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Release Announcment: Deck the Halls November 28, 2012

Posted by Rob Diaz in Edited, Fiction, Publications, Sci-fi/Fantasy, Short Stories.
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I am pleased to announce that Emergent Publishing will release Deck the Halls: festive tales of fear and cheer worldwide on December 6, 2012. My story, “Yuletide Treasure” is included in this anthology.


Deck the Halls: festive tales of fear and cheer
Editor: Jodi Cleghorn

Original Artwork: Andrew McKiernan

Cover Design: eMergent Publishing

ISBN: 978-0-9871126-4-­4 (paperback)
978-0-­9871126-­5-1 (eBook)

Pages: 226

DECK THE HALLS traverses the joy and jeopardy of the festive season, from Yule to Mōdraniht, Summer Solstice to Years’ End. The stories journey through consternations and celebrations, past, present and future, which might be or never were.

Along the way you’ll meet troll hunters, consumer dissidents, corset-bound adventurers, a joint-­toking spirit, big-­hearted gangbangers, an outcast hybrid spaceship, petrol-toting politicians, mythical swingers and a boy who unwittingly controls the weather.

Heart-warming and horrifying, the collection is a merry measure of cross-genre, short fiction subverting traditional notions of the holiday season. (more…)

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Coming Soon: Deck the Halls–A Literary Mix Tape June 14, 2012

Posted by Rob Diaz in Edited, Fiction, Publications, Sci-fi/Fantasy, Short Stories.
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Later this year, my next short story will appear in print in the next Literary Mix Tapes publication, "Deck the Halls.

DECK THE HALLS traverses the joy and jeopardy of the festive season, from Yule to Mōdraniht, Summer Solstice to Years’ End. The stories journey through consternations and celebrations, past, present and future, which might be or never were. FRONT COVER DtH

Along the way you’ll meet troll hunters, consumer dissidents, corset-­‐bound adventurers, a joint-­‐toking spirit, big-­‐hearted gangbangers, an outcast hybrid spaceship, petrol‐toting politicians, mythical swingers and a boy who unwittingly controls the weather.

Heart‐warming and horrifying, the collection is a merry measure of cross‐genre, short fiction subverting traditional notions of the holiday season.

International release of Deck the Halls is scheduled for November.  In the meantime, you can get more information by clicking on the Literary Mix Tapes website.

Coming Soon to a Paperback Near You October 15, 2011

Posted by Rob Diaz in Edited, General Fiction, Publications, Sci-fi/Fantasy, Short Stories.
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Within the next few weeks, you will be able to purchase your very own paperback copies of not one, not two, but three anthologies in which I have stories.

First up, we have two books in the Chinese Whisperings lineup:

RedAndYinAndYang

My story, Out of the Darkness, appears in Chinese Whisperings: The Red Book; my story, Thirteen Feathers, appears in Chinese Whisperings: The Yin and Yang Books.  The Chinese Whisperings books are mainstream fiction anthologies consisting of inter-related short stories which were written sequentially – each subsequent author wrote based on what had been written previously.  Twenty-two authors from around the globe contributed stories (ten of us in The Red Book and all twenty-two of us in The Yin and Yang Books).  The Red Book was released in eBook format on January 1, 2010 while The Yin and Yang Books were released electronically on October 10, 2010.  And now, after many, many visits and pranks from the entity lovingly known as the CW Fairy**, the paperbacks are finally shipping!

See those links above? The ones that serve as the title for my stories in these anthologies?  Click them.  They bring you to a story teaser as well as behind the scenes commentary about the stories.  I’m told the excerpts, and the behind-the-scenes details, are must read material!

The paperbacks were supposed to be available on October 11, 2011.  But the aforementioned CW Fairy decided another prank was in order and as a result the date slipped a bit.  But now you can pre-order the paperbacks directly from eMergent Publishing right now.  And as long as Amazon.com can keep the CW Fairy at bay, you’ll be able to order from them in the next week or so.

