My short story, Death and Death Again, just went live up at Nightmare Magazine.

Since I've been yelled about not warning people about this sort of thing before, warning: this story is pure, unadulterated horror. Like horror movie style horror. Not one of my usual indulgences, but sometimes fear and terror just has to crawl out.

There's also an interview here where I chat about my inability to come up with character names. This has actually reached the point of being a pretty bad joke, but in this case, it happened not because I couldn't figure out the right names (the usual problem) but because I was writing in a fit of pure irritation, and quite honestly reached the end before realizing that I'd done it again. Ah well.

Anyway, enjoy!
Available for purchase today, the July issue of Nightmare Magazine, which includes my story "Death and Death Again." You can pick it up here. It's a little foray into pure, unadulterated horror.

And available for preorder today, Upgraded, an anthology of cyborg stories edited by Neil Clarke, containing my story, "Memories and Wire." You can preorder it here. The book should be available later this month; I'm really looking forward to seeing the other stories in it.

That both these pieces are appearing in the same month is a fun coincidence, given their somewhat similar themes and tinges of horror. Well, ok, in the first story, not tinges so much as outright horror.

(The other little story coming out this month from Daily Science Fiction is something else entirely, but more on that later.)

Coffin

May. 15th, 2014 10:48 am
Sometimes, when I start to write a story, I know exactly where it's going.

And sometimes the story does not go at all where I thought it was going. I knew vaguely that I was writing about a coffin - even the coffin, but this story took an unexpected turn into the present day with the phrase "satellite photos" and then just kept changing from there, and by the end it had nothing to do with what I was originally thinking (a caper story) and everything to do with other things.

Enjoy!

Tidbits

Mar. 27th, 2014 09:41 pm
Various tidbits that we will pretend make a post!

1. I spent most of last week and weekend at ICFA, the International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts, which for many people is an academic conference offering important insights about fantasy and the arts (literature, film, television, apparently tarot cards) and for me is a time to have a nice drink by the pool. Various personal issues and getting extremely sick prevented me from enjoying this conference as much as I would have liked, but I did have a chance to do a reading with Eugene Fischer and Dennis Danvers By a complete coincidence, we had all managed to choose stories on a similar theme: horror stories about the process of creating story. And by horror, the excerpt from Eugene's novella strongly suggested that we are all going to die, Dennis' story chatted about a puppy strangler – and by this, I mean, someone who strangles puppies, and my story had a house built from the teeth of small children. All very cheerful for a Saturday morning, though the puppy strangler story had us all collapsing with laughter. I think you have to read it to understand.

Special thanks to Julia Rios and Keffy Kehrli for helping me out during the conference.

2. Alas, attending ICFA meant I missed going to Megacon – and seeing many of you – but it looks like next year the events are on separate weekends. I'll keep my fingers crossed that golf is on a separate week.

3. While I was at ICFA I did get various tidbits of good news, including:

The release of Mythic Delirium 0.4, April-June 2014, available from Weightless Books here, which contains my poem, "The Silver Comb." (If you check, you will also see that it lists my name right under Jane Yolen, which is pretty awesomely cool.)

The news that Upper Rubber Boot Books will be reprinting my short story, "Twittering the Stars," as part of their new upcoming SOLES series.

I'm particularly delighted by this second bit since prior to this, although "Twittering the Stars" was hands down my most widely and best reviewed story (well over 40 positive reviews the last time I checked) it was also only available in an anthology that briefly popped up in bookstores and then mostly vanished, although the ebook is still available, which in turn meant that it was also one of my least read stories. I've been hoping for a chance to have it released into the wild again, so this is pretty awesome.

I'll also just note that Upper Rubber Boot Books offers a lovely selection of poetry books.

4. And while I was at ICFA and recovering from ICFA, Tor.com blogging continued! Two more posts on Mary Poppins, here and here, and also a second post chatting about Once Upon a Time and Oz here where I am VERY DISTURBED about the biological implications.

