Way Cool Review

Wow, I just came across the most awesome review of Interfictions, the anthology of interstitial fiction edited by Theodora Goss and Delia Sherman, and the reviewer said some really wonderful things about my story, “What We Know About the Lost Families of —- House”:

The 19 stories contained within Interfictions serve as examples but not as points of an argument that could lead to a listing in a Funk and Wagnalls. The airport analogy only holds for so long, once you start to read these tales and realize that the one aspect that binds them together is their lack of convenient genre markers. Perhaps interstitiality is like porn. You know it when you see it.

Also like porn, the stories that work, which is most of them, are exciting. Unlike porn, the pieces in Interfictions all have strong narratives and gorgeous language. One of the standouts is Christopher Barzak’s “What We Know About the Lost Families of ——– House.” It is equally a standard haunted-house story, a postmodern mind game, and a puff of Neil Gaiman-esque whimsy. Despite those familiar tropes, it also feels wholly unique, as if it is rewriting our expectations about what kind of story it is even as we’re reading it. “What We Know” is, above all else, a gripping tale with undeniable momentum.

Wiscon Redux

Ok, so I am settled into a cafe here in Youngstown with wifi access that you *don’t* have to pay for, which seems to be the problem with a lot of cafes I stop in at. So many are those T-mobile spots like at airports where you have to buy access, which I think is not good for business really, people, at least not mine. I will buy scones and coffee and tea and sandwiches, but don’t charge me for a connection!

Wiscon. I love Wiscon. I’ve been attending for the past seven or eight years, only missing one when I was living in Japan, and I have to say, if a convention committee anywhere wants to know how to run a successful convention with lots of happy people attending, you should go to Wiscon to learn what’s up in the “They know what they’re doing” department. Wiscon gets the best people: smart, articulate, aware, jovial, supportive. After attending the Clarion writing workshop in 1998, Wiscon was the place where I started to find my second family. The only bad thing about Wiscon is that it only occurs once a year for several days. This is unfair. It means I never have enough time to spend with everyone I love, like and want to get to know better. My Friday nights at Wiscon are pretty much shot no matter what because I MC the Ratbastard’s Karaoke Party, which I absolutely love doing, but it means I never get to be out talking to people at the party for more than the space of a three minute song. It also really drains me to MC, even though I love doing it. My energies ebb all day Saturday from the frantic fast pace and trying to be energetic and encouraging and entertaining for the party. It’s worth it though, because so many people are nice enough to tell me during or after the party or the next day how much fun they had, and I’m glad that Alan and Kristin and I have something we can do to make people happy and jazzed that first night of the convention after the opening ceremonies. It makes me feel like we can give back for all the happiness Wiscon gives us.

Highlights of the convention were seeing Maureen McHugh for the first time in years. You look great, Maureen! And I will definitely take you up on visiting Austin in the future. I really do need to come to Texas and shatter my image of it. Catching up with Terri Windling, one of my angels, and dancing with Karen Fowler while she reveals she knows the words to the “My Milkshake Brings All the Boys to the Yard” song, watching Heather Shaw-Pratt teaching her baby how to shake its bootie before it joins us in the outer world, seeing Mary Rickert and her really awesome nice husband Bill (though not enough as I’d like–guess I will just have to move to Milwaukee or thereabouts), dancing with my editor Juliet Ulman, who has this really cute move she does where she puts her hands on her knees and shakes it all the way down and out to the beat (I would steal this move for my own dance move repetoire, but I’m afraid it wouldn’t look as cute when I do it), chatting with Chance because I love chatting with Chance, and seeing Haddayr Copley-Woods’ smiling face everywhere I went (yes, appt. next year for sure!) and teasing back and forth with Tim Pratt over who our editor loves best (I still think it’s him!) and carousing with Alan Deniro and Kristin Livdahl as always, and listening to Kelly Link’s and Laurie Marks’ beautiful Guest of Honor speech, and seeing Cat Valente get crowned and Shelley Jackson’s fabulous hair and dress, and seeing Graham again, brother in the American-in-training/Brit-in-training exchange program, meeting Niall Harrison, who is really really nice and funny and smart, and their friend Liz, and subjecting Rick Bowes to Wiscon’s outrageous energy, being called the cute boy by Midori Snyder always makes me melt and smile like a cute boy should, signing people’s copies of my story in Twenty Epics and Interfictions (I am still surprised when people seem to know me let alone want me to sign anthologies with my story in them) clapping for Tempest Bradford’s slightly drunken toasts, singing “I Wanna Be Sedated” with Nick Mamatas (still grateful he wanted to sing that song!) and hugging Hannah Bowen even if I didn’t get a chance to talk to her ALL WEEKEND (what’s up with that, where were you?) talking with Jackie M. over race and class issues, squeezing Susan Groppi and Karen Meisner whenever I had the chance (though again, failure to get my Susan and Karen time–next year I will make sure to come in early and stay at Ms. Meisner’s instead of coming in on Friday because of a freelance project I was doing here in town), hearing Dave read the water poet story, which I love, meeting Steve Berman and his fabulous friends finally, drinking and dancing with the Nightshade Boys, seeing and signing Sharyn November’s copy of the Coyote Road, which looks GORGEOUS (like her hair), reading with Meghan and Alice and Rick, watching Gavin Grant smile proudly at his awesome wife as she gave her Guest of Honor speech, and seeing Kelly’s sweet cute mom so excited to be there and proud of her daughter as well, and seeing E. Sedia’s new book, and hearing from her that there’s a new award called the Plunkett starting next year for works that investigate class issues (much needed) and what else? What else? I know I’m forgetting someone and something. I can’t help it. It was the best convention ever.

