Recent publications of mine!

Today I am going to brag about my recent and forthcoming publications! 

(I have mixed feelings about the publicity side of writing. I feel awkward promoting my own work, but I also want other people to read it. So here we are.)

Working backwards, let’s start with the Kickstarter for CATS: Cycling Across Time and Space! A feminist science fiction anthology about cats and bicycles, edited by Elly Blue. It is already fully funded, but you can still back the project and get fun extra stuff with your copy of the book (including a very cool enamel pin). But it ends tomorrow, so you don’t have long!

My story in the anthology, “The Certainty of Danger,” is about a woman dealing with the after effects of a marsquake accompanied by a cat she can communicate with through a neural implant. You can read more about it in the short contributor interview I did.

(I’ve had stories in other volumes of the Bikes in Space series, The Sound of Home, in Dragon Bike (February 2020) and Leaving, in Bikes Not Rockets (December 2018).)

In August, my flash fiction piece “The Present” was published in Ink: Queer Sci Fi’s Eighth Annual Flash Fiction Contest anthology.

The word limit for the Queer Sci Fi contest is 300 words and I enjoy the challenge of writing a complete story within such a small space. I also appreciate that each year’s theme allows for an impressive breadth of story ideas.

(I’ve also had stories in previous anthologies from Queer Sci Fi, What Is Left Behind, in Migration (July 2019) and The Moment of, in Impact (July 2018).)

And in May of this year, my story “The PILGRIM’s Guide to Mars” was published by Diabolical Plots (my first pro sale!). I really love this story, which took a long while to find a way to come together. I started thinking about a Martian pilgrimage route around the time the rover Opportunity stopped working, but I went through a lot of ideas before this one unfolded for me.

So far it has been a nice and productive year. It looks busier than it feels, though. So many stories submitted and rejected, so many abandoned before the submission point because the requisite pieces were not there.

But those are all equally valid parts of the process. Not every idea finds its appropriate expression in a story. Not every story finds a place of publication.

But some do and they are precious.

Story A Day update #2: what I’ve been writing

This is my second summary of my Story A Day writing this month, covering September 7th to today!

So I’m not sure that what I wrote was objectively happy (is there an objectively happy? I don’t know).

But I was nonetheless very happy with I wrote 🙂

It was another contribution to the novella-universe-prequel pieces that I have been mostly writing this month. And, aside from this story-scene itself, it also generated some other good ideas to further develop the novella’s backstory.

And it also ended up with a Sleeping Beauty’s fairy godmothers kind of twist that I really like.

I stuck pretty close to the prompt, although not entirely in all the details. I really leaned in on the death/souls aspect in this version.

There is something in the specificity of this prompt that conjures up so many ideas for me. (And I tend to like this kind of content-oriented prompt in general.)

This story hit closer to something I want to explore further than my previous attempt at the prompt. (Although I have done more work on my May story, I am not completely happy with how it resolves, like I had part of a story, but not one that was going to be complete within 3000 words or whatever.)

I have mixed feelings about these sort of prompts (in particular, specific, often very brief, word counts). On the one hand, I do feel that they are very good exercises in being concise and choosing your words with great care. On the other, sometimes I think of them as merely a distraction (because it’s not a ‘real’ story or some such rather bad reason).

All that to say, I wrote a six word story for day 9 🙂

Her grip loosened. She slid under.

See comments for day 9 about the 6 word story 😉

Having said that, I did write an exactly 100 word piece that was a bit story/a bit reflection on a particular element of my novella-universe, so that was useful and productive.

I do find that writing within a particular world (for the most part) is quite helpful in ensuring I always have something to write about, whether it hews close the prompt or not.

It was another piece of backstory for my novella-universe, this time a character telling their dying partner about what will/may/could happen in the future. 

So far, Story A Day is going really well for me. There have been a couple days where I have not done all the things I had planned on, but I have caught up the next day (or days!). I know I don’t have to do that, but I like to for myself.

What I’m working on now: This Monstrous Heart

The last time I posted, I talked a little about the novella I am currently working on, This Monstrous Heart. Today, I thought I’d say a bit more, partly just to share, partly to document my process for myself, and partly because I need to figure out a way to talk about it (I am terrible at back-of-book length blurbs and elevator pitches).

This novella has really developed out of a series of classes, which only reinforces my terrible weakness for being a student.

My initial ideas were:

  • Perhaps the star is a danger to a nearby inhabited planet
  • Or artificially blowing up stars using the same/similar mechanism
  • Harvesting uranium snowflakes

So I thought about the article a lot and ended up fixating on the last idea, harvesting uranium snowflakes. And about a month later I had a rough idea of the story.

Once I had that idea, I knew that it was probably novella length in its scope.

The comments were useful, but it was really the commitment I had made to myself to post the 2000 words a week that helped me get the first 15 000 words of the novella done.

My outline at the beginning was a bit vague about the ending and, as I wrote, I adjusted the outline to accommodate new ideas I had.

The first draft, which I finished in late August, ended up being around 23 000 words.

So I am now editing and it is going rather well. I did an initial edit of the full manuscript and made notes on larger issues I wanted to address (partly coming from the comments I received from Kate).

I have 4-5 weeks left to finish and I think it is going well (fingers crossed and all that).

The brief ‘elevator pitch’ description I wrote in early June still captures most of the story: 

With the star at the heart of the ancient Dyson sphere-like structure they live in no longer able to provide the energy they need, Terra thinks she has found a solution. But for her partner, Arolin, it is no solution at all. As Arolin and Terra struggle to identify a way forward, they discover they are both mistaken.

(It’s all mysterious about how they are mistaken.)

I need a better description than that for my own sake, but it will do for now.