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Writing, Waiting, and Wondering

Waiting

Writers spend a lot of time waiting.  Waiting for a submission period to open, since stories sent before the editor is ready will be tossed out unread.  Waiting for rejection slips (or acceptance letters)  Waiting to get your contributor’s copy.  Waiting to be paid.  Waiting to hear if you’ve been nominated for an award, or (fingers crossed) if you’ve won.

I’ve recently had three stories held for a second reading.  One got a rejection slip, and I need to try to find a market it fits.  One, “Vixen’s Song,” has been accepted for Fantasy for the Throne.  And the third I am still waiting on and wondering if they will buy it or not.  The reading period has ended, and the editor has said final decisions will be made soon and contracts will be sent out next month.

There is nothing I can do to influence the editor’s decision, so the best thing to do whilst waiting and wondering is to go write something else.

Publishing Update

My children’s story “Tell Me My Story” has been published in Caterpillar, an Irish children’s magazine.  My children’s story “The Narwhal” and my poem “Sir Tristan the Brave” have been accepted by the children’s magazine Wee Tales.  I submitted them September 29, 2016 and they were accepted May 6, 2018, which is a definite example of writers needing to wait patiently.  My WWII fantasy “Gremlins” has been published in Cat Tails: War Zone, a charity anthology.  And as I said above, “Vixen’s Song” has been accepted for Fantasy for the Throne.

My fantasy “As Prophesied of Old” in Alternative Truths was nominated for the Darrell Awards, but did not win.  It wasn’t even a finalist.  But it was nominated.

I currently have five stories out.  I normally have more out, but as busy as subbing has been, I’ve been falling behind on resubmitting stories elsewhere as soon as they’re rejected.  That’s the important thing: once rejected, resubmit.  Then go back to writing on your next project.

A rejection slip is not a rejection of you as a writer or as a person.  It’s a rejection of some paper you typed on (paraphrasing Martin Gardner here, or maybe George Scithers).  A rejection slip just means that this particular story is not a good match for this particular market at this time.  As explained in this essay by the late MZB, there are many reasons a story might receive a rejection slip.  The editor may have just bought a similar story.  It may be too long, or too short.  You didn’t follow the submission guidelines, so the editor thinks if you can’t follow basic directions, you’ll be difficult to work with. (Read the submission guidelines and follow them!)  The editor may have a toothache and reject everything because he’s in a bad mood.  Your story may be garbage.  Your story may have a kernel of quality to it, buried in ill-done words, and the editor doesn’t have time to help you polish it when somebody else’s story is ready to print as is.  You may have sent it to the wrong market: don’t send a children’s fantasy to a hard SF magazine, nor a Regency romance to a hard-boiled detective anthology.  Tape the rejection slip in your diary, or file it in your folder, resubmit it elsewhere until it sells (or you realize, yes, this story would benefit from a little editing and rewriting), and go write  some more.

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Submission Guidelines: Apotheosis 2: More Stories of Survival After the Rise of the Elder Gods

This might be an interesting anthology. The question is, can I come up with a good story for it? What would day to day life be like after the Apocalypse? Would our eldritch lords and masters micromanage our lives or would things be surprisingly close to how things are now?

The Universes of Jason Andrew

Here are the guidelines for Simian Publishing’s next anthology Apotheosis 2: More Stories of Survival After the Rise of the Elder Gods.  (This anthology doesn’t open to submissions until April 2018, but I like to give my writers plenty of time to ponder the sort of story they might write for me.)

Apothesis2cover

Apotheosis 2 – More Stories of human survival and defiance in a world subjugated by the return of the Elder Gods. Humanity struggled to grow and evolve as a species for thousands of years forever caught in the shadow of a dread threat known only to a devoted few. When the stars are right, the Old Ones will return to claim utter dominion of the world. Lovecraft Mythos stories often climax at the moment of the fateful return of the Elder Gods and the audience is left to ponder what might happen next. This anthology features stories about humanity…

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2018 Darrell Awards Winners Announced

This year my King Arthur story was nominated, but was not a finalist. Next year, or maybe the year after, one of my stories will make it to the finals. And someday, I will win.

In the meantime, congratulations to this year’s winners!

