Listen to “Submission Caws” at the Centropic Oracle!

In the madness of moving, I haven’t had time to share this news: “Submission Caws” received an audio production by the Centropic Oracle!

centropic oracle, thlush a lum, rebecca gomez farrell

The recording was released on January 29, which was the day we were originally scheduled for escrow to close. The release of “Submission Caws” stayed on schedule, though our escrow took a few days longer…

…but that’s another story! This story is a fictional rant about the process of submitting manuscripts out for publication. It is funny and silly, particularly if you are also a writer undertaking this process on a regular basis. It’s a fantasy take on the concept, with recipes for magic spells subbed in for manuscripts themselves. It ends with a dare that the editors at the Centropic Oracle took, just like Defenestration did before them when the story was first published in 2019.

Jill Raymond performed the audio version, and I quite enjoy her take on the story — the character of Betty, a bubbly and annoyingly successful composer of magical recipes, comes through loud and clear. To listen to or read “Submission Caws,” head to the Centropic Oracle’s website here.

Or of course, you can read “Submission Caws” at its original home at Defenestration, right here.

The first few lines to entice you onward:

A black crow swoops onto the open window ledge, and yearning gushes from deep within me. I tamp down the emotion swifter than the crow can deliver its charge: a rolled parchment that bangs against the bookshelves as it flips toward the floor. The crow musses its feathers and launches into the air, off to retrieve its next assignment. Soon, someone else will receive fresh misery. I retrieve the parchment, find it quaint that the Gate Keepers use it for correspondence when they could just place a call by sandspelling. The parchment’s seal displays a sentinel guarding a mountain of scrolls piled behind an ornate, locked gate.

And some photographic inspiration:

My 2020 Awards Eligible Short Stories

It’s award nomination season in the speculative fiction world, which means it’s time for me to roll out my annual review of my publications for the previous year! And by annual, I mean, I haven’t done one since…2018? Oh wait, 2018 was the only year I’ve ever done one? Um…oops? But I am recently inspired by Rosemary Claire Smith’s “Reason to Publicize Your Award-Eligible Works” article to to give it a go. So here goes!

Yes, I had seven publications to my name in the last year! That’s my highest total yet in terms of sheer numbers – I’m around a 15% acceptance rate at the moment, which is pretty gosh-darn good. Writing is a rejection grind, so anytime my acceptance rate is above 10% for stories I’ve sent out to be considered for publication, I’m feeling darn good. And I do feel good about the quality of my work published in 2020! Unfortunately, of those seven publications, only a couple are actually eligible for nomination for the Nebula, Hugo, Locus, or other awards of your nominating choice. Those are….

  • “It’s Only Vampire” – A humorous horror tale released in FARK in the Time of COVID: The 2020 Fark Fiction Anthology. The anthology was released in December 2020. What I most enjoyed about writing this one was finally capturing a bit of the humor in the generational battles we humans so often undertake – think, “OK, Boomer,” but for the fang and crypt crew.
  • “An Inconvenient Quest” – A flash fantasy quest in A Quiet Afternoon: Lo-Fi Speculative Fiction for a Peaceful Break from a Stressful World, released in July 2020. I wrote the first draft of this short story several years ago, when I wanted to really dig into using senses other than sight more often in my fiction. The result of focusing on smells? A synesthetic union of scent, emotion, and color for a lonely sprite who must find a way to save his ailing queen.
  • Wishing for More” – Oh, oh wait. This urban fantasy romance about graduates of the Jinn school trying to make their way in world came out in December 2019. I just didn’t learn that it had been published until a few weeks into 2020. Now that’s a story for another time. You can read “Wishing for More” in Helios Quarterly Magazine 4.4, but unfortunately, you cannot nominate it this year.
  • “Some Who Wander” – Oh, no, nope. Not that one either. Because it’s not fiction at all, but a fun little whirl of micro nonfiction about a bad choice I made one day while hiking through my neighborhood. “Some Who Wander” can be stumbled upon at Intrinsick.
  • Consider “Hobgoblin” instead! Except you can’t because it’s a reprint, found in Whigmaleeries & Wives Tales.
  • “What Scattered in the Wind”? Nope, also a reprint, this time in the ACCOLADES anthology.
  • Surely, “Thlush-A-Lum” is up for some nominating fun? Assuredly not, as it enjoyed its fourth printing this year, in It Calls From the Sky. Clearly, I believe in the power of making your words work for you again…and again…and again. Reprints are great! But they are not eligible for nominations…unless I put them together into my own collection someday! A girl can dream.

So I guess those first two stories really are the only ones I have eligible for nominations this awards season despite my great publishing year. With seven publications added to my grand total of thirty-one, I’m not at all upset about that. If you read either “It’s Only Vampire” or “An Inconvenient Quest” and liked them enough to give them a nomination, then you have my thanks.

And if not…more Stories by Rebecca Gomez Farrell are certainly coming your way in 2021. In fact, a new recording of my “Submission Caws” is up now at the Centropic Oracle here! More on that soon. One of my earliest stories, “She Could be Me,” will make its way into Bards & Sages Quarterly in the spring. My brand-new “Fresh Catch of the Day” is coming out in A Quiet Afternoon 2 as well. And more new things that I can’t quite speak about yet…but soon, very soon.

That’s it for my second-ever awards eligibility post! Maybe next year, I’ll have three pieces that’ll qualify. Fingers crossed – or rather – poised over the keyboard, ready to write.

It’s Only Vampire Published in FARK in the Time of COVID: The 2020 Fark Fiction Anthology!

I am pleased to announce that my humorous horror tale, “It’s Only Vampire,” appears in FARK in the Time of COVID: The 2020 Fark Fiction Anthology! The anthology was released in December 2020.

fark fiction anthology, rebecca gomez farrell, fark in the time of covid, horror, humorous horror, funny horror, fark in the time of covid

I have a soft spot for the main characters in “It’s Only Vampire.” Vlad and Ji, a pair of old-timer vampires who live in a brave new world of vampire liberation, decades after vampires rose from the shadows to conquer the Earth. You see, vampires come into existence when humans write about them. After a fan fiction-based population boom, they finally had enough numbers to take their place as the dominant predator on the planet.

But ancient, sophisticated vampires like Vlad and Ji, still have a few concerns. Avoiding sunlight and garlic cloves, certainly. But also getting along with the newer generations of bloodsuckers. Some disagreements are only human — er, vampire — in nature.

Here are the first few lines of “It’s Only Vampire” to entice your purchase:

By the time Vlad’s paper-thin skin was sizzling in the sunshine as he sped down the zipline, I knew the sixth day of my nine hundred and ninety-fourth year had gone horribly wrong. Had the humans felt the same when we stepped from the shadows a decade ago to reveal our existence? We took charge before the mortals had the chance to form a resistance.

It started in late twilight with the piquant aroma of coffee brewing. Not the vampire takeover of Earth, but the sequence of events leading to Vlad’s unfortunate circumstance. Desire for my daily cuppa had uncreaked my old joints as Vlad and I waited for the steeping coffee on a café’s mahogany bench. Mahogany is a sign of exceptional taste—it makes quite elegant caskets.

it's only vampire, rebecca gomez farrell, fark in the time of covid, fark fiction anthology

This is my second time having a short story appear in the annual Fark.com fiction anthologies – the first was “Garbage” in 2017. Like its predecessors, FARK in the Time of COVID: The 2020 Fark Fiction Anthology, donates its proceeds to a children’s charity chosen by Fark.com posters. You can order it on Amazon as a paperback or read the ebook via Kindle Unlimited.

it's only vampire, rebecca gomez farrell, fark in the time of covid, fark fiction anthology

Obligatory author & book photo

What is Fark.com? Why, it’s one of the oldest, and most irreverent, news aggregator websites still around. Fark.com first came into existence in 1999. I’m mostly a lurker on their message boards, but I’ve always been a fan of the site and its humorous news headlines and epic discussion threads. Oh, and their taste in fiction. 😉 I’m a fan of that, too. The annual anthology was born from Fark’s weekly discussion thread for writers.

I wouldn’t leave you without a little photographic inspiration for “It’s Only Vampire” to get your imaginations churning.

Ben Farrell, ziplining, jamaica, zipline, man ziplining

Thlush-A-Lum Reprinted in It Calls From the Sky!

By far, my most successful short story to date has been “Thlush-A-Lum,” a horror tale. It follows the coming of age of Markella, a young woman who’s always been especially attuned to sound and to the way her parents keep her at a distance. Perhaps they’ve had good reason, she learns.

I’m excited to share that “Thlush-A-Lum” was reprinted for a third time this past fall. It appears in It Calls From the Sky, an anthology of horror short stories on the title’s theme.

Published by Eerie River and edited by A. Robertson-Webb and M. River, It Calls From the Sky is available for purchase at 15% off the cover price if you request a quote from Eerie River directly at the bottom of this page, Or you can purchase hardcover, paperback, or e-book versions from Amazon here. Reviews have been great for the collection, and it includes 20+ short stories in all! I’m happy that “Thlush-A-Lum” has found such a great fourth home.

rebecca gomez farrell, it calls from the sky, thlush a lum

A full publication history for “Thlush-A-Lum” can be found here.

“Hobgoblin” Now Available in the Whigmaleeries & Wives’ Tales anthology!

I’m excited to announce that “Hobgoblin,” my flash fiction take on an old fairy tale trope, appears in Whigmaleeries & Wives’ Tales from Jayhenge Publishing! This anthology, which just released last week, is a collection of over 400 pages of new fairy tale takes – or retellings of lost knowledge, if you’d like. 😉 You can purchase it here at Amazon, in ebook or paperback formats. Here’s the backcover blurb, and a little bit of the introduction, which I quite like:

Superstitions, Legends, Folklore and Old Wives’ Tales–where do they come from? How did they get started? What’s the “real” reason we throw spilled salt over our shoulder or avoid stepping on a crack? What were the old women really afraid of when someone broke a mirror? Delve into the imagination and enjoy our theories!

Knowledge once, was tough to come by.
Like anything of value, various entities have tried to control it, hoard it, keep the rabble from using said knowledge, whether it was how to splint a broken leg or how to best take care of the crops. When writing was developed, keeping knowledge bound became harder in some ways, but humans have been around far longer than the written word. Before the written word, knowledge had to be passed through memory by the spoken word.
And few things retain knowledge like stories. Wives’ tales, folklore, mythology; all of these make up the first FAQ of humanity, a knowledge base that didn’t respond to search terms or limiters, but characters and plot…

whigmaleeries, wives' tales, old wives tale, anthology, jayhenge press, jayhenge publishing, jayhenge books, rebecca gomez farrell, hobgoblin, fairy tale collection

Its appearance in the Whigmaleeries & Wives’ Tales anthology is “Hobgoblin’s” second printing — the story was a runner-up for the Fall 2017 WOW! Women on Writing Flash Fiction contest, and it was published by WOW! Women on Writing in February 2018. Here are “Hobgoblin’s” first few lines to entice you to make a purchase:

Hobgoblin, they name me. The word’s consonance fills me with venom. If squeezed together on the page, the letters would ooze disgust: hob. . . gob . . . lin. It’s a corruption of my time-honored service and an insult to my squat and sturdy frame. To call me that and wonder why I torment them? I feel the evidence is plain.

