Just a quick update this week – but I’m still blogging, no ball-dropping this early into my new commitment!
The main reason for the rushed blog post is that I’m writing like a demon trying to finish my submission for Rebuilding Tomorrow before submissions close at the end of January. I’ve been working on and off on this story concept since, argh, October? – but at a glacial speed that’s been typical of my 2019 writing output.
At the start of January, with less than a month left before the deadline, I finally started pushing myself to work harder on finishing this story, even though I still wasn’t really feeling excited about writing (not just writing this, but writing anything). And as usually happens, once I started actually pushing through the hard bedrock, I finally began striking gold – gleams of understanding where the story was going, nuggets of actually solid characterisation and theme, the stuff I have to find to get excited about a story.
Which is all just another way of saying, if I want to write I can’t wait for inspiration to strike. I have to write my way to inspiration.
So, having achieved inspiration with all of two weeks to get the job done, right now I’m as focused as my wandering mind can be on getting this story actually drafted, edited, beta read, further edited, and submitted in the next… eight days (meep).
Just as well my ADHD brain responds best to high-stress situations, right…?
For anyone who’s been waiting for a version of The Miller’s Daughter you can hold in your hands, not in your ears – it’s here!
Epic Fantasy, the latest anthology from Flame Tree Publishing, has now landed in all its epically embossed glory. At 480 pages, it’s a decently mammoth collection of short fiction from both classic fantasy authors and new faces like ahem yours truly.
Flame Tree have also published two collations of interviews with their authors, including me – in part 1 we talk about the inspiration behind our stories (my answer might look familiar if you read my interview with Remastered Words last year) and in part 2 we talk about our genre favourites and our writing processes.
As for me, on Wednesday I landed in New Zealand, there to dwell for the next 5-6 months while working a short-term conservation role that will see me spending every other week out of civilisation. Which means on the one hand, limited internet access, but on the other hand, potentially a lot of writing time.
Like all writing tips, writing every day is no golden key – some writers don’t need it and some will find it unhelpful to aspire to. But for me, I think working writing into my new daily routine is the only way to get any kind of reliable output going so that I can stop treating writing as “that miraculous thing I only do when I’m exactly the right place, time, and mindset”.
Folks, my short story ‘Nie Among the Tree-people’ is out now in the September issue of Aurealis, complete with a delightful fire god illustration by animator Leah Clementson. As I’ve said before, I have a massive soft spot for this weird, queer tale of gods and hermits, which is also the first story I’ve written with a non-binary protagonist. I’m deeply happy to have it out in the world at last.
I know I’ve been pretty quiet lately, but I’m still here and today, for the first time in too many months, I actually sat down at my computer and wrote fiction. I still have a long road ahead, but it’s a start.
It’s been a bugger of a fortnight – two weeks ago I stepped down my Effexor dose another level (more on that in the next post), and just as I was regaining my equilibrium from that I got a thankfully mild case of flu.
But! I’m now on my way back up from the latter, and I have more exciting things to talk about today. I have WRITING NEWS. Two pieces of writing news, in fact!
That means this story – which has previously appeared in the the Continuum conbook and the Remastered Words audio anthology – will now see the inside of a physical book cover. And what a fancy cover it will be!
Flame Tree’s Gothic Fantasy series of illustrated anthologies combine new and classic short fiction from a given subgenre. They look exceedingly classy, and the list of authors I will appear alongside is both long and impressive. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy!
While I would love to be getting new stories out there (and I’m working on it), ‘The Miller’s Daughter’ holds a special place in my heart and I couldn’t be happier that it has a new home.
As thrilled as I am to have Ellie and Benji’s story published, there’s one aspect of the situation that’s been making me sad: I could only find physical copies of Luna Station Quarterly, the all-female (and female-inclined) magazine that published Two Monsters Down in the Dark, for sale through Amazon.
Pre-orders are your friend – and your bookseller’s friend too
If you want to pick the book up at Continuum next month, I strongly urge you to visit the website and pre-order it online in the coming week. It’s risky for a small bookseller to stock a relatively unknown publication, and the more people they know want a copy, the more copies they can safely order in for the convention.
Over on Bookish Universe, you can buy a copy today for pick-up at Continuum (just select the “pick up” option at checkout). Or if you’re a bit strapped for cash right now, you can email Bookish Universe to register your interest in buying a copy next month at the con.
Either way, please let them know by next Sunday (26th May), so they have time to order it in before the convention.
Alternatively, if you’re not going to be at Continuum, you can just buy a copy online the old-fashioned way* and they’ll deliver it to you anywhere in the world.
*Good grief, did I really unironically type that?
And if you’re reading this in Australia today, hang in there.
It turns out that while I was researching and writing up my big awards explainer post last week, Mother of Invention editor (and excellent writer in her own right) Rivqa Rafael was writing her own post listing all the awards MoI is currently eligible for. This led me to the double realisation that a) burying my own eligibility in the middle of my big explainer post was probably counter-productive and b) there’s a whole ‘nother award I didn’t even know about that I should have included.
I still have a lot to learn about this “writer” gig…
So! To I’m going to do a write-up shortly of the Locus Award, and make a second post this week covering that and the Hugos (expanded and split out from last week’s post to prevent it getting just too unwieldy). And in the meantime, separated out from the original post and now with added Locus, here is my list of eligible works for the 2019 awards:
‘Two Monsters’ started out as a technical challenge, but turned into a passion project. I fell in love with the character of Ellie, even as I struggled over many months to get her voice and her story right. It makes me so deeply happy to finally see her and Benji find a home.
You can read ‘Two Monsters’ for free online for the next week only (as well as eleven other SF stories from women and other authors on the femalish end of the spectrum; I’ve already fallen in love with K. Noel Moore’s ‘A Song for Hardy Connelly’ and can’t wait to read the rest). After that you’ll have to pay for a digital or print edition if you want to read it, so don’t dally!
Super chuffed to announce my next bit of publication news: my story ‘Two Monsters Down in the Dark’ is being published in the March edition of Luna Station Quarterly!
This is a story that has been through an awful lot of editing and redrafting since my first attempt at it. In the process, I have learned a lot about story structure, and the story itself has changed a great deal as I came to understand its themes and characters better. It’s probably still far from perfect, but I’m so glad Ellie and Benji are finally getting their moment in the sun.
The edition containing ‘Two Monsters’ will be online for free for a week from 1st March, after which you can read it and other stories by emerging authors “on the woman end of the gender spectrum” by buying the March 2019 issue of Luna Station Quarterly.
As of this morning, my latest story – tentatively titled ‘Two Turns of the Moon’ – is polished up and in the hands of some of my wonderful beta readers. That’s something I haven’t been able to say since – oh gods – July.
While I await their feedback, I’ll take another look at the story I was struggling with before writing this one. After a lengthy writing drought brought on by travel, job-hunting, and getting too caught up in expectations, I’ve been really pleased by my momentum over the last week, and I want to make every effort not to let that momentum drop.