Choose Wisely: 35 Women Up To No Good

31 March 2015

Choose Wisely: 35 Women Up To No Good is a feminist anthology of dark fiction, co-edited by H. L. Nelson and Joanne Merriam. Containing 35 stories of “bad” women, and “good” women who just haven’t been caught yet, it features Joyce Carol Oates, Aimee Bender, Diane Cook, and 33 other fearless women writers. In January 2016, it was nominated for a This Is Horror Award.

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About this book:

Table of Contents:

  • Janet Shell Anderson, “Every Purpose Under Heaven”
  • Sidney Archer, “Woman Enough”
  • Alisha M. Attella, “Rise”
  • Gwen Beatty, “Angel Thinks She Will Die Very Soon”
  • Aimee Bender, “Broke”
  • Tina Connolly, “Hard Choices”
  • Diane Cook, “Moving On”
  • Kathy Fish, “The Hollow”
  • Amina Gautier, “A Cup of My Time”
  • Amelia Gray and Lindsay Hunter, “Sisters”
  • Tina May Hall, “Vampire”
  • Rebecca Jones-Howe, “Better Places”
  • Andrea Kneeland, “Imagination”
  • Molly Laich, “Kristen Doesn’t Like Surprise Parties”
  • Heather Lindsley, “The Angel of Death Has a Business Plan”
  • Holly Lopez, “The Head”
  • Kelly Luce, “Rooey”
  • Mesha Maren, “Eminent Domain”
  • Jessica McHugh, “In the Silt”
  • Mary Miller, “This Boy I Loved a Rock”
  • Ellen Birkett Morris, “After the Fall”
  • Joyce Carol Oates, “Spotted Hyenas: A Romance”
  • Jennifer Pelland, “The Kennel Club”
  • Cat Rambo, “Ms. Liberty Gets a Haircut”
  • Joani Reese, “Good Neighbors”
  • Marytza K. Rubio, “Clap If You Believe”
  • Nisi Shawl, “Looking for Lilith”
  • Quill Shiv, “The Bitter Sea”
  • Emily Slaney, “Bear Traps”
  • Amber Sparks, “We Dressed Up Like Other People”
  • Rachel Swirsky, “The Sea of Trees”
  • Meg Tuite, “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?”
  • Damien Angelica Walters, “Girl, With Coin”
  • xTx, “Today I Am A Wife”
  • Bonnie ZoBell, “Tricking the Moon”

 

Contributor Bios:

Janet Shell Anderson has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize for fiction and the Micro Prize for short fiction, published by Cease, Cows; decomP; FRIGG; Vestal Review; Gemini Magazine; Black Heart; Convergence; Grey Sparrow; and others. She likes flash fiction and is an attorney.

Sidney Archer is one of the pseudonyms of K.D. McCrite, popular author of children’s books and cozy mysteries. As Sidney Archer, she looks into the darker side of life, seeking redemptive qualities found in the shadows. She harbors passion for a well-crafted story, a unique plot twist, or a colorful phrase. Her books guide readers along narrow paths fraught with obstacles and illusion until light shines fully on what was hidden. Desolate Heart, a between-worlds novel, tells the story of a cursed painting, the man who has been trapped in it for a century, and the modern-day woman who finds him.

Alisha M. Attella lives in Long Beach, California with her two blond children and one black cat. In their tiny apartment she reads books, scratches out poems and stories, raises-up the children, and talks to the cat about writers and schedules and the wonders of publishing. She’s served as Managing Editor at Mojave River Press & Review and Cease, Cows, and her own work can be found in Lummox, East Jasmine Review, San Pedro River Review, Cadence Collective, and elsewhere.

Gwen Beatty is a sorority dropout from Iowa. She is an editor at First Stop Fiction and her website is the ridiculously convenient gwenbeatty.com.

Aimee Bender is the author of five books, including The Girl in the Flammable Skirt and The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. Her work has been translated into sixteen languages. She lives in Los Angeles.

Tina Connolly lives with her family in Portland, Oregon. Her stories have appeared in Lightspeed, Tor.com, Strange Horizons, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Her first fantasy novel, Ironskin (Tor 2012), was nominated for a Nebula, and the sequels Copperhead and Silverblind are now out. She narrates for Podcastle and Beneath Ceaseless Skies, runs the Parsec-winning flash fiction podcast Toasted Cake, and her website is tinaconnolly.com.

Diane Cook is the author of the story collection Man V. Nature (Harper, 2014). Her fiction has been published in Harper’s, Granta, Tin House, One Story, Zoetrope, Guernica, and elsewhere. Her nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times Magazine and on This American Life, where she worked as a radio producer for six years. She won the 2012 Calvino Prize for fabulist fiction, and earned an MFA from Columbia University, where she was a teaching fellow. She lives in Oakland, California.

Kathy Fish’s short fiction has been published or is forthcoming in The Lineup: 25 Provocative Women Writers (Black Lawrence Press, 2015), Guernica, Indiana Review, Denver Quarterly, and elsewhere. She served as guest editor of Dzanc Books’ Best of the Web 2010. She is the author of three collections of short fiction: a chapbook of flash fiction in the chapbook collective, A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness: Four Chapbooks of Short Short Fiction by Four Women (Rose Metal Press, 2008), Wild Life (Matter Press, 2011), and Together We Can Bury It (The Lit Pub, 2012).

Amina Gautier is the author of two short story collections: At-Risk, which won the Flannery O’Connor Award (University of Georgia Press, 2011) and Now We Will Be Happy, which won the Prairie Schooner Book Prize (University of Nebraska Press, 2014). More than eighty of her short stories have been published, appearing in Antioch Review, Best African American Fiction, Callaloo, Crazyhorse, Glimmer Train Stories, Iowa Review, Kenyon Review, North American Review, Notre Dame Review, and Southern Review among other places. Her stories have been honored with the Crazyhorse Fiction Prize, the Danahy Prize, the Jack Dyer Prize, the Lamar York Prize, the Schlafly Microfiction Award, and the William Richey Award as well as fellowships from the American Antiquarian Society, Breadloaf Writer’s Conference, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center, MacDowell Colony, Prairie Center of the Arts, the Retreat for Writers at Hawthornden Castle, Sewanee Writer’s Conference, Ucross Foundation, Vermont Studio Center, and Writers in the Heartland, as well as artist grants from the Illinois Arts Council and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

Amelia Gray is the author of four books: AM/PM, Museum of the Weird, THREATS, and Gutshot. She lives in Los Angeles, where she is at work on a novel.

Tina May Hall lives in upstate New York where she teaches creative writing at Hamilton College. Her collection The Physics of Imaginary Objects won the 2010 Drue Heinz Literature Prize and was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. Her stories have appeared in Quarterly West, Black Warrior Review, The Collagist, Fourth River, and other literary magazines.

Lindsay Hunter is the author of the story collections Daddy’s and Don’t Kiss Me and the novel, Ugly Girls. Find her at lindsayhunter.com.

Rebecca Jones-Howe lives and writes in Kamloops, British Columbia. Her work has appeared in [PANK], Pulp Modern, and Punchnel’s, among others. Her first collection of short fiction, Vile Men, will be released by Dark House Press in summer of 2015. She can be found online at rebeccajoneshowe.com.

Andrea Kneeland is the author of How to Pose for Hustler (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2015). Her stories and poems have appeared in more than 50 journals and anthologies. More work can be found at andreakneeland.com.

Molly Laich is a writer in Seattle. Her work has appeared in Hobart, [PANK], Midwestern Gothic, and beyond. You can read her blog at mollylaich.com.

Heather Lindsley’s work has appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Asimov’s, and Strange Horizons. Her fiction has also been in John Joseph Adams’s dystopian anthology Brave New Worlds, in Year’s Best SF 12, edited by David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer, and in Talking Back, edited by L. Timmel Duchamp. She has been featured on Escape Pod as a writer and on Podcastle as a reader, and her stories have appeared in Polish, Romanian, Russian, and French translations.

