Autobiography & Fiction with Electric Literature

I’m here at the Banff Centre in Alberta, Canada, wrapping up a multi-week residency with Electric Literature.

Feeling incredibly fortunate to have an endowment sponsorship supporting my time here, as well as the support of my day job in being away for several weeks.

Being in a community of like-minded writers has been so lovely, but I’m also very thankful for our guest faculty, including Halimah Marcus, Jess Zimmerman, Susan Choi, and Meredith Talusan.

Two nights ago, Dionne Brand gave a beautiful talk about the meaning of autobiography and fiction in her work, and titled this lecture “To Look Again”:

Autobiography affords and allows one to look again at the materials of life — to look again and make sense of the act of living — unravel what simultaneity collapses… get out from under certain ways of thinking/knowing…..

How one is made and how one makes oneself.

She went on to describe the framing of autobiography as something that can be transformed, carrying the personal and molecular forward as a metaphor for the construct of history. This description resonated so deeply with me because it’s very similar to the way I write. I take my own experiences — what I know and what continues to shape me — and use these events, big or small, as dynamic forces to shape my work.

I’m carrying that spirit forward with me for the rest of this week as I work on several big projects.

Hope it sparks creativity in you, too!

I'm going to the Jack Jones Literary Arts Retreat!

Thrilled to announce I'm attending the inaugural Jack Jones Literary Arts Writer's Retreat in the fall, as a recipient of a Natalie Diaz Fellowship for Native writers!

Basically my face when I found out I could go.

Basically my face when I found out I could go.

Treat yo' doing a lot more intensive research! 

Treat yo' doing a lot more intensive research! 


Along with a small class of fellows, I'll be spending two weeks in SMU: Taos with women writers of color, and I cannot express how excited I already am for the retreat.

We'll be attending master classes on everything from digital media to publishing, getting manuscript feedback from workshop participants and our writers-in-residence, and chatting with our fellow writers -- all thanks to the imitable Natalie Diaz, Kima Jones, Allison Conner, and Dr. LaToya Watkins.

Ladies, I am so happy and so honored to be a part of this adventure.

Anybody else going to be there?


Introducing: The Story Club

Exciting news!

You may or may not have read about this in the What Matters newsletter, but I'm trying to put more of my work out there between the whirlwind of submissions and upcoming publication dates...some of which aren't going live for a few months! 

So I'm going to start publishing a short story per month, just for you!

Each story will be available for Kindle at a low low price.

Welcome to The Story Club!

TRIPLE FEATURE at Heroes*Con 2017


What a weekend!

Heroes*Con 2017 marked the debut of BITCH PLANET: TRIPLE FEATURE and my story "The Invisible Woman." I am so proud of this project. Writing a comic book script was very difficult for me, especially since I come from the fiction world and want to use ALL the words. But Kelly Sue, Valentine, Craig, Lauren, and the entire team were so gracious to me as we put this project together, and I think it turned into something amazing with their help.

The con itself was awesome. I met so many cool folks who chatted to me about their projects and hobbies, filmed a little something for a secret project that should be coming sometime in 2018, and got to talk all about my work and the writing process with lots of creators.

Loved it. Can't wait to do it again next year!

New BITCH PLANET series coming this June | Press Releases | Image Comics

The awesome Craig Yeung and I talk briefly about our short story “The Invisible Woman” in today’s Image press release for Bitch Planet: Triple Feature.

Get your first look at our kick-ass anthology cover by the fabulous Valentine deLandro!

Want to preorder? Retailers can use the Diamond code APR170731 to place orders before Monday, May 22.

If you haven’t bought comics before: write the Diamond code down and take it to your local shop, along with a pre-order form. Step by step instructions on what to fill out and where to take it are at the link.

Issue drops on Wednesday, June 14.

(I’m so excited, you guys!!!)

NaNoWriMo, Day 5: A Gothic Horror Fest

Nick Miller is all of us sometimes.

Nick Miller is all of us sometimes.

