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Posts from the ‘BY THE MAD GENII’ Category


I haven’t paid a great deal of attention WorldCon this year: not my circus, not my monkeys. I must admit I’m very bitter with Nora Jemison. If she’d managed to hold off for another 24 hours with her magnanimous decision that she would, after all, grace the fortunate attendees with her participation in programming, I’d have been 50 bucks richer, instead of 10 bucks down (yes, 5:1 best odds I could get.) But other than that expected result, I haven’t paid much attention.  Apparently John Scalzi informed us that the ‘SJW’ did not in fact eat each other alive, but created ‘a field of programming that is interesting, educational, and representative of the current state of sf.’ Oh, and apparently ‘mostly everyone’s happy.’ Read more


How best to handle introducing new characters, new stories, and readers to one another? Well, my preference both as a writer and a reader is to get a sense of them, but not necessarily learn everything about them all up front at once. It’s a slow dance, a tease, a little here, a little there, and you get to know them, just like you do in real life. When you are introduced to a person in front of you, you might get their full name, or you might not. There’s formal introductions: “may I present Princess Hildegard of Aronia to you, Grand Duchess of Rexington?” and then there is: “so this is Joe, my plumber. He’s pretty good, if’n you don’t want it done fast.” With a wink and an elbow nudge. Read more

Write What Somebody Knows

I ‘ve touched on this before: to supplement my own experience, I make shameless use of relatives, friends, friends of friends, neighbors, and acquaintances. By now most of them are used to this and do not get (too) weirded out by questions such as:

“If you were going to (non-fatally) shoot the pilot of a plane to encourage his cooperation, what body part would you choose so as not to interfere with his ability to fly the plane? Or would it be better just to kill the co-pilot?”  Read more

Adapting to Changes

This past month or so has been trying, and that’s putting it mildly. As most of you know, my mother is elderly. Fortunately, she is extremely healthy for a woman her age and we haven’t had to worry with some of the terrible mental issues so many her age seem to suffer from. Sure, there’s the occasional lapse in memory about something but it hasn’t become a problem. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that she fell while on vacation in June and tore up her shoulder. So far, surgery hasn’t been necessary but it is becoming clear with every day that passes that the issue isn’t “if” but “when” it will be. She still can’t drive more than a mile or two. She can’t do many of the things she is used to doing and, well, she isn’t handling this decline in her independence well.

Not that I blame her one bit. Read more


I like pie…

Now my answer to who gets what share of the pie in publishing (actually in most things) is hey, let’s make a bigger pie.

That’s always seemed a sensible answer to me. I’ve spent years talking about ways to make reading more popular with as many people as possible. I can summarize many thousands of words into this: Give as many readers as possible what they enjoy. Help them find it, keep them coming back for more.

A rising tide floats ALL boats. Read more

Great American Literature, or Great American Stories

The third world-building post will be in two weeks. It’s coming, never fear. But apropos of the piece at The Passive Voice/Wall Street Journal, and the never-ending debate about “what is real literature” and why should everyone read it, I started wondering…

Rather than “the Great American Novel” with all the literary weight that seems to freight the idea, what if we talked about “the Great American Stories?” Read more

Process vs. Event

No, this isn’t a NaNoWriMo post. Well, not really, though it touches on that. This actually started when my darling and I were discussing the need to reshelve books. In our house, this can become a big deal – not just because we like to pull out old favourites to read, but because Peter pulls out lots of books to check on facts while researching (Many things for his westerns are much easier to look up in the right reference book instead of spending hours searching on the web, and same for military history research that gets transmuted into milSF.)

Read more