Glowing golden sparkles and stars rising from an old, opened wooden treasure chest. Darkly lit on a planked surface with black chalkboard background.

Out Today! “The Half-Life of a Broken Heart” on Cast of Wonders

[Art by: Alexis Goble. Glowing golden sparkles and stars rising from an old, opened wooden treasure chest. Darkly lit on a planked surface with black chalkboard background.]

The year was Tuesday, May 5th, 2020. It might have been the same day that drinking bleach as a means of preventing illness was suggested by a sitting president of the United States…or maybe that happened on a different day. Linear time is more of a gesture in 2020.

ANYWAY. I’d written this post, then failed to publish it before being sucked into the next void and for that I am truly sorry, because this is one of the big highlights of my year. My story, The Half-Life of a Broken Heart appeared in this week’s edition of Cast of Wonders (alongside a gorgeous story by Kelly Sandoval), in an episode appropriately titled, Little Wonders: Hearts in Boxes.

When I wrote this story, I was utterly lost in grief. So it always felt like it held an extra little bit of my soul. I couldn’t have entrusted it to better hands. Narrator Caroline Reid perfectly captured the heart of this story, and Katherine Inskip, who hosted this episode, shared a piece of her heart, with a personal story that moved me beyond words. I encourage you all to take a listen and then subscribe for more. The Escape Artists family of podcasts have been doing incredible work for years and I don’t believe they’ve received even a tenth of the credit they deserve for their contributions to speculative fiction.

My deepest gratitude to Caroline and Katherine and everyone at Cast of Wonders who was involved in this episode’s production, especially audio producer, Jeremy Carter; co-narrator Nichole Goodnight; and artist, Alexis Goble. Also, a big thank you to editor Richard Flores IV, who first published this story in Factor Four Magazine.

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Art by: @ArtisticJ0urney

Out Today! Community of Magic Pens

Cover of The Community of Magic Pens. The background is a soft buttery yellow, with doodles on the border. Four anthropomorphized writing instruments pose under the title: a tan mechanical pencil using a cane; a purple marker, a black roller ball pen wearing a rainbow hajib, and a wood fountain pen in a jaunty beret.

Cover art by: Artistic Journey

I know it’s been a minute (2.7 decades in pandemic years) and that here on Earth we’re still firmly in the vice-like grip of these “Unprecedented Times” (© 2020). As always, I encourage you to help wherever and however you can, either in your community or on a national/global scale. Consider supporting a local food bank (find one here, here, or here) or support World Central Kitchen in their relief efforts.

But, it’s not all bad news, good things are still happening and I’m excited to share one of these good things–Atthis Arts’ latest anthology, Community of Magic Pens is out today!

Community of Magic Pens includes my new story “Do Not Write to Wrong,” which I first drafted back in 2018 as an outlet for my rage frustration rage re: certain stable geniuses in America. After I submitted it to my crit group (of excellent humans who are also excellent writers), and revised it based on their notes, I immediately…just…stalled…out. I loved the story, but I wasn’t sure where it would fit and I froze in an indecision loop. Flash forward almost a year, to when I saw the submission call for Community of Magic Pens. My quirky story (about a magic pen) seemed a perfect fit for a new anthology entirely about magic pens (interpreted in all sorts of inventive and unexpected ways), and, to my delight, the editors agreed.

I am thrilled to be part of this hopeful, joyful collection, alongside so many fantastic authors, especially during such grim times. Huge thanks and mad props (the kids still say that, right???) to our wonderful editor for this collection, E.D.E. Bell, and everyone at Atthis Arts.

Community of Magic Pens is available in print and ebook format from:
Atthis Arts
Bookshop
Apple Books
B&N
Kobo
Amazon

If you’re not in a position to buy this book right now, please consider asking your local library to order it, adding it to your “Want to Read” list on Goodreads, and/or spreading the word online!

Please stay safe and well. (Also, please wear a mask/face cover in public spaces–all the cool, considerate humans are doing it.)

Image description (since I still can’t get the bleeping alt text to appear): Image is the cover art for Community of Magic Pens. The background is a soft, buttery yellow, with doodles on the border. Four anthropomorphized writing instruments pose under the title: a tan mechanical pencil using a cane; a purple marker, a black roller ball pen wearing a rainbow hajib, and a wood fountain pen in a jaunty beret.

