gratitude

Live, from Uncanny Cabin

Pro Tip: When editors extraordinaire Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas ask if you want to be an Uncanny Magazine kickstarter reward… for values of Kickstarter rewards that include a weekend at a cabin in the woods? You say yes.

little did we know...

little did we know…

Thought you all might like to tag along, so here’s picspam and various other implements of documentation. Including fanart (!), an accidental musical interlude, and a live Twitter play… read on, brave friends — (more…)

The view from Rainforest

I spent a few days writing without ice and snow last week. Also without much Internets. We had a weak WIFI signal, which made for many words, and an odd feeling of being disconnected on a global level, while very connected to my fellow writers. This was a very good thing.  Many thanks to Patrick Swenson and everyone at session 2 of the wonderful Rainforest Writers’ Village.

I gave a Deadlines 2.0 talk and I made deadline-apocalypse stickers for it… I have some extra. Might give away a few. Will give that a think.

Meantime: Picspam!

Frankenpost: Four Great Short Stories Not By Me, On Reading, Workshops, & Things Upcoming

It’s been an exciting month around here – and a busy one. Over on Twitter, I experimented with lightning-round Cooking the Books book giveaways, and that went really well. We’ll be doing some more of those.

But first and foremost, I’m delighted to share that revisions are *finished* on book 1 and we’re moving to the next phase of the process – meaning we’re one step closer to BOOK!

Working with my editor and the team at Tor has been an amazing and awesome experience so far. Oh the brilliant and funny things that happen in the margins of books before they get published. Totally excellent conversations going on in there. Oh the gifs. So. Many. Gifs.

I know I’ll have more to say about the editing process soon, including some upcoming Book 1-related news — but I can’t talk about that yet, so I’m going to make you a bunch of links for this frankenpost (thank you, Natalie) and say:

Look! What’s that over there?!?

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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.

jimjohnfran

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.

emily

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

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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.