Tag Archives: Kay

Big news on the home front! Literally!

So we’ve been keeping this under our hats for a while now, but we’re far enough along that we think we can mention it now and hopefully not jinx it.

Kay & I are buying a house. We’re moving not particularly far, staying in Massachusetts. While Baz will be switching schools, we’re still plenty close enough to arrange regular play dates for him with his friends – though knowing Baz, he’ll have a clutch of new friends in no time.

Before anyone asks, no, we didn’t suddenly come into a ton of money. =P We’re getting help from my mom for the down payment. And our monthly mortgage payments will be about $5-$15 less than what we’re currently paying in rent.

There are a lot of reasons we’re motivated to do this now, as opposed to in the recent past or the near future:

  • We got an excellent price on the home, and the rates are amazingly low right now.
  • Kay’s new job pays better and is more fulfilling and rewarding than her previous job, and seems secure. *KNOCK WOOD*
  • Our current place is kind of run-down, and it’s been like pulling teeth to get the landlord to address maintenance issues.
  • The new place is in a great location, close to transportation, all kinds of shopping, convenient to the library, etc.
  • There are a few good local schools, one of which has a bus that goes within a few blocks of the house.
  • It’s a terrific house, that both Kay and I immediately knew would be great for us. It’s significantly bigger than our current place, with 2 extra bedrooms and a large grassy backyard.

That last one is, I think, the biggest motivation for us. We’ve wanted more room for a long time, for one specific reason.

Kay and I have talked for years about adopting a second child. We’ve wanted a brother or sister for Baz and, of course, another kid for us to adore. =) But we’ve always known that we’d need at least another bedroom, and preferably more space in general, before we could do that. Now, in our new home, we can finally move on that and hopefully find some boy or girl to welcome into our family.

How far along are we? Well we’ve signed the Purchase & Sale Agreement, so we’re committed. If everything goes well, we hope to have it wrapped up before New Year’s. We’re in frantic “THIS CAN’T REALLY BE HAPPENING?!” unloading-junk-and-panic-packing mode.

So… yes. That’s our big news on the home front. Literally. Please cross your fingers for us that the whole thing actually goes through.

What paying pro rates means to me (or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Kickstarter)

I realized after posting this that it probably didn’t make a whole lot of sense out of context. Considering the incredible success of our Crossed Genres Kickstarter, and how close we are to maybe-if-we’re-really-lucky reaching our goal of pro rates for CG Magazine, I figure it deserves a bit of explanation.

Since I started high school, I’ve wanted to be a writer. I entered college planning a Creative Writing major; some years later I went as far as to apply for graduate programs in Creative Writing. Kay and I are both 2-time NaNoWriMo winners, and I have a finished first draft of a novel sitting in a folder (along with several partial first drafts. I’ve even published a couple of stories, and I still write nonfiction (mostly for Wired’s GeekDad now).

Over the past few years, as Crossed Genres has grown and gotten more complex, my writing time has dwindled. Recently I’ve had almost no time at all for writing. I’ve told myself that I’d make time, but it’s difficult, and that’s depressed me.


As the Kickstarter’s passed 75% and then 80% and now sits at 85.5%, it’s seemed more and more possible that we might actually somehow make this crazy goal. It’s good in so many obvious ways: It was one of our big dreams back when we first founded CG Magazine; we get to help new authors get that huge, confidence-boosting first pro sale; we’ll draw more authors, publish even better work, gain greater recognition, etc. etc… It’s just good all around. Right?

Well there’s been a tiny fear at the back of my mind that the rise of the pro-rate CG Magazine means the death of my desire to be a writer. If I can’t find time to write now, how could I possibly find time when I’m managing a pro-rate magazine on top of the rest of CG?


Earlier this evening I was chatting online with Daniel José Older. We’re about to publish Daniel’s collection Salsa Nocturna in July.

At one point the conversation turned to how busy we both are – Daniel’s working on his MFA in Creative Writing, and I mentioned how it made me kind of jealous: “At this point I’m not sure when I’ll ever have the chance to write again!” I said it tongue-in-cheek, but knew as I said it that it was true.

But surprisingly, it didn’t bother me the way I expected it to. Because the thing that was preventing me from writing – the work I do as publisher and editor for CG – is a great thing.

And that’s when I realized why I was so unbelievably excited about the chance to pay pro rates. It’s because so many other people are excited that we might get the chance too. There are a LOT of people – those who’ve backed the Kickstarter, or helped spread the word, or supported us in other ways – who want us to do it. Every pledge and tweet and show of support is a vote of confidence in me and Kay and what we’re doing.

