Saturday, March 15, 2014

Level Up

I said at the start of 2014 that this year is going to be better than the last.

Congratulations Author. Choose your armour and your allies, and head out into yon Mists Of Orsumness. You have levelled up.

I have been accepted into this year's class for Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Workshop at University of San Diego.

One moment please:

This is life changing stuff. I am going to the US for six incredible weeks of being tutored by some of the best in the industry. Catherynne Valente. NK Jemisin. Jeff Vandermeer. Ann Vandermeer. Gregory Frost. Geoff Ryman.

I've had to sit on this news for three weeks - which is why my blogging has been so quiet because aaaargh no words! - and it's been so hard not being able to share my elation with everyone until now. Every morning I've woken up and  thought to myself "Holy carp, I'm going to be taught by two of my favourite living authors!"  I'm already practising my Proper and Intent Writer Face (Rah-rah-rah-rah Writer Face...she got it like nobody), because it just won't do to be caught staring starry-eyed. Somebody said to me the other day "You're going to be making friends with your heroines" and I just lost it all over again. I know it seems strange to be wigging out, but when you live so far away from everyone and everything, a New Zealander often comes to terms with never being able to fully appreciate the physicality of travelling and meeting and being in person with people you respect and admire and need to impress.

I know I talk a lot about being excited for my Writerly Ups, but this is beyond being excited. This is where it all changes. This is where writing becomes srs bzns. This will be the biggest level up in my professional development. I'm going on a long, cool trip (the longest I've ever been away from New Zealand). I'm going to be picking the brains of the people who are really switched on in genre publishing. I'm going to be making friends, connections, and networks who are going to sustain me for the rest of my professional life.

And speaking of friends, I'm not going into this alone. Harry Markov, who I met online last year in that nebulous way I can't recall (I think I liked a review or article he wrote and we clicked on Twitter from there), has also been accepted and he promises to "braid my hair" and such!

We get to live on campus! We eat at a college cafeteria! Drinking bad beer at a college bar! Walking on the beach! Comic Con! Yeah, I know, it sounds like an idealized version of the American college experience, as seen on TV, like Buffy, or Mean Girls. I'll just try to remember to wear pink on Wednesdays and not fall into trash cans. And carry a stake on me at all times.

Get in loser, we're going shopping with the Scooby Gang.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Free Fiction: "Mid-Life Crisis"

I have discovered that Flash Me Magazine, the venue that published my second story "Mid-Life Crisis" in December 2010 is no longer available online, hence my story is no longer in the archives. This is a pity, as I don't have electronic proof of the publication.

As the story is well out of contract, I am making it available here for people to read. It is a flash piece, companion to "The Ten Thousand Steps", from Expanded Horizons November 2011.