Strange Bedfellows: An Anthology of Political Science Fiction

Strange Bedfellows

Cover by Dan J. O’Driscoll

Received yesterday, my contrib. copy of anthology Strange Bedfellows: An Anthology of Political Science Fiction, edited by Hayden Trenholm, with my story, “Tried as an Adult.” I’ve been looking forward to the release of this anthology, chock full of thoughtful and awesome SF, if I do say so myself.

Table of Contents:

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“Beautiful Winter” in Cicada Magazine March/April 2014 Issue

Received today, my contrib. copies of the March/April 2014 issue of Cicada with my short story “Beautiful Winter” in it with beautiful illustrations by Forest Strawn-Wing.

I’m thrilled to be appearing once again in Cicada, as this magazine holds a special place in my heart–being my very first fiction sale and publication with “The Adventures of Manny the Mailmobile” in their Jan/Feb. 2002 issue.

CICADA_MarchApril_2014cvrCICADA_MarchApril 2014_bk

Hobkin’s Not-so-big Adventure and Nov-Dec Cricket

It’s that time of the year again for flu shots, so yesterday on my day off, fosteronfilm and I bopped down to the K-P clinic. While there, I also had my bimonthly test tubes of blood extracted*. The phlebotomist was competent, but I still ended up bruising, and I’m also achy from the flu shot. Meh. I don’t have a problem with needles, but it was a bit of a pincushiony sort of day.

But, for the first time ever, we accidentally left the gate to Hobkin’s area open when we went out. When one of us is home to supervise—which is most of the time—he gets free run, but when we’re out, we lock him in his rover gated area.

We came home to discover that not only had we forgotten to lock the gate, we’d also left the doors to the master bathroom+walk-in closet open—two places where he’s not allowed to go ’cause of the various high potential skunk-induced mischief/danger items therein.

After confirming Hobkin’s whereabouts (napping peacefully in his usual place) and that he wasn’t in any distress, I began a mad-thorough search, checking to see if he’d gotten into anything scary: the sundry meds or first-aid supplies in the cabinet under the sink, the “do not injest” packets of desiccant in shoe boxes, the dental floss in the trash can, etc. And it seems that while he did indeed tip the trash can over, which fortunately had nothing more hazardous in it than a couple tissues, he didn’t riffle through anything else. He didn’t open any of the cabinets or de-box any shoes or anything. Huh. What a good boy! I mean he knows he’s not allowed in those rooms, and it’s obvious he did check them out, but he didn’t get into any of the Eugie-heart-attack-causing mayhem that he could have.

Relief-amazement-relief-amusement-relief.


*I take the immunosuppressant Imuran to keep my lupus/MCTD at bay, and it can cause a drop in white blood count as well as liver toxicity, so I have regular blood tests done to monitor those.

   


Writing Stuff

New Words:
• around 1.7K on The Stupid Novel. Momentum? What momentum?

Received:
• Payment from Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Mangazine for “The Better To…”

Seems that the world’s economy is catching up to the badness of the U.S.’s. When I first made the sale, the same payment amount (in AUD) would’ve netted me about $10 USD more than it did yesterday. But that was when the U.S. dollar was tanking and other currencies were still holding steady. It seems the currency exchange rates between AUD and USD have now equalized out to close to their usual rates. Drat.

I suspect that will also be the case for whenever I get payment from Interzone (paid in GBP) for “Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast.” Double drat. Although I’m gun-jumping there, as the story hasn’t even come out yet.
• Shiny contrib. copies of the Nov-Dec ’08 issue of Cricket:

There was much squeeage when I discovered that “Cuhiya’s Husband” is the lead story! As always, the Cricket folks put together a gorgeous product. Absolutely lovely.

The Fix’s 1-Year Anniversary and 2 Reviews of Triangulation: Taking Flight.

Yesterday marked the 1-year anniversary of launching The Fix online. I wanted to commemorate this milestone with something insightful, stirring, and inspiring, but I ended up cobbling together an unremarkable and stock year-in-review editorial instead.

Not for lack of trying. I made several rewrite passes on it, as I wanted to convey my appreciation for The Fix’s writers and editorial staff who work so hard and with such dedication as well as express how heartened I was by the obvious shared love that these folks have for short form works—not to mention how honored I am to be entrusted with the efforts and contributions of such talented writers—but I ended up rambling and sounding like an award acceptance speech—one of those which gets cut short by the cued music. So I red-lined it to bare bones. Grumf.

