An idea for anyone interested …

I love to hear about new books as much as the next person.  And I’ve noticed that some of my readership is comprised of writers.  And a simple fact of life is that some have more and others less readership than I do.  Certainly it’s a given that we all have different readership.

I’ve heard of blog tours, guest bloggers, etc.  And this isn’t so different as that; but a little bit, yes. Continue reading

[Reblog] THIS PRETZEL IS THE WORST LASAGNA EVER

I thought this was simply brilliant.  Such a wonderful way to explain what is wrong with so many reviewers and critics, professional and otherwise, of so many artistic endeavors:  reviewing/critiquing a preconceived notion, rather than the reasonably presented expectation.

THIS PRETZEL IS THE WORST LASAGNA EVER

Untitled-14

Imagine you are one of the foremost makers of lasagna in the entire world.

You spent an anonymous decade making the same lasagna over and over again, obsessively perfecting your craft. When you make a lasagna, there can be no doubt it is the result of years of passion, perspiration and perseverance. Your lasagna captures, in its meaty deliciousness and cheese-tastic wonder, the very thumbprint of God.

You are as close to a prophet of lasagna as a human being can ever come. You have created a lasagna so perfect, your face and name are synonymous with lasagna. You cannot even make lasagna as fast as the world wants to devour it. There are websites and people who spend a significant portion of their lives dreaming about what your next lasagna will be like.

Stretch your imagination a bit further.

Imagine…

… that one day you make a pretzel.
(continues here)

For Love and Sass

Jaye:

A beautifully witty post I can’t not share.

Originally posted on apprentice, never master:

My favorite author, Patrick Rothfuss recently came out with a new book on October 28th.

When he announced it, I ran around for a few hours feeling like my heart was pumping helium around my body. That is to say that I was lighter than air, walked too fast and barely felt as if I was walking on my feet, and my voice was three octaves too high as I told every one I knew. I did not feel any of the strange, adverse, and horrible effects of my veins being filled with a gas instead of a liquid.

I read his first two books (The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear, the beginning and middle chapters of The Kingkiller Chronicles) just after I graduated from college. After months of sweating through an Honors Thesis and reading the sort of thick things that get…

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I’m stunned …

I imagine many of my readers are well aware of the critical lack of good sense and logic presented yesterday in the 6th circuit court decision (readers outside the US may be less aware, but you’ll get it soon).

I wanted to quote the meat of what one of the judges said on the matter which showed an acute misunderstanding of the purpose of the courts in this country.  It’s covered by the dissenting judge’s statement, but I wanted it for the contrast.  I can’t find it now, and while I can find the PDF of the decision, it’s very long and I got a headache trying to find what I wanted.

In any case the bans were upheld because the judge said that it is a matter of social change that the people seeking that change should find through conversation in the political sphere and therefore is none of the court’s business.

Because, of course, it’s none of the court’s business to uphold the constitution and overturn unjust or unconstitutional law!?  The main reason I wanted to quote the statement was because it was such complete bullshit that it was staggering.  I almost felt that the only way the two judges that upheld the ban could possibly have said anything so inherently stupid was just to force the issue to be handled by the US Supreme Court.

The dissenting opinion really covers the matter very well, so I present it here:

Thursday’s decision by the Sixth Circuit upholding four states’ ban on same-sex marriage humored many of conservatives’ favorite arguments, but the 2-1 decision included a fiery dissent by Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey, a Clinton appointee. While Daughtrey’s opinion challenged many of the majority’s arguments, she made an overall point that encapsulates what’s lacking — and harmful — about the most modern arguments against marriage equality.

“In the main, the majority treats both the issues and the litigants here as mere abstractions,” she wrote. “Instead of recognizing the plaintiffs as persons, suffering actual harm as a result of being denied the right to marry where they reside or the right to have their valid marriages recognized there, my colleagues view the plaintiffs as social activists who have somehow stumbled into federal court, inadvisably, when they should be out campaigning to win ‘the hearts and minds’ of Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee voters to their cause.”

That’s the biggest divide between the two sides on same-sex marriage: is it an issue, or is it about people?

She specifically talks in detail about the Michigan plaintiffs, April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, a lesbian couple who have been together for eight years and are raising three children, two of whom are now categorized as having “special needs.” Each of the children is only legally adopted by either DeBoer and Rowse, because Michigan prevents them from co-adopting as a same-sex couple. Daughtrey said she’d have no problem upholding the district court ruling in their favor, noting that “the State of Michigan allows heterosexual couples to marry even if the couple does not wish to have children, even if the couple does not have sufficient resources or education to care for children, even if the parents are pedophiles or child abusers, and even if the parents are drug addicts.”

Confirmation and related thoughts

English: Chris Hemsworth at a press conference...

English: Chris Hemsworth at a press conference for Thor in London in April 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, by now, I’m sure many of you have read this interview I gave.  In it I mention my wife.

It was no great secret, really, I just wasn’t going to shout it from the rooftops because it wasn’t an important detail.  It wasn’t until the context of the interview answer that there was some reason to say it, because I’ll be damned if I’m going to be as awkward as “significant other” or “spouse” or something else like that just to avoid saying if I’m a lesbian or not.

I am.  I’m not in the closet about it at all.  My wife and I happily hold hands in public, we kiss at the park, all the things any other couple does.

As I’ve said before I saw no point in announcing details, because it seemed to me it would detract from people appreciating my work on its own merits.  At this point, if it were to become wider knowledge that I’m gay, it would leave me wondering:  did someone buy the books because I’m a lesbian or because they wanted to read the books?

Still, in this day it is generally impossible to keep such things secret forever, and I’m not going to dance around a point if the conversation winds up moving in that direction.

I can’t say it’s very traumatic for me.  Much as the case with my characters, it was not anything earth shattering when I came out – my family accepted and supported it without reservation or any fuss.  My friends seemed rather unfazed by the fact.  Which, frankly, is as it should be.  I can’t even say I’ve been harassed by strangers about it; though in perfect honesty I’m left wondering a lot if the people likely to just didn’t work it out in time to say something; it’s really amazing when the couple in question is female how few people register ‘couple’ instead of ‘friends/sisters’.  Strangely enough, when the couple is male the opposite is true:  people think ‘couple’ before it occurs to them it could be friends or brothers.  It’s why I agree so much with the idea that there are times and ways it can be rough for men, and while I’m not very keen on “the mens’ rights movement” I am in favour of the sorts of ideas relating to the fact that there are male stereotypes and gender expectations that are just as hurtful (I’m willing to concede more so, if someone can present data, but we’ll go with equal measure for now, certainly I’m not going to agree to anything less without very clear metrics) to little boys and grown men alike as the ones so often decried as damaging our little girls and our grown women.

A lesbian couple married in San Francisco in 2004

A lesbian couple married in San Francisco in 2004 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, I’m married to my wife.  No, it’s not legally binding where we live:  more’s the pity.

Still, I didn’t need to be lesbian to write Now & Forever.  Love, I feel, is love.  I could have written a classic boy-meets-girl, a heterosexual romance, just as easily by finding a man to put in Lauren or Salencia’s place.  Laurne or Sally could be transgender, either as in one of them truly feels she is hi, instead, or that one of them was once actually Lawrence or Salencio and have long since transitioned to the girls we know; they aren’t, but there’s no reason they couldn’t have been.

I say this because it is important to me that people realise that it’s stupid to support an author for who they are or are not, rather than for what they’ve done.  I can understand one who incensed you sufficiently not to wish to put money in her pocket; but buy the work used if you’re curious, otherwise give it a miss certainly.  The fact of the matter is that I don’t wish for anyone to feel that my gender or sexuality had anything whatsoever to do with any feelings of validity or reality in the characters.  I’ve written convincing males before, just not in anything I’ve bothered with publishing, just short little things I wrote for my own pleasure and amusement, some of them not even enough to call a vignette and the validity of these males is confirmed by males I know, QED.