Cover art by Carlota Suarez

New Story at Fireside: “The Words I Starved For”

Cover art by Carlota Suarez

Cover art by Carlota Suarez.

Wow…and I thought publishing a story during an inauguration was difficult! In all seriousness, I hope you and yours are safe and well and that you’re doing everything in your power to flatten the curve. If you can spare money or supplies, please consider helping others in your community. As I mentioned in a previous post, local food banks need money, food, and household basics, find one here, here, or here; or support World Central Kitchen in their relief efforts.

Okay, so today’s the day! My story, “The Words I Starved For” is out on Fireside Fiction. Even though this is technically a ghost story, at heart, it’s also a deeply personal one. So writing it, submitting it, and publishing it, all felt slightly-to-entirely terrifying at times. But I was lucky to have the supportive company of many fine people (including my wonderful therapist!) along the way…

First up, big thanks to the Draft Zero writing group, which at the time included Frances Rowat, Beth Tanner, Asha Bardon, and Shannon Fay, who are all incredible writers and you should read their work immediately.

Also, special shout-outs to Allison Escoto, Karen Bischer (preorder her book!), and Richard Shealy who lent their years of professional experience to me while working on this story.

Of course, last but not least, heaps of gratitude to Fireside’s Pablo Defendini and Chelle Parker (and everyone at Team Fireside), to Daniela Acitelli who narrated the audio version (available on podcast apps and libsyn), to Winter 2020 issue artists Kieu Vo, Carlota Suarez, and Omar Gilani, to Julia Rios who acquired this story, and especially to Dominik Parisien, who edited it. Thank you, all!

I hope you’ll take a few moments to read (and share) “The Words I Starved For.” Also, please consider supporting another very cool project from Fireside, Puestes pa’l Futuro on Kickstarter. Even if you can’t back this project, you can help by spreading the word!

Be well and be kind, all!


If you’d like the Winter 2020 print edition of Fireside Quarterly, I believe you can still get one by subscribing here. To purchase the digital edition of Issue 77, click here.

Cover art by Carlota Suarez

Sneak Peek at Fireside Quarterly Winter 2020

Cover art by Carlota Suarez

Cover art by Carlota Suarez.

The Winter 2020 issue of Fireside Quarterly, which includes my story, “The Words I Starved For,” begins shipping soon! It’s not too late to subscribe for Winter 2020, plus a whole year’s worth of incredible writing and art from Fireside.

This issue, edited by Dominik Parisien, with stories acquired by Julia Rios, also features cover art by Carlota Suarez and work from Taimur Ahmad, Annika Barranti Klein, Amy Griswold, Veronica Brush, Vajra Chandrasekera, Sam Kyung Yoo, nwaobiala, H. Pueyo, Michael Robertson, LH Moore, Mike Loniewski, Hal Y. Zhang, and Nibedita Sen, as well as illustrations from Kieu Vo, Carlota Suarez, and Omar Gilani.

I’m delighted to be included among all these talented authors, poets, and artists. As for my contribution to this issue…”The Words I Starved For” is, in many ways, a story that has taken me years to tell. It’s a ghost story that also happens to be some of my most personal, belly-baring writing, and I am hella excited about it being out in the world. I hope you will subscribe, read, and enjoy!

 

 

All Kinds of Updates: Spring 2019

There is much to discuss and I keep intending to do individual posts, but work-work has been intensely busy this year and there just hasn’t been time. (In addition to writing fiction, I also run a freelance copywriting and work-for-hire business–so get in touch if you have an upcoming project you’d like to discuss! Yay, self-promotion-within-self-promotion! Incepromotion??? Probably!)

In order to get to everything before it is covered in the ash and brimstone of this dark and relentless timeline, I’m trying something of a round-up/newsletter¹ format.  Let’s see how it goes…

In case you missed it, I have a story coming out next year in NEW SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK! It’s a tribute anthology to the classic series by Alvin Schwartz (which featured those incredibly iconic and nightmare-inducing illustrations by Stephen Gammell), and is edited by Jonathan Maberry (who has been delightful to work with). I don’t have an exact pub date yet, but it will be out sometime in 2020 from HarperCollins Children’s Books.

