ConFusion Schedule 2018

Happy New Year!

In a few weeks, I’m heading to ConFusion in Detroit, MI. It’ll be my first time at this convention and I’m excited for it! The literary programing team was kind enough to include me on some panels. I also have a reading with the fabulous Marissa Lingen and Izzy Wasserstein.

Here’s my schedule:

11am Saturday Charlevoix – Using Real Scientific History To Enhance Fantasy World-Building
Secondary-world fantasies often draw on an ahistoric view of the past, intermingling technological, scientific, and social advancements that span thousands of years in the real world. The effect is quasi-medieval societies that are in some ways anachronistically modern, but in many ways far less advanced than the real-world cultures on which they’re based. Let’s talk about the real science and technology of the world’s post-classical eras and how we can use the real history of science and technology to build deeper and more interesting worlds.

4pm Saturday Charlevoix – Reading
A. T. Greenblatt, Marissa Lingen, Izzy Wasserstein

5pm Saturday St. Clair – Autograph Session (5 PM)
Come meet your favorite authors, artists and musicians and have them sign things! (Please limit your signing requests to 3 items per person.)

12pm Sunday Interlochen – The Setting As Character
In Science Fiction and Fantasy, settings can literally come alive–be it via the talking flowers of Through The Looking Glass or the rage of Peter Quill’s creepy dad-planet in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. In Ann Leckie’s Imperial Radch universe where ships have minds, main characters can be both people and places at the same time. Are living settings a science fiction/fantasy extension of the classic “Hero Vs. Nature” story? How do they exist in conversation with real-world beliefs about whether the world around us has a will of its own?

2pm Sunday Charlevoix – A Novel Look at the Short Story
Short stories require a different approach to pacing, character, world-building, exposition, and plot than longer works. Let’s explore the tools we use to convey important information to the reader when we have a lot fewer words to do it with.

If you’re coming to ConFusion this year, I hope you’ll stop by at one of these panels and/or the reading and say hello.

Year End Eligibility Post 2017

So it’s that time of year again, where some of us are trying to catch up on the stories that we’ve missed in the last 12 months. As it happens, I’ve had two stories come out in 2017 that I’m quite proud of.

The first is “A Place to Grow” in Beneath Ceaseless Skies.

“She knew what the rational decision was. She understood that letting this world go was the safer choice.

But.

There was a small, insistent part of her that wouldn’t let her give up so easily.”

The second is “Listen and You’ll Hear Us Speak” in Flash Fiction Online.

‘“I have what you’ve lost,” you whisper in my ear when I serve you your drink, all sugar, all lies. “We’re going to be good friends.”’

I’m also looking for recommendations! What have you read this year that you’ve enjoyed?

Post Clarion West

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.

Clarion West and Upcoming Publications

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.

Update: New Story Sale and the Nebulas

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.

2016 Year End Post

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 DesertBeneath Ceaseless Skies, May 2016

A Non-Hero’s Guide to the Road of MonstersMothership Zeta, May 2016

Dido, RetoldStrange 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?!!!!

horton-yearsbest2017-cover

(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.

Baltimore Book Festival and New Picture

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.

 

DSC_1245_PP01

I’m told the picture makes me look a bit mischievous. I’m quite pleased.

A Non-Hero’s Music and Story News

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.

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.