Thursday, November 10, 2022

Publication: "Ponte Selvaggio" in Tree And Stone Magazine, Queer As F* Issue 2

The online edition of Tree And Stone Magazine's Queer As F* Issue 2 is out now! Read the stories on their website for free, including my climate-change-&-relationship-in-peril story called "Ponte Selvaggio." More of my posts about this story: here and here.


  

Monday, October 31, 2022

Publication (early release): "Ponte Selvaggio" from Tree And Stone Magazine

The new Queer As F* Issue of Tree And Stone Magazine has been released on the magazine's Patreon page! Here's the amazing cover art:

I'm honored that my story "Ponte Selvaggio" is included in the issue. Support this great magazine and read the issue early by joining Tree And Stone as a Patreon subscriber!

Friday, October 28, 2022

Short Story Acceptance! "Feathers and Ash"

Very happy to announce that my story “Feathers and Ash” has been accepted by Cloaked Press for their upcoming Winter Of Wonder anthology titled FAUNA.

Inspired by the mythical phoenix, this story features a rebellious character (my favorite type). Both this story and "Ponte Selvaggio" began as images from dreams that I wrote down after waking up, and then many months later, molded into stories.

The anthology is scheduled to be published in December and will have a print edition!

Sunday, October 23, 2022

NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge 2022 Results

The results were released earlier this month for the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction challenge. For the 2nd story challenge, I got 5th place in my group for my Suspense (Sci-Fi-ish) story "The Heat From Beneath" which gave me 11 points to add to the 1st round story (a Romantic Comedy that only got 2 points at 14th place).

So with my 13 point total, I got 8th place overall in my group, which wasn't enough to push me into the next round. Only the top 5 places advanced. The feedback on the story from the three judges was really positive, and I'm working on expanding the story into a full Sci-Fi tale!

Meanwhile, I've signed up for the next NYC Midnight challenge starting in November: the 250-word Microfiction!

Monday, September 19, 2022

Short Story Acceptance! "Ponte Selvaggio"

I was ecstatic to receive an acceptance this weekend on a speculative short story titled "Ponte Selvaggio" for Tree And Stone Magazine's next Queer As F* issue! This story started from an image in a dream: a red convertible car speeding across an aqueduct-style land bridge while the waves of a chaotic sea threatened to crash over the precarious structure.

With the help of many critique partners, the idea evolved over the years into a story about sea levels rising, food insecurity, and a sapphic couple trying to stay together through all the stress. The title translated from Italian is "Wild Bridge" inspired by the Mediterranean vibe and my year of Italian language classes in college.

The story was longlisted last fall during Uncharted Magazine’s first SFF story contest, but it didn’t go any further. I'm happy it found a home with Tree And Stone! Publication details to come soon. I believe the issue will be out in October.

Monday, September 5, 2022

Goodreads Author Approval


I've finally been approved as a Goodreads Author! (There's someone else using the name Meg Murray to self-publish through Amazon, so I had to get my books separated from hers first...)

Here's my Author page with three anthology/issue publication credits already added!

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Short Story Acceptance! "The Witch in the Woods Who Sold the Spark"

I'm delighted to announce that my fantasy folktale "The Witch in the Woods Who Sold the Spark" has been accepted by Crow & Cross Keys for publication sometime around January 2023! 


There are foxes and magic and eggs and, of course, a witch living in the woods. More details coming soon!

Friday, August 19, 2022

NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge 2022 Update

The NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge is underway. The results for the first round came out recently, which will be added to the second round. I posted about my RomCom story and more details on how this challenge works in a previous post: NYCM Update.

I got 14th place for my RomCom story, so I received 2 points for that round. The second round assignments were released and I was much happier with my prompts:

GENRE: Suspense

LOCATION: A cave

OBJECT: A selfie stick

The story I wrote in less than 48 hours took a bit of a Sci Fi turn, so I hope that doesn't hurt me with the judges. But I've also realized that I have two goals with doing these NYCM Challenges:

1. To stretch my writing muscles in genres that I'm not skilled at.

2. To create some new stories that could eventually be submitted for publication. (Sometimes this will mean revising the stories after the contest to make them better, of course, and more speculative if needed.)

Here's the title and synopsis of my flash (under 1000 words) Suspense story:

Title: "The Heat From Beneath"

Synopsis: While researching an unusual source of heat in an underwater cave, a pair of marine archeologists encounter trouble.

