All posts by Ezekiel Boston

171231 | 6¢ | 3K-6K | 2019 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide

For more info, go to: http://dreamingrobotpress.com/young-explorers-adventure-guide-submissions/

2019 YOUNG EXPLORER’S ADVENTURE GUIDE SUBMISSIONS

WE’RE LOOKING FOR STORIES THAT:

  • Have a main character that a middle grade reader (ages 8-12) can identify with;
  • Show a diverse set of real characters;
  • Are well written, fun to read, and encourage a love of reading science fiction;
  • Tell of adventure, space, science.  Give us rockets, robots and alien encounters, and we’re pretty happy; Steampunk, time travel, weird west and alternate history are all fine;
  • Are between 3,000 and 6,000 words.

To be super clear – we’re looking science fiction, in all its variants. While we love fantasy as well, please don’t submit fantasy stories for this anthology.

We’re especially looking for stories:

  • Of adventure!  We love a good dystopia as much as the next robot, but remember – this is the Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide;
  • Where the main character is of a population that has traditionally been under-represented in science fiction, e.g. girls, people of color, differently abled people;
  • Where the main character has agency, exercises it, and isn’t just along for the ride.

We are strong supporters of both the #weneeddiversebooks and #ownvoices movements.

 

We’re not interested in:

  • Stories where the female characters primarily exist to be rescued or as a prize for the males;
  • Stories where the primary plot or subplot is romantic in nature;
  • Stories with graphic violence or any form of sexual activity;
  • Stories with any violence towards animals;
  • Stories about the first girl to do X, surprising everyone;
  • Stories that depict any ethnicity or gender as universally bad or stupid.

Please note:  although we’re aware kids have a wide and varied vocabulary, we’d prefer not to have swearing in the stories. If your story has swearing, please rephrase before submitting.

Submission deadline, mechanics and planned schedule:

  • Anthology will be open for submissions from July 1, 2017 – December 31, 2017, with a reading period of January and February 2018.
  • While we prefer original stories, if you have something perfect that had a limited run elsewhere, query us and we’ll talk;
  • Acceptance notices will be sent by March 30, 2018;
  • In the summer we will launch a crowd-funding campaign to help with pre-publication costs. Regardless of results of crowd-funding campaign, we are committed to publishing the anthology. We’ve successfully funded the previous three anthologies this way, chances are favorable.

Rights and Payments:

  • Authors will be provided with a complete Anthology Contract for review and consideration with the notice of accepted submissions.
  • In keeping with SWFA’s guidelines, we pay $0.06/word on final edited word count for one-year exclusive worldwide English rights and  nonexclusive right to republish, print, or reprint the complete anthology in any language or format after the first year, print and electronic, and two contributor copies. Payment upon final edit.
  • If the crowd-funding fails, please note that we are still committed to this anthology, and will find other ways to fund the project. However, there may be delays. If authors feel the need to withdraw their submission due to delays, we understand.
  • We will provide professional editing, primarily for issues of grammar and spelling.
  • If authors have other questions about rights or payments, please contact us before submission. We want to make sure all concerns are addressed.

More questions?  Check the full description page for last year’s anthology here. Have more questions? Contact us!

For more info, go to: http://dreamingrobotpress.com/young-explorers-adventure-guide-submissions/

Free Fiction: Jamal & the Skeleton’s Heart

After last month’s self-indulgent story, here’s a tale that takes place in the same humor/horror universe as Gateway Blood. As a warning, this story contains profanity.


Being immortal, Jamal always has trouble keeping friends. Most times it seems like he just gets to know someone when then hit their expiration date. They shuffle off to whatever is after life, leaving him scratching his head.

Only this time, after being buried, his friend Newt–a non-binary skeleton–rose from the dead with a problem. A former lover and necromancer had stolen Newt’s heart from his grave.

Jamal agrees to retrieve the heart. And runs into his own brand of trouble; the kind that could end him.

 

This story was available for free from:
March 20, 2017
to
July 20, 2017
–EJ–

Copyright © 2016 by Ezekiel James Boston
Cover art copyright © fergregory

Free Fiction: Nexus Bar & Grill, World of Benjamin Baxter

Hello. After last month’s short, stark story (Soul Survivor), I want to get back to a world that I thoroughly enjoy playing in and a length with with I’m more comfortable.

While Benjamin Baxter is in this ‘Starwise’ novelette, the tale is more about the building and diviner from the Census Agency. This should be a treat for the readers who who requested to see more of the world from other points of view.

