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Counting ink; eligibility in 2021

It’s very nearly 2022. I was surprised to realize I hadn’t done this yet; I know that I saw discussion of eligibility posts, and remember signal-boosting a few, but somehow I didn’t quite make the connection. In any case: this year, I published the following works for the first time, both short stories.


“Mudpaws and the Tall Thing”, published in Alternative Deathiness (on Amazon in print and Kindle). November 2021. 1181 words.


Small-Town Spirit”, published in issue 97 of Fireside Magazine. November 2021. 1976 words.

Reviewed in November’s Quick Sip Reviews by Charles Payseur, and also in Maria Haskin’s SFFH Short Fiction Roundup for November 2021.


I was also very pleased to have two reprints come out this year. “Ink, and Breath, and Spring” was selected for The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2020 (available at KoboIndieBound, and Amazon). Additionally, “The Gannet Girl” was published in episode 690 of PodCastle with an amazing narrator.

Finally, both “Mechanical Connection” and “The Draw of Empty Spaces” appeared in the Cossmass Infinities – The First Year collection.

(And for the annual recap: this year had 3 acceptances (plus 2 for stories submitted last year), 20 submissions, and 13 rejections (plus 8 for stories submitted last year). 4 stories are currently out, plus 1 submitted last year. This is significantly down from previous years, and I have accepted that, because good lord there’s a lot going on.)

Counting time, 2021

I will be honest, the last two months have been rougher than I realized. I thought it was fine, and then I realized that it had actually been two months, and I counted up some of the things that had happened (both in terms of personal stress and in terms of what had gone unremarked-on here).

There has been a lot, and I have fallen behind.

In terms of positive things which I would like to acknowledge (distinct from writing; I will do a separate post for that later today); I work for a wonderful place of employment for my day job, I repainted the bathroom and replaced failing fixtures, and my favourite cat seems to be getting better.

I am sad I have not gotten out more this year, but I am very happy that the place I have to stay is as good as it is.

Of small-town matters

My story “Small-Town Spirit” is available now from Fireside Magazine! There is an amazing cover illustration from Steffi Walthall, and I am just smit. It’s a short little story, about… well, about a nice little town. Honest. (I’m terrible at summaries.)

I am very pleased with this one, and would like to thank Chelle Parker for the editing; it really helped me fine-tune a couple of points in the text and I love the end result. I hope you like it.

(Go Snallys!)

A gleeful note

A lot going on, but I was genuinely shocked to realize I hadn’t mentioned this earlier, and I want to share: my story “Small-Town Spirit” was accepted by Fireside Magazine! It will be appearing in issue 97; you can wait until it’s released online, or subscribe by Hallowe’en to get the ebook.

(I really cannot say enough good things about the latter option! There will be stories in this issue from John Wiswell and Ursula Vernon and Sydnee Thompson, and a poem from Virginia Mohlere. Seriously.)

A vigorous rush of adrenaline.

Well, I am pleased that I can log in to my site’s dashboard again, and I have just successfully downloaded a fresh and complete backup. (I am bravely resisting the urge to print it all out for extra safekeeping, because that would get a little weird.)

In other news, I have dug up the weeds in the back yard (so basically, I have dug up the entire back yard, hopefully there will be space for grass now). It took me seven and a half hours over two days. I did enjoy the exercise, and I’ve been sleeping well, but I wish there was more time in the day.

(On the second day, I was bitten by blackflies. I have never been bitten by blackflies before, and I have to say I do not recommend it. My mental image of them has always been as being like houseflies, so when they were landing on me I thought they were gnats or fruit flies and didn’t worry about it. And then the bleeding started.)

In other news, not much. I am striding bravely forward towards the end of the year and the season of rain and spice, fortified by antihistamines and coffee.

Sea and salt take all of you, then.

My short story “The Gannet Girl” is out at Podcastle, read by Kaitlyn Zivanovich, and can be heard (or read) here. I absolutely love this reading.

(This work initially appeared in issue 102 of On Spec Magazine.)

I hope you enjoy this story of gannets, and loneliness, and the place where the sea meets the sky.

