Snowpocalypse 2021

It’s a snow day here. We’ve had somewhere between 6 to 8 inches of snow in the last 24 hours. It’s a rare sight in my neck of the woods — we’re more prone to ice than snow. This weatherly treat has made for a long weekend for the husband and cozy day spent reading and thinking about writing for me.House Society GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Oh, and ramen! I used leftover Christmas rib roast to make beef ramen and it was delicious and warm and hearty and all the right adjectives for a snow day. I’m sad that I ate it all.

I’m picking at a short story I started Thursday. It’s weird, which is normal for me. I’m not entirely sure what’s happening, but I like what I have so far. I’m doing some experimental(ish) things which is always exciting and nerve-racking, making me eager to continue and leery of stopping. When I stop I have time to overthink it. I’m playing with tenses and pacing and telling story that is (yet again) heavy on atmosphere and character and wicked thin on plot.

*Shrug* What else is new?

In the background both Tavi and Victoria are percolating. I had a couple of ideas for revision come up for Tavi today, so I’ve made the appropriate notes. I’ll start reading through it and making the noted changes this week, I think. It’s feeling like it’s just about time, and I’d like to get started before I go back to work. I’m going to need the momentum.

This week is a liminal space, all of twitter seems to agree. Writers around the country are relaxing, reading, working on projects without a deadline or concern. Working on the “extras”. And we all seem to understand that, come January 3rd, we all get back to business. We get back to the reality of routines and schedules and deadlines. We get back to work.

I have plans. Ideas and goals. But those are subjects for a different post. Tonight it’s just me, the snow, and recording a couple episodes of Top Shelf Librarians. The weather is keeping us apart for this recording, but at least the sound quality will be better! Silver linings!

Anyway, this short story is calling. I keep flicking back and forth between this post and the scrivener document.

Until later, Bloggarts.


Oh. Shit. It’s DECEMBER?!

Hey Bloggos,

Sorry it’s been so quiet over here. This weekend was a blur of birthday celebrations and I felt like I barely had a moment to think — in all the best ways! We drove up to Seattle for a couple of days and saw our favorite podcasters (The McElroys) perform both MBMBAM and The Adventure Zone live! We also walked around Emerald City Comic Con and ate so much AMAZING food. It was a truly wonderful weekend, definitely the best in recent memory.


Which brings me to today. I’m feeling really good. Refreshed in a way I didn’t expect, to be honest. It’s nice to remember there’s a world outside of work and home. And there’s no better city to remind me than Seattle. I love it so, so, so much.

Some things I wanted to talk about are actually writing related! I know, weird! I’ve joined — founded? — a Science Fiction/Fantasy critique group through Willamette Writers. Surprisingly, they didn’t have one already, and I have a very serious need. Tavi is at a point where I could use some outside eyeballs and I need a group of writers to hold me accountable. And I’d really like to grow my writing community. So yeah. That starts on Wednesday and it starts with me.

I’m not nervous or anything.Kermit Kermit The Frog GIF - Kermit Kermit The Frog Nervous - Discover &  Share GIFs

I’m still working on Victoria… Have I talked about my nanowrimo project with any sort of specificity on here yet?

*Searches recent posts*

Huh. Well, I’m writing a near-future, gender-swapped retelling of Frankenstein. It’s set in Seattle and is the strangest thing I’ve written, process-wise. I’m not going to get into it much here because the draft isn’t done. It’s nowhere near done. I’m about a third of the way through the first draft and I think it’s more of a zero draft than an honest to goodness first draft…

Point is, it’s very much in progress so I shan’t discuss it too much. I’m working on it.

In other news, I wanted to share that two of my short stories are now available in print! If you’d like to support small magazines/publishers please, please, please consider purchasing print copies of both the City. River. Tree. 2020 Anthology and of Luna Station Quarterly Issue 046.


They’d make pretty cool gifts and ship super quick. Just sayin’…

Top Shelf LogoIn other other news, a new episode of Top Shelf Librarians dropped Friday morning. If you haven’t yet, go ahead and give it a listen! I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for now. It’s the end of the year (finally) so I’m sure I’ll be back with some reflective musings and big plans for the coming year. I think I’m actually ready to think big things. But as ever, we’ll just have to wait and see, won’t we?

