Friday, November 8, 2013

Double Pane Glass

My kid will grow up
on the other side
of double pane glass.

Two layers
of see through
between her
and the world.

Can two panes
of glass
keep out those
who will dismiss her
for being a girl?

Can two panes
of glass
keep out hate?

Aren't two panes of glass
harder to break than one?

Because one pane of glass
breaks so easily
and I know,
I can't afford
triple pane.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Westercon - July 4th weekend & thoughts on my writing - literary versus speculative fiction

Out and about:
    Looks like I'll be attending Westercon for the first time. If you see me roaming around please say hello. I'm social though a bit shy. I'll probably say "Hi!" back to you.

    I tried to juggle going to WisCon again this year but unfortunately, I just couldn't manage the cost. I would have loved to go - next time *grumble*.

    I decided (last minute of course) to attend the writers conference at WesterCon. I'll have to workshop an old piece unless I can hurry up and finish one of the short stories I'm currently working on. That's a bit doubtful since I don't exactly have an ending worked out. Oh endings, so over-rated.

    Lately, I've been writing more "literary" fiction than speculative fiction. I write what pops into my head and that's what has been bubbling up. Sometimes, I find that I come up with a story idea that's fantastical in nature and as I start writing it, it becomes more literary and less speculative. It happens the other way around too but that happens less often I find.

    Many of my stories don't require an element of speculative fiction or as often happens, I can't figure out how to blend aspects of speculative fiction with the story concept that I have when I wish that I could. There are writers who dart in and out of the hazy light that purportedly falls between straight "fiction" and "speculative fiction". Jorge Luis Garcia comes to mind first but there are so many wonderful writers who can. I hope with time and experience that I will be able to occupy and develop this in my writing as well.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Whoa 2013

Oh my god, 2012 is gone and thank goodness.

It's been a rough last quarter (only business people, accountants and students think in quarters right?). However, the new year seems to be traveling along on the same pot-hole filled road as the end of last year for me. Having a toddler in daycare means that I've become a part of the great social Petri dish and I'm constantly ill. I'm really not the most patient person with myself so this never ending sickness has been trying. I'm attempting to have a better attitude in the new year so that my wife doesn't bash my brains in.

On the writerly front, I've got a few short stories I'm working on and I'll be a mentee with the Golden Crown Literary Society (  at some point to help me get through this dang book I'm writing. Book writing are hard *whine*. I'm looking forward to this though, *shakes fist in the air* I will finish this book!

My wish for you, you lovely person reading this post, is that you are happy, compassionate, and most importantly, that you are thoughtful about how you exist in the world - we're all here together, lets be nice to each and our planet.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Here's the Story I Read at LitCrawl

I posted this story a long time ago, before it got an edit over haul thanks to awesome feedback from friends/family/professional writers who wanted me to stop with the puppy eyes and critique partners. Remember helpful feedback is appreciated, also did you know that it makes you look sexier? It does..

That Which Lies Inside
By Heather Eccles

I stared as the boys’ eyes twitched in perpetual motion, from side to side. He lay unresponsive on the hospital bed, while beads of sweat rolled down his small heart-shaped face and into his thick, black curly hair. The seven year old had been climbing a tree, playing and laughing with friends at his birthday party when he fell and hit his head. The Church scriptures said that was one of the ways that the demons could enter our bodies. Now the demon was killing him.
            His mothers’ shoulders shook silently as she grumbled prayers and held one of his small hands. Her eyes were hidden from me as she leaned over him but I could see the exhaustion and fear hanging from her body as she held herself ready to do anything, something for him. My stomach ached, as I looked at her. I hoped that I would be able to help him.

The noise of the electronic monitor reassured me as it beeped with metronomic regularity and I reminded myself that I had saved many people. I would do everything in my power to save this boy.  
            Without warning, the boy’s body began flailing violently in the bed. The soft monotonous beeping of the monitor shrilled into alarm.
Splatters of blood flecked around the boys’ mouth as he bit his tongue. His eyes rolled back into his head and his body jerked. I leaned over and put my weight on top of him, trying to hold him down so that he would not hurt himself more, after several minutes of thrashing, his body slumped and resumed its’ slack, vacancy. His pupils slid back into view like a dolls’ and resumed their rhythmic swing - side to side. The soft beep of the monitor returned. His mother’s prayers became sobs, as she looked at me frantically. 
“You have to do something!”  
I watched his chest over her shoulders. It moved up and down, a familiar counterpoint to the metronomic hideousness of his eyes. I nodded at his mother, “Yes, Ms. Gonzalez. We’ve tried everything else. I’ll have to try to force the demon out.”

