The Brave New Weird shortlist

The awesome folks at Tenebrous Press are kicking off a new award anthology showcasing new weird horror. (What is “new weird horror”? Matt and Alex call it “a Horror subgenre focused on progress, creatively capturing themes and questions that bleed into fiction straight from the modern reader’s life and future. It acts as a challenge to break new ground in terms of form and content and to engage with the unknown.”)

I am incredibly stoked that “Used Armor Smell” made the nomination cut. My little story is in some truly excellent company.

Winners will be announced in a few days, and the anthology drops in February.

Kickstart Bicycles & Broomsticks

Bicycles & Broomsticks is the latest entry in Microcosm’s Bikes in Space series of anthologies. As in the previous volumes, these stories share the themes of bikes and feminism; but this time, the secret ingredient is witchcraft.

My story is set in 1890s London at the intersection of middle-class bicycling, Egyptology, occult societies, solitary magical practice, and gendered power dynamics. I had a lot of fun researching and writing it (and editing it—no, really!) and I can’t wait to hold the book.

The Kickstarter funds the publication and adds to base author payment (so buying through the Kickstarter rather than other bookstores will toss a bit extra our way). Aside from me wanting more filthy lucre to buy more books for myself, I’d like to see it succeed for the sake of a quirky small press. As I’m typing, the project’s approaching halfway funded and the campaign continues until October 27th. So if you like bikes, feminism, and witches, please consider backing.

Clarion Write-a-Thon

I’m participating in this year’s write-a-thon to support the Clarion Writers’ Workshop at UC San Diego.

Clarion Write-a-Thon badgeI am not a Clarion alum, nor have I ever considered applying. A weeks-long, intensive workshop has never been logistically feasible for me (never mind the financial expense). And frankly, I’m not sure if I’d find the environment anxiety-inducing or creatively inspiring. I very specifically eschewed creative writing classes in college (though that was also influenced by wanting to write SF/F and guessing that there might be an unpleasant bias against genre). So in short, I’ve never had a strong desire to figure out how to vault over the barriers to workshop participation.

But! Some people absolutely thrive in this type of workshop environment. I like it when people are creatively fulfilled! I like reading what they write! And I especially like it when marginalized people are able to participate in creatively fulfilling activities. Lowering barriers is a good thing.

This year, the Ghost Class gets to attend, after repeated delays due to the pandemic. (Which is still ongoing, though large swaths of the population choose to deny it.) People finding safe ways to get back to normalish activities is something to celebrate.

So I’m going to use the write-a-thon as a reason to get my butt in the chair and produce some words. If you want to donate or sponsor an author, me or someone else, it will help enable other authors to add an intensive workshop to their creative journey.

Release day for In Somnio

Okay, it’s been a bit of a staged release. I know some folks have already received physical copies and ebooks were available last week, but now the anthology is available for everyone in every format. The publisher, Tenebrous Press, has trade paperbacks; Godless and Amazon have ebooks. If you’re in the mood for Gothic feels, check it out, and I hope you enjoy my story “Always an After.”

In Somnio cover
Cover art by Sally Contirino

Kickstarting Modern Gothic Horror

In Somnio: A Collection of Modern Gothic Horror, with my short story “Always an After,” will be published by Tenebrous Press. The Kickstarter campaign is about to enter its final week.

In Somnio cover
Cover art by Sally Contirino

The anthology is edited by Alex Woodroe and will contain a number of cool illustrations. How many illustrations? That’s still up for debate. The project reached its Kickstarter goal, so now we’re into stretch goal territory. The first stretch goal will add more illustrations (plus a modest bump in author payment). The second stretch goal will add yet more illustrations (plus bookplates for the hardcover), and the third will fund a pair of 2022 novellas.

In an effort to flog the Kickstarter, Alex has published a number of author interviews and readings. My interview is a bit spoilery (so if you care about that and plan to pick up the anthology you may wish to skip it for now). I don’t do a lot with video—I never made that pivot (but did anyone, really?) and I’m not terribly fond of my voice—but I figured if I had a largely empty cabin closet with a bare bulb, it’d be a shame not to make use of it. (Sitting in an upstairs closet with an incandescent bulb in August can get a little warm. Never let it be said that I do not suffer for the promotion of art.)

So if indie presses and “a collection of modern Gothic horror” are your sort of thing, please swing by the Kickstarter and back the project. If you’re reading this after the campaign ends on September 2, check out the Tenebrous website or the bookseller of your choice.

Pushcart nomination

Corvid Queen announced their Pushcart nominations today. I’m very pleased that my story “Changeling” is on the list. The other nominees are “Plucked” by Tara Calaby, “The Giving Limbs” by Briana Garelli, “Beauty Pretends to Get Lost in the Garden” by Quinn Lui, “In Which His Sea Bride Regrets” by Kim Welliver, and “The Magic in Her Bones” by Rin Willis.

For those previously unaware, the Pushcart Prize highlights work published by small presses and the Pushcart Press publishes an annual Best Of series that began in 1976. Editors nominate up to six pieces published during the calendar year. On the one hand, that means a lot of authors are nominated for the Pushcart Prize. One the other hand, it means an editor, after selecting pieces from the slush pile, chose the nominated pieces as their favorites from the winnowed pile. That sort of validation feels very nice.

“Purple Lizard Skin”: Wyldblood

I neglected to post last week, but my SF story “Purple Lizard Skin” was Wyldblood‘s Friday Flash and is free to read on the site. It’s the first time this byline’s appeared in a publication based outside of North America. That doesn’t much matter when so much of short fiction publishing is online, but is still a random fact that pleases me.

“Changeling”: Corvid Queen

My short story “Changeling” is now available to read in Corvid Queen.

A hand cupping a baby's feet. The blanket-wrapped baby and adult holding them are out of focus in the background.
Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash

The concept of changelings is fertile ground for fiction. It’s a way to discuss loss, theft, disability, and deception, prompting characters to question their own perceptions or belonging. In my short tale, I wanted to bring in adoption (an emotionally fraught process even when all parties are mortal and consenting), and the constant anxiety of parenting.

“Digital Pyre”: Little Blue Marble

“Digital Pyre” is online at Little Blue Marble.

I used to be an archivist; some of my work involved digitizing materials. There are constant sighs (or screams) within the field at the assumption that archivists should digitize everything. Professionally speaking, throwing things away is an important function. We’re living in an era of ubiquitous information. Not everything can be saved; not everything should be saved.

The energy devoted to data centers is a real concern. While this isn’t something only archivists need to think about, it is discussed within the field. There are professional affinity groups dedicated to climate issues. And archivists, who among other things are memory workers, are also concerned with the trauma of the Anthropocene.

Story illustration featuring servers looming atop the Earth, with a background of clouds and digitized text, and a "Delete this permanently?" dialog box in the foreground
Credit: Composite by Katrina Archer via Depositphotos

Patrons of Little Blue Marble had the chance to read “Digital Pyre” earlier this week. Sneak peeks are among the goodies available through the website’s Patreon. So if you’re interested in cli-fi sci-fi and being First, that’s something to keep in mind when deciding which creative projects to support.

Many thanks are due to Katrina Archer, whose editorial nips and tucks made the story stronger. And more Canadian.