2022 Round Up

2022 has been a great year of writing achievements for me.

2020 and 2021 were terrible. I had no interest in my novel (which went through multiple name changes before landing on Star-Scorched Fingertips) and I couldn’t sell a short story to save my life (I did have one short story published in 2021, For Autumn, in Revolutions by Deadset Press). And no one was interested in the two Neandertal novellas I had on offer (still can’t get any interest in them, unfortunately).

By the beginning of 2022 I decided I couldn’t rely on validation from the publishing industry to motivate my writing. I returned to writing for the joy of writing, with no expectation of ever seeing my words in print. I never stopped submitting- I just stopped being disappointed when my queries came to nothing.

And then things started happening.

Firstly my story, Darksleep, was accepted for publication in Grandpa’s Deep Space Diner by JayHenge Publishing. Darksleep is the story of a child genetically engineered to photosynthesize and was adapted from a short piece I wrote to accompany artwork by Clare Poppi in an exhibition at Artisan gallery in Brisbane in 2021.

Cover of Grandpa’s Deep Space Diner. Stories collected & edited by Jessica Augustsson

Darksleep is the first story in a series I’ve called The Alimental Institute. Throughout 2021 and 2022 I continued working on characters from this world where humans are genetically engineered to adapt to the hunger caused by environmental devastation and climate change. I’m currently still working on a story called Silphion (or Silphium- I haven’t decided yet) about the resurrection of an extinct culinary plant that was revered in ancient Greece and Rome)- this is looking about novella length at the moment but may stretch to a novel.

The next exciting thing to happen was when I was contacted by Seth Lukas Hynes to submit a story for an anthology he was putting together about space colonization and the Kardashev scale. My story The Vine was published in December 2022 in Red Dwarfs Make The Best Homes. The Vine is set in the same world as my upcoming novel, Star-Scorched Fingertips, and follows the story of the character Rae.

Cover of Red Dwarfs Make The Best Homes edited by Seth Lukas Hynes

Next I had my story, A New Kind of Hunger, accepted for publication in Cloaked Press‘s Summer of Speculation: Villains 2022 Edition. A New Kind of Hunger is also set in the world of The Alimental Institute and tells the story of a girl gang of vampires. This is one of my favourite stories that I’ve ever written and I may return to these characters in future work.

Cover of Summer of Speculation: Villains 2022 Edition

Not long after that my story Deliquescence was accepted for the BSFA’s Fission #2 Volume 2 anthology. Deliquescence is also set in the world of The Alimental Institute and tells the story of a menopausal woman given fungal powers.

Cover of Fission #2 Volume 2 Edited by Gene Rowe & Eugen Bacon

Around this time I found out my story, For Autumn, which had been published in Revolutions by Deadset Press in 2021, had been shortlisted for an Aurealis Award for Best Science Fiction Short Story. For Autumn was set in the world of my debut novel, The Shining Wall. A dystopian future where Neandertals have been cloned.

But while all this was happening, exciting developments regarding my novel, Star-Scorched Fingertips, were taking place behind the scenes. In June 2022, Android Press acquired the novel for publication in 2023.

Now in late 2022 I’m working with Android Press editor Leon Perniciaro to develop the manuscript and ready it for publication. I’m also working on Silphion/Silphium and a couple of other short stories (some set in Alimental Institute world and an unrelated horror story).

I’m excited to see what 2023 will bring but I don’t have any expectations. I’ll do the best work I can and the rest is up to fate/the universe/the algorithm/the phase of the moon/market trends (take your pick)!


4 thoughts on “2022 Round Up

  1. Bernadette Cheshire

    Melissa I love that you have returned to the “why and love” of your writing.
    You have an amazing way of getting stories and meanings across in a way that doesn’t exclude any reader.
    Good luck for 2023.


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