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It is excitingly cold out, by which we mean dangerously so and well below zero with windchill. What am I doing? Well, Monday I worked from home in order to wait on Furnace Replacement Estimate #3. I shall be curious to see what they come back with. So far, we're at Company #1, whose estimate left out some critical things and was only provided at the request of our attic contractor (this would be a giant red flag); company #2, which is highly recommended by some friends but which our contractor thinks is too spendy (current estimate around $22k, not including additional attic work which has to follow immediately thereafter or the basement, which also needs to be heated); and Company #3, which seems sane but hasn't sent an estimate yet. So we'll see. But this week is making it very clear that we need something newer and more efficient so it's definitely an idea whose time has come. Sigh.

Jana opted to drive down to Northfield (she's teaching full days at Carleton College this term and it's about an hour and half drive) on Monday afternoon to skip the weather to be found at the crack of dawn this week. I worked from home, submitted my first short story of the year and started a Veronica Mars Season One rewatch. I picked up the dvds for Season 1 and 2 on sale a few months back because I wanted to see how it held up. 3 episodes in and there are some very talented actors with some snappy one-liners holding together a rather shaky storyline. We'll see how it looks further along. I've seen the movie a couple of times and quite like that so I'll still find the overall storyline enjoyable.

Woke up today with a migraine, a torqued up shoulder and still unhappy knee and opted to take a sick day (my sick days and vacation days are the same bucket so I try to work from home if I'm sick) since I have the old car, which isn't as good on ice and snow. This turned out to be a good idea since it's been a spontaneous nap sort of day. And it meant that I was here to receive my previously ordered Killjoys Season 4 dvds, so yay on that. I'm mostly functional now and wrangling tax prep, workshop outline prep and my next interview. Still not caught up, still have a ton of stuff to do but am making incremental progress. And I have tickets to see Split Britches on Friday so there's something to look forward to. Onward, excelsior and all that.

Edited to add: and now there are shenanigans at the day job. Again. Dammit.
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Starting with State of the Catherine: I'm stressed out and rather anxious, but other than that, mostly okay. In between my day job, and Jana's teaching load and my Queen of Swords Press work and writing, we squeezed in a trip to the Minneapolis Institute of Art's Egypt's Sunken Cities show on Friday night. This was quite impressive and has some lovely pieces in it, as well as a lot interesting information about the Egyptian pantheon, crossovers with the Greek pantheon and related info. Saturday was a whirlwind of errands and sundry Queen of Swords Press tasks, followed by going to Theatre Unbound's annual 24 hour play festival, the X-Treme Smackdown. TU is our local women's theater and the smackdown features plays written, rehearsed and staged in 24 hours; it's generally a lot of fun and this was no exception. It was also rather poignant in that I brought a good friend who has been diagnosed with ALS and who generally goes to a lot of theater with me. It's not clear how much longer we'll be able to do that, but I'm hoping the day that ends is a long way off. Also, ALS sucks sharp rocks.

Also last night, my friend, playwright Anne Bertram, Theatre Unbound's Artistic Director, has decided to retire from that role after 19 seasons. I'm hoping that gives her more time to write some more amazing plays like "The Good Fight," "Murderess" and "Frankenstein Incarnate." But I will miss her smiling face at the box office.

Friday's other big event was a visit from a representative from the company we will be hiring to replace our furnace later on this year. In our 100 year old house, this will involve ripping out the ancient octopus furnace, including asbestos abatement and building the new furnace inside our basement. We will also need new piping run up through the bathroom (losing our bathroom storage cabinet in the process) in order to heat the attic. The attic will then require some swift contracting work on the insulation and the windows before winter. In return for the mayhem this will cause (we were Marie Kondoing our possessions before everyone else got on the bandwagon, the basement is Jana's studio, the cats and I may have to go hotel it for a few days, etc.), we get a much more energy-efficient furnace that will also replace our window unit air conditioner. And we'll have better control over the humidity in the house. And we can stop living in fear that our ancient furnace will conk out in the middle of Minnesota winter. The price ticket? Adding in the additional attic insulation work, which we don't have a firm estimate on yet, this will run around $25k. Which is so many zeros. And which we would need by April or so. Hence what follows. We've got a start on saving toward this rather vast amount of money, but I want to make sure that we're not in desperate Go Fund Me territory or huge amounts of debt at the end of this so expect more marketing-related posts and blasts for my writing, Queen of Swords Press, Jana's work, our classes and so forth. I'll try not to be super obnoxious about it.

