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I wrote a thing!

The brand new issue of Luna Station Quarterly is out, and includes my story “There’s No Need to Fear the Darkness.” (CW: child death)

This is one I’d kind of given up on ever finding a home and tossed out on submission *one more time* before I was going to put it in the trunk. (Don’t self reject and keep on submitting, is what I’m trying to say.) I’m so glad to finally see it out there in the world. There are structural things about it that I think I might have done better, were I to write it today, but on a prose level I think it’s maybe the best thing I’ve ever written. I’m nervous about how this one will be received in a way I haven’t been for a while. I just don’t know if people will like it. But *I* like it. So.

It’s about a polyam thruple who can raise the dead, and a woman who has a lot of damage and imperfection but is trying to use her powers the best way she can. For more than that, you’ll just have to head to Luna Station Quarterly and check it out.

By the way, I don’t know if my content warnings are really effective for potential readers. But the past few stories I’ve had out, in particular, had elements that I knew might make some people uncomfortable, and I’m trying to be up front about that. I’m trying to be more mindful of how people might interact with my work and words; it’s a process. So tl; dr if you have comments on my use of content warnings, think I don’t do enough, or think they’re overkill, drop me a line.


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2017 in Review: Music

By now, I should be compiling my lists of favorite novels and short stories of the year.

Unfortunately, in November my laptop decided to go to the great electronic scrap heap in the sky, and I am a complete idiot, and I didn’t have my reading list backed up.

Of course.

I am waiting at this moment to see what pieces of my data can be retrieved (at a prohibitively large cost that I will still gladly pay because there are so many things I need–back up your shit, kids), but my best of reading lists may not happen until January. Or ever!

So, in the meantime, while I try to avoid a complete nervous breakdown (that about sums up 2017 as a whole pretty well, don’t you think?), I thought I’d take a minute to talk about my favorite music of the year.

It’s been a really good year for music. At least, for things I like. I tend not to pay too much attention to the greater popular music scene: I know what I enjoy, I strive to find new things that I like, I don’t care who’s winning awards or on the cover of magazines. But in any case. This year has had some excellent standouts.

My three favorite albums this year have all been by amazing women.

K. Flay- Every Where Is Somewhere

The first words I ever heard K. Flay sing were “The boy I love’s got another girl/he might be fucking her right now.”

Immediately, I was like who the hell is this woman? and went to find everything she had ever done.

I fell in love with her early songs and EPs, alternately charmed and wowed by her hip-hop/alternative sound. Her 2017 album, Every Where is Somewhere, certainly sounds different from much of that earlier work, but it rapidly became one of my most listened-to albums of the year. It landed at just the right moment to feel timely and timeless. Something about it manages to encapsulate all of my anxieties and angers and fears, each song hitting harder than the one before.

Take “Black Wave,” a song that has literally made me scream. For me, this is all the feelings of fear and betrayal and distrust I feel as an American in 2017 wrapped up in three and a half minutes:

The songs on Every Where is Some Where cut deep, but they aren’t without hope and beauty.  I don’t know if this album would have reached me so well in any other year, but it’s a good one in any case. I want everyone to know K. Flay. I want her music to be everywhere. Because she’s truly a great talent.

Lana Del Rey- Lust For Life

Look, I love Lana Del Rey beyond reason. There was no way I wasn’t going to like Lust For Life. So it’s hardly an objective judgement, but I still think this is one of the best albums of the year. If I have any criticism, it’s that it feels a bit uneven, almost like two different albums shoved into one (more on that in a sec.) But honestly, if I had a chance to collaborate with The Weeknd and Sean Ono Lennon and Stevie Nicks and A$AP Rocky then I would too, no matter how uneven the results might end up.

So, there’s the first half of the album, the one that sounds like the Lana I’m used to:

Vintage sounds (in the case of “Lust For Life,” there’s a lot of play on fifties girl groups), doomed love, cheeky call-outs to her old songs.

But then there’s the second part of the album. Lana gets political.

