Hello, Hello World!

 

hello-world-cover

 

Today is debut day for Hello World, a lovely piece of science fiction by my sister Pandamoon authors Tiffany Rose and Alexandra Tauber. Jack from Phaethon and Scott from Hello World are very much kindred spirits. What’s great about Scott, though, is that he also brings much-needed asexual rep to the world of sci-fi hackers.

From the official release summary:

Scott’s skills as a surveillance expert come in pretty handy when he’s breaking down firewalls. But hacktivism isn’t enough; he’s going after the holy grail—UltSyn’s Human Information Drives, human assets implanted with cerebral microchips. While plenty of hackers are trying to save the world these days, all Scott wants is to find his sister.

After following the clues to London, he makes a plan to kidnap the technical marvel heading into town. When this Human Information Drive turns out to be someone unexpected his nerve waivers. The HID, who calls herself Sonia, would be priceless on the market, but born out of joint self-preservation the two team up.

With her contacts, they travel across Europe in the search of personal secrets and leave a trail of industrial espionage all for the sake of misdirection. As the unlikely pair digs deeper into restricted databases, Scott discovers that those who enlist with UltSyn get far more than they bargained for. Not only is this secret HID program is much bigger than he had imagined, students are lining up for a future they only think this biotech wonder company can provide. Even worse, these leads are getting him nowhere closer to his own goals.

Plunged into a world of human trafficking, Scott is determined to find his sister no matter the cost, which tests Sonia’s fragile friendship with him. But when the information reveals the people closest to Scott have been working for UltSyn all along, he has to find them—before UltSyn finds him.

I got to read this very early, so the temptation to tell you all about it is strong, but to avoid spoilers, I got you a quote from Tiffany Rose instead. Here’s her response when asked about her feelings on going back over the book in light of today’s sociopolitically charged climate.

“When I first wrote Hello World, I gave no thought to the use the guns in the book. Every fictional action hero in America uses them. But after being a peaceful activist for years, I have a new perspective on the action in the novel. In no way do I support running around causing chaos, but upon editing the story, it became a study on violence.

Is a silent and suffocating oppression more or less violent than firing a gun? I live in a country that over-values the second amendment, but what is someone really promising when they vow to “protect themselves” with a gun? What about hacking? Is that a “violent” attack? Thought experiments like the trolley problem have been discussed at length, and in the days to come, I believe it will continue to be without a real answer.

In the end, I’m glad I got to explore these ideas in fiction, since the one thing that continues to truly break my heart as an activist is how often I am unable to protect a specific person from harm. Hello World’s action allows me to explore the possibility that sometimes, no matter what violence you could resort to, saving one specific person may not be possible…but even in that case, you put your heart into it and fight for them all the same.”

I love this book, and I strongly recommend that you pick it up. And remember to leave a review on Goodreads!

Rolling Your Activist Character

Problem: Every person who is distressed by current events is trying to do everything possible to fix it all at once, reducing efficiency and causing burnout.

Input: My friend Tiffany Rose says “Pick a lane and drive like hell.” A woman at a protest, whose picture ends up on Twitter, wears a cardboard sign on her backpack with her name and what she can provide (“I have charger cables, power strip, tampons, cough drops, ibuprofen. Please ask!”). These things swirl around in my head with my experience at the women’s march, trying to pack everything anyone could possibly need. One tiny backpack full of snacks, water, first aid kit, back-up batteries…too many things, making them all more difficult to get to.

Solution: Character sheets.

Start With Your Stats:

Are you strong? Creative? Agile? Huge? Smol? Fill out that part of your sheet to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. (You can print the sheet or make a new copy to edit from.) This should help you pick a class.

Pick Your Class:

Team Lead: The team lead makes phone calls, organizes events, starts chants, and has ideas. They know their friends & who has what skills, as well as how to put them to good use. They also have to be watching the news for new things to jump on. They have everyone’s emails, phone numbers, etc., and protect that data. Probably a job for extroverts.

