Tag Archives: publish

Lost in a Vacuum

I’m thrilled to announce that my darkly humorous short story, “Lost in a Vacuum,” is up on Evil Girlfriend Media (EGM) Shorts today.

This story was my most-submitted story so far. It found the perfect home at EGM Shorts on the 21st submission. I am delighted that the editor, Jennifer Brozek bought it!

Humor is very subjective to begin with, and there aren’t a lot of speculative fiction markets that welcome dark humor. So finding a home for it was tough. This was the first story that I believed in enough to keep sending out after multiple rejections.

Along the way, the story got an “Honorable Mention” call-out on the Allegory ezine website.

One editor was kind enough to respond with a personal rejection saying that a story about the death of a pet was not a fit for a humorous anthology. They had a good point. In fiction, killing a pet is usually considered taboo.

This creature sits on my desk and my have influenced Skittle's description

This creature sits on my desk and may have influenced Skittle’s description

So, I hope you read the story and that it makes you laugh.

Happy Writing ^_^

Urban Green Man – Story Inspiration

Tomorrow, October 2 there will be an online book launch of the Urban Green Man Anthology on the Bitten By Books website.

Farrel McWhirter Park, Redmond WA

Farrel McWhirter Park, Urban Greenman Inspiration

I love the mythology surrounding the Urban Green Man. As I’ve posted before, I’m a huge fan of Charles De Lint. So when I saw the publisher’s call for submissions for a whole book of Urban Green Man stories, with an introduction written by Charles De Lint himself, I knew I was going to submit something.

Farrel McWhirter Park, Redmond WA

Farrel McWhirter Park, Urban Greenman Inspiration

The idea for my story, “Green Salvage” came to me as I was waiting for my children at Farrel McWhirter park in Redmond, where I live. This park is spectacularly gorgeous, and it is five minutes from the Redmond Town Center mall.

Farrel McWhirter Park, Redmond WA

Farrel McWhirter Park, Urban Greenman Inspiration

I like to think of the Urban Green Man as a spirit of nature, present in the actions of ordinary people doing their part to preserve the green places; always there in your peripheral vision. All you have to do is look.

Year in Review: 2012

Bliadhna mhath ùr a-huile duine! Happy New Year everyone!

Drawing of bagpipes held in tentacled arms

Tentacles and Bagpipes (sounds like the name of a pub)

First of all, my big news is that The Drabblecast accepted my “Earth Music” story!!! I am truly thrilled. This is a story I’ve previously blogged about writing and editing (also known as my alien and bagpipes story). It began about a year ago on 1 January 2012, whilst I was attending a “First Footing” event and thinking about a writing prompt from Cat Rambo’s SF&F class.

If you aren’t familiar with Drabblecast.org, you should be! Check out their short story podcasts – it’s free and awesome! They really live up to their byline, “strange stories written by strange authors for strange listeners”. To be perfectly honest, not all of the stories appeal to my personal taste (I suppose my strangeness is not fully developed), but all of them are beautifully produced. I am honored that they accepted my story, and I can’t wait to listen to it (so far I don’t know when that will be).

Miriah Hetherington learning to use a bow

Miriah in (beginning) Archery Class

A little over a year ago I sent in my first story submission – and got my first rejection from Daily Science Fiction on 20 December 2012!  The email print-out is prominently displayed over my desk, next to a framed copy of my first acceptance.

My stats for the past year:

Acceptances: 2

Rejections: 12

Pending: 1

Number of different stories submitted: 5

(Writing-rpg posts: a little over 100)

I will resist (sort of) the temptation to make a list of New Year’s resolutions about writing. “Resolution” seems like one of those ill-fated words. A word destined to result in failure, a word that weighs you down with its negative subtext.

Instead I’m going to declare some writing Intentions for the New Year. These are my personal goals, subject to change and in effect only for so long as they motivate me in a positive way!

Writing Intentions (NOT resolutions) for 2013

1.    Write AND submit ten new short stories (goal: one a month)

2.    Finish the first draft of my novel (goal: 2,000 words per week)

3.    Blog more frequently (goal: weekly)

What writing intentions/goals have you set for yourself in 2013?

Happy Writing!

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

Today, I’m a part of The Next Big Thing blog hop, thanks to speculative erotica writer Victoria Pond, author of My Lady Gambler. The Next Big Thing is a branching pyramid-of-prose for authors to discuss their latest release or WIP. Each author answers ten questions (see below for my answers), and then tags other writers to do the same.

So it’s kind of like a chain letter for writers, without the dire threat of evil consequences if you break the chain. (Oh hey, that could be a writing prompt. Hmm…)

Marymoor Park, Redmond Washington

Rainbow over Marymoor Park in Redmond Washington

At the moment I am primarily focused on writing short stories and even submitting a few. But, I’m going to play along with the spirit of this exercise, and answer the questions based on my novel Work In Progress… using a very broad definition of “Progress”. It’s also the book I started for NaNoWriMo.

1. What is the working title of your book?

Arthropod’s Touch

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

The idea for the “creatures that need killing” in my book came from watching a murmuration of starlings video. This is truly a spectacular sight, but just imagine if you saw that after watching Hitchcock’s “The Birds”. Now imagine insects instead of birds.

My two main characters were conceived of as part of the backstory for one of my Player Characters in my cooperative writing Role Playing Game. Since then they have transformed and grown into separate personalities who demand their own unique world.

One influence in my world building has been the pervasive inequality in western culture. I tried to imagine an ideal, and was also thinking about the MVP (Minimum Viable Population) concept in terms of humans colonizing a new planet. How would I (or my fictional counterpart) select humans to colonize a new planet with the intent of a) making sure the human race survived and b) increasing the likelihood that a new human culture would develop without a privileged class based on gender, race, sexual orientation, etc. This was the beginning of my world building. I’ve found that a vision of idealized perfection is a great place to start because then I can figue out all kinds of stuff that can go wrong.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Post science fiction heroic fantasy.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Now that is difficult, but I will give it a WAG (wild ass guess).

The brother might be played by Ben Barnes, whom I remember best for the title character role in the film “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian”.

I think I’d like the sister to be played by Parminder Nagra, whom I loved as Jess in the film “Bend It Like Beckham”.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Whilst coming to terms with what they are, siblings Kestra and Razmer must  rescue their Sept’s children, expose the Dyozan Bishop’s purpose for kidnapping them, and unite the Clades against a greater threat: the Sturmitera are swarming again and humanity cannot survive another Grand Murmuration.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Until I have an actual manuscript in my hand, this is something of a moot point. My gut inclination would be to go the traditional route. But, who knows?

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I would need a time machine to answer this question. So instead I will declare a goal: to finish my first draft one year from now.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

My hope would be to create something that fans of Anne McCaffrey’s Pern books might like. Not that I could come close to her awesomeness! And whilst I’m in the land of wishful thinking, I would also hope it might appeal to fans of David Gemmell’s Drenai Series.

9. Who or What inspired you to write this book?

My mother is a big inspiration and source of encouragement. She provides an attentive ear for bouncing ideas around. When I’m having trouble figuring out a scene or short story, describing it to her helps me clarify it in my head. If I can’t explain it aloud, I know I have some more day dreaming to do. And of course I couldn’t be writing at all without the support of my wonderful husband!

10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

One of the things distracting me from writing this novel is the backstory. There is a short story, or possibly a novella simmering in the back of my head about the humans from earth that colonized the planet, and the aliens that are there when they arrive. I may need to write that story first.

That’s it! The Next Big Thing Blog Hop! Are you a writer willing to be tagged for the Next Big Thing blog hop? If so, let me know via comment or email [ miriah (at) live (dot) com ] and I’ll add you to my list here!

Now, I  hereby tag these writers to answer the same questions in about a week. (Or when they get around to it. No dire consequences, remember?):

Jessica Broughton, Genre: Speculative Fiction

Gayle Weatherson, Genre: Speculative Fiction

Frank Kim, Genre: Contemporary and Speculative Fiction


Writing a Guest Blog

I recently wrote a guest blog post for Penumbra eMagazine. When I received that email from the blog manager asking if I was interested in writing a guest blog, I felt really pleased and flattered they asked me. That was my first reaction. My second reaction was panic. What would I write about?

View along the Little Si Trail, North Bend, WA

We went for a family hike up Little Si, North Bend WA, on August 25. View of an interesting part of the trail, with criss-crossing tree roots.

I often think there is a certain arrogance or audacity to keeping a blog about becoming an author, especially since I am not in any way an expert on (well anything really, but especially) writing. There are many other blogs on the internet written by widely published authors who can give far better advice than me. (Links to some of my favorites appear in the “Resources for Writers” table on the right.) When I blog I try to stick to my own experience and the perspective of a writer just starting out and trying to get published.

So for my guest blog, I wrote about something that was going on in my life (sorting through my family’s collection of children’s books) and related that to writing speculative fiction.

But first, I read all of the entries on the Penumbra blog for the last three months to get an idea of what other blog posts looked like. (That actually increased my anxiety, because the site has interesting posts written by some very noteworthy people.) I also did some internet research, searching on “guest blogger etiquette”, to make sure I didn’t do anything really stupid or embarrassing. Then I wrote the post.  Lastly, I submitted my guest blog post early (just-in-case it needed editing or revision:-)

If you read that guest blog post on Penumbra, you may be wondering which picture books among the collection were my favorites. I have many, but here are a few:

Love You Forever by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Sheila McGraw I cried every time I read this to my kids.

Miss Rumphius by Barbara CooneyWhat will you do to make the world more beautiful?

I Love You, Stinky Face, by Lisa McCourt, illustrated by Cyd Moore This is the very last picture book my kids asked me to read over and over.

The Paper Bag Princess, by Robert N. Munsch, illustrated by Michael Martchenko Princess Elizabeth is one of my all-time favorite heroines!

So now I’ve written a blog post about blogging. (Hopefully that’s not as lame as it sounds.) What are your favorite children’s books, and how have they influenced your writing?

Happy Writing,


Guest Blog on Penumbra!

The guest blog post I wrote for Penumbra, “A Speculative Sense of Wonder”, is up on their website.

Go read it now! (Please;-)

Miriah's cat Kiki

Kiki says, “Stop looking at Facebook and check out Penumbra!”

Happy Writing,


First Published Story!

Duck family at Idylwood Park in Redmond

This photo has nothing at all to do with my blog post! I took the kids to Idylwood Park last week, and this family of ducks were going around stealing food. The crowds of people didn’t bother them at all.

Yesterday I got an email from the Editor in Chief of Penumbra eMag.

My “Dream Catcher” story will be in the September Native American folklore issue!!!

I must admit that I was sort of expecting to hear from Penumbra. I had been watching acceptance and rejection reports on Duotrope, so I knew the decisions would be made around mid-July about what stories would be used for the September issue. At the end of April I got a “passed on to the next level” email, and in mid-June I got a “final round of consideration” email. So I was looking forward to a personal rejection, and I already had the next market-for-submission picked out.

When that email arrived in my inbox yesterday, I had to read through it a couple of times before it sunk in that I really did get an acceptance. I found my husband watching TV and told him. I went back to my computer to read the email again to make sure it was still there. I phoned my mother. I emailed my sister and a close friend. After about an hour, I still hadn’t gotten another email telling me it was all a mistake, so I posted an announcement on my facebook page.

I also agonized for about twenty minutes over whether or not it was appropriate to reply to the email acceptance with a thank you. In my speculative fiction critique group, we have discussed responding to a rejection several times. (Btw, the conventional wisdom I have gathered is that you do not respond to a rejection. Editors are usually far too busy to deal with even a “thank you for your consideration” email. Some emag website submission guidelines even ask writers not to.) But, no one ever talked about how to respond to an acceptance! In the end, I went with my gut feeling and I did send a thank you email, to which the EIC responded graciously.

So now I guess I’ll be working on getting that second story published;-)