Time has been flying these days. Late last month my son broke his arm. It was a minor break, and he’s doing well. But of course it threw my writing off for a few weeks. Now he and his sister are spending a few weeks with their grandparents, and I’m getting quite a bit of time to catch up on writing, submissions, and even actual work! One day this week I got four rejections (count ’em, four)… that’s gotta mean something for my efforts, right?
All joking aside, I have been working on three short stories that I can’t wait to send into the sub trenches. At the moment, I don’t have any new work out, but I would love to leave you with some of my favorite stories I’ve read and listened to in the past month.
Polyamorous Rep Done Right: Things That Happen When You Date Your Ex’s Accidentally Restored Backup from Before the Divorce by LISA NOHEALANI MORTON
Okay, Clarkesworld has been killing it with amazing stories lately. I think they are becoming my favorite magazine. This one grabbed my attention from the insanely long and fun title. Pretty much the whole story is set up in that title. Things That Happen When You Date Your Ex’s Accidentally Restored Backup from Before the Divorce by Lisa Nohealani Morton. It follows the narrator while she’s dating a backup copy of her partner and trying to get things right the second time around. The polyamorous aspect is revealed slowly. At first, it seemed a traditional story where the main character was jealous of her partner’s relationship with another woman and then they left her for that woman. But no. There’s something deeper than relationship jealousy going on. There are bigger things that matter, like an entire social revolution.
The reveal that the couple is polyamorous and “the other woman” isn’t at all who I thought she was is brilliant. Then comes the most touching, amazing scenes of polyamory I have read. Most polyamorous stories I read concentrate on the building and breaking of relationships. Hell, that’s most stories that have a romantic aspect. What do we care about the in-between time when people are actually in love? There’s no drama in that! (Huge sarcasm, in case you couldn’t tell). This story dives into polyamory beyond navigating new partners and messy breakups, and it shows one of the reasons why polyamory is so beautiful to me.
If you are polyamorous, I highly recommend reading this story. However, it’s also a great read beyond the polyamorous aspect of it, so even if you’re monogamous, give it a read.
WIHM: The Van Etten House by Carrie Laben
Since it’s women in horror month, I have to give one or two horror stories by women writers, right? The first is The Van Etten House by Carrie Laben, published in The Dark Magazine. The story starts out gross, with a hoarder house being picked through by the main characters. It sets a great, uneasy tone throughout the whole piece. I wouldn’t consider it high-concept horror, but it hit all the spots for me, including a little bit of never-explained magic that leaves me wondering at the end and still thinking about it a month later.
WIHM: We, the Girls Who Did Not Make It by E.A. Petricone
This is another horror story, published in Nightmare magazine: We, the Girls Who Did Not Make It by E. A. Petricone. Even from the title, this story reminds me a lot of The Coven of Dead Girls by L’Erin Ogle, which I absolutely loved. So I had a feeling I would like We, the Girls and… no surprise, I did. I feel like this might be becoming a subgenre of horror — victims speaking from beyond the grave. Both of these stories have a lot of important things to say about how we think about victims and perpetrators of violence. I think We, the Girls critiques the way we fetishize serial killers a little more clearly than Coven did, and I think it’s an important story about giving voice and space to victims of violent crimes.
That’s all I have for you today. What are your favorite stories you’ve been reading this month? Bonus points if the are WIHM stories!