Her eyes were full of fear and fire. Her tiredness was gone. “Do it. I don’t want to  loose him.” 
“Yes, Ms Gonzales. I’m sorry but you will have to stay for the ritual. He’ll need your strength.” I tried to keep my own concerns out of my voice but she must have heard them anyway, she looked at me sharply. “We must both give him our strength Father.” I nodded as my eyes slid away from hers. I had had too many patients die despite my prayers. I took a deep breath and told myself again that I could do the ritual. I had succeeded before and I would this time as well. 
Really, there was no option left, we had tried every conventional medical therapy - nothing had worked. I had to get the demon out. I would have to drill a hole in his skull to release pressure on his brain; the force of the demon inside him would kill the boy otherwise. The Church said that our prayers would then force the evil spirit out of the boy through the hole that I created. I hoped so, for both our sakes.
Guilt made me avoid looking into Ms. Gonzalez’s eyes as I explained what I would do. I didn’t believe in the Church as she did any more. She believed absolutely that the gods would help her son. I questioned whether the gods would or ever had helped my patients. Did they even exist? Perhaps, it had always been the medications and therapies I prescribed, not my prayers that had helped my patients. My faith and I were tired, deeply tired, right down to my bones.     
I starred at the boy’s sweet face and hoped that this would work. I knew what would happen if I were to fail to save him. I had lost several patients recently. There were rumors that I would be cast down; no longer allowed to be a healer-priest. I had given my life to help people but that didn’t matter if the gods refused to listen to my pleas. 
I rubbed the prayer beads I had in my robe’s pocket, they were as old as my time in the church, smooth and dark from my hands, their shine was long gone and lately I had not bothered to say the rites of protection over the beads. I rubbed them for comfort now. As was usual lately, I received no solace from holding them.       
The monitor beeped sharply to show that the child’s heart rate was increasing; a manifestation of the building evil in his skull or the swelling caused by the injury to his brain? Or were they were one and the same? I had no idea. 
            I unclenched my jaw and urged myself to get it over with. I turned to my aide and asked him to prepare for the ritual.
Later, after I had washed, put on my ceremonial robes and face paint, I returned to the boys’ room. 
His mother sat in her chair next to him. 
“We’re ready”. 
The muscles of her neck and shoulders were ridged as she jerked her head and rose to stand next to the boys’ head. 
I prepared my tools – intravenous antibiotics to fight infection, a blessed iron blade to shave his head, a stone borer, sanctified water to bless the demon out and to wash away the blood and bone fragments. My aide and I tied the boy’s arms and legs with leather straps to help keep him still. His mother held his hand, as he lay in the bed motionless except for his eyes, which never stopped moving. 
            Looking around the bed, I checked that everything was ready, took a deep breath and started chanting. The droning monitor in the background was the musical accompaniment for the ritual. 
The boy’s mother reached out suddenly with fingers of iron and grabbed my hand. I gasped and looked at her. Her eyes were shining with tears and something else. Her hand felt fever hot as it held mine. Her eyes didn’t move from her son’s face. I breathed deeply then restarted the prayer, stumbling over the next few words as I watched her out of the corner of my eye. Her eyes grew wider and bright. Her hand held mine incontrovertibly, tightening around my fingers with desperate strength. I felt her absolute conviction as I stuttered through the benediction despite the fact that I wanted to run away – something that I couldn’t understand was happening, something out of my control. The room began to feel warm around us. I finished the first rite. I could feel my sweat merging with the paint I had smeared across my forehead and cheeks to help bring my mind closer to the gods. As abruptly as the boy’s mother had grabbed me, she let go of my hand – tossing it away. I froze for a moment, unsure. Her eyes were still fixed on her son as her hands wrapped around one of his. I tried to swallow as I felt something in the room, something heavy and I shivered as I looked around but saw nothing. 
I forced myself to concentrate. There was no leaving now, this would either work or the boy would die. I leaned over him with the knife and cut off his soft hair, then came the blessed water running down his skull and onto his starched white sheets, last came the borer - sharpened bone that I twisted around and around into his skull as I sweated oily black paint. Drips of it fell into the pool of bright red blood that was forming around his head as I worked. 
I made the hole as big as my pinky. His blood finally slowed to a sluggish trickle and then stopped as I finished. During the whole procedure the only part of him that had moved were his eyes. I saw no sign of a demon. The heavy weight that had filled the room disappeared.
“Will he live?” his mother said afterwards. Her eyes were full of frantic fire and judgment. Her judgment scorched my faithless heart. 
I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t want to feed her hopes.
“I.. I don’t know. We have to wait.” I motioned to the aide to clean up and clutched the boy’s chart to my robe-covered chest as I hurried out of his room. 
Suddenly, a wave of burning cold descended over my body as I walked. I shivered and fled down the hall. The cold invaded my mind and seeped everywhere. I knew it would not let me go.  
The rhythmic beeps of the monitor echoed down behind me but I couldn’t hear them. I could only hear the sound of laughter echoing inside of me, deep down inside, as I ran away. 


