Tuesday, August 07 2012 @ 04:41 PM EDT
Check out my story "Rekindled Dreams" in this month's issue of Penumbra!
My story "Remembering Jacob" is up at Kazka Press. Go read it!
For Daksha and Eesha
Maya clutched her father's hand as he wandered through the fair. New sights, sounds, and smells bombarded her. The scents of fried dough, powdered sugar, hot sausage, and cotton candy warred with manure, sweat, and machine oil. All around, people barked about games, shrieked on rides, and greeted one another in booming voices. The carnival rides creaked and groaned. When she could see past the sea of legs around her, she caught glimpses of bright plastic jewelry, discarded food, painted trailers, and stuffed animals.
Her father's hand was the only thing that seemed real.
Then, she saw the ducks.
Tiny plastic ducks bobbed around a watery track. A pale young woman with too-black hair and crooked teeth beckoned Maya over. "Come play the Duck Game!" she called. "Everyone's a winner!"
Maya tugged on her father's hands. "I want to play with the ducks!" she said.
He smiled down at her and let her drag him over. He peeled limp dollar bills out of his wallet and passed them to the Duck Girl.
Maya stared at the ducks as they floated by. They came in more colors than she'd expected—yellow, red, blue, green, and purple ducks competed for her attention.
It was important to pick the right one.
Finally, her hand darted forward, and she snatched a green duck. She held it between her hands and kissed its bright orange bill.
"Maya," her father said, his voice full of warning.
Maya ignored him. The hard plastic softened under her fingers, transforming to downy green feathers. Its tiny feet kicked, and its tiny heart fluttered.
The Duck Girl held out a small stuffed animal. "Here's your prize!" she said.
Maya ignored her. She had to focus on her duck, or something might go wrong.
"Stop it, Maya," her father said.
Maya's duck quacked, and Maya laughed. The Duck Girl stared. She reached out and touched the green duckling's bill. It snapped at her.
"Be nice, Ducky," Maya whispered.
Maya's father gripped her shoulder. He was ready to run if the Duck Girl started screaming.
Maya didn't think she would.
The Duck Girl stared at the duck for another long moment. Maya's father stood very still.
Then, the Duck Girl pulled another stuffed animal—a pink unicorn—from the shelf behind her. "Can you—can you do that again?" she asked.
Maya's father frowned at both of them. Maya gave him her best pleading expression. The Duck Girl's eyes darted between them. "Please?" she said.
Maya's father sighed. "Don't tell anyone where you got it."
The Duck Girl squealed in delight. Maya's father took her duckling from her, gently, and let Maya take the unicorn.
Changing it was easier—it wasn't made of plastic.
When she was done, the Duck Girl handed her the first stuffed animal. It was a tiny bear wearing a black bow tie. "This is yours," she said, her voice soft. "Everyone's a winner."
Maya's father picked her up. "We should go," he said.
Maya waved at the Duck Girl.
The Duck Girl held her tiny unicorn close to her chest, and waved back.
I have 38 short story submissions and one novel submission out right now. Five of my short stories are shortlisted, and my wait times range from 0-277 days. I sold four stories, and I had one published. I wrote and submitted four new stories, and I finished a few pieces for One Revolution.
I took a flash fiction class with Cat Rambo, and I did three short story readings at Confluence. I completed my Write-a-thon goals.
I read three stories at Confluence this weekend. My husband recorded the first nine minutes of each story, and I'm working on getting the videos posted on my Facebook Page. I also try to post the videos on my Amazon Author Page so that people without Facebook accounts can see them.
I had a lot of fun. I really enjoy doing readings, and I didn't ever screw up too badly. I also met some awesome new people, and I got a chance to listen to some other very cool people read their stories.
Yesterday, I found out that there's going to be a Triangulation: Morning After reading at Confluence tonight. At 10pm. Which just about my bedtime. But I'm going to be there, so if anyone else is around and wants to hear some fiction, do please come out. I don't want to drive out there to read to an empty room at 10 at night.
This is the final week of this year's Clarion West Write-a-thon. You have till July 27th if you want to sponsor me. Any money raised by the write-a-thon goes toward funding for the Clarion West Writer's Workshop. It's a good thing, and it's worth supporting.
I would love to attend someday, but I don't think think it'll ever be a thing I can do. I can't take six weeks off of work. And even if I could afford it, I don't know if I'd be able to handle six weeks away from home--away from Paul. So, doing the write-a-thon is my way of being a part of something great.
I just finished the rough draft of my story for this week. It's the 8th story that I've written for the write-a-thon, and I might have time for another before the week is done. I'm not sure how much of my motivation of the past six weeks came from my goal of one story a week, but I do think it's helped. I think I'll do it again next year.
I haven't raised a ton of money for Clarion. Honestly, I'm just happy that my number is more than $0. I have a feeling that most other people who participated helped them a lot more than I did. But I hope that what money I did help to raise helps them to continue doing what they do.
I wrote a guest post for Penumbra about why William Shatner is my hero. Go read it!
Confluence, Pittsburgh's annual literary sci-fi convention, is next weekend, July 27-29. I am going to be participating in three events there. The Triangulation: Morning After launch party will be on Saturday at 7pm, then at 9pm, I'll be doing a reading from The Living Dead 2 with John Joseph Adams, Jonathon Maberry, Gary Braunbeck, and David Barr Kirtley. Then I'll be doing a reading from Torn Realties on Sunday at noon with Paul Anderson, Kenneth Cain, and Katy Board.
You can get your copy of Triangulation at the convention. If anyone a copy of any of the boonks I'm in and would like me to sign it, I'll be happy to do so!
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