28 February 2021

The February 2021 issue is live! Woo hoo!

The awesome February 28, 2021 issue of Electric Spec is live! Woo hoo!

Thanks so much to the cover artist and all the authors!

Thanks so much to all the Electric Spec staff.

And, especially, thanks so much to all the readers!

Woo hoo!

25 February 2021

from Author Hughes

We're excited to feature the story "Keeper John" by Bill Hughes in our upcoming fabulous February 28, 2021 issue of Electric Spec. Here's what Mr. Hughes had to tell us:

To me, one of the wonderful things about classic pulp fiction was how fast the stories were. The authors I like best are the ones who would just drop you in the middle of something without any explanations. If a background detail is important, it will become clear enough as you go--and if it isn’t important, who needs it? At least that’s the theory. Several writers--especially crime writers like Mickey Spillane and Paul Cain—wrote some ferociously quick fiction that way. I can't pretend to be as good at it as those guys, but I try to keep their example in mind when I sit down to write.

Thanks, Bill! Very interesting!
Be sure to check out "Keeper John" and all the other stories on February 28!

23 February 2021

from Author Janel

We're excited to feature the story "Visiting Hours" by Selah Janel in our upcoming fabulous February 28, 2021 issue of Electric Spec. Here's what Ms. Janel had to tell us:

I was one of those kids who had a giant imagination growing up. It wasn't just the fact that I was creative, but I tended to carry my what-if's into whatever real life situation I was in. Family vacations turned into epic adventures in my head, the little day to day tasks became romanticized while looking at them from new angles. Everything presented a special possibility, everything opened up questions. What if a relative I was visiting was really a witch (I had a thing for haunted houses even then, so this wasn't an insult)? What if aliens landed and I had to teach them what everything was for on Earth? What if magic was real?

What if?

I loved playing outdoors, and loved hiking trails with my parents in the nearby state parks. There was just something about trees that opened up possibility for me, that made me feel safe and gave me a sense of freedom I didn't get walking around the neighborhood. It wasn't hard to imagine that creatures lurked in the underbrush. Between my early love of folklore and the fact that all of the 1980s marketed magical creatures to girls, it wasn't hard to make the leap in my mind. Of course pixies hid under the trees! Why couldn't some Midwest version of selkies hide in the creeks? A friend of mine once found an alligator snapping turtle in his backyard, so who knew what I could wake up to!

Deep down, I knew it was pretend. It was never anything I tried to convince other people to believe--I knew how reality worked, even as a kid. I treasured those moments, though, those peaceful walks where the air smelled green and every rustle of leaves held the promise of something elusive, something that may or may not exist. Those ruminations always got me thinking, and in some ways, I think they made me very self-aware and in touch with my own emotions. They also opened up the possibility of public embarrassment and many, many family stories of which I'll never hear the end of, but it's a small price to pay.

As I got older, those what ifs served me well as a writer, but they took a more adult tone. What if a person wished hard enough, worked long enough, and it just still wasn't enough? What if magic wasn't enough to save someone? What if two characters loved each other, but never got around to actually admitting it to each other? What if magic was real, but it couldn't cure every problem?

What if?

That mix of childhood daydreaming and adult sensibility led me to Birch's story. After the death of my grandparents over the years, I came face to face with the fact that they were people who had ups and downs, did their best, loved and lost, just like a lot of people do. I had to face the giant wall that now separated me from them, had to face the swirl of emotion that each passing brought up. Each death also brought me closer to who they were as people, and made me question my own place in the world. T

Inevitably, they eventually merged with my story ideas and mental meanderings through imaginary forests. My grandparents had no magic cure for the hardship in their lives, so what would happen if a magical creature had to accept the limitations of their power and consequences of the human realm? Could a creature like that take joy in the little things, or would it forever be a game to it? The character of the Erlking has always fascinated me. He's someone who's known for his cruelty, for stealing away maidens and feasting on the souls of children. There are many different interpretations, and you see hints of him pop up in other characters--you'll never convince that there isn't at least a bit of Erlking in Labyrinth's Jareth. There's also loads of stories alluding to the relationships of faeries and mortals, but what would that even entail? What would that mean in the modern world, and what would a faerie do if even his power couldn't protect him from love, or protect the object of his love from death?

What if, indeed.

Thanks, Selah! Very interesting!
Be sure to check out "Visiting Hours" and all the other stories on February 28!

16 February 2021

from Author Low

We're excited to feature the story "Paper Wings" by Brian Low in our upcoming fabulous February 28, 2021 issue of Electric Spec. Here's what Mr. Low had to tell us about the story:

Generals and heroes are interesting for sure, but I've always been more fascinated by the struggles of the less-privileged in times of war: soldiers, farmers, and in this story, scavengers. But what if the things you're scavenging are also trying to kill you? As for why I set this story in China's Three Kingdoms' period, I thought I'd like to write (and read!) something a little different from the Western-inspired settings that I mostly read.

I hope you enjoy the story too!

Thanks, Brian! Very interesting!
Be sure to check out "Paper Wings" and all the other stories on February 28!

09 February 2021

from Author Wilson

We're excited to feature the story "Al and the Skeleton Tree" by Paul Wilson in our upcoming fabulous February 28, 2021 issue of Electric Spec. Here's what Mr. Wilson had to tell us about the story:

Al and the Skeleton Tree: This story was inspired by a short period of time that I lived with my father. I had a job at a local theater and walked to work every day through areas very much like Pecan Grove. The tree is real, a huge thing that forced me off the sidewalk and into the road to walk around it. I got to wondering one day about its age, how much it had seen, and how much of its history might make it angry.

I like the trio of characters in this story and how supportive they are of each other. Later edits suggested anger at racial and economic inequality from Al. It wasn’t a theme I planned, but one that emerged organically. A good lesson in letting the story live and not forcing it into a pre-conceived box.

Also, this is the birth of Pecan Grove East to mirror Pecan Grove West where Daddy Christmas exists, a story I finished last year. Like that tale, I know I am not finished with these characters or this tree, and I find that very exciting. Hopefully anyone reading will find the same excitement.

Thanks, Paul! Very interesting!
Be sure to check out "Al and the Skeleton Tree" and all the other stories on February 28!

02 February 2021

Feb Production Meeting

We are now in full production mode for the fabulous February 2021 issue of Electric Spec! We recently had the corresponding production meeting. Yes, it was virtual. We are all getting good at virtual meetings, aren't we? Interestingly, the editors strongly disagreed about what our favorite stories were. However, we fought it out and ended up with five excellent stories. I'll tell you more as the month of Feb progresses.

This means all authors should have heard from us by this week if you submitted within the Feb 2021 window. If you did not hear from us, your story may have gotten lost in cyberspace. Authors who got acceptances should have also received a contract by now. As soon as you agree to the contract, we'll start editing your story.

We will be featuring cover art "Denial" by Anselmo J. Alliegro. The artist says, "This painting depicts a retreat into a bubble, whether it be virtual, the media, or any medium that alienates us from each other and the natural world. The person floats inside a bubble of denial, while the environment outside is degraded and burning."
Stay tuned later in the month for a sneak peek of "Denial" right here!