Monday, June 5, 2017

Lexicon 2017 Roundup: Teh Shiny

There is a lake in the middle of North Island of New Zealand, surrounded by volcanoes, bordered by alpine desert, touched by waterfalls and geothermal activity, and for one weekend in the winter of 2017, was infiltrated by creatives, artists, fen, and the odd taniwha-wannabe. Taupo: we came, we celebrated, we shared our brains. But...not in a zombie way. Well, maybe some did. I dunno. I don't ask.

Guest of Honour Seanan McGuire expressed a desire to leap into Lake Taupo and become a ruling scaled beast of the depths (eating tourists only for the first two years of her contract with the locals). Paul Mannering recruited willing participants to tread fun and familiar territory through another radio play "Word of the Things", where The Great Orange One Lord Sour-Ron was attempting to build a wall around More-Doors and get the other races to pay for it, and the ship of  Scamwise and Toedoh finally sailed using Snuggle as an anchor. The con was also subtitled (to those in the know) "OrvilleCon" as the Ghost of Honour was the famous rat Orville who co-starred in the Hobbit movies - may he find all the cheese he needs in ratty heaven.

So yes, Lexicon had a very distinct New Zealand flavour (tastes like Kakapo) and humour, spiced with a good dollop of Seanan fun (snakes, frogs, and sunset hair, oh my). We welcomed guests from Australia, Sweden, and the US in the form of DUFF visitor Paul Weimer.

The Suncourt Hotel convention rooms buzzed like a swarm of well fed sand flies in summer. Pieces of brain were shared (in the form of knowledge, OF COURSE). Laughter spread like Marmite on toast.

And I had a damn good time. Because this happened:









*record scratch* Yup. That's me up there next to Seanan and Lynelle. Bet you're wondering how I got there.





I won the Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Short Story, for "Splintr" from At The Edge. I may have spoken coherently (I think?), but I was pretty glazed for quite some time. I know it sounds trite, but I really wasn't expecting it. It still hasn't sunk in properly. Thanks all you lovely people. It was the perfect cap to a great weekend.

Keeping the winning-ness going, I also took 2nd place in the Lexicon Short Story competition, which meant I went home with more books than I arrived with! Lesbian pirate capybara and soprano marmot FTW!

Future of a Space Woman: l-r, Mary Brock Jones,
myself, Karen Healey, Daphne Lawless
A big first for me at Lexicon was moderating panels. Determination: go prepared! Actuality: I did! Diverse Families in SFF went well, and I could have done with another hour or two to dig deeper into the topic. In Need of Superheroes was fun, coz we got to squee about the diversity shining through in modern comics and bitch out Nazi Captain America (BOOOOOOO).

The panel I had the most fun moderating and the juicy discussion that came out of it was Future of a Spacewoman. Ground Rule Laid: This Ain't Yer Mom's 101. People dubbed it "Feminism in Spaaaaaaace!" and we came out of it quite buzzy. We talked about PERIODS. And demanded trans women and non-binary people be in our Science Fiction Double Feature. And said Ain't No Space Party Without a Reproductive Justice Party So Get Your Today Right As The Women of Tomorrow Are Gonna Lead The Charge And Leave You Behind. And I got to fangirl over The Expanse. I plan to blog about it, interest was so high.

Myself, Seanan McGuire, Eileen Mueller
Outside picking up a pointy statue designed by Weta and chewy panel goodness, I attended lots of cool discussions, including Seanan McGuire's beautiful GoH speech about kindness in our communities and writer up lift. Hell yeahs. I also really enjoyed the Ecosystems in SFF panel with Meryl Stenhouse, Octavia Cade, and Seanan McGuire - lots of chewy bugs, er, food for creative thought. And speaking of Octavia Cade, I'm super proud she won TWO SJVs, for Best Novella and Best Fan Writing.

In the best tradition of People Who Haven't Seen Each Other For A Long Time or Ever, discussions and cups of tea and Glasses of Fanta were much enjoyed in the liminal places of the con. Magical words were passed between myself and Seanan and myself and Kaaron Warren, which will remain our private spells.

The Lexicon concom did a great job putting together events and a program, and the weekend went incredibly smooth. Thanks team!

