Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2014: The Year That Will Be

Well here we are, the last day of the year. Yesterday I reflected back over the year that was, today is a time to look forward.

I already have three things that I'm anticipating.

Invisible Champagne
First off, I'm kicking off the new year with a story release - always nice when that happens. My tribute to Anne McCaffrey "The Dragon in the Wardrobe" will be going live in Betwixt Magazine tomorrow. I'll do a Five Questions soon about it.

My other pending story release is my steampunk-animal-magic-ish-thingy novella "Long's Confandabulous Clockwork Circus and Carnival, and Cats of Many Persuasions", which will appear in the April issue of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. I'm really excited about this novella because it's the longest piece I've penned to date, I love the world and characters, and its my first piece to appear in ASIM, a favourite venue for many New Zealand specfic authors.

It would be nice to best my story release numbers and pro sales, but I'm going to take the year as it comes. I'd ideally like to work on improving my craft, write more to quality than quantity, and crack some tough markets - like Clarkesworld, F&SF, Strange Horizons, Tor, and Daily Science Fiction.

As far as improving myself, that's my third big anticipation. I posted earlier in December that I have applied to Clarion, and at this point I'm pretty chill with the concept (trying not to get myself too fangirl worked up about the idea of Cat Valente and Nora Jemisin as tutors, otherwise I might bust a valve). If I get in, holy cow will this be a Big Thing. If I don't, there's always other years, and I'll just keep plugging away like I do. There will always be other ways into the belly of the beast.

I'm going to continue with my 5000 words a week mandate, because that worked reasonably well, but also be kinder on myself on week nights so I don't burn out my energy/creative reserves. I'm going to attempt a return to regularly reading short fiction, though after burning myself out in the first half of last year I might be more picky.

I know having no set publication plan may be a little wishy-washy, but I'm going to wait to find out whether I get into Clarion before I make firm plans on any Big Project, or whether I will attend the New Zealand convention (might have to save as much money as possible). Right now I have some short fiction venue themes I am working towards, and that will keep my occupied for the first two months at least. Plus, I'll continue to spam slush piles and annoy editors with my submissions.

So, have at ye, 2014! Bring it on!

Monday, December 30, 2013

2013: The Year That Was

It was the best of years, it was one of the stranger years.

Looking back over 2013 there's a strange dichotomy. On the surface, my work has gone from strength to strength and I've had my best success since I started almost 4 years ago. Below the surface, there has been a lot of gnashing of teeth and tearing of hair, but that is more from expectations I have put upon myself than publishing problems. It's always nice to stop playing turtle and remind myself how things are going.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

My Favourite Short SFF Fiction of 2013

My reading of short fiction within my genre this year has been in no way reliable or scientifically chosen. I mostly read from accessible (ie: online) sources, or anthologies of themes I liked. There are magazines I didn't read simply because I didn't have a subscription this year - like Asimov's and Analog - and I only stuck to my Story-A-Day resolution for about six months. So a lot of my choices are going to be weighted in the early part of this year. There are also anthologies and certain months of magazines I haven't had the chance to read yet. But here goes, a few of my favourite picks for the year.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Five Questions: "Black out the Sun", Innsmouth Magazine #14 "Wings"

Welcome to Five Questions once more, the time where I let my blog narrator PT out of the box so they can run wild, spray paint the walls, and destroy anything that takes their fancy.

Okay, here goes, opening the box...

PT: Ta dahhh!
SFX: crashing noises, yowling cats
AF: Yay.
PT: It's so good to be needed.
AF: If you say so.
PT: You know you love me. Just call me Pandora.
AF: Just ask the questions.

PT: Alrighty then! "Black out the Sun". What came first, the edition theme or the story?

Friday, November 29, 2013

Hey u guize! Innsmouth Magazine #14 "Wings"

Innsmouth Magazine #14 has landed *rimshot* The special edition is called "Wings", and celebrates dark mythos around birds.

My story is entitled "Black Out The Sun", about a person who rediscovers during a desperate time of need a cache of feathers they collected as a child.

The edition also features stories by Gemma Files, Joe M. McDermott, Orrin Grey, Gio Clairval, Nelly Geraldine García-Rosas, and Scott R. Jones, and the cover art is by Oliver Wetter.

"Wings" is currently available through Amazon for Kindle and paperback.

I will be posting an origin "Five Questions" interview about the story very soon.

Fly, my pretties!




Monday, November 11, 2013

If I didn't have my writing, Christchurch would have broken me

Earlier today on her Tumblr, New Zealand writer Karen Healey, who has based some of her work in Christchurch and lived here just recently, posted a love letter entitled "To New York, From Christchurch, With Love". It referred to an article by a New York based writer who was scathing about her time spent in Christchurch, and how backwards the city was.

I started to write a commentary, then decided it deserved a place on my blog. So here it is, in it's heated glory, no filter, from my heart.

Excerpt:
"It is not a good idea to make a deadly and very recent natural disaster the snappy conclusion to your sad travelogue. It is not okay to talk about how much you disliked a place and how down it made you and then casually mention that large chunks of it are now destroyed, because whether you meant it to or not, that comes across with a very strong hint of “and thank goodness.” The 2011 earthquake is not an excellent metaphor for your failed, destructive, romantic relationship - unless your relationship killed 185 people and shattered the heart of a city.

That conclusion is not clever, nor wryly amusing. It is glib, nasty, and oblivious to the very real pain that cracks through the city Curry so despised."



Holy shit, I...*pinch nose, breathe*

As an author trying to make it in POST earthquake Christchurch, this hurts on so many levels. Our arts scene was pretty rad before the quakes. Sure you had to go looking for it, and have some sort of in - even now the Christchurch arts scene can be a little pretentious and insular, but once you know a few people, there are amazing art nooks and crannies to be found. I can understand the author's culture shock and level of being cut off. But DAMN, the first thing you do is start making friends around the place, and she was in Lyttleton, basically arts and hippie central, where I'd love to move to because of all the incredible artsy folk there.

Hell, of COURSE this isn't freaking New York City. But even social anxiety 2006 little ol' me could tell you where to find that pizza, bagel, enchilada the author so craved - just walk down the main streets of the CBD. The city was MASSIVELY packed with art and culture - just pick up the weekend newspaper, or talk to someone at a coffee shop, or go stand in the Arts Centre on Worscester Boulevard any damn weekend.

Well of course, those things are near impossible now. But there's still art and culture, and our weekend newspapers are still packed with it. It's not on a New York level, hell not even on a Wellington or Auckland level, but we take what we can get around here, and damn if it isn't incredible the resilience and determination on display.

It hurts even MORE because our arts and culture is doing this amazing twist and resurrection post earthquake. People have recognized that to make something of living in a broken city, there has to be joy. They started bringing that joy back mere weeks, maybe days after the quakes. Christchurch arts just didn't shrivel up and die, it stood up in defiance and say "Stuff you man, you can't break us".

We're leading the world in outer spaces art fixtures (Gap Filler) because our arts centre and galleries are closed.  We have people doing theatre and performance in any damn place they can find (from school halls to churches to The Court Theatre who have temporarily built their facility out of CARGO CONTAINERS). The New Zealand Film Festival this year was spread over many theatres, but we were still the first in the world to see Jim Jarmucsh's "Only Lovers Left Alive"; our arts cinemas (I love you Alice Cinematique and Academy Gold), born from the rubble, are playing some sensationally good line ups.

And from personal experience, my writer's group has been an absolute life line to my sanity in the last 3 years.

It makes me angry to think of some incredible authors who make Christchurch their home who have battled and worked through some really tough times post earthquake, and still put their damn books out. This woman should talk to Helen Lowe and Jennifer Fallon for starters, ask what it's like to keep writing while digging your broken home out of piles of liquefaction, or living in half your house while it's rebuilt. She should talk to the authors who have taken the pain of the earthquakes and turned them into incredible stories and books. Talk to me and the other Christchurch authors about "Regeneration".

You. Do. Not. Talk. Shit. About. My. City. Yeah, there are days where I DESPISE living here because everything is so broken, but goddamn will I stand up and shout from the rooftops about how our arts community has rebounded and made something incredible from tragedy.

If I didn't have my writing, my "night job", having to live here in Christchurch would have broken me. It was bad enough what I went through on that day. You do not get to invalidate my art, and the art that sustains Christchurch. Just...come at me bro.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Innsmouth Free Press "Wings" Pre-order Available Now

My next release on the cards is coming up in Innsmouth Free Press magazine issue 14, a special issue called "Wings".

My story is called "Black Out the Sun" and will be available in this special edition magazine from the start of December.

Pre-order is available now, for a lovely bound magazine or e-format.

The magazine also features some really lovely artwork (I've had a sneak peek!). Here's a bit of a blurb from the publisher's website about the issue:

"Innsmouth Magazine’s 14th issue is centered around a theme: wings. Birds who can become strange lovers, mechanical flight suits, a re-telling of Daedalus with goblins, and Pre-Hispanic myths with a dash of Cthulhu Mythos are the ingredients for this strange and unsettling volume.
With fiction by Gemma Files, Joe M. McDermott, Orrin Grey, Gio Clairval, Nelly Geraldine García-Rosas, AJ Fitzwater and Scott R. Jones. Cover by Oliver Wetter. Let your imagination soar."


Friday, November 1, 2013

SJV Awards 2014 Nominations Now Open

What, already? You say.

The nominations for the Sir Julius Vogel Awards 2014 are now open. Nominations are being accepted two months earlier than usual for the 2014 awards because the New Zealand con where the awards ceremony will take place is being held in April, as opposed to July like this year.

So here's the official announcement, with links and FAQs on how to make nominations.

So yes, I am eligible. Everything I've released this year (including the ones still to come up to the end of 2013) is eligible, but to blow my own trumpet I am rather proud of my three pro sales.

If you feel so inclined, go ahead and nominate whatever you like. I'll give you a chocolate fish....

...Oh crap, that's bribing votes, isn't it?


Yes We Can Has


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Release Day! "Oomph: A Little Super Goes a Long Way" from Crossed Genres Publications

What if Superman could only hover? What if Batman had a bat push bike instead of the batmobile? What if Thor had a blow up plastic hammer instead of one forged in the heart of a dying star? What if Wolverine's claws constantly went blunt?

The newest anthology from Crossed Genres Publications is "Oomph: A Little Super Goes a Long Way", edited by Bart R. Leib and Kay T. Holt, and it examines the every day superheroes, "where heroes and heroines use their small gifts to great advantage."

My story "Power Line Dreams" is included in the anthology. What if Thorsday was your one big day of the week, and even then you only had that 24 hours to figure out and use that week's power to the best advantage? Come midnight, boom,  back to pumpkin status. There are also recurring problems with kittens stuck in trees. 

"Oomph" is available in paperback and e-book formats. Cover art is by Megan Rose Gedris

Enjoy!


Can anyone else hear this monster shrieking "Eee! The purple gloves of doom!"

Sunday, October 27, 2013

What I've Been Reading Lately 27/10/2013

In my short fiction reading the last few weeks, I've been mostly focusing on anthologies and collections.

  • The first is "We See A Different Frontier" edited by Fabio Fernandes and Djibril al-Ayad. This anthology examining post-colonialism is a big bold step in speculative fiction, and has been garnering fantastic word of mouth. See the links to reviews at the above link - many of the reviews echo my feelings about the whole book and articulate it far better.

    It's rare for me to find an anthology that I love from start to finish, and pushes the boundaries of my genre so efficiently and beautifully. Every story is an absolute winner. My absolute favourites are "Vector" by Benjanun Sriduangkaew, and "Them Ships" by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Sriduangkaew's piece is lush and rich, and it's very rare for me to turn around and immediately re-read a story upon completion - "Vector" deserves it, because it's a provoking, layered story about a Thailand caught in a spy game between China and the US. "Them Ships" on the other hand is heart-wrenching in its simplicity, and the terrible bargain often made in the interests of survival. Moreno-Garcia tells a story of colonization welcomed by the poor because it evens out class warfare, and tells it well in quick, harsh strokes.

    If you want to stretch yourself, if you want to discover the diversity and future of science fiction, this anthology is essential. Don't be fooled by it's cartoonish cover - it deserves far wider acclaim than it currently has. Spread the word.

  • Next, I've been dipping in and out of Catherynne M. Valente's "The Melancholy of Mechagirl". As an avowed Valente fan, I'll read just about anything of hers put in front of me, no matter how difficult or challenging.

    Some of the stories are semi-autobiographical, making uncomfortable, but beautiful precious reading, wearing the line between art and artist thin. The collection also contains the novella "Silently and Very Fast" which I very much enjoyed  on first read when it was released last year, and "Fade to White", which I originally read on Clarkesworld, so it's good to have both of those great stories in holdable, physical form.

    As always with Valente, I often have to go with the flow and prose of her writing, even if it doesn't immediately make sense to me. But what differentiates Valente from any other author I enjoy, the plot often takes a back seat to the emotion and "artistic aftertaste" she leaves me with. She pricks my brain, and draws blood often.

  • Strange Horizons has had a storming few weeks of releases, absolutely confirming once again they're worth my donation. Check out Steve Berman's gay ghost story "Three on a Match". And once again confirming I'll read anything Sunny Moraine releases, there's the genderqueer coming of age story "Event Horizon", with just enough creepiness in time for Halloween.

  • I recently read Lisa Tuttle's "Lost Futures", and it's become one of those books that crept up on me. There's a lot of subtlety to Tuttle's style that I enjoy, so it's nice to come across more of her work. I read "Ragged Claws" at Lightspeed, a reprint from 2009. Tuttle is an author who doesn't give everything up front, something I really enjoy in a short story, so it's intriguing to pick apart how she manages to hook a reader without giving the ghost pig away.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

WHOOP WHOOP EMERGENCY: Save the Escape Artists Podcasts

Before Nightvale, there were the Three Little Podcasts That Could.

