Racist Much?

Excerpt from an email my husband just sent me:


...[T]here was a report on Clutchfans that was reviewing the Rocket's interest in coaches and listed 10 coaches that the Rox really like and/or will interview.  And someone posted "is it me, or are the Rockets only interested in black coaches?"
So I listed all the coaches and categorized them according to their skin color.  And here's what I wrote after listing them all out:
"Let's see...5 white guys and 5 black guys replacing a white guy that replaced a white guy that replaced a white guy. Yeah, I think you're right. They're only looking for a black coach.

Racist much? :D "

This struck me since I had recently discussed with my husband the occasionally distorted view regarding women and POC's as majority presences in anthologies where they factually are not. Sometimes people only seem to see what they want to see.

Which leads into an interesting article (snurched from one of Jay Lake's recent Link Salads) regarding many things, including how we tend to place high importance on evidence that supports what we want to believe and disregard any other evidence, despite the logic or science behind it.



State of the Garden Address

So this is year two of my attempt to garden, and it is an odd year.

Our house is on the market, so there is a chance I will see little of the results of my labor. Yet the alternative of planting nothing at all just seemed dreary (and I know I'd regret it more if I planted nothing and then nobody bought the house for months more, a very likely possibility in this current market). And of course, there is the secret wish that somehow the garden will be a selling point.

Anyway, my garden this year still contains a few experiments and a few solids.

1. Parsley, oregano, thyme -- My parsley, oregano, and thyme survived the winter well, even being covered in snow for a week, and are now plush and full and bursting forth with herbish glory.

2. Cilantro -- I planted a bit of cilantro late in the fall, but lost one of the plants to the winter snow that hit Dallas early February. The remaining two plants are quite lovely looking now. I think I need to plant some new seedlings, though, since I learned last year that parsley is not the kind of herb to just hang around all year. Once it flowers, it is about done for.

3. Basil -- Last year's behemoth was lovely, but the placement of it, given its eventual size, was not well conceived. So I have planted in a new location this year. I am crossing my fingers that this doesn't affect the behemoth size of my future basil too much. There was something lovely about plucking leaves from that basilmoth day after day, hoping it wouldn't devour me.

4. Swiss chard -- I suffered much failure with the swiss chard last year. While the package says to plant in early spring, I planted in late late spring. And then a few more times as various bugs and other ravages seemed to whither and splat my chard. Yet, a few plants survived, tiny and frail. And they pushed through the winter, were buried under snow with the rest of the garden. And now spring has hit and my Swiss chard is exploding. I actually had to pull one of the plants because it was too close to the others, and I have a friend whose Swiss chard plants in her front yard are a testament to exactly how bushy big these things can get. So, I am guessing Swiss chard is more of a fall vegetable. Or a really really really early spring vegetable. No late plantings!

5. Radishes -- As always, these are an easy plant and an easy harvest. Good thing they are tasty, too! I planted a huge section of them this year and am looking forward to roasting the roots and sauteeing the spiky greens.

6. Butter lettuce -- Mixed results with this last year, but I am hoping the earlier spring planting helps. I lost a a lot of sprouts to snails last year, but the coffee ground trick seemed to work once I discovered it. So I am starting with the coffee grounds early this year. I still have a solid supply of coffee from all of J's work trips last year (because we don't actually drink coffee ourselves, he brought home all his hotel packets) and have sprinkled my sprouts liberally. I planted it back against the fence where it is much more shaded as well since last year's summer heat blasted my original lettuce survivors into oblivion.

7. Tomatoes, bell peppers, cayenne peppers -- I have mixed feelings on these three. Last year was a miserable failure for them all. What few sprouted were quickly eaten by snails. Part of the problem is I am not obeying the directions and planting them indoors in special planters and then transferring them outside much later. I figure if nature can grow a tomato plant by flinging seeds randomly into the ground, so can I. Still not sure about my theory, given last year's massive failure on this end, but this is a second year to give it a try using the coffee ground trick to hopefully protect what sproutlings come. My tomatoes have sprouted and seem fine so far. No sign yet of the bell peppers or cayenne pepper plants.

