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Readercon schedule / henna day post [28 Jun 2015|02:07pm]
[ mood | busy ]

It is Henna Day, on a summer afternoon in Los Angeles. I'm not thrilled with the hot weather, but oh well.

Readercon is less than two weeks away, and here is my schedule!

Friday July 11

1:00 PM
The Works of Joanna Russ.
Gwynne Garfinkle, David G. Hartwell, Barbara Krasnoff (moderator), Scott Lynch.

Joanna Russ (1937–2011) was, arguably, the most influential writer of feminist science fiction the field has ever seen. In addition to her classic The Female Man (1975), her novels include Picnic on Paradise (1968), We Who are About to… (1977), and The Two Of Them (1978). Her short fiction is collected in The Adventures of Alyx (1976), The Zanzibar Cat (1983), (Extra)Ordinary People (1984), and The Hidden Side of the Moon (1987). She was also a distinguished critic of science fiction; her books include The Country You Have Never Seen: Essays and Reviews (2007). Of her works outside the SF field, she is perhaps best known for How to Suppress Women’s Writing (1983). Join us to discuss her works.

4:00 PM
Joanna Russ: Critical Importance Then and Now.
Gwynne Garfinkle, Lila Garrott (leader), David G. Hartwell, Barbara Krasnoff.

How has the importance of Joanna Russ's critical work changed over time, and in what ways? Younger writers and readers are still discovering How to Supress Women's Writing and finding that it resonates, but what of her other work? We'll discuss the writers she's influenced, the availability of her nonfiction, and the resonance of her work today.

7:00 PM Reading: Gwynne Garfinkle. Gwynne Garfinkle reads from an ongoing series of poems inspired by classic films, TV, and pop culture.

Sunday July 13

1:00 PM
A Visit from the Context Fairy.
Kythryne Aisling, Stacey Friedberg, Gwynne Garfinkle, Kate Nepveu, Sonya Taaffe.

In a blog post at Book View Café, Sherwood Smith writes about the opposite of visits from the "Suck Fairy": going back to a book you disliked and finding that the "Win Fairy" (to coin a term) improved it when you weren't looking. Are the Suck Fairy and the Win Fairy really two faces of a unified Context Fairy? If context is so crucial to loving or hating a work, how does acknowledging that affect the way a reader approaches reading, or a writer approaches writing? How does one's hope for or dread of the Context Fairy influence decisions to reread, rewrite, revise or otherwise revisit a written work?

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henna day post [31 May 2015|02:27pm]
[ mood | good ]

It is Henna Day on a pleasant warmish LA afternoon. Yesterday I had another fun afternoon on Vermont Ave.: a browse at Skylight Books (where I succumbed and bought the new Penguin edition of Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber with introduction by Kelly Link, even though I already have Carter's collected stories), followed by a matinee of Mad Max: Fury Road, and dinner takeout from Juicy Burger.

Frenetically explodey films aren't usually my cup of tea, but Fury Road won me over with its awesome, mostly female characters and its fire guitar, to the point that I think I need to see it again.

4 comments|post comment

back from Wiscon [28 May 2015|09:37pm]
[ mood | good ]

I got back from Wiscon on Tuesday night, but I keep forgetting to post about it due to jetlag. Travel was much smoother than last year, with no flight delays or cancellations (in spite of some fairly bad weather the day I flew out of Madison).

It was great to hang out with [personal profile] nwhepcat, and I really enjoyed the programming I was on (a reading with Patty Templeton, Nicole Kornher-Stace, and Shira Lipkin, and a panel on "What Makes a Character Come Alive?"). I attended some terrific panels and readings, including a panel on Afrofuturist music and a reading featuring Karen Joy Fowler's hilarious memoir about her trip to Italy as a teenager.

I've been home for two days, but I'm still a bit jetlagged. Looking forward to Readercon, fast approaching!

6 comments|post comment

Wiscon schedule / Postscripts to Darkness [11 May 2015|10:46am]
[ mood | busy ]

WisCon is next week! Here is my schedule:

Spindles and Spitfire: A Reading: Sat 1:00-2:15pm
Join us for sinister whimsy, folkloric sensibilities, dark humor, and SNACKS! Gwynne Garfinkle is a red headed hellion who will capture your heart and put it in a jar above her writing desk. Nicole Kornher-Stace will drag you to bridges made of the dead, and you'll thank her for it. Shira Lipkin has returned from the castle beyond the goblin city. She brought you a present. Patty Templeton misses the ghosts that used to keep her up at night.