Escape Artists is the blanket company that runs EscapePod, PodCastle, and PseudoPod, the Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror podcasts respectively. EscapePod began in 2005, and their fantasy and horror brethren followed, delivering short stories in audio format for people on the move, busy people, people who prefer their fiction delivered through their earballs.

I have a personal connection to EA. I have voiced stories for all three podcasts, and for a period of time a few years back I lent my time and digital editing skills as an audio editor and compiler. In hindsight, I realize I was working on myself, trying to convince myself to become a writer, and I am forever grateful for the lovely bum-kick I received from Rachel Swirsky. I also worked with Ann Leckie during that time, who has gone on to incredible success with her novel "Ancillary Justice" (so proud and excited!).

I'm not just name dropping here to suit my ego. These podcasts have employed and published the stories of some incredible authors, they are run by people who really love and BELIEVE in genre, and they pay pretty good rates.

And now they are in jeopardy of closing down. So if you'll excuse me a moment:

Kitteh sez: NOOOOOOOOOO!
The EA podcasts rely on a donation and subscription model, and even though their listener numbers have only ever increased, their financial intake has flattened. I can't say it strong enough: GODDAMMIT PEOPLE, pay for the art that you consume. Artists cannot exist on love and air alone.

So here's the thing: Escape Artists need to meet their money-maker by December 31st of this year, or these pioneers of podcasting will kaput. Seriously, it would be like seeing three major speculative magazines wiped from the face of the earth.

Here is a quick post from PseudoPod editor Alisdair Stuart on the situation, with links to the various podcasts and details on how you can donate. Here is a link to the 45 minute metacast on the situation - if you have the time to listen, you'll hear from the many great people that contribute, along with some names with push. Have a listen to their passion and ideas.

If you know, love, and support EA, GREAT! Maybe consider bumping up your contribution. If you've dabbled in listening to them in the past, why not consider flicking them a small donation. If you've never taken a bite of the podcasts, feel free to do so, but at least PLEASE spread the word. These are damn fine people, with damn fine stories.

To get you going, here are some links to some of my favourite stories EA have published:
PodCastle 154: "Sinners, Saints, Dragons, and Haints, in the City Under the Still Waters" by NK Jemisin
PodCastle 165: "The Paper Menagerie" by Ken Liu
PodCastle 67: "Kissing Frogs" by Jaye Lawrence

EscapePod 388: "Trixie and the Pandas of Dread" by Eugie Foster
EscapePod 195: "26 Monkeys, Also The Abyss" by Kij Johnson
EscapePod 380: "Punk Voyager" by Shaenon Garrity

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Add a little "Oomph" to your life: Toc and Cover Art

"Oomph" is coming!

We now have a release date for "Oomph: A Little Super Goes a Long Way" by Crossed Genres. Mark Monday October 28th on your calendar - that's when you can pick up a copy in paperback or e-book format. The anthology examines every day superheroes - what happen when your powers are on the small side, or they don't work quite like you hoped? What if you only float instead of fly, punch through a tin can but not a brick wall?

From the sneak peek I've had, the antho is a lot of fun! I hope you will enjoy it too.

Here's the line up:
  • “Hat Trick” – Beth Cato
  • “Power Line Dreams” – A.J. Fitzwater
  • “Exact Change” – Christine Morgan and Lucas Williams
  • “Short Circuit” – Kirstie Olley
  • “Random Play All and the League of Awesome” – Shane Halbach
  • “The Writing is On the Wall” – Brian M. Milton
  • “The Breeze” – Mary Alexandra Agner
  • “Fortissimo Possibile” – Dawn Vogel
  • “Knuckles” – Ken MacGregor
  • “A Twist of Fate” – Holly Schofield
  • “Trailblazer” – Anthony R. Cardno
  • “Mildly Indestructible” – Jay Wilburn
  • “Blanket Statement” – Aspen Bassett
  • “Great White” – Brent Knowles
  • “Speak Softly” – Day Al-Mohamed
And here's the cover art by Megan Rose Gedris:
 
 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Facebooking across the universe...

If Facebook is your thang, I now have an author's page.

It'll mostly carry the same stuff I Twitter and Blog and Google+ about, but I like to keep my social media options open.

Come over and Like meeeeeeeeeeeeeee....


Facebook...ur doin it wrong


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Sad News: Fantastique Unfettered #5 will not be published.

Back in May last year I sold "In Bloom" to Fantastique Unfettered. It was to appear in issue five, slated for publication of November 2012.

Two publishing deadlines came and went, and recently I touched based with publisher Brandon H. Bell and editor Alexa Seidel to find out the haps since things had gone a bit quiet.

The indie publishing industry is a fickle and often difficult place, and unfortunately a variety of issues lead to the delay of publication. Delays meant that the stories had gone out of contract. FU were unable to re-contract all the stories, therefore they have decided to forgo all plans of publication.

It's a pity, because FU had a great idea for a magazine, and their content was interesting and diversity friendly (hello, my story was all about genderqueer people and their sewing magic!). Also, it's the second sale I've lost from 2012, but at least this one is under kinder circumstances. Brandon has been kind, honest, and open about the situation, and I wish them the best for their future publishing endeavours.

So "In Bloom" is now back on the table. I'm proud it got a hit on it's first time out into the traps, let's see if anyone else is interested in a story about fabulous queer fashion divas and their magical needles. Work it, baby.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Five Questions: "A Fear of Falling Under"

It's Five Questions time, which means having to crack open the cage door and let out PT, my internal blog narrator.

We're talking about my story "A Fear of Falling Under" recently released in Issue 27 of The Future Fire.

Come on PT, wake up. You need to be asking the questions, or it'll be like I'm only talking to myself here.

PT: This story better not be as creepy as the last one we talked about.
AF: Ummm....
PT: Oh come on! I'm a sensitive type!
AF: OK, I'm not super horror writer creepy, but the story has been described as "hallucinatory" and "haunting".

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

"A Fear of Falling Under", The Future Fire, Issue 27, September 2013

Next September release!

Introducing "A Fear of Falling Under", in issue 27 of The Future Fire.

I raved about the artwork by Robin E. Kaplan on Twitter and I'll rave about it here: holy wow, the artwork is INCREDIBLE. It suits the story so perfectly, I love the colour scheme, the whole "is that TOMATOES EVA person is holding?" wierdness of the first piece, and the characterization in the second piece. Also, the starfield is a lot like the background of PT, so, symmetry.

Be prepared for something different again with "Fear". Yes, the title was the inspiration (from a song about losing yourself physically and mentally, and sometimes not in good ways). Yes, I play with the protag's reality. It was a lot weirder in earlier drafts, almost incomprehensible. Yes, I was playing it a little Russ/Tiptree. Yes, there's a nod to one of my favourite books of all time.

Twinkle twinkle little star, I can see you're not that far...

