Anywhere but Earth


And it’s here! The latest Coeur de Lion anthology, Anywhere but Earth, is now available in your preferred format. The reason why you should buy it? Because this is the same publisher that brought the specfic community a little novella anthology called X6 (some of my ranting about X6 here), and AbE is bound to bring the quality. Plus, some terrific authors in it, with twenty-nine brand-new science fiction stories, including my “Lisse.” Win, all the way around. I think I may need to buy an e-book for my iPad, too, although I’ll eventually get the snail-mail one when its shipped from the other side of the world. But I’m delighted and honored to be part of such good company.

As for current wips – work is still crazy busy, but I’ve managed to break 30k on the first of the Harvester novels. Or perhaps they should be called The Resplendent City novels? I’m not that far along for a decision like that, and my progress feels slow enough as it is. But with an additional pov added to Heloise’s, I’ve got a lot to work with, including politics, which overwhelms me, but one step at a time, right?

I’ve also cleaned up another story written right before Clarion, and I’m very happy with it. It may not find a market due to its horror-y aspects combined with the fantastical, but we’ll see. And I’ve started revisions on the first week Clarion story, but for some reason that’s turned out to be tedious.

The  real news here, aside from AbE, is that this house is finally ours! Closing was on Friday, Saturday we purchased a dining room table, and next week we start painting. I’m so very, very relieved its over, and that we can really settle in. Eventually, I’ll be able to say it was worth the wait, I’m sure. Pictures to come, once these walls are painted!

Happy Monday!

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>It seems like I will never catch up, but I will, soon, I keep telling myself. And I’m happy with the quick 700 words I rushed out this morning between tax returns, 700 words of the new story Molly and I are writing together! Very, very exciting. A Turkish post-apocalyptic Lovecraft-inspired thing, which could still go many directions. But 700 words is good for me these days. Soon, it will be many more.

Over the weekend, I finished “Seedlings.” (Yes, the title keeps morphing slightly…) A little longer than I’d hoped for, about 8,200 words, but I think it can be cut down, too. I’m fairly confident in the structure, although it may follow the “rules” too much, which I’ve been thinking about lately. There are several formulas one can learn/follow in writing a short that will work, but if the rules are followed too closely, the short is predictable and not nearly as exciting as it could be (and this is, of course, taking into account that the plot actually holds weight and the writing is excellent, etc.). And then there are the stories that follow the rules, but do it so effortlessly and carefully that I sit and gape as I read, completely pulled in, and by the end I wonder what how the author managed to do that. Those are the kinds of stories I want to write (and read, for that matter). I suppose once you know the rules inside and out, then you can play with them more, and weave them into something different and new. I’m not quite there yet, but hopefully sooner rather than later, and “Seedlings” is a good place to start.

I stumbled upon a bit of a horrifying site this afternoon, horrifying and inspiring. Fairy tales get dumbed down too easily, but these pictures do the opposite, and really bring out the gruesome.

An Owomoyela’s “All That Touches the Air” is up on Lightspeed this week – it gets better every time I read it. An excellent alien world.

Reading: I’m about a fifth? a sixth? through the second Rothfuss book. Egads, it’s long. I’m not sure I’d be able to keep reading if it weren’t for the alchemy details, and my wanting to know what will happen with Kvothe and Denna. There are just so many other books to read, and all of them so important!

It’s getting hot here already. Over 85 degrees today, and windy as hell. I’m not impressed. And I desperately want a cupcake, which helps nothing. Or, that new Ben & Jerry’s peanut butter kerfluffle (or something) ice cream, which is second only to Oberweiss’ chocolate peanut butter, which I miss dreadfully.

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The Anywhere but Earth table of contents is posted! “Lisse” is near the end, which is interesting…I can’t wait to read these other stories!

>And officially, on Coeur de Lion’s blog:

On the reading front, we passed the 200 submission mark as we teetered into 2011. Accepted stories stand at 18 now, weighing in at 107,000 words but there’s still room, and a few promised manuscripts from some heavy hitters are still to taxi onto my desk. As of last update, I’ve accepted another four stories, so the following will be joining our already illustrious ranks:
‘Oak with the Left Hand’ by Tristan Davenport
‘Pink Ice in the Jovian Rings’ by Colum Paget
‘Beneath the Floating City’ by Donna Maree Hanson
‘Lisse’ by Erin Stocks.
Anywhere But Earth is due to be released in the second half of 2011.

Very exciting!

John and I finished the fifth season of Dr. Who over the weekend, which we thoroughly enjoyed. As I think back, I’m really not sure how Amy’s memory could restore his (and the Tardis’) existences, but…details, right? Plus, it says something that I didn’t think about that until now, two days after we watched it. I was just so happy he was back. And I admit to being very, very curious about River Song and who she is, although I really didn’t care much about her until the last 2 episodes or so, when I finally gave in and accepted the fact that Amy and the Doctor really won’t get together.

