“Postlude to the Afternoon of a Faun” published in F&SF + Some featured Jazz

My story has been published in F&SF for the March/April 2019 issue. I’m so happy about that.

An old jazz-playing faun has the chance to get back everything that was taken from him a hundred years ago, if he can take it from his only student. The story has Jazz, Mentoring and Hope as themes. It also asks the question: how do you change your own life?

My two characters, a young college football player who wants to become a jazz musician, and an old faun who just wants to be a part of the world again, struggle and fail and attempt again this massive turn in their lives, together. At one point, one of the characters says, “I feel like I’m this tiny tugboat trying to turn this massive life around.” And that’s one of the questions I wanted to pose–how do you do that? I hope you find these characters as inspiring as I did.

Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program

I mention an organization I used to work for in my twenties when I was at the University of Missouri-Columbia, the Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program under the Missouri Folk Arts Program. An example of their work is here–pairing two musicians together, a master and an apprentice, much like Mr. Dance and Eric in the story.

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“Art and Beauty in Weird Fiction”: SE Lindberg’s Review of The Angels of Our Better Beasts + Interview

From February, author and artist SE Lindberg reviewed my collection on Booklikes and did an interview with me about “Art and Beauty in Weird Fiction”.

About The Angels of Our Better Beasts, he says, “The variety is great, but Stueart’s keen sense of humanity, and the role art plays in our relationships, is the key strength. Few times have weird fiction actually evoked real emotions.”– SE Lindberg.  Read more of his review here.

Seth also interviewed me for his blogsite–a fun interview about the role of the artist in writing, as well as art in fiction.  I get asked if I’m more a changeling or a chimera!  Also some insightful questions for me as an illustrator.

Assorted Beasts

Check out the interview here.

Thank you, Seth, and to everyone who reviews a book publicly.  It’s about the best gift you can give a writer you enjoy!  Your reviews turn are not just kind words, but they help lead others to our books, and this reassures publishers that we are worth publishing.  That people are reading us and liking our work.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

 

“Easily one of the best collections by a single author I have ever read”:Black Gate Magazine reviews The Angels of Our Better Beasts

“Not a single story in this collection disappointed me – which is rare, as I’m sure you know if you read short fiction.” –Brandon Crilly for Black Gate Magazine.

12715744_10153895453277095_8059101292263897684_n2016 World Fantasy Award-winning Black Gate Magazine just reviewed The Angels of Our Better Beasts, and it just made my week!  Wow!

So glad you all enjoyed the book!

Read the FULL REVIEW here.

 

 

Interview Round-Up: December-January, The Angels of Our Better Beasts

Been doing a number of fun interviews for the new collection, The Angels of Our Better Beasts.  Here’s a round up so far for the months of December and January!

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CBC NORTH:  Dave White has a chat with me about my new book and the Whitehorse launch of the book here on Soundcloud.

 

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WAG THE FOX: a den for dark fiction interviewed me for The Angels of Our Better Beasts.  It was a fun interview!  You can find this interview here.

 

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FULBRIGHT:  Fulbright Canada asked me to write a guest blog about how receiving a Fulbright Fellowship to Canada influenced the writing of this book.  Most of that information, specifically how the Yukon helped me develop as a writer, I covered in the interview I did with Jessica Simon. But specifically, I talk here about how important going to another country can be to you—especially if you let yourself be permeated by the culture of that country.  Being open to Canada was the beginning of a great journey for me.

 

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THE WHITEHORSE STAR: I was interviewed by Jessica Simon for the Whitehorse Star about the influence the Yukon had on me as a writer.  We got into some very interesting discussion about who gets to be a Yukon Writer and does that end when one leaves the Yukon?page-4-jan-09_17-1

Tor.com published my essay, “What Can We Learn from Star Trek’s Jake Sisko, Writer?”

VERY happy to have an essay up at Tor.com examining the roles of writers in the 24th Century, specifically through the lens of DS9 and Jake Sisko.  By offering us a character who chooses to be a writer in the 24th Century–even among all that technology and science–DS9 puts a value on writing, storytelling, literature even in the future.  We will need writers to understand new cultures.