Oof. Remind me never to try and research, write, AND script for a separate non-Nano project in the same month. My brain feels completely fried today -- not least because I woke up at 2AM last night and couldn't get back to sleep.

On the bright side, I was up so early that I was able to get in about 2000 words of writing. AND I was able to move on from story #1 and into story #2, which is a historical gothic horror fest, based on a chapter of a lesser-known book in a very famous eight part series.

Story #3 is going to be interesting. That one's roughly based on a weird cities-only counterculture movement happening here in the US, although I have no idea what the main plot is there. All I have so far is the title.

We'll find out more when we get to it! Until then, sleep.

NaNoWriMo, Day 3

There's always that one stupid word.

There's always that one stupid word.

Writing is going okay! Went over my word count on day one, floundered yesterday, and hit a middling stride today that ended about twenty minutes ago. I'm essentially a "day" behind, average pace considered, but hopefully it's nothing the weekend or writing an extra hour for the next few days can't fix.

Is anyone else having trouble with the word count function on Nano's website? It didn't register any of my daily totals until today. Everything hit at once after I validated it in the settings menu. Weird.

First story is mainly slow going because I am faking futuristic legal jargon left and right. Somebody is going to have to help me lawyerpick this thing once I'm through.

This is what lawyers say, right? According to my dad, I should have been one. It could've been me!

This is what lawyers say, right? According to my dad, I should have been one. It could've been me!

Can't wait until I'm done with story #1 and can move on to something much less focused on corporate and constitutional law! Story #2 is set on the snowy frontier, and is an introspective look into the life of an (infamous) homesteading family.

NaNoWriMo 2016: Everything's Wrong, But It's All Right


Well, it finally happened. I signed up for NaNoWriMo. Here was my immediate reaction once I registered:


Kidding! It looked more like this:


My project is an anthology of 10 short stories, since I did not have enough prep time to work on this year's big novel. (That's gonna require a lot more research and time.) Still. I'm nervous, and I made myself start announcing it online to keep from backing out at the eleventh hour, haha.

Bottom line: although I've written novel-length stories before - hell, I've even written 50K in a month before - I'm still afraid of "getting things wrong" in a big unedited draft that's written over 30 days. Which is why this blog by Chuck Wendig is so, so timely. getting it ‘wrong’ you may already be getting it right. We often like to think of ‘right’ as being a replicable thing, a series of examples from those who came before. But also remember that many of the greatest successes in fiction are those who took a hard left turn away from HOW IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN DONE — they drove right off the cliff, and in that, did something new, something different, something very much wrong. Wrong is right and right is wrong and nobody can much tell which side is up and which side is down. Dogs and cats living together. Go forth. Embrace wrong. Nobody knows anything. Seize the freedom that comes with that."

So I'm gonna keep that in mind this month: everything's wrong, but it's all right.

Let's rock Nano and get that 50K in the bank!

"The fact that writing is hard and there are many hobbyists doesn’t mean it isn’t a job either. It is..."

"The fact that writing is hard and there are many hobbyists doesn’t mean it isn’t a job either. It is very hard to be a professional athlete or a head chef, and many people practice sports or cooking as hobbies. But we would not pretend an NBA player or a head chef doesn’t have a job….Even if writing only makes up a tiny fraction of your income, it can still be a job and should be treated as such. Or, at the very least, if your writing is generating money for other people — publishers, magazines, corporate entities — then you should be getting paid too.”

- “Yes, Writing Is A Job (Even If It Doesn’t Pay Well)” - Electric Literature
from Tumblr

Down in the valley, up on the ridge

The story of the Melungeons is at once a footnote to the history of race in America and a timely parable of it. They bear witness to the horrors and legacy of segregation, but also to the overlooked complexity of the early colonial era. They suggest a once-and-future alternative to the country’s brutally rigid model of race relations, one that, for all the improvements, persists in the often siloed lives of black and white Americans today. Half-real and half-mythical, for generations the Melungeons were avatars for their neighbours’ neuroses; latterly they have morphed into receptacles for their ideals, becoming, in effect, ambassadors for integration where once they were targets of prejudice.