The Once Upon a Time Oz posts are not going to be a weekly event, primarily because so many parts of the show leave me wanting to throw things at the television or slam my head against something, and this sort of emotional reaction is a) not appreciated by the cats, who, as they have noted, do not deserve to have their hard-earned cat naps disturbed by this sort of thing and b) not really helped by friendly contact from the ABC publicity department (though I appreciate the effort.)

5. But regarding the upcoming Game of Thrones season four: yes, I do plan to snark individual episodes here, but I may be a bit delayed depending upon when exactly the new computer arrives.

Ink

Feb. 17th, 2014 08:25 am
Sure, I could comment on the still-ongoing SFWA stuff, or NBC's new lows of failure in their coverage of Alpine skier Bode Miller last night, but instead, let's focus on happier things: my short story Ink just popped up at The Journal of Unlikely Cryptography, along with other stories by Barry King, Mary Alexandra Anger, Ada Hoffman and Gregory Norman Bossert.

Ink is set in my wider Stoneverse setting; I don't know if we'll ever see the character from this particular story again, but I'm hoping to see her employers in future stories.

Enjoy!
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.
In unrelated to cats news, my short story The Dragon and the Bond popped up on the web today. This is one of those stories that started with a single sentence and then just went on from there: certainly not planned out in the slightest. It's one of my favorite stories from last year, because, dragon.

And since it was originally published last Friday in December, it also marks my ninth short story published in 2013, and the fifth "pro" story -- a record for me for speculative fiction, and the only "independent" one -- that is, a story that is not a Stoneverse story or firmly based in folklore/fairy tale. I'll have more to say about that when I finally get around to posting my 2013 writing/publishing roundup when I have more energy.
My story "In the Greenwood," just popped up at Tor.com. You can also get an ebook version at either Amazon or Barnes and Noble or other online bookstores.

The various people who have already read it have all agreed that telling you anything about the story will completely ruin the story, so instead I'll just throw in some stuff about the publication of the story: one, the genesis of this story goes all the way back to kindergarten and a certain game played in my back yard, which officially makes this the longest gap ever between original concept and publication for me, and two, this story has been read by more people prior to publication than any other thing I've ever written, which gives me a twitchy feeling.

Enjoy!
Two separate tidbits as we head into the weekend:

1. I chat about Lloyd Alexander's The High King.

2. And because I've been wanting to say something like this for awhile now, you can now preorder "In the Greenwood" from a number of retailers, including Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com, Google Books and so on.

However.

Honesty compels me to admit that you can also preorder this story and get it for free as part of the 2013 Best of Tor.com anthology, at Amazon. The anthology will be available on November 5 -- a full month earlier. Also, the anthology contains several other excellent short stories, so, given the free price, this seems like the best bargain.

Also, the story will be available for free at Tor.com, presumably on December 4. Which also means that you'll be seeing at least two more upcoming announcements about this little story. I hope you'll feel the story is worth all the announcements!

The Gifts

Oct. 3rd, 2013 10:00 am
If for some reason you aren't subscribing to Daily Science Fiction (it's free!) and thus missed my little three part story, The Gifts, that went out to subscribers last week, all three parts are now up on the web:

The Gifts, part one

The Gifts, part two

The Gifts, part three

This was not originally intended as a three part story, or even as a story at all. I was working on a poem when something started to nag at me -- a something that turned into part one, which needed a bit more exploration, which turned into part three, and then needed something else, part two: three separate tiny stories that form a larger one.

Having said that, I'm not sure how well the story worked spread out over three days, so I decided to wait until all three parts were up on the web before adding the links here, to give everyone the option of reading the story in one large clump instead of three bits.

In any case, "The Gifts" is loosely based on the fairy tale "The Girl Without Hands," one of the more brutal tales collected by the Grimm brothers, even after they softened it a trifle. I've always wondered about a few things in the story, which helped lead to this.

If you enjoyed it, or even if you didn't enjoy this one, but liked previous DSF stories of mine, I'll just note that another one is coming up in a few months - and that one has a dragon in it. (Because, dragons.) Keep an eye out.
My short story, "An Assault of Color," just popped up at Apex Magazine this morning.

This story is set in the wider "Stoneverse" setting -- the same setting as Labyrinth and Trickster. I'm still hoping to explore more of this world.
Alas, roofing continues, keeping me in a state of permanent irritation. But I did want to note that my contributor's copies of Missing Links and Secret Histories, from Aquaduct Press, showed up a little over a week ago – wrapped in plastic, fortunately enough, given the tropical storm, so in between roofing irritations, I've been peeking at it. So far I highly recommend Jenni Moody's "Peter Rabbit," Jeremy Sim's "Sanya TM-300 Home-Use Time Machine," and Anne Toole's "Secrets of Flatland," although I should warn you that this last contains some Scandalous Stories about Isoceles Triangles.

I still have to peer at the stories in the beginning of the book, but that should be enough to tell you that this is a marvelously fun book telling various background stories of various fictional characters in Wikipedia style. I have three stories in it: "Godmother," "Marmalette" and "Palatina." The official release date is July, but it seems to be available now from Barnes and Noble and Amazon; keep an eye on Aquaduct's blog for more announcements.

In completely unrelated news, Twitter takes a moment to tell us about Dame Judi Dench's embroidery.
As I've previously noted, Donkey-Skin is not exactly high on the list of anyone's favorite fairy-tales. Part of the problem is that it repeats elements of other fairy tales -- notably East o'the Sun, West o'the Moon -- but also Goose Girl and Cinderella. The larger problem is its initial subject matter: incest, an element that got the story kicked out of fairy tale books for young and old alike.

I'm not fond of it myself. So, naturally, I did what I do with so many other fairy tales: I did a little something with it. "The Princess and Her Tale" was sent out to Daily Science Fiction subscribers last week and is now up on the web. Enjoy!

(And consider subscribing -- they'll be offering another little tale from me in the indefinite future.)
1. Starting with the tiniest of updates: a little and completely untitled twitter story of mine popped up at Nanoism. You will note that it focuses on two of my obsessions: Oz and Twitter.

2. On a considerably larger note, I note that Beast Within 3: Oceans Unleashed has popped up at Amazon and Barnes and Noble a few days before the official publication date, as these things do.

Beast Within 3 includes my short story, "Safe," very loosely based on a few dolphin legends; to say more would kinda ruin the story, so I'll leave it there. It also includes stories from Jennifer Pelland, Mae Empson, Amanda Davis, and Nisi Shawl, among many others. I think this is the first time Nisi Shawl and I have shared a table of contents, so that's pretty cool.

3. I was going to discuss Duotrope's decision to go paid (for those unaware, Duotrope is an online database of multiple publications that offers a submissions tracking system and various submission/rejection statistics for writers) and then realized that a) I didn't care that much, and b) Alex Shvartsman had already summed it up for me.

More blogging coming up in theory if this coffee ever works its way through my system.
Issue 15 of Shimmer, with my story, "A Cellar of Terrible Things," is now available in print or electronic form.

Shimmer is one of my favorite zines, focusing on really beautiful language and tales, and I'm very pleased to be part of this issue. I talked a little bit about the story came about here, probably not well, since I'm not very good at describing how I write a story, partly because each story is a little different. Some come a little faster than others, some need more planning, some need more revision or rework, and often, by the time I'm asked about the story, I don't remember the specifics.

Anyway, enjoy!
My two short recent short stories for Daily Science Fiction, Nameless and A Different Rain, are now up at the main Daily Science Fiction site.

Like many of my flash fiction stories, "A Different Rain" was written in a flash of irritation, this time at the very happy and very loud next door neighbor children who appear to believe that play is best interspersed with screaming. I was beginning to feel miserable, and it rained, which initially caused more screams, and then blessed, blessed silence, except for the rain. That did not take too long to write up.

"Nameless" is a bit different. That story initially began as a flash fiction piece, a joke about my inability to name characters. Slowly I realized it was turning into something more. It took me forever to find the end of the story, however; this was a piece that came together in bits and pieces.

"Nameless" is set in the same Stoneverse (my new name for it) as Trickster and In the Pits of Isfhan, although in a different time and place than either. I'm hoping to continue to add tales in this world, bit by bit.

Nameless

Apr. 6th, 2012 01:35 pm
My story, "Nameless," was emailed out to Daily Science Fiction subscribers today - yet another reason to sign up for this zine. It's free, and I love it. Admittedly, I'm biased since this is my third piece in it, but even if you hate my stuff, DSF offers a lot of other excellent work. (I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they get a Hugo nomination tomorrow -- I know there were several deserving semipro zines, but these guys have put in a LOT of work, what with the email subscription, the stories on the site, monthly Kindle digests and upcoming collections, while managing to publish a story every weekday, and I'd love to see that recognized.)

I'll have more to say about this story next week, when it goes up on the DSF website, but for now, I need to take a moment to recover from the, um, experience of watching Wrath of the Titans. Snark for this film is coming, guys, it's coming. Oh, is it coming. In the meantime, I can only urge you, as you approach the theatre, to consider popping into the 3D Titanic movie instead.
My short story Copper, Iron, Blood and Love just popped up at Apex Magazine, along with fiction by Richard Bowes and (yay!) Jay Lake and (yay yay) an article by Julia Rios (better known around these parts as [personal profile] skogkatt on QUILTBAG speculative fiction. This isn't the first time I've had the pleasure of sharing a TOC with Julia, but it is the first time I've appeared with Jay Lake, so, allow me to squee a bit for a moment.

There, that's better.

Copper, Iron, Blood and Love originally started out as part of my series of flash fiction pieces exploring fairy tales, which I'd returned to after too long an absence. (On a related note, you should be seeing a couple more of those popping up later this year.) About three sentences in I realized that I had a bit more to explore here.

In dark stories of this type I often find myself following Shakespeare's example and throwing in little in jokes to lighten my mood. I pulled most of them out, but a couple still remain in this one, including one that became one of my favorite bits of everything I wrote last year. It's one of the main reasons I'm quite -- well, more than quite -- fond of this particular little tale, even if it didn't quite fulfill the purpose I had in mind when I started typing.

Edit: I am reminded that those of you with ereaders might want to pop over to Amazon, Barnes and Noble (Nook) or Weightless Books to pick up this issue for only $2.99 -- helps support Apex and gives you a little copy to carry around. That said I just checked and Barnes and Noble hasn't put the March issue up quite yet....but soon.
My short story, In the Pits of Isfhan is up at The Red Penny Papers today.

A few points about this: one, this is my seventh published short story this year, a big jump from last year's three published short stories (not counting flash fiction and poetry). Two, this story was featured as the cover story and illustration, which is new for me and pretty. Three, it's not easy to tell, I admit, but although this story was written much earlier, it's in the same setting as Trickster -- different planet, same multiverse, nyagon -- and Love in the Absence of Mosquitoes (although with that story, it's more that one of the characters makes an appearance in at least one and hopefully more stories set in this multiverse; when I wrote that, I set it in a future Earth, and was quite surprised when a character decided to walk into another tale, giving me the chance to learn much more about her. As these things happen, I suppose.)

These three stories are remarkably different -- fantasy, fantasy/science fiction (yes, the references in "Trickster" that sounded vaguely like computer equipment were computer equipment) and pure science fiction -- which gives me some hope that this flexibility can continue in future stories.

And with that I'm pretty sure this ends publications for 2011, except for the last two Tor.com posts for the year. Don't be too down -- I have a few things popping up in 2012. I'll probably do a general summary of 2011 sometime in the next two weeks.
My short story, "The Woods, Their Hearts, My Blood," is now up at Jabberwocky.

Since a few of you complained that I didn't give you enough warning about The Well (which I didn't find disturbing at all), let me just note in advance: this story may well be disturbing for some readers. You've been warned.

But, since weekends tend to be relatively low traffic days even when about half of you aren't gathered in either Gainesville or New York City for various autumn celebrations, I'll probably be risking disturbing you a second time by putting up another announcement about this later this week.

Come on. Explore the shadows under the woods....

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