Spelling the Hours – the lineup!

At long last, here’s the table of contents announcement for the poetry chapbook focusing on forgotten figures in science and technology, Spelling the Hours! This chapbook is one of the bonuses for the forthcoming An Alphabet of Embers anthology.

The chapbook is very cool – different styles, people, time periods – but I think that the most precious thing about Spelling the Hours is the emotional, personal nature of the poets’ explorations of the scientific and scholarly figures therein. I cannot wait to share it with you!

Spelling the Hours

  • Introduction by Rose Lemberg
  • The Clock House by Sonya Taaffe
  • Madrepore by Mari Ness
  • noble, nobel by na’amen
  • Marginalia by Michele Bannister
  • A Personal History of the Universal History of the Things of New Spain by Lisa M. Bradley
  • Agnes Pockels Washes the Physics by Mary Alexandra Agner
  • Pismis 24 by Nelly Geraldine García-Rosas
  • The Lessons of the Knife by Lev Mirov
  • Phliasian Investigations by Sonya Taaffe
  • Never Cease by Bogi Takács
  • Augur Effect by A. J. Odasso
  • Girl Hours by Sofia Samatar

Poetry collection forthcoming!

I am thrilled to announce that I sold my first poetry collection, titled Marginalia to Stone Bird, to Aqueduct Press. It includes forty-six reprinted and nine original poems, and it will appear in the Conversation Pieces series.

I’m really happy with this. I loved working with Aqueduct for my first edited anthology, The Moment of Change; and I’ve been enjoying the Conversation Pieces series, which recently featured work by Lisa M. Bradley, Sonya Taaffe, and Celeste Rita Baker.

Marginalia to Stone Bird
will be my first single-authored collection. It will be out sometime later this year.

Congratulations, Galen Dara!

I learned that Galen Dara has been shortlisted for the Chelsey Award with her illustration to my story “A City on its Tentacles” in Lackington’s Magazine. I am so incredibly happy for Galen. It was truly an honor to have my work illustrated by her, and the octopus painting is just so true to the spirit of my story, and it’s such a beautiful and heartfelt painting – I love it so much and I am thrilled to see it honored.

Another person who absolutely deserves a sea of kudos is Ranylt Richildis, the editor of Lackington’s Magazine. Yes, I am a contributor, so I am a bit biased. That said, Ranylt has consistently produced a beautifully curated and presented magazine that showcases an inspiring variety of writers and artists; it’s always such a joy to read the magazine.

And now you have seen Rose gush, a less than frequent occurrence!

Poem sale!

I sold a short mythic poem titled “A Riddler at Market” to Uncanny Magazine. It’s short, homey, and has many food items. It’s dedicated to Delia Sherman and Ellen Kushner, and it’s a part of AoE backer rewards.

Very happy about this!

Birdverse: Grandmother’s Cloth is out

My Birdverse novelette “Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds” is out at Beneath Ceaseless Skies.

This story has queer families (a cultural default for Khana women), and striving for acceptance within the family; it has generations of women and trans people, and friendships, and autism, and very many bonus carpets. It takes place in the south, and while there are white people in Birdverse, there are none in this story.

I love this story. I cannot explain to you how much it means to me, and how happy I am to share it with you.
I am happy to answer any questions about this story, by the way – please leave a comment here or tweet at me!

A note on stress: Khana names ending in -ah, -eh, -it, -et, -at and -el have ultimate stress, so TammAH, GitIT; names ending in -i tend to have word-initial stress, so KImi, BAshri.


Kimi does have what we would diagnose as classical autism. The Khana do not have exact word correspondences for our contemporary diagnoses, but developmental disabilities and language delays (and, of course, physical disabilities) are known. A male child whose educational progress is delayed may or may not be able to pass the tests to gain admission to the inner quarter. These tests involve linguistic as well as mathematical aptitude, as the Khana men are supposed to engage in scholarship of the Writ, and in Holy Artifice. In practice, the vast majority of male children are admitted even if their performance on the tests is weaker, and not all inner-quarter residents go on to become scholars and artificers. A significant speech delay, however, is a major issue.

Many autistic people feel the need to roam, wander, spin, and engage in other types of movement which are calming and emotionally rewarding. In the modern American culture children’s roaming is restricted regardless of disability level, but other cultures are not like this, including many contemporary earth cultures. Kimi’s roaming in the desert is not restricted, and this is normal rather than neglectful for the culture.

Surun’ family structure is different from Khana family structure in that there is no major gender segregation, and marriages between men and women are the norm. The woman is expected to add her husband’s names to hers, while men as a rule do not take their wives’ names. Thus, Naïr e Bulvát’s husband’s name is simply Bulvát. However, they do recognize more than two genders, and allow for non-heterosexual and non-monogamous unions; Benesret e Nand e Divyát had two husbands.

QDSF! and other shinies

The Queers Destroy Science Fiction! Special issue of Lightspeed Magazine is out and available for purchase with new stories, flash, non-fiction articles, and interviews. My full-length short story, “How to Remember to Forget to Remember the Old War,” is available as an exclusive ebook/print content. I also have an author spotlight in this issue! (Some info about the story).