Speaking of horror-related things, I’ll be at StokerCon again this year! I’m doing a reading and a couple of panels, both involving the intersection of horror and the YA reader/horror fan. Please stop by and say hello if you’ll be there too.

Looking further ahead, I’m thrilled to be a 2019 National Park Service Artist-in-Residence this summer. As an AIR, I’ll have two glorious unplugged, uninterrupted weeks of writing at Fire Island National Seashore in New York. For those unfamiliar with New York’s geography, Fire Island National Seashore is a gorgeous, coastal park on a section of Fire Island, which–according to the Native Land app, (support them here)–occupies the traditional territory of the Unkechaug. (If you’d like to learn more about the Unkechaug, check out this recent episode of WSHU’s “The Full Story,” in which Unkechaug Indian Nation chief, Harry Wallace, discusses efforts to preserve Native American culture.)² I love our national parks system–they were formative for me growing up and I’ll be writing lots more about this incredible opportunity as my residency draws closer.

Even further ahead–as in, sometime in 2020–Fireside Magazine, one of my very favorite fiction magazines, will be publishing my story, “The Words I Starved For,” and I don’t think I could be more excited. Fireside recently announced some editorial changes, so there’ll be more news and a longer post to come, including details on the issue and editor, but for now a deep and heartfelt thank you to departing editor, Julia Rios, for believing in this story–all the heart emojis!

What else is new(ish) and of note, you might ask? Or not. I’ll still tell you!

  • I recently taught a writing workshop for kids at the Center For Fiction‘s gorgeous new space. We had a lot of fun and I hope to host similar workshops in the future, so stay tuned…
  • Check me out on Curious Fictions, a site which features short fiction (mostly reprints) and posts from some of your favorite authors. If you love short stories, definitely take a look around.
  • I’ll be reading at Summer Dark, on Friday, June 28th at 6:00 p.m.

² For additional reading, check out (and support!) Jeremy Dennis’s excellent resource, On This Site.

¹ Back in olden times (the mid-naughts), when I worked in online marketing, newsletters were all the rage. “Newsletter! Newsletter! Newsletter!” the people cried in joy. Then Twitter and Facebook stomped in, newsletters lost traction, and in the new world of social mediocrity, the people just cried. But now, in the toxic wake of those sites, it seems like newsletters are staging a comeback–just in time for the apocalypse and possibly thanks to the Patreon model, which may also be floundering I hear? idk. I didn’t board that particular train, not having that kind of platform at the time (or really ever) and now it seems like there isn’t any point and–to complete the metaphor–that maybe the Patreon train has left the station. I should probably join Patreon. We’ll see. Maybe we can all try this app called Real Life. But it would have to be spelled without vowels, right? RLLYF? Is this app’ening? Where’s my hoodie and TED Talk and IPO?

³ I know these footnotes are out of order, but honestly, an ambling tangent about newsletters doesn’t deserve top billing.

(I’m not sure how to do a) 2018 Awards Eligibility Round-up (but I tried)

Obligatory (but a first for me) year-end awards eligibility post. I’d be delighted if you’d read and consider these stories for your Bram Stoker/Nebula/World Fantasy/Hugo/Campbell Award nominations and recommendations.

When the Slipling Comes to Call
Horror/Dark Fantasy
PseudoPod | March 2018 | 3,000 words

Reviews for “When the Slipling Comes to Call”

“[A] wickedly entertaining and chilling horror story with the texture and richness of fairy-tales and folklore.”
Maria Haskins, author, translator, and B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog columnist

*Also included in Maria Haskins’ 2018 Recommended Reading List!

“Unholy wow is this story amazingly creepy and fantastic! It oozes dread and atmospheric horror and will make you not want to sleep (or look outside your door) for a long, long time. Loved it!”
Merc Fenn Wolfmoor, author and 2016 Nebula Award finalist

“A beautiful dark fantasy episode.”
Sideshow Toys, “10 Scary Podcasts To Freak You Out This Fall

The Half-Life of a Broken Heart
Science Fiction
Factor Four Magazine | July 2018 | 1,300 words

Thank you for your consideration!