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But really, today has mostly been about the migraine. That and the dream that I was rudely awakened from this morning. The migraine and the starving, starving kitties got to me just as Sean Bean handed me an elaborate jeweled dagger and invited me to tea. I have no idea what weird corner of my subconscious that popped out of. I like Bean and all, but I'm hardly an obsessive fan. And why the dagger? The cats have once more deprived the world of a fascinating saga.

Other than that, Queen of Swords Press has achieved second book! Or at least, second book in preorder. Emily L. Byrne's Knife's Edge is up for preorder and will be out on 4/15/17. And I am now locked out of both  the Queen of Swords Press website and my own so tomorrow will be a lively day of help desk tickets. Why am I locked out? Miscellaneous security updates that didn't quite take. Lucky me. At any rate, I'm also about to send off a book intro to the artist who formatted the print edition of Out of This World, so I hope to have that out and about in the next couple of weeks. And Silver Moon is in edits for a new edition. I'm working on fixing up some of the problematic portions of it, things that didn't quite work for me in the first edition. It will be basically the same book though, fair warning. So a whirlwind of activity for another week ensues.

I'm also encouraging folks to sign up for the Press newsletter and to sign up for my Patreon. We're trying to keep things exciting! Now to carve out time to go back to see the Guillermo del Toro show again at the MIA.

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Last week was chock full of excitement, mostly good.
  • My interview on the Skiffy and Fanty Podcast went live.
  • My first Emily Byrne collection, Knife's Edge, is almost done. I should be announcing ARCS within the next couple of days.
  • I've had a request for a new Silver Moon edition, a reminder of some specific things to fix and a deadline imposed upon me so that's next.
  • Last week was my birthday, which entailed breakfast at the Seward Cafe, a trip to Stillwater, MN to bid our adieus to St. Croix Antiquarian Booksellers (owner decided to retire and got a splendid offer for the building, but Stllwater is now down to 2 used bookstores and 1 new one, which is less than great news. Sigh.) But we picked up some fun books and stopped by Black Letter Antiquarian for some more shopping. Then ate a good lunch and I picked up some new work clothes before we came back home and met friends for dinner. Good time all around!
  • Friday...sucked. Weird health stuff, multiple rejections, life.
  • Saturday was awesome. I kicked off brunch with a bunch of friends at Abi's Cafe, a terrific woman-owned Salvadoran restaurant on Lake Street in Minneapolis. Great food, really pleasant folks - Cesia Abigail, the owner, even made me a small birthday cake as a surprise. After that, we were off to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts to see At Home With Monsters, the Guillermo del Toro show. OMG, this show is amazing! If you're a fan of any of del Toro's work or horror in general, this is a must see. We're going back to see it again soon! We followed that up with a trip to Uncle Hugo's and Uncle Edgar's Bookstore, where I acquired sundry titles including Alex Well's Hunger Makes the Wolf and Children's Fantasy Literature by Michael Levy and Farah Mendlesohn. From there, we met up more folks at the Midtown Global Market for dinner, then went on to DreamHaven Books to help celebrate their 40th anniversary. It was a splendid day all around.
  • I've also signed up for an interesting new event, assuming my sales id turns up in time. I'll be selling some books at the Books and Beer Pop-up Bookstore at Lake Monster Brewing in St. Paul on May 11. More updates as soon as I have them.
Otherwise all is a whirlwind of Press and books and day job and volunteering and such. More news soon.

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Because I did have them. I spent all of my evenings this week and part of my volunteer time from the day job reviewing scholarship applications for PFund. PFund is a regional foundation that gives grants to LGBTQ+ organizations and individuals in the Upper Midwest. I've been a donor for the last couple of years but decided I needed to up my game this year. It was on my list of things to do later this year anyway, but the various attempts to bring on the apocalypse accelerated things. So PFund does amazing stuff on a shoestring budget and if you're thinking of how to make donations go further and are looking for good LGBTQ organizations to help fun, I heartily recommend donating to them (it doesn't have to be huge amounts, though I'm sure they'd use that well). This month's amazing thing is funding queer youth for school and college age and older folks for miscellaneous projects. Oh, these applications were heartbreaking and amazing and damn, people are doing great work! I'm so glad I did this. Saturday morning was all about hashing out our final recommendations to the board so now we wait for the decisions.

