lydamorehouse: (ichigo being adorbs)
 Okay, so this recipe comes from a cookbook that's older than I am.  The 1928 edition of GOOD MEALS AND HOW TO PREPARE THEM by the then director of Good Housekeeping Institute, Katharine A Fisher.

So I had to do some Googling to figure out how to convert yeast cake into active dry yeast, and I will say, that I don't know that I got it right, in that if I had any complaint about these buns, it was that they were a little yeasty.

Also this is presented as a chart of "raised rolls" in the back of the book.

First they want you to make a sponge which you're supposed to let rise for 3 hours or overnight in a cool place.  (I didn't do this. I let it rise for maybe two hours? Probably more like a hour and a half.  Also, it should be noted at this point that I don't have a lot to do with my life, so bothering with bread all day is no big deal.)

1/2 cup scalded milk
1/4 cup cold water (okay, I actually reversed this because I always have crap luck with yeast and scalded milk. So I added cold milk to hot water.)
1/2 yeast cake (which is about 4 and 1/2 teaspoons of active dry)
2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup bread flour (I just used general purpose)

After you let the concoction turn spongy (like I said, for me no more than a couple of hours) they want you to add some things to the light sponge.  

1 egg well-beaten
2 tablespoons melted fat (I actually keep rendered bacon fat around just for stuff like this)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 1/2 cups of bread flour

Knead on a floured board until elastic.  Let rise about 1 hour.  When doubled in bulk, roll out 1/4 inch thick (this is too thin.  I probably had them at an inch or more).  I cut them out using a wide mouthed glass, to get the desired shape and size.  

1 egg well-beaten (so this recipe uses two eggs, total.)
Poppy seeds (or sesame / onion flakes / other garnish) to taste

Brush tops of buns with egg mixture. Sprinkle on garnish. Place on a greased pan (I just used Pam spray). Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.
lydamorehouse: (ticked off Ichigo)
 For the last few weekends, I've been having crazy experiences with my car.  They involve both really bad car luck and really good... people luck?

First, two weeks ago, on a Thursday, my alternator died.  My wife and I were about a mile or two from home, on the corner of Fairview and Summit.  I was able to pull the car around the block and, just as the heavens opened up and poured down rain, AAA picked up the car and we started walking home.  It was a fairly miserable walk.  We had an umbrella, but it was sheeting BUCKETS.  We were soaked to the bone, laughing, by the time we got home.  We had a houseguest that week, but he's a very chill dude, so the only real hassle was that we had to postpone our trip to visit our friend's cabin in Siren, Wisconsin.

Cue day of the trip.

We're, oh, I dunno, just entering the outer rim of the suburbs, Vadnais Heights to be exact, when we hear a kind of grinding flapping sound and suddenly everything is sluggish and it's hard to steer. We look at the car, but at the time nothing is patently obvious.  We decide to see if we can make the next exit.  Limping along we manage to make Country Road E... and a BP gas SERVICE station.  I go in, fearing the worst.  I start talking to the service guy about our car and Shawn sticks her head in, "I've figured out the problem," she says matter-of-factly, "A belt is broken and some green liquid is dripping out." Service guy follows us out to look under the hood where we can clearly see the shredded serpentine belt and dripping, overflow antifreeze and he adjusts his ball cap and says, "Well, you're not wrong."

But the BP guys get us up and running in 20 MINUTES.  I kid you not.  My crazy-weird not-luck/luck means they not only had the time to do it, but they also had the part in stock.

We get to Siren, and I successfully drive the car both there and back again a couple of times because, as luck would have it, I miscalculated about when my Loft class ran and I had to drive back to the cities for a Saturday morning class and then back to vacation again.  It was actually fine.  Siren is no more than a couple of hours outside of town.

Cue today.

I'm leaving for WorldCON/MidAmerican Con II tomorrow and so I've got a bunch of errands I'm trying to get done so I can leave Shawn and Mason all settled in.  I got kitty litter this morning, did a run to Target, and Mason and I were just coming back from a trip to the library to return some books when we hear that SAME DAMN SOUND AGAIN--the cranky sort of fwap-fwap-FWAP.  I knew without even looking we'd better just stop.

Guess where we were?

Yeah, no, not another BP service station, but that's close.  We were LITERALLY just pulling in in front of our own house.  So I called AAA from the comfort of my own home and had them haul the car off to my usual mechanic. The AAA guy thought that something must be wrong with the mechanism that keeps the serpentine belt tight (he said pulley? but what do I know from cars) because he's NEVER had to have his replaced in 15 years, much less twice in so many weeks.  

In another great irony?  The guy who hauled away my car today?  He's the one who took it away in the rainstorm on that first Thursday. I kid you not.  He recognized me, and visa versa.  

The only bummer of course is figuring out how all this is going to work before I have to leave tomorrow.  Rick at Dave's did not think they'd have much of a chance to look at the car tonight.  Which sucks, but there's not much for it. I'll just have to keep my fingers crossed that they can fix it quickly before, say, noon tomorrow. That would be ideal.
lydamorehouse: (crazy eyed Renji)
For those of you just tuning in, I've been partnering with voice actor Jack Evans to record and produce audiobooks through ACX.com.  They've already produced Archangel Protocol and now they have just finished Fallen Host!  Because ACX is a subsidiary of both Audible and Amazon.com, you can buy my book exactly the same way in which you could buy any Audible book--on Amazon, on iTunes, or on Audible!  Here's a link to the Audible site: http://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/Fallen-Host-Audiobook/B01JQCXSW4.

