Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Just another day plus...

Another few hours and the StarShipSofa benefit sale of my novella, LORD DICKENS... Hell, you know what it is! So, for the last time, on December 31, the benefit at the StarShip is over. Done. Finished. For us Unistatians, it's about 5 bucks. Come on! For you Brits, it's 2 pounds 99. I have no idea what Canadians have to shell out. But come on.

This is my first science fiction tale since I lived in Philly and wrote some decently cool stuff set in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey sometime during the 21st century and... Well, the screenplay version of it got me in to see just about everyone in LA.

Of course no one bought or produced it...

I'm babbling. All I want to say is thanks to all of you who've contributed to this project. To Skeet Scienski who illustrated it and whose cover picture for StarShipSofa Stories, Vol. 1 started it; to Dee Cunniffe who laid out the book in what seemed like an overnight turn-around; to Tony C. Smith for having the balls to give me the job; to all who've helped promote the project; to Neil and Matthew and Corey and all the others who helped get the word out; to Josh Leuze who said, "hey! someone ought to do a story about that!"; to the community at large...thanks beyond my ability to thank.

To those of you who haven't yet bought a copy! CONFOUND YOU ALL.. get your butts over to the Starship and put 5 bucks out there.

Below is the press release we've been sending everywhere...just so you know all the details...

And Happy New Year Spider and Jeanne and everyone.



The British podcast site StarShipSofa ( is working to rally the science fiction/fantasy community around Spider and Jeanne Robinson this Holiday Season with a special book offer. Jeanne Robinson suffers from a rare form of biliary cancer, the treatments for which have eaten away at the Robinson’s finances as doctors aggressively fight the to keep the disease from spreading.
To give them a helping hand, the online science fiction audio magazine has released an original three-episode novella by multiple Bram Stoker Award nominee Lawrence Santoro. StarShipSofa visitors and subscribers can hear Santoro read "Lord Dickens's Declaration" free of charge.
They may also elect to purchase an ebook of the 23,000 word novella with art by American illustrator Skeet Scienski. Priced at a minimum donation of 2.99 GBP (about $5 US), the purchaser has an option to donate more in increments of 10, 20, 50, & 100 pounds. All proceeds from the sale of the book will go to the Robinsons.
Santoro suspended work on another writing project to write and record ‘Lord Dickens…’. “Over the years, Spider and Jeanne’s work has been a constant on my home shelf and in my memory,” he said. “Giving the Robinson’s a couple months work is small payback. Keep dancing, Jeanne!”
The "Lord Dickens..." ebook will be available for purchase only through December 31st.
Said, StarShipSofa editor Tony C. Smith, “Any fan of the Robinson's can attest to their strength, but we hope that through this time of strife, the science fiction and fantasy community can help them survive through the worst. Thank you for standing with them in their time of need."

Monday, December 28, 2009


This is what Humpty Dumpty might have called a good portmanteau post.

The print version of the novella I wrote in aid of the StarShipSofa's fund-raiser for Jeanne and Spider Robinson has arrived for my signature. I'd worried about it ever since the StarShip's editor Tony Smith told me he was mailing it to me to put hands to and autograph. Our postal service in the universe of 60657 is dodgy to say the least. Most things intended for my block seem to find their way into my slot on the expectation that I'll do the delivery. This, of course, is only my perception since many things intended for me seem to find their way into other people's slots and, eventually, get delivered to me with nasty notes wondering why the final delivery Samaritan should have bothered.

But this one arrived. Well, that little salmon slip arrived, the one that announces that a postal employee had actually come to my door -- from past experience this is no guarantee that the actual package would be at the "carrier annex" when I got there to pick it up.

At any rate: it was. I have it. I've opened it. I've looked at it. I've loved it. And, soon, I'll sign it.

All of this is NOT to disparage of the U.S. Postal Service and it's many fine employees. No. It is to remind any of you who are out there and who have NOT bought the .pdf download of LORD DICKENS...that you have until December 31, 2009, to do so and to make your contribution to Jeanne and Spider Robinson.

So go. Go to the StarShip. Click on the appropriate link in the upper right corner of your screen and buy it. You won't have to wait. You won't be subject to the vagaries of the...

But I said I'd not disparage of that semi-government agency any more.

So Happy New Year. And go buy a copy of the book! 'K?!

Saturday, December 12, 2009


That's it. I'm finished. I can now return to the novel, I can stop hauling my 'puter around with me. I can stop being a mumbling freak, I need not write and edit on the 'L' and bus. I don't have to lock myself in my office at lunch.

