Odds and Ends

The last few months have been a whirlwind in my personal life, making wording a bit more difficult than I’d like. But! Some fun things have been happening.

 

StarShipSofa Podcast of “Jump Cut”

One of my favorite stories has been turned into a podcast by the team at StarShipSofa! “Jump Cut” originally appeared in Unlikely Story’s Journal of Unlikely Cryptography last year. The story is wonderfully narrated by Mike Boris and includes an interview with U of Washington professor Ryan Calo on robot law. Check it out!

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It’s also cool to see some of the scifi elements I included in the story become closer to reality. Recently, Ars Technica profiled a company called Halo Neuroscience that uses electrical impulses to stimulate parts of athletes’ brains to boost performance. Very similar to the performance-enhancing implants central to my story. To see more how Halo’s technology works, check out the video below:

 

 

SF Signal Mindmeld on the best writing advice

I was recently asked “What’s the best writing advice I’ve ever received?” for SF Signal’s Mindmeld feature, a roundtable of SF/F writers. Over the years, different nuggets of writerly wisdom have stayed with me, often as a function of where I am with my craft. Check out the column to see what’s guiding me these days.

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There’s also more fantastic advice from Alex Kourvo, Nghi Vo, David D. Levine, Pear Nuallak, Jon McGoran, Janet Harriett, Adrian Van Young, Yolanda Sfetsos, Robert Kroese, Kallen Dewey Kentner, and of course moi.

 

 

Reprint of “Forge and Fledge” in Spaceports and Spidersilk

Earlier this year, my story “Forge and Fledge” was included in the January 2016 issue of Spaceports and Spidersilk, a speculative fiction magazine for young adults. It was originally published in the now-defunct but not forgotten Crossed Genres Magazine and focuses on a young teen’s yearning for a better life than a hydrocarbon mining rig floating in the atmosphere of Saturn’s moon, Titan. Support the magazine and all the other talented authors in the issue.

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Recently, Titan’s been in the news thanks to Cassini spacecraft’s most recent flyby, confirming that methane fills one of the largest hydrocarbon lakes on the moon’s surface. Cool stuff!

 

 

Paperback release of The Change anthology

Last but not least, The Change: Tales of Downfall and Rebirth, featuring my story “Against the Wind,” is now available in paperback! So get yourself to the bookseller of your choice, and snap up a copy today for a great collection of post-apocalyptic adventure stories.

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That’s it for me!

For Your Consideration – The 2016 Campbell Award

I first learned about the Campbell Award at the 2013 LoneStarCon while attending the Hugo Awards. The Campbell – which is emphatically not a Hugo – is granted to an up-and-coming writer who has at least one pro, SFWA-qualifying sale. To be nominated is an honor, and to win places the writer in rarified company. The eligibility window starts at the publication of your first pro sale and remains open for two years.

Turns out I was eligible last year, and this year is my second and final year of eligibility. Awards are funny things. They stoke the competitive fires in every writer, but remain highly subjective. How do you compare one successful story to another? How do you decide which writer has more promise than someone else? Aren’t we all casting our words about, hoping to find an audience they resonate with? Award or no, we are all capable of greatness. Our potential lies in the blank page set before all of us.

And yet… Awards are shiny things full of covetous inspiration. Who doesn’t want one?

It’s nice to know I’m eligible—another professional milestone—even though the chances of being nominated are slim. My stories, while I’m inordinately proud of them, aren’t well-known enough to have made the impact needed to secure a nom, and I’m not a vocal participant in the SF/F community either for name recognition to help tilt the scales in my favor.

That’s why I think it’s very cool that writers S. L. Huang and Kurt Hunt put together an anthology highlighting the work of all the Campbell-eligible writers for this year—just in time for the Hugo nominating process. It’s a way to showcase all the amazing work being done by new writers, and an opportunity to discover folks like me who may not be as well-known.

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So get your copy of FREE, award-eligible fiction, and get reading! I’m honored to be included with the writers in this anthology. Our stories are the future of SF/F, even if there can only be one Campbell award winner this year.

Professional Milestones or The Little Story that Could

Earlier this month, Unlikely Story—a fantastic venue of, well, unlikely speculative fiction—announced they were now a SFWA-qualifying market. This was exciting news for me, as they published my short story “Jump Cut” earlier this year, and I already had two SFWA-qualifying sales under my belt. With three sales, I’m now considered a fully-fledged member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Yay!

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This is a huge professional milestone for me for a number of reasons. First off, I primarily consider myself a novelist, so to have my membership based on my short story sales has bolstered my confidence in my craft. Since novels take more time and effort than short stories to develop (at least for me), I’m grateful there are opportunities to engage in the speculative fiction community as a professional even if I haven’t had a novel published yet.

