BayCon 2017 Community

baycon2017-guide-300.jpgAt my final panel yesterday, we talked about love in dystopian society (including failed romances like the one in 1984) and the importance of relationships and community in wartime.

For myself, the discussion suddenly went meta:  being at BayCon, in this IDIC atmosphere, an enclave of loving and diverse relationships that contrasts so sharply with the current state of U.S. politics–right there, in the middle of the panel, I found I had made a decision. I need to work on Red Hand.

Red Hand tells the story of an older woman with the rare ability to heal individuals dying of a galactic-wide plague that’s been decimating populations for decades, causing wars, disrupting civilizations, and encouraging isolationism.  The woman and others who possess the healing ability are themselves oppressed by those who see them as a source of power and wealth, or as means to stabilize chaos, or as a threat that must be properly regulated and controlled.

At the beginning of the novel, we see the woman in crisis.  She has little of herself left to give, drained by decades spent healing others while on the run from the Red Hand, an apparently benign paternalistic organization sanctioned by the remnants of the galactic government to regulate healers.  She longs for a permanent home, to live in a community without fear of discovery.  But she can’t have that if she continues to heal.

People will die if she stops healing.

If she doesn’t stop, she will die without having lived a life of her own.

In this moment of personal crisis, forced to flee yet another impending capture on yet another planet, she takes passage on a small spaceship captained by a man with secrets of his own on a mission that poses a direct threat to her dreams.

He’s a good guy.  He has reasons.

But he’s out to capture a healer.

 

 

BayCon 2017 Costumes

Shael in knitted
Shael Hawman knits fantastic costumes.  For BayCon 2017, she knitted a Star Wars flight suit!

Last year, Denise Tanaka was Wonder Woman.  This year, she is … faceless.

 

 

 

Rat in the Walls 2: Body Blocking

Here is the second video from Rat in the Walls: Lessons from Caregiving.

For the original post (the second on the Rat in the Walls blog), look below the video.


Title: Body Blocking

His illness is written on my body.

Eating excessively for the past six months, I’ve gained forty pounds, accumulating layers of fat. I tie my intestines in square knots, turn my emotions into sausages, blocking, holding on.

As if I become heavy enough, weighty enough, I might anchor him in place.

Rat in the Walls Introspective

Last night, I couldn’t sleep.

My brother died of ALS in February 2008, after blogging almost daily about his illness following his diagnosis in December 2003.  I began blogging about caregiving in a companion blog during the final year before his death.  I called my blog Rat in the Walls.

After he died, I stopped posting and let the rats fall silent.

In May 2014, I finally revisited the site for the first time since his death, and I posted this:

When I first started on Blogger, my handle was Ratty, maintaining anonymity so that in my Rat in the Walls blog I could write about my brother’s fatal illness without giving away his identity. Under that pseudonym, I could voice things I couldn’t elsewhere. Rats thrive in the dark. ::: Now, five years after his death in 2008, I’m coming out of the walls and reclaiming my humanity.

I didn’t reread any of my posts in 2014.  Too soon.

Now, in May 2017, I’m ready to reread them.

So, here’s the project:  as I open each post and look at it for the first time since my brother died, I’m going to make a video recording in which I read the post aloud and say something about it.

I don’t remember much about the posts, except the following:

  • They are short.
  • Some of them state a brief lesson about caregiving that I learned that day.
  • Some of them respond implicitly to the post that my brother made in his blog that day or a preceding day.

Here’s a link to the video I made last night while looking at the first post.

The original blog post says:

Title: Knock Knock

Scurrying, nibbling, hiding. That’s the Rat in the Walls. Knocking about at night, avoiding the light, coveting the cheese.

You only see the leavings: the dry little kernels that trace Rat’s passage through your cupboards; the holes gnawed behind your stove. The fruits of your labor, tooth-marked, scattered.

The Rat lurks in your back brain.

 

I babble

my-desk-may2017-400.jpgHaving blithered and burbled, I now babble in a new interview that you can read on either Vicki Reese’s blog or Vicky Burkholder’s blog.

Here’s an excerpt from the interview (my answer to a most pressing fill-in-the-blank):

“Now for the S.A.T. portion of the interview.  Fill in the blank.  If I were a villain, I would have ______ for minions to deliver my wrath because _____.

If I were a villain, I would have nail salon workers for minions to deliver my wrath because I am jealous of people who don’t bite their fingernails like I do. Those salon workers could use their painful grinding machines to mess up everyone else’s nails. Bwaa ha haha ha!”

 

The First Sentence (free!)

