- Tomorrow, Sunday, March 26th from 1-$PM, I'll be reading at the Anderson Library at the University of Minnesota for the annual Quatrefoil Library/Tretter Collection joint event, Women Who Read. Also reading are Jessie Chandler, Rachel Gold, Stephani Maari Booker and a host of other talented queer female-identified writers. Just as a general observation about the kind of talent that reads at this event, Pat Schmatz won a Tiptree Award 3 days after our reading last year. So come by and check it out! The beauty of group readings is that there's always enough variety to find something you like.
- Which is why I'm doing 2 readings this week. On Tuesday, March 28th, I'll be reading at Intermedia Arts for Queer Voices, an ongoing series featuring local LGBTQIA_ authors and creators. 7:30-9:30PM, sliding scale admission.
- My latest Patreon posts on Comfort Reading and Comfort Television are out - check out some new stuff for only $1! Pledge $6 and get my essay on Irene Adler too. This month's proceeds will benefit Planned Parenthood.
I will also have copies available at my April readings, including the one at Bingley's Teas. And Bingley's is just down the street from the MIA, which is hosting Guillermo del Toro's "At Home with Monsters" for the next two months. Plus a showing of Crimson Peak, just saying.
Other things of note:
- I got our yard designated as a "Pollinator Friendly Zone" by the City of Minneapolis. It's a cool program - answer 10 questions about your yard and get a flat of bee-friendly plants, a sign and a certificate. Our yard is ruthlessly organic and our landscaper put in some plants that are like bee catnip so it's nice to have that recognized.
- I attempted to go and volunteer at the MN Advocates for Human Rights International Women's Day miniconference on Saturday, but they had enough warm bodies so instead I went to a couple of interesting talks, one on Basic Income Guarantees and how it could be set up and the other by the Women's Initiative for Self Empowerment, which works with refugee and immigrant kids, teens and young women to help them access scholarships, mentors, job training, assistance with language skills and related stuff.
I followed that up by going to a several short plays about domestic violence at Theatre Unbound to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Susan Glaspell's play, "Trifles."
Hoping to make it to a City Council candidate talk on affordable housing tomorrow night and planning on going to a Restaurants Rising, a citywide benefit for the Immigration Law Center of MN on 3/15. We'll see how all jives with needing to fix website problems, finish another Emily story and get some publicity stuff together for Queen of Swords Press as well as the next book. We like to keep it lively around here at least.
I'm plugging away at my posts for Patreon. This month's nonprofit donations will be going to Planned Parenthood and this month's post topics will be comfort reads, comfort TV and an essay on author Melissa Scott. Pledge at the $1 level to get two posts a month, at the $3 level to request future posts as well as to receive the existing ones and at the $6 level for all of the above + an additional piece of fiction or non fiction or whatever I'm currently working on. Such a deal!
Other than this, I'm looking at a print layout for Out of This World and have a fabulous new cover for Knife's Edge, the first Emily L. Byrne collection, both by artist and writer Terry Roy. Terry is great to work with and I heartily recommend her! Editor Carrie Cuinn is proofing the text for Knife's Edge, and once she's done, I'll do a final pass over it, get it formatted and turn it loose shortly thereafter. Carrie does a very thorough job and I definitely recommend her too.
I'm expecting my interview on the Skiffy and Fanty Podcast to go live soon, as well as some guest blogs on various topics on other folk's sites. I have another guest blog due as Emily, some editing to do, sundry other stuff related to Queen of Swords, then I start on the next book. And promo for my various readings and such. Whee!
Next weekend, I'll be volunteering at the MN Advocates for Human Rights International Women's Day event at Hamline, which I'm looking forward to. They've put on a good event in years past. Then I'll be off to Theatre Unbound's production of Susan Glaspel's Trifles and two other short plays. They'll also be hosting Little Black Dress Ink! Female Playwrights Onstage Festival on March 8th; it's free and open to the public. Come hear some new plays before they make it big.
