I’m excited to share that my story “Sasha’s Pattern, Sonia’s Edge” is out now in the Ambition issue of Apparition Literary Magazine! This story explores sibling rivalry, VR technology, and games and puzzles. There’s also an author Q&A where I explain more about the story’s inspiration.
As for the issue’s theme, I’ve been thinking a lot about ambition the past couple years. The decision to go to grad school didn’t come easily for me, especially due to the impact on my husband and young kids. When I was growing up, my dad worked very hard and was very fortunate to have a great career, but he always prioritized family. I’ve always looked up to him for that. Ambition can be so personal and play out in a number of ways, which I think makes it a fascinating theme to explore in fiction.
After that Sunday morning thunderstorm, we traipsed through the rain in our hoods like good little Portlanders until it got sunny again. We checked out the Guenther House and walked through the scenic King William historic district, which reminded me of the Garden District in New Orleans with all the mansions. However, we noticed it was eerily deserted. Oh, sure, there were cars parked along the streets, but we were the only humans in sight, whether pedestrian, driver, resident, or otherwise. I commented that either the storm had scared everyone away or we had become postapocalyptic survivors.
That afternoon we caught the river shuttle north, through the lock, and up to the Pearl Brewery area. It was a peaceful boat ride with lots of interesting murals, bridges, and buildings to see along the way. I can see why San Antonio is fashioning itself as the Venice of America. I enjoyed walking through Hotel Emma. Very cool industrial style. We were staying in the Menger Hotel, which was super close to the Alamo as well as a major stop on the ghost tour.
That night we watched the San Fernando Cathedral Light Show. We arrived a few minutes late, but luckily the show lasts quite a while, so we didn’t feel like we’d missed out. We really enjoyed it. The images projected onto the cathedral and the accompanying music celebrate the history of San Antonio and the blending of cultures in the city. There are strong influences from Mexico and Germany all over, from the names on the cemetery headstones to the street and building names. In fact, our last dinner in San Antonio was at a German restaurant, where my mom told us a few anecdotes about her side of the family; her father, my grandpa, was from Germany.
Since an early morning thunderstorm has taken the liberty of forcing me onto this time zone, I’ll get caught up on yesterday. The Alamo tour was very informative—did you know the iconic church building didn’t originally have a roof?—and I really enjoyed walking the grounds and seeing the historic walls surrounded by so much greenery. There was a Turkish festival setting up in the plaza, so we swung by that too.
At the end of our ghost tour last night, the tour guide recommended some local dishes to try. When my mom, sisters, and I asked her for more info., she said the bus could drop us off at one of the locations. So, after everyone else had (ahem) departed, we got a personal trip on the ghost tour bus!
I forgot to mention, back home on Friday while going through airport security, as soon as I went through the scanning machine, they pulled me aside. Turns out they needed to check my hair. That’s right, my hair is so thick it had to be frisked.
Hmm, technical difficulties are preventing me from uploading any photos as this time. I’ll have to try again later.
I’m not used to taking a trip that isn’t connected to either a work conference, writing conference, school program, or visiting family. It’s a nice change of pace. My mom, sisters, and I arrived in San Antonio late yesterday. It’s such a treat to be together as a group, including with my sister from San Diego.
We toured the Alamo this morning and took a cruise on the River Walk this afternoon. I’ve been trying to take diligent notes for story setting ideas, but of course my pen died halfway through the cruise. That didn’t stop the tour guide from asking me when we disembarked why I was doing so much writing on the boat ride. Don’t worry, I also took in a lot of the sights. It’s lovely here.
Tonight, we’re going on a ghost tour. I enjoyed the one in New Orleans so much, I suggested it to the group here, and they agreed. More to come.
Apparition Lit is running a subscription drive now through April 15th. If you want to get in on this, you can get some swag while helping support writers who’ll get to work with this awesome publication (one of the goals is to increase the pay rate). Find out more info here: https://www.apparitionlit.com/articles/patreon/
April 15th is also the day my story is coming out in their Ambition issue.
Meanwhile, I’m gearing up to attend the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) Conference next week, right here in Portland. I always look forward to meeting other writers and learning more about our industry. Then I’ll be taking a quick trip to San Antonio for my first time. Should be fun.
I’ve just had a 13-word story published—yes, 13 words—and it’s actually my first of two stories coming out this year themed around virtual reality. You can find “Origin Story” now at the Story Seed Vault, and keep an eye out for my deeper dive into VR tech in the Ambition issue of Apparition Literary Magazine, coming out next month.
When people ask me about my writing, I often explain that I write because I can’t not write. Forgive that clunky sentence, that double-negative, but it’s so true. 2018 proves it better than any other year thus far.
2018 brought me a lot of personal issues to work through, but through the ups and downs, I also completed more story drafts than in any prior year. This shocked me when I did the calculation. A good chunk of them were short even by my standards, but still. I had to steal time for it. I had to reclaim that part of me. And I had to acknowledge the times when I could, in fact, not write, and be okay with that. I still came away with new experiences to stow for when I’m ready.
Here’s hoping for momentum in 2019—preferably without the emotional roller-coaster. And here’s wishing for health and wellbeing for all of you! May the only scares and misfortunes be found in the fiction you consume, and may the pages you read be numerous.
As an early holiday gift to my readers, here’s an illustration of my story “Venom in the Cloud Forest” drawn by my very talented friend Sambaran Chatterjee. Sambaran and I first met at orientation for our MBA program, where during a group exercise he dropped a scrap of paper that I swooped down to pick up for him. On it was what he’d call a “doodle,” which to me looked like a frame-ready work of art. Seriously. And not only is he an artist, he’s also a filmmaker.
Without further ado:
Look at the details in the shading! The power dynamics in the characters’ posture!
The story this illustration is based on originally appeared in Myriad Lands: Volume 2: Beyond the Edge and is slated to be reprinted in Pioneers & Pathfinders.
I am thrilled to announce that two more of my stories came out yesterday.
“Exchange” appears in Factor Four Magazine. This flash story stemmed from a challenge issued by one of my writer friends and was loosely inspired by my dad’s experience being the first in his family to immigrate to the U.S., when he was paired with a college roommate who remains a family friend to this day.
“My Little Sugar Plum” appears in Nothing’s Sacred Vol. 4. This horror story came about from my hopeless sweet tooth, my resulting musings about what it would be like to live inside a gingerbread house, and another challenge from my writer’s group.
Finally, my poem “Crocodilian” came out a few days ago in Civilized Beasts Vol. III, a charity anthology supporting wildlife. This poem was inspired by my time volunteering at the Oregon Zoo, where my favorite spot was at the African slender-snouted crocodile exhibit teaching visitors about this endangered species. The timing of this publication is bittersweet to me, because my family went to the zoo this past weekend for the first time in months, and while we were there I learned from a keeper that my favorite croc, Lance, had passed away earlier this year. Thanks for the inspiration, buddy, for me and others.