Category Archives: My Fiction

Three Keys in the Desert: summary + excerpt!

Guys, I can’t believe June 1st is only a few days away. Which means¬† I’m about to start posting Three Keys in the Desert, which still seems unreal somehow. Even though there’s a cover (which you can see right next to this text)! And an ebook file! And like, a public record that this will actually happen!

Anyway, if you’ve read my previous posts you already know the story behind how this novella was written, so it’s probably time you knew what it was actually about. I’ve spent a lot of the last decade tinkering with a potential summary for this thing, since like a lot of authors no single-paragraph description seemed adequate.

But I finally settled on one! So, without further ado:

On a remote planet, a military boarding school is about to get a new headmistress. Her charges will include Ebie, a girl desperately trying to keep a secret, Kim, a boy desperately trying to keep his friends from dying, and Vrei, a girl who just wants to make it to the end of the day. Will any of them get what they want? With only a week until Transfer Day, the biggest and most important event of the year, the stakes couldn’t be higher.

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If that sounds interesting, here’s a short excerpt from said headmistress’ point of view:

“The girl in front of Claudia took a deep breath, as if trying to come up with more reasons to argue. She clearly hadn’t anticipated Claudia’s resistance. She’d thought the morning bulletins would turn Claudia into a cowering idiot.

“If there’s anything–” Ebie began, but the door interrupted her, opening with a chime and revealing the head doctor’s face.

Claudia was already tired of the woman’s perpetual cheerfulness. She wasn’t looking forward to prison, or wherever they sent her next, but at least she could be certain that after this posting there would be fewer annoying underlings to deal with.

Susanna looked from Ebie to Claudia. “I’m sorry, should we postpone?”

“No,” Claudia said, and then looked at Ebie. “Your ten minutes are up. Get out.”

The girl grabbed the edge of Claudia’s desk. “Colonel, please, let me just–”

“Get out,” Claudia said again, in the tone it had taken her a decade to perfect, the one she used to discipline her officers.

The girl got up, surrounded by a halo of violence. Claudia watched her carefully, almost hoping she’d do something, give Claudia an excuse to burst.

But no further response came. The doors slid shut and Susanna sat down. Claudia pretended to look at the numbers on the sheets Susanna pulled up and nodded along.

This day would be without end.”

What’s got Claudia in such a foul mood? Will Ebie actually punch someone? Should someone protect Susanna the head doctor from all this negativity? Tune in on June 1st to find out! ūüôā

Tell me more!

Gladly! If you want to be notified when the novella finally goes live, the best way to do that is to sign up for my New Release Mailing Listd For more updates on cool stuff I’ll post before and after June 1st (yes, I have at least one more thing planned for May!) you can follow me on twitter or facebook.

In any case, thank you for reading this far, and oh my god this is really happening isn’t it?
Don’t answer that.

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Three Keys in the Desert – cover reveal!

It’s a little over two weeks until I start posting¬†my science fiction novella Three Keys in the Desert online, and I figured now was a good time to introduce everyone to the cover!

It took a lot of work and fiddling, but I’m pretty happy with how it came out ūüôā

To recap: the story is set on a remote planet where girls (and boys) live at a military boarding school. I’ll start posting it on June 1st! You can read my previous post to find out how it’s all gonna work.

And now, without further ado:

Continue reading

New novella forthcoming!

Robot sitting on a bunch of books. Contains clipping pathHi everyone! I’ve been waiting to make this announcement for a while and now I finally can: next month I’ll finally get to put something I’ve written up for free on this website!

Specifically, I’ll be posting my science fiction novella Three Keys in the Desert starting June 1st!

What is the story about?

There will be a lot more details forthcoming in the next three weeks (including a cover!) but the short summary is: it’s a story about a bunch of girls (and a few boys) living in a military boarding school in space, trying to navigate bureaucracy, romance and adventure. The action takes place over the course of a week, when the school experiences some dramatic upheaval.

Why are you posting it on this website?

