Kickstarter for Ink & Locket’s WARRIOR antho!

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I am super excited to post this! My short story, “Things We’ll Never Know”, is included in Ink & Locket‘s Warrior anthology. The Warrior anthology includes YA stories where the heroes–the warriors–are QUILTBAG people. Here are three reasons why you should fund this kickstarterkickstarter:

Reason the First:#OwnVoices
There are so many queer and trans stories here written by queer and trans authors!* If you’re looking for representation, or if you know young ones looking for speculative fiction where they are the heroes, then this is the book to pick up. And right in time for the holidays.

Reason the Second: Kickstarter Rewards!!
If you’re buying the book for yourself, there are funding levels to gain extra content!

Or, you can donate the book!

Or, you can buy the book and get editing and reviews on your work!

Reason the Third: My Story Is Cool, I Promise
What would you do if an alien hologram appeared in your living room and spoke to you? What if it told you it came in peace? Would you believe it? Would you mistrust it? “Things We’ll Never Know” is the story of first contact, one family, and the questions that linger after the dust settles. My story features a trans woman heroine and is set in Denver, CO.

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*Mine is #ownvoices for some elements of it, but not others.

 

New articles up at Romper!

Two more articles up at Romper! I guess now as good a time as any to officially announce that I am a features writer over there.

One is about parenting while poly – the good, the bad, and the hard parts of that experience.

The other article is what happened when I spent a week engaging in mindful parenting.

Hope you enjoy them!

The Wake of 11/8/2016

Our president-elect is Donald Trump, and that is a terrifying thing.

It’s terrifying for a lot of reasons. It’s terrifying because in the same election that voted him into office, we as a country kept the republicans in control of the Senate, thereby empowering him to make a great deal of policy changes. Should Clinton have been elected, she would have been hamstrung–but Trump is set free.

It’s terrifying because for so many of us it confirms what we already knew about the county and the world we live in. That we are hated. That we are wished away. That those in power and those with privilege will hold onto it tightly, viciously, with every scrap of strength they have.

It’s terrifying because as much as Donald Trump was treated as a joke by the left and by commentators this was a very real possibility and actually quite predictable. After eight years of a Black president, what do we as a country do? We repeal the Voting Rights Act. This is what an election looks like when Black voters are once again systemically disenfranchised. In a parallel universe, where the VRA is still in place, I bet Clinton won. We pushed ourselves into the darkest timeline. Dear fellow white people: this is a bed of our own making, even if we did vote for Clinton in one-offs.

The truth is that I voted for Clinton, but I wasn’t happy about it. My choice was between a man who outright villified me because I am queer and trans and disabled or a women who codes those various hates in different kinds of language, who hides them, who smooths off the rough edges. I disliked Clinton, but I was terrified of Trump. Clinton could, at least, stymie the republican controlled Senate, maybe?

Ultimately the election didn’t even come down to actual policy. The only issues on the table were the supposed estrangement of white men from politics (which is just bald-faced racism) and the fact that Hilary is a woman. Really, it came down to the backlash against the fact that our previous president is Black and one of the nominees is a woman. White people in this country revolted–went out of their way to rig an election, to make sure that they were the ones voting, and went out of their way to vote in a man who it seems like will continue to keep white supremacy front and center. Tell me again how we live in a post-racial society.

It is a struggle to know how to live now with all of our skeletons spilling out of the closet. at FiveThirtyEight.com, Nate Silver wrote:

2:10AM:

Something to remember: Whatever your feelings about the state of the country right now, it’s fundamentally not that different a place whether the final call is that Clinton has narrowly won or narrowly lost. Add just 1 percent to Clinton’s vote share and take 1 percent away from Trump’s, and she would have won Florida and Pennsylvania, therefore would probably have been on her way to a narrow Electoral College victory.

And that’s the most horrifying part. I think he is trying to write something comforting here, but it’s actually horrifying. Yes. America is not fundamentally different depending on whichever candidate won. We are a deeply, horribly divided country filled with bile and hate for ourselves.

This is not the fault of those who cannot or would not vote. This is not the fault of those who voted third party. This is the fault of those who voted for Trump–the fault of millions and millions of people if every single state who voted for Trump. Do not place the blame anywhere but squarely at their feet, and the feet of those, like the Supreme Court who repealed the VRA, who helped enable this shit show.

If you, like me, are reeling today, show yourself kindness. Do what you need to survive. Survival is payback. Survival is revolutionary.

 

 

Nano Update #2

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Target: 30,000 words
Words written: 4,717
Words left to go: 25,283

Update from this weekend! The goal was to get back on track. I didn’t quite make it on track, but I did make a decent amount of progress! I cracked 1000 words on both Saturday and Sunday, so that is definitely not nothing.

