Everything from:short stories

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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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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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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Story Day!

Item the first: “Bleaker Collegiate Presents an All-Female Production of Waiting for Godot“ is live at Podcastle today, read by Tatiana Gomberg, who does a wonderful job as the voice of the young, jaded and vulnerable Deirdre.  I am so delighted by this. Item the second: Congratulations to all of the Nebula nominees.  Many of the works on this list I’ve read and loved, and I’m looking forward to catching up on the others.  I see this as a very strong year all round and I’m full of joy at the strength, beauty and relevance of our genre, and awe at the, well, awesomeness of the people I know. Item the third: speaking of beautiful and relevant work, Kelly Rose Pflug-Back has a wonderful story at Strange Horizons right now which you should go and read. Item the third-B: the first comment on that story was a hilarious troll complaining about SH publishing too many lesbian stories.  (If you are wondering: yes, all of my SH stories feature lesbian or bisexual protagonists.  Viva la revolucion!  Although SH has plenty of stories without lesbians, also.)  (PS: The fun that was had on Twitter today… well, I found a whole bunch of […]

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In which I apparently did make a New Year’s resolution after all

As you know, Bob, Duotrope began charging authors for its service and content as of Jan 1.  I chose not to sign up, even though the amount they’re asking is exactly what I voluntarily paid when paying was optional. Why pay when it wasn’t required?  I figured it was worth some amount to a whole bunch of people who would find it a financial burden to contribute, so I chipped in more than what I felt was my share in order to hopefully keep it accessible to everyone.  Now that the benefit would accrue only to me, the cost is totally not worth it. I’m extremely happy with this decision now that I’ve gone a couple of weeks without Duotrope. I don’t miss the submission tracking–I have a spreadsheet for that anyway, which is pretty epic, since I am an Excel geek courtesy of years of corporate life. I don’t miss the market listings–I have a market list of my own, on which I’ve ranked the various pro markets according to all kinds of personal factors, and so far, I haven’t submitted outside that list except for anthologies, which I usually find out about through word of mouth anyway. I […]

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2012 in Review

Some statistics from the writing trenches this year: Rejections nearly tripled vs previous years.  Not an accident–submissions also nearly tripled. Acceptances dropped, with no new pro sales in this calendar year–only reprints. Of course I feel less than happy about that, but I see it as a result of a strategic change I made: I focused on my novels in the early part of the year, and didn’t finish any new stories until quite late in the year (and still haven’t finished the final drafts of a couple of them).  I now have a nice crop of things that are ready, or almost ready, to submit in the new year. I got to see my work reprinted in not one but two print anthologies, which was pretty exciting–I now have two lovely paperbacks on my desk, between bookends which are optimistically huge and heavy, built to bracket a whole lot more books. I remain less prolific than I would like, and too easily derailed by life events.  My goals for 2013 include constructing a writing plan that will hold steady not only in the weeks where everything is golden, but in the weeks where I have a three-day migraine, a […]

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Story Hat Trick

I remember saying to my husband, while writing “Bleaker Collegiate Presents an All-Female Production of Waiting for Godot“, that no one other than me would ever want to read this story*. Then I sold it. Then I sold it again. Then I discovered that Ellen Datlow gave it an honourable mention in Best Horror of the Year #4. You know what? Now I’m going to finish writing all the other stories that I was sure no one would want to read. *He reads all of them anyway. That’s one of many reasons why he’s my husband. […]

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