Darrell Awards

The 2018 Darrell Awards Jury is very pleased to announce the following results of our deliberations.

Dal Coger Memorial Hall of Fame Award
Robin Burks for her extraordinary contributions to Midsouth literacy, more specifically her trilogy (Zeus, Inc; The Curse of Hekate; and The Return of the Titans)

Robin Burks plaque for Hall of Fame 2018 Coger Hall of Fame plaque

Best Midsouth Novel
Winner – Land of Wolves by T. J. Turner
First Runner-Up – Wild Hunt by Nick Rowan
Finalist – Seek and Destroy by William C. Dietz

Best Midsouth Novella
Winner – A Night at the Quay by William A. Webb (as seen in Sharp Steel and High Adventure: Volume 3)
First Runner-Up – Luminaria by John Horner Jacob (as seen in Apex Magazine # 94)

Best Midsouth Young Adult Work
Winner – Coney Island Book of the Dead by Sheila Martin

Best Midsouth Short Story
Winner – From Hair to Eternity by…

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MidSouthCon Is Only A Few Days Away

MidSouthCon is only a few days away, and I will be a panelist this year.

This had been my original schedule:

 

 

Schedule for – Susan Murrie MidSouthCon 36

(Why they dropped my married name, I don’t know.)

Day Time  *Location  *Event

March 9-11 2018

Friday 7:00 PM * Promenade 2 * Fantasy Fiction: Past, Present, and Future
The best authors in the field discuss modern Fantasy Fiction! Enter the worlds each of these authors creates and hear about what works influenced their creations. Listen as they discuss where Fantasy has been, where it is today, and where they and others will take it in the future.

Melinda LaFevers, Jamie Marchant, Susan Murrie Macdonald, John Hornor Jacobs

Saturday 3:00 PM  * Pro Row * Pro Row
Meet your favorite MidSouthCon professional, maybe get their autograph or buy their works. Pro Row is located in the hallway outside of the Tennessee Ballrooms.

Shauna Roberts, Dave Schroeder, Susan Murrie Macdonald, John Jackson Miller

Saturday 8:00 PM * Grand Ballroom C * Epic Women In Epic Literature

Epic Science Fiction and Fantasy have seen some dynamic powerhouses of women-kind, such as: Kahlan, in Goodkind’s Sword of Truth Series; Cordelia, from the Vorkosigan sage; and Miri Robertson, from the Liaden Universe. Come discuss the epic women of SF&F with our panelists.

Herika R Raymer, Susan Murrie Macdonald, J L Mulvihill, Sharon Lee

However, Larry Hoy from my writing group posted on Facebook yesterday that the MidSouthCon official schedule was up.  I went to look to see what the other panels were, and to make sure I could see some of the people I wanted to hear.