Tank: If push comes to shove at a protest, you get to the front. Take serious self-defense classes and swear to only use your new skills to prevent harm coming to yourself or your friends. Try something (other than boxing) on this list. Get some good combat boots and a thick hoodie.

Medic: This requires training. Get an education in first aid, CPR, and household hedgewitchery. Learn your legal rights and responsibilities. You are the one who needs to carry a full first aid kit. This includes protest-specific things like L.A.W. You can find some resources here.

Supply: Carry all the necessary stuff. Bring food, water, phone chargers, ear plugs, bandannas, heat packs, basic first aid kit, hygiene supplies, and a little book of helpful phone numbers & addresses (like lawyers, hospitals, friends, local orgs, etc.). Get a good backpack and a quick-access bag. A little grocery cart or tough-wheeled wagon wouldn’t hurt, either. If you live outside a major city, you should also have a car. A van is even better.

Engineer: Those awesome LED protest signs? The messages projected onto buildings? Those are your job. If you can program an Arduino, you can do even better. You have the gadgets; flashlight, laser pointer, 2-way radios, multitool, anything you think might come in handy. It would also be good to learn basic household emergency skills.

Messenger: This encompasses artists, writers, and people papering the streets. Make sure any facts you use to craft a message are accurate before you use them. Run a blog, a Pinterest board, a local mini gallery inside a coffee shop. Make powerful art and make sure as many people see/hear/read it as possible.

Spy: Not as much fun as it sounds. Involves some technical setup (likely running TOR inside a vm, for starters) and hanging out in hate groups anon/pseudonymously. Would have to keep an eye on places like Stormfront, 8chan, and Breitbart, and report on them to their potential targets. Get lots of screencaps. Not for those with PTSD. Will be stressful. Can also spend time reporting hate groups on social media.

Specialist: You’ve got a skill that other people don’t. You speak three languages. You make phone apps. Somebody needs you. You might want to volunteer with a local organization who needs your skills. If your skill isn’t full-time useful, you can still choose one of the other classes and use your skill where you get the chance: teach your friends sign language, knit hats and scarves in cause-promoting colors and patterns, cook for a gathering.

 

It’s just an idea. But it might help.

For more protest advice, see this slightly older blog post.

Stay safe out there.

 

Winter Solstice (On the Whole)

Living with your own body as it devolves via chronic illness is, as I have mentioned before, no fun. It’s a bit like getting covered in layer after layer of ash until you feel heavy and small, until you start to wonder if this is your own personal Pompeii and soon you’re going to be a ruin.

So, that is a thing that happened to me for years.

And then there was this year.

This year, we lost icons. We saw war. We were set up for a political future that will try to destroy us.

On a separate plot line, I started to get control of my illness. I started to lock down the habits that would let me fight another day. I figured out what food was killing me and banished it. I swapped out the drugs that were killing me for ones that help my body get better.

Things were looking up, but my heart still felt the weight of all that ash.

Years of can’t. Years of worse. Years of no.

I didn’t think that part was getting better. But little by little, it was.

And sometimes that carbon layer over my core self cracks open a little wider.

I’m writing this to let you know that it can happen to you, too.

Maybe some night, you’ll be sitting at your desk, listening to “Out Tonight” and thinking about the people who care about you, not for you as an invalid, but about you as a human, realizing that even though you can’t stand up for long without fainting, you have nonetheless become a excellent and expressive chair-dancer. You will be absentmindedly poking around inside your memory and the rest of who you are will come back to you.

Maybe some night, Pompeii will crack wide open and you will shine out, remembering that you are still a force of nature.

***

Tonight is the Winter Solstice.

It will only get brighter from here.

