What even was July? It was my last month in Chicago, I moved to Texas (am still moving in Texas, no, I won’t be getting into more specific details). Reading was a bit fraught. I had lofty goals, like reading everything I borrowed from the library (didn’t happen). But I did enjoy a bunch of what I read, which is always a blessing.
The Burning Day and Other Strange Stories is a queer short story collection from across the full spectrum of speculative fiction, from heart-felt fantasies, to wrenching science fiction, to creepy horror. There is something here for everyone, and I found myself drawn to the lovely imagery and all-too down-to-earth stories found within.
On this summery Sunday, I’m excited to celebrate this collection’s release with author Charles Payseur as he talks about putting The Burning Day together, short story crafting process, and more.
This is my first foray into nineteenth century Russian short stories and Saunders’ experience teaching them page-by-page shines through this craft book that is also a specific craft study. Saunders selected works by Chekhov, Turgenev, Tolstoy, and Gogol to explore how these stories work and the connections between readers and authors.
What really stuck out to me about this collection was the subjectivity of the analysis and the dispersal of advice. Saunders makes it abundantly clear that the reader is allowed to get out of this work what they will. Disagreement with his impressions is encouraged throughout, and he even used the page space to refer to his own evolving relationship with these works. The balance between analysis of each story and more zoomed-out writing advice and Saunders’ own insights play well together, and it kept me engaged from start to finish.
There are definitely bits that I am taking with me as far as the exercises go, and some of the adages of what makes great writing work. A recommended read for people who learn by example (like yours truly).
Happy book birthday to Homesick: Stories, a wonderfully queer collection of speculative short stories by Nino Cipri. The collection spans several formats with feelings ranging from nostalgia, sarcastic humor, determination, and, of course, homesickness. Nino stops by the blog to talk about they chose the best format for each story, crafting the collection, and things you should read next. Continue reading →
If you’re in a permanent state of wanting more stories that take place “after the apocalypse,” look no further than Glitter + Ashes: Queer Tales of a World That Wouldn’t Die. dave ring, publisher and manager of Neon Hemlock Press, currently has the project up via Kickstarter until October 1st. Read on below to learn more about the origin of the project and what he’s looking for in terms of submissions.
I read 81 books this year, mostly thanks to an aggressive ARC schedule and audiobooks. The list here are 18 books which I read this year that I loved, but weren’t necessarily published in 2018. Some are from 2016, one comes out in January 2019, and one collection of manga had been published back in 1972.
Horizon, the finale to The Bone Universe, comes out today! With intricate world-building, breath-taking settings, and complex characters, I was hooked on Fran Wilde’s writing from the first page of Updraft. Fran took time to talk about her writing process across formats and stories. Her novels and short stories have been nominated for two Nebula awards and a Hugo, with Updraft winning the Andre Norton and Compton Crook awards. I had the delight of meeting her at BookCon 2015 at a group storytelling panel with Tor.
Elliott and I are bona fide internet contacts turned critique partners turned best friends (who are probably the same person). He took some time to answer a few questions on self-inserts, inspiration, and when short form accidentally turns serial. You can find his work here. It’s also his birthday month.
I met Marty at a reading with Maria Dahvana Headley , Victor LaValle, and Daniel Polansky. I’m so glad to have introduced myself to him because he is so active as a writer. He does reviews and pieces for Tor.com and has several of his own short stories out for you to read. He took time to answer questions that I had about short stories and long form that might be helpful to those pursuing both styles of fiction. You can find the most recent line-up of his work here.