Yeah, sorry, haters. Howard the Duck remains a really delightful sci-fi comedy. Lea Thompson makes a surprisingly credible new wave/punk frontwoman. Tim Robbins is so young and so gangly. Jeffrey Jones is no Emilio Lizardo, but he chews good scenery as the possessed scientist. There are practical effects. There is stop-motion. (There are too many fight scenes and things blowing up, but I feel this way about most movies with any action quotient.) And there is a road trip, with a pit stop at a nuclear power plant. The script is sweet and full of consciously comic-book dialogue and it plays its interspecies romance straight; the only joke that really pulled me up short was a tossed-off sex-change line which mercifully goes by fast. I can't imagine swapping out any of the actors, especially Zien. I had completely forgotten about Richard Kiley as the introductory narrator, B-movie style. I don't even think it's an enjoyably bad movie: I just like it. And I have seen perhaps the last remaining 70 mm print in the world. No regrets.
The new edition of SILVER MOON made Book Riot's list of 100 Must-Read Bisexual Books for Bisexual Awareness Week! I am very, very happy about this, not surprisingly.
And now some background, for those just tuning in. The first version of MOON was released in 2012. It appeared at just the right time to be entered in the first Bisexual Book Awards and the Goldie Awards for Lesbian Lit. It finaled in both, which was nice, if less nice than winning. Did I set out to deliberately write a middle-aged bisexual female protagonist? Not deliberately. I wanted to write about coming out at middle age, questioning your identity, menopause and werewolves, as you do. I started writing and getting my work published back before indie publishing and a lot of discussions about identity and orientation happened.
Writing a 'bisexual' book was, for most of my early writing career, equivalent to saying, "I'd like no recognition or sales for this book that is not nonfiction or erotica, thanks." Hard to find publishers, no awards, very, very few reviews, very difficult to find an audience. Which is how the first edition of SILVER MOON got slotted into "lesfic," which is short for "lesbian fiction." This is not a bad thing, but it runs into a common genre convention that all "lesfic = romance." So my little book about questioning and changing and finding yourself and turning into an awesome werewolf was not sufficiently romantic for the lesfic market, but too romantic for the fantasy or horror markets. It did okay despite this, but I have some scathing reviews from people who expected a different sort of book.
Fast forward to this year and I had the chance to make some very necessary updates to the original book and re-release it. Re-releases are not popular with book awards or reviewers so there are still some significant challenges. Also, when you release a book into Smashwords, Ingram, etc., your choices are "gay" or "lesbian," not "considering bisexuality" or equivalent. But it seems to be finding some of its people and for that, I am very grateful.
Artistic bitterness, because I promised! So 7 books, 90 or so short stories, several juried awards, most of them queer-specific, articles and so forth should make me semi-famous, right? Sometimes! And yet! I'm literally looking at two upcoming events in my own city where I've been passed over as a guest. Deliberate malice? Probably not. But I'm too old/too female/too small press/too whatever, so somehow my work doesn't count and I spend a fair amount of time as an "also ran."
Some fun stories: when MOON first came out, I did a reading with a hot young lesbian author and local bi conference organizers very enthusiastically and purposefully ignored me and invited her to come and perform at the conference.
Not too long thereafter, I had a contretemps with a con com member from an unrelated con when I asked why my number never came up for writer GOH. I was offered a quid pro quo arrangement in which I could be writer GOH...if I slept with that person. It was not, of course, clearly laid out that way, but after I politely refused, I strongly suspect that the person they did ask for the next year was not asked to put out for the privilege. So, good times. I don't talk about the bad stuff as a rule because I'm a "living well is the best revenge" kind of gal, but yes, weird crap happens to me too. This kind of stuff, the publications that are looking for a specific "own voice," just not mine, which then turn around and choose a writer who riffs off my work, and all that other fun stuff, does sting, and I won't deny that.
But you know what? Someone thinks my work is good enough to put on a list of "must-read" books, I got some lovely fan mail from an unexpected source about some of my nonfiction, I'm working on a couple of new books and I've got some upcoming opportunities that I'm excited about. Take that, brain weasels and bad crap! And thanks, lovely Book Riot reviewer, for giving some great tools to combat the "why do I keep doing this to myself?" blues.
Autolycus is being heartbreakingly plaintive right now. He has a vet appointment early in the morning and it requires fasting, which is an impossible concept to explain to a cat. I let him graze all day and gave him a proper dinner at the absolute last moment, but he is attempting to convince me that, actually, in point of fact, he starved since then. We should find him some kind of special treat after the appointment, for being so brave and honest. Last night he and his sister shared in the Rosh Hashanah chicken. All cats are lunisolar.
In honor of the High Holidays, here is a post on Jewish superheroes and here is a brilliant riposte to the rather short-sighted question "How can you be Black and Jewish?"
Back to the relentless grind. At least it is almost autumn.
( Review and Discussion )
Bonus review-let: Forced.
( Forced, Gamification of Games, Player vs. Designer )
So, yeah. I am learning something about gaming, game design, or myself from every game I play, and I am glad I seem to have broken through the mountain of shame (OMG, so much stuff I've never played, best never look at them) and guilt (OMG, so much wasted money). I no longer feel compelled to 'give every game a fair chance' just because I once spent money on it. (Frequently, in bundle deals, I did not even set out to buy all of the games.)
Overall, I spend less than £5/month on games and, overall, I enjoy gaming. I'm not going to get the same amount of fun out of every game, but if I can average a couple of hours of fun for every £5 I pay, that's actually not bad value for money.
My first prompt for them was this quote from Fred Rogers: "You can grow ideas in the garden of your mind," which I recalled from this autotuned song made from that and other remarks of his.
I showed them some gardens.
A garden in Holyoke, created by "self-proclaimed plant geeks":
Randyland, the garden created by Randy Gilson, a waiter and son of a single mom, in Pittsburgh, PA:
The magic gardens of Isaiah Zagar in Philadelphia:
The blooming Cadillacs at the Cadillac ranch in Amarillo, Texas:
(Source is this Google image, whose original location is given as this video.)
The famous Zen garden at Ryōanji, in Kyoto, Japan:
And I said, even when you think a place is barren, nothing growing, life pushes through, like in this parking lot in Boston:
And then I asked them--what's growing in the garden of your mind? Several people wrote that they felt like the parking lot and talked about worries, but one wrote about a painting she's planning, and another compared his mind to a potato (and gave me a diagram to show it growing). It was wonderful.
What's growing in the garden of *your* mind, these days?
Things I could have done on Wednesday: lunchtime free Zumba class, free Bach Collegium concert.
Things I did do on Wednesday: went straight home, ate, showered, crawled into bed with fanfiction, went to sleep early, sleeeeeeeeeeept.
I feel much better today, in the sense that fewer things hurt physically. And I realized this morning that nothing was stopping me from taking a day off tomorrow. That would mean I can sleep in after "Elizabeth Cree" tonight, and go to bed early before my crack of dawn train to NYC on Saturday morning.
What a removal of mental weight. A day off. How glorious. It will be much easier to enjoy my day in NY with a reasonable amount of sleep beforehand.