Wednesday, May 31, 2023

The Pride StoryBundle Launches!

I've been sitting on the news that my novel In The Deep has been chosen to be included in this year's Pride StoryBundle. If you're not sure what a storybundle is, it's like it says on the tin -- you get a bundle of novels for one low, low price (in this case, $5 for any five books, or $20 for all 17). These are all books with LGBGTQIA characters and themes -- in my novel, we have a polycule, with one gay cis man, one bisexual cis man, and one aromantic cis woman, and also an AI. They form a family and crew of the Susan Calvin.

To quote our curators, Melissa Scott and Catherine Lundoff, 

We're back with another queer-themed bundle to celebrate Pride! This year, we have a total of seventeen books on offer, with eight in the main bundle and another nine in the bonus. It's a big bundle, but it was still hard to narrow it down: every year, there are more and more writers out there who are creating intelligent, nuanced, and queer SF/F.

Because this is for Pride, we looked for books that depicted queerness in all its aspects. You'll find profoundly hopeful work as well as darker themes, but what you won't find is stories in which being queer means you're evil, nor any in which it's a purely doomed and tragic fate. Instead, these are stories that showcase the myriad ways that queerness manifests — the many ways that we have chosen to be.


StoryBundle has always allowed its patrons to donate part of their payment to a related charity, and once again we're supporting Rainbow Railroad, an NGO helping LGBTQ+ people escape state-sponsored persecution and violence worldwide. Their work is desperately needed, now more than ever, and if you choose, you can designate a portion of the bundle's price to them at no extra cost to you— a gift that can help save a life. Thank you for joining us to help celebrate Pride and queer voices! – 

More information, including how to get your own bundle, here! 

Books available:

For StoryBundle, you decide what price you want to pay. For $5 (or more, if you're feeling generous), you'll get the basic bundle of five books in .epub format—WORLDWIDE.

·         The Unbalancing by R. B. Lemberg

·         Martha Moody by Susan Stinson

·         Uncommon Charm by Kat Weaver and Emily Bergslien

·         The Silences of Ararat by L. Timmel Duchamp

·         Queer Weird West Tales edited by Julie Bozza

If you pay at least the bonus price of just $20, you get all five of the regular books, plus twelve more books for a total of 17!

  • The Bruising of Qilwa by Naseem Jamnia
  • Boys, Beasts & Men by Sam J. Miller
  • Fire Logic by Laurie J. Marks
  • Our Fruiting Bodies by Nisi Shawl
  • We're Here - The Best Queer Speculative Fiction 2021 edited by L.D. Lewis and series editor Charles Payseur
  • Night Sky Mine by Melissa Scott
  • The Feast of Panthers by Sean Eads
  • The Gusty Deep by Lee Morgan
  • The Dragon Eater by J. Scott Coatsworth
  • Perishables by Michael G. Williams
  • Unfinished Business by Catherine Lundoff
  • In the Deep by Kelly Jennings 


Pharyngula on a deliberately ignorant op-ed

Pushing back in Arkansas

I blocked a former student for spreading these conservative lies on FB. Not that that will stop them, I'm sure.

But this is also true.

I mean, haven't we ALL wanted to do this at some point?

This is especially upsetting because the only hospitals in my town are either Catholic or Baptist. I've never had any problems in the Catholic one, which is the one we use, but then as a cisgendered white woman, I wouldn't, would I?

This Washington Post article reminds me of the experiences of so many of my Evangelical students

Also! I've got some BIG NEWS later tonight.

A poem:

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Summer Days

I am settling into my summer routine, which since I'm not teaching this summer goes something like this:

10:00 Wake up and lie in bed reciting Housman's "Yonder See the Morning Blink" to myself for awhile

10:15 Get up, dress (for certain value of dress -- I don't change out of pajama pants until we go to the gym), turn off the AC, take the dog out, feed the dog and give him his insulin shot, feed the cats, make coffee, moan

10:45 Do Duolingo. I am on a 1131 day streak, and can read French pretty well, and have just started Greek again. They don't have ancient Greek, but modern Greek has similarities

11:00 Check all my blogs and comics and do Wordle

11:30 Start writing. Right now I'm writing my novel on even days and my book reviews on odd days

1:30 Eat something

2:00 Go to the gym. I am doing weights, walking a mile, and riding five miles on the bike, which takes about 50 minutes every day. Right now I'm listening to Middlemarch while I exercise.

4:00-9:00 Come home, turn the AC back on, read novels, go to the library if necessary, eat something, do the dishes, do some laundry (after seven, because the cost of electricity is lower then), read more novels

9:00 Give the dog his dinner and his shot

9:00-Midnight Watch something on TV and read more novels

12:30 a.m. think about going to bed. Read more novels instead. Maybe have a bath. 

