Mechanical Animals – event!

November 16, 2018

My next short story release is in the anthology Mechanical Animals from Hex Publishing. At MileHi Con I talked a little about how I don’t write horse stories very often, and I’m not quite sure why, given how important horses are to me. But “Closer to the Sky” is a horse story, and not just a horse story, but A Girl and Her Horse story, which I think is a very special genre. I hope people like it. Here’s the Kirkus Review. It says my story is the “most accessible,” and I think that’s because even if people don’t want to admit it, A Girl and Her Horse stories really are the best stories.

We’re having a release party at the Tattered Cover on December 5. Maybe I’ll see you there!



never stop learning

October 30, 2018

I’m currently reading Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass. This will probably strike some people as funny or ironic or something. I’m twenty-two published novels into my career, right?  My first novel was a breakout novel.  (In fact, Maass talks about the Kitty series in one of his other books on writing, The Fire in Fiction.) Surely I’ve got this covered, right?

The current thing I’m working on is different from anything I’ve ever written. I’m on a third draft and it’s not there yet.  So I’m hitting the books, getting back to basics. Trying to figure out what I’m missing, what I need to focus on.

And it’s humbling, because in this book Maass explicitly talks about how his audience isn’t necessarily new writers, but mid-career writers who’ve maybe hit a wall.

Um. Yeah.

The good news is I’ve got a couple of pages of notes now about what I need to work on. I’ve identified the primary conflict as a three-way tug-of-war between three characters. I’ve identified one of those characters as an actual character and not as the distant nebulous thing she was before (fantasy writing, sometimes characters don’t look like characters), and determined there aren’t actually subplots — just consequences of the one main plot.

Now I just have to, you know. Do the thing.  My usual tricks weren’t working, gotta learn something new. “Never stop learning” is a really good lesson.

*rolls up sleeves*


Monday update

October 23, 2018

I know, it’s not Monday, but I meant to post something yesterday and things got away from me.

Actually, I sat down and wrote a 2700 short story, whole and complete, in almost one sitting (I took a break to go to yoga class). I haven’t done that in years. I’ve never done it the day after a convention. The idea has been noodling in my head for months, but I woke up with exactly the right opening for it, and it just kept going. It’s amazing. And it’s not finished. I think it needs another draft, some fleshing out. I’m going to let it sit for a bit and then figure it out.

Speaking of MileHi Con — mass chaos! It was great, and a whirlwind, with a lot going on. They did something really ambitious for their 50th anniversary:  invited back all previous Guests of Honor. I think 24 of them came. Including me. I was Toastmaster in 2008, Special Guest in 2018…so I’ll have to suggest they invite me back for something in 2028, yes?



Friday & upcoming events

October 12, 2018

After a couple of months in a fog, my brain is starting to come back online. I think. Which is to say I’m starting to make plans instead of just ideas. I hope I can keep it up.

And after six days of clouds and rain, the sun is out. I should go outside.

The plus side:  I’ve sold some stories.

The down side:  All the editors sent copyedits to be looked over today.

Reminder, I’ve got four events coming up:

The Paranormal Author Panel at Front Range Community College in Westminster, CO, Oct. 18 at 6 pm. Books will be for sale here.

Next weekend, MileHiCon. It’s the 50th Anniversary and it’s going to be a big production, with many former Guests of Honor (including me!) in attendance.

The weekend after that, the Wizarding Weekend Festival in Ithaca, NY.

And November 10 I’ll be at the Book Bar in Denver for the science fiction reading series.

Things are about to get busy…


Roaring Twenties

October 10, 2018

For reasons too complicated to go into now, I’ve published my story “Roaring Twenties” as its own ebook.  This is the one about a magical speakeasy and a couple of flappers who are more than they seem. It originally appeared a few years ago as part of the Martin and Dozois edited anthology Rogues. Now it’s a stand-alone.



Barnes and Noble

iTunes should be up in a day or two. And here’s the iTunes link!



October 1, 2018

Colette is a biopic of the early 20th century French writer, starring Keira Knightley. It’s long and leisurely and visually lush in the way of a lot of biopics, especially ones of artistic people. And like a lot of biopics of writers it says some true things about writing while also making the writing life look impossibly romantic.  I mean, writing is just a really slow process, so you gotta take cinematic short cuts. But mostly what the movie is interested in is Colette’s unconventional life and career, and that’s where it shines, in its positive portrayal of genderqueer and genderfluid characters.

I also learned that Colette was born exactly a hundred years before I was.

For all that I enjoyed the film, I left angry because that thing where a brilliant woman creator had an egotistical and overbearing husband who constrained, damaged, or took advantage of her apparently happened enough that there’s a whole genre about it. Big Eyes about Margaret and Walter Keane, Sylvia about Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes.  Colette’s early novels were published under her husband’s name. He would lock her in a room until she produced more. When she suggested maybe putting her names on the books too, he did not react well. Eventually she left him, and wrote plenty under her own name.

During the movie I thought about the Impressionist artist Marie Bracquemond, whose husband was also a painter, resentful of her talent to the point where she stopped painting at all.

It just… it’s infuriating. Once is a sad story. Two, three, four. . . that’s a pattern. And it sucks.


rough week

September 28, 2018

Been a rough week. The bullies keep on because they keep getting away with it.

The thing about finishing a big writing project is this moment of despair when I’m trying to figure out what to work on next and have five choices and can’t focus on any of them.

On the plus side, I’ve been invited to be an auntie to a baby horse due to be born in April. So there’s that to look forward to.