Wednesday, June 26, 2013

DOMA and Prop 8 Unconstitutional

When you wake up in the morning (hey, it was still morning) and your in-box is full of joyful announcements that the Defense of Marriage Act and California's Proposition 8 [both PDF links] have both been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, that's a damn fine way to start a day.

My usual demeanor is pretty cynical, I'll be the first to admit -- the things people do to one another, around the world and particularly here in the US, have contributed to that throughout my life. One of the most ridiculous, hateful, fearmongering trends in recent years has been the insistence by so many social conservatives that same-sex marriage is bad, wrong, evil, unnatural, and a threat to "traditional" marriage. The people who support this vile drivel have been masking their hate and fear and general negativity about the issue by insisting that they're trying to "defend" marriage. Even with many thousands of gay and lesbian people getting married in the US in states where it's been legal, even with the hundreds of thousands (maybe millions?) of gay and lesbian people getting married in countries around the world where it's legal -- including Canada, right next door -- fearful, scowling folks keep insisting that gay marriage is somehow dangerous, that it threatens traditional man-woman marriage.

You know what? My traditional marriage doesn't need defending, certainly not by people like them. When Jim and I were living in California, about 40,000 gay couples got married during the five months that it was legal, if I remember the numbers correctly, and hey, we're still married! Imagine that! All those people, men marrying men and women marrying women, and there was never a morning when either Jim or I woke up and said, "Hey, damn, I feel this overwhelming need to divorce you and marry someone of my own sex!" We have a great marriage, it's as strong as ever, and all those gay people joyfully marrying each other did nothing whatsoever to damage our marriage. Heck, we got a double dose of this dangerous threat to our union when our new home state of Washington legalized gay marriage last year -- you'll be happy to know I've still felt no impulse to divorce my husband.

One of my favorite sayings to come out of this situation is, "The only threat to traditional marriage is traditional divorce." Halle-freaking-luiah.

If you want to defend the institution of marriage, how about taking all the money and energy and other resources that've been poured into trying to prevent gays and lesbians from marrying and instead use it to, I don't know, offer free counseling to couples whose marriages are actually in trouble? That'd be a constructive focus for the beliefs of the social conservatives, one that'd help a lot of people while hurting nobody, unlike DOMA and Prop 8 and related efforts, which are purely destructive and have caused a lot of hardship and misery.

Just a suggestion for any defenders of marriage who are trying to figure out what their next move should be.

So, the Feds now recognize any legal marriage, no matter what the plumbing of the married people looks like. And gay people are free to marry once more in California, which is awesome.

This news actually chips away a tiny bit at my natural cynicism. If the other 37 states ever get with the 21st century and let gay couples marry, I might actually turn into a complete optimist! Let's work toward that, shall we?


Friday, June 14, 2013

Anthology Markets

If you've just wandered in off the internet, hi and welcome. :) I do these posts every month, so if this post isn't dated in the same month you're in, click here to make sure you're seeing the most recent one.

Markets with specific deadlines are listed first, "Until Filled" markets are at the bottom. There are usually more details on the original site; always click through and read the full guidelines before submitting. Note that some publishers list multiple antho guidelines on one page, so after you click through you might have to scroll a bit.


30 June 2013 -- Strange Critters: Unusual Creatures of Appalachia -- ed. Frank Larnerd, Woodland Press

Format: Trade Paperback, ebook
Payment: five cents per word (upon publication) plus contributor copy.
No reprints
Story length: Up to 2500 words
No multiple or simultaneous subs
Deadline: 12:00am Saturday, June 30th, 2013
E-mail submissions to:
RTF, DOC, or DOCX attachments only.

I am looking for horror stories featuring legendary, mythical, or imaginary creatures of Appalachia. Stories based on established local lore are preferred, but exceptions may be made for exceptionally crafted creatures. I am NOT looking for stories with zombies, vampires or other popular monsters. Submitted stories can be set in any time period, but must take place in the Appalachian region.