What Makes a Character Come Alive? Sun 1:00-2:15 pm
[Patty Templeton, Alisa Alering, Charlie Jane Anders, Gwynne Garfinkle, Beth Meacham, Fred Schepartz]
In the end, "Writing" is a collaboration between the author and the reader. Readers can claim to love a character, and see them clearly—but is the person they're seeing real and three-dimensional? Or simply a cardboard cut-out of a recognizable figure (often inspired by the cliches and tropes of television instant-recognition "characterization") which the reader herself paints with vivid colors, or projects herself onto? As writers, how do we create a real and realistic human being on the page? What are the tricks—and what are the concerns? Are we willing to risk making someone unlikeable—even "unrelatable"—in order to fulfill that aim? How much does it matter whether a reader likes a character, as long as they're real to her?


Postscripts to Darkness volume 6 is available for order. It contains my story "The Imaginary Friend," as well as work by Silvia Morena-Garcia, Alexandra Seidel, and many others.

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henna day post [03 May 2015|02:03pm]
[ mood | good ]

I am hennaing my hair on a pleasant LA day, after a spate of unwelcome heat. Also unwelcome was the smallish earthquake that woke me (and half of LA) around 4 a.m. last night.

Yesterday was both Free Comic Book Day and Independent Bookstore Day. I somewhat failed at Free Comic Book Day. There was a line around the block at Legacy Comics on a blazing hot Glendale day, and I hadn't eaten yet; I eventually opted to forgo the free stuff so I could go inside the air-conditioned store (and then go home and make brunch).

My Independent Bookstore Day trip to Skylight Books was much more successful. I bought the new book of Kathy Acker letters. After the bookstore, I went next door to the Los Feliz 3 to see the very impressive and intelligent Ex Machina. After which, I got a delicious burger and fries from Juicy Burger (conveniently located between Skylight Books and the movie theater). Days like this are part of why I enjoy living in Los Angeles (in spite of earthquakes).

6 comments|post comment

poetry podcast / Angels of the Meanwhile [28 Apr 2015|11:39am]
[ mood | busy ]

This month's Strange Horizons poetry podcast is up. It includes me reading my poem "Misogyny"; it also includes poetry by Jaymee Goh, Jenn Grunigen, Salik Shah, and Natalia Theodoridou.

The pre-order period for Angels of the Meanwhile (the e-chapbook/anthology to benefit Elizabeth R. McClellan) has been extended to June 1st. Ellen Kushner has been added to the already impressive table of contents!

Meanwhile, here in Los Angeles we are having Annoying Summer Weather for the next few days. I look forward to the return of spring at the end of the week.

4 comments|post comment

poem online at Strange Horizons [13 Apr 2015|10:39am]
[ mood | happy ]

My poem "Misogyny" (inspired by The Stepford Wives) is online at Strange Horizons. The poem is part of my ongoing classic film/TV/pop culture poetry project.

An excellent start to my week!

9 comments|post comment

Angels of the Meanwhile [09 Apr 2015|11:52am]
[ mood | hopeful ]

The health insurance situation in the US has improved a bit of late, but that doesn't mean it's not still a bureaucratic nightmare, and poet Elizabeth McClellan has been having a bad time of it lately. Alexandra Erin has put together Angels of the Meanwhile, an ebook anthology to benefit Elizabeth. It's available for (pay-what-you-can) pre-order. Here's the awesome table of contents (and there's still more to come):

Bits of Prose (Flash Fiction, Prose Poems)

