Altered Fluid: Home of the Altered Fluid writers group

Quick Sip Reviews “Demon in Aisle 6”

This morning I received this nice review of “Demon in Aisle 6” from Charles Payseur at Quick Sip Reviews:

“Stories like this wreck me. Just absolutely wreck me. There is an aching beauty and tragedy to this story that just sits like a weight on my chest. In short, it is an amazing story, amazingly sad and moving and okay it’s been a while since I’ve cried like that but hurrah, my eyes still work for that…But my glob is this a beautiful story. A haunting story that looks at fear and guilt, a story that shows us that we are all made of stars, but we are not all free. Fuck. Seriously go and check out this story. It is amazing and all the yes.” 

You can read the full review here. And you can read “Demon in Aisle 6” in Nightmare Magazine here.


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QDH & “Hungry Daughters” Review Roundup

A quick roundup of some of the reviews I’ve been seeing for QDH/“Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers,” since it’s nice to have ‘em all in one place.

Little Badger Reviews Queers Destroy Horror!

“Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers” couples visceral horror imagery with a relatable emotional core. It culminates in a heartbreaking, macabre, and linguistically beautiful finale that cements Wong as a great horror writer. I highly recommend this story, if you have an iron stomach.

Reading Diaries: Ravens, Sparrows, and Horror Oh My!

Favourite piece is definitely Alyssa Wong’s “Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers,” though I would recommend not eating just before or just after reading it.

Quick Sips – Nightmare 37 – QUEERS DESTROY HORROR!

Deep and complex, about legacy and about finding a way out of cycles and about feeling trapped by circumstance, [“Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers”] still manages to be darkly humorous.

Week 40 Speculative Fiction Reviews – S. Qiouyi Lu [for “Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers” only]

“Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers” is deeply divorced from our reality in its premise, but it’s also a very human, very personal story… trauma, personal and intergenerational, hums throughout.


I have become absolutely hooked on the various Destroy SF projects of the last couple of years. October’s Nightmare Magazine special issue, Queers Destroy Horror was another great entry into the series.

io9 Newsstand: Is It Cold In Here, Or Did You Just Suck Out My Soul? [for “Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers” only]

This story is so visceral and it doesn’t hold back on all that’s implied in this opening bit. Wong has a talent for creating horrific situations that nonetheless feel right and even righteous. It’s not easy to make a reader identify or empathize with a narrator of this nature, and yet the author manages to do so (for me, at least). Highly Recommended.

Reviews: New & Noteworthy Short Genre Fiction, Nov/Dec 2015, Fantastic Stories of the Imagination [for “Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers” only]

Here, hungry horror is effortlessly spliced with elegance…. One of the best things about this story is how organic it feels, seamlessly integrating technology, contemporary dating, and fantastic monsters.

Short Fiction Monday, Fantasy Literature [for “Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers” only, review by Katie Burton]

A sensory delight of a horror story, dark, beguiling and, incidentally, featuring a lesbian protagonist. It tells the story of a young woman living in New York who, like a twisted vampire, feeds on people’s thoughts rather than their blood. Alyssa Wong is fast becoming one of my go-to authors for interesting, unexpected short fiction.

Halloween Thrills: Our Favorite Unbound Chills [for “Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers” only]

The conceit is an admirably complex power reversal: the outsider is empowered by the daily flood of misogyny and hate directed at her, but however delectable, the meals are still loathsome.

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“Demon in Aisle 6” Out Today in Nightmare

nightmare-nov-2015My story, “Demon in Aisle 6,” is out today in Nightmare Magazine. It’s about a gay romance in an unwelcoming high school, plus demons. Here’s the opener:

I first saw the demon the Sunday after you died. It was 11:53 p.m. Just seven minutes until I would have grabbed my knapsack and biked home to Mom and bed and a life of sound sleep. That night the flurries were drifting down like nuclear ash. Most folks had fled for warmer places, but a few shopper-zombies still wandered SuperMart’s bright aisles, seeking redemption in the form of deep discounts. I was wheeling a mop and bucket down to Aisle 17, where a crate of cherry soda had fallen from the shelf and sent high-fructose fizz all over the concrete floor. When I passed Aisle 6, the demon looked up at me.

I felt as if a swarm of moths had hatched in my belly and were wriggling out of their cocoons to feast on my organs, as if someone’s hand had clutched my heart and squeezed. It hurt so much I gagged, because there he stood, this giant ball of brown afterbirth, eight feet tall, hunched and crooked, one eye white and huge, like the moon on the night you died, the other this black drop of oil, a black hole sucking up all light. He was a pinwheel of jagged teeth and claws and bones, like some aborted dinosaur fetus.

You can read the rest of the story here. There is also an excellent podcast of the story via that link, narrated by Paul Boehmer. 