Although the anthology is mainly targeted for adults, we DO NOT want stories containing language or content unsuitable for children. Submissions should also avoid unflattering Appalachian stereotypes.

Accepted Manuscript Formatting:
Use Times New Roman (12).
Italicize what you want italicized.
Single space after sentence-ending punctuation.
Be sure to include your name, address, and email on your manuscript.

[Click through and check the comments for some discussion of what the editor means by "Appalachia," geographically.]


30 June 2013 -- Lost Worlds -- Third Flatiron Anthologies

Give us dinosaurs, planets and pyramids, paranormal, space opera....

Third Flatiron Publishing is an e-publishing venture based in Boulder, Colorado. We are looking for submissions to our quarterly themed online anthologies. Our focus is on science fiction and fantasy and anthropological fiction. We’re looking for tightly plotted tales in out-of-the-ordinary scenarios.

Please send us short stories that revolve around age-old questions and have something illuminating to tell us as human beings. Fantastical situations and creatures, exciting dialog, irony, mild horror, and wry humor are all welcome. Stories should be between 1,500 and 3,000 words.

Role models for the type of fiction we want include Kurt Vonnegut, Arthur C. Clarke, Dan Simmons, Connie Willis, Vernor Vinge, and Ken Kesey. We want to showcase some of the best new shorts available today.

Click through to the "Submissions" tab for preferred formats, etc.

For each issue, we will also accept a few very short humor pieces on the order of the "Shouts and Murmurs" feature in The New Yorker Magazine (600 words or so). These can be written from a first-person perspective or can be mini-essays that tell people what they ought to do, how to do something better, or explain why something is like it is, humorously. An SF/Fantasy bent is preferred.

Your story must be original work, with the digital rights unencumbered. Beginning with the Summer 2013 issue, accepted stories will be paid at the flat rate of 3 cents per word (U.S.), in return for the digital rights to the story. All other rights will remain with the author. We no longer offer royalties, as we're now into our second year.


31 July 2013 -- Long Hidden -- ed. Rose Fox and Daniel José Older; Crossed Genres Publications

Below are guidelines for submitting stories to Long Hidden, and the submission form. Please read the guidelines carefully before submitting.

Direct all queries to

Do not send story submissions via email, and do not send queries through the submission form.

Who can submit
We welcome stories by authors from all walks of life. We especially encourage submissions from members of marginalized groups within the speculative fiction community, including (but not limited to) people of color; people who are not from or living in the U.S.A.; QUILTBAG and GSM people; people with disabilities, chronic illness, or mental illness; and atheists, agnostics, and members of religious minorities. The protagonists of your story do not have to mirror your own heritage, identities, beliefs, or experiences.

We also especially encourage short story submissions from people who don’t usually write in this format, including poets, playwrights, essayists and authors of historical fiction and historical romance.

Submission deadline and publication schedule

All submissions are due July 31, 2013. If it’s still July 31 in your time zone, you’re good. Acceptance notices will be sent by October 1. The anthology is tentatively slated for a February 2014 release.

Pay and rights

We pay USD 5¢/word for global English first publication rights in print and digital format. The author retains copyright. Payment is upon publication.

Story criteria

== Length: 3000-7000 words (FIRM)
== Your story must be set between the years 1400 and 1920 C.E., and take place primarily in our world or an alternate historical version of our world. (Travel to other worlds, other dimensions, Fairyland, the afterlife, etc. is fine but should not be the focus.)
== Your protagonists must be people who were marginalized in their time and place. By “marginalized” we mean that they belong to one or more groups of people that were categorically, systematically deprived of rights and/or economic power. Examples in most times and places include enslaved people, indigenous people, queer people, laborers, women, people with disabilities, the very young and very old, and people who do not share the local dominant religion, language, or ethnicity. Many people belong to multiple marginalized groups, and many are marginalized in some ways and privileged in others. Your story should acknowledge the complexity and intersectionality of marginalization.
== Your story must contain a significant element of science fiction, fantasy, horror, or the weird, without which the story would not work or would be a substantially different story.
== All submissions must be in English.
== No reprints. No Simultaneous submissions.

We will not accept any story containing the following:

== Gratuitous or titillating depictions of violence.
== Gratuitous descriptions of bodies or body parts, or people described only in objectifying ways.
== Horror that relies on shocking or grossing out the reader.
Stories that are all about how someone non-marginalized became an enlightened champion of marginalized people.
== A protagonist from a societally or technologically powerful group who happens to be temporarily or situationally powerless (e.g. a peasant who’s really a prince, a representative of the British East India Company shipwrecked on Ceylon).
== Depictions of marginalized people as being doomed to hopeless misery.
== Depiction of any group, no matter how powerful, as universally, inherently, or irredeemably evil.

Handle with care

If you decide to incorporate one or more of the following elements, please do so with caution and awareness of the ways that they can be problematic or difficult to write about.

== Violence, particularly sexual violence. We recognize that sexual violence is frequently used as a weapon against marginalized people, so we are not issuing a blanket prohibition against it, but please consider very carefully whether you need to include it in your story; and if you decide that you do, please consider very very carefully whether your story needs to show the violent act itself.
== Consensual sexual encounters. We’re not averse to sexual or erotic content, but it needs to further the story and incorporate awareness of the ways real-world power relationships affect sexual behavior and decision-making.
== Stereotypes and clichés.
== Alternate history that drops magic powers or anachronistic technology into a historical setting.
== A protagonist who is the only marginalized person in the story.
== Revenge fantasies.
== A setting that’s already very commonly used in speculative fiction, especially one that’s often associated with stories featuring members of privileged/dominant/colonizing groups, e.g. Victorian England, the American “Wild West”.

What we do want

Your story doesn’t need to have all these elements, but we’re especially interested in stories that have at least some of them.

== Intersectionality.
== Accurate depictions of life on the margins.
== Thoughtful, sensitive incorporation of religion, superstition, and folklore.
== Depictions of historically accurate societal attitudes in the context of an authorial voice that does not condone or espouse bigotry. (For example, your female characters will probably have to deal with societal sexism, but your descriptions of them should not rely on sexist stereotypes.)
== An understanding of how economic, technological, political, and religious influences shape a time and place, especially in alternate historical settings.
== Research bibliographies and suggestions for further reading.
== Integration of friendships, family relationships, and community into the story.
== Protagonists who make conscious choices and take conscious action.
== Side characters who are real people.
== Personal triumphs and successes.
== Making us laugh, think, cheer, and weep.

How to submit

To submit a story to Long Hidden, please fill out the form below. Be sure to:

== Address your email “Dear Long Hidden editors” or “Dear Mr. Older and Ms. Fox” or “Dear Rose and Daniel”. All submissions should be addressed to both editors. See this post for why we feel the need to emphasize this.
== Include your story’s year and location at the beginning of your submission.
== Attach your story as a .doc, .docx, or .rtf file, with your name, the story title, and the wordcount on the first page.

[Click through for submission form.]
[Also, see here for a more detailed discussion of what they're doing with the book, what they want, and what writers they've invited already.]


1 August 2013 -- Dying to Live -- Diabolic Publications

== All stories must be in doc. or docx, .rtf format.
== All stories must be anywhere from 2000 to 8000 words long.
== Please use 12 point font and double space your text.
== We are looking for dark Vampires, of the old fashioned kind! Erotica is acceptable as long as the vampires drink human blood, bite, kill and so forth. We are not looking for love story type vampires. Stories that will not be accepted are stories with child rape, molestation, or pedophilia.
== Allow at least 6 weeks before inquiring if your story will be included if you have not heard from us. You will receive an email if your story has been accepted.

Submissions should be sent electronically as an attachment to:

In the subject line of the email, include your name, the title of the work you are submitting, and the edition you are submitting for "Dying to Live".