The results will be out in October and only the top 5 point-earners will advance.


Thursday, August 4, 2022

SFWA and Codex Memberships!

Two of my career goals were met at the end of July: joining SFWA, the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Association, and Codex, an online community for "pro-level speculative fiction writers." I'm so thrilled that my story sales this year have pushed me to the next level where I could qualify for these groups. I'm looking forward to improving my writing and getting more stories published in the future!



Saturday, July 23, 2022

Clarion West Write-a-Thon 2022

This summer, I joined the Clarion West Write-a-Thon for the first time! I've been so busy with it, that I've forgotten to do a blog post until now and we're already in Week 5. It's almost over! There's been virtual writing sessions and helpful webinars that I've joined along the way, but the most beneficial part for me has been signing up for the Flash Fiction Critique Groups. 

In June, I was matched with 5 other writers. We've exchanged flash fiction stories each week and sent critiques to each other. I haven't been workshopping my stories very much since Covid began (and my college courses finished), so it's been really helpful to get back to giving and receiving feedback! It's pushed me to finish up a lot of story ideas that I had sketched out, but hadn't actually taken the time to complete. I have a lot of revisions to do now to get these stories sent out on submission.


On the novel side of things, I took some time in early July to escape for a few days and focus on my novel. I think I figured out the best process that works for me: I can only focus on 3 chapters at a time (writing or editing), which is about 6000-7000 words. Anything longer than that, I get overwhelmed and confused about the story. I have a detailed outline with some scattered chapters partially written, but I have trouble focusing on the characters' development and arcs in each part if I think about all 45 chapters at once. So, when I focused on Chapter 18, 19, & 20, I got 'em done without losing my place. I turned off the negative inner voice, I guess. Moving ahead through the middle of this novel is exciting!

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Publication: "Raspberried" from 101 Words

My story "Raspberried" (a drabble +1 word) is live now at 101 Words! Read it for free here:
Thanks for reading!

- Meg

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Mid-Year 2022 Publishing Stats

Now that it's the end of June, here's a mid-year update on my publishing stats for January to June of 2022 (short fiction, flash fiction, and poetry):

4 Acceptances (Born in the Watchmaker's Garden, Dental Hygiene on Orbital Station #57, The Tale of Starling, and Raspberried)

Bonus (1st place in NYC Midnight Short Story Round 1)

23 Rejections

32 Submissions

8 Pending

4 Publications (Luna Britannia, Dental Hygiene on Orbital Station #57, The Tale of Starling, Born in the Watchmaker's Garden)

My goal this year has been to submit something at least once a week, and I've met that goal with 32 submissions so far! I also passed my submissions total for all of 2021, which was 29 subs.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Micro Fiction Acceptance! "Raspberried"

I received an acceptance email last Sunday from 101 Words, a site that publishes micro fiction stories that are exactly 101 words long!

I submitted a story to them that I originally started as a poem. But as I've been practicing flash fiction and micro fiction over the last six months, I decided to turn the poem into a teeny tiny story. "Raspberried" is not as speculative as my other fiction stories. It deals with reflections on life and death and, of course, raspberries. My early title for it was "Bury Me With Raspberries" and I use the made-up word 'raspberried' at the end to convey this idea of the homonyms 'berry' and 'bury' that intrigued me.

I'll share the link to the story when it is published!

- Meg 

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Publication: "Born in the Watchmaker's Garden" in HyphenPunk Magazine, Issue 4

The full eBook for HyphenPunk Magazine's Issue 4 was released today! Happy Summer Solstice, readers.  Read some awesome -PUNK stories in this issue including my Clock-Punk fairy story inspired by radioactive material used in watchmaking in the early 20th century!

Buy the full eBook issue for just $2.99 here: HyphenPunk Issue 4


Happy reading!

- Meg

Thursday, June 16, 2022

NYC Midnight Challenge Updates

In April, I participated in Round 1 of the NYC Midnight 100 Word Microfiction Challenge. These were the prompts I got:
Genre: Comedy
Action: jumping a rope
Word: wash
I wrote a story under 100 words called "The Visitor" about a little girl in Kansas teaching an alien to jump rope. Yesterday, the results came out. I, sadly, didn't make it into Round 2, but I received feedback from the judges today. It was very positive feedback, with some helpful suggestions on tightening up the story. One reason I didn't advance was that my story fell more into the SciFi genre than Comedy. I'm planning on revising it with their suggestions and submitting it for publication as a SciFi drabble (the name for a story of exactly 100 words).


