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I haven't posted here in a while, due to lack of intelligent content I wanted to share. Today I have something.

A friend recently shared one of those memes on his facebook which asked why women are so upset by Trump's recently revealed sexual comments, but all ran out to buy 50 Shades of Grey? Let's set aside the questionable merits of 50 Shades of Grey as literature - that's been argued to death. What this pointed out to me is, I think, a broader cultural problem. Broader even than sex, which takes some doing.
We, as a society, are beginning to have trouble telling fiction apart from reality.
50 Shades of Grey is fiction. Maybe a lot of women DO fantasize about that kind of relationship, but there's a world of difference between spending a few hours indulging a fantasy and acting out that fantasy. Do you really want to live every book you read? Stephen King? Game of Thrones? Really?
We should have seen the warning signs when we started censoring our cartoons instead of using them to explain to our children at a very young age that things that work in stories very often don't work in reality. You can run off a cliff and live through it. Or fly. Or draw a tunnel on the side of a mountain and have it be usable. This used to be our first exercise in critical thinking. Can people really do that? Or do it and not get hurt. Then we had that lesson to apply later in life.
Now instead of instilling judgment in our kids, and values that say something is beyond the pale, even if someone did do it in a book, instead we want to keep them from reading the book, BECAUSE WE DON"T THINK THEY CAN TELL THE DIFFERENCE. Why is that? I think it's because we failed them at a very young age when we should have been helping them develop that skill set. Now we have a whole generation of younger adults who are missing it.

Merry Christmas

Wishing all my friends here who are celebrating a Merry Christmas, and a New Year full of joy.

New story

It's been a while since I've posted - been busy. I will have a new short story (well, almost a novella by some definitions - 7900 words) coming out from Torquere Press on Sept. 12. The title is Heaven's Heretics, and it's part of Torquere's annual charity sip blitz. This year's  beneficiary is the NOH8 campaign (http://www.noh8campaign.com/article/about).

As you might expect, being from Torquere,it's M/M romance. It's kind of urban fantasy in terms of setting, with bikers and magic, but no shifters or vampires. This is just a quick update. A more polished blurb and tagline will be along in a few days, just as soon as I come up with them. :-)


I'm trying to sort out my thoughts on a subject which disturbs me, so this will probably not be the most tightly organized essay I've ever written. Maybe I'll revisit it when I've done some sorting of ideas and have something more polished an coherent, but in the meantime I'd appreciate thoughts from my friends list.

For those who may not be familiar, passing is a term that was originally used to describe the practice of a mixed-race person identifying with and presenting himself as one race, while denying their ancestry of the other. It was most commonly seen in the US in people of mixed Black and Caucasian heritage during the era of segregation, where there was a clear benefit to being Caucasian. It carries, at least to my ear, a sense of abandoning your brethren who can't take that way out, and of being ashamed of half your heritage. It is used in a more clinical sense by sociologists, but today I'm being troubled by its use in day-to-day life, so we'll leave the sociologists out of the discussion.

I was at a party recently where I overheard a conversation among a group of friends, people I didn't know, although the context suggested that at least a couple of them fell somewhere on the GLBT spectrum, talking about a mutual friend. Someone mentioned that he liked sports, and a couple of other interests common men in our culture. One of the other people immediately said "Oh, he's a passing gay." And the rest of the group agreed.

I hadn't run into this term before. From context it clearly meant that he was out of the closet, i.e. openly admitting to being gay, but this group seemed to feel that he was "passing" because he wasn't conforming to the classic stereotype of the slightly effeminate gay male.

I find this very troubling. Apparently we're encouraging/enforcing our own stereotype from within. Why shouldn't a gay man be interested in sports? Why shouldn't a lesbian woman be able to be interested in both makeup and clothes, and fixing her own plumbing? She shouldn't have to choose between being butch or femme. He shouldn't have to pretend to interests and behaviors he doesn't truly share just to be accepted in our community.

We should be supporting each other in all our diversity, not supporting stereotypes. Those don't help us when we stand up and say we want the same rights and responsibilities as all the other people in the country, they set us apart, and make us easy to point at and say "They're not like us."

Ranting about DRM....

I'm not a fan of e-pirates, but I'm even less of a fan of DRM. Why? Because while I own an E-reader I'm happy with (a Kobo), there are way too many authors I enjoy who are releasing e-books only through Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and putting DRM on them so those of us who have other devices can't use them.

Sure, I can, and have, installed the PC-based applications for both types, so I *CAN* read there. but, you know it's not really making me happy to be tied to my laptop when I want to read. I bought an e-reader so I could take books with me, or read in bed, or curled up on the sofa.