“Getting Started in Self-Publishing” sounded very interesting, and I told my husband I wanted to be sure to attend that one, as I thought I could learn a lot from it.  I confess I was shocked to see I was on the panel, as my meager attempts at self-publishing have been dismal failures.  I suppose I’m there as an example of what not to do?
Our panelists discuss the ins and outs of self publishing your work.
Dave Schroeder, Frank Tuttle, Michael Hinton, Susan Murrie Macdonald
I was disappointed, but not shocked to see I’d been removed from “Epic Women in Epic Literature.”  These things are never carved in stone.  The author GOH is the moderator for that panel, so it makes sense they’d only want experienced authors on the panel.  However, I suppose I should be flattered that it took two people to replace me:  Steve Miller and Toni Weisskopf.  I’ll still be there, just in the audience instead of on the panel.
I was dismayed to learn my time on Pro Row was the same time as the Library Bards‘ concert, as they were one of the main reasons I wanted to come to this year’s convention.  I hope they perform more than once.  I’d really like to hear them in person.
Panels that look interesting:
From Pulp to Genre Fiction
Pulp Fiction- Learn the history of one of the most influential mediums in pop culture and how magazines of the 1930s and 40s have led to an exciting new style of writing that is all over the place today. From the origins of science fiction to brand new heroes today in all sorts of books, comics, anime, movies, television series, and more, find out how Pulp has gone from being magazines on a newsstand to what we see as Genre Fiction today.
Badges and Flatfeet – Law Enforcement and PIs in Fiction
From mysteries to science fiction, from horror to love stories, readers and writers are fascinated with cops in genre fiction! Join authors as they discuss how Law Enforcement of all types is represented in various Genres throughout Fiction.
“Keep On Keepin’ On” – How to Get to the Finish Line with Your Project
Having trouble finishing what you started? Tips on How to Stay Focused and Keep Creating. Join these creators as they discuss how they are able to fight to the finish on their projects and never give up.
The Art of Attraction: Social Media and Marketing for the Independent Artist
Find out what it takes to make a name for yourself and build a solid client base as our guests discuss strategy, tips, and tricks for promoting your work and yourself in the vast world of social media.
It’s Written … Now What?
Many writers feel driven to finish a short story or their first magnum opus. But, once done with their work, what do they do next? Listen and learn from authors about the steps to take to submit your work, the various options available to writers in today’s market, and what to do or not do!
WRITING – Tips, Tricks, and the Cold, Hard Truth
So you want to be a writer? Then hear from established authors, editors, and publishers about do’s and don’ts, cant’s and wont’s of writing. Listen as they discuss time management, how to start and finish a work, and watch as they pull back the curtain on the truth about writing. Ready to write your best seller and retire? In it for the act of writing or the money you think you’ll make off of it? Hear the good, the bad, and the downright weird about a career as a writer in this panel!
The Baen Traveling Road Show
Come join Toni Weisskopf and other Baen authors and editors as they tell us what’s new at Baen Book. There will be fun and prizes!
The Role of the Villain:  A Good Bad Guy
The villain of a story is the bad guy, right? Does that mean we are supposed to dislike him. Perhaps the characters are, but what about the players? This is particularly true of well-intended villains and the sympathetic ones. Remember, no one spends tons of energy on what they know is wrong. They truly believe in what they do. Sometimes dealing with the villain is what makes the story so much fun or at least memorable… It’s all about the villains.
Characterization and the Art of Social World Building
Our panelists discuss creating richly believable societies in fantasy and science fiction settings.
Why Do We Create Horror Stories?
What drives us to embrace the things that scare us?
What Does an Editor Do?  The Basics
Our panel of highly experienced editors detail the basic elements of an editors job.
Fact – Fiction Friction:  When Reality and Fiction Collide
Current events, both the typical and the tragic, have always been reflected in fiction. But what happens when the events are all too current and suddenly a story once told to entertain now has the impact of being horribly real for readers? Listen as today’s best authors discuss the best ways to deal with issues concerning Fact meeting Fiction as well as the question of just how much should fact ever influence Genre Fiction.
Born to be Bad – Creating a Good Villain
What makes a good villain? Why are the bad guys so much more interesting? Are they truly evil, or just misunderstood? A discussion of how to create a great villain for your stories.
How Hard Can Building a World Be Anyways?
There’s a lot of details that go into designing a world for characters to exist within. More elements than most realize. World builders have to consider all sorts of factors, history, and stuff to do it. Panels discuss the myriad of components, some more obvious than others, that are needed to build a believable, fictional world.
Building a Fantasy Novel from Start to Finish
One of the most popular genres in Fiction, Fantasy literally allows both readers and creators to travel to another world. Learn how to put together the fantasy novel you’ve always wanted from three perspectives- Writer, Artist, and Publisher. The Dos and Don’t’s of publishing Fantasy in Today’s market from Small Press Publisher Tommy Hancock, Artist Mitch Foust, and Writer Chris Jowers. Featuring the release of Jower’s LOSTBORN.
Geeks Who Brunch
Geek Girl Brunch is an international organization whose mission is to promote safe, comfortable environments where females can be as geeky as they want to be, and promote networking between female geeks-often with mimosas involved. Join two officers from the Memphis chapter for a discussion on who we are, what we do, and why having geek unity and communities are important.
Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy – It’s Not Just for Kids Anymore
Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy has reached new heights of popularity, and YA books are being devoured by readers of all ages. Our panelists discuss this trend and what is driving it.
Finding Your Muse – Story Inspirations
Where do writers find the inspiration for their stories? Panelists discuss how the muse struck them, and how they turned those ideas into stories.
Women in STEM
Why is there a need for a panel on Women in STEM? Are there still barriers and obstacles? How do we encourage the next generation? Come for a open discussion – audience participation and Q&A encouraged.
Short Story vs Novel
Genre Fiction is about delivering action, adventure, and familiar themes to readers But which type of story works better for delivering all the drama, chills, and thrills? The concise, to the point short story or the longer, more detailed novel? It’s the Battle of the Formats!
Going to the Opera …SPACE OPERA!
Authors of Science Fiction discuss the sub genre of Space Opera; what it is, where it started, and how it exists today. From Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers to Firefly and The Orville, find out everything you never knew about one of the most popular but little know categories of Science Fiction!
Plotting and Pantsing – Do’s and Don’t’s of Both for Writers
A panel focused on how to plot (outline, make a plan) or to Pants (just write whatever comes to you as you go) effectively and the advantages and pitfalls for each!
To Punk or Not to Punk
Steampunk. Dieselpunk. Cyberpunk. In the last 30-40 years, a great number of genres have popped up, calling themselves ‘punk’. But now every genre has some sort of ‘punk’ in it. Fancy marketing tactic? Real distinction from other stories? Or something in between Join authors as they discuss what Punk literature is or isn’t and its place, if it has one, in Genre Fiction.
Walk into the Darkness
Join our panelists as the discuss the ins and outs of dark fiction and Fantasy.
Comic Book Scripting:  From Plot to Page
Join veteran comics writer and novelist John Jackson Miller as he shares his way of writing for comics. The force will be strong with this panel!
And more, of course:  kaffeklatsches with the authors, panels on Star Wars, My Little Pony, Black Panther, and Harry Potter, as well as costuming, SCA, movies, paranormal investigation, etc.  And alas, some of these are at the same time, and some will be missed for meal breaks.  [Dr. Bob’s Rule of 2 and 5:  at an SF con, eat at least two meals a day and get at least five hours of sleep a night.]  But it’s the first time I’ve been a panelist in more than two decades, and it should be interesting.

