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2021 in Review

Amusingly (depressingly?) the last post I made in this blog was about…2020’s eligibility. So here we are, rolling straight into 2021’s eligibility. It doesn’t matter, but here we are. Always showing up. That’s half of the work—just show up. Isn’t it?

2021, much like 2020, has been a year of challenges and changes. But the more things change…the more they stay the same. Did you come for the platitudes? Hmm, no. You came to see what I published in 2021! Didn’t you? I showed up and you showed up and here we are, so let’s do it.

The biggest change in 2021 was that I signed with a literary agent. Jennie Goloboy of the Donald Maass Literary Agency has taken excessively good care of me already, so I’m pleased with the pairing. She’s already shopping a novel for me, so cross those fingers and eyes that someone will see its utter brilliance and publish it. It’s pretty good, for a book written in isolation during a pandemic.

Let’s flashback to spring of this year, when PodCastle published a reprint of my lesbian noir, “Blush Response.” I’ve written two stories in this universe and I think about writing a novel about these ladies, but haven’t quite gotten there yet. It’s a world where things are literally black and white—until a certain magic (read: curse) unlocks the color.

Also in the spring, Prisms published from PS Publishing. My story, “Rivergrace” concerns a strange woman at the edge of a river and a monster that devours the world. Prisms was the first time I got to sign signature sheets for a limited number of special editions, so that was fun and harrowing—I had to practice signing my name a LOT.

Summer brought my post-apoc leprechaun climate change story to Apex. Yeah—you didn’t know you needed such a story, but thankfully I wrote “Without Wishes to Bind You.” It’s a strange world, where window blinds can see, where billboards are alive, and a leprechaun has chosen a human for a travelling companion—or have they been chosen by something else entirely?

Summer also brought one of my favorite things I’ve ever written, a climate change novella, The Necessity of Stars, wherein our heroine is an old woman in the early stages of dementia. It is also one of the hardest things I’ve ever written. Elise, you may say, you aren’t an old woman in the early stages of dementia. No, but I am a caregiver for my mom who is, so my experiences with her color this entire story, even if she hasn’t met an alien in the garden (I don’t think she has…maybe I should check). For better or worse. Working with Neon Hemlock on this project was a joy; they are a first-class joint the entire way, organizing a Kickstarter, with great rewards that included enamel pins made for each novella. Getting to share the experience with Premee, Shingai, and Wendy was also a blessing. What a great group of humans to be among.

2021 also gave us the beginning of Mermaid’s Monthly, a project I was happy to talk with founder and editor Julia Rios about. I had no plans to submit anything, but then there was this story, “A Nereid’s Guide to the Underworld” and I thought “what the heck!” and it turns out they wanted it for their August issue.

Lightspeed expanded a little this year, adding flash fiction to their lineup. “Those Who Went” was included in their October issue. This is my third appearance in Lightspeed, each more unexpected than the last!

A new-to-me publication is Bourbon Penn. I found them when two favorite authors had stories in their pages. On an actual whim, I sent them a circus story I’d had trouble placing, and they loved it. “The Truth Each Carried” (issue #25) is a standalone sequel to my 2015 circus novelette “Blow the Moon Out.” It’s about age, and love, and how we each have a truth buried inside us that only certain people have access to.

This year also saw the arrival of The Deadlands, a project I am delighted to be involved with. The Deadlands is a new magazine that publishes fiction, non-fiction, and poetry relating to death. When Sean asked me to edit the fiction, I absolutely said yes in about one (1) second. We have had a tremendous first seven issues, publishing works from authors such as: C.S.E. Cooney, Alexis Gunderson, Vajra Chandrasekera, Anita Brienza, Suzan Palumbo, Mike Allen, G.V. Anderson, R.B. Lemberg, Jelena Dunato, Premee Mohamed, Kate Lechler, Jordan Taylor, Alexandra Seidel, and so many more (and we’ve got such sights to show you this winter, ahhh!). I don’t know how it is possible to be more excited for every issue we produce, but I am. I hope you will visit the site and take a gander (I’m being told we’re sold out of ganders, sorry), and grab a subscription for yourself or to gift this holiday season. Subscriptions are what will keep us publishing!

As you are reading and nominating for the coming award season, I’m thankful for your consideration of my work. I keep showing up, and I’m not done yet. (Hopefully my next post won’t be so long in coming—but if you’ve missed me and my chatter, you can sign up for my (free) newsletter, over at TinyLetter. There’s lots of chatter there, plus giveaways, and it comes right to your email.)

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