Tag Archives: Siri Paulson

2019 Writing and Life Recap

Love Shines Through cover - ebook full sizeHi all! I’m back to give you a recap of my 2019, since all the cool kids are doing it…

Life Stuff

No one single major thing to share this year, but a number of disconnected things:

  • Early in the year, my social dance community voted to move to gender-free terminology, which is more LGBTQIA-friendly and less ableist, among other things. I was one of the people who made that happen (including writing most of the text at that first link).
  • I turned 40 in the fall and had a lot of big feelings about that.
  • Two months ago, I started taking antidepressants after a lifetime of fighting with my brain (and yes, after trying therapy and all the holistic/lifestyle/self-care methods you might think of…many of which I’m still doing). It’s been really good so far, but also it’s early days yet. I think the reverberations will be happening for a while.

Writing Stuff

QSF Migration - 3rd place winner graphicOn the publishing front:

  • My co-conspirators at Turtleduck Press and I released Love Shines Through, an anthology set in the Fractured World (the world of City of Hope and Ruin). Each of us wrote one longish short story centered around a romance. Mine is called “The Shadow of the World” and features a pair of queer lovers reuniting to save a child and their community.
  • I won third place in the Queer Sci Fi annual flash fiction contest for the second time (!), with my story “The Woman With No Name.” The 2019 contest theme was migration, and you can read all the winning stories in the anthology of the same name. (The first time was a theme of renewal.)
  • Back at Turtleduck Press, I’ve been writing Coat of Scarlet, a pirate/tailor steampunk romance in serial form. (Why yes, I did pick “tailor” just so I could geek out about allll the 18th-century clothing details.) It’s ongoing, and there are five installments up so far.

NaNo 2019 iconAnd because publishing is not all there is to writing, here’s what else has been happening:

  • I beat my previous yearly record for submitting short stories to markets and contests. I was aiming for 12 submissions, an average of one a month; I didn’t quite hit that, but I did make it to 10. That represents 6 different stories; 3 of the submissions were reprints (already published elsewhere). Of those 6, 2 have sold, and 1 is still out on submission.
  • I tried National Novel Writing Month for the first time in ages, after winning (i.e., writing 50K in a month) multiple years in a row, a decade ago. I did not win, but I finished November with 13K words on my first new novel in several years. Then December hit and I haven’t gotten any further, but I’m looking forward to working on it again.
  • Aside from NaNo, I’ve been focusing on short stories – polishing up some older ones and working on a few new ones in various stages of completion.

There were some periods during the year when my writing dried up – see note above about antidepressants. I’m hoping that things will flow more easily now…

And some bonus news: I’ve already logged my first publication of 2020 over at Turtleduck Press – two poems in memory of Ursula K. Le Guin, along with an introduction explaining how they came to be. (In case you didn’t know, I also blog monthly over there, alternating with my three co-conspirators.)

This blog is likely to be updated haphazardly,  though you can expect more posts than usual this January, as I’m still in “year/decade in review” mode. 😉 If you want to follow what I’m up to, head over to my Instagram. I’m also hoping to start an author newsletter this year, so stay tuned for that (and if you have any advice, I’d love to hear it!).

Wishing you all a happy 2020!

Holiday News Roundup: Works in Progress, Holiday Sales, and More

Hello, lovely readers! I’ve been busy over here, working away behind the scenes. Here’s what’s new in my corner of the world…


I’m working on two things set in the world of City of Hope and Ruin (Fractured World). First, we’re doing a prequel anthology, set several hundred years before the novel. All the stories are centered around a romance; mine is a M/NB pairing (if you don’t speak romance/fanfic acronym-ese, that means the two main characters are male and non-binary). The anthology will be out in the spring–watch for more details soon!

Second, my co-author Kit Campbell and I are working on the sequel to the novel. It will be out…sometime later than the spring…so all I will say at the moment is that it picks up right where City of Hope and Ruin leaves off. Yes, that means more Theo and Briony action, and new adventures for both of them.


Earlscourt BBQ-craft fair-Facebook ad-2018

Need a last minute Christmas gift or late Hanukkah gift? If you’re in the Toronto area, join me at Earlscourt BBQ (1278 St. Clair West, Toronto) on Saturday, December 15. I will be one of around ten artists setting up shop for the afternoon, selling copies of City of Hope and Ruin as well as several of the Turtleduck Press anthologies. Check out the other vendors on the Facebook event page.

The Earlscourt BBQ staff will be serving eggnog made with Jim Beam bourbon for the adults (bourbon-free for the kids), hot apple cider and more!

