Very, very pleased to report that Arabella of Mars, my first novel, has received the following substantial honors:

Thank you very much to everyone who nominated, recommended, or talked up my book, and please do vote for it if you can!

Arabella cover

Welcome to the 4th post of the Year of Living Authorly. This is the second post regarding conventions. Previous posts can be found here, and over at Unreliable Narrators. Eventually, I'll get all of these put on a page somewhere, and hopefully they can be of some use.

Last Friday, I burbled on about how much I liked conventions. Conventions are great for authors for a variety of reasons. You can connect with authors, agents, and editors. You can meet like-minded fans. You can create a good impression on people so they might buy your book (alas, the opposite is also true, so be careful out there. One of the ways authors can get involved in conventions is by being on panels.

How hard or easy is it to get on a panel at a convention? You have nothing to lose by visiting the website of a convention you are planning to visit and contacting the programming chair asking you how you can be of service. Usually, being on panels is a volunteer affair, which means you will pay. Occasionally, some cons have invited participants and are willing to waive your fee if you qualify. Those cons generally have instructions on their website and forms you might need to fill out. Remember that cons are often run by volunteers. Some cons will want to include you on programming, and some will be eerily silent. Take it all in stride.

If you've managed to contact programming, and have been assigned to a panel, here are some ideas that might help you.

Usually you're not alone. Usually there's a group of a few people who will speak to the topic with you. If you're very lucky, one of these people will be the moderator, who will control the flow of conversation between and among the panelists and the audience. Sometimes, cons are less formal, and panelists will moderate themselves.

If you can, prepare for the panel in advance. Many cons will give attendees each others email addresses, so people can discuss what individuals might cover. I've been on panels where I've gone in cold, and the panels have worked, but often preparation in advance means you can have handouts, or power points, or thought out conversation. Don't be afraid to be the first person to initiate contact if you need to be.

Many authors on panels will display their books around them like a little fortress. While it might be great to have some of your books for sale, many people feel that's a bit much. I feel that's more appropriate for a signing than a panel. Your mileage may vary. However, don't forget that the panel topic is not your books, even if your books exemplify what's being discussed. You can mention your books, but remember not to be a commercial for your books.

Try to think about speaking up. Don't dominate the panel. Don't be eclipsed. I always try to think that if I am one of a five person panel, I should probably say something about 20 percent of the time. Do your best to be clear while speaking. Always use a mike if you got one. This isn't about how loud you can speak. This is about helping people hear you. And yes, they really can't hear you in the back of the room. Treat your fellow panelists and your audience with respect.

Readings and signings aren't exactly panels, but they too are ways in which you can become more involved in a convention. A reading is exactly the place to generate interest in your work. I'll try to do a post on readings at some point this year. And signings? Well, there's some conventions around that too. But again, see if your con has such events, and ask if you can be involved.

Next up: Image. It isn't everything, but it is important.

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

rosefox: "You mean the girls were topless the whole time and I never noticed?" (oblivious)
([personal profile] rosefox Feb. 20th, 2017 12:47 am)
Thanks to a link from [twitter.com profile] tgstonebutch, today I learned about queerplatonic relationships (a term coined in 2010 by [personal profile] kaz and [personal profile] meloukhia) and spent several hours going "WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME THERE'S A NAME FOR WHAT I DO". A good primer is here and a post on QP not being "romance-lite" is here. I want to quote both of them at length. I want to hug them. This is amazing.

I'm not aro or ace. But there is absolutely a third category of relationship in my life, in addition to partnership and friendship. I've been calling it "partner-level friends" or "my [name]" because I didn't have a word for it. And now I do. Wow. I haven't felt this seen since I read the relationship anarchy manifesto. (Which is very relevant.)

While discussing this with a friend, he asked how "romantic" was being defined, since both "aromantic" and "platonic" were being defined in opposition to it, and I realized I didn't have a good answer. (Merriam-Webster doesn't either. Their definition of "romantic" points to "romance", which points to "love affair", which points back to "romantic".) After some discussion on Twitter, [twitter.com profile] numbathyal pointed me to this piece by a possible aromantic who asked a romantic to define romance. The definition that came out of their conversation was: "Romance is a natural high that occurs in the presence of certain people, without obvious connection to sexuality, 'good company', or emotional intimacy." That jibes pretty well with my experience, which I described as follows:
When I look at people I'm in love with, my body responds. My heart swells—that's literally a feeling I get in my chest, not a metaphor. My heart rate goes up and I feel a little breathless. My pupils probably dilate. I want to be physically touching the person in some way. I'm SUPER touchy-feely with X and J. Constant small touches as I walk past them. Always sitting as near as I can get.

