ashnistrike: (lightning)
For Deep Ones, darkness is safety and comfort, the longest night a time of revelation. Honoring the hope of safety, comfort, & revelation, I’m giving away an ARC of Winter Tide for Winter Tide. Share your favorite made-up holiday tradition by 9PM on the 22nd, & I'll pick an entry at random (from here and from Twitter) to get a Winter Tide ARC.

There may also be Deep One recipes tucked into the package, because it's dark and cold & people need feeding.
ashnistrike: (lightning)
M woke up crying at 6 AM Sunday morning. After I finally got her back to sleep, I checked my phone and discovered rather more Twitter mentions than usually appear in the midnight to 6 AM window, or indeed in a single day.  I had some trouble getting back to sleep!

Many thanks to everyone who nominated "Litany of Earth" for a Hugo, and everyone else who said they would have voted for it given the opportunity.  It would have been part of a pretty sweet ballot, and I would have thoroughly enjoyed losing to Seanan McGuire's "Each to Each" or Kay Ashante Wilson's "The Devil in America."  (I still need to read Crosshill's story, and shall.)

New plan: Support E Pluribus Hugo, and write even more kick-ass, rocket-worthy stuff in the future.
ashnistrike: (lightning)
"The Deepest Rift," my science fiction story about exploring alien worlds, translation error, and the perils of academia, went up this afternoon at Tor.com.

This story comes with a story, and a giveaway. Way back in 2010, it was Saturday and I was at Wiscon. If you go to the Journeyman Writer's meeting, you miss the lunch break, and I hadn't yet learned the "send your spouse for sandwiches" trick. So I snuck in late to "The Story in the Object, The Object in the Story," and hid out in the back of the room trying not to make my crumbs obvious while [livejournal.com profile] elisem, Catherine Crowe, and Kat Byer talked about similarities between art forms, the way we use art to create relationships as well as make (or fail to make) a living, and the importance of sometimes giving things away. Elise passed around an amazing tektite, and Catherine showed off beautiful copper bowls.

Towards the end, Elise was talking to Ellen Klages (in the audience) and told her that she knew what to do with that project they'd been working on. She asked for six volunteers. I'm not an idiot: I raised my hand. She then told us that a couple of years previously, they'd done a collaboration: Ellen found stones, Elise made pendants of them, and Ellen named them.  We'd each get a random pendant, to be picked up later in the con, and make something else with it or based on it--and then pass it on again.

For those of you who don't know Elise's work, she's a professional muse. Go click through onto her LJ--her sticky post shows everything she's currently got available. Every item has a title. Many have stories hidden in them, or poems, or major life changes.

When I went down to the dealer's room later, she asked me for a number between eggplant and lettuce. I told her "zucchini," and she gave me this:



I could see right away the sides of the unimaginably deep canyon, the forests down in the dark, the wind that swept up over it carrying strangeness from the mist below. But it was not only story, but also oracle: at the time I was just starting to feel my way towards leaving academia, and routes and detours and the question of whether it was even possible to get to Point Q from where I stood were very much on my mind.

I started writing almost immediately, but stalled out for a couple of years when I solved my real-life dilemma before finishing the story that I was using to map it.  (This was a good problem to have.) Last year I finally figured out what was missing, sent the story out to Carl at Tor.com, and here we are. And so now I'm finally done with the pendant, and I will miss it but it needs to find a new home where it can keep doing its job.

If you feel you could make use of a map with detours, please leave the following in the comments before 6 PM EST on Monday, June 29th:

- A brief, true explanation of what you'll make with it. The explanation doesn't need to be complete--"My story needs plot bunnies" or "trying to make a path through a crisis" are as good as "I'm on a quest to find the holy grail, the latest clues lead me to believe it's in the grand canyon, and this looks like something that will help me find my way."

- A promise that you'll pass it on when you're done with it, to someone who will keep the same terms. This doesn't need to be quick; I've had it for five years, after all.

- A way to contact you if you aren't posting with an LJ handle.

On Monday, I'll pick a name via random number generator, because I am not myself an oracle, and will contact the winner for mailing information.

Disclaimers: Mailing times dependent on the vagaries of baby and DC snail mail system. Not responsible for lost, misdirected, or temporally displaced merchandise. Device may not operate as intended. Effects may not be synchronous.
ashnistrike: (lightning)
I'm delighted to announce that I'll have an original story in The Mammoth Book of Cthulhu: New Lovecraftian Fiction, which will be coming out in June 2016 in the US and April 2016 in the UK.

