I got in to Clarion West!
I'm going to be in Seattle this summer!
No Fuckin' WAY!!!
thoughts on writing, travel, food, politics and life
This is a forward from my undergraduate thesis advisor.
Because once upon a time, slaves were 3/5 of a person.
This blog has been a really fascinating experiment for me. I've learned alot about online communities and the incredible resources that the internet has made available to writers. It's nice to know you're not alone.
Via Ragnell's blog:
She’s proved her suitability?!?!?
Has she displayed strength? Athletic prowess? A memorable character? Perhaps a beauty that’s more handsome then pretty? Does she give off a warrior vibe?
No. She, “she donned a Wonder Woman outfit for a sexy seduction scene.”
Because the KEY part of Wonder Woman’s character, as we ALL know, is her power of sexy seduction.
Oh geez. Oh frig. I need a beer.
"There is something distinctive about the sight and sound of a human body falling from a rainforest canopy. The breathless scream, the wildly gyrating arms and legs pumping thin air, the rush of leaves, and the sickening thud, followed by uneasy silence. Listening to that silence, I reflected on how plant collecting can be an unpleasant sort of activity."
The orchid is used for everything from medicine for elephants to an aphrodisiac ice cream. A Malaysian species can grow to weigh half a ton while a South American species fires miniature pollen darts at nectar-sucking bees. But the orchid is also the center of an illicit international business: one grower in Santa Barbara tends his plants while toting an Uzi, and a former collector has been in hiding for seven years after serving a jail sentence for smuggling thirty dollars worth of orchids into Britain.
A little late (yea, I've been away from the blogosphere for a bit) but Justine had a great funny post here about How to Write a Novel.
"You may get stuck along the way, and have no idea what your characters should do next. Raymond Chandler says that’s when it’s time to send someone in brandishing a gun. Sending in a vampire also works. Or you can set something on fire, have a long lost relative or best friend show up, have your protag lose all their worldly goods, or discover that the lovers are actually siblings (ewww!)."
One of the very few good things about living on Long Island is that I have a fantastic Speculative Fiction writers' group. I am incredibly lucky to be a part of this group of very talented writers. One of them has self-published a satirical science fiction novel, Land that I Love. And what's cool about it is that it's FREE! So check it out!
In an attempt to better establish a consistent rule of law, some places in China are now using computer software to issue verdicts.
I was going to come back to blogging earlier this week. But someone I knew passed away. It was a distant relative, not someone I knew well, but all the same, it was sad. He lived a full life and he was much loved by his family and he's probably in a better place without pain.
Paperbackswap.com gets you free books!
What is PaperBackSwap? We are a group of real people who have formed a Club to swap paperback books with each other. No gimmicks. No spam. No advertising. No kidding. We are not a large corporation trying to sell you something. We're just a group of real folks who wanted a way of trading paperbacks with each other through the U.S. mail. Please read the testimonials and you will understand that this book club is for real.
When another member requests one of your books, you mail it to them. Yes, you pay for the postage. But then another member returns the favor when you request a book from them and they mail it to you. And that way the books are always free because we are all trading books with club members!
Once you have registered, simply list your paperback books that you would like to share with other Club Members. Once you have listed at least 9 of your books, we will give you 3 book credits to get you started trading books with other club members. However, the more books you post, the more likely you are to receive requests. And that means more books for you. So post as many books as you can!
I haven't been posting much lately because I've been trying to finish up a bunch of projects for the end of my summer classes. I'll probably continue to be on and off the blog for the next 2 weeks or so as try and finish up all these papers and projects.
I confess being troubled over the recent discussion of how foreign settings don't sell novels in the romance genre.
Bad thing about leaving the USA: having to pretend to be Canadian so no one will spit in your food, or your face, or . . .
In case you missed it, Craigslist is totally a Generation Y /Hip hop Generation / whatever-we're-calling-ourselves-these-days. Not only is it a place to get stuff you want, unload stuff you don't want, but it's a place to find dates, chat, talk and rant. Few things make me laugh the way the Best of Craigslist section does.
Things I Have Done That I Really Should Have Been Sacked For By Now
Date: 2006-07-12, 2:05PM EDT
Today marks my two year anniversary at my current job - the longest I have ever held continuous employment at one company. Earlier, I had one of those "Remember when you did that thing with that bloke..." conversations with a colleague and I came to one inescapable conclusion - My Bosses Are Fucking Idiots.
No way should I still be employed here after some of the shit I've pulled.
