Reprint Sale: “El Cantar de la Reina Bruja”; General Update

Happy 2019 indeed!

SWORD & SONNET cover. Edited by Aidan Doyle, Rachel K. Jones, & E. Catherine Tobler. Artwork by Vlada Monakhova.

How lovely it is to get to start the year off with some good news to share! My beloved witch-queen story from last year’s Sword & Sonnet will run on an upcoming episode of Podcastle! That makes my third sale to an Escape Artists podcast and my first to this fabulous home for fantasy fiction.


It’s been a long time since I’ve properly updated here for a whole host of reasons, most of which center around the fact that I spent two months languishing through morning sickness last summer. Yes, Baby #2 is due in April, and that means a very interesting year ahead indeed for this writer-mom. I’ve got lots of irons in the fire for the year ahead, including another wonderful Boskone (schedule TBA when it’s final!), my thoughts on forthcoming SFF novels and short story collections (and probably a few older ones, too), and who knows what kind of answers for story submissions galore. I’ve been very active on Twitter lately, so check there if you want blow-by-blow updates as the year progresses!

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My Readercon Schedule

Readercon 29 is right around the corner–a few days from now, in fact–and it’s about time I shared my schedule for anyone interested. I’m thrilled to have time enough to attend and participate in programming this summer, and I cannot wait to catch up with some long-unseen friends from across the country! You can find the whole schedule here.

Friday July 13th at 12PM
CONSENT CULTURE IN FICTION
Salon 6
In the context of ongoing extensive discussions of consent and harassment within creative communities, this panel will discuss how to integrate consent into creative works. How do writers approach consent culture within worldbuilding? What different kinds of consent can be represented? How do writers balance advocating for consent with honest depictions of nonconsensual situations?
Maria Dahvana Headley (mod ), Teri Clarke, Victoria Sandbrook, KT Bryski, Hillary Monahan

Friday,, July 13 at 4PM
THE BUREAUCRACY OF FANTASY
Salon 6
Authors such as Daniel Abraham, Max Gladstone, and Ken Liu have received attention for incorporating bureaucratic concepts into their fantasy works, but fantasy frequently has bureaucratic underpinnings that escape notice because they’re so familiar: the nuances of who inherits a title or a throne, the specific wording of a prophecy, detailed contracts with demons. Why do some bureaucracies feel more incongruous in fantastical contexts than others? What are some tricks for making dry, nitpicky topics exciting and comprehensible?
Kenneth Schneyer (mod), John Wiswell, Victoria Sandbrook, Phenderson Djèlí Clark, 
Alexander Jablokov 

Sunday, July 15 at 12PM
SPECULATIVE FICTION IN AUDIO: WHAT’S WORKING AND WHY
Salon 5
Authors such as Daniel Abraham, Max Gladstone, and Ken Liu have received attention for incorporating bureaucratic concepts into their fantasy works, but fantasy frequently has bureaucratic underpinnings that escape notice because they’re so familiar: the nuances of who inherits a title or a throne, the specific wording of a prophecy, detailed contracts with demons. Why do some bureaucracies feel more incongruous in fantastical contexts than others? What are some tricks for making dry, nitpicky topics exciting and comprehensible?
Victoria Sandbrook (mod), James Patrick Kelly, Benjamin C. Kinney, John Chu, Heath Miller 

Sunday, July 15 at 2:30PM
READING!
Salon C

Podcast Live: “The Moon, the Sun, and the Truth”

This week has been one of anxiety, grief, frustration, and rage for me. I have felt hopeless, powerless, and exhausted. I don’t often talk politics online, if only because I Cast of Wonders Promo Image for "The Moon, the Sun, and the Truth" by Victoria Sandbrook, narratedby Alexis Goble, Cast of Wonders 309. Image shows desert plants at sunset.don’t often know what more to say when there are so many experts–self-proclaimed and otherwise–to whom the masses can listen. But let me be clear about this: what is happening on our Southern border cuts me to the core. I believe it to be unethical by every standard I use for measuring such things. Condoning the people or policies that allowed this to happen is equally unacceptable. Silence is complicity.