I originally wrote¬†Three Keys in the Desert in 2007 and put it aside for a few months, intending to finish working on it later. A few months turned into a few years, and before long I fell into a ritual of pulling it out every few years and telling myself that I couldn’t Really Be A Writer until I finished it and managed to get it traditionally published.

But then about 18 months ago I decided to take a deep breath and instead focus on creating new material. Which was a good move! I now have two short stories and a poem published in various venues, which would never have happened if I hadn’t let the novella go for a while.

All of which is to say, I still adore this story and its characters and what it has to say about the world, but I’ve been carrying it around on my hard drive for so long that at this point I just want to have it out in the world, for people to enjoy. There’s a bigger market for novellas now than there was in 2007, but I decided not to try and pitch it to publishers, even now that it’s as close to perfect as I know how to make it.

The main reason for this is that I’m a pretty slow writer (for example: a decade spent on this one novella) and none of the stories I’ve managed to sell so far are available online for free, and I really wanted there to be something of mine people could just read in their spare time, without necessarily spending money.

So how is this gonna work?

Well, Three Keys in the Desert is about 39,000 words long (that’s about 130 pages in a printed book) and I’ll be posting it in parts over the course of June. Because of the structure of the story, the parts will actually be fairly self-contained and no chapters will cut off in the middle of a conversation or anything like that.

The whole story will also be available as an ebook, if you wanted to get the whole thing on June 1st, or if you’d rather have it in that format.

Cool. So what now?

Now I’m probably going to go crawl under a table and breathe into a paper bag (it’s been a DECADE with this story, okay, I don’t even know who’ll I’ll be once it’s out in the world!) while you can do a bunch of things to make sure you don’t miss any Three Keys in the Desert-related updates.

You can sign up for my New Release Mailing List (I’ll send an email when the first part of the novella goes live) and follow me on twitter or facebook to get updates about the cover reveal and other cool things I might post in the run up to June.

Sounds good! Are you okay?

Yes! Mostly. I’ll just go eat an entire cake and have a glass of something alcoholic. I’ll be right back.

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New poem: “Odessa”

araiza-whispers_650pxI can honestly say I never thought I’d make a post like this. Although I’ve been writing poetry for years (officially since that epic poem when I was 9 that took up half a notebook), I’ve never submitted it anywhere or shown it to anyone. It was my private little thing, just some fun with words for my own enjoyment.

So, imagine my shock when the first poem I’ve ever submitted anywhere was accepted for publication! And a venue like Strange Horizons, a publication I’ve been a huge fan of for years. It’s been… slightly surreal.

Read “Odessa” at Strange Horizons

If I had to give this poem a summary (do people do that? is it a thing?) I’d say it was about time-traveling Jewish ladies. I hope you read it and enjoy it! It was written during a fairly difficult time in my life when I was too sick to write anything longer than a poem, and I’m¬†so immensely excited to see it posted publicly for all to read.

If you’d like to get email updates whenever I have a new work out, you can sign up for my New Release Mailing List.

#PrideMonth Giveaway winners announcement!

Thank you so much to everyone who participated in the giveaway! It’s the first time I’ve done anything like this, and despite the anxiety of not getting it right and various tech fails, it went much better than I was initially anticipating!

I’m especially grateful for everyone who signed up for my New Release Mailing List. It’s been kind of amazing to see people express interest in hearing from me about future projects.

Anyway, without further ado, the two winners of the giveaway are Julia¬†and¬†Mia. You’ve both gotten an email with a copy of¬†The Running Bunny¬†#8, so please let me know if gmail doesn’t deliver it within the next 24 hours.

Thank you, again, to everyone who participated, signal boosted and generally expressed support for the idea of me doing something like this. It’s definitely not the last time, so I’ll see you when I next have free stuff to give out!

A Giveaway for #PrideMonth!

running_20bunny_20issue_20cover_20_238_400wIt’s Pride Month! And¬†I’ve decided to do my first giveaway. I’ve never done anything like this before, but being able to give away your own work has always seemed to me like one of the funnest parts of getting¬†published, so.

