“Fresh Catch of the Day” now available in A Quiet Afternoon 2!

I’m quite proud of “Fresh Catch of the Day.” This fantasy story appears in A Quiet Afternoon 2, the second volume of an anthology series of low-fi speculative fiction from Grace&Victory Publications.

a quiet afternoon 2, low fi speculative fiction, rebecca gomez farrell, fresh catch of the day

Low-fi spec fic aims “for a peaceful break from a stressful world.” Volume 1 contained my “An Inconvenient Quest,” and I’m delighted that the G&V team thought “Fresh Catch of the Day” would make a great addition to Volume 2.

Often, when I’m writing a new short story, I’m doing it with a challenge in mind. For “Fresh Catch of the Day,” that challenge was writing a short story with a solid plot contained within 1,000 words. Oh, I’ve written plenty stories of that length before! But those have all tended more toward the poetic prose side of my writing, generating atmosphere and character more vividly than the plot.

Enter Jiàn, an older woman with a middling magical gift compared to everyone else in her world. Hearing about a special seafood catch at the local market leads her to make a perhaps hasty decision to pursue it with a single-minded focus.

You’ll have to order A Quiet Afternoon 2 to see if she pulls it off! I ultimately pulled off the story at just over 1,100 words. Like Jiàn, I know sometimes you have to push yourself past your limits to get the job done. 😉

A Quiet Afternoon 2 contains 27 low-fi tales. It’s available in ebook formats from Grace&Victory directly at Payhip. The anthology is $9 CAD, so a little over $8 in USD.

I do hope you enjoy it! Here are the first few lines of “A Fresh Catch of the Day” to whet your appetite.

Jiàn, seventy-one but as spry as sixty-three, pondered which vendor she’d like to barter with to use her water-spouting skills for lunch. A spark of light about as bright and fast-fizzling as a firecracker caught her eye. Ah, the light-weavers are at work.

And a photograph to set the mood:

oysters, hog island, the gourmez, nz wine

An oyster chef at work.

I hope you enjoy “Fresh Catch of the Day!”

“She Could Be Me” Reappears at Bards And Sages Quarterly!

“She Could Be Me” was one of my very first short stories published, back in 2010. Sadly, its original publisher, the e-zine Flashes in the Dark, no longer exists. But I’m delighted to announce that Bards And Sages Quarterly has rescued “She Could Be Me” from obscurity!

bards sages quarterly, she could be me, rebecca gomez farrell, april 2021

This issue of the magazine came out in April 2021 — yes, I’m behind in sharing publication news, AGAIN. You can pick up the e-book for $3 or the print version for $9 from Amazon here. I quite like Editor Julie Ann Dawson’s short description of my story, in this collection of eight short stories in all:

A peculiar phone call from her husband is only the first in a strange series of events that upends a woman’s well-manicured life in “She Could Be Me.”

I hope you’ll pick up a copy of the April 2021 Bards And Sages Quarterly and give it a read! Our new kitty, Bemo, did. 😉

bards sages quarterly, bemo cat, bemo, kitten, magazine, rebecca gomez farrell, she could be me, cat reading

Video: “She Could Be Me” and “Fresh Catch of the Day” at Story Hour!

In March, I was delighted to appear on Story Hour, a weekly speculative fiction reading. Audiences can join the Zoom recording directly or they can watch live or in replays on Facebook. This is the second time I’ve read for Story Hour, and I have to say, it’s great fun that a reading exists that so appreciates the short story form. I read two short stories, “She Could Be Me” and “Fresh Catch of the Day,” during my half of the episode. At the time, they were upcoming publications (or re-publication, in the case of “She Could Be Me”), but as life has continued the untimely delay of my posting updates here, both have since come out!

I’ll have posts very soon announcing where you can find the stories. In the meantime, enjoy my Story Hour reading! It takes place in the first half of the episode, and I was delighted to read with Edward Austin Hall, who reads in the second half of the hour. Do note that Edward’s excerpts are on the graphic side of horror, should that be a concern for you. Mine are both fairly lightweight this time around, one Twilight Zonesque horror short and one low-fi fantasy tale.

Thanks so much to Daniel Marcus and Laura Blackwell, who host Story Hour, for the invite back!

Wings Unfurled Flies in 2022!

I am so delighted to announce that Wings Unfurled, the sequel to my epic fantasy novel Wings Unseen, will be coming out in 2022! Meerkat Press will publish the sequel, just as they did Wings Unseen. Here’s their official announcement of the upcoming publication.

Some of you may remember that I wrote Wings Unseen as a standalone novel. Or rather, I first dreamed of it as a trilogy in the early 2000s, but by the time I seriously started writing it, in 2009, the going advice was that a first-time novelist couldn’t get a multi-book deal. So I shifted gears, focusing on writing the full story in one book instead. That made for a much tighter narrative, but by the time I began shopping the manuscript around, the collective wisdom in speculative fiction was back to recommending series of books as the best bet for a writer, first-time or established!

Luckily, Meerkat Press took the risk on Wings Unseen as a standalone book, and I’ve always been happy that I could tell people that the story is complete in and of itself.

wings unseen rebecca gomez farrell meerkat press cover fantasy

Such a shiny, pretty debut novel!

But after its release, my publisher, Tricia Meeks, the driving force behind Meerkat, mentioned that she’d be interested in a second book. So of course the wheels of a new story for Janto, Vesperi, and Serra began turning!

My wheels don’t turn very fast. Wings Unseen was published in 2017, and I didn’t begin writing Wings Unfurled in earnest until October 2019. Yet somehow, I managed to send off the manuscript’s third draft for consideration by Meerkat in March 2020, and they purchased it! That’s the fastest I have ever written a book, for sure – faster than I’ve written most short stories, to be honest. I’m definitely someone who puts manuscripts aside for a while, letting time do the solving of plot puzzles before coming back with fresh eyes.

So what’s Wings Unfurled about? Well, I’m not going to spoil it, but it begins about six years after Janto, Vesperi, and Serra have rid Lansera and its formerly Meduan lands of the invisible plague of claren and the thrall of the Guj. I won’t tell you more than that for now – except to tease that there’s a fourth, and briefly a fifth, new point-of-view character in the book. Not a pigeon this time! But rest assured, there are plenty of feathers left to lash in Lansera.

I’ll be dropping hints about Wings Unfurled along the way to its publication, leaving you a tasty trail to follow until then. Maybe I’ll even share a recipe for the lemon cakes that Janto, and another family member, so loves! Waits are always easier to endure when there’s a snack.

grandview bakery, pittsburgh bakeries, cupcakes, lemon cake, almond cupcake, los angeles

That image is of Pittsburgh’s Grandview Bakery’s almond cupcakes – NOT Mar Pina’s lemon cakes in Lansera, but not far off from what I imagine…

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