So, Liz Argall wanted me to post the first sketch she made of me as a friendly sea monster. You know, to show her process. And here it is in all its glory. I kind of love it.
In other news, as part of my homework for the Feminist SF novel I'm working on I'm reading A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution by Jennifer Doudna. It's fascinating reading. Largely due to SF, genetics is a topic of interest for me. It started with cloning which was a hot topic back when I was younger. (The whole Nature vs Nurture argument is intriguing.) I could go on and on with examples of great stories told using genetics, but one of my favorites is GATTACA.
I'll be honest, I don't often read memoirs. I don't like them for reasons I won't go into here. (It would distract.) So, understand what it means when I say I love Tea in Tripoli by Bernadette Nason. My husband and I attended the live theater version a couple of years ago, and it was funny and enjoyable--Bernie is a friend, and she's hilarious--but at the time the staged version lacked a certain depth. Her stories were amusing, even amazing, but I couldn't help feeling that she was holding back. Her memoir reveals just how much. Tea in Tripoli is emotionally raw, brutally honest, moving, and downright harrowing at times. At the same time, it retains Bernie's characteristic self-effacing humor--one of the things I love so much about her. The humor is in just the right amount to get you through the tough stuff without trivializing the danger she faced. And it was danger. She was an English woman working for an Italian firm in Libya during a time when diplomatic ties between Libya and the UK were severed. The tale is a dramatic and fascinating one, and I highly recommend it. If you've ever wondered how women in abusive situations experience, gather strength, process, and heal, this is for you. It also explains the various behaviors (good and bad) that women employ to protect themselves--such as remaining in groups while in public spaces. I highly recommend it. (Trigger warning for sexual harassment.) Don't trust me on this? Here's another review from a source less personally connected. :)
Now, on to the links.
So, like a huge dork I focused on making sure I remembered to be on the podcast that I missed last week and then promptly forgot what day it was in all the mad rushing around pre-storm. (I had to have some medical tests done.) Anyway, I promised a friend that they could have a guest post today. So...this is really late. This is all on me. I swear, I'd forget my head if it wasn't attached these days.
So, Liz is a wonderful webcomic art, writer, and an all around excellent friend. Today, she's here to promote her Patreon. Go forth and support her work. She writes about Things Without Arms and Legs (creatures who are kind.) And because she's awesome in every way, she made me into a sea monster. I gotta say, I make a rather fetching sea monster. Those teeth are all me. Isn't it fun? :)
How to turn Stina Into a Sea Monster
aka the effort in simplicity
Liz: What kind of mythical beast are you?
Stina: Unicorn badger? Selkie? Friendly seamonster?
Liz creates a concept board from images of sea monsters, merfolk, selkies, seals, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II (for the regal seating while dealing with masses of fabric, a train is like a tail, right?), paper crowns, flower crowns, enormous tiaras, seaweed, Stina, and dogfish.
Spends about 4 hours doing concept sketches fleshes out a regal Stina sitting on her underwater throne. Explores half a dozen ways of representing Stina’s face. Think about art deco. Get frustrated with how static the sketches feel. This sea monster is elaborate, with massive wings and a serpent tail, a spikey crown as long as her chest and claws the length of her forearms. She also has a sweet and charming face with one little fang poking out. The monster has a bunch of stuff going on, but it’s kinda dull. It has stuff going on rather than being about the stuff it is. Have stylus physically wear out so that you can no longer write with it and have to use your finger.
Go to bed dispirited.
Think, hang on, yes I can do realistic, but that is not the thingness of Things! This should be a character, not a painting!
Draw doodles in bed while thinking Stina monster and of all the marine biology you studied in school (especially dogfish, porpoises, sharks and killer whales. Thanks, Lesley, Bron and Barry!) and what it felt like to pat a wild Port Jackson shark.
Fall in love with a doodle.
Spend the next day inking and coloring it.
Send to other folks to look at (possibly the hardest part).
