So, I’d like to start by apologizing for the dry spell here and the barren wasteland that is my other blog. My health has taken priority lately. But I have not been entirely absent on the writing front, just the blogging front. I have a number of updates to share.
- I was invited to speak at my old middle school as a Grown Human Adult and Published Author. It was a weird and fulfilling experience that I wanted to dedicate its own post to, but between the holidays, freelance gigs, and my health crashing, never got around to. However, I would like to do it justice, so more on that in a subsequent post.
- I got a short story published in 1888’s annual anthology, The Cost of Paper. You can order The Cost of Paper: Volume Three on Amazon or read my story for free on 1888’s website. My humorous fantasy short, “A Room Apart”, pokes fun at Secondary World Fantasy tropes while lovingly mocking my Alma Mater, Hampshire College. I wrote this short back in college and am so happy to finally share it. Fantasy fans and anyone familiar with the Pioneer Valley/Five Colleges, this one is for you.
- I got my first royalty check. Woot!
- My book is in a real, live bookstore! Deets on this in the next post because I have pictures and want to brag about how nice my pretty, pretty cover looks next to all those other glossy and paper beauties.
- I was approved and am now listed as a Fiction Writer on Poets & Writers. Alas, my publication credits in poetry were not enough to get me listed as a Poet, but one step at a time. Filling out the application for this was an interesting experience, as it had a number of identities I could list and, as anyone who has read my writing has likely guessed by now, identity and I have a love/hate relationship.
For example, German American and European American were options and, while I AM both of those things, I’ve never identified with either. Any real German culture in the family died off with my great-grandmother and “European” is such a broad term. I opted for English American, Irish American, Scandinavian American, and Celtic American because I much more readily identify as those, but the Orange v. Green baggage loomed over me as I selected them, worrying it would be misread. Feminist was easy enough, I’ve identified as such since I realized there was a term for it.
But there it sat. The one that stresses me most: Disabled. I never know what to do with this term. I am not able-bodied. There is no universe in which I am a healthy, able-bodied, fully-functioning human. However, I am always afraid to say I am disabled, lest I be besieged from both sides with accusations of fakery. I don’t “look” disabled. I can walk. I can convincingly pass as an able-bodied adult if you don’t look closely.
But with a growing list of diagnoses and worsening symptoms, there are many, many things I simply cannot do or cannot do reliably or can do but will pay for later or can do but am in shooting pain and feel like my heart is exploding. Invisible illnesses and chronic illnesses are a somewhat complicated and divergent part of the Disability Community in general, which further complicates the politicking of it all. But my writing is influenced by my experiences as a woman with chronic/invisible illnesses and invisible disabilities, so I went ahead and selected it.
- I got a short story published in the upcoming anthology, Winter Wolves. This is the third annual Wolfwatcher charity anthology. I was previously published in volumes I and II. This story is a bit of a change for me, as it could be considered Children’s, All-Ages, Middle Grade, or YA, depending on your definition and sensibilities. Don’t get me wrong, adults can definitely read and enjoy it, but I had kids in mind when I wrote it.
See, for some reason I was having a total block coming up with an idea that fit the anthology’s theme of “wolves” and “winter” (I know, completely out of character for me, it drove me nuts). However, I had recently been thinking how rare it is to see pagans of any kind but particularly modern ones depicted in the media in a way that was at all accurate or inoffensive. And finding such a depiction outside of supernatural/paranormal, horror, or fantasy was nigh on impossible, save for the occasional Immigrant family/coming of age story or 90s multicultural holiday special.
There are a few pagan kids book out there, but they are largely picture books for wee ones or self-help/how-to type books for Wiccan families. We need pagans in the media. We need them in adult fiction and kid lit and everything in between. We need pagans in the media where they don’t fight demons or have magical powers or date supernatural entities. We need modern, “normal” pagans who live normal lives and have normal book character problems that can be totally unrelated to their faith. Or problems that are related to their faith but in the same way as they might be for any other character’s faith or culture.
We need pagans written by people who know what the hell pagan means, that it is an umbrella term and not one religion, and that pagan does not have to mean 90s alt-girl Wicca (nothing against 90s alt-girls or Wicca, but they are a drop in the pagan bucket and perpetuating that they are the only type of pagan just further confuses the issue). So I wrote the story I could’t find. It is my hope that non-pagans will like it just as much, but I hope some pagan kid out there reads it and feels a little less invisible.
- And on that note, I was approved as a vendor at Southern New Hampshire Pagan Pride Day. This is my first time vending as an author and I am all manner of nervous and excited. For those in the Granite State, I will be selling my historical fiction/urban fantasy/Southern gothic novella, Beneath Blair Mountain, amidst all manner of pagan and pagan adjacent vendors. It should be an interesting day. If any of you reading this are authors who have been a vendor at a con or other event, how many books did you bring?
Sorry to ramble, but a lot has happened. I can’t wait to add another anthology to the collection. As I have mentioned before, it is my goal to fill up a shelf. I’m slowly getting there. I’ll post more details about Winter Wolves closer to its (fall?) release. I’ll try to post again soon. Until then, waes hael and happy writing! Sorry for the weird spacing. WordPress is giving me all kinds of trouble.