An Alphabet of Embers: Signal Boost

July 8th, 2014

[signal boost from RoseLemberg.net]

AN ALPHABET OF EMBERS DAY 1, NOW WITH LETTERS

In case you missed it, the Kickstarter for An Alphabet of Embers has launched last night.  We are kickstarting for an anthology of unclassifiables – lyrical, surreal, magical, experimental pieces that straddle the border between poetry and prose.

The book will have beautiful cover art by Galen Dara, and there are so many wonderful rewards – a song by Emily Jiang, a bonus chapbook of science poetry (I will post more on that separately), additional books, posters, boxes of treasure, and even an epic performance of an Eddic poem Atlakviða in the original Old Norse.

And here’s a first of our surprises: the letter you see below is an A of Embers, from an Alphabet of Embers graciously drawn and donated to the project by Bogi Takács. The alphabet includes many other letters, which will appear in our Kickstarter updates! Some of these letters look more like Latin characters, while others are unique to the alphabet, like the letter A below.

 

A of Embers, by Bogi Takács
 

Thanks to our wonderful first-day donors, we are 18% to goal. Thank you so much to all who donated and signal boosted! Can we make it to 20% today?

ETA: Hurray, 20% reached! Can we reach 25% on Day 1?

Signal boosting is very much appreciated!

 

CONvergence Schedules!

June 26th, 2014

CONvergence is next weekend. WOW, how did that happen?

NB: we are extroverts, and should be easy to spot, as we will typically have Caitlin in tow. Please feel free to come and say hi to us if you wish to!

Here’s where you can find me:

Friday, July 4
11:00am
Are you interested in the profession? Do you want to know how to organize your library? How should you take care of your old photos? What does it take and mean to be a professional in the digital era? Panelists: Kathryn Sullivan, Sarah Barsness, Jenni Klumpp, Lynne M. Thomas, Hilary Moon Murphy
Friday July 4, 2014 11:00am – 12:00pm
Plaza 1

3:30pm

There are easy ways to write and there are mind-bogglingly difficult ways to write. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone told you which is which? Panelists: Adam Stemple, Will Shetterly, Lynne M. Thomas, Kelly McCullough, Scott Lynch
Friday July 4, 2014 3:30pm – 4:30pm
Edina

5:00pm

We only got two episodes of Doctor Who this year, but they were some big ones. Come discuss the anniversary celebration, the first multi-Doctor special of the new era, and the departure of Matt Smith! Panelists: Tim Lieder, Shawn van Briesen, Lynne M. Thomas, Kathryn Sullivan, Rob Callahan
Friday July 4, 2014 5:00pm – 6:00pm
Edina
Saturday, July 5

12:30pm

Different people have different ideas for what a strong female character should be. As a writer, how do you navigate those expectations? How do you create a strong female character without pointing out that she’s “strong” and “female” – she just is? Panelists: Elizabeth Bear, Dana Baird, Lynne M. Thomas, Scott Lynch, Will Shetterly
Saturday July 5, 2014 12:30pm – 1:30pm
Edina

11:30pm

Several Dr. Who experts will speculate on how the Who universe would have been different had certain production decisions been different. Panelists: Paul Cornell, Joseph Scrimshaw, Michael Lee, Lynne M. Thomas, Felicity Kusinitz
Saturday July 5, 2014 11:30pm – 12:30am
Plaza 1
Sunday, July 6
 2:00pm
Women in Genre Not Talking about Women in Genre 

Panelists talk about everything EXCEPT what it’s like to be a woman working in genre! Which is better, Star Wars or Star Trek? What YA series will be made into a TV show next? Audience questions will be drawn randomly and answered by the panelists. Panelists: Martha Wells, Damarra Atkins, Lynne M. Thomas, Danielle Indovino, Naomi Kritzer
Sunday July 6, 2014 2:00pm – 3:00pm
Edina
Looking for Michael?
Thursday, July 3