She’s always used symbols of Americana as an aesthetic. “God Bless America-and All the Beautiful Women In It” fits right into that stylistic tradition. But it feels to me like for the first time she’s struggling, like a lot of us are, with what America means, now.

Sometimes it doesn’t quite work. “Coachella-Woodstock On My Mind” is a silly, shallow clunker (not sorry). But to me the earnestness, the simple attempt to reckon with 45’s America, is enough. This is an artist who has been all about image and aesthetic (as so many artists are) suddenly trying to say something deeper.

So, yeah. I’ve listened to Lust For Life approximately eleven billion times already. At the moment my favorite is “Heroin,” a long, wandering song about Charles Manson and mental breakdowns and addiction, with a kick that lands hard for me. But really, they’re pretty much all great. I think Lana has perhaps the most beautiful voice in modern music, and she does some unexpected and really interesting things here.

Kesha- Rainbow

Kesha’s mostly been a ‘workout’ artist for me–someone I put on when I’m at the gym and I need to get pumped up and don’t listen to otherwhise. So I’m not ashamed to admit that Rainbow was a total surprise. I knew she’d been through a lot of terrible things. I didn’t know she could put out an album like this, powerful and heartbreaking and fun all at once.

First of all, who doesn’t love “Woman”? It’s the empowering, takes-no-shit song I think all of us need this year.

Rainbow has a couple of empowerment songs like “Woman.” songs about brushing off the haters and learning to love yourself instead of what people want from you. But it also has love ballads and countrified bops and some beautiful, unclassifiable oddities. “Spaceship” made me cry the first time I heard it.

A lot of Rainbow made me cry, actually. In a totally beautiful way.

So if you haven’t listened to Rainbow, if you think Kesha’s not your style, I urge you to give it one try. She’s a really amazing songwriter with a powerful voice, and while I think this is her best work I think it points to even better things to come.

Other albums I loved in 2017? 

Well, thanks for asking. Sylvan Esso- What Now? Declan McKenna- What Do You Think About The Car? Run the Jewels- Run the Jewels 3 Bishop Briggs’ self-titled EP (put out a full album already!)

Some songs I dug: 

Sir Sly- & Run:

alt-J- Deadcrush:


BORNS- Faded Heart:

Bishop Briggs- Dream:

& probably a hundred other things I’ve forgotten that I will remember when I press publish.

But anyway.

That’s my 2017 in music.

Hope you find some new stuff to like!

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Another day in America

In general, I try to keep this blog at least vaguely on topic. Books, writing, etc. But I need to share this somewhere and this blog seemed the best place for me to do it.

What follows is a letter I sent to my Senator yesterday in the wake of yesterday’s massacre. I am ideologically opposed to my Senator on most every issue. I have never voted for him. My feelings are not warm…they cannot even rise to the level of neutral. Not in this toxic climate, not when there is so much to resist. I know whenever I contact him it will be like running straight at a brick wall. But I try. As much as my mental health allows, I try.

This is what I said yesterday:

Dear Senator Burr, (or, more likely, the overworked Aide who will be the only person to see this letter: hello, overworked Aide)


I am writing to you tonight because I am, to be blunt, pissed off. I am saddened and exhausted and bewildered but mostly, at this moment, pissed off.

Sixteen months ago in the aftermath of the Pulse nightclub massacre, I wrote to you begging for you to address gun control. I received an empty, meaningless form letter, fumed for a few days, and we both went about our business, while you collected thousands of dollars from the NRA for your 2016 campaign.

Well, here we are again. Both America at large, in the wake of yet another devastating act of domestic terrorism, and me, with this little email box that will probably spawn nothing more than another form response. So be it.

I am pissed off.

59 people are dead tonight who shouldn’t be, and a staggering number of hundreds more injured, because people are able to access assault rifles by the dozen and huge stockpiles of ammunition while people like you take blood money from the NRA and scream about second amendment rights. What about the right to live, the right to not be gunned down for going to a concert, or sitting in church, or shopping at the mall, or going to school? Where is that right? Why is my right to live secondary to someone else’s supposed right to hold weapons of mass destruction?