And some photographic mood-setting for the tale…

I was inspired to write “Hobgoblin” for a prompt for Saturday Night Special, an ongoing open mic series. The prompt was “heroes and villains,” and this poetic, somewhat nostalgic hobgoblin character came to mind. I went for a hobgoblin because they provide a rougher canvas than most fae creatures, not being quite as well-established in our communal zeitgeist. I knew I wanted to play with a character that did not consider itself a villain, but found that it could not endure the unkindess of others without giving in to their perceptions.

I hope you will read and enjoy “Hobgoblin” in Whigmaleeries & Wives’ Tales! I’m looking forward to this anthology greatly myself, as I love the topic. Plus, I need to figure out what a whigmaleerie is…

Whigmaleeries & Wives' Tales, hobgoblin, rebecca gomez farrell, jayhenge

Click here for the Amazon link!

Appearing at the WWS Submission Conference on Saturday!

The WWS Submission Conference is a one day, online event on Saturday, August 8, 2020, beginning at 10 am PT. I’ll be appearing on the panel entitled “Empowering your Community: A Talk with WWS Chapter Leads” at 2:15 pm.

This is a topic near and dear to me, as I’m a strong supporter in the importance of writer communities for keeping up motivation and perseverance in a writer’s career. To that end, I have been a chapter lead with Women Who Submit (WWS) for the past few years, running one of their Bay Area chapters.

What’s WWS? Well, they are the hosts of this conference and a national organization devoted to empowering women and nonbinary writers by creating physical and virtual spaces for sharing information, supporting and encouraging submissions to literary journals, and clarifying the submission and publication process.

women who submit, women who submit lit, submission process, submission conference conference, literary, writers

If you fit those criteria: a writer who identifies as a woman and/or nonbinary, you are welcome to attend this free conference! Tickets will be limited to 100 participants, and registration closes on Thursday. You can register by completing this Google form. Here’s the schedule for the conference!

  • 10am-11am: New Member Orientation with WWS Director, Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo
  • 11:15am-12:15pm: Demystifying Top Tier Submissions with Cynthia Guardado, Anita Gill, Hazel Kight Witham, moderated by Lituo Huang
  • 12:15pm-1pm: Zoom Lunch
  • 1pm-2pm: Magazine and Journal Editors Share Best Practices with Cassandra Lane, Raina León, Muriel Leung, moderated by Ramona Pilar
  • 2:15-3:15: Empowering your Community: A Talk with WWS Chapter Leads Desiree Kannel, Rebecca Gomez Farrell, and moderated by Ashaki M. Jackson

Join me for Story Hour on 7/22!

This coming Wednesday, I’ll be appearing at Story Hour, a weekly reading of speculative fiction hosted by authors Daniel Marcus and Laura Blackwell. Story Hour has only been in existence since April, but already, this reading series has included a ton of great authors in our field, and I am delighted to join their ranks. I’ll be reading with Laura Davy, who’s a friend and a lovely person and author.

Story Hour focuses on the short form, preferring that stories can be read in full during each author’s half of the show. Luckily, I already have a handful of short stories recently published to share! Definitely, “An Inconvenient Quest” from the A Quiet Afternoon anthology will make an appearance. Likely, my 100-word non-fiction tale, “Some Who Wander,” will round out my reading. And perhaps I’ll have time to fit in another story that’ll be reprinted soon…

I hope to see you Wednesday at 7pm PT! You can join Story Hour either through Zoom or through Facebook Live. Links to both are here at their website.

“An Inconvenient Quest” published in A Quiet Afternoon anthology!

My short story, “An Inconvenient Quest,” appears in A Quiet Afternoon, an anthology of Low-Fi speculative fiction from Grace&Victory Publications. The anthology is due out on July 1, 2020.

a quiet afternoon, an inconvenient quest, cozy stories, cozy fantasy, cozy scifi, short stories, fairies

What’s Low-Fi speculative fiction? Foreward writer Laura DeHaan describes it as “The stakes are low. The expectations are reasonable. The resolutions are quietly satisfactory. Problems are solved with words, not violence. And sometimes, not much happens. There might not even be an appreciable amount of fantasy or science fiction. Still, it’s Low-Fi. It feels cosy. It reads easy. It enjoys the little victories.”

