An Alphabet of Embers Day 1, now with letters

In case you missed it, the Kickstarter for An Alphabet of Embers has launched last night.  We are kickstarting for an anthology of unclassifiables – lyrical, surreal, magical, experimental pieces that straddle the border between poetry and prose.

The book will have beautiful cover art by Galen Dara, and there are so many wonderful rewards – a song by Emily Jiang, a bonus chapbook of science poetry (I will post more on that separately), additional books, posters, boxes of treasure, and even an epic performance of an Eddic poem Atlakviða in the original Old Norse.

And here’s a first of our surprises: the letter you see below is an A of Embers, from an Alphabet of Embers graciously drawn and donated to the project by Bogi Takács. The alphabet includes many other letters, which will appear in our Kickstarter updates! Some of these letters look more like Latin characters, while others are unique to the alphabet, like the letter A below.

A of Embers, by Bogi Takács

A of Embers, by Bogi Takács

Thanks to our wonderful first-day donors, we are 18% to goal. Thank you so much to all who donated and signal boosted! Can we make it to 20% today?

ETA: Hurray, 20% reached! Can we reach 25% on Day 1?

ETA2: HURRAY, and enormous thanks to our wonderful backers, we’ve reached 25%! Can we reach 30%, or $1800, today?

Signal boosting is very much appreciated!


An Alphabet of Embers Kickstarter is Alive!

The Kickstarter for An Alphabet of Embers, an anthology of unclassifiable lyrical pieces, has gone live! There are some wonderful rewards – this book, an additional chapbook of science poetry which is going to be terrific, wonderful music and art rewards, as well as a poem in Old Norse*! This will be absolutely beautiful.



* I do hope someone claims the Old Norse reward. It’s a once in a lifetime thing.

Baba Yaga in July Apex

Apex July 2014 cover

Apex July 2014 cover


Almost forgot to post this – but my fairly humorous poem “Baba Yaga Tries to Donate Money,” about the perils of crowdfunding, is up in July issue of Apex Magazine.

A while ago I posted a draft of this poem for critique under lock on my Livejournal. Gillian commented:

“And I accidentally found the boobs Baba Yaga. *shudder*”

I was taken aback by this, as the imagery in the poem came from my imagination; but while preparing to post this entry I googled, and … indeed. My plan was to entertain you with pictures of a sexified Baba Yaga, but once I found them, I think I shall desist. *shudder*


Poetry sale and a review

My poem “The rivers, the birchgroves, all the receding earth” will appear in Strange Horizons.

A new review of “A City on its Tentacles” (Lackington’s, #1) has appeared in Black Gate. The reviewer has very complimentary things to say:

And “A City of Its Tentacles by” Rose Lemberg was artful and brilliant. The voice and imagery are powerful and I knew this wasn’t a regular story halfway through the first paragraph when I read “…reminded [her] of baby rainworms decaying by the roadside in the spring.”

The amount of uncommonly evocative imagery reminded me of magical realism […]

I don’t want to say much about “Tentacles” other than to say it is well worth savoring and rereading, and that the evocative style is not a simple artistic choice, but a thematic one whose purpose is revealed later in the story.

I am incredibly happy that this story continues to get positive reviews.

In other news, preparations for An Alphabet of Embers Kickstarter proceed apace. I hope you’ll be as excited about this anthology as I am.

Announcing: An Alphabet of Embers

So… this is real, or almost-real: I am putting together a Kickstarter campaign to fund an anthology of unclassifiables – lyrical, poetic, surreal, magical, experimental pieces. This is going to be my first foray into fiction editing, but I hope to publish a lot of work that straddles the border between prose and poetry. I will be looking for pieces 500-1400 words long, and hope for the book to be vibrant, beautiful, diverse, and moving: a trail of embers to light the way.


The book will be published through my micropress, Stone Bird Press.  The Hugo award-winning and all-over amazing Galen Dara has produced cover art that perfectly conveys the feeling of the anthology.



More details to be announced soon!


My poem Landwork, which is related to the Journeymaker Cycle, is up at Goblin Fruit.The issue’s artwork by Paula Friedlander references the poem! Hurray! This is the second issue of Goblin Fruit with art that references my poem (first was the issue of Summer 2013). I am very, very happy. This piece also has a recording, which is not in my usual style, but I hope you enjoy it nonetheless.


Spring 2014 cover of Goblin Fruit

Spring 2014 cover of Goblin Fruit, art by Paula Friedlander

Onions and Salamanders

Goldfish Grimm 19: New Lives and Old

Goldfish Grimm 19: New Lives and Old


My whimsical magic realist/surrealist flash piece, “No Longer Lacking an Onion,” about (un)loss, (un)immigration, and onions, is up at Goldfish Grimm. There is also a short author interview. “No Longer Lacking an Onion” is a part of The Jewish magic realist project.

My poem “Salamander Song,” featuring genderqueer parents and salamanders, will appear in Strange Horizons. It is a part of a collaborative piece, with beautiful music composed by Emily Jiang.


