Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my post-election ennui. Now I'm doing something about it.

Today is #GivingTuesday, and regardless of how you feel about the proliferation of Thanksgiving holiday adjuncts (Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, etc.), there are many opportunities to amplify your donations today and this week due to other people and organizations matching funds.

And sure, those folks could just give their money freely instead of digging a hole in the ground, but it's their money. Anyway, the point of matching funds is to spread awareness and encourage others to give as well.

I'm taking the advice of many wiser people and setting up monthly donations to support causes I believe in. I can spare $100 a month—that's $10 to each group, in case you're counting—and here's where it's going:
  1. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) - not tax deductible, FYI.
  2. Planned Parenthood (PPFA) - tax deductible "to the fullest extent allowable," because laws matter, goddammit.
  3. Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) - "fully tax deductible as allowed by law, less the fair market value of any substantial gifts received."
  4. Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) - now based in Portland, Oregon!
  5. Black Lives Matter - "IDEX provides services such as fiduciary oversight, financial management, and other administrative services to Black Lives Matter. IDEX is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization for both federal and state purposes. Our federal tax identification number is 77-0071852."
  6. Native American Rights Fund - not just because their acronym is NARF.
  7. National Immigration Law Center - because immigrants, we get the job done.
  8. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) - "a not-for-profit organization recognized as tax-exempt under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3)."
  9. Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) - "a 501(c)(3) under federal tax guidelines. TAX ID: 77-0646756"
  10. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) - the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer civil rights organization in the United States.
So. Tell me. What are you doing to fuck shit up?


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

We Can Be Heroes

Hello. This is my post-terrible-election blog. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

I've had a lot of thoughts and feelings over the past week. I haven't been very productive, writing-wise. But here, I think, is some much-needed perspective:


To wit, nobody should be surprised to learn that America—overall, historically, demonstrably—is racist as fuck. Non-white minorities have always known this. If you look like any kind of brown person, it's something you have to deal with every single day. (I could tell you stories. Oh boy, could I tell you stories. But later.)

So. Racism wins: not that surprising. Still devastating, yeah. Many of us hoped for better from our fellow citizens. But we are ready to face this.

Remember back in the year 2000, in DC Comics, when Lex Luthor was elected President of the United States? That's right, evil supervillain Lex Luthor. And that motherfucker was a straight-up murderer.

That storyline had some logic issues, as pointed out in the article linked above, but my point is: we've been imagining dystopias for, well, ever. 1984, Fahrenheit 451, The Handmaid's Tale, is any of this ringing a bell?

This situation is nothing new. We've been seeing it for years, in fiction and in other nations' oppressive regimes. The difference is that now, we get a chance to fight for real. We are the Rebel Alliance. We are the Maquis. We are the Green Martians.

So fight, if you haven't already been fighting. Fight for the oppressed. Fight for those who are weaker and less privileged than yourself. Donate money if you can. Volunteer if you have time. Fight for truth, justice, and the goddamn American way. Because this is where heroes are made, in the crucible of change.

And never forget—this is important—always remember, we are stronger together.

We all have a choice: to kneel before Zod, or to rise up with Alexander Hamilton.

What will you choose?


P.S. If you don't know where to start, HOLY FUCK THE ELECTION might help.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

My OryCon 38 Schedule

Next weekend (Nov.18-20) I'll be reading, paneling, and drinking at Oregon's premier, fan run, annual science fiction/fantasy convention held in Portland. Please stop by the Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront if you're around. We can raise a glass to freedom, if nothing else...

Thursday night 11/17 (pre-con)

Karaoke with friends. Contact me for details, if we be friends.

Find me to get KANGAROO swag!

Friday 11/18

4pm - Reading from Kangaroo Too - Hawthorne (2)
You won't believe where the superpowered secret agent is going next, in the forthcoming sequel to Waypoint Kangaroo! #clickbait

5pm - Panelist: "Social Media and the Modern Writer" - Meadowlark (3)
with Lizzy Shannon, Stephanie Weippert, Elton Elliott, Katie Lane
Websites, Facebook fan pages, email lists, contests, twitter, tumblr, Pinterest, ads, blogs and that annoying thing called a "platform": what works, what doesn't, and why you need to care (spoiler: you do).

