Saturday, January 16, 2016

Things I published in 2015

2015 was a difficult year for me, writing-wise, and the end of December left me feeling vaguely disappointed. So this post is as much for me - to remind myself that I did publish work that I was proud of - as it is for anyone who is looking for things to read, or for potential awards consideration.

All of my 2015 work was short stories:

"Returned" - Nightmare

"Translatio Corporis" - Uncanny

"The Universe, Sung in Stars" - Lightspeed

"A User's Guide to Increments of Time" - F&SF

"Those Are Pearls" - Guillotine Fantastique

As always, if you are considering nominating anything I wrote for an award, I respectfully request that you also consider the editor who helped me make the final product what it is, and the venue that published it.

Here is a list of some of the books I loved in 2015.

I am behind on my short fiction reading for the year, but a few pieces that have really stuck in my head are Usman Malik's novella, "The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn," Alyssa Wong's short story, "Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers" and Genevieve Valentine's short story, "Given the Advantage of the Blade."

Monday, January 4, 2016

Are you looking for an editor? I'm here to help

Happy 2016, and welcome back to the world of writing. Do you have a novel that you need help revising before you query agents, self-publish, or submit it to a publisher's open call for manuscripts? Maybe you're still in the drafting stage, and you know things need work, but you're not sure where. Maybe you have some short fiction that you'd like help polishing. Whatever it is, any length, any genre, I have openings for clients.

Here's who I am: I have over 30 professional short fiction sales. My work has been performed on NPR, included in year’s best and best of anthologies, and has been nominated for the World Fantasy Award and the WSFA Small Press Award. My novella with Maria Dahvana Headley, The End of the Sentence, was chosen as one of NPR’s Best Books of 2014. I am a graduate of Clarion at UCSD, and am represented by Brianne Johnson at Writers House. My debut novel, Roses and Rot, will be out from Saga Press in June of this year. Additionally, I have a Ph.D. in English Literature, and have taught at the undergraduate and graduate levels at the University of Minnesota, and Stonybrook University. I have also taught an Intro to Writing SFF course with LitReactor.

In other words, I have experience, both as a writer, and in helping other people make their writing better.

Here's what I do: I edit for content - so, this is not copy-editing, or line-editing, or the kind of thing where you have someone read over your manuscript for typos. In fact, unless I can't understand it, I'm going to leave your sentence-level prose alone. What I will do is offer you feedback on character, plot, theme, overall story - the big pieces of your project. I'll also be sure to include feedback on any specific questions that you have. 


What you need: A completed manuscript. This can be anywhere from your just-finished draft to something that you think is polished enough to start querying with - I offer different levels of feedback based on what you think you need to revise or rewrite. While I primarily write SFF, I'm happy to work with writers in any genre. I've worked with people who have self-published, and with people who have successfully pursued traditional publishing. You do not need any previous publications or credentials - I am happy to work with writers at any career stage, whether this is the first book you've finished or the 10th. I really mean this - there are always people who worry that they need writing credits, or to send me a writing sample, or to edit their manuscript again before I see it, and that's just not the case. I'm not here to judge your writing, I'm here to help you find ways to make it stronger. 

If you think you're interested: Contact me at KatWithSword@gmail.com. We'll talk about exactly what you're looking for, my rates, and the turnaround time for your manuscript. Please note that these last two are based on manuscript length, so if you know your approximate word count, that will help me give you a quote. I'm happy to answer any questions.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Some books I loved this year, 2015 edition

Okay. So, this isn't meant to be a best of list, or anything numbered or specific or anything like that. Probably I will forget some! Almost certainly, in fact! But I am at the point of my own NewBook where if I ask my brain to work that hard on anything else, it will poof like smoke in my head, and leak out of my ears.

But! I read a lot of books this year. And I loved many of them! And it is a time of year when gifts are given, and maybe you want to give someone you love a book. Or give yourself a book, because you love yourself. So here we go:

Some excellent debut novels: Updraft by Fran Wilde. Last Song Before Night by Ilana C. Myer. Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho. The Daughters by Adrienne Celt. All of these books are lovely, and so well-written that I have debut-author envy. Some will make you laugh. Some will break your heart. All will make you glad you read them.

