Publication Day: The Numbers

It’s my first published story of 2021!

There should be a few other puppies stories spilling out by the end of the year.

Check it out on Daily Science Fiction! https://dailysciencefiction.com/science-fiction/virtual-reality/susan-taitel/the-numbers_SF

When I wrote The Numbers in 2019, I had no idea how much a year plus of social distancing would make the mood of this story so relatable. At least to me.

The Year in Books: 2020

I am very late in writing this post. 2020 isn’t a year I’m eager commemorate. In that view before I get into my usual tally of books read and highlights here are a few charities I supported last year. Being able to help even just by giving money was one of the few things that made the worst times bearable.

Feeding America

The Lake Street Council

OutFront Minnesota

Campaign Zero

National Nurses United

There were a few personal highlights. To begin with, on January 1st of 2020 Cossmass Infinites launched, featuring my story Deadbeat in the first Issue. If a story about the illegitimate daughter of a deceased superhero set in Chicago appeals to you it’s available to purchase here.

September saw my story Ten Secret Things You Don’t Know about Closet Monster published by Daily Science Fiction. It can be read here.

It’s always thrilling to see my writing out in the world. Watch this space as a at least two more will be coming out this year.

2020 is also the year I qualified for and joined the SFWA.

My creative output has been fairly consistent. I’ve been writing about the same amount as normal and continue to draw and embroider. I started an Instagram to feature my various craft projects. https://www.instagram.com/susantaitel/

Baby Grogu inspired several pieces.

Okay on to the numbers:

Last year I read a total of 83 books. That includes print, audio, and graphic novels. But doesn’t include short stories read on their own instead of as part of an anthology and single issues of comic runs read on a month to month basis and the many short story length or novel length or epic novel length fan fiction I read last year.

Ebooks: 28

Audiobooks: 17 That number is a lot lower than normal because most of my audio listening happens on my work commute which for most of last year my work commute has been from my bedroom to my living room.

Graphic Novels: 48 That is number is a little higher than normal since I got a subscription to Marvel Unlimited.

Library books: 5

Borrowed from friends: 4

Short Story Collections: 2

Novellas &novelettes: 5

Nonfiction, memoir, essays: 4

YA: 18

Favorites:

Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh. Brosh is a master storyteller. I don’t think I laughed harder at a book all year. It also made me cry.

Young Avengers by Keiron Gillen. I’m only linking to the first volume but the whole run is fantastic.

Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby. I lied, I laughed just as hard at this book. Maybe more. Samantha Irby is a gem.

Rogue and Gambit by Kelly Thompson. I’d read some of Thompson’s Hawkeye run and enjoyed it. Having read more of her work I now count her as one of my favorite comics writers.

Docile by K.M Szpara. Docile went places I wasn’t expecting and treated the difficult subject matter with respect and nuance. I was so invested in Elisha’s safety and wellbeing.

Catfishing on Catnet by Naomi Kritzer. Catnet shares the place in my heart with Murderbot for pop culture loving, social awkward, heroic AI.

Jessica Jones by Kelly Thompson. Another Thompson entry. Jessica Jones had previously only been written by her creator I was a little worried to see her in the hands of another writer but Thompson got Jessica, one of my all-time favorites, exactly right. I really hope to see more of this character and writer pairing.

The Library of the Unwritten by A.J. Hackwith. A.J. has created one of the most compelling metafictional worlds I’ve ever read. I’m saving the sequel for when I need a real treat.

Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater. I was champing at the bit for the first book of the Dreamer Trilogy that centers on Ronan from the Raven Cycle. It did not disappoint and now I’m waiting anxiously for book two.

Special shout out to Rainbow Rowell’s Runaways that I have been reading month to month. It is just phenomenal.

I read a lot of good stuff last year but probably best to stop here.

Story out today!

I woke up to find my story Ten Secret Things You Don’t Know About Closet Monster was published on Daily Science Fiction. Read it here. https://dailysciencefiction.com/fantasy/Monsters/susan-taitel/ten-secret-things-you-dont-know-about-closet-monster

It is the shortest story I have ever had published and simultaneously the longest title.

via GIPHY

The Year in Books: 2019

Welcome to the Twenties! How weird does that sound? I had an extra busy final week of the year so my yearly wrap up post is just a touch late.

2019 saw me primarily occupied with getting up to speed in my new job. But I also wrote more this year than I have in a very long time. I sold two stories and saw one of them published in 2019. If you haven’t already you can listen to my take on Beauty and the Beast, the Rose Sisterhood, on Cast of Wonders. Leigh Wallace’s narration is excellent.

Most of my writing-related activities in 2019 centered on my monthly meetings with my awesome critique partners. In addition I attended Fourth Street Fantasy again and have every attention to go again in 2020. I also hosted another 2-Page Workshop for MinnSpec.

Okay Enough about me, time to gush about my friends. Two of my Viable Paradise 20 classmates published novels this year. I got to read the opening chapters of Valerie Valdes’s Chilling Effect at VP and fell in love with it. I was thrilled when the rest of the book was as funny and irreverent and heartfelt as those first chapters. I highly recommend it! I also read the first chapter of AJ Hackwith’s Library of the Unwritten. And while I have not yet read the full novel (though I will be soon) I have no doubt it will be as good as the amazing sample I read on the Island.

Several other of my VP classmates had good years, publishing stories and poems and putting out Hugo nominated podcasts. So if you are looking for even more reading material check out Wren Wallis, Karen Osborne, Jo Miles, and Jennifer Mace.

On to the book talk!

My favorite reads were, in no particular order:

Chilling Effect by Valerie Valdes

Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente

Wayward Sons by Rainbow Rowell

Pumpkinheads also by Rainbow Rowell.

The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas

Puddin‘ by Julie Murphy

Wintersmith, I Shall Wear Midnight, and The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett

The Calculating Stars and The Fated Sky by Mary Robinette Kowal

What can I say? I read a lot of good stuff in 2019.

By the Numbers

76 books read in total

Formats:
43 print books. 33 audiobooks. 4 ebooks. 32 comics/graphic novels.

16 library books. 6 borrowed.

31 YA. 7 MG.

Favorite Authors:
3 Rainbow Rowell. 2 Seanan Maguire. 2 Catherynne M Valente. 3 Terry Pratchett. 1 Julie Murphy. 3 Holly Black. 1 Maggie Stiefvater

2019 also saw adaptations of two of my favorite albeit very different books. BBC and Amazon’s Good Omens miniseries was a highlight of the year.

And Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of Little Women was a surprisingly fresh take on a 150-year-old classic.

And though it wasn’t based on a book Rian Johnson’s murder mystery, Knives Out, was a treat for this book lover and made me covet the house it was set in.

Another highlight was Moving Theater Company’s Cabal a play/escape room event. IT was immersive and inventive. https://www.walkingshadow.org/cabal

So that was the year in Books. Let’s see what 2020 will bring.

Publication Day: Deadbeat

Happy New Year! I’ve got another story out as of today. Deadbeat, a story about superheroes and grief and mishandled legacies. It’s available to purchase below.

https://www.cossmass.com/buy/

night scenery of a man rowing a boat among many glowing moons floating on the sea, digital art style, illustration painting

The Year in Books : 2018

I’m not going to lie, 2018 felt endless. But it’s finally over and that means it’s time to do my yearly wrap up. By mostly talking about books!

Last year I read 95 books in total. Not quite as many as I have in past years but I ended up with almost twice the amount of contenders for my favorites list.

By category:

34 audiobooks

45 graphic novels

6 ebooks

11 borrowed

29 library books

28 young adult

10 short story collections

Favorite Reads

In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan

I have not read anything by this author but I ‘m going to start now because I just loved this book. It was so unexpected and fun. On its surface, it’s a run of the mill YA fantasy. A young man from the “real world” is recruited by a magic school in a fantasy world. But it has a lot to say about training teenagers to be soldiers and diplomacy over violence. However what really drew me in was its characters. I got so invested. The main character Eliott is so marvelously flawed. He is a bit awful but in a very relatable and entertaining way and his two best friends, Luke Sunborn and Serene Heart in the Chaos of Battle are fully realized and also have their own distinct and satisfying story arcs. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Plus there’s mermaids and unicorns and elves and so much LGBTQ awesomeness. Also, it’s just plain hilarious.

The Murderbot Diaries Vol. 1 through 4 by Martha Wells.

Another author I was not familiar with until this year. This series of novellas is narrated by an AI created to be a hirable security unit with no free will. But the AI has hacked their own programming and can make decisions for themselves. They dub themself Murderbot for several reasons, not the least being because self-aware robots are almost always portrayed as killing machines. I absolutely adore Murderbot. They are not very trusting of humanity and mostly want to be left alone to watch TV. As an introvert with anxiety, I can relate. The novellas follow Murderbot as they investigate an incident in their past from just before they became self-aware. They run afoul of an evil corporation and often find themself feeling responsible for the safety of different groups of humans despite not really wanting to be. All four books are great but the second is my favorite.

Honorable Mentions

The Wayfarers Series by Becky Chambers

We Are Never Meeting In Real Life by Samatha Irby

Cat Pictures Please and Other Stories by Naomi Kritzer

Opal: A Raven Cycle Story by Maggie Stiefvater

Favorite Authors by the numbers:

Neil Gamin – 5

Martha Wells – 4

Bryan K. Vaughan – 3

Becky Chambers – 3

Seanan Maguire – 2

Maggie Stiefvater – 1

Naomi Kritzer – 1

Samantha Irby – 1

Marissa Meyer – 1

George R.R. Martin – 1

Connie Willis – 1

Holly Black -1

John Scalzi – 1

David Sedaris – 1

Nnedi Okorafor – 1

Other Highlights

Three of my stories were published this year, including my first professional sale. Read them here: Seeded, Amenities, Cat Lady.

Fourth Street Fantasy Convention was another big highlight this year. I got to meet up with several Viable Paradise friends and made several new ones. I’m looking forward to attending again next June.

I completed my revision on my superhero novella and have begun submitting it to publishers.

I’m working on a long-form WIP that I’m not sure what I’ll be doing with once it’s done and a few more ideas percolating.

And here is the current state of my to read shelves.

It’s still completely out of control. Maybe by next year, I will have conquered the piles on the floor. Hahahahahahahahahahahahsob.

Cat Lady (is a story that I wrote)

And it was published in the November issue of Galaxy’s Edge Magazine. You can read it by clicking on the link below and then clicking on the title in the table of contents.

http://www.galaxysedge.com/#editorWord

I might be teensy bit excited!

And it made me realize that I never posted here when another of my stories was published this Summer in Stupefying Stories.

http://stupefyingstories.blogspot.com/2018/09/showcase-amenities-by-susan-taitel.html

Wandering Eye on the Lorelei Signal

You can now read my story Wandering Eye on the Lorelei Signal.

“The Lorelei Signal is a web-based magazine dedicated to featuring
3 dimensional/complex female characters in Fantasy stories.”

I am very proud to have one of my stories published there. There is also a lovely piece of original artwork to go with it. That is a first for me.

http://www.loreleisignal.com/WanderingEye.html

Also if you are so inclined there is a donation button at the bottom of the page. Any donations go to cover the operating cost of the magazine, and any money raised beyond that cost is paid out to the authors and artists.