Queen of Swords Press - if I could get the press to the point where I was selling an average of 40 books a week, it would be much less of a drain on the exchequer and would be pretty close to self-sustaining. I've got to come close to this goal this year or changes will have to be made, just saying. Boosts are appreciated too! Our books are available:
  • Direct from the Press website
  • Smashwords/B&N/Amazon, etc. here and here and here
  • Bella Books
  • Indiebound - your local independent bookstore can order our books in!
  • Libraries - ebooks available via Overdrive, print directly from Queen of Swords or via Ingram Spark. Most public libraries will order our books in if you request them, just saying.
  • Various international outlets too!
I'll be teaching classes online in March and April through the Rambo Academy for Wayward Writers.
Miscellaneous other stuff: I have a Ko_fi account and a Curious Fictions account. You can pledge or do one-time donations.

Jana: Your support and enthusiasm for our various projects, all of which are done alongside our regular jobs, is much appreciated!
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Have just dutifully done the initial list of where I'll be this year. There will be cons and workshops and readings and book tables and more stuff as we go. I'm tempted to say that my new anthology editing class will be me dressed up like Mr. T and periodically saying, "I pity the fool..." but it will be much more professional and positive than that. Also on the list for this year: trying to get the furnace replaced and the attic remodeled. So far, we're 0 for 0: first contractor never showed up to do an estimate, wouldn't respond to emails or calls, second showed up, took a bunch of notes, but now won't come back with an estimate. Soon, we will try a 3rd contractor for the furnace. Good times!
 
The winter will be quite busy. Jana is teaching multiple classes at Carleton College in Northfield for winter term and I have events, new classes and a gaming-related project that is currently hovering. Trying to get all my ducks in a row, plus progress on new titles before that descends. Also day job is nightmarish at the moment, so that's not helping. Now to go answer a bunch of emails and eke out a bit of writing time while the cats wheeze on top of me.

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I'm finally feeling better, but am swimming upstream on the giant river of Work Yet to be Done. Hoping to have a very productive next couple of days. In the meantime, Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse was adorbs, my car's recall airbag has been replaced, The Jungle Theater's The Wickhams was entertaining (though the playwrights missed a few historical memos about the early 1800s) and I got all the contributors to Scourge of the Seas of Time (and Space) paid. Now we are wrangling the joys of sending print copies of the anthology to authors in 7 countries outside the U.S.A. Wee! But making progress.

Other progress: a couple thousand more words on Blood Moon in the last week and a half and a new short story underway. I'm also reading Alex Acks's next collection of novellas for the next Captain Ramos book and am about halfway through another gaming manual read through for another project.

Next up: finish all the things. And spend time with friends. And clean out files, finish the next couple of author interviews and more! I'll pop back on in a day or two with Year in Review posts too.

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I added a few more events in December because sleep is for the weak or something. Last December, I was still recovering from a torn shoulder tendon, norovirus and my first bout of stomach flu of last winter (followed by a second bout AND a concussion) so I didn't do much by way of holiday book promotion. This year, I'm making up for lost time and doing ALL the things. In addition to 2 readings and 3 book tables, I'll be participating in the Women & Words Hootenanny and Emily Byrne will be on the Best Lesbian Erotica Blog Tour and the I Heart Lesfic Holiday Sale. Going to be lively!

In other news, my forthcoming pirate anthology, Scourge of the Seas of Time (and Space) is starting to get some good buzz. There's a nice review on NetGalley already and geek blog The Nerdy Girl Express just posted an excellent review this morning. It's up for preorder for both ebook and print and other print now and you can add it to your Goodreads list and all that good stuff.

This week is doing some catch up stuff, then going to see Raiders of the Lost Ark at the new Parkway Theater on Thursday, then checking out a reading at Eat My Words on Friday and going to here some friends read at the Subverted Fairy Project Reading at the Phoenix on Saturday. After that, I'll be sequestered at a secret location to writer and edit for a few days. Then I'll be enjoying some Friendsgiving times with various friends. More on all of that later though. Now to go empty the foot spa and get some sleep.

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I'm up to 2 readings, 3 event tables, a blog tour and two online promo things. Huzzah!
November is lower key - I just got Scourge of the Seas of Time (and Space) submitted to Ingram and reviews are starting to trickle in. It's out for preorder and up at NetGalley so here's hoping that's enough to give it some serious lift when it launches at the beginning of December.

