catherineldf: (Default)

 The new edition of SILVER MOON made Book Riot's list of 100 Must-Read Bisexual Books for Bisexual Awareness Week! I am very, very happy about this, not surprisingly. 

And now some background, for those just tuning in. The first version of MOON was released in 2012. It appeared at just the right time to be entered in the first Bisexual Book Awards and the Goldie Awards for Lesbian Lit.  It finaled in both, which was nice, if less nice than winning. Did I set out to deliberately write a middle-aged bisexual female protagonist? Not deliberately. I wanted to write about coming out at middle age, questioning your identity, menopause and werewolves, as you do. I started writing and getting my work published back before indie publishing and a lot of discussions about identity and orientation happened.

Writing a 'bisexual' book was, for most of my early writing career, equivalent to saying, "I'd like no recognition or sales for this book that is not nonfiction or erotica, thanks." Hard to find publishers, no awards, very, very few reviews, very difficult to find an audience. Which is how the first edition of SILVER MOON got slotted into "lesfic," which is short for "lesbian fiction." This is not a bad thing, but it runs into a common genre convention that all "lesfic = romance." So my little book about questioning and changing and finding yourself and turning into an awesome werewolf was not sufficiently romantic for the lesfic market, but too romantic for the fantasy or horror markets. It did okay despite this, but I have some scathing reviews from people who expected a different sort of book. 

Fast forward to this year and I had the chance to make some very necessary updates to the original book and re-release it. Re-releases are not popular with book awards or reviewers so there are still some significant challenges. Also, when you release a book into Smashwords, Ingram, etc., your choices are "gay" or "lesbian," not "considering bisexuality" or equivalent. But it seems to be finding some of its people and for that, I am very grateful.

Artistic bitterness, because I promised! So 7 books, 90 or so short stories, several juried awards, most of them queer-specific, articles and so forth should make me semi-famous, right? Sometimes! And yet! I'm literally looking at two upcoming events in my own city where I've been passed over as a guest. Deliberate malice? Probably not. But I'm too old/too female/too small press/too whatever, so somehow my work doesn't count and I spend a fair amount of time as an "also ran."

Some fun stories: when MOON first came out, I did a reading with a hot young lesbian author and local bi conference organizers very enthusiastically and purposefully ignored me and invited her to come and perform at the conference.

 

Not too long thereafter, I had a contretemps with a con com member from an unrelated con when I asked why my number never came up for writer GOH. I was offered a quid pro quo arrangement in which I could be writer GOH...if I slept with that person. It was not, of course, clearly laid out that way, but after I politely refused, I strongly suspect that the person they did ask for the next year was not asked to put out for the privilege. So, good times. I don't talk about the bad stuff as a rule because I'm a "living well is the best revenge" kind of gal, but yes, weird crap happens to me too. This kind of stuff, the publications that are looking for a specific "own voice," just not mine, which then turn around and choose a writer who riffs off my work, and all that other fun stuff, does sting, and I won't deny that.

 

But you know what? Someone thinks my work is good enough to put on a list of "must-read" books, I got some lovely fan mail from an unexpected source about some of my nonfiction, I'm working on a couple of new books and I've got some upcoming opportunities that I'm excited about. Take that, brain weasels and bad crap! And thanks, lovely Book Riot reviewer, for giving some great tools to combat the "why do I keep doing this to myself?" blues.

In-joke

Sep. 22nd, 2017 12:35 pm[personal profile] jhetley

Cool Stuff Friday

Sep. 22nd, 2017 11:41 am[personal profile] jimhines
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)

Friday has been having trouble keeping up on the blogging lately…

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Autumnal

Sep. 22nd, 2017 07:58 am[personal profile] jhetley
jhetley: (Default)

Air temperature 49 F, dew point 44, scattered clouds, wind north about 10 mph. We're still trying to fill in Jose's low pressure.

Thursday boring report

Sep. 21st, 2017 11:36 am[personal profile] jhetley
jhetley: (Default)

Asters and goldenrod, goldenrod and asters, with patches of chicory. I may have seen a late-blooming St. Johns-wort or yellow loosestrife.

Roadkill limited to a chipmunk, one gray squirrel, and a fall warbler that won't make the migration.

Windy, cool, got out on the bike. Did not die. Ride takes me to 1100 miles for the year.

