A Year on Saturn

...is approximately 29.7 Earth years.


"A Year on Saturn" is the website of Shannon Fay,
freelance and fiction writer.

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2020 in Review

You don’t need to hear me recap what kind of year 2020 was for the world at large. I  was very fortunate in that my job wasn’t affected, my family is all safe and healthy, and that the part of the world I live in has managed to keep our covid numbers low to the point that it’s possible to meet up with a small number of friends and family. It’s still been a huge shake-up of a year, and it’s so disconcerting to think that it’s ‘over.’ I feel relieved even though I know changing the calendar year doesn’t really do anything besides create the illusion of a blank slate.

But as humans we need some way to measure time or we go crazy. So, even if it’s somewhat arbitrary, here’s a list of some of the books/movies I read/watched in 2020:

2020 Books and movies in review

Fiction

Witchmark – C.L. Polk

The Monster of Elendhaven – Jennifer Giesbrecht

Washington Black – Esi Edugyan

Supernova Era – Cixin Liu

The Dead Girls Club – Angelica Walters

The Mirror and the Light – Hilary Mantel

A Darker Shade of Magic – V.E. Schwab

Big Girl – Meg Elison

Homesick – Nino Cipri

The Poppy War – R.F. Kuang

The Luminous Dead – Caitlin Starling

An Unkindness of Ghosts – Rivers Solomon

Afterland – Lauren Beukes

The Grip of It – Jac Jemac

Mexican Gothic – Silvia Moreno-Garcia

The Dragon Republic – R.F. Kuang

Catherine House – Elisabeth Thomas

Piranesi – Susanna Clarke

The Burning God – R.F. Kuang

Films directed by women:

Little Women – Greta Gerwig

Josie and the Pussycats – Deborah Kaplan (and Harry Elfont)

Birds of Prey – Cathy Yan

Emma – Autumn de Wilde

Portrait of a Lady on Fire – Céline Sciamma

The Farewell – Lulu Wang

The Spy Who Dumped Me – Susanna Fogel

Late Night – Nisha Ganatra

The Fits – Anna Rose Holmer

Booksmart – Olivia Wilde

Pitch Perfect 3 – Trish Sie

Satanic Panic – Chelsea Stardust

Saving Face – Alice Wu

The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness – Mami Sunada

Deadcon – Caryn Waechter

Marie Antoinette – Sofia Coppola

The Old Guard – gina Price-Bythewood

The Lodge – Veronika Franz (with Severin Fiala)

The Turning – Floria Sigismond

Tigers Are Not Afraid – Issa López

 

I also had several short stories published this year:

Eyespots (Daily Science Fiction) – A 300-word or so story about two university girls figuring out their feelings for each other (oh, and one of them might be an alien)
https://dailysciencefiction.com/science-fiction/aliens/shannon-fay/eyespots

Familiar Ground (Daily Science Fiction) – A young woman visits her family home. Again, about 300 words.
https://dailysciencefiction.com/hither-and-yon/magic-realism/shannon-fay/familiar-ground?display=votingReturn

Just Another Day (Daily Science Fiction) – An immortal goes about her day.
https://dailysciencefiction.com/science-fiction/science-fiction/shannon-fay/just-another-day

As you can can see, all the stories of mine that were published this year were incredibly short. I’ve been working hard on editing my historical fantasy novel (and writing its sequel) so I really only have time to write short flash. If you want to learn more about writing microfiction, please check out the Clarion West class I am offering on the subject:

Keep It Short: Writing Microfiction with Shannon Fay

Oh, I’ve also started a patreon where I post about writing and solo table-top role-playing games! I do actually post there several times a month, unlike this blog.
https://www.patreon.com/shannonfay

Best wishes to you all in the new year.

Book Clubs, Short Story Discussions, and Author talks for the week of April 20th-27th, 2020

This has not been the year anyone planned it to be. Nearly every annual event that writers look forward to have been cancelled or transmogrified. For some writers, this means missing out on a career milestone, like accepting a Hugo Award in person, or going to a workshop that’s no longer happening. There’s a great sense of loss as we miss out on these traditions, but at the same time people are stepping the fuck up and offering so much of their time, expertise and resources to each other. Everything sucks, but we’re not in this alone.

