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As some of you know, I've been pulling together a new collection of my queer speculative fiction stories. This will be my first book for Queen of Swords Press, the small press venture I've been working on for the last couple of years. What's taken so long? Life, mostly. And so much of it. But I'm getting the website finalized, the first book is in final edits and formatting and I'm working hard to get a book out this year. What's next? I'm working on a collection of erotica, which will be an Emily L. Byrne book. Then, I have enough historical tales for another collection, enough erotica for a second collection, two novels in edits (including an updated version of Silver Moon), a collection of fairy tale retellings in embryo, 3 other novels in various stages of completion and...once I have a better idea of what I'm doing, I do want to open the Press to authors who are Not Me. When will that be? Guessing later on next year, depending on how things go. More updates as events warrant.

So, Out of This World: Queer Speculative Fiction Stories.

The cover is by KaNaXa, known for her fabulous book covers for many well known romance publishers and indie authors. And the stories themselves? This will be a mix of my fantasy, horror and science fiction with queer protagonists. Some of these were collected in my now out of print single author collection, A Day at the Inn, A Night at the Palace and Other Stories. It's worth noting that
A Day at the Inn is on the Sirens Conference of Women in the Fantastic Reading Challenge for 2017, so I'm going out on a limb and guessing that some folks liked it. It was never very widely read, however, so I'm hoping this one goes a bit further. Other stories in here are long out of print and/or never collected anywhere before. Several stories were award finalist or got honorable mentions in Best of lists and such so I like to think this is some of my best short fiction work. I hope you think so too. Stay tuned here or on my Facebook Author/Editor Page or on the email list that you will soon be able to sign up for on my shiny new Queen of Swords Press website (I'll link when we've got a few things set up).

Table of Contents:
Great Reckonings, Little Rooms
Medium Méchanique
The Egyptian Cat
At the Roots of the World Tree
A Scent of Roses
At Mother Laurie’s House of Bliss
Spell, Book and Candle
Red Scare
A Day at the Inn, A Night at the Palace

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 Not incidentally, people who become "Not People" can readily include: religious and cultural minorities, women, POC, queers, the disabled, intellectuals. "Not people" often include labor union leaders, activists, opposition politicians, refugees, immigrants and...reporters. Look at Turkey or Russia, The Philippines or any historical dictatorship for examples. Your category will come up, sooner or later. Who'll be left to speak for you then? 

What will you do when they find that line? Because they will. Capitulating is not an option. Quisling was not a role model. Choose wisely.
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 It has been, and continues to be a rough week.
  • Still having problems sleeping.
  • Still in some discomfort/pain (they did take the first round of staples out this week, which hurt a fair amount but does mean there's progress).
  • I'm working but haven't been able to drive to the office.

So what am I doing?
  • Gathering together my community and checking on people. Also, going and seeing people in person. I cannot emphasize this enough. Get offline and go see folks you know and trust. It helps them and you.
  • Planning small events and pulling in folks I don't see much.
  • Making some calls, sending emails, signing petitions, boosting signals. 
  • Focusing on spending my money at LGBTQ or women or POC  or immigrant-owned businesses and nonprofits that I know to be good for our communities, 
  • Working on my two latest short story collections.
  • Helping my wife create her new Etsy shop.
  • Seeing what I can clear off my plate so I can volunteer when I finish healing, feeding people, listening, talking, wishing I was doing more and recognizing that I will when I can.
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Since I posted last...
  • I went on a quick trip to my family-of-choice aunt's funeral in NYC. It was sad, but necessary, and I got to see many people I haven't seen in a long time and to give her a short tribute.
  • I came back in time for surgery prep and my presentation at the U. of MN on "Depictions of Aging in Speculative Fiction." This went well - engaged adult education class, interesting discussion and my presentation was well-received.
  • Then, surgery. This took longer than anyone originally thought it would, so immediate recovery was a bear. Amongst other things, I didn't get much sleep for about 8 nights. I'm doing better now, though still sore. I think I'll be pretty happy with the results when I heal, though. Guessing that's about 2 more weeks out.
  • Several days after my surgery, our friend, poet extraordinaire John Calvin Rezmerski, passed away. It wasn't a surprise like Pat was, as he'd been ill for awhile, but his is a loss that cannot easily be filled. Rez was the officiant at our wedding in Iowa in 2009. Insisted on it, in fact, and took his duties very seriously. We could not have asked for a better officiant or friend. He could be relied upon to be a fine dinner companion and discussion participant  at each WisCon and Diversicon, as well as sundry other events. His poetry ranged from the comic (his performances of the oeuvre of Grace Lord Stoke as a member of Lady Poetesses from Hell are to be treasured) to the deeply moving. There will be a memorial at DreamHaven Books in Minneapolis, December 7th at 6:30 PM. Bring your favorite Rez anecdotes and poems. We'll be reading excerpts of his work and celebrating his memory.
  • And then there was the fucking election...I'll comment about this separately. I have many thoughts. In the meantime, support queer and diverse and refugee and POC and environmental and prochoice and antidomestic violence and feminist groups, as well as anybody else likely to be immediate targets of the new regime. Donate. Volunteer. Recruit your friends. Go to or host benefits. Bring in speakers. Protest. Sign petitions. Talk to your representatives. Spend time with people you care about and take care of yourselves.
  • "If we do not hang together, we shall surely hang separately." Attributed to Benjamin Franklin, on the signing of the Declaration of Independence, subsequently printed by Mistress Mary Katherine Goddard (printer, publisher, postmistress, bookseller  - a woman who blazed some serious trails)
And on that, I have donations to deliver and a second collection of short fiction to edit and format and get out the door.
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Pat, or "Aunt Pat" as I dubbed her when I was a but a babe in arms, was a major part of my entire life. She and my mother, Alice, met in the Girl Scouts and became lifelong friends. She and Mom shared schools, an apartment at one point and a lifelong friendship. She set my mother up with my dad on their first date (she apologized to me for that years later, given that dear old Dad was not exactly a great human being). She was at their wedding and Mom was at hers when she married Bud Myers, AKA Uncle Bud. They eventually divorced, but stayed good friends. Bud bought me my first wok and showed me how to cook in it. Pat showed me how to do embroidery and needlework; I still have a pair of embroidery scissors that she gave me when I was 13 or so. I also hung out with her terrific kids, Tom and Suzi, both considerably younger than me.

And Pat and her family gave forever homes to several cats that we rescued from various things but couldn't keep. Basil St. John, the one-eyed cat, who had been previously rescued by one of my friends after being hit by a car went to live with them after my friend's uncle tried to poison him and our cat failed to take a shine to him when he moved in with us. Ragamuffin, who was cat straight out of a Kliban cartoon, was rescued from the Brooklyn streets by us, then given to a catless family friend, then to Pat and family after that friend died. They were two of the many rescued cats that Pat housed over the years. Daphne, the last one, is also blind in one eye, carrying on the Basil St. J. tradition.

Pat got me a summer job at the small photo archive where she worked in the early 1980s (Pat and Mom both did photo research for textbook companies and related entities for many years). I don't remember a bunch about that job, except that the owner was a challenging personality for an edgy 18 year old to get along with. Several years after I left NYC for the wilds of St. Louis, I heard that he had died from complications with AIDS/HIV. I remember Pat and Mom and some other folks organizing to help run the business when he got sick and helping his surviving partner wrap things up when he, too, got sick. Bear in mind that this was the late 1980s and AIDS was still the big scary bad thing, the "terrorism" of its time. But they went and braved the scariness to help a gay couple who needed them because it was the right thing to do.

Years later, Pat talked my mother into getting treatment for her alcoholism. Long after I'd given up, Pat kept trying until she found a way in. Mom got sober and stayed sober and we had about 15 good years as a result. And when Mom's dementia started to kick in, Pat was one of my support people in NY, always available when I needed someone to talk to. We kept talking and she kept calling and writing my mom, even after Mom stopped being able to call or write her back.

And my heart is just broken. I'm going to miss her so much. She was one of those folks who lit up a room when she came in. She loved bright colors and quilting and rescuing cats and going on walking tours and hot air ballooning. She also raised two amazing people, who do lots of terrific things to carry on her legacy. And she mentored and guided so many other people in addition to me that it feels a little odd to say that she had two kids because sometime it felt like she had so many more. She was the best of us and I can only hope that I can help carry on her legacy too.

I'm flying to New York on Friday morning and I'll be speaking at her funeral and memorial on Saturday afternoon. Her family is asking that people donate to the Himalayan Cataract Project in her memory, but after consulting with her daughter, I'm going to continue supporting a project that I donated to as a Christmas gift for her last year. We both loved Heifer international and this last December, I contributed to the launch of a women artisan's cooperative in Peru. It made her very happy so I'll be continuing my support in her honor (and a side note about the coop:  the women involved in this project are doing amazing work that includes sustainable farming and a new store for their crafts). May her memory stay green and may it continue to inspire good in the world.

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The weekend kicked off on Thursday late afternoon when, just before leaving work, I got the news that my beloved family-of-choice Aunt Pat had died suddenly. She was one of my mother’s best friends and a terrific lady. Post to follow shortly as I organize my thoughts for speaking at her funeral in NYC on Saturday, something I'd hoped to put off for many years to come. :-(((
This, needless to say, made the Duluth trip, our only purely vacation trip of the latter part of the year, a lot less fun than it might have been. This is no reflection on Duluth, which was pretty much best foot forward all weekend. The weather was gorgeous, the fall colors spectacular. We got in later than planned - it’s normally a 2.5 hour drive but construction and a late start got us there in the early afternoon. We went directly to Glensheen, which is a large and lovely historical estate/museum at the north end of town. It is known for its beauty and the quality of the restoration/confirmation on the home and grounds (and the murders that took place here in the 1970s, which are not to be discussed inside the house, according to some of the staff). At any rate, it is quite pretty  – I particularly like the green-tiled sun porch, which looked like it would be brutally cold in winter, but very nice to look at.
We stayed at Olcott House, which is a very pretty B&B in a historical building. Nice innkeeper, nice space, pleasant companions at breakfast, not so nice aging mattress. So we were light on sleep due to that and grieving, which also made things less fun than they might have been otherwise. But so it goes. Friday night was dinner at the fabulous Pickwick’s, a pub in operation since 1914 or thereabouts. Saturday morning, we stopped by Chester Creek Books and Antiques, which is a lovely store inside an old converted church. Reader, we bought books. I know, huge surprise. Best find: Easton Press edition of C.J. Cherryh’s Downbelow Station, which I have never read.  Then we were off to lunch and Duluth Trading, before moving on to the Tweed to meet our friend Matt and peruse Shakespeare’s First Folio. This was fun and they did a nice exhibit on costumes and art, as well as providing a copy of the tome that one could leaf through. We then braved the crowds at Canal Park to go to Duluth Pack, before heading back to the B&B to change for the ballet. After that, we were off to dinner at Va Bene, which was tasty and then on to DECC for Dracula. Minnesota Ballet put on a fine performance, with some great dancing, and some very Edward Goreyish sets, which I loved. Other than the hall being a tad cold, it was a swell time.

Sunday, we drove part of the Skyline Parkway, which circles the top of the city with a spectacular view of the harbor and the woods on the other side. it was very lovely, as was our stop at Enger Tower. From there, we managed to get lost for a while, which was unpleasant, but wound up At Sara's Table for lunch, which was very tasty. Then we started driving home and got stuck in traffic so we got home a lot later than planned. Overall, mixed bag on the vacation front. But will definitely check out Duluth again.