Saturday 11/19

11am - Moderator: "First Page Idol" - Douglas Fir (3)
with Annie Bellet, Doug Odell, David Levine
Submit the first page of your novel to our talented author panelists, and listen to them read aloud that first page(keeping the writer's identity anonymous) and give thoughtful reactions. ADD(14 Nov 2016): E-mail your first page submission (please omit the author name) to: ww@orycon.org

2pm - Panelist: "How to Blurb Your Novel" - Meadowlark (3)
with Dale Ivan Smith, Tori Centanni, Lizzy Shannon
We all need them, we all hate them. Summing up our books may be harder than writing them in the first place! Learn techniques to write compelling book descriptions (aka "blurbs"), and hook readers.

3pm - Co-Host: "Sci Fi Ask Me Another! (Quiz Show)" - Columbia (L)
with Jeff Soesbe
Curtis Chen and Jeff Soesbe present a variety of games involving science fiction and fantasy trivia, puzzles, and wordplay. Audience participation is required, and rewarded! Can you make it to the final Elimination Game? Come have fun while competing for prizes!

7pm - Moderator: "The Star Trek Universe: My, How You've Grown!" - Columbia (L)
with Alma Alexander, Jennifer Willis, Phyllis Irene Radford
A wide ranging panel, with the changes (or consistencies) found in TOS, TNG, DS9, and all movies being fair game. Gene Roddenberry tried to create a future without racism or hatred, and a Federation that prioritized peace and non-interference. Yet disagreement, jealousy, envy, war, and a monetary system for keeping score of one's successes are all excellent literary plot devices. With the benefit now of 20/20 hindsight, did the writers succeed? Is the Star Trek future one you'd want to live in?

Sunday 11/20

11am - Panelist: "Feedback Workshop" - Douglas Fir (3)
with Susan Matthews, David Weber, Richard A. Lovett, David Levine
Bring your questions, manuscripts, critiques, etc. A hands-on workshop on how to apply the feedback you get from readers, editors, writer's workshops, critique groups, etc.

1pm - Autograph Session - Autograph Area (LL1)
with Blythe Ayne, Joyce Reynolds-Ward, Deborah Ross, David Dvorkin
Get your books (or whatever) signed by your favorite authors!

2pm - Panelist: "Hold on to Your Reader" - Douglas Fir (3)
with Caroline M. Yoachim, Maura van der Linden, Shawna Reppert
The wrong word choices can throw your reader right out of the story. Learn how to maintain suspension of disbelief.

4pm (offsite) - Powell's Sci-Fi Authorfest 10 (Cedar Hills Crossing)
"A starfleet of science fiction and fantasy authors descends for one galactic booksigning event. Meet Brent Weeks, Timothy Zahn, Daniel H. Wilson, Annie Bellet, Tina Connolly, David Levine, Curtis Chen, Lili Saintcrow, Dave Barra, Wendy Wagner, Jennifer Brozek, Mike Moscoe/Shepherd, J. A. Pitts, Devon Monk, Steve Perry, Patrick Swenson, Rhiannon Held, Diana Pharaoh Francis, Kevin James Breaux, and Deborah Ross."

For complete details, visit: orycon38.sched.org

ALSO: I will not be running the ORCs (Open Read & Critique sessions) this time around, but I've passed the torch to three new facilitators! If you're a writer looking for some fast feedback, see if any of these sessions will fit into your OryCon weekend:
  1. Friday 1pm with Jeremiah Reinmiller
  2. Friday 2pm with Stephanie Weippert
  3. Saturday 1pm with Stephanie Weippert
  4. Saturday 2pm with Mark Niemann-Ross
  5. Saturday 3pm with Jeremiah Reinmiller
  6. Sunday 1pm with Mark Niemann-Ross
Look for ORC rules and sign-up sheets outside the Willamette room (lobby level).