The Rare Daily Blog Posting Streak Continues

Yeah, I don’t know what’s up with this new blog post every day in September thing either. It’s unlikely to last. But I guess it’s what we’re doing for the time being?

So, first things first:

It turns out that The Humanity of Monsters is now listed on Goodreads! And people have added it to their to-read lists! :o

I am kind of loving this fact. Every additional nudge that makes this feel book feel more real is kind of awesome from this side of things :D

By all means, if you’re on Goodreads, feel free to add the book to your shelves. Or just spread the word that it’s on there now. As far as I know there are no plans to do an Goodread giveaways, but that might change in future. If I hear of anything going on on that front, I’ll share the news.

And that news done, we move on to the apartment hunting front (because it consumes an inordinate amount of my time, and this blog is only sometimes — okay, mostly — about books/writing/editing). Still kicking around looking at places. Toronto real estate is a complicated proposition if you’re a freelancer. I think I may have mentioned this previously? Or possibly have just been having that discussion in person with friends.

Either way, I’m taking a page from colleague Matt Hughes’ book (a little literally given the page design) and have set up a house sitting page on the website here. Because, honestly, it’s something I do anyway from time to time. And it turns out this is something people do professionally. So setting up with services for this, and hosting information here as well. Because it’s one of those alternate options that people sometimes make work for long periods of time at a go.

Every port in a storm, right? ;)

I suppose it is also possible that there will be yet another update tomorrow. I mean, really, who knows what the days will bring. I’m constantly amazed at what keeps showing up around here.

Wild days, man. Wild days….

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Signal Boost: Writing/Publishing Opportunities

A couple of quick things as a heads up for those interested:

The 2016 Commonwealth Short Story Prize is now open to entries. The following is copied from the e-mail I received this morning:

Writers have two months to enter their short story.

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize brings stories from new and emerging voices, often from countries with little or no publishing infrastructure, to the attention of an international audience.

The Prize is awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction (2,000-5,000 words) in English. Short stories translated into English are also eligible.

Each year, we select five winning writers from five different Commonwealth regions, one of whom is chosen as the overall winner. The overall winner receives £5,000, one of the highest amounts for an international short story prize open to unpublished writers. Regional winners receive £2,500. If the winning short story is a translation into English, the translator receives equal prize money.

The Prize is open to both published and unpublished writers.

Entry is free.

The closing date is 1 November 2015.

Submit your short story via the online application form between 1 September and 1 November 2015.

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize selects some excellent work, features a diverse list of winning and shortlisted writers, and tends to have well-chosen judges. Also, it’s free to enter. There is no way to lose.

You can find the full eligibility rules for the contest here.

The other news is that:

Uncanny Magazine is open to submissions as of today, September 2nd.

Not sure of the DL on this one right now. It seems to be dependent on the stretch goals of the Year Two Kickstarter. But Uncanny can be open as briefly as two weeks at a time, so assume you need to submit soon — possibly by the middle of the month.

Uncanny pays .08/word for fiction, and take stories from 750-6,000 words in length. They’re also open to poetry submissions at the moment. They pay a flat rate of $30 for accepted poems.

See the link above for full guidelines.

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Two Weeks to the Release of The Humanity of Monsters

It’s now September. Which means we’re just two weeks out from the street date for The Humanity of Monsters!

Holy crap. Two weeks!

That appears to have happened really fast. But, honestly, it’s been a long damn road getting here. Though I expect people will find the book worth the wait :)

And at this point I’m immensely curious to see what people make of the book. I’ve had a little bit of feedback on the text prior to its release, and that’s been overwhelmingly, generously enthusiastic. So that’s quite gratifying (and takes the edge off the terror). But I’m curious about the wider reaction.

The content of the book itself is wide-ranging, and runs a gamut of styles and approaches. As is true of a lot of the better — or at least more interesting — anthologies in the field. Though with a reprint anthology you can be fighting prior perception of work, depending on how well people know the pieces you’re using, and I find that fascinating. It creates an entirely different whole out of the anthology’s component parts than you get if you’re working with entirely new, or even partially new work.

Think of it this way: Reviews and reader reaction — especially word of mouth — shape the way a story is received in larger discussion. A review casts a story in a certain light. That interpretation may be inaccurate, or it may be apt. Either way, that perception now exists as part of the strata of how the story is interpreted. It becomes a part of the work’s existence in popular culture. Given that we’re talking about short fiction, and that there’s so much of it, often that discourse is limited to a smaller audience unless we’re discussing pieces that become canonical works and thus reach a much wider audience. But still, the effect of discussing and examining a story helps shape how it is perceived. Thus stories exist inside their own stratification of reactions, opinions, interpretations, and perception vs. intent.