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!

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At this point responding to the political shitshow that is currently this country's government is counterproductive. My more insightful insights can be found on Twitter at @clundoff. Daily stuff goes on Facebook, if you're curious - feel free to friend me there. I accept most requests.
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.
Life and Other Things. Well, Okay. Not Really. Resistance:
  • 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.
Some signal boosting - throw a few bucks at these, if you can, please:
  • 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.
Anyway, that's it for now. Get out there and do what you can. It sucks somewhat less if you hang out with folks, so if you're able to to, go to meetings and gatherings and benefits and so forth. Meet good folks. Keep on resisting.

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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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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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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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Sekrit Project Edits turned in! Early! Now we sort of celebrate while we hope the migraine clears.

Also, added a new Queer Ya panel at World Con - see previous entry for description.

Cool things seen today. The Comic-Con Wonder Woman trailer. Though I wish it was set during World War II instead of World War 1 as a reminder that the Nazis were supposed to be bad guys.

For a real life Wonder Woman, check out this awesome
video and gif of American track and field champion Kendra Harrison breaking a world record in the 100m today.

And just because it makes me giggle every time. "There be no WiFi in Osgiliath"

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  • Progress made on Sekrit Project. I'm liking it much better on the third rewrite and I think I have my thaumaturgy issues resolved. No, I can't tell you what they are yet. Hoping to get it done and turned in early to the editor to see if she concurs.
  • Progress made on pulling together 4 short fiction collections, two for Emily L. Byrne (Other Me) and two for me. Hoping to get that pulled together in the next few weeks and follow up on the covers I optimistically selected months ago, thinking it wouldn't take that long.
  • Planning on getting back on to making progress with the Queen of Swords Press website. I've done some work on related stuff, but need to really dig in.
  • I just signed on to moderate a panel at Midamericon II on queer YA. This is not a core competency of mine but I'm a decent moderator so there we have it. Suggestions on blogs and titles welcome! For those keeping score at home, I'm now on 5 programming items barring changes: cyberpunk (suggestions also welcome), aging in SF/F, queer YA, indie comics (see note re: suggestions) and running a small press. Whee! It's cramming time!
  • Diversicon is coming up real soon now (a week and one half away), GOH is acclaimed and queer SFnal ground-breaking editor and author Jessica Amanda Salmonson. She is also one of the first transwomen to come out as trans in science fiction, fantasy or horror. Special Guest is multi-award nominated and winning author Naomi Kritzer. My tentative schedule there includes panels on Shirley Jackson, fairy tales, ghost stories and women warriors and perhaps some queer SF/F/H stuff. Should be interesting.
  • Still have giant gaping holes in the office wall with a stunning view of new copper plumbing. Hoping to get that fixed up before Kansas City.
  • Having hit a wall of sorts with a lot of things, am now engaged in a massive reorganization and cleanout of the house, possessions, backlog on stuff like will updates and watching a lot less telebvision and it's beginning to help. I think. Less clutter, more productivity.
Back to avoiding the RNC for as long as possible!
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2016 is pretty much fired. I'm struggling with the murders and hate and various things going to hell in the proverbial hand basket and everything that a lot of other people are struggling with. So I'm dealing with it by organizing my space, trying to get projects done and trying to get back into the rhythm of writing while supporting all of the good things that I can support. I'm going to a MN Lynx game in a week and will be there  early for the Black Lives Matter pre-game minirally to support the Lynx after the head of the police union attacked them. I'm going to go hear Malala Yousafzai speak in a week. I'm supporting various folks in various ways to keep doing the work that they're doing. And so we keep on keeping on, doing what we can do, making things better where we can. Hang in there and take care of yourselves.

