“Temperance” now available online

Brian White of Fireside Magazine has just released the stories from Issue #1 for free online. My story “Temperance” went up this morning.

Issue #3 is currently in the process of raising funding via Kickstarter, and needs your help! If you enjoyed issues 1 and 2, or haven’t had a chance to check out Fireside yet, you can pre-order the next issue or go for one of the limited rewards. The issue will include stories from Daniel Abraham, Elizabeth Bear, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Lucas J.W. Johnson; the comic is written by Rachel Deering and drawn by Christine Larsen; the artist for the issue is Lisa Grabenstetter.

I pre-ordered the hard copy because frankly 1 and 2 were gorgeous.

Conventioneering

Heading off to Worldcon shortly, which will likely be both fun and exhausting, as cons generally are. This will really be my first true Worldcon experience–last year I was very busy getting married and spending time with family as a result. Apart from the Hugos I didn’t really get to check it out at all, so I’m excited to see what this con is really about. My hip still hurts, though I’ve been icing it every night and that’s helped a lot, but the amount of walking involved in a convention is likely to aggravate it. If you see me limping/waddling, or sitting somewhere with Amy Sundberg and Jordan London packed in ice, you’ll know why.

I’m not doing any panels, but I can be found here:

Reading: John Joseph Adams
Fri Aug 31 1:30pm – Fri Aug 31 3:00pm – Haymarket
John Joseph Adams, Carrie Vaughn, Christie Yant
Readings from the magazines Nightmare and Lightspeed, and anthologies Armored and Epic, all edited by John Joseph Adams.

I’ll be reading my story “Transfer of Ownership” from Armored, and also Ken Liu’s story “The Bookmaking Habits of Select Species” from Lightspeed, as Ken is unable to make it. (I’ll do my best, Ken!)

Otherwise I’ll likely be connecting with various alumni groups (almost all of my Launchies and Diesel Bears are going, and of course scads of Codexians! Though the fact that I will be the only Inkpunk there saddens me).

Oh and speaking of Inkpunks, my girl Carrie is going to be competing in the Omegathon at PAX this weekend, because she is a total badass. You can check out her training montage here. Good luck, Carrie! Wish I could be there. <3

We have achieved normality

We’re down to just a few boxes of Things That Need Places.

In my office I have two desks that face opposite walls: one for the day job, and one for writing. I haven’t actually done any writing here yet–it’s probably been a month since I even tried. With everything else that’s been going on–all practical, hard work and problem-solving stuff–there hasn’t been time or mental bandwidth. I had to get a couple of deadlines extended. But I think that now that we’re settled and the transition part is over my mind will be free to dream again.

I’m looking forward to WorldCon–seeing friends, enjoying the convention, holding my husband’s hand as we find out whether or not he’ll win either of the two Hugos he’s up for this year. And I am also really looking forward to coming home, to this home, and writing again.

Pixie dust

Sometimes life feels a little bit charmed.

This has been one of the toughest, most stressful summers of my adult life. There’s been bad stuff, there’s been good stuff, there’s been planned stuff that took a long time to come together and there’s been totally unexpected stuff that hit us broadside. But here we are at the end of the summer, and things are settling down a little.

We moved out of our large, dark rental into a much smaller and cuter home that is OURS. John has his own office, I have my own office, the kids have their own rooms painted to their specifications, and the gaming table fits perfectly in the dining room. We lost 600 square feet, a household-worth of Stuff we didn’t need, and gained a simple, cozy, beautiful home. The first meal we cooked here we got to share with a band of traveling friends who were passing through on Tuesday. It felt so good to sit everyone around that table and enjoy food and laughter with such kind people. The best kind of housewarming, even with the boxes still stacked against the walls and the bookshelves empty.

I changed jobs. I had worked for the same company for eight years–John and I had many despairing conversations over the past year about the lack of opportunities and how unhappy I was, how stuck I felt there. This new job pretty much fell into my lap, and with it came a significant salary increase and an organization that seems too good to be true. People love working here. I still get to work from home (in my beautiful green office!) The job itself entirely plays to my strengths, and I think I’m going to really enjoy doing it.

I haven’t been writing, because there’s just been too much to do in the evenings. That will change this weekend, when we’re finally done with the old house entirely. I still have a short story deadline, and I think that now that all of this transition is mostly done and I’m not occupied with worrying about dozens of things I’ll be able to finish it. I’ll get back to the novel in September, after Worldcon.

This weekend is our first wedding anniversary, and it feels absolutely right that we are here to celebrate it.

I feel really, really good. Unburdened. Like I’m where I should be. Like life is a little bit charmed.

The news from 7000 feet

Hello from Wyoming!

I’m in Laramie, WY this week, attending the Launch Pad Astronomy Workshop, which has so far been amazing. I can’t say the altitude has agreed with me–I didn’t really sleep for the first three nights, and the trek across campus leaves me winded still. I am currently fighting some kind of stomach bug (which conveniently struck just as we were leaving to go to the observatory last night) :/ but I will not let it stand between me and SCIENCE. This is an experience I wouldn’t miss for the world.