I share the table of contents with Bogi Takács (always love when it happens), who has a flash story “Increasing Police Visibility” (it’s a hard SF flash about statistics and border control). Bogi also has a new story in June’s Clarkesworld – “Forestspirit, Forestspirit,” which I beta-read and which is a poetic hard SF set in Hungary (bonus notes here). It’s eir first sale to Clarkesworld!

Next week, I hope you watch out for a new issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies, with my Birdverse novelette “Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds”. It’s the first one of my three upcoming Birdverse novelettes, and I can’t wait to share it with you! Julie Dillon’s art for the upcoming issue is fabulous and works great with the feel of my story.

Joy and joy again

Today’s mail included a hefty package from PM Press. Inside was my contributor’s copy of Sisters of the Revolution, edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer.

My contributor's copy of Sisters of the Revolution

My contributor’s copy of Sisters of the Revolution

And here, between James Tiptree, Jr.’s “The Screwfly Solution” and “The Evening, the Morning, and the Night” by Octavia E. Butler, is my little story.

Seven Losses of Na Re

Seven Losses of Na Re

This happened. This really, really happened.

“Stalemate” Podcast!

“Stalemate” podcast is live on Glittership! It’s the seventh episode – I am so happy to have this podcast around, and have loved the choices Keffy has made so far.

“Stalemate” was originally published in Lackington’s, which has just received a very well-deserved Prix Aurora Award Nominee in “Best Related Work – English” category.


Story sale to Journal of Unlikely Academia

When Unlikely Story first announced their “Journal of Unlikely Academia” issue, I thought it would great to write for it. But I could not write anything until I read Amal El-Mohtar’s wonderful short story “Pockets,” in Uncanny Magazine. Warda, a music librarian, is one of the characters. When I talked to Amal about this story, she said, “Warda gives narratives to others.”

I love this story so much.

A few weeks later, I wrote a story about alt!Warda, who is younger than Warda in “Pockets”, and who is a sociolinguist instead of a musicologist. I asked Amal if that was ok; she was delighted.

My story is called “The Shapes of Us, Translucent to Your Eye.” It’s magic realism about a woman academic’s life, complete with budget cuts and  ghosts. There’s nothing unlikely about it; but it will indeed appear in the Journal of Unlikely Academia. Here is the full ToC!

I cannot wait to share this story with you!

Patreon and Publication Rights

This discussion started on Twitter, and I am moving it here because I feel this is a developing and gray area of publishing.

Question is: are locked works posted on Patreon for pay considered published?

Responses from SFWA-qualifying markets, from 2014, are collated here. (I just saw this link when Amal mentioned it on Twitter).

What I publish on my Birdverse Patreon are mostly: drawings (irrelevant), poems, and serialized novella drafts. I have not completed posting the novellas because I am still working on them, and both would undergo revising before they are ready for publication. I have recently found out that many, if not most markets would consider my Patreon-sponsored locked work published.

This is really perplexing to me. My feel of Patreon was, “A small number of Birdverse fans support me while I create more Birdverse stories and poems; in return, they get previews of work and glimpses into my process, as well as freebies, acknowledgments, and my undying gratitude.”

My thinking went like this:

A patron of the arts is a person who supports the artist so the art can be created. When I am supported in the process of creating, I can create more art. When a venue buys a piece of writing, this venue buys the right to distribute it worldwide, and the author can get nominated for awards in the year it was purchased.  I understand the hesitation if the number of patrons exceeds, say, 100 – but in case of under 20 patrons, I simply don’t see how a work can be considered already distributed. Plus,  I don’t think a locked piece on Patreon can be nominated for awards, though I am not sure.

I have not expected what I basically felt was a small group of patrons supporting a creator while they create work for publication to turn into something that blocks this creator’s ability to publish.

Complicating issues in my particular setup:

  • most poetry markets pay 5$-10$ per poem
  • no SFF market afaik pays per poem as much I get per poem on my Patreon
  • but I have no issue selling work traditionally, and my published work gets eyeballs
  • I have 19 backers, so only 19 people see the works; my nonpaying readership is bigger.
  • most poetry markets do not take reprints.
  • most prose venues do not take reprints.
  • novella markets are really scarce.
  • novella markets that do exist tend not to pay SFWA professional rates of 6c a word.

What’s further complicates the issue is that most venues do not have a posted policy regarding where they stand on this issue.

I published all of my work traditionally so far. I have a long bibliography and I know that I can and very likely will sell traditionally again. But if Patreon will, basically, impede my ability to publish traditionally, I am not at all sure that I will abandon Patreon.

This is interesting. Mostly because, up until very recently, I regarded self-publishing as Something Cool, but Not for Me.

One last thought: in poetry, there is a long-standing custom of writing for fundraisers. I have created any number of poems for fundraisers, and so have many other speculative poets. Then, after some money for the piece has already changed hands, these pieces were sold as originals and traditionally published.

I would very much welcome a discussion of this!

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R.B. Lemberg is a queer, bigender immigrant from Eastern Europe and Israel. Their work has appeared in Lightspeed, Strange Horizons, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Unlikely Story, Uncanny, and other venues, and has been a finalist for the Nebula, Crawford, and other awards.

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