Friday, September 22, 2017

Earth Music

My story, Earth Music, is now available on Syntax & Salt!

 
It features a young alien named Ve, who is part of a mission to visit Earth. Her people had found the Voyager Golden Record (a real record humanity sent into space in the 1970s that contains pictures of Earth, greetings to extraterrestrials, and a selection of sound and music recordings), and are coming to Earth on a friendly mission of peace and exploration.


Ve is blind, and thinks this will make her the perfect ambassador because the humans won't be afraid of her. She is also fluent in English and has memorized some Earth songs. Her favorite is Beethoven's Fifth. Maybe the humans will want to sing with her.

 

Explaining my inspiration for Earth Music would be giving away the ending, so I'll just say it was a news story and my friend encouraged me on Twitter to take the idea into SPAAAAAACE.

Sidenote: My friend is also named Jen, also from Oneonta, also had a story in Syntax & Salt. Clearly Jens from Oneonta are their ideal writers.
(And you should also read Jen's story, Daddy's Girl: http://syntaxandsalt.com/portfolio/daddys-girl-by-jennifer-r-donohue/)


 

I love all of my stories, but this one holds a special place in my heart. There isn't enough disability rep in sci-fi, especially not where it isn't the entire point of the story.

I feel about Ve's blindness the way I feel about my disability: it just is. She doesn't need to accept it or overcome it. It's an integral part of who she is and I would not be telling the same story if she were sighted, but it isn't the most important part of her or the story.

It just is.

 

And talking about disability brings me to my next bit of news, and the latest in a series of "What was I thinking when I agreed to do this?" moments.

This Tuesday, I'm going to be one of three guest speakers at Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown, talking to an auditorium of around a hundred people about disability and etiquette.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Mrs. Claus Cover Reveal!

It's cover reveal day for Mrs. Claus! And you can pre-order an ebook copy now and save!
When you think of Mrs. Claus, do you imagine a quiet North Pole homebody who finds complete fulfillment in baking cookies, petting reindeer and crafting toys alongside elves? How about a magic-wielding ice goddess, or a tough-as-nails Valkyrie? Or maybe an ancient fae of dubious intentions, or a well-meaning witch? Could Mrs. Claus be a cigar-smoking Latina, or a crash-landed alien? Within these pages Mrs. Claus is a hero, a villain, a mother, a spacefarer, a monster hunter, and more. The only thing she decidedly is not, is a sidekick.
 It’s Mrs. Claus’ turn to shine and she is stepping out of Santa’s shadow and into the spotlight in these fourteen spectacular stories that make her the star! Featuring original short stories by Laura VanArendonk Baugh, C.B. Calsing, DJ Tyrer, Jennifer Lee Rossman, Kristen Lee, Randi Perrin, Michael Leonberger, Andrew Wilson, Ross Van Dusen, MLD Curelas, Maren Matthias, Anne Luebke, Jeff Kuykendall, and Hayley Stone.
  And now the cover! To quote my mother, "Oh, she's sexy."



Isn't she gorgeous!!!


Mrs. Claus will be out on November 28th, 2017 (*cough*makes the perfect holiday gift*cough*), but you can preorder now and get the ebook for only 99 cents!

Be sure to check back here now through release day. We'll be doing some fun and delicious promotion (and you might just get my mother's chocolate chip cookie recipe, but only if you're on the Nice list).



Links:
 
 
 

Barnes & Noble 

 
iBookstore
 

 

About the anthologist
Rhonda Parrish is driven by the desire to do All The Things. She was the founder and editor-in-chief of Niteblade Magazine, is an Assistant Editor at World Weaver Press, and is the editor of several anthologies including, most recently, Sirens and D is for Dinosaur. In addition, Rhonda is a writer whose work has been included or is forthcoming in dozens of publications including Tesseracts 17: Speculating Canada from Coast to Coast, Imaginarium: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing (2012 & 2015), and Mythic Delirium. Her website, updated weekly, is at rhondaparrish.com.

Monday, September 11, 2017

I Don't Suck at Public Speaking!

I went to sit in on a presentation today at ARC, to watch someone talk to new employees about disability so I can give the presentation sometime.

Small group; six or seven people. The speaker ended up being my neighbor Marni! She showed some old home movies and video of her wedding, and answered questions about her life.

And then she excused herself to go to the bathroom, and I was asked to take over.


What.

No.

I am not prepared.

How do I make words come out of my face.


But then the blankness went away, and I learned that I don't completely suck at public speaking! Anxiety came in the pauses where no one was talking, which is generally how it is with me. I only get anxious when I'm not currently busy. I like to say I'm great in a crisis but will be freaking out every second until the actual crisis.


I'll probably be doing something again in October (this time prepared for speaking!). And on Wednesday I have a phone interview about going to speak to "a large number" of medical professionals.

My first question will be "define 'large number.'" :D

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Review: When the Moon Was Ours

When the Moon Was Ours When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I now know the names of more moon craters and species of pumpkins than I ever wanted to know.