   


Writing Stuff

“The Life and Times of Penguin” in Triangulation: Taking Flight received some nice commentary in a pair of reviews:

“The final story ‘Life And Times Of Penguin’ by Eugie Foster about self-aware toys in the hands of a destructive child is both touching and uplifting”
—Geoff Willmetts,
SF Crowsnest

“Told from the point of view of a balloon animal penguin, the toy’s brief but eventful life manages to jam in enough existential angst to give Kierkegaard indigestion, an astonishing emotional depth, and yet fully embrace the essentially absurd nature of her story.”
—Martin McGrath,
The Fix

Martin also described it as “Toy Story meets Voltaire’s Candide,” which tickled me when I read it, as “Penguin” is my homage to Candide which I wrote not too long after having seen Toy Story for the first time. Candide is one of my favorite satires, managing to deliver its message with humor and wit and, impressively, brevity. Rock on, Voltaire.

Received:
• Shiny contrib. copy of #37 of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine:

I have essentially transitioned to reading nearly everything from a computer screen, as I encourage all the editors and publishers who send me review material to provide me with electronic files—faster, cheaper, and greener for all to disseminate. But I still get a visceral thrill from holding a print copy of a publication with one of my stories in it. Go fig.

Dragon*Con 2008: Other aftereffects and “A Nose for Magic”

Something I neglected mentioning in my D*C08 write-up is that I had two, possibly three, Daily Dragon staff members come down with what they thought was food poisoning. They were out for a shift but came back within a day, shaky but determined not to miss anymore of Dragon*Con or another of their assigned desk shifts.

When I hear “food poisoning,” I tend to figure I’m pretty safe as I don’t eat meat, and most such poisoning episodes can be attributed to meat consumption. What I didn’t add to the equation is that the daughter of another of my Daily Dragon staff was recovering from the flu and that there’s been a lot of flu making the rounds this last month—also that this year the flu shots were pretty ineffective, missing the major strains.

I no longer believe the distress afflicting my staff was due to food poisoning. Rather, my main circle of convention interaction seems instead to have been plague-ridden. And, because my immune system is the stupidest immune system in the world, a fairly mild ailment which knocks regular folks out for a day flattened me for three. (*grumble* stupid human suit *grumble*)

So yeah, I had an uncomfortable weekend, and I’m still a bit wobbly. Also, my voice hasn’t come back yet, although my co-editors and husband assure me that I sound much less like a toad than I did last week. However, it means I got absolutely nothing accomplished all weekend. Ergo, I am playing catch up on my efforts to catch up from Dragon*Con.

Wah!

   


Writing Stuff

Received:
• Contrib. copies of The Pagan Anthology of Short Fiction: 13 Prize Winning Tales with my story, “A Nose for Magic.” Shiny cover:

“A Nose for Magic” is one I’m particularly fond of as it was directly inspired by Hobkin. After reading this newest one (he read it in zero draft, but I tend not to subject him to the final versions as I figure he’s already doing “above and beyond” duty as my eternal first reader) fosteronfilm said that I should have a collection of skunk stories published. I laughed, ‘cuz who would want to buy a collection of skunk-inspired short stories? Also, I didn’t think I had written enough of them to fill a collection. But actually, when I opened up my story logs spreadsheet, I think I actually may. But I’m still left with the question, would anyone actually want to buy a collection of skunk and skunk-inspired stories? Hmmm.

Post-Thanksgiving 2007

Thanksgiving was lower key than I planned. For most of the weekend, I slumped on the couch, alternating between pitiful whimpers and pained moans. Between the little men hammering inside my skull, the sundry aches and soreness of the rest of me, and a queasy tummy from popping Tramadols*, I only managed to venture forth from the house once.

Hobkin and fosteronfilm took turns sitting with me and being comforting, of which I am verily thankful for.

I think a weather-related pressure change is the culprit. I’m better now, although my sinuses are still giving off threatening twinges, and my shoulder is one shrug away from becoming (once again) a knotwork of “ow.”


*How in the name of anything holy could anyone even consider using Tramadol recreationally? I took two 50mg pills, twice a day—less than the maximum dose specified on the bottle, let me add—and even the thought of food made me turn green(er).

   


Writing Stuff

Less writing got done than I’d hoped over the holiday weekend, but then, I usually accomplish less than I plan to over holidays. Good intentions, foo.

Received:
• Contract from Llewellyn Press for “A Nose for Magic.”
• 253-day cordial pass from Aberrant Dreams.
• Invite from squirrel_monkey to submit to a Russian themed anthology she’s editing. It’s the next (I assume) in an anthology series, forthcoming by Prime Books, each drawn from a different world mythology (the first being Japanese Dreams which includes my story, “The Tears of My Mother, the Shell of My Father”—due out this monthish). Of course I said “yes.” I love world folklore/mythology/fairy tales, and this will give me an opportunity to explore in greater depth Russian fairy tales, which I’ve always adored.

