2014, In Review

It’s somewhat ridiculous that the very idea of this post is making me melancholy around the edges. 2014 has been a strange year. Apparently I wrote about the end of the world a lot — but sometimes the end isn’t always the end. Here’s what I published:

Original Short Stories:

Once, Upon a Lime, Strange Horizons: The frog knows.
Oubliette, Interzone #255:
Some ghosts don’t rest easily.
Pithing Needle, Clarkesworld:
The truth like a needle in your brain.
Honey in the Lion, Betwixt #5: Not everything dies in an apocalypse.
The Cumulative Effects of Light Over Time, Upgraded: Unable to stop the fall, she learns to love the dark.
Going Among Mad People, Penumbra (September): Midnight tea parties in the chimney.
A Box, a Pocket, a Spaceman, Lightspeed (August)
Kalopsia, Fractured: Tales of the Canadian Post-Apocalypse: The end of the world contains elephants and rubber ducks.
Chasmata, Interzone #253 (July/August)
: We never quite expect, or remember, the sacrifices asked of us.
The World Resolute, Strange Horizons (July): Time is a circle, someone once said.
We, As One, Trailing Embers, Beneath Ceaseless Skies: Conjoined twins live a tug-of-war life, one enduring what the other requires.
Migratory Patterns of Underground Birds, Clarkesworld: The end of her world is only the beginning.
And After the Fire, a Still Small Voice, Sword & Mythos:
She will walk through the fire.
Inland Territory, Stray Italian Greyhound, Vignettes from the End of the World:
A small dog and a smaller bird, at the end of the world.
Falling From Earth to Haphazard Sky (Tadpole Remix), DSF:
Sometimes you have to go away, so that you can come back.

Original Novelette:

Green-eyed Monsters in the Valley of Sky, an Opera, The Mammoth Book of Steampunk Adventures: She’s smaller than a breath, yet larger than the world.


Rings of Anubis: A Folley & Mallory Adventure (#1): At the turn of the century, archaeologist Eleanor Folley seeks the truth of her mother’s disappearance with a shady organization in it for their own reasons. One reader says, “It reminded me a little bit of Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody books but with airships and Egyptian gods.” Oh, my heart!

Watermark: A young kelpie is sent to the human world as a form of punishment, but when she discovers there’s more at hand (afoot?!) than first realized, she will hold the destiny of two worlds in her inexperienced hands. One reader says, “With any luck Watermark will be a gateway back to the magical places in your life.” !!


Stray Outside the Lines, essay, Lightspeed,  Women Destroy Science Fiction


Issues 19, 20, 21, and 22 of Shimmer Magazine


Ticker Cover Final


I am super excited to welcome Lisa Mantchev to the site today to tell us about her new book, TICKER. Ticker contains (squee!) a steampunk bakery — hello, my one true love!

Lisa was awesome enough to answer some questions, too — and if you’re bright eyed enough, you might spy a clue in her ongoing SCAVENGER HUNT. What? There’s loot to be had? Only a Kindle Paperwhite with a custom TICKER cover!  Read on, darlings, read on!

dividerA girl with a clockwork heart must make every second count. Ticker Cover Final

When Penny Farthing nearly dies, brilliant surgeon Calvin Warwick manages to implant a brass “Ticker” in her chest, transforming her into the first of the Augmented. But soon it’s discovered that Warwick killed dozens of people as he strove to perfect another improved Ticker for Penny, and he’s put on trial for mass murder.

On the last day of Warwick’s trial, the Farthings’ factory is bombed, Penny’s parents disappear, and Penny and her brother, Nic, receive a ransom note demanding all of their Augmentation research if they want to see their parents again. Is someone trying to destroy the Farthings…or is the motive more sinister?

Desperate to reunite their family and rescue their research, Penny and her brother recruit fiery baker Violet Nesselrode, gentleman-about-town Sebastian Stirling, and Marcus Kingsley, a young army general who has his own reasons for wanting to lift the veil between this world and the next. Wagers are placed, friends are lost, romance stages an ambush, and time is running out for the girl with the clockwork heart.

dividerAn Interview with the Author!