Disappointments: again, not getting to spend as much time with everyone I wanted to spend the entire weekend with. Being afraid to read a really sad section of One for Sorrow at my reading and going for a part that has funny stuff in it too because I feel better when I make people laugh more than cry. Also, not getting the chance to do that tarot reading with Barth Anderson (who gave me one at Clarion in 1998 which pretty much detailed my life for the past nine years in general, making me feel like that poor woman in The Red Violin who traveled the world like the fortune teller told her, but trapped inside that damned violin ad infinitum!). Also, not getting to talk to Greg Van Eekhout and Jenn Reese as much as I’d have liked, beyond a little bit waiting in line for reservations and drinks and whatnot, and at parties for very briefly.

I missed Dora Goss and Elad Haber. Next year, I hope you two will be able to come again. It wasn’t the same, even with all the greatness happening.

I’m glad to be home and have my bed back, and brownies Tony made for me to come home to, and my parents, who picked me up at the airport as is our ritual, and hearing my dad’s idea on a One for Sorrow sequel, which was actually really awesome though I’m not sure if I can do a sequal to One for Sorrow (but who knows, that idea was really pretty awesome, Dad) and now it is sunny and beautiful and I’m sitting in a comfy chair drinking tea in a cafe with people walking by outside and I’m feeling, you know, lucky and happy.


Thanks to the very sweet Vonday McIntyre and Diane Turnshek, the mini-essay I wrote for the Nebulas on “The Language of Moths” has been replaced with the final version I’d settled on after revision help from Jackie M, who has the most incredible pink hair (saw her at Wiscon this weekend and had a good chat by the elevators about class and race issues, she’s one smarty, that one).


I am back from Wiscon, have had a full night of sleep, and yet still feel totally exhausted.  How on earth have all of you other con-goers managed to write these lovely con reports and love letters to fellow attendees already?  I feel ready to fall over just typing these words!

So I will write more later, after I return from fixing the headlight that blew out as I started my car last night.  And after I sort through all of the stuff I dumped out of my luggage onto the floor and left there in favor of climbing into my bed.

It was lovely.  One of my favoritest Wiscons in history.  I love that convention like the trees love the wind blowing through them.

More later, soon enough.

Electrum Novellas=Way Coolness

Please distribute far and wide.

Velocity Press Announces New Electrum Novella Series

Fans of the acclaimed Rabid Transit anthology series will be excited to hear that, here at Velocity Press, we’re evolving for your reading pleasure. Our purpose has always been to bring interesting and hard to classify fiction into print, work that might not otherwise be seen. Lately, we’re noticing a increase in short story markets, both in print and online, and have decided to move our focus away from shorter work. When we look at commercial magazines, literary journals, online magazines and the proliferation of ‘zines, we see a shortage of homes for novellas. With that in mind, we will be focusing on bringing a new, standalone novella to light each year, with the same level of top-flight, perfect-bound design and writing quality, under the new series line of Electrum Novellas.

Our guidelines for novellas don’t differ in any remarkable way from what we were looking for Rabid Transit. We want to publish novellas that push the boundaries of the form, novellas that question what the form can do in contrast to the short story and novel. We want novellas that forge something new out of disparate materials, like electrum itself, making something stronger and shinier than was there before. We want novellas that, in essence, rock and roll. Submission should be 17,500 to 40,000 words in length and sent electronically in standard submission format as a .rtf or .doc file to electrumeditorsATgmail.com.

