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Sandra McDonald
love, duty and really big spaceships
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1st-Jan-2014 01:00 pm - Introduction
Welcome! I'm the author of Diana Comet and Other Improbable Stories, which won a Lambda Literary Award, was a Booklist Editor's Choice for Teen Readers, and is an American Library Association "Over the Rainbow" book. I also write the award-winning Fisher Key adventure books for GLBTQ teens (Mystery of the Tempest, The Secret of Othello, and The Missing Juliet), the Outback Stars military sf series, and many other books. My most current bibliography is here.

My short stories include cowboy sexbots, transgender ghosts, fairy firefighters and lots more. My fiction has appeared in Asimov's, Fantasy and Science Fiction, Strange Horizons, Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, Daily Science Fiction, Realms of Fantasy, Rosebud, Chizine, and dozens of other magazines and anthologies. Four of my stories have been on the short list or honor list of the James A. Tiptree Award for gender issues.

On my wall is a master's degree is in Creative Writing, and among other things I teach college and travel to England whenever I can. All the rest of the dirt is at Sandra
7th-Sep-2014 09:28 pm - Some updates

Hello, end of summer 2014! Over at I've been busy adding projects and publications, and here's some of my favorites-- Annie Wu is on sale for September, Ettie Ruiz is in pre-order, and Lea Boone will be out for Valentine's Day. Annie's cover is done and cover 2 and 3 are in final proofing stages.

These were a ton of fun to write, and even more fun to share.

Annie Wu April 2014 Ettie Ruiz Lea Boone Beyond the Moon

28th-Dec-2013 08:05 pm - Year in Review: My Short Fiction
I had 5 new short stories printed in 2013, and one reprint.  All of them are stories I enjoyed writing and seem to have gone over well, but I can't be sure because I don't read reviews.

"The Stars Beneath Our Feet" (co-written by Steve Covey) appeared in the YA anthology Futuredaze. This was particularly fun to write because of our kick-ass teen heroine and Steve's careful attention to physics when a shuttle trip goes wrong.

"End of the Road" - Full of puns. Seriously, all puns. Post-apocalyptic artificial puns. It's in NH Pulp Fiction #3 Live Free or Sci Fi, and any day now I'll get my contributor's copies and money. Meanwhile, puns.

"Sylvia Ascending" - I wrote this for the LaunchPad anthology. Sylvia Plath in space, what's not to love?  I'm becoming a Plath fangirl. Don't tell anyone.

"Our Daughters" - my feminist broadside at Apex magazine because I'm sick of the increasing restrictions on women I'm seeing here in America (and abroad). It inspired a rant at Tangent Online and some kind reader mail.


"Fleet" - my transgender post-apoc story set in Guam. This was the third of three Guam stories that I wrote in 2012. The first appeared in Christmas anthology and the second ("Love Land") I self-published on Smashwords, where it's been downloaded (free) almost a thousand times now.  "Fleet" will be appearing in next year's Year's Best anthology ed. Dozois, which delights me very much.

Also my story "The Black Feminist's Guide to Science Fiction Film Editing" was reprtined in Year's Best 2013 ed. Horton, which makes me happy. That's a story I really enjoyed writing because of the film jokes. Science Fiction film jokes. Science fiction film jokes and an homage to legendary female sf writer Leigh Brackett.

It was a good year in short fiction, and I already have 3 stories coming out in 2014. So here's to short fiction!

Happy book birthday to The Missing Juliet, book 3 in my series for GLBTQ and straight teens and allies. I had an enormous amount of fun writing this --

- Key West!
- Hollywood film shoot!
- Science fiction film satire!
- Teenage girl crushes and first love!
- Boy actors in love!
- A kidnapping!
- A transgender sidekick!


Thanks as always to Bold Strokes Books for supporting these books, which got a great review in Lambda Literary earlier this year. BSB is a great publisher - highly recommended.

And now back to grading - only 54 essays left and I can call it a day.

In the big move from Boston in 2006, I got rid of many albums but kept some faves - the soundtrack to The Empire Strikes Back, Prince's Purple Rain, Styx, Disney songs from the 1960's and 70's. These were recently unearthed from the bottom of a closet. Rather than throw them out, I bought the cheapest player I could get from Amazon using shopping points.  I didn't intend to start a new collection, but just for fun I swung by a record store at the Jacksonville Flea Market. Started combing through my favorite Goodwill and antique stores. Maybe ordered a few off ebay. And now, it seems, I have a collection going again.

This big box set of Smithsonian recordings makes me especially happy. I got it for $15 at my favorite antique store but it's listed for $50 or more on ebay. Seven vinyl records full of classics starting with Bessie Smith and Sophie Tucker and moving up to the 1960's. Here's Sampson showing it off.

2013-08-23 09.26.14

I understand in theory that vinyl represents a wider range of the acoustic spectrum than mp3, though I don't personally hear a signifiant difference. There's something soothing about a spinning turntable, however. Also, during the zombie apocalypse, I'd be afraid to hook up my computer to a generator, but maybe the turntable would work. I can envision the wistful, bittersweet scene now: me and my neighbors drinking cheap wine and listening to bittersweet music while the zombies burn the cities around us.  
6th-Aug-2013 11:01 am - Awesome picture

This is one of my favorite pictures grabbed from twitter this week. The ISS against a daytime moon.