Until then, Blogland.


Reflection: Nanowrimo 2021

Well. It’s the last day of Nanowrimo. I have five-ish hours to write about 1,200 words in order to reach my EXTREMELY modified goal. Originally the goal was the legit, old school Nanowrimo target: 50k. It became apparent very early on that I would not be making this goal. 

Given the past two years of Pandemic Bullshit™ and the fact that I haven’t written anything super long since I finished the Tavi rough draft in spring of 2019, I’m not surprised that this Nano was a major struggle. I expected it, honestly.

The fact that I could reach 15k on a single project in a month is a major win for me. Breaking 19k total for the month is a HUGE win. It’s more than I’ve written the rest of the year combined. I refuse to feel bad about such success. 

They say that comparison is the thief of joy, but we forget that it applies to not just the world beyond, but within as well. Comparing my output to years past is an exercise in disappointment, when really I should be celebrating this productivity that’s leaps and bounds beyond what I’ve done in recent memory.

I’m headed in the right direction. Shocko Elf GIF - Shocko Elf Shock - Discover & Share GIFs

Beyond Nanowrimo, I have MORE news! Say what?!

My microfiction piece “Unforgettable” made its way into the City.River.Tree. 2020 Anthology. I may have missed the email about the anthology’s release, and I’m just now realizing it. Whoops.

Point is! My story is available in print! And that always feels amazing! As indicated by all these darn exclamation points!!!!

Ahem. Anyway. That’s the news. If you’d like to read my story, you can find it online here. OR you can support a small, indie microfiction magazine and buy the 2020 Anthology. It’s like, $8. Just sayin’.

All right. That’s enough procrastination. It’s time to get these final words on the page. See you soon, Bloggarts.



In Which I “Do Words Good”

So, I kinda, sorta announced this already, but figured it ought to have its own post.

I got my first professional sale!!!

happy dance

“The Lament of Kivu Lacus” will be in Laksa Media’s Life Beyond Us: an Anthology of Original SF and Science Essays, forthcoming in Fall 2022. My story was one of two stories selected from the open call for submissions — the other 28 stories are all by authors invited to submit (including heavy hitters like Mary Robinette Kowal, Premee Mohamed, Bogi Takács, Tobias S. Buckell, and more). What’s even better is that this anthology is partnered with the European Astrobiology Institute, and each story will be paired with an essay addressing the science presented in the work of fiction!

There are a lot of reasons to celebrate this sale, the obvious being that it’s my FIRST PROFESSIONAL SALE! I know that, ultimately, that doesn’t really change anything for me or my writing. I’m still going to get rejected. A lot. I will not suddenly be contacted by agents and editors begging for my manuscripts. I will not become an overnight award winner or a contributor to a Year’s Best Anthology. Okay… that last one isn’t AS unlikely as the other two, but the other two are literally not going to happen so…

The point is, this professional sale sure is validating. I do words good and someone else thinks I do words good too!

Another reason to celebrate is the fact of the sheer numbers I was up against. Only two stories were selected out of 250 submissions. That’s… not insignificant. The selection process is a difficult one — I’ve been there as a slush reader for The Audient Void. You know what stories won’t make it, but it isn’t always so clear which ones will. And, submitting to magazines is so subjective. There’s a lot that can factor into an Editor’s decision. Is this the third story about space whales they’ve read today? Are they a monster who hates cetaceans, even earthly ones? Did they skip breakfast and they’re grumpy? Who knows, man? Certainly not us!

But another reason to celebrate is this: the submission guidelines specifically said that stories about [REDACTED] would be a hard sell because they already had a story about that. I almost didn’t submit because of that one line in the guidelines. But, I thought about it, considered the weird, wonderful, heart-wrenching story I had written, and thought, “don’t self-reject.” I also honestly believed that whatever story they already had would be wildly different from my strange little tear-jerker. It was worth submitting.

And guess what, Dear Reader? It was. It was so, so worth it.


Braindump Follow Up + November!