I hope those who listened loved it. I hope those who bought it, read with delight. I hope the money it made helped Spider and Jeanne Robinson just a bit in a very shitty time in their lives.

Now, for the rest of things...

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Best of StarShipSofa 2010

Wednesday, December 9, the second installment of LORD DICKENS'S DECLARATION went up at

With it was an announcement of the nominees for "The Best of StarShipSofa" for the past year and I was surprised and delighted to hear that my short short, "Then, Just a Dream" (which won the Flash Fiction competition at the Toronto World Horror Convention in 2007), is a nominee. I was also nominated for narration...I forget how many stories of my own or other people I did during the year. Quite a few, I think. And my "Progress Reports" on the writing of LORD DICKENS... was also among the short-listed Fact offerings of the year.

Thanks to everyone for thinking of me.

Here's the full list of nominees...

Exhalation by Ted Chiang (ep #66)
The Empire of Ice Cream by Jeffery Ford (ep #94)
Mars: A Traveler’s Guide by Ruth Nestvold (ep #73)
Lester Young and the Jupiter’s Moons by Gord Sellar (ep #71)
Child Of An Ancient City by Tad Williams (ep #106)

Two Dreams On Trains by Elizabeth Bear (ep #100)
Jesus and the Cowboys by Jay Lake (ep #63)
Bob The Dinosaur Goes To Disneyland by Joe R Lansdale (ep #100)
Then, Just a Dream by Lawerence Santoro (ep #84)
Hard Rain by Matthew Sanborn Smith (ep #54)

Michael Bishop
Neil Gaiman
Fred Himebaugh
Norm Sherman
Laurel Winter

Mike Boris
Jim Campanella
Larry Santoro
Amy H Sturgis
Spider Robinson

Jim Campanella (Science News)
Matthew Sanborn Smith (Fiction Crawler)
Lawrence Santoro (Progress Reports)
Amy H Sturgis (History of the Genre)
Damien G Walter (Support Our Zines)

March 09 (Episode 71) - Skeet
August 09 (Episode 97) - Alllie
"The Reflection of Memory" (Episode 105) - Oleksandra Barysheva
November 09 (Episode 110) - Skeet
StarShipSofa Stories Volume 1 - Skeet

To vote, click on the title of this blog entry to go to the first page of the ballot.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Still working on LORD DICKENS...

I've just completed the text for the "Previously on..." introduction to the conclusion of LORD DICKENS'S DECLARATION. I'll record it tomorrow. That leaves only a polish edit of the episode itself and, perhaps, a final -- and very SHORT -- narrative at the end.

I've got to let this thing go. Let it be by itself for a while. Look at it again six months from now, a year... I do my best re-work that way. Anyway. I did a little colorization to the cover image. Just because.

Hope you're all going to the StarShip and that you're buying copies of the thing and that you're not just paying the minimum 2 pounds 99. Bump it up. Pay 10, 20 quid for it. Go on. It's Christmas.

LORD DICKENS'S DECLARATION - Now up and running...

With no more fanfare or ballyhoo than that tintinabulated by my hundreds of emails sent earlier this week, there it is. You can now hear the first 1 hour and 10 minutes of LORD DICKENS'S DECLARATION. You can also buy a PDF copy of the book, complete with Skeet Scienski's illustrations and have your purchase price go to help Spider and Jeanne Robinson. Go to the site, you'll hear editor Tony C. Smith tell you all about it!


And...ah HA! Word just in that one of those tintinabulations sent out this week has landed on the Tor Books online presence thanks to my old Sofanaut buddy Pablo Difendini at Tor.

Friday, November 27, 2009

For those who like Crumhorns and Shawn, Dufay Collective is good... and a brief update on LORD DICKENS...

No reason for this, I just thought it would be nice to have some decent music playing while you read or look or do whatever you do when you stop by.

Classical by Magnatune Compilation

If you want something else...just make a selection.

Oh, by the way, the proofing is done. I've written the first of the two "Previously on..." introductions to LORD DICKENS... I'll record it tomorrow.

Good night.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Okay. It's finished. More or less. More on that later.

What is: it's sent. More or less. The words, they're in other hands. Dee Cunniffe in Ireland has the RTF and is doing the layout. 22,879 words.

Tony Smith in the north of England -- somewhere near Scotland, somewhere near the channel between Europe and Blighty -- has the first third of the audio. That goes up on the StarShip December 2.

The audio is in the can and mostly edited. Episode One (of three) is what Tony's got. It's done. I'm still fussing with fragments of seconds on two and three. Part One 'casts at 1 hour, 11 minutes and 30 seconds. Part Two is roughly 45 minutes. Part Three, about 1 hour, 5.