Now put that story, with attendant buildup of discourse, inside an anthology.

What happens? You’ve just created an archaeological site cobbled together from constructions of different eras, origins, and cultures. Sometimes literally so.

And so reading a reprint anthology is an act of literary excavation. You are retrieving new meaning and context from pre-existing notions surrounding the work. You are finding new context through the proximity of the work to incongruous and yet related pieces. It is an exhumation and re-evaluation of existing context.

If a reprint anthology is put together really well, you see stories in an entirely different light from their first outings. Or question what you thought you knew about those pieces and how they spoke to you. And how that alteration manifests itself can be different depending on whether you encounter the stories as part of a themed anthology, a year’s best, or a single author collection. Each brings with it different context for you to explore, and the same story in a different kind of anthology will read radically differently depending on who its neighbours in a Table of Contents are.

Stories are always in conversation with each other, just more visibly so in a ToC.

For my part, I prefer to craft a ToC by having some element of neighbouring stories inform each other — each acting as a comment on the other. With a different shared element or component moving you from one story to the next. Each a subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) shift in the conversation being had.

That’s a personal preference for how to build a ToC, and there are other effective methods as well.

But in this case I want to see what kind of conversations people use this book to have. I’m looking forward to seeing what narratives it shapes, and what discourse it inspires. I’m a fan of more critical and academic discourse in a lot of ways, but I love seeing reactions to the work I do in whatever way those reactions appear. And here, with an edited anthology, I get to see an entirely different kind of reaction to my work than I’ve seen before: a perception in aggregate.

Oh yes, I am looking forward very much to seeing how people react to the anthology.

Just two more weeks to go, friends. Just two more weeks to go….

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Mark of the Beast Anthology Now Available

So it slipped under the radar a little, but apparently the Mark of the Beast anthology edited by Scott David Aniolowski — in which my story “Against a Sea of Brilliant White” appears — did release this month. The anthology can be purchased through Chasoium’s website. It’s possible it may show up for purchase elsewhere. I honestly don’t know.

For my part I’m just happy the book is out in the world. The project’s been in the works since 2012. And this story was written for that anthology — not solicited, I just wanted to see if I could write a werewolf story.

By all means feel free to go and grab yourself a copy. I’m looking forward to seeing the book on this end, after so long being curious about what the rest of the work looks like. And I’ll be very interested to see what reviews of the book — and more specifically my story in it — look like given the period of my writing this story represents.

Anyway, copies at the link above for those what wants them :)

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Non-Binary Authors to Read Shout-Out from A.C. Wise

Just popping in for a quick mention to note that I got a shout-out in A.C. Wise‘s ongoing Non-Binary Authors to Read: Where to Start series! Wise runs the series on her blog along with her long-running Women to Read: Where to Start series. They’re both excellent resources, and showcase some extremely talented people, so it’s absolutely delightful to be included. Let alone have my work recommended :D

This particular shout-out comes alongside A. Stiffler/K. Copeland (Chaos Life), Polenth Blake (whose story profiled in Wise’s blog post, “Never the Same,” is reprinted in The Humanity of Monsters … just sayin’), and A.C. Buchanan! And the series has in prior posts covered Bogi TakácsSunny MoraineA. Merc RustadPear NuallakAn OwomoyelaJei D. MarcadeNino Cipri, and E. Saxey. So, really, that’s some damn fine company to be in.

Each of the authors profiled gets a review of a story as well. And in this case, Wise has an awesome reading of my story “Jenny of the Long Gauge,” from Silvia Moreno-Garcia‘s Fractured anthology, and recommends delving into my work with that as a starting point. And actually yeah that’s a really good starting point for reading my work, given that it addresses many of the core concerns of my short fiction and gives one a sense of the overarching style of my writing. And I’m very fond of that story anyway, so I’m totally happy to have it highlighted.

Also, I love when people rave about my work. Let’s be honest, I like mentions about the work period. But rave reviews are ever so much more fun :)

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And Somehow it is Now the Middle of August….

Wow. When the hell did that happen?

Well, despite the seemingly overfast disappearance of the first half of this month, the middle of the month brings with it many things. Including the opportunity to submit your work to Interfictions as they’ve just opened up their submissions again for two weeks. And they’ve got guest editors this go round! Awesome, awesome guest fiction editors in the form of Carmen Machado and Sam J. Miller :D

Also, Interfictions appears to have raised their pay rate for fiction since they were last open. Or possibly I have not been keeping up with things properly, but this is the first time I’ve seen the .10/word rate on their submissions guidelines (it used to be .05/word).

