Tag Archives: short stories

Story sale update

As promised, the details of my recent sale. “Slumber” will be published by Daily Science Fiction. Yay! When? Not sure, but I’ll tell you when I know. I’d forgotten how fun it is to add new things to the Forthcoming list on the Short Fiction page.

For those of you who don’t have DSF goodness appearing in your inboxes, consider signing up here. It costs exactly nothing, and gives you nothing but a steady supply of free speculative fiction. Go ahead! It won’t hurt, I promise!

As for “Slumber” and what it’s about, well, I can’t really say. People, things, mountains, woods. Jam. You know…stuff.

Have a wonderful weekend!

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Tidbits returns from the grave

So, maybe that vacation I mentioned the other day isn’t going to happen. Yes, the driving and driving and the wedding will happen, but nothing we planned to visit on our great tour of U.S. history is open currently, thanks to the U.S. government. After I explained the situation to the kids, and suggested it could be solved by grownups learning to act like grownups, my thirteen-year-old broke in with “or maybe just like kids my age.” I have to say I agree with him.

I do have a bit of good news to share though. A short story sale! I’ve been a little lax about sending things out this year. Okay, maybe more than a little lax. Maybe, just maybe, the success I had last year startled me, and I ran and hid in the bushes like a frightened rabbit for a while. It happens.

But every rabbit has to leave the safety of the shrubbery at some point. I did. I survived. I sold a story. I’ll give more details soon, once things like contracts have happened. I’m pretty thrilled.


Long lists and generous hearts

Once upon a time, I learned that writers are supposed to have Google alerts on their names. Being the dutiful sort, I set one up. The internet, in a brief moment of mercy, decided not to make the alert work. Sure, an occasional email to let me know I’ve posted a blog, but aside from that, nothing. I’m a happy castaway on a very peaceful island when it comes to knowing where my name pops up online.

However, occasionally things manage to break through. This morning, for example, a kind soul tweeted to let me know that The King’s Huntsman is on the Million Writers Award’s long list of notable stories of 2012. That’s a lovely thing to wake up to. The full list can be found here. Huntsman’s keeping some great company.

While on the whole award subject, I also had a Pushcart nomination this year for She Walked Out The Door. The whole Pushcart process is shrouded in deep mystery–I only knew about the nomination because I received an email from an editor at The Sun, and I only knew the story didn’t go any further because eventually the names of some selected works showed up online and I could assume the notification date had passed.

I’m fairly relaxed about the whole awards thing. Nice work if you can get it, and the nominee lists always provide interesting reading material, but it’s low on my list of things to lose sleep over. What I do appreciate, in a very real way, are the people who have nominated my stories, or just told me that they mean something to them. Million Writers, Pushcart, the readers who added one of my stories to their own recommended reading lists, the ones who’ve sent me emails or stopped by here to say thanks–holy carp, folks, your faith and generosity rocks my soul.

I do, of course, have my core audience. But when I sit down to write these days, it’s no longer just Big Eyes and Guitar Dude out there waiting for me. The front row has expanded. The chairs may not match, but I hope they’re all comfortable. Let me know if they’re not.

Thank you.


Comfort writing

There’s something to be said for comfort writing.

(Psst. I’ll have you know that that first line, and these as well, I typed without looking at the keyboard.

Wait! That might be more impressive if I tell you something else first. Once upon a time, long long ago, I took a typing class in high school. The old fashioned kind of typing class, on electric typewriters. We were tested for speed on the first day of class and the last. The first day I managed a mighty seventeen words a minute. On the last, a somewhat less than stellar thirteen.

Yes, I was typing more slowly by the end of the class than I was at the beginning. We’ll ignore the fact that neither number held much promise for my future as a typist.

Anyway, when I started writing after my hiatus, I was a four finger typist and I watched the keyboard. Four years later, I don’t look. Only it’s a little like learning to ride a bicycle. If I remind myself that I’m not looking, I lose my balance and type something like absuhnc kenruhvj aseinincf kiawhid, which is very rarely what I’m trying to say.)

