2018 Writing Wrap-Up

The end of the year means it’s time for a fun statistics post.

I submitted 46 times so far, and received 9 acceptances.

I wrote 35 original stories (holy…I didn’t even realize this until I checked my data), and about 30-40 poems.

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I was published in Autumn’s Harvest Anthology (Short Story: “Mrs. Evergreen’s Amusement Fair”), is this up (Illustrated Narrative Poem: “MAGIC HIGH SCHOOL”), Glass and Gardens: Solarpunk Summers (Short Story: “Cable Town Delivery”), and Nightscript Vol. IV (Short Story: “Seams”).

I also received runner up in a cursed love writing contest – go check out the story, “Love Bugs”, on Shonda Brock’s blog for free.

There are seven other writing projects of mine that have been accepted, but aren’t out there in the world yet – exciting!

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Next year I plan to:

  1. Edit and self-publish a fantasy novel that’s been sitting on my desk for a while.
  2. Keep writing short fiction, and submit to even more opportunities.
  3. Write and finish a novella.

I hope that your own writing projects are going well, and that you remember to take breaks and give yourself permission to miss deadlines once in a while. Your health – mental and physical – is very important. ❤

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Writers Deserve Rooms

This post is going to be oddly topical because I woke up this morning and started reading a bunch of tweets where famous authors were defending their right to write in a room that’s, you know, designated for writing. Some people call those rooms “offices”, but “writer’s room” has a kind of Hollywood-and-coffee appeal – and they both mean exactly the same thing. An office is understood to be a place where someone goes to get work done, and writing IS the work of writers, so why would there be any dissonance? Why is  anyone out there arguing that writers should not have offices to write in?

Are we forbidden the shelter of a roof and the functionality of a desk because of some unspeakable and unknowable sin? Are we forever relegated to noisy coffee shops and the uneven surfaces of our own knees because our pens touched the face of god and it tickled? Should writers hover nervously around the tables at libraries, our fingers crossed for a few square feet of (relatively quiet) workspace for an hour or two?

The culture of self-denial/indulgence in America is weirdly pervasive, and (as per usual) ends up making no sense in the end. Writing can be pleasurable to perform, but is overwhelmingly work, and not always or necessarily pleasurable. Often it’s painful, difficult, or described as “a process”. But regardless of whether writing is fun, functional, or flagellation for the writer, the end result is a product that they should be paid or otherwise compensated for creating. And they need a space to create in.

Writers deserve rooms. Here’s a few things writers also deserve (in no particular order):

  1. Health care and benefits
  2. A living wage
  3. Trips outside once in a while

 

Publishing Updates

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Being a freelance fiction writer often means that a large majority of my work is out there floating in the ether, and I’m not able to talk about it yet, which isn’t very fun. But here’s some stuff I am able to talk about!

The art above is by Cecilia Granata for the Dragon Bike anthology – isn’t it great? Microcosm Publishing is doing a wonderful job with putting this one together. My story in this one is about mechanic witches (“Witchcanix”) that convert magical creatures into cool tech.

I recently signed a contract for a short story to be published in Sockhops and Séances, an anthology of 1950s ghost stories coming out by 18th Wall Productions. My story is about the ghosts that we scare ourselves with at parties, and the real ghosts that haunt us. Plus, De Sotos!

I also signed a contract for a horror story that’s going to be released in an upcoming chapbook by Gehenna & Hinnom – a real oddball of a story, it’s one of my personal favorites.

Nightscript Vol. IV has recently been reviewed by nullimmortalis – I really like his lyrical response to my story “Seams” – go check it out!

I love that all of these stories have found homes. It’s always a bit nervy to put yourself out there, so getting published is really rewarding on a lot of levels. I wholeheartedly encourage other writers out there to keep going – keep writing, keep submitting your work, keep publishing! Self-publish if you have to.

