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(and other stories)

Tired Tapir Press has now put out an ebook of my short stories for children: Dragon Brother. Most of the stories in it have been published in various children’s magazines in the genre. There are a dozen ten stories in it. (That’s what I get for trying to go from memory late in the evening.) My adult stories are coming soon from Tired Tapir, but there are more of them, so they will take a bit longer.

I have lots of stories, so we decided to go with the collection model rather than the individual story model. I have no idea what people will think of it, but honestly, short stories do not get you fame and fortune regardless of which model you’re using, so–stories, I have ’em, you can have ’em too.

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End of year state of the Mris: the writing version

2013: it was full of stuff. Good stuff, it turns out. Quite a bit of good stuff. Go team.

In the “clear signs of progress” category, I passed my hundredth short story sale mark, which was cool and weird. I cannot really make reflexive Minnesotan noises about how really it’s not so many, because it is: so many. So. Major thing there. Also in the same category, I now have an agent, and she is awesome, and I am pleased and hopeful about what this means for the future.

I sold nine stories this year. I have four stories sold and still yet to come out (one from 2012, the rest from this year). New stories that came out this year included:
“The Radioactive Etiquette Book” in Analog
“Armistice Day” in Beneath Ceaseless Skies
“Milk Run” in Analog (co-written with Alec Austin)
“The Troll (A Tale Told Collectively)” in Daily SF
“On the Weaponization of Flora and Fauna” in BCS
“Ask Citizen Etiquette” in Asimov’s (technically a 2014 publication date)
“The Ministry of Changes” in
“Things We Have in the House for No Reason” in Analog
“Unsolved Logical Problems in Time Travel (Spring Semester)” in Nature

There were also some lovely reprints, in Twenty-First Century Science Fiction and Year’s Best SF and Fantasy 2013 and anthologies of Clarkesworld and Daily SF sales from previous years.

And the writing. I really hit my stride on new stuff, writing twenty stories, one novel, and serious parts of other novels and stories. All the short stories are revised, and I have a plan for revising the novel. In addition to that, I’m kind of hoping to hit the new project hard once I’ve done the revisions. It’s pretty clear after twice going through it that when I have to be on the vertigo meds, I can still write–I can still write things people like, even–even including myself–but it’s harder. So there’s a balance to find (sorry, had to) between keeping myself safe and getting good work done. Ideally I’ll be able to get enough momentum on the novel to carry me through the last horrible phase before going on the meds and the first horrible phase on them. We’ll see. If not, I will dig my heels in and just make it work. I’ve done it before and can do it again. But gosh, these last six months when I didn’t have to dig my heels in and could just write happily have sure been nice. Hoping to use it as a running start on next year, because this year has been awfully good.

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Angry teenage time travelers, unite!

This morning I sold a story, “The Stuff We Don’t Do,” to the Futures department at Nature Physics. I am always pleased to be in Nature Physics because it reaches the professors who did so much for me in college.

This story has two positive inspirations and one negative one, among authors whose work I enjoyed in my teens and early twenties. We’ll see if anybody recognizes the other two when the story comes out, but the positive one I want to call out specifically today is Diane Duane. Her Wizard books remain humane as well as clever; she armored them against the suck fairy, and I am as grateful for them now as I was in younger days. (And if you’re puzzled at how a fantasy series could help inspire something SF enough to make it into Nature Physics, possibly it’s time for you to give the Wizard books a look.)

Of course, I have counted wrong; Timprov is an author whose work I enjoyed in that period, and he was at least as much an inspiration for this story (also positive). I wrote it for him, sparked by a conversation we had in the car once. Sometimes it still amazes me that not only do I get to tell stories inspired by crazy conversations I have with the Prov, but I get to do it as my job.

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It’s a big, round number.

I just made my hundredth short story sale. Strange Horizons is buying “The Suitcase Aria.” The editors had asked for entirely reasonable edits last week–the sort of thing I would have done to begin with if I’d thought of them, fitting entirely well with my concept of the story–so I did those edits, and the way they were talking sounded like they had faith in my ability to execute these edits and were already telling me when they wanted to schedule the story. But I am a little paranoid about rewrite requests not counting as actual sales until they are actual sales, so…I said nothing definite to anyone. But then there was a lovely e-mail, so hurrah, sale, #100 sale, hurrah.

A big, round number. Really. Even I cannot argue that it is not.

So I know that I have said that I would have a party for #100, but now that we are there, the thought of putting together an actual party makes me feel fairly certain that I would end up sitting on the floor weeping in exhaustion, or else staring blankly at my friends thinking, “Why are you here? Why don’t you go home?” Which is not a good kind of party to have. On the other hand, a hundred stories! That is several! It wants observing! So here is what we will do.

On Thursday (this Thursday! November 21!) at 7:30 p.m., I will go to Cow Bella and eat gelato. And if you want to come to Cow Bella and eat gelato with me, hurrah! Please do! Cow Bella, as their website will tell you, is at 1700 Grand Ave. in St. Paul–it’s basically right on top of the Macalester campus. There is sorbetto for those who cannot have dairy. I believe there are also hot beverages such as coffee for people who for some reason do not want dessert, cold things, etc. This is a public place, so I could not possibly stop anyone who wanted to be there anyway, but if you’re wondering if I mean you: do you wish me well? Are you interested in being congenial to me and my household and random other persons in attendance? Then come! You are welcome to join us.

My theory is that even if zero of you are able to make it, hey, gelato; gelato is nothing to sneeze at, as far as celebrations go. And then if there are random friends with me, good deal! Hurrah! Gelato and friends!

I don’t know. I’ve always been aware that I write kind of a lot, but one hundred published short stories is a milestone I would not necessarily have predicted I’d hit at all, much less by now, if you’d asked me when I started. But now that we’re here, it feels entirely natural. Because this is what I do.

I like what I do.

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“And who played 99 on ‘Get Smart’? And how do you feel about that?”

This afternoon I made short story sale #99. “Unsolved Logistical Problems in Time Travel (Spring Semester)” is going to Nature Futures. Hurrah! I love selling to Nature, not least because I feel like I’m talking a bit to my old profs.

This is one of the stories that I’ve finished in this hyperproductive period, so I’m feeling a bit vindicated on that front. But mostly just pleased, pleased, pleased.