To be fair, I have been moving over the last few months. And trying to keep up with everything else.

Speaking of everything else, or a portion of it anyway, I’ve got a new Patreon post up. This is now the third monthly fiction post, and the rotation of B-sides and excerpts of new work means it’s a B-side this time. A story I like, but that doesn’t quite work. Still want to go back and see if I can’t fix that one up at some point. At any rate the current version of that story (all 8,300 words of it) is available to patrons.

And it’s interesting for me to note that in looking at the last couple of months of doing this, the intention of using the monthly schedule to get me back to writing — because I would feel like I need to produce content — is working. I spent time revising the novella I’ve been working on these last couple of years (and it’s now seen a couple of submissions, and that feedback means there’s more work to do with it, though that wasn’t entirely unexpected), started work on a new short story, and have been working on another piece that I’m not talking about publicly just yet.

Getting any writing done around the moving, the (ongoing) apartment hunting, the freelance work, and everything else on this end feels like a definite win at this point.

Actually, I’ve been busy enough that I hadn’t checked the back end of the website for a few days, so I didn’t realize that there’s been an upsurge of activity and visits. Apparently the posts about why I’ve been boycotting going to Sasquan since last year are getting linked to again. It appears the longer of those two posts is being brought up again as evidence of prior trouble at Sasquan, re discussion around Sasquan’s current decision not to ban Lou Antonelli, at David Gerrold’s request, despite everything Antonelli has done up to this point. It’s too long to go into here, so I’m just going to link to two posts by Natalie Luhrs for those who need to catch up on the whole thing: “Pattern Matching: Lou Antonelli and the Sad Puppies,” and “Some Members are More Equal than Others.”

Always feels strange when this website gets several hundred views in a day, and looking back I see that’s been the case for the last three or four days now. Always seems to come out of controversy.

Anyway, moving back to more pleasant things:

Given the date, we are now T-minus one month until The Humanity of Monsters is out in the world. I’m not saying everyone’s obligated to go out and buy a copy the moment it lands or anything. I mean hey, you can totally still pre-order the anthology as well :D

Yes, soon I’ll finally stop doing that.

But for now I’m just happy to keep letting people know that the book exists. And ideally have people spread the word that it’s going to be out there. What can I say? It’s my first anthology as editor. I’m still revelling in the fact that the book’s coming out at all.

And with that, I’ve got work to get back to, and this post has gone on long enough.

Might possibly be some more updates on a couple of things in the next few days. We’ll see.

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The Humanity of Monsters Mention in Library Journal

Yesterday, in Eric Norton’s “A Genre Takes Flight” article in Library Journal, I, alongside a huge host of other writers, publishers, and editors, got shout-outs in the publication. It’s my first shout-out from Library Journal, which is pretty awesome! (Note how casually — and hopefully — I just slid “first” in there.) More specifically, I and The Humanity of Monsters got a shout-out. From the Library Journal.

And that would be one more item off the bucket list. Well, the proverbial one, anyway. Never actually compiled a bucket list.

Anyway, the point being, that you can go read the article at the link above. And that it’s lovely to see the anthology getting some mention.

Yeah, there’s the thing I’m a little worried about cropping up in that one sentence shout-out: The article simplifies the book’s themes and aims.

I’m also never quite sure how to feel when The Humanity of Monsters is lumped in with horror books as well. A lot of horror content in it, yes. One way or another. But that book is made up of a fairly wide-ranging amount of material. And more and more I suspect that people picking it up looking for straight horror (see what I did there? :D ) are going to find a book rather different from the one they expect.

Technically, I also have a number of thoughts as to the content of the article as well. Specifically as regards some unexamined discussions with publishers and their representatives; raising the Sad Puppies discourse but not examining that, especially given some of the names and companies brought up in the article; and the broad approach to and treatment of speculative fiction as a genre unto itself, with subgenres feeding into it, which is a misreading of the literary landscape as a larger whole.

But then I remember that that article is meant as an overview, and to get people excited for a whole host of books coming out, and get some attention for people well deserving of some promotion. So I’m just going to forego dissecting the article, and ride the wave.

And I’m going to take some pride that the book I’ve been putting together for four years is almost out in the world, and that it is getting some attention in lovely places. With hopefully more coming. But I’ll definitely take the Library Journal talking about it as a win for today :)

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