And that means that Kay and I have made the right decision to pursue this. It means that even if we don’t make the pro-rate goal, we’ve still accomplished and will accomplish incredible things, through shared respect and admiration with the people who support us.

I’ll write again – writers go on hiatus but they never stop. But right now, we’ve taken what started as a wisp of an idea (and no clue what we were doing) to the brink of what some would’ve called a pipe dream.

How can I be unhappy about what I’m not doing, when what I am doing is so special?

De-lurking from my own site

I haven’t posted here in over 5 months. Hey, I’ve been busy! Just ‘cuz I’ve been out of work… *cough*

No really I have been busy. So what’s drawn me out of hiding, you ask, you three who are actually reading this?

Well a couple of months ago Kay was laid off. As mentioned, I’ve been out of work since October. Thus, our finances got pretty messy. Kay got unemployment but of course that’s not even close to what she was earning, and our finances were damn tight even with that. So in the process of trimming the fat from our expenses, we came to the conclusion that there was just no way we could afford to keep paying the expenses for Crossed Genres.

We weren’t about to just ditch CG, though. We’ve been nurturing it for 3 1/2 years and it’s very important to us, and to a lot of other people. So we decided to go all-out, and run a Kickstarter project to fund Crossed Genres through 2013.

We spent quite a while planning it, and getting many of our peeps involved and excited. A lot of them donated items or services that we could offer as rewards for pledging to the Kickstarter. We also made a video, or rather we filmed Baz saying the things for the video while wearing a series of funny hats:

Finally we got the all-clear from Kickstarter, and launched the fundraiser! People started talking and donations began to come in. It was off to a pretty good start.

Then, really on a whim, I sent this tweet to Neil Gaiman, not really expecting anything to come of it:

To my surprise and delight, a few minutes later Mr. Gaiman posted this tweet:

Okay, so he said “two good anthologies” when in fact the KS is funding four books. He retweeted, and not just a basic RT: he took the time to look at it, and liked what he saw enough to write a new tweet for it. That was damn nice of him; he knows that his RTs to his 1.7 million followers can cause massive traffic flow and even crash sites (the occurrence even has its own hashtag, #Neilwebfail) – IOW, can sometimes make the difference between success for a project like ours, or failure.

I can’t say for sure how many pledges came via Gaiman and how many didn’t – and I still maintain that the REAL success was due to Baz’s irresistible cuteness in the video – but the pace of pledges accelerated significantly. I went to pick up Baz from school at 2:30, and he stayed to play in the playground a while; while he did I obsessively checked my phone every 2-5 minutes, and every time I did there was at least one new pledge, sometimes 3 or 4. This went on for a good hour.

By 10:55 am the following morning, I was able to post this absurdly excited tweet:

Yup, 22 hours. We’d been expecting a good month of begging for pledges, and instead we did it in less than a day.

So… now what? Well, after all the cheering and thank-yous and insanity, we announced a stretch goal – that is, a second larger goal once the first one’s been met. If we reached $5500 total, we would resurrect CG Magazine, which we’d retired due to financial/time constraints in December. We never really expected we’d get to do the stretch goal, but considering how the first day had gone, we figured we had a shot at even reaching that goal!

As of writing this, the KS is at $5,128. That’s right – we’re only $372 away from the stretch goal.

And the Kickstarter still has 29 days to go.

There’s a good chance we could reach $5500 by tomorrow. We don’t even know what we’ll do then. We have some ideas but this is so far above our expectations that we have to figure out how to keep it going, how to make it really worth it for all the 129 (so far) wonderful people who’ve pledged. We have some ideas, but we have to work it out fast!

Anyway I just had to post about it here, because we’re so damn hyper and excited about it. It’s really a huge, huge relief. So since i’m here, what else is going on?

  • Baz has started playing t-ball! He’s been to 2 Saturday sessions and has enjoyed it immensely. After the first one he insisted we go out and get him his first glove. I had a strap on my old glove that I’d taken from an earlier glove, and tied to each new glove as I’d gotten it – I took it off and tied it to Baz’s first glove. Got a bit teary, I’m not ashamed to admit.

    Here’s a video of his first-ever at-bat. It is HILARIOUS:

  • The captions on the Baz vid above were because I was reviewing a smartphone accessory – I’m writing for Wired’s GeekDad now. Kay has been writing for GeekMom for over a year, and now I’m the other half. I guess.
  • Baz’s birthday is the 31st; we’re having his party the weekend after, on Saturday the 2nd. It will be EPIC. That is all for now. But there shall be pictures.

