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Random Thursday: What Hath She Wrote?

Thursday, December 8, 2016 - 13:00

This post is mostly an exercise in convincing myself that I've been productive this year, even though I only had two pieces of fiction come out (and one of those was a self-published free novelette). I hope that it may have a second purpose, which is to entice people who don't follow my blog to consider doing so. I will freely confess that one of the reasons I blog so extensively is that pernicious voice whispering in my brain, "Maybe if you just write enough, if you research enough, if you make yourself useful enough to other people, maybe then they'll want to talk to you and be your friend." I recognize this for the fallacy it is. No one has contracted with me for this output. No one owes me eyes or attention. And there are wonderful people who would be my friend even if I weren't blogging. But there it is: I own that aspect of it. I even blogged about it. (Of course I did.)

For entries posted in the first 3/4 of the year, I'm mostly linking to Live Journal (exceptions being some of the longer series that have their own tag at the blog). Entries from the last 1/4 or so of the year (after I set up a blog at my own website) are linked to my Alpennia Blog.

So what have I written this year? Here's a brief overview. The majority of this material either falls generally in SFF topics, or in historical topics (especially my lesbian history project and related material).

  • General essays (11)
  • Essays on the process of writing (does not include minor posts on writing progress or promotion) (41)
  • Convention reports (4)
  • Lesbian Historic Motif Project
    • Publications covered (27)
    • Podcasts (5)
    • Queer Sci Fi columns (4)
  • Other Historic Research (includes the start of an extensive primary source material project) (3)
  • Essays on gardening and cooking (6)
  • Reviews
    • Lesbian movie reviews (an ongoing series) (5)
    • General movies (7)
    • Novels (23)
    • Graphic novels (5)
    • Audio fiction (7 but this includes some multi-item posts)
    • Live theater (6)

Random Thoughts and Philosophical Discussions

Living with Metaphors - or, The Problem of the Purple Elephant (2016/01/28) - Some thoughts that draw from my cognitive linguistics background, talking about the ups and downs of using metaphoric language to reason with.

Non-Industrial Metaphors for Anger (2016/02/03) - More on the topic of metaphoric reasoning.

Failure Modes of Metaphoric Thinking (2016/02/10) - The conclusion of my brief series on the topic.

Five Words: Lily, Plum, Bowl, Ether, Rice (2016/02/18) - One of those blog games where people give you prompts to write about. I managed to tie these together with family history.

A Peculiar Sort of Immortality (2016/02/25) - Wherein I ruminate about all the people in the world who know me only as The Woman Who Is Wrong About The Bathhouse Dress.

To Do and To Let Be (2016/03/10) - How do you know when something will improve spontaneously?

My Workplace Superpowers (2016/03/17) - Why biotech pays me big bucks for my brain and my writing skills.

Poem: 2016 (2016/044/21) - Inspired by the conversation about notable deaths in 2016.

Future Shock and the Stress of Change (2016/04/24) - The First World Problem of dealing with a computer upgrade that was left too long.

Now with More Randomness (2016/09/15) - A brief explanation of just what it is I do for a living in the biotech pharmaceutical industry.

Who Owns History (2016/10/13) - A consideration of the desire to "claim" historical person's for one's identity, identity zero-sum game, and how that can set different marginalizations in competition.

Process of Writing (does not include general progress reports and teasers for Mother of Souls)

Punto in Aria (2015/12/30) - A poem about reconstructing the stories of under-documented people in history.

Retreating to Advance (2015/12/31) - A look-back on my decision to step back from my non-writing (and non-paycheck) activities in 2015.

Distracted by a plot-bunny (2016/01/05) - The historic research that inspired my novelette "The Mazarinette and the Musketeer"

Giving it Away (2016/01/19) - Why I sometimes choose to offer short fiction for free rather than trying to find paying markets.

Who Tells Your Story / Whose Story Gets Told? (2016/01/21) - Some thoughts I had about how artistic interpretation both focuses and diffuses attention, inspired by the musical Hamilton.

Guest Blog: Lesbian Fiction Appreciation Event (2016/01/30) - "Puzzle it Out"

This is My Heart; I Don't Know if it will Come Through the Fire (2016/02/04) - Ruminations on my very complicated relationship with self-promotion.

Spreadsheets, we have spreadsheets! (2016/02/09) - How I keep track of all my characters, and why I consider it important for even the most minor characters to have a full backstory, if only in my mind.

Unicorn Management, or Inspiration Around Us (2016/02/11) - Just where do I get my ideas?

