August 2014


Shakin' the Family Tree on Facebook

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Sunday, September 21st, 2014 02:33 am

This is the freebie for the September Crowdfunding Creative Jam.  It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] ellenmillion.  It also fills the "beautiful" square in my 9-1-14 card for the [community profile] genprompt_bingo fest and the "space travel" square on my Wordsmith Bingo card.  This poem belongs to The Blueshift Troupers project.

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Sunday, September 21st, 2014 06:44 am

Today I hit a point where I was really, really done with Facebook. Their real names policy is morphing into a real gender policy, and they are already cracking down. The digital jackboot is at our throats, people. Joking aside, this is serious stuff for anyone who is directly affected — anyone who happens to be transgendered, anyone who is trying to avoid a stalker or past abuser, anyone whose views are dangerously unpopular. The list is endless, really. Google messed up with this in the nymwars fiasco, but it seems that Facebook has not done the right thing by following suit.

Zuckerberg: I’m looking right at you. You have a choice to do the right thing, to be on the right side of history, or be remembered as that billionaire douchebag whose online service everyone left because they couldn’t stomach the transphobia and the misogyny. Fix it. Fix it now, or you’re MySpace. Mark my words.

In my previous post here, I made it pretty clear that I’m not going to play the Facebook game again until such time as they capitulate and end their heinous policy. This led to me thinking further, however — how could I maintain some kind of writing/blogging presence that doesn’t involve giving Facebook my time, but would still make it possible to stay in touch with people. I don’t want to lose the connections I’ve made there.

idncI did a bit of digging around. I’ve had this WordPress blog for a little while now, but hadn’t posted too much. It was originally intended to be just a home for my musical endeavours, but they are sparse enough that it seemed to make sense to do more with it. Then it dawned on me that I could syndicate my blog posts across most of the platforms I care about, including Facebook, Google+, LiveJournal, DreamWidth, Twitter and Tumblr, without it taking forever to actually maintain a presence on all of those sites.

So here I am. On everything, posting from digital nowhere.

If this posts everywhere I hope it does, it’ll be the first time I’ve posted in some of those places in years. 2009 for DreamWidth!

(Please pardon the heinous SEOification in the tags on sites that support it — I really want this seen, so I’m cheating. And please, please share the original post if you feel you are able. This kind of thing can’t be allowed to stand.)

Please note: this was cross-posted from my main blog at -- If you want me to definitely see your replies, please reply there rather than here.

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Saturday, September 20th, 2014 11:56 pm

This poem came out of the September 16, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from DW user [personal profile] peoriapeoriawhereart[personal profile] zianuray, and Shirley Barrette. It also fills the "afternoon" square in my 9-1-14 card for the [community profile] genprompt_bingo  fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the series P.I.E.

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Saturday, September 20th, 2014 07:59 pm
No matter what page I'm on, it just keeps loading. Even long after the page has finished loading, but it won't let me stop loading. I mean, the browser says it's done, but the spinner is still in place on the tab. Anyone else getting this?

I'm on the latest Chrome, on a mac. And that spinner is annoying.
Saturday, September 20th, 2014 04:23 pm
 Thanks to a donation from LJ user Kestrels_nest, there are 5 new verses in "Pitfalls."  See what resources Brenda finds.
Saturday, September 20th, 2014 02:48 pm
The September Crowdfunding Creative Jam is open on Dreamwidth and on LiveJournal.  This month's theme is "new ideas in old problems."  Come give us prompts, or claim ideas for your own inspiration!

From My Prompts

[personal profile] dialecticdreamer has written to my prompt about an alien helping an injured man.  Click to read an excerpt now, and watch for more to appear on her website later.  So far this looks like pretty awesome science fiction.

What I Have Written

"Dreams into Space" -- this session's freebie.

"An Inconvenient Proposal" -- 132 lines, $66
This inspired the free-verse poem "An Inconvenient Proposal." Victor has never been good at dissuading unwanted suits, but he's not alone anymore. 