There are a lot of great things going on out there if you are a speculative fiction writer. So many great things that I don’t have the time or energy to recap them all, so in this post I wanted to focus on 1. Reading and discussion groups. One of the things that help writers grow is reading a shit ton and thinking about what goes into each story 2. Stuff happening this week 3. Things I am personally interested in.

That narrows it down to three events this week I want to highlight:

Monday, April 20th – Us in Flux: Conversations with Kij Johnson and Jessie Rack

Kij Johnson is amazing writer and a great teacher (I was lucky enough to have her as an instructor at Clarion West). If you haven’t read her short stories, google “Ponies”, “Mantis Wives”, and “Spar,” and get ready to be hollowed out. On Monday Kij and ecologist Jessie Rack will be discussing a new story of Kij’s that was published on Thursday. The event is free.

Tuesday, April 21st – Short Story Club: Live Q&A with Ted Chiang
The short story book club is less a discussion group and more of an author Q&A (at least, based on the previous event with Cory Doctorow) and I am A-okay with that. Ted Chiang is one of the most acclaimed shot-spec writers working right now, and I can’t wait to get a chance to listen to him talk. Tickets are free but can be purchased with the money going to Covid-19 relief charities.

Friday, April 24th- Vox’s Online Book Club Discuss the final part of “The City We Became”

Even during a shutdown, my local library is still coming through- just recently my hold on a digital copy of N.K. Jemisin’s newest novel “The City We Became” came through. I’m pumped to read it, in part so I can take part in all the book clubs that are discussing it.

September 2019 update

Hello, blog! Sorry for the long absence. I have finally updated the recent works panel on the side of the page. In particular, please check out my most recent short story, “The Most Okay of All Possible Worlds”.

In other exciting news, I now have an agent! I am represented by the amazing Rebecca Strauss at Defiore and Co. Having a novel out on submission is exciting but scary. It’s different from having a bunch of short stories out. If one short story gets sent back, well, there’s a lot more where that came from both in terms of stories on my end and markets out in the world. But with a novel, it feels a little bit like all my eggs are in that basket. It’s like putting all your soul into one horicrux and hoping nothing bad happens to it.

If you want to keep up to date on what I’m up to, I am far more likely to talk about it on twitter than here: @shannonlfay.

 

 

My 2018

2018 was a landmark year for me! I started a full-time job as a manga editor, a dream job that has been rewarding and enlightening (thanks to all my colleagues who have helped me out, especially early on as I was learning the ropes). But I also spent a lot of time reading and writing.

Bring on the numbers and lists!

Short story submissions made this year: 60

Form rejections: 35

Personal rejections: 10

Story submissions still pending: 5

Acceptances: 5!

They are:
‘Murder, Martyr, Maybe’ at Factor Four
http://factorfourmag.com/murder-martyr-maybe-by-shannon-fay/ (behind a paywall)

‘House Hunting’, a reprint that will be in Haunted House Short Stories from Flame Tree Press in January
https://www.amazon.com/Haunted-House-Stories-Gothic-Fantasy/dp/1787552667/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1545503931&sr=8-1-fkmr1&keywords=flame+tree+press+Haunted

‘M-STEM,’ a reprint sold to Clarion West for promo use for the program. You can read it online here:
http://freesciencefiction.com/tale/m-stem/

‘A Scrimshaw of Smeerps,’ a holiday piece of flash fiction sold to Toasted Cake podcast. Listen to it here:
http://toastedcake.com/2018/12/toasted-cake-204-a-scrimshaw-of-smeerps-by-shannon-fay.html

And a fifth story which I have to keep quiet about for now until the contract is signed.

Number of new stories written *and* submitted this year: 3
That’s a rather low number for me. I have written more than that, but nothing I felt was good enough to send out. I also didn’t spend as much time this year on short stories as I spent most of the year working on my novel (I have already been invited to send the manuscript to an agent, which is amazingly exciting and also terrifying).

