2022 in review

I always hate putting together these more-or-less obligatory “here’s what I wrote/published this year.”

Rarely as much as this time around.

2022 began with me wondering – genuinely wondering, not looking for sympathy/encouragement/validation wondering – if I should continue writing speculative fiction, short or long. What exactly, I asked myself, was I getting out of writing/submitting/publishing these short stories? What was I getting out of going to genre cons, which have so frequently left me in tears? It continued with getting extremely sick in May, and then again in June. July and August were comparatively quiet, and I wrote a few things, asking myself yet again what exactly I was doing.

And then came September. Hurricane Ian slammed into Florida, and my mother informed me that her lower leg/ankle was in tremendous pain, and would require surgery. In late October, I went to stay with her for ten days as her condition, mental and physical, continued to deteriorate day by day. On November 1, I called 911 and had her taken to the hospital. Hurricane Nicole marched into Florida on November 10. On November 23, my mother was discharged to home hospice care. She died on December 6th.

I spent the last week of the year extremely sick with some sort of respiratory thing that was not Covid nor the flu. Whatever it was still lingers, though I can at least breathe now.

In between all of this, I published a few things – not as many as in previous years, but a few – one of which, Verisya, was an unexpected finalist for the Canopus Award.

Short fiction:

Footnotes from “Phosphates, Nitrates, and the Lake A Incident: A Review,” in Reckoning, August 2022.

A story about what happens when a lake becomes too polluted to see the monsters hiding beneath it. Based on the very real environmental history of Lake Apopka.

Wallers, in Nightmare, December 2022.

When her mother brings a stranger home, a girl tries to hide in the wallpaper. But he can’t help but notice the way the flowers and leaves are vanishing from the wallpaper pattern…

Flash fiction:

Messenger, Daily Science Fiction, February 2022, and then again, presumably by accident, July 2022.

I continually find myself fascinated by the minor characters in fairy tales, those who appear for just a moment or two to propel the plot along, and then vanish. This tiny piece is about what might have happened to one of the messengers sent out to find the true name of Rumpelstiltskin.

The Apples, Daily Science Fiction, April 2022

Do we all really believe that the Evil Queen made only one poisoned apple for Snow White? Really?

Verisya, Daily Science Fiction, July 2022.

A story of a world very far away from our own, and a finalist for the 2023 Canopus Award.


“Ursa Major,” in Musings of the Muses, Brigid’s Gate Press, April 2022.

A poem about transformation.

Horsemen, in Mithila Review, August 2022.

Sometimes the apocalypse just needs a bit of a break.

“Green Leaves Against the Wind,” in Our Beautiful Reward, Reckoning, October 2022.

Technically, this poem will be appearing a couple of times in this upcoming year – online in January, and in print a few months later, but its first appearance was in the October ebook, so I am listing it here as a 2022 publication.

“Storm,” in Wizards in Space, Issue 8, December 2022

I’ll be honest: when this issue arrived, on my birthday, December 24, I blinked, and then cried a little. I had completely forgotten about it – everything about it – to the point where I realized I had to check to see what, exactly, I had written.

Turns out that back in May I had written a poem about rain, and robots, and birds, which magically seemed to summarize so much of 2022.

It’s too early to make any predictions for 2023 – but I have a couple of stories coming out in January, and a few more, it seems, later this year. And I still have trees just outside my window, which gives me hope that this year will include, if nothing else, the song and chirps of birds.

On the Ice of Nix

Years ago, I used to look at issues of Nature and daydream about contributing to one of its articles. That never happened, alas, but today I came as close to that as I possibly could without conducting actual research, publishing a flash story in Nature Futures, which is part of the zine.

(As proof, I have a contract signed with the people at Nature!)

So that’s pretty cool. This is also pretty cool because the story, On the Ice of Nix, which Valya Dudycz Lupescu calls “evocative,” is the rare sort that pulls something from my own life – vertigo – with something that I have never and probably never will have in my life, space travel.

(With that said, I’m kinda cringing over the bit about the inspiration for the story at the bottom. I hate writing those sorts of things, and although what I wrote there isn’t technically completely wrong – this story was written right after a bad episode with vertigo – I can think of other things during a bad attack other than the feeling that I’m about to fall off the planet – or that the planet is about to fall out of orbit – or that I can certainly feel the planet speeding through the universe and just going too fast and —



Dancing in Silver Lands

I’m thrilled to note that my tiny collection of tiny fairy tales, Dancing in Silver Lands, has just won the 2021 Outwrite Chapbook Competition in the Fiction category.

Dancing in Silver Lands contains ten flash fairy tales, including reader favorite “The Ceremony,” which landed on the Nebula Recommended List, and some pieces original to this collection.

I’ll definitely have more about this later once the chapbook has been published by Neon Hemlock Press. In the meantime, I’m very grateful to the three publications – Fireside, Daily Science Fiction and Goldfish Grimm – that gave some these pieces a home in the first place, encouraging me to put this tiny collection together.


In many versions of the Cinderella story, including the retelling by Charles Perrault, Cinderella finds husbands for her stepsisters. As Perrault puts it:

Cinderella, who was no less good than beautiful, gave her two sisters lodgings in the palace, and that very same day matched them with two great lords of the court.

Uh huh. Now, sure, these sisters were wellborn enough to be invited to the prince’s ball in the first place – something that the film Ever After makes a point of noting – but Perrault’s tale makes their status absolutely clear: they are the daughters of gentlemen, not the daughters of nobles. The same exact status held by Cinderella at birth. A status that failed to protect her from becoming a servant – a highly abused servant.

Charles Perrault witnessed several relationships, both sanctioned and unsanctioned, between those of unequal birth at the Court of Louis XIV at Versailles. He may even have known about Louis XIV’s secret, second marriage to a woman considerably beneath him in birth. (She was of noble birth on her father’s side, and quasi-noble birth on her mother’s side, but hardly of high rank, and came from an impoverished background.) He also was a direct witness to several arranged marriages that ended up as disasters for both parties.

His intent here is pretty clear, as it is in other stories: an argument that social climbing was absolutely possible in the court of Louis XIV (something his fellow French salon fairy tale writers often disputed). Not just possible – something to be applauded and encouraged, even as in another tale, Little Red Riding Hood, he warned young women away from predatory men. The same sorts of young women who were – presumably – hoping to follow the example of Cinderella and her sisters.

So, yeah, this all fits with Charles Perrault’s worldview. But does it fit with the rest of the story that he told? I would argue not. Sure, Perrault also tells us that the younger stepsister was less rude and uncivil than the older one – but that’s only a matter of degree.

And, of course, what of the great lords suddenly matched to women of lower birth?

I couldn’t explore all of this. But I explored some of it in my latest little fairy tale, Stepsister, out from Daily Science Fiction.


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.