Weekly Round-up, November 16th: Bellica, SFFSat, Savita, and mom’s book

The title of this post makes it seem like the “weekly round-up” is an actual thing here at Bacon and Whiskey, but this is probably the first time I’ve ever done it. Also, not sure if it’ll happen again; there are just several short things this week that I want to cover in one post.

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Science-Fiction Fantasy Saturday

If you read my blog at all you know that I try to do this weekly. I hate taking hiatuses from it, but I’m going to have to this week at least, and probably next week as well. Life is just getting so eating-of-my-face-y that I just don’t have the time to go and comment on everyone else’s contributions, which means I don’t feel right contributing myself and soaking up all the delicious comment glory when I can’t give back the same way.

I’m hoping to be back in the saddle by the end of the month. Regardless, you should go to the SFFSat blog and read everyone else’s amazing contributions. I’m going to continue to read this week and next, even if I won’t have time to comment. You should too.

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Savita Halappanavar

You may have heard about this. Savita deserves more than a spot in a weekly round-up, but I only had enough spoons to blog about it once, over at Innocence and Immanence. I still wanted to mention it here.

Savita was denied a pregnancy termination during a miscarriage because “Ireland is a Catholic country”. She died, after three days of suffering.

The one thing I’m going to say about this is that if you’re not pro-choice, you’re an accomplice to murder. Full stop, and no, I don’t apologize for that stance, and I don’t care if it hurts your feelings. Either you’re pro-choice — which means you respect someone’s legal right to choose abortion, no matter their reason, regardless your own personal beliefs — or you’re as culpable in Savita’s murder as is the hospital that denied the procedure, or the government of Ireland that has refused to change the law for two decades.

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Bellica

Yeah, more news about my book. SO BORING I KNOW.

In honor of the one year anniversary of the publication of Bellica’s first edition, I’ve come to a decision. I’m going to start publishing it serially online. Again.

I won’t be doing it via the site I currently have up for Bellica, however. I’ll be doing it via Wattpad.

If this upsets you because you were reading the serial posts of Bellica before I published it and then had to buy a copy from me to read the whole thing…I’m sorry. I’m an asshole.

On the plus side, you get to read more fantastic writing from this asshole for free, because Bellica‘s not the only thing I’ll be publishing via Wattpad. Not only do I plan on putting up both The Jade Star of Athering and Stranger Skies, once they’re finished and edited and such, but I’m also toying with the idea of doing an actual web serial. (As opposed to just publishing full novels serially.) More news on that as it develops.

Regarding Bellica: chapters are going up starting today, November 16th, and will continue to be posted three times a week (Monday/Wednesday/Friday). I’ve divided up the book into three parts, so once I finish putting up all of Heavens, there will probably be a brief hiatus and then I’ll start with Earth.

That’s probably way too much info for a short bit in the weekly round-up, but watch me not give a fuck.

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Speaking of Wattpad, and my mom

My mom Kaimana Wolff is also on Wattpad now, and so is her book of short stories, How to Keep a Human. For free. It’s also available via Smashwords, for free, and I’m currently in the process of arranging a blog tour for her to advertise that fact. You know, if she ever gets some blog posts put together for it. *snaps fingers* Come on, mom! Get on it!

How to Keep a Human is set in the True Woods universe, as is Stranger Skies. How to Keep a Human is excellent, and I say that because I’ve read it a million times and I never get bored.

Also, it’s all true, and I love reading about my mom’s exploits with her best friend Amaruq. My favourite story? When she beats the living hell out of a guy who not only assaults her, but Amaruq too.

Pure unfiltered badassery runs in my veins, in case you were wondering.

Anyway, if you like dog stories — go check out How to Keep a Human. Mom’s busy writing the next book in Amaruq’s series of stories (Must Love Humans), and you can see an excerpt from it over at Lobos Locos, where Amaruq and the rest of the furry Pack members blog about all sorts of things.

