Seeking Patronage!

I am 37,000 words into an antifascist urban fantasy novel, and it has only just now occurred to me that I should let people know that they can help me out with that! Here’s my Patreon, and if you want other rewards, let me know and we can work something out.


General update!

* You haven’t seen short stories by me in a bit because I no longer write them! I’m on to novels.

* Currently seeking representation for psychological thriller Stars Burn Down.

* Currently on submission: poetry manuscript The Life Cycle of the Phoenix.

* Current novel project: My Empire for Ashes (urban fantasy).

* Current nonfiction project: a guide for life after sexual assault.

* Current poetry projects: two projected book-length works about which I’m not yet prepared to speak.

* Still loving co-editing Liminality!


The Word for Loss is Missing

Times are dark, right after the presidential election, so here’s a fun poem about the horrors of colonialism.

I usually write speculative poetry, but this poem is based very much in fact. One of the particularly malignant things about colonialism is the way colonizers rob the colonized of their very language. The language of the colonized is almost always actively repressed, and is often made outright illegal. This leads to the tragic loss of the language, either wholly or in part. This poem was inspired by the fact that Yiddish is a dying language, and the method of reconstruction used in the later verses is an actual method used by linguists – I became aware of it in the documentary “We Still Live Here”, about attempts to reconstruct and save the language of the Wampanoag tribe here in Massachusetts.

“The Word for Loss is Missing” appeared in Zetetic: A Record of Unusual Inquiry in November 2016.


In Our Rags of Light

I spent a year writing about the justifiable anger of teenage girls.

Most of that was in the novel that I’m currently shopping around (hey agents – call me!), but a lot of it ended up here, in a story that takes place in a very specific environment for teenage girls: the South. It’s the South of True Detective and True Blood, where “slutty” teen girls in cutoffs are seen but never heard. Where they’re set decoration. Where no one looks at them and wonders what their story is.

I look at them. I ask “why are you in this place with these men? what are you getting out of this?” And the answer here is “more than they can imagine”.

“In Our Rags of Light” was published in Strange Horizons in August 2016. It is on the 2016 Tangent Online recommended reading list.


Maria Haskins says: “Teenage girls practicing witchcraft: now there’s a trope that needs to be slashed open and turned inside out, and that is exactly what Shira Lipkin does in this story. I love how the story plays around with what’s “expected”, and makes into something new and different, and I especially love how complex (strong and foolish and clever, brittle and daring) the main character Jess is. A beautiful read that feels alive and real.”

Charles Payseur of Quick Sips Reviews says: “This is a story about growing up and about danger and about power. About magic and about a young woman named Jess who knows just a little about magic and warmth and finds herself drawn to it. I love the way the story draws parallels between her and a moth, that idea of magic as warmth, as fire, and her compelled to chase it. But at the same time having her reject the comparison because she is not doing so blindly….” (Please go read the whole review; it’s great! After you read the story.)


Four Chambers

In early 2014, I was emerging from the second of two abusive relationships in a row. I very deliberately carved out space and time to ground and center myself, to think about what I needed and wanted, to not get swept up in another toxic person’s intense and charismatic courtship. It was the best thing I could have done for myself, and I emerged from it renewed and with purpose, albeit still scarred.

And then I started chatting with Mattie Joiner, who was shy and magical and lovely, and they gave me back parts of myself I didn’t know I’d lost or given up on. And, given that Mattie is a poet themselves, it was natural that our shy courtship would take the form of exchanges of poems.

I would have preferred to give a whole, undamaged heart, but this is what I had. Small. Broken. Still good. ♡

“Four Chambers” was published in Mythic Delirium in September 2015.


Never Chose This Way

…this one is personal.

I saw a call for stories dealing with the concept of institutions. The call was deliberately loosely defined; a story about the institution of marriage, say, would have fit. But my brain kept cycling back to something and saying “maybe it’s time.” And would not let it go.

I grew up in the 80s. Toward the middle and end of the 80s and the beginning of the 90s, there was a horrific trend. If your child did not conform, and you had good health insurance, you could put them into an adolescent treatment center.

Junior loony bin, we called it on the inside.

There’s a song about it, even.

I have so much more to write, about that and things like it. This is just a glimpse. Some of my stories are pretty autobiographical. This one? I don’t have any ink. But.