Bring a few extra dollars (as much as you can) to donate to The Stop Community Food Centre.

Admission is free. RSVP optional.


AHtR11-A New Year-SP4x6Looking for a good holiday romance with queer (M/NB and ace) representation in an SF setting? My holiday short from last year, A New Year on Vega III, is 30% off all this month, along with the rest of the stories in the queer romance collection from Mischief Corner Books that it was part of. See the collection here.

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.


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Earlier this year, I was one of the judges for a flash fiction (very short story) anthology contest run by Queer Sci Fi. (It was a lot of fun, and I learned a lot about how to write very short stories!) The anthology, Impact, is now on sale for 2.99 (25% off) the eBook or $9.99 (33% off) for the paperback…

Amazon eBook: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FC91HH2/
Amazon Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1732307520/
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/impact-j-scott-…/1129055097
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/impact-84
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/impact/id1409688669


For my second trick at Queer Sci Fi, I’ve signed up to do the occasional book review over there. My first review is now posted, for J. Scott Coatsworth’s Slow Thaw. It’s both a holiday romance (M/M with a trans main character) and a near-future SF survival story set in Antarctica (both main characters are scientists). Yes, really. Does it work? Find out here.


Finally, you might have noticed that the Ursula K. Le Guin reread has stalled. In fact, I’m continuing to read through the Hainish cycle–it’s just the blogging that has stalled (whoops). Hoping to get back to that sometime soon, as I do have more to say!

In the meantime, if you want to know what I’m up to, follow me on Instagram, check out my monthly blog posts at Turtleduck Press, or “like” the Turtleduck Press Facebook page to get all the essential news and a certain amount of random musings.

Happy holidays!

 

 

 

Publishing News Roundup: Steampunk Serial and Much More

Hello blog readers! Hope you’ve had a good summer (or winter, if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere). Here’s what’s new(ish) over here…

Coat of Scarlet

I’m doing a free serial story over at Turtleduck Press. Coat of Scarlet is a M/M (gay) romance set in an 18th-century steampunk/clockpunk universe. Part 2 has just been posted, so it’s a good time to catch up.

Here’s the blurb:

Marius the tailor is minding his own business when Niko walks into his shop with a beautiful coat and sets him a challenge he can’t refuse. But when you’re dealing with devastatingly handsome airship pirates, they have a habit of changing the terms…

Part 1 | Part 2

Fun fact: when you’re writing a serial, it helps to reread previous installments as you’re writing later ones. I almost forgot a plot point from Part 1 and had to shoehorn it into Part 2 at the last minute. Oops?

Fractured World News

City of Hope and Ruin ebook coverIf you look at the cover of my debut novel, City of Hope and Ruin, you’ll notice that the subtitle is A Fractured World Novel. So far it is the only Fractured World novel, but that’s going to change, because my co-author, Kit Campbell, and I are working on book 2 in the series!

Novels take a while, though. In the meantime, Kit and I and our two partners in crime at Turtleduck Press, KD and Erin, are working on a prequel anthology set in the same world, which will be released before book 2. More details to come…

To tide you over while you’re waiting for that, we do have two short stories also set in the same world:

  • A Constant Companion (a Briony prequel short story) by Kit Campbell
  • Brothers (a short story featuring secondary character Astrolabe, set during the events of City of Hope and Ruin) by Siri Paulson

Non-TDP Release: Timeshift anthology

I told you before about my flash fiction piece “When the World Stopped” being accepted into an anthology called Timeshift, which released in August. Initially the anthology was an ebook-only release, but there is now a print edition due to popular demand. Here’s the blurb:

Timeshift is a reprint anthology collecting time and time travel flash fiction stories from 36 authors in the genre. In the anthology are time stories spanning the adventures (and mishaps) of time travel, time manipulation, time zones, time loops, paradoxes, accidents, twisted futures and so many more penned by both established and emerging authors in the genre.

Kindle | Print

Non-TDP Release: Impact anthology

Also as mentioned previously, I helped judge a flash fiction contest this spring for the website Queer Sci Fi (my reward for placing third in last year’s contest!). It was a fun experience and I got to read a ton of good stories — doubly impressive when you consider that the stories had to be no more than 300 words long.