2:00 a.m. Bed, finally

I've been turning off the AC in the mornings because it hasn't been very hot here yet -- highs in the low 80s -- and so the house stays cool until about 2:00. But I may have to start leaving it on, since the weather guy says highs in the mid-90s are coming soon. Ugh.

Three and a half more months of summer.



Thursday, May 25, 2023

The Kid Gets Published

The kid's very first poem was composed when he was sixteen months old. Untitled, it was this verse:

Racoon in the moon


This week, his first published poems appeared. You can read them here. 


The domestic


Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Cat Pictures

My kid draws cartoons of my cats:

Jasper would like to make the point that she is NOT THAT FAT.

Junti asserts that she is, in fact, that angry.

Monday, May 22, 2023

Vegetable Pie for Dinner

My dinner:

Dr. Skull make the crust, but the filling is simple. Cut up a mix of vegetables (I use an onion, a carrot, a sweet potato, a potato, some celery, peas, a carrot, and an apple). Cook the onion and sweet potato in butter. Add about a quarter cup of flour and your seasoning -- I use curry and salt. Add about two cups of broth or water, then the rest of the vegetables. Cook for about twenty minutes, then let cool.

Then put it all in the pie crust and cook for an hour at 350. Tasty!

Pork Allergy?

Is it possible to be allergic to pork? Lately every time I eat anything with pork in it, I get terrible stomach aches and other gastrointestinal issues which I will pass over in silence. 

The internet says meat allergies are becoming more common, but I think this one is just to pork.  I admit I don't eat a lot of meat, so I might not have noticed. I will have to get a hamburger and see what happens.

This says that it starts with a tick bite, and I haven't had a tick in years. And this says cat allergies are linked, but I'm not allergic to cats.

I do eat a lot of cheese and drink milk in my coffee, and those don't seem to bother me. What happens if I have to become a vegetarian? I mean, besides it being good for the planet and all.

Apparently I could still eat fish and chicken. I like fish, so good.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Second Spring

We're having a two-day second spring here, which lets me keep the windows and the cat porch open. This is my favorite, as you know.

Tuesday we return to the regularly scheduled early summer.

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Grammar Blog

I forgot I had a grammar blog. Look, it's still live!

Everything you could possibly want to know about grammar, and more!

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Things I have Learned My Students Do Not Know

(A Partial List, In no particular order)

Who Cain and Abel are and what Cain did to Abel

What a "hook and eye" is 

What feminism is (they think it's "hating men")

That reliable birth control was illegal in (some parts of) this country less than sixty years ago

What Jesus actually said 

The difference between Old English and 19th Century English

What "left wing" and "right wing" mean (they know Democrats are evil, but not what a leftist is)

What Pompeii is and what happened there

What a highwayman is

The difference between "a story" and scientific article 

The difference between someone with a million dollars (who, yes, is rich) and someone with billions of dollars

What eugenics is

What a sonnet is

when the Civil War happened and what it was about

Likewise WWI and WWII 

Anything about any religion other than their own specific sect of Christianity

Anything about Christianity, for that matter 

Where England is (probably other countries too, this was just the one I was trying to get them to find on our classroom map)

How common illness like measles, mumps, chicken pox, and tetanus were in this country before vaccines became wildly available

What evolution actually is and how it works (this is even educated students)

What a pogrom is

How common it was for black people to be lynched less than a century ago in this country

The difference between truth and opinion, or how to tell if something is true

How to read difficult material

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

What I'm Reading Now

Josephine Tey, Brat Farrar, A Shilling for Candles

These are rereads. I love Tey's books, which are British mysteries from that sweet spot of British mystery writing, the 1930s through the 1950s. A Shilling for Candles is her first novel, and she's already a pro. It's one of her Inspector Grand novels. Brat Farrar is about a British upper class family in which the heir was killed/went missing as a child of 13, except now that son returns. Or does he? (No, it's an imposter, which is not a spoiler, since the novel reveals that he's an imposter at the very beginning.) The mystery here is what happened to the missing child; but as always with Tey, the delight is in the setting and the characters. I recommend these highly if you want a 'nice' book to read.

K.J. Charles, The Secret Lives of Country Gentlemen

I like Charles's books a lot, but they are mostly e-books, and I really like real books, especially for reading at night when I am tired. This is the first print-copy of Charles my library has purchased, so I snapped it up. It borrows a bit of its setting from that Georgette Heyer novel about smugglers, but it's a fresh take. The young heir to a smuggler's den strikes up a romance with the young baronet, and complications ensue. Charles does this kind of romance very well. I also love the smuggler's dialect, of course. Dialects are my jam. This one has a sequel coming out -- a sort of sequel, it looks like it's set about ten years in the future, and concerns a minor character in the first novel. Anyway, a ripping yarn. I need to seek out more K.J. Charles.