Cover art of The Future Fire, issue 27: a person in a long black coat and black top hat
walks with their back turned through a graveyard



Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Short Fiction I've Been Reading 24/9/2013

I started this year with good intentions: a short story a day, with a link and review aggregation at the end of week. I was going well until June when I hit a mental speed bump and reading burn out. I wanted to read as much as I could to further my craft, but there was a sameness coming through; possibly a mix of the venues I was reading and I'm not an adequate reviewer with my lack of academic language.

So I'll try and slip slowly back into the short reading again. Won't be as regular as my story-a-day project, but I'm feeling in a better place to read shorts again. I'll probably go with a short one or two sentence review, and broaden the review if I feel like it.

Here's what I've read recently.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Five Questions: "The Mary-Jane Effect"

It's a big release week, so it's time to bring PT out of the closet and let him ask the (hard? weird?) questions.

AF: You, PT you awake.
PT: Zzzzt huh, what? You doing something?
AF: Come on you, you keep talking like that, I'll start counting those against you five questions
PT: Whu? Five Question time again? *sproing* Alrighty then! I'm awake, I'm your internal blog voice, I'm on the case, yeah! What we talking about?
AF: "The Mary-Jane Effect", released in audio and text format at Wily Writers this week. And I won't count that as a question.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Now live at Wily Writers: "The Mary-Jane Effect"

And we're live!

"The Mary-Jane Effect", winner of the Wily Writers SpecFicNZ Short Story Competition, is now available through Wily Writers in audio and text formats.

If you'd like a little more background on the story, check out the "The Next Big Thing" blog I wrote, including my fan-castings for the characters.

Thanks to Wily editor Angel McCoy, and guest judge Nathan Crowder for picking my story.

Image accompanying the story: a young girl, with the Wily fox on the left, and a red hand print on the right.


Friday, September 6, 2013

Sale: "Black out the Sun", Innsmouth Magazine "Wings"

Oh how boring, another one *wink*.

I'm being welcomed to the creepy Innsmouth Free Press family. My story "Black out the Sun", a tale about learning to fly taking on a whole new creepier meaning, will be appearing in the Innsmouth Magazine special October edition called "Wings".

Whoop!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Toilet Break

As it says on the box: toilet breaks and detours have been scheduled in.
[Ramble on life, the universe, and everything after the cut]

Monday, September 2, 2013

"Halfway Between Asleep and Dead" live at Luna Station Quarterly

Howdy do. Sorry for the breakdown in communication. I've been on holiday, among other things. More on that later.

For now, my creepy out-of-body experience story "Halfway Between Asleep and Dead" is now live at Luna Station Quarterly. Huzzah!

It's odd to see this story finally in print, because I wrote it so long ago - nearly 3 years ago - and has been bouncing around the traps for quite a while. It's an interesting little time capsule that shows how far I've come even in 3 years.


climming lader of sucsess to hard...needz a nap

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Sale: "The Dragon in the Wardrobe", Betwixt Magazine

My tribute to Anne McCaffrey has found a home.

I'm happy to announce that "The Dragon in the Wardrobe", the story I wrote in the week after Annie Mac died, will be published in the January 2014 edition of Betwixt Magazine

Thanks to editor Joy Crelin for picking up the story and giving it a boost.

That's number three for August! Woo hoo!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Sale: "Halfway Between Asleep and Dead" to Luna Station Quarterly

And number eight for 2013 means I've beaten last years sales numbers!

My creepy out-of-body-experience story "Halfway Between Asleep and Dead" has been picked up by Luna Station Quarterly for their September issue. This is another repeat sale - "The Woman With Flowers in Her Hair" appear there back in September 2011.

It's pleasing to see Luna Station Quarterly go from strength to strength. Since I was last published there, they now offer token payments and put out their issues in various e-formats.

It's also nice to have one of my older stories picked up. "Halfway" has been going round the traps for at least two years.

Yay!



Tuesday, August 6, 2013

"The Future Fire" loves me: Sale and Review!

I am pleased to announce that my story "The Fear of Falling Under" has been picked by editor Djibril al-Ayad for publication in an upcoming issue of "The Future Fire".

This is the second story of mine The Future Fire has taken. Back in February 2012, "The City of Sand and Knives" was published there, with accompanying gorgeous artwork by Laura-Anca Adascalitei.

I'm happy this story has found a great home, because it is a difficult piece about survival, confusion,  and loneliness after disaster.

Also over at The Future Fire this week is a brilliant honest review of "Daughters of Icarus". Djibril was equally honest about the flaws and strength of the anthology, and says about my story "Me Myself I":
This is perhaps the most wonderfully feminist story in the volume, celebrating the importance to all women (and not only women) of companionship, sympathy, support and learning from one another.


So a big double thank you to The Future Fire for yet again having the best interests of contemporary feminist science fiction at heart.


Cover Art for "The Future Fire" Issue 22, 2012

Monday, July 29, 2013

Places you can buy "Regeneration: New Zealand Speculative Fiction II"

It may have New Zealand in the title, but these are the days you can buy it from anywhere in the world!

You can purchase "Regeneration: New Zealand Speculative Fiction II", which includes my story "The Origami Tree", from the following venues:

Cover art for "Regeneration"
showing a shell-like building in the midst of a harbour,
set against the glowing backdrop of a city

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Five Questions: "The Origami Tree", Regeneration: New Zealand Speculative Fiction II

It's Five Questions time again. I've put my internal blog narrator PT on their best behaviour to talk to me about "The Origami Tree" which appears in the anthology "Regeneration: New Zealand Speculative Fiction II", released this month through Random Static.

AF: Alright you can come out now.
PT: How do I look?
AF: My, aren't you swish. You've put pants on and everything.
PT: Let's get the ball rolling so I can get this over with before this tie kills me. Alright, since I'm so nice, I'll start off with an easier question.

Walk us through the theme of Regeneration. How did it come about?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Au Contraire 2013: 50 Shades of Awesome

So here I sit and type, con crud approaching, wondering did the weekend actually happen? Cuba Street and a bevy of happy faces seems like it all happened in another dimension.

I entered Au Contraire weekend in two competing states of mind. First, I was laid back about attending things on the fly outside of my have-tos and hoping I'd end up having wonderful conversations in the bar. Secondly, I was apprehensive (but prepared) about being part of the security team and running my first ever panels in an official capacity.

But I need not have worried. The whole weekend was made of fifty shades of awesome (no, not referencing the book...but it did become a running gag through many panels).

Monday, July 15, 2013

Shiny Shiny Book Releases: "Regeneration" and "Crossed Genres Magazine 2.0 Book 1"

What an intense weekend it's been! While Au Contraire was on (wrap up to come), I had not one but TWO awesome releases happen in the same weekend.

Friday night I was proud to attend my first ever book release for "Regeneration: New Zealand Speculative Fiction II", which includes my story "The Origami Tree". We had a brilliant turn out of about 30 people at the launch, with a good selection of the anthology's authors in attendance. Dan Rabarts read from his creepy story "Mother's Milk", then we finally got a first look at the beautiful books. Much swapping of books for signing ensued! I got a little squee on because it's the first time I ever signed as an author - it felt a little odd.

