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2013: Year in Review, Looking Forward, & Thank You

A lot has happened to me this year, on the writing and professional front. It’s been the most exciting year of my career thus far. 

In 2013, I finished up teaching my young adult fiction course at the University of Iowa. I signed on with my wonderful agent, Kent Wolf of Lippincott, Massie, & McQuilkin. I moved to Philadelphia with my partner, Val. I was a finalist for two fellowships, the Michener-Copernicus and the CINTAS Foundation Fellowship, and was nominated for a second Pushcart Prize. I was included on A.C. Wise’s “Women to Read: New Voices” listI spent a week in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with Val, from which came two brand-new stories. I completed my collection of short fiction, and began work on a novel.

I published fourteen pieces of fiction in 2013, starting with “Inventory” at Strange Horizons, just after the New Year, and ending with “The Squeeze” at KGB Bar Lit Magazine just a few weeks ago. I am wildly proud of and excited for the work of mine that found a home this year, including “Miss Laura’s School for Esquire Men” at Tin House and my novella “Especially Heinous: 272 Views of Law & Order SVU” at The American Reader. “Especially Heinous” in particular was a real labor of love: a weird, long project that took ages and ages to find a home. Thank you, again, to Ben Marcus and all of the wonderful people at The American Reader for taking a chance on that story. 

I also published seven pieces of nonfiction in 2013, starting with “Worlds Flipped Sideways,” my review of Karen Russell’s Vampires in the Lemon Grove for the Los Angeles Review of Books, and ending with my essay “Luxury Shopping, From the Other Side of the Register” at The New Yorker. I also contributed to a couple of advice columns and did some exciting freelance copywriting for Exile Branding.

I participated in five readings, one signing, and one lecture in 2013, including the amazing LGBTQ SF/F reading at Bluestocking Books in January and The Disagreement in September.

2014 is already looking like an amazing year. As of this moment, I have two pieces of fiction coming out: my story “California Statutes Concerning Defrauding an Innkeeper” from AGNI and “Observations About Eggs from the Man Sitting Next to Me on a Flight from Chicago, Illinois to Cedar Rapids, Iowa” from Lightspeed, both scheduled for the spring.

I will also be teaching fiction classes at Rosemont College‘s MFA program in the spring and Moravian College in the fall. (I’m wildly excited to return to teaching again.) In July, I’ll be traveling back to Iowa City to teach at the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio and the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. I’ll also be giving a lecture at the Moravian Writers’ Conference in June, where Laurie Halse Anderson and Ursula Hegi are the keynote speakers.

Here are my (writing) resolutions for the new year:

  1. Finish a draft of my novel.
  2. Take on no more than three unpaid freelance assignments.
  3. Seek out more paid freelancing assignments.
  4. Get back into my old pre-move writing routine.
  5. Read 1 novel or story collection per week.

Before I sign off, I just wanted to thank, well, everyone in my life. Being a writer has a lot of ups and downs, and this year has had a lot of upheaval, disappointments, and stress alongside all of my successes. My parents, siblings, partner, Iowa colleagues & friends, Clarion colleagues & friends, agent, editors, teachers, mentors, students, fellow writers, and people from every part of my life have been loving, supportive, attentive, and unflaggingly kind. To all of you, thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I couldn’t do any of this without you. I wish everyone the best for 2014.

See you on the other side.

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