Category Archives: Short Stories

Short Story: “The Yardstick” (Swords and Sorcery Magazine)

Swords and Sorcery is an online magazine published by the inimitable Curtis Ellett, and this month I’m honored to have been chosen to have a story of mine published there.

(note: if The Yardstick is no longer in the current issue when you read this, click the Archive link and search for Will Weisser to find it).

A little more background for those who are interested: during the very little downtime I had at Worldcon last year, I felt like I needed to write something, having been inspired by the presence of so many great creative types. I free-associated a bunch of random titles in my notebook, most of which will likely never amount to anything, but one that did catch my eye was “The Yardstick.” I have no idea why I wrote down those words, but the idea of a measuring device implied story possibilities to me. What if this yardstick wasn’t regular, but magical? What could it measure? A person? What about them? Perhaps if they were brave enough, strong enough, worthy of some title or distinction?

Over the next couple of weeks I fleshed out the rest of the story without any planning, just making it up as I went, which is not my usual M.O., especially since I rarely write short stories anyway (I’m not nearly brave enough to try and write an entire novel that way). I think it turned out pretty well, and although not everything I start ends up so good, after 4 years I feel like I’m definitely making progress at writing fiction thing, as evidenced by this, the first time someone has paid me up front for my work.

So, please enjoy, check out the other stories on the S&S site, and blog, tweet and otherwise share the fruits of Mr. Ellet’s (and the author’s) labor. Now I’m going back to work on some ideas for my third novel…

Dead End Bridge Free on Smashwords

Self-promotion time:

Click the cover to download a delightful tale of addiction, co-dependency, genetically modified spiders, and internecine gang warfare in the high-rise slums of 22nd century Manhattan. And now in .epub and .pdf format as well! I added a sample chapter from EPIC FANTASY 0.9b to the end, so hopefully having more eyes on it will help with my renewed marketing efforts; more on that to come (check out the new cover on the EPIC FANTASY 0.9b page by the way; I think it’s pretty sweet).

Dead End Bridge

It’s that time again! I have a new story up on the Kindle store. Science fiction of course, but this time with a hint of noir. To quote my Amazon blurb:

Leonard was nothing but a grit fiend, whiling his days away in a high-rise slum on the wrong side of what used to be the George Washington Bridge. That all changed when Camille, a beautiful woman from his favorite dive bar, drew him into a plot to kill her boyfriend, a dangerous and abusive local gangster. Suddenly Leonard is sucked into a world of spine-tapping arachmods and ruthless gang warfare in 22nd-century Manhattan, muddling through a half-baked scheme that may save Camille’s life — or cost him his own.

If that sounds interesting, click the image above and give it a look. It’s free today and tomorrow (Friday, May 4th and Saturday May 5th, for those reading from the future). The standard offer applies: if you would like a free copy after the promotion ends, follow me on Twitter and send me a @message and I’ll get you a review copy.

Thanks to my Radial Works Media cohorts John Shutt and Pete Ingham for editing, as well as J. Daniel Batt for another excellent cover design.

The Start of Something Exciting: A Grave in cloudSpace

Confession time: I’ve had a secret brewing for a little while. For the past few weeks, I’ve been working with a group of writers on an experimental project: a co-operative web-based publishing imprint named Radial Works Media.

What is a co-operative publishing imprint? It means that as a group, we share our talents for free with each other. As individuals we have expertise in editing, content development, layout and cover design, and when one of us has a short story or book we feel is ready to be published, we all work together to make it the best it can be.  Each author keeps the royalties from their own work, but we publish with a group imprint logo that signals to readers that they can expect each book we put out to be up to our high standards for content, editing and design.

So, why am I so excited about this? Because it’s a completely new model for publishing, one which I think you may see a lot more of in the future. It’s been really cool these past few weeks experimenting behind the scenes, ironing out the details, and getting our first short story ready for publication. And best of all, by sheer coincidence that story happens to be one I wrote.  It’s called:

A Grave in cloudSpace

As of today, it’s available to borrow for free for Amazon Prime subscribers.  However, if you don’t have Amazon Prime, it will be free to download tomorrow (Thursday, March 1st 2012) for a period of 24 hours.  Alternately, if you’re following me on Twitter, send me a mention and I will direct message you a free review copy.

As for the story itself, it’s science fiction with a touch of horror; more details can be found at the Amazon page.  But really, it’s just the start of some awesome content coming down the pipeline from the Radial Works authors.  If you want more information about RWM or our process, we have a blog that will have updates posted soon.

It should be obvious to just about everyone at this point that the publishing world is in the process of being turned on its head.  Some people see the rise of self-publishing as the future and assume that traditional publishers are destined for extinction.  Others believe that without traditional publishing, there is no way to filter out noise and prevent readers from drowning in a sea of mediocrity.  I’m not going to pretend that Radial Works is some giant revolution in publishing; its simply a combination of ideas that have been around in various forms for some time.  But I think if we can execute on our vision, then we have a chance to alter the debate by changing the way the industry looks at self-publishing.  And the best part is, everyone else gets some really awesome stuff to read in the meantime ;).

Stay tuned for more, it’s going to be an interesting year…