Today, I thought I'd indulge a little in things I think are inspiring, creative, and well... pretty. Sometimes, it's fun to look around at what's out there. First, I'm a big Stevie Nicks fan. Have been since I was in 6th grade. This is my favorite image of her. I suspect it's from the Fleetwood Mac Rumors photo shoot.
Music is a big factor in my life. There are songs that are the soundtrack to important events in my life. I generally pay attention to whatever is playing on the radio while things are going on. For example, today I made plans to see a friend regularly, and while we were talking Cyndi Lauper's Girls Just Wanna Have Fun popped on the restaurant radio. I see that as a good sign. ;) My music tastes run all over the place. (But definitely not Country Music. Bleh.) At the moment I'm going through a Leftfield kick. I was into them in 1999-2000s and I've just come back around to it recently. It's great stuff for writing SF, if you ask me.
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Hello, y'all. Hope you're having a good Monday and things are moving smoothly. I watched the Oscars last night and it was more than a bit interesting. I used to not care so much about the Oscars, but ever since being nominated for the Campbell (thank you!) I've had a change of heart. I make a point of watching. I understand it now. I get what it's like to sit in one of those chairs and hope. I get why it hurts so much to lose. I get why it's also such an honor to be nominated at all--to see yourself on a list of folks that you look up to. I enjoy it now. I'm genuinely happy for the nominees. This year seemed like the year that Hollywood woke up. A number of folks made political statements about diversity which was great to see. Kimmell lost as many points as he gained. (The comment about names was racist. Then he turned around and trolled Trump for everyone to see.) All in all, things went well--that is, until La La Land was announced as the winner for Best Picture rather than Moonlight the actual winner. See, what happened was that Warren Beatty noticed he'd been given the envelope for an award that had already been given (Best Actress) and confused, he showed it to Faye Dunaway. Faye was the one that mis-spoke the winning title because she was guessing instead of telling everyone they had the wrong envelope. It wasn't the only snafu, apparently. A photo of an Australian producer was used in the slide show featuring greats who died over the past year. The name of the deceased was correct, Janet Patterson (a costume designer) but the photo was of Jan Chapman, and she's very much alive. Somebody really wasn't doing their job, it seems. What a nightmare. Mind you, everyone else on the stage handled the situation like professionals--as expected. But trust me, when you're up for something that huge having the award snatched away like that is your worst nightmare. Well, that and tripping and falling in front of everyone. Anyway, I'm thrilled that Moonlight took the Oscar. I just wish the snafu hadn't marred the celebration.
And now, todays video:
The bulk of my work is categorized as Fantasy, but I've always wanted to write SF, specifically space opera. Hey, what GenXer doesn't have some sort of relationship with Star Wars and/or StarTrek or even Mad Max? However, the genre isn't exactly friendly to women in more ways than one. Yes, there are plenty of examples of women who pushed on anyway, and because of them I've always intended to be one. However, the idea of doing so has always intimidated the living shit out of me. Being told I wasn't welcome to try or even study in order to make the attempt didn't help. But I've never wanted to be one of those writers that simply does what they've already done. I enjoy challenging myself. I want to explore and learn and grow as a writer throughout my career. It's important. Naturally, that means I won't always be great at everything I try my hand at. I'm willing to take that risk, and hopefully, so are my readers. Mind, I've published one SF short at the start of my career, but Flash fiction hardly counts, right? So, I decided 2017 was the year I was going to face my fear.
After wrapping up Blackthorne, I took a month off to rest story-brain. (Hey, pulling all-nighters is fine in theory, but it takes its toll.) I spent the time reading SF by women, reading fiction and watching films with awesome female protagonists as well as studying liberal SF/military SF written by men. After some wonderful encouragement from peers, I made a hesitant first step, but it was like push-starting a muscle car on a flat stretch of road. Not much happened. I kept pushing, hoping for a hill. It seems I finally found the damned incline. The engine has coughed to life and is running in overdrive. I adore creative grooves. This is the joy in writing. This. Hell, yesterday, I didn't know what I was going to name the main character's ship and before I was 100% awake this morning I had it. I love when my brain does this. (I just wish I'd learn to trust that it will, eventually do so and stop panicking.) Professional writers can't count upon the manifestation of grooves. If you wait for your muse to whisper in your ear you'll never write, much less turn in anything to an editor on a deadline. But sometimes a story has to simmer a while. It's important to know when to force it and when not to. Much about writing is knowing yourself well enough to work well...if that makes sense.
Anyway, I hope your Friday is a good one, and that your weekend will be fabulous. I suspect mine will be spent typing for the most part and confusing my husband with my Jackie Chan style train-of-thought-changes. It 's a good thing. It keeps him on his toes. And you know what?
Fuck those guys that say women can't enter the SF clubhouse--particularly if they've been writing Fantasy.
Every once in a while I get asked what I wish I'd known before becoming a professional writer. It's a smart question I was reminded of yesterday. Back when I started out, I thought for sure that the beginning was the hardest part: laboring in the dark without recognition, never being taken seriously, the constant rejection, the ever-grinding work, the confusion, the depressing uncertainty... I thought that was as hard as it'd ever get. I was wrong.
All of that is what prepares you for the intense emotional aspects and day to day hard work of simply being a professional. I thought that once you "made it" (had an agent and a publishing deal or even got major award nominations) that the rest was roses and unicorns farting rainbows. I thought that I'd never have to worry about being without a contract or representation. That everything would be perfect and fine and my professional problems would be over. None of that is true. And I run into pros who have hit the bumps in the road and are struggling to deal with their expectations of bliss versus the day to day grind of reality. In truth, talent isn't everything. Nor is luck. Both are important aspects of success, but what makes an author stick is bloodymindedness and the ability to create no matter what. That's what I wish I'd known. It wouldn't change anything for me, mind you. But it would've been handy to know.
People tend to not believe when hear that being creative is hard work. All they see is the joy involved in having created. They don't see the process of creation for what it is: difficult work. It's also dangerous--dangerous in the sense that creativity requires that the artist bare their soul to the world. It may not be in obvious ways. In fact, largely the personal is expressed in subtle ways. That doesn't make it any less scary and dangerous. Add to this the fact that every writer hits some form of wall in their career, usually more than once. It's at that point that we have a choice. We can choose to focus on the harm done, or we can choose to process the pain, let go, and move on. None of that is any fun. In addition, we can't expect closure from the outside. That is up to you to find and create for yourself. It's a hard lesson that I've learned. There. Free education for you. Take it and I hope it saves you some time and pain. Most likely it won't.
Because being human is difficult and painful. It's also joyful and fun. Being a creative human is this but even more so.
Sorry I've been away, y'all. Had to take a mental health break. Mostly, I've been so stressed about political shit that I've needed a breather, as it were. It was nice. Now, I'm back in black as it were. ;) Shall we get started?
Today's video: Voting while black in the 1960s.
Placing restrictions on voters who wish to register is wrong. It isn't about regulating voter fraud. Voter fraud is scarce. So, let's stop with the bullshit. Restrictions on voting is only ever about limiting who gets to vote. And voting is a powerful thing. If it weren't, why would Republicans go to so much effort to prevent people from voting?
And now those links.
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.
is a Science Fiction and Fantasy author living in Texas.