Every story also contains the story of its beginning. Tell us where Ticker began.

Cross my heart, it started with a pocket watch. I was burning up all my nervous energy between the theater books scouring eBay for watch bits. People were turning up at conventions dressed in NeoVictorian glamour with goggles and brass bits, and I am all about the costuming.

But then I found a pocket watch on eBay that had a compass and sundial inside instead of a watch mechanism, and my writer-brain was off and running.

Does Ticker have a soundtrack — are there any specific songs that inspired scenes?

I do, actually, have a Spotify Playlist for TICKER. There are no scene-specific songs in this novel, although I will mention that I had the lovely chance to connect with Professor Elemental (he of the Fighting Trousers) and he was kind enough to provide a fantastic endorsement for the novel. Seriously, it doesn’t get any better than “ripping yarn.”

Part of the fun of steampunk is inventing devices and gadgets for our characters to use; what’s your favorite from Ticker?

Just to give you some idea of the worldbuilding in this one, I had to compile my style sheet for my copyeditor, and there were three, single-space pages of proper names for locations and gadgetry, food and beverages, weapons and publications. I think, of all of them, Penny’s personal protection device, a taser-like handheld dubbed the “Pixii” might be my favorite.

Penny and Violet are fantastic friends and it’s awesome to see girls just being girls; what inspired this facet of the book?

For as many drafts of TICKER that I wrote (there have been at least four distinctly different versions of this novel) Penny and Violet have always been best friends. I think this was born out of noticing the lack of female peer companionship Bertie had in the theater novels. In many ways, from the vivid hair color to the love of cake, Violet is my tribute to Bertie in this novel, if she’d lived in an alternate world and had a dozen brothers and sisters. And on THAT note…

What if Penny Farthing and Beatrice Shakespeare Smith literally run into each other on a busy city street (or is it a stage?); what in the world(s) do they spend their day doing or talking about?

Penny might have indeed attended a performance at the Theatre Illuminata, if she could but get tickets. If they met up for tea and toast, Bertie would encourage Penny to wear more trousers and have had Decided Opinions about Penny’s corsets. Shenanigans would abound, in any case.

You’ve done community theater, as well as acting while in high school. Among all that you’ve done, what has been your favorite role and is there one you haven’t conquered, but would very much like to?

I think my favorite role was playing Katherine in Taming of the Shrew for a senior year AP English project. My friend playing Petruchio, unscripted, picked me up and heaved me out the back door of the classroom. I haven’t ever had the chance to play Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, but I would dearly love to.

How do you take your coffee?

STRONG. And au lait.

It’s the season of NaNoWriMo; if you could share something you’ve learned from your own writing career, what would it be?

If you’re serious about it, it’s a job, whether you’re pulling a paycheck or not. That means that every month is novel-writing month. Every month is revising and polishing and sending off and starting something new. On December first, keep writing. On December second, keep writing. On December third…

What’s next for you? Do I see a tiny elephant on the horizon?

You might, indeed! My picture book STRICTLY NO ELEPHANTS is slated for publication by Paula Wiseman/S&S in the Fall of 2015 and will be illustrated by the award-winning artist Taeeun Yoo. The following spring, SISTER DAY will debut, illustrated by the fantastic Sonia Sánchez.

dividerTo celebrate the Kindle First digital launch of TICKER by Lisa Mantchev, the Farthing family would like to loan you your very own Vitesse motorized high-wheeled bicycle and messenger bag. Venture out into the city of Bazalgate to see the sights and retrieve six items necessary to celebrate with Penny and her friends. When you are done, remit the list for a chance to win your very own Kindle Paperwhite customized with the TICKER cover!

Contest open to US residents. Email entries to with the subject line “TICKER Paperwhite Giveaway”. Deadline for entry is midnight PST on November 15th. Winner will be announced here on November 16th.


