May 24, 2019

Still Alive

Posted in Writing at 3:02 pm by Van Aaron Hughes


It has been well over two years since I updated here. I confess I allowed myself to get out of the writer mindset, during a rough patch lowlighted by divorce and neurosurgery.

But by golly, after a period of many changes, with much help from my dear friends and family, a return to form is in the works! I have an argument coming up in front of the Colorado Supreme Court for the day job. With two amazing new leading ladies (one is shy, the other is pictured above), I have moved into a new home/library, with all my favorite books displayed in one place for the first time in many years.

Most importantly for present purposes, I have a new story recently published in On Spec magazine, with more pieces in the works. Here’s looking forward to many years of writing to come!

October 13, 2016

Quote of the Week

Posted in Quote of the Week at 3:59 pm by Van Aaron Hughes


How many years can a mountain exist

Before it’s washed to the sea?

How many years can some people exist

Before they’re allowed to be free?

How many times can a man turn his head

And pretend that he just doesn’t see?

The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind.

The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

“Blowin’ in the Wind,”

Bob Dylan, winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature

April 28, 2016

Story Sale

Posted in Writing at 1:39 pm by Van Aaron Hughes

I’m very happy to report that my story “What You Need” has sold to NewMyths magazine.

“What You Need” is flash fiction, just under 1000 words. I don’t feel I’m especially adept at writing flash, but I was quite happy with how this one turned out. It’s certainly the best flash piece I’ve written to date, so I’m awfully glad it has found such a nice home. NewMyths is one of the top semipro magazines around, and its list of past contributors includes nearly every new author worth reading, along with some outstanding veterans of the field.

NewMyths is planning to include “What You Need” in its June 2016 issue. I’ll provide a link here once it’s published.

September 9, 2015

The Body Pirate

Posted in Writing at 3:30 pm by Van Aaron Hughes

F&SF Jul-Aug 2015Apologies for being remiss in updating this site lately.

The big news on the writing front is my novelette “The Body Pirate” appeared in the July/August 2015 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.  Here’s an interview I did with F&SF about the story.

This is certainly my weirdest piece yet, so I knew it wouldn’t work for everyone.  But the people who like it seem to really like it.  “The Body Pirate” was my first story ever to get a coveted “Recommended” rating from Lois Tilton at Locus OnlineDreaming About Other Worlds declared it the best story in the issue, out of an amazing array of authors that includes James Patrick Kelly, Richard Chwedyk, Rachel Pollack, Matthew Hughes, Oliver Buckram, Naomi Kritzer, and others.  And readers have been kind enough to recommend it for next year’s Hugo Award at CiaraCat’s list of recommendations and at the Hugo Nominations Wikia.  I even got fan mail for the piece from Hugo- and Nebula-winning author James Patrick Kelly himself!

A huge thank you to everyone who had the patience to work their way through this peculiar story!

March 27, 2015

AnomalyCon Schedule

Posted in Writing tagged at 2:10 pm by Van Aaron Hughes

I will be at AnomalyCon, Denver’s premier steampunk convention, all this weekend, March 27-29. My panel schedule:

Saturday, 1:00 p.m.  Copyright, Plagiarism and Ethics.  Van Aaron Hughes & Josh Vogt

Sunday, 1:00 p.m.  Evolving the Writing Process.  Thomas A. Fowler, Van Aaron Hughes, Jody Lynn Nye & Josh Vogt

Sunday, 2:00 p.m.  The Critical Eye.  J.A. Campbell & Van Aaron Hughes

That means I’ll have panels wearing my lawyer hat, my writer hat, and my reviewer hat.  Now if only I had those hats with neat goggles!

In addition to the above-named folks, there will be a host of cool people at AnomalyCon, like Cory Doctorow and Molly Tanzer and Mario Acevedo and Carrie Vaughn and Lou Berger and many more.  Hope to see you there!

August 18, 2014

Story Sale

Posted in Writing tagged at 8:11 am by Van Aaron Hughes

I’m delighted to report that my novelette “The Body Pirate” has sold to The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.

F&SF has been one of the top magazines in the field since 1949, so it is a great honor to appear again in its pages. This is my 10th story sale, 5th sale to a professional market, and 2nd sale to F&SF, all numbers I never would have expected to reach when I started this writing thing.

“The Body Pirate” is my weirdest piece yet, with formatting oddities and lots of invented pronouns, so I’m very happy editor Gordon Van Gelder was willing to take a chance on it. I expect the story will appear in an issue early in 2015.