Plot-wise I am in Chapter 3, and some random character has just burst onto the scene. I don’t know if this guy is sticking around for the long haul, or if he’s just in it for a scene, but he’s one of those characters that shows up more or less fully formed and just takes over the scene.

NaNo 2016 Update #1

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Target: 30,000 words
Words written: 2,234
Words left to go: 27,766

The Ballad of Bettie Frass is happening, but it’s happening slowly. I’m already off track–I should have 4,000 words done by now. I wrote every day so far, but my highest word count was 876. I’m hoping to put in some extra writing time today and tomorrow to get closer to on track again.

I am not actually surprised about this. Frankly, I’m just really happy I’ve written consistently four days in a row, even if it’s only been a couple hundred words here and there. I haven’t consistently written since I broke my ankle back in February. Between being laid up with that, where my days had no routine, to being totally overwhelmed by my old job, I’ve had no balance in my life, and thus no energy or space for writing. But I have two (mostly) functioning ankles now, and a job that allows for work/life balance, and NaNo is the perfect time to set up some sustainable writing routines.

I’ve found a great coffee shop for morning writing. Good coffee, good pastries, good tables. It closes at 5pm, though, so it’s not doable for after work writing. But! There is a Starbucks (not great coffee) in the lobby of a building not far from where I work that stays open much later and has good squishy chairs. So I think I have a good place for afternoon writing, too. Check and check.

I can’t write on the bus anymore. My commute changed, and now I take the express buses, and they are often so full it’s standing room only. Not writing compatible, hence the need to show up very early and find An Ideal Writing Spot or stay late and hunker down in A Different Acceptable Writing Spot. I have found that I can’t write at work, because if I am work I will just…keep working. The change of location is key for me to actually switch to writing and away from doing other things. During the week, my time at home is so limited that when I’m home I want to be present and not sequester myself away. During the weekends, it’s a lot easier to lock myself in my room for a couple of hours a day, write, and then clue back into my bustling family life.

The story for Bettie Frass is really just getting started. A lot of what I’ve been doing–and why I’ve written so little so far–has been about stretching atrophied writing muscles. Getting back into the swing of things again. Remembering how and when I work best. I think next week will cover more ground.

Are you all doing NaNo this year? What are you working on? How is it going?

 

NaNo 2016 – It’s Happening

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Hey friends!

I am all in for NaNo 2016.

So, I just started a new job, one with remarkably more work/life balance, which means remarkably more time for writing. This entire year has basically been a writing drought from the time I shattered my leg waaaaay back in February until, hopefully, now. I’ve managed to eke out two shorts and keep ARIAH on the market, but that’s been it for ten whole months. Typically I’ve written entire novels in this span of time. It’s been…unpleasant.

But I think life is turning around now, and not a moment too soon. Patreon supporters at the $5 and up level are promised a novella by the end of the calendar year, and I’ve had one rattling around in my brain for a very long time.

I’m not shooting for the whole 50k words–I’m out of writing shape, and this is a novella anyway. So winning for me will be a cool 30,000. The novella is tentatively titled The Ballad of Bettie Frass. Here’s a short description:

Bettie Frass is a legend and a cipher. Her exploits are legendary, but who was she, and how did she manage to do what she did–and how did she disappear?

In any case, I’ll be posting about my progress here (and my various minor successes and tribulations along the way). And if you want to follow along with me on the Nano site, or if you want to be my ~official writing buddy~, you can check that out here.

Worldbuilding Through Sex/Love/Romance

Hi all!

I had the honor of leading a worldbuilding workshop at Sirens 2016. I love Sirens – I was thrilled to attend again this year*, and I encourage folks to attend if they have the opportunity. I have found it to be a warm and welcoming experience.

So! Worldbuilding! I never tire of talking about it! The theme this year was Lovers, and so we talked in the workshop about how you can really enter worldbuilding through any anchor point. Why not use lovers as an anchor point? Why not use sex, sexuality, gender, constructions of romance as a way to begin worldbuilding?

Essentially, what we did in the workshop (which you can see in the above slideshow) was establish a general framework for worldbuilding, then talk about ways to breakdown and think about sex and sexuality, then put the two pieces together.

I should say here that none of this is prescriptive. That is, the elements of the worldbuilding framework that work for me are presented in a particular order, but this is not intended to be a suggestion that this work happens in a linear fashion. Perhaps you start in a different place than I do, or you revisit one element, and then need to revise another section. That’s fine! For me, I know my worldbuilding is solid when I have all the pieces in place, no matter what order I get to them.

For reference, here are the materials, which are free to use:

And also for reference, here is a post about last year’s Sirens worldbuilding workshop.

*Well, half-attend. I didn’t get to go to much of it, as I was hella sick this year. But! I still had a wonderful time!