"Houses" is out now in Lightspeed Magazine Issue 18. My first professional sale and it's a Clarion West story! Yum! The whole November 2011 Issue 18 is fantastic. It's pretty awesome to appear next to China Mieville and John Crowley. Pick up a copy here.
I came to the Clarion West Writer's Workshop with a number of ideas, half-stories, little gems of inspiration, some of which I distilled into stories I submitted to the Workshop, but "Houses" was not one of them. One morning I woke up on my horrible little plastic mattress bunk bed (we dormed in this enormous sorority house and we all all got our own rooms, but we had to sleep on these bunk beds with these mattresses that seemed to be designed to easily hose off vomit from sorority sisters who'd done too many keg stands) and the first line just popped in my head (which I later deleted, as per Terry Bisson’s rules [he's right, by the way]): “After the humans left, the houses got bored.” I had all these ideas after that, about the society these houses and machines we humans left behind created, our toys playing house, so to speak, eventually waking up and realizing that they didn't have to our lead, our psychology, our biology. But, I didn't know how to handle such a thing, it could easily turn into a sprawling work that couldn't be contained in a short story.