We’ve been here with Virginia Tech, and Sandy Hook, and Aurora, and Orlando, and so many other places I could name but I know you will not care. You offer “thoughts and prayers” and continue to do nothing while the violence gets worse. I wonder what will happen when it’s Charlotte’s turn for the next big mass shooting, or Asheville, or Chapel Hill, or Winston-Salem, or Raleigh. Will you offer empty platitudes and meaningless “thoughts and prayers” when North Carolinians are bleeding out in the streets? How much money from the gun lobby will it take to make you look away, to say “now is not the time to talk about gun legislation”?

Senator Burr, now is exactly the time.

You have a platform. You have a voice. You are supposed to be *our* voice. So once again, I am begging you, give back your blood money and turn your platform to solving this American crisis. What steps will you take to stop this wave of senseless and preventable gun violence? Stand up. Use your voice. Say something for once other than insulting and empty words without action.

To borrow the words of the great American musical: if you stand for nothing, Burr, what will you fall for?

You have shown through your continued inaction that American lives mean less to you than campaign funds. Now is the time to change that. Prove me wrong. Stand up. Stand for something. Or I guess I’ll be emailing you again the next time we have a new deadliest mass shooting in American history. They seem to happen about twice a year these days, after all.



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Some slight maintenance

I’m in the process of removing my Short Story Sunday posts from the blog. It’s a feature I haven’t been able to focus on in a long time, and it’s the number one attractor of spam to this site (pretty much all my views are spam anyway, so I’m not quite sure who I’m writing this for, but it is what it is.)

My hope is that the short story posts were helpful for some of you in finding new writers, new venues, and new worlds to explore. Maybe I’ll figure out a way to incorporate my love of short fiction back into this blog at a future date.

In the meantime, I have a few things planned for the future, but I still don’t have the spoons to be back at this full time. Until you next see me, happy reading.



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I wrote some things: nonfiction edition

While my regular blogging has trailed off, I’ve spent a lot of 2017 trying to focus on some new directions for my writing, namely nonfiction and personal essay. Now when it gets to the “personal” in personal essay, a lot of the things I’ve been writing about have been really hard to put out there. I’m still learning how to pitch them, and where to draw my personal boundary lines on how I talk about myself. Many of those essays may never see the light of day, but some might, eventually. But the process of learning how to write these types of pieces is valuable in its own right.

However, when it comes to less personal nonfiction, I have had a couple things out this year. And since I’m an eternal dope, it just occurred to me now that I might want to post these reviews to the blog where I actually, you know, occasionally still review things.

So. Both of these pieces were written for the ever-wonderful romance review site Smart Bitches, Trashy Books (seriously, I was a dedicated reader of this site before I even started reading romance, they are so fantastically funny.)

I wrote about one of my favorite books as a teen, Meredith Ann Pierce’s The Darkangel, right here.

And I wrote about my newest favorite binge-watch, Harlots, here.

And who knows? Maybe getting used to writing reviews again will help kickstart me into more consistently reviewing books here again. As always, stay tuned.

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A poll!

I am conducting a class about blogging at my local library (Rocky Mount, NC, if you’re in the area on May 2nd!). While The Bastard Title has lately been woefully ignored due to real-life circumstances and blogging fatigue, I’d like to ask any of you reading this to take part in a brief poll about blogging in general. Thanks in advance, lovelies 🙂






If you have any other advice for aspiring bloggers, feel free to hit me up in the comments!


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Some rambling thoughts on representation

I was kind of looking forward to the new Riverdale show. It looks completely bonkers, but it seemed fun. But the main reason I found it interesting was that there was (at least, I expected) a canonical asexual character.

Yeah, guess not.

I didn’t grow up with the Archie comics, but I’ve caught some of the newer graphic novels and really enjoyed them, and a big part of that is seeing asexuality written in an open and thoughtful way.

It’s just one stupid show, so what’s the big deal? Well, it’s not just one show. It’s everywhere.

