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Improbability is in the Details
Abra Staffin-Wiebe's Journal
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13th-Mar-2016 06:15 pm - [sticky post] Welcome!
Hello there!
I'm Abra Staffin-Wiebe, a writer of fantasy, science fiction, and horror. I've had short stories appear at publications including Tor.com, Escape Pod, and Odyssey Magazine. When not writing, I shoot photographs, collect folk tales, and wrangle two small children, three large cats, and one medium-sized mad scientist. You can find out more at my website: http://www.aswiebe.com/.

Upcoming events and appearances

4th Street Fantasy Convention
St.Louis Park, MN, June 17-19, 2016

CONvergence Convention
Bloomington, MN, June 30 - July 3, 2016

Submit It Now! Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Short Stories
Teaching 2-day workshop at The Loft Literary Center, Minneapolis
August 6th AND August 13th
Openings are limited. Register now!

MidAmeriCon II (AKA WorldCon 74)
Kansas City, MO, August 17-21, 2016

Other Places Online

Note: I don't usually post the same thing in multiple places, except for my market list updates, new publications, and other major news (writing-related or not).

http://www.aswiebe.com/ - The best place to find things I've written.

Livejournal - Here! I don't post as often on Livejournal as I used to, but I tend to keep my longer daily life posts and the important updates over here, along with the occasional photo or recipe post.

Facebook - Short updates about my life, bemused writing-related comments, as well as random links I enjoy or find useful. You know. I use it like most people do.

Twitter - Mostly SF/F and writing-related posts these days.

Goodreads - Strictly business. This is my author account on Goodreads, not the personal one that I deluge with my to-reads.

I also occasionally post on Google+, Pinterest, Flickr, and Ello.

Market List Logo


The next update of Aswiebe's Market List will be after 5/15/2016.
Permanent link to this newsletter in the archives: http://www.aswiebe.com/writing/archive2016.html#041516

Random Thoughts
Part of the trick to getting the most out of writing time is to have fallow non-writing time when the subconscious can ponder and process and imagine without having other engagements--whether those are good (joys, projects) or bad (worries, stress, illness). When you're a parent, that becomes a *real* trick!

What I've been up to lately, writing-wise:
Registration is open for the class I'm teaching on formatting and submitting short stories! By the end of this class, students will have submitted their short story and will possess a set of skills and tools to assist them in the future. More information and registration at The Loft Literary Center: https://www.loft.org/shop/product_detail/4/adult_class/366/submit_it_now_fantasy_and_science_fiction_short_stories/.

Writing is going well. I'm halfway through the half-dragon/half-succubus urban fantasy side project, and I'm at about the same point in the contemporary fantasy/thriller in Belize main project. These are different wordcounts, though, because the urban fantasy will end up around 60,000 words and the Belize fantasy will be about 100,000 words. So naturally, now that I'm deep into two novels at the same time, I feel like I should get a few more short stories written and out. And of course, I always have the big backlog of editing to do.

Read the rest of the newsletter.
24th-Mar-2016 09:04 pm - My Hugo Nomination-Eligible Works

Hugo nominations close on March 31. To nominate, you have to be an attending or supporting member of Sasquan (Worldcon 73), MidAmeriCon II (Worldcon 74), or Worldcon 75. You have one week!

I do have a couple of eligible stories from last year. If you read them and enjoy one of them enough to nominate, please do so! (I like you too, but please don't nominate based only because of any personal liking.)

Best Short Story
"And Other Definitions of Family" is a light, humorous SF story about a xeno-anthropologist who takes a very intimate approach to field research. Read it for free here: http://www.unlikely-story.com/stories/and-other-definitions-of-family-by-abra-staffin-wiebe/

Best Novel
A Circus of Brass and Bone, which I published writing as Abra SW, is a post-apocalyptic steampunk serial novel about a circus traveling through the collapse of Reconstruction Era America. The Vita.mn review says, "It's a dark, supernatural and altogether bizarre examination of the human condition and it remains true to form for a post-apocalyptic novel: It's also a class commentary that asks how we'd adapt to a world in which society, with all its benefits and ills, suddenly and violently imploded." It's no longer available to read for free, but you can read a good-sized sample at Amazon or Google Play Books before buying.

Best Novelette
"A Stranger Comes to Town" is a post-apocalyptic steampunk Western. It's a stand-alone installment from A Circus of Brass and Bone. You can read it for free at Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, or Google Play Books, and it's $.99 on Amazon (because that's the cheapest they'd let me make it). It reached the top 100 for its category on Amazon.

I will no longer be posting the full market listing update on Livejournal, but you can read it at http://aswiebe.com/writing/markets.html. To get new updates emailed to you, subscribe to Aswiebe's Market List Update.


Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk & Eco-Speculation
anthology wants diverse, optimistic environmental science fiction and fantasy.

The anthology will focus on times of environmental crisis and the people inhabiting these tipping points, fighting to effect change and seek solutions, even if it’s already too late. But these are stories of hope, not just disaster! Turn your lens to those crucial moments in a world’s history when great change can be made by the right people with the right tools. Remember: hope can spark in even the grimmest of situations.
The basics: environmental-themed, science fiction and fantasy, 500 - 7,500 words, $.06/wd, reprints okay, submissions will be open for 1 month after Kickstarter funds in April. Guidelines at https://sunvaultantho.wordpress.com/submissions/.
20th-Mar-2016 03:36 pm - Still Sick. Still No Shower.
Things that go together: stomach flu and bathrooms. Things that don't work so well: stomach flu and non-functional bathrooms. This Tuesday I got sick with the horrible stomach flu that the kids had last week. It was ... horrible. I started feeling sick while I was getting Cassius to his Uptown preschool for a special morning field trip. The plan was to stay in Uptown so I could pick him up after his field trip ended, get him lunch, and then bring him back an hour and a half later for his regular preschool to start. We stuck to the plan, but by the end I was entirely miserable and also grateful for the cleanliness of the public library bathroom and the bathroom at Potbelly. :(

I started feeling actually health several days later, on Friday. In the mean time, Phil stayed home to help when he could and went to work when he couldn't, the kids watched way too many episodes, and the plumber and contractor came and went.

Our bathroom still isn't fixed, but by Friday our shower at least had walls again, even if it has no fixtures. On Monday they'll come and put those in. However, we could use our bathtub again this weekend, thank goodness, at least for bucket baths. You know it's bad when you're really grateful for a bucket bath.

I'm also grateful for good friends who live nearby and let me use their shower! So grateful. Thursday night, Electra let our whole family go over to her house and I got to wash my hair (and the rest of me, but the hair was the worst because I really can't do anything about that in a sink) and bathe the children and she fed Phil (and Theia) spaghetti, which I know he was really grateful for because we went over around 8, right after he got home from work and before he had a chance to eat a proper dinner.

What else this week? Friday Theia and I went to the library storytime and she saw a little girl that she usually plays with at the coffee shop nearby. Friends! Saturday Phil started getting sick, but he seems to have the congestion-and-coughing version without any of the digestive problems. Theia has been accepted to preschool for three mornings a week beginning in September. I will be alone in the house. This is shocking. Cassius has Scottie Bear home from preschool, so he gets to take the bear everywhere and then we write a story in a notebook about what we did while Scottie Bear was here. I learned that Cassius likes my chili, as long as I put it in a chapati for him. We're trying to get Theia to start potty-training, but even having her sit on the potty for two minutes is a challenge. This has become more urgent lately since she's started taking off her own dirty diapers (including the poopy ones). Danger Danger.
13th-Mar-2016 05:51 pm - This Week in the Life
Two big changes and one irritating mistake. Okay, the changes aren't THAT big. Practically speaking, they're quite small on a lifetime scale. But big on a weekly scale!

The biggest thing in my life lately has been my inability to shower or bathe at home. Our shower went from decrepit but sorta functional to entirely non-functional. It no longer has hot water, and using the shower is also bad because the walls aren't as waterproof as you would want shower walls to be. We figured this out when Phil looked up at the ceiling of the kitchen and saw that there was water damage. :(

My solution for this has been to take advantage of all the gym trials available that include childcare (and one that didn't, even though its website said it did). This way, I can take the kids, get a workout, write for a bit while the kids stay in childcare, and then wash my hair (the big problem with normal bucket-bath solutions) and the children. It's been fun. I don't have disposable income on a monthly basis, so I won't be able to permanently join a gym-with-childcare and do the short workout, longer writing game plan that some other writer parents and members of gyms-with-childcare have. Sadface. But I've learned that I like group classes and weight machines, and I really like being able to work out again.

Monday the plumber comes and starts the process of retiling the shower alcove, replacing the fixtures, and installing a new toilet while he's at it. I'm very happy about this. I'm just sad that we didn't have the budget to have them also tear up the wood floor and put in tile while we're at it. Alas. Wood floors look great and wear well in many rooms, but bathrooms aren't one of them.

