Potpourri – Summer Edition

I’m thrilled to announce Implanted finaled in the Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal RWA chapter’s PRISM contest for best Sci-Fi and Futuristic Novel. The award is bestowed by one of the largest chapters in the romance community to celebrate excellence in published romance with speculative elements. Be sure to check out the other great books featured in the different categories. Winners will be announced at Nationals in New York City later this month. Fingers crossed!PRISM2019Badge

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My short story “No Regrets on Fourth Street” was made into a podcast by StarShipSofa. It’s narrated by Larissa Thompson, a talented voice actress, and it’s exciting to have another story featured at StarShipSofa, which published my story “Jump Cut” way back in 2016.

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If you ever wanted an opportunity to be mentored by moi—or other amazing NM-based judges—you’ll get your chance by entering The Land of Enchantment Romance Author’s The Writer contest. Our local RWA chapter will be accepting the first 5k of unpublished romantic works through July 31st. Check out the rules here.
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This Friday at the Albuquerque Science Fiction Society, Sarena Ulibarri and I will be reprising our presentation on Climate Fiction that we did for Creative Santa Fe in May. If you are local, I hope you’ll join us for readings and spirited discussions on solarpunk, cli-fi, and what’s next for our field.

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Finally, be on the lookout for my schedule for Armadillocon in Austin, TX, August 2nd-4th, and Bubonicon in Albuquerque, NM, August 23rd-25th.

Cli-Fi and Creative Santa Fe

Happy to announce I’ll be participating in a symposium through Creative Santa Fe later this month where we’ll be talking about positive ways forward despite our uncertain future at the hands of climate change. I’ll be reading from Implanted, which was shortlisted for the Compton Crook award for best first SF/F/H novel, along with my fellow writer and friend Sarena Ulibarri of World Weaver Press who has done so much to broaden the field’s awareness of the solarpunk subgenre.

Check out the deets below, and if you’re near Santa Fe, New Mexico, please join us on May 22nd!

Cli-Fi: Altered Futures Through Film and Literature
A Disruptive Futures Dialogue
Wed, May 22, 2019
5:30 – 8:00 pm
Scottish Rite Masonic Center: 463 Paseo de Peralta, Santa Fe, NM. 87504

What if we could peer into the future of our landscape in New Mexico? What would we see, and how would that affect the actions we take today?

Creative Santa Fe presents Cli-Fi: Altered Futures Through Film and Literature, A Disruptive Futures Dialogue on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 from 5:30 – 8:00 PM at the Scottish Rite Masonic Center.  This multifaceted evening will include short films, readings by local authors, and opportunities to engage in learning about and taking action on sustainability issues.

This event will explore how our local resources, when combined with the arts, can address the effects of climate change and create a pathway for sustainability for years to come. The first portion of the evening will feature four science fiction short films by directors Suzi YoonessiNanobah BeckerHugo Perez, and Ramin Bahrani exploring the potential futures of water, waste, and agriculture in the face of climate change. These films are collected from the FutureStates film archive. Following the films, local authors Sarena Ulibarri and Lauren Teffeau will read excerpts from their climate fiction (Cli-Fi) and Solarpunk themed stories. Solarpunk is a movement in speculative fiction that seeks to answer and embody the question “what does a sustainable civilization look like, and how can we get there?”

The book and film presentations will be followed by a discussion of an initiative, led by the Coalition of Sustainable Communities NM and Creative Santa Fe, to explore the development of a sustainable technology center in Santa Fe. This center would serve as an intellectual consortium and physical hub for institutions of higher education, national laboratories, non-profit and business partners to advance research, development and deployment in the area of sustainable technology in New Mexico.

The Santa Fe Watershed Association350.org New MexicoThe Santa Fe Community College Controlled Environment Agriculture Department, and other fantastic local resources will engage audience members in activities and education before and after the event.

This event is free and open to the public. Registration is required, and will open on the event webpage on Monday, May 6th at 6 PM. We will share the registration link at that time through our newsletter and social media. Snacks will be provided and complimentary childcare is available upon early request.

FEATURED ARTISTS

SARENA ULIBARRI is a graduate of the Clarion Fantasy and Science Fiction Writers’ Workshop at UCSD, and earned an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her fiction has appeared in magazines such as Lightspeed, Fantastic Stories of the Imagination, DreamForge, GigaNotoSaurus, and elsewhere, as well as anthologies such as The Gamer Chronicles and Biketopia: Bicycle Science Fiction Stories in Extreme Futures. She is Editor-in-Chief of World Weaver Press, and edited the optimistic science fiction anthologies Glass and Gardens: Solarpunk Summers (2018) and Glass and Gardens: Solarpunk Winters (2020).

