Thursday, November 16, 2017

More of When You're Strange

First, a couple announcements!

Mrs. Claus comes out in less than two weeks (you can still preorder now for only 99 cents), and starting next Tuesday, editor Rhonda Parrish is posting excerpts on her blog. And there'll be some Christmas carol parodies I wrote to go along with them. I'll post the links when they're up.


And I don't have an official release date yet but early next year my time travel novella Anachronism will be published with Kristell Ink! And I'm designing some artwork for the interior, so there's two dreams ticked off with one book - author and graphic designer.


Finally, here are some more reviews of the stories in When You're Strange.
 Hipsters Vs the VCR

by Sallie McDaniel

Hipsters get sucked into a VCR board game and it's hilarious. Contains my favorite line ever: "That was about as helpful as a cat fart." I had to wait until my laughter calmed down so I could continue reading.

Family Reunion

by Tori White

I'm not entirely sure I get this one. The twist felt like it came out of nowhere. That being said, I enjoyed it and can relate to the too-Christmassy cabin atmosphere.

The Dionesian Wave

by Ray Daley

An anthropologist seeks to understand a mysterious alien dance. A very cool idea, and kind of creepy. I like the way it takes on the concept of something as big as aliens through a tiny slice of their culture.

When You're StrangePaperback | Kindle | Goodreads

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

When You're Strange - Reviews

I got my copy of When You're Strange! (Well, not my copy. Technically I have to sign it and give it to my cousin, but I'm reading it first while I wait for my contributor copy.) So I'm going to start writing short reviews of all the stories, one or two at a time, in no particular order.


Superman Has Left the Building

by Tom Howard

I'm not going to spoil anything, but man. Ollie has a really cool superpower. Not flashy or anything, but a really unique one I've never seen before. I love how troubled he is by his actions, too, especially when he talks about how the people he thinks are "evil" might be different if he had different political views.


Always, Always

by Jennifer Lee Rossman

No, I'm not actually reviewing my own story. (But it is really good and you should totally read it. Just saying.) But I did notice, at least in the paperback version, you have to turn the page to read the last two or three lines, which creates tension and prevents the eye from skimming to the end. I don't know if it was on purpose or not, but it was cool.

When You're Strange

Paperback | Kindle | Goodreads

Thursday, November 9, 2017

I Can't Even Think of a Title Worthy of This Post

I do not cry easily.

I didn't cry when I got my first story accepted. I did not cry when I held a real book containing my words.

I cried today.

Because Carl Sagan's son has read and enjoyed my story Earth Music.

Earth Music involves the Golden Record, sent up on the Voyager probe with a message for extraterrestrial life. Carl Sagan had a big part in this, and people have been telling me that Carl would have loved it.


Today, on his birthday, my publisher sent Earth Music to his son, Nick Sagan (whose voice went up on Voyager with a greeting from the children of Earth). And then this Tweet showed up in my notifications.


A Tweet from Nick Sagan saying, "I found Earth Music moving, poignant and bittersweet. A joy to read this story on my father's birthday. "



I am just a little science nerd writing silly alien stories. And the son of one of my idols - and someone who is awesome in his own right and has written episodes of Star Trek (STAR. TREK.) - enjoyed my story.

I can't explain how good this feels.

(I'm supposed to be editing a novella right now, but I think "Nick Sagan is aware of my existence" is a good excuse for not working. Or for anything. I'm going to use that next time I'm late for an appointment.)

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Exciting Things of Excitement

So first off, When You're Strange has a Goodreads page!


Second, I can't talk about much of it, but the first quarter of 2018 is going to be exciting for me. You can expect:

1. An ebook anthology featuring my first ever reprint.

2. I don't know how much I can say about this one, but hopefully you guys can finally meet Petra and Moses.

3. Gay narwhals.



Y'all. This is exciting. And you can tell it's exciting because I used the word "y'all," and I only pretend to be southern when it's exciting.

Publisher's Weekly reviewed Mrs. Claus.

*gif of Kermit the frog flailing excitedly*

You can preorder Mrs. Claus: Not the Fairy Tale They Say here, and add it on Goodreads.

Monday, November 6, 2017

When You're Strange is Published!

Weirdos, freaks, and misfits welcome! There are things that define us. Things that separate us from the whole. Everyone's a stranger in some way or another. Whatever the circumstances, strangers are compelling protagonists. For CASFWG's third anthology, we present fifteen stories of strangers. From distant planets to rural locales, enjoy the unfamiliar.

When You're Strange, featuring my story Always, Always, is published!

Available from Amazon in paperback and e-book 

Always, Always is a tale of sacrifice set in a futuristic Australia, and I'm so happy I can finally introduce the world to Tress and Voltaire!

Through all the various iterations Always, Always took on its journey from novel to short story, one thing remained constant: the title.