Other things that happened this week(ish), briefly:
1. Tried writing with The Most Dangerous Writing App (change #2), liked it, and beat my weekly word quota for the first time in a long time;
2. Went to preschool auction, got one month's gym membership cheap(!), and collected lots of compliments on my candid portraits of the kids;
3. And, finally, messed up communicating with Cassius' school bus about me taking him to school instead (after gym time in Uptown), leading to confusion all around and a cranky school bus chaperon. Oops.
4. Wait, that's not the end after all! Last Sunday, the children became miserably sick, complete with 105 degree fevers (Cassius) and vomiting (Theia). That was no good. The combination of vomit and nonfunctional shower was particularly unfortunate. I forgot about that earlier, even though the kids are still coughing and congested. They're no longer feverish and they seem to be back to normal energy levels, though, so no more sick days watching videos for them!
25th-Feb-2016 08:11 pm - Time is not infinite
Oof. Just checked the internets and learned there was a mass shooting (disgruntled employee version) in/near my Kansas hometown. The main shooting was in nearby Hesston, my mother's hometown, but it sounds like someone was shot in Newton, where my dad still lives.
I'm lousy at making phone calls and writing letters to people I care about, because I'm always busy and I think there will be more time later. That ain't always the case. Talk to your loved ones, people.
Market List Logo


The next update of Aswiebe's Market List will be after 3/15/2016.
Permanent link to this newsletter in the archives: http://www.aswiebe.com/writing/archive2016.html#021916

Random Thoughts
A writing to-do list is a powerful tool, but only if you include actual due dates and actually check the to-do list. In possibly related (and not so random) news, my apologies for skipping January's newsletter. January had a lot going on in my personal life.
What I've been up to lately, writing-wise:
Taxes and paperwork and other less-fun-than-writing things have been eating my writing time, as have some large photography projects, but I think I'm almost out of the weeds!
"In Their Image" is now available to read or to download as a podcast over at Escape Pod as part of their monthlong Artemis Rising II event. Read it for philosophy and fluffy pink murderbear aliens! Readers compare it positively to Speaker for the Dead.

When I stepped off the shuttle and breathed in the dry grass scent of Trade City, I was still confident I could launch the first human church on Landry’s World. My fellow passengers had been politely non-interested when I explained the mission my church had sent me on. A few had shaken their heads as they glided away. I thought maybe they objected to a female preacher. Or maybe it was because I’m an ex-marine. I’m an “ex-” a lot of things: ex-marine, ex-atheist, ex-drunk, ex-wife, and ex-mother–that last because I was a poor enough mother that when my kids grew up, they washed their hands of me.

Read more.

In other exciting news, my teaching proposal has been accepted at The Loft, a Minneapolis literary center. I will be teaching a class this summer on submitting fantasy, science fiction, and horror short stories. From submission formatting to market research to actually submitting a story, this class will walk students through the process of sending out their short story. By the end of this class, students will have submitted their story and will possess a new set of skills and tools to assist them in the future. I'll make another announcement when the class schedule is set and available for sign-up.
And last but certainly not least, I'm going to be launching a newsletter (not about writing markets) in the next couple of weeks. Every three to four months, I'll tell you about wonderful and bizarre things, including new publications, free reads, newsletter exclusives, and giveaways. Social media may come and go, fade out of use, or randomly hide things (ahem, Facebook, ahem!), so I really encourage you to join my newsletter group if you want to keep in touch. And signing up gets you a free novella-length ebook! You can join at my website OR (special offer!) by simply clicking "Reply" to this email and changing the subject line to "Subscribe News." If you're interested, do it now!
Things Shiny or Useful
Archive of all shiny or useful links: http://www.aswiebe.com/writing/shiny.html
* ISBW Writing Rules (podcast): http://murverse.com/isbw-358-periscope-test/
* Writing Excuses 11.2: How To Get The Most Out Of A Conference, with Kathy Chung (podcast): http://www.writingexcuses.com/2016/01/10/11-2-how-to-get-the-most-out-of-a-conference-with-kathy-chung/
* Writing Excuses 11.03: Layering The Elemental Genres (podcast): http://www.writingexcuses.com/2016/01/17/11-03-layering-the-elemental-genres/

Featured Market

Ghosts on Drugs anthology wants, well, humorous stories about ghosts on drugs.

The only rule is that a tale include some version of at least one ghost who's on some version of at least one drug.

And both key terms are broadly defined—e.g., a ghostwriter hooked on cough syrup could fit, and a dead ancient god with an inhumanly intense craving to be worshipped again could too.

[...]This book is designed to be playful and fun, so we're especially seeking stories that are a mix of comedy and other genres—e.g., comedy & fantasy, comedy & SF, comedy & horror, comedy & thriller, comedy & Western, comedy & adventure. That said, we'll consider a great tale of any genre, or combination of genres.

The basics: humorous, any genre, 250-10,000 words, $.15/wd for the first 2,500 words and then $.06/wd, no reprints, due by 5/01/2016. Guidelines at http://www.ghostsondrugs.com/.

Market List Updates
To see all the details about new listings and what they're looking for, as well as hundreds of other listings, go to Aswiebe's Market List and download the latest version of the spreadsheet. There are too many new updates to post here--you can see them on the Aswiebe's Market List website.

