I’m very late in posting this, but I’ve had a tough week for reasons I’m going to avoid talking about for now. But if you’re in the NYC area tonight, I will be reading at the Barrow’s Intense Tasting Room over at Industrial City at 6:30pm! And I’ll be reading with these fantastic writers too:
This is the new home of the formerly called Rooftop Reading series that was happening at Ample Hill Creamery. I’m sad about the lack of ice cream but I’m very excited to be part of this reading series!
For more information, you can find it here. For tickets, you can find it here.
I’m a few days late with this announcement, but I’m excited to share that I have a new story up in the Magic the Gathering universe called “Battles in the Fields and in the Mind.” It’s a side story to the main March of the March storyline and I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity to return to Zendikar and continue Nahiri, Akiri, Kaza and Orah’s story, as well as get to know Linvala and Tazri. It’s a grim tale, but it does offer a spark of light.
I’ve talked about this before, in person and on this blog, and I’m absolutely not the first person to say this, but short fiction is incredibly important to the health of the speculative fiction industry. It is where writers get to explore, experiment, and often get their first publication credits. Which in turn makes them more confident about joining and engaging with the community. Essentially short fiction has been the germination place for many of our favorite writers’ careers. Short stories are also available to readers all around the world because most SFF magazines are free to read online, reaching an audience who might not have access to books. It’s where the conversation in genre is happening in real time, because short fiction is published within months, not years, as it for novels. As Kij Johnson once said “the science fiction and fantasy genre is always in conversation with itself.”
A few months ago, Amazon announced that it will be ending it’s Kindle Newsstand Service, and switching to a Spotify-like model of payment. Meaning that publishers will only get a fraction of the income they were once making through the service. Jason Sanford has an excellent and full write up about it here. This doesn’t include the slow, but steady collapse of Twitter, which is how many magazines, writers, and readers talked about and boosted stories they love. Or the influx of AI written stories, which has bogged down editors.
I have been writing short speculative fiction for over ten years now, and have seen several ups and downs in the industry, but this time I’m worried that many beloved venues might close, leaving holes in the industry that will be difficult to fill.
Short fiction is a major component in the foundation of science fiction and fantasy fiction ecosystem and one that desperately needs any support we can give it. So, if you’re able, please consider supporting one or more of these magazines. Listed in no particular order:
Again, if you like my work, please consider buying a subscription or donating a few dollars to one of these publications. Most of them have published my work at some point. More importantly, they have published the work of hundreds of other writers as well.
My short fiction recommendation for the week is Crown Prince by Melissa Mead over at Cast of Wonders. Mead was a prolific short story writer, who like me, had cerebral palsy too. She died far too young in February 2022 and this story has been published posthumously with permission from her family.
It’s been a while since I posted and I definitely should have put together a few blog posts for these announcements instead of lumping it all into one. But it’s been a busy few weeks and I’d rather spend the rest of the day working on fiction rather than writing blog posts, so here we go…
In the last few weeks, I’ve had:
An essay published!
I’m teaching an online class and registration is open!
Two of my stories made the Locus Recommendation Reading List!
Back by popular demand, I’m teaching this class again for Clarion West Online. It’s an hour and a half lecture with some tips, tools, and tricks for making the characters you’ve made up really come alive for readers in a short story.
I’m a few days late in posting this, but it’s still completely true. I have a new story published and free to read at Uncanny Magazine this week!
It’s called “Waystation City” and it’s part of Uncanny’s special 50th issue, chocked full of amazing writers. I’m really honored to have my work among such talented company. This story took inspiration Luxembourg. I never got the chance to travel there before I wrote this story because it was during the height of the pandemic. So, I read travel blogs and quizzed a few friends that had been there instead and used that as a loose basis to create a story that grew stranger in the telling.
I wanted to experiment with using a different type of narrator and a different type of voice in this story, rather than what I was comfortable with, but I completely failed. Which is okay. I tried again with the next story.
As for the music, I listened to “Achilles’ Come Down” by Gang of Youths as my soundtrack as I wrote this.
Hope you enjoy the story! If you can, please consider supporting the magazine. They allow writers like me to keep putting out new stories into the world.
I’m writing this tonight from my desk in my living room/office while eating dinner. It’s been that sort of weekend. Not bad, but gone too quickly. My desk sits in front of a window and from it I can see the people in the apartments across the street, in their kitchens or dining room or hybrid spaces like mine. I know they can see me too.
Do neighbors in NYC wave to each other? Or do we politely pretend we don’t have windows into each other’s lives?
I was going to talk about my writing this week, but honestly, works-in-progress are not very interesting to talk about because it’s usually the same update week after week: Still writing and still revising. So I’ll just say that one delightful surprise was getting the Long List Anthology, Volume 8 in the mail! This has my story “Questions Asked in the Belly of the World” as well as many other amazing pieces published in 2021. As a reader, I alway really enjoyed this anthology series.
Seriously, having a four day weekend has been so nice. I managed to spend part of the long weekend with my family, eating tons of home cooked food and playing with my dog. Hope those of you in the States have enjoyed it as well.