Please only submit one novella a year. Expect to hear from us within three months on your submission. After that, feel free to inquire as to its status. Payment will be $150 dollars and ten contributor’s copies with the option to purchase more copies at reduced rates.

We hope new writers and past contributors to the Rabid Transit series will consider submitting their work to the Electrum series.

Of Nebulas and New York City

Just a quick post before I go back to my busy-busy mode.  The Nebulas were an interesting experience, especially as I went not having entertained winning as a possibility for even a moment, and so this provided me with more of an anthropological view of the event.  The hotel was snazzy and expensive, the drinks and beer way overpriced, the banquet food decent, the ceremony way too long, but interesting to be at for the first couple of hours, when I still had a lot of energy.  The closer it got to midnight though, the more I wanted to put my head down and sleep.  I’m glad I didn’t, because I got to see Jim Kelly win his first Nebula, which was like watching a mechanical wind-up toy that’s been wound really really tight go crazy as it ran across the floor and up the stairs of the stage.  Also, when my name was announced in the novelette category, the good people at the Realms of Fantasy table sent up a little cheer for me.  This made me smile and feel really good.  There were some other interesting things to see too:  presenters who either didn’t know how to pronounce simple names of nominees, even though they’re well-known in the field and have won many other awards, as well as presenters who left off naming some of the nominees at all.  I thought this was a really avant garde demonstration of professionalism.  Along with this, the Bulletin of SFWA printed my first draft of my essay on my novelette, rather than the corrected version that I revised here on my blog with the help of some smart readers, and of course they’ve posted it online as well.  I wrote and asked if I could have the one online replaced at least with the revised essay, but this was days ago and no one has responded to me, so I guess my first draft is what will be etched in the records.  Who said nothing was set in stone? 😉

I had a good time nonetheless, visiting old friends and acquaintances, eating a vast array of gorgeous meals in the city, attending my first KGB Fantastic Fiction reading series event, meeting my editor for the most amazing Japanese food I’ve had in many months and indulging in a pineapple-anise flavored sorbet, visiting my publisher’s offices near Columbus Circle and being amazed at how publishing offices actually look like how they’re portrayed in movies.  I felt for several moments very much like a boy off a farm again, surrounded by those high walls of famous books published over the years by the various imprints of Random House and being told by a man behind a really high desk at the foyer to take the elevator to the twenty-fourth floor.  This was really cool. 

One of my highlights of the week was finding out I’d been a highlight of Peter Beagle’s Nebula weekend, as when he and I and Delia Sherman, all novelette nominees, were asked to take a picture together and introduced ourselves to each other, I nervously stuttered his name when I told him it was nice to meet him, then after the picture apologized because of my nerves.  He was very gracious and said he had done the same thing years ago when he met Jessamyn West, and thought it was great that he got to be in the other position finally. 

New York is one of my favorite cities in the world.  There’s so much to do and see and eat and buy.  I can’t wait to go back for another visit later this summer.  But now in a few more days it’ll be time to go to Madison for Wiscon, and that’s another favorite little city in my register of favorite cities.  Can’t wait to see more old friends and acquaintances there at the end of this week.  I fly in on Friday morning.  Everyone get ready to sing some karaoke and have a beer or two (or three). 

Just a little bit

I still am too exhausted to start journaling again, but I’ve uploaded my photos from New York City to my Flickr, which you can find on the sidebar of this page, and I’ve also added two more blurbs (one from Scott Westerfeld, the other from Kelly Link) to my One for Sorrow page, which you can also find on the sidebar in the links under the About section.  Look at pictures, read amazing blurbage.  Actual words from me on the Nebulas and my trip to New York will come later.  I had the most wonderful time though, that much I can say without going into details at the moment.  Now I’ve got to catch up on e-mails, writing, business matters, and catching up with local friends.  Wiscon in a week!  I can’t believe it.  Looking forward to it, despite my recent trip exhaustion.  Make sure to come to the Ratbastard Karaoke Blowout and sing your little hearts out.  Hope to see you there.

More later

Just a note to say I’m still in New York City till the end of this week, so if I owe you an e-mail, it won’t come till a week from now most likely.  I’m having fun in the city.  It’s always nice to visit this place.  I’ve taken lots of pictures to upload later.  Spring in New York is one of my favorite times of year to be here.