2017, huh? Okay, so. At the beginning of the year I quit my job because workplace conditions had repeatedly deteriorated to the point where my mental health was in a tailspin and dragging my physical health down with it. With no relief in workplace conditions and workload in sight, unable to reliably fill out job applications because my free time was occupied with being stressed out from this week’s workload and being stressed out thinking about next week’s workload, feeling constantly miserable and drifting towards… the bad end of depression… I quit. Luckily I had enough savings to weather several months of unemployment, and now I have a new job which I very much like and my co-workers are lovely and supportive and my manager isn’t toxic and I am not being overworked and underpaid! It’s nice and strange and good for me.
Transcendent: The Year’s Best Transgender Speculative Fiction has been released into the world! It contains my story “Kin, Painted”, originally in Lackington’s, a gentle thing about queer children growing up in a supportive family, and Our Narrator trying to find a true self and place amongst them. I wrote a bit about it, as well as my gender and ungendered protagonists, here. (Bit funny rereading that; last year feels like only just yesterday, yet also so long ago.)
“Kin, Painted” is the concluding story in Transcendent, and also the inspiration for the cover painted by the outstanding Noel Arthur Heimpel, and I am just all ヽ(ﾟ〇ﾟ)ﾉ and (⁄ ⁄•⁄ω⁄•⁄ ⁄) and (ღ˘ᴗ˘ღ) at such an honour.
Here’s the full table of contents! Look at that line-up, damn.
I’m excited to see what future transgender sff anthologies are like, and what K.M. Szpara edits next!
My story “Kin, Painted” is going to be reprinted in Transcendent: the Year’s Best Transgender Speculative Fiction! At the link you can see the amazing cover, the TOC, and preorder details (with $5 off at the moment). It’s edited by K.M. Szpara and the cover is by Noel Arthur Heimpel which is personally very exciting for me because Noel’s webcomic Ignition Zero has been one of my favourites for a loooong time and to see my name right there next to their art is *__*!!!
I had to be talked into submitting to Transcendent so, uh, self-reject lesson?
If you can’t wait until September then you can read “Kin, Painted” right here in Lackington’s.
The latest issue of Lackington’s is online for all to read now! You read my story, “Kin, Painted”, right here and see Likhain’s illustration for it, and there are other great stories and art to see. Ebooks are still available of course, and if you enjoy it then consider a subscription!
This story originated on a postcard in 2009. I was having difficulty getting back into writing back then, and I found that writing flash fiction on postcards meant I couldn’t agonise over words and sentences, what to do next and then after that. So I wrote a lot of them. Most weren’t that great but they were words, characters, plot, concepts that I managed to get out without a Word document driving me to anxiety. Last year I remembered this particular one and wondered if it could make a decent short story. In the postcard the narrator’s arc ended differently. Unique in its own way, but ultimately I prefer the newer version!
We painted our bodies.
My brother: gold like the ideal sun, rich like all the treasures of the world melted onto his skin. He went to the emperor, to be a measure man. If anyone gave the emperor a gift less amazing than my brother’s skin, it was to be melted down.
My sister: silver like starlight, as bright and glossy like a still lake had dyed her. She went to the …
I wish I could remember to whom I sent the postcard, see if they remember it and see what they think of its descendant.
And now I’m going to talk about being agender and writing ungendered and the stories and poems that I’ve had published this winter.
I have always been confused about gender. Society and presentation and theory, sure, but that’s all outside your skin. What was inside? How does gender inside people work? How does gender inside me work? Spoilers: it doesn’t. Earlier this year I had a series of epiphanic thoughts and was able to push through the “I don’t know I don’t know” that had always stopped me from progressing past “gender wh?” in the past. I mulled over it for a while, and it’s the only thing concerning gender inside my skin that’s made sense to me: I’m agender. Non gendered, rather than neutrois or androgynous. Gender is just not a thing that I have.
Yep, I’m a triple A. Aromantic, asexual, agender. My orientations and identity all default to “nope”. For the record, she/her pronouns are still fine, and I’m femme. UPDATE: I now use ou/ou or them/they pronouns.
