ICYMI: Hugo Award Nominations!

Hey, in case you missed it this weekend ... I was nominated for two Hugo Awards!

BEST FANCAST

Verity! Deborah Stanish, Erika Ensign, Katrina Griffiths, L.M. Myles, Lynne M. Thomas, and Tansy Rayner Roberts

BEST SEMIPROZINE

Apex Magazine edited by Lynne M. Thomas, Jason Sizemore, and Michael Damian Thomas

Michael is also nominated for:

BEST RELATED WORK



Queers Dig Time Lords: A Celebration of Doctor Who by the LGBTQ Fans Who Love It Edited by Sigrid Ellis & Michael Damian Thomas (Mad Norwegian Press)

Finally, Rachel Swirsky’s Apex Magazine story “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” was nominated for the Best Short Story Hugo Award and Nebula Award! This is the first time a story that we co-edited has been nominated for a major award. We are THRILLED for Rachel!

I'm so very proud of our run at Apex Magazine. We worked with phenomenal people. We couldn’t have done it without such amazing contributors and co-editors. I'm also thrilled to have the fun and work of Verity! recognized. *fistbump for my Verity! peeps*

Michael and I attended a live Hugo Awards announcement at Minicon. It was fun hearing it with our friends. We were also able to celebrate with a nice dinner  that became rather raucous.

It’s been a rough year, so this really means a lot to us. Now all we have to do is figure out how to be in London for the ceremony. :)

[This post adapted from Michael's. It's been a busy week.]

Pikes Peak Writers Conference Schedule

This weekend, I’m off to the Pikes Peak Writers Conference in Colorado, where I’ll be joining Chuck Wendig, Gail Carriger, and Hank Phillippi Ryan as Keynote Speakers for the event.

I’ll also be presenting a workshop on getting through your first draft, doing some panels, and chasing Chuck around with a cupcake gun I borrowed from Delilah Dawson. Supersonic chocolate cupcakes OF DEATH!

Anyway, here’s the schedule, for anyone who might want to stop by. And if you don’t want to stop by, that’s fine. I DIDN’T WANT YOU AT MY PANEL ANYWAY! ::Sniff::

Friday

  • 2:30 – Read & Critique 123, Aspen Leaf (with Terri Bischoff, Carlisle Webber)
  • 4:00 – Workshop: Getting Through Draft One, Salon BC

Saturday

  • 9:10 – Mythbusting Keynotes (Q&A Session), Aspen Leaf (with Gail Carriger, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Chuck Wendig)
  • 11:45 – Lunch and my Keynote Speech, Ballroom
  • 1:15 – Booksigning, Aspen Leaf
  • 3:10 – Diversity: It Isn’t Just for Breakfast Anymore, Aspen Leaf (with Chuck Wendig, Carol Berg, Amy Boggs. Facilitator:
    Patrick Hester)
  • 7 – Zebulon Awards Dinner, Ballroom

This should be a lot of fun. How do I know? Well, among other reasons, it’s because the bar will be serving Brass Goggles, Primetime, Goblin Wiz, and F-Bomb:

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From left to right:

  • Gail Carriger’s Brass Goggles: 1 1/2 OZ Scotch Whiskey, 2 dash bitters, 1 OZ club soda.
  • Hank Phillippi Ryan’s Primetime Martini: 1 1/2 OZ Vodka, 1 1/2 OZ Sweet & Sour, 1/2 OZ Grenadine
  • Jim C. Hines’ Goblin Wiz: 1/2 OZ Midori, 1/2 OZ Tequila, 1/2 OZ Sweet & Sour, On the Rocks
  • Chuck Wendig’s F-Bomb: 1 OZ Vodka, 1 OZ Red Bull, 1 OZ Cranberry, On the Rocks

As a general rule, I don’t drink, but I may need to make an exception this weekend :-)

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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[Writer Post] Even Pros Make Mistakes

Originally published at Rhonda Eudaly. You can comment here or there.

Have I mentioned lately that even experienced and seasoned writers can make boneheaded mistakes? And that recently I was one of those writers making one of those mistakes? Yes? No? Maybe so? (Ah, wow, Algebra 2 and Trig flashback to Mrs. Weber at Homewood High… but I digress.)

