The Heron-Girl

For all of its many, many environmental issues (it’s the most polluted lake in Florida, which is really saying something) I love Lake Apopka, that shallow but wide lake haunted by alligators and birds, usually nearly empty of anything but fish and wind. (It’s too shallow for most boats, and too polluted for many people.) So it’s probably not at all surprising that it works its way into many of my stories….along with blue herons, possibly my favorite bird.

(Well, my favorite bird if you ignore the little tricolored herons and bright red cardinals and the stubborn little kingfishers and common gallinules – I just love their little red beaks – and….this is going to get long, so I’ll stop now.)

Here’s the latest of those stories, a flash piece about The Heron-Girl, now available from Baffling Mag for free. Enjoy!

Coffee and the Fox

I have occasionally – occasionally – been accused of having an obsession with coffee. Most unfair, especially these days, when for health reasons I have to be a bit cautious with my caffeine intake, while simultaneously using caffeine to help treat migraines.

Bodies, am I right?

But I digress. All of this is to say that the focus of my latest little story, “Coffee and the Fox,” should not be overly surprising to anyone. You can read it for free in Zooscape here.


Resistance and Transformation: On Fairy Tales

It’s finally out – my collection of fourteen essays about the French salon fairy tale writers, from Aqueduct Press!

The book can be purchased directly from Aqueduct Press, or from Amazon and other booksellers. From a financial perspective, it doesn’t matter to me who you buy it from or which format you buy. But buying directly from Aqueduct is a bit better for them, so if you can buy directly from Aqueduct, I’d recommend buying from them.

For want of a dryad

So what looks to be a very busy month ahead for me kicks off with the publication of my very tiny tale, For Want of a Dryad, in Cafe Irreal.

Sometimes I’m not entirely sure what inspired a particular story. In this case, however, I can say quite definitely that this entire story came from working in the yard, and trying to make out what, precisely, the trees were whispering in the sun and breeze.

Beneath the Palace Dictionary the Last Evil Mars Moth Sleeps

My first publication of 2021 is out – a small poem with a long title, Beneath the Palace Dictionary the Last Evil Mars Moth Sleeps, out in Kaleidotrope.

This particular poem was inspired by something the editor, Fred Coppersmith, said on Twitter – which suggests, I guess, that Twitter isn’t always a waste of time for authors.


2020 Eligibility post

Despite, well, everything, I did manage to publish a few things this year:

Short stories:

A Selection of Drinks from the Courts of the Five Silver Moons and the Seven Red Stars, Lackington’s, June 2020.  

An experimental story about, well, what’s said in the too-long title. The only full length story I published this year without a marine biology joke. Coincidentally, the only full length story I published this year without a terrible marine biology joke.

Great Gerta and the Mermaid, Lightspeed, July 2020.

Peter Pan. Pirates. Mermaids.

And the worst marine biology joke, bar none, that I have ever slipped past an editor.

On the Nebula Recommended List.

The Ruby of the Summer King, Uncanny, July/August 2020.  What happens when the Summer King falls for the unattainable – the Winter Queen?

Probably my most popular – certainly my most reviewed – story of the year. A Locus Recommended story, and on the Nebula Recommended List.

And the Green Water Waiting, Fusion Fragment, September 2020. Two lovers separated by time and water. My one story explicitly dealing with disability this year.

Flash fiction:

The Dust That Falls Beneath the Light, in the last issue of Syntax and Salt, January 2020. Communication and death in a place filled with light.

Journeys, in the March issue of Wizards in Space, 2020.

This story had the great misfortune to come out just when everything on the planet changed, and as a result, got mostly lost. The issue also has work by a number of other great writers – Aimee Ogden, Jennifer Crow, Stewart Baker – so if you did miss it then (and you probably did – even I did) I think the issue is worth checking out now.

Wings, Daily Science Fiction, March 2020.

This also had the misfortune of coming out right in the middle of everything, giving the tale – originally intended to be a Christmas piece, and written well before Covid-19 was a thing – a very different meaning.

The Shifting Café, Daily Science Fiction, August 2020.

As soon as I heard about the fandom phenomenon called Coffeeshop AUs, I knew I had to write some version of one.

A Note Left on a Coffee Table, Glitter + Ashes: Tales of a World that Wouldn’t Die, Neon Hemlock Press, September 2020

As I’ve noted on Twitter, I’ve been consistently impressed with Neon Hemlock’s productions, and although I’m obviously biased here, this anthology is no exception. Get it for all of the other stories.

Choices, Daily Science Fiction

“Great Gerta and the Mermaid” generated a range of responses – some people loved it, others didn’t – but the responses, positive and negative, were all, I thought, scrupulously fair.

And then this came along.

I would call it my most controversial story yet, except that most of that happened in my inbox (another difference between this and “Great Gerta and the Mermaid,” where everyone commented publicly). Some, including Meg Ellison, loved it. Others left less kind comments on Facebook.

Still others sent hate email, including one which described, in detail, how my skin could be removed from my face with a sharp knife.

That was charming.


Light year for poetry from me, but it did include:

The Chambermaid, in Kaleidotrope, July 2020

The Last Message from the SS Menagerie, Frozen Wavelets, December 2020

And two non-genre poems:

Afterwards, in Mithila Review, March 2020

Written a few years back, this turned out to be my single most timely piece of the year.

Vet’s Office, Silver Birch Press, September 2020.

Written shortly after I had to put my cat to sleep; published as part of a series honoring essential workers.

Other stuff:

I had a few other things come out here and there – a book review over at which I won’t link to because I was so aggravated by the book, and ongoing rambles on Twitter and elsewhere. I published a few (ineligible) things on Patreon, and started putting up some of my old, out of print or difficult to find stuff on CuriousFictions.

And one of my short stories from 2014, “Memories and Wire,” was reprinted in the anthology We, Robots: Artificial Intelligence in 100 Stories, edited by Simon Ing, currently available from UK bookstores and sorta from U.S. bookstores.

2021 is scheduled to bring at least three short stories, four flash pieces, and four poems so far. I hope you enjoy them.