Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Tomorrow is the first day of September.

According to the forecast, we have YET ANOTHER high of 102 degrees coming straight at us.

I've lost count of how many days of above 100 this has been. Like a gazillion. It hasn't been under 90 here since May, I think.


Yeah, but Rick Perry says the scientists are inventing global warming to pad their funding. So, okay, then.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

New Crossed Genres Release!

Crossed Genres is releasing a new title -- a very cool one!

I've known about this for a bit; in fact, I submitted to it. How could I not? It's my favorite subgenre! Subversion!

Subversion: Science Fiction and Fantasy Tales of Challenging the Norm.

My story made the cut! It's coming out in December.

(This story isn't a Martin tale, but it's on the same world.)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Strange Horizons Needs You!

I've been a fan of Strange Horizons for five or six years now -- they were the first SF/F magazine I found that was publishing the sort of writing drew me into science fiction in the first place: speculation, new worlds, new ideas; as opposed to conservative apologia, retreats into old ideas, or science fascism.

They are also one of the best markets for fiction -- paying professional rates, and buying new writers. (I can tell you this is true, since I am one of the new writers they bought this year.)

Beyond all that, of course, the fiction, reviews, and essays over there are consistently worth reading.

Every year they have a fund raiser. That time is now. Chip in if you can.

Friday, August 26, 2011


Via Crooked Timber, I find this site:

The International Digital Children's Library.

Basically, the site lets you link to online texts of children's books from all over the planet. Seriously, you spin a graphic globe, point and click New Zealand, say, and are presented with dozens of picture books and children's novels from New Zealand which you can read on your PC or your iPad, from all different eras. I'm having so much fun.

Not all of them are in English, but plenty are; and even among those that aren't, many have been translated, and others are picture books.

We're living in the future!

No Grils ALlowed

Over on Fansci, Barbara links us to this charmingly portentuous bit of work, published (oh where else) in the NYTimes.

Robert Lipsyte, who apparently writes books for boys about boy-stuff like football, is of the opinion that literature is being ruined by (you guessed it) the infiltration of girls.

See, back in the good old days, when those rotten girls kept off his lawn, I guess, it was men who wrote the books: men like Hemingway and Steinbeck.

And when YA fiction got invented, well. Men were still writing it: Paul Zindel, Robert Cormier, John Donovan. If an occasional girl did slip it, she had the decency to pretend she was a man: S. E. Hinton, M. E. Kerr. And she wrote about men, and about manly manly things.

Now! All these "young female novelists fresh from MFA programs" are writing books with "overwhelmingly female" imprints! (Whatever that means. Mr. Lipsyte is a writer, but half the time I can't tell what he's talking about, except that he doesn't like girls. That comes across clearly. For instance, he claims all the books he loves from those "good old days" which are entirely about "men," written by "men" about "male" problems are "not gender specific." However, books being written today, by "young female novelists" which contain girl characters -- not even entirely girls, mind you, they just have girls in them -- are "simplistic" girl's books.)

Lipsyte seems to believe it is the fault of the women and the girls that boys do not read; or, more specifically, that girls read more.

He reminds me of the conservative thinkers who are all in a knot because more women are enrolled at and graduating from universities now, and doing better at those universities, than are their male counterparts; and more young women are doing better at academics in high schools as well lately too. This, too, is the fault of women, I will have you know. (Or specifically, feminists!) We have, nefariously, corrupted the academic that boys can't win anymore.

I suggest to you, rather, the fault lies elsewhere -- perhaps with the culture itself? The culture that tells boys (and girls, but to a lesser extent) that reading is a stupid activity, a sissy activity, not something a Real Man would waste his time on?

A culture that says reading isn't as important as video games and football and American Idol?

A culture that does not, in fact, seek out, pay, and publish decent writers or their books? So that it is only crap writers of either gender who end up in the bookstores? (No, I'm not entirely serious with this last one -- but yes, 98% of what is ending up on the shelves these days, you gotta wonder what they're thinking at the big publishing houses.)

A culture that thinks teaching students to score well on a ridiculous standardized test is much more important than teaching them to love books?

Students reach my freshman classroom never having read an entire book through in their entire academic career: in their entire life. That's got nothing to do with "young female novelists from MFA programs," Mr. Lipsyte. It's got to do with misplaced priorities in American culture.

Or maybe it just is American culture. Sports, guns, God, and NASCAR, yeah? What do books have to do with America, really?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Goodbye, Summer. I said GOODBYE!

I've had enough of this summer. Over a hundred here today all day, plus humid as an armpit, forecast says 102, 103, 104 for the next five or six days, nothing below the high nineties as far as they're bothering to look. If this weather was a dog, I'd take it out and shoot it.