This book is like a modern fairy tale about a girl who has roses growing from her wrist. It's also about gender and love and the secrets that can shatter us.
It's so beautifully written, so vivid. Which kind of bugged me after a while, but that's just me. I have attention span issues and sometimes I just want the story to get moving. But the descriptions were so gorgeous that I didn't mind it taking a little longer to read.
For a book where one of the main characters spilled out of a water tower and sprouts flowers, the magic angle is actually pretty slight through most of the book. I won't let the genre affect my rating (even though I'd much rather there be more magic and fantasy), it was so slight that I almost forgot about it sometimes, to the point that a few of the twists (no spoilers, but I'll just say Leandro was one, and the big climax was another) felt like they came out of left field until I remembered, "Oh, right. Magic exists as more of a metaphor."
The gender stuff is a little tough sometimes. Sam was assigned female at birth but identifies as male, something he keeps hoping he'll grow out of. And some characters purposely misgender and threaten to out him.
But overall, it's a book about love. Romantic and familial and self-love, and all the characters pop off the page. Within a few paragraphs of their introduction, I could feel the mythology of the Bonner girls that must exist in that town.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

IWSG: Surprises

Ooh, y'all. Have I got something to show you in a couple weeks! It's burning a hole in my hard drive, it's so cool. (And I do mean "cool." Frosty. Icy, even. The temperature of a North Pole Christmas, say...)

Be sure to check back here on September 20 for a cover reveal!

On the first Wednesday of every month, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group encourages writers to talk about their insecurities.

 
This month their question is:
Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing? For example, by trying a new genre you didn't think you'd be comfortable in?
 
You mean other than being surprised that my writing is good? :P
No, seriously. I continue to be surprised that people like what I write. I know I'm good from a technical standpoint, and my stories are creative, but they're very weird and I didn't think many people would "get" my humor.
I was wrong, and that's an amazing feeling!
 
I did surprise myself with Do-overs, my first completely romance-orientated plot. I think I've written before about how my brain doesn't fully understand the genre or, you know, how feeling and attraction work.
When I submitted it, I thought "Eh, it's kind of cute."
Apparently it's not cute, it's adorable. I've gotten more compliments on this story than any of my other published works, and not one person has called it creepy!
I didn't realize my writing was so dark until people told me; I guess I do tend more towards the Twilight Zone than... Jeez, I can't even think of something bright and cheery. Sailor Moon?
It's nice when you can step outside your comfort zone and still succeed.
 
 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Random Updates

Well, I've been very busy, but not the kind of busy that leads to exciting news or anything. Not yet, anyway.

 

I've been editing things and signing contracts. And somehow making my signature look different on every one?

An official list of authors featured in Mrs. Claus will be announced soon.

 

I got a betta fish! He's an orange crowntail named Neutrino, and he loves his shiny rocks. He enjoys Kevin Bacon movies, and keeps trying to befriend the cat. The cat is having none of it.

 

I finished a cross stitch that I can't show anyone yet because it's for my friend's project in February. (Okay, mostly I can't share it because we haven't taken a picture yet.) But perhaps I can interest you in a feathered velociraptor in Mardi Gras colors:



And on Thursday, I have a meeting/interview with my local ARC to see if I can give a talk about disability advocacy and etiquette to their new employees. Super excited and terrified about that.

The person who set this up asked me if I'm okay with public speaking. I honestly don't know, because I've never done it before. Part of me thinks I won't be, because I get really anxious when I have to talk to people I don't know, but I'm usually good if I know what I'm supposed to say, and I'm a good enough liar actor that people don't tend to notice my anxiety. (I can't say enough good things about having a used car salesman as a father. You really learn how to fake confidence.)

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Cross Stitch Parasaurolophus

Diabolical Plots has announced its schedule for the 25 stories it acquired from the recent submission window. I can now announce that my story "Jesus and Dave" will be available in July 2018, and "The Man Whose Left Arm Was a Cat" in January 2019. Publishing is a very slow thing sometimes but I hope they'll be worth the wait and I look forward to reading all the other stories!   Now, onto a post I've apparently had in my draft folder for over a month. *dusts off cobwebs*  


I just really love dinosaurs. They're the best thing ever.

This parasaurolophus is 24 x 30 stitches, and is my first with no white space.

Here's a pattern if you want to make one. (I cheated at the feet by covering them with foliage.)




I don't know why I like parasaurs in particular. They were never really in Jurassic Park, and while Ducky from The Land Before Time was sort of a parasaur, she didn't really look like one.

But they're my favorite.

I don't know why I picked the colors. I think they look good together, but for some reason, my brain has decided parasaurs have to be yellow with blue stripes. It's the way I always imagine them, like brachiosaurs are purple and tyrannosaurs are green. 
On Twitter, my friend has a stegosaurus character named Gorg who is adorable and goes on adorable adventures. Adorably.

So I had to counter with a parasaurolophus named Morg.


Morg always wears her bright green thimble when she cross stitches.


Morg likes to cosplay as Dr. Ellie Sattler from Jurassic Park.


And she dressed as Ada Lovelace to promote my story Do-overs.

 
 

In conclusion, parasaurolophus.