Acceptance!

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I’m thrilled to let you know that my story, “Girl Singing with Farm”, was accepted by Reckoning!! Reckoning is an annual journal of creative writing on environmental justice. Oh yeah, you know I’m thrilled to have had a story accepted by them.

I will be letting you and everyone I see know when “Girl Singing with Farm”, and the other fine stories the good folks at Reckoning took on, is available.

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There’s so much to say, and at the moment, I can’t even begin. Therefore, I’ve been quiet lately. Not because I have nothing to say, but because I have too much to say, too much I want to point out, too much to express.

 

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Story Acceptance!

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Pantheon Magazine picked up my story “Stars Reflected in Every Drop” for their Tethys-themed issue! This story is one of my favorites and I am absolutely thrilled it’s found a wonderful home at Pantheon.

tethys - Pantheon Magazine

From Pantheon Magazine’s call for submissions:
“Tethys is the Titan daughter of the sky and the earth, guardian of fresh water, mother of the river gods and sea nymphs.
Tell us stories about rivers and inland seas, about water caverns–and those who protect them. Tell us about what happens to those who trespass against Tethys. We want to read about the delicate creatures blooming in rain puddles and about the dark awareness at the bottom of cenotes.”

I’ll let you know when it’s up (the issue is scheduled to appear online this fall).

It’s that Write-a-Thon time of the year.

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it's only a gargoyle if water runs out it

Out come the words!

I’m participating in Clarion’s Write-a-Thon! These fun and productive six weeks run concurrent with Clarion’s writing workshop. While a new class of Clarion students writes, sweats, and critiques, so too shall those participating in the Write-a-Thon. Find out more here.

My goal is to draft 6 short stories and/or poems. You can check out my progress on my Writer’s Page.

 

Poster for my WisCon Reading

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All Our Favorite Nightmares, Midnight swirly text, lens flare2

Used a drawing from Andrew Lang’s “The Green Fairy Book” to create this poster. Much fun in the making. Will have much fun at the reading, too, with the inimitable Emily Cataneo, Julie C. Day, and Sarah Read!

Hope you can join us Saturday, May 27th, at 4pm (that’s Memorial Day weekend). Reading held at Michaelangelo’s Coffee Shop near the Concourse Hotel.

WisCon Schedule

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Another WisCon! This year I’m participating in two panels and a reading. The reading will be the first time a significant portion of my writing/critique group will be getting together IN PERSON! We’re very excited and thrilled that we’ll be together and sharing our work with you!

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Here’s my schedule:

Small Everyday Forms of Resistance in SF/F
Type Program
Track(s) Feminism and Other Social Change Movements (Spirituality, Organized Religion and Politics)
Description SF often presents resistance as dramatic: clear-cut choices, cinematic fight scenes, and so forth. It’s difficult to get away from that mindset, even in real life. For those of us muddling along in moral murkiness, for those of us who can’t or don’t want to commit violence, for those who cannot for any number of reasons take up protesting full time, what are examples of small, everyday ways to resist injustice and fascism in SF/F?
Location Wisconsin
Schedule Sat, 10:00–11:15 am

Tweet! #SmallResistanceSFF
All Our Favorite Nightmares, Obsessions, and Inhuman Familiars
Type Reading
Track(s)
Description The Post-Apocalyptic Writers’ Group has been working together for a few years now. Members short fiction has been published in Interfictions, Interzone, Black Static, Gamut, The Dark, the New Haven Review, and many other venues. Some members have books forthcoming with others editing magazines. As a group our fiction encompasses horror, slipstream, fantasy and science fiction, but no matter the specific genre, the stories are always rooted in the dark and the literary with a strong, feminist sensibility. As a virtual critique group that spans a number of time zones, WisCon will be the first time we’ve been able to read together.
Location Michelangelos
Schedule Sat, 4:00–5:15 pm

Tweet! #FaveNightmares
Impeding or Empowering? Representations of Mental Disability
Type Program
Track(s) Feminism and Other Social Change Movements (Reading, Viewing, and Critiquing Science Fiction)
Description The world of social-change stories in science fiction and fantasy is rapidly expanding, but those of us with mental disorders are often overlooked. There is a lot of ignorance and stigma surrounding mental disability, including the question of what qualifies as disability vs. what is simply a difference. Like all other marginalized groups, people with mental conditions seek not only representation, but empowerment. Why are characters with these disabilities rarely written into major roles? Why are mental disorders such as Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome never interpreted as powerful? Why are we so often portrayed as weirdos and villains instead of heroes? This panel discusses relevant issues, the concept of neurotypical privilege, and works of fiction that do offer representation and empowerment.
Location Caucus
Schedule Sun, 8:30–9:45 am

Tweet! #ImpedingOrEmpowering

Please stop by and say “hello” if you’re going to be at WisCon. Leave a comment if these topics interest you or are important to you in some way. I hope to be able to bring many voices to the discussions. Plus, the discussions need not only be at WisCon, right? I mean, that’s what blogs and other forums are for, after all 🙂

What’s intersectional feminist speculative fiction? It’s where the future starts.

