Chilly weather, and spring coming.

(It’s a little early to be that cheerful about spring, isn’t it? In fact, we’ve got the first serious snowstorm of the year rolling in right now. Nonetheless.)

The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2020 is out, and contains my novelette “Ink, and Breath, and Spring”. Currently, it’s only available electronically; you can get it from Kobo or Amazon. The physical copy is expected in a few months, due to some slowdowns with the… everything. I will mention it here when it’s out. 🙂

I am really proud of this story, which initially appeared in issue 40 of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, and genuinely delighted that it has made it into a Year’s Best collection.

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.

Eligibility in 2020

It’s summer weather again, but the calendar tells me we’re in November, so it’s time for this post again. This year, I published the following works for the first time, all short stories.


“The Smell of Antiseptic”, published in issue 25 of Pulp Literature. Winter 2020. 4185 words. A doctor who is dealing with ghosts, and animal experimentation, and not being able to run away from her own past. (An excerpt may be found online here.)

Reviewed in Amazing Stories’ CLUBHOUSE by R. Graeme Cameron.


“Mechanical Connection”, published in issue 1 of Cossmass Infinities. January 2020. 4342 words. A superhero who is more comfortable with machines than with people, navigating friendship and family.

Reviewed in Strange Horizon’s quarterly Short Fiction Treasures by Maria Haskins, and also in Submit Your Stories Sunday by Jennifer Shelby.


“The Draw of Empty Spaces”, published in issue 3 of Cossmass Infinities. September 2020. 5111 words. A story of emptiness, salvage, and scars, taking place in a strangely ruined city.

Surrey, again

SiWC is being fantastic and fantastically dense as always. I am going to need a couple of days after it’s all over to digest, but at least I knew to arrange for them.

The online presentations are interesting. I get the sense that they’re going a little faster than usual – I can’t quite keep up with some of the presentations, and need to leave a little bit of space blank to fill in a word or two in my notes later. On the plus side, everything’s recorded and available that way for a month, so there’ll be time to do that. I’m on the fence about the chat – some people use it to comment on what’s going on, some people use it for tangents that I find really distracting – but really, it’s the kind of thing that doesn’t have an in-person equivalent so I suppose I can just set it aside.

Dan Wells did a presentation on psychological horror that is making me want to dig up my notes from Hallier Ephron’s 2018 presentation on things that are creepy. The first is “what if you can’t trust yourself” and the second is “when things might not be okay but you still have room to hope that they are”, and I feel like there’s something to dig into at the intersection. Something about when hope is lying to yourself.

A bit scattered because I’m still waking up; have more thoughts but am going to focus on getting ready to interact with people and learn things.

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.

Of emptiness and salvage.

My story “The Draw of Empty Spaces” is out now in issue 3 of Cossmass Infinities, which you can get here (although if you subscribe it should already be in your inbox, which is very nice). It is a story of someone doing salvage work in a ruined city, alone and then not alone.

This is my second time appearing in the magazine and I am honestly very pleased to be there again, and to be in the company of those other stories. I hope you enjoy them all.

Things I was extremely pleased to hear.

This is slightly belated, because I got the news and then came down with something icky, but:

“Ink, and Breath, and Spring” (initially published in issue 40 of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet and reprinted in episode 637 of PodCastle) will be appearing in The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2020. I’m in the TOC and everything.

Cover of the Year's Best Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2020

I am over the moon.

Pencil points and nail polish.

In what is probably not the first thing that comes to anyone’s mind upon reading that title, I have been cleaning and repairing window screens today. (You use the pencil points to poke the broken screen wires back into place, and the nail polish to seal the hole.) It’s not the only thing I’ve done, but it’s definitely what I can point to as a concrete accomplishment.

I have definitely hit that point of the pandemic where decluttering has turned into a Thing. That said, I have also hit the point of decluttering where I’ve run out of boxes to put stuff into, so it’s a little harder to measure how the progress has been going lately.

I’m reading again, which is nice, and I started writing an odd little thing today. I’m not entirely sure where it’s going, but I don’t think it’ll be long to finish a first draft.

And in other news, I am seriously starting to wonder what Hallowe’en is going to look like this year. I don’t think trick-or-treating is going to be at all recognizable.

A tale of ashes and ink, spoken soft.

My technically-a-novella “Ink, and Breath, and Spring” is now available as episode 637 of PodCastle, so now you have the option of reading or listening to my tale of a dead body found in a rather odd library!

(This work initially appeared in issue 40 of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet.)

As always, I very much hope you like it.

Words in the world

Cossmass Infinities has accepted another one of my stories! “The Draw of Empty Spaces” will be appearing in issue #3, coming out in September; in the meantime, you can check out their site here.

In addition, I am very pleased to say that PodCastle has accepted “Ink, and Breath, and Spring” as a reprint; that is the novelette which got a couple of favourable mentions in Locus when it initially appeared in issue 40 of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, which I am extremely proud of.

(I’ve never had one of my pieces done as an audio version before, and am very curious to see how it goes! Writing the pronounciation guide was interesting; not difficult, exactly, since I knew what things were supposed to sound like, but an aspect that I hadn’t considered would be necessary.)