8. Carrots -- I decided last year I hated growing carrots. I had heard they were easy, like radishes, but I barely got any to take, and they went all the way into late fall getting near any sort of pickable size, and their pickable sizes weren't particularly pickable. For something to take that long to get to the harvest point and yield so little just annoyed me. Yet here I am again, planting carrots. I think I am hoping that last year's carrots were an anomaly due to the super late spring planting. This year I planted right on the last frost date, so we'll see.... (or not, in the case the house is bought and somebody else inherits my little garden)

9. Green beans -- Last year, I learned that three plants is not enough. And that the end of summer megaheat kills green bean plants pretty fast. So I have planted tons more plants this year (at the expense of planting other things) and gotten them planted early with the rest of the garden. They just started shoving their sprouts up yesterday, though a few are still lagging.

10. Peas -- Same as the green beans, I learned these need a lot more plants in order to get a decent harvest for a meal and that the summer megaheat time kills them deader than dead. My plants last year never had a chance to really grow well before getting hit too hard by the weather, so hopefully this year will fare better. The one pea pod I harvested last year contained two very very tasty fresh peas. I want more.

11. Zuchinni -- Last year, my zuchinni plants were devoured from within by squash borer beetles. I've learned to hate those distinctive red/black bastards. I did some reading online, and apparently you can wipe the undersides of the leaves and stems on a weekly basis and successfully dislodge all eggs (because the eggs laid on the undersides take about 10 days to hatch). I am going to try this method this year, assuming again the house isn't bought before I can, and see how it goes. It sounds slightly labor intensive, but I've only planted three plants. The hardest part will be wiping the leaves during the flowering season with the bees all over the plants. I am guessing that will mean some early morning stem wiping, before the bees get their groggy little butts out of bed. Or late night, since bees seem to have an early bedtime as well. 

And that is pretty much my garden attempt this year. Now it is a race between growing tasty garden tidbits and/or selling the house and/or having my plants destroyed by random bugs and birds and snails.

At leats I know the radishes will pull through for me, even if everything else fails. :)

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ConDFW Schedule of Doooooom!

Hooray--the ConDFW programming is up, and my schedule is finalized! If you are planning on showing up, this is where you can find me (and heckle me, or throw tomatoes at me, or cheer wildly).


Panel Room 1 -- Warwick
3:00 p.m. -- Short Stuff: Short Fiction and its Market
Panelists: T.M. Hunter, Teresa Patterson, Richard Weber (M), Michelle Muenzler, Kevin Hosey, K.B. Bogen
So you're not quite ready to write that novel? Have a notebook filled with short stories or even just thoughts? Hear our panelists discuss how to take those ideas, turn them into real short stories, what to do with them then, and where they can go.


Panel Room 4 -- Churchill
11:00 a.m. -- Run! These Aren't Your Parent's Shambling Zombies
Panelists: Chris Donahue, Linda Donahue (M), Christopher Fulbright, Angeline Hawkes, Brad Sinor, Michelle Muenzler
Zombies may never sparkle and be angst-ridden, but nowadays they can run, jump, and do almost anything but fly. Is this the modern reinvention of the Zombie? If so, what explains the popularity of the comic/TV show “Walking Dead” and do modern audiences need to know what causes zombies? Is saying that magic or comets created them good enough anymore? Lastly, hear what our panelists want in a good apocalypse.

Panel Room 2 -- Manchester
9:00 p.m. -- Pornography vs. Erotica
Panelists: Lee Martindale, Brad Sinor (M), Michelle Muenzler
Nine different panels so far, and nothing has been solved. This no holds, gloves off, penetrative examination of adult literature is a tradition at ConDFW. What is erotica? What is the difference between erotica and pornography? These are a couple of the questions that may actually be asked this year. Last year, the panelists actually stayed somewhat topical! Perhaps this year it will be solved forever? We're never sure, but it is always entertaining. Adults only!


