Friday, February 5, 2016

VA: "Her Last Breath Before Waking" by A.C. Wise, at Glittership

I've been keen on the Glittership Podcast since it started up last year, as it features stories about a range of QUILTBAG people, so I was delighted to be asked to read for them.

Available to listen to now online or by download is "Her Last Breath Before Waking" by A.C. Wise, they of "The Fabulous Glitter Squadron Saves The World Again" (I. Love. This. Book).

Over my radio and narration career, I've got to know how good a script or story is for the ear, rather than the eye. Reading this Wise story flowed beautifully for me, and I really enjoyed the aural aesthetic.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

2015 ---> 2016

A quiet end to 2015 writing wise led to a quiet start to 2016, which means I'm a bit late with my usual Round Up-Look Forward post. But here we are, so lets check out what's happening in Pickled Land.

In 2016, I had seven pieces published: five short stories, one novelette, and one non-fiction essay. Four of the stories were written pre-Clarion, one of them was a Clarion story, and one of them was post-Clarion. The essay was also post-Clarion, and written in quite the frenzy, I might add, to be as awesome as I wanted it to be and submit by deadline!

I've very proud of everything that came out last year, all for different reasons. I'm happy one of my Clarion stories ("Gravity Well") was picked up because it was a weird little number. I'm happy my River City novelette finally saw the light of day, and that it was published in Andromeda Spaceways, a venue I've wanted to be in for some years. I was pleased to be repeat published by two venues, Betwixt and The Future Fire. I'm stoked that "She Must" was published at a New Zealand venue, not only because it's another weird number, but also I wrote it quickly for deadline, proving I can still create something good under pressure.

I'm also very proud my Tiptree essay was published in "Letters To Tiptree", putting me alongside many big name writers, Tiptree academics, and proponents of feminist science fiction. I'd been longing for some time to find a way to express my admiration and thanks to one of my formative writing influences, and the stars certainly aligned with "Letters to Tiptree".

2016 is not empty of success by any means. I already have three stories lined up for publication. The Future Fire has picked up one of my Clarion stories (my fourth publication with them), which will come out in March. A New Zealand SFF anthology called "At The Edge" will come out in June and includes my story "Splintr". And the publication I am most excited about this year is my Clarion story "An Atlas in Sgraffito Style" (gawd, I love that title) has found a home at one of my favourite venues, Shimmer.

2016 is also the year of Au Contraire 3 in Wellington this coming June. I'm stoked to be invited as the writing Guest of Honour. I've been thinking about my GoH speech for months, but still can't come up with anything stellar. I'm nervous, but see it as a great opportunity to get out there in front of people. Sitting in my office day after day tapping away at my lappy has made me complacent on the networking front.

I don't have any firm plans for the year yet, other than the mentioned publications and convention, so as for 2015 its a bit of take it as it comes. I set myself a goal last year of three pro publications - well, 1 out of 3 ain't bad! I'm going to shoot for the same this year and I'm already one up. Technically, Shimmer doesn't count as pro, but in my head they do! They're one of the best.

Here's to bigger and better things in 2016. Still gotta be published in Asimov's, and I ain't dead yet!

Rebel Alliance Cat Sez: STAY ON TARGET
(Picture: a gray cat sits in a long gutter staring at pigeons)

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Le Noms 2015

It's that time of year again. Nomination season has come round, so here's a quick run down on my work from this year. Feel free to do with them as you will.

Short Stories:
"Causeway" - The Future Fire, Issue 2015.34, October 2015
"She Must" - Capricious, September 21, 2015
"The Long Trip Home" - "Daughters of Frankenstein: Lesbian Mad Scientists", Lethe Press, July 28, 2015
"Gravity Well" - Scigentasy, Issue 9, May 2015
"The Unofficial Guide to Travelling with Kin" - Betwixt Magazine, January 2015

From the shorts I had published this year, I feel the biggest affinity with "Gravity Well" (a Clarion story) and "She Must".

Novelette:"Long's Confandabulous Clockwork Circus and Carnival, and Cats of Many Persuasions" - Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, Issue 61, September 2015

 I am very proud of this story. It's the longest piece I've ever written, and it's a fun adventure set in a steampunk, alt-history Egypt.

Non-fiction:
"Ahead of her time and lost in time: on feminism, gender, and bisexuality" - "Letters to Tiptree", edited by Alisa Krasnostein and Alexandra Pierce, Twelfth Planet Press, August 24, 2015

There aren't many awards that take single pieces of non-fiction upon their merits for nomination, but I'm putting this essay here anyway because I've very proud of it. It meant a lot to me to write and have it published celebrating the life of one of my favourite authors. For the SJVs, it might come under the fan writing category.

