My life has been propelled forward in some exciting ways since this summer. In August, I was notified I would be receiving a Literature Fellowship from the North Carolina Arts Council. I’m one of seven prose writers selected this year. We’ve read at Scuppernong Books in Greensboro, McIntyre’s Books in Fearrington Village, and tomorrow (October 28), we’ll read at Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill at 2pm.
You can read my profile on the NCAC website, in which I sound very collegial and profesh. (Among other gems: “Some questions I find myself asking are, where do we draw the line at ‘human’?” Steinbacher continues. “Do love and intimacy alone humanize those of us who live at the expense of others?”) I’ve already used some of the funds to attend Nisi Shawl and K. Tempest Bradford’s online Writing Inclusive Fiction workshop. I’ll also be making a last-minute appearance at the World Fantasy Convention in San Antonio next weekend.
“Some questions I find myself asking are, where do we draw the line at ‘human’? Do love and intimacy alone humanize those of us who live at the expense of others?”
One project I intend to support with this funding is work on a novel, which I began developing in June at the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction’s SFF Novel Writers Workshop with Kij Johnson and Barbara Webb. (I’m fairly close-mouthed about it at the moment, but I may share some details once I’ve hammered them out further in the next month.) I met some amazing writers there, including R.F. Kuang, Gregory Scheckler, Becca Jordan, Caitlin Rogers, and Jake Frondorf. I also got to reconnect with the fabulous Marlee Jane Ward and M. Huw Evans.
I’ll be continuing to write short fiction and pushing out more stories that have been sitting on the back burner for some time while I was completing freelance projects over the past several months.
Once again, there is more news to come, but I’ve got to keep some secrets for now ;).
Happy fall! On my to-read list:
Got a recommendation? Comment below.
Issue 7 of Beecher’s Magazine arrived in the mail the other day. It includes the winners of the fiction, poetry, and nonfiction contests, and a story by me called “Collectors.” I finished this near-future science fiction story as part of my MFA thesis (where it was lovingly nicknamed “the clone story”). It’s about ownership–of art, of memories, of shared experiences, and of people.
Here’s the first page of “Collectors.” To read more, purchase the issue.
I am honored that “Collectors” was selected as a contest finalist by Carmen Maria Machado.
I have more news to announce soon–subscribe for updates if you’d like to follow me!
Somehow, it’s May already. Spring is flying by, and so did my time at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.
The refurbished corn crib that was my studio for nearly two weeks (which I lovingly think of as the Baba Yaga hut) was cozy and a great space in which to work without distraction. It was my goal to draft at least one new story and my novel opening and outline. I lost three days to an unanticipated emergency, but I was still able to produce a lot of good work in that time.
After research, I wrote about 7k of the novel opening and worked out a lot of the outline. I drafted a 3k short story about a couple struggling to survive on a post-apocalyptic Earth where people worship mutants, and got about 1,000 words into an off-the-wall story about a group of teenagers with a very strange addiction. Not to mention the notebook pages I filled with as-yet-untyped work. I also read Kate Wilhelm’s Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang and about two-thirds of George Saunders’ Tenth of December. And revisited a number of Karen Joy Fowler stories available at Lightspeed. And caught up on some of Shimmer‘s latest offerings.
Overall, I’d say it was a successful residency, and I’d love to go to VCCA again. While I didn’t spend a lot of time socializing, there was a great group of artists there with me who I took inspiration from and can’t wait to continue to follow.
Stay tuned for some news about forthcoming publications. I’ll have two pieces coming out in print!
It’s been a while since I checked in, but things have been moving along! I’ve been awarded a VCCA residency for the second half of this month. I’m looking forward to relaxing near the Blue Ridge mountains and getting some work done on stories and a new novel.
Speaking of novels… I’ve been accepted to the Intensive Novel Institute at the University of Kansas with Kij Johnson and Barbara J. Webb as instructors. I can’t wait to work once again with Kij, who was one of my Clarion West instructors, and to get to know Barbara after meeting her at Worldcon last summer.
More news to come, but in the meantime, I leave you with a juicy speculative erotica short, “omen Underwear,” which Great Jones Street published as part of their Valentine’s special.
It’s been a whirlwind of a spring (I pulled together a 290-page creative thesis, I graduated from NC State’s MFA program) and a summer (trips to Seattle to see my Clarion West community and then to Kansas City for Worldcon). So whirlwindy, in fact, that I forgot to blast the news that my story “Chimeras“–the first story I sold, although Terraform beat Escape Pod to the punch in publishing me–is a Notable Story in The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2016.
What this means is that “Chimeras” was chosen from all of the stories published in 2015 to cross editor John Joseph Adams’ desk and placed on a longlist. The (about 80) stories on this list were then handed to guest editor Karen Joy Fowler, who chose the top 20 for publication in the anthology.
While it won’t be reprinted in the antho, I’m in good company with writers like Ted Chiang, Kelly Link, Sofia Samatar, Kij Johnson, Charlie Jane Anders (seriously, too many good writers to list here)… and colleagues of mine like Helena Bell and Alyssa Wong. Not to mention, Karen Joy Fowler! read my story. Not too bad for my first sale.
You can check out the Notable Stories here and pre-order the anthology on Amazon–or wait until your friendly neighborhood bookstore puts it on shelves in October.
Clarion West 2016 is entering its fourth week today (already!), and I’ve been remiss in plugging their Write-a-thon. This year, I’m participating with actual funding goals. If you sponsor me at at the $5 level or beyond, you can get a sneak peek of what I’m working on now, which includes a neo-cyberpunk novelette set in 2040s Toronto and a Tiptree-inspired story about polyamory.
Can I raise at least $200 for Clarion West?
- If you pledge $5 or more, I’ll send you the opening to the novelette.
- If you pledge $15 or more, you’ll get the opening to the novelette as well as a quirky thank-you postcard, sent sometime within the next year.
- If you pledge $50 or more, I’ll send you the full draft of the Tiptree story, when it’s complete.
- If you pledge $100 or more, I’ll write you a piece of flash or micro-fiction (or, who knows, even longer fiction), based on one (or more) of three prompts you provide.
- For $150 or more, make that a piece of erotica, with the same guidelines.
A bunch of great writers are sponsoring. Check it out!
It’s been two years since I was anticipating beginning my Clarion West experience, and I’ve been thinking a lot about what to take into the workshop and what advice might be useful to up-and-coming CWies (I pronounce this in my head as “Cee-Dubbies,” because I’m a nerd).
Of course, first there are all the things you have to set in order before you leave—the day job or jobs (or the freelance work or however it is you make your way through the world), the family (once again, however you interpret this), getting your health affairs and bills and everything else in order. But how do you prepare for the workshop itself? I wish I had done a better job of this, so here’s my hindsight advice, take it or leave it: Continue reading