So, yes, here, publicly, as this post will be right where Google and Bing can find it next time they crawl my page, I’m out in a big way.  Wow, Jaye Em Edgecliff is a [insert lesbian epitaph of your choice]!  Amazing.  And, I suppose, it is worth mentioning, yes I am actually gay – not bi, or pan, or any of that sort of thing, I’ve never seen the appeal in masculine bodies except for a few little tugs from an ingrained reproductive instinct that seems to feel Chris Hemsworth would be an awesome choice to have kids with.

I am not, however, going to start updating my biographical information anywhere to discuss that I’m female, nor that I like other females, that I’m married or to whom or what.  It will be a fact, those who care and are diligent in their research can find out, otherwise it will be left as a passing detail, a bit of data that has no more bearing on me professionally than the fact that my birthday is in July.

I encourage people who look to authors they follow and read:  be an ally.  I’m not talking Social Justice Warrior, most of them annoy … everyone as far as I can tell, certainly I’m inclined to not take them seriously … but just if you’re straight that doesn’t mean you can’t stand up for the civil rights of homosexuals even if you don’t know any (besides, odds are that you do and just don’t know it) or of transgender people, intersexed, bisexuals, etc.  I certainly don’t post the things I do on my Facebook page to be self serving, I do it to support and acknowledge the humanity of those around me whatever and whomever they are – unless you’re being cruel to animals or anyone else who is helpless, then I don’t tend to consider you human anymore and reckon you have every right to rot in as many hells as there might turn out to be.  Actually, blanket statement:  don’t be a dick.  There.

I’ve rambled more than usual.  It probably means I’ve not had hardly enough to eat today and my brain is shutting down.  But I just wanted to affirm:  yes the interview was legit, yes, I’m married to a woman, yes I’m gay; now let’s talk about something important.

Some people would turn off comments at for a post like this.  I won’t.  At least not unless people decide to get really stupid or ugly in them.  Odds are no one will partake of them anyway.  But they’re there if this has left anyone with an itch to speak her mind.

Love to all.

Here is my interview with Jaye Em Edgecliff

Originally posted on authorsinterviews:

Name Jaye Em Edgecliff

Age 33

Where are you from

All over.  I’ve lived in Georgia for the past 10 years, and that’s the longest I’ve ever been in one place.

A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc

I live a quiet life with my dog, two cats, and my wife (oh my, I’ve gone and confirmed my sexuality … was bound to happen sooner or later) whom I met in college.

I studied history, though I never bothered with finishing.  Since then I’ve worked in various retail and technical fields; currently I work in the telephony switching department of a local cable/telephone/internet provider.

I was simultaneously a fantastic and awful student.  One of those people who never paid attention, but also was quiet and got good grades (not best, but I did graduate 33rd of 114 … in a charter school with minimum academic…

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Best (and most awesomely put) writing advice I’ve ever seen

From one of this year’s NaNoWriMo Pep Talks

Pep Talk from Chuck Wendig

Chuck Wendig

Imagine being allowed to do something you’re not supposed to do.

Imagine you’re given the keys to a mud-bogging Bronco, or a dune buggy, or a Lamborghini. And then, you’re pointed toward a field. A soccer field outside a high school, or maybe just a wide open grassland. Nobody there. No kids playing. No animals frolicking. In fact, right now, nobody is here to see you at all.

You have total freedom to rev the engine, slam the pedal to the floor, and gun it through that field. You can do donuts, spinning the car wildly about, flinging up mud, leaving tracks that look like the calligraphy of an old, mad god.

You can slop mud on the car. You can get out and dance in the grass.

You can do whatever you want.

This is not something we’re particularly used to, as adults. My toddler gets it. He isn’t fenced in by the boundaries of adulthood—which, okay, yes, that means he doesn’t necessarily know not to shove a ham sandwich into a whirring fan (instant ham salad!) or not to climb the tallest thing and leap off it like a puma.

