Immortal Judgment v 1 is Done!

I’m pretty pleased with this draft. Instead of cutting or combining anything, I ended up fleshing things out. Now it’s much stronger. It’s got better description, and stronger character moments.

I still have notes for several things I want to tweak before sending it to beta readers, but I don’t anticipate that taking too long. Some were new ideas that I got after I had passed that point in writing. Others were because I was taking too long to come up with a specific item or action, so I just noted it and moved on.

Stats:

  • Started September 23
  • Finished October 9
  • 4,196 words (135% size of v0)
  • 9 scenes (100% size of v0)
  • 6 research pages (new ones: Belgian palace, Belgian royalty)

Hugo 2020 Reading – September

Wow. Now that kids are back in school, my time has been freed up so much. Not only do I get uninterrupted time to write, I get uninterrupted time to listen to podcasts while I do chores. Plus my health has been improving, so I’ve been going through stories at a much faster pace. Here’s what I got to this month.

The Catfish” by Earnest Nadim
a short story published by The Arcanist

This was a cute story about an orc online dating a hag, who each thought the other was an elf. It was a bit predictable. My biggest complaint though, was the callousness of Ziv and Sleepy. There was no reason given for why the orc needed to die except for the fact that he was an orc.


How the Trick is Done” by A.C. Wise
a short story published by Uncanny

This was an interesting story – about the nameless magician who manipulates love triangles for his gain, and how those he manipulates got revenge on him. It’s a dark tale, with shifting times and points of view, but never confusing. The only reason I didn’t give it five stars is because horror isn’t my jam, but I do appreciate the artistry in this story.


N-coin” by Tobias S. Buckell
a short story published by Apex Magazine

Content warning: suicidal ideation

This story had an intriguing idea – cryptocurrency as a way for blacks to receive reparations. I didn’t understand how the cryptocurrency worked, but it was hard for me to feel sorry for the guy when it looked like he bought into what looked like a scam. Telling it by a guy on the verge of jumping off a building made me a bit squeamish as well.


When Sirens Sing of Roses and of Delegated Power” by Nin Harris
a short story published by Beneath Ceaseless Skies

I chose this story because I was working on “The Mermaid’s Voice” at the time. This has a lot of beautiful imagery, though the pace felt slow at times. Especially for a magical heist gone wrong. It wasn’t so much about outwitting, as it was coming to understanding, which is ok. I just wanted more heistiness though.


Blame it on the Bees” by Rachel Menard
a short story published by Cast of Wonders

This story was full of emotion as Dee deals with the death of her lover. The speculative element didn’t come up until half-way through the story, which is why it’s not a five star, but it was fun when it did appear.


The Second Nanny” by Djuna
a novelette published by Clarkesworld

As I was listening to this story, I felt lost in who each scene was focusing on and keeping straight if we were in flashback or not. I would probably have handled it better if I were reading. It was an interesting far-future world, with an intriguing problem & solution. I just wish I was engaged enough to feel the full impact.

The Mermaid’s Voice v 2 is Done!

I think this story is the one of mine that has gotten the most positive response from Critters yet. Yet, I still found plenty of things to improve – points to clarify, details to add.

Now I’m feeling really good about it as I send it off on submission. My goal was to keep it under 500 words so it would do well at Daily Science Fiction, and I’ve done that. Now to see if the editors like it.

Stats:

  • Started September 19
  • Finished September 20
  • 496 words (162% v 1)

Immortal Judgment v 0 is Done!

While I was trying to get up the motivation to edit “Drones of a Fal’Cie” after finishing v1 of “The Mermaid’s Voice” someone posted a question on a writer’s group on Facebook that prompted me to share an idea I had for a brand new story. I looked at how excited I was for this new story, and how I was dithering on DOAF because I hadn’t really planned how to fix the ending, and decided it was time to switch.

“Immortal Judgment” is a very meaty story. It’s also one that could go very wrong. For starters, it’s got a very diverse cast of characters, requiring me to use the skills I learned in the “Writing the Other” class. And as these characters interact with bias in the judicial system, and power structures, there’s a lot of issues. I’m hoping to avoid landmines, but I’ll have to wait for beta reads to see how well I did.

In the meantime, I have a lot of fleshing out to do. I didn’t describe things as well as they needed. And I need to decide if there are scenes that I want to combine, as they’re really short.

