talkin’ Turning the Tied

The University Book Store in Seattle hosted a three-night event on the charity anthology Turning the Tied, benefiting the World Literacy Organization and featuring stories by top tie-in scribes featuring various public domain characters.

The first part, which featured me, is now up on the Tube of You. In it, moderator Robert Greenberger leads a discussion that features David Boop, Jennifer Brozek, Steven Paul Leiva, Yvonne Navarro, Weston Ochse, and, yes, me discussing our stories featuring Kit Carson, Allan Quatermain, the cats of Ulthar, Cyrano de Bergerac, Baron Munchausen, Frida Kahlo, Octobriana, and She Who Must Be Obeyed.

Check it out!

Turning the Tied three-day author event!

To promote the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers’ charity anthology Turning the Tied, a bunch of the contributors are doing a free three-day live Zoom event this coming week: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 8pm Eastern time each night. Here’s the link to sign up for it.

We’ll be talking about the nifty characters we wrote about — Sherlock Holmes! Ayesha! Frankenstein’s monster! Sinbad! Dracula! Hopalong Cassidy! — and the anthology itself and how much we love writing these characters.

I’ll be part of Tuesday’s gaggle, alongside moderator/co-editor Robert Greenberger (who wrote a story featuring Dr. Nikola), Yvonne Navarro (Frida Kahlo), Weston Ochse (Octobriana), Steven Paul Leiva (Cyrano de Bergerac & Baron von Munchausen), Jennifer Brozek (the cats of Ulthar), and David Boop (Kit Carson & Allan Quatermain).

Wednesday will feature moderator/co-editor Jean Rabe (the Ghost of Christmas Past), Aaron Rosenberg (Sinbad the Sailor), Will McDermott (Baldur), Nancy Holder (Frankenstein’s monster), Jonathan Maberry (John Carter of Mars), Stephen D. Sullivan (Dracula), and Tim Waggoner (Herne the Hunter).

And then Thursday will have moderator D.J. Stevenson, Rigel Ailur (Hua Mulan), Greg Cox (Mina Harker), Kelli Fitzpatrick (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea), Scott Pearson (The Time Machine), Ben H. Rome (War of the Worlds), Robert Vardeman (Space Patrol), Derek Tyler Attico (Sherlock Holmes).

Go register here!

Turning the Tied virtual event at University Book Store!

The University Book Store is holding a three-day virtual event to celebrate the publication of Turning the Tied, the charity anthology from the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers! On the 25th, 26th, and 27th of May at 9pm Eastern time each night, the store will host a Zoom event with various writers from the anthology discussing their work for it.

I’ll be part of the panel the first night, alongside the anthology’s co-editor Robert Greenberger, as well as David Boop, Jennifer Brozek, Steven Paul Leiva, Yvonne Navarro, and Weston Ochse.

The other nights will include the other co-editor Jean Rabe, as well as Rigel Ailur, Derek Tyler Attico, Greg Cox, Kelli Fitzpatrick, Nancy Holder, Jonathan Maberry, Will McDermott, Scott Pearson, Ben H. Rome, Aaron Rosenberg, Stephen D. Sullivan, Robert Vardeman, and Tim Waggoner.

Come join us! And support a good cause!

Turning the Tied is out this Saturday!

Turning the Tied is available for preorder, and will be out for realsies on Saturday the 13th of March, just three days from now! Featuring some of the best tie-in writers in the business writing about various public-domain characters, this very nifty anthology will benefit the World Literacy Foundation, so it’s not only a really good book, it helps an important international cause!

My own story, “In Earth and Sky and Sea Strange Things There Be,” is about Ayesha, the title character in H. Rider Haggard’s 1886 novel She. I was poking around through the various public domain characters that were floating about, and I wanted in particular to do a story about a woman of color. There were vanishingly few — in fact, I didn’t really find any, as Ayesha herself is described by Haggard as being white. She’s also immortal and the ruler of a remote, hidden African nation.

She has a lot of common 19th-century tropes, including being structured as a travelogue-style account found in someone’s papers or sent as a manuscript to a personage of some sort, who then compiles it and publishes it. I thought this was a fun way to play with Ayesha’s story, as that extra layer of narrative provides a handy way to lend doubt to certain events of the novel, especially since the narrative itself claims to be an edited version of the original account. It meant I could make Ayesha a woman of color who was whitewashed by Haggard, who knew full well that his Victorian-era audience would never accept the notion of a black woman running an empire.