15.27 miles, 1:16:15

(no subject)

Sep. 21st, 2017 08:48 am[personal profile] jhetley
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Hope the "America First" crew will remember that Puerto Rico is America.


Tired of the noise

Sep. 21st, 2017 07:57 am[personal profile] jhetley
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Air temperature 60 F, dew point 52, wind north about 10 mph, scattered clouds for the newspaper walk. Bike ride scheduled.

This Week in Nazi-Punching

Sep. 20th, 2017 04:15 pm[personal profile] jimhines
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)

A video of a Nazi in Seattle getting punched and knocked out has been making the rounds. Responses range from satisfaction and celebration to the predictable cries of “So much for the tolerant left” and the related “Violence makes us as bad as them and plays right into their hands.”

A few things to consider…

1. According to one witness, the punch happened after the Nazi called a man an “ape” and threw a banana at him. With the disclaimer that I’m not a lawyer, that sounds like assault to me. I’m guessing Assault in the Fourth Degree. In other words, the punching was a response to an assault by the Nazi.

The witness who talks about the banana-throwing also says he was high on THC. I haven’t seen anyone disputing his account, but I haven’t seen corroboration, either.

2.Remember when George Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin, and people like Geraldo Rivera said it was because Martin was wearing a hoodie, and that made Martin a potentially dangerous “suspicious character”? Utter bullshit, I know. But if our legal system let Zimmerman plead self-defense, saying he was afraid because Martin was wearing a hoodie, doesn’t that same argument apply against someone wearing a fucking swastika?

We’re talking about a symbol that announces, “I support genocide of those who aren’t white, aren’t straight, aren’t able-bodied…”

3. Buzzfeed presents this as anti-fascists tracking a Neo-Nazi to beat him up. While antifa Twitter appears to have been talking about this guy, there’s no evidence that the punch was thrown by someone who’s part of that movement. And even if he was, the guy didn’t throw a punch until after the Nazi committed assault (see point #1).

Those Tweets quoted on Buzzfeed also suggest the Nazi was armed, which could add to the self-defense argument in point #2.

Is Nazi-punching right? Is it legal? As any role-player will tell you, there’s a difference between whether something is lawful and whether it’s good.

The “victim” has every right to press charges. But for some reason, he didn’t want to talk to police about the incident.

Was punching this guy a good thing? I mean, there’s a difference between comic books and real life. The Nazi was standing in front of some sort of tile wall. He could have struck his head on the corner after being punched, or when he fell to the ground. In other words, there’s a chance–albeit probably a slim one–that this could have killed him.

My country and culture glorify violence. I’d much rather avoid violence when possible. I think most rational people would. But there are times it’s necessary to fight, to choose to defend yourself and others. I think it’s important to understand the potential consequences of that choice.

Multiple accounts agree this man was harassing people on the bus, and later on the street. He was a self-proclaimed Nazi. Police say they received calls that he was instigating fights, and it sounds like he escalated from verbal harassment to physical assault … at which point another man put him down, halting any further escalation.

I don’t know exactly what I would have done in that situation, but I see nothing to make me condemn or second-guess this man’s choice in the face of a dangerous Nazi.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

al_zorra: (Default)
      . . . . A few mornings ago I woke from a dreaming of Warrior Queens.  I was baffled as to why I should have been having such an interesting historically epic dream (no, I wasn't a protagonist in the dream, but an observer).

 

Archeology and Newspapers

 

It was the newspapers that caused the dream!


I recalled that the day before, I'd read the Guardian's September 12th's report of a Viking era grave located in Birken, Sweden, which held the remains of a woman, a mare and a stallion, and her weapons.


From the Guardian:

. . . . not just any warrior, but a senior one: she was buried alongside a sword, an axe, a spear, armour-piercing arrows, a battle knife, two shields and two horses. Gaming pieces – perhaps from hnefatafl, a sort of precursor to chess – suggest the female warrior from grave Bj581 was a battle strategist.

Since the Guardian became accessible online, it seems to periodically provide coverage of history's powerful women, many of whom, if not most, have been written out of history. (Not a coincidennce one thinks that the Guardian provides a lot of column space to women historians and writers such as Mary Beard -- who are reliably excoriated by the male commentators.) Thus the Guardian followed up the Birken grave and its contents with this story on Friday, September15th:

How the Female Viking Warrior Was Written Out Of History -- "What Bj 581, the ‘female Viking warrior’ tells us about assumed gender roles in archaeological inquiry"

Then, just two days ago:

The recent discovery of female bones in a Viking warrior grave is yet another indication that we’ve only scratched the surface of female history -- "How Many More Warrior Women Are Missing from the History Books?"


