Upcoming Travel

Lots of travel logistical stuff — D.C., San Jose, Paris, Winnetka, IL

– Visit to D.C. next weekend for OutWrite 8/3 – 8/6 (LGBT literature:  http://thedccenter.org/outwrite/). I’ll be at the conference all day Saturday 8/4.

– WorldCon in San Jose (https://www.worldcon76.org), though I don’t have my actual schedule yet. (They’re having challenges, and I feel bad for them — conference scheduling can be a nightmare.) Kev has a conference that week too, so we’re juggling so he gets back and I leave without leaving the kids overnight, which means I’m going to arrive Fri 8/17 and leave Tues 8/21 (v. early). I’m pretty sure I’ll be at the Wild Cards signing from 10 – 12 on Saturday, and the SLF will be sponsoring the SFWA suite either Saturday lunch or teatime, but the rest of the schedule is TBD.

– booked travel for the Paris Plurality University workshop (11/28 – 12/3, https://www.plurality-university.org) — it turns out I can add 2 days to the trip without cancelling any extra classes (due to this semester Tues / Thurs schedule), so I am going to do a little sight-seeing in Paris after all. (That said, if anyone has a place I can stay for free or cheap in Paris in late November / early December, please do let me know! They’re covering the three nights of the conference, but not the two extra nights, understandably. Also, ping me if you’re in Paris and would like to meet up. Savvy local guides appreciated.)

– OCWW workshop (Writing the Taboo): April 11, 2019, Winnetka, IL (https://ocwwinfo7333.wildapricot.org). “Dorothy Allison suggests (in her book Skin: Talking about Sex, Class, and Literature) that the best writing happens when one is terrified, and writes through the fear. That’s great advice, but the question is *how* does one write through the fear? It’s often frightening when you’re trying write about subject matter that is in some manner taboo: material that violates social norms, that might upset family members, or that is simply personally difficult to confront.

In the hands-on workshop, we’ll explore a variety of taboo topics. We’ll look at how brilliant writers have delved into material that was forbidden for their place and time (some of which might seem quite tame by today’s standards), and then work through a series of exercises designed to push you into challenging places. At the end of the session, you should have some tools to lead you to stronger, braver work that takes more risks. Maybe it’ll challenge your audience too!

Important note: You won’t be required to share this work with anyone, though I may ask for volunteers to read bits of what they’ve written.”


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Forty-seven is pretty nice so far. This morning, I did a little hike with Kavya to Rainbow Falls as the sun was rising (hence the rather obscured birthday selfie, as I tried to capture the sunrise). Feeling particularly grateful for my health, and for my kids, who get more interesting and sweet every day.

We were talking in the car back from camp about why I keep starting projects instead of just lying around playing video games in my free time. I may have said something about the world needing fixing, and Kavi said that she was sorry she couldn’t help me fix the world yet, but she will soon. I bet she will too. (Anand is still holding out for more video games, but we’ll get him eventually. He’s only eight.)

The novel is progressing, though a bit lost in the murky middle now. I’m trying to trust the process. (The book is mostly terrible, but I can make it better later. Right? Right.) Jed is probably coming to join me and Kev and the kids for dinner and board games tonight, and if not, I’ll see him tomorrow for a birthday potluck, with various old friends at his house.

After a few roiling years of stress and chaos, feeling grateful right now for this moment of peace.


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Okay, so for The Marshmallows of Serendib, I’ve:
– spent much of yesterday formatting, getting the photos in the right places for e-book, wrestling with pagination and headers (I cannot get Word to do left and right page headers correctly, I give up, SORRY), taking out half the formatting as not relevant for e-books,e tc.
– also wrestled with various e-book editors and the KDP process
– gotten good versions of MOBI and EPUB files and a decent PDF file (for some reason, having trouble with getting the cover on there, but working on it)
– called my bank and gotten my business account info so I could upgrade PayPal to a business account, which I’m not sure I needed to do, but oh well, it didn’t cost anything, and now I can easily see how to add HTML buttons again
– added a PayPal shopping link to the Buy my Books page on my website
– added a PP link to the Shop page on the Serendib Kitchen site
– posted about it on Facebook and Twitter
– posted about it on the Serendib Kitchen blog (which automatically propagates to my main blog and the SK Facebook group)
– posted about it to the women POC food writers group
– sent out my newsletter with the info
– had someone else get it up on GoodReads (without my asking, thanks!)
– solicited reviews
Most of today was basically publishing work, and it’s nice to self-publish something, but I’ve done no actual writing yesterday or two and am SUPER-CRABBY as a result. I have had to take periodic video game breaks to get all this done because I was getting so tense and crochety.
I do not want to self-publish all my books. I like publishers. Publishers are GREAT. Moar publishers please.
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The Mad Whirl

Feeling a little weirdly — dizzy? I don’t know. It feels like I have a LOT of books coming out right now (Perennial, Survivor, The Marshmallows of Serendib, Vegan Serendib), and more in the queue that will likely be out soon, and there were several years without books before this (The Stars Change was what, four years ago?), and it’s just dizzy-making.
I think I’m having imposter syndrome, like, they can’t all be good, what are you doing putting out so many books at once, go hide in your room for a decade and come out when you have a decent novel or memoir.
But the novel and memoir are both still in progress, and they’ll hopefully be good and finished some day, but not this month or this year even.
And in the meantime, it *has* been four years, and it’s sort of coincidence that everything else is ready right now, and also that I just happen to have time at the moment to finish up a variety of projects that I’ve been working on for four years. I started Survivor two years ago, after all. Perennial came out of the cancer (which also kept me from publishing much for a while). These little Serendib books came out of Feast, which I spent most of last year working on (and which I still have to hunt publishers for, speaking of finished books that should get out the door…) There’s a logic to the floodgates opening right now.
But still, it feels dizzying. Maybe I’ll just sit here quietly for a little while.
(Before the next round of mad book-production and promotion.)
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PW on Survivor

GREAT review of Survivor from Publisher’s Weekly! Congrats to the authors mentioned, and to all of them, really!