Why is genre a dirty word

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“We do not encourage the formulaic use of popular genre (e.g., romance, science fiction, horror, thriller, etc.)” – from the Iowa State University MFA website. This summarizes the academic view of genre fiction. Formulaic. That some genres carry “more literary weight than others”. Need I state that SF/F/H is not one that carries this gravitas or merit. At least in this quote, ISU recognizes, or pretends to distinguish, that the use of “popular genre” as formulaic is what’s frowned upon; though, the implication is that genre is by its nature formulaic and therefore inferior (“We understand that there are subgenres within each of these classic genres, some of them carrying more literary weight than others” = there’s a hierarchy, and guess where “genre” fiction falls?).

Relying on stereotypes is inferior writing. It’s lazy. Not crafting sentences or scenes; not developing theme or subtext; ignoring character arc and inherent cohesion; yes, these things are a sign of inferior writing, inferior craft. But that’s not the genre, that’s the execution and the writing craft.

This is an interesting conversation to try to have–to understand that SF/F (a.k.a. genre or popular fiction–I’m dropping horror because that’s another conversation) is not inherently or by definition formulaic. What genre fiction is, is a use of speculative elements relating to scientifically or fantastically derived themes used to explore topics otherwise unseen, or unable-to-be-seen, the that which is hidden from or difficult for social and personal conversation and contemplation. Topics typically unable to be written about for whatever reason (usually involving (lack of) emotional and cultural distance) can be written about and explored in SF/F precisely because the approach is an unfamiliar one. It’s disarming. Hackles don’t immediately raise; assumptions aren’t immediately formulated. I think this fascinatingly relates to post-normal science–that you can not have an observer-free observation. How’s that for academic?! Yeah! If I had more time and energy I’d drop some links and mentions regarding utopian studies, post-colonial and feminist theory, the human need for concrete ideology–something to look toward, as opposed to things to avoid.

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The Closest Thing to Animals by Sofia Samatar |September 2015 Fireside Fiction | Illustration by Galen Dara

[Sofia’s “The Closest Thing to Animals” is a wonderful example of well-written, thoughtful, beautifully crafted science fiction, a.k.a. speculative fiction.]

But this doesn’t mean you can’t write genre fiction that’s formulaic. Because you can. You can write bad SF/F. Some authors really do just write formulaic fiction with the trappings of SF/F. That’s possible. But it isn’t inherent to the genre.

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Some SF stereotypes commonly found in formulaic fiction. May be found in non-formulaic fiction (though they’ll usually look a little different in that case)!

It’s like saying that metal or rap or country music sucks (to pick on sometimes popularly picked on red-headed step-children of the music industry). Bad metal or rap or country sucks. But good metal or rap or country music is good. There is nothing inherent in these types of music that automatically frames them from foundation to artistic-execution as inferior.

I know this is one reason people have started using the label “speculative fiction”–to distinguish well-written stories with “literary merit” from the formulaic fiction (other) people usually call SF/F. I do. But this can be problematic, putting the speculative fiction in its own genre, since it furthers the idea that SF/F is a genre of formulaic hackneyed writing.

What do you think?

Here’s the opening quote with a bit more context: “We understand that there are subgenres within each of these classic genres, some of them carrying more literary weight than others. While we do not encourage the formulaic use of popular genre (e.g.,romance,science fiction,horror, thriller, etc.), we do support writers who wish to create cross-over works that combine the energy of popular genre traditions with the greater ambition and more nuanced techniques of classic literary traditions.”

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I’ve got something better growing

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Walking through the neighborhood today I was delighted to see strong signs of Spring. There’s no turning back now: the flowers are going to bloom, leaves bud and unfurl. Before we know it, it’ll be all-get-out Spring!

crocuses

I have no crocuses growing in my yard. Along with snowdrops, they are the first flowers to bloom in this area. I was thinking I’d like to plant some so I can have color and life early in the season. Looking in my backyard to see what’s happening back there I saw something better.

I’m growing dragons!

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What’s showing  in your yard or neighborhood?

(You know I’m going to have to write about this in a story now, right?
Yeah, you knew that.)

Poem,“From the Dictionary of Nonexistent Words, a Sampler”

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Happy New Year!

2017 has just begun and already I’ve seen a rejection (thank you Upper Rubber Boot “Women Up To No Good”) and a publication (thank you Kaleidotrope).

“From the Dictionary of Nonexistent Words, a Sampler” is up at Kaleidotrope!

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“Black Window Baby” by Cesar Valtierra

It gets better! Yes, it does. And this is the best part…I’m sharing this issue with two of my dear friends and writing family: Julie C. Day’s “One Thousand Paper Cranes” (Julie’s author website here), and Lisa Bergin’s “Scrapie’s Trap” (Lisa blogs with her writers’ group here). I’ve also had the honor of reading poetry with Gwynne Garfinkle before (Live & in person, at WisCon) and now I have the honor of our poetry appearing together–Gwynne’s “The Last Word” is in this same issue.

Life is good.

And with that, dear readers, I have some writing to do!