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Writing

Just Another Woman in Love

150 word story #9 for 2017.


“Hello, world!”
“Hello, rainstorm!”
“Hello, mud!”

I held down my skirt as the wind tweaked it, and maneuvered around the holographic ads floating nearby, even though it meant walking into a puddle sheened over with oil. I loved puddles.

I loved the ads too. I still didn’t want to walk through them, even if they were intangible, but I loved them.

“Hello, traffic!”

I stopped to let a truck pass, spraying me with mud and water. I loved being wet.

I breathed in, and out, and in again. I loved the faint medicinal smell of the air. It wasn’t always like that, but the megacorps set it up.

I walked through a bevy of ads. I loved the way they whispered in my ear as they dissolved around me.

Do you remember the days before we loved everything? Most people don’t seem to recall, but I do.

I love it.


Random wikipedia prompt

Habitat

There’s only so much we can do. Conservation funding is hard to find. There are so many other ways to spend money, ways that have quicker results, or more immediate impact. Infrastructure, education, tax cuts.

We use what we can get to create reserves, save important sites from development. We put up barriers to protect the organisms we’re trying to save, to keep them in and keep poachers out. Resource extraction is a big problem. Miners are always trying to sneak in, and plant collectors. It doesn’t matter how out of the way the reserve is, we have to keep rangers onsite.

I wish we could do more than just set aside a planet or two. That doesn’t seem to be enough to keep these humans from destroying themselves through overpopulation and pollution. I keep asking for more funds, a bigger area.

But there’s only so much we can do.


I haven’t been writing much if any fiction, as you can tell from the radio silence here. I’m trying to get back on the horse, but the nonfiction I’ve been writing seems to be coloring my outlook.

The random Wikipedia prompt didn’t help any.

Geordie

Back to the flash-writing project (#7 for 2017). Today’s prompt is a 19th-c coal mining song from Newcastle, Geordie Black. There are a couple of recorded versions, including this one by Ian Campbell Folk Group.


They say young men can’t imagine being old, but I can’t either imagine being young. There was never a time when my bones didn’t ache, when I slept at night, when I could hear a young lady whispering in my ear, when I had a young lady or two who wanted to whisper in my ear.

There was never a time when I went down in the mine.

This town mines, or cooks and cleans for those that do. I can’t cook, so I must have mined. This town can’t imagine anything more. I look around; all the young men have coal dust for skin. I look around; there are no old men. Young men descend, day after day. They come out old, or not at all. They leave themselves in the mine, bit by bit, swapping self for coal.

I do not recall the mine, but it remembers me.

Hit

Sirisha slid on beaded black evening gloves, concealing the tattoos that wrapped her forearms. If Devudu noticed the intricate traceries, he would never allow her close enough to kill him. The slithery scarlet fabric of her dress plunged here and swooped there, concealing as much as it bared. Sirisha twirled, ensuring her knives were among the items concealed. The blades were brightly polished, but insufficiently formal for tonight. A clutch held only her forged invitation to the gala and a lipstick that matched her gown. Everything else she might require was hidden on her body.

The gallery was packed with people enjoying the champagne and pretending to enjoy the exhibits. Devudu was the pivot around which the crowd flowed, each person hoping for a moment of his attention. Sirisha too desired a moment, a timespan as thin as a blade. She eased her way into the eddy, eager to work.


150-word flash #6 for 2017.
Random Wikipedia prompt

The Ponies

“I wanna play the ponies.”

I turned to face the little man following me around the room. “I already told you that you can’t. Whining won’t help.”

“I was on my way to the track. I’m gonna win big, you know. I always do. You’re costing me huge amounts of money.”

I looked at the threadbare knees of his suit, at his scuffed shoes. “Sure you are.”

I slid into the shuttle command seat, ignoring his grab for my arm.

“I was meeting my friends, they’ll be looking for me.”

“No, Arthur Daniel Jameson, you weren’t. You were going to the track alone, where you were going to lose all your money and have a heart attack. Now sit down and shut up.” Jameson sat, ashen. He might have had that heart attack on the spot, if I hadn’t already fixed it. Couldn’t have my pony keeling over just yet.


Back at it, with another random Wikipedia prompt.

