As an actual published writer with multiple publications out in the world this year, I feel confident enough to put together my very first awards eligibility post! I have no expectation of even being nominated for anything, but as one of my favorite queer pirates on HBOMax’s “Our Flag Means Death” said just this past summer: “Actually, I think I’m just so-so, but I’ve decided to carry myself like I’m cute.”
“The Impossible Task of Bringing Water” won Apparition Literary Magazine’s Flash Fiction Contest for January 2022. I’m really proud of this story, because it challenged me to write a story with a word limit based on a photo prompt. I’m still surprised at what came out of my head from gazing at a single black and white image of a lone cactus in the desert.
“Germinating Everyday Magic” is another flash story I wrote based on a prompt for an anthology call, for which it didn’t make the cut. I was thrilled when Etherea Magazine accepted it, and the image they chose to place alongside this very special story is so beautiful. I shouldn’t be partial with my babies, but I really do love the quiet, gentle quality of this flash.
“Weaving Serenity” in Wyngraf Issue #1 is my longest short story published this year, and it was my most rejected at the time it was accepted by Wyngraf. It holds a special place in my heart for how personal it is to me. A stay at home mom must choose to go back to the job she loved or stay behind to care for her family. Also, dragons!
As a sweet little link to “Weaving Serenity,” Wyngraf published my story, “Lily and Ink,” a flash about the daughter who gets left behind while the rest of her family deals with the dragons in the mountains. This one also contains a tiny baby dragon! Squee!
“Print A Soul in Six Easy Steps, A Primer by Clover Silverbrook” is another longer short story of mine that was rejected often and found a home at Etherea Magazine. I’m really proud of this one, because of its experimental structure (the primer instructions are nested within the story) and because it makes me feel all kinds of feels. A man tries to deal with his grief through the use of a magical 3D printer. Also, a cute gnome!
My most surprising story sale of the year was “When Dreams Do Show Me Thee,” which was chosen for Flame Tree Press’s October Fiction Newsletter, based on their theme of “Dream Walker.” I had written the first draft of the story in late 2020, and I thought I would never find a home for it, because it’s so weird and ethereal and, well, dreamlike. I’m so glad Flame Tree’s team enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. (I don’t know if it’s eligible for any awards, since it was published in a newsletter, but I’m hoping to link to it on their website soon.)
And that’s it for my publications in 2022. I had a fantastic year, all things considered. And the best part: I AM NOW A MEMBER OF SFWA!!!! SFWA (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Association) is the professional organization for writers of speculative fiction. They provide a lot of benefits for their members, and I was fortunate enough to be able to apply and be accepted this year, since they lowered their threshold for dollar amount in sales needed to become an Associate Member. I look forward to the day when I can move up to full membership. It really feels like I’m a legitimate SFF writer now. (I always have been, but this just feels a bit more authentic, you know?)
I hope you all have a wonderful rest of 2022. Thank you so much for sticking with me through this wild year. I am so grateful for each and every one of you.
And, as always, thanks for reading.
Amanda Cook is a writer and stay at home mom who lives in a southern Indiana woods with her spouse, kids, and one clingy dog. In the Before Times (and sometimes even now), she could/can be found helping out with her kids' school, catching up on her toppling TBR pile, playing games with her friends, hanging out at virtual conventions, crying over period dramas, or sewing yet another cosplay. Her second novel, "When We Were Forgotten," was the winner of the 2018 Bronze Medal for Best Sci-fi/Fantasy/Horror E-Book from the Independent Publisher Book (IPPY) Awards. She writes short speculative fiction and poetry that can be found at various markets and here on her blog.