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I think that’s it for this post. See you tomorrow, when I swear copiously while ranting. (Because that’s new.)

#ziewrites — a new hashtag for genderqueer writers

If you’ve been following my Twitter account for the past week or so you may have noticed that I’ve started using #ziewrites on some of my posts about writing.

This is sort of a response to the hashtag (and website) #shewrites — which I think is awesome. I think there should absolutely be ways for women writers to connect with each other and find support, and I applaud the use of the hashtag #shewrites.

But it’s not for me, and I started wondering — how many other genderqueer authors/writers feel like they’re missing out on community-building on Twitter? 

Maybe not so many, but I decided to go ahead and start using #ziewrites anyway. There may not be many of us now, but that could very well change. Imagine: a future full of genderqueer writers, chatting on Twitter with each other! Or Google+ — the hashtag can definitely be used there. Sounds like a pretty cool future to me.

So if you’re a fellow genderqueer/non-binary writer and you’re on Twitter/G+, why not join me in the #ziewrites stream? Or follow me? The same brand of Katje-insanity you’ve come to know and love, but in 140 characters or fewer! Also, support for my fellow bros, ladies, ladybros, ladydudes, brofaces, etc. All of y’all, no matter what pronouns you use. (Binary-gendered trans* writers are welcome, too, if you want to join in!)

Who knows — maybe this will take off in a big way. Or it’ll just be me and two other folks, sitting in our Twitter stream, sipping our tea/coffee/cocoa. Whatever happens, I’m happy. Sometimes it’s just enough to carve out your own little space in the world.

 

Thoughts? Want to join in with #ziewrites? Don’t want to join, but think it’s cool anyway? Leave me a comment below: I love hearing from y’all.

Advertising — yes, I’m hosting it

You may have noticed, if you visit this site without adblock activated, that I have started hosting ads in the far right column. I did this via Project Wonderful, because I’d heard good things about them (and several webcomics that I read/have read over the years use them for advertising). I can now add to the good things I’ve heard about them — I love Project Wonderful. I highly recommend investigating them if you’re thinking of putting ads on your site (or if you’re thinking of advertising your site). They’re friendly, easy to use, and they accepted me as a publisher! (I totally didn’t see that coming, let me tell you.) Not only that but the person who reviewed my blog said I now have a new reader (which made me blush and giggle) and thanked me for becoming a publisher with PW. Hello, new reader! I don’t know your name, but I like your face. 

(Side note and full disclosure: if you do decide to advertise with Project Wonderful and you sign up via the link above, I’ll get a bit of money back for whatever you spend. So if you’re looking for a way to help out your favourite most foul-mouthed most-tolerated author, that’s one way. Another way? Just mail me boxes and boxes of Nutella.)

The main reason I did this? I would like to start making money from blogging. I think that’s fair enough, as I’ve been doing it for years and I’m now at the stage of broke that if I don’t monetize* my blog, I have to stop writing for it. I basically can’t afford to do anything that’s not related to work stuff these days. Which has brought all the guilt back into sex.

The ads won’t be huge, or disruptive — but some of them are going to be NSFW, because that’s the maximum rating I chose for them.

So this is an official heads up. There will be some NSFW ads on this site. I will check my bids frequently and try to make sure that all is in line with my personal ethics. Right livelihood, and all that. But, you know, be prepared for NSFW stuff.

Which you should be anyway, if you’re here. I swear more than Bellica Yarrow does and I post pictures of cats. That’s definitely not safe for a lot of jobs. Unless your job is to read awesome blogs all day — be careful, my young Padawans.

 

Thoughts on advertising? Do you use it yourself on your blog? Are you pissed that I’m a sell-out, because damn authors, needing to eat and shit? Do you think the juxtaposition of eating and shitting in that last sentence was unfortunate, or awesome? Did I use the word juxtaposition correctly?

I love hearing from y’all, so go ahead and leave me a comment.

