Saturday, April 12, 2014

A post I have been planning for ages

...yet now that it's here, I still haven't thought of a way to sound clever at it, because I am just too damned cheerful.

I have just signed with Connor Goldsmith of Foreword Literary.

A writer's relationship with an agent is incredibly important, and there are a whole lot of variables that go into making the right choice, on both sides.  I'm confident that we have, and I'm so excited about working together.

The last couple of weeks have been interesting and volatile ones for me, with major changes on several fronts.  But saying "changes" makes it sound like I'm talking about single events, like lightning strikes or lottery wins.  I should rather say "fruitions".  Change has been happening for a long time.  It is always happening, under the surface, and only sometimes does it come to light.

This particular fruition, I greeted with some dear friends, some extremely loud music, and some Death in the Afternoon.  (Hemingway's advice on this recipe is "Drink three to five of these slowly."  I maintain that drinking three to five of them quickly is also worthwhile.)

It's been an excellent couple of weeks on the short fiction front, also--a couple of sales that haven't been announced yet, and one for which I signed the contract this morning ("Four Steps to the Perfect Smoky Eye", to Strange Horizons).

Right now it feels like quite a while since the days of grocery store markdown pie for breakfast, army boots with the steel toes scraped bare, and all my writing done in the back pages of coffee-stained spiral notebooks or on the ancient Smith Corona given to me by a writer friend.  (Past self: it gets better!)  Here's hoping for even greater fruition to come.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Story day!

"The End of the World in Five Dates" is now live at Apex, along with an interview with me and tons of other fine work.

I never quite know what to say on Story Days: do I tell you all how much I love this piece, how proud I am?  Do I say something self-deprecating like oh btw I wrote a thing if you maybe feel like checking it out?

There's a whole bunch of really personal stuff going on in this one, for what that's worth: some is explained a little in the interview, and some, you'll have to guess.

While you read, I'll be over here, finishing the next new project.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013 in Review(s)

2013 has been an excellent year for me, writing-wise.  I’ve sold more stories this year than the last three put together.  I’ve learned how to finish stories faster, instead of letting them linger for months in the second-draft stage.  I’ve cracked some new markets—really aspirational ones, too.

I have also had at least one entire month go by without writing at all, and I’ve failed to make any progress on Draft 2 of my second novel, although I did cap off Draft 1 in an awesome two-week binge last winter.  I continue to spend too much time looking around the internet for mentions of my work, time that I should spend honing my craft and reading others’ stories instead.  I have a lot to learn about this business.  Each hill I crest shows me a wider landscape to map.

I'm pretty proud of my 2013 output though.  Here are the new stories of mine that came out this year:

"The God-Seed" (Crossed Genres, July)
Walking up Genesee Road in the country dark, I thought I was seeing the northern lights.  Rose-coloured streaks, twisting upward, half-obscured stars on the far side.  I stopped and threw my head back to look.  Then I smelled smoke and I knew.
My parents' house was burning.

" odd little beasty, very understated in its magic, but its beauty lives in that understatement"--A.J. Fitzwater, Pickled Think

"Haunts" (Interzone, November)
The chirurgeon's knife severs my little finger from my palm, just above the mount of Mercury.
"You are permitted to look away," the chirurgeon comments.
I shrug the shoulder that isn't locked down, and keep watching.  The knife, obsidian, joints me like I'm a bird.

"A portrait of extreme devotion to a craft, to a cause. Nice details of the duelists’ milieu."--Lois Tilton, Locus

"Your Figure Will Assume Beautiful Outlines" (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, November)
I spent every day of my first decadi in Savaurac staring at the likeness of a girl on a notice for corsets. I figured she was long dead of the clap, or maybe she only ever lived in some garret artist’s absinthe-blind eye...
" unusual story of strength and weakness, of the stupidity of the law, and of love."--Terry Weyna, Fantasy Literature

More of 2013 in numbers:
New stories published: 3
Podcasts: 2
Reprints published in anthologies: 2
Submissions: 36
Rejections: 24
New sales to pro markets: 6
Reprint sales: 2

--I am now being solicited for anthologies—five requests this year already! I love this kind of writing, so far—it’s challenging and fun to find the right overlap between a “me” story and the requested theme, and it’s also very motivating to work toward a deadline.  The first of these requested stories was successfully sold, and releases early in 2014.  I hope these requests keep coming (hi, editors!).
--A couple of my stories have been illustrated.  The first of these, “Haunts”, shows a beautiful, grim, spot-on portrait of the protagonist (posted here a couple of months ago).  I haven’t seen the newest one yet (it’s for a story that hasn’t been publicly announced) and I can’t wait.

