Tangent Recommended Reading List 2019

Two of my stories appear on this year’s Tangent Recommended Reading List. “Annotated Setlist of the Mikaela Cole Jazz Quintet” appears on the short story recommended list and “Bedtime Snacks for Baby” has the honour of getting a three-star recommendation.

I hadn’t previously realized that both of these stories were reviewed at Tangent, “Annotated Setlist” here (review by Victoria Silverwolf), and “Bedtime Snacks for Baby” here (review by Michelle Ristuccia).

A Year in Writing

The stats from my first full year writing science fiction, fantasy, and other speculative fiction:

  • Finished six short stories, and finished the first drafts of three others.
  • 26 submissions
  • 19 rejections (14 form, 5 personal)
  • 3 stories still on sub
  • 4 acceptances (two pro, two semi-pro)
  • 5 stories published

Two stories were the “workhorses” of my rejection count, racking up 14 between them (one has since been accepted, the other one is still out there working hard for the team). Two others were accepted on their first outing. These things, I have come to find, are extremely unpredictable.

The year also included a number of firsts:

  • first SFF short publication
  • first pro publication
  • first podcasted story
  • first review

What will 2020 bring? I hope it lives up this year, because this was a great one. Thanks to all those who read my work!

Review of “Annotated Setlist” at Quick Sip Reviews

I feel lucky to have had Charles review three of my stories this year over at Quick Sip Reviews. This month it’s “Annotated Setlist of the Mikaela Cole Jazz Quintet” from Clarkesworld #159 — see the review of the issue, including my story, here.

Short preview of the review: “It’s a lovely, quiet, rather heartbreaking read. Sort of like Behind the Music, but in the future and in space,” which I’m now obviously going to have to steal to describe it to people.

Awards Eligibility 2019

This is my first time doing one of these! I’d be honoured if people would read and consider the five stories I had published in 2019. If you only have time for one, I’d like to point you towards “Annotated Setlist of the Mikaela Cole Jazz Quintet.” If you’re only interested in fantasy, please consider “Katabasis” or “The Bear Wife”.

This is my first year of eligibility for the Astounding Award (previously known as the Campbell Award). And just a note that I am Canadian, if you vote or nominate for the Aurora Awards.

Annotated Setlist of the Mikaela Cole Jazz Quintet” (science fiction, 6800 words). Clarkesworld, December 2019.

Jazz musicians on a generation ship. A look at the ways we find meaning in our lives and the struggles of making a long voyage across the galaxy.

Katabasis” (fantasy, 4910 words). Augur, December 2019.

How do we find a place to call home? And is there a world of magic right next door to ours?

Ephemera” (fantasy, 991 words). Flash Fiction Online, November 2019.

What if the things in your life chose between you and your ex?

Bedtime Snacks for Baby” (fantasy, 994 words). Flash Fiction Online, May 2019.

A baby with strange appetites; the strength of a parent’s love.

The Bear Wife” (fantasy, 5530 words). Metaphorosis Magazine, February 2019.

Becoming a parent is a big life change. Becoming a human after living as a bear might be even bigger.

December stories

Two stories of mine are out today! And they are very, very different stories, with one being far-future sci-fi on a generation ship and the other being a quiet contemporary fantasy (which, depending on how you read it, isn’t really even fantasy at all).

The first one is “Annotated Setlist of the Mikaela Cole Jazz Quintet,” at Clarkesworld, and as I said on Twitter, it’s what it says on the tin: the story is structured as a setlist for a jazz quintet on a generation ship, with the band members talking about the stories behind the songs.

The second one is “Katabasis,” at Augur Magazine. (The link is to the sample, which is the first scene of the story; the whole thing is available with purchase of Issue 3.2, or you could get a subscription — I highly recommend Augur, I have a subscription, and am so glad that they’re working to create a pro market for speculative fiction here in Canada. Anyway “Katabasis” is set on an unnamed Gulf Island here in BC and involves relationships, finding your place in the world, and the magic that lurks beneath the surface of the world.

There actually is one thing that these two stories have in common: they are both rewritten versions of stories that I first drafted almost ten years ago, before I stopped writing short fiction. When I started writing again in the summer of 2018, I picked them up again and thought, “hmmm, is there anything worth salvaging here?” And it turned out there was, although they both underwent major changes in revision (“Katabasis” to a slightly lesser degree, as the setting and basic structure didn’t change much, but the original version of “Annotated Setlist” was half the length, was structured much more traditionally, and wasn’t science fiction at all). Anyway, now when I’m writing I think about that: things I give up on now aren’t wasted, it just might take me a decade to get them where they’re going.

November News

Extremely excited to announce that my story “Annotated Setlist of the Mikaela Cole Jazz Quintet” will appear in the December issue of Clarkesworld!

Clarkesworld has been a dream publication of mine since I began writing speculative fiction. I hope people will enjoy this story about jazz musicians on a generation ship.

This will also mark the first time I have two things published in the same month, as “Katabasis” will appear in Augur the same month. They are very, very different stories.

And — in additional exciting news — very pleased to announce that my story “Calling on the Behalf of the Dark Lord” has been accepted for publication by Translunar Travelers Lounge!

Expect to see this story of working as a telemarketer for the would-be Dark Lord in the February 2020 issue. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the first issue of the magazine, it’s well worth a read; it’s great to have a good new venue for speculative short fiction open this year, as it was a year in which a number of good venues closed.

“Ephemera” available to read today

My story “Ephemera” is available in November’s issue of Flash Fiction Online. It’s part of an issue that seems to me to centre on a theme of journeys, both physical and internal — although Suzanne Vincent’s editorial for the issue points out that all of the stories have a feeling of deviating from reality. As always with FFO I’m impressed with both the range of stories included and how much story can be told in under 1,000 words.

The editorial describes my story as follows:

‘If you broke up with your significant other, who would get the cat? How about the television? What if the television could choose for itself? Catherine George’s “Ephemera” examines that question.’

I wrote and revised the story (like almost all my stories) sitting on our three-legged living room couch (one of the legs has been replaced by a dictionary), so I like to think the couch, at least, is loyal to me now.

The entire issue is available here.