Predictably, all three stories were illustrated with images from the History channel's thoroughly non-historical scripted historical drama, Vikings's resident female warrior, Legartha.*



Equally predictable, were the plethora of comments in response to these Guardian stories, so many of which were jeers at the very idea. This way the readers learns that the only reason there were the bones of a woman in a warrior's burial site is because 1) the archeologists lied, don't know what they doing, are mistaken, she's really male; 2) she was the wife of a warrior who is a man, who died somewhere else and thus couldn't be interred in his own grave, or who was removed later; 3) animals put some woman's bones there.




Television's Role in the Warrior Queen Dream

 

 

Surely television via netflix streaming also played a role provoking that dream.  I am continuing to watch the Turkish historical 13th epic of Diriliş: Ertuğrul, the founding ancestor of the Ottoman Turkish empire. As these series are, it's very long, nearly 80 episodes -- I'm barely half way through, though I began watching this before summer.  But by now we're seeing the Kayi's tribe's women training for a battle - assault they are sure will be coming from the Aleppo region's reigning sultan. Aykiz, is in charge of their training.  Trained from birth in the tribe's martial arts, who is the beloved of one of the tribe's most heroic and skilled warriors (alps, they are called), she's the daughter of the blacksmith, who manufactures the tribe's weapons. What Aykriz can do with a bow and sword, whether from the ground or riding a horse at full gallop are some thrilling scenes.


Though the history of Diriliş: Ertuğrul is probably as much fiction as the Icelandic sagas of Ragnar Lodbrok from where Vikings received its inspiration, the details of these nomads' tribal life, clothing and relationships, are more than true to historic life.  There are at least as many women characters as male, and there is no question among either the characters themselves or how they are portrayed in the series that they are equally important and significant to the action, whether dramatic or historic


Additionally, the relationships among the humans and their horses is unlike anything I've ever seen in such productions no matter what country they are depicting.  These horses interact with the people who are their 'owners' and 'riders.' Even when they are functioning as scene dressing they pay attention to the action that is centered.  There is prolonged, painful scene in which one of the Heroes, Torgut, beaten and tortured by the order of the Templars' Grand Masters, has a horse tethered in the background. This horse does not belong to Torgut, but during the entire scene the horse's head and neck are turned toward the action, its ears are pricked toward the action.  And there was hay on the ground at the horse's feet.  Whether this is planned or not, nothing else could so honestly tell the viewer that these are above all, people of the horse.

 

Books - History



The Secret History of the Mongol Queens: How the Daughters of Genghis Khan Rescued His Empire is a 2010 book by Jack Weatherford, which I just finished, ahem, bookends brilliantly with Diriliş: Ertuğrul. Not least among the reasons this is so, is that it too begins in the 13th century, the same as in which Diriliş: Ertuğrul is located. Weatherford reads and writes Mongolian, and has spent a great deal of time living in Mongolia. The story of warrior queen, Mandukhai, the woman who restored Genghis Khan's ideals for the Mongols, is enthralling -- and she's not the only one.  It also show how easily and quickly such women, even when their rule is the law of the land, can be overthrown and utterly erased from the historical record -- at least the official record.  This includes literally tearing the accounts of their lives out of the official record. 


Among the many elements of his book that I appreciated is how much of the cultural practices, from religious to jewelry and clothing of these tribes who populated such a vast region of central Asia for millennia, are found all across eras and regions -- from the Hittites and Scythians, China (the interactions between the kingdoms that became China are ancient, and the Mongols supposedly ruled a large part for a while), to the Tartars of Russia and the tribes that became the Ottomans. One can see it most particularly in the headdresses of the women.  Why these are they way they are, Weatherman explains.  These connections and continuities I've always felt, but never knew how or why. Nomadic pressures and conquest were the driving forces for all of it -- and smart, fighting and ruling women were always integral.