I'm sure I'm forgetting lots in the post-con haze, but overall I'm coming out of it feeling great and a good time was had by the many. The volcano demons were satiated without the sacrifice of virgins, taniwha-ness was flirted with, old friends refilled their life-blood, and new friends were shaped from the clay of the ether.

Lexicon 2017, you were choice.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Author in the Wild: Lexicon!

New Zealand natcon weekend is almost upon us - Queen's Birthday weekend! - and Lexicon is shaping up to be a doozy! I'm really looking forward to catching up with all my local friends, and meeting people I've only known in pixel-format until now. Just quietly, I'm also on the squee side about meeting Seanan McGuire.

The Lexicon concom have done a brilliant job putting together a program with lots of interesting panels and events. If you don't find me in the bar or the hallways, here's where I'll officially be throughout the weekend:

Saturday, 3pm - Diverse Families in SFF
Sunday, 2pm - Future of a Spacewoman
Sunday, 4pm - In Need of Heroes?

I'll definitely be at the SJV ceremony, since I'm up for the Short Story award this year. Electronic voting is underway now (yay, good show SFFANZ!), and you can vote during the weekend at the con.

I'm also part of the security team again this year, as a safety liaison.

As always, be excellent to each other and we'll all have a good time.

Party don't start till I walk in




Wednesday, April 19, 2017

News: Story in PodCastle, SJVs Nomination

Been a quiet start to the year, but things have turned around in April.
  • I've been a part of PodCastle on and off for years, first as an audio editor, then as a sometimes narrator. Now I've gone the full wazoo and have a story published there! I even narrated it! It's a reprint of "Blood Stone Water", which originally appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, then Heiresses of Russ 2014, making it my most reprinted story so far. Stoked to be in yer earholes and part of the PodCastle archive now.
  • The Sir Julius Vogel Award short list has been announced and way-ho, I made the cut for the Short Story category this year, with "Splintr" from "At The Edge". Thanks to everyone who nominated me. I have big feelz. If you're interested in voting in this year's SJVs, you need to be a member of SFFANZ, or a member of this year's natcon Lexicon. There is a supporting membership available for overseas people unable to attend in person.
  • While on the subject of the SJVs, I'm stoked that "At The Edge" has such good representation on the ballot this year. Some of the stories made the shorts category, it's nominated for "Best Collected Work", and the cover art by Emma Weakley is nominated for an award.
  • And on the subject of Lexicon, I'm currently signed up for "Future of a Spacewoman", "Diverse Families", and "In Need of Heroes?", about what we see and need in modern superheroes. It's a great line up of panels this year, a lot of really interesting stuff to talk about with a kiwi flavour. 
Deez wordz have tastee noms




Sunday, April 2, 2017

New Story: Kaleidotrope, April 2016

It's been a while between drinks, but I have a new story out!

Presenting "And We Spake Of Them Words Which Make You Goddess" in Kaleidotrope, Spring 2017.

I pitch "Goddess" as my weirdest story to date, because the story arc is buried deeply beneath the voice and emotion of the character. I wanted to make an attempt at language drift in SF. It was a difficult and interesting challenge, because as someone who has forgotten more of other languages than she learned I had to keep a tight grip on the grammar and vocabulary for consistency.

I also wanted to attempt what is essentially an angry and dense character. I won't go into intentions or story  because it is a puzzle working out the world and what has become of these people. Where does the fantasy end and reality begin?

Thanks to Fred Coppersmith for taking a chance on a story I never thought would see a home.

Check out the other cool stories in the issue from Shaenon K. Garrity, Cat Sparks, Iain Ishbel, and Bo Balder.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Where you at, funky cat?

Hi.

It's been a while, my friend.

It's been hard to think about blogging about writing when every day since November 9, 2016 has been another round of "holy hell, what now?" I haven't gone away from writing. No, my resolve to use writing as resistance has been strengthened by a world that's eased the way for white male supremacy to show it's true face to those too complacent (and complicit) to think this hasn't been on the cards for decades. I've been writing angry, I've been writing steadily.

