Author Archives: nancy_admin

New Poems and Elementari Rising artwork!

The fire subsided enough for Jonathan to see eight silver legs that bent out five feet in every direction, low blue flame dancing down each limb. Many eyes like melted glass stared at him unwaveringly, a red glow coming from deep within. A spider, monstrous and beautiful in form. ….“What happened in the Fáliquerci?” His mouth was so dry his words felt slurred. “The wind—”

“Wind cannot stop me, whether it comes mocking or wrathful.”

“Then you did not call it?” Jonathan persisted.

“It was the Ophidian who brought the storm into your wood, not I.” Bryn said softly, creeping nearer. “He had been hunting you for a long time. But not nearly so long as I.”


Next week the book will be available for order on Amazon! Am very excited. Also,  three new poems up: “Waiting,”  (Esther’s story reworked through a 21st century viewpoint) and “David and Jonathan,” (that lovely moment when Jonathan first heard David speak).

Also–Aaron.” That poor dude only gets talked about with his staff turning into a snake. His story is so much richer and grief stricken and really needs to be told.


Adamara, by Galen Dara

Elementarí Rising Excerpt

A burst of violet light, and when that purplish haze finally cleared, in place of the serpent a woman stood, dressed in white, hair piled high with golden ringlets around her face. Something was odd about her eyes. Almond shaped, slanting slightly upwards, the green within them was dazzling. The girl turned and ran towards the trees. The woman laughed, dashed after her, catching one little arm before the girl dove into a mess of thickets.

Sneak Peek

The little girl was near Jenna’s age, perhaps a year younger. Her dress and sleeves were ripped from the thickets, leaving scratches on her arms and legs. She stopped to shake the snow from her short dark hair while a whimper escaped her lips. Then she bowed her head and sprinted forward. A blast of wind swept the white flakes side to side, making wispy snow snakes that followed her. Another gust and the snakes writhed, each piece blending into the other until one large serpent began to slither behind her, closing in….

Excerpt from Elementarí Rising, with artwork from HUGO winning artist Galen Dara. Each week I’ll be posting a new excerpt and new artwork. Launch date for the book is September 17th!

WorldCon Schedule and (more!) Publishing News

I leave Thursday for WorldCon, so please come say hi if you see me! I’ll have some lovely postcards to hand out. And wow, I’m on some great panels that I’m very excited about!


11:00, Author by Day, Poet by Night               102A (Convention Center)

1:00,  Like a Metaphor: Ongoing Relations between Poetry and Science, 102A (Convention Center)


11:00 But is it Science Fiction?             008B (Convention Center)

2:00   Almost Nominated                101A (Convention Center)

Monday 1:00 Reading   (come support me!)

002B (Convention Center), 13:00 – 13


Also I just got three more poems accepted. Two to Prick of the Spindle and one to Crack the Spine. What a whirlwind fall this is turning out to be!


NYC Adventures and Book Release!

Well, the long journey from Colorado to New York City is complete. With it came some back issues and a sprained ankle but I’m working my way around that. I can say that each and every day has been an adventure, from watching a few strangers trying to save a man’s life via CPR on the sidewalk to meeting new friends in subway stops and coffee shops. I love New York in that way, i’s openness to adventure, to magic. For all of its cynicism and money-driven culture, it has to be one of the friendliest, giving places I’ve ever lived.

I came here for the year to write the sequel to Elementarí Rising, see how many books I can get under contract, and go back out on the job market for a teaching position. By selling my house, I essentially bough myself a sabbatical to write more, since it’s so hard to do that with a 4/4 teaching load. I also wanted to live here to find more community with cultural creatives—writers, artists, film makers, scientists, theologians, musicians–and to that end, am going to hold a series of salons where I am residing in the East Village. My hope is to cross pollinate different disciplines outside of the university, while I have the unique opportunity to do so!

[image src=”/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/postcardfront.jpg” lightbox=”true” autoresize=”false” clickthrough=”true”]  But also, writing news: I’ve recently had five poems accepted for publication in Electric Velocipede, Interfictions, and Subliminal Interiors. My short story, “Unleashed Beauty” will be reprinted in Gargoyle next month, and  Elementarí Rising has a September 17th launch date! I will be attending WorldCon next week in San Antonio (my first Worlcon, with my first solo reading!) so am very excited/slightly terrified about that. I won’t come empty handed—I ordered these beautiful postcards last week and they came in today.

Starting next week, I’ll be posting excerpts from Elementarí Rising with artwork from the amazing artists Galen Dara and I’ll also be posting my WorldCon panel schedule, so you’ll want to check back.


