Release day for Long Hidden!

Long Hidden is one of the most amazing projects I’ve had the pleasure to participate in.  I’m honoured to be in the company of such great writers–and so excited that the book is finally available to purchase. I can’t be at the launch party in New York tonight, but maybe you can–it’s at Alice’s Arbor, from 4-6 pm, and a number of the other writers will be there! Check out this gorgeous Julie Dillon cover: My story is called “The Witch of Tarup”.  It’s set in Denmark in 1886.  I was lucky to have a fantastic primary source: a memoir written by my great-great-grandmother, and translated by one of her sons.  (Disclaimer: none of my family are witches, as far as I know!)  Here’s how it begins:Every town has its witch, or so the Midsummer Ballad says, but I had only lived in Tarup a fortnight and I did not know who the witch might be. […]

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In which we have art!

Look at this beautiful illustration–by Richard Wagner, for my story “A Brief Light” in Interzone #252.  I love the mood of it: I want to say “haunting”, which is a metaphoric word usually, but in the context of this story, it’s literal. This is my second story for Interzone, and like the first, it has ghosts in it.  It’s also about love, loyalty, family, unfinished business, inheritance, and creepy birds. […]

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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 […]

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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. […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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. […]

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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 […]

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Secrets of writing, unlocked!

Today in my search keywords: “finish a fantasy novel”.  Why yes, seeker, I did.  Twice.  (I’m awesome that way.) How?  I will let you in on my secret.  Writer + laptop + chair + time = novel.  (I left out a few of the nonessential ingredients such as coffee, music and cats… if you are following the basic recipe though, and still having trouble, consider adding one of these.) If you are short of the basics, it is very hard to finish a novel.  If you have a laptop, chair, and time, and are still having trouble finishing, it is possible, as Grady Hendrix suggests in a recent post, that you are not actually a writer. It is also possible, in my experience, that instead of writing a novel of fun escapism, you’re writing a novel about hard stuff you have experienced: loss, ill health, depression, abuse, that kind of thing.  When I procrastinate, it is not because I’m not a writer.  It is because I’m afraid. Once I push past this fear, and take a hard look at whatever is in my path, I make my best work.  It doesn’t have to be literally about my experience–in fact, it […]

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