When I look at people I'm in QP relationships with, I have a different set of reactions. Hardly any physical reaction at all. I do like hugging them, but I don't feel the same urge to be in contact. I get much more of a squee reaction. My brain lights up. It's still something I would call chemistry, but a different kind of chemical reaction.

Things romantic and QP relationships have in common for me: I feel a profound sense of safety. I can relax around the person. I say "I love you" and it's never by rote. I want regular communication of some sort. I feel more myself in the person's company.

All of this is shaped by my tendency toward feeling very definitely like I "click" with certain people. Often upon meeting them. A little alert box pops up that says "You and this person could have something amazing together! Pursue it!". I can tell you the exact moment that happened with both X and J, and with all four of my QP people. So I don't know what "romantic" looks like for people who don't have that zing or sniff test or instalove or whatever you want to call it. I spent literal months knowing I was going to fall in love with J and waiting for it to happen. Had to WD40 the "in love" switch. But it finally flipped hard and has never flipped back. <3

This is also not what my romantic relationships looked like when I was in my teens or 20s. Much healthier now. :) Twenty years ago, desperate longing to be loved and valued was part and parcel of romance for me. Now I love myself.
Some of the useful links that came up in conversation (h/t [twitter.com profile] tgstonebutch and [twitter.com profile] numbathyal):

Sexuality and romance as pet elephants that are invisible to ace and aro people
Limerence and "platonic attraction"
How to write about queerplatonic relationships in fiction (lots and lots of useful links there)
Various concepts of greyromanticism

I was amused to choose "oblivious" as the userpic keyword and have this userpic come up, because at first it seemed totally inappropriate for a post discussing nonsexual relationships. In its original context (Sluggy Freelance, if anyone remembers it), it's being said by a guy who is very into topless women and sad that he missed a chance to ogle some. But I've always used it because I am genuinely the sort of person to not really notice that an attractive woman is topless, because we're too busy talking about other things and connecting on other levels. So maybe it's appropriate after all.
cathschaffstump: (Default)
([personal profile] cathschaffstump Feb. 17th, 2017 07:49 am)

While the rest of the Narrators paint the town red at Boskone this weekend, I'm at home finishing my book, checking papers and prepping a script for a training project. Even my husband is getting out of Dodge and going to visit his mother. I feel like a professor or something.

Anyway, for your enjoyment, what we've been up to at Unreliable Narrators the last couple of weeks.

Author Spotlight: Yoon Ha Lee

Author Spotlight: Stephen Blackmoore

Hitchcock

Unreliable Alumni on the 2016 Locus Recommended Reading List

Productivity at Any Cost?

Mission Accomplished

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)
([personal profile] branchandroot Feb. 16th, 2017 02:50 am)
Okay, so I’ve been wandering around recent anime, looking for decent things to watch, and have fallen into Madan no Ou to Vanadis. On the face of it, it’s not my thing. There’s way the fuck too many barely clad boobs everywhere and Ridiculously Underclad Warrior Maidens ™.  And yet…

And yet.

I mean, for one thing, the Ridiculously Underclad Warrior Maidens ™ do, in fact, kick all kinds of ass, despite the bouncing boobage. This is, in fact, a story of military strategy, with far too many bouncing boobs pasted on. It’s actually really interesting, if you can just squint past the fleshtones! Which should not be necessary, and is /truly/ annoying, but…

Well, but.

Because, see, this one also hits one of my bulletproof kinks, dead center. Our Hero, the unassuming minor noble who just happens to be collecting a harem of Ridiculously Underclad Warrior Maidens ™ with the prowess of his archery, is, in the very first scene, taken prisoner of war by Our Heroine (warrior maiden the first) and he insists on abiding by the terms and remaining her prisoner. Ally. But still her prisoner, even when they’ve taken the field together to defend his homeland! And she proceeds to call him her possession, throughout. And I really just cannot watch ep 5 without squeaking gleefully when, in the middle of a strategy meeting, Our Heroine’s second-in-command warrior maiden having appealed to Our Hero to please, for pity’s sake, talk her out of a single-handed charge on the enemy, Our Heroine demands of Our Hero who he belongs to (”Omae wa dare no mono da?”) and he replies, dead level and without hesitation, that he belongs to her (”Omae no mono da.”). 

