“Coins for Their Eyes” is published at Apex Magazine

My story “Coins for Their Eyes” is now live at Apex Magazine! The story is about psychopomps, ghost dolls, and liminal spaces.  There’s also an interview with me in the same issue where I talk about the story, the future of those characters, and a lot of other things.

Eyebrows are the hardest part. Lips are comparatively easy and forgiving of a bit of asymmetry. Cheek and body blushing, if it’s subtle, is similar. But eyebrows require me to start with the finest possible lines with the pastels. They don’t have to be exactly the same — how many have I sent out into the world with one brow lifted, as if they were sardonically puzzled? — but they do have to be somewhat similar in depth and thickness to be believable.

Eyes, too, are difficult, even though I merely install those instead of paint and pastel them. It’s the gaze, you see. They have to be canted at similar but not identical angles, or else the dolls have a wall–eyed stare. Tonight, I’m working from a photograph. The girl in the picture is perhaps twenty. Her hair is dark red, definitely dyed, though the freckles are real enough. She stares up at me, pouting. She didn’t like having her picture taken.

I don’t know who she was, only that she came stapled to a card that gave an address in Wisconsin. I’ll be there the day after tomorrow. Heather McClare, says the card in looping handwriting. I’ve added Heather to the map, both the atlas and the state map. I’ll finish her face tonight and seal it, and tomorrow night she’ll be given eyes and a body and a wig.

Then, I will go find Heather and do what is needful.

To read the rest, go to Apex Magazine.


Clarion West Write-a-thon: wrapping up

In a lot of ways, this year was a shakedown cruise for me in my new role running communications for Clarion West. I took on a lot and saw it all through, with help from our staff and many volunteers. I learned a bunch of things, and I did have a really good time meeting and hanging out with the Clarion West class of 2014.

I didn’t quite make my writing goals–partially because I tossed out my entire first chapter, and partially because I just plain old ran out of steam in the last couple of weeks. My sponsors, however, are still getting their cute talking-animals novelette (and so can you, if you’d like to sponsor me!) You can sponsor me through the end of August.  Clarion West is really close to its fundraising goals–please support the workshop and the community.

Sponsor me now!

(I managed to catch a cold on the last day of the workshop, so I am lying low for a few days to recover. My writing brain is starting up again, but we’ll see how that goes.)


Clarion West Write-a-thon Week 4 progress report

Sometimes, things happen during first drafts.

Last week, one of those things happened.  I was about 4000 words into the draft of Rise of Grace, and it was getting harder and harder to write. Often, when that happens, it turns out that I’m doing something wrong.

I set the draft aside for a couple of days and came back to it, and realized that those 4000 words had issues.  Issues big enough that the only real cure for them was to toss out those words (I’ll recycle some of them) and start over.

Sometimes, you have to get the wrong words out before you can get the right ones.

 

 Thistle trotted through the narrow halls of the palace, dodging guards, her sturdy new boots thumping on the tile with a pleasantly authoritative air. She tried not to shift her shoulders in her new armor too much. She wanted her old armor back, bits and pieces scavenged from plunder and gambled for over too much beer. This armor had been made for her, and it was attractive enough with its design of feathers on the dark leather, but it was all wrong. It fit like someone else’s boot—passably only.

She was happier with the daggers that rode at her hips. Those, at least, were weapons she could be proud of, with their long, wicked blades and their fine balance.

She was going to worry at the armor, though. You can’t skulk around the place looking like a— Lynnis had thought better of whatever she’d been about to day after Thistle had objected.

Raider, Thistle had finished for her. There was no shame in it. She was—had been—exactly that.

Also a smuggler and general ne’er-do-well, she thought, and grinned. Her glory days weren’t behind her, even if she had for the moment traded her own armor for the ill-fitting garb of a Hawk. She was still a windmaga, and her identity as Seaclan was written in the tattooed blessing on her face and the tilt of her eyes.

Sponsor me now!


Clarion West Write-a-thon Week 3 progress report

As you might imagine, I am a little busy (and a lot forgetful) at the moment–summer has arrived in Seattle, and this is the Season–where speculative fiction writers and readers get together for weekly readings and gatherings.  I’m hosting online events for Clarion West (a Tweetchat today and a Google Hangout interview with Randy Henderson next Sunday) and yes….writing as I have time and energy.

