A Lot to Process

First of all, Black lives matter, and so do trans lives, and so do Black trans lives.

Second of all, why yes nothing indeed has happened on this website since October 2019. I simply didn’t get any acceptances to announce.

Then, on June 7 2020, I did get an acceptance! OMG! From Esskaye Books’ SCARE ME anthology! I haven’t had a lot of my horror sell in recent years, so that was very cool and I’m very happy about that! So I signed the contract and got PAID the NEXT DAY, WHICH IS AMAZING, IF THAT WASN’T OBVIOUS FROM MY SHOUTING!

While still reeling from those sweet Great Britain Pounds in my paypal, I then found out that one of my short stories has been longlisted for a Sunburst award! Sure! (For those unclear on what that means, being longlisted is the participant trophy. There’s still the shortlist, which is like the longlist but shorter, and then comes the award. I think? Maybe there’s 1st, 2nd and 3rd places? I don’t know, it’s been a long time since I’ve been in school, which is the last time awards have come up in my life.)

And NOW, at long last, and I should have mentioned this earlier probably, but Grace&Victory Publications is set to come out with our new anthology, A Quiet Afternoon, on July 1! I should have mentioned this earlier because when I say ‘our’ new anthology, I kind of mean it? In a way? Grace&Victory is a micropress run by Grace Seybold and Victoria Feistner (and yes, we’re all friends) and for AQA I got to be the slush reader. (Again, for those who don’t know, a slush reader is the one who reads all the stories and figures out what might be a good fit and what gets booted out. When you’re addressing your submissions to Dear Editor, you’re probably getting a slush reader and not an editor on the first go. Circumstances vary! Don’t worry about it.) And then, as tasks got divvied up between Grace and Victoria (and Liane Tsui, another friend and editor for AQA), occasionally little jobs came up – writing an exciting marketing blurb, or figuring out the order the stories should go in (the Table of Contents, or ToC), or writing the foreword. So I got to step into the role of copyeditor, which was kind of fun! I hadn’t written stories for a couple months, so being able to write SOMEthing was nice (especially something that was sure to get an acceptance!… still needed editing, though. Which is just how it goes).

So! One new contract signed with Esskaye Books! A longlist for an award! And an anthology I helped with is coming out soon! After only eight months, I’m back in the publishing game!

I do not know if I’m going for an optimistic or pessimistic tone! Feel free to choose the one you need at the moment!

I Did Say I Peaked Very Early This Year

But as always seems to happen, autumn is My Time To Shine Like The Wacky Star I Am, because in the space of roughly a month I got an acceptance and publication with the cool folks at The Quilliad! We had a lovely night of readings at Toronto’s Tranzac Club. Funnily enough, I had read once before at the Tranzac, and it was a story about children and death, and the first time I read for The Quilliad three years ago it was a story about… children and death. It will surprise no one to hear that one of my stories published this year with them is likewise about, ahem, children and death (SO SHARP, SO SHARP). However, because no one likes to be typecast, I sent and they also accepted my Victorian Yuletide ghost story, OF, AND WITH.

(Also it was a costumes-if-you-like party and I went as an updated version of Number 2 from the old show The Prisoner and of course no one got it but let’s face it, that was really a costume for Laura, not the world. My button came out splendidly and it meant not looking completely bizarre at the sushi restaurant beforehand.)

Anyway Halloween is great and autumn is great and The Quilliad is great and everything’s great!

ROBOWIIIIIITCH

YOU KNOW Y’ALL WANNA BE PART OF THE ROBOWITCH GANG

About a month back in the ol’ Twitterverse, Apparition Lit did a check-in with their previous authors to see what we were all up to. Well, sez’d I, I have a story about a robowitch coming out in April. Turns out, another author was working on her own story about a robot witch. HAVE I STARTED A TREND? Is my contribution to the literary world coining the term ‘robowitch’ and creating a genre based specifically around robots who are also witches? Who can say. But it tickled me immensely. And the brief discussion afterward about how wacky it was that two robowitches show up on the same day spurred me to sit down and write the first draft of yet another robowitch story in one day (okay, one day writing 500 words, took a day off, and then wrote the last 3000 the day after that. Three days is still not bad, I think).

