A Magnetic Energy

I’m starting to do some research on alternative power. So far I see: Solar (most people know about this one) Wind (Another well known source.) Water (Still around, even is some people thought the concept was old fashioned) and Magnetic. I’ve been thinking about the power of magnets for a while and it’s refreshing to know I’m not the only one. My question is:

People! Why isn’t this a thing? We…

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“What do I want instead of a Strong Female Character? I want a male:female character ratio of 1:1 instead of 3:1 on our screens. I want a wealth of complex female protagonists who can be either strong or weak or both or neither, because they are more than strength or weakness. Badass gunslingers and martial artists sure, but also interesting women who are shy and quiet and do, sometimes, put up with others’ shit because in real life there’s often no practical alternative. And besides heroines, I want to see women in as many and varied secondary and character roles as men: female sidekicks, mentors, comic relief, rivals, villains. I want not to be asked, when I try to sell a book about two girls, two boys and a genderless robot, if we couldn’t change one of those girls to a boy.”

Sophia McDougall, “I hate Strong Female Characters” (via charlottefairchild)

I recommend reading the whole article in the link.  It’s long but good, and also points out the annoying trope of Hollywood thinking that as long as the female character gets a token “can beat people up” scene, then it’s totally fine that otherwise they still are filling very typical fictional roles women are pigeon-holed into, and usually are still just a love interest or plot device.

Also, to the above quote, this is about having that diversity in a single story, or even having many of those traits in 1 character, and not just plucking a few examples out of all of fiction and go “see, in this story, the woman was shy and quiet, and in this story, the woman beat somebody up, and this story the woman was mean.  There!  Diversity!”  It’s about overall trends, it’s about not just having one or two women in a cast, it’s about how women are situated in the story, it’s about whether the women are protagonists or plot devices, it’s about all sorts of ways that women are marginalized, pigeon-holed, etc in fiction, and not simply just about one thing.  There’s no easy fix where you go “see in my story, the woman warrior wears a shirt and she doesn’t get raped!”  The problem is there are so many issues with the way women, and every other marginalized group, are portrayed in fiction (and even more so with the intersectional problems with characters who are part of several of those groups), and only so much that people can talk about in one go, so usually people are only able to address one or two issues at any time, and it leads to the idea that as long as you fix (or superficially) fix that element, then it’s all good, and it’s more than that.

From the standpoint of this blog, sometimes there comes the misconception that as long as a story has fully armored women, or has battle-ready posed women, then that’s something that’s necessarily a good story about women, or necessarily a good depiction, and it’s more than that.  It’s a step forward, definitely, and I absolutely think it’s good for people to keep the visual portrayal of women in their minds when creating fiction and not just doing one thing over and over because it’s just how we’re so used to seeing women depicted visually.  But it can’t stop at that.  How many women there are in the story matters.  Whether or not she’s portrayed as being “exceptional” for her gender, and therefore all other women in the fictional world are still flat stereotypes matters.  What happens to her in the story, how she’s situated, presented, talked about matters.  Whether she’s the protagonist, or if despite her armor, she gets kidnapped by the villain to anger the male hero matters.  It’s about more than simply avoiding one single way women are portrayed, and then dusting off our hands and patting ourselves on the back for fixing how women are portrayed in fiction.  It’s about examining the way we see women in our society, and being aware of how that affects the way we depict and situate them in our writing, often without realizing it.

Escher Girls, The Bechdel Test, Bikini Armor, etc, are all catchy terms, and great things to keep in mind when writing fiction with women in it, but it’s not as simple as just “not doing this one thing”.  These phrases and ideas are meant to highlight specific issues about the way women are written and drawn in fiction and to open up a discussion about the larger picture of how women are portrayed.  The Bechdel Test is meant to point out how few women have roles and how even fewer of them have stories of their own that don’t revolve around men.  Escher Girls is about showing the prevalence of female characters being contorted or dressed in ways that maximize titillation over function. They are symptoms, not the cause, and addressing just one of them once doesn’t fix the underlying issue.  Change comes by challenging ourselves to not just settle at “my princess punches people before being captured” or “the male hero’s love interest talks to her female friend about dogs at one point”, but to be willing to examine the overall way we’re depicting women in our fiction, how many there are, and how they’re situated.  Centaur women, battle bikinis, and the boobs and butt pose are the beginning of the discussion, not the end.

- escher-girls

(via moniquill)

(Source: greywaren, via himmelskratzer)


Planting When there is No Ground

Planting When there is No Ground

Living in the city, I have very little outdoor space. What I do have is normally used as a parking lot. I do, however, have a wide and long deck in the back and a strip of land in the front.

I’ve been toying with the idea of a garden for over 5 years and I’m embarrassed to say it took that long for me to finally get my hands dirty. The good news is, as soon as I started digging up the ground,…

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You can now pre-order the Limited Edition of THE BODY ELECTRIC! 