Second, because my novel-length work is often geared toward young adults and contains romantic elements, I felt it important to demonstrate I was capable of writing a wide-range of stories for all ages. Given the tensions in the speculative fiction community over the last few years dismissing women, YA, and stories that don’t necessarily adhere to elements of the Golden Age of SF/F, I wanted my induction into this community to be unassailable. That’s also why I didn’t join SFWA as an associate member when I made my first sale, because I didn’t want to risk being viewed as a one-hit wonder. (Obviously, other writers may feel differently as to when it’s appropriate to join SFWA, but this was my process. As with anything, YMMV.)

Finally, it simply feels good to know I’m creating at a professional level. Each story I’ve had published has been a labor of love, and I’m proud of every one, regardless of what market they ended up at. But joining SFWA has been a goal of mine since I started writing SF/F, and I’m happy I’ve finally achieved it. Doesn’t mean there isn’t more work to do, but I’m looking forward to whatever comes next.

And all this wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t kept submitting “Jump Cut” to markets. I’ve talked before about the submission process, and the time it took for the story to find a home. I was thrilled when it was finally accepted for publication, and knowing it has become my third qualifying sale is just icing on the cake. For me, it is the little short story that could.

UnlikelyStoryBannerSo thank you to Unlikely Story, as well as to Crossed Genres Magazine for publishing “Forge and Fledge” and to S.M. Stirling and Roc for including “Against the Wind” in The Change anthology. You have helped me enter a new phase of my career!

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Summer Roundup!

This summer has simply flown by, and I’m appalled we’re nearly halfway through August already. My writing has ebbed and flowed these past few weeks but I’ve been staying busy, even if it hasn’t always translated into words on the page. Behold:

June

To celebrate the release of The Change: Tales of Downfall and Rebirth by Roc, including my story “Against the Wind,” I participated in the anthology’s book launch in Santa Fe (which I talked about last time). There was also another author event a bit closer to home in Albuquerque at Page1 Books. I joined editor S.M. Stirling and fellow contributors Jane Lindskold, Emily Mah, Victor Milán, and John Jos. Miller.

Milan, Miller, Lindskold, Me (answering a question), Stirling, & Mah

Milan, Miller, Lindskold, Me (in orange), Stirling, & Mah at Page 1 Books in ABQ.

I’m so happy to be a part of this anthology, and am still thrilled with the review of my story in Open Letters Monthly.

July

I spent most of July on the East Coast, three weeks plus recovery time. There I visited with friends and family but also used the trip as an opportunity to attend Readercon in Boston. I’ve heard tremendous things about the convention over the years and decided my travel dollars would be better spent attending Readercon instead of this year’s Worldcon, which has been mired in controversy after controversy.

I had a wonderful time at Readercon, particularly the part where I got to hang out with some of my SF/F writing friends and make new ones. I was also able to meet Bart R. Leib and Kay T. Holt of Crossed Genres Magazine and thank them for not only publishing me twice in one of their anthologies as well as their magazine, but also giving me my first pro sale. So that was a special moment as well.

While I was in Boston, I also met with my agent Lana Popovic where, over a delightful lunch, we plotted world domination—er, rather discussed my next project. She’s closed to queries at the moment, but I highly recommend her if you are looking for an agent with a strong editorial eye and market savvy.

When I returned to New Mexico, I learned my short story “Jump Cut” published in the Journal of Unlikely Cryptography earlier this year had been nominated in Lady Business’s Short Fiction survey from Jan to March 2015.

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A heartfelt thanks to whoever nominated my story! I’m embarrassed to say that I didn’t know about this site, but I’ll be participating in the Lady Business’s quarterly recommendation periods to come, and I hope you will too!

Finally, the end of July saw the release of Vic Milán’s The Dinosaur Lords from Tor. I got a sneak peak of the book while it was being workshopped, and know you are in for a treat if you like Dinosaurs and epic medieval battles!

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August

This month has been thankfully quiet so far, allowing me to get back into my writing routine and get caught up on things. However, I’m looking forward to participating in my local convention Bubonicon at the end of the month.

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The theme this year is “Women of Wonder” with co-guests of honor Tamora Pierce and Catherynne M. Valente, toastmistress Mary Robinette Kowal, and guest artist Ruth Sanderson. August 28-20th at the Albuquerque Marriott Uptown.
I also want to mention that The Future Fire magazine is celebrating ten (!) years of publication! They published my story “Digital Ligatures” last year, and I encourage you to check out their stories and support their crowdfunding campaign by preordering the celebration anthology.

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That’s it for me. Happy writing!

Recap: The Change Anthology Release Party

A week ago, I drove up to Santa Fe to join S.M. Stirling and eight other contributors to The Change: Tales of Downfall and Rebirth anthology for the release party at the Violet Crown Cinema in the historic railyard district.

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George R. R. Martin was our host, and he introduced Steve to an enthusiastic crowd, joking that he was confused as to why Steve chose to focus an anthology on menopause. He didn’t, of course. The Change was established in Stirling’s post-apocalyptic novel Dies the Fire, where all electronics, explosives, and internal combustion engines mysteriously cease working and humanity must find a way to survive. Since then, eleven other books have followed, some hitting the New York Times bestsellers’ list. Steve provides a great introduction to his world (and a tasty recipe!) in the Book Bites feature on Fran Wilde’s blog.

The anthology is testament to the success of Stirling’s Emberverse novels and their enthusiastic fanbase, and Steve announced that if the anthology sells well, another one could be in the works. For The Change: Tales of Downfall and Rebirth, he asked his writing friends and colleagues to contribute stories.

The Change anthology participants at the Violet Crown Cinema. S.M. Stirling fifth from left.

The Change anthology participants at the Violet Crown Cinema. S.M. Stirling fifth from left.

Going from left to right, we’ll start with Diana Paxson. She flew in from California for the event, and Steve said her The Chronicles of Westria novels were a huge influence on him, so much so he’s named the Emberverse version of California Westria. Of course, that’s where she chose to set her story as well.

Next is Kier Salmon, who since the beginning of this series has served as Steve’s Wiccan adviser, given the role of the religion in the books, and edits the Emberverse fan fiction site. She was able to adapt one of her beloved fan fiction pieces for the anthology.

Jane Lindskold is a prominent New Mexican writer, currently with a science fiction series with Tor that starts with Artemis Awakening. Her story for the anthology is set in the Southwest, a part of the world that hasn’t really been explored in the Emberverse books.

Similarly, Walter Jon Williams, another well-regarded New Mexico writer, chose a story setting that fell outside the reach of the books, a nautical tale rife with politics in post-Change Venice. He provides more context about his story in his blog post Time for a Change.

Stirling, the central figure in the picture, chose to write a side story about the main character from The Golden Princess, book ten in the series.

Next to him, Victor Milán, another New Mexican writer, whose Dinosaur Lords releases next month from Tor, chose to explore the post-Change environment in Mexico. And you can learn more about the inspiration for his story in the blog post The Change: Sandbox Play.

John Jos. Miller, also based in New Mexico, long associated with the Wild Cards franchise as well as the comics and graphic novel industry, explored what happens to zoo animals and the humans still struggling to survive in post-Change Florida by updating the Tarzan trope.

M. T. Reiten, a local author and finalist in the 2005 Writers of the Future Contest, used his doctorate in physics to explore what scientific principles had changed and what that actually meant for society in his story for the anthology.

Emily Mah, also known as E. M. Tippets in romance circles, mined her LDS background to show how the Change affected a number college students at a faith-based college. Emily also has the honor of being tuckerized by Steve in the series.

Finally there’s me on the right end if you squint!

I’d been in a critique group with Stirling, Miller, Milán, Reiten, and Mah for about a year when Steve invited me to write a story for the anthology. I admit I was a little freaked out when that happened. It’s a huge honor to be asked, and it implies a lot of trust on his part in my abilities. And I almost said no, since I didn’t want to let him down with whatever story I came up with.

But I couldn’t ignore the opportunity, so I wrote my story “Against the Wind,” sent it in to Steve, and was beyond thrilled when he accepted it.

A review from Open Letters Monthly says:

“But there are more than enough standout stories to make the volume a must for Change fiction fans. In Lauren Teffeau’s “Against the Wind,” for example, a single father named Mitch – with his young son and daughter as crew – has survived the early days of the Change by using his wind-powered yacht to scavenge dead vessels at sea off the west coast of Alaska. Teffeau does a very effective job of describing some of the horrors they encounter at sea, and she’s equally effective with the more complicated dangers Mitch faces when trying to barter his scavenged goods with a man named Dixon, head of a new and growing settlement that’s becoming more and more wary of his business.”

Needless to say, I’m grateful to Stirling for the opportunity to play in his world and that people seem to like the story so far!

A candid of S.M. Stirling, George R. R. Martin, and Walter Jon Williams during the celebration after the panel

A candid of S.M. Stirling, George R. R. Martin, and Walter Jon Williams during the celebration after the panel

The Change: Tales of Downfall and Rebirth is a great introduction to Steve’s world or a nice companion to his novels, so please consider purchasing it from your local bookstore. If it continues to do well, there just might be another volume in the future!

And if you live in New Mexico, join us at 4pm on Saturday, June 27th at Page1 Books in Albuquerque for another author event with Stirling showcasing the anthology! See you there!