Ridiculously inspiring.

ISS against full moon by day
3rd-Aug-2013 09:23 am - 90 in 90, or how it's going

NASA threw me off track, as did end-of-term busyness and Mom's medical stuff and just being swamped.

Summer reading goal: 90 short stories in 90 days and tweet about them.

@sandramcdonald tracking so far: 37 stories in 48 days

Recent authors:  Tony Li, Warren Ellis, Lorrie Moore, Leah Cypress, Sam Lipsyte, Jonathan Lethem

Upcoming this week: Adam Johnson, Elizabeth Zeimska, Jay O'Connell, and more I have not read

Also been reading Tess Gerritsen's awesome novel Gravity (medical and space thriller set aboard ISS), Lisa Zunshine's Why We Read Fiction (for school), and the Rainbow Rowell YA book Fangirl.

Also been reading for online critique group and a zillion student newspapers. Also been reading every Clint/Coulson fanfic story I can get ahold of. Also been reading non-fiction articles voraciously.

Lots of reading, like cool water after a long trek.

29th-Jul-2013 08:48 am - July and NASA oh my!
July has been one of those months that slips through your fingers like sand - sometimes sparkly sand, sometimes gritty sand, sometimes sand that gets under your fingernails and irritates the soft flesh no matter how hard you dig at it.

On the very positive side, sold a story to Asimov's - yay!  "Story of Our Lives" was written about my alma mater Ithaca College and my alma city (or something like that) Los Angeles. I miss the serene beauty of upstate New York, and don't miss at all the freeway traffic of LA - but I do miss the Santa Monica pier, and not the snowy winters around Lake Cayuga.

On an ultimately life-changing positive side, I was selected to attend a NASA Social Media event at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. A whirlwind 2 day trip ensued, and my tour of JSC was amazing in all aspects. Our group visited Mission Control for ISS, historic Mission Control for the Apollo and shuttle programs, and the lab where astronauts and cosmonauts learn to use COLBERT (treadmill) and ARED ("weight" lifting machine). We met astronauts, scientists and staff, all of them gracious and helpful. My hosts in Houston were Amy Sisson and Paul Abell - Amy was my roommate ten years ago at a Strange Horizons workshop and Paul works at JSC. They are a delightful couple, with a house full of books and cats, writing and science, and I'm eternally grateful.

Here's me on the red phone of historic Mission Control. If you've seen Apollo 13 with Tom Hanks and Ed Harris, this is the room where all of the earthside drama happened.
2013-07-17 11.38.12

The trip temporarily derailed my 90 short stories in 90 days twitter, but I'm back in that saddle today. I'm also rounding up non-fiction recs, geeky bits, and links to NASA and ISS news.

Here I am on twitter
Here's my Facebook author page with some other pictures
Here's a of pictures on Google+
1st-Jul-2013 09:59 am - Sandra's newest book is born!
Very proud to see my latest book hit the shelves!  It's a gay-asexual thriller featuring disabled veterans, Occupy Philly, and a smidgen of the supernatural. I took a lot of risks with it. I lost a lot of sleep over it. Dreamspinner Press bought it, and did a kick-ass job with the cover and production process. It's already got great reviews on Amazon (though I can't read them) and I'm just happy, happy, happy.


This is my second book this year, with a third on the way.  My first book this year was another project I had a lot of fun with -- seriously, lots of fun, and thank you to Bold Stroke Books for bringing that into the world.  It's got fast cars, country western music, some nifty little robots and two boys falling in love. One of my favorite books ever (although they are all my favorites, in different ways).
Kings of Ruin 300 DPI

2103 has been a stressful and challenging year, but when I look at these two books I am reminded how great it is to write and share stories.
29th-Jun-2013 04:44 pm - 90 in 90 update
My 90 days of 90 short stories continues!  Although my color Nook died, taking all of my issues of Asimov's. Not sure if I'll go get another one. I like the Nook but I have the very cheap Kindle and an iPad, so perhaps don't need it except I did like the media capabilities and my Angry Birds app,

The 90 in 90 is on my twitter account sandramcdonald. It's helping me condense down my thought to a pithy 140 characters including the hashtags and such. I see a gender imbalance here that will be corrected next week. Except for Hauntings, the Ellen Datlow anthology, it's also skewing online, because that's what I have the easiest access to when I'm dashing about my day.

Just in terms of style, my favorites so far are Lucius Shepard's Delta Sly Honey and Steven Millhauser's Thirteen Wives: both stories are elegant, descriptive, lyrical, sensuous to the brain.

Day Date Author Title Publication
5 6/21/13 Bowes Transfigured Night Hauntings
6 6/22/13 Shepard Delta Sly Honey Hauntings
7 6/23/13 Hand The Have-Nots Hauntings
8 6/24/13 Pinsker Twenty Ways DailySF
9 6/25/13 Burch The Apartment The Collagist
10 6/26/13 Millhauser Thirteen Ways The New Yorker
11 6/27/13 Bennardo The Pentitent Beneath Ceaseless Skies
12 6/28/13 Tidhar Titanic Apex
13 6/29/13 Penn Jawbreaker Bourbon Penn

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