August 8, 2014

Malcon 2 Schedule

Posted in Writing tagged at 1:14 pm by Van Aaron Hughes

I will be at the 2014 Myths and Legends Con here in Denver all this weekend, August 8-10. My schedule:

Friday, 8:00 p.m. Author Reading.

Saturday, 9:00 a.m. The Trials and Triumphs of Short Fiction. Quincy J. Allen, J.A. Campbell, Van Aaron Hughes

Saturday, 3:00 p.m. What Was the Golden Age of Fantasy? Lou J. Berger, Van Aaron Hughes, Aaron Spriggs

Saturday, 4:00 p.m. George R.R. Martin Outside Game of Thrones. Jessica Brawner, Van Aaron Hughes, Jake Spriggs

Saturday, 6:00 p.m. The Sex of Game of Thrones. Betsy Dornbusch, Thomas A. Fowler, Van Aaron Hughes, Stant Litore, Kronda Seibert

I’m also going to try to do one of the Game of Thrones readings, either at 7:00 p.m. Saturday or 2:00 p.m. Sunday.

Hope to see you there!

July 10, 2014

People Say the Nicest Things . . .

Posted in Writing at 11:17 am by Van Aaron Hughes

A huge thank you to new writer Tobacco Jones, whose first story is due out soon from Bete Noire magazine. He came across my story “Random Fire” and had these awfully nice things to say:

I just read a short story by Van Aaron Hughes in Abyss & Apex, called “Random Fire.” It’s sort of Van’s take on time travel, which in a way treads on a road well traveled. But, in this case, Van does it brilliantly. I literally got goose bumps while reading this, and they stayed. Probably the best short story I’ve ever read, honestly.

Aw, shucks! I didn’t know Tobacco Jones before he posted this, but when I saw it, I promptly e-mailed to tell him that if “Random Fire” is the best story he’s ever read, he needs to read more!

Meanwhile, this is from Shawn Camp’s review at My Dad Reads of the January issue of InterGalactic Medicine Show:

The best story here had to be “Seven Tips to Enjoy Your Time in the Unreal Forest” by Van Aaron Hughes. A kid struggling to fit in amongst bullies, girls, and an abusive father discovers a secret. In the end he discovers loss and wishes to share a message with everyone. A sad story with an important message.

Thanks for that, Shawn!

You know, you write these short stories and send them out into the world, but you’re never really sure if anyone but your closest friends is reading them. It’s awfully gratifying when somebody you don’t know responds to a piece you wrote.

June 17, 2014

Daniel Keyes (1927-2014)

Posted in RIP tagged at 1:35 pm by Van Aaron Hughes

Flowers for AlgernonSo sorry to hear that Daniel Keyes has passed away.

Keyes wrote some other excellent SF and true crime, but will always be best remembered for “Flowers for Algernon,” which to my mind remains the greatest short story every written. It had a profound effect on me as a young reader, and it has never failed to move me to tears when I’ve reread it over the years. (Okay, when I read it out loud for Pizza & Prose at my office, I managed to hold off the tears.) I’ve never been able to read the novel or watch the film versions, because the story is so perfect I’m reluctant to experience it in any other form.

I mentioned Charlie Gordon in my Writers of the Future speech. The last line of my first published story was a deliberate paraphrase from the end of “Flowers for Algernon.” And it pains me that no one ever picked up on the fact that in my story “The Long View” in F&SF, the narrator is named Emzara Ghali-Gordon and refers to her husband as “Chuck.”

Farewell to a brilliant writer.

March 15, 2014

Story Published

Posted in Writing tagged at 7:24 pm by Van Aaron Hughes

Electric Spec Mar 14My MuseMy story “Butcher’s Hook” was published today as part of the March 2014 issue of Electric Spec magazine (cover image by Ron Sanders).

Winners of the Writers of the Future Contest are all flown out to Hollywood for a week-long workshop with Tim Powers and an assortment of other top-notch science fiction and fantasy authors. Every year, the winners are challenged to write a story in 24 hours. Everyone receives a different prop to incorporate into the story and is abandoned on Hollywood Boulevard with instructions to have a 30-minute conversation with a complete stranger, who hopefully will provide inspiration for a character in the story. The year I was one of the winners, my prop was a small hook and my stranger-on-the-street turned out, by blind luck, to be the amazingly talented and beautiful actress Carolyn Stotesbery, pictured to the right.

Go check out “Butcher’s Hook” if you’re curious what I did with these prompts.

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