Somewhere in the Carolinas, Skeet Scienski is driving himself blind and breathless to finish the art. I saw one of the plates late last night. Lovely. Moody. An atmospheric morning duel, shadows by a misty river. The image caught perfectly the moment in the story that it illustrates. He's fussing with a minor change.'s wondrous.

What is not yet: I've still got to do a couple of "Previously on LORD DICKENS'S DECLARATION" lead-ins to Eps. Two and Three. The one for Two is written but hasn't been recorded. Bugger Three for now. It's Thanksgiving.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

StarShipSofa Stories - the Hardcover

Forgive the sleazy images on this one and the brevity of the entry but I just received my copy of the hardback edition of STARSHIP SOFA STORIES, Volume 1. Very nice-looking book. With stories by Gene Wolfe, Joe Lansdale, Michael Moorcock, Spider Robinson, Elizabeth Bear...lot more. I'm in there with LITTLE GIRL DOWN THE WAY.

Buffing between tales, they've posted some of the great comic book ads from my kidhood... Ads like....
and not to mention this...

And then...ah well...

At 183 pounds I could only WISH to be a 98 pound weaking...

Monday, October 05, 2009

The Smell of Clove

I've got this friend. Really! Wayne Allen Sallee. A first-rate writer of horror and of things strange enough to be horror but are really only life as it's lived by Wayne Allen Sallee.

His mind, his body and memory, the hunting ground on which his stories snuffle, lives in those parts of the City where I rarely go: the distant, run-down, wide open, late-at-night places, areas of closed factories, rail sidings, busted bars still open, or nearly open, in dead-headed strip-malls. On his above... he's got a grand tale from his late kidhood about being picked up by what may have been a serial killer.

You can just breathe it in.

I've posted a picture, but Wayne's got them there. And they signify! Fact is...when LORD DICKENS'S DECLARATION is finished and out, I'm going to write a story that Wayne's tale resurrected from my own late adolescence. I can see it now...

Anyway, Wayne is one hell of a writer and if you don't know his work, amend your ways.

As a side-bar... LORD DICKENS progresses. I see the summit in the sun and blowing snow and am trying to figure the best route to the top.

Stop by this Wednesday. I'm on a roundtable with the people who put together the StarShipSofa Stories book. Well... We had fun recording it.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Here's the story...

I've now been on this subject for several posts. With me, it's an exciting month when I'm here once.

The novella I'm doing at the request of StarShipSofa editor Tony C. Smith will be a one-off book with art and illustrations by Skeet Scienski. The sale of that book will be to benefit Spider and Jeanne Robinson. Jeanne has cancer and, even in Canada, the illness and the human complications that come with it have pretty much drained the Robinson's resources.

In the wake of the release of the StarShip's first print venture, Tony thought to put together a long story and the art that both inspired and will, I'm sure, enhance it, bring them together in a book -- One Book -- and sell that single copy to whomever puts up the most money for Spider and Jeanne.

I'm told that person has been identified and the money committed. Thank you whomever you are.


At present the title of the story is: LORD DICKENS'S DECLARATION. Not set in stone but that's how my computer knows it. When finished, LORD DICKENS will probably come in at 10 to 12K words. As mentioned, if you stop by the Starship and listen to Aural Delights 100 and 101 there are reports being posted. I've called them Progress Reports but they're less about progress than they are about process. Progress? A couple words can cover that: 750 words today... 825 yesterday... Cut some. Added a scene... Not very interesting audio.

What I'm doing is an audio diary of where the stuff is coming from as it arrives. For my own sake as well as anyone who's interestd, I'm trying to keep a record of the starts and stops, the surprises, how pissed off I get at myself, how good it feels to actually get through some passages and my ongoing reluctance at times to let something alone! It's about the frustration at my own limitations. Well, Tony wanted this, "warts and all."

In several publications and with all of the audio pieces I've done for the StarShip, I've provided short "making-of" documents. These are about finished products. LITTLE GIRL DOWN THE WAY, for example. I wrote that story in anger because a real little girl died at the hands of a loved one just down the way from my apartment in Chicago. I gave her a voice from the grave, gave her a happy ending. As I mention in that post-script, the story posits the not very original notion that heaven and hell can be the same place -- depending on who you are. That summary was arrived at only after I'd finished the thing, something I realized I was saying only after I'd said it. I could never have included that assessment while progressing with the story.

Does that make me glib? Facile but insincere? Well...

I've said to friends that my writing process is like dumpster diving. It's probably more like (nicer image here) running out a net and seeing what flops out on deck.

