I am the founder of The Brainery, and I am a speculative fiction writer, as well as a new media artist/scholar. I’m a member of SFWA (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America) and my story, “Mooncakes,” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2014. I have fiction forthcoming in Lightspeed, the first all-female Lovecraft anthology, She Walks In Shadows edited by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Paula R. Stiles, as well as the anthology, Rough Magick, edited by Francesca Lia Block and Jessa Marie Mendez. I earned my Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing at University of Southern California in 2012, and I’m a former Associate Editor of NonBinary Review and Unbound Octavo.
I’ve been trained in fiction forms and theory by Aimee Bender, Percival Everett, and T.C. Boyle, and I’ve taken courses and workshops with Susan McCabe, David St. John, Shelley Jackson, Francesca Lia Block, David Mack, and Josh Kun. My artistic and critical work is engaged with the histories of women writers and characters, and my own work primarily revolves around feminist science fiction, female childhood, rural poverty, and class tensions, while exploring the intersections of gender and technology.
I grew up in El Dorado County, California, which sounds like a poem by Edgar Allan Poe, and maybe it was: El Dorado County is a beautiful setting that romances people with visions of the pastoral myth while hiding the secret horrors of rural poverty, hate crimes, and domestic abuse. I was determined to escape to college, and writing is ultimately what got me out of there.
I took a year off between graduation and grad school and got a job in the film industry. I was the office manager and pre-production web administrator for a company in Santa Monica. During my time there, I worked on multimillion dollar commercials for Chevy, Nissan, Toyota, Gillette Venus, and the U.S. Army. Despite being really good at my job (and protests from fellow coworkers) I was fired for “not being pretty enough” to be the office manager. For reals. I legitimately collected unemployment from EDD for this. And no, there is no law that says they cannot discriminate based on appearance.
In 2005, I was one of the two fiction writers accepted to the Literature and Creative Writing Ph.D. Program at University of Southern California. In 2012, I finished my Ph.D., with a certificate in Gender Studies.
While at USC, I won approximately $300,000 in teaching assistantships, competitive fellowships, awards and grants. Most of this money went toward tuition remission, so, unfortunately, I am not swimming in the monies–fortunately I was able to finance my education this way.
I’ve taught writing and literature at USC, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute–and I happen to really love teaching, and most of my students say I’m good at it (I’ve got the evaluations to back up this claim; but even when students don’t love me, I saw their writing improve, and that’s all that matters). I consider myself a “recovering academic,” and I’m specifically not pursuing a career in higher education. In the words of my friend, Lise Quintana, many people, especially in academia, don’t think of speculative fiction as worthy of attention, and so potential students feel marginalized out of the university setting of creative writing programs. Including me. I just don’t seem to fit in with what the academy is looking for in an assistant professor. That’s why I am starting this workshop series: because I truly miss teaching, and the community that develops around shared writing experiences. It’s my goal to honor the reality, and marketability, of speculative fiction as a discipline, and I want to provide a quality workshop experience, utilizing top-tier university creative writing workshop practices for speculative fiction, and not have to upend your life to do so (like chucking it all and moving across the country for grad school).
I’m nerdy and proud of it. I’ve read comic books in the magazine aisle of the grocery store since I was a kid who couldn’t afford to buy them on my own. At one point, my family owned Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1, #2, and #3. The original black and white, first print runs. Back when the turtles looked vaguely Japanese and menacing. But, as usually happens in divorce, these, too, were ruined.
My major writing influences, in no particular order, come from:
- Aimee Bender
- Lois Duncan
- Patricia C. Wrede
- Francesca Lia Block
- Charlie Jane Anders
- David Mack
- R.L. Stine
- Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-glass
- Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
- Bram Stoker’s Dracula (the book, not the movie)
- The Walking Dead (both the comic book and the TV series)
- Elmore Leonard
- Kelly Link
- Joss Whedon (and the Whedonverse)
- Stephen King
- Donna Haraway
- N. Katherine Hayles