photo by Kelly Robson
Today I am shaving 260 words from one of the squid stories*, so I can send it to a market with a firm 7.5K word limit. I can tell I’ve been through the story before. There’s not much to trim. It’s tempting to simply change the word count at the top of the page and assume they don’t really care about that extra half page or so.
But that would be errant smart-assery, not to mention unprofessional. Even if I weren’t generally rule-abiding, I know it makes me nuts when my students blithely ignore my guidelines. So–a sentence here, an adjective there. Nip, tuck, smooth.
Next weekend I am one of a bunch of Tor authors heading off to the New York Comicon, so I’ll continue working on these little bits and bobs for awhile yet. I’ll shoot a few stories off to market, push paper on a grant application, comb through the files looking for reprint opportunities, that kind of thing.
But this Saturday is my (so far) favorite Toronto event, Nuit Blanche Last year we made our way through the throngs to Nathan Phillips Square, and back, and saw many awesome things. Then we were home, in bed and exhausted, just as the party was properly starting.
This year we are practically at City Hall the minute we step out our front door. So I hope to see even more incredible sights and performances before thronging home to collapse at some ludicrous hour like ten.
How about all of you–what’s on the boards for October?
“Five Good Things about Meghan Sheedy,” in Strange Horizons, and “The Town on Blighted Sea.” (The latter is also in The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Fourth Annual Collection)
“The Sweet Spot,” in Lightspeed and Imaginarium 2013: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing.
“Time of the Snake,” in Fast Forward 1: Future Fiction from the Cutting Edge.
On Tuesday ChiZine Publications had their fifth anniversary bash, which was paired with a launch for Imaginarium 2013: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing.
I read the first scene of “The Sweet Spot,” one of the Imaginarium stories, at the launch. It’s the first time I’ve read a squid story in public, I think. It went down rather well.
I also got to hear and meet a number of the other contributors. Michael Kelly read part of “Blink,” and we got to hear part of “I was a Teenaged Minotaur” by A.G. Pasquella. David Clink read his Aurora-nominated poem, “A sea monster tells his story,” which made all the women at our table all edge-of-weepy.
And then Kari Maren sang her new song, “Fake Geek Guy.”
It was a boisterous, lively event and much fun was had.
My short story “The Sweet Spot,” which appeared in Lightspeed Magazine last year, Imaginarium 2013: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing
Though I have only just started to recover from the blast out to Edmonton, I am headed with Kelly to Montreal this weekend. The last trip wasn’t a pleasure cruise, obviously, but this is–we’re going to see friends. I haven’t been to Montreal since, I think, the 2001 World Fantasy Con. I am looking forward to being there again, with savvy local guides no less!
And, in the spirit of three things make a post – a lot of pictures of Grandma Joan are coming my way and then getting uploaded to the Pham album on my Flickr account. Here’s one by Paul McNie that I think is especially nice.
I am trying to increase the functionality of my web site’s “Shop Planetalyx” page. Upgrade here would mean any improvement from the site’s previous state of “not all that useful, thanks very much.” So I’m updating the links to the various versions of my books and e-books, and also seeing which of my various short stories are still available for free online.
There are three of my “Proxy War” stories, for example. The Sweet Spot is the most recent to appear and yet the earliest, in chronological terms, of the squid stories. In it, a teenaged girl named Ruthie Gerrickle and her brother Matt try to survive the Battle of Kauai. Five Good Things about Meghan Sheedy falls quite a bit later. This time the fight is the Siege of Seattle. It’s one of two published by Strange Horizons. The third, of course, is “The Town on Blighted Sea.” The girl who was Ruthie has long since become Ruthless, but the war is over. Her side did not win. But life, strangely enough, goes on.
You may have also noticed I have figured out how to generate Pinterest memes. This may or may not be a phase I’m going through.
Well, no. Jonathan’s a superstar. And here’s my weekly essay: “Slaying is Hard! Let’s Go Shopping!”
I have enjoyed rewatching S4. It’s been long enough that I forgot a lot of the nuances and hilarious lines, and frankly it’s easier to gently mock the episodes that are, oh, let’s say a little shaky. This may mean that after S5 the rewatches will get funnier and funnier; that’s my hope, anyway.
And while I’m all me, me, me, link!, ’tis the season to remind some of you that I have Nebula eligible fiction. There’s my novel, Blue Magic, which was out in April, my novelettes “Among the Silvering Herd” and “Wild Things,” on Tor.com, and a new squid story, “The Sweet Spot,” about the Fiend invasion of Hawaii, on Lightspeed.
“I’m gonna visit Dad.” Matt is curled in the passenger seat of their antique minivan, scowling as offworlders tromp and slither past their front bumper. Shooting a glance at Ruthie through long, pretty eyelashes, he flips down the visor to check the mirror.
“Dad’s dead, Matt. He can’t see your haircut.”
This July Lightspeed Magazine ran my latest squid story, a novelette “The Sweet Spot.” I was a little preoccupied at the time, so though I mentioned it quite a few times, here and on Twitter and elsewhere, I never got around to writing the introduction I promised for it.
This story is set earlier in the Proxy War than any of the other published squid stories. In “The Town on Blighted Sea,” for example, Ruthless Gerrickle is in her late fifties. Here, she’s just a teenager and just Ruth. She likes to think she’s tough as nails, but really she’s an orphan in a war zone, and is more vulnerable than she’d like to admit.
In writing these stories, I often started out with U.S. geography. (Actually, I’ve just realized the topic of geography and my writing is a whole post in itself, and I’ll try not to keep you waiting for it for long.) “Five Good Things about Meghan Sheedy” is about the Siege of Seattle and “Time of the Snake” is set during an occupation of Los Angeles. I have a half-written squid story set in Las Vegas and one out to the markets now that’s about the Fiend push into Texas from Mexico.
The idea, you see, is that in this global civil war there’s one side, called the Fiends, who have a good hold on all of the world except the Americas. Now they’re working their way upward from South to North: the U.S. is the last real holdout against them. So it’s just a march up the map: Seattle, naturally, happens later than Texas. In “The Sweet Spot,” the Fiends haven’t even begun their land invasion of the U.S. yet; they’re just reaching out to pick off Hawaii. And it’s Ruth’s bad luck to be there, along with her little brother.
Today my story “The Sweet Spot” is live at Lightspeed Magazine. I hope you enjoy it, and the rest of the issue, too.
I am also the featured My Favorite Bit author at Mary Robinette Kowal‘s blog today. What does that mean? Basically, it means I talk a little about my love for the much-beleaguered Juanita Corazon of Blue Magic.
The Buffy rewatch this week covers “Bad Girls” and “Consequences.” It’s called: Want. Take. Have. Pay. Pay. Pay.
New Fiction! My story “The Sweet Spot,” is available now in the e-book version of Lightspeed magazine, and can be downloaded along with the rest of the issue, here. The story’s release date on the site is July 17th, and I’ll definitely be doing one of my short story intros about it between now and then.
For now I’ll tell you that the story is about the childhood of Ruthless Gerrickle, from “The Town on Blighted Sea,” and, in case you’re following this universe of mine at all, it’s about the beginning of the Battle of Oahu.
This week’s Buffy rewatch on Tor.com covers the S3 episode “Helpless.”