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We Will Fix This: A Story of Writer Twitter

There is always a lot of need floating around on the internet. From massive organizations to one person’s medical bills, everyone turns to their expanded social network to raise funds. Many people in Writer Twitter can’t afford to donate, but we collectively have a network of millions, and sometimes, when life gives someone a flat tire, Writer Twitter steps up to fix it.

During #Socktober, I got tipped off to the event by another writer. As a result, my friends and I donated hundreds of pairs of socks to local shelters. Even my publisher, Pandamoon, got in on it.

When my writer-friend had emergency surgery, we crowdsourced the cost and turned a potential financial disaster into a mild inconvenience.

When a friend wrote a brilliant book but couldn’t afford the cost of self-publishing, Writer Twitter came together and got one job done at a time; editing, proofreading, cover art, and so on, until the book was released.

And right now, we’re doing it again.

A writer who has pushed for diversity and community in SFF applied for a grant from the SFWA to help cover the medical costs of a serious physical illness. She got a letter of approval…and then one that said “Oops, sorry, we didn’t mean to send you that. Best of luck!”

The amount of money is negligible to an established organization like the SFWA, but would have made a world of difference to a writer struggling with medical costs. The SFWA screwed up big time.

But Writer Twitter stepped up.

A storm of tweets and retweets blew in. Over the last few hours, we have raised $2000 of the $4500 it will take to replace the broken promise made by the SFWA. We’re still going.

People who do good, especially people who do good via internet, are very rarely noticed or lauded. They get to help someone else out, and know that if they need that support network someday, it will try to be there for them, too.

But that’s not good enough for me, so I’m going to boost some of the writers who stepped in and made a difference in someone’s life today.

If you want to help, the fund is here.

Below will be a list of people who stepped in to do a good thing today. This post will be updated over the next week.

@justinaireland, who went to bat with the SFWA to call them on their bad behavior.

@DailyJulianne, who started the crowdfund.

@FromPawnToQueen, who alerted me (and many others) of the writer in need.

@nickyoflaherty, who offered books for donors.

@CyborgN8VMari who offered to write custom insults for anyone who donated.

@KristineWyllys, who offered custom inspirational morning greetings for donors.

@LJSilverman1, who offered personal letters of thanks to donors.

…and many more.

 

msmarvelgood
Ms. Marvel, G. Willow Wilson

 

 

 

What The Hell Is Our Problem?

Does anybody else feel like their well-being is suddenly dependent on winning a game of political Whack-A-Mole?

Or like they’ve been dragged out in the middle of the night and dropped into Rebellion Boot Camp, despite the fact that they need to go to work in the morning?

Or how about the vague sensation that someone spilled cheap coffee on the world we were working on for years and now we have to start all over?

Do any of those things sound familiar?

 

If you’re anything like me (and I suspect a lot of you are, because this blog attracts like-minded people), all of those things sound familiar. And maybe you also feel that you must act. That you must find who has caused this mess and shake them until they fix it. I wish it was that simple, too. The trouble is that it only works in small groups.

You are not a member of a small group with a problem to address.

You are one tiny white blood cell in a system that contains billions of cells, a system that also includes this constant barrage of hostile infections.

The job of a white blood cell is to detect a problem in the immediate vicinity and attack.

Millions of us have to do this. It will not be orderly. It will not be pretty. It will not always be the idyllic decisive victory of watching Captain America punch Hitler in the face. Sometimes it will mean writing a letter. Sometimes it will mean cleaning up graffiti. Sometimes it will mean telling your racist or sexist family member that they are wrong, even if it means committing that unforgivable sin, Making a Scene.

Sometimes it may mean putting your money, job, or safety on the line.

You have to do it anyway. Because if you—all of you—aren’t doing your job as white blood cells, this whole body is going under, and all the people you ever cared about or respected or admired are going with it. Free speech, access to medical care, your right to vote…if we don’t do our jobs, these things we take for granted will vanish, and we’ll be left groping around for them in the dark, saying “I know I just had it a minute ago…”

Are you ready?