And making me even less happy is that there's *NOTHING* in the product descriptions on either Amazon or Barnes and Noble to give me as a purchaser a clue whether the books are protected or not, until I've bought them and try to open them in Calibre. So I have to assume, unless I have some other information source, that any Kindle or Nook book I buy will be crippled. And that drives me to not buying them, which hurts the author. I buy my ebooks from other distributors, and if that favorite author isn't there, then I either buy paper, or I wait and hope to find it used somewhere. Or maybe I just buy someone else's book in the meantime - someone whose book I can read on whichever piece of my hardware is convenient.

Today's rant, in case you're wondering, was provoked by Tor. They've been bragging about going DRM-free this summer. Well, apparently that hasn't happened yet, because the book I just bought from Barnes and Noble, thinking they were now usable, isn't.

Even their free author sampler collections are still crippled with DRM. Hello? You're giving it away. Why are you making it hard for people to read? What's the point?

New release: Running from the Storm

Some unexpected good news.

I have a story in Spells and Swashbucklers, an anthology of stories about pirates and magic, edited by Valerie Griswold-Ford. I'd understood that it was coming out at the end of the month (Memorial Day weekend), but it showed up on Amazon today. You can buy it there in either paperback or Kindle.

Print: http://www.amazon.com/Spells-Swashbucklers-Valerie-Griswold-Ford/dp/1897492464/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1336002473&sr=8-1

Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Spells-and-Swashbucklers-ebook/dp/B007Z5PRRO/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1336004131&sr=1-1

Other e-book formats will follow, but I think the publisher has promised a Kindle exclusive for the first few weeks.

The release party will be happening at Balticon over Memorial Day weekend. I'll be there, and will be around for the rest of the convention, although I'm not on any other programming. That means my time is my own, except for what I spend keeping Val out of trouble....

For those who've read my other published work, this one is a bit different. It's a fantasy adventure, quite PG, without even a hint of romance or sex. Safe to show to the entire family.
So, I had a fit of organizing this weekend. I've been through my entire dice collection, taking photos and incidentally dusting. Net result: 550 photos. There are a few multiple shots of the same dice, but quite a few group shots too. I haven't done a count of total items, but it's somewhere upwards of 500, not counting duplicates.

I also ordered a lot of 100 trading card holder boxes to user for organization of the smaller items. The 50-55 card box is just right for holding the standard d6 and polyhedra dice sets without being deep enough that the dice can stack.

Now I just need to figure out how to create a coherent list for my own reference. Probably I should put it up on the web somehow, to help my friends avoid giving me duplicates. But not this weekend. I need to get some other things done too.

Queer/GLBT SF/Fantasy

Good morning,

I've been giving some thought to one of the panels I'm doing at Conbust next month, on the topic of Queer/GLBT SF/Fantasy/anime, etc. I'm not sure where exactly the topic will go, since I haven't seen a description of the panel beyond the title. So I thought it might be a useful thing to have a list of examples to pull things out of. Anything in books/media/gaming/anime is fair game. Here's what I've managed to come up with so far, with help from a couple of friends.

* Marion Zimmer Bradley - there are a bunch different examples in the Darkover books.
* Mercedes Lackey - the Herald Mage trilogy.
* Elizabeth Bear - multiple books
* Tamora Pierce - several examples in the Circle books
* Jacqueline Carey - lot of bisexual characters in the Kushiel series

What else should I be remembering? I'm sure there are more.

My programming schedule at Conbust

Going to Conbust  - www.smith.edu/conbust (Mar. 30 - Apr. 1)

I'm on the program, although not a guest. I'm doing 4 panels  & 2 presentations:  

Fri. 9:00 PM  - Romance, Eroticism, and the Demon Lover (Panel)
Sat. 10:00 AM -  "My Game Would Make a Great Novel!" (presentation)
Sat. 4:00 pm -  How Magic Works (panel)
Sat. 5:00 pm - LGBTQIAOMGWTFBBQ: Queer Science Fiction, Fantasy and Anime (panel)
Sun. 11:00 am - Faeries (panel)
Sun. 2:00 pm - E-Publishing, Self-Publishing, and E-Books (presentation)

It's a student-run conference, but it looks like it's going to have some great programming.

Writing progress

I'm doing a writing challenge for Feb. over on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/February50KBlowoutChallenge). It's much less formal than Nano, but the timing is also much better.

Tonight I added another 1400 words to the sequel to Embracing the Dragon, and 900 on a character background sketch for the game that starts tomorrow. I probably won't get anything written tomorrow but I'm home for the weekend, so I can hopefully get a bit ahead of the game.