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End of 2016 Round-up


To the round-up!

Work Published in 2016

In January my story ‘The Water Museum’ was released online in Holdfast Magazine‘s Issue 8:Love, Sex and Romance, ed. Lucy Smee and Laurel Sills. This story was my seed idea of an underwater urban dystopia set in the UK. I had a lot of fun researching canals and dams in the northwest for this. After a successful Indiegogo campaign late in 2016, this story is also slated to appear in print in Holdfast Magazine’s 2nd anthology. More details to follow when I know them.

‘Yukizuki’ was printed in Fox Spirit’s Winter Tales ed Margret Helgadottir. This was my first Fox Spirit publication and I loved them. They produce beautiful little anthologies and books with much love and care.

…I very much liked Yukizuki by Eliza Chan, which subverts the traditional yuki onna tale by gender-swapping the winter spirit (and why not). I enjoyed the evocation of love and loss that permeates the tale, and the fairy tale emphasis on promises and consequences. I look forward to reading more of Eliza Chan’s work. Bite-size books review by imyril

‘Spirit of Regret’ was published in Insignia Vol 3: Southeast Asia ed. Kelly Matsuura. This is an old and somewhat uncomfortable story but I’m glad it finally found a home. I wrote in when I was living in Vietnam.

‘Kaonashi’ was reprinted on the Expanded Horizons website, ed. Dash. This is my noppera-bo tale which  first appeared in Candlelight Volume II, edited by Jonathan J. Schlosser. I’m really glad it got a reprint as it’s one of favourite updated folktales that I’ve written (one of my favourite Japanese folktales full stop) and it hasn’t has as much exposure previous to this, as I would’ve liked.

In summer ‘One More Song’ was printed in World Weaver Press‘s Sirens ed. Rhonda Parrish. I loved this cover and I loved the publicity campaign that went with the book launch, including a podcast virtual launch and blogtour.  After ‘The Water Museum’ this was the story that cemented my world-building for the novel-in-progress. Reviews have been favourable and my story gets occasional tantalising mentions.

“One More Song” by Eliza Chan is a gorgeous fantasy/noir story about Mira, a siren PI in a semi-submerged alternate world where sea people are “out” to humanity. It has such a great blend of complex world-building and subtle social commentary that I found myself hoping there are more stories set in this world. From kappas to water dragons, from sirens to sleazy businessmen, this story is full of three-dimensional characters, so I’m sure there are more stories just waiting to be told. Stephanie A Cain on Goodreads

‘Kikinasai’ was published in 30 Years of Rain ed. Elaine Gallagher, Cameron Johnston and Neil Williamson, the Glasgow SF Writers’ Circle 30 year annniversary anthology. The GSFWC was my first writers group and the standard by which I judge all others. There’s a lovely review in this month’s Shoreline of Infinity.

It’s rare for an anthology to offer no misfires, but after reading this book, you’ll find it impossible to be a cynic Chris Kelso, Shoreline of Infinity Vol 6

And finally, when I was winding down for Christmas and had almost forgotten, Fox Spirit’s Asian Monsters ed. Margret Helgadottir was released with my ‘Datsue-ba’ tale. The illustration for my story is horrifyingly accurately and made me rethink my standard response of ‘I don’t like horror’. I don’t like watching horror films, but macabre folktales and gothic lit, I love.

Other aspects of writing

As previously mentioned, the act of writing has fallen to the wayside, especially in the later half of 2016. I was inspired early on by the Lightspeed People of Colo(u)r Destroy series and spent a lot of emotional energy and time submitting and failing to get anything anywhere near a spot in Lightspeed, Fantasy and Nightmare.  I did a bit of soul-searching after that and  envious attempts to understand how others had written stories everyone wanted to read. I’ve come to the conclusion that my work is not avant-garde enough, but also that I don’t want to write that. Don’t get me wrong, I read and appreciate the genius in others, it’s just not what I enjoy writing. I write because I enjoyed stories, plots and characters I could fall in love with, worlds I wanted to live in.

Anyway there’s a bit of this touched on in a very personal blog post over at Fox Spirit for the Asian Monsters launch. I don’t have all the answers, but at least I have a bit more confidence in myself.

I went to my first Eastercon in 2016 and loved it. Hoping to make it to Fantasycon next year and possibly make it a once every two year thing.

Reading

Boy did my reading take a downward spiral in 2016. I’ve been in a writing/ masters panic for most of the year and have barely managed to finish half a dozen novels despite a towering to be read pile.

Standouts this year have been:

Zen Cho‘s Sorceror to the Crown – just, yes. Everything you’ve heard is true. It’s light and funny but at the same time deals with race, class and gender with such skill that you barely realise she’s snuck all this stuff in. For people that are reluctant to try more diverse books, worried they might have too many new names, cultures and themes, this is a great intro.

Ann Leckie‘s Ancillary Justice – I’m very very late to the game but this one blew me away. I don’t normally read space opera so it took me a third of the novel to get into the setting and the odd narrative style but once I was there, this book astonished and moved me in equal parts. It reminded me of Ursula le Guin‘s Left Hand of Darkness and yet was so startling in its rich and believable world.

Ken Liu‘s The Paper Menagerie  – a collection of Liu’s short stories. I had previously read ‘State change’ and ‘The Paper Menagerie’ both of which made me cry like a child. I found ‘The Literomancer’ and ‘The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary’ exceptionally moving both because I learnt something about Chinese history and culture, but also because the resolutions to both stories were so realistic and moving in their execution.

Looking forward to 2017

I have one story slated for publication in 2017 and a few that need major edits and then to be thrown back out there. After February I should be back onto the novel and hoping to finish it in 2017! Doesn’t sound too difficult now, does it? 😀

Similar to everyone else, I’m sure, 2016 has been a mess of a year. We watched Charlie Brooker’s 2016 Wipe yesterday and it would be funnier if it wasn’t so true. Cautiously hopeful that 2017 will right the wrongs…

Wishing you and yours a happy new year when it comes.

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