Generally, I've no idea where I'm going when I start a project. A whim, a notion, character, an image and I'll start typing. Then things happen from here to...wherethefuckever...then its over. I can be writing in one direction and some sonofabitch on the page says or does something and I'm off in another. Surprise!

Had one the other morning. Eating my Cheerios and the radio plays a song and WHAM... I know this story's going to swerve. It swerves. And I've got a new ending. No, to be honest, I should say, I have an ending!

Glib? I don't know. Bungling off without a roadmap in Storyland certainly makes me less intellectually rigorous than i'd like to think I am. And I suppose, in a nutshell, that's what glib is.

In any event, all I have to do now is finish the thing AND get enough pieces of it to Skeet so he can do his thing.

I'll keep posting Process Reports on the Sofa in hopes that listeners will have an interest in them.

I know I will.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Progress Report #2

I'm making a series of audio progress reports over at the about the novella I'm writing on request and which is due to be delivered, recorded and ready for publication on or about the beginning of December. It uses Skeet Scienski's cover for StarShipSofa Stories as inspiration... The illustration above is from Skeet's Virtual Art Gallery on Facebook.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


StarShipSofa Stories, Volume 1 StarShipSofa Stories, Volume 1 by edited by Tony C Smith

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This isn't a review but, rather, a notice that this book exists. I gave it five stars at GoodReads even though my story LITTLE GIRL DOWN THE WAY (from HELL IN THE HEARTLAD) is in it...not that I don't like LITTLE GIRL, it's just that the quality of the stories included in the book is so very high.

SSS STORIES is a compilation of 15 tales that the editors of the British podcast site, STARSHIPSOFA.COM have decided are the best from the series' first two years. I recommend it for all fans of science fiction, fantasy and horror. Have a look at the contents:

“Into The Blank Where Life Is Hurled” by Ken Scholes
“London Bone” by Michael Moorcock
“The Second Coming Of Jasmine Fitzgerald” by Peter Watts
“Lester Young and The Jupiter’s Moons’ Blues” by Gord Sellar
“Vampire Kiss” by Gene Wolfe
“Vinegar Peace (or The Wrong-Way Used-Adult Orphanage)” by Michael Bishop
“Godzilla’s 12 Step Program” by Joe R Lansdale
“Jesus Christ, Reanimator” by Ken MacLeod
“The Sledge-Maker’s Daughter” by Alastair Reynolds
“Mars: A Travelers Guide” by Ruth Nestvold
“The Empire of Ice Cream” by Jeffrey Ford
“The Ant King: A California Fairytale” by Benjamin Rosebaum
“In The Olden Days” by Spider Robinson
“Tideline” by Elizabeth Bear
“Little Girl Down The Way” by Lawrence Santoro

Obviously, I'm thrilled to be one among this group of writers. By the way, of the 15 stories in the book, I did the narration on the StarShip for four of them.

As an added treat for me, Tony C. Smith, founder/editor/paterfamilias of SSS has asked me to do a novella that will be published as a stand-alone book in late 2009, the proceeds for which will go to Spider and Jeanne Robinson.

The novella-in-progress -- scheduled for about 10 to 12 thousand words -- is inspired by the SSS Stories cover illustration by Skeet Scienski.

If you go here:

You can order a copy of the book and/or download a free PDF file of it.'ll enjoy the inter-tale ads and the story illustrations too.

View all my reviews >>

Friday, September 11, 2009

StarShipSofa Stories

The British podcast site StarShipSofa is about to release its first "Best of..." book. This paper and ink beauty will be released on the occasion of the Sofa's 100th 'cast.

I am pleased that my story, "Little Girl Down the Way," will be included. I'm honored to be nestled among the likes of Gene Wolfe, Joe R. Lansdale, Cory Doctorow... and others.

When I learn more, I'll post more!

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Quick Note

On September 3 of this year -- that's 2009, I don't get here very often -- the Science Fiction podcast site "Escape Pod" will be 'casting a story by Eugie Foster the title of which, SINNER, BAKER, FABULIST, PRIEST; RED MASK, BLACK MASK, GENTLEMAN, BEAST, is a real tweak. I love long titles. You may have noticed.

Ah. I'm narrating the thing. That's the point of this post. The story is dark, lush, richly evocative and gives me lots of nifty characters to fuss with. Love it. It's also a great story! Did I forget that in the rush to talk about my small part in bringing it to you? It is. It makes me want to read a lot more of Ms. Foster's work.

As a sidebar, I'm preparing another one of my stories for the British podcast site, Not sure when that'll be.

So. What the hell do these pictures have to do with Eugie, Escape Pod, Starship Sofa, et al?

