asakiyume: (Inconvenient God)
I think everyone who reads me here probably already reads [personal profile] sovay, but just in case not...

I was blown away by her review of An Inconvenient God.

[personal profile] sovay's reviews are as good as stories: when she reviews films, she captures the drama of them, and without spoiling them in the least, makes you feel, by the power of her writing, what makes them funny, poignant, terrifying, tragic--whatever. It's a huge honor to have that attention paid to my own work.
asakiyume: (feathers on the line)
I ... have written my first-ever** fanfic, about one of my favorite moments in Voyage of the Dawn Treader (actually, one of my favorite moments in the whole Chronicles of Narnia)--the moment when Lucy sees the Sea Girl in the Last Ocean. The story is from the Sea Girl's perspective. It's very short. Thanks to [personal profile] osprey_archer for a read-through and advice on posting!

[ETA: In my rush to post I, um, neglected to include a link to the story. Here it is! Sorry about that--it's kind of hilarious to post an announcement like that and then not remember the link -_-]

And here are some beautiful examples of seagrass for you to look at, to accompany the story.



sickle leaf seagrass
Sickle seagrass (Thalassia hemprichii)
(click through for source)



**Actually I did once write a piece of fanfic earlier. I was in seventh grade, and it was for Space 1999.
asakiyume: (feathers on the line)
Sherwood Smith asked me some really interesting questions that The Inconvenient God raised for her, and she posted the questions and answers over on the Book View Cafe blog (here).

I think my favorite question was the one about whether writing words down chains them. The technology of writing is really wonderful and makes miracles possible, in terms of sharing and transmission, but the spoken word has real power too. I love thinking about their different strengths.

And speaking of spoken word (heh), [personal profile] okrablossom linked me to another beautiful spoken word poem, "Rise," by Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner, this time in collaboration with Aka Niviâna, an Inuk poet. Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner is from the Marshall Islands, which are gravely threatened by rising sea levels, and many of her poems deal with climate change. Aka Niviâna is from Kalaallit Nunaat--Greenland--whose melting glaciers create the rising sea levels. Her poems often deal with the legacy of colonization.

Their words, combined with the breathtaking images, is really powerful (video (6 minutes) and text of the poem available here).

--Sister of ice and snow, I'm coming to you
--Sister of ocean and sand, I welcome you

asakiyume: (Em reading)
I’ve finished reading It Happened at the Ball—very interesting to see the directions the stories took the theme.

I have to start with Sherwood Smith’s story, which is the crowning jewl of the collection. It’s a novella, which means you can really sink into the place, the characters, and the situations. If you’re familiar with Sherwood’s Sartorias-deles world, this story shows how Colend became its own nation—but if you’re not familiar, no worries at all. This story is completely comprehensible on its own.

The situation: A great ball is being held; all the nobility of the region will be at it. Warriors from an aggressive bordering state are also in the city, on a pretext of being interested in trade but actually planning an attack. They, too, are invited to the ball—what will happen?

The genius of the story is in the characters, especially the intelligent, charismatic, and above all kind protagonist, Martande Lirende. It is a delight to watch him defuse situations, deflect unwanted attention, and engage enemies without spilling blood (blood does get spilled, but not on screen). Here, for example, is how he reacts when a noblewoman he’s dancing with makes fun of the looks of the king:
“Prince Fish Face. Now the king. Surely you know that [name for him]. Everyone in the first circle says it.”

“Ah, but I find him beautiful,” Martande said.

Luor slanted a glance of derision, assuming shared mockery, to smack into a wall of sincere

“Beautiful,” she repeated, the exclamation half question. “I’ve seen him, when my mother presented me at court. He cannot have changed so materially in ten years.”

He lifted a shoulder as they dipped, turned, and met palm to palm again, toes pointed, shoulders back. “We know the word beautiful,” he said in that tone of calm sincerity, “but I expect we all define it differently. For me, that which delights my heart is beautiful, and King Eniad, in all his painstaking doubt and generosity of spirit, is beautiful.”