LAUREN C. TEFFEAU is an Albuquerque-based speculative fiction writer, and her short fiction can be found a variety of magazines and anthologies. Her novel Implanted (2018, Angry Robot) was shortlisted for the 2019 Compton Crook award for best first science fiction, fantasy, or horror novel and named by Grist.org as one of seven books imagining a better future.

Here, There, Everywhere

This past weekend was MileHiCon in Denver. I went for the first time and had a fantastic couple of days. I moderated a panel on writing short stories and one on dystopian fashion, and I really enjoyed the resulting conversations with my fellow panelists. Plus getting to see Connie Willis, Carrie Vaughn, Paolo Bacigalupi, and a bunch of friends from the NM writing community all in one place was wonderful.

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A view from the hotel lobby that reminded me of New Worth

MileHiCon is also the very last event I have planned for Implanted’s launch. Which would be sad if I wasn’t so exhausted from doing all the things these past few months. I cannot wait to get back to my old writing routine and the projects I’ve had to set aside. So it’s not so much an ending but another beginning, right?

I’ve already talked about the Implanted launch party and the joint event I did with Rebecca Roanhorse at BookBar. But a few weeks ago I also had an event at Bookworks in Albuquerque and another for my alma mater Clemson University.

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The Bookworks appearance was a lot of fun, and I got a chance to talk with some of the attendees and staff in greater depth than some of the other events I’ve done this year thanks to the welcoming space.

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Then, roughly a week later, I went back to Clemson where I went to undergrad. Thanks to Thompson Mefford who’s been a good friend all through college and beyond and is now a professor there, I was able to speak with aspiring writers in Clemson’s Honors College. I was a member of the Honors College as well back in the day, so it felt a little like coming full circle. I was super impressed by the enthusiasm and insightful questions the students had and hope they’ll keep writing!


In addition to all these events and convention appearances, I’ve also done a number posts around the interwebs. Latest highlights include:


Here’s a recap of some recent reviews of Implanted that make my heart happy. Needless to say I’m thrilled people are enjoying the book!

Having Faith Book Reviews | The Return Cart | Hopeless Bibliophile

The Albuquerque Science Fiction Society said in the October issue of ASFACTS that “Teffeau has created a fast-paced, exciting novel with great worldbuilding,” along with other nice things.

Plus in my first video review (!) Tod Foley of This is Fractopia also had some great things to say about Implanted and how it relates to fractopian fiction:

 


Finally, the audiobook version of Implanted (!) is finally out in the world. It’s narrated by Lauren Ezzo and produced by High Bridge Audio. I hope you’ll take a listen!

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That’s it for me!

A Message To My Future Self

“I just have one question.”

The old man and a woman I took to be his wife came up to me after I had burned through my signing line at Book Bar, a lovely venue in the Berkeley neighborhood of Denver, Colorado. I was there with fellow New Mexican author Rebecca Roanhorse who was promoting her electric debut Trail of Lightning while I was promoting my own debut Implanted from Angry Robot. We had both read sections from our respective books, answered questions moderated by J.L. Forrest who runs the Denver Science Fiction and Fantasy reading series, and then made ourselves available to sign books and chat with audience members afterwards. Forrest provides a nice recap of the evening here.

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It was only my forth public appearance for Implanted, and I was still trying to figure out how to strike that careful balance between being approachable and authorly, all the while keeping imposter syndrome at bay. No mean feat when you’re sitting next to the zeitgeist. My mouth was tired from trying to smile for the last two hours lest my resting bitch face slip through. I still hadn’t found a position on my barstool that both presented my pear-shaped frame to best advantage and didn’t aggravate my lower back. I was regretting my choice of outfit and rethinking my answer to one of the questions put to us earlier in the evening. And oh god was I hungry, having put off dinner since there hadn’t been time to eat beforehand.

But I smiled at the couple and said, “Sure!”

He had his hands clasped behind his back. His wife stood mute beside him, a half-smile pasted to her face. An impressive white beard reached down to his breastbone. He paused and pursed his lips, and suddenly I realized this wouldn’t be like the other people I’d spoken with that evening. The ones who said they were excited to read Implanted after hearing me speak, the woman who was grateful to have found a cyberpunk novel not imbued with the male gaze, or the nervous young man desperate for writing advice. Somehow, this would be different.

This gentleman pointed out that both excerpts Rebecca and I had read that night depicted women hunting men for hurting another woman. After a moment of reflection, I realized it was true. Rebecca read from Chapter 2 of Trail of Lightning where her main character Maggie is chasing down a man-shaped monster who has stolen away a young woman to feast on—a powerful, unsettling scene. My selection, the opening chapter of Implanted, the main character Emery is hunting a young man who’s in the process of stalking a different young woman. When the coast is clear, he attacks in an attempt to steal her neural implant. Emery stops him, but she leaves the scene of the crime before the police arrive, setting her on a journey the rest of the book follows.

