Category Archives: Uncategorized

Worldcon 76 – Days 2 and 3

It’s been amazing meeting authors and editors who inspire me, not to mention attending panels on a wide range of topics.  One of many highlights from yesterday was meeting a fellow contributor to Triangulation: Appetites, author K.G. Anderson.

This morning before things got started at the con, I took a walk through the nearby Guadalupe River Park & Gardens and saw the Monopoly in the Park display.


The game board
Monopoly in the Park - Reading Railroad
Gotta love Reading!

SFWA blog post + research list

I’m honored to have a blog post published on the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) official blog.  You can read it here:

This essay resulted from me happily falling down a research rabbit hole of empathy, A.I., design fiction, and related concepts.  Here’s my research list in case you’d like to take a similar plunge:

Author(s) Title Year
Adler, Nancy J. The Arts & Leadership: Now That We Can Do Anything, What Will We Do? 2017
Bal PM, Veltkamp M How Does Fiction Reading Influence Empathy? An Experimental Investigation on the Role of Emotional Transportation 2013
Blythe, Mark A. & Wright, Peter C. Pastiche scenarios: Fiction as a resource for user centred design 2006
Bunce, Louise & Stansfield, John The Relationship Between Empathy and Reading Fiction: Separate Roles for Cognitive and Affective Components 2014
Djikic, Maja & Oatley, Keith & Moldoveanu, Mihnea Reading other minds: Effects of literature on empathy 2013
Dourish, Paul & Bell, Genevieve “Resistance is futile”: reading science fiction alongside ubiquitous computing 2014
Fei-Fei Li Opinion | How to Make A.I. That’s Good for People 2018
Fraiberg, A. Fiction, business studies, and leadership: From know‐how to embracing the impossible 2010
Geoff Colvin Humans are underrated 2015
Johnson, D. R., Cushman, G. K., Borden, L. A., & McCune, M. S. Potentiating empathic growth: Generating imagery while reading fiction increases empathy and prosocial behavior 2013
Johnson, Dan R. Transportation into a story increases empathy, prosocial behavior, and perceptual bias toward fearful expressions 2011
Kohei Nomura and Seiki Akai Empathy with Fictional Stories: Reconsideration of the Fantasy Scale of the Interpersonal Reactivity Index 2012
Lackey, Chad Social Science Fiction: Writing Sociological Short Stories to Learn about Social Issues 1994
Michael Sainato Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates Warn About Artificial Intelligence 2015
Peterson, Jordan B. ; Oatley, Keith & Mar, Raymond A. Exploring the link between reading fiction and empathy: Ruling out individual differences and examining outcomes 2009
Raymond A. Mar, Keith Oatley, Maja Djikic & Justin Mullin Emotion and narrative fiction: Interactive influences before, during, and after reading 2010
Steven S. Taylor and Donna Ladkin Understanding Arts-Based Methods in Managerial Development 2017
Sturdee, Miriam & Coulton, Paul & Lindley, Joseph & Stead, Mike & Ali, Haider & Hudson-Smith, Andrew Design Fiction: How to Build a Voight-Kampff Machine 2016
Tanenbaum, Joshua & Pufal, Marcel & Tanenbaum, Karen The limits of our imagination: design fiction as a strategy for engaging with dystopian futures 2016

The end of a chapter

Last night was my last class.

Such a power, place can hold over us.

PSU Karl Miller Center staircases
Don’t these crazy staircases and walkways make you think of Hogwarts?


PSU Karl Miller Center patio
View from the Karl Miller Center’s 5th floor patio, right before I did my final B-school simulation there.


PSU Karl Miller Center classrooms
Symmetry of classrooms viewed from a slanted sidewalk.

Now all that remains is one more paper to turn in and one final team commitment that will spill into summer.  Then I truly turn the page.

Writerly things I’ve done lately

  • Over Spring Break, I did a strategy SWOT analysis on my own writing career.  My classmates wisely laughed when I told them.
  • Then, because I’m a nerd, I developed some key performance indicators (KPIs) for my writing career.  I haven’t told my classmates that yet, but I’m sure they’d get a kick out of it too.  Hey, I mean it when I say I enjoy making spreadsheets.
  • I completed 3 new story drafts (2 of which are super short) and brought one to my writer’s group for initial critiques, because the stars aligned and enabled me to attend for the first time in months.
  • I booked my flights for WorldCon this August!
  • I also got tickets to an event next month celebrating the life and legacy of Ursula K. Le Guin.  I’ve idolized her since high school.
  • I’ve been researching the link between empathy and fiction, specifically how it applies to a business setting.  I’ll be posting the results of my research shortly.


