napowrimo_plum I’m doing NaPoWriMo again this year. Like last year, I’ll be posting NaPoWriMo inspirational poems here and at my blog, and linking to cool prompts at sites like Read Write Poem. I won’t be posting my poems (I want to be able to submit them for publication later) but I’ll be talking about what I’m working on and how my process is going. And I’ll be tweeting to keep my sanity.

Take your protein pills and put your helmet on

The organizers of 2010: A Space Oddity (mentioned formerly) have sent me a tentative list of their events:

  • The Art of Book Covers: A/V Pesentation on how illustration and design come together to create a book cover. *Lou Anders, three time Hugo nominated Editorial Director and Chesley Award Winning Art Director of Pyr Books hosts a presentation on how science fiction book covers are created, from commissioning artists, to art direction, to final layout and design. The presentation will feature artwork from some of the most celebrated names in science fiction and fantasy illustration, including some never seen before pieces.
  • A Star Ripped Apart by a Black Hole? *While the evidence for high-mass and low-mass black holes is incontrovertible, whether Nature creates black holes of intermediate-mass (1000 – 10,000 times the mass of the Sun) is still quite controversial. We present work indicating that not only do intermediate-mass black holes exist in the centers of dense globular star clusters, but that in one instance the black hole has ripped apart a star that has strayed too close to it. The unusual chemical signature of the debris suggests the star that was ripped apart was a white dwarf, the stellar corpse of a star that no longer burns hydrogen in its core. (Yuanyan Su presenting the current research of astronomy professor Dr. Jimmy Irwin of the University of Alabama.)
  • Dark visions and bright: SF poetry reading: *The Science Fiction Poetry Association sponsors a reading of speculative poetry (science fiction, fantasy, horror, and everything in between). Authors like Ursula K. Le Guin and Roger Zelazny wrote novels to pay the bills, but they wrote poetry because they needed to. Come find out what depths and heights can be fit into just a few well-chosen words. (David C. Kopaska-Merkel, Peg Duthie and Joanne Merriam)
  • Mother Goose has a lot to answer for (Reading): *Who killed Humpty Dumpty? Who forced the old woman to swallow the fly? David Kopaska-Merkel reads from his recent book, “Nursery Rhyme Noir.” Shocking crimes lie behind the seeming innocence of nursery rhymes and children’s stories. Fortunately, Hasp Deadbolt, P.I., is on the case.
  • Why everybody should be reading Science Fiction: *My father was born before the Wright Brothers flew, and he lived to see the landing on the Moon. That was when change was coming at a snail’s pace. Now we live in a technological avalanche. But people naturally resist change. Someone mentions clones, or the capability to manipulate genetics and we’re automatically opposed. It’s as if these ideas, and others, fell out of the sky. But SF people have spent the last seventy years looking at the various directions we might take, and it helps them make smart choices. Another reason to read SF: At its best, it makes dazzling entertainment. – Jack McDivett
  • When Wallpapering the Den with Your Stories is Not an Option: A Q&A on Submission Etiquette: *Writing is one thing, but making it possible for millions of potential fans to read your work is quite another. David Kopaska-Merkel (speculative poet, fiction writer, and editor of Dreams & Nightmares magazine), Peg Duthie (author and editor) and Joanne Merriam (poet, fiction writer and former staffer of the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia) answer your questions about submission etiquette and standard practices in the book and magazine industries.
  • It’s Time for the Bloodletting (Reading): *Joanne Merriam reads from her short post-apocalyptic story, “Sundowning,” which just appeared in Strange Horizons. Set in a future where vampires keep humans around for food, a fry cook struggles with her father’s Alzheimer’s. Merriam has had fiction in The Fiddlehead, On Spec, Southern Gothic and Stirring, and is a winner of the Strange Horizons Readers’ Award. You can find more of her work online at
  • Micro Black Holes and the LHC Scare: Dr. Ben Harms.
  • Hanny’s Voorwep: The Rise of the Digital Amateur Astronomer: Dr. William Keel.
  • Ask an Astronomer and Physicist: *Do you have questions about space or physics? Well come and enjoy this Q&A on astronomy and physics with University of Alabama professors! Hosted by the Astronomy and Physics departments, Dr. Dean Townsley, Dr. Dawn Williams, and Dr. William Keel will be taking questions from the audience related to astronomy and physics.
  • Anthropology in Science Fiction: Exploring the Human Condition through Imagined Worlds: *We will compare portrayals in science fiction to anthropological perspectives on questions such as: What makes a human? Where does our species come from, and where are we headed? How important are the differences that separate us? Can we ever really understand each other? – Dr. Jason DeCaro.
  • Sci Fi and Gaming (TP) (45 min) – ABXY
  • The Science Fiction of Japanese Anime: *Have a look into the world of science fiction in Japanese anime with the people who brought you the anime convention KamiCon. See how technology in anime affects the path of modern technology, and how modern technology affects anime. Why does the most technologically advanced country in the world find anime so important? – Raymond Lenzer, KamiCon
  • War of the Worlds Broadcasting Scare: Adam Schwartz
  • Characters, Plot and Backstory: The Mechanics of Fiction: *All too often, the plots and backstories of science fiction and fantasy take precedence over the development of characters. Alex White gives you a series of tips and tricks designed to get you thinking about what drives a story.
  • Robotics programing and demonstration: Dr. Monica Anderson and ACM
  • How to get rejected: * Editors and their screeners are inundated with manuscripts from people they’ve never heard of. Hundreds of them pour in over the transom every day. So naturally they look for reasons to get rid of them, to send them back with the standard rejection letter. And to do it without having to read past the first page. Or often even the first paragraph. Here’s how we can make it easy for them to reject our submission. – Jack McDevitt

And, I will be selling copies of Edgewise. I got the covers printed yesterday, so I just need to bind them and my pre-orders will be mailed out. I’m still taking pre-orders if you’d like to get in on this hawt chapbook action.

