Normally this is the time of the year when I announce with profiles I wrote for Library Journal's Movers and Shakers. This year, the edition with the Movers profiles will publish in late spring and I expect to post profiles in May or early June as they are posted at LJ's website. There's some amazing librarians and archivists out there and I've been privileged to write about six, possibly seven, of them. I can't wait for all you library lovers to read about them.
My creepy little story Mothers and Daughters, published in Fourth Quarter 2019 Abyss & Apex, is eligible for the following:
That said, there's some amazing short fiction that was published this year and I fully expect to see some delightful work on the short lists.
I'll be writing several Movers and Shakers profiles for Library Journal this year. I've been doing this every winter since 2010. This time around the publication date will move to May. It's been March in the past. So my deadlines are the end of February. I'm pretty excited.
My short story Mothers and Daughters is out at Abyss & Apex magazine.
It's a creepy little piece that starts with the line:
"My mother struggles against the white padded straps. Tying her to the bed is the only way I can stop her. The only way I can to travel beyond the borders she has drawn for me."
I wrote this story after my pal Cory Skerry saw that Ellen Datlow had a rare open call for an horror anthology that didn't have a theme.
Cory dared myself and another writer to see if we could pen stories that would make Datlow flinch. This was a difficult challenge because Datlow for those not in the know has been editing and winning awards for her work in horror, dark fantasy and SF since I was in high school. There was no way I was going to make it out of the slush to be selected by her but I was going to try.
I worked hard to make myself flinch.
As I expected, Datlow form rejected the story. I have no idea if she flinched but I somehow doubt it.
I have a lot of affection for this story even though I normally don't write horror. That's because Mothers and Daughters earned me my first good rejection from the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Anyone who writes speculative fiction markets will tell you how hard it is to get a personal note from F&SF.
More importantly, the F&SF editor told me he liked what I was doing with the theme and liked the writing. This type of feedback is incredibly valuable because it helps you see the strengths and weaknesses in a story.
So I had some writer friends read it, including Cory, Langley Hyde, Spencer Ellsworth and others in our Bellingham posse of writers, and of course my dear friend and occasional collaborator Jude-Marie Green. They had things to say about teasing out the theme and ways to improve the story and questions the story raised but didn't answer.
As I tried to find ways to incorporate and then streamline the answers to Langley's questions about my worldbuilding, I stumbled on the idea of using second person outtakes to deliver exposition. Such a cool solution to many problems. I wish I could fix every story I had with second-person exposition nuggets.
Langley and Jude-Marie really got what I was focused on and they helped me see the theme and the ways others might interpret the theme. This helped me do as Cory suggests: Focus on the theme and trim away what isn't helping communicate that.
The version of Mothers and Daughters that sold was the sixth version since I first busted it out and sent it to Datlow in summer 2013.
In this day of insta-publishing on Amazon and Smashwords, it's good to remember that it takes time to sell to short fiction markets.
In late summer 2016, A&A was the 11th market I had sent Mothers and Daughters to. Several months later, I received an email that Mothers and Daughters had made it out of slush and was being held for additional consideration. In early 2018, Wendy sent me a contract. It appeared in pixels in late 2019. That's six years since I first drafted it and three years after I submitted it.
When I submitted the story to A&A, I worried it was too dark for the market and hoped for a good rejection. I've wanted to send a story to Wendy Delmater for years but didn't really have anything that I thought fit A&A and I wasn't sure this story would. I almost didn't send it but I figured, if it is rejected with feedback that is invaluable.
I'm so glad that my dark little story fit. And it reminds me of advice other editors have given me: Don't pre-reject; let the editor decide.
Some people might wonder why I was willing to wait so long to sell this story. Certainly I could have sent it to markets that paid less and have a faster consideration process. But selling a story is only part of the goal. (See I write short fiction and it will never pay the bills.)
For me, I've long wanted to sell a story to A&A. It's a Hugo-nominated semi-pro market that is often the online magazine where really amazing writers first appear in print/pixels. Wendy also works really hard to promote the stories she publishes and is considered a very good developmental editor.
The other thing I realized when working with Wendy and having a few conversations about my story is: She saw things in my story that I hadn't realized were there. That is also a mark of a really good editor.