 

Let’s say you’re ready. What do you do?
You’ve seen the thousands of ideas, right? Sign a petition, write a letter, go to a protest, donate to an organization, make a phone call (ugh). You should do as many of those things as you can. But don’t mistake them for a finished job. That job will never be finished, and it will also never be enough.

The title of this post was not hyperbole. I spent a lot of time thinking about it today. What the hell is our problem? Fake news? Corporate greed? Is it the fast-food-ification of organized religion, or a decline in public education? Sure, it’s probably all of those things, a little bit. But when we examine what allowed those things to flourish, when we really go for the roots, we start finding answers. Your discoveries might be different from mine. But here’s what I found after rolling it around in my brain for a while.

People have learned to think cynically, but not critically. They distrust the government because we created the perception that only a fool trusts the government, but they don’t know why. Everybody wants to seem smart. Not everyone wants to put in the work. Research is hard. Facebook is easy. This widespread cynicism, unpaired from critical thought, is why so many damaging and erroneous ideas have done so well. I tested this hypothesis against many of the mechanisms spreading hateful thinking. It looks to me like it panned out.

Which means the best thing we can do is to think critically, and demand that others do the same.

You’re never going to convince your racist uncle that his Facebook feed is wrong unless you force him to defend his position. Let him google things. Ask what evidence he has that his source is the work of reputable journalism. Ask him how he knows it’s true.

If an advertising company tells you that they work with a fake news site or a hate site because it is not company policy to screen clients, ask them why they are doing business that will damage their reputation. Ask if they would work with a client who came into their office and punched them in the face. Ask how that is different than working with a client who supports the abuse of women or minorities. Ask them for an official statement, because you are going to make it public.

If you write to a politician and get brushed off, don’t stop there. Get your letter printed on a giant poster and sit outside their office with it. Rewrite it and get it published as a letter to the editor, and then send the politician the newspaper with highlighter all over it. Rainbow glitterbomb the sidewalk outside their door. Persist creatively.

That’s my advice.

Think critically, strike tactically, act globally.

Rachel’s Rules of Cooking

Cooking is not one of my arts. Even baking is a project I grudgingly undertake in order to produce warm, sugary results (or use up spotty bananas). Being chronically underweight, I also do not—in the traditional sense—diet. I am allergic to several things that are considered basic components of American food, like gluten and paprika. I like overcooked burgers and consider really sharp cheddar cheese to be the height of refinement. Basically, I’m the last person you should listen to when it comes to putting food in your face.

But today, I made this joke:

And people said “Hells, yes. I would buy that.”

It’s good to have company.

All the same, I thought I might spare you the embarrassment of having it on your bookshelf by reducing this concept down to a blog.

***

Rachel’s Rules of Cooking:

For Millennials Who Gives No Fucks

 

Rule #1: If it makes you sick, don’t eat it.

This is, as I have regrettably discovered in my adulthood, a very good rule. If you feel sick a lot, you might be ingesting something that is causing that or making it worse. So be your own lab rat. (Not your own doctor. You still need one of those.) If you learn that gluten, dairy, corn, soy, spice, red meat, or an all-popcorn diet is making you feel bad, stop eating that thing. If someone tells you that you’re wrong, that you don’t know your own body, that x-intolerance “isn’t real” or “is extremely rare,” smack them with your lunch and move on. If not eating a thing makes you feel healthier, then don’t eat that thing. The end.

You will note that this rule says nothing about food that makes you “fat.” That’s because there is no rule defining a “fat” person, how “fat” a person is allowed to be, or at what point “fat” becomes “unhealthy.” Conflating the two is a concept driven by gross objectification and commodification of bodies. Eat what makes you healthy and happy.

Rule #2: Not all food has to be complicated.

You know what makes a great dinner? Pan-seared chicken with a flavor-thing on it. I’m sorry, were you looking for the rest of the recipe? That’s it. A piece of chicken. Salt. Maybe that lemon-pepper combo shaker thing they sell at most grocery stores.