Last weekend, I completed a Round 1 story for the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge. These were my prompts with this one:
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Location: A microbrewery
Object: A toy car
After getting Romance in Round 2 of the Short Story Challenge and Comedy in the 100 Word Micro, I was not thrilled to get Rom Com with this one! These three genre options are my LEAST favorite. Really hoping I can pull better genres in the future. Here's the complete list of genres that NYC Midnight uses:
Action/Adventure
Comedy
Crime Caper
Drama
Fairy Tale
Fantasy
Ghost Story
Historical Fiction
Horror
Mystery
Political Satire
Romance
Romantic Comedy
Sci-Fi
Spy
Suspense
Thriller
They have very helpfully included a definition of each on their site: Genre Definitions

My Rom Com story under 1000 words is titled: "Of Beer and Brides"
Synopsis: Can Jane keep her fiancee happy with the wedding she’s planned in the microbrewery she owns?
I did something a little experimental with the format and switched POV between the two brides. I also didn't try to include ANY speculative elements, so maybe I'll get more points for trying to stick to the genre. I'm really not sure if I have any comedy ability though. The NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge is unique because writers are guaranteed to be in the 2nd Round (happening in August) with the exact same group of writers from Round 1. Then the scores from the two rounds are combined and the top 5 advance to Round 3.

Fingers crossed for a great genre in Round 2!

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Cover Reveal for HyphenPunk Magazine Issue #4

Look at this beautiful art for the cover of the upcoming Issue #4 of HyphenPunk Magazine! Such a treat to see my name here for my clockwork fairy story "Born in the Watchmaker's Garden."



Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Publication: "The Tale of Starling" from Pumpernickel House

Issue 1: The Blue Door from Pumpernickel House has been released! My story "The Tale of Starling" appears in this issue. It started as a NYC Midnight writing prompt and I'm so thrilled it found a home in a magazine.


I have a description of the story and its origins on a previous post here: Round 1 Story

I'm really looking forward to receiving the paperback version of the issue! You can purchase it here: Amazon paperback or Kindle version

A short excerpt of "The Tale of Starling" is below.


Thanks for your support, readers!

- Meg

Monday, May 30, 2022

NYC Midnight Short Story Round 2 Results

The results were out earlier this month for Round 2 of the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge. Unfortunately, my story (details here: Round 2) didn't make it into the top 5 stories for my group, so I won't be moving on to Round 3.

I'm looking forward to results from the 100-Word Microfiction contest and the prompts I will get for the first round of the Flash Fiction competition!

This month has been so busy with my kids' end of school year activities. I'm finally getting some breathing room this weekend. Preparing for summer activities and fitting in writing time again! I'll be posting about my latest short story publication soon, as well as my plans for finishing my novel this summer!

Happy writing, everyone!

- Meg



Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Short Story Acceptance! "The Tale of Starling"

I'm happy to announce that my fairy tale story "The Tale of Starling" was accepted for publication by Pumpernickel House!

This is the story I wrote from prompts in the NYC Midnight challenge in January. Here are two other blog posts about it:



More publication details coming soon... 


Monday, May 9, 2022

Friday, May 6, 2022

Micro Fiction Acceptance! "Dental Hygiene on Orbital Station #57"

I'm excited to announce that my tiny 250-word story "Dental Hygiene on Orbital Station #57" was accepted by Solarpunk Magazine for their April Micro Fiction Contest!
This is a story I literally started writing while brushing my teeth one night. It's also a story for everyone who loves caring for animals and knows the grief when pets are gone. There's a lot packed in to a small story. I'm thrilled that Solarpunk Magazine will be publishing it!


Monday, April 25, 2022

More Short Fiction Contests

This month, besides finishing a Round 2 story for the NYC Midnight Short Story contest, I also wrote a flash story for the TL;DR Press 1K Word Herd Competition and a tiny story for the NYC Midnight 100-Word Microfiction Challenge! I love having prompts and deadlines, apparently. Now, I'm considering joining the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge which kicks off in June.
More information on all of these fun contests at the links below:




Coming up next:



Monday, April 11, 2022

Round 2 of the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge 2022

Yesterday, I turned in my story for Round 2 of the competition. There are over 1000 writers in this round (from over 6000 in Round 1).