What's cool about this particular project is that because it's just Jack and I and no middle-person/company, we're getting a royalty split similar to a self-published book. So, if you buy this audio version, Jack and I get the majority of the profits!  So, if you're looking for ways to support me more directly, this is definitely one of them.

In other news, Naomi Kritzer and I are teaching a class together at the Loft on short stories.  Don't worry, I'm not asking you to sign-up.  I've done my sales pitch for the blog.  We actually already had our first class on Saturday.  It's a LONG class: 3 hours and it's only two sessions. I feel like the class went very well, but I might be hallucinating because since the class started at 9 am and went until noon, I had nothing to eat but a WHOLE LOT OF COFFEE.  To say I was high energy during the class might be a slight understatement.

I think, too, my teaching style is.... okay, positive words would include: dynamic, flexible, and organic.  It worked pretty well to teach in tandem with Naomi because, as I told her beforehand (and the class, during,) that while I feel as though I'm a successful writer, I don't feel that short stories are necessarily an area of expertise for me.  I know a good one when it comes through my writers' group, but let's put that in perspective. I have Eleanor Arnason and Naomi Kritzer in my writing group, and between them they've had short stories nominated for and have won pretty much every short story award there *is.*  

So my job during class was to facilitate discussion.  To draw out ideas that Naomi has about writing short stories and to get the class to participate in ideas, etc.  Adult teaching, too, means making sure that adults leave class with a sense of having accomplished a specific goal. Adults like to leave class with something concrete in hand, so we had to structure the class in a way that provided students with some time to write and time to analyze the writing, etc.  And, despite the fact that the 3 hours slipped by much faster than we anticipated, we managed that.  The good news is that we have a second class to underscore the more important points, some of which we only skimmed over in the first class when we realized we were running out of time.

On the other hand, I'm a big believer in doing is learning, so the fact that all six of our students produced work they COULD take home and continue made me very optimistic that the second class is going to go as well as this one did and that all of them should be at least somewhat satisfied with their experience this last time.

Or I was high.

I could have been high.
lydamorehouse: (ichigo being adorbs)
Since all the cool kids are posting theirs, here's my MidAmericaCon II / WorldCON schedule:

Wednesday Aug 17, 2016
7:00 PM
The Interstices of Historical and Fanfiction 1 hour | 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM, Kansas City Convention Center, 2204
Lyda Morehouse | Dr. Heather Urbanski (Fitchburg State University) | Ms Sumana Harihareswara | Teresa Nielsen Hayden
Historical fiction is a work of literature, comic, film, or television program set in the past. Fanfiction is a work of fiction produced by fans for fans, using famous people or source texts as their inspiration. Frequently the worlds overlap. Let's discuss the overlaps, benefits, and pitfalls of working in these genres. The overlaps include writing fanfiction about historical fiction, setting fanfiction in an alternative universe by placing the narrative in a different historical era, fanworks about real-life historical figures (Historical RPF), or historical fanworks -- any fanwork set in the past.

Thursday Aug 18, 2016
12:00 PM
What is a Fan Writer? 1 hour | 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM, Kansas City Convention Center, 2206
Lyda Morehouse | Rich Lynch | Mr. Guy Lillian | Foz Meadows | Goldeen Ogawa | Teresa Nielsen Hayden
What we mean when we say: Fan Writer. Is it a professional writer doing some work for free? Is it a way of life? Some say that the internet made us all fan writers. What does (and doesn't) this term encompass, is it a tradition, and how has the interpretation changed over the years?

Thursday Aug 18, 2016
10:00 PM
Anime Stories to Watch in the Dark 1 hour | 10:00 PM -11:00 PM, Kansas City Convention Center, 2504B
Lyda Morehouse | Mr. John Wiswell
When one hears "anime", horror may not be the first thing to come to mind. This panel might change that. Don't be scared, and join us as we explore horror in anime.

Friday Aug 19, 2016
11:00 AM
Living in a Cyberpunk Society 1 hour | 11:00 AM -12:00 PM, Kansas City Convention Center, 2208
Catherine Lundoff | Takayuki Tatsumi | Lyda Morehouse | Allan Dyen-Shapiro | Ms Pat Cadigan
We may not be able to jack in directly, but we are part of the Cyberfuture. When technology thrives but society decays, seemingly dystopic worlds arise. To what extent is our world a cyberpunk universe and what more can we expect to happen to take us there?

Friday Aug 19, 2016
1:00 PM
Autographing: Jeanette Epps, Alex Jablokow, Lyda Morehouse, Lawrence M. Schoen, Mary A. Turzillo 1 hour | 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM, Kansas City Convention Center, Autographing Space
Jeanette Epps | Alex Jablokow | Lyda Morehouse | Dr. Lawrence M. Schoen | Dr. Mary A. Turzillo Ph.D.

Saturday Aug 20, 2016
10:00 AM
Complexity of Character: Coming Out in Teen Spec Fic 1 hour | 10:00 AM -11:00 AM, Kansas City Convention Center, 3501B
Catherine Lundoff | Mark Oshiro (Mark Does Stuff) | Lyda Morehouse | Jaylee James
Young adult speculative fiction is doing a fairly good job of featuring a diverse and varied cast of characters, but books that feature LGBT, asexual, and nonbinary characters are still not always easy to find. Let’s talk about what books and characters are out there, and what themes and identities are still underrepresented in YA SF? What challenges do spec fic authors face when writing and publishing books about teen sexuality and love? Beyond the main characters, what roles do the secondary and tertiary characters play in helping to advance the conversation about teen sexuality?