I hear the objection that it isn’t “balanced” because it has no vegetables, but that’s okay. Tomorrow, I’ll have a bowl of corn with butter and salt. And then people can complain that there’s no meat in it.

There is nothing wrong with eating one thing at a time when you’re hungry. This habit of having a meat and a vegetable and a load of side-starch is just that: a habit. You don’t have to keep it up every day. It’s not manners, or prayer, or anything particularly important. It’s just food.

 

Rule #3: Make peace with rules 1 & 2, then eat whatever. It’s okay.

If you’re anything like me, just the thought of planning a week’s meals, shopping to that list, and preparing all the things is exhausting. I sometimes suspect that this laborious approach to food was invented to keep housewives drained of energy so they wouldn’t get ideas about equality and voting and such.

Don’t buy the idea that you must grocery shop with a complicated plan. Get some peaches because you like peaches, throw a bunch of store-brand staples in your cart, and go home. If you really want to cook something complicated, do that, as long as it’s fun, but don’t take it as a mandate. It’s an impossible standard.

You are still an adult if you eat microwaved meals. You are still an adult if you drink Soylent and keep some fruit around for variety. You are still an adult if every lunch is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Even if you skip the sandwich part and just go straight at the jars armed with a spoon.

So eat whatever. It’s okay.

The Definition of MOGAI

TOP DEFINITION

MOGAI

Marginalized Orientations, Gender identities, And Intersex. it’s meant to be an all inclusive umbrella term for asexuals, homosexuals, multisexuals, trans people, and intersex people. Alternative to LGBTQIAP+

***

The Issue

 

As long as we live in this society—one born from a mix of cultures and genders all trying to improve a country theoretically founded on Puritan ideals—we’re going to need words for the “other.” Anyone deviating from a straight, white, cisgender, reasonably affluent male is considered “other.” This single-viewpoint standard is (obviously) ridiculous, but we’re immersed in it. Some might say drowning.

Still, these “others” defying it by existing, creating, pushing, asserting their rights, and making us all talk about them. And as long as that’s the case, we need words.

Words for varying races, genders, sexual orientations, and other “deviations” change over time. Words commonly used as slurs get replaced as society evolves. Words that were intended to hurt get reclaimed. And sometimes, new words come in to common use through a genuine societal desire to be accepting and understanding. This is rare, but it happened in the case of “LGBT.”

LGBT, as you probably know, is “lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender.” It includes many people who have been historically maltreated based on a part of their core identity. It is the phrase that has been adopted up to and including politicians to describe certain collective communities. It’s a good start.

But LGBT isn’t enough.

People are DIVERSE. People experience gender, attraction, identity, and relationships in as many ways as there are individuals. While LGBT covers many of those people, it leaves out whole categories and completely ignores those who search their own identity and find a shade of grey.

Here’s a very short list of some people not included in “LGBT”: Asexuals, aromantics, people of non-binary gender, two-spirit, queer, questioning, pansexuals, panromantics…all kinds of different words that people feel match them best. And so “LGBT” became “LGTBQQIAA+”

“LGBTQQIAA+,” of course, has its own  problems. For one thing, it’s LONG. People started referring to it as “the alphabet soup.” For another, it still doesn’t include everyone.

 

The Proposed Solutions

 

I am (obviously) not the first person to reach for a better term than “LGBTQQIAA+.” To be perfectly frank, that is too many characters long for something I tweet about so much.

