Con Schedule for Summer 2016

Quick run down of where I’ll be in the next few weeks.

Balticon – Baltimore, Sunday, May 29th
4th Street Fantasy – Minneapolis, Jun 17th – June 19th
Readercon – Boston, July 7th – July 10th

I’m not on any panels this year, but I am helping out with Dangerous Voices at Balticon on Sunday.

If you happen to be at any of these cons, don’t hesitate to come say hi!

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New Story Live at Beneath Ceaseless Skies!

They Said The Desert” is now up at Beneath Ceaseless Skies for your reading (and listening) pleasure! Still can’t express how excited I am that this story’s found a home in one of my favorite magazines.

And let me tell you, this story was an exercise in tenacity. I wrote the first draft back in early 2014 as part of a contest on Codex. It was 750 words and completely terrible. Over the next year and half, I drafted and redrafted this story at least a dozen times. But I always felt like I was a half step behind where the story wanted to go.

But I caught up. I found it. (It’s now about 5k words.)

I think I went through a half dozen songs too as I was writing this. Took me a while to find the right one, to find the “sound” of the story. Finally discovered “Laredo” by Kenneth Pattengale and after that, everything started falling into place.

Anyway, enough rambling. Hope you enjoy the story!

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Story Link Love #5

I was out with some friends last night and I was asked for some short story recommendations. So, I figured it was about time I put another one of these posts together. Here are a few stories in no particular order that I’ve really enjoyed in the last few months. Hope you do too!

A Salvaging of Ghosts ” by Alliette de Bodard in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Issue #195
The Red Mask” by Jessica May Lin in Shimmer, Issue #30
This is a Letter to My Son” by KJ Kabza in Strange Horizons, April 11th, 2016
Seven Cups of Coffee” by A. C. Wise in Clarkesworld, Issue #114
Welcome to the Medical Clinic at the Interplanetary Relay Station. Hours Since the Last Patient Death: 0” by Caroline M. Yoachim in Lightspeed, Issue #70
The Name of the Forest” by Margaret Killjoy in Strange Horizons, March 21st, 2016

P.S. Most of these stories also have podcast versions as well, if you preferred listening to your fiction.

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Six Years Ago

Six years ago, almost to the day, I signed up for my first writing class. I had graduated college a few months before, had a new place and a new job. Suddenly, my evenings were homework free, I knew no one in my new neighborhood, and I was bored. I’d always loved stories and I always wanted to create my own. So, I signed up for a short story class at the local night school.

I still have friends from that class. I’m still apologizing for those first few terrible, terrible stories I inflicted on them. And it was the first of many classes I would take, slowly forcing me to get more adventurous and more comfortable with driving on all sorts of roads in all sorts of conditions. Most of the classes weren’t particularly profound, but they gave me a deadline and a captive audience to try different stories techniques on, as well as an opportunity to get to meet other writers in the area. I had no idea what I was doing and I sort of just tried.

Actually, I still have no idea what I’m doing. But I’m getting better at pretending I do.

Six years later, I am officially a ‘pro’ writer, with seven SFWA qualifying sales to my name – the most recent being a sale to one of my favorite markets Beneath Ceaseless Skies (!!!). I now have a fabulous and talented circle of friends locally and in half a dozen different time zones. I’m part of some great critique groups and beta read for a lot of amazing writers. I’ve worked for a few magazines, slush reading and interviewing authors. I’ve gotten fan mail and fan art.

Yet, part of me hoped I would be further along in my writing career by now. There are still so many goals that I haven’t met yet and I’ve had so many failures. My storytelling ability is nowhere near where I want it to be and I don’t think a week goes by where I don’t ask myself “Why am I doing this?”

But I also know now that if there’s one thing that writing takes, it’s time.

Six years ago, I didn’t know how fun, gratifying, frustrating, and miserable writing is, sometimes all at the same time. It’s nothing short of a roller coaster ride and an exercise in determination and patience.

I won’t lie, today has been a particularly rough day for me in terms of writing (rejections still sting more than I like and my stories are all stubborn things). But even now, looking back, do I regret signing up for that first, overpriced class?

No. No, I really don’t.

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Story Sale to Mothership Zeta!

Hey, so you know this post I made a while ago? Yeah, I figured out how the story ended. And made that “placeholder” title the “real” title. Also, sold it to Mothership Zeta!

So, I’m beyond thrilled. One of my biggest worries when writing this was how will I find a home for it? It’s way too light and silly for most short story magazines. But I loved my character’s voice, so I wrote it anyway. After sending it out a few times and getting rejections that said “Good story, but not a good fit for us” I was worried I was right.

But then this brand new magazine called Mothership Zeta came along looking for fun, trope-bending stories and well, you can figure out how it went from there.

So I guess my point is write what you want. There will always be new markets and anthology calls. The universe is expanding and it has a way of making room for our stories.

A Non-Hero’s Guide to the Road of Monsters will appear in Mothership Zeta’s Issue #3 in March, 2016.

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Goings and Comings: November 2015

I’ll be at Philcon this year on Saturday, November 21st. It’s my fourth time going to the con, but this year they were kind enough to invite me to be a panelist. Sweet!