Back to the Classroom

After considering the pros and cons for the past few years, I’ve decided to go back to the classroom.  My teaching credential expired long ago, but Tennessee does not require a teaching credential for substitute teachers.  Most districts only require a bachelor’s degree, and some only require a high school diploma.  (Of the states that do require a teaching credential, as long as you’ve got a credential in something — anything — you can sub.  If your credential is in Serbo-Croatian language and literature, you can sub middle school math or fourth grade or high school girls’ PE.)

I’ve been working as a freelance writer and proofreader.  The website at Krypton Radio now lists me as a Staff Writer.  I’m getting more proofreading and copy editing work from Norilana Press and B Cubed Press.  I sold four stories and one song last year, and have sold one story so far this year.  However, as James Michener said, “America is a country where a writer can make a fortune, but not a living.”  A more regular paycheck is required.

German book with glasses

On the one hand, teaching in a modern American classroom could be considered a sign of insanity.  Teachers are underpaid for what they do and the training they’re required to have.  Most schools suffer from budget problems, leading to deferred maintenance and teachers buying supplies for their students.  Modern students aren’t taught by their parents to respect their elders; many aren’t taught basic courtesy and civility.  Classrooms are overcrowded.  More time is spent teaching to the test than actually teaching history, geography, multiplication, foreign languages, English grammar, etc.  Recess is often cut from the schedule to make more time for test preparation.  And now, people are seriously suggesting that teachers be armed to prevent school shootings.

On the other hand, too many people don’t know and don’t understand the Constitution, and if you don’t understand your rights, they can be taken from you.  As a travel agent’s wife, it disturbs me how poorly understood geography is.  As a SFFH writer who enjoys alternate histories a la Dr. Turtledove, readers won’t buy and can’t understand alternate history novels if they don’t know real history.  Too many people seem incapable of critical thought.  As a writer and a reader, seeing they’re/their/there confused or defiantly/definitely grates on my brain the way fingernails on a chalkboard grate on your ears.  I want to make a difference, from enlightened self-interest if nothing else.  Today’s students could grow up to be my plumber, my doctor, my senator, or the nurse’s aide at my old folks’ home.  I want them to grow up as literate and ethical as possible.  It’s my bit for staving off catastrophe and saving civilization.