2:00pm

It has rocketed from obscurity to being everywhere and is used for funding great ideas to the mundane. What is it? Where is it taking us? Panelists: Tish Cassidy, Blake Hausladen, Michael Damian Thomas, Joan Marie Verba, Tania Richter
Thursday July 3, 2014 2:00pm – 3:00pm
Atrium 3

3:30pm

When does it make sense to work for exposure and when does that become exploitative? At what point do you need to insist on charging? What are the trade-offs when choosing between free and paid art? Panelists: Elizabeth Bear, Sharon Stiteler, Kameron Hurley, Michael Damian Thomas
Thursday July 3, 2014 3:30pm – 4:30pm
Atrium 6
Friday, July 4

9:30am

Doctor Who for Kids

How many of us grew up watching the Doctor explore the universe with his companions? Have you shown any of the new series (or old series) to your kids? Panelists: Shawn van Briesen, Karine Charlebois, Holley McLellan (mod), Michael Damian Thomas, Jules Mohr
Friday July 4, 2014 9:30am – 10:30am
Bloomington
Saturday, July 5

5:00pm

How did we get from Adam West to the Dark Knight? Can we reboot a series and make it more optimistic? Panelists: Scott Lynch, Sarah Prentice, Michael R. Underwood, Tabitha Anderson, Michael Damian Thomas
Saturday July 5, 2014 5:00pm – 6:00pm
Edina
Michael and I do not have a signing scheduled, so if you happen to want a book signed (our books are typically available at the Dreamhaven Books table in the dealer’s room), please feel free to grab us before or after a panel. :-)

If you’d like an update on Caitlin’s health…

June 24th, 2014

Michael has written it up.

…now we know why we’ve been so tired.

Some new stuff! in 5 things format.

June 18th, 2014

1. There’s a new Verity! Episode out! Episode 44, The Next Big Thing is now available for your listening pleasure.

2. I have a brief academic article about the Sylvester McCoy era of Doctor Who out. The Summer 2014 issue of Science Fiction Film & Television includes me! Unfortunately, it’s behind a paywall right now. Will need to check on contracts to see if I can post it elsewhere.
3. Brief hospital stay this week for an overnight EEG for Caitlin. We think she may be developing a new kind of seizure, and they haven’t had a baseline for a while. Whee.
4. On the bright side, I may make more progress on my knitting projects as a result. Also need to find a replacement yarn for what I was using for baby blankets, as a colleague just got some good news. I no longer use knitpicks. What do y’all recommend from yarn.com/WEBS?
5. I’m still a bit ouchy as yesterday I tweaked my back while lifting Caitlin during the Great 6am Formula Spill Discovery, compounded by ~ 6 hours in the car for a meeting in Champaign. The meeting itself went well, though, so it seems as though the next round of SEEKRIT LIBRARY PROJECTS may move forward. We are hopeful.

5 Things Make a Catch-Up Post Phoenix ComicCon Post

June 12th, 2014

Here are 5 things that I’ve been up to and therefore not blogging about.

1. New SF Squeecast! Episode 35: Literary Influence is a Social Disease  features Sofia Samatar as our special guest!

2. A New Verity! Extra! Summer Reading List episode has come out. The comments contain additional book recommendations from our listeners!

3. We generally had a pretty good time at Phoenix ComicCon. It. Was. HUGE. We were hearing 100K people on the Saturday, and given the crowds, I find that a believable estimate.  Oddly enough, 100K nerds with smartphones = no one can get a signal, data, zip while in the convention center. Hence my lack of tweeting.

Caitlin, unfortunately, did not have a terribly good time, as she came down with a fever on the Friday night, and didn’t recover until Sunday morning. This meant that Michael ended up missing his panels to care for her.  She had a summer virus according to our pediatrician, which meant hydration and tylenol and lots of patience. :-( The convention folks (including guest services, especially Christy C.) did an amazing job of taking care of us, with runs to drugstores, etc. that made life easier with a sick kid in a strange city. Thanks to ALL of the volunteers who helped us. It made a HUGE difference.