Stina the Friendly Sea Monster
Liz Argall creates the webcomic http://thingswithout.com
Her most famous comic is a sad http://www.thingswithout.com/comic/311-a-sad/
She has a brand new Patreon (where everyday folks can be patrons of the arts and support their favorite creators for as little as $1 a month) https://www.patreon.com/lizargall
I've been in a writing groove lately which is a good thing. The 1,000 words a day thing has been happening with very little struggle. These moments are not necessarily rare, but they are precious. So, knowing I've errands and appointments all day doesn't fill me with glee. At least none are medical related. :P I'm also re-pinkening my hair. My mom's 75th birthday is this Saturday (happy birthday mom!), and well...I didn't want my roots showing in the photos. Vain, I know. Am doing it myself because it's part of the fun of having weird hair--at least it is for me. It's also Dane's birthday today. So, Happy Birthday to my favorite Dane on the planet.
The hair has being pinkenated. Now, for birthday cookies.
May your Wednesday be a happy one!
Good morning, y'all. How are you? Hopefully, well. I hear there's going to be an eclipse today. Be safe out there. Okay? Okay.
So...part of Feminism is being aware of your own internalized bigotry because it's impossible to bring down oppressive systems when you're subconsciously working to keep them in place at exactly the same time. With that in mind, there's something I wanted to bring up: the people mainly responsible for depositing those Confederate monuments everywhere were and are...white women. Yes. White women are responsible for a majority of those statues being torn down/fought over. The specific group responsible is The Daughters of the Confederacy. Growing up in the American South I was called a "carpetbagger" and a "yankee" in school. No joke. The part that I always found odd was when our class studied the Civil War, I was happy discover my family wasn't from the South. I didn't understand why anyone would be proud of having a history of fight for slavery. It wasn't long before I was informed that the war wasn't about slavery after all, but "states' rights." Yes. You're right. It was about the specific state "right" to own people. In any case, it turns out that most of the romanticized "Lost Cause" myth as well as the "States' Rights" myth can be laid at The Daughters of the Confederacy's feet which just confirms why I always felt the organization was...well...creepy. To me, it was like having an organization for descendants of Nazis. Why would they do it? Because they wanted to honor their dead. In the process, they rewrote history and through that rewriting caused generations of strife and racism. Mind you, the racism probably would've stuck around without their assistance, but it didn't help end it, that's for sure. So, I say it's probably long past time for that particular organization to shift its focus at the very least. Hell, I'd venture to say it's time to disband. Lastly, GO UT.
On to other things.
And now...the cat report.
Bastian is doing so much better. He's stopped hiding under the couch at every loud noise. He's off the pain meds and is his usual sassy self. He still has a bit of a drunken sailor's gait sometimes, but mostly you wouldn't know he almost died two weeks ago. We're not letting him go outside for the next four to six weeks. After that, he decides whether he's an indoor kitty or goes back to being indoor/outdoor. At the current moment, he's given up trying to run outside. Either he understands he's in no shape for it, or it's the drugs. (He made initial attempts when he was feeling better--around day five--but I was firm.) He's also developed a new habit of telling me when his cat box is unsatisfactory. (We clean it once day for the record--sometimes twice. I can't handle the smell, and I'm allergic.) He's also taken to playing which is odd. He's extremely smart, that cat. So much so that his reaction to a laser pointer is, "I see where that's coming from, human. I refuse to act the fool." That said, he's probably playing out of bored desperation. So, this is more like "Okay, fine. I'll do the stereotypical cat thing. But understand I'm aware I'm a prisoner and I'm doing this under protest." I've left him alone for a few hours at a time, and he's not torn up the blinds or knocked shit off of Dane's desk. It seems we may have an indoor cat now. The challenge is going to be keeping him entertained.
I'm so thrilled he didn't die and have been giving him extra attention and catnip. You know, like you do.
I lost track of what day it was yesterday. Had an early morning doctor's appointment that threw everything off. It happens. Don't worry about the medical aspect of things. It was the sort of doctor's visit one wants. However, I totally forgot to drink any coffee and then proceeded to walk about like some form of zombie all day. Grrrr. Argh. Sorry about that.