I’m sure there’s more – I could talk about the other projects CG is working on, or the ongoing personal financial WTFery, but frankly the Kickstarter is still eating my brain. So maybe another post soon! Wouldn’t that be somethin’!

The Saga of Baz’s Arm

Last night around 7:30pm, Baz was sliding around on his brand new pirate socks. The house was newly cleaned and there was a lot of extra open hardwood floor to slide on. Even so, we were nervous. Kay was just telling Baz to stop before he got hurt (like, the words were just coming out of her mouth) when Baz fell.

His feet went out from under him and he fell back, landing hard on his elbow. It only took one look at his face when he stood up to know that it was more than just a bad bruise or something. Kay, having more experience than me with injuries of that nature, took a quick look at Baz’s elbow and declared that we were going to the E.R.

By the time 30 seconds more had passed, Baz was in a whole lot more pain. It was really obvious to us: Baz is the stoic type, he usually cries for half a minute when he hurts himself, and has forgotten about it half a minute later. Here, things were getting worse, not better.

Kay and I were ready and taking Baz out the door within two minutes. (I say “ready”, & we were good enough for the moment. More on that later.) We got Baz into the car & I drove as fast as was safe to Somerville Hospital.

At SH they determined pretty quickly that Baz had, in fact, broken his right elbow. Specifically, he’d broken the humerus bone. They told us it was the most common arm break they see. They managed to get one x-ray of it before Baz was really hurting and they had to stop, but the break was visible even to me and Kay. Baz was still in a lot of discomfort, so they gave him some child morphine to ease the pain, put his arm in a splint, and called to arrange for us to have him seen by a pediatric specialist at Mass General Hospital.

(“We are not amused.”)

By the time we got Baz into the car again he was feeling better – not good, but controlled. We drove (uneventfully, thankfully) to MGH.

I dropped Baz & Kay off & went to park the car. By the time I got back to them, Baz was clearly feeling better (or feeling the effects of the morphine) because he was doing his usual thing and charming the socks off of every single person he met. They got him set up and examined again, and then sent him for more x-rays because they had to be absolutely sure that they knew exactly what they were dealing with. Fortunately for Baz they were able to do the x-rays straight through his splint, so it didn’t hurt him too badly. He turned on the charm (and the extremely funny morhine-induced comments) to charm printed copies of the x-rays out of the techs for him to look at later.

(Baz – while on morphine, admittedly – decided that this x-ray rig
looked like Wheatley in Portal 2)

They decided after looking at the new x-rays that Baz needed a surgical procedure. They would insert 2 tiny pins into his elbow to hold it in place, and then put a cast on it. But they couldn’t do it that night, so they admitted Baz to stay overnight at the hospital.

The room was pretty nice, but of course there wasn’t a lot of room for other people; there was a chair that folded out into a tiny bed, and another regular chair.

After we got Baz settled in (and out like a light), I drove home. By this point it was about 2am. We’d realized that in our haste we’d left the house with all the windows open, and the cats were unfed. We were also missing some things: We’d remembered insurance info and a change of clothes for Baz, but Kay’d left in what she was wearing, and I’d just tossed on what I could grab – so I was in shorts and a t-shirt (and therefore freezing), and only one sock.

As we were frantically running around to leave the house, I’d discovered that all my socks were in the wash and we didn’t have time to wait, so I dug out one sock and put it on before leaving. Before driving from SH to MGH, I switched the sock from my left to my right foot because my driving foot was getting chafed from the shoe. When we were at MGH I managed to snag one of those rough hospital socks they give people, but I was still uncomfortable.

So I went home, secured the house, fed the cats, put together a bag of stuff to take back to the hospital, and collapsed into bed for a few hours. But I got up fairly early so I could get back to the hospital.

The night before they’d told us that the docs start doing their surgeries at 5am, and they couldn’t tell us when they were going to work in Baz. So I wanted to get back asap just in case. It’s a good thing I did because just about ready to go, Kay called to tell me that they’d told her Baz would be in by noon. And when I was about 3 blocks away, Kay texted me to say they’d moved him up to “any minute now”.

I parked and got to the elevator so damn fast… Reached the room and then we sat around for a while before it happened anyway.

Baz was mostly cheerful during the lead-up to surgery. We kept him amused with making fun of the blue scrubs thingies they made us put on. We talked to various doctors and anesthesiologists and signed consent forms, and then we went in. Baz was clearly nervous but held up really well. I tell you, it will freak out ANY parent to watch as a gas mask is laid over your child’s mouth and then his eyes roll up into his head and he passes out. I know it was normal and expected and everything but crap I’d like to never see that again, thanks.

