Story sale: “City of Wings and Song” to Lackington’s

I’m giddy with happiness to be able to announce that my story “City of Wings and Song” will appear in Lackington’s, one of my dream markets. Lackington’s is an amazing magazine with ever-luminous prose, and I’m honoured to be included among their authors!

My story will be part of the Birds issue, coming out this autumn. Birds aplenty appear in “City of Wings and Song”, a story about freedom and rebellion and poetry.

I’m especially happy about making this sale to a dream market because this is the first story I wrote, this summer, after a long creative drought caused by exhaustion. I hand-wrote the first draft of this baby, and enjoyed it, but I love what it became in revision even more. I hope you enjoy it too, later this autumn! I look forward to seeing what the issue is like as a whole — Lackington’s issues are always wonderfully put together.

My Worldcon programme

First blog post on the new website – yay!

Worldcon starts on Thursday, and I’ll be flying to Dublin tomorrow morning. This will be my second Worldcon – Helsinki in 2017 was the first – and I’m incredibly excited to be going. I will be in social mode throughout the con, so please come and say hi!

In addition to tons of socialising with awesome people, I will be on the following two panels, both on topics I’m looking forward to talking about:

Once again upon a time: modern fairy tales 
16 Aug 2019, Friday 15:00 – 15:50, Liffey Hall-2 (CCD)

Fairy tales have an abiding allure, and successive generations of writers have taken these traditional themes and tropes and reshaped them for a modern audience. Sometimes the setting is changed but the roots of the story remain; sometimes authors use the reader’s familiarity with a tale to subvert expectations. Why is it that fairy tales lend themselves so well to repetition? In what ways are modern authors shaping fairy tale tropes? The panel will examine the popularity of fairy tales through the lens of modern retellings.

Miss Lucy Hounsom (M), E. Lily Yu, Mari Ness, Sara Norja, Jean Bürlesk

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‘The road goes ever on and on’: poetry within SFF
19 Aug 2019, Monday 12:00 – 12:50, Wicklow Room-4 (CCD)

Many works of speculative fiction include verse within the story. What purpose does poetry serve in SFF stories? When is it successful, and when does it distract from the story? The panel will discuss SFF poetry written for prose stories, its place in the wider world of poetry, and its purpose within a narrative tale.

Steven Erikson, Sara Norja (M), Karolina Fedyk, Rie Sheridan Rose

“Birch Daughter” out in Fireside!

Tuesday was a happy day — my story “Birch Daughter” appeared in the wondrous Fireside Magazine.

You can read “Birch Daughter” here!

If you like Finnish-inspired folklore, forests, bears, and queer women, this one’s for you. Fireside describes it as “a magical short story about where the search for heart and home takes us”.

My father told me that the spell was too strong to break, that I should never trust the forest-folk. But the thought of my mother trapped within a gnarled birch tree in the far north was too much for me to bear.

“Birch Daughter” is set in the same ‘verse as my poems Raw Honey and Wolf Daughter (both published in Strange Horizons). I get a very specific pleasure from spinning my Finnish heritage into stories in English.

Also, isn’t the illustration amazing? It’s by the Finnish artist Satu Kettunen; I love it so much. Satu really managed to capture the atmosphere of my story and incorporated lovely details in the artwork. Having such amazing art for my story is a dizzying thing!

Finncon 2018 programme

It’s… been quite a year, to put it mildly. I have been utterly neglecting this blog in favour of Twitter, even though a lot of things have been going on (such as finishing a novel and starting agent submissions… and also mental health shenanigans that have made it harder to post). I don’t have the energy for writing a recap, either.

However! The Finnish SFF Finncon will be held in Turku in a week and a half, and I will be participating in some programme items! You can find me at the following:

Sat 14 Jul, 14-14.45: Minne menet, genre? (paneeli spefin nykytilasta ja trendeistä) (in Finnish, obvs) [NB: edited time change; was previously at 11, now at 14]

Sun 15 Jul, 14-14.45: A beginner’s guide to story submissions in international SFF (lecture by meeee; basically will talk about things I would’ve found useful when starting to submit stories/poems)

Sun 15 Jul, 15-15.45: Left Hand of Darkness, and beyond (panel on gender, sexuality and language in SFF)

Will of course be at the con otherwise as well. Do come and say hi if you recognise me 🙂

“Birch Daughter” sold to Fireside

This news is a couple of weeks old, but it’s wonderful news despite that: my story “Birch Daughter” has sold to the amazing magazine Fireside. I’ve loved the stories in Fireside for a long time and am super excited that my story will appear there in 2018!