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Now that Sekrit Project has been approved and is due out next month (don't have release date yet, but guessing soon), I have carte blanche to talk about it. Amongst the many new things that I've been tackling this year (and there's been a lot), I tried my hand at a spot of gaming tie-in writing, specifically a short story for Onyx Path Publishing's Vampire the Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition (Dark Ages, as opposed to other parts of the gameverse) tie-in anthology, "The Cainite Conspiracies." "Incarnadine Seas" is set in the late 13th century and is about the unlikely alliance between a Jewish sorceress (exiled from England - an actual historical event, I might add) and a female Gangrel from France, both under attack by a Tremere thaumaturge. Gangrel and Tremere are vampire clans, for folks not familiar with the game. I did a lot of research for this, including 400 + pages of gaming manual, a bunch of V20 Wiki and game-related stuff as well as what I could find on Jewish medieval history. Hopefully, I did a good job! Cover and release date when I have them. :-)
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Let's see...
  • Sent out a story, got a polite personalized rejection from Podcastle.
  • Went to a MN Lynx game - they won and it was very exciting.
  • Went to see Star Trek: Beyond for the second time and continued to find it entertaining.
  • Went to Quatrefoil Library's 30th Anniversary Celebration at The Open Book and was local authorlike, which means I talked to the other authors and several board members and some of the audience and sold a book (yay!). Quatrefoil is pretty awesome and hosts lots of events, including book clubs and author readings and such, and I heartily recommend checking it out. We went by today, donated some books and Season 2 of Lost Girl and checked some books out because, yay, library and resource center. A year's membership is pretty reasonable and they have lots of videos, music and other useful LGBTQ+ things.
  • Went to see Sense and Sensibility at the Guthrie Theater, which was much better than Pride and Prejudice at the Guthrie, but still not as good as Sense and Sensibility at Theater in the Round, despite the latter having 1/10,000 of the Guthrie's budget. Jolly Abraham as Elinor is terrific, though, and costumes and staging were outstanding.
  • Had breakfast with the fabulous Caroline Stevermer, followed by a Mom visit, followed by a trip to the Swedish Institute to catch the last of the wonderful quilt show.

In short, a fine week, if a tad crowded.
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Last weekend was Gaylaxicon 2016 and it was a pretty good time, except for my migraines, of which I had three, count 'em, three. Last one was a doozy of the variety known as "eyeball-melters" in these parts. But I soldiered on and did my 4 panels and the "meet the pros" reception. We found out our panel schedule a couple of days before the con so there was no real time to prep so we sorted ourselves as best we could online and winged it. On the whole, I think that of the panels I was on, the "LGBTQ Myths and Fairytales" and "Coming Out Fen" went best, with "Werewolves" coming in next, followed by "I Kissed a Girl" (it probably went better for folks without migraines). But the folks attending seemed to like all of them and I met some charming new people, as well as getting to see old friends. I got to hang out with my pal Mark, Ginn Hale, Warren Rochelle, Rob Gates (and charming spouse!), Matt and Rachel Gold, and had some nice chats with Melissa Scott and other cool folks. The Chocolate Symposium was tasty and lavish and there was dim sum, which was very tasty despite the migraine. I acquired a marvelous steampunk butter keeper from Peri Charlifu at Aegean Goods, a couple of books, including the latest by Warren Rochelle and Charlie Anders, as well as pretty bookmarks and things of that ilk. And it was my last con of the year because I won't be able to go to TeslaCon, due to it falling too close to surgery for comfort.

What's next? On the 13th of October, I'll be one of the sundry local queer authors helping Quatrefoil Library celebrate its 30th anniversary at the Open Book. Then I'm off to Duluth for Shakespeare's First Folio and related fun. Then I have my "Aging in Speculative Fiction" presentation at the U. of MN, the day before surgery. And then I have nothing at all planned for weeks and weeks afterward to ensure that I recover well. I have also begun to recognize that I have some con burnout, so 2017 includes the following: WisCon 41, GCLS (lesbian literature conference in Chicago this year),  Worldcon 75 (Helsinki!) and World Fantasy 2017 in San Antonio. I expect I'll be doing a reading at Quatrefoil and some of my other regular events, but I think these will be my only cons, barring some new and unusual event. I'm also hard at work on writing workshop proposals for the Loft for the spring, so hopefully I get at least one turned in. More updates to follow!

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This is cool bit of news, at least for me. Literary fiction is not as a rule a thing that I write. To date, I have written exactly one story, long out of print. But a year or so back, I went to an art opening and was captivated by an interesting piece of art, a print depicting a woman, who has no face, holding a mask and a gun. I bought it and it inspired me to write a short-short piece about a wretched first date at an art opening. I subbed it a couple of times, without success, then last week, I was asked to submit something for the new queer literary journal, CALLISTO. I polished the story up and sent it in and voila! "Faceless" has a new home. :-D
Coming soon...

In the meantime, this upcoming weekend's adventures!
I'll be at Gaylaxicon 2016 in scenic St. Louis Park with a bunch of other exciting authors, publishing professionals and other fun folks.
My schedule:

Friday 10/7

6 PM
- Courtyard 1
Coming Out Fen
Panelists: Catherine Lundoff, Rachel Gold

11 PM -
Werewolf Panel
Panelists: Warren Rochelle, Catherine Lundoff, Rachel Gold, Kyell Gold

Saturday 10/8
11 AM - Courtyard 1
LGBTQ Myths and Fairy Tales
Panelists: Warren Rochelle, Catherine Lundoff

Sunday 10/9
12:30 PM - Mainstage
I Kissed a Girl: Celebration of Queer Women
Creators and Characters
Panelists: Catherine Lundoff, Rachel Gold

Hope to see some of you there!

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 For folks who couldn't make to my reading last week (or for those who want to reminisce?), the live recorded version, completed with my stuffed ears, cell phone musical accompaniment and other great stuff! Thanks to Conrad Zero for preserving all our efforts at achieving immortality. :-)
Addendum: my shirt is from GoodGoth, because someone will want to know. 
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 I'll be reading at DreamHaven Books, 2301 E. 38th Street, Minneapolis. On tap for tonight, a fantasy mystery short story, a not-quite-high-fantasy short story and a fantasy novel excerpt from novel in progress that I'm finally getting back to. No erotic content, queer protagonists. The fun starts at 6:30PM!

After this, Gaylaxicon 2016, October 7th-9th in St. Louis Park, MN should be fun. I'll be doing panels and such as an Author Guest.

On October 13th, I'll be one of the LGBT and/or Q authors on hand at the Open Book to help Quatrefoil Library celebrate its 30th anniversary. 

A few weeks after that, I'll be speaking to a class on the Politics of Science Fiction at the U. of MN. This won't be open to the public but I'm working on an article proposal on depictions of aging in SF/F/H based on the presentation so there'll be something to checkout.

Otherwise, I'm working hard at getting my new queer sf/f/h short fiction collection pulled together and sent out for progressing and formatting, I'm working on a new novella length retelling of Snow White with a bi female protagonist, novels are back in play and I'm poking at a class proposal for a class on Gothic fiction. More news as I have it!
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Started the planning for next year's events: Worldcon in Helsinki is definite, barring some event preventing it. I'm thinking I'm due for Golden Crown Literary (lesbian fiction conference), seeing as it's in Chicago and I haven't been for a couple of years. I'd like to go to World Fantasy in San Antonio because Martha Wells is Toastmaster and is awesome. I I'm probably not going to do a ton of local cons this year, due to a combination of burnout and some not-great-to-bad experiences in the last year. But bar conning is an option.

