RESISTANCE Cameos

Resistance CoverYou can purchase Resistance here directly from Inkstained Succubus (support small presses!) or here from Amazon.

Resistance is set in the secondary fantasy world of Aerdh, which to date is where most of my writing is set. I consider myself a digressive writer; by that I mean that my ideas for new stories are inspired by the one’s I’ve already written or am currently writing. The stories I write become nest, tangled and interrelated. One way this happens is by cameos.

Sometimes when I’m writing a minor character springs to life. Sometimes, they demand their own stories. This is, actually, how Resistance was born: Inkstained Succubus put out a call for self-rescuing princesses, and I knew a pair of tertiary characters who’d appeared in a few unpublished works of mine were due for their moment in the spotlight. I wrote a short story—“Proof”—about them. The anthology I wrote “Proof” for didn’t pan out, but Inkstained Succubus did me the great honor of requesting that I give Shandolin and Rivna and even brighter spotlight: their very own novel.

Maybe you’ve read Resistance and maybe you’d like to see more of some of these characters. Due to my digressive writing style there’s only a handful of people in the book who only appear there.

A Tale of Rebellion, a series of novels I’m currently mired in the middle of, features some pretty prominent cameos from our friends in Resistance. These books are just a couple of years after Resistance, and there is a meaty section in the first book, Extraction, which takes place in the City of Mages. There, we meet again Shandolin, Rivna, Moshel and even Velo and Po. Kel plays a prominent role in Extraction, appears again in its sequel (The Incoming Tide) and is shaping up to be a major character in the third book in the series (The King and His Makers).

Some characters even have their own short stories all to themselves. Moshel Atoosa’Avvah is the lead in “Matters of Scale”, a short story of mine currently in submission and open to beta readers. Rivna’s father, Pahvo, gives readers a glimpse of what life is like from his perspective in “Blue Flowers,” a short story included in Crossed Genres’ Fierce Family anthology.

Even the City itself appears again. For insight into what the City of Mages looks like quite a few years after the events of Resistance, you could check out “The Other Side of Town,” currently available to read for free over at Redhead Ezine.

Happy reading!

Book Review: FIERCE FAMILY

NOTE: This anthology includes a story penned by me, so there exists an obvious conflict of interest involved in me reviewing it and liking it and stuff. To that end, I’ve attempted to read it as if I didn’t contribute to it. Take that as you may.

FierceFamily-front

Fierce Family is anthology compiled and published by Crossed Genres. The fifteen stories collected here are thematically joined by a focus on queer families as represented in speculative fiction. As someone living and growing a queer family who deeply loves speculative fiction, there was a good chance that I would like at least some of the stories here. That said, I’m also notoriously picky when it comes to short fiction anthologies, and especially multi-author short fiction anthologies. I am the type where one weak story can ruin the whole book for me.

This is a very well-executed anthology. The voices here are markedly different from story to story, but not jarringly so. The editor, Bart. R. Leib, seems to have paid close attention to the placement and order of the stories such that there are none of the disconcerting whiplash changes in tone or style you sometimes see in multi-author anthologies. I would have liked to see a closer hand at copyediting; there were a number of very minor grammatical or spelling mistakes that took me out of the stories from time to time.

I was pleasantly surprised by the depth and breadth of the stories themselves. The anthology contains a little of everything, and (so long as you’re not homophobic, obviously) there’s something in here for spec fic fans of every stripe: it’s got high fantasy, it’s got comic fantasy, it’s got space pirates and space warriors and contemporary sweet ghosts. There are stories here that are far-flung and far-future set in spaces our world does not resemble at all, and there are stories that could be happening to someone right now. Whatever floats your boat, this collection has something for it populated by a queer family.

I was also impressed by the diversity of the characters within the stories. It’s an wonderfully intersectional collection—most of the protagonists are people of color. The families range from single parent and child to wide open poly families with few biological ties. In some stories, the families are headed by queer parents; in some stories it’s the children who are queer. In some stories, it’s queertastically both.

For me, the standout stories were “Stormrider”, by Layla Lawlor, which features ice dragons. “Growth” by A. C. Buchanan hit me right in the heartstrings with a beautifully rendered bigender teen protagonist. “Form B: For Circumstances Not Covered In Previous Sections” by Stephanie Lai is perhaps the sweetest dystopian story I’ve ever read. “The Collared Signal” by J. L. Forrest has space pirates! And “Two Hearts” by Marissa James is a wonderful lesbian love story.