(mirrored from

like the snout of a strange animal

I wonder if any of our t’ousands and t’ousands of readers live in Alabama? I’m going to be there on March 6th, reading from my work and participating in a panel discussion on submission etiquette, as part of 2010: A Space Oddity (more info here).

Since I’m going to be there, I thought I’d use the opportunity to motivate myself to bring out another chapbook. I’m calling it Edgewise, and selling it for US$5 (postage included for pre-orders). Details here.

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to little movies of poems lately, inspired by the many Billy Collins ones which I think I’ve linked to before, and some stop motion movies I was watching. I’m thinking it would be interesting to do stop motion movies of some of my own poems, just for fun.

legal neepery of interest only to copyright holders and their publishers

The Amended Settlement filed in Authors Guild v. Google creates a non-profit Book Rights Registry governed by authors and publishers to oversee the settlement on their behalf. A Fairness Hearing has been scheduled for February 18, 2010; authors have until January 28, 2010 to opt out of the agreement. The SFWA is objecting to (among other things) Google’s potential monopoly, to the opt-out clause, and to leaving the fair use dispute (pdf) unresolved. The ALA, ARL and ACRL have some similar concerns (pdf) and have released a Guide for the Perplexed (pdf). The NWU opposes it; so does the ASJA. (previously, previously).

Mirrored from my post here.

2009 Dwarf Stars Award Nominees

Dwarf Stars 2009

2009 Dwarf Stars Anthology

Got my contributor’s copy a few days ago and finally got around to scanning the cover for you all to see. Purty ain’t it? There’s some really excellent stuff in there, including my homegirl Peg Duthie’s “Evolution,” Charles Wright’s “The Ghost of Walter Benjamin Walks at Midnight” and Jane Yolen’s “Goodbye Billy Goat Gruff.” A complete list of contents is here. The ones I could find online are:

Mirrored from

all night I picked the peaches

Here are some of the poems I’ve been enjoying recently (the first two because they’re wonderful, and the third because it’s funny):

The orchard was still, the canals ran steadily.
I was a girl then, my chest its own walled garden.
How many ladders to gather an orchard?
I had only one and a long patience with lit hands
and the looking of the stars which moved right through me
— from “The Leaving” by Brigit Pegeen Kelly

Damp-haired from the bath, you drape yourself
upside down across the sofa, reading,
one hand idly sunk into a bowl
of crackers, goldfish with smiles stamped on.
Mermaid Song” by Kim Addonizio

He puts on his new new cool sunglasses,
baggy blue Bermuda shorts (he’s sick of red),
yellow stripy T-shirt that doesn’t quite cover his belly
and lets his toes breathe in flip-flops.
— “The Day After The Day After Boxing Day” by Paul Cookson

Also, my 2009 poems eligible for the Rhysling (Short Poem).

I guarantee whatever story you’re about to tell I have heard a hundred times

I’m having a bad couple of months what with family illness and the stress of a new job and the car accident on 9-11 that gave me pretty severe whiplash, so my online presence has constricted considerably to what seemed necessary, but I’m coming back now. Things are good, too: I’ve discovered Poetry Free-for-all and have written some solid poems. And have been enjoying Discovery and Mutemath (Peg, this is the band Vienna Teng said she was obsessed with) and xkcd and my homegirl Kate Beaton and my new status as one of the world’s most personable editors.

Anyway I have run across some really fine work while I’ve been quiet here:

lily-livered wouldn’t look through the lens

Read Write Poem is doing a pretty neat prompt this week: you choose two words, and then go through the dictionary for words between those words (so in the example by Matthea Harvey — who has written more about this method here [pdf] — the words are “terror” and “future” and almost all of the words in the poem start with s, r, q, p, o, n, m, l, k, j, i, h, and g, in that order). Neat challenge.

I’ve had a few publications since my last post: My Poem Rocks published my poem “Self-Sufficiency“; the twitter zine Tweetthemeat published a “horror nanofiction and Nanoism published the first in a three-part serial.

Also, a few market notes:

  • I’m still looking for short fiction and poetry of 140 characters or less for Seven By Twenty. I encourage reprints, and that length is perfect for haiku, senryu, and most cinquains. I also want prose poetry, and honestly if a line or two from a longer poem stand alone and you want to submit them, I don’t care if they’re part of a longer work – and your bio can link to the longer work if it’s been published online. The point of this for me is to expose people to some cool work and authors, not to be the first to publish something.
  • The editor of Rat’s Ass Review mentioned to me yesterday that he’s still looking for poems for his second issue.

Twitter Zines

You know what I love about publishing online? It’s so fast. I found out about the existence of twitter zines (that is, zines that use twitter as their distributor, thereby limiting content to 140 characters) on Friday last week, wrote and submitted a bunch of stuff on Saturday, and have already been published in escarp and have two more twitter fiction pieces due out in August in picfic. How effing cool is that?

I’ve also decided to start a twitter zine. Because, you know, what the hell. It’s called 7×20 and is open to submissions now… if you can shoehorn a story or poem into 140 characters. (Bio information will be posted nearly simultaneously in a separate tweet, so it must also be limited to 140 characters.) For now, there’s no payment, but I do take reprints. I’d be interested in seeing haiku and tanka and very short prose poems as well as microfiction.