I have just learned that the nominations for Hugo awards close on March 13th, so while it feels to me that I've just left Nebula season, let me remark that "Cold Words" (Analog, Oct. 2009) is eligible for Hugo consideration. Also, because my first professional story, "Let the Word Take Me," appeared in Analog magazine's July/August 2008 issue, I'm in my second year of eligibility for the Campbell Award for best new writer (here is my profile at the site). *Any member of the 2009 or 2010 Worldcon as of the end of January 2010 is eligible to make nominations for the 2010 Hugo Awards and John W. Campbell Award. You don't have to attend Worldcon; you just have to be a member of it. Less expensive Non-attending ("supporting") memberships, which come with all of the rights of membership except actually attending it, are available* (information between the asterisks helpfully provided by Kevin).
For the curious, here are a couple of quotes. I hope they'll inspire you to seek out copies of Analog...
from "Cold Words" (Oct. 2009):
"What is it? Still the problem of Cold words? Someone of Rank among your people must grasp the dominator's tongue, Parker, or Majesty will brand you Barbarians!"
Parker's fur-naked brown face shows embarrassed. "This new negotiator is a more gifted speaker than the last," he says. "Officer Jasmine Hada will speak Cold words well enough not to Warm Majesty's presence inadvertently."
"Then this is news of triumph. We shall have our spaceport!" And all that come with it - so close is the conclusion of my life's hunt!
"Yes, but Hada is too skilled. She even bears the authority to propose terms. Why should the Allied Systems grant Aurru spaceport such importance, if it's only meant to be a way-stop between star territories?" Parker frowns. "I fear some hidden intent of unfairness to the Aurrel people."
My hackles rise. I know much of unfairness, as the only one of Lowland race on the Cold Council - and also of hidden intent. My own is to use this spaceport to bring Human silver to the Lowlands, thus raising my nape-bitten race. If Parker scents true, this Officer Hada could ruin my hunt before its final pace. "When will she take foot in La-larrai City?"
Parker lowers his head. "She comes down by shuttle at the sunset hour. Your presence at her arrival would grant us Cold honor - and we might make sure of her."
from "Let the Word Take Me" (July/August, 2008):
At the border of the village, a hand emerged from the speckled darkness and jerked him off the path into deep shadows.
"David, what the hell do you think you're doing?"
David caught his breath. "Father!"
"If Monroe finds out you've been trespassing...!"
"I know, Father, I'm sorry, I –" How stupid would he sound if he said he'd risked the colony listening for bedtime stories? It wouldn't win him the respect due to a fellow linguist, that's for sure, and Father would say he should have shipped him offworld to college on Erimyno Treaty Colony instead of giving in to all his begging to stay. "I'm sorry."
"Well, never mind."
"So how did it go? Did you get the extension?"
"Damned Systems functionary," Father grunted. "She doesn't care about the years of work we've put in; all she thinks about is Systems resources being wasted on maintaining us here at Garini Base."
David shook his head. "How can anyone say we're wasting resources? We hardly import anything." He shuddered, realizing that 'resources' must mean something else entirely. "Does she mean our defense ships? But she can't take them away – it would be like handing the Garini rainforests over to be shredded by pirates!" And, since the Garini Provisional Colonists had been the first to inform the Systems about Garini's biochemical wealth, it would be their own fault.
"The sacred Word is life, or death," she told me. "It binds, it brings bliss or misery. It is the blood of the People, that flows freely in its heart, in the House of Leaves, and the Great Tales like flesh grow from it; outside, the blood and flesh are clothed in small images that give understanding without unleashing the full might of the Word, like scales over the skin."