Published! Next Stop on the #13

I love the number thirteen. I was born on the 13th of March and turned 13 on Friday the 13th. I decided that thirteen would have to be my lucky number.

There’s even a word for it: triskadecaphilia. Technically, it means obsession with the Front Cover, Next Stop on the #13number thirteen and I wouldn’t say I’m obsessed. I think.

Which leads me to a story titled “Triskadecaphilia” by the Haiku Ninja herself, Dover Whitecliff, in a new anthology we’re both in, Next Stop on the #13This anthology contains a whole lotta punk: steampunk, dieselpunk, and solarpunk, plus some historical fantasy and straight up historical fiction.

My own story is “Riverhag,” a story set 500 years in the future, in a London 40 meters under water. I’m exploring the #solarpunk genre and this is my first foray.

The characters run a rusty freight barge up and down the Thames basin, skirting the remains of skyscrapers. It’s a light-hearted story (What? No heartbreak?) about one of their trips involving exotic pets and river monsters. Something about monsters in the water keeps turning up in my stories. Hmm. Must be something Jungian going on. One of the characters was loosely based on my caustically funny grandmother and I had a blast using quotes from her.

A whole array of other authors contributed to this anthology: Harry Turtledove, Anthony Francis, T.E. MacArthur, Katherine Morse, David Drake (aka Drake and McTrowell), Lillian Csernica, Madeleine Holly-Rosing, Chip Michael, Eddie Louise, and Michael Tierney.

What’s your lucky number? Any fellow triskadecaphilians out there?

Saving the world with your story?

I read a blog post on environmental storytelling by Denise Baden proposing that writers can give people hope by presenting another narrative for the future. #solarpunk, anyone? It’s coming up a lot for me. I have an idea percolating.

Check out the post on the Aerogramme Writers’ Studio then tell me what you think.

New Year, New Feature: a Speculative Fiction Writing Prompt

Writing prompt challenges are definitely a fun way to get some words on the page! Here’s one from D. Wallace Peach that uses an image for inspiration.
What inspires you more: a word/phrase or an image?

Myths of the Mirror

I wish you all a wonderfully creative, happy, healthy, and safe new year, full of laughter and love.


After 5+ years of blogging, I thought I’d try something new… finally. How about a Monthly Speculative Fiction Writing Prompt? Sue Vincent was the inspiration for this idea since I’ve loved participating in her weekly prompts (check out her extremely popular feature here.)

If you’re interested, here’s how it will work:

On the first of every month, I’ll post a speculative fiction prompt from Pixabay. These images are attribution free so you can use them on your blog without worrying about copyright restrictions.

Throughout the month, I’ll reblog your prompt-inspired stories, poems, reflections, writing. And on the last day of each month, I’ll share a complete round-up of all contributions with links to the original posts. Visiting the blogs of participants is a great way to meet other…

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#BlogBattle: flower

January 2019 Blog Battle

Our word this month is:


BlogBattle for January 2019

Here’s a little something I wrote just for #BlogBattle

Blue Ribbons and Flowers

Her anxious face turned to me, eyes dark and cheeks still rounded with childhood.

“Is it okay if I pick flowers, Mama?”

I looked around at the city street, wet and barren. The struggling plants next to the sidewalk were covered in small blossoms. Geraniums. Their bright red flowers must have caught her eye.

I shrugged. “Sure, honey.”

She bent down and plucked a single stem. We continued our stroll. A rose bush, mostly devoid of leaves, still had some buds. Sharp Eyes spotted them and a white rose bud was added to her growing handful. Her sister skipped ahead, oblivious to everything but whatever thoughts filled her head. Her leaping strides over puddles made me smile. She reminded me of a deer.

Sharp Eyes grabbed a few more sidewalk flowers then spotted a piece of blue ribbon.
“Can I use this in my bouquet? Would that be good?”

Her expression gave me pause. What was going on in her young mind?

“What are you making your bouquet for?”

She turned her face away and was silent. I put my arm around her shoulder. Blue ribbons hung from tree trunks and metal poles all along the street. With a sinking heart, I realized what she was doing. “Is the bouquet for the police officer who died?”

Shock still reverberated through our little town. A pretty young police officer had been shot and killed not far from our house. The sirens screamed past our house a few nights ago, more than we’d ever heard. We had been baffled by the commotion but the girls had gone to bed that night without finding out that there was an active shooter in our neighborhood. He had shot the policewoman then ran. No one knew where he was until after midnight. We tried to keep calm the next day but were too shocked to keep the evening’s events from the girls.

Sharp Eyes nodded. “I want to put it on her grave–”

“You mean the shrine on the street?”

The day after the shooting, we had driven by the spot where the policewoman had been killed and there were piles of flowers and signs. So of course the girls had questions. We were walking in that area now but I hadn’t intended to go by. It was too hard to see the outpouring of grief from the community. I felt uncomfortable, awkward. I didn’t know her so what right did I have to join in the public mourning? My daughter seemed to feel differently.

The three of us reached the park and Sharp Eyes sat down at a picnic table to assemble her bouquet, complete with its blue ribbon. I walked around and around, unable to keep still.

We walked through the park and there, under the oak tree where I had been married, was another monument to the town’s grief. There had been a candlelight vigil a couple of nights before and the candles were still burning. Blue ribbons festooned the stone steps and a giant portrait of a smiling young woman was propped up in the middle of candles and flowers.

“Why don’t you put your bouquet down with the others, sweetheart?”

She smiled and carefully placed it among the plastic-wrapped florist bouquets, cards, glass jarred candles, and a full bottle of coke. I winced a little. So the dead woman had loved coke. Someone who knew and loved her had placed that on this impromptu shrine. I pictured her sitting and laughing with friends, drinking coke out of bottles together.

“Okay, girls, let’s go.”

I couldn’t bear being there any longer. My child and her simple sadness shamed my conflicted feelings. They skipped away, shouting and pushing at each other.

“Look, you can see your bouquet all the way from here! It’s that bright red spot!”

They ran, a couple of deer leaping across the grass.

Bouquet of flowers

17 Common Fantasy Sub-Genres

The fantasy genre has expanded and diversified into a lot of subgenres. I’m a big fan of historical fantasy and fairy tale retellings. What’s your favorite?

Thoughts on Fantasy

The fantasy genre is rich with a myriad of sub-genres, and each has its own conventions and trends. With the different terms floating around out there it can be easy to confuse or overlook key sub-genres. Finding a succinct list of the most notable ones – particularly a list with definitions and examples – is not always straightforward. So I thought I’d put my reading and researching to use and assemble one.

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Play like a girl: Challenging gender stereotypes in spec fiction

Some great examples of challenging gender stereotypes, especially of female-identified people.

mikhaeyla kopievsky

by Mikhaeyla Kopievsky

Today, I’m launching a dystopian anthology with eleven other indie authors. On the Brinkfeatures some amazing stories and most of them feature protagonists that are female, flawed, and ferocious. It got me thinking about my own posts on the subject of gender in speculative fiction and I realised that I never posted the guest post I published on Amid the Imaginary. So here it is in all its glory for you to read:

Challenging the Collective Identity

Just a little while ago, on 14 July, I released the second book in my Divided Elements series, Rebellion. I thought it was kind of fitting that Rebellion was published on Bastille Day, since it is a dystopian tale of revolution set in a post-apocalyptic Paris. Interestingly, 14 July is also celebrated as International Non-binary Day – which similarly held a nice symmetry, since my book is centered on…

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