aishabintjamil: (basic-picture)
I'm doing some housecleaning regarding my on-line presence for the New Year. I'm still reading LJ, because I have friends who post here, but I'm moving my own posting to Dreamwidth accounts and trying to tidy up the feeds a bit.

Over on Dreamwidth I have two accounts. You're welcome to connect with either or both, depending on your connection to me, and your interests. I've already found a few of you there and subscribed, but since people may not have chosen the same account names, I'm putting the information out here to you can find me.

My personal account shares a name with this one: https://aishabintjamil.dreamwidth.org/

If we're friends in person or long distance in real life, or in the SCA, this is probably the account you want to connect with.

I also have a blog under my pen name, Kathryn Scannell: http://kathryn-scannell.dreamwidth.org/
If our only connection is via writing, you may prefer to connect there.

You are all welcome to connect to one or both, if you're on Dreamwidth. If you're sticking with LJ, anything I post on Dreamwidth will be mirrored here.

Testing

Dec. 31st, 2016 10:52 am
aishabintjamil: (Default)
I'm setting up a dreamwidth page, which is mirroring to my LJ account, as many of my friends are migrating. This is my first test post.
aishabintjamil: (gargoyle)
I haven't posted here in a while, due to lack of intelligent content I wanted to share. Today I have something.

A friend recently shared one of those memes on his facebook which asked why women are so upset by Trump's recently revealed sexual comments, but all ran out to buy 50 Shades of Grey? Let's set aside the questionable merits of 50 Shades of Grey as literature - that's been argued to death. What this pointed out to me is, I think, a broader cultural problem. Broader even than sex, which takes some doing.
We, as a society, are beginning to have trouble telling fiction apart from reality.
50 Shades of Grey is fiction. Maybe a lot of women DO fantasize about that kind of relationship, but there's a world of difference between spending a few hours indulging a fantasy and acting out that fantasy. Do you really want to live every book you read? Stephen King? Game of Thrones? Really?
We should have seen the warning signs when we started censoring our cartoons instead of using them to explain to our children at a very young age that things that work in stories very often don't work in reality. You can't run off a cliff and live through it. Or fly. Or draw a tunnel on the side of a mountain and have it be usable. This used to be our first exercise in critical thinking. Can people really do that? Or do it and not get hurt. Then we had that lesson to apply later in life.
Now instead of instilling judgment in our kids, and values that say something is beyond the pale, even if someone did do it in a book, instead we want to keep them from reading the book, BECAUSE WE DON"T THINK THEY CAN TELL THE DIFFERENCE. Why is that? I think it's because we failed them at a very young age when we should have been helping them develop that skill set. Now we have a whole generation of younger adults who are missing it.
aishabintjamil: (basic-picture)
Wishing all my friends here who are celebrating a Merry Christmas, and a New Year full of joy.

New story

Aug. 14th, 2012 08:25 am
aishabintjamil: (Scannell-photo)
It's been a while since I've posted - been busy. I will have a new short story (well, almost a novella by some definitions - 7900 words) coming out from Torquere Press on Sept. 12. The title is Heaven's Heretics, and it's part of Torquere's annual charity sip blitz. This year's  beneficiary is the NOH8 campaign (http://www.noh8campaign.com/article/about).

As you might expect, being from Torquere,it's M/M romance. It's kind of urban fantasy in terms of setting, with bikers and magic, but no shifters or vampires. This is just a quick update. A more polished blurb and tagline will be along in a few days, just as soon as I come up with them. :-)

Passing

Jul. 8th, 2012 11:29 am
aishabintjamil: (Default)
I'm trying to sort out my thoughts on a subject which disturbs me, so this will probably not be the most tightly organized essay I've ever written. Maybe I'll revisit it when I've done some sorting of ideas and have something more polished an coherent, but in the meantime I'd appreciate thoughts from my friends list.

For those who may not be familiar, passing is a term that was originally used to describe the practice of a mixed-race person identifying with and presenting himself as one race, while denying their ancestry of the other. It was most commonly seen in the US in people of mixed Black and Caucasian heritage during the era of segregation, where there was a clear benefit to being Caucasian. It carries, at least to my ear, a sense of abandoning your brethren who can't take that way out, and of being ashamed of half your heritage. It is used in a more clinical sense by sociologists, but today I'm being troubled by its use in day-to-day life, so we'll leave the sociologists out of the discussion.

