Monday, May 30, 2011

There are things you gotta do to keep functioning

Winter. The frost is beginning to crunch and bite, and life seems to be moving a lot slower.

In a city where things have almost ground to a halt, where it's hard to appreciate the minute changes on a daily basis, it's difficult to see the progress. I know it's there, but it's mostly in holes.

There are a lot of holes in my life right now: Gaps in memory; falling down deep wells of expired energy; a garden untouched; having to completely rearrange your movements because you just "can't go there" anymore.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"Tales For Canterbury" E-book Release

I've had the link up on my sidebar for quite some time, but there's nothing like a little reminder about helping out raising money for the Canterbury Earthquake relief and my first meat space publishing adventure, so...

The "Tales For Canterbury" e-book is available now! If you've pre-ordered an e-book, go go oggity go! You can now read me alongside many fantastic New Zealand and international authors. There are my good friends Lynne Jamneck, Ripley Patton and Anna Caro in there, wonderful kiwi writers like Tina Makereti, Helen Lowe, and Philippa Ballantine, as well as Neil (himself) Gaimen, Sean Williams and Gwyneth Jones. And that's just a few of the names included - check out this awesome list of contributors!

I am so very very VERY lucky to be included amongst this sterling list of authors, a feminist SFF heroine and my favourite game writer, friends and people I am fans of (sometimes both now, it's so trippy!).

The paperback version of the book is at the printers now. If you haven't ordered/bought your copy now, why not consider doing so for such a good cause. All proceeds (and I mean all, the authors do not get any payment for this) are going to the Red Cross Canterbury Earthquake fund, and believe me as a Cantabrian I KNOW it's still very much needed.  Plus I will add you to my list of favourite people in all the universe, and isn't that a list worth being on when I'm all JK Rowling it up?

Tales for Canterbury Blog button

I'm all over the place

Just like the title suggests, my ability to concentrate on any one thing at the moment is a bit stuffed.

My Writer Mondays are taking a hit for about a month. I'm filling in at The Day Job for two Mondays, then after that I'm FINALLY getting the holiday I was supposed to take at the end of February. There better not be any major quakes pulling me back in this time, because my flights are booked and I'm partying/shopping like it's 1999! Hmm, not sure gallows humour works just yet.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Rejections, Rejections everywhere, and not a drop to drink 23/5/2011

"The Words Women Say That Men Don't Hear" rejected via form letter from Analog Science Fiction. I'm so pleased that Analog now accepts e-subs, it makes an international writer's job so much easier. Now I only need F&SF Mag and TTA Press to start doing e-subs and life will be super sweet on the sub front.

"Talk To Your Universe" rejected via form letter from Bourbon Penn.

"Through The Open Door" rejected via form letter from Birkensnake. It's dozenth rejection!

Ders nuttin lyke fallin asleep wit a gud book

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

IDAHO: International Day Against...Hate Of (all types)

Today is International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

Here is the international website for IDAHO. For a little more reading that's related locally, there is a website for IDAHONZ, The Hand Mirror has a Round Up available and Julie has posted about "IDAHO: Trying To Do". I may add in more linky bits throughout the day when I find them.

This year's theme for IDAHO is "As I Am".  As I have been attempting to turn my posting here at PT more towards being in relation to my writing, I would like to talk about IDAHO in relation to that:. I am a writer of science fiction and fantasy; I am a writer of feminist science fiction and fantasy; and as a natural extension of that, I am a writer of queer science fiction and fantasy. Take me, and my writing, As I Am.

To me, IDAHO is more than just speaking out against hate for gay, lesbian and trans people. It also includes intersex, bisexual, asexual, agender, pansexual, pangender, androgyne, genderqueer and other non-binary people. A little difficult to put into a neat and snappy acronym. Whoda hoti? IDAHOTI!