But it’s not just Martande whom we get an intimate feel for: it’s pretty much any character who steps onto the page--the elderly (female) Count of Ranflar, tasked with dancing with the warlord Rajin; the warlord himself, whose misreading of the ballroom is an object lesson in cultural blindness; Messenger Yedoc, struggling to express herself in a language she can’t speak well; even little Gelis, a child:
“Everything was fascinating! Even the older people. Usually so boring. It was strange, how expressive elders were when you couldn’t see their faces. ”

Seriously: even if you didn’t like any of the other stories in the anthology, it would be worth it for this one tale.

But I suspect you'll find things to like in the other stories--each has something unusual or interesting to recommend it.

the other stories )

And that’s all of them!
asakiyume: (Inconvenient God)
Today The Inconvenient God is available for purchase, from multiple sources and in multiple formats! Andrea Johnson, the Little Red Reviewer, gave it an excellent write-up
The Inconvenient God touches on lost history, colonialism, the best (and worst) ways to chat with divinities, culture clash, and how to enjoy the new without forgetting the old.

I love the chatty style of Andrea's reviews. This made me laugh:
To be honest, when I read the back cover copy, I thought this was going to be about an old sky beard who was a professor at a college, and the guy refused to retire even though he had dementia. Yeah, that is not at all what this story is about!!

To pique your curiosity further: there's an apple goddess in this story too. That fact makes its autumn release feel just right.

Don't forget that if you do buy the story and send proof of purchase to the publisher, you can get a coupon to receive the lovely story The Lilies of Dawn for just 99 cents. More on that promotion here.
asakiyume: (Em reading)
I finished the Timor book, Eden to Paradise. It continued as it had begun, being very satisfying when it was talking about Timorese customs and lifeways and very irksome when the author's biases became too intrusive. Do people still use the word "pacification" unselfconsciously, when talking about colonial adventures? And she's got a section where she talks about how hard it is for the Portuguese administrator to deal with all the Timorese interpersonal conflicts. Oh hey, I know a way to solve that... But anyway. It was still genuinely great to have a look at how people were living so long ago.

A few interesting short stories:

In Apex Magazine, "Field Biology of the Wee Fairies," by Naomi Kritzer, available to read free here.

It starts out in a way I found unpromising: spunky science-interested girl in 1962 doesn't care about getting a fairy the way all the Other Girls do--but then it surprised and delighted me by where it went next.

In Fireside Magazine, "The Ceremony," by Mari Ness, available to read free here.

It's a flash fiction take on Sleeping Beauty from a weird-creepy, but not horrifying, perspective.

In It Happened at the Ball, the first story, "The Siret Mask," by Marie Brennan. Available for purchase from multiple venues, links at the bottom of the page here.

This is an excellent tale of concealed identities--good for a story about a mask--and transformations, featuring a dashing thief. I particularly loved the details of one costume change--I always wonder how masters of disguise manage it, and this showed how!

And the promo! Annorlunda Books is offering Vanessa Fogg's beautiful The Lilies of Dawn for just 99 cents with proof of a preorder or (after October 10) purchase of my novelette, The Inconvenient God. Details here. Look at these covers together!

asakiyume: created by the ninja girl (Default)
It Happened at the Ball is out--an avowedly escapist, feel-good anthology whose stories all center, in one way or another, on a ballroom. [personal profile] sartorias compiled it with the intention of providing a pick-me-up in the face of the relentless grimness of current events. Here's the table of contents:
The Şiret Mask ~ ~ Marie Brennan
Just Another Quiet Evening at Almack’s ~~ Marissa Doyle
Homeworld Stranger ~ ~Sara Stamey
Kerygma in Waltz Time ~ ~Charlotte Gumanaam
Dancing Bangles ~ ~ Irene Radford
A Plague of Dancers ~ ~Gillian Polack
A Borrowed Heart ~ ~ Deborah J. Ross
The Gown of Harmonies ~ ~ Francesca Forrest
The Dress ~ ~ Lynne April Brown
A Waltz for May ~ ~ P.G. Nagle
Sherbet on Silver ~ ~ Brenda W. Clough
Gilt and Glamour ~ ~ Layla Lawlor
Lily and Crown ~ ~Sherwood Smith

"The Gown of Harmonies" is my contribution! It's about a blind seamstress who makes a musical gown. Of the other stories, I've only read "Lily and Crown," but I can tell you: it is **excellent**, [personal profile] sartorias in top form.