If time and money are no obstacles (hah!), I'd love to fit in Sirens in Denver, and depending on dates, Outwrite (new LGBTQ writers conference) in D.C. The latter because I could also fit in a visit to the new African American History Museum! 

What events are you folks going to in 2017?

EDITED: I had originally included Madison area convention, Odyssey Con, on my list of possibilities for next year. I have just learned that the con com has decided to make serial sexual harasser Jim Frenkel their Guest Liason for 2017. There are also several other people on the con com who might best be termed "controversial" (like the dude who was very outspoken against POC Safer Space at WisCon within recent memory) so I would advise caution if you're thinking of attending.

On the bright side, WisCon is now back on the possible list.
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In the way of such things, I heard back from my insurance about my proposed breast reduction surgery. It was affirmative, which is awesome, because so much ouch between the back pain, the headaches, the sundry associated discomforts and such, and because it means they'll cover a big chunk of it. My new surgeon leapt upon the approval with alacrity (which gives one an idea of how bad things are) and scheduled me for the beginning of November. Yay for an end in sight (I really wanted to get this done this year, from both pain and insurance perspectives) But that means that Teslacon has to get dropped from the schedule since I'll still be recovering on physical and financial levels. I'm pretty sure that however quickly I rebound from this, I will not be up for being laced into Victorian-style corsets three weeks after surgery, let along being up for driving 4 hours to get there. Sigh. I like Teslacon and I did want to go this year, but this has to take precedence. So this means that I have 2 tickets at $65 each available for an immersion steampunk convention that is likely to sell out this year. The immersion part is that they "ask that you make an effort"; my wife wore jeans, a bowler with a clockwork pin, a Western-style gentleman's shirt vest and work books and no one batted an eye. She even got complements on the vest. However, we were in some semblance of steampunk dress all weekend, as was everyone else, so it's not like a hall costume, a few hours and you're done, thing. At any rate, there are balls, teas, a banquet, panels, actors playing out a roving story line, a spectacular dealer's room, some good history and costuming panels, craft demos and other kinds of fun. Let me know if you would like to acquire our tickets and I'll get back to you with details.

I've got an upcoming reading at DreamHaven Books in Minneapolis on 9/21 at 6:30PM (website should be updated soon). Everyone I know seems to be working or taking a class or out of town that night, so I'm hoping for the best on attendance, but hey, bribes for folks who do show up: a.I'll be reading from a couple of newish not yet published short stories and one of my novels in progress, all new to a local audience. b. I have Vagenda of Manocide Sparkle Pens to distribute to a limited number interested parties (you know who you are). c. Cookies provided and pizza/beverage/stuff to follow. Come on down!

What else is going? Sekrit Project has cleared the last hurdle, at least for my story so I'm just waiting for other folks to finish up and permission to announce it.
I'm working on a new collection of my sfnal stories (there will be 3 other collections of other stuff), which will be released by Queen of Sword Press, my new publishing effort. So far this week, I've done edits and acquired ISBNs, so hey, progress! I'm also working on a new novella and other projects, announcements to follow.

I'll be going up to Duluth for the First Folio Events and Exhibit in October. Check out the link for the miscellaneous Shakespearian-themed fun times, plus viewing times on the tome itself. Should be fun.

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I'm tidying up my website, so I'm moving some of the lists of my older works out here, for the sake of posterity. Entire list appears below cut for those interested. In order: fiction (nonerotic), fiction(erotic), nonfiction.

Short fiction (non erotic):
"Purple Thumb" in Best Lesbian Romance 2009, edited by Radclyffe. Cleis Press, 2008. IT, gardening, cancer- all the things that normally pop up in romance fiction. (Romance)

"Regency Masquerade" reprinted in Kissed By Venus, May, 2008. Originally published in the Harrington Park Lesbian Fiction Quarterly. Vol. 3 (1), Alice Street Editions, 2002. (Historical Romance).

"Three Views of the Maiden in Peril" in Farrago's Wainscot, edited by Darin Bradley, April, 2008. Cardboard female characters, see my lack of fondness for. (Fantasy).

"Spell, Book and Candle" in Khimairal Ink, edited by Carrie Tierney, January, 2008. Why bespelling your ex usually doesn't work. (Fantasy)

"A Winter's Tale" in Q-Spec Fiction Sampler 2007, compiled by Don Sakers. Speed-of-C Productions, 2007. (Fantasy).

"A Scent of Roses" in So Fey: Queer Faery Stories, edited by Steve Berman. Lethe Press, 2009. (Fantasy). A lesbian sequel to Tam Lin. Originally published by Haworth Press, 2007.

"At the Roots of the World Tree" in Kenoma: Speculative Fiction and Myth, edited b H.F. Gibbard. Vol. 2, December, 2004. 2005 Spectrum Awards short list. (Fantasy).

"The Temporary" in Simulacrum, edited by Lynne Jamneck. Vol.1 (6), November, 2004. Reprint from The Twin Cities Magazine of Science Fiction and Fantasy. (Fantasy).

"Red Scare" in Simulacrum, edited by Lynne Jamneck. Vol. 1 (2), January, 2004. (Science Fiction/Mystery).

"The Last Tea Party" in the Harrington Park Lesbian Fiction Quarterly. Vol. 4 (3), Alice Street Editions, 2003. (Literary Fiction).

"Vadija" in Such a Pretty Face: Tales of Power and Abundance, edited by Lee Martindale. Meisha Merlin Press, 2000. (Fantasy).

"M. Le Maupin" in Lesbian Short Fiction, edited by Jinx Beers. Vol 3, Fall, 1997. Tantra Publications. Alicia Austin did the cover based on my story. Squee! (Historical Romance).
Read more... )
"Origin Story" in Close to the Ground: A Powderhorn Writer's Anthology, edited by the Powderhorn Writer's Festival Committee. Powderhorn Writer's Festival, 1997. (Fiction).

Erotic Short FIction (reminder that the new stuff is out as Emily L. Byrne, AKA Other Me):

"Wine-dark Kisses" in Girl Crazy, edited by Sacchi Green. Cleis Press, 2009.

