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An Author's Statement

Although I am also a historian and lover of creative nonfiction and poetry, my 'happy place' as a writer has always been fiction. Specifically, I adore speculative fiction. I love fantastical settings and far-flung futures, mythic creatures and odd aliens, and most everything in between. 'Journey' stories with interesting characters and locations are my favorite. It's probably not surprising to anyone who's met me that a good quarter of my waking mind is usually devoted to flights of fancy and imagination.

I'm a firm believer in the power of story to influence our perceptions and approach to reality. The stories I write lately are in a vein I like to call speculative optimism: the sort of speculative fiction which seeks to present a positive light on the potential of humanity rather than dwell on the darkness that so over-saturates our present reality. Many of my stories focus on moments of personal connection and change rather than on disconnection and conflict.

While I don't write the sort of stories which are meant to be 'about' any specific issue or current events sort of topic, there is a quiet undercurrent in much of my work of diversity, representation, and acceptance. I have characters who would, in 'our' world, face marginalization based on different aspects of their identities; I write stories where these characters live in societies which accept and support them for being who they are. There is a place for stories about the struggles faced by marginalized people, but those stories are for other people to write based on their own personal experiences. I know all too well myself the power of seeing yourself in a story where the character you identify with isn't fighting for acceptance, but already accepted and treated equally able to just go and save the world or whatever else is in the day's agenda. (As a person who is aromantic and asexual, for example, I have to say that it gets tiring after a while seeing a majority of aro/ace characters having to either struggle with or suffer because of their identities. It's nice to see a character now and then whose orientation is just presented as another fact about them, like their occupation or beverage preferences.)

On a lighter note, I write a lot of things involving cats (or cat-like creatures). Cats are stories in themselves. One of the ones I live with likes to sleep on my lap and try to hold my arm down while I'm writing. I'm not sure if she's trying to be helpful or not, but she's good inspiration.

On the Subject of Writing and Things Written

The first story I remember writing was a school assignment. I was roughly seven, and if memory serves the assignment was to tell about something that had happened during our winter break. I have a distinct memory of hand-writing a three or four page essay about my family taking a road trip from Texas to Tennessee to visit my maternal grandmother, and I believe sapient Furby were involved, or possibly aliens, or both. I don't know if my mother has kept a copy of this. If she has, and anyone happens to express interest, I may put it up as a curiosity at some point.

The second story I wrote is better documented. It was also a school assignment, the first 'self-directed project' I did after my mother took us out of the 15-mile-distant public school in 'town' and put us into Texas Tech University's distance-education homeschooling program instead. (A decision on her part for which I am eternally grateful!) Entitled Katherine's Cat Dilemma, this was a proper little comb-bound 'educational children's book' involving keeping track of cats and kittens and finding homes for them. I believe we only ever sold two copies of this, printed and produced by my ever-industrious mother, although every time I sort through my bookshelves I find at least three more than I remember having kept. One day, I will find the time to produce a second edition, this time with illustrations of cats who actually look like cats rather than my ten-year-old self's cat-adjacent scribbles.

In the years since, I have done quite a lot of writing, a majority of which is, for the most part, archived on several generations of digital storage devices and/or printed and kept in not-so-neat binders with the rest of my books. A good deal of this material is leftover academic writing from my odd assortment of high school and university coursework that will likely never see the light of day again. The rest, though, is all poems and stories which I've either written and then set aside complete awaiting the day when I would have the time to not be working on school assignments and try to get them published... or drafts of longer projects that await instead the day when I will return and finish them. 

At the moment, just as I am engaged in the process of sorting through my material life and documenting and portfolio-ing all of my artwork from the past decade or so, I am also beginning to comb through my dragon's horde of words and seek out the things which are worth polishing up and sharing with the world. This project is made longer by the insistence of my current cast of rather vocal characters from a certain ongoing writing project that I pay attention to them instead. (My mother, of course, is on the side of these rascals, as I have made the critical error of allowing her to read the various elements of this most recent project as I finish them. They always have another story they want me to busy myself transcribing for them, and she encourages them to distract me from my other endeavors so she'll have something new to read.)

In light of this, I am slowly updating this section of my website with examples of my work, past and present. If you would like to be among the first to read whatever I come to share here, please sign up for my periodic newsletter! 

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