Edited to add: Because small joys help, just met with a work colleague who's coming out as a transwoman at my day job. My area is very Xtian, very conservative and I'm the only out queer (probably the only queer period, but hey, hope springs eternal). Her area, on the other hand, has stepped up to the plate and been pretty supportive, up and including making our LGBTQ employee's food drive for the Aliveness Project a pretty big success on their donations alone. And that's pretty damn cool. :-)

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So what am I up to?
  • Frenzied scramble to get everything in place for going to New Zealand.
  • Frenzied scramble to deal with work release that should have gone in March, only it got delayed until now, right before my vacation.
  • Frenzied scramble to get second big pass on editing project and editing notes done and organized to turn over to author before I leave town.
  • Frenzied scramble to get one more story rewrite done and another story submitted before I head out (which will get me to 4 subs in the past 5 weeks or so. Not too shabby).
  • Ongoing nervous eyeing of mailbox to see when Secret Project edits are going to that I can add them to another frenzied scramble.
  • Taking time out to rage about the cancellation of Agent Carter and the wanton destruction (but renewed. Why? who knows?) of Sleepy Hollow. Plus additional pissiness over failure to pick up  a version of Nancy Drew featuring Sarah Shahi by CBS because "too female."
  • Yard stuff, house stuff, health stuff. The latter included good news from various tests, plus potential good news for a thing I would like/need to do when I get back.
  • Work on Press? See above. Maybe a few things before I go.
  • Noodling on the idea of a Patreon. Would folks reading this be interested in pledging for a monthly post on a history of SF/F/H with an LGBTQ focus? Author profiles, discussions of works, trends, related stuff? Since SF Signal is closing, I'll be moving my survey articles over here so that I have a backup in case their archiving doesn't work out so I was thinking it might be a good time to look at expanding that project to something that could grow to booklength.
  • Back to scrambling. Whee!
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It has been a culturally enriching week so far. Sunday night, I went with friends to see Lasso of Truth, a play about Wonder Woman's origins staged by Walking Shadow Theater Company and the Workhaus Collective. Interesting staging and excellent performances, though some of the scenes went on a bit too long – it switched from Marston’s BDSM ménage a trois relationship with the women in his life who inspired Wonder Woman to a contemporary woman inspired by Wonder Woman to a series of cartoons about Gloria Steinem’s successful efforts to force comics publishers to make Wonder Woman super again in the 1970s. It made for some really interesting, if somewhat overlong, theater, but I’m glad I got to see it.

Insert a couple of and evenings of mad work scramble, plus editing project and a bursitis flare-up and we arrive on Wednesday’s expedition to the Walker Arts Center for a free screening of “Love and Friendship” which is based, not on the actual story written by Jane Austen in her early teens, but on her epistolary novel, Lady Susan, written in her later teens.

So how was the movie? A tad uneven. I take my Austen pretty damn seriously (by which we mean that I find her wildly amusing and brilliant and have read all her available work, a lot of the critical analyses, multiple histories of the time period, a bunch of her contemporaries and so forth. Basically, I know more about Austen than most folks who haven’t made a career out of her work). The movie adapts the original epistolary form of the story and keeps some of Austen’s wording, which is a very good idea. Kate Beckinsale, on her third Austen-related film (including  Emma and Cold Comfort Farm, which is also Emma- adjacent), is terrific as Lady Susan, but other cast members range widely in their comfort with their roles. Chloe Sevigny is not terribly good and seems lost, Stephen Fry is wasted, as is Jemma Redgrave in part because it’s a short film so there’s not much to work with and they’re on too briefly. Costumes and settings are quite good. Pacing is a bit off and it dragged at the beginning and in the middle to a greater degree than an hour and a half long movie should have. But overall, the good parts were strong enough that I would give it a 6.5 or 7 on the scale of 10, 10 being outstandingly good (A&E/BBC Pride and Prejudice or Now I Have Found It, the Tamil version of Sense and Sensibility). 1 is the epically awful adaptation, such as PBS’ fairly recent Mansfield Park (known as “Jogging Fanny” in our household because she runs everywhere when not giggling or talking horse racing with Tom) or the Guthrie Theater’s dreadful Pride and Prejudice, in which Lydia frequently broke the fourth wall to explain the terrible complicated humor and plot to the presumably dull elves in attendance. The latter also featured rewritten dialogue by the artistic director and the playwright, because you know, any random dude can write better dialogue than Austen, amiright? Cue scathing sarcasm.

This film does a swell job of contrasting Austen’s dialogue with that of a contemporary writer who thinks he’s every bit as funny as she was, fair warning. This has mixed success.

Which leads me to the part where it was a free screening and we decided to stick around for the chat with the Producer/Writer Whit Stillman, in part to ask about the title. So we get two older dudes sitting around discussing Austen, which in my experience, doesn’t bode well. There are exceptions, but it’s very rare. This was definitely a mixed bag. Stillman is also getting a novel published this fall, that novel being a sequel to Lady Susan from the perspective of a male character who he invented. I mention this because Austen wrote entirely from women’s perspectives and you only see the male characters through their eyes. If it feels like I’m suggesting that one reason having a couple of middle-aged white guys sit around talking Austen unsupervised by more knowledgeable parties is that one generally gets a lot of a. trashing of romance elements, b. missed points and humor and c. a desperate desire to insert themselves or someone like them into the text because it’s not about them, I am, in fact, suggesting this. And that pretty much describes most of the talk.

 It wasn’t  the worst I’d sat through, but Stillman managed to insert several factual errors about Austen’s life and glossed over all the juvenilia…including Love and Freindship (her original spelling). I did ask what he was thinking re: the title change at the Q&A and pointed out that folks familiar with Jane’s work found the title change confusing, which got me a lengthy defensive answer about why the original story was shit and why he hated name titles, but hey, he did find the current title “Austeninian.” Well yes, that would be because it was HER title. At any rate, my friend and I had a good laugh and will probably go see the film again to see if it improves on further acquaintance.  It opens in theaters in a couple of weeks but my advice would be to skip the Q&As or any talks by the producer unless there’s something specific you’d like to rile him up about or have a question only he can reasonably answer.

Tonight’s adventure is a continuation of our annual dine out all day for Dine Out for Life, a national benefit for organizations working with people with HIV/AIDS.  Breakfast was at the Colossal Café in Minneapolis, lunch is elsewhere and dinner tonight will be at The Pourhouse where they are doing a burlesque extravaganza fundraiser. Should finish out the week nicely!

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this last week's version, anyway.
So, beginning last Monday onward, the last week has featured the following:
  • 2000+ words of new short story, due real soon now
  • 500 words of revisions on other stories
  • 1 editing read through on editing project
  • The ordering of new glasses with purty frames (pix to follow after I pick them up)
  • An unlooked for health issue that may well prove to be nothing, but will be anxiety-producing until the next round of tests.
  • Caught the unspeakably horrible and enraging season finale of Sleepy Hollow, which is now dead to me if it gets renewed, and it shouldn't be. The show runners, presumably with network help, destroyed a show with a multicultural cast, complex and strong female characters of color and a fun premise. It took them two seasons to finish destroying what Season 1 created and they did a banner job.
  • Day job, trip planning, etc.
  • AlterConf Minneapolis was Saturday's big adventure and I had a blast. I met some really interesting folks, connected with some friends, attended great presentations on everything from privacy issues to motherhood in tech to how to hack your employer's insurance to make it more trans-inclusive to kid's rights and internet access to being sober in tech and other diversity-related issues. Valerie and I did an excerpted version of our GoogleDev talk on Accessibility and Aging in Tech. And there was good food and ASL interpretation and childcare and an enforced code of conduct and all those things that are supposed to be challenging for conferences to provide. Presenters even got paid. Many, many kudos to Ashe Dryden and her team for organizing these! There's one coming up in San Francisco next so be sure and check it out if you can.
Next up, more writing, more tests, a class on Google Analytics and assorted other fun.
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It was my birthday last Wednesday so I took the day off and we bopped around town hitting some fun spots: breakfast at the Seward Cafe (a birthday tradition!), the Electric Fetus Records and Gifts, Norway House, Kuul Chocolate, Lady Elegant's Tea Room in St. Paul (recently purchased by an Oromo family of former UN aid workers who make a terrific high tea and yummy soup), Micawber's Books (now located downstairs from Lady Elegant's), then back across the river to Uncle Hugo's and Uncle Edgar's Bookstore in Minneapolis, followed by a stop at Minnesota Maker (shop next to Sisters Sludge Coffee that specializes in MN made products). Then home to feed kitties before heading out to La Ceiba for dinner with a small group of friends. Delightful time all around!

The rest of the week has been day job and migraines but not as grueling as the previous week, so mostly just uncomfortable. Sekrit Project has moved forward to the extent that I can now say that I'm working on something for an RPG tie-in. Editing project is also moving forward. New Zealand is mostly planned. Queen of Swords still has a minor email problem and I'm just going to have to rebuild the account connections but haven't yet. Valerie and I got our presentation pulled together for AlterConf Minneapolis (coming up on April 9th) so that's pretty cool. Got panel proposals and whatnot out for upcoming cons. And did a bit of writing. Full steam ahead!

Whoops, almost forgot! Queers Destroy Horror made the Tiptree Award Longlist! Which is pretty cool. :-) It will also be available at the Quatrefoil Library soon, seeing as I just gave them a copy.

This week's plug - only three more days to find this fabulous looking animated film about women inventors, pirates and activists!

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Personal stuff first. Been a long, grueling couple of weeks, filled with good and bad stuff. The bad stuff's not dire, just a combination of not feeling great, periodic migraines, day job crap and bad tax news. All survivable but sucky, The good stuff has been more exciting - saw several good plays, caught the Alan Cumming show at Orchestra Hall this weekend, off to the Patty Griffith/Anais Mitchell/Sara Watkins show tonight and lot of birthday stuff coming up in the next couple of weeks. My copresenter, Valerie Lockhart, and I did a good solid run at our presentation on "Aging and Accessibility in Tech" for AlterConf Minneapolis, coming up on April 9th and we're both feeling good about it (and got it turned in early for ASL interpretation set up). My reading on Saturday at the Tretter Collection went well (Curator Lisa Vecoli said some particularly nice things about my work, which may have been slightly impacted by the fact that I showed up with an organized box of various anthologies and papers, plus all the associated paperwork, ready for my archive there ;-). The Finding Aid for my currently catalogued stuff is here and the next time I stop by, I'm hoping to drop off papers from my former bookstore, Grassroots Books in Iowa City as well some mementos from my time spent helping found and for a time, run, the Iowa Women's Music Festival and from participating in Queer Nation, various anti-war, feminist, bi and Central American Solidarity activities and so forth. And more writing since I have quite a few more publications to include. I should note that the University of Northern Illinois at Dekalb SFWA Archive also has a substantial amount of my books, papers and related material and that Finding Aid is here.

Apart from that, I'm embarking on a new editing project and have just heard that the Secret Project has gone up to the next level, so I expect that to start soon, if all goes well. I'm trying to get a few stories out the door and dig in on the novel edits, which were moving along but have stalled due to time conflicts. Queen of Swords should have a website update as soon as I fix an email problem and get signed up for MailChimp. Author contract template is almost done too and I plan on getting ISBN numbers next weekend. More bulletins soon.

