First story publication – in Finnish!

Exciting! A flash fiction piece of mine (‘Munankuorikehto’, meaning ‘Egg-Shell Cradle’) will be published in the upcoming issue (3/2014) of Spin, the quarterly magazine of the Turku Science Fiction Society (TSFS).

The magazine is print-only. Those of you proficient in Finnish can subscribe to the magazine, or order a separate copy when the issue comes out this autumn. 🙂

I’m very pleased by this news, but also amused by the fact that my “officially first” story publication is in the language I write less in! I should really write more in Finnish as well, although right now (as usual) my writerly focus is on my English-language work. Ah, bilingualism! I am very pleased I have two native languages to practise writing in, I have to say. Such different challenges in each. (A matter for a separate post, I think!)

Women Destroy Science Fiction! (in which I also blather about other books)

Lightspeed Magazine’s special issue Women Destroy Science Fiction! is now available as an ebook! Huzzah! I just got myself a copy and am super excited about reading it. Wow! Such awesome, much destruct, so women.

So much to read! In addition to this special issue of Lightspeed, I’ve got the following books on my bedside book-table (yes, I have a separate one for books; before you imagine some towering edifice, it’s just a glorified stool):

  • Hild by Nicola Griffiths. I’m in the first third of this book – such beautiful writing!
  • William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope by Ian Doescher. Have been slowly reading this since Christmas. Awesome concept, quite funny, and usually well Shakespearified, but the misuse of the second person singular pronoun “thou” irks me (omg you cannot use “thou” to address more than one personnn).
  • Wonderbook by Jeff VanderMeer. I usually don’t like writing guides and such, but Wonderbook has some pretty good stuff. I’ve been slow with getting through it because I want to concentrate on it properly when reading. It’s pretty awesome to read a creative writing guide that concentrates on speculative fiction instead of turning its nose up at it!
  • The Honey Month by Amal El-Mohtar; Here, We Cross edited by Rose Lemberg; and Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History edited by Rose Fox and Daniel José Older. I only just got this lovely trio of books, and haven’t begun reading them yet because I’m so excited about them that I want to give them my full attention. I suspect they will all make me cry with awesomeness.

And then there’s the growing number of unread books in my shelves. I’m trying to avoid the library right now because otherwise I just end up reserving loads of good books from there instead of reading my own. I ♥ the public library for the Helsinki metropolitan area – there’s a lot of good SFF books. But that means that whenever I come across a book I’m interested in online, I can reserve it from the library, and of course I have to read the library books first, and… neverending cycle. For now, I’ll just write down any interesting new titles and loan them from the library later on. I’ve got around 30 unread books waiting mournfully in my bookshelves: time to tackle them first. A task for this summer, perhaps!

In conclusion: booksss. We loves them, precious.

Poetry sales to Goblin Fruit

Some happy news: my poems ‘Shrug Charm’ and ‘Sorrow-stone’ will be published in the Spring and Summer issues of Goblin Fruit! I love Goblin Fruit – the issues are always gorgeous, well-thought-out and full of talented poets – so I’m pretty much over the moon to be published in such a lovely magazine.

I’ll post more about the poems (they both have quite distinct birth-moments) when the issues come out.

Interfictions #2 is out! Including my most personal piece so far…

This wasn’t intended to be a two-post day, but I just checked the Interfictions webpage and noticed that Issue #2 is up!

Thus, I am extremely proud and happy to say that you can now read my piece ‘Orthography: A Personal History’ here.

You can also listen to me read it – God, it was terrifying to do a reading of this poem, but I managed it, and hopefully did not entirely mangle the piece.

Why was it terrifying? Well, even submitting the whole piece in the first place was terrifying. As I mentioned in this post, it’s the most personal piece I’ve submitted and had accepted so far. To have it online now is both exhilarating and nerve-wracking.

What the hell, I’ll just quote myself:

‘Orthography: A Personal History’ is a mixture of things. It consists of poetic prose and verse “lectures”. It deals with palaeography, orthography, multilingualism, language history, and (surprise!) my personal history.

It’s the most personal piece I’ve submitted so far, delving into my childhood history through writing and my relationship with my two languages, Finnish and English. Fictionalised, of course, but still: me, my deepest self. It’s scary and exhilarating to think that other people will read such a thing.

