Sweet! My 100-word story “When You Wake, You’ll Have Cake” just won Rune Bear’s Summer 2021 Quarterly Contest! The theme was Inner Worlds. This little drabble was inspired by lyrics in a lullaby book I read to one of my sons when he was younger. We’d gotten the book from the library, and I remember wishing I knew the melodies to more of the lullabies so I could sing them to him. Instead, I tried to make the most of enthusiastic recitations, and he was a patient, willing audience.
By the way, if you’re craving more strangeness in a sugary setting, my friend Maggie Slater’s new story, “Candyland,” just came out today in Apex Magazine!
Triangulation: Habitats is here! This anthology of speculative stories and poems about sustainable living spaces is available in ebook or paperback.
From the times I’ve traveled to Ecuador to visit family, I’ve gotten to see the Andes, the tropical coast, and the stunning Galápagos—but one part of the country I haven’t been to yet is the rainforest. I’ve wanted to since I was a kid, but it hasn’t worked out. That made the research for this latest story, “Discount Night at the Haunted Eco Lodge,” a bit frustrating, especially since I did the bulk of it during COVID lockdown last year. I leafed through a book on ecotourism filled with jaw-dropping photos of sustainable tourist destinations around the world, while the prospect of traveling seemed so very far away. I read people’s accounts of Amazon hikes and studied itineraries of lodges throughout South America, all during a time I I felt nervous about setting foot in my local grocery store.
That’s why I’m especially pleased that readers can now take this journey with my characters. Welcome to the haunted eco lodge.
How cool is this?! Victims and Villains is hosting an online event this Saturday, bringing together various guest podcasters and gamers to celebrate art, gaming, film, and mental health. There’s nothing about that sentence I don’t like. Anyway, one of the podcasts will be Black Women Are Scary, and I’m thrilled that they’ll be reading my story “Neck of the Woods” as part of this event on Saturday, August 21st at 8pm EDT (5pm my time, PDT) on Twitch.
In other event news, registration is now open for Fall classes at the Hugo House, including the workshop I’m teaching with Elizabeth Beechwood in November.
After last month’s fairy poem in Pastel Pastoral, this time I have a new one in the anthology Into the Glen: Into the Light. It’s called “The Fabulous, Interconnected Living Root Bridges of the Fairies.” I’m so used to thinking of fairies in flight, I thought it’d be fun if they had a special place where they assembled specifically to walk. For research, I read about tourism to living root bridges in parts of India, as well as how the aerial roots of Ficus elastica are cultivated.
I have a new poem out in the Mythos Reborn issue of The Periodical, Forlorn. This issue shows characters from various myths as you’ve likely never seen them before. My poem, “Ariadne Goes to Knitting Group,” was partially inspired by my mom telling me about her knitting group. I originally was going to use a different refrain, one involving the sound of the knitting needles, until I checked with her and learned that the main sound would actually be everyone conversing. I latched onto the social aspect, and that helped shape the poem.
I’ve got some ground to cover, so I’ll get right to it: Triangulation: Habitats is releasing soon. Here’s that IndieGoGo link one more time if you’d like to support the anthology and get some cool incentives. In other fiction news, I sold a short story to Fireside Magazine! It’s called “Song of the Balsa Wood Bird,” due out next year.
For reprints, my story “Exchange (A Coral Study)” will be in Mermaids Monthly later this year, in the All Ages: Young to Old issue. And the podcast Black Women Are Scary, which celebrates and produces short horror stories by BIPOC authors, will feature my flash story “Neck of the Woods” this fall.
Let me pause here. Folks, I can’t tell you how much I deeply admire each of these publications, whether they’re new or recently reinvented. I’m so honored to be part of them.
Okay, now for the workshop news: Elizabeth Beechwood and I are baaaack … We’re offering our three-hour workshop on Creating Nonhuman Characters once more online, this time through the Hugo House. Registration opens next month. For more info on this Nov. 21 virtual workshop, see my Events page and the Hugo House fall catalog (which is packed with fun, in-depth classes for writers). There are scholarships available. We welcome writers of all genres, forms, experience levels, backgrounds, etc. I hope you can join us.
My latest poem, “A Pixie Built a Human House,” appears in the inaugural issue of Pastel Pastoral Magazine, available today. I’ve always loved the idea of fairy houses, so reversing the scale was great fun. The first line (also the title) popped into my head while I was on a walk and processing a frustrating event in my life from the day before. You might consider this poem about parental love the yang to the yin of my horror story “Hell-ium Balloon,” as I coyly referenced when that story came out earlier this year in Last Girls Club.
By the way, I have another fairy poem due out next month in the anthology Into the Glen: Into the Light, and a dark fantasy poem scheduled for this fall in The Common Tongue Magazine. And later this month, some big news on my fiction and a workshop!
Parsec Ink has just launched an Indiegogo campaign to bring Triangulation: Habitats to the masses soon, very soon. Please consider making a donation if you can, or help get the word out to support the anthology. My story “Discount Night at the Haunted Eco Lodge” will be part of this assemblage of speculative stories and poems about sustainable habitats.
By the way, one of the perks you can sign up for is a set of 5 books, including a copy of 2017’s Triangulation: Appetites, which contains my second ever story sale—and it’s still the only place you can find “Little Seed”! Curious?
Oof, that heatwave that hit the Pacific Northwest last week was rough. First, we had record temperatures here in Beaverton, then it followed my family across the Cascades to central Oregon, where we’d booked a vacation in Sunriver just outside Bend. On the way over, we saw eerie evidence of last year’s wildfires, with huge swaths of darkened, discolored forest, and here and there new houses and other buildings under construction.
Turns out that most houses in Sunriver, at least at the time I’m writing this, don’t have air conditioning. Then halfway through the trip, on our way out of the High Desert Museum, our car decided that it didn’t need air conditioning either. Suffice to say, we had quite the adventure.
We made the most of it, though, getting the kids on horseback for their first time, taking them rafting on a slow part of the Deschutes River, and getting them in touch with some of their roots at a Peruvian restaurant. And the High Desert Museum has really expanded since my last visit there years ago, with a great mix of indoor and outdoor exhibits. We had to rush through the outdoor ones, though, since it was well over 100 degrees.
Definitely a memorable trip! I’d ambitiously hoped to finish drafting a story during this vacation, but the heat and resulting lack of sleep baked the creativity and focus right out of me.
In other news, The Rail has published a poem of mine called “The Drama of Raindrops.” I have my older son to thank for this one. He was telling me about a school assignment to write a weather poem, and he suggested I write one too. I jumped at the chance. We each independently chose rain—not surprising, given where we live. I remembered staring at raindrops in my youth as my mom would drive me around to and from school or running errands. Nowadays, I don’t take enough time to study and enjoy them like I used to. It’s sad when adult concerns crowd out those types of simple pleasures. I still adore the sound of rain while I’m inside, warm and dry.