Marketing Marginalized Identities (2016/03/03) - Some thoughts on the damned-if-you-do damned-if-you-don't problem of marketing books that include, but are not targeted solely at, marginalized identities.

Fate isn't What it Seems (2016/03/15) - I don't believe in "fated soul-mates", either for fictional characters or in real life.

Looking for Beta-Readers with Specific Expertise (2016/03/29) - I had several people comment very positively on the details of my "looking for PoC beta-readers" post. A pity it didn't actually result in any useful contacts for that specific topic.

Polysemy in Titling (2016/04/05) - Have you ever wondered just what I intended by the titles of the Alpennia books?

Book Covers (2016/04/07) - Trials and tribulations in my first experience trying to commission book cover art.

Writing Outsiders (2016/04/19) - One of my standard themes is placing my characters outside the expected norms of society in some way.

...However Long it Takes to Get to the Revolution (2016/04/26) - Finding the balance between plotting and pantsing in a multi-volume historically-grounded series.

What Good are Bad Reviews? (2016/05/03) - Playing with some graphs and data-crunching to talk about what all 5-star reviews do and don't mean about a book.

More Data-Crunching in the Meaning (or Lack Thereof) of Book Rankings (2016/05/05) - Futher discussions of what you can and can't take away from your Amazon and Goodreads data.

The intriguing directions my plots take when I ask the question "Where are the people of color in the world of Alpennia and what are their stories?" (2016/05/19)

Overthinking Book Dedications (2016/06/02) - I agonize over whether it's an appreciation or an imposition to dedicate a book to someone you don't know personally. [Follow-up note: eventually I decided to go ahead and do it, and the dedicatee was pleased.]

Revisions, Revisions, Revisions (2016/06/07) - An overall look at my book revision process.

Character Sexuality (2016/06/09) - How do you represent non-default sexualities in historic contexts that don't share the categories and labels we're used to?

Defaults and Marked Cases in Book Advertising (2016/06/14) - I return to the frustrating problem of both marketing books with marginalized characters to people desperate to find representation, without inadvertently scaring off other readers.

Breaking the Rules of How to Explain Things to Readers (2016/07/12) - A consistently strict camera-eye third person point of view has been one of the features of the Alpennia series so far. When and Why have I broken that?

Representation and Intersection (2016/07/19) - What does "own voices" mean in historic of secondary-world settings, particularly when a character represents a complex intersection of voices?

Storybundle Guest Blog: The Origins of the Great Passenger Derby by Melissa Scott (2016/07/30) - Melissa talks about the historic underpinnings of her story in the bundle.

Storybundle Guest Blog: Don't Let Them Take Your Reynards by Martha Wells (2016/07/31) - Martha talks about fighting to keep her gay secondary character when he got copyedited out.

Getting My Reading Mojo Back (2016/08/04) - What does it mean when it feels like all the books you read are "merely very good"?

Storybundle Guest Blog: Magic in The Armor of Light by Melissa Scott (2016/08/04) - Just what it says on the label.

Storybundle Guest Blog: Werewolves of WWII by Geonn Cannon (2016/08/06) - Geonn's shapeshifter spies through history.

Storybundle Guest Blog: The Emperor's Agent by Jo Graham (2016/08/07) - The historic individual who inspired Jo's protagonist.

Storybundle Guest Blog: The Origins of Trafalgar and Boone by Geonn Cannon (2016/08/08) - The roots of Geonn's steampunk adventure.

Storybundle: But Wait, There's More... (2016/08/11) - Lists and links to follow up on what else my Storybundle comrades have written.

The Awkwardness of Category Defaults, or Under What Circumstances am I a Man Writing Gay Sci Fi?

A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody... (2016/09/08) - Musical structures and fictional structures.

Lately, Not Quite So Random (2016/09/29) - Contemplating the radical act of telling general stories through a queer lens.

To Dance, Perchance to Dream (2016/10/11) - On inventing social customs for a fictional country.

Revising the Classics (2016/10/20) -  A prompted essay on which pieces of "classic literature" I'd be tempted to rewrite as queer. My notion of "the classics" may differ from other people's...

What Do (Alpennian) Women Want? (2016/11/04) - One of the most important tools I use in character development is to ask what that character most wants, even if she doesn't realize it herself yet.

Guest Blog: Finding the Fantasy in History by Stephanie Burgis (2016/12/01) - Stephanie drops by to talk about being inspired by historic research and about her new book Congress of Secrets.

