Nebula con and New story out: How the Girls Came Home!

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With Her Familiars on Mars by Galen Dara

Nebula Con just finished and I am both tired and elated.

My story “My Country is a Ghost” was a finalist for the Nebula Awards in the short story category. It is also a finalist for the Ignyte Awards and I could not be more honored. I did not make a blog post at the time the nominations were announced mostly because I was so overwhelmed. But now things have quieted down I can finally scream about it!

Big shout-out to all the wonderful winners and finalists and especially the fellow short story finalists. John Wiswell (who won the Nebula Award!), Rae Carson, Aimee Picchi, Vina Jie-Min Prasad, and Jason Sandford. I am in awe at your talent and extremely privileged to occupy a space next to you.

As for the con itself, it was a blast! As someone for whom it is really hard to attend cons in North America, virtual cons are a great opportunity to keep up with friends and make new ones. I got to be in two panels with some very smart people and hang out with them in the rooms afterwards.

Now to more cool news…

I am super exited to share my new story “How the Girls Came Home” in Uncanny Magazine issue #40! There is even audio, narrated by the amazing Joy Piedmont. Lynne Thomas asked me some very insightful questions for the podcast–and was also very understanding of my nervousness. Give it a listen!

This is a story I wrote during Week 4 of Clarion West, and one that’s closest to a fairytale than anything else I have written. The idea came to me as I was reading about the earliest version of Cinderella, which is said to be of Greek origin. A story called Rhodopis. I started thinking of all the ways these magical shoes (and magic in general–can change a woman’s life in stories and what if someone were to push back on that change.

Every morning Amalia’s feet change. They transform into different animal feet that come with different abilities and challenges for her. In a fairytale the happy ending would be for her feet to become forever human, but this is not quite the case here.

Here is an excerpt:

Each pair of feet has its own beauty. So she takes time to examine every new version of her feet, love them for what they are. Learn what she can do with them each day and start over the next, and the one after that. Her mother taught her this.

I am so happy Uncanny bought this story and I hope you enjoy it as well!

My Country Is a Ghost is up on PodCastle! (Plus Uncanny Magazine’s reader poll!)

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“My Country Is a Ghost” is now up on Podcastle Episode 659 with audio narration by the amazing Alethea Kontis! I am so excited this story got an audio treatment, I got misty eyed in many parts of the narration. I hope you enjoy it!

The story was first published in Uncanny Magazine Issue 32 this January (which was also my first sale to them) and this makes it eligible for this year’s Hugo, Nebula and WFA. There is also the annual Reader Poll up in Uncanny and my story is part of a long list of amazing fiction written by authors I admire. If you read and enjoyed “My Country Is a Ghost”, consider voting for it!

AN INCOMPLETE LIST OF BEAUTIFUL STORIES THAT HAVE KEPT ME COMPANY THIS YEAR (BY PUBLICATION MONTH).

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Thank you all for your wonderful little lights that made me feel a little bit less alone ❤

 

Short stories:

Mother Love, by Clara Madrigano, in The Dark (January)

The AI That Looked at the Sun, by Filip Hajdar Drnovšek Zorko, in Clarkesworld (January)

The Imperishable Birds, by Vajra Chandrasekera, in Fireside (January)

Badass Moms in the Zombie Apocalypse, by Rae Carson, in Uncanny Magazine (January)

You Perfect, Broken Thing, by C.L. Clark, in Uncanny Magazine (January)

Hustle, by Derrick Boden, in EscapePod (February)

White Noon, by Aidan Doyle, in Podcastle (February)

Rat and Finch Are Friends, by Innocent Chizaram Ilo, in Strange Horizons (March)

Never a Butterfly, nor a Moth With Moon-painted Wings, by Aimee Ogden in Beneath the Ceaseless Skies (March)

Georgie in the Sun, by Natalia Theodoridou, in Uncanny (March/April)

Girl Clothes, by M. L. Krishnan, in Sonora Review (April)

A Moonlit Savagery, by Millie Ho, in Nightmare (April)

An Explorer’s Cartography of Already Settled Lands, by Fran Wilde, in Tor.com (April)   

A Promise of Dying Embers, by Jordan Kurella, in Diabolical Plots (April)

Glass Bottle Dancer, by Celeste Rita Baker, in Lightspeed (April)

Caring For Dragons and Growing a Flower, by Allison Thai, in PodCastle (April)

Have Your #hugot Harvested at This Diwata-owned Café, by Vida Cruz, in Strange Horizons (May)

Open House on Haunted Hill, by John Wiswell, in Diabolical Plots (June)

The Sinkhole that Ate Los Angeles, by Gardner Mounce, in Lowestoft Chronicle (June)

Bring the Bones That Sing, by Merc Fenn Wolfmoor, in Diabolical Plots (July)

Baba Yaga and the Seven Hills, by Kristina Ten, in Lightspeed (July)

Tara’s Mother’s Skin, by Suzan Palumbo, in PseudoPod (August)

What Lies Within, by Isha Karki, in Augure Magazine (August)

Weaving in the Bamboo, by Eliza Chan, in Translunar Travelers Lounge (August)

An Incomplete Account of the Case of the Bird-Talker of Yaros, by Eleanna Castroianni, in Fireside (August)

Slipping the Leash, by Dan Micklethwaite, in Podcastle (August)

A Voyage to Queensthroat, by Anya Johanna Deniro, in Strange Horizons (August)

Heartsob Playplayplay Promisegift, by Monte Lin, Cossmass Infinities (September)

The Dreadnought and the Stars, by Phoebe Barton, in Glitter + Ashes, Neon Hemlock (September)

A Layer of Catherines, by Elisabeth R. Moore, in Strange Horizons (October)

The Angel Finger, by K. C. Mead-Brewer, in CRAFT Literary (October)

Teeth Long and Sharp as Blades, by A. C. Wise,  in PseudoPod (October)

Ask Not What the Penguin Horde Can Do for You, by Noah Bogdonoff, in Strange Horizons (October)

To Look Forward, by Osahon Ize-Iyamu, in Fantasy Magazine (November)

Winter’s Heart, by Vanessa Fogg, in Hexagon Magazine (December)

Tiny House Living, by Kristiana Willsey, in Fantasy Magazine (December)

 

Novelettes:

The Shadow Prison Experiment, by Caroline M. Yoachim, in Lightspeed (August)

City of Red Midnight: A Hikayat, by Usman T. Malik, in Tor.com (October)

The Little Witch, by M. Rickert, Tor.com (October)

My Awards Eligibility Post for 2020

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What a year. Yes, I know. I did not end up reading as much as I had hoped *gestures at the world* but the little I did read was a lovely break from reality and I’ll soon post my recs for 2020.

I did not end up writing so much either but I am very proud of two things: 1) I wrote and published my first ever essay (!) about living in Greece during the pandemic (and it went pretty well!) and 2) I published a story I love, that is also the most personal piece I have written yet.

Here are the stories I published this year and are eligible for awards:

My Country Is a Ghost – Uncanny Magazine, issue #32 

If you were to read just one I would recommend “My Country Is a Ghost” since I love it to bits. It is free to read online and it is in the Nebula Recommended Reading List.

Those We Serve – Interzone, issue #287

I hope next year is far far better on many fronts and that this post finds you well, friends.

NEW STORY OUT: THOSE WE SERVE

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I just sold my first science fiction story and I am so happy!

My story “Those We Serve” is included in Interzone issue #287 (May-June 2020) and as a bonus my CW classmate and friend Kristina has a story in the sister magazine Black Static issue #75 at the same time!

I wanted to expand my writing palette for quite some time now and I started experimenting with science fiction before I left for Clarion West last summer (and of course during the workshop itself). This was my first complete science fiction story and it explores the consequences of over-tourism and themes of identity and memory.

The idea came to me when I read an article about Dubrovnik and how Game of Thrones has contributed to the city becoming overcrowded with tourists. Coming from a country like Greece, for which tourism is one of the key industries, and having an undergrad degree in tourism myself, the what if scenario came to me immediately and demanded to be written.

I hope you find something in this story that speaks to you. Enjoy!Martin Hanford

 

 

 

New Story Out: My Country Is a Ghost

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Fallen Embers by Nilah Magruder

I am so thrilled to announce that my story “My Country Is a Ghost” is out today in Uncanny Magazine issue #32!

This story sprang from an idea I had about ghosts being able to follow their families. The initial idea branched out to be two different stories (at least). One was the flash “What Cannot Follow” and was published last October in Fireside Magazine.

This one though takes the premise to a more personal territory and that is immigration and mother-daughter relationships. What if ghosts, like living people, needed permission to emigrate to a new country? What if that permission was denied? How would the family of this ghost fare in a strange country without the solace of the ghost?

I wrote the first draft of this story during Week 3 of Clarion West Workshop and my instructor for that week was none other than the wonderful Amal El-Mohtar! With hers and my amazing classmates feedback I was able to expand the story and make it much more nuanced in a way that resonated with me.