"Spoonbridge and Cherry" in Best Erotica 2008, edited by Berbera and Hyde. Mondadori Books, 2008. Italian translation of my story from Crave. My first story in translation!

"Just Another Girl on the Train" in Dirty Girls: Erotica for Women, edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel. Seal Press, 2008.

"Diplomacy" in Periphery: Erotic Lesbian Futures, edited by Lynne Jamneck. Lethe Press, 2008.

"Twilight" in Best Fantastic Erotica, Vol. 1, edited by Cecilia Tan. Circlet Press, 2008.

"Spoonbridge and Cherry" in Best Lesbian Erotica 2008, edited by Tristan Taormino and Ali Liebgott. Cleis Press, 2007. Reprint from Crave.

"Phone, Sex, Chocolate" in Sex and Candy, edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel. Pretty Things Press, 2008.

"The Goddess Within" in The Mammoth Book of Lesbian Erotica, edited by Barbara Cardy. Constable and Robinson, 2007.

"An Incident in Whitechapel" in Best Lesbian Bondage Erotica, edited by Tristan Taormino. Cleis Press, 2007. Reprinted from Night's Kiss and Best Lesbian Erotica 2005.

"Viva Las Vegas" in Best New Erotica, Vol. 6, edited by Maxim Jakubowski. Constable and Robinson Press, 2006. Reprinted from Night's Kiss and Stirring Up a Storm, edited by Marilyn Jaye Lewis, Thunder's Mouth Press 2005.

"The Changing Room" in Caught Looking: Erotic Tales of Voyeurs and Exhibitionists, edited by Alison Tyler and Rachel Kramer Bussel. Cleis Press, 2006.

"The Hands of a Princess" in Amazons: Tall Tales of Strong Women, edited by Sage Vivant and M. Christian. Running Press, 2006. Reprinted in Crave.

"Cowgirls and Science" in Ultimate Lesbian Erotica 2006, edited by Nicole Foster. Alyson Books, 2006. Reprint from Night's Kiss.

"Planet 10" in Best Lesbian Erotica 2006, edited by Tristan Taormino and Eileen Myles. Cleis Press, 2005. Reprint from Night's Kiss.

"Room with a View" in Erotic Travel Tales 2, edited by Mitzi Szereto. Cleis Press, 2005. Reprinted in Night's Kiss.

"The Permanent" in Blood Surrender, edited by Cecilia Tan. Blue Moon Books, 2005. Reprinted from The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica 4, edited by Maxim Jakubowski. Constable and Robinson Press, 2005 and The Big Book of Hot Women's Erotica 2004 and Hot Women's Erotica, both edited by Marilyn Jaye Lewis. Venus Club and Blue Moon Books, both 2004.

"Thursdays at McKinney's" in The Mammoth Book of Women's Erotic Fantasies, edited by Sonia Florens. Constable and Robins, 2004. Reprinted in Crave.

"Persistence of Memory" in Shameless: Women's Intimate Erotica, edited by Hanne Blank. Seal Press, 2002.

"Black Belt Theater" in Body Check, edited by Nicole Foster. Alyson Books, 2002.

"She Who Waits" in Best Lesbian Erotica 2001, edited by Tristan Taormino and Pat Califia. Cleis Press, 2001. Reprinted from Taste of Midnight, edited by Cecilia Tan. Circlet Press, 2000. Reprinted in Night's Kiss.

"Down at Shug's" in Electric: Best Lesbian Erotica, edited by Nicole Foster. Alyson Books, 1999. Reprint from Pillow Talk, edited by Leslea Newman. Alyson Books, 1998.

"El Tigre" in Best Lesbian Erotica 1999, edited by Tristan Taormino and Chrystos. Cleis Press, 1999. Reprint from Cherished Blood, edited by Cecilia Tan. Circlet Press, 1998. Reprinted in Night's Kiss.

"The Party" in Lip Service, edited by Jess Wells. Alyson Books, 1999. Reprinted in Crave.

Erotic Horror:
"Emily Says" in Lust for Life, edited by Claude Lalumière and Elise Moser. Véhicule Press, 2006. Reprinted in Crave.

"L'Heure Verte" (The Green Hour) in Eternally Noir, edited by Captivatex, 2005.

Erotic Romance:
"Beauty" in Zowie! It's Yaoi!: Western Girls Write Stories of Boy Love, edited by Marilyn Jaye Lewis. Running Press, 2006.

"Her Guy Friday" in That's Amore! Four Romance Novellas, edited by Marilyn Jaye Lewis. Magic Carpet Books, 2004.

"Setting the Scene, Lights, Camera...You Know the Rest." Guest blog post out on Oh, Get a Grip! 2009

"Grassroots Books" in Booking in Iowa: The Book Trade in and Around Iowa City by Joseph Michaud. Camp Pope Bookshop, 2009.

"Melissa Scott" and "Women's Bookstores" in Women in Science Fiction and Fantasy: An Encyclopedia, edited by Dr. Robin Anne Reid, Greenwood Press, 2008.

"An Interview with Bryan Thao Worra" in Tales of the Unanticipated, edited by Eric Heideman. Vol. 29, November 2008.

"A Science Fiction Convention of Our Own" at Gay Lifestyle Monthly, edited by Ellen Tevault., January 2008.

"Writing and Selling Erotic Fiction" at Today's, edited by Rose DesRochers., 2006.

"Nuts and Bolts: Building a Better Story" was my bimonthly erotic writing column at the Erotica Writers and Readers Association website from 2005-2006.

"Historical Research for Fiction Writers" at, edited by Moira Allen.

"An Interview with Melissa Scott" in the Specficme Writer's Newsletter, edited by Doyle Wilmoth. January, 2004.

"A Field Guide to Genre Fiction Writers' Organizations" in Speculations: for Writers Who Want to be Read. April, 2003.

"Minnesota Center for the Book Arts" in Hand Papermaking Magazine (Vol. 15, No. 1. Winter, 2000).

"Tattoo Me" in Looking Queer: Body Image and Identity in Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Transgender Communities, edited by Dawn Atkins. Haworth Press, 1998.

"Chain Reaction: Indy Bookstores Shutting Down" in American Writer: Journal of the National Writer's Union. Summer, 1997.

1996-1997 - various articles and a semi-regular column for ICON: Iowa City's Independent Newspaper.

