lydamorehouse: (Bazz-B)
Today was the first day of my class at the Loft, Not Just the Zombie Apocalypse: Writing Science Fiction & Fantasy. Right off the heels of CONvergence, I got up this morning and taught 20 eager-to-not-so-eager 13-17 year-olds at 9 am.

Yeeeeaaaah.

I'm fairly wiped out now, to be honest. I think tonight is going to be an early night for me, especially since I have to get up and do it again tomorrow. In general, I'd say the kids are good. The kids are always good. The question is really, can I engage them. I think I did pretty well actually, since my measure of success is: did I get a bunch of them to open up and talk out loud in class? I did. So, day one: fait accompli.

I also thought today was the deadline for my review of The Wendy Project, a graphic novel by Melissa Jane Osbourne/Veronica Fish for Twin Cities Geeks so I read that again and wrote up a review.  I have a critique project I need to start working on.  

AND, tomorrow at Quatrefoil, I'll be giving a talk with the Gaylaxicons about Precinct 13. So, lots to "keep me off the street" as my grandmother might have said.
lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
 ...but it probably won't.

The last few days have been very dreary. There's been cloud cover and cold, moist winds that smell like rain.  Yesterday, it actually sprinkled for all of ten minutes (it even thundered), but when all was said and done, it was a very lackluster show of moisture.  I think my plants would really like some wet.  If it's going to be dark and stormy-looking, I wish it would just commit to the idea.

Weather people are saying it might actually snow. Of course, it'll do THAT, now that every Minneapolitan/Saint Paulie spent the weekend uncovering their various gardens. My luck, the snow will kill the few things that have managed to sprout in my otherwise dead yard.

I think this is the year I give up on grass.  I've been trying to re-grass the top of our hill, under our maple tree for the last couple of years.  I usually have pretty decent luck getting grass to sprout, but it never manages to really take hold and survive the winter.  I think it's time to look at a shade garden for the top of the hill.  Ferns and hostas and stuff like that.  

Usually, my biggest hold up for projects like this is money.  Hostas are surprisingly expensive.  Plants, in general.  So, if you're local to me and you hear about plant sales/giveaways please let me know.  I think this week I might go to Menards some dirt and start prepping the area.  Somewhere in this house we still have a gift certificate someone gave us to Gerten's. I might have to make a trip out there soon to see what they have that might work under the tree.

In other, possibly more exciting news, I'm doing a reading tonight at Magers & Quinn in Minneapolis from 7 pm to 8 pm.  I'm going to be part of a group that's reading from the anthology we were all published in: BOUNDARIES WITHOUT: The Calument Editions 2017 Anthology of Speculative Fiction (link is to the Kindle edition, but it's also available in paperback).  It's sometimes tough to find parking in Uptown, but I usually park in the ramp there behind the square or whatever it's called. Should be a good night. I hope to see some of you there.

For some reason Magers & Quinn could not get copies of PRECINCT 13 to sell, so if you go, you might want to ask them to order a few copies and/or bring your own for me to sign. This has been happening to me a lot--where I agree to be at various venues, and the book purchasers say that they can't get my most recent publication.  The first time this happened, I discovered it was because SONG OF SECRETS was showing up as my latest release.  That book has been completely pulled by the publisher for various and sundry reasons. But, even when I underscore to bookstore people that, no, please get my most recent Penguin release, they can't seem to manage it.  I don't really understand why not. From what I can tell, all my romance books are still available.  It's concerning.  I suppose I should see if I can order some from Penguin for myself to sell (because that's what Magers & Quinn wanted me to do--bring my own for them to sell on commission, but I don't normally keep my own books around, since they SHOULD be easy to order.)

