New publication! The Bones and the Bird

bird at night

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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Rewrites and Realizations

laptop

When I woke up this past Saturday, I had no idea that an hour later I’d be scrambling to rewrite my novel’s opening. Ahh, how young and innocent I was then…

Fresh in my inbox that morning was a rejection from an agent, but it was no ordinary rejection. It told me WHY. Whyyy! O blessed “why!” Those of you in the querying trenches know how rare that is.

Sadly, his reason confirmed something I’d already been nervous about… Continue reading

Let’s DEWEY This! – Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself

dfw

If any of you are saying, “Who the helvetica is David Foster Whatsit?” please don’t go yet! Yes, this month’s nonfiction revolves around a particular person, BUT the meat of the book is about something more broad: writing. The craft, the business, the joys and pitfalls and neuroses thereof. I chose it for this month’s Let’s Dewey This because his insights are so incredibly relatable that I thought you guys – my fellow wordslingers – would like to read them.

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Why I dislike the term “Strong Female Character”

gun

I don’t like the term “Strong Female Character.”

That does not mean I prefer weak female characters. This is not a black and white world in which you either swing swords with swagger or cower in a corner. There’s a vast spectrum in between.

The reason I can’t stand the term “strong female characters” is because women described that way are usually one-dimensional, monotone cutouts of what the writer thinks a strong woman is. Often she’s a woman who can shoot a gun or throw a punch, and that’s enough. She never cries or feels uncertain or has any internal struggle whatsoever, unless of course it’s just for a minute to get the plot going and then she knows exactly how to deal with it. (Probably by shooting a gun.)

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Writing diversity: not exactly a how-to, more of a think-about

colored pencils

This is a tough subject. A meaty subject. A big ol’ gristly steak of a subject that takes a lot of chewing and will not be thoroughly digested within a single blog post, but let’s dig our teeth in, shall we?

As writers, our characters probably look, act, and live like people we’re used to. If you’re white and straight, your characters are probably white and straight, because that’s what you know, and writing someone black or gay or Muslim or in a wheelchair takes some extra thought.

But here’s a really cool thing: the world is a far more interesting place than just white and straight (and male, and Christian, and able-bodied, etc etc), and there should be stories to reflect that. Because all stories deserve to be told. As citizens of the earth we have a duty to represent more than just our limited bubbles.

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Waiting game

tired

Still playing the query waiting game. My thumbs have become quite good at twiddling. I could be a competitive thumb-twiddling champion.

Six weeks have passed since I sent this book’s first query. Alas, no word yet. I’m used to this from when I queried my previous novel, so I know it’s normal, but I’m extra-excited about this book, and that first agent in particular who was my tippyest-top choice. Unfortunately, I may have to consider that one a rejection. Agencies with a “no reply = no” policy are tough for authors when you can’t help wondering if your query got buried in their inbox, or worse, if it got eaten by email gremlins before it even arrived. A reply of any kind is a relief. But after six weeks, I’ve decided it’s time to send out another batch.

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Say Cheese

party

I just need to make it through this party. I just need to make it through this party and then I can cry.

Alright. I can do this. Just fix a smile on my face and no one will ever know. Say cheese! Now hold it. Hoooold it. Damn, the corners are twitching. My cheeks hurt. I probably look like I’m snarling. As though I’m about to eat someone just to get out of here.

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The INSTA-LOVE trope – just add water! (repost in honor of Valentine’s Day)

love5
There are few things more grating to me than the insta-love trope seen so often in fiction. This device essentially involves shoving two characters in the same room, then poking them with a stick until they have nowhere else to go but each other’s arms.

The development of their relationship usually looks like this:

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