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Diversicon schedule!

Jul. 20th, 2017 10:02 am
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[personal profile] catherineldf
 My Diversicon schedule - this also will include the traditional Saturday at 5ish autographing 
Saturday, July 22
 
4:00-4:55 PM, Krushenko's Annex (Northern Pacific)
Panel: You've Got Magic on My Crime Scene!--Police Procedurals in Fantasy
Catherine Lundoff, mod.; Melissa Scott, Phyllis Ann Karr
 
Sunday, July 23
 
3:00-3:55 PM, Main Stage (Soo Line)
Bidding Farewell to the Red Shirts and Side Kicks: LGBTQ Protagonists in Science Fiction and Fantasy
Catherine Lundoff, mod.; Melissa Scott

I'm on the radio!

Jul. 19th, 2017 01:13 pm
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KFAI's Fresh Fruit (longest running weekly Queer radio show in the country) did a feature on the Pride Month Queer Voices reading at the Central Library. Featured are co-curators Andrea Jenkins and John Medeiros, and two south Minneapolis writers: Anthony Ceballos and myself. Queer Voices is also the longest running Queer reading series in the country, so it's a pretty cool way to celebrate! 

One of the resolutions I made for myself after this past week at the Fishtrap Summer Gathering was to start working on a series of writing process blogs. This got inspired by a gathering organized by Kim Stafford the next-to-the-last day of the conference where we were to bring books that inspired us as writers. I went looking for some of my writing books and rediscovered Jay Lake’s Process of Writing: 2005-2010. As I thumbed through the book, I remembered how much I enjoyed reading Jay’s writing blogs–but I also realized that the earliest blog posts were written when Jay was at a similar place in his career as I am now.

The thing is, though, Jay wasn’t setting out to establish himself as a writing expert. He was analyzing and recording his growth and process as a writer. Because of the type of Day Jobbe work Jay did, that involved a lot of metrics. Word count. Time it took for him to turn out a book from first draft to publication, broken down into each step. Other analyses using data and stats to look at how he was progressing as a writer.

But that wasn’t all. Jay talked about voice, about rewriting, about looking at his overall writing process. He discussed themes and how political issues impacted his writing. If you’ve read any of Jay’s works, you realize that he was a very literary, slipstream speculative fiction writer who was just coming into his own when cancer took him. Jay wasn’t just a writing machine; he was a mindful writer seeking to improve his work’s quality as well as the quantity of his production.

(and right now why am I hearing Jay’s voice saying “Joyce, stop canonizing me!“? Gotcha, Jay)

In any case, I realized that one way to revive this blog posting habit of mine as well as perhaps help myself and maybe some other writers is to commit myself to writing a regular analysis and commentary about the process of writing. I am no Jay Lake. I know that. I aspire to high levels, but instead of soaring with the eagles, I’m pecking around on the ground with the finch fledglings (like the hordes that have descended upon our bird feeders). But I deal with some situations that may be unique to me–or not. I change locations pretty regularly, splitting my time between three places. I appear to be plodding along acquiring more readers over the past year and a half. I occasionally sell a short story. I’m trying to get the rights back to a cozy apocalyptic novella that I want to expand and self-publish. I’m preparing to edit my first anthology (I hope…haven’t seen any submissions yet, and it’s a closed group).

I also want to take my self-publishing to the next level, with a completed science fiction series and a fantasy series in progress. At the same time, I am working on an urban fantasy novel that I hope will be saleable to a mid-level small press publisher. I’m getting ready to shift gears to some Western-themed fantasy and science fiction work.

But most of all, I want to increase my accountability–and if doing that means I have to write about my writing at least twice a month, then that’s what I will do. It’s likely that I’ll have a flurry of posts in the next month or so, because I want to write about the lessons I learned at Fishtrap. Mood management. Marketing thoughts. With any luck, that’ll be enough to prime the pump and keep me going.

And oh yeah. Feel free to ask me questions. That’s good for both me and the asker of questions.

Onward.

Mirrored from Peak Amygdala.

 Next "Out of the Past" column up at Queer Sci-Fi. These are expanded from my original SF Signal posts, FYI, and I'm planning on increasing the timeline and talking about specific authors and works and such.

