Write-a-thon Week 4, Carl Brandon Awards

This last week was hell, but I got my story done right at the last minute! It’s actually the first draft of a children’s book that I need to turn in soon. I’ll get started on revisions as soon as the Write-a-thon is over.

Sorry this report is a little late. Yesterday I had to get up very, very early to get on a plane to come to the LaunchPad workshop. Despite the fact that the plane was very uncomfortable and the flight long, I am so thrilled to be here! I’ve always had an interest in astronomy but only dabbled lightly in it because I was a bit intimidated by it. But when I learned about this workshop, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. Plus, it seems very non-intimidating.

There are many times that I wish I hadn’t gone to college right out of high school. I wish I had known a little better what I was interested in and wanted to do in life before going. Would have made all those years a little more productive. Maybe I would even have studied astronomy a little more seriously.

Since I’m at the workshop, this is the week I’ve chosen to do my second revision. I’m fixing Elan Vital up for prime time. I’m probably going to send it to Asimov’s when it’s done. I promise to take pictures and give a full report of the workshop at the end of the week. If you want more frequent updates, check my LJ. I may post more over there.

The Carl Brandon Society is taking nominations for the Paralax and Kindred awards until July 31st. See their website for details on the awards, but essentially one is for the best work written by an author of color and the other is for best work that addresses race (regardless of author color). They’re looking for works published in 2006. Anyone can nominate, and I encourage you to do so. I’m trying to put together a list of stories and novels available online that fit the criteria so that I can start making my choices.I had two stories published in 2006, one of which deals with race: The Seventh Reflection. I wrote this story about body issues, which includes skin color issues. I’m what folks would called “light-skinned” myself, but it still really bothers me that American media holds up light-skinned black women as closer to ideal beauty than dark-skinned women. One of the reasons I included skin color issues in the story was a response to that.

Anyway, the story was published in the Thou Shalt Not… anthology but I’ve put it up on the website here so that people interested in nominating for the awards can read it.

That’s all for this week. Next week is week 6! I can pretend I’m there in the classroom with Chip Delany, standing in the glow of a genius. Sigh! I miss Clarion.

Write-a-thon Week 3

I reached my week 3 goal! Go me. It was difficult with ReaderCon impinging on my weekend writing time, but I had a lot of fun and it was worth it. I didn’t end up taking any pictures, so unfortunately you’ll have to do without.The con itself was great. I ended up not going to many panels. I think that I completely paneled myself out at WisCon and felt more like relaxing and talking with friends. I spent a lot of time in the dealer’s room behind the Wildside Press table. Lots of people hang out in the ReaderCon dealer’s room, though, so I was sure not to miss anyone standing around in there.

I finalized all the details of my new position as Fantasy Magazine’s non-fiction editor. I know now exactly what I need to do and when. I already have my first interview in the bag and I’m ready to start on at least three more. I’m very excited about this job! I get to have conversations with awesome people about fantasy and writing and literature. How cool is that?

This next week is all about getting stuff done before I go to the LaunchPad workshop (and still having to write a story). I may also have a small surprise.

Write-a-thon Week 2

I’m pleased to announce that I reached my Week 2 goal of writing a new story!  It’s short (under 2K) and has no title yet, but it exists.

The next piece I’m going to work on isn’t a story, exactly.  It’s a combination of prose and graphic novel script for a “Choose Your Own Adventure”-type book.  A friend of mine asked if I could produce a short novel for them in less than a month.  Might as well use the Write-a-thon to get the first draft done!  It’ll be about the same length as a short story.

My Tuckerization auction earned Clarion West about $51!  I hear the other auctions went even better than that, so at least $200 raised, but probably more.  I think I will Tuckerize the winner in next week’s project.

I’m also going to Readercon next weekend.  Doing another Interfictions reading.  I’ll post pictures and a con report next Sunday.

Write-a-thon Week 1 & KGB Reading

Write-a-thon Update Week 1

I reached my Week 1 goal of revising a story! I revised Imperative, which I will now send out to some suitable publication. Excitement :)

To everyone who is sponsoring me, a big Thank You. I hope to keep up this momentum for the next five weeks.

If you’d still like to sponsor me, please see this post for details. You can also bid on a Tuckerization in one of my stories.

KGB Reading

Though I was very, very nervous, the reading at KGB went well. All of the readers and stories were awesome. And I was excited to meet Matthew Cheney for the first time.

Some pictures:

Just after I was done, by ellen datlow
also by ellen datlow

photos by matt kressel

Check out these photosets to see more: Juliet, Ellen, Matt

2007 Clarion West Write-a-thon

It is time again for the Write-A-Thon! June 17th through July 27th.

“During the six weeks of the workshop, while the current students are writing their hearts out, CW grads and other writers will join the frenzy, write like crazy, and raise funds to help the workshop break even. The result is a lot of excellent new writing, but the event’s overall purpose is to raise money to support the workshop.

This is our fourth annual Write-a-thon.

My goals this year include writing 4 new stories, 1/week for 4 weeks, and revising two stories, 1/week for 2 weeks, making a total of 4 new and 2 polished stories in the 6 week period.

