Short Story Publication: “No Eyes” in Psychopomp

My story “No Eyes” is up on Psychopomp today! This one’s about a woman who is interrupted one evening by a skeleton at her door searching for a woman from a faded photograph. She does what any logical person would do: asks the skeleton in for tea. It was inspired by words in a Cat Power song.

Read it for free online here: http://psychopompmag.com/2015/07/01/issue-8/

This story is also going to be one of the tracks in my collaborative words-music album, in the process of funding on Kickstarter through the month of July. Donate here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/stufflebeam/strange-monsters-a-music-and-words-collaboration

“The Girl with Golden Hair” in Beneath Ceaseless Skies

I have a new story in Beneath Ceaseless Skies today, “The Girl with Golden Hair.” I’m excited about this story for three main reasons:

1. I wrote a story about a friendship between a girl and a centaur. I love stories about friendship. I don’t generally have a preformed like or dislike for stories about centaurs, but oddly enough, this is not the only centaur story I have coming out this year. One would think I write lots of stories with centaurs. I don’t.

2. My good friend Michael J DeLuca narrated the podcast and did an awesome job: http://www.beneath-ceaseless-skies.com/audio/bcs-153-the-girl-with-golden-hair/

3. I wrote this story hoping to explore the trope of the golden-haired main character in so many fairy tales. Growing up, I was always fielding comments about my hair. I heard everything from dumb blonde jokes told by peers in middle and high school to a remark made to my father: “You have no idea how much money you’ve saved by having girls with blonde hair. Hair dye is so expensive!” I was tired of these comments before I even knew how to respond. And so, when I read about or see the golden-haired princess or heroine, I’m always wary. I wanted to literalize the golden hair aspect, making the hair real gold, so heavy it hurts the wearer’s neck. The hair becomes a burden, along with the expectations it brings with it. Everyone expects Oovis, the main character in this story, to do great things. She internalizes these expectations, setting a high precedent for herself that she may never be able to fill.

“Trickier with Each Translation” in Lightspeed: Queers Destroy Science Fiction!

Queers Destroy Science Fiction! is a special issue of Lightspeed; all the editors and writers who worked on the issue identify as queer. My superhero story “Trickier with Each Translation” is exclusive to the ebook/print edition, available to purchase at $3.99 ebook, $17.99 paperback. Buy it here!

“Everything Beneath You” — Beneath Ceaseless Skies (January 2015)

My short story “Everything Beneath You” appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies in January 2015.

beneath-ceaseless-skiesFirst line: You don’t know me, but I changed the world.

Inspiration: In the late winter of 2014 I was having a rough time with depression. I wasn’t feeling excited about anything I wrote, and that combined with a break in therapy and the lack of sunlight brought on the worst funk I’ve experienced. Fed up with feeling awful, I decided that I needed to force myself to grab hold of any opportunities that presented themselves. When my sister asked me if I wanted to go with her to a local Lantern Festival, I said yes even though it felt like the last thing I wanted to do.

Each lantern display at the festival had a plaque. Most described Chinese myths. The myth that stood out the most to me was about seven fairy sisters. Having to keep up with my nephews, I took a picture of the plaque to read again later and moved on. I stood on a lantern boat shaped like a dragon. It cost money to board the stationary boat, and my partner only had enough for one of us. As I stood there looking at the water, I told myself I’d turn it into a story, partly as a thank-you to him for letting me have the experience over him and partly because I had to do something, anything, to lift my spirits.

The beauty of the festival–the bright lights, brisk air, and the presence of family–brought me out of my depression just enough to allow me to start the story. I wrote about a woman who felt confined to a body and a world that constricted her. I wrote about a woman with grand ambition; she wants a ship of her own, a body that she can alter as she pleases, love. Once I finished, I felt invigorated. Though the depression hadn’t completely gone, I was inspired to keep working. I pledged to write a novel within the year. I did. And when Beneath Ceaseless Skies took the story, I completed another goal: publication in one of my favorite magazines.

Read it for free: http://www.beneath-ceaseless-skies.com/stories/everything-beneath-you/

Art: Whisper by Jennifer Stufflebeam

“The Damaged” — Interzone (January 2014)

My short story “The Damaged” appeared in the January 2014 issue of Interzone and was reprinted online in January 2015 on Story. It was released in audio by the podcast StarShipSofa in January 2016.

Art by Ben Baldwin
Art by Ben Baldwin

First line: “I can’t escape my job.”

Inspiration: I wrote this during my time in grad school at Stonecoast. I don’t remember the inspiration, but I do remember when I turned it into mentor Elizabeth Hand, she commented on the obvious inspiration from Philip K. Dick’s replicants and the whole Blade Runner/Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? story. The problem: I’d never seen or read either. Embarrassed to admit that, I rented the movie and was surprised at the similarities.

Praise for “The Damaged”:

Buy a copy of Interzone, the high quality British SFF magazine where “The Damaged” first appeared (Issue 250): http://ttapress.com/interzone/backissues/

Read it for free on Story: http://www.storymagazine.org/2015/01/20/the-damaged/

Art: Oh Simple Things by Jennifer Stufflebeam