In two years, I have had 2 disciplinaries, one formal written warning, a 42% lateness rate, countless verbal warnings and 17 performance improvement plans (Where they 'monitor' your performance for a set period and point out everything that you did wrong), with my initial 3 months probation period (which was then extended to 6) - this means that at no point have I been employed here without having some suited twat looking over my shoulder with a clipboard 'observing me in my work environment'
And STILL they haven't twigged that the best thing for them would be my instant dismissal.
Which brings me to the point of post - Things I have done that my company should have sacked me for a long time ago:-
1. Sent an e-mail to myself from my bosses PC implying that she was sexually harassing me, and then used it as leverage against her to escape a disciplinary.
2. Twice felt the need to go spend a 20 minute 'toilet' break on a hot summer's day after a morning spent ogling the female population of my office dressed in their skimpy outfits
3. Edited a chain E-mail to imply that reader should end their own life and then forwarded it on to a mailing list that included somebody that recently had tried and (unfortunately) failed to commit suicide.
4. Almost got my friend sacked in a prank gone horribly wrong after I used http://www.sharpmail.co.uk/html to send an e-mail that appeared to be from him to one of the office juniors. It read something along the lines of:
"Nice strappy shoes Gemma, I really like the way they show off your painted nails..... It makes me want to run my hard penis in between your toes and cum on your shin."
(realistically, I should have anticipated the shit-storm, that followed).
5. Racked up about 6 hours internet time a day, despite the company policy that anything over 1 hour is considered excessive.
6. Shot the Financial Director in the face with an elastic band gun, after seeing my friend about to come through the door and failing to notice the suited gentlemen walking one pace ahead of him.
7. Hid for an hour in the post room whilst said director tore the place to pieces interrogating people in an effort to find "That Cunt who shot me"
8. Sat at my desk for an entire morning happily munching a box of hash brownies, whiting out a few hours later and then being sent home by boss-lady because she was worried that I looked 'really pale'
9. Used the opportunity of looking very ill in public to take a further two weeks off work.
10. Not realised that an incoming call was actually from somebody in the Houses Of Parliament (one of our A-list clients) and answered the phone "What's up MotherFucker?!"
11. Outright lied to the same MP when he asked to speak to the manger by telling him that he had called a residential number - A fact he accepted despite having spent 5 minutes on our hold system listening our company's god awful theme music.
12. Put on a dodgy accent and pretended to be called 'Raoul' when said MP called back and, against all laws of probability, ended up speaking to me again.
13. Told a colleague whilst very drunk at office party that "I wouldn't fuck you if you were on fire"
14. Spent the next few days trying to work out exactly what the above sentence means
15. Ignored 30 minutes worth of phone calls to write this horse-shit.
no -- it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
I've been meaning to post my thoughts on the recent Southampton writes' conference, but haven't had much time due to conferences, so I'll just give you a short breakdown.
In a recent post from the literary agent better known as Miss Snark, there was a recent post about a workshop at the recent RWA convention where people brought their first 2 pages, read them aloud in front of 2 literary agents and an editor. The agents would tell them to stop as soon as they found a reason to reject them.
As I've been trying to write better male characters, I found this posted over at the message boards on All About Romance novels to be quite funny:
Unfortunately, I was only able to catch the last 10 minutes or so of the reading by Amy Tan and Billy Collins at the
So I finally sucked it up and shelled out the cash to join the Romance Writers of America. It's one of the largest and most powerful writers' organizations in the United States, and super-cushy with almost all the major publishing houses. What kept me away from it for awhile was the fact that it's pricey to join ($100!!!!!) and the fact that when you join, you're only joining the National Chapter. You've got to put out more money (though not nearly as much) to join the local chapter or any of the special interest chapters like Futuristic, Fantasy and Paranormal. Not to mention that I have issues with an organization that sanctions a sub-genre based on race (Arabesque or African-American Romance is considered a sub-genre). But going with the idea that change is more effective from the inside, I've decided to join, because as a member (theoretically) I get a say in their policies, and for the power this organization wields, that's a lot. They also offer numerous networking opportunities for published and unpublished authors, agents and editors, and as networking is invaluable to nearly any career, well on the advice of authors like Sunny I figured I'd give it a shot (even if it is a financially painful shot for this poor grad student; hey its an investment right?).
Kyrgyzstan, a Central Asian country that is affordable, adventurous and accessible, with a Muslim population so moderate it’s not uncommon to see mothers in bikinis drinking beer on the beach.
Recently I was asked where as a writer, I get my ideas from. I get ideas from everywhere; everything I read, things I see, sounds I hear, everything has a story behind it, or has implications for something that might be stewing in my mind. Take a recent editorial from the New York Times, He Who Cast the First Stone, Probably Didn't, which talks about how aggressive actions, like throwing a punch at someone, are generally thought to be ok, if you're attacking some one who hit you without provocation.
