Title: Virtue of Death
Series: Earthbound Angels #1
Author: Randi Perrin
Release Date: August 20, 2016
Presented By: Itsy Bitsy Book BitsSynopsis: At eighteen, Sera Moore chose to go to culinary school while a higher power selected her to become an angel, specifically, an angel of death. Now, twelve years later, Sera’s a successful baker during the day and performs her angelic duties at night. The only thing missing in her life is a man, but the last thing she wants is to fall head over wings in love. It seems her relationships are unable to survive once she reveals her nighttime activities, so it’s easier to not even bother. But when a tenacious food critic won't take a hint, can Sera lower her wings long enough to risk her heart one more time? Author Bio: Randi has spent her entire life writing in one form or another. In fact, if she wasn't writing, she'd likely go completely and utterly insane. Her husband has learned to recognize when the voices are talking in her head and she needs some quality time with an empty Word file (the key to a successful marriage with a writer). She lives with her husband, daughter, and four-legged children (all of which think they are people, too). A pop culture junkie, she has been known to have entire conversations in movie quotes and/or song lyrics.
One of the things I wanted to do with this blog is provide a platform for cover reveals and book announcements for other writers I know—especially debut authors. So if we've interacted either in real life or through social media, and you have a speculative fiction book coming out soon, please hit me up and let me help you out.
I'm thrilled to have Randi Perrin's VIRTUE OF DEATH as my first cover reveal. Due out August 20th, this will be the first (of hopefully many) in her Earthbound Angels series from romance press Hot Tree Publishing. I haven't read it yet, but I will definitely be picking up a copy, and probably in paperback, because just look at this gorgeous wrap!
The color scheme of this cover is what catches my attention, and the way that beautiful blue is echoed in Sera's eyes and necklace, but what really intrigues me is the ethereal nature of the angel wing. You can almost miss it if you don't look closely enough. I'm guessing that's entirely intentional, though, since this is the type of contemporary fantasy where supernatural creatures are still hidden from mainstream society. And I have heard Randi insist, "My angels don't have feathers!" So that wing makes me very curious.
I haven't read enough paranormal romance to really know the best comparisons, but I'm guessing if you enjoyed FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT by Darynda Jones or GRAVE WITCH by Kalayna Price, you're going to fall in love with VIRTUE OF DEATH.
Want more hints about the story? Check out the book trailer below, and follow Randi Perrin on Facebook for periodic teasers (and frequent pictures of hot men).
I promised you gratuitous corgi pictures, didn’t I? Well, here we go. Although, since this is a story about a corgi, they’re not really that gratuitous.
“Working Like a Dog” is another absurdist story — I was really into that for a while, and maybe it’s what I’m better at than straight-up fantasy and science fiction. For some reason, my husband and I used to make jokes about our corgi getting a job or helping out around the house, and one day I just took that joke and ran with it.
I guess we joked one too many times about the dog getting a job; he finally did it. I stopped to get gas on the way home from the shop one day and there he was, wearing a little backwards uniform shirt and restocking the chip aisle in the convenience store. My wife said he'd seemed more tired than normal in the evenings, but we figured he'd just spent the day chasing squirrels out of the back yard.
I workshopped this story along with a couple of other flash fiction pieces in the first semester of my MFA. I don’t remember the original title, but I know it was fellow corgi owner and kickass writer C.T. Hutt who told me regarding the title, “the corgi puns practically write themselves.” So I ended up with “Working Like a Dog.” This actually inspired a whole series of stories that took common idiomatic sayings and considered them literally: “Son of a Gun,” “Brain Child,” “Take it With You to the Grave,” and “Cry Me a River” (which became “The Riverhead”), as well as a handful of others that were written but never published.
“Working Like a Dog” is probably the only story I’ve ever submitted for publication that was accepted at the first place I sent it to, and I chose that magazine because I knew it was a perfect fit. Not only because I’d read a number of other stories they’d published, but because I’d read a number of stories by the editor, Nathaniel Tower, and knew that he wrote with a similar surreal, absurd aesthetic. Could it have been published somewhere else, perhaps at a higher-paying market? Maybe. We’ll never know. But I said, “This is a Bartleby Snopes story,” and indeed, it was. (Now if only that would come true the next time I’m sure “This is a Clarkesworld story” or “This is a Beneath Ceaseless Skies story.” But it’s a tough market out there, especially at the pro level.)
