Award Eligibility

It's that time of year again...or maybe a little late, but better that than never, right?

If you're reading and nominating for science fiction and fantasy awards, please consider my stories from 2017. All four are eligible in the short story category.

Also, please consider the original fiction published by Escape Pod in 2017. As Assistant Editor and then Co-Editor, I am proud of every story we ran last year. Escape Pod is also eligible in the Best Semiprozine category for the Hugo Awards.

Microbiota and the Masses: A Love Story - on (free to read online)

The scents of earth—loam, pollen, compost, the exhalation of leaves—permeated the inside of Moena Sivaram’s airtight home. She stood near the southeast corner and misted the novice bromeliads. The epiphytes clutched the trunk of an elephant ear tree, its canopy stretching up to the clear, SmartWindow-paned roof and shading everything below.

Moena whispered to the plants: “Amma’s here, little babies. You’re safe with me, but you must grow those roots.” With her isolated life, these would be her only children.

Nava - Gamut, Issue 1

Three times Nava tried to change eir skin, and three times e dissolved into primordial ooze. Three times e ended as a painful mess of skeleton, flesh, nerves, and silicon. After the first two failures, Maker collected Nava into a womb and rebuilt Nava to wholeness.

After the third, e regarded Nava's ravaged form and said, "I'm calling in your grandmaker. I'm not sure why this is so hard for you, but maybe Grandmaker will have some insight. Don't worry. You'll come into your abilities." 

Looking Up - in Where the Stars Rise

Ayla clutches her tab with a trembling grip and reads the words again. She can hardly believe her eyes, but the blurring message on the screen doesn't lie: she will be a passenger on the Mayflower expedition. Coming to Denver had been a good attempt at forgetting California, but Mars might be far enough to put her past to rest.

An Unexpected Boon - Apex Magazine (free to read online)

Kalyani had to stop and touch the Jambu trees lining the road, each exactly twice, or else her insides would itch. She counted as she walked.

“Twelve. Fourteen. Sixteen,” she murmured, tapping the bark lightly with the pad of her index finger.

“Hurry up,” Aruni said.

Her brother was three years older and one hundred steps ahead. Kalyani was twelve. She could have kept up with him if it weren’t for the trees.

My Word for 2018

A new year often means a fresh start - out with the old, in with the new. Several years back, I gave up on making resolutions in favor of picking a one-word theme for my year. Resolutions are usually specific and can make you feel like you're failing if you haven't kept them. A theme word, on the other hand, can impact every aspect of your life. It's more about how you live and your attitude than what you do.

Last year's word was "novel," as in, "I really want to write a novel!" but also, I wanted to innovate. Luckily the two ideas overlapped! Having never written anything longer than novella length (about 30,000 words), writing an 85,000 word book was a new challenge. Other aspects of my life pushed me to learn new skills as well. I had to learn how to be co-editor of a professional science fiction magazine (Escape Pod). I taught science and coding labs to elementary school classrooms, which I've never done before. And (in writing) I wrote my first children's book.

Oh, and I learned to navigate summer vacation as a parent for the first time. (I could write an entire blog post about the enormous hassle and expense this causes for working parents...and maybe I will. TL;DR: I'm not a fan.)

This year, my word is "dynamic." I want to be ready to adapt and react to whatever life brings. I also want to be a force for change, to act as well as react. The word fits my mood because, unlike last year, I don't have a singular focus for what I want to accomplish. I need to be ready for anything.

Have you thought about your goals for 2018? Is there a word that captures the direction you want to grow in over the course of the year?

Relief Efforts for Worldwide Weather-Based Disasters

Right now, three areas of the world are suffering from major natural disasters due to weather (rain in all cases). If you'd like to contribute, donating money is the best, most effective way to make sure people get the help that they need.

Sierra Leone: mudslides and flooding on August 14, 2017, destroyed parts of Freetown (the capital) and left over 1000 people dead. 

India, Bangladesh, Nepal: in an area prone to heavy rains, this year has brought unusual amounts of water and flooding. Over 1200 people have died. Nearly one third of Bangladesh is under water.

Texas: Hurricane Harvey is lining up to be the worst hurricane to hit the USA since Katrina in 2004. It's likely to get the most in way of support from someone who might read this post, but it's also going to be the most costly in the way of repairs.

You can donate to disaster relief efforts in all three locations via these charities and NGOs: 

Plan International - Global Disaster Fund

Save the Children - Global Action Fund

Red Cross - Disaster Relief