Seven Months Out and Two to Go

Psst! Hey, fifth-grade me. Yeah, you, scrawny girl with the gold-rimmed glasses, hiding in the back of the class, writing Robotech fan fiction instead of completing classwork. You got into Asimov’s Magazine.

Me, in Asimov’s! in my hot little hand!

Perhaps it’s gauche to be this effusive, but I’ve been writing in earnest for almost ten years. In that time, I’ve sold a number of stories to respected semi-pro markets, and I’ve written many more. But I haven’t been as ambitious about sending work out for publication or about pursuing opportunity. In retrospect, I think I allowed impostor syndrome, self-rejection and the energy drain of an unhealthy relationship to hold me back. [Pro tip: no one will buy your work if you don’t send it out there.] When the story’s co-author Rachel Swirsky suggested a collaboration, I hesitated. What could I possibly bring to a collaboration with an accomplished author like Rachel? I’m very glad I said “yes.”

Yesterday I picked up the print copy of Asimov’s March/April edition, and it has my name and hers on the cover. My new name, the one I adopted a year ago as part of reclaiming my life and moving forward. I expect this story is just one publication moment in my writerly trajectory, but it’s exciting to me as my first professional fiction sale. I purchased two copies at Barnes and Noble, grinning like a fool, and my face is still stuck like that.

My mother, her brother and cousin on the ranch, 1961

I bought two so I could send one to my mother, but not for the reasons you might think! I mean, I’m guessing she’s proud, but her experiences as a child on a cattle ranch and the stories she told me make up the underlying subject matter of the story, “Seven Months Out and Two to Go.” You can read more about that background and the fruitful collaboration with Rachel at From Earth to the Stars, the brand new¬†Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine Author and Editor Blog.

Because I think it bears repeating, writers don’t work in isolation. I appreciate the many folks who gave Rachel and me feedback on this story, and the editor and staff of Asimov’s for the work that brought this story into its current form.