Tag Archives: fiction

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.

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.

 

My Odyssey Workshop Experience: The Critiques

For Odyssey, each student had to turn in six stories. Four of them are for in-class and two are for private critiques with a guest.

The in-class critiques are done in a typical manner: round-robin, each person given a limited time to speak their thoughts on the piece, starting with positives, the author remaining silent until the very end.

One of the mantras for any critique circle or workshop is that what is said during critique remains in the critique. We didn’t discuss stories outside of the critique time except to ask what an author might be planning to do with it or something else similarly innocuous. And I’m certainly not going to discuss what was talked about here.

That being said, I do want to put down a few memories of these six weeks.

For our first two in-class critiques, we received little gifts to open afterward. This was my first, that I forgot to open after my critique XD

Because we were doing things virtually, we had deadlines early morning (at least for me, some people were outside of the time zone) before lecture started to mimic the turning in of our stories in class. We had to save and upload our final draft on a board so that all other students could download the stories. These deadlines happened approximately six times during the six weeks (a few people had to send their first sub before the workshop began) so the deadlines were staggered so only 2-3 people had to do a turn-in each day.

We also had a similar deadline each morning for our due critiques. These would be the stories with our documented notes and thoughts. We would upload our critiques as a response to the author’s story, many of us saying something positive in the comment section. Continue reading