Exploring queer themes in my writing seems to have come about quite naturally. I never made a conscious choice to write queer themes and characters. Everyone deserves a voice. I'm not waving my little flag of "Hey Look At Me! I'm a Good Little Ally Over Here!". I certainly don't do it for the attention or grand publishing opportunities - queer themes are not universally accepted in SFF, and that's where great friends and support groups like The Outer Alliance are very helpful.

This is not to say I don't, and won't, screw up. Look mah, I can't be wrong, I have queer friends! Uh huh. The first rule of queer club is Check Your Privilege At The Door. There are some topics I am more conversed on, and I am always willing to stop, listen and learn. And yes, I know queer folk are not my "teaching moment". I make no demands of their time or comfort, I know what Google is, and I can read.

I must be on the right track because two of my three published stories involve lesbian characters, and I am proud to have a piece coming out (pun intended) in Khimairal Ink, a magazine devoted to lesbian SFF. I have also written stories with intersex, genderqueer, and agender characters, and I am eager to see how well they will be accepted.

I know that getting published with queer themes is a challenge, but if NK Jemisin and Catherynne M. Valente - two writers that I admire, respect and enjoy - can do it, so can I. There are editors, publishers and magazines out there brave enough to take a stand.

Some of these SFF magazines include:
Expanded Horizons - devoted to diversity in theme and author. This includes women, PoC, diverse ethnicities, queer people, and people with disabilities.
Icarus - The Magazine of Gay Speculative Fiction
Fantastique Unfettered -  the fantasy magazine  of M-Brane Press
M-BraneSF - the science fiction magazine of M-Brane Press
Crossed Genres - slushing and publishing for diverse themes monthly.
Semaphore - Of course! The place I got my start, and with a lesbian protagonist. (though the editor is going on hiatus for their OE very soon!)

These are magazines I have either submitted to, or am considering submitting to. There are many more who are open to queer themes, and a more comprehensive list can be found on The Outer Alliance's Market List Wiki. If you know of any other SFF magazines that welcome diversity, I'd love to hear about them.

My discussion about who I am would not be complete without the person who taught me how FABULOUS and great it is to be queer, and how it's OK -WONDERFUL DAHLING - to be "As I Am":

Saturday, May 14, 2011

What I'm Reading 14/05/2011

Because Book Lists are so chewy!

Links, because I haven't done any in a while 14/05/2011

  • I will be attending Queer The Night on June 9 in Wellington, protesting homophobia and transphobia on Wellington Streets. Info here too on The Hand Mirror. If you're a Wellingtonian, or in Wellington on the evening, and want to see the streets safe for queer and trans people, please consider coming along to lend your support. 
  • Following in the footsteps of similar walks the world over protesting sexual assault and the good ol' trope that women should not dress "like sluts", SlutWalk Aotearoa will be taking place on June 25 in Auckland and Wellington. Website now live!
  • I recently discovered the Feminist Science Fiction Wiki. Links to authors, groups, presses, academia, contests, and reading lists.
  • I have joined The Outer Alliance, a group of science fiction writers dedicated to advocating for LGBT themes and issues. (thanks Anna!)
  • Strange Horizons put together a fantastic link-around on their blog in memory of Joanna Russ "Joanna Russ - a requiem in links".

To remove writer's block...fill bowl in kitchen with tuna

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Paying attention to your submissions: time to break out the ol' Picard Facepalm

Wow, I must have been more tired than I thought over the weekend.

I managed to simultaneously submit the same story to two different places.

I do keep track of my submissions to the best of my abilities, but it looks like I forgot to list that one properly.

Guess this is a good time to look into proper submission tracker software.

Stupid mistake number...what is it now? Ah well, if I'm not making mistakes, I'm not doing submissions, which means I'm not writing., and writing, is a learning experience.

Take it away Jean-Luc...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Yes, I know I'm talking about Rejection a lot, funny that 10/05/2011

"The Woman With Flowers In Her Hair" rejected with very helpful feedback from Roar and Thunder. What a neat little feedback system!

"Tasty Maidens" rejected with really nice feedback from Bards and Sages Quarterly. Thanks for being so positive!