Saturday Aug 20, 2016
12:00 PM
Comics on the Small Screen 1 hour | 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM, Kansas City Convention Center, 2503B
Terrence Miltner | Melissa F. Olson | Pete Balestrieri (University of Iowa) | Mr Lee Harris | Lyda Morehouse
From Batman in the 60s to The Incredible Hulk in the 70s to The Flash, Jessica Jones and Supergirl, we do love our superheroes on the box. But why do some comic heroes make a successful transition to the small screen and others tank on arrival, or even before?

Saturday Aug 20, 2016
1:00 PM
Representation in Comic Books: From Absences to Affirmatives 1 hour | 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM, Kansas City Convention Center, 3501B
Anna Raftery (TAFF) | Ms Sumana Harihareswara | Lyda Morehouse | Bill Campbell (Rosarium Publishing)
Bitch Planet gives us a larger woman who is proud of her body, the Lumberjanes show queer teenage romance, Hawkeye is deaf, and yet Oracle was ejected from her wheelchair and became Batgirl again, echoed in the TV series Arrow, where Felicity Smoak was 'fixed' by science. Our panel discusses representation within comics, where we are succeeding, how representation is moving forward, and where it still needs to avoid harmful stereotyping, assumptions or tokenism.

Saturday Aug 20, 2016
5:00 PM
Yaoi and Yuri: Japanese Graphic Romance 1 hour | 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM, Kansas City Convention Center, 2205
Lyda Morehouse | Lauren Schiller | Jaylee James
*The nature of this session may result in adult themes being discussed.*
Fans of manga, graphic novels, romances, and LGBT characters – come learn about yaoi and yuri; terms for manga about m/m and f/f romance, respectively. This introductory session discusses where you should start. We also discuss some of the debates around the representation of gay characters in these comics, and the wider impact of these manga.

lydamorehouse: (Default)
 

Ingredients:

1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons of sweet pickle relish
1 tablespoon chopped shallots
1 teaspoon capers, chopped
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (I used "DoubleTake Hot Sauce.")
1 pound peeled and deveined large shrimp (I actually used what Kowalski's called 'salad shrimp' the little tiny ones.)
1 1/2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning (I used Penzey Spice's Cajun seasoning)
4 hoagie rolls
romaine lettuce
tomato slices (optional in our family)
4 thin red onion slices (forgot these, but would make a good addition)


Preparation:

1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl.  Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Combine shrimp and Cajun seasoning in a bowl; toss well. Add olive oil to pan and swirl to coat.  Add shrimp to pan, cook 2 minutes on each side until done. Mix into mayonnaise mixture.

2. Cut each roll in half horizontally. (I then toasted them in our toaster oven.) Top bottom half of each roll with shrimp and mayonnaise mixture. Add toppings.


NOTES:

Okay, actually I screwed this up and they still tasted great. Because I have a tendency to read recipes line-by-line, sometimes I miss important steps.  So, here when it says put the sauce in a bowl and then fry the shrimp, I mixed everything together and ended up frying the shrimp in the sauce which of course just sort of melted. On the other hand, since I was working with the smaller shrimp (which were also frozen) it gave me a chance to drain off excess water and kind of marinated them a bit in their own juices and extra spices, as it were.  It wasn't difficult to recreate the sauce when everything was done, either.  Also the original recipe had the shrimp sitting on top of a layer of the mayonnaise mixture, but it was a lot yummier to mix the little shrimp in to the sauce, IMHO.  If you use bigger shrimp it might make sense to do it their way.



lydamorehouse: (Bazz-B)
I totally forgot to post this anywhere. But if you're at CONvergence this weekend, here's where you can find me:

SATURDAY, JULY 2

11 am - DoubleTree Atrium 2 - "Remembering the Phantom Tollbooth": Norton Juster's "The Phantom Tollbooth" is full of word play you may not have caught when you read it as a child. Let's discuss the book through an adult's eyes. Panelists: Lis Morton, David Schwartz, Joel Arnold, Paul Weimer, Lyda Morehouse (mod).

2 pm - DoubleTree Atrium 2 - "Non-Network Original Content" : Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon are all releasing original content, some of it taking us in interesting directions in sci-fi and fantasy. Will online original content soon make networks obsolete? Panelists: Alex Musial, Matt Gamble, Lyda Morehouse, Grace Ulak.

8:30 pm - DoubleTree Bloomington - "Jessica Jones" : The Netflix original series presents arguably the most complex, nuanced Marvel character to date in the antihero Jessica Jones. Join us to discuss season 1 of Jessica Jones and what we expect and hope for from season 2. Panelists: Keane Amdahl (mod), David Schwartz, Olivia James, Grace Ulak, Lyda Morehouse.


11:30 pm - DoubleTree Atrium 6 - "Animation Blue" : The air might turn blue as you listen to these miscreants talk smut about some of our favorite animated characters. Panelists: Greg Weisman, Khary Payton, Christopher Jones, Lyda Morehouse, Jenna Powers.


SUNDAY, JULY 3

11 am - DoubleTree Atrium 2 - "Filled with Determination" : Want to squeal/sob about your favorite Undertale characters, plotlines, and secrets? Want to talk about how queerness and nonbinary gender is represented in the game? Have cool theories to share? Bring all your determination to this panel! Panelists: Allyson Cygan, Lyda Morehouse, Jason Thibeault (mod), Luxander Pond, Anna Besmann.

2 pm - Crowne Plaza U - "Starblazers" : Space Battleship Yamato/Argo is one of the iconic vehicles of science fiction anime. We will be looking at the classic series, the dub, the movies, and the remakes. We might even have a singalong of the American theme song!

Aging Fen

Jun. 9th, 2016 02:02 pm
lydamorehouse: (ichigo being adorbs)
 There's a big debate going on in the science fiction community going on about who feels welcome where and what that means. The sense of unwelcomeness originated with some older fen / pros talking about WisCON.  Pretty much the most articulate summation that I've read so far on that subject comes from Sigrid Ellis: https://sigridellis.wordpress.com/2016/06/06/a-few-post-wiscon-thoughts-on-being-an-ally/

I've been thinking about the subject of aging and fandom on a more personal level.  Nate Bucklin is someone I've known somewhat tangentially since I first started trying to write professionally.  In fact, Nate was at least partly, if not wholly, responsible for connecting me to my then agent (and now rather notorious, speaking of WisCON,) Jim Frenkel.  So, when Nate called several weeks back and asked if I'd be willing to help him with a writing project he's been trying to finish for years, I said yes.

Nate is currently living in a nursing home, the Augustana Health Care Center in Minneapolis (http://augustanacare.org).  Because Nate has no internet access, I've been going to see him once a week to talk about this project, etc.  It's pretty much as abysmal as you might imagine, but no worse than many of these places go.  Nate has a small bed in a shared room, but there are lots of common spaces.  It reminds me of the place my father stayed when he was in recovery for so long, though I daresay my dad's was a touch nicer, but probably due to being in a smaller town, if nothing else. 

At any rate, I asked Nate today if he was getting a lot of visitors. He said 'No, not really.'  So, if you know Nate or know people who know him, please spread the word that he'd like more visitors.

These places are rough, even when you know your time there is limited.  I think a lot about Gardner Dozois and his wife Susan Casper who are in a similar situation in another city.  Gardner, at least, is able to post updates and such on Facebook, and that was something my father was able to keep up with too.  I actually gave Nate a computer (it was given to me as a gift, so I passed it on and, if he's interested, I'll see if I can get him set up to use Facebook and Gmail too. I know how much having outside contact kept my dad feeling at least somewhat more connected.)

I have to run pick up Shawn and Mason, but I just wanted to be sure to get this out there.  Friends of Nate Bucklin!  Go see him if/when you can! (if you need more specific info as to how to contact Nate, please feel free to drop me a line at my gmail address: lyda.morehouse@gmail.com.)  

Tiny Cuts

Jun. 7th, 2016 09:04 am
lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
It's Tuesday and there's a joke/not joke/tradition in my family that Tuesday are actually worse than Mondays, because with Monday's you're EXPECTING things to suck. Tuesdays always blindside you.

Today is not much of an exception.

I woke up this morning sometime around 3 am and I probably lie awake for a half-hour, which doesn't seem that bad, except it was punctuated by two cat fights and Shawn having several wake-up gasping nightmares.  (Apparently, one of them involved wrestling someone to death on a highway. "Mason, too" she said, in that sleepy way that meant she was falling back to dreamland, and I wanted to say, "Wait, what? Were you wrestling Mason to death or was it that Mason also had to wrestle someone to death?  And... why was it on the highway???" But, you know, nightmares aren't nightmares because they make sense.  They're often the most terrifying because they DON'T.)

Because we are aware that Tuesdays have sneaking-suckage, we've written it into the fabric of our family life that we try to lighten the load by going to Bruegger's for bagels on Tuesday mornings.  EVEN THOUGH we know that the Breugger's on Grand Avenue in St. Paul is chronically understaffed and has fairly poor customer service.  I think we do this partly to ENSURE Tuesday will kind of suck, but also because even though it's a kind of a hassle the bagels are REALLY good.... so it's kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy but with bonus tastiness.

But, before we even left for Bruegger's I opened up my email and checked in on social media and discovered that on a my Facebook feed there was a couple of guys who decided they needed to jump in and comment on something I'd re-blogged.  It was just a funny little poke at the Sad Puppies that said, "Sometimes I want to go up to the people who insist that feminism and progressive values are Ruining Science Fiction and remind them that their genre exists because a teenaged girl was stuck at a house party and decided inventing science fiction sounded more appealing than yet another tiresome threesome with Lord Byron."  Which, admittedly is a very HARD poke at certain people, but yet, somehow, I didn't expect that what these guys were going to argue and get in a snit about was whether or not Mary Shelley was the first science fiction novelist.

As I said in response to their malarky, this is not a debate I usually see.  Mary Shelley is fairly well recognized as the first science fiction novelist and thus its "inventor."  (In fact, when I linked to the Wikipedia article entitled "the history of science fiction" her picture showed up!  I didn't even know it would!)  

There may be, as I said, other people who dabbled in writing science into their fiction, but who the f*ck has heard of them?  Frankenstein is a book that EVERYONE knows, to the point that they think that's the name of the monster.  Therefore, Shelley is the default inventor.  I mean, if we want to quibble then people need to stop saying that Eddison invented... well, pretty much anything people think he did, because what he did was PATENT things. To the victor go the spoils. This is, after all the argument women have to put up with all the time when there were women in the shadows or as support.

One of the commenters seemed to want to discount Shelley because he wasn't fond of Frankenstein.  That's not how it works.  

So, yeah, that rilled me up. Then I got stuck in about six different traffic jams due to construction I didn't know about, including one on Maryland Avenue where I swear to god the "go/stop" sign guys were just randomly assigning which lane of traffic got to go by some arbitrary means rather than looking at the HUGE LINE OF CARS in my direction and the fact that there WERE NO CARS COMING IN THE OTHER DIRECTION.  

It was, quite frankly maddening, the lot of it.  The people on my Facebook feed reminded me of climate change deniers.  They were denying something that every one else finds REALLY F*CKING OBVIOUS and not able to come up with an answer to "Okay, who then?  Who else wrote something this influential BEFORE Shelley?"  And, that's really the key.  I mean, it's a matter of influence as well.  

AARRRRRGGGGH.

Oh, yeah, and I almost forgot. In preparation of our once-every-other-year (bi-annual?) trip to Bearskin Lodge on the Gunflint Trail, I took my car into Dave's. So, I'm stuck hanging out at the Dunn Bros. coffee shop in Roseville.  Again, none of these things that happened this morning were THAT big of a deal, but I kind of feel like I'm suffering from a thousand pinpricks, you know?

And... screw you deniers, Mary Shelley invented SF. Full stop.

Oh, but I was going to say, I have a couple of things I should tell folks about.  1) I will be signing books at the Mall of America's Barnes & Noble on Saturday, June 11 as part of their B-Fest Teen Book Festival.  (Here are a few more details: https://stores.barnesandnoble.com/event/9780061787270-0) 2) I was gathering up things to DO while up in the land of no Internet and I discovered that I've nearly finished the PLOT part of UnJust Cause, the book I was posting as a work-in-progress on Wattpad. So, I cut and pasted all the chapters into a Google Doc and then printed it out.  My plan is to revise the book while we're up North so that I can have a really good start on finishing it and turning it into an e-book.  So, if you've been patiently waiting for the sequel to Precinct 13, it's coming very, very soon!  
lydamorehouse: (crazy eyed Renji)
Again, I'm a bit behind, but I thought I should say a few words about the Nebula Conference that I went to last weekend.

I've never gone to a Nebula Award weekend before, but this year my friend Naomi Krizter's short story "Cat Pictures, Please" was nominated. (You can listen to the audio here: http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/audio_01_15b/) So I went with the sole purpose of being Naomi's wingman, because these things are always better when you have someone to share them with, win or lose.

Naomi didn't win--which was a disappointment for her, I'm sure. On the other hand, there's a new tradition at the Nebulas that legitimately takes the sting out of losing. For the past few years Henry Lien has organized the "alternate universe acceptance speeches." The idea being that the people who didn't win get to still get applause and read their speeches. Maybe it sounds corny, but it wasn't... not a all. In fact, I'm not sure there was a dry eye in the house when Kelly Robson got up and talked about her first moment of stumbling across science fiction in Asimov's magazine and... experiencing 'intellectual curiosity' for the first time in her life. Then Charles E. Gannon just about killed me when he talked about how the cliche about it being an honor to be nominated should really be thought of like this: when you go to a museum you don't go into a room labeled "Renaissance" and see only one picture.  You see a gallery.  And, they all represent the best of their time, no single picture does that in isolation.

And then I cried some more because it's all true, and it makes me remember what is awesome about SF/F fandom and prodom.

The rest of the conference was a bit of a blur.  I got to see "Zootopia" with my friend Kyell Gold, which was awesome. I might have cried through some of that, too.  But, mostly what stood out to me about the Nebula Conference in comparison to other cons was that people knew who I was.  I never really had imposter syndrome because everyone seemed genuinely aware of my work. That happens a lot less at "regular" cons.  Thing is, I think writers are more aware that careers have fits and starts and fallow periods and very few people there think that writing is magical and without bumps and scraps.  What was amazing about that was how welcoming it felt.  It made me want to always go to the Nebula Weekend...

And maybe I will.
lydamorehouse: (Renji 3/4ths profile)
Archangel Protocol is now available as an audio book: http://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/Archangel-Protocol-Audiobook/B01FEI3EIM/
 
 

This is actually a project I undertook myself with the help of a voice actor recommended to me by a friend, Jack Evans. Jack produced the book via ACX, which is audible's creative exchange program (and was a big subject of panels at this year's SFWA Nebula Conference, which I've just returned from.)
 
 
At any rate, if audible books are your thing, you should be able to find it at all your favorite places to buy audible books including iTunes, Amazon.com, and, of course, Audible (as linked above.)
lydamorehouse: (shield)
 I'm here in a Starbucks in Chicago, waiting for the SFWA Nebula Conference to wake up, so I thought I'd finally write down a few thoughts about Captain America: Civil War.  

Generally, I liked it.  There are a few things I think I can say about the movie 'above the cut.' as it were. Without spoiling, I want to talk about one of the fundamental differences between the movie and the comic book arc.  In the comic book, like the movie, there is an event that triggers a public outcry about the unchecked destruction that superheroes cause when they come blundering into situations, do their best, but sometimes civilian lives are lost.  In the comic book arc, the difference is that the destruction is caused, quite accidentally, by random "new" superheroes.  That's to say, "powered" people who have no affiliation with a superhero group like the X-Men or the Avengers.  As a result, part of what the public demands is a "superhero registration act" which not only requires any people with powers to offer themselves to the government, but ALSO requires long-standing superheroes to expose their secret identities as part of registration.

I think you can already see why, in the comic book version, someone from World War II might stop and say, "Uh... wait a minute... You gonna ask us all to wear stars next?"  (He had other really amazing observations which really resonated with everything that was happening during the time Civil War was written, which was during the Patriot Act, which DIRECTLY commented on things happening in the US.)

