“Shaken, Not Stirred,” by Wulf Moon. Published April 21, 2021. Featured Story in the flagship issue of DreamForge Anvil magazine! The issue includes an article titled “Behind the Scenes: Author’s Notes” where I detail how the story was written. This was my first commissioned story for a magazine, and also my first time being the featured story. Issue 1 was the sample issue for their Kickstarter; Issue 2 is the full meal deal. I was happy to be a part of this digital launch of a new venture that DreamForge magazine took this year to survive in the aftermath of the publishing woes caused by coronavirus.
And there’s GOOD NEWS! They’re still planning the full-sized, full color print magazine they’re famous for. Look for a bundled multi-issue print version later this year! I’ll keep you posted!
This magazine is famous for its top notch stories and gorgeous original illustrations. In fact, I received TWO illustrations for my story by the talented Jane Noel! A writer can wait many years before they see a custom illustration based on their story. The only other time this has happened for me was the story “Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler” in Writers of the Future, Vol. 35. These illustrations are a special gift to writers when published in DreamForge. Long may they continue to share their beautiful magazine with the world!
Here’s the publisher’s comments on the story. It’s FREE to read at their Reader’s Portal, but I do hope you’ll subscribe. It’s what keeps great publishers in business to bring you great stories! Links below. Here’s the publisher’s forward to this fun galaxy jumping story that spans our universe!
“The peoples of Earth are newcomers to the celestial order in more ways than one, just ask Cassie, our first homeworld ascendant to the Intergalactic Holistic Organization for Accumulation and Redistribution of Dynamics (HOARD).“
My interview on the Chatting With Sherri program on BlogTalkRadio is now live and available to listen to on BlogTalkRadio!Just click the image above and enjoy!
We blended a cocktail from so many topics! Writers of the Future as the base, of course. Stirred in the wonderful results so many have enjoyed from applying my Super Secrets on writing. We also swirled in how the publishing deal on my upcoming books with Mark Leslie Lefebvre came about. Added a nice splash about Brittany Rainsdon and her recent successes with Deep Magic magazine and Writers of the Future Vol. 37. Poured in a shot on Elizabeth Chatsworth and the magic words spoken to encourage her to write her WotF winner. Of course we talked about Elizabeth’s success with her debut steampunk novel, THE BRASS QUEEN. And topped the cocktail off with my story “Shaken, Not Stirred” published in DreamForge Anvil magazine on Saturday, April 10th, 2021!
Finally, no fancy drink is complete without a garnish. Mine was going back in time to where I learned oral storytelling—from my childhood when I lived with my Chippewa grandmother. Topped it off with a pink umbrella by citing why magazines like DreamForge Anvil and Deep Magic are so important!
AWARDS ANNOUNCEMENT: The winners of Critters 2020 Annual Readers’ Poll Awards were announced yesterday. Over 2500 people from around the world voted during three weeks of polling, giving recognition to achievements in 41 publishing related categories. I am happy to announce I won Best Author, Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Short Story, Best Writers’ Workshop, and Best Writers’ Resource of 2020. (If you’re voting in awards like the Nebulas and Hugos, please see my preceding 2020 Awards Eligibility Post to get a FREE copy of “Muzik Man” for your consideration!)
Critters 2020 Readers’ Choice Awards: 2500 people from around the world voted during three weeks of polling. On January 16, 2021, “Muzik Man” won Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Story of 2020! Wulf Moon won Best Author of 2020.
Nebula Awards: Listed on the 2020 Nebula Reading List for Novelettes and receiving preliminary nominations from SFWA members.
Hugo Awards: No official preliminary nomination/reading lists.
Accolades and reviews:
Tangent Online Starred Review on their 2020 Recommended Reading List: “Moon shows he can masterfully construct a triumphant feel-good finish. Recommended.”
Goodreads:“Wulf Moon’s “Muzik Man”-I think that story itself might end up being nominated for an award for this year.”-Jeff Wheeler, WSJ bestseller, publisher of Deep Magic.