But it also means he doesn’t know why he can’t just pick up a pen and start drawing. It means he has no problem grabbing a blob of Play-Doh and creating whatever his fumbling little hands can manage. It means that he’ll grab a Transformers toy and half-transform it into some lumbering robot-car monstrosity—and when an adult might say, “No, no, it’s like this or it’s like that; it’s a robot or it’s a car,” he’s like, “Uh, yeah, no. Go back to your tax forms and your HGTV, stupid adult, I’ve just created a Frankencarbot and you can go hide your head in the sand-swept banality of grown-up life, sucker.”

His entire creative life is the “Everything Is Awesome” song from The LEGO Movie. Because he doesn’t know what he can or can’t do. He doesn’t know about art or form or criticism or any of that. He can do whatever he wants. (Ham sandwiches and fan blades aside.)

And you can do whatever you want, too.

The blank page is yours. Cast aside worries over art and criticism. Imagine a land without rules. Imagine that nobody has ever told you that you cannot or should not do this thing. Those people were wrong. Forget those voices. Because, for real?

It’s an empty field and you’ve got the keys to a freaking Ferrari.

It’s a white tablecloth and you’ve got ketchup, mustard, and relish.

It’s a blank page and you’ve got all the letters and words you need.

Rev the engine and take the ride. Paint with all the colors the condiments at your table allow. Create whatever robot-human monstrosities your mind cares to conjure. Crack open your chest and plop your heart onto the page.

Right now: just write. Donuts in an empty field.

Leave your mark.

Chuck’s Website
Chuck’s Books

Things I Don’t Have to Think About Today

Originally posted on Whatever:

Today I don’t have to think about those who hear “terrorist” when I speak my faith.
Today I don’t have to think about men who don’t believe no means no.
Today I don’t have to think about how the world is made for people who move differently than I do.
Today I don’t have to think about whether I’m married, depending on what state I’m in.
Today I don’t have to think about how I’m going to hail a cab past midnight.

Today I don’t have to think about whether store security is tailing me.
Today I don’t have to think about the look on the face of the person about to sit next to me on a plane.
Today I don’t have to think about eyes going to my chest first.
Today I don’t have to think about what people might think if they knew the medicines I took.

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Reality versus intent OR Why #GamerGate IS evil

I’ve probably never mentioned it before, but I am a gamer.  I love games.  Board games of various shapes and sizes, card games, pen & paper RPG, computer games, video games (old school for Arcade/Console), all of that.

Now, for those in the know, there’s this thing going on that has dubbed itself #GamerGate thanks to a twit by the ever lovable (said with dripping sarcasm, though I do adore him as Jayne, I just hate that he didn’t have to act for the part) Adam Baldwin dubbing it so.

And right about then was when things really went to Hell in a handbasket, frankly.

Long story short there’s a not so great game out there about depression.  It’s around for a couple years, and due to not being all that exceptional it was a little surprising when it suddenly gets a lot of attention.  Whatever, it happens.  Well, an ex-boyfriend (“ex” being an old Latin prefix that means “do not to trust this person as an accurate primary source of information”) said it came from her shagging a game reviewer.  So, ostensibly, the whole thing is about journalistic integrity and ethics in journalism.

Except it really isn’t.  Not in practice.

Now, in it’s intent, I have no problem with #GamerGate.  Really, on paper, it’s fine.  I agree with it, even.  And not just gaming journalism, just journalism in general.  I mean, has anyone seen the statistic on the number of inaccuracies in Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, etc?  Appalling!

In practice and reality I loathe, oppose, and deride #GamerGate.

But, Jaye, WHY!?

Because of the reality.  The reality is that before it had a name it was, as far as the most active adherents, people personally attacking the person who wrote the game, publicising her private information (aka “doxxing” though I’ll be buggered to know why), and threatening violence.  Yeah, real mature, folks.