After that there was no point in our being there for the actual procedure, so we took off our scrubs and were shown to a waiting room. When we got there we looked at the clock, and lo and behold it was almost exactly noon. So their initial prediction was pretty close.

We spent the next hour or so fidgeting with our phones trying to distract ourselves from our anxiety. I exchanged emails with my mom, who was coming over to see Baz (and bring me and Kay food – we hadn’t eaten anything except bagels early that morning).

The doc came out to tell us that the procedure went as well as could be hoped for, which was a huge relief. Then a bit later a nurse came to lead us to the post-op room where we could see Baz again.

When we got to him Baz was crying and refusing to open his eyes. Some of it was reacting to the meds, but he was also clearly upset to have woken up to a room of strangers. When Kay and I got there he started to calm down, tho his emotions were still roiled from the meds. The docs and nurses told us that after a couple hours the meds would have worn off enough that we could take him home.

My mom arrived, and stayed with Baz (who was much calmer by then) while Kay and I ducked into a food-safe room to wolf down the food mom brought. Then we went back and spent the time talking to Baz, just trying to make him feel calm & more relaxed (the nurse wanted to see his blood pressure drop, it was a bit high), and giving him his first food and drink since the night before. We told him that his cast was a very nice shade of green (they let him choose his color!) Baz did manage to fall asleep – real sleep – for a while, which was really good.

(Shh! There’s a boy under all those pillows…)

It’s hard to gauge exactly how much of Baz’s discomfort from moving is actual pain, and how much is not wanting to move, or expectation of pain. But suffice to say Baz didn’t want to walk around himself, and the idea of being carried seemed to make him nervous, so we got a wheelchair to wheel him out to the car. My mom was a really big help, both with keeping Baz calm and with dealing with stuff which freed us up to focus our attention on Baz’s comfort. Thanks mom!

We got Baz in the car & back home without too much trouble. He spent the rest of the day reclining on the couch, watching some tv, playing one-handed, and slowly eating. He conked out pretty early (while I was out picking up his pain med prescription), but we woke him long enough to give him some meds and give him some more food before transferring him to his bed for the night.

Overall, considering he broke his arm, it could have been so, so much worse. Baz is so hardy and generally cheerful and he’s really good at telling us (or the docs & nurses) when he likes/dislikes something, when something hurts or is better, etc. He got through the early part much better than I feared. The next 4 weeks with the cast are going to be challenging, especially the next few days while he gets used to having it, but I think he’ll adapt pretty quickly.

MANY thanks to all those of you who emailed or tweeted your thoughts to Baz! We read them all to him and they seemed to really cheer him up!

We’ll keep you posted on any new important/exciting developments. Tomorrow I may do another post on the multiple instances of irony which surrounded Baz’s injury.

Close communication.

Baz & I playing Lego Portal!

Baz is very taken with the video games Portal and Portal 2. He’s watched both me and Kay play the 1st game, and loves to watch walkthroughs of #2 on Youtube. He even knows most of the song from the end of the 1st game by heart, and I swear I will get him on video singing it sometime soon.

Tonight as I was playing Legos with him, I took a little drill made for a lego construction worker, stuck a couple extra pieces on, and handed it to Baz: “Look Baz, it’s a Portal gun!” His eyes lit up, and before I knew it I had made “Portal-able walls” and we were playing Portal tag with Lego figures. Then I made a full Test Chamber, and Baz & I ran it several times, much to his delight.

Fortunately Kay was smart enough to remind me to video everything, so here you go: a Youtube video of our Lego Portal evening!

Fat Girl in a Strange Land: Why this theme for an anthology?

Yesterday, CGP announced that we’re open for submissions to a new anthology, titled Fat Girl in a Strange Land. From the description:

In line with our mission to publish progressive speculative fiction, we’re opening for submissions to our Fat Girl in a Strange Land anthology. For it, we’re seeking science fiction and fantasy short stories with fat female protagonists going places they’ve never been before.

Fat can’t just be a passing detail of the main character’s physical description. It should have an impact on the plot and character development. Just like in real life, fat should be an asset or a liability, or even more realistically, both over time.

Fat shouldn’t be the only thing the main character has going on. She has a life, responsibilities, and plans. Strange Land could be part of that, or it could interfere with that (or both), but either way, the consequences will affect her life globally.