 

*Another side note: I hate the word monetize. I really do.

My mother-in-law’s cats

My mother-in-law — well, bonus mom, ’cause she’s not technically an in-law yet — has two cats. Xander and Willow. (The names are a coincidence. I swear.)

Awww, who’s a pretty kitty?

Willow is a pretty mellow ginger kitty who has set himself up as my NaNoWriMo mascot. By which I mean he likes to sleep on the back of the couch that I sit on to write when I’m at my boyfriend’s house, and whenever I’m not clicking away on the keyboard I get kitty claws on my tits.

He generally keeps to himself, but does ask for pets and cuddles. Aside from a bit of a foot fetish and a weird, pervy side that involves licking himself in places while staring at my bonus mom lecherously, he’s a pretty normal cat.

Bad picture, so I tried to fix it in post. This did not work so well.

Xander is a Bengal, and he’s neurotic but sweet. He also has chronic sinus infections, so we call him Darth Xander. We also call him FaceHugger, because if you sit down with open body language in the house, you will get a face full of Bengal within three seconds. (He likes to press his forehead against the human clavicle/cheekbone/neck area, because pressing down on the sinuses feels good during a sinus infection. Don’t believe me? Try a showerhead massage on your forehead next time you have a sinus headache.)

The upstairs bathroom has rules: keep the lid on the toilet down or Xander will fling whatever he can reach into the bowl. Also, the wastebasket keeps the door propped open, or one or both of the cats will slam the door closed. He drinks water using a paw to scoop it out of the bowl, generally directly after he’s used the litter box — then, if he’s by the bowl while you’re replacing the water, he’ll freak out and run away if you put it down too fast. He loves playing with Nerf gun darts.

He’s also scared of muffins.

I spent the weekend at my boyfriend’s, because that’s what I do on weekends. Boyfriend and I decided to watch something on the TV in the family room. The door to the front hallway and stairs was slightly open. Halfway through whatever we were watching, the door slammed by itself.

Or, rather, Xander decided to join us, and slammed the door as soon as he walked in. He then proceeded to run around in circles, yowling like a gorram fire engine, panicking because he was trapped in the room, for a full five minutes.

“I’m not letting you out because then you’ll never learn,” said Mr. Katje.

Eventually Xander stopped yowling, and sat down on a chair and stared intensely at us until we let him out.

Having cats around means my endorphin levels are always high. From all the laughter.

Pets: a natural high.

Galactica is trying to murder me

She knows I’m a Cylon.

Galactica is my 1987 Volvo Station Wagon. She’s a good ship, but then she does shit like try to kill me and I feel like beating her with a hammer. Or calling up Aaron Douglas and screaming “WHY WON’T YOU MAKE MY BIRDS FLY? I need my birds to fly!

The latest shit she pulled was this weekend. I was heading to my friend’s house in Burnaby for a Friday night write-in. It was raining, which is the usual in Vancouver from about the end of September to the end of June. It was night time as well, which is usual after the sun sets. I had my wipers going so I could see and not crash and die in a fiery ball of fiery death.

Then there was a clunk! and a scraaaaaaaappppppeeeeeee, and suddenly I couldn’t see out the driver’s side window. The wiper blade had come loose and flipped itself so it was now pointing outwards, and the metal bit that holds the blade on (I have no idea what these things are called, ok, I just drive the car and check my oil once a week) was scraping the windshield glass.

I pulled over and turned on my emergency flashers and stood in the pouring rain trying to fix the godsforsaken thing for about twenty minutes, perhaps half an hour. I’m not sure, because when my limbs freeze I lose track of time. It soon became apparent that I would not be able to reattach the wiper blade in the dark and driving rain, because what the fuck do I know about wiper blades, so I did the next best thing.

I drove with my window down and wiped the rain away by hand. The wiper blade was separate from the arm-thingy, so I just had to hold it by the corner, lean forward, and wipe away the rain when it got too thick.