Then it gets a name, and it’s being used to lob horrible things at women involved in gaming in any fashion.  Even the sweet, quirky, Ms Felicia Day was not immune.

Here’s the thing, it’s kind of like feminism except this one has actually managed to go too far; most feminists aren’t really like the Womynists on PCU (though some are), and feminism is able to keep the strongest spotlights on the sane & rational people like Ms Emma Watson.  #GamerGate, on the other hand … no, you have the people who make Adam Baldwin and his character Jayne look sweet, thoughtful, empathic, and cuddly.

If you support the ethics in journalism part but not the misogyny, threats, etc.  You need to dissociate from #GamerGate.  The trolls have taken over and are entrenched.  Anything you say or do now in support of it is seen by those around you as being in support of the hate and psychotic behaviour.  It also doesn’t help that a lot of people trying to defend it do so in a very misogynist, racist, and/or hateful/trollish fashion.

My dear readers, I will not even repeat a sampling of what is being said by the GamerGaters, I won’t.  I’ve had precious little to eat this morning, and would like not to vomit it back up; also I am, ostensibly, a lady and … just … sick.  It’s sick.  Really, I give even a strong constitution 50/50 odds of becoming ill in the first 3minutes of exploring “GamerGate” on either Google or Twitter.

It’s the thing with causes.  An ideology can be usurped by the insane.  If the insane get enough attention, then your ideology is tainted by this.  This doesn’t mean abandon the cause, nor to abandon the ideology, it does mean you should distance yourself.  Some fights aren’t worth fighting, some fights are lost before they’re begun.  The first thing I’ll say is, with any cause and any ideology you’ll have a psychotic fringe element, fight to keep them off the Television (figuratively and literally – it’s like southerners and that woman in the mumu and sponge rollers Jeff Foxworthy mentions in his act); if you lose that fight … Well, the thing is, sometimes you need to fight to establish a new name after you assess where things went wrong to try to avoid the same in the future.  Your fight, too, is now harder, because now you do have to be careful how you defend yourself.

Take this image as a for example:

B0uRBtDCUAAfSbJAt first doesn’t seem too bad.  But some things that I know would be attacked:  First and most important is the extraordinary number of women, non-whites, and LGBT who are vehemently opposed to GamerGate and have VERY publicly said so (this woman, being among that list).  Secondly would be the fact that someone is going to point out that they chose six people who, at least by the photos selected, could pass for white, not to mention only two people aren’t.  Finally, “Disabled” is not a sexuality, a gender identity, nor a race.

It’s an almost decent effort, but it’d be picked apart (and has been, though I’m in no mood to look for the links).

While it may be true that you can win back a cause and a name through diligent fighting off of the trolls, and the rational clawing their way into the spotlight and refusing to relinquish it to the nutjobs, you’re not going to do that by being a troll yourself only with better spelling and grammar.  You’re also not going to do that when, while already being taken anything but seriously, you defend yourself with information that it would take less than a nanosecond to see was incorrect just by the person looking up or down from your post (given that this is largely happening on Twitter) and seeing all the NOT cisgender white men attacking it.  Also you need to not just say “it’s not about misogyny”, if that’s the case then you need to stop reacting to the ant-#GamerGaters exclusively, you need to also react to the misogynists and racists, you need to acknowledge that we have a point.  We’re willing to concede to you that ethical journalism is important; we might point out that it’s actually a very small statistical sampling of online game reviewers who seem guilty of any unethical behaviour, though it’s pretty true elsewhere, but we concede the ideology without reservation — how about, now, you acknowledge that manly men can say as they like about #GamerGate but not so manly men or any woman can’t say a damned thing without being attacked.  Hell, some didn’t even know #GamerGate existed before she was being attacked by #GamerGaters.

