The Halfling and the Spaceman

A Conversation with PA Cornell

February 12, 2023 Roger & Janet Season 2 Episode 7
A Conversation with PA Cornell
The Halfling and the Spaceman
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The Halfling and the Spaceman
A Conversation with PA Cornell
Feb 12, 2023 Season 2 Episode 7
Roger & Janet

Today we’re talking with P.A. Cornell, awarding winning Chilean-Canadian speculative fiction author.  She’ll discuss how she will discuss her journey to becoming a successful writer, despite having a lack of resources to guide her.  Among other things, we’ll also discuss her love of tea and Legos!

References and Links:

Show Notes Transcript

Today we’re talking with P.A. Cornell, awarding winning Chilean-Canadian speculative fiction author.  She’ll discuss how she will discuss her journey to becoming a successful writer, despite having a lack of resources to guide her.  Among other things, we’ll also discuss her love of tea and Legos!

References and Links:

A Conversation with PA Cornell

[00:00:00] Halfling: Thank you for tuning into the Halfling and the Spaceman. If you're new to our show, we welcome you and hope you're entertained and inspired to start your own journey into active fandom. And if you're returning listener, thank you for choosing to spend some more time with us. And today we are very excited to be talking with P.A. Cornell.

[00:00:24] Halfling: She'll be talking about her writing and her journey to becoming an award-winning author of Science Fiction, fantasy and Horror. P.A. Welcome to the show.

[00:00:33] PA Cornell: Hi. Thanks for having me.

[00:00:35] Halfling: Well, thank you for joining us today. We're happy to talk with you and get to know a little bit about you. So let's get the ball rolling.

[00:00:42] Halfling: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

[00:00:46] PA Cornell: Well, I was born in Chile, in Santiago, a million years ago, or so it seems sometimes. Um, but I've primarily lived in Canada most of my life, so I'm pretty Canadian. I've been writing, again, most of my life. I started quite early on, but I guess it wasn't really until I was in my teen years that I really started getting more serious about it and actually trying to learn the craft.

[00:01:13] PA Cornell: And, I've been doing it ever since basically.

[00:01:16] Halfling: Okay. So when you say started learning the craft, what were the steps that kind of led you to an actual writing career?

[00:01:25] PA Cornell: Well, yeah, that's, I'm glad you asked. That's a good question because at the time, I was, I've talked about this before in other interviews, but I, I was very kind of isolated from the writing community and I was kind of on my own, for a lot of things. So I kind of really just had to figure out my own path, from, you know, from nothing.

[00:01:48] PA Cornell: Like, from knowing nothing about anything, knowing no other writers or anything like that. So, I mean, I was always a reader for one thing. So from the minute I learned to read, I just kept going with that. So that obviously is helpful, but, When I started getting kind of more into it, I didn't really have access to things like classes or workshops or anything.

[00:02:09] PA Cornell: I actually had never even heard of writing workshops and didn't until I was an adult. So that sort of thing just wasn't an option for me. So a lot of what I learned just came from like writing craft books and this is also pre-internet, so there was, you know, not, not an option there either. So between just reading a lot of like fiction and non-fiction too, and reading about the craft from other writers that had published books about it and just writing and writing as much as I could.

[00:02:42] PA Cornell: That's kind of where I started.

[00:02:45] Halfling: Okay, well, you know, everybody has their own start to their journey and I think that's a good point for our listeners to hear is that you don't necessarily have to have access to, you know, to mentors or to online classes, or to this or that there is such a thing as a library.

[00:03:06] Halfling: People forget that , you know? And of course today there's also the equivalent of Google and YouTube. And so there's all sorts of sources out there, but you didn't have access to that. And yet you still blossomed into a great writing career. So that's awesome.

[00:03:23] Spaceman: So you started off writing in the third grade with a sci-fi short story. What sparked your interest in science fiction at such an early age?

[00:03:33] PA Cornell: Well, actually, if you're gonna use that as an example, I can go back even further because I was already creating stories at the age of five when I technically didn't know how to write yet. Because they just hadn't taught me in school. So, I started then by dictating stories to my grandmother who lived with me at the time.

[00:03:50] PA Cornell: And she would write down little stories I came up with about, like, animals and, and things like that, that you would do when you were a little kid. But, yeah, I'd say the third grade story was probably the first one I wrote that you would call science fiction. It was about alien shape shifters, and I don't know where that came from because I'd never seen anything like that in any of the science fiction I'd encountered yet.

[00:04:13] PA Cornell: So it just. You know, just came out of me. But I guess it is a trope that I eventually learned about. But, uh, yeah, so I still have that story but, to answer your question, I would say my early interest in science fiction really came from TV and movies. I grew up in kind of the eighties and whatever, and there was like a big boom, I feel at the time of like science fiction and fantasy too, but like a lot of science fiction And growing up, my older brother and I would watch a lot of things like, you know, the original Battle Star Galactica or Star Trek, the original series, or Doctor Who and movies like Star Wars and Close Encounters, that sort of thing.

[00:04:54] PA Cornell: So there was a ton there. And I just always loved everything like space related, like whether it was fiction or non-fiction. So just seeing people having these space adventures or whatever, just kind of triggered whatever was there in my imagination. It just kind of create my own worlds in that.

[00:05:14] PA Cornell: And that's just kind of the springboard, I guess, for where it all started.

[00:05:19] Spaceman: Now leading off from that as you went into grade school, were you encouraged by your teachers to continue on this path? Did you receive encouragement along the way, or is this something you had to do by yourself?

[00:05:33] PA Cornell: Some encouragement. Encouragement in the sense that they would tell me that what I was doing was good for the most part. Like when I did have to write little stories, I tended to have stories that stood out in the class for my age group, things like that. So they would just comment accordingly about that.

[00:05:51] PA Cornell: I don't think I really had a teacher kind of really like that I would say influenced me until, my seventh grade English teacher who was. Probably the first person to ever give me a real critique. She told me the story I'd written, had too much dialogue, not enough of everything else. And I was like, she is absolutely right.

[00:06:11] PA Cornell: And I think that was the first time I thought, you know, okay, here's somebody who's actually trying to help me get better at this and not just saying, you know, good job. Which is nice because that is also a form of encouragement. But then that's the sort of thing that kind of made me want to work harder and improve as a writer because I was like, I'm not just a naturally awesome at this, you know, I need to actually learn how to do it.

[00:06:38] Halfling: Well, we hear from writers all the time that you need people to give you honest critique and not just say, good job, or, this sucks , but either way provide that concrete critique and like your teacher said, it was too much dialogue. So that was something that you knew you wanted to work on.

[00:06:59] Halfling: Did you continue to receive some of that feedback as you got older?

[00:07:05] PA Cornell: Not so much in school. I mean, you know, uh, my things were just graded. There wasn't much in the way of feedback, uh, from my teachers. And, um, I didn't take any like, formal writing classes or anything until much later. So it was really very self-driven, but I mean, I always just wanted to write, like, it was never so much a choice for me.

[00:07:28] PA Cornell: I just kind of knew it was something that I had to do, even if I just ended up doing it for myself. So I just kept going.

[00:07:38] Halfling: Well, I remember a story that I wrote when I was in 10th grade, and I was never a writer, never thought about writing. And this was something that our biology teacher threw at us of all things . We had to write a short story about something that was related to the environment in some way. And that was basically all that she told us, you know, was just something, something that was related to the environment, some environmental impact or something of that nature.

[00:08:12] Halfling: And again, this was in the early eighties, so, I guess that means we're probably close to the same age. Um, maybe, uh,

[00:08:21] Spaceman: I, I think

[00:08:21] Spaceman: PA's a few years. 

[00:08:22] PA Cornell: now, turning 48 soon, so,

[00:08:25] Halfling: wish you hadn't have said that. Okay,

[00:08:28] Spaceman: darling. We're old. We're old. Let's, let's just accept it. You know, the Halfling and the Spaceman are a couple of olds.

[00:08:34] PA Cornell: Oh, you're only as old as you feel though,

[00:08:36] Halfling: there you go. Thank

[00:08:37] Halfling: you. Thank you for that. I appreciate that No, but the story I wrote, and I don't really know where it came from, and this was at a time when people were really talking about nuclear energy and nuclear waste and the environmental impact and all of that.

[00:08:54] Halfling: So the story that I came up with was basically, for years, companies have been burying their nuclear waste in barrels and they have been burying them very deep. And they thought that, you know, okay, all is good, everything is good. This was when, you know, there were some things that were not known about nuclear energy and nuclear waste.

[00:09:13] Halfling: Right? And I'm in 10th grade, so what do I really know about nuclear waste management? But it was a story about a man who worked for one of these companies and he found out that barrels were all of a sudden bursting underground and there was a massive seepage of nuclear waste and it was going to be catastrophic.

[00:09:35] Halfling: And it was this tense conversation that he had with his wife on the phone talking about, you know, all this. And, you know, and she was upset. What do we do? What do we do? You know, all the, I don't remember the entire story, but I just remember the gist of it. And the teacher, we had to read 'em, of course, to the class.

[00:09:53] Halfling: And so the teacher, I think the teacher was a little. Shocked at the story that came out, but I don't think she was expecting that from a 10th grader in, you know, but, but anyway, so I'm sorry. I'm, I'm really digressing. This is not my story. This is your story,

[00:10:12] Spaceman: Hey, halfling, at least you were writing, science fiction at the time I was writing Bad heroic fantasy. I mean, you know, bad, heroic fantasy.

[00:10:24] Halfling: I wonder if everybody does some of that in some form in like high school, if they, you know, everybody takes little time to write little stories or whatever. I wonder if that's really a thing or I don't know. Anyway,

[00:10:37] PA Cornell: maybe.

[00:10:38] Halfling: and anyway, I think Spaceman had another question for.

[00:10:42] Spaceman: Oh, no, no. I was just gonna ask, being born in Chile, how does that influence your writing?

[00:10:48] PA Cornell: Well, I think to an extent, like just anything that forms part of who you are is going to go into your writing in some form or another. For me, like I was born in Chile and I went back, um, kind of in the mid eighties for a while with my family as well but I really only lived there for probably a combined total of maybe like five years, which is not a huge chunk of my life.

[00:11:14] PA Cornell: So, you know, I don't know that I could say I write like a Chilean, whatever that would mean , you know,

[00:11:20] Spaceman: right. Being a Canadian

[00:11:22] Halfling: Well, yeah. Are, I mean, is are, are you, does, does that influence your writing? You know, having, having, you know, lived so long in Canada?

[00:11:31] PA Cornell: for sure. Like, uh, I really feel like I'm someone who, and really it's probably true of any immigrant that you're, you've got a foot in two cultures, you know? So, I do have a perspective that is that of an immigrant. So, that does and has found its way into some of my stories for instance, I have one coming out in, Flametree press's immigrant sci-fi anthology that's coming out later this year.

[00:11:57] PA Cornell: It's called, El Gordato, which, has quite a bit of Spanish in it, whatever. And it's about a Chilean family that immigrates to Mars to a colony there and their experience as immigrants and dealing with this new, like their struggles as, you know, in this new place and language and whatever and everything that, that they're going through.

[00:12:16] PA Cornell: And a lot of that is, is fairly autobiographical in a way. It's probably the, the story that I've written that's most close to my life. I mean, it, it's on Mars obviously, and it does have the, the spec element, but, but. You know, a lot of the things in it just stem from the experience either my parents had or that, you know, my brother and I had growing up.

[00:12:37] PA Cornell: And uh, that sort of thing does find its way into my stories, you know, and similarly in, uh, my novella Las cargo, uh, the characters in that are all from different parts of Earth. So they have different backgrounds, they have like language, uh, difficulties and whatever that, that include, you know, some of the problems they face in the story is just simple communication and the differences in who they are.

[00:13:02] PA Cornell: So all that is something that I feel that I can kind of speak to because I've experienced it. So, so that sort of thing. But I mean, I think it's also important to, to say that when you're writing things like that, you know, that are be they own voices, stories or whatever, it's not necessarily, it doesn't just have to be about the struggle that you face about that, you know?

[00:13:25] PA Cornell: Um, that's part of the experience for sure. But I think it's also. important, like when you do have a different cultural background than where you live. Um, it's also about just preserving that and celebrating that and just, you know, even though you're removed from the source, just keeping that as a part of yourself, which is something I kind of touch on in, in, uh, my story el

[00:13:51] Spaceman: You know, it's interesting talking about the immigrant experience. I had a colleague who was from, uh, south Asia, and she pulled me aside one day and she asked me a question about her son. She wanted to know what an EMO was because her son had suddenly become emo. And I had to explain, as much as I understood it, the EMO community.

[00:14:11] Spaceman: Uh, so that was interesting experience. So, I'm not really a subject matter ex expert on the EMO community by any means.

[00:14:20] PA Cornell: Oh, it's funny that you mentioned that. Cause I remember. Uh, my mom talking about, I think it was, they first came to Canada, I believe. Um, and she was taking, uh, English classes, like my parents both spoke English when they came, but she felt like she needed to improve her English, so she took English and one of the first things they taught them was swear words so that they would know if their children were swearing So yeah, it's the things you don't even really think about is, you know, that are just, yeah. If you don't know that

[00:14:53] Spaceman: well, right, right. You know, it's something completely new from her experience, and she didn't know if it was something to be concerned about or not.

[00:15:01] PA Cornell: Right. 

[00:15:03] Halfling: Hey, the best I got when I took my two years in Spanish was to tell somebody how to shut up. I mean, that was . That was, that was, that was the best of the,

[00:15:13] Spaceman: can be amazingly useful when you're married to the spaceman.

[00:15:18] Halfling: Who doesn't speak Spanish, by the way?

[00:15:20] PA Cornell: Multiple like languages.

[00:15:24] Spaceman: Oh, oh, don't worry. The halfling gets the point across.

[00:15:28] Halfling: Uh, well talk about your varied interest, you know, outside of your writing. Cuz I mean, I'm sure that writing takes up a good chunk of your time, but, but there's gotta be other interests. So what, tell us a little bit about that.