Hope you enjoy the essay!

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The 24th anniversary of the first episode of Star Trek: Deep Space 9 took place earlier this month. The series took a lot of risks with the “idealized future” of Roddenberry as written into Star Trek’s DNA, adding nuance to Starfleet ideals by incorporating human desires and failings into the narrative. Some praised it for being more real, more relatable; some criticized it for being “too dark” and showing Starfleet in a bad light.

One thing I enjoyed was that in the midst of the Star Trek Universe’s science-and-tech-centric STEM paradise, DS9 showrunners made the captain’s son, Jake Sisko, a writer. We science fiction writers love our astronauts and engineers, but I was thrilled to see 14-year-old Jake developing into a writer and storyteller. They gave him a familiar writer’s journey: he dabbled in poetry, moved into short stories, then novels, and along the way he became a journalist, a war correspondent (echoes of Hemingway and Crane), and published a collection of essays about living under Dominion occupation, as well as a semi-autobiographical novel. By committing to Jake’s arc through the whole series, DS9 brought into broader relief how the series honoured storytellers.

Read the rest at Tor.com.  

 

Launching Beasts in Whitehorse at -32C.

czp-version-of-posterIt was -35C in the Yukon Territory on December 13, and Baked Cafe was still packed. It’s a testimony to great friends I have in Whitehorse and the extent Yukoners will go to support musicians and writers and artists.

I felt so privileged and honoured to launch The Angels of Our Better Beasts in Baked Cafe in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory.  Baked Cafe was like an unofficial office for me for many years.  I sometimes wrote there, but more often I met folks there and talked for hours.  The lattes there are perfect.  I used to order a “Husky Hazelnut” latte–which is a 2% Milk version of the Hazelnut latte.  Instead of indicating I was trying to lower the fat in my drink, though, by calling it “skinny,” I wanted to call myself “husky” instead, which is a nice way of saying, “He’s a big fella.”

Anyway, the Launch. Yes.  So happy to have Marcelle Dube and Steve Parker there to read with.  Marcelle Dube is primarily a mystery/thriller writer in Whitehorse, but she does have science fiction and fantasy stories.  Steve Parker is best known for his Skrelsaga–and we hear he’s working on a sequel.  These two writers have been my friends for nearly as long as I’ve known the Yukon.  So–reading with them, and reading in Baked Cafe was a real wonderful pleasure.

I made a video of the launch–or at least of the parts before we started reading.  I wanted to give you a feeling of what it was like to have friends be there for you in a warm space inside a cold, cold night.  Sarah MacDougall kindly lent her song, “Cold Night” to the video.

 

My Fulbright experience: Be Transformed

cropped-img_3457.jpgFulbright asked me to write a short piece on how my Fulbright experience affected the writing of my stories, and–as I took it–my development as a writer.  Though the Fulbright was only one year, I stayed nearly 10 years in Whitehorse, Yukon, and go back frequently.  The north deeply affected my writing, and helped develop me as a writer.

In this piece, I encourage people to open themselves, become vulnerable, to another culture–whether it’s a short trip or a long immersion.  Culture, you’re soaking in it.

Be Transformed is up on the Fulbright blog.

For those who aren’t aware of Fulbright–they are a program that allows for an exchange of scholars to different countries.  I went to the far north of Canada.  (I was once loudly laughed at during a phone interview by a prospective college who was looking at my application to become their professor.  They wondered why I bothered getting a Fulbright to Canada.  As if we all have the money to skip across the border and stay for nine months–or as if Canada has nothing to teach us.  Believe me, my fellow Americans, you will be studying Canada in great detail in the coming years. )

For more on Fulbright in Canada, go here. I went on a Creative Writing Fulbright.  If you are currently a student, you can too.  There are also programs for scholars and teachers.

Be transformed by a place—let it sink into your bones.