Impact: Queer Sci Fi’s Fifth Annual Flash Fiction Contest was released in July and is available on ebook from all the usual suspects.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | iBooks | Angus & Robertson

Blog Recap: Ursula K. Le Guin (re)read

This year I’ve been reading and blogging about Ursula K. Le Guin’s early Hainish novels and short stories. So far I’ve covered “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas”, two novels, and three other shorts. It’s been fascinating to watch her early development as a writer. We have one more novel to go (and maybe a couple of shorts) and then it’s on to The Left Hand of Darkness! You can find links to all the posts here: Genre Classics (Re)read: Ursula K. Le Guin. I’d love to hear your thoughts as well.

 

Double Anthology News: Timeshift and Impact

Iblog promo - Timeshift antho - ed Eric Fomley - Aug-18 have two pieces of news to share with you today…

First, the anthology I’m in, Timeshift, is now available for preorder on Kindle. It beat its Kickstarter goal, which means all the authors get paid the industry-standard rate for reprints. Yay!

Timeshift features all sorts of speculative short stories related to time — time dilation, time manipulation, time travel (of course), and more. There are some pretty big names in it, so I’m delighted to be included. It releases August 1.

blog-impact-cover-image-Jul-18Second, there’s an anthology I’m not in, but got to help judge. I read 178 flash fiction stories on the theme of IMPACT, and rated them according to a rubric (these folks are organized!). Then we held an online meeting and hashed out our favourites. There were a lot of strong contenders. Things got tense. There was blood! (Not really.)

We eventually managed to agree on three winners. It helped that we each got to pick one story that didn’t make it into the top three. Here’s what I said about my Judge’s Pick, “Low Impact” by Tray Ellis:

This story makes me cry every time I read it. It’s straightforward, yet so effective. I’m always astounded when an author manages to use 300 words to span multiple years, making a tiny flash fiction piece into an epic tale. There’s a big relationship story here that’s just hinted at, but the hints are all that’s needed. I also liked that this isn’t an Issue Story: the queer relationship just is, no big deal. (Of course it’s important to tell those stories too, but not to the exclusion of all other queer stories.) And finally, like many of the best science fiction works, this piece filters science through characters to say something thoughtful about the world. Well done.

Impact: Queer Sci Fi’s Fifth Annual Flash Fiction Contest is available on ebook from all the usual suspects, releasing July 25.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | iBooks | Angus & Robertson

Genre Classics (Re)read: Ursula K. Le Guin

blog-ursula-le-guin-worlds-of-exile-and-illusionA little while ago, I announced the SF&F Genre Classics (Re)read, in which I planned to read (or reread) classics and then blog about them. For those who want to play along, first up is the recently deceased and much beloved Ursula K. Le Guin.

Where does one start with Le Guin? She was a grand master of words. She tackled big ideas like a philosopher, and captured small moments with a poet’s ear. She was a multi-talented author of a huge range of works–adult science fiction and fantasy, YA and children’s books, novels and short stories, poetry, non-fiction, even translations. So…take your pick.

I haven’t read even half of them, which is why I’m embarking on this slow (re)read. Here’s a sampling:

YA Fantasy: Earthsea and Annals of the Western Shore

Many readers of a certain age first discovered her through the Earthsea books, which today might be shelved as YA fantasy. She first published a trilogy (starting with A Wizard of Earthsea), and then, much later, returned to the world of Earthsea for several more loosely connected novels and short stories.

More recently, she wrote another YA fantasy series: Gifts, Voices, and Powers.

Children’s Fantasy: Catwings

Writing a good children’s book is much harder than it looks, but she has done that too, with her Catwings series (flying cats! what’s not to love?). I haven’t read her other kids’ books–if you have, please chime in!

The Hainish Cycle

blog-ursula-le-guin-the-winds-twelve-quartersBesides Earthsea, she is best known for The Left Hand of Darkness, a science fiction novel that explores gender in ways that were groundbreaking at the time (it was published in 1969 and won two major genre awards, the Hugo and the Nebula).

This novel is part of a loose cycle of stories all set in the same universe, dubbed the Hainish Cycle. One way to describe them might be “sociological and psychological science fiction”.

She has also written a number of short stories in both the Earthsea and Hainish universes, as well as standalones. Many are just excellent, and we’ll be getting to those in our (re)read. Speaking of which…

The (Re)Read

I’ll be posting every two weeks for a while, starting on April 23. I’ll be tackling the Hainish Cycle novels in publication order (The Left Hand of Darkness is number 4), mixed with her early short stories from the collection The Wind’s Twelve Quarters. If you’d like to follow along, here’s what’s coming up [EDIT: links are being added as the posts go up]:

…and then we will see!

Her early novels are very short by today’s standards, though not for the time when they were written. If you want to play along, they can be found in several collections, most recently Worlds of Exile and Illusion (available in trade paperback and ebook formats).