Because Strange Land stories are adventures, there should be risk involved. The stakes should be high for her, just like they are for all adventurers. Also, the Strange Land may or may not be a physical location. It could take the form of a major shift in perspective, or some other dramatic alteration of her existing landscape.

Although speculative fiction is all about navigating uncharted territory, fat remains a relatively unexplored frontier. With Fat Girl in a Strange Land, we’re taking fat places it’s never been before.

There’s been some great reaction so far, with a lot of people expressing desire to submit stories. It’s been talked about a bit too, with some interesting conversations about fat, what it means to write fat characters, is it different than writing thin characters, can thin people write fat well, and so on. On Twitter, @BeritEllingsen asked me “What was the reason you wanted to do an anthology about this particular theme?”

The answer is a bit too complicated for 140 characters, hence the blog post. Normally CGP-related posts go on the CGP blog, but this is as much personal as it is business, so I decided to tackle it here.

First, the title actually comes from a series of stories Kay wrote some time ago. Those stories were all fiction, not science fiction. But it was exactly what we wanted as the theme for the anthology so we cheerfully appropriated it.

So: Why a fat-themed anthology? All you have to do is browse the science fiction/fantasy section at a bookstore to know. How many fat characters are on the covers? If you find any at all – and it’s very hard – they’re usually the villain, or the doddering grandmother, or the comic relief. Fat people are never protagonists. In fact, look at future-scifi books and you might get the impression that in the future fat doesn’t exist any more.

And there have been numerous discussions in the SFF community in recent years about the number of skinny, scantily-clad women on book/magazine covers. While those discussions tended to focus on the exploitation and objectification of women, the dearth of overweight women in those covers didn’t escape notice.

We’ve had a few discussions about this over the past couple years, as recently as a week ago. Last week Kay wrote a post about fat in SFF for the Science in MY Fiction blog that sums up the reasons for the anthology pretty well:

Authors, we’re not doing anyone favors by dodging the facts of life. Fiction’s greatest purpose is to address reality in a way that frees readers to relate to it without suffering it directly. We certainly don’t make our writing any better by preempting the fat (or dark skin, or women, or children). If anything, we sabotage our stories by depriving our characters of experiences that matter to real people living in the real world.

This is of course all rooted in the stigmas of being fat. Fat is almost always used as an insult. Examples of positive fat characters or role models in popular culture are few and far between – hell, popular culture is actually structured around the thin-is-more-attractive idea. The conversation of why our culture is the way it is about fat is a long one and it would take forever to get into it all, but the lack of positive fat role models excludes an enormous percentage of people and reinforces the fat-is-bad/fat-is-unattractive idea. People end up stuck with those unfair stigmas.

Yes, stuck. Being fat isn’t usually a choice. But we treat it like it is.

Whenever I think about fat, it makes me think of a friend I had in high school who was incredibly thin – she constantly weighed under 100 pounds. And she ate a ton – she ate as much as me and I was a foot taller and 100 pounds heavier than her. She did it because if she didn’t eat that much, she dropped to dangerously underweight. Her metabolism was weird like that. Being thin wasn’t my HS friend’s choice – in fact it irritated her. Similarly, there are lots of reasons that people are fat, but by choice is almost never the reason.

And you know what? Why does it matter what the reason is? Naming reasons is like pointing fingers and assigning blame – but being fat isn’t bad. Except for the potential health problems with being overweight (our understanding of which could use some updating), there’s nothing wrong with being fat. But we treat it like a disgusting habit that the person is to weak-willed to give up (which is bullshit). And that just feeds the cycle of self-hatred.

The entire thin-as-ideal concept is absurd, anyway. It wasn’t so long ago in human history that larger women were sought after as wives. It’s only relatively recently that skinny became more widely socially preferable. But the primary driving reasons behind that – superficial appearance rather than health – are foolish.

As is always the case with us, we want CGP to encourage and promote discussion. And more importantly, we hate seeing any group of people excluded, and the omission of fat people in SFF doesn’t get enough attention. We’re publishing Fat Girl in a Strange Land to address that.

Wrong in all the right ways

Drinking margaritas made with the $200 bottle of tequila I gave Kay for her birthday last year. DAMN they’re good. So while slightly tipsy I thought I’d blog a bit. Unfortunately the best suggestions twitter could offer was a request for “blogging about drunken giraffes fornicating“. And since John Green of the Vlog Brothers already covered that way better than I could:

…you get a hodgepodge post instead.