My First Time Reading in Public or Guerrilla SpecFic in the Mission

Yesterday I had the great fortune to read one of my short stories at LitCrawl with members of the Carl Brandon Society ( The Carl Brandon Society is a non-profit that promotes the visibility of writers and characters of color in speculative fiction. Please consider donating to them because they are helping to support the creation of inclusive literature. As anyone can attest who reads spec fic - there isn't enough! Speculative fiction needs more voices, more points of view - this is what spec fic is about isn't it, other points of view outside of those that are the familiar? Go buy a book by a writer of color and open your mind to a different voice.

A litle about LitCrawl, LitCrawl is held in dozens of venues throughout the Mission in San Francisco on the last day of LitQuake in three sessions. I still can't believe that it's the first place I got to read in public. I'm beyond luck.y

LitCrawl is volunteer run and coordinated. All of the venues that it is held in are donating their time and place consequently, sometimes shit goes wrong. In our case there was no one to open the place where we were supposed to read! So Emily Jiang, Ayize Jama-Everett and I read on the street, yelling our stories like guerrilla street writers. It was completely awesome, we over came car alarms, rap music and city noise. I think people could hear us (we clustered tightly) and it was a complete blast.

I want to give a shout out to Na'amen Tilahun for coordinating a great Carl Brandon event and then later for his own reading: an excellent, scary werewolf story. Na'amen is completely awesome.

I also want to give a shout out to Emily Jiang ( who writes some beautiful fiction, go check her stuff out because if you haven't, you should! Also, I'd like to encourage you to check out Ayize's work: as well, good stuff.

Go buy their stories lovely people - support writers of color, open your minds to new experiences, it's good for your minds and possibly your soul.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Favorite lesbian characters in SF/F/Paranormal/Manga/Comics

Catherine Lundoff asked me on twitter what my favorite lesbian scifi & lesbian characters were. Strangely, I didn't have a list. So I whipped one up. I offer it to you (in case you're looking for some reading). Have favorites that you want to share? Please do!
Bon app├ętit!

Ren Sagura - Solitaire by Kelley Eskridge
Lore - Slow River by Nicola Griffith
Milena - The Child Garden by Geoff Ryman
Zanja - Fire Logic by Laurie Marks
India - Trouble and Her Friends by Melissa Scott
Lythande - Thieves World
Maya - The Fortunate Fall by Raphael Carter
Sorren - The Northern Girl by Elizabeth Lynn
Persephone - The Dark Wife by Sarah Diemer
Ash - Ash by Malinda Lo
Batwoman - Greg Rucka (comic)
Kurogane Hayate - HayatexBlade (manga)
Utena - Revolutionary Girl Utena (manga/anime)
Neviril - Simoun (anime)
A-Ko and B-Ko - Project A-Ko (anime)
Scandal Savage - Secret Six by Gail Simone (comic) - best villainess ever. Ok, I love the White Queen as well.. but she's not a lesbian.
Kassandra - Witch Wolf by Winter Pennington (paranormal)

Thursday, July 12, 2012


I haven't posted a story in awhile so I thought I would put something up. I wrote the first draft of this lesbian YA short story awhile ago. I just recently cleaned it up a bit. I don't mean to imply that there aren't errors but hopefully, they aren't egregious. Feed back is always welcomed and appreciated.


