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Geek Luddite

Nov. 4th, 2014

06:31 am - Short story: "The Stagman's Song" in Apex Magazine issue 66

My short story "The Stagman's Song" is out now (or, later this morning, depending on how early you may read this) in Apex Magazine issue 66.

Sep. 12th, 2014

08:27 pm - Books: The Kindness of Strangers by John Boswell

I'm in the odd position here of recommending a book that I'm personally tapping out on. John Boswell is great.  His tone, his erudition, his essential humanity as a writer: I'm a serious fangirl after a book and a half. (I read all of his book "Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe" and half of this one.)

The full title/subtitle of this book is "The Kindness of Strangers: The Abandonment of Children in Western Europe from Late Antiquity to the Renaissance."  I made it through the introduction and the first two, almost three chapters (chapters in this work are lengthy, so that's a couple of hundred pages - sections might be more accurate).

I think this could be a very useful work for people writing fantasy who want to explore family structures, or who are thinking about the world-building they want in a story that foundlings/orphans/children might occupy important places in.  And if you're doing something world-building that has a medieval feel and want some deep family structure background, I'm sure this would be really useful.  I learned a ton in the first few sections.

But I'm also getting triggered like whoa and I realized I was still reading in big part because I thought "this book could be really useful for someone" and at the moment that someone isn't me.  Content warnings for family issues, poverty issues, sexual abuse issues.  The problem isn't with the tone or approach of the text in any way, Boswell seems like a really good person as a writer.  The content itself is just kind of intense for me.  If you're looking for some deep reference for family world-building in a secondary world, this could be a great resource.  Now having said that I'm giving myself permission to drop this off at a library donation table and maybe come back to it some other decade.

Aug. 27th, 2014

11:03 pm - Writing is like love

Writing is like love.  For me, at least.  I don't know about other people.
We never do know about other people, not really, and that's part of the point, isn't it? There has to be something to cross that divide, and words are one of the few things we've got.

It's late... have a giant cut tag instead of a list of disclaimers...Collapse )

Jun. 13th, 2014

08:21 am - 4th Street!

I'm really looking forward to 4th Street Fantasy next weekend, and to seeing some of you there!

Dec. 7th, 2013

03:11 pm - Seasonal cards!

I got a seasonal postcard from an author in yesterday's mail (ways to build your authorial mailing list - A++, would add self again), and it reminded me that there are many seasonal cards on my kitchen table to be written and a dwindling number of December days in which to write them.
If you can read this, and would like a seasonal card, and think I might not have your address, please consider messaging it to me.

Sep. 8th, 2013

02:32 pm - Nora Roberts is my Pop-Culture Feminist Hero

[I haven't had much to say here lately, and it occurred to me there are things I've said so often offline that I should find a way to make sure I don't keep saying them again, but maybe haven't said them online.  So here you go.]
Things I Say Too Often at Parties 1: Nora Roberts is my Pop-Culture Feminist Hero.
Nora Roberts includes feminist messages in her stories on a consistent basis, right down to the world-building level and all the way through to the smallest character relationships, and she does it in works that have wide commercial appeal. I am always trying to lay this out at parties for people who don't read romance, so I'm hoping that if I write it all up here I'll stop going off at people at cocktail parties.
Six feminist things about Nora Roberts's workCollapse )
It's not that I think Nora Roberts is some ideological paragon of feminism or anything like that.  I'm sure there are things she gets wrong, or doesn't get right enough for some readers.  Because that's how stories work.  What I consistently find it worth pointing out is that she's a successful, mainstream, contemporary author, with a large audience, who gets a lot right, and it's obviously a deliberate part of how her stories are told.  And this deserves to be noticed and talked about.  If nothing else, think about how many thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of people read her books and are comfortable enough with the stuff she puts in there to keep coming back to the next book, and the next one.  To me that says there's a huge, very mainstream audience that is comfortable with all of the above as a baseline.  Roberts's books aren't generally talked about as noticeably, explicitly feminist, they're talked about as successful commercial romance. 

Jun. 19th, 2013

11:48 pm - 4th Street!

I will be at 4th Street this week!  Looking forward to it very much - seeing the folks I've seen before, and meeting new people, and filling my notebook full of notes.

May. 27th, 2013

09:18 pm - Poem pub

A poem of mine, "Dirt Road Prince," was published this month.  I had no idea that the circumstances surrounding this publication would be so difficult, but I'm still really proud of the poem.  If you're interested, you can find it in the Spring 2013 issue of Illumen.

May. 4th, 2013

07:03 am - Books: Akata Witch

I'm so glad that there's sports in Akata Witch!  Seriously, yay to Nnedi Okorafor, because back when I was a bookseller this is definitely a book I would have cross-marketed to a good chunk of folks who liked Harry Potter, and it would have been because it has magic school stuff and sports stuff.  More books should have both, liking magic does not automatically mean you don't like anything else.

Part of me wondered how much this book might be in conscious dialogue with Nancy Farmer's The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm, which we read in library school YA lit class and which I've never been entirely comfortable with.  There was something about the ways in which disability, the city, and the kidnappings were discussed that made me wonder this, but I can't quite pin it down.

I liked all the quests and the different types of magic and the slow accretion of many different community mentors and how the teen characters balance family stuff, magic society stuff, and the actual social dynamics of life in school and among their magic using peers.  The hardest part for me in recommending this book as a bookseller or librarian would have been that the cover, while beautiful, well-designed, and accurate to the text, makes the story look a lot softer-edged and more abstract than the text felt.  It's a good cover for this book, I think, but it almost makes me miss the days of ugly collage-scened covers for kids books so we could see them playing soccer and maybe some magic creatures.

Jan. 19th, 2013

09:21 pm - Caring

Triggery for discussion of depression and suicide, but not a depressed or suicidal essay. About caring. Triggery for advice giving if that's a trigger for you.Collapse )

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