Here’s a list of books I read in 2018:
No is Not Enough by Naomi Klein
The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
The Shining by Stephen King
Noumenon by Marina J. Lostetter
Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor
Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Wild Seed by Octavia Butler
Mind of My Mind by Octavia Butler
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeom Oluo
The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi
Neverworld Wakes by Marissha Pessl
Revenant Gun by Yoon Ha Lee
James Tiptree Jr: The Double Life of Alice b. Sheldon by Julie Phillips
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor
Annex by Rich Larson
Death in Italy by John Follain
The Descent of Monsters by Jy Yang
The Wandering Earth by Cixin Liu
The Graveyard Apartment by Mariko Koike
I’m Still Here: black Dignity in a World Made for whiteness by Austin Channin Brown
Agents of Dreamland by Caitlin R. Keirnan
Mrs. Robinson’s Disgrace: The Private Diary of a Victorian Lady by Kate Summerscale
Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou

Phew!

Also, here’s a list of films I watched that were directed by women:

Ravenous (Antonia Bird)
Open House* (Matt Angel, Suzanne Coote)
Clueless (Amy Heckerling)
Raw (Julie Docournau)
A Wrinkle in Time (Ava DuVernay)
Into the Forrest (Patricia Rozema)
The Miseducation of Cameron Post (Desiree Akhavan)
The Hitch-hiker (Ida Lupino)
Blockers (Kay Cannon)
I Feel Pretty* (Abby Kohn, Marc Silverstein)
Science Fair* (Cristina Costantini, Darren Foster)
Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Marielle Heller)
Stories we Tell (Sarah Polley)

Of the books and movies above, my favourites would have to be Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado and the film Stories We Tell. I’m in the middle of reading ‘When Long ‘Til Black Future Month?’, N.K. Jemisin’s short story collection, and it is amazing.

I’m pretty happy with all I accomplished in 2018, and that I exist at a time when so many amazing artists are creating new and wonderful futures and stories.

Podcast story: ‘A Scrimshaw of Smeerps’ on Toasted Cake

Happy holidays! Want to hear a sci-fi holiday story written by me and performed by Tina Connolly? You’re in luck! My story, ‘A Scrimshaw of Smeerps,’ went live yesterday at Toasted Cake! This is the first time a story of mine has been adapted for audio and it is fan-flippin-tastic. Plus, it is only ten minutes long, so you’ve got nothing to lose.

http://toastedcake.com/2018/12/toasted-cake-204-a-scrimshaw-of-smeerps-by-shannon-fay.html

Upcoming short stories

This definitely warrants a blog post.

My story, ‘House Hunting,’ will be in Flame Tree Press’s haunted house anthology! It looks to be a beautiful book with an amazing line-up, and I am a bit stunned that I get to be a part of it. For the full ToC, please go here:

http://blog.flametreepublishing.com/fantasy-gothic/successful-submissions-haunted-house-cosy-crime

I am also happy to announce the sale of my short story, ‘Murder, Martyr, Maybe’ to Factor Four magazine. It will be included in an upcoming issue, so I will be sure to come back and provide a link once the issue is available (seriously, I will. I might not update my website much but I can do that much).

Clarion West Write-A-Thon 2018

A shameful thing I realized is that I mainly blog about Clarion West and also the Clarion West Write-a-Thon. I also do not see that changing anytime soon.

It’s time for the Clarion West Write-a-Thon!
Write-a-Thon!
Write-a-Thon!
Write-a-Thon!
Write-a-Thon!
Hoo-aah!

The Write-a-Thon is a great way to keep writers motivated during the summer months, and also a huge fundraiser for Clarion West. The money raised from the Write-a-thon will keep the workshop going and also fund super important scholarships that will help writers who might not be able to afford it otherwise (like me, circa 2014).

You can donate through my Clarion West page here: https://www.clarionwest.org/members/shannonlfay/

Even a couple of bucks would help! Right now, a mysterious donor is willing to match up to $2000 dollars in donations! You donate $2, they will donate $2! If a hundred people each donated $2 we’d hit that $2000 cap easy!