My story “Tanith’s Sky” is one of 50 reprinted in The Best of Luna Station Quarterly: The First Five Years! This anthology’s only in paper form but you can still read “Tanith’s Sky” online here. It’s about what happens after the world’s been saved, it’s about grief and non-romantic love and maths and astrology and gender.
And I’m in the new issue of Lackington’s with “Kin, Painted”, which is illustrated by Likhain! It’s about finding a way to be happy in yourself, in your family and in your life, it’s about paint and non-romantic love and romantic love and compromise and being different amongst the different and quite a lot of paint. In a couple weeks the issue will be online for free but if you can’t wait there’s the (very recommendable) ebook and subscriptions available!
You can now listen to “Love Over Glass, Skin Under Glass” over at the GlitterShip podcast! And also read it, as there’s a full transcript provided! This is the first time “Love Over Glass” has been free to read or hear online (it was originally published in Aurealis and then reprinted in Heiresses of Russ 2014) which is super exciting! It’s a creepy romance about obsession, compromise, differences and self-discovery.
GlitterShip is a new podcast focusing on queer SF&F stories. Definitely check it out!
Zenith’s Wake is up at Mirror Dance! At 9,400 words it’s the longest completed thing I’ve written since I was a teenager, and probably the first time I’ve had to use maths to work out how quickly a plot should be progressing.
It is about death, grief and disaster relief; stress, relationships, love and homesickness; magic, logistics and uncertain futures.
Some minor notes: Ithikana is a Brisbane-analogue and Istapor is a Singapore-analogue; Australia really does have stinging trees.
Heiresses of Russ 2014: The Year’s Best Lesbian Speculative Fiction is out! And it contains my romance “Love Over Glass, Skin Under Glass” (published in Aurealis last year)! I’m stunned and delighted to be part of this series.
My favourite in it so far is “Her Infinite Variety” by Sacchi Green. It’s such a beautiful and taut story.
A flash story of mine appears in issue 2 of Verse Kraken amongst the poetry and photographs and performances. With a very silly title, here is She is, there—amongst the Mango Trees—a Flytrap Garden, a tale of summer experiences. And by that I mean summer bugs. (It’s an image rather than text; if there are accessibility issues and you’d like to read it, please let me know and I’ll arrange something!) Verse Kraken had a launch party which I couldn’t attend, all the more sadly after reading Alex’s write-up.
I had been preparing to talk about how strange it feels, writing such a summery story in summer and rereading it in autumn and feeling nostalgia but NOPE this week has been hot and humid and I have seen too many mosquitoes and there are cyclones in the news.
I was supposed to have another flash piece published in December, and a poem in January. I’ve heard one is hopefully on the way soonish; the other one’s status is a terrible mystery! Frustratingly I’ve not been writing as much as I would like. I seem to start getting some headway into treating one health issue and then another acts up for attention. One thing I have done recently was a poem quite unlike any I’ve written before, which was quite exciting! Hopefully it can find a home.
My story “Tanith’s Sky” is up at Luna Station Quarterly! It deals with grief, love, maths, gender and the end of the world. I’m fond of it and it contains some very personal bits of my heart, and I’m so glad to see it out in the world. Wouldn’t have been possible without R, who inspired it, and Alex, dottie and Zoe! I hope people enjoy it!
Grief is a hell of a thing. Some of Ash’s experiences in going through the grieving process are mine; my mother died a few years ago, suddenly, too young, with no chance to say goodbye. I can’t remember if I set out to write about the grieving process–R’s prompt certainly didn’t mention it–and I don’t know if I’d say it was a cathartic story, but it was so natural to write and I’ve ended up sharing more than I ever have before. It’s a strange sort of time, never sure how appropriate or awkward it’d be to say something like I heard the front door open and I knew it was her, knew it, until I remembered, until I realised what I’d forgotten to your friends.
And once again I’ve written about a couple with not-quite-aligning views on their relationship. Of course all relationships must have compromises and those sorts of things, but I find especially interesting those with dissimilar sexual and romantic inclinations.