It’s been a really nice half-term break so far. The kids are off school/childcare for a week, and I had a wonderful birthday with them. They took me to a nearby butterfly zoo, and I loved it! I may not be used to being 39 yet (why is this number so disconcerting to me? I don’t know!), but I had a great time becoming it.
If you’re reading this on my website blog, I need to warn you that I’m in the messy middle of switching over to a new website design…which means that most of the pages don’t look quite right yet, and I need to fill in a WHOLE lot of new text and links! My goal is to get that all done by the end of the week, so that I can leap straight back into nonstop writing as soon as the kids go back to school…but this is half-term, which means we have no childcare, so: we’ll see!
But in one piece of very nice writing news that came today, my short story “Mums’ Group” has just been published in the anthology Futuristica: Volume I! I very rarely write science fiction, but my brother Dave asked me to stretch myself, do something different, and write a near-future science fiction story as his Christmas gift. So I did, and I really enjoyed it!
“Mums’ Group” is a near-future SF story set in Leeds, England, where I lived when my older son was a baby, and it’s a dark and funny (I hope!) story about the pressure mothers face to be perfect, no matter what that takes. It’s also about the way our friends help get us through it! So I’d like to take a moment now to give a public and deeply grateful thank-you to all the mums’ groups (in both Leeds and Wales, and also online!) that have supported and saved me in so many ways ever since I had my first baby.
Here’s a quick snippet from the opening:
By Stephanie Burgis
There was a virus in Megan’s Mum-implant, even though she’d uploaded all the firewalls.
…Or at least, her ex had. Maybe that was the problem.
“Damn it!” She shook her head irritably, trying to focus on the crowded pavement ahead of her through the dark red haze that filtered her vision. Groups of laughing, strolling university students filled the big streets of Leeds’s pedestrian-only town centre, along with businessmen and –women carrying travel cups of coffee and other women like Megan who were out shopping with young children, forming a shifting obstacle course in every direction.
She jerked her pushchair out of the way of one fast-walking woman in a tailored suit just as a warm, rich, maternal voice said in her left ear: “Swearing in front of your children is wrong. Guilt. Guiiiiiilt…”
“Abel’s at school right now, and Lucy’s asleep,” Megan muttered, pushing Lucy’s pushchair a little faster. “Neither of them heard me. Anyway, I’m on my way to mummy group, for God’s sake! I’m being good.”
Through the red haze, she caught the startled look on two businessmen’s faces as they veered out of her way, wide-eyed and wary. Wincing, she clamped her lips shut. The businessmen weren’t the only ones who’d heard her, obviously; but the woman who passed her next, pushing a pram of her own, sent her a wry, commiserating smile and tapped her ear knowingly…
You can add the book on Goodreads or buy it as a paperback or an ebook on Amazon. (US link/U.K. link/CA link). I’m really sorry to only be linking to Amazon purchase options – they are my least favorite bookseller! – but it isn’t up yet for purchase on any other online bookstores, at least as far as I can tell. Do let me know if you spot it elsewhere, and I’ll add those links too!
But right now it’s half-term, and the kids and I have signed up for the 30 Days Wild challenge being hosted by the Wildlife Trusts, committing to doing something wild every day of June, even if it’s just hunting for bugs in our back garden. Time to head outside and get started! :)