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Posts Tagged ‘linkage’

Want to be in the final Memoir of Lady Trent?

As those of you who read my booklog posts have probably guessed, for the fifth and final volume of the Memoirs of Lady Trent, our intrepid heroine is going to a region based on the real-world Himalaya. I’ve been reading a fair bit about that area, and in the course of doing so, I’ve been continually reminded about the devastating earthquakes that struck Nepal earlier this year. The immediate need for earthquake relief has passed, but now it’s time to rebuild — and I thought, well, let’s see if I can’t do something to help out.

So I’ve teamed up with Patrick Rothfuss’ Worldbuilders fundraiser, creating Lady Trent’s Friends of Nepal. This is part of the larger Worldbuilders effort, which raises money for Heifer International, but all donations received as part of the Friends of Nepal project will specifically go to Heifer’s Nepal programs. In another couple of days there will be a page specifically for the Friends of Nepal, with books and other items offered for sale, the chance to donate for lottery prizes (a la the usual Worldbuilders setup), and some auctions.

Why am I posting before that page is live?

Because one of the featured elements of the Friends of Nepal fundraiser is live right now, and ending in just over a day. Bid here for the chance to appear in the final Memoir of Lady Trent! One lucky winner will have a character in the last book named after them, or a person of their choice. Who exactly that character will be will depend on the gender and ethnicity of the name, but possibilities include a scholar of the mysterious Draconean language, an intrepid mountaineer, a foreign diplomat, and more.

Bidding is up to $200, which is absolutely fantastic. (From my “let’s raise money for Nepal” perspective; not so much for those of you who would love to bid but can’t afford it.) You’ve got until 7:20 PST Sunday to get your own bid in — that’s 10:20 EST, and 3:20 a.m. Monday morning UTC/GMT. And if you don’t win the Tuckerization, don’t worry; there will be a bunch of other items on offer pretty soon . . .

. . . including signed ARCs of In the Labyrinth of Drakes. That’s right — you could have a chance to read it before it’s even published.

Stay tuned for more news!

Writing Excuses Three-fer

If you’re a writer and you’re not familiar with the Writing Excuses podcast, you’re missing out. It’s a weekly show with Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Tayler, Dan Wells, and Brandon Sanderson, on a wide-ranging variety of topics related to the writing of fiction. And if you remember me complaining during my Hugo Packet binge about how looooooooong most of the podcasts were? The tag line for Writing Excuses is “Fifteen minutes long, because you’re in a hurry, and we’re not that smart.” That last part is a lie (they are that smart), and the length is sometimes more like 15-20 minutes — but these are episodes you can listen to pretty easily, without having to set aside a cross-country trip or something to get through more than one.

They also have guests from time to time. So while Mary and I were in Salt Lake City during our tour, we got together with Howard and Dan (Brandon was absent) to record a few eps for later use. Three, to be precise, all of which have now gone live:

Recording those was a lot of fun. Like doing a panel, but more condensed. In and out before you run out of things to day — in many cases long before I ran out, but that’s a good thing, as it means I stayed energized and engaged the whole time. And if you like the general tenor of those episodes, you’ll like Writing Excuses: it’s like that all the time, except with Brandon Sanderson substituted in for me. 🙂 (And if you don’t like listening to podcasts, check out the comment thread; there’s a dedicated fellow who puts together transcripts a little while after each episode airs.)

another fundraiser — this one more serious

I posted a while ago about one of the stops on my book tour, an event hosted by the Oregon Regency Society. During that weekend, I met a lovely lady named Nora, a friend of Mary Robinette Kowal’s.

Last week, while on a trip with her husband to celebrate their anniversary, the two of them were in a horrific car accident. As in, the sort of thing where they’re lucky to be alive, and Nora is still in the ICU. (Her husband Bob was there, too, until recently.) They have insurance . . . but not a lot, and this is major enough that it’s going to blow through their coverage. It won’t help them with the months to come, during which neither of them will be able to work.

