Check Out My Favorite Bit of January Fifteenth

Hey everyone, 

It’s been about six weeks since my novella, January Fifteenth, came out. I can hardly believe the amazing and generous reception it’s getting. Thank you to everyone who’s read and/or written about it.

Recently, I wrote about “The Voices of January Fifteenth” as part of My Favorite Bit, a feature on the blog of the awesome Mary Robinette Kowal where authors talk about some of the pieces of their projects they love most. 

graphic with text on the left and front cover of January Fifteenth on the right. text reads: My Favorite Bit, What Authors Love About Their Books. book cover of a person walking down an alley with an umbrella and the following text: January Fifteenth, “Money Changes everything–except people.” Rachel Swirsky, “One of the best speculative writers of the last decade.” –John Scalzi

What I loved most? Developing the characters’ voices.

January Fifteenth is written from the perspectives of four different women as they go through the day when they collect their Universal Basic Income payments that will help support them through the year. Each character has a different way of thinking about and interacting with the world. I love figuring out how to embody that in prose.

Here’s a couple snippets from what I wrote at Mary Robinette’s:


Hannah’s on constant high alert. If fear causes fight, flight, freeze or fawn, Hannah’s in the freeze camp… Anxiety makes some people terse, but Hannah’s sentences are long and detailed. She’s too nervous to decide at a glance whether something is a threat or not.


Janelle and Nevaeh are a blast. They’re quick-witted chatterboxes. Even inside her head, Janelle plays with words, goes on dramatic tangents, and trawls for jokes… Itried to balance the lengths of the novella’s threads, but it’s definitely not split into perfect quarters. Janelle and Nevaeh are part of the reason why. They want to talk forever. 

book cover of a person walking down an alley with an umbrella and the following text: January Fifteenth, “Money Changes everything–except people.” Rachel Swirsky, “One of the best speculative writers of the last decade.” –John ScalziThe full piece has more about Hannah and Janelle, as well as about the other two characters–Olivia and Sarah. 

Once again, here’s a link to my post. Check it out, along with the other wonderful content on Mary Robinette’s blog.

January Fifteenth is available in stores and through several online booksellers, including Powells, Booksamillion, Indiebound, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Bookshop.

Check Out the 2021 Locus Recommended Reading List

image of a purse in a grassy field with the following text: 13 of the Secrets in My Purse "Number Five: The pearl from the sacred heart of the Earth. I keep it in a mint tin." a short story by Rachel Swirsky, Uncanny Magazine

Uncanny Magazine Issue Forty CoverLots of short story goodness on the Locus Recommended Reading List!

I’m excited to see my short piece, “Thirteen of the Secrets in My Purse,” in there. I’m really excited to see how much it’s resonated with people!

Sometimes, it’s just good to write something a bit silly. I know, pandemic-wise, I’ve been craving fun and ridiculousness.

If you haven’t read it, it’s up at the inimitable Uncanny Magazine:

One: My lipstick.

The shade is Heart’s Blood.

Morbid, if you ask me.

I wanted to know if it was really the color of heart’s blood so I bought beef heart and tried dabbing my lips.

Close enough.

I emailed to congratulate the lipstick company on their realism. They did not respond.

keep reading


Issue 43 of Uncanny Magazine

Picture of rose in hand with text: White Rose, Red Rose "They say the dead see the world as a nightmare. Love and shock and pain are one merged, hungry thing." a short story by Rachel Swirsky, Uncanny Magazine

How cool is it to be back in Uncanny Magazine for the second time this year?

Earlier this year, they published my (very) short story, “Thirteen of the Secrets in My Purse.” (I’ve been thrilled to see that folks are enjoying it. I think it’s a good year to read something funny and a little exciting.)

My newest short story, “White Rose, Red Rose,” is a shivery–perhaps even uncanny?–fantasy about a seamstress in a war-torn city.

That morning, there was a white rose on my windowsill, and my heart cracked.

I took it inside. I knew well the only things that mattered were that it was a rose and it was white, but I examined it anyway. It had been in full flower recently, but was quickly withering. Several petals were gone; another came off in my hand. The petals wore traces of dirt that browned them, and I wondered if that had been purposeful. A missive of death: white for the bone, earth for the grave. I was probably thinking overmuch.

I plucked the petals into a bowl and washed them, then put them to boil to make a sweet tea. As far as we knew, the armsmen didn’t know our resistance codes, but I didn’t like to leave evidence.

How? I wondered, and chastised myself for wondering. There couldn’t be another message until tomorrow; our communication process came in slow trickles, frustrating but necessary, according to the resistance leaders. I wondered anyway. Throughout the day, as I patched uniforms for the occupying armsmen, and baked bread to bring my neighbor with the broken leg, and scrubbed every floorboard in the house, I wondered: how?

Quick? Painful? Bloody? Horrible? Unlucky? Slow?

How had my brother died?

Uncanny Magazine Issue 43 CoverThe full story will be freely available online on December seventh (I’ll post a link!), but Issue 43 is already available for purchase now.

The first part of the issue is already online. There are some great writers for you to peruse now:

That Story Isn’t the Story” by John Wiswell

For Want of Milk” by Grace P. Fong

The Stop After the Last Station” by A. T. Greenblatt

I hope you enjoy the issue, and I look forward to being able to share my story online, too!