I am delighted to announce that Stranger, the post-apocalyptic YA novel that I co-wrote with Sherwood Smith, will be published by Viking (Penguin Group) in Winter 2014.

The acquiring editor is Sharyn November. I have wanted to work with her ever since we met twelve years ago, at World Fantasy Con in Corpus Christi, Texas. She said that she was reprinting classic children's fantasies. I grabbed her by the shoulder and said, no doubt with a mad gleam in my eye, "Lloyd Alexander's Westmark! Elizabeth Wein's The Winter Prince! Patricia McKillip's The Changeling Sea" She smiled and said, "We're doing all three. Got any other suggestions?" Sharyn, thank you so much for championing our book.

Also, thank you very much, Eddie Gamarra and Ellen Goldsmith-Vein of the Gotham Group!

Yes, it's the Yes Gay YA book. Here's a little more about it:

Many generations ago, a mysterious cataclysm struck the world. Governments collapsed and people scattered, to rebuild where they could. A mutation, "the Change,” arose, granting some people unique powers. Though the area once called Los Angeles retains its cultural diversity, its technological marvels have faded into legend. "Las Anclas" now resembles a Wild West frontier town… where the Sheriff possesses superhuman strength, the doctor can warp time to heal his patients, and the distant ruins of an ancient city bristle with deadly crystalline trees that take their jewel-like colors from the clothes of the people they killed.

Teenage prospector Ross Juarez’s best find ever – an ancient book he doesn’t know how to read – nearly costs him his life when a bounty hunter is set on him to kill him and steal the book. Ross barely makes it to Las Anclas, bringing with him a precious artifact, a power no one has ever had before, and a whole lot of trouble.

There are five main characters. One is Ross, who knows all about prospecting, fighting, and desert survival, but hasn't had to interact with other human beings on a regular basis since he was twelve. The others are teenagers from Las Anclas: Mia Lee, introverted genius and town oddball, who can design six different weapons before breakfast; Yuki Nakamura, an aspiring prospector who is dying to get out of his small town and explore the rest of the world; Jennie Riley, Changed telekinetic and over-achiever, who must choose between becoming the teacher of the one-room schoolhouse or joining the elite military Rangers; and Felicite Wolfe, the Mayor's narcissistic daughter, who likes to spy on people with the help of her pet mutant rat.

And yes. Yuki is still gay. So is his boyfriend, Paco Diaz, the drummer in the town band. And Brisa Preciado, who has the power to make rocks explode, is still dating shy Becky Callahan, who works after school waiting tables at the saloon. As you can see, this isn't so much a "gay book" or a "straight book" as an ensemble book.

Sherwood and I wanted to write something fun and exciting, with adventure and romance and mutant powers and martial arts and a vivid sense of place. And we wanted it to be about the people who are so often left out of those sorts of books: Latinos and African-Americans, Jews and Asian-Americans, gay boys and lesbian girls, multiracial teenagers and teenagers with physical and mental disabilities. We didn't do this to fulfill some imaginary quota, but because we wanted to write about teenagers like the real ones we know, the real ones in Los Angeles, the real ones we were.

We hope that, however flawed it may be, our novel will make even a few of those teenagers happy.

This is a very personal project for me. People often ask me if I'm ever going to write about coming back to America, after spending most of my childhood in an ashram in India. In a metaphoric sense, this is that book. To tell the story of what it was like for Ross to come to Las Anclas, I drew upon my own experiences of stumbling into an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar rules, beset by memories I couldn't bear to recall and reactions I didn't understand, longing for connection but with no idea of how to relate to people.

Stranger is a post-apocalyptic adventure, not an issue novel. But all stories have their genesis somewhere, and for me, it was my wish to say, "It's okay. You're okay. You'll get better. You'll make friends. You'll fall in love. You can be a hero." I hope it finds its way to the people to whom it will speak.

If you would like to be notified when the book actually comes out, please comment to this post to say so. I will reply to your comment when the book is published, and you should get an email notification. Or you can leave your email address in a comment. (I can copy the address, then delete or screen the comment.) If you're not on LJ/DW, you can comment anonymously (or email me) with an email address where I can reach you.

Incidentally, I am putting out an e-book anthology of my short stories and poetry in a couple months. If you'd like to be notified when that's available, please comment to say so.

If you're interested in reading our book, you may also be interested in this list of YA science fiction and fantasy with major LGBTQ characters. And here's a list of YA fantasy and science fiction with protagonists who aren't white..

I would be happy to answer any questions you might have, about the novel or anything else.

Finally, please feel free to Tweet, link to, or otherwise promulgate this post. Lots of people mentioned during Yes Gay YA that they would like to know what happened to this book, but the vast majority probably don't read my blog.
1. What organization would you like in a collection that has both fiction and poetry? Separated into Parts I and II? Intermingled artistically?

2. So, I have this novel which I stalled out on due to the fact that without prodding from a collaborator, I find novels incredibly difficult to complete, due to their sheer length. But I could probably complete it as a novella (and, theoretically at least, expand it to a full novel later.)

Factors to consider: It's almost certainly unsalable to anything but a very small and quirky LGBTQ press. Realistically, I am way more motivated to finish it as anything if I knew it would definitely get some sort of release. It would be by far the longest story in the collection, and is tonally completely different from anything else in it. (My short stories tend more toward bittersweetness than wacky hijinks.)

It's a comic Gothic in which all the main characters are lesbians, all the people in the world are some sort of supernatural being, and the heroine is a werewolf who gets hired as a private chef by one of those sexy, bad-news noir dames, who in this case is an angel. (Not the divine kind; a person with wings.) There's a lot of food porn, a sinister housekeeper, dark secrets in the attic, flying paparazzi, and angels with watermelon tourmaline-colored eyes. You can see why I don't think this would be an easy sale.

[Poll #1850232]
I'm thinking of putting together a collection of my short stories, plus some poetry and maybe an essay or two, on Kindle.

I was inspired by Mike Allen publishing his SteamPowered, Steampunk Lesbian Stories story Sleepless, Burning Life as a stand-alone Kindle novellette.

I do not expect to become a millionaire (step one: obscure author best known for memoir self-publishes publishes obscure fantasy stories; step two: ???, step three: PROFIT), but I think it might be fun, and there are a handful of people out there who would probably enjoy such a thing.

I have two question:

1. Whether or not you would actually purchase such a thing, is there anything in particular or in general that you'd want to have in it?

Already decided upon: all three of my published short stories, plus all poems nominated for the Rhysling.

Most fanfic is out due to copyright issues, but I do have one story which was inspired by a Carter & Grammar song, and works as original fantasy. I have a couple other stories which I like but couldn't sell, plus poems ditto.

2. O Kindle self-publishers, please advise and tell tales from the trenches! How did you get your cover art? Was it profitable (at all?) What price points worked best for you? Did you advertise?
Nick Mamatas offered a copy of a Japanese sf novel, Ryu Mitsuse’s Ten Billion Days and One Hundred Billion Nights, to the top four entries commenting with our thoughts on yaoi the inevitable heat death of the universe.


I wrote,

Leaves fall, and we point and call it beautiful. Meteors burn across the sky, and we point and make a wish.

When the last star goes out and all is dark and quiet, perhaps some unimaginable intelligence will nudge another and, in some unimaginable way, point and say, “Look! The heat death of a universe! Have you ever seen one so lovely? I’m so glad we came.”
rachelmanija: (Ratties)
( Jan. 16th, 2011 09:08 am)
Asakiyume at made the suggestion of alternative zodiacs, and I went a little berserk in her comments. I'm reposting my rodent zodiac here.

Which rodent are you? Which rodent am I?

Rat: Those born under the sign of the rat are clever, energetic, industrious, quick-witted, and fun-loving. They sometimes speak without thinking and act without planning, but you can always count on a rat to raise low spirits and tackle problems with enthusiasm. Rats make excellent employees, so long as their work day allows them some freedom and minor errors won't have terrible consequences.

Mouse: Mice are shy and, if their grain influence is lacking, may be prone to social anxiety, agoraphobia, and other disorders. They are kind-hearted and worth listening to, if you have the patience to draw them out. As they are introverted but intelligent and creative, they do well in artistic professions or in fields relating to computers or electronics.

Chinchilla: Those born under the sign of the chinchilla are profligate and flighty, prone to beginning and then abandoning ambitious business enterprises of dubious practicality. At worst, they may become con artists. On the positive side, chinchillas are imaginative, enthusiastic, and often very charming. A disproportionate number of movie stars and, alarmingly, politicians are chinchillas.

Mole: Industrious moles may lack sophistication and sprezzatura, but make up for it with their steadiness and determination. Moles will never be the life of the party, but their heavy dirt influence means that they do very well indeed in settings which require a team effort. Many moles join the military, where their burrow influences will also be welcome, and some rise to the highest levels. If your child is a mole, make sure he or she is given opportunities to join structured social activities, like team sports, bands, or the school play.

Squirrel: The romantic lead of the zodiac, squirrels have the strongest grain influences of any sign. Charming, passionate, eloquent, intense - who wouldn't want to be a squirrel? But later in life, squirrels may find to their sorrow that life isn't all nuts and berries, and while they were out having fun, others were forging careers and putting the necessary work into creating long-term relationships. Squirrels would be well-advised to cultivate steadier friends to give them good advice and rein them in, like king rats, moles, or capybaras.

Porcupine: The iconoclasts of the zodiac, the motto of the porcupine sometimes seems to be, "Oh yeah?" With heavy influences of both burrow and fur, porcupines hardly lack for courage or intelligence. If you marry a porcupine, you will never be bored... though be warned, they have a high divorce rate. Many porcupines succeed as artists, athletes, or entrepreneurs. Though they may become the leaders of companies, they do not make good employees in an office setting.

Chipmunk: The orderly chipmunk prefers a quiet, stable, well-regulated existence. Their natural habitat is a large company or the government, where they are often sadly under-appreciated. A chipmunk's home is his or her castle, and will invariably be both neat and cozy. Pushing a chipmunk to be more extroverted or "fun" is a waste of your time and an annoyance to the chipmunk. But if you accept chipmunks on their own terms, they are loyal friends, steadfast spouses, and very, very good employees.

Beaver: It's sometimes hard to tell, when talking to a beaver you've just met, whether they're a genius, an artist, or a raving lunatic. Or all three. Beavers don't live in the same world as the rest of us, but their strong fur and grain influences ensure that they never lack for lively conversation. Beavers are advised to invest in memory-assisting devices, and to make frequent use of them. All the same, don't expect a beaver to be on time. Most beavers are self-employed, and many are quite successful.

Hamster: More prickly than any sign but the proverbial porcupine, hamsters make entertaining friends but can be difficult to live or work with. Their lack of the steadying influences of dirt and scurry makes them prone to psychological disturbances or even run-ins with the law. However, many of our most renowned heroes have been hamsters. Their biographies reveal that they are the ones who overcame early difficulties to triumph. Still, if you are considering marriage to a hamster, carefully examine their natal chart. Hamsters without a single planet in scurry do not make good partners.

Gopher: The ebullient gopher is everyone's best friend, combining genuine friendliness with a sharp intelligence and nearly infinite patience. Gophers rarely enter artistic or creative fields, but excel in managerial jobs. They are also suited to medicine and, surprisingly, law enforcement, where their people skills serve them well. Gophers sometimes neglect themselves to focus on others, and their health may suffer as a result. If you marry a gopher, make sure they eat sensibly, get enough rest, and get regular check-ups.

Capybara: Capybaras are pillars of strength and steadiness. Their blend of dirt and scurry makes them excellent parents, and these fine qualities can also be applied to fields such as teaching or medicine. Though not particularly romantic, they can be surprisingly passionate, and when they marry compatibly, they rarely divorce. They are compatible with other capybaras, king rats, moles, gophers, and mice.

King Rat: The luckiest of signs, king rats possess the rare gifts of compassion and wisdom. They are highly skilled at problem-solving and pattern-discerning, and do well as therapists, social workers, scientists, and entrepreneurs. They can be overly serious, and may have a hard time letting go. If you are a king rat, make sure you set aside some time each month to do something utterly frivolous and fun. The most balanced king rats have enough of a grain influence to offset their strong dirt and fur influences, letting them see the necessity of both play and work.
rachelmanija: (Gundam Wing: Quatre listens)
( Jul. 20th, 2010 11:34 am)
The sale was made earlier, but I was waiting to make sure the editor liked it, as it was by invitation to an anthology.

"Steel Rider," a longish short story (6000 words), to JoSelle Vanderhooft's as-yet-untitled lesbian steampunk anthology.

It's set in an alternate American Old West, in which only women - and only the ones who have the right stuff - can ride mecha of mysterious origin. (Gundam West!)
rachelmanija: (Naruto: Super-energized!)
( Jul. 4th, 2010 01:11 pm)
"A Cup of Smoke," a fairytale-ish story inspired by a mysterious fox shrine I found in Kyoto, to Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine.

ETA: The story of the shrine... and an update, with notes in the comments.
An original short story published by Cabinet des Fees. A king, a knight, a labyrinth, a monster: but not quite the usual version of that story...

The Labyrinth and the Knight.

This is a story I certainly would have never written if not for the [profile] carefaithhope auction, so I am grateful to both [personal profile] tool_of_satan and [profile] faithhopetricks for its existence.

Extremely spoilery notes. Read the story first. )
rachelmanija: (Heroes: Save the world)
( Feb. 5th, 2010 11:19 am)
The original short story "The Labyrinth and the Knight," commissioned by [livejournal.com profile] tool_of_satan for [livejournal.com profile] care_faith_hope, has been SOLD to Cabinet des Fees, and will appear in their May 2010 issue. Proceeds will be donated to the same cause.

Thanks again for the excellent prompt!
rachelmanija: (Naruto: Super-energized!)
( Jun. 29th, 2009 10:58 am)
My very first prose fiction sale is up!

River of Heaven, at Strange Horizons: a love letter to traditional Japanese sweets and modern Japanese subway stations. Long may they co-exist!
Inspired by the most awesome meme ever: "Nine Things About Oracles, I did something I have probably not done for fifteen years - at least - and wrote a poem. (Possibly more of a peom, which was what I first typed.)

If your true love will die by your own right hand, do you really want to know? )
I sold the mochi story, "River of Heaven!" OMG! I sold it to "Strange Horizons!!! This is a total shock! I have sold other forms of writing before, but this is my first prose fiction sale!!!

I owe this to [livejournal.com profile] yhlee, who convinced me to buy Wagashi, a gorgeous and expensive illustrated book on traditional Japanese sweets, by telling me to write a story using it as research to recoup the purchase. I also wrote portions of it opposite her in a coffee shop. Yoon, thank you so much!!!!


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