 

I am having a writing anniversary today! I've have just had my 20th story accepted for a Year's Best antho! I'm defining these as edited anthologies from a given year or publication with "Best" in the title.

So far, that's:

Best Lesbian Romance 2009 and 2011

Best of Luna Station Quarterly

Heiresses of Russ 2011

The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica - Vols. 4, 6 and 9

Ultimate Lesbian Erotica (Alyson Publications) - 1999 and 2001

Best Lesbian Erotica (Cleis Press) - 1999, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2017

 

And possibly something I'm forgetting, but hey, we'll call it even. At any rate, it's a milestone and I'm pretty proud of it. :-)))

 

New interview!

Jul. 16th, 2017 08:47 am
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 Author Christopher Rose interviewed me about Queen of Swords Press, where we've been and what's next on Curiousful.

This is a phrase I run into a lot, generally with regard to certain kinds of author events: conventions, workshops, festivals and the like. New writers (or ‘new to the writing social scene’ writers, who are not necessarily the same people), new pros and other creative type folks get told a lot of things about visibility, networking, establishing themselves…all of which may or may not have anything whatsoever to do with actually selling work or meeting anyone who can help make your work sellable. And we don’t talk a lot about the subjectivity that goes into that phrase; all careers are not created equal, all access is not equal, and I can have a completely different con than someone else in a different social demographic or fandom.

 

Some of these things are based on personality as well. The cool, zillion person con that is mostly media-based that you adore may not be the place for your quiet, introverted professional editor pal.  You may regard the quiet con where everyone plays games and talks about books as excruciating. Whatever the experience that you’re looking for, deciding just how an event is going to help your career and trying to drive toward that is in your best interests.

 

 That said, I thought I’d try coming up with a checklist for what might make a given event “good for your career” from a writing-related professional perspective. Things that impact what I prioritize: I write in a range of genres and generally go to a couple of literary or at least nonsfnal events each year, so those are factored in. My average year: 2-4 readings (bookstores, libraries, bars, etc.), 4-6 science fiction conventions, 1 convention that is not an sfnal convention, 1-3 podcasts, 2-4 guest blogs, radio, miscellaneous appearances, 1-2 sundry writing-related events. I am an award-winning small press author, editor and publisher (no awards on the publishing yet, but the day is young, as it were) and I have been writing and publishing since the mid-1990s. I am also a middle-aged cis female who is white, mostly able-bodied and loud about being queer (all of which can impact event experiences as well as which kinds of events I attend or get invited to attend). In addition, I am reasonably extroverted and an experienced moderator and panelist.

 

Some basic questions to ask yourself:

·      Why am I going to this event?

·      What do I hope to accomplish there?

·      What am I planning on doing at this event to make those things happen?

·      What do I hope will happen afterwards?

 

 

Why am I going to this event?

·      This is a big one. I often go to things because I’m invited in, rather like a vampire. But I might also be there to see friends, to be on panels, to do readings, to meet with editors or publishers or writers, to see how a conference in a different genre is set up, to teach a workshop and/or to sell books. None of these things cancels out any of the others and I might go to a bigger event in hopes of accomplishing them all.

·      Sometimes, my assessment of why I’m at a given event can change once I’m there. Maybe I have a panel and a reading but can’t get an audience that responds to me. Or I have an option for selling books but no one’s buying. Then I try to regroup and consider the other options. Sometimes that works, sometimes that doesn’t. There are bad years, bad cons and bad days for pros, as well as good ones. You have to evaluate what you’re dealing with and any options for improving it (this generally gets better with practice). Sometimes, that’s going back to your room for a day and writing. Always keep that in mind as an option.

 

What do I hope to accomplish at this event?

·      Set yourself a small, manageable goal if you’re new to conventions – I want to be on my first panel or do my first reading, I want to attend a writing workshop, I want to meet a specific pro, I want to meet two new people, whatever, but give yourself some options for things to do.

·       If you’re more familiar with the convention scene, set your self some bigger goals or more goals: I want to sell more books, I want to go to all the publishing panels, I want to organize a local writer’s networking event, I would like to meet a professional I admire, etc.

 

What am I planning on doing at this event to make those things happen?

·      If you want to be on convention programming, did you volunteer for panels? Generally speaking, suggesting panel topics at the brainstorming stage is helpful if you want to be on programming. Want to do a reading? Can you organize with a group of writer friends? Again, it makes it easier for most programming committees to accept a group that’s already set up than a complete unknown.

