Disability Awareness at Gen Con (updated for 2017!)

Boosting the signal. Worthy advice for attendees of all large cons.

Visions of Fantasy & the Future

handicap-blue-circle_zk7tL8Id_LIf you were looking for my gaming blog, DoctorStrangeRoll, where this article usually appears, I’m putting it here since that one is updating daily with RPGaDAY 2017, and I don’t want this to get lost in the flood.


Gen Con  is nigh! With just over a week to go before the best four days in gaming (as of the time I’m posting this), I’m not going to rehash what so many others have put out there; there are tons of blogs and articles out there with advice regarding large conventions like Gen Con. My advice is going to be different. I am going to rehash what I’ve posted in previous years (they’re my most popular posts!). To most of it,  Wheaton’s Law  applies. For those of you who are link-averse, Wheaton’s Law is this: Don’t be a dick.
However, the things about which I’m going to speak, are the sorts of…

View original post 2,016 more words

Doing things my own way. As usual.

Distraction is my biggest challenge. Putting hands to keyboard away from NON-writing distractions takes a monumental amount of effort.  Once I’m started, inertia keeps me going, but starting can be harder than getting the car engine to turn over at 40º below zero.

“Try writing exercises,” say All The Experts.  “Prime that creativity pump!”

“Nope,” says contrarian me. My creative pump doesn’t need priming, it needs control. Exercises divert me.  If I start doing them, I work on them to the exclusion of all other writing. Tasks like character interviews, random story prompts, and plot-starters get my mind moving, but I have to file them under the same mental header as alphabetizing my spice rack.  Sure, the result will be pretty, but is it really a good use of my time?

I mean, I don’t use the spices in alphabetical order, I prefer grouping spices & herbs I use together, and I like having the ones I use most in front, so why bother? Same question applies to wording. Should I spend time practicing on exercises or on actual writing?

Five-minute free association writing is the only type of exercise that works for me, and even then, I have to pretend someone else will read it.

This summer I’m doing pieces twice a week on words provided by friends. I post them to my other blog space, Sometimes I Do Other Things. Here’s the post from earlier this week, just for jollies:


July 24. The word is incandescent.

I might have a thing for four-syllable words. They have a beat that appeals. I mean, one can say “lighted from within by heat” with a lot of words. Alit. Glowing. Shining. Fiery.  I could keep going without a thesaurus, but my POINT is that I like the four-syllable version of it best of bestest.

In-can-DES-cent. You could dance to it. Tossing that word into a sentence with a lot of short, brisk nouns really changes the flow and …erm…brightens it up.

The “it’s on fire” implication pleases me too. I am a fan of fire. When I was a camp cook, we did all our meals over open fires, so that meant three to four fires a day (s’mores!) six days a week for ten weeks. Rain or shine, all outdoors. We had a backup pit in the tin-roof dining shelter, but I only remember using it four times in four years. Three times were in one memorably soggy summer.

The rest of the time we made that cook fire roar hard enough to scare off puny raindrops. It wasn’t just for food either. Typically we boiled about 20 gallons of water per meal for washing and semi-sterilize all the dishes too.  (Bleach was also our friend. Better/healthy living through chemistry.)

ANYway. The best part was lighting the first fire of the day. We had a little ritual for banking a fire to be safe overnight. No dousing with water the Girls Scout way, because this was a working pit, not a campfire. We banked it like pioneers, burning it down to nothing,  burying any hot coals safe beneath a heavy layer of cool ash and clinkers at the bottom, then covering the pit with the spark grate.

Our side goal was to go as many days as possible without lighting a match. Kinda like those safety signs. “It has been (X) days since we last resorted to using modern tools.”

Imagine kneeling in the dew of the early morning to dig through smoky dust while still sleepy-eyed and pre-caffeinated, until at last you find one tiny coal withering to nothing at the touch of damp air. Your only tools are sassafras twigs, the power of your lungs, and the skill of your hands. Careful, gentle, as delicate as can be, you breathe life back into that coal until fire leaps free again, newborn and hungry for fuel.

I felt as powerful as any goddess, I swear. Incandescent indeed.


Word provided by Sue Sherman

Advertisements

Five minutes with conspiracy

Random 5-minute posts on whatever word someone throws at me. It’s a thing I’m doing now.

Sometimes I Do Other Things

July 17. The word is conspiracy.

I used to love a good conspiracy theory. The veils of fiction that drape themselves around real events will always draw me in. I adore a good story, and at root, that’s what every conspiracy theory is: a narrative that explains “facts”  in a way that better please the theory’s creator than boring old reality does. Like oil slicks atop the surface of a puddle or mirages on hot pavement, these confabulations are seldom pretty but often mesmerizing.

Real conspiracies are, I think more rare than the theorists would have us believe. The amount of long-term large-scale collaboration and secrecy required for conspiracies like chem-trails and the like would be inhuman.

See, humans are super-good at keeping secrets for short time periods but lousy at keeping them for long ones. As the saying goes, three people can keep a secret if two are dead…maybe…

View original post 167 more words

Midsummer Check-in

Reading

All the Single Ladies. I wanted to like this, I truly did. Alas, it rubbed me the wrong way from Chapter 1 all the way through to the conclusion. It read like it started out being one book, and turned into a different one mid-development. The narrative rolled through a pinball machine of feminism-adjacent topics without focus. “Let’s kinda talk about women’s rights in a “then & now” way, but also a little here versus there, and oh, look, SQUIRREL.”