The fictional cover is so much thinner in this piece than in most of my others. Did I mention this is terrifying? But that’s part of what writing is about: having the guts to put your soul out there for others to see.

So, dear readers. Go forth and read a piece of my soul.

(And read the rest of the issue too! It looks amazing. I am in love with this magazine.)


Oh – in my previous post I totally forgot to say that you should definitely read all the other poems in the current issue of Through the Gate as well as mine! The other poems are by Bogi Takács, Rose Lemberg, Mari Ness and Sonya Taaffe, and they’re gorgeous pieces every one of them.

I’m incredibly happy to be part of an issue with such talented writers. I’ve enjoyed and admired the work of all four of these people for quite a while, so it’s rather amazing to be in such company in this issue of Through the Gate.

Sunday recs: Zombies, gender fluidity, alternative families

Time for Sunday recs! I’ve been reading some excellent stuff lately – poetry too, but let’s go for prose first.

Story recs
So, zombies are pretty much everywhere these days, but I haven’t actually read that much zombie fiction. (My consumption has been in the form of comics and films.) This story in Niteblade is a really good zombie story, though, told from an interesting perspective: Compassion, During and After the Fall, by Cory Cone.

My second rec is an SF story about spices, asteroids, and the fluidity of gender – Alex Dally MacFarlane’s Found, in Clarkesworld. Reading it, I could taste the spices in my mouth. Also, it’s wonderful to read stories with characters who don’t fit the gender binary! “I finally realized, two years later, chewing thyme on an outlying asteroid where six people stubbornly survived, that I was like Thyme: ill-suited to ‘boy’ or ‘girl.'”

Final story rec: Super Bass by Kai Ashante Wilson on This is really good – such lush language, really cool dialect stuff. I love reading stories where the writer has really thought about the language, and this is definitely one of them. Also in the story: different gender presentations and polyamorous family structures; and a non-conflict plot!

Finally, a book rec:
Kate Elliott’s newest, the final book of the Spiritwalker trilogy: Cold Steel. I’ve squeed about the trilogy before on this blog, but now that I’ve read the final book, I will squee once more. I haven’t been this excited about a book series for ages! I love pretty much everything about these books: the alternate-world ice age setting with its cultural and ethnic diversity; the living, breathing characters; the dialogue; and the fast-moving plot. I really admire Kate Elliott, and love what she’s done with her alternate Europa.

She describes the overall story (here) as:

an Afro-Celtic post-Roman icepunk Regency fantasy adventure with airships, Phoenician spies, and the intelligent descendants of troodons.

Add to that a wonderful narrator, spirit courts, amazing characters (both female and male), shark-punching, and revolutionary politics. I mean, really, just go and read the series, you will not regret it!

Poetry sale: Through the Gate

Today’s been a lovely Friday despite the tiredness (it has been incredibly difficult to get my night owl sleep rhythm adjusted to my 9-to-5 job after my holiday). Some of the loveliness:

My poem ‘Boat-husk’ will be published in the fourth issue of Through the Gate. I’m very happy about this! Through the Gate is such a beautiful magazine.

I had my writers’ group meeting today and read part of a story that I’ve been working on for the past couple of months, more intensely during the past couple of weeks. It’s part of the forest world that I think I’ve mentioned here – with this world, I’m attempting the initial worldbuilding process through shorter stories and poems. Incidentally, ‘Boat-husk’ is also an echo of the same world.

I’m really enjoying this kind of secondary world exploration. I hope all the stories I write for it don’t expand on me like this one, though – once more, I’m looking at a 10,000-word story rather than a 2,000-word one as per my original concept. Oooops.

What can I say? I’m a babbly person, and I like drawn-out character development and lush language. Mmm. Tasty, tasty words.

‘Wolf Daughter’ online at Strange Horizons!

I feel like a fool because my poem ‘Wolf Daughter’ has been online at Strange Horizons for a week, and I’ve failed to notice before now!

Read it here!