Paxton Gaten2

California Trip/Nebula Weekend Recap

Me, Cameo Wood, Maria Dahvana Headly


I am just back from a 10 day road trip in California, and am about to hop on a plane to WisCon, where I’ll be reading my short story “Beauty Unleashed” at the Oxford Comma Bonfire with Vylar Kaftan, Michael Underwood, and LaShawn M. Wanak, Fri, 9:00–10:15 p.m. at Michelangelos. “Unleashed Beauty” will be reprinted in Gargoyle, #60, so am excited to finally get to read it in front of an audience!

Also, reading with a host of other splendid poets such as Sofia Samatar, Amal El-Mohtar, Katherin Koehler, and more at the Open Secrets Speculative Poetry Reading, 2:30 pm Saturday, Senate Room B.

But now, on with the CA recap! As you can see, from the pics, I had a lot of fun dressing up. I met a host of wonderful people, including Cameo Wood, a film director and producer, and Saladin Ahmed, whose Throne of the Crescent Moon was up for a Nebula and is nominated for a Hugo! My friend Maria Dahvana Headley’s short story, “Give Her Honey When You Hear Her Scream” was up  up for a Nebula as well (and is one of my favorite stories).


Me and Christie Yant, Nebula Reception

I also met a host of other lovely people at the Nebula Award Weekend such as Carrie Ratajski, Amy Sundberg, Derek Kunsken, and the fabulous Juliette Wade.  Also got to hang a bit Twitter friend Christie Yant (whom I have adored so long–in short, because she’s full of awesome, and a kick-ass writer). Despite being exhausted from travel, Jaym Gates corralled a group of us (Sheila Williams, Greg Bossert, and Francesca Myman) to try out Single Barrel, a most awesome Speakeasy with the tastiest of cocktails.  During the con I got to catch up with NYC friends Maria Dahvana Headly and Liz Gorinsky and discovered that John Joseph Adams and I were twins separated at birth, given our obsessive love of sugar. He is the Jedi of MM’s, and reminded me that the con suite is always stocked with them. Also, stayed with the Locus peeps Liza Trombi and Francesca Myman during the convention—some of the best roomies ever, though I will still never, ever understand how Liza is able to get up so early in the morning (I was always the last one in for the night).

Also, I got a glimpse of the cover art for Elementari Rising! Not going to post it just yet since it still needs a few tweaks, but if you’re going to WisCon, be prepared for me to whip out my phone and show you a pic.

Now, I didn’t come to CA just for the Nebula Awards Weekend. I had people and Caliplaces to see! So, I started out in San Diego to visit my wonderfully adventurous aunt (she was in the Peace Corps in Botswana–the woman seriously rocks). I had planned on a day in the city, but my aunt’s place was nestled in Palomar Valley, and I had messed up my shoulder earlier that week so instead just rested for a few days at her place and wrote. With a few like this, how could I not?

I then drove up to LA, where I met up with Ashleigh Ruhl, one of my ex students from the grotesque class I taught at the University of Colorado. Together we drove into West Hollywood to meet up with the incomparable Laurie Lipton, whose work I’ve written about and who is, by far, my students’ favorite artist.

Andy Romaine, Carol Penn-Romaine, Christie Yant, Tracie Welser, me, and John Joseph Adams (aka The Shadow). Pic taken by John Remy

Andy Romaine, Carol Penn-Romaine, Christie Yant, Tracie Welser, me, and John Joseph Adams (aka The Shadow). Pic taken by John Remy

The next day I joined Andy Penn Romaine, Carol Penn Romaine, Christie Yant, John Joseph Adams, Tracie Welser, and John Remy to watch an adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere.  What a lovely visual escape into one of my favorite novels! And what a fabulously fun group to have dinner with beforehand! The next day John  R. drove me all around the Irvine area so that I could see some of the glorious beaches. I love the ocean, and it had just been too damn long since I had seen it.

Me and Sophia

But then, it was off to Santa Barbara, where I grabbed a quick lunch (with beach -side view, of course) with Sophia Quach McCabe and Joe McCabe, whom I first met through John Picacio at the 2009 World Fantasy Convention. Then I drove  to San Francisco (can we say whirlwind road trip?). The net day  I met up with David Edison for lunch and later, Blake Charlton  for coffee. David’s book The Waking Engine is coming out from Tor in 2014, and he is my future roommate in NYC! (more on that later). Blake wrote the Spellwright Trilogy and has just published a beautiful piece in the New York Times about defining dyslexia.

Paxton Gaten2

In between those two meet and greets, I visited Borderlands Bookstore and discovered Paxton Gate, the best Cabinet of Curiosities in San Francisco. I could have spent hours in there!  I could have spent a few more weeks in CA, certainly, but now I am soon off to the airport to have more adventures!


Oh, and one more pic of me a sundress, since I’ve been promising them. 

School’s Out and I’m California Bound

First things first!

New poems (REM,” “Magadalene,” and “Drought”) are up over at Neon Literary Magazine! The REM poem coincides with the dream map that I created in Rikki Ducornet’s class back in the day. And “Magdalene” comes from the liturgical poetry series I’ve been writing. 

Also, I’ve a brand-spanking new article on the glorious work of Michael Rees over at Weird Fiction Review (Of Men and Monsters and the Wondrous Things In Between). Rees’ 3-D animations consist of surreal hybrids that come to creepy life. 

dress 4

As of this week, I finished teaching my final full year at the University of Colorado. To celebrate,  dress 2I decided to take a trip up the west coast, first to see my aunt in San Diego.  Then it is on to Los Angeles on the 11/12 to finally meet the most talented Laurie Lipton (after “knowing” each other for years online) and do some gallery hopping for future Weird Fiction Review articles. Sunday night I get to watch an adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere with the most awesome John Remy and Tracie Weisler and a whole merry gang of folk.

There will also be hard-core beach time, of course, as I am from a land-locked state, and need to see the ocean at least once a year. On the 14th, I’ll drive up to San Francisco and finally do some sight seeing (which I didn’t get to do at the last World Fantasy in San Jose). Also, there is the wonderful Jen Heddle to say hi to, Megan Kurashige to grab drinks with, and general carousing to do with David Edison and possibly Blake Charlton.

On Thursday, it’s off to the Nebula Awards weekend. Hoping to say hi to as many of my writer, art, and ex-student peeps as I can, so let me know if you’re in town! Also, you’ll get to see me in many colorful sundresses, but that is another blog post altogether.

After the CA trip, I’m going to WisCon (May 23-27), where I’ll read a story at the Oxford Comma Bonfire on Fri, 9-10:15 at Michelangelos. Then I get to deliver a poem at the Open Secrets poetry reading at 2:30pm on Saturday at Senate B. This will be my first Wiscon, and I am excited to be staying with my Wonder Twin Sofia Samatar (whose Stranger in Olondria just came out!). And then, and then—NYC in July! But more on that later. 

Ah, me it’s looking to be a very exciting summer, no?

Recap: ICFA, the big move, and new adventures

Valya and I, image by Andy Duncan

Valya and me, photo by Andy Duncan

March was a month of traveling madness, first to NYC for the Armory Arts fairs and then to Orlando for the International Conference on the Fantastic in Arts. The first night there, I got to see Amanda Palmer play her ukulele and serenade the bar with Radiohead’s “Creep.” Very decent way to begin a writer’s conference.

My reading/panel “Transforming Fact into Fiction” with Greg Bechtel lost two members to the flu, but the amazing Valya Lupescu, author of The Silence of the Trees, stepped in as our third panelist. It was only on the plane to the Florida that I suddenly realized I hadn’t told her it was a reading, too. But Valya was amazing, and read from her novel, and we had a great panel, despite the unforgivable hour (8:30 a.m.) on Thursday. The wondrous Sofia Samatar even got up early to hear us talk about about the intersection of memoir/fiction/myth/and history. It was my first time reading my work at a conference, and it was my first time coming as a writer as opposed to a scholar, so it was really a rather special ICFA.

Sofia Samatar, Valya Lupescu, me and Kat Howard. Photo by Jim Kelly

Sofia Samatar, Valya Lupescu, me and Kat Howard. Photo by Jim Kelly

I also heard the lovely Kat Howard read part of the script from her collaborative project with Megan and Shannon Kurashige, “A Thousand Natural Shocks.” And then saw Dora Goss read (no! perform is a more accurate word) an excerpt from her work in Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling’s anthology, Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells.

I also wore a lot of cute dresses, if you can’t already tell by the pics. I’m an academic. I’m mostly covered in chalk and hidden away in a classroom, but this conference is held in Orlando, and so I worshipped the sun gods as every writer should when they get the chance.

Sofia and me

Sofia and me


One of the highlights of this trip was finally meeting Sofia Samatar, author of the forthcoming A Stranger in Olondria, whom I had recently found on Facebook. But I knew I had found soul mate, when, at last call on our second night of the con, she turned to me and was like, “We need to buy a bottle of wine. What is up with this last call nonsense?” We, of course, closed down the bar that night. And the night after, and the night after. We also went to war for S’mores and bought magic rings our last night in town. Conferences such as this are made for adventures. 

Kat, Maria, me, Sofia at the Saturday night banquet. Photo by Andy Duncan

Kat, Maria, me, Sofia at the Saturday night banquet. Photo by Andy Duncan

Speaking of which, included a possible tornado our last day there. Liz Gorinsky, Maria Dahvanna Headley, Dora, Sofia, and Lara Donnelly and I hunkered down in the Tavern (not for drinks, really, but to get away from the windows). The hotel was nice enough to bring us complimentary champagne and chips while the storm blew over. But it was Jeff and Ann VanderMeer, who rescued Sofia and I since they took the Weird Fiction Review team out to dinner in Winter Park. 

Jeff VanderMeer, me, Sofia, Ann VanderMeer, Edward Gauvin

Jeff VanderMeer, me, Sofia, Ann VanderMeer, Edward Gauvin

Lovely dinner with good wine, laughter, excellent port, and snippets of conversation about a possible future conference on the Weird and Grotesque. It was so fabulous finally getting to meet Edward Gauvin, whose articles I have read over the past year. What a wonderful crew to be a part of, and I can’t wait to see what the next year for Weird Fiction Review bringsAnd serious kudos to Jeff for his book and movies deals!


Francesca, Valya, me, and Sophia. This was pre-S’more us

Now, there were all other sorts of glorious people I got to hang out with, including Chris Barzak, who also has a new book and a movie coming out (but this gang totally rocks). It was lovely to see Liz Gorinksy, KeffyKehrli, Liza Trombi, Francesca Myman, Ellen Datlow and a whole gang of folk that I only get to visit with once or twice a year (the NYC folk, a bit more). Hearing Andy Duncan and Neil Gaiman read was nothing short of sublime (oh yeah, did I mention Neil Gaiman was guest of honor there? And that he read from his new novel? Jealous?). So, quite the trip, and I am leaving out all sorts of grotesque stories about possums and placentas. And perhaps you are being quite thankful that I have left them out. 

house in summer

One last thing is that I came home and packed up the rest of my beautiful house. I closed on Thursday, and so beautiful house is no longer mine. But I now have the means to go to NYC, starting in July, for about 8 months and write like a motherfucker. What shall I write, you ask? The sequel to Elementarí Rising, for one. A proposal to write a book on the Grotesque, too. I am hopefully going to get more stories and poems published. There are  Weird Fiction Review Articles to write, and art exhibits and KGB reading to attend. We shall then see where this path leads. All I know is that I’ve finally found the rabbit hole. And I’m ready to jump in.

Liturgy and Speculative Poetry

While I am typing up an ICFA recap post, I wanted to spend a few minutes talking about liturgy (because this is something every writer gal likes to talk about on Friday night). Except it happens to be Good Friday. And there was a time when I wrote a weird kind of liturgy for my church. There was a year I spent pouring over the stories from the Bible, and rather than judge them or pick them rhetorically apart or start arguing with them or using them to back up my world view, I simply listened to them. I wondered what it would be like to hammer a man’s head into the ground in order to save a battle or to have ordered the killing of another human and having to live with that decision for the rest of your life. I wondered what it was like to be the outcast, the cannibal, the other, and the oppressor. And from that year came a manuscript of these monologues, some of which have recently been published, or are forthcoming. Here a few you can read online. The “PTL, circa 1981″ isn’t part of that series, but thought you might be interested since it’s the story I came from.

“Jael,” Strange Horizons

“Tamar,” Strange Horizons

Paul: An Unpublished Letter (for Stephen), Liquid Imagination (link is fixed)

“On Eating a Child,” Danse Macabre

“Jericho,” Danse Macabre

“Jepthath,” Danse Macabre

PTL, circa 1981,” storySouth

And “Magdalene” will be forthcoming from Neon soon.

Dream Mapping and the Writing Process

When I took Rikki Ducornet’s poetry class at the University of Denver, I had no idea her workshop would open up such a strange, uncanny world to me. I was, during my stint in grad school, having horrific nightmares as I processed some rather unpleasant memories. These dreams haunted me so much that I felt like I didn’t sleep but instead wandered a shifting surreal landscape that left me exhausted in the morning. Rikki encouraged me to write a poem about this dreamscape, and so during the course of the workshop I finished REM, which was published in Inklings Magazine a long time ago. She liked the poem enough to then challenged me to draw a dream map of my nightmares. So of course I did. The great thing about the map is that it all suddenly became real to me–this underground lair.

Merea map

In my fiction workshop with Brian Kiteley, I morphed the landscape of my dreams into a short story called Ophidia, the land underneath. At only 300 words, it wasn’t much of story, but still, it was an eerie, darkish thing. Over the years it grew and developed characters caught in a a game of No Exit. I renamed it Mereá and finally published it Bourbon Penn in 2012. Ophidia, though became a special desert place in my new novel, Elementarí Rising, which housed the the earth spirits. I rather love how my greatest fears and night terrors, once mapped out and seen, became a doorway into the fantastic.

I now must return to edits for the novel. But if you’re in NYC, I might be headed your way for Armory Arts Week.

 In case you missed it, my poem Jael is up on Strange Horizons and my article on the ever lovely Jessca Joslin is up over at Weird fiction review.