Stupefying Stories bought “The Bird and Baby”: a short dark fantasy set in Russia and about a half-crow plague doctor who takes a baby under her wing. I’ve always been fascinated with the history and culture surrounding plague doctors. This story has influences from Berserk and Claymore, two of my favorite manga. Readers familiar with those series will detect a taste of the Japanese comic aesthetic in there, too.

It took 75 days for the editors to reach a final decision. When I queried after 40 days of waiting, they said that I was supposed to get a bump notice (which I didn’t), they were holding the story for a 3rd read, and they’d get back to me “in the next week or so.” One, two, then three weeks passed. I began to wonder if they would ever follow up.

I was staying in Chicago from October 12 to 16 for Ace Comic Con Midwest, where I met the MCU actors Tom Hiddleston and Elizabeth Olsen for photos and autographs. Plus I spent quality time with Bex: a Viable Paradise classmate and the coolest Chicagoan writer I know. This story acceptance came during my last day in Chicago, just as I was about to turn in for the night. I was double-checking my flight info to get back home when the acceptance email plopped into my inbox.  I distinctly remember sitting up in the couch, looking across at Bex, and sharing the news to them before we went to sleep. What a great way to end an already awesome weekend.

Bonus: Elizabeth Olsen and I channeling Dragon Ball nerdiness. She joked that the pose made her arms sore. (Lol really Elizabeth? C’mon Strongest Avenger, this must be your off day!) I’m 99% sure she doesn’t know what a fusion dance is, but I love that she did it with me anyway. She’s so adorkable.


Bonus #2: The Scarlet Witch fanart I showed for an autograph. I drew the dragon’s head to resemble Wanda’s hand.

Scarlet Witch fanart


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