Story time!

New month, new school term, and not one but two new stories for you to read for free!

Big exciting news today: I have *two* stories out, both available to read for free online! The first is in Clarkesworld (which has the most awesome cover this month), it’s called “The Slow Deaths of Automobiles”, and it’s a story about growing up, moving on and saying goodbye– with self-driving cars.

The second story is in Luna Station Quarterly and it’s a(n early) Christmas story, of sorts, a British folk-horror inspired exploration of the true meaning of Misrule.

Enjoy both stories and please support the publications!

The Lunchtime Writer Guest Post 1: Dawn Vogel

When you work a day job as an author, you sometimes need to carve out bits of time when you can write. For me, when I worked in an office, that time was my lunch break. Even though I sat at the front desk and needed to answer phones, I could usually spend the bulk of my hour-long lunch typing bits of a story or a novel while I ate. More often, I spent about fifteen minutes devouring my food, and then forty-five minutes writing.

I’m a fast typist; if I’m really in the zone with a story or other creative project, I can easily get close to 1,000 words in forty to sixty minutes. For me, 1,000 words is roughly a scene in a novel chapter. With four or five days a week of writing during lunch, I could write about a chapter and a half a week. Several of my novels were largely drafted on my lunch breaks, over the course of several months.

The one thing that lunch time writing didn’t really let me do was revising and editing longer pieces. For those, I tended to want a little more focus and often a little more time. But for drafting quickly, lunch was a perfect opportunity.

Now that I’ve been working from home for nearly two years, I find that I don’t get as much writing done on my lunch break. My husband also works from home, and we usually chat during our respective lunch breaks. Some days, I go for a walk during the second part of my lunch break. Often, there are little household chores that I can knock out instead of writing. The time just doesn’t feel as focused and dedicated as it did when I was in the office daily.

However, I still use similar techniques when I want to draft something quickly. I’ll set myself a timer for twenty or thirty minutes and just write until the alarm sounds. Similar to the Pomodoro technique, I will often break up my writing sprints with short breaks, either to move around so I’m not in my seat all day, or to focus on another task for a bit. I find that using this technique helps me get more done without feeling overwhelmed by the larger project.

So, while my blocks of writing time may no longer be quite as organized around my lunch break, I still make use of short sprints of time to draft new pieces. It’s a useful technique for anyone who doesn’t have as much uninterrupted writing time as they might want!

Dawn Vogel has written for children, teens, and adults, spanning genres, places, and time periods. More than 100 of her stories and poems have been published by small and large presses. Her specialties include young protagonists, siblings who bicker but love each other in the end, and things in the water that want you dead. She is a member of Broad Universe, SFWA, and Codex Writers. She lives in Seattle with her awesome husband (and fellow author), Jeremy Zimmerman, and their herd of cats. You can find her and her lunchtime drafted novels at historythatneverwas.com or chat with her on Twitter @historyneverwas.

FitzJames and Moyo Make The BSFA Longlist!

I can’t believe it! I’m on the BSFA Award longlist *twice!* It’s for my stories “The Ghosts of Trees” (climate fiction about accepting the things you can’t change and changing the things you can) and “Things Can Only Get Better” (a FitzJames and Moyo Mystery about a surgical bot turned taxi who cracks a gambling ring) Both are available for free at the links. Members can read the full list and vote here— deadline is 21 February.

New Story: Memory Spider

Happy new year! My short story “Memory Spider” is now up at Abyss&Apex. It’s about mourning the dead, life with a famous parent, and a giant robot spider (but don’t worry, she’s friendly)

Editor Wendy Delmater had this to say about the story on Facebook:
““This is, to me, a quintessential A&A story. If you want to know what we buy? Study it.”

Click here to read the story for free

Holiday Gift: “The Egg Man” for Free!

For the holidays, I’ve uploaded my 2014 holiday-adjacent weird-fiction story “The Egg Man”, a tale of Boxing Day, madness and the Beatles first published in the seasonal anthology Sanity Clause Is Coming. Download it below, and enjoy a nice antidote to the eggnog!

Podcasting about children’s books

This week, I’m the guest on Fantasy Book Swap, the podcast hosted by literature specialist Ali Baker, where we discuss one classic children’s book, one modern children’s book, and anything else that’s relevant! Ali and I discuss Edward Eager’s Knights’ Castle, Stephanie Burgis’ The Dragon With The Chocolate Heart, and a lot of other things (like whether or not Anne is the Sansa Stark of the Famous Five). You can listen to it here, or via your favourite podcast app.