So, comfort writing. I still haven’t figured out this whole publication thing. I understand the “writing is communication” piece, and I’ve learned to be a brave writer and send things out, and I do my part to continue to grow. But the Infernal Editor still owns prime real estate in my brain, and the publishing part of writing can serve as a reminder of that fact. When things are going smoothly, I can ignore her. Other times, when I’m clever, I can type around her.

Sometimes, though, she just dances on my bones.

That’s where comfort writing comes in. Ninety-seven percent of her power comes from the threat that other people will see what I write. Take that piece away and she’s got no leverage.

This is what I do. I go back to the beginning, back when my writing was more or less a private fortress, with a moat, and crocodiles, and a dragon, just for good measure. I write because it makes me happier, and nicer, and gives me something to do with my fidgety fingers and even more fidgety mind. Lately I’ve written about what it means to be a Mender when to mend is to cause pain; about what the Undertakers do for a planet; about the sometimes nonexistent space between magic and science, and what happens when neither works for a dying girl; and about a man who falls in love with a grizzly when his plane crashes into the mountains. Next up, I think, is a girl stowaway who gambles with the god of the ocean to save her only friend.

It’s comfort writing. It’s mine. I don’t have to do anything with it unless I choose to, and I can change my mind at any time. It’s an exercise in writing what I love, rather than what I think I should write. It’s better than mashed potatoes.

And I’m doing it without looking at the keyboard.

(Mostly.)


This life

I have two or three things that I’ve been trying to pull together into coherent posts, but life continues to get in the way. This week has been tied up with, among other things, getting to the point of saying goodbye to our sick kitty, only to discover that she’s not quite ready to go. It’s been a rollercoaster of the worst kind, though I have to admit that at one point I couldn’t stop thinking of the bit from Monty Python and the Holy Grail and “Not dead yet!” If you haven’t seen it, I’m afraid I’m totally incapable of explaining it right now. In any case, Lazarus Kitty is here for a bit longer, apparently.

“This Place From Which All Roads Go” is now available at Daily Science Fiction. I have to say that I really didn’t know how it would be received, and it’s been wonderful to hear some positive things about it. Thanks!

This is one of those weeks where I would love to hear some good things, writing or otherwise. I am feeling very grateful today for a warm house, and for the way the hemlock boughs my daughter hung outside my window swing in the breeze. I’m feeling good about the new stories I’ve been working on.

Tell me, what’s keeping you going these days?


In the Library of Souls, part II

The second half of “In the Library of Souls” is now up at Strange Horizons. You can find it here.


Almost there

I should be finished with my latest pass through Wren later today. Everything is finally in the right place, more or less. It was a great shaggy mass of a story to work, kind of like oatmeal bread dough, wet and sticky and hard to shape. The good news is that it now looks and reads more or less the way it should.

My difficulty in working on Wren had everything to do with my process, and what happens when I don’t follow it. I wrote The Lost in the space of a couple months. I wrote its unnamed successor in a similar time frame. Working like that means the story is constantly in my head, and I sort through plot details on a daily basis, making changes as I go.

I wrote Wren off and on over eighteen months. Too many breaks, too much time in which to lose plot and character threads. It’s been an adventure sorting it all out.

Were my process different, were I someone who started with a detailed outline, for example, it likely would have been a different experience. But minds work in their own ways. Mine does better working out details as I write, rather than plotting it out in advance. Same process, whether with novels, short stories, or, long ago, college papers. The act of writing allows my mind to make connections that would be a struggle otherwise.

Anyway, one or two more revision passes and Wren will be done!

What then? I wrote a short story this weekend. I have a handful more waiting for my time. I have the short story that will not die waiting for me to take it out and despair over it again. And with Wren complete, it will be time to revise The Lost (the stories overlap), something I’m eager to do.