Sunday, April 30, 2017

Death and grief while pagan

It seems almost appropriate.

Tonight is Walpurgisnacht, the last night when witches get up to mischief before spring puts an end to the revels. A night when the world walls are thin.

And last night, a fine witch crossed into the Summerlands.

Kali had fought pancreatic cancer for two years. She had suffered, and sorrowed but never quite despaired. We went to see her for her last birthday, and despite being exhausted, I'm glad we did. She thought the world of my youngest and Oli adored her in return.

She was a large soul and given a chance would take up most of the psychic space in a room. She was generous and loving, with many who loved her in return. She was terrified of storms after 2010, when her house flooded during the May 1 floods.

Pagans have an odd relationship with death. We treat it as another stage in our life cycle. But we still hurt when it happens. Every death leaves a hole in us. I was raised believing that when you cried because someone had died, you were only feeling sorry for yourself. I agree with the idea, if not the condemnation. We are feeling sorrow and pain because a part of our life has been taken from us and we will never have that piece back.

We cry and we sing and we remember the good things. We think of the person often, for the dead hear us remembering. And at Samhain, we add another picture to the altar and speak the names of those we have lost.

Depending on our beliefs, we know we will find the person again, if not in the afterworld, in another life and another form. For now, we mourn the end of this life, and remember.

Freya, we send you a warrior.
She has fought against impossible odds.
She has stood on her feet twice as long as most who face this enemy do.
But she has lost the battle.
Welcome our beloved Kali.
Give her the riches she has earned.
Let her feast and drink deeply that she may recover her strength in your Hall.
And grant your love and care to us, who must continue here,
with bleeding, Kali-shaped holes in our hearts and lives.
Freya, we send you a warrior.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

As I currently understand it: sex, gender, performance

Earlier today, I made the distinction that while I consider transwomen to be women, I don't think of them as female. Just as I kind of flinch when I hear the term "transmale." This is based on my, probably dated, understanding of things.


Loosely defined, sex is what's in your genes/jeans. How did the sex cells recombine?

My basic 300 level college genetics course dealt in X and Y chromosomes. These mostly pair up, as chromosomes do.  XX produces female offspring. XY produces male. They are usually differentiated by a check of the progeny's genitals. The chromosomes do combine in other ways: XXY, XYY, XXX, X0 being the most common.

Because of the chromosomes, puberty triggers hormones in humans to develop secondary sexual characteristics.

We are born male and female. We become men and women.


Gender is how we behave. As I had one character tell another, "Being a man is here " he tapped his forehead, "and here" he tapped his chest, "not what's between your legs." Sex is what's between your legs, gender is head and heart.

Most people's gender matches their bio-sex. They perform according to societal norms and never question. In a highly conformative environment, say white middle America, any deviation is seen as a threat to well, everything: sex, the family, religion and probably the country itself. There is some latitude for girls to perform some masculinity, tomboys, but very little for boys to perform any femininity.

Some people, their mental gender doesn't line up with their body. This is where transgender comes in. It's no longer called a sex change or transsexual, since the sex of the patient is not actually changed (although the hormonal therapy necessitates medical professionals treating the patient as not only the sex but the gender as well)

Masculinity and Femininity

These are how Man and Woman are performed. They are defined by dress, activity, societal expectation and sometimes law.

Many who are genderqueer and non-binary criticize transfolk for performing their gender so close to stereotypes. But in order to be taken seriously, the masculinity or femininity must be performed strongly to counter the other visible markers that say the person's body does not match their presentation. 

There are many performances for masculinity and more for femininity. These can be played with to a degree. The problems crop up in other people's minds when they've gotten used to thinking of a person one way, and then that person performs outside of the accepted boundaries.

My junior husband is not a jock or a manly man. He's a rather fem man, and sometimes he's a boy in a dress. The dress disconcerts me because I associate it with my former girlfriend. I run rather more masculine in my positions. Because if I'm going to be a man, I'm going to be one where there is no question about my manliness. (I refused to be a sissy, even as a girl)

Nonbinary folks may be saying I'm thinking in stereotypes and that the dress shouldn't make a difference. Perhaps it shouldn't but it does. Part of me thinks "When I'm a man, I'll have to give up skirts in the summer, certain perfumes, cool socks and a lot of jewelry. Because otherwise, I might as well stay a woman."

I don't perform femininity often or well. I've called it "doing drag" for over a decade now. Being required to do so can feel restrictive, but losing the option to do so can feel just as bad.

Where I am

Right now, I'm starting to change over my online life. I have to stay a woman for a while, because the gods have crone work for me to do. 
Right now, I'm stepping into a whole new world, one where I'm behind the times in many ways and not sure I can catch up. (I still call it Making The Change) 
Right now, I'm hesitant to be around other transfolk, especially younger ones, because I know I'll screw up and get corrected. Sometimes it's a useful correction, sometimes it's a jumping on. And I've been on the net long enough to respond with endless sarcasm to the latter.
Right now, I'm sorting out the outcomes of changing over, and kind of horrified the best conclusion I'm finding for me is a eunuch in a suit, a bitch with a beard and boxers essentially. I don't have any interest in make-believe sex or toys. Surgery is chancy at best (55% reported complications, only 9% had erogenous sensation and only half were able to perform sexually) and moreso as I age.

In conclusion
I will never be male. I'm stuck with a XX body.
I might be able to be a man, heart and head after all, with some artificially-created secondary sexual characteristics.
I can perform masculinity. Half the reason most people think I'm a bitch is because I say things with authority and without qualifiers. I've been performing masculinity for years. It;'s more of the same.
I'd just like a mustache to twirl as I do.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Where I've been

Here it is April and I haven't made a post this year,

My new job keeps me away from the keyboard for up to 13 hours a day. By the time I get home and eat, it's bed time.

And there has been much thinking with little conclusiveness

There are posts I need to make:
1) the coming post-work society
2) transition, living with it and living it and questions that are too rude to ask on facebook
3)  My top is my razorblade: when BDSM becomes self-harm
4) Talk like a man. They already think you're a bitch.

My life is in a great deal of turmoil and I'm actually considering giving up sex. I've always thought I was hypersexual: wanting so much more than hours of masturbation and so much more sex than my husband. Then I find out the people who slut-shame me are having more sex than I am. By orders of magnitude. 48 times in 48 hours, 4 guys in a weekend. And I'm the slut because I love my husband, throw pheremones all over the room and write smut with no apologies or regrets.

But in the last few years, I've learned I'm doing sex wrong, doing kink for the wrong reasons, having orgasms improperly if at all (they only leave me tense, there is no release) and giving my husband a rash (the slight acid irritates his skin). My desire is already low enough that all this just makes me want to quit having sex. I gave up masturbating a couple years ago.

And for me, that's like waking up and finding my eyes are suddenly blue. An integral part of my identity has changed. I'm an autumn, I can't carry blue eyes. I'm a slut. This desire for celibacy has left me feeling very odd indeed,

So pardon the turmoil while menopause, transition and too much introspection have rusted my lust.
We're all very confused here too.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Holidays already

My last post was in September. Then life ate me. And the holidays have come round again. As always, Yuletide Youtube is running at

My wishes are few this year:

1) My big wish is fan activity for my work. Fic, art, videos, anything.
I would really love some Eight Thrones or DJ'verse fan art. (inspiration at Pinterest
I have one of Gordon from "Songs for Guitar and French Harp" and one of Edward and Charlie.
DJxBran, Nick/James, James/David, ZaraxThe Gemini are my favorite ships.

2) I will cheerfully give a good home to any knitting needles, crochet hooks or yarn you need to destash.

3) A link to your favorite song.

4) BPAL imps that don't work for you are welcome

5) A binder. I take a 2xl

6) Neckties. I'm a fan of colorful neckties

7) I will also rehome any tarot deck that does not like you or isn't working for you.

8) Donate Blood if you can. There is always a need. Register to be an organ donor or bone marrow donor. (I’m both)

9) Leave comments on social media, not just likes or hearts or kudos. In the same vein, send a fan letter to an author, fanfic or original. It will make their day.

10) Give to the charity of your choice. My favorites include Toys for Tots, Project Linus and the Hunger Site. Many food pantries are more strapped than usual.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Free Science Fiction

This weekend's free book is Adventuresses

It's SF in the loosest sense, encompassing steampunk, alternate history and space opera.