Anyway, there are times when even the more established of us go completely geekified and forget even the basics. I did that recently when I was on a deadline roll. I put together a document, proofed it, sent it out. Realized about 24 hours later when my brain kicked back in that it was NO KIND OF FORMAT. Yeah… I’m sure there is a standard/professional format for what I was sending. I just… didn’t. Cat Rambo can smack me. My college professors (who are no longer with us) who pounded proper format into my head can now haunt me. Heck, I’m pretty much writing off that opportunity (in my head) because I was a complete and utter idiot.

Because, dude, format matters. In this day and age of fancy fonts and programs that do things for you, it might be easy to overlook formats as outdated or something somebody else thinks about. No. It’s what marks you as someone who pays attention. A person who cares enough about his/her work to put it in its “Sunday Best”. My mentor professor (one of those who’s about to haunt me) always said, “You can have the next Gone With The Wind, but if it’s not in proper format, it’s going straight in the trash.” Granted, he was talking about film/tv scripts, but the idea works for manuscripts as well. And, well, I wasn’t paying attention, and it might end up costing me. However…lesson learned.

So no matter what you think of (seemingly) outdated Standard Manuscript Formats? Get over it. Suck it up. Pay attention. This is your job, your responsibility. Take it seriously. (And yes, that’s directed at me as much as anyone else.) And now? And now get over your mistake and move on.

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A Post About Writing and Photography

I'm at SFNovelists today, with a blog post about the similarities among various art forms.  Specifically, I'm discussing a few lessons I've learned doing photography that translate to my writing life.  The post can be found here. I hope you enjoy it.
Originally posted by rose_lemberg at On the pitfalls of “merit”

***

As I see it, there is currently a split in the fandom. I tentatively think of it as a split between Golden Age fans and Diversity Age fans. This is not about age, as I’ve written before, but about storylines: who gets to write stories, who gets to be a protagonist of stories, who gets to consume stories and express their opinions as authoritative. There is a certain correlation between demographic variables, and the Golden Age vs Diversity Age split in fandom, but it is far from absolute, and this imperfect mapping often creates dissonance in the way we speak about fandom, the works within it, and personalities who generate and consume these works.


It is not surprising that there is a demographic correlation wrt these fandoms, as many people like to see protagonists who are like themselves. It is also no big secret that Golden Age works often tend to other, exclude, and dismiss Diversity Age Fans. Nevertheless, there is an overlap between these fandoms. Perhaps instead of talking about a binary split, we can talk about a continuum between these two axes; a continuum of values and interests that maps loosely but not precisely onto demographics. Some people can hold positions that overlap with both axes. A white, cisgendered, heterosexual man can certainly be a Diversity Age fan.

However, the position of a white, cisgendered, heterosexual man is a demographic position of privilege and power both in fandom and without it. Within the Golden Age umbrella, this demographic has been the one primarily fronted through narratives, power structures, promotion through mainstream presses, and other venues of power. This demographic position of power is not automatically dismantled or disappears within Diversity Age fandom – on the contrary, we see a flow of social capital from fans, in form of sales, praise, and support, towards such powerful fans who side with Diversity Age positions.

Such powerful fans are, not surprisingly, in a position to powerfully promote Diversity Age voices, which are, in many cases, still building their influence and earning social power and fanbase. While speaking out, up and coming diverse writers and fans often become targets of ridicule and scorn due to their demographic and social positioning – when they get any attention at all. In that way, white, cisgendered, heterosexual men (and often women, though there is a notable social and power difference) who are power brokers in our communities can – and get- to do a lot of good for Diversity Age fandom.

However, the temptation is strong to use this power not just to do ally work, but to self-build through the struggle of marginalized Diversity Age writers and fans – through campaining for Diversity positions which incurs increased social capital, as well as increased financial capital. Few are the voices that rise to openly criticize such powerful fans if their work happens to be less than clueful, because they are in power positions to grant and withdraw favors, as well as grant and withdraw considerable social capital in our communities. It is exactly the risk that I am taking here.

Now I will speak about conciliatory voices. Some of the people on Hugo ballot this year – regardless of how they got there – spoke openly and vociferously against personhood and agency of Diversity Age authors and fans, to an extent that many Diversity Age authors and fans felt and continue to feel threatened emotionally and at times physically. At the same time, certain conciliatory voices of prominent fandom people have been raised to ask fandom to judge Hugo-nominated works on their literary merit.

The suggestion that we read solely for “merit” fronts the idea of “objectivity,” i.e. that a view which considers a given work in a vacuum, without social context in whcih the work has been created and disseminated, is somehow desirable and superior to other ways of reading. Fronting “objectivity” has a long and problematic history within academia and beyond. The fallacy is that what gets to be objective gets to be again defined by power brokers, thus effectively silencing and disenfranchising the marginalized.

This suggestion also carries within it a value judgment: “objectivity good, anger bad” – which slides yet again into the old and tired tone argument.

It is my opinion that such conciliatory voices from prominent personae who are 1) power brokers in our communities and 2) considerably less marginalized than the diverse fans and authors they are championing – are not helping the cause of marginalized and othered Diversity Age authors and fans. In these statements there is often an embedded tone argument, an entreaty to Diversity Age fans to play nice with people who explicitly or implicitly dehumanize and more yet, threaten violence against them. Such conciliatory language from power brokers suggests story lines for the whole community to align with – storylines whose buzzwords are “reason,” “respectability,” and “merit.”

But these “voices of reason” may not speak fully for Diversity Age fans, because the very notion of such reason and its objectivity is a Western ideal (and by extent white, male, and historically entrenched ideal within the power structures of the West) which we are thereby encouraged to adopt. The ideal of objective merit might seem desirable at first glance, because we are socialized to desire it. In fact, the adoption of this ideal is dangerous: it suppresses non-Western, non-cisgendered-male modes of thinking and communicating, and imposes a mainstream, power paradigm upon the marginalized – it often has, in short, a silencing effect.

Also, conciliatory statements often have the effect of diverting the attention yet again (along with the accompanying social praise and support) from the marginalized voices to the power brokers, thus increasing the social capital of those who already have it, while marginalized voices go unpromoted and unsupported – unsupported often in context of vicious attacks from those who deny Diversity Age fans their personhood.

This is not about Golden Age vs Diversity Age split, but about lending one’s ear to white supremacists and their allies. For many of us, who are well-versed in surviving violence of various kinds, knowing the context is crucial for survival. This is why we cannot divorce the work from its author, or from the social context within which these authors operate. A context in which a given author is actively dangerous – emotionally, physically – is crucial.

It is within this context that many of us will judge such works, and many of us may feel angry, uncomfortable, disenfranchised, dismissed, and silenced when the paradigm of “merit” is suggested by power brokers – even when they are powerful allies in other contexts.


Special thanks to Saira Ali, Amal El-Mohtar, SL Huang, and Alex Dally MacFarlane for their critical reading, suggestions, and support.

I am closing comments because I have no spoons for trolls in this space. Please feel free to discuss this in your own spaces. If you’d like a discussion with me specifically, please find me through @roselemberg on twitter. I will do my best to engage, though I will not be engaging with trolls.


Originally published at RoseLemberg.net. You can comment here or there.

New Story Posted

Some of you who kept up with my Ile-Rien books might remember that there was supposed to be a fourth Giliead and Ilias story, called "Rites of Passage," set after "Holy Places" (which appeared in Black Gate #11 in 2007, and was reprinted in Lightspeed's November ebook issue last year). These were all prequel stories to the Fall of Ile-Rien trilogy. Black Gate acquired "Rites of Passage" but then had to stop doing the print magazine, and long story short, I haven't been able to find another place for it. It's a novelette-length fantasy story, which makes it a bit tricky. So I'm posting it on my web site.

I'm going to post the first section as a teaser under the cut, since it's really too long to post here. Or you can go directly to it: Rites of Passage. And if you want to and can afford to throw something in the donation box after you read it, I'd really appreciate that.

In other news, this week I'm working on the edits for the first two Raksura novellas, "The Tale of Indigo and Cloud" and "The Falling World," which will be published by Night Shade in a paperback collection and individually as ebooks in September. The next two, "The Dead City" and "Novella 4: I don't have a title yet" will be out in Spring 2015. I'm still trying to finish "I don't have a title yet."

first section teaser: Rites of PassageCollapse )

My tweets

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I've been reading up about priest/scientists who down through the years have grappled with this and similar questions. Faith and science are not incompatible.

Fr. Robert Grosseteste (c. 1175-1253) Englishman, founder of the scientific movement at Oxford University, wrote a commentary on the Physics of Aristotle, concerned with reforming the Church in England.

Fr. Ignazio Danti (1536-1586) relatively unknown Italian bishop, born in Perugia, bishop of Alatri, renowned astronomer and cartographer.

Fr. Marin Mersenne (1588-1648) French Jesuit priest, attended school with René Descartes, wrote against atheism and deism, made effort to find a formula that would represent all prime numbers, argued for the value of human reason.

Fr. Jean-Felix Picard (1620-1682) French Jesuit, earned the title of founder of modern astronomy, improved and developed new scientific instruments, first to provide an accurate measure of the size of the Earth, his instruments proved essential in the drafting of Isaac Newton's theory of universal gravitation, was overshadowed by Galileo, Newton, and Cassini, has a moon crater named after him.

Fr. Gregor Mendel (1822-1884)Austrian Augustinian abbot, father of modern genetics, determined the basic laws that govern the passage of traits within a species, but science did not recognize his contribution until early in the 20th century.

Fr. Armand David (1826-1900) French priest, zoologist, and botanist, commissioned by French scientists to explore China in the search for other botanical discoveries, lectured on more than 60 species of animals and of birds, all of which had been previously unknown including the Giant Panda.

Fr. Julius Nieuwland (1878-1936) South Bend, Indiana, concerned with practical solutions in his field of chemistry, professor in botany and chemistry, successfully polymerized acetylene into divinylacetylene, inventor of the first synthetic rubber.

Fr. Georges Lemaître (1894-1966) Belgian priest, physicist, and mathematician, first proposed the Big Bang Theory for the birth of the universe, specialized in the then-most-current studies in astronomy and cosmology, especially Einstein's general theory of relativity, where Einstein saw that the universe was actually moving—either shrinking or expanding—and devised the cosmological constant that maintained the stability of universe, Lemaître concluded that the universe was expanding and proposed that from this it could be concluded that all matter and energy were concentrated at one point. Hence: The universe had a beginning. Einstein applauded and declared, "This is the most beautiful and satisfactory explanation of creation to which I have ever listened". Astrophysicists readily accept the Big Bang and the continuing expansion of the universe.

Fr. Stanley Jaki (b. 1924) Benedictine priest, argued that science itself could develop only in a Christian culture and that science and religion are consistent and that scientific analysis can shed light on both scientific and theological propositions and that the Christian perspective demonstrates that the order of the cosmos is entirely consistent with the biblical view of Creation. He concluded that science permits us to gain insights into the events that followed the instant of creation but offers nothing about what happened before it, when matter itself was created from nothing. He boldly challenges the assertions of cosmologists and astrophysicists such as Stephen Hawking that the origins of the universe offer proof for the non-existence of God. The very proposition cannot be proved scientifically because there is nothing to observe.

FAQs from panels

Seriously, every author has answered these questions a thousand times.

1. Where do you get your ideas?

I get a lot of ideas from other art, especially when I dislike it and want to write my own version. People get ideas from lots of places. What you really need to be asking is—where do I get my ideas. And no one can answer that question but you.

2. Do you do your own illustrations/cover art?

The general answer here is no. If you publish traditionally, this isn’t something you either worry about or get much input on. If you publish yourself, then yes. But I advise finding a professional.

3. How do you get an agent?

You go to Literary Marketplace at your local library and look at the long listings of agents and write down their addresses and send them a query letter or whatever it is they ask for. Or you can go on-line to Writers Market and pay a monthly fee to get a list of agents interested in your genre there. But as a warning, it may take you a long time to find the right agent, and you will probably not find the right one with your first book.

4. How do you find a publisher?

Go to the local library and look at Writers Market. It takes a long time to look through all the listings. There’s no good shortcut in my opinion. Many publishers are closed to unsolicited submissions. You will either need to get an agent to get around this or go to conferences where editors give you a special code to get around it. Truth.