In the 60s’ civil rights movement there were many blacks who criticised the Black Panthers and Malcom X (In Malcom’s defense, he did come around to a more Dr King look at things, I refer to when he first came on the scene).  In the feminist movement there are many ladies who will tell off a rad-fem woman for her extremism.  Even the male rights activists have a point! except that they haven’t managed to chisel out from under the fact that the movement seems (and please, anyone better acquainted with the history correct me if I’m wrong) to have been founded by the grunting apeman sort of guys which doesn’t much help the point for the ones who do have something worthwhile to say.

In its current form #GamerGate is bad.  It’s a cesspool of hatred, misogyny, racism, homophobia, transphobia, anti-feminism, and a lot of other not-so-kosher things.  Is there Truth and sense in there?  Yes.  Is it the majority being drown out by a vocal minority or is it a trollish majority being defended by a rational minority?  Far as I can tell, the latter and all too often “rational” is being a little generous.

I’ve got rambly, I’m sorry.  Thing is, whatever you fight for, you cannot defend it blindly.  Blind patriotism, blind environmentalism, blind feminism, blind anything, is blind.  It’s handicapped, and it’s (pardon the pun) shortsighted.  If you wish for the reality of a thing and its intent to remain aligned you have to fight your extremist supporters, those who hurt you with their support.  I tend to applaud people, like the CEO of Starbucks, who tell people they disagree with to take their money elsewhere – they’re business people, but they feel that principals are more important than money, bravo!  Greenpeace, PETA, etc. they have good points, they do good work, that doesn’t mean they’re always right and every action done by them or in their name or in the name of a cause they support is right and good and noble.

#GamerGate is, in the end, just one more example of it not mattering one whit what you mean, if what people see and perceive is something else.  Reality is, in large part, perception.  Dr King is criticised for elevating Rosa Parks over an unwed, pregnant teen girl who’d done the same thing around the same time … because image matters, that unwed girl with a pregnant belly would have hurt his point because people would have got hung up on how horrible she was and missed the message.  Just as that graphic above doesn’t help, because it has too many flaws that people will be paying more attention to than the point it tries to make.  Our actions, our words, they define us.  We must balance Good Cause with Wise Action; we have to balance Good Idea with Reasoned Statements.

Remember, those journalists, those coders, they’re human beings.  First that means they have feelings.  This doesn’t mean don’t criticise them, but it does mean that you shouldn’t treat them as some practice dummy in a medieval training ground, there for you to hack and slash at with impunity.  We’re all people.  We all have lives, we all make mistakes, we all have feelings.  I’m sure the people doxxing Felicia Day and calling her such horrible things, wouldn’t be too happy to have the same medicine dosed on them; “Do unto others …” hast many a wise man said, after all.

Being Poor

Originally posted on Whatever:

Being poor is knowing exactly how much everything costs.

Being poor is getting angry at your kids for asking for all the crap they see on TV.

Being poor is having to keep buying $800 cars because they’re what you can afford, and then having the cars break down on you, because there’s not an $800 car in America that’s worth a damn.

Being poor is hoping the toothache goes away.

Being poor is knowing your kid goes to friends’ houses but never has friends over to yours.

Being poor is going to the restroom before you get in the school lunch line so your friends will be ahead of you and won’t hear you say “I get free lunch” when you get to the cashier.

Being poor is living next to the freeway.

Being poor is coming back to the car with your children in the back seat, clutching…

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How to Boycott Me, I Mean, REALLY Boycott Me

Jaye:

Scalzi = Brilliant. I really ought to get around to reading one of his books some day.

Originally posted on Whatever:

So a few days ago, it was suggested to a faction of the hot, pathetic misogynist mess known as GamerGate that launching a boycott of Tor Books was a possible “action op” for them. This was quickly shot down, no doubt in part because the person suggesting it was Theodore Beale, and no one at this point actually gives a crap what he thinks about anything. However, last night I went on another Twitter tear on the subject of GamerGate, and I woke up this morning to a few chuckleheads bleating to Tor about what a terrible person I am, in order to, I don’t know, get Tor to talk to me sternly about having opinions on the Internet…

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