A Bluebird Named Matilda: Writing Avian Body Horror

It’s been awhile since I used this blog to discuss my fiction, which is odd since that was sort of my original goal when I set up the WordPress account last year. Fortunately, even when I’m not in the mindset to wax on and off about my latest stories, the author interviews are enough to keep the blog afloat (and to be honest, the interviews have become one of the coolest components of my weekly activities, so there’s that too). However, for today, let’s get back to the basics, shall we?

In case you didn’t hear, my story, “Something Borrowed, Something Blue,” is available in the current issue of Three-Lobed Burning Eye Magazine, edited by Andrew S. Fuller. (And yes, the story came out at the end of September, and it’s now the middle of December, but better a late commentary than none at all.) My husband was kind enough to design me the super cool image below, so if nothing else, I’ll take this post as an opportunity to share it, blood splatter and all:

Something Borrowed, Something Blue

For those of you who have yet to read the tale, “Something Borrowed, Something Blue” deals with birds and childbirth. As in, a woman gives birth to birds, including a plucky bluebird called Matilda. It’s a weird story—a little bit fantasy, a little bit horror, a whole lot melancholy since I’ve been in an extra dark writing mood since, like, January. When it was finished, I realized I was really proud of this particular story, in part because I’m a huge fan of body horror. Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis remains among the pantheon of great horror stories in this fan’s opinion, and I seriously don’t think I could ever watch David Cronenberg’s The Brood or The Fly enough times. In my previous stories, body horror has wriggled its way into the plots of “Flesh or Fantasy” (published in Sanitarium Magazine), “War Wounds” (published in Robbed of Sleep, Volume Three), and “A Certain Kind of Spark” (published in Shadows at the Door). However, in none of those tales was there the disturbing intersection of body horror and some kind of non-human animal. Cronenberg, you’ve schooled me well.

To top it all off, I sincerely adore the magazine in which the story appeared. Three-Lobed Burning Eye has long been on my shortlist of publications where I hoped to one day sell a story. Everything about the magazine is fantastic, from the tagline  (“Stories that monsters like to read”) and the always awesome cover art to the insanely impressive list of past contributors (Wendy Wagner! Sunny Moraine! Mari Ness! E. Catherine Tobler! Cat Rambo! Laird Barron!). I went back and forth on whether or not to submit “Something Borrowed, Something Blue,” because after reading scores of stories in previous issues, I still wasn’t convinced it was a good fit. Again, I personally love the story, but there is no story that belongs in every market. But ultimately, I decided to take a chance, and it paid off. As part of each issue, Three-Lobed Burning Eye includes audio version of its fiction, so for the first time ever, I got to record one of my stories! That was so much fun, which just added to the overall awesomeness of the experience.

So if you’re in the mood for a weird yarn about bluebirds, childbirth, and general grotesquery, then head on over to the latest issue of Three-Lobed Burning Eye. While you’re there, check out the other stories from fabulous authors like Kristi DeMeester, Vicki Saunders, and Jessica Reisman. Good, creepy stuff all around, and best of all, it’s Matilda-approved!

Happy reading!