Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Podcast!!!!!!!

My story Chrysalis is now on a Cast of Wonders podcast! Other authors featured in this episode are Jenny Rae Rappaport, Evan Berkow, David Steffen and Christine Lucas, with narration by Stephanie Morris, Setsu Uzume, Kate Baker, Makenzi Newman and Mur Lafferty.

This was the first story I ever got accepted and I'm so happy to finally be able to share it with the world!

http://www.castofwonders.org/2017/07/episode-257-little-wonders-13-death/



So, funny story about the production of this podcast. Since it's audio, they asked the correct way to pronounce my name. And I realized that I don't know.

The first syllable is Ross, like the Friends character (not Rose or Roz). But the second? Is it Men? Min? Mun? They all sound right when you say it fast enough, and I'd said it it so many times that it didn't feel like a real word anymore. (I probably should have asked my grandparents.)

I ended up going with "Ross like the Friends character, Men like parent more than one man."


So enjoy!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Falling Marionette - Published!!!!!

I've just had a short story published in Expanded Horizons, an online speculative fiction magazine for marginalized writers and characters.

My story is The Falling Marionette, and is about the future of disability.

Here is the link to this month's issue, which is free to read. Feel free to share it.
http://expandedhorizons.net/magazine/?page_id=4064

I'm really proud of this story. The character shares my disability and, while her society gives her opportunities I'll never get, we experience similar issues trying to get through life.
I also think I went out of my comfort zone with my use of metaphor, which usually gets confusing and muddled when I do it, but I think the marionette imagery worked well here.

I hope you like it.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Review: Team Phison

Team Phison Team Phison by Chace Verity
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Full disclaimer: I was provided with an eArc in exchange for an honest review. And I know the author (but I'm trying not to be biased).

I'm reviewing a contemporary romance? What?
It's true, I don't usually care too much romance unless it's set on a spaceship or involves magic, but a) the description calls it funny and geeky, and b) the author wrote my favorite story in Circuits & Slippers, so I knew the writing would be excellent.
And I was not disappointed.
This is a cute story about two guys who meet while playing an online video game. There's a 27 year age gap, and Phil initially plays down his feelings for the younger Tyson while continuing to go on some truly awful dates and heal a broken heart, and it's just super adorable and sweet.
The characters really come alive and Phil's internal monologue is so funny. Some A+ swear words, too.
Also a lot of inner workings of a restaurant business stuff. I have no idea if it's accurate but it seems well researched.

My only criticism is that it doesn't take place on a spaceship or involve magic. :D Also, there is sex, which doesn't bother me exactly but it does make my brain go "ehhh, this is weird; I should give these characters some privacy."
But I knew that going in and I'm going to judge it based on story and writing alone. It wouldn't be fair to let my general lack of enthusiasm for the genre affect my review. It was a great story, well written, that made me laugh and feel happy and go "Why is it over so soon?" That's all it takes for a 5-star in my eyes.
(And I can't really judge the more explicit scenes because I have nothing to compare them to. I did enjoy them, though, because I knew how big a step it was for Phil and how happy he was being with Tyson. I feel like I maybe didn't enjoy them the way they were intended, but that's my brain being its kind of asexual self. It's like when you see a dog playing with a stick and you're like "I don't get the appeal but I'm glad he's found something that gives him joy.")

The supporting characters are a hoot. I want a sequel where the guys just hang out with Tamara and Frank and the girls and tease Frank for the whole book. I love to hate that poor guy and his double phone holsters.
Also, as a writer, can I just say how brilliant it was to establish early on that Tyson likes to use double exclamation points!! and question marks?? in his texts? The individual voices are strong and distinct, but I'm sure a lot of people (like me) get tripped up during conversations and forget who's saying what, but by having one character overuse punctuation and use "lol" and smiley faces, Verity has almost completely eliminated the need for dialogue tags in their texting! Brilliant, I say, brilliant!
And the epilogue with its nice little bookending - Phil not playing for the stories and Tyson getting bored by tutorials.

Overall, it's sweet as a Hallmark movie, but sarcastic and swear-y and with video games and a couple explicit sex scenes. Which is a description that probably doesn't apply to any other book. If you want a unique love story, check out Team Phison.

View all my reviews

Saturday, July 22, 2017

I'm a Geek (and I have an Announcement)

Now that I've signed the contract, I can finally announce that my short story The Falling Marionette is going to be in an upcoming issue of the webzine Expanded Horizons!

It's "speculative fiction for the rest of us" - which means no straight, white, cisgender, able bodied men characters, basically. The majority of the authors are from marginalized backgrounds, too.

It's a really great site and I'm so excited that my story about disability in the future is going to be on it and I can share it with you.

I'll write more about the story when the issue goes live.

 

And now for the post I was originally planning for today before I got that news...

 

I'm a geek.

Need proof?

I've had fish named Jedi, Binary, Draco (partially after the constellation, partially after the Malfoy), Fishola Tesla, and Ripley (I can't remember if it was after Ellen Ripley from Alien or Ripley's Believe it or Not; probably both).

And here's my sporadically-updated parody blog where I mess with song lyrics to make them about zombies and chemical elements.

 

So yes. Geek.

And the older I get, the more I realize that is the most important part of who I am.

There are a lot of labels I can put on myself. I'm female, disabled, Italian and Irish, a writer... And there are a lot of things I'm good at or interested in. Writing, sparkly little doodads, cross stitch... But none of those are me; they're just incidental.