Weatherford's The Secret History is the source for the counterpart novels in recent days with  Mongol settings and characters, which includes The Tiger's Daughter (which is the title for one of the sections in scholar Weatherford's history) and even parts of Guy Gavriel Kay's China duology, Under Heaven and River of Stars and even for the Netflix original two seasons of Marco Polo. This series had more than one warrior woman based on historical figure in Secret History, which, judging by their sneers of disbelief and dislike of these characters on discussion forum I visit, male viewers hated.

 

 

 


The first biography of 16th - 17th century African warrior queen, Njinga of Angola,by our friend Prof. Linda Heywood, has just been published by Harvard University Press,   It's hard to describe how thrilling it is to read a book bout such a fierce and successful woman, faced with such terrible odds, written by another fierce and successful woman -- whom I actually know!  Moreover, this is set in the same era as the last sections of Weatherford's history of the Mongol Queens, which feature the brilliant fighting woman, general and ruler, Mandukhai.   (Let us not forget another great, powerful and successful ruler of the era, Queen Elizabeth!)

 

 


Africans in Colonial Mexico: Absolutism, Christianity, and Afro Creole Consciousness 1570 - 1640 (2003) by Herman L. Bennett is helping prepare for the October Veracruz American Slave Coast Jazz Festival.  As one can see from the dates covered, this is a pair with Njinga of Angola. 


These colonial Mexican Africans were brought as slaves from Njinga's region by her enemies, the Portuguese.  This is also the period of the Iberian Union, the peak of Spain's power, when Spain and Portugal were under the same crown. 

 

 


The other two new books we have here are Hillary's What Happened (there are more than one way that a woman can be a warrior queen) and Le Carré's Legacy of Spies (more fictionalized history).


Reading and watching are so rich these days, no wonder I am having action adventure epic dreams of Warrior Queens.


------------------------------


*  Alas, after about two and a half seasons Vikings devolved into preposterosity, lacking even a pretense of plot plausibility, characters behaving like idiots for not reason, and a distinct lack of Lagertha, showing that men (meaning in this instance the guy who show runner, writer and director) have no idea what to do with a female character who can take care of herself.

Stubborn

Sep. 20th, 2017 02:15 pm[personal profile] jhetley
jhetley: (Default)

Our small white yard-asters are doing the bloom-under-mower-height thing again. They'd like to grow a few feet tall, but an inch will do.

Icky sticky

Sep. 20th, 2017 07:57 am[personal profile] jhetley
jhetley: (Default)

Air temperature 67 F, dew point 65, wind north about 5 mph, scattered fog. The world is not complying with my demands.

(no subject)

Sep. 19th, 2017 08:24 pm[personal profile] jhetley
jhetley: (Default)
Hello darkness, my old friend.

(no subject)

Sep. 19th, 2017 03:02 pm[personal profile] jhetley
jhetley: (Default)
And yet another reminder that I don't understand people . . .

Tuesday floral report

Sep. 19th, 2017 12:36 pm[personal profile] jhetley
jhetley: (Default)

Small white asters making snowdrifts beside the road. First milkweed pods splitting open. Oak trees dropping their nasty ball-bearings all over the road.

Little change on the foliage front -- more ash leaves down, more red maples starting to turn, and the wild cucumber vines have started to go yellow in the trees.

Roadkill consisted of another garter snake that has become one with the asphalt.

Damp, still air, got out on the bike. Did not die.

15.26 miles, 1:12:55

Notes from the edge

Sep. 19th, 2017 08:03 am[personal profile] jhetley
jhetley: (Default)

No local hurricanes. Jose may brush past us tonight into tomorrow, with high surf and minor coastal flooding but little wind and maybe a bit of rain. Air temperature 62 F and dew point 61, overcast, near calm, some fog. Bike ride after the roads dry off?

(no subject)

Sep. 18th, 2017 11:31 am[personal profile] jhetley
jhetley: (Default)
If it works, don't fuck with it . . .

(remember the mouse-over)

https://xkcd.com/1891/
al_zorra: (Default)
      . . . . My one and only Emmy vote goes to Leslie Jones, for the most stunning and glamorous at the Emmys of 2017.


Here is why:

 

 

Few could carry this, but O Lordessa, can Leslie Jones ever!


Runner-up, Jane Fonda:


Front

And

Back

And

Side

(no subject)

Sep. 18th, 2017 11:16 am[personal profile] jhetley
jhetley: (Default)
How do you solve a problem like Maria? She has gone major on the Leeward Islands . . .
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