Holly Lopez lives in Charlotte, NC with her husband, pampered Doberman, and the growing number of offbeat characters mulling about in her head. Her work has appeared in Plots With Guns and Charlotte Viewpoint.

Kelly Luce’s story collection, Three Scenarios in Which Hana Sasaki Grows a Tail, won the 2013 Foreword Review’s Editors Choice Prize in Fiction. Her work has been honored by fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Jentel Arts, Ragdale Foundation, Kerouac House, and Michener Center for Writers, and has appeared in Salon, O Magazine, Crazyhorse, American Short Fiction, Electric Literature, and other magazines. She’s the editorial assistant for the O. Henry Prize anthology and editor-in-chief of Bat City Review. She grew up in Illinois and currently lives in Austin, TX.

Mesha Maren is a fiction writer from southern West Virginia whose work appears or is forthcoming in Tin House, The Oxford American, Hobart, The Barcelona Review, and other literary journals as well as the anthology Forty Stories: New Writing from Harper Perennial.

Jessica McHugh is an author of speculative fiction spanning the genre from horror and alternate history to young adult. She has had seventeen books published in six years, including her bestselling Post Mortem Press thriller, Rabbits in the Garden, and the first two books in her edgy YA series from Evolved Publishing, The Darla Decker Diaries. More info on her speculations and publications can be found at JessicaMcHughBooks.com.

Mary Miller is the author of two books, Big World and The Last Days of California. Her work has appeared in dozens of journals and anthologies including McSweeney’s Quarterly, American Short Fiction, the Oxford American, and New Stories from the South.

Ellen Birkett Morris is a writer and poet based in Louisville, Kentucky. Her fiction has appeared in journals including The Antioch Review, Notre Dame Review, South Carolina Review, Santa Fe Literary Review, wigleaf, and Paradigm. Her story “The Cycle of Life and Other Incidentals” was a finalist in the Glimmer Train Press Family Matters short story competition. Morris is a recipient of a 2013 Al Smith Fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council.

Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Book Award, the National Humanities Medal, the Commonwealth Award for Distinguished Service in Literature, and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction. Her acclaimed fiction includes We Were the Mulvaneys, Blonde, and The Falls. She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University.

Jennifer Pelland is a two-time Nebula nominee for short fiction, and has a short story collection (Unwelcome Bodies) and novel (Machine) available from Apex Publications. Nowadays, she mostly belly dances. Find her at www.jenniferpelland.com.

Although currently on the road, Cat Rambo usually lives, writes, and teaches by the shores of an eagle-haunted lake in the Pacific Northwest. Her 200+ fiction publications include stories in Asimov’s, Clarkesworld Magazine, and Tor.com. Her short story, “Five Ways to Fall in Love on Planet Porcelain,” from her story collection Near + Far (Hydra House Books), was a 2012 Nebula nominee. Her editorship of Fantasy Magazine earned her a World Fantasy Award nomination in 2012. She is the current Vice President of SFWA. For more about her, as well as links to her fiction, see kittywumpus.net.

Joani Reese is the author of two poetry chapbooks, Final Notes and Dead Letters, and the poetry collection Night Chorus, forthcoming from Lit Fest Press. Reese’s poetry and fiction have been widely anthologized and featured in over seventy print and online venues. She has been poetry editor for THIS Magazine and senior poetry editor for Connotation Press—An Online Artifact and was fiction guest editor for Scissors and Spackle in 2013 & 2014. Reese is currently Editor-in-Chief of the online magazine MadHat Lit, the quarterly online presence of MadHat Publishing. Reese won the first Patricia McFarland Memorial Prize for her flash fiction and The Graduate School Creative Writing Award from The University of Memphis for her poetry, where she earned her MFA. Reese won the 15th Glass Woman Prize in 2014 for her flash fiction and currently lives in Texas with six fine cats and some men. She also has a real job.

Marytza K. Rubio is a writer from Santa Ana, CA.

