Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Short Fiction Review Column in Fantastic Stories!

I've started a new column in Warren Lapine's publication, Fantastic Stories, that reviews short fiction I've recently found interesting.  No reprints (mostly; I make the rules), just recently published pieces I think resonate and should be noticed.  This endeavor is a slightly terrifying one to me, but it's a thing I'm strongly invested in. I hope others will check in on it once in a while for recommendations or just to see what's been knocking around my brain.

Anyway, working with Jay O'Connell and Robert Davis has been a lot of fun.  So you see, I've had a super secret vendetta to gab with them more all along.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Readercon 25: A Grand Time

The Messal (1902) John William Waterhouse
This past weekend was my third Readercon. The first year I attended, I elected to commute and felt the full brunt of my decision, the 350 bus running hourly but not reliably between the convention center in Burlington and my home in Somerville. I enjoyed the panels through a haze of sleepiness and annoyance at my own decision.

My second Readercon was a lot better as I grabbed a room with a couple friends.  We enjoyed the panels and wandered each night, haunting the floors for room parties like some very specific ghosts.  The convention was well done but a great deal of tension hung in the air.  In light of the harassment controversy, the entire board had resigned.  This was a new, rebooted con that was wobbly on its legs.

This past Readercon, that new con has solidified.  It has a strong, warm presence without compromising its more academic, literary-driven panels. Rose Fox and Emily Wagner have cultivated a hell of a con.

I met tons of people in real life as opposed to watching them online (ex. Maria Dahvana Headley, an absolute mensch, by the way).  It was also great to talk with friends made at previous conventions and from Clarion, though I regret I didn't have a chance to have in-depth conversations with everyone I wanted to.  I'm told that's kind of how cons like this work.  "There's always next year," is the refrain, but after a long weekend and the resulting crash, that's a source of comfort.


Monday, May 19, 2014

Months That Are Girls' Names

Okay, so March is not technically a name (or at least not a name I'm aware has any popularity outside my imagination), but I'll start there.

Vericon, in size thought not in spirit, is a sliver of a convention.  It's hosted by Harvard University each March.  I heard about it last year but decided to go when I saw the guest list not only had Jo Walton, but also Shira Lipkin, Saladin AhmedGreer GilmanScott Lynch, Patrick Rothfuss, M.L. Brennan, and one of my writing workshop cohorts, Max Gladstone.  Elizabeth Bear, my third week Clarion teacher and owner of an exquisite mind, was there, too.

I'm sorry, but those are a hell of a lot of heavy-hitters for a con of this size.  The Harvard campus already feels like it's carefully folded into Cambridge, demurely gated on the outside but expansive when you step foot on its grounds.  This convention is like the meeting of a secret society.  Except it really isn't. While not the most tightly run ship to sail the seas of New England conventions, I'm looking forward to going there again.  It was a unique animal.

In April, I took a one-week trip to Paris. It was a supreme delight, the weather staying firmly in the sixties and the rain sort of gentle and pretty even when it fell on you.  It's the best kind of spring there right now, though my friends and I sneezed a bit because every last tree was in bloom.  Also, there were lots of lines.  Everyone in Europe had also realized the weather was fantastic.

We rented a small apartment together about fifteen minutes away from Notre Dame, ate at bistros, drank kir, and saw some amazing parts of the city.  I saw art and ate a lot. It was a diet that mainly consisted of chocolate, bread, cheese, and ice cream.  My original plan was to turn this blog into a travel journal for that period, but I was a bit distracted.

I came home to find my contributors' copy of Not One of Us #51 in the mail.  It's a great issue, with Mat JoinerSonya Taaffe, and other talented folks.  I'm really pleased to be a part of it.  You can take a look if you're intrigued.

The story I have in there, Death Defying Stunts, was one I originally wrote during my time at Clarion.  It's about a girl, a personification of death, and Houdini.  I revised it multiple times over the past couple years and re-wrote it.  Then I smashed the first and second version together with a new ending. I'm pleased it found a home with John Benson.