I also thought it would be fun to see what Ayesha would be like in modern times, and what kind of roadblocks an immortal might find to keeping her secret in an age of photo IDs, DNA profiling, and especially in the post-9/11 era of increased verification of identity. So in “In Earth and Sky and Sea Strange Things There Be,” I get to use one of my absolute favorite settings: an interrogation room. It’s the main reason why I write so many types of police procedurals: I love the verbal dance of an interrogation between an investigator and a witness/suspect. And in this story we have Ayesha Yatie, as she now calls herself, being interrogated by Special Agent Francesca LaManna of the FBI after she was caught with a fake passport.

I also wrote the story entirely in dialogue, since it’s just two people in a room talking to each other, which is a mode I love to dive into every once in a while.

(By the way, this now holds the record for longest title of one of my short stories, vaulting ahead of “A Vampire and a Vampire Hunter Walk Into a Bar” by two letters.)

Check out the rest of the Turning the Tied blog tour:

Turning the Tied blog tour continues!

The blog tour to promote Turning the Tied — the new charity anthology of tie-in stories featuring public-domain characters written by some of the best tie-in writers in the business — is continuing apace. I mentioned the first few stops on the tour in this post, and here are some more:

Check them out!

Turning the Tied blog tour commences!

We’re doing a big-ass blog tour to promote Turning the Tied, the charity anthology being published next month by the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers to benefit the World Literacy Foundation.

It actually started last month, so I’m catching up a bit, but we’ve got:

Here’s an excerpt from Jean’s interview with me:

What is the most difficult aspect of tie-in writing?

Being the first (or one of the first) projects in a new license when everyone’s trying to figure out what they can and can’t do and what works and what doesn’t. The first several projects in a tie-in license are always the most fraught as you go through the growing pains of working together.

There will be plenty more to come in our blog tour as we barrel toward the 13 March pub date, so keep an eye on this here blog…..

table of contents for Turning the Tied

The charity anthology Turning the Tied is available for preorder at Amazon, and will go on sale in mid-March. All proceeds from the anthology will benefit the World Literacy Foundation. The book has stories by some great media tie-in writers, writing about various characters that are in the public domain.

We’ve now got a final table of contents!

  • Introduction by Raymond Benson
  • Mina Harker: “Formerly, Miss Mina Murray” by Greg Cox
  • Sherlock Holmes: “The Adventure of Leonardo’s Smile” by Max Allan Collins & Matthew V. Clemens
  • Kit Carson & Allan Quatermain: “Inappropriate Allies” by David Boop
  • Ayesha: “In Earth and Sky and Sea Strange Things There Be” by Keith R.A. DeCandido
  • John Carter: “The Death Song of Dwar Guntha” by Jonathan Maberry
  • Hua Mulan: “Building Bridges” by Rigel Ailur
  • Frida Kahlo: “Paraíso” by Yvonne Navarro
  • Sinbad: “A Model Sailor” by Aaron Rosenberg
  • Tales of Asgard: “The Trials of Baldur” by Will McDermott
  • Hopalong Cassidy: “Behind the Tonto Rim” by Jeff Mariotte
  • The Worlds of H.G. Wells: “In the Time of the Martians” by Scott Pearson
  • Ozma of Oz: “A Prisoner Freed in Oz” by Marsheila Rockwell
  • Space Patrol: “The Comet Cannon of Planet X” by Robert Vardeman
  • Octobriana: “The Magic of Nadia” by Weston Ochse
  • The Cats of Ulthar: “The Truth About the Cats of Ulthar” by Jennifer Brozek
  • Herne the Hunter: “Children of the Wild” by Tim Waggoner
  • Dracula: “Blood of Dracula” by Stephen D. Sullivan
  • Sherlock Holmes: “A Study in Crimson” by Derek Tyler Attico
  • Dr. Nikola: “Legacy” by Robert Greenberger
  • War of the Worlds: “Loose Threads” by Ben H. Rome
  • “Cyrano de Bergerac and Baron Munchausen Go to Mars” by Steven Paul Leiva
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: “What Men Ruin, We Shall Raise” by Kelli Fitzpatrick
  • The Ghost of Christmas Past: “Let Nothing You Dismay” by Jean Rabe
  • Frankenstein’s Monster: “Catfather” by Nancy Holder
  • A Word from the President by Jonathan Maberry

I’ve read some of the stories, and they’re all wonderful. (Also, Robert Vardeman gets the award for best title.) Can’t wait for folks to be able to read this in March…

coming in 2021: Turning the Tied with a story by me!

