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.

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!

“Transcription of an Eye” in WATCHLIST

In April, mOR Book Going Rougey story “Transcription of an Eye” will be appearing in Watchlist: 32 Stories from Persons of Interest (O/R Books), an anthology about surveillance.

From the copy:

In Watchlist, some of today’s most prominent and promising fiction writers from around the globe respond to, reflect on, and mine for inspiration the surveillance culture in which we live. From drone strikes to birds mistaken for spies, paintings that change when they’re not looked at to machines that let their dying users look back and reconsider the most important decisions of their lives, these stories take a broad and imaginative look at the state of surveillance in our global and interconnected world. How does constant surveillance affect us? Does it change how we behave as we seek approval or avoid judgment from an often faceless audience? Do we know who’s watching? What does it mean to be watched?

The anthology will also contain stories by Etgar Keret, Robert Coover, Aimee Bender, Jim Shepard, Alissa Nutting, Charles Yu, Cory Doctorow, Randa Jarrar, Katherine Karlin, Miracle Jones, Mark Irwin, T.C. Boyle, Dale Peck, Bonnie Nadzam, Lucy Corin, Chika Unigwe, Paul Di Filippo, Lincoln Michel, Dana Johnson, Mark Chiusano, Juan Pablo Villalobos, Chanelle Benz, Sean Bernard, Kelly Luce, Zhang Ran, Miles Klee, David Abrams, Steven Hayward, Deji Olukoton, Alexis Landau, and Bryan Hurt.

Watchlist is available for presale here.