Nisi Shawl’s acclaimed story collection Filter House was one of two winners of the 2009 James Tiptree, Jr. Award and a nominee for the World Fantasy Award. She was WisCon 35’s Guest of Honor. She edited WisCon Chronicles 5: Writing and Racial Identity and with Dr. Rebecca J. Holden she co-edited Strange Matings: Octavia E. Butler, Science Fiction, Feminism, and African American Voices. With classmate Cynthia Ward she co-authored Writing the Other: A Practical Approach. Shawl is a cofounder of the Carl Brandon Society and serves on the Board of Directors of the Clarion West Writers Workshop. Tor books will publish her Belgian Congo steampunk novel Everfair in Fall 2015. Her website is www.nisishawl.com.

Quill Shiv is a genre-blending writer living in Saugus, MA. Her work has appeared in the anthologies Haikus for Lovers (ed. Laura Roberts) and 1 Photo, 50 Authors, 100 Words: Flash Fiction (ed. Madison Woods), and in literary magazines such as Metazen and The Watermark. When not cross-stitching or blogging at www.QuillShiv.com, Quill spends her time perfecting the nap-to-coffee ratio.

Emily Slaney is 70% no confidence, with dark humor and a crooked smile. She describes her writing as nihilistic emotional satire because she likes to make you laugh before she pulls it all away from you. She lives in England with her husband and kids in a semi-detached madhouse where sarcasm is what passes for everyday speech. She has been published in Menacing Hedge, Revolt Daily, Solarcide, Parable Press, Thunderdome Magazine, and Cease, Cows. You can find more about Emily at: emilyslaney.com.

Amber Sparks is the author of the short story collection May We Shed These Human Bodies, and co-author (with Robert Kloss and illustrator Matt Kish) of the hybrid novella The Desert Places. Her second short story collection, The Unfinished World and Other Stories, is forthcoming in 2016. You can follow her on Twitter @ambernoelle, or at ambernoellesparks.com.

Rachel Swirsky holds an MFA in fiction from the Iowa Writers Workshop. Her short fiction has appeared in numerous venues, including Tor.com, Subterranean Magazine, and Clarkesworld Magazine. It’s also been nominated for the Hugo Award, the Locus Award, and the World Fantasy Award, among others, and twice won the Nebula Award. Her second collection, How the World Became Quiet: Myths of the Past, Present and Future, came out from Subterranean Press in 2013.

Meg Tuite’s writing has appeared in numerous literary journals. She is the author of two short story collections, Bound By Blue (Sententia Books, 2013) and Domestic Apparition (San Francisco Bay Press, 2011), and three chapbooks, the latest titled Her Skin is a Costume (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2013). She won the Twin Antlers Collaborative Poetry award from Artistically Declined Press for her poetry collection, Bare Bulbs Swinging (2014) written with Heather Fowler and Michelle Reale. She teaches at the Santa Fe Community College, is an editor for Santa Fe Literary Review and Connotation Press, and has a column up at JMWW. She lives in Santa Fe with her husband and menagerie of pets. Her blog: megtuite.com.

Damien Angelica Walters’ work has appeared or is forthcoming in various magazines and anthologies, including Year’s Best Weird Fiction Volume One, The Best of Electric Velocipede, Nightmare, Strange Horizons, Lightspeed, Shimmer, Apex, Glitter & Mayhem, Not Our Kind, and What Fates Impose. Sing Me Your Scars, a collection of her short fiction, will be released in early 2015 from Apex Publications, and Paper Tigers, a novel, will be released later that same year from Dark House Press.

xTx is a writer living in Southern California. Her work has been published in places like The Collagist, [PANK], Hobart, The Rumpus, The Chicago Review, Smokelong Quarterly, and Wigleaf. Her short story collection Normally Special is available from Tiny Hardcore Press and her chapbook Billie the Bull is available from Dzanc Books. Her story “The Mill Pond” won the 2012 storySouth Million Writers Award. She says nothing at www.notimetosayit.blogspot.com.

