Monday, May 16, 2016

Story Release: "Atlas" is out there in the world

Cover art for Shimmer Magazine
Issue 31 May 2016, of two muscular
women engaged in combat
There are moments. A terrible event. The right inspiration. The right encouragement. The perfect story.

"An Atlas in Sgraffito Style" was born from earthquakes and Clarion. After many drafts (6? 8? I've lost count now), and no small amount of blood, sweat, and tears, it found a home at Shimmer Magazine. I wanted to use beautiful language to describe tragedy, the colour and life, and the forgotten people who rose up from the dust to take back what remained of their world, even when it was being eaten bit by bit by the darkness. Yeah, there are a lot of metaphors for the politics, street art, and class war that came out of the earthquakes.

I am such a sucker for great titles (a little bit of Tiptree in me I suppose), and when I came across the concept of sgraffito while researching street art, I knew I HAD to work that word and concept into the story. Sgraffito is a technique mostly used in plaster or ceramic work, building up layers then scratching through the top layer to reveal colour and/or texture beneath. This is the perfect metaphor for the story and Christchurch: a city scratching through the rubble to bring something beautiful up out of the destruction.

This is the best story I've written so far, and I'd really love to see it go a long way. It had the privilege of being beta'd by Catherynne M. Valente, one of my literary heroes, and it definitely flourished under her careful eye. My Clarion class also gave it the tough fisk it required. Thank you so much to Shimmer badgers Elise Tobler and Beth Wodinski for believing in my story and finding a place for it in their magazine.

Shimmer Magazine Issue 31 for May 2016 is now available, including stories from Arkady Martine, Bentley A. Reese, Rich Larson, and Rachel Acks. Each of the stories will be released online during May and June, with Martine's "All the Colours You Thought Were Kings" available now. "Atlas" will be available online from June 14. If you can't wait until then to read it and all the other fabulous stories, the magazine is available in e-formats for just $US2.99.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Story: "Embedded", The Future Fire, 24/4/2016

Artwork by Miranda Jean
A cascade of black and green 1s and 0s
in waves and fractals
Presenting: "Embedded", a cyberpunk noir story, now dropped at The Future Fire, with artwork by Miranda Jean.
"Embedded" was written in my 4th week of Clarion under the watchful eye of N.K. Jemisin. I was challenged that week to write a type of story I wouldn't usually write, so I chose cyberpunk, mainly to take a chunk out of the alleged "masculine" history of the genre. I chose to write a social justice twist to the story because of many of the current issues pertaining to internet privacy, harassment and stalking, and how they affect queer people.

Thanks to all my Clarion classmates for their feedback, to Nora for her help on making this story (and all my writing) better, and Djibril at The Future Fire for believing in the trajectory of this tale.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Insert Snappy Newsline Update Here: Sale, Competition Results, Narration, "At The Edge", Story Releases

The first quarter of 2016 has been moving along at a quiet, steady pace, and I thought it about time I collected together some of the news that's happened recently.

  • I made a sale to Kaleidotrope! Fist pump to ticking a neat indie venue off my "To Be Published In" list. The story is "And We Spake of Them Words Which Make You Goddess", one of my more experimental sci-fi/fantasy mash up pieces, playing with language drift, hallucinations, loneliness, anger, and everyday gods. I don't have a release date yet, but it's something to look forward to in 2017.
  • I did a narration! For Escape Pod's Artemis Rising Month, featuring women and non-binary authors, I read Alanna McFall's "Singing to the Stars". Even got my own fancy bio and photo on the page.
  • I won third place in the Au Contraire 3 Short Story Competition! Convened by Lee Murray and Dan Rabarts, who are the editors of "At The Edge" coming out in July, the final stories were judged by Philip Mann. Congratulations to Robinne Weiss who took first place and Andi Buchanan who took second place, and thank you to everyone in involved. The placing doesn't mean the story gets published, but I'm sure there'll be a home for it somewhere if it got such a good reception from such an esteemed author.
  • The "At The Edge" Kickstarter is fully funded and reached both of its stretch goals! This means the anthology will get its print run (and will look gorgeous on many a bookshelf around the world). I look forward to being able to attend the book release party at Au Contraire 3 in June.
  • Coming up very soon I have story releases! Quiet for the first half of the year, then everything happens at once! My cyperpunk piece "Embedded" will be in the next issue of The Future Fire, "Splintr" will be in "At The Edge" (read an excerpt HERE), and - FANFARE PLEASE - "An Atlas in Sgraffito Style" will be in the next issue of Shimmer Magazine. I believe "Atlas" is my best story yet, and the Shimmer badgers have given it a good frisking to make it even betterer. This is the most nervous and excited I've been about any of my story releases - it's a Clarion story, a story that went through blood, sweat, and tears, a story I want to go a long way, and if one was to quantify my style at this point in my life this story would be it.
I'll be back soon to start throwing jazz hands about the "Atlas" release.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Kickstarter for "At The Edge"

"At The Edge" cover:
an astronaut in a battered spacesuit stands
atop a mountain range, helmet in hand, looking
down a long valley with a river winding
through it.
New Zealand and Australia has an interesting heritage of dark, dystopian speculative fiction aided by our history of living at the edge of the world, oceans our borders, next stop the Antarctic.

"At The Edge" is an anthology that aims to explore this liminal theme of our being physically cut off from the world. Published by Paper Road Press, and edited by Lee Murray and Dan Rabarts, the table of contents is a great representation of Australasian authors hard at work in the genre:

Jodi Cleghorn: The Leaves no Longer Fall
Carlington Black: The Urge
Martin Livings: Boxing Day
Phillip Mann: The Architect
Debbie Cowens: Hood of Bone
Anthony Phillips: Crossing
EG Wilson: 12-36
David Stevens: Crop Rotation
Michelle Child: Narco
Richard Barnes: The Great and True Journey
AJ Ponder: BlindSight
Keira McKenzie: In Sacrifice We Hope
Jan Goldie: Little Thunder
Joanne Anderton: Street Furniture
Eileen Mueller: Call of the Sea
Octavia Cade: Responsibility
JC Hart: Hope Lies North
David Versace: Seven Excerpts from Season One
Paul Mannering: The Island at the End of the World
Summer Wigmore: Back When the River Had No Name
AJ Fitzwater: Splintr
Tom Dullemond: One Life, No Respawns
Andi Buchanan: And Still the Forests Grow though we are Gone

To help the print run of "At The Edge", Paper Road Press are running a Kickstarter. The goal is a modest $NZ1000, and rewards include the e-book of the anthology, e-bundles, short story critiques, a tuckerization, and a dinner critique session with the editors.

I'd love it if the word could be spread about this Kickstarter. I'm very proud of the story I wrote for the anthology, and the book will have a unique NZ/Aus flavour to it.

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.

"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