Category Archives: This Really Happened

February Events at Left Bank Books

Left Bank Books and Archon continue their partnership to bring a kickass reading series to Saint Louis in 2019!

Charlie Jane Anders – The City in the Middle of the Night
Monday, February 18, 7pm
Mad Art Gallery
Preorder

Jasper Fforde – Early Riser
Wednesday, February 20, 7pm
Ethical Society of St. Louis
Preorder

Ann Leckie – The Raven Tower
Tuesday, February 26, 7pm
Left Bank Books
Preorder

For further details on Left Bank Books’ upcoming SF/STL events, here’s the official web site.

Advertisements

Snapped Dry, Scraped Clean, behind the scenes

It’s live! Woo!

Read it for free here!

This tale was inspired by two articles. The first was about a woman who was found dead in a hospital stairwell. The second was about the folks who clean up crime scenes after the investigation has concluded. The combination of care and neglect when we’re at our most vulnerable (in a hospital, at home, among family) percolated into this story. I wanted to look the ugly, unspoken thing in the face — like the limits of care, and what happens when we reach those limits and start to fail. Who cares for the caregiver, kind of thing.

When I first drafted this story in 2015, I was also thinking about sensory overwhelm and emotional burnout on the part of the caretakers. Hrisa had always been sensitive to sound, and moved from the role of surgeon to death cleaner because she couldn’t handle it anymore. In the original version, she had an assistant named Gurna. A childhood accident had left Gurna without a nose, so while both Hrisa and Gurna had trouble being part of society, they found work that suited them. Hrisa was meant to make Gurna tougher, and Gurna pushed back when Hrisa’s desire to protect herself soured into actual cruelty.

The discussion about the veil, and whether to hide one’s face, is a remnant of that relationship, and the ways in which we normalize or reject shame.

I was just beginning with short fiction in those days, and this was the first story where I relaxed my grip a little and spent more time with the environment and the feelings of the characters. The wordcount was far too high to sell as a result, and that’s when Gurna was cut. It gave the other characters more presence and agency.

Fun fact, it turns out that the guy in the article about cleaners is a friend of a friend from the days I lived in New York. I’m kicking myself for not knowing this connection earlier. I would have liked to ask about materials and process.

This story was written while listening to “Save Me From Myself” by Sirenia. You can follow them on their website or on YouTube.

Thanks also to Nick Mamatas’s Fabulist Fiction class, for helping me streamline this piece into something publishable.

P.S., I now have a ko-fi! If you’d like to leave a dollar in the tip jar, please do so here.

Bye Facebook. Hello Pillowfort

The plan for 2019:
-No conventions
-No drinking
-20 pushups per day (pact with Derek Künsken)
-Learn Twine & Unity (pact with Ghost Cat)

Along with these changes, I’ve made some adjustments to my online presence. Facebook is out, Pillowfort and Ko-Fi are in — which will help me focus while I’m learning how to write RPGs. The reason I picked Pillowfort is because I’ve never had a tumblr, and it seemed like as good a time as any to branch out and see what’s going on in that part of the internet.

In addition to Pillowfort, I have started a Ko-Fi! Patreon works well for PodCastle and the Escape Artists, but I wanted something of my own. Ko-Fi will be a huge help toward covering the time spent bringing you posts, stories, and twine games — and maybe, one day, I’ll be able to upgrade the audio gear I use for host spots and fiction narration.

The next item I have my eye on is a Stedman PS101 pop filter (more solid protection against P-B-T sounds, and it’s smaller than my current one, which will make it easier to read the script behind it).

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Here’s to a fruitful and prosperous new year!

October Events – Archon and Left Bank Books

During WorldCon in San Jose, I got to catch up with many of the friends I left behind in California. Between 3-4 local conventions per year and Borderlands Books serving as hubs of activity, the community there is as strong as ever. In Saint Louis, that community orbits around Archon and Left Bank Books. If you’re interested in getting to know some of the other pros, fans, and creative types at all levels, come hang out this October!