The third book coming out in paperback form this month is the Literary Mix Tapes anthology called Eighty-Nine:

EightyNine

My story, “All I Wanted,” appears in this anthology.  The Eighty-Nine anthology has twenty-six authors from around the world creating stand-alone stories inspired by specific songs from the year 1989. The song which inspired my story is “Funky Cold Medina” by Tone-Lōc.  This anthology is speculative fiction.

I don’t have fancy links to an excerpt or behind-the-scenes commentary for this story… but I do have a link that might be even better:  For a limited time, you can enter to win one of three free copies of Eighty-Nine.  That’s right—between now and October 25, 2011, all you have to do is click on that link and then the button in the middle of the page that says “Enter to Win” and you may win a free copy of this anthology!  Good luck—and if you win a copy, stop back and let me know!

I also have a fancy link to a video book trailer for this book, too.  It’s only the teaser trailer at the moment, but it is still fun!

Eighty Nine releases officially on October 25, 2011.  You can pre-order it now through the Literary Mix Tapes website.

As always, I thank you for your support of these projects.  I’ve been blessed to work on these anthologies with some amazing emerging authors. I hope you get a chance to pick up one or more of these books and if you do or if you have already done so, I’d love to know what you think of them.  Post comments here or, even better, on Goodreads.

________________________________________________________________________
**The CW Fairy is a filthy, awful, vile beast that no one has ever seen, but most everyone involved with Chinese Whisperings has interacted with from time to time. Trust me—you do not want to meet the CW Fairy in a dark alley.  Or in an airport lounge.

Hidden April 1, 2011

Posted by Rob Diaz in Sci-fi/Fantasy, Short Stories, Unedited.
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(A note about ‘Hidden’) 

I initially posted a draft of this story several years ago. I wasn’t a big fan of it, so I reworked it significantly and re-published it today. I hope you enjoy it.

“This is the perfect hiding spot, isn’t it?”

The teenage boy hiding behind the big oak tree along the edge of the park nearly jumped out of his skin as the man’s voice broke the silence of the wooded ravine. “Shhh!” he hissed as he peeked around the tree to try to see if any of the other kids who were playing Hide and Seek had heard the noise. “You’ll give me away!”

“I wouldn’t want to do that,” the man whispered, joining the boy in peeking around the tree.

The boy looked at the man suspiciously for a moment before setting his focus back to the open field of the park on the other side of the big tree. “I’m going to win this time. Jimmy Falloner always wins these games, but this time will be different. This time I won’t be the first one they find.”

(more…)

Mercury Marshmallow Men February 17, 2011

Posted by Rob Diaz in Short Stories, Unedited.
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by Nick Diaz and Rob Diaz

(A note about ‘Mercury Marshmallow Men’) 

My son has been struggling in school with writing.  He has been putting together extremely brief answers to essay questions and largely not enough details about anything.  The other day, he got a ‘D’ on a story he had to write. This was because he was supposed to write a complete story and he, instead, wrote three or four sentences.  His ideas were very good, he simply didn’t explain them or explain what happened before or around the ideas.  He acknowledged that he really didn’t do the work but he didn’t know how to expand the simple ideas.  So, I decided to try to help him learn how to build a larger story, essay or answer from a brief idea. We sat down and took the last email I received, which was an update on NASA’s MESSENGER probe.  I said, “So, MESSENGER gets to Mercury and finds flashing lights.”  We built up the concept of the story from there over a 10 minute conversation in which we asked “okay, why?” and “Okay, what did it smell like?” a lot.  Then, based on our brief notes, we started writing.  This story is the result of our efforts.  We both worked on this and in spots it is probably clear who was leading the effort.  But ultimately this was collaborative.  And, it was a lot of fun. We’ll probably do it again.

