And now that I think that everything due out this year is out, time for the obligatory end-of-year round up post.

For the second year in a row, my most popular work seems to have been in non-fiction, specifically the Disney Read-Watch over at Tor.com, which wrapped up this year with a post on Moana. No word yet on whether I'll be covering future Disney feature length animated films - my best guess is maybe - but I will be going ahead with two other Tor.com series.

Those posts ended up eating considerably more time than I'd expected, but still, although this was (apart from those posts) not a good year for writing, it was a decent year for publication: nine short stories, four flash fiction pieces, and seven poems.

If you missed them earlier, here's a list:

Short fiction:

Deathlight, at Lightspeed Magazine, May 2016

The Middle Child's Practical Guide to Surviving a Fairy Tale, Fireside, May 2016.

Cat Play, Metaphorosis, January 2016.

My Own Damn Heaven, Bourbon Penn, March 2016

"Mistletoe and Copper," in An Alphabet of Embers, Stone Bird Press, July 2016, available from Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

Coffee, Love and Leaves,, Capricious SF, July 2016.

Dragonbone, Daily Science Fiction, July 2016.

The Cat Signal, Daily Science Fiction, August 2016.


Flash fiction:

"The Game," in Clowns: The Unlikely Coulrophobia Remix, January 2016 available at Barnes and Noble or Amazon. The one story on this list loosely based - very loosely based - on real events.

Nine Songs, in Daily Science Fiction, August 2016.

Souls, in Daily Science Fiction, October 2016.

Hundreds, in Daily Science Fiction, December 2016.

Poetry:

"The Heart of the Flame," in Fae Visions of the Mediterranean, May 2016. Possibly the least read piece I published this year, in an anthology that I think deserved a lot more attention, fortunately still available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

At the Center, in Kaleidotrope, June 2016

"Madrepore," in Spelling the Hours, July 2016. Arguably the second least read piece I published this year, this is part of another project deserving of attention: a chapbook of poems celebrating women scientists. It's available from Amazon.

Hamelin, A Remnant, in Through the Gate, August 2016

Three Nuts, in Through the Gate, October 2016

After Midnight, in Mythic Delirium, November 2016

Ice/Shadow in Strange Horizons, December 2016, the hands down trickiest poem to write this year and probably the one the I was proudest of, though I'm also deeply fond of "The Heart of the Flame" for purely personal reasons.
The second part of my short story, "The Huntsmen," a retelling of "The Twelve Huntsmen," a tale originally collected by the Brothers Grimm in the early 19th century, is now up at Truancy.

As a kid, I loved the story because it featured girls Doing Things - cross dressing, tricking lions, hunting, tricking adults - all great stuff. It took me years to realize just how weird the story is, even apart from the cross-dressing, and to find myself asking questions. A lot of questions. Which turned into several short stories, including this one, with at least one more coming up in Daily Science Fiction next year.

Meanwhile:

Part one.

Part two

Enjoy!

Ice

Dec. 19th, 2016 08:33 pm
Also up today, a new poem from me, Ice, up at Strange Horizons.

I advise clicking on the poem after reading it.

Hundreds

Dec. 19th, 2016 10:43 am
The latest in my series of flash fairy tales, "Hundreds," just went up at Daily Science Fiction. Enjoy!
A tiny new poem from me, up at Mythic Delirium today: After Midnight.

Enjoy!

Souls

Oct. 24th, 2016 09:14 am
Another tiny story from me up at Daily Science Fiction today. It won't take too long to read, promise.

Souls.
Sometimes I try to write introspective stories, or important stories, or stories focused on the beauty and power of language.

And sometimes I write things like this:

The Cat Signal.

Enjoy!
Now up at Daily Science Fiction, Nine Songs, my little slipstream story about, well, Nine Songs. My titles tend to be fairly literal.

And also now available, one of the rare poems where I plunged into marine biology, sorta, "Madrepore," in Spelling the Hours: Poetry Celebrating the Forgotten Others of Science and Technology. The poem is about Anna Thynne, a 19th century marine biologist who, among other things, studied reproduction in stony corals, and also was one of the first to develop salt water aquaria capable of keeping stony corals alive.

The overall collection, as the title says, celebrates other mostly forgotten scientists.

Enjoy!
The story of the Pied Piper, in all its versions, has always haunted me.

Here's a little poem about it:

Hamelin, A Remnant.

Dragonbone

Jul. 29th, 2016 12:07 pm
My latest little short story, Dragonbone, is up at Daily Science Fiction.

Enjoy!
An Alphabet of Embers, with my fairy tale "Mistletoe and Copper," is finally out.

The anthology has already received quite a bit of praise from early reviewers, and also includes works by Nisi Shawl, Zen Cho, Yoon Ha Lee, Kari Sperring and Amal El-Mohtar. I received an early copy, and found that it's a book that is probably best sipped and read in small doses - easy enough since the pieces are all very short, between 500 to 1500 words. I'm biased, of course, but it's a lovely anthology to be part of.
My latest poem, "At the Center," just popped up at Kaleidotrope.net.

Enjoy!

Deathlight

May. 17th, 2016 12:23 pm
My short story, Deathlight, is now available to read for free at Lightspeed Magazine! (And, of course, you can always purchase the issue at various online ebook outlets.)

Enjoy!
Also out today, the anthology Fae Visions of the Mediterranean, which contains my poem, "The Heart of the Flame," set in Sicily.

The rest of the anthology contains work by Maria Grech Ganado, Claude Lalumiere, and many others. It's a beautiful anthology, and I'm pleased to be part of it.
The latest issue of Fireside Fiction just went live, and with it, my short story, The Middle Child's Practical Guide to Surviving a Fairy Tale, the story I read at last year's World Fantasy Con and this year's ICFA. Originally written as a Twitter joke, it slowly grew into a blog post, as these things do, and then mutated into a short story.

Also just going live, the latest issue of Lightspeed, available for subscribers or as an individual issue, which includes my short story, "Deathlight," along with new short stories by An Owomoyela, Seanan McGuire, and Wole Talabi, reprints from a number of well known names including Tim Pratt and Elizabeth Hand, and Hugh Howey's "The Plagiarist."

I may have a bit more to say about this one once my individual story goes live on the web on May 17, but for now, I'll just note that the two stories are, I think, quite different - and not just because one is more or less fantasy (if a bit snarky about it) and the other marks my return to hard science fiction.

Enjoy!
The first half of my latest venture in fairy tales, "The Huntsmen," is now up at Truancy. The second half is coming soon.

Enjoy!
For the most part, water maidens and snow maidens avoid each other. The single touch of a water maiden, after all, can melt even the coldest heart of any snow maiden, or turn her hands to clear water. The snow maidens, in their turn, can freeze a water maiden in her tracks, or worse, trap a water maiden beneath ice. That last, it is whispered, has happened to more than one unwary water maiden choosing cold oceans to explore the ice of Antarctica, or a glittering glacier, or even merely returning to her lake for a forgotten item. Some, after a few goblets of hot molten rubies, have even spoken of the long standing war between the two, marked by flurries of battle here and there, fights that have left lands glittering with melting ice, and covered rivers with rushing slush.

The fairy courts, of course, have forbidden such things, but the water maidens and the snow maidens have never been ones to pay too much attention to the decree fees of the fairy courts – even when they hear these decrees, which is not often.

And so, the water maidens and snow maidens keep their distance. Usually.

But every few years, a few snow maidens and water maidens do gather together to celebrate Water Maidens Day.

Not in only one place, of course – that is too much cold for any water maiden, even those who inhabit the icier regions of the world. And snow maidens cannot journey far from their clouds, or their snow; they die swift deaths if they do, and so they are unwilling to travel far to meet the water maidens.

Still, some of the more adventurous, the ones who do not wish to remain hidden in hills of snow, or beneath ice laden trees, and who find even a frost-lined fairy court far too warm for them, do venture out to half frozen, watery lakes and ponds, or deep bays by the sea, and call lightly to the water maidens.

Sometimes, this call is only a puff of wind, or a swirl of snow. The water maidens are always alert at this time of year, of course, watching carefully for ice and snow, or the rush of fairies seeking cold and warm sunlight to flavor their winter feasts. And if the water maidens do not respond to wind or snow – well. The snow maiden can always howl in the wind.

They are kin, in a way, the water maidens and the snow maidens. It is a call they cannot resist.

Eventually, the water maidens emerge, shivering.

They have only one remedy against the cold of the snow maidens: dance.

And so they do, the snow maidens dancing with them, for as icy as they are, as frozen their hearts, no snow maiden can resist the call of the dance.

So be cautious, when you travel today. If you see a melting icicle, or a sliver of ice across a puddle, or, in warmer regions, a cool pond or lake, be wary. Watch. That shimmer? That flicker of light that you cannot be sure you saw? That green sparkle on the ice?

You might be seeing a water maiden sip sunlight just before she slips back into the dance. Or a snow maiden adjusting the the ice on her dress.

Or the edges of a war.

After all, it is the Day of the Water Maidens.

And this year, the Snow Maidens intend to dance.

Water Maidens Day is the brainchild of poet, writer and scholar Nin Harris, whose story Your Right Arm. recently appeared in Clarkesworld. (Which means that if you're nominating for the Hugos this year, she's eligible for the Campbell.) I'm just borrowing it for fun.
Good news:

The 2016 World Fantasy Con has updated its website with a disability and accessibility policy, found here. In other good news, the convention has arranged for ASL interpreters for some events, which is a great step forward and something I applaud.

Bad news:

1. There's no indication of whether or not WFC will be offering the pre-Feb 1st prices for those of us who were waiting to find out if the convention would be accessible before registering. That's a problem for me. As I said in my earlier post, I don't think it's fair that, after several years of accessibility problems, I should have to pay more than other members because I had to wait to find out if the con would be accessible.

2. This sentence:

"We have reserved the ADA ramp for the Sunday Banquet."

That's good, but doesn't mention the panels. Will they be on elevated stages (making it easier for hearing impaired members to lip read), and if so, will access ramps be provided to those stages?

3. The accessibility policy stresses that the hotel is ADA compliant. That's great, but I cannot stress this strongly enough:

ADA compliance does not always mean accessible.

Which was absolutely true when I stayed at the Columbus Hyatt hotel for World Fantasy back in 2010. The hotel was (mostly) ADA compliant, except, oddly, in the mobility accessible rooms, which did not meet ADA standards despite supposedly being mobility accessible. But the rest of the hotel was technically compliant: I could, for instance, get into the hotel bar, which is all that ADA compliance requires.

However, the hotel bar had only one bar, at a height too high for wheelchair users. The bartenders couldn't see me, so I had to ask other people to order drinks for me. Far worse, however: the rest of the bar was mostly equipped with high tables and chairs. Nobody could see me, and I couldn't join in. I was effectively cut out from conversations.

That's leaving out some other fun stuff - the way, for instance, that the floors with suites, where the parties were, had no disabled bathrooms whatsoever, or the inexplicable placing of the handbars in the second floor public bathroom - far from the toilet and largely useless for wheelchair users.

Now, can World Fantasy do anything about this sort of thing? Probably not. And to be fair here, the issues I'm mentioning are not really that unusual in U.S. hotels, and these are minor issues compared to the problems I've encountered with other World Fantasy cons. And apart from the weirdness with the bathroom doors and the shower heads in the mobility accessible rooms, these were all things that could be worked around. But I mention them in the hopes of explaining why the words "ADA compliance" are not always going to be enough - and, I guess, to explain why I'm going on and on about this. Because I haven't just encountered issues at previous World Fantasy cons, I've encountered issues at this hotel.

4. My emails to info at worldfantasy2106.org have still not been answered.

Still, this counts as progress, and I'm very grateful and encouraged to see at least some response to this.

And in the meantime, for proof that I am still writing about other things, my discussion of The Lion King, with bonus snarky comparison to Hamlet, is now up at Tor.com.

December 2016

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