The only problem with this is I have to use my left hand to wipe the windshield, and that’s my writing hand. So by the time I reached my friend’s place for the write-in, my hand was numb and cramped and wanted to fall off. I…didn’t get much writing done. Also her cat distracted me. It’s a valid excuse.

After the write-in I managed to fit the blade back onto the arm, and started the drive home. It was still raining, so I turned on the wipers. And the godsdamned thing flipped again, after about five minutes of driving.

I spent the entire drive from Burnaby to Coquitlam wiping by hand. I was exhausted and had frostbite on my hand by the time I got home. Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating, I was cold ok.

Once I reached home, I was able to fix the wiper blade again. I have a brightly-lit underground parkade in which to park my car, therefore there was light! And I could see what I had been doing horribly, horribly wrong before!

I fixed it and went to bed.

Saturday I decided to go to my boyfriend’s house. He lives in Delta. It was misting outside, but nothing as serious as rain. When I got about ten klicks from home — ie, past the point of no return — the rain started, so I turned on my wipers.

Oh, wait, make that wiper. Now that the driver’s side blade was fixed, the arm refused to work. I spent the entire drive looking out the passenger side of the windshield. Or out the window. That was fun. I love driving slowly and getting my face all chapped.

I am now stranded, more or less. Ogre’s going to take a look at the wipers and see if he can fix them, but if he can’t I have to go home before sunset so it’s a bit safer, and then I will be stuck at home until…I don’t know. Until it stops raining, or I have money for transit. So. June. (Gas is cheaper than transit right now.)

So much for my plan of not being a shut-in anymore now that I moved to Coquitlam.

ETA, 6:42pm: My boyfriend fixed it. Because he’s a frakkin genius, that’s how. (That or he’s more like Chief than I realized. In which case...win.)

Canada, you are drunk. Give me your keys.

From the “Oh Gods, Canada, Stop Failing At Everything” files.

The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, or the QDJM, has been given to women who are in jail for injunctions at abortion clinics. These people are anti-choicers, and they get a medal.

From the article (bolding mine):

“Unlike the justice minister, Vellacott was unable to award these medals to the victims of crime, because these baby victims are dead, so instead the award to those ‘heroines of humanity’ Mary Wagner and Linda Gibbons who are trying to protect defenceless, voiceless human beings in the womb from butchery and death, and trying to let vulnerable women know that there are other options and support and adoption possibilities,” Vellacott said in his statement. “It’s what you would expect in a caring compassionate society.”

Vellacott continued, “It’s a pretty upside down world when we honour abortionists like Henry Morgentaler for killing over 5,000 babies and imprison precious women, like Mary Wagner and Linda Gibbons, who try to save babies from such savagery. They are the real heroes of humanity!”

Excuse me while I vomit. Caring and compassion are, apparently, not for the uterus-bearing people who have to deal with the business of getting pregnant. Caring and compassion are reserved for collections of cells living parasitically in our bodies. Or for people who believe we shouldn’t be given a choice.

Of course, the QDJM is largely a joke anyway. The people who get it don’t deserve it, and the people who deserve it are turned down. All in the name of honoring the Queen — well, tell me, Your Majesty, how do you feel about your medal being given to people who don’t believe you should have control over your own body? I think, were I in your position, I’d be pretty mad.

At this point I think the Conservative Party should win Canada’s Worst Driver. Forever. They are driving drunk and running this country into the ground and various trees.

Return of the Zombie Bugs

The Raid attack on the zombie bugs only had an 80% effectivity rate. Many of the bugs continue to live.

Some flit around the still-empty pantry; I’ve seen more still in the kitchen. These die as they appear, but every day new soldiers take their place. I don’t know from where they come, and I continually search for food that may be infested. If the slightest air of suspicion surrounds it, it goes to the garbage.

