Monday, October 17, 2016

Writing Career: Check, One, Two, Three, Check

Hello? Is this thing on?

<searing feedback screech>

Ah. There we go.

So, it's been awhile for this blog. A whole year in fact, until a few weeks ago when I made a post about how the little story that could ("The Two Out of Three Rule") finally, in fact, did. (Get published, that is.)

And I followed that up with another post about another publication, "The Farmgirl and the Kitsune," which was released shortly after that.

So I thought I'd take a little time to check in and update just how things are going overall with my writing hobby/slowly-morphing-into-a-career (or-at-least-side-income).

Because there has been movement on that front. A nice amount of movement, at least when I think of the doldrums that occurred during my decade in Chicago.

A large part of that, I think, is due to my move to Seattle.

Shortly after relocating here, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Seattle is... well if not the Mecca for science fiction writers, then a thriving epicenter, a community of speculative fiction writers I could only have dreamed about while living in Chicago. Don't get me wrong; I like the Windy City, but Seattle mops the floor with Chicago when it comes to sf/f writing opportunities. (Not that Chicago is totally bereft, however! I still remember being briefly introduced to Audrey Niffennegger at a GBF party.)

In quantifiable terms, since my move to Seattle in the last three years, I've:

-joined two writing critique groups

-made two pro short story sales

-made two semi-pro short story sales

-finished the first draft of a book

-also finished the second, third, fourth, and fifth drafts of that same book

-submitted my book to agents for the first time

-joined Codex

-become an affiliate member of SFWA (the Science Fiction Writers of America)

The funny thing is, Chicago-me would have been ecstatic with these accomplishments; wouldn't have believed they were possible, in fact. Yet one of the side effects of having numerous Seattle acquaintances with successful writing careers is realizing just how far I still have to go. I'm not at all disheartened by this, but it helps to keep things in perspective.

As professional writers go, I'm still in the pupal stage of development: almost, but not quite ready to break out of my cocoon.

(Which, when I emerge, will make me either a beautiful butterfly or some sort of hybrid monster from a Japanese film? I'm not quite sure how the metaphor works at that point.)

In truth, I sort of like that I know there's still a long ways to go. Now that I'm moving forward, I'm actually excited to see what's waiting around the next bend in the road.

And, so far, the journey has been incredibly fulfilling.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

"The Farmgirl and the Kitsune" now available at Abyss & Apex

Happy to announce that my story "The Farmgirl and the Kitsune" is now live at the Hugo-nominated Abyss & Apex magazine.

Having just missed getting published there with a previous submission, Abyss & Apex was the first place I sent "The Farmgirl and the Kitsune" after I finished edits on the story--and thus it's the only story I have that's batting a perfect 100.

I did a fair amount research for the piece, including rereading my old manga and some collections of Japanese folklore. Other influences include "The Magic Listening Cap," "Ooka and the Honest Thief," (both of which can be found in the Junior Great Books program) and Neil Gaiman's The Sandman: The Dream Hunters.

I think I did a decent job with tone. According to the magazine's Japanese culture consultant, my piece was "either a very, very good translation or a very authentic Japanese-style folktale." Nice to see my effort paid off! 

As mentioned in the author section after the story, "The Farmgirl and the Kitsune" is actually a subplot taken from my first novel Granters, which I'm currently in the process of shopping around to agents. The story is a slightly longer in the book, with a small interstitial cut to show how the titular kitsune obtained some advice in solving her ward's problematic wish. 

I sincerely hope that people will be able to read Granters in its full capacity some day and have high hopes that this will be the case. In the meantime, check out "The Farmgirl and the Kitsune" on Abyss & Apex. Check out the other stories and poems in this issue as well! They're all fantastic, and it's a fine publication.

And thanks for reading!