First, this Wednesday, December 7, I’ll be returning to The Story Hour, a weekly livestream of speculative fiction short story readings where I’ll be reading alongside author Rebecca Gomez Farrell. You can watch live via Zoom or Facebook (7pm Pacific Time, 10 pm for my fellow East Coasters), so hope to see you there! The reading will also be available to watch on Facebook afterwards.
Second, I’m thrilled to say that my horror story “Unraveling” is now out in Vastarien, vol. 5, issue 2! You can buy a copy of in print or electronic format from Grimscribe Press.
It’s been a hot minute (or year) since I’ve updated this thing.
(blows off the dust)
This is getting to be an unfortunate habit.
So what’s new?
On the fantasy end of the writer ‘verse, I’m very pleased to say that my story “A Conspiracy of Cartographers” is now up at GigaNotoSaurus! Opera composers! Magical maps! A title stolen from some Tom Stoppard dialogue!
And on the horror end of things, on October 8 I’ll be participating in Storycrafting Sessions: Horror, a free one-day virtual conference hosted by Weeknight Writers. I’ll be on the 2:30 p.m. EST panel, “Crossroad Blues: Exploring the Boundary Between Life and Death.”
Hopefully I will have more news and ramblings to come in the near future instead of disappearing again.
I’m very happy to announce that my story “This Is the Way the Prayer Ends” is now up at Mysterion!
This story began life as a one-act play. I don’t remember the exact impetus for changing it to prose. It might have been me thinking about how the production costs to mount the play would likely be too prohibitive given its short length (short for a play, at least). It also might have been because I had recently tried the opposite approach—turning my short story “Ghost Writer to the Dead” into a play—and wanted to see what I could learn from going the other direction.
When I turned “Ghost Writer to the Dead” into a play, I couldn’t just strip the story down to the dialogue and call it a day. Stripping out a lot of the pretty prose was part of the process, yes,but doing that laid the dialogue bare and made me re-evaluate how well that dialogue was doing its job when separated from the narrative supports of a short story. I had to consider which story elements could or should be done differently to take advantage of the visual and aural elements of the theater. I had to consider which details were important to include in the scene description and stage directions while also leaving room for a director, cast, and crew to bring their own vision and interpretation to the script.
Going the opposite direction with “This is the Way the Prayer Ends” was a much different experience. Turning the script into prose was like working from a highly detailed outline—not something I do very often with short fiction. (Hi, my name is Barb, and I’m usually a pantser.) The bones were there; I just needed to flesh out the bits between the dialogue. Instead of leaving room for a play’s cast and crew to bring their respective takes to the table, I had to be the cast and crew. It was up to me to build the props and scenery with words instead of with wood and tools and paint. Lighting, sound effects, costumes—all up to me to detail on the page. It was up to me to make choices about how the characters spoke and moved, and how they felt and reacted at any given moment.
Both experiments were worthwhile, not only for the pieces that resulted, but because of the new perspective the process gave me on the two formats. It was a really hands-on way to discover which techniques work in both play and prose and where your approach as a writer needs to change.
Reprints! It’s been a good year for those so far. “43 Responses to ‘In Memory of Dr. Alexandra Nako'” was reprinted in the anthology Funny Horror, alongside some authors I’m thrilled to be in the company of. In the podcast department, “What the Blood Bog Takes” and “Notes on a Page” were both featured in episodes of Far Fetched Fables, while “A Red One Cannot See” was included in Gallery of Curiosities.
And sales! Notably of two stories that I had an absolute blast writing: “The Stork and the Crone” will be appearing in Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores in the near future, and “Seer’s Salad” will be in a future episode of the Cast of Wonders podcast.And continuing the reprint trend, “The Holy Spear” will be appearing in Digital Fiction Publishing‘s Killing It Softly 2, an anthology focused on women in horror.
Oh, and almost forgot: plays! I’ve written a few short ones, and last month I got to see one produced for the first time. “Ghost Writer to the Dead” (adapted from a short story I had published in Penumbra in 2012) was featured in a local community theater’s short play festival.
Did I mention it’s been a good year for horror and reprints? Because it’s been a good year for horror and reprints, with a smattering of fantasy thrown in there.