Author Interview for Luna Station Quarterly 2022
18 May 2022
If you're interested in my sci-fi short story "Rhyme and Reason," published in Luna Station Quarterly: Issue 049 about two months ago, I did an author interview with Cat Luria, Blog Editor at Luna Station Quarterly, talking about how I came up with the story, the future of humanity's relationship with technology, and some worldbuilding insider secrets.
“Rhyme and Reason” in Luna Station Quarterly: Issue 049 2022
1 March 2022
So I know the world continues to be a difficult place to exist in these days; however, if you're in need of a little escape and enjoy sci-fi, I'm excited—and a little bit nervous—to share my very first fiction byline, a little short story called "Rhyme and Reason" published in Luna Station Quarterly: Issue 049.
If you've enjoyed Ann Leckie's Imperial Radch trilogy, Lauren James' The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, the Star Trek: Discovery extra episode "Calypso," or any parts of the Mass Effect franchise, you might want to give this short story a try.
It's available to read for free on Luna Station Quarterly. It's also available in paperback and for Kindle from Amazon. Other formats, including ePub, Mobi, Nook, and PDF, are available at Barnes & Noble, Gumroad, Kobo, and Weightless Books.
"Rhyme and Reason" contains scenes of minimal sci-fi violence and minor allusions to feelings of anxiety and depression, as well as thoughts about death and dying.
Cybils Awards 2021
15 February 2022
I'm excited to say that this year I had the honor of participating in the Cybils Awards again. Cybils is a kid-lit blogger approved book award. This year, I was selected to be a second round panelist for the YA Speculative Fiction category.
After spending three months last year reading as many books as I could from the nomination pool for the 2020 Cybils Awards, I think I thought it would be easier to act as a second round judge and read only the finalists. In the end, I was wrong.
Choosing one winner out of the eight books selected to be finalists and agreeing with my fellow panelists this year was incredibly difficult. All of the books that made it to the final round were all excellent in their own ways. My favorite by far was The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna.
In the end, however, a different book was chosen. The announcement for the winner of the 2021 Cybils Awards can be found on the Cybils website along with a brief description as to why this book was chosen.
Cybils Awards 2020
1 January 2021
This past year was definitely an unprecedented year. Nothing went according to plan, and everything that happened was difficult, to say the least. And because of everything that happened in 2020, I experienced a massive reading slump beginning in March and lasting until the end of August. I read books throughout that time, but not as many as I usually do. In fact, in August, I read zero books.
Luckily, in the summer, I stumbled upon the Cybils Awards—a kid-lit blogger approved book award—and decided to submit an application to be a panelist. I ended up being chosen to be a first round panelist for the Young Adult Fiction and Young Adult Speculative Fiction categories, and it was one of the best things that happened to me. It re-sparked my reading habit and introduced me to a number of books I might not have read otherwise.
I read 36 books—37 if you include You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson, which I didn't get to finish until a couple days after the first round panelists convened and decided on our seven finalists for each category—between the beginning of September and the end of December, although most of my reading began in October when nominations started to roll in.
Unfortunately, I wrote only two reviews during the awards—one for Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland, which I loved, and one for The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White, which I also enjoyed—mainly because, like reading, I've been having a difficult time sitting down to write.
I don't think I can say that I disliked any of the books I read, although there were some I enjoyed much more than others. For me, my top three picks in Young Adult Fiction category included Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam, Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo, and Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez.
My top three picks in the Young Adult Speculative Fiction category included Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland, Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas, and Legendborn by Tracy Deonn.
A couple books that didn't make the short lists but that I loved included Cane Warriors by Alex Wheatle, as well as The Extraordinaries by T.J. Klune and Everything I Thought I Knew by Shannon Takaoka.
I have to thank the publishers who were very generous to send me a number of books that were more difficult for me to get my hands on quickly. At the end of judging, I donated the 17 books I received to an organization called 50/50 Books, a bookstore that distributes books to schools, community centers, and other organizations across the nation in order to promote literacy and book accessibility. I hope that with my donation, these books will get into the hands of kids and teens who can enjoy them even more than I already have! They are the rightful audience of YA and should have access to all that YA has to offer.
