October 10, 2015

Not a blogger

Hi there.

I guess it's pretty obvious that I'm not much of a blogger. I accept that.

So welcome to my author page. I am still that, more or less. I utterly failed to promote a publication I had this spring, "No Alphabet Can Spell It," which you can still find over at Buzzy Mag. I really like this story. It's a bit wacky.

I've also got a story coming out in this month's Ghost in the Cogs anthology, which is available for preorder and will be out by Halloween. This is my first attempt at steampunk, and I may have taken the title a bit too literally. I wrote it right after returning from a winter-time trip to Iceland, so that is where my story is set. Steam there is a life-saver, though not probably in the way I've used it in "Frænka Askja's Silly Old Story."

Steam in Iceland, inspiration for the story. Also, Nils Anders
Wik, mascot of the Norwegian American Weekly.

I'm back to fiction a bit, writing lately about sharks and invisible teenagers.

When I'm not writing fiction it's usually because my life as Editor of the Norwegian American Weekly has consumed my life. For example, I've just returned from my first business trip (ever, maybe), to glorious Minot, ND, to sell newspapers at Norsk Høstfest. It was moderately successful. If you're interested in Norway (and who isn't, to some degree?), check us out. NAW is also a market for fiction, so some of you should send Norway-related any-genre English-language fiction of 1500 words or fewer to fiction@na-weekly.com.

That's all for now! I will try to pop in from time to time to update things like publications, but no promises. Know that I love you, dear website visitors, even while I'm away.

April 05, 2015

What is work/life balance?

Can I tell you a story, hypothetical blog readers? This is the story of my year so far.

January was shaping up all right. My traveling companions and I had planned a trip to Iceland, and that was truly a wonderful week. I owe you many postcards, which you may or may not get to see. Iceland in January turns out to be a marvelous land of fire and ice, with daylight made entirely of sunrise/set glow and steaming hot baths to warm up in everywhere. We even saw a volcano!

Amazing, right?
One of the amazing things about the trip was that I managed to do it at all. You see, the previous year had been largely about learning how to work a full time dayjob, as the Editor-in-chief of the Norwegian American Weekly. This was my first time taking a whole week off, and it went beautifully! I essentially did four weeks of work in three, leaving just a little for my more-than-capable assistant to finish in my absence. The Monday after our trip was press day, and it was one of the easiest ones ever. It was like I finally had this newspaper editor thing under control.

That Monday I had a very welcome, mild jetlag that woke me early feeling terrific. It felt like New Year's Day--without the hangover. I started writing again. I set goals. I got shit done. Life was going to be good.

That Wednesday, in what I thought was going to be a routine staff meeting, my work life collapsed. The publisher of the newspaper told me that the issue I was already working on would be our last.

A few days later he changed his mind and had us put out more issues, which was a relief in the sense that I was maybe not losing my job--oh, and that 125 years of publishing history wasn't being flushed down the toilet--but it was also a lot of work. I wasn't writing in the mornings anymore; I was weeping ugly stress tears.

Two months later, it now looks like we'll be okay. I feel like I'm starting to crawl out of the hole that chaos dropped me into. Somehow I've managed to write one story. I was kind of a bad writer and sent it virtually un-edited to the anthology I wrote it for, because I just couldn't manage to write it in time to get feedback. Other writers take note: never do this. I will be shocked if they accept the story (but at least it's drafted, right? sometimes even a missed deadline is useful).

We are running an Indiegogo campaign to raise money for the newspaper.
If you'd like to donate, please visit

July 22, 2014

To the word mines!

The word mines might look like this.

It's week five of Clarion West, which means it's week five of the Write-a-thon too. There's still time to sponsor me!

I might actually meet my writing goals for the write-a-thon this year, for the first time. Mostly this is due to setting more realistic goals, but I've also been productive in the word department. The first of the two stories I promised myself (and the world) I would write clocked in at almost 11,000 words. Which of course means it will be impossible to sell--but that comes later.

Today I start on the second one, and honestly I suspect it will be on the long side too. Hopefully not AS long. Want to cheer me on and also receive a 100-word story on a postcard? Support Clarion West by sponsoring me!

July 01, 2014

Write-a-thon again?

So apparently an update every three months is all I can manage this year. Oh well. I'll console myself by pretending that while I'm not blogging I'm doing More Important Things.

Here is one thing that's actually important: it's Clarion West season again! A new crop of 18 up-and-coming SF writers have taken residence in their "secret" location in Seattle, and are now one week closer to earning their SF decoder rings.

My corroded decoder ring.

It's an emotional time for me. It's been five years since I went to CW, and my decoder ring has lost its shine. Literally. It was made of some cheap metal and it's rusted now. It used to light up, but I guess its battery has died. Which is 100% NOT to say that CW is a cheap experience or that it doesn't hold up. One has only to look at the successes of some of my classmates (most notably J. M. Sidorova and Randy Henderson--seriously, look out for these two writers) to know that the workshop knows what it's doing.