“In this potent but uneven anthology, 17 authors tackle the themes of trauma and survival as interpreted through various science fiction and fantasy settings and tropes. “One thing our genre has always excelled at is offering a different lens, a startling angle of vision, a new perspective,” Mohanraj (The Stars Change) writes in her introduction. The sources of trauma are familiar, however, including physical and sexual abuse, addiction, bigotry, and grief. Standout stories include Tonya Liburd‘s “A Stitch in Time,” in which a young man uses his gift of time travel to relive moments with his deceased girlfriend only to sink into an addictive pattern, and Evey Brett’s “Fell Child,” in which a dutiful son makes sacrifices in order to save his dying father before discovering the cure isn’t worth the cost. In Erik Gern‘s “Mold,” grown children must confront the physical manifestation of their abusive father’s lingering legacy. Jes Rausch’s “The Art of Quilting” sees a nonbinary individual constantly traveling across the solar system to escape their oppressive, intolerant family. Many of the tales take literary or experimental approaches, and both prose and content will challenge the reader, but each survivor’s struggle and triumph is worth the effort.”


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First day finally back on the novel, kids about to come back from camp, 1500 words done. That feels pretty pathetic, since it’s about 1.5 hours of actual writing + lots of procrastinating during the 6 hours they were away. But trying not to be disheartened; it will take some time to get back into the deep mindset of this book. Hopefully it’ll go faster then.
Taking a break to cook, hang with them, clean, etc. May try and knock out another scene this evening. Feeling summer slipping away remarkably fast — we’re at roughly the halfway point right now, but we’ll be visiting Kev’s parents for two weeks, and while I’m hoping to write through that time, I know some days will be less productive than they would be here. (Less productive of writing, more productive of family bonding, you know what I mean).
There’s a weird, mild panic that comes at the midpoint of summer for academics, when you’re not as far along in your research / writing as you’d hoped; Kevin and I both look at each other with this strained expression on our faces. Summer can’t last forever.
The students are coming.
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Plot and Scene

So, completely failed to work on novel yesterday. I stressed about it all day, though, and got all kinds of other stuff done in my procrastination, so that’s something?

Went to bed early, slept long, woke refreshed. Opened up the file and skimmed the last section over (prevented from FB-ing by having set a program the night before), also the notes I made for the rest of the book. I’m about 30K words in, and I clearly have enough notes for at least a trilogy, so I think the next thing to do is actually not diving into writing, but outlining the next section or two. Time to generate some plot + scenes. Surely I remember how to do that…if I get stuck, though, I have notes from the WisCon workshop of this first third of novel, and I can start by revising to incorporate those notes. (Big problem in first 10K of book is all the characterization is weak. It gets better as you go, but I need to go back and fix the earlier stuff, when everyone is a little bit cardboard.)

Fed myself and child, went out and did half an hour of weeding before it got too hot. Came back in, checked FB (timer had gone off) and then there was some chaos getting Kavi everything she needed to take to camp with her so she wouldn’t be bored (sewing supplies for little bag project, HP book, plus a water bottle because she got dehydrated playing in the sun yesterday). Anand took his new Beyblade, which is apparently the hot thing for his friends at this camp right now. He’s also planning to make some Lego stop-motion animations.

Now Chris is running the kids to camp, and I’m going to water a couple transplanted plants I’m worried about, and then settle down to novel-ing. Turning off FB for the morning; will check back in at lunchtime, let you know how I did.

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Okay, finished Wild Cards blog post that was overdue, sent it off to George for approval. I think I’m finally ready to dive into the novel — but I don’t wanna. It’s scary. If I don’t try, I can’t fail. It’s easier to make desserts; I have no investment in cookies, and my family will happily gobble up even my rejects. My fingers hurt.

Okay, that last one is a valid excuse to step away from the keyboard for a bit. Going to go have lunch, take a little reading break. But then, come hell or high water, I’m opening the novel file again. So say we all. Or at least me.

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Dishes and such

Anand came and woke me up for breakfast and I said okay go get ready for camp and he said it’s Sunday! and I said oh and he said you forgot it was Sunday and I said yes.

So that’s about my state of mind today — yesterday was a long day with a six hour library strategic planning meeting (went very well, I think, our library staff is awesome & we are going to make our libraries even better next year!) and then a quick sewing job to get my space dress to fit again (borderline, but made it) while watching an episode of Project Runway with Kavi, and then into the city for Mary Robinette’s book launch party. I pretty much fell into bed when I got home and I’m still a little tired / groggy.

But there’s no real plan for today. Taking the day off writing / e-mail, I think, so it’s more of a weekend. Watch tv, read books, cook a little (vegetarian marshmallow experiments, maybe bake rosewater-pistachio cookies before it gets too hot). I told Kavi I’d take her to the fabric store and let her pick something out to work with at camp this week, which means I have to figure out where the closest one is, now that Hancock has closed. But mostly putter and clean — the dishes and laundry are kind of a disaster after a few busy days.

It falls apart so fast if you’d don’t keep on it daily, and while I have an assistant to help now, he’s not here every day. (Even if business grew to a point where I could afford to have him here every weekday, I’m not sure I’d want someone here daily; it’s an interesting balance between getting things done and having someone in our space.) Anyway, time to get the kids to empty the dishwasher…

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