I can often be seen in my kitchen, holding my instrument of bug death: a Swiffer, upright, sans cloth on its flat surface. I shout and twist, reaching the hammer of impending doom up towards the ceiling, slamming it down on soft insect bodies.

“Die, you scum-sucking ally of Satan!”

Mom turns to me and says, completely serious, “It’s good to see you go on a maniacal killing spree.”

“Says my mother the Buddhist,” I mutter sardonically, squishing another destroyer of grains beneath my large, modern mop.

It is a long war. A new battle rages every day. I do not know how long the enemy will last…or how much longer I can stand up to them before allowing myself to be overrun.

I begin to think the only solution is to nuke Coquitlam from orbit.

There’s one in every group

Quite honestly, though, there is one guy in every group of people who want to discuss feminism at more than a 101 level who just has to bring it back down to a 100 level.

That happened Thursday night.

As a volunteer for VIWF, I have the option to enter into a ticket lottery to win one comp ticket to an event I want to see. I managed to score a ticket for Women and Literature, which was my first choice.

I was super-stoked. This was definitely the one event I really wanted to see.

The event was a panel of four women authors and a woman moderator/interviewer/timekeeper who would ask questions. The authors were Kate Mosse from the United Kingdom, Gail Jones from Australia, Gillian Jerome from British Columbia, and Susan Swan from Ontario. Here is the summary of the event:

In response to the 1991 Booker Prize nominee list, which included not one female author, novelist Kate Mosse founded the Orange Prize to celebrate outstanding fiction by women throughout the world. Now, more than 20 years later, poet Gillian Jerome has founded Canadian Women in the Literary Arts in response to the critical reception of women’s creative writing. In this so-called post-feminist world, does the literary and critical environment reflect what’s really happening? Susan Swan, novelist and past chair of the Writers’ Union of Canada, has followed issues of gender equality in writing for decades. Australia’s Gail Jones, an award-winning author and professor of writing, brings an international perspective to this panel discussion.

When the “post-feminist world” was mentioned, I and several other audience members guffawed. Jokes were made about Gillian Jerome’s binder, because it was full of women.

The discussion was good, and pretty much completely unsurprising to me. Women authors get reviewed less often than male authors do. It’s assumed that boys and men cannot relate to books written by women, but can relate to books written by men. It’s assumed that boys and men must have a male protagonist in order to enjoy the story — and boys and men are socialized to believe this from an early age. Women don’t get shortlisted as often, or win as often, many prominent literary prizes. Women are more generous readers than men — they’re more likely to read books with male protagonists with whom they can’t fully relate than men are to read books with female protagonists — I mean, obviously, women have had to be more generous readers with regards to that, because it’s not as if their stories have been centered in literature for centuries.

And women and feminists say these things, say “This is what is going on, let’s talk about it,” and we get “Why are you so angry? Are you a lesbian? Do you hate men?” in response. Anytime more women authors become visible — anytime women become more visible in any field — it’s seen as a takeover. All male = neutral.

And this discussion was refreshing, because it seemed we were actually able to talk about these things, for once, without derail.

I was too happy, too soon.

There was time for only three questions at the end. I finally worked up the courage to raise my hand for the last question — I wanted to know what their perspective was on genderqueer authors who had lived as women and still were assumed to be women finding spaces within women’s literature, within the circles of women authors supporting each other, etc — but the question went to a dude down at the end of my row instead.

His question had nothing to do with the discussion. It had to do with feminism in general, and he prefaced it by saying “This is going to be a controversial question, and of course I believe in women’s equality.”

Pro-tip: if you have to preface your ‘controversial’ question with ‘of course I believe in _____’, it’s a pretty huge red flag that you actually don’t believe in ___. No matter how much you think you do.