It had been only thirteen days since NASA’s MESSENGER spaceship first went into orbit around Mercury on March 17, 2011. Scientists on Earth were studying the data being sent back from Mercury when they noticed that the spaceship had recorded several bright flashes of light on the dark side of the planet. Over the next few weeks, the scientists directed the spaceship to spend more and more time focusing its cameras on the crater where the light was coming from. They used the spaceship’s cameras to zoom in and take close up pictures. They were surprised – shocked, actually—at what they saw. (more…)

The Supreme Ruler of the Universe: An Autobiography Written Especially for the People of Earth December 28, 2010

Posted by Rob Diaz in General Fiction, Humorous, Short Stories, Unedited.
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Some people say that I’m pretty special.

I just laugh. Me? I’m nothing! I’m just like any other guy of superior intelligence, better than average looks and awe‑inspiring charm, imagination and athletic ability.

Really.

Yet, there are still some people who insist on calling me “special.”

I hear you and I know what you are asking.

You’re asking, “What is the reason for all this hype over a seemingly average Joe?”

You’re thinking there must be something about me that causes everyone to stare at me with that glazy look in their eyes, some reason why people step aside out of respect whenever they see me enter their vicinity. “What could it possibly be?” you wonder.

(more…)

And the Winner Is… October 18, 2010

Posted by Rob Diaz in Edited, General Fiction, Publications, Real Life, Short Stories.
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The first thing I want to say is thanks to everyone who posted comments describing their worst travel experiences. I’m sorry that you all had such harrowing experiences, but I thank you for sharing them. I, personally, have had many bad experiences. One of them includes paint can lids flying out of the back of a truck while riding down Route 95 South in heavy traffic. Another is roofing shingles flinging off a pre-fabricated building that was being pulled by a big truck – this also occurred on Route 95 south.

Still another bad experience, and possibly the scariest (more…)

Launch of the Yin and Yang Books (Chinese Whisperings) October 10, 2010

Posted by Rob Diaz in Edited, General Fiction, Publications, Real Life, Short Stories.
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As many of you know, for the past eight months I have been involved with the second set of anthologies coming from the Chinese Whisperings brand. Last year’s debut anthology, The Red Book, was an exciting event consisting of 10 authors from around the world. It is a great book and has generated a lot of interest in the project. (You can read about The Red Book or buy it here!)

Today, the second Chinese Whisperings project launches!  Initially planned to be called “The Jade Book”, this follow-up anthology project was expanded to include 22 authors from around the globe and became two separate but interconnected anthologies known as The Yin Book and The Yang Book (or the combined The Yin and Yang Book). Again, you can learn about or buy these great anthologies right here!

The blurb for the two anthologies only tells a little of what happens in the books:

In the international terminal of a large European airport, Monday morning is about to get a whole lot worse. At 7.35am Pangaean Airlines, one of Europe’s major carriers, is put into receivership grounding all flights, stranding thousands of passengers and impounding tonnes of luggage. But all is not as appears on the surface and the sliding-doors moment of one woman deciding to abandon her suitcase will ricochet through the lives around her.

(more…)

The Truth of the Matter July 10, 2010

Posted by Rob Diaz in Fiction Friday, Sci-fi/Fantasy, Short Stories, Unedited.
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 (written for the [Fiction] Friday prompt on July 9, 2010: “In her right hand a woman holds a loaded gun, in her left, a coin that just came up ‘tails’”.)

There wasn’t much more to say, so I stayed quiet.

The officer looked at me icily, contempt and scorn the only things to be seen through the angry look frozen on her face, a look that grew angrier with each passing moment of silence. Yet still I stood there, mutely ignoring her scowls as best as I could while holding the hot blowtorch in my hand. In the distance I could hear the fire engines coming nearer, their sirens echoing hauntingly off the cold stone buildings and the low cloud cover.