There’s a fundraiser underway to help them. And to sweeten the pot — not to mention create some spots of brightness in what is otherwise a dreadful moment — Mary is organizing Acts of Whimsy, as sort of milestone bait for the fundraiser. You can check out her blog for the full list, but my contribution is that I will perform a karate kata in the Victorian dress I used during the tour. I don’t promise to perform it well; in fact, it would be more honest to say I promise to perform it abysmally, given the constraints of the dress. But you will get to see it. And when that goes up, I’ll write a post about what I learned about trying to perform martial arts in Victorian clothing, for the edification of all who might write such a scene one day.

Please do contribute if you can. I didn’t get much chance to talk to Nora that weekend, but we did meet, and it’s appalling to look at the photograph of their truck (in the first update; click and scroll down to see it) and think of her going through that. The fundraiser is about 60% of the way to its goal right now; that’s fabulous, but there’s a lot more to be done.

CLOCKWORK PHOENIX 5 Kickstarter is nearly there . . . .

We’re down to the last couple of days, and CP5 is within striking distance of its goal. This is the anthology series that previously brought you “A Mask of Flesh,” “Once a Goddess,” “The Gospel of Nachash,” and “What Still Abides” — along with, of course, a host of stories from other writers, ranging from newcomers to Tanith Lee.

There’s an AMA underway on Reddit, where you can (as the name indicates) ask editor Mike Allen anything. Check that out, check out the Kickstarter, and let’s get this over the line!

Edmund Schubert, IGMS, and the Hugos

Edmund R. Schubert, editor of Intergalactic Medicine Show, has withdrawn himself for consideration in the category of Best Editor, Short Form.

My understanding is that it’s too late at this point to actually withdraw; his name will be on the printed ballots. But he no longer wishes to be in the running, and therefore would prefer people not vote for him.

Why am I posting about this? Because he’s put together a free sampler of material from IGMS — basically the stuff he might have put into the Hugo Voters’ Packet had he stayed in. And there’s a story of mine in there: “A Heretic by Degrees,” the first Driftwood story I ever published.

Schubert approached me ahead of time and asked whether I would be willing to let him reprint that story in the sampler, given the controversy around the Hugos. I told him I was fine with that, and in turn, I asked and received his blessing to talk about my relationship with IGMS.

As many (but possibly not all) of you know, the full name of IGMS is Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show. And Card, as many (but possibly not all) of you know, has become increasingly vocal over the years about his homophobia. This is, to put it mildly, not a position I support — which makes my relationship with the magazine complicated.

When I sold “Heretic” to IGMS, Card’s homophobia and other offensive behaviors were not fully on my radar, and I had not yet begun to think through such matters to the extent that I do today. I was just looking for a place to sell the story, that would pay me a decent rate. Later on, that changed: I knew full well what he was like when I sold them “Love, Cayce,” which is the other story of mine they’ve run. By then, my decision hinged on two things:

1) Card’s name is on the magazine, but he isn’t the editor. He hasn’t been the editor since 2006, and while he has occasionally selected a story for the magazine, this is rare. The vast majority of what you read in IGMS is there because of Schubert, who is not taking his marching orders from Card.

2) It pleased me to take money from a magazine bearing Card’s name for a story that has a lesbian relationship in it. (It’s a small detail, not the focus of the story — which is part of why Schubert didn’t pick “Love, Cayce” for the sampler. But it’s there, and it’s treated as both positive and unremarkable.)

And this brings us back to the sampler. Schubert told me his reason for putting it together was, he wanted to showcase what IGMS stands for, under his leadership. Because he is not Orson Scott Card, and he is not running a magazine that stands for homophobia, racism, misogyny, or any other kind of bigotry. I’m not claiming IGMS is a flawless paragon of diversity and progressive ideals; to be honest, I don’t read it regularly. (These days I don’t read any magazines regularly, not even BCS: most of my fiction consumption has been novels.) But it is not a microphone for Card’s views. Nor is it the kind of straight white male conservative bastion the Puppies seem to love so much. Schubert was not asked if he wanted to be on the Puppy slate; he does not applaud their tactics. And he does not agree with their bigotry.

Jim Hines posted recently against the polarization of the field, the sense that you have to “take sides” (and of course in that view there are only two sides, with no crossover or nuance or conflicting agendas). In the end, I think of my stories in IGMS, and my professional interactions with Schubert, as being a rejection of the notion of “sides.” As I told Schubert in email, I have no idea what his politics are, and I don’t care. Or perhaps it would be better to say: what matters to me about his politics is how they influence his professional behavior. I have seen no sign that he’s using his editorial position to promote bigotry; on the contrary, he deliberately crafted the sampler to be 50/50 men/women, and a quick glance shows me at least four non-white writers on the TOC. Nor has he been so publicly hateful that I can’t avoid knowing about it, a la Card. Could I judge him for keeping company with Card, for being willing to run a magazine that bears the name of a man who is so interested in hurting gay people? Sure. And I’m sure there are people out there who judge him in precisely that way. I can’t really fault them for that. But if I’d let that stop me back in 2011, IGMS wouldn’t have run a story about a bunch of second-generation D&D-style adventurers, one of whom happens to be a lesbian, getting into all kinds of trouble.

I don’t want to help build the echo chamber. I’d rather tear the walls down.

So that is where I stand. I haven’t sold IGMS anything since 2011, though I did send them one piece in 2012. Whether or not I send them anything else will depend on how much short fiction I manage to write, whether I think any of it fits with the magazine, and whether think I can sell it somewhere else that will pay me more — no offense to Mr. Schubert. 🙂 They aren’t my top market, but they aren’t off the list, either. And I’m happy to see “A Heretic by Degrees” included in the sampler, because I’m happy to be an example of what Schubert wants IGMS to stand for.

Every Frame a Painting

This is a fascinating series of videos.

The video blogger, Tony Zhou, digs into the art of the director and the cinematographer to talk about how they achieve their effects. For somebody like me, who is a dyed-in-the-wool narrative geek but doesn’t know the first thing about the craft of film, it’s like catnip: a chance to understand how one tells stories with images rather than words.

Mind you, I can’t quite follow everything he says. There are times where he’ll try to draw out a particular point, but its effect is subtle enough or he doesn’t unpack the idea enough or I don’t have enough basic grounding in film craft that I end up shrugging and thinking “okay, if you say so.” But many of them are just great, like “What Is Bayhem?”, wherein he dissects the work of Michael Bay. It isn’t about saying “oh, he’s such a genius” — he isn’t. Zhou’s thesis is that Bay imprinted on a couple of visual tricks and then BEATS THEM TO DEATH in every movie he makes. But it’s possible to identify what those tricks are, and to see he got them from or where other people try to copy him without understanding what he’s actually doing. It’s possible to put your finger on why you don’t like Michael Bay’s films (if indeed you do not like them) . . . because the man uses the same visual tricks without much regard for the material he’s using them on. It’s the equivalent of playing a piece of music all at one volume: there’s no dynamics, no contrast, just EVERYTHING IS EPIC ALL THE TIME. Even when the story itself is not actually being very epic at that moment.

I also loved the video on “Edgar Wright: How to Do Visual Comedy”. It hammered home for me some of the reasons why I find Wright’s movies to be a lot of fun, while a lot of other cinematic comedy bores me stiff. I’ve said before that the issue is one of content, and that’s true: I don’t find humiliation funny, I’m annoyed rather than amused by people acting so stupidly I’m not sure how they can even walk and talk at the same time, gross-out humour is just NO, and I’m very hit-or-miss with physical comedy. I like wittiness, and wittiness tends to be in short supply these days, at least in American comedy films. But it turns out there’s more to it than that. Zhou points out that so many movies have limited themselves to only one channel of humour, which is people standing around talking: they don’t use lighting or well-timed sound effects or matching scene transitions or soundtrack synchronization or things entering and leaving the frame in unexpected ways. (It was interesting, watching Galavant after seeing that video; I found myself noting the places where it employed a broader array of tools.) Using all those channels means you can vary your approach, make your point in different ways depending on the context.

Other particularly good ones: “Jackie Chan: How to Do Action Comedy.” “David Fincher: And the Other Way Is Wrong.” “A Brief Look at Texting and the Internet in Film.” All of them are interesting to watch, but I found those five the most comprehensible and eye-opening. If you have any interest in that sort of thing, they’re well worth taking a look at.