I have some sponsors (thank you!) but I would love more–by sponsoring me, you’ll get a new excerpt from the book I’m writing every week and a bonus ebook at the end of the Write-a-thon. Sounds good, right?  Every little bit–$10, $20, $50–helps!

In Thistle’s mind, her Bright stirred, a gust winding around her. That was the only warning she got before Idris dropped from the ceiling, the ribbons fluttering around her. Pressing her hands down against the air, her fall slowed abruptly as Thistle’s bright stirred in reaction.

Thistle had never met another warmaga who had such precise control over her talent—mostly they were good for blowing holes in building and shield walls.

Irdris landed on one of the steps, her knees taking what was left of the fall before bouncing upright with a satisfied smirk on her lips. Thistle laughed. “You’re going to break your neck some day, doing that.”

“Probably.” Idris gave her a thin smile. To Lynnis, she said, “It worked perfectly. Not even Thistle spotted me.”

“Not that I was looking.”

Sponsor me now!

Why should you sponsor me?

You’ll get sneak peeks into what I’m writing and at the end of the Write-a-thon, you’ll get a novelette cowritten by me and Storm Wilder. But not just that, you’ll be supporting me and my writing.

But if you don’t feel like sponsoring me, there are a ton of writers writing for the Write-a-thon like J.M. Sidorova, Rochita Loenen-RuizAn Owomoyela, Nisi ShawlNalo Hopkinson, and Cassandra Rose Clarke — women, PoC, people whose voices are from outside the mainstream.

Why should you support Clarion West?

Clarion West runs a six-week workshop for writers of speculative fiction at the beginning of their careers. It doesn’t do just that, though—it provides continuing education for writers, and it provides a community that extends around the world.

More than that, though, it provides support and access for writers who might otherwise have high barriers to getting published.

Supporting Clarion West supports new and diverse voices in science fiction and fantasy. These are the writers you’ll want to be reading 5, 10, 20 years down the road.

Sponsor me here: http://www.clarionwest.org/members/kris-millering/

Browse the list of writers here: http://www.clarionwest.org/groups/write-a-thon-2014/members/

Learn more about the Write-a-thon and sponsor multiple writers here: http://www.clarionwest.org/writeathon/


Clarion West Write-a-thon Week 1 progress report

The knot of courtiers drew closer together. Thistle wanted to reassure them that the wholesale slaughter was done with, but she dared not speak out of turn—and besides, Idris might well make a liar out of her. She knew her partner’s nature well, and it had been a long and trying day.

It’s been slow going the last few days, as I have been busy both with Clarion West and my day job work, but I have managed to squeak out about 900 words on the first chapter of Rise of Grace.  I will definitely have something to show by week’s end for my sponsors.

You want to be one of the very first people to start reading the tale of a newly minted Queen and how she manages to hold her country together even as forces both internal and external try to tear it apart, right?  Then sponsor me for the Clarion West Write-a-thon!

Sponsor me now!

Why should you sponsor me?

You’ll get sneak peeks into what I’m writing and at the end of the Write-a-thon, you’ll get a novelette cowritten by me and Storm Wilder. But not just that, you’ll be supporting me and my writing.

But if you don’t feel like sponsoring me, there are a ton of writers writing for the Write-a-thon like J.M. Sidorova, Rochita Loenen-RuizAn Owomoyela, Nisi ShawlNalo Hopkinson, and Cassandra Rose Clarke — women, PoC, people whose voices are from outside the mainstream.

Why should you support Clarion West?

Clarion West runs a six-week workshop for writers of speculative fiction at the beginning of their careers. It doesn’t do just that, though—it provides continuing education for writers, and it provides a community that extends around the world.

More than that, though, it provides support and access for writers who might otherwise have high barriers to getting published.

Supporting Clarion West supports new and diverse voices in science fiction and fantasy. These are the writers you’ll want to be reading 5, 10, 20 years down the road.

Sponsor me here: http://www.clarionwest.org/members/kris-millering/

Browse the list of writers here: http://www.clarionwest.org/groups/write-a-thon-2014/members/

Learn more about the Write-a-thon and sponsor multiple writers here: http://www.clarionwest.org/writeathon/