In the body of the email, include your contact information (Real Name or official pen name, not your online name), the word count of the work you are submitting, and a brief biography. Make certain to use an email address that you have access to all the time as correspondences from us come through email only!

We only accept electronic submissions at this time.

PAY: Made by Paypal only, if you don't have a paypal account please get one.

Fiction: US$.03/word, payable upon publication. Plus, one copy of the edition in which the work appears when edition is published as a paper copy.

Reprints: US$.01/word, payable upon publication. Plus, one copy of the edition in which the work appears when edition is published as a paper copy.

RIGHTS: Exclusive First World English Rights for print and First Electronic Rights for two years from date of print publication. Rights are then no longer exclusive and revert back to the author after the two year period.


1 August 2013 -- I Delight in What the Book Forbids: Stories of Gay Muslim Fantasy -- ed. Steve Berman; Lethe Press

The title refers to a line from th acclaimed Arab poet Diwan Abu Nawas and, it is our hope, to inspire both prose poems and short fiction that is both positive in its treatment of Muslim men and expands upon the rich mythology of the Arab world: jinn, the garin, rocs, and ghuls among others. Whether these gay men seek adventure, treasure, or love, the stories should be rich in their surroundings and culture (whether ancient, medieval, or contemporary). Stories should deal with gay or bisexual men and between 2,500 and 10,000 words. Pament for original fiction is 5 cents a word; reprints receive 1 cent a word. All authors receive a free copy of the book. Consider some of the stories by Alex Jeffers when looking at what I want. Submissions should be sent to no later than August 1st.


1 September 2013 -- Ether World -- Diabolic Publications LLC

== All stories must be in doc., docx., or .rtf format.
== All stories must be up to 4000 words or less.
== Please use 12 point font, Times New Roman and double space your text.
== We are looking for original science fiction in which some facet of future science or technology is integral to the plot. The science needs to be physical, sociological or psychological. The technology can be any form such as electronic engineering, biogenetic engineering and so forth. All stories must be strong and realistic, with believable characters that may or may not be human.
== You will receive an email if your story has been accepted or rejected as soon as a decision has been made.

Submissions should be sent electronically as an attachment to:

On the subject line of the email, include your name, the title of the work you are submitting, and the anthology you are submitting for , in this case the "Ether World".

In the body of the email, include your contact information (Real Name or official pen name, not your online name), the word count of the work you are submitting, and a brief biography. Make certain to use an email address that you have access to all the time as correspondences from us come through email only!

We only accept electronic submissions at this time.

PAY: Made by Paypal only, if you don't have a paypal account please get one.

We require a written and signed agreement which will be sent with an acceptance email.

Fiction: US$.03/word, payable upon electronic publication. Plus, one copy of the edition in which the work appears when edition is published as a paper copy.

Reprints: US$.01/word, payable upon print publication. Plus, one copy of the edition in which the work appears when edition is published as a paper copy.

RIGHTS: Exclusive First World English Rights for print, and First Electronic Rights for two years from date of publication. Rights are then no longer exclusive and revert back to the author after the two year period.


UNTIL FILLED -- Membrane -- Dreadful Cafe -- First Listed May 2013

Unreal. Imaginative. Intense.

An escape from the safe.

These stories will propel the reader—by wormhole or peephole—through the fantastic, the criminal, and the insane.

Sometimes strange, always original, the stories we publish are of the highest production standards, from thrilling premise all the way to professional editing.

We are now soliciting query letters for Membrane, our first anthology. All genres are eligible, but preference is given to stories that cross more than one and which reflect the flavor and theme described above.

Manuscripts must be between 2,000 and 30,000 words and not previously published by anyone but the author. Self-published works are accepted and encouraged!

Please refer to our Submission Guidelines.

Upon acceptance of your completed manuscript, Dreadful Cafe pays for non-exclusive, unlimited, 5-year publishing rights on the following schedule:

Short Stories (2,000-7,000 words) — $125
Novelettes (7,001-15,000 words) — $250
Novellas (15,001-30,000 words) — $500/Negotiable

It's your work.

