Writing

New Short Story Publication Forthcoming!

I am thrilled to announce that my next science fiction short story will be published my Typehouse Literary Magazine! Typehouse is put out by the People’s Ink, a writers’ community based in Portland, Oregon, and it’s been published three times a year since 2014.

Typehouse Issue 8

The short story that Typehouse accepted is “Mixed Signals, or, Learning How to Speak,” which is a humorous but poignant tale that first dawned in my imagination from years of observing all the different ways in which people approach crosswalk signals. Yep, you read that right. Crosswalk signals.

Here are the first few lines:

Ka-kink. Ka-kink. Ka-kink.

Some guy’s hand flew to the crosswalk button as though a magnetic force drew him, a few feet from where I sat at a sidewalk café table. Dressed like a hippie and smelling like it too, he spit out the words, “Callin’ in, Cap’n. Callin’ in.” The syncopated rapidity interfered with the vibe of melancholic freedom I’d been cultivating…

I will, of course, update this post when publication information is available, which won’t be until close to September. In the meantime, let me leave you with a photo to stimulate your own imagination as to what this short story may contain:

Mixed Signals intersection fiction

 

Reading tonight at Liminal!

Tonight at Liminal, a feminist and womanist space for writers in East Oakland, I’ll be reading the Salvation of Soup, a personal essay I’m working on. Since mid-April, I have been a Writer-in-Residence during Liminal’s new co-working hours, and you can continue to find me there through June from 1 pm to 5 pm on Wednesdays! If you identify as a woman and you’re interested in checking out a supportive co-working space, Liminal is a great option. First time drop-ins are free, and monthly memberships are available at very reasonable rates.

As for tonight’s reading, which yes, I should have posted about earlier, it’s an evening of Liminal’s Writers In Residence sharing works that we’ve been pecking at for the past few weeks. I wrote the first draft of the Salvation of Soup last spring, and I’ve been slowly gleaning out the filler — I originally wrote it for a submission call that asked for 1,000 words more than I really thought this essay should be. So I think I’m getting closer to my original intention!
 
In addition to hearing our WIPs, tonight is also the closing for Sheri Park’s
 art exhibition Wear & Tear: Living Woman. Art response pieces to her work and an art journaling station will be ongoing. Doors at 7, readings begin at 8! Come out and buy some art and lend me your ear!

Hear me at the Inkwell’s Leap Year Reading!

At the Inkwell WebsiteI am excited to announce that I’ll be participating in a literary reading in one week with At the Inkwell! Giving readings is one of my favorite parts of being a writer, though I also get just a little bit of stage fright before it’s my turn at the mike, so familiar faces in the crowd are always helpful. I am one of five authors reading on 2/29 at Alley Cat Books (3036 24th Street, San Francisco) from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

I’ll be sharing “No Crossing,” the prologue to what will eventually become my third book. The theme of the reading, appropriately, is Leap Year. I considered writing a personal essay for it, seeing where inspiration led. But then I remembered “No Crossing” patiently waiting in my virtual manuscript shelf for me to write the rest of the book. It’ll have to keep waiting for that narrative, but the prologue ties in wonderfully to the Leap Year theme, with a giant canyon to surmount and the shattered and re-building faith of a young girl learning that adults don’t always tell the full story. Regina takes a leap at the end into what will someday be her own story … when I write that part. 😉

Full information on the reading, along with my bio and those of the other authors, can be found here.  Let me know if you plan to come!

The One Word Story Project: Free Fiction!

As those of you who’ve read my short story, “The Cold, Hard Facts of Life,” already know, the One Word Story Project didn’t quite come together this year. But that doesn’t mean that its participants didn’t write great fiction! So here are links to two more of the short stories written for the project, hosted on their authors’ websites for free. Like I did, they wanted to release these one-word-inspired stories out into the world!

One Word Story Free Fiction

First, Anya Davis’s “the Kindness of Kingfishers” uses halcyon as the inspiration for a love story, one perhaps doomed from the start but blessed with a beautiful use of language to tell it.

Second, Darci Cole gives us “Boys, Baseball, and Biology,” all subjects that often appear obfuscated to me. There’s plenty of adolescent miscommunication in this one…and plenty of cute, adolescent hormones as well. Yes, I just called hormones cute.

Finally, you can read four stories published on Team Hellions for the project, all in one place! Of them, Eve Jacob’s “Akasha” stood out for her entertaining duo of space-faring sisters on the hunt for a book on an ancient Earth religion. Rob Kristoffersen’s “Home is Where the Haunting Is” also painted a haunting portrait of the lingering effects of divorce.

Enjoy!

The One Word Story Project

In November, I stumbled across Rob Kristoffersen’s (@kristoffrable) One Word Story Project while browsing my Twitter feed. A group of authors writing stories each inspired by one word? Sounded like a lot of fun!

one-word-story-graphic-banner

I’d been looking for ways to share my fiction more often, as I had limited myself to publishing stories only with professionally rated Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America outlets, and I wasn’t feeling satisfied by the awesome, yet limited, opportunities they provide. So Rob’s project seemed perfect! As he’s a contributor at Team Hellions, a geek website covering a wide range of fandoms (even wrestling!), the stories will be hosted there.

And the first one is up today! Fittingly, the series begins with Rob’s story, “The Home is Where the Haunting Is,” which is inspired by the word epicedium: a funeral dirge. Click on over to read this tale, which, like my own, is a haunting story with marriage at its forefront. Rob’s tale is an affecting look into the aftermath of divorce, and it ends especially strong.

There will be a new One Word Story up at Team Hellions every weekday for a month, through 2/11/2016. My own is inspired by misogamy: a hatred of marriage, and I’ll tell you when it’s up, of course!  But I’ll also point you over to the site whenever I especially enjoy the other writers’ stories.

Need Gift Ideas? Give the gift of (my) fiction!

Hey, it’s not a holiday season without an obligatory “Buy My Work!” post from an author. I swear it’s in the contracts we sign in blood with our publishers…somewhere…I seem to have misplaced them.

Oh, I think I remember how...

Oh, I think I remember where…

In 2015, I added two new opportunities to purchase my work, which is one way of saying some very lovely people agreed to include me in their collections — some even paid me for it! One is a short story in a magazine and one is a contribution to a cookbook…a cookbook with quite illustrious co-contributors from the Speculative Fiction galaxy. Being a member of a professional organization comes with some perks, just sayin’.

Consider this my purchasable compendium, reverse chronological order! Collect all five! And come this time next year, there will be a novel to add to this list, one way or another…

1. Ad Astra: The 50th Anniversary SFWA Cookbook

Fran Wilde and Cat Rambo edited this collection of 150+ recipes from speculative fiction authors of the past, present, and maybe even future. In it, you can find my Seared Peaches with Prosciutto and Basil; it comes with high acclaim from the NC Research Triangle area spec fic community. Purchase the cookbook from the SFWA website here or from Amazon.

2. “Thlush-A-Lum” in PULP Literature Issue #5

“Thlush-A-Lum” is pure horror that would qualify as flash fiction in most markets. The story came about when I challenged myself to write something more focused on the sense of sound than the other four I more commonly use in my writing. Many of those sounds are inspired by what I could hear from my own Southern bedroom window…and a few sounds that I swear I’ve been able to hear no matter where I’ve lived.

Purchase Issue #5 from the PULP Literature website or from Amazon.

3. “Blow ‘Em Down” from Beneath Ceaseless Skies Double Anniversary Issue #131

beneath ceaseless skies

“Blow ‘Em Down” is the story I describe as a steampunk retelling of the Battle of Jericho with a jazzy feel circa Harlem Renaissance. It’s been taught in a college class and brought me some of my highest compliments, so I certainly think it’s worth the read. Beneath Ceaseless Skies is not available in print, but the e-magazine can be purchased through Weightless Books or on Amazon.

4. “Bother” in Bull Spec #5

“Bother” was the cover story for Bull Spec #5, and I’m honored to this day that the highly regarded Richard Case chose to illustrate it. It’s urban fantasy about how a couple survives, or doesn’t, when a dragon comes to roost on their city block. Luckily, there appears to still be back issues of Bull Spec available, although the magazine has shifted to a web-only presence. Order Issue #5 here or an e-version from Weightless Books here.

5. Maya’s Vacation

The contemporary romance novella I never expected write, Maya’s Vacation came to be in a dream about frying chicken, and I fleshed that dream out into the story of a woman in her fifties rediscovering herself after a divorce and relearning what she used to love through food, paint, and an old flame returned. Maya’s Vacation, published by Clean Reads, is available on Amazon. Warning: No sex scenes in this romance! Just unrequited longing. Or is it requited? I’ll never tell.

I may also mention that anything you buy that features my work is a gift to me as well — word of tongue can only spread after eyes on the page have done their business. Of course, I also have plenty of fiction free to read online as well — just click over to the Creative section to find it. Thank you for your support, and I hope to keep entertaining you in the future. I’m pretty sure I’ll have some snippets to share by the end of next week as well…

Happy holidays, from me and Ben!

