Clarion West Write-a-thon 2016: Goals and Supporter Gifts

My Experience at Clarion West, Class of 2011

Five years ago this summer, I attended the Clarion West Writing Workshop in Seattle. For six weeks, I lived in a sorority house with seventeen other writers. Each week I wrote a new story, was workshopped by my peers and a pro-writer or editor, and read seventeen amazing new stories.

I learned as much (and in some ways, more) than I did in my MFA program.

I found my rhythm as a short story writer.

I made friends. I made friendships. Friends who, five years later, I can talk with as easily as if we’d never left that giant slumber party we held our last night in the sorority house.

CW Five Year Reunion

Five-year reunion of part of the Clarion West class of 2011 @ WisCon 40, with a note to the rest of our class

Clarion West was a formative experience for me as a writer. It made me feel, for the first time, that I could call myself by that title. That other people could recognize me by that name, by my work. That I was not alone and not crazy to spend my time on this path.

My Goals for the 2016 Write-a-thon

Each summer Clarion West holds a write-a-thon, where writers can set goals for themselves during the six weeks that the current year’s class is experiencing their workshop. And while writing, participants can help to raise funds for future classes.

This year, I’m joining the write-a-thon to work on my linked story novel about a woman and her dog journeying through the zombie apocalypse. Starting June 19th, each week I will write one complete short story for this linked novel.

You Can Help! And Get Sponsor Appreciation Gifts!

If you’d like to sponsor me in the write-a-thon and donate $10 to Clarion West here, then for each week until the write-a-thon ends on July 31, I will email you:

(1) a photo of my doggy companion, Abe, and

(2) the first page of that week’s short story.

Here’s one for the road. May it be long, and devoid of zombies.



“Sister Winter” in Cast of Wonders

cast of wonders

My short story, “Sister Winter,” originally published in The Colored Lensis now available in audio form at the Cast of Wonders podcast.

Many thanks to Marguerite Kenner (@LegalValkyrie) for accepting my story and to Melissa Bugaj (@AccordingToMags) for her charming reading. It is quite an amazing thing to have your characters come to life through another person’s voice. I feel like I am there watching Lux and Minn as they set off in the winter weather to change the seasons.

Want to know if they succeed? You can listen to the podcast here.

Clarion West Class of 2011: Publications and Sales, 2014


The Clarion West class of 2011 is still going strong. This year my classmates were busy writing stories, novels, radio dramas, and comic books!

Here’s a rundown of our publications and good writerly news for 2014. Check out these great stories!

Alisa Alering

“Absolute Pony.” Perihelion12 Jan 2014. (CW Week 4 story)

The Island of White Houses.” Flytrap. Issue 11, March 2014. (CW Week 5 story)

“The Island of White Houses.” Forthcoming as podcast by Drabblecast in spring 2015.

“The Night Farmers’ Museum.” Runner-up for the 2014 Italo Calvino Prize. (currently unpublished) Flytrap11cover

Corinne Duyvis

Otherbound. Amulet Books. 17 June 2014.

“The Masks of Sigma City.” SuperpowThe Red Penny Papers. 27 Oct 2014.

Corinne sold her second book, a YA sci-fi called On the Edge of Gone, to Amulet Books. Scheduled for release in spring 2016.

Otherbound cover

S.L. Gilbow

Mr. Hill’s Death.” The Dark Issue 4, May 2014 and The Dark Sampler 2014.

Running Late.” 365 Tomorrows. 7 May 2014.

Who Brought Tulips to the Moon? and Other Stories available through Kindle Direct Publishing

“Every Sunday Morning.” Black Denim LitJanuary 2015.

Eliza Hirsch

If You Want the Rainbow.” Daily Science Fiction. 22 April 2014.

Catherine Krahe

Senior Fiction Editor at Strange Horizons

Jenni Moody

Sister Winter.The Colored LensSummer 2014. (CW Week 6 story).

The Standing Part.” Gingerbread House. Issue 10, December 2014. 0cb22-coloredlenscover

Jack Nicholls

Sold two stories, both forthcoming in 2015:

“Drumsticks” (title to change) to Beneath Ceaseless Skies

“Dune Time” to Tor

Mark Pantoja

Reset: A Digital Afterlife Radio Drama.” Death (A Five-Part Series). To the Best of Our Knowledge.  7 December 2014.

