Interview, Review, and Links

Fantasy Scroll interviewed me about writing, rejections, and what advice I’d give new writers.

I think one of the most important transitions a writer makes is when they stop relying on the idea to prop up the story and start thinking about how the story reads as well. In fact, most writers don’t get that far, and you can tell that their fiction is all a lead-up to the reveal of the end, or in support of a strong moment that isn’t actually a whole story. My favorite writers can do both, blending a great idea with beautiful sentences.

I hope to be one of those writers. I’m working on it.

Read the rest here.

A Fantastical Librarian reviewed my short collection, Women and Other Constructs. In part, she says:

Despite its short length there is a wealth of stories here and when I sat down to write my review and pick my favourite stories to talk about, I had a really hard time, because every time I’d change my mind. In this collection of stories mostly dealing with the position of women in society and how their (self-)perception is shaped by the demands and expectations of that society, I found hardly a bum note.

She especially enjoyed “Mrs. Henderson’s Cemetery Dance”, “A Cage, Her Arms”, and “About a Mirror and its Pieces”, about which she says:

This story hit me hard and where it hurts…. I love that it not only gave an explanation of her treatment of the little boys in her fairy tale and in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, but also made those events tragic, rather than malicious. It was a fabulous story and a great note to end the collection on.

You can find the rest of the review here. Want to read these stories for yourself? Go HERE to buy print or ebook copies of the book.

I’m currently reading “Sex Lives of Monsters” (a book of poetry by Helen Marshall) on my tablet, and a borrowed copy of Nathan Ballingrund‘s “North American Lake Monsters” in print.

Online, I’ve been getting into ClevelandPoetics (a blog about poetry, esp SF and science poetry), RetroRenovation (a site devoted to old-school home design–I’m there for the mid-century modern style), and back episodes of the Small Beer Press Podcast. So that’s where my head is at.

#SFWAPro

Little Bits

For a variety of reasons, I’ve written several tiny stories in the last two months. Mostly they’re nothing I’m going to use, but a few are seeds from which I will (or have) revised into longer works. Here are a few of them:

From the poetry workshop at Readercon
(assignment, write a poem in 10 minutes)

Don’t dress me in a frock of finest lace
Don’t lock me in a tower far from here
Don’t cover me with veils to hide my face
Don’t burn me at the stake to quench your fear

Don’t wed me to the wizard from the East
Don’t wed me to the knight who makes the quest
Don’t feed to the monster like a feast.
Don’t think that you can write my story best.

This too is my land, now bleak and barren.
These too are my people, tired and sore.

Give me your leave to ride out with the men
I’m not your little princess any more.

(I like sonnets.)

From Codex, a two-line story

Each night she wrote out her fears, watching gruesome shapes coalesce into existence as she typed the words describing their attributes and evils. Then, that monster nearly flesh, she deleted the whole thing: story, words, letters, monster, fears… and finally felt safe enough to sleep.

From my writing workshop, samples to show my students

Valentine stole this day from the werewolves, so I stole it back. Ignore the pain and blood–February’s full moon will wash that bite away.

(140 character fiction)

She made it snow for a week, until her anger subsided. Guilt set in, and she retreated to bed, crawled under blankets, and cried as snow turned to rain. Ice melted slowly, dripping down houses into snow-crusted gutters. Tears dried on her cheeks as the clouds faded from black to grey. The town breathed again, and peaked outside. The sun, missing for weeks, gently brushed the clouds aside for a better look. The town glistened, flooded streets dried, and the people ventured out for food and fresh air.

Showered, dressed, she shook off her loss, went outside, and walked away.

(written at 150 words, cut 50 & revised slightly, to get a 100 word story)

Haiku for Procrastinators

Without a deadline

Words pile up in advance of

A reason to be.

I always know I

Should be writing. I never

Forget that I’m not.

I think if I wrote

You would see my heart beating

In letters, and love me.

I want to be so

Much more than a person who

Hasn’t yet written.

All of my stories

Are nothing but dreams, without

Words on the page.

All of my dreams are

Stories I haven’t told you

But one day, I will.

Read these things, the Nemo storm edition.

If you’re stuck inside with not much to do, take a look at the stories, essays, and interviews that have interested me this week:

Shimmer interviews my friend A.C. Wise, whose story “Tasting of the Sea” appears in issue #16.

Rose Lemberg collected speculative fiction poetry recommendations from various editors – read the list here.

Geoff Ryman’s famously sad novel, Was, is now available as an ebook from Weightless Books (their page has excerpts from the book).

Avi Steinberg talks writing and the Gilbert v Roth argument:

That’s the kind of a person it takes to be a writer: someone who’s zealous and ready to argue, someone who has Philip Roth tell him, “It’s torture, don’t do it,” and replies, “You had me at ‘torture.’ ” You don’t enter into it because it’s a great lifestyle decision—it isn’t—you do it because, for whatever reason, you believe in it, and you believe in it because, for whatever reason, you need to believe in it.

Discover News says readers grasp digital media (aka ebooks) just as well as print.

Eddie Huang (author, chef, and tv personality) talks to NPR about Asian-American food, family, and masculinity. (podcast/interview)

NY Review of Books talks about Wes Anderson as a writer.

Stupefying Stories put together a free ebook of shorts by authors eligible for this year’s Campbell Award.

Wonderful Chet Baker documentary “Let’s Get Lost” now on YouTube.

My latest appearance on the SF Signal podcast is now up: “2013 SF/F/H Conventions We’re Anticipating“. I mainly talk about how great Readercon is.

Oh, and I shared the introduction from FISH over at Dagan Books.

Book Spine Poetry

In honor of National Poetry Month, and inspired by Brainpicking’s book spine poetry, may I present my latest masterpiece?

*steps up to the mic*

Ahem.

FRIDAY

Dreams of decadence
Strange men, in pinstripe suits
Pretty monsters …
Alien sex!
I am legend.

Thank you.

*walks off stage*

You can make your own. Find poetic genius amongst the titles in your personal library, or go out into the world and disorganize a bookstore, creatively! (Just remember to put everything back where you found it.) These are from my bookshelves at home:

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