Speaking of worlds, last night I got to see roughly 10 billion of them in the form of Andromeda. It left me stammering “wow” through tears. We are so small.

While I’ve been away Grant Stone’s story “Young Love on the Run from the Federal Alien Administration New Mexico Division (1984)” went up at StarShipSofa. I got to narrate part of this with our mutual friend Matthew Sanborn Smith. It was awesome to get to work on a project with two good friends, and I’m glad that Grant is pleased with the results. Go check it out!

And lastly, Beneath Ceaseless Skies posted their 100th issue this morning, which includes my story “The Three Feats of Agani.” Many thanks to my DieselBears for their help with the story.

Updatery!

Last week I went to Seattle for an agency retreat with the BGL gang. It was amazing–like a tiny little convention in which every attendee is on every panel. The late-night shenanigans were epic. (Important safety tip: Do not put jelly beans in wine.) I went in feeling very insecure (wow, there’s a surprise, right?) but by the time the weekend was over I was feeling like yeah, I can do this, I belong here. It helped that BGL only seems to collect incredibly nice people, and I had a few friends already going in. Now I have many more, and couldn’t be happier about it. Many thanks to Barry, Joe, and the astounding Tricia for putting on such a cool event, and for building such a supportive community.

Also, Understanding Agent understands the whirlwind that has been my life recently, and graciously changed my deliverables to something more manageable, with the gentle admonition that I still need to get the damned thing done this year.

In other news, I started running again using the Couch to 5k app, which is a pretty cool program. I was doing great right up to starting Week 4 (the morning I left for the retreat), and then my ankles decided that this was too much punishment at my current weight, and decided to not stop hurting until, well, today. It’s a drag, because I really *like* running, and really hate almost everything else, but the impact is just too much. So I’ve stopped running for now and am back to the elliptical until I can drop mumblemumble pounds. It dawned on me that it was exactly this time last year that I injured both ankles while running, shortly after I’d started using the standing desk, and subsequently had to take it back down. I hadn’t put it back up, until today. So now I’ll go through the two weeks of foot and hip pain again (it’s not adjustable so I’m committed) as my body adapts, for the sake of a longer life and (I hope) a quicker path to fitness.

Middle age, man. It’s such a mixed bag.

But back to the happy things: The morning I left for the retreat (kind of an eventful morning) I woke up to good news! “My Mother’s Body” will run in Daily Science Fiction, probably toward the end of this year. This is a story that I read at FogCon, where it was received well. I’m happy that it has a home. This is my ninth sale, and my second to DSF. Special thanks to Lisa Rodgers for her enthusiasm and encouragement on this one.

I read you a story!

And it’s a good one. It’s called “Crystal Halloway and the Forgotten Passage,” by Seanan McGuire, and it’s a story that John included in Other Worlds Than These. It was fun to read. You can find it here:

StarShipSofa #245 Seanan McGuire

It’s the first narration I’ve done for the Sofa in a long, long time. I miss doing it, but I screw up SO MUCH while reading that it takes me hours to edit it down to something Tony can use, and I don’t have a lot of free time these days. I was getting good at it for a while, but now I’m out of practice. Anyway, it feels good to be participating again. I hope I get to do more soon.

It was only after I had finished the file and sent it off to Tony that I realized the Truth Fairy should have sounded like Carole Kane in Scrooged.

In unrelated news, I’m trying out a new theme here. I’ve done a little bit of tweaking but I’m sure there will be things that need fixing. Bear with me while I get it sorted out.

Oh, and Happy Higgs Day! Also happy birthday, USA. Nothing too celebratory over here–today has been largely devoted to home improvement and hair color. Tomorrow I leave for Seattle, for a four day writing retreat. I’m excited! I haven’t made much progress on the novel lately due to Life Stuff, so I’m really looking forward to just being a writer and nothing else for a few days. If I drop off the internet for a few days, that’s why.

Cheers!

And then I got told.

Writing a Novel by John Braine
Writing a Novel by John Braine

I’ve had this book on my shelf for at least ten years. Probably more. The first book on writing I ever bought was Lawrence Block’s Telling Lies For Fun and Profit. This was the second. So maybe more like fifteen years.

I was pulling books off my Books About Writing shelf the other day: Writing the Breakout Novel. The Weekend Novelist. The Art of Fiction. And this: Writing a Novel. They just sat on my desk, in case I had a break and needed to occupy myself. Today I picked up this one.

I’ve tried to read it several times, but it was just SO DRY, so LECTURE-Y. Since I was 25 years old I’ve been trying to read this book. I’m now 40, damn near 41, and finally–FINALLY–I’m ready for it.

Exhibit A:

A vigorous realism is the only possible way for the novel. Only through a vigorous exactitude of presentation can the essential strangeness of life be conveyed. If you don’t see the surface clearly, then you’ll never see what’s beneath.

You’ll never be able to write a novel as long as you have the illusion that only a special kind of world is worth writing about, that the world you know is too dull and commonplace.

-John Braine, Writing a Novel

So that’s sorted, then. Santa Barbara it is.

Next up: Voice.