Whew, 2022

This year was a lot. And not all in a bad way as things opened up and it felt safer to go out and about and be with other people. I was able to travel for the first time in over two years to visit friends and family. I did two conventions this year and am doing another in January. I saw movies in theatres and dined in at restaurants. I saw shows and went to events that had people there from outside our pandemic bubble. As others have eloquently said before me, all this socializing felt like exercising a muscle that had fallen into disuse, and as nerve-wracking as it was determining what was safe to do with reasonable precautions, I’m glad I was able to do these things that I enjoyed and made me feel more connected to the larger community.

But there were downsides as well. Despite being vaxxed and boosted, we finally got Covid at the start of summer break after our daughter was exposed on the last day of school. A good friend from college was struck and killed by a driver while riding his bike with his family. A drunk driver crashed into our fence with a stolen car, and we simply haven’t had the time or energy to repair it. And I haven’t even gotten to the writing piece yet.

Then I got surprise pneumonia in early November. We are still not sure how, but what we do know is the antibiotics I was put on burned the lining of my esophagus and stomach. Navigating the health system in New Mexico can be difficult at the best of times and after two years of accumulated pressure from Covid plus the combo of flu and RSV this year, it was even worse. It didn’t help that my symptoms mimic those of a heart attack, which have risen exponentially thanks to Covid, so that added a new dimension of panic and anxiety to an already fraught process. The good news is, after three trips to the ER and an endoscopy, I’m fine and have a plan to manage all this now. But getting to this point, and knowing there are so many others out there who are in worse shape and/or face steeper hurdles in our medical system while the tripledemic rages on, well, it’s a lot.

Writing-wise, things this year felt a bit like a reset in a lot of ways. I wrote and submitted more short stories in 2022 than I have in years. I’m proud of both stories that came out in Third Flatiron’s After the Gold Rush anthology and Rooster Republic’s Chromophobia: A Strangehouse Anthology by Women in Horror for different reasons. “The Front of the Pack” in After the Gold Rush is a flash piece, which is a length I’ve always struggled with. “Gray Rock Method” in Chromophobia is my first foray into horror, which was a fun way to dip my toe into the genre. I have more short fiction forthcoming in 2023 and other stories I hope will be picked up soon—hope springs eternal!

Some really great in-the-trenches things happened this year as well, but they are the kind of thing that only I can say, “Hey, this is a real milestone,” even when it doesn’t manifest into something tangible I can point to on a bookshelf or a table of contents somewhere. So I’m forced to come back to the iceberg metaphor and how so much of the creative life is sublimated, rendered invisible to outside eyes, and that we only have ourselves to accurately measure our progress, and to not let that metric get corrupted by outside influences.

I’ve done a lot of that work this year, and I think the results of having two new book ideas start to take shape are evidence of that. This year I also discovered there’s still life in some of my older projects that I’ve sweated and grieved over not finding a wider audience. I can’t tell you how affirming that is to know that sometimes it isn’t you or your work, but the capricious luck in finding the right moment, the right call, the right person instead. Some things can only be learned by going through them and persevering. And I plan to persevere all the way through 2023 as well.

I hope you’ll join me!

New Story Alert: Android Press’s Cyberpunk Solarpunk Anthology

I am so pleased to announce I’ll have a story in the forthcoming anthology Fighting for the Future: Cyberpunk and Solarpunk Tales, which is edited by Phoebe Wagner and published by Android Press.

When I first saw the call for the anthology, I knew I needed to submit a story since they were specifically looking for stories at the intersection of Cyberpunk and Solarpunk, and of course, that is exactly the same energy I brought to my debut novel Implanted.

How it started:

How it’s going:

“Root Cause,” my story for the anthology, is set in the very same world of Implanted: that of a high-tech society rewilidng the land outside a domed city, their refuge from the changes wrought by climate change. While it introduces new characters, the story’s blend of hyperconnectivity, environmentalism, and rebellion will be familiar to readers of the book and hopefully entice new readers to check it out as well.

I am very grateful to the people in my writing group (you know who you are!) who helped me get this story ready for submission. I am also glad to be working with the people at Android Press, given their mission to showcase environmentally-focused speculative fiction.

The full table of contents is a banger, and I’m thrilled to have my work alongside everyone:

Introduction by Andrew Sage

“Nano-Vibration” by Brent Lambert

“Property of PAUSE Ltd.” by Ai Jiang

“The Galaxy’s Cube” by Jeremy Szal

“Do Anarchists Dream of Collective Sheep?” by Izzy Wasserstein

“Tomorrow Is Another Day” by Louis Evans

“The Promise” by Rona Fernandez

“Root Cause” by Lauren C. Teffeau

“Broken Threads” by Kevin Wabaunsee

“The Robot Whisperer” by Holly Schofield

“The Strength of the Willow” by Commando Jugendstil and Tales from the EV Studio

“Solarpunks” by J. D. Harlock

“Materiality” by Cory Doctorow

“The Scent of Green” by Ana Sun

“Cloud 9” by Christopher R. Muscato

“The Holiness of Light” by Cynthia Zhang 

There will be a cover reveal in the weeks to come, along with a pre-order campaign, so stay tuned for more about this project!