5.  How long is a MG or YA novel?

Really, the length can vary widely, but I would see a MG is about 50-60,000 words and a YA is 60-80,000 words, but genre fiction can be about 20% longer. Also, if you use bestsellers as a guide (which I don’t recommend), then you will think your books should be a lot longer than a debut author can usually get away with.

6. Do you have to know someone to get published?

No. Most authors I know get found either by the slush pile or by meeting editors at conferences and wowing them with a first chapter.

7. What is the new trend in YA/MG/adult right now?

It doesn’t matter what the new trend is now, because it will already be over by the time you’ve written something good enough to be published. So write what YOU want to see published, and hopefully you will find someone who is in sync with you, and you will convince other people that you’re brilliant. And write another book, and another one, until you find the right match.

8. Should I send my son’s manuscript in for him?

No, please don’t do this. I strongly believe teenagers’ manuscripts shouldn’t be published and that parents shouldn’t push this. When your kid is ready to submit, they’ll figure it out on their own. I’m not saying kids shouldn’t write or try to be published.Only that they should do the driving themselves, and that they should be judged the same way anyone else is, and not as cute kids who are prodigies.

9. Why are terrible books like Twilight published?

If you want to get into a rumble with me, start saying misogynistic things about Stephenie Meyer or her fans. If you want to have a genuine conversation about problems with Twilight and you’ve actually read the book (preferably the whole series), I’ll happily sit down and talk about it. However, please remember that different people like different things in their books and that any author who has found so many readers is doing something right that you probably need to learn from.

10. Do you have to have romance in your books to get published?

No. But there’s nothing wrong with romance, either. I personally love romance, especially when done well. I love that publishing has realized that there is a significant teen girl market out there and that they love romance. I was a teenager who read a lot of adult romance because there wasn’t anything else. I would have adored teen romance.

11. Why aren’t there any good books for boys being published today?

Ha! There are lots of good books for boys being published today. Just because every book isn’t for boys doesn’t mean there’s a problem here.

12. How much do you get paid for a first book?

To be honest, I would say $5,000-$10,000 is a decent advance on a first book. I don’t recommend going with a publisher who pays no advance at all. I think at least a token is nice. But on the other hand, I also think that it’s not very polite to ask about how much money someone makes in public. Maybe the simpler answer is to say—don’t quit your day job when you sell your first book.

Lightning strikes maybe once, maybe twice

The second landscaping guy came by today, and now all I can do is sit back and wait for these two dudes to give me their assessment. Great is my patio-envy, but little is there to be done about it.

I'd planned to wrap up this blog post and see about some work out in that very same yard, for it is getting scraggly in all possible places ... never mind the giant rectangle where the patio will go - where we've neither weeded nor mowed so far this year, heh.

But the best laid plans, etc. etc. etc., for now it's pouring down rain. Even if it stops, I don't feel like working in the mud. So forget it, for today.

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New strategy last night in the Cat Karaoke wars. This time, when she hopped up onto the nightstand to sing into my ear at 3:00 a.m., I pulled her into the bed and held her there in a bear hug. She wiggled and fussed for about fifteen seconds, then started snoring. No further cat-singing ensued.

I'm not saying this is a successful tactic, mind you; just because it worked once, that doesn't mean it'll work again. But a good snuggle is probably preferable to a pillow upside the head.



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I love it when the cover art goes live on Amazon. It just makes everything feel so much more...official, you know? And also, in my experience, it makes people more likely to preorder books like oh, say, Maplecroft (if you were so inclined).

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Here's recent progress on my witchy art-deco horror novel about Lizzie Borden thirty years after her parents' deaths - now featuring ghosts and non-ghosts alike, anti-Catholic conspiracy nuts, supernatural political shenanigans, the mafia, and a Bonus! space-worshiping murder cult hiding behind the KKK:

    Project: Chapelwood
    Deadline: October 1, 2014
    New words written: 2250
    Present total word count: 72,275



    Things accomplished in fiction: Sent a very weird letter to a very nice girl, who wigged out about it; made plans to follow up on some of the details of that letter, while it's still possible to do so.

    Next up: One more trip down to Storage Room Six.

    Things accomplished in real life: Neighborhood jaunt with dog; consultation with the landscaping guy; paid some bills.

    Other: Nothing else to report at this time.

    Number of fiction words so far this year: 105,668