I was at a party recently where I overheard a conversation among a group of friends, people I didn't know, although the context suggested that at least a couple of them fell somewhere on the GLBT spectrum, talking about a mutual friend. Someone mentioned that he liked sports, and a couple of other interests common men in our culture. One of the other people immediately said "Oh, he's a passing gay." And the rest of the group agreed.

I hadn't run into this term before. From context it clearly meant that he was out of the closet, i.e. openly admitting to being gay, but this group seemed to feel that he was "passing" because he wasn't conforming to the classic stereotype of the slightly effeminate gay male.

I find this very troubling. Apparently we're encouraging/enforcing our own stereotype from within. Why shouldn't a gay man be interested in sports? Why shouldn't a lesbian woman be able to be interested in both makeup and clothes, and fixing her own plumbing? She shouldn't have to choose between being butch or femme. He shouldn't have to pretend to interests and behaviors he doesn't truly share just to be accepted in our community.

We should be supporting each other in all our diversity, not supporting stereotypes. Those don't help us when we stand up and say we want the same rights and responsibilities as all the other people in the country, they set us apart, and make us easy to point at and say "They're not like us."
aishabintjamil: (Default)
I'm not a fan of e-pirates, but I'm even less of a fan of DRM. Why? Because while I own an E-reader I'm happy with (a Kobo), there are way too many authors I enjoy who are releasing e-books only through Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and putting DRM on them so those of us who have other devices can't use them.

Sure, I can, and have, installed the PC-based applications for both types, so I *CAN* read there. but, you know it's not really making me happy to be tied to my laptop when I want to read. I bought an e-reader so I could take books with me, or read in bed, or curled up on the sofa.

And making me even less happy is that there's *NOTHING* in the product descriptions on either Amazon or Barnes and Noble to give me as a purchaser a clue whether the books are protected or not, until I've bought them and try to open them in Calibre. So I have to assume, unless I have some other information source, that any Kindle or Nook book I buy will be crippled. And that drives me to not buying them, which hurts the author. I buy my ebooks from other distributors, and if that favorite author isn't there, then I either buy paper, or I wait and hope to find it used somewhere. Or maybe I just buy someone else's book in the meantime - someone whose book I can read on whichever piece of my hardware is convenient.

Today's rant, in case you're wondering, was provoked by Tor. They've been bragging about going DRM-free this summer. Well, apparently that hasn't happened yet, because the book I just bought from Barnes and Noble, thinking they were now usable, isn't.

Even their free author sampler collections are still crippled with DRM. Hello? You're giving it away. Why are you making it hard for people to read? What's the point?
aishabintjamil: (Scannell-photo)
Some unexpected good news.

I have a story in Spells and Swashbucklers, an anthology of stories about pirates and magic, edited by Valerie Griswold-Ford. I'd understood that it was coming out at the end of the month (Memorial Day weekend), but it showed up on Amazon today. You can buy it there in either paperback or Kindle.

Print: http://www.amazon.com/Spells-Swashbucklers-Valerie-Griswold-Ford/dp/1897492464/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1336002473&sr=8-1

Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Spells-and-Swashbucklers-ebook/dp/B007Z5PRRO/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1336004131&sr=1-1

Other e-book formats will follow, but I think the publisher has promised a Kindle exclusive for the first few weeks.

The release party will be happening at Balticon over Memorial Day weekend. I'll be there, and will be around for the rest of the convention, although I'm not on any other programming. That means my time is my own, except for what I spend keeping Val out of trouble....

For those who've read my other published work, this one is a bit different. It's a fantasy adventure, quite PG, without even a hint of romance or sex. Safe to show to the entire family.
aishabintjamil: (dice)
So, I had a fit of organizing this weekend. I've been through my entire dice collection, taking photos and incidentally dusting. Net result: 550 photos. There are a few multiple shots of the same dice, but quite a few group shots too. I haven't done a count of total items, but it's somewhere upwards of 500, not counting duplicates.

I also ordered a lot of 100 trading card holder boxes to user for organization of the smaller items. The 50-55 card box is just right for holding the standard d6 and polyhedra dice sets without being deep enough that the dice can stack.

