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New Release – We Are Not This Charity Anthology

October 30, 2016 Leave a comment

51rxx8jz1xlI’m happy to announce that my story “Trapped” is included in the newest release from Falstaff Books, “We Are Not This: Carolina Writers for Equality Charity Anthology.” Proceeds for this anthology go to Time Out Youth, Equality NC, and Queen City Theater Company.

This book is important to me and not only because my story is in it. Sit back and I’ll tell you a little story.

Once upon a late March afternoon in 2016, the North Carolina legislature decided that Charlotte’s inclusive stance regarding trans people using bathrooms consistent with their gender expression was a step too far in the direction of progress and equality. In reaction, a bill was introduced to the house in a special session and pushed through in a shocking burst of activity otherwise unknown in government process. Before the sun set, Governor Pat McCrory signed the bill into law.

But why is everyone so up in arms about HB2? Isn’t it meant to protect? (Read it here)

It depends on who you ask. Advocates for the bill insist it is designed to protect “women and children” against specifically male sexual predators masquerading as women to invade the privacy of public bathrooms and victimize them in that space.

But, it really doesn’t, and the bill does more than that.

The bill is a reaction to the idea of inclusion and equality recognizing trans people as people of their expressed gender identity instead of biological sex. It codifies discrimination and inequality in a way that is harmful to our fellow human beings and citizens. But despite the focus of the media and the conversation about this bill, it doesn’t ONLY target the LGBTQ community. It touches EVERYONE by preventing cities and counties from setting a minimum wage and by establishing definitions of protected classes and changes the way charges of discrimination can be adjudicated when the discrimination claim is based on race, religion, color, national origin, biological sex or disability. Originally, the bill removed the ability for claimants to pursue the charges in state court, but was amended. Charges of discrimination can now be pursued in state courts, but changed the statute of limitations from 3 years to 1 year (source).

But why is this important? Is it really about the bathrooms?

No – this law makes it possible for someone to be fired simply for being gay or transgender and limits the recourse against discriminatory behaviors. (source)

Take that in. North Carolina businesses can legally fire someone for sexual orientation or gender identity.

Legal codification of discrimination is something I cannot ignore. I have spoken out about it, I have communicated with my representatives and senators, I have signed petitions and made donations. Contributing to this anthology is another way I can do something to help those who are affected by North Carolina’s reprehensible HB2 “Bathroom Bill.”

I commend John Hartness at Falstaff Books for driving the development of this anthology and for his outspoken stance against this bill. I’m honored to be included with so many awesome authors to show that We Are Not This, and that we will not tolerate hate.

Get your copy digitally now. Print editions coming soon.

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Repeating, Reposting, Reblogging…in other words, cheating

March 22, 2013 2 comments

 

I’m not going to be original tonight, because I’ve tapped that vein for the day and am a mere husk of myself dying to go crawl into bed and get a few hours of oblivion before I have to get up and repeat the cycle. I’ve only got a few more weeks of crazy homework, and then it peters off a bit so I can catch my breath. Work isn’t going to get easier any time soon, so I’m just going to give up chasing my tail on that charge and do what I can as I can and hope that it will all work out somehow.

Instead of being original, I’m going to re-blog (what fucked up words we invent when we get new toys…) someone else’s ideas. I figure since he said it so well, that giving my own version of a similar swan song would be redundant. John Hartness and I do not have the same issues, per se, but we can all relate, and we can all probably relate to the article from The Onion that he references. So without further adieu, check out his post on Magical Words and revel in the truthiness….

On not writing, and poorly quoting, and onions. That last should really be singular. But anyway . . .

And seriously, if you get the chance to catch him, or any of the Magical Words gang at the various conventions, signings, etc, I highly recommend attending the panel/chatting them up at their tables/saying hey,  buying a book and getting it author-graphed. They’re a wise bunch of people, and the core philosophy of BICHOK is something we should all tattooed across the tops of our fingers. Hell, James R. Tuck could even do it…

 

Confession

I lied.

I said I was good at multitasking. I said I was good at handling all the million responsibilities that seem to encroach upon you with the title of “adult.” I said I could handle work and school and writing and all the other stuff I want to cram into my life.

Yeah, about that…

See, the thing is, I pretty much suck at multitasking. There are multiple, conflicting problems starting with my attention span. It’s the equivalent of a ferret on meth. Even doing research, I get distracted from the topic I’m supposed to be looking up by some other random shiny factoid and then I fall down the wikihole. Last week is a great example. I was working on a paper for my International Relations class on the effect of globalization on China’s domestic and foreign policies, and ended up watching almost two hours worth of video on the Westboro Baptist Church. Fucked up. Worse than that, I was taking notes because of how it related back to a novel I wrote when I was a teenager and I could finally see some connections I was too young and inexperienced to daydream on my own. And then I was looking for the original document…

…so you can see how this escalates and sends my world spinning out of control.

