Clarion-mate Dustin Monk’s story El Camino is in the latest issue of Digital Science Fiction.  You can by it for the Kindle from Amazon, or for most other formats from Smashwords.

Dustin’s prose is mad, effortless, and extraordinary.  And his screwed-up, screwed-over, big-dreaming characters are so real and deftly drawn that the writer half of me itches with envy and inspiration.  The reader half of me just wants more.

The second week of my Clarion Write-a-Thon effort was somewhat the reverse of the first week.  My first week story at Clarion 2010 had seemed like a complete loss at the time, but last week I stripped it down to the basics of motivation and conflict, and found what feels like a way forward.  My second story at Clarion 2010, titled Goner, was perhaps my favorite at the time, but I’ve really struggled with revising it over this last week. Continue reading »

For the Clarion Write-a-Thon, I am revising the six drafts I wrote during Clarion 2010.  My first week story is titled “The Last Cup”.  I came up with the idea Saturday while driving down to San Diego with Clarion-mates Jennifer Hsyu and Dallas Taylor, and wrote it up over the next two days for my first critique that Tuesday.

Because Delia Sherman and special guest Ellen Kushner were the first week instructors, I went with a fantasy: just my second attempt at the genre up to that point.  And for reasons that surely made sense at the time, e.g. delerium, I decided to go for comedy, which was entirely new for me.  But the real test wasn’t the genre, it was the deadline: I had only written six stories ever up to that point, and each one had taken many weeks to complete.  I got myself in a bit of a panic, and started just typing wildly; as it turned out, both the panic and the wild typing would continue for the next six weeks…!

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I am proudly participating in the 2011 Clarion Write-a-Thon, both as a sponsor and as a writer.  My writing goal is to revise the six stories I wrote when I attended Clarion 2010, and get them out the door and submitted somewhere.  Here’s an overview of the six stories; I’ll post more details each week.

I think the Clarion Writers’ Workshop is a marvel–the UCSD incarnation and its Clarion West sister–and worthy of support from both writers and readers.  Take a peek at my other posts on Clarion to get an idea of how wonderful, challenging, crazed, and successful the program and my classmates have been.

The Stories:

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When an idea is is startling and original, we say “it comes out of nowhere”.  But the best of those ideas feel like they did in fact come from somewhere, someplace that had been previously hidden.  It’s a thrill not so much of innovation as it is of discovery; you stare with Keats’s wild surmise, and say “of course it is”, and feel like the world is both wider and a little more complete.

That’s how I felt when I picked up the first Borderland book in 1986.  The blending of punk and faery, the idea that the border with the fée might cut through through our modern cities as easily as it does through the countryside distant in place and time, the grimy half-starved reality of faery’s traditional peril, it all was manifestly, essentially right.

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And it’s a doozy: her story “The Hungry Ghost” will be appearing in Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Sword & Sorceress XXVI, edited by Elisabeth Waters, from Norilana Books.

The Sword & Sorceress series has been running since 1984, and over those years has been one of the few places to find strong female characters at the sword-swinging, spell-flinging end of Fantasy.  Past volumes have featured many of my favorite authors, folks like CJ Cherryh, Glen Cook, Emma Bull, Charles de Lint, and Steven Brust, an august company of which Jennifer is a well-deserved member!  Keep an eye out for the book — it should be in stores in late autumn — and for more stories from the brilliant Ms. Hsyu!

I’m delighted to be working on the latest set of One Minute Weird Tales videos for the award winning and thoroughly wonderful Weird Tales Magazine.

You can find the most recent videos on their web site.  This new series includes the educational “To the Nearest Tenth” by David R. Hughes (it’s a word problem), the cautionary “The Nightmare Jar” by Scott Emerson (which reminds us that cleanliness can be next to deadliness), and the healthful “A Visit to the Dentist” by John Walters (why, what a beautiful smile!).

My part in this is to create the video, animate the logo, write and perform the music, and mostly to try not to mess up these great (very) short stories.

These vides are also available on YouTube for viewing on your favorite portable device, so you can amaze and terrify random strangers on the street.

There are many more great episodes in the queue, so keep an eye on Weird Tales.  Actually, keep both eyes on it, just to be safe, and watch out for tentacles…

My Clarion-mate Leah Thomas’s story “Shards” will be featured this week on Daily Science Fiction.  If you sign up for their (free!) emails, you can get it on on April 12, 2011; it will appear on their website a week or so after that.  DSF has been publishing great stuff, like this currently featured story from Jason Sanford; it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on!

And don’t miss Lawn Order, Leah’s ongoing web comic about suburban life, gardening, oh yeah, and the evil vegetative dead!

Clarion-ite John Chu has a story upcoming in the Boston Review, but in the meanwhile, they are featuring new fiction from Clarion instructor Samuel R.Delany.  This is an excerpt from the novel on which he is currently working, but it stands on its own.  We heard Chip read a different section of this work at Mysterious Galaxy; his ear for precise, nuanced description is, as always, extraordinary.

I’m struggling here to keep up with the announcements of new stories coming out from my Clarion classmates!  Dustin Monk’s “Shiny Things”, written at Clarion, will be featured in the inaugural issue of Prime Mincer.  And Adam Israel’s story “Dog Days” is online now at Crossed Genres.  And make sure to pick up Karin TIdbeck’s story in Weird Tales (and a second from her in the next issue), Kali Wallaces’s in F&SF, Tamsyn Muir’s story and interview online at Fantasy Magazine, and keep an eye out for John Chu’s upcoming story at the Boston Review.

My Clarion classmate Kali Wallace’s beautiful story “Botanical Exercises for Curious Girls” is out in the March/April issue of Fantasy and Science Fiction.  Kali write the first draft at Clarion, and it was both lovely and creepy in just the right measures.  Do what I am doing now: shut down the computer and head to your local bookstore to pick up a copy!

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