New Story: “Minor Heresies”

My new short story, “Minor Heresies”, is out in Ride the Star Wind by Broken Eye Books.

Ride the Star Wind is an anthology of Lovecraftian space opera, which, coincidentally, is also more or less the genre of my novel, FALSE GODS (currently being shopped around by my agent; *crosses fingers*). The story I ended up writing is set in the same universe as my novel, but about 200 years earlier and in a very different neck of the woods.

In “Minor Heresies”, I wanted to explore a bit about the origins of Vaurians. FALSE GODS contains a major character who is Vaurian – not an alien, but a shapeshifting human-like being, bred for espionage by the supercomputer-Gods.  There’s a lot of prejudice against Vaurians in this fictional universe. The character in the novel plays into a lot of the in-world stereotypes: suave, manipulative, sinister, highly attractive, and fanatically devoted to the Gods (at least as long as it suits him). I like him a lot, for Reasons. But I also wanted space to break the stereotypes and write a Vaurian who wasn’t like that at all. So I ended up with Mimoru, the protagonist of “Minor Heresies” – a hapless little nerd from the days when Vaurians were still a new thing and mortals didn’t know what to do with them. He struggles to fit in with either Vaurians or mortals, struggles to find a place in his galaxy, and stumbles on to problems much bigger than he knows how to handle – problems which, ultimately, are as much about the repressive theocracy that created him as they are about the Lovecraftian horrors he sees.

Mimoru is also explicitly on the autism spectrum, although this was a part of his character that kind of crept up on me while I wrote. The story isn’t constructed to make any grand statement about autism, in particular. It also fleshes out a little about the non-human parts of the FALSE GODS galaxy, and how humans (cautiously) trade and communicate with aliens who don’t share their computer-religion.

Ride the Star Wind’s lineup looks pretty cool (including a story by Bogi Takács involving EVIL TRIANGLES!) so I hope some of you will go check it out.

MONSTERS IN MY MIND – Cover Reveal

Monsters In My Mind cover art

Here is my gorgeous cover for MONSTERS IN MY MIND – designed by Chris Robert Bell.

NeuroQueer Books already has some great covers for their existing titles, but as a newbie to the world of book publishing, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I was blown away when my editor sent me SIX amazing looking cover mockups to choose from – they were all so good, it was really hard to choose.

(I tried to post this yesterday night, but was Le Tired, got mixed up trying to fix the image size, and deleted the post. It should be better now!)

Cool stories from July and August

Late, and short – the last month or so seems to have gotten away from me, as months often do – but here are my favorite short works that I read over the summer.

Caroline M. Yoachim, “Carnival Nine” (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Issue #228, May 11). A story about a world of wind-up toys who only have a certain number of “turns” per day. The metaphor for disability is so apt that at first it almost feels too on-the-nose, but by the time the story settles into the complexities and difficulties of its characters’ adult lives, it’s become compelling and really good.

Maddie Phelps, “Ocean Heart” (Strange Horizons, July 3). I have trouble expressing what I think about this one – a poem about boundaries and pressure, about choosing what we make of ourselves, about knowing one’s own depths. It’s good.

JY Yang, “Waiting on a Bright Moon” (Novelette, Tor.com, July 12). Gorgeous and vicious, this is the story of a rebellion against a space-empire that turns queer women into magical transportation devices. There is magical singing, and space wizards, and characters in desparate circumstances finding love where they can. (And – be warned – the most grisly execution scene I’ve read in a while.) A story of the risks people take and the meaning they find for themselves in the face of intense oppression.

Announcing MONSTERS IN MY MIND

I’ve kept this under wraps a little too long, but it’s definitely happening.

In mid-October I will be launching my debut collection, MONSTERS IN MY MIND, with NeuroQueer Books.

This will be my first book-length published work. (My agent assures me that, for the purposes of publishing novels, my first novel will still be considered a debut work. I made this deal before I signed with her.) It will contain dozens of the short stories, flash stories, and poems that I’ve published since I first began to write for publication, as well as four new full-length short stories, one very scary new microfic. and six new poems.

NeuroQueer Books is a very small outfit, but there are some very good people there who really “get” me as an author. MONSTERS IN MY MIND is, accordingly, a small project – I have no illusions that it will make me wealthy, etc – but one with a lot of love in it, and one that I am tremendously excited to be about to share with my friends and fans.

There will be a book launch party during Can*Con 2017 in Ottawa – exact time TBD as Can*Con finalizes their schedule – with a reading, delicious baked goods, and some awesome monster-plushie and stim-toy door prizes, so if you are in the area or were considering going there for Can*Con already, please do stop by.

The launch date is only a month away, and so very soon you will be seeing more on this topic, including a TOC reveal, a cover reveal, more about the launch party, notes on the stories and poems in the collection, as well as a song pairing for (at least) each full-length story. When pre-order and/or plain normal order options are available, I’ll be posting here about that as well.