Sybil’s Garage, oh believe it!

Sybil's GarageLast year, after joining the Altered Fluid writing group, fellow Fluidian Matt Kressel asked me if I’d like to slush read for Sybil’s Garage. I said sure, as I’m an old hand at slush.Many, many, many, many submissions later, we were done, and I’d found at least one story that ended up in the final issue. I wasn’t the only one working in the slush mines (thank Hera!), and ultimate praise goes to head honcho Matt for selecting the amazing stories now available in Sybil’s Garage No. 5. It’s a very pretty magazine filled with a lot of amazing fiction, poetry, and non-fiction. I’m proud to have played a small part. Buy your copy now!

Table of Contents

Elizabeth Barrette – “With Every Fine and Subtle Sense Perceive”
Amal El-Mohtar – “Orpheus”
Miranda Gaw – “Last Supper”
Aaron Leis – “Glass”
Pam McNew – “No Word for Goodbye”
Adrienne J. Odasso – “River Girl”
David M. Rheingold – “Macduff’s Lament”
Eilyahoo Talgam – “Look Away”

Samantha Henderson – “The Ballad of Delphinium Blue”
Vylar Kaftan – “The Girl Next Door”
Barbara Krasnoff – “All His Worldly Goods”
Caspian Gray – “Waiting for Spring”
Jason Erik Lundberg – “Wombat Fishbone”
Alex Dally MacFarlane – “Tattoos of the Sky, Tattoos of the Days”
Gary Moshimer – “Salesman”
Hazel Marcus Ong – “Roses”
Daniel A. Rabuzzi – “Last and First”
Veronica Schanoes – “Lost in the Supermarket”

Dinner with Lauren McLaughlin, an Interview by Devin Poore
The Best-Dressed Man on the Court, a memoir by Mercurio D. Rivera

Clarion Bound

Looks like Clarion and Clarion West are starting to send acceptances (or phone them). Congrats to everyone who gets in, it’s going to be awesome (and tiring, and maddening… but mostly awesome). I thought this would be a good time to link to my Clarion Journal, as it is still online. Back then I was calling myself Finley Larkin–ah, the old days.

No clue how helpful this will be for folks, but it’s all I have in the way of advice and usefulness on this topic.

Apply to the Launchpad Workshop

Some of you may recall that last summer I sang the praises of the Launchpad Workshop, a week-long immersion in science and astronomy sponsored by NASA. I had a really wonderful time, learned a lot, and came back with several cool ideas for stories that I’m still working on.

They’re doing the workshop again this year and, if you haven’t applied already, I suggest you do. The deadline is March 31st.

Last year several people (who were completely jealous–in a good way–that I got to go) said that they didn’t bother applying because they thought that only major pros would be able to get in. Such is not the case. It does help if you have some publishing track record, and being a Clarion alum probably doesn’t hurt, either. But our group was a nice mixture of neo-pros and not-so-neo-pros and it worked out just fine. Writers all along the spectrum can benefit from learning more about these concepts, and the admins know that.

Another thing I like about the workshop is that they are very interested in getting women and minorities to apply, and they’re not just going for tokenism. Our group was diverse in terms of gender and ethnicity.

If you have any interest at all in astronomy and learning correct scientific principles to enhance your already amazing science fiction (or even fantasy… trust me on this), apply, apply, apply. It’s free to do so, the workshop itself is free (you’ll have to cover your own meals, possibly your transportation, but they have funds for those in need on that front, too), it’s a good time, you’ll learn a lot, Wyoming is beautiful, if incredibly empty.

Strategic Retreat

A couple of weekends back I went off to a writing retreat with some folks from my writing group and other assorted author friends. The trip was amazing in many ways, despite the evil snow that wouldn’t let us get up the mountain, and I can’t wait to do it again.

The retreat was nothing fancy — five days at a house in Woodstock. But my first real vacation in a long time. Five days where I had nothing to do except write, write, and write. It was a productive trip for me; several scenes on my YA novel written, a whole short story drafted, some serious background work on other stories, and relaxation. Oh the pleasure of actual relaxation. Continue reading “Strategic Retreat”

Short Essays by Black Authors Exploring History, Culture, Race & Ethnicity

All last month on the Angry Black Woman I posted short essays written by black writers about how history intersects with their writing. I’m lucky enough to know or have contact with some really amazing authors who agreed to contribute. Now that February is over, I can link to them all. They are definitely worth reading if you have any interest in writing and authors.

Weaving My Herstory With My Fiction by S. Renée Bess

Have I taken that risk and written about the unknown, or have I created plots and characters borrowed from familiar territory? I need to be honest with my readers and with myself and confess that I’ve used bits and pieces of my personal history in writing three novels thus far. Don’t most writers do the same thing? …in committing my characters to the computer screen, I couldn’t escape my past and present realties any more than I could walk on my hands for a mile while singing my favorite Gladys Knight and the Pips song.

Fiction Is Just Nonfiction Through A Distorted Lens by Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu

When you are athletically gifted, in many ways, it’s like having this weird magical talent. You can just do these things that people find amazing, yet, it comes easily to you. I was always the first chosen during games on the play ground. I was always the one racing and beating the boys. It was all easy, natural. Being in motion always brought me great joy. So I’ve known this kind of ability.

My storytelling often takes the form of a poem by Linda Addison

As the world whispers to me, as stories and poetry fall from my hands, history personal and impersonal take form, teaching me many lessons. I try to be a grateful student.