I’ve been watching a lot of Star Trek for the first time lately, and, without fail, every character that I think is obviously ace ends up having some sort of heteronormative romantic arc. Voyager’s Doctor chases and makes out with a holographic Viking lady (I quit Voyager soon after that for other reasons, so I don’t know what else they put him through). Odo, a mass of sentient shapeshifting goo, is apparently in love with Kira (I’ve only started season 4, but spoil away.) Data…I’m not even going to talk about Data. Of course, Star Trek is not particularly good at any sort of queer inclusion, or in talking about gender identity (fuck you, “The Outcast”). But it makes me sad that a series so ostensibly about the full range of human experience cannot possibly think of what to do with characters other than “male-coded + female-coded = sexytimes.” And then it makes me angry.

I don’t particularly like labels, nor do I really use them for myself. I find them limiting and pigeonholing. But I also don’t use them because, when I was a teenager and I needed them, we didn’t have the labels, or at least, I didn’t know them. I didn’t have the words. I’d never heard them.

I never saw anyone remotely like me, in any media, anywhere. The only characters who were ever coded asexual were the crazy cat-lady maiden aunts or swishy gay-male best friends who could act ~sassy~ but never actually express sexual desire, or god-forbid have sex. There was never anyone, ever, who just didn’t want to have sex, for whatever reason.

I spent so much time when I was younger worrying about what was wrong with me, trying to figure out how exactly I was so awful and undesirable that no-one ever wanted me, that it took years for me to realize that, maybe, just maybe, it was that I didn’t desire, not that I was completely undesirable. Because I never saw myself reflected anywhere. Not once.

I saw the crazy cat-ladies as my warning from the future (“if you don’t subscribe to these cultural norms, look what you risk becoming!”) I saw characters thinking about sex, and talking about sex, and having sex, all the damn time. I saw characters who were never, ever single for a second, and those that were desperately looking for the next link on the chain. I saw only a reflection of things I wasn’t, and I thought that I was broken. For a really, really long time. Sometimes still.

So I jump at every crumb of representation, every “possible, maybe, are they?”

I remember that I once read a novel where I was certain that a side-character was asexual, and it actually gave me chills. The next book in the series came with the reveal….that she was a closet lesbian. Oh. And I mean, lesbians are great. Queer rep, yay! But there it was again, this feeling that something so obvious to me was apparently completely invisible. Again.

I didn’t expect Riverdale to “solve” representation in any way. I didn’t even expect Jughead’s experiences to be like mine. (People are not all asexual in the same way, just as people are not all sexual in the same way). But it would have been really nice to have a character who doesn’t have romantic or sexual relationships, and doesn’t want or need to, and isn’t broken or desperate or mocked. It would have been really nice to have one character, somewhere, who wasn’t shoved into the heteronormative mold (different rant for a different day, but I actually think most queer relationships on TV are forced to “pass” by fitting into heteronormative standards too).

I’m tired of having to read between the lines to find characters who feel (or don’t feel, as the case may be) like me. I’m tired of jumping at every crumb. I’m tired of sex being the center of every motivation, every character development. I’m tired of being forced to try to see myself in the robots and holograms and alien puddles of goo, and then even those robots and holograms and alien puddles of goo letting me down. I’m tired of it.

And I’m pissed.

And I’m skipping Riverdale.

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2016 in review



It’s become a cliche that 2016 has been a horrible wasteland for basically everyone on planet Earth. When you really get down to it, who can say for sure that 2016 had any more loss or terror or heartbreak than any other year, but things seemed to coalesce towards some sort of breaking point through the vortex of inescapable social media.

In any case, it’s been a hard year for me personally in a lot of respects. I don’t want to dwell on it too heavily, especially with 2017 right around the corner (though 2017 doesn’t look to be shaping up to be much better…), but I will admit to this much. If 2014 and 2015 were years I focused on recovering my health and working hard to stay alive in the face of some pretty bad odds, 2016 often made me wonder why I had bothered.

I got low, but it wasn’t all lows. So, in the interest of faking it til you make it, here are the things that made this year worth it to me.

The Good Bits of 2016

My nephew.