Will I be a really amazing in the future? Who knows? What matters is I had the chance to work with Wendy. She's the type of editor I like to work with -- caring, committed and concerned with quality.
You decide if it was worth the wait: https://www.abyssapexzine.com/2019/09/mothers-and-daughters/
I finished my last Movers & Shakers profile today (until next year. ) I love writing those.
Now I'm all ready for the American Library Association Midwinter Conference. Soooo much to do there.
Then back to work on Tuesday just in time to have fun with tweens and Ozobots.
Don't forget to check out Library Journal in March. These Movers are fabulous. (I know I say that every year but it's true.) And a few might be at ALA Midwinter 2019.
It took me a while to realize I hadn't posted links to the five profiles I wrote for Library Journal's Movers & Shakers issue from back in March.
I also realized that I hadn't updated my Recent Clips with any clips since 2015 or 2016.
My nonfiction bibliography is now updated. I added Life + Library | Innovation, a story about libraries partnering affordable housing groups to offer a building with low-cost rentals for seniors in the same building as a library, and Community Central, about the now-open Wichita, KS, Central library.
Back to this year's Movers.
I can't say how much of a privileged it is to write about the innovators, change agents and other stupendous folks in the library world.
I've been writing Movers and Shakers profiles since late 2010 and I've interviewed about 90 people over the past 8 years. (Those of you who wonder why I'm so busy during the winter holidays, this is why.)
This year, I was excited to interview:
So everything is now up-to-date until June.
Sometimes next month, an article I wrote for VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates) with my colleague Danielle Dreger-Babbitt will post online. More after that is published. Or more two or three months from now because that's my blogging track record.)
Wait, next month is tomorrow. Noooooo!
Graphic novels, writers workshop, diversity, YA, Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading, freelancing and getting beyond sexism, etc.
Adia (second from left) is schooling us all at 2017's graphic novels for young readers panel.
Here's my Norwescon Schedule:
I'll be at the con helping with the Writers Workshop but no other panels. I expect to be at the Small Press Party and of course bar.con with an ice tea in hand.
Reading: Marta Murvosh
11:30am - 12:00pm @ Cascade 4
I'll be reading "Mothers and Daughters" and giving away chocolate (dark, just like my fiction.) I'll also give away a copy of Tales of the Sunrise Lands, an Anthology of Japanese Fantasy (Guardbridge Books, 2017) which includes my story “Cranes’ Return” and the sublime Richard Parks, as well as other writers you should read. If there is time, I'll read the starting scene from another dark delight.
Writing Comics for the Younger Generation
12:00pm - 1:00pm @ Cascade 7 & 8
Marta Murvosh (M), Adia, G. Willow Wilson
I'm terribly excited about this panel because Adia and G. Willow Wilson! Adia was so much fun last year on the young readers comic panel and G. Willow Wilson! (I will stop fan girling now, really, I'll stop soon.)
Diversity And Representation In Youth Literature/Media
3:00pm - 4:00pm @ Cascade 12
Marta Murvosh (M), Brenna Clarke Gray, Susan Chang, Kate Ristau
Don't miss this panel. This will be a great one and I don't just say that because I'm moderating. This is a great line up of pros.
Intersectionality and Comics
4:00pm - 5:00pm @ Cascade 11
Minim Calibre (M), Marta Murvosh, Donna Barr, Gabriel de los Angeles
Another important panel.
YA's Role In Genre
1:00pm - 2:00pm @ Evergreen 1 & 2
Marta Murvosh (M), Jennifer Brozek, Tina Connolly, Susan Chang, Fonda Lee
I'm super excited for this panel. Fonda and I were talking about YA in speculative fiction at World Fantasy and it will be super interesting to discuss this topic with talented writers and editors who are making major contributions to the field.
I Am a Teenage Geek
2:00pm - 3:00pm @ Cascade 5 & 6
Marta Murvosh (M), Gabe, Ryo, Gabe Ewing
Teenagers telling it like it is. Awesome.
7:00pm - 8:00pm @ Olympic 1
Lisa Mantchev (M), Amélie Mantchev, Marta Murvosh
Lisa is letting me bring a maker project, miniature light sabers made out of glow sticks, duct tape and decorated with a sharpie.
Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading
8:00pm - 10:00pm @ Cascade 12
Marta Murvosh (M), Dawn Vogel, Amanda Cherry, J Tullos Hennig, Janka Hobbs, Nikki McCormack, Tina LeCount Myers, Chrysoula Tzavelas, Erin Wilcox. Nine writers, each with 8 minutes, come find your new favorite writer, enter the drawing, eat the chocolate.
10:00am - 11:00am @ Cascade 11
Marta Murvosh (M), Laura Anne Gilman, Elsa Sjunneson-Henry
The writers on this panel will have great advice to share.
Beyond the Chain Maille Bikini
2:00pm - 3:00pm @ Cascade 5 & 6
Marta Murvosh (M), Christen N. Sowards, Liz Courts
This is going to be fun and (I hope) take us to a new level.
Guest Pro Squee!
I was invited to be guest pro at the 2017 World Fantasy Convention in San Antonio, Texas. My friend Jude-Marie Green and I used the convention as a chance to visit the city and tour the historic sites and tourists' traps.
I moderated a panel The Women Men Don't Read Or Do They? and was asked at the last minute to be a panelists on a graphic novel panel. Both were tons of fun.
Jude-Marie organized the Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading and that was fast and furious and a blast.
Something that I didn't know about Jude-Marie, even though we've been friends for almost 12 years, she's an amazing baker.
She made these yummy ginger cookies with lemon frosting for the Tiptree Bake Sale and they sold out. Fortunately, she had some crumbled cookies that she allowed me to sample to ensure quality control.
The two of us loved the city's River Walk and it inspired a setting and character for me. Now I just have to flesh out a plot. Well, a plot that will fit into 5,000 words, not 10,000.
In 2016, I lost a friend and fellow writer to breast cancer. This time of year makes me a bit melancholy because winter is coming and I lost my mom to the same cancer. It's kind of funny that I lost them both in election years.
Sue Bolich (S.A Bolich) wasn't a flashy person and didn't really advertise her cancer like some writers have. (That's no criticism of those folks, just how Sue was.)
It's hard for me to describe how wonderfully solid and dependable Sue was. You can read her bio and see her books at http://www.sabolichbooks.com/.
What I can tell you about Sue is: She was a great sounding board. She didn't suffer fools. She was tough and kind, self-reliant and neighborly.
Sue was direct in a way the way that feels like home for those of us who grew up or lived in the Mountain West. She was the kind of direct that can be uncomfortable.
She knew that daylight is burning and there's stock (horses in her case) to be taken care of and chores to be done and words waiting to be written.
Sue's directness was a valuable asset to the Norwescon Writers Workshop.
She and I disagreed on politics; we were friends anyway. That’s how friendship works. We would have probably voted differently in the election she didn't live to cast a vote in. Or maybe not, because she didn't suffer fools.
When I first started organizing Rapid Fire Readings for Broad Universe, Sue had my back. Her knowledge and experience gave me confidence and helped me see potential problems.
In 2015, when I worried that a RFR at recent Worldcon might draw disruptive people from the GamerGate and Rapid Puppy camps, I crafted an emergency plan and asked her and another BU member to stand by my side if I needed to deal with a disruptive person. Both of them were willing.
During the height of the Rapid Puppy and GamerGate controversies, supporting someone meant taking a huge risk of being doxed and trolled and having SWAT show up at your house. (Fortunately, we didn't need the back-up plan.)
I can't tell you how grateful I was that Sue was willing to take that risk and have my back.
Breast cancer is the most-common cancer in women (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,) and 1 of in 8 women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer during her lifetime (American Cancer Society.)
Sue was among those 1 in 8 women. My mom was one of those women
For several years Sue was among the 2.8 million breast cancer survivors. My mom was among those women for 13 years.
But that monster came back. One of these days we'll beat that monster back for good.
Pulp & Pixels:
An occasional blog with thoughts on words, books, tech, and of course, libraries.
Pulp & Pixels reflects my (Marta Murvosh) viewpoint and does not represents the library system that I work for, the publications I freelances for, or any of the professional associations that I belongs to or have a leadership role in.
Of course, if I happen to say how much any of those organizations rock, I expects there would be agreement on those points.
Find my reviews of teen books at BiblioCommons , Goodreads and for a 2011 YA library services class at Murvosh Reads.