Anyway! This is my celebratory wee-hours-of-the-night post. I feel really happy to have a poem in Strange Horizons – it’s a wonderful publication full of really excellent speculative writing. They also do podcasts of the stories and poems that are up – the podcast including me reading ‘Wolf Daughter’ will be up later this month. I’ll post a link to that when it’s up.

The first lines of ‘Wolf Daughter’ spilled out in a sudden burst last autumn, and the first draft was born in a rush of words. It’s set in a world like pseudo-nineteenth-century Finland, with tints of Finnishness and folklore. This loosely-inspired-by-Finnish-folklore thing is something of an occasionally-recurring feature in my speculative poems. There may well be more where ‘Wolf Daughter’ came from.

Sunday recs: Kate Elliott and an assortment

Number one rec today – something I’ve mentioned before, too – is Kate Elliott’s amazing Spiritwalker Trilogy. I’ve had the flu – a-bloody-gain – and have been gobbling down books. I just reread the first two instalments of Elliott’s trilogy, Cold Magic and Cold Fire, and cannot wait for the last one (Cold Steel) to come out (June 25th!). Seriously, I haven’t enjoyed a reread this much in ages. Elliott describes the books as “an Afro-Celtic post-Roman icepunk Regency fantasy adventure with airships, Phoenician spies, the intelligent descendents of troodons, and a dash of steampunk whose gas lamps can be easily doused by the touch of a powerful cold mage”. It’s an amazing, wild ride. The setting and characters are incredibly delicious. I really admire Kate Elliott as a writer, and she blogs most enjoyably too!


As to recs of a shorter sort, here is a random sweetshop assortment of online fiction I’ve read and enjoyed recently (yes, I was on a Strange Horizons binge):

The Lucia Bird by Ryan Simco, from Strange Horizons. Oh wow. I have a soft spot for stories involving awesome grandfathers, so this science fantasy totally got to me.

The Last Sophia by C.S.E. Cooney, from SH. An intriguing fairy story, excellent narrator. Gentry babes! Lush imagery! Nineteenth-century diction! Strange but awesome.

Hear the Enemy, My Daughter by Kenneth Schneyer, also from SH. This was a pretty upsetting story, for me, but very cool use of language/linguistics in SF. I do so appreciate linguist protagonists!

The Thing Under the Drawing Room by Jedediah Berry, from the inaugural issue of Interfictions Online. This is a weird and wonderful tale. I really enjoyed the writing style, and the whole story was just delightful! A barbarian hero in a sprawling Gothic complex of a house, in a competition involving being possessed by the spirit of an old god. Brilliant stuff.

New poetry in Curio and forthcoming in Polu Texni!

Now for the nice stuff I mentioned yesterday! Publications!


Two of my poems are now online in issue 11 of Curio, “a journal of poetry that explores the world at a micro-level: tiny spaces, instants, individual objects, scraps of dreams and memories, et cetera”.

‘Silver and Gold’ and ‘Man Playing Piazzolla’ can both be found here.


Both were written last year. The first draft of ‘Silver and Gold’ happened in early February. I was still working as a research assistant for the Varieng research unit at the University of Helsinki at that point, on the top floor of the Metsätalo building. Lovely views of rooftop Helsinki: the office room I worked in had a view of Helsinki Cathedral. Anyway, one evening in February I was at work late – well, no longer doing research assistant stuff, but working on my MA thesis after my paid job, as was my way. (Those were good times. Yes, seriously! Getting to write my MA thesis at an actual office at uni instead of home or in the library – brilliant.)

Anyway, early evening, I shuffled into the corridor for a break and chanced to see an enchanting view from the big glass wall: thus, a poem. It’s one of the approximately three poems I wrote during the three months I was both working and intensively writing my thesis. So I’m even more pleased that it has found a home!

‘Man Playing Piazzolla’ was written in September last year when I challenged myself with a “week of poetry” as I occasionally do. I was unemployed, wandering the city with my friend, and came across one of the most enchanting street musicians I’ve seen in Helsinki. I’ve seen him since, but that time in September was the first. Magic indeed. He was straight out of an urban fantasy story, and I may yet use him as character inspiration!

There you go. Long rambles about my poems. 🙂 Hope you enjoy them!


And another poetry sale: my poem ‘Beauty Remembers’ is forthcoming in Polu Texni! Yay!