Sooooooo…. I left the blog in a pretty bleak spot for awhile there, didn’t I? Sorry, I guess. I should mention that after writing that post and feeling really shitty for a few more days, I made an appointment with my doctor to see a Behavioral Specialist. It was nice just to talk to someone and have my feelings validated. We came up with a care plan and I check back in next week to see how I’m doing.

So, how am I doing?

Okay? Mostly better. I’ve been really socially active lately, which has helped. And I started taking my vitamins again which I’m sure has also helped. But, I’m still agitated and my energy levels are still all over the damn place. Some days I just can’t stop and I’m productive and hyper and just through the roof. Other days getting out of bed to lounge on the couch feels like an achievement. I’m not really following the care plan we made, but I keep telling myself that’s okay because I’m doing (insert random creative thing) instead.

So, better. But still not good. I’m still angry underneath all this energy. Still completely disappointed with my community and my work, and generally unhappy in those regards. But, my social and creative lives are at least on the mend.

What I really wanted to talk about today is actually writing related! WHAAAAT?! It’s a November Miracle!

Basically, my brain kicked into writing mode in the last-ish week of October. I wrote over 4k words in that week alone, which is more than I wrote in any other month this year. And now it’s November and we all know what that means. Say it with me, “NANOWRIMO!”

National Novel Writing Month is here and I am off to an… okayish start. I’ve written almost 4k words on a new novel and have plenty of opportunities this month to get back on track. It’s No School November which means I have lots of bonus days off to write. I’ve joined Willamette Writers’ Author Cohort, which is a month long program that supports wrimos with a few workshops and weekly write-ins. I missed my first write-in because it was Trevor’s birthday, but that was 1000% worth it. Trevor bday cake

(I made French Onion Soup and a from-scratch Coconut Cake, complete with Coconut Buttercream frosting. I had never made a cake before and for some ridiculous reason felt starting with a three-tier cake on a weeknight was a sane idea. I felt like I was a contestant on The Great British Bake Off, and I even waved a cutting board over my “sponges” at one point. But, it all turned out delicious, even if the kitchen hasn’t quite recovered yet.)

Back to the book. It’s a brand new project that I am very excited about. It’s epistolary which I am learning is QUITE the challenge. I’m going to need that Author Cohort support group to get to “The End”.

Today I had a virtual meeting with WilWrite and then have a Walk ‘n’ Talk with a writer friend this afternoon. I’m hoping to get some solid writing time in the few hours in-between.  I also FaceTimed with my mom and am about to eat lunch. All in all, a chill Fall Saturday.


celebrate moira  celebrate marathon

My story The Lament of Kivu Lacus will appear in a Science Fiction anthology in Fall 2022! It’s an honor to share space with some of the amazing authors included in this collection and I am SO excited to see how this book comes together! As I learn more about the book and the release details, be sure that I will be screaming about it. I’ll keep you all updated – pinky promise.

Anyway. That’s what’s up. I’m hungry and it’s almost 1pm. Time for lunch!

Later, Bloggarts!


State of the Author

Good morning, Blogland.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my writing since I last posted. Like, a lot a lot. So I figured I should jot it all down and give you all an update as well.

Current Projects:

  • Bell Biv Derailed
  • In the Librarian’s Garden
  • Sanura Trine
  • Twins and the Haunted House
  • The Shadowboxer
  • Tavi
  • Top Shelf Librarians Podcast

(Please note that these are all working titles and no I am not taking criticism at this time)

Bell Biv Derailed: I finished the rough draft of this story on Wednesday. I first got the idea in 2018 when we visited Munich and rode the metro every day. I finally sat down to write it in March of this year. That was one writing session. Then one while I was in Seattle, and then Wednesday. A total of three writing sessions and almost 2k words. The story is not remotely anything like the original idea, but I really like how it turned out, even though it’s super weird. The bones are quite good, I just need to dip into the horror a bit more and work on tension control. It’s a horror/comedy which is always tough to write AND intended to be Flash Fiction (<1,500 words), so we’ll see how it turns out. For now, I’m letting it marinate while I work on some other revisions.Bel Biv Devoe GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

