5 things make a post-Convergence update post

July 16th, 2014


1. New Verity Episode! Episode 46: Communication Breakdown is live.

2. Work is quiet, in the sense that I’m mostly working on things like annual reports and tenure portfolio reviews, that I can poke at slowly over time well before the deadlines. We are planning Digital POWRR workshops in the fall (I will be on the road quite a bit), and waiting to hear back from our IMLS grant officer about when the white paper can be released into the wild.

3. This is good, because much of my brainspace has been taken up with worry over Caitlin (she is still continuing with the pattern of being barfy every 10-14 days for no visible reason). This kind of thing is very wearing, because when she’s in a barfy period, she needs constant vigilance. As a silent aspirator, we have to be quick to get Cait onto her side so that the barf doesn’t get into her lungs and lead to pneumonia. Also, it’s obvious that she’s not having any fun.  We see a GI specialist for her on the 29th, but waiting for that is frustrating, especially with the knowledge that we might not get concrete answers anytime soon. While she was sick at the McCulloughs before CONvergence last week, she got through most of Avatar: The Last Airbender, which she seemed to enjoy.

4. CONvergence was ABSOLUTELY lovely. We had a good time, Cait was well for the whole convention and on her very best behavior, too, and we had the opportunity to hang with friends old and new. I’m particularly proud of coming in 2nd on Paul Cornell’s Hypothetical Who game. Given that points were awarded for audience laughs as well as logical Who knowledge-based conclusions, and I lost to a professional comedian, I’m considering it a win.

5. I learned that the older brother of my best friend from high school passed away suddenly on Monday. Her whole family is heartbroken, and I am for them as well, while doing that feeling helpless from 1000 miles away thing, as I can’t make it out to the funeral. He was in his early 40s. I’m not very keen on this whole “suddenly members of my peer group are passing away” thing. At. All.

So, ups and downs. We’ve been watching a lot of cozy mystery series lately, particular Midsomer Murders  and Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. Enjoying them both immensely for completely different reasons, while appreciating the tidiness of the format. There is great comfort in everything making complete logical sense, like pieces of a puzzle, especially when real life is generally much messier.

Trying to be patient for August 23, the beginning of the Capaldi Age of Doctor Who. :-)

Verity! Extra! Doctor in a Strange Land

July 9th, 2014

This week’s Extra! features crossover madness! Join Deb, Erika, Katrina, and Tansy, as we muse over what it would be like to plop the Doctor into other fictional worlds. What makes a good crossover? Which Verity isn’t really comfortable with crossovers? Who coins the term “Capaldi-flicted”? And who observes that Capaldi “gives good cape”? Listen and see!

Then let us know in the comments what fictional worlds you’d like to see the Doctor (and/or his companions) visit. Inquiring Verities want to know!


Related links:
Tansy’s Musketeer Space
Radio Free Skaro #428 – Believe it or Not

Download or listen now (runtime 29:36) 


An Alphabet of Embers: Signal Boost

July 8th, 2014

[signal boost from RoseLemberg.net]


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
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


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


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
Saturday, July 5


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


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
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
Looking for Michael?
Thursday, July 3


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


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


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
Saturday, July 5


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
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!


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

Download or listen now (runtime 44:51)