The obligatory awards post

As 2020 slouches toward its end, authors pause their doomscrolling and conscientiously abandon their works in progress for a few moments (note: this is career-related, and therefore absolutely entirely nothing at all like procrastination). They assemble links, quash their self-consciousness, and hurl self-promoting posts into the aether before diving under a blanket.

It just so happens that several of my short stories have been published this year, so I too shall participate in this hallowed tradition. This is my list of 2020 stories, in order of longest to shortest:

“5:37” (~2,700 words) is a story about memory, professional practice, and a haunted VHS tape. The (fantasy? humor? horror?) story appears in the August issue of Translunar Travelers Lounge, edited by Bennett North and Aimee Ogden. It’s free to read online, or you can purchase an ebook and support the magazine. Charles Payseur has some kind words for the story (“…poignant, funny, and sharp all at the same time” and “It’s a careful and charming narrative and voice, and it’s a wonderful read!”) in Quick Sip Reviews.

“Like Gold Upon Her Tongue” (~2,600 words) is a story about disordered eating and getting something you didn’t even know you hoped for—at a price. The dark fantasy/horror story is available in the anthology XVIII: Stories of Mischief & Mayhem, edited by Mark Teppo, which can be purchased as a paperback or ebook from the usual retailers. The book deserves some love: aside from the fact that I quite enjoyed the other stories in it, XVIII launched on March 20th, when the proverbial shit was really beginning to hit the equally proverbial fan.

“Shared Space” (~1,750 words) is a story about cubicles, community, and the magic of connection. The gently fantastic story is included in the anthology Community of Magic Pens, edited by E.D.E. Bell, available as a paperback or ebook from the publisher or the usual retailers. This is another anthology that deserves love; it’s relentlessly hopeful, with more than a few gems between its covers.

“Changeling” (~1,500 words) is a story of love, loss, and adoption. This fantasy story is free to read in Corvid Queen, edited by Kay Allen. I like the way this journal takes advantage of its electronic format to offer thoughtful categorization and multiple methods of organization so readers can encounter works via different pathways.

“Digital Pyre” (~1,250 words) is a story of data, memory, and sacrifice in the face of climate catastrophe. This cli-fi/near-future science fiction story is free to read in Little Blue Marble, edited by Katrina Archer. The story will also be included in Little Blue Marble‘s annual anthology (this will be the fourth annual anthology, with proceeds helping to support the magazine).

“Purple Lizard Skin” (~1,000 words) is a short tale set in a hospital waiting room, where technology means almost anything can be repaired—but not necessarily healed. This science fiction story is free to read on the Wyldblood Press website where it was published as part of the weekly Wyld Flash feature, edited by Mark Bilsborough. The series is a good way to spend a few minutes on Fridays.

“Kill Switch” (~600 words) is a story about biotech, professionalization, and evil. This science fiction story is free to read in Daily Science Fiction, edited by Jonathan Laden and Michele Barasso. What can be said about DSF? It’s a long-running magazine that publishes a lot of stories, with a mix of big names and newcomers, and it was a pleasure to see my byline appear here for the first time in January.

Whether or not you choose to nominate or vote for any of my stories, whether or not you’re voting for awards at all, I hope you’ll click on some of these links—in this post or other authors’. There’s a lot of good stuff out this year. Here’s hoping that you find the right story for you, at just the right moment.

ETA: I’m also in the first year of eligibility for the Astounding Award.

Anthology release day

Eighteen: Stories of Mischief and Mayhem is now officially available, in trade paperback and ebook formats, from the usual bookseller suspects. (The publisher’s page has links.) The book includes my story “Like Gold Upon Her Tongue.” I spent part of the afternoon curled up reading and enjoying other people’s stories, so if you are in the mood for something dark and strange I encourage you to check it out.

Cover of XVIII

Events have been canceled, but there is also transformation. In lieu of reading at the launch party, Wendy N. Wagner uploaded a recorded reading from the bumper sticker-inspired “When Only Bears Carry Arms, Only Weapons Will Be Born.” Instead of hosting an author event, A Good Book is offering the first volume, XIII, for free to people who buy XVIII. (And yes, I am switching between Roman numerals and writing out the number. For a book filled with stories that play with reality and perception, a mercurial title seems appropriate.)

Due to the pandemic, the book launch does not look much like originally planned. Aside from the sensible cancellation of events, it feels very strange to be promoting anything right now. (This particular conundrum must be especially tough for novelists, who have far more riding on the reception of their book than any individual author in an anthology, and the publishers and booksellers with their notoriously low margins.) But people need stories—all different kinds of stories—throughout their lives, and particularly during times of stress. So please consider this promotion a bit less “ooh ooh pick me” and more “hey, this is a thing that’s out in the world, maybe you’ll like it, or know someone else who might.”

Eighteen (XVIII)

Cover art for XVIIII’m very pleased to announce that my story “Like Gold Upon Her Tongue” will appear in the anthology Eighteen (XVIII), edited by Mark Teppo and scheduled for publication by Underland Press in March 2020.

The book is part of the Underland Tarot series and promises stories of mischief and mayhem. The anthologies draw their themes from the Major Arcana; the eighteenth card is the Moon. The cover (which I adore) is an in-house Underland design based on a concept by Jennifer Tough. (She did the also-striking artwork for XIII, the first in the series, taking the Death card as its theme.)

I’ll be sharing the table of contents with Forrest Aguirre, Darin Bradley, Christopher East, Scott Edelman, Nicole Feldringer, Benjamin Gamblin, Ingrid Garcia, Emma Johnson-Rivard, Elizabeth Eve King, Jessie Kwak, Shannon Lawrence, Gerri Leen, Mark Mills, Jonathan Mosman, Christi Nogle, Tammie Painter, Josh Rountree, Erica Sage, Lorraine Schein, Richard Thomas, Wendy Wagner, John Waterfall, and Todd Zack. I’m looking forward to see how they play with the anthology’s theme.