I was always a weird kid. I got into Pokemon when I was 16 but was watching Frasier when I was 9, if that gives you any idea of how hard it was for me to make friends. I went through the obligatory Disney princess phase, struggled in school despite being smart, and spent most of my adolescent years floundering around going "Am I an artist? Should I buy a lot of yarn and get really into crocheting? What do I do now?"

And then one day, there was a Star Wars marathon. "You like space and Indiana Jones," my mom said. "You'll probably like this."

That was an understatement, to say the least.

 
I guess I hadn't watched that much sci-fi up until then, but I just loved it more than I can even explain. Even the admittedly awful prequels and Binks-who-must-not-be-named were just so magical. I wanted to immerse myself in this world and learn obscure facts about it and name pets after the characters.

It was like I suddenly understood myself.

"Oh, I'm a geek. That's what I am. Finally."


I've found myself in my geekdom. In the crews of the Enterprise and Millennium Falcon and Serenity. In superheroes and mutants and aliens. In the corners of the Internet where people get my references and "lol" when I say "So when Luke and Leia kissed, would it be accurate to say they were... looking for love in Alderaan places?"

When people ask me about my dream writing goals, I say I want to get a novel published and have movies made out of my stories. But I think what I mean by that is that I want people to love my work enough to do that. I want my stories to help other lost little geeks find themselves.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Update and Notes!

So, the episode of Cast of Wonders that includes my story is being delayed a few days and should air sometime "mid next week."

 

I'm working on a feminist robot story that I'm going to submit to Mother of Invention, a feminist robot anthology, and I made a Pinterest board for inspiration. Robot ladies and pretty lipstick!

 

And I've been editing Blue Incarnations and I have notes. Some were from previous drafts, some are from the rewrite.
Enjoy.
 

They... pump clouds into the sky? Why?

Lots of talk about roses for a book where the main symbolic thing is carnations.

That family's name changed a paragraph later. That is some seriously quick witness protection stuff.

And they're back to their original name again.

Why were they making fake eggs if they have real eggs, other than for your dumb metaphor?

Governmental concrete-ification? I don't have a clue what you're trying to describe here.

The sound of someone talking. Or, ya know. A voice.

Diana: "Oh my god I have past life memories and this is all so overwhelming!" *2 minutes later* "Hey, dude I used to know. Why yes, I would like a chocolate malt. Look at how extremely casual I am being."

STOP TALKING ABOUT ROSES WHEN YOU COULD BE TALKING ABOUT CARNATIONS.

Gotta love a sentence that ends abruptly with the word "and." No idea what was supposed to go next.

What did happen last time?

Oh, right. The murder-suicide.

Wait I'm super confused. They wiped their brains and then killed themselves but they didn't remember that's what they were doing because they wiped their brains. Oookay.

[Other kids in Diane's class, answering the question of what they want to be when they grow up:] Fireman! Astronaut! Exotic pet store clerk! [Diane doing the same:] *dramatic emo sigh* I just want to live long enough to grow up.

Wait, is it murder? (And of course this note has no context.)

Knees are not the same as feet.

I hate to say floating buildings are unnecessary, but I highly suspect you had no idea what to write and just went "Hey what about floating buildings?"

"No sign of a single sign of people." This is not grammar.

Yeah you know where it says "[proof]"? That means you need to put words there.

Callback from earlier but the words are different because plot!

THAT'S NOT HOW MAGNETS WORK.

I've never read a dystopian YA with a character so casual about overthrowing the entire government.

Oh no. I have characters named Diana and Deanna and I didn't realize for months.

Hey, when this thing is a major blockbuster movie, remember to talk to the folks at Carnation Instant Breakfast about doing some product tie-ins.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Publishing Announcement!

Well, good news just comes in bunches with me, doesn't it! First, I get a release date for my podcast, and today I have a publication to share!

My friend Jaylee James (Circuits & Slippers editor) has a Patreon called Spectrum Lit that posts fun short stories about LGBTQ+ characters. And Jaylee asked me to submit something.

Well, I happen to have a character who likes boys and girls in a book I'm writing, and she fits Spectrum's adorable dork theme rather well, so I gave her a break from saving the world to have a little bit of romance with Ada Lovelace (one of my favorite historical figures).

I wrote this story last week; I had no idea it would be this fast, but then Jaylee is an awesome editor.


Anyway, here is the link to Do-overs. It's free to read. I really hope you enjoy it.
https://www.patreon.com/posts/do-overs-by-lee-12473810

 
Editing to add:
I forgot that Jaylee also made these amazing promo images with quotes from my story! That's Ada!




Monday, July 3, 2017

Podcast Announcement!

I'm very excited to announce that my story Chrysalis will air as a podcast on Cast of Wonders on July 16!


It's part of their "Little Wonders" series, which means they've put a few very short stories together in one podcast. Mine will be paired with stories by Jenny Rae Rappaport, Evan Berkow, David Steffen and Christine Lucas, with narration by Stephanie Morris, Setsu Uzume, Kate Baker, Makenzi Newman, and Mur Lafferty.



According to the very ominous promo picture, these stories all involve death. Mine is about the death of the world's oldest man, whose body mysteriously becomes encased in a chrysalis after he dies.

It was inspired by the woolly bear caterpillars that plague Upstate New York roads every fall. I learned that they can live for several years as caterpillars, and realized that, with all of them that get hit by cars, it's entirely possible that a caterpillar could live its whole life never knowing anyone who lived long enough to become a moth. Imagine the shock of your friend suddenly becoming a chrysalis!

I'm so excited. This was the first story that I ever had accepted.

GAAAAH I can't wait!

A link will be provided when the podcast is live. (I think I'll have to write up a bunch of cards with the link on them so I can hand them out to everyone I know.)