Last night, I came across some tweets that were excellent food for thought. The first thread was about white supremacy. In case you're not on Twitter, here's the gist. White supremacy has existed in the United States from day one. At first, it was the English--sort of. Mostly. These folks brought white supremacy and slavery with them. So, right away we had white supremacy. Slavery was eventually outlawed. It's at this point that I'll make another addition. I recommend watching 13th. Because once the slaves were freed, they became competitors for jobs. The pyramid of power was threatened. So, the myth of the criminal black was born. White supremacy won out.
Good morning, y'all. Let's start with some Schuyler sisters (yes, sisterhood too) and Lady GaGa. Half-time started with a Woody Guthrie song. He of the guitar emblazoned with "This machine kills Fascists." And while you're listening, read this: Why It's Important Lady Gaga Sang "Born This Way" At Super Bowl 51. I have to say, it's encouraging to see so many artists take a stand against this administration. And not just artists, but so many citizens in general. This is significant. Why? Because there are enough of us that corporations actually consulted their demographics and found that racist, sexist, homophobic bigots aren't their target audience. They found that more Americans are in favor of inclusion than aren't. So much so, that they ran ads with a focus on inclusion at the freaking Super Bowl. That's a big damned deal. It doesn't get any more mainstream than that.
Keep up the good work, y'all. Keep calling and writing those Congress-critters. Keep resisting. It's the only way we can keep our democracy from pitching over a cliff into a dictatorship.
And now, those links.
Blackthorne is back to my editor, officially. Now is the time when I get to kick back for a bit and indulge in some TV, read , sleep, and otherwise recharge my story brain. So, naturally, my husband has been tossing fun things at me. First up, The Santa Clarita Diet.
My first impressions: Yay! Drew Barrymore! I'd pretty much follow her into a blazing dumpster fire. Pretty much. Zombies aren't usually my thing, except in comedy. So, yay! And lastly, please for the love of all that's holy and diverse don't let the only black people in the series be drug dealers. PLEASE. Other than that, I'm so in. It is available today. So, I'm going to try it out.
I gotta say, I'm kind of done with amateur detective shit. I'm pretty much done with "murder of the week" shit in general... with the exception of My Favorite Murder and well, Lucifer. Also, I have a hard time hanging around CW Teen Angst™ for long. The over the top forced romantic tension bullshit drives me batty. However, the whole concept "The CW does The Archies." makes me giggle. Also, I hear that they made a new Sabrina comic that should be up my alley, though. Am so giving that a try.
"I exploit you
still you love me
I tell you one and one makes three
I'm the cult of personality..." --Living Colour
I've been thinking a lot lately about the "Lone Savior" Archetype and how dangerous it can be. It all started when I read an article about how Jesus was fabricated by the Romans to pacify the Jews. Now, before folks go nuts, I'd like to say that I don't care what brand of religion or non-religion you practice as long as you aren't using that belief system or non-belief system to harm others. Christianity, specifically, has done some very good things. It's also been used as an excuse to do some awful things--lots and lots of awful things. Now, no group is perfect. We're all human, right? Cool. But I wanted to explore the downside to the Lone Savior™--mainly in that it trains people to a) expect one perfect person to come along and resolve all their problems and b) to shut up and wait because suffering is good for you. Both of these things are dangerous--particularly in a democracy.
I keep seeing how people are reacting to Trump and the Republicans are behaving not only like sycophants but I'd even go so far as to say cultists. As a kid in the '70s, I saw a lot of references to cult movements, and I guess that stuck. The symptoms are the same, it seems: the blind faith in the leader, emotional and faith-based arguments, repetition of the cult's views without question, and isolation from anyone who doesn't believe as they do. The whole thing makes me wonder. How do we step back from that? I know it isn't easy, but debate, reason, and facts aren't going to work. It merely drives them deeper into their dark hole. We can't afford that. What can we do? We can't just say, "Peace, y'all. Believe whatever. We agree to disagree." people's lives are in danger. At the same time, screaming, "You are doing something dangerous and stupid!" doesn't work either.
I wish I knew the answer.
 It's something I work with a bit in both Cold Iron and Blackthorne.
 No, atheists, you are not off the hook. I do, in fact, believe that an extremist part of your membership is largely responsible for making Muslim hate seem logical and reasonable. It's bigotry. Own up to the fact that y'all have extremists just like every other belief system. That doesn't make you worse. It makes you human like everyone else.
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.
is a Science Fiction and Fantasy author living in Texas.