Now multiply that times infinity, because that’s how many times I’m distracted in an average week. (Granted, it’s highly unlikely that I would lose an almost two hour block at once, but a dozen little distractions add up fast.) I don’t seem to possess the will/skill/ability to drown out the distractions around me to keep myself on track…until I do, and then I hyper-focus on one thing, sacrificing all else to complete the One Task, and everything else falls apart. There appears to be no happy medium.

Which may be why there is no happy medium right now. Not enough play time, not enough decompression time, not enough creative time, and no energy left after this manic tail-chasing (and not the fun kind) to do the little things that seem to drain my enthusiasm by staring at me from their un-done-ness. I pretty much suck at following through, too. Lost interest is an epidemic to which I am prone, and being overwhelmed is akin to a paralyzing poison.

I know I’m just rebelling, even though I know the more productive course of action is making a plan and sticking too it. I’m rebelling so hard that I’m writing this post instead of doing one of the two papers, two mid-terms, and various other things that need to be completed this week. I’m doing this instead of rebooting the laundry. I’m doing this instead of all the things I will feel guilty about in 5…4….3…2….

So, yeah, back to work.

Recap of 2012

January 1, 2013 Leave a comment

So, 2012 is officially over and 2013 is crawling through the door with a throbbing head. Well, some of 2013. I won’t judge the revelers, even though I abstained and spent the night working on my big rock – killing the procrastination beast. A low key night churning out words, accomplishing things and crossing them off the interminable list was a win in my book, though perhaps not something most people would understand.

Every year, I set goals for myself, but I stay far away from resolutions. I set reading challenge goals through Goodreads, determining a list of things I want to read that I think will help improve me in some way (usually in the writerly-type way) and with the help of audiobooks, I’m very pleased to say that I far surpassed the goal, even though I didn’t hit up everything on the list. Here’s the list I selected at the beginning of the year with what I’ve read:

  •     The Ghost Pirates -William Hope Hodgson
  •     The Collected Ghost Stories of M.R. James
  •     Burn, Witch, Burn – A. Merritt
  •     To Walk the Night – William Sloane
  •     Darker Than You Think – Jack Williamson
  •     Conjure Wife – Fritz Leiber
  •     I Am Legend – Richard Matheson
  •     Richard Matheson: Collected stories 1-3
  •     Salem’s Lot – Stephen King
  •     The Dark Descent – edited by David Hartwell (the remainder)
  •     999 – edited by Al Sarrantonio (the remainder)
  •     Dreams of Terror and Death – HP Lovecraft
  •     The Watchers out of Time – HP Lovecraft
  •     Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos – HP Lovecraft (and others)
  •     The Road to Madness – HP Lovecraft
  •     The Horror in the Museum – HP Lovecraft (and others)
  •     Book of the Supernatural – edited by Stephen Jones
  •     The World Without Us – Alan Weisman
  •     Book of the Supernatural – edited by HP Lovecraft (duplicate)
  •     Lovecraft Unbound – edited by Ellen Datlow
  •     The Dream World of HP Lovecraft – Donald Tyson
  •     Danse Macabre – Stephen King
  •     Supernatural Noir – edited by Ellen Datlow
  •     Song of Kali – Dan Simmons
  •     Necronomicon – Donald Tyson
  •     Alhazred – Donald Tyson
  •     11/22/63 – Stephen King
  •     Inheritance – Christopher Paolini
  •     The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her own Making – Catherynne M. Valente
  •     Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs

In addition to this, I also read a truckload of other books for a grand total of 57. Burning through all of Charlaine Harris’s Sookie books helped buff that count considerably. They were serious brain candy that I devoured during my commute by way of audiobook. I was also able to keep up with some more contemporary releases to see what’s selling and being eaten up by a (sometimes) less than discerning public. I’m looking forward to finding new things to get in to this year, of following through with ongoing series and of seeing if I can at least meet that number.