Caroline M. Yoachim asked me some very insightful questions about the story and myself. If you want to know more you can give my first ever interview a read here.

I hope this story resonates with you as well. Happy New Year!

My Awards Eligibility Post for 2019

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It’s time for lists! Lists of the stories I published this year but also lists of my favorite stories!

This year had been a little busier than usual for me, both because I moved but also because I participated in the Clarion West Writers Workshop during the summer. It is a wonderful and fulfilling experience for any writer but left little room for other activities. As a result I have fallen a little behind on my reading but I plan on catching up soon.

Here are the stories I published this year and are eligible for awards:

We Are Here to Be Held – Strange Horizons

It is free to read online and it is in the Nebula Recommended Reading List.

What Cannot Follow – Fireside Magazine

April Teeth – Do Not Go Quietly: An Anthology of Victory in Defiance

Her Blood Like Rubies in the Ground –  Gorgon: Stories of Emergence, Pantheon Magazine

 

An incomplete list of fabulous stories I’ve read this year (by publication month).

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This year has been a roller-coaster for me. I went to Clarion West (a thing that seemed impossible just a year ago) and just recently moved back to Greece.

Needless to say I fell a little behind with my short story reading but what comforts me is that there are endless amazing stories out there so it wouldn’t be possible for me to read them all. For that I am thankful for all the year’s-end lists people are compiling because they will help me find more great stories!

I hope you find something you’ll love in this one.

Poems Written While, by Natalia Theodoridou, in Uncanny (January)

Dustdaughter, by Inda Lauryn, in Uncanny (January)

The Thing, With Feathers, by Marissa Lingen, in Uncanny (January)

The Daddy Thing, by K. C. Mead-Brewer, in Electric Literature (January)

The Message, by Vanessa Fogg, in The Future Fire (February)

The Crafter at the Web’s Heart, by Izzy Wasserstein, in Apex (February)

Give the Family My Love, by A. T. Greenblatt, in Clarkesworld (February)

The Archronology of Love, by Caroline M. Yoachim, in Lightspeed (April) – Novelette

Where the Rain Mothers Are, by Rafeeat Aliyu, in Strange Horizons (April)

Ten Excerpts from an Annotated Bibliography on the Cannibal Women of Ratnabar Island, by Nibedita Sen, in Nightmare (May)

Therein Lies a Soul, Osahon Ize-Iyamu, in The Dark (June)

The House Wins in the End, by L Chan, in The Dark  (July)

The Brightest Lights of Heaven, by Maria Haskins, in Fireside Magazine (July)

Ahura Yazda, the Great Extraordinary, by Senaa Ahmad, in Lightspeed (July)

1078 Reasons“, by Aidan Doyle in Translunar Travelers Lounge (August)

How the Trick Is Done, by A.C. Wise, in Uncanny (August)

And Now His Lordship is Laughing, by Shiv Ramdas in Strange Horizons (September)

Shelter, Sustenance, Self, by Aimee Ogden in Fireside (September)

The Silent Flowers of the Magician’s Garden, by Eleanna Castroianni in Beneath Ceaseless Skies (September)

A Square of Flesh, A Cube of Steel, by Phoebe Barton in Analog (September/October)

Failsafe, by Tim Chawaga in Escape Pod (October)

Personal Rakshasi, by Suzan Palumbo in Fireside Magazine (November)

A Tour of the Galesburg Glass Museum, by Kristina Ten in Cosmonauts Avenue (December)

The Garden’s First Rule, by Sheldon Costa in Strange Horizons (December)

NEW STORY OUT: What Cannot Follow

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Halloween is my favorite holiday and this couldn’t be a better timing for my bittersweet ghost story “What Cannot Follow” to be online at Fireside Magazine!

It features an amazing narration by C. S. E. Cooney that perfectly captures the feeling of the story.

The main question that inspired the premise was: What makes a family? I believe that sometimes we can find greater closeness and tenderness in people we are not related to. And that is an idea that gives me hope against the loneliness inside.

I was born and raised in Greece, where Halloween is not celebrated–although we do have our own day, dedicated to remembering the dead called The Saturday of Souls.

I’ve always thought of Halloween as a holiday that makes us more mindful of our mortality in the hopes that we’ll make, even temporarily, some peace with it. And what better way to fight that ancient fear by celebrating this Holiday with loved ones?

I hope you enjoy the story and Happy Halloween!