Timing is a weird thing. I’m more surprised than anyone to have two stories out today! They both have take place during winter, and have a main duo as core characters, but other than that they are nothing alike. The Oiran’s Song is a novelette that is now live at Uncanny Magazine. It is about a courtesan and a soldier finding (a kind of) solace in each other during a war. There may be a demon involved. It takes place in a historical fantasy Japan, and there’s a lot of blood gracefully flying through the air – mind the trigger warning!
CLAMP’s Yuki Onna was one of my visual pegs for this piece. Lady Snowblood was another, in hindsight. Careful with Googling that!
I wrote this story in early 2014 and it’s come a long way since then, largely due to the wonderful people who read my drafts and gave feedback (A, A, H, V, V, K, C, B, S – YOU GUYS. <3). Honestly, revising made me want to bash my head against a wall several times. But I made it through somehow, and I’m so glad it found a home in Uncanny Magazine’s last Year 1 issue. Support their ongoing Year 2 Kickstarter here!
If you're interested, you can learn more about where this story originated, what I think of fanfic, and why I keep doing the fairytale thing in my interview with Deborah Stannish.
My other story is Find Me, a 4500 word piece in Apex Magazine’s special international-themed issue. This is a story about a Filipino family gathering for Christmas. It includes food, air-guitar, and Tikki Tikki Tembo no sa Rembo. I wrote the first draft way back in 2011 for a YA and Children’s Literature course at my university (super fun class, thank you Prof. Myers!). This touches on diaspora and loneliness, so, well, there you have some bits of my heart on display. I am very grateful to Cristina Jurado, Lavie Tidhar, Jason Sizemore, and the rest of the Apex team for giving me the chance to share this quiet little story with readers.
The Apex Book of World SF 4, edited by Mahvesh Murad (series editor Lavie Tidhar) – which reprints A Cup of Salt Tears – is now live! The TOC is a thing of beauty, and I’m so excited to discover all the new writers in this volume. (I already know and admire stories by several of the writers: Usman T. Malik, Zen Cho, Haralambi Markov, Yukimi Ogawa, and JY Yang among them!) Please consider reading it and supporting diverse SFF. :D
Lastly, I wanted to thank everyone who nominated me for the Campbell (Best New Writer) in the recent Hugo awards. To see my name on that long list was really, really, heartwarming-fuzzy-inducing-insane. Like. ?!?!!?! I don't know much about awards and I am super new to the SFF world but to have folk who believe in me enough to stick my name on their nominating ballots - thank you. That means so much. I hope I can continue to write stories you'll enjoy!
I realize I didn’t get to put up a post about Milagroso when that went live – so I’ll do one better and share some things I learned while writing and subbing that story. It’ll be up later this week!