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Story Notes for "Traces of Us"

My latest story, “Traces of Us,” is now live at GigaNotoSaurus. It’s a story about sentient spaceships and neuroscientists in love. It’s dear to my heart for a number of reasons, and I’m so gratified by the responses it’s been getting from readers. (Writer and critic Charles Payseur has an absolutely beautiful review--with spoilers!--here)
The story is grounded in some very real science. I'd like to talk a little about that scientific grounding, and the inspirations (both scientific and not) behind this story.

SPOILERS (I’d suggest continuing only after finishing “Traces of Us”)

















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The story seed
The seed for this story came from a feature article I read in The New York Times back in 2015,“A Dying Young Woman’s Hope in Cryonics and a Future.” It’s a beautifully written story about Kim Suozzi, a young woman who died of brain cancer at the age of 23, but who hoped to have her mind preserved for the future. Alongside a moving and vivid portrayal o…

New story out in Reading 5X5 anthology! And a cooking lesson!

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I forgot to mention this earlier, but the Reading 5X5 anthology came out this week!

Five stories told five different ways, twenty-five authors in all. I have a story here, alongside some amazing writers I know. For a more detailed explanation of the concept behind this book, and links on how to buy it, visit the official website here (note: all proceeds benefit charity!)
My story is about food and family. It's about magic and the end of the world and what happens when family ties fray. And oh, can I mention food again? This story is perhaps a little indulgent in its descriptions of Thai food.
Last night, to celebrate the release of this book, I made Thai chicken curry puffs. My mother made them for parties and special occasions when I was a child, but I had never learned how to do it from her. I cobbled together a recipe from the Internet, and made these on my own (with the help of Eldest Daughter who helped fold and crimp the puffs at the end.To be honest, she was the one who figure…

New story at GigaNotoSaurus! "Traces of Us"

I have a new story out today at the online magazine GigaNotoSaurus! It’s my second publication there, and I’m so excited to appear there again.
The story is called “Traces of Us,” and it’s a hard science fiction story about sentient spaceships and neuroscientists in love. It’s also something of a love letter to St. Louis, where I lived years ago. It’s dear to my heart, and I hope you read and enjoy it.
More story notes to come soon =)

Short Fiction Recs: December 2017 and January 2018

This winter has brought such a treasure of great stories that’s it’s been more of a struggle than usual to keep up. Here are just some that I read and loved in December and January.
Flash
“Out From Behind a Rock” by K.C. Mead-Brewer at Cotton Xenomorph
This was the debut story in Cotton Xenomorph, a new literary journal of poetry and flash fiction. It exemplifies much of the other fiction I’ve seen in Cotton Xenomorph since: not outright speculative fiction or fantasy, yet seeming to tilt in that direction. Reality that feels askew, or that’s related from an unusual vantage point. Mead-Brewer’s piece is particularly strange (while also being set in a plausibly real setting); it’s violent, disturbing, breath-taking. Its central image is also dazzling, and the last line is haunting. Mead-Brewer is a writer to watch, and Cotton Xenomorph (which has also published stories far gentler than this one) is a magazine to follow.
“Mother’s Rules for a Burned Girl” by Rebecca Mix in Flash Fiction Onl…

New story: "Wild Ones" at Bracken Magazine

I’m thrilled to announce that my latest story, “Wild Ones,” is now up at Bracken Magazine. I have loved this magazine since it’s first issue, and am so happy to be appearing there now, alongside absolutely lovely artwork, poems, and other stories.
Bracken Magazine’s tagline is “lyrical fiction and poetry, inspired by the wood and what lies in its shadows.” “Wild Ones” indeed takes it setting from the woods. It’s the story of a mother and her teenage daughter, and of the wildness within us all.
Some notes on inspiration:
--Years and years ago, I read Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising and fell in love with its invocations of Celtic mythology and Old European legends. The scene where Herne the Hunter leads the Wild Hunt against the Dark has never left me.
--There is a patch of woods near my home, a tiny scrap of forest hemmed in by suburban development. I like to walk there, especially in the fall.
--The fall is my favorite time of year. And the sound of the autumn winds rushing through trees…

2017 Writing Roundup

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I am late with this, as with everything these days.
I had only one piece of fiction published this year: “Taiya,” which appeared in the fall in The Future Fire. But this one piece has received more attention than any other short story I’ve written. It’s received some wonderful reviews. Maria Haskins and A.C. Wise both featured it in their recommendations. It’s listed in the 2017 Nebula Suggested Reading List. And today I found out that it’s also featured on The Book Smugglers website in “12 Short Stories as New Year’s Resolutions.” 
(Click on those lists above, please. They feature amazing, amazing authors and works that I love, and I am still stunned to be listed alongside them.)
It means so much to me that “Taiya” has gotten this attention. It means so much to me that this story resonates with people. This was one of those stories from the heart; this was the first story which truly scared me to write. I described some of its inspirations and background, and some early reviews, in this…

October-November 2017 Short Fiction Recs

Snow is falling in thick flurries past my window as I type this. Winter is finally here; the nights are long and the daylight brief.
Stories are lights in the darkness. At least, the right ones can be. And even dark stories can bring comfort; they can give shape and a semblance of control to that which is chaos; they let us know that we’re not alone, that others have been through the darkness, too. 
This past fall brought so many wonderful stories of dark and light, often in the very same piece. I can’t hope to read more than a tiny fraction of all the worthy work being published these days. But of all the great stories out now, here are some that I did find and love. I hope you love some of them, too.  


Stories of Sea and River 



Gone to Wrack and Ruin by Meryl Stenhouse at Empyreome Magazine

Oh, what a creepy, eerie read!  Yeva and her granddaughter Lusine eke out a precarious living from the sea, gutting fish in warehouses and collecting wrack from the shore. There finally seems a chan…