Category Archives: Fiction

New Books and Stories Out in the Wild

Very excited to announce that my first collection of poetry, The Acolyte, is now out. If you’re thinking, I don’t do poetry, then think again. These poems are rewritten biblical narratives from a twisty, feminist point of view. Haunting and often uncanny (think Anne Lamott meets Edgar Allen Poe), these persona poems gives so many women of the Old Testament a chance to tell their story–the men too.  The collection is only ten dollars and would make a cool gift come the holiday season.

The second fabulous piece of news is that my short story “Merea” in now in The Lineup: 20 Provocative Women Writers. Best selling novelist Lauren Groff says, “The Lineup is full of ferocious, dark, and brilliant voices. The book as chorus both troubles and dazzles, as all great fiction does.”

Elementari Rising on the Kindle on Sale!

Getting ready for all that holiday travel? Elementari Rising  would make some great airplane/train reading, and the Kindle version on sale right now for 1.99!  As of Monday night, it was #63 on Amazon’s  Best Sellers in Coming of Age Fantasy eBooks!

I also have some lovely publishing news–my story “Till We have Faces” has been accepted by Gone Lawn and my other short story “Bound” has been accepted by Bourbon Penn (which published my story Merea last year).

Stay tuned–am heading to Chicago on Friday for a reading and the Chicago Book Expo, but more on that later this week!

New Interview up over at the Mysteristas Blog

If you’re wondering about the story behind Elementari Rising or want to know more about the main protagonist, Jonathan, then check out my latest interview over at the Mysterista’s Blog! Find out who I would invite to the most awesome author dinner party ever.

Also, I just found out that my short story, “Bound,” has been accepted by Bourbon Penn, to be published in February or March. Bourbon Penn also published my surreal story “Merea” last year, which received a favorable review from Lois Tilton in Locus. 

Am busy writing more stories and poetry and of course, the sequel to Elementari Rising!


Elementari Rising Now in Paperback!

Am excited to announce that Elementari Rising is now out in paperback over at Barnes and Noble! And Library Journal gave it a starred review:

Library Journal

★ 10/15/2013
Since ancient times, the Elementarí, elemental spirits, have slept under the care of the guardian tribe of the Terakhein. Now that these caretakers have disappeared, the awakened spirits are bringing destruction as they roam the land. Only a young man named Jonathan, who dreams of a young Terakhein girl, the last of her kind, has the means to find her and, perhaps, save the world. Arrayed against him, however, are forces that wish to see the Terakhein exterminated. Hightower’s debut mixes elements of classic epic fantasy with ecological ideas. Jonathan is haunted by the loss of his brother and faces even greater losses as he struggles to protect the last of a dying race. VERDICT Interesting characters and an unusual world of deathless trees and common folk who are more than they seem make this a winner for fans of epic fantasy. With elements that should appeal to readers who enjoy Terry Brooks’s “Shannara” series and fans of weird fantasy.

And remember that you can also buy it for your Kindle over at Amazon. I’ve posted excerpts with amazing artwork by Hugo winning Galen Dara on this site if you want a sneak peek into some of the action scenes!

Elementari Rising Available on Kindle!

I’m very pleased to announce that Elementari Rising is available on Amazon  for the Kindle. There was a snag at the printers, so the paperback should be available shortly.

Also, my poem “She” is up at Prick of the Spindle. I will put a trigger warning for that one, since it deals with the horrible subject of rape, but it needed to be written, and I believe it needs to be read.

Prick of the Spindle also published my poems, “A Virtuous Woman” along with it.

Also, am happy to announce that Blast Furnace accepted my poem, “Flood,” for publication this month.

It’s been nice to see my work get out there a bit more. Am writing more and applying for teaching jobs amid a bit of ill health, so not blogging as much as I would like, but soon will be posting more about NYC adventures and such.

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!

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.