Accessing the Future: The Pirates Have Landed

Accessing the Future is here! The battle robots, holograms, generation ships,  genetically modified creatures, not to mention some tough-talking space pirates, are all on Amazon, just waiting for  your eyeballs! (you can also find it on Powell’s Books, B&N, and, I suspect, just about any other large, online book-seller).

Get yours  today! Help us boost our Amazon  ratings! All the coolest shapeshifters and giant robot warriors are doing it.  The more copies we sell today (July 1st)  the higher our Amazon rating will be, and the more likely the anthology will be recommended to Amazon shoppers in other searches! Kindle or hard-copy, pick your method of absorption. Let’s boost this bitch!

http://www.amazon.com/Accessing-Future-Disability-Themed-Anthology-Speculative-ebook/dp/B010IU2IQU/ref=sr_1_1_twi_2_kin?ie=UTF8&qid=1435788534&sr=8-1&keywords=accessing+the+future

This is an important anthology for a whole mess of reasons (some of which will be discussed in a more in-depth  post on a different  space) but one reason is that it’s fun. One of the best ways to destigmatize and “normalize” disability is to create honest, messy, multi-faceted  disabled characters who are a valuable part of stories that are fun to read.

Prepare to have fun, while reading this anthology. Prepare also to receive varied and interesting windows into several types of adapted existence. The future’s a cool and funky place.

Feel free to post your own mini-review in the comments!

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Hooray for Locus, Ellen Kushner, and Early Reviews!

So, holy crap! The people have cast their votes. The Locus Award finalists are in, and it appears that the home of my very first pro sale, Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction From the Margins of History has made the shortlist for Best Anthology!

That’s some truly head-exploding news for a baby writer to wake up to. It’s been over a year, and I still feel dizzyingly fortunate to have been a part of something as varied and wonderful as Long Hidden. To discover that other people find it to be  as utterly full of wonders as I do…  well, that’s just the most beautiful and sparking icing on the cake I can think of.

Very few people can say that their first paid work as a writer found a home in such company as Tananarive Due, Sofia Samatar, Sarah Pinsker, Ken Liu, Thoraiya Dyer, Christina Lynch… and even fewer people can say that their first paid work was part an anthology so well-appreciated that it incited its readers to want to bestow on it something  they’d normally only give to that Song of Ice and Fire guy.

Needless to say, I’m crazy humbled. Congratulations to all my Long Hidden betters, in particular to the radiant Sofia Samatar, whose absolutely wonder-stuffed, “Ogres of East Africa” is up for Best Short Story. Good luck everyone. In the words of the marginalized poet, Fezzik the Giant: “Inigo… I hope we win!”

In other writerly news, the order period for the e-book Angels of the Meanwhile has been extended for one glorious month. You now have until June 1st to order this eclectic and beautifully strange volume of prose, poetry, and short fiction. And, good God, if we’re gonna talk about icing, another one of my favorite living authors, Ellen Kushner, has added her prose piece to the table of contents! How cool is that? I’ll tell you. It’s ridiculously cool. It’s a dog-pile of cool.

So, for the price of your choosing, you get poetry by the shimmering Catherynne M. Valente, (oh my God!!), prose by the unbeatable Ellen Kushner (oh my God, folks, oh my God!!!) a new story by me (it’s a nice, short one) and tons of other cool works, both new and previously published. Here’s the link again, for those of you who need it. Just ignore the place where it tells you the pre-order ends May 1st. JUNE 1st is your date. Go and do it!

http://alexandraerin.dreamwidth.org/638796.html

Also, most nerve-wrackingly, the reviews have already started to trickle in for Accessing the Future. I’m sure it will all be very exciting, once I stop hyperventilating and shake the feeling back into my legs. Before I go, check out this early shout-out from Publishers Weekly! Nice work Future Crew, we snagged a star! (my pirates earned themselves a little mention, too!)

http://publishersweekly.com/pw/reviews/single/978-0-9573975-4-5

Ideas Are the Diamonds in Your Head : You’re Not Running Low, So Don’t Shed Any Blood

From the outside, folks, it’s been a rough month for writing.

My husband (along with thousands of other hardworking writers) suffered gutting losses a few weeks ago when the cloud-based screenwriting program Scripped finally collapsed under the weight of its own incompetence, taking about a decade’s worth of collective writing with it.