Here are the prompts I received for a 2000 word max story:

Genre: Romance
Subject: Inoperable
Character: A wayfarer


The story I wrote is titled: "Crossed Paths"

Synopsis: Heidi, an avid hiker of backcountry trails, sabotages an engineering project that crosses paths with the trail. After her actions unintentionally injure an engineer, she helps the man to safety and falls for his flirtatious spirit.

The results for Round 2 will be out later in May. Hoping I can make it into the top 5 of my group to advance to Round 3!

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

NYC Midnight Short Story Round 1 Results

Exciting news! My fairy tale advanced me to Round 2 for the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge!! Details about Round 1 can be found in my post here: Round 1

I was so happy to have taken 1st place in my group because I worked very hard on the story!


Here are the rules for Round 2 coming up this weekend:
  • advancing writers will be placed into new groups
  • each group is assigned a new Genre, Subject, and Character
  • within 3 days each writer submits a story with the prompt in under 2000 words
  • then the top 5 from each group will advance to Round 3 in May
I'm looking forward to writing a new story this weekend! Fingers crossed that I will get one of my favorite genres!

-Meg

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Publication: "Born in the Watchmaker's Garden" in HyphenPunk Magazine

The web version of my new story is online at HyphenPunk Magazine! Check out "Born in the Watchmaker's Garden" here:

https://hyphenpunk.com/fiction/born-in-the-watchmakers-garden/

The story will be published in an eBook for Issue 4 of the magazine in June. 


HyphenPunk previewed the story perfectly in this tweet & excerpt:



Thanks for reading!

- Meg

Monday, March 14, 2022

Short Story Acceptance! "Born in the Watchmaker's Garden"

I was thrilled to receive an acceptance from HyphenPunk Magazine for "Born in the Watchmaker's Garden," a clockwork fairy story. It's a bit steampunk, a bit clockpunk, and a lot rebellious. I think HyphenPunk is the perfect home for it! I can't wait to share it when it's published online and in eBook form this summer.

I made this AI artwork for the story:


Wednesday, February 9, 2022

NaNoWriMo 2021 Wrap-Up and Next Steps for 2022

New accountability post for my novel progress in 2022!

I finished up last November's NaNoWriMo with 33,568 words in my novel draft after writing on 27 out of the 30 that month. I'm now looking at doing another rigorous plan to get the draft finished up so I can send it to beta readers.

To get back into the mode of my story, I've been working on making lists of my characters, place names, and other terms used in the building of the novel's world. I'm also going to reread the 33k words I've written and update my chapter-by-chapter outline. Then I'll keep going, full steam ahead, to The End around 100k words.

Here are some details I posted last November about my WIP novel:

Title: The May Queen’s Daughter
Genre: Science Fiction
(possibly solarpunk or lunarpunk??)
Vibe:
Earth globe americas23rd century Earth
Crescent moonpaganism
Microscopeadvanced medicine
Pregnant womanpregnancy
Singerrebel teens
Firelotsa fire


My goal is get back to writing every day if I can, even if it's just a few hundred words. 

Happy writing, everyone!

-Meg

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Publication: "Luna Britannia" in For Page & Screen Magazine

Issue 1: New Beginnings from For Page & Screen Magazine has been released! My story "Luna Britannia" appears in this issue. I'm so thrilled it found a home here. 

My alternate history sci-fi tale follows newlyweds Millie and Oscar as they journey into the unknown--towards a lunar colony and new understandings of each other. 
I'm really looking forward to receiving my contributor's copy of the exclusive print edition!
Read the entire issue for free here: Issue 1: New Beginnings and "Luna Britannia" here. A short excerpt is below.


Monday, January 24, 2022

Round 1 of NYC Midnight's Short Story Challenge 2022

I entered the NYC Midnight contest for the first time this month with the Short Story Challenge. There were over 6000 writers entering this first Round! 

How it works: 

  • writers are divided into groups of around 28 people
  • each group gets a prompt of Genre, Subject, Character
  • within 8 days each writer submits a story with the prompt in under 2500 words
  • then the top 5 from each group will advance to Round 2 in April.

I was nervous about getting a Genre that I'm unfamiliar with like Romantic Comedy or Political Satire, but I lucked out with a great combination of prompts:

Genre: Fairy Tale
Subject: Nidification (= nest-building)
Character: A Shut-In

I came up with a story titled: "The Tale of Starling"

Synopsis: After a seamstress dies, her orphaned teenage daughter gains a bothersome magical ability to summon twigs from her hands. She is forced to deal with the never-ending pile of branches and her growing fears of the outside world.

I'm looking forward to the Round 1 results to see if I advance to Round 2!

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

My Favorite Short Fiction Stories Read in 2021

I read A LOT of wonderful short fiction this past year, so I want to share a list of my favorites.

Some of these of were published in anthologies that are available for purchase, others are free to read online. I will link to as many as possible! I'll also add my one sentence description of each story.

In no particular order, here are my favorite speculative stories read in 2021:

"With the Nectar Comes the Sting"

By Jennifer Hudak

A shifting POV between mother and daughter tells a very unexpected superhero origin story.

Published January 25, 2021 in Apparition Lit, free to read online here: 

https://apparitionlit.com/with-the-nectar-comes-the-sting/


"What the Humans Call Heartache"

By Jiksun Cheung

A drone takes a detour from her regular path. 

Published April 26, 2021 by Arsenika, free to read online here: 

https://arsenika.ink/fiction/what-the-humans-call-heartache/


"Springs Eternal"

By J. Nelson Jr.

Some very, very, very old friends meet up... once again.

Published July 27, 2021 in Alphanumeric from Zoetic Press, free to read online here: 

https://www.zoeticpress.com/alphanumeric/2021/6/18/springs-eternal


"The Robots of Eden"

By Anil Menon

A family in the future deals easily with life's troubles in this story I wanted to read again and again.

Published March 12, 2019 in New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color,

link to buy the anthology here: Bookshop paperback


"Crush"

By Sarah L. Hawthorn

A slow-burn creepy tale about a college student consumed with caring for a houseplant.

Published August 19, 2021 in GROWTH: A Speculative Young Adult Collection from TL;DR Press,

links to buy the anthology here: Amazon paperback or Kindle version 


"Don Queerxote"

By Jennifer Lee Rossman

A teen in a solarpunk future avoids her homework and follows her crush to a protest.

Published in Fall 2021: Issue 1 by HyphenPunk, free to read online here: 

https://hyphenpunk.com/fiction/don-queerxote/


"Discontinuity"

By Jared Millet

A captain tries to keep her sanity and her memories to complete her vital mission through space.

Published September 17, 2021 in Issue 125 of Apex Magazine, free to read online here:

https://apex-magazine.com/discontinuity/


"Tidings"

By Rich Larson

Time jump through a future with creative solutions to some of society's biggest problems.

Published September 14, 2021 in Fix's Climate Fiction contest from Grist, free to read here:

https://grist.org/fix/imagine-2200-climate-fiction-tidings/


"The Catcher in the Eye"

By Ai Jiang

A girl who sees ghosts through only her right eye tries to keep it closed until... she doesn't.

Published in November 2021 in Issue 78 of The Dark Magazine, free to read online here:

https://www.thedarkmagazine.com/the-catcher-in-the-eye/


"Drifting"

By Christopher R. Muscato

When ships are damaged and stranded in space, one young woman proposes an unconventional solution.

Published on December 20, 2021 in Optopia Zine, free to read inside Issue 4 here:

https://issuu.com/optopia/docs/issue_4


I encourage you to not only read these stories, but also purchase or donate to the magazines and presses that have published such great work!

Happy reading!

- Meg

Saturday, January 1, 2022

2021 Publishing Stats

Happy New Year ‘22!

My 2021 publishing stats (creative NF, short fiction, flash fiction, & poetry):

3 Acceptances ("A Library on Wheels," "Yoko and the Sunbeam Garden," and "Luna Britannia")

23 Rejections

29 Submissions

4 Pending

2 Publications ("A Library on Wheels" and "Yoko and the Sunbeam Garden")

(Bonus: 1 Long listed story)

After a hiatus in 2020 w/ only 1 sub, this past year has been my busiest yet! I'm looking forward to submitting more stories and poems in 2022, as well as finishing up the next draft of my novel.

Happy writing, everyone!