my work

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!

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!

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!

ConGregate 2014: Official Athena's Daughters Launch Party & Panel

Two weeks ago, I was lucky enough to head to Winston-Salem, N.C. for a brief stopover at ConGregate, a new sci-fi and fantasy convention put on by some of the same folks who have extensive experience running RavenCon, ConCarolinas, StellarCon and Dragon*Con.

Most of the conventions I've gone to have been out-of-state (as in, I drive anywhere from 6-10 hours to attend) so it was nice to attend one that was relatively close to home! My con experience started on Saturday.

In the morning, I sat in on a fitness panel with @WriterMaggie (on which @janinekspendlove was a panelist. Meanwhile, Maggie and I functioned as the resident peanut gallery, and heckled her in a kind and loving way.)

In the afternoon, we went to a second panel about "The Myth of Strong Women," where I finally got to meet AD and Wynde author Tricia Barr for the first time! She, Janine, and several other fabulous ladies (plus our male moderator, who was an excellent sport) led the room in a discussion on what it means to write engaging female characters. (Hint: treat them as complex people, not types.)  They also talked about why representing all kinds of women is important in fiction, even if those characters aren't physically strong with typically masculine qualities. (Although we absolutely respect women who can do amazing physical feats: a reference to this video of Kacy Catanzaro completing the full American Ninja Warrior course came up more than once.)

After that, it was time for the official Athena's Daughters launch party! Authors Gail Z. Martin, Janine, Maggie, Tera Fulbright, and Tricia were all in attendance. We had a lovely spread of food ordered for the party, including a sheet cake, and had an excellent turnout considering the size of our cozy convention! I'm happy so many people were able to attend the launch. There was a free raffle with books and assorted prizes from some of the authors in attendance. We ate, drank, and signed our little hearts out.

Here are Janine and Maggie, setting up our head table:


Our beautiful paperback -- complete with art cover by Tietjen Alvarez--next to another Silence anthology:

And the fabulous sheet cake, chosen by Tera:

The next day, Sunday, was our main programming panel on Athena's Daughters. Silence in the Library's CEO, Ron Garner, was our moderator. For an hour, Gail, Janine, Maggie, Tricia and I fielded questions about why we got involved with this project, why we thought an anthology "for women, by women" was important, and discussed why writing stories about female characters was individually powerful for each of us.

We also chatted about the amazing communal experience we'd had during the Kickstarter itself, being able to promote the anthology with a group of enthusiastic, talented women. We gave background on our individual works from the anthology, made callbacks to a few of the other crowdfunded campaigns, and brought up topics ranging from newly-genderflipped Star Wars characters to Jezebel to Joanna Russ. (I brought up Joanna Russ. I always bring up Joanna Russ. :)  )

Overall, it was an amazing con experience. I was so pleased to have been a part of it, and I can't wait to head back for ConGregate 2015 -- this time in High Point, NC. Next year's guests of honor will include Mike Stackpole, Timothy Zahn, Albin Johnson, and Scott Rorie. Hope to see some of you there, too!

Athena's Daughters, Day 30: YOU GUYS ARE INCREDIBLE, A Message from our Project Managers, and A Word on Volume II

"Athena," copyright 2013 Ginger Breo. Created for the anthology "Athena's Daughters," published by Silence in the Library.
"Athena," copyright 2013 Ginger Breo. Created for the anthology "Athena's Daughters," published by Silence in the Library.

Day 30. All I can say is that YOU GUYS ARE INCREDIBLE. We have funded every. single. stretch goal of this Kickstarter campaign. We are producing three kick-ass anthologies about strong women: Athena's Daughters, Apollo's Daughters, and (as of three minutes ago) Athena's Daughters: Volume II!!

There is absolutely no way we could have done this without your generosity and your willingness to share about the project. Thank you for the campaign of a lifetime.

Wanted to point your attention to the official Silence In The Library post from this morning, by Maggie Allen and Janine Spendlove, our official project managers. They have done an incredible amount of work behind the scenes to get this anthology off the ground and to run a smooth campaign, and we owe much of this project to their tireless efforts!

