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Under the Fantasy Bus

So remember just a couple weeks ago when I was all excited about getting on the World Fantasy Convention programming for the first time?

And then the refund deadline passed, but that was okay because of course I was going this year?

And then the WFC convention committee released their “harassment policy”? (Screenshot courtesy of Natalie Luhrs).


And suddenly I went from being excited to feeling like I’d been thrown under the bus.

The placeholder policy on the website (screenshot from this morning) was vague and useless, but not actively destructive the way this one is. I’d expected so much better. WFC overall has been working to improve their handling of incidents, and last year’s policy was pretty good. I expected this year to be the same. NOPE.

Here’s more from Natalie Luhrs, from John Scalzi, and from Jim Hines. I’m not going to repeat the insightful things they’ve already said, except to agree that this is bullshit.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do.

My only sunk costs are the (pricy) registration fees; I was planning to drive, and can cancel my hotel reservation. Or I can request to be removed from programming, and just hang out in the bar with my friends. Or I can go anyway, since it’s next week and kind of late to change my plans, but I’m unhappy with that because this “policy” is worse than no policy, and I signed on to the pledge to only attend conventions that have good harassment policies.

Or WFC could fix their own mess, but I’m not holding my breath.


Sasquan was a blast! I spent time with old friends and new friends, including several folks who have been friends for a long time but I’d never met in person, including Best Roomie. Everyone had fun at the reading, though post-apocalyptic cats were clearly trumped by spiders. The Viable Paradise party was great, and Steph and I ended up hosting a snarky and alcohol-laden Hugos party with the leftovers. It still boggles me sometimes that I’ve become the kind of person who can throw a party at WorldCon and have people show up. Lots of people!

I’ve been all over the place, Portland, Pennsic, Spokane, and it’s been great. My physical health is excellent and steadily improving as I get farther away from chemo (four months!) and surgery (almost a year!). My CEA is still normal. I’m walking to work sometimes (Monday was the first day I’ve done so since 2013) and kayaking. I’ve been doing yoga for months, trying to recover some strength and flexibility, and I’m contemplating gym membership or home weight-lifting.

Great, right?

But I am so fucking tired, mentally and emotionally. So tired. I can do all the things physically, but how do I do all the things? How do I do any of them? I haven’t dealt with any of the paperwork from my mother’s death (I have time; this is not urgent), my house is a disaster, I’m just barely not failing my annual review at work. The bills are paid and the cats are fed, but that’s about it. Adulting? Not happening. I haven’t been there for friends either, which makes me sad.

I feel like I should be a cheery TV special. “I beat cancer sunshine daisies joy laughter sparkles unicorns.” But it’s harder than that, deeper and more complicated. Slower, too.

Sasquan and outlining

I will be at Sasquan next week: hooray! While I’m not on programming (and a bit frustrated by that), Steven Gould generously offered to share his timeslot with a few Viable Paradisians, so I will be doing a reading:

4315 Saturday 12:30pm 30min
DBT Spokane Falls Suite A/B
Reading—Steven Gould

What do you think: post-apocalyptic cats, or a faery guide?

Meanwhile, I’m trying to get my head back into writing fiction (back into everything, really). I’m picking the novel I started a year and a half ago back up. I won’t have time to work on it heavily until October, but I’m trying to get the outline firmed up so that in October I can immerse myself in the actual words.

Here’s the high-level outline:
A fabulous book.
Almond cookies.
Court intrigue.
Black magic.
Chaos ensues.
Things burn down.
Librarian victory.

This is going to be SO MUCH FUN.


Pissing in the pool

I grew up reading the Hugo award winners anthologies, those collections of the best works of the year. It wasn’t until much later that I learned how the Hugos work, and even later that I made the miraculous discovery that I could participate in that process by nominating works I cared about, and voting from among the finalists.


Need something to read?

Of course you do. And as a bonus, this star-packed fantasy anthology is a charity fundraiser for The Colon Cancer Alliance.

Fantasy for Good just came out, and it features old and new stories by folks like Neil Gaiman, Jane Lindskold and colon cancer victims Roger Zelazny and Jay Lake.

I suppose if you don’t want that fantasy stuff clogging up your bookshelves, you could just go give $5 straight to the Colon Cancer Alliance. That would be okay too.