Maria Romasco-Moore 

“The Great Loneliness.” Lightspeed Magazine Women Destroy Science Fiction Special Issue. June 2014. Lightspeed_49_June_2014

Anne Toole

RPG adventure modules: 


  • Crystal Cadets #1, 2, 3
  • Grimm Fairy Tales Holiday Edition 2014,  Zenescope Entertainment
  • Dead Island #1, co-written with Alex de Campi, Dark Horse


Alberto Yanez

“The Coffinmaker’s Love.” Heiresses of Russ 2014: The Year’s Best Lesbian Science Fiction. Lethe Press. August 12, 2014. Heiresses of Russ

Here’s to a great writing year for everyone in 2015!

“The Standing Part” Published in Gingerbread House Literary Magazine

My short story “The Standing Part” is in the current issue of Gingerbread House. You can read it for free here.

Gingerbread House pairs each story or poem with a piece of artwork, and I am in love with the work that the editors chose to accompany my story.

Head over to the current issue to check out all of the beautiful art and stories. I’m glad to be in such wonderful company.

My First Fountain Pen

I’ve always loved stationary. From the faded Santa set my sixth grade teacher gave me to the Elk themed letter set I found at a thrift store in Alaska, I’m a sucker for cool correspondence materials. But my idea of splurging on nice pens is buying a pack of three Sarasas from the grocery store. I’ve never owned a fountain pen, or even tried writing with one. So getting one as a present from my dad was pretty wonderful. 
Here’s a few photos of my new pen, with the fancy schmancy backdrop of a Totoro blanket: 
A pen that comes in its own classy bag – already this is awesome.
Different shades of blue for the packaging. Lovely.
The whole set, including a package of ink capsules and a bottle of ink. 
The pen! Gorgeous and simple. 
Engraved nib
I’m still getting used to writing with it. The pressure points on certain parts of letters – the curves of an ‘e’ for example – are different from regular pens. And my fancy stationary isn’t porous enough to use with the fountain pen. The ink shows up faint and smeared. But other cards and papers are perfect.
I really love my new pen. I kind of feel as if I’ve had a trip to Ollivanders Wand Shop.  

The Next Big Thing

Last Wednesday I was tagged for “The Next Big Thing” by Eliza Hirsch. Here are my answers:

1) What is the working title of your next book?

I don’t have a working title at the moment, other than “the story that takes place at a convention”

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

In the wake of DragonCon, there’s always tons of photographs and videos about that year’s experience. This year I particularly loved this video:

It struck me that a convention would be the perfect setting for a quest narrative. They’re a microcosm of all these different worlds and fandoms. Also, it’s a great place to try on different costumes/ personas.

3) What genre does your book fall under?


4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

My story features geek cultural icons, so it would be amazing if they made cameo appearances as themselves. I would be insanely happy if my book were made into a movie and George Takei played himself. 

As for my main characters, I would want them to be played by very new, unknown actors. I feel like more well-known actors sometimes evoke expectations in the audience based on their previous roles.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A young girl goes on a quest to experience and document moments of geek triumph at DragonCon in an attempt to reconnect with her alcoholic father.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I will be seeking agent representation. 

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

It’s a current work in progress, but my goal is to have the first draft done by the summer. 

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

In Freaked by J.T. Dutton, the main character goes on a journey to a Grateful Dead concert. I kept expecting for the story to jump ahead, for long periods of time to pass. Mid-way through the book, I realized that the journey was the story. Dutton’s novel made me reconsider the role of time in a YA novel, and I’m trying to work with a similar short time frame for this book.

I’m also playing with voice. I remember reading Minister Faust’s The Coyote Kings of the Space-Age Bachelor Pad and thinking “I bet this was so much fun to write.” I love the narrative voice style in Minister’s novel. Sometimes I have the cloud of Serious Writer hanging over my head and I want to write only the novel that will devastate you and change your life. So I keep reminding myself of authors like Minister Faust who write with purpose but have fun along the way.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Talking with my Star Trek club friends about DragonCon reminded me of the excitement I felt at going to my first convention. Like a lot of people I know, I wish I had been more comfortable with my fandom earlier. I missed out on years of having fun with people who like the same stories I do, all because I was trying really hard to fit into someone else’s mold of who I should be. 

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

I’m writing a novel about a geek girl for other young geek girls to see a kindred spirit in action. My goal is to make a book that is fun, but also has a steady undertow of emotional conflict. I can promise you Star Trek references  that go beyond the well-known episodes, a Browncoat code of honor, and superheroic feats.

That’s it for me. What’s your work in progress about? I’m tagging Ashley Cowger, so check on her blog next week to find out about her novel!