2019 Reads

A new running list.

Books

Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert
Soul of the World, David Mealing
And I Darken, Keirsten White
The Art of Starving, Sam J. Miller
The Product Book, Carlos Gonzalez de Villaumbrosia
The Rage of Dragons, Evan Winter
Atomic Habits, James Clear
Sins of Empire, Brian McClellan
An Unkindness of Ghosts, Rivers Solomon
Deep Work, Cal Newport
One Piece Vol. 1: Romance Dawn, Eiichiro Oda
Happy: Why More or Less Everything is Absolutely Fine, Derren Brown
Bored and Brilliant, Manoush Zomorodi
Fence, C.S. Pacat
Grey Sister, Mark Lawrence
Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates
My Year of Rest and Relaxation, Otessa Moshfegh
Autonomous, Annalee Newitz
Call Me by Your Name, André Aciman
The Poet X, Elizabeth Acevedo
Queenie, Candice Carty-Williams

Stories

City of Salt,” Arkady Martine, Strange Horizons
Meet me in Iram,” Sofia Samatar, Lightspeed
Fifty Years in the Virtuous City,” Leo Mandel, Strange Horizons
Poems Written While,” Natalia Theodoridou, Uncanny
Burrowing Machines,” Sara Saab, The Dark Magazine
What It Sounds Like When You Fall,” Natalia Theodoridou, Nightmare
Building Girls,” Randa Jarrar, MAKE Literary Magazine
Among the Silvering Herd,” A.M. Dellamonica, Tor.com
Dying Lessons,” Troy L. Wiggins, PodCastle
Salt and Cement and Other Denials,” Sara Saab, Lackington’s
Do Not Look Back, My Lion,” Alix E. Harrow, Beneath Ceaseless Skies
How to Swallow the Moon,” Isabel Yap, Uncanny
Leviathan Sings to Me in the Deep,” Nibedita Sen, Nightmare
The Blanched Bones, The Tyrant Wind,” Karen Osborne, Fireside Magazine
A Shoal of Lovers Leads me Home,” Ama Josephine Budge, Anathema Magazine
Strange Waters,” Samantha Mills, Strange Horizons
How Bees Fly,” Simone Heller, Clarkesworld
The Sound of His Voice Like the Colour of Salt,” L Chan, The Dark Magazine
The Wiley,” Sara Saab, The Dark Magazine
The Court Magician,” Sarah Pinsker, PodCastle
ZeroS,” Pete Watts, Infinity Wars (ed. Jonathan Strahan)
A Salt and Sterling Tongue,” Emma Osborne, Uncanny Magazine
It’s Easy to Shoot a Dog,” Maria Haskins, Beneath Ceaseless Skies

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Featured post

2018 Wrap-Up

It’s been a busy year for me in the writing world (under the surface) and the real world (not so under the surface). Luckily, I got these stories out into the world early on and they are (as short stories) Hugo, Nebula, and technically even Campbell eligible.

They are:

The Cook,” Uncanny #22 (May/June 2018), a short love story in the ubiquitous fantasy tavern, courtesy of a short workshop at Indiana University with poet Catherine Bowman. (Key words: Food, love, war)

Burning Season,” PodCastle #519 (April 2018), a story of the price of sedition versus the price of accepting oppression in relative safety, with a main character who can understand any language. I was determined for years to show off this world in as tight a package as possible, and I’m proud of how it turned out. (Key words: revolution, betrayed love, language magic)

Mostly, I’d just really like more people to read these stories because I really like them.

For more stories I read and you could read too, there’s my 2018 Reads list.

Featured post

The New PodCastle Co-editor!

Late but good news of the year:

I’ve been appointed as the new co-editor alongside Jen Albert at PodCastle, the fantasy sister of the Entertainment Artists podcasts. I’m taking over for Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali, who’s left some pretty big shoes for me to fill.

That said, I’m stoked to have a hand in the direction of one of my favorite SFF magazines and to leave my mark on the SFF community. Not to mention having fun with the castle dragons.

You can catch my first post here, where I host and narrate one of my favorite stories, Suddenwall, by Sara Saab, originally published over at Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Listen to that story and you’ll get a great ear for how my editorial tastes run.

