I’m thrilled to announce that a new professional speculative fiction publication, Urban Fantasy Magazine, bought my story, “So Suffer the Heartbroken Wingless.” I’ll provide details about its scheduled appearance as soon as I have them. I’m so grateful to the entire Urban Fantasy Magazine staff for their support of my work and especially to Jordan Ellinger, Emily Skaftun, and T.M. Wallace for the very kind things they had to say about the story.
Strictly speaking, the story isn’t an urban fantasy so much as a suburban one. It takes place in a fictionalized version of the San Francisco Peninsula suburban neighborhood in which I currently find myself living, though I never expected to live in the suburbs — at least not voluntarily. I’m a city person at heart, and I find surburban living somewhere between baffling and existentially bizarre. California is, I suspect, particularly weird in this regard, though the only other place I’ve lived that had a suburban feel was Houston (and there I lived in the city limits). I don’t want to spoil the story, so I’ll just say that it was great fun to bring together suburban life in the age of budget cuts to essential public services, the often unacknowledged depths of pain when families dissolve, my version of creatures who are well-loved fantasy staples, and baseball.
A sale to a professional magazine has been my primary writing goal for the last year. At times, it has felt just around the corner. Other times I was convinced it would never happen, or would happen only posthumously. My next career goal is to make a qualifying sale so that I can join SFWA, and this was certainly a step in the right direction.
To switch gears, my reading tear has continued apace. Since I last checked in, I’ve read at least twelve novels and quite a few short stories. One of the standouts — Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson, which I adored for its incredibly rich texture, its perfection of the art of hyperbolic descriptions, and its transcendence of the typical WWII saga. And the hysterical sendup of business plans for tech start ups in the 1990s alone is worth the price of admission for anyone in the industry at the time.
I also quite enjoyed Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of The Southern Reach. The book’s atmosphere reminded me of a Soviet film from years ago called Stalker which happens to be one of my favorite movies.
Lastly, Cat Valente’s lyrical prose made The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making a delight to read. I also found the narrator quite interesting from a craft perspective. In Philip Schultz’s The Writers’ Studio, where I’ve been studying, we focus on the persona narrator — the narrator that the writer “hires” to tell the story, which is separate from the writer, and is used to create the story’s tone. Valente’s book is an excellent example of a commanding, engaging narrator who is always entertaining the reader, and who gives the book its storytelling tone.
Stay tuned for more on “So Suffer the Heartbroken Wingless” as information becomes available. Peace out.