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Adventures in Kickstarter.

… is it really only like three days until we launch the Unnatural Order Kickstarter? Eek!

Kickstarter is hard, y’all. Like, my husband literally had an MBA from Harvard and his childhood best friend (and our neighbor) is a professional modeller for a Big 4 firm and it’s still hard to work out exactly what money we need and what rewards to offer. Like… I think we’ve got it. But… yeah. Phew. Yikes.

2019-07-29T08:43:10+10:0029th July, 2019|Tags: books, gonzo author stories, kickstarter, unnatural order|

Sekret project reveal: UNNATURAL ORDER!

Hey, y’all. You remember these guys? And how they were from a totally “secret” project I couldn’t announce yet?1 Well now I can announce it; I’m editing an anthology. About monsters!

The dragon on her hoard. The horror in its void. The word-spanning AI. The demon reaping souls. Too often fiction portrays the non-human as Other; as a threat to be destroyed, to be conquered… or to be “saved”, assimilated back into the teeming throngs of humanity.

Not this time. This time, it’s the non-humans’ turn. What is life like, to be imperfect. To observe humanity from without? What does it mean to be seen as horrific, to be rejected… and to overcome that? Or embrace it? To embrace it or reject it? And what does our love of these stories tell us can we, as human readers, learn from that about ourselves?

Unnatural Order is an anthology for strange days and grotesque beauty, as the monstrous seeps out from the dark, and makes the light its own.

A tentacled demon snake-goat thing.Sounds awesome? OF COURSE IT DOES! Monsters, man! Monsters! I can’t believe someone gave me and Lyss the opportunity to make an entire goddamn short story anthology of monsters.

Oh, and did I mention we’re looking to launch this at next year’s WorldCon? Because we totally are.

Because that’s a super-tight timeframe, submissions are open, like. Now. Until October. Next month we’ll also be launching a Kickstarter, managed by Rivqa, who you may remember from the totally awesome, multi-award-winning Mother of Invention anthology. The base project is funding (i.e. there’ll be something at the end), but the Kickstarter is for things like paying authors more, commissioning interior art,2 and actually paying the people we’ve currently got volunteering on services like copyediting and layout. For you guys, however, the Kickstarter is a way to, a) pre-order copies of the final anthology, including an exclusive hardback edition, and b) get sweet, sweet monster-related merch. So… definitely keep an eyestalk out.

And, finally, to celebrate: Liesmith will be free on Amazon for the next week. So… monsters! Eee!

  1. Though, confession, totally talked about anyway on Mastodon. []
  2. We already have a cover artist lined up and I… might just be a teeny tiny bit excited about it. []
2019-07-18T10:18:05+10:0018th July, 2019|Tags: books, csfg, gonzo author stories, unnatural order, writing|

So that’s that, I guess.

Whelp… I did it. I fired my agent.

Between that and invoking the rights reversion on my published novels, I guess that means I’m… no longer a “professional author”?

Five years with basically nothing to show for it. Great.

2019-04-01T14:12:58+11:001st April, 2019|Tags: gonzo author stories|

Wyrdverse, Conflux, and Kickstarters (oh my)!

Oh no. It’s That Time of the Year again, the time when… (looks around nervously) … things happen.

Thing #1.

I formatted a book! Wyrdverse: Tales of the Wyrd is an anthology of short stories from the, well. Wyrdverse. These aren’t new—you may have previously read them on my website—they’re just now… collated better.

Wyrdverse is currently available super-cheap from Amazon, although if you’d like to snag yourself a free copy you can do so from the princely sum of your email address, by signing up to my book news mailing list.

Oh, and because the whole purpose of this exercise was to practice using Indesign, a print version of the book (in all its extensive, 80-page glory) should be available sometime in the next few weeks. So… keep an eye out for that.

Thing #2.

Speaking of awesome books you should buy (or, rather, back) right now, Crossed Genres’ Resist Fascism speculative fiction anthology is in the final days of its Kickstarter. From the official description:

RESIST. ANY WAY YOU CAN.

The world is in turmoil. The world is always in turmoil, but in recent years, people have seen violence and hatred become proud instead of ashamed. What meager rights we’ve fought for are being deliberately eroded. And the vulnerable have any help stripped away. All of this is happening openly and without fear of reprisal. And the worst perpetrators are some of the largest governments of the world.

Resisting the spread of fascism is as important now as it was 75 years ago. And there are many effective ways to resist.

For full disclosure, friend-and-all-round-awesome-person Rivqa has a story in this anthology, and I have read it and it is boss. So if you, too, would like to read a boss story about found family and Jewish jujitsu IN SPACE, then you should go smash that pledge button, as the kids on teh YouTubes say.

Thing #4.

Oh, and while you’re in the spending money mood,1 Mother of Invention is on sale! From the blurb:

Knit robots, build spaceships, and shape the future.

Extraordinary short stories about gender, artificial intelligence and the art of building something new. Mother of Invention features the work of Seanan McGuire, Ambelin Kwaymullina, Nisi Shawl, John Chu, Justina Robson and more.

Awesome? Yes. So what are you waiting for? Buy like a hundred copies and you’re set for presents to give out to all your friends, enemies, and loved ones at every birthday, anniversary, and culturally appropriate religious celebration for the indefinite future. Let’s all knit a softer, warmer robotic future together.