So maybe some of us (me) haven't succeeded as much as we'd hoped to by now. And maybe some of us like to get inappropriately morose about it at public events. I won't name any names. That's really not my point. (Do I have a point? Where did that thing go?)

My point is that I am once again supporting the workshop by participating in the Write-a-thon! You should sponsor me. You'll be helping a terrific organization, and I'll send you a postcard too.

Enough of that. Let's focus on the positive:

• I have a four-week break coming up from the dayjob that has been my major excuse for not writing like I should. Hoo f-ing rah!

• In the first week of the Write-a-thon I've written about 1000 words of a new story. More importantly, I've written before work every day this week (though clearly not too productively).

• After Death WON the Bram Stoker Award it was nominated for! Congratulations, editor Eric J. Guignard, and thank you for including my story in your award-winning book. That feels nice.

• I've signed the contract and been paid and reviewed galleys, so this feels secure enough to announce: My story, "Diary of a Pod Person," will appear in the October issue of Asimov's! This is pretty huge for me. Asimov's is the sort of market that I figured I would never be "SF" enough for. And my story that's in it isn't exactly the hardest SF in the world. But it's in, and that feels like some kind of acceptance.

• A couple more stories are loose in the world; more on those later.

March 09, 2014

News and things

Hello, neglected blog!

I've been busy so far this year with my new job as Editor of a weekly newspaper. As it turns out that is a lot of work, and it's also taught me some things about being a needy writer type that are probably good for me to remember. In super brief: assume there's no problem if you don't hear from an editor! She's much more likely to find time to contact you if something's wrong than if all is well. If you'd like to check out the paper, which is a niche publication for the Norwegian American community, visit blog.norway.com.

But, in actual writing news:

• I'm involved in a project called That Ain't Right: Historical Accounts from the Miskatonic Valley. It has a kickstarter that ends in six days, and even though it's already funded (woo!) there's still time to unlock reward tiers and cool stuff.

After Death, an anthology containing my story "Final Testament of a Weapons Engineer," has been nominated for a Bram Stoker Award! This is absolutely in no part due to my story, but it's still fun to be connected to a project receiving that kind of recognition.

• I still haven't signed the contract on this last one, so no details yet, but I sold a story to one of the major SF markets. Whee!

January 02, 2014

This year in narcissism

It feels impossible not to mark each year with a roundup post. The compulsion is too strong! I cannot resist!

2013 saw the sale of four stories, two of which were solicited. That feels really nice, even if the markets soliciting my work aren't the highest paying or most prestigious. Those two haven't come out yet; I'll let you know when they do. The other sales were both to pro markets, Daily Science Fiction and Clarkesworld, and they make pro sales number two and three. This marker is semi-arbitrary but it still meant something to me to hit it. One more and I can officially give up on winning Writers of the Future.

About a year ago, thinking the intervening time would be less chaotic than it turned out to be (ha!), I applied to Taos Toolbox. So I went to that this summer, at what ended up being the worst possible time. I was unprepared and not in the right headspace to take advantage of the workshop, and my feelings on it are mixed. Other writing-related adventures included Norwescon and Rainforest Writers' Retreat. None are planned for this year yet, but I'll probably hit Norwescon again, and maybe another con. Who can say?

On the plus side: we did see a bear.

One of the unambiguous positives of Taos was going back to New Mexico. I wish I'd had more time to spend in Santa Fe, but it was a welcome reminder of the bizarre place I lived for a year. Other places visited this year include Alaska, my 42nd state, and Cuba, my 14th country. No big travel plans yet for this year, but I've got a few ideas kicking around.

Summer's chaos was caused by another big change: buying a house and moving into it. This year's project will be renovating the house, Cthulhu willing. Husband needs a garage, and we could both use a little more space.

And, the final piece of big news is that I start the new year with a new job, as the Managing Editor of the Norwegian American Weekly. Tomorrow is my first day, and I'm pretty excited about it. But instead of speculating now about what this will mean I'll just wait and see.

December 09, 2013

"Live" Blog of Yucatan/Cuba Trip, Days 11 & 12: But why is the rum gone?

November 16, 2013
It was our last day in Cuba, and thanks to Air Cubana's multi-hour delay, we had some time. We set our with no real plan. We walked toward the capitol, which is the same as ours but a little bigger, with palm trees and classic cars surrounding it. It looks like a bizarro world set piece--it could be the US capitol after some serious climate change, or in an alternate reality.

The capitol building as seen from taxi #2.

We also saw the whole building or two that constitute Chinatown, and the bar where Hemingway drank. The most famous one anyway--Husband and I have a theory that any bar of a certain age can make the claim that Hemingway drank there. I was also told that there's a bar down the street advertising the fact that Hemingway didn't drink there, but we didn't pass that one. At any rate, this is purportedly the bar where Hemingway invented the daiquiri, though the idea of him sipping a daiquiri doesn't compute in my head any more than does his bidet.

There's Hemingway's liquor, between the granny chairs
and under the taxidermy.