Even more intimidating than the architecture, thousands of mechanical Xestobium rufovillosum perched on the walls. The Death Watch Beetles monitored noise levels, and if an unlucky patron progressed beyond a whisper, the twitches of their mica wings summoned the Unseen librarians. Once charged with safeguarding the thousands of paper documents and illuminated manuscripts, the Unseen now tended the city’s Eidolachometer Information Storage System. No one knew exactly where the librarians were trained or how they were recruited, but at least once or twice a month, a researcher’s limp body was removed from the building and transferred to Currey Hospital for observation. It took anywhere from three days to a week for the patient to wake up, another month or more to recover his or her powers of speech.

Item to retrieve :  Eidolachometer cards

ONWARD to adventure, glory and teatime!

THE FLYING FORTRESS – Fantasy Book Critic



GLASSHOUSE – Fangirlish

PENNY’S BEDROOM – Emma Michaels

dividerMANTCHEV author photo smLisa Mantchev is a temporally-displaced Capricorn who casts her spells from an ancient tree in the Pacific Northwest. She is best known as the author of the young adult fantasy trilogy, The Théâtre Illuminata. Published by Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan,) the series includes the Andre Norton and Mythopoeic awards-nominated EYES LIKE STARS (2009), PERCHANCE TO DREAM (2010), and SO SILVER BRIGHT (2011.)


Why It Matters

The November/December 2014 issue of F&SF contains fiction by men and men alone. I brought this up on Twitter.

According to Tangent Online: The issue reacts to Internet intolerance of difference by gathering what the editor describes as “stories that deal with touchy themes or go beyond the bounds of Political Correctness.” In other words, the issue contains stories selected for their potential to offend. The issue reflects an editorial decision to present thought provoking subjects and perspectives in the full knowledge some of the stories have the potential to elicit negative responses.

The issue was also tackled by my writing group. One person therein asked: “Why does it matter what proportion of women a single market publishes?”

The question bothered me all day.  Each time I turned to the work I needed to be doing, I heard that question in my head.

Why does it matter?

The implication being that surely a single market couldn’t have such an impact, when there are loads of other publications, publishing women left and right, and let us not forget the hugeness of Women Destroying SF / Fantasy / Horror?

For me, F&SF was a cornerstone of my genre education. It was one of the big three, along with Asimov’s and Analog. Before there was online publishing, these three were largely what I read; these were the magazines that helped pre-writer me learn what the genre was all about. F&SF was THE magazine where I wanted to be published. A foundation for all that would come.

What has F&SF has contributed to the genre over the past year of publication? Maybe this issue is a outlier.

  • November/December 2014: 0 women, 9 men
  • September/October 2014: 2 women, 10 men
  • July/ August 2014: 7 women, 6 men (guest edited by C. C. Finlay)
  • May/June 2014: 3 women, 6 men
  • March/April 2014: 1 woman, 12 men
  • January/February 2014: 1 woman, 10 men
  • November/December 2013: 1 woman, 6 men

Over the past year, F&SF has published 15 stories by women, and 53 stories by men. Almost half of those stories by women came in one guest-edited issue. (Looking beyond a year, 1 to 3 stories by women per issue seems about standard.)

What does it imply about the genre? About this publication? If other magazines are publishing so many women, why is F&SF failing to? Maybe F&SF is no longer as relevant as it used to be? But F&SF remains front and center on many newsstands, Barnes & Noble to name but one.

As a woman and a writer, the numbers make me less inclined to send F&SF work to consider, seeing exactly how slim a margin there is to include work by women. (But that only feeds into the problem! you cry. Exactly and indeed.)

As a woman and an editor, this is dismaying, because we want a varied genre, don’t we? We want to welcome all voices and perspectives. We want to see ourselves in the world at large; as writers, we want to contribute and be heard. Don’t we?

I hope the answer remains that we do.

That’s why it matters.