[Short Story] “Once More With Soul”

I have a love-hate relationship with our new virtual world.

On the one hand, my day job has always been virtual (I’m a freelance writer), so I’m pretty comfortable conducting business via video and phone call. And now that everyone else is doing it, I’ve had so many experiences with friends and family that we should have done before.

Virtual game night with friends in Seattle after their kids went to bed? Why weren’t we always doing this?

Virtual craft play dates with my sister’s kids who live 3 hours away? Why weren’t we always doing this?

Happy hour book club discussions with girlfriends who live in different cities?

It’s fantastic!

You can attend virtual conferences, which makes them more accessible because you don’t have to take into account travel costs and travel time — or even bigger hurdles to accessibility for people who may have disabilities that make attending conferences impossible.

I can go to my friend’s book launch reading in New York City via my computer. I can having morning coffee (for me)/happy hour (for them) networking dates with friends in Israel.

We’re a little more connected.

On the other hand… I spend all day looking at the computer. I want to hang out with my friends, I want to attend your reading, I want to watch that panel — but I really really really don’t want to stare at a screen any more.

That was a really big preamble to what I wanted to say, which is this:

Back in March, I had a short story come out in an anthology called Eighteen: Stories of Mischief and Mayhem, and I didn’t tell any of you about it because — well. You remember March.

Or maybe you don’t.

March lasted 30 years, and is mostly a blur to me.

Anyway, we were going to have a reading party for the anthology on the spring solstice, but that fell apart. And because we were in the early weeks of “what is even happening,” no one was thinking about all the fantastic virtual ways we could have held that reading.

So I decided to film myself reading my short story from the anthology, “Once More with Soul.”

(I got the idea to do a video from the fantabulous Wendy N. Wagner, who read a selection from her story in the anthology, “When Only Bears Carry Arms, Only Weapons Will Be Born.” Check Wendy’s reading out here.)

It’s a story about a sharp-dressing crossroads devil out to make a good bargain by the light of the moon.

Given the subject matter and the fact that I recorded this on editor Mark Teppo’s birthday, I decided to gussy myself up and wear some dramatic makeup.

Also I hadn’t left the house in like fifteen decades, give or take, I’m losing track.

Grab your copy of XVIII here.

You will be very impressed with the quality of the stories Mark collected, believe you me.

And then there’s this gem:

Photo by Lucas Leon on Unsplash

Happy October! And notes from my reading at Mother Foucault’s Bookstore

Crunchy leaves, cozy scarves, boots and tights, fall colors — having lived nearly all my life in the Pacific Northwest, October has always been one of my favorite times of the year.

Back home on the farm, it was a wonderful time of harvest parties and pumpkins and not having to drive the combine any more.

In the city, it’s a glorious celebration of knitwear and cute boots and leaves crunching underfoot.

This year, reaching October means I unlocked a pretty special Halloween achievement:

The orange globe lights we hung on our front porch for last Halloween are now seasonally appropriate again!

And because we left them up all year, they’re coated with spiderwebs, which makes them extra creepy.

Take that, neighbors.

Fall is also a time of welcome reflection for me. The busyness of summer has finally calmed down, and I can take a breath and take stock of what I where I want to be by the end of 2018, and what I’m going to do to get there.

On the writing side of things, 2018’s major goal was to write and publish another novella (Deviant Flux) and the first three books in the Bulari Saga series (set in the Durga System).

While Deviant Flux will definitely be coming out this year, I’m still finishing up the other three books. So one of my goals for October is to blast out some words and get these books written.

(By the way, if you’re excited about Deviant Flux, be sure to head here to make sure you get notified when it’s ready for preorder.)

How about you? How’s your October going?

I know that while I’m in a stereotypical autumn situation, not everyone’s October looks like falling leaves and pumpkin patches.

I’d love to hear from you: What’s typical for your location in October?

Photos encouraged!

Mother Foucault’s Reading

Thank you to everyone who showed up last Thursday to Mother Foucault’s for my reading with Francesca Varela. It was a really casual setting, and we had a wonderful time. I especially loved the chill Q&A discussion at the end.

And thank you to my friend, author Elizabeth Mitchell, for snapping the photos of me.

If you’re interested, she also took a couple of videos, which you can find below. (The sound is a bit quiet.)

In the first video, I’m introducing the Durga System series and talking a bit about my inspirations.

In the second video, I read a bit from Deviant Flux. If you want an exclusive sneak preview, give it a watch!

Screenshot of my reading — introductionScreenshot of my reading — Deviant Flux Excerpt