How to Help Promote a Book (2016/12/06) - Suggestions for fans, particularly fans of small-press books.

Convention Reports (Many of my convention reports discuss issues of being an introvert at SFF conventions, just in case this is a particular interest of the reader)

FogCon (2016/03/13)

Kalamazoo Medieval Conference (2016/05/13-15)

Bay Con (2016/05/28-31)

Worldcon (2016/08/17-21)

Lesbian Historic Motif Project (several of these publications required many posts to cover, so this doesn't entirely reflect how much work was involved) - I haven't given the posting dates for these and this heading links to the project as a whole. Check it out!

111. Walen, Denise A. 2005. Constructions of Female Homoeroticism in Early Modern Drama. New York: Palgrave MacMillan. ISBN 978-1-4039-6875-3

112. Castle, Terry (ed). 2003. The Literature of Lesbianism: A Historical Anthology from Ariosto to Stonewall. Columbia University Press, New York. ISBN 0-231-12510-0

113. Bennett, Paula. “The Pea That Duty Locks: Lesbian and Feminist-Heterosexual Readings of Emily Dickinson’s Poetry” in Jay, Karla & Joanne Glasgow (eds). 1990. Lesbian Texts and Contexts: Radical Revisions. New York University Press, New York. ISBN 0-8147-4177

114. Zimmerman, Bonnie. “’The Dark Eye Beaming’: Female Friendship in George Eliot’s Fictions” in Jay, Karla & Joanne Glasgow (eds). 1990. Lesbian Texts and Contexts: Radical Revisions. New York University Press, New York. ISBN 0-8147-4177

115. Brown, Judith C. 1984. “Lesbian Sexuality in Renaissance Italy: The Case of Sister Benedetta Carlini” in Signs 9 (1984): 751-58. (reprinted in: Freedman, Esteele B., Barbara C. Gelpi, Susan L. Johnson & Kathleen M. Weston. 1985. The Lesbian Issue: Essays from Signs. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago. ISBN 0-2256-26151-4)

116. Newton, Esther. “The Mythic Mannish Lesbian: Radclyffe Hall and the New Woman” in Signs 9 (1984): 557-575. (reprinted in: Freedman, Esteele B., Barbara C. Gelpi, Susan L. Johnson & Kathleen M. Weston. 1985. The Lesbian Issue: Essays from Signs. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago. ISBN 0-2256-26151-4)

117. Lansing, Carol. 2005. “Donna con Donna? A 1295 Inquest into Female Sodomy” in Studies in Medieval and Renaissance History: Sexuality and Culture in Medieval and Renaissance Europe, Third Series vol. II: 109-122.

118. Lyons, Clare A. 2007. “Mapping an Atlantic Sexual Culture: Homoeroticism in Eighteenth-Century Philadelphia” in: Foster, Thomas A. (ed). Long Before Stonewall: Histories of Same-Sex Sexuality in Early America. New York University Press, New York. ISBN 13-978-0-8147-2749-2

119. Ingrassia, Catherine. 2003. “Eliza Haywood, Sapphic Desire, and the Practice of Reading” in: Kittredge, Katharine (ed). Lewd & Notorious: Female Transgression in the Eighteenth Century. The University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor. ISBN 0-472-11090-X

120. Lanser, Susan S. 2003. “Queer to Queer: The Sapphic Body as Transgressive Text” in Kittredge, Katharine (ed.)  Lewd & Notorious: Female Transgressions in the Eighteenth Century. The University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor. ISBN 0-472-11090-X

121. Durling, Nancy Vine. 1989. “Rewriting Gender: Yde et Olive and Ovidian Myth” in Romance Languages Annual 1: 256-62.

122. Lardinois, André. “Lesbian Sappho and Sappho of Lesbos” in Bremmer, Jan. 1989. From Sappho to de Sade: Moments in the HIstory of Sexuality. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-02089-1

123. Jelinek, Estelle. 1987. “Disguise Autobiographies: ‘Women Masquerading as Men’” in Women’s Studies International Forum, 10, pp.53-62.

124. Dover, K. J. 1978. Greek Homosexuality. Harvard University Press, Cambridge. ISBN 0-674-36261-6

125. Clarke, John R. 1998. Looking at Lovemaking: Constructions of Sexuality in Roman Art 100 B.C.-A.D. 250. University of California Press, Berkeley. ISBN 0-520-20024-1

126. Friedli, Lynne. 1987. “Passing Women: A Study of Gender Boundaries in the Eighteenth Century” in Rousseau, G. S. and Roy Porter (eds). Sexual Underworlds of the Enlightenment. Manchester University Press, Manchester. ISBN 0-8078-1782-1

127. Hobby, Elaine. 1991. “Katherine Philips: Seventeenth-Century Lesbian Poet” in Hobby, Elaine & Chris White (eds). What Lesbians do in Books. Women’s Press, London.