I should write my award eligibility post soon (it will probably be after Christmas at this point): I’ve been procrastinating doing it because of busyness and brain weasels. Things have been super hectic and stressful after getting home from my two-month visit to the UK, alas. But it’s all finally quieting down a bit: I’m on holiday, and hope to have the energy to write a lot. In any case, getting the Fireside news has buoyed me up in this dark season. And we’re already past Midwinter Day. I can do this. We can do this.

Sunvault is out!

Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk and Eco-Speculation has its release day today, 29 August! (It’s still just about the 29th in Finland as I type this at a few minutes to midnight.)

Get your copy in ebook or paperback! (Other retailers also have it!)

I got my contributor’s copy already two weeks ago, but alas, have not had the time to start reading it yet. SOOOON. The table of contents looks so enticing – a lot of amazing writers in this anthology.

My poem, “Sunharvest Triptych”, was written at the end of May in 2016 – written specifically for the exciting call for solarpunk sent out by the Sunvault editors Phoebe Wagner and Brontë Christopher Wieland. I’m still so amazed that this poem got included in the anthology, especially since I almost didn’t submit it in the first place!

The process for this poem was more structure-oriented than most of my poetry. The three-part structure was there from the first sketch, and a basic idea for what the sections should contain, and some worldbuilding notes such as “solar energy harvested in summer primarily, stored and used through winter (cf. potato stores and grains in the olden days)”. But the sketch was very much a sketch, not a full poem yet. Just ideas coalescing into words. Usually the first drafts of my poems come out with words and ideas in one intense burst, but this time there was more of a cerebral process.

I wrote the first proper draft a couple of days later; it already looked pretty similar to the published version. I took it to my writing group in early June, feeling very insecure about the whole poem because my brain was telling me it was boring and badly written. But my fellow writers’ encouraging and useful feedback convinced me I should revise and submit the poem – and so I did. I’m very grateful to Helsinki Writers’ Group: I would probably have self-rejected this poem if not for the feedback I got. Thanks, peeps. <3

Sunvault-001-Norja-300x300

My Worldcon schedule!

I can’t believe Worldcon75 is starting tomorrow! So much excitement!

I am already primed and ready for Worldcon, mostly because I spent the past few days in Uppsala at Reception Histories of the Future: A conference on Byzantinisms, speculative fiction, and the literary heritage of medieval empire. I will probably write another post on the Uppsala conference, but suffice it to say that it was transformative for me. I met so many amazing authors and writers, and for the first time felt truly a part of the SFF writers’ community.

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But so – WORLDCON! I’m participating in three panels, one of which I’m moderating:

Thu 10 Aug, 17-18: Polyamorous Relationships in Fiction (room 101d)

Thu 10 Aug, 21-22: Reimagining Worlds with Speculative Poetry (room 216)

Sun 13 Aug, 12-13: Why do Finns Love their Drabbles (room 103)

I’m moderating the poetry panel, which I suggested to Worldcon. SO EXCITED. The panelists are Julia Rios, Arkady Martine, and Mari Ness – I’m sure we’re going to have an amazing discussion. Here’s the panel description:

Speculative poetry contains multitudes: explorations of gender, queer readings of fairytales, far-off worlds where our social structures are subverted. How can poets coming from marginalised positions change the landscape of speculative poetry? Can speculative poetry reimagine our world and provide glimpses of a more inclusive one?

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You will find copies of Cosmos Pen (the magazine my story “Don’t Look a Wish Horse in the Mouth” is in) for sale at The Finnish Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association’s table (Suomen tieteis- ja fantasiakirjoittajat). Do pick up the magazine – it’s got lots of great stuff in addition to my wish-horse story!

