Short Fiction March 2016

This month, I filled out my first ever Hugo nominations. Yay! Go me! However, it made me realize that I don’t track my short fiction reading, and it was tough to remember what exactly I read in the 2015. (There was one story that I never could find, and I’m not even sure it was published in 2015….) So going onward, I’m going to track it so that *next* year, I’ll be able to remember what it was I read. This is short stories up to novellas.

An asterisk to the left of a story is a note to myself to consider it for award time next year. Obviously I will have to cut it down a lot if I keep starring at this rate. An asterisk to the right means I thought it was really good, but it wasn’t published in 2016.

I Am Graalnak… – Laura Pearlman

To Be Read Upon Your Waking–Robert J Bennett *

The Curse of Giants– Jose Pablo Iriarte

*A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers-Alyssa Wong

*The Ballad of Black Tom- Victor LaValle

Monstrous Embrace– Rachel Swirsky

Your Orisons May be Recorded– Laurie Perry

*That Game We Played During the War-Carrie Vaughn

The Builders-Daniel Polansky

*The Terracotta Bride-Zen Cho

The Three Resurrections of Jessica Churchill-Kelly Robson*

The Waters of Versailles-Kelly Robson

Spacedad– Amanda Grace Shu

Love is Never Still-Rachel Swirsky

The Shootout Solution- MIchael Underwood

Pockets-Amal El Mohtar*

The Sad Tale of the Tearless Onion-Ann Leckie

*Forest of Memory- Mary Robinette Kowal

*The Second Death-Teresa Frohock

 

 

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Podcasts

I’ve always enjoyed walking, perhaps even moreso since we got a dog. I like to listen to podcasts as I walk and pause for canine investigations of interesting smells. They basically break down into few categories.

 

Probably enjoys a bacon roll just as much though.

Rebus the dog. Drinks less than the detective he was named for.

On Writing:

Writing Excuses: This is a panel-style podcast, hosted by Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Dan Wells, and Howard Taylor. Often they’ll bring in a guest. Episodes run about 15-20 minutes.The last couple of years, starting with season 10, they’ve been doing something really interesting and running the entire season as a masterclass. Last year was on writing a book (or story) and this year has been exploring elements of genre in a deeper way. The focus of this podcast is on craft.

Ditch Diggers: Hosted by Mur Lafferty and Matt Wallace from various places on Morgan Freeman’s estates, this podcast is about writing as a job and a business. It’s  a sometimes NSFW, very honest look at writing life, sometimes with interviews, sometimes without–always valuable listening either way.

I Should Be Writing: Also hosted by Mur Lafferty, ISBW focuses more on the writer making the trip from amateur to pro and some of the emotional pitfalls inherent therein. It is safe for work, and very encouraging.

The Worried Writer: Sarah Painter interviews various writers about writing process and overcoming self doubt. I love hearing people talk about their process and their writing path, and Sarah is wonderfully encouraging.

The Journeyman Writer: is hosted by Alistair Stephens of Story Wonk and focuses on  craft. These are short (5-10 minute) episodes and cover a wide variety of subjects. I live pretty close to the grocery store and my kids’ school, and these are the perfect length to provoke thoughts on the drives to and from.

Writing Adjacent:

How Did This Get Made:  Not even a little bit safe for work. This show focuses on terrible movies and how they misstep. It’s not focused on the writing per se, but on the whole awful experience. For those who watch SyFy original movies like Jersey Shore Shark Attack for enjoyment of the “so bad it’s good” kind.

History and cool stuff:

Stuff You Missed in History Class: What it says on the tin. Interesting looks at historical events and figures, some of which you may have heard of, some of which you might not have. History is often weirder or sadder than fiction–loads of story idea sparks.

History of English: This is an ongoing, focused look at the development of the English language.  What amazes me most about this is how much history still lingers in words we use every day, and how this deeper examination reveals the way people lived and talked hundreds and thousands of years ago. Writers of secondary worlds, this will give you so many worldbuilding ideas.

Sawbones: Medical history. This one is new to me–I’ve only listened to a few episodes, but I will definitely be listening to more. As a species, we have done some very weird things to ourselves in an attempt to fix ourselves up.

I am always on the lookout for more to listen to, so I’d love some recommendations. What podcasts do you enjoy?

 

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Girls like Wolves

I tried to write a villanelle. Poetry that sticks to a particular form is like playing soccer–the fun is in the strictures. What does ball control look like when you can’t use your hands? How can you build meaning with a line that repeats at a predetermined interval? I enjoyed the challenge. The end result owes an awful lot to Angela Carter.

 

Girls like Wolves

 

Many things are lost in the wood

If you leave the path to stray.

Girls, like wolves, aren’t always good.

 

You keep to the path in a thicket of should

When your choices are wander or stay.

Many things are lost in the wood.

 

The wolf comes asking if you would

Walk off the path; he knows the way.

Girls, like wolves, aren’t always good.

 

Temptation is: you know you could,

Despite what mothers always say:

Many things are lost in the wood.

 

You lick your lips. It’s understood

No one will know if you delay.

Girls, like wolves, aren’t always good.

 

Onto the fire goes the red hood.

What else will you burn today?

Many things are lost in the wood.

Girls like wolves aren’t always good.

 

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The Press of the Infinite Black

I’m delighted to say that my story “The Press of the Infinite Black” is live at Galaxy’s Edge magazine, available to read now on the internet, or in print or digital from Amazon or B&N.