Quiet moments and readables

It is too warm for candles, which is unfortunate as I am in the mood to light a candle, read, and listen to the rain. That said, the rain stopped a few hours back, so I suppose I’m out of luck on multiple axes.

(I say this while sitting comfortably at home, checking my email, and having received ebook copies of two Neon Hemlock Press novellas today. Life is not exactly hard.)

On other news… mostly just keeping on keeping on, I think. Today is a fortnight since my second vaccine shot, I have a vacation planned in a little less than five weeks, and I’m just trying to keep moving through the checklist of things to do until I get there.

Words over the air

I have been getting into podcasts for… heh, I guess slightly over a year, now. I’d dipped into them before that, but around May of last year I just dove in. Mostly fiction, usually audioplay style rather than someone reading you prose. And, yeah, they often skew a bit dark. With that in mind, I figured I would offer up some recommendations of ones that I love.

Old Gods of Appalachia
This is like if Manly Wade Wellman’s stories about Silver John met Deadlands. On every axis – on writing, on voicework, on music, on pacing, on the balance between hinting and obfuscation – it is almost painfully good.
The Silt Verses
This is the opposite of folk horror in the way that The Wire is the opposite of police procedurals. It’s a modern setting a step sideways from real life, what with all the gods – Saint Electric, and the Emperor in Rags, and everything. Primarily revolves around two devotees of one of the banned gods, the Trawlerman. (I feel that I should emphasize that this is 100% horror, not urban fantasy. Trust me.)
Unwell
A sweet and cosy midWestern gothic, about a woman who moves back home to a small-town boarding house to take care of her mother while said mother recuperates from a broken leg. Amazing snappy dialogue, cheerfully creepy moments. (Best content warnings I have ever seen. Ever.)
The Wrong Station
Trumping the odds, this one is a someone-reading-prose pure-anthology podcast. If offers weird tales in a classic vein, albeit with a definite genre awareness; every time I have rolled my eyes at a story’s setup, I have been genuinely surprised and pleased at where it ended up. (I started around season 4 and have since jumped back to the beginning, and I think that was for the best – they’re good in the early seasons, but better in the later ones.)
The Left-Right Game
A single-season complete story, about someone playing the left-right game; basically, if you start driving and then turn left then right then left then right, always, never stopping, you get to a very strange place.
Uncanny County
Once described as “like the Twilight Zone without the morality play aspect”; funny, weird, pulpy. The stories all share a setting, and there are a couple of recurring characters, but you can dip in and out as you please.  This is distinctly on the fluffy end of dark fiction – it’s like if Tales from the Crypt occasionally had happy endings.
The Hyacinth Disaster
Another single-season complete story, about a crew of asteroid miners trying to find something valuable enough to ransom their friends. Leans into the setting, so you get a fair bit of static on some communications, but goddamn amazing. (Also, everyone I have recommended this to who has listened to it has cried.)
Palimpsest
Each season is a story; they don’t all belong in the same world, but they’re all set in the same house? It’s slow, dreamy, haunting – heck, the tagline is “Embrace what haunts you.” Each season skews to what I’d call a different subgenre, but I absolutely respect the trailer’s assertion that every story is a ghost story.

Generally good times

A lot of things going on, but to accentuate the positives: I got my first vaccine shot, I am getting back into reading, and I finally saw the movie Network.

With regards to Network–I am, bluntly, appalled that I had not heard a lot more about this in years past. Someone else mentioned that they hadn’t seen it but they knew “The Rant”, and I was genuinely at a loss to figure out which one he meant. The movie is like a slice of a John Brunner novel with all the science fiction boiled out, studded heavily with oration; it is dense and bitter and self-reflective and, I think, ultimately rather hopeless.

With regards to reading; the brilliant, self-aware, and incisive Forebears by Eric Burns-White is being released. I have mentioned him before (here, discussing The Flash); while I first encountered him through his non-fiction writing, his fiction in the Justice Wing universe is fantastic, and Forebears is possibly my favourite of it all. It is, boiled down to its most apparent and simplest arc, the story of a lawyer who specializes in defending parahumans. You may begin reading it here.