Now, a note re: Athena's Daughters: Volume II. This anthology is special to my heart because it will be OPEN FOR SUBMISSIONS. Yeah, you read that right. Any established or aspiring female author can submit their work for review to be included in this anthology. Submissions will begin in summer 2014 and Volume II will officially be published in 2015!

I'll be back tomorrow with a final total and some last minute details, but in the last ten minutes of this Kickstarter, let me say:

Interested in this anthology, or know anyone who might be? You've got ten minutes to back us or share about the project here.

Athena's Daughters, Day 29: A Betsy Waddell Illustration, and Apollo's Daughters in Hardcover!


Day 29 of our Kickstarter, and we're just over $38,000! We are poised to hit almost all of the stretch goals we created for the entire campaign -- an amazing feat! Athena's Daughters has been featured on Jezebel, io9, themarysue, the Kickstarter home page, Big Shiny Robot, and so much more. We commissioned a brother anthology, Apollo's Daughters, and added five additional e-books, seventeen e-short stories, four audiobooks and one music album to the backer swag pile along the way. In our wildest dreams, we could not have imagined being so successful in such a short period of time. Believe me when I say again that we could not have done any of this without your support and generosity!

The artwork at the top of the post is for another short story by author Maggie Allen, "Land of the Lost," the e-version of which was given as a reward to the first 500 backers who pledged our anthology. It is set in the same universe as Maggie's work "Lunar Camp," which is featured in Athena's Daughters. Take a look at the young woman on the left. Remember her? Little Bee's all grown up!

Additionally, for those of you not already on the backers list, I wanted to let you know that Silence in the Library has decided to produce hardcover volumes of Apollo's Daughters! Demand was so great, and the goal so close, that we wanted to go ahead and open that up as an add-on option for all backers before reaching $38K/the end of the Kickstarter. And as of a few minutes ago, we've already surpassed that stretch goal anyway! EVERYBODY WINS!

Only 24 hours left to go in this campaign. I've said it before and I'll say it again: if you or anyone you know is interested in becoming a backer or sharing about the project, you can do so right here. Let's send this Kickstarter off in the strongest way possible!

Athena's Daughters, Day 28: RAINN, A Radio Spot, A SITL Post, and More...

Well, at this point we've got about 50 hours to go in this Kickstarter's final days. We are over $34K, which is amazing, and we hope to knock off a couple more stretch goals before this campaign closes on Wednesday. Instead of leading the post with links, I wanted to take this time to remind you that a portion of all proceeds raised through this Kickstarter are going to be donated to the Rape Abuse Incest National Network (RAINN.) When constructing this campaign, Silence in the Library felt - as did the authors - that it was important not just for our project to be funded, but for the anthology to give back to the community in a greater way. So, I can't wait to find out our final total for a number of reasons, and want to thank you all again for being so generous. :)

Meanwhile, one of our authors, Maggie Allen, gave a radio interview with local station WSJS (600AM) yesterday morning. She was able to speak about Athena's Daughters on several of their segments. While they don't have the archived version up yet, I'm confident a link will be posted on ustream within a few days.

Still on the fence about pledging? The SITL official blog broke it down best in this morning's post:

"There are only a few hours left to get Athena’s Daughters -- featuring engaging speculative fiction stories by women about women -- alongside the companion anthology Apollo’s Daughters -- featuring female-centric stories written by some of the best male speculative fiction authors in the business -- for just $10 in eBook format, $45 in trade paperback, and $60 in hardcover form. You’ll also get an additional 5 eBooks, 16 electronic short stories, 2 audio books, and 1 music album at no added cost."

Seven e-books, seventeen e-short stories, two audio books, and one music album, all for the sweet price of $5. How on earth can you go wrong?

I only have two days left to say this -- sing it if you know the words -- if you like what you read, back us or share about the project here!

Athena's Daughters, Day 27: New Story Art, and an Alma Alexander Preview

2013 copyright Autumn Frederickson, for "Athena's Daughters."
2013 copyright Autumn Frederickson, for "Athena's Daughters."

Three days left in this Kickstarter campaign! We are almost at $33K and still climbing, which is amazing and still kind of unbelievable to me. Thank you all so much for your support and your generosity!

Linked above is some new interior art for you to preview. The plucky girl in that picture is Bee, 13-year-old protagonist of Maggie Allen's story "Lunar Camp." Look at her! How could you not be curious about this girl's adventures on the moon?

I also have another story teaser for you, this time from stretch goal author Alma Alexander. About her story for the anthology, "Vision," Alma writes:

Vision is a story like an onion, and you keep on peeling layers until you come to the heart and the core of it, or is it like a pearl, a pieceof grit which works its way into an oyster and allows layers of nacreto be wrapped around it until the grain of sand is changed intosomething rare and precious? A girl becomes a historical footnote,then a character in a fairy tale or a folk legend, and ends up as agoddess - or is it that the immortal goddess steps off the pedestaland becomes a protagonist in a story, and then someone hiding inobituaries of a generation ago, and then a Real Live Girl? Which waydoes life run? From the future, or into the past? You decide...

Reminder: you've only got three days left to be part of this journey. A $5 pledge will get you ten e-books of original short stories and novels, digital artwork, music albums, four audiobooks, and much more!

If you've ever wanted to own a collection of engaging action stories about awesome female characters -- featuring some of the best SF/F authors in the business, as well as promising new writers -- this is your chance!

Back us, or share about the project here:

Athena's Daughters, Day 23: Nobel Laureate Dr. John Mather, Christopher Ruz, A Podcast Appearance and More!

Hello, all! Remember yesterday's post when I told you I had some big news about our brother anthology, Apollo's Daughters? Well, I will officially spill the beans. You may recall that astronaut and former space shuttle commander Pamela Melroy is writing the forward for Athena's Daughters. So I'm happy to announce that we're bringing in another NASA veteran to write the introduction for our brother anthology -- astrophysicist and 2006 Nobel Laureate Dr. John Mather!

John Mather

John Mather

Dr. John C. Mather is a Senior Astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, in Greenbelt, MD. He is also a Senior Project Scientist on the James Webb Space Telescope.

Dr. Mather was the Principal Investigator for the Far Infrared Absolute Spectrophotometer (FIRAS) on the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE). He and the COBE team showed that the cosmic microwave background radiation has a blackbody spectrum within 50 parts per million (ppm), confirming the Big Bang theory to extraordinary accuracy.

As winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize for Physics, chosen by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Dr. Mather shares the prize with George F. Smoot of the University of California for their work using the COBE satellite to measure the heat radiation from the Big Bang.

They proved the Big Bang Theory. How cool is that?! We are so glad and so lucky to have Dr. Mather on board with this project. In more Apollo's Daughters news, it now has its own Goodreads thread. Feel free to drop by and give the guys a shout! Christopher Ruz just posted a teaser there about the story he's working on for the anthology:

"I'm working on a project close to my heart, a near-future detective noir centered around a returned Australian soldier who finds herself working as a peacekeeper in her own country."

My reaction while reading about Christopher's story.
My reaction while reading about Christopher's story.

Athena's Daughters was recently given another press boost through Janine Spendlove's appearance on the Veteran Empire podcast. Veteran Empire's mission is to promote veterans and give them more exposure as they focus on "creative arts, business, and unique skill sets." Also featured in this episode is graphic designer/Marine Sean Riordan. You can listen to it here.

SEVEN DAYS. That's how long you have to become part of the Athena's Daughters journey. Whether you're reading this blog for the first time or the twelfth, please consider backing us or sharing news of the project with your friends and family.

We could not have done all of this without you, but we still have so many more awesome stretch goals and goodies waiting to be unlocked. Help us grab a few more of them this week!