Reading, writing, and submitting

I have updated The Lemberg Sampler; the featured short poem is now Dualities. I continue to be amazed that I appear to have so much work out that I need a Sampler; most of it is small pieces. I remain very grateful to all the editors who published and supported my work through the years.

I am still reading for An Alphabet of Embers and have so far responded to 1/3 of submissions. Total tally of stories sent is 873 right now. I am on time to send most responses out in October, though it is going to be tight. Lots of strong work here, and the submission pool is very diverse, which is a source of endless happiness to me. If you have been rejected, please do not despair – for a project such as this, fitting with my aesthetics for the project is key, and I am looking for something that is  both very specific and difficult to define. Good markets to try for lyrical short work include Strange Horizons and Lackington’s. Daily Science Fiction has also featured my short lyrical work in the past.

M Sereno writes beautifully about her experience of sending out work as a multiply marginalized writer. Her first sale was to Stone Telling 11, and her first published poem, Seeds, just came out at Strange Horizons; I mentioned it yesterday.

It feels silly to say this; even now I’m warring with myself, telling myself I shouldn’t press that handy link, “move to trash”. I’ve been reading online zines for a long, long time. I used to dream of submitting to them. Then I learned that there were certain kinds of English that meant something, that were valid and legitimate, and yet others that were looked down on, degraded. I tried to fit my writing to the mold of the former. It would be respectable, then.

It didn’t work. Of course. There was no blood in it.

It does not feel silly to me; my work was all “moved to trash” before 2008. I will forever be grateful to Shweta Narayan for helping me through these years. I kept moving things to trash for years after my first sale. If you take a look at my bibliography, you will see that 2014 was truly the first year I stopped deleting and sent out everything I finished. Can you tell which poems I thought were ‘scrap’ poems and which I thought were ‘real’ poems? I don’t think so.

Sending work is difficult. Completing and sending work as a multiply marginalized writer, as an ESL writer, is difficult. Rejections are difficult. Getting acceptances for pieces you almost trashed is difficult. Finding the courage to write in your own voice, rather than trying to fit in with what seems to be the normative/high-prestige/saleable stuff is difficult. Finding a community is a real blessing, a deep breath after years of slow suffocation. Discovering that this community is not monolithic, that here are rifts and conflicts and deep hurt, is difficult on a whole new level.

Don’t lose faith. Keep reading, writing, and submitting.

Yes, there are people who will tell you otherwise, but not me.

Theories of Pain, and two poem recommendations

My surrealist piece “Theories of Pain”, which first appeared in Daily Science Fiction, will be reprinted in The Humanity of Monsters, an anthology edited by Michael Matheson for ChiZine Publications. It is scheduled to be published in late 2015. Thank you, Michael – and special thanks to Jonathan and Michele at DSF for publishing it, and to Sofia Samatar for encouraging me to submit it for publication.

Two poetry recommendations:

On the topic of the humanity of monsters, I recommend “The Gorgon Girls”, by Saira Ali, at Strange Horizons. I love this poem fiercely.

You will not find us on the six o’clock news,
two kohl-stained lines artfully staining our cheeks.
We do not stare doe-eyed from behind curtains
of silken maize hair. No one makes movies of us.

Also at Strange Horizons: M Sereno, an emerging writer whose work we will also feature in Stone Telling 11, has a poem titled “Seeds”. This is the first time I am mentioning M Sereno’s writing publicly, but it is certainly not the last.

They hide the truth in seeds, you see.
In the black jeweled eyes of the atis. In the slippery throngs of pakwan,
in bitter lanzones watered by my tears when my mother told me
of the tree growing in my belly, nourished on my death.

Two new pieces up, and a poem sale

My poem “After the Mistress of the Copper Mountain,” a queer retelling of one of my beloved childhood stories, is up at Through the Gate. This poem is dedicated to Shweta Narayan. My notes about the poem are at the website. This issue also contains work by Sonya Taaffe, Mari Ness, Michele Bannister, Jack H. Marr, and Brittany Warman. It’s wonderful. Thank you, Mitchell!

The podcast of “Giant,” my magic realist piece about the death of Alan Dundes, is up at Toasted Cake today. Hope you enjoy – and many thanks to Tina Connolly for buying and recording it.

My short poem “Scatter and return,” dedicated to Saira Ali, has been accepted for publication at Cascadia Subduction Zone (Aqueduct PRess).

Editorial confidentiality: a public statement

by Shweta Narayan and Rose Lemberg

Recently, an editor outed a pseudonymous writer using the writer’s private information available to him as an editor/publisher. The editor in question later claimed that he received permission from the author in question. The author in question has not, to our knowledge, made a public statement either confirming or denying that permission was given.*

Editors and publishers often have access to their submitters’ legal information, and more – the submitters’ wallet name, address, phone, etc. This one-directional access creates a power imbalance between editors and authors; trust in editorial discretion is necessary for submitters – all submitters, but especially those who may fear violence or other reprisals – to be able to work in this field.

As editors of Stone Telling magazine, we, Shweta Narayan and Rose Lemberg, believe that when editors publicly disclose such information, it erodes trust between editors and writers, and creates an atmosphere of suspicion and fear in the community. Even when permission is given, if a formerly pseudonymous author desires to make legal and other information publicly available, it is best done by someone other than an editor.

Certain information may need to be shared when disciplinary action is at stake, e.g. by conventions or legal authorities, but we feel that a public outing of writers by editors/publishers is problematic even in these cases.

