“Tree Eyes” is definitely one of those stories that has its earliest roots in real life—with a healthy dose of fictionalization, of course. At an early age, one of my sons was very prone to seeing faces where there are none (i.e., pareidolia). His bedroom closet doors became a source of great concern as a result.
Fiction: I’ve got a brand-new flash story due out next month in Frost Zone Zine, in their Women Who Write Horror issue.
Interview: I’ll be talking with Latinx Lit Mag, as well as reading my Rhysling Award nominated poem.
Poetry: I’ve got a new (non-speculative) poem due out soon in Pilgrimage, plus reprints of two of my poems coming out in the next few months in The Hyacinth Review. Also, I’m recording a couple excerpts of the Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters as part of a project led by the editor of White Enso.
I found out last night that my poem “Sonnet of the South American Sphinx,” from Honeyguide Literary Magazine, is nominated for this year’s Rhysling Award for Best Short Poem! Many thanks to whoever out there read my work and nominated it. I’m truly honored to be listed among so many amazing writers and poems. The annual anthology of Rhysling nominees will be coming out in a couple of months.
I’m so pleased to be part of The Horror Tree’s Women in Horror Month. In my essay “Upcycling Emotions, or Why I Write Horror,” I talk about what draws me to this genre built upon the dark side of the human experience. I also touch on how I came to write my story “Hell-ium Balloon” from Last Girls Club.
I hope you’ll explore the other pieces that The Horror Tree features for this month and in February of years past, too.
I have another blog post up on WritersDigest.com, this time where I break down a couple of my favorite business tools and how you can apply them to your writing career. I’m always excited when I can merge my business background with my passion for creative writing! Yes, I’m nerdy like that.
One thing I want to add: This time of year, a lot of articles for writers talk about goal-setting. My article talks about key performance indicators (KPIs). Some people might wonder, what’s the difference between goals and KPIs? The way I see it, goals are a specific point you’re trying to reach, like the summit of a trail, whereas a KPI is more like a compass. It’s a calculation that indicates direction. Is the number trending up, down, or staying the same? It’s information that can help you course-correct. Or it’s something you can take note of to discover any trends or patterns. And yes, it can steer you toward your goals. You can calculate a KPI as sporadically or as often as you like.
Personally, I like setting goals, but I know some folks find them a source of anxiety or letdown. I think KPIs are a nice option as a companion and/or alternative to goals.
If you’re looking for something to brighten these dark days, Eye to the Telescope has a new issue out themed around light, including my poem “Trial of the Will-o’-Wisp (A Triolet).” I’ve long admired Eye to the Telescope as a showcase of speculative poetry, always organized around themes, with a guest editor for each quarterly issue. I’m honored that Jordan Hirsch selected my work for this one.
This poem is my second triolet (the first appeared in Sidequest, based on the computer game The Oregon Trail). I had fun seeing how much I could contort the repeating lines in such a short form.
Speaking of speculative poetry, I’ll be participating in an online reading and discussion next month through FOGcon, along with several other poets. I hope you can join us.
I’ll admit, my latest story, “Song of the Balsa Wood Bird,” came about because I was feeling kind of jealous. There are so many wonderful fairytale retellings out there, a lot of them based in Western Europe traditions, with more and more from other parts of the world. I started racking my brain, trying to come up with an equivalent rooted in the Ecuadorian side of my heritage. I took inspiration from the Shuar legend of Etsa.
I’ve always enjoyed visiting the folkloric markets in Ecuador. They’re colorful and lively, full of all sorts of souvenirs and treasures. Between my dad’s more frequent trips there and my own few but cherished ones, I’ve amassed a variety of animal figurines. For example:
I imagined discovering an unknown creature made of balsa wood, one combining features of some of my favorite Ecuadorian animals. I merged that idea with the Shuar legend to write “Song of the Balsa Wood Bird.” My thanks go out to the Fireside Magazine team for giving my tale such an amazing home, especially guest editor Aigner Loren Wilson and Chelle Parker for helping make my story sing.
Coming up this month, I’ve got a poem due out in the Light issue of Eye to the Telescope, guest edited by Jordan Hirsch, as well as another article for WritersDigest.com, this time on “How Writers Can Apply Business Tools to Their Writing.”
Happy holidays! I’m thrilled to have written a blog post for WritersDigest.com, the official website of Writer’s Digest magazine. I had so much fun co-teaching last month with Elizabeth Beechwood about nonhuman characters that I wrote about “How to Write Relatable Inanimate Object Characters in Fiction.” I’ve written about them for the SFWA blog as well, and this time I wanted to expand on these characters for writers of any genre. I have copies of articles I’ve saved from WD over the years; I hope my contribution helps inspire other writers too.
We got some snow last night and this morning. I think it started before midnight so technically qualifies as a white Christmas. For Christmas, my kids gave me a lovely birdhouse and a copy of the new anthology Dispatches from Anarres: Tales in Tribute to Ursula K. Le Guin, edited by Susan DeFreitas and featuring an eye-popping table of contents with a bunch of my local heroes. We’re elated to have our San Diego relatives visiting, our first time seeing them in person this whole pandemic.
I’m lining up a few projects for next year, including a bit more non-fiction, a new virtual event, and of course more short stories and poetry!
My flash horror story “Neck of the Woods” was featured on the most recent episode of the podcast Black Women Are Scary, which showcases horror by BIPOC writers. They read it this past summer during a live, unrecorded event, and now you can hear their new recording of it on the episode Flash Fiction Friday: Episode 4, following discussion with their guest, Abigail from the Lunatics Radio Hour podcast.
I got such a kick hearing them bring my story to life and then analyze the characters afterward. They’re totally right, Cara is the worst niece ever. And by the way, this story first appeared in Thrilling Words.