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.

Enjoy!

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.

Poetry:

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 Tor.com 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.

2020: Like, at times, Covid seemed to be the least of it

This year.

Even apart from COVID-19, a record breaking hurricane season, and ongoing shattered heat records, 2020 seemed to offer some sort of personal disaster every single month.

To just mention the highlights:

In January and February (remember January and February 2020? I know, right?) I had my breast cancer scare. March was, well. March. In April, my brother was run over by a pickup truck and needed surgery. My AC unit completely broke down and had to be replaced, suddenly leaving me a few thousand dollars short.

In June, my best friend died after years of battling colon cancer. Another friend landed in the hospital and on a ventilator with COVID-19. July was hot, and wet, and hot, and my little 18 year old cat started to have some problems eating. In August, I had to put her to sleep – made more difficult by COVID-19 and the need to social distance from the vet.

She gave me a look of complete betrayal.

Also, my washing machine completely died. Thanks to COVID-19 supply chain issues, replacing it took weeks.

In September, my cycling vomiting syndrome violently returned. I lost a filling, and gained a hole in the front yard. In October, the electricity went out in a quarter of the house. It took a week and a half to get an electrician in. Another acquaintance died of cancer.

In November, what should have been a minor electrical failure on my trike ramped up into major drama as we fought to get the replacement part in, leaving me without any transportation for weeks.

By December, I felt completely drained.

It wasn’t all disaster after disaster. My father gave me two new little kittens in August. Both originally came from separate feral colonies, so there’s been an adjustment period, but one is on my legs as I type, and the other seems to have decided that as humans go, I could be much worse. As cooler temperatures finally crept back, I was able to get back out on the bike trail, and look at birds and trees. I had some Zoom calls with friends. I planted some tiny trees.

And I published a few things, which, since this ended up getting a bit long, I’ll put into a separate post.

Choices

A new story from me up at Daily Science Fiction today, Choices, inspired by my ongoing hatred for the fairy tale of the “Loathly Lady,” probably best known from Chaucer’s retelling in the Wife of Bath’s Tale.

Enjoy! And, while you’re there, maybe consider subscribing to Daily Science Fiction – they just revealed that their subscription revenues don’t cover the costs of paying authors. So without more subscriptions, they might need to close down next year. Gulp.

And the Green Water Waiting

A new story from me out today at Fusion Fragment,“And the Green Water Waiting.”

This was an interesting one to place – largely because nearly everyone I sent it to had a different reaction. Some editors hated the ambiguity. Some editors thought it had a bit too much sex for their particular zines. Some editors thought it was too long. Other editors felt it was far too short and needed to be expanded into a novella.

So I’m glad it found a home at last – with an editor who loved the ambiguity.

Enjoy!

Great Gerta and the Mermaid, and A Selection of Drinks

My rather silly story, Great Gerta and the Mermaid, about a pirate, a mermaid, a ruby and a Lost Boy, is now free to read at Lightspeed Magazine. It’s a story about certain aspects of Neverland as depicted in the book, not the film.

And because I see I forgot to mention it here when it came out earlier, my very different story, “A Selection of Drinks from the Courts of the Five Silver Moons and the Seven Red Stars” appeared in the Spring 2020 issue of Lackington’s, available here. 

The Chambermaid

Some fairy tales leave me cheering for the wrong side. Particularly “The Goose Girl.” I mean, think about it. We’re supposed to be totally on the side of the princess, and totally against the maid. But who in this fairy tale, exactly, is walking around talking to drops of blood? The princess. Who in this fairy tale, exactly, is constantly calling up a wind to blow away the hat of her mostly innocent coworker? The princess. Who in this fairy tale, exactly, is talking to the head of a dead horse? Again, the princess.

And who, exactly, ends up dead in the end?

Not the princess.

My little poem about it, The Chambermaid, just went up on Kaleidotrope today.

Enjoy!