This past week, I celebrated my birthday while Strange Horizons was kind enough to post my poem, "The Liar's Charm."  At six months, I think it might have taken, cumulatively, the least amount of time to edit of my published poetry so far.  So, um, I work slowly.

Special thanks to poetry editor A.J. Odasso for accepting this monster into the SH fold.  I'm so glad to be a part of this publication's legacy.  I definitely recommend reading through the archives.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Boskone Follow Up!

February slipped by quickly, as I figured it would.  So here we are, over a month later, and I thought I'd write a little bit about Boskone 2014 and how it all went.  Technically, the most recent con I went to was Vericon, an enormously intimate con which happened at the Harvard campus this past weekend, but I started this post prior to going there!

This convention felt a lot more relaxed compared to last year.  This turned out to be a nice, low-key affair.  I caught up with a number of authors both in and outside the area and generally was a lot less rushed than at Arisia 2014, a con which sold out on Saturday.

The first panel I attended was The Art of Writing Young Adult Fiction.  The panel was a pretty formidable one, rounded out with Strange Horizons editor Julia Rios and long-time writer, Jane Yolen.  My favorite takeaway in my notes was that, "A teen is not a characteristic" but an individual in another frame of life.  Also, I adored Yolen's story of how she accidentally traumatized her kids with a viewing of The Wizard of Oz.

Why You Want to Go to Florence is probably the least genre-related panel I've ever been to at a convention but it was still a lot of fun.  Jo Walton and Ada Palmer related anecdotes, both historical and tourist-ical, about the Italian city.  It reminded me of my own brief visit there on my high school Europe trip.  And now I want to save up to go back, a fact which makes me wonder whether or not Walton and Palmer are secret agents from the Florence Tourist Board.

Exploring the Whedonverse was the first panel I was on for this convention and I thought it went enormously well.  The audience was enthusiastic but not hesitant about criticizing Joss Whedon's past work. It was moderated by Stephen P. Kelner and I had the pleasure of being in the company of Dana Cameron, Nancy Holder, and Erin Underwood.

Saturday.

I saw Killer Plagues, a cheerfully grim little panel.  Seanan McGuire is, by the way, my tapeworm hero.  It was a nice mix of scientific inquiry and gory anecdotes.

The kaffeeklatsch with Jane Yolen was enlightening and I wish I had taken more notes with this one!  It was also just plain fun.

The Cinematic Landscapes panel I did with Bob Eggleton, Greg Manchess,  and Frank Wu was quiet.  I liked the conversation I moderated, but we all sort of wandered back and forth over the topic.  Lots of trivia about old films and a ringing endorsement for The Lego Movie (which I've since seen and can confirm is a real treat).

Fun With Seriously Silly Poses was a panel I was very nervous about.  It was an informal "posing" challenge in which I projected (cheesecake/beefcake) pulp novel covers on a screen and panelists John Chu, Mur Lafferty, Jennifer Pelland, E. C. Ambrose, and surprise special guest, Max Gladstone, attempted to mimic the poses.  They were all game.  I was so pleased.  The audience was sizeable, too, and were all too happy to provide extra props (a cane, a stuffed dragon) and extra bodies.  We had a lot of fun with gender swapping the covers, as well, which pointed out just how awkward some of the female-oriented poses could be.

Sunday.

On Sunday morning, I caught the Theodora Goss-moderated panel, A Literary Wonderland, which, like the panel she moderated the night before, The Enduring Power of Fairytales, explored modern folklore, Alice in Wonderland, and the stories people tell their children and themselves. Lots of lovely stuff here.

Bob Devney, who's an absolute sweetheart, moderated Against a Dark Background: Looking Back at Iain M. Banks.  I was on that panel echoing the sadness of Banks' sudden death this past year and enduring quality of his works.

Who's in the Attic, What's in the Basement, and I Don't Know Is Under the Bed was the last panel I was on for the convention.  I moderated it, but our discussion of horror tropes in contemporary film and literature was lost to the sleepy haze of the convention's last few hours.  It was nice, but I wish we had had more time to delve into monsters and the things that terrify contemporary audiences.