Yes, that’s right, her prisoner of war uses plain forms to agree that he belongs to her. They talk to each other like this /all the time/. What am I supposed do with this, I ask you?

So I can’t exactly call this a rec, because it really depends on your tolerance for gratuitous boobage this week, but… well it’s definitely bookmarked.

from Tumblr http://ift.tt/2krOErv
via IFTTT
denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
([staff profile] denise posting in [site community profile] dw_news Feb. 15th, 2017 05:35 am)
Hello, Dreamwidth! And thank you to everyone who wished me and my wife a happy vacation -- it was an excellent one. (Rumors that it was to help distract me from a significant birthday starting with 4 and ending with 0 are totally unfounded. Really.) It was also awesome to come back and see all of the new activity going on! I hope that everyone who's joined us in the last month or two has been settling in nicely.

Behind the cut, a tour of some of the new stuff we've done in the last few months, plus a look at some older changes that could use more love:

* Image Hosting Frontend
* HTTPS Beta
* Create Entries Beta: progress report
* Selective comment screening
* Other alphabets in site search: fixed!
* Icon file size limit increased
* Dreamwidth: Did You Know?
* Team Dreamwidth

DW News, 15 Feb 2017 )

*

That's it from us for another update! As always, if you're having problems with Dreamwidth, Support can help you; for notices of site problems and downtime, check the Twitter status page.

Comment notifications may be delayed for an hour or two, due to the high volume of notifications generated after an update is posted to [site community profile] dw_news. This was posted at 5:35AM EST (see in your time zone). Please don't worry about delayed notifications until at least two hours after that.
ann_leckie: (AJ)
([personal profile] ann_leckie Feb. 14th, 2017 02:04 pm)

Hey, there’s some stressful and depressing shit going down lately. Let’s talk about something pleasant and stress-reducing!

Well, okay, so being super picky about making tea may be stress-INducing for some. If so, no worries. I have one, firm position on how to make the best cup of tea: the best cup of tea is one you enjoyed making (or making it didn’t annoy you too much) and tastes good to you. I will not budge from that position.

That said. There are some ways in which attempts to make that cup of tea are susceptible to various predictable failures. And so I figured I would share the things that work for me to prevent those failures. And also maybe provide opportunities for folks who might actively enjoy the fiddly tea making process if they tried it to have a bit more fun with it and nerd out even more than they already might. (Those of you who are already nerding out probably already do or have most of these things.)

So! The first, most common pitfall in making tea: You heat the water, throw the bag (or the infuser full of leaves) into the cup, pour the water, set it on the desk beside you and…promptly forget about it as you dive into your work. Hours later you remember that tea, now cold– and bitter enough to strip paint.

Friends, there is a simple solution to this, provided you remember to implement it: a timer. This could be a voice assistant on your computer or your phone, an app made purposely for timing the steeping of tea, or a dollar store kitchen timer shaped like a strawberry. Really, it doesn’t matter, but this is a tea-hack that can cost very little and vastly improve your tea-drinking experiences.

For the style of brewing that’s the default in the US (the sort most of you reading this likely think of as just “making tea”), you’ll probably like black tea best at 3-5 minutes, green tea 1-3 minutes (if you’ve got a really nice sencha you might even want to go 30-45 seconds), oolong 3-5 minutes, and white tea 2-5 minutes depending on the actual tea. Those are just guidelines, adjust as needed for your taste. If you want to be super nerdy you can note down what times work best for you for each tea. I don’t do that. I just do black & oolong at 3 minutes, most Chinese greens at 2-3, and sencha at 1 minute. When I’m making them in a cup with an infuser, anyway. If I’m doing the “lots of leaves, many short steeps” method (in a gaiwan, say) I won’t go much longer than a minute, but that’s something to play with if you find you enjoy that kind of thing, and that’s not a brewing method that’s suitable for the “get some caffeine in me so I can get to work this morning” thing.

If you’ve moved to loose leaf brewing, you’ve probably found that measuring out teaspoons of leaves doesn’t quite work. It might work for stuff with very small leaves, or that’s been cut into very small pieces, but it’s useless for large-leaved teas–different teas take up space very differently and some just won’t go into a spoon, no not even that cute little “perfect cup of tea” spoon so many places sell. This makes it difficult to get the amount of leaves just right, let alone consistent from cup to cup (or pot to pot).

So. Doing loos leaf? Want maybe another level of nerdery/tea improvement? Consider a scale. You can get a nice little pocket scale for about ten bucks. The one at that link is the one I have. I set my infuser on it–I use these bad boys–turn it on, and then add however much tea I’m going to use. Rule of thumb for most teas (Western default style brewing) is about 3g per 8oz of water. That’s only a rule of thumb–some need more and some might be fine with less.

You might want to find out how many fluid oz your favorite mugs hold, by the way, so that when you stagger into the kitchen you’ve already done the math and know that you need 5g of tea or whatever.

Once you’ve got this down, you can play with other styles of brewing, btw. For instance, I’m not much of a white tea fan–but I do enjoy it a fair amount when I use the high-volume-of-leaves/low-steeping-time/many-steeps method. Poke around for information on using a gaiwan–though you could totally do something similar in a cup with an infuser, which honestly I recommend because as awesome as gaiwans are I always burn the everliving fuck out of my fingers when I try to use one, and the Manual Tea Maker No 1, which I love and which solves that problem for me, is kind of pricey.

If you really want to get nerdy, you can fiddle with water temperature. There’s an expensive way to do this, and a cheap one. The expensive one involves buying a variable temperature kettle. Which is super fun, but, yeah, costs.

However, if you have a food thermometer–and if you cook it really is a good idea to have one–you can heat your water to whatever temp you like on a stove or with your regular kettle. Either heat to boiling and test the temp till it drops to where you want it, or test it as it heats till it gets to the right place. I’ll be honest, that sounds like a drag to me, but lots of folks do it and enjoy it. Google around for some recommended temperature ranges, try some things out and see what you like best.

For keeping pots of tea (or sufficiently large and stable cups) warm, check out the various glass, ceramic, or cast iron tea warmers. I use this one, but there are others out there. You put a candle in them–a tea light, right? Yeah, that’s why they’re called that!–and set the pot or cup on top. These work really well, but remember not to just leave the candle burning if you walk away for more than a few minutes. I’ve never actually had a problem, but when it comes to candles you’re better safe than sorry. There are also electric tea warmers out there, just the right size for a cup or a mug to sit on. Once again, don’t forget they’re plugged in and switched on.

Oh, and hey! Almost forgot this one. Matcha has been kind of trendy, and you can get a cool matcha set with a bamboo whisk and learn to froth it, and if that’s something that you’ll enjoy then I salute you! But me, I use a very large mug (which I only fill about three quarters full of water) and a little $3 battery-powered milk frother. No, it’s not meditative or anything. But I like it.

So there you go, a few ways to maybe increase your tea nerdery and also give you a more consistently excellent cup of tea, none of which cost much. If you try only one of them, try the timer. It’s a ridiculously simple tea-hack, honestly, that’s made my life so much nicer.

Mirrored from Ann Leckie.

Tags:
rosefox: A bearded man in a yarmulke shouting L'CHAIM! (Judaism)
([personal profile] rosefox Feb. 13th, 2017 01:46 am)
Today was my mother's 75th birthday party. Instead of making a traditional toast, I wrote her a poem.

~~~~~

A warm baguette with fresh unsalted butter
Good whiskey served in glasses meant for wine
Fine art and jazz and clothes with flowing lines
I learned appreciation from my mother

Speak from the heart; don't ever silence others
Defend our rights and fight to right what's wrong
Wave signs, wear buttons, sing those protest songs
I learned my activism from my mother

Write eagerly, then edit out the clutter
Read lit and genre, dictionaries, poems
A wall of books will make a house a home
I learned the joys of language from my mother

Immense affection for my younger brother
No matter how we'd argue, snark, and fight
"You'll sort it out," Mom said, and she was right
I learned both love and patience from my mother

Abundant hugs and kisses, but don't smother
Praise every scribble as a work of art
Be honest and respectful from the start
I learned to be a parent from my mother

Find endless ways to cherish one another
Build families from friends through joy and trust
Each day, she teaches that to all of us
Please join me now to toast my splendid mother

~~~~~~

Happy birthday, Mom. :)
karzilla: a green fist above the word SMASH! (Default)
([staff profile] karzilla posting in [site community profile] dw_maintenance Feb. 12th, 2017 11:07 pm)
We're about to pull the lever on tonight's code push! I'll update this post when it's finished. For a reminder of what to expect, check the previous post for the list of changes.

