“The Bird and Baby” available to read

My short story on half-crow Russian plague doctors is out in the wild in Stupefying Stories issue 23! I had actually written this story in 2018, before the covid-19 pandemic, and had it accepted in the same year. 3 years later, it’s finally out. A few elements in this story are a wink and nod to two certain anime I really enjoy: Berserk and Claymore. It’s up to you to find out what those elements are. 😉

“Tiger of the New Moon” available to read

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My short story “Tiger of the New Moon” has been released into the wild through the August 2020 issue of Anathema. It’s based on Vietnamese folklore that’s overlooked enough that if you google it, you can find results only in Vietnamese. I heard about it thanks to my parents. With this story, I’ve brought it over to English and put a spin on it. I had this story workshopped at Taos Toolbox, so I owe a huge thanks to my Taos cohort for the feedback that helped me make the story stronger.

You can read it for free (here).

Short Story Acceptance #15

“Tiger of the New Moon” is coming to Anathema Magazine: Spec Fic From the Margins! The story is a feminist fairy-tale spin on obscure Vietnamese folklore: Ông Ba Mươi, or the tiger known as Mister Thirty. I heard about this piece of folklore from my parents. It’s not something you can easily find online, because none of it is translated into English. This story was critiqued during week 2 at Taos Toolbox, so I owe the instructors and classmates a huge thanks for helping me shape this story into something worthy of publication. I’m really excited to share the direction I took with Ông Ba Mươi.

Thoughts regarding the George Floyd protests from a troubled Vietnamese Catholic

The more I think about the Pentecost homily at my parish last Sunday, the more I feel compelled to speak up about it, and against it. The priest began with equating the Holy Spirit pouring knowledge and inspiration onto the disciples to how teachers educate their kids, especially during the pandemic. He called the teachers heroes, and rightfully so, that’s all fine and good.

But then he went on to say that the police are heroes too, for breaking up the riots. Worse, no positive word at all for the protestors, nor expression of concern and solidarity for the suffering and hurting Black community. That left me very unsettled and disappointed. That the priest is Vietnamese, like me, doesn’t help. I spotted Black people attending Mass with me; my reaction to the homily must’ve been the tip of the iceberg compared to theirs.

Part of me wants to give him the benefit of the doubt. He’s a warm friendly goofball otherwise. I don’t know the entirety of his thoughts and stance on recent events, and there’s only so much a priest can bring up in a homily. But the message he chose to convey, to 500 something people attending either in person or from home (yeah my parish is big), didn’t leave a good impression. As someone who’s very non-confrontational in nature, I’d quietly stomach down my dissent over things I’d hear and disagree with, but no longer.

What should have been said is that the heroes of recent days are not the police, but the protestors, especially the Black community, crying out for change and justice. That the Holy Spirit is moving through them to set the world on fire.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love the parish I’d been baptized in and essentially raised in as a 2nd home. God is the shepherd and I’m part of his flock, but I won’t be the kind of sheep who complicitly accepts everything I hear and neglects to think critically.

“Vietnamized” available to read

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I have an original short story featured in an anthology with stories by furries of color. You can order it (here), or from my short fiction page.

Premise of “Vietnamized”: A Vietnamese tigress’s relationships with her parents and Nigerian elephant boyfriend change forever when a traumatic head injury renders her unable to speak English.

Made the list of recommended short fiction on Tor

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“Caring For Dragons and Growing a Flower,” published in Podcastle, got on Tor’s list of recommended short fiction for April. This is the closest I’ve gotten to an appearance at Tor. Fran Wilde, James Corey, and Alix Harrow, among others, are the authors recommended along with me. I’m in good company!

May 2020: the month of unexpected online SFF writing conventions

On May 16-17, there will be an online SFF writing con called Dreams of Foundry, free for all attendees. Two of my former classmates, Elsa Sjunneson and Suzanne Walker, will be on several panels. I signed up for as many panels as possible. I’ll be like a kid at a candy store. There’s even a session, Menagerie, that lets us show off our furry friends.

On May 28-30, I wound up with a full scholarship to attend this year’s Nebula conference. Normally it’s in Los Angeles, and having only been to my local writing con (Writefest), I’ve never attended a con exclusively for SFF writing, and at the scale of the Nebulas. Lacking time and money makes pretty much any con not in my area out of my reach, so the Nebulas were never in the cards for me ever since I first heard of them. But by an unexpected, though much appreciated gesture of generosity from Mary Robinette Kowal, on behalf of SFWA, my Clarion 2020-2021 cohort is able to attend the Nebulas on a full scholarship.

I look forward to seeing all my writing friends and acquaintances, and making many more!

Clarion West 2020 postponed to 2021

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A good call, given current circumstances surrounding COVID-19, and not unexpected, since Clarion UCSD had earlier called off their workshop. Still, as part of this year’s class, I wanted to share my mixed feelings about this announcement.

Of course, part of me is disappointed that the experience every prior class has had for the past 50 years won’t be mine this year. With 6 weeks at Seattle off the table this summer, I will have to find other ways to spend it.

On the plus side, I have a whole year to get better acquainted with my classmates, and a whole year to build up hype and excitement for the workshop in 2021. My class keeps in touch through Slack, and already we’re bonding over this unique experience we’re sharing together. Prior to this announcement, we convened in a meeting with administration to discuss contingency plans. While we didn’t have to decide right then and there, many of us implied that we preferred the in-person experience over online, even if we had to defer to next year. I’m thrilled that all of this year’s instructors have said that they would be able to make the workshop in 2021. I’m not so sure if everyone in my class would be able to do the same, but I’m certainly hoping.