Sunday, August 20, 2017

Review: Stitching Snow

Stitching Snow Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I do love sci-fi fairy tale retellings. And bumbling robots. And robots that swear.
I didn't realize I loved girl cage fighters and military propaganda, but apparently I do.

You'd think a book based on a story we all know so well couldn't surprise you. BUT YOU WOULD BE WRONG.
There were so many little twists on the original tale while still keeping to the basic formula. I knew there would be a poison apple, a footsman who helps fake her death, a magical no-more-coma kiss... but the way these details were executed and stitched into the elaborate world and plot make it a delight to read.

I love Essie. The way she doesn't like to be touched but doesn't let that stop her from getting physical in the cage. It's unfortunate that that attitude comes from sexual abuse, which I wish I'd been aware of earlier in the book. Even with that subject matter, it was handled well and wasn't explicit in any way. Even the foulmouthed robot Cusser doesn't use any real curses on the page.

All in all, a fun and magical romp through a lot of heavy feelings.


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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Is Today Tuesday? (Acceptance!)

In July, I had two stories accepted and three published. So far in August, four acceptances.

And it's just blowing my mind that I'm having this success. I'd like to think I'm becoming a better writer (and I probably am; we are always improving our craft), but mostly I think it's quantity. I've been submitting at least one story a week since January. That greatly increases my odds of the right story getting to the right people.

 

So! The stories!

 

I've told y'all about the Mrs. Claus anthology. I'm extra excited about this one because the last anthology helped me make so many friends.

Last week, I got TWO stories accepted at Diabolical Plots. "Jesus and Dave" and "The Man Whose Left Arm Was a Cat." I'm the first author to get two stories accepted in the same submission window.

 

So the last two Tuesdays, I got acceptances. This Tuesday, I didn't, but this week our schedule got changed and our regular Tuesday appointment was moved to today... And I got an acceptance!

I haven't signed a contract yet, and I never know how much I can say until then, but it's an online magazine and my story involves aliens and language and music.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Cross Stitch for My Grandparents

I finished these cross stitch projects a while ago, but had to keep them secret because one was a surprise for my grandfather. But now I can share!

 

My grandmother loves her garden, and these are some of her favorite flowers. Penny for scale.

The colors got sort of washed out, especially on the sunflower where you can hardly see the lighter shade of yellow. (And I didn't take off the masking tape I used to keep the edges from fraying!)

 

And this is my grandfather's shop, the Post & Boot, where he sells handmade birdhouses and other garden decor.


 
I wouldn't be a good granddaughter if I didn't give them some free advertising: http://www.browsethebrookfields.com/post-and-boot.html

Monday, August 7, 2017

Two Anthology Announcements!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

*calendar and thermometer vehemently disagree*

Well, I'm in a Christmassy mood, in any event, because I just got a story accepted in an anthology about Mrs. Claus! 

An official announcement and list of authors will be made after contracts and edits are done in a month or two, and the book is expected to be published this winter.

So watch this space for more information.

 

ALSO

 

Jaylee James, editor of Circuits & Slippers, is looking for stories of love under the sea for an upcoming anthology called Love & Bubbles.

It will be funded by a Kickstarter early next year, and I can confirm that there will be some very cool backer rewards. (Let's just say, if you like cross stitch and super cute sea creatures in love, I miiiight be making some things that will interest you!)
More information and submission form here: http://jayleejames.com/love-bubbles/

Friday, August 4, 2017

Review: Salvage

Salvage Salvage by Alexandra Duncan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book drops you into an intricate world without stopping for boring explanation, and every time you're comfortable and think you know what's happening, the plot twists away and breaks off a piece of your heart.
It starts with Ava, an illiterate young woman with a knack for engineering, who lives in a misogynistic spaceship where women are forbidden from reading or singing or going to Earth or doing much except having babies and tending animals.
She falls in love and her honor is taken by a boy named Luck, which angers both their families to the point that they're ready to toss the kids out the airlock. And that's just the setup to the main plot!
I feel like there's a lot of good messages here about finding your purpose and deciding what it means to you to be a woman. Your honor isn't everything and it's okay not to want kids (one character even tells her it's okay if she wants to get a contraceptive shot).
All of the names on Ava's ship are palindromes. Not sure what's up with that.
And I'm not great with symbolism or metaphor so bear with me if I'm totally off base. When Ava sets foot on Earth, she believes she loses her soul because... well, basically an original sin sort of story from her culture. She's bad because she did the thing men said she wasn't allowed to do. Like the premarital, not-for-baby-making sex. Is she still whole after? Will anyone want her?
This book was over 500 pages long and I still wanted more.

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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

IWSG: "Just Online"

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

 
This has been a wild month.
I've had three things published and just signed a contract for something else. (And I just got a big exciting email that I'll make a post about soon!)
When I tell people this, I qualify it with "They're all just online and one of them is on my friend's Patreon." Like I'm trying to make it seem like it's less of a big deal.
Yeah, paper books are awesome. When I got my copy of Circuits & Slippers and saw my story in real life, I almost cried. Somehow, my words became more important because they existed outside of the computer. They were real.
But if I had downloaded it as an ebook, or if it was only published online, it's still real. Especially in the age of electronics, it doesn't mean more just because someone went to the trouble of printing them.
I think I say "just online" for a few reasons. I live in a building that's probably 75% seniors, and so I have a lot of friends who don't have ereaders or even the Internet (though I do have one older friend who uses computers better than I do). I think I've gotten in the habit of not getting their hopes up. No, I can't sign a copy and you can't buy it at the bookstore because it's just online.
But also there's a lot of self-esteem issues going on. As much as I love my family being proud of me, there's part of my brain that goes "This is wrong; you've done nothing to deserve this." So I try to make it sound like less of a big deal.

But it is a big deal. I'm writing things and people are paying me for them. It's not always a lot of money, and it's not always a huge publisher that will get my work read by thousands of people, but it's something. And a lot of really good writers never get to this point.
I know I'm a good writer. I've also gotten incredibly lucky. I've sent the right stories to the right people and have made friends that share links that give me opportunities.
And that's a big deal, no matter where the words are.
So I'm going to brag a little bit about what happened in July.

My friend and Circuits & Slippers editor Jaylee James asked me to write a story for her Own Voices Patreon. A week of writing and editing (both on my own and with Jaylee) later, Do-overs was released. It's a dorky little romance between a bi time traveler and Ada Lovelace, one of my favorite historical figures.
 
And then The Falling Marionette was published on Expanded Horizons, "speculative fiction for the rest of us." It's about disability in the future.
 
Finally, my story Chrysalis was published on a podcast on Cast of Wonders.

They're only online, but it's still a huge deal.