I don’t think I’ve put any of these feelings into words better than “The Moon, the Sun, and the Truth” (Shimmer, Issue #38). Maybe that’s why, for me, hearing the story air as a podcast on Cast of Wonders (Episode 309) was such a balm today. I needed to stand with some people doing something (even if they’re fictional). I needed to hear the small hope that lives on in the depths of a dystopia (even one that doesn’t feel as far-fetched as it did when I wrote it a mere year and a half ago). I needed some rage and truth-sharing. I needed Alexis Goble’s brilliant note at the end of the episode.

I hope you’ll give it a listen and, if you do, that it feeds your soul a little.

#Resist

Story Sale: “El Cantar de la Reina Bruja”

New sale–and not the one I teased in my post last week!

I’m delighted that my fantasy story “El Cantar de la Reina Bruja” will appear in the battle poet anthology Sword & Sonnet. (Click the link; the artwork is phenomenal!)

I’m as excited to read this as I am to be a contributor! I owe a huge thanks to the friends that read and critiqued this before I sent it out and everyone who attended my reading at Boskone and offered kind words (it was out on submission by then).

Expect more details as everything comes together, but the anthology will be available in print and digital later this year.

February and March Writing Round-Up

Ug. So.

February ended and March began with a blizzard that knocked my power out for three days. All has been well since then, just busy and harried and I didn’t really have time until this moment to sit down and catch up with myself on this.

WHAT WORKED

The short of it really is that February and March were not the most successful writing-y-the-numbers months I’ve had. Is that okay? Sure. Mostly because what I did do was significant. I put the finishing touches on a few stories and submitted them. I re-wrote the beginning of the new novel I’m working on and reworked the outline to cut a projected 20k out of the book (always a good thing for overwriters like me!). And I sold a reprint! More news there when I get the countersigned contract!

Possibly as important as writing time these months were the hours spent with friends, colleagues, and family. I had plenty of dips and dives (see below), but they were all tempered by getting to return to my extrovert ways here and there. If I can cobble together a year that is both productive and filled with people, it’ll be a good year indeed.

A CAREER BINGO LANDMARK: 100th Rejection

I got my 100th short fiction rejection recently and had a little self-care party in its honor. I think it important to celebrate landmarks like this for lots of reasons. First, it’s a sign that I’ve been submitting, that I’m actively doing the work it takes to be published. But I also think our society could use a little normalizing of struggle. Social media casts a rosy light on so much of our lives that any one of us in a rut might end up feeling like we’re the only one not “living our best life.” I know that kind of living isn’t without hard work, mistakes, ad outright failure, and I think there’s no shame in being honest about the ups and the down of the process. So yeah. One hundred rejections.

WHERE I STRUGGLED

I have a kid in daycare and that means we get every bug that breezes through. A whole week in February to the flu and the intermittent colds have slowed everything down. Oh and the snowstorm and resulting snow days. And February vacation week (no, not “we went on vacation,” just “no school.” And migraines. And needing to adult. I resented a lot of the stops and starts for a while, but really, there was nothing to be done about them besides work through them and after them. And I did. Life’s never going to give me the all-clear-to-write-without-interruptions, so I’ll just keep making the most of what I get. And I’ll be glad for it later!

BY THE NUMBERS

  • Words written: 29.805/200,000 (chugging along)
  • New works (goal: 12 new shorter works submitted in 2018):
    • Started: 7
    • Drafted: 6
    • Revised: 3
    • Submitted: 3
  • Books read: 12/30 (see above)

January Writing Round-Up

New year, new round-up format!

WHAT WORKED
I spent so much time reading this month! Ten books. TEN. That’s a full third of my goal this year! I’m going to feel so well-read by the time I get to my Boskone panels. This is totally all due to manuscript avoidance, but HEY. I. Read. Good. Books. That’s a win all on its own.

I’ve been enjoying the annual Weekend Warrior contest on Codex. One week of the 5-flashes-in-5-weeks contest. I think two of the ones I’ve written this year are good enough to go somewhere. The others will be great trunked seeds for something later on. Who knows what this (final) weekend will bring!