“Civilization is in a race between education and catastrophe. Let us learn the truth and spread it as far and wide as our circumstances allow. For the truth is the greatest weapon we have.”  H. G. Wells

Back to School picture

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically.  Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”                      Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Many people, including classroom teachers, consider substitutes mere babysitters, just there to provide an adult presence in the room and maybe pass out worksheets or play a movie.  Going back to subbing doesn’t mean I’ll introduce young people to the beauty of Shakespeare’s words, or how to organize their thoughts and express them clearly in writing.  I’m more likely to show a DVD of Jacques Cousteau than explain  E = mc2  

Even if all I do is teach them how to do the nine times table trick on their fingers and review the parts of speech by playing Mad Libs with them, I will have done something.  And not to be crass, but I need the money and Dairy Queen says I’m overqualified.

Library

I’m a teacher born, I’m a teacher bred, for the rising generation.

And I teach for love and for the money and for the long vacation.

Ed Miller, “The Teacher’s Rant”


All photos courtesy of Pixabay.

To check out my most recent story, click here to read “The Kissing Bridge” for free.

 

Hypothetical Action Heroine Movie

Every now and again, the meme below shows up on Facebook.  (I think it’s originally from Tumblr.)

Jeremy Renner Bourne Ultimatum I reposted it on my FB page, and some friends and I got into a fantasy casting game.

Do action movies know they can have more than one female character?

Someone should make an action movie with all girls except for one guy and have no explanation or mention of it in the movie and then pay all of the actors to act surprised like they’d never noticed when they get the inevitable storm of questions.

This one male must have a shower scene, be saved by the protagonist at least once, and fall in love with a lead female.

Also these women all need to be capable of both kicking ass and killing people with guns as well as cleaning up nicely and doing recon at a charity event while the one male character seduces a rich person.

I petition this male character is played by Jeremy Renner.


AD:  I petition for the female lead to be played by Claudia Christian.

Claudia Christian
SM:  How about Gina Torres as her sidekick?
Gina Torres
LM:  And Michelle Forbes is the leader of whatever group these women belong to.
Michelle Forbes
SM: My son suggests Dame Maggie Smith, as a field agent, not as the agency’s director.
Maggie Smith
SM: My husband suggests Renée Felice Smith as one of the agents.
renee-felice-smith

SM: I concur with his suggestion and would add Katharine McPhee (who must, at some point in the movie, sing as part of her cover).

 Katharine McPhee
SM: The bad guys should be a mother/daughter team: France Nuyen as the leader of KAOS or Smersh or Thrush or whatever;
France Nuyen St. Elsewhere
Jadyn Wong as her top field agent (who we don’t learn is her daughter until halfway through the film).
is-actress-jadyn-wong-dating-someone-know-about-her-affairs-relationship-and-affairs
AD: And Grace Park, somehow. With a nice, meaty role, to show CBS what they let get away.
170706140124-grace-park-hawaii-five-0-medium-plus-169

SM: She should be a good guy. It would look bad if all the villains were Asian or Eurasian.

 Grace-Park w rifle
 LM:  Michelle Gomez would make a great baddie too.
Michelle Gomez
 JL:  Angela Bassett and Nicole Beharie MUST be in this movie!
Angela Bassett
nicole-beharie-sleepy-hollow-season-3
CK: Jeremy Renner? I can’t say “meh” hard enough.

Jeremy Renner Wind River

Also, where is Olivia Spencer in this cast?

SM:  You’re male. Renner is beefcake for the ladies, not for the menfolk.
Olivia (Potluck) Spencer or Olivia (Flushed) Spencer? There appear to be two.
Olivia Spencer (Flushed)
 (Although I could only find a picture of the one in Flushed).
CK: I meant Octavia Spencer, in fact. I would enjoy seeing her pistol-whipping bozos who tread on her very last nerve.
Octavia Spencer TBBT
 SM: After seeing Thor: Ragnarok, I want to add Tessa Thompson to the list of secret agents.Tessa Thompson Thor Ragnarok
JB:  Renner would totally do it.
Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye
SM: Okay, we have the casting. Now we need a plot.