“Would your character go to such an effort to protect a man in the same situation?” the old man asked me, an unpleasant intensity to his voice.

Rebecca was engaged with some enthusiastic fans beside me, so she luckily didn’t have to face his quiet disbelief when I said, “Yes, of course.”

I then nattered on about how that wasn’t really the point of the scene though, that my main character was protecting someone from a similar attack she survived before the events of the book, that as the author, I got to pick what elements best served my story, and in this case, upending reader expectations and exploring female rage, was my goal. After all, I named the person Emery is following Breck Warner, echoing the name of that of apex scumbag Brock Turner. Subtle, I am not. Of course it would be a young woman Emery’s trying to protect from a repeat of her own past, a past she hasn’t quite figured out how to escape at the start of the book. I said something glib about sisterhood too, but the details at this point are fuzzy.

But I well remember the way he shook his head, disappointed, and left. His wife followed him, having never said a word. Oh, and in case you were wondering, he didn’t buy either my or Rebecca’s book.

I’ve thought a lot about that interaction since. I know it doesn’t hold a candle to uncomfortable interactions other authors have had with members of the public over the years. But I try to analyze moments like this when they pop up to better prepare me for the next one. I’m a classic staircase wit where I’m nothing better than a deer in headlights in the moment. It’s only after I’ve retired from the hum and buzz of a public interaction that any cleverness returns, far too late for a rescue.

As a publishing professional trying to drum up support for a debut, I’m always fearful that any negative interaction could affect my ability to get another project published—not true of course, but the little voice in my head doesn’t know that. After reviewing that conversation, however, I don’t think there was anything I could have said to salvage that interaction—to make the sale, as it were. He was being provocative at best, trying to set me down at worst, for having the temerity to center the female experience in my story.

So much of writing—writing for publication, that is—is getting enough people to decide, “hey, this is great,” and getting even more people to read it, preferably giving up their cold hard cash for the opportunity to do so. The business side of writing leads to this mindset that we must go after every potential reader and find a way to convince them we’re worth their time and money. That each missed opportunity is why our numbers suck, that if we could only convince this one other person we’d all be bestsellers and shortlisted for all the awards. A bruising cycle that only ends when you either quit writing or pick out a penname to start over.

It’s not worth it. Even for someone like me where my little book could use all the help it can get. But if someone is going to approach my book from such a perspective, there’s something freeing in deciding: my dude, my work is not for you.

These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.

You can find such sentiment online, often in pithy tweets that read like affirmations in our current political climate made by women stronger and/or more experienced than me in navigating the intersection of art and economics in a broken world. Sometimes it feels a little like settling, knowing your work can never have the reach you’ve dreamed of. Or maybe I should feel driven to succeed despite that dude and all the others like him, even if it feels like crawling uphill over shards of glass. I don’t know. Of course, I’m still writing, but my wide-eyed naiveté has taken a critical hit, and I’m not sure I can afford that, not when that naiveté is what allowed me to pursue writing in the first place.

It’s just one guy, right? Why am I even letting myself get caught up in all this? Maybe it’s the people-pleaser in me. Maybe it’s a way for me to give other writers out there a head’s up about the world we’re so desperate to be a part of, a toolkit for deciding how and when to cut your losses.

And maybe, like Emery, I’m trying to protect my future self from another no-win situation, where the best choice is to walk away and keep writing, no matter what.

Implanted Launch Party!

This past weekend was the Implanted launch party in Albuquerque. Yes, the book has been out for little over a month, but considering my convention travel schedule in August and other logistical difficulties that popped up, this was the soonest we could manage it. And of course, I wanted to have it at my local indie Page 1 Books.

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Hugo/Nebula/Campbell winner Rebecca Roanhorse joined me, and we both read from our respective debuts and took questions from the packed audience. I happily sold out of all my books, which was a great feeling. Then it was to my house for an after party featuring tacos, champagne, cake, and much merry-making.

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I love to cook, and with the help of my husband, we made carnitas, pollo pibil, and lots of salsas, sides, and toppings. He even made an apple pie featuring the apples from our tree in the backyard.

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Good friends and colleagues from the NM writing community joined us for a lovely evening on our back patio. I’m just sorry I was so busy hosting I didn’t get a chance to get pics. I also want to give a shout out to my publisher, Angry Robot, who helped make this night happen, not only in publishing Implanted, but also thanks to their generous contribution to the festivities.

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The robots were very naughty and didn’t pick up after themselves…