On to other things. :) So while at the BookPeople reading, multiple individuals requested a track listing for Blackthorne. This one is a bit complicated since I took about ten years to write it. I started working on it sometime in late 2001/2002. The music list will reflect that. Also, because the novel was with me for a decade, I've ten or so different track lists. (You seriously can't limit yourself to only 20 songs while working on something that long.) I've a "more appropriate to the time period" list in addition to the "oh, fuck it. let's just pull together what works for the characters and/or scene" lists. Long story short, this means there are a lot of songs for me to filter through. I can't put them all in story order--although, Blackthorne's list is in order. The others would take far too much time, and well, I've got another novel to focus on right now. (Yay!) But I'll put down hints as to who which song is for and even when. For fun. Because I know some of you enjoy this shit. Okay. Here we go.
Metaphor -- Delerium
Deny -- Yasmine Hamdan
Endless Reverie -- Azam Ali
Biserica Neagra -- E Muzeki
Incantation -- Delerium
Caribbean Blue -- Enya
Walk On The Ocean -- Toad The Wet Sprocket
Elephant -- Croft No Five
Cloudless -- Cranes
Dylan and Dar songs
A Question Of Lust -- Depeche Mode
Never Let Me Down Again -- Depeche Mode
Captain Drake song
Money Changes Everything -- Cyndi Lauper
The Snowy Path -- Altan
summer storm -- Jonae'
The Kiss -- E Muzeki
What It Is -- Red Lorry Yellow Lorry
If You Were Here -- Cary Brothers
Out Of Order -- Duncan Sheik
The First Cut Is The Deepest -- Rod Stewart
Ordinary World -- Duran Duran
Life's What You Make It -- Duncan Sheik
Storms -- Stevie Nicks
Strong Enough -- Sheryl Crow
Torn -- Natalie Imbruglia
The First Cut Is the Deepest -- Sheryl Crow
Just Like Heaven -- Katie Melua
Samurai Code Final Quote -- Forest Whitaker
4 Sho Sho -- North Star
Rooster -- Alice in Chains
Things To Remember -- Peter Murphy
Simple Man (Remastered) -- Deftones
Silent Lucidity -- Queensrÿche
Terrible Lie -- Nine Inch Nails
Heart's Filthy Lesson -- David Bowie
Samurai Showdown -- RZA
Down In A Hole -- Alice in Chains
No Excuses -- Alice In Chains
Show Me How To Live -- Audioslave
Walking With Shadows -- Gary Numan
Crossroads -- Tracy Chapman
Sorry that took so damned long, but I was sorting through years of tracks. Anyway, I hope you enjoy it.
 My neurologist sort of fired herself from my collection of specialists because the last round of shots worked so well. Therefore, I don't have to see her for six months to a year. In fact, I could just skip seeing her altogether and just deal directly with the surgeon from now on. I won't. But it's an option. And this procedure will work indefinitely. And thus, the head bees were forever banished. How cool is that?
 At one point, I stopped writing Blackthorne and started Cold Iron. Then, when it became apparent that I wasn't going to land either a book deal or an agent with that series, I stopped work on Cold Iron in the middle of writing it and began writing Of Blood and Honey instead. Thus, I left Nels hanging by his thumbs for somewhere in the neighborhood of five years. (And with that, those of you who've read that novel will know exactly where I stopped. Heh.) Dane used to tease me about how pissed off Nels probably was. I am the bitch goddess of his world, after all.
Good afternoon, y'all. Last weekend was...eventful. From the linked article: "On Sunday, Charlottesville tried to regroup, and to apportion blame. Supporters of the white nationalists and the counterprotesters both criticized the response of law enforcement to the clashes on Saturday, saying the police could have done more to stop the situation from escalating." Well, there may be a reason why the police are reluctant to act in these situations, and it's a scary one. That's right, White Supremacists have been infiltrating the police force--according to the FBI. The College Station event on 9/11 planned by White Supremacists has been cancelled. Yayayayayay!!! Meanwhile, on FB I've heard a lot of ridiculous excuses over the past few days. One of which is "If you call them Nazis, no wonder they become Nazis." Because, you know, Feminists have been called Nazis for decades, and we know the result of that one. [eye roll] In addition, GoDaddy finally grew a conscience and gave The Daily Stormer the boot, and hours later, Google did the same when they attempted to make a switch. A third company, Zoho, has also announced that they have denied the group service. May this trend continue. Hate speech is not protected and should not ever be.
And now, links.
