I’ll be at ICFA in Orlando from March 22-26.
Thursday, March 23: 8:30-10 AM, Vista A. Reading, with K. Tempest Bradford and Jennifer Stevenson
Friday, March 24: 8:30-10 AM, Vista A. Reading (host), with Maurice Broaddus, Chesya Burke, Usman Malik
Friday, March 24, 2:30-4 PM, Oak, Panel: Weird Sisters: Women Writing Horror/Weird Fiction. Moderator: Sean Moreland, with Bernadette Bosky, Anya Heise-von der Lippe, Helen Marshall, Gina Wisker, and me
Hope to see you there!
I know the USA is a tire fire right now, but I also have a new story up on Lightspeed Magazine. Take a break from the news, just half an hour, and check it out. It’s called “Nine-Tenths of the Law” and it’s about marital problems and Denver International Airport conspiracy theories. And other stuff. It’s a bit racy so maybe read it at work. You can also listen to it!
There’s a little interview with me, too, in which I talk about said conspiracy theories!
Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.
Trump won. America voted for him. People I know voted for him—people who know me, and knew my father; who claimed to love us, who are familiar with our Jewish ancestry: they still voted for someone who has declared intent to start a registry of people based on their faith; someone who has threatened mass deportation based on ethnicity. I am sure people you know voted for him—people who claim to love you, whether you are queer, brown, Trans*, black, a woman, poor, or just a decent human being who tried to explain to them the importance of voting against someone who stands for white supremacy, “braggadoccious,” and actually literally sexually assaulting women and girls.
People we don’t know voted for him too. Lots of them. Enough to put him in the White House.
I watched it happen at the world’s worst election night party (through no fault of my lovely hosts). Early in the night it had been full of excited, if nervous people, chatting happily of this and that, eager to see a win for the most qualified presidential candidate in recent history, whose victory was all but assured. We quickly went quiet as Rachel Maddow began to lose her shit on MSNBC. The results came in—or rather, didn’t—for long enough that we all sensed it in the wind. People split into other areas of the house, glued to phones or laptops or the TV. We were silent, shocked. In tears I called a friend, who told me to be patient, to wait, that it would be all right.
It was not all right. The next morning, I saw the same friend had messaged me at 1 AM MT, after I’d given up and gone to sleep, with just one word.
In the wake of it, I have not been well. I am grieving. Something has cracked deep inside of me; some part of me is leaking out. I think it is my civility; my willingness to swallow my sighs and my anger and instead speak calmly. Maybe it’s my lifelong goal of being the approachable, easy going feminist who takes the time to explain issues patiently and who endures sexism with a smile and a handshake because you win more flies with honey.
On Wednesday afternoon after the election, as I was working at the coffee shop, a young white man elected to explain to me all about HRC’s “flaws.” I stopped him at some point, which surprised this entitled bastard, in order to say, “Actually, I’m a big fan,” which shocked him.
“You can’t possibly mean that!” he said, in mock astonishment.
“No, I really do,” I replied.
At that point he decided to explain to me how “corrupt” HRC was, and that if I was a fan, I couldn’t possibly have read much about her, or be informed about what she really is. I stared at him, standing next to my friend and boss, who was also too angry, too tired from fighting tears all day, to tell him what we really thought about him and his white male opinions—about his certainty that his thoughts were more reasoned, more valid than my own. About his feeling that in the wake if this defeat, I should be listening to him, not he to me.
It sent me to a dark place, out of which I have not yet crawled. Why didn’t I tell him to shut the fuck up? My boss would have supported me. I know that under normal circumstances she would have sent his ass packing with his fucking iced coffee, no room for cream.
I don’t know. I don’t know how to feel; what to do. When I go outside now, I see white men and white women, who overwhelmingly voted to put Trump in the White House… and I wonder, what are they thinking? Are they enjoying having told American women that they’re garbage; that they actually can’t be anything they want, ha ha? Do they see Trump’s victory as a sign that their Islamophobia, their racism, their misogyny, their hatred, is “correct” and “moral” and “just” now? Are they feeling anything at all, or are they able to just roll their eyes and say to themselves, “it’s just politics, what’s the big deal?”