See you back here on April 23 for “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas”!

 

If you’re already a fan, what’s your favourite Le Guin novel or short story?

Canadian Afrofuturism: Brown Girl Begins

blog-Brown-Girl-Begins-posterIf you’ve listened to all the buzz surrounding Black Panther, you’ll know that Afrofuturism* is having a moment. Black Panther is the Big Hollywood Blockbuster version of an Afrofuturist film. If you want to see the small indie version, look for Brown Girl Begins.

(*What is Afrofuturism? The short definition from Oxford Dictionaries is: “A movement in literature, music, art, etc., featuring futuristic or science fiction themes which incorporate elements of black history and culture.” For an article-length answer, read “Afrofuturism: The imaginative sci-fi movement black people need now” by Sam Fulwood III at ThinkProgress.)

Imagine a grim future world where a struggling Black community lives in sight of city towers that are forever unreachable. Imagine an older woman, a healer and leader in her community, and her wilful young granddaughter, Ti-Jeanne. Imagine the loa of Vodou belief, locked in a struggle that can be broken only by Ti-Jeanne.

Brown Girl Begins is a Canadian film made by TV director and producer Sharon Lewis, set in Toronto and based on the 1998 novel Brown Girl in the Ring by Caribbean-Canadian author Nalo Hopkinson.

blog-brown-girl-hopkinson-coverLewis describes the film as a prequel. If you’ve read the book, be prepared–although the backstory and character relationships are drawn from the book, the plot is quite different. So is the geography, which will be slightly confusing to both readers of the book and Torontonian viewers. Though it is pretty neat–and a bit mindboggling–to see Toronto depicted as an untouchable nirvana, the harbour as (once again) a polluted cesspit, and the Toronto Islands as a place of exile and poverty.

The book is nearly 20 years old, which shows in its depiction of a hollowed-out city core–anyone who can afford it has moved to the ‘burbs. In today’s era of condos, that idea doesn’t have quite the same resonance anymore. Maybe that’s why the action of the film has moved to the Toronto Islands.

Or maybe it was a matter of cost…this is a low-budget film, with a limited number of sets, a short running time, and few special effects. The filming and storytelling are sometimes clunky. But the actors universally do a fine job, which goes a long way toward creating emotional resonance.

The greatest strength of the book–and the film–is the melding of Caribbean-Canadian culture and Vodou figures with a careful imagining of the near future, all wrapped around a classic coming-of-age story for Ti-Jeanne. Toronto doesn’t get to show up all that often in science fiction (at least as itself–it often stands in for other cities in films and TV shows such as The Expanse), and a SFnal depiction of the experience of Blackness in Canada is rarer still.

Brown Girl Begins has had a short theatrical run here in Toronto. I hope it will continue to be accessible in some form. If you can find it, do watch it.

 

If you liked this post, you might like:

Genre-Bending Books (Redux)

Chappie: Gender Influences At Play

If You Liked City of Hope and Ruin…

 

Flash Fiction Contest at Queer Sci Fi

I’m judging a contest, and you’re invited!

From the website Queer Sci Fi comes this announcement:

Every year, QSF holds a flash fiction contest to create an amazing new anthology of queer speculative fiction stories. We ask authors to do the nearly-impossible – to submit a sci fi, fantasy, paranormal or horror LGBTIQA story that has no more than 300 words.

Our 2018 contest launches on March 1st, and closes April 1st. The theme for 2018 is “Impact”.

26824445 - conflict, close up of two fists hitting each other over dramatic sky

Take that however you will – an asteroid impacting the earth; the environmental impact of climate change; two paranormal entities crashing into one another in combat; the impact an action by an individual can have as it ripples through society. Heck, even an impacted wisdom tooth can work, as long as you sell it. It’s up to you.

We’ll be accepting stories from across the queer spectrum, and would love to see more entries including lesbian, trans, bi, intersex and ace protagonists, as well as gay men. We also welcome diversity in ability and in race.

All the details and rules can be found at Queer Sci Fi: Flash Contest Rules.

As one of this year’s judges, I’m encouraging you to send in your stuff–I’d love to read it!

(I attained this illustrious position by placing third in last year’s contest. You too could be a judge next year…)

If you want a crash course in flash fiction, you might consider buying last year’s ebook, Renewal. Or, have a look at this transcript of a flash fiction seminar that Queer Sci Fi ran on its Facebook discussion group a few months ago.

You have until April 1st, so get cracking. And may the best story win!