Erica Satifka interview

Short story writer, freelance editor, workshopper, and debut novelist Erica Satifka has been coming on strong the last few years. Stories in Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, Daily Science Fiction, Apex. Podcasts in Drabblecast, Escape Pod, Toasted Cake, Podcastle. In August, she’ll graduate to novels with Stay Crazy.

Erika Satifka

Erica L. Satifka

CARL SLAUGHTER: You’ve been cranking out the stories.  What’s your secret for maintaining the volume?

ERICA SATIFKA: Well, I’m a very streaky writer, so the volume tends to come in waves. The past two years have been especially productive, mostly because I moved to Portland and whenever things around me are exciting and new, I tend to write more. Lately I’ve been writing less for various reasons, although I did just finish a novel in January so I’ve got that going for me. Right now I’m waiting for the next wave to hit and I plan to milk it as much as I can.

CS: Your stories are all over the map.  What’s your secret to successful submission to so many markets?

ES: I know some people write stories “for” different markets, but to be honest, I find that an impossible task. To me, each story basically exists for itself, I don’t even think about markets unless it’s specifically for an anthology call and even then I can’t really “write to order.” I just try to write as good a story as I can and keep sending it around until it sticks. I think that’s mostly all you can do.


CS: You’re being podcasted left and right.  Do the podcast editors approach you or vice versa?  Are these stories podcast originals or reprints?

ES: Almost all reprints, and I submitted the stories (but am not opposed to being solicited, hint hint). I don’t actually listen to many podcasts, but I love having my stories podcasted for the people who do listen to them regularly. Basically, as soon as a story goes out of exclusivity I try to send it to podcasts. I’ve published a lot of flash and those stories tend to be popular as reprints.

CS: Last year was a busy year for you as a freelance editor as well as a writer.  What exactly does freelance editing involve, how much does it cost, how long does it take, and how painful is the surgery?

ES: I do both developmental editing and copyediting. Developmental editing is all the big-picture stuff: pacing, continuity problems, POV shifts, general cohesiveness of story. Copyediting involves fixing typos, replacing repeated words, making sentences less awkward, and so forth. A novella generally takes around ten to twelve hours of work, but I always put in as much time as the story needs, not what a clock says. My rates are on my site, so if anyone is interested they should check it out!

CS: What’s the curriculum, goals, and methods for your writing courses? Have you done any workshopping as an author or instructor?  If so, how did you or your students benefit?

ES: It’s a non-credit community education class, four weeks long. We talk about the various building blocks of a story: plot, world-building, characterization. Then we workshop. I’ve done a lot of workshopping myself, both in college and as part of writing groups in two cities, so I really like guiding people through the process. Many of my classes have gone on to create their own writing groups after the class ends, and some of the students have had their workshopped stories published. I think that even if you’re not into workshops or classes, everyone benefits by having someone else read their work. (Right now, my only beta reader is my spouse.)

CS: What did you learn about writing through the novel process?

ES: Novels are so different! You have to think about subplots, pacing becomes more important, the world of the novel needs to be fleshed out in a way that short stories don’t so much. The main struggle is the actual sentence-level editing – with a short story, you can go over it dozens of times to make it as close to perfect as possible, but with a novel there’s going to be irregularities, that’s the nature of the beast. The best novel-editing tool I’ve discovered, strangely enough, is my Kindle. With my novel, and even with just the short stories sometimes, I load them onto my Kindle and make notes just as if I were editing my clients’ work. I just have the basic one, but it works well enough!

CS: What did you learn about marketing in the process of finding an agent/publisher?

ES: I learned that I’m very bad at marketing! I find it hard to be anyone other than myself (or maybe a slightly more fun version of myself) on the Internet, so I don’t even try. So far I’ve never really had to plug a project, though, since I’ve only released short stories. I guess I’ll see what real marketing is like when my novel comes out.

CS: What’s on the horizon for Erica Satifka?

ES: My novel Stay Crazy will be out in August 2016 from Apex Publications, so right now that’s the main thing at the forefront of my mind. I also have another novel first draft that I hope to complete and have out on submission by the end of the year.

  • Website:
  • Her story “Automatic” (2007) will be reprinted this September in Grave Predictions: Tales of Mankind’s Post-Apocalyptic, Dystopian and Disastrous Destiny, edited by Drew Ford.

Grave Predictions

Studios Dropping Copyright Lawsuit Against Axanar Filmmaker

Paramount and CBS will drop their lawsuit against Alec Peters, maker of the Axanar fan films, J.J. Abrams told an interviewer during an event promoting Star Trek: Beyond.

A Paramount spokesperson confirmed the news in an email to Buzzfeed’s Adam Vary.

The announcement came as a surprise to Peters. PC Magazine reports Axanar issued a cautious statement in response:

While we’re grateful to receive the public support of JJ Abrams and Justin Lin, as the lawsuit remains pending, we want to make sure we go through all the proper steps to make sure all matters are settled with CBS and Paramount. Our goal from the beginning of this legal matter has been to address the concerns of the plaintiffs in a way that still allows us to tell the story of AXANAR and meets the expectations of the over 10,000 fans who financially supported our project….

Set in the Star Trek universe, the first Axanar film was made in 2014 aided by over $100,000 in Kickstarter funding. A prequel called Prelude To Axanar had raised over $600,000 on Kickstarter. In 2015, Paramount and CBS filed a copyright infringement lawsuit seeking $150,000 in damages against Peters.

Alec Peters as Axanar's Garth of Izar .

Alec Peters as Axanar’s Garth of Izar .

Bradbury Roundup 451

Clifton's Cafeteria

Clifton’s Cafeteria

(1) BIG READ AT CLIFTON’S. The graphical flourishes of the new Clifton’s Cafeteria website are worth a click.

LA’s refurbished deco monument has a Bradbury-themed event slated this weekend — “Celebrate Ray Bradbury’s ‘Fahhenheit 451’ at Clifton’s on Sunday”.

On Sunday, May 22, at 5 p.m. the city Cultural Affairs Department will celebrate Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 as part of its citywide “Big Read” program. In the book, literature is prized and firemen are people who start, not put out fires. The title references the temperature at which paper burns.

At the event, dubbed “When We Reach the City” (those are the last words in the book) writer and Libros Schmibros founder David Kipen will join Bradbury’s biographer, Sam Weller, for a discussion of Bradbury’s life, work and thinking about Los Angeles. A batch of special guests will join them.

Clifton’s is a fitting location. In a 2002 interview with Los Angeles Downtown News, Bradbury reflected on how, decades ago, he and a group of compatriots regularly showed up there.

He said, “When I was older and joined the Science and Fantasy Society we met in Clifton’s. Clifton’s gave us a room there every Thursday night, and I would go down for meetings, and sometimes I wouldn’t have enough money for dinner, which was 10 cents. You could buy a wonderful, huge malted milk for 10 cents. Some nights I used that for car fare, so on the way out I told the lady at the counter I couldn’t afford to pay and she said fine. Mr. Clinton, who was the creator of Clifton’s Cafeteria, gave away millions of free meals all during the Depression. It is a wonderful restaurant.”

Come ahead of time and bring a book – at 4:51 pm for the daily Nine Minute Read

The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.

(2) BRADBURY STATUE. Three finalists have been chosen to submit proposals for a statue to commemorate the life and achievements of author Ray Bradbury reports the Lake County Sun. They’ll have a $125,000 budget.

Bradbury, who grew up in Waukegan, is to be honored with a statue on the grounds of the Waukegan Public Library in the city’s downtown.

The finalists are Clay Enoch, of Loveland, Colo.; Mid Ocean Studios, of Providence, R.I.; and Zachary Oxman of Rockville, Md. Each finalist will travel to Waukegan in early summer for an interview with the Ray Bradbury Statue Committee, with the final decision to be announced in early fall.

“We deliberately chose three very different finalists with a wide range of skills. We’re confident that with the finalists’ experience and strength of previous work, they will create something that will celebrate the life and work of Ray Bradbury,” said Richard Lee, chair of the Statue Committee and executive director of the Waukegan Public Library.

The finalists will visit the site in early summer to view landscaping considerations, traffic flow, and building architecture, and to be interviewed by the committee. They will then submit proposals for the statue design and any associated landscaping to the committee for a final evaluation, officials said.

Last year, the Statue Committee issued a request for qualifications to sculptors of public art. The committee, composed of community and arts leaders, received 41 responses from artists throughout the U.S. and around the world, including as far away as New Zealand.

In April, committee members met to discuss the application packets and select three finalists to present proposals for the project. The finalists were chosen based on the strength of their qualifications, including similar project experience and a portfolio of work. Making a decision wasn’t easy, according to committee member Lori Nerheim.

“We were so impressed by the depth of talent, breadth of work, and wealth of experience represented in our candidates’ portfolios,” Nerheim said. “We’re grateful to the artists and professionals who assisted the committee with the decision-making process, including John Kinkade, founder of the National Sculptors Guild, Kathy Dowell, director of Arts & Humanities Programming at Mid-America Arts Alliance, Madhuri Shukla, managing director of Chicago Public Art Group, and Donald Clark, Professor of Art at Minnesota State University.”

(3) HIS HOUSE LIVES ON IN ONE AUTHOR’S IMAGINATION. Nicole Meier was interviewed about her novel The House of Bradbury by The Oregonian.

Nicole Meier

Nicole Meier

How Ray Bradbury, and his house, inspired a Bend author: Book excerpt

The Bend author pays homage to Ray Bradbury, author of the science fiction classic “Fahrenheit 451,” in both the title and plot of her fiction debut, “The House of Bradbury” (SparkPress, 280 pages, $17). In the book, being published Monday, a struggling writer learns that Bradbury’s Los Angeles home is up for sale and decides to buy it, hoping she’ll enjoy inspiration by osmosis.

Q: Why did you choose Ray Bradbury as the author whose house your heroine would lust after?

My interest was piqued when I came across a newspaper article featuring the sale of Ray Bradbury’s Los Angeles home. I could tell from the photo of the charming yellow house, where the iconic author resided for half a century, that the interior was full of stories. Like my protagonist, I wanted nothing more than to get inside and discover its secrets.

I later learned a developer purchased the home, and planned to raze it to the ground. As a Southern California native, familiar with the neighborhood, I wanted to imagine a world where the house wasn’t demolished, but instead purchased by an appreciative writer.

(4) NOW THAT’S A TATTOO! See a LARGE version of Wendell Minor’s painting for The Illustrated Man (1975) at the Sci Fi Art Tumblr.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian and Will R. for these stories.]

Author Profile: E. Lily Yu

By Carl Slaughter: E. Lily Yu burst on the scene in 2012 as winner of the Campbell Award for Best New Writer.

E. Lily Yu

E. Lily Yu. Photo by Alice Zhang.

That same year, she was nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards for best short story (“The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees,” Clarkesworld Magazine, April 2011), as well as the Million Writers Award.

In 2012, she was included in year’s bests by Jonathan Strahan and Rich Horton. This was also the year she attended the Sewanee Writers Conference as a Stanley Elkin Scholar.

Then 2013 was another busy year, with half a dozen short stories and the Clarion West Workshop.

“The Urashima Effect” (Clarkesworld Magazine, June 2013) was nominated for a Sturgeon in 2014, and that year Strahan and Horton again included her in their year’s bests.

fsf coverHer latest story, “Braid of Days and Wake of Nights,” was in the Jan/Feb issue of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

Look for “Paul Flitch’s Slap-Bang Fracas With Mister Delusio” in Daily Science Fiction in August and “Darkout” in the Cyber World anthology (edited by Josh Viola and Jason Heller) in November. In 2017, Tor will publish “The White-Throated Transmigrant.”

Lily Yu showed promise as early as 2005, winning a 69-word story contest sponsored by The Writer magazine. She specialized in creative writing at the New Jersey Governor’s School of the Arts and attended the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts’ YoungArts Week 2008. Yu is also an accomplished poet and her first published poem received an honorable mention in Ellen Datlow’s Year’s Best Horror.

