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One of magical things about having been connected to enough things to be “collectible” is getting to drop off a box of your papers and such, cheerfully announce what you were doing in 1993 or so and having someone get excited about that. I went by the Tretter Collection at the U of MN this morning to give them a box of files and books for my archive (I also have a satellite archive at the SFWA archives in Dekalb, FYI). This round includes some new books; Queen of Swords Press memorabilia; bisexual women’s organizing papers from the early 1990s (including my volunteer work for the 1993 March on Washington); bookstore info from Grassroots Books, my long ago feminist/queer bookstore; Iowa Women’s Music Festival memorabilia, also from the early 1990s; and miscellaneous activist memorabilia from various feminist and 1980s Central America solidarity and lefty activities. I think this adds another virtual cubic foot to my shelf space there so I have a great sense of accomplishment.

Other stuff that's been going on:
some lovely friends have been running interference for me for the last 6 weeks or so in order for me to get things done and some friends have been making sure I had some semblance of a work/life balance and Jana has been running errands and helping out and Alexa has been helping with Queen of Swords Press stuff and you are all awesome! Thank you!
Here's what I accomplished during that time:
1. New ghost story, "Lost Girl," written and accepted for the October 2019 issue of Fireside Magazine.
2. One new book set up for April release for Queen of Swords (WIRELESS AND MORE STEAM-POWERED ADVENTURES by Alex Acks - in preorder now!)
3. One gaming tie-in story draft nearly done, about which more later if the editor likes it when he sees it this weekend.
6. A couple of thousand words written on BLOOD MOON.
7. One requested gaming proposal outlined, the second in progress.
8. Two classes prepped - both are still open for registrations.
9. Two story pitches accepted.
10. One article accepted for the SFWA blog.
11. A talk on small press publishing given at DreamHaven
And probably stuff I'm forgetting.
One more push and I can take tomorrow (coincidentally, my birthday) off!

Birthday fundraiser, for those interested. I am once more raising money for SAGE, a national nonprofit that works with LGBTQ elders, seeing as I am now an elder. :-)

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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'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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On the happy, jolly end of things, I'll be doing a short reading and selling books at Wordbrew 6 this Sunday at Kieran's Irish Pub in Minneapolis. I also won a tea sampler in a contest that I don't remember entering. Desert Sage Natural makes some lovely spiced coffee so I look forward to trying their tea. I saw Colette last night and enjoyed it quite a bit. Lovely to see a movie about a pioneering woman writer that isn't carefully dequeered and/or defeminized. Splendid performances too; this is a role that Keira Knightley suits perfectly and the filmakers do a good job with the other queer characters as well. Other films seen in the last week that I also enjoyed: I Am Not Your Negro and Disobedience.

On the less happy end of things: Arisia seriously fucked up and I'm very angry and sorry to see it. I won't be going back again until the wronged parties say that things have improved a lot.

In the rest of life: work on Blood Moon continues slowly, but steadily. I'm taking an actual week off in November to write and do things of that ilk. Scourge of the Seas of Time (and Space) is puttering toward the release date of 12/1/18. I'm hoping to load the print version for preorder in the next week. Ebook preorders may be found here for those hoping to get a jump on things. I'm blitzing the universe with announcements and review copies and such so hopefully it soars. There are some wonderful stories in it.
Now off to unwind before bed.

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Mostly, my week was all about the pirate edits! The book is looking great and I hope to do a cover reveal pretty soon. If you're out on Twitter or Facebook, I'm posting a couple of tweets a week about different stories and their authors. Check out the #scourgeoftheseas hashtag to see what's going on. I'm throwing in bonus pirate content, too - songs, pictures, etc. (@qospress, if you want to avoid my political posts).