There are thirty extra pages of content in this book, including:

  • a map
  • author interview
  • short story
  • a history of the future world
  • and more!

Additionally, every copy will be shipped with a packet of art cards featuring brand new, exclusive art from three different artists depicting the characters and scenes from both this book and the Across the Universe books. And every copy will include a coupon code for a free electronic version of the book available on nearly any e-reader, via Smashwords.

The special edition will be signed and numbered, and only 300 will ever be on sale. So get one while you can for only $14.99, shipping internationally! Meanwhile, you can also enter this giveaway for one free copy.

Okay. I’m sorry, but this has a little over 150 notes? THIS? That’s ridiculous.

It should a have like 1 bajillion. Seriously, guys.

Let’s think about this for a second. Let’s talk about what Beth is doing here.

Beth is an author who is choosing to self-pub her next book. That means she’s covering the cost of everything. She obviously didn’t skimp on finding an amazing cover artist/designer (done by @IceyBooks). She’s worked some magic with her local. indie. bookstore. to provide ultra-limited signed editions.  Not magic. SORCERY. Beth is a damn sorcerer.

Book store doesn’t deliver to your area? Fear not!

Beth is ON IT, you guys.

But let’s talk about what you get with this limited edition. You get:
A Map - Alright, cool, cool. Pretty standard fare in the SFF literature world.

Author Interview - Nice, nice. Obviously if you care enough to pre-order her book, you’d probably be intersted in reading an interview. (And looking at the effort she’s put into this, I’m guessing they aren’t just Q&A’s you can find on her website.)

A Short Story - So, basically TWO stories for the price of one. (More on the price to come.) A full length novel (which she’s stated is a little longer than Across the Universe) AND a short story. Who cares if it’s in the ATU plot line or Body Electric or somewhere totally different? IT’S FREE. IT’S FREE STORY.

A History of the Future World- A lot of work goes into world-building guys. A. LOT. And I’d wager 60% of the work an author does, we don’t get to see. Not in the first book, maybe not even in the second. It’s all backstory and history and things that shaped the story you’re reading now.  So, for a big SFF fan, it’s often really freaking cool to get a glimpse at all that work. Without having to wait for a companion book that may never come.

And more- More? I don’t know what more Beth can possibly squeeze in here. Things are already topping out on the cray-cray meter.

But wait, there’s an additionally.

"Additionally, every copy will be shipped with a packet of art cards featuring brand new, exclusive art from three different artists depicting the characters and scenes from both this book and the Across the Universe books. "

Are. You. Shitting me?

This is where I lost my mind. This is what made me want to create this long post.

I love art.  I love collecting art of my characters.
Art ain’t cheap folks. Not even a little bit.  I used to save a bit here and there and officially commission something. Do you have any idea how much a fullbody color piece of ANYTHING can cost? Depends on the artist, depends on the style. But I’ve seen them upwards of a few hundred. Do you have any idea how much a commercial piece of art costs? Art you plan to use in advertising, to sell?  Unless an artist chooses to get a commission of sales, which most don’t cause that’s more hassle than it can sometimes be worth, you’re looking at a flat rate to cover time, effort, skill and the fact that you’re going to flit off with it and make money.

These things cost money, kids.

Speaking of costs, Beth is giving this to you guys, GIVING IT, for … 14.99.
I just. I don’t even.

All of that, for less than 20 bucks.

I don’t care if you don’t like Sci-fi. I don’t care if you don’t like dream stories. I don’t care if you haven’t read her AtU series. I don’t care if you did read it and didn’t like it (to which I will say, this is a different book, therefore it stands to reason you could have a different opinion than you did of her others). I don’t care if you don’t like FREE art or FREE stories or FREE articles or FREE maps or FREE complimentary story content. Don’t care if you have zero interest in buying this book.

You should still share the link.

Because I haven’t seen such a display of love for fans, love for a story and love for the craft as this one in, ever.

This is amazing and Beth is amazing and that is all.


(Source: hillergoodspeed, via efjace)

“If someone were to die at the age of 63 after a lifelong battle with MS or Sickle Cell, we’d all say they were a “fighter” or an “inspiration.” But when someone dies after a lifelong battle with severe mental illness and drug addiction, we say it was a tragedy and tell everyone “don’t be like him, please seek help.” That’s bullshit. Robin Williams sought help his entire life. He saw a psychiatrist. He quit drinking. He went to rehab. He did this for decades. That’s HOW he made it to 63. For some people, 63 is a fucking miracle. I know several people who didn’t make it past 23 and I’d do anything to have 40 more years with them.”

anonymous reader on The Dish

One of the more helpful and insightful things I’ve seen about depression/suicide in the last couple of days.

(via mysweetetc)

(via efjace)

“Learn to write by doing it. Read widely and wisely. Increase your word power. Find your own individual voice though practicing constantly. Go through the world with your eyes and ears open and learn to express that experience in words.” P.D. James (via writersrelief)
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