New Zealand's Sir Julius Vogel Awards are now open for nominations. Here is a link to the rules and an explanation of the categories, and here is the information on how to make a nomination.

Thanks, as always. And if you have any you'd like considered for nomination, pop the details below in comments.


Lolcat sez om nom nom nom dis wrod tree




Monday, November 23, 2015

Sale News: Aww Yisss, Shimmer Magazine

I've been feeling the weight of needing to hit a milestone/watershed/bucket list venue since August last year, and now, wow, the relief!

The wonderful Shimmer Magazine has accepted my Clarion third week story "An Atlas in Sgraffito Style", and I couldn't be more proud of the story and the venue it's going to. Publication date still to be advised.

"Atlas" has had quite the journey, a story in itself - from earthquake inspiration, to Clarion draft, through SIX more drafts - and I believe it is my best story to date. I'm so excited about it finding a home.


Shimmery Cat Sez Aww Yiss

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Gender Stuff

A.C. Wise, author of the Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron set of tales, runs a blog series of "Authors to Read", featuring women and non-binary/genderqueer authors. I was surprised and pleased to be featured in her latest reviews, as she tackled my Beauty and the Beast recapture "She Must", from Capricious issue 1. It's a great reading of the story.

Wise originally pegged me as a non-binary author. In order to make sure I'm not taking up the space that belongs to wonderful nb/gq authors, I made it clear that I identify as a woman, and Wise adjusted the review to reflect that (thanks!).

Part of the author identity I am constructing is about experimenting with gender, and how this affects how my work is read. I deliberately chose gender neutral initials and bio pronouns in an effort to encourage a neutral read from an initial reader, but in this internet age it's not hard to find out that I'm a woman. Going gender neutral also gains the risk of being gendered regardless, because disguising oneself has been recognized as a very gendered thing to do in the writing industry.

I also have many complicated feelings around gender, and would love to smash the binary on a daily basis. I appreciate that some my closest writer friends understand what I'm doing, and that I don't intend to appropriate the nb/gq experience. However, intention isn't magic, and many people will read me and my work different. If anyone has issue how I go about this identity with regards to appropriation, I am more than open to discussion.

What I'm doing with my author identity is part Tiptree, part experimentation, part seat of the pants. We've still got a long way to go in literature before gender doesn't inform reading. I may not be entirely successful in smashing the binary on socially coded reading in my life time, but I'd like to give it a damn good try.

Sometimes I'm not entirely sure what or who AJ Fitzwater will become, and I appreciate my community's willingness to let me experiment and stretch.

(Parts of this blog post appeared originally in some of my Tweets 27/10/2015)

Sunday, October 11, 2015

"Causeway", The Future Fire Issue 2015.34

The Future Fire is one of those indie magazines I hugely respect for their vision, and I'm pleased to present my third story they have chosen to publish in their latest issue: "Causeway".

"Causeway" is a pre-Clarion story (I think of my writing in pre- and post-Clarion now) about humans abducted by aliens and held in a very pleasant cage, possibly for breeding purposes. It might sound like a fairly routine story, except I flip two tropes on their head. First, what if one of the captives is infertile? And second, I critique toxic masculinity behaviours in situations of stress, captivity and leadership.

Just like my two previous stories for the magazine, editor Djibril al-Ayad has chosen some glorious artwork, and both pieces illustrating my story are by Pandalion Death.

So here it is. "Causeway" in The Future Fire 2015.34. So pleased to be able to share it.

An image of a face in profile done in
multiple slashes of bright colour




Monday, September 21, 2015

Introducing Capricious Magazine

The world always needs beautiful, difficult tales.

Andi Buchanan's editorial vision is one I hugely respect and trust. They were a part of putting together the anothologies "A Foreign Country", "Tales for Canterbury", and "Regeneration: New Zealand Speculative Fiction II", three excellent books with a taste for the zeitgeist of New Zealand speculative fiction in the last 5-6 years.

Now they have started the magazine "Capricious", encapsulating literary, experimental, and slipstream speculative fiction and criticism, with a focus on gender, disability, and environment.

Issue 1 is available for free right now. If you like what you see, subscribe, spread the word. Capricious is currently running on a grant from SpecFicNZ (our little local collective), but would like to be independent.

Andi approached me to write a story for the first issue, and I was absolutely honoured to do so. I wanted to do their vision justice, and I hope I have with "She Must", a weird deconstruction of Beauty and the Beast. There is also an interview in the magazine, talking about my process with the story. It will come as no surprise that I talk about the catch-22 heroines face in literature, and how is easy it is for them to be labelled monstrous.

Check out issue 1 of Capricious magazine now - it's free!

Cover Art for Capricious Issue 1.
A castle stands precariously atop a mountain, surrounded by a rushing blue river,
and trees, bushes and fields of green, red, and gold.