One possible solution is “QUILTBAG.” (QUILTBAG stands for “Queer/Questioning, Undecided, Intersex, Lesbian, Trans, Bisexual, Asexual, Gay/Genderqueer.”) While reasonably inclusive, this has its own troubles. For one, it’s still long, and the longer something is, the less likely it is to be assimilated into the language. For another, imagine a political candidate saying it; “Our friends in the QUILTBAG community…”

Some people have proposed “GSD” for “Gender and Sexual Diversities,” which is short and inclusive but also can lead to confusion. For one, it hasn’t achieved anything like common use, and for another, the acronym has other meanings (German Shepard Dog, “Gettin’ Shit Done,” etc.). Related short acronyms have been suggested, but most suffer from the same problem or questionable origins.

Finally, we come to “MOGAI.” Though Urban Dictionary gets it a bit wrong (“A” obviously stands not for “identities” but for “alignments,” this acronym covers a very wide variety of people. It’s short, and it’s unlikely to be confused for anything else. It fits all the criteria.

 

MOGAI: Discussion

 

Sadly, though MOGAI was initially proposed by a someone with good intentions, it was co-opted by people trying to say that asexuals shouldn’t be included because some of them are “cishet.” This was totally inappropriate and a gross misinterpretation of both the term and asexuality itself.

Some opponents say that asexuals are not a marginalized identity.

In response to that, I dare them to try being an ace woman discussing it with an angry drunk dude, or trying to begin a romantic relationship while being honest that you just don’t feel “that way” about your potential partner.

Some say that because MOGAI does include people who are heteroromantic and/or cisgender, the term shouldn’t be used at all.

This is essentially an argument against inclusivity founded on the principle that some people aren’t “queer enough.” Heteroromantic and heterosexual are not the same thing.

Since all arguments against it seem to be based in this “queer enough” nonsense, many (myself included) have decided to use the term and consider it a step towards including all people who find that the standard molds for gender or sexual orientation don’t fit them.

So there it is, folks. MOGAI. Let’s make it the inclusive solution, instead of a tool of exclusion. Let’s make it our own.

We All Write the Songs

No matter what creative field you work in, it can be tempting to worry about how your book/painting/song/performance/masterpiece/trashfire-on-a-deadline will be received by audiences.

I’m here to tell you to give up.

You are never, NEVER going to know how your Thing will be perceived by any person at any time, and generalizing about humans is a fool’s game.

I’m going to give you two examples for this case; one from either side of the Creative Thing.

 

In the first one, I was a teenage girl on the receiving end of a creative work—in this case, a song by Alkaline Trio called “We’ve Had Enough.” If you’re not familiar, here it is.

 

 

Now, you have the benefit of seeing the video and getting clear reception. I heard this song on 99.9 The Buzz, a radio station that I could only sort of hear clearly by running sixteen feet of dipole (extra antenna) out my bedroom window in the middle of nowhere. So when I first heard this song, the following conditions were in place:

  1. I was fifteen or so
  2. It was full of static
  3. I had been conditioned by Bad Religion to expect a certain level of socially adept lyricism in my punk rock.

So what I heard was:

Ain’t nothing on the air waving the despair we feel

I said we’ve had enough, put “Walk Among Us” on and turn it up

Ain’t nothing on the air waving the hatred we field

Misheard lyrics are common enough. The last word being “field” made more sense to me because it would have been better writing (sorry, Alkaline Trio) and also because “hate” wasn’t one of my core emotions. Oh, I said it a lot, but what I used to call “hating” a thing, I’ve learned to more accurately represent as either exasperation or annoyance. Fielding hate, however, was a thing I felt I did all the time.

In short, they wrote one thing and I heard another because there is no way they could possibly have accounted for all the variables of me specifically.

 

I have a second example from the other end of the Creative Thing. I wrote a book, the second in my first trilogy, that I thought was about LARPer nerds surviving the geological apocalypse and going on a journey to a newly established civilization. That considered, I was very surprised when I got a review that said (I’m paraphrasing):

Didn’t finish this book, got sick of the author shoving issues in my face. We get it, you hate Big Pharma.

I try to take negative reviews and use them to make my work better. I really do. I also understand that you can’t entertain everyone. Sometimes some people are just not going to like some books. But I had no idea what to do with this review, because I can not connect it to reality as I know it.