Entertainment/Literary: For 'Little Mermaid' star, a rude awakening in Middle America. Get over it. Frankly, why can't an Asian American actress play the role? Ariel is a fictional character, FFS. (For more, see this link.) Next up...Women swept nearly every category at the 2017 Hugo Awards. Also, have a listen to DISABILITY.TV EPISODE 33 - TYRION LANNISTER'S PRISON CONVERSATIONS. And another worthy source of information is Black Disabled Woman Syllabus: A Compilation. Over at The Mary Sue, Lynne M. Thomas talks about her daughter in Caitlin Is Not Groot: Finding Proper Communication Adaptations in Science Fiction and Fantasy. And How Trump killed off my romantic lead.
Lastly, VIRTUOSO ACTION DIRECTOR LEXI ALEXANDER FIGHTS BACK AGAINST HOLLYWOOD.
General: We Need to Talk About Online Harassment and something needs to be done about it--more than talking, y'all. Because this. And now, Sexism at Work: Tech’s sexism doesn’t stay in Silicon Valley. It’s in the products you use, Exclusive: Here's The Full 10-Page Anti-Diversity Screed Circulating Internally at Google [Updated], Memo to the Google memo writer: Women were foundational to the field of computing, Men Have Always Used 'Science' to Explain Why They're Better Than Women, A Google engineer wrote that women may be unsuited for tech jobs. Women wrote back, and Yes, You Can Be Fired for Circulating Bigoted Ideas at Work. Also, Vocal fry, uptalking, nasal: women's voices can never be "right". You see, lower voices are perceived to have more authority, more power, and ultimately--according to statistics--are paid more. No wonder most of the people I see bitching about vocal fry are men.
Trigger Warning Section: Taylor Swift’s Sexual Assault Testimony Was Sharp, Gutsy, and Satisfying. I'm not a fan and that was bad ass.
So, tonight's the night. If you're in Austin, TX and are free for the evening, I'd love to see you there. I'm bringing cupcakes from The Upper Crust Bakery. We'll have lots of fun, you'll hear a bit from/about my new novel, Blackthorne, and I may even read from the Feminist SF work in progress, Persephone Station. If you're good. :) (Just kidding. If you're one of my readers, we all know you're good.)
In case you haven't seen it, here is a review of Blackthorne from the Barnes and Noble site. And here's a lovely review from Paul Weimer of Skiffy and Fanty too.
I'm off to get more words in and run errands. I hope to see you there and if not, I hope you have a lovely Friday night.
Sorry about yesterday. I had an appointment with my newest doctor who has joined my collection of doctors. She gave me some news which means I'll probably be taking yet another pill--not just working out with weights. In addition, it seems I may never have had enough bone mass because I was super thin as a child. (I weighed 54 pounds in 7th grade.) Yeah. [sigh] Getting old isn't a hell of a lot of fun, but it beats the alternative. So....let's just say, I wasn't up for posting long-winded anythings yesterday. I usually don't let this shit get me down, but it did yesterday.
On to other things.
I've been working out with Kirby Sams at Hyde Park Gym for a couple of weeks, and I gotta say he's pretty great. He's done a fantastic job of not making me feel like an idiot for being this far behind and out of shape.
Sebastian is reverting to his same old sweet and sassy self. He's been wanting to go outside. (Yeah. NOT HAPPENING, FUZZY ONE.) And he's been wanting to play with his cork/catnip ball. (He lays on the ground and bats at it as it rolls by. Sometimes he attacks it, but mostly it's a lazy process.) He probably should have surgery, but I just got the starting amount on that and there's unfortunately no way that's happening. Also, it'd be one thing if he wasn't already healing--which he is. He may limp for the rest of his life, but I don't think it's going to slow him down much. Hell, he has a broken hip now and he tries to run around and jump, silly thing. All in all, I think he's going to be okay. I'm so so happy to have my boo-kitty back. He's been super snuggly lately.
You can't tell here, but he's definitely gotten some of his weight back. He's more alert too. Here's hoping we have him for another decade. :)
 Seriously, this is like the worst game of Pokemon ever. I truly have no interest in collecting them all, and yet, here I am. Therefore, I'm on doctor number six. That's five specialists plus my GP.
is a Science Fiction and Fantasy author living in Texas.