Today at my job (I work at a law firm) was “Diversity Day”. I have no idea if it was intentionally held on Cinco de Mayo, but it was. Everyone in the firm was invited to bring in a dish from their cultural backgrounds for a pot luck. The food was surprisingly good and diverse, from Scottish meat pies to Chinese dumplings to knishes and homentashen.

They invited Jarrett Barrios, the president of GLAAD, to speak. Barrios used to be an attorney at the firm, and our firm has given a lot of support to GLAAD in terms of office space (across the country) and financial support.

Barrios’ speech was great; funny, touching and insightful. I won’t relate the stories he told because they were personal and I’m not sure I should share, but he clearly learned a lot about public speaking while a MA state senator! He talked a lot about the significance of diversity and specifically about opening up channels of communication and how important that is. It is after all what GLAAD does, brings dialogue to situations and uses the court of public opinion to give a face to LGBTQ people.

He did say one thing that I didn’t entirely agree with. He talked about how there are ‘good men’ and ‘bad men’ when it comes to discrimination – that is, people who really try to do good but just mess up, and people who don’t care if they’re discriminatory, or do it on purpose. That’s clearly true. And he said that there was no reason to jump down the throat of a ‘good man’ because it makes them want to shut down and never say anything.

This is all true, but it kind of glosses over the fact that we are responsible for how we approach the situation too – we can choose to engage the ‘good man’ without jumping down their throat, but instead in a firm but non-antagonistic way. This is too important to dismiss – the ‘good man’ will be a real ally but can only change if they’re made aware of what they’re doing. These situations must be addressed – it just doesn’t have to be in a confrontational manner.

All in all, I was pleased with Barrios’ speech and thanked him for it after. He’s a nice guy, very approachable. I can see why he was chosen to be GLAAD president.

Just started reading NK Jemisin‘s The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. Haven’t gotten far enough to really get a big impression yet, but 3 things:

1. It’s in 1st person.
2. The first scene is essentially a short infodump.
3. Despite the first 2 things, I’m enjoying it.

Jemisin’s voice is clean and engaging without getting flowery. And she’s laid out a scenario that’s rife with possibilities in just the first couple chapters. So far, so good.

Speaking of reading, I’ve noticed a significant shift in my reading preferences.

My first real interest in SFF was in science fiction – I devoured everything Bradbury wrote. Of course I liked some of each, but initially I think I enjoyed SF more. Then I shifted, started reading more fantasy. I read Diana Wynne Jones, Mercedes Lackey, etc. That actually lasted a long time, and up until maybe 2 years ago or so, I think 90% of my own writing was fantasy too.

However, recently I’ve noticed a distinct preference for SF. I’m sure this is largely Kay’s fault, and the influence of Science in My Fiction, but it’s not a bad thing. I still enjoy both, and good writing trumps the distinction between the two anyway. But I’m searching novel submission to Crossed Genres for the next novel we’ll publish, which I’m to edit, and I found myself looking for the SF submissions… which for some reason are relatively few. We’re getting about two fantasy subs for every one science fiction sub. Odd.

I don’t know if there’s a correlation between this and the F/SF breakdown, but we’re also seeing about 5 subs from men for every 1 sub from women. What’s up with that?! CGP usually gets a fairly even split between men and women, though that’s the short story subs. And the 2 novels we’ve published/will publish, A Festival of Skeletons and Broken Slate, are both by women. I hope to see more novels submitted from women!

Back on Friday, Kay and I went to see the play Breaking the Code at Central Square Theater. This was a birthday gift from my mom – back in December she gave me a program for their season and said she’d buy us 2 tickets to whichever show we wanted to see. Sweet!

Breaking the Code is about the life of Alan Turing, the brilliant mathematician who cracked the Enigma code during World War II, but who was later ostracized and prosecuted for being gay.

The play was very good: the acting was very solid, the actor who played Turing (Allyn Burrows) standing out. The staging was simple but never felt like anything was missing. Kay and I agreed after that the director, Adam Zahler, deserved a lot of credit for drawing good performances and wonderful staging in a round theater setting. The play only runs through the 8th (this Sunday) but if anyone in the Cambridge/Boston area has time to see it I’d strongly recommend it. I learned things about Turing I didn’t know, and now want to find out how much of it was real and how much was creative license.

On Sunday, on Twitter, the Hiyao Miyazaki tweetup group will be getting together (probably at 4pm US EST) to watch Castle in the Sky. One of Miyazaki’s more action-packed films, it’s still very charming and a lot of fun. Anyone who has/can get the film is welcome to join us! We all just start the film at the same time and then tweet our comments/observations, with a #CastleintheSky hashtag. Join us! You know you want to!