How is Queen of Swords Press looking so far? Well, the learning curve is really exciting and I'm putting out some swell books. Financially, I'm actually a couple of hundred bucks short of what the Press brought in last year and I'm still not paying myself. My royalties are keeping things afloat at present, though Alex's book has generally done pretty well. Scourge will be the most expensive book I've done so far, what between paying 15 contributors, a copy editor, cover and interior work and production costs, so I'm really doubling down on book tables, events and so forth. It's under consideration at Publisher's Weekly, so hopefully they like it and a rising tide lifts all boats. I'll have to do a check-in post at the end of December and talk about how it went.

Writing. Well, I'm working on Blood Moon and I have a new secret project in the offing and revisions I have to do on a different secret project and another thing kicking around that I want to write. I'll probably spend part of Thanksgiving week sequestered away at a friend's house where I'll have to get some work done. Day job is super stressful right now and I'm running my usual round of ear infections and migraine that come with weather changes.

Apart from that, we're going to have to have to have the big ash tree in the front yard taken down. It's getting too big for the space we have for it and is sending roots into the sewer line and the house  foundation. Add to that, we're not treating it for Emerald Ash Borer because we knew its days were numbered, so our tree guy says taking it out now is the most sensible choice. But spendy. And I'm kind of sorry to see it go. We'll have to find something smaller and more suited to our space to plant in the spring. We're also into discussions about replacing the furnace in the spring, which will mean asbestos abatement and changing our ductwork and other fun. We'll be spending the winter getting rid of a LOT of stuff to make it possible to even get at things to do this. Our furnace guy assures us it will be worth it in the long run. Eep.
Never a dull moment...

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 Things to do today - a list so I do not forget:
1. Quote for article
2. Bio and pix for a 2019 con
3. Marketing plan and application for 2019 event
4. Books out to reviewers
5. Check new Square 
6. Sales tax form and tabling fee for  December event
7. Review docs for 2019 event (different from above)
8. Finish Emily guest blog due next week.
9. Get back to writing Blood Moon.
Also day job, sleep, hang with kitties, eat, walk and function. Then plan for everything that has to get done this weekend. Huzzah!
More events and announcements coming soon. Stay tuned!
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I just learned that I have had a personal essay accepted (contingent on an edit) for the MN Historical Society Press's Queer Voices anthology. More news as I have it!

In Queen of Swords Press News, the Smashwords July sale is still in progress. You can get our entire ebook catalogue for the cost of a not very spendy dinner out (and it helps the Press grow! Which greatly improves our longterm prospects!). If Smashwords is not your thing, we now have direct sales off the website  (Kindle/standard ebook only for now) - Paypal or Square, take your pick. This month's newsletter also included the table of contents for the pirate anthology I'm editing, Scourge of the Seas of Time (and Space). That will be going up on the Queen of Swords Press site soon, then trickle out from there. Cover art coming soon!

Had a good weekend, with a MN Lynx game on Friday night with friends, then blueberry picking at Rush River Produce in Wisconsin on Saturday, followed by lunch at the Smiling Pelican Bakeshop and shopping at Cultural Cloth, Secret Heart Gallery and Limbo Records in Maiden Rock. After that, we drove down to Alma, Wisconsin, to see the Castlerock Museum of Arms and Armor and have coffee at the gay-owned Fire & Ice Coffee and Ice Cream Shop. Both are must-sees! The ice cream shop is part of a hotel (same owner) and has a glorious garden courtyard. The decor is eclectic and quite cool and we are now eyeing a trip down to stay at the hotel. After that, we drove back up to Stockholm, WI for a trip to The Palette (a kitchen store with useful things) and the bookstore whose name I always forget. The bookstore owner fired up his Wimhurst Machine and proudly showed off his Tesla coil and we bought a book on Tesla, all of which was quite fun.

Sunday was a work and Mom visit day. There was also bonus fun when I stumbled off a step ladder while trying to cut back the neighbor's tree from the power line. So now I have a sprained ankle and the neighbor is supposed to get their landlord to cut it back before I call the utility company. Sigh. Just a general nuisance, though it will be worse than that if it damages the power line.

On tap for this week, more work, healing my ankle, actual writing, Killjoys (Season 3), a reading at Quatrefoil Library and a play.


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Which included the following:
  • Janelle Monae's Dirty Computer Tour stop in town. Verdict: excellent performance, not a great venue for it. But glad I got to go with my friend who had an extra ticket. Haven't gotten to hang with her ages so that made it more fun. Also, I do so love this song and the accompanying video.
  • A quiet 4th of July after Jana left to go teach workshops in Grand Marais, MN. At least until the fireworks started it up and went until after midnight.
  • Woke up groggy, headachy and with an ear infection brought on by not great ear plugs. Had to day job because other people did not get their ducks in a row and I was backup.
  • Ended up hanging out with a friend at home on Friday and watching Tsui Hark's latest. It was okay, if a tad squicky and odd in spots.
  • Saturday was the Mill City Farmer's Market and errands and sundries, followed by going to see Baskerville at Park Square Theater with my friend Julia of Bingley's Teas fame. The play is about a  genderswapped Holmes and Watson pursuing the Hound and features a ton of slapstick, goofy humor and a bunch of laugh out loud moments. Well worth seeing!
  • We also checked out Afro Deli beforehand and had a tasty meal of delights from various cultures.
  • Today has been all about food preservation and now, off to go check on friend's cats while she  deals with major unpleasantness. Here's hoping the new week brings better things!
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I went and volunteered at a work thing on Thursday, helping recycle a bunch of day job office supplies with a group of students from one of the international high schools. It was okay (the schools that send students get a bunch of office supplies), if a tad disorganized. I gather it was a first run on this. I do have to agree with my colleague who completely freaked at the number of hanging and regular folders we were putting in recycling - it does seem like a missed opportunity for reuse. But we did pull out a bunch of stuff; the teachers took some, I grabbed a couple of usable books to donate/give to various places (my mother's nursing home was pleased at getting a couple of medical dictionaries that staff could use for studying for certificates and such, for example), the schools got a bunch of stuff. And it didn't go to the landfill, so that was good. But yeah. So many file folders....

Thursday evening, I went to a PFund Foundation reception for the grantees that we selected for awards back in February and March. I've been on the Community Review Board for the last couple of years. It's a fascinating process: the applications for trans and genderqueer folks who are people of color and/or immigrants get special attention because of the various social obstacles and lack of support they often face. Then there's criteria for community leadership, contributions to their communities, what their plans are, whether they are in North or South Dakota (because there's not a lot of support there) and some other criteria. After we do our review, which includes an online review process, online evaluations, then several hours in which we thoroughly discuss our favs at a meeting at the Foundation, the Board adds some additional folks based on targeted funds. All told, 32 people got funding this year for a bunch of amazing work, everything from researching femme-centered spaces, to traveling to international conferences to going back to school to organizing events for LGBTQ+ POC folks in different areas. So good stuff all around and I'm happy that I bumped my twice a year donation to a monthly sustainer schedule. And it's great to work on something that is majority-run by POC folks and mostly funds POC and immigrant queer folks.

Friday was the new Print Matters show, formerly known as the Twin Cities Antiquarian Book Fair. It takes place at the MN Fairgrounds in an building without air conditioning during what is often one of the hottest weeks in summer and I think they're going to have to evaluate that. But we went, we bought a few books and I bought a signed Edward Gorey poster from a delightful older gay couple who were celebrating their 46th anniversary. We also walked a lot on concrete, which becomes pertinent shortly.

Saturday, I was really hoping to go to the Save Our Future (No Baby Jails) March, so inevitably, I woke up with a migraine and my bad leg acting up (every now and again it has enough of my shenanigans, which in this case was all the Thursday and Friday running around) so we had to cancel. Instead, it was a day of slow moving productivity and redecorating the bedroom (around the new Gorey). The bedroom looks much better, and other than having to take a hot bath to be functional at all, I was doing somewhat better at the end of the day. And there was news! I am applying to do a gaming-related thing and have moved up in the process! Next up, actual proposals. More on that when/if there's more on that. Did a few other Press-related things, did some writing, did some reading. Progress!


Book sale! Lest I forget, all Queen of Swords Press titles are on sale at Smashwords for July! Smashwords pays a higher percentage of royalties than Amazon does and well, they're not Amazon, so you should go check them out and pick up a few ebooks, preferably including ours.

