2018 Reads

What I’ve read–a running list.


Phasma, Delilah S. Dawson
Age of Assassins, R.J. Barker
Edge of Glory, Rachel Stanley
Amberlough, Lara Elena Donnelly
The Will to Battle, Ada Palmer (audiobook)
The City of Brass, S.A. Chakraborty
Of Fire and Stars, Audrey Coulthurst
Emperor of Thorns, Mark Lawrence (audiobook)
Children of Blood and Bone, Tomi Adeyemi
The House of Binding Thorns, Aliette de Bodard (audiobook)
Jade City, Fonda Lee
The Poppy War, R.F. Kuang
The Covert Captain, Jeanelle M. Ferreira
In the Garden of Beasts, Erik Larson (audiobook)

Short Stories



Charles Payseur reviews “The Cook”

Beautiful thoughts from Charles over at his own blog, Quick Sip Reviews on my story, “The Cook.” It’s a f/f fantasy story with a nod to the old guard fantasy stories I grew up reading. It’s always a pleasure when he reviews my work because he really understands my intent and even peels back a few more layers.

No Spoilers: …The piece moves quickly, establishing first meeting and how the two get closer. And closer. Finding in each other something that brings out the best in both of them, like the perfect wine paired with the perfect meal. And they find something rarer still—love, and intimacy in a setting where wars seem fairly common, and the narrator’s life is never very certain. I love the amount of romance and emotion that the story fits into such a small span, and it’s a testament to the writing (which instantly conjures up a scene very familiar to fantasy fans but with a new depth and aroma) that I got so invested in this relationship to the point that the turn, when it comes, shook me…

You can read the rest of this review and his review for the other June Uncanny stories here! You can also read his review of my first published story, Sisyphus, over here.

He also recommended it on June’s “X Marks the Story” at Book Smugglers, where I’m in some awesome company, like A. Merc Rustad, Ada Hoffman, and quite a few others. He says, among a few other things, “The piece is sexy and sweet without erasing that the narrator, as a warrior, lives always with a specter hovering over her.”

Who doesn’t like sexy and sweet?


The Cook!

My story “The Cook” is now live and readable for free at Uncanny Magazine! You can also support a great mag by buying the issue or subscribing. It’s a very short bite of a story that bubbled out of a great workshop on writing the kitchen with poet Catherine Bowman.

So far, it’s my happiest published piece, not that that’s saying much. It’s a bittersweet love story, perhaps more emphasis on the sweet. A little something for the epic fantasy fans who appreciate this most important of characters and a beloved trope.

The first time I see her, it’s just a glimpse. I’m standing in the inn’s common room and the other warriors straddle chairs and call for ale. While some reach for a serving wench or boy, cheeks to pinch, a life to grasp—my stomach growls a monster’s growl. I should be slain; the growl is that fierce. I smell the roasting lamb, the unmistakable sneeze of freshly ground peppercorns, and garlic, but it’s all hidden behind the kitchen door.

A woman swears and laughs and swears again from that kitchen, and a boy comes out balancing trenchers of bread across his arms. Behind him, I see her wipe her hands across the measured curves of her hips. The back of her head is covered in short dark hair. She picks up a silver knife before the door slams behind the boy and the bread is at my table and I have thoughts for nothing else. But when I’ve stuffed myself to bursting, I hear her laugh again, and I’m not sure if I’ve imagined it or not.

After my companions and I have reveled away our fears for tomorrow’s campaign and some of them have passed out onto their tables, I rise to find my own bed.

She stands at the door of her kitchen, leaning, arms crossed beneath her chest. Her forearms are thick and knotted like braided dough. Her blouse is half unbuttoned, leading my eyes down the V between her breasts. The sheen of sweat, like condensation, makes me thirsty. She’s watching me—probably all of us, but I prefer to imagine that the sly smile is just for me.

Check it out and enjoy!

Sisyphus, FIYAH Issue 4 | Roots


My story Sisyphus came out in October 2017. From the Table of Contents:

“How far would you go for what you believe is right? How much would you be willing to give up? In this story, the narrator answers this question in a training exercise that requires them to kill their past. Literally.”

Here are the first few paragraphs:

Killing someone thirty-three times oughta give you some familiarity with a guy.

My step-father, Reggie, stands in front of me, at the other end of the long metal room, and I shoot him. Dead. He even bleeds convincingly. I still haven’t figured out how they do it–give you these avatars of the ones you used to love. Or maybe still love, in which case, you’re failing and will be stuck in this hellhole for the rest of your life. I can happily say I don’t love Reggie. Sounds bad, but I don’t really know him. Probably why he’s the first person I see every morning when the test starts over again and I have to–try again–to show them I’m sufficiently detached from the world I used to call mine.

This is the 99ers Elite Officer Training.

For more, grab the issue here!