So, after several years spent watching ‘awards eligibility posts’ pop up every year on social media and wondering ‘What’s that about? Ah well, doesn’t concern me anyway,’ I was finally forced to put on my Big Writer Hat and learn — because I had a short story published this year!

TtBTtBTBLB (as I lovingly call it) is a story of gods and sacrifices, mountains and mental illness — and what happens when the person picked as sacrifice is unfortunately all-too-willing to go. (Content warning below if you need them.) It’s weird, queer, and dear to my heart, and if you have a moment and/or you’re currently considering nominations for awards, I’d be thrilled if you gave it a read.

This is also my first year of eligibility for the Astounding Award! In case you’re not familiar, this is an award for new writers whose first professional work of science fiction or fantasy was published in the last two years. Again, if you’re reading for the Astounding I’d be over the moon if you consider giving my story a look!

P. S.: Content warnings for “Things to Bring, Things to Burn, Things Best Left Behind”: a (non-graphic) near-suicide-attempt on the first page, suicidal ideation throughout, and several brief, implied mentions of transphobia and an emotionally abusive parent.

— CEM