Eyewitnesses, reliable as they might or might not be in a case like this, had called the police to report a set of car fires and a man holding a blowtorch wandering up and down the street shouting gibberish. That blowtorch-wielding man was, of course, me, since I clearly had the torch in my hand and just as clearly had been wandering up and down the street, shouting. I knew they were calling at the time but I did nothing about it – their calls were the least of my concerns. (more…)

Of the People August 29, 2009

Posted by Rob Diaz in Fiction Friday, Sci-fi/Fantasy, Short Stories, Unedited.
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(written for the [Fiction] Friday >prompt on August 28, 2009: “A new Government research and development facility is built on a decomissioned prison site”.)

“Hey! Watch where you’re putting that picket sign, buddy. Some of us like our faces the way they are!”

James Madsen cursed under his breath as he walked down the sidewalk past the old Albercrombie Maximum Security Prison. It was no longer a prison, of course, having been closed for thirteen years now. In fact, the government had just reopened it as a brand new, state of the art research and development facility. Dubbed the CRAP Institute by the media, the Center for Realizing America’s Potential had been opened with much fanfare, including a visit from the President himself. After an interminable number of speeches which included the obligatory self-congratulatory statements of the co-sponsors of the Formation, Accumulation and Revitalization of the Country’s Ego Act (the FARCE Act), the Institute’s official purpose was announced: to find that which makes us human and enhance the bonds between the people of the country.

(more…)

Music in the Air July 18, 2009

Posted by Rob Diaz in Fiction Friday, General Fiction, Short Stories, Unedited.
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(written for the [Fiction] Friday >prompt on July  17, 2009: “Your character stops on the way home from work and buys an unusual musical instrument — why today?”.)

Jenny hummed quietly as she sat on the bus and looked out the window as it rumbled its way down the busy street. The rain had passed earlier and the dampness on the street was disappearing thanks to the bits of sunlight streaming through the rapidly waning cloud cover and the cars that were speeding on top of it.  She looked around at her fellow passengers on the bus, wondering how many of them were staying on the bus for the long ride to its eventual Atlantic City destination and how many, like her, were just making their regularly scheduled trip from work back to their homes or, in her case, back to her father’s home for her weekly dinner with him.  Another ten stops and then she would be off of the bus with a five minute walk to his house ahead of her. 

(more…)

Freefall June 19, 2009

Posted by Rob Diaz in Fiction Friday, Sci-fi/Fantasy, Short Stories, Unedited.
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(written for the [Fiction] Friday prompt on June 19, 2009, which was “(your character) closed his/her eyes, took a deep breath and jumped”.)

There was chaos.

It had started with an explosion – a loud, fiery explosion – that had violently rocked the floors and the walls, knocking items off of shelves and people from their chairs and off their feet before plunging everything into a dark, terrifying silence.  The emergency power took a few moments to recover from being jarred suddenly into life when the main power went out and in the brief time between the main lights going dark and the sparsely distributed emergency backup spotlights beginning to cast long shadows across the floors, people went through all of the emotions ranging from surprise to concern to fear to terror, before their many years of training took over. 

(more…)

The Unauthorized Biography of the Tooth Fairy April 10, 2009

Posted by Rob Diaz in Fiction Friday, Humorous, Sci-fi/Fantasy, Short Stories, Unedited.
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(written for the [Fiction] Friday prompt on April 10, 2009, which was “A dentist is stabbed while he waits in line at the movies”.)

Dr. Richard P. Hanning, III stood in line outside of his favorite MovieMax Theater on the dreary gray autumn day, watching as the crowd continued to swell in anticipation of the opening of the ticket window. Only thirteen minutes until opening, he thought, excitedly. He had been waiting for three years for this movie to come out and it was clear that he was not alone in his excitement. The crowd was growing more quickly now as the opening time approached, but the real hardcore fans had gotten to the theater’s parking lot several hours early with Richard arriving at 3:30 AM and finding that he was already the fiftieth person in line. But now, thirteen minutes ahead of the special 11:00 AM opening, the crowd had grown to nearly two thousand people waiting to see the movie on one of the twenty-four screens in the theater that were dedicated to showing it. (more…)