Wishing all of you a wonderful New Year, if you celebrate it, and a rich, productive, fascinating January.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

In which there is art!

You guys, I can't even tell you how excited I am by this.  I've never had an illustration for one of my stories before, and this one is beautiful!  It's for "Haunts", coming out in Interzone #249 in November.

This story has its roots in an eclipse, back in 1993 or thereabouts.  I lived in a small city with a fountain in a square downtown.  My best friend and I watched the sun go dark and then we went for breakfast.  As often happens with stories, I can't quite describe how I got from that eclipse to this rather dark story about an ex-duelist selling off her fingers to keep her failing school from closing.  I can tell you it has some other hidden ingredients from the time of the eclipse--a kitten who only lived a few days, a house in the west end where the lilacs were all cut down--but how those little realities are woven into this fiction, I can't even explain.

There were some wrong turns--I finished the first draft of this story a few years ago, but I didn't finish the final draft until quite recently, and it changed a lot in between.  Now it's finally about to meet the world.  I hope the world likes it.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Story day!

"Nightfall in the Scent Garden" went up at PodCastle today!  This story is having a great run--it's also reprinted in the just-released anthology Imaginarium 2013, which was recommended by the Toronto Star as one of the summer's Top 20 reads.

PodCastle publishes all kinds of wonderful stuff.  Some recent stories that have impressed me are Kenneth Schneyer's "Selected Program Notes from the Retrospective Exhibition of Teresa Rosenberg Latimer", Megan Arkenberg's "The Copperroof War", and Cory Skerry's "My Dignity in Scars".  I am more visual than aural and I usually choose to read from a page, but hearing a story read to me creates a fascinating nostalgia, a remembrance of childhood bedtimes and an era when the entirety of Lord of the Rings was read on radio by the BBC.  A good reader--and PodCastle features many!--brings heightened emotion and a sense of extra space to the work.

Listen, read, enjoy, comment, wonder.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Renewing my SFWA membership

If you don't already know about the issues plaguing SFWA at the moment, this is a post you can probably skip, but the short version is: I have recently seen a whole bunch of members of my professional organization behave like assholes all over the internet.

To be totally clear: I'm talking about people who hold repugnant, racist, sexist, homophobic views.  Not people who stumble sometimes on difficult issues or communicate awkwardly or get blindsided by our own prejudice--those things are true of me, and you, and everyone else.  No, I'm talking about people who are actively working to make my professional organization unwelcoming to me.  Calling for women to shut up when they've been sexually harassed.  Calling for less diversity among the membership.

I am SO NOT OKAY with this.

I've been watching a number of people I respect leaving the organization due to this hostile environment.  I wish they could stay, because they're the people I want to associate with in my professional association!  But I understand and respect their choice.

I am choosing differently.  Partly, it's privilege: I have the energy to keep up with the political discussion, vote, and just plain stick around long enough to outlast the bigots.  Partly it's the hope that I will also find the energy to say some useful things.  I know I don't have the energy to be as vocal as some other members, nor is my opinion necessarily going to be heeded--I am not a high-profile writer or blogger.  But I can be part of the chorus, and I should be.

It's also something else: I'm in my late thirties now, and the incandescent rage of my twenties has slowed and chilled, but it hasn't gone away, because the problems that caused it haven't either.  It's become a layer of bedrock beneath everything I do.

I am still sexually harassed on a frequent basis, from little things like catcalls, to bigger things like being groped at events or flashed on the streetcar.  I spent a long time just sort of rolling with it--I didn't think I had the energy to both fight it, and live the rest of my life.  And I thought I was an outlier somehow.  Boy, was I wrong--the recent slew of posts from absolutely everyone has shown me just how many other people share this experience.

So here's what I'm doing.  One: supporting SFFragette.  Two: renewing my membership in SFWA and resolving to post more, speak up more, and give more assistance to the members and prospective members whose values I share.  And three: keep on writing with all my soul.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Story day: "The God-Seed"

"The God-Seed" went up at Crossed Genres today.  Go and read!  There are also wonderful stories by Alena McNamara and N.A. Ratnayake.

When I write stories, it's because they feel essential to me.  I hope I've done this one justice.