Speaking of pirates, I wrote a story called "One Night in Saint-Martin" which appeared earlier this year on the Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast. It's about a pirate, one Jacquotte Delahaye, and a spy, based loosely on Dumas' model for Milady, who cross paths for the second time on the island of Saint-Martin in the Caribbean in the mid 1600s. Europe is in turmoil and there are lots of proxy wars and spying and raiding and other fun and not so fun things going on in the European colonies. Anyway, if you listened to that or the idea just intrigues you, the original story, "The Letter of Marque," is now up at Curious Fictions. Curious Fictions is a short fiction subscription site and you can kick in $2 (or $5) to subscribe to my short fiction feed. Letter of Marque is chock full of sword fights, plots and ladies kissing AND if enough people express interest, I'll write a third story about these two characters. "One Night in Saint-Martin" is free to listen so you can enjoy that one and see if the concept grabs you.

Other than that, still no word on my day job so I might be getting laid off in the next couple of months after all. Rachel Gold and I got a contact from the local newspaper in St. Cloud and they want to interview us about our reading, so the news isn't all bad. And Jana and I went to a new performance venue in town and heard some amazing young queer artists last night. The host is the L-Spot, a fairly new bookstore/giftshop for queer women in the back of a spiffy vintage shop called Z Amore. L-Spot will be hosting more events so I'd recommend putting them on your radar if you're in the Cities. I'll also be dropping some Queen of Swords Press titles off there so you can buy some of our books too!

I'm working on some other events and hope to have news soon. I'm also working on not getting horribly sick or injured the rest of this year, so we'll see how that rather low bar for self-care goes.

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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.

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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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Pretty much all writing or publishing-related:
  • Finnish review site Rising Shadow gave my collection Out of This World: Queer Speculative Fiction Stories a glorious, thoughtful review. Seriously, this is going to be one of the ones I go back and reread on bad weeks.
  • A second judge for the Rainbow Awards has glowing things to say about Silver Moon, which bodes well for it to be a finalist in its category. Fingers crossed!
  •  The new Emily L. Byrne collection, Desire, is out on all ebook platforms and is getting a tiny bit of buzz. It is also a Goldie Award Nominee (when the website gets updated), running again Emily's other collection, Knife's Edge as well as Sacchi Green's powerhouse lesbian fairtytales antho Witches, Princesses and Women at Arms (which includes Emily's story "Toads, Diamonds and the Occasional Pearl"). Going to be something of a nailbiter of an award season around here!
  • A selection of Queen of Swords Press titles will be out at Bella Books soon. Bella Books Distribution is one of the surviving small book distributors so it will be nice to support them while they give QoSP titles a bit more of a footprint.
  • My talk on starting a small press may be garnering me some event invites for next year. More news as I have it. I'm also happy to Skype to your class, visit your book clubs, appear at your events and so forth. Ping me, we can work something out.
Now, I'm off to go see "Christmas at Pemberley" at The Jungle Theater and bask in what is hopefully a well-done Austen sequel!
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 Because between my shoulder being out and life in general, I haven't had a ton of good days, particularly the kind with lovely writer validation of the: "Yay, Catherine writes good! Write more, Catherine!" variety. Today, on the other hand, is awesome sauce in that regard.

I got an amazing shoutout from Martha Wells in her terrific World Fantasy 2017 Toastmaster speech for my Out of the Past columns. Her speech was about 'secret' histories and the ways that contributions by women, POC and queer folks get discredited, lost or forgotten and it's amazing. Many people doing terrific work are mentioned so do please check it out.

One of my editors said something lovely about my writing on Facebook and then a lovely poet heretofore unknown to me tweeted their love for my short fiction collection, Out of This World: Queer Speculative Fiction Stories. Lovely, lovely things to hear and much appreciated!

In other writing news, Blood Moon (Silver Moon sequel) is moving along and I've just had a travel essay accepted for an anthology called
My Wandering Uterus. New Queen of Swords Press news coming soon too! Stay tuned and go vote, if you haven't yet!

Also, manager from another area gave me surprise tasty chocolate cake - it was for someone else's celebration, but hey, cake! 

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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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