Office archaeology

I pity the person who tries to make sense of my notes in the future. I have up to five notebooks going at once, and make notes on whatever is on my mind in whichever one is closest to hand, and if one isn’t nearby I’ll write on whatever is. Anyway, it makes for some fun excavation at times.

I just came across a little Moleskine I kept in my purse in 2009.  And in it I found this:

Notebook Page

Two things are very cool about this to me:

1. I remember that Twitter conversation with Tobias Buckell. It made a huge difference at a time when I was feeling really low and that awesome writerly self-loathing that we’re all so good at had set in. (My friend Adam wrote eloquently about that at Inkpunks today–go look.) I didn’t know Toby at all at the time–since then we’ve met at conventions a couple of times and have a number of mutual friends, but at the time he was a professional author who took the time to give a pep talk to a despondent and unpublished stranger, and I was (and remain) deeply grateful. I’m really glad I have this reminder. I hope I can do the same for someone else some day.

2. This is the first note I ever made on Blight*, and I love that I just found this, because my friend Jeffrey Scott Petersen and I turned Blight into a pretty cool story just last fall, and we sold it a couple of weeks ago to Zombie Sky Press for an upcoming anthology.

Regarding that self-loathing and stuff–Adam’s Inkpunks post really nails it, I think, in that these kinds of blocks are all about fear. I know that I am personally terrified of falling flat on my face with this novel, and it keeps me from working on it. But not this weekend! This weekend I’m off to a retreat with a few other ladies and we are going to WORK IT. So if I’m scarce for a few days, that’s why: I’m in the desert with friends, facing my creative fears. :)

* [ETA: I think it is, but who knows, there may be another notebook floating around somewhere.]


In Case of Apocalypse: The story of a story

In Case of Apocalypse

Shimmer #16 was just released, which includes my story “The Revelation of Morgan Stern.”

I promise that what follows is relevant.

John and I started dating in the spring of 2010.  We were mutually smitten, thoroughly geeked out, and very, very happy, except for one problem: He lived in New Jersey, and I lived in California. 3000 miles apart. Thank the gods for Skype, is what I’m saying.

Zombie Preparedness and Apocalypse Plans are kind of a staple topic when you’re dating a guy who edits zombie stories for a living, and it was only a matter of time before we came up with our own.  The nearby prison might be a good bet, counter-examples from the Walking Dead not withstanding. The Air Force base was just a stone’s throw away. It’s an agricultural community, produce would be plentiful for a while. And the local Mission was already set up for a no-tech lifestyle, complete with mill, forge, and looms. Perfect for rebuilding society when the crisis passed.

Food, shelter, weapons, future restoration–check. But those 3000 miles presented an additional problem. What if the apocalypse occurred while we were apart? When the cell networks went down, how would we find each other? Clearly we needed an additional contingency plan.

So employing the magic of Google and Google Maps, we made one. It turned out that Wichita, Kansas was almost exactly equidistant from his home in New Jersey and mine in California. Wichita. Huh. Who knew?

Summer arrived. John’s birthday was approaching, and because of our schedules it was looking like we were going to spend it apart. That made me super-sad, and I wanted to do something special for him, something that would give him a sense of my presence even though I couldn’t be there.

It took me a few weeks to assemble. Originally the plan was to have it arrive in New Jersey on his birthday–at the last minute his plans changed and he ended up spending it here (yay!), so I gave it to him in person.

Contents of Apocalypse Box:

  • Postcard (Photoshopped and trimmed with craft scissors) of our agreed-upon meeting place
  • Heavily weathered AAA map (I left it outside for a few nights; the fog and dogs did the rest) with my route marked
  • Compass Contents
  • Waterproof matches
  • Space blanket
  • Multi-tool
  • All-weather notebook
  • Pencil
  • Sharpie
  • Mini Maglite
  • US Army Survival Guide
  • Small, heavily weathered  memo book (more fog and critters), filled with writing and two pictures of us


It’s the notebook that was scariest. Because I was the neo-est of neo-pros, and I was dating an editor, and I wrote him a story for his birthday. It felt like an incredibly brave thing to do at the time.

The notebook was part diary, part on-going love letter from an alternate-Christie to an alternate-John. It began on the day the world ended, which was also his birthday, and documented her journey to Wichita, where she hoped that he would be alive and waiting for her.*

And now it’s been published in Shimmer.



* There are no zombies in the story.

The Year In Yant, or What I Published in 2012

Hello! 2012 is almost over and it’s time to look back on the year and reflect on the smargle blotchits num goliator ag mehew.

Right. Not feeling too reflective right now, really. That will probably come later.

