2016 in review

December 7, 2016

It’s that time of year again!  What did I do in 2016?  What work did I publish?  Let’s review, shall we!

 

Collections:  This year Fairwood Press released Amaryllis and Other Stories, a splendid little thing that I’m awfully proud of.

 

Novelettes:

“The Thing About Growing Up in Jokertown.”  This brand-new Wild Cards story isn’t out yet.  It’ll go live on Tor.com on December 21.

“The Mind is Its Own Place,” Asimov’s Science Fiction, September.

“Takes All Kinds,” co-written with Diana Rowland, Urban Allies, ed. by Joseph Nassise, Harper Voyager, 2016.

 

Short Stories:

“That Game We Played During the War.” March, Tor.com.  This may be one of the best short stories I’ve ever written.  So far…

“The Lady of Shalott,” Swords v. Cthulhu, ed. Jesse Bullington and Molly Tanzer, Stone Skin Press, August.

“Origin Story,” Lightspeed Magazine.

 

Miscellaneous:

And my first play, “Simulation,” premiered at Linfield College in September.  Still looking for publication opportunities for it. Stay tuned.

I’ve also been having a splendid time reviewing movies for Lightspeed.  This page has links to all my reviews to date.

 

 

it’s a Monday…

December 5, 2016

December is not off to a real good start.  The wretched cold became even more wretched, probably because I was existing in a state of complete denial and thinking I could just power through it.  Yeah, that didn’t work.  In the meantime, I’ve barely started on holiday prep and I’m falling behind on everything I want to get done and. . .

Never mind.  I should probably go back to bed.  Ugh.

 

That was just one of the many great things Henry Rollins said last night at the Boulder Theater.  I wasn’t going to go.  I’ve come down with a wretched cold, and I’m feeling even more introverted than usual.  But a friend had an extra ticket and invited me, and I went, and I’m glad I did because Rollins said a bunch of things I needed to hear, some catharsis after the election, creative inspiration, and just awesome stories about being a type-A personality punk with social anxiety bumping into folk like David Bowie and Ru Paul.

Mostly, for me, was the way he said it.  He talked for two and a half hours straight, barely pausing to breathe, not stopping for water, the flow jumping from topic to topic to topic while somehow still being relevant.

If you’ve ever been to one of my Q&A’s or readings, you’ll recognize this pattern, because it’s pretty much what I do.  I get one question, and forty minutes later I finally come up for air, chagrined that I’ve rambled on for so long and probably bored my audience to tears and WTF is wrong with me.  But after seeing Rollins hold court and be riveting and inspiring, I realized that, Hey, maybe that technique is just fine.  Fun, even.  Fascinating, seeing all this stuff pour from one person’s brain.  I’m not as good or practiced a public speaker as Rollins is, I could use some polish and refinement.  But hey, I don’t think I’m going to worry about my 40 minute on-stage rambling jags anymore.

Thanks, Henry.

 

back from vacation!

November 30, 2016

Somehow, some way, the green light at the end of Daisy Buchanan’s pier ended up in a dive bar on the island of Roatan, off the coast of Honduras.

green-light

And when I say “dive bar,” I mean “a bar where scuba divers hang out after a day of diving.”  That’s what I was doing all last week, and I had a great time!  I wish I had more pictures to show, but when I wasn’t underwater, I was napping in a hammock.  Now that’s a vacation.  I did 17 dives in about 5 days, and saw turtles, lobsters, shrimp, crabs, squid, seahorses, and lots of coral and fish.  And hummingbirds!  So lovely.

And now the holiday rush/madness has begun.  Except that I have to finish copyedits on Bannerless before I can really focus on anything else.  Meanwhile, I’m just going to keep remembering that hammock…

 

 

Here’s basically how this went for me (WITH SPOILERS):

Me:  Oh yes, please, I would like a whimsical movie about wizarding magic in Jazz Age New York!

Movie:  Yeah, what we actually have is this dour gray thing with basically incompetent characters working in a system that has instant summary execution, apparently?  and also MASSIVE CHILD ABUSE but the victim isn’t saved and doesn’t get a happy ending is instead horribly destroyed because it turns out he was just a plot device all along.  How’s that?

Me:  *weeps softly like Westley in the torture machine in The Princess Bride*

So yeah.  I’m willing to consider that this was a case of my expectations and the actual movie not lining up at all, because plenty of people seem to like it just fine.  I mean, the creatures were kind of cool, and I liked Queenie, who in many scenes was literally the only spot of color in the entire thing.

Except.  Except. . . this movie has the wrong main character.  The main character is Jacob, not Newt.  The movie should have started with him and ended with him.  The very best parts were about this hapless Muggle (or No-maj if you prefer, which I don’t) who stumbles into the wizarding world — and is completely charmed by it, and open to the possibilities of magic, and embraces it, and does his best to help.  And then has to give it all up in order to protect that same world.  But maybe there’s a hint that he doesn’t, after all.  He’s an everyman, yeah, but there’s an actual story there.

Instead, the film piled on a couple of other plotlines that made the whole thing a crowded, chaotic mess.  I would have completely done away with the entire plot line involving some evil wizard dude causing trouble while disguised as a trusted wizard authority figure BECAUSE IT’S NOT LIKE WE’VE EVER SEEN THAT TROPE BEFORE IN A HARRY POTTER-WORLD STORY.  Seriously, you’d think they’d develop a “disguised evil wizard detector” and place it in every single doorway like we do with metal detectors, as often as this sort of thing happens.

I’m also just plain angry about the handling of Creedence’s storyline.  The New Salem whatever was kind of interesting — until it just vanished, and really it had no real connection to the rest of the story.  And Creedence could have been an amazing rescue/redemption arc there. (Maybe Jacob, unconstrained by the usual rules of the magical world, reaches out to him?  Maybe the bakery needs an assistant?)  But he really was just a Macguffin the entire time.  Too bad, so sad.

Yeah, I don’t think I’ll be seeing the rest of these.  (They’re planning how many?  Good lord.)

 

Happy Thanksgiving

November 23, 2016

Now more than ever, it’s helpful to count blessings and look at the good things in the world.  Doing so provides energy and inspiration for the battles ahead.  As ever, I’m grateful for my family, my friends, my nest, the ability to travel and do fun things, and all the good books and art in the world.  And I’m very grateful for my career.  For that I thank all of you, my readers, for helping make it possible.

Happy Thanksgiving.

 

another view of RMNP

November 21, 2016

Here’s another picture from my hike to Bierstadt Lake in Rocky Mt. National Park a couple weeks ago.  That was such a good hike, and such a good day.  I could feel the stress draining from me with every step.  Must remember my happy places.

All that gray:  those are aspen without their leaves.  I need to try this same hike a month earlier next year.  Because imagine all that turned bright gold when the leaves change.  It must be astonishing.

bierstadt-hike