I do admit I have been complacent in my understanding of where this would all go. I had thought the next decades of my life would be dedicated to extending, improving, negotiating the nuance of feminist/activist SFF, and progressivism as a whole. But here we are, clawing it back, holding on to what we thought was safe. And that was my privilege showing it's ass to me, and telling me GURL, you got some reading and self-examination to do.

There is still plenty of room for discussion of nuance in this though. It's wonderful to be surrounded by a support network of people who will not back down, or let you give up hope. We'll fight for decency and equity for everyone, and punch a few Nazis on the way. We've come too far to only come this far.

As for the writing bit, I've made changes to my routine and my mindset. Gaming was dragging my attention and time down - New Year's Resolution, it's gone. It's been hard going cold turkey, but it had to be done. It's also given me a lot more time for reading, and while resettling my concentration and focus has also been hard, it's doing wonders for my mental space. I don't and won't talk about exercise because of my body issues and fat activism, but I just want to say though there have been some terribly hard days mentally, I'm finding new ways to deal with it.

See, writing isn't just about putting the words down on the page. It's about making sure your mind and body can handle the journey too. Arting is hard, yo, especially in these troubled times.

The things coming up I can talk about:

  • I'm signed on for this year's New Zealand natcon, Lexicon. I'm already roped into a couple of panels, maybe more. I'll talk about those closer to the June con date. 
  • I'm going to Worldcon in Helsinki. Yooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! This trip is gonna be HUGE. Three weeks in Scandinavia, I'm going to see some of my Clarion buds, and wear a dashing suit to the Hugos. Look out puppies...
Things coming up I can't talk about:
  • I've sold a story, but I can't say where to yet, but soooooooon. It's one of my Bucket List venues so, progress!
  • I've been approached to contribute to an anthology, and I'm working on that story. Again, secret squirrel until it's all done and dusted. 
I'm pleased with my steady output of work since the year started. It'd be great for these angry (angrier than usual) and odd stories to find homes, so will be interesting to see what the year brings. It has been quieter on the sales front than previous years, but that's because I've been more discerning about where I'm sending my work, and truth be told I know my style isn't going to be everyone's cup of tea. I keep a certain mantra in mind: "Joanna and Tip wrote what they damn well felt like, and they got the recognition they deserve". Maybe it'll take longer than I anticipated to hit the sweet spot, years perhaps. But hell, if I'm not writing then I'm dead. 

Continuing on, dragons and unicorns.






Thursday, December 8, 2016

2016 Awards Eligibility

2016 has been a quieter year story quantity wise, but I feel my writing quality has taken a big step forward.

If you feel compelled to nominate any of my stories (thank you) for local (the SJVs) or international consideration (Tiptrees, Nebulas, Hugos, hey, a girl can dream), then here are what I believe are my best works of the 2016 calendar year:

"An Atlas in Sgraffito Style", Shimmer Magazine, May 2016. A lovely-strange piece about cities colliding, merging, and eating themselves, and the women who try to hold them together through paint and riot. Still immensely proud of this story.

"Splintr" At The Edge, edited by Lee Murray and Dan Rabarts, Paper Road Press, June 2016. Another weird piece, all sharp edges and strange prose. Aliens evacuate a doomed Earth, leaving one person behind. Are the multiple narratives part of a fracturing personality under pressure, or is the strange apocalypse doing something to time on the quantum level?

"Shadow Cat's Apprentice, and the Wanderer's Almanac to Biliousness in All Its Forms" Andromeda Spaceways, Issue 64 September 2016. A fun story, the prequel to "Long's Confandabulous Circus" in ASM last year. Cats, magic, sewers, sinister shadow assassins, oh my.

Thanks for coming along on the ride this year.

Bow Tie Kitteh Got Game






Thursday, November 10, 2016

I Will Stand With You

To my trans, non-binary, and genderqueer friends
To my LGBQ friends
To my African-American friends
To my Muslim friends
To my Latinx friends
To my disabled friends
To my poor friends
To women of colour
To women

To my friends.

I will stand with you. I will fight with you. I will fight for you. Even if my comfort and my words are the only revolution I have to offer, I will keep writing the stories that need to be told.

I will stand with you.