Posted by a SFWA member: “Muzik Man” by Wulf Moon is without a doubt one of the best stories of the year. Moon weaves pure magic with this heartfelt tale about an android minstrel who wants to help a tone-deaf world. I loved the heck out of the story. It’s quirky, it’s fun, but more importantly, it’s uplifting. After the year we’ve had, it’s exactly what we need.”–Steve Pantazis, award-winning writer
Fan Mail from a Biology Professor:“I found Muzik Man to be as enjoyable as your WOTF winning story….I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Muzik Man will win! I really like how compelling your characters are right away. You breathe such life and voice into them from the first sentence.”–Amy R. Wethington, Professor of Biology at Chowan University and President of Southeastern Writers Association
Critters’ Poll Comments:
Voters’ comments posted for “Muzik Man” in the Critters 2020 Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Story Category:
“This story is a delightful reminder of what passion and love for music can do to save your soul. Mr. Wulf is a talented writer with a great musical ear (as we say in Greece). Well done!”
“Beautiful story! This one made me cry—even the second read through. Moon delivers a powerful story that will stick with you long after you finish reading. Well done!”
“This is an awesome story by Wulf Moon. It’s not only a fun story, but it has a unique message. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry…it’s the best short story I’ve read all year!”
“An amazing story about spreading hope to those who don’t realize they need it. With 2020 being the year that it was, this story is a perfect way to cheer you up and make you smile. I highly recommend it!”
“Muzik Man was exceptionally well-written and entertaining. Wulf Moon shows incredible talent.”
“Muzik Man was the most awesome story I’ve ever read! …. Loved this story!”
Posted to a writers’ forum:
“What must it be like to grow up in a world with so many restrictions? ….
Really packed a punch. The big question he asks gets at the core of who we are as people and what is our purpose in the world. What bigger questions are there?
“This part together with all the rest drives the point home: “What is Empathy? Simply this. Your pain . . . in my heart.” Humans are social animals and yet the Earth has been soaked with blood and tears time and again because of our malice but if we could feel each others pain in our hearts? What a world it would be! And what a time to write a story that addresses this given the pandemic. The civil unrest in many countries, etc.”–BlackInk
Thank you so much for reading and considering “Muzik Man” for nomination in the various science fiction awards for works published in 2020!
I suppose I should post something about this on my blog, now that the year is about to end, and a new awards’ season begins. I actually won four readers’ choice awards for 2019. I announced a couple because it’s important to thank the voters and those writers nominated with you who also produced worthy work. However, I never posted how many categories I won. Frankly, I was in shock. It’s not like I’m a famous bestselling writer; I’m not. It’s not like had a huge newsletter fan list; I had none. So I kept quiet. It wasn’t because I was too shy, it was because I was having an “I’m not worthy” moment. Even though I had been writing for over forty years, even though I did accomplish major things in 2019 (like winning the Writers of the Future Contest), I felt that I’m just Wulf Moon, why should anyone care about me and what I did?
And that’s a mistake. We should acknowledge our accomplishments, and when we’ve worked our asses off and dealt with hundreds of rejections and ‘almosts’ and all the other life trials you have to endure to keep believing in your writing, accolades from your peers and fans should be graciously accepted. You did earn them. It’s why people took time from their busy schedules to vote for you and your work. They didn’t have to do it. And they could easily have voted for someone else’s work–there’s a lot of brilliant, beautiful stories and articles being published each year by excellent writers.
So here is what I won in the 2019 Critters Readers’ Choice Awards, where over two thousand readers from around the world voted for their favorites in the various categories in the speculative fiction publishing industry. I am deeply grateful to all those that deemed me worthy.
Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Short Story: “Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler” published by Writers of the Future, Vol. 35. Reprinted in Future Science Fiction Digest, Issue 3.
Best Author: Wulf Moon. This one surprised me the most, until someone told me it’s not just about a writer’s stories, it’s about how you are viewed by the writing community and how you give back.
Best Nonfiction Article: “Never Let Go” in the anthology How I Got Published and What I Learned Along the Way by Camden Park Press.
Best Writing Workshop: Wulf Moon’s Super Secrets Writing Workshop.
Would you like to find out why I received 115,000+ listens on the interview with John Goodwin on December 28th for the Writers of the Future Podcast? Perhaps people enjoyed the advice on creating multiple income streams to keep your income boat afloat as you move toward full-time writing. It could have been the announcement of a publisher making an offer on my SUPER SECRETS writing book, which many have been waiting for. Or it might just have been the encouragement given to aspiring writers to join the Writers of the Future Forum. You decide. And you can! By clicking HERE.