Sirens Conference 2019
7 November 2019
It's been two weeks since the 2019 Sirens Conference, which took place in snowy Colorado from October 24–27, and yet it feels like it happened only yesterday. This was my first ever Sirens, and I've been wanting to write a little something about it since its completion, but my mind has been unable to form the right words.
Suffice it to say, I had a wonderful time. As a fledgling unpublished sci-fi/fantasy writer and avid sci-fi/fantasy reader, as well as an introvert—I'm an INTJ—the impostor syndrome is strong in me. There were definitely moments when I felt unsure of what to say to my fellow con goers, but those moments were few and far between, mostly because we were all there for the same purpose: for our love of sci-fi/fantasy stories and for creating a more inclusive community.
Now that Sirens is over, I'm feeling a little bit melancholy. The conference went by so quickly. I wish I could have basked in the energy of the mainly women, nonbinary, and trans sci-fi/fantasy readers, writers, scholars, librarians, and booksellers forever. At the con, it was the first time in a long time that I felt like myself, that I felt like I was surrounded by like-minded people. It was inspiring and energizing.
As Amy Tenbrink encouraged us to do in her opening remarks, I peeled off my armor and tried to be as much of myself as I could be, but myself is a teeny bit vulnerable right now. It's been a tough year—last couple of years really. Sirens, however, inspired me. I want to keep writing fiction—no, I need to keep writing fiction.
For anyone who's reading this and thinking about attending Sirens for the very first time, but are reluctant to do so because you would be going alone or you have impostor syndrome or a million other reasons: don't be reluctant! I felt very welcome at the con, and I promise you will too.
Thank you to everyone at Sirens. I know this was a very difficult year for many of you. My heart goes out to you, and I hope to see you again in better circumstances next time.
On Thursday, Amy Tenbrink's opening remarks were inspirational, and Rebecca Roanhorse's keynote made me want to immediately start reading Storm of Locusts.
On Friday, the panel "Building Inclusive Bookish Communities" made me nostalgic for LiveJournal. Mishell Baker's "There Is Method in It: Why We Tell Stories About 'Madness'" paper/lecture got me thinking more about the ways in which I want to portray anxiety and depression in my writing. Jennifer Shimada's "There’s No I in Hero: A Discussion of Communities as Agents of Change" roundtable brought up a lot of good examples of how to subvert the rugged individualism mythos. Suzanne Scott's keynote reminded me of why I've been a part of Women Write About Comics. Amanda Hudson's "Managing Burnout as a Creative" workshop provided me with some great resources on how to approach my own burnout. Hallie Tibbetts' "Heteronormativity in Young Adult Fantasy" paper/lecture emphasized that while you don't have to write what you know, you do have to know what you write. And the "Here, Queer, and Changing the World: Sexuality and Gender in Worldbuilding" panel added so many queernorm books to my to be read list.
On Saturday, Mishell Baker's keynote had me thinking about a lot of things, but most of all, it had me thinking about the ways in which communities can be more inclusive and compassionate. The panel "Why We Write About War" was so interesting, barely scratching the surface of the topic, but we were given this helpful handout that I plan on examining more closely soon. Amy Tenbrink's "Witch, Please: An Apologia for and Indictment of Mean Girls Stories in Young Adult Fantasy Literature" paper/lecture fired me up. Kit Auner's "'Girls' Disguised as 'Boys': The Evolution of the CrossDressing Hero(ine)" paper/lecture was so well researched, breaking down the girl-disguised-as-boy trope; it was timely given that I'm going to see Twelfth Night, or What You Will (my favorite Shakespearean play) soon. Ausma Zehanat Khan's keynote gave me a greater appreciation for her Khorasan Archives series, which was truly written from her heart. The "Shackled, Raped, Mad, Fridged: Game of Thrones" paper/lecture, like the "Witch, Please" paper/lecture, fired me up! Finally, the "Navigating New Waters: Understanding the Nuances of Creating Disabled and Mentally Ill Characters" workshop by V. S. Holmes provided me with some great resources, especially since writing about disability is something I have very little experience doing.