In the Librarian’s Garden: I’ll be revising the second draft today. I spent most of yesterday afternoon revising the rough draft and feeling pleasantly surprised. This is a story I started at the beginning of the pandemic, when we were first really locked down. I put it on pause to focus on Tavi, and when that went south, I came back to it in September. BUT, that’s when my school district caught on fire and one of the major plot points of this story is that a school burns down soooooo that felt bad and I put the story in a mental drawer. Then November came around and I decided that, instead of writing a novel for Nanowrimo, I’d write short stories. I had enough of them lying around unfinished and I figured I ought to do something about that. So I finished the rough draft of this piece (and others). When I read it in January I hated it (and the others too) but looking back at January I kinda hated everything so I’m glad I didn’t pitch it in the bin. It’s actually a lovely, quiet little cottage-core piece of fantasy fiction that gives me warm fuzzy feelings when I read it. Dunno where the hell I can possibly submit it, but that’s a concern for when revisions are done. Today’s goals are tightening things up (it’s a bit meander-y) and upping the emotions in order to earn the ending. Creating an easy-care cottage garden - Anthony Tesselaar Plants

Sanura Trine: This is another story I wrote during Nanowrimo. And honestly…? I don’t really remember much about it. I mean, I remember what happens in it, but I don’t really remember the writing. I remember being frustrated by it and feeling like I was treading water when I wrote it. I felt lost and disconnected from the piece and really struggled with it. I don’t know if it’s good. I do know it’s entirely too long (like 7k words or something ridiculous like that). So, I’ll take a look at it see what needs to happen. I remember liking the intro which was very sarcastic and anti-corporation but that tone vanished once the characters started interacting, sooo… We’ll see where it ends up. This story is not a super high priority for me at the moment and will probably sit for awhile, tired, desert, astronaut, robin schulz, breathing, david guetta,  cheat codes, shed a light, barren Gif For Fun – Businesses in USA

Twins and the Haunted House: Another of the Nanowrimo projects. This thing is a beast. Another horror story (obvs), this one plays with overlapping First Person POVs and unreliable narrators. An unreliable narrator is something I’ve ALWAYS wanted to write, but it’s so damn hard! Especially because I’m more of a discovery type writer. I have to write the rough draft to figure out what the hell is going on, which makes writing a big fat liar on the first go-around pretty much impossible. I only have about 2k-ish left to go (I’m very close to the end) but it’s still HUGE at over 8k words as is. I don’t have plans to return to this right now. It’s a horror piece set in the dead of winter — middle of summer is not a good time mentally for me to sit down to this one. Consider it on pause until Christmas break probably. Since it’s seeming like it might reach novelette or novella territory instead of short story, I’m not exactly eager to get back to it, haha. More words = more revision.

spooky house gifs | WiffleGif

The Shadowboxer: This is another weirdo story. I’m beginning to wonder if I have any other kind? It’s a story that asks what evil is, how does it manifest? It’s a story about women, victimhood, and taking their power back. It’s also non-linear, features a POV from a floating cloud of sentient evil mist a la Lost, and a HUGE gap in time. Again. As a discovery writer, this is VERY HARD. There are three POVs one distant past, one near past, and one present and they all will intertwine to tell the story. In theory. That’s the goal. I put it aside last summer because I was struggling so much. I think this is a story that requires me to level up a bit. I also think that with this many POVs, it probably isn’t a short story and I’m kidding myself by approaching it as such. But, I’ll worry about that when the draft is done. Which won’t be for awhile. I would put this farthest down the priority list. It’s the hardest, I have the least words written for it, and I want to read more non-linear narratives before digging back into it. Consider it paused.Smoke monster GIFs - Get the best gif on GIFER

