Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Cyberpunk Podcast (Featuring me!)

Over the weekend, I went to see "Blade Runner 2049" by myself at 10:15 pm on Saturday night. I hate seeing movies by myself. I actually ended up at the wrong theater--I'd pre-purchased tickets for Inver Grove Heights, but apparently, despite living here for decades, I don't actually know the suburbs of Minneapolis/St. Paul, and I ended up in Oakdale. I guess I just thought "Oh, yeah, that nice theatre with the comfy recliners" and I drove to the wrong one on automatic pilot. "Blade Runner 2049" wasn't even showing there, so I had to decide whether to race across town to try to get to the place I'd paid for, or, to head off to somewhere closer in order to not miss any of it. I opted for not missing anything, because some months ago, I agreed to talk to the folks over at Just Enough Trope about the movie. So I ended up at a super late show, in IMAX. I'm not a big fan of the IMAX experience. I'm old, so I often find it too loud and the screen is so big that sometimes I feel like it's impossible to take everything in properly.

But, I saw it and we recorded my part of the podcast on Sunday afternoon.

I'm listening to the podcast right now, for the first time, and I don't sound too stupid. http://justenoughtrope.com/2017/10/09/237-sexbot-boobie-business/ They edited me a little, but not a lot, so you get me in my most rambling, interrupting myself glory. The podcast itself is surprisingly long. I talked to them for about an hour, and almost all of that is there. But, the conversation is interesting (at least I thought so both at the time and listening now.) We get into some interesting things about cyberpunk and the questions of humanity that it often plays with. If you get a chance, check it out and see what you think of it. On the Just Enough Trope page, they list the time stamp for when my interview/conversation starts, so you can just jump to that. Though I listened to the front matter, just to hear the context.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

I'm in the New QSF Anthology!

QSF Renewal-Print

QSF has a new book out, the latest in our series of flash fiction anthologies:

Re.new.al (noun)

1) Resuming an activity after an interruption, or
2) Extending a contract, subscription or license, or
3) Replacing or repairing something that is worn out, run-down, or broken, or
4) Rebirth after death.

Four definitions to spark inspiration, a limitless number of stories to be conceived. Only 110 made the cut.

Thrilling to hopeful, Renewal features 300-word speculative fiction ficlets about sexual and gender minorities to entice readers.

Welcome to Renewal.

Mischief Corner Books (info only) | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads



Renewal Banner

Excerpt

Because these stories are only 300 words each, we’re not supplying long excerpts, but here are the first lines of several of the stories. Enjoy!

“Griselda pulled the weeds from between the rows of Valerianella locusta plants in the garden, careful not to disturb the buds that would grow into the babies that were her only real income-producing crop.” —The Witches’ Garden, by Rie Sheridan Rose

“I didn’t know how truly the world was in trouble until I went journeying to look for Anisette’s bluebonnets.” —Bluebonnets, by Emily Horner

“The ship’s drive malfunctioned at the worst possible time.” —The Return, by Andrea Speed

“Before we continue, there’s a rather macabre fact about me I should share.” —Rejuvenation, by Christine Wright

“When I died they buried me at the bottom of the garden and returned to the fields.” —Below the Hill, by Matthew Bright

“The world is ending and I can’t look away from your eyes.” —Sunrise, by Brigitte Winter

““Losing one’s superpowers to your arch nemesis sucks donkey nuts, I tell ya. And trust me when I say I suck a lot of them.” —Rainbow Powers, by Dustin Karpovich

“The day I was born again was damp, rainy—a good day for rebirth, all things considered.” —The Birthing Pod, by Michelle Browne

“Intwir's twelve eyes roved over the container, taking in the cracked outer lock and the elasticated fabric stretched tightly over its exterior.” —In a Bind, by S R Jones

“‘You’ve reached Androgyne HelpLine. Press one to start service. Press two to interrupt or cancel service. Press three—’” —Auto-Renew, by Ginger Streusel

“The doctor tells me that my wife is dying, but I already know.” —I Will Be Your Shelter, by Carey Ford Compton

“‘San Francisco was the first to go dark, followed by Los Angeles.’” —When Light Left, by Lex Chase

“My fingers lingered on the synthetic skin, trailing soft patterns across my work.” —Miss You, by Stephanie Shaffer



Included Authors

'Nathan Burgoine
A.M. Leibowitz
A.M. Soto
Abby Bartle
Aidee Ladnier
Alexis Woods
Andi Deacon
Andrea Felber Seligman
Andrea Speed
Andrea Stanet
Anne McPherson
Bey Deckard
Brigitte Winter
Carey Ford Compton
Carol Holland March
Carrie Pack
Catherine Lundoff
CB Lee
Christine Wright
Colton Aalto
Daniel Mitton
Dustin Blottenberger
Dustin Karpovich
E R Zhang
E.J. Russell
E.W. Murks
Ell Schulman
Ellery Jude
Eloreen Moon
Elsa M León
Emily Horner
Eric Alan Westfall
F.T. Lukens
Fenrir Cerebellion
Foster Bridget Cassidy
Ginger Streusel
Hannah Henry
Irene Preston
J. Alan Veerkamp
J. P. Egry
J. Summerset
J.S. Fields
Jaap Boekestein
Jackie Keswick
Jana Denardo
Jeff Baker
Jenn Burke
Joe Baumann
John Moralee
Jon Keys
Jude Dunn
K.C. Faelan
Kelly Haworth
Kiterie Aine
Kristen Lee
L M Somerton
L. Brian Carroll
L.M. Brown
L.V. Lloyd
Laurie Treacy
Leigh M. Lorien
Lex Chase
Lia Harding
Lin Kelly
Lloyd A. Meeker
Lyda Morehouse
M.D. Grimm
Martha J. Allard
Mary E. Lowd
Matt Doyle
Matthew Bright
Mia Koutras
Michelle Browne
Milo Owen
Mindy Leana Shuman
Naomi Tajedler
Natsuya Uesugi
Nephy Hart
Nicole Dennis
Ofelia Gränd
Patricia Scott
Paul Stevens
PW Covington
R R Angell
R.L. Merrill
Rebecca Cohen
Redfern Jon Barrett
Reni Kieffer
Richard Amos
RL Mosswood
Robyn Walker
Rory Ni Coileain
Rose Blackthorn
Ross Common
S R Jones
Sacchi Green
Sarah Einstein
Shilo Quetchenbach
Siri Paulson
Soren Summers
Stephanie Shaffer
Steve Fuson
Tam Ames
Terry Poole
Tray Ellis
Vivien Dean
Wendy Rathbone
Xenia Melzer
Zen DiPietro
Zev de Valera

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Blinded by Science!

I think I blasted this out on all my social media, but I failed to mention it here.... Mason's "Wind Energy Team" participated in the Minnesota Renewable Energy Challenge a few weeks ago, and their team qualified to go to the NATIONAL competition in Anaheim, California. This is a pretty cool deal. Not only did these kids have to design and build a working windmill, but they also had to do an on-the-fly design and build challenge at the competition. Mason reported to me that their on-the-fly windmill actually successfully picked up ALL the washers.

Go, SCIENCE!

These are our future engineers, my friends!

The only problem is that Washington Tech is not a rich school. The kids are required to fundraise 100% of the travel expenses. Added pressure is that the principal won't start the paperwork (which has a deadline of May 1) until they've raised a "significant" amount. Thanks to a lot of big donations (that biggest one is from us, because Shawn and I decided that we would have otherwise funded Mason's travel, so we should just go ahead an donate what we would have paid), they're getting REAAAAAAALLLLLY close to halfway. I'm fairly certain that the principal would accept half as "significant," but we don't know.

Thing is, there's no need to break the bank. Every little bit helps. So, if you've got a spare dollar or five dollars for science these kids would really, really appreciate it.

Even if you DON'T have a spare buck, you should check out their GoFundMe page, anyway, and watch the video to check out the cool stuff they're up to. The narrator is Mason's friend Rosemary, and you can see Mason in several of the shots (hint: the white dude.)

https://www.gofundme.com/help-send-us-to-kidwind-nationals

Monday, April 10, 2017

Another Day Where it Looks Like Rain...

...but it probably won't.

The last few days have been very dreary. There's been cloud cover and cold, moist winds that smell like rain. Yesterday, it actually sprinkled for all of ten minutes (it even thundered), but when all was said and done, it was a very lackluster show of moisture. I think my plants would really like some wet. If it's going to be dark and stormy-looking, I wish it would just commit to the idea.

Weather people are saying it might actually snow. Of course, it'll do THAT, now that every Minneapolitan/Saint Paulie spent the weekend uncovering their various gardens. My luck, the snow will kill the few things that have managed to sprout in my otherwise dead yard.

I think this is the year I give up on grass. I've been trying to re-grass the top of our hill, under our maple tree for the last couple of years. I usually have pretty decent luck getting grass to sprout, but it never manages to really take hold and survive the winter. I think it's time to look at a shade garden for the top of the hill. Ferns and hostas and stuff like that.

Usually, my biggest hold up for projects like this is money. Hostas are surprisingly expensive. Plants, in general. So, if you're local to me and you hear about plant sales/giveaways please let me know. I think this week I might go to Menards some dirt and start prepping the area. Somewhere in this house we still have a gift certificate someone gave us to Gerten's. I might have to make a trip out there soon to see what they have that might work under the tree.

In other, possibly more exciting news, I'm doing a reading tonight at Magers & Quinn in Minneapolis from 7 pm to 8 pm. I'm going to be part of a group that's reading from the anthology we were all published in: BOUNDARIES WITHOUT: The Calument Editions 2017 Anthology of Speculative Fiction (link is to the Kindle edition, but it's also available in paperback). It's sometimes tough to find parking in Uptown, but I usually park in the ramp there behind the square or whatever it's called. Should be a good night. I hope to see some of you there.

For some reason Magers & Quinn could not get copies of PRECINCT 13 to sell, so if you go, you might want to ask them to order a few copies and/or bring your own for me to sign. This has been happening to me a lot--where I agree to be at various venues, and the book purchasers say that they can't get my most recent publication. The first time this happened, I discovered it was because SONG OF SECRETS was showing up as my latest release. That book has been completely pulled by the publisher for various and sundry reasons. But, even when I underscore to bookstore people that, no, please get my most recent Penguin release, they can't seem to manage it. I don't really understand why not. From what I can tell, all my romance books are still available. It's concerning. I suppose I should see if I can order some from Penguin for myself to sell (because that's what Magers & Quinn wanted me to do--bring my own for them to sell on commission, but I don't normally keep my own books around, since they SHOULD be easy to order.)

On the other hand, maybe my lack of other books will inspire more listeners to buy a copy of the anthology. I'll look at it that way. Besides, I suspect that a lot of people who know me have already bought their copies of Precinct 13 some time ago. :-)

Friday, April 07, 2017

Hold my Beer, People are Wrong on the Internet (again)

I jumped into the fray on FB because I just couldn't take it any more.

A friend of mine posted a link to this article: Bashing Romance Novels is Just Another Form of Slut-Shaming. I skimmed it, because anyone who has professionally published romance, like I have, has been there, done that... and had to do it again in the comment field.

I don't know why romance garners such hatred.

Actually, I do, but I don't like to think about the fact that readers, even other women, will happily poo-poo romance as 'not real writing' because it's predominately women writing for a largely female audience--and, yeah, it's just like this author says, it's worse than that because women's sexuality is involved. I gave up going to WisCON partly because I got really sick of having to defend my writing as worthy. I think certain women really hate on romance because they fear it's everything strong, smart women are supposed to eschew. It apes the patriarchy and only lonely, white women of a certain age, sitting at home in their aprons, read romances.

Not true.

Plus, everyone knows romance novels are just bad writing, right? They're just full of lines like "her velvety womanhood" and his "thrusting manhood."

Yeah, I won't deny these phrases EXISTED (in 1973), but they're _just_ not that popular in 2017 (BECAUSE THEY WERE MERCILESSLY MOCKED IN 1974). The truth is simple. Most romance readers want what all readers want: a good book devoid of overly purple prose. Yes, I have to write about body parts, but most romances fall into the "hot" category, which is sexual but NOT EXPLICIT. It's not erotica, people. You actually have to go into another section of your bookstore to find that stuff, okay?

Speaking of bad writing, someone ALWAYS has to bring up "the formula."

This insistence that all romances are written to a formula provided by the publisher is a big part of disrespect. I'm sure this formula exists (or, more likely EXISTED) somewhere. HOWEVER, even now, Harlequin has to post on its web site, that, NO, THERE IS NO FORMULA, outside of genre expectations (i.e. a romance should, you know, have person a meeting person b and falling in love). Sorry, folks, but you're expected to write a good book--an original, creative book, with plot and characters--JUST LIKE A REAL WRITER.

Because, guess what? Romance writing is real writing.

Look, I get it. I used to be the same way. When writing science fiction novels, I would occasionally mutter, "OMG, this is so HARD, I should give it all up and just write romances!" Because I believed it, too. I believed that, somehow, romance was easier to write because it was just silly hack work. Smut. Fun sexy times with no plot beyond slot b and tab a.

Yeah, no.

Writing romances is just as hard writing any other book. There is no formula to follow. No editor anywhere (outside of maybe a satirical publisher) wants a character, made of cardboard and Fabio hair, named "Lance Thrustsalot." If you "read that somewhere" it was likely on a porn site or possibly in an article published in 1973. (I blame everything on 1973; it was a bad year.)

I had to come up with all of it when I proposed and wrote my nine romance novels. All of them, too, I put just as much blood, sweat, and tears into as I did any other writing. I don't know if I can express how much I hate this stereotype, because it completely and utterly devalues the work I did and the books I'm proud to have written.

OMG, just stop already. Don't make me come in there.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

EVENT: Panel Discussion at AZ Gallery tonight (Jan 17)

Tonight I'm going to be at a panel discussion about "Women in SF and Writing Female Characters" with fellow writers Victorya Crane and Abra Staffin-Wiebe at the AZ Gallery in Lowertown at 7-9 PM TONIGHT (January 17, 2017).

The AZ Gallery is located at: 308 Prince St, Suite 130, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55101

For more information check out the event's Facebook Page.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

A good book and a good cause

 I contributed to Jim Hines' on-going fundraiser for Transgender Michigan, one of the only transgender helplines in the country that's 24/7. If you've been wanting to try Resurrection Code but never got around to buying a copy, now you can do it AND support a good cause!

http://www.jimchines.com/2016/12/tgm-fundraiser-morehouse/

As an FYI, there are very few physical copies of this book left. The publisher shipped me the remaining stock after the book went out of print. It also features a trans character. I know a lot of my readers bought this book when it came out, but like I say, this is a chance to help out a worthy charity as well!