Annual review

2020: Year in Review

Spoonie Authors Network Annual Report

How is it already December in a year when March alone felt like it lasted a decade? But it has arrived and with it, time to review what happened over the past 12 months!

There have been some major changes to the SpAN over this span (not sorry), and the biggest being that Canadian fantasy author Dianna Gunn has come on board to launch, produce, and host a pretty amazing podcast. Let’s break down 2020, shall we?

Spoonie Authors Podcast

ID: Spoonie Authors Podcast logo. Grey background with a purple and grey gradient circle and white outline. Inside the circle are three purple spoons.

Dianna Gunn interviewed over 25 authors this year—Wow!—and the Spoonie Authors Podcast is into its second season. What’s so great about this is that we are discovering so many writers, which also means, so many books! This was the original intention of the Spoonie Authors Network in the first place, to literally have a hub where we can meet each other, and it’s great that Dianna has taken us to an entirely new level with this podcast.

You can find all of the Spoonie Authors Podcast episodes with their transcripts on this website. Or, you can listen to them on these platforms:

#SpoonieAuthChat

This year I launched the Spoonie Authors Chat on Twitter and have been pleasantly surprised with the attendance. We’ve enjoyed great conversations about disability representation in fiction, own-voices, goals and expectations for our writing, and the last question every week is about promoting our works. You can find the chat every Sunday at 1:00 pm (EST or EDT, depending on the time of year) by going to our account (@SpoonieAuthChat) and using the hashtag #SpoonieAuthChat

Note: Our last chat for 2020 is this Sunday, December 13. We will resume again on January 10, 2021.

(Image text: #SpoonieAuthChat, A writing chat for writers who manage spoons. Sundays at 1 PM EDT on Twitter @SpoonieAuthNet. Image description: A lilac background with black and lilac clip art of a spoon and a computer keyboard.)

New blog contributors and guest authors

This year we welcomed these wonderful blog contributors to the SpAN family. You can click their names to read their bios:

We also interviewed the following guest authors:

Series

On the blog side of things, there were three new series:

Resources

We added a Resources menu that we hope will be useful information for people seeking writing tips about ableist terms and tropes to avoid, as well as links to organizations or people who do sensitivity editing and accessibility consultation. Please contact us if you have any recommendations!

Works got published!

Several of our blog contributors published new works this year.

Book cover: Purple sky with black silhouette of bare trees and two fairies whispering

Derek Newman-Stille and Nathan Caro Fréchette collaborated on a retelling of fairy tales called Whispers Between Fairies. Published by Renaissance.

Whispers Between Fairies is a conversation between two authors who love fairy tales and each author takes their own path to find the hidden possibilities for each fairy tale. These are tales of beauty and enchantment… but they are also tales of darkness and secrecy, much like the original fairy tales. They are echoes of the past, but also firm reminders of the magnificent diversity of the present, exploring BIPOC, Queer, Trans, Disabled, and Mad experiences.

Book cover: Miss Vee and the Lecherous Lawyer, by Delilah Knight. A woman with grey hair and glasses, wearing a purple and black dress stands in front of a green shed that's beside a russet farm house.

Laurie Stewart released the first of her Miss Vee cozy mystery series (book two is coming soon). Available as an ebook at Amazon, Kobo, Apple, Google Play, Nook, and many other e-stores. Also available as a paperback.

Miss Vee is snarky, sophisticated, and trans. When her favourite aunt dies and Dave Snapper, the lawyer, is as slippery as the fish he’s named after, Vee goes from uncomfortable to creeped out in a heartbeat.

When she finds him dead at their next appointment, Vee becomes the chief suspect in his murder. As she tries to navigate her favorite aunt’s death, she finds her lawyer dead when she shows up for an appointment. Turns out that he’s is not who he seemed, and a lot of people wanted him dead.

ID: Bright mint green background with black text that reads Wordgathering. In a lighter green box, black text reads: Submission for the Spring 2021 issue will close on February 15, 2021. In an even lighter green textbox, black text reads: A Journal of Disability Poetry and Literature.

K.W. Ramsey and Cait Gordon had disability/HoH essays published on Wordgathering: A Journal of Disability Poetry and Literature (Volume 14: Issue 2):

  • Read K.W.’s essay here!
  • Read Cait’s essay, Gorgeously Hard of Hearing, here!
ID: Headshot of the author

H.E. Casson released three works:

Wings Pulled To Body —a short poem about reverse metamorphosis. Published by Scifaikuest.

12 Tanzen Lane—a queer retelling of the 12 Dancing Princesses fairy tale, set in a group home. This audio play “explores gender, trauma, mental illness, and love.” It’s influenced by H.E.’s lived experience. Published by Cast of Wonders, September 2020.

Weeding the Experiential Archives—a speculative fiction short story. Published by The Quilliad, November 2020.
In this experimental short story, you are cast as the archivist, deciding which experiences will remain in your collection and which will be discarded and sold. The experiences are gleaned from the near past, present, and near future.

Book cover: A white background features three rows of two peaches each, and one of each pair is cut in half, revealing the pit.

Nicole Zelniker released Last Dance, published by Atmosphere Press.

In 12 stories, Nicole Zelniker makes her fiction debut. In “Fever Dreams,” a young woman struggles to make sense of a deadly diagnosis, her relationships, and her past. In “The Aftermath,” a soldier copes with coming home after being discharged from the military. In “Hands,” a mother deals with her daughter’s OCD months after her husband’s death.


All of Zelnikers’s stories follow similar themes of sisterhood bodies, family, and what it means to really live in today’s divisive world. These stories are more relevant now than ever.

ID: Cover of Stargazers (micro) Tales from the Cosmos. A woman in a space suit, holding a scanning device, enters a hatch and it looks like electric activity is all around her.

Cait Gordon had her first-ever work of microfiction published by AE Science Fictions’s STARGAZERS: microtales from the Cosmos.

With My Kind features a mobility-disabled protagonist in an escape story where they and others have been rounded up for “restructuring.” (Never underestimate a Crip, though.)

All stories in this collection had to include the theme of stars.

Book cover image: A silhouette of a fairy arched in a graceful dance against a white background.

Dominic Bercier is on the cusp of releasing The Hope Book. (It’s scheduled for a 2020 release.)

The nonfiction prose for NOW, by a cartoonist who forgot how to write and draw, and relearned from scratch, with what were, in fact, superhuman efforts in becoming more present,, aware, alert, and real.

Dominic also released a 2020 package of comics. Visit his website for details!

ID: Book coverA woman holding a cane peers around a corner, looking suspiciously at what's ahead.

Madona Skaff released Death by Association, the second book of the Naya Investigates series. Published by Renaissance.

Computer expert and former marathon runner Naya struggles to recover from a serious multiple sclerosis attack, and settles into a routine of daily workouts at the gym.

Frustrated by her lack of progress, she’s in no mood for wheelchair user Larson Rask and his endless prying questions. Noticing that his legs still look muscular, Naya guesses that he’s only been in the chair for a short time. She puts aside her annoyance to patiently listen to him. To her horror, a police Tactical Unit raids the gym and arrests Larson Rask – on three counts of murder. Was he grooming her to be victim number four?

Book cover: A red brick building with multiple stories. In the bottom right corner are two men staring out the window, and a lit Christmas tree is in the background. It's snowing outside and there are Christmas lights strung in the foreground.

’Nathan Burgoine has re-released Handmade Holidays, part of his A Little Village Novella series. A great read for this time of year!

At nineteen, Nick is alone for the holidays and facing reality: this is how it will be from now on. Refusing to give up completely, Nick buys a Christmas tree, and then realizes he has no ornaments. A bare tree and an empty apartment aren’t a great start, but a visit from his friend Haruto is just the ticket to get him through this first, worst, Christmas. A box of candy canes and a hastily folded paper crane might not be the best ornaments, but it’s a place to start.

A year later, Nick has realized he’s not the only one with nowhere to go, and he hosts his first “Christmas for the Misfit Toys.” Haruto brings Nick an ornament for Nick’s tree, and a tradition—and a new family—is born.

And the nominees/winners are…

This year the Prix Aurora Awards took place virtually:

  • Talia C. Johnson and Cait Gordon were finalists for the Nothing Without Us anthology in the Best Related Work category.
  • Nathan Fréchette was a finalist in the Best Artist category.
  • Derek Newman-Stille won their ninth award for Speculating Canada in the Best Fan Organizational category.

Jamieson Wolf’s Love and Lemonade (third book in the Lemonade series) won the LR Café’s Best of 2019 Award for Best GLBTQ+ Book!

H.E. Casson’s poem In Patient was nominated for Best of the Net 2020 (results will be on January 20, 2021). Good luck, H.E.!

And congratulations to everyone!

What’s next?

Because the world has proven itself an unpredictable place, making plans is sort of HA-HA-HA! However, there are plans for more podcasts and blog series. There’s also a hope to add more links and useful information to our Resources menu.

And for the rest, we’ll take it one day at a time!

Once again, a thousand thank-yous to all of our guests and contributors who have volunteered their time for this community initiative. There would be no network without you Spoonies. And many thanks to Dianna who put so much effort into making our podcast an awesome thing.

We’re always looking for new guests and contributors, so if you’d like to write for the SpAN or be on the Spoonie Authors Podcast, please contact us!

Have a wonderful holiday season. Be safe, and may 2021 be filled with many more spoons.

Much love,
Cait Gordon
Editor in Chief


Featured image photo by Simon Matzinger from Pexels.

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