Meanwhile, the semester has begun, so I'm working like a dog. Grammar and comp, WLIT on the side. Haven't met my Fiction Workshop yet -- that's Thursday night -- but the rest have me booked and overbooked, especially since I'm doing Aikido and writing the novel at the same time.

Good thing I don't sleep anymore, I suppose.

Seriously, what is it with the insomnia? Ever since about July, I seem to have lost the ability to sleep. I don't fall asleep anymore, and even when I do get to sleep, I wake up after only about five hours. It's not because I don't need sleep, either -- I'm worn out all the time. I'm blaming the weather, because, you know, everything is the fault of this suck-ass weather.

Meanwhile the kid is having the same insomnia. I blame her adolescence, though. Because everything is the fault of her being 13.

Back to prep work.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Ooo Baby!

Mitt needs a tax break so he can make his big house bigger.

Meanwhile, here in Arkansas, I haven't had a raise in five years, my husband has been unemployed since May, we're so broke I can't buy shoes, and most months we have to decide which bill we're going to pay -- the water bill, the power bill, or the phone bill: because if we pay them all, we can't eat the fourth week of the month.

But Mitt?  Well, he needs a bigger house on the beach.

Ooo, baby.  Gimmee some of that sweet, sweet class war now.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

My New Favorite Website

Because around here every day around 3:00 Dr. Skull says, "What are we doing for dinner?"

Now I can just hit this.

(Just a bit NSFW.)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

My Tiny Summer Break

I am in it now.

We get about nine days between the end of Summer II and the beginning of Fall term -- which kicks off with two days of "pre-school training," as the 8-5:00 fun fest is called. Hours of meetings and lectures about subjects as fascinating as what to do about plagiarism to why not to sexually harass your students and colleagues to here are the federal rules about ADA regulations again (we have to get that one every year; I believe it's federal law).

I'm spending the break working feverishly on my novel, while huddled in front of the fan, though actually the weather has become reasonable. (Although, as one of my FB friends remarked yesterday, it's amusing when a high of 99 is reasonable weather -- but yeah, in Arkansas that's the new standard now.) I'm also sending out all the stories I worked on while the Summer sessions were running, when all I really had energy to do was short stories. I've got seven of them up and shiny, so I'll get them all out in circulation, see what comes of it.

This fall I'll have (and this is kind of ironic, I guess) more time to write than I did this Summer, which was a real bitch of a summer, altogether. I'm hoping to get Triple Junction done and in shape to submit somewhere. It's going really well right now.

Meanwhile! The Boston Mountain Writing Group is reviving! We found a new writer to join and maybe two, Zelda is coming back and maybe bringing a fourth writer. All may still be well. This would make me happy. I don't feel right without my writing group.

And, the last two nights, we've had massive thunderstorms here in the Fort. Very exciting.

That is all the good news. As for the bad news, well. I don't have the strength for that today.

Maybe tomorrow.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

School's Out!

And I have figured out how to fix the sequel to Broken Slate.

(Basically I am going to morph Martin's War INTO Triple Junction. This is going to work like you wouldn't believe. It will fix the terrible issue I was having with Efram's character, it will front-load the plot with the Pirians, which was the other vicious issue I was having, it will super-charge the front half and middle of the book -- YO! PROBLEMS SOLVED.)

Now all I have to do is get most of it done over the next 14 days while school is not in session.

No, not really: because this next semester coming up is so sweet: I am teaching four classes, two of which are night classes (Wednesday WLIT, and Thursday Fiction Workshop) which leaves me only 2 day classes, both on MWF (9:00 and 11:00) which means, you guessed it, two whole days with NOTHING to do but write.

Now, if Fort Smith would ever stop being the hottest place in the USA, I would be a happy camper.

112 today.

112 yesterday

110 tomorrow.

No relief in sight.


The Republicans have been shooting for this for 30 years.

Do you think they'll finally be happy that they broke the country?


Tuesday, August 02, 2011

New Issue!

A new issue of Crossed Genres is out.

Some excellent stories this month, I must say.

Go read.

Also, the next month's genre is up -- MONSTERS!! -- so start your engines.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Oh, Come ON Now.

Just checked the weather report.

High of 108 today. High of 108 tomorrow. High of 109 on Wednesday.

Lowest high we'll have -- for as long as the forcast runs -- is 103.

Lowest high we've had, for the past 40 days, was 97. (That was on a day when it rained half the afternoon.)

But you know what? Al Gore is still fat.

Update: But! To cheer you up! The Bloggess!