Some great nonfiction: H Is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald. Hammer Head by Nina MacLaughlin. The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson. All smart books. All books that opened up new spaces in my brain. The first two in particular I have pretty much raved about to anyone I can convince to listen.

Some books that were just damn good reads: Persona by Genevieve Valentine. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab. The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow.Silver on the Road by Laura Anne Gilman. Saint Mazie by Jami Attenberg. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff. A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn. I mean, who doesn't like a damn good read?

Some amazing books written by good friends: Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley. Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente. About a Girl by Sarah McCarry. Sometimes you get to read something in draft, and you think, yes. Yes, this is good. And then you read the finished version, and you think, Hot Damn, you beautiful genius, you did it! And yes, yes they did.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Manuscript editing services

Maybe you just finished your NaNo novel. (Hey, congratulations!) Maybe you've just finished a draft of a manuscript you've been working on for much longer than a month. (Hey, congratulations!) If you have a manuscript that you want a new set of eyes on, some professional assistance before you query agents, submit it to a publisher's open call, or publish it yourself, I can help you.

Here's who I am: I have over 30 professional short fiction sales. My work has been performed on NPR, included in year’s best and best of anthologies, and has been nominated for the World Fantasy Award and the WSFA Small Press Award. My novella with Maria Dahvana Headley, The End of the Sentence, was chosen as one of NPR’s Best Books of 2014. I am a graduate of Clarion at UCSD, and am represented by Brianne Johnson at Writers House. My debut novel, Roses and Rot, will be out from Saga Press in 2016. Additionally, I have a Ph.D. in English Literature, and have taught at the undergraduate and graduate levels at the University of Minnesota, and Stonybrook University. I have also taught an Intro to Writing SFF course with LitReactor.

In other words, I have experience, both as a writer, and in helping other people make their writing better.

Here's what I do: I edit for content - so, this is not copy-editing, or line-editing, or the kind of thing where you have someone read over your manuscript for typos. In fact, unless I can't understand it, I'm going to leave your sentence-level prose alone. What I will do is offer you feedback on character, plot, theme, overall story, that sort of thing. I'll also be sure to include feedback on any specific questions that you have. 


What you need: A completed manuscript. This can be anywhere from your just-finished NaNo draft to something that you think is polished enough to start querying with. While I primarily write SFF, I'm happy to work with writers in any genre. I've worked with people who have self-published, and with people who have successfully pursued traditional publishing. You do not need any previous publications or credentials - I am happy to work with writers at any career stage, whether this is the first book you've finished or the 10th. I really mean this - there are always people who worry that they need writing credits, or to send me a writing sample, or to edit their manuscript again before I see it, and that's just not the case. I'm not here to judge your writing, I'm here to help you find ways to make it stronger. 


Edited to add: Yes, I do also work with short fiction. Please include your wordcount when you get in touch.

Also: The holidays are coming up. Maybe you're not a writer, but you know one, and you'd like to give them an edit as a gift. I'm happy to talk to you about that.

If you think you're interested: Contact me at KatWithSword@gmail.com. We'll talk about exactly what you're looking for, my rates, and the turnaround time for your manuscript. Please note that these last two are based on manuscript length, so if you know your approximate word count, that will help me give you a quote. I'm happy to answer any questions.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Final NaNo thoughts

I know, I know. It's not the end of November yet. Neither have I "won" NaNo, with 50K words added to the wordcount of my NewBook.

But I'm officially wrapping up the posts now, because I've gotten what I wanted out of the month - forward momentum on the NewBook, with a sense (finally!) that I know where it's going and I know what I need to do to get there. Plus also, more words written on it, and better ones. Plus even more also, I have gotten my feet back under me, short-fiction wise - this month I've written, cleaned up, polished and submitted stories again, some from nothing, some from previous drafts that my brain hadn't been ready to wrangle with before.

I'm not sure how much sitting down and telling myself that this was the month to do this helped. I didn't keep a tight record of my wordcount, so I can't say what it would have been like to "officially" see that meter move (or not). My guess is, knowing myself, and knowing the way I felt at the beginning of the month in particular, having a low wordcount day could have really messed with my head. But I also know there were days when I kept writing, just because I wanted to hit that next round number of words in the file.