Bonnie ZoBell’s new linked collection from Press 53, What Happened Here: a novella and stories, was released in 2014. She has received a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in fiction, the Capricorn Novel Award, and a PEN Syndicated Fiction Award. She has held resident fellowships at MacDowell, Yaddo, VCCA, and Dorland, received an MFA from Columbia University on fellowship, and currently teaches at San Diego Mesa College. Visit her at www.bonniezobell.com.

 

Susan Perabo is Writer in Residence and Professor of English at Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA. She is the author of a collection of short stories, Who I Was Supposed to Be, and a novel, The Broken Places (both with Simon and Schuster). Her fiction has been anthologized in Best American Short Stories, Pushcart Prize Stories, and New Stories from the South, and has appeared in numerous magazines, including One Story, Glimmer Train, The Iowa Review, The Missouri Review, and The Sun. Her new collection of short stories is upcoming from Simon and Schuster in 2016.

In addition to co-editing Choose Wisely, Joanne Merriam has edited How to Live on Other Planets: A Handbook for Aspiring Aliens and 140 And Counting: an anthology of writing from 7×20. In 2001, she quit her job as the Executive Assistant of the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia to travel Canada and write The Glaze from Breaking. Her writing has also appeared in The Fiddlehead, [PANK], Per Contra, Strange Horizons, and The Journal of Unlikely Entomology. In 2004, she immigrated to the USA, and now resides in Nashville, Tennessee.

In addition to co-editing Choose Wisely, H. L. Nelson is head of the online magazine Cease, Cows and Co-CEO of LitDemon.com. Her publications include Writer’s Digest, Nightmare, Lunch Ticket, [PANK], plus over 50 others in the last few years. H. L.’s poem “Absolution” was nominated for Best of the Net 2013. Her fiction chapbook, The Sea is Only Meat, will come out this summer from Sundress Publications.

 

Stories from the book available online:

 

Buy the book:

Buy it in paperback (ISBN 978-1-937794-46-0) from:

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Reviews:

Composed of 35 gleefully dark short stories by and about women, this anthology is a welcome antidote to the conventional world of women’s fiction. Don’t get me wrong, I adore Alice Monroe and agree that the minutely observed world of everyday life is just as viable a form of literature as the more adventurous fiction dominated by men, but, still, there’s something so energizing about girls who kill, or chase ghosts, or bide their time in strange worlds of the future. If there’s a mother daughter story in here, it’s likely to involve a little serial kidnapping as well. If dad was a sexual predator, then his little girl is going to be one too. Super heroes, with costumes, terrifying weapons, and all too human foibles abound. And the strange passage of time as a wife and mother? Tina May Hall describes it beautifully: “You remember the first six weeks of your firstborn’s life were the longest you’d ever known. Time slowed down into a milky trickle, stretched out, thinned. Then the rubber band snapped, and everything accelerated. An entire lacrosse season took place over the course of one rainy afternoon. Your knees sagged, wrinkled, tightened up again, grew bulbous as wormy apples in the time it took to walk to the ATM.” But this is the memory of a vampire crawling from her mausoleum in search or blood, not some elderly lady whiling away her last days in a nursing home. I don’t know how anyone can read this book and not feel energized.

—Vickie Fang, “Choose Wisely: 35 women up to no good,” Best New Fiction, 5 May 2015

What I enjoyed the most about this anthology was the range of characters: from doddering old attention seeking women, to women chased by their own demons (literally), to female serial killers and housewives striving to be perfect for their husbands. Every story showed a different type of woman facing situations that are both conceivable and inconceivable. . . This anthology is full of wonderful stories about women facing the roles they’ve chosen for themselves or had chosen for them – with glee, with sadness, with rebellion.

—Sharra Rosichan, “Choose Wisely: 35 Women Up To No Good: A Book Review,” Odds and Ends, 5 May 2015

After all, in a perfect world I’d just talk about how the anthology is all the things I mentioned above: strong, well written, and intriguing. Inside are a number of writers I downright worship. . . a stellar collection of high caliber writing.

—David S. Atkinson, “InReview: Choose Wisely,” InDigest, 30 April 2015

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