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I'm too angry to talk about politics coherently right now, so please assume I'm as upset as most other compassionate human beings out there. Do what you can do. I'm donating, contacting representatives, volunteering for sundry things, attempting to support my communities and planning on marching this weekend. So this is a post about other things.

The weekend, for example. I spent Friday evening at 4th Street Fantasy hanging out with friends, which was lovely. Saturday I was off to exotic St. Paul for the Books and Beer Pop-Up Store at Summit Brewing. It was pleasant - sales were slow but the networking was good so it was useful. I got leads for events next year which will come in handy. Sunday, I woke up with a killer migraine, but after puking and napping, I managed to haul myself back to 4th Street Fantasy for dim sum brunch. I did enjoy this immensely - good group, good food, good chat. I stopped by the con for more friend time, then went back home to do some work. The migraine lingered all day so we skipped TC Pride (I'm going to other Prides later this year), then went to see Ocean's 8. Really enjoyed this and highly recommend it, by the way.

Other things going on this week: sent a CV out for consideration for a gaming project, got asked for a writing sample. Sent that. Now we wait. Wrangling pirate stuff and hoping to embark on edits soon. New story in progress, Blood Moon in progress, stuff happening slowly.

Fun thing: we're planning a trip to the Edward Gorey Museum and the Whydah Pirate Museum in September! I get very few nonworking vacations so really looking forward to this.

Day job: is a remarkable giant mess.

More stuff soon.

Road trip!

Jun. 13th, 2018 08:23 pm
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My friend Matt and I decided to go explore some of the Driftless region of Wisconsin last weekend while Jana was off winning fame and glory (Jana Pullman, winner of the Fine Binding Award at the Degolyer Bookbinding Competition, second time in a row). The "Driftless" refers to the fact that glaciers never passed through the area so it's quite hilly and scenic, with lots of rivers and ponds as a result. Our first stop was Viroqua, WI, which is a few miles from the Organic Valley Co-op offices. We ate a fab lunch at the Driftless Cafe, shopped at the art emporium, bought books at Driftless Books and Music and stopped by the Viroqua Co-op, which is expanding. It was lovely!

After that, we went to the Spring Green Inn to check in, then on to Spring Green for dinner at Freddy Valentine's, the restaurant in the old bank. From there, we went to Arcadia Books, which is a nice general bookstore with a cafe attached. Then back to the hotel to read, rest and sleep.

Because we missed out on House on the Rock on Friday, we decided to combine our House on the Rock and Taliesin tours on Saturday. Reader, this was ill-advised. But off we went to Taliesin for a very early lunch in the charming cafe before embarking on the walking tour of the house. Then we got to spent a couple of hours clambering about the house and grounds, which are quite lovely. Our tour guide was quite knowledgeable and it's remarkable how engaging the place is, given the ax murders (seriously unpleasant, FYI), the two fires, the nearly sliding off the hill and the various other traumatic events in the house's history.

Then tea, then off to House on the Rock! Matt loved it, as I predicted, and we walked the whole house and grounds for...hours. It is glorious, it is completely over the top and you emerge exhausted, which we did. So, of course, I had a ticket for American Player's Theater that night. I love outdoor theater, I love "As You like It," what could go wrong? Initially, nothing. We stopped by Paradise Tea/No Rules Gallery in Spring Green and had dinner at a place that we were assured was an "actor's hangout" (apparently we looked like "American Gods" fans). Matt dropped me off in the parking lot and I acquired some tea and a scarf that doubled as a mosquito net and caught the shuttle up the big hill to the open air theater. I found my seat and read P.D. James until the show started. The production was quite good and other than being a bit tired, I was enjoying myself. Right up until the lightning started. 20 minutes before the end of the play, they had to call it off and evacuate the theater. This consisted of piling people into the shuttles while the rest of us jogged down the steepish hills in the rain. It was a very full house so this took a few minutes. And then, of course, my phone wasn't working. Fortunately, Matt decided that things looked dicey and showed up to rescue me without being called. And back we went to the Inn.

The next day was a drive home with a lengthy tour of La Crosse on the way. La Crosse has a very nice gaming store downtown and is far more interesting that I give it credit for. Got back around 5, did laundry, worked and collapsed. It was an excellent road trip. And now I am planning more.

