This Weekend @ the Jean Cocteau Cinema

Just a quick note to say I’ll be at George R. R. Martin’s Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe, New Mexico, this Sunday, January 26, 2020!beastlogonew

I’ll be joining authors Emily Mah, S.M. Stirling, and Sarena Ulibarri, who are all fantastic writers, humans, and coincidentally members of my local writing group here in New Mexico.

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We will be talking shop, critting off the cuff, and generally having fun, so if you live nearby, please join us! For tickets and more information, please visit the Jean Cocteau website.

Hope to see you there, New Mexico!

Happy New Year to Me!

Welcome to 2020, and already, we’re off to a great start.

I spent New Year’s day basking in the news that my story “Sing! And Remember” made Tangent Online’s 2019 Recommended Reading List. This is my first appearance on the list, and I’m so happy this story earned their notice. I talked a bit about how important the story was to me in my year-end round-up, and this just underscores all the complicated emotions that come from seeing your work in print: elation and accomplishment, yes, but also that prickly sensation of having your inner life on display for others. But to have my work noticed amongst all the other stories published in professional SF/F magazines in 2019 makes all that angst worth it.

Be sure to check out all the wonderful stories that Tangent Online recognized.

To celebrate, DreamForge Magazine, who originally published “Sing! And Remember”, is making it available to read FREE online along with the other stories they published that were recognized by Tangent’s 2019 recap.

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They are also extending their Writers & Friends $5 subscription discount to everyone until 1/15/20, so please check this great magazine out if you haven’t already!

Wishing you and yours a very happy 2020!

2019 Year In Review

This year. Wow. I am not sorry to see 2019 go. It’s been a quiet year overall for me, in part because of an unexpected death in the family. Additionally, I had my very first run-in with pneumonia, and it packed a punch. I’d also be lying if I said I wasn’t affected by the tenor of politics, the lies that go unchallenged every day, the brink it feels we’re perched on and have been for awhile now. My brain can be a noisy place, and this year it was too often deafening.

But it wasn’t all bad—not by a long shot. My book baby Implanted got some award recognition which was so gratifying see now that its one-year anniversary has come and gone. I finished another novel project I’m excited about that I’ve been chipping away at for the last two years, and I’m plugging away on a new one that I not only love but love the challenge of writing it as well. There are also other ideas (of course!) percolating in my hind brain that I can’t wait to get to too. You can’t have the highs without the lows, and while this feels a little bit like a trough for me at the moment, I’m really looking forward to next year and what it might bring.

So, without further ado, the year’s highlights:

Award love for Implanted:

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New Short Story:

“Sing! And Remember” was published in the inaugural “Founders Issue” of DreamForge Magazine and illustrated by the Hugo-award winning illustrator Elizabeth Leggett.

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I talked about the story here and here on the blog, but it is a story that means a lot to me, and I’m so grateful it’s out in the world thanks to the passionate team behind DreamForge magazine.

#Authorlife Appearances:

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  • I attended the Nebulas, Armadillocon, Bubonicon, and MileHighCon and got to see old friends and new as well as participate on my share of panels.
  • I also participated the Williamson Lectureship, held each year in Portales, NM, on Eastern New Mexico University’s campus, and it was great to see my book in the library there!

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Wishing everyone a fitting end to 2019. Onward to 2020!

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.

#Authorlife, In Two Scenes

1)

As mentioned earlier, I had the privilege of participating in Creative Santa Fe’s Disrupted Futures Dialogue last month on Cli-Fi: Altered Futures Through Film and Literature. It was a fantastic evening where local sustainability partners like The Santa Fe Watershed Association350.org New MexicoThe Santa Fe Community College Controlled Environment Agriculture Department, City of Santa Fe’s Environmental Services Division and Water Conservation Department were invited to talk about their initiatives, fellow author and editor-in-chief of World Weaver Press Sarena Ulibarri and I sold books, and we watched some amazing films related to climate change.

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Photography courtesy of Luis Castillo Photography

Sarena read a story from the Glass and Gardens anthology she edited that she felt best captured the aesthetic of solarpunk, a burgeoning subgenre of speculative fiction invested in optimistic, sustainable futures that she’s been a tireless voice in championing. I followed with a reading from the Compton Crook nominated Implanted, which also focuses on a way forward after the climate cataclysm, and there was a great question-and-answer session with Creative Santa Fe executive director Cyndi Conn. You can get a sense for the entire evening here:

2)

I participated in my very first book club appearance at a group in Albuquerque who has been meeting for over ten years. Implanted was their June selection, and I had the honor of selecting what the potluck dinner theme was and try to relate it back to the book in some way.

I confess I had to put my thinking cap on for that. Ultimately, I decided to go with “secret vegetables” — ways to creatively include vegetables into meals that may not otherwise include them without sacrificing flavor. Given the theme of sustainability in the book and the vertical farm chase sequence, I thought that would be a nice way to go, whether it was subbing in cauliflower for pasta or adding extra veggies to a sauce or coming up with creative sides that don’t default to potatoes.

Well, the group was not daunted by the task before them, and we got to sample some amazing takes on mac and cheese (made with carrots, cauliflower and butternut squash), meatloaf (augmented with grated carrots, zucchini, and other veggies), cauliflower riced pudding, two kinds of black bean brownies, pumpkin cake, and some amazing salads.

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I was also asked to lead a discussion of the book, for which I prepared a couple of questions (for those of you who want to play along at home):

  • Internet usage, communication styles, and adoption of new technologies are all things I explore to varying degrees in Implanted. Emery and other characters have the option to respond verbally or nonverbally, use their voices or the augmented one their implants construct to communicate, depending on the situation. What are some of the considerations people in New Worth make when deciding how to respond? How does that change with the person they’re communicating with, the situation they’re in, their surroundings?
  • The implant technology portrayed in Implanted doesn’t yet exist. However huge strides in neural imaging and implanted devices are being made currently in the biomedical fields. If the technology becomes available in your lifetime, what are some aspects to it that you are most interested in using? What are ones that don’t appeal to you? We’ve already seen the changes the internet and mobile phones have had on society. What additional considerations would we need to make for implants?
  • The Law of Digital Recency plays a big role in how implants have changed society. What has been the impact on the people of New Worth, and how does Aventine take advantage of those changes? How do the Disconnects take advantage?
  • Early on in the book, Emery is faced with a tough decision when confronted by Aventine about her past and the future she’s risking. She chooses to give up her old life so her family will not stay trapped in the Terrestrial District. How was her choice justified or not? Would you make the same decision given the circumstances? What other potential complications could you see arising from giving up the digital footprint of your old life to go undercover?
  • Issues of sustainability feature prominently in the book, and a large part on the plot hinges on the idea of Emergence, when the people of the city can finally return to the land they had to abandon. It’s a founding conceit for the city of New Worth, a guiding mythology, a promise for the future, a given or a lie, depending on a person’s point of view. How does that play into the plot? Is such a concept beneficial even if it’s rooted in lies or misunderstandings?

While I was a bit nervous, as I am with all events, I realized pretty quickly that this one would be far more pleasant, in part because I didn’t have to convince anyone there to buy the book—they already had or purchased it on audio. So that immediately eliminated the whole marketing shtick that always makes me uncomfortable. Then there was the fact that they had all read it beforehand and enjoyed it (not that they would say otherwise to my face ;). That changed the dynamic dramatically and we could get into the nitty gritty details about the book and dive into my influences and intentions in a way that simply isn’t possible at most book events.

The resulting discussion was extremely gratifying, and I look forward to the next opportunity to share my work in this manner.