More work on Harvester the novel, which is slowly ticking along. Too slowly, but it’s something, and I’m trying to be content with what it is, and not judge it right out of the box.  In WoW, I’m trying out the holy spec of my priest, and I’m terrible at it. But it’s great fun, especially in dungeons. As long as I don’t let everyone die (which has happened twice now…)

Tonight, beef stew for John, and sweet potato-pear soup for me, with rye bread I made yesterday. It’s only been five days, officially, without meat, but I feel really, really good. Currently reading “Eating Animals,” which is mostly depressing and horrifying, and I can only take it in small doses.

>The anthology Anywhere but Earth, by the Coeur de Lion Australian publishers (who also published that great anthoX6), has accepted my latest short, “Lisse.” I’m thrilled about this, as they were my first choice for this story, not to mention the fact that Lisse was written and critted in December, subbed the first week of January and then accepted on my first submission. It’s the quickest turnaround I’ve had yet, and makes me feel like I’m doing something right, or at least I stumbled upon something right with that story.

Speaking of X6, I can’t believe I didn’t blog about it. I purchased it the end of March last year, and it was one of the highlights of my year in reading for 2010. I looked on the Fragment forum to see I had written this about it (which I have now edited slightly, for public eyes):

I liked the Lanagan, which made me weep, (the Sparks was a little predictable although enjoyable, the others weren’t for me) and the Haines, which made me so angry I wanted to bash my head into the wall, and I had to remind myself that buying a ticket to Australia and approaching Haines wouldn’t fix my anger nor the problem, which of course was just in a story. Mostly. And him writing this novella doesn’t make him a terrible, evil man who should be punished in a chasm of screaming nettles heaped with fiery coal and brimstone and emasculating poisons. It instead makes him an amazing writer, to be able to tap into such unbelievable gender issues, and make them so vivid for one reader that she’s about to go all ape-shit on him.

I will never, ever forget the Haines, and probably never the Lanagan, for her lovely take of selkies, and I encourage every SFF writer to buy that novella anthology. I’m very happy that “Lisse” will likely be among good company in this new anthology.

In the meantime, Harvester-book writing & edits are ticking along, as is the new little human seedlings story; both a little too slowly, as I’ve been procrastinating, doing Lightspeed stuff, and real work, probably in that order. Both John and I feel like we’re in a holding pattern, waiting for what happens next – getting that acceptance letter for him which will determine if and when and to where we’re moving, in addition to all the other subs I have out there, and the Clarion applications.

It’s Friday. Which means lots of shadow priest playing in WoW, and sleeping in, and I’m going to try to make bread, and get creative about meals without meat. More on the process of becoming a vegetarian later, when I’m certain it’s right for me.

Reading! I didn’t care too much for the latest Realms of Fantasy – just didn’t do anything for me, story-wise. Finished Holly Black’s Poison Eaters, which ended a little weakly for me, although I’m willing to concede and say it’s me, and perhaps my preferences are changing. And I am LOVING Dan Simmons’ Hyperion. Loving it, to my honest surprise. It was a little slow to get going, but the priest’s tale was WONDEROUS (yes, it deserves caps), as was the lieutenant’s. The poet, not so much – I’m having some trouble getting into it, but I’m still hopeful.

A Karen Joy Fowler collection is coming in the mail. That’s up next.

>There’s an uproar going on about a blog post on Apex books, regarding gender and table of contents in anthologies. Actually, its a little more complicated than that, but you can see for yourself if you’re interested. (If you are, read the comments – they go on and on and on, including links to other responses).

I clicked on Sophy Z. S. Adani‘s response, as she was one of the editors of Destination: Future, where “Light Stones” was published. Her blog entry regarding it revealed something new to me – turns out, my little story was most likely chosen (although I will probably never know for sure) because of my gender. My first reaction is to feel sad about that, but in all reality, that story is so terribly flawed that I can hardly read it now. The plot itself works, but the writing…I’d change so many things. I’m very fortunate that it stood out enough for them to get this far (and maybe some day I can clean it up).

The whole point I’m getting to – the last major controversy was Elizabeth Moon’s political post, and only recently, WisCon pulled her as the Guest of Honor – a very strong reaction, but I’m not sure what else they could do, considering their stance as the leading feminist SF convention.

I’ve been writing for awhile now, and before that, reading, but only in the last year or so have I immersed myself into the nitty-gritty below the surface, which happens in the blogosphere and Twitter, mostly. It’s crammed as full of opinion and color as the music world is, with ugly things scattered amidst the truth, with both peace-loving wise people and crazies arguing to have their voices heard. For me, it seems like the wisest thing to do is sit back and stay quiet, even when I believe very strongly about something. And then if someone wants my opinion, they’ll ask for it. (I’m not quite important enough. Yet.)

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And am I stalling around on other blogs in order to keep from working on the alchemist short? Yes.