Monday, July 29, 2013

Places you can buy "Regeneration: New Zealand Speculative Fiction II"

It may have New Zealand in the title, but these are the days you can buy it from anywhere in the world!

You can purchase "Regeneration: New Zealand Speculative Fiction II", which includes my story "The Origami Tree", from the following venues:

Cover art for "Regeneration"
showing a shell-like building in the midst of a harbour,
set against the glowing backdrop of a city

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Five Questions: "The Origami Tree", Regeneration: New Zealand Speculative Fiction II

It's Five Questions time again. I've put my internal blog narrator PT on their best behaviour to talk to me about "The Origami Tree" which appears in the anthology "Regeneration: New Zealand Speculative Fiction II", released this month through Random Static.

AF: Alright you can come out now.
PT: How do I look?
AF: My, aren't you swish. You've put pants on and everything.
PT: Let's get the ball rolling so I can get this over with before this tie kills me. Alright, since I'm so nice, I'll start off with an easier question.

Walk us through the theme of Regeneration. How did it come about?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Au Contraire 2013: 50 Shades of Awesome

So here I sit and type, con crud approaching, wondering did the weekend actually happen? Cuba Street and a bevy of happy faces seems like it all happened in another dimension.

I entered Au Contraire weekend in two competing states of mind. First, I was laid back about attending things on the fly outside of my have-tos and hoping I'd end up having wonderful conversations in the bar. Secondly, I was apprehensive (but prepared) about being part of the security team and running my first ever panels in an official capacity.

But I need not have worried. The whole weekend was made of fifty shades of awesome (no, not referencing the book...but it did become a running gag through many panels).

Monday, July 15, 2013

Shiny Shiny Book Releases: "Regeneration" and "Crossed Genres Magazine 2.0 Book 1"

What an intense weekend it's been! While Au Contraire was on (wrap up to come), I had not one but TWO awesome releases happen in the same weekend.

Friday night I was proud to attend my first ever book release for "Regeneration: New Zealand Speculative Fiction II", which includes my story "The Origami Tree". We had a brilliant turn out of about 30 people at the launch, with a good selection of the anthology's authors in attendance. Dan Rabarts read from his creepy story "Mother's Milk", then we finally got a first look at the beautiful books. Much swapping of books for signing ensued! I got a little squee on because it's the first time I ever signed as an author - it felt a little odd.

The cover artwork by Kapiti artist Emma Weakley still blows me away, very much in love with it. To see the book in physical form against "A Foreign Country" (from Au Contraire 2010), and "Tales For Canterbury" makes me realize what a wonderful modern speculative fiction legacy these anthologies are building for New Zealand.

Photo Credit: Matt Cowens
"Regeneration" is currently available to purchase directly from the Random Static website, in paperback and ebook form, and also available from Amazon in paperback form.

But wait, there's more!

"Crossed Genres Magazine 2.0 Book 1" was released over the weekend (o hai Readercon!). The anthology brings together the first six issues of 2013, and includes my story "Second Skin" from the June issue "She".  It's available on Amazon for paperback and Kindle, Createspace, and Barnes and Noble.

Front Cover of Crossed Genres Magazine 2.0 Book 1,
featuring a young woman with a prosthetic leg at a glowing altar.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

365 Project: Stories read as of 7/7/2013

Stories read this week include Sunny Moraine, Rachel Swirsky, Sophia McDougall, Sophie Clarke, and Damien Walters Grintalis.

Monday, July 8, 2013

A Conversation About Con Harassment

There is a momentum in SFF communities at the moment, a wave building up, a conversation reaching critical mass. The conversation is morphing and shedding sunlight on many unsavoury parts of professional and community spaces, and it's all interlinked, a continuum of intersecting -isms. Women speaking out about one problematic experience in the system is emboldening others to speak up about others.

I didn't want to post about the latest conversation surrounding con harassment as just another link around and flail at the inadequacies of the world. I wanted to wait until I had something concrete, something different to add to the conversation.

So here's my piece of concrete: this weekend at Au Contraire I'm raising my teaspoons and helping out in a small way by being harassment liaison officer. This came about at very short notice, and I was initially a little reserved about it, but I thought to myself "It's time to stop talking and start doing".

It hurts me to see women and other minorities at SFF cons the world over still being harassed, so if I can help out in my small way, with my small community, I can take part in the conversation about changing attitudes towards harassment (sexual, racial, homophobia, disability). I want the dudes and harassers to know it's not okay anymore - we will not tolerate historic and systemic abuses of the system. I want the harassed to know they can come to me and safely talk about it, know their concerns will be taken seriously, and any report anonymous or official will be acted upon. If you want to bring a friend or a witness, that's perfectly okay. I'll be contactable in person (with my big ol' rainbow gay badge of doom), on Twitter, on email, and through other members of the concom.

