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

My Thoughts on the Class “Writing the Other – Deep Dive into Description”

The last three weeks, I have been participating in the class Writing the Other – Deep Dive into Description. I took it because I want to write stories that contain characters from multiple races and ethnicities and because my writing in general lacks description and I want to improve that.

I was blown away by how much I learned in this class. Many of the instructional texts I’d read before, or at least heard the ideas before. What really helped me was analyzing texts for how different authors described their characters. I already knew to avoid the cliché mirror description and food metaphors, but I didn’t know what to use instead. Now I have tools – comparison, simple adjectives, and more. And I am excited to put them into use.

Going into this class, I expected to talk about race, and we did, a lot. But we also explored gender and ability through various writing exercises. Doing these exercises really helped put into practice the things I had learned, and exposed some blind spots that I have. I plan on using some exercises for WIP going forward to help get to know my characters better.

The structure of the class worked really well for my schedule as well. Most exercises took less than 20 minutes to complete, and they asked us to dedicate half an hour a day or every other day to contribute to discussions. Assignments were given multiple days before they were due (after which we would discuss, or provide peer feedback) so this gave me freedom to take off Sundays (which I do for religious reasons), and flexibility when I lost two days to headache and nausea (thanks ITP!)

Overall, I highly recommend this class, and will be looking at other deep dives in the future.

Instructional texts:

Example texts:

Hugo 2020 Reading – May

My writing this last month focused on getting an essay and short story ready for the Mormon Lit Blitz. Neither was fantasy, which is why I did not post about finishing drafts here. I feel more confident with the essay than the story, even though I haven’t written essays since college. So we’ll see how they do.

I do have some big news though – “Tattered Flower” sold to The Arcanist and will likely be published July 12. Hooray! I’ll get an author commentary up that day, and create free e-books soon after.

But now, the stuff I’ve read:

Cold Iron Comfort” by Hayley Stone
a short story published by Apex

I’m not a fan of gritty stories like this one, even though I know the subject matter of escaping abuse matters to some people. I did like the fae aspects, and how the trans experience changed things. The details really felt grounded, and the ending satisfied.


Adrianna in Pomegranate” by Samantha Mills
a short story published by Beneath Ceaseless Skies

I like stories that get into nitty gritty of how magic works, and this one did that – showing how materials and tools would affect the writing magic. I was put off at first by the unconventional structure of the story, but it does fit the story well. I wonder if it would have worked better if I had read it instead of listening to it. As it was, it was a bit hard to keep track of the characters until I was half-way through. I did feel touched at the ending though.


“The First Warden” by Kai Wolden
a novelette published in Writers of the Future volume 35

I was thrown out of this story at the beginning. Shae saves Noch because he perceives that Noch would live. But there’s no consideration of the fact that Noch could still infect others with the plague. No quarantine is mentioned, and people who want to stay away from him are disregarded as superstitious. That would make sense after a certain time, but not right away. It was also hard to feel for Shae when his conflict with the council was largely kept nebulous.


(5 stars) “Why I Spared the One Brave Soul Between Me and My Undead Army” by Setsu Uzume
a short story published by Cast of Wonders

This story is absolutely my jam – a fantasy battle between good and evil. I didn’t expect to get so invested in an anti-hero, but though thoroughly evil, Layla had a good sense of honor, a dash of humor, keen intellect, and cool shadow powers. And Regan was awesome in their relentlessness in their pursuit of justice. The story definitely promises a beautiful showdown between the two sometime in the future.


“The Damned Voyage” by John Haas
a novelette published in Writers of the Future volume 35

I have never been interested in Cthulu stories, so this story wasn’t for me. My biggest complaints are in terms of details. I kept wondering what ethnicity the thieves were that Doctor Shaw was pursuing – Indian or English. Also, at one point, he looks around the room, says all is in order, but no mention has been given to what he did with the clothes he took out of the trunk and strew across the bed, or the blood that should be all over the floor from the man he killed. Doctor Shaw was an interesting character at least, and I liked Stephen’s ghost, though he was in the story too briefly.

Hugo 2020 Reading – April

It’s only been a couple weeks since my last roundup, so I haven’t had time to finish any of my story podcasts yet. So the stories I read for this month were all picked from different markets that I’ve submitted to at some point to help me see what they are looking for. I am disappointed that I still haven’t found any stories that I love yet. I’ll just have to keep reading.

Bedtime Snacks for Baby” by Catherine George
a short story published by Flash Fiction Online

As a mom, I loved that the conflict of this story was feeding a baby. The linguavore was an interesting idea. It had good conflict, and a bittersweet resolution. It just wasn’t deep enough to get five stars from me. Probably a fault of the short form.