128. Wheelwright, Julie. 1989. Amazons and Military Maids: Women who Dressed as Men in the Pursuit of Life, Liberty, and Happiness. Pandora, London. ISBN 0-04-440494-8

129. Crompton, Louis. 1985. “The Myth of Lesbian Impunity: Capital Laws from 1270 to 1791” in Licata, Salvatore J. & Robert P. Petersen (eds). The Gay Past: A Collection of Historical Essays. Harrington Park Press, New York. ISBN 0-918393-11-6 (Also published as Journal of Homosexuality, Vol. 6, numbers 1/2, Fall/Winter 1980.)

130. Eriksson, Brigitte. 1985. “A Lesbian Execution in Germany, 1721: The Trial Records” in Licata, Salvatore J. & Robert P. Petersen (eds). The Gay Past: A Collection of Historical Essays. Harrington Park Press, New York. ISBN 0-918393-11-6 (Also published as Journal of Homosexuality, Vol. 6, numbers 1/2, Fall/Winter 1980.)

131. Monter, E. William. 1985. “Sodomy and Heresy in Early Modern Switzerland” in Licata, Salvatore J. & Robert P. Petersen (eds). The Gay Past: A Collection of Historical Essays. Harrington Park Press, New York. ISBN 0-918393-11-6 (Also published as Journal of Homosexuality, Vol. 6, numbers 1/2, Fall/Winter 1980.)

132. Jennings, Rebecca. 2007. A Lesbian History of Britain: Love and Sex Between Women Since 1500. Greenwood World Publishing, Oxford. ISBN 978-1-84645-007-5

133. Traub, Valerie. “The Past is a Foreign Country? The Times and Spaces of Islamicate Sexuality Studies” in Babayan, Kathryn and Afsaneh Najmabadi (eds.). 2008. Islamicate Sexualities: Translations Across Temporal Geographies of Desire. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-03204-0

134. Amer, Sahar. “Cross-Dressing and Female Same-Sex Marriage in Medieval French and Arabic Literatures” in Babayan, Kathryn and Afsaneh Najmabadi (eds.). 2008. Islamicate Sexualities: Translations Across Temporal Geographies of Desire. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-03204-0

135. Epps, Brad. “Comparison, Competition, and Cross-Dressing: Cross-Cultural Analysis in a Contested World” in Babayan, Kathryn and Afsaneh Najmabadi (eds.). 2008. Islamicate Sexualities: Translations Across Temporal Geographies of Desire. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-03204-0

136. Babayan, Kathryn. “’In Spirit We Ate Each Other’s Sorrow’ Female Companionship in Seventeenth-Century Safavi Iran” in Babayan, Kathryn and Afsaneh Najmabadi (eds.). 2008. Islamicate Sexualities: Translations Across Temporal Geographies of Desire. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-03204-0

137. Faderman, Lillian. 1981.  Surpassing the Love of Men. William Morrow and Company, Inc., New York. ISBN 0-688-00396-6

17th Century Sources in the LHMP (2016/01/27) - Link-post on 17th century material covered in the project.

LHMP Podcast #1: Ordinary Women (2016/08/26)

LHMP Podcast #2: Same-Sex Marriage in Restoration England (2016/09/24)

Special Lesbian Talkshow Podcast with Suzie Carr: The Masks We Wear (2016/10/27)

Special Halloween LHMP Podcase: The Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti (2016/10/29)

LHMP Podcast #3: "Bosom Sex" in 19th Century America

Queer Fantasy Roots Column at Queer Sci Fi #1: Shapeshifters, M-preg, and Artificial Gestation in Medieval Welsh Literature (2016/08/16)

Queer Fantasy Roots Column at Queer Sci Fi  #2: Gender Transformations in Ovid's "Metamorphoses" (2016/09/17)

Queer Fantasy Roots Column at Queer Sci Fi #3: Astral Projection, Body-Sharing, and a Platonic Threesome in Cavendish's "The Blazing World" (2016/10/15)

Queer Fantasy Roots Column at Queer Sci Fi #4: The Changing Role of Amazons (2016/11/15)

Random Research

Name Diminutives in Medieval Welsh (2016/01/06) - A discussion of how diminutive nicknames were formed in Medieval Welsh. Just in case 20% of your characters are named David.