JL suggested this was similar to the Ghostbusters reboot.  JB said it reminded him of the Charlie’s Angels movies (not the ’70s TV show).

So Michelle Forbes (Ensign Ro Laren from Star Trek: The Next Generation) is leader of an alphabet soup agency headquartered in Washington or New York City. or Los Angeles.  Her agency has several response teams, with male and female agents.  This particular team has more women than men; other teams are more equally divided.
Claudia Christian (Susan Ivanova from Babylon 5 is team leader, with Gina Torres (Zoe Washburn from Firefly) as her number two.  Other team members include Dame Maggie Smith (Minerva McGonagall from the Harry Potter movies) as an experienced agent who refuses to retire, Renée Felice Smith (Nell Jones from NCIS: LA), Katharine McPhee (Paige Dineen from Scorpion),  Octavia Spencer (Dorothy Vaughan from Hidden Figures) and Jeremy Renner (Clint Barton from The Avengers). A seven-person team fits into the basic storyteller six-pack with very little trouble.
Renner’s character needs vital information from a multi-millionaire industrialist, so he must seduce Angela Bassett (Queen Ramonda in Black Panther) and/or her daughter Nicole Beharie (Abbie Mills in Sleepy Hollow) to get it.  He is uncomfortable doing so, because of his crush on Claudia Christian’s character.
Michelle Gomez (Missy in Doctor Who) is the leader of another alphabet soup agency, more a rival than an antagonist.  Her top agents are Grace Park (Kono Kalakaua in Hawaii 5-0) and Tessa Thompson (Charlotte Hale in Westworld).  Perhaps her token male agent is Tom Hiddleston (Loki in The Avengers).  Perhaps she’s the head of a British or international organization and Forbes’ character is the head of an American agency.  But she and her people are after the same thing that Claudia Christian’s team  is after.
Loki in Thor Ragnarok
France Nuyen (Elaan of Troyius from Star Trek) is the leader of a mercenary operation,  She’s not out to rule the world (too much paperwork) or to put her nation at the top of the global food chain.  (She is completely devoid of patriotism.)  She just wants to make a profit and has very few scruples how she does so.  Her best field agent (and daughter) is Jadyn Wong (Happy Quinn from Scorpion).  They are no relation to Grace Park’s character.  There are millions of Asians in the world and not all  of them are related, or even from the same country.
I would love to use Ellie Botterill (Princess Theodora from A Crown for Christmas) in this hypothetical movie, either as a kidnapped child genius, or a runaway princess,  or Gomez’s daughter or Dame Maggie’s granddaughter.
ellie botterill
What is the MacGuffin?  What are all these spies and mercenaries trying to find?  Who are the characters?  Yes, fantasy casting gives you faces and voices, but what are their personalities and skill sets?  Just because Renée Felice Smith plays a computer expert on her current show doesn’t mean she might not be the linguist or the medic on this team.  Renner might be the hacker  instead of the marksman. Is Dame Maggie Smith’s character an Englishwoman on an American spy squad, or is she a Texan who fakes a really good British accent?  Was she, perhaps, an English spy who married an American spy, and was she once Gomez’ mentor before coming to the US with her husband?
This is a better outline than most of my writing projects have.  All we have to do is flesh out a few measly details, write a script, and find a generous patron willing to provide the money to produce.  Easy-peasy.
collage-2017-12-27 (1)
Disclaimer:  the photographic images were borrowed from IMDB.com or Google Images.  There is no intent to defraud the photographers.  This blog is an amateur writing exercise, and no profit has been made from it (nor is likely to be made from it.)  I made the collage above, using http://www.photocollage.com

Writing Tips: Are You Writing for the Right Reasons? — a guest post by Andrew Timothy Post

I found this interesting, and I thought you might like to read it, too.  This is a guest blog from Andrew Timothy Post, who is a SFFH writer.  After reading this article about motivation and learning, I found Mr. Post’s article on motivation and writing useful.

Of course, my favorite motivational quotation for writing has always been Dr. Samuel Johnson‘s “No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money.”  I confess, two of my favorite hobbies are eating and sleeping indoors.

Too many people confuse their own enthusiasm for confidence and determination. Then the going gets rough, the fear closes in, and what was once fun becomes a chore.

via Writing Tips: Are You Writing for the Right Reasons? — Andrew Timothy Post, Writer

Sci-fi, Speculative Fiction and the Problem When Imagination Erases Race

As a WASP science fiction and fantasy writer who wants to do better, I found this article by Stephen Farnsworth both interesting and useful. Maybe you’ll find it useful, too.

A guest blog by Stephen Farnsworth, from Stand Up Magazine.

Stand Up Magazine - Empowering Millennials

When authors are more likely to show aliens than people of colour, and creators of colour rarely get platforms, speculative fiction is failing its audience – and its potential.


Speculative fiction is a genre of wonder and possibilities. Within it, fantasy, supernatural stories, and sci-fi flourish. It has brought infinite joy (and almost as much cash). Whether it’s Twilight, Harry Potter, Mass Effect, Overwatch, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, The Walking DeadLost – the list of popular titles that have dominated pop-culture are endless. Yet, a genre that is determined by its creativity must be considered failing when only some creators are given opportunities, and only the same people are represented.

At least in film, the universe of speculative fiction appears to be changing. Black Panther and A Wrinkle in Time are finally offering some diversity in a genre that…

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Happy Birthday to Bill Nye, the Science Guy!

Dr. William S. Nye was born November 27, 1955, in Washington, DC, making November 27, 2017, his sixty-second birthday.  Happy Birthday to Bill Nye, the Science Guy!

Bill Nye is a science advocate.  He is a science educator.  He is also an engineer, an inventor, an author, a scriptwriter, a producer, and a comedian.  He has (at last count) six honorary doctorates, although the highest degree he earned was a BS in mechanical engineering.  He has, of course, never stopped learning.

Bill Nye is most famous for his television show Bill Nye the Science Guy, which from 1993 to 1998 taught scientific principles to children and their parents.

Now, when our president claims climate change is nothing but a Chinese hoax, it’s more important than ever to study and understand science.  Bill Nye considers scientific illiteracy a clear and present danger to our nation.  DVDs of Bill Nye the Science Guy episodes are available for sale through the Disney Movie Club.  Dr. Nye can also be heard on Planetary Radio Sundays on Krypton Radio.

Our country is the only country in the world that has some people that don’t believe in evolution. America is still the leader in scientific advancement, and yet we have adults who want to ignore the evidence of millions and millions of years to believe something much more complicated and complex with zero proof. It’s important that our children are raised to be educated, well-rounded tax paying citizens that understand the importance of technology and science. If you’re an adult and you choose not to believe in science, fine, but please don’t prevent your children from learning about it and letting them draw their own conclusions. I think in 30-40 years this won’t even be an issue, but right now it’s a major concern for a country that has a significant amount of adults raising children to ignore the facts and the evidence surrounding them about our universe, our creation and our well-being.  (emphasis added)

Bill Nye attended Cornell University, where Carl Sagan was his astronomy professor.  Years later, he met up with Dr. Sagan and told him that he was planning a children’s science and technology show.

“I mentioned how I planned to talk about bridges and bicycles and so on—stuff that, as an engineer, I’d been interested in—and he said, ‘Focus on pure science. Kids resonate to pure science rather than technology.’ And that turned out to be great advice.”

In his personal life, Bill Nye is a baseball fan and an avid swing dancer.  His favorite teams are the Seattle Mariners and the Washington Nationals.  He’s done experiments to demonstrate the physics of baseball.  In addition to appearing on Stargate: Atlantis and The Big Bang Theory as himself, he was also a contestant on Dancing with the Stars.  Of his many patents, most are for dancing shoes.

Nye has written two best-selling books on science: Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation in 2014 and Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World in 2015.  He is also the author of Everything All at Once:  How to Unleash Your Inner Nerd, Tap into Radical Curiosity, and Solve Any Problem (whew, that’s a mouthful), Bill Nye the Science Guy’s Big Blast of Science, Bill Nye the Science Guy’s Great Big Book of Tiny Germsand several others.


MAT Spelled Correctly

I have written a children’s book, R is for Renaissance Faire, and have contributed a story to Alternative Truths and a song to More Alternative TruthsBooks make great Christmas/Hanukkah/Solstice gifts.  Consider buying books for your loved ones this holiday season.  Bill Nye’s books, my books, Juliette Douglas‘ books, Jefferson P. Swycaffer‘s books.  Buy a book.  Fight ignorance.  Read.

Susan Murrie with her children's  book

 

Win a Book!

More Alternative Truths was released on Veterans Day in the USA and Remembrance Day in the UK and the British Commonwealth.  That was Saturday.  Today is Monday, and already the Amazon statistics on sales are amazing.

I confess I am in shock and awe at these statistics after only a few days.
Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, food
Author Debora Godfrey with a cake to celebrate the release of More Alternative Truths.
Would you like to win a copy of More Alternative Truths?  Here’s how:
Click on this link to enter the contest.
Here’s the Table of Contents, so you can get an idea what you’d be winning (if you’re the lucky winner).

Foreword David Gerrold 9
Orangemandias Adam-Troy Castro 19
The Right Man for the Job K.G. Anderson 20
I Am A Woman Jane Yolen 34
How Dangerous is Republican manic-depressive disease? Both bipolar phases are destructive, but the manic ones kill? David Brin 36
Drafting the President Lou J Berger 44
Dr. Republican’s Monster Jim Wright 54
A Letter from the Federal Women’s Prison Stephanie L. Weippert 57
One of the Lucky Ones Wondra Vanian 64
A Beautiful Industry Stuart Hardy 72
Queens Crossing Lou Antonelli 83
Small Courages Eric M. Witchey 93
The Nompers Rebecca Mix
The Ten Commandments Renegotiated Jim Wright and Bobby Lee Featherston 104
Illegal Citizens Irene Radford 113
During the Lockdown, After the Lockdown Michael Haynes 126
A Sonnet on Truth Philip Brian Hall 136
The Diplomatic Thing Esther Friesner 137
The Politicians Mike Resnick 154
A Modest Proposal for the Perfection of Nature Vonda N. McIntyre 176
Conspiracy of Silence Philip Brian Hall 180
HMO Karen L. Frank 189
Being Donald Trump Bruno Lombardi 202
America Once Beautiful Brad Cozzens 220
America First Tais Teng 221
Final Delivery Kerri-Leigh Grady 237
No Tanks Jane Yolen 253
Treasures Rebecca McFarland Kyle 254
Remembering the Bowling Green Massacre Steve Weddle 272
Tweetstorm Edd Vick and Manny Frishberg 274
The Tinker’s Damn Edward Ahern 283
Wishcraft.com Elizabeth Ann Scarborough 286
A Woman Walks Into a Bar Jill Zeller 302
America Year Zero Gwyndyn T. Alexander 312
Future Perfect V. E. Mitchell 314
How to Recognize a Shapeshifting Lizardman (Or Woman) Who Has Been Appointed to a High-Ranking Government Cabinet Position Kurt Newton 321
I Didn’t Say That Jane Yolen 323
Non-White in America Debora Godfrey 324
Desperate Resolve John A Pitts 332
You are Weighed in the Balance Rivka Jacobs 341
Priorities C. A Chesse 352
The Healer Melinda LaFevers 354
Triple R Presents Colin Patrick Ennen 365
Donald, Where’s Your Taxes? Susan Murrie Macdonald and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough 368
A Spider Queen in Every Home Mike Morgan 370
Trickster Times Jane Yolen 397

Or watch this video by Stuart Hardy.  That’ll give you a good idea what the book’s about, too.

If you’re not the lucky winner, go to Amazon or your local bookstore to buy a copy.  It’s roughly $9 for the e-book or $17 for the paperback in the US, or £13 in the UK.

Ghosts, aliens, robots, silly, sad, serious, scary — More Alternative Truths is over 400 pages of political satire, science fiction, and fantasy from some of the best SF/F authors in the USA, the UK, Canada, and the Netherlands.  (Oh, and I’m in there, too.)

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