"Feminists Reconstruct El Salvador" in Off Our Backs, Vol.22, No.4, 1992.

catherineldf: (Default)
I'll be back at DreamHaven Books in Minneapolis for the Speculations Reading Series sponsored by SF Minnesota on September 21st at 6:30 PM. I'll be reading from stuff, recent stuff, audience requests and so forth. C'mon down for a chat and a listen! I hear there'll be cookies too.
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This isn’t about any one con or event, but rather about alcohol-fueled work culture as we know and love it in the U.S. and elsewhere and what it looks like to not participate in it. It’s about me, my relationship to alcohol and the relationship that a lot of my colleagues, friends, acquaintances and so forth have with it, based on what I’ve seen and experienced. It may or may not apply to you. Whether or not it does apply to you, it is not a personal attack/judgment; many pros and fans drink responsibly at cons. But, at the same time, it is also often considered perfectly okay within fannish cultures to justify bad behavior with “I had too much to drink,” and that needs to change. It is also often considered “weird” to not drink and that too needs to change.
I am sober (I also describe it as “Elderly Straight Edge”). This does not mean that I have gone through treatment or a 12 Step program or counseling or any of the other options many people use to try and give up alcohol, narcotics and other substances and/or behaviors that they wish to stop using or engaging in. This is important in that I don’t have access to a 12 Step or equivalent community. This is important because many other folks don’t either, possibly because they choose to use another approach or because those programs didn’t work for them or for a wide variety of other reasons. Why do I call myself sober? Well, I don’t drink or do drugs or other intoxicants any more, which is the standard definition. I apply the term to myself both to describe my behavior and to help make a safer space for other folks who have made a decision to abstain from drinking or equivalent in social situations. It can make it easier for them to fend off social pressure to drink or may just give them someone to talk to or give folks who are big “social drinkers’ someone to focus on who can handle the social pressure to drink because “everyone else is” or because “it will make you feel more relaxed.”
Why do people never drink or stop drinking alcohol? All kinds of reasons, including, but not limited to:
·        Religious practice
·        Personal preference
·        Addiction recovery
·        Physical reaction
·        Any combination of these and/or additional reasons.

None of these reasons is intended to be invalid or better than any other; they are not listed in any sort of order. Personally, I stopped drinking and choose to not resume drinking due to a combination of personal preference and physical reaction. I grew up with alcoholics and I used to drink, quite heavily at times. I did some very injudicious things, particularly in my early twenties, and one morning when I sobered up, I realized that some of my activities of the night before could have easily hurt or potentially killed someone. So I put myself on a self-imposed drink limit. Then I started to roll that back – no more than 3 drinks at a sitting to no more than 3 drinks a week to no more than 2 drinks a week to 1 drink once a month or so, to the point where I eventually got diagnosed with an alcohol allergy (also known as “alcohol intolerance”) in my mid-thirties. I used to have a glass of wine once or twice a year, when we  found a vintage I could tolerate, but I gave that up about 5 years ago. Do I miss it? Sometimes. Do I miss it enough to want to deal with the physical symptoms? Hell, no.
At various points in my life, I have been an archeologist doing CRM work on construction sites, a college student,  a graduate student. I used to work at a bar. I have had many of the standard relationship crises and a few of the more unusual ones. I used to hang out with friends who drank a lot. Now, I work in IT and hang out with writers and science fiction fans. Being queer, being female, being all of these things shape what I know about drinking and how and why I did it and why the people I hung out with did it. I drank because I was unhappy, because my friends were doing it and I wanted to fit in, because I was shy and awkward, because it was force of habit, because I wanted to forget, because it was expected of me. Notice I didn’t say that I was an addict or that I am an alcoholic. I have conflicted feelings about the addiction model that is most commonly used; I wasn’t too addicted to walk away, so I tend to not apply it to myself and my own behaviors. Others might view it differently under the same circumstances. The point is that I have at one point or another internalized all of the various justifications for why I or someone like me or in my circumstances would be drinking a lot and using it for social glue in heavy drinking work/social cultures.
Since my Great Tapering Off, I’ve noticed things, like the folks who host parties where they don’t stock any nonalcoholic options. Or the folks who respond to being told that I don’t drink by suggesting I try just one. Or the folks who need to talk at me a lot about how they don’t drink that much or don’t need it or don’t think about it that often so it’s not a problem for them. I can pretty much tell you that if you’re someone who feels a need to do or say any of this, it’s probably a good idea to do something about your level of consumption. Those comments are a red flag to anyone familiar with dealing with people with drinking problems and they tend to make the more sober and cautious members of your audience pretty wary.

Drinking helps lower inhibitions, which in turn can lead to everything from violence to sex to saying dumb crap to falling asleep on the couch. In general, the more extreme end of the scale tapers off as you get older but not always and not for everyone. From the standpoint of things that happen at cons (or tech events, for that matter), there’s more harassment of various kinds, sexual and otherwise if alcohol is readily available in quantity. Inappropriate humor, unwanted touching, unwanted proposals – all this goes up when people drink more (yes, some folks can manage this stone-cold sober, but an open bar  definitely doesn’t help). The social excuses range from variations on “it doesn’t count if you’re drinking” to “I don’t remember doing that so it didn’t happen.” None of this is considered to be particularly extreme or even rare, which is what I mean when I say that it is normalized.

Generally speaking, most people at work events like happy hours have a drink or two and call it quits, particularly if they have other events, families, etc. But if you’re already staying at the event venue or within walking distance, that control disappears. I’ve gotten in the habit of arriving early at convention parties/Bar Con and bailing early, before the people who are going to drink enough to behave badly or just be super annoying really hit their stride. Are they the majority? Depends on the con and the party, really, but the fact that I’m saying that based on personal experience says something about how well you have to know conventions and their attendees and what’s condoned and what isn’t. It’s a lot more challenging for someone new to those events to know who to avoid and when. And the “come early/leave early” approach means that sometimes I miss seeing people I want to see or having conversations that may be helpful to my career or me personally. So there are definite trade-offs between the culture and what I need to feel comfortable (and occasionally, safe) and I would like to stop having to make those trade-offs and I would like other people who aren’t drinking to stop having to make those trade-offs.
So what do I suggest as alternatives?
  • Always and absolutely the following: if someone isn’t drinking alcohol and say they don’t drink at all or don’t want to at that moment or whatever their particular truth may be, don’t attempt to pressure them to drink for any reason.
  • If you’re hosting a party or buying a round, provide nonalcoholic alternatives.
  • Do your networking somewhere that serves food and encourage people to eat, since food often helps things stay a bit more even keel.
  • Don’t rationalize away bad behavior, drunk or sober. Alcohol doesn't "make" anyone behave like an asshole and it shouldn't justify it.
  • Cut people off if it’s your party and they’re getting drunk and/or problematic.
  • Encourage sober space at cons to support folks who are in recovery or have other issues with alcohol consumption; I'm starting to see a bit more of this, but it's still pretty rare.
  • Designate someone to be your Sober Party Pal to keep an eye on folks who might be getting pressured to drink, or are otherwise vulnerable or who simply want to enjoy a pop or a glass of water and a chat.
  • If you want to drink and your friend doesn’t, ask if you having a drink bothers them. If it does, maybe hold off until they leave or try joining them in pop or juice or water for the evening. You might like it and they almost certainly will.
  •  If you’re drinking in moderation and having fun and not bothering anyone, that’s great; be cool and let your nondrinking friends and colleagues be cool in their own ways. it’ll make for a much better time for everyone.
And finally, if we're at a con together and you could use some support being sober on whatever level you want to maintain, you can come find me and I'll do what I can to help.
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So where I have I been for the last week and a half? Worldcon prep, and then Worldcon. Word to the wise: the Kansas City Convention Center is big. Like space and time big. Like walking forever big. My calves have not yet forgiven me.

I headed out to Kansas City with my pal, Jody Wurl (awesome fan and local librarian) at more or less the crack of dawn. Only later because there were cats to be wrangled and stuff. 6 or 7 hours of glorious chatting about everything and listening to music, we rolled into Kansas City (at rush hour, inevitably). Our hotel, the Aladdin, was all kinds of historical charming, including a tiny charming room with no space for the air mattress so we moved directly into the “first time road trip together to  first time sharing a room to  first time sharing a bed” phase of our friendship! Fortunately, neither of us is a night owl and we’re both relatively quiet sleepers so it worked out just fine. And author Martha Wells and her roomie Felicia were also in the same hotel, so we had amiable dining companions the first night.
Thursday arrived with a lively breakfast at the hotel restaurant, which featured sundry hijinks that were clearly the result of being short-staffed (it got better after this). But it also featured the charming company of Martha, Felicia, Jody, Steven Gould and Heather Rose Jones, so that made up for the other issues. After breakfast, Jody and I headed over and got our registration stuff taken care of, then I was off to the Dealer’s Room to drop off books at the DreamHaven table and help Elise Matthesen set up her jewelry both. I hung out there for a bit, generating good sales vibes (or so I’m told) before wandering the room. Then I was off to meet up with Jody and my friend Muffie for lunch. Muffie is a writer pal who I met at Sirens last year and we had a grand time chatting and hanging out. Then I was off, more or less, for my first panel of the weekend, "Knock on Wood, from Squirrel Girl to Lumberjanes."

You know, it was fun to do two YA panels at a con (I had an LGBT YA panel on Saturday too). I never get asked to do these, as a rule, so I hadn't given them much thought, but the discussions were lively and the panelists polite and enthusiastic. The audiences were pretty engaged too so the energy level was really good. For the comics one, we geeked about stuff we liked: Squirrel Girl, Ms. Marvel, Courtney Crumrin, Bone, My Little Pony, Lumberjanes, Nimona and such. Good times! I don't think we broke any new ground, but it was a fun, energetic chat. After that, Jody and I joined Martha and Felicia and another friend of theirs for dinner, which was even more fun than the night before, what with everyone having slept and all.

Thursday morning was two panels in a row, "The Joys of Running a Small Press," followed by "Living in a Cyberpunk Society." The small press panel was arguably my least favorite of the weekend. The moderator hadn't checked in beforehand and didn't seem to quite know what to do with me (the press is still in start up mode, rather than running) so she tried skipping me a few times on questions, which didn't go over well. I snagged the mike and started talking, which put an end to that issue, but it was annoying to have to fight for the space. She also added someone from the audience since one publisher was later, which also cut into the remaining panelist time. And to add to that, I was rushing to get to the cyberpunk panel at the end because I was moderating and it was not close by and people wanted to ask questions (and I needed to pee) so it ended fairly abruptly. The other panelists were fine though, so I didn't think it was a complete loss.

As for the Cyberpunk panel, when I say Pat Cadigan was a panelist and she opened with, "I'm Pat Cadigan, bitches.", do I need to say more? :-) 
Panelists Lyda Morehouse, Allan Dyen-Shapiro and Professor  Takayuki Tatsumi also got in some comments and thoughts (I need to go track down, Dr. Tatsumi's book on cyberpunk), but it was pretty much the P. Cadigan show everyone had come for. And it was a pretty entertaining one. It's easy to forget that when she and Gibson and Stirling and so forth were creating what we now think of as a genre, they were working largely independently of each other, without the benefits or burden of internet connections and so forth. She's also pretty funny so I recommend going to hear her if the opportunity presents itself.

I met with my former editor, Evan Peterson, and some of his Clarion classmates for lunch, then went tot he Art Show, then cruised the Dealer's Room buying sundry books (Japanese sf in translations! Art books! Sundry stuff) before helping Monica Valentinelli do prep stuff fro Build A World. Then I was off to dinner with editor and writer Julia Rios and her mom, where we were joined by one of Julia's former colleagues at Strange Horizons and her fiance. A jolly conversation about books and reading and Iowa and travel and stuff ensued before we had to to head back for evening programs. In my case, that was Build a World, the gameshow featuring writers attempting to do world building with audience participation. Unfortunately, we had been moved in both time and space and didn't draw a big crowd. But the folks who were there seemed to have fun, we had fun and we raised money for charity so a generally good time all around. we stopped by a few bid parties afterwards before crashing.

I missed both the Masquerade (which I was sorry to miss) and the Tor Party, which I was less bummed about. We had done some bar conning the night before and it had been as fun as bar conning gets for me (I'm working up a post on what it's like to be a sober pro in con culture to follow this one) so I felt like I'd had that particular experience for the weekend. In any, case, I was up the next morning for a surprise (as in unplanned) breakfast with author Jeannette Kathleen Cheney, who I'd met at Chicon, before going off to moderate the
"Complexity of Character: Coming Out in Teen SpecFic" panel. This was one of the two best panels of my con - great panelists, lively discussion, good suggestions, enthusiastic audience. Big thumbs up, all around.