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angrygirlcomics: I am so delighted (and terrified) to share…


I am so delighted (and terrified) to share this one page comic collaboration between myself & the amazingly talented @crashwong

when Alyssa first told me this real life ghost story, it haunted the crap out of me, so of course I bugged her to write it into a script because everyone else deserves nightmare fuel too 

Once upon a time, I told Wendy my creepiest ghost story. Then she drew it as a comic!! This was one hell of a collaboration, super fun, and we managed to spook each other all over again while we were working on it! 

Check it out! ༼ ༎ຶ ෴ ༎ຶ༽

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Death of a Salesman in Yiddish

Avi Hoffman as Willy Loman

Avi Hoffman as Willy Loman

Yesterday, we saw the New Yiddish Rep perform Death of a Salesman in Yiddish. Wow. What a show. The acting was superb. I’ve been studying Yiddish in my spare time for about three years, and I think this is perhaps the longest period where I’ve listened to spoken Yiddish. I understood quite a bit, and was happy (but not surprised) to notice differences between the spoken Yiddish and the supertitled translations in English projected on the wall. One of the actors said, “Hok nit kin tchainik,” which means literally, “Don’t knock a tea kettle,” and translates idiomatically as “Don’t make a bother.” The English translation was something akin to, “Don’t worry.” There were lots of little minor translation differences like these that gave me joy.

But the best part of the performance was the acting. Avi Hoffman, who played Willy Loman, was incredible. Truly from the moment he stepped on stage until his sad departure I never once doubted he was a down-and-out salesman slowly losing his mind. And the supporting cast was amazing too. Suzanne Toren as Linda, Daniel Kahn and Lev Herskovitz as Biff and Happy. Plus all the others were truly astounding. Makes me wish I were alive during Yiddish theater’s heyday last century. There are only a handful of performances remaining, and even if you don’t speak Yiddish, I highly recommend the play. (The English translation is projected above the actors throughout.) 

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Reddit AMA, November 17th

reddit-fantasyThis coming Tuesday, November 17th, I’ll be participating in a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) over in their fantasy subreddit. Come on by during the hours of 11am through about 9pm Eastern Daylight Time to ask me questions about writing, my debut novel King of Shards, being in a writers group, or as the title says, anything

Look for the post announcing the AMA here on November 17th:

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Philly Diversity Conference: Telling the Story of All of Us

If you’re near Philadelphia this weekend, come to “Telling the Story of All of Us: Books for a Modern World”, a conference celebrating diversity in middle grade and young adult literature!

On Saturday, Nov. 14 and Sunday, Nov. 15, panels will feature many authors, including Sonia Manzano (Becoming Maria),  I.W. Gregorio (None of the Above), Shaun Hutchinson (The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley), Corinne Duyvis (Otherbound), and more!

I’ll be moderating a discussion of “The Author’s Journey and the Author’s Responsibility” on Sunday from 3:45-4:45 p.m. at Friends’ Central School in Wynnewood, PA, followed by a signing and reception. My books will be available for purchase, as will all the other authors — courtesy of Children’s Book World, the excellent hosts of the events. Buy books to support them and our diverse authors!

cbw composite


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Back from the World Fantasy Convention

King of Shards in the dealer's room.

King of Shards in the dealer’s room.

The World Fantasy Convention this past weekend in Saratoga Springs was a smashing success. I hadn’t been in Saratoga Springs, New York since 2007, and back then I was publishing Sybil’s Garage and had just published Paper CitiesAn Anthology of Urban Fantasy, edited by Ekaterina Sedia, which went on to win the World Fantasy Award the following year. I always have a fantastic time at the World Fantasy Convention, and this was the first con I’ve attended since my first novel King of Shards debuted, so the place has always had a special meaning for me. It didn’t disappoint again this year.

Some of the highlights of the con for me, in no particular order:

  • Selling 18 copies of King of Shards at the con (both from my stash and from copies sold in the dealers’ room).
  • Reading from King of Shards to an appreciative audience.
  • Signing 8 copies of King of Shards in the mass autographing section, and someone whom I didn’t know telling me how he was reading the book and “loving it!”
  • A professor at Ithaca College asking me to sign my short story “The Great Game at the End of the World” in the anthology After, and telling me she will be teaching it in her class.
  • Meeting Walter Jon Williams and him asking me to inscribe King of Shards for him.
  • Throwing a book release party with Rajan Khanna and chatting with all the interesting people who wandered through.
  • Hanging out with all the folks from the “JJA Posse,” namely John Joseph Adams, Doug Cohen, Desirina Boskovich, & Chris Cevasco  (not present at con: David Barr Kirtley and Matt & Jordan London).
  • Talking with Derek Ford, an amazingly talented artist and Jeff Ford’s son. 
  • Meeting and speaking and hanging out with so many awesome and talented people, whose names are too numerous to list. You know who you are.