I decided to step up and ask about the anti-harassment policy at Au Contraire after the conversation sparked a meta-movement throughout various SFF community platforms. The concom told me the policy is pretty much the same as the last AC in 2010 (I remember the wording, but am unaware whether anything happened at the con that required a use of the policy). This time I'm more aware of what people need and how to deal with reports. I will do my best to help out, though I am liable to my own failings - I am working within a system already in place, but I am confident everyone is on the same page. I've added my own wording touches to things, and made my expectations clear. I'll also be doing this in person at the the Con101 talk and the opening ceremony. (Oh god...I have to talk in public...)

I hope the weekend will be a fantastic fun time and my services won't be required. Also a reminder: this is not an invitation to waylay me in the halls and grill me on policy and how this is unnecessary coz we're all friends and I don't see it happening!11! (yes, we are; no, that's your privilege) and its so unfair that dudes can't flirt any more etc etc. I'm not here to soothe dudely feelz (one must wonder though, at a professional convention, why getting the mack on with teh laydeez is such a high priority over, say, one's writing career), I'm here to look after people negotiating personal autonomy in a public arena. There are plenty of resources available on line to answer the usual questions, some of which I will link below (which have come about as part of the conversation). The Fate of Flirting and Future Population of the World is not important (or even in danger), safe attendance in professional spaces is.

Linkzabout on Con Harassment (in semi-coherent timeline):

  • Elise Matheson "Reporting harassment at a convention: a first-person how to" - cross posted at John Scalzi's place and at Jim C. Hine's place. Both have comment sections with in depth discussion.
  • "Harassment and the back channel" at Radish Reviews. Includes an excellent list of further reading, including stories of harassment, historic inadequacies and stories, links for policies.
  • The #SFFragette hash tag for Twitter/Facebook was invented, and a blog under the same name created. They are aware of the problematic history of the suffragette term, and are engaging in an open discussion about this, so all feel welcome to helping out with change. 
  • John Scalzi "My new convention harassment policy". A pledge about attending or taking part in a convention only if it has a clear and well represented anti-harassment policy. Scalzi has invited people to sign on in support (I have).
  • John Scalzi "Convention Harassment Policy Follow Up", which answers derailing questions, and also recognizes that the policy needs to extend to racial, disability, and homophobic/transphobic harassment. 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

My Au Contraire Schedule

Next weekend July 12-14 I'm heading to Wellington for this year's national con, Au Contraire.

My participation includes:
  • "Regeneration" Book Launch, Friday 6pm, L-Space
  • Non-normative Bodies in Science Fiction, Saturday 10am, L-Space, with Anna Caro
         A discussion on how speculative fiction depicts disabled bodies, fat bodies, gender-diverse
         bodies and other real world deviations from the assumed default.
  • Trends in Short SFF/H, Sunday 10am, L-Space, with Marie Hodgkinson and Dan Rabarts
         Short fiction is a rapidly changing market. Long gone are the days when print  
         anthologies and magazines were the only place to get your stories published. Join some of
         the heavyweights of New Zealand's short fiction writing market to learn how the rise of the
         ezine, podcast, and social media have changed the short fiction landscape, and how you can
         tap into the power of new media streams to get your work out there.
  • SpecFicNZ Meet Up 4pm, followed by AGM 5pm, The Throne Room
I have also volunteered myself as "harassment liaison officer" for the weekend. This means I'm "Eyes Open" as a #SFFragette. I've adopted John Scalzi's anti-harassment con pledge - any con I attend must have a clear and well represented sexual harassment policy. Having seen the growing conversation around con harassment the last few weeks, I knew it was time to stand up and put words into action.

If you are attending and want to report harassment, anonymously or officially, I'm your first point of call. You can come to me in person (I'll have a security badge and I'll wear my smiley face rainbow badge too), Twitter me via @AJFitzwater or the official con hashtag #AC2013, email me via, or contact me via one of the other concom.

And dudes - Wheaton's First Law applies: Don't Be a Dick.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

"Situation Vacant, Apply Within", Interstellar Fiction, July 2013

My latest story release is now live at Interstellar Fiction. "Situation Vacant, Apply Within" is a fun lighthearted space opera romp, with burping starships, drunk cap'ns, and aliens with fance fingernails, oh my!

Goodness me, yes I can write fun things. I'm not all This Cat Is Srs Bznz all the time. In amongst the fun, I slipped in a genderqueer alien. I mean, srsly, how do we know alien beings will have genders like ours? And I ask you, how did we know Chewbacca was male, other than Han Solo saying so (and Christmas Specials That Will Not Be Named)? Under all that "Grarrghhooww" and "Ahroooahh", Chewie might have actually been saying "Dude, you're totally hung up on the gender binary. Wookies don't truck with that. My personal pronoun is actually 'Rawr'!"

Interstellar Fiction also did a quick Q&A with me, where I talk about the genesis of the story and gender swapping characters.

Artwork from Interstellar Fiction's July Issue,
of a person in a space suit overlooking large towers of an alien city.

Monday, July 1, 2013

365 Project: Stories Read as of 30/6/2013

This week's stories read include Veronica Schanoes, Catherynne M. Valente, Ken Liu, M. Bennardo, N.A. Ratnayake, Alena McNamara, and Claire Humphrey.