I will be at the table on Friday from 17-18.

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Worldcon will also feature another project I’ve been working on this spring! A Finnish Weird anthology – Finnish SFF stories translated into English – called The Giants at the End of the World, edited by Worldcon75 GoH Johanna Sinisalo and Toni Jerrman. The anthology will apparently be given out to all Worldcon members!

I translated two stories for this anthology, by Tiina Raevaara and Jenny Kangasvuo. Translating SFF was a really great experience for me – challenging but rewarding. I’ve done a lot of translation work over the past 10 years or so, but translating fiction gave me new insights into the process because you have to pay so much attention to e.g. tone as well as just content. The anthology contains stories by lots of major Finnish SFF writers including Hannu Rajaniemi, Emmi Itäranta, and Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen.

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I will be in social mode during the con, so feel free to come and say hi anytime!

Sunvault ToC & Flash Fiction Online antho

Two nice things to start off the week:

1) The Sunvault anthology ToC is out! I’m incredibly honoured to be among such fabulous writers. I’m really looking forward to this antho.

2) My story “Creation” is included in Flash Fiction Online 2016 Anthology Volume II: Fantasy. Yay! (You can get it here on Amazon.)

I wish I had more energy/time for writing and submitting new stories and poems, but alas, it’s challenging with my PhD and all. Also, I’m still concentrating my creative energy on novel revisions. I’m getting to the point where the bigger things have been fixed and it’ll soon be time for just adding smaller details / checking for consistency. And then for actually reading through the whole thing for voice and language. Not that much to go before it’ll be a finished third draft.

My work on it feels so inadequate, so slow – but I’m trying to be gentle to myself. I’m gaining more energy as the sunlight increases (spring equinox today! hurrah!), but I’m still recuperating from anxiety and exhaustion so I’m making every effort not to beat myself up over not “doing enough”. I’m working on the novel, even if it’s far slower than I’d like. That’s the main thing. Slow and steady, slow and steady.

Award Eligibility 2016

Award nomination season is upon us and I’ve had things published this year that I’m really proud of. I’d be honoured if anyone were to consider my work for nomination. I am also in my first year of elibigility for the Campbell Award.

So, with less self-deprecation than in the past couple of years, here are my award-eligible works for 2016:

Short story:

(eligible for the Hugos, Nebulas and World Fantasy)

“The City Beneath the Sea” (c. 1,100 words)
     Published in the anthology An Alphabet of Embers, edited by Rose Lemberg. This is a story on the borders of dream and waking. “They say it appears when the stars shift up right, shuffle into a straight line in their slow dance. And here we are, waiting.”

“Water, Birch, and Blood” (c. 4,100 words)
     Published in Strange Horizons, the special issue Our Queer Planet. This was inspired by summers spent in Finnish summer cottages, and wondering what happens to the children who save magical worlds and get sent back home. “Crows, their granite grey and black wings beating victory into the air, the flash of an unknown face like a fir tree–”

“Creation” (c. 1,000 words)
     Published in the August 2016 issue of Flash Fiction Online. Faerie is grim, but hope can be born even amid despair. “When the Queen of Faerie orders you to do something, you don’t refuse.”

(I’m very proud of all three stories, but especially since An Alphabet of Embers is not freely available, I’d like to recommend “Water, Birch, and Blood”.)

Poetry (short poem):

(eligible for the Rhysling Award)

An Alphabet of Embers update!

Aaasdgjhsdg I got my pre-release contributor ebook copy of Alphabet of Embers (ed. by Rose Lemberg)! The official print and ebook launch will be on the Nebula awards weekend, 12-15 May. The book has a Goodreads page already!

I just. Incoherence and happiness, right now. I reread my story (it’s in an actual book! along with contributions from some amazing authors who I really look up to! and the art is so amazing!) and felt a bit astonished that I’d written something that beautiful.

An Alphabet of Embers was my first professional fiction sale (and so far, my only; but I certainly hope it won’t remain my last!). And what a first! I feel so awed to be part of something this cool. This book jumped up to the top of my TBR pile – I can’t wait to get to read everyone else’s stories.

I’ll tell you more about my story once the anthology is officially out.