Here’s a link to some photos I took at the con!

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Pay what you want for the “Orange Volume” anthology – a fundraiser for the Clarion Writer’s Workshop

I credit the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop with 100% of the amazing good fortune I’ve had in the past three years. The stories I’ve sold, the awards I’ve been nominated for, the magnificent friendships I’ve formed with incredible writers and editors and agents and readers – none of that could have happened if I hadn’t been fortunate enough to end up as part of the Clarion class of 2012…. aka THE AWKWARD ROBOTS. (for a mere taste of all the wisdom and awesome that I absorbed at Clarion, check out this list of 300+ pieces of writing advice from our workshops!)

My brilliant teachers and classmates made me so so so much better than I was, and for 40+ years the Clarion Workshop has been spawning amazing new science fiction and fantasy and horror writers… Octavia Butler, Ted Chiang, Cory Doctorow, Nalo Hopkinson, Kelly Link… the list is overwhelming, and well-nigh-endless.

Because we were so transformed by the experience, as people and as writers, my class is committed to keeping the Clarion experience alive. So for the second year in a row, we Awkward Robots have created an anthology of short fiction that’s available for sale as a fundraiser for the Clarion Foundation! These are original stories you can’t find anywhere else, from fucking amazing writers, some of whom are already setting the genre on fire, and the rest of whom are ABOUT to do so. The Awkward Robots’ Orange Volume is a collection of stories from the Clarion UCSD class of 2012, proudly presented as a fundraiser for the Clarion Foundation.


BoingBoing says:

“Time traveling gamers, levee-breaking mermaids, and frayed sanity on the first manned mission to Europa. It’s all packed between the pages of The Orange Volume. The cohesive Clarion class of 2012 is at it again. Last year they released The Red Volume and raised $1,500 for the Clarion Foundation. This year–just in time for Halloween–they’re following up with The Orange Volume.”

It features fifteen original stories, and is offered for a limited time on a pay-what-you-can basis. It comes in multiple, DRM-free e-book formats (epub/iBooks, mobi/Kindle, and PDF). All proceeds (after hosting fees) will be donated to the Clarion Foundation

Or, you can also donate directly via PayPal to


THE FULL CAST OF THE AWKWARD ROBOTS! l-r: Lisa Bolekaja, Pierre Liebenberg, Deborah Bailey, Sam J. Miller, Luke R. Pebler, Sadie Bruce, E.G. Cosh, Daniel McMinn, Eliza Blair, Eric Esser, UCSD director Shelley Streeby, Sarah Mack, Lara Elena Donnelly, Danica Cummins, Joseph Kim, Jonathan Fortin, Chris Kammerud, instructor Jeffrey Ford, Carmen Maria Machado, Ruby Katigbak


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If you think this is funny, you’re a sick fuck

If you think this is funny, you're a sick fuck

If you think this is funny, you’re a sick fuck

So Jimmy Kimmel has this thing where parents film their kids as they tell them they’ve eaten all their Halloween candy. The kids wail and cry and generally freak out, and these classy exemplars of good parenting then send their video clips to Jimmy Kimmel, who selects among the “best” to air on national TV, for the enjoyment of millions.

Seriously, how fucking narcissistic do you have to be to intentionally hurt your child while filming them? And not only this, but you then send the clips to a national TV show to be aired? Not only do you get to laugh at your child, but now millions can laugh at your child with you. Parents think it’s funny. So do millions of people. But what about the kid? He didn’t factor into the emotional equation, did he? Not really. Most people said to themselves, “It’s just candy. The parents told their kids they were just kidding as soon as the video ended, a joke for TV.”

But did you see the parents say this? Did you hear their apology? Did you see how the kids reacted to being lied to for someone else’s amusement? No, you didn’t. All you saw were parents lying to their children in order to hurt them, while filming and laughing at them, and then sharing it with millions, who laughed too. 

Here’s the thing about narcissists, they assume their own thoughts are universal. In this case, they think it’s okay to intentionally hurt their child, because the candy isn’t really gone, and the reaction from the child isn’t really justified. But this is the parent projecting their own emotions onto the child. The parents would not react this way, so why should the child be so upset? But of course the child would be upset. And here’s the most disgusting thing: the parents knew how much it would hurt their children. This is why they filmed it in the first place. And to these poor kids, who haven’t developed the emotional capacity to know the difference between missing candy and a great tragedy, the missing candy is a great tragedy. 

I’m severely disturbed that so many millions of people see nothing at all wrong with hurting children for public amusement. But I am not at all surprised.


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