2020 was my first year out of graduate school, and it made such a tremendous difference on my writing output. In 2019, I had 27 story submissions – no small feat, to be sure. But in 2020, I submitted short stories 42 times, and completed four new short stories on top of the ones I already had in active submission rotation (as opposed to one new story written in 2019). And! I had two short story publications in 2020!
My short story Dog’s Blood Trail is the first story in the Crone Girls Press anthology Coppice & Brake. It’s a body horror story based on a nightmare I had several years ago during a period of particularly plagued sleep. It’s got dogs! Murder! Sharks! Terrible parenting! Flaps of loose, trailing skin! What more could you want from a horror story?
Utopia Science Fiction picked up my flash fiction piece You’re It for its June 2020 Vol. 1 Issue 06. Funnily enough, this story was also from the bad dream period that spawned Dog’s Blood Trail, but was a rare good dream. It’s less of a one to one translation than Dog’s Blood Trail is as well – about the only thing that made it from the dream to the story is the imagery on Pluto.
I also got into working on writing for tabletop role playing games. I’d made a brief foray in 2019 into this sort of writing, with a character background for the game Troika! and an entry into the 200 Word RPG challenge. I enjoyed that kind of writing a lot, so I’m very proud of my continuation in the genre.
I was lucky enough to have two monster pitches picked up for a “Scientific Secrets” project. Zeke Gonzalez produces the projects, where “a talented team of scientists, researchers, & environmentalists who were inspired by scientific literature to create original monsters” for use in DnD settings. In Scientific Secrets of Avernus you can find my monster Volcanitherium, based on the Volaticotherium antiquum, a gliding mammal from the Jurassic period. You can also find my False Cleric Fish, a fiendish monster which draws inspiration from the trilobite and the horseshoe crab. Both my monsters were illustrated by Erin Z. Anderson. The illustrations she produced are fantastic and I’m so excited to have some of my work illustrated. Leon Barillaro edited the monster entries and did a superb job. Everyone was wonderful to work with, and I had a great time. I’m delighted to have been able to channel my passion for monsters and creature design into this project.
I wrote the play by mail rpg Let Loose the Lilac Mammoths! for the Step up for the Postal Service game jam, to get people thinking about the role of the USPS in their lives, and to encourage people to write more letters. I used to work for the USPS as a city carrier assistant and am very fond of the postal service, and very upset by the continued conservative attempts to gut it. Writing this game was very cathartic to me – it was helpful in working past feelings of helplessness. The point of the game, beyond writing letters and having fun, is to get people thinking about mutual aid and cooperation, and to move past feelings of helplessness, even if in a silly game world.