She was better by Sunday morning, which meant we were out and about a bit more at that point. There were tacos. (Kevin Hearne told us about Taco Guild, and I must say, those were some EPICALLY GOOD TACOS.) We had some “interesting adventures” with wheelchair taxis, unfortunately, that resulted in an hour and a half wait to get back to our hotel, but we have emerged relatively unscathed, and are now working on explaining to the taxi company in question how they hosed up, in the hopes that they don’t do so again.

4. Thing that happened at Pheonix ComicCon #1: Charlaine Harris was our guest for the SF Squeecast. That episode (assuming the recording is okay) will go live in a few weeks. I also did a memorial panel for Jay Lake, and a speculative fiction editing panel, all of which were rather excellent. Unfortunately, I was just scheduled enough that I didn’t attend any panels I wasn’t on, and didn’t do any photo ops or anything. Another time, I hope.  Luckily, the Mysterious Galaxy signing tables were directly opposite the booths for John and Carole Barrowman and Bruce Campbell, so I had an excellent view during signings. :-) I never spotted Nathan Fillion, though, which was my one minor disappointment.

5. Thing that happened at Phoenix ComicCon #2: The only Doctor Who-related panel I had was “Author Chicks Who Dig Time Lords,” with Elizabeth Bear, Catherynne Valente, Seanan McGuire, Carole Barrowman, and me. Rollicking discussion with an excellent moderator, discussing not only the series itself, but how it influenced our own work as writers and editors.

Oh, and Carole’s little brother decided to come along to the panel. O_O And ask questions from the audience. Never in my life did I think that I’d be answering the “when will we get a female Doctor” question coming from John Barrowman.  And yet he asked, and we answered. I think I managed full sentences, even. (I’m proud of this. I still get rather tongue tied around certain actors, so managing not to squeak in this particular situation is an achievement.)

But hey, if you ever wondered if John was “really” a fan with fannish opinions about Doctor Who (in addition to playing everyone’s favorite omnisexual superhero, Captain Jack Harkness), we had definitive proof at that panel. He demonstrated his proverbial geek cred, and did so without actually making the panel about him. *g*

So, that was Phoenix ComicCon.

 

Archiving social media: triage

June 2nd, 2014

I’m putting this information here for the next time I might need it. MOST of these require you to have login/password and live accounts. So, if you want your social media saved after you’re gone, BE SURE TO GIVE SOMEONE THE PASSWORDS.

For Facebook:

Log in with username and password. Navigate to settings: General while logged in. At the bottom of the page you will see a link that says “Download my Facebook data.” It should walk you through the process of downloading FB into a Zip file. More info here: https://www.facebook.com/help/405183566203254
For Twitter:
Log in. Go to Settings. On the main settings page, click the “request my archive” button. That will start the file download process.
For the WordPress site:
You can export the whole shebang following these instructions: http://codex.wordpress.org/Tools_Export_Screen
Individual pages can be saved as PDFs using the Cleansave plugin. https://wordpress.org/plugins/cleansave/.
For Flickr:
This is a service that will allow for other people to download the flickr photos en masse:

So, WorldCon. We’re trying to be grownups about it.

May 30th, 2014

If you went over to my appearances page, you might have noticed that I crossed LonCon off the list. :-(

As much as we’d love to attend LonCon3 (WorldCon) in London this year, we’ve gone over the finances, and the difficulty, and the challenges of either bringing Caitlin with us, or only one of us going, or leaving her stateside with dear friends while we both go, and we’ve determined that it’s just not worth it to us.

We both LOVE London. Going as a family, we couldn’t afford to stay longer to do London Things. Going separately, we’re not keen on doing London Things without the other. (We did that already in previous trips before we met. We want to do London Things TOGETHER.)

One person going:

If only one of us goes, it’s a lot of money, and we won’t be happy without the other one there to share it. Michael and I both dread traveling without each other in general, and neither one of us wants to be in the position of either  a) the person staying home with Cait or b) the person at LonCon feeling guilty about being there while the other person stays home with Cait.