Jonathon Kennedy, Pathogenesis: a History of the World in Eight Plagues

Kennedy's thesis is that communicable diseases did as much or more to shape the world than any human agency, specifically by killing off great swaths of people whenever two previous isolate groups came into contact -- as, for instance, when h. sapiens met up with h. neanderthalenis; or when the Roman empire was struck by the bubonic plague due to trading and invasion from various points, leading to the the fall of the empire. And, of course, the Native American populations, both in North and South American, were nearly wiped out by diseases brought with explorers and colonists, which allowed European populations free access to the continents. In other places, Kennedy argues, such as Africa, where the local population infected the invading population (Europeans, mostly), such conquests did not happen as easily. He also cites Haiti, where a plague of yellow fever kept the French from taking back the country after the slave uprising. The slaves, many imported from Africa, were far more resistant to the fever than the French army, and so the uprising succeeded (at least in part.)

This is a readable book, if a little more shallow than it should be. 

Connie Willis, The Doomsday Book, Blackout, All Clear

These are a re-read. I do love Connie Willis. These books, which are all set in the Oxford Historian/Time-Travelers AU, have gotten a lot of (justified) criticism for their inauthenticity. Willis is an American, and writes about Britain, like, a lot. I don't think she's ever lived in Britain, or known a British person; she gets a lot of details wrong. Apparently she's basing her notion of the British world on the British mysteries/television/movies she's watched. 

Also none of her people in 2060 Oxford have cell phones or the internet. Instead they have to do research in newspaper morgues and by looking things up on microfiche. This was maybe understandable when she first wrote in this universe -- Wikipedia tells me "Firewatch," which I think was the first story featuring Oxford Time Traveling Historians, was written in 1982. But the later works, including Blackout and All Clear (a paired set of novels, a MASSIVE duology) were written after the internet had appeared, and our time traveling historians still don't have cell phones. This is so Willis can set up the problem/interference/interference/ solution pattern which she loves so much, and which to be fair is really effective.

Anyway, I started out saying that Willis's works have garnered a lot of criticism from British readers, but if you're not a British reader, these are wonderful books, especially The Doomsday Book, which I just love. Science fiction, or rather science fantasy. Passage is probably Willis's best novel, and probably the one which comes the closest to getting the science right. I might re-read that one next.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Summer Arrives

We had a very short spring here -- forecast shows highs in the 80s for the near future, and even when (as today) the high is in the 70s, it is too humid outside to open the windows or turn the AC off. Five more months until fall.

I have moved my office into my summer quarters (a fancy word for colonizing part of the living room for my office, in the space close to the heat pump, which is reliably five to ten degrees cooler than the rest of the house). This is where I now write:

Bonus cat in the foreground.

Saturday, May 13, 2023


Camestros Felapton cracks me up 

Are conservatives ever going to get tired of publishing this whine? Let's leave aside the fact that it's a great big strawman -- no one is stopping novelists from writing whatever they want, as shown by the fact that every single example Parker gives here is from a published work. What people *are* saying is that writers who have authentic experience in an area maybe have something to say about that area? So when you get John Boyne, for instance, writing about Jews in the Holocaust, or about trans kids, maybe what he has to say isn't as interesting as what an actual Jew who lived through the Holocaust had to say, or what an actual trans person might say? 

Maybe you thought Jordan Peterson was bad, but this video will surprise you!*


Roads in Florida could soon include phosphogypsum — a radioactive waste material from the fertilizer industry — under a bill lawmakers have sent to Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Conservation groups are urging DeSantis to veto the bill, saying phosphogypsum would hurt water quality and put road construction crews at a higher risk of cancer.


A state house investigation last week determined that [Bryan Slaton] supplied alcohol to the intern and another young staffer, had sex with the intern after she had become intoxicated, and later showed her a threatening email while saying everything would be fine if she kept quiet about the encounter.

Tennessee and the Moms of Liberty attack a teacher because her mother's day lesson doesn't suit their notion of what "real" mothers are. (I'll save you the trouble of linking through: real mothers are straight cis women married to straight cis men raising children they have birthed with their own bodies. No one else is actually a mother.)

Louisiana, Kansas, New York, North Carolina, and Texas -- gun-toting conservatives shoot children in their yards. I used to stray onto my neighbor's property from time to time as a kid. Once I got collared by the neighborhood "mean lady" who yelled at me for five minutes. But I never worried about anyone shooting me.  

