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Dimension6 Issue 5 is out today and features my sci-fi story “Going Home Sideways”, along with David McDonald’s “Red in Tooth and Claw” and Jessica May Lin’s “The Pass”.

Each issue of Dimension6 is free, and comes in both epub and mobi formats. You’ll also get to read a little about how “Going Home Sideways” came to be…

Someone different

On the train I see a vine grow from a woman’s eye, well not her eye, actually her tear-duct, it sprouts like a tear, bright green, unfurls down her cheek, I’m not sure she’s aware of it but the guy sitting next to her shifts away a little, she is opposite me and her eyes are grey as she looks out the window and her eyes sparkle in the sunlight wet with unshed tears but the vine grows and the man coughs and he exchanges a glance with me, the way you do when you’re normal and someone different walks by someone different does something different in public and you’re not sure if it’s an emergency and you should call the ambulance, is it an emergency when a plant starts growing from a person’s eye and they don’t seem to notice, I don’t think it is maybe it’s embarrassing and you should politely pretend not to notice like an undone fly or food stuck in someone’s teeth, but I’d always prefer people told me, so is it rude like manspreading or listening to music too loud, or PDAs I hate PDAs people should get a room but I don’t think a beautiful vine cascading down a woman’s face is offensive but I wonder does it hurt, why can’t she feel it, she’s just staring out the window watching the graffitied backs of buildings and it’s like stop-motion because it’s growing so fast and I think I should say something but the train is stopping and the man is getting up and he shakes his head and coughs again and I can’t seem to look away and she’s sitting in her own private garden, the vine unspools around her feet, she’s half-hidden by leaves but I can still see her grey sparkly eyes and this is my stop and I say nothing, get up, get off, and stand on the platform to watch her as the train starts to move, a woman growing a plant from her eye, and I wish I’d said something but what do you say to someone like that?

I just wasted spent my day off submitting a grand total of 3 (three) 2 (two) poems. I think a lot of non-writers and even just non-poets who are writers but not of poetry think that getting poetry published isn’t really hard work, because you know, poetry isn’t paid well and there are loads of poetry magazines and websites and basically who would bother if it was painful?

Well, it’s pretty painful. And in terms of effort in versus reward? Skewed highly to effort, not reward. This is how my morning panned out:

Me: I think I’ll submit a bunch of poetry today! Because, you know, it takes a bit of time and I finally have some free time! So plan is to submit all the good poems!

Me: [opening poetry folder] ok here are some promising ones. 5 poems. Shouldn’t be difficult!

Me: [goes to Market A]: Oh, they don’t take simultaneous submissions. Or multiples. Pick one. Ok, well these ones are currently under consideration elsewhere, so that rules them out. This one would be ok but they only pay $6 and I reckon this one is worth a crack at a pro market. So maybe this one? Yeah, good! [Reads the guidelines] [Reads them again] [Re-formats poem] [Constructs email] [Attaches poem] [Submits] [Enters submission in tracking software and freaks out that some guideline was missed or something]

Me: Ok 1 down! [Searches for suitable markets] [Opens a million tabs] [Slowly closes tab after tab because a) don’t accept simultaneous subs b) currently closed to poetry submissions but opening soon! c) current theme is on Space Widgets or Suicidal Cats d) asking for the rights to your firstborn child e) looks like someone’s personal blog rather than a publication]

Me: It’s so tempting to give up right now.

Me: ONWARD!

Me: [Finds Market B] [Reads guidelines] [Formats two poems] [Constructs two separate emails as per guidelines] [Hopes nothing is wrong with either submission] [Presses send]

Me: THREE down! Three! Yay me!

Me: Hmmm, I’d really like to submit poem four to Market C, but they are closed. I guess I will sit on that one a bit longer. But maybe Market D would be ok for the fifth poem? [Goes to Market D] [Reads guidelines] [Reads some of the current poems] [Realises that fifth poem is maybe too wanky for them] [Gives up and calls it a day… 3 hours after starting the process]

Me: [sees email in inbox from Market A] [“Dear Stacey, thanks for your submission but submissions are closed because the magazine is closing down soon”] [DIES]

THE END.

Ok not really the end. But it’s a lot of effort, because you have to read through a lot of submission guidelines to find suitable places, many places are closed temporarily when they fill up or have specific reading periods, some accept simultaneous submissions and some don’t, some are closing down though there is nothing on their website to tell you that, some have very specific formatting requirements, etc. I managed to successfully submit 2 poems in 3 hours (granted I don’t usually have poems returned because the magazine is closing down, but hey it just happened!) And if accepted, I’ll get a maximum of USD$10 for my efforts.

But we do it anyway… why? Because we’re masochists? We want the validation? The slow build of reputation? Maybe it’s the knowledge that someone somewhere likes the tiny piece of our soul that we just flung their way… enough to want to fling it toward anyone who might stumble across it on their pages.