In the movie (and this isn't much of a spoiler, because, in many ways the movie is actually about Bucky's past), the accords only require the superheroes to subject themselves to oversight.  Now, the question is a lot more nebulous: who is in charge, what decisions do they get to make... ?  

But, what's missing in the movie is Captain America being far more articulate and CLEAR about why he, specifically, finds this situation squicky.  The thing that drove me absolutely buggy (later... because during the movie my only thoughts were: bam! crash! zap!) was that it was certainly all set up in the previous Captain America movies. All we would have needed is, during the scene where the gathered Avengers are looking over the accord (I do love that it's clear Captain America read EVERY PAGE) to have Cap say, "Guys, really? We're going to put our trust in a governing body... WHEN HYDRA WAS SECRETLY IN CONTROL OF S.H.I.E.L.D. FOR THE PAST FIFTY YEARS??"

MCU Captain America has a LEGIT reason not to want to sign something that gives away his decision making power to an organization he knows nothing about.

But, so. like, *I* thought of that, but it was _never_ said out loud by ANYONE in the movie.  

Which to me, made Captain America seem like a war-mongering vigilante.... which is... super not Captain America.

That's not to say there weren't things I loved. Again, no spoilers, but I thought Black Panther moved EXACTLY RIGHT.  I was having flashbacks to comic books I barely remember reading every time he did a jump or a four-point landing or a swipe with his vibranium claws.

Also, I loved Peter Parker/Spider-Man

Okay, a couple things I can't say without a spoiler block...
Read more... )So, those of you who saw it, what are your thoughts?
lydamorehouse: (crazy eyed Renji)
 So, if you're local to the Twin Cities, I'm going to be at Dreamhaven Books & Comics tomorrow night starting at 6:30 pm.  I'll be there not just for shopping (though I'm sure I'll do some of that), but also to read to anyone who shows up from Sidhe Promised (my newest release from Tapas Media) as well as my current work-in-progress.

It'd be cool if you could come.
lydamorehouse: (ichigo being adorbs)
 

So... I have a brand-new book out!  It's called Sidhe Promised, and it's available through https://tapas.io

 

The way Tapas Media works is that you download their free app, and then, from there, you can sample all of the novels and other works they have available. Search for me, and you should be able to start reading right away!

 

new cover

 

"I'm a dyke, not a fairy!"

 

"When a lesbian college student is magically transported to a fairy-tale Ireland full of mythic creatures, mystery and intrigue, she discovers the boundary-crossing nature of love that respects not the limits of gender or sexuality."

Go! Go get it!  

*kermit flail*

lydamorehouse: (Renji 3/4ths profile)
 ...of being nearly 50, and still being surprised by my period.

Happy International Women's day (belated), everyone.
lydamorehouse: (ichigo irritated)
 So... my big plan to talk up MarsCON?  

I CAN'T DO IT NOW, NOT WHEN CRAP LIKE THIS HAPPENS:  https://www.facebook.com/MariePorterCostuming/posts/528923627286996

Seriously, how can any of us wonder why it's so difficult to get women and PoC and NEW BLOOD to come to conventions, when an emcee decides that not only is the costuming contest all about him, but also is an opportunity to drag out all the sexist, sexualizing "jokes" that stopped being funny in 1983. 

lydamorehouse: (ichigo being adorbs)
This weekend was MarsCON.  

As I mentioned earlier this week, I was a bit of a last minute addition to programming this year.  MarsCON kind of snuck up on me, and despite getting all the appropriate emails, I almost didn't make it this year.  

Generally, I had a good time.  It was noticeable this year, however, that I was the only woman on a couple of panels (which, given my last minute volunteering makes this phenomenon, perhaps, more notable. Because had I NOT signed up late, there would have been NONE.)  

The first one was the Marvel Cinematic Universe panel.  I thought we had a great discussion, and it was a fun panel, in general.  But it's sort of fascinating that my final panel was "The Rise of the Female Superhero," which had a very decent crowd for late Sunday, and the audience was was JAM PACKED with extremely knowledgeable, funny, well-read (younger) female comic book fans... and yet somehow MarsCON couldn't find more than one woman to fill a seat on the MCU panel? Given what I see on Tumblr and fan fic sites, women seem to make up a fairly large percent of MCU fandom.

The other one I really noticed the gender disparity was the Cyberpunk panel. Again, I have nothing but nice things to say about my fellow panelists.  I really enjoyed our discussion.  To be fairl, cyberpunk has always had a problem when it comes to women... which is to say, Pat Cadigan is _not_ the only female cyberpunk author to have ever lived, but many people seem to have no idea that plenty of women not only have written cyberpunk, but also really enjoy it.

I would like to think that mine was an isolated experience, but I heard from another female panelist that she ended up being the only woman on at least one of her panels, as well.

This is not a prelude to bashing MarsCON or its organizers in any way, shape, or form. I've been very proud and honored to have been one of their guests of honor, not once, but twice.  I love the organizers and the programming is often quite spectacular.  However, this is still a problem... and I feel like it's a problem that could get worse over time.  Given the recent kerfuffle at CONquest with Mark Oshiro, I feel like one of the big issues at stake here is how do we cultivate "new talent" and guarantee the survival of con culture.

One way is getting new and different faces on panels.  We need more women, more PoC, more queer and non-binary folks, and more diversity of all stripes. 

Of course, that's easy to _say_. This is why I don't feel like the blame can fall on programming. I'm absolutely sure that programming does the very best it can with what it gets.  The problem, of course, is actually getting people to not only volunteer panel ideas, but also then follow-up and volunteer to actually be on the panels themselves.  

This is an open process, but I don't now if people know how it works.  Thing is, one of the reasons I nearly missed this year is that it's easy to miss deadlines for proposing panel ideas, and the deadline for volunteering for programming.  You kind of have to follow a particular con fairly closely to know when to put in ideas, etc.

I wish that I had taken down some of the names of the interesting people in the audience of my "The Rise of the Female Superhero" and, like, actively recruited them to be on paneling next year. The thing about MarsCON panelists is that they're all volunteers (this is actually true at most cons). There is, as far as I know, no other requirement. You don't HAVE to be a pro writer or a pro anything, you just have to be willing to sit in front of other people and talk about the stuff you love.  The thing that's nice about MarsCON is that it's not going to be a room of two thousand. The audience is usually moderately sized (sometimes even 'intimate,' as in only a few other folks). So, you don't have to even be HUGELY extroverted, just... enough.

But, probably, if a random person volunteered for programming they might get a bit of the "and... you are?" blowback--like what I got from WorldCON, which is legit to some extent because panelists are, in essence, the entertainment during the daytime hours, at any rate, and there should be some kind of vetting of expertise, etc. To counteract that, I would, in point of fact, be very happy to vouch for anyone reading this who wants to be on paneling at MarsCON in the future.  You don't even have to be female, a PoC, or queer...  so long as you're new, I'd be happy to help you figure out how to be on paneling. 

Maybe I just need to get out there and talk up MarsCON more, you know?  There are a lot of cons in the Twin Cities, so it may just be that people are choosing to go a different con. Given its musical bent, I suspect MarsCON will always survive, but, I'm not a big music fan, so I'd like the programming to continue to be vibrant, exciting, and relevant as well. 

Perhaps this is a problem specific to MarsCON, since CONvergence certainly seems to have less trouble drawing in talent. On the other hand, I was also once the only woman on the Marvel Movie panel at CONvergence, too.  So some of the problems are there, too, despite the size difference.   

So... um, please come to MarsCON next year?  Pretty please???
lydamorehouse: (crazy eyed Renji)
 Except it isn't.  We're not due for another bout of Mercury Retrograde this year until April 28th, according to the Old Farmer's Almanac.

Unfortunately, this means I have no one to blame, but myself.

I had a hell of a day yesterday.  It started out quite nicely, but then quickly spiraled into a very retrograde kind of day.  The Loft contacted me about teaching a writing workshop on the craft of writing science fiction and fantasy short stories (to adults) in August. (Don't even ask me about how many times I went back and forth with her about the dates, because I apparently am determined to have only MIScommunications with people).

I've had a handful of short stories published, many of which I'm very, VERY proud of, but... you know, I also I happen to be rather close friends with a person who has won the Asimov's Reader's Choice award and who is CURRENTLY UP FOR A NEBULA AWARD IN THE SHORT STORY CATEGORY.  

So, I said to the Loft coordinator: Yes, of course I will teach, but I think the class would be a much bigger success if I can coerce my friend Naomi Kritzer into co-teaching with me.  Naomi has foolishly said yes, and yesterday, I went to talk to her about how we might structure the workshop and maybe start figuring out a course description and all that sort of jazz.  Anyway, we met up at the Dunn Bro's attached to the Roseville Ramsey County Library.  We're talking and all of a sudden my phone rings.  

It's my boss at work.

Can I work at the Roseville Ramsey County library today?  I think... I guess so, I mean, ironically, I'd have to go home long enough to change into more work appropriate clothes and grab my ID badge, but you know, sure?  I mean, part of the problem with saying 'no' too much this month is that I somehow completely spaced on getting any FIRM hours this month. Usually, as a sub, I get both firm shifts, where I know in advance where I'm going and when, and fill-ins, like this one.  My boss calls one day a month with a schedule and if I miss that call, I kind of miss getting any guaranteed hours.  This would be a bigger problem if we were really hurting for hours/money, but it occasionally happens and I still tend to pick up enough fill-in to make it all work.  Anyway, feeling the pressure of no guaranteed hours, I said, "Oh sure, I can work 11 to 3!"

I hung up and instantly had to dial back.  Because, somehow, once again, I forgot that I can't teleport.  I have to actually BE at Mason's school AT 3... Roseville isn't that far away, I could MAYBE make it in ten minutes, if I broke the speed limits and had perfect traffic conditions, but, yeah, NO.  My boss was apparently already on the phone to Roseville, because I rolled into her voice mail.  I said that I would talk to the local branch manager and see if it was okay for me to start a little early and end a little early and that she should call me back if that's not an okay thing to do.

I didn't get call back, and so I drove home briefly, and then back to the library.  I actually brought Naomi with me so she could see the new kitty, and since I was basically going back to where we were....because, yeah.

I show up at work a few minutes early, make my deal with the branch manager, and go along with my day.  When I call Shawn to let her know that I got called into work, she asks, "Uh, so... I should cancel my B12 shot for today at 2 pm?"  I'd totally forgotten I was meant to take her to that appointment... so she cancels.  AND THEN I SEE THAT I'M ONLY SCHEDULED UNTIL 2. (I figure my boss must have called back and said, "Lyda can only work until 2" but neglected to tell me, figuring I'd figure it out, but that would require me NOT TO BE COMPLETELY STUPID.)

So, yeah... I could have maybe taken Shawn in?