"Me Myself I" rejected via form letter from Interzone.

I know my Rejection posts will seem pretty boring to readers who come here maybe expecting insightful critique or witty banter, but I can't be On all the time as a writer. Sometime my Writer Juice is low, and I need to reserve what I have for the important stuff. Which I'm doing now, because I'm on a bit of a dip in energy. I gotta take care of the biggest priority which makes this blog what it is - my fiction writing.

Besides, I like to think of all my rejection posts as a catalogue of just What It Takes to get published.

Nom Nom Nom Ding Ziiiip

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I Love Mick Foley

This is Mick Foley:

He's a nice guy, and I don't put the sarcastic "TM" tag on that either. He's a genuine, lovable, teddy-bear of a man who lives a very public life.

This is also Mick Foley:

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I would have succeeded too, if it wasn't for you darn kids and your Rejections 03/05/2011

"Anthropology, Redacted" rejected via form letter from The Gloaming.

"Where The Wild Blackberries Grow" rejected with feedback from Andromeda Spaceways.

"The Words Women Say That Men Don't Hear" rejected via form letter from Expanded Horizons.

"The City of Sand and Knives" rejected via form letter from Clarkesworld.

Whut do we do now, Shwraggy? Just keep on keeping on, Scoobs

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Parsing Joanna Russ (1937 - 2011)

Feminist science fiction author Joanna Russ passed away this weekend, aged 74.

This is not going to be a big post about "What Russ' Writing Means To Me" because I am still in the process of discovering and parsing her body of work. I discovered Russ only about a year ago, got a copy of "How To Suppress Women's Writing" in August, and have only just read "The Female Man" recently.

It makes me annoyed and sad  that I did not get introduced to feminist science fiction, especially Russ, as a younger SF fan. I guess she was too threatening for my 1980s small town high school and libraries. I do know I would be a different person and writer if I had known of her work and that feminist and queer science fiction existed a lot earlier.

Now I am a different person because of Joanna Russ, even in the space of a year. Whenever I'm feeling a bit down about rejections or trying to get my head around politics in the publishing industry, I think about "How to Suppress Women's Writing". It's my little whisper, the small straightening of the backbone that makes me persist.

Russ is challenging, angry, weird and out there, all in a good way. She distilled the anger of 60s and 70s feminism into her post-modern writing. I've never really studied or challenged myself with post-modern writing (hooray 1980s small town education, you sucked), so at times I find her style difficult and confronting, but that is what makes her so interesting. She took a punt, she took the knocks, she knew exactly what criticism would be levelled at her and what it would mean to her professional career, and wrote it regardless.

As I mentioned before when I was reading "The Female Man", I was disappointed in the transbigotry. However, in discussions with people on Twitter in the last 48 hours since Russ' death, I have been pointed towards interviews and academic works where she revisits some of her problematic themes and opinions over the years. The mark of a good person is recognizing your mistakes, rectifying them, apologizing for them, and becoming a better person for it, and Russ has recognized that she was a product of her generation and socialization. In this interview at WisCon in 2006 (h/t I09), Russ specifically covers what made me uncomfortable about TFM.

So far, I have come across two great write ups about Russ. The first is a prescient review of TFM by Brit Mandelo at - "Queering SFF: The Female Man" was published mid-March, and is an excellent deconstruction of the book and touches on all the points I would have eventually discussed (I was planning writing my own review of the book, but this one says everything and more, showing up that I needed to know more about Russ before getting stuck in to a review). Mandelo also did a review of "How to Suppress Women's Writing" here. Tor also has a short tribute up here.

Annalee Newitz at I09 has written "How to remember and discover Joanna Russ", which has an in depth look at all Russ' fiction and how to approach them.

For more in depth academic reading, here is a collection of links to papers, essays etc written about and by Russ (via @strangehorizons)

I'm sorry I didn't know you as well as I should have when you were alive Joanna. May you keep pushing me to be a better writer and your words stay loud and fierce.