Keep writing, keep submitting, and good luck!

Abra Staffin-Wiebe, Compiler of Lists

P.S. Did you sign up for my newsletter of wonderful and bizarre things yet?

Aswiebe's Market List
Abra Staffin-Wiebe's Website

Aswiebe's Market List Details
* Aswiebe's Market List is a searchable, sortable spreadsheet of paying fantasy, science fiction, and horror markets. This way it's easy to find, for example, only horror markets that accept reprints greater than 10,000 words. For more information on what it is and how to use it, see About Aswiebe.com's Market Spreadsheet.
* If you find it useful, please consider donating via PayPal to help support it.
* To help prevent these from being flagged as spam, please add this email to your contacts. Thanks!
* Feel free to forward this email on to people you think might find it useful. If you're so moved, go ahead and link to Aswiebe's Market List on your blog or webpage.
* To report a new paying market, go to my contact page.
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* You can also get market list updates through social media by following my RSS feed, Livejournal, Twitter, Facebook, or Google+ account. But social media sites come and go, so the email newsletter is probably the most reliable method.
* Feel free to share this newsletter with others by whatever means you like, as long as you include all of it. If you want to subscribe to this email newsletter, go here. To unsubscribe, simply reply to this email with "unsubscribe" in the subject line.
Escape Artists has launched their Artemis Rising month! Escape Pod (SF) and their sister podcasts, Pseudopod (horror) and Podcastle (fantasy), will be featuring all female and non-binary authors in a special month-long event.

The stories are free to read or listen to.

My short story, "In Their Image," is now up as a podcast AND as text over at Escape Pod! Warning: contains religious philosophy and fluffy pink murderbear aliens!


When I stepped off the shuttle and breathed in the dry grass scent of Trade City, I was still confident I could launch the first human church on Landry's World. My fellow passengers had been politely non-interested when I explained the mission my church had sent me on. A few had shaken their heads as they glided away. I thought maybe they objected to a female preacher. Or maybe it was because I'm an ex-marine. I'm an "ex-" a lot of things: ex-marine, ex-atheist, ex-drunk, ex-wife, and ex-mother--that last because I was a poor enough mother that when my kids grew up, they washed their hands of me.

The heavier gravity made my normal stride more of a shuffle, but my spirits were high as I walked to meet the young woman waiting for me. After all, I was here at the request of Amber Sands Mining, the major human employer on the planet. The indigenous government had approved; they even volunteered the labor to build my church. My denomination's elders were delighted to have finally found a mission suitable for an ex-marine with other-world experience.

My guide held a sign saying, "Preacher." She bestowed a chipper smile on me when I approached. "Welcome to Landry's World! I'll take you directly to the church so that you can get started."

As I fell into step beside her, I said, "It seems odd that a planet with indigenous life is named after the captain who discovered it. Discovered isn't quite the right term, either, is it?"

"Landry's purpose in life was to find and name this world, and the Teddies honor that."

I raised my eyebrows. "Teddies?"

Read more (or listen to the podcast).

7th-Feb-2016 10:33 pm - Happy Almost-Valentine's-Day!
Since we didn't get this out by Christmas ... or New Years ... I suppose this qualifies as a Valentine's Day Letter? Happy Valentine's Day! Hug the ones you love.

Unlike the unusually warm first part of winter, our year has been blessedly ordinary, with no calamities or commotions (knock on wood). Cassius began preschool this year. Theia started talking up a storm and developing one heck of a personality. Phil's work went crazy. All of these changes are the kind that occur as time goes on. We even managed to find a little time to have our first real family vacation (not work-related, not visiting extended family) in November.

For the last few months, Phil has been working more than ever, as his company starts using a new machine to make new products. They've had all the problems and late hours that one would expect from any start-up project. Phil's been working 14- to 16-hour days on a regular basis, which means that I've been doing a lot of single-parenting. Originally, this was supposed to be done by end of the year, but since things haven't been going well, it looks like it will continue on into the new year. Oh, goodie.

Cassius has started preschool. He absolutely loves it, although he is more interested in the toys than in the other kids. We've also learned that he has a fine motor skills delay that makes drawing and writing more difficult for him, and a social/emotional development delay. He'll be getting assistance with that beginning this year.

Although Abra's had the usual two-small-children difficulties with finding time to work on her own projects, she's sold a few short stories this year and there are other developments on the horizon. Most recently, "In Their Image" is up as a podcast AND as text over at Escape Pod! Warning: contains religious philosophy. And fluffy pink murderbear aliens!

Overall, next year looks like it will be a good one, as various work projects come to fruition, the kids grow more independent, and more adventures are planned.

Phil & Abra

& Cassius & Theia

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