Tavi: Man. This book. I love it and it really is quite good, even in its second draft. But revising it is just SUCH a big job. I honestly think that’s what all the above is really about. I’m procrastinating the big scary project. Which, as far as procrastination techniques go, writing more fiction is the BEST ONE EVER! But, this book is the best thing I’ve written. I truly believe that. This is a book that I could query with, that could push my writing life into the next stage. And I think that has me running scared. So… we all know what I gotta do. I need to sit down, reacquaint myself, and get back in the trenches. My original goal was to have Tavi query ready by October 1st. I think that timeline is a little tight now. But, I think if I get started on it by August 1st, I can have it JUST about ready by November 1st. Take November off to draft a new project for Nanowrimo, then finish any remaining edits by January 1st. I’m spitballing here — I don’t really know how long it will take me. It turns out, I’m really bad at revising novels. My last novel revision attempt turned into scrapping the whole thing and rewriting it as a novella series. But that won’t happen with Tavi. She’s too complete, too strong of a character. This book feels very real, and not too far off from something I might pick off a shelf. I just need to make it the best I can and stop being such a chickenshit about it. This is my top priority after I finish revising In the Librarian’s Garden.The Crow GIFs | Tenor

Top Shelf Librarians Podcast: Yep, we’re still making the show. We are actually recording tonight so expect the June episode sometime next week. Sorry it’s late, but I’ll get into why in the episode so stay tuned!

Top Shelf Logo

Stories Currently on Submission

  • Lifelike
  • A Lullaby for Mattie Barker
  • The Lament of Kivu Lacus

Lifelike: My oldest story. I got the idea for it when I was still at community college taking creative writing classes. So… pre-2012. But I finished it in like 2017 or 2018. It’s a flash fiction piece about a haunted painter. It gets to the final round of consideration frequently, but no takers so far. I’m beginning to lose confidence in the story, mainly because I’ve been subbing it for so long and it doesn’t really reflect the quality of my work any more. I have leveled up well past it. I guess I could rework it, bring it “up to date”, but I don’t have any inclination or motivation to do so. I’ll keep sending it out and it’ll either eventually stick or eventually find its way to the Yuck Trunk folder. *Shrug*Haunted Painting GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

A Lullaby for Mattie Barker: A much more recent piece that I finished in summer of 2019. It went through some extensive revisions in December and I submitted it to a local writing contest. It was a finalist, but did not place. So now it’s out, looking for a home. It’s another hard one to place. It’s a ghost story, but not horror. It’s historical fiction set after WWII, but also features an LGBTQIA+ main character. It’s quiet, not a lot of action. But it’s poignant and lovely and good. I just don’t know who wants lovely, quiet, heartbreaking ghost stories about queer characters.Eight Coos County Cemeteries - Pacific Northwest Adventures

The Lament of Kivu Lacus: This is the best short story I’ve written so far. It is a 2nd Person narration about marital issues, isolation, terminal illness and grief. I love this story so so much. It makes it to the final round of consideration consistently, so I just need to find it the right home. Again, another hard piece to place. The Science Fiction element is subtle, more setting than science, and 2nd Person is not a popular POV choice. But it’s my favorite bit of writing I’ve done. I love it very very much.Humpback Whale Swimming GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Recent Publications

  • That Which Illuminates Heaven
  • Unforgettable
  • The Cost of Rain

That Which Illuminates Heaven: A story about a sentient space ship that plays matchmaker for her Pilot and Chief Engineer.

Unforgettable: A feminist retelling of Samson and Delilah in fewer than 300 words.

The Cost of Rain: An old woman and her horse traipse across a desert to make a deal with the devil.

Upcoming Projects

  • Hunting Dr. Squatch

Hunting Dr. Squatch: Look. The title is dumb and makes me laugh and probably doesn’t even have anything to do with the story. It’s my Nanowrimo project, an all new novel, and it’s a Pioneer Oregon Weird Western. All I know is that there are monsters, a badass frontier lady, and a gay guy. I just got a mountain of books from the public library to start research this summer, so if my goodreads starts to look a little funky, that’s why. It’s still pretty nebulous up there, but I have my main characters starting to make some noise and clamoring for my attention, so I think I’ll be ready to start by November. Which means I REALLY need to get to work on Tavi.Growing Up Lol GIF by What We Do in the Shadows - Find &amp; Share on GIPHY | What  we do in the shadows, Shadow costume, Shadow

So, yeah. That’s where I’m at. That’s what I’ll be working on and thinking about pretty much through the end of the year. I’ve also scoped out a potential writing conference to go to in October, specifically about women writing women in the west? Seems pertinent given my Nanowrimo project. We’ll see.