It’s no longer just politics. It never was, of course, but it’s more obvious than ever before.
To anyone who says “don’t be angry” or “this is a time to set aside our differences and work for unity,” reflect on this… feeling as if the people around you hate you because of who you are is depressing, and it is terrifying. This is not a time for unity. It’s a time to say “I will never ally myself with fascism, or with those who support it.”
I will also never join with those who are pointing fingers specifically at women and saying, “it’s your fault.” Yeah, the “bitch” there is silent, but it’s still loud and clear. It’s doubly hard to know who your friends are these days. The Right can obviously go fuck itself; they have spoken and spoken loudly on behalf of bigotry, misogyny, and violence, and fear. The sad thing is, the Left seems just as willing to paint women public servants as harlots or sell-outs, whether it’s the so-called Radical Left or just moderate fair-weather Democrats who just didn’t feel “inspired” enough to vote for HRC because they were too busy throwing a tantrum that their magic grandpa Bernie Sanders lost the primary. Yesterday I saw a prominent radical Leftist magazine sneering at HRC’s graceful concession speech (the radical left is just as disgustingly sexist as any other group, and will as far as I can tell never acknowledge/give two shits about the unique struggles of women when it comes to navigating the public eye), as well as willfully misrepresenting the brave and fiery Elizabeth Warren’s remarks on “compromising” with President Elect Trump (read what she really said here, without the sexist spin). I wish I were surprised, but it’s of course the divided left that lost the election for HRC as much as it’s the fascist alt-right, shrug-n-vote Republicans, and “fuck yeah” bigots who won it for Trump.
To whom can anyone turn? I just don’t know. There’s a movement, riffing on Brexit, where some of us are putting safety pins on our clothes as a way to signal being a safe person to talk to in these dark times. I admit I liked the idea, and dug one out of my sewing box. Just as quickly, of course, I see an article tearing down the idea and sneering at those who might be looking for a way to do something instant and meaningful and good. It’s just us “embarrassing ourselves,” apparently. Hatred and violence are tearing us apart, but so, apparently, are love and small actions that seem like an immediate way to stand up for what is right and kind while we plot and plan bigger things down the road.
I’m angrier at the Right than the Left right now, true. But the truth is, we all need to take responsibility. We all need to look at ourselves. We all need to figure out who we are, what we stand for—and what we stand against.
I don’t know. I don’t have answers. I wish I did, but all I have right now is grief and a desire to do my best for my piece of shit, abusive country—yes, even now, when they’ve told me and my friends that I’m trash undeserving of basic human rights and human decency. I don’t know. I don’t know. I wish I did.
But I do know I’ll be looking for answers, and looking for them quickly. I’ll try my best to do the right thing at a time when most of the country is reveling in supporting the rhetoric of violence, hatred, and evil.
We have turned down a dark path, and it will not “be okay,” as so many people are saying. We will have to make it okay. We will have to take action. I just don’t know what, yet.
Hi all! After a crazy few months of not blogging for different reasons, I’m settling into a new routine of not blogging for my usual reasons, and then doing frantic catch-up posts.
I’m excited to announce that things with Creatures of Will and Temper are moving along. I turned in the finalized manuscript last week, and am now turning my eyes to the as-yet unnamed sequel. Out over a year from now still, the mean time check out this article on the Cercle Saint-André-des-Arts, a fencing club that would have been around (in Paris) when Evadne Gray (my protagonist) would have been fencing in London.
Cool, huh? Just look at that place. It definitely looks like the Westminster Fencing Academy did in my mind.
Next up: Issue 03 of Congress Magazine is out today, delayed by stuff and things, but still good. We have stores by Matthew Addison, Carrie Laben, Wendy Wagner, and Jason S. Ridler this issue. Cover by Arielle Croitor. Good stuff! The other news there is that Congress is going on hiatus until next year, probably February. When I began the project, I figured it would be winding down about when the manuscript now known as Creatures of Will and Temper would likely be snapped up; as it stands, I get to write a sort-of-sequel and I need to get into that before I slush a bunch of kinky porn stories. Ah, life!