Patrick Hemstreet and the Ideas Behind The God Wave

The God Wave coverIntroduction by Carl Slaughter: Dreams, premonitions, discernment, instinct.  Call it the mystical realm, the subconscious realm, the psychic realm.  We’ve all tapped into it, some of us often, usually involuntarily.  But our western philosophy tells us to draw conclusions based on physical experience or mental logic, so our culture has downgraded this aspect of our existence.  Meanwhile, there are far too many fakes who claim to speak with the dead, bend spoons, or predict earthquakes. The result is that we have limited our understanding of reality. Neuroscientist Patrick Hemstreet delves into this aspect of human existence in his fiction writing and his nonfiction reading list. Hemstreet’s novel The God Wave will be released May 17, 2016 by Harper Voyager ($24.99 Hardcover).

CARL SLAUGHTER: What does the title The God Wave refer to?

Patrick Hemstreet. Photo by Tanya Radoff.

Patrick Hemstreet. Photo by Tanya Radoff.

PATRICK HEMSTREET: It refers to a new EEG pattern, a waveform. Currently we know of five EEG brain rhythms: Alpha, Beta, Theta, Delta, and Gamma. The new waveform, the titular “God Wave” refers to the emergence of a sixth EEG frequency that accompanies extraordinary abilities. It is also referred to as a Zeta Wave in the book.

CS: How do the scientists in the story do to brains, enhance them with technology not available outside the lab or train them to access what’s already there?

PH: Well that’s the rub, isn’t it? This question is explored over the course of the God Wave trilogy. I don’t want to give you a succinct answer now and spoil it for the readers. I will simply say that in my own personal philosophy, the mind in all of its permutations is more powerful than any technology in the universe.

CS: Do the test subjects in the story need a certain type of brain or a certain type of a certain portion of their brain or a certain gene, or will any human brain suffice?

PH: Any human brain will suffice, but more clarity is given in the sequel as to how these abilities are unlocked. Any human brain is capable of a Zeta Wave; it is simply a matter of how successfully and quickly it can be tapped into.

CS: Is there anything a human CAN’T do using the God wave?

PH: Yes, the ability is limited just as thoughts are limited. The human mind can visualize and create from an existing palate. This is to say that we have to work with what is already there; arranging existing matter, atoms. You can envision and manipulate anything that has a tangible reference; it is very hard to imagine anything else. I believe this is why when we try to picture our soul we generally think of it like a ghost image of our corporeal self. Our mind is incapable of conceiving of spiritual matter or ether, what is sometimes aptly referred to as Ein Soph, the unknowable. That is the limitation.

CS: Do other humans have anything to fear from these test subjects? Does society have anything to fear about this scientific discovery?

PH: Yes indeed, if the wrong people gain these abilities the results could be catastrophic. It would be as if all villains in the world were the only ones who could run while the rest of us were relegated to crawling.

CS: Does the story explore the concept of the mind? Is there a scientific basis for and definition of the mind? Is there scientific evidence for the existence of a mind? (Show me a photo of a mind, show me a heat signature of a mind, chart for me the molecular structure of a mind, list for me the height and width and depth and weight of a mind; identify for me the nature and location of a mind.)

PH: Aha, you are on to something. Proving the mind exists is an impossibility, at least with physical means.

How deep does the mind go? Does it exist on multiple levels or different planes as the mystics have said? Your question yields more questions…the sign of a great and tantalizing conundrum. Yes, the story does explore these concepts and uses them to propel the narrative in what you will see is a very unique manner.

CS: One ARE reviewer, who reviewed the story at much longer than average length, said, “He offers adult consideration of diverse perspectives. I was particularly impressed with his dialectic on security versus openness. Considering that this is Hemstreet’s first novel, it is pretty impressive.” Please expound.

PH: I don’t want to spoil the fun for my readers, but what I will say is that yes, there is a sinister presence. This “evil” element puts issues like security versus privacy at center stage. A challenge we grapple with in today’s world.

CS: How similar or different is the story to “Lucy” and “Limitless”?