On the other hand, maybe my lack of other books will inspire more listeners to buy a copy of the anthology.  I'll look at it that way.  Besides, I suspect that a lot of people who know me have already bought their copies of Precinct 13 some time ago.  :-)

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: (Default)
The Rivendell Discussion Group of the Mythopoeic Society has invited me to join their discussion of "The Hobbit: That Wasn't in the Book" at Common Good Books in St. Paul on Monday, September 22 at 7 PM.  (September 22, of course, being the date recognized as Bilbo and Frodo's birthday by most Hobbit/LotRs fans.)  \

Apparently, Gandalf David was having some trouble finding a burglar panelist for this gig.  I'm not quite sure about this funny mark he's left of my door, but I'm sure it will all be fine.  I'm not really the adventurous type, you know.  Do hope there might be a bit of singing, though (and some sexy dwarves.)

Fingers crossed.  See you there, perhaps.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Shawn arrived home safely on Friday night. The only thing that went awry while she was away was that I totally forgot to go pick up our very last CSA box. I blame MEA or whatever reason it was that we didn't have school. I managed to remember that it was Thursday in terms of recycling, but we were picking up Donte for the sleepover right about when I should have been collecting the box.

And it had spinach in it too. sigh.

We spent much of Saturday recovering/decompressing from the sleepover/business trip. I had a gig at the Roseville Public Library at 3:00 pm, which was a dud. They were having me speak in the middle of their "Harvest Festival" which included things that were a lot more awesome than me, like henna tattooing, storytime, etc. Plus, they put me in a very forbidding white room. Two people came. I talked to them anyway, and somewhere near the end of the hour four other people trickled in. We'd already devolved into talking about famous people we'd met, and I was telling my story of crashing Neil Gaiman's Guy Fawkes party (and how I peed in the same stall as Ursula K. LeGuin at WisCON.) If we were at a science fiction convention, we would have retired to the bar almost right away. :-)

But, the library was beautiful and the librarians were awesome. I so don't blame them -- or even the patrons for their disinterst. There was just too much other cool stuff going on at the same time. I mean, for God(dess)'s sake, they had a Wii in the teen scene room on a widescreen. If it were me, that's where I'd have been hanging out too!

Sunday, we celebrated full moon (which was actually Friday night) and then I spent the day cooking a chicken for my nephew Jonathan. I made some very odd, but ultimately sort of tasty coleslaw of the rutabega and turnip that were left over from the previous CSA box. It was strange, but it had a nice tang that I ended up enjoying. My mashed potatoes were so creamy they almost seemed fake, you know? My bread was perfect too, so, all round it was excellent food and even better company -- though I wasn't terribly focused for some reason. I think it might have been the rainy weather and the slowness of the weekend. Also, I spent a lot of my day reading and that can turn me rather introspectively quiet.

I finished up GRACLING by Katlin Cashore. Normally, I'm not a fan of BFFWMs (Big, Fat Fantasies with Maps,) but this YA was extremely compelling. Our heroine, Katsa, lives in a world where people like my mother (born with two different colored eyes) are graced -- they have some kind of superpower. Katsa has one blue, one green eye and her grace is killing. She's being used as a tool by her uncle, the king, and meets her match one day when she runs into Po, a foreign prince graced with fighting.

Or so it seems.

This book is new enough that I don't want to spoil it, so I won't tell you much more other than things are wonderfully complicated -- in a way that made me depressed that I hadn't thought of this idea first, you know?

At first I had a hard time relating to Katsa, but I eventually got used to Cashore's storytelling style, which reminded me of what I've read of Eleanor Arason's unfinished YA (the bonus of being in Wyrdsmiths.) Also, having just read HUNGER GAMES triology, I kept expecting something REALLY AWFUL to happen, and I was estaticlly relieved when it didn't. That might make it sound like nothing happens in this story, but that's not true. The story isn't typical hanging-on-the-edge-of-my-seat kind of exciting, but I was entirely engaged in the characters and what was happening in a way I haven't been in a long time. So I enthusiastically recommend it to anyone who hasn't picked it up yet.