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Last week was action-packed! Day job has an "informed citizenry" program in which they send us to the MN State Capitol to take a tour, meet with lobbyists (theirs), state senators and reps (theirs), go to committee meetings and  such. I availed myself of the opportunity, seeing as this is stuff I should know more about and it it was pretty interesting. I haven't toured the Capitol since the remodel and it is quite gorgeous. And somehow, I had missed the memo that Burnsville (southern suburb) had elected a lesbian/queer woman as one of their state reps and she was leading a sit-in against gun violence. The rotunda was full of Moms Demand Action protestors and the rep was taking pictures and giving interviews so it was pretty exciting. Anyway, will be back and need to start committing to lobby days upon occasion.

Thursday was volunteering at Buster's on 28th for Dining Out for Life, a nationwide benefit for local AIDS organizations. The local one benefits the Aliveness Project which provides free hot meals, a food bank, case management, medical support, a community garden and other services. We ate out for breakfast, then I volunteered for the lunch shift (which was quite slow), then called it a day. Things may have been slow at Buster's (which is a nice pub with good food and nice people and you should eat there if you are in south Minneapolis), but I gather they were hopping elsewhere. Waiting to find out if Aliveness made their funding goals now.

I've got a new interview up about my publishing adventures at Queen of Swords Press as well as my writing career at Shelfies on the Underground Book Reviews site. More coming soon.


Also, hey, finished a book in the sense of doing the last rewrite (awaiting copy edits now) and starting the publishing process. Medusa's Touch by Emily L. Byrne will be releasing from Queen of Swords Press on 5/20/18, just in time for this year's Pride StoryBundle and other fun. Book Designer Terry Roy did a spiffy job on the cover, despite being on her way into knee surgery What's it about? It's a sexy lesbian science fiction romance, set in the far future. More news coming soon!

"Betrayal, desire and danger: how did a simple side job go so wrong? Medusa Pilot TiCara X273 is in over her implants and she’s going to need all the help she can get from the lovely Sherin Khan…if she can learn to trust her."





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Because if that's not an attention-grabbing headline, I don't know what is. :-) It is available on Amazon and it includes my essay "Once Upon a Time in Mexico," the saga of how I almost got traded for my then worth in nose candy back in the 1980s. Good times! Also, lots of essays, stories and poems from other women about their travel experiences. There is also swag and more swag of the book cover available on t-shirts, tote-bags and such. I am about a hair away from getting My Wandering Uterus shower curtains for everyone to enjoy!

I have pretty, pretty
paperbacks of Alex Acks's Murder on the Titania, the new Queen of Swords Press title! It's up for preorder now, but there will be copies at ClexaCon and WisCon!

Tonight, I am off for a sanity break to see the rebooted Tomb Raider but when not doing that or day jobbery, I am writing like a mad thing. There is a new Emily Byrne romantic sf novel in rewrites, Blood Moon is moving along and there are 3 short stories in progress. Also, need to do some proposals. And more stuff. Day job is still being Dread Pirate Roberts to my Wesley, so no updates there. Possessions purge is ongoing and kind of swell, at this point. I have decided to break my local con fast and go to 4th Street Fantasy because they are making some interesting changes. We will see how that goes.
More soon...

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Wow! So I liked Black Panther quite a bit and will certainly see it again!

I thought the women were awesome (but wanted some Angela Bassett kicking ass on screen time). Go see it if you haven't already!

And if you have seen Black Panther, but aren't watching Black Lightning, you should be. It's about a middle-aged African American superhero, pulled out of retirement to fight some seriously scary and realistic villains. There's great queer rep in the form of his eldest daughter, who's just discovered that she has powers too, and a great supporting cast. Good writing, good acting, well worth checking out.

Apart from this, I caught an interesting poetry reading with Stephanie Burt and Mary Jo Bang on Wednesday night. I don't often make it out to hear poets who aren't sfnal read, but this was definitely worthwhile. I'm supposed to be out at an opening at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts tonight, but instead I'm home nursing a small migraine, getting caught up stuff and reviewing scholarship applications for the PFund Foundation. This year, I'm doing LGBTQ+ returning and graduate students, last year I did college, and they're all pretty amazing. Books are moving along, I'm learning stuff, I'm writing a bunch and I'm trying to figure out how to do more with next to no time, whie also getting a lot of rest. It's complicated.

I updated my events list for the University of MN Women Who Write event in March and am getting some other stuff finalized. Day job is, of course, doubling down, because why not?  Trying to remember to update out here more often.

