1) The first story, published in Beneath Ceaseless Skies on September 8th, is “Turn to Stone Ourselves.“ This story was conceptualized as my take on gargoyles, a people who are stone during the day and come alive at night. I crafted them as carved beings who house the souls of the dead, giving them the capability of living out a lengthy, possibly immortal, second life.
The story revolves around the character of Dreamer, a gargoyle who has stood on the keep’s causeways for so long that their memory of the centuries has become blurred. When they meet a brand-new stone-care carver who has fresh ideas to bring to the guild, Dreamer is forced to question the presumptions they made about their own life and the lives around them.
It’s a tale in a world where the dead never have to truly leave us. A tale about identity. But most importantly, it’s a tale about how we depict the dead in our representations of them and whether those representations are accurate or true or crafted from false perceptions of those around them.
The world I crafted in “Turn to Stone Ourselves,” and its unique naming technique, is one rife for me to revisit again and I look forward to doing so. Thank you to Scott H. Andrews for all his patience and kindness during our edits. I appreciate all the time spent working with me on this story.
2) The second story I published in September is “All the Starlit Worlds I’ve Visited…Without You” that was in Dark Matter Magazine‘s issue 11, their Sept/Oct issue. This issue also had a specialized Chicago variant that was being sold at Chicon (WorldCon 2022) this year.
The story could be categorized as science-fiction or science-fantasy, depending on how strict your definition. It depicts a mother’s struggle over having her son forcibly taken from her and given to a foster family to raise instead on account of her dangerous occupation. So she visits other planets and brings home gifts in her limited time with her child while doing what she can to change this ruling.
This story is told from the first perspective with the mother speaking to her son, and has an ethereal style to it that ungrounds it a little from reality. Like a soft voice whispering its want to anyone who will listen. I love the emotion I was able to pack into this story.
Thank you to Rob Carroll at Dark Matter for choosing this story, for allowing me to keep my title’s ellipses and adding so many more that my little punctuation-loving heart almost exploded :)
Also in September, I attended Chicon 8, which was my third Worldcon. There, I was on my first in-person panel (on Low Fantasy and how slippery its definition can be for many people), had my first in-person reading (I read Delivery for 3C at Song View that was published in January this year in Diabolical Plots–E. Lily Yu called it a delight (there may have been a fucking in there) and I still have not come down off that high), and hosted my very first kaffeeklatsch (or table talk as they called it at Chicon), where I had six people in attendance: 2 of my awesome Odyssey mates, 1 of my friends and also editor at Dark Matter, and 3 people who I just met at the convention (so a big Hi! and Thank you! to all 6 of you for chatting with me and making it such a successful conversation!!)
The convention was incredibly busy, a whirlwind of meeting people I’d been hoping to meet in person for a while, talking with people I’d only seen on Zoom for the last few years, and introducing myself to people I didn’t know. I vastly enjoyed the whole time. Though, admittedly, it’s tiring, and exhaustion set into my bones from all the socializing and travel and lack of sleep.
After Chicon, I came down with Covid, which set me back for almost the entire month of September. I had intended on finishing my then-WIP (a novella about little living doors, that turned into a novel) in September, but being sick pushed it back drastically. Along with a number of other things. The brain fog and fatigue were on their way out through October and Novemeber really got me back more to my normal self. So much so that the novel. is. drafted!
Also, at the very beginning of October, I attended a local-to-me convention called Capclave. It’s in Rockville, Maryland and this was my second year going to it. It’s a small convention (I believe there was about 150 people in attendance this year) and the tracks are all in one single hallway which makes things simple and quiet. A welcoming environment to chat with people for longer times without the loud creeping up around us. It was incredibly lovely, and I vastly enjoy that I have such a comfortable con close to home I can attend each year without breaking my budget or having to break too far from my typical schedule.
(PS: if you’re planning on being at Capclave in future years, I’m always good with chatting in the lobby or bar area. I’m generally friendly. Don’t bite. Worst I might do is ask you personal questions like: “do you have photos of your cat?” <3)