Matthew Hughes: the Archonate

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Another reprint sale

I’ve just heard that I’ve sold another reprint. “Petri Parousia” ran in F&SF back in 2008. In January, I submitted it to a Kickstarter-funded indie anthology to be called Arcane Arts, edited by Kai Herbertz.

“Petri Parousia” spun off from the then popular novel The Da Vinci Code, to the extent that it was about a research scientist who discovered he could recreate the DNA of anyone’s ancestors so you could clone your great-grandfather. Or Napoleon. Or anybody you thought deserved a second coming.

As with the recent sale of “Nature Tale” to Tesseracts 20, the acceptance came as a complete surprise because I did not remember submitting the story (I have an increasingly unreliable memory which may turn out to be a precursor to Alzheimers).

Still, it’s very nice to receive acceptances for submissions I don’t remember. Like an unexpected birthday present.

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I’m in Tesseracts again

Sometime today, Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing will announce the table  of contents for COMPOSTELA, the twentieth annual  iteration of the prestigious Tesseracts series of  anthologies of Canadian science fiction.  It will include my Luff Imbry story, “Nature Tale.”

Every Tesseracts is built around a theme.  This year the publisher has said:  “The stories in this anthology in their own way tell the tale of futuristic travelers who journey into the dark outer (or inner) reaches of space, searching for their own connections to the past, present and future relics of their time.

“Nature Tale,” which originally ran in the quarterly anthology, Postscripts, fits the description.  It’s about how Luff travels to a far-distant world to settle an old score from his school days.

For each edition of the Tesseracts series, the publisher selects as editors two luminaries of the Canadian speculative fiction scene.  This year’s are Spider Robinson and James Alan Gardner.

The book will be out in the spring of 2017.


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New story sale to F&SF

I’ve had official word that Charlie Finlay, editor of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, has bought another story from me.  This one’s called “Ten Half-Pennies,” and it features my new series character, Baldemar.   I hope Charlie won’t mind my quoting from his acceptance letter, in which he said, “I loved this story — probably my favorite thing from you in a while, which is saying something.”

I created Baldemar for the anthology, The Book of Swords, edited by Gardner Dozois and due out in 2017, or possibly very late this year.  The story in the anthology, “The Sword of Destiny,” finds the character at the end of his career as a wizard’s henchman.  “Ten Half-Pennies” starts him out as a young boy and tells how he came into the service of Thelerion the thaumaturge, a wizard even less dependable than the average spellslinger.

I plan to do the same thing as I did with Raffalon the thief, who was created for the cross-genre anthology, Rogues, co-edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois.  While waiting for Rogues to come out, I wrote several stories about the earlier life of my thief and sold them to F&SF.  Next summer, I will put together all the Raffalon stories, including an extra I have yet to write, and self-publish them as an ebook and POD paperback.

Meanwhile, I’m halfway through another Baldemar story, as he pursues his career as a young henchman to Thelerion.  I’m about to send him off to Khoram-in-the-Waste, a ruined city in the desert, to recover an ancient magic object for his master.  How that’s going to work out, I don’t know yet, but it’s always fun to see where these stories go.

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Raffalon later this year

A little bird tells me — actually, it’s Charlie Finlay, editor of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction — that he expects to run the Raffalon story he has in inventory before the end of the year.  When I sold it to him, it was called “Genius.”  But Charlie, being a good editor, has told me that there are already several other stories in the sf universe with that same title and it’s not likely to draw the reader’s eye.  So the story has been renamed “The Amateur Vindicator,” which I’m pretty sure makes it unique.

This will probably be the last Raffalon story to appear in a magazine.  My intent is to write a new one and put it with all the others in a self-published collection.  I’ll have to wait six months for the exclusivity period for “Vindicator” to expire, which means the Raffalon collection will probably be out in the summer of 2017.

Unofficially, I can announce that I’ve also sold another story to F&SF, but the official announcement mustn’t come until I get the contract and check from Gordon Van Gelder.

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Creative Ink Writers’ Festival

The weekend of May 6 to 8, I’ll be doing panel and blue-pencil work and presenting a workshop at the Creative Ink writers’ festival at the Delta Burnaby Hotel and Conference Centre, In Burnaby, BC, where I went to high school and university, all those years ago.

I’m doing three panels:

  • Getting Started – how to begin a writing project. It’s on Friday, May 6, at 4 p.m.
  • Creating Believable Characters – tricks and techniques to take the cardboard out of characters. That’s on Saturday, May 7, at 10 a.m.
  • Adding Mystery to Your Fiction – there are different rules for writing mysteries compared to other genre categories. Saturday, May 7, at noon

The workshop is Elements of Story. I’ll run through the basics of story mechanics then we’ll make up a story or two from the usual components. Saturday, May 7, at 6 p.m.

On Sunday, May 8, from noon, I’ll be doing Blue-Pencil Café, a standard part of writers conferences. Individual writers bring a pro author, editor, or agent a few pages of their work and get an instant critique. Tip: it’s best to bring me the opening pages of a novel or short story. I can tell a lot (and often help a lot) from an opening.

I’m not the only attraction at Creative Ink. Guests of Honour are bestselling author Carrie Vaughan and World Fantasy Award-nominated artist Galen Dara. Good old Robert J. Sawyer, who always gives excellent value for money at writers’ conferences, will deliver a keynote speech.

This project is the brainchild of my SF Canada colleague, Sandra Wickham, who deserves a medal and a big slice of cake for putting her heart into helping other writers. I wouldn’t be surprised if the conference sells out, so get over to the website now and sign up.

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