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December 2018 Short Fiction Recs

Toward the end of 2018, a wealth of new magazine issues and stories were released. I couldn’t possibly keep up with it all (hello, I still haven’t even looked at the December issue of Anathema yet), but here’s some of what I did read and love.
Bracken Magazine I’ve found Bracken Magazine a delight since its first issue. The latest issue features two lovely, magical stories, as well as gorgeous poetry and art.
“Garden of Grudges” by Gwendolyn Kiste
This is the story of a bitter woman whose grudges grow from the ground, tainting the harvest. And it’s the story of the children affected by her, and of what her oldest daughter must do to save them all. This story is both dreamy and sharp, magical and oh-so-real in emotional terms. Exquisitely written and painfully incisive—one of my favorite yet from this talented writer.
“Ocean” by Su-yee Lin
Another dreamy tale of a mother and daughter. The narrator hears the ocean, even though there is no ocean in the middle of Shanghai. As she seeks it ou…

New publication! "The Bone Lands" in Kaleidotrope

Happy 2019 to all! I have a new short story out for the new year, in the winter issue of Kaleidotrope. “The Bone Lands” is about a journey to an underworld, an otherworld. It’s also about love, despair, the lengths we’re go to save each other, and how some things can only be done on our own. I hope you give it a read!

Book Review: Next Curious Thing by Ephiny Gale

I first came across Ephiny Gale’s work last year when I read her story,
“In the Beginning, All Our Hands are Cold,” in the journal Syntax and Salt. It’s a strange and wonderful tale, about a village where children are born without hands. . . but when they’re old enough, they walk to a forest to pick out the hands that fit them just right. It’s a surreal, eerie concept, but a surprisingly warm and gentle story. It’s a story about friendship, about the paths that you choose, the paths you didn’t foresee, and the inevitable heartbreak that comes with love and life. It brims with light and love and was one of my favorite stories from 2017.
So, I was delighted to learn of Gale’s first published collection, Next Curious Thing, which was recently released by Foxgrove Press. “In the Beginning, All Our Hands are Cold” opens the collection. What follows are twenty more stories, ranging from a few pages to novelette-length, encompassing stunning horror and warming sweetness, all lit with a striki…

Short fiction recs! October and November 2018

December has flown by, Christmas is upon us, and I’m only now getting to my roundup of fiction read in October and November. Better late than never, as they say. Here are some of my favorites from the previous two months. 
Stories of horror and hope, darkness and light
Asphalt, River, Mother, Child” by Isabel Yap at Strange Horizons
The goddess Mebuyen keeps her house near the river, where the dead walk toward their final destination. But the dead are no longer moving on. They are not walking down the river. So Mebuyen takes them into her house, and tries to figure out why. . .
This is an aching story which addresses an ongoing, real-world horror. Yet even as that horror is made plain, the narrative holds compassion toward multiple characters. The victims are rendered in vivid, heartbreaking detail, but one of their murderers is also shown as human. There is an entire system at fault here, larger than any one individual. This is a beautiful and astonishing work: delicate, restrained, co…

New publication! Reprint in Passages: Best of NewMyths Anthology

Five years ago, my first paid story was published. It was also my first published story in the fantasy genre; up until then, I had danced on the margins of fantasy, writing “literary” stories that only hinted at magical realism.
Five years later, I unabashedly declare myself a genre writer. And that first fantasy story that I published so long ago is reprinted today in Passages: Best of NewMyths Anthology. This collection curates the best fiction and poetry to appear in NewMyths magazine over the last ten years. It's available in both print and e-book. I’m proud and honored to appear in these pages, alongside such writers as award-winning poet Christina Sng, novelist Beth Cato, and more.
Five years seems so long ago, and also the blink of an eye. I feel that I’ve come very far in my writing. I also thought that I would be further along; I underestimated how tough the science fiction/fantasy publishing market is. And I’m grateful for all the small successes I’ve had. That first publi…

Thanksgiving--Road trip to Pennsylvania

We drove 600 miles to spend Thanksgiving with my sister and her family. Eastward across Michigan, down through the northern edge of Ohio, past Pittsburgh and into central Pennsylvania. All the miles rolling past the car window. The dry fields of late autumn, tinged now and then with snow. Bare-limbed trees, and then groups of trees still clothed in warm, russet browns. All the rivers we crossed. Fog over the rivers. All the spaces of the Midwest. This is what I love being reminded of: all the bare space in America, the cities just isolated islands of population in a vast sea of fields and rivers and interconnecting highways.
Then fields giving way to rolling, russet-clad hills. Pennsylvania—what I’ve seen of it--is beautiful.
Travel is broadening, they say, and how is it that only on this trip did I learn that Pennsylvanians put French fries in their sandwiches? It’s a Pittsburgh thing, my sister explained. And I learned that gas stations in Pennsylvania are known for their food; the Tu…

2018 Awards Eligibility Post

It’s that time of year again! No, I’m not talking about Thanksgiving and Christmas trees and holiday shopping and carols. I’m talking about award nomination season in the science fiction/fantasy field, of course! I was pleased to publish six stories this year, and I truly believe that several of them are among the best I’ve ever written. I’d be honored if you took a look.
For Special ConsiderationThese four stories are already on the Nebula Reading List (thank you thank you to whoever put them there!) and they are special pieces of my heart. Also, please check out all the other stories on the Nebula Reading List; it’s a wonderful resource for us all.
"Wild Ones" in Bracken Magazine (fantasy, 2407 words) A mother, a daughter, and the Wild Hunt.
--Featured in the Barnes and Noble Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog, Sci-Fi and Fantasy Short Fiction Roundup: February 2018by Maria Haskins. “A beautiful and poignant piece of short fiction that deals with longing and fear, adolescence and parenth…