The Nebula nominees

Hey all, in case you haven’t seen the list, the Nebula nominees have been announced. Congrats to all the nominees!

I have to say, I haven’t read as much off the list this year as I’d like. I made it partway through Neil Gaiman’s “Ocean at the End of the Lane” and just finished (and looooved) the Golem and Jini by Helene Wrecker. But that’s it! (*hangs head in shame*).

Anyone else read any of these books/novellas/shorts, etc? Care to share particular recommendations?

Guess I’d better get reading!

Turning the other cheek

I’ve been reluctant to dive in to the (latest) fray and share my thoughts on the ongoing kerfuffle surrounding SFWA’s future and the S&SF community’s present (as detailed here, here, and here). Partly this is because my feelings on the issue are complicated and partly it’s because the whole thing makes me tired and sad and angry, none of which are very nice emotions to be wallowing about in.

That there is a small but vocal minority who wish to keep our community living in a past that no longer exists, who wish SFWA would not evolve but devolve, and who wish pesky women and minorities would keep their opinions to themselves does not particularly surprise me. There are always people who fear change and lash out against it. Happily, there are many (a majority, even) in the community who not only accept the changes in society at large and SFWA writ small but embrace them. This is very encouraging. Scalzi, as always, says it best and with the greatest perspective on the underlying silliness of this whole thing.

Still, it’s hard to read posts and comments of people you know personally or respect professionally saying really hypocritical, ignorant, and hurtful things–worse yet when they seem truly oblivious to why their attitudes are problematic. It makes my blood boil. And, frankly, I don’t have time to sit around with boiling blood. I have books and stories to write and edit, a day job to engage in, and a social life and family to enjoy.

Honestly, my personal response to all of this is just to withdraw. To pull back and not engage. And that makes me sad and angry too, as if the people I see being harmful to a community I value have won.

Still, I know they haven’t won. In fact, their vitriol is clear sign of that. So, I’m going to do my best to let this latest squall blow by (as it inevitably will). I’m going to knuckle down and write and hope that when I have someday made a name for myself my work will be evaluated on its quality alone. That I won’t be talked about in about blogs and forums as a yapping dog or a swarming insect or a pretty lady writer but simply as an author with something to say about the world.

Missing Boskone

I was supposed to be up in Boston at Boskone this weekend, but I’m not. And it’s making me very sad.

Because of the relentless snow and ice, Amtrak canceled my train Friday and couldn’t rebook me in time to make the trip worth the money it would cost to go. A friend offered to drive me, but I’m a coward about long drives (especially in bad weather) after a near-death car accident. So, damn Amtrak, and damn this weather, and damn my own debilitating foibles.

On the upside, I did get to spend Valentines Day with my husband (who I’ve barely seen lately because of his work schedule and my travel schedule). So, that was nice. We’ll try to make the weekend fun (in spite of another snowstorm heading in later today), but it still won’t be Boskone.

I’ve definitely been feeling trapped and cooped up lately. I had to cancel classes on Thursday because it was too treacherous to commute (both for me and my students) and aside from a few trips to the Y and to Pilates, I haven’t much left the house in days.

What did the guy in the Shining do when that happened to him? Oh, right. Hmm…

You’d think all this TRAPPED AT HOME time would be good for writing productivity. But it hasn’t been. I’ve been restless and irritable and every time I sit down to work my characters annoy me and the words come slowly and get deleted a lot and then I turn on the Olympics instead.

Clearly I needed an adventure this weekend, and a change of pace. And now my adventure has been canceled and I’m feeling very poopy about it.

*crosses arms and makes a disgruntled sound*

Perhaps I will venture out into the storm and choose my own adventure today in NYC.

Yes, perhaps I will.

Stay tuned!

Happy birthday to me!

Not sure how it’s come to this, but today I turned 39.


As I get older, birthdays seem at once more and less anti-climatic, more and less weighted with significance, more and less a cause for celebration.

With only one year to go until 40 (though, my dad would point out that turning 39 means I’ve just completed my 39th year and am actually starting on my 40th…), I thought this might be a good time for a little reflection.

