Awards Eligibility 2023
Awards Eligibility 2023
It's become a tradition in recent years for authors to do a roundup of stories published each year, categorized for people who do reading to nominate for awards, such as the Hugos and Nebulas. To that end, I'm presenting a comprehensive list of all my original fiction that was published somewhere in 2023.
Mostly I published flash fiction this year (stories of 1000 words or less), as my focus has been on longform projects. However, I did publish one full-length short story, "The Sound of Children Screaming," which appeared in Nightmare Magazine in October 2023. I consider this the best short story I released this year, and one of the finest stories I've written to date. It's eligible for both fantasy and horror awards. If you have time to read only one thing, I would recommend this one.
The complete list (links will be updated as they become available):
"The Sound of Children Screaming" - Nightmare Magazine, October 2023 (4600 words, dark fantasy). When a teacher and eight children hide in a closet during a school shooting, they end up in a fantastic world both stranger and darker than the one they fled. The fantastic world offers them the power to fight back, but only if they have the courage to return to their school again.
"How My Sister Talked Me Into Necromancy During Quarantine" - Small Wonders, September 2023 (850 words, comedy horror). Everyone did stuff they regret during the 2020 COVID-19 lockdowns. Sometimes it involved necromancy.
"Seven Ways to Find Yourself at the Transdimensional Multifandom Convention" - Flash Fiction Online, December 2023 (1000 words, sci-fantasy). In which interdimensional doubles meet up for a weekend of fandom, fun, and self-discovery.
"Gifts from the Cyborg Battlefront" - Nature: Futures, August 2023 (900 words, science fiction).
"My Bonsai Lover in Winter" - The Deadlands, November 2023 (850 words, science fiction). The caretaker of a distant planetary research station grapples with the life cycle of a cherished alien lover.
"Where Red-Striped Balloons Float Far and Free" - The Maul, April 2023 (850 words, horror). Sound the alarms, hide the kids, and don your anti-clown paint: the circus is coming to town!
"Twelve Aspects of the Dragon" - The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, November 2023 (400 words, fantasy). This very short prose-poem is about the mutual obsession that develops between a dragon and the thief that has come to rob its hoard.
I set off in 2023 to try lots of new things as a writer. I took three different workshops: the Highlights Novel Intensive for Speculative Fiction, the Launch Pad Astronomy Workshop, and Kij Johnson's terrific Repeat Offenders workshop, which was held in-person for the first time since 2019. One big takeway is that I really like workshops! I think it's how they really enforce a separation between daily stressors and the writing. I'd love to keep making workshops and retreats a part of my year, when feasible.
This year, I also pushed myself to try new things creatively, playing around with other forms such as game writing and screenwriting. Along with my ongoing novel projects, it made for a good year to study other forms and learn what makes stories tick. Plus, trying new things replenishes my creative well and teaches me new things about prose forms too.
I read a lot of nonfiction this year, mainly books that deal with ethics, justice, and community values. A few favorites include: Accountable by Dashka Slater, which traces the fallout from an incident in which a bunch of teen boys made a racist Instagram account featuring their Black female classmates; Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink, which recounts a hospital that lost power during Hurricane Katrina, and how some of the medical staff decided to euthanize the sickest patients; and Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do? by Michael Sandal, which is about conceptions of justice throughout history. I also really enjoyed a book called White Hot Hate by Dick Lehr, which is about a really decent guy who infiltrated a white supremacist militia on behalf of the FBI, and prevented a terrorist attack on his refugee neighbors.
In fiction, I loved Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin, which punched me in all the feels. The Bruising of Qilwa by Naseem Jamnia was another standout as a secondary-world fantasy about a medical clinic serving the poor during a strange disease outbreak. And Grady Hendrix's The Final Girl Support Group is tons of fun and very well-paced, as his books always are.
I'm still taking stock of what I want from 2024. Mainly I want to finish more projects and make space for novelty. I want to try my hand at some subgenres outside of my usual wheelhouse, and I want to find more ways to stay connected with other writers in my community. Whatever happens, I am feeling the wind beneath my wings, and lots of excitement to see what I'll do next.