This Is The Place Where Lost Things Go - Kythrynne Aisling

The Merry Knives of Interspecies Communication - Bogi Takács

The Choices of Foxes - Sonya Taaffe

Foam - Dusti Morton

The Sweat of their Brows - Alexandra Erin

The Dirty Fairy - Deborah Walker


Beastwoman's Snarled Rune - Rose Lemberg

Pain Shared Is Catching (For April Grant) - Erik Amundsen

Gorgon Girls - Saira Ali

This Is What It's All About - Lupa

Blodeuwedd - Amal El-Mohtar

Burning Wings (For C.S.E. Cooney) - Jennifer Crow

The Changeling Always Wins - Nicole Kornher-Stace

The First Wife - Lev Mirov

Nuestra Señora de las Maravillas Lost at Sea, 1527 - Lisa Bradley

The Secret of Being a Cowboy - Catherynne M. Valente

Children of the Faun and Fae - Merideth Allyn

Ivan Icarus - by C.S.E. Cooney

We Named Our Grief Irene - Virginia M. Mohlere

Fucking Doughnuts - Legoule

Allison Gross Speaks of the Worm - Gwynne Garfinkle

Sand Bags - Dominik Parisien

Hot Wet Mess - S.J. Tucker

These Are Days - Roni Neal

lis pendens - Mike Allen

Thread Between Stone - Bryan Thao Worra

Prose Stories

Inside, Looking Out - Alexandra Erin

Changed - Nicolette Barischoff

Fire Flight - A.M. Burns

The Legacy Box - Satyros Phil Brucato

Illusions of Safety - Angelia Sparrow

The book includes a reprint of my poem "Allison Gross Speaks of the Worm" (originally published in Aberrant Dreams. I'm delighted to be included, amid so many wonderful writers. Pre-orders for the ebook close on May 1st.

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Companion Piece [07 Apr 2015|10:50am]
[ mood | pleased ]

It's book release day for Companion Piece: Women Celebrate the Humans, Aliens and Tin Dogs of Doctor Who! Edited by L.M. Myles and Liz Barr, it includes my essay "'I Can Do Your Part If You Can Do Mine': Romana II as the Girl Doctor," as well as essays by Amal El-Mohtar, Seanan McGuire, Deborah Stanish, Mary Robinette Kowal, and many others.

6 comments|post comment

henna day post / The Hunger [05 Apr 2015|02:24pm]
[ mood | busy ]

I am hennaing my hair on a pleasant Los Angeles afternoon. We may actually get some badly-needed rain on Tuesday. It's been three weeks since my day job ended, and I'm still adjusting to my new working-at-home schedule, but I'm enjoying it more and more. (This week I will attempt to purchase an ergonomic office chair.)

Last night I watched The Hunger (1983) on TCM. Somehow I didn't see it when it came out or any time in the past 22 years. Visually it could not possibly be more eighties. Red lipstick! Black veils! Sunglasses and sunglasses and more sunglasses! Billowy white drapes! Fluttering doves! (There's a hilarious moment when the shit is hitting the fan and there's a shot of the doves walking across the floor like, "We're outa here!") My friend Carolyn said Susan Sarandon looks like she's in the Human League in this film.

I'd seen Dick Smith's name in the credits, and sure enough, David Bowie's Old Man prosthetic makeup is very similar to that which Smith originally designed for Jonathan Frid for Dark Shadows back in 1967.

I was particularly struck by the title sequence, featuring Bauhaus performing "Bela Lugosi's Dead." It must've launched a thousand Goths in its day (though for the first thirty seconds or so, my reaction was, OMG, the eighties.)

Catherine Deneuve makes an undeniably cool vampire. She and Bowie have chemistry; her chemistry with Susan Sarandon is off the charts. I would've liked the film better if it had ended with Deneuve and Sarandon living happily ever after (or at least for a century or so), but alas, no.

It would be fun to see The Hunger on a double bill with Only Lovers Left Alive.

8 comments|post comment

not a prank [01 Apr 2015|01:38pm]
[ mood | pleased ]

I had insomnia last night and so today have perhaps less patience for April Fool's Day than I ordinarily would. But the mail brought my contributor's copies of The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk. It includes my story "In Lieu of a Thank You" (originally published in Strange Horizons). I am very pleased to see this story in the pages of a book.

The book is available tomorrow in the UK (as is the Kindle edition); the paper book comes out in the US in July.

10 comments|post comment

Rhysling nomination [10 Feb 2015|03:36pm]
[ mood | good ]

My poem "It's a Universal Picture" has been nominated for the Rhysling Award. It's a poem that means a lot to me, and I am very pleased.

10 comments|post comment

henna day post / The Leech Woman [08 Feb 2015|01:07pm]
[ mood | annoyed ]

It is Henna Day, on a warmish Los Angeles afternoon. (But we had a little rain yesterday!) This weekend has included a none-too-smooth Internet upgrade. My Internet now works fine, but my landline intermittently doesn't, because apparently my AT&T telephone is not compatible with AT&T's U-verse service(which they gave me the hard sell to switch to from the DSL that had worked fine).

This has not been a great weekend for technology around here, as yesterday a Windows update threatened to bork my laptop. After about an hour and a half I managed to get it working again.