PH: It is similar in the sense that all of these stories explore the potential of humanity. Anyone who has read Napoleon Hill, Wayne Dyer, or any variety of quantum physics materials wonders just how far and how much the mind can affect our world and our lives. In all three of these works that question is explored and suggestions offered. Perhaps we do dwell in an ocean of thoughts, each of us observing our world in one’s own unique way? One day could our minds have the ability to understand this and fundamentally change our lives and world view? I hope so.

CS: Do you get that question a lot?

PH: The parallels, yes; the question, no. So thank you for that!

CS: How are you qualified to write about the science premise?

PH: I have more than a decade of experience in the applied neuroscience of neurodiagnostics. I hold or have held these relevant certifications:

CNIM-Certified neurophysiological intraoperative monitoring
R.NCS.T-Registered nerve conduction study technologist
R.EPT- Registered evoked potential technician
CNCT- Certified nerve conduction technician
RPSGT- Registered polysomnographic technologist

I am also an armchair mystic having devoted a great deal of my adult life to the study of comparative religion and mysticism.

CS: What was your inspiration for the science premise?

PH: The melding of my two passions: applied neuroscience and mysticism.

CS: What fiction and nonfiction material are you reading along the lines of the science premise?

PH: Well, I have read countless reference books in regard to my professional field of neurodiagnostics. I have probably read even more in regard to mysticism and mental science. Some of my favorite fictional works in this area are:

The Terminal Man by Michael Crichton
The Mysterious Stranger by Mark Twain
Johnathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

This is to name just a few, there are many more, but I’d hate to give you a grocery list.

CS: Will there be a sequel?

PH: Yes, this is a trilogy.

Auston Habershaw Needs Your Help

By Carl Slaughter: He needs you to read his latest short story “Lord of the Cul-de-Sac”, which is out this month in Galaxy’s Edge.  And his stories in Analog, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and Writers of the Future #31.  He needs you to listen to his story on Escape Pod.  He needs you to buy No Good Deed, the second book in his Saga of the Redeemed series (Harper Voyager Impulse), which will be out next month.  And the first book, The Iron Ring, which came out last year.

But most importantly, college English professor Auston Habershaw he needs you to help him name his currently eponymous blog, where he expresses himself articulately, prolifically, voluminously, and with lots of vivid illustrations.

Check out his list of candidates. Vote on one or suggest a new one.  Send him your feedback to

  • Aimless Complaints
  • Nothing Doing
  • Austopolis
  • The Haber-shed
  • Big Words, Placed in Order
  • Will Yowl For Cash
  • Bad Nerd Rising
  • Ninja Space Clowns
  • BAM! (No Affiliation With Emeril)
  • The Woes of My Enemies
  • Professor Habershaw’s Magical Emporium
  • Explosions Are Cool and Other Obvious Statements

No Good Deed Cover

Jacketcopy for No Good Deed:

Cursed with a magic ring that forbids skullduggery, Tyvian Reldamar’s life of crime is sadly behind him. Now reduced to fencing moldy relics and wheedling favors from petty nobility, he’s pretty sure his life can’t get any worse.

That is until he hears that his old nemesis, Myreon Alafarr, has been framed for a crime she didn’t commit and turned to stone in a penitentiary garden. Somebody is trying to get his attention, and that somebody is playing a very high-stakes game that will draw Tyvian and his friends back to the city of his birth and right under the noses of the Defenders he’s been dodging for so long.

And that isn’t even the worst part. The worst part is that the person pulling all the strings is none other than the most powerful sorceress in the West: Lyrelle Reldamar –  Tyvian’s own mother.

Linda Grimes’ Continuity Secrets

Introduction by Carl Slaughter: Linda Grimes’ Fix series about a young, female, shapeshifter-for-hire starts as a rompy, love triangle, fantasy comedy. But as the series progresses, the author ramps up the danger factor. Way up. In the first book, it is the protagonist’s client who is in danger. In first sequel, her young sister, also a shapeshifter, is used as a guinea pig in a secret scientific experiment. In the second sequel, a client tries to frame her for murder. In the fourth installment, All Fixed Up, to be released by Tor on May 24, 2016, shapeshifters are being systematically assassinated and she has to protect her family, friends, and species.

