Published Short Story: “On the Inside”

My short story “On the Inside” is now available in the fourth issue of James Gunn’s Ad Astra.

Read it here.

adastra

 

 

 

“On the Inside” is set in an alternate world in which the sexes of male and female are strictly separated in terms of their gender roles and elemental education. Protagonist Lihill was determined at birth to be a boy, but she knows in her heart she’s a girl, and her story is about trying to be seen, heard, and believed.

Published Short Story: “Her Mother’s Child”

“Her Mother’s Child” was published in Kaleidotrope today.

Read it here.

kaleidotropesummer2015Kaleidotrope publishes mostly speculative fiction and prefers unconventional stories. My story, published in their summer 2015 issue, features a coming-of-age tale in a gently magical secondary-world setting, featuring goddess spirituality, queer perspectives, and a protagonist with an unusual disability.

 

 

Accepted short story: “On the Inside”

I had actually shelved this story for a long time because I thought maybe it needed to be rewritten in a different way—either with a different point of view choice or even with the perspective of another character. I thought these things mostly based on the feedback of the first editor I sent it to, and I didn’t send it out for a couple years.

Then for some reason I revisited the story and decided it could use a cleanup but that I liked it mostly how it was. I sent it out a couple more times and it got accepted within a month. Huh.

On the Inside” will be published in the next issue of James Gunn’s Ad Astra, though I don’t know when that will be and haven’t done the paperwork yet.

I hope the readers like it. 🙂

Completed New Short Story: “Aquarius”

Hey, remember when I wrote a queer story for a submissions call? And I expressed doubt about the story being good enough to get into the magazine?

I was right. It wasn’t chosen. Surprise!

But. I figured it’s not very often that a person has a chance to submit to a special issue that’s looking for submissions from a small sliver of the population that you happen to fit into, and I wanted to take my chances one more time before the deadline and submit again.

So I thought . . . what appeals to me in science fiction? What cool questions do I like seeing explored? What concepts blow my mind? What do I love about this genre?

I thought about one of my favorite short stories of all time, Joan D. Vinge’s “View from a Height,” and remembered how compelling the protagonist’s situation was to me. It’s about a woman with an immune deficiency blasting off on a one-way trip into deep space, and how she reacted when she was far enough from home that she could no longer receive signals from other people. I decided to take a similar concept but do it with a different dynamic–with two people in a spaceship going to the stars for a different reason. The dynamic changes a lot with two.

So I wrote a short story that was primarily about the protagonist and her partner trying to get chosen for the space mission and dealing with prejudice that comes with being in a queer relationship. My protagonist, Becks, is my first ever aromantic asexual protagonist. Her partner, Austin, is gender fluid, and is also on the asexual spectrum (being graysexual and demiromantic). And they’re in a queerplatonic partnership. It was interesting to write partly because there were “rules” attached to Austin’s gender and what pronoun I used had to match. I enjoyed being subtle about that in the narration, even though there’s some very explicit stuff about the gender fluidity in the story.

I hope I’m not too much of a failure when it comes to the actual science, though. I’ve read a lot of stuff that happens on spaceships but I don’t know a lot of theoretical science that would make what I wrote realistic, and it’s not super advanced because it’s only set like a little more than 100 years in the future.

Anyway. “Aquarius” is 7500 words and is going to be submitted to the same submissions call. I like this story better than the previous one and if Lightspeed doesn’t want it then I actually think I’ll have a good chance of selling it somewhere else.

Completed New Short Story: “Everyone’s Gay in Space”

While looking for a place to submit a contemporary fantasy short story, I ran into Lightspeed‘s submissions call for science fiction by queer authors, and I cursed my luck. By their definition, I count as a queer author (they accept asexual people!), and I really wanted to submit to them; however, I’m more of a fantasy author, and most of my science fiction still leans fantasy, so I didn’t have anything I felt comfortable submitting. I wrote a story about clones in 1999, but it’s terrible (and it’s already been published on a website). I didn’t have a story.

So then I decided to think on it and come up with a science fiction idea. Another clone-related idea struck me, and even though the submissions call for Lightspeed claims they do not require the stories to contain any queer content, this story DID have an element of queerness along with its humorous, sort of depressing themes of identity.

I started writing it last Friday, but had some real trouble ending it. I finally chewed on it long enough to develop an ending, and I’m satisfied with it, but . . . I’m not sure it’s any good. Because the protagonist is kind of absurd and the tone of the story sort of tries to be humorous, I decided to opt for a funny title, so right now I’m calling it “Everyone’s Gay in Space.”

It’s definitely not as good as I thought it was going to be when I thought of it, but I’ll still probably submit it. So far I’ve never been unsuccessful when writing a story for a specific submissions call, so that’s on my side. But considering I only did it once and therefore succeeded 100% of the time but only once, I don’t know that that’s much to brag about. And Lightspeed is sure to be really picky. But hey, if they don’t like it I have time to write another one, and if they still don’t like it, well, maybe I’ll be able to get into their queer fantasy issue. 😉

It’s about 6500 words and it’s about a guy who meets his clone for the first time.

Completed New Short Story: “After She Comes Along”

I actually wrote this story on a plane on June 27, but I’d left out a couple details because I needed to research them, so it wasn’t “complete” until now. It was inspired by my book of choice on the plane–Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman. His weird collection of short stories made a little whirlpool in my brain, and I ended up coming up with something that probably feels a little bit like one of his stories.

I’ve decided to call it “After She Comes Along.” It’s just a contemporary fiction that takes place in the woods, and even though it’s not fantasy, it kind of has a fantastical feel.

It’s only about 550 words, making it my shortest story ever written in my adult life. Woo-hoo!

Completed New Short Story: “That Story about Fortune Cookie Girl”

This is just terrible.

In October 2013, I started writing this short story. It’s been one of the most annoying, slippery pieces of crap I’ve ever had the misfortune to handle. I guess that’s weirdly appropriate, considering its subject matter.

So. I wrote this story’s beginning back in October, but I abandoned it because I wanted to write this other story that got my attention. I did write and complete that other story–it’s called “Her Mother’s Child”–and it ended up selling to a magazine a while after that, so hey, time well spent. But this story? It just kind of languished.

Part of the problem was that it involved a character getting injured in an accident and I wasn’t so sure about the medical stuff, and even though I talked to my nurse BFF about it, I didn’t really feel all that confident. And then on top of that, I was having trouble with the escalation in the middle. I knew the story needed to have something more “serious” happen beyond the initial conflict. I just couldn’t figure out what, realistically, the characters would do. Mostly because the entire thing existed to blast holes in romantic comedy storylines, so I had my doubts about whether I should even care whether it did what stories are supposed to do.

I went back and finished it in mid-June. Or at least, I thought I finished it. Then I got some feedback from people who were torn on its meta aspects, and I decided to tilt it toward MORE meta instead of backing off the meta. It’s that kind of story and Miles is that kind of protagonist.

Of course, then I couldn’t think of a title.

I called it “Heels Over Head” for a while, because that makes reference to a ridiculous line in the story. Then I called it “Head Over Heels” for a while, and then I called it “Head Will Remain Firmly Over Heels,” and then I gave up and started calling it “That Story about Fortune Cookie Girl.”

If I were Miles, I think that’s what I’d call it.

Considering the meta nature of this jerk of a story, I’m just going to let him have his way.

He can tell it while he’s drunk as many times as he wants now, and I don’t care. I wash my hands of it.

Except now I have to try to find this thing a publisher and it’s 12,000 words. :/

Published Short Story: “Your Terms”

“Your Terms” was published in Timeless Tales today.

Read it here.

pandorasbox

As you should be able to tell from this cover, Timeless Tales is a fairy tale magazine and all of the stories for this issue are Pandora’s Box–inspired. It’s the last story in the pack, with a page following it that explains my inspiration along with some bio stuff. My contribution takes an unusual look at Hope, casting her as a modern woman with a case of agoraphobia. The story makes a point about invisible disability/illness and why it’s so important for people to stop framing such things in the context of “inspiration” for others. People with illnesses and disabilities need their stories and lives to be about themselves.

Accepted short story: “Her Mother’s Child”

My coming-of-age fantasy short story “Her Mother’s Child,” written in October 2013, was just accepted for publication by Kaleidotrope. It’s a mother/daughter tale set in a secondary world, with interwoven themes of growing up, parent/child relationships, goddess culture, elemental magic, and ladies who love ladies.

I’m told it will not be published until 2015, but I’m patient! Hope you are too, lovely readers.