Last night I watched The Leech Woman (1960). Though half the film is devoted to a cringe-worthy "finding the youth serum in the jungle" storyline (complete with way too much stock footage of elephants, alligators, etc.), the movie also delivers a surprisingly mordant critique of ageism and sexism. The World's Worst Husband (who says things like "All old women give me the creeps") is going to divorce his slightly-older-than-him wife until he decides to experiment on her with the youth serum instead. When the wife realizes what he's up to, she picks him to be killed (because, naturally, human sacrifice is a component of the youth serum). The woman in charge of the youth serum says (speaking for the audience, or, at least, me): "An excellent choice. You will have beauty and revenge at the same time!" Surprisingly, the film does in fact kill off The World's Worst Husband (only halfway through the movie). Things go south from there, as the wife goes on a murderous rampage to maintain her newly youthful appearance. But in spite of its numerous flaws, it's a weirdly interesting film.

9 comments|post comment

poetry sale! [29 Jan 2015|11:38am]
[ mood | happy ]

My poem "Misogyny" (inspired by The Stepford Wives) will appear in a future issue of Strange Horizons. The poem is part of my ongoing classic film/TV/pop culture poetry project (which I am really enjoying working on). It's my first sale of the year.

16 comments|post comment

Companion Piece table of contents! [20 Jan 2015|12:22pm]
[ mood | pleased ]

The table of contents has been released for Mad Norwegian's upcoming Doctor Who essay collection, Companion Piece: Women Celebrate the Humans, Aliens and Tin Dogs of Doctor Who! The book includes essays by Seanan McGuire, Amal El-Mohtar, Mary Robinette Kowal, Tansy Rayner Roberts, and many others. It includes my essay "'I Can Do Your Part If You Can Do Mine': Romana II as the Girl Doctor." I'm looking forward to reading the whole collection!

Companion Piece Table of Contents

• The Impossible Girls by Deborah Stanish
• That Nitro-9 You’re Not Carrying: Violence and the Companion by Seanan McGuire
• Scheherazade and Galahad in an Exciting Adventure with the Daleks by Mags L. Halliday
• Steven Taylor, Space Adventurer! by L.M. Myles
• Scintillating, Fascinating, Irritating by Liz Barr
• I Don’t Want Her to Go by Amy Gaertner
• “What a Splendid-Looking Roman You Make!": The Male Companions, from Ian to Rory by Emma Nichols
• A Different Way of Living by Julia duMais
• We, Robots by Erika Ensign
• The Damned Don’t Cry by Sarah Groenewegen
• Stories and Fairytales: Feminism, Agency and Narrative Control with the Pond Family Women by Karen K. Burrows
• The Shakespeare Race Code by Amanda-Rae Prescott
• “I Can Do Your Part If You Can Do Mine”: Romana II as the Girl Doctor by Gwynne Garfinkle
• Mouth on Legs by Tehani Wessely
• From “There’s Nothing Only About Being a Girl” to “The Most Important Woman in the Whole of Creation”: Feminism and the Female Companions by Linnea Dodson
• Where in Eternity... is Josephine Grant Jones? by Joan Frances Turner
• Forever Playing Second Fiddle: How Sarah Jane and the Rest of Us are being Sold Short by Nina Allan
• The Barbara Strain by Lynne M. Thomas
• The Curious Case of Miss Victoria Waterfield by Jennifer Adams Kelley
• “Where Do I Fit In?”: The Tale of Perpugilliam Brown by Stephanie Lai
• My Doctor: Harry Sullivan by Sarah McDermott
• Donna: Noble by Name and Noble by Nature by Karen Miller
• Rewriting History with Sticky Notes: Narrative, Agency and Bernice Summerfield by Emma Ward
• Scientists, Not Office Boys: Zoe and Liz, Science-Heroes by Anna Livingston
• The Uses of Turlough by Anne Goldsmith
• Amy‘s Choice: Doctor Who Companions and the Nightmare of Domesticity by Una McCormack
• The Ones He Leaves Behind by Foz Meadows
• Science Princess FTW by Mary Robinette Kowal
• Origin Story by Aneira Vaughn
• What Has Romana Ever Done For Us? by Phoebe Taylor
• The Heroine of Her Own Story by Britany Harrison and Liz Barr
• Sara Kingdom Dies at the End by Tansy Rayner Roberts
• A Question of Emphasis: The Doctor as Companion by Amal El-Mohtar

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2014 award eligibility [08 Jan 2015|12:13pm]
[ mood | busy ]

The three poems I published in 2014 are eligible for the Rhysling Award (short poem category):

"she's alive, alive" in Apex, Issue 60, May 2014

"It's a Universal Picture" in Mythic Delirium, 1.1, July-Sept. 2014

"Witches of Childhood" (prose poem) in Interfictions, Issue 4, November 2014

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2014 [31 Dec 2014|04:21pm]
[ mood | contemplative ]

So, 2014. I finished revising Can't Find My Way Home (AKA the Jo book) this year (unless someone ends up telling me to revise it again). I resumed reworking Out of Uniform and began making notes for a new novel. I wrote more poetry this year than in several years previous (maybe because I have a specific project I'm working on, the horror film/TV/pop culture poetry chapbook). I didn't finish any short fiction this year, and I'd like to rectify that situation in 2015.

I published three poems in 2014 (all part of my ongoing chapbook project):

"she's alive, alive" in Apex, Issue 60, May 2014

"It's a Universal Picture" in Mythic Delirium, 1.1, July-Sept. 2014

"Witches of Childhood" (prose poem) in Interfictions, Issue 4, November 2014

So far I have three publications forthcoming for next year (a new short story, a story reprint, and an essay).

This was a fairly rough year for me. A lot of good things happened, but an Ongoing Upsetting Situation in the second half of the year threatened to overshadow the good stuff. (Heck, it nearly overshadowed my ongoing chronic pain issues, which is no mean feat.) But some big changes are coming in 2015--positive (scary!) changes! Which I hope will help me to focus on the Non-Upsetting Aspects of my life (and they are considerable). And I hope to get a lot of writing done in 2015.

Happy New Year, everyone!

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henna day post / The Ghost of Frankenstein [14 Dec 2014|02:12pm]
[ mood | busy ]

It is Henna Day, and I am drinking hot cocoa on what passes for a winter day in Los Angeles (high temperature in the low 60s). We had a massive storm the other night, and my power went out for about seven hours--but the power stayed off a lot longer in nearby Los Feliz, so I was lucky. We needed the rain, of course. We're supposed to have more this week, but not in such a dramatic form.

Last night I saw The Ghost of Frankenstein for the first time in about forty years. The first of the not-so-good Universal Frankenstein films, it still has a lot to recommend it, especially Bela Lugosi reprising the role of Igor (by far my favorite role of his). Also, Dwight Frye pops up uncredited in one scene as an Angry Villager and demands that the other Angry Villagers bomb the castle (which they do). Lon Chaney Jr. is not good as the monster, and Cedric Hardwicke is not particularly great as Dr. Frankenstein's other son (i.e., the one who isn't Basil Rathbone). Weirdly, they throw in some clips of Colin Clive and Dwight Frye from the original Frankenstein (1931)--but splice in footage of Lon Chaney as the monster on the table. Then a few scenes later, Cedric Hardwicke plays the titular ghost of Frankenstein, but of course he looks nothing like the already-dead Colin Clive. Towards the end of the film, Igor's brain gets transplanted into the monster's body, so Bela Lugosi can (badly) play the monster in the next movie.

Late last night TCM showed The Beast With Five Fingers, which I'd been wanting to see since [personal profile] sovay wrote it up, so I DVR'd it and will watch it tonight.

8 comments|post comment

henna day post [16 Nov 2014|01:51pm]
[ mood | tired ]

It is Henna Day, on a pleasant Los Angeles afternoon. We have finally achieved autumn (our version of it, anyway), which makes me happy. Last night I made pumpkin bread. Alas, Trader Joe's is already out of pumpkin waffles and some other pumpkin items I should have hoarded.

I continue to work on poems about horror movies, though I still haven't figured out what do with the Out of Uniform revisions. A new novel idea has been percolating, but I'm not ready to start writing it yet.

4 comments|post comment

new Interfictions! [04 Nov 2014|12:31pm]
[ mood | excited ]

The new issue of Interfictions is live! It includes my prose poem "Witches of Childhood" (about Bewitched and the Salem witch trials), as well as work by Carmen Machado, Ashon Crawley, Alex Dally MacFarlane, Elizabeth R. McClellan, Matthew Cheney, Kythryne Aisling, M Sereno, and more. I'm really looking forward to reading the whole issue.

9 comments|post comment

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