I am very, very happy about this. :) This is my fiction debut at SH ("And the War is Never Over" was my poetry debut; there are different editorial teams for fiction and poetry), which is exciting.
But more than that: This is the first piece I wrote after Judah.
Usually short fiction gestates for a while in my hindbrain and then just falls out onto the page fully-formed in a session or two of writing. ("Happy Hour at the Tooth and Claw" was different, but that was different in a lot of ways.) "The Final Girl" was a vague idea at the very back of my head for a while. Just... "I should write about final girls." And then a single line scribbled on the board in my office, one that didn't become part of the finished product.
And then, as my writerbrain was starting to come back... lines and paragraphs in fits and starts. My mind had to circle it, picking out facets. I had to give myself permission to not try to force it, to just leave the door open and let the necessary pieces come to me in their own time.
I think it was around December when I started to realize it was almost finished. And the last piece I needed came to me, fortuitously, in early January.
So I read it at Arisia. With the caveat that this was the first thing to come out of my newly-reconstituted writerbrain, and I didn't know if it was any good, and I was just... I was pretty sure that it was done, that it was whatever it was going to be, and here we go; I release it into the world.
Immediately after the reading, Julia Rios told me to send it to her. :)
So this is me, coming back. This is me refusing to give anyone else control over my fate.
The point of the final girl is that she survives.
I look forward to talking about it more after y'all get to read it.