I'm really excited to read the others--I will report to you about them as I do. And if you would like to read these goodies, check out [personal profile] sartorias's entry here--it has all the links. (They're for e-books, but a paperback will be available through Book View Café shortly.)

asakiyume: (God)
Here is the final cover for my novelette, The Inconvenient God, which Annorlunda Books is bringing out in October! In case you can't read the text blurb, it says,
What happens if you try to retire a god who is not ready to leave?

An official from the Ministry of Divinity arrives at a university to decommission a local god. She is expecting an easy decommissioning of a waning god of mischief but finds instead an active god not interested in retiring and university administrators who have not told her the full story about the god. Can the Decommissioner discover the true story of this god in time to prevent his most destructive round of mischief yet?


This story had its genesis in a conversation on [personal profile] sovay's journal years ago--the talk turned to exorcisms and exorcising a god from his precinct (this entry; this thread), and the idea lingered.
asakiyume: (feathers on the line)
I am staggeringly lucky to have cover art by Likhain for "The Inconvenient God," a novelette (maybe a noveletina? Extra long short story?) coming out this fall from Annorlunda Press.

Behold! (All Likhain's art is just gorgeous.)

(link to her original tweet here)
asakiyume: (black crow on a red ground)
Back in 2009 a story of mine, "The Gallows Maiden," about a crow girl, was in an anthology called StereoOpticon. It's been reanthologized in Fell Beasts and Fair, which is now available for preorder at Spring Song Press.

Thieves, dragons, nightmares, fairy warriors, pookas, enchanted bear-men, and other magical creatures will delight you in these unique tales of possibility, courage, and hope.

My impression, just paging through the ARC, is that "The Gallows Maiden" is an outlier in being dark, and possibly for an older audience, though I won't know for sure until I've tried reading some of the other stories. I asked the publisher about the others, and here's what they said about a few:

"A Midsummer Knight’s Bedtime Story" --charming, unexpected.
"Winter Horses" --so well-written, kind of quiet.
"The Dove of Assisi" --lovely, sweet
"The Lady and the Unicorn": --took the idea in a completely different direction

asakiyume: (misty trees)
"On the Highway" is available for purchase now. Here's the first paragraph:

One moment the little Hyundai’s fishtailing on black ice, then there’s air, three bone-shaking bounces, and stillness. Jolene has a faceful of airbag and a tidal wave of adrenaline tingling in her fingertips, lips, and toes. Slowly it recedes, and she gingerly tests her arms and legs, twists . . . yes, her back is fine, her neck is mainly fine. Above her right eye, her forehead feels tender, but that’s probably from the airbag. The headlights reveal a frosty ditch. Above, the highway is quiet. It’s New Year’s Eve—everyone’s with their friends, waiting to welcome the new year together. Abruptly, Jolene kills the engine.

If you would like to find out what happens to Jolene, stranded on the highway on New Year's Eve, you can buy the rest of the story for 99 cents . . .

Through Amazon here

Through Barnes & Noble here

Through iTunes here

Through Kobo here

If you're inclined, read, review, and recommend--or give as a gift!

Here's another evocative highway photo from Mary Gordon to put you in the mood:


And a crashed car for good measure:

(Not a Hyundai. And Jolene's car is not in as bad shape as this. Still. MOOD.)

Abridged Edition

asakiyume: (misty trees)
Thank you to everyone who responded yesterday to my question about when to release "On the Highway"--I really appreciate it.

In terms of the story, it made intuitive sense to me to release it between Christmas and New Year's--after all, it's a story set on New Year's Eve! When would people want to read that story? When they're thinking of New Year's Eve--or so my logic went.

But the arguments for releasing it as early as possible made good sense to me too, and that's what I've ended up going with. The story will be available Monday, and I'll post links.

I've been playing with this story in my head for years. I'm fascinated with all the possible permutations of the ghostly hitchhiker tale, and also [supernatural] roadside encounters generally. Another story I wrote that played with those elements was "The October Witch," which some of you may remember. "On the Highway" isn't as folklorish as "The October Witch," which is part of why I decided to publish it myself--I couldn't really think of venues to submit it to, and thought I could do a good job packaging and presenting it myself.
asakiyume: (misty trees)
I have a short story that I'm going to self-publish--it's a New Year's Eve ghost story. Here's the cover!

The photo is by Mary Gordon, a Wyoming-based photographer. You can see more of her work on Flickr; she's gebodogs there. I searched on "ghostly highway" and her photo was perfect. (The original photo is horizontal rather than vertical--check it out here.)

Here's the very brief blurb (it's a very short story--about 3,880 words)

After catching her husband in the arms of another woman on New Year's Eve, Jolene spins out on the highway--but a mysterious stranger comes to her aid.

So.... when would be a good time to release this story?
(1) Now!

(2) Sometime closer to Christmas

(3) Between Christmas and New Year's

(4) Right before New Year's

(5) Some other time that you'll share in comments**

**Please don't specify a time in the past. I can't do that yet!


Nov. 4th, 2017 06:00 pm
asakiyume: (november birch)
Prick my skin and peel it back
Inside you'll find
November skies
That filled me to the brim
When I looked up today

Speaking of winter (....more or less) a story of mine, "The Stars' Chill Song," which was originally published in Zahir (a speculative fiction zine that has since closed) in 2011, is reprinted in Still Water: A Noblebright Fantasy Anthology.

The only other stories in it that I've read are the ones by Sherwood Smith, but I sense a theme of coldness, at least in the titles ("Ice and Fire," "Iron and Frost," "The Ice of Heaven"), and there's one author who I want to read just because of his cool name: Ville Meriläinen.

Here is an Amazon link if you want to check it out.

asakiyume: created by the ninja girl (Default)
Any day that I get to share a table of contents with Sonya Taaffe and Patricia Russo is a good day--and today is one of those days! This is that rare beast, a print-only zine, so you can't read it without buying a copy and waiting for it to come through the mail, but I'm eager to have other people experience the alien, outsiderly goodness, so first three non-subscribers who send me an LJ message, I'll have a copy sent to you! ETA And I have three takers, so that offer's off the table now--thanks everyone!

Here's publisher John Benson's post about the issue:

“People who need care sometimes find it in strange places. In this collection, people variously get care from a cabal of busybodies, a demon hand in a suitcase, a dead girl spouting Moby Dick, and a stone filling in as psychiatrist. We have food you can’t eat, spiders on the ceiling, conversation and cardboard boxes, chalk outlines, and free things that come with a cost.”


Nice and Tuesday, by Patricia Russo
The Conversation (poem), by Sonya Taaffe
Old Tom Bedloe (poem), by Herb Kauderer
Did You Pack Your Own Case?, by Dan Crawford
Spider on the Ceiling (poem), by Kent Kruse
Repast (poem), by Davian Aw
Joyride, by Matthew Brockmeyer
Chalk Outline (poem), by Neal Wilgus
Doctor Stone, by Francesca Forrest
Free Universe (poem), by Gene Twaronite
Art: John Stanton

asakiyume: created by the ninja girl (Default)

This is a story about complicated families, hope, and an improbable creature. It's narrated by the wonderful Julia Rios! I'm so happy it's finally out, and I can share it with people.

"The Oulough"

I will have to draw you all an oulough...

asakiyume: (man on wire)

The article I wrote on the problems with money bail is live now.