SF/STL! Wednesday, October 24, 7pm

Left Bank Books and Archon are proud to present SF/STL! A reading series for SFF authors and readers alike. I met Marina J. Lostetter at WorldCon, and I’m happy to say she’ll be joining us to celebrate her book, Noumenon Infinity!

Archon 42! October 12 – 14, 2018

Friday

  • Science and Fantasy: Where the Magic Lies
    17:00 – 18:00, Marquette A (Gateway Center)
    Why do science fiction and fantasy get so often placed in opposition? Are there fundamental differences between scientific and magical worldviews, in fiction and beyond? Or are these just different sources of wonder?
    Joey Froehlich (M), Christine Amsden, Setsu Uzume, Kasey Mackenzie, Charlie Jane Anders

Saturday

  • What is Your Process?
    10:00 – 11:00, St. Clair A & B (DoubleTree – Collinsville)
    Pen and paper, room completely silent, 20 year old notes? What is the best way for you to create your stories? Do you ever change it up?
    Donna J. W. Munro (M), Eddie Wilson, Setsu Uzume, Kathleen Collins, Dr. Mike Phoenix
  • I Have a Great Idea!: How to Submit and Run a Panel at Archon
    13:00 – 14:00, Illini A (Gateway Center)
    Interested in running a panel, but unsure how to get started or what to do? Panel veterans to the rescue!
    Setsu Uzume (M), Mr. Vito Pandolfo, Erin McFadden, Donald Price
  • Religion and its Place in Science Fiction and Fantasy
    15:00 – 16:00, Madison C & D (DoubleTree – Collinsville)
    Plenty of our favorite worlds have their own religion, or have a mix of real world religions. How do they stem from what we know in the real world?
    Setsu Uzume (M), David Benem, Benjamin C. Kinney, Ms Judi Cook

Sunday

  • The Hero Quest
    10:00 – 11:00, Marquette A (Gateway Center)
    The original story. How to use it within your writing and make it yours.
    Mr Brian Trent (M), Setsu Uzume, Jimmy D. Gillentine, Mrs. E Susan Baugh, Donna J.W. Munro

Forthcoming: They Keep Killing Glenn

Just sold “For Whom the Bell LOLs,” a short story about a social media algorithm that makes friends with a Russian missile satellite. The anthology will be available in July 2018 from Peter David and Crazy 8 Press.

The submission call was a result of joke at a convention panel, when someone suggested they take all the ideas for how to kill Glenn and turn them into an anthology. The audience responded with, “I’d read that.” Glenn Hauman graciously agreed, and here we are.

Many thanks to Peter David and Crazy 8 Press. Thanks also to Joe Gergis, who helped me with the technical language.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction
They Keep Killing Me: A Foreword of Last Words
The Killing Croak by David Gerrold
The Look on Your Face by David Mack
Revenge of the Clipper Kin by Joe Corallo
“Is it You?” by Bob Greenberger
The Hardwicke Files: The Case of Hauman’s Comet by Russ Colchamiro
House Hunting by Keith R.A. DeCandido
Patient Zero by Dean Scott
Buried in Books by Mary Fan
The Case of the Industrial Revolution by Kathleen O’Shea David
For Whom the Bell LOLs by Setsu Uzume
Too Damn Tall by Lorraine J. Anderson
DuckBob: All In by Aaron Rosenberg
R is for Roadster by Blair Learn
The Long and the Short of It by Brett Hudgins
Marathon by S. Brady Calhoun
For Cockeysville by Michael Jan Friedman
Rhino by Amy Lewanski
Waking Things by Jenifer Purcell Rosenberg
The Day of Killing Endlessly by Paul Kupperberg
That’s All, Folks by Peter David

 

Here’s how the sausage was made:

When I sent in the manuscript, the editor’s response was, “what did you send me? Is this the right file? Glenn’s name doesn’t seem to be in it.” In keeping with the story’s tone, Glenn is referred to by his Facebook account number.