(Okay, technically it was called Semper, Semper for most of its life, but that's just Latin for Always, Always.)

The Outback is called the Never Never, a name that evokes bleakness and death. And in my original idea, that's what it was: a place where Tress and her town were dying. I also vaguely remember something to do with one of Charlie's (a character I've written out of this version) tattoos, and a promise to his sister.

Now it has a different meaning for the characters, and for me. This story was always, always in my head; even when I was convinced the plot wouldn't work, I knew there was something special there and the story needed to be told.

Also! I just made my first reprint sale! But I'm not allowed to announce details about this yet so shhhh. :)

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Editing Notes: The Editing Notes Strike Back

So I thought When You're Strange came out today, but it's actually this Friday. Come back this Friday for that, then. :)


Meanwhile, I have finished what I'm calling the final draft of Blue Incarnations! And you know what that means...



Gran exists. Don't let this turn into on The Walking Dead when Beth was missing and Maggie only cared about Glenn.

If Ron Funches doesn't play this character in the movie, I'm out.

"I never know when it's okay to laugh about murder-suicides." Um. Never? Also how often does this happen?

It's very important no one forgets he has a beard.

I think I named a character after a fictional turtle from a Bad Lip Reading video.

Murder and tax evasion are actually very different things.

[examples of food go here] How hard is it to think of food?

Well, I just invented candied dandelions so apparently the answer is "very."

She is no longer dressed like Star Trek Hillary Clinton! Now she's Star Trek Fern Gully!

Oh, har har, etymology is hilarious.

You're a murderer, darlin'. Stop forgetting that fact.

"Life endures." *squints* Yeah, that was definitely a Jurassic Park "life finds a way" reference in a former draft.

Honestly, this whole book kept trying to insert Jurassic Park references into itself. And Winnie the Pooh. My character continuously almost gets stuck in holes. And she loves honey. Which is a connection I hadn't made until just now.

Monday, October 30, 2017


This post discusses ableism and emotional abuse. Well, more like emotional exploitation? I'm not exactly sure what to call it, but if you don't want to read it, feel free to skip it and come back Wednesday for the When You're Strange anthology release.

And I don't honestly know why I wrote this. Ranting at the internet because the person I want to rant at isn't listening.



Today I went to talk about disability at a luncheon for a place that does advocacy and housing and such for people with developmental disabilities. I won't mention any names.

I had a bad feeling about it from the beginning. Nothing I could put the a finger on, just bad vibes. I come from a family where we can look at someone and instantly know if they're good and sincere, and apparently this power also works over the internet because I knew from the first email about this luncheon that something was off.

Afterwards, I felt so bad that I emailed the woman in charge. In the email, I used a very personal example of my having been abused to show her how her behavior was making me feel. She sent a generic reply and cc'd two people I know.

Because the specifics of how my dad was emotionally abusive are something I want everyone to know about.

But I made some points in this email that are too important to waste on her inbox, so I'm sharing some of it. Included is some stuff about my father. It's not the worst trauma he put me through, but it's my trauma and I get to decide when I share it.

My dad was not a great person a lot of the time, but this is the thing that still affects me every day of my life. Every time I'm in danger of sounding dumb and I'm afraid what that means about my worth as a person, every time I know something and pretend not to because people thinking I'm smart makes me remember the way he prodded me to show off. This is the reason making a simple cross stitch mistake can make my self-esteem plummet to the point of tears, and the reason I don't want people knowing how smart I am.

If I'm not perfect, I feel worthless. If I'm perfect, I feel like a trained poodle.

There's no right answer.



I don't want to win awards or live on my own. I don't have goals or want my books turned into movies.
I have absolutely no desire to go to college.
I am content the way I am.
I feel like you (you specifically today and you in a broad sense meaning all of [organization]) want us [meaning disabled people] to do so much. And that's good. But it feels like... I don't know the words for it so let me tell you about my father so you can understand where I'm coming from.
My father pushed me to do things. Learn and read and go places. I'm forever grateful for him doing this because it made me who I am today. But we couldn't just DO things. I couldn't look at tadpoles under a microscope for the sake of it. Everything I did had to be shown off. How smart Jen is, how good she is at the piano. Every little fun fact or accomplishment was for the good of other people, because he had to prove that I was still worth loving even though I'm in a wheelchair.
That's what it felt like today.
"Do you have plans for when you win a writing award?" "Wouldn't it be great if you could live on your own?"
Where was "Are you happy?" Or "What changes do YOU want to make to your life?" Because I'm happy getting little stories published online. I'll be happy if I never get a movie deal.
I physically can't live on my own and I feel like people think less of me for that.
It is enough to be happy. It is enough just to exist in a world where you're loved for who you are, not what you've done.



So that's the kind of day I had. I called her out on sharing this without my permission. No response yet, and part of me hopes it stays that way.