Fantasy time: Fairy Tales Are for White People, By the Light of the Kumquat Tree, Can-Con, and other cool beasts

And now for something completely different. Some of you may know that my first published stories were fantasy and science fiction, for two practical reasons: 1. Speculative fiction pays better than copies-only literary magazines, and 2. I really wanted to escape school through my imagination. Especially once I was a red-eyed resident ploughing through family and emergency medicine.

Now, medicine (and, to a much lesser extent, medical and mystery writings) pay a good chunk of the bills. But I still nurture a love for mind-blowing fantasy and made-you-think-and-feel science fiction.

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When I attended Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s fantasy workshop, she asked for–nay, demanded–that we write a story based on food. She didn’t care what kind of fantasy story it was, but she had to be able to see, smell, and taste the food. My mind leapfrogged to Jacques Wong and Ho Ho BBQ, whom I’d first met in Gourmet Magazine through this wonderful article by Francis Lam.

Let’s face it. When rich people are throwing down hundreds of dollars on restaurant meals, they’re not usually driving out to Scarborough’s strip malls and seeking out the cheap Chinese joints.

We stumbled upon Ho Ho BBQ in real life, after visiting my grandmother. Jacques gave my son some free pork skin and beamed while Max ate it. You could not get better food or more heart at any three star Michelin restaurant.

So first I wrote the title, “Fairy Tales Are for White People.” Then I started writing about a fairy godfather.

Climbing up the basement stairs with a duck carcass, holding the slippery neck far enough away from his body so that his knees didn’t clank into the dangling legs, Trenton Lo caught his first glimpse of the fairy godfather.

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Fireside Magazine immediately accepted “Fairy Tales Are for White People,” and Galen Dara made the best art. Gorgeous and capturing the spirit of family and beauty and perseverance. I adore it. Read it here and enjoy the full art! Feel free to support Fireside Magazine, which makes a point of paying both writers and artists properly and promptly.

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Everyone loved “Fairy Tales Are for White People.” I’m not trying to brag; it’s just something that happens once in a while. A story falls down from the sky, almost fully-formed, and it’s a story that immediately resonates with readers of different ages and backgrounds.

It’s also available as a standalone complete story here, on all platforms. I’ve added an author’s essay about the genesis of the story, the workshop with Kris, the yumminess of Ho Ho BBQ in real life.

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The last one is rated R, but I do love it.

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Next, I went to LA for the Roswell Awards this year again, as I mentioned here. (And by the way, Rico is committed to Humans ‘n’ Hot Dogs, but he booked a film in August, so he didn’t have a chance to record it yet, but he will! Our crowdfunding campaign is still alive!)

My new writer/ER doctor friend, John Burley, flew down to meet me. He thought I was nuts for staying at an airbnb, but look at the back yard I shared. We sat and talked and he pulled kumquats off the tree. I don’t know if I’ve ever tried kumquats before, let alone eaten them straight from the tree, rind and all. The first time, I made a hideous face, but I guess it’s like shots, you get used to them.

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Enchanted Conversations was taking submissions for their Midsummer issue. I decided to weave a small, poetic tale based on this setting, and BOOM! They published “By the Light of the Kumquat Tree” here. Make sure you read the other luminaries as well. I always wanted to get published in this fairy tale magazine, so yay!

Finally, I’m heading off to Can-Con this weekend. I’m on two panels.

  1. Rewriting Fairy Tales, with Dominik Parisien, Fanny Darling, Charles de Lint, K.V. Johansen, Kelsi Morris, Melissa Yuan-Innes. Look at me, with Charles de Lint! Woo hoo! I’m sure I’ll adore the other panelists as well.
  2. SARS, Ebola and Zika, the last Decade of Outbreaks, with Agnes Cadieux, Dr. Dylan Blaquiere, Dr. Anatoly Belilovski, Dr. Melissa Yuan-Innes, Dr. Alison Sinclair, Pippa Wysong (m). It’s 50 percent doctors and 50 percent non-doctors! Party on!

Oh, and thanks for all the comments on the Italian School for Assassins cover. Behold, the final version. It’s also available for sale on all e-book platforms here! (The print version will come in 2017.)

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