gratitude

My God, it’s full of books

My first-ever podcast interview is up, thanks to Shaun Duke and Julia Rios! During ICFA, they interviewed me for the Skiffy & Fanty Show and it was excellent fun.  We talked about Cooking the Books, upcoming stories in Asimov’s and Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and the worldbuilding behind Bone Arrow… which led me to talk about:

(A) Clouds & wind
(B) Monsters
(C) Wingbuilding

       or

(D) Poop

If you selected D, you win! Great Job, Me! I blame this odd turn of events on my forebears, engineers all. But, truth be told, I do think about structural and engineering details a lot when I build a world. And one part of those details is often poop. Even if it’s not always front and center in the books (Which, thank goodness, it’s not,), thinking about it is important. Go on, have a listen. (more…)

ICFA Roundup

Last week, I attended my first International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts (ICFA), but from the moment I arrived – on the same plane as my fabulous roommate Siobhan Carroll – I was made to feel so welcome and at home that I’m positive this will not be my last ICFA.

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John Kessel, me, and Jim Kelly. Photo credit: Bill Clemente

The panels and readings were fantastic, with both guests of honor Nnedi Okorafor and Ian Macdondald giving generously of their time and knowledge, and guest scholar Istvan Csicsery-Ronay, Jr. delivering a powerhouse of a talk during Friday’s luncheon. The book room was stocked with both fiction and theory, and thanks to Veronica Schanoes, I’m sinking my teeth into some great nonfiction and research.

Though they tried, Brett Cox and Andy Duncan didn’t succeed in convincing me that first-time ICFA readers always stay out all night drinking, so I made it to my reading with Sara Pinborough and Greg Bechtdel (spoilers: they were brilliant) on time and managed to stay awake for the whole thing, despite turning in novel edits just a few hours before. I read from the novel, which was great fun and I received amazing feedback on it.

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Meantime, Ellen Klages and Jim Kelly gave me excellent career tips at lunch, and I did a podcast interview with the Skiffy & Fanty folks that started off completely normally, I swear. (It should be up soon.) And then Emily Jiang, John Chu, Max Gladstone, Ilana Teitelbaum Reichert, Ellen Klages (as judge) and I accidentally started a flash fiction contest. Max has a great write up of it on his blog.  Still waiting on that photo of you in the hat, Max!

From visiting with friends and folks I know, love, and admire to staying up until the wee hours talking good versus evil and Bob Dylan to dawn swims in the pool (with singing, thank you Emily & Julia) and meeting new friends – I feel so lucky to be a part of this community, and about 10,000% smarter, by osmosis.

Many, many thanks to Sydney Bowling Duncan and IAFA for an amazing conference.

If you’re reading this and wondering whether you should attend? Read Sofia Samatar’s brilliance forthwith. 

On Campbell Award *Ineligibility* and The Eligibility of Others

This year marks a new milestone. I’m no longer eligible for consideration for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. And I’m totally fine with that. Mostly.

I’ll tell you why: During the period when I was eligible, I published approximately 2500 words across three flash stories in Nature (2012) and Daily Science Fiction (2011). I enjoyed writing these stories; I learned from writing them. I heard from readers who said they enjoyed them too. That made me happier than I can possibly sum up with words.

It felt something like this: 

For a new writer, acceptance in a publication that pays pro rates is something of a milestone. I didn’t totally understand the full ramifications when I sent “Everlasting” to Daily Science Fiction in spring 2011 and they accepted it. I’d written a flash-length story, was looking for places that would publish flash-length stories and that had published other stories that I enjoyed. “Everlasting” was my first published short story, anywhere. And dear dog it felt good to have someone pay me for my words. (more…)

Now I Can Finally Tell You…

Last October, I wrote about my novel, Bone Arrow, as part of the Next Big Thing meme. I alluded to the story and the world in October 2011, as part of a post called The Thing. You see, Bone Arrow began as part of a story written during a 1-day challenge at a workshop called Viable Paradise. From the very beginning, there have been bone towers, wings, secrets, and dangers. There have been fierce young women and men who lived their lives above the clouds. When the story was read aloud to the writers on Martha’s Vineyard, I knew I wanted to keep writing in this world. And so I did.

Bone Arrow came up again in May when I introduced you to my amazing agents, Russ Galen and Rachel Kory at Scovil, Galen, Ghosh, Literary.

The world of Bone Arrow has been on my mind a lot over the past two years. There’s so much about this place and the people who live in it that I want to share with you.

And now I can finally tell you that you will get to see it all.

Books, you guys! There will be books!

Tor LogoToday, with the help of Russ, Rachel, and my ultra-fabulous new editor, Miriam Weinberg, I can finally tell you that I’ve sold Bone Arrow and two more books to Tor!

You’ll be seeing them over the course of the next three years.

Here’s a little peek at Bone Arrow:

On a morning like this, fear is a clear blue sky emptied of birds. It is the smell of cooking trapped in closed towers, of smoke looking for ways out. It is an ache in the back of the eyes from searching the distance, and a weight in the stomach that is as old as this city.