All of us going:

Caitlin’s stamina is just not quite up to an 8-hour plane ride. We’re attending Phoenix Comic-Con next weekend, and flying to that, which will be a test in and of itself. And with plane tickets hovering between $1500-1800 EACH, Plus hotel, plus food, etc…  it’s just not worth it to wipe out all of our savings for a trip that will leave all of us exhausted and grumpy. Plus international travel with lots of medical equipment, etc. etc. etc. NO FUN.

[And honestly? If we're going to drop that much cash on a family trip? GOING BACK TO DISNEY WORLD AND UNIVERSAL STUDIOS. WAY easier travel, much more accessible for Cait, AND cheaper.]

Us going, and leaving Cait with friends:

Still too expensive, and we’d be taking a trip to London in which we wouldn’t see London because we’d only be there for the convention. And while I’m sure the Excel Center is lovely… *sigh* Dear friends volunteered to take Cait for the convention, but we don’t want to be away THAT long–if we both went, it would be just for the length of the convention. And the dear friends are in the Twin Cities area, so we’d have to GET there first, drop Cait off, and THEN fly to London from MSP. Direct flights with fewer connections are best for this setup, and they are mighty pricey.

So, long story short: We won’t be attending LonCon after all. Instead, we will be putting some of our resources towards house stuff, and some likely towards another convention stateside in the next year.  And some resources will stay put just in case, as one does when one is a grownup.

Being a grownup is hard, but ultimately, I think this is the correct choice for us right now. This will not keep us from grumbling, of course, but that’s also part of being a grownup.

We’ll be watching LonCon with the rest of the world over the web. We hope y’all have an excellent time. *raises a glass*

 

 

Verity! Extra! — Ask the Verities!

May 28th, 2014

It’s another listener participation Extra! You asked us questions. We answered! Join Deb, Erika, Lynne, and Tansy as we briefly chat about the 16-second series 8 teaser and then dive into your clever questions. We had a lot of fun recording this one, so thanks to all the listeners who participated! If we didn’t get to your question here, perhaps we will in a future Extra! You never know…

Also, Lynne would like it known that she meant to say she’d sacrifice “The Twin Dilemma” rather than “Vengeance on Varos”. What would she sacrifice it for? Listen and see!

^E

Related links:
Series 8 teaser
Chicks Dig Time Lords
Whedonistas
James Tiptree, Jr. Award

Download or listen now (runtime 44:51) 

Phoenix Comic-Con Schedule!

May 28th, 2014

Hey, folks based in the Southwest! We’re coming your way!

This is a hectic week, as we try to Organize All The Things before we head to Phoenix Comic Con  with the SF Squeecast. Our guest for this Very Special Live Squeecast recording will be CHARLAINE HARRIS! WOO!

We are SUPER EXCITED to be guests there this year! If you see us and want to say hi, please do so. We should be easy to spot, as Caitlin will be with us. :-)

Here’s my schedule:

 

FRIDAY:

Signing: 1:30 am Table 2528 Lynne Thomas 

 

SATURDAY:

Speculative Fiction Editing : Join several editors from major publishers for a discussion of what they really do all day.   Panelists: Anne Groell, Anne Sowards, Beth Meacham, Lee Harris, Lynne M. Thomas
When: Sat, 12:00–1:00PM  Room: North 128a

SF Squeecast Panel : Join the SF Squeecast and their special guest for an hour of fannish squee and delight over the latest cool stuff in Science Fiction and Fantasy.   Panelists: Catherynne Valente, Charlaine Harris, Elizabeth Bear, Lynne M. Thomas, Michael Damian Thomas, Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant
When: Sat, 1:30–2:30PM  Room: west 212