One thing I did speak a good deal about were the Critters Readers’ Choice Awards, where polling goes on for three weeks at the end of every year to honor the best in forty-one publishing related categories. Would you like to find out how it all turned out in the end? Here’s the Writers of the Future press release regarding the many awards won, but may I be the first to say, “Congratulations, Writers of the Future Forum!” Click HERE to read their exciting press release!
Deep Magic magazine knows how to pick ’em! Don’t take my word for it, take critic C.D. Lewis’ word for it in Tangent Online, a top reviewing publication for the SF industry. Here’s what he said:
“Deep Magic’s Fall 2020 issue contains four new short stories. In keeping with its founder’s stated goal of providing clean fantasy, the stories don’t rely on strong language or erotic content for their effect. The editors’ vetting process is to be commended: whereas most collections do well to present some 30% of contents you could recommend with a straight face to a friend, every new piece in this issue of Deep Magic is worth your time. Good clean fun.”–Tangent Online, Nov. 8, 2020.
BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE! Look what he said about my novelette!
“Wulf Moon’s “Muzik Man” presents SF from over the shoulder of a robot who aspires to do more for the Maestro’s expanding galactic task force—to spread music, yes, but to advance his own ambitions. “Muzik Man” demonstrates the knife-edge problem distinguishing in fiction between a trope and an archetype: they’re not so much different in concept as in execution. In this case, Moon cleaves to a well-known outline of Christ planting the seeds of an enormous movement while being criticized, harassed by police, killed by authorities, then resurrected to teach another lesson. (Because this is SF about fighting oppressions, Muzik Man is restored from a trash heap by a teen he’d shown music, who herself was forbidden to enter the engineering guild because she’s a girl.) There can be a lot of emotional energy in this plot arc when properly harnessed: Obiwan returns more powerful than Vader can possibly imagine, once again to guide a believer—and the crowd goes wild. The reader who stays with the protagonist long enough to care about his problems and those of the people he’s trying to reach will find a powerful climax that channels energy from themes that shape the reader’s own life: friendship, ambition, hope, redemption. Even if the open could work faster to attract and keep a reader, Moon shows he can masterfully construct a triumphant feel-good finish. Recommended.”
It’s a wonderful review of my story, but aside from being likened to STAR WARS <swoon> what I’m especially thrilled about is how the review ended. Recommended. That’s code. This is what it means. “Muzik Man” recieved a starred review for novelettes on the 2020 Tangent Online Recommended Reading List! If I were a restaurateur, this would be my first Michelin star! Somebody pop some champagne! No, not that one, the Louis Roederer Cristal. Yes, yes, the gold medallion limited edition brut–this is a celebration!
When we write, I believe our best comes from capturing our deepest emotional experiences on the page. “Muzik Man” is an important story for me. I have never had a story of mine likened to the power within Star Wars before. But I do know where the emotional power in this story came from. My life. I call this one my thinly disguised autobiography.
One year ago, my story “Weep No More for the Willow” appeared in DEEP MAGIC, Fall 2019. One year later, I return to the pages of Deep Magic! This time with a science fiction novelette, “Muzik Man.”
It’s the story of an android minstrel missionary, sent to save a tone-deaf world. And this time, he won’t screw up! Full of heart, this story will make you laugh, make you cry, and will take you on an adventure across the galaxy to a world where playing music can get you into a lot of trouble! Come dance with this minstrel operative as he does his best to convert the subjugated masses to the wonders of music! If you loved “Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler,” I am certain you will love this story just as much. And the entire issue is only $2.99!
Go ahead, make my day. Trust me, Muzik Man will make yours.
Or don’t trust me. Trust this review by award-winning author Leah Ning:
“Wulf Moon has a story here! Now that I’ve finally gotten to read it, I’ll gush: what an absolute TRIP, in the best way possible. New worlds, new creatures, and a brand spankin’ new robot who was made to play music inside and out. Had some good laughs, had some good feels, and an ending I didn’t expect. Go make friends with Muzik. He’ll charm your socks off! This story has some good, good heart in it.”