Wednesday is also A Day Without a Woman as well as being International Women's Day. Skip work if you can, limit any necessary spending to women and immigrant and/or minority-owned businesses, donate to organizations that support women and other targets of the Orange Menace and his merry band of evil and ware red. I'm taking the day off, because I'm fortunate enough to have that option, and will be supporting women-owned business. There's ERA lobbying day at the State Legislature as well (see the Women's March MN for more details) and miscellaneous other events. Or plan your own.
Now to go wrangle some more stuff.
Catherine's note: I noticed that this project had gone live and wanted to make sure more people knew about it. Older Queer Voices: The Intimacy of Survival is free to read and filled with stories and poetry by older queer folks about hanging in there, about the things that did get better, about the strategies that we used to make it. I reached out to one of the editors, Sandra Gail Lambert, and asked her to do a blog interview about the anthology. If you'd like to interview her, her co-editor or the contributors, their contact email is noted below. Please spread the word and let's get more things like this out there.
Tell us about this project.
SGL: Older Queer Voices: The Intimacy of Survival is an online collection of creative nonfiction and poetry from thirty-five LGBTQIA writers. Sandra Gail Lambert and Sarah Einstein are the editors.
Where did you get the idea to do this on the Internet?
SGL: Like a lot of us, Sarah and I woke up on November 9th desperate to do something, anything. Over the next few days, we flailed around for that first path of resistance. Sarah, who teaches at a university, was confronted with young queer students who were in a sort of shock as the world they'd always known was threatened. I live in community that includes many old lesbians who had a sense of returning to a world they had already survived. Some were in despair that they were going to have to do it all again, some were energized, but they all knew, as Sarah and I and so many other old queers did, that it was possible. We had the skills and strategies to resist and even thrive within oppression. As one of our contributors says, "we know how to do this." By November 12th, Sarah and I sent out a call for submissions to Older Queer Voices: The Intimacy of Survival.
We decided on an online anthology because that would be more immediate, less commercial, and it was what we had the energy to accomplish. Both Sarah and I are older and disabled and one of the skills we have to offer is knowing the limits of what we can accomplish and still be able to keep moving forward in our work.
How did you select the authors?
SGL: We sent out a call for submissions for writing "in response to the harder times that have come back around again." We wanted pieces about our experiences, our successes, the mistakes we made, the voices of those who were left out, and celebrations of all the ways we lived our lives. We said we wanted to reach back and recreate that combination of care and activism and add it to the already formidable power of the younger generations of queer folk.
The response was immediate and strong. Each day I'd wake up and there would be emails filled with stories of survival that helped lessen my own dismay. Poets honored and mourned the lives lost to the Plague. A young butch lesbian survived 1950's political witch hunters. A trans woman came to activism through the Civil Rights movement of the sixties.
For me, the anthology was already doing its job, and it gave me hope that these writings would work the same way for readers. We had originally decided on eighteen pieces being the right number for the anthology and then upped it to thirty-six as the wide variety of submissions poured in, and we still had to send out way too many rejections. But we had a specific mission for the anthology, so that helped us figure out which pieces to include.
What do you hope this project will accomplish?
SGL: We hope the anthology, as a whole, will be useful in the days to come as we figure out how to survive. Many of the contributors have agreed to be available to classrooms and organizations that want to take up the question of how LGBTQIA people and communities survive during times of oppression, and there will soon be tools available for book groups, high school teachers, and university professors who wish to include the anthology in their readings.
We also hope, as all editors of anthologies do, that our contributors will have their writings read and appreciated.
Will there be a follow-up such as a print edition or a new round of contributors?
SGL:We aren't doing a print edition. Everyone involved in this project—the writers, the publishers that granted us free reprint rights, the website interns, the editors—did this all as a labor of resistance and love in response to an urgent situation. It wouldn't be right to in any way commercialize the project. In addition, part of our mission is the anthology's free availability to students and teachers.
Any related projects in the works?
SGL: Some of the contributors are organizing readings. Others have suggested a series of video interviews. Also, soon there will be materials to support the use of the anthology in high school and university classrooms. Who knows what our contributors will come up with? As has been proved, they are amazingly resourceful. To contact Sarah and I or any of our contributors for interviews or more information email email@example.com.
Apart from that, working on new stories and getting stuff moving along for Queen of Swords Press (Emily L. Byrne's new collection Knife's Edge comes out soon). There'll also be a new print edition of Out of This World: Queer Speculative Fiction Stories coming soon. I also just got interviewed for the Skiffy and Fanty Podcast and that'll get posted soon. And I've added a Tea and Ghost Stories Reading at Bingley's Tea Room in Minneapolis in April. More updates coming soon!
Currently watching When We Rise around getting other things done. On the one hand, there's too much going on. On the other, holee shit, they're doing this on primetime for a mainstream audience with kissing and everything. So, thanks, ABC. This is kind of cool and I'm really glad to see it.
In other news, Out in Print gave my new book Out of This World a very nice review. I'm really pleased since I'm pretty certain that this reviewer is not familiar with my previous work so there's that moment of "Yes! New people reading me!" that's always cool. Out in Print gave my novel Silver Moon one of my all time favorite reviews so I'm really glad to see them up and running again. :-)))
And in appearance news, I've had to drop the Golden Crown Literary Conference trip I was hoping to make this year. I didn't get a workshop or programming items and at this point, pricier out of town conventions have to pay for themselves to one degree or another (no programming = less likely to sell books or be able to use as a tax writeoff). I have added one podcast appearance, a new reading at DreamHaven and am in discussion on some other things so I will be out and about.
- Another box of miscellaneous writings, papers, tshirts and ledgers from Grassroots Books in Iowa City off to my archive at the Tretter Collection at the University of MN this week. For those less familiar with my past, I lived in Iowa City, IA for 9 years before moving to Minneapolis. While there, I picked up an M.A. in Feminist Anthropology, spent time in Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala, worked at the archeological field school, worked scoring standardized tests, worked as a research assistant for independent scholars like Elsa Chaney and Deb Fink, opened and ran a feminist/LGBT/progressive bookstore called Grassroots Books for 2 years, contracted walking pneumonia, closed the store and went on to attend an accelerated semester of law school at the U. of Iowa. Then I dropped out to write, then ended up as as one of the cofounders, then the Director for a year, of the Iowa Women's Music Festival. I also volunteered at a ton of other things so my queer/feminist/miscellaneous activism collection is fairly large. And will soon be researchable, with more coming.
- Queen of Swords has a newsletter! And if you sign up at the website by 3/15/17, you will be entered in a random drawing for some fabulous prizes (folks already signed up will be automatically entered). Plus, all the latest QoSP news! Winners will hear back by 3/17/17. (Queen of Swords will not sell your name or use your information for any purpose other than sending you the newsletter for as long as you want to be a subscriber.)
- Respectable Horror has a glorious cover!
- I've decided I want to start a Patreon for the combined purposes of doing good deeds and giving my actual writing more structure and deadlines. I'm finalizing the description, et al and will try and post it this weekend. More updates coming soon.
Apart from that, I got one rejection and one realization that I have to shift directions on a story in progress. Sigh. In other writing news, I'll be appearing on the Skiffy and Fanty Podcast in late February (air date shortly thereater) and will be reading at DreamHaven Books in April (see pinned post for more details). Apart from that, Emily L. Byrne, my erotica/erotic romance writing self, has finished pulling together her new collection and has sent it off for edits and cover art. You can read the announcement and an excerpt here.
On a personal level, I had a bad bursitis flareup which slowed me down a bit but did not prevent me from enjoying the Science Museum of Minnesota's Mythical Creatures show on Thursday night. If you've haven't been there for a while, this show and Race: Are We So Different? are both phenomenal and I highly recommend a visit soon. I decided to skip the big Planned Parenthood rally in St. Paul on Saturday and opted for the online version instead on Saturday though, in hopes that my leg would feel better. We went to the annual Women's Prison Book Project Breakfast benefit on Saturday morning and had a lovely time. Then I went over to the American Swedish Institute with friends to drink coffee at FIKA Cafe, which is partnering with Tiny Footprint Coffee to raise money for UN Refugee Relief efforts (part of every cup and bag of coffee sold will be donated for the next couple of weeks). The ASI is hosting a photo exhibit called "Where the Children Sleep" about Syrian refugee children in various European countries as well as Lebanon and it is beautiful and wrenching and I highly recommend it. There is also an exhibit called "Swede Hollow," based on a novel of the same name, about Swedish immigrants in St. Paul and the stereotypes, poverty and violence that they dealt with as impoverished immigrants; the show does an excellent job of pointing out how each wave of immigrants gets treated and the obstacles they face. Also, highly recommended.