We are simply paying for the rights to publish, market, and sell your completed manuscript as part of this or any other Dreadful Cafe anthology. You are encouraged to continue marketing on your own.

However, you will be unable to enter into any exclusive arrangement with other parties once you have sold rights to us. Also, note that we may give your story away for free as part of our marketing efforts, and that we may use edited excerpts from your story for the same.

This applies to both electronic and print versions, both in the US and abroad.

We may, at our discretion, hire an editor (at our expense) to work with you on your manuscript. Payment follows final completion and acceptance of the edited manuscript.

Dreadful Cafe reserves the right to reject your manuscript at any time and for any reason, including elimination from future editions of the published anthology.

No royalties or warranties are given or implied.

Estimated Publication: Pre-holiday 2013

Query Submissions Open: April 1, 2013

Query Submissions Closed: TBD

The Dreadful Cafe is committed to socially responsible publishing. All after-cost proceeds from this anthology will go to support St. Jude's Children's Hospital, because life is too short not to have fun and too precious not to do good.

We encourage you to support the many local charities in your community.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Perfect Metaphor

Still on the Resnick/Malzberg thing. I've been trying to figure out how to model what could possibly have been going on in these guys' heads, because they're not stupid, whatever they might've been displaying recently. Ferret Steinmetz hit it perfectly.

When you do something very difficult in an Xbox game, you get an Achievement. It’s a fizzy little thrill, not unlike winning a scratch-off lottery ticket: you vanquish a difficult boss and there’s a blip noise, then an alert at the bottom of the screen: ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED.

You’re told the name of your special Achievement. It is added to your profile, and is yours forevermore.


There appear to be a lot of feisty old dudes who think they’re awesome at this equality thing.

Here’s the thing: by 1970s standards? I’m sure all of these gentlemen were enlightened. Compared to the treatment women, gays, and blacks got from mainstream society at the time, these dudes were well ahead of the curve. And at the time, they deserved all the credit for going above and beyond ordinary treatment. Still do, in a certain sense.

The problem is, in their heads, they Achievement Unlocked. They became Good To Girls, or Friend To The Negro, or Comfortable With Homos. And that badge could never be removed. Once they’d proven their magnificent tolerance in the crucible of the Issues of the Day, they never had to question their position again.

That's it, right there. Steinmetz nailed it completely. Click through to read the whole thing. I hope Resnick and Malzberg do, and that it makes a lightbulb go off in their heads.


Sunday, June 2, 2013

On Free Speech

Far too many people these days seem to think that freedom of speech means freedom from being criticized, freedom from consequences, freedom from verbal retaliation. We need only look at the response of the two guys whose columns triggered the current kerfuffle over the SFWA Bulletin for an example of this -- apparently people criticizing their columns is censorship, oh noes!

One of my favorite quotes on this subject comes from Jim Hines, who said, "Freedom of speech doesn't protect you from the consequences of saying stupid shit." Everyone who's ever whined that their free speech was being curtailed because people responded by saying mean things about them needs to tattoo Jim's quote on their forearm or something, someplace where they can see it every day.

Tobias Buckell just linked to this great post by Ken White on Popehat, the legal blog. It's right on point and well worth reading. It starts like this:

Let's be clear — the right to free speech is the right to express oneself without state retaliation. It is not a right to speak without social retaliation. Speech has consequences. Among those consequences are condemnation, vituperation, scorn, ridicule, and pariah status. Those consequences represent other people exercising their free speech rights. That's a feature of the marketplace of ideas, not a bug.

Yet too many people seem to think that free speech includes not only a right to be free of consequences imposed by the state, but a right to be free of consequences imposed by other people. Therefore they attempt to portray criticism as a violation of their rights. This, of course, finds no support in the law, and is patently unsustainable as a philosophy besides — it nonsensically elevates the rights of the first person to talk over the rights of the second person to talk.