Happy holidays, from me and Ben!

Nonfiction Bragging: Guest Blogging for Localwise!

About two weeks ago, my first guest blog for Localwise went up! Localwise, you say? What’s that?

localwise logo

Well, my friends, it’s a Berkeley-based start-up that’s essentially a classifieds board for local jobs. They began with listings in Berkeley and Oakland only, but after six months of operation, they’ve expanded to Alameda, Emeryville, and San Francisco with more Bay Area locations in the works.  The site is easy to navigate and a much preferred alternative for local businesses and applicants over that other free classifieds site. You know the one.

That’s great, Becca! But what does that have to do with you? You write about food, drink, and travel, not job hunting!

So true. But one of the most appealing aspects of Localwise is their commitment to building community in the Bay Area, because knowing your neighbor and neighborhood business owner generally tends to improve everyone’s quality of life. As part of that goal, Localwise runs a blog that highlights local businesses, job profiles, and the food & drink scene. Why that last item? Because food industry positions make up around 2/3 of Localwise’s job listings at any given time. That’s right–2/3! We like to eat here, folks. We like to eat a lot.

And drink. Definitely drinking too.

And drink. Definitely drink too.

Perhaps you can see where I come in now? Along with a few other Bay Area food & drink bloggers, I’ll be contributing short articles to the blog on at least a monthly basis. My first one touched on three of the newest food joints in Oakland’s Temescal neighborhood.

IMG_5055

The chicken-cherry sausage at Rosamunde Sausage Grill.

It started like this….

Oakland’s Temescal neighborhood has no shortage of restaurant options, and in the last six months, it’s added three more to its roster. Two of them are brand-new locations, and one is reimagined, but all three are worthy of your gastral attention. Ranked from fastest out the door to least likely to kick you there, here are Temescal’s newest eateries:

And you can read the rest of that article over at Localwise. I’ll let you know at the Gourmez when the next one goes up!

Food, Drink, & Travel Blogging Has Moved!

The-Gourmez-Square-headerWhat happened to the delicious posts on this site? They’ve gone back home to the Gourmez! In August 2013, when we moved to the Bay Area, I combined all my writing pursuits into the site you’re viewing now. At the time, housing them together made the most sense for my sanity–too many sites to manage was too much in the midst of such a huge life change. But nearly two years later, and a recent transition from Hayward to Oakland where my reviews are suddenly in higher demand, meant it was time to give the Gourmez its proper focus again. And thus, that new-old site has been reborn!

My fiction and entertainment publication news and life updates will continue to be housed right here. But if your stomach starts growling or your wanderlust kicks in, the Gourmez is there for you.  In fact, if you click on the menu items above for food, drink, & travel, you’ll find yourself transported to that website instead. Don’t panic! Tastiness is only a mouse click away.

Meanwhile, I’ll be doing more personal writing on this site–writing related to the writing life, that is. I’ve had a few requests to share my own struggles with searching for validation in a career where that rarely equals an income, so I’ll dig into that topic soon. But mainly, I’m planning to re-focus my writing time and get more fiction under my belt. I’m currently shopping around two longish short stories and one fantasy novel. My second novel, a post-apocalyptic romance, is about two-thirds of the way through its first draft, and I have at least four other short stories in various stages of editing and initial plotting. Here’s hoping they all find a home in time!

WisCon 39 Appearances!

wiscon39Tomorrow, I fly out for my first WisCon experience.

I’m super excited because I’ve heard so many great things about this conference from other writers. It has a heavy concentration on the craft of writing, which is the #1 reason I’m choosing it as my first con in years. I love the speculative fiction genre, but I love writing it more than I love the fannish activities that go along with it. Nothing wrong with going wild, Fandom! It’s just not how I engage with the works that spark my passion.

And I am thrilled that I will get to share some of my passion with you! I am one-third of the superpowered trio in the Triple the Strength! Triple the Power! reading with fellow writers Sally Wiener Grotta and Laura Lis Scott on Sunday at 1:00 pm in Conference Room 2 at the main hotel.

Flyer for our reading small

Thanks to Sally for our flyer! Unfortunately, Laura won’t be with us in the flesh, but I’m delighted to read a selection from her novella, Half the Sky, on her behalf. I’ll also be reading “Thlush-A-Lum”, my most recently published horror short story, and if time allows (it should), the first chapter of my epic fantasy novel, Wings Unseen.

But that’s not all! On Monday morning, in the waning hours of WisCon, I’ll be on the Worldbuilding Through Food panel in Senate B at 10:00 am. Writing about food has been a huge part of my career over the past six years, and food has always been an honored guest in my fiction as well, so this panel’s topic spoke to me on many levels. Ty Blauersouth is our moderator, and my fellow panelists will be Nino Cipri and Amy Thomson. The official description:

The food crops and domestic animals an author uses in a fictional world shape underlying presumptions about where and when a story is set…or “not set,” in the case of not-quite-our-world-but-just-barely worlds. Medievaloid Europeish taverns with potatoes and tomatoes in their stew. Cultures that spice heavily, or lightly, or eat a wide range of animals; even if crops and livestock are all named with new words they often trace back to our-Earth models. How can one thoughtfully use food in your worldbuilding in ways that support themes and characters, without falling into shallow sloppiness? What SFF authors do food description particularly well? What’s good about it?

I’m especially excited to talk about how food choices can reveal character and ways food can be more central to the plot than just a lush description of a feasting table. Turkish delight, anyone?

Of course, I’ll be out and about all over the place during the rest of WisCon 39, but I haven’t had the chance to pick which sessions I’ll attend just yet. I’ll update you all on those plans as I make the decisions! Meanwhile, I always love meeting new people, so if you’d like to join me for coffee or a cocktail or a meal, just drop me a line at becca at thegourmez dot com or through Twitter @thegourmez. I arrive Wednesday evening and leave Monday afternoon.

See you soon, Wisconsin! It’ll be lovely to make your acquaintance.

“Thlush-A-Lum” is Available Now!

I am happy to announce that PULP Literature Issue #5 has officially launched, which means my horror short story, “Thlush-A-Lum”, is now available for purchase as part of the issue!

Thlush a lum pages 1

thlush a lum pages 2

You can buy Issue #5 straight from the PULP Literature website here:

Just click on the image to be taken to the ordering page. A print issue is $15 and an e-issue is $5. Lest that seem like a lot to you, I can confirm that I was impressed by how thick the magazine was when I received my author copy in the mail. I’m looking forward to reading all of these stories from my issue mates as described on the order page:

  • We dare you to be held captive by Eileen Kernaghan’s ‘The Robber Maiden’s Story’, and then try to escape alongside the intrepid Stella Ryman as she attempts a jailbreak in The Four Digit Puzzle by Mel Anastasiou.

  • Next, travel by boat and by bus to places you’d rather not go, with the fantastical ‘Polycarp on the Sea’ by Stephen Case and the gritty detective Finley in ‘The Pledge’ by Donald Dewey.

  • Three pulp poems by Mark J Mitchell will prepare you for the cruel transformations of ‘Thlush-a-lum’ by Rebecca Gomez Farrell and ‘Some Say the World Will End in Fire’ by R Daniel Lester.

  • These are followed by a few stories of wishing for more, in ‘A Discussion of Keats’s Negative Capability’ by Susan Pieters and Margaret Kingsbury’s ‘The Longing is Green when Branches are Trees’.

  • A treat lies in store as we publish the winners of the first annual Hummingbird Prize for Flash Fiction, followed by the short, sharp horror cartoon ‘Bait’ by Kris Sayer.

  • For dessert, we hope you’ve saved room for the next installment of Allaigna’s Song. It’s the perfect way to round out a good family feast.

  • All this beneath a beautiful new cover entitled “Fondly Remembered Magic” by our first cover artist Melissa Mary Duncan.

For those of you who contributed to PULP Literature’s Kickstarter campaign last month, thank you so much! I believe you should have received your Issue #5 already.

And for those of you who didn’t, here’s a little teaser of “Thlush-A-Lum’s” first few paragraphs:

Markella’s earliest memories are of the sounds outside her window. At hours when no men moved, rustling branches and shuffling grass woke her. A beating pulse like slower, fleshier helicopter blades banished sleep: thlush-a-lum thlush-a-lum. In summers, the heat in her attic bedroom hot enough to incubate, Markella pushed the window open and dozed to the endless static drone of cicadas. In winters, choking radiator warmth wrapped tight around her, she cracked the window and the low, deep hoots of an owl drifted in with the freezing breeze.

The sounds crept in no matter the season.

And a photograph to set the mood…

thlush a lum wine

I hope you enjoy “Thlush-A-Lum”…and you remember to keep an eye on those bedroom windows.