 

A response to the grown men/writers who stare at young womxn/writers in coffee shops and write about them

a response to the grown men/writers who stare at young womxn/writers in coffee shops and write fiction about us on the sly:

he looked back at her, wanted to warn her (about being a writer)
as if unhappiness could be avoided/ghosted at a party
as if his unhappiness (the only one he’d ever grown familiar with, but believe me,
he’d known plenty) were The Most Terrible Misery/The Worst Unhappiness
and he a knight, and she a wayward damsel, and so on

but she is not the clothing he dresses her with in the privacy of his mind
in fact
she is better than him
let me say again:
she is better than him
no damsel
she is a warrior, her psychic armor gleaming
the blood of all who would silence her scabbing her knuckles
she is so busy slaying darkness
she doesn’t even notice him at all

Nightscript Vol. IV Book Giveaway

It’s October, at last!

I’m honored to announce that I have a story, “Seams”, published in Nightscript Vol. IV, an excellent collection of short horror fiction (I spent my Sunday afternoon poking through it – great, creepy stuff!). Horror has been one of my favorite things ever since I discovered Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” in the third grade, so I’m always delighted when one of my horror stories is accepted for publication.

I received three contributor’s copies of Nightscript Vol. IV, and they look gorgeous! In fact, I’m so pleased with how they look, I’ll be giving away a copy to listeners of the Critically Acclaimed podcast, on the Schmoes Know podcast network, which you can listen to on iTunes or Podcast One. The giveaway will be held at the Schmoeville! Facebook page, and you will be required to join the Facebook group to participate. On the podcast I’ll be talking about Frankenstein, and more specifically, the Universal horror Frankenstein film franchise – fun stuff!

If you’re in a spooky mood and can’t wait for some literary tricks and treats, I have a story called “Sweet Beast” in this free ebook, which explains the true purpose of candy corn (you didn’t think it was for eating, did you?). Enjoy!

Summer Reading

I like using seasonal transitions as an opportunity to reflect on what I’ve recently been up to, and so I thought I’d share the books that I read over this summer, with my one-sentence reaction reviews. They’re listed in the order that I read them.

Baddawi – Leila Abdelrazaq’s stunning graphic novel about her father’s experiences as a Palestinian growing up in a refugee camp in northern Lebanon. An essential read.

My Solo Exchange Diary Vol. 1 – The sequel to Nagata Kabi’s My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness. Although I recommend starting with the previous book, this was a refreshingly honest read.

In a Lonely Place – Hardboiled Santa Monica noir pulp written by Dorothy B. Hughes and originally published in 1947, this novel features a misogynistic, oh-so-clever serial killer protagonist who we get to watch cat-and-mouse with an intellectual housewife/psychiatrist who’s got his number. The movie that was made with Humphrey Bogart absolutely BUTCHERS this wonderful bit of writing because Bogie didn’t want to be a villain. What a shame!

Satan’s Sweethearts – Poems about historical female serial killers – tough reading material, but interesting.

The Reek of Red Herrings – A mystery set in a small rain-lashed coastal town in Scotland, which I picked up from the library because summer needs cold weather mysteries at some point, and I liked the pun. This book is part of the Dandy Gilver series, which I hadn’t read before – the protagonist was enjoyable, and there was a lot of taxidermy, so yay.

Super Late Bloomer: My Early Days in Transition – Julia Kaye’s charming and frank print collection of her Up and Out webcomics, focusing on her transition. Another book I think everybody should read.

The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas’s powerful, personal, immediate novel about a 16-year-old who ends up witnessing a police officer murder her childhood best friend. Holy f*cking relevant – this book should already be required school reading – but adults should pick up a copy, too. This is the book I’m giving as a gift to all my reader friends/family for the holidays this year – shh, don’t tell them!

The Best of Margaret St. Clair – I picked up this collection of science fiction a couple years ago, and finally sat down and finished it this summer. A nice mix of unsettling horror/50s scifi sensibility.

Everything is Flammable – Gabrielle Bell’s graphic novel about the author’s complicated relationship with her mother, told after her mother’s house is destroyed by a fire – a very frank, beautiful book.

Princess Princess Ever After – Katie O’Neill’s graphic novel for kids about two princesses teaming up to solve each other’s problems, and their charming love story. A really positive, cute book. I wish there had been queer love stories like this around when I was a kid!

As a bonus, I’m currently in the middle of reading The Expendable Man (the last novel written by Dorothy B. Hughes), Emily X. R. Pan’s The Astonishing Color of After, and Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita.