Carina Bissett is a writer, poet, and educator working primarily in the fields of dark fiction and fabulism. Her short fiction and poetry have been published in multiple journals and anthologies including Arterial Bloom, Gorgon: Stories of Emergence, Hath No Fury, NonBinary Review, and the HWA Poetry Showcase Vol. V and VI. In addition to writing, she also teaches online workshops at The Storied Imaginarium.
I will be reading a few of my poems at SFF Con this weekend on Sunday (11/8)at 11 a.m. (Mountain Time). I will be reading along with Wendy Van Camp, Akua Lezli Hope, Kimberly Nugent, and Deborah P. Kolodji. You can watch it on YouTube HERE.
I have a couple of stories that are now out in the world, so I figured it was time to write a post. “An Authentic Experience” was published in the anthology WILD: Uncivilized Tales from Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. I wrote this piece in August 2018, after a massive hail storm wrecked havoc on Colorado Springs and the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Softball-sized hail destroyed several structures, hundreds of parked cars, and killed a few of the exhibits’ animals.
Luckily, the giraffes were spared serious damage. However, this had me thinking of the purpose of zoos and the fact that giraffes had just quietly slipped on Critically Endangered list. The end result was the story “An Authentic Experience”—a story about a zookeeper and the animals he cares for after Earth had been destroyed by an alien civilization. In all honesty, I just wanted the giraffes to have a chance to fight back.
I’m thrilled that the HWA Colorado Springs Chapter is now its own entity. We have a powerhouse committee of founding members and plan on creating an inclusive community for all Colorado writers working in the realms of horror and dark fiction. It’s an exciting venture, and I can’t wait to see it evolve and grow!
In my final bit of October news, I will be speaking on two panels at MileHiCon this weekend: Building SF & Fantasy Mythologies (Saturday, Oct. 23 at 1 p.m.) and Modern Age of Poetry (Sunday, Oct. 24 at 1 p.m.). Both are in the Neverland room. I have a lot to say about both topics, and I’m looking forward to the panel discussions. I hope to see you there!
Kathleen has been shortlisted four times for the World Fantasy Awards, once for the Hugos, and once for the Locus Awards, as well as winning a number of Ditmars. As a writer, she has won two Ditmars and been shortlisted for the Eugie Foster Memorial Award and for several Aurealis Awards. She will be discussing her gorgeous debut novel Flyaway and the upcoming release of her travel memoir Travelogues: Vignettes from Trains in Motion.
In addition to the discussion facilitated by myself and Nike Sulway, there will be a chance for attendees to talk with Kathleen in the Q&A session as well as an opportunity to stretch the creative muscles with a writing game. The salon is strictly limited to 20 guests. Come join us!
I don’t often write stories for specific submission calls, but every now and then I take a stab at it. I originally wrote “Aviatrix Unbound” as a contribution for a robot dinosaur publication a couple of years ago. The entirety of my knowledge when it comes to dinosaurs was gleaned from the 1988 animated movie The Land Before Time, so it took a little research to figure out what the hell to write about. I submitted in the final minutes, and it was accepted the same day. (Yay!) But a year later, the publication faltered and then sputtered out. (It happens.) And, there I was with a funky little story and nowhere to send it. After all, dinosaur robots are a pretty specialized subject.
Some time later, I saw a call from ParsecInk for the yearly Triangulation anthology. The theme was Extinction. It just so happens that I was on a kick about endangered species and extinct birds when I originally wrote “Aviatrix Unbound.” In the story, my robot dinosaur evolves into a simurgh and is on a mission to travel through time to save extinct birds. In all honesty, I just wanted to save the Carolina parakeet, a fabulous little bird known to be poisonous. Just like that, it all lined up.
I loved writing this piece, so I’m especially pleased that it found a home. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Today, my first translated story has been released into the wild! My weird fairy tale mash-up of “Jack and the Beanstalk” and “Rappaccini’s Daughter” is titled “A Seed Planted,” and it was originally published in the anthology Hath No Fury in August 2018. On request, I sent this to the fabulous acquisitions editor Edward Lipsett, who then forwarded it to Akira Okawada, an editor of Night Land Quarterly (NLQ)
magazine. It just so happened that this piece fit the theme for Volume 21: “The Fantasy of Sky Realms.” My story was translated by the well-known speculative fiction translator Ottojiro Machikane, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to see it reach a new audience. (Isn’t the cover beautiful?) Needless to say, I’m over the moon!
The table of contents features a pretty fabulous line-up:
Edgar Allan Poe: The Balloon Hoax
Ernest Hemingway: A Paris-to-Strasbourg Flight Shows Living Cubist Picture
Hugo Hall: The Other Side of the Castle of the Pyrenees Adam-Troy Castro: Red Rain Carina Bissett: A Seed Planted Alan Baxter: Crow Shine
M. John Harrison: Lords of Misrule
Margery Lawrence: The Man Who Walked on the Air
None of this would have happened, however, without the guidance of my mentor and friend Angela Slatter. If you ever have the opportunity to work with her, I can assume you that Angela’s wisdom is worth it’s weight in gold. I’ve had several of my stories critiqued through her Flensing Factory over the years. Each experience has been a master class on everything from plot development to character connections. If you’re not quite ready for an editor, you can still pick up a ton of information on her blog. She has several tidbits of practical advice in her recent column “What to Do When You Don’t Have a Book Coming Out.” It is great list of the ways you can diversify as a writer, and one of those items just happens to be about reprints (including translations). I highly suggest you read it.
That’s it for now. It’s pretty wonderful, isn’t it?
Hello everyone! I hope your summer is off to a good start. This is the last call for summer workshops at The Storied Imaginarium. There are only two seats open for the next course of Intersections: Science Fiction, Fairy Tales and Myth. Both spots are in the workshop that starts on next Thursday (6/4). If you are looking for face-to-face interaction through scheduled online meetings, deadlines to help you generate new work, and additional craft gleaned through critique, this workshop might be for you. The dates and times for this course are as follows:
Thursday in the United States and Canada: 4-6:30 EDT/ 5-7:30 pm MDT/6-8:30 CDT/7-9:30 EDT (6/4, 6/11, 6/18, 6/25, 7/2, 7/9, 7/16, 7/23, 7/30, 8/6)
Friday in Australia: 9-11:30 am AEST (6/5, 6/12, 6/19, 6/26, 7/3, 7/10, 7/17, 7/24, 7/31, 8/7)
The Summer workshop will be ten weeks long and include six modules. The maximum word count will be 3,000 words for each module. The portfolio will include 2-3 revisions (10K max) and these sessions will take place over the course of two weeks. Workshops will begin the first week of June and will run through the first of August. The price is $500 with a 10% discount for returning participants.
The modules for Summer 2020 will be:
“Brother and Sister” & Gene Editing
“Jack and the Beanstalk” & Greenhouse Gas
“Bremen Town Musicians” & Ageism
“Godfather Death” & Transhumanism
“Donkeyskin” & Fatal Fashion
“The Ballad of Mulan” & Cross-dressing and Gender Expression
REGISTRATION: To save a seat for Intersections: Science Fiction, Fairy Tales and Myth, send an email request for an invoice to Carina Bissett at firstname.lastname@example.org. The fee to attend the workshop is $500, payable to email@example.com via PayPal. There is a $100 non-refundable deposit required to hold your spot with payment in FULL prior to the first class. Returning students receive a 10% discount. Space is limited.
I was one of the co-editors of this fabulous anthology of the possible and unsubstantiated in support of RAICES. I also have a story included along with a whole host of fabulous authors including Nathan Ballingrud, Gregory Norman Bossert, Karen Bovenmyer, Christopher Brown, Emily Cataneo, Julie C. Day, Michael J Deluca, Gemma Files, A.T. Greenblatt, Nin Harris, Chip Houser, James Patrick Kelly, Marianne Kirby,Kathrin Köhler, Matthew Kressel, Jordan Kurella, Premee Mohamed, Sarah Read, Sofia Samatar, Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam, Steve Toase, and A.C. Wise.
Want more weird dreams? If you purchase the Weird Dream Society anthology, let us know via Twitter (tagging @Weirddreamsociety1 #weirddreamsociety) or post to our FB page (https://www.facebook.com/weirddreamsociety) and one of the authors in the anthology–selected at random–will send you a postcard with some of their actual words written on the back.
My Snow White retelling “Rotten” is included in the Crystal Lake anthology Arterial Bloom was released a little early by Crystal Lake Publishing. This gorgeous book was edited by Bram Stoker award-winning author Mercedes M. Murdock. Kev Harrison, a reviewer at This Is Horror, penned a glowing review: “‘Rotten,’ by Carina Bissett borrows themes and motifs from a variety of well-known fairy tales, then knits them together into a beautiful tale of abuse and redemption. The descriptive language here is so stark, so stylised that it leaves a strong impression on the reader after the last page is turned.”
Snow White is one of those problematic fairy tales that I’ve explored more than once. Since April is National Poetry Month, it only seems right to share it here. My poem “Reflections” tackles this fairy tale from the stepmother’s point-of-view. This was originally published by Timeless Tales in the anthology Snow White: Issue 10, which features eleven Snow White retellings.
Dining alone is an indulgence,
most women deny. They don’t
know the trick to it; the best
seat in the house is at
the center of the bar,
a high throne where one
can watch others watch one
in wall-length mirrors backed
by bottles filled with tonics
that decant our beauty.
Arms cradle roses red:
tiny white snowdrops
press against hooked thorns,
waxy leaves and crooked limbs
bound with dark ribbon.
I smile anyway,
reach for another martini,
like I don’t know already.
Gin bruised, ice cold, dry,
he tells me I’m beautiful.
This tale is a familiar one,
a preservative. The sword
is swift, again, he switches
from the recitation of his
portfolio to his daughter,
shy, in need of guidance.
Where is her mother,
I ask, but I know the answer.
The girl’s mother ran away
with a younger man.
I’ve heard it over and over
again. The tale is familiar.
Daughters driving desperate
mothers away, not a pretty
story, the roses are deepening
to a dusky pink tinged with
darkest reds. I should meet her,
I say. Beauty banks on it.
My hand seduces. Smiles
are scimitars. Hair cloaks
bare shoulders like ravens
blackening. The look he gave
me I’ve known forever.
She won’t like you, he said,
you are her mother.
I am nothing like her mother,
I say, a lie of the darkest type.
Not only am I the girl’s mother,
I am also the girl.
It’s time we had a heart to heart.
In other news, my popular generative writing workshop is open for registration. Intersections: Science Fiction, Fairy Tales, and Myth starts back up in June. I will also be opening stand-alone, self-paced modules. This first one will be out this month. It will be based on (you guessed it) Snow White. Best of all, this first self-paced module will be #free. Stay tuned!
I recently discovered that my story “The Gravity of Grace” is a finalist for the NESFA Short Story Contest. The winner will be announced BOSKONE 57 in February. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend to read, but a voice actor has been lined up to read a selection of my story. (On February 14, I will be hosting A Bloody Valentine, which will be held at Cottonwood Center for the Arts from 6:30-10 p.m. This event celebrates Women in Horror Month and is free and open to the public. )
A huge chunk of my time this year was spent teaching, but I did manage to publish a handful of poems and a couple of stories. The most recent publications include the poem “Lepus antilocapra,” which is included in the HWA Poetry Showcase Vol. VI, edited by Stephanie Wytovich, and my short story “Gaze with Undimmed Eyes and the World Drops Dead” is featured in Terror at 5280′ published by the Denver Horror Collective.