The personal history of the author is tangential at best by Alaya Dawn Johnson

…my daddy, this reviewer said, was white, my mom was black, and I just didn’t know what I was talking about. This reviewer did not know me personally. Information about the ethnicity of my parents is not available online. There was, however, a photograph of me at the end of my offending story, revealing the salient detail: I’m one pale black person.

How can we conjure the wondrous world we believe in? by Andrea Hairston

People with power, talent, and beauty don’t necessarily get wealth, success, and happiness. The tragedies that befall us are not simply caused by the flaws in our characters. Power and talent can be a torment in a system stacked against you. People can shun the magical ones, be jealous or frightened of brilliance. Social forces can thwart even the strongest will and structural reality can crush individual imagination and agency.

Each turn of a writer’s imagination creates a different history by Charles Saunders

I used real history to change fantasy history – a reversal of the usual mode, in which fantasy history is a transmutation of real history. Were it not for the historical sources provided by the books of Du Bois, Davidson and Diop – along with many others that line the shelves of university libraries – I probably never would have started writing at all.

I’m a die-hard multiculturalist as a result of my very existence by Tobias S. Buckell

Later, when I started my first novel, I took a Caribbean-settled world cut off from the rest of the universe, developing on its own. I wanted to place Caribbean people out in outer space, something I’ve actually gotten hate mail for doing (I was told by the emailer I had no business writing about 3rd world people in outer space because only westerners had the ability to pull of the technological grunt work do ever reach the stars). I guess my writing set out to provide an antidote to attitudes such as that.

I’ve grown to love complexity by David Anthony Durham

Early stories are likely to be autobiographical. That one was. I was Marcus. I experienced all those moments, and in some variation had that cultural awakening, spurred by images of Hannibal. My awareness may not have happened in the tight time frame of the story, but the motion of it is accurate as far as I can remember. It marked the connection with history – and with the history of people of African heritage – that became fundamental to my life ever since.

Picture Game Redux

Many moons ago when I was a wee lass and hung out in a chat room with other folks from the Online Writing Workshop, we used to engage in many group writing activities like word racing (the first one to get to 500 wins!) and the picture game. I don’t miss the chat room that much, but I do miss word racing and the picture game.

The latter is really simple. Find a picture, share it with the group, then write something inspired by the picture for 5 to 10 minutes. No stopping or editing or thinking, just whatever comes out. It can be a scene or a snippet of dialogue or description or exposition. Anything the picture makes you write. We then shared our efforts.

The only real problem with the picture game was that eventually we had this tendency to try hard to be brilliant and impress each other. The point wasn’t to be amazing, but just to write and get the creative juices going. Some people did get stories out of it, though. Continue reading “Picture Game Redux”

The Latest Thing

This weekend is full of many writerly goings on, including a reading at KGB bar that isn’t the Fantastic Fiction one. On Saturday (February 9) three members of my writing group, Altered Fluid, will read as part of a special night of speculative fiction in’s monthly Trumpet Fiction series. Eugene Myers, Matt Kressel, and Alaya Dawn Johnson are all terrific writers and you should come hear them be terrific.

WHEN: Saturday, February 9 @ 7:00pm
85 East 4th Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenues)
New York, NY 10003

Afterwards we’re going out for food and drinks and all in attendance are welcome to come.

People of Color in Fantasy Literature

Today @ Fantasy I posted part 1 of an interesting roundtable discussion about PoC in the genre, both as writers and as characters.  The discussion this week focuses on the state of PoC characters in the genre and it names names!  Next week we’ll get more into what writers of color are offering up.  The week after that we’ll discuss specific books, stories, and authors that we love.

Not coincidentally there is also an interview with Catherynne Valente up on the Angry Black Woman blog today.  There we discuss why The Orphan’s Tales is rarely praised for it’s multiculturalism or even recognized has having a significant number of characters of color.  A dollop for you:

Catherynne: Sigrid is black–which has resulted in the most bizarre conversations, where I mention that, and a reader will blink and say “No she’s not.” At which point I blink, and assure them that she is. And then I have to quote my own book in regards to the brownness of her skin, which is mentioned repeatedly.

ABW: Well, Sigrid is a hero and a saint and the protagonist of her own story. Unfortunately, that’s not usually the space where you find black women in genre fiction.

Catherynne: Yashna is also meant to be black, though for some reason no one ever seems to notice the black, female pope.

Quite a bit of interesting stuff going on in both posts–go read!

Broad Cast

Ended last week on a high note, then woke up this morning to more good news.  Rachel Swirsky of PodCastle accepted my story, Change of Life.  The story was first published in Farthing 3 and now it will go on to have a second life, which makes me warm and fuzzy.  Plus, the story is damn fun to read aloud, so I’m excited to hear what the reader will do with it!

I don’t have any info on pub/podcast date yet, but as soon as I do, I’ll post it.  I’m excited in general since this means that PodCastle will start up soon, and I’ve been looking forward to it.  EscapePod is one of my favorite markets and a beloved companion on many a long subway ride, so I’m sure PodCastle will be just as awesome.

That makes two acceptances in December.  I wonder if good things really do some in threes?  I guess we’ll find out.

The Perfect End to the Perfect Week

I had a really great week these past seven days. I’ll blog the other parts of the perfect week once I have pictures uploaded, but I want to share this last happiness right away.

I sold one of my favorite stories, Enmity, to Electric Velocipede! Got the email late last night and did a happy dance that probably disturbed my neighbors. Now I have even more reason to wear my fabulous EV t-shirt.

High Tea; Tempest vs. Minz

More news as the publication date approaches — currently it’s TBD.