No Deep Ones in this story, but it does consider carefully the proper Library of Congress heading for forbidden tomes.

I'll be in excellent company:

THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF CTHULHU: NEW LOVECRAFTIAN FICTION
Paula Guran, Editor

CONTENTS

      • Laird Barron - “A Clutch”
      • Nadia Bulkin - “I Believe That We Will Win”
      • Amanda Downum - “The Sea Inside”
      • Ruthanna Emrys - “Those Who Watch”
      • Richard Gavin  - “Deep Eden”
      • Lois H. Gresh - “In the Sacred Cave”
      • Lisa L. Hannett - “In Syllables of Elder Seas”
      • Brian Hodge - “It’s All the Same Road In the End”
      • Caitlín R. Kiernan - “The Peddler’s Tale, or, Isobel’s Revenge”
      • John Langan – “Outside the House, Watching for the Crows
      • Yoon Ha Lee - “Falcon-and-Sparrows”
      • Usman T. Malik - “In the Ruins of Mohenjo-Daro”
      • Sandra McDonald - “The Cthulhu Navy Wife”
      • Helen Marshall - “Caro in Carno”
      • Silvia Moreno - Garcia - “Legacy of Salt”
      • Norman Partridge - “Backbite”
      • W. H. Pugmire - “A Shadow of Thine Own Design”
      • Veronica Schanoes - “Variations on Lovecraftian Themes”
      • Michael Shea - “An Open Letter to Mr. Edgar Allan Poe, from a Fervent Admirer”
      • John Shirley - “Just Beyond the Trailer Park”
      • Simon Strantzas - “Alexandra Lost”
      • Damien Angelica Walters - “Umbilicus”
      • Don Webb - “The Future Eats Everything”
      • Michael Wehunt - “I Do Not Count the Hours”
      • A.C. Wise - “I Dress My Lover in Yellow”
ashnistrike: (lightning)
We aren't following our usual Black Friday tradition of going hiking, because there's a foot of snow on the ground and S is 8 months pregnant.  Instead we're following our new Black Friday tradition of hanging around the house and writing and yakking and maybe playing chess if we feel really ambitious.  But not acting smug about it, because this article kind of schooled me on the similarities between Black Friday and the Hunger Games.

Both B's and C's schools had 'traditional' Thanksgiving pageants this year and both came home with construction paper "Indian headdresses."  Alas, neither is old enough to emulate Wednesday Adams on the matter.  I was disappointed, because I'd somehow gotten it into my head that, in the decades since I was in elementary school, most places had picked up a clue and stopped doing that.  Apparently not.  Now pondering the best suggestions for alternatives, as every good behaviorist knows that you're more likely to get someone to stop doing something if you can suggest something better in its place.

Option 1: Follow a slightly older tradition.  Go back a hundred years and make Thanksgiving more like Halloween or Carnival.  Dress up and parade through the streets, and put on a wider variety of costumed pageants.  Minus the "dressing as caricatures of other countries and classes" bit.

Option 2: Go back to the holiday's real origins, and put on a pageant about Abraham Lincoln trying to figure out how to heal the country post-Civil-War.  Still problematic, given the general failure to do so in the years since, but more historically accurate and includes the opportunity for everyone to dress up representing their own cultures and talk about how they've contributed to the country.

Option 3: Teach about real cooperation between Europeans and American Indian nations and have kids put on plays about the syncretic communities that sprang up shortly after contact--the ones where plague survivors took in runaway slaves and Europeans who found Puritan life too constrictive, and where "kidnapped" women for some obscure reason refused to go back when their families tried to rescue them.

All historically accurate, and all still fun and positive.  I know there are good reasons to focus on non-positive things on Thanksgiving, but given how most kids' families celebrate they are not going to go for that.  And for families where the holiday really is a rare opportunity for feasting and togetherness, or for people who aren't descended from colonists and aren't benefiting from the current system, pretty seriously not cool anyway.  Guilt-focused curricula that assume everyone is rich and/or white are starting to piss me off almost as much as curricula that just ignore the problematic bits.  Erasing your audience isn't better than erasing history.
ashnistrike: (lightning)
Story due December 1st has finally come unstuck, and now has plot and character that actually go together.  Also mysterious libraries, carnivorous books, and a sprinkling of my housemate's horror stories from rural Louisiana.

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