Writing numbers roundup

Data! My favorite thing…

My first short story submission was in 2009.

Since then I have submitted 18 stories a total of 66 times, and sold 9 of them, 4 for SFWA professional rates. I’ve never finished more than 3 stories in a calendar year, made more than 15 submissions, or sold more than 2 stories. I sold 4 stories on their first submission, but my most popular story took 8 tries, though it has now been both podcast and translated.

In 2016, I finished 2 stories, made 7 submissions, had 2 stories sold in previous years appear in print, and sold 1 story.

My intent for 2017 is to finish 4 stories, completely revise 2 others, and to make at least 20 submissions, although I’d also like to work on a novel, and have several nonfiction projects in the works.

Here are the titles and first lines of four of those stories:

Crossing the Water: A sparrow landed on the road, deceived by its placid surface.

The Dirt of Denela: Loredana Ney’s troubles ended here, up against a red-tinged crater wall, with the dirt of Denela under her fingernails and poison coating her throat.

Spindle, Apple, Thorn: The air smelled of dust and ozone.

Learning to be Terrestrial: I clutched my full mug of coffee, the memory of warmth enough to keep my hands wrapped around a cooling cup.

#SFWApro

Negotiation

Liza pushed her way to the door as the train rolled through the airlock into San Vital, even though it wouldn’t unlock until the pressure washer finished. Dust got into everything regardless, but rinsing the train at least meant there was less of it. She looked back. No sign of the guy who’d been tailing her, a known runner for the anti-alien Progressives. Liza knew better than to touch her pocket. Either the packet was there or it wasn’t; nothing she could do right now except attract attention.

She slipped out the door the instant it slid open, muttering apologies to the people she shoved past. Her steady walk toward the Pratt Avenue exit barely faltered when the man fell into step alongside. She glanced around for a cop. “Officer, I’m smuggling alien artifacts and this guy is following me.” Yeah, no.

Liza looked up at him. “Let’s talk.”

What a prompt: the 1969 Manitoba election.
You will see some inspiration from that article, maybe, but only in the vaguest sense

Notes from the field

There were no roads into these hills, barely any paths. Donkeys didn’t need much, nor did people used to the climbs. Used to nothing else, living in this landscape. I didn’t have a donkey, just a notebook, a set of sample jars, and a sturdy staff. Somewhere down this dusty path was a village, mentioned in the last census. Nobody had recorded how big it was, or exactly where it was located. I doubted the census taker even managed to find it.

These hills were the epicenter of wild caraway diversity: more wild kinds than than the single weak species grown commercially. More flavor, different volatiles; more power to repel demons. We were desperate. I’d evaded patrols to get this far, hidden by the resistance. I scanned the vegetation as I walked, saving seeds in labeled jars, heading toward an unknown village, hoping someone could point me to a cure.

Stories and panels

Look! It exists!

At long last, an author copy of Genius Loci arrived in my mailbox yesterday. Hooray!

Genius Loci anthology cover

I’m thrilled to be appearing in a ToC with so many great writers.

Speaking of ToCs, I have sold a second story to Fireside Fiction. Unlike the last one, this one is completely fictional. It also contains one of my favorite images to date, but you’ll just have to wait to find out what that is. I will let you know when it will be available when I know.

I have my schedule for Confluence, in Pittsburgh on July 29-31. Saladin Ahmed is Guest of Honor, and I expect it to be a great deal of fun. I’ll be a busy human, with four panels and a Kaffeeklatsch. I’m doing the latter with Chet Gottfried again, because we had fun last year. I expect there will once again be plenty of cookies.

Saturday, July 30
12pm Medicine in Fantasy
1pm Kaffeeklatsch: Favorite fictional catastrophes
4pm Fantasy Costuming
6pm Arabian Fantasy
7pm Mapping the Fantastic

Whew! If you see me, say hi and provide caffeine and snacks, since I won’t have time for meals. Or just say hi: treats not actually required or expected.

#SFWApro

Kingfisher

Guess what?!? The March issue of Fireside Fiction is out early, and you can read “The Kingfisher Manifesto” right now!

Fireside is a good outfit, and I’d like it if you subscribed, joined their Patreon, or whatever, so they can keep paying writers and artists.