Monthly Archives: January 2018

How to Write Good Flash Fiction & Announcing “When the World Stopped”

Quick post this week to share two pieces of exciting news.

First, I have another flash fiction story out–my first pro sale! It’s magical realism, titled “When the World Stopped”, and you can read it for free at the Daily Science Fiction e-zine. (Flash fiction is defined as a really short story. This one is a little under 600 words, plus the bonus “making of” blurb at the end.)

Second, if you want to polish your own flash fiction writing skills (or are just curious about what goes into making a really short story effective), you’re in luck! Last weekend I was a guest at an online seminar on writing flash fiction, a roundtable hosted on Facebook by the website Queer Sci Fi. Read the results here: How to Write Good Flash Fiction.

Now I have no more pending publication announcements, so I need to get busy and write some more shorts…

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Reading Recap: 2017

blog-Kindred-coverHere I am to return this blog to its non-marketing roots! My most popular posts are the ones where I geek out about books and movies, with occasional appearances by travel posts. Luckily for you, that’s exactly what I have planned. To kick things off, here’s Part 1 of my annual reading recap (read my 2016 reading recap).

I read 21 books last year, one more than the previous year. That’s a little lower than past years, but it seems to be my new normal.

Genre breakdown is as follows:

  • 6 adult fantasy (same as the last 3 years!)
  • 4 adult SF (same as last year)
  • 3 unclassifiable/other adult speculative fiction* (2 last year)
  • 2 YA fantasy (same as last year)
  • 1 YA SF (same as last year)
  • 2 non-SFF adult fiction (same as last year)
  • 2 non-fiction (1 last year)
  • 1 anthology (same as last year)

Ever Touched final cover 3-30-17* This includes genre mashups like Justin Cronin’s The Twelve (near-future vampire apocalypse) and Erin Zarro’s Ever Touched (futuristic world with fey), as well as stories where something inexplicable happens but it’s not clearly treated as either SF or fantasy, like Octavia Butler’s Kindred. I usually put magic realism and other literary stories into this category as well.

13 of the books were parts of series – about three-quarters of my genre reading. In last year’s post, I declared my intention to focus on series I was already in the middle of. That had middling success – I started 7 new series. (Some of them I won’t be continuing.) I didn’t actually finish any series, but I read 4 middle books of series with defined ends (trilogies or tetralogies). So 2018 will be the year of finishing. …And starting more new series, because who am I kidding?

Author Breakdown

14 of 20 books were by women (the 21st was an anthology), a slightly higher ratio than my reading in most years. I attribute that to the political climate.

blog-Profession-of-Hope-Butler4 of the authors were people of colour, one more than last year – Tobias Buckell (Crystal Rain), Jenna Butler (A Profession of Hope: Farming on the Edge of the Grizzly Trail), Khaled Hosseini (The Kite Runner) and Octavia Butler (Kindred).

Only 2 of the books were by fellow Canadians. That wasn’t a metric I was particularly paying attention to this past year.

6 of the books had strong LGBTQIA+ representation – my new metric to track.

11 of the authors were new to me, same as last year. I love discovering new favourites, but it does explain why I’m not getting through the backlists of authors I already know and love! This year will require more Lois McMaster Bujold, Naomi Novik, and Elizabeth Bear.

Publishing Years and Formats

Of the 21 books I read, only 7 were published in the last 5 years (and 17 were published in the last 15 years). That’s slightly better than last year (5 and 11 respectively), but still not good for a writer like me, who needs to keep up with the market. I’m pretty good at hearing about new books, but not so good at reading them in a timely fashion!

blog-Twelve-Cronin15/21 were ebooks, or 71% – the highest ratio of ebooks to paper books ever (I’ve had a Kobo ereader since 2012).

This is for a variety of reasons. One of the biggest is that a lot of books in my genre are no longer coming out in mass market paperback size, and I find the larger sizes uncomfortable to hold, especially since I do a lot of my reading on public transit, when I may be standing up. I have started buying the occasional trade paperback (mainly in an effort to support my local indie SFF bookstore, Bakka-Phoenix Books), but only the lighter ones – anything that’s bigger or heavier gets bought as an ebook. I’m looking at you, Cixin Liu’s and Justin Cronin’s publishers!

 

If you can’t get enough of book stats geekery, check out 2017 Books in Review by my City of Hope and Ruin co-author (and fellow Turtleduck Press author), Kit Campbell. And stay tuned for Part 2, wherein I discuss my favourite reads from 2017…

 

My 2017: Writing Cycles at Turtleduck Press and Publishing Updates

I’m over at Turtleduck Press this week, talking about my 2017 and the various cycles that affect my writing. Here’s a snippet:

I started a cycle: keep an eye on upcoming themed calls for submission (anthologies and the like), use the themes as inspiration, write a story, submit just before deadline, repeat. It worked really well for generating stories (though somewhat less well for selling them), and for a while I was on a roll.

You can read the rest at Turtleduck Press.

I sold three stories this year–my first sales to markets outside of Turtleduck Press! (I’ll spare you the rest of the exclamation marks.) Two of the three are already out and available for purchase. I’ve mentioned them before, but here they are again for the record:

QueerSFanthology-Renewal-cover-Sept13-17

I won third place in a flash fiction contest with my SF story “Urban Renewal”. The top contestants were collected into an anthology, Queer Sci Fi’s Renewal. Details and buy links here.

 

 

AHtR11-A New Year-SP4x6And my 7,400 word short story A New Year on Vega III, a queer SF romance, was released just this past weekend, as part of a larger holiday-themed collection. All the details here.

My third sale, to a pro-rate market, isn’t out yet, but I’ll certainly let you know when it is!

I also released two pieces that can be read for free at Turtleduck Press:

Hmmm. What happened? Might need to write more fantasy this year…

In Turtleduck Press news, we released Erin Zarro’s third Fey Touched novel, Ever Touched. And we’re eagerly awaiting the imminent publication of KD Sarge’s In the Forests of the Night, the second installment in her fantasy-adventure tale that began with Burning Bright. Stay tuned for the cover reveal and release date!

 

New Release: A New Year on Vega III

Out now! My SF holiday romance A New Year on Vega III, a 7,400 word short story, is now available for purchase in the ebook format of your choice. Here are the cover and blurb:

AHtR11-A New Year-SP4x6

On the colony planet Vega III, everyone knows Beck—outgoing, fabulous, and genderqueer—and nobody notices Anil, the quiet plant biologist. But when Anil finds Beck hiding in his greenhouse, lonely and missing Earth, it’s Anil who is able to comfort Beck by letting them talk about what they miss most—the feeling that comes with celebrating the holidays with loved ones, especially New Year’s Eve.

​The two of them are drawn to one another, but both of them are hiding secrets about their sexuality. With trust between them already on shaky ground, Anil’s elaborate plans to cheer Beck may well backfire.

And there’s an excerpt over here at the publisher’s website.

Order links: Amazon | Kobo | direct from publisher

If you like it, be sure to check out some of the other books in the “A Holiday to Remember” collection by Mischief Corner Books! They’re all queer romance, some contemporary and others speculative. I can recommend Safety Protocols for Human Holidays by Angel Martinez–a seriously hilarious F/F science fiction tale on a spaceship.

And if you read it, don’t forget to leave a review on Goodreads, Amazon, or LibraryThing. Reviews are wonderful things–they help authors with visibility, and they help readers find books they love.