My “An Inconvenient Quest” fits right in with that billing, though for the main character, a funny-smelling sprite named Levolin, the stakes are rather high indeed – the sprite queen is sick! Levolin must wield what he’s always viewed as a fault to save the queen, who’s never found any fault in him. Here are the beginning lines of the story:

Raindrop-sized jellyfish skittered out of Levolin’s reach, a familiar reaction to his presence. The sprite’s people had skittered away from him since his youth, once his unique pheromone sequence had matured into a less-than-pleasing blend. Most sprites enjoyed each other’s scents. Every feeling, person, and experience had its own redolent signature: roasted cacao beans, or rain on warm asphalt, or perhaps, peacefulness. Levolin’s just happened to be unappealing.

I do hope you’ll follow Levolin on his aromatic journey into purposeful mischief and heroism. A Quiet Afternoon will be available in e-book formats on its page at the Grace&Victory website on July 1, 2020.

Here is some photographic inspiration as you read the story. Just imagine yourself as a tiny sprite, drawn in by an irresistible smell . . .

rebecca gomez farrell, the gourmez, red flowers, calanchoe, flowers of oakland, #flowersofoaklandI hope you enjoy “An Inconvenient Quest” and all the stories in A Quiet Afternoon.

“Some Who Wander” now published by Intrinsick!

“Some Who Wander” is a short, but not sweet, piece of micro-nonfiction that appears at Instrinsick magazine.

What does micro-nonfiction mean? It means this creative work is less than a hundred words long, and it is an account of one of my many adventures while taking a walk. It turned out slightly better than the time I fell into a blackberry thicket and ended up with poison oak for weeks . . .

Because this tale is so swift, I’m not going to share a lead-in quote. Instead, I’ll explain the story’s title.

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

JRR Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Now, Tolkien is writing about Strider here, a ranger in Middle Earth who wanders purposefully through the wilds. Strider, of course, will soon be revealed to be Aragon, the rightful king of Gondor. It is one of my favorite bits from the Lord of the Rings series. But while “not all who wander are lost,” my title, “Some Who Wander,” is meant to imply that some who wander are, indeed, quite lost, as you’ll learn when you read what happened to me.

I will also give you some photographic inspiration to set the mood:

rebecca gomez farrell, some who wander, giants causeway, ireland, hiking path, wet stairs

You can read “Some Who Wander” here.

“Forming and Sustaining a Successful Writing or Critique Group” Panel at the 2020 SFWA Nebula Conference Online

Tomorrow afternoon, at 3:30pm PDT, I’ll be moderating and participating in the “Forming and Sustaining a Successful Writing or Critique Group” panel at the 2020 SFWA Nebula Conference, which of course, is taking place online.

SFWA, Nebula, Nebulas, conference

The panel topic is one that’s dear to my heart, both in terms of becoming a better writer and in terms of building writer communities that can support us through this often challenging career:

Writing is often a solitary endeavor–and with the current pandemic, it has become even more so. Writing and critique groups don’t eliminate the aspects of writing that can only be done solo, but a good group can serve as both a social support net as well as providing trusted feedback. Panelists will discuss the factors that go into building a successful group, both online and in-person, and what they’ve learned about keeping one going.

My fellow panelists include A. T. Greenblatt, A.C. Wise, Vylar Kaftan, and Curtis C. Chen, which makes the majority of them finalists for this year’s Nebula Awards, the ceremony for which takes place tonight at 5pm PDT. Regardless of whether they win or lose, they are sure to contribute valuable insight to this topic.

If you are an attendee of #Nebulas2020, you can join us at the link below tomorrow. The panel will only be available to attendees of the conference at this time.

Forming and Sustaining a Successful Writing or Critique Group (Sponsored By Clarion West)

I hope to “see” you there!