The cover artwork by Kapiti artist Emma Weakley still blows me away, very much in love with it. To see the book in physical form against "A Foreign Country" (from Au Contraire 2010), and "Tales For Canterbury" makes me realize what a wonderful modern speculative fiction legacy these anthologies are building for New Zealand.


Photo Credit: Matt Cowens
"Regeneration" is currently available to purchase directly from the Random Static website, in paperback and ebook form, and also available from Amazon in paperback form.

But wait, there's more!

"Crossed Genres Magazine 2.0 Book 1" was released over the weekend (o hai Readercon!). The anthology brings together the first six issues of 2013, and includes my story "Second Skin" from the June issue "She".  It's available on Amazon for paperback and Kindle, Createspace, and Barnes and Noble.

Front Cover of Crossed Genres Magazine 2.0 Book 1,
featuring a young woman with a prosthetic leg at a glowing altar.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

365 Project: Stories read as of 7/7/2013

Stories read this week include Sunny Moraine, Rachel Swirsky, Sophia McDougall, Sophie Clarke, and Damien Walters Grintalis.

Monday, July 8, 2013

A Conversation About Con Harassment

There is a momentum in SFF communities at the moment, a wave building up, a conversation reaching critical mass. The conversation is morphing and shedding sunlight on many unsavoury parts of professional and community spaces, and it's all interlinked, a continuum of intersecting -isms. Women speaking out about one problematic experience in the system is emboldening others to speak up about others.

I didn't want to post about the latest conversation surrounding con harassment as just another link around and flail at the inadequacies of the world. I wanted to wait until I had something concrete, something different to add to the conversation.

So here's my piece of concrete: this weekend at Au Contraire I'm raising my teaspoons and helping out in a small way by being harassment liaison officer. This came about at very short notice, and I was initially a little reserved about it, but I thought to myself "It's time to stop talking and start doing".

It hurts me to see women and other minorities at SFF cons the world over still being harassed, so if I can help out in my small way, with my small community, I can take part in the conversation about changing attitudes towards harassment (sexual, racial, homophobia, disability). I want the dudes and harassers to know it's not okay anymore - we will not tolerate historic and systemic abuses of the system. I want the harassed to know they can come to me and safely talk about it, know their concerns will be taken seriously, and any report anonymous or official will be acted upon. If you want to bring a friend or a witness, that's perfectly okay. I'll be contactable in person (with my big ol' rainbow gay badge of doom), on Twitter, on email, and through other members of the concom.

I decided to step up and ask about the anti-harassment policy at Au Contraire after the conversation sparked a meta-movement throughout various SFF community platforms. The concom told me the policy is pretty much the same as the last AC in 2010 (I remember the wording, but am unaware whether anything happened at the con that required a use of the policy). This time I'm more aware of what people need and how to deal with reports. I will do my best to help out, though I am liable to my own failings - I am working within a system already in place, but I am confident everyone is on the same page. I've added my own wording touches to things, and made my expectations clear. I'll also be doing this in person at the the Con101 talk and the opening ceremony. (Oh god...I have to talk in public...)

I hope the weekend will be a fantastic fun time and my services won't be required. Also a reminder: this is not an invitation to waylay me in the halls and grill me on policy and how this is unnecessary coz we're all friends and I don't see it happening!11! (yes, we are; no, that's your privilege) and its so unfair that dudes can't flirt any more etc etc. I'm not here to soothe dudely feelz (one must wonder though, at a professional convention, why getting the mack on with teh laydeez is such a high priority over, say, one's writing career), I'm here to look after people negotiating personal autonomy in a public arena. There are plenty of resources available on line to answer the usual questions, some of which I will link below (which have come about as part of the conversation). The Fate of Flirting and Future Population of the World is not important (or even in danger), safe attendance in professional spaces is.

Linkzabout on Con Harassment (in semi-coherent timeline):

  • Elise Matheson "Reporting harassment at a convention: a first-person how to" - cross posted at John Scalzi's place and at Jim C. Hine's place. Both have comment sections with in depth discussion.
  • "Harassment and the back channel" at Radish Reviews. Includes an excellent list of further reading, including stories of harassment, historic inadequacies and stories, links for policies.
  • The #SFFragette hash tag for Twitter/Facebook was invented, and a blog under the same name created. They are aware of the problematic history of the suffragette term, and are engaging in an open discussion about this, so all feel welcome to helping out with change. 
  • John Scalzi "My new convention harassment policy". A pledge about attending or taking part in a convention only if it has a clear and well represented anti-harassment policy. Scalzi has invited people to sign on in support (I have).
  • John Scalzi "Convention Harassment Policy Follow Up", which answers derailing questions, and also recognizes that the policy needs to extend to racial, disability, and homophobic/transphobic harassment. 


Sunday, July 7, 2013

My Au Contraire Schedule

Next weekend July 12-14 I'm heading to Wellington for this year's national con, Au Contraire.

My participation includes:
  • "Regeneration" Book Launch, Friday 6pm, L-Space
  • Non-normative Bodies in Science Fiction, Saturday 10am, L-Space, with Anna Caro
         A discussion on how speculative fiction depicts disabled bodies, fat bodies, gender-diverse
         bodies and other real world deviations from the assumed default.
  • Trends in Short SFF/H, Sunday 10am, L-Space, with Marie Hodgkinson and Dan Rabarts
         Short fiction is a rapidly changing market. Long gone are the days when print  
         anthologies and magazines were the only place to get your stories published. Join some of
         the heavyweights of New Zealand's short fiction writing market to learn how the rise of the
         ezine, podcast, and social media have changed the short fiction landscape, and how you can
         tap into the power of new media streams to get your work out there.
  • SpecFicNZ Meet Up 4pm, followed by AGM 5pm, The Throne Room
I have also volunteered myself as "harassment liaison officer" for the weekend. This means I'm "Eyes Open" as a #SFFragette. I've adopted John Scalzi's anti-harassment con pledge - any con I attend must have a clear and well represented sexual harassment policy. Having seen the growing conversation around con harassment the last few weeks, I knew it was time to stand up and put words into action.

If you are attending and want to report harassment, anonymously or officially, I'm your first point of call. You can come to me in person (I'll have a security badge and I'll wear my smiley face rainbow badge too), Twitter me via @AJFitzwater or the official con hashtag #AC2013, email me via pickledfitz@gmail.com, or contact me via one of the other concom.

And dudes - Wheaton's First Law applies: Don't Be a Dick.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

"Situation Vacant, Apply Within", Interstellar Fiction, July 2013

My latest story release is now live at Interstellar Fiction. "Situation Vacant, Apply Within" is a fun lighthearted space opera romp, with burping starships, drunk cap'ns, and aliens with fance fingernails, oh my!

Goodness me, yes I can write fun things. I'm not all This Cat Is Srs Bznz all the time. In amongst the fun, I slipped in a genderqueer alien. I mean, srsly, how do we know alien beings will have genders like ours? And I ask you, how did we know Chewbacca was male, other than Han Solo saying so (and Christmas Specials That Will Not Be Named)? Under all that "Grarrghhooww" and "Ahroooahh", Chewie might have actually been saying "Dude, you're totally hung up on the gender binary. Wookies don't truck with that. My personal pronoun is actually 'Rawr'!"

