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.


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.

Revised short story: “Your Terms”

In late March I completed a new short story and titled it “Hope Came Out.” I submitted it to a magazine and eventually the editor got back to me with good news: She liked it a lot, but she wanted me to revise a particular twenty percent of the story that made the story more meta than she generally likes her published stories to be.

I took her revision advice, submitted a new version of it that reconceived the “meta” section and added about 400 words, and retitled it “Your Terms” because the old title makes a lot less sense in the new version.

Happily, the revision was accepted. I will make a post about it here when it’s available to read.

[Update: You can read it in Timeless Tales Issue 2.]

Completed new short story: “Her Mother’s Child”

I did something I’ve never done before: I started writing a short story, and then I paused writing it to write something else. This new short story is the something else.

I recently came upon a call for submissions put out by an LGBT-flavored magazine. They had a teeny word count limit (I think it was 2,000 words?), but I thought I might have a story for them in my archives. I dug up my old story “Grace” from 1997 and thought I might buff it up, but then I saw that the magazine doesn’t accept reprints and it had been on my website before, so I’d have to completely rewrite it.

And THEN I found out that not only is this magazine fledgling and hasn’t published an issue yet, but they do not pay contributors (not a crime, of course, but I’d prefer paying markets). I decided against submitting to them at the same time as I decided I wanted to rewrite that story anyway.

“Her Mother’s Child” was the result. Complete at about 5,000 words, I’m having some friends read it, and if I get good feedback I’ll try submitting it. It features some mother/daughter themes, a fantasy world, girls who are attracted to other girls, and Goddess culture. It also features a challenging protagonist: a character who can’t speak and has to rely on her hands, her expressions, her occasional written words, and her family’s patience in order to communicate. (It’s not pointed out in the story, but the micro-culture here clearly doesn’t have any alternate communication systems like sign language, so she makes do.)

[Update: This story was accepted for publication!]

Completed New Short Story: “In Love With Love”

I just finished a new short story and I’ve decided to call it “In Love With Love.”

It’s very short (for me), weighing in at about 3,500 words.  It’s about a woman named Catherine who’s seeing a therapist because she doesn’t know how to love her son.

This one has a very weird story behind it.

I have a strange sleeping arrangement on Thursday nights/Friday mornings: I go to bed at midnight, and my friend Victor calls me at 3 AM on Friday so I can work on my webcomic and we can talk.  (Obviously he’s a night owl, like me.)  This past Friday, he woke me up with his phone call as usual, and I had been chatting to him for a couple of hours before I needed to go look at something relevant on the computer.  I switched the screen on and there was a Word document open on the screen.

It was five pages’ worth of a short story that I’d written sometime between going to bed at midnight and getting up at 3.  And until I saw it there, I hadn’t realized I’d actually done that; I’d had a vague recollection that I’d just been writing something when the phone rang, but I’d assumed it was a dream.  With some surprise, I told Victor that I’d written part of a short story sometime between going to bed and getting up.

He laughed and said he wanted to see it immediately, with no editing, because he wanted to see what kind of mind-blowingly ridiculous thing I must have written in my sleep.  So I sent it to him as an attachment without reading it over, unsure of what exactly I was even sending.  Later that morning, after he’d read it and I was already at work, he e-mailed me and acknowledged that not only did the story make sense; it was a good beginning in his opinion.  (And, not so surprisingly, it was completely free of spelling errors, and everything in it made sense.)

I went ahead and finished the story over the last couple days.  I don’t know if it’s really one of my best, but it’s pretty good for something I began while half asleep.  I guess I’ll go try to find a home for it next.

Completed New Short Story: “On the Inside”

Finished a new short story called “On the Inside.”  It is, again, actually not very short (shocker!).  It weighed in at about 15,000 words.  Speculative fiction, coming of age.

It’s about Lihill, a transgender girl assigned male at birth, born to a polytheistic culture that strongly segregates its males and its females.

Lihill feels that she’s a girl from the moment she’s old enough to express it, but it’s undeniable that she has what’s interpreted as a boy’s body. In her sex-segregated culture, she’s treated as a boy and made to get a boy’s education, most notably focused around embracing gods instead of the community’s goddess and adopting an elemental alignment consistent with male identity.

She’d love to attend the girls’ troop and form a bond with the element Water, but as a boy she has to settle for studying Air. Though her best friend and her sister seem sympathetic and treat Lihill kindly—even including her in traditionally feminine activities sometimes—they don’t truly understand her situation, and her parents won’t accept that she isn’t a boy in her head.

After repeatedly failing to do what’s expected of her as a boy, the family finally consults a wise woman who’s the first to recognize that Lihill must be a girl on the inside. But she’s still faced with many misconceptions about her gender in a world that’s never heard of someone like her, and is consistently bothered by the fact that saying who she is has never been enough.

I actually plan to try rewriting this in third person (maybe with a different angle, too) because a couple spots of feedback I got suggested that my attempt to have a less cerebral character has resulted in Lihill seeming a bit “emblematic.”  I’m not sure if I can sell the story to anyone since it’s a bit long, but we’ll see if I ever do anything with it.

Rejection Feedback: “Wind”

I got some kind of interesting rejection feedback from a magazine that decided against publishing my short story “Wind,” and I’d like to share it here:

Cool story! I’m passing on it today mostly because I don’t think [magazine] is quite right for it, rather than the other way around. Our readership probably wouldn’t appreciate it the way a publisher with a wider reader demographic would. I’m always hesitant to give stylistic feedback, but if it’s not too forward of me, this could use a stronger opening section. Your narrative is smooth and your characterization is totally likable, but you need something happening right from the first page rather than five or six pages in, even in a longer story like this. Keep submitting it, though. This tone/content is very right-now, and I’m sure someone with broader content will bite.

I like personalized rejection letters.  Probably not as much as I’d like acceptances, but it’s nice when someone decides my stuff is worth their feedback.