31 October 2010

Wild Stacks!

Announcing: Wyld Stallions! (oh, sorry, must stop watching Bill & Ted!)Wild Stacks: The Library of the Imagination

Yes, there is a new online magazine on the interwebs! And this one is being run by m'good friends Pete Coleborn and Jan Edwards who are reviving their Alchemy Press in order to bring genre goodness to you (yes, you!) :-P
Currently it's a 4-the-luv market, published quarterly, with the aim of 1) becoming a decent paid market and 2) producing an annual hardback Best-Of anthology (for which royalties and wotnot will be paid). Further Alchemy Press cunning plans to be announced as and when.

Meantime, Issue #0 is up - with fiction from Anne Gay, Allen Ashley and Mike Chinn.

Annnnd, most importantly, Wild Stacks is open for submissions! Oh yes. ;-P
Also I'm an assistant editor! So I get to read 'em! The subs remit is for a broad range of genre fiction ... specifically "from horror to heroic fiction, sword & sorcery, urban fantasy, steam-punk, supernatural, surreal, weird fiction, and noir crime... but no hard science fiction, erotica or stories designed to gross out."

So let's see what you've got! Personally, I want to see more women writers, stories with kick-ass chicks and settings that haven't been used a zillion times by everyone else, but that's just me!

That link again: Wild Stacks! (Rock on!)

23 October 2010

Kari Sperring Interview

Oooooooh. My interview with the lovely and generally fantastic Kari Sperring will be appearing in the December BFS Journal. (The all new BFS mega-mix that, so rumour has it, will be a glorious hardback beast that combines Prism and Dark Horizons in one shiny package...)

14 October 2010

On Bullying

This - On Good Kids and Total Fucking Assholes - Kate Harding
Also, can we stop telling said tormented kids that the correct response is to ignore the bullies? Has that ever, in the entire history of weirdo kids and the aggressive little shits who enjoy hurting them, actually made a bully stop? Seriously, if I ever have a kid who gets bullied like I did — verbally, daily, constantly — or like Al did — verbally and physically, daily, constantly — my best advice will be this: “You know what, sweetie? That kid is a TOTAL FUCKING ASSHOLE, and you should feel free to say so — scream so — to anyone who will listen. I don’t care if you get punished for it at school, and you won’t get punished for it at home.” Honestly, I don’t think that would do much to stop the bullying, and it might even make things worse. But at least it’s the truth, and it feels good to say it.

But most especially this: Bitterness, Bullying and Breaking the Circle - Seanan McGuire

Fine. My day was fine. I had a lot of "fine" days back then. It's amazing how often "fine" meant "horrible, terrible, mortifying, humiliating, dehumanizing, brutal." All I ever had to say was "fine."

We've known for a long time that school bullying was out of control, but every time it gets "uncovered" again, people react like it's some sort of shock. Kids can be mean? HORRORS! Kids bully other kids? HORRORS!


Go read the full posts and comments, because they say it far more eloquently than I could ever manage.

Bullying is why I hated secondary school with a black passion - possibly stemming from having so much time off ill that on those rare ocassions I was there... didn't go well. Because it's so much fun to play the 'let's keep kicking Jen in the back of the knee to see how long it takes to fall over' game.

This meant I started asking to be home schooled from the age of 11, because the learning side of things I liked. It was just the people. (Not that I'd ever admit it at the time, because you're supposed to shrug these things off, aren't you? And if they keep it up, it's obviously your fault for not finding the right way to deal with it. It's just words. Toughen up. Ignore them. Fight back. Speak out. Yeah, right.)

Homeschooling seemed the perfect solution, except the parentals routinely had to say no due to a) mum felt her education level wasn't sufficient to do the teaching herself and b) the financial situation was so not capable of funding tutors to come in. So I learned the subtle art of staying way the hell away from anyone while making it look like I wasn't bothered by the words and sniggering and mysteriously missing chairs and so on. I spent lunchtimes in classrooms (generally not eating) using the excuse of having homework to finish. Kept my head down and got on with work quietly. And hated every minute of it. Ask me in person and I'll deny that a block of my life ever happened, which is such a waste.

Then I hit 15 and finally things started looking up. There were only a few months to go until I was legally allowed to abandon the whole damn school system and do my own thing so the lovely parentals juggled finances enough to get a couple of tutors in to do the homeschooling thing and shut the education board up for a while. And after the point of freedom, mum insisted I go to night school to get some GCSEs. Adult Education? Best thing ever. Mature students are routinely awesome. (Which goes double for mum who consistently tried to find creative solutions for everything. Also, she did a couple of the GCSEs with me, which was fun. I beat her in English, we hit a tie in Spanish. Have I mentioned lately that my mum's very cool?)

Other adults, not so cool. Head of year? One of the Phys Ed teachers, so when, finally, I had a weak moment and told mum and it went to teacherly intervention, didn't go well. (Because, of course, the main instigators were also on the sports teams and popular and yaddah yaddah.) And predominantly verbal bullying apparently doesn't count. (So, what, you want evidence of serious physical abuse before you act?) The oh-so-useful teachers managed an assembly on bullying (like that was going to do any good) and, amusingly, in the next class, a couple of the instigators, in a very blatant fake-break-up ploy, sent a minion to ask if I was going to say anything. (I think I managed a vaguely sarcastic non-committal comment.)

I'll let Kate Harding sum things up:
But frankly, I don’t really give a rat’s ass why they’re like that — I just want them to stop. And I want every adult who has ever minimized the impact of bullying, who has ever made excuses for a bully instead of standing up for a victim, who has ever described a child known to viciously torment other children as “a good kid, really!” to know this: You are a total fucking asshole.

01 October 2010

insert something witty about studying

Apparently it's October. That's nice. Also quite surprising on account of September being blocked out by a little bit of Fcon but mostly by a month long obsession with the last assignment for the current OU module.

I was really organised, truly. I had the reading and note taking and quotes and *everything* done before Fcon, with about 80% of a first draft locked away. Because I know what Fcon does to me. Total wipe out for at least a week afterwards. And with the essay due two weeks after Fcon, prep was essential.

So last week was a haze of staring at the computer screen and not managing to do anything useful at all. (Except sign up for the free Kindle for PC app and spend money on e-books, which is a whole 'nother thing.)

And then yesterday I re-read the essay question to check all was well and polish up. And swore. Then swore some more. Yep, time to start from scratch. Bugger. And it was due today. High noon, baby.

Cue panic. (And there was No. Chocolate. In. The. House. Reader, feel my pain. Essay panic can only be alleviated by vast quantities of food of the gods. It is essential, dammit.)

So I tried to write. Which didn't work. And it got later. So I tried to write. And it still didn't work. No essay quality words would ease themselves out of my brain. So I resorted to foolishness, dear reader, as foolishness often works where all else fails. Yes, I wrote a whole essay in slang and swearing (a lot of swearing) and snarky comments. Apparently this was enough to unlock my brain, who knew! (Well, that and finding the right soundtrack to listen to, cos, apparently my brain needs music to type to and today's essay on sacred places was brought to you by the Italian Job. No, I have no idea why either. You'd have thought, given the subject matter, that something a little more atmospheric would have worked better. But apparently no.) And once tidied up (and rewritten sensibly), it's actually not too bad an essay. I hope.

Did I make the deadline? Oh yes. With 20 minutes to spare. And now I get a whole month off before the next module (World Archaeology) starts. Woohoo! (Can sleep now!)