Ten tales of lesbian adventure take you from the far reaches of the galaxy to the science fiction convention down the road, from a steampunk west to a world where the Confederacy got nukes. Come along and fall in love with a waitress or a pirate or Medusa herself.

The rice and carnitas gone, she pushed away the plate and picked up the tintype. She tried to rise, but a hand landed on her shoulder and held her in her seat. 

“Leaving us already, stranger?” the man asked. “Don't you know it ain't polite to leave without offering to buy a drink for the whole place, at least when you're new in town?”

She tipped her head and gave him a look that made most men back right off. He was either dumber than most or less cautious. He never moved his hand. “Come on, grandma, buy us one.”

Sí, cervaza,” one of the other farmers said.

“Don't make him get ugly, old lady,” added one of the night-doves hanging on her meal-ticket of the evening.

“He already ugly. Muy feo!” tossed out someone on the other side of the room. The men laughed. She had heard that tenor in crowds before. It never boded well. The intruder clamped his hand down harder, trying to hurt her. That would not do.  She returned her attention to her teacup, pretending to ignore the others. 

“Look, you old hag,” he started.

She drew. Not the forward-facing guns on her thighs, but the ones tucked in the back of her belt. Her upper set of arms unfolded itself, flipped her coat back to the elbows and drew on her harasser.

A gasp went up. There were a few oddities around, but most kept their deformities out of sight if they could. Most of the first generation were long dead, with only a few living to adulthood and fewer still having children. The rebels had brought something out of Texas during the War, and her ma had been less than fifty miles from the place where they exploded it. It got into the air, the water and the ground, and spread from the original site.

“Care to let me get my rest now? I flew a long way today.”

“I'm sorry,” the man said, letting go of her shoulder and backing away.

She stood up, her lower arms in position to pull the guns on her thighs. The crowd looked and realized those were in quick-draw holsters, like a gunfighter's.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Free Audio SF

This weekend's free SF is Somewhere Out There, the audiobook.
Close your eyes and let the theater of the mind transport you on eight erotic journeys between worlds.

Unlike other giveaways, there are only 15 of these.
Leave a message here, and I will email you the download code.

At its best, science fiction presents us not just with a vision of the future, but with more understanding of ourselves and how to get to that future. It presents us with ways to think about relationships and people. And this time, it’s about the shapes of relationships.

In these eight stories, we run the gamut. Whether a shipboard fantasy about a captain that turns into more or the new fiancé meeting the former spouse, people remain people, with loves and confusion.

Sometimes the love lies very close to jealousy and hatred, as in “Bodies!” Sometimes, it grows out of an unpleasant necessity, such as “Similar Species” and “Expectations.” Occasionally, it is the mother of creativity and invention, in “Tether”or just food for a species that feeds on emotions, from “A Very Emotional Scene.” And sometimes, it can leave people wondering if it was real or not, as it does in “Wide Awake.”

Love and sex are two very powerful drives and in these futures, they propel us far beyond our own world.

Excerpt, from Wide Awake:

Planet K478, Year 2345, July 13

“I never loved anybody like I love you. Never knew I could.” K’Aran ducked his head and let the curtain of black shiny hair hide his flushed face, a feat a bit difficult for a seven-foot-tall giant. He never could hide his emotions from me.

“You’re cute.”

He bared his pointy incisors at me in an attempt to look tough, making me laugh. “You’re an idiot, Than.”

“Takes one to know one.”

He stopped trying to impress me with his viciousness and cuddled me to his chest. It was a strange sensation, one I never wanted to get used to or take for granted. I was a tall man, well over six feet myself, but nowhere near his size. Not only was he freakishly huge by human standards, he had the muscles and the strength to go along with his size. My man was massive. In all ways. I smirked and bit on the nearest nipple to my lips, just because I knew how it made him squirm. We were too depleted of energy for anything else. Going at it for three rounds did that to any male, human, drakar or otherwise.

“I don’t want you to leave. We’re better prepared now. Why do you...?”

My poor kadush.

“You know I have to. Arkana is on the right track but it will be years, decades until you are ready for it. And I’ll come back. I promised, didn’t I?”

“I don’t like this, Than. Why does it have to be you? There are others who could...”

I shushed him and kissed his pouty, quivering lips. How he could look cute at his size and with his terrifying appearance, I did not know. But my kadush, my husband and my heart always managed to pull it off when he wanted something. I caressed the soft, leathery bluish-white skin of his cheek and saw my smile reflected back at me in his violet eyes. His black bat wings moved restlessly behind his shoulder blades as they always did when we were together. He had once explained that it was involuntary, similar to the way I shivered when he touched me.

“I’m the best qualified. The best adapted here. It’s just for a short while, and then I’ll be right back here by your side.”

“I know, Than. I just worry, kadush.” He smiled at me and winked roguishly, even now trying to set my mind at ease. “I’m expecting you to take my mind off such nonsense.”

“That’s what I thought I was doing during the last two hours,” I quipped.

“I’m really really worried. You should do it some more.”

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Free Science Fiction in September

Inkstained Succubus is giving away free books for September.

The first is Nikolai Revenant. This dark future will be free from Sept 8 to Sept 12

James Ligatos is a man with an unusual hobby. He turns promising young criminals into world leaders. His latest project is Nicholas Boyd, formerly Nikolai of the Revenant street gang.

But the little killer-turned-file-clerk is much more than Ligatos and his staff bargained for. As Kentucky attempts to secede from the Confederated States of America and rejoin the United States, Nick's skills and the group's training are put to the ultimate test, and the price of failure is death.

The next morning, Nick showered and changed into his regular work clothes of pants, a thin dress shirt and a nondescript tie. With the candelabra safely in his cardboard briefcase, the one covered in peeling vinyl, he waited. Around eleven, he headed out to Highland and Ligatos Pawnshop, where Vlad had first heard of the whole notion.

He bundled up the black raid clothing, still stained with Vlad's blood, and took it with him. On his way to the bus stop, he dropped it, and the well-polished knife, in another dingy motels dumpster. This time, he really was leaving Nikolai behind him for the last time, as he thought he had two years before. With great luck, no one would notice it. The maids would dump their endless wastebaskets on top, and it would go to the landfill. Worst case, they would search this motel and not the one where he'd actually stayed.

He caught the bus to Highland, flashing his GenroTech pass, the bio-diesel fumes choking him as it pulled up to the curb. He watched the Memphis autumn morning turn blue and hot. He glanced at the screen in the front of the bus. Temperatures in the seventies, close to eighty, the television announcer said. He'd heard old people talk about when November was the first sign of actual cold weather with long days of gray rain and sometimes ice storms in the last week. Now, it almost never got below freezing before January. The trees were just starting to turn colors.

He got off and walked the last few blocks to Highland. A couple of juvie gangs jostled for position on the walk ahead of him. He pressed against the building like any other working stiff, not wanting them to know who he was, not wanting them to find the loot in his briefcase.

There were more gangs every year since the last of the public schools had closed eight years ago. The Confederation had no clause for public schooling in its constitution and the group currently in power was very strict about such things. Under the previous and rather more lenient regime, there had been a looser interpretation of general welfare of the populace, and public schooling had been allowed, although only grudgingly. The churches were no help and most didn't bother running private schools, since their usual stance was that man should not lean on his own understanding.

As a result, jobs were hard to get and the few private schools were expensive. Most parents just sent their sons until they could read and do some math. School was illegal for girls and minorities. The church said it made them discontent. Nick wondered at the wisdom of cutting more than half the population out of the ability to earn a living. It seemed like a waste.

Nick had picked up enough in three grades and a series of reformatories to get a real job. Most boys weren't so lucky and ended up throwing boxes at Big Purple or doing service work like his father who still drove the Mount Moriah and Winchester bus route.

There was less and less service work to be done as well, as the economy shrank. He scuffed the leaves. Fifty years ago, he'd have been in college. He heard the United States still had mandatory free public schooling, as high as one could go. Even Heartland provided it through high school. Lone Star had taken the same stand as the Confederation.