The early light filters through our balcony shutters as my mother selects her wings. She turns her back to me so that I can cinch the woven straps tight against her shoulders. When two bone horns sound low and loud from Mondarath, the tower nearest ours, she stiffens.

I pause, wanting to look through the holes in the shutters, but she urges me on while she trains her eyes on the sky.

I’m so grateful to my friends from Viable Paradise, Taos Toolbox, the Liars’ Club in Philadelphia, and to my family and my friends for their support.

I’m grateful for you too.

I hope you’ll stick around to see what happens next.

(If you are of Facebook, here’s a very early author page to like. If not, no worries. You know where to find me.)

Post Readercon Dish

Readercon24 (July 11-15, 2013) can be summed up like this: Glittery Brain Fun. The panels and readings I went to were amazing. Standouts are listed below. So here’s as much dish as I can muster on my first day back…

Traincon: First we had to get to Readercon.  That meant Traincon. Ten of us boarded in Philadelphia: D.T. Friedman, Shveta Thakrar, E.C. Myers, Bernie Mojzes, A.T. Greenblatt, A.C. Wise, James and Lilly, Natalie Luhrs, and me. By the time Chris Gerwel joined us in New York (bearing more coffee, thank goodness), we’d taken over a cafe car and had begun shenanigans, interspersed with writing challenges and grand debates on all matter of topics. This was certainly the most pleasing six hours on a train I’ve had in a long time, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

TrainCon writing challenge

TrainCon writing challenge

E.C. Myers and D.T. Friedman

E.C. Myers and D.T. Friedman

The editors of Unlikely Stories, Brni Mojzes and A.C. Wise, plus A.T. Greenblatt

Editors of Unlikely Stories, Brni Mojzes and A.C. Wise, plus A.T. Greenblatt

(more…)

Gratitude: Ghost

photo (16)Now and then, I interrupt the digital media nattering, writing how-tos, and food-in-fiction posts for some old-fashioned gratitude. It’s that time again.

The mobile of my childhood is 34 feet long and weighs 225 lbs. It spins irreverent between medieval tapestries and Saint-Gauden’s sculpture of Diana, itself originally conceived as a weathervane.

Wind. Movement. Change. Even indoors, Alexander Calder’s Ghost rings the changes each second.

To see it properly, you have to stand beneath it, then run up the stairs, then catch it from the balcony. Ghost requires you to change perspective, even as it changes. The Philadelphia Art Museum guards will not take kindly to your running, but do it anyway.

On its own, Ghost is engineering, and balance. It is wing and wind.

In its current context, Ghost is whimsy and defiance. It interacts, where other art is still.

I am grateful to know it. And grateful to see it from many perspectives – as a child, as an adult, and somewhere on the steps in between.

Strange Horizons Readers’ Poll

Thanks to everyone who voted in the Strange Horizons readers’ poll!  The results are in and there are many winners – from fiction to poetry, from columns to reviews, and articles.  Readers voted the notorious Cooking the Books Roundtable the third most popular article last year – which is pretty amazing.  Thanks again to the authors who participated, Elizabeth Bear, Gregory Frost, Nalo Hopkinson, and Scott Lynch; the great editorial team at Strange Horizons, and most especially, everyone who read and liked the roundtable.

 

211,508

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  • In color coding, 211508 is a slightly reddish black. Closest web-safe color is #330000 – which will read as flat black on any PC, and a somewhat more nuanced black on a Mac.
  • In Washington, DC – Rule 21-1508 governs illegal dumping and wastewater treatment.
  • If you add all the digits of the integer 211508 together, you’ll get 17, which is a prime number. If you add those, you’ll get 8, which isn’t.
  • For me, 211,508 is the number of words I wrote (or will, by Monday, have written) in 2012. That includes a 50k revision on novel 1, a 50k start on novel 2 and the 92k re-envisioning, four 5k stories or drafts, one 1k story, and two stories that total 500 words. It doesn’t include interviews and things I forgot to write on my count (I’ll be better about the daily notation next year, after seeing Holly Black’s amazing ‘how I wrote’ posts.)
  • 211,508 works out to 594 words a day*, and while I didn’t write every day, I wrote most of them. (*and because I’ve been averaging 2k on weekdays, I suspect I’m missing some words in my count. Will try to be better next year.)
  • Included in that 211,508 is my first print sale, half my first novel, and all of my second.
  • I’m going to let myself be pleased with that number for a few more days. Then I’m shooting for more words, and better ones, lined up in more pleasing patterns, for 2013.

Reading, Railways & Radio – big fun day

I seem to be liveblogging today’s adventures. We’ll see how long it lasts!

Update (10/20) : Here’s the link to the CUNY interview. John Kessel talks about the Digital Rapture anthology at about 13:30.

Setting out:

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Setting Out
Background music: Richard Thompson – Rumor & Sigh

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Art Deco…
Background music: Gillian Welch – Revelator

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… & John Kessel
Background music: Gillian Welch – Revival

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City
Background music: car horns

(more…)