Keep yourself safe

I was going to write an essay on landscape impermanence to expand on this storify of my tweets about landscape, competence, immigration, privilege. For a reason I cannot share, the essay is not happening right now. It might happen later.

Instead, I offer this video by Melnica and a translation, for those who need it, today and on any other day. I’ve been planning to do so for a while now, and the time is appropriate.


Keep yourself safe


Never wander off the direct path,

never take the ring off your hand,

don’t step beyond the threshold over cold water,

keep yourself, keep yourself safe.


The heart, like a mountain hawk, throws itself into the height –

don’t reprimand yourself, run after it –

hurry and choose between the  wolf and the hound,

keep yourself, keep yourself safe.


And if you ask for warmth from the oak and the rowan,

your steps will not bend the grass,

so protect yourself from any evil,

keep yourself, keep yourself safe.

Two mentions, and poem sale

Diane Severson Mori at Amazing Stories profiles Sonya Taaffe, and has kind things to say about Stone Telling 10: Body, and the  new Stone Telling blog.

Benjanun Sriduangkaew highlights my story “A City on its Tentacles” alongside work by Ann Leckie, K. M. Ferebee, and Vajra Chandrasekera.

Finally, I am pleased to announce that my poem “After the Mistress of the Copper Mountain” will appear in Through the Gate.

Encouraging diversity – an editor’s perspective

During the last day or so, both John O’Neill, the editor of Black Gate, and Nathaniel Lee, the Managing Editor of Escape Pod,  spoke up against Dave Truesdale’s review  of Women Destroy Science Fiction. This is really important. I was heartened to see these reactions, and I applaud both John and Nathaniel for taking a stand.

As a part of these blog comments, the question of encouraging diversity came up. It is a topic I would like to discuss.

Here are the relevant bits:

Nathaniel Lee:

P.S. – Plz send more science fiction stories to Escape Pod, authors who are female! *waves semaphore flags, does a little jig* If you could see what our slushpile looks like, you’d send us your stories out of pity!

John O’Neill:

> Plz send more science fiction stories to Escape Pod, authors who are female! *waves semaphore flags, does a little jig*

And to everyone else: THIS IS HOW YOU DO IT. Was that hard? No. But this is the kind of attitude you need for your publication to be perceived as open towards women.

I greatly appreciate both John and Nathaniel’s reactions, but I am not convinced that encouraging women submitters via a blog post comment in another male editor’s blog is quite how you do it.

When I founded Stone Telling, I knew I wanted the market to be diverse. I talked to both poets and editors before founding the magazine, and heard from quite a few that there just weren’t that many PoC poets in the field, and that very few poets write queer content. I was planning to solicit, but heard back from a few folks that I should expect to quickly run out of PoC poets from whom I could solicit.

That did not happen. What happened was that the field grew in response to a welcoming market. New poets, including queer and PoC poets, sent work to us, and had their first poems published at Stone Telling. Starting with Issue 4, Shweta Narayan joined the team – first as a guest co-editor (with J.C. Runolfson), then as a co-editor. We consistently encouraged and are continuing to encourage marginalized and diverse voices, and the community responded by sending us amazing, fresh, and thought-provoking poetry. The slush pile changed from 2010 to 2014 to better reflect our editorial direction and choices.

There is a lot more work to be done, and we are limited by our health issues, as well as limited opportunities to attend cons. We also made our share of mistakes. I am sure we could have done even better. However, I also feel that we learned a lot about how to diversify a submission pool. Here are some tips:

1. Solicit. Ask for recommendations from other editors (especially those who are different from you), and read stories by authors who don’t usually submit to your magazine. See if you like something, and if you do, reach out to that author and ask them to send you work.

2. Actually buy work by authors whose demographic you’re looking to encourage. Writers make decisions about your market being welcoming to them based on whether you publish writers like them.

3. Solicit from established *and* up-and-coming authors. If you buy, e.g. stories from white cisgendered men at all stages in their careers, but you only buy from women, trans and nonbinary people, and/or PoC creators, if they are famous, that is not going to appear especially welcoming, and will not necessarily balance your slush.

4. Invite a co-editor of the demographic you seek to encourage. E.g. if you are an all-white, all-cisgendered, all-straight male team, think of inviting someone different to collaborate with you. Then actually give that person power to make some choices.

5. One of the easiest ways to test the waters with potential co-editors is to invite them to guest-edit.

6. Special or themed issues are a great way to encourage new authors to discover your market.  E.g., we are very proud of our Queer issue, and we are also very excited about an upcoming issue of new-to-us poets.

7. Talk to people. Participate in important conversations. Actively challenge yourself to seek out new perspectives and voices. Weigh criticism carefully. Grow.

8. Also, if you could please encourage people of all underrepresented genders, not just cisgendered women, to submit to your magazine, that would be great. Gender diversity is more complicated than men vs women.

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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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