Saturday, September 20th, 2014 02:16 am

This poem came out of the September 16, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by DW users [personal profile] mdlbear[personal profile] jazzyjj, and LJ user Zianuray.  It also fills the "physical imperfections" square in my 9-1-14 card for the [community profile] ladiesbingo fest.  This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette.  It belongs to the series P.I.E.

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Friday, September 19th, 2014 11:28 pm
Thanks to a donation from Anthony & Shirley Barrette, "Straight as an Arrow" is now complete. Stan and Lawrence talk about their feelings for each other and their relationship.

This unlocks "Before the Fever Breaks" (628 lines, Buy It Now = $314) which is now eligible for sponsorship or microfunding.
Friday, September 19th, 2014 05:10 pm
Yesterday, Jed posted a link to a really awesome essay by sci-fic/fantasy author Kate Elliott, "The Status Quo Does Not Need World Building." It's fantastic, and you should all go read it. Elliott provides a lot of food for thought, but here's a key quote:

When people write without considering the implications of material culture & social space in the story they are writing, they often unwittingly default to an expression of how they believe the past worked. This is especially true if they are not thinking about how the material and the social differ from culture to culture, across both space and time, or how it might change in the future.

Which details a writer considers too unimportant to include may often default to the status quo of the writer’s own setting and situation, the writer’s lived experience of social space, because the status quo does not need to be described by those who live at the center of a dominant culture.

This is a fantastic observation, and I would extend it a little further -- when the writer leaves out world building details, the readers are going to fill them in, and whether it was the author's intention or not, the readers will default to either the writer's dominant culture or their own. And this got me to thinking about John Scalzi's latest novel, Lock In.

(Note: Spoilers ahead! Well, sort of. No plot spoilers, but there are storytelling spoilers, one in particular that Scalzi seems to have gone out of his way not to mention. So if learning that kind of thing in advance of reading the book will bother you, read the book before you read my comments. It's a great book, and a fast read. So go on, read it. We'll wait.)

Okay, everybody ready? )
Friday, September 19th, 2014 11:59 am
Abigail Nussbaum’s review of Lucy explains really well what I liked, and didn’t like, about it.

I also liked [personal profile] rachelmanija's review of Lev Grossman’s The Magicians—if you can stand spoilers (heed the content warnings), there is good discussion in the comments.

Daniel Abraham )

Loki down under )

Steven Brust & Skyler White )

Jim Butcher )

James S.A. Corey )

A Justice League Mirrorverse crossover )

Friday, September 19th, 2014 09:06 am
The Caramel Macchiato Kiss, by Jennifer Montgomery.

A cute romance novella about Callie, who’s starting college and also starting as a barista, and her romance with Justin, the sweet but ever-so-slightly-mysterious boy she meets after hours. They bond over their mutual love of hot caramel and dislike of actual coffee. This is pure comfort reading, high on likability and low on conflict; needless to say, Justin’s secret is the opposite of dark. Sweet and fluffy as a caramel macchiato.

The Caramel Macchiato Kiss (The Coffee Shop Romances Book 1)

The Italian Soda Summer, by Jennifer Montgomery

The second in the Coffee Shop Romances series, but you could read it first. Maddie, a college student, falls for Alessandro, a grad student who will only be in town for the summer. Though still sweet, this one has more of a melancholy tinge; the characters not only feel like real people, they feel like real college students, sometimes pretentious, sometimes moody, sometimes idealistic. The romance progresses largely through earnest yet entertaining conversations about art and life and so forth. It still has a comforting feel, but it’s got more meat to it than the first novella. Very enjoyable.

The Italian Soda Summer (The Coffee Shop Romances Book 2)
Friday, September 19th, 2014 12:18 pm
Once you called at midnight
to talk about Hindemith,
to tell me how his overtones connect each bar,
invisible thread, sounds we can't hear.
These harmonics guide us through the music, resolve
the twelve tones like mist in a valley,
the reflection of sky in water,
the illusion that what's unnamed remains unformed.
Our voices connected by black wire,
words carried on waves.

We are the strain and stress of a line,
the poem's tension singing in each black wire
of words, and between the first line and the last.
We are the angle of light that burns water,
the point of intersection that creates perspective.

You have lived Brecht's parable of the Chalk Circle.
When I was caught in the middle, you let go
so I wouldn't be torn to pieces.
Your actions have taught me what it is to love -
that it's holding back, as well as holding.

For the first time I'm going
where you can't join me. I know that home
is the one place you won't come.
But you of all people must understand -
the need to hear my language in every mouth.
I can't think in America.

I've never let myself describe you
and now there's no time left
your meaning spills out of me
like the essence of an atom cracking
on the edge of speed's bowl,
liquid in its longing to become part of something else,

Flesh moves to become spirit.
You were the only one to understand my conversion.
Many people have asked me about God;
my proof is manifestation,
that God can be called
'getting over fear'.

I wanted badly that truth be a single thing;
now I know it won't be measured.

It wasn't Heisenberg or Hindemith, but you
who convinced me
that nothing can be unravelled to its core,
that truth is a field, a cage, a cloud of sound.
How else to reconcile the faces of those running away
with the faces of those turning away,
with the faces of those in uniform - that hair-shirt
that says more about a man than his eyes
because you can't tell the parts of his face
that are his.
How else to encompass both that crying and those
orders; the sound of my own voice
begging, and my voice telling jokes to the man
without shoes beside me on a train;
how else to encompass the moon's chilling scream
as it calls out in its bad sleep above the earth
and your voice on the phone,
waking me in Paris, Los Angeles, New York.
Friday, September 19th, 2014 12:01 am
This story belongs to the series Love Is For Children which includes "Love Is for Children," "Hairpins," "Blended," "Am I Not," "Eggshells," "Dolls and Guys,""Saudades," "Querencia," "Turnabout Is Fair Play," "Touching Moments," "Splash," "Coming Around," "Birthday Girl," "No Winter Lasts Forever," "Hide and Seek," "Kernel Error," "Happy Hour," "Green Eggs and Hulk,""kintsukuroi," and "Little and Broken, but Still Good."

Fandom: The Avengers
Characters: Natasha Romanova, Phil Coulson, Clint Barton, Betty Ross, Bucky Barnes.
Medium: Fiction
Warnings: Mention of human trafficking and nonconsensual drug use. Slightly offstage sexual violence. Dubcon/Noncon.
Summary: Sometimes the Black Widow needs to hunt, and sometimes she needs help settling her personality afterwards. Uncle Phil arranges an extra ageplay session.
Notes: Hurt/comfort. Family. Fluff and angst. BAMF!Black Widow. Black Widow is creepy. Spiders. Coping skills. Asking for help and getting it. Hope. Nonsexual ageplay. Caregiving. Competence. Girl stuff. Toys and games. Gentleness. Trust. #coulsonlives

Begin with Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9.

Read more... )
Thursday, September 18th, 2014 11:43 pm
 ... has some obvious flaws.  Some of these are things that Asimov himself explored in stories.  The matter has become more urgent these days with people deploying drones that can kill human beings.
Thursday, September 18th, 2014 10:45 pm
See thumbnails for the unsold P.I.E. poems from this week. 
Friday, September 19th, 2014 02:29 am
Some days, although we cannot pray, a prayer
utters itself. So, a woman will lift
her head from the sieve of her hands and stare
at the minims sung by a tree, a sudden gift.

Some nights, although we are faithless, the truth
enters our hearts, that small familiar pain;
then a man will stand stock-still, hearing his youth
in the distant Latin chanting of a train.

Pray for us now. Grade 1 piano scales
console the lodger looking out across
a Midlands town. Then dusk, and someone calls
a child's name as though they named their loss.

Darkness outside. Inside, the radio's prayer -
Rockall. Malin. Dogger. Finisterre.
Thursday, September 18th, 2014 04:26 pm
Thanks to a donation from [personal profile] janetmiles, you can read the first 26 verses of "Pitfalls."  Darrel and Brenda get ambushed by drugrunners and have to make their way back to civilization.

Microfunded poetry releases new material in pieces as each verse gets funded.  At $.50 per line, this is a great way get new poetry if you're on a tight budget.