This story is absurd and humorous, but like many good absurdist works, it has a societal critique and a sadness at its core. This is a story that comes out of having just lived through the 2008 financial crisis, of four-dollar-per-gallon gas prices, of fear and uncertainty about the future. But all that’s softened and wrapped up in a nice ball of corgi fluff.
“Working Like a Dog” is online and free to read at Bartleby Snopes, and it’s flash fiction at about 800 words — only slightly longer than this blog post. Give it a read sometime, and let me know if it made you laugh.
My story "Fun(draising) with Meteoroids" is an absurdist science fiction story told in epistolary format: a series of letters and emails between a NASA representative and an average Joe. This story appeared in the anthology Dear Robot: An Anthology of Epistolary Science Fiction, edited by Kelly Ann Jacobson, which is available in paperback via Amazon. My Clarion classmate, and all-around awesome guy, Zach Lisabeth did quite a thoughtful analysis of the story on his blog.
The seed of this story was its absurd central conceit. The main character, Chad, receives a package containing a meteoroid (which he calls a “space rock”) along with a letter from NASA informing him that this particular meteoroid would have struck his house if NASA hadn’t plucked it out of the sky as part of their new-and-improved Near Earth Object program (which in real life watches the skies for catastrophic asteroids). But they aren’t just saving peoples’ houses as a civic duty; they want money.
Below, you will find a donation form and a return label. Please, if you would like to keep the meteoroid, send a check to the address below for any amount you are able. All donations will assist the Near Earth Object program in its continued efforts to monitor and remove dangerous objects before they impact Earth. If you are unable to make a donation, or prefer not to keep the meteoroid, simply affix the return label to the box and take it to any USPS drop-off location.
I came up with this concept while taking a class during my MFA about Russian Absurdist Literature, most likely around the time we read Omon Ra by Victor Pelevin, a Kafka-esque satire of the Soviet cosmonaut initiative. I had a premise, but not a story around it, and so I chewed on the idea for a few months before I actually tried to write anything.
In the summer of 2013, I had the opportunity to travel to Lithuania as part of the Summer Literary Seminars, an amazing program that’s half writing workshop, half cultural immersion. My group was only six people, and we workshopped three stories per person over the two weeks we were there. One of mine was the original draft of "Fun(draising) With Meteoroids," titled “Falling Star.”
It went over okay in workshop — the teacher, at least, thought the absurd concept was hilarious — but they picked it apart like a good workshop should do, and one woman even took rather serious offense to a bit of the character arc that I had taken for granted. Usually after a workshop I will carefully consider the critique notes, highlight what makes sense, scratch out what doesn’t, and then revise the story accordingly. But after this one, I just didn’t know how to deal with it. I left the story alone for about two years.
When I saw the submission call for Kelly Ann Jacobson’s Dear Robot anthology, the missing puzzle piece fell into place. The draft I had workshopped started with a letter, but the rest of the story followed a traditional first person narrator. What if I did the whole thing in epistolary style? What made this work, I think, is the dynamic that develops between the average Joe who’s pissed off that NASA claims he owes them his life, and the NASA representative who’s frustrated with the depths NASA has sunk to after having been turned into a for-profit private business.
Listen, I get it. To be honest, I fought against this campaign, and so far we haven’t received a single positive response. I knew it was a bad idea when the memo was titled “Fun(draising) with Meteoroids.” I was just impressed they got the term “meteoroid” right.
Kelly was nice enough to accept this new version for her epistolary science fiction anthology, and she created a good-looking book that I’m thrilled to have on my brag shelf. The other stories in the table of contents are innovative, insightful, and fantastically written.
If you’ve read this anthology, won’t you please leave it an Amazon review? I’d love to hear what you thought about these epistolary science fiction stories.
Who Am I, Anyway?
Hello, world. I'm Sarena Ulibarri, and I'm a fantasy and science fiction writer, as well as the Editor-in-Chief of a small publishing house called World Weaver Press. I've maintained this website for a few years now, mainly as a list of my short fiction publications, but I've decided to try this blogging thing in order to better showcase my own work, as well as the work of the many amazing writers I call friends.
So what can you expect from this blog?
Though I may post the occasional informal book review, this is not a review blog, and I will not be accepting review copies of books. My to-be-read shelf is already out of control, and if I want your book, I'm going to give you money for it, especially if it's available for a reasonable price on Kindle.
So who am I, anyway?
Thanks for stopping by. Many of my stories are free online, so I hope you'll take a moment to check them out, and that you'll come back for more.