My husband actually lost very little when compared to some others. Always diligent about backing up our little growing stock-pile of pilots and spec scripts, husband managed to rescue everything but a couple of short film scripts. A ridiculous level of good fortune when you take into consideration the sheer volume of intellectual property that has been lost (and, quite callously, will never be retrieved.)

But it’s difficult to find yourself fortunate when what’s been lost is something you were on the brink of finishing. Suddenly, the quirky, bright, funny little short film we had planned to spend our summer shooting was gone from beneath our fingertips. As anyone who writes can understand, husband’s still not up for tackling the complete re-write of a script he’s spent more than a year on, and we’re left floundering, a little broken-hearted, for a new summer project.

I also seem to be striking out with the submissions lately: Two rejections so far this month, with a probable third coming any day now. At the very least, I know that my super-cool Lovecraftian horror story of Japanese- Canadian internment during WWII will not be appearing in the new all-women Lovecraft anthology Dreams From the Witch House. And that my kick-ass urban fantasy tale of a sewerage worker battling magical beasties in a hopelessly crumbling and outdated London sewage system will never see the inside of  Evil Girlfriend’s Women in Practical Armor anthology (apparently Evil Girlfriend and I disagree as to whether a level C protection haz-mat suit may be classified as “armor”.)

Not long ago– not very long at all–the cumulative effect of all these setbacks would have been to send me into a coma of creative uselessness. I would have spent all my waking hours wondering if I would ever write again, and consequently, would never have written again.

But what I thought when staring down a Witch House table of contents that did not include my story of a ten-year-old internee was: “Huh. Didn’t I write that story just a few months ago? For a totally different all-women Lovecraft anthology? By a totally different press? In a totally different country? Gosh, there are a lot of Lovecraft anthologies out there.”

And when I learned my sewerage worker’s story wasn’t going to be published just yet, I remembered suddenly that she should never have had her own short story at all. That the band of hard-edged, radically self-sufficient young squatters she teams up with to scurry around the bowels of a supernatural London are infinitely more important characters. The sewerage worker was merely the newest addition to a London they’d  been inhabiting for years. I had, in fact, had a whole urban fantasy work about squatters and squatting rattling around in my head for nearly a decade.

The stories you write to avoid writing other stories!

But all of this got me thinking. Perhaps all being an honest-to-God pro writer is, is getting to a place where rejection feels so commonplace that it no longer fully occupies your thoughts, even in the moment of facing the rejection letter. Perhaps all that separates the Working Writer from the office-worker who writes occasional stories, is an understanding that ideas are not rare or delicate things.

Because good ideas, in fact, are plentiful. They’re durable. They’re re-usable. They can, under the right conditions, be forcibly created. And a writer who actually writes has to learn that pretty quickly if she means to keep writing. Writing, as a job, requires a kind of throwing around and a swapping in and out of ideas that just isn’t possible if we clutch every idea we ever have to our bosom and declare there’ll never be another one as bright or as glittering or as clear.

This myth of rarity is really what trips us butterfly-headed creative types up. Like the myth of Pure Art, the myth of rarity paralyzes our creativity at precisely the moments when the act of creation is most necessary. Ideas are everywhere. EVERYWHERE.  And if you were clever enough to stumble upon this one (yes, this beautiful brilliant one they didn’t want)  then another one is not far from you. Ideas by themselves, even at their most brilliant and pure, are only ever semi-precious.

Perhaps what truly needs to go is this artist’s conviction that good ideas are a kind of fickle spirit that settles on us. We’re human. Our brains are specially designed to seek out and recognize good ideas. The truth is, a Working Writer goes digging for ideas. She deliberately puts herself in situations that produce ideas, and then she shamelessly, greedily, pragmatically mines the results. Some of the best, most beautiful things in the world are created from the ideas we make ourselves have.

We need to trust in the capacity of our brains to keep producing ideas, to keep changing and tweaking and re-contextualizing the ideas we have in order to create something new. We need to trust that the creation of ideas can happen just as reliably and frequently as the rejection of them.

A fellow writer recently felt at a loss when the periodical that solicited her for an article didn’t seem to love any of the ideas she came up with. “I don’t really know what they want from me,” she said. Really, how many times in our careers do we writers utter that self-defeating lament. Well, obviously, I don’t really know what they want! Obviously! What can I do if they don’ t want what I have?

