Reflection on My Wild 2018

I often default to disappointment in what I’ve accomplished and so laying out the year’s good news is, much like writing a resume, a way to see myself from a less critical perspective. I failed at so much. And failed to sustain the energy to complete work far more than in prior years. Below is the much cheerier perspective, just as valid as the negative, but better, or perhaps less self aggrandizing, when seen as part of a balancing act!

2018 started with the publication of my short, horror story “Re-stitched” in Split Lip Magazine and its subsequent selection as Long Form Fiction’s Fiction of the Week. I have never had a story get that much notice. I was contacted by agents, the story was retweeted, people reached out to me on social media to let me know how much they enjoyed it. And it was all so unexpected. This was a story that had had its share of rough times. After many submissions I eventually found a home for it in a small literary print journal, only to have that journal close shop. Split Lip was clearly a more welcoming haven.

In March my story “Schrödinger’s” came out in Interzone 274. It’s one of those hard won stories that feels strong and layered and very much me. I was thrilled to finally have others read it. And for SFRevu to give it such a positive review.

In December my piece “City Magic” was published online by the Cincinnati Review, along with an audio track that I recorded. It was both the first piece I’d voiced in a couple of years and the moment when I finally pushed myself through the block that had been a new microphone I was given by a friend a few Christmases back.

There were also a few reprints this year. In January my story “The Rocket Farmer” came out in the audio magazine Podcastle. My story “A Pinhole of Light” was reprinted twice: once in The Dark and once in the French Ténèbres anthology series. My first translated story!

Then came the pre, during, and post support around the release of my debut collection Uncommon Miracles (published by PS Publishing). This included the publication–finally!–of four stories original to the collection: “Level Up,” “Mourning Food: Recipes Included,” “I Want to Be Here,” and “Signal & Stone.” I love all four, of course, but I find “Mourning Food” and “I Want to Be Here” special for different reasons.

The reviews for the collection were amazing, as well as raves by reviewers in the magazines Interzone and Necessary Fiction–and selection as one of three books of fiction on the Morning Star newspaper’s Best-of 2018: Fictionlist–there were also fab reviews on the blogs Speculition and Weekend Notes and from the fiction reviewers Maria Haskins and Des Lewis. Individual reader reviews have also been incredibly kind.

Along the way I also participated in my first Arisia, participated in Boskone, and attended Wiscon. At Wiscon I once again read with some of my fellow virtual workshop members, one of the few opportunities we have to get together in real life. My readings at all three cons were incredibly well received. I rarely get to feel an audience’s reaction to my work in real time, which is one of the reasons I try and read as many different pieces as possible, I want to see how they take hold.

Readings, OMG, I participated in even more readings as autumn arrived! My reading with Hilary Monahan and Paul Tremblay as part of the Speculative Boston Reading & Discussion Series can be seen on the WGBH Forum Network. I was also invited to read in Baltimore as part of the Charm City Spec Reading Series, and I read in Providence as part of the Arcade Asylum Author Series. Finally I participated in the World Fantasy Convention were two more readings occurred, including a reunion of sorts as part of the Kalideotrope Magazine group reading.

Swinging back to fiction one final time: I wrote three stories that will come out next year: “Bluebeard’s Surrender” and the flash pieces “Stone Memories” and “Seven Falls Away.”

There are also a few stories I finished that are currently looking for a home. I completed my 38k novella, The Rampant, and am currently waiting to here back from a couple of publishers. I did an incredibly deep revision of an older piece and sent it out into the world: “After the Apocalypse There Will Be Memory Poems.” Finally, I either deeply revised or completed–I honestly can’t remember which–two flash pieces that are out on submission: “Myth. Moon. Ocean.” and “Flight Aids Minus the Wings and Fuselage.”

And yet I’m also aware there are all those stories that stumbled. Those ideas I keep skittering away from. And that frozen, lack of ability to deeply engage with my work which seems to be my personal stumbling block. Some things get old but never truly go away. All the same, I claim 2018 as a better year than it currently feels. And one in which those around me in both my personal life and writing world, have been incredibly generous. Thank you, all. I know whatever was offered was a gift. I truly appreciate it.

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