Here’s my schedule:

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM Tolkien’s Women
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM Using Language Creatively
5:00 PM – 6:00 PM How Gaming is Important to Fandom
7:00 PM – 8:00 PM Using Real Life in Fantasy
8:30 PM – 9 PM Author Reading

Now, I just have to figure out which story to belabor regale listeners with Saturday evening. Hope to see you there!

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Story Link Love #4 + New Story Up At DSF.

This should probably be two separate posts, but whatever. First, if you like short fiction and are looking for some recommendations, here are a few stories I’ve read recently that I’ve enjoyed.

The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron Saves the World Again by A. C. Wise
(It’s the first one and I’m already cheating. But I’ve been a fan of the Glitter Squadron for some time now and I’ve just gotten my copy of the collection this weekend! You can read the first story here.)
The Closet Thing to Animals by Sofia Samatar
Bones at the Door by John Wiswell
Moogh and the Great Trench Kraken by Suzanne Palmer
Geometries of Belonging by Rose Lemberg
Summer in Realtime by Erica L. Satifka
Dear Monsanto CEO, This is the Sentient Strain of Corn You Developed and We Need to Talk by Tyler Young
Glaciers Made You By Gabby Reed

Second, one of my own stories is now live at Daily Science Fiction. It’s called “8 Steps to Winning Your Partner Back (From the Server)”. You can read it here. And if you’re wondering, the song I listened to while writing it was this.

Hope you enjoy these stories! Also, I’m always looking for recommendations. What are some of your favorite stories that you’ve read recently?

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Story Link Love: The Magazine Edition

This post is brought to you partly in response to this article (in which the author is completely and utterly incorrect) and partly because I’m often asked for some recommendations for free fiction on the internet.

So, here it goes…

For Your Listening and/or Reading Pleasure:
(These are some of my favorite magazines, which not only provides great stories, but also illustrations and podcasts for them as well.)

Strange Horizons – Publishes weekly stories and poems of fantasy and science fiction.
Lightspeed – More great science fiction and fantasy stories.
Clarkesworld – Even more great science fiction and fantasy stories.
Beneath Ceaseless Skies – Fantasy stories not set in this world.

Reading:

Shimmer -Beautiful and strange stories.
Uncanny – More strangely beautiful stories.
Urban Fantasy Magazine – Fantasy stories set in this world.
Flash Fiction Online – Bite size fiction of ALL genres.
Unlikely Stories – Science fiction, fantasy, and horror stories, but each issue has a theme.

Listening:
(If you need something to listen to in the car or the gym, while doing chores, etc.)

Escape Pod – Science fiction story podcast.
Podcastle – Fantasy story podcast.
Pseudopod – Horror story podcast.
Cast of Wonders – Young Adult podcast that reads science fiction and fantasy stories.

Stories in Your Inbox:

Daily Science Fiction – Short science fiction and fantasy stories emailed to you every weekday.
Every Day Fiction – Bite sized stories of ALL genres emailed to you daily.

Stories in Your Mailbox:
(These are only magazines on this list that are not free or accessible on the internet, but worth mentioning because they always have copies available at Barnes & Nobles.)

The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction – True to its name.
Asimov’s – Science fiction stories, with an occasional splash of fantasy.

This is not, by any means, a complete list. And all of these magazines can be subscribed to and usually offer eBook versions of their issues if you do.

Happy reading!

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Beyond The Trenches We Lie is now up at Escape Pod!

This creepy little science fiction story is now up for your reading and/or listening pleasure here.

Most of the time, when people ask me where I get my ideas from I can’t give them a good answer. Story seeds just sort of appear, usually when it’s most inconvenient. But in this case, “Trenches” was born from a Codex story competition in which you received a setting from another contestant and had to base your story around that scene.

Mine came from the talented James Beamon, who gave me this setting:

Your scene is a trench, the foremost of an interlaced network of trenches. Wooden beams line the sides of the rough hewn trench to keep the earthen walls from collapse. Unmarked crates are in this trench, their contents as yet unknown. On top of the crates are personal effects: a straight razor, a ragged picture, a tin cup, a mirror, batteries. Behind this trench are the other trenches in the network, also rough and crudely dug. In front of this trench, topside, is a lush field of emerald green grass. A small brook babbles its crystal water some few scant yards ahead in that grass field and in the distance a copse of trees stands unmolested and inviting. It is far from no man’s land; it is every man’s land.

Now I know nothing about trench warfare or the military and I didn’t have time to do research because, you know, hard deadlines. So I told my characters to start making things up – until I figured something out. Except, turns out that once a narrator starts lying, they don’t want to stop.

The song that I played on loop while I wrote and edited this story was Speed The Collapse by Metric.

Anyway, hope you enjoy!

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And It’s Live! Voices in Solitude at Daily Science Fiction

Yay! Daily Science Fiction has emailed Voices in Solitude out to subscribers today! This is my second time appearing at DSF and being a long time reader of the magazine, I’m thrilled.

For those of you who aren’t subscribed to DSF you can find the story posted here.

If you want to know which song was my soundtrack as I wrote this story, you can find it here.

Apologizes for my lack of response on social media today. I’m currently traveling abroad and my email is being less than helpful. Also, I’m relying on WiFi. Also, I’m having too much fun wandering around the city to bother checking my devices regularly.

Regardless, hope you enjoyed the story!

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