There's more; click through and check it out.


Saturday, June 1, 2013

BayCon Redux

I'm alive, barely. I came home with Con Crud from BayCon and have spent most of the last few days unconscious, which is the best way to spend a period of physical misery IMO. I'm feeling almost alive again, yay.

The convention was fun. I saw some friends I only (or almost only -- depends on the year) see at BayCon, and that's always cool. Even if the convention itself wasn't really that great, I'd still go to see old friends. Lois McMaster Bujold was the writer GOH, and I went to a couple of her panels, a reading and an interview.

For the reading, she read a couple of chunks of a novella in the Vorkosiverse, which she said might not ever be published because of structural issues, so those of us in the room might well be the only fans who ever get to experience even a piece of it. That'd be a shame -- it's from Ekaterin's POV (which was apparently one of the problems, but anyway) and was about how the guy who developed the butterbugs modified a strain of bugs to eat radioactive foliage and such, and concentrate the "hot" matter in their feces, which the bugs were trained to deposit in central collection areas. So basically, the idea was to release these bugs into Miles's glassy crater (which isn't so glassy anymore, but is still very radioactive) and let them do their thing. Clean up the glowy poop periodically and shoot it into the sun, or dump it down a particularly active subduction zone, whatever you want to do with it, and eventually the land will be habitable again. Of course there's a kink in the cable, and things get interesting, and that's about where she stopped reading. :) I hope she fixes the problems some day, because this was the beginning of a fun story.

I've heard Ms. Bujold speak before, and I've always enjoyed listening to her. She's a good reader, too -- I dragged my husband to one of her readings at a WorldCon back when, and that persuaded him to start reading the Vorkosigan books. If you have a chance to see her, take it.

The masquerade was small this year, but there were a lot of cool costumes. My favorite was Erin Mittman, who did "Dess from the Midnighters, by Scott Westerfeld." I've never read that book, so I have no idea how close she was to the original. But what I loved was her prop work -- young girl in a black costume, it was decent, whatever. But she had this long spear she carried, and the spear had a length of fishing line at the pointy end, attaching it to a big, black fly/spider-like monster made as a balloon animal. For her presentation, she "fought" the monster, and it looked awesome. :D The balloon creature was light and floaty, so at times it sort of hovered, and at times it darted around, depending on what she was doing with her spear. It was the best fighting-a-monster act I've ever seen at a masquerade, where the monster wasn't another person in a costume. Major kudos to Ms. Mittmann; I hope we see more of her at future cons.

Best Workmanship went to Shael Hawman, for "Knit Klingon." I think she was the woman who did the crocheted Wonder Woman costume last year, but I'm not sure. This was great, though, and I actually liked it more than the WW costume. The announcer said that everything above her boots was either knit or crocheted, and it looked awesome.

Best in Show was a black woman named J.B. (that's all that's in the newsletter, unfortunately, and I don't remember whether more of a name was announced during the competition) who was an "Intergalactic Amazon Warrior." The costume was decent, and I liked that it wasn't low cut or slit up to here or anything; it was a warrior costume, not a "sexy-whatever" costume playing for catcalls. What was really cool, though, was her presentation. She had a sword (looked kind of like a katana, although I didn't get a close look) and she had a dance/kata routine she did with it that looked really good. A lot of costumers can't move very well, and look awkward or self-conscious, but J.B. must have practiced this, and it looked very good. Another one I hope to see more of in the future.

Luckily my con crud didn't hit until I was on my way home, so I had a great time at the convention itself. Ironically, I actually did some writing at the convention (although not quite enough to make my quota for the week) but I haven't managed any at all since I got home. :/ I hope to fix that tonight and tomorrow, although I'll probably blow my quota again. That's okay; I'm way ahead for the year so far, and if I had a day job, I'd definitely have taken these days off, so I don't feel bad about taking them off writing too.

Still hacking and light-headed,