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.

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.

Counting ink, 2020

I had two acceptances this year; one for  a reprint of “Ink, and Breath, and Spring” in PodCastle, and one for “The Draw of Empty Spaces” in Cossmass Infinities. I was also asked if I’d like to have “Ink, and Breath, and Spring” in the next The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy, and I was really pleased with that.

I submitted stories 51 times in 2020, and got 43 rejections (35 were from 2020 submissions, and 8 were from submissions made in 2019). I also withdrew 4 stories (3 from markets I submitted to in 2020, and one I submitted to in 2019).

As of the end of the year, I have 11 stories out, which I am actually really pleased by, especially given The Year That Was.

Alright. On to 2021.

The last weekend of 2020

I mean, the last weekend is also sixteen days long due to personal circumstances, but the calendar is a powerful framing tool.

It’s been a very quiet Christmas. I sent a lot of winter holiday cards and got… I think slightly more than usual? I have the impression people are kind of going out of their way to reach out a little. I also spent nearly an hour on the phone with people Christmas morning, which was definitely longer than usual.

Beyond that, I put up a bird feeder (after dark the day before Christmas Eve), and nothing has visited it yet. Not even squirrels. I mostly picked it up because the birds had stopped going to the ground-level next-t0-the-fence birdfeeder in our back yard, and I was vaguely thinking that perhaps it had started to rust badly enough that the smell of metal was putting them off, or a cat had started using it as a hunting spot, or the suet in it was off. (It has been moderately badly damaged by chewing squirrels, but there doesn’t appear to actually be rust on it.)

Anyway. I have scattered birdseed around the new feeder on the advice of someone much more invested in bird feeding than I am, and I live in slightly anxious hope.

In which both change and the lack thereof are unwanted

With regards to unwanted change: the kitchen sink broke, the dishwasher broke, someone is coming into the house to fix the former, and the default WordPress posting interface has changed. I have no idea exactly how much these things will cost (well, the WP change is free, but the others are guaranteed to not be so).

With regards to unwanted stasis: I’m going to be spending most of the next five months in the house, as it’s not as if I’m going to be visiting establishments (or people) any more than an absolute bare minimum, and the weather is going to make it a lot more difficult to convince myself to go out for walks to nowhere. I am gloomily worrying about cabin fever (which admittedly also involves mental notes to myself to rewatch The Shining and check out #Alive, so not all terrible).

Oh well. Five more weeks and the days start getting longer again, so there’s that. And I have a lot of podcasts and books to get through.

Into November

Today was dim and gray and blustery with ice specks, and I only made it outdoors half an hour before sundown. The sun was already out of sight.

I very much feel that I did not get a summer or a fall. I don’t think I particularly got a spring, either, but that was long enough ago that it’s gotten blurry. Mostly I’ve been thinking a lot about going out for a walk early in the lockdown when everything was still snowy; it feels like I’m coming back around to that without ever really getting out of it.

(I also didn’t sleep well, with the time change, so part of it is probably just the mood. I am coping through the time-tested method of topically applying a cat, it helps.)

Best of luck to everyone, I guess.

Pleasant fall

I confess to preferring grey weather, but today is cool and pleasant enough that I am not minding the lack of cloud cover. I raked a lot of the back yard (I have no idea what I’m going to do about getting the violets out; they are absolutely brutally stubborn, and I would like a back yard that is not-them), I went out for a walk, and I’m making progress on both my current sweater and my tsundoku pile.

I’ve got *mumble* revisions on the burner and two stories in progress, so that’s going to be keeping me busy probably until the end of the year. I’m trying to make sure that I clear out time to just be not-productive; it seems to help. (Video games and horror TV, yay; I keep getting recommendations for a couple of things, so I’m bumping them up the list.)

Sent a withdrawal to what I’m pretty sure is a dead market this morning, which is never a particularly cheerful event. Still, I got two stories out today, and am going to be aiming for more.

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.

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.