A lot has happened since the last time I wrote. Including but not limiting to:
Me quitting my job!
Me accepting a slush reader position!
Me making my first two pro sales (!!!)
Me signing a contract to be included in a forthcoming anthology!
Me accepting a new job I am very excited about!
Me aging! (I mean this is all the time, but as in, like...my birthday)
Me tearing down my website and rebuilding it (aaAAA) (using 11ty this time) !!!!
Me beating Calamity Ganon in Zelda!
Which is all to say...I’m burnt out! Fortunately, I’ve been able to take some time off until I start my new job at the end of the month and whew y’all, I’ve been enjoying it. So has my needy dog child, Romeo. Speaking of..
How is Romeo?
Missing the snow, but enjoying the sunshine! We had some nice park days where I wrote while sprawled on a blanket and he rolled around in the dirt and grumbled.
I did not expect to have much news here until halfway through the year, if ever. But as stated above, I did make a couple of pro sales recently that I will blab about more once they go live. In the meantime, I am very excited and I have to say the editing process for both stories has been wonderful. In such a short time, I have learned so much. I am nervous (but excited!) for folks outside of my writing circles to finally read my fiction.
Also, my hundred-word horror story is live in "Home: an anthology of dark microfiction." You can get the kindle version for free or purchase the paperback for $8.99. I share a table of contents with my friend Wolf, a fellow Black spec fic author + musician whose work you absolutely need to follow. Check out her Patreon and support: https://www.patreon.com/wolfweston/.
I gotta say...I’m having a lot of fun. This is the most productive I’ve ever been with my fiction writing, and I owe a lot of that to finding the right communities. Having someone you can call or DM to say “Hey, so this idea...should I??? What if????? Is it garbage???” makes a world of a difference.
So. You might have seen in my last post that I had reading goals, and, uh crossed them out. Well, that’s because I recently joined Strange Horizons as a First Reader! Which means, in addition to keeping up with critiques and co-running a short story reading group, I just won’t have a lot of time for novels. Some people can juggle all of it; I cannot.
But here’s some of what I did read recently:
So We Glow, by Leesa Cross-Smith (anthology) — A collection of short stories centering female desire. It’s sexy and feminine and lush with unrepentant wanting. It felt like a masterclass on writing intimacy and I want a physical copy yesterday so I can dog-ear and underline the shit out of it.
Paradises Lost, by Ursula Le Guin (novella) — I love generation starship narratives. Digging into why I find them so captivating would require its own post, so I’ll delay that for now. In this one, Le Guin explores religious fundamentalism and people’s willingness to rewrite their reality in order to control it in a way that feels...prescient. She also presents a vision of a utopia that can only exist because it was meant to end.
It has given me a lot to think about as I challenge myself to imagine different and better futures, as speculative fiction writers do: How do you ensure your safety in a universe that is chaotic and ambivalent to your survival without striving to control it, and in doing so give up the risks and the pleasure that come with being human?
I’m not saying that’s the question Le Guin asked while writing this (maybe it was, I don’t speak for her!), it’s just the one this story led me to. And even that implies a reductionist view of a very textured work.
The Ransom of Miss Coraline Connelly, by Alix Harrow (short story) — I love everything Alix Harrow writes, but this one was so deftly executed I applauded when I finished (not an exaggeration, quarantine is going great). Read it here.
Monologue by an unnamed mage recorded at the brink of the end, by Cassandra Khaw (short story) — I recommend reading this one out loud. The beauty and the breathlessness hurts me every time. Read it here.
From the compost bin:
"And I liked how when I shaped his name in my mouth, the first syllable leaped to the second like an ill-begotten conclusion."
Until next time