Post title from “Raise Your Glass” by Pink:

And when we play we tend to leave a trail a mile wide

Today is my mom’s birthday! Happy birthday, mom! My mom, in case it hasn’t been clear from my previous blog posts, is awesome. =) Tonight after work, Me, Kay and Baz, along with mom, my sister Joan and her kids Isaac and Ruth, are all going to the Big Apple Circus! I haven’t been for many many many years (I’m actually not sure exactly when the last time was). Baz of course has never been and is really looking forward to it. The circus was mom’s choice, so hey! It’s nice that they’re actually here on her birthday, though we could have gone another nearby day if it’d been necessary. Sadly it’s going to rain all day, which is annoying, but eh. I still anticipate lots of fun. *Knock Wood*

Speaking of birthdays, Baz’s birthday is next in the immediate family, on May 31. He’s going to be FIVE. *LALALALALAICAN’THEARYOULALALALALALA!!!* When did this happen?! He’s starting KINDERGARTEN in September! Eep! Fortunately we’ve got his school paperwork up to date. (Kudos to Kay for being on top of that!) We’ll find out soon which school he got into, but really – there’s a perfectly good K-8 school across the street from our house. Literally. If they try to put him anywhere else, they’re bonkers. We’ve already got some good ideas in the works for his birthday – which I’m not going to share yet because somehow he’d hear about it. Really. Just randomly we’ll be on a bus a month from now and some stranger will say “Yeah, so this guy on his blog was talking about what he’s doing for his son’s birthday…” and POOF, the surprise is spoiled!

Last night, we got confirmation that Crossed Genres Publications has been assigned a table in the dealer’s room (the ‘Bookstore’) at ReaderCon! We’re very excited! ReaderCon is very focused on the writing of speculative fiction, unlike other cons that also devote time to tv, film, etc. Nothing wrong with that, but the focus on writing/publishing is just what we’re looking for! Also, the guest list is very impressive, and I look forward to meeting some folks who I’ve conversed with but never met in person. If you’re in the area you should totally come to the con!

Kay and I have been talking and planning almost nonstop for two weeks now! We’re trying to lay out CGP’s plans/projects through 2012 so we can have a better idea how to plan our time. Of course, some of that will be effected by if we get floored by any novel submissions that we really want to produce. *hint hint!* At this point we have a pretty good idea of what things will look like, though of course details are changing and being firmed up constantly. A lot is what you might expect, if you’ve followed CG for the past couple of years – but there will be surprises. OH will there be surprises! 😉

One of the things we’re working on is a new website, something CG really needs. We’re just in the planning stages right now, figuring out what we need the site to do and coming up with designs. We’re aiming to (hopefully) have the new site ready to launch around September.

As I mentioned on Twitter, right now most of my projects are kind of in limbo: either I’m waiting for an email, or something won’t be decided for a couple weeks, or the project is long-term and something that just needs to be worked on a bit at a time here and there. It’s very strange, because over the past 2 1/2 years CG has been very much about NOW: Got to get it done fast, constant turnover, gogoGO! And right now it’s not really like that, not most of it anyway. There’s LOTS of stuff to work on but it’s all slow burn. And after 2 1/2 years of constantly racing to meet deadlines, I am NOT conditioned for Slow Burn.

Of course, this will not last. Soon the magazine will kick into high gear again, and some other projects will heat up, and it’ll be back to the fast pace… for a while. Part of the plans Kay and I are making involve more slow burn starting in 2012. I’m happy about it, but if right now is any indication, it’s going to take some getting used to!

Post title from “Banned From Argo” by Leslie Fish

Everybody’s smellin’ my potpourri

So many things to post about!

  • 1. Tiptree Award!

The Tiptree Award was announced last week, and a story originally published in Crossed Genres’ Characters of Color issue (#24) made the Honor List! “The James Tiptree, Jr. Award is an annual literary prize for science fiction or fantasy that expands or explores our understanding of gender.” Sandra McDonald’s “Drag Queen Astronaut” was described as “a wonderful exploration (and ultimately an affirmation) of a gender presentation that tends to be ignored or ridiculed.”

We’re immensely proud of this. Since we founded Crossed Genres in September ’08, we’ve always had a goal for CG to be progressive, open and actively inclusive. We’ve worked to further this with issues dedicated to under-represented groups (LGBTQ, Eastern, Characters of Color). This nod is an acknowledgment of that work and it’s immensely satisfying.

  • 2. CG print subscription (?)