I do not hate “Big Pharma.” I have serious chronic health issues, and “Big Pharma” keeps me alive. I do take issue with companies price-gouging or releasing new drugs strictly to avoid patent expiration losses, but so does any informed and humane citizen, and more importantly, none of that ever comes up in the book. Ever.

The things in the book that could possibly considered pharma-related are Mab discussing how menstrual cups are better than tampons in a survival situation, her handing out Midol for the caffeine, and the gang trying to bring life-saving drugs back to the new city of survivors. If anything, my message was “drugs are good, and we’re going to have a lot of problems if they ever disappear.”

So how do I turn this bad review into constructive criticism? I don’t. How do I figure out what circumstances led that reader to see BIG PHARMA SUCKS written on the fictional walls? I hella don’t. I’m never going to know. I would have to learn everything about them to maybe have a clue as to why they read what they read when I wrote what I wrote. And even then, there’s some other reader out there who’s going to think that any new “improvements” I gained from that insight made me a shill for drug companies.

The short of it is, stop worrying about what people are going to think. People are complicated, you can’t please (or even be understood) by everyone, and that’s okay. You have no choice but to write your truth. If you try to write to someone else’s truth, you’re just going to turn your own into a mess.

Become an audience agnostic. Somebody will probably like you, somebody probably won’t, and you’re never going to understand any of it. Let it go and make the Thing.

Some Recommended Reading

My secret side job isn’t much of a secret anymore, so I guess I’ll shrug one shoulder out of my shroud of mystery and write this post.

I’ve been doing freelance copyediting in various forms for years now. Editor Brain, which is was I call the jerk part of me that irrationally assigned itself Guardian of the Oxford Comma, can’t help it. I once replied to a Craigslist job post to tell them that their spelling was atrocious and they should try again. (I was maybe a little bitter about job hunting in those days.)

I’ve been giving blog posts and resumes and short stories a once-over for friends most of my life, but then I started writing books. I made many more writer friends.

Many. Many. More.

And they all needed an editor. (Everyone does. Don’t kid yourself.)

At first, I only did free work for close friends who couldn’t afford market rates. Even when I started charging, I did so minimally and with the understanding that I could provide improvement but probably not perfection. The more work I did, though, the better I became. I also acquired a small reference section just for the job.

img_20160908_062015
Truth is, I memorized three of these a long time ago. But they look nice on my desk.

Word got around that I was reasonably competent. Work rolled in. I’ve done countless short stories and blog posts this year, as well as two full novels. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve gotten to pass that information on to people who find it useful. Somehow, I even made enough money to make taxes a further pain in the ass.

So, I guess I’m a freelance copyeditor now. Whoops.

The fun part is that I get to see projects before anyone else knows they exist.

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I know something you don’t know. *Phhhhht*

But I’m going to be nice and tell you about some cool stuff you can see soon.

First up, an anthology that I not only edited but also wrote for, Unburied Fables. This project by Creative Aces Publishing is a collection of wonderfully queer fairy tale retellings. I won’t spoil any of them for you, but they’re brilliant.

Next let’s talk about RoAnna Sylver. She’s relaunching her book Chameleon Moon with some celebratory short stories. I got a sneak peek at those stories while editing, and they are certified Full of Feelings. Keep an eye out for them.

I would also like to point you in the direction Mari Kurisato, whose short story “Impostor Syndrome” now appears in Love Beyond Body, Space, and Time. I honestly did very little work on this story, but it was great before and it’s great now.

Most recently, I worked with Kate Fitzpatrick, who will hopefully forgive me for anything that got lost in translation between her Australian English writing and my American English editing. She’s got a hell of a manuscript. When it finds a publisher, I’ll be gleefully spamming you all with the release date.

That’s all for now, folks. I’ll keep you posted on anything I think you’ll want to see.