[ Teaser: I’m also working on a ‘Might-Lands’ project called Mr. Sam. ]


* From the fantasy World of Benjamin Baxter *

The Nexus Bar & Grill is one of the oldest buildings and most powerful locations in Las Vegas. Though the centuries, it has passed from owner to owner with little to no documentation.

A force for uncovering corruption, Census Agency Auditor Ally Dazs plans on changing that. And ferreting out who now owns the building should be the key she needs to make the Agency sit up and take notice.

She knows the task ahead of her and she’s never backed down from a challenge.

It’s time to put Las Vegas on warning.

This story was available for free from:
February 20, 2017
to
March 20, 2017
–EJ–

Copyright © 2016 by Ezekiel James Boston
Cover art copyright © EyeMark

Free Fiction: Soul Survivor

Hi there. After last month’s lighthearted free short story (Gateway Blood), one of the readers asked for something darker. Well, below is Soul Survivor, a short story I believe fills that request. Fyi, it’s a supernatural tale set in my Cause Beyond Reasonable Control universe slated to debut in 2018.


After a fight with another know-nothing commanding officer, John Snider finds himself reassigned into the real deep shit. During the Viet Nam war, joining up with any advanced forward unit promised death. Thinking his troubles with commanding officers were behind him, John gladly reassigned to Boudraux’s Bad Boys. Worst decision of his military life.

To survive Viet Nam, John Snider must first survive his unit.

“Soul Survivor” by Ezekiel James Boston, is free on this website for one month only. The story’s also available as an ebook through various online retailers and here. As a warning, this is a fictional story about a soldier during the Viet Nam war/conflict. As such, it contains rather strong language.

This story was available for free from:
January 20, 2017
to
February 20, 2017
–EJ–

Cover and layout copyright © 2017 Elsewhere Publishing
Cover art copyright © Dechik

Arrival, The Movie

A writer-friend gave her stamp of approval to this movie that would’ve missed my radar. I took a look at the preview and closed the window in the first few seconds. FYI, that’s a good thing. I’m not a big fan of watching previews because they can spoil the movie for me. (Too much to get into here.) I relayed that I planned to go see it within the week, and she expressed curiosity as to what I thought. This preamble is to say that this movie/story breakdown was written to fulfill her request.


So, the ‘this week’ turned into next week which is now this week. Anyhow was finally able to make the time to see Arrival. It was quite cerebral, and I enjoyed it.

As a fan of non-linear storytelling, the opening line clued me in and I was glad to have gone for the ride. There were parts that I felt were a bit longish, but–purely–that came from wanting to get to the (presumed) payoff.

That said, since you inquired about what I thought; here it is. When it comes to movies that encourage thinking, I tend to. I had a: really dig, two didn’t like, one would’ve been nice, and one hold-on (which is a super nit).

— The Really Dig —

I really dug The Heroine telling her kangaroo story. It spoke volumes about the character and her understanding of the type of people she was dealing with. And her coming clean to The Scientist to address the slice of the audience who’d say, “That’s not right” was right on point.

— Didn’t Like, The First —

I didn’t like my spacial awareness saying, that if they were going up on a lift and jumped to get onto the wall, they should be walking up a wall in the alien chamber which, effectively, would’ve been the new floor. And the same would hold true for any of the other walls they could’ve jumped on to from the lift. Though gravity was control in the alien ship, I was very aware that I was watching a movie when they did the walking on the ceiling bit. [“It’ll be a cool effect” I hear ya Hollywood.] They would’ve had to make a turn to be on a horizontal surface of any sort. [“I said ‘cool effect,’ bro.” Sorry Hollywood. I get it.] I actually needed the extra time they took to set up the equipment, so that I could have that little fight in my head and tell myself, “Shut up, and watch.”

— Didn’t Like, The Second —

I didn’t like The Father as being to have said that The Heroine had made the ‘wrong’ choice. With The Heroine’s ability, I could see her not going the distance with any semi d-bag dude. However once I knew The Father was The Scientist, I thought about the times when The Scientist showed an appreciation for the moment. Yes, for the story to work, I get why it was said and why they weren’t together, but it didn’t sound like The Scientist character.

— The Would’ve Been Nice —

It would’ve been nice if The General would’ve taken ten seconds to ask The Heroine a word definition from the other linguistics candidate. (She would’ve knocked it out of the park, of course.) But knowing the definition to a word you propose as a test doesn’t cinch it for me, particularly when The General asked her what it meant. [“Save on time!” I hear ya’ Hollywood.]

