermath of the Battle of Lepanto seemed like a good idea.
It was originally significantly longer (close to 10,000 words) and packed with so much historical material that somebody described it as reading "Toynbee with monsters." After various people looked at it (including author Phillip Lee Williams, who was a visiting professor of some sort at the time), I cut it down to a little over 6,000 words, consolidated and removed some characters, expanded the role of another character on the advice of my writing group, and self-published it on Amazon. DFP, which had already published my short story "Coil Gun" in the collection Digital Science Fiction: Pressure Suite, bought the reprint rights to "Beast" and put it out individually awhile ago pending inclusion in Uncommon Senses.
"Lord Giovanni's Daughter"-I wrote this in 2004 for a themed anthology about assassins that was edited by Armand Rosamilia. This one features a scholar and assassin (he's living in a fantasy version of post-Roman Italy and uses his questionable gains to endow a library to preserve the fallen empire's books) hired to rescue the daughter of the titular lord from a lecherous Naga prince. The Naga are underused (the only media I knew featuring them was Warcraft III: Frozen Throne), so I figured I'd give them a spin.
The story made it to the second round before being rejected and when I met Mr. Rosamilia at the 2015 World Horror Conference in Atlanta, he remembered it. I sold it to the fantasy magazine Flashing Swords (alongside my Viking horror tale "Nicor") in the summer of 2008, but the magazine shut down before they could be published. I included it in my collection Flashing Steel Flashing Fire and sold DPC the reprint rights somewhat later. Paul Leone, who wrote the VATICAN VAMPIRE HUNTERS series, really enjoyed the story, saying it was a great example of "Renaissance fantasy" in the vein of the novel Popes and Phantoms.
A Trifecta of INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE Thoughts
Not long ago I saw the movie Independence Day Resurgence with my friends from the podcast Myopia: Defend Your Childhood. I was looking forward to the sci-fi future that the nuggets of advanced information promised--fighters combining human and alien technology, bases on the Moon and Mars, etc. It looked like it was going to be awesome.
Well, it was rather disappointing. All that potential coolness wasted by a script full of plot holes and weak characters played by actors who could in no way measure up to the awesomeness who was Will Smith. This spawned three blog posts, which you can link to below:
Review of Independence Day: Resurgence-Here's my review of the actual movie. Some stuff I liked, a lot of stuff I didn't. All the wasted potential led me to look into the novel set between the movies...
Review of Independence Day: Crucible-This novel takes place between the first and second films and, to be blunt, it's better than the movies. The characters aren't as developed as I'd like, but they've got a lot more depth than they did in the film. Jake's chip on his shoulder from his impoverished upbringing, Dylan struggling to emerge from his stepfather's shadow, the fact both of them have feelings for Patricia, all of this is only hinted at in the movie. And the African warlord Dikembe Umbuntu gets a whole back-story beginning as an art student in Britain during the first invasion and ending up as lord of a chunk of the former Republic of Congo.
However, it tries to tell too much story in too little time. A whole book focusing on the African war or the smaller wars against the alien survivors in Russia and Britain (that are referenced briefly) like the 1990s War in the Desert and Silent Zone ID4 novels would have been better. Dr. Levinson founding Earth Space Defense alongside Captain Hiller while the kids grow up should be the sequel. Two more focused books would have been better than one unfocused one.
How I Would Have Done Independence Day Resurgence-Instead of the mediocrity we got, I would have more battles in space, more explosions, more characterization, more actual military discipline, and split the movie in half to include it all. To quote Donald Trump, it would have been "yuuge."