This week will be taxes and catching up and ongoing resisting. I just got a box of miscellaneous works and activist memorabilia together for my archive at the U. of Minnesota's Tretter Collection, which will be going over there this week. More sundry news bulletins soon.
And I got the first lovely review for Out of This World: Queer Speculative Fiction Stories! I'm very pleased. :-)))
Other than that, I caught a cold, got over the cold, made phone calls and sent emails and did a job training thing and went to a steampunk festival with friends and made a few small donations to cool things, as you do. More ahead and onward!
So here, we have a bunch of stuff and a couple of boosts.
Books and Writing:
- Out of This World: Queer Speculative Fiction Stories is now available for libraries on the Overdrive catalogue. Hennepin County now has it and other libraries can get it if you ask for it. Huzzah! It is, of course, also available at Amazon, B&N, Kobo, IBooks and Smashwords too. The more buzz and sales that it has, the more likely a print edition is, just saying.
- New Emily L. Byrne book is nearly complete in the sense of being ready to go out for proofing and cover art. I'm planning a March release for this one, if all goes well. Another Emily book is in progress, as is another Catherine book, and novels under both names. If I didn't have to sleep, day job and Resist, I could probably muster a new book every 2-3 months for awhile. But that's only likely for the next couple of books which are already planned out. At any rate, more words and more fictioning soon.
- Queen of Swords Press. Website still not quite finalized but when it is, there will be a book giveaway to celebrate. Also, email list to sign up for.
- Tuesday night, I went to the Queer Voices Reading at Intermedia Arts to cheer on several young writers of color and a transwoman writer acquaintance. They were all terrific - remember that your writers and artists and musicians need support right now, too. Cheer them. Go to their events. Invite them to your events. Buy their stuff. Bonus: I got to hang out with cool folks I didn't know very well and several of them turned out to be fascinating.
- Wednesday night, I went to my monthly dinner with some cool feminist activist friends and we consoled and supported each other while dining at a solar-powered queer and woman-owned organic restaurant. Hurrah for multi-tasking!
- Thursday night, I went to a day job things for the LGBTQ+ and Allies employee group. We had a great discussion and I made a suggestion that people really liked. Now we'll see if anything comes up. But if it works out, it could be a really nice financial and visibility boost for queer-focused philanthropy in the region. Send good thoughts!
- There was work, collapsing, errands, a vet visit (both cats are staggeringly healthy, shed like whoa when stressed and think the vet is swell with the skritches), and writing and stuff. Also, more emails and letters and petitions and boosting than I can remember at this point. And some periods of utter collapse to watch television (Elementary, Emerald City, Supergirl, Agatha Raisin, Jane the Virgin, since I know you want to know), read and so forth. In other news, get your butt out to Hidden Figures, because it is awesome and the best movie I've seen in ages, though I also liked Arrival a bunch too.
- Defense Against Carrier SLAPP Suit - an atheist blogger friend and some colleagues reported on some verified instances of sexual abuse and harassment by a prominent speaker and now he's trying to shut them and their network down.
- Support for Arthur - Arthur's mom is local fabulous bisexual activist and organizer, Lou Hoffman. Her family has been through so much, between their house being hit by a tornado, Lou's illness and now her son Arthur getting horribly and unexpectedly sick. Lou is good people and if you've been to any bi event in Minnesota or attended WisCon, you've probably benefited from her work. And if you haven't, she's good people and she has a lot of folk's backs so consider helping anyway.
- Vet and Medical Bills - writer Janice S. Smith could use a bit of help getting to February. She's been unemployed for a few months, but just got a new job. It was preceded by a couple of financial disasters and she's still a week or so out from her first full paycheck.
- Council on Islamic Relations is filing a lawsuit against the Orange Menace's Muslim Ban. So is the ACLU. Either one or both could use a hand.
I wore this poster on my rain poncho (thanks to artist Hayley Gilmore who designed a bunch of great posters that people wore and carried. You can donate to her original art on her blog if you'd like to give back). And there were so, so many of us. We filled most of the blocks and bridges around the Capitol so marching was pretty slow and leisurely. My wife made little commemorative booklets with a quote from Audre Lorde on them and handed them out to folks. We all took pictures and chatted and walked. Listening to the speeches was more challenging further out in the crowd than we expected so after catching most of Ilhan Omar's speech, some of Senator Patricia Torres Ray's speech and bits and pieces of a few others, we wandered up toward the train station. It was completely packed as were the first three bus stops we passed so we wound up at a Szechuan hotpot restaurant (something none of us had tried before) and got to warm up and dry off while the crowds ebbed a bit. Then we were off to Minneapolis on another crowded train. And we finished off the day with cupcakes at A Cupcake Social.
So new friends made, new food tried, great event attended - here's to kicking off more work and more good stuff.
1st new story of 2017 finished and submitted! It's an Emily L. Byrne story, an erotic retelling of "Beauty and the Beast." More news as I have it.
Today, Jana and I are celebrating our 23rd anniversary by going to a multimedia choral performance about the life of Civil Rights pioneer, Bayard Rustin. Really looking forward to this!
Speaking of civil rights, we're going to the Women's March on 1/21 in scenic St. Paul. Contact me if you'd like to join our group and head over on the light rail. D.C. looks like it will be amazing and there are so many local marches, it's going to be pretty epic. And that's not including all the events leading up to the inauguration of the Kremlin's Employee of the Month. Fight back however you can and hang in there - we're all going to need each other.
Speaking of which, I have some fannish signal boosting to do. Here's the thing: if we can't help each other out now, we're going to be seriously screwed in 6 months. Boost, kick in whatever you can and boost some more. A lot of little donations get to the same goal as one big one, just saying.
Bryan Thao Worra - famous award-winning Laotian-American poet, current President of the Science Fiction Poetry Society, former local pro and fan, erstwhile guest at Twin Cities conventions, editor, publisher, writer and...currently homeless and couch-surfing. Please kick in what you can.
Lou Hoffman - founder/organizer/sustainer of the Bisexual Organizing Project and the BECAUSE Conference, coordinator of WisCon's Annual Sign Out autographing session for authors and fans and all around great gal is having health issues at the same time that one of her sons is dealing with some new serious health problems. Please donate here. Elise Matthesen, jeweler extraordinaire, is donating part of the proceeds from her jewelry sales this weekend too.
Jen Riehm - local fan and artist, participant at CONvergence and Anime Detour, is currently homeless with her mom and their cats. Both of the humans are disabled and need some cash ASAP to stay in interim housing while they figure out better options. If you won't donate for the people, do it for the adorable kitties. It's way too cold to be living in your car right now in Minnesota.
And some signal boosting for local fans in crisis:
Lou Hoffman - family medical bills. You probably know Lou from cons and WisCon or BECAUSE and Bisexual Organizing Project or a host of other things. She's good people so please boost and share what you can.
Jen Riehm - transitional housing fund. This one's on a very tight timeline. Jen and her mom (both disabled) and their cats need to move into a residential hotel until their HUD housing opens up. Jen is an artist and fan and you may know her through CONvergence, Anime Detour and other local stuff. Regardless, it's Minnesota winter and they need a hand hanging in there so please boost and donate what you can.
Thanks for all that you're doing!
Today was an all Queen of Swords Press, all the time day. While migraine-wrangling.
So what did I achieve?
Well, I GOT A NEW BOOK OUT! I'm a tad excited about this because it has taken forever, at least by my standards. I've been working on the Press for nearly three years now - classes, legal and financial planning and set up, edits, more planning, more classes, cover art, edits, more edits, learning new software, meetings, more meetings, more stuff - so to finally unleash something upon the unsuspecting populace is glorious.