Signing: Saturday at 3:00 pm Table 2528 

Drinks With Authors : Join our author guests for a glass or two in an informal setting.  There will be door prizes and other giveaways from our participating publishers.    Panelists: Kevin Hearne, Myke Cole, Sam Sykes & many others
When: Sat, 8:00–11:00PM  Room: Renaissance Salon 5-8

SUNDAY:

Author Chicks Who Dig Time Lords : Join contiributors to Chicks Dig Time Lords and Chicks Unravel Time as they discussed their love of Doctor Who and how it has influenced them in their  careers.   Panelists: Carole Barrowman, Catherynne Valente, Elizabeth Bear, Lynne M. Thomas, Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant
When: Sun, 1:30–2:30PM  Room: North 131

Jay Lake, His Life and Work : Join some of author Jay Lake’s friends and colleagues as they talk about the life and work of this remarkable author.   Panelists: Beth Meacham, Elizabeth Bear, John Scalzi, Lynne M. Thomas
When: Sun, 3:00–4:00PM  Room: North 128a

Want to find Michael?

FRIDAY:

Friday at 2:30 pm Signing Table 2528 Michael Damian Thomas

SATURDAY

Science Fiction and Fantasy Poets : Join our panel of science fiction and fantasy poets for some samples of their poetry and discussion of the craft.   Panelists: Beth Cato, Catherynne Valente, David Lee Summers, Larry Hammer, Michael Damian Thomas
When: Sat, 10:30–11:30AM  Room: North 127c

SF Squeecast Panel : Join the SF Squeecast and their special guest for an hour of fannish squee and delight over the latest cool stuff in Science Fiction and Fantasy.   Panelists: Catherynne Valente, Charlaine Harris, Elizabeth Bear, Lynne M. Thomas, Michael Damian Thomas, Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant
When: Sat, 1:30–2:30PM  Room: west 212

Signing: Saturday at 3:00 pm Table 2528 

Drinks With Authors : Join our author guests for a glass or two in an informal setting.  There will be door prizes and other giveaways from our participating publishers.    Panelists: Kevin Hearne, Myke Cole, Sam Sykes & many others
When: Sat, 8:00–11:00PM  Room: Renaissance Salon 5-8

 

Book review: The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

May 27th, 2014

[Copied from my goodreads account]: I rated this five stars.

Full disclosure: Sarah is one of my best friends, and I archive her work at NIU.


I absolutely loved this book. While the name Katherine Addison may be new to some readers, it is an open pseudonym for Sarah Monette, whose Doctrine of Labyrinths series (as well as pretty much the rest of her work, ever) I also adored.

This is a standalone secondary world fantasy, with elves, goblins, and zeppelins. The naming system for the characters is a little on the complicated side (prefixes AND suffixes have meaning here), but rolling with it will get you where you need to be, and there’s a handy guide at the back of the book just in case.

This is a story of Maia, the fifth in line to the Emperor’s throne. His goblin mother was the Emperor’s 4th wife (a political alliance), and he was raised basically in exile by an abusive cousin after his mother’s death when he was about 8. (The Emperor, and most of the court, are elves. Maia is half elf, half goblin.)

There is a zeppelin accident (this happens in the first chapter, so, not a spoiler but a precipitous event) that kills the Emperor and his sons. Maia is now the emperor.

The rest of this book is an exquisite character study of Maia, who struggles to demonstrate goodness and kindness in a political and social system that is completely designed for him to be cruel and capricious and get away with it. If there is the opposite of grimdark, this might be it. Maia spend the entire book trying to figure out how to be an emperor *his* way. He is deeply sympathetic, and he absolutely struggles with the feelings that remain from his childhood abuse and the loss of his mother.

How does a good person navigate in a system that is deeply corrupt? How do you find your friends and allies when you hold life and death power over everyone? Is it even possible to be kind? Good? Will people know what to do with it if you manage it? Will they *trust* it?

As with all of Sarah’s work, this is beautifully written on a sentence level. More importantly, this is a deeply emotional story about good and evil and how and why we choose. Highly recommended, and this may be going on my 2015 Hugo ballot.