Feeling saucy—a new story in MYRIAD

My story “The Sauce Packet King of the West Hills” is a near-future, postapocalyptic tale in which condiments have become currency.  A huge thank you to guest editor Jordan Hirsch for including it in the latest MYRIAD anthology of speculative flash, this one all about the theme Remnant.  It’s available to subscribers of Hexagon SF Magazine (subscriptions start at $1 per month). 

My story originated as a combination of my background in economics, the accumulation in a certain kitchen drawer, over many years, of the titular sauce packets, and a personal goal to set a story in my local geography.  Speaking of which, I’m getting close to being able reveal an upcoming project that writers in my area will want to hear about…

First, though, I’ll have more info. on my horror story in Nightmare Magazine later this week.

A poetry reprint and other updates

I’m pleased to share that my poem “Lanterns at Dusk” has been reprinted in The Hyacinth Review.  This poem first appeared in Kingdoms in the Wild.  If you’re interested in more of my poetry, I have new poems due out in Asimov’s, Anterior Skies, decomp journal, and Wind Guide You.  You can also sign up for updates on the forthcoming New Cosmologies series of chapbooks from Sword & Kettle Press. 

In fiction news, I have a story coming out this Monday in the Remnant issue of MYRIAD, which is only available to subscribers of Hexagon SF Magazine.  I just read the proof of the anthology today, and holy moly, I’m honored to be accompanied by these other flash pieces!

Starting 2023 off with a bang

I hope you all had an enjoyable holiday season!  I got to see my local family, eat way too many of my mom’s Christmas cookies, watch new-to-me movies, and play familiar-to-me games.  I also did lots of research for a story I’m working on and finished up a different draft as well. 

Not to bury the lede, but my new horror story “Until It Has Your Reflection” was published in this month’s issue of Nightmare Magazine!  It’s currently available to subscribers or for purchase as an ebook.  I’ll talk more about it later this month, too, when it’s posted online. 

I’m a little behind on updating my annual writing career SWOT matrix for this year.  I’ll get to it, but for now I’ve been trying to savor the progress I made last year.  I’m proudest of two things:  1) There were stories of mine I didn’t give up on for years—in some cases, literally a decade—that I polished up and kept submitting, and finally found really great homes for them; and 2) while I don’t feel like I finished as many new drafts as I’d hoped to, I wrote several stories that I know deep down I wasn’t ready to write until last year.  They challenged me in new ways. 

Coming up later this month, I’ll have another poetry reprint in The Hyacinth Review, plus a new flash story in MYRIAD (a themed anthology available to subscribers of Hexagon SF Magazine).  I hope to have some news to share related to my debut mini-chapbook, The Inca Weaver’s Tales, part of the New Cosmologies series which you can learn about at this link.  And I’ll have some other news that should be of particular interest to authors in the Portland area. 

Finally, I want to extend hearty congratulations to Akua Lezli Hope and Mary Soon Lee, who were both named the newest Grand Masters of the SFPA!  Both of these women have made tremendous contributions to the art of speculative poetry with their rich verse and generous advocacy.  They are true inspirations.

On merry (gothic) Christmases and my messy writing approach

Flame Tree Publishing has posted the second round of author Q&A for Christmas Gothic, this time with about half the responses listing other dark holiday tales the contributors enjoy, and the rest about some of our writing processes.  I admit to the inherent mess of my own process, from my chicken scratch handwriting to my disorderly, complete-the-jigsaw-no-matter-what-it-takes mental jumping around.  Hey, it gets the job done!

Do not be fooled by my cheery props. This is a book for readers who like a dark streak mixed into the holidays.

Dark inspiration and cozy data

I’ve got a couple links to share today.  Flame Tree Publishing posted the first of two mini-interviews with contributing authors of Christmas Gothic Short Stories.  This one looks at the inspiration behind our selected stories, and I’ve certainly enjoyed seeing the variety of ways these dark holiday tales came to be.  I’ll post again when the second part comes out. 

Also, given my day job as an analyst, I really appreciate data transparency, and I wanted to give a shoutout to my editor over at Wyngraf for his breakdown of the numbers related to the latest issue of cozy fantasy stories. 

I’m totally biased, but Christmas Gothic and both issues of Wyngraf represent a range of readers’ tastes and would make great gift ideas—just sayin’.

A big week for my science fiction poetry

I have so much to be grateful for this week of Thanksgiving, writing-related and otherwise. 

The editorial team at Apparition Literary Magazine notified me that they’ve selected my poem “Backward Compatibility (Quinceañera on a Generation Ship)” as one of their nominees for this year’s Pushcart Prize!  I’m blown away and so honored. 

Also, I’ve sold a poem to Asimov’s Science Fiction, one of my dream publications to get into.  

Whether or not you live somewhere that celebrates Thanksgiving this Thursday, I hope you all have a wonderful week of gratitude, gathering, and delicious food!

Two new poems about Ecuador

Ecuador’s men’s soccer team is off to a solid start in the World Cup—which is my awkward segue into the announcement that I have two new poems paying homage to this side of my heritage. 

I’m thrilled to have my poem “La Iglesia of the Stone Creatures” included in the new Sonder issue of Lucky Jefferson.  I would like to share a collective message from the Sonder contributors and editors: “This issue brings 23 writers together to generate admiration for the communities around us.  There are a wealth of experiences and moments outside of ourselves that shape life itself, and we hope after enjoying work from this issue, that you are inspired to pause and admire your friends, neighbors, and strangers.” 

In my opinion, the ability to think about and care deeply for the experiences and wellbeing of others, especially those we don’t even know or barely know, is one of our most valuable, precious, powerful callings. 

For “La Iglesia of the Stone Creatures,” I thought of my experiences visiting a couple of churches in Quito when I was younger, including la Basílica del Voto Nacional, which has these amazing gargoyle-like statues of animals native to the region. 

In the photo above, about a quarter of the way down is a row of the stone creatures.

And speaking of converting my travel experiences in Ecuador into poetry, my poem “The Middle of the World” is available in the Edges & Borders issue of Pilgrimage.  This one was inspired by the first time I visited the Monument to the Equator, la Mitad del Mundo, and then later when I saw a photo from when my parents had visited there years before, back when there was hardly anything around it. 

Nowadays there’s a nice plaza with shops and eateries and exhibits surrounding the monument.  My husband and I bought some art there that’s hanging up on our wall. 

In unrelated poetry news, I also have a haiku (which I call “Chill”) in the Autumn Moon special edition of Plum Tree Tavern.  I have one more piece of news to share, but this post is getting long.  I’ll save it for later this week.

November updates (sonnets and more)

It’s another mishmash of updates!  First up, two of my sonnets appear in Sonnet Collection Series Volume 5, published by The Minison Project.  “O Sweet Child, When Titania Speaks Thy Name” presents an alternative view of a very side character from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the young boy whose presence in the fairy court sets off the discord between the fairy king and queen.  “Kintsugi Master Pieces” won first honorable mention in the Helen Schaible International Sonnet Contest in the Traditional Sonnet category.  It uses the Japanese art of kintsugi as a metaphor for resilience. 

I had a wonderful time teaching alongside my friend Elizabeth Beechwood last weekend for Hugo House.  We were even able to teach from the same room for the first time, since we didn’t start giving our workshop until the pandemic. 

Next week I’ll post about a couple of new free verse autobiographical poems (quite a departure from this week’s sonnets). 

I also have two other writing opportunities in the works, for which I’m awaiting contracts before I can talk about them.

Dark poetry for Halloween

I’ve got a couple poetry treats for you this Halloween.  First up is a brand-new piece, “Pumpkin Ash and Cypress Knees,” in Boudin by The McNeese Review.  They just released their special issue today, with the delightful theme of It Came from the Swamp!  My poem was inspired by my trip to New Orleans a few years back, when I took a Bayou Segnette swamp tour.  Our tour guide was an ecologist who talked about how the bayou comes from the river (as opposed to feeding into it), and the water can change directions.  I fell in love with the plants rising within and around the water.  It took me a while, but the memory of that setting finally came back as this poem. 

Next, “Dancer Summons,” my belly dance poem, has been reprinted in the Pastoral Haunting issue of Pastel Pastoral.  It first appeared in The Common Tongue Magazine.  Please share it with any dancers in your life. 

And don’t forget, the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association has their annual Halloween page up, with audio recordings of spooky recitations, including my poem “Nightmarens.” 

I’ll leave you with some October pumpkin patch vibes.  Earlier this month, my family had a gorgeous fall day at the pumpkin patch.  It was dry and foggy, unlike last year’s fiasco when we had to slog through ankle-deep mud in the corn maze.  Aw, who am I kidding, I also enjoyed the soggy adventure!  But this year had a particularly iconic feel to it: 

“Midnight for Clementine” published in Christmas Gothic

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.