[00:15:43] PA Cornell: Well, like any writer I read a lot, but that's kind of like the, the easy answer you would get from any writer, I would hope. Anyway. Um, so I'll just skip to things that, like for instance, um, I'm also a Lego. Which, uh, anyone who follows me on Instagram will see my Lego builds. But, that's something I've kind of gotten into and, uh, I kind of combine, um, my love of space with that.

[00:16:06] PA Cornell: I do a lot of, uh, building of space Legos. So I have like a, a space shuttle. I have like some eighties Lego spaceship. Um, have an Apollo rocket. I have the Hubble telescope, so I mean, I could go on, goes on

[00:16:21] Halfling: So these, these are ki, are these kits,

[00:16:23] Halfling: are 

[00:16:23] Halfling: these 

[00:16:23] Spaceman: they're, they're Legos.

[00:16:25] Halfling: Okay. Specifically Lego kits. Okay.

[00:16:27] PA Cornell: yeah, so I, I do a lot of that. That's kind of my, um, my relaxing sort of, I can turn my brain off sort of activity, which is fun for me, you know?

[00:16:38] Spaceman: So, so have you have, oh, excuse me. Have you met Emmett from the Lego movie yet? than the other master builders? 

[00:16:45] PA Cornell: No, but that would be awesome. Um, so that's one thing. I'm also, um, I'm still really into like movies. My husband is also like a big genre fiction fan, so we watch a lot of like, movies and like a lot of like, well of everything, but especially like, uh, science fiction, fantasy and horror will watch a ton of, so, you know, during lockdown that's probably what we missed the most was not being able to go to the movie 

[00:17:12] Halfling: Mm-hmm. 

[00:17:12] PA Cornell: you know, a long time

[00:17:15] PA Cornell: So, those are probably like my two main things that I love doing. But I mean, I also do like, I'm like hiking whenever I get a chance. I mean, Canada's awesome for that. Um, you know, I like swimming, I do cooking, you know, all kinds of things, so,

[00:17:32] Halfling: And, and I did read that you enjoy your teas, is that 

[00:17:36] PA Cornell: right?

[00:17:36] PA Cornell: Oh, yes, I'm, I'm a big tea fan. I don't know how many. Tea houses I follow on social media, but there's a lot . I have like upwards of like 50 teas in my home at all times. Like

[00:17:49] Halfling: wow.

[00:17:50] PA Cornell: pretty serious. I mean, well that's, that's part of my Chileaness is showing up. We're a tea drinking culture, so, I've just always had tea, so in every kind, so

[00:18:02] Halfling: So, so does the tea that you drink depend on your mood at the time?

[00:18:07] PA Cornell: um, yeah, I mean sometimes it depends on how close it is to bedtime. Then I can't have the caffeinated stuff.

[00:18:14] PA Cornell: um, uh, but yeah, I mean basically, yeah, uh, just what am I feeling like?

[00:18:21] Halfling: Mm-hmm.

[00:18:21] PA Cornell: but yeah, I mean, I like all teas. I don't think I've had a tea I didn't like, so

[00:18:27] Halfling: Do you drink them straight or do you put anything in them? Yes.

[00:18:31] PA Cornell: it depends on the tea. So I tend to drink green teas straight.

[00:18:35] Halfling: Okay.

[00:18:38] PA Cornell: Other ones I'll like, might put a little sugar honey in or something like that. Or sometimes some milk, you know, it really just depends on the tea and also on my mood.

[00:18:46] Halfling: Yeah. Yeah. Okay.

[00:18:48] Spaceman: So we've discovered a new type of fandom, tea 

[00:18:51] Halfling: fandom!. 

[00:18:51] Halfling: Yeah. 

[00:18:52] PA Cornell: tea fandom. Yeah. Uh, there's a few writers I know of and we share like tea information online and stuff. Like here's a good place to get this. So maybe it's a writer thing too.

[00:19:02] Spaceman: At work, at my mundane job, before we all became remote, we had a little group that roasted their own coffee, brewed their own coffee, and compared their own coffee. And it was almost, I won't say cult-like, but fandom like because we would get into the intricacies of the beans from the different countries and the advantages of this type of roasting method versus that type of roasting method.

[00:19:28] Spaceman: And, uh, you know, some of the guys just outspent me on roasters, so I finally just gave up.

[00:19:34] Halfling: he, he tried to roast, he tried to roast beans in the house one time.

[00:19:39] Spaceman: you never want to do

[00:19:40] Halfling: do that. And I said, no, , you're not gonna do that again because the house stunk. Like, 

[00:19:46] PA Cornell: Oh yeah, I

[00:19:47] PA Cornell: can 

[00:19:47] Halfling: what, you know, once the coffee is roasted, it smells wonderful. There's nothing that beats the smell of roasted coffee, but, but man, during the process, oh my gosh.

[00:20:01] Spaceman: You know, you're talking about tea houses. We used to do this thing with coffee shops. Wherever we went, we would find an indie coffee shop. Now, we had two reasons. Number one is I love coffee. And number two is that I love zines. You know, the old fashions physically printed, stapled things.

[00:20:18] Spaceman: And the place to find them is indie coffee shops. I used to collect them. And so there's all this cutover between. Between the coffee culture and the tea culture and the fandom culture and the writing culture. And it would be interesting if you were like a sociologist or an anthropologist to take a look and see how these things divide out.

[00:20:38] PA Cornell: Yeah. I mean, it's so great though to have like these passions, whatever they are. Like, it doesn't even matter what you're into, but like, it just, it, it just adds so much richness, I think, to the experience of being a person, you know, just whatever, whatever you're into. Um, I actually recently, uh, just a little bit ago last year, I read, uh, a book by, Tabitha Carvin, who's an Australian woman who wrote about her obsession with Benedict Cumberbatch.

[00:21:07] PA Cornell: Her, her book is called, um, not to plug someone else's book, but I will her book is called, this Book is Not about Benedict Cumberbatch, and it is such a great read. I, I highly recommend it. You know, I, I know I'm here supposed to be talking about my writing, but I had such a fun time reading it. It's so funny and it's really not about Benedict Cumberbatch, like it's about being a fan, especially as a woman. She's, you know, she's a married mother in her forties or whatever, and she's like, at that age, especially for women, it's almost like you can't have these almost teenage girl type obsessions because it's, it's looked at as ridiculous.

[00:21:45] PA Cornell: Whereas like no one looks twice as like, you know, at a man who's obsessed with a sports team, for instance. Um, so she wrote this book basically to say, it's okay to have these passions, whatever they may be, and just get excited about it and feel that joy just like you did when you were a kid.

[00:22:01] PA Cornell: And, you know, I think that's a great message. So,

[00:22:05] Spaceman: I think it's a great message too especially as it empowers women, the

[00:22:10] Spaceman: there, one of the things we decided when we got this show started was that we weren't gonna be those people who hated things on the internet. We were gonna love things because we do love things and we're both giant nerds. If you came into our home, you'd find all the nerds stuff, games, books, uh, lots, lots of DVDs.

[00:22:31] Spaceman: Um, and half of them are hers and half of 'em are, are mine, but most of 'em are ours. Uh, and, but I think we, as a society especially in the anglophone world, we tend to have an expectation that men will have their action figures or their sports teams or whatever, and that, you know, I don't know if what we do it as society.

[00:22:56] Spaceman: Look at women differently, but. I think that sometimes that, that we've created a situation where there might be an unspoken rule, um, or, you know, unspoken social cues that, that discourage women from doing that. Now all the women in our lives, uh, they're their own people, so they don't care.

[00:23:20] PA Cornell: Yeah.

[00:23:21] Halfling: They, yeah. Yeah. They, they're, they're gonna be into whatever they're gonna be into, and, you know, and it doesn't matter if they're female or not. I'll just quote something that's kind of an end joke. Spider-Man is for everyone.

[00:23:35] Spaceman: right, right, right. Yeah. Our, our foster daughter came home from school one day and, uh, I was on the floor, uh, playing with her toys with her and I picked up the Barbie and I was walking the Barbie over to the little, uh, It wasn't a Barbie Playhouse. I can't remember what it was. And she scolded me, she pointed her finger at me and she says, spider-Man is for boys.

[00:24:00] Spaceman: Barbie is for girls. And I'm thinking Bar. Yeah. Spider-Man is for everybody. Uh, but

[00:24:09] Halfling: Yeah,

[00:24:10] PA Cornell: a Marvel fan, I, I can't, uh, argue with that. So

[00:24:13] Halfling: yeah, yeah. Me,

[00:24:15] Halfling: me 

[00:24:15] PA Cornell: too bad that people are ever discouraged from pursuing their fandoms and stuff. Uh, you know, that happens a lot, unfortunately. Um, but it shouldn't be like, I don't see the point in like, discouraging people from something that brings you joy, like you think you'd wanna share that more so.

[00:24:33] Spaceman: oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. If you, I will be glad to share any knowledge about anything that brings me joy with anybody. Matter of fact, it's hard to shut me. You, you wanna know what the, uh, best pizza restaurant in Richmond, Virginia is? I'll tell ya, , it's 

[00:24:49] Halfling:

[00:24:49] Spaceman: unfortunately, un unfortunately, I've only been to Canada once, so, you know, my knowledge of Canada is, is quite limited,

[00:24:56] Spaceman: extremely limited. 

[00:24:57] Halfling: Yeah. , well, that actually brings me to a question that just kind of popped into my mind where we were talking. Have you ever gotten any flack or any discouragement from being, oh, you know, from being a female science fiction author, have you ever had any problems with that?

[00:25:17] PA Cornell: Um, no, not, not that anyone, I mean, my like pen name is, you know, not obvious necessarily that I'm a woman, unless you really kind of dig a little bit into it, it wouldn't take much. But, even then, not yet anyway, which is a good thing. I've gotten discouragement in other areas. Like, I remember going into comic book stores when I was younger and like, you know, having the comic book guys that were in there all the time going like, oh, you know, the Archies are in the back cuz you know, that's all apparently that I could, you know, be interested in, you know, or I was like, screw you.

[00:25:54] PA Cornell: I'm looking for Sandman. Right?

[00:25:55] Halfling: There you go.

[00:25:57] PA Cornell: But, um, you know, , other than that kind of dumb stuff, which really doesn't phase me. I haven't had anything like professionally that's been said to my face at least. So,

[00:26:08] Halfling: Okay, well that's a, that's, that's good to know. Now that being said, Have you worked with any of the major publishers or do you pretty much do it? Indie and self publication?

[00:26:22] PA Cornell: Um, I haven't done any self publication. I've worked with indie's. Uh, I mean, I'll work with whoever's willing to publish my stories, but, um, uh, I just wanna get them out there. Probably, I would say maybe Flametree is probably like the bigger, publisher that I've worked with right now. Um, I only have one book, book out.

[00:26:44] PA Cornell: I mostly do short fiction, so it's kind of, you know, just the markets that are in that. Um, uh, so yeah.

[00:26:51] Halfling: Okay. Well, it's good to know that you haven't really had any pushback. We've had a couple of authors on that, they're African American and they. The two, two that we talked to ended up starting their own publishing companies because they found it's so difficult to get in with any of the publishers.

[00:27:13] Halfling: Um, and you know, they kept getting turned down. And, even sometimes when somebody, would agree to publish, they'd look at the cover art. Like if there was a depiction of an African American on the cover, they're like, Hmm, nah. You know, and that, that was such a shame to hear that.

[00:27:33] Halfling: But then it sparked that, you know, well, screw this, we're gonna do it our way. We're gonna, you know, start our own publishing companies. And so, and that's what they did, and they, they both become very successful. So, we're glad to hear that, you know, and I think that maybe as we progress in society, it'll become more the norm.

[00:27:52] Halfling: That people wanna hear from different voices. They don't just want to hear the same, you know, the same stories being told, by the same types of, you know, oh, you look like this person. Okay. You look at an anthology, and you look at the people that are listed in the anthologies and they're all, you know, like, white males,?

[00:28:12] Halfling: And it's like, wait a minute, , hold on. You know?

[00:28:16] PA Cornell: Yeah. I don't, I don't feel that I've been discouraged from, from that sort of thing, but I think as a person of color for sure, I understand that it is harder for us to get our stories out there. Um, and I think a lot of the times it's not even out of malice. I think editors sometimes just don't quite know what to do with a story, or they don't, A lot of them understand like different, like, formats for stories.

[00:28:40] PA Cornell: Often that happens with, uh, a lot of the formats for, like Asian storytelling, that sort of thing. So when people do put their things out who are from marginalized groups of any kind, I feel that like as readers, we kind of need to try and consciously seek that out, you know, which is not to say there's nothing wrong with, you know, reading something written by a straight white male, but also try to seek diverse voices out there, you know, to just kind of, see the world through someone else's eyes was a different experience than you, you know, or even if they're fictional worlds, it's gonna inform, you know, on, on whatever they're trying to say in a different way, which is exciting, you would think, right?

[00:29:24] Halfling: Oh, absolutely.

[00:29:25] Spaceman: absolutely. And part of what we're trying to accomplish is we're trying to let people know about the options out there because there aren't as many bookstores as there used to be, and the science fiction sections are smaller than they used to be,

[00:29:42] Spaceman: and chances are, you're only gonna get exposed to the big publishers and that's not bad.

[00:29:48] Spaceman: I wish the best for everybody. But that means sometimes that people aren't necessarily exposed to new things.

[00:29:57] Halfling: Yeah.

[00:29:58] Halfling: Yeah. Well switching gears just a little bit, in terms of the type of genres that you write, we haven't talked really much about, we've established that you write sci-fi, but you also write some horror. Where did that,

[00:30:12] Halfling: where 

[00:30:13] PA Cornell: written a,

[00:30:14] Halfling: oh, go 

[00:30:14] PA Cornell: I've written a little bit of horror. I, uh, not a lot. It's probably my, genre that I've written in the least. Not because I don't like it. I love horror. I read a lot of it, but, um, I have a really hard time getting scared, and I feel like you have to be able to scare yourself to, to write good horror.

[00:30:35] PA Cornell: So it takes some doing for me to actually write. I, I can write something dark, you know, but not necessarily like, as scary as I like, as what I like to read. So I, that's probably why I almost feel like I'll leave that to the real horror writers and I'll just maybe occasionally dabble in it, which is kind of what I've done.

[00:30:55] PA Cornell: Um, but, uh, but yeah, but I, I love it and I, I probably will write more as, you know, as we go because, I'm not going to avoid it or anything. And I also write fantasy, so,

[00:31:08] Halfling: Mm-hmm.

[00:31:09] PA Cornell: um, yeah, I mean I love all of them, so,

[00:31:12] Halfling: Well, I've,

[00:31:13] Halfling: I've, oh, sorry. Go ahead. Sorry.

[00:31:15] PA Cornell: I, I read extensively in other genres that I don't write in as well.

[00:31:20] PA Cornell: So for instance, like crime and that sort of thing, like just whatever, like, the only thing I'm not really that into is romance, which no offense to romance writers, I have great admiration for romance writers. I think what they do is incredibly difficult. It's just not my cup of tea. That's all. So

[00:31:38] Halfling: Well, it's understandable. I've had a chance to read a couple of your short stories and love them, and they're both fantasy. I, , I got so tickled reading the story about the chef who had to travel and, you know, go through all these , all of these trials to get, you know, to get the ingredient.

[00:31:59] Halfling: That was such a fun story.

[00:32:01] PA Cornell: Oh, that one was a fun one. And I loved what the drabble cast did with it when they, uh, did the audio, uh, they, they made it really fun. They did a really good, uh,

[00:32:10] Halfling: Oh, I have to check that out because I'm 

[00:32:13] Halfling: sure 

[00:32:13] PA Cornell: yeah. 

[00:32:14] Halfling: be, be life. Uh, how, where is that available?

[00:32:18] PA Cornell: it's, it's on the travel cast. Um, I believe it's episode 4 61, if I remember correctly. But don't quote me on that.

[00:32:25] PA Cornell: Um, and the story, I guess if you wanna look for, it's called, How to Impress a Top Food Critic and Put Your Restaurant on the Galactic map.

[00:32:32] Halfling: Yeah.

[00:32:33] PA Cornell: And it was just a fun story to write. It was somewhat long, so I wasn't sure if anyone was gonna buy it, but luckily they did. And, I love how it turned out.

[00:32:41] PA Cornell: I remember listening to it and laughing out loud at some parts, like, you know, which is funny because I wrote it , so you don't expect to kind of, have a good real laugh at your own stuff that you've read a number of times by then. But, yeah, they just did a great job on it. So I think it landed in the right place.

[00:32:59] Halfling: Mm-hmm. . Well, that's great. So what is your editorial process? I mean, in terms of who reads, proofs, edits, what's kind of your process for that?

[00:33:10] PA Cornell: That in a way depends on the story. Um, some of them are literally just, you know, and this is the most basic, and it's what rarely happens is that I'll just kind of quickly shoot off a story, write it off, give it a read myself, give it a few passes to make sure everything reads okay and send it off to wherever.

[00:33:29] PA Cornell: But more often than not, I will. Do multiple drafts. I have some, critique partners that, um, we send each other things online. My husband is usually my first reader who like, you know, just looks for any major holes, things like that. Um, he's a big reader too, so he, uh, he knows what to look for and he's not shy about telling you when I need to fix something.

[00:33:51] PA Cornell: So, he's super helpful that way and beyond that, then it's like once it reaches an editor who's interested, then there's usually some sort of proofing to do there as well. Um, I don't do, uh, Like any, like outlining really for short stories or, it's very rare that I will, unless it's like really complex in some way, I tend to be more of a answer for short fiction, but then for something longer, like with my novella, there's much more planning with that, you know, a lot more in like involved in the editing.

[00:34:26] PA Cornell: So, yeah, that's basically my process. I'd say the longer or more complex the story, then the more I put into it.

[00:34:34] Halfling: Okay. Well, how long did it actually take you to develop a writing career? Because you started very early writing, but how long was it before it became an actual career for you?

[00:34:47] PA Cornell: Um hmm. I guess since probably 2016 now, I think is when I first started like selling fiction. Um, yeah, so I, you know, I was writing a long time before then, but I took a big kind of gap in there. I went to the Odyssey workshop in 2002 and so I was writing quite a bit then, but then I was also in college, and then I graduated college and I started working as a journalist, which I did at the time.

[00:35:21] PA Cornell: Um, actually I was a, like an editor, in journalism and I met my husband, got married, had kids. Like, so many things happened during this period of time that I took about a 10 year time off where I was barely writing at all and really not trying to get anything published. Um, so that kind of slowed things down a bit.

[00:35:40] PA Cornell: So when my youngest, started school, that's when I said, okay, you know what? I really need to get my butt-in-gear and actually, you know, do some real writing. But by then I felt so rusty that I was like, I don't even know if I can write anything good anymore. It's been so long and I had never really done much short fiction writing before this.

[00:36:02] PA Cornell: I was always kind of writing like novel length stuff. So I thought, let's just write a short story and see how it goes. And that first short story I wrote got published, it wasn't like a major like anthology or anything, but it was, you know, it got published right away. And I was like, well, maybe I'm not so terrible after all.

[00:36:20] PA Cornell: And I kept kind of going from there. So, I've just basically kept writing the stories I write and I keep sending them out. It really is a numbers game, you know, I think I have to tell people that I'm fairly prolific. I write quite quickly when I write. I don't write every day. Um, that doesn't work for me.

[00:36:40] PA Cornell: If that works for other writers, awesome. But I don't feel that you have to do that. Um, Me, my life circumstances, my, um, mental illness that I live with, like, you know, just, it's too much for me to do every day. I just can't do that. But when I do, I really go at it for, you know, long-ish periods and do things quickly.

[00:37:02] PA Cornell: And then I just keep sending things out until they sell and so far it's been going pretty well.

[00:37:08] Halfling: Well, good, good, good to hear that. Is there anything that the, you now could go back would go back and tell the younger you, in terms of developing your writing career, would you have any advice for your younger self?

[00:37:26] PA Cornell: Yeah, I mean, I think. In a way, when I look back on like the things I did when I was, just starting, like for instance in high school when I was kind of trying to dedicate myself to learning the craft more and whatever, I think I did everything that I could do at that time to get, improve and get closer to that goal.

[00:37:47] PA Cornell: So I don't know that I would say to do anything different in that regard, just simply to keep going and things will come when they're meant to, which is basically what I tell myself now too. You just keep writing, you keep improving, you keep reading, and reading not just what the kinds of things you write, but reading outside of that as well, just to kind of get different perspectives and whatever different styles of doing things so that's pretty much it. Just don't give up. Just keep going and you have to kind of be your own cheerleader in a way for a lot of this. I mean, this can be so discouraging for some people to get rejection after rejection, rejection and, especially when you really pour your heart and soul into a story and other people don't seem to get it or something and, uh, you know, you just have to keep saying, it'll find its readers eventually and, they tend to, so,

[00:38:41] Spaceman: We're talking about going back and getting started, and it sounds like you had a pretty good path kind of laid before you, and you figured it out as you went, but is there anything you would've liked to have known about the business of writing? Not necessarily about the skill of writing itself, but about the business that surrounds it, because I've interacted with a lot of creators over the years and, and many of them just hate the business part.

[00:39:03] PA Cornell: Oh yeah, I I, I, yeah, . Um, geez, I mean, well I, so much has changed over the years too, that like, from like when I started you were still mailing in, manuscripts through snail mail and whatever and business-wise too, like a lot has changed. Yeah. I mean, I think at the time I remember thinking that there was a business angle to it, but in a way being like, I'm so not there yet, that it's something that I don't really need to worry about too much.

[00:39:36] PA Cornell: But yeah, I have, I've learned some things and, I think what I really would've wanted to know about, I mean, being so isolated, like I said, it would've just been good to know, to be like more connected to the community in general and just know just things that are kind of so obvious now, like what you're part of the writing community.

[00:39:55] PA Cornell: Like, you'll hear, for example, about submission calls that you might not have heard about if you weren't in touch with other, like, often I would've missed something if some writer friend of mine didn't say, oh, this anthology just opened up, or whatever and it's like, oh, thank you, because that's a great one.

[00:40:10] PA Cornell: And you know, now I can maybe be part of it, but, so just that sort of thing. Business like wise, like for selling, I think I. A decent idea of what was involved just from research. I did, uh, before I started selling. So I knew what it was like to, submit a story and, you know, like what would happen from that point, whether it got rejected or accepted, as I said, I worked as an editor, for a little bit.

[00:40:35] PA Cornell: I worked for a magazine, but I also worked as a, I did an internship in, at a publisher in Toronto, so I knew what it was, you know, that process was like for like book publishing and that sort of thing, just from being there and this was all during my college years when I was studying journalism.

[00:40:50] PA Cornell: So, I kind of had a little bit like of an idea enough of it that I wasn't overwhelmed, I guess initially.

[00:40:58] Spaceman: So when you were working for the magazine, was that hard journalism or was it more Life Style?

[00:41:04] PA Cornell: Oh yeah, no, it was, uh, more lifestyle. It was an interior design magazine, that, is based out of Toronto but it was an interesting job cause it was, at the time, at least, I don't know what the stats are now, but at the time it was the number two magazine in Canada. So I was kind of, uh, lucky to be part of it.

[00:41:20] PA Cornell: Um, and, uh, yeah, so I was part of the editing team there, so it was really interesting. I feel like I did learn a lot, even though that was non-fiction and we're dealing with completely different things and what I deal with, with fiction, um, just through that editing process. Like I learned a lot about just being concise and, you know, things like that.

[00:41:41] PA Cornell: So,

[00:41:42] Halfling: Was it a good experience, a positive experience to work with a team? Because you just mentioned working with a team of editors.

[00:41:49] PA Cornell: Yeah, I mean, like we largely, we kind of worked individually and together, if that makes any sense. Like we would kind of each read the articles or whatever and go through, make our notes in the margins or whatever, and pass it around. And then ultimately like the, there was a managing editor who maybe might veto your change if they didn't agree or, or, you know, incorporate everybody's input.

[00:42:13] PA Cornell: So, and of course, we have meetings and stuff and we, also worked, with the art department a lot of times too because, you have to, combine things like, you know, photo captions, things like that, or even just, things like fact checking for stuff or whatever. So all that was like, you know, kind of an additional education I think.

[00:42:33] PA Cornell: It's a good experience to have and I enjoyed the job there. I really only left because I had twins and . I had my hands full after that, so.

[00:42:43] Halfling: I'm sure you did

[00:42:48] Spaceman: As someone who has actually published a magazine, I, I understand

[00:42:56] PA Cornell: Oh 

[00:42:56] PA Cornell: yeah. So much work.

[00:42:57] Spaceman: It is. It is. It is. And uh, we recently talked to, Michael Peterson, the, convention chair for Raven Con in, Richmond, Virginia. And he ran a, indie sci-fi magazine for many years, and he was doing it by himself and I just can't imagine, um,

[00:43:14] Halfling: Yeah, he did. He did all of it. He did. He did art, he did the writing. He did, you know, he edited his own stuff. He, you know, he, he published, I mean, it was crazy to hear him.

[00:43:27] PA Cornell: I'm always in awe of like, when I see like the tiny staffs that are behind, a lot of the like s f f uh, publications that, you know, I submit to where you just, one or two people sometimes, and they're putting out this amazing quality stuff. And you know what, I think how I started on this magazine was like a huge team of people working to put out, a monthly issue.

[00:43:51] PA Cornell: And, you know, it, it's just unbelievable to me that they can pull things off. Like, people like the Thomas's with Uncanny Magazine and you know, just like, just how are you doing this? And then also you're living your life and having to deal with all the things that we all have to deal with in, in our lives as if that's not enough.

[00:44:11] PA Cornell: Right. And you're getting like so many submissions, like it's just, it's amazing to me.

[00:44:18] Spaceman: Oh, the slush pile on some of these magazines has gotta be just, uh,

[00:44:23] PA Cornell: Mm-hmm.

[00:44:26] Spaceman: So now, uh, we've talked a little bit about your background and we've gotten kind of digression into this magazine publishing thing because that's kind of a personal area of interest for me. But who is the one person you would say has inspired you to most?

[00:44:39] Spaceman: And who would you most like to?

[00:44:44] PA Cornell: Wow. Oh, wow. That's a, that's a great question, but it's one I, I never know how to answer because I just feel like I'm inspired by every writer and every artist really. Um, I think a little piece of everything that I absorb as a consumer of art goes into my writing in ways that I can't even quantify, you know?

[00:45:07] PA Cornell: Um, so to mention one person and leave everyone else out, it seems crazy to me. But, um, yeah, I mean, When, when you say influence, like, I don't know. I feel like it's more like I'm inspired by what other people do. I'm not sure that I like influence in the sense of, like, I've never sat down and said like, oh, I wanna try and write, you know, like Cameron Hurley, and just analyze all her stories and try and write the same way.

[00:45:35] PA Cornell: Like that, it, that just seems odd to me. Like, for me, when I'm thinking of kind of leveling up my own, abilities, I'm just trying to be better than I was yesterday. You know what I mean? I'm not, I'm just trying to kind of expand on my own style and I'm sure there's, it's in some ways influenced by other people, but I don't think it's on a conscious level.

[00:45:56] PA Cornell: So I can't really say like, this person is the one that really made me wanna be a writer or that I try to emulate or whatever. Because that's just not how I am. But, in terms of who I'd want to meet, that's also an interesting question because I'm actually quite shy. Um, I have a lot of social anxiety.