Now I just need to figure out how to create a coherent list for my own reference. Probably I should put it up on the web somehow, to help my friends avoid giving me duplicates. But not this weekend. I need to get some other things done too.
aishabintjamil: (Default)
Good morning,

I've been giving some thought to one of the panels I'm doing at Conbust next month, on the topic of Queer/GLBT SF/Fantasy/anime, etc. I'm not sure where exactly the topic will go, since I haven't seen a description of the panel beyond the title. So I thought it might be a useful thing to have a list of examples to pull things out of. Anything in books/media/gaming/anime is fair game. Here's what I've managed to come up with so far, with help from a couple of friends.

* Marion Zimmer Bradley - there are a bunch different examples in the Darkover books.
* Mercedes Lackey - the Herald Mage trilogy.
* Elizabeth Bear - multiple books
* Tamora Pierce - several examples in the Circle books
* Jacqueline Carey - lot of bisexual characters in the Kushiel series

What else should I be remembering? I'm sure there are more.
aishabintjamil: (Default)
Going to Conbust  - www.smith.edu/conbust (Mar. 30 - Apr. 1)

I'm on the program, although not a guest. I'm doing 4 panels  & 2 presentations:  

Fri. 9:00 PM  - Romance, Eroticism, and the Demon Lover (Panel)
Sat. 10:00 AM -  "My Game Would Make a Great Novel!" (presentation)
Sat. 4:00 pm -  How Magic Works (panel)
Sat. 5:00 pm - LGBTQIAOMGWTFBBQ: Queer Science Fiction, Fantasy and Anime (panel)
Sun. 11:00 am - Faeries (panel)
Sun. 2:00 pm - E-Publishing, Self-Publishing, and E-Books (presentation)

It's a student-run conference, but it looks like it's going to have some great programming.
aishabintjamil: (Scannell-photo)
I'm doing a writing challenge for Feb. over on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/February50KBlowoutChallenge). It's much less formal than Nano, but the timing is also much better.

Tonight I added another 1400 words to the sequel to Embracing the Dragon, and 900 on a character background sketch for the game that starts tomorrow. I probably won't get anything written tomorrow but I'm home for the weekend, so I can hopefully get a bit ahead of the game.
aishabintjamil: (Scannell-photo)
I promised a commentor recently that I'd start posting updates on my writing progress here. Tonight I added 2500 words to the first draft of the sequel to Embracing the Dragon. They're raw first draft, but it's progress.
aishabintjamil: (dice)
Wishing all my friends a joyous Christmas, if you're celebrating today.
aishabintjamil: (Default)
I'm working up a little presentation on what works or doesn't work when trying to take an FRP game and turn it into fiction. I'm looking for examples, good and bad, or other people doing this, so I'm not talking about just my own books. I'm sure there are lots of folks on my friends list here who can make suggestions.

I'd like to exclude things like the Dragonlance books, that are explicit, licensed spin-offs of popular FRP modules. I think those are a different category of fiction than the book that grew out of a game the author played with his friends. I'm more interested in the latter.

Off the top of my head, I know Steven Brust's Vlad Taltos books started out as an FRP game, and I'd definitely put them in the success column. I think I recall reading somewhere that Steven Erikson's books were at least in part an outgrowth of an FRP game. I'm sure there are more that I'm not thinking of.

What should I add to my list?
aishabintjamil: (Default)
So, I'm getting rid of my yahoo email. I just have too much email that shows up weirdly late, or not at all on lists, to trust it generally. If it were just yahoo groups, I'd blame them. But it's not. It's all kinds of lists. So I'm off to gmail instead.

I've not gotten most of my mailing lists moved to other addresses, and am down to the last few reminders I need to send out to individuals, and the commercial emails.

I tend to unsubscribe fairly readily to commercial email when I'm sure I don't want it, but there are a fair number of vendors whose stuff I sort of want to see, unless I'm exceptionally, busy, and a few whose stuff I definitely want to see. So tonight I've been working through those, trying to update them.