Unlike a many of my compatriotss, I was not planning on having any sponsor rewards. However, since my Write-a-thon goal is to finish this draft of my novel, if you donate through my page, I will give you a special shout out in the acknowledgements of this book. Donate and give me the kick in the pants I need to get through this!

New Stories Up at Daily Science Fiction

Since my last post here I’ve had two new stories published. First up is ‘Prodigal Daughter’, which came out on December 26th of last year. It’s about number stations and how one causes a rift between two sisters. You can read it here at Daily Science Fiction.

Also up at Daily Science Fiction is my story ‘Fight for the Stars.’ It’s a very different story from Prodigal Daughters as Prodigal Daughters is creepy and ambiguous, while Fight for the Stars is straight-up in your face space opera. It was published yesterday at Daily Science Fiction and can be found here.

In other news, I have been busy starting a new job and also working on my novel. The only real reason I’m writing this post is because today I’m going to go to the local animal shelter and hopefully find the cat of my dreams :3. I figured that as I waited to go I’d do something productive and update my website.

2017 in Review

One of my goals is to blog more in 2018, but honestly I hate blogging. Here’s how much I hate it: I hate it so much that I won’t even do it in order to procrastinate actually writing stuff. Usually I will clean the whole house and before finally sitting down to work on my novel/a short story, but I’ll still do it before I write a blog post.

But I am pretty proud of the things I achieved in 2017, proud enough that it outweighs my aversion to talking about myself on the internet.

Short Stories
I had (or, will have) four stories published this year. Back in January my little horror/sci-fi story ‘Goes Both Ways‘ was published in Daily Science Fiction. It took three years and a dozen rejections before this story found a home at DSF, so if you’ve got a story you believe in getting rejected left and right, don’t give up! Keep sending it out!

That said, I do have kind of mixed feelings towards ‘Goes both Ways’ as I wrote it so many years ago. ‘A Seed on The Ground,’ however, I wrote in January of this year. It’s a fantasy flash story about being on the edges of a conflict. I’m really proud of it and am glad to see other people have enjoyed it as well.

I have one more story coming up in Daily Science Fiction this year: on Boxing Day my story ‘Prodigal Daughter’ is due to go out. It features two sisters arguing as a numbers station threatens to tear them apart. I’m really tickled that it’s being published during the holiday season when a lot of people are having their own family dramas (that may or may not involve other-worldly radio stations).

Outside the sf/f genre, I also had a short romance story published.

Reviews
I am all about horror films, so I was happy to share my thoughts on the genre in reviews of ‘Blair Witch‘ (thumbs down) and ‘XX‘ (thumbs up).

Other Stuff
I finished the secondish draft on a 110,000 word fantasy novel. I wrote twenty new short stories (most of them flash, but they still count). In my day job as a freelancer I worked on several manga releases.

Phew! The other thing I hate about blog posts is that they always take more time to write than you expect them to. If you have read this far and are genuinely interested in knowing what I am up to, please follow me on twitter: @shannonLfay. I’m not a majorly prolific tweeter, but I am on there more often than I’m on my own website.

See you all in 2018!

Clarion West Write-A-Thon 2017 Week 6

The last week of the 2017 Write-a-Thon! The last blog post about it! Woot! I want to thank my friends who have sponsored me and given money to Clarion West. It really means a lot to me. Thank you.

My goal for the Write-a-Thon was simple: write a set number of words every day. At first the word count goal was 1,000, but when that was too much I shifted the goalposts to 750. Even with that lowered amount there’s still a whole week worth of days where I wrote absolutely nothing (some days I had a good excuse, like when I did a full day of first aid training and came home to a surprise party. Other days not so much). So with this last week of the Write-a-Thon, I’ve temporarily doubled my daily goal to 1,500 words in order to catch up. I’ve been hitting it so far and I really feel like my novel is coming along.

The point of all this boring word count stuff is this: don’t get discouraged if you fail some days, if you fall behind, if you aren’t meeting your own standards. If you keep at it you will get a chance to catch back up.

The Write-a-Thon ends Friday, but in the meantime you can still sponsor me for this last leg of the journey at my write-a-thon page:
https://www.clarionwest.org/members/shannonlfay/