Dog Days

They aren’t quite over, no matter what Florence and the Machine says, but as the summer begins to wane, I’m feeling more optimistic about so many more things than I was earlier this year. That shift has been on a lot of fronts both personally and professionally, and I’d be lying if that wasn’t also bolstered by the January 6th Committee’s hearings and the work across the nation to galvanize women voters after the Dobbs decision. The Inflation Reduction Act’s impact on climate change is also another point of optimism. While it is not enough, it is a much-needed start, and I can only hope we can build on from there. Plus it helps that the monsoon season here in Albuquerque has been amazing–I stopped taking rain for granted years ago when we first moved to New Mexico, and I still marvel when it torrents down, soaking the mountains and riding roughshod over the city as it makes its way to the river.

So some good things, even though that same river went dry earlier this year, even though a dear friend was killed last month by a motorist while on a family bike ride, even if I now officially need reading glasses after spending the overwhelming majority of my life with perfect vision, even though the daily grind continues always across multiple fronts. There is good with the bad, even if it can be fatiguing to search it out sometimes. So long as we keep looking for it with a weather eye on the horizon, we will be okay—that much I am certain of.

There have been some bright points this summer as well. For starters, I finally got my hands on my contributor copy of Chromophobia: A Strangehouse Anthology of Women in Horror. I’ve gone into more detail about my story in previous posts, but it was a great experience overall working with Sara and the creative team at Rooster Republic Press.

I also attended Armadillocon this summer. It was my first time back since lockdown, and while it felt a bit like ripping off a bandaid getting back into the swing of paneling, I had a great time reconnecting with the Austin area writers and readers. While it is so easy to feel forgotten in our field if you are for whatever reason unable to stay on the hamster wheel of publishing, my interactions with the con-goers showed that that’s not true, that those connections matter.

A good reminder, particularly with our local convention Bubonicon gearing up this weekend!

Finally I am excited to share that I’ve been asked to contribute a solarpunk short story to Solar Flare, one of four new anthologies that Zombies Need Brains will publish, so long as their Kickstarter campaign is successful. If you follow me on Twitter, I’m sure you’ve already seen me plugging the campaign. We’re more than halfway through, and I’m excited to dig into my story idea for the anthology. There are a lot of reward tiers for backers to contribute and three other anthologies chock-full of stories by some amazing creators. Please consider supporting if you are able.

That’s all for now. May the last days of summer treat you well!

Release Day for Chromophobia!

Rooster Republic Press surprised us with the early release for the trade paperback edition of Chromophobia: A Strangehouse Anthology by Women in Horror, edited by Sara Tantlinger, and featuring a story by moi, along with two dozen other lady horror writers!

Now Available!

While the pre-order window for the special hardcover edition has come and gone, you can still get your hands on the trade paperback version, rocking a brand new but no less intriguing cover for the amazing collection.

But you don’t have to take my word for it. In Kirkus’s review of the book, the anthology is described as

“a set of admirable stories featuring delicious twists, eerie creatures, and visceral imagery. They necessarily linger on assorted colors, befitting this anthology’s theme, but the prose throughout is vibrant in other ways. [..] It’s a fine sampling of an array of voices in the horror genre that will assuredly garner a bevy of new fans. Extraordinary tales of terror that are as grim as they are delightful.”

In the Editor’s Pick Booklife review, they say,

“An inventive anthology spotlighting women in horror and exploring the terror-inducing possibility of color, Chromophobia showcases the talents of new and veteran writers alike offering an eclectic mix of fresh horror stories as strange as they are inventive and unsettling.”

 

While the book will soon be rolling out to bookstores and other online platforms, you can get your copy now on Amazon. I can’t wait to get my hands on my own contributor copy. I hope you’ll enjoy my story “Gray Rock Method” as well as all the others within its pages!

Release Day for After the Gold Rush!

It’s release day for After the Gold Rush, the latest installment in Third Flatiron‘s anthology series, and it features my short story “The Front of the Pack.”

From the back jacket copy:

Twenty-two authors explore themes related to complications of booms and bubbles, including effects of accelerated culture; ecological consequences caused by human over-expansion, such as climate disasters; and economics (for example, monopolies on resources and commodities). 

Table of Contents:

  • Past the Projections by James Tager
  • Down on the Klondike by David Cleden
  • Sunrunner by Robert Bagnall
  • Moving On by Andrew Wright
  • To Vanquish Other Blooms by Tim Borella
  • Showdown at Sueño Hueco by Wulf Moon
  • Reassessed Value by David Hankins
  • Amphibios by Julie Biegner
  • Earth’s Last Immortals by Erin Cullen
  • Last Light in the Dark by Shannon Fox
  • Live from the Troll Factory by Edward Barnfield
  • The Front of the Pack by Lauren C. Teffeau
  • Last Bite at the Klondike by Liam Hogan
  • All Our Signs Align by Eve Morton
  • Facing Reality by Yelena Crane
  • Unwinding the Clock by Brandon Case
  • The Last of the Gen Xers by Angelique Fawns
  • Currency Change Announcement by Elizabeth Davis
  • Amore for Life by Cray Dimensional
  • Genie in a PET Bottle by Daniel M. Cojocaru
  • Goldberry by Tom Easton and Jeff Hecht

I wrote “The Front of the Pack” for a flash challenge a couple years back and could never quite figure out what to do with a story depicting a tense exchange between a government agent and a man running a clearinghouse for illegal research that the political climate has all but condemned, to society’s detriment. This was around the same time I was writing Implanted, so the story is flavored with espionage tropes as well as some of my hang-ups from working as an academic researcher for a number of years. Let’s just say it’s a story that could only be at home in this collection, and I’m so glad that editor Juliana Rew and the rest of the team at Third Flatiron agreed as well!

Be sure to check out my Pinterest board for more of my story inspiration.

You can purchase the whole anthology from Amazon.

https://pin.it/2KbPCKH