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antonstrout July 24 2014, 12:02

My tweets

jimhines July 24 2014, 11:54

Sexual Harassment in Comics and Video Games

Related to the ongoing conversation about sexual harassment in SF/F…

From Bitch Magazine, survey data about sexual harassment in comics:

As a comics editor, writer, and fan myself, I got interested in how often people at conventions experience harassment. So earlier this year I conducted a survey on sexual harassment in comics, receiving 3,600 responses from people that varied from fans to professionals. The survey was distributed and conducted online, with people sharing it via Twitter, Facebook, and especially Tumblr and self-reporting all information. Of the people taking the survey, 55 percent of respondents were female, 39 percent were male, and six percent were non-binary (see the raw survey data here).

Out of all respondents, 59 percent said they felt sexual harassment was a problem in comics and 25 percent said they had been sexually harassed in the industry. The harassment varied: while in the workplace or at work events, respondents were more likely to suffer disparaging comments about their gender, sexual orientation, or race. At conventions, respondents were more likely to be photographed against their wishes. Thirteen percent reported having unwanted comments of a sexual nature made about them at conventions—and eight percent of people of all genders reported they had been groped, assaulted, or raped at a comic convention.

The one weakness of the study that I can see is that respondents were self-selected, as opposed to this being a truly random sampling. It’s the same issue I ran into with my survey of first novel sales a few years back. But even taking that into consideration, if you can take 3600 fans and pros, and a quarter of them have experienced sexual harassment in the industry, then we have a huge problem here.


Game designer Brianna Wu wrote an article called “No Skin Thick Enough” about the daily harassment of women in video gaming. Warning: some of the examples and quotes in this article are truly abhorrent.

My name is Brianna Wu. I lead a development studio that makes games. Sometimes, I write about issues in the games industry that relate to the equality of women. My reward is that I regularly have men threatening to rape and commit acts of violence against me.

Wu provides four case studies illustrating the types of harassment women experience, and examining myths and realities about the gaming industry. Their stories are powerful, important, and eye-opening.

I strongly recommend reading both articles.


Related: Sexual Harassment in the Scientific Community

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

madrobins July 24 2014, 07:00

London Calling

For those who think about these things, here's my Loncon schedule.  It's fairly light, but that means I get to go see other people's readings and panels and...

... and London.  Second favorite city in the world.  And outside my door, a whole city's worth of research on Sarah Tolerance's London.

Reading: Madeleine Eve Robins

Thursday 12:00 - 12:30, London Suite 1 (ExCeL)

Alternative Publishing Models

Friday 19:00 - 20:00, Capital Suite 7+12 (ExCeL)

Between the disappearance of independent bookshops, the dominance of Amazon, the rise of ebooks and the popularisation of crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter, publishing is at a crossroads. As the traditional channels for selling books are shrinking and homogenising by the year, so technology is opening up new possibilities. Who sets the trends now? How close are the self-publishing success stories to the experience of the average 'indie' author? In a world of cut-price Kindle-only books jostling for attention in a crowded marketplace, is it easier or harder these days for new books to stand out from the crowd? And while Kickstarter offers the chance for less commercially viable works to be funded, how do you convince an audience to back you, and how do you go beyond that market once the book is available?

Marcus Gipps (M)(marcus.gipps@orionbooks.co.uk) , Francesca T. Barbini, Madeleine Eve Robins(madrobins@comcast.net) , Alex Ingram(Alex.Ingram@nuttyxander.com) , Devin Madson(devin@devinmadson.com) , Myra Çakan


Sunday 13:00 - 14:00, London Suite 5 (ExCeL)

I always wonder about signing up for Kaffeeklatsches, but the last time I went to an overseas Worldcon I was surprised to find myself fully booked.  So who knows.

Now, which shall I read from: the San Francisco fantasy or the new Sara Tolerance?

ninharris posted to specficmarkets July 24 2014, 05:44

Calls for Submission: Delinquent's Spice &Truancy!

New calls for submissions! Delinquent's Spice & Truancy are two microzines focused on diverse, inclusive and hybrid retellings of folktales/fairytales. Delinquent's Spice (hypertext, collaborative storytelling project:formerly Demeter's Spicebox)'s reading period opens in October. Truancy's reading period is now open. Do check it out.

Submissions calls for two new folk and fairytale microzines:http://delinquentspice.com

editrx July 24 2014, 05:00

No aliens but perhaps a hot mess

For those from FB, please do follow the link & read this. I can't seem to post there tonight & this is TIME CRITICAL.

The endodontist, who was quite charming and knowledgable, has apparently seen this sort of thing before. His best guess is, given that the higher of the two "things" in my dental x-ray (the one in my sinus) has already moved and flipped from just the other day, that these are broken off pieces from a slightly botched root canal -- the one done years ago that's been hurting ever since. It's the "packing" from the root canal, which is apparently inert organic materials of some kind, which won't hurt me if it stays there.

As to the pain, however, that's another matter. From some simple tests, he's pretty sure there's a contained infection that's probably been there again for years and is flaring up now that the remains of the tooth are being disturbed. He's also pretty sure that there are remains of nerves in there that the original dentist didn't pull out from the root canal, hence the pain.

So, I'm on horse-pill antibiotics, then on Monday I go in and have the old root canal pulled out, he flushes it, and fills it with some sort of medicated gel. Which stays in there for 2-3 weeks. Then he takes that out, flushes it again, and sees what was missed nerve-wise, fixes THAT, and packs up the root canal properly.

Then I make an appointment with my regular dentist to get the crown put on.

I know from experience Delta Dental doesn't pay for root canals or crowns. AND I MUST PAY IT ALL UP FRONT OR I END UP NO TREATMENT. They'll be calling tomorrow with an estimate. I just hope I don't land myself back in the hospital from the sticker shock. I wish I could say this is unusual for dentists, but I went through this several years ago and I still owe people jewelry from when I had to raise money to pay for two root canals up front to be sure the abscess didn't kill me.

And here we are again. But this time I can't make jewelry as I have to run the bookstore 70+ hrs a week.

We have $100 in the bank (a bit less, as I had to put gas in the car to get to the appointment), and right now we're taking in between $60 to $0 per day (several days last week and again this week -- zero! in summer! WTH?!) at the bookstore. With overhead, bills, and book orders (even done ultra conservatively, as we've been doing), that gives us about $60 per week income with this slump in current sales.

You can only imagine how I hate to say this all publicly. But we HAD been doing very well. It's Murphy's Law: I reinvested most of those profits into the store and into necessary improvements (or long overdue ones) to the house & yard. Now that I need the money, the weather turned hot and all the tourists are busy swimming or hiking instead of shopping. Dammit.

Prayers appreciated. Not sure what we're going to do.

Before anyone suggests this again: I checked with the dental schools in Boston (none up here), and I'm (1) not a Mass. resident, (2) have an autoimmune disease and therefore a higher risk & not a candidate for student practice, and (3) this is beyond their scope for "free care" (though if I were a Mass. resident and could prove I have less than $3000 to my name, including car, house, life insurance, and, well in my case the store I own, they would gladly yank the tooth out leaving behind the encapsulated infection -- 'cause, not their purview, dude -- and leave a gaping hole in my head plus the infection). Yeah, not an option.

Pray someone finds us a random relative we didn't know about who died and left us money. Or something.

Yes, you can share this.
desperance July 23 2014, 23:29

Smoke gets in your pork*

I should be typing up more of the thousand-and-one corrections, but I'm not. Instead I have lit the barbecue and cracked my first beer of a gorgeously sunny day (yes, yes, they're all gorgeously sunny around here, but what's your point? - just because it doesn't stand out, doesn't mean it don't deserve notice and applause; everybody has won, and all must have prizes). There's a hunk of pork smeared with my patent smear (ketchup, cider vinegar, dry mustard, cayenne, hot smoked paprika) and sinking slowly into the smoky heat of the grill; there's a sourdough loaf rising, and also a batch of sesame seed buns; there will be beans (from the freezer, labelled "Beans"; I know nothing more) and kale-and-mushrooms-and-dried-cherries, which is almost a recipe, almost. I was going to make a fruit tart as well, but I'm not now, because everything is behindhand and stuff.

And I should be typing up yadda yadda, but I'm not: so allow me instead to yell "Sale!" in yer delicate lug-'oles. Thanks to m'wife's insistence and Jaym's patience (I may have run a little late, and a little long), my story "Afterparty: or, Not Out Of The Woods" will be appearing in Genius Loci, edited by Jaym Gates, published by Ragnarok, financed through Kickstarter. I may have mentioned this story en passant before, as being the first Quin story not to feature Quin, and therefore possibly the last Quin story ever. Possibly. But what I'm really excited about is that table of contents: here is a great passel of friends and awesome writers, with whom I have never before shared covers. Look, there's Andy Duncan! And Laura Anne, and that Seanan, and sovay, and @geardrops ("Glasses!"), and and and...

Oh, and. While I'm posting, I have neglectfully failed to post this. What is this, you ask? This is the cover by Mark J Ferrari for my forthcoming short novel, Being Small. Which will be out next month. Next month!


*Not a euphemism, no. What?
cmpriest July 23 2014, 22:46

I'd walk away like a movie star

Here's today's progress on my witchy art-deco horror novel about Lizzie Borden thirty years after her parents' deaths - now featuring ghosts and non-ghosts alike, anti-Catholic conspiracy nuts, supernatural political shenanigans, the mafia, and a Bonus! space-worshiping murder cult hiding behind the KKK:

    Project: Chapelwood
    Deadline: October 1, 2014
    New words written: 3191 (good)
    Present total word count: 111,348

    Things accomplished in fiction: Part one of a two-part climax. That's all you need to know. MWOOHAHAHAHA.

    Things accomplished in real life: Neighborhood jaunt with dog; several rounds of laundry, including bedding; various assorted bits of housework; Writer Business emails and so forth. Really, I'm just trying to power through and get to the end of this thing before the week's out.

    Other: I suppose it goes without saying that this draft is going to run longer than 110,000 words. I'm guessing it'll be more like 115,000 , so I'm adjusting the bar accordingly.

    Critter-Related Other: Today I discovered a new finch nest! Or rather...it's not half so new as I thought, because it has at least one half-grown fluffy baby bird in it (two, I think - but I'm not sure). And this nest is right under the kitchen window, sitting in the holly shrub just a couple of feet from where I wash dishes. I have no earthly idea how I'm only just now noticing it, but it's very cute and I'm glad that the little one(s) seem(s) to be doing well. No pictures, alas. I can't snap one without disturbing them, and I'm not willing to do that.

    Number of fiction words so far this year: 144,341
kradical July 23 2014, 21:12

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: "Blaze of Glory"

Eddington's back -- and he may be the only Maquis left... The DS9 Rewatch goes out in a "Blaze of Glory."

An excerpt:
In this episode, the final nail in the Maquis’s coffin is Eddington’s hubris. He never imagined that his plan to have the Maquis declare their independence and become a sovereign nation could have failed. He never imagined that the Cardassians would be strong enough to fight back. He never imagined having to deal with the Jem’Hadar or that if he did, that they would find Athos IV (given that he was DS9’s security chief going back to first contact with the Dominion, he really should have known better).
infinitydog July 23 2014, 21:00

Read my Q&A with KULT Magazine

A writer named Dominik Hug just interviewed me for the Swiss F/SF publication KULT Magazine. We discussed a wide range of topics, including how I work, how I got started, my past projects and my upcoming work.

A brief sample of our erudite exchange:

destiny_omniKULT: What does a normal David Mack working day look like?

David Mack: Something of a train wreck, honestly. I usually sleep until early afternoon, then slouch into my day. My first priority is usually a shower, followed by coffee and something to eat. Next, I deal with errands and other personal business, such as bills, cleaning up after the cats, taking out the trash. I waste a fair amount of time reading news on the Internet, poring over Facebook and Twitter, and trying to think of something amusing to post on social media.
I’ve usually done nothing useful by the time my wife gets home from work. We make dinner, eat, and clean up. Afterward, I pour a stiff drink and settle down to try to write. This usually results in more procrastination. I tend to get working for real around 9pm or 10pm, and I work in a panicked frenzy until around 1am. Then I watch TV until around 3am, when I go to bed.
Frankly, it’s a miracle I get anything done at all.

For the benefit of my fans who are fluent in English but not in German, Dominik has posted the original English version of the interview on his blog. A German-translated version will be posted online soon, and I will also put up links to that for my German-speaking friends and fans.

Give it a read!

Mirrored from davidmack.pro/blog.

nick_kaufmann July 23 2014, 20:02

Necon 34 Report

Necon 34 was this past weekend. Believe it or not, this was my 14th year attending. I started going in 2000, and only missed one year — 2009 — between then and now. Making this an extra special year was the fact that I was one of the Writer Guests of Honor, along with Amber Benson and Michael Koryta, with my dear friend Jack Haringa as Toastmaster. The Artist Guest of Honor was Erik Mohr, who does all the amazing covers for ChiZine Publications’ books, including my novella Chasing the Dragon. All three of them — Amber, Michael, and Erik – fit right in at Necon. They joked around with everyone and gave as good as they got (there’s a lot of sarcasm and snark at Necon, but it’s all done with love). The same can be said of special guest Kasey Lansdale, Joe R. Lansdale’s daughter and a talented entertainer in her own right. She gave a knockout concert Thursday night in the courtyard, and stuck around all weekend.


Thursday night dinner at the Lobster Pot with Kasey Lansdale, Amber Benson, Erik Mohr, and me.

For the first time in ages, the Necon goody bags were filled to the brim with books. Not just my own novel, Dying Is My Business, which St. Martin’s was kind enough to send, but there was a metric tonne of books donated by ChiZine Publications. I came home with something like eleven books, and that was after giving back the books I already owned!

The panels were their usual loosey-goosey shenanigans. Necon is very different from Readercon that way. But still, there were a lot of good topics being discussed and most of the time they were discussed seriously and knowledgeably. I very much enjoyed being on both the non-fiction panel and the erotic horror panel, even if the latter was at 9 AM on Sunday morning. But one of the highlights for me was definitely the Writer Guests of Honor interview led by Jack. It was scheduled for two hours instead of just one, and as moderator Jack made the time fly by with interesting and insightful questions. Plus, he only yelled at us a little.


The Writer Guests of Honor interview with a blurry Jack Haringa, Amber Benson, Michael Koryta, and me.

The programming at Necon is always enjoyable, but the real draw is the people. When we describe Necon as a family reunion, we mean it. It’s one of the most welcoming, loving, non-judgmental atmospheres I’ve ever been in. I didn’t meet a single new “camper” this year who wasn’t enthusiastic about coming back again. This happened to be the first year since Necon founder Bob Booth passed away, and his family — Sara Calia, Dan Booth, and Mary Booth — did a fantastic job keeping it all flowing smoothly in his absence. His presence was missed, and yet he felt very much there.

Two events stand out the most for me from this year’s Necon. The first was an impromptu H.P. Lovecraft walking tour of Providence a few of us took on Saturday morning, including Brian Keene, Mary SanGiovanni, Jim Moore, and Bev Vincent. Charles Rutledge led the tour. Dan Foley “drove” — by which I mean he missed every turn and nearly took us to Maine. We saw the house where Lovecraft lived when he wrote “The Call of Cthulhu” and other seminal works, as well as the house that inspired his story “The Shunned House,” and the cemetery where both Lovecraft and Poe used to stroll while thinking about their stories. There was so much history there you could feel it.

The second standout event was, ahem, the roast on Saturday night. Chris Golden worked tirelessly to fool me into thinking we were roasting Jeff Strand, but it was all an elaborate ruse. I was the one being roasted! How my friends managed to keep this from me for weeks — especially Jack, whom I’d just seen the weekend before at Readercon — is beyond me, but they did a fantastic job keeping it on the low down. I was taken completely by surprise. I’m told the look on my face was priceless. If anyone has a photo of that moment, I’d love to see it!


This picture pretty much sums it up.

I’m not supposed to repeat what was said at the roast, but suffice it to say they got me good. Especially Kasey Lansdale. Ouch! They even trotted out that old photo of me in the bikini top from the Hawaiian Shirt Contest back in 2002. Bastards. But just when I thought it was over, there was one last surprise…


…a pie in the face from Ginjer Buchanan! I felt deeply loved and appreciated, despite the zingers and being unexpectedly covered in whipped cream with no clean pants to change into. I tried to give back as good as I got during my rebuttal, but it was already a long night and I didn’t hit everyone who had roasted me, just a select few. Then I went back to my room, changed out of my whipped cream-covered clothes, showered, and went out to join my friends in my pajamas.


Post-roast with Bev Vincent, Kasey Lansdale, Mary SanGiovanni, Brian Keene, Shawn Bagley, John Goodrich, and the “man of the hour” in his pajamas.

Chris Golden retired that night from hosting the annual roast and left its future in the hands of Jeff Strand and myself. I know we’ll do him proud. And that’s another Necon in the rearview mirror. It’s always sad saying goodbye, but it was great seeing Amber again and making new friends with Kasey and Michael. I hope all of them will come back to Necon again. I know I will.

You can see more pictures from Necon 34 here.

Oh, and one last thing. Thank you, all of you, from the bottom of my heart…for your mediocrity.

Originally published at Nicholas Kaufmann. You can comment here or there.

bob_greenberger July 23 2014, 19:56

What’s in a Name? Ask Barbara Kean



Barbara-Kean-Gordon-1981As we celebrate Batman’s 75th anniversary three months late (Detective Comics #27 hit newsstands on April 18, 1939), I see the usual hubbub over creators and creator credit. Thankfully, DC Comics has finally started to acknowledge Bill Finger as a contributor to the Batman legacy. He and his heirs will never see the kind of money such work deserves but at least the name is no longer hidden by obfuscation.

Another creation of sorts has been hotly debated the last few weeks as Alan Brennert lamented on his Facebook page that he will not be compensated for his naming and characterization for Mrs. James W. Gordon. In the 500th issue of Detective, Alan wrote “To Kill a Legend” which featured Barbara Kean, Gordon’s fiancée, as a red-headed librarian in the alternate reality the Phantom Stranger showed the Dynamic Duo. Her depiction is a wink to her daughter, also Barbara, growing up to potentially become Batgirl.

Prior to that point, Mrs. Gordon had appeared in just two stories: ‘Tec #72 in 1943 as a potential robbery victim and then in World’s Finest Comics #53 in 1951 (where we met their one son, Tony). It wasn’t until 1981, after which both stories were consigned to the reality of Earth-2, that she appeared again and only in a cameo at the wedding of Bruce Wayne to Selina Kyle in Superman Family #211. It cannot be argued she had anything resembling a personality prior to Alan’s story.

As for Earth-1, the main continuity for DC prior to Crisis on Infinite Earths, Jim Gordon’s wife was never seen, not even once although Batgirl/Barbara Gordon proved he had to have been married. In 1982, there was a fleeting reference to Gordon being a widower but it was a thread never explored.

erin-richards-barbara-kean-gordon-gothamBarbara Eileen Gordon, married to Jim Gordon, mother to James Jr., first arrived in the post-Crisis Earth in Batman #404. For the record, Frank Miller and Denny O’Neil both forgot about daughter Barbara when Batman: Year One was being produced and Frank told Barbara Randall Kesel that he named the character of Gordon’s wife after her without referencing Alan’s story. When that error saw print, Barbara and I quickly prepped a retcon patch making young Barbara Jim’s niece, something which stuck until the New 52 revised history. In the current continuity, Barbara was mother to both James Jr. and Barbara, unusual in having both children named after each parent.

With Erin Richards set to play Barbara Kean in Fox’s Gotham series this fall, the Kean name endures. And yet, for naming her, he won’t even receive a bonus check as a thank you. He pointed out to DC’s execs that this derivative nature is similar to Bart Allen/Impulse being derivative of Barry Allen but they weren’t biting.

The story went viral and as usual various pundits and web reporters didn’t do their due diligence, some referring to an erroneous entry on Wikipedia for proof. Thankfully, I wrote the Essential Batman Encyclopedia and have the data before me and without a law degree, suspect Alan is due something based on previous DC practice.

Speaking of Wikipedia, as useful as it can be, errors still creep in or fans with an agenda can skew the results. Not only did someone inaccurately give Earth-2’s Mrs. Gordon the Kean maiden name, someone else decided the W. in James Gordon’s name stood for Worthington although not a single comic book story establish this fact.

Happy birthday, Batman!

mb_galleycat July 23 2014, 19:36

7.5% of Book Buyers Are Buying Less From Amazon Due to Hachette Dispute



Amazon’s dispute with Hachette is causing about 7.5 percent of book buyers to buy less from the online retail giant and 1.4 percent of book buyers are buying more, according to figures based on research from Peter Hildick-Smith of the Codex Group.

The research, which includes feedback from about 5,300 buyers, found that slightly more than 39 percent of respondents reported that they are aware of the dispute and among those book buyers. Nineteen percent of these consumers reported buying less books from Amazon, while 4.4 percent of these consumers revealed that they are buying more from the books from the Seattle-based bookseller.

Forbes has more: “The Codex group also found out where those book buyers were going. About half the shifted buying went to Barnes & Noble, independent bookshops, barnesandnoble.com (the online store for Barnes & Noble), used bookshops and Costco, in that order.: (Via Forbes).

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

mb_galleycat July 23 2014, 19:06

Reading Habits on the Toilet: INFOGRAPHIC



Do you read while you go to the bathroom? The Reader’s Edge has created an infographic called ” Reading Habits on the Toilet,” which explores the preferred habits of readers in the bathroom.

Check it out: “Are you guilty of texting on the toilet? Perhaps you’re a bit more traditional and you prefer a book, or magazine. The average person spends about 30 minutes in the bathroom every day, and according to a recent survey, 75% of Americans are using their cell phones in the bathroom, whether they are reading an email, text, or using an app. Additionally, 24% admitted that they will not go to the bathroom without it. So what exactly is everyone reading these days? Check out our awesome infographic about bathroom reading and see for yourself!”

We’ve embedded the entire graphic after the jump for you to explore further. (more…)

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

mb_galleycat July 23 2014, 19:06

Grove Atlantic Acquires Book of Mormon Producer’s Self-Published Book



Grove Atlantic has acquired Kevin Morris’ collection of stories White Man’s Problems, along with a novel that Morris is currently working on.

The Book of Mormon co-producer self-published White Man’s Problems on Amazon earlier this year. The book includes nine short stories, each one about a different man ”whose outward success masks inner turmoil that complicates their lives and often baffles those around them.”

Morgan Entrekin, publisher and CEO of Grove Atlantic, met Morris at a book party for Morris’ debut title thrown by mutual friends in New York City earlier this summer. Entrekin took a copy of the book and was impressed with what he read, so he took Morris to lunch which led to a two-book deal. ”I think this is the first time we have acquired a self-published book,” stated Entrekin.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

mizkit July 23 2014, 19:01

5 things make a post

Thing One: gemmafade_teaser Val is working hard on the GEMMA FADE pages, and gave me permission to post a teaser page. :) I tell you, sending a script out and getting drawings back is one of the niftiest things EVER. :)

Thing Two: A link to some fudge. Just in case you need some. :)

Thing Three: The STONE’S THROE copy edits have been delivered! Soon! SOOOOOOOOOOON! a pulp fiction novel by yours truly will be available to readers everywhere! :)

Thing Four: This is a truly terrific fanvid to Nicki Minoj’s Starship. Really honestly terrific, go watch it.

Thing Five: I’m starving and gonna go find something to eat. (Look, I didn’t say they were 5 *scintillating* things, did I? No!)

Share this:

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

mb_galleycat July 23 2014, 16:28

Free Samples of the Man Booker Longlist



The Man Booker Longlist has been revealed for 2014. While a number of the titles will be released later this year, we’ve collected free samples of many of the books on the list.

The shortlist will be revealed on September 9th and the winner announced on October 14th.

If you want more free book samples, we made similar literary mixtapes linking to free samples of 2013 Man Booker Longlist and the 2014 PEN Literary Award Nominees.


New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

realthog July 23 2014, 16:06

My tweets

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