I say trying, because I'm astonished how many of them are committing a piece of mind-numbingly stupid marketing tactics. They have an easy "unsubscribe" list, but the link to update your email if you want to stay on the list is either well hidden, or simply non-existent. So, in practical terms, that means that as of tonight I'm falling off a bunch of email lists I was marginally interested in, because they've made it too much work to move to the new address. I'm willing to tell them what it is, but I'm not willing to make a special effort to go the web site and go through the process of filling out a profile and subscribing all over again. No thanks. I'm gone. I'll only do that for places where I'm a *very* dedicated customer.
aishabintjamil: (Default)
This started out as a reply to some comments on Facebook, but I wanted to put it somewhere a little more permanent.

I hope that I won't hear a lot of wholesale Muslim bashing today. We need to remember that the vast majority of Muslims in this country, and indeed, in the world, are not terrorists. Many of them talk frequently about how activities like the World Trade Center attacks and other acts of terror are not acceptable actions within their faith.

It's reasonable to be angry about the attack, even more so if you lost someone. But if we blame all Muslims, we're doing the same thing, at
least in spirit.

The perpetrators of the atrocity came here, full of hate and anger. Maybe they had good reason to hate people who'd injured them or theirs. Maybe some of those people were Americans. I don't know, and probably none of us will ever know. What we do know is that they didn't strike at those guilty people. They struck at a thousands of innocent people who had nothing to do with that, just happened to be the same nationality/ethnic/religio
n as the individuals they were angry at.

That's the cycle we have to be strong enough to break. We did the right thing as a nation - we went after the specific individuals and organization who planned the attack. I'm not going to try to debate whether we did that in wise or effective manner. I'm not sure what the answer there is. But the important thing is that we did try to hold onto that high ground.
We didn't blame the religion wholesale, although there are plenty of examples of individuals or agencies doing so.

On the whole we tried, however imperfectly, to do the right thing, and we need to keep trying, and to keep fighting the tempation to take out our anger on Muslims as a whole, and to stand up and say something if we see someone being wronged based on religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or any other broad grouping. That's the heart of being an American, at least for me.
aishabintjamil: (Default)
I managed to kick my procrastination-block in the butt, and write 4800 words today. Go me. Nothing like an impending deadline to be motivational. Now it just needs an editing pass and a quick synopsis and then off it goes tomorrow evening.
aishabintjamil: (Default)
Sometimes I have to wonder if stores want to keep their brick-and-mortar incarnations open at all. Here's an example.

The newest George R. R. Martin book released this week. I want it. I also have Barnes and Noble gift cards. And even better, they sent me an email coupon for 30% off. So I looked at barnesandnoble.com and saw that they had it on sale for $19.25. That's a nice discount already. So tonight I headed over to my local store to pick up the book before the coupon expired at the close of business today.

I walk in and notice that the book is marked 30% off list on the display. No mention of a coupon required. So I go up to the register with my book and my gift cards and my coupon. There they tell me the coupon isn't good for anything because it's for 30% off the list price, and they're already selling it for that anyway. Now I guess this isn't technically false advertising, since the fine print on the coupon does say 30% off list, not 30% off what we're advertising the book for, and I got that, but had I realized that I wouldn't have made a hasty trip in just to grab this one book so as to shop before my non-coupon expired. So the coupon was essentially a well-disguised sale flier. That left me feeling distinctly jerked around, and that's not really a good thing to do to your customers if you want them back.

Now for part of why this whole situation was a really, really bad plan. Look back at my 2nd paragraph, the part where I checked the web site and it was selling for $19.25. That, as the web site helpfully tells you, is 45% off list. And, if were buying more than $25 of new books, I would get free shipping. Even if I don't buy anything else and pay shipping, that's $3.99, bringing my total to $23.24, as compared to the brick-and-mortar storefront price of $24.50. 

And it didn't even really save me time, since I didn't have an opportunity to get to the bookstore before tonight. I could have ordered it on line on Tues. of last week, and it would have been in my hands by now, even with standard shipping. So all going to the local store really did for me was piss me off and cost me an extra $1.26. 

How is this good for keeping their brick-and-mortar business going?
aishabintjamil: (Scannell-photo)
I've been doing all kinds of guest blogs in the past month or so, promoting my new release. I really should have been posting daily updates as these went live, but I'm working the bugs out of this whole promotional effort.
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