Category Archives: My Short Stories

Posts about my published short fiction and any works underway.

SF COntario Schedule, short and long

Posted on November 1, 2017 by

photo by Laurie Grassi of Raincoast Books

For those of you who will also be attending SFContario this November 17-19th, here’s the short and longer versions of my schedule!

What, When, Where
Creating Languages:  Saturday 10 AM; Solarium
Eating and Ethics; Saturday 11 AM; Solarium
Plot Complications (Moderator): Saturday 1 PM; Parkview
Reading: Sunday 11-11:30 AM; Parkview,
Quatloos and Credits and Latinum, Oh My! Sunday 1 PM; Solarium
Who else? and Panel Details!
Creating Languages: Many SF/F worlds have their own languages, Elvish and Klingon being two examples. From etymology to grammar to culture, there are many characteristics to consider. How do you craft languages that make sense? How does a language reflect the identities of its speakers? How do we make our languages and vocabularies believable? Alyx Dellamonica, Sephora Hosein(M), Lawrence Schoen
Eating and Ethics; What is the ethical scope of our food choices? Is buying local really better than buying imported food? Are Vegans better for the environment? How do things like socioeconomic status, mental health, and disability intersect with the ethics of food consumption? Charlotte Ashley (M), Alyx Dellamonica, Lawrence Schoen, Gunnar Wentz
Plot Complications: Characters in a story are attempting to solve a problem. In the best stories, their attempts go horribly awry. Who can forget the moment when the Crew of the Enterprise, attempting to defeat the Borg, is faced with the announcement from their beloved Captain–“I am Locutus of Borg.”  And the course of the story is changed. Or, when Boromir falls to the lure of the Ring and tries to take it, splitting up the Fellowship and changing everyone’s paths. Panelists and audience are invited to present their own favorite heart-stopping moment from books and film.  Timothy Carter; David Clink, Alyx Dellamonica (M), Cathy Hird
Quatloos and Credits and Latinum, Oh My! Economics is frequently overlooked in SF. Do adventurers simply live on nuts and berries and what they can kill? What do they pay with when they visit an inn or buy a drink? How is trade carried out, particularly between species? Is there still a struggle for resources or has science advanced to the point where anything can be fabricated? Quatloos and Credits and Latinum, Oh My!; Alyx Dellamonica, Cenk Gokce(M), Kelly Robson

The Stories Behind The Sum of Us

Posted on September 27, 2017 by

I was so pleased this weekend when Lucas K. Law and Susan Forest took home an Aurora Award for Strangers Among Us: Tales of the Underdogs and Outcasts, which includes my story “Tribes” as well as fiction by Gemma Files, Hayden Trenholm, James Alan Gardner and so many other great writers. This was one of the Laksa Media series anthologies, done as a benefit for people with mental health challenges, and I was proud to be included.

Lucas and Susan haven’t rested on their laurels, or even paused for breath: this year they have followed up with The Sum of Us: Tales of the Bonded and Bound, and there will be a launch in Toronto on October 11th, 2017. Here’s a  link to the Facebook Event, and here’s the poster:

Many of the authors in the antho will be there, talking about the story behind each of the stories in The Sum of Us: Tales of the Bonded and Bound. As the poster says: Sandra Kasturi, Rahti Mehrotra, Derwin Mak, Melissa Yuan-Innes, Toni Pi, Karen Lowachee and Charlotte Ashley will all be there. And so will I, talking about the Proxy War story series generally, my piece “Bottleneck” in particular, and what a story about a hard-bitten army sergeant is doing in a book of pieces about caregiving and caregivers.

How to make an author’s day in one simple step…

Posted on December 16, 2016 by

A fan named GJones says, in the comments thread of my essay “Grownups are the Enemy.”

…I’ll mention that I shared one of your short stories, “The Cage”, with my friends as a specific example of doing things right; namely, having characters deal with a violent male antagonist through legal means and the strength of their community, *without* needing a male authority figure to confront him, and with female characters playing an active role. I may be looking at the wrong kind of SF, but stories like that are quite rare in my experience.

This beautiful bit of praise came in a few days ago, but I’m behind on things. (So many things! They’re all little things, but they piled into drifts because I caught a death flu, decided on an ambitious deadline for the new book, accepted an exciting surprise teaching gig whose syllabus is due any minute now, had a fabulous book launch for The Nature of a Pirate at Bakka Phoenix Books, and–to top it all off–clicked on a Very Bad Thing in an e-mail last Thursday, thus effectively hospitalizing my computer for a few days.) Anyway, I’m shoveling my way back to the concrete, scrape by tiny scrape.

One of the things in the drifts was an automated note from Tor saying that someone had added a comment to the essay. No surprise, really–I reposted a link to the article about a week ago. It’s about Stephen King’s doorstopper of a problematic horror novel,  It. When I went to see who’d said what, I found the above comment, and more besides. The review of “The Cage” was heartwarming, and gratifying, and so good to hear.

(I should mention this story’s still available for reading, for free, at Tor.com. “The Cage.”)

Telling authors what they’re doing right, and why, takes time and energy. It’s a thoughtful act, and–on an internet where feminism can draw contention and acrimony–it’s even a brave one. GJones, I appreciate your generous and articulate comments, so much. Thank you. I promise to keep working to make these kinds of stories less rare.

Award-eligible 2016 works

Posted on December 13, 2016 by

In addition to my newest novel, The Nature of a Pirate, officially out as of last Tuesday, I’ve had three works of short fiction see release in 2016.

First, there were two novelettes, both set on Stormwrack–the same world as the aforementioned Pirate and its predecessors in the Hidden Sea Tales trilogy. First came “The Glass Galago” on Tor.com in January; you can read it for free here. More recently, “The Boy who would not be Enchanted,” was in Beneath Ceaseless Skies this fall.

Finally, there was a short story, “Tribes,” which appeared in Strangers Among Us: Tales of the Underdogs and Outcasts, edited by Susan K. Forest and Lucas K. Law.

All of the above are first-time publications, suitable for nominating for Hugos, Nebulas, Auroras, World Fantasy Awards, Booker Prizes, Governor General’s Awards, Pulitzers and possibly Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters. As works of prose fiction, they probably don’t qualify for Emmys, Grammys, Tonys or Oscars. (Though if you think you can make a good case for it, please! Have a go!)

Snippet: “The Boy Who Would Not Be Enchanted” (free @BCSmagazine)

Posted on October 7, 2016 by

SONY DSCVerdanii is the most powerful of the great nations, and everybody knows, much as they pretend to be a nation of citizen democrats, that the Allmother is the heart and soul of that mighty and often arrogant isle.

To have seen her in the flesh, me, a twelve-year-old from across the sea—it’s so fantastical that I rarely brag of it. Only my mother believes me.

Her head was round and bald and capped in dandelion fluff, a thick slurr of white seed-bearing parasols that whirled off her in every twist of breeze. She was tall, broad-shouldered, generous of hip and bosom, and she moved like a strongman or wrestler. She smelled, ever so slightly, of milk.  She bore a harvest-scythe and a small sack of grain in her big hands, and her face carried so much age that the years thrummed around her like the low boom of an elephant drum. My breath caught, to see life in the eyes of one so frighteningly old. It made my chest hurt.

She weighed and dismissed me with a glance, closing on Garland with brisk steps. She tipped up his chin with the scythe—testing his nerve, I thought—and gave him the sort of looking-over you might expect of a buyer in a slave market.

When she’d done, and before she could speak, he bowed, in the manner of an officer of the Fleet. “It would seem superfluous, at this point, to introduce ourselves.”

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