My story, Guard of the Crossing, went live this week on Manawaker Studio’s Flash Fiction Podcast.
This story was previously published on SIc Semper Serpent’s Patreon page, so this is its first public outing. And its first audio publication. I really enjoy hearing my stories read by voices other than my own. I think the narrator hit it out of the park.
That is a new record for story sales for me. Fingers crossed I can beat it this year.
Other highlights for the year include: getting vaccinated, a promotion at work, getting to have in-person outdoor critique meetings with my awesome critique group. At least until the weather and Covid numbers sent us back to Zoom.
I also learned to crochet. You can see what I’ve been working on over at Instagram.
I also took part in the Codex Weekend Warrior Challenge for the first time. Every weekend January hundreds of members of the Codex Writer’s Forum participate in a challenge that requires writing a brand new 750-word maximum story based on a set of prompts that are released on Friday. By Sunday the story has to be uploaded. I found it a great motivator to crank out a story in a short amount of time. In the end I had five new flash stories. Some which stayed as flash and others that got expanded. Most are making the rounds with markets while others need some additional revising before I’m happy with them.While this wasn’t the only writing I did in 2021, it was definitely a highlight. I’m doing the challenge again this year.
Finally, this twitter thread might be my favorite bit of writing from the whole year, just because musical theater and the MCU are two of my happy places. So please enjoy (and please ignore the rampant typos).
On to the numbers!
Last year I read a total of 64 books. 29 print books, 25 ebooks, 10 audiobooks.
The idea for this one started out with me noticing that one of my favorite speculative genres is when a mythical or historical figure gets transplanted into mundane settings and scenarios often without much explanation for how they got there. Neil Gaiman’s Chivalry is a good example of one such story. So I’ve had in the back of my mind that I wanted to try my hand at it. But first I had to come up with both a figure to use and a situation to put them in. I don’t remember how I decided on Lady Jane Grey goes on a blind date, but once I did I knew it should be a good date. Her real story is such a sad one, it was cathartic to show a fictional Jane a good time.
The park they go to is a real park in Minneapolis that does host a holiday fair most weekends leading up to Christmas, though not these last two years because panini.
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.
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/
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.
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
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.
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.