Update: All done! Comment here if you notice any issues that need our attention.
karzilla: a green fist above the word SMASH! (Default)
([staff profile] karzilla posting in [site community profile] dw_maintenance Feb. 10th, 2017 10:38 am)
We are planning to do a code push late this weekend, at approximately 9pm PST / 12am EST / 5am UTC on either Sunday, Feb 12 or Monday, Feb 13, depending on whether you live east or west of midnight. (Time is an illusion anyway, right?)

Here's a partial list of changes that will go live with this push, apart from the usual minor tweaks and bugfixes:

  • HTTPS Everywhere beta! Users can opt-in to have all Dreamwidth content automatically served over HTTPS. We'll post the instructions for this after the feature goes live.

  • New and improved design for the file management pages, which we were hiding from you because we were so embarrassed about them before. Thanks to [personal profile] momijizukamori for making them prettier and more functional!

  • Backend fixes to resolve problems using the aforementioned file management pages. (Did I already mention the embarrassment?)

  • At long last, international character support for journal search! Our systems guru [personal profile] alierak finally cracked this long-standing bug.

  • Support index page converted to Foundation styling, for your mobile viewing pleasure.

  • For users of the Practicality style: color properties now sort properly in the customization wizard.

  • For users of the Drifting style: the QuickReply box will now appear in the appropriate location, instead of wandering off somewhere unexpected.

  • Improved handling of word break (<wbr>) elements in user entries.

  • Allow embeds from: Facebook, CNN, 4shared.com, playmoss.com, onedrive.com, jsfiddle.net, scratch.mit.edu


We'll update again to let you know when the code push is in progress!
cathschaffstump: (Default)
([personal profile] cathschaffstump Feb. 9th, 2017 08:46 am)

I should know about the after intense grief part too, but it often takes me by surprise. So, I will not be writing about going to cons today, although I hope to write about it soon.

After the emotional collapse of grief comes the physical collapse. Bryon had a truly intense cold during the week Mom was dying, which is rare for him. It's not rare for me though, so I was hoping that I would not get it during all the crazy hospital/funeral stuff. And I didn't, because I was running on pure adrenaline or something. On cue though, Thursday, the day after the funeral, bam! So I spent about a week with a really nasty head cold.

Strangely enough it went away quickly, in a matter of a few intense days. Bryon's is still lingering, and we thought that was when fate had cut me a break. We had an excellent weekend and I was beginning to feel better.

Then on Monday...vertigo! I recognized what it was. I've never had it, but Bryon has with an ear infection. Unfortunately, vertigo is also associated with stroke. So, I got an ambulance ride to the local emergency room, where we ruled out heart disease and stroke. I suspect strongly it's an ear infection. Also possibly it could be stress (ya think?) or it could be because I'm in my 50s, and this is one of the things that can happen in your 50s. 🙂

Anyway, two days with instances of vertigo. One day vertigo free. Lots of dizzy time and nausea time, but now I have meds! Yes! Science! And I will see my doctor on Monday to talk about my ears (which kind of hurt, so yes, I think ear infection). I need another vertigo free day before I am willing to drive myself anywhere, so we've been spending a lot of time at the day jobbe.

Good news. I've cleared out a few backlogged projects. Bad news. I haven't been getting writing done. I just haven't had it.

Right now I'm still being gentle with myself. If my body says rest, it will ultimately make sure I listen by pulling a stunt like this. But we're gonna come back, and we're gonna come back big!

Until then, well, we just keep treading water.

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

Thank you to everyone who came out for Kate's memorial gathering last weekend! And special thanks to Mark Niemann-Ross, who made all the arrangements, and to everyone who pitched in and set up the tables and chairs when we were let into the building after the event was supposed to start. I'm sorry that I didn't get to spend very much time talking with any one person, but there were lots of good reminiscences and conversation and some people hung around for visits and meals in the following days.

Here are some photos from the event. All are by Alex Wright, except for the last one which is by Karen Schaffer.

Read more... )
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