Guilty until proven innocent: the problem with money bail.

asakiyume: (cloud snow)

Ed Ou: The North

I've been wanting to share the amazing photo essays of Ed Ou--in particular, one of life in Nunavut. Never have I felt I got to know life in a distant place so well merely from pictures as I did from looking through this collection. Warning: There are scenes of hunting and its aftermath in this--which is part of life in Nunavut--so don't go to the link if that will upset you.

Ed Ou: The North

Ed Ou: The North

The choices Ed made in who to photograph, and where, really give such a whole, compassionate, intimate picture of life in the Arctic. I loved them. And we're having our own Nunavut-like temperatures here this weekend, so--well, it's a tenuous sort of connection, but a connection.

Here's my own photo of our bright star, caught in the trees and not conveying much warmth this morning

Rhysling nomination

I was so moved and touched to receive a Rhysling nomination for my poem "The Peal Divers." It's been so long since I wrote poetry--that was one poem that came to me in the midst of my poetry desert. With just one poem to my name in 2014, it never occurred to me to even consider awards. And yet someone, some member of the SFPA, remembered it and nominated it. I'm humbled and grateful.

Pop Sonnets recasts pop lyrics as sonnets. Very fun. Here's "Baby Got Back."

asakiyume: (Em reading)
I wrote the handles of all the folks who entered the StoryBundle drawing onto tiny slips of paper and folded them up:


Then I drew out five. The winners are:

[ profile] queenoftheskies
[ profile] mnfaure
[ profile] silberstreif
[ profile] yamamanama
Twitter user @krisycollins12

Contact me at forrestfm (at) gmail (dot) com, and I'll send you a download code.

Some of you may already have the storybundle--in that case, feel free to pass it on to a friend.

Thanks for commenting on the entry, and I hope the books in the bundle tickle your fancy!

PS: Even though the storybundle offer ends today, you can redeem your code anytime, so no worries if you don't do it right away.

asakiyume: (Em)
Tomorrow Thursday is the last day to grab the indie fantasy bundle, so if you have friends who might be interested, let them know. In fact, I have five giveaway codes that I haven't used yet, so send them to comment here (my journal won't allow anonymous comments, but they can sign in with Twitter or Google Plus or Open ID if they're not on LJ)--I'll select randomly from the people who comment. (I'll make the offer on Twitter, too.)

Meanwhile, here is a game: Each of the authors in the fantasy bundle was interviewed by one of the other authors. Can you tell which quote goes with which author? Just take a guess :-)

Here are the authors and their books

1. Brad Beaulieu, The Winds of Khalakovo
2. Sherwood Smith, Lhind the Thief
3. CJ Brightley, The King's Sword
4. Judith Tarr, Arrows of the Sun
5. Francesca Forrest, Pen Pal
6. Scott Marlowe, The Five Elements
7. Blair MacGregor, Sand of Bone
8. MCA Hogarth, The Worth of a Shell

And here are the quotations from their interviews:

A. I got fixated on having to follow the Chosen One through the entire narrative. It took me a long time to figure out that there was no chosen one, not really.

B. When you write in genre, readers have expectations based on the structures and tropes of the genre. You can play around with those, but you seriously have to respect them.

C. writers will often develop much, much more than actually shows up on the page, and that’s the approach I took here. I wanted it to be a rich world.

D. The questions of loyalty and honor and promises kept in the face of moral ambiguity, ethical questions, and brutal combat... All of those remain.

E. I loathe helplessness in real life and in fiction. I enjoy peril only if the threatened characters have a glimmer of agency.

F. I’m intrigued by the different ways throughout history that people and society have dealt with war and the emotional aftereffects of trauma.

G. For example, we all know electrical current travels through a wire. In my world, instead of wires there are tubules, and instead of electricity, a wide array of energy types, such as alchemical, elemental, emotional, magical, and others.

H. The basic story stayed the same: two seemingly helpless people whose friendship helps make them both heroes.

So--which letters go with which numbers? (If you want to cheat, [ profile] blairmacg has all the interviews linked in this entry)


asakiyume: created by the ninja girl (Default)

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