Continue reading “There’s one in every group”

A Brief Wondrous Talk from Junot Diaz

Slight trigger warning: mention of rape, colonialism

Wednesday night my volunteer shift was during Junot Diaz‘s reading and Q&A session (followed by signing). I’d never heard of him before then — apparently a lot of Canada hasn’t, even though he’s fairly well known in the States. For me, I think it’s just because I tend to know authors within a certain genre — speculative fiction — and I don’t really pay attention to what’s called ‘mainstream’ fiction.

But I fell in love with him during his talk.

He talked about how science fiction and comic books are the genres he read, because things that were unrealistic were the only way to explain his life as a Dominican immigrant living in New Jersey. How the life of oppressed people is spoken to not through ‘mainstream’ fiction, but through the fantastic, the strange, because when you live with society’s great boot on your neck life doesn’t add up according to the master narrative. His book The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao has a quote from The Fantastic Four on the epigraph page.

He talked about white privilege and said ‘motherfucker’ so many times I lost count. He talked about how he’s fascinated with how we privilege masculinity and the invisible power that goes with growing up a man, yet how that gets diluted if you’re not masculine enough; he talked about the history of colonialism and rape within the Caribbean — how do you form loving intimate relationships when your ancestral line was raped into existence? — and how the “exoticism” and “unbridled sexuality” of Caribbean and African-American women as viewed by mainstream society is directly linked to that. How do you admit centuries of rape and conquest without actually admitting it? Well, just say they’re naturally very sexual people. (See: the sexualizing of Native Women.)

I was writing down some of the things he said because they were so true, I wanted to get as exact quotes as I could. (I’m not a fast writer, however, so some errors will occur.)

On his political views and how they blend into his work:

Anyone who’s a reader knows no book is not a political act.

On the exclusivity of literature:

The biggest strength of any work is its stupendous particularity.

On the difference between religious works and literary ones:

The Bible and the Koran make universal claims that freeze people out. Literature, in its stupendous particularity, invites […] people in.

He spoke about how, as writers, we must work hard at the parts we’re really shit at — which is why he wrote a story entirely in second-person viewpoint. He says it took him 11 years to write his first book and 16 to write his second, and that’s because writing is really difficult for him — and that there needs to be space for people for whom things that they’re good at take a long time. We have this idea that if someone is good at something, it should come quickly and easily to them — but that’s not always true.

I got to meet him afterwards, when I went to get his book [that I’d picked up as soon as the reading was over] signed. He was incredibly sweet; he gave me a hug and a kiss on each cheek, and was totally unassuming. I told him I’d never heard of him before that night — “It’s ok, sweetie, no one has” — but that I loved him already — “Aw, thank you.” He thanked me personally for volunteering, and he’d said thank you to all the volunteers during his talk.

I’m now the very proud owner of a copy of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, signed to me.

I’m glad I got to see him speak, because he confirmed what I’d thought for a while: you can still be a successful writer and be political on your social media accounts, your blog, in public. We get told, as indie authors, to leave politics and religion out of it, that it has nothing to do with our books.

My book is about political turmoil and revolution. It’s about warring goddesses and the mortal chess pieces they move across the board. It’s a feminist writing experiment with using female-centric language in a matriarchal society.  How can religion and politics not have anything to do with my book? And if writing about politics on my blog or my Facebook or my Twitter turns people off from me as an author, then that’s their loss. I do not apologize.

My politics are an intrinsic part of who I am, and you will find just as many posts about them here as you will find posts about what I ate for breakfast or my hilarious conversations with my boyfriend. You will find fewer posts about my religion, because I have an entire blog for that elsewhere — but I will never shy away from admitting that yes, I am a deeply religious person, and no, that’s not incompatible with paganism, nor is it incompatible with supporting science or rational thought or evolution or anything else that tends to get held up as mutually exclusive with religion. And my religion does deeply inform my writing, so no — I will not hide it. Not here.

Junot Diaz reminded me that what’s important to me is never not relevant to my writing career. He re-sparked my desire to be political on this blog and my social media accounts. He helped me remember why I write in the first place: because a book can change the world, one person at a time.