Awards Eligibility 2018

It’s awards season, y’all, and that means the annual eligibility posts are out and about.

I’m thrilled to look back on this last year of my professional life; I taught my first classes for adults, heard LeVar Burton read my short story to a packed live audience, hosted another successful Art & Words Show, and published five works of short fiction.

Here’s the two that I’m holding up for your awards consideration:

Novelette

“The Crow Knight”Beneath Ceaseless Skies (October 2018)

Synopsis: When an invincible black crow whose presence causes emotional and physical pain haunts the Lady Loreen, her knight and best friend Ser Wynn goes beyond the kingdom to find the only weapon that can destroy it.

Short Story

“The Men Who Come From Flowers”–F&SF (September 2018)

Synopsis: Susan raises a garden of boy flowers who will one day become men; when she rescues an injured flower and takes the man as her lover, she is forced to choose between the man’s love or his life.

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“Angry Kings”

I’ve got a novelette up at Beneath Ceaseless Skies today.

This one is called “Angry Kings” and was inspired by all the fairy tale stories of kings and their daughters and how terribly those daughters are often treated. I wanted to explore the psyches of such kings without offering forgiveness for their terrible behavior; the gap between understanding and forgiveness has been something I’ve been interested in for a good while. Analyzing someone’s motives and empathizing with someone’s troubles doesn’t necessarily mean that we are condoning or accepting their behavior. And I’ve always felt a pull between these two states.

In “Angry Kings,” Magritte escapes her evil king father. When she discovers that her father’s ghost has long been separated from his body, she returns to the kingdom to try to bring back the kind father she barely remembers from her childhood.

Read the full story here.

Exploring Grief in Fairy Tales

A few years ago, after the death of my beloved uncle, my family and I traveled to be with my aunt and her daughter. Since my uncle’s death, my aunt and her daughter had taken to spending every day and night together. Their renewed connection through shared grief struck me as one of the most poignant connections I’d ever witnessed. I went home and, in my own grief for my uncle, wrote a story exploring grief of many kinds.

Not much later, my aunt died. And I went back to this story and found in it even more balm for the pain of losing someone I loved so much. Literature allows us to explore our emotions as metaphor. For someone like me, who for so many years kept a distance from her emotions, this ability to immerse myself in painful emotion slowly but honestly has been integral to healing and to breaking through that distance.

The story in question has now been published on the website of one of my favorite journals, Fairy Tale Review. And I can’t think of a better home for it.

Read “Sleeping Beauty’s Daughter” here: https://fairytalereview.com/2018/03/14/sleeping-beautys-daughter/

I’ve got a new story in Hobart: “Liars”

Today’s P’s and my wedding anniversary, which makes it kind of weird that my story about a woman grieving the death of her artist husband appears on Hobart’s website today. I am so very lucky to have my partner. I am so very sad for my character Evie. But she works through it, with the (not-so-great) help of Hades, a new lover’s overeagerness, and the clearing of a room that allows her to get back to herself.

Read “Liars” (say the name out loud; you might hit upon the double meaning) for free at Hobart.

“The Orangery”–Beneath Ceaseless Skies (plus some photos of trees)

Today my very first novelette publication released online for free reading! “The Orangery” is available at Beneath Ceaseless Skies.

This one comes from my fascination and repulsion with women-turning-into-trees narratives. I say fascination because I have always loved trees. For years I have taken photos of beautiful trees when I travel. In college I used to find patterns in bare branches: women’s faces, mostly, and when I felt a darkness creeping in each winter, I looked to these patterns for comfort. (When I told my mom about the women I saw in trees, she said, “You see them too?” I have inherited her strange world.)

The women in mythology who turn into trees often do so to escape unwanted sexual advance or assault. That is where the repulsion comes from. Although I have always loved trees, I never felt like these mythological women were being gifted this new form. Instead, I felt like they were being punished. As if they were being told, you can either accept every advance that comes your way or opt out of a human life altogether.

In “The Orangery,” I made a place for these women-turned-trees, the Orangery of the novelette’s title, a walled-in grove watched over by a Guardian who tend to the trees’ wishes and lives out her life within the woods. But when Apollo breaks through the wall to find and reclaim Daphne, the Guardian must fight him–and make sacrifices in the process.

Read it here.

Some Photos of Trees

to both prove my point and because maybe you love trees too, I don’t know

ceskykrumlov (11).jpgI took a trip to the Czech Republic and mostly came home with photos of trees; this one is in the village Český Krumlov

Zoo (3).JPGIt may look like I was photographing this tiger, but I was probably most excited by the juxtaposition of tiger and tree

100_1565Tree with arm-like branches in Oklahoma

100_0209Crumbled tree on Wood Island on Lake Texoma