Why Aren’t Millennials Continuing Worship of the Elder Dark?” by Matt Dovey
a short story published by Diabolical Press

I am not familiar with Lovecraftian horror, so I’m sure a lot of understanding sailed right past me as I read this. Like Dovey, I’m tired of the “Millennials are killing x industry” articles, so I was glad to see this parody. I did feel like it dragged on too long, though.


The Book” by S.E. Reid
a short story published by Mysterion

I’m not a fan of horror, so this slow, creepy tale wasn’t to my usual taste. However, I did enjoy the fact that the conflict of this story was more about the ghosts within Monty than the ghosts within the haunted house. I also liked that it was a tale in a setting I don’t see often – African Americans on a road trip in the 1950s through segregation and Jim Crow.


“Untrained Luck” by Elise Stephens
a novelette published by Writers of the Future 35

This story had some good descriptions and an interesting world. However, I could see the plot twist coming from the first introduction, which sapped some of the tension. Also, the big negotiation conflict had so many proper names and points of contention that I got a bit lost.


The Duel at Maria’s Pizza and Roast Beef” by William Delman
a short story published by The Arcanist

This story about Norse heroes in modern time sounds like it would be the kind of story I like. However, the writing felt too sterile for me to connect to the characters. Lot of action, but no emotional connection. It almost felt like it was in the middle of a serial story, but there was no indication where previous stories would be.

Fallen Star v 1 is Done!

Leo's Human Diary banner copy.jpg

“Leo’s Human Diary” has a new title – “Fallen Star”. I actually finished this draft a couple weeks ago, but had too much going on to post about it.

This draft went through some big changes – namely over doubling in size. Most of this is because in v 0, I decided to just skim the descriptions of scenes that took place in canon. But in v 1, I had the tension building to Loke’s first confrontation with Karen, and it just didn’t feel right to let that tension fizzle out by skimming that confrontation. So, I treated the in canon scenes as a writing exercise – I got the exact dialogue from the anime/manga (whichever translation I liked better), described the movements and positioning as exact as I could, and tried to recreate the same emotions without the help of pictures/music. I think it worked in some places, though I’m sure could still be punched up. It has helped me to see the pitfalls of relying on dialogue too much in my original writing.

The story is now available on my google drive for an open beta. No previous knowledge of Fairy Tail required. I am looking for comments on what is Awesome, Boring, Confusing, or Don’t Believe. You’ll notice I’ve already made some notes on things that I need to address, so don’t worry about telling me that its not perfect. I don’t know when I want to get back to editing this story, as I have other things to work on, but the itch is definitely still there.

Stats:

  • Started January 18
  • Finished March 27
  • 19,540 words (220% the size of v 0)
  • 15 scenes (100% the size of v 0)

Hugo 2020 Reading – January – March

First off, I’m excited to see the finalists for the 2019 Hugos. Looks like a great list, especially since there was stuff I loved on it. Some stuff I’ve missed, though. I’ll have to add it to my long reading pile. Right now I’m reading the longlist from the 2015 Hugos. I’ve finished all the Fairy Tail manga, and now I’m rereading the Fruits Basket manga, with the remake of the anime. I’m amazed at how much character nuances I’m catching this time. Hopefully it means that I can create better characters. In the meantime, here’s what I read published this year.

The King’s Mirror” by M. K. Hutchins
a short story published by Strange Horizons

I liked this take on what to do with visions of the future that you can’t change. The pacing to me felt slow, because it was all about character introspection, when I prefer action. Still, I enjoy M. K. Hutchins’ Meso-American settings, fresh and detailed.


The Willows” by Delilah S. Dawson 
a novelette published by Uncanny

Horror is not my cup of tea, and I prefer my speculative elements more upfront than sneaky, so I am not the ideal audience for this story. Still, I can appreciate the evocative details and atmosphere.


How to Move Spheres and Influence People” by Marko Kloos
a novelette published by Tor.com

I love superhero origin stories. And this one was fun. I loved T.K.’s glee at discovering her powers, and her horror when she realizes she can kill someone with them. I also loved that she was disabled. I want more disabled heroes, so I was a bit sad that there wasn’t more details about that. Though I do understand that she wasn’t really in many situations where it mattered that her left arm was paralyzed.


How to Say I Love You with Wikipedia” by Beth Goder
a short story published by Fireside Magazine

This story was cute, a computer trying so hard to show its humans that it loves them, but lacking the understanding to communicate it in a way that they see. I did have a little hard time believing that Sarah could change the stationary computer into a rover in just a little time while everyone is preparing to leave Mars, but it wasn’t a huge detractor to the story.


Eel Soup” by Marge Simon
a short story published by Daily Science Fiction

The speculative element here is extremely light. The details of the story drew me in, but the ending left me unsatisfied. I don’t believe cures work so fast, though for this story constraint, it kind of has to.