It had to be over 100 degrees out still and I couldn’t sleep. My tank top smelled of stale cigarettes and old sex as I sat in my boxers on Ally’s fire escape and lit a cigarette. Ally was asleep. She had passed out after getting drunk at our friend’s birthday party earlier – same old, same old.
The metal grating was warm under my bare feet as I pulled out my new notebook and a pen from my bag. One of Ally’s neighbors was watching a telenovella – loud exuberant commercials jumped to bites of drama filled Spanish. The sound went back and forth monotonously, rocking my subconscious like a baby. Another neighbor was playing Madonna, the same three songs over and over again. I had been sitting out here for a half-hour and I never wanted to hear ‘The Power of Good-bye’, ‘Sorry’ or ‘This Used to be my Playground’ ever again.
I stroked the black and gray damask fabric of my new notebook. I liked the pattern despite how gothic it was. Jessie had made it for me last month. I hadn’t written in it yet. It was full of empty pages every time I looked at it.
I inhaled the cigarette, opened the notebook to a page and started a list. I had never made a list for anything except groceries but this seemed like the time to make a list. I couldn’t form any conclusions with my cluttered thoughts so I was resorting to motherly advice for how to resolve decisions – make a list.
I drew two columns as ‘Sorry’ ended abruptly, mid ‘Sor..’. The telenovella was inexplicably quiet; it had probably been turned down when I wasn’t paying attention. There were a few seconds of relative silence, as quiet and still as the middle of New York could be. I waited for something to fix it. The climatic ending music from the telenovella blared abruptly throwing garish emotions into the space left by Madonna’s sorrow. I took a drag on my cigarette and watched the smoke as it sunk into the night.
Ally and Jessie, two very different people, both telling me they loved me. I couldn’t figure out what I should do. They both wanted relationships with me. I wasn’t sure that I loved them, either of them, enough. I hadn’t told anybody including myself, how I felt. I wrote their names at the top of a page, and then drew a line between them all the way to the bottom.
I started writing memories under each name as they came to me – the feeling of safety I felt from Ally who had been my friend since elementary school, the support that Jessie gave me around my art. I desperately needed it. Every pro and con I could think of for each of them. Jessie was a recovering drug addict and she scared me when she spoke about being high, Ally wanted me to trust her, to tell her how I felt about the things that mattered. I was scared of her judgment. This last thought made me stop and take another drag on my cigarette. The metal under my butt was getting harder. I squirmed trying to get comfortable. Everyone wanted to know what I felt, what I thought about. I wasn’t sure I knew how I felt so it was kind of difficult to tell them.
I wondered what would happen if I told Jessie that her eyes when she talked about heroin terrified me? Her art was about death and decay. I wished that she was reaching towards life by showing its' opposite but I didn’t think she was. On the other hand what would happen if I told Ally that I was scared of getting sucked into her partying lifestyle. It felt like there was no passion in the way she lived her life. Not that she wasn’t passionate with me, she was and that felt good. She just wasn’t passionate about anything else except getting drunk and hanging out with friends.   
I looked over the list again and didn’t see what I wanted. I thought again about opening myself up to either of them. What was a relationship for me? Jessie and Ally had given me friendship and caring. I’d given the same but I didn’t want to give more.
My cigarette had burned to the end. I lit another and took a long, slow drag before I set it down. I turned to an empty page and pulled out two sheets. The first started with, “Dear Ally” the second with “Dear Jessie”. I wrote for a few minutes on both then folded the letters in half and put them in my bag. I leaned my forehead against the warm handrail of the fire escape and told myself I was doing the right thing.
        The telenovella was turned off. All I could hear was the blurred sounds of the living city until a new song arrived and receded as a car drove by slowly. I was thankful it wasn’t Madonna, but it was another sad song.