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Pause for reflection

Huh. I just noticed how close we were to the ides of March.

Like pretty much everyone, I suppose, the covid-19 news is a bit on my mind, and I’m trying to make sure I stay up-to-date on all the usual daily stuff despite distractions. It’s not so much that I’m missing out on things – the things that I’d want to go out to do are all getting cancelled – it’s that I find myself at slightly loose ends for what to do instead.

I did manage to get my Hugo nominations in before the deadline, though, and am looking forward to seeing the final ballot.

Related to that, the only work I published last year got a mention in Locus! Rich Horton said that it was his favourite story published in Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet that year in his short-fiction-in-print review. I am really pleased by that.

29 days and not enough time

…well that was a month.

A couple of days ago, I think I figured out why I never see any of my own work as “dark”. To me, something is dark if it develops in a chilling and unexpected, or a disturbing and surprising, way.

My own work usually isn’t unexpected or surprising to me. Therefore, it doesn’t register as dark. The implied body horror, the deaths, the strange alterations of self, the loss – that’s not dark, that’s what’s expected. (Not that these things inherently make a work dark, but they can, and they’re examples of what I’ve seen people point to.)

And yes, I have the same issue with a lot of horror – there’s very little of it that I parse as “dark”, simply because it’s horror, and that’s what I came for. It can be gruesome, chilling, heartwrenching, startling, dour, or dire – but because I’m going in expecting and hoping for that, it isn’t usually unexpected or surprising.

Aside from that, there’s been a lot going on, but a lot of it’s also been fairly personal and is in progress, so I’m going to settle for saying that I think things are improving.

January, in a remarkable year

Sometimes I turn around and it’s odd to be in 2020.

When I was a kid, I had an RPG sourcebook with that year in the title: Cyberpunk 2020. I didn’t have anyone to play with, but that wasn’t a problem; I read RPGs for fun, weird combinations of guidebook and recipe source.

I went years without thinking about that book, but I tripped over the setting again last year–someone’s making a video game–and it’s odd to me how much I still remember of it and how much I still care. My reaction went from “yes, that game looks like it’ll be very glossy” to “that’s Johnny Silverhand? They’ve got Johnny Silverhand? I remember him.” and next thing you know I was snickering over the Holy Fathers of the Perpetual Railgun again.

It’s funny the stuff that sticks with you.

None of the impressions that stuck from the stories that talked about 2020 were anything like this. On a larger level–and there’s a lot going on, on the larger level–I’m going to settle for saying that while there are definitely dystopian elements, the fictional version of them seemed like they were a lot more manageable. On a smaller level… well, I’ve been dealing with vet bills and doing the laundry. I like both my jobs, and periodically get very angry at both my jobs, and these two things are not mutually exclusive. Life goes on, and it feels like a lot of it is a rather tired puttering.

Well. The month is nearly over, and some things are improving. I hope that part of current trends continues.

On crossing invisible lines.

My story “Mechanical Connection” is out now in the inaugural issue of Cossmass Infinities, which is available from a plethora of sources here. (Seriously, I count four even if you lump all the Amazons together.) I got my copy this morning, and it’s a pretty fantastic issue; I hope you enjoy my contribution, the story of a superhero who is more comfortable with machines than people.

Counting ink, 2019

I had two acceptances this year; one for “The Smell of Antiseptic” in Pulp Literature, and one for “Mechanical Connection” in Cossmass Infinities, which should be coming out tomorrow. I also had my novelette “Ink, and Breath, and Spring” published in Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, which is something of a dream market for me.

I submitted stories 44 times in 2019, and got 34 rejections (32 were from 2019 submissions, and 2 were from submissions made in 2018). I also withdrew one story.

As of the end of the year, I have nine stories out. Overall, I didn’t get quite as many story submissions done as I wanted, but I at least got more stories out there and I’m pretty pleased with that.

Alright. On to 2020.

Breaking time.

I mean, in that it’s time for a break. (The current schedule is a bit odd, as the standard work week is being broken up by statutory holidays, so it’s a lot of on-again off-again.)

I’m going to be doing some site updates over the next week. I don’t expect anything to change, but if you’re– hmh. Well, if you’re not reading this, I probably broke something? And if you’re reading this but it looks odd, my apologies, I’ll try to have it straightened out by 2020.

The weather isn’t looking like it’ll be too unpleasant at least, but I’ll probably spend a good chunk of the time off indoors, working on wrapping up reading and editing stories. It should be some nice downtime.

Animals in the dark.

My story “The Smell of Antiseptic” is available now in issue 25 of Pulp Literature; the print and ebook copies can be purchased here, although the ebooks don’t unlock until January 1. It’s my story about ghosts and animal experimentation, inspired by some documents I ran across a reference to several jobs back.

(The prices are in Canadian, by the way, in case it makes a difference.)

Should you pick it up, I hope you like it.

Eligibility in 2019

It felt a little early to be doing this, but looking at production schedules, I suppose it’s actually time. I had one thing published in 2019, and it’s actually a novelette.


“Ink, and Breath, and Spring”, available in issue 40 of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet. November 2019. 7950 words. A tale of ashes and ink, and a dead body found on the grounds of a very strange library.