New publication! The Bones and the Bird

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In case you missed my announcement on Twitter the other day, my newest short story, The Bones and the Bird, is out in Psychopomp Magazine! It’s a dark fairy tale about a witch who can change her shape by eating feathers and bones, until one day the process goes wrong.

I’m really proud of where this got published, because it’s a fantastic journal and one I’d been submitting to for AGES. Every story I had that fit them, I submitted, but none made the cut. Until this one! Huzzah!! When I got the acceptance letter I nearly did a hundred back flips, and I don’t even know how to do ONE back flip, so thank goodness I just happy-danced instead. 😉

Thank you so much to those who have read, and for those who’d like to, you can find it in that link up top. Hope you enjoy!

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How to write what you know (even when you don’t know)

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It’s as ubiquitous as “Show, don’t tell.” You probably can’t even remember the first time you heard it, it’s touted so widely – in advice books, in classrooms, in movies about writers. Even the most non-writiest nonwriter who hasn’t held a pen since high school knows to write what we know.

But what does that actually mean?

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The Selkie’s Husband

A full year ago today, I was honored to have this flash fiction published by Gingerbread House Literary Magazine. This is my personal favorite of my work, so to celebrate its anniversary I am reprinting it here. I hope you enjoy! 🙂

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Rain fell the day he went to the shore, to see the place where his wife left him. Grey weighted the clouds like sacks full of stones, sagging closer and closer to the sea. Grey upon grey, water upon water, the sea and sky took hands. The way he once took hers.

She never held his hand long. Always wrenching from his grasp, her flesh still as slippery as a seal. Sometimes she would oblige him, sit shaking like a penned animal as he made hushing noises and rubbed her knuckles with his thumbs.

Please let me love you, he would say. I’ve earned it. I found your skin.

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Did I accidentally write a YA novel?

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I’m in a pickle.

First I must clarify that I am not in an actual pickle, which is a confusion one could easily have given the kind of person I am. Maybe I have pickle costumes lying around, you don’t know. I’m unpredictable.

Now that we’ve got that de-mystifying out of the way, I’m in a pickle.

Twice now someone in my critique group has thought my second novel seems YA. (Young Adult – the category for teenage readers.) This threw me for a loop and has been bumming me out pretty hard, because while I have nothing against YA, it isn’t… me.

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The Selkie’s Husband, now up at Gingerbread House!

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I am so, so, so happy – like, heart bursting out of my chest happy! – to announce that my short fiction entitled The Selkie’s Husband is officially published at Gingerbread House Literary Magazine! This is my favorite piece I’ve written thus far, and with a journal I adore, so this publication is a personally significant one. It would mean the world to me if you gave it a look. (If not for the story then at least for that wowzers artwork by Anna Dittman – holy smokes!)

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Hobo Stories

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In their threadbare, fingerless gloves the two stories warmed their hands over the bin fire. The flames whipped about like those inflatable tube-men outside car dealerships and the stories were careful not to catch a swipe on their equally threadbare cuffs.

“How long’s it been for you, Fantasy Comedy?” asked one of the stories, blowing hot air on his knuckles.

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Guys? I think… I think my block is gone

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I don’t want to jinx myself here, so hold on a second while I throw this industrial sized salt package over my shoulder…

… Phew, alright! I’ll clean up all that salt later.

So anyway, yes, the block that I mournfully discussed here is, I believe, gone. I don’t know if writing so pointedly about my block worked some kind of psychological voodoo on it, or if it was the redirection of my attitude, or the fact that I got myself back into a routine, but either way, I’m in a good place. Writing makes me happy again. 🙂

Part of what had blocked me so much was my own perfectionism. I felt pressured to “make it good.” Not to mention how taxing the book already was on me, with its daunting plot and other demands. I was working so hard that I forgot to enjoy myself.

So, what do I enjoy about writing?

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Everyone, meet Zalea.

Zalea, this is everyone.

2015-04-17 zaleaCharacter portrait by yours truly.

Zalea is the second-most main character in the fantasy novel I’m working on. She’s part of a race of humans blended with tree elements (inspired by the dryads in Greek mythology), who can manipulate the growth and shape of botanical life. She has brown skin scattered here and there with wood knots, and hair the same color as the fuschia flower that grows from her tree branch horn. The rest of her people have symmetrical antlers that stretch outwards above their heads, as a tree would – Zalea here is the only one with the curled horn on one side. The others poke fun at her for it, but she doesn’t mind; she laughs along. 🙂

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