Not much to report on the home front this week. I continue to make headway on short story edits, essays, and new story drafts. Although progress is slower than I would like it to be. (It always is.)
This week, I finished reading the short story collection Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell. I found her storytelling craft exceptional, even though not all of the stories resonated with me. One of the things I liked most about it was how varied and unique each story was in terms of topics, settings, and breath. Each piece had a mix of darkness and humor, though the ratios varied from story to story.
I also saw the animated movie Porco Rosso by Hayao Miyazaki. It came out in 1992, but I never seen it before and there was a matinee over the weekend at one of the dine-in theaters in Brooklyn. So with coffee and truffle popcorn, I watched this strange, beautiful film and was once again fascinated by Miyazaki’s dreamlike way of storytelling. I learned recently that he doesn’t use a script when creating movies. Instead he creates a storyboard and he doesn’t know how the movie is going to end until he draws it.
Which, as someone who has to literally write things down to give them shape and meaning, I find that mind blowing.
Anyway, I’ll leave you with this: If you’re looking for a SFF short story to check out this week, try Slow Communication by Dominique Dickey
It’s that time of year again and I’m not talking about the holidays, though I’m excited for American Thanksgiving next week. (Four day weekend and homemade cranberry sauce!) Award season for the science fiction, fantasy, and horror community has begun, and it’s good practice to post a year end round up of your work and where to find it.
Also, since Twitter seems on the verge of collapse, I thought I’d mention that you can find me on Mastodon at @firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, I’m hoping to post on this blog weekly.
Okay, onto the stories. It’s been a bit of a rocky year for me in terms of writing, but three stories of mine were published and in some excellent venues.
Published March 2022 in Beneath Ceaseless Skies. 7,600 words (novelette)
“It should be noted here, at the beginning of the record, that the decision to invite such an esteemed and unknowable entity was not made lightly nor without a great deal of heated debate among the crew. [Addition: Upon reflection, Pilot Uma and Navigator Wilson conducted most of the debate and, ultimately, made the decision. The events that followed could have perhaps been avoided had they sought wider counsel.] However, it was agreed by all that the potential results were worth the risk. The crew was eager to
Published January 2022 in Slate Magazine. 7,000 words (short story)
“The open road is just potholes and misery, but Sabrina loves it anyway. Not that she has anything against the national train system, trains are great. But it’s the challenge, the potential to rebuild everything, that has her doing final checks on Gran’s old Jeep at the starting line of the Great American Road Race.
Not that Gran would’ve recognized her beloved car.”
Published June 2022 in the Bridge to Elsewhere Anthology. 4,000 words (short story)
“Tessa rubbed her face. Click, click went her teeth, but now, her only accompaniment was the ship’s deep hum. The junkyard man had warned her she was on borrowed time with The Castaway when she’d bought it, but there was something, something that Tessa couldn’t quite name, that whispered, Don’t give up on the ship. Not yet“
That’s it! What have you read this year that you’ve loved? Have you published something that you’re proud of? Please feel free to leave a comment!
The last five months been some of the most stressful months of my life and I’m finally getting a chance catch up on the things I’ve missed. I’m writing more again and trying to reengage with the SFF community. I’m slowly responding to overdo emails and tackling some of the less urgent things on my to-do list. I’m noticing the less urgent things too, like how I moved my Tupperware containers into my new apartment, but not all of the lids.
I had a great time in World Fantasy Convention last weekend – it was a last minute decision to go and I’m glad I did. For me, it’s always a revitalizing to go to cons. So much of writing is done alone and for me, going to a con is always a reminder that there’s a whole community of people creating and writing, geeking out about stories and stressing out about the industry too.
I’m currently working on some solicited stories and have been trying my hand at writing more personal essays. Some things I can’t talk about publicly yet, but I can share that my story “Waystation City” will be published in Uncanny Magazine early 2023! If all goes to plan, I should have a few more things coming out in early 2023. Until then, I’ll remain cryptic
One bit of exciting news is that I will be doing a reading at the KGB Fantastic Reading Series on January 11th with Chris Cevasco! I’ve been a fan of this reading series for a while and am super excited to get to be a part of it!
I’m going to try to update this blog more often now that Twitter seems to be imploding. I’m aiming for once a week, but maybe that means only posting a recipe I tried or what I’ve been reading.
Hope this post finds you all healthy and safe. I’m going to keep this quick today because I’m not feeling well and am quite tired, but I wanted to let you know that I have some exciting things going on next weekend. And it will all be online!
First up, I’ll be on a panel at Luxcon 2022. Troubling Tropes: Depicting Disability – Saturday at 9:00am ET
Next, I have a reading at Flights of Foundry. Reading – 10:00am-11:00am EST in The Eyre. (Note: An hour is a long time to read, so I probably read for 20-30 minutes and host a kaffeeklatsch-like Q&A the rest of the time.)
Lastly, I’ll be teaching a class for Clarion West Online called “Persisting as a Short Story Writer” from 4:00pm-5:00pm. Here’s the details. There’s still a few spots available!