My year in writing review, 2019

Honestly this is a very weird one for me to write, because this year split down the middle for fairly obvious mental reasons. A major loss that changes your life will make it feel like you’ve had two very different years in one, so looking back and saying, “Really? that was this year?” Well, really, self: it was. I have really written two middle-grade novels and a novella this year, and an assortment of essays, poems (?! when did that happen?), and stories. I would give an exact count, but it’s only December 9, and the odds that I finish something else short before December 31 are fairly good, so let’s say…at least fifteen pieces of fiction shorter than a novella, as of right now.

If you said to yourself “throwing herself into work,” you would not be far wrong. But mostly it has been in a very good way, in a positive and inspired way. In a year when one of the things I wrote is my dad’s eulogy, I’m pretty proud of not just what I’ve written but the spirit I’ve written it in. I’m making myself a lot of revision work for the second half of the year and for 2020, but that’s all right too. (Even though I am also eager to write more new things. And have some clear ideas on that front.)

As for what’s been published, buckle in, it’s a list. On the fiction side, I got to continue to work with editors I have enjoyed working with very consistently before and also get familiar with a few new faces. Here’s what I was up to:

“The Thing, With Feathers,” Uncanny, Jan/Feb 2019.

“The Deepest Notes of the Harp and Drum,” Beneath Ceaseless Skies, January 2019.

“Painting the Massive Planet,” Analog, May/June 2019.

“Wrap Me In Oceans Wide,” Strange Horizons, 17 July 2019.

“How We Know They Have Faces,” Nature, 24 July 2019.

“Purposeful,” Daily Science Fiction, October 2019.

“In the Ancestor’s New House,” Spirits Unwrapped, edited by Daniel Braum (Lethe Press).

“Filaments of Hope,” Analog, Nov/Dec 2019.

“Family Album,” Nature, 13 November 2019.

I also had fiction reprints in print and podcast format and translations into Chinese and Spanish. I appeared on podcasts. I got interviewed. I sang, I danced, I juggled. (Okay, I did not actually juggle. I sing and dance a lot. It’s a thing.) Meanwhile in nonfiction, in addition to this blog I continued to write a little more for other places, and I like it:

That Never Happened, Uncanny Issue 27 (March/April 2019).

Beyond Cinderella: Exploring Agency Through Domestic Fantasy, Tor.com, 2 May 2019.

Beware the Lifeboat, Uncanny Issue 29 (July/August 2019).

I have a couple of things coming out in January, with more beyond that, and of course a lot of what I wrote in 2019 is either on submission or being prepared for submission. There’s a lot of momentum here, is what I’m saying. And that’s a good thing.

Happy reading.

Three stories while I was gone

Publishing moves at its own pace, and sometimes things happen all at once. Sometimes they happen all at once while a person is recovering from influenza and traveling around the continent. Just, like a hypothetical person. You know. In theory.

So! I have three stories out recently. The one you can immediately read online is Purposeful, out in Daily Science Fiction. This is a flash piece I wrote in my dad’s ICU room and is directly related to that experience. It may be a hard read for those reasons, but I’m glad that I wrote it, and I think Dad would be glad too.

Next up: I have a story about lichen and finding a new path when the one you were on closes, in the Nov/Dec issue of Analog, “Filaments of Hope.” This should be available on newsstands, and also you can order a copy here.

Finally, and I do mean finally: one of the stories that has had the longest wait is finally out! “In the Ancestor’s New House” appears in Spirits Unwrapped, edited by Daniel Braum and published by Lethe Press. This is one you can ask a bookstore to order for you, or you can get it on Indiebound or Amazon or wherever you like really. This is an anthology of mummy stories, so it is not at all my usual sort of thing…except that I read loads of books about Inca mummy societies and how they were affected by the Spanish conquest, so it’s not not like me either….

Short stories I’ve liked recently

Elizabeth Bear, Erase, Erase, Erase (F&SF)

M. E. Bronstein, Elegy of a Lanthornist (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

Deborah Coates, Girls Who Never Stood a Chance (F&SF)

Ruthanna Emrys, Cassandra Draws the Four of Cups (Strange Horizons

Amanda Hollander, Madness Afoot (F&SF)

Jon Mayo, A House With a Home (Anathema)

Aimee Picchi, Search History for Elspeth Adair, Age 11 (Daily Science Fiction)

Rachel Swirsky & P.H. Lee, Compassionate Simulation (Uncanny)

Greg van Eekhout, Big Box (Uncanny)

Nghi Vo, Boiled Bones and Black Eggs (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

Wider horizons

Strange Horizons is running a fund drive, and the $10K reward is my short story, Wrap Me in Oceans Wide! It’s full of undersea cities and environmental peril; I hope you enjoy it.

The fund drive is still going on even though my story has been unlocked. Selfishly, I’m a lot more excited about the higher tier rewards, since I’ve already read my stories. It’s also reminded me that the magazines I like and write for that aren’t in the middle of a fund drive still get read more when I have a subscription, whether it’s in ebook form or print, so…maybe think about whether that works well for you too.

But whatever your situation is, this story is available for free and you can go read it right now if you like. Or later. Please do.

Short stories I’ve liked sorta-recently

I had a big chunk of time when I just wasn’t reading short stories much, and when I asked for recommendations from that time I got very little. So as usual, please, if there’s stuff you’ve been enjoying, give me links in the comments. (And while it’s fine to link to stuff from 2018 and before in the interest of a good read, what I’m mostly interested in with these posts is recent-ish fiction–this-year-ish mostly.)

(Also a poem or two might sneak in, you never know.)

Chen Qiufan, Coming of the Light (Broken Stars)

John Chu, Probibilitea (Uncanny)

Tiny Connolly, A Sharp Breath of Birds (Uncanny)

Nicky Drayden, The Rat King of Spanish Harlem (Fiyah Issue 9)

Meg Elison, Hey Alexa (Do Not Go Quietly)

Theodora Goss, The Cinder Girl Burns Brightly (Uncanny)

Rachael K. Jones, Oil Under Her Tongue (Do Not Go Quietly)

Cassandra Khaw, What We Have Chosen to Love (Do Not Go Quietly)

Jonathan Kincaid, The Ishologu (Fiyah Issue 9)

Karen Osborne, The Dead, In Their Uncontrollable Power (Uncanny)

Charles Payseur, Undercurrents (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

Nibedita Sen, Ten Excerpts from an Annotated Bibliography on the Cannibal Women of Ratnabar Island (Nightmare)

Fran Wilde, The Unseen (Fireside)

Xia Jia, Goodnight Melancholy (Broken Stars)

Caroline Yoachim, A Wedding Gown of Autumn Leaves (Daily Science Fiction)

Cool short stories by other people: early 2019

As always, I make no claims of having read comprehensively in this amazing field, so if there are other stories you want to recommend, please feel free!

Morgan Al-Moor, The Beast Weeps With One Eye (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

Elizabeth Bear, Deriving Life (Tor.com)

John Chu, Beyond the El (Tor.com)

A. T. Greenblatt, Give the Family my Love (Clarkesworld)

Alex E. Harrow, Do Not Look Back, My Lion (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

Mimi Mondal, His Footsteps, Through Darkness and Light (Tor.com)

A. Merc Rustad, With Teeth Unmake the Sun (Lightspeed)

Lavie Tidhar, Venus in Bloom (Clarkesworld)

Eugenia Triantafyllou, We Are Here to Be Held (Strange Horizons)

Ginger Weil, The Day Our Ships Came In (Daily SF)

Fran Wilde, A Catalog of Storms (Uncanny)

John Wiswell, The Tentacle and You (Nature Futures)

Readers choose *two*!

Analog magazine runs a reader’s choice poll called AnLab every year. This year I had one story each place in the categories of Short Story and Novelette. You can see the full list here! Analog provides links to most of these stories (all the ones the authors consented to have on the internet), so you can read all sorts of my peers doing good things.

And! The novelette on the list was reprinted in Clarkesworld last month, but this is the first internet appearance of the short story! I hope you enjoy Finding Their Footing as much as the Analog readers did.