As promised, I’ve tried to gather my initial thoughts about my experience at Clarion West this summer. I’ve been home for about a week now, but I don’t feel like I’m back quite yet. I don’t quite have the words.
All week people have been asking me, “How was it?” My answers have been short: It was fun. A lot of work. Completely exhausting. There were so many cool and talented people.
Blanket statements, I know. But writing workshops are a very individual experience. They are the sum of little moments; inside jokes, small victories, instances of crushing self doubt, moments of growth. Though we were all part of the same class, if you asked each of us what the last six weeks were like, you’d get 18 different answers.
Another popular question has been, “Was it worth it?”
For me, yes. I learned tons from listening to other writers’ talk about their viewpoints and methods. I loved the exchange of stories – the ones we wrote for class and the ones we told around the dinner table. I discovered some blind spots in my critiquing skills and was floored by how supportive and generous people in the community are. I wrote six new stories in six weeks despite being a slow writer. Best of all, I met some stunningly talented people that I hope to be friends with for a long time to come.
Was Clarion West necessary for my writing career? Probably not. Was it life changing? I have no idea. Was it worth it? Absolutely.
Yeah, it’s hard to describe.
So I’m home from my adventures in Seattle. I’ll have a post up about my Clarion West experience tomorrow, but first, I wanted to point to a Kickstarter that’s happening right now and a contributing essay that I wrote for it.
Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction is a continuation of an anthology series focused on underrepresented authors and characters in science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Previously, there have been Destroy anthologies for women, people of color, and queers and they’ve all been excellent. Now it’s time for disabled artists to destroy stereotypes in speculative fiction too. Here’s my personal essay on why disability representation in fiction is important.
Okay, so that’s one big piece of news. My other exciting announcement is that my story “Graffiti Guardians” will be published in Mythic Delirium! I believe it’s going to be in Issue 4.4, but I will post an update when I know for certain.
That’s all for tonight. Post-workshop thoughts to follow shortly!
I’m happy to announce that my story “A Place to Grow” is now free to read at Beneath Ceaseless Skies!
I’m pretty excited about this one. It was a huge technical challenge for me and took many, many drafts to get right. I’m not exaggerating when I say it took years for me to learn how to pull this story off. (I think I wrote the opening paragraph back in December 2013?) I’m extremely grateful to my very patient friends and very patient editor who help me through the iterations.
The song I played on repeat as I was writing and revising this story was “Outro” by M83. Because, naturally, my characters needed an epic soundtrack as they were trying to rebuild the world around them.
Hope you enjoy!
As usual, I’ve been neglecting this blog again, so as usual, I’m cramming several good news announcements into one post.
The biggest announcement is that I’ve been accepted into Clarion West’s Class of 2017! For those of you who are not familiar with the program, Clarion West is a six week writing workshop in Seattle for speculative fiction writers. Each week is taught by a different writer or editor who’s established in the field. This year the instructors are Daryl Gregory, Kij Johnson, John Chu, Connie Willis, Daniel Jose Older, and Pat Cadigan. Every week students are expected to write a new story and only 18 students are accepted into the program every year.
I am SO. EXCITED. I’ve been hoping to have the opportunity to go to one of the Clarion workshops since high school.
Okay, so I’m also thrilled to announce that two stories of mine have been accepted for publication! The first of which is called “Five Meters Ahead, Two Centuries Away” which has found a home in Upper Rubber Boot’s Broad Knowlegde: 35 Women Up to No Good anthology. The second is a flash fiction piece titled “Listen and You’ll Hear Us Speak” which has been accepted by Flash Fiction Online (one of my favorite flash fiction markets!) I’m not sure when these pieces will be out yet, but I’ll update the “Publications” page when I know.
Lastly and on the topic of stories coming out, “A Place to Grow” will be live in Issue #225 of Beneath Ceaseless Skies next week! Of course, if you’d like to read it RIGHT NOW you can get a copy of the issue here. This time, I’m sharing a Table of Contents with the fabulous Caroline M. Yoachim and her heart-wrenching story “Carnival Nine.” (Seriously, go read it.)
That’s it for now! I’m planning on having a short post about “A Place to Grow” up in a few days.
News, I have it. So I post.
The first piece of news is that a new story of mine has been accepted by Beneath Ceaseless Skies. It’s called “A Place to Grow” and it was a huge experiment for me because it’s told from the points of view of several different characters. A fictional first for me. Not sure when it’s suppose to come out yet, but I’ll update the “Publications” page when I know.
The second bit of news is that I’ll be attending the Nebula Awards in Pittsburgh this year. It’s my first time at this convention and I’m so excited! There are so many awesome works nominated this year, my final ballot is going to be a tough decision. Which is not exactly a bad problem to have.
That’s it for now. I’ll probably have another post up here soon.
Even in the best of times, these types of posts are always awkward for me to write. And 2016 has been a rough year on many different fronts. It feels a bit selfish to be posting this today (especially today) in the wake of all that’s happening in the world.
But terrible global events shouldn’t negate our small triumphs. So we fight on.
In terms of writing, 2016…hasn’t been bad to me. I had three short stories I’m proud of published in markets I really loved. These stories are:
They Said the Desert – Beneath Ceaseless Skies, May 2016
A Non-Hero’s Guide to the Road of Monsters – Mothership Zeta, May 2016
Dido, Retold – Strange Horizons, September 2016
And as if that wasn’t awesome enough, “A Non-Hero’s Guide to the Road of Monsters” is going to be reprinted in Rich Horton’s The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2017. How cool is that?!!!!
(Here’s the full Table of Contents.)
I’m hoping to post a “Fiction I Loved This Year” compilation here soon. Maybe in a few weeks, when I’ve caught up a bit on my “To Be Read” pile.
Special thanks to all my friends who offered encouragement, read rough drafts, and just listened when I was frustrated. I couldn’t have done it without you.
I’m excited to announce that a new story of mine called “Dido, Retold” is now live over at Strange Horizons! Please check it out here.
This is one of several stories I’ve written that attacks the traditional idea heroes and the way they warp their own narratives. Also, like my other stories, it took many, many drafts to get right.
As always, a shout out to the song I listened to as I wrote this one: “Storm Song” by Phildel.
Hope you enjoy!
In an ongoing quest to get better at public speaking, I’m going to be a panelist at this year’s Baltimore Book Festival. It’s located at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor from September 23-25th. I’ll definitely be there Sunday (because that’s when my panels are happening) and possibly Saturday too, just to hang out and help out.
Anyways, here’s my schedule:
- Short Fiction: The Heart of SFF – Sunday @ 1pm
- Short works have always been important to science fiction and fantasy. Hear why and how short fiction showcases the best of our genres. Learn where the hot stories are being published, and get answers to all your questions from our panel of acclaimed short fiction writers.
- Near Future/Far Future – Sunday @ 3pm
- Look at what goes into science fiction that’s right around the corner versus light years ahead. How are they similar and different?What happens when fiction comes true?
In other news, one of my favorite things about becoming a writer is all the wonderful and talented friends I’ve made over the years. For example, my friend Steve Schultz is a writer, but in recent years has picked up photography again, specifically focusing on portraits. He’s been shooting all his friends.
So, thanks to him, I have a new author photo.
I’m told the picture makes me look a bit mischievous. I’m quite pleased.
So, two pieces of news. First, “A Non-Hero’s Guide to the Road of Monsters” is now live over at Mothership Zeta. Meaning you can read it for free right now!
The song that acted as the soundtrack was “The Mute” by Radical Face. Seriously, the early drafts of this story was literally just the main character’s voice and this song playing on loop.
Second, Strange Horizons is going to publish one of my stories at the end of the year! It’s called “Dido, Retold” and I’m beyond thrilled. I’ll be posting more information when I have it!
In the meantime, I’m looking for new book recommendations. What have you been reading lately? Let me know in the comments.
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!