Are you in the mood for a sweet treat, a romantic novella that won’t cost you a penny?  How about five sweet treats in one package?   Check out The First Sentence!  Download for free now.

THE FIRST SENTENCE

A Collection of Romance Novellas

a collection of romance novellasPut five authors together in a bar and give them a challenge. The premise: That if five authors start with the same sentence, they will all write vastly different stories. The results: made of awesome. From contemporary to futuristic, these novellas have a little bit of everything, but most especially—love-filled happy endings.

Rebound by Allison B. Hanson
After wallowing in agony for weeks after a bad break-up, Reese is set up on a blind date. Reluctantly, he goes and meets the girl of his dreams. The only problem? He was at the wrong place and met the wrong girl. Now, desperate to find her, he scours the campus as fate weaves an impossible journey.

Lost and Found by Misty Simon
When Mike Emory sees his ex’s post on social media that she’s looking for her lost dog, he’s out the door in a flash. Their break-up was not amicable, but he loved that dog and can’t imagine him on his own. Elsie Hews has been scouring the streets for hours when she runs into the last person she wants helping her—the guy who never seemed to think she was capable of doing anything herself. This is her dog, though, her baby, and she’ll accept Mike’s help to find him, then say goodbye again. Or that’s the plan, at least…

Frozen Dreams by Victoria Smith
When a dangerous weather anomaly strikes, Jane will do whatever it takes to travel to be with her family. Even if it means getting stuck with her husband, Adam. Instead of talking to him about how they will never have a family, she took the chicken route and left, despite being deeply in love with him. Now they must face the storm and their emotions.

Through the Void by Natalie J. Damschroder
There’s only one thing Vix can do when she finds out about the secret life that has led to her husband’s coma—make that life hers. When she goes on her first mission through the void, however, she finds not only a new self-purpose, but her lost husband, as well. She did the impossible once. Can she do it again, and bring him home?

A Real Boy by Vicky Burkholder
Jillian Night is on the hunt for inter-planetary kidnappers. Her bosses demand she have a partner, but Jillian has had enough of human ones. She prefers to work alone so Fleet assigns her one of the new androids. Zeus is a little too real for Jillian’s comfort and she finds herself attracted to him—until she meets the real man pulling the strings. Maybe having a real, live partner wouldn’t be so bad after all.

Download for Free Now (universal link) or at the following vendors:

Amazon
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Goodreads

I yammer about space opera

avatar-space.jpg

Jana Denardo is hosting me on her blog this week. I say stuff about space opera, as well as promote Beneath the Skin.  http://jana-denardo.dreamwidth.org/249133.html

(I apologize if my posts seem spammy of late.  I’m on a blog tour.  At least the posts on each blog are different, even if they all have the same image of my book cover.)

Review: Romancing the Inventor

carriger-cover.jpgGail Carriger’s Romancing the Inventor takes place in the same supernatural steampunk setting as her Parasol Protectorate novels, and several primary characters from those novels appear in this novella as secondary characters. Romancing the Inventor focuses on Madame Lefoux, the crossdressing inventor whose previous history is somewhat checkered (her giant mechanical octopus machine destroys swathes of London in an earlier book) and Imogene Hale, a woman from the country who enters service in the vampire household to which Lefoux has been sentenced (because, giant mechanical octopus machine).

The romance between Imogene and Lefoux is delightful. Both of them are well matched: strong, lovable, intelligent women–and the longing the two have for one another grows believably. Events are told from Imogene’s point of view, which is infused with Carriger’s light humor (something I always enjoy in Carriger’s writing), and readers who know Lefoux from other novels will have fun interpreting Lefoux’s feelings from her body language, muttered asides to herself, and occasional ambiguous remark to Imogene.

Unlike other novels in the series, this novella doesn’t focus on national or political threats.  The romance is definitely the focus of the plot, and it is thoroughly satisfying.

Poll?

There is a button to add a poll.  I … cannot … resist.

 

Welcome change

pool-600.jpg

After doing CrossFit for the past seven years, I’m going to change the routine (not that CrossFit is routine, because not being routine is sorta the point of CrossFit). I still love heaving heavy objects into the air above my head, but my aging body wants to do something I did for decades long ago, before CrossFit or biking or any other happy-making form of exercise.

I wanna swim.

I’ve joined an athletic club that has a swimming pool. Yes, it has weights and machines that I will use, and classes that I might take.  (Plus stuff I plan to avoid — like yoga.)  But the main attraction is the pool.

Blue light, buoyant.  Sliding smooth, breathing steady.  Calm in motion.