To that fellow writer, to myself, to all of us: What they want from you is one more idea. Then one more. Then one more. Then one more after that. They want everything you can throw at them, and then some stuff you didn’t know you had. Go on. Go digging. Dig yourself out a good idea!  We’ll be in the mines right along with you.

So, folks, I guess what I’m saying is that it’s definitely been a surprising, difficult month for writing. I’m looking forward to digging out a glittering new short film with husband, and I’m busily tweaking those two (or three) sparkly little stories to be used elsewhere.

A bad month? Honestly, I don’t really have time to know. I’ve got to get back to work.

Meanwhile…

In writerly news, the crazy cool limited edition e-book Angels of the Meanwhile finally has a table of contents! Check it out, and tell me you don’t wanna get your hands on this little morsel!

http://alexandraerin.dreamwidth.org/638796.html

For the low, low, price of whatever the hell you want, you can read my story “Changed” along with poetry and prose by at least thirty other wicked, quirky, beautiful astounding authors  (Cat Valente, folks! It doesn’t get quirkier or more beautiful than that!)

While there’s no centralized theme to this anthology, you’ll find my little winged debutante tucked in amongst dozens of mermaids, monster girls, witches and wonders just like her.

You’ve got until May 1st to buy this thing, after which I turn into an unseasonably early pumpkin. Get it now. Save me from being a pumpkin, and help someone whose insurance company is essentially putting a band-aid on her torn tendon and telling her to walk it off! Let’s make lives better with some art!

Space Pirates, and Some Angels

In latest writerly news, the official release date of the anthology Accessing the Future, home of my big bad space pirates as well as fourteen other brand-new disability-themed science fiction stories, has been set for July 1st.

I don’t write with great frequency about disability (for reasons I will discuss at length in a later post)  but I’m very happy that my hard-bitten little space opera, “Pirate Songs” has found a home in something like Accessing the Future, alongside such talents as Sarah Pinsker and Rachael K. Jones.

Accessing the Future is not a collection of essays on the stigmatization of disability thinly disguised as fiction; It is a collection that endeavors to create windows into several varied embodied experiences of disability, as well as to create a dialogue about disability as a relative concept. What would a “disability” be in a future where the landscape of ability is radically different from that which we now inhabit?  Given that “disability” is a relative term, and thus, like “poverty”, will always exist, what technologies and spaces will exist in the future for the optimization of personal ability?

It’s got Mech- battles, generation ships, sex in zero-gravity, crazy hologram use, genetic engineering, all that good shit!

And, oh my God, space pirates! Holy cats, did I have fun writing the space pirates!(New Idea: we desperately need an SF/F anthology that centers around pirates–historical, modern, futuristic, fantastical, of space, cyberspace, and sea–and the reasons why we’re so obsessed with them. Kickstarter, anyone?)

Also in writerly news, a tiny little piece of historical fantasy called “Changed” (you might call it my “A Very Young Girl With Enormous Wings” story) will appear in an e-chapbook  alongside one of my absolute favorite authors, Catherynne M. Valente (squee! I never thought I would actually use the word squee!) and many other glowingly brilliant authors and artists (like the amazing Rose Lemberg, and neo-pagan folk musician SJ Tucker. Read the full table of contents here: http://alexandraerin.dreamwidth.org/638796.html ).

The e-book, entitled Angels of the Meanwhile will be a collection of new and previously published works, incidentally released the day before  Accessing the Future, NEVER TO BE RELEASED AGAIN! and the only way to get it is to pre-order it from the link below. Order now, folks! Pay what you can. All donations go to pay for the desperately-needed surgery of  a very loved and well-respected lady.

http://alexandraerin.dreamwidth.org/636831.html

I’m Blogging Like I Mean It: This One’s Real

Hello! You reached the blog of one Nicolette Barischoff, fresh-faced writer of  speculative fiction, peerless pirate queen, proud Ravenclaw, and freelancing turtle.

Here you will find news items (which stories are coming out where and when, and what I’m working on at the moment) essays, about and informed by the experience of writing (I’ve tried this before. We’ll see how it goes) and perhaps even a stray story or two (what can I say? Some stories cannot be bought. Or sold.)

I’ll try to update this space as often as possible,  but I’m a naturally slow mover with a whole house on her back. Contact me on Twitter (@NBarischoff) if you have  questions re my work schedule, or any of the projects you read about, here.