The greatest thing to happen this year was the birth of my first nephew, Jude, the best baby in the history of all babies. (Plus, he’s a great excuse to play the Beatles.)


To be fair, Hamilton happened in 2015. But it’s not at all like I let it go in 2016. I listened to it more than is probably healthy. I bought the vinyl. I watched the documentary and LMM’s Drunk History. I got my mom obsessed. And then the mixtape happened. And then I got the Hamiltome for Christmas. So yeah, it just keeps on going.

My Favorite Murder

I’ve been a true crime addict ever since I was a bitty baby watching Unsolved Mysteries in the 80s (and suffering many subsequent nightmares.) I’ve never been a big fan of podcasts, but when I heard about My Favorite Murder, hosted by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, it seemed right up my alley. And oh, how it is.

One of the best things about MFM is that it opened up a community so that suddenly I realized there are so many people out there just like me. I’ve had a couple of problems with the way Karen and Georgia sometimes express their thoughts (particularly regarding body shaming and mental health in a few episodes), but they are honest about being human and making mistakes and always striving to be better. Plus, they are able to take truly awful things and find humor in them.

My motto throughout 2016 has definitely been Stay sexy, and don’t get murdered.

Yuri!!! on Ice.

Yuri!!! on Ice almost single-handedly saved this year for me. I watched the entire series twice in the space of just a few days, and it makes me so damned happy. An anime about figure skating, anxiety, and true love, YOI is so sweet and funny. And the animation, particularly the skating sequences, is breathtaking. YOI has it all. Puppies. Sexy men lounging around hotsprings. A Canadian jackass. Excellent music (or at least- music that starts out corny but somehow becomes progressively more excellent each time you hear it). Pork cutlet bowls. Drunk pole dancing. A surly Russian teen with impeccable fashion sense. It is, basically, perfection, and I don’t yet know how I’m going to survive the wait for more.

Live music.

Something I really miss about my twenties is all the concerts I used to go to. I only managed to make it to two live shows this year, but they were really amazing ones.

In February, I splurged on myself and drove all the way to Nashville to see the tenth anniversary tour for Jenny Lewis’s Rabbit Fur Coat. It was a really special celebration of one of my favorite albums [And Jimmy Buffett showed up!!!].

In October, I saw Kaleo with Bishop Briggs. I already liked Bishop Briggs’ single, but live she was so much more dynamic and incredible than I was prepared for. And Kaleo just blew me away. (Their album, A/B, was one of my favorites of the year, and one day they’re going to be superstars.) It’s been a really, really long time since I stood in the front row of a tiny club to hear rock and roll. It was a feeling I’d thought I’d forgotten.

Here’s one of Kaleo’s songs that I absolutely adore:

Books with my name in them. 

When I was in first grade, my school published a “book” of stories written by the students, including two of mine. But whoever typed up those books made one crucial mistake….they spelled my name wrong.

I have been trying to correct that injustice for twenty five years. It may seem silly, but that typo in my name has been one of my biggest motivators to seeing my real name in print. I’ve had stories in online journals before, but this year, for the first time ever, I got to see my name. In. A. Real. Book. Look!


It was so fucking cool.

Now I just need to get my name on the cover of a book.

Books without my name in them*. 

This is still a book review blog, if only in name, because I haven’t figured out what to do with it yet. So let’s make some space to call out the books that kept me sane in 2016. I read significantly less than I have in years past (as of this writing, it looks like I will top out the year at 97 books), but as always they were what I turned to whenever the world went pear-shaped.

Most of what I read was pretty good, tbh. But here were my absolute favorites, vaguely in order of when I read them:

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Sarah Vowell- Lafayette in the Somewhat United States , Jhumpa Lahiri- The Lowland, Lily King- Euphoria


Roan Parrish- In the Middle of Somewhere, KJ Charles- Think of England, Marissa Meyer- Winter


Marie Brennan- In the Labyrinth of Drakes , Naomi Novik- Uprooted, N.K. Jemisin- The Fifth Season


Lyndsay Faye- Jane Steele, Tana French- The Trespasser, Cat Sebastian- The Soldier’s Scoundrel, Celeste Ng- Everything I Never Told You

*I give up on trying to format this correctly . WordPress what the fuck are you doing? 

Well my lovely friends, that’s all. Have as happy a New Year as you can. My dearest hope is that all of my crippling fears will turn out to be unfounded. Only time will tell, but in the meantime keep enjoying books and all the other things that make you happy.

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I guess this an eligibility post?

Hi! I am super uncomfortable doing this, but here we go. It’s awards time, and in 2016 I had the good fortune to publish a couple of stories, some of which I even still like. If you are a person who nominates things for stuff (eloquence: I am all about it), here’s the rundown of the short fiction I put out this year, three of which are available in full text online:

You’re Doing The Best You Can” – Daily Science Fiction (February 2016)

“Bone Man and the Sleeping Kings” – The Great Tome of Darkest Horrors and Unspeakable Evils (June 2016)

Ship of Fools” – Unlikely Story- The Journal of Unlikely Observances (June 2016)

Wayfarers“- Luna Station Quarterly (issue 027)

I’m in the process of putting together a list of my favorite fiction of the year, which may end up being a series of Twitter links. What are the best things you’ve read in 2016?


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2015 Mix Tape

Getting off the subject of books for a moment, I thought I’d post about my favorite music of 2015.

I spent a lot of the year going back to things I missed in to 2004-2009 era for some reason. When it comes to albums that actually came out in 2015, my most played were probably (definitely) Lana Del Rey’s Honeymoon and Florence + the Machine’s How Big How Blue How Beautiful. And I recently discovered Marina and the Diamonds (I don’t usually listen to so many ladies! 2015 has been a change of pace.) But mostly I listen to singles and random songs because that’s just the way I roll.

So, in no particular order, here are some of my favorite songs of 2015:

Lana Del Rey- “Music to Watch Boys To”

the whole album is amaaaaazing, but I think this is absolutely my favorite song.

Deerhunter- “Snakeskin”

So funky.

Death Cab For Cutie- “The Ghosts of Beverly Drive”

I’m a pretty casual fan of Death Cab, but I really love this song. For some reason it reminds me of my dad.

The Decemberists- “A Beginning Song”

I am waiting, should I be waiting?

Night Terrors of 1927 ft. Tegan and Sara-“When You Were Mine”

These guys put out a fantastic debut (and I’m not just saying that because I’m eternally in love with Blake Sennett). I’m a bit surprised it hasn’t hit bigger than it did.

Disclosure ft. Lorde- “Magnets”

I mean, like I’m not going to love anything to do with Lorde. You crazy?

Beirut- “Gibraltar” 

That little clap beat thing. Yeah. All about that.

Belle and Sebastian- “The Party Line”

Surprisingly good song for the gym. (I guess my gym playlist is kind of weird.)

Florence + the Machine- “Third Eye”

I could have picked like 5 Florence + the Machine songs for this spot. Love her, always. But Third Eye hit me in a really hard, personal way.

Marina and the Diamonds- “Froot”

La la la la la la.

Of Monsters and Men- “Organs”

Of Monsters and Men sounds to me what my depression feels like. Which sounds like a weird sort of endorsement, but it totally is. They have just the most beautiful, vulnerable music.

Also they sound like fantasy novels.

Brick + Mortar- “Train”

So I finally got a new car with a working radio, and I literally know nothing about this band but this song is on all the time. This is the first time I’ve looked up the video; it’s super cute.

Declan McKenna- “Brazil”

Same with this kid, honestly. Radio, all the damn time. I had no idea he was so young until I looked for the video. But he seems like a promising songwriter. And good to see that my inner 13-year-old will always love floppy-haired boys, I guess.

Coast Modern- “Hollow Life”

This has been on repeat for a while in my apartment and at work. If their debut is this good, I can’t wait to hear what else this band has in store.

And. Ok. I have to do one Hamilton song. Forgive me?

It’s impossible to pick a favorite, but the Burr songs are the best and give me complicated feelings about our third Vice President. So. Wait For It.

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