Interstellar Fiction also did a quick Q&A with me, where I talk about the genesis of the story and gender swapping characters.

Artwork from Interstellar Fiction's July Issue,
of a person in a space suit overlooking large towers of an alien city.

Monday, July 1, 2013

365 Project: Stories Read as of 30/6/2013

This week's stories read include Veronica Schanoes, Catherynne M. Valente, Ken Liu, M. Bennardo, N.A. Ratnayake, Alena McNamara, and Claire Humphrey.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Great Expectations for July

July is going to be a great month for releases.
  • On July 1, my story "Situation Vacant, Apply Within" goes live at Interstellar Fiction
  • On July 12, I'm attending the release party at Au Contraire for "Regeneration: New Zealand Speculative Fiction II" (pre-orders available now) which includes "The Origami Tree"
  • On July 15, Crossed Genres Magazine 2.0 Book 1 anthology will be released, including a reprint of "Second Skin" from Issue 6
  • Date is TBA, "The Mary-Jane Effect" will be released at Wily Writers
Fantastic!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sale: "The Mary-Jane Effect" to Wily Writers

When I started 2013, one of my goals was to make another pro sale, building on my success from last year. And now, here we are, I've smashed that goal and I've made number three!

"The Mary-Jane Effect" has won the Wily Writers SpecFicNZ Short Fiction Competition for 2013, and will be appearing in audio and written form in July.

I'm over the moon about this because I believe "Mary-Jane" is my best story to date, and it's going to a fantastic venue. I wrote about the story last year in my "Next Big Thing" post, so you can get some inkling of what the story is about. I'm really looking forward to being able to share this story, it means a lot to me.

And now, it's time for the Kermit flail gif!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

When a Review Does It's Job Well

Check out this incredible review of "Menial: Skilled Labor in Science Fiction" by Benjamin Gabriel over at Strange Horizons.

I am super impressed at the intricate reading Gabriel has taken upon themself. This is the sort of critique that makes me want to be a better writer - it picked out the worst and best parts of my story, and gave it a thoughtful analysis that makes me go "Yisssss *fist pump* somebody got what I was trying to do, however clumsy and imperfect!".
By using the aesthetic of technological extrapolation to convey the content of sociological extrapolation, the point of "Diamonds in the Rough" becomes not just to tell itself, but to function as a critique of the political economy of science fiction.
This critique frames the anthology historically; Fitzwater's story employs Golden Age tropes in the service of a deconstruction of the way that period tended to obscure and ignore the social relations that conditioned its own production and distribution, and so the anthology as a whole takes the tone of this critique.
Thank you Benjamin Gabriel. That's some real awesome-sauce.



Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Beat Goes On: Kumbaya Mode, The Tone Argument, and Stompy Godzilla Socks

I sat on this one for a day because...I'm still broken like that. I might look like I'm all Pulling Up The Stompy Godzilla Socks, but deep inside I'm still immersed in the system, still unpacking what it means to be a Good Girl and not be the Good Girl all at the same time, still caught by The Noise.

Who are you? Who are you, to think you're anything in this industry? You haven't even made the pre-requisite to join SFWA yet, and here you are, thinking you can have an opinion on how things go? You're a tadpole, you're not professional, you're not being nice, and you know what happens to girls who aren't nice. They don't get anywhere. Hells, I know I invoke Joanna Russ far too often, but she's my bloody patronus. And she's sitting on my other shoulder, giving the stink eye.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

365 Project: Stories Read as of 16/6/2013

Stories read this week are by Sabrina Vourvoulias, Micaela Morrissette, Melissa Mead, Sam Barnhart, and Sarah Monette/Elizabeth Bear.

Monday, June 17, 2013

What Shall We Do With a Drunken Sailor: Racism All Up in My Thang

Again. Again again againagainagainagainagainagain.

*pinch nose* Please humanity. Please SFF community. Can we please grow up and fix these things? Because I'm pretty sure the altruistic aliens haven't visited us not because of distances but because we can't even clean up our back yard.

A couple weeks ago, the grumplesnort surrounding SFWA was the discussion of sexism. The discussion, while started by something nose pinchingly bad, has been positive. Lots of great women are standing up and telling their stories, while others are standing up and doing something about it from within.

Then a woman I highly respect, NK Jemisin, stood up and told another story, a great story, one that needs to repeated often, and called for Reconciliation within SFF.

Monday, June 10, 2013

365 Project: Stories read as of 9/6/2013

Stories read this week include Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam, Theordora Goss, Sarah Gray, Laura J. Underwood, and Shannon Peavey.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Five Questions: "Second Skin", Crossed Genres Magazine Issue 6, June 2013

Annnd he's back. My internal blog narrator PT has been rattling the cage door, because he knows it's that time again: time for Five Questions With Teh Author about writerly things. Stand back, I'm flicking the lock...

PT: WHOOP THERE I IS! Flowers, chocolates, glitter, thank you thank you all. I'm here to be fabulous.

AF: Ahem.

PT: Oh yeah, and talk to you too. If I must. So what's on the agenda today? Ohhh yissss, your story "Second Skin" that just came out in Crossed Genres Magazine. So, the first question is...this is nothing but Downton Abbey fan fiction with the serial numbers filed off, isn't it?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Monday, June 3, 2013

Genre Girl Cooties, Part One Billion: Bitches Get Stuff Done

If you're a woman, non-gender binary, or genderqueer person writer or reader of speculative fiction, then I have your back.

Because seriously, fuck this noise. Again. Don't like my un-ladylike language? Fuck that noise too.

The SFWA, the union I would like to join once I am eligible, has a member's magazine that has been used by a couple of Old Loud White Dudes as a platform to shit on the "ladies" (their term, and loaded with insinuation) of our genre. Not only that, over the last few issues there has been cover art featuring scantily clad fantasy ladies. Some people tried to raise concerns and counter these OLWD, but the pot boiled over this last week when the women and their allies had had enough.

"Regeneration": Pre-sale and Gorgeous Cover Art!

The anthology "Regeneration: New Zealand Speculative Fiction II", to be published by Random Static, is being released on July 12th. I'll be attending the release party taking place on the first evening of Au Contraire.

I'm proud to have my story "The Origami Tree" be a part of a table of contents that includes all these authors: Matt Cowens, Tim Jones, Mary Brock Jones, O.J. Cade, Grace Bridges, I.K. Paterson-Harkness, Kylie Thorne, Debbie Cowens, J.C. Hart, Jennifer Compton, Simon Petrie, Anna Smith, Rebecca Harris, Elizabeth Gatens, Jonathan James Todd, Fran Atkinson, Anna Caro, Dan Rabarts, Lee Murray, Grant Stone, and Toni Wi.

The pre-sale is now available - purchase a paperback for $24.95 (with free ebook) or the ebook for $9.95.