I’m raising money for both Clarion West and the Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship Fund. I’ll split the money right down the middle (unless a sponsor wishes to only pledge for one entity or the other).

The Butler scholarship is important to me for the obvious reasons. Also because, when I applied to Clarion West, I didn’t really have the money to go. But I had the time and the opportunity, so I went for it. When I got in, I asked for financial aid, hoping I would get some money and then find a way to get the rest. Then I got the shock of my life when the administrators told me that an anonymous donor had paid my full tuition. Specifically did so for me! I still don’t know who that person is/was (though someone once gave me a hint), but I will always be grateful to them. One of the ways I can honor this person is by doing what I can to help other writers of color who may only be able to come if they get this scholarship.

To sponsor me, please visit my personal Write-A-Thon page. To read more about the project and see the other writers who are participating, go to the main page. If you’d like your donation to go to only the Butler scholarship or only to Clarion West, email me for instructions.

What do you get if you sponsor me? Other than the satisfaction of helping along a new crop of SF writers, of course. Anyone who sponsors me for $15/week or more gets to see all of the stories I’m writing/revising once I’m done. I’ll email them to you or I’ll show you the secret place I post works in progress online. If you sponsor me for $75/week, I’ll name a character or a place in one of these stories after you. (I’m also auctioning off a Tuckerization, if you want to bid and try to get your name in “lights”.) I’m crap at coming up with names, so you’d be helping me out, really. If you get on board with $100/week or more, I’ll send you a signed copy of the latest anthology I’m in, Interfictions. That book has some amazing fiction in it. Mine pales compared to the other stories.

Please email me to let me know at which level you sponsored me if you’re interested in claiming one of these fabulous prizes. ;) And remember, the money is going to Clarion West and the Butler scholarship (both non-profit orgs and, yes, tax deductible), so you’re supporting writers of color and the other writers who will have the benefit of diverse voices in the class.

Recent (and not-so-recent) Publications

Forgive my long absence from this poor, neglected blog! I try to only update it when I have some publishing news. But I’m falling down even in that aspect! If you want more frequent updates on my life and projects in progress, hop on over to my LJ.

Very exciting news this month (beyond my birthday coming up in a few days). The Interfictions Anthology (containing my story “Black Feather”) is now officially out and on the shelves:

Currently only $12 on Amazon
Here’s an excerpt to whet your appetite:

As a child Brenna had desperately wanted a brother. She would try to adopt the neighborhood boys into her family. She would try to walk away with babies at the mall. Other girls her age had crushes and pretend boyfriends. Brenna had pretend big brothers.

When she was nine Brenna’s mother told her that she was a twin. She had had a brother in the womb with her and on the ultrasound pictures she seemed to be hugging him. But in the eighth month only one of their hearts was beating. They were delivered by emergency C-section. Brenna held on to her brother until the end–he was born first, though born dead.

Her parents had named him Benjamin. When she was twelve, her mother finally took her to see his grave. Beloved Son and Brother. After that, the thought of a brother only made her incredibly sad. She no longer wished for one. She pushed it out of her mind and forgot about it entirely. Until now.

There will also be some interesting discussion of Interstitial and just what that means on the Interfictions blog.

People keep asking me what makes Black Feather interstitial. My first impulse is to answer: I don’t know. Then again, this is the story I chose to submit, so I must have felt it was in some way interstitial. For my part, this story is one I used to describe as being magical realism because the speculative parts are taken pretty much in stride and given credibility by the main characters. At other times I’ve also described the story as Fabulist. In the end, I sent this story in because it’s not exclusively fantasy, not exclusively a fairy tale retelling, and not exclusively a story about the 12 ravens that used to show up every time I went into that particular park.

When I recieved by acceptance letter, editor Dora Goss said: The way it combines the personal and the fairytale, along with some experimental writing, is just fabulous, and very interstitial.

Seems like as good an explanation as any.

Another bit of news I neglected to post here is another anthology my fiction appears in:

Thou Shalt Not… a horror and dark fantasy anthology From my story “The Seventh Reflection”:

Clia stood before the large, oval mirror in her room and stared at the reflection. Bone-straight hair?long, shiny and black?a heart-shaped face, perfect button nose, sensual mouth, and wide green eyes. The skin held no blemish and no imperfection?not too dark, but not too light. An elegant neck; firm, round breasts; smooth, flat stomach; curvy hips; long, muscular legs tapering toward the floor and ending at the bottom of the mirror.

“Yes, this is what I want,” Clia said. Her mouth moved. The reflection’s did not.

Are you ready to gather what I need?

“Yes. It’ll take a few days, though.”

I have nothing but time. The reflection shimmered away, replaced by an image of what Clia looked like in every other mirror.

She did not often look at mirrors.

I’ll be reading with other Interfictions authors at WisCon in May of this year.On June 20th we’re reading for the KGB Fantastic Fiction series in New York City.There will probably be more readings and events this summer. I will do my absolute best to keep you all updated on them!