As editors of Stone Telling magazine, we, Shweta Narayan and Rose Lemberg, pledge never to publicly reveal confidential information disclosed to us by submitters – this includes people whose work we choose to publish, and people whose work we choose not to publish. We have, previously, published work by pseudonymous authors while keeping strict confidentiality, and will continue to do so.

As an editor of An Alphabet of Embers and other anthologies, and as an editor of any future projects in fiction and poetry, I, Rose Lemberg, pledge never to publicly reveal confidential information disclosed to me by submitters – this includes people whose work I will choose to publish, and people whose work I will choose not to publish.

We call other editors in genre to join us in this pledge.

ETA from Shweta. How the specific author feels about being outed in this particular case is irrelevant to our post, because the bigger issue is editorial confidentiality/ethics, and we have been in contact with multiple authors who are frightened by this situation.


* This entry is strictly about editorial process. Comments about the situation alluded in the first paragraph, as well as about specific personalities involved, will not be allowed to pass moderation.


My mythic SFnal poem “Dualities” is up in Mythic Delirium.

The universal flow of prime numbers
unleashed from your/my sleeves
surrounds you/me in pillars of light. I/you never
understood math, you/I never
knew much about architecture, languages,
the processing of speech into data and storysong, that
wordshaping that anchored me/you in the ground. You/I navigate
between stars with motion/no motion
that exists outside timeflow and yet bound in it; the manifold, unfolding
along the pathways of the veins.
(read all of it at Mythic Delirium)

The science fictional parts of “Dualities” are set in the Boundless Universe, a very old universe of mine in which I have hardly written anything, but in which I suddenly have two other upcoming pieces: “Archival Testimony Fragments/Minersong“, a poem in Uncanny; and a short story, “Stalemate,” in Lackington’s.

“Dualities” is matched in the issue with Michele Bannister’s wonderful “The Ensouling of Spacecraft,” which I wholeheartedly recommend.

A poem sale

My seasonal poem “The law of germinating seeds” will appear in a future issue of Goblin Fruit. Very happy about this. I love Goblin Fruit.

“The law of germinating seeds” is a land-poem; there’s a small series of them now, together with “Landwork” (Goblin Fruit), “The rivers, the birchgroves, all the receding earth” (forthcoming at Strange Horizons) and “Earth Map” (forthcoming at Mythic Delirium). These poems are also indirectly connected to the Journeymaker Cycle, but do not feature the same characters.

“These are the roads…” sale

I am pleased to announce that I sold “These are the roads that loop and entwine me,” a short story/magic realist memoir about leaving the Soviet Union, to the inaugural issue of Bahamut. Bahamut is a new biannual print journal focusing on the progressive fringe in transnational literature. It is edited by Darin Bradley and Rima Abunasser, and it will be published by Resurrection House. I’m very much looking forward to seeing the first issue!

An Alphabet of Embers reading period, update

We’re about 2 weeks away from the end of the reading period for An Alphabet of Embers. We are reading until Sep 30th (inclusive of that day).

We’ve received many wonderful stories, and are hoping to receive many more before closing to submissions. Please do not be discouraged from submitting! You’ll never know whether something will fit unless you send it in for consideration.

A few things which are in the guidelines and which I’d like to reiterate:

1) I will consider up to two stories per author. If you have submitted one story already, you can submit another. Please do not submit more than two.

2) No simultaneous submissions. If you want to send your piece elsewhere, please withdraw it from AoE first.

3) Please check the guidelines before submitting!

RESPONSE TIMES: I will send all responses after the submissions window closes. I will respond to all submissions before the end of October.

Happy writing and submitting! This anthology will rock.

Announcing: Stone Telling 11, Reverberations

We are happy to announce the cover and lineup for the 11th issue of Stone Telling magazine, featuring all new-to-us voices. The issue is scheduled to go live in the next 2 weeks.

ST 11 cover

ST 11 cover


Isabel Yap, The Monkey Climbs the Tree, as the Turtle Watches
Valeria Rodríguez, Vertigo and Annihilation
Gillian Daniels, To the Creature
Shruti Iyer, Confluence (Triveni Sangam)
Michael Matheson, No Fixed Points In Space
Peg Duthie, Ballad Breath
Nelly Geraldine García-Rosas, Coyolxauhqui
Kythryne Aisling, Nothing Writes To Disk
Sara Norja, Kuura (extract from a Finnish-English dictionary)
Saira Ali, I do not know your ἀλφάβητος
Margarita Tenser, Labyrinth Soup
Ruth Jenkins, Scales
M Sereno, The Exile, i.

Review: Alex Dally MacFarlane reviews The Haunted Girl, by Lisa M. Bradley (Aqueduct Press, 2014).

Uncanny: sale and interview

I am pleased to announce that my poem “Archival testimony fragments/minersong” will appear in Uncanny. This is a SFnal poem, which is rare for me, and it is set in the same SFnal universe as another poem of mine, “Dualities, ” which is forthcoming in Mythic Delirium.  I am thrilled that “Archival testimony fragments/minersong” has found a home; it is the first poem I wrote as a part of An Alphabet of Embers Kickstarter poetry rewards.

Uncanny has also just published a mini-interview with me. I talk about languages, genderqueerness, and uncanny things that happened to me. Thank you, Michi Trota, for conducting the interview!

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Rose 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, Tiptree, Elgin, Rhysling, and Crawford awards.

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