Especially since I ended up arranging to LEAVE EARLY FROM WORK at 2 instead of 3....

Oh my God.

And it was kind of like that all day.  I never did entirely recover.  *checks Mercury again*  *still not retrograde.*
lydamorehouse: (Renji 3/4ths profile)
 Last night when we came home, a very skinny, friendly orange striped kitten was loitering around outside.  We stopped to pet it, like you do,figuring it would head home after a few friendly pets.  

Nope.

When we opened the door, the kitty hopped onto the porch like he thought he lived here.

And... I think he might be right.

We let him stay on the porch for a while. Mason kept him company and instantly named him "Buttercup."  As the evening wore on, he ended up inside, in our downstairs bathroom, away from the other kitties with food and water (all of which he gobbled up.)  I gave him a box and blankets to sleep in, and... our family debated about what to do with "Buttercup."  We decided to put out signs letting the neighborhood know we have found a cat.  We haven't done that yet, but we will.  But, I think it's no coincidence that several weeks ago a neighborhood kid knocked on our door and desperately asked if we would take in the family cat because his mom was pregnant and can't have cats around any more.  Someone has also snipped this kitty's whiskers, deliberately.  I highly suspect, given how hungry and thirsty this kitten is, he was dumped.

So... I think we have a new kitty.  We're trying not to attach, while simultaneously doing all the things you do to slowly introduce a new cat into a pre-existing household of cats. This morning, I've moved Buttercup upstairs to the TV room, and have left his overnight room, the downstairs bathroom, open for inspection by the other kitties.  He's basically going to get a tour of the rooms in the house that have doors that close, so that everyone can get used to everyone else's smells.  Of course, if he stays everyone goes to the vet. We've been very careful not to let the cats get within nose-touching range (and they were all inoculated against feline leukemia and everything else), but you know, it pays to be careful. Plus, I don't think Buttercup has been neutered yet.  He's very little, all ears and eyes at this point.  

If he ends up staying, I'll try to post a picture.
lydamorehouse: (Bazz-B)
 Sometime ago, Shawn and I were forced to join the 21st Century because the ancient TV we got from a friend some time in the 90s finally died. As i'm sure all of you know, TVs today come equipped for 'fire sticks' and other means of watching on-line programming.  So Shawn and I have been enjoying curling up on the couch together in the evening and trying out various programs that are on Hulu or Netflix or Amazon Prime.  We loved Broadchurch (both seasons), Bloodlines, and River.  A few days ago, Shawn noticed that the new X-Files was available.  

We decided to watch it.  

I was a fan of the show when it first aired.  I wasn't a super-fan.  I don't think I saw either of the two movies; if I did, I forgot them.  Even so, I was pretty excited to see the old opening credits rolling.  I also want to note that, for most of the episodes, I was perfectly willing to suspend my disbelief.  In other words: I wanted to believe.

Even though there were a few rough bumps, I was really enjoying even the cheesiest episodes.  Then, last night, we hit "Babylon."  Shawn and I turned the TV off before we even got to the (in)famous mushroom trip scene.  Nope.  We quit when it became obvious Read more... )

Anyone else watch it?  What were your thoughts?
lydamorehouse: (crazy eyed Renji)
Yeah, so... I nearly entirely forgot about MarsCON this year. But, I was saved, last minute, by the lovely and talented Eric Heideman and Krushenko's programming. So, here's my MarsCON schedule:


SATURDAY, MARCH 5

10:00-10:50 AM, KRUSHENKO'S (ROOM 1117). PANEL: WHAT DO YOU LIKE (AND DISLIKE) ABOUT WRITING? Writers discuss what they like and dislike about the process of writing. Some writers love first drafts and hate revising. Others like the third draft much better. With: Eleanor Arnason, mod.; G. David Lordly (and now me)

NOON-12:50 PM, KRUSHENKO'S (ROOM 1117). PANEL: MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE Catch up on all of Marvel films and TV shows. With: Tony Artym, mod.; Aaron Grono, David J Schwartz, (and now me)

4:00-4:50 PM, RE(A)D MARS II EAGLE'S NEST). PANEL: DYSTOPIA VS. UTOPIA VS. JUST DIFFERENT Sometimes dystopias hold up a distorting mirror to the place and time they were written, while utopias explore possibilities of what our world could be. And sometimes fiction writers explore other worlds and dimensions not for what they can teach us about our world but for the inherent interest of those worlds, because “what if” is such a fun game, and lets our minds roam. Let's explore all three forms. With: Rick Gellman, mod.; Haddayr Copley-Woods, Naomi Kritzer, David J. Schwartz, (and now me)


SUNDAY, MARCH 6

NOON-12:50 PM, RE(A)D MARS II EAGLE'S NEST). PANEL: CYBERPUNK: WRITING AND READING What makes a cyberpunk story? What are the necessary elements? What can come and go freely? What books, stories, and writers have influenced and shaped the genre? Come to discuss the genre that some say we're living in right now. With: David Stegora, mod.; Roy C. Booth, Patrick W. Marsh (and now me)

2:00-2:50 PM, RE(A)D MARS II EAGLE'S NEST). PANEL OR DISCUSSION: THE RISE OF THE FEMALE SUPERHEROES Let's talk about some awesome female superheroes who have become bright sensations in recent years! Why do we love them so much, and how can we get more? With: Cynthia Booth, mod. (and now me).


Marscon is this weekend, March 4 - 5, at the Hilton Minneapolis/St Paul Airport/Mall of America.  For more information check out: http://marscon.org/2016/

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