“The First Wife” now available!

Last year, the poet Elizabeth R McClellan injured her shoulder and steadily accumulated bills for a painful health problem that still isn’t resolved. At the time, to help her pay her bills, Alexandra Erin came up with the idea of a chapbook to pay her bills. Elizabeth’s poetry had previously spoken to me, and I had no money to offer her, so I did the best I could: I donated a poem.

That poem, many more, and prose pieces by some incredible authors, is now available for purchase and immediate delivery as the anthology Angels of the Meanwhile.

“The First Wife” is a retelling of the Garden, of Eve and Lilith and the dark spaces a broken relationship leaves — and the possibilities dark spaces open. It is only available in this anthology. Buy a copy and receive work it’s an honor to be listed among, including Bryan Thao Worra, Lisa M. Bradley, Catherynne Valente, Kythrynne Aisling, Sonya Taaffe, and many many others who are probably already your favorites.

Funds For Rochita & Angels of the Meanwhile

Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, a writer who has become beloved to myself and many in science fiction and fantasy writing for her positive, welcoming, and encouraging presence in the scene, has suffered a heartbreaking loss in the unexpected sudden death of her husband. Inspired by Rochita’s own example of kindness and giving, friends have put a fundraiser together to help her deal with the financial burden of the sudden loss. I donated my poem about disability “The City Under Siege” to the fundraiser’s reward backers site as a special publication, where it has joined work by Rose Lemberg, JY Yang, Aliette de BodardShveta ThakrarBogi Takács, EP Beaumont and others. Please give to Rochita here. Rochita is a very special person who has encouraged my work and connected me with other positive and encouraging people, and in her time of need, we are trying to give back a portion of the community she has offered us.

Back in the spring I donated the mythological poem “The First Wife” to the project Angels of the Meanwhile to help Elizabeth R McClellan deal with post-injury expenses following shoulder issues. That fundraising project is still ongoing, with a tentative November release date. A donation of any size gets you a copy of the fundraising ebook, which includes writing by many of my favorite authors (Table of Contents here). Please give! Lizbeth still needs help and this collection is a very, very special one.

Finally, we are nearing the publication date of my poem “I Am Alive” with Strange Horizons. Look for that early in November! You’ll be hearing more about it soon. This poem is one of my most personal so far, and I am very excited about sharing it with you. Some other special work should be appearing in November, including my first poetry review — more on that later!

“An Unexpected Guest” is out today! (& a poetry sale announcement)

Today is the publication day of my poem “An Unexpected Guest” in Liminality Magazine! I’m awfully excited to be appearing among such wonderful poems, but hope you take a little detour to read Amy Fant’s Tasseography of English Breakfast Tea at 30,000 Feet and Jennifer Linnea’s The Night Before an Interstellar Journey especially, two poems that gripped me when I first read them and I keep thinking about. But the whole issue is incredible, and you should savor it.

This poem is a sequel-of-sorts to an earlier poem published there, titled “The Haunting”. The Haunting is the story of a ghostly possession; this poem is from the point of view of the ghost, himself haunted by remnants of WWI, where he became disabled. The narrator of today’s poem, Geoffrey, is a longstanding character of mine who is the subject of a novel I am writing with my wife, one of the main characters of our alternate history America where faeries invade during the 1919 influenza epidemic (though, he is not troubled by embodiment issues there). He is, in this poem as elsewhere, disabled, queer, a trauma survivor, and a native of my adolescent home, Virginia. My own experiences with PTSD shape this poem a little bit — it’s one of several of my published works on the theme.

This poem also appears on the anniversary of my first publication. Liminality was the very special venue where I first appeared in print, in their very first issue. One of the things about this magazine that gives it its unique voice and vision is the willingness of the editors to take risks on new authors. It has become one of my go to venue to discover poets published for the first time — new poets and old favorites always color the pages. Many writers will tell you the first publication is the one that makes all the rest possible. For a magazine to take chances on so many new poets is exciting and important.

In the year since that first sale I have received eight acceptances and five publications. This number is astonishing to me. Hard work goes on; there are always poems on the market (many more than get published!) and I get more nos than yeses on the whole (I expect that will always be true). But to be 12 months in and have a publishing history I am extremely proud of is amazing to me — the community of fellow poets and readers I have discovered has made this, and so much more, possible.

I have also sold my poem “I Am Alive” to Strange Horizons. This is a really exciting moment for me and I can barely wrap my head around it. This poem, which comes out of my an experience I had several years ago during a car accident, is one of the most personal things I have ever written and I am very excited I will be able to share it with you. Like today’s poem, it grapples with surviving — and not surviving — the things which almost kill us (and indeed, surviving those which do kill us).

The other thing that excites me is the venue itself. Strange Horizons is one of those places I have always dreamed of selling to. It is one of my favorite poetry venues and now I am going to appear in their archives alongside some of my absolute favorite poems. Every time I think about it I get excited again.

Strange Horizons is running their fundraiser right now so check that out too and donate if you can or signal boost. Jane Yolen, who opens the Liminality issue with some Russian folklore, also just got published in Strange Horizon’s Fund Drive Bonus Issue, so if you want more, read her poem The Truth About Briars and go donate so Strange Horizons can continue to publish wonderful, cutting edge work the world needs. I’m especially looking forward to the poems coming at the $11,000 mark, myself.

“Angels of the Meanwhile” & an interview!

Exciting news. The charity anthology for the poet Elizabeth R McClellan, “Angels of the Meanwhile“, will be publishing my poem “The First Wife”, which is about Lilith and Eve and the spaces left when relationships fall apart. I am thrilled to be sharing a table of contents among some of my favorite poets writing right now, people whose work excites me and gives me energy to keep writing. To be appearing alongside Rose Lemberg, Bogi Takács, Catherynne M Valente, Lisa Bradley, Amal El-Motar, and many others, is an exciting moment for me. Until May 1, you can preorder the anthology for a donation of any amount. As someone who suffers from shoulder issues and who has had medical mismanagement run amuck with my arms, the driving cause of this anthology is very important to me.

I was also interviewed by EP Beaumont in a talk about sustainable writing and personal writing habits, though the conversation ranged all over and included writing music, research, and writing as a survival mechanism for mental health issues. I talk a bit about how I cope with chronic pain and disability as a writer, and what I do to keep from injuring myself with my physical limitations. (TW: mentions of suicide)

I missed highlighting it at the time here, but Bogi Takács reviewed my poem “The Haunting” for eir Diverse Poems recommendation. You can read eir comments, and some of the conversation that followed, here!

On a non-publication note, I am a participant in Camp NaNo this month, with the goal of writing 1,000 words on short fiction every day. I’m currently behind (of course I am) but at 6,000 words on day 9, I think I might be able to catch up! So far I’ve produced 1 rough draft for a short story and notes and outlines for several more pieces. As the month progresses, I’ll be updating with how much I write during NaNo and how many pieces came out of it.