This year I published six stories, which is three times as many as I’d published in my only other year of having things published at all. I feel good about that. Four of them are fantasy and two are science fiction. I was paid actual money for them, which was a thrill, and as near as I can tell all of them are eligible to be nominated in Short Story categories of the major awards of our field (though the two SF ones of course shouldn’t be considered for the World Fantasy Award). If you would like to read any of them–or in a couple of cases, listen to them–they are:

The Three Feats of Agani” – Fantasy, 4900 words. Appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, July 2012.
Also available as a podcast at Beneath Ceaseless Skies.

Transfer of Ownership” – Science Fiction, 1900 words. Appeared in Armored, published by Baen, February 2012.
Also available as a podcast from the Drabblecast.

My Mother’s Body” – Science Fiction, 1200 words. Appeared in Daily Science Fiction, October 2012.

This Rough Magic” – Fantasy, 1250 words. Appeared in Daily Science Fiction, April 2012.

“Office Demons” – Fantasy, 5000 words. Appeared in Stupefying Stories, November 2012.

Temperance” – Fantasy/Science Fiction (time travel, you choose) 4400 words. Appeared in Fireside Magazine, 2012.

I’ll get back to the reflecting on things after I get this infernal novel synopsis done, and these files copied for work, and any number of other things that need attending to.

Meanwhile I thank you for your support and friendship, camaraderie and cheer–I hope you’ve had a happy and safe holiday season, and I wish you all good things in the coming new year.

Peace out.

Stupefying Stories 2.1 and post-Thanksgiving updates

Stupefying Stories 2.1

Stupefying Stories 2.1 is out and includes my story “Office Demons.” I am particularly happy to have this story out in the world as it’s vastly different from what I usually write. I hope that this one will make people smile. (When Wendy read it years ago, her first comment was “So, is this your first attempt at autobiography?”) :) I’m delighted to share the table of contents with so many friends and fantastic writers.

I think we can count Thanksgiving as a huge success–we managed to seat and feed fifteen people in our itty-bitty house, and everyone seemed to have a great time. I did my usual bacon-covered turkey, which fortunately slipped off the cutting board in the right direction (onto the counter instead of onto the floor). A high point of the day for me was that I finally got to meet my cousin’s boyfriend of four years, a singer and actor who not long ago was in Avenue Q in Santa Barbara, a fact which my kids and I completely geeked out over. I hope we made him feel welcome!

With the end of the year approaching I’m scrambling a bit to get these last few short stories out the door so that I have some inventory to circulate at the start of the year while I return my attention to the novel. And of course there’s all of this reading to catch up on, since Nebula nominations are open. I’ll put together a different post soon with my recommendations and what work of mine is eligible. (And yes, it feels incredibly weird to say that.)

I hope that your own holidays have been free of strife, and that your year is ending on a high note!

In which the carrying capacity of the camel is exceeded

A few days ago, while still quite upset and angry, I wrote a longer post that detailed some of the grosser examples of cluelessness or malice that I’ve encountered over the past two-plus years regarding popular assumptions about John’s relationship to my writing. That draft didn’t make the cut–posting it would only make me feel worse, not better. But after several days I still feel I need to address it.

I’ll be brief:

John does not edit my work.

Assumptions, assertions, and anecdotes to the contrary are–whether willfully or not–hurtful, insulting, and factually incorrect.

I have spent more than a decade–thousands of hours–working my ass off to learn my craft. When people try to take that from me by crediting my few successes or the quality of my work to my husband, I get upset. And so does he.

*Yes, of course, he edited the two stories that he bought, because he was the editor of the publications in question. For a list of all of my editors, see my bibliography.

“Office Demons” available November 3

In a sale that delighted and surprised the heck out of me, my story “Office Demons” will appear in the next issue of Stupefying Stories, which will be released November 3. This story is a bit of a departure for me in that it’s actually humor, nobody is dead or dying, and it probably won’t make anyone cry.

Many thanks to the issue’s editor, M. David Blake, for loving Claudia, Turner, and Fred as much as I do.

How many things make a post? Five. We’ll call it five.

  • I have a new post up at Inkpunks on my recent experience dragging my sad ass out of the creative doldrums.
  • My story “My Mother’s Body” went out to Daily Science Fiction subscribers yesterday and apparently ruined everyone’s morning, though from what I understand, it was in a good way. It should be available on their website for non-subscribers next week.
  • Brian White posted an update today about Kickstarter Fatigue and his future plans for Fireside.
  • After quite a bit of soul-searching (related to that Inkpunks post) I have returned to Lightspeed as of the January 2013 issue. My tenses there sound like I’ve traveled through time but really that’s just the issue we’re working on right now. I missed you, Slush Pile! Let us be forever friends.
  • I can’t believe WFC is almost here! Or that I’m almost there. I have a passport and everything. Like a grownup.

Right now I’m just glad it’s Friday. This week felt long. Have a great weekend! :)