[00:46:14] PA Cornell: I don't come off that way necessarily, because I'm a friendly person. You know, there's that weird juxtaposition of like social anxiety, but also friendly. So I think when I think about meeting somebody that I'm a fan of, uh, it's like a scary thing to me to even just think that like my anxiety peaks that, you know, cause I'm thinking I'll probably just say something stupid and embarrass myself in front of them.

[00:46:38] PA Cornell: And there's precedent for that because I had the pleasure of meeting, uh, Octavia Butler a few number of years ago and, and I embarrassed myself with her . So, , it is like a legitimate fear. So what happened there was I was at a convention that she was at and I had bought one of her books so that she would sign it for me and I gave it to her and she's giving me this look like, why are you giving me this book?

[00:47:03] PA Cornell: You know? And I'm like, why is she looking at me like I'm crazy? Like she's an author. She should be used to signing books. And she goes to me, she's like, did you want me to sign this book? And I go, yes, if you wouldn't mind, . And she says to me, well, it's already signed. And I had not noticed that. So I'm like, oh, well I'm a complete idiot.

[00:47:20] PA Cornell: You know, . But that's fine. You know it still pretty cool to meet Octavia Butler, but it's like, you know, it's that sort of thing where I'm like, yeah, be better if you don't meet your heroes.

[00:47:32] Halfling: Well, you know, that's a saying is never meet your heroes. Because, well, she didn't disappoint you. You, you know, you just had a oops moment, but it wasn't really, you know, it wasn't really meeting her. It doesn't sound like

[00:47:46] PA Cornell: Right. I could have embarrassed myself. Much worse, for sure. So it's not the worst memory, but it, you know, I did feel pretty stupid at the time.

[00:47:54] Halfling: Uh, well, I mean it, you know, talking about people that you would love to meet. It could really be anybody, you wanted to say, George Washington or, you know, or her, or Elon Musk or whoever. I mean, you know, but yeah, I understand the difficulty of that question.

[00:48:12] Halfling: We put people on the spot when we ask that question, maybe 

[00:48:16] PA Cornell: I mean, really. I, I do, I love, like, as much as I, uh, you know, talk about my social anxiety, I also just, I do really enjoy meeting like people in general and just talking to people. So in a way, like you say anybody, like anybody would be cool. I just wanna like, talk about whatever, what it is we do, especially when you have common ground, like, you know, we're all story lovers and so let's chat about that like we're doing now, which is awesome.

[00:48:44] PA Cornell: So,

[00:48:44] Halfling: Yeah. Well, one of the important things that we like to do with our show is kind of give our listeners insight into the journeys of how the creators have gone from being a fan of say, sci-fi to actually writing sci-fi books. Would, is there any advice you could give to somebody who's just starting out and wanting to write that story, to get it out to people?

[00:49:11] PA Cornell: Mm-hmm. . Yeah, that's, this question's always so tricky, . Um, you know, like I said, things change so much and so quickly and everyone's journey is so different that, it's often like, if I tell you this is what worked for me, by the time I tell you the, information's probably outdated, but.

[00:49:30] PA Cornell: There are some things that do stand the test of time. I think in that in terms of writing is, first of all, keep writing. Just keep doing it. Even if you think it sucks, keep, doing it and doing it and doing it. Like, you sometimes don't even realize how much you've improved until you go back and read something, you know, older and go, oh wow, like this.

[00:49:49] PA Cornell: You know? I've come so far from that and I do recommend that people go back and read their old stories and see how much of a change there's been. And sometimes just within a year. So, I can make a massive difference. So that's one thing. Keep writing and keep reading. And I also think that people should definitely read outside of what they write, just to, I mean, even like with other genres, like there's so many things that.

[00:50:15] PA Cornell: Like each genre does so well. Like, for instance, with horror or, or mystery, that sort of thing. Like it can teach you so much about pacing and language and stuff. Or like I was saying, romance, romance is amazing for characterization and stuff. Even though I was saying I'm not a big reader of it, you know, but I do recognize that there's so much in like different things that you can read.

[00:50:37] PA Cornell: And even with non-fiction, you just wanna just like keep your ear to the ground and see, what's out there and keep doing that. So that's definitely something I would advise someone newer, like just keep at it with the reading and the writing and also, because people have better opportunities now than I did at the start.

[00:50:55] PA Cornell: I mean, just try to connect with the writing community in some way. And I'm not saying connect in the sense of, you know, I need to do this to further my career. Like, you don't need to go into it with an agenda like that, but really just like, look at it like making friends, like, not with what am I gonna get out of this, but just be part of the community and like, so much benefit will come to you without you even looking for it in ways you can't even imagine.

[00:51:21] PA Cornell: And if for nothing else, you're gonna get other people that understand what you're going through and you can vent to and whatever. So there's that. And, it's so easy to do that now. Like with social media and like online groups like Codex for instance, you know, which I'm a member of, um, that, you know, ORIF or any of the others, like, you know, HWA, whatever, any, anything that you can be like sometimes, these things are not necessarily accessible to everyone, but a lot of things are, and just any connections you can make, are going to help you in ways you, I can't even tell you yet cuz they'll, they'll help us all in different ways.

[00:51:58] PA Cornell: So those are definitely a couple things I would advise too. Someone just getting into this.

[00:52:04] Halfling: Well, I think you made a really good point when you said that There's support there that you'll be connected with people who are going through the same types of things and having the same feelings and having the same misgivings or sharing their tryouts. I think that community, and we talk about this time and time again on the show community is so important.

[00:52:27] Halfling: Um, whether, you're in the phantom community and you go into the conventions, or if you've got the writing career and you're part of all these writers groups or what have you. It just, community is so important. And having all of us gone through this pandemic where there was just so much isolation, that became just a godsend.

[00:52:49] Halfling: I mean, it was there before, but I think even more so now, it, you know. Okay. Hopefully we're, hopefully we're past the pandemic. We'll,

[00:52:58] Spaceman: Or at least the worst parts of it.

[00:53:00] Halfling: You know, but I think it's just so important for me people to make those connections. Even if they're, even if they're just having a conversation like we are through a Zoom chat.

[00:53:09] Halfling: You know, we're, interfacing, we're talking, we've got a connection. And we can be sympathetic. We can share the joy of the triumphs, so community is just where it's at. I don't know if you've experienced in your being part of the writing community.

[00:53:25] Halfling: There's something that we've talked about in fandom, like in cosplay or going, conventions or what have you. Gatekeeping, has been an issue that we've talked about where people, there are people that are necessarily trying to. Trying to block access for other individuals.

[00:53:45] Spaceman: And it can be for a variety of reasons.

[00:53:47] PA Cornell: Mm-hmm.

[00:53:48] Halfling: Yeah. I mean, we've talked about it a couple times in, in reference to cosplay where somebody, somebody who wants to play, who wants to come to a convention dressed in a certain costume, is told that, well you don't look like that person.

[00:54:01] Halfling: You're too short, you're too fat, or you're not the right ethnicity. So they're trying to block the access. They're trying to make the person feel like, no, they don't belong like that. 

