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 post.
Since writing “Taiya,” I’ve finished other stories which scared me to write. I hope to keep doing so.
Other news and thoughts, since this is supposedly my 2017-in-review post:
If you missed it, the lovely Gwendolyn Kiste interviewed me about my writing on her blog here (and you should definitely also check out her work!)
I’ve posted several of my older stories at Curious Fictions. This is a new website which reprints previously published fiction, and my author page is here. As Curious Fiction’s Twitter account states, it’s a site that allows you to “Read great stories on the go, tip authors for stories that you love.” There’s a lot of great stuff there now by many writers I follow and love. Also, I know that there will be some very cool changes and announcements from this site soon, so keep an eye on it!
Early in 2017, the lovely Meryl Stenhouse invited me to join an online critique group of talented writers. In terms of my writing development, this was the probably the most significant development of the year, and certainly one of my personal highlights. My friends in this group have seen the holes in my stories and pushed me (gently but firmly, with much cheerleading) through revisions which I hated but which absolutely needed to be done. They have pushed me in other ways to take risks in my work. They have made my stories better. I’ve come upon new opportunities through this group. And I have learned from critiquing and reading their wonderful stories, as well as having my own stories critiqued by them.
In 2017, I’ve also made friends with more writers online, as well as continuing old friendships. Their support means everything to me. Advice to new writers: find your writing support group. So many of us live with families and friends who are not writers (sometimes they’re not even readers), and who don’t understand. You need people who do.
2017 doesn’t look very productive on paper for me—not from a publication standpoint. But I did write some new stories I’m proud of, and I sold some stories, and as of today I have five new stories which should see publication in 2018. I’m also involved in some exciting group publication/community projects. I am looking forward to many things.
I am genuinely hopeful for some things in 2018, and trying to be hopeful for others.
Hug your loved ones, my friends. If it’s cold where you are (as it is now for me, here in the Midwest-transformed-to-Arctic-tundra), stay warm; wear layers; wrap yourself in a thick blanket and drink tea and eat hot soup. Here is a splash of color from warmer climes:
Artwork from the artist Likhain, sent through the post from Australia. The painting on the right was a Christmas present to myself, and is the original cover art for my novelette, The Lilies of Dawn. I wish I could truly show you the detail in the work, the glitter of gold and silver. Likhain so generously gifted me with the extra painting on the left, and the cards below also showcase her extraordinary talent.