MOSTERS IN MY MIND: story notes, part 13 and 14

13. Evianna Talirr Builds a Portal On Commission

Here’s the thing. Atoms lie.

First published in the 2014 HWA Poetry Showcase, this is the first official appearance of a character of mine who’s bounced around through a number of different settings and plots, including my out-on-spec novel. She’s one of two characters whom I built the novel around, and who existed before the rest of that setting did.

Here, you can find her luring an unnamed character into a portal to another universe in which he (?) will immediately cease to exist because the laws of physics no longer support his molecular structure. As one does.

14. The Mother of All Squid Builds a Library

“Foolishness,” said the whales again, and they swam back to the upper worlds, eating two of her bodies on the way without even saying thank you.

I wrote this as a birthday present for Bogi Takács; it’s the first and only story I’ve ever successfully written as a present. (Unless you count the rambling, badly spelled tale I once free-wrote for A. Merc Rustad, in which Elric of Melniboné meets Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid and Lovecraftian sea-witch hijinks ensue.)

Bogi was kind enough to make the process easy by listing story tropes that e liked: these included cephalopods and hive minds, especially if the hive minds were not presented as a bad thing. I ended up with a strange, almost fairy-tale-like flash story about a hive mind of squid. (At least one beta reader mistook it for a children’s story, which… Please don’t do that. There is flaying. A child who likes death and creepy stuff would probably enjoy it, but otherwise… don’t.)

After I showed the story to Bogi, I submitted it to the Friends of the Merrill Collection Contest (which it won) and then to various magazines, including Strange Horizons, which published it in December 2013. It’s free to read there. Out of all the stories I have ever written since then, this is still the one with my favorite title.

Song Pairing: Even aside from the fact that the literal voice of a literal whale is important in the story, there is no better accompaniment for this weird little undersea story than George Crumb’s beautifully weird piece of undersea chamber music, Voice of the Whale.

MONSTERS IN MY MIND is available for purchase on Amazon, Kobo, Indigo, Barnes and Noble, and in Autonomous Press’s Shopify store.

2017 in review / award eligibility post

Wellp. That was a year.

It was a strange year, and the world was stressful, and I am not sure if I’m happy with the amount that I outwardly produced. But, looking back, I did do a lot writing-wise this year:

  • Had two stories come out in magazines/anthos, and two poems out online.
  • Started a Patreon!
  • LANDED A BIG NAME AGENT for my space opera novel, although it remains to be seen if we’ll sell it.
  • Wrote two year-long plots for my local LARP, plus a couple of auxiliary things.
  • Made enough sales to know that at least two more stories and two more poems are due out in 2018, and hopefully much more.
  • Published my first collection, MONSTERS IN MY MIND with NeuroQueer Books.

I was also still doing graduate school full-time this year, and published several papers – one conference paper, one journal paper, and one REALLY BIG survey paper that isn’t out yet, but was accepted to go into a journal next year, and I’m very excited about that.

Since MONSTERS IN MY MIND contained so much new work, my actual list of new stories/poems out this year is a little bigger than I expected:

Short Stories


Dwarf (1-10 line) Poems

Short (11-50 line) Poems

I didn’t publish any long (51+ line) poems, non-micro flash fiction, or novelettes this year, except as reprints that went into the collection.

Shortly, I’ll also do a roundup of stories and poems by other people that I read this year and loved. I was a little more careful keeping track of such stories this year, so I’ve got a big list!

MONSTERS IN MY MIND: story notes, part 11 and 12

11. A Certain Kind of Spider

The male of the species knows we want him.

This is an early poem from the point of view of a black widow spider. Pretty self-explanatory, really, and a good thematic pairing for the murderess protagonist of “Lady Blue and the Lampreys”. It’s also the only poem I ever had published in Star*Line, before I decided that I wasn’t very interested in Star*Line or the SFPA, really.

(The sign-language aspect of the poem was added rather hastily, when a beta reader asked how the male spider was still talking after the narrator had already eaten his head. Oops.)

12. The Siren of Mayberry Crescent

She snaps her jaws together.
Silence is golden.

A poem about the domestic life of a siren who, Little Mermaid-like, has gone on land with a lover who cannot deal with her voice.

The inspiration for this one came from a minor D&D NPC who was a siren (actually a “sirine”, which, in typical D&D monster fashion, is rather different from the original myths). I started wondering what her home life was like and how she felt about it. Inevitably the poem wandered from that starting point and went somewhere else, and some uncomfortably personal stuff also crept in.

This poem was published in Mythic Delirium #29. It was nominated in the long category for the Rhysling Award that year, which was my first-ever Rhysling Award nomination. (The second, “The Giantess’s Dream”, was in the short-form category, and was published too recently to go into this collection.)

MONSTERS IN MY MIND is available for purchase on Amazon, Kobo, Indigo, Barnes and Noble, and in Autonomous Press’s Shopify store.

Autism News, 2017/12/01

Rose Lemberg is making a cool series right now about writing while autistic, and I am linking to everything in the series because it’s wonderful.

Politics and government:

Sexuality and relationships:

Pan-disability posts:

Posts about safety and crisis situations: