Tag Archives: fantasy

Recommended Short Fiction: THE SYCAMORE AND THE SYBIL by Alix E. Harrow & GROW, DIVIDE, SACRIFICE, THRIVE by Jo Miles


This week’s recommended stories deal with mistreatment from family and the strength it takes to stand tall against that mistreatment.

THE SYCAMORE AND THE SYBIL by Alix E. Harrow is about a woman-turned-sycamore who can do nothing but remember a time when she’d been human while she watches another woman fall to an abusive man under her branches. Published in Uncanny Magazine.

GROW, DIVIDE, SACRIFICE, THRIVE by Jo Miles is a poignant tale about Chris, a nonbinary person who has felt cut off from their family their whole life, particularly when it came to the family’s traditional sourdough making. The family yeast, who the family pretends can communicate with them, seems to have more a spot in the family than they do, which pushes Chris to finally act. Published in Metaphorosis Magazine.


Recommended Book: WEAVE THE LIGHTNING by Corry L. Lee


WEAVE THE LIGHTNING
by Corry L. Lee

This debut novel weaves together political intrigue and a circus with an interesting magical element. The characters in this story see double, literally, for in order to access the power to enhance items in their world, they must allow themselves to be immersed into the power of the storms that help draw out an intensity in their emotions. It’s a power that is illegal to use unless one is part of the government’s military, allowing them to be controlled and used.

Celka is a performer in the high wire act in a traveling circus along with the rest of her family, all of whom are also part of a resistance. On the other side is Gerrit, a young man trained within a specialized branch of the military and expected to produce enhanced weapons as part of his duty. But there are costs to enhancing, dire ones that may destroy him and all those who’ve trained beside him. The two of them come together in a meeting that might help them both or lead to their destruction.

There’s romance, betrayal, and secrets all at the core of this resistance novel. With a Russian backdrop and a brand-new set of magical rules, this is a fun story hiding much more sinister issues under its big top.


Recommended Short Fiction: Makeisha in Time by Rachael K. Jones & I, Crocodile by Jacinta Escudos

I’ve been wanting to do recommended short fiction for a while, and now, after two years of keeping track of almost everything I’ve been reading, I’m finally getting down to the business of sharing short stories I’ve absolutely loved in the hopes that you’ll give them a read too.

The first two of the year I’d like to talk about are both from Constelación’s sample issue #0.5, a taste of things to come for this new magazine. Both were exemplary.

MAKEISHA IN TIME by Rachael K. Jones is a tale about a girl who lives countless lives across history. She is swept back in time at random moments, only to be returned in the exact same place and moment from when and where she’d disappeared. It’s a tale about historical erasure, about choosing what lives we wish to live.

I, CROCODILE by Jacinta Escudos is another powerful tale about a girl who can transform into a crocodile in the river. It deals with forced genital mutilation and the adults who propagate the ideas behind it. But especially, it deals with the fury of the ones who resist.

Goals & Resolutions in 2021

In 2019, I didn’t have clear, quantifiable goals so I had to generalize, but this year, I have very clearly laid-out goals I’d wanted to hit on both the writing front and the personal front. The situation with the virus this past year notwithstanding, I’m incredibly pleased with what I’ve managed to accomplish.

WRITING FRONT

1) 250,000 words spread between short stories, writing exercises and novels. This goal I barely managed to hit. As long as I add in blog posts, failed stories, removed words, and critiques, I’ve passed the 250,000 number with flying colors, but otherwise, I’ve come up slightly short. That being said, in 2019 I’d written less than 80,000, so instead of being upset with myself, I’m satisfied. The amount of words shows just how much time I’ve put into my writing, both in finished projects and in practice.

2) Maintain a rolling 7 submissions out at any given time. Coming to do this post, I thought I had made a goal of 15 or 12 or 10, and was utterly shocked to realized that I’d only demanded 7! 7 concurrent submissions out at any one time, with the number never going below. I’m beyond stoked because by mid-year I had gotten myself to a rolling 10/12 (that shrunk slightly during the Odyssey Workshop) and then shot all the way up to over 20 in the last quarter of the year. I am at a pretty stable 15 at the moment, with a couple of holds and a couple more that feel like holds. My total submission number ended at about 97. [After writing this I received an acceptance for a story that had been sim subbed to three places, so my total submissions number is actually at 12 at the publication of this post.]

3) Attend at least 2 conventions (I toyed with the idea of requesting to be on panels, but I’m allowing myself to not fulfill that eventual goal.) This one, which was most assuredly the hardest going into the year, ended up a little easier thanks to COVID. So many conventions took to doing virtual experiences because in-person was cancelled, that I ended up having opportunities I never thought I’d have. I did not attend Balticon because I couldn’t figure out what they were doing and by the time I did I had committed to DreamFoundry, which was the weekend before or after and Odyssey was about to begin so I was super stressed. However, I did participate on my first panel at DreamFoundry. (I was awful and only just signed a release form for it to be posted, because I had to first swallow all my anxieties about it.) I also attended the Nebula Conference as I’m officially a part of SFWA, as well as WorldCon—ConNewZealand—and Capclave, none of which I did panels for, but I did attend kaffeeklatsches, which I think is just as brave in terms of social anxiety practice.

4) Not disappear off social media. Sooo, I did sort of disappear off FaceBook. I don’t like FB at all and there’s a good possibility I might just link my blog posts over there and ignore the whole platform other than that. I also struggled with blog posts in the back half of the year. However, I did slowly begin to be more social on Twitter, which I’m quite proud of, as well as joined a few Slack and Discord channels, which, while my participation is still spotty, I am striving to exist. This is a goal that I think I can do better this coming year, but am pretty happy with how far I’ve come this past year.

Quantifiable Writing Achievements:

I submitted a total of 97 times. Of that, I received 3 acceptances, the first of which was published in October 2020. The second two are forthcoming in 2021. All three of these stories were written in 2020.

The Pop-up Artisan of Drink Me Café
to Cast of Wonders

Drop Shipment Standard Procedure
to Dark Matter Magazine

Dance of Wood & Grace
to Zooscape Magazine Continue reading

The Pop-up Artisan of Drink Me Cafe published in Cast of Wonders

It’s here! This is a story I wrote early this year (back in February I believe) and is making its debut appearance in Cast of Wonders for their Banned Books Week!

Five Reasons to Give it a Listen!

1. Experiencing a coffee shop via proxy since most of us can’t go out right now. [And not just any coffee shop…]

2. Ever-changing decor! You never know what it’ll look like next!

3. Dragons, electric sheep, and the grandfather clock our favorite unicorn walks through…as just a start.

4. Today’s Specials: Whiskey Barrel Ride (bourbon-roasted beans) and Molten Ring Latte (with chili powder & gold-chocolate shavings)!

5. A suggestion jar stocked full of fantasy & science-fiction ideas for the next pop-up. Maybe yours will be chosen!

This is a contemporary fantasy story about feeling lost, about the comfort fantastical worlds give to us readers, about the power of sharing our favorite stories. Please go give it a listen! (or a read!)

<3 Marie C.