As with last year, I’m keeping my goal modest and setting it at 30 books. It’s not that I think I can’t attain it, but I have school to contend with, and I know of a few things that will take considerable time, from travel to more writing and editing and such. I’m trying to be realistic, which is something I’m not always successful at being (but then again, I don’t always want to be, either). But, regardless, here’s the 2013 list:

  1.     The Legend of Eli Monpress (omnibus) – Rachel Aaron
  2.     House of Leaves – Mark Z. Danielewski
  3.     Lovecraft Unbound – edited by Ellen Datlow
  4.     Darkness – edited by Ellen Datlow
  5.     The Ghost Pirates -William Hope Hodgson
  6.     The Kingdom of the Gods – N. K. Jemisin (the remainder)
  7.     Book of the Supernatural – edited by Stephen Jones
  8.     Salem’s Lot – Stephen King
  9.     Conjure Wife – Fritz Leiber
  10.     Dreams of Terror and Death – HP Lovecraft
  11.     V Wars – Jonathan Mayberry
  12.     The Summoner – Gail Z. Martin
  13.     Mad Kestrel – Misty Massey
  14.     Richard Matheson: Collected stories 1
  15.     Richard Matheson: Collected stories 2
  16.     Richard Matheson: Collected stories 3
  17.     Burn, Witch, Burn – A. Merritt
  18.     Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
  19.     Thanks, But This Isn’t for Us – Jessica Page Morrell (the remainder)
  20.     The Trouble with Eating Clouds – Edmund Schubert
  21.     To Walk the Night – William Sloane
  22.     The Dream World of HP Lovecraft – Donald Tyson
  23.     Necronomicon – Donald Tyson
  24.     Alhazred – Donald Tyson
  25.     The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There – Catherynne M. Valente
  26.     Darker Than You Think – Jack Williamson
  27.     The Dark Descent – edited by David Hartwell (the remainder)
  28.     Scattered, Smothered, and Chunked – John Hartness
  29.     Luka and the Fire of Life – Salman Rushdie
  30.     Boneshaker – Cherie Priest

And the writing side? I’ve been toying with this and trying to figure out what is realistic, what would be challenging and what would just about kill me. I don’t necessarily want to settle on “realistic” and I’d rather stay away from what would kill me to do, but I am not quite sure where those boundaries lie, especially with taking on 3 classes during my spring semester this year. There are a lot of variables to calculate, so what I’ve done so far is this:

  • Sucked up my irritation and paid for a year’s subscription to Duotrope (but that is another post/rant altogether) using the gift card I received from my company Christmas party
  • Used said gift card to pick up a copy of the Grammar bible that I’ve had my eye on for some time along with a self-editing book for writers which came recommended by a couple of other writers I’ve seen and respect.
  • Spent some quality time with a calculator to determine that 250,000 words is a reasonable output for me for the year. The bigger challenge? Tracking. Ugh. Tedious, but necessary. I have ideas on how to do this and stick with it, so I’m going to do the best I can with that.

It’s not a monumental list, but it’s a beginning, and that’s what matters. These aren’t resolutions, because those are meant to be broken. They are simply steps in a long evolution. So enough babbling for now, time to get on with the important part…writing the story.

Even the Spammers are Getting Lazy

December 16, 2012 3 comments

This is the time of year that seems to encompass a ton of frenetic energy with the almost obsessive-compulsive desire to linger in bed with a book, or just to spend some serious quality time with a comfy pillow and the blankets pulled up to your chin.

Hmm. After writing that, I’m reconsidering my work space….maybe I should relocate to the bed?

STOP!

See what I mean? Crazy thoughts of laziness intruding all over the place this time of year. I’m thinking that we all have the hibernation instinct. I know my body seems to attract junk food as if it were trying to get together insulation for a long winter’s nap. (Seriously, body, we don’t do this and there is absolutely no need for a massive plate of nachos and a bucket of margarita. You’re just going to knock yourself into a carb coma and….wait. You sneaky little bastard…)

But, despite it all, I’ve been writing on a potentially massive WIP and I’ve been creating new content out the wazoo while I have both the time and the brain cells to rub together. A part of blog maintenance is checking the comments spam filter. It’s kind of like cleaning out the drain after a shower; no one really wants to do it, and you could leave it there, but if you do it now, it’s less gross than in the morning. Like the helpful shower drain, sometimes things get caught in the spam filter that are legitimate comments, so before I hit the delete button, I always scan over them. This time, I couldn’t help but laugh.

spam 2

click for a larger image to read the insanity

spam 1

click for a larger image to read the insanity.