Also, despite nods to racial diversity, economic classism and intersectionality, the window dressing didn’t ring true for me. The author makes loads of sweeping sociological generalizations based on stories from a limited sample of her friends,  studies about people like them, and also some stories about people the editor evidently insisted on including for comparison.

Yes, I’m being mean and cynical. My blog, my interpretation. Did I mention how much I wanted to love this book? Betrayal makes me bitter. This should have been a PHENOMENAL read, but instead I walked away with this impression:

“Golly-gee-whiz, single [white upper-class, educated East Coast urban] women sure have faced a lot of obstacles throughout history and up to the present day! We’ve come a long way, baby, and marriage is a bummer for lots of women now. Go, independence!”

Um. Okay?

The text is packed with statistics, summaries of statistics, thumbnail historical sketches, and anecdotes. Despite the less-than-coherent development, it’s an excellent primer on feminism & politics for someone who knows absolutely nothing of women’s contributions to history or American society. Since I do know those things from other better sources (go ahead, ask me for a list)  I know important things were glossed over, and fast lost patience with the less-than mind-blowing message.

The heavy sprinkling of sub-conclusions like “Getting married messes up important supportive women’s friendships!” and “Male partners/societial pressures force women to make choices against their own best interests as individuals and professionals!” got on my last nerve.  <deep breath> SO DISAPPOINT.

Disclaimer: I have been married more than 30 years. Women’s legal rights were still fresh enough that I had to fight for a credit card and a bank account with only my name on them. I partnered a man who understood why I kept those accounts, bought a car, and paid all utilities in my name only.  Spouseman groks the struggle, and we support each other as equals.

My experience isn’t the norm for my generation, but neither am I a unicorn. The reasons more women are staying single are a lot more varied than this book admits, and most of those reasons are deeply rooted in old system failures rather than fresh new attitudes.

ANYWAY. Grr. Onward.

Empire of Shadows. Much more my thing. History of Yellowstone region written in that chatty, “I’ll spin the yarn in the narrative and stick the scholarly citations at he end” style I love so much.

I finished my All The Grace Burrowes Novels In Print project (she’s a delight, go read her, historical romance fans) and embarked on an Julia Quinn re-read.

Silverthorn. The next Jacey Bedford fantasy. I liked it. The developments are develop-y, the characters and dialogue are fun, and the world-building is neato-keen. Nuff said.

Watching:

  • Killjoys Season 2.
  • Dark Matter Season 2.
  • Finally watched all of Expanse Season 2.
  • I caught up to Daily Show, Samantha Bee & John Oliver (on Youtube) now & then.

STILL HAVEN’T SEEN GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL 2. <many sniffles of self pity>

Spiderman: Homecoming. AKA Spiderman guest-starring Tony Stark & Happy Hogan. I loved it despite major doubts about yet another reboot. Best part? So many dialogue zingers, so many non-whitebread non-cliche characters. The plot was grounded in wonderfully-real teen problems too. Usually Peter Parker gets the Hollywood “sure, he’s a kid, but he’s super-smart, so of course he would behave logically and be taken seriously,” treatment, and I can assure you from personal experience that is not how it works. Best news of all: NOT ANOTHER ORIGIN STORY! WOOOOO!

Other Things:

I have tomatoes, basil, and cucumbers growing happily in my sorta-garden. Teeny cucumbers are popping up behind the blooms, and green tomatoes lurk inside the tomato cage.  The peppers are struggling along this year. The sage as taken over its bed, but the butter lettuce is fighting back. (Lettuce is adorable when it grows tall and bolts up pretty little flowers. Ditto radish plants. That’s a thing I learned this year.)

Mulch has been laid down, and more weed death has been sprayed. Call me Godzilla, stomper of weeds. Transplanting of wayward perennials will occur soon.

I have baked in the new oven, and it works. Blueberries are ripe, and I have socked away sour baking cherries this year too. Scones will definitely keep happening.

That’s all the news outside writing-world. In writing land…I’m getting there. I’m achieving a regular working schedule for the first time in months, and the progress is there on the pages of Heartwood. To ensure the regular butt-in-seat part, I am posting one of my older novels up to Wattpad (link: https://www.wattpad.com/story/110555072-downrigger) as a serial, two to three chapters a week.

That’s all from this neck of the woods for now. Ta until later.


Not tired of my words yet? My published works are available on Amazon and all the other usual online retailers, or you can take free peeks at them on this page here. 

Science-fiction thrillers, science-fiction romance, and science fantasy, full length novels and shorter works. So many choices! Here be direct links to the published stories that have escaped the confines of Amazon. 

Extraordinary books2read.com/u/4N19e6
Powerhouse books2read.com/u/3kZ1VW
Nightmares books2read.com/u/3yPExv
Lockdown books2read.com/u/3GM2Xn

Yes, I do know.

Sometimes I Do Other Things

All of you reading this? You’re amazing. So are a bunch of people who never see my words on screen or page.  I pass through life surrounded by incredible, passionate, enthusiastic, wonderful people. Even more amazing?  Some of these people call me friend and mean it.

For any number of boring reasons, this is a phenomenon I will never quite trust, never quite believe in. Unconditional acceptance is an emotional one-way street in the map of my mind. Other people are wonderful, and I love them because of their flaws and mistakes and in their entirety.  What never developed is the part where that idea applies to me.

But that problem is on me, no one else. The inability to believe there is no why in love, no balance sheet for friendship–that shouldn’t stop me from marveling at the results. And when someone who has every reason to be furious with me makes a special effort to reach…

View original post 82 more words