I wrote a story mid-week and it flew from my fingers fully formed. It was great and I can’t wait to get comments back so I can shine it up pretty and submit it to the market I wrote it for.
WHERE I STRUGGLED
Life. Is life ever not a struggle? I’ve been dealing with existential dread on every level: politics, novel querying, novel drafting, short story submissions, and on and on and on. I’ve got a couple of coping mechanisms that work just enough, but I need to not play manuscript avoidance forever. Time to get the butt in the chair.

Words on the page. I really wanted about double my goal for this month, but I’ll take what I got. It was my most productive month since last May when I was drafting my novella, so frustrated or not, it was an objectively good month. Now I just need to tell my head that.
BY THE NUMBERS

  • Words written: 16,167/200,000 (on track!!!)
  • New works (goal: 12 new shorter works submitted in 2018):
    • Started: 6
    • Drafted: 5
    • Revised: 0
    • Submitted: 0
  • Books read: 10/30 (see above)

 

My Boskone Schedule

Not much longer to wait for one of my favorite conventions ever. Boskone holds a special place in my heart because it was my first con, a con I’ve always shared with my husband and some of our extended family, and a con where I feel like I know so many people. Looking at my panels, I’m really excited to get to have conversations with these smart and talented SFF people, and I cannot wait to devour panels morning-to-night.

I’ll be bringing a copy of Shimmer 2017 (in which my story “The Moon, The Sun, and the Truth” appears, among many other superb works) to give away to one lucky reading attendee. Please come! I’ll be reading something new! (/suppresses a satisfied cackle)

Where and when you ask? Oh. Here.

 

AIs and the Female Image
Format: Panel
16 Feb 2018, Friday 14:00 – 15:00, Marina 3 (Westin)
When it comes to AIs wearing mechanical bodies, until recently, many “female” AIs were all about gorgeousness and sexuality. Now some portrayals emphasize strength and intelligence. Can you do both? How well do these creations represent women, metaphorically or realistically? How does the representation of “male” AIs differ?
Victoria Sandbrook (M), Catherine Asaro, Christine Taylor-Butler, Laurence Raphael Brothers, John P. Murphy
Angels in Speculative Fiction
Format: Panel
16 Feb 2018, Friday 15:00 – 16:00, Marina 4 (Westin)
Angels in fantasy, science fiction, and horror aren’t always what you might expect. There are the ones that behave, well, angelically, and the fallen angels — but also bad-tempered angels, angels from advanced civilizations, and more. What attracts writers (and readers) to this motif? What common themes, like redemption or the Fall, recur? Are there novel ways to write an angel?
Bob Kuhn (M), Alexander Jablokov, Victoria Sandbrook, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Walt Williams
Feminist Fairy Tales
Format: Panel
17 Feb 2018, Saturday 10:00 – 11:00, Burroughs (Westin)
Women frequently serve as the main characters of fairy tales. (Why, by the way?) It’s hard not to notice they’re often presented as victims, or the subjects of a lesson learned. Do any tales instead offer strong female role models? What can modern feminist perspectives contribute when considering stories from so long ago and/or far away?
Jane Yolen, Victoria Sandbrook, Andrea Corbin, Julia Rios, E.J. Stevens

Reading by Victoria Sandbrook
Format: Reading
17 Feb 2018, Saturday 11:00 – 11:30, Independence (Westin)

Women Who Write Science Fiction
Format: Panel
18 Feb 2018, Sunday 12:00 – 13:00, Marina 3 (Westin)
Mary Shelley, Leigh Brackett, Ursula K. Le Guin, Connie Willis, N. K. Jemisin —  women have been in the thick of writing science fiction for a very long time. Let’s discuss some of their landmark publications that captured our imagination. Why do we love these stories? What works should we look for the next time we’re browsing the shelves?
Victoria Sandbrook (M), LJ Cohen, Catherine Asaro, Erin Roberts, Marianna Martin PhD