My latest story, “Midnight for Clementine,” is available now in Christmas Gothic Short Stories, an anthology for fans of dark and macabre winter holiday tales (a la Gremlins and The Nightmare Before Christmas). My story delves into a world of ornaments, figurines, and other decorations. That’s right, it’s a glimpse into the secret life of inanimate objects (the topic I’m teaching next month through Hugo House!).
This story stems from my longtime fascination with holiday décor. As a kid, I’d play with the seasonal figurines my parents distributed around the living room and dining room throughout the year—the Halloween candles shaped like ghosts, the plush Easter rabbit in a dress holding her surly, swaddled bunny, and most of all, the Christmas decorations. Tree ornaments, nutcrackers, the nativity scene, and a special doll collection that only made an appearance in December! I couldn’t resist. In grade school one year, I ordered a book called The Glass Mermaid by Susan Clymer, in which the human protagonist shrinks down (like in the ballet adaptation of The Nutcracker) and travels through the trunk of a Christmas tree to have an adventure. Well, I preferred the possibilities of venturing up the tree itself.
Years later, thanks to my writer’s group, I was inspired to revisit those memories and create this story for our annual Christmas party. Now, I’m so excited to be included in this beautiful anthology.
If you’d like to check out my poem “Backward Compatibility (Quinceañera on a Generation Ship),” the link is up now to read it on the Apparition Literary Magazine website! I also answered a few questions about the inspiration and process in getting this poem off the ground (pun intended). In the next few weeks, they’ll also post audio of me reading the poem.
In other news, I have a story in Christmas Gothic Short Stories, the brand-new anthology from Flame Tree Publishing! I’ll post about that one hopefully this weekend. If you’re eager to blend some of this month’s spookiness with the upcoming winter holidays, Christmas Gothic is available now from a variety of bookstores.
The wonderful team at Apparition Literary Magazine gave me one of my earliest science fiction story sales in their Ambition issue, and I’m thrilled that now they’ve included my SF poem “Backward Compatibility (Quinceañera on a Generation Ship)” in the Nostalgia issue!
In writing this poem, I took inspiration from the (non-speculative) poet Naomi Shihab Nye. I love how conversational and accessible her work is, while still leaving the reader with a sense of depth behind the words. I don’t know if I came anywhere close in striving toward that balance, but I sure enjoyed myself in the process.
While I was working on it, I also interviewed my dad about his memories of attending fiestas de quinceañeras. His anecdotes ran the gamut from hilarious to bittersweet. It was our own form of connecting across time.
I can officially share this now: I have a science fiction poem due out in the next issue of Apparition Literary Magazine, themed around Nostalgia!
Also, my latest poem, “Where in the Zoo Is Carmen Sandiego?”, just posted on Sidequest. I’ve been focusing a lot on speculative poetry lately, but this poem is autobiographical. The Carmen Sandiego themed event really did happen, and I dug out my old ZooTeen yearbook and found the following excerpts:
In fiction news, I’m looking forward to the impending release of Flame Tree Publishing’s Christmas Gothic anthology, which includes my story “Midnight for Clementine.” If you love a dose of darkness in your winter holiday season, this is the book for you.
In my interview with the Horror Writers Association, which just posted today, I talk about the show Are You Afraid of the Dark?, being a recovering scaredy-cat, and some of the most haunting Latinx writers I’ve read. Also, I don’t mince words in the advice I offer to my fellow horror writers out there.
I’m excited to be the guest speaker for the next Young Willamette Writers meeting! Writers in middle or high school can join me at this online and in-person event, where I’ll be discussing the thrills and challenges of writing speculative poetry! You’re welcome whether you’re new to poetry or not, and whether you typically write in the speculative genres of fantasy, science fiction, and horror or not.
You can join virtually on Zoom or in person at the Beaverton City Library on Saturday, October 1st from 10:30am-11:30am PDT. It’s free to attend, and remember, it’s only for middle and high schoolers.
The Collidescope has published two of my poems, “A Piece of Lake Came Loose” and “Bedtime Routine.” I wrote these in a couple of generative poetry sessions at the Willamette Writers Conference this summer, both taught by Armin Tolentino, the current Poet Laureate of Clark County, WA. They came about as a result of his exercises having us play with language and metaphor.
I’m so grateful to Armin for his engaging events, and to my friend and workshop co-instructor, Elizabeth Beechwood, for recommending that I go to them!
Today kicks off a monthlong celebration in the U.S. of Hispanic and Latinx/e culture. I’m excited to share that I have an interview coming out late next week with the Horror Writers Association as part of their Latinx Heritage in Horror series. I also have a few publications forthcoming that touch on my Ecuadorian and Peruvian heritage, including an autobiographical poem due out in the next issue of Pilgrimage, my debut mini-chapbook The Inca Weaver’s Tales from Sword & Kettle Press, and a story that will appear in Nightmare Magazine.
In the meantime, here’s some of my writing already available to read:
“Song of the Balsa Wood Bird” – inspired by the folkloric markets of Ecuador and a legend based in the Amazon
Writers of all levels, genres, and formats are welcome in our workshop, no matter if you’ve got a particular character in mind or you just want to study something new and different to add to your toolkit. Hope you can join us on November 13!
I had a great time at the Willamette Writers Conference earlier this month. The speakers were excellent, and I took so. Many. Notes. Good stuff!
This week I facilitated a discussion through the Garden Home Community Library on one of my favorite topics, short stories. In October I’ll be presenting to the Young Willamette Writers on another of my favorites, poetry.
My copies of Triangulation: Energy just arrived in the mail, and I also got my contributor copy of Draw Down the Moon. I’ve got some editing work to do on my chapbook, The Inca Weaver’s Tales. Looking forward to getting that spiffed up.