new short story

My short story “The Proper Motion of Extraordinary Stars” is now available online at Shimmer Magazine!

Smoke rose from the center of Asunder Island, marring a sky so blue and so clear it made Aurelia’s eyes ache. The sailors had been insisting for days she would see the Atrox swooping and turning overhead, if only she watched long enough, but there was no sign of the great birds.

You can also purchase the entire issue here.

the red pen chronicles

The #SixteensBlogAbout topic for the month of April is “revision” and friends, let me tell you, I have a few things to say about revision. The things I have to say can be summarized like this:

  1. I love revision.
  2. There is no difference between revising and writing.

I know there are writers out there who don’t have a revision process prior to editorial input. They put words on the page, they proofread those words for mistakes, they send them off to magazines or agents or editors. I know these writers exist because they talk about their writing processes and that is what they describe and it works very well for them and how nice that must  be.

Well, no, it doesn’t sound nice. It sounds awful, because I love revision and I don’t ever want to skip it. But it’s probably nice for them, in the same way being a football fan or drinking Bud Light or having a career as a wedding planner must be nice for somebody, or any other life choice that is perfectly reasonable for other people but wholly incomprehensible to me.

In any case, it’s pointless to talk about people who don’t revise while talking about revision, so never mind them. “No revision” is not a writing goal. A writer’s job is not to write a story that comes out exactly right on the first try. Nobody cares how many drafts preceded the final version. A writer’s job is to write the best story they can possibly write. How that happens, whether it’s one draft or ten thousand drafts, is something every writer has to figure out for themselves.

Continue reading

anthologies and collections

I am delighted to announce that my short story “Water in Springtime” will be included in The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror 2015 (edited by Paula Guran), to be published by Prime Books in July. The full table of contents is here. It’s an honor to be included with so many fantastic writers and stories!

And my short story “No Portraits on the Sky” is in the Clarkesworld: Year Seven collection, now available in both print and ebook formats. The full table of contents and buy links can be found here.

once upon a time

The #SixteensBlogAbout topic for the month of February is how and why we started writing, but I can’t answer that question. I don’t remember how or why I started writing. I was only a kid and it probably wasn’t a terribly momentous occasion.

I do, however, remember the first story I wrote. It was about alligators with pink eyes who lived in caves in the hills. At twilight their eyes would glow. The narrative was only a few sentences long and somewhat lacking in plot or character development, but I remember the setting being very important: those dark hills, those shadowy caves.

I like to think I’ve improved as a writer a bit in the intervening decades, although I will admit that I still secretly believe that properly communicating the ominous feel of dark hills and shadowy caves is often more important than pesky little things like plot. I wrote that story about the pink-eyed alligators when I was about seven. I don’t remember why. Why does a seven-year-old do anything? My father read to me and my sisters all the time, and he wrote his own stories, mostly dark fairy tale retellings in which nothing ever ended well for anybody, especially not frogs, so the possibility of putting words to page was always there.

I don’t think it’s that important, what I was thinking when I was seven. What is important is that once I started writing down my glowing pink-eyed alligators, I never stopped.

IMG_0107

I still have nearly all of the stories I wrote as a child and teenager. They are amazingly bad. I love them for how bad they are. Mostly they consist of strange scary things happening right before people die horribly, which is exactly the kind of story I’m still writing nearly thirty years later, so I guess it’s true that you ought to start as you wish to go on.

Continue reading