Poetry sale: Wild Violet Magazine

I’m happy to announce that my poem ‘Helsinki Love Song’ has been accepted for publication in Wild Violet. I’ll post a link when the poem is published!

It was great to get some good poetry news, because I’ve been bogged down with work and an insidious stress that chooses, at inopportune moments, to make everything feel overwhelming. In other words, haven’t really had the mental energy for writing – although I did write a couple of new poems on Saturday.

But my editing work with Dim Vanities has progressed very little: thus the total lack of Nanowrimo posts. I feel bad about that, but I’m trying to put things into perspective. If you try to do five billion things at once and most of them just have to be done, the things that don’t have an immediate deadline will inevitably get put on hold.

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Sunday recs: Romance, domesticity and demons

Long time no recs! So, here’s some stories I’ve read in the past few months but have not recced.

(On the Nanowrimo front, there is not much to report. I’ve been too lazy and tired to work on my novel edits, I’ll admit – but today I managed to get a bit done. Will try to pick up pace again.)

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The Bride in Furs, by Layla Lawlor, is from the issue of Plunge Magazine that also featured my poem ‘The Understanding’. This story is lovely, a refreshing fairytale-esque romantic fantasy.

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My next two recs are both stories by Rose Lemberg (both published in Strange Horizons, incidentally).

Teffeu is just wonderful. This is an awesome reminder of what diverse things speculative fiction can be. Teffeu is bibliophilic, lushly descriptive, quiet and introspective. Beautifully written: Rose Lemberg knows how to use her words.

Kifli is rooted in the everyday, with a touch of Jewish mythology and overseas longing. I love stories that feature food as an important element, too, even though they usually make me hungry.

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Stories that feature food made me remember a wonderful book I read this summer: Jo Walton’s Lifelode. I had to time my reading with my mealtimes because there was so much delicious food in that book. What a delightful book otherwise too! It’s been called “domestic fantasy” and I want more of that stuff, yes please. To my great delight, Lifelode also features unconventional relationship structures and conceptions of love. I wish more speculative fiction would ponder such things and not just default to Western society’s predominant models.

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To finish off, here’s another wonderfully inventive story: Brimstone and Marmalade by Aaron Corwin, from Tor.com. The main character Mathilde receives a demon for her birthday – and yes, this is a normal occurrence. Loved the subtly wonky world here, and the demon was just adorable (“NUM. NUM. NUM.” Read the story and comprehend the adorableness!).

Nanowrimo: This feels different

It’s really weird not to be writing a feverish 50K this November. But I still think it’s a good decision to forgo a new zero draft this year – there’s so much work to do with Dim Vanities. Also, I’ve had a bit of a cold and am insanely tired, so yeah. Being merciful to myself and setting lower goals is a good thing. From previous years, I know I can do Nanowrimo ‘properly’ even when stressed out; so I don’t have anything to prove to myself in that sense.

So, what have I been doing, then? Well, during the weekend I worked on my story goals, organised my notes, and made a couple of spreadsheets to track my editing progress and my chapter outlines. I also started out simply going through the first draft, making comments and highlighting terrible words/sentences. I’ve done 8 chapters out of 31. The going is slow – editing is way slower than actual writing. But I’m trudging along, at least, despite my lingering cold and aching neck.

I’ve read a lot of advice on how to edit a novel, but I think it’s one of those things you learn best by just doing it. I have no idea if Dim Vanities will ever be good enough to even consider sending out somewhere, but in the meantime, this is an excellent exercise. I’m experimenting, finding out techniques that work for me.

Who knows, this might even become a coherent, not-totally-plot-holey novel when I’m done.