The International Association of Media Tie-in Writers, of which I am a proud member, is putting together a charity anthology for 2021. Entitled Turning the Tied, all proceeds from the sale of this book will go to the International Literacy Association.

Each story will be by a member of the IAMTW, and will feature an existing character, albeit one in the public domain. Here’s the full author list:

  • Rigel Ailur
  • Derek Tyler Attico
  • Raymond Benson
  • David Boop
  • Jennifer Brozek
  • Max Allan Collins
  • Greg Cox
  • Keith R.A. DeCandido
  • Kelli Fitzpatrick
  • Robert Greenberger
  • Nancy Holder
  • Steven Paul Leiva
  • Jonathan Maberry
  • Jeff Mariotte
  • Will McDermott
  • David McIntee
  • Yvonne Navarro
  • Weston Ochse
  • Scott Pearson
  • Marsheila Rockwell
  • Ben H. Rome
  • Stephen D. Sullivan
  • Robert Vardeman
  • Tim Waggoner

The anthology will be edited by Jean Rabe & Robert Greenberger, and some of the characters that will be featured include Sherlock Holmes, Hopalong Cassidy, Mina Harker, Octobriana, Space Patrol, the 3 Musketeers, Frankenstein’s monster, Dracula, Mulan, Herne the Hunter, Ozma of Oz, and tons more!

My own story is entitled “In Earth and Sky and Sea Strange Things There Be,” and features Ayesha, a.k.a. “she who must be obeyed,” the immortal woman from H. Rider Haggard’s 1886 novel She.

Keep an eye on this here blog for more info as it becomes available……

my Scribe Award has arrived!

I wasn’t at San Diego Comic-Con, so I was unable to accept the Scribe Award that I won for Best Short Story — I believe Glenn Hauman accepted on my behalf — for “Ganbatte” in Joe Ledger: Unstoppable, edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt & Jonathan Maberry. However, the mighty Max Allan Collins — co-founder and outgoing co-president of the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers — has mailed me my award, and it’s now proudly on a bookshelf in the living room:

Keith Scribe Award

The story itself, as I said in this post about winning the award, is one that means a great deal to me. If you want to read it for yourself, you can order Unstoppable from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, or Indie Bound.


Scribe Award winners — including me!!!!!


As is customary at San Diego Comic-Con, the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers have announced the winners of the Scribe Awards for the best work in licensed and derivative fiction in the previous calendar year. This year I was nominated for the ninth and tenth time — for Best Short Story (“Ganbatte” in Joe Ledger: Unstoppable) and Best YA Novel (Marvel’s Warriors Three: Godhood’s End) — having never won one.

That streak is over. “Ganbatte” was the co-winner of Best Short Story, alongside Jonathan Maberry’s “Banana Republic” in Planet of the Apes: Tales from the Forbidden Zone. (I think Jonathan deserved an award just for the chutzpah of titling a POTA story “Banana Republic.”)

Here’s the full list of winners:

Adapted Speculative and General
Doctor Who: The Pirate Planet by James Goss

Warhammer 40,000: Agent of the Throne: Blood and Lies by John French

Original General
Don Pendleton’s The Executioner: Fatal Prescription by Michael A. Black

Original Short Story (tie)
Ganbatte” by Keith R.A. DeCandido in Joe Ledger: Unstoppable
“Banana Republic” by Jonathan Maberry in Planet of the Apes: Tales from the Forbidden Zone

Original Speculative
The Librarians and the Mother Goose Chase by Greg Cox

Original Young Adult and Middle Grade
X-Files Origins: Devil’s Advocate by Jonathan Maberry


I have to say that I’m particularly pleased that my first major award for something I’ve written is for “Ganbatte,” for several reasons. Two are fairly superficial: the story brings together two things I love, to wit, the Florida Keys and martial arts.

But more importantly is that it’s a story about sexual harassment, about how depressingly easy it is for someone strong to be put in a position of weakness, especially when that someone is a woman in a male-dominated area. I wrote this story in the summer of 2016, before we elected an avowed sexual predator to the highest office in the land, before the #MeToo movement, before Harvey Weinstein and Al Franken. In the two years since I wrote it, in the nine months since it’s been published, it’s become even more important and more relevant, which, frankly, depresses the shit out of me.

I hope that this award helps raise awareness. I hope that this award helps give people who are harassed, who are beaten down, who are broken by people who have power over them, real or imagined, to speak up, to fight back.

It’s a great honor to win this award. It’s an even bigger honor to win for this story. Thanks go the short story jury, thanks to editors Bryan Thomas Schmidt and Jonathan Maberry, and thanks to all the readers and fans.