JELLYFISH DREAMING top-5 Short-list Novel Prize: Fish Publishing. And a Year (or 2) in Review.

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JELLYFISH DREAMING made the top-5 for Fish Publishing’s 2016 Young-Adult Novel Prize: Final Short-List

Last Years in Review (2015-2016): JFD got a bit of buzz after Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlett (#33) — out of Small Beer press in Northampton, MA — published the short story version of the same name. Had a fantastic time with that, as editor Michael Deluca set up a reading panel at READERCON summer of 2015 and got us all reviewed in LOCUS  and  SFRevu (see reviews in the sidebar). I had more fun writing up an interview for him for his blog The Mossy Skull while we were in Boston that August. I was super impressed to walk into a Cambridge bookstore and see LCRW populating the shelves. It all left me with a fabulous impression of small presses, though I gather Small Beer Press has a particularly good reputation for supporting their writers. Our dear family friends, Poet Elizabeth Libby and the late, great nature writer Bill Macleish –who took me to my first Science Journalism conference, admonished me to bring a journal on the Whale Road, and played bagpipes at my wedding– were the first to predict (to me at least) that Small Presses were the publishing choice of the future. Bill was impressed by their kindness and attention to writers, as compared to his later experiences with the big presses. We lost Bill Spring of 2015, and the world is an emptier place for it. But his books remain.

Fall of 2015  I was meant to be reading from JFD for Rough Trade out of Nottingham, but my husband broke his leg playing soccer with our daughter’s school team (a step-n-snap moment). He headed in to surgery the day (hour, moment) I’d have been Skyping with Giselle Lieb in Nottingham (who also has a story in that edition of LCRW). Believe me, I considered reading from Tim’s hospital bedside – it was a great apocalyptic setting! But even with computer in lap, it was not to be, as the timing came down to my reading coinciding with the surgeon walking in to explain what a plateau fracture of the tibia meant (imagine a shattered stick being held together by 9 woodscrews and long metal strapping).  I had to get my priorities straight. I was sad to miss it, but Giselle said they had a great reading, and Tim had a looong recovery of 8+ weeks of no weight bearing whatsoever, and lots of PT after. (2015-2016 had a lot of disasters and losses. Some among family and friends, at at least one orange-colored that we can almost all relate to- worldwide.)

A month to the day later (I was sitting by my dad’s hospital bed this time), I got an email from Clem Cairns at Fish Publishing saying the full JFD mss made the top ten finalist list! (Not that this balanced out what you were going through, Pop, but it was a welcome ‘up’ moment.) He wrote:

“Yo Deb. Great to see your name come up. Delighted for you. It is a sizzling story, bristling with imagination and verve. Splendid. Good luck with all of the sick folk.”

Then, Spring of 2016, JFD moved up for final consideration among the top 5 being considered for publication by Fish (I believe out of Cork University Press?). Sadly, there could be only one. But it was delightful to get that far with this quirky mss.

Next step? I’m turning JFD into a Graphic Novel with amazingly fast and furious illustrator Mike Bukowick!  Mike Bukowick caricature copy

I believe this collaboration is turning an unusual story that has gotten lots of attention into something even more unusual and compelling (and hopefully publishable).

Oh! And another thing I’m pleased to brag about, is JFD’s Prequel, ICE, which won first place for a Speculative Literature Foundation Grant the year previously, now also has a short-story version that I’m shopping around, and that Mike is illustrating!

With luck and time, we plan to turn both books into graphic novels and add a third. The luck, of course, is necessary for carving out the time.  May all losses and disasters cease and desist for the foreseeable future….(yeah, right). If nothing else, it’s going to be a nerve-wracking next 4 years, ’cause we sure do live in interesting times. Let’s hope the upcoming post inaugural Women’s March in Washington, and the one Tim an the girls and I are attending in Boston, are as peaceful as they are meant to be. As another, much smaller, Tim said (and I misquote): Heaven help us, Everyone. We’re gonna need it.

Deb Caricature copy


That was good news in a hard year. JELLYFISH DREAMING (JFD) had made first runner up in the past with the Speculative Literature Foundation, and had gotten much kind support from the grant administrators and judges. ICE is the prologue to JFD, which is currently being turned into a graphic novel with illustrator MIKE BUKOWICK. Though ICE will likely come after JFD sequentially. Stay Tuned for the third (or first story, depending on the timeline): THE GREAT WAVE unless I write the last (PLASTIC EATERS) first. I like flipping around in time evidently.