Check out the incredible cover art, done by Kapiti based artist Emma Weakley. Love at first sight for a futuristic Wellington Harbour:

Cover Art for "Regeneration":
 a twisting tree-like building rises from the waters of a harbour,
set against the backdrop of glowing city set amongst hills

Sunday, June 2, 2013

"Second Skin" now out, Crossed Genres Magazine #6, June 2013

It's a release day!

My story "Second Skin" is now available to read online in Crossed Genres Magazine #6. The issue focuses on the theme of "She". What is woman? What makes a woman?

I'm honoured to have my second pro sale featured alongside authors Shay Darrach (editor of "Menial") and Lucia Starkey.

Yay!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Cake!


I wish it was mine. Glorious, yes? (see how it was made here)

Everyone is allowed a big hunk of big ol' gay rainbow cake, just coz.

And what do you get a feminist geek for their birthday?

THIS!
Wonder Woman backpack with attached CAPE! And it IS mine!

Monday, May 27, 2013

365 Project: Stories Read as of 26/5/2013

This week's stories are by James Patrick Kelly, Daniel Jose Older, E. Catherine Tobler, Julie C. Day, and Marissa Lingen.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Week 19 and 20 Update

Captain Picklesworth, reporting in! *salute*

The HMS Pickle has been steaming along at a steady rate, hitting the 5000 word target with days and brain cells to spare. I'm currently writing a new epic fantasy set in a matriarchal world (quelle surprise!) which is well on it's way to novella territory. I'm enjoying the world building, and liking where it's leading me - magic books and dying nano-technology for the win!

I've also been editing my zombie piece "Mostly Dead". Well, it's not zombie, because there's no brain eating or even gore of any type, but there are plenty of undead. Probably more creepy. I'm being very picky about it, because there's some imagery I want to get perfect.

Books I've been reading lately include Catherine Lundoff's "Silver Moon", Janet Edwards "Earth Girl", and "The Other Half of the Sky" and "Daughters of Icarus" anthologies. I'm super pleased to have just received a copy of the 1995 anthology "She's Fantastical" edited by Lucy Sussex, featuring feminist fantasy stories by Australian authors.

It was great to get an acceptance in the last week. But (there's always a but with impatient old me) I wish they were coming quicker. I'm not sure whether it's because I'm not fast enough with my writing, I'm stagnant in some part of it, or my patience is pushing me about. It's going to be nice to have releases in June and July so I'll have something more to talk about! Plus, Au Contraire is coming up mid-July, so that will be an interesting weekend to look forward to - plenty of networking, and book talk and silliness to be had, oh my!

So, life in Pickle land trundles on. Not very exciting, I know. But there are always plenty of cups of tea to be had.


dis poor subztidute fur DisneyWorld

Monday, May 20, 2013

365 Project: Stories Read as of 19/5/2013

Stores ingested this week include Alex Shvartsman (times two), Damien Walters Grintalis, Andrew S. Fuller, Anna Caro, Garth Nix, and Emily Jiang.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Achievement Unlocked!: Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine

I have a list.

It's a list of markets I would like to see my work published. It's morphed a bit over the years, but there are definitely some magazines I see as touchstones, names I'm really happy to put into my bibliography.

One of those magazines is Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. One could almost say it's a rite of passage for a kiwi specfic writer, you know you're getting somewhere in the local industry (to the South Pacific region), when you're published in ASIM (as we fondly refer to it).

Count me in.

I'm extremely proud that "Long's Confandabulous Clockwork Circus and Carnival, and Cats of Many Persuasions" has been chosen to appear in the April 2014 issue of ASIM. It's a story of firsts: my first serious attempt at writing longer fiction (it's a novella), my first try at writing steampunk (I dubbed it Alt History Animagus Steampunk, if that's a thing!), and after three years of nail biting persistence my first break through of the slushpile at ASIM. Yay me!

Nothing left but the waiting. And dreaming of clockwork kittehs.

I'm in yur airship, waring yur gogglez

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Why I Removed A Story From Publication in 'Aoife's Kiss'

Exactly a year ago, I had a story accepted for publication in 'Aoife's Kiss'. I was excited and proud because it was the first story I wrote when I started this journey, and I was happy to see it get a home. The editor at the time, one Tyree Campbell, informed me it would appear in the June 2013 edition. I signed the contract, and waited.

And waited.
(Trigger Warning for discussion of abuse after the fold)

Monday, May 13, 2013

365 Project: Stories Read as of 12/5/2013

Stories this week include E. Catherine Tobler, Maria Dahvana Headley, Alexander Jablokov, Kenneth Schneyer, and Erica Lianne Inglett.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

"Here's SpecFicNZ-Christchurch" - a blog interview by Helen Lowe

Helen Lowe, the author of the "Wall of Night" series, Gemmell Morningstar and Sir Julius Vogel Award winner, is currently running a blog series featuring Christchurch based speculative fiction writers.

This week it's my turn!

When I first started my tentative steps into the industry, I was surprised and intrigued how many specfic writers made New Zealand home. Even more surprising was how big my local community of writers was, including worldly published types like Helen Lowe and Jennifer Fallon. My local team has been a great help in boosting my self esteem, cheering me on, giving me promotional boosts, and in general being good friends.

It's good to feel not so alone any more.

Thanks to Helen for the massive signal boost.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Update Weeks 17 and 18

Hellooo brain. Anybody home?

Week 17 was a shocker. I barely scraped out 3000 words...then completely scrapped it all on the Sunday night. Post Disney blues? Lingering jetlag? Who knows. All I know that it was one of the worse writing weeks of this year that didn't warrant a blog post all of it's own.

Week 18 on the other hand was much better. I resolved to make a fresh start last Monday, and made steady progress on a brand new story which bordered on the witty and interesting. I hit my word target by Friday night, so gave myself the weekend off to allow my brain a little recharging. I have to keep reminding myself: be kinder on yourself.

No news on any sales this time, though I received some encouraging news on one thing, so fingers crossed.

There's also a few things on the calendar in the next month or so. This week I will be blog interviewed on Helen Lowe's "Here's SpecFicNZ-Christchurch" series. I'm not a charisma machine, but I think I said some reasonably amusing and intelligent things. June will see the release of my story "Second Skin" in Crossed Genres Magazine 6, under the theme of "She". There is also the expectation my story "Through the Open Door" will be released in next month's Aoife's Kiss (just waiting on info back about that). And I'm hoping "In Bloom" will be released in the delayed Fantastique Unfettered soon.

I've been reading a lot of short fiction lately, and not just in aid of my 365 Project. I've got some great anthologies that I'm dipping into like "Daughters of Icarus" (well, yeah), "The Other Half of the Sky", Cat Rambo's "Eyes Like Sky and Coal and Moonlight", and "Bloodchildren" edited by Nisi Shawl (for the Carl Brandon Society) among others. I'm thinking this year will be more short fiction than novels, coz it's taken me ages to pick through longer forms at the moment. I'm annoyed I'm still a I'm a slow reader even after all these years.