This story started out as one thing and then morphed over the course of writing it. (This happens to me a lot.) This one started out as the relationship between a girl and her starship computer when everyone else is hibernating, but over the course of writing it, I realized that what she was leaving behind and what she was going to would have more impact on her.

I’m very grateful to Mike Resnick for buying the story. It’s an amazing ToC that I’m honored to be a part of.

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A month of Halloween nails

ghosties! 20151019_132647 20151021_100715 20151026_100139 20151031_105953

Spooky!

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Serial Fiction and Novellas

I have been reading a ton of novellas and serials lately. I love that there are wider distribution channels for novellas and experimentation with delivering serial content.  So of course I have some recommendations.

I am thoroughly enjoying Seanan McGuire’s Indexing  Kindle serials. The first one is out and complete now (and available as a paperback in addition to digitally) and the second one if currently running. It’s about the ATI Management Bureau, a group of folks who combat fairy tales to keep them from activating. No one really wants to see a Sleeping Beauty activate and send the kingdom to sleep. A few of the characters are parts of averted fairy tales–the main protagonist is a Snow White in abeyance–and a few are baseline human. Together they fight crime and keep the Narrative from inducing disaster. The episodes each end with some sort of resolution, but also often some sort of cliffhanger toward the overarching plot. I really enjoy the voice (and in the second series, we get a few other POVs, which I love.)

Serial Box is a company that’s doing “seasons” of episodic narrative. When I heard Max Gladstone was creating Bookburners for them, I got very excited, because I have adored his Craft sequence novels. Then I heard Mur Lafferty was also involved, and that pretty much got me to subscribe. The Bookburners are a team out of the Vatican that hunts down demonic booiks and tried to contain their horrible effects. Sal is the newbie on the team, a cop whose brother was zapped by a book, and she’s our entry character. It’s a fun series, and I have really enjoyed delving into the pasts of all the team members.

Serial Box is also presenting a season of Tremontaine. If the name sounds familiar, you’ve probably read Ellen Kushner’s Swordspoint and other novels of Riverside. Tremontaine’s first episode focuses on Diane, the Duchess of Tremontaine (yes, that Duchess. Eeee!) and introduces new characters (Who I loved! Can’t wait to find out more about Ixkaab, a Trader of the Kinwiinik dealing in chocolate and luxuries, and Micah, a very literal and mathematically gifted farmer.) Upcoming episodes will be written by Malinda Lo and Alaya Dawn Johnson, among others. I adored the first episode and can’t wait for the rest.

While I’m mentioning episodic fiction, I would be remiss not to mention Shadow Unit, by Emma Bull, Elizabeth Bear, and many others. The show is now complete, spanning four seasons, and available in its entirely on the website or as ebooks. I haven’t read this recently, but it’s so so good, and if you’ve missed it, it’s wonderful–an FBI team investigates anomalous activity. The truth is out there, and it’s kind of horrible.

I have also been making my way through some of Tor.com’s recent novella publications. I love what they’re doing with these novella releases, both in terms of the covers and the diversity of the kinds of novellas–UF, high fantasy, forthcoming SF; there’s a lot to look forward to.

I loved Matt Wallace’s Envy of Angels. Just loved it. If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant at all, you will recognize a lot here, and if you haven’t I suspect you’ll still enjoy it. It’s urban fantasy featuring a catering company that works for the government feeding demons (in this installment anyway) or whoever else they are asked to serve, with supernatural ingredients. They have a team of hard asses who retrieve the more esoteric ingredients, sometimes necessitating the regrowth of limbs. This is gonzo restaurant fiction, and it’s funny. The second one comes out in January, and I believe Wallace has one planned for each of the deadly sins.

Paul Cornell’s The Witches of Lychford features a vicar coming to terms with the loss of her husband and her new position as head of the church in her home town. Which is, unfortunately, about to get hit with some evil. Her former best friend just might know how to stop it. This is so atmospheric and seemed to convey small town English life so well. (Not speaking from a place of expertise on that subject.) I’m looking forward to reading more of Tor.com’s novellas (There’s a Mary Robinette Kowal one forthcoming in January that has a stunningly lovely cover.)

I’d love to hear any serial fiction or novella recommendations!

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Art Saturday (But Actually Monday): Finch, Peony, Honeysuckle

Finch

Late posting this one even though I finished it early! Watercolor and fountain pens. Inks used: Noodler’s Saguaro Wine, De Atrementis Cucumber, Diamine Syrah, Diamine Blaze, and Rohrer and Klingger’s Helianthus and Alt Golgrun.

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Art Saturday: Peacock

peacock1

This week’s watercolor and pen doodle is a peacock. I added some gold acrylic paint to the feathers for extra gaudy, because that’s how peacocks roll. Close up of the feathers:

peacock2

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News and stuff

I’m happy to say that Mike Resnick at Galaxy’s Edge has bought a story from me! More details as they are forthcoming.

Also, the Fantasy Faction Anthology, featuring my short story “Misericordia,” along with many other fine stories and essays, is available at Amazon US for $7.77 and Amazon UK for £4.99.

I hadn’t checked Goodreads in a while, but as it turns out, there’s a new review there and one on Amazon UK that namecheck my story as being good. That’s a pretty amazing feeling, to be honest.

Coming soon I’ll put together a short story page for out and forthcoming publications, so they’ll all be in one place.

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Art Saturday: Dragon

Dragon2

This week’s watercolor/ fountain pen doodle is a dragon in a forest.

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