New Sale: Unidentified Funny Objects

I’ve never liked the idea of zombies. I certainly never thought I’d be able to write a zombie story until I read William Jablonsky’s brilliant “The Death and Life of Bob” in Shimmer (#16). That story helped me understand that to write about anything, all one has to do is frame it within a tangible reference point. I thought of all the ways to do just that, patted myself on the head, and promptly forgot about it. Last fall, I found myself a member of an anthology challenge group, staring a zombie prompt right in the face.
At the same time, I was also working with fairy tales, particularly puzzling over Rapunzel’s parents. How could they simply trade their child for lettuce? So reaching into the dark expanse of the unwritten fairy tale, the story of Squire Ulrich and the Zombunny was born.
I sold this long (for me) 5K word story this month to Unidentified Funny Objects 3, a wildly successful series edited by VP classmate & short story expert Alex Schvartsman. We’re still going back and forth on the name of the story — it’s a difficult task. But I’m thrilled to be sharing a TOC with the likes of Piers Anthony & Tina Connolly. Writing humor is tricky and I’m glad our Zombunny has found a nice home warren, expected in the fall of 2014.

Introducing Cameron McClure

I’m over the moon to announce I’m now represented by agent Cameron McClure of the Donald Maass Literary Agency.

I had the joy of meeting Cameron last summer at a summer workshop. Even if I had not been able to chat with her about Letters to Zell, I would have enjoyed her wit, her take on breaking the rules, her feelings on books featuring animal fugitives, and her amazing hair. As we move forward in the world of publishing as a team, I look forward to our partnership. I have so much to learn and I can’t wait to get started.


Upcoming in May

May will be full of wonderful things.

I’m so excited to announce that I’ll be among the inaugural month’s stories for the brand new venture, Cartridge Lit, a mag dedicated to literature inspired by video games. Run by the epic Justin Daugherty and Joel Hans, they’re tapping into an influence that many of us writing today have experienced and been shaped by in some manner.

I began gaming when I was quite young on my giant, slow, warm-plastic-smelling Apple machines. I played the Black Cauldron and Kings Quest and Carmen Sandiego and Astroids and Dungeon Master. It helped me process and still does. I’m not embarrassed to be a 36 year old who plays Diablo and Final Fantasy and Torchlight.

Over at The Los Angeles Review, I slushed a couple of gorgeous video game inspired pieces. And I started — and abandoned — my own. Maybe I wasn’t in the space I could write it yet. But after Justin announced the start of Cartridge Lit I knew I had to finish the piece. And, you know, it’s one of the pieces I’m most proud of. Yes it’s strange. Yes it’s personal. Yes it’s surreal. Yes. It’s mine. And I can’t wait to share it with you 5/15/14.

The other exciting event will be my 15th college reunion. I don’t even know how to quantify that time, since it still feels like yesterday. I didn’t attend my 5 or 10 year reunions for reasons that seemed important then, but inconsequential now. Mostly I wasn’t proud of who and where I was in life and I didn’t want to go back to the place where I once felt like I could conquer the world, the place I was surrounded by people I believed in and who believed in me. But in early May I’m headed to Southern California to gather with those friends once again. And, honestly, I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas. Even though I make almost nothing right now as a writer, I feel so much stronger and richer than I ever did when I was posing my way through corporate gigs. I can’t wait to share the stories and the pictures and the energy I’ll get from that journey.


Counting Flowers (on the wall)

I hear it’s spring in some parts of the country. It’s trying here in the Pacific Northwest, but something keeps eating the tops of my flowers, so it’s difficult to say for certain.

Regardless, a couple of announcements: First, Mad Scientist Journal bought my Viable Paradise 2012 story “Alphabetus Cymbid.” I wrote the story as a VP exercise and I’ve been repeatedly entertained by comments that the story is somehow sexist because I wrote about a careless and aimless woman finding how to apply herself to her interests. I was once such a woman, well meaning and bumbling in a new environment. This is a character arc — a comedic one, at that — and a cautionary tale from my own experiences. I’m thrilled the piece will appear here in June. Bonus, I wrote the story alphabetically — though very few editors, if any, have caught that on the readthrough.

I also placed a deeply personal and deeply strange piece of nonfiction at Synaesthesia Magazine called “Pros & Cons of Montana.” I spend a lot of time reconciling this strange place that is my home, the pull and the revulsion, the beauty and the brutality. I’ve probably never had more personal rejections for a piece as I have for this one. I am so happy it found a home in such a gorgeous magazine.

This week has been a funny one. I feel as if I’m floundering — putting out fires and making the wrong choices — keystone-copping my way through my task list. But I’m slowly and surely catching up with everything I pushed pause on in January and February. My right arm continues be a problem, but I simply don’t have the time to have surgery to repair the disc that is sitting on my radial nerve until June. I can work for most of the day, with and without help from heating pads and changes in position and other therapies. Neck surgery is terrifying, but I’ll be glad when this nonsense is all over.

That’s the news for now. There is much ahead. Trips and more trips and surgery and trips and more trips. But all that later. xo