Andre Norton Award recommendations for 2016

Hey, SFWAns! As the award nominations deadline draws near, do you still have blank spaces on your Andre Norton ballot? Here are some last-minute recommendations for YA books you should check out.

star-touched queen and i darken labyrinth lost

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

Probably the YA book with the most hype in adult fandom this year. In a fantasy world drawing from ancient India, Mayavati is cursed with an ill-starred horoscope. Magic, monsters, romance, and plenty of gorgeous prose! A good pick for fans of Novik’s Uprooted.


The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

Cartography magic! Time travel twistiness! Family, identity, colonialism! Nix is a girl whose father wants to go back to 1868 Honolulu to prevent her mother’s death. Will she help him, even if doing so jeopardizes her own timeline?


On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis

When an asteroid impact devastates Europe, who is worth saving? Denise, an autistic teen, struggles to find her sister in the aftermath, and to earn places for herself and her family aboard the last generation ship leaving Earth.


This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

A ruthless human girl and a gentle-hearted monster boy are thrown together in a gritty, magical, near-future metropolis. Schwab combines a fast-paced plot with masterful worldbuilding and deep characters.


And I Darken by Kiersten White

An alternate history re-imagining of Vlad Dracul as a girl. If you’re a fan of Griffith’s Hild, this is a must-read! Some might argue it’s more historical than speculative, but it’s awesome either way and worthy of consideration.


Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

Fans of Older’s Shadowshaper should check out this new take on brujas in Brooklyn.  Alejandra’s family expects her to embrace her heritage as a powerful bruja–instead she casts a canto to get rid of her powers. But the spell backfires, and she must travel to the underworld to save her family.


The Reader by Traci Chee

In an illiterate fantasy world, Sefia sets out on a dangerous journey to rescue her aunt, guided by a book she’s only beginning to understand. Thieves, pirates, assassins! But also the power of the written word, making this a delightful read for fellow writers.


Timekeeper by Tara Sim

Another timey-wimey book, this one set against the backdrop of a steampunkish 1870’s London. Danny is a mechanical prodigy who repairs not just clock towers but time itself. His loyalties are tested when he falls for the mysterious boy who claims to be his new apprentice.

Ink, Iron, and Glass

I’m so thrilled to share the news that my debut young-adult novel — Ink, Iron, and Glass — has sold to Macmillan/Imprint. Publishers Weekly has the official announcement here and here.

In a steampunk version of 19th-century Italy, seventeen-year-old Elsa has the ability to write new worlds into existence. She must enlist the help of a secret order and a handsome mechanist to rescue her mother and protect a dangerous object–a book with the power to edit the real world. Ink, Iron, and Glass is currently scheduled for a winter 2018 release.

Can’t wait until 2018? Don’t worry, you can get your fix over at Beneath Ceaseless Skies, where my short story “Nothing but the Sky” recently appeared.

awards recommendations

So much awesome… 2015 was a great year for fiction, especially novels. This is by no means an exhaustive list of stuff I loved; I’m focusing here on works that seem a bit overlooked and deserving of more buzz than they’ve gotten.  So without further ado, here are a few recommendations for awards consideration:

Short Stories

Android Whores Can’t Cry” by Natalia Theodoridou

Seven Wonders of a Once and Future World” by Caroline M. Yoachim

Language of Knives” by Haralambi Markov


Fabulous Beasts” by Priya Sharma

Grandmother-Nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds” by Rose Lemberg


Dark Orbit by Carolyn Ives Gilman

Planetfall by Emma Newman

The Just City by Jo Walton

YA (Norton Award)

Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

Court of Fives by Kate Elliott


No novellas to recommend at the moment because I am SO BEHIND on reading them. And to make matters worse, I’m already super-stoked to read these upcoming novels in 2016:

Steal the Sky by Megan O’Keefe (out now!)

Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black (out now!)

Central Station by Lavie Tidhar (May)

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi (May)

Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee (June)

Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal (July)

what happened, 2015 edition

So I’m late to the game with my 2015 wrap-up slash awards eligibility post. But here it is! I had four short stories appear in print last year:

Indelible” (Feb issue of Clarkesworld) — Loss, identity, shape-shifting aliens. What more could you ask for?

“Very Long Conversations” (June issue of Analog) — Language, family, more aliens. On the Tangent Recommended Reading List.

“Holding the Ghosts” (March issue of Asimov’s) — Downloadable memories and emergent personalities.

“A Thousand Stones for Hesek” (spring issue of Space and Time) — Ocean-based societies and the end of the world.


I also wrote and sold a novelette called “Nothing but the Sky” which I’m excited to announce will appear in Beneath Ceaseless Skies later this year. And probably the biggest career news, of course, was that I signed with a wonderful agent, Jennifer Azantian, for to sell all the books. (Yes, ALL of them. Muahahahahah! And then, perhaps, world domination?)

Anyway, I’m still working through my own awards-related reading, but I’ll have some recommendations posted soon. 2015 was an amazing year for speculative fiction, especially novels! Keep up the good work, folks.

Style and Structure Bingo for Writers

Everybody loves Christie Yant’s Career Bingo card (available here), and I wanted to compile something similar for the actual process of writing short stories. Hence, the Style and Structure Bingo card for writers:

( click here to view )

This is intended as a tool to encourage you to get out of your comfort zone and experiment with your stories. I’ve included some easy boxes, because everyone likes to feel accomplished, and frankly writing at all is a worthy accomplishment. (Yes, I am the sort of person who, after completing a task, will add it to my to-do list for the sheer joy of then immediately crossing it out.) The more challenging boxes are the result of a brainstorming session over at Codex Writers’ Group. Thanks for all the help, guys!


So what the heck do these boxes mean?

Since some of them may not be self-explanatory, here’s a bit of elaboration along with some linked examples of published short stories that illustrate these styles and structures. More examples are always welcome, so send them my way if you have suggestions. You’re also free to use your own definitions, of course — the only person you’re competing with is yourself, so use this tool however you like!


explanations and examples under the cut

new site

Welcome to my shiny new website! I’m speculative fiction writer Gwendolyn Clare.

I coded the old site from scratch because I wanted an excuse to learn HTML, and while I’m still fond of the old site, the time has come to join the 21st century. I’ll be updating the content as well, but the essentials will stay the same.

To check out my stories, go to Writing. Many of them are available for free online. If you prefer audio versions, scroll down for podcast links.

If you’re an aspiring writer, I’ve collected some helpful online resources under Links. These are good places to start learning about the craft and business of writing fantasy and science fiction.