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!

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

Story Published! “Phalium arium ssp. anams” on CAST OF WONDERS

How lucky am I that I get to write up two of these posts so close together?! CoW promo 256

My flash story, Phalium arium ssp. anams,” went live on Cast of Wonders over the weekend. I love this production and I am so proud to be an officially podcasted writer thanks to the Escape Artists family.

Of course, it’s also brilliant that Cast of Wonders snagged Leigh Wallace‘s artwork for the episode cover. You’ll hear more of it if you listen and can read more about the back-story there on my sale post.

I hope you’ll consider giving this a listen!

Story Published! “The Moon, the Sun, and the Truth” in SHIMMER #38

Isn’t this beautiful? Weird, wonderful, strange, and awesome? Well it’s the cover 800px_july2017for Shimmer Number 38, and my story–“The Moon, the Sun, and the Truth”–is one of four stories in its digital pages.

I am really proud of this particular story for many reasons. It gets at the heart of some of my political anxieties. It was one of the first flash pieces I’ve attempted–and then got longer upon revision. It appears in a magazine that I absolutely love and respect. And it’s just…well fun for me in many ways.

You can read the story now, today, this very minute by purchasing the issue or a subscription. If you do this, you’ll also get to read a short interview by each of the authors in the issue. Shimmer does release its stories online over the course of two months so you can read my story in August if you prefer to go that route. The choice is yours.

I’d also like to shout-out to TOC-mate Andrea Corbin, a fellow member of the Boston Speculative Writing Group (BSpec!) and an all around awesome person. I’m honored to share a cover with your name and our fellow 38ers 🙂

I can’t wait to hear what you guys think!

May Writing Round-Up

It’s been a busy but focused month. I feel good about where I am right now even though I’m still scrambling to make up for ground lost in the craziness of the two months before. Most importantly: I like the things I’ve been writing and have all month. And isn’t that one of the hardest things to maintain as a writer? So without further ado, here are the numbers.

  • Words Written: 18,789  (YTD: 105,799 | 2017 Goal: 200,000+)
  • Works Complete: 2 (YTD: 5 | 2017 Goal: 10)
  • Submissions to Paying Markets: 5 (YTD: 37)
  • Books Read: 3 (YTD: 11 | 2017 Goal: 30)
  • PLUS
    • SALE! You may remember this post from earlier this month about my sale to Cast of Wonders. Fun note: the illustration in the post will be used for the episode, too! ❤
    • 6 rejections (all forms, #sadtrombone)
    • Revisions to Botanizer have been happening! I’ve hit the scary part where things will start to change substantially this draft. See this Twitter thread for my visceral reactions to this. Only 22 days to SFFPit!
    • I FINISHED THE NOVELLA and I’m very proud of it. Really, really, really proud. Of course, it’s in draft form and will need be revised. Feedback via the Codex Contest is forthcoming, and I definitely will not put this work ahead of Botanzier.
    • I finished a short story and critiqued it with my writing group! I still need to revise it, but I love it and where it’s going.
    • Days I’ve written this month: 23/30
    • Days written since the inauguration: 83/130
    • Longest streak: 31 days

Story Sale: “The Moon, the Sun, and the Truth”

You may have heard this before because I shouted it from rooftops when I signed the contract, but I have enough details that it deserves a short post. ‘The Moon, the Sun, and the Truth” will appear in Shimmer‘s Issue 38, which releases in July 2017!

I started writing this story in a friend’s hotel room mid-Arisia 2017 as part of the Codex Weekend Warrior flash contest. After comments came through, it was clear the story needed more space. I gave it another pass or two, and it shaped up into something worthy of the badgery-shimmery-goodness of this amazing magazine. It’s roots are lodged in what I saw as a notable moment in journalism, but the story is set in a wilder sort of West than once was.

I could not be more proud or excited! Can’t wait to share it with you this summer!

 

February Writing Round-Up

Twenty-eight days of work. Twenty-eight days of not taking any downtime for the sake of downtime. This has been a good month.

  • Words Written: 33,543  (YTD: 55,981 | 2017 Goal: 200,000+)
  • Works Complete: 1 flash piece finished, revised, and submitted! (YTD: 2 | 2017 Goal: 10)
  • Submissions to Paying Markets: 9 (YTD: 22)
  • Books Read: 4 (YTD: 7* | 2017 Goal: 30) *I think I missed a book in my January report
  • PLUS
    • 7 rejections (1 personal)
    • Attended Bokone 2017 as a panelist and moderator! Best Boskone yet for me!
    • I did take those days and one for prep off of writing, in part because what little down-time I had was given to ELF. But I’m okay with that. That was work, but it wasn’t writing. I’m proud that I got back to it with no hesitation. That’s how it should be.
    • I interviewed author Meg Howrey and the Q&A appeared in Publishers Weekly! I’ve got a few more of these in the work beyond the reviews I’ve been doing for them.
    • Codex Weekend Warrior 2017 wrapped. I wrote 4/5 stories and have revised and subbed 2 of those 4 already this year. Very pleased with the other 3 ideas that came from the contest, and they’re in my queue. I’ll definitely play again next year, and I’m going to shoot for finishing all 5 stories.
    • I’ve entered #PitchMadness! Just a good way to get myself prepped for everything that comes next for Botanizer.
    • Speaking of Botanizer, my critique is next Sunday. #dyingofbrainweasels
    • I ended January with 13k written in #Brains, my jaunty drivel project that has nothing to do with zombies. This month, that MS us up to 45k and counting!
    • Days I’ve written this month: 24/28
    • Days written since the inauguration: 34/38
    • Longest streak: 31 days

A note for March and April: I’ll be moving away from hard-and-fast metrics as I revise. My big goals: 1) Finish #Brains, 2) Revise Botanizer, 3) get a short story written, revised, and submitted.

2016 in Review; 2017 in Preview

Happy New Year! Thanks for reading along as I tackle the crazy world of the written word. It’s been a great and happy year and a dark and stormy year. I had some great wins. I had some tough losses. But we all did, and I think it’s important to take a minute to reflect and appreciate what we’ve each accomplished.

Here’s my Year in Words:

  • Words Written: 122,416 (includes fiction, book reviews, blogs, and essays).
  • Works Completed: 5
    • 1 novel
    • 3 short stories
    • 1 esssay
    • plus: book reviews and blog posts
  • Submissions to Paying Markets: 19
  • Publications: 1 (my first!)
  • Books Read: 28
  • PLUS
    • Applied to grants and fellowships
    • Got selected for programming for two local cons
    • Got some amazing feedback on my work from fellow writers, editors, and others
    • Attended Paradise Regained, the Viable Paradise reunion, and got some serious recharging done

And here’s what I’m shooting for in 2017:

  • Words to Write: 200,000+
  • Works to Complete: at least 10; there will be short stories aplenty, more novel writing, and hopefully lots of stuff to celebrate
  • Submissions to Paying Markets: As the time it takes markets to review and respond can vary wildly, I can’t really judge how many subs I’ll get in this year, but I hope to keep 3/4 of my revised-and-ready stories on submission for the whole year.
  • Books to Read: 30
  • PLUS
    • Attending two cons as a panelist/moderator
    • Possible travel to an out-of-state con
    • My first novel critique
    • Lots of rejections

 

What I Can’t Do, What I Can Do

It’s official: I won’t be physically hiking for Wilderness Heals this year.

This is a really, really hard thing for me to handle. If you’ve talked to me at all in the past six years, you know how important the hike and the hikers and the Elizabeth Stone House have been to me. In 2010, I signed up having never put on a pair of hiking boots. Since then, I’ve summited half of the Four Thousand Footers in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, hiked hundreds of miles, team led, and told pretty much every woman I know about the hike. Heck, the hike even inspired the novel I’m writing.

Wilderness Heals is no small commitment, but I’ve always made space for it. I went on the hike a week before my wedding. I went on the hike when I could barely afford to take the time off from work. I went on the hike even when I knew I likely wouldn’t be able to raise the $1,500 minimum and would have to cover the balance myself. The only thing that kept me from hiking last year was the fact that I was 9 months pregnant. ELF made her entrance one week after the hike.

What keeps me coming back? Every bit of the hike. The mountains. The women who have stood by me through so many important life changes. And then there’s the Elizabeth Stone House. For 42 years, they’ve been serving the community and working to stop the cycles of homelessness, domestic violence, substance abuse, and trauma. They provide emergency and transitional housing. They provide childcare and peace of mind. They counsel and empower and educate and support. They build and enrich the community. How could you not show up for an organization like that?

I promised myself that I’d hike this year. I was prepared to pump-and-dump breastmilk on the trail. I was prepared to really tighten the belt to make sure I could cover the fundraising minimum since I’m not salaried anymore. I was gearing myself up to leave ELF and Mike for three days to do something bigger than myself.

But I can’t.

IMG_20160424_084956123
The only pack I’ll be carrying this summer. But what a bundle!

When you have a breastfed baby that doesn’t take a bottle, you can’t leave. You can’t spend more than  a few hours away because they need to eat and you are their only source of food. We got here the way we got here, and we’ve exhausted the options we’ve exhausted; if you’re interested in minutiae, PM me. What it boils down to is this: I can’t go on a three-day hike, no matter how wonderful the cause.

It feels like a failure, which is really tough considering all of the negotiating (read: feels like failing) I’ve been doing in every other part of my life lately.

A few years back one of the Elizabeth Stone House’s clients stood in front of the hikers as we got ready to leave and reminded us that there are always some people who need help and some people who can help. And though I won’t be on the trails this year, I’m still someone who can help.

For the second year in a row, I’m virtual hiking to support the Elizabeth Stone House and the 2016 Wilderness Heals hikers. I’m sure that, in time, I’ll come up with some awesome statistics of how far ELF and I have walked together, of how much we’ve accomplished together, but for now, it’s enough to tell you this. And to ask you to join us.

If you’re a woman in the Boston area, consider hiking. I cannot tell you enough how much you’ll love it.

And if you’re not able to hike, lend your support some other way. Contribute towards my goal. Share this post and information about the Elizabeth Stone House with your own communities. Start tough conversations about domestic violence and homelessness and substance abuse with the people around you, and don’t let silence enable your communities to assume these are inevitable parts of people’s lives. Find a way to be a person that can help by doing what you can do.

You’ll be glad you did.