There are the big milestones met, like marrying a wonderful partner and earning a PhD and buying a home, and those unmet, like having children or getting on the tenure track. I’m more interested in the quality of my life than the boxes I can check off, though. So here are my top accomplishments for the first 39 years:

1. I chose happiness over expectations and abandoned pursuit of a tenure-track job in anthropology so I could pursue my dream of becoming a writer. So far, I have no regrets. I started writing seriously in 2007, which means I’ve put in about 6 years. I’ve written three novels and have sold five short stories and met a whole bunch of amazing people and generally relished the liberation of saying, ‘hey, I’m not happy and I’m going to take a risk and do something about it.’

2. I’ve prioritized travel and new experiences. In my 39 years, I’ve visited England, Scotland, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, the British Virgin Islands, Barbados, Honduras, Guatemala, and Costa Rica. Plus, I’ve been to 30 of the 50 states in the U.S. Also, Canada. Still, I consider this a drop in the bucket. I’d love to go to Asia — especially Japan and Mongolia — and I’d like to do a safari in Africa someday. Northern and Eastern Europe are on my list, as is the Arctic Circle and Alaska. I’ve never been anywhere in South America, either. So, definitely still lots of travel to do.

3. I’ve maintained a really close relationship with my family. Sometimes friendships come and go, but family are always there. I’m glad I never let disagreements or distance diminish my family relationships. My greatest regret about potentially not having children is maybe missing out on sharing what I have with my parents and sister with kids of my own.

4. I became an archaeologist. I mean, how cool is that? I’m proud that I took a path less traveled and pursued something that fascinated me rather than something that seemed safe. Training in and practicing archaeology has brought me heartbreak and disappointments, but it’s also offered up amazing (and exciting) experiences. At its best, the life of an archaeologist is literally exhilarating. I mean, I lived through a Latin American coup d’etat, for heavens sake!

As I move forward into what will hopefully be another 40 (or more!) years, here are some of things I’m shooting toward:

1. Becoming a published novelist.

2. Living in another country for a short period (3-9 months). Maybe New Zealand or Australia.

3. Having more adventuresome adventures. I live a pretty organized, structured existence. One goal I have is to loosen up more and be more open to the unexpected. When I plan trips, for instance, there are spreadsheets involved. There are very specific plans. I’d like to take some trips where I just have a ticket to arrive and depart and everything in a backpack.

4. Learning more. I’d like to attend a cooking school or train in Pilates instruction or learn more about wine-making (and wine in general).

5. Saying YES more and never being afraid to change. I hope I always have the courage to take chances in life and that I never settle because I’m afraid of taking a risk.

So, with all that in mind, I think I’ll spend my birthday afternoon working toward finishing my latest novel. There’s no time like the present, after all.

A Wintery Mix

Indeed. That well-characterizes life in Brooklyn of late. Snow. Sleet. Slush. Rain. Ice. Oh, yes, plenty of ice. An hour to go two miles on an MTA bus so full it’s literally groaning. Subways delayed. Classrooms broiling.

And yet, we must soldier on.

And so, with our mix of weather, a mix of news:

The semester is two weeks old now, and going very well. My classes thus far are filled with interesting and interested students. It makes the unbearable commute a little more bearable.

At home we endeavor to stay nice and warm and eat lots of things that make our bellies full and out waistlines larger. Ah well, life is compromise, is it not?

On the writing front, I have a few new sales to announce (yay!). My story The Firefly Girl will appear soon in Penumbra’s themed issue “A Night at the Villa Diodati” and my story Reversal of Fortune will be published in Fictionvale later this spring. These are the kinds of tidings that get one through the winter!

Project Awesome is inching ever-closer to completion and I’m starting to have dreams about new projects — always a sign that soon I will throw up my hands just finish the damn thing!

My birthday is coming up next week. 39. Wow. Not sure how that happened, especially since in my mind I’m still only about 29.

Also in the mix is Boskone in about two weeks, a Con I am looking forward to most heartily. Friends! Fun! Interesting panels! More snow!

And…let’s see… Yup. That’s all the news from the slushlands of Park Slope!