Poetry is a harsh, harsh landscape, my friends…

I was rather surprised to discover “Kneaded” was going to be included in Twelfth Planet Press’s Year’s Best YA Speculative Fiction 2014, but well, here’s the proof! It’s out in November 2015.

For the non-clickers…

Table of Contents

Left Foot, Right – Nalo Hopkinson

Selfies – Lavie Tidhar

The Vitruvian Farmer – Marcelina Vizcarra

The Lady and the Fox – Kelly Link

Cat Calls – Margo Lanagan

Walkdog – Sofia Samatar

No Lonely Seafarer – Sarah Pinsker

The Endless Sink – Damien Ober

No Mercy for the Executioner – Deborah Biancotti

The Ancestors – Laurie Tom

Jelly and the D-Machine – Suzanne Church

Kneaded – S. G. Larner

Resurrection Points – Usman T. Malik

Memory Lace – Payal Dhar

Collected Likenesses – Jamey Hatley

Scout – Will McIntosh

Selfie – Sandra McDonald

The Boy Who Grew Up – Christopher Barzak

Cookie Cutter Superhero – Tansy Rayner Roberts

The Stuff We Don’t Do – Marissa Lingen

Figment – Jeri Smith-Ready

apexcover

Look at that glorious cover, oh my!

I’m unbelievably thrilled to announce the publication of “He Dreams of Salt and Sea” over at Apex Magazine. This selkie poem was inspired by a scene from Margo Lanagan’s Sea Hearts. You can read it for free over at the Apex site or buy the ebook version for $2.99.

Here is some praise from twitter:

twitterapex

Apex publishes some gorgeous fiction and poetry, go and have a look :).

cover-sq-mag-20
When I first heard the song “Trophy” by Bat for Lashes I was rocking my baby (in a rocking chair, so he’d go to sleep) and the lyrics and music grabbed my attention immediately. It became a song I obsessed over (I do that), and I knew I wanted to write a story loosely based on the song.

I feverishly wrote a story, deemed it fabulous, and submitted it somewhere. It was rejected.

This happened many times. It had rewrites. So many rewrites. I thank those early editors for generous feedback that allowed me to tone down the hysteria and find the essence of the story. And then it just sat, until I got a vital bit of feedback that resulted in yet another furious rewrite.

And it found a home. And what a special, fantastic home it is!

I share this, because so many writers become disheartened by the process of submission and rejection. All of us are guilty at some points of sending out stories while they are still fresh, half-baked. As we get wiser, we get feedback and refine BEFORE submitting, rather than refining after endless-seeming rejections. Sometimes we have to trunk those early stories, but not always. Sometimes, the process of rejection enables you to see your story in a new light: and sometimes, the perfect fit comes along after a wait.

So was the case with “Three Trophies”, It had so many incarnations, and I’m proud that it found a home with SQ Mag, in this issue, with some fabulous authors I am honoured to be published alongside.

It’s free to read here and I urge you to go read the other stories as well by authors Angela Slatter, Kirstyn McDermott, Greg Chapman, Liam Hogan, Michael Anthony, Gary McMahon, and Shawn Frazier.

SpeedPoets Feature!

That's Chris on the cover, not me, just in case you were confused.

That’s Chris on the cover, not me, just in case you were confused.

So on Saturday the 25th April I was a feature poet at Brisbane’s SpeedPoets open mic event. SpeedPoets is on the last Saturday of every month. Which in April coincides this year with ANZAC Day.

I was terrified and thrilled to be asked to do a feature set—I felt like a bit of an imposter, but I love sharing my poetry. I had the assignment from Hell due on the Sunday so I wrote a couple of new poems and got my set together while drowning in the never-ending report.

SpeedPoets MC Simon Kindt asked me a few questions and the answers can be found here. (Side note, Simon’s verse novel No Revelation is amazing and if you like post-apocalyptic stuff you should get it, it’s incredibly haunting).

I was doubly honoured to be featured alongside Chris Lynch, a Brisbane poet whose stuff is quite brilliant. Chris was also one of the sparks that got me writing poetry again this year when a Mandelbrot poem seed popped up in my Facebook messages one day. It was a welcome diversion to the academic reading and writing I was surrounded by!

Because it was ANZAC Day, I opened with this:

Unfurled the poppy
bright, unaware
of what fed it.
Casualties of war
seeped into churned
up loam, nourished
the crimson beauty.
Upon her body
scarred and bloodied
they adorned her
like jewels.

Me doing interpretive dance poetry

Me doing interpretive dance poetry – photo by the lovely Helen Stubbs

It was a fantastic experience, nerves were curiously absent even though the crowd was much larger than usual. Thanks to Simon and JdUb for asking me to be a feature, I had an absolute blast!

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