On a lighter note, Linda Grimes shares her favorite scenes from the series, one for each novel.

Linda Grimes

Linda Grimes

LINDA GRIMES: When you write a series, certain details that might not jump out at the casual reader can carry over from book to book, helping to convey a subliminal sense of continuity throughout. Take, for instance, the humble loofah.

That’s right. This ordinary bath accessory has made an appearance in each of my books so far…


In a Fix

[In which Billy shows up in the guise of a tourist who looks remarkably like Queen Elizabeth II. I suspected he would be trouble from the moment he popped into my head, and so far he hasn’t disappointed.]

I grabbed a rosebud-shaped soap and stepped under the hot spray. Aaah . . . bliss. I lathered quickly, top to toe. Rinsed. Looked for some shampoo. There was none at hand, so I assumed it must be in the little guest basket on the vanity, and stepped out to reach for it.

Queen Elizabeth was leaning casually against the sink, ankles crossed, shampoo bottle in hand, enjoying the show. “Looking for this, dear?” There was no mistaking the leer.

I snatched the bottle and leapt back into shower. “You are such an ass.”

“Why, what ever do you mean? And wouldn’t you like a little help washing your back? I’m wonderful with a loofah, you know.”


Quick Fix

[In which we realize, during a job at the National Zoo, that Billy is still convinced of the persuasive powers of the loofah.]

“Maybe we better head back to my place,” I suggested, and watched her face fall into gloomy resignation. I hated to disappoint her, but it wasn’t worth the risk of discovery. Besides, it was sweltering, and it was a long trudge to the apes.

Billy put the kibosh on that right away. “Forget it. She’ll be ?ne. Right, kiddo?”

Molly’s eyes lit up. “Thanks, Billy. You’re the best,” she said, and took o? at a clip altogether too fast for the heat.

I slugged Billy’s arm as I scrambled to keep up. “Yeah, Billy. You’re the best.”

Laughing, he took my gooshy cone and tossed it into a nearby trash can. “Buck up, cuz. If you get too hot, I’m sure I can ?gure out some way to cool you o?. Maybe we can take a cold shower when we get back to your place.”


“Always willing to lend a helping hand. I keep telling you, I’m wonderful with a loofah.”


BigFix -- final

[Ciel and Billy’s relationship progresses…with a little help from, you guessed it, a loofah.]

Billy joined me as I was hanging up. “Good news—there’s a new loofah.” I used to roll my eyes when Billy would tell me how wonderful he was with a loofah, but having shared a few showers with him recently, I didn’t anymore. “The tub will be a tight squeeze,” he added with a wink, in case the innuendo in his voice wasn’t enough to carry his meaning, “but with my superior athletic ability and your impressive flexibility, I think we might just be able to manage it.”

“Sorry,” I said. And, boy, I really was, because Billy was an absolute virtuoso at following through on innuendo. “We have to leave for the ranch right away—Dave can’t find Jack.” A horrible thought struck me. “Oh, my God—you don’t think he’s been kidnapped, do you?”


All Fixed Up Final Cover hires

[Yes, the Easter eggs—I mean loofahs—continue in the latest installment.]

“No buts, Molls,” I said. “I promised your mom I’d get you back in time to do your homework before dinner.”

“Homework sucks. Anyway, I already did it. It was stupid easy.”

“Good,” Billy said. “Then you’ll have time to research Christmas gift ideas for your brother online. Think gadgets. Or toiletries. I’m almost out of bubble bath”—he gave me a knowing look— “and I could use a new loofah, so you might start there.”

“Okay. What’s your favorite bubble bath, Ciel?” she asked, without missing a beat. My cheeks heated, much to Billy’s amusement. Honestly, the kid was way too savvy for her own good.

There you have it—the humble loofah’s journey through four books. When undertaking any creative endeavor, the devil is in the details. Or so I’ve heard. Though I suspect in my case the devil is more of an imp with sense of humor.

[For more about the author’s Fix series, check out this Amazon link. And keep up with Linda Grimes by reading Visiting Reality blog.]