Finally, I’m going to be at BizarroCon! I don’t have my full schedule, but I’ll be in on the 17th and teaching a workshop on “The Art of Dialogue” on Friday the 18th. That night will also see the launch of the reprint of Rumbullion: An Apostrophe. My publisher has brewed a rum stout to accompany the launch! It’ll be super cool. I’ve never attended BizarroCon, in spite of having actively published in Bizarro since 2012—it’s just never been the right time—so I’m pleased to have the opportunity to go this time.
And, for good measure, here’s the full spread of Rumbullion, for your viewing pleasure. Gorgeous work as always by Matthew Revert!
Swords v Cthulhu is out, and you should get it… seriously. It’s been getting some nice reviews here and there, and features stories by Carrie Vaughn, Jonathan L. Howard, Wendy Wagner, Caleb Wilson, and so many more. Amazon’s a great place to get it, and so is the Stone Skin Press site!
Also, Congress Magazine #2 is live as of today, and we’ve got stories this month from Andrew S. Fuller, Jesse Bullington, and Cecilia Tan. This month also features an interview with Chuck Tingle, who is up for a Hugo this month in Kansas City, where, come to think of it, you can find me, since I’ll be there. My first WorldCon ever!
But I’m not just working on edits… I’m also doing research for one of my next projects, my co-edited flash fiction and cocktail mixology manual, Mixed Up!, that I’m co-editing with Nick Mamatas. It’ll be out next year, and I’m already excited as I’m the drinks editor. I’m a bit tipsy (you’ll see why soon) and that means I get to wax prosy all about my cocktail opinions. Which, let me tell you, I have cocktail opinions.
Take the mint julep for example.
The mint julep is one of those drinks that gets a weird reputation. Not a bad one, not necessarily, but let’s say it’s a drink that’s easy to mess up. Which is a shame, because when it’s done right, it’s a drink you really want to savor. Mostly because when it’s done right it has four ounces of booze…
Anyway, I don’t want to tell you how to live your life, but if you want to experience pure summer in a cup, you might want to check out this little photo essay on making a peach mint julep.
First, throw four or five of chunks of ripe peach into a nice big glass. Add a bunch of mint. More than you think. Also a sugar cube. Put a bit of water in there, too. Just a splash, and make it cold.
Muddle the heck out of this mixture. Go nuts. Bruise the heck out of the mint and pulverize the peaches.
Don’t be shy.
In the end, it’ll look like this: a slurm of pulp and mint and sugar and oh, it’ll smell like you want to just do a shot of it immediately.
Next, you’ll add in the booze. I know this will seem intense, but trust me… pour in 2 oz of cognac, and then 2 oz of rye whisky, or bourbon if that’s what you have. Rye’s better, but bourbon is just fine.
Okay, now you have a huge mixture of just delicious things. But, it’s not cold, and let’s face it, it’s gotta be cold. So crack some ice. A lot. More than you think you need, trust me. DO NOT USE CUBES. If you have to smash it in a plastic bag, go ‘head. But if you’re smart, you’ll Prime an ice crusher. Why not? You’re worth it.
Yeah. That’s right. Look at that thing. Garden mint, tree-ripened peaches, ice, liquor, peach bitters… sip it over the course of an hour or so, if not more. I’m usually a fan of slamming a cocktail—they’re supposed to be cold!—but a julep like this is a sipping drink. Take it slow. Relax.
Anyway, happy drinking! And happy reading. In fact, why not combine the two? I can’t imagine anything better than a drink like this paired with an afternoon or evening with eldritch tales of derring-do or sultry sexy times.
Regular readers of this blog (and those who checked out my fancy Locus interview) will recognize the novel as the formerly titled The Ginger Eaters. Which, cool title, but not as cool as Creatures of Will and Temper, which is gorgeous and resonates much better. The second book of the (ahem) two-book deal is as yet untitled, but it will be a related project. Sort of a sequel, sort of not. Anyway, I couldn’t be happier to be with JJA Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, joining my friend Carrie Vaughn, author of the Golden Age series and the Kitty the Werewolf books, and Hugh Howey of Wool fame.