Also, I thoroughly enjoyed hunting down gifs and images for each project. Now then, I’ve wasted enough time. I need to do some revision and then hopefully get the office cleaned up before we record tonight.

See ya around, Bloggarts!


Goals Summary 2020 – Wk #20

Helloooooooo Blogland!

It was another amorphous, intangible sort of week. The sun rose, rain fell, and the sun eventually set. Work was done, or not, and I floated through time and space ignoring it all.

Last Week

  • Tavi revisions cont’d
  • Post 2 videos
  • Read 100+ pgs of Priory
  • Write 800+ words

How’d I do?

  • Tavi revisions cont’d
    • Nope. I did brainstorm some titles, but still did not land on one. I wrote a (very) rough draft of my query letter, which was a fun exercise. So… progress?
  • Post 2 videos
    • Yep!
  • Read 100+ pgs of Priorynetwork effect
    • … No. However. I did read Network Effect front to back in about 24 hours. So, I’m calling that a win.
  • Write 800+ words
    • No.

Weekly Word Count: 324

There’s been an article floating around the internet explaining that COVID-19 closures have put us all into a state of grief. I read the article early into the lockdown and thought, “well that makes sense”. I didn’t particularly feel as if I was grieving, I was just a weird combo of bored and frustrated and vaguely anxious. But the last couple of weeks have been different.

First I was very restless, then I got some news that ratcheted my anxiety WAY up. Add that to all the people protesting to reopen and the general lack of consideration shown in public spaces and well… I was angry. I didn’t realize I was angry until a fairly routine Friday night conversation with my husband spiraled out into a mutual bitch session about the state of the world. I realized that this feeling, this anger and growing ennui was what my husband had been feeling for weeks (he has a public facing job and it sapped his limited optimism quite quickly). It made me feel bad for him, and for not recognizing it sooner, but it also made us both feel better, because we were finally on the same page.

We were in the same stages of grief.

The weekend was much better. I finished my second watch of Schitt’s Creek, read a book, made yummy food and helped bake cookies. I even snuck in a workout! It was very relaxing.

So, today I’m feeling better. Not 100%. I don’t think I’ll be 100% again until we’re back to “normal” — whatever that looks like in the post-COVID era.

So, What’s Next?

  • Tavi revisions cont’d
  • Post another episode of Mrs. Harlow’s Quarantine Reads!
  • Read 100+ pages of The Priory of the Orange Tree
  • Write 800+ words

Obviously I’ve fallen WAY behind on my proposed revision schedule. The good news is, I planned for this, and I still have time to get this rough draft wrapped by the end of the month. I only have 11 chapters to go and only 2 of those need major rewriting. If I can get back to my ~3 chapters a day routine, I’ll be done this week! And even if I don’t get back to that routine, I still have two weeks to do 11 chapters. Totally doable.

Wednesday morning are my video making time, and for once I actually have an idea of what I want to talk about! WHAT?! That never happens!

I picked up Priory again after I finished Network Effect last night. It reminded me that, while I love Epic Fantasy, it is such a different animal than the books I’ve been reading lately. I’m enjoying Priory so far; the prose is lovely, the characters and world are interesting, and I’m hooked into the political intrigue so far. But, man, there is so much foundational work that HAS to be done in the front half of books like this. No matter how much I want to read it, or how “fast” I read, it still feels slow. Not in a boring way, either. I’m still here, ready and willing to read, but the pacing is intentionally slow because there’s simply SO. MUCH. to talk about. The opposite of the Murderbot books in almost every possible way.

Writing is still slow. I’m wondering if that’s because I haven’t been playing Dragon Age… With this franchise, being distant from the original work doesn’t really matter for me. I’m pretty well immersed in it no matter what. I’ve spent too much time in the world to be anything else. But the motivation is… lacking at the moment. I’m avoiding some big feelings on the fictional horizon and I don’t think being mid-COVID is helping that.

Which is fine. Revisions need to be the focus right now anyway. Speaking of, I have shit to do.

Talk soon, Bloggarts.