·      Doing a reading series or a bookstore is generally a matter of talking to whoever curates the series or the bookstore owner and seeing what they’re looking for. Hint: it is super, super helpful if they can recognize you as a semi-regular audience member or customer.  Be polite, ask about the venue and the event, buy books – sooner or later, these things make you look more appealing.

·      Want to connect with other pros, including agents, editors and publishers? Being polite is helpful, being knowledgeable and respectfully enthusiastic about their work is very helpful. If they are jerks to you, go do something else with better human beings. Being a jerk back will not help you. Don’t overstay your welcome if people clearly want to socialize with each other at the bar, don’t follow agents around like a puppy, don’t slip your manuscript under the door of the editor’s bathroom stall, etc.

 

What do I hope will happen afterwards?

·      You hope to meet an agent and send them your book at their request, you hope to meet an editor and sent them a story or a manuscript, you hope to be super charming at a room party for a different con and get invited to be a guest, I hope to sell and autograph 5 books, I hope to be a guest on a particular podcast or reading series. Again, set yourself a goal, but be flexible about it. What if the agent gets the flu or the publisher is not the person you thought they were or they’re simply not interested in your work? Have a backup plan for something you want to see happen next.

 

 

Have I been able to make this work for me? Some of it. Not all the time, not at every con. I list interest in chasing agents awhile ago because that’s not a path I picked for myself. There are pros who I’ve encountered enough times that they drive me up a tree. There are fans who do likewise. I generally pick who I want to run around them and schedule with them beforehand. But I still try and drive a goal or two at each event.  A convention that I regard as “good for my career” at this point is generally about a combination of the following: 1. Book sales, 2. Follow up events or something that directly benefits my writing career (an anthology invitation, for example, is my gold standard), 3. Some form of networking that involves meeting some new people or cultivating a closer relationship with people I want to know better, and 4. A good conversation or three. #4 is about my sanity. This stuff has to stay fun or it gets to be too much and you burn out.

 

I recommend reading Jeff VanderMeer’s Booklife for ways to approach all this. I learned a ton from it. 

 

So what’s worked for you so far? How do you define a convention or other event as being “good for your career”?

Catching up post

Jul. 9th, 2017 08:22 pm
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I thought I had posted a couple of days ago, but apparently it was all a dream. So, catching up:
  • DreamHaven Books, Comics and Art now has signed copies of Out of This World: Queer Speculative Fiction Stories and Silver Moon: A Wolves of Wolf's Point Novel!
  • Sent off books to the Hennepin County Library to see if they'll pick them up for the catalogue (they requested them at the Queer Voice Book Fair) and Quatrefoil Library now has a copy of Out of This World. They'll have the new edition of Silver Moon soon too!
  • Emily L. Byrne is doing a week long fundraiser for the terrific sex ed website, Scarleteen. Comment on her blog post and she'll make a contribution at the end of the week.
  • Knife's Edge and Out of This World are on sale at Smashwords this month for 50% off.
  • I added another panel to my Worldcon 75 schedule and will update when I have the finalized details, got a reservation for a Tom of Finland Walking Tour of Helsinki (scheduled opposite the Hugos, alas), scheduled an LGBT history walking tour of Reykjavik, scheduled more stuff in more places, because yay!
  • Started work on Blood Moon, the sequel to Silver Moon again.
  • Sold an Other Me reprint (details coming soon).
  • Turned in a blog interview for Queen of Swords Press, which should be up soon.
  • Finished some pitches for a new gaming tie-in project, about which more soon if one gets accepted.
And on a personal note:
  • Foot problems, migraine, annual ear infection - all in the last couple of days.Whee.
  • Bookseller Dave Christenson was able to rehome some books for me, which is great! More shelf space and some trip cash (and check out the rest of his catalogue!)
  • Our accountant is dealing with the weird IRS letter saying we didn't claim something, something which is clearly recorded on our tax forms.
  • Went to a MN Lynx game on Thursday - they beat the L.A. Sparks in a tight and excellent game.
  • Went to Park Square Theater last night and saw Better Off Dead: A Nero Wolfe Mystery, which was quite entertaining.
So yay, full life, trip looming, plans in the works.