More news about “Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler”! I am happy to announce that my hard science fiction story about a disabled girl and her life support rapper robodog won BEST SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY SHORT STORY OF 2019! This was in the Critters Readers’ Choice Awards, where over 2,000 readers from around the world voted for their favorite things in publishing in 2019. With so many great stories published over the course of the year in both of these genres, it is a very difficult honor to win. This is a huge category! I have now won this award two years in a row.
I already did my thank-yous when I won Best Author of 2019 (see blog below), so I won’t belabor this one. But I will thank Alice Wang, that youngest winner in the history of Illustrators of the Future–just fifteen years old!–that did the amazing illustration of Dixie the Moongirl and her spunky Moon Dawdler. I also wish to posthumously thank Mike Resnick. He was one of the four Writers of the Future judges from my quarter that unanimously voted that “Super-Duper Moongirl” was a winner and should be in the Volume 35 anthology. I had so looked forward to meeting Mike and thanking him in person at the awards gala, but that was not to be. So I will thank Mike Resnick here for all the good things he did to use his power to help aspiring writers. It is a great part of his legacy.
Finally, I thank all of the readers that voted and commented on how my story touched their hearts. When Locus magazine reviewed it, they said this story had “a tearjerker of an ending.” Dozens of fans wrote and said, “You made me cry.” Normally, that’s not a good thing.
In writing, that is the greatest compliment.
The awards season continues on, and many writers are casting their ballots for other distinguished awards. If you’re one of them, I hope you will remember this story about a spirited disabled girl that refused to let her circumstances keep her from reaching for the Moon. The comments from the polls are included below. Thank you, my fans, for your belief in this story and sending me comments like these and more! Cheers!
This story was very touching, and well-written. It spoke right to my heart. And made me cry. True literature!
I like that the story is about a disabled child and how she overcomes her disability in order to live on the moon.
An amazing story by Wulf Moon. A must read for all ages.
An amazing, heartwarming tale that will make you cry at the end. You must, MUST read the story to the last page. The emotional payoff is incredible, and you will be talking about this story for years to come. Enjoy!
This story is the best science fiction first-person I’ve read in decades.
This story warmed my heart. The best of SF in the modern era. Kudos!
Wulf Moon’s voice is a consistent and positive reminder that there is good in the world, and ‘Moongirl’ is a heartwarming story.
Moon’s story was and still is breath-taking. It has stayed in my mind for months since reading it. A tear-jerker, a heart-softener, and a courage-revealer, Super-Duper Moongirl is a must-read.
This story put me through the ringer on emotions, I laughed I cried. It also hit many socially important topics, all the high notes of a good story, and of course the dog was the best!
Wulf moons language is awesome and I like the way in which the author weaves the story
I loved this story. It takes an unexpected character and whops a huge emotional punch. The kind of story that sticks with you.
This story is special. My kids haven’t stopped talking about the story since we pulled it out last summer. And it makes me cry. Seriously!
Excellent, top notch story! Highly recommended.
This is a great story, well crafted with no wasted word count. Great characters which draw the reader in and compelling futuristic setting. Smart imaginative science fiction concepts. Most important, this story leaves me wanting more with its characters and narrative style. Can’t wait to read more from this a author.
The super duper moongirl was just such a unique take and so much ‘story’ and emotion was expressed in so few words – a great delight reading it and would love more of this author’s work. It was fun, emotional without being silly – great writing skills.
I am dumbfounded. I’ll tell you why. The Critters Readers’ Choice Awards gives readers from around the world the chance to vote for their favorite things in publishing that occurred in the prior year. For three weeks, readers vote. Over two thousand readers voted in the polls for works published in 2019.
I just won BEST AUTHOR OF 2019! No one is more shocked than I. I watched my name slowly rise in the polls, and the nominees are wonderful authors, many with long-standing careers. I am humbled and honored to be listed among them. I didn’t push this, I pushed for my story, “Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler.” By push, I mean I did what every author does that hopes to win. I told my friends that had read “Super-Duper Moongirl” that it was on the polls along with other great stories, and to vote their conscience. Well, it won BEST SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY SHORT STORY OF 2019! More to come about that. But apparently, in addition to believing I had written a good story, they and others felt I had been a good author as well.