CG is also considering something we’ve wanted to do since we founded the zine: Print subscriptions! We’ve never been able to make it work before, but we might now be able to! We’re taking a sounding of people to see if there’s enough interest. If you’d be interested in a reasonably priced (~$30/year) print subscription to CG Magazine, go here and let us know! (Or reply right here, that’s fine too…)

  • 3. Ebook Coordinator / Promotions Coordinator

Also, CG is looking for an Ebook Coordinator. We need someone who can manage accounts for CG’s ebooks on various ebook distribution platforms (Like Kindle, iBookstore, PubIt, Smashwords, etc.). If you’re interested check out the listing on the site!

  • 4. Diana Wynne Jones / Geraldine Ferraro / Elizabeth Taylor

I was heartbroken to learn of the death of Diana Wynne Jones on Saturday. I read Jones’ books heavily when I was a kid, and have always remembered them vividly; The Lives of Christopher Chant in particular, as well as Charmed Life, Howl’s Moving Castle, Fire and Hemlock, Power of Three, and her short story collection Warlock at the Wheel and Other Stories, etc. The skill and beauty of her writing is something all writers of fantasy should aspire to.

In a nasty bit of irony, I’m a member of a Twitter “Tweetup” group: we get together each Sunday, all start playing a film at the same time, and tweet about it. We focus on the films of Hiyao Miyazaki, and this week we had already arranged to watch his adaptation of Jones’ Howl’s Moving Castle. We did so earlier today; it was both fun and sad.

If Jones wasn’t bad enough, just 3 days earlier legendary film actress Elizabeth Taylor passed away; and then only hours after hearing about Jones, news spread of the death of Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman Vice Presidential candidate for a major party (D-1984). It was a bad week for talented, exceptional women. They’ll be missed.

  • 5. AKIRA Fail

You may recall my previous post in which I described the Utter Fail that was Paramount and M. Night Shyamalan’s handling of casting in the film The Last Airbender. Well apparently film studios are incapable of learning from each other, because Warner Brothers is at it now, this time with the seminal Manga/Anime Akira. Evidently, not only is Warner brothers relocating the story from Japan to “Neo-Manhattan”, but they are targeting a handful of prominent white actors to play the main male characters of Tetsuo and Kanedawhile keeping the characters’ original names. Apparently it makes more sense to WB to cast a mid-20’s white guy to play a teenage Asian character than it does to cast… a teenage Asian actor? (I’m particularly incensed about this one – the film of AKIRA was part of my introduction to Anime.)

  • 6. BarCamp Boston / ReaderCon

Kay and I are debating whether to go to Bar Camp Boston in a couple weekends from now. I’ve heard about it for a couple years now but never gone; this year 2 friends have independently asked if I was going. It does sound like it would be fun, and a good way to network. We’ll see. Anyone out there going?

Also, I’ve applied for a table for CG at ReaderCon in July. There’s no guarantees – apparently it’s a tough con to get a table at, especially for new/small presses, but I’m staying hopeful. We want to have the official release of Kelly Jennings’ Broken Slate be at ReaderCon! We should find out sometime in April.

  • 7. Taxes

ARGH! would be my general reaction to tax time. As it is for everyone I suppose. Our taxes tend to be complicated because of CG, and last year was quite a challenge to figure out; it was made worse when we ended up owing $1200 that we didn’t have.

This year I strongly considered hiring someone to do it, but it was too expensive and I figured we’d be losing $ again, though hopefully not as badly as last year – I didn’t want to add more to that. So I did it myself again, this weekend. Fortunately what I’d learned last year stuck with me and I remembered most of it, so it wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d feared. Even better, I discovered that not only do we not owe $ to federal OR state, we’re actually getting a small but nice refund! ZOMGYAY! Huge relief!

  • 8. Birthdays

It is birthday time for my immediate family. Almost 2 weeks ago, it was my sister’s birthday, and then this past week was my niece Ruth’s. In a couple weeks it’ll be my mom’s, and then 1 1/2 months after that – BAZ’S! And then a couple more weeks until my nephew Isaac’s. Kay and I are the outliers – what else is new?

For my sister’s birthday we went to The Chocolate Bar in Boston. It’s an absurd amount of decadence that you can only do very rarely – not just for the cost but there’s only so much chocolate you can eat in one go! It was a lot of fun, and Baz, bless ‘im, ate mostly fruit that was intended for dipping in chocolate sauce. Fortunately kids under 5 are free! 😉




— Post title from “S.I.M.P. (Squirrels In My Pants)” from Phineas & Ferb —