New Words/Editing:
• 1000 words on my last (*sniffle*) Writing for Young Readers column: “Happily Ever After.” I thought it fitting that the topic for the final one be “endings.” Did several clean-up passes and sent it off to the editor.

And thus, I set down another hamster and bid it a teary farewell.

Published:
• “The Raven’s Brocade” in the December issue of Cricket:

I’ve said it before, but it bears saying again. I really love seeing my stories in Cricket. The artwork which accompanies them is always so wonderful.


Illustrations for “The Raven’s Brocade” by Nicole Wong

My plate o’hamsters is less overfloweth

Things aren’t yet to an even keel, but they’re getting there. I’ve had several nights in a row now where I’ve been able to get more than five hours of sleep (sometimes up to a full eight!), running The Fix is almost to the point of day-to-day routine (still a few outstanding items that need taking care of), this is the last week of the Worldbuilding for Writers workshop I’ve been conducting all month, and my November Writing for Young Readers column is mostly written.

Huzzah!

I should have all my “t”s crossed and my “i”s dotted just in time for . . . the holidays . . . and then the legislative session begins. Glargh!

Stupid hamsters.

   


Writing Stuff

I saw on slushmaster‘s LJ from the 13th (yah, I’m way behind on my flist) that Shawna liked and will be buying my story, “Daughter of Bótù” for Realms of Fantasy. Woohoo!

This was the story (previously titled, “Fire Rabbit of the Clan of Bótù”) that I wrote for the Ellen Datlow/Terri Windling anthology but which ended up being too long (I’m in the middle of a new story to send to the Datlow/Windling dynamic duo), so I’m absolutely tickled that I was able to find it such a good home.

Congrats also to jimvanpelt, Euan Harvey, and vylar-kaftan (one of my fellow LaunchPadees!) who also made RoF sales from that slush batch!

New Words:
- 1500 on my Writing for Young Readers column, tentatively titled, “Worldbuilding in 2000 words or less.”

Received:
- Word from the editor that Writing-world.com will be cutting back its publication schedule and going to a quarterly timetable at the open of 2008, which means that my Writing for Young Readers column gig will be coming to a close then. At Moira’s recommendation and urging, I queried another publication, asking whether they’d be interested in picking it up, but haven’t heard back. I’ll be sad if I have to lay this hamster aside, as I’ve liked wearing my columnist’s hat, but it’s probably for the best (I tell myself). It’s just not in my nature to put a hamster down, even if I am elbow-deep in the little nippers, so having one hie itself back to the wild is probably a good thing.
- Note from the Cricket folks that my story, “The Raven’s Brocade,” is slated for their December issue. Woot!
- My Magic in the Mirrorstone contrib. copies. Shiny hardcover goodness!

Where do we go from here?/Why is the path unclear?

So I’m at a bothersome “what next?” juncture in my ceaseless cycle of hamster juggling.

I’ve just finished (*crossed fingers*) one story and gotten caught up with many of the outstanding tasks and correspondences which built up due to Dragon*Con. But I’m so not at leisure to twiddle my thumbs; there remain several fairly major tasks glaring at me in my “to-do” list, including the wistful hem of my languishing novel-in-progress, another couple short stories for anthologies I’ve been invited to submit to, and various and sundry writing-related projects. But I’m undecided as to which one to pick up next. And worse, I’ve got an insidious urge to procrastinate.

Sigh. When I’ve got too many items flying at me to possibly stay on top of, I don’t have to pep-talk myself into getting stuff done. I’m perpetually in full-speed-ahead triage mode. I need every minute to be productive just to avoid being overrun by a stampede of hamsters. But that’s a recipe for nervous breakdown and burnout . . . and nippy hamsters.

There’s gotta be a happy medium, dammit.

   


Writing Stuff

Publishers Weekly reviewed So Fey in their 9/17 issue:

“Despite its provocative title and aggressive opening vignette, sex and sexuality fade into the background of Berman’s quiet compilation of fantasy tales . . . Most tales also feature classic Shakespearean or Celtic-inspired faerie folk, though Eugie Foster’s ‘Year of the Fox’ and Craig Laurance Gidney’s ‘A Bird of Ice’ draw effectively on Asian motifs . . . this anthology is wholly readable and likely to engage general readers as well as its target audience.”

Not too shabby, all in all. And I’m tickled that my story got a mention, even if it’s only to say that it “draws effectively on Asian motifs.”

Received:
- Payment from Hasbro (!) for “Princess Bufo marinus, I Call Her Amy” in Magic in the Mirrorstone. Me likie payment on acceptance.
- My contrib. copy of Heroes In Training. This anthology marks another writerly milestone, my first appearance in a mass market paperback, as well as the achievement of one of my first writing goals, to be published in a DAW anthology. Much wooting and book petting.