Finally… Thing #5.

Conflux! It’s coming, and I will be there. You can even come hear me blather on about narrative in the panel Play to write: what tabletop and video games can teach writers of fiction. And by “me” I mean “Rivqa and Elizabeth“, and by “blather” I mean “make interesting and intelligent points while trying to ignore their drooling co-panellist (i.e. me).”

Sound great? Of course it does! See you there.

  1. … I know, I know. []
2018-09-12T08:15:44+10:0012th September, 2018|Tags: book news, books, conflux, cons, fandom, gonzo author stories, sff, wyrdverse, xp|

… nice.

So it’s been almost exactly two years (with a break in the middle to write the DEMONS… IN SPACE!!!! book) but… it is done! At least, the draft is!

This turned out shorter than I was aiming for, i.e. 80k, but that seems to be a trend in my writing at the moment, particularly since both this and DEMONS have been single-POV.1 That kind of sucks in the adult market—a bunch of Big Name SFF publishers won’t even look at something if it’s under 100k—but DRAGON is YA, so… hopefully the ~70k mark is okay?

Guess we’ll find out soon!

Now the hard part: revising. Ugh.

  1. Well… mostly. DEMONS has four “cheat” chapters. []
2018-08-06T10:13:18+10:006th August, 2018|Tags: books, DRAGON OF ROSEMONT HIGH, gonzo author stories, writing|

Apropos of all the piracy chat currently on Book Twitter: If for some reason you’ve ever wanted to read my books but can’t afford or access them, let me know and we’ll work something out.

Because, yeah. It’s literally better for me to buy you a copy of my book than it is for you to pirate it.

2018-07-25T10:11:00+10:0024th July, 2018|Tags: books, gonzo author stories, piracy|

Quoting lyrics.

This is why there are no lyrics in Stormbringer, despite the number of songs that appear in the narrative. (Apparently parody lyrics are okay, however, which is why I re-wrote the ending.)

2017-09-05T13:33:40+10:0010th March, 2016|Tags: copyright, gonzo author stories, stormbringer, wyrdverse|

Namewashing.

When we first start acting, brown actors tend to play “brown characters.” As casting directors and producers get to know us and trust our range, the roles we play tend to vary. And getting to play roles with white names feels like a victory. I know I felt that way when I first “graduated” from playing Khalids and Babirs to Patricks and Freds. […]

But to me, after over 13 years in the industry, these do not seem like victories anymore. Playing more interesting and larger roles is, but squeezing us unrealistically into a white box is a subtle form of ethnic erasure, and it is not a win. It is saying to the audience and to brown actors that people with white names are more interesting and relatable, and people with brown names are one-dimensional and obsessed with and/or defined by our brownness. Not only does this contribute to the continued stereotyping of brown people, it is false.

Amir Talai on brown actors playing white characters.

This reminds me that I first encountered Malek playing Brodude McBlandname #5, a.k.a. Josh Washington, in Until Dawn.1 So… yeah. About that “white names” thing.

Related: Steve Jobs has been portrayed at least four times in film and once on stage, and always by a white guy.2

For the record, in Liesmith, Sigmund was named Sigmund before this issue was something I’d really thought about. Ditto with Wayne, who’s Indigenous Australian, and Travis, who has his own set of issues.3 I’m not sure if I’d rename any of the characters now, except maybe for Travis, but I’ve certainly tried to give all new characters ethnically-appropriate names. (Which is why the protagonist in BAD MEME is Ngoc Bich Tran. Try casting Bich as a white girl. I double dare you.)

In other news: I need to watch Mr. Robot

  1. To be fair to Until Dawn; the game has a more multi-ethnic cast than, like, 99.9% of all other games out there, which is particularly notable given its characters are modelled directly off their actors. Plus, it doesn’t do that thing of having whiter-than-white characters as Josh’s family members and just hoping no-one notices. Even still, the cast have the most laughably generic names, particularly for the guys; Josh is accompanied by Chris, Matt, Mike, and Jack, for example. But tl;dr, go play Until Dawn, ’cause it’s pretty great. []
  2. For those of you who missed this memo: Jobs’ biological father is Syrian. Jobs’ relationship to both his biological parents and his ethnicity was, to put it mildly, complex, but even still. Dude’s the most famous Arab-American you never knew about. []
  3. Though, on Travis, it always kind of makes me smirk ruefully when people tell me they imagine him looking like Tom Hiddleston. And it’s like, look. I get why. But the fact Travis doesn’t look white is an explicit plot point when Sigmund is trying to decide whether or not he’s the same person as the red-haired-pale-skinned Lain. FWIW, in the future reality where Liesmith is a massively popular TV series and/or film, I have physically left casting directors in a bloody pulp for trying to cast a white guy to play Lain/Loki/Travis. The whole point of the character is that he’s not Northern or Western European so… yeah. About that. And, yes, Travis’ ethnicity is both a Jobs reference and a reference to the 13th century headcanon that the world “aesir” comes from “Asia”–it doesn’t, but whatever–and that the Norse gods were the living descendants of the king of Troy, who migrated into Europe after the city fell. []
2018-07-27T14:22:10+10:005th December, 2015|Tags: culture, gonzo author stories, liesmith, writing, wyrdverse|