Kitten Sez: Reading Rainbow

Sunday, May 5, 2013

365 Project: Stories read as of 5/5/2013

Stories read this week include Kathryn Yelinek, Sylvia Spruck Wrigley, Zachary Jernigan, Lucy Sussex, and Melissa Scott (only 5, since I ran out of brainage).

Thursday, May 2, 2013

ARC Giveaway: Crossed Genres Magazine 2.0 Book One

It seems a bit strange to be promoting a collection containing my second pro sale story even before it's released, but here it is!

Crossed Genres Magazine will be releasing a collection of it's first six issues of 2013 in July, and that will include June's "She", where my story "Second Skin" will be released.

If you'd like an Advanced Reading Copy of Crossed Genres Magazine 2.0 Book One, head on over to Good Reads and sign up.

And while you're at it, check out the sweet sweet cover art by Julie Dillon:

Crossed Genres Magazine 2.0 Book One:
Cover Art of a dark skinned young woman with an artificial leg,
gazing in wonder at a glowing podium



Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Just. No.

Sometimes one gets so exhausted, one starts having to make arbitrary choices on reading material. Trigger Warning for talk of uncomfortable topics below the cut.

Monday, April 29, 2013

365 Project: Stories Read as of 28/4/2013

Stories read include Lane Robins, Hugh Howey, Thomas Olde Heuvelt, Ada Hoffman, Sean Vivier, and Karin Tidbeck x2.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Week 15 and 16 Update: Includes Sale!

Howdy do! I'm back from House of Mouse 2013. Phew, the jet lag was rough on me this time. I really should travel more to get used to it. Haven't done a long haul flight in 7 years. Despite the aching feet and exhaustion (8-10 hours per day in the parks!), I had a fantastic time - I love me my Disney trips!

While I've been away from This Writerly Thing for a good ten days, things did keep ticking over. I received a few rejections, some good feedback on submissions and my BCS story, and NEEHAW A SALE! "Situation Vacant, Apply Within" will be appearing in the July issue of Interstellar Fiction.

Over the weekend I dabbled in some editing and rewriting of parts of a story, but haven't fully got back on the bicycle. I plan to do that from today with the fresh new week and fresh new start to the routine.

Here's to making the rest of 2013 a good writing year!

Disneyland Mickey Mouse Ears Hat, with my name embroidered on the back

Sunday, April 21, 2013

365 Project: Stories read as of 21/4/2013

Stories read include Cat Rambo, Bob Newbell, Conor Powers-Smith, Alexis A. Hunter, E. Lily Yu, Patricia Stewart, Aaron DaMommio, and Karin Tidbeck's entire "Jagannath" collection.

Friday, April 19, 2013

It's! (another hardcopy book received)

IT'S!
Cover of "Daughters of Icarus" anthology,
 just landed in my mailbox!
 
Page 207, baby!
 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

"Blood, Stone, Water": Five Questions

They're baaaa-aaacck! Let's pull my internal blog narrator PT out of their box and find out what questions they'd like to ask about "Blood, Stone, Water" (Beneath Ceaseless Skies #118, April 2013).

Monday, April 8, 2013

Week 14 Update

Release wise, the last week has been the best week yet. It's an exciting and nerve-wracking time having my first big story out there.

I'm trying to not look for reviews or whether I've got new Twitter followers, but...oh it's a terrible habit. I'm hoping that being away from constant online attention for the next 10 days or so will cure me of it. I have to stop caring less, because in the end what is one review or opinion? I have to distance myself from those things if I want to make a crack at this.

Writing wise, my attention span grew thinner and thinner the closer I came to Flight Time and the more time I spent trying to figure out how to promote my story on my limited resources and time. I eeked out 4000 words, finishing off the first draft of "In The Bones", but I'm not happy with the ending. I need some distance from it to come up with something better. The overall tone of the story is good.

Speaking of the "limited resources", I'm currently sticking to four promotional social media platforms because I don't want to spread myself too thin. I might revise this later if things starting kicking up into a higher gear. Currently I'm using this blog, Twitter, Good Reads (see the sidebar) and Facebook. At this point, my Facebook page is a mix of writing and personal, and I'm considering when and how to change that (ie: make an official author's page). The time's not right yet.

I'm on a jet plane in two days time for House of Mouse 2013, meaning I won't get much writing done in the next 10-12 days. I'm taking my brick of a lappy with me, but I have no expectations of output. I've been planning this trip for ages, and I'm hoping I'll come back energized and refreshed.

SPACE MOUNTAIN, BABY!

The blue-lit tunnel start to the Space Mountain ride

Sunday, April 7, 2013

365 Project: Stories read as of 7/4/2013

Stories read this week include Genevieve Valentine, Jake Kerr, Kali Wallace, Benjanun Sriduangkaew, Ken Liu, and Matt Wallace.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

#WomenInGenre Month

This is relevant to my interests.

Author and editor Harry Markov kicked off April with a question: "Where are the women in genre?". It wasn't an April Fool's joke, and it wasn't one of those clueless articles  that usually flail about completely missing the huge history of women in speculative fiction. Harry knows (part of) the answer, and he wants to share it with us and push the wider conversation forward.

Friday, April 5, 2013

It's a Week of Excite! "Blood, Stone, Water" released online at Beneath Ceaseless Skies

Well, here we are folks, the dream we all dream of. Boy versus girl...no wait, we're not quoting Prince songs, we're bouncing off the walls because my first pro story has been released!

"Blood, Stone, Water" is now live online at Beneath Ceaseless Skies.

Thank you to editor Scott Andrews for his patience and enthusiasm. It's been a journey, not only to get this story out to the world, but three years of hard work to finally get to this point.

I hope you all enjoy the story, and I hope to only get better from here on in.

Go Forth My Minions!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Places you can purchase "Daughters of Icarus: New Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy"

"Daughters of Icarus: New Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy", including my story "Me Myself I", is now available in a variety of formats for your optical edification:


Enjoy!


Monday, April 1, 2013

Week Thirteen: a story, an antho, a narration, oh my!

The last seven days really snuck up on me with its awesomeness, most of which didn't have to do with writing any words!

Starting out on a high of making a 2nd pro sale was good enough...then "Daughters of Icarus" was released (Amazon).

And then I had a narration at PodCastle released.

And THEN my Beneath Ceaseless Skies story was pre-released in ebook format (Amazon, Weightless Books)!

Lots all happening at once...and I go to Disneyland next week!

Words wise, I pulled my expectations back to 5000 words for the week, which I managed with an excellent Easter weekend of free time. I rewrote the second section of my swashbuckling Princess story, edited it, and sent it back around the trap. Then I started writing (again!) a story that just won't leave me alone. This is my sixth attempt at writing it - I think I've given up before because I didn't have a good enough ending, but this time I do.

On the book front, I finished "The Drowning Girl", and it was a hell of a trip. There were some parts I had to put the book down for a few days because it was very heavy - I was feeling physically moved/headachey from it. Now it's done, I've gone for something a bit lighter (?) in Neil Gaiman's "American Gods". Yeah, I know, I'm a total heathen, having not read Gaimen in almost 15 years.

So yeah, Teh Captain Picklesworth is happy after that week.