I’ll be giving away a copy of¬†The Running Bunny #8, featuring among other things my short story¬†The Princess and the Demon, a feel good queer fantasy about, well, a princess and a demon. You will also get gorgeous illustrations of my story by Ursula Gray as part of the package!

 

Rules – the short version

 

Rules – the longer version

The only thing you have to do to enter the giveaway is sign up for my¬†New¬†Release Mailing List. I’ve recently set it up to let people know when I have a new story out. If you sign up you’ll likely receive a few emails a year, if I’m very prolific. I won’t use the mailing list for anything else, and of course, you can always unsubscribe.

If you want to increase your chances of winning the giveaway, you can also follow me on Twitter.

So, with that in mind, you can either enter the giveaway or read on for more details about what’s next for me, writing-wise. (Or you could do both, it’s a free internet.)

 

Novella news!

Friends,¬†last night I finally finished the (hopefully) final draft of my scifi novella! \o/ I started the first draft of this thing in 2007! It’s incredible to see it so close to done.¬†I wish I could tell you the title, but I’m still torn on what it should be. Current options are either:¬†Transfer Day¬† or¬†Weeds on the Shoreline.¬†If you’d like to weigh in on this, comments on this entry or votes on Twitter¬†are most welcome.

The story takes place at a military boarding school in space and¬†revolves around four protagonists. I don’t have an official summary yet, but I can tell you three of them are women, two of them are queer, one is a disgraced veteran, and all four have secrets to keep.¬†More details as I figure out what’s next! Will it be accepted by the handful of places that take novellas? Will I publish it here for free for your enjoyment? Stay tuned.

Or, you know,

Enter the Giveaway >

 

You can now buy a book with a story by me in it!

51le-xafxfl-_sx331_bo1204203200_My short story “Life and Death in the Frozen City” has now been published in a real book that you can really buy!

The story is about a traveler¬†who has to survive on an occupied planet where gender is binary and It’s part of FUTURISTICA 1, an anthology of really great scifi stories I still can’t believe I’ve really been included in.

It’s especially “wait, is this really happening?” for me because¬†“Life and Death in the Frozen City” was the first original short story I ever wrote, about 7-8 years ago, and the version in my final draft from that time is almost identical to the one in the book. I’m a very different writer these days, but I still love that story, and am so, so happy to be able to share it with people at last.

You can get FUTURISTICA on Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo and Barnes & Noble.

And of course, if you do end up picking it up, please consider leaving a review on Amazon or Goodreads. (As a reviewer I am… ridiculously excited about the possibility of there being reviews of something I wrote.)

Update on “The Princess and the Demon”

running_20bunny_20issue_20cover_20_238_400wSo, a while ago I updated to say that my short story The Princess and the Demon was featured in issue #8 of The Running Bunny, but you could only get the issue by singing up for Patreon.

I am very happy to announce that you can now get the issue at their online store, without the need to sign up for Patreon! ūüôā

As a reminder: the story is a queer fantasy with a happy ending, and is accompanied by gorgeous illustrations by Ursula Grey. (A sample of the illustrations.)

You can get it here: Issue #8 of The Running Bunny >>

Short story: “The Princess and the Demon”

065de4_ca250c26526f42c7bfd08beae493f927 You can now, for the first time, read an original short story by me! With bonus awesome illustrations!

“The Princess and the Demon” is about 2700 words of feel-good, queer fantasy about, well, a princess and a demon.

It appears in issue #8 of The Running Bunny! Between now and January 31st you can get it at a discount by supporting the creators on Patreon. After January 31st you’ll be able to get it for slightly more at the digital store.

A preview of the amazing illustrations by Ursula Gray:

Upcoming short story publication

I am so (so!) excited to announce that a short story of mine will be published in the first half of 2016!

The story is called “Life and Death in the Frozen City”, I wrote it many, many years ago, for an anthology on prostitution in science fiction, and only recently decided to try to send out to publishers again.

Happily, it was accepted! It will be published in April, in the anthology FUTURISTICA, VOLUME ONE.

I am pretty much overjoyed by this, as this is both the first short story I wrote as an adult, and the first story I’ve ever managed to sell to a publication.

Watch this space for further details in the coming months!