Looking forward to this next chapter. Hope you’ll follow along @podcastle_org. We just finished our Artemis Rising 5 and we’ve got the flash fiction contest up next. Check out the submission guidelines and for our submission schedule here. I can’t wait to read your work.

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

Issue4_150

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!

2018 Reads

What I’ve read–a running list.

Books

Phasma, Delilah S. Dawson

Age of Assassins, R.J. Barker

Edge of Glory, Rachel Spangler

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)

Daughter of Mystery, Heather Rose Jones (x2)

The Queens of Innis Lear, Tessa Gratton

The Prince of Fools, Mark Lawrence (audiobook)

Roadmap, Roadtrip Nation people

Winged Histories, Sofia Samatar

An Ember in the Ashes, Sabaa Tahir

The Black God’s Drums, P. Djeli Clark

A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe, Alex White

Perfect Pairing, Rachel Spangler

Spinning Silver, Naomi Novik

The Black Count, Tom Reiss (audiobook)

The Monster Baru Cormorant, Seth Dickinson

Short Stories

Clearly Lettered in a Most Steady Hand,” Fran Wilde, Uncanny (and relevant essay, “We Will See You Now”)

She Still Loves the Dragon,” Elizabeth Bear, Uncanny

Words Never Lost,” DaVaun Sanders, PodCastle

Carnival Nine,” Caroline Yoachim, Beneath Ceaseless Skies

Maiden, Mother Crone,” Ann Leckie and Rachel Swirsky, PodCastle

Tortoiseshell Cats are Not Refundable,” Cat Rambo, Clarkesworld

Bibliopothecary,” Dani Atkinson, Cast of Wonders

Sour Milk Girls,” Erin Roberts, Clarkesworld

Feathers and Void,” Charles Payseur, Shimmer

Hyddwen,” Heather Rose Jones, PodCastle

Hoywverch,” Heather Rose Jones, PodCastle

Flow,” Marissa Lingen, Fireside Magazine

Blood and Water,” Jason Kimble, Cast of Wonders

Seer Salad,” Barbara A. Barnett, Cast of Wonders

Waiting on a Bright Moon,” JY Yang, Tor.com

We Head for the Horizon and Return with Bloodshot Eyes,” Eleanna Castroianni, PodCastle

My Heart the Bullet in the Chamber,” Stephanie Charette, PodCastle

Not a Bar Story,” Bix Gabriel, Jellyfish Review

Suddenwall,” Sara Saab, Beneath Ceaseless Skies

Unplaces: An Atlas of Non-existence,” Izzy Wasserstein, Clarkesworld

“Ghost Girl,” Rich Larson, War Storiesed. Andrew Liptak and Jaym Gates

Pistol Grip,” Vina Jie-Min Prasad, Uncanny Magazine

God Decay,” Rich Larson, Clarkesworld

Sinners, Saints, Dragons, and Haints in the City Under the Still Waters,” N.K. Jemisin, PodCastle

Don’t Pack Hope,” Emma Osborne, Nightmare Magazine

The Calm the Love the Traceless Land,” Sara Saab, Anathema Magazine

The Cedar Grid,” Sara Saab, Clarkesworld

Memories of Monsters,” Mari Ness, Daily Science Fiction

The Root Cellar,” Maria Haskins, Beneath Ceaseless Skies

The Examination Cloth,” Jonathan Edelstein, Beneath Ceaseless Skies

Now Watch My Rising,” A. Merc Rustad, Fireside Fiction

Biohack,” Tessa Yang, Joyland Magazine

Dead Air,” Nino Cipri, Nightmare Magazine

Requiem for Kingkillers and Queenmakers,” Andrea Tang, The Future Fire

Calamity, the Silent Trick,” Sara Saab, The Dark

Triumphant Ward of the Railroad and the Sea,” Sara Saab, Shimmer

Kaleidoscope,” Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Lightspeed

Maybe Look Up,” Jess Barber, Lightspeed

One and Two,” Emma Osborne, Kaleidotrope

STET,” Sarah Gailey, Fireside Fiction

Jewel of the Vashwa,” Jordan Kurella, Apex Magazine

“The Beast Weeps with One Eye,” Morgan Al-Moor, Beneath Ceaseless Skies

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