On the level of things that are not specifically about me:
  • The MN GOP, ever eager to have more trainwrecks of their very own, is attempting to get a transphobic bathroom panic bill through the Legislature. Check the Outfront MN site for your rep's and senator's contacts and let them know how you feel about this b.s. Remember that even if Dayton says he will veto it (and he will certainly try), that these efforts have a horrible effect on queer kids and that the number of suicide attempts  goes up every time one of these monstrosities gets put forward so let's make sure they can see that lots of folks are on their side. 
  • North Carolina. Shit. Where to begin? If you want to help folks there, I recommend Equality North Carolina, the ACLU of North Carolina or Lambda Legal as excellent places to start. If you live there (or have disposable income for donations), I recommend any and all opponents of the elected officials who endorsed this.
And a couple of fundraisers:
  • Author Veronica Harnish (Car Living When There's No Other Choice) wrote a powerful piece for VOX earlier this month on ending up homeless three times and living in her car with her cat due to the crappy job market, no housing and a lousy safety net. She's got a Go Fund Me and what I think is a current Crowd Rise page going and I believe that's she's still facing homelessness, so the Crowd Rise is to help her get a used RV which would be much safer and better for her and her kitty. Or you could buy her book, thus giving her ongoing income. Give it to everyone you know who thinks we don't need a safety net or that it'll never happen to them  or any other person you think needs it.
  • Anita Sarkeesian of Feminist Frequency is working on a new film project on women smashing stereotypes. It looks terrific and there's only 9 more days on the fundraiser here.
More soon!
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Been another full week of more stress and wackiness, but lots of progress on various things.
  • Had new author photos taken and should have final ones later on this week
  • Started vetting the author contract for Queen of Swords Press (written by my IP attorney, for those curious).
  • Got the manuscript for a new mentoring/editing project that I'll be doing with a local author.
  • Met with my biz attorney for more LLC setup.
  • Started estate planning.
  • Met with my new accountant and started the adventure that is Quickbooks.
  • Finished a blog post for Emily L. Byrne's first Best Lesbian Erotica appearance.
  • Sketched out proposals for sekrit new project.
  • Wrangled day job and more day job. And migraine and more day job.
  • Class prep for my Loft Literary class this weekend. Find out tomorrow if it carries.
Sleep would be nice. Maybe soon.
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Best Lesbian Erotica 20th Anniversary Edition is out from Cleis Press! And I have a blog post with buy links, the Goodreads Giveaway link and the TOC up for your perusal.

What else is going on? Well, insomnia at the moment. But apart from that, our presentation on Accessibility and Aging in Tech at
DevFest went quite well. And my friend Sarah Olson did a terrific presentation on the science behind gender bias. I met some new folks, hung out with friends, went to several interesting presentations and learned some stuff. I'll post links to the multimedia options when they're up. Good day all around!

This week's adventures are mostly about doing a mad scramble to get ready for teaching my Loft
class this Saturday, answering questions for a Twin Cities Geek author profile, getting prepped for my new short fiction project (about which more later) and other fun. We did manage to fit in one more thing, namely a visit from Jim from Applied Energy Innovations last night. They came by last week and installed our new solar fan in the attic (regulates moisture in winter and house temperature in summer), but this week they were over to evaluate our house for the installation of solar panels. It is still a pricey thing to consider, even with rebates, but we think we can make it cost effective. But first, we have to enter the state lottery for rebates, so that will be the next hurdle. We've been whittling away at the costs of operating our house and reducing our carbon footprint for years now, so here's hoping we get to take the next step!

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Farewell, Goblin King. Thanks for the great music, the terrific performances and the times that you were brave and beautiful and freaky.

And in more sad news, lesbian activist and writer
Jeanne Cordova also died today.

As a side note, I was scheduled to read with her in Chicago a couple of years ago, but she had to cancel, so I didn't get to meet her. I do wish I had.

In the personal front, I'm off to Arisia this week to hang out in Boston and see friends and actually go to the con this time around. I also got an invite for programming for Au Contraire in Wellington, NZ, which should be lots of fun, especially since I just found out that the WETA Workshop is there.
And I just got my post turned in for this year's Lesbian Fiction Appreciation Event! Lots of great posts going up every day, plus some book giveaways so do check it out.


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