In Texas, abortion is murder, and murdering a woman who gets out of line is just what good men with guns do.


*I mean, seriously, who knew he was this bad? Okay, sure, all of us, but

Tuesday, May 09, 2023

Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

Barbara Kingsolver's Demon Copperhead won the Pulitzer, as did a novel I haven't read, called Trust, by someone named Hernan Diaz. I'll have to read that one next.

I've been reading Kingsolver since her first novel, The Bean Trees, which I liked a lot. I enjoyed Demon Copperhead, but as I recall it's not my favorite by her. I'm glad she got the prize, though!

Sunday, May 07, 2023

The Kid is Twenty-Five

The kid's birthday was yesterday. He and the fiancé came down, and we had a dinner party to celebrate, with French onion soup, corned beef, asparagus, potatoes dauphinoise, rye bread, and cheese cake, all made by Dr. Skull from scratch except for the asparagus.

The Cheesecake
The Corned Beef

The French Onion Soup

How did he get to be 25 years old? One day at a time, I guess.

Saturday, May 06, 2023

While We're Talking about Trans People

 Here, finally, is a non-ridiculous post about puberty blockers. Gender affirming surgery also gets a mention.

“From an ethical and a legal perspective, this is a benign medication,” Giordano says. She is puzzled by the extra scrutiny these treatments receive, considering their benefits and limited risks. “There are no sound clinical, ethical or legal reasons for denying them to those in need,” she says.

To McNamara, the widespread attempts to take these decisions out of families’ hands by banning care for transgender youth is a clear indication that the goal is not to protect the health of children, as proponents claim. “These bans did not come from a public outcry about concern for trans youth,” she says. 

Also, I love this thread: 

Just a Reminder

 Fascists start with trans people

So if you're supporting this bullshit, congrats, nice company you run with.


Friday, May 05, 2023

Cat Pictures


Also the little dog with his squeaky pig:

Thursday, May 04, 2023

Bye, Spring 2023

It's the last day of actual classes for me and boy are my arms tired.

I'm not teaching this summer, which is going to be sheer bliss. In the fall, it's back to four classes, two of them Comp I. At least they're all T/Th classes, so I'll continue to have a four day writing block.

Things I plan to do this summer:

  • Finish my novel
  • Finish writing the Asimov review
  • Finish writing the review/s for Interzone
  • Continue exercising (we've been going to the gym at least twice and usually four times a week for one solid year now)
  • Start my fourth novel 
  • Take care of various medical issues (standard tests, nothing's wrong)
  • Sleep a lot. Like, a lot
  • Learn to make baklava from my SIL
  • Sleep even more
What are your summer plans?

Tuesday, May 02, 2023


This is from 2008 -- I discovered it going through my old posts -- before I knew my kid was trans. It's the story of two families, one of whom reacts to their five year old being bullied by bullying her themselves, and the other who is their child's advocate. 

Also from my old posts: in May 2008, when Bush was in the last year of his disastrous presidency, gas was $3.89/gallon. Adjusted for inflation, that's $5.58/gallon. But this was okay, because a Republican was in the White House. It's like now, when the GOP is screeching about government spending, while -- when Trump was in office -- they did not care how much he put on the government's credit card.

Speaking of performative legislature

This, I'm posting because "conservatives" (they're actually reactionary bigots, not conservative at all) love passing around stories about trans people committing "crimes" -- generally the crime of existing in public. The facts are very much otherwise, but to quote one lovely Trump supporter who was confronted with a fact contradicting her cherished belief, they don't care.

At least 1 in every 231 people in Arkansas have died of COVID-19. About 3.4/1000 people in the country as a whole. This is a disease that the Far-Right has decided is a scam.

Remember when the Right threw a tantrum because the publishers of Dr. Seuss decided against reissuing a couple of titles? Now that's their playbook. But as with the Dixie Chicks, when THEY cancel someone, it's fine.

Everyday life in America

See also this

This is depressing

Rod Dreher's wife ditched him, and now Steven Crowder's wife has. Marjorie Taylor Greene's husband can't take it anymore. Tucker Carlson got fired. So did Rod Dreher! Is the world getting sick of reactionary bullshit? One can only hope.

The target might change but the playbook has not.

Monday, May 01, 2023

Stolen from Nicole & Maggie

This is a video from Hank Green, which I like for a couple of reasons. One, he talks about performative legislation and why legislators are doing it; and second, it's about TikTok bans and internet bans in general. My own university has banned TikTok from being accessed on university-owned computers, which I don't have a huge problem with, but seems, well, selective. God knows there a lot of potentially harmful things being accessed on school computers -- why chose that one? Performative, I expect, as Hank explains: