I can't think of a better image for how I feel about the American political landscape. Well, that and the Muslim Ban protester sign that read, "I can do this every weekend, asshole." I'm pleased and proud of the reaction a majority of the American people. It's good to see things like the records of numbers of donations to the ACLU, the numbers of individuals engaging in protest, all the lawyers that showed up at airports, the congress-critters having their phone lines overwhelmed, and the successful (so far) federal push back on the attempted unconstitutional Muslim Ban. These are small victories well worth celebrating. Speaking as someone who fought for ten years to become a professional writer: we need to celebrate because this gives us the energy to continue the long fight. This is only January. We've a long way to go. Good job! Keep up the work, y'all!
And now, links.
This week's Activism Action List from Jen Hofmann. I've tried to call my congress-critters multiple times this morning and haven't gotten through, yet. This is a great sign. It means enough citizens are calling in that we're tying up the phones. GOOD JOB! DON'T GIVE UP!
Again, my only objection to the pussy hats is that as a protest it excludes trans women. I think it's important to remember that trans women are women, and they matter. As for the Madam Secretary clip, it hit me pretty hard. My whole life I've wanted to be recognized for the work I do, not for how I look.
The manuscript is back to the editor, and Blackthorne takes another step toward becoming a real book. So, post-deadline, I spent a lot of time either sleeping or watching TV. Most of that TV time was spent on two series. The first was Madam Secretary.
I know I've talked about this show before, but I'm finally caught up with the current season, and I have to say it's amazing. All of the characters are fun to cheer on. The show is an excellent example of Ethical Folks being smart and (for the most part) winning out over the non-ethical. Seriously, Elizabeth McCord a political MacGyver. (Only far more plausible.) I love seeing a woman in that role. The last time I saw a woman being an extremely intelligent lead without a man taking over that lead was in 1987. (see Black Widow.) I had no idea how important it was for me to see that until I started feeling the effect it had on my perspective on my own characters. One of the main reasons these kinds of stories are so important is that it's more difficult to see past the standard patterns without some proof that alternatives are possible.
I'm going to quote one of my favorite authors, Terry Pratchett, because he had an interesting point of view on story. “Find the story, Granny Weatherwax always said. She believed that the world was full of story shapes. If you let them, they controlled you. But if you studied them, if you found out about them... you could use them, you could change them.” (from Witches Abroad) The more I write, the more I believe that's true. It's why stereotypes are so harmful. They're connected to bigotry. And bigotry leads to hate. Writers have to think past stereotypes. It's our duty. Interestingly enough, it doesn't take all that much to break the pattern. We all make this journey one step at a time, after all. However, if no one takes that initial move, then it makes it harder for everyone else.
Anyway, Madam Secretary has been a healing salve on the pain I've been feeling since the election. I'm so glad it's out there and still running. Another show that I've been loving for similar reasons? Scandal.
This is one that has been recommended to me by various people I know, and I'm glad they did. I'm two episodes in. There's some telling and not showing going on. (I can't help thinking of Warf screaming "I am Klingon!" every time someone says Olivia is a white hat. I kind of want to discover that for myself, you know?) I hate the president in this series. Hate. But then I can't help thinking her relationship with him (as much as it makes me want to scream at the president and see Olivia actually punch him in the face) is symbolically appropriate. And then my brain goes to how the whole show goes right along with black women fixing the big problems and not getting any credit for it. I see that as fitting too. Anyway, I'm continuing with it. Catching up will take a while. They're on season six.
I hope you have a lovely weekend. Thanks for being patient with me.
Sorry, gang. No Feminist Monday today. I've hit the second big hurdle in the manuscript edit. So, I have to focus hard on finishing this edit. I've a week before it's due. It is at this point where I tend to stop and think back on myself as a newbie writer. I'm actually thankful for the long rough road to where I am now. If I hadn't had that experience, I'd crumple under the pressure right now. It's comforting to understand that every time I go through this process, I level up as a writer.
Anyway, I predict that the next seven or eight days are going to be a scarce one for blog posts. We'll see how today goes. Take care, Dear Reader. And please continue to kick ass out there.
Well...that was a bumpy start. Had to buy a copy of MS Word (and a DVD/CD drive) for my iMac because track changes is now absolutely necessary to the editing process, and Word's track changes function doesn't port well into Pages. Er...actually, it doesn't at all. Then I had to move everything over to the iMac because my laptop is old and cranky and couldn't handle having three different word processors open at the same time. Finally, I had to re-arrange my work area because I can't sit the entire time. It totally screws with my already screwed spine. [sigh] No fun at all. But necessary. Hurray for Macs, and their ability to just plug and play. (The entire reason I'm on an Apple platform and plan on staying there.) Struggling with drivers and so on would've made a simple task involving one morning into a lost day. That would've sucked. It's silly, but the feeling of having a new toy has helped my focus. I'm for whatever works.
Also, I'm not having any panic attacks--not yet, anyway.
Still, I've got the bulk of the new beginning sorted out. Honestly that was the scariest part of the edits this time around. There's some heavy-lifting in the middle--middles are (and I suspect always will be) the bane to my writerly existence. Hey, every writer has some aspect of the process where they habitually bog down. Middle-muddles are mine. I've much more confidence in endings than I used to have, thank the gods. That's something. I've learned a great deal since I was first published. Yay, progress!
Anyway...that's today's State of the Stina address. It's been very difficult to not pay attention to the news right now. I simply can't afford it for the next two weeks. Please. Please keep up the activism, y'all. Dear reader, if you're an American, I need you to take point for a bit. Keep calling those Congress-critters. It's clear the GOP thinks they're above the law. Kick their asses, and keep kicking 'em. It's your responsibility as a citizen of the United States to hold them accountable. Yes. Democracies are a pain in the ass. Do it anyway. There are too many other citizens at risk to do otherwise.
Take care, you. And be excellent to one another.
 I don't like having to rely only upon the internet for installing software. It sucks. Plus, I still have a physical music collection. Did I mention I don't trust electronic media enough to 100% depend upon it as an archive for...well...anything? Certainly not books or music. Mock me if you will, but when you change devices and/or formats a couple more times and lose your information because of formatting incompatibility, I'll just shrug.
 Scrivener, Pages, and Word. Hey, I jumped the gun, thinking that a conversion to Pages and back to Word would be okay. Er...not so much.
 Although, technically it's novel number one--in order of how the things were written. See, this one was trunked. I'll be honest. It was for a good reason. My story-eyes were too big for my writing chops. I've always tended to do that. As for the second novel I ever wrote...well, you'll never see that one. It was a write-for-hire thing, and not very good. Trust me, you're not missing anything. Also, if you're a beginner, I should probably set some expectations. Selling five out of five novels written is not normal. I'm a weirdo. Most novelists have a number of trunked novels. (Even Stephen King.) That's not a bad thing. It means most writers at my stage have far more practice at it than I do. So...there you are.
Now is the time on Sprockets when we dance.
Not really. Actually, now is the time when professional writers do that thing called "get those edits back to your editor before the deadline. NOWNOWNOW!" You guessed it. Blackthorne has hit that final stage of polish, and the deadline is a tight one. That means I'm going to be somewhat flakey with the blogging for the next twelve days. Sorry, but it can't be avoided. That's the downside.
On the upside? NEW NOVEL ON THE WAY.
I plan on another brief check-in on Friday. It may be longer. We'll see how today and tomorrow go, though. In the meantime, have this totally (politically) appropriate punk music track:
Good morning, y'all. Ready for a dose of Feminist Rage and Female Empowerment? Then, let's do that thing.
This week's call for action: from Jenn Hoffman, "Note: Since some of the hearings start THIS Tuesday, don't delay in making calls. Leaving a message is okay. These appointments do not represent who we are as a nation." For all the details, including a call script click here. Remember we've already had a big, big impact on the situation. This is great! It's working! However, Congress and Trump are merely waiting for us to stop paying attention. They know that this kind of work is difficult and they're counting on Amercians to flake after a while. Prove them wrong. We do have the stamina and courage to fight this shit off before it becomes impossible. We fucking got this. Keep up the great work, y'all! And have another tool for keeping track of what is going on in Congress.
And I've started watching Madam Secretary, which I highly recommend. It's like House of Cards where the primary characters are good (but flawed and complex) people. Hey, I like political stories about nests of evil spiders as much as the next person. However, I can only watch so much before I get depressed and long for a fucking can of Raid Insect Spray. You know what? Good characters can be complex too. Secretary Elizabeth McCord is the fucking McGyver of political leaders, and I adore her. Seriously, she's tough, ethical, and willing to take a hit to her pride/image in order to negotiate peace. It's fun to watch her work. Téa Leoni is in-fucking-credible. The show makes me yearn for more women in government positions. Yay, Netflix and yay CBS! I'd have been watching all along except I don't watch network TV much these days.
So, this weekend I binge-watched The O A on Netflix.
I enjoyed the hell out of it. I'm going to try to tell you why without spoiling the story for you. (I don't believe in spoiling stories for people unless they've been around forever.)
That image reminds me of when I used to read under the covers with a flashlight as a kid. Anyway, forgive me but I'm going to mumble about reading and writing for a bit. I do this because it might be useful for others on the writing path.
So, I've a confession to make. I sort of slowed down on fiction reading to the point of only finishing about four novels a year. That's not good. I may be a slow reader, but I'm not that slow. So, one of my resolutions is to read more. I probably should set a numeric goal, but part of the reason I haven't is that I don't want to put too much pressure on myself. (I'm already stressed as it is due to the political situation.) I'm already doing better. I finished reading Ted Chiang's Stories of Your Life and Others as well as the first two novels in The Expanse series and a couple of short stories (written by women) since the beginning of December. I need to start logging them. I've come to the conclusion that the best 'school' for me at this point is reading. Sitting in classroom situations doesn't seem to be working. There's too much internal emotional conflict going on in my brain in those situations. Enough is enough. I end up undercutting myself. I still beleive that no matter what stage you're in as a writer, you need to continually learn. Stop learning and you stagnate, but I think at this stage I need to do that via reading. Of course, that does nothing for my need for socialization, but one thing at a time. Heh. So, fix that damned bedside lamp already. Reading in bed is what you do.
I've collected a number of anthologies and short story magazines. (I've copies of Ursula K. LeGuin's new short works collections!) It's time to read those. I'll never wrap my head around short story space without reading them. It isn't that I'm incapable of writing shorts. I've done, and I can do it well--particularly after I've read a really great example. So, there's that.
Today got a late start because...well...Dane and I made ourselves rather merry yesterday. Today is the very last day of the holiday for me. (And Dane's last day of vacation too.) So, I don't officially get busy until tomorrow. I need that one more day because of a discussion going FUBAR on my FB wall yesterday. It occurred in two waves. The first was when an individual had a bad response and misinturpreted a friend's reply. The second was when the same person came back to explain to everyone about how the word "cunt" as he used it wasn't really as misogynist as everyone was telling him. (What utter bullshit. I was too tired to dredge through the mess and merely deleted the whole thing.) However...today is Feminist Monday. I'm not giving up. So, here I am. :) I hope your holidays were warm and wonderful and filled with joy. We'll all need that energy that was recouped because...yeah. 2017's theme seems to be this. But my intent for 2017 is summed up by what Chuck Wendig said. Write Despite. And keep involved despite too. So...here goes.
For the record, YouTube is looking increasingly scary for women. It's almost impossible to do a search for Feminist topics and find a positive result. It's wall to wall negative sexist rants. Fun! Today's video:
I haven't seen Rogue One yet. (The holidays hit us pretty hard financically this year.) I do plan on seeing it soon. Still, I find it disturbing that based upon everything I've seen and heard that Rogue One seems to suffer from Smurfette Syndrome pretty badly. But hey, at least the men being portrayed aren't all white.
is a Science Fiction and Fantasy author living in Texas.