An Invocation for Beginnings

There’s a lot of inspirational dreck out there — well, I shouldn’t call it dreck. No doubt it inspires somebody. Generally not me, though, because the sentiment is too saccharine, too happy-fuzzy-warm to have any real impact on me. And yet, things like the demotivators are too cynical: they’re good for a brief laugh, but when you need something to get you going, they probably aren’t going to help. (Unless they do. Brains are weird things, and each one works in a different way.)

Which is why, when I found an inspirational thing that worked on me, I ran out and bought a poster of it. (Mine is green. The color is unfortunate either way: oh well.) The inspirational thing is a video by ze frank, An Invocation for Beginnings:

It works for me because it’s not happy-fuzzy-warm. It’s funny and it’s random and every so often it hits the point right on the nose. If I tried to quote my favorite bits at you, I’d end up quoting half the speech, but I’m especially fond of “Perfectionism may look good in his shiny shoes but he’s a little bit of an asshole and nobody invites him to their pool parties” and the whole part about the pencils. And then the last bit: “And god let me enjoy this. Life isn’t just a sequence of waiting for things to be done.”

Sometimes when I sit down to write, I don’t feel like doing it. I don’t want to be working on that bit of the story, or I don’t want to be working on that story, or I don’t want to be working at all. The Invocation helps me remember to enjoy that night’s work for what it is, to sink myself down into it and have fun. Maybe this isn’t the big thrilling climax to anything . . . but I can still get a cool turn of phrase or add in a detail that wasn’t there before. I’m not just waiting for this book to be done.

Let’s start this shit up.

Nerdiness at Kepler’s on Saturday

If you’re in the Bay Area and interested in SF/F, Kepler’s Books in Menlo Park is doing an event on Saturday the 15th, with items ranging from a class in how to speak Dothraki to a panel on the topic of which is better: fantasy or SF?

Now, the panelists for this are myself, Ellen Klages, Pat Murphy, and Chaz Brenchley. Ellen and I were talking this past weekend at World Fantasy, and she points out that she knows herself, she knows Pat, and she knows me. And I know Chaz.

This panel is not likely to go according to the description. 😛

I’m not sure whether the plan is for me to brandish a plastic sword at Ellen proclaiming that fantasy is better, while she brandishes a plastic raygun at me proclaiming the supremacy of SF, or whether I’m going to be waving the sword and championing SF while she waves the raygun and champions fantasy. Quite possibly we will do both. Either way, there are likely to be Shenanigans. And plastic weaponry. And a good deal of silliness. We will certainly do our best to be entertaining, regardless. 4 p.m., Menlo Park, be there or never learn the truth of which genre is supreme.

Thoughts on Benjanun Sriduangkaew/Requires Hate

As promised, a follow-up post on the public revelation that Requires Hate and Benjanun Sriduangkaew are the same person, and the material collated by Laura J. Mixon on that topic. This is entirely about my own feelings and opinions on the matter; they’re not statements of fact, though I’ve done my best to be clear what facts I’m basing my feelings and opinions on.

Because naming gets complicated in a discussion of someone with multiple names, my approach has been as follows: I use Winterfox or WF when referring to that specific persona, ditto Requires Hate or RH, ditto Benjanun Sriduangkaew or just Sriduangkaew. (I would like to abbreviate that name as well, but since the initials there are BS, it would have a very unfortunate effect.) When I’m talking about the individual behind all of those personas, I follow Mixon’s lead in calling her RHB, for lack of any better referent.

Some brief prefatory comments follow, before I get to the main points.

(more…)

links, without commentary

Many of you have probably already seen these elsewhere, but it’s possible I have blog readers not covered by other sources, in which case I do want to do my part in spreading the word.

“Requires Hate” apologizes

Benjanun Sridungkaew apologizes

Laura J. Mixon’s report on Requires Hate/Winterfox/Benjanun Sridungkaew/etc, with documentation of her lengthy history of abusive behavior under the guise of of social justice

I will have more to say about this later. Right now, though, I’m at World Fantasy, without the time and energy to spare that this topic deserves. And even if I weren’t, I’d want to put my thoughts in a separate post, because I think it’s important to make a distinction between what is public knowledge and what is my personal feeling on the matter. Look for that next week.