Not related to writing, but last month I attended an event featuring tables decorated for an “around the world” theme.  My mom put together one to represent Ecuador!  I lent her some of the things my dad has brought me over the years from his trips visiting relatives or that I purchased myself, plus we printed a few of my photos from the last time I tagged along with him and brought my husband.  I think the table turned out lovely and authentic.  Here are a few photos:

Horror story acceptance!

I’ve officially sold a horror story, due to come out this fall!  People sometimes do a double-take when they hear I write horror.  I guess I don’t put off some sort of expected vibe, whatever that may be.  I’ll admit I was a skittish child, although I was raised by choice on a steady diet of dark animation.

As far as my exposure to creepy and twisted literature, I can still remember one of my sisters telling me about the classic story “The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs.  She spoke about it spoiler-free, but its impression upon her, complete with shudders and wincing, intrigued me.  I had to seek it out.  Reading it made quite an impression on me, a radical departure from my sheltered reading list as a sixth grader!  When this same sister told me about Roald Dahl’s adult short stories a few years later, I immediately got a collection from the library.  I’ve never forgotten how haunting some of those works are.

Then came Edgar Allan Poe.  A high school English teacher read us some of his works in October—and it’s no wonder that as an adult I decorate my living and dining rooms for Halloween every year in Poe themed décor.  In college I read “The Fall of the House of Usher” right before I went on a Halloween flashlight tour of the nearby Winchester Mystery House, which made the outing extra memorable.

Fall is such a perfect time for horror, so keep your eye out later this year for the horror anthology Nothing’s Sacred Vol. 4.  My story “My Little Sugar Plum” will be included.

An upcoming publication—for charity!

It’s been a while since I’ve focused on my poetry.  Although most of my writing is fiction, the main track I studied as an undergrad English major with a Creative Writing emphasis, believe it or not, was poetry.

So when I heard about the series Civilized Beasts, volumes of poetry to support wildlife, a cause near and dear to my heart, I knew I wanted to be involved.  The piece I wrote and sent in for Civilized Beasts Volume III was accepted!

A fun twist on this publication is that my bio will be in the form of verse.  Keep an eye out for more details.

Farewell to 2017

My oldest sister’s family has been visiting from San Diego, and it’s been a real treat having them here for Christmas!  It actually snowed a bit on Christmas Eve and stuck, so they lucked into a rare white Christmas for these parts.  We had fun singing carols while my mom plays the piano, decorating gingerbread houses, and going out to play laser tag.  For Christmas my parents gave me a copy of Kij Johnson’s story collection, At the Mouth of the River of Bees, which they had her sign for me at a reading that I sadly missed because it conflicted with one of my classes.

Now I’ve been taking advantage of my school break to do some writerly things, including editing some of my stories and continuing to beta read a novel for a friend.  Earlier today a different friend introduced me to fellow speculative fiction writer Elizabeth Beechwood, founder of the Washington County Writers Forum, and a fun person to meet.  I’m looking forward to the second half of 2018, when I’ll graduate and finally have time to go to more writing events on a regular basis.

Magic, holiday and otherwise

This morning my family went on the Cinnamon Bear Cruise, a Portland holiday event that celebrates an adventure through the magical world of Maybeland.  After the magician’s performance, one of my sons asked me if there might be such a thing as real magic.

As a fantasy writer, I spend a lot of time thinking about magic:  magic systems, their rules, sources of it, good ways to reveal it.  Fiction writers of all genres specialize in immersing the reader in a created world so convincing, it feels real.  The senses are triggered.  Emotions are conjured.  Characters who do not exist elicit responses often more intense than those to the people we encounter every day.  Effectively, it is sleight of hand (of mind?).

As for my son’s question, I wanted to answer him truthfully and leave the door open to wonder.  I crouched to his eye level and said, “Maybe that magician just knows some really good trickery.”  Rather like my favorite writers.

A hopefully happy Halloween

October is usually my favorite month, but this year it’s been brutal for me for a variety of reasons.  Oh well, I’m determined to finish it up on a good note.  Tomorrow is Halloween, after all.

And there’s been plenty to enjoy.  Taking my kids to the pumpkin patch is always one of my favorite parts of fall.  Then earlier this month, on Friday the 13th, my husband and I double-dated with one of my best friends from high school and her husband by trying our luck in an escape room.  I’ve been wanting to do one ever since I first heard about them.  It was great fun, although the room we picked only has about a 35% success rate, and I’m sorry to report we did not help increase that percentage.

I also made progress on a story rewrite.

And finally, I bought huge bags of Halloween candy during my lunch break today.  Way more than we’re likely to give out.  Which means, leftovers!  Muahaha…