What's actually available right now:
- Review copies in various ebook formats. If you review ebooks and would like one, let me know.
- Amazon, bless its heart, decided to release the book early, so it's for sale now. I probably unchecked the preorder box on setup and didn't notice, so it won't go up on other sites and in other formats until later on in the week (official release is supposed to be 1/6/17). This is just as well because I ran into a snafu with Smashwords so I'd like to get that resolved before stuff appears.
- Queen of Swords Press now exists on Twitter (@QoSPress), Facebook (www.facebook.com/queenofswordspress/) and has a mailing list signup on the website (www.queenofswordspress.com). Website is still getting updated and cleaned up so maybe give it a day or two for my web person to finish before signing up.
- More formats and more availability (see above). I'll also look into an account on Weightless Books and see when they start adding new publishers again.
- Finalized website with buy links, etc. See above.
- Possibly sales direct off my website, but I need to doublecheck some things on that first.
- Print edition of Out of This World, if all goes well. But likely another couple of ebooks first (two by Emily L. Byrne forthcoming) and plan a print edition for my first convention of next year, which will likely be WisCon in May.
- More books! So much stuff in various stages of completion! I want to write all the things! And never sleep again! Oh wait, that won't work...
The list in progress!
· Arisia, Boston, MA. Jan. 15-18th. I’m moderating a panel on the Founding Mothers of SFF and helping with the Outer Alliance gathering on Sunday. Otherwise, hanging out and enjoying myself.
· 2016 Lesbian Fiction Appreciation Event – Jan. 21. I’ll be doing a post on things I have pondered while serving as an awards judge for various writing awards.
· DevFest MN 2016 – February 6th, Minneapolis. I’ll be doing a joint presentation on Accessibility and Aging in IT with Twin Cities Women in Tech founder Valerie Lockhart.
· Inflagranti Delicto: Writing Good Sex Scenes – Loft Literary Center, Minneapolis. February 13, 1-5PM. Class that I’m offering at the Loft; it will need to have 6 or more registrants to carry.
· Lavender Ink: Writing and Selling LGBTQ Fiction - Loft Literary Center, Minneapolis. February 27, 1-4PM. Class that I’m offering at the Loft; it will need to have 6 or more registrants to carry.
Women Author's Event - Tretter Collection at the University of MN Libraries (joint event with Quatrefoil Library).March 26, 1-4PM. Featured authors include Jessie Chandler, Judith Katz, Pat Schmatz, MB Panichi, myself and possibly Rachel Gold.
AlterConf Minneapolis - Lead Pages, Minneapolis, April 9, 11PM - 4PM. Tech conference focused on diversity issues in IT and gaming. Valerie Lockhart and I will be focusing on making IT-related workplaces more accessible on multiple levels.
· Au Contraire! 2016 – Wellington, New Zealand. June 3-5th. No idea if I’ll be on programming but hoping to get on a panel or two. Besides, New Zealand! Whee!
CONvergence 2016 – Minneapolis, MN. June 30th- July 3rd. Panels, perhaps a reading. Got sick and was unable to attend. :-(
· Diversicon 24 – Minneapolis, MN (new hotel likely). July 29th-31st. Jessica Amanda Salmonson is GOH this year. Panels.
· MidAmericanCon II – Kansas City, MN. August 17th-21st. Worldcon for 2016. Panels (see tag)
Speculations Reading Series -
DreamHaven Books, Comics and Art, Minneapolis, MN. September 21st, 6:30PM. At which I will be reading stuff of my own composition and suchlike.
· Gaylaxicon 2016 – Minneapolis, MN. October 7th-9th. Panels and perhaps a reading.
Arcana 46 – St. Paul, MN. October 21st-23rd. Panels. Alas, no Arcana for me as I have a conflict. But Kathe Koja is GOH and the rest of you should go.
· TeslaCon, hopefully. For the sheer joy of it. Madison, WI. November17th-20th
Some things I did in 2016, writing and otherwise:
- 2 presentations on what it’s like to be an older woman working In IT, one at the Google DevFest MN and the other at AlterConf Minneapolis. First tech convention presentations ever!
- Did a presentation on representation and aging in speculative fiction to a class at the University Of MN (first one of these too!)
- Submitted and got accepted for a literary fiction magazine. First issue of Callisto: A Queer Fiction Journal from Sibling Rivalry Press.
- Saw my first gaming-related fiction published - The Cainite Conspiracies: A Vampire the Masquerade 20th Anniversary Dark Ages Anthology
- Went to New Zealand! And it was lovely and we hung out with fabulous people and went to Hobbiton and the Weta workshop and learned a bit about Maori culture and had a fabulous time.
- Went to my first international science fiction convention and appeared on a panel that got recorded for the Wellington Access radio show Writers Island.
- Started my first big freelance editing/mentoring project with a writer who was able to hire me on a grant
- Learned the rudiments of a bunch of new software for the press as well as other stuff (current tally: WordPress, Tableau, QuickBooks, Vellum and Scrivener)
- Got to be on and/or moderate some high profile panels at MidAmericon II (World Con 74), including one on cyberpunk with Pat Cadigan and other lovely folks and one on YA with Mark Oshiro and a talented and lively crew of other authors.
- Got breast reduction surgery, which will be awesome in the long run, if still a bit ouchy and oozy.
- Returned to teaching at the Loft Literary Center. I hadn’t stormed off in a huff or anything, but a previous accepted class proposal didn’t carry and I didn’t get around to submitting anything new for a while.
- Got into my first Year’s Best Lesbian Erotica anthology as my alter ego, Emily Byrne
- Had one of my books make it onto the Sirens: A Conference of Women and the Fantastic reading challenge list (so pleased!).
- Did panels at 5 science fiction and fantasy conventions, presentations at 2 tech conferences and one university, taught 1 writing class, did 2 readings and 1 guest post.
- Saw 3 new stories published, wrote a bunch of words and am about two day’s worth of work on book formatting and submissions from seeing a new collection out the door. Out of This World: Queer Speculative Fiction Stories, coming soon from Queen of Swords Press.
Less jolly things about my 2016:
- 2 people dear to me died this year: my family of choice aunt Patricia Myers and poet John Calvin Rezmerski, our friend and our wedding officiant. I miss them both tremendously.
- Saw a lot of other people die, including someone from my graduate program, several acquaintances and an enormous number of cultural figures that I admired.
- Lots of family stress and job stress.
- Breast cancer scare, which fortunately turned out okay and prompted my decision to have reduction surgery, but made for an unpleasant 10 days.
- Started out the year with the tail end of a dental infection, which did clear up after about 4 months, including the tail end of 2015. But nothing fatal or even life threatening.
- The ramp up to the U.S. election, when I got a glorious front row seat on misogyny and how it continues to be a thing. This was not new information, mind you. Nor were the accompanying updates on racism, homophobia and other b.s., but I had occasionally hoped that things might get better.
- The results of said election which are pretty much guaranteed to destroy a lot of life as we know it, many of our cultural institutions and the existing, already porous, social safety net, not to mention the environmental damage and so forth. Sorry, but there it is. Want to stop any or all of that? That requires fighting back, on any level you’ve got. Do what you can, support other folk’s efforts, focus on making the world better in big and small ways. Hang in there.
So what’s on tap for 2017?
- Getting Queen of Swords Press off the ground with more new titles. Hopefully open up to submissions by other writers by the end of the year, depending on how things go. I want to make sure that I have a better understanding of distribution and monthly press income and marketing, amongst other things, before I bring in other folks. So we'll see how things go.
- Planned conventions: WisCon, GCLS, Diversicon, Worldcon 75 in Helsinki, Sirens: A Conference on Women in the Fantastic and World Fantasy Convention in San Antonio.
- Applied to volunteer at PFund, the foundation that funds most of the LGBTQ+ organizations and events in the upper Midwest
- Job hunt kick off, since my job is slated for elimination by 2018
- Rewrite novels, finish at least one of the ones in progress
- Spend time with friends, do good and useful things and fight back.
Wishing all of you a better-than-any-of-us-fear 2017, health, love from loved ones and all good things!