Stats:

  • Started August 28
  • Finished September 12
  • 3,088 words
  • 9 scenes
  • 7 named characters
  • 4 research pages (starvation, Vietnamese clothing, dual wielding, and pink lakes)

Hugo 2020 Reading – August

August was pretty much a lost cause for writing. I changed meds again, wiping me out on the weekends, and sapping my energy on the weekdays. It didn’t help that I’ve been avoiding “Drones of a Fal’Cie” because I never came up with a fix for the many concerns people had about the ending. But I have two shiny new stories to work on, so that’s fun.

As for reading, I’ve been reading some non-fiction for book club – Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson and The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King which have both been fascinating reads. Here’s the fiction I got to.

“Are You the Life of the Party?” by Mica Scotti Kole
a short story published in Writers of the Future vol 35

This sci-fi story turned into horror at the end, so not my usual interest. I still felt a bit confused at the end about what the prank was that led to Eddie’s state of mind. I did like that it upended the trope that if a scientific experiment goes wrong, the scientist should be executed, when any regular scientist would want to study those results and figure out why.


Temptation” by Karuna Riazi
a short story published by Podcastle

I must have missed things in this story when I was listening to it, because I became confused as to what had happened to Kayla. I did like the Islamic folklore and the approach of fasting to refuse enchanted food that would entrap you. It had tantalizing descriptions of said food, as well as the memory of food.


The Weather Dancer” by Aisha Phoenix
a short story published by Strange Horizons

The fantastical element is more subtle in this story. It’s a slow, gentle story, about death and mourning. Lots of emotion. Just not what I look for from the stories I choose.


A Prophecy Fulfilled” by Stephen Charles Curro
a short story published by Daily Science Fiction

I could see the twist coming as I read this story, but it was still a fun read. I did find the sign of the comet and the sign of the bruised forest confusing. The former, because I thought the red streak was the Winged Terror itself, and not just a sign, and the bruised forest because I didn’t think a disease would spread that fast. Still I had fun reading it.


(5 stars) “Loneliness in Transit, Sixty Light Years from Earth” by Kurt Hunt
a short story published by Flash Fiction Online

I’m a sucker for parent-child stories, so this one pulled me in right away, even though the parent was an artificial intelligence of a ship, and the child was a construct incubating a new start for humanity. Starting colonization of a new planet is common, but this take on it felt really fresh. I also loved the image of a zombie space-bat.

The Mermaid’s Voice v 1 is Done

In May, I was inspired by all the MerMay pictures artists posted to come up with a mermaid story. I came up with one, put it in my idea dump file, and forgot about it.

Fast forward to this month. I’m changing meds again, which threw me off my writing groove. It could also be an excuse for not wanting to get towards writing the hard climax of Drones of a Fal’Cie, but I digress. I was also realizing that I probably wasn’t going to get DOAF done in time to submit to Writers of the Future for this quarter, and then I remembered this mermaid idea, and figured I could polish up a flash fiction in time.

And so The Mermaid’s Voice v0 was written on Monday, and v1 was written on Tuesday. I’m surprised with how short it is, but feel like it still tells a full story. I’m going to send it off to critters, and then get it ready for submission.

Stats:

  • Started August 20, 3:47 pm
  • Finished August 20, 4:21 pm
  • 306 words (173% v0)

Hugo 2020 Reading – July

With a family reunion in the middle of July, and then spending my writing time promoting “Tattered Flower” and creating e-books, I feel like my goals have gone completely askew. Ah well. Even if I don’t get a rhythm together for August, I’ll have September with three kids in school to focus on my writing and reading.

Tattered Flower by Annaliese Lemmon
a short story published by The Arcanist

My story came out this month! Of course I enjoyed reading it. 🙂


The Staircase to the Moon” by M. K. Hutchins
a short story published by Fireside Magazine

This was an interesting look at the evolution of civilization through the eyes of the goddess that cares for them. I especially liked the theme of sacrifice and legacy, and wanted to spend more time on that than a flash piece allowed.


(5 stars) “Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler” by Wulf Moon
a short story published in Writers of the Future vol 35

When I realized that this story was about a girl who uses a robot dog to breathe who lives on the moon, I was sold. I love stories about people with disabilities. The voice of the character was great. The conflict was personal, and the resolution sweet.


(5 stars) “Lost Robot” by Dean Wesley Smith
a short story published in Writers of the Future vol 35

I liked this story for how fun it was. Sky’s extraordinary abilities are revealed to the reader a piece at a time, in a matter-of-fact way, which is a technique I hadn’t seen before. My only complaint is that the conflict was fairly easily overcome, though I suppose the catharsis comes from the characters finding peace, rather than overcoming something huge.


#Blessed” by Wendy Nikel
a short story published by The Arcanist

This was a sweet story about a mommy blogger and perception vs reality. I had two main complaints with this story. 1st, it’s set 10 years or so in the future, and didn’t have much of a speculative element to it. 2nd, I’ve seen articles examining this aspect of life, so it didn’t seem to add much.


The Apprentice” by Wayne Martin
a short story published by The Arcanist

Wayne was actually one of my beta readers for “Tattered Flower” so it’s funny that our stories were published a week apart by the same magazine. This was a cute story of a wizard and his apprentice. I enjoyed it, but it didn’t get 5 stars because it felt like standard fantasy fare instead of anything special. I wasn’t surprised at the twist.

“Tattered Flower” is Published!

cover for "Tattered Flower" a flash fiction by Annaliese Lemmon. It features a woman kneeling beside an empty cradle on a hillside.

My flash fiction story “Tattered Flower” was published today by The Arcanist. The text is available on their website, and is read on their podcast. I also have an author commentary here.

Here’s the back of the book summary:

Kamila followed the witch’s instructions perfectly and gave birth to a healthy baby girl. But there is a flower leftover from the spell constantly tempting her. She goes to the witch for advice, hoping it won’t cost more than she can afford.

I will be getting e-books out soon. But for now, enjoy!

Hugo 2020 Reading – June

Summer has hit and I’ve signed myself and my kids up for the summer reading program at the library. I’ve already read 300 minutes worth, some for the Writing the Other class, and some for here.

As a reminder, my story “Tattered Flower” comes out from The Arcanist around July 12th, so check it out.

The Last Eagle” by Natalia Theodoridou
a short story published by Clarkesworld

I’m not the audience for this story. It was a wistful longing for things lost in war, a journey of searching in a world that I didn’t really care to explore, with characters that weren’t particularly endearing to me. Post-apocalyptic worlds just don’t interest me, and as for the characters, while I’ve dealt with depression, I don’t like dwelling there in fiction.


Ephemera” by Avra Margariti
a short story published by The Arcanist

My story ideas lately have dealt with fantastical beings that have a hard time living in the human world, so this story of a phoenix in girl form fit that exactly. Though like “The Last Eagle” this one deals with the depression of the phoenix’s lover. The complex thoughts that surround the situation felt real, though there was no solid ending.


“Thanatos Drive” by Andrew Dykstal
a novelette published in Writers of the Future vol 35

And here’s another post-apocalyptic world. My main critique of this story is that as I was reading, it felt like I was missing details. Little things that would make the world seem real. It did have some interesting twists, but I found myself not caring, perhaps because I didn’t have grounding in implications of those twists before it was revealed.


Bootleg Jesus” by Tonya Liburd
a short story published by Diabolical Plots

This was an intriguing world – a town with no magic in a world where elsewhere, some had almost god-like powers. This story was told in a deliberately sparse fashion, which made sense with Mara’s age, but it did make me feel distanced from her.

Content warning: abuse, described in vague terms


The Minor Superhero, at Home after His Series Ends” by Adam-Troy Castro
a short story published by Lightspeed

This story was fun poking at the superhero tropes that happen in comic books. The coincidences that perfectly align, the cattle calls, how everything always happens to the same five or six people. It was cute to see Bob settle down and be satisfied with just protecting his apartment building while the demi-gods took care of everything else. The main reason this didn’t get give stars from me is that there really wasn’t a plot. This story didn’t really need one, as it was more of an examination of what a serious look at superhero life would be, but as a reader, that’s what I like most.


(5 stars) “Advice for Your First Time at the Faerie Market” by Nibedita Sen
a short story published by Fireside Magazine

A story about a mother instantly gets my attention. Her love for her daughter really came through as she had to reinvent recipes to incorporate fae food. The food descriptions were intriguing. And then the twist about outwitting the fae was brilliant. I loved this story.

content warning: domestic violence, not graphic