Panel Room 4 -- Churchill
1:00 p.m. -- Publishing 201: Publishing Novels
Panelists: Bill Fawcett (M), Taylor Anderson, Tim Powers, Paul Black, Michelle Muenzler
Putting together a novel is an exhausting business, but getting it out into the cold, cruel world is the next big step. Our experts talk about how to get your novel read, who to go to, and what to say. And watch out for rogue contracts!

Panel Room 4 -- Churchill
2:00 p.m. -- Mythological Sources: Assyrian and Babylonian Mythology
Panelists: Linda Donahue (M), Michelle Muenzler, Christopher Fulbright, Richard Weber
Some of the oldest mythological creatures are not Norse, or Greek, They are much older from Babylonian times. Borrowed freely, these creatures and gods had just as many quirks as the Greeks, and best of all, H.P. Lovecraft was inspired by them in some of his dark stories. Hopefully, these tales will inspire you to great heights as well!


A Tale of Two Sales

Well, okay, not much of a tale here. However, I just "signed" the contracts on my two latest sales, so it is time to share the happy shiny!

1. My first reprint sale! "The Fowler's Daughter", first published in Shroud Magazine, Issue 3, Summer 2008 is going to be in Ekaterina Sedia's awesome Bewere the Night anthology. When I first learned of this anthology, I waffled heavily on whether my story was even vaguely appropriate for it since I consider the tale more of a modern day fairy tale interpretation than a werecreature story. But then poor Ekaterina Sedia posted on her LJ that she was being inundated with werewolf tales and really needed something different, and her comments sections mentioned some folk sending in somewhat less traditional were-transformation stories, so I thought I'd go ahead and give it a shot (because everyone should love "were-geese"!). I'm super happy now that I did because this is going to be an awesome anthology.  :)

2. "They Gather in the Green" is a story that has long given me trouble, just from finding the right title to wondering if I was insane for having begun it with a brother telling his sister a story. But then Crossed Genres opened up submissions for their tragedy issue, and this story is nothing if not tragedy piled upon tragedy. I mean, the darned thing even says it's a tragedy within the story itself! How tragic! And thus this story has found its tragically awesome home.

I love making sales, and these two are great starts to the year. Okay, technically one was made on the 30th of December, but I'm still counting it for making this year awesome.

On the downside, I really need to write some new short stories (the novel has been a bit distracting). I only have two left in my submissions queue right now! Eep!


Top Books Read in 2010 (and a List of All the Rest!)

Well, it is that time of year again. Time to call out the new books I read last year that nailed a 5 out of 5 points on my scoring system. And time to call out the rest of my reads in all their glory.

This year was a good year for reading. There wasn't much I read that I didn't like, though obviously some books worked better for me than others. So without further ado, here are the top 5-star books of this year.

1. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, NK Jemisin
2. I am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced, Nujood Ali with Delphine Minou
3. Parable of the Sower, Octavia E. Butler
4. The Broken Kingdoms, NK Jemisin
5. Towers of Midnight, Brandon Sanderson and Robert Jordan
6. The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini

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It's been a good reading year, though I didn't read as many new books as I'd like. Some time was spent rereading items on my shelf, seeking the comfort of familiarity. And there are some books that I really really really want (Beth Bernobich's Passion Play comes to mind)  that I haven't bought yet to read because I am waiting on them to come out in paperback (I try to avoid buying hardcover nowadays, painful though it is sometimes when I desperately desire a certain book).

But yeah, a good year overall.

My First Poetry Sale!

I am full of squee right now--I just sold my first poem to the wonderful magazine Goblin Fruit. Hooray! "Callisto at the Corner Coffee Shop" will be published in the Winter 2011 issue.

*does the happy squee dance*

I can't wait to see what awesome poets my ToC mates are! Though perhaps this means I need to hurry up and respond to the acceptance email with my bio and recorded reading...

*scurries forth*


Crossed Genre is Looking for Reviewers

Well, the title says it all: Crossed Genres is looking for long and short fiction reviewers for a side project that will corss over with the magazine itself. If you have any interest (and why wouldn't you?), check out the link for more info.

And while you're over there, you can enter their latest contest for some really cool prizes!