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  • The recording of the podcast interview that I did on the Cocktail Hour Podcast is now live. This one is a lively and manageable 15 minutes or so long, but if you enjoy it and would like to hear more about what I'm up to, there's another recent interview with me up at Hannah's Bookshelf on North Manchester Radio.
  • I got a fabulous new acceptance that I can't announce yet and the gaming project I wrote for last year has been approved and is a go...and I can't say much more about that one yet because that's all I know right now. I sent out some more stories and I'm working on some new ones. I'm also going to be working on the erotic romance sf novel I finished but need to revise for another new project. I'm also working on a new Queen of Swords Press project, about which there will be more soon.
  • Lots of friends and acquaintances having terrible events of late - sending out general vibes to the universe that this week was the last of them and things get a lot better soon.
  • Had the fun of seeing a family heirloom on display in a local museum. When we moved my mother out from New York, she brought along a giant cut glass vase that came from my grandmother's house. She didn't want it packed up so after we wrapped it in a lot of bubblewrap, she carried on her lap in the car on the cross country drive. Then handed it to me when she got here. Seeing as it is about a foot and half tall, pretty heavy and not done in a style that clicks with anything we have, I approached the American Swedish Institute for an appraisal and prospective donation. They believed it to be the work of a Swedish American glass artist who was trained at Orrefors and moved to New York around the turn of the 19th Century. They also, bless them, took it off my hands. Time passed and I kept looking around but not seeing it on display, which was mildly disappointing. I've been going to museums my entire life and was looking forward to seeing something I'd grown up with on display in one. Today, it was up in the center cabinet in the dining room of the Turnblad Mansion, looking quite pretty. And huge. I'm pleased!
  • Looking forward to both the Pirates of Penzance and Black Panther this week because we contain multitudes!
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First announcements, so many announcements:
1. New title coming in April from Queen of Swords Press featuring a badass pirate who also happens to be bi. This is a fun book!

MURDER ON THE TITANIA AND OTHER STEAM-POWERED ADVENTURES by Alex Acks! Cover art by KaNaXa Designs.
Captain Marta Ramos, the most notorious pirate in the Duchy of Denver, has her hands full, what between fascinating murder mysteries, the delectable and devious Delilah Nimowitz, Colonel Geoffrey Douglas (the Duke of Denver’s new head of security) and her usual activities: piracy, banditry and burglary. Not to mention the horrors of high society tea parties. In contrast, Simms, her second in command, longs only for a quiet life, filled with tasty sausages and fewer explosions. Or does he? Join Captain Ramos, Simms and their crew as they negotiate the perils of air, land and drawing room in a series of fast-paced adventures in a North America that never was.



2. Tomorrow is the last day to sign up for the Queen of Swords newsletter and be entered for our first birthday giveaway! From the QoSPress Facebook wall -
Sign up for the Queen of Swords Press Newsletter by 1/16/18 and, because it's our 1st birthday, Precious, there are prizes!
1st - A Queen of Swords Press mug, a Reading at the Cafe soy candle from Frostbeard Studios (cool local business!) and an ebook of your choice.
2nd -  A Queen of Swords Press mousepad and pen and an ebook of your choice
3rd - an ebook of your choice

We don't sell your name, we just send you a newsletter with awesome book and author info in it.
https://queenofswordspress.com/

3. I've got a new post up at Queer Sci Fi - "
LGBTQ Science Fiction and Fantasy 2000-2010." This will be the last of the survey posts for a while; next up will be more detailed posts on specific time periods, changes in LGBTQ+ fiction, interviews, profiles of queer and/or influential authors and titles, etc.. I'm now tying them to my Patreon (patrons see them first! As well as additional material!) with the ultimate plan to pull them together into a book on the history of queer spec fic.

4. Guess who started the new year with a bang? Literally, in this case. I was heading across a lot of frozen parking lot to meet a friend to see
Proud Mary when I slipped and fell and banged my head pretty hard (on frozen ground, not concrete, fortunately), resulting in a mild concussion. I'm still recovering but am definitely on the mend. Lots of people stopped to check on me and my friend kept me well-hydrated and resting so it could have been much, much worse. Be careful out there, folks! I'm hoping to be well enough to go do my shift cooking for Open Arms of MN tomorrow afternoon, but we'll have to see how it goes. I did manage to go to lunch with some cool folks, like Ann Leckie this weekend so I'm not missing out on everything. Still prepping for my writing retreat weekend this week so wish me luck on that.

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