All these panels were sandwiched in between meal outings and drinks with friends and con-goers.  I also got to catch up with one of my Clarion teachers, Elizabeth Bear, which, as always, was an absolute delight.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Apex Rides the Hurt


Earlier this week, the 57th issue of Apex Magazine featuring my poem, Sleep Lives Inside the Bed, dropped.  The "top billing," if you can call it that (and I wouldn't), is due to nothing but the luck of having a last name starting with a letter early in the alphabet.  Mine is the shortest piece in there.

I love Karla Oritz's cover art.  Wonderfully creepy but beautiful.  Looking at her blog, a number of her pieces fit that to a T.  I definitely recommend checking her site out.

And the magazine, if you haven't already.  It's rad.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Strange Horizons and Apex Magazine



Promotional poster for Josephine Baker
(circa 1930) Zig [Louis Gaudin]
"The Liar's Charm," a poem of mine, is on the January 2014 acceptance list for Strange Horizons.

And also? Another of my poems is appearing this year in Apex Magazine.

I'm very happy. Thank you, everyone, for your support and kindness.

EDIT: OH HEY! My poem, Sleep Lives Inside the Bed, is now available for your viewing pleasure!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Boskone 2014 Schedule


Doriane (1926) Charles Gesmar
As promised, here's my finalized panel schedule for Boskone 2014 (February 14th-16th)!  I'm moderating three out of the five panels I'll be on, a prospect which I'm finding full of more terror than I probably should.

But if you want to drop by and say hello at the convention, here's where I'll be:

Exploring the Whedonverse
Friday 21:00 - 21:50
From "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" to the new "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D," Joss Whedon has had a hand in some of the most significant genre television programming ever. How have Joss and his Whedonverse shaped TV (including shows he didn't actually develop) and affected the wider genre community? What is the Whedon Effect? What would primetime television be like if Buffy never came to Sunnydale, or _Serenity_ never lifted off? What was _Dollhouse_ all about?
Stephen P. Kelner (M), Dana Cameron, Nancy Holder, Gillian Daniels, Erin Underwood

Cinematic Landscapes
Saturday 14:00 - 14:50
How do art and cinema interact? What would _Lord of the Rings_ have been without its artistic landscapes? Would the film _28 Days Later_ have been so unsettling without its cinematic beauty? The panelists will discuss how art and landscapes interact to help convey the story of the film as well as to build tension, increase emotion, and leave a lasting image of the place in the minds of viewers.
Gillian Daniels (M) , Bob Eggleton, Greg Manchess, Frank Wu

Fun With Seriously Silly Poses
Saturday 19:00 - 19:50
Expect to emit great giggles at our group reenactments of scenes from SF/fantasy/horror cover art. Warning: high probability of awkward audience participation and pretty pathetic props.
Gillian Daniels (M), John Chu, Mur Lafferty, Jennifer Pelland, E. C. Ambrose

Against a Dark Background: Looking Back at Iain M. Banks
Sunday 12:00 - 12:50
Scottish novelist Iain M. Banks (1954-2013) wrote brilliantly for both SF and mainstream fans, and was named one of the top 50 authors in postwar Britain by _The Times_ of London. What do we make of his troubled viewpoint characters? His fondness for set pieces, rants, bleak smiles, and nasty shocks? His portrayals of sex, tech, morality, art, violence, and death? What sets his Jeeves-like Minds and drones apart from other writers' robots? Aren't his ship names just the coolest thing?
Bob Devney (M), Mark L. Olson, Vincent Docherty, Gillian Daniels, Patrick Nielsen Hayden

Who's in the Attic, What's in the Basement, and I Don't Know Is Under the Bed
Sunday 13:00 - 13:50
A panel discussion of the things that give us goose bumps, send chills down our spines, or otherwise scare the daylights out of us.
Gillian Daniels (M), Darrell Schweitzer, F. Brett Cox, Paul G. Tremblay, Max Gladstone