Even the spammers are getting lazy! Aside from the standard SEO nonsense, apparently my SLaR on A Discovery of Witches actually translates into a review of laptop computers and somehow also relates to a decision between Zune and iPod? And talking about my dad dying was a …comic strip? It’s not like the kitschy little comment about appreciating my writing or even how hot my content is, and the squirrelly ones about learning new things on blogs from StumbleUpon and thanking me for not having re-hashed material. I know they’re bullshit, but they seem legit when you scan through quickly. Let’s get back to the old days when I actually had to read more than a word or two to determine if it was poorly translated garbage, if it was even remotely related to the post and let’s get back to stumping me to see if the ol’ bullshit meter still works. Bring your best shot, spammers! My filter is empty, and I’m going to start publicly shaming the really horrible ones. Let’s see if you can get out of the winter slumps and earn your posting pennies.

Adventures in Biology

August 26, 2012 Leave a comment

No, I’m not taking Bio this semester, though I’m sure it will come about sooner or later. What I’m referring to today is not the distant study of the human body, but the personal experience of when your body goes haywire and why it’s not entirely a bad thing for a writer to experience.

Unless it kills you, of course. That would suck and would totally tank your word count goals.

Don’t get me wrong, the body going nuts isn’t exactly going to inspire creativity, nor is it exactly conducive to sitting still and writing. What helps is the reminder of physical pain, vulnerability and seeing/experiencing things one may not otherwise see/experience – like the interior of a hospital (if one is not a medical professional), the repeated punctures of a needle by a nurse trying to draw blood from your stubborn veins, or feeling the peculiar effects of injected pain killers. There’s also the reminder of the drama involved in something that seems so scary, or horrible, only to find out that it’s not as bad as first perceived. There’s something in that to be utilized as well.

I got to go on one of these joyrides sometime after midnight on Wednesday. It was nothing serious, just my gallbladder trying to show me who wears the brass knuckles in my body and prove that it knows how to use them. (Don’t piss of that fucker – it fights dirty.) After the whole pain-fear-pain-stress-pain-anxiety-sleep cycle was over (which was sometime mid afternoon on Friday when I could maintain consciousness for longer than 30 minutes at a time), I got a chance to reflect on the experience and think about how this could and would likely enrich my writing. I knew a bit more about what it felt like to have internal organs get pissed off enough to send you to the ER, how a car ride that one takes at least weekly could seem to take months when you can’t sit still, the utter lack of pride when asking the nurse WHEN they were going to make it stop hurting because you just can’t take it any longer, and the utter lack of concern when laying in the same bed thirty minutes later and just not giving a fuck about what happens.

Is it sick that I’m really looking forward to incorporating this somewhere, somehow?

No, I know it is. I just thought I’d draw out the other scribblers. We’re fucked up, but damn is it fun!

Anyway, that’s my 2c for the weekend (since it is still Sunday for a little while longer). Time to finish folding the laundry so I can crawl into bed and resume my “normal” life again in the morning.

2013 – The Year of the Con

August 22, 2012 Leave a comment

There are all kinds of wonderful writer-ly things I’m going to be doing through the end of next year, I don’t know if I’ll be able to stand it. Well…two kinds of things at least. First, getting to go and see Stephen King’s reading in Lowell, MA in December. I’m leery about going to the Great White North in the midst of Hell, err, winter, but it’s worth it to be 4 rows from a living god. Thankfully, this is scheduled to happen before the Mayan apocalypse, and I can’t say that the proximity of such an event to the end of the world as we know it (I hope I’m not the only one I ear-wormed there) is entirely coincidental. But I won’t care. After being in the same room with a man I’ve admired since I was a teenager, I will die happy.

Provided that we live through the apocalypse (given our track record so far with the raptures, I think we’ve got a shot), 2013 will be the year of the Con. For starters, I’ll be attending the local ConCarolinas because it’s local, fun, relatively cheap, and has some awesome guests. Then, a short week and a half later, I’ll be headed to the Big Easy to attend the World Horror Convention at the reportedly haunted Hotel Monteleone in the French quarter. And, because that just wasn’t awesome enough, I also have a ticket to the Bram Stoker Awards dinner. This is the moment I might actually die, just for those who may be concerned. I will be in the same room as big name horror authors and editors. I’m all but squeeing with glee as I type this out. Six weeks (ish) later, I will also be attending Dragon*Con in Atlanta. Or, at least, that’s the plan. Depends on whether I remember to scope out hotel reservations and get registered when it gets posted. Since this year’s event hasn’t happened yet, I’ll have to wait to find out the details…and that might be my undoing.

So, next year will be even more busy, chaotic and (hopefully) productive and successful. I’m looking forward to one hell of a year. C’mon Lucky 13 – show me whatcha got!

Until later…

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