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.

Briars

Dec. 28th, 2015 06:43 pm
My little poem, Briars, popped up at Polu Texni today.

Enjoy!
While I was up at Saratoga Springs, my latest poem, The Thirteenth Child popped up at Uncanny Magazine, along with fiction from Elizabeth Bear and Ursula Vernon, another poem from Sonya Taaffe, and articles by Aidan Moher, Annalee Flower Horne and Natalie Luhrs.

"The Thirteenth Child" is loosely based on "The Twelve Brothers," a story of a king and queen who decide to kill all but one of their children. When the princess learns of this, she runs off to the woods, where, as they say, hijinks ensue: transformations, ravens, and a time without laughter.
Enjoy!

Kore

Aug. 27th, 2015 09:08 am
Issue 7 of Through the Gate is up! It includes my little poem, Kore, as well as work by Lev Mirov, Selena Bulfinch, and one of my favorite contemporary poets, Sonya Taaffe.

Enjoy!
The latest issue of inkscrawl, one of my favorite poetry zines, just went up, with my poem A note found beneath a moonstone. Enjoy!
We're smack dab in the middle of National Poetry Month, which has led to not one, but two poems from me:

First, over at Tor.com, as part of the celebration of National Poetry Month, and as proof that I may be just a touch obsessed with dragons, my poem Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Dragon.

And second, buried down in the website, my little poem, The Binding, in Eye to the Telescope.
Ah, ICFA. The conference centered around a pool. And tropical drinks. These are good things.

Tidbits:

1. For the all of two of you following this saga, the queen bee has successfully been moved from the owl house to the new beehive, and two jars of honey -- labeled Blak Kat - have been harvested. (Technically none of that happened at ICFA, but it did happen during ICFA and was mentioned during ICFA, so it kinda counts.)

2. I read a poem in front of Patricia McKillip again and didn't feel the need to throw up this time! ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED.

3. Speaking of that reading, have you ever noticed that a Samsung Galaxy will happily enlarge every font on every webpage ever for you, often when you don't want it to, except the one time when you really need it to, at which point you will be forced to do some fancy eyeglasses adjustment and do a poetry reading with a Samsung Galaxy for all intents and purposes covering your mouth (seriously, it was maybe three, four inches from my face). On the bright side, this will serve to distract you from your audience.

For the curious, you can find the other chain poems here. I do not recommend attempting to work with the decalet form used in the earliest two examples, which is why I worked with a different form in "Snowmelt," "Feather," and "Demands."

4. Fortunately, I was able to increase the font size during the spontaneous pub sing around the hot tub - fortunately because I was the only one not in the hot tub and therefore the only one who could safely check the lyrics for "Wild Mountain Thyme." On a related note, if you don't want to become the designated lyric checker, get into the hot tub.

5. It was somewhat disconcerting to run into people and realize hey, the last time I saw you was in London. Or Ireland. Or DC. It reminded me of how much in many ways Loncon was a big group trip.

6. This isn't exactly ICFA related, but I got into two very interesting discussions about the Hugo Awards, the gist of which boiled down to "too many categories." I think this was the natural result of meeting with some people who were also Hugo voters just a short time after filling out that long ballot, but I was surprised by the consensus. (And convinced that this isn't going to change - almost none of the people involved in the discussions wanted to attend the Worldcon business meeting where that sort of thing can be changed. I'm not even heading to Worldcon this year. But I'm throwing the thought out there.)

7. ICFA also included several really marvelous meals with really marvelous people. And yes, conversations that just happened to bring up clowns, kink, and cousins in the same sentence. Something that I'm sure also happens to other people.

8. Much thanks to the various people that helped me get around the conference in general and on Thursday and Friday when I got too sick to make it back to my hotel room on my own. You guys were great.
I interrupt this blog silence and general greyness of the morning to point you at this, which was still as awesome this morning as it was when I read it last night, pushing pretty much every one of my happy buttons. Seriously: click, read, click the little button, and then read again.

(Plus, although I can't take any credit for this, I can take credit for telling people to keep an eye out for Bogi Takacs. I love being right.)

Feather

Nov. 12th, 2014 10:42 am
I have, on occasion, been accused of having a certain - what's the word? - obsession with structured poetry.

This will only add weight to the fire, I'm afraid.

#

In other news, I am back from WFC 2014, but very tired and more than a bit dizzy, conditions that do not do much for my control of commas and other punctuation, so any blogging on the event itself must wait a bit.
Poet and friend Mike Allen just posted this description of an upcoming World Fantasy Panel:
Poetry in Fantasy: Yesterday and Today
Time: 11am-12pm, Nov. 7, Regency F
Panelists:Mike Allen (M), Maria Alexander, Rain Graves, David Lunde, Laurel Winter

Description: Including poetry in fantasy, both by the author and quoted from other sources, used to be more common, such as Alice in Wonderland, The Lord of the Rings, and The Worm Ouroboros. Why is poetry not as prevalent now as in the past? Are certain types of poetry, such as non-formal or non-rhyming verse, under-used in fantasy?
Why is poetry not as prevalent now as in the past?

After blinking at this for a bit, I went to YouTube, and typed in "Rains of Castamere," a poem that first appeared in a fantasy book published in 2000. YouTube currently lists 165,000 videos of this song, including versions sung by cats. YouTube also lists 26,000 versions of "The Bear and the Maiden Fair," a poem that originally appeared in the same series.

One of last year's most popular fantasy movies was Frozen, which had, as I recall, quite a few songs/poems. Charles de Lint, Neil Gaiman, Sofia Samatar, Theodora Goss, L.E. Modesitt and multiple others have included poems in their prose work. And this isn't even considering the multiple, successful online zines publishing or focusing on poetry today, fantastic or otherwise. I'd argue that poetry, and in particular speculative poetry, is far more prevalent and visible than it's ever been.

But...for some reason, this prevalence doesn't get recognized in the field. Granted, part of this is that poetry collections (as opposed to poems that appear in prose works, HBO shows, or Disney cartoons) in general don't sell well, whatever their theme. But I don't think that quite justifies ignoring the fact that yesterday afternoon, the next door neighbor kids were shrieking "LIBRE SOY! LIBRE SOY!" (the Spanish version of "Let it Go,") for TWENTY SOLID MINUTES. Poetry's popular. It's out there. Let's celebrate it.

Myrrha

Oct. 20th, 2014 08:45 am
I woke up to the news that a new issue of Through the Gate Through the Gate is out, containing my little poem, Myrrha.

It's no secret that I love this little zine, which on every irregular appearance shines like a jewel. I highly recommend checking everything out here, which includes poems by Sonya Taaffe, Rose Lemberg, Michele Bannister, Brittany Warman and Jack Hollis Marr.
Not that anybody has asked, but: "Hey, what it is like to get solicited for a major upcoming project?"

It goes like this:

1. Email comes in. You read it. It's a request - an actual request - for a poem. You figure the people sending you the email just wanted to cheer you up because you had a crappy day, but, you know, poem! After a couple of reassuring emails you agree, because this is going to be a nice, fun little webzine, right? No pressure. You cheer up.

2. Time passes. You don't think much about it because of myriad and massive computer issues and a few other things. And then the Kickstarter announcement pops up on Twitter. You click.

3. You see the freaking list of solicited authors" and squeak, because this list includes Paul Cornell, Mary Robinette Kowal, Jim Hines, Rachel Swirsky, Scott Lynch (!!!!), E. Lily Yu, Ken Liu, Sofia Samatar, Amal El-Mohtar, several other amazing names and --

Neil Gaiman.

(For the record NONE of this was in the initial email.)

Did we say no pressure? Right.

NO PRESSURE.

3. You realize that you really really really want to read everybody else in this.

Uncanny Magazine!

So, er, go pledge! For everyone else in this.

#

Speaking of projects that you should be funding, I'm VERY pleased to note that An Alphabet of Embers, Rose Lemberg's upcoming anthology of Unclassiables, has funded, which also means that the companion book, Spelling the Hours, which is a really cool little thing containing poems about women scientists, has also funded.

What hasn't funded yet, though, is the second stretch goal, which includes music from The Banjo Apocalypse Crinoline Troubadours, which sounds totally awesome.

Plus, the initial books just sound really cool.

(Full disclosure: I submitted something for Spelling the Hours, but to be honest, given the other people submitting to this project, I don't actually expect to be in it since Rose has such an amazing wealth of talent eager to work with her to choose from. Which right there says everything you need to know about her editing skills (i.e., excellent.) However, I AM in one of the incentive books, Here We Cross, so if you've always wanted a copy of that, this is an excellent opportunity.)

#

And since this has turned into a pimp out worthy projects post, Clarkesworld Magazine is very close to publishing three more stories every four months thanks to Patreon support; they only need a couple hundred more dollars in pledging to make that goal. I'm an obvious fan of Clarkesworld, not just because they've published me twice, but because they continue to publish outstanding fiction every single month, forming a large part of the stories I nominate for the Hugo and Nebula awards, so I highly recommend this, if you can. And you can always buy Clarkesworld directly from various online retailers as well.

(Though, full disclosure again: this is a bit of an incentive for me as well, since it might get me over my current "AUUGH I CAN'T WRITE SCIENCE FICTION" if I know people like a zine that I've published science fiction in to support it through Patreon. But mostly, you should be supporting Clarkesworld since they are publishing such groundbreaking work.)

#

(I have to write a poem for a zine that also solicited a poem from Neil Gaiman. NO PRESSURE.)

(ok maybe pressure)
The latest issue of Mythic Delirium is up, featuring poems by Jane Yolen, Cedar Sanderson, and me. Enjoy!

Also out: the latest Tor.com post, on The Water-Babies. I can't exactly recommend the book for enjoyable reading, but it does provide some interesting commentary on the Victorians.
One of my favorite little zines, inkscrawl, is back, just in time for National Poetry Month. This issue contains a tiny poem from me, as well as work from Sonja Taaffe, Kendall Evans, Adrienne Odosso, and many more. A lovely little way to start off April.
Overfilled day of trying to catch up on stuff, but did want to pop in here to mention that my poem, The Restoration of Youth, is up at Strange Horizons today.

I say "poem," but this is actually part of a much, much longer and still unfinished piece. I liked this bit though, and I'm very glad that Strange Horizons chose to start of their 2014 year in poetry with it.
Poet extraordinaire Amal El-Mohtar has been yelling at everyone to do this, so --

Writing is an odd thing: what you are actually doing, and what others see, is often far apart.

2013 was a classic example of this for me.

I know I've talked a lot about not writing as much as I should, but the first half of 2013 took this down to an all time low. I barely wrote at all; which made me feel even worse about my writing. In July, matters improved, but improved only in comparison to the first half of the year; it was worse than previous years. And all this while my fellow writers were happily totaling up booming word counts and publications on Twitter. Gulp.

But you might not guess any of that from my publications in 2013. As I noted earlier, I managed to publish nine full length short stories this year, five of them at "pro" rates, including one at Tor.com; three flash stories, including one over at McSweeney's; and five poems. That's rather fewer poems than in recent years, but I haven't been writing as much poetry, so the decline is to be expected.

Anyway, here's the rundown of the stories:

Probably the most widely read and popular (barring a couple of dissenters) was In the Greenwood, Tor.com, December, a folktale retelling, which has popped up in a couple of best of lists for 2013. Publishing being what it is, this is also the oldest (in terms of when I wrote it) story on this list.

Runner-up probably was The Princess and Her Tale, Daily Science Fiction, May, another folktale retelling.

Other retellings of folklore and fairy tales included The Gifts, Daily Science Fiction, September; and "Godmother," "Marmalette" and "Palatina" in Missing Links and Secret Histories, Aquaduct Press, July 2013, which more people should read, because the other stories in it are hilarious, and no, I'm not just saying that. I still pull out the book to cheer myself up.

Stepping away from the folklore retellings for a bit, we have the only story set in my "Stoneverse" setting, An Assault of Color, Apex, October 2013, which has started to appear, much to my surprise, in a few best of lists for the year. This surprising because no one seemed to notice it when it first came out. Remember that reality versus perception thing I was mentioning? Here's another example.

And something that was not a folktale retelling or tied to anything else I've written was The Dragon and the Bond, about, well, a dragon. And a Bond. But not James Bond, despite the obvious joke that several people picked up on after the story was published. I have to say I missed that entirely; then again, one of the hardest parts of writing for me remains coming up with a title. This story is called "The Dragon and The Bond" because, well, not to give too much of the story away, it has a dragon and it has a bond and after spending far, far too long trying to come up with a title I just went with two things that were in the story.

And there's the writing process in action, everyone!

Anyway, title issues aside, "The Dragon and the Bond" was one of my personal favorites from last year, along with Stronger Than the Wind, Stronger Than the Sea, Demeter's Spicebox, July 2013; a combination of science fiction and fairy tale.

And then the three pieces of flash fiction:

What to Expect When You're Expecting Cthulhu, McSweeneys, August 2013, humor, and the only piece this year that I cackled over as I wrote it.

Seaweed, Daily Science Fiction, August 2013, part of the fairy tale series that yes, I do plan to finish one of these days, along with the connecting bits.

A Winter's Love, Goldfish Grimm, December 2013.

And poems:

"Gleaming," Mythic Delirium, Issue 28, April 2013

"Walking Home," Dreams and Nightmares, Issue 95, June 2013

Iron Search, inkscrawl, August 2013

Mountain, Through the Gate, August 2013

The Loss, Strange Horizons, September 2013.

Along with this I also published one or two posts per week over at Tor.com, covering works by Mary Norton, Roald Dahl, Lloyd Alexander, Christopher Moore, and Georgette Heyer. That turned out to be a bit too much, so since the Georgette Heyer reread is over, this is going to drop back down to the usual one post per week plus very occasional extras -- yes, yes, I am looking forward to that upcoming Oz movie -- to let me breathe a little.

Now to see what 2014 brings. If the stars align, it should bring at least three short story publications, two flash fiction pieces, one novella, and one poem so far....but we'll see.

Lucuma

Nov. 25th, 2013 03:15 pm
My poem Lucuma just went up at Polu Texni. Enjoy!
Just before the Thursday morning Stroll With the Stars I heard a rumor that Programming was having some issues thanks to last minute cancellations and other things, with several panels having empty slots. Eyes rolled over in my direction.

Now, for various reasons, I haven't been on any panels at science fiction/genre conventions before (other types, yes). Partly this is because I still feel like more than a bit of an imposter at cons, but mostly, this is because I have a very unpredictable illness which may mean that I will have to cancel at the last minute – and may not be able to let anyone know that I am cancelling.

However. Thursday morning I was high on sugar and caffeine (thank you overpriced Starbucks) and trying to figure out how to cancel my ongoing guilt/imposter feeling. So after the Stroll With the Stars a very kind person took me to the convention center, where I met up with another very kind person who offered to take me to Programming.

Through no fault of WorldCon, Programming happened to be located in arguably the Most Difficult To Find Place in San Antonio. The volunteer and I went Round and Round and Round, and then, for a change, Round, and then more Round, before finally finding the place. There I met a clearly overworked woman desperately trying to work out con schedules. I gave her my brief bio and what I'm sorta known for (Oz, poetry, short fiction, children's literature.)

I was offered the Disability in Science Fiction panel.

I use a wheelchair.

I was also warned that the Disability in Science Fiction panel did not have a ramp to the stage but since I was now part of the panel she would try to find a solution. I was also put on the How to Publish Your Poetry panel, and then I took the little Water Taxi back to the hotel.

About an hour later, a poetry editor rejected a couple of my poems, kinda solidifying my thought that this whole paneling thing was really not a great idea, unless everyone wanted to learn How to Get Your Poems Rejected. That, I'm really really good at. I was also worried about the Disability in Science Fiction panel, largely because I mostly read biographies and mysteries, not science fiction, and I knew the other panelists knew more of the field than I did. A couple of very nice conrunners/SMOFs from another con assured me that even if I threw up on other con panelists worse things have happened. So, I stayed on.

Saturday morning Rachel Swirsky texted me to say that Nancy Hightower was moderating a Prose by Day/Poet by Night panel at 11 am which now only had two people on it and could I fill in? I said yes and got more coffee. Another very nice person pushed me over to the SFWA meeting which started at 10.

At 10:30 I left the SFWA meeting to make it to my poetry panel. I pulled out my little Helpful Map where my route had been marked out by a Worldcon volunteer. This meant going down carpet (check!) going up an elevator (check!) following my little map and going forward (check!) finding myself at another convention....

Uncheck.

After a short discussion with the People Magazine convention we agreed that I could cut through their convention IF I was escorted. I put my hands up and didn't look at anything (then) and made it to the other side. I decided to visit a bathroom, which went as those things do until I came out and someone accidentally spilled hot coffee over my right hand. Ouch. I headed over more carpet and looked at my watch and my little map and decided to ask for the most efficient route. Luckily at this point Juan Sanmiguel spotted me and took me to the panel, arriving at 10:59. Yes, it had taken me nearly a half hour to get from the SFWA meeting to the panel.

Where the three other panelists (L.E. Modesitt had joined at the last minute) were all up on a stage that did not have a ramp.

So they stayed on the stage and I stayed on the floor with a mike.

Otherwise I think that panel went well although I admit I was kinda sad when Locus came in to take a picture and missed me because they didn't realize I was part of the panel (it was when the others were talking). Oh well. Otherwise, it was a great discussion.

Sunday I headed over to the Disability in Science Fiction panel. There was no ramp to the stage. Instead, tables had been set up and we all sat in front of the stage to accommodate me. This was a relatively large room and people in the back apparently couldn't see me (some people later told me they couldn't figure out why we weren't on the stage until I mentioned that I was in a chair, but even then, they couldn't see that access to the stage was up steps, not a ramp. Also, the panel did not have an ASL interpreter. (I don't think any panels did, but for the Disability panel, that would have been a nice touch, especially since the subject of the Deaf community/writers did come up.)

I'm not going to rehash that panel here except to say that yes, I was upset, and no, honestly, I am not dealing with illness related stuff, including the wheelchair, right now all that well at all (in case it wasn't incredibly obvious.) Working on this. I also suspect that my disappointment about the Alamo (separate post) played a role.

Anyway.

A Florida friend not at the con told me to get away from the con for a bit, so I did, avoiding everyone. And took a nap. Then I came out and crept back over to the convention center for the How to Publish Your Poetry panel. This was me, Jo Walton, Rachel Swirsky and another older gentleman whose name I didn't catch. Jo asked us all to explain why we were on the panel. In answer to this, the gentleman noted that he'd been asked at the last minute to join the panel and be a warm body, and that he had last published poetry in the 1960s. Somewhat later he noted that he had written poetry to pick up girls, and that he had stopped writing poetry when it didn't get him any girls. Rachel Swirsky, who is awesome, instantly responded, "I don't know. I get plenty of girls."

I thought this panel was otherwise ok, although apparently some of my residual anger/emotional reactions were still around; the audience later said they found me intimidating. I don't feel particularly intimidating, so this is a hard word to wrap my mind around. I'm also not sure if I got my main point across, which is that we are currently in what I would call a miraculous, marvelous age for speculative poetry, with poets doing incredible work with traditional forms, experimental forms, fun forms, and just transforming words into beauty, so marvelous I want everyone to be a part of it.

It was an interesting experience overall, but I think I should probably stick to not being on panels for awhile.

Edited to add: To be clear, compared to a couple of past events, this was relatively accessible. The Marriott Rivercenter was mostly ok except for a few hiccups. The real problems happened outside the Marriott Rivercenter hotel, and were generally more associated with San Antonio/typical accessibility things.
A new issue of inkscrawl is up. It includes, among other marvels, my little poem Iron Search, which was loosely inspired by an Italian fairy tale, adapted for children, where the lovely and justly furious fairy Colina tells Lionbruno that he will not see her again until he has worn out seven pairs of iron shoes in his search. I thought that was terribly unfair, and it eventually seeped out into this poem.

Enjoy! And take a look at the other poems while you're there.
1. Today's mail brought something fun: my copy of One Sentence Stories, featuring -- spoiler -- 16 stories told in a single sentence, one by me. You can get the pdf for free at the link, but I have to say, this is a seriously cute little book in printed form. I have it up on my bookshelf of Things I Am In, pulled out from the other books before it gets lost.

2. Speaking of short little pieces, I also have a tiny poem in the latest issue of Dreams and Nightmares, which you can order for sample $5, pdf $1, paypal jopnquog [at] gmail [dot] com.

3. And speaking of tiny creatures, the latest Tor.com post, about the Borrowers again, is up at Tor.com.

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