And I shan’t tell you more; go read.

“Never Chose This Way” was published in Apex Magazine in July 2015.


Review:
Charles Payseur of Quick Sip Reviews says: “…It’s a gripping story, slow and tragic and for anyone who has struggled with mental health probably a bit triggering. But it works, the prose disjointed enough, showing a person yearning to be understood, yearning for people to care, yearning to know that she will fit somewhere. Slowly these things open to them, but not because they are offered. More because they are stubborn and they start to figure themself out. Slowly they figure out what they are and, because they know the pain of it all, they begin to try and help other people. It’s a nice story, positing basically that monsters have to help each other, that monsters aren’t exactly monsters, that all they are are people who are pushed into categories that don’t fit. The sense of slow despair in the story slowly lifts, and a deeper current can be felt tugging at things. A current of empathy, which is really what the main character really wanted. What most people really want. It’s a somewhat chilling and definitely a dark piece, but one that has a vein of bright gold to it, a vein of hope…”


The Binding

nullThis one went up a bit ago, and it slipped right by me! It’s actually fairly strange for me to look at “The Binding” these days; I wrote it in 2012, before all of the massive life changes that changed how I wrote. It sold to Lakeside Circus quite a while ago, and I… forgot about it.

Hello, little poem from a past self about certain dangers.

I write differently now, about different things, but I still like the cadence here, and the warning.

“The Binding” was published in Lakeside Circus in April 2015.


The Year in Shira!

2014 was actually the most productive writing year I’ve ever had – it just doesn’t look that way from the outside! Since I barely wrote in 2012 and wrote nothing in 2013, I only had two stories actually come out in 2014, both written in 2014. Those are “The Final Girl” and “The Cartographer’s Requiem”. “The Final Girl” is now the story I point people to when I want them to know what exactly I write.

This year I wrote a complete novel, my first ever; I’m currently working on revising it, and then I get to wander around looking for an agent!

I also wrote a record five stories (I know, I don’t write fast/often/much). Two were published (see above), one will be out next year, and two are on submission. I’ve written a number of poems, mostly for a chapbook project that’s not close to complete yet.

I also made my nonfiction debut with “Israel is Not My Birthright” on Salon.com.

And fellow poet Mat Joiner and I started a magazine! Check out the first two issues of Liminality: A Magazine of Speculative Poetry.

I had a lot of reprints this year!

* “Becca at the End of the World” was reprinted in Zombies: More Recent Dead, and it received an honorable mention in Ellen Datlow’s Year’s Best Horror!
* “Wool and Silk and Wood” was reprinted in The Best of Electric Velocipede.
* “The Angel of Fremont Street” and “Fortune” were jointly reprinted as The Selves We Leave Behind.
* “The Library, After” was reprinted in Mythic Delirium #30 and The Nebula Awards Showcase.
* “Valentines” was reprinted in The Mammoth Book of SF Stories by Women.

And what’s on deck for next year? Look for “Never Chose This Way” at Apex, “Four Chambers” at Mythic Delirium, “The Binding” at Lakeside Circus, and hopefully I’ll be able to tell you more soon!


Catching up!

Most of my year has been spent focused on the novel I started in February! I finished the first draft last week, and am letting it rest before jumping into revisions. In the meantime…

* The poetry magazine I co-edit with Mat Joiner released its amazing first issue! We’re reading now for issue #2.

* My story “Becca at the End of the World” got an Honorable Mention in Ellen Datlow’s Year’s Best Horror! And it’s been reprinted in Zombies: More Recent Dead, edited by Paula Guran.

* Sales! My short story “Never Chose This Way” will appear in Apex Magazine next year. And two poems: “The Binding” to Lakeside Circus, and “Four Chambers” to Mythic Delirium.

* I did some interviews, and a guest post at SF Signal about Liminality.

I hope to write some short fiction and poetry in the very near future, and plan to have the novel revised by the end of the year! And that’s what’s up over here.


Israel is Not My Birthright

Normally this is where I’d write about why I wrote this story, but this one is self-explanatory! This is my first nonfiction piece, and I’m blown away that it was accepted by Salon. It seems to have struck a chord with many, and I appreciate that greatly.

“Israel is Not My Birthright” was published on Salon.com on July 26, 2014.