Launch Pad: Finis. WAH!

Astronomy camp is over and I want to go baaaaack!!

We wrapped up on Saturday with a discussion on extra solar planets, and Vonda gave all of us a yarn marine critter she’d crocheted as mementos.

Here’s mine perched on the astronomy textbook we received, waiting to be packed for the journey south:

It’s black with silver speckles (although they look purple in this picture; I think a reflection from the textbook) which makes me think of the Wyoming sky at night as I saw it on Friday. I lubs it. *sniffle* I’m in the process of finding the perfect nesting place for it in our library.

Then we went over to Mike’s house to drown our post-astronomy-workshop blues in drunken revelry* along with several of Mike’s students and university colleagues.

Riotous games of Thing were played–with Vy doing an awesome job as Thing Wrangler–as well as several hands of Once Upon A Time. Thing, for folks unfamiliar with it, is a game somewhat like Mafia, except with fewer players, and when folks are Thingafied, they don’t leave play. I haven’t actually played Mafia, so there may be other subtle differences in the rules. (ktempest and Alaya wanted to play Mafia, but we didn’t have enough players.)

samhenderson is a prodigious Thing force to be reckoned with, as she managed to convince folks for several rounds that she could not be Thing because it was simply Too Obvious. Brilliant! If I were a parasitic alien entity intent upon taking over the world, I would so totally invade her first. And, as a public service announcement for anyone who might play Thing with Tempest in the future: even if she’s not Thinged, she’s on the Thing’s side!! Run away!

My flight home on Sunday was uneventful and on time, and Hobkin was pleased to see me. After thoroughly sniffing my face, he attached himself to my hip all night while I babbled nonstop to fosteronfilm about my adventures at Launch Pad. I highly, highly recommend it for any writer even remotely interested in space and science. Go apply for next year, yo!


* Actually, while there were quite a few bottles of booze to partake of, overall, the inebriation wasn’t at the level of, say, a SF convention–that I saw at least. I actually didn’t drink anything until nearly the end of the night when Mike produced a bottle of “Chinese liquor” and foisted it upon folks. From a single sniff of it, I knew that it was potent enough to knock me flat (I believe it was something like sake, but on steroids), possibly potent enough to ignite if you coughed hard enough, so I scampered away and filled a shot glass with coffee liquor as a defensive measure.

   


Writing Stuff

Agh! So much work to catch up on! Ack!! If you’re waiting on a note from me, I’m plowing through my “to do” list as fast as I can. I had problems sending emails while in Wyoming (the university had a common email port blocked as a spam deterrent and the workaround wasn’t ideal) so my correspondences were limited.

Received:
- Payment for “The Snow Woman’s Daughter” which is slated for podcasting in either Escape Pod or the new fantasy spin-off podcast, Podcastle.
- Issue #6 of Fantasy Magazine with my interview with Andrea Kail in it.

Single Malt Who and fresh veggies

The stars finally aligned and fosteronfilm and I were able to make it to another of sfeley‘s Single Malt Who shindigs last night. We had dinner at Pizza Café and then hung out at/with the Eleys (sfeley and ) and a bunch of other cool folks. Watched a Doctor Who episode and gabbed. And there was some scotch drinking (although not by me). Much fun and excellent company.

And britzkrieg very kindly dropped off some fresh veggies from her garden: peppers and cherry tomatoes and a zucchini! I lubs fresh vegetables. They always taste so much better than the stuff at the grocery store.

   


Writing Stuff

I got a note from Ellen Datlow letting contributors know that she and Terri Windling have bought a lot of long (10Kish-word) stories for their anthology and to please keep future submissions short.

Urk. “Fire Rabbit” clocks in at 9.3K works.

So, after much agonizing, I emailed her asking whether the length essentially knocked me out of a chance for an anthology slot, and, as I feared, the answer was “yes.” But she was kind enough to look at it anyway before confirming that it was indeed a no go. However, she very graciously said I could take another shot at it, which I am (ye verily) gladdened about.

So another write-a-thon is imminent. Except, currently, I’ve got little time to write during the day. The page proofs of the updated O.C.G.A. from the 2007 session came in, and until we finish editing all 45 volumes/supplements, there’s much less downtime at work.

My hamsters keep breeding, the lil buggers.

Published/Received:
- Contrib. copies of the newly published reprint of “The Wizard of Eternal Watch” in Best New Romantic Fantasy 2. Hurray! It’s a gorgeous book, although I was a little chagrined to see that the title was listed as “Wizard of the Eternal Watch” in the ToC. Fortunately, it’s correct for the story itself.