Then I got to meet up with Dr. Nick Wood, who's been doing some great critical and promotional work on African science fiction and fantasy as well as writing his own stories. Really enjoyed our lunch and hope to repeat it again at a future con. There followed a moment of truth in which I had to go sign at a table next to Pat Cadigan. Which involved some thumb-twiddling, some chatting with friends, the signing of the following: one poster, two book plates, three actual books, and some impromptu bonding with my table mate, Star Trek (and other works) author David Dvorkin and his amiable spouse. Pat also signed my copy of Patterns with a massive flourishing, informing me that I was "cool." :-D

I went on to do a panel on Aging in SF/F with Connie Willis, James Patrick Kelly, Eleanor Arnason and Bud Sparhawk after that. My second favorite panel, in part because the panelists, particularly Willis and Kelly were entertaining, and Kelly was a good moderator. I mentioned my bibliography project briefly, as well as some of my other projects on aging in tech and so forth but I think those may have gotten lost in the shuffle.
But from there, Jody and I went off to catch the trolley and get barbecue at Jack Stack Barbecue, which was a fun trip off site. We wandered back and went to the SFWA Suite for the Hugos (which we ended up watching on line anyway). Lots of cheering and enthusiasm for the various winners and speeches (particularly Nnedi, Nora and Michi), which was lovely. Then it was farewells at bar con and sleep.

Somewhere in there, I caught readings by Martha Wells, Amanda Downum and Rosemary Kirstein, talked to a bunch more people than I remembered to note above, briefly met Ken Liu and the folks from China organizing another Worldcon bid via the redoubtable Crystal Huff, chatted with Jason Sizemore of Apex. chatted with book dealers, artists and a number of total strangers, chatted with Jason Sanford, Naomi Kritzer and Pamela Dean and missed connecting with dozens of people I had hoped to see at the con. Overall, I had a fine time though and am glad I got to go, exhausting drive, lengthy walks, occasional weirdness and all!.

catherineldf: (Default)
 is off to a nice start!
FYI, I just dropped my books and several copies of Queers Destroy Horror (includes essays by me, Sigrid Ellis and and a bunch of great fiction and nonfiction including Alyssa Wong's acclaimed and Nebula Award-winning story "Starving Daughters of Hungry Mothers" :-) at the DreamHaven table. I'll be autographing at 1PM on Saturday and will have bookplates to sign too.
catherineldf: (Default)
Comics, aging, cyberpunk, small presses, queer YA, a game show and autographing! They're going to keep me hopping.

Knock on Wood. From Squirrel Girl to Lumberjanes
Thursday 5:00 PM, 2206 (Kansas City Convention Center)
What the junk?! In the last couple of years we've seen the growth of comics that might superficially appear to be aimed at a YA audience, however these titles are hitting the mainstream with a vengeance. Marvel are leading the pack with Squirrel Girl, Ms Marvel and Captain Marvel, but there's also a vast amount of Indie work coming through such as Lumberjanes, Space Dumplin', Kaos Komics and Footloose. Our panel discuss why these titles are so popular, and what they have to offer both new and established audiences.
Tom Galloway, Jason Sanford, Adam Rakunas, Rebecca Schwarz (M), Catherine Lundoff

The Joys of Running a Small Press
Friday 10:00 - 11:00, 2205 - A/V (Kansas City Convention Center)
The old joke is that the way to make a small fortune in publishing is to start out with a large fortune.  Small publishers fill an important niche in the world of science fiction, even in this era of self-publishing.  Some of the foremost small publishers talk about the trials and tribulations of finding their place and surviving.
Eric T. Reynolds, Catherine Lundoff, Beth Meacham (M), Mr Paul Starr, Jason Sizemore

Living in a Cyberpunk Society
Friday 11:00 - 12:00, 2208 (Kansas City Convention Center)
We may not be able to jack in directly, but we are part of the Cyberfuture. When technology thrives but society decays, seemingly dystopic worlds arise. To what extent is our world a cyberpunk universe and what more can we expect to happen to take us there?
Ms Pat Cadigan, Lyda Morehouse, Allan Dyen-Shapiro, Takayuki Tatsumi, Catherine Lundoff (M)

The Build-A-World Game Show
Friday 9PM-10PM, 2503A - A/V (Kansas City Convention Center)
The Build-a-World Game Show is a live action worldbuilding game designed and run by Monica Valentinelli. Two teams of panelists compete to build a fantastic world in under an hour for fun and prizes. The Build-a-World Game Show incorporates audience participation, takes place in three rounds, and results in a fan-voted winner! This year, Martha Wells, David McDonald, Catherine Lundoff, and Tex Thompson will be competing.
 Ms. Monica Valentinelli (M), Tex Thompson, Mr David McDonald, Martha Wells, Catherine Lundoff

Complexity of Character: Coming Out in Teen SpecFic
Saturday 10-11AM, 3501B (Kansas City Convention Center)
Young adult speculative fiction is doing a fairly good job of featuring a diverse and varied cast of characters, but books that feature LGBT, asexual, and nonbinary characters are still not always easy to find. Let’s talk about what books and characters are out there, and what themes and identities are still underrepresented in YA SF? What challenges do spec fic authors face when writing and publishing books about teen sexuality and love? Beyond the main characters, what roles do the secondary and tertiary characters play in helping to advance the conversation about teen sexuality?
Catherine Lundoff (M), Mark Oshiro (Mark Does Stuff), Lyda Morehouse, Jaylee James

Autographing: Pat Cadigan, David Dvorkin, James Gunn, Catherine Lundoff, Megan O'Keefe, John Picacio
Saturday 1PM -2PM Kansas City Convention (Autographing Space)

Aging in Speculative Fiction
Saturday 3:00PM-4PM, 3501H (Kansas City Convention Center)
One day you wake up with a new ache, another day you notice you have more grey hairs than brown, another you realise people on the bus ask if you would like their seat. Despite all of this you are still 30 inside and just as lively as ever (well, almost). Is the process of aging ever covered in science fiction and fantasy or is it one of the last great taboos?
Eleanor Arnason, Catherine Lundoff, James Patrick Kelly (M), Connie Willis, Bud Sparhawk


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