Seasons Turning

Fall is my favorite season. Last weekend, Laura and I spent a couple days on the Appalachian Trail, near Loft Mountain in Shenandoah National Park. Autumn is a time of transition, and there's always something healing about being in the mountains -- it was a great weekend for reflection and recharging. One of my journaling topics was how grateful am to be able to write regularly and feel creative energy flowing again.

Wishing you a cozy start to fall!
- Nalin

Writing Update

It's a late newsletter this month because so much has been happening!

I'm two sessions into the Muse Fall Fiction Studio with Michael Khandelwal, and it's been so energizing to be a part of a close group of serious writers. I received some great and workable feedback on the first chapter of Rassam's Eye, and, importantly, the strong encouragement to keep going with it and exploring the themes hinted at in the first few pages. I'm still officially aiming for a complete first draft by the end of the calendar year, but this has become a stretch goal... 50,000 words of November NaNoWriMo could help significantly, but I'm likely to spill over into January at least. If anyone else is interested in doing NaNo and wants to connect, my username on the platform is QuantumCowboy!

Deadlines and prompts really are magical -- I somehow finished a new short story -- called The Karma of Ponds -- from scratch in about six weeks for the anthology call "Mirror, Mirror: Modern Myths" from Word Fire Press. I drew on several concepts from Buddhist and Hindu mythology to write a fable-like parable that touches on nature and climate change. We'll see how it fares! I have no idea how quickly they might get back to me, so I guess it's just the waiting game now. It did feel great to complete a new work of prose fiction for the first time in a long time.

Within the next week or so, I plan to release my first directly self-published short story, Anpo (The Dawn)! The release will include a cover art collaboration with friend and colleague Patricia Revolinksy. I'll post to the blog when it's released and available for free download. And if you don't check the blog regularly, no worries -- I'll definitely link it in November's newsletter issue.

Fiction Consumed This Month

  • Started and finished (it's short) Binti, by Nnedi Okorafor. Highly imaginative, and over far too quickly. Interestingly, I didn't feel like I needed the story itself to go any longer, just that everything that happened could have taken way longer in "page time" and I would have been very happy to see each scene expanded on. As it is, despite the unique protagonist and the colorful world and premise, it felt rushed for me and therefore fell a bit flat. Still, it won both the Hugo and the Nebula, and is a fairly quick read, so it's worth a try!
  • Next up will be Iain M Banks' Excession. It's Book 4 (or 5, depending on how you count them) of the Culture series, but the nice thing about those books is that they are self-contained and you can start anywhere. I've had mixed experience with the Culture series... I really disliked Consider Phlebas, enough to toss it aside after the first few chapters, but then Player of Games was fantastic. I definitely like the ideas he explores, if not always the means, so we'll see where this one lands.
  • Seeing Villeneuve's Dune TONIGHT (omg omg omg omg ahhhhhhh....) at the IMAX and deliberately sending this out prior to seeing it so that I can gush about it longer in the next installment.
What have you been reading or watching? Any recommendations for me?
I do love getting your feedback and comments, so please continue to reach out. Thanks for reading, and see you in the next issue!