So, feast your eyes and computation circuits on Augur Magazine’s ROOTS AND SHOOTS! You can read a sample of it for free, but trust me, you’ll want to buy the whole thing. (Also there’s a sestina called “Control, Alt, Delete” by S. Matthiesen Avilés in there and I do love me a sestina.)

Well Isn’t This a Nice Way to Start a Gregorian Calendar

I don’t tend to enjoy making noises about the holidays, but this is pretty sweet: My latest short story publication, With a Grain of Salt, got first billing on Aether and Ichor’s newly updated website‘s Solstice: 1 issue, bright and smack early on January 1st!

(Side note: the editors and I were shooting emails back and forth a couple weeks prior, polishing off last edits, sorting out payment, and NEITHER ONE of us so much as MENTIONED that this was happening on Christmas Day and I loved that SO MUCH.)

OH SNAP

I just remembered I have another story coming out in January 2019 (more werewolves! ALL THE WEREWOLVES)! That brings this year’s total for published/accepted up to 7, which is BANANA DAIQUIRIS.

BANANA DAIQUIRIS ALL AROUND!

Like Cheese and Wine, Publishing Takes Time

This has been a pretty surprising year, because I’ve gotten six (6? 6!) short story acceptances/publications so far! There’s been a bumper crop of weird Westerns with Long Dry Waste and Shift Work, and in the next six months (maybe! Publishing!) there’ll be:

  • A robo-witch making magic out of dried beans and welded metal;
  • A mercenary who trusts her nose for money a little too much;
  • A poem about wolves in human clothing;
  • A reprint of MOVEMENT!

I am excited about all of these for their own unique reasons. The robo-witch story uses a very odd experimental writing style (at least, it was an odd style for me to use, probably some sci-fi nerd has already done it to death but it’s experimental for meee); the mercenary story had racked up 20 rejections before finding a home; the poem is my first stand-alone poem I have ever written for publication and it got accepted first try, hot damn; and Movement will be my first-ever reprint! Because writing is my occasional hobby-job instead of full-time pay-the-bills job, I don’t tend to reflect on it that much, but this year has certainly been some kind of milestone. To paraphrase the movie Mrs. Bennett, “Just think! Two Sterling Acton stories published and four others just tottering on the brink!”

Let’s Ignore a Year+ of Silence and Move On To Good News, Shall We?

If my legacy is to be talking snakes and down-on-their-luck werewolf cowboys, then I am 100% okay with this fate, because come the end of April there will be ANOTHER STERLING ACTON AND THE TALKING SNAKE STORY brought to you by the folks at Apparition Lit! Hungry and with a head cold, Acton and the snake come to the home of a strange old man and his rat problem. A big rat problem. Or maybe just a big… rat? At the very least, the problem is sizeable.

As if that weren’t enough, I’ve also received the ARC for Embers, a Journal of Luminous Things (talk about your year+ of silence, amirite? PUBLISHING, BABY) so, not to belabor it or anything, but what I sold them is the very first Sterling Acton story I wrote, so if you do not like werewolf cowboys, I am very sorry that this is the news you’re coming back to after all this time.

 

GUYS ARE YOU EVEN READY FOR MORE TALKING SNAKE ACTION

I am! I very much am! STUPEFYING STORIES has just released the March 2017 edition of wacky, wonderful stories for Kindle on the Amazons, and oh look there I am smack dabber in the middleroonie! LONG COLD WISH continues the adventures of the talking snake from my Weird Wild West story LONG HOT WAIT (in Andromeda Spaceways In-Flight Magazine, issue 59). This story also involves A GHOST. I am pretty excited for this to come out!

You can buy the Kindle edition here, right here, at this moment! It’s got a talking snake and a ghost and the feels. Oh man those feels. So tangible.

 

Oh snap, a new story!

Looks like I completely overlooked that a story of mine came out with Silver Blade like back in November 2016! Oops. I swear I’d been checking, but I guess I was too modest for it to actually register. The important thing is, have a lyrical retelling of an old wintery folktale.

Eisin, an Eastwise Folktale

 

(Also if you’re wondering about that TIME ALONE PRESS anthology release, HAH HAH HAH because frankly so am I. Contract? Edits? Payment? What about ’em? dickery shit is what. At least we’ve a lovely little folktale to make up for it!)