Nothing. These are resonance photos. They get me vibrating in sync with memories, they help the past get all harmonic with the present.So, finally, to let everyone know: the new book is at about the one-quarter point in it's coming-about. As of now, the title is "Love." It won't stay that short for long. The pictures on this post are from one very real location that's been hanging in my head for years and which features prominently in the book.

The book is about becoming a human being. It's about the horrors of becoming a real live person. It's about the terrors we ditch in that time when it first dawns on us that we're alive and just before the corollary to all that joy smacks us in the face.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A Visit from a Colleague...a Friend

Last week, Tycelia and I had a visit from a friend we've never met. We've done things together, we've heard each other at work. We...

Okay... Diane Severson is one of the readers at the Brit podcst site I frequent.

The place is the Starship Sofa and I recommend Diane, her voice, her delivery, her way with wordage for any of you who like to hear rather than graze your poetry or fiction. She's never read any of my things -- not aloud, not as reader or narrator -- but I'd like to correct that oversight sometime soon! She's also a fine singer of songs and her CD, "Silence," is available on iTunes. Go have a listen. Lovely stuff.

Diane, an American from Madison, Wisconsin, lives in a town in Germany that begins with an "H" with her husband Magnus, an Italian from Verona (from whence come the Montagues and the Capulets) who is a nuclear engineer. They and Diane's dad, Don, a very impressive fellow from Iowa, visited Chicago briefly last week. We took pictures. Here are a few.

The people are Diane is the young pretty one, Tycelia is the older pretty one. Magnus is the young, good-looking dude. Don is the older good-looking dude. I'm the chubby one whose head explodes in the picture at the top.

Okay. The town is Hanover.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

"Then, Just a Dream"

E-friggin'-gad! I've become a blogger-mouth. Two entries in a week!

Okay. This is just a quickie to let you know I've got another story up on the British s.f. podcast site, StarShipSofa. Yep. Same place where the Sofanauts dwell...the subject of that earlier blog entry.

This one is "Then, Just a Dream" and it's quite a departure for me. It's short. Very short. So short that it won the flash fiction, "read like a motherfucker!" contest at the World Horror Convention in Toronto a couple years back. No point in my tapping keys about it here, I've got an audio introduction to the tale. So scoot over to and listen. "Then, Just..." is the top of the heap -- at least for this week. Aural Delight number 84.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

It's all done with Skype

Oh...oh my God... It''s...a new Blog! Okay. So you've gotten tired of the old thing? The video promo for JUST NORTH OF NOWHERE? Right? Okay.

To begin at the beginning.

I'm one of four participants in a roundtable discussion on The StarShipSofa's new site, "The Sofanauts."

StarShipSofa? It's a British s.f. podcast site. Yes. Free. People read science fiction to you for free. Go to It's got a year-long backlog of great stuff.

Last year, the editor, one Tony C. Smith, contacted me and said that Gene Wolfe told him to contact me about one of HIS stories to which I had the adaptation rights...

This could go on and on... Okay. I had adapted Gene's "The Tree Is My Hat" and had a recording of the dramatization done at World Horror Con 2002 or so... I gave it to him. I also gave him a few stories of mine that I'd recorded and Tony was kind enough to 'cast them on the Starship. In addition, the site has a great forum whereon authors, critics, readers, fans, and other such folk chat and engage in incredibly decent, civilized discussions about all things s.f, fantasy and, sometimes, horror-related.

Recently, Tony began 'casting a series of weekly roundtable discussions with authors, critics...etc...that he called "The Sofanauts.

I am pleased to say, I just participated in Number 4 of the Sofanaut outings. It's all done by Skype, about which I understand not a lick. However, on Friday, at 10:25 in the morning, my time, and Tony, somewhere in the North of England at 4:25 in his afternoon, Jeremy Tolbert, managing editor of Escape Pod, somewhere in Colorado and somewhere around a yawning 9:25, and Damien G. Walter, writer and commentator for the BBC and the Guardian, abroad in the wilds of London and in Tony's Greenwich time, we all met in a magical place called Skype. We chatted over coffee and buckets -- don't ask! -- and talked and discussed in civilized ways and ranted and had a ball. And me, m'self, snug and safe here in Chicago! Isn't the 21st century the tits!

In any event, stop by and have a listen. You'll find us at:

And do drop by the StarShip. My work with them begins somewhere in the archives at Aural Delight #40. But there's an awful lot of freeby fun to be had there. Well, if you like s.f. and fantasy and a bit of horror. It's at

AND I think Tony's going to 'cast another short piece of mine this week. It's that "Read like a Motherfucker" thing I did in Toronto for the brief fiction contest.