Also, and this is perhaps a weird comment, but I think I liked GRACLING because Katsa might be a courtly lady in a fantasy world, but all the things that bug me about fantasies bugged Katsa too. The court politics (while there and part of the story) were uninteresting to her. She found women's place in society wrong and unjust (and she eventually does something about it.) She's determined to remain unmarried and childless in a way you don't usually find in such an incredibly romantic story in a pastoral fantasy, you know? I found that utterly awesome. Plus, she's very obviously straight, but she cuts her hair like a boy and ocassionally passes as a boy in society. She extraordinarily butch, and I like that because as a teen I would have adored having this role model to consider among all the other character's lives I was "trying on" as part of my coming out process.

In fact, she's kind of who I was in high school before I realized that I didn't thrill to men quite the way I did to women. (For those who don't know, I like boys. I dated boys all though high school and into my first few months of college.) Anyway, Katsa is very admirable throughout. She's the kind of heroine that I often complain about not seeing enough of -- a tough woman who is still complicatedly human in her relationships, etc. She ends up having a child to protect (one of my bugaboos particularly of strong women in film) but their relationship ends up being richly complicated as well.

Anyway, I'm afraid I'll give the whole thing away if I talk too much about it. Maybe if we meet at a science fiction convention -- and you've read it too -- we can put our heads together and really discuss the book.

That'd be fun. See you there.

Hork-Hork

Jul. 13th, 2010 11:23 am
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Does your family have shorthand phrases? One of the ones in our family comes from a time when Shawn was sitting, minding her own business on the couch, when Ms. Ball our black-and-white kitty hopped up onto her lap as though to settle in. All of a sudden she made a tiny little "hork-hork" sound and deposited a hairball right in Shawn's lap. She, all cat-like, primly hopped away as if that's what she meant to do all along. Leaving, of course, chaos in her wake.

We use "hork-hork" as short hand for those overwhelming OMG/I-just-want-to-barf moments. Like, whenever we think about all the insurance/hassle/etc. to do with the new roof, we just catch each other's eye and say, "hork-hork."

Today has been as series of hork-horks.

A happy hork-hork was that I delivered the final manuscript of ALMOST FINAL CURTAIN electronical to Anne exactly two WHOLE days early. Which for me, constitutes a minor miracle. I was one of those students for whom time deadlines were invented. You know, instead of just saying "the paper is due on Tuesday," professors have to add "BY midnight." Because, inevitibly, mine would land in his or her in-box at precisely 11:59 pm. Anyway, delivery always stresses me out just a tiny bit, because, you know, now I can't take it back and fix it, etc. It's out of my hands. hork.

I'm currently hiding at my coffee shop because the roofer guys are delivering materials. Due to the weather, they probably won't start the job until Thursday, but my gardens are currently being mooshed and smooshed and trampled by all the guys bringing in shingles, etc. Our contractor contact, Steve, was actually very nice about it and we agreed to the smooshing and mooshings, but I don't really need to see it, you know? Hork.

Anyway, while I was sitting here with the fabulous internet connection and a yummy cuppa, I checked my e-mail. My publicist informed me that KARE-11 wants to interview me LIVE on Tuesday, August 3 around 10:00 am. (For "Showcase Minnesota"?) Live??? My first response to my publicist was... have they SEEN me? I'm not what you'd call terribly photogenic. I have, what they might call, a perfect face for RADIO.

I mean it's cool to have five minutes of fame and all that, but, dude, HORK.

Speaking of radio, I've neglected to tell you all that I have an upcoming radio gig. I'll be on "Write On Radio" (KFAI -- 90.3 Mpls/106.7 St. Paul) on Tuesday, July 20th. They've moved to primetime, so the show starts at 7:00 pm and runs for an hour. I don't know which hour I'll be in, though I'm often the last. For those of you who aren't in range of the gerbil-wheel powered antenna KFAI has, they stream live at: http://www.kfai.org/writeonradio (sidebar button). Also, since I know many of my friends are in other time zones, you can also check in at their website. It looks like they have a running archive of previous shows at the bottom of the page.

Anyway, the deliveries are probably made so I can safely return home. I also need to paint the neighbor's side of the fence sometime this week -- hopefully before the rain comes again.

hork-hork.

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