Basically, I feel much more like a functional writer again than I did at the beginning of the month, and that, for me, is a huge win.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Guillotine Fantastique

Just look at this.

Completely beautiful, right? And available today, for those of you who enjoy tiny heartbreaks of fiction, handbound into a chapbook. You can find all the ordering information here.

If you've never read Sofia's work before, well, here is an excellent chance to change that. I will warn you now that you will then want to read her entire back catalogue - she's a brilliant flame in the field.

Here, taken from her blog, is an except from "Meet Me in Iram":

I remember when I was a kid, on long car trips, I’d imagine a giant saw was attached to my side of the car. The saw could cut through anything. It sliced fences, it sliced trees. The fences gave a swift groan and exposed the hollow insides of their poles. The trees went snick and fell over with juicy ease, the tops of the stumps left gleaming moist and pale, like a wound before the blood comes. I was leveling the whole country from my seat in the back of the car. I don’t know why it gave me so much pleasure. 

Here's a bit from "Those Are Pearls," which is about curses, and sisters, and seeing things.

There are rituals. Traditions. A curse, once broken, breaks easier a second time. Death becomes one hundred years of sleep, becomes one thousand and one nights telling stories. We know what our curses are when we see them, and we know their undoing.


But there is a catch. We may know how to break curses, but they knew how to bind us in the first place.

I'm so pleased to be part of this project, and I can't wait for you to read these stories.

Monday, November 16, 2015

NaNo update; openings for clients

So, we're halfway through November. If you're writing right now, whether for NaNo, or for project finish your draft, or you're trying to write 1000 words this month just because, whatever it is, I hope things are going well for you.

I am still making forward progress on my draft-finishing. The scenes are still small and bare, but there are more of them every day, so I am happy. I also got a short story into draft yesterday, and I am pretty excited about this. I am trying to let myself remember to celebrate the small victories at the same time that I keep my eyes on my larger goals. 

I also wanted to take a moment and let people know that I am open for editing clients, both now, and for your NaNo projects. 

Here's the basic information:

Here's who I am: I have over 30 professional short fiction sales. My work has been performed on NPR, included in year’s best and best of anthologies, and has been nominated for the World Fantasy Award and the WSFA Small Press Award. My novella with Maria Dahvana Headley, The End of the Sentence, was chosen as one of NPR’s Best Books of 2014. I am a graduate of Clarion at UCSD, and am represented by Brianne Johnson at Writers House. My debut novel, Roses and Rot, will be out from Saga Press in 2016. Additionally, I have a Ph.D. in English Literature, and have taught at the undergraduate and graduate levels at the University of Minnesota, and Stonybrook University. I have also taught an Intro to Writing SFF course with LitReactor.

In other words, I have experience, both as a writer, and in helping other people make their writing better.

Here's what I do: I help you edit for content - so, this is not copy-editing, or line-editing, or the kind of thing where you have someone read over your manuscript for typos. In fact, unless I can't understand it, I'm going to leave your sentence-level prose alone. What I will do is offer you feedback on character, plot, theme, overall story, that sort of thing. I'll also be sure to include feedback on any specific questions that you have. 


What you need: A completed manuscript. This can be anywhere from your hot mess of a NaNo draft to something that you think is polished enough to start querying with. While I primarily write SFF, I'm happy to work with writers in any genre. I've worked with people who have self published, and with people who have successfully pursued traditional publishing. You do not need any previous publications or credentials - I am happy to work with writers at any career stage. I really mean this - there are always people who worry that they need writing credits, or to send me a writing sample, or to edit their manuscript again before I see it, and that's just not the case. I'm not here to judge your writing, I'm here to help you find ways to make it stronger. 

If you think you're interested: Contact me at KatWithSword@gmail.com. We'll talk about exactly what you're looking for, my rates, and the turnaround time for your manuscript. Please note that these last two are based on manuscript length, so if you know your approximate word count, that will help me answer your questions. I'm happy to answer any questions.