After all, it is wrong to punch anyone except a puncher, and our language even has special words — like “retaliation” and “retribution” and “revenge” — whose common prefix is meant to remind us that a punch thrown second is legally and morally different than a punch thrown first.
That’s why participants in every one of the globe’s intractable conflicts — from Ireland to the Middle East — offer the even-numberedness of their punches as grounds for exculpation.
The problem with the principle of even-numberedness is that people count differently. Every action has a cause and a consequence: something that led to it and something that followed from it. But research shows that while people think of their own actions as the consequences of what came before, they think of other people’s actions as the causes of what came later.
In a study conducted by William Swann and colleagues at the University of Texas, pairs of volunteers played the roles of world leaders who were trying to decide whether to initiate a nuclear strike. The first volunteer was asked to make an opening statement, the second volunteer was asked to respond, the first volunteer was asked to respond to the second, and so on. At the end of the conversation, the volunteers were shown several of the statements that had been made and were asked to recall what had been said just before and just after each of them.
The results revealed an intriguing asymmetry: When volunteers were shown one of their own statements, they naturally remembered what had led them to say it. But when they were shown one of their conversation partner’s statements, they naturally remembered how they had responded to it. In other words, volunteers remembered the causes of their own statements and the consequences of their partner’s statements.
What seems like a grossly self-serving pattern of remembering is actually the product of two innocent facts. First, because our senses point outward, we can observe other people’s actions but not our own. Second, because mental life is a private affair, we can observe our own thoughts but not the thoughts of others. Together, these facts suggest that our reasons for punching will always be more salient to us than the punches themselves — but that the opposite will be true of other people’s reasons and other people’s punches.
Wow, for someone who purports to be a fantasy / science fiction writer, only lately have I actually been reading much in the genre. What's surprising to me is the number of nonfiction books that I do read. Some have been for school obviously, others, out of interest or researching story ideas.
The Second Blog Carnival of Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy Fans is up over at Kalinara's blog!
Pology is free excellent online magazine featuring photos and essays about traveling, the kind of traveling that forces you to step outside your boundaries and confront life. There are some amazing photos here as well as well-written essays about discovery.
In a time where representations of the world are fed to us through polarized lenses, traveling has become of supreme importance. Traveling can remind us that in any situation there are multiple and often conflicting truths. Traveling can humble us, and remind us of how little we know. Immersion in a new culture can force us to see a beauty in the world that all too easily gets lost in the routine of the mundane. On our pages you will find impassioned vignettes of cultural exploration. Too much of today's travel writing focuses on where to stay, eat and shop, but I'm convinced that there is a breed of traveler out there that knows getting lost and having the details unfold spontaneously is what leads to the stories that can be fondly retold for the rest of your life.
(in no particular order)
2. Beijing, China
3. Moscow, Russia
4. Tokyo, Japan
5. Paris, France
6. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
7. Quebec, Canada
8. Rome, Italy
9. Shanghai, China
Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)
Pirates are fun right?
Race and Pirates
And I watched, and I grew more and more uncomfortable. Jack Sparrow and crew run amok of cannibals. The cannibals, are, of course, Black. They have face paint and random piercings; they have made Jack Sparrow their king. He speaks to them in terms like, "Licka licka, savvy?" There are a few people of color in his pirate crew, but their speaking parts are small, and they all have very strong accents. Or they don't speak at all and lend their faces to the motley look of the crew. The main character of color is a Black woman, a voodoo witch or something, with eyeballs in jars, blackened teeth, and an accent so strong that I couldn't understand her half the time.
While I was noticing this and noticing the fact that there were no non-stereotyped portrayals of people of color, I was growing more and more uncomfortable with this awareness. I'm actually very ashamed to say this, but I kept thinking of things like, "Oh, is it really that bad?" and "It's just a movie" and "Really, it's about pirates, what can you expect?" and "It's all in good fun."
Except... it isn't.
And I can't get over the fact that even though I had been reading about race right before the movie, noticing the stereotypes and being critical of race in the movie made me incredibly uncomfortable and squirmy, so much so that I tried to rationalize it away. I spent the first half of the movie squirming and becoming more and more aware of the fact that my mind kept trying to slip away from the topic of race, kept trying to not confront it and come up with more and more reasons why it really wasn't that bad.
Except... it is that bad.
It is bad that I cannot think about race without this extreme uncomfortableness, that I cannot do it without attempting to rationalize and excuse, that I cannot do it even after reading about it and being fully committed to speaking out. And it is even worse, because I know if I had seen the movie without having read the Tatum beforehand, I would have noticed, but I would have let myself brush it off, let myself not post about it.
I didn't even post about this last night because it made me so uncomfortable.
Read the rest here