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.

“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/

Syfy’s The Magicians Short

When I first read Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, I was psyched; it had all the charm of the Harry Potter novels but with an adult realism and a nuanced exploration of mental illness. Plus, the meta-fictive Fillorian element. It was the wizard book I’d always wanted.

When the show came out, I watched the whole first season in two evenings; though it was different, I liked where it went with the source material.

When I learned about the #BattletheBeast contest, sponsored by Syfy on the writing platform Wattpad, I knew I had to enter. I love writing within restraints; the contest called for a 1,500-word short that told the story of one of the undocumented times that Quentin and company battled the Beast of the first book and the first season. The winner would have their story turned into a digital short.

I worked out a plot with my partner, Peter Brewer, who has an awesome memory for the details of his favorite stories’ worlds. I wrote the story in one evening. I won the contest.

I was ecstatic.

That excitement was tripled when the digital short came out; they’d asked me to be the model for the character I created, Tara. Not only did I get to see my story brought to life by talented illustrator Miss Tak, narrated by Hale Appleman, the actor who plays Eliot, but also I got to see myself in the world of The Magicians. Which is just so very cool.

My Year in Stories 2017

Hey all! Nebula nominations have opened and award eligibility posts have started showing up on my timelines.

I had a great year writing-wise. My favorite story that was published in 2017 is my Phantom of the Opera retelling, which takes place in a high school and features a female phantom, a young outcast who lives beneath the high school stage and develops a taste for trickery and music. This one is eligible in short story categories.

For Hugo consideration, I offer “Party Tricks” for the Graphic Story category. This one’s a strange case, but here’s the situation: I won Wattpadd/Syfy’s #BattletheBeast contest with my 1,500-word story set in the world of their Syfy’s The Magicians. They made the story into an illustrated digital short, which debuted on their website in five parts, narrated by the actor who plays Eliot, Hale Appleman. The stills were drawn by artist Miss Tak. Here’s a story in the Dallas Morning News about the contest, if you’re interested in more info.

If you’re interested in reading more of my work from 2017, check out the stories below!