Achievement Unlocked: First Review

Over at Short Science Fiction Review, Jon Cronshaw posted a nifty review of “Windows.”

FOGcon panel--The Best Advice I Never Got

Here are my notes from a super useful panel on writing. The wonderful panelists (Kyle Aisteach, Effie Seiberg, Cassie Alexander, Vylar Kaftan, and Katharine Kerr) were kind enough to share their wisdom about writing, life, and the business side of things.

Disclaimer: This isn’t a transcript. Lots of stuff is paraphrased, and everything is filtered through my brain, so no promises about accuracy.

  1. Be kind to yourself
  2. You don’t write fiction with the rational parts of your brain
  3. Everyone has days like that. (You know, the bad days.) But try not to have weeks or months like that
  4. On social media, it looks like everyone is doing well. We don’t always see the failures that others have, only our own.
  5. When in doubt, take editors at their word
  6. Sometimes there’s advice to not give up on a piece. You don’t have to give up, but you can postpone and write something else
  7. There is no such thing as making it
  8. You can work hard and still not do well
  9. You can’t control the business side of things or what other people think of your writing, but you can control you relationship to your writing
  10. Just because something is published doesn’t mean it’s good (and visa versa)
  11. No story is for everybody
  12. Remember Yog’s Law. Money should flow to the writer. (Beware of shady contests and other scams.)
  13. Make choices as if you’ll become a Hugo grandmaster
  14. For book contracts, it can be useful to have a contracts lawyer look at it.
  15. For short story contracts, you need a reversion clause.
  16. Don’t be so eager to sell that you fall prey to a scam or sell to a shady venue
  17. Don’t be afraid to walk away from a sale if you need to
  18. It’s necessary to have moral support as a writer
  19. Writing often gets good when you stop thinking about craft and just tell your story
  20. Your process can change
  21. If you get stuck, try writing just one sentence. Then after a few days of that, try one paragraph. Then one page.
  22. When possible, be honest with yourself, and filter all writing tips through your own situation. Do what works for you.
  23. Your first draft can be bad


I went to FOGcon for the first time this year. What a lovely local convention with lots of interesting panels on writing, science, and speculative literature. (Great environment for thinking up new story ideas.) In addition, I did my first (non-school) in-person writing workshop. If I have time, I’ll post some of my notes about panels.

Windows Published at Escape Pod

“Windows” is up at Escape Pod for Artemis Rising II.

After just three years, most of Gurt’s downtown was nearly unrecognizable. Roldan Street boasted a new tea shop, and the roads had been repaved with greenish eco-tar. Even the old sign at Marta’s Bakery, which had been shaped like a pink cupcake, was replaced with sleek blue lettering.

Score another one for the prophetic soup.

The episode is wonderfully narrated by Andrea Richardson–her reading makes the story come alive. I enjoyed the comments of guest host Kate Baker, who discusses the need for Artemis Rising, and has some nifty things to say about my story, too.

Where did the idea for this story come from? I started writing without an outline, and all sorts of things found their way in–anthropology, archives, holograms. But mostly, I wanted to write about prophetic soup.

The Wish Giver Published at Zetetic

My story “The Wish Giver” is up at Zetetic: A Record of of Unusual Inquiry.

There were other rules, which the elderly recited like a mantra during winter nights when the children had gone to bed, but the most important one was this: you could only have one wish.

There are many stories about wishes. (In fact, I wrote “The Wish Giver” shortly after reading one.) It’s a classic theme of myth and fantasy. What would you do if you could have any wish, anything in the world? But I thought, “What would happen if someone refused a wish? What would the consequences be?” In the middle of the night, I snuck out of bed, sat in the stairway, and jotted down the outline for what would eventually become “The Wish Giver.” Hope you enjoy it.