4/5 stars

New Pub: “Blue Flowers” in Anthology of QUILTBAG spec fic short stories!

FierceFamily-front

Hi friends! I’m so proud to announce that one of my short stories, “Blue Flowers”, was chosen for inclusion in Crossed Genres’s Fierce Family anthology, which was released today! From the Crossed Genres page:

Strong, united families are rarely portrayed in speculative fiction. They’re often dysfunctional, combative, self-destructive, or miserable, when they’re portrayed at all. This is especially true for non-nuclear and adoptive families, single parent families and families with no children, which are easy targets for invalidation.

And QUILTBAG families are almost never portrayed in speculative fiction, regardless of whether their families are loving or falling apart.

15 exhilarating stories of QUILTBAG families experiencing adventure, disaster, and triumph make up Fierce Family. They are families of any constellation: all sizes and configurations, families of choice as well as families by birth. They are caring and connected – when outside conflict arises, they come together to defend and aid one another. Fiercely, and without hesitation.

Check out the anthology here!

Submissions Update: A Bouquet of Near Misses

Image

Well, Ariah made it to the ABNA 2013 semi-finals and no further. I wish this year’s finalist the best of luck! In any case, this seemed as good a time as any to write up an update on my submissions process thus far.

I’ve been writing with discipline and with hard-earned skill for about four years now. It’s only been in the last year that I’ve let anyone besides my partners Jon and Sam read any of my writing. Just sending stuff to friends was incredibly scary, and I think I started doing that around last April. And it wasn’t until last October that I sent anything to publishers or agents–that is, it wasn’t until eight months ago that I actually decided I wanted to try getting published.

Eight months later, I still have no published fiction (though I do have some academic and personal experience pieces published), but I feel really good about my prospects! From what I can tell of the publishing world as an outsider looking in, these things take time. Eight months is for most a blink of an eye on the road to publishing. And, the thing is, though I am new at this and my query letters are most definitely rough around the edges, I have been making it pretty far in my pursuits. It’s been all misses as of yet, but they have been near misses, and that’s pretty  awesome.

Case in point: ABNA 2013. I may have only made it to the semi-finals, but HOLY SHIT that’s still pretty amazing! I thought I’d be cut in the first round…and instead my manuscript was in the top 25 of 10,000 entrants! And I have absolutely glowing external reviews of my manuscript which I can use to beef up my query letter for Ariah (and, incidentally, it’s never been queried–I finished it just in time to submit it to ABNA). So, that’s pretty heartening. Don’t get me wrong, it would have been awesome to snag a publishing deal with a $15k advance, but, hell, I got really, really far.

Way back in October, Harper Voyager opened up a digital submissions process. I submitted a couple of manuscripts, and one of them, Sound and Song, was only rejected last week. Last week! I mean, sure, I would have preferred for them to accept it, but being under consideration so long is certainly a good sign. Sound and Song has also resulted in requests for partials and fulls from agents. A couple of weeks ago it was rejected by an agent, but rejected in a very flattering way:

Even in the first few pages you establish yourself as a writer keenly aware of both characterization and world building.

I sent the agent a heartfelt thank you letter, because she most certainly did not have to go out of her way to say that in her rejection. So, this is yet another near miss.

Near misses I can take. I actually handle rejection extremely well (it’s sort of a secret superpower). I might not have gotten any hard bites yet, but near misses signal that I might get one a lot sooner than a bunch of first round rejections would. Again, the very best of luck to all the ABNA finalists this year, and anyone Harper Voyager picks up through its open submissions, and to any clients that lovely agent ends up representing. I feel good about where I am, and how far I’ve gotten at this point.

EDITED TO ADD – Just now, literally two days after I wrote up this post, I got a firm bite on one of my short stories. So one of these near misses is now blooming into a palpable hit, y’all!

NEW SHORT STORY FOR BETA READERS!!: Blue Flowers

blueflowerswordleHey y’all! I just finished another short story. The description and info are below; I welcome any and everyone to read it!

Pahvo loved Anu before they ever met. Pahvo is a scryer; he sees the future, the past, lives both in a fractured present. When Pahvo first notices Anu across the street, he sees their entire lives together. Anu sees a stranger.

BLUE FLOWERS is a completed short story 4,950 words in length set in the world of Aerdh. BLUE FLOWERS explores the nature of irrevocable and inescapable love.

Interested? Let me know!