He ignored the news screens on the buildings, letting the talking heads chatter at each other in their calm baritones as he looked for the pawn shop. He took in the news strictly by osmosis these days. It was always the same: saber-rattling with the United States, disagreements with Heartland, drought, crop failure, rises in the number of indentures being signed as people abandoned the city and their farms to serve the few wealthy folk. Tobacco raids, bootleg alcohol raids, sex party raids and the breaking-up of a secret synagogue all rounded out the news.

The street-preacher on the corner of Highland was harder to ignore. He towered over the passers-by, black and frightful-looking, his hair a wild mass of dreadlocks, his filthy robe tattered with wear. He proclaimed the end of the world in his great deep voice that carried for blocks.

“Even now,” he intoned, “events rush to their conclusion. The demon that squats atop the world has called his Nikolai to him.” Nick startled a moment at the sound of his taken name and then saw an ancient, battered copy of Nicolae: The Rise of the Anti-Christ in the preacher's hand. It was nothing, just weird coincidence. He had taken the name from the book, though, and something made him uneasy. Nothing had gone quite right on this heist. He continued to the shop.

Nick opened the door of the pawnshop into must and dust and the smell of desperation. Old contraband computers, old televisions, prohibited fiction books, cheap jewelry all piled together with someone’s wheelchair and old forbidden movies in formats no one made players for any more.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Let's talk about gender

One more time, for the people in the back...

We are born male and female. We become men and women.

Sex and gender are not the same. Sex is determined by the sex chromosomes. Women carry X from their mothers and X from their fathers (who got it from their grandmothers). Men carry X from their mothers and Y from their fathers.

These tiny haploids reside quietly until a pregnancy happens. Then they combine. XX for a girl, XY for a boy are the most usual combinations. XO, XXY, XYY, and other permutations happen, but are not always viable.

Gender is determined by society. And it starts with gender reveal parties from the ultrasound. Pink for a girl, blue for a boy. Flowers and butterflies or trucks and boats on the clothes. Toys, language, and everything condition the child to perform the role their genitalia dictated at birth.

There was a trend to gender neutral childhoods in the 70s and early 90s alike. Both of these were met with strongly gendered backlash and even more emphasis on frilly femininity and macho masculinity.  In  2015, Target quit labeling toys by gender. The outcry was ferocious.

Gender is a performance.
It varies from society to society, from era to era.
What is manly in one place and time

is disparaged by other of the same time. The soldier above was what the soldiers below called "a lady from hell." (the kilted units took it on as a mark of pride)

Yet there is nothing feminine about him or about these men, save the lack of trousers

When Katherine Hepburn wore pants in her films, it was considered racy and daring.  Nowadays, skirts are seldom seen in public because they are impractical for the active lives most women lead.

Gender performance changes over time, over region and over class.

200 years apart, roughly. All of these aristocrats are considered fashionable and very masculine.

Gender and sex are not the same. Gender is the performance. Not everyone's performance will match their assigned sex.

Not everyone has passing privilege, as the three public figures above do. Most transwomen must undergo a great deal of work to alter their features. Some choose not to.

Sex is what is in your pants.
Gender is how you present yourself to the world.
And lately, more and more people are choosing to give no performance at all.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Fall Death march, now with 30% less death

So the Fall Death March begins

Aug 20-21, 27-28, Memphis Renaissance Faire. Shelby Farms $15 for adults. There's $2 coupon on the website.

The Carpenter's Wyfe has been working hard to get things ready. We're quite excited about this.

Sept 2-4, Mephit Furmeet. This is the penultimate outing for Inkstained Succubus and the last chance for Memphis folks to pick up the books!

Sept 24-25. Kansas City Renaissance Festival. We'll be in the Tradewinds Section.

Oct. 13-16, Festival of Souls. I can't handle this pagan festival, but my staff will be there with the booth.

Nov 11-13: ConTraception, Kansas City. Inkstained Succubus' final outing.

And it's going to roll by fast!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Gondor calls for aid

Kansas City SCA/RenFest folks! Is anyone free the weekend of Sept 24-25? 

The Carpenter's Wyfe will be blowing into the Renaissance Festival on the Tradewinds for a single weekend. However Rhys Belthir may not be able to make it and I am looking for a shop assistant. 

Admission, food and drink, and a motel room if you live too far from Bonner Springs. Also compensation in kind (merchandise). Must have own garb of appropriate period.