ETA: I find it a bit odd to be purchasing something in support of a colon cancer charity, given what I’ve spent on colon cancer this year, but I am a recipient of all the research and education on the topic, and hey, stories!


Confluence, to be held in Pittsburgh on July 25-27, is effectively my home con. I’ve only been going for a few years, but I’ve only been going to cons for a few years, since I started actually selling stories (my first was WFC in Columbus in 2010, immediately after I attended Viable Paradise).

Confluence was also the first con that let me participate in programming, and they’ve done so again this year. I think they may be trying to kill me (five consecutive hours on Friday night??!!), but there are some lovely things here, and some that may be… controversial. I’ll be packing my asbestos overcoat.

I’m quite thrilled to be on a panel with friend and neighbor Daryl Gregory, and very excited about the Saturday worldbuilding panel, as that’s a topic I pitched (and a panel I hope to see happen at WFC in Washington DC this fall as well).

I hope to see some of you in Pittsburgh at the end of the month!

Fri 6:00 PM Marshall Is SFWA Still Relevant? Bud Sparhawk (M), Sarah Goslee, Christie Meierz, Denise Verrico

Fri 7:00 PM ??? Kaffee Klatsch Michael Arnzen, Sarah Goslee

Fri 8:00 PM Pine The White Man in SF – A new look at diversity and alternative lifestyles Sarah Goslee, KT Pinto, Tim Liebe, Denise Verrico (M)

Fri 9:00 PM Pine A Pack of Apocalypse – How realistic are end-of-Civilization scenarios Ken Chiacchia (M), Alan Katerinsky, Daryl Gregory, Sarah Goslee

Fri 10:00 PM Marshall Social Networking – Talking about it really Does make it better Eric Beebe, Jacqueline Druga (M), Sarah Goslee

Sat 2:00 PM Pine Foods, fabrics and Fancies – Other worldbuilding Foundations Sarah Goslee (M), Wiliam H Keith, Tamora Pierce, Cindy Lynn Speer

Thoughts from around the net

I’m spending the day puttering and organizing, and have a backlog of links to share so I can get them off my list.

 Jay Lake.

 A 19th century lock expert. This could be impetus for all kinds of fascinating stories.

 More fascinating ideas: how Vermeer’s paintings might have as much to do with optics as art. 

 I don’t know how people come up with lists like “25 Books Every Writer Should Read.” I’ve read exactly none of them. If I put together such a list, it would be heavily weighted toward SFF since that’s what I write, but with some books from other genres because it’s important to diversify. What would you include?

Laura sent me this story about MRI scans of fruits and veggies, thus reminding me I hadn’t posted it. These are fascinating and slightly bizarre.

Following along botanical lines, Open Source Seeds. I like the idea, though I’m not sure how they differ from heirloom seeds.

 And Open Source and do-it-yourself scientific instruments: make-it-yourself spectrometers, and foldable microscopes. I have a spectrometer kit, but haven’t put it together yet.

Nifty things

LEGO is making the LEGO Research Institute, and the scientists are women! There will be an astronomer, a paleontologist, and a chemist.

“When you can’t create you can work.” Writing tips from Henry Miller.

“Women in Science Fiction,” as portrayed in letters from the early SF mags, collected by Justine Larbalestier.


Local peeps! Whatcha doing tonight? Coming to the State College launch party for Daryl Gregory’s new novel Afterparty, right? 

 Webster’s, 7pm (133 E. Beaver Ave.), followed by a mandatory afterparty. Of course.

See you there!


Candy-corn colored rocketship cookies, to be precise.


I made a stack of rocketships for Seanan McGuire, the GoH at Confluence last weekend, and a pile of stars and rockets for all the con attendees. Seanan squeeed, and she assures me the cookies were delicious.

In case you’ve somehow missed her, Seanan writes urban fantasy under her own name, puts out some excellent music, and is quite entertaining in person. She also publishes zombie stories as Mira Grant. She’s part of the SF Squeecast, and she likes cookies. She’s also up for four Hugos. I may have to make more rocketships for Worldcon.

The rest of my panels went well. It was just that evening panel where I was falling asleep that I did poorly on, and even that one I think the audience enjoyed. I’ll take it as a learning experience.