In other news (somehow there is other news!) I also sold a story to Lightspeed Magazine. “Nine Tenths of the Law” is about Denver International Airport conspiracy theories and the slow death of a marriage. Both my editors described it as “fun,” which concerned me. Well, there is plenty of weird sex along with those aforementioned conspiracy theories!
Speaking of weird sex, Congress launched, and it looks gorgeous. Please check out our four fantastic stories, and our sponsor, Twisted Monk, purveyors of artisanal bondage rope. Not only is it fancy, they’re donating 5% of all sales to a relief fund for victims of the Pulse Nightclub massacre, which means they’re doing more about that awful tragedy than most of the Senate Republicans in this country.
Well, that brought down the tone, so I should probably get back to it!
This month’s Locus has a familiar name on the cover…
Yeah, what? I dunno! At ICFA, back in March, Locus asked if they could interview me. I had a lovely time chatting with Liza Groen Trombi, who was so fun and interesting it was very hard to stay on topic, and then we goofed around taking ridiculous glamour shots of me for a while. Anyway, the result of that pleasantness is an interview entitled “Ghosts ‘n’ Shit,” which is apparently one of if not the cuss-heaviest interview they’ve run, according to another editor.
In it I talk about Vermilion, The Pleasure Merchant, and the novel I just turned in to my agent, The Ginger Eaters, along with some other stuff… like the journal I used to keep as a kid where I’d go about my day surrounded by invisible snarky dragons. You can legit buy this at like Barnes & Noble. It’s on the news stand! So cool. Many thanks to the Locus crew for the fun time, the I’m sure brutal process of editing my interview into something coherent, and the gorgeous design and layout.
Stories by Livia Llewellyn, Robert Levy, Matthew Addison, and David Nickle. I’m really stoked about this. Not only does it look gorgeous (just wait until you see the site! Jeremy is a wizard) but the stories are all top-notch smut, this time all with a speculative bent. Not all issues will be so fantastical (or science fictional) but I’m excited it has a bit of genre flair.
I’m reading for the next issue already. If you have a pitch, query me. If you have a story with me, hold up I’mma gettin there.
Swords v Cthulhu is coming out this year, official cover release will be soon I hope, plus pre-ordering and such. Look for it soon! It’s pretty, and I’m so proud of the work our authors put into this book.
Otherwise… woof, I dunno. I’m working on the first short story I’ve written for myself, not for an anthology, in literally years, and it’s giving me back a bit of my joy over short form writing. This isn’t to say I’m not thrilled to have had two short stories accepted into anthologies already this year: “Cognac, Communism, and Cocaine,” co-authored with Nick Mamatas for Through a Mythos Darkly, ed. Glynn Owen Barass and Brian Sammons, and “That Nature Which Peers Out In Sleep,” for The Madness of Dr. Caligari, ed. Joe Pulver. It’s just that as someone who isn’t a particularly prolific short writer, having every single one I write be for a specific purpose, and for anthologies with lots of vision but a limited audience, has burned me out a little.
Perhaps I will muse on that more later. For now, I’m excited to finish this story—for love!—and begin the thrilling process of submitting to magazines again.
The Locus Poll and Survey is upon us, and Vermilion has made their Recommended Reading List in the First Novel category! This is super exciting, I’ve never made one of their lists before, for anything, so having my first novel in there is really wonderful. So yes, you can vote for Lou. (The link takes you right to the poll!) And if you did, well, I’d just really appreciate it.
Here are some interesting things about this, at least to my mind:
- Anyone can vote in the Locus Poll. (Subscribers’ votes count twice, but anyone can vote.)
- You must enter your name and valid email address to have your vote counted.
- You don’t have to vote in all categories.
- If you see more than one thing you liked in a single category, you put rankings from 1 to 5 in the boxes beside them, in order of your preference.
- You can write in favorites you don’t see listed, like my publishers Word Horde or Lazy Fascist in Best Publisher. Just, you know, for instance.
Okay! That’s all!