— The Hold-On —

Hold-on! Did we just time travel? Did we miss the scene where she met Big Domino in an alternate future where things didn’t work out with the aliens and she asked, “What could I have said to change your mind?” And he replied with, something seemingly outlandish like, “Calling me on my personal cell during the stand off and telling me my wife’s dying words where were (strings of Manderin).” She’d then get his number in the same scene or from a thrown-out note that was scratched while she was translating his phone call. Then, that timeline being erased when she told him those words and then being befuddle about knowing what to say. Or. Or! Did she originally read the words in Big Domino’s biography in the future so that she’d know what to say the first time?

To me, there’s an unresolved loop there. A real missed chance by Hollywood to make an elegant time-line-sensitive solution. Because {pardon me while I adjust my geek-hat}, even if she knew her entire life, there wouldn’t have been a moment in the future for him to tell her his wife’s dying words if she wasn’t somehow successful in the first place. I get what they cemented with the Non-Zero Sum Game. Once she knew information, she could apply it to any point in her life, but that party meeting with Big Domino wouldn’t have happened without an alternate alien success of some sort (doesn’t have to be another timeline) in the first place.

— Summary —

Even with the Hold On and Didn’t Likes, I still enjoyed the story, the storytelling, The Heroine’s arc, decisions, and sympathized for her coming battles. More so, I thoroughly enjoyed the near complete emersion into the film [I’m looking at you cool effect]. It’s not a pay-for-a-second-viewing-in-the-theater for me, but I will watch it again when it comes out to see if I can minimize my Didn’t Likes and possibly tear apart my Hold On.

 

Yuletide Yield

The Adventures of Benjamin Baxter
Yuletide Yield

The darkness within Benjamin keeps growing. Since losing control to it last month, not a day goes by without a struggle against it.

Tasked by his school to go with some schoolmates to a dangerous traveling bazaar, Ben finds himself under mystic attack by an unknown assailant.

Worse, the indifference of those around him who could help, but choose not to.

Ben comes face to face with a society that hates him.

$4.99 Add to cart

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Inspiration Tuesday: Scouting Party by Aaron Miller

When I saw this Scouting Party piece by Aaron Miller, I instantly thought about an NPC from an old D&D campaign that was quite the hit with my players. Some disliked him, but they paid him for his guide services through The Wet Forest.

While I enjoyed the character, this is the first time he has ever peeked his head out in my fiction.


 

Another bead of sweat found its forerunner’s path and ran down Swampy McGee’s cheek. As much as he wanted to wipe it, and the others beads, he remained statue still.

A raiding party comprised of torteeze, gator-folk, and lizard men had just rounded Tristan’s knee and were heading up east past Kellen’s waterfall. All three races of the Wet Forests’ vision were primarily movement base and Swampy didn’t want to catch their eye.

An ancient hate among the reptilian races normally kept them at each other’s neck. That rift was what kept their populations low enough for his guild of explorers get a toehold in the former elven lands.

The pinch of shredded jerky Swampy had in his cheek had lost all of its cherry-fly spice and had become bland horse meat. He resisted finishing it.

The raiding party was close enough to the waterfall that they wouldn’t hear much of anything beyond their near radius, but they were oft to glance around and it’d be a bloody shame if his chewing jaw is what sent their spears his way.

What could unite, them ‘ters? Realization made his eyes flutter. Steeling himself from excess movement, he focused on getting back to being statue still. They all have similar arms and armor. Whas’sat mean? They an army? Whose der leada?

Man, the blood of his forefathers—scouts unequaled—itched. He could go back with word of what he’d seen, but he wouldn’t have all the answers.

The last of the raiding party rounded out of site.

Wal piped, “We have to spread word.”

“Of what?” Swampy chewed his jerky and looked at the small wingless fae on the back of his swamp raven mount. “They walk ta’gether. Got the same gear. And what?” Swampy swallowed. He wiped his face. “Der’s a whole-lotta more ta know and a whole-lotta more ta tell.”

“No Swampy.” Wal shook his small head. “We’re not going to trail them.”

“You mean, you ain’t.” Swampy grinned. “You run and tell what you know.” He clicked his tongue twice. His strad-lizzard mount eased down into the water. “I’ma go find out mo’.”

© Ezekiel James Boston


the_scouting_party_by_aaronmiller-d52f6x7©2012-2016 AaronMiller
You can find more by Aaron Miller at:
http://aaronbmiller.com/
http://aaronmiller.deviantart.com/