Category: writing

When the Rainbow Wins: Annual Awards

When the Rainbow Wins: Annual Awards

Annual awards are one of the incentives in the publication world for writers to experiment with stories and to ensure that work is well edited.

Since I’ve started deliberately writing queer-centric fiction, I’ve been keeping on an eye out for awards focusing on stories featuring queer characters. While these stories could and do win big name awards, such as a Hugo (for science fiction and fantasy) or a RITA (for romance), it’s reassuring to see lists with more consistent representation of the LGBTQ+ community.

Here are the ongoing awards I’ve seen mentioned in the past year. Note: I’m not bothering to keep track of those that don’t look reputable.

Gaylactic Spectrum Awards

Run by its own foundation, the eighteen-year-old Gaylactic Spectrum Awards are given to works of science fiction, fantasy and horror “that explore LGBT topics in a positive way”. A list of winners are available on the awards website or Gaylactic Spectrum’s Wikipedia page).

The Lammys

One of the best-recognized names in LGBTQ publishing hosts the Lambda Literary Awards, bringing together 600 attendees of an awards show in the USA to celebrate excellence in the previous year. The categories are mostly broken up into LGBT, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender topics, then into subcategories such as Fiction and Nonfiction. See the complete list of Lammy winners for all the options.

Stonewall Book Award

The American Library Association sponsors several Stonewall Book Awards for English language works:

  • Barbara Gittings Literature Award,
  • Israel Fishman Non-Fiction Award, and
  • Mike Morgan and Larry Romans Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award.

See all the past Stonewall Book Award winners in one chart.

Speculative Gender: Tiptree Awards

The James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award is an annual literary prize for “encouraging the explanation and expansion of gender” in science fiction and fantasy. Its “sister” for Japanese-language works is the Sense of Gender Award. You can see the winners in the Tiptree Award Pages and in Japanese-language links on the Sense of Gender website.

Rebooting for 2018

Rebooting for 2018

Hey. Guess what?

We survived 2017! For me, the year was not the worst of my life but certainly one of the more traumatic. Whatever. It’s over. Much of the personal and social drama will drag on into this new year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t recover from the past.

The horrific, emotionally draining, and, for me, physically challenging Year of 2017 is dead. Welcome, little 2018.

With a wide variety of distractions last year, I struggled more than planned to complete the resolutions posted a year ago. My resolutions for last year were to:

  • publish a Science Fiction Romance novel about cyborgs and retros in June,
  • finish an anthology set in the same world, and
  • post once a week on this new blog about writing, publishing, queer issues, science, technology, and literary history.

None of that happened. And that’s okay with me. No one was holding their breath for my latest work. (If so, no one is still around to complain!) I will continue to work on the novel, write more short stories, and post on this blog when the mood hits.

What did happen in 2017 is that I wrote flash fiction, added chapters to my novel, developed ideas for my anthology, and blogged some.
At a friend’s recommendation, I tried out Ko-Fi then took down my Ko-Fi button after PayPal (the payment handler) repeatedly refused to process donations. I joined Patreon as a creator, maintaining which is always a learning experience.
Feel free to comment about your impressions of my Patreon page or anything on this blog.
Thanks for reading!

Turn Me On: Musical Mood

Today’s prompt for the monthly Twitter game #AuthorConfession asked about my main character’s favorite song. Honestly, Lexington Amis doesn’t have one, because it would fall into a retro-modern trend that doesn’t yet exist.

He could relate to any version of “Hello, Darkness” given the opportunity to hear it. But, then, who doesn’t?

Since no one can predict music in our near future, here’s what I’ve used to develop characters in my current project.

I mentioned in “Music for Writing” that one song useful for characterization is “Everytime We Touch” .

The novel actually two main characters. Not everything is romance between them.

For when the theme is more cyberpunk:

Bonus: Here’s a song I played on repeat for a short story about one character’s backstory.

Another Bonus: The song for Aaron and Lexi’s first meeting is “Watch Out” by Glovibes & Gary Caos.

Do you like any of these? What are your favorite songs?

Thursday Thoughts: Thank You for Covering Me!

Thursday Thoughts: Thank You for Covering Me!

I’m not the most modest person in the world. This is not a post about having to cover up with clothing. Just getting that out there.

This post is about another type of exposure.

For the first time, I played a Twitter hashtag game called #GuessWrite. It’s a monthly game that incorporates other hashtag games for writers. Each game’s prompt through one week shows a clue to the month’s theme. The challenge is to correctly guess the theme.

The winners receive a bunch of prizes, some of which I’m figuring out.

One offer is for a critique and another for attention on Instagram. (I know almost nothing about Instagram! Here’s to a new learning experience.) Cori Lynn Arnold gave me a e-version of the crime thriller Thin Luck. Author Lexi Miles will spotlight me on her website with an interview, so please watch for it. [Update: Read the interview now.]

Getting all of this attention is fun. Thank you, #GuessWrite hosts!

Speaking as if a new connection can weave one tighter to the creative community…

I was poking around my writing critique site and noticed that Tina Chan was giving away pre-made book covers. Here’s one that I nabbed for a short story associated with Changing Sides.

"Recenter" short story cover

Tina was amazing about tweaks–fast and easygoing. You can see this and more free pre-made covers at Thanks, Tina!


Thursday Thoughts

Thursday Thoughts

Writing Weaknesses

Someone asked on an online writers’ site for a description of our writing weaknesses.

Most of the answers were comforting for their familiarity. Overwriting? Done it. Underwriting? Same. Obsessively reworking, clinging to ineffective phrases, struggling to describe settings? Yep, lived that life. Isn’t it nice how as writers we push through the same drama on our individual paths?

For me, new issues develop weekly that are harder to explain.

I’ve been writing for most of my life. From the moment I could reproduce words on paper, I was trying to fit them together into stories.

In my twenties, a health scare inspired me to make panic-inducing decisions about what my aims in life. At the top of that list was Share my fiction.

That meant I had to write more. Nothing was going out into the world until I figure out what a mature story looked like. Most of my attempts were adolescents that needed to stay home.

In the following years, I read books on writing, attended writing groups, studied my favorite novels by picking them apart over and over, journaled and blogged about the writing process, pestered authors in my with social circles with questions, and of course, wrote.

Those years, the undesired break from writing fiction that spanned another few years, and the past several months of reentry into writing communities has provided me with more than enough time to identify my primary weakness.

It’s self-confidence.

Knowing What to Share

Self-confidence: (noun) realistic confidence in one’s own judgment, ability, power, etc.

Figuring out what’s worth researching, titling, and finding images for is almost impossible without the ability to assess what people will read.

List of tentative blog titles, by A.M. Fals
A snapshot of the most recent draft posts. March 8, 2017.

On average, I publish one out of every four blog posts drafted. Guessing wildly here: I save a draft post for every three ideas. Coming up with ideas is quick, growing out of my focus each day. Each post, however, takes hours to write and edit.

Parts of unpublished drafts end up in my story notes. They aren’t useless. The writing about links and new concepts can feel like a waste, however.

Some days, the most anxiety-filled ones, I wish my blog came with an actual editor–a person who would tell me what to write when. Other than the obligatory coffee chats and surprise check-ins, this could save not only time but also energy and sanity better sacrificed to my fiction.

Yeah, a leading editor would be nice.

Would you like to take on the role for a few minutes? Tell me what you really want to read more about.

Quick Thank-You for Support

An anonymous person showed me love through the Buy Me a Coffee button on my sidebar. Getting money for writing is an incredible feeling. Positive feedback is, too.

Thank you so much for the coffee and note, dear reader!

for Authors: Rainbow Awards

for Authors: Rainbow Awards

March 1, 2017 | Update

This post about Rainbow Awards was written in December, scheduled to post, then forgotten. (I’m no longer scheduling posts. Anything I don’t care for the day of remains in my Drafts folder.)

It’s come to my attention that the contest rules or any information specific to the 2017 Rainbow Awards have either been removed or buried within the contest creator’s websites. I have not participated in this contest before so don’t know the usual process. Please don’t get your hopes up that this contest will happen this year.

Do you know of any LGBT+ awards for fiction and/or creative nonfiction? Please share!

Rainbow Awards

In March, the first round of reading starts for the Rainbow Awards, an annual contest meant to celebrate LGBT fiction and nonfiction. The Rainbow Awards is open to work focusing LGBT characters and people.

Instead of a direct submission fee, contest entrants must donate to a selected non-profit charitable organization as a part of the submission requirements. So, whatever else it offers to the queer writing community, it promotes several relevant causes.

You could find more entry and judging information on the contest creator’s site,

Music for Writing

Music for Writing

Likely, every creator has a process for getting into and maintaining the mood for a project. Music often is a part of mine. That’s because music that fits with the story help the words flow.

I like to assign a theme song–or three–to my main characters. For a novel I was writing years ago about a military experiment, the large cast of psychic teens contributed to a soundtrack four and a half hours long. Here was one of the songs for the main character.

I miss that soundtrack. It’s a poor fit for Changing Sides, full of melancholy songs about vulnerability, regret, and addiction. My current characters aren’t hyper-emotional teens dealing with life and death situations every day.

Only one song from that other novel’s soundtrack comes close to crossing over. It could work for Aaron if not for the theme of domination.

So far, I have a theme song for my primary point-of-view character: Cascada’s “Everytime We Touch” (via Vevo). It’s a strange song for a skittish punk, but it’s definitely his.

Because I have nothing else that fits, Cascada is on repeat while I write Lexi’s scenes.

That’s too much repetition.

Incorporating music in the creative process is fairly common. Nona Mae King on Writers Helping Writers Become Authors suggests that music helps writers in four ways: encourages focus, enhances mood, and promotes inspiration, and encourages us to seek inspiration.

So, what do you listen to when while you work? Anything?

Exciting Blog Notice: What to Expect


Alright, I’m lying already. This post isn’t all that exciting. It’s a simple announcement of schedules.

On Wednesdays (but not all Wednesdays), I’ll be posting writing tips and bits about my novel’s world. Though my work-in-progress is Science Fiction Romance, the writing tips will at times apply to all genres.

On Fridays (but not all Fridays), I’ll be posting about freaky-cool futurist technology.

The current plan is to alternate Wednesday and Friday posts weekly, but you might get two posts a week.

Whenever I feel like adding them, you’ll also see new pages on this site. New today is the Fiction page, where you can read a free micro story written for my online writer’s group.

Thanks for starting the year with me.