Glenn also frequently posts/shares articles about the egregious misuse of guns with the comment, “Today in Responsible Gun Ownership, [person A] [uses a gun] and [it goes poorly].”

The other story I pitched, about a cursed hovercat out for blood, has yet to be written.

Spooked Cat Climbs the Blushing Tree

To clarify, because we all know this is going to come up.

I’m having trouble describing the feeling wherein:

  1. You say something nice about someone you admire (assuming they will never hear or acknowledge you),
  2. and then they pop out of nowhere and say thank you,
  3. and you’re so surprised that they
    1. are present
    2. and heard you
    3. and said something back
  4. that you have the overwhelming urge to run up a tree and hide in its branches until everyone has left and it’s safe to come back down

(without using the word “dork,” because there’s nothing here that merits a pejorative)

My friend said, “I’m sure there’s a German word for it.”

So I tried, unsuccessfully, to translate “the spooked cat climbs a tree in which to blush,” into German, so I stuck with the English.

In conclusion, if you ever hear me mumbling that phrase, “spooked cat climbs the blushing tree,” it means I am starstruck and trying to recover.

Archon 41: Come Say Hello!

The flying castle will be dropping me off in your realm this fall to attend Archon 41! Women and nonbinary authors, please be sure to submit your original (no reprint) stories for Artemis Rising before you head out, as our submission window will close on Sept 30.

Sept 29 – Oct 1, 2017
archonstl.org
Gateway Convention Center and DoubleTree Hotel
Collinsville, IL

This convention promises the usual from me — religion, fighting, and the inescapable lure of human darkness — capped off on Sunday with a reading chock-full of all three. Come say hello!

Friday

The Cinematic Wonder Woman’s Badass Predecessors
20:00 – 20:50, Illini A (Gateway Center)

A discussion celebrating Ripley, Xena, Buffy, and more.  Why do we love women who kick butt?
What a question.
With Claire Ashgrove, Tom Stockman, and Ethan Nahté

Saturday

Alternate Religions
11:00 – 11:50, Salon 4 (Gateway Center)
An open and respectful look at real-life alternate or non-mainstream religions.
I’ll be moderating, with Christine Amsden, Ms Joy Ward, and Walt Boyes

Writing Modern-Day Monsters
12:00 – 12:50, Marquette A (Gateway Center)
Discuss what a “modern-day monster” is (or can be), and how to write an effective one.
With Mr Michales Joy, and Guy Anthony De Marco

Recurring Themes in Speculative Science Fiction
16:00 – 16:50, Marquette B (Gateway Center)

Speculative fiction has become more and more popular in recent years.  Come participate in a discussion on themes in spec lit and what’s on the horizon.
I’m moderating (the fantasist snuck in! Shh!), with Celine Chatillon, Dr Pamela Gay, and Tom Carpenter

Comparative Mythology
19:00 – 19:50, Illini A (Gateway Center)

How do myths from different cultures compare?  What are some recurring themes?  What myths seem to be culturally unique?
I’m moderating, with Michael Benjamin, Lloyd Kropp, Walt Boyes, and Kasey Mackenzie

 

Sunday

Short-Story Podcasting for Writers, Readers, and Voice Actors
10:00 – 10:50, Salon 6 (Gateway Center)

Escape Artists represent — woop woop!  Podcasts are a huge opportunity to publish and listen to short fiction, and engage with the fan community. They can also provide an avenue into audio book narration and voice acting. Join us to discuss the podcasts we love, how to build a recording setup, and the path to publication.
With the ever-brilliant Benjamin C. Kinney of Escape Pod

Making Friends in Fandom
13:00 – 13:50, Illini A (Gateway Center)

It’s hard to make new friends, but it’s easier when you have common interests. Get tips on how to make friends as adults.
With Mrs. Susan Baugh, Cindi Gille-Rowley, Tom Meserole, Steve Lopata

Author Readings with David Benem and Setsu Uzume
14:00 – 14:50, Cahokian (Gateway Center)
Tag-teaming with David Benem