[00:54:11] Halfling: I was just gonna ask though if you had any of that experience within your writer's groups,

[00:54:16] PA Cornell: I have not in a sense, um, yeah, no, like, I've always been lucky that way. I've. Pretty welcome. I mean, even, my very first writer's group in Canada, was not a genre fiction, writing group. It was more literary. And even they welcomed me even though I didn't really write that sort of thing.

[00:54:37] PA Cornell: And I was a kid basically at the time. Everyone else was much older. So I've been very fortunate in that sense at least, but I also, I haven't had that many interactions either that, you know, to make that, like, I guess the more you put yourself out there in a way, the more chances as well that you're going to face that sort of thing.

[00:54:55] PA Cornell: But, like most of my interactions have been online. I haven't had a lot of negative things. I don't, say controversial things or anything too often or anything that might, attract people who would do that sort of thing. But, yeah, I mean, I am aware of it happening to other people though, and it's a shame.

[00:55:13] PA Cornell: I'm like, you know, we're all just here to play, right? Like, it, it's just, it, it sucks that that happens, and I hope it doesn't happen to me because honestly, I don't even know how I would react,

[00:55:26] PA Cornell: you know? 

[00:55:26] Halfling: A lot of the advice that other people have given where they've experienced it or they've seen it, is what it boils down to is rise above the noise and just forget whatever negativity somebody puts out there and do your thing and be comfortable with who you are and what you're doing, and just rise above it.

[00:55:46] Halfling: I mean, that's, that's the general advice. They've said it in different ways, but that's what it ultimately boils down to. I mean, and it's hard. I'm sure that it's hard to sort of quiet or silence those voices and because of my stature and my height and my weight, I've always been short and overweight.

[00:56:07] Halfling: I've had to deal with that all in my life. So I've had those negative noises just in the public space, , you know, and so, , I had to learn at fairly early age, you know, I'm just not gonna deal with it. I'm just not gonna pay attention to it. I'm gonna be who I am. Screw everybody up. I mean, you know,

[00:56:28] Spaceman: Halfling, that's a little harsh.

[00:56:30] Halfling: well, not, I mean, you know, but that's what it came down to.

[00:56:33] Halfling: I had to toughen up. So that's, and that's kind of the advice that people give is, you know, toughen up. Be who you are gonna be, do your thing, and don't pay attention to it. So I'm glad to hear that you haven't had that experience.

[00:56:47] PA Cornell: Yeah, I mean, I've had experiences like that just in my regular non-writing life, so I do know what that sort of hostility feels like. But in terms of like the writing community itself, I haven't thank goodness, but, because yeah, I can see how that be, that can be so discouraging for some people.

[00:57:03] PA Cornell: And it's like, for some of us, like, yeah, we can tough enough and be like, sure, screw you and whatever. I'm just gonna do my thing and that's fine. But not everyone has that like, kind of, um, temperament, I guess. Like it can be. The kind of thing that for some people would make them wanna just give up and quit.

[00:57:22] PA Cornell: And that's a shame because then, you know, you lose the voice of that artist, who, could have really been something special and like, you know, so I, I, I think things are changing hopefully for the better. Maybe not as quickly as I would like it to in some ways, but, um, but yeah, like, I mean there's, there's a lot of voices trying to make a difference and a lot of people that are still doing their thing despite whatever they face.

[00:57:50] PA Cornell: So eventually I think that is gonna turn the tides so hopefully sooner rather than later we'll see less and less of that.

[00:58:00] Spaceman: Well, can you tell us about any works that you have upcoming

[00:58:03] PA Cornell: Okay. Yeah, I do, I actually have, um, I think at last count I have eight stories forthcoming for this year and another one in January of the coming year. So I've got quite a few coming out and they're all science fiction

[00:58:19] Halfling: Okay.

[00:58:20] PA Cornell: I mentioned, El Gordato earlier, but I also have a story coming out , in Zm b presents called The Smell of Sawdust, which is like a post-apocalyptic setting, but it's about, an older female cage fighter that's dealing with like chronic pain and, You know, it's, it's about a lot of stuff.

[00:58:37] PA Cornell: I really love the story because there's so many things in it, like, so many themes that I, that I touch on, like, hope and sisterhood and it's about music and family and things. So it's, you know, it's not just about the post-apocalyptic setting, like it's really very little about that, which, a lot of my fiction is kind of, not so much about the trope, it's about other things.

[00:58:59] PA Cornell: So that one I'm looking forward to. I also have a really dark military SF coming out in, dark Matters, monstrous Futures Anthology, which comes out in April. That one's called The Body Remembers. And it's about, a technology that can repair injuries and like the dark side of that. So, that one was kind of fun to write, but I honestly, I've never had a manuscript that I had to put so many content warnings on it ever before that one, cuz it's pretty dark.

[00:59:25] PA Cornell: But I assume if you're buying a, a. A book called Monstrous Futures. You're gonna be expecting , some pretty dark stuff. So that one. And, just to name another one, I do have, my fourth publication coming out in, Cosmas Infinities, called The Bullet In Your Pocket, has your name on it. Like I said, I've worked with them three times previously and they're really one of my favorite genre publications, not just because they keep buying my stories, which is awesome, and I hope they keep doing that , but also just, I just love all the stuff they publish, the kind of things that they are putting out there.

[00:59:58] PA Cornell: And I really hope more people will read them whether I'm in the issue or not, because, I'd hate to lose them so that one's coming out in June. So, that would be the, yeah, and I don't think I said, the first one I mentioned is coming out in March, so that like, yeah, we've got quite a few, through the years, so that's just a few to look for that I'm excited about.

[01:00:18] Halfling: well that's great. We'll, make sure to put all that in the show notes, so we want people to be able to find out a little bit you and get your stories, um, right.

[01:00:27] Spaceman: And, and where can people find out more about you personally, and how can they, well, do you have a writer's website? Do you.

[01:00:36] Halfling: you.

[01:00:37] PA Cornell: I do. And that's, my website's probably like, the best place to find out anything you want. Like it'll connect you to everything you wanna know about me or my writing. It's And you know, it's got where to contact me. It's got my, all my social media. There's a link to my monthly newsletter, which is kind of a new thing.

[01:00:55] PA Cornell: I started late last year, so that's probably the best way to stay up to date. Like, I put that out and you find out about everything that's coming or that's been released or what I'm working on and there's a few little exclusives I'm throwing in there for my subscribers.

[01:01:10] PA Cornell: So,

[01:01:10] Halfling: Well, fun.

[01:01:11] PA Cornell: so, yeah.

[01:01:12] Halfling: Sounds good. Sounds good. Well, we wanna thank you so much for talking with us today, taking that time, and we really appreciate it. 

[01:01:20] PA Cornell: Thank you. 

[01:01:21] Halfling: We just had a really good time talking with you and learning about your journey, and we wish you nothing but success in the future,

[01:01:30] PA Cornell: Oh, thank you so much. And same to you as well with your podcast.

[01:01:33] Spaceman: All right. And we wanna thank all our listeners for tuning in today. We hope that you've enjoyed and perhaps become inspired by today's guest, PA Cornell. We give PA a huge shout out. And thank you for joining us today, and this is the spaceman of the Halfling and the Spaceman signing off.