The Peculiar Fate of Sons and Daughers in Celtic Names (2016/01/13) - A very brief version of the variety of words meaning "son" and "daughter" in the Celtic langauge family, and how they were used in personal names, both in constructing patronyms and as part of proper names.

Civil War Diaries and Letters of Abiel Teple LaForge (ongoing series) - A new project taken from my To Do spreadsheet: getting my great-great-grandfather's diaries and letters up on the web.

Gardening and Cooking (does not include minor garden-progress posts)

The Medlar Harvest (2016/01/07) -What is a medlar? Why did I plant them? And what do you do with them?

The Historic Egg (2016/01/20) - We sometimes imagine historic cooking to be strange and elaborate. Here is a collection of my favorite egg recipes from the 6th through 15th centuries.

"Ducks like rain and rain likes ducks" (2016/02/21) - I reconstruct/invent an Alpennian recipe for Potenez (a duck and lentil soup).

Three Fantasy Gardens (2016/03/31) - A prompted essay.

Sex in the Garden (2016/06/16) - Manual pollination of squashes, what did you think it was about?

The Great 2016 Tomato Review (2016/08/23) - A photo gallery and evaluation of the 17 varieties of tomatoes in my garden this year.

Reviews: Movies - Lesbian (Link is to the overall index page for my lesbian movie reviews)

Aimée & Jaguar (2016/01/08)

Portrait of a Marriage (2016/03/11)

The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister (2016/04/15)

Lost and Delirious (2016/04/22)

Imagine Me and You (2016/10/28)

Reviews: Movies - Other

A Little Chaos

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Finding Dory

Florence Foster Jenkins

Queen of Katwe

Dr. Strange


Reviews: Books

Sexuality and Beth Bernobich's River of Souls (2016/01/14) - Not a review of a specific book in the series, but a discussion of how sexuality is handled in the world as a whole.

Allegiance by Beth Bernobich (2016/01/15)

The Sea is Ours: Tales from Steampunk Southeast Asia edited by Jaymee Goh and Joyce Chng (2016/01/29)

Bryony and Roses by T. Kingfisher (2016/02/12)

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett (Extended series of posts)

Letters to Tiptree (ed. Alisa Krasnostein and Alexandra Pierce) (2016/02/19)

Four Lesbian Historic Romances of the 1980s (2016/03/03)

​Vermillion by Molly Tanzer (2016/03/04)

Black Wolves by Kate Elliott (2016/04/29)

The Raven and the Reindeer by T. Kingfisher (2016/05/06)

Through the Hourglass ed. by Sacchi Green and Patty G. Henderson (2016/06/03)

Graveyard Sparrow by Kayla Bashe (2016/06/10)

Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen by Lois McMaster Bujold (2016/06/24)

Uprooted by Naomi Novik (2016/07/15)

Masks and Shadows by Stephanie Burgis (2016/07/22)

Historic Fantasy Storybundle: And Then History Took a Queer Turn... (2016/07/24) - Not reviews, as such, but a survey of queer characters in the Storybundle that I participated in.

Goddess by Kelly Gardiner (2016/08/12)

The Emperor's Agent by Jo Graham (2016/09/02)

Everfair by Nisi Shawl (2016/10/21)

The Sisterhood by Penelope Friday (2016/11/18)

Reviews: Graphic Stories

The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage by Sydney Padua (2016/01/22)

Nimona (2016/05/01)

Heathen (2016/07/16)

Monstress (2016/08/26)

Windrose (2016/10/14)

Reviews: Audio Fiction

Tremontaine by (multiple authors) (2016/02/05)

The Little Dog Ohori by Anatoly Belilovsky (2016/03/18) (2016/04/01) - Episodes 402-408

The Husband Stitch by Carmen Maria Machado ( Episode 409) (2016/04/08) (2016/07/08) - Episodes 410-421

The Dark Wife by Sarah Diemer (2016/09/24)

Podcastle.or (2016/09/30) - Episodes 422-434

Reviews: Live Theater

Mary Page Marlowe (2016/05/20)

Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare) (2016/06/17)

Fences (August Wilson) (2016/08/05)

You Never Can Tell (George Bernard Shaw) (2016/09/09)

Othello (Shakespeare) (2016/10/07)

The Encounter (Simon McBurney) (2016/12/02)

Major category: