2015: My Writing Year in Review

This has been the best and wildest year of my writing career (and my life!) thus far. While I’ve been super-busy and very stressed out, there has been quite a lot of wonderful reaping of what has been sewn, which sounds weirdly scary and Biblical but is in this case entirely positive.

Four original stories of mine came out this year: “Transcription of an Eye” in the anthology Watchlist, “Descent” in Nightmare Magazine, “I Bury Myself” in Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, and “Horror Story” in Granta. Of those four, three of CSkLhdAWEAAgDLxthose stories were solicited; I wrote them along certain thematic lines with the purpose of selling them to the market that asked for them. “Horror Story” was the only published fiction from this year that… how do I phrase this? Emerged naturally? The point is that I was very busy and while I had a lot of ideas for stories, and chipped away at a bunch of them, it was a slower year than usual. Plus, I spent six months in very unproductive book-on-the-market anxiety. (I also wrote another original story that’s currently on the market, and wrote and sold an adaptation of a Giambattista Basile fairy tale, “The Old Women Who Were Skinned,” to the 2016 issue of Fairy Tale Review.)

BASFF-2015That being said, I had a ton of reprints this year. Most notably, my 2014 story “Help Me Follow My Sister Into the Land of the Dead” was selected by Joe Hill to appear in Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy 2015. Two others, “The Husband Stitch” and “Observations About Eggs…” were selected for Year’s Best Weird, Volume 2, edited by Kathe Koja. “The Husband Stitch” was also translated into Chinese for Science Fiction World, and reprinted in The Long List Anthology.

It’s also been a great year for awards, nominations and otherwise. 2015-06-06_1433557657“The Husband Stitch” was nominated for both a Nebula and Shirley Jackson Award, longlisted for the Hugo Award and Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year, Vol. 7, and given a Special Mention for this year’s Pushcart Prize. (Nick Offerman was the Nebula ceremony’s toastmaster, and I got to meet him and write him a weird prophecy, which basically made my year.) “Inventory” took third place in the Million Writers Award and was a finalist for the Calvino Prize. “Observations About Eggs…” was also a finalist for the12182425_10101134215659595_3594191409585030521_o Calvino Prize. “Mothers” took third place for the Franz Kafka Award in Magic Realism. I also managed to secure myself two fellowships/grants this year: the Iowa Writers’ Workshop’s Michener-Copernicus Fellowship, and the SLF Diverse Writers & Diverse Worlds grants.

On the nonfiction front, I’ve done a ton of reviews & essays this year. Among my favorites: “O Adjunct! My Adjunct!” in The New Yorker, which went online while I was flying to Seattle to visit a friend and when I turned on my phone after I landed I had, like, 500 emails in my inbox and got to go on a local NPR affiliate to talk about adjuncting and 2015-03-25_1427310107the whole experience was wild and wonderful. Also “A Girl’s Guide to Sexual Purity” (one of their most-read essays of the year!) and “Unfilmable,” both appeared in LA Review of Books. I was also interviewed for Electric Literature and Al Día, and was written about with thoughtfulness and love at The Butter and LA Review of Books.

I did a lot of events this year, including a signing/panel with Joe Hill at Forbidden Planet in NYC and a2015-11-11_1447220498 Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy reading with Seanan McGuire for New York Review of Science Fiction‘s reading series (you can watch a recording of it here, complete with my tears). I’ll be doing a ton of traveling in the upcoming year as well, with readings/panels/events at AWP, the LSU Delta Mouth Literary Festival, the State Street Reading Series in Media, PA, and a Watchlist event at The Strand in NYC.

I also had my first guest-editing gig this year! Best Human & One of My Favorite Writers in the Universe Sam J. Miller and I co-edited the fall issue of Interfictions. Editing is awesome but unbelievably hard, as I’ve discovered. We’ll be putting together the fiction in the spring issue as well.

HUGEST NEWS OF 2015: After six months of biting my nails, angsting to Val, and uncontrollable weeping, I finally sold my debut short story collection, Her Body and Other Parties, to Ethan Nosowsky at Graywolf. I’m a huge fan of Graywolf, so the fact that my collection is coming out with them is basically one of the best things that’s ever happened to me. Ethan is amazing, and I can’t wait to meet the book that emerges from our mutual edits.

PW Announcement (FB)

In non-writing news, Val and I got engaged this year. That means in 2017 I’ll be2015-03-06_1425675438 getting married and my debut book will be coming out. Whaaaaaaaaaaaat. 2016, you better do something impressive, because 2017 is already outshining you.

Re: last year’s resolutions, I’m two for five (oof!). I sold my collection (the redacted resolution) and took on only two good-cause no-pay freelancing projects. I didn’t do as much reading or reviewing as I wanted, and I started two entirely new projects, so Venus Would Freeze is currently languishing unloved in a folder.

In any case, here are my 2016 Writing New Year’s Resolutions:

  1. Complete Her Body and Other Parties edits.
  2. Finish draft of [redacted nonfiction project].
  3. Attend at least one full-length residency.
  4. Make headway on [redacted fiction project].
  5. Only take on two good-cause no-pay freelancing projects.
  6. Read at least 3 books per month.

This year has been intense but amazing. 2016, I’m ready for you. Give me all you got.

“Horror Story” in Granta; Interview at Electric Literature

An end-of-October update:CSkLhdAWEAAgDLx

I have a brand-new story up at Granta, just in time for Halloween! You can read “Horror Story” here.

There’s also a wonderful interview with me over at Electric Literature, published last week. There, Rebekah Bergman talks to me about sex, horror, formal constraints, fantasy, gender, and the apocalypse.

Also, speaking of Halloween: I just found out that last year’s Halloween story of mine at Granta (is this a thing now?), “The Husband Stitch,” received a Special Mention in 2016 Pushcart Prize XL: Best of the Small Presses. So exciting!

Happy Halloween, all.

Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy 2015

BASFF-2015Exciting news! Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy 2015, the first of its kind, dropped yesterday. It’s a spectacular anthology, edited by John Joseph Adams and Joe Hill (you can read his wonderful introduction here), and full of established and up-and-coming writers writing literary non-realism.

And, it just so happens to include my story “Help Me Follow My Sister into the Land of the Dead,” which originally appeared in Help Fund My Robot Army!!! & Other Improbably Crowdfunding Projects, and was reprinted at Lightspeed.

Over at Tor.com, Martin Cahill has this to say:

Some of the strongest stories in this collection are the ones that perfectly meld the unsettling nature of science fiction and fantasy, with the beating human heart of our own experience. Carmen Maria Machado’s Kickstarter-inspired short story, “Help Me Follow My Sister Into The Land of the Dead,” is heartbreaking and inventive, as it utilizes the format of the crowdfunding website to delve into the relationships of two estranged sisters, and has an ending like a gut punch.

11225468_10101119494256405_1077508257569709999_oI’m unbelievably proud to be appearing in these pages with so many writers I admire, including Sam J. Miller, Kelly Link, Karen Russell, and Sofia Samatar.

So head to your local brick-and-mortar or an internet retailer and pick up a copy of Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy 2015. You won’t regret it, I promise.

And if you’re in or around New York City, I’ll be at a panel/signing/Q&A with Joe Hill at Forbidden Planet on November 9th, and a reading with Seanan McGuire as a part of the New York Review of Science Fiction Reading Series on November 10th, both to celebrate the release of BASFFSee you there?

Updates: AWP, Podcasts, Badass Ladies, Books You Should Buy

First, reprint news! My story “I Bury Myself,” published in Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet No. 33 this July, is the featured story in their new podcast. You can listen to it in its entirety, and hear it a gorgeous voice, here. Also, my story “Inventory” – my first pro-sale, first published in Strange Horizons in 2012 – has been selected for a new anthology, Grave Predictions: Tales of Mankind’s Post-Apocalyptic, Dystopian and Disastrous Destiny, from Dover Publications. I’ll be there alongside Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, Philip K. Dick, Kurt Vonnegut, and others.

Second, some new work. I have two reviews out at NPR this month: one for Adrienne Celt’s The Daughters, and one for Angélica Gorodischer’s Prodigies. They’re both amazing – check them out!

Next, some lovely kindnesses: My short story “Descent” is on a list of early-2015 short fiction favorites from Ladybusiness, and Sarah McCarry names me as a badass lady you should know.

Also! I am going to be on two panels at AWP 2016:”In the Realms of the Real & Unreal” with Alice Kim, Sofia Samatar, and Kelly Link, and moderated by Katharine Beutner; and “In Case You Think You Don’t Belong Here: Imposter Syndrome and AWP” with Aubrey Hirsch, Jessie Carty, and Samantha Dunn, and moderated by Margaret LaFleur.

Last, but certainly not least: I have a bunch of wildly talented writer friends, and one of them in Tony Tulathimutte. His novel Private Citizens, which I read giant swaths of throughout our time at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, is coming out in February, and is now available for pre-order. This book is brilliant and funny and heartbreaking, and you need to get on that train, like, now.

Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet & Watchlist

Some updates!

First, my story “I Bury Myself” will be appearing in the next issue of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet.

Second, my micro-essay about my Watchlist anthology story “Transcription of an Eye” appeared at The Quivering Pen. And on a related note, Watchlist goes on sale this week! I’ll be in New York City on May 27th for its reading/launch party at Babycastles.

Third, Joshua Johnson is did a very smart, thoughtful write-up of three of my stories over at his blog for his Three-a-Week series: “Descent,” “Mothers,” and “Especially Heinous.” Thanks, Joshua!

“O Adjunct! My Adjunct!” & Fairy Tale Review

My essay “O Adjunct! My Adjunct!” – about the adjunct instructor who changed my life, and why that’s so complicated – is out at The New Yorker. (It actually came out last week, but I’ve been traveling.) I spoke about the adjunct issue on KCUR’s Central Standard this morning.

Also, a story sale! My story “The Old Women Who Were Skinned” will be in the The Ochre Issue of Fairy Tale Review next spring. I’m a longtime fan of Fairy Tale Review, so I’m really excited about this news.

“A Girl’s Guide to Sexual Purity” is now online!

My essay “A Girl’s Guide to Sexual Purity,” which ran in print in the Los Angeles Quarterly Review last fall, is now online at Los Angeles Review of Books. It feels good (and intense and strange and scary and weird and wonderful all at the same time) to have it out in the world. A special thank you to my editor, Michelle Huneven, who walked me through every step of revising this essay.