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.



Blurb:
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.

Excerpt:
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.


Blurb:
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:

Arkana
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





Blurb:
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.


Excerpt:
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.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Dramatis Personae, or my life has a superb cast, but I can't figure out the plot

Hello! And welcome to the new folks or the old folks who just haven't wanted to ask.

We're talking about who is who in this ongoing soap-opera of a journal (14 years and counting!)

I'm Angel, your host. I am a grouchy old witch-byke with strong liberal feminist leanings. I work for Action link, mostly training Sears employees, and for Michael's crafts, as a cashier (I'm going to be training as a framer) I'm an old school geek-chick, a former trucker, former university library paraprofessional, former writer and former casino worker. I failed out of the nuclear engineering program and took an English degree. I wrote 16 novels 92 short stories, 3 children's books and published with half a dozen houses. I am a crafter. I am a Hellenic pagan in service to Hermes and Hera.

Mudd is my husband, Richard. We've been married for 27 years (as of this coming Friday). He's brilliant. He's got a master's in Physics and a math minor. He teaches high school science and is president of the local PFLAG.

We have 4 kids:
Bun, Victoria, 24, who is a camera model and dancer.
Obi, Christopher, 21, who is closing in on his sergeant promotion in the Army.
Jonner, Jonathan, 18, who is headed off to college as a chem major in 3 weeks
Dollface or Oli or Ollie. Olivia, 16, who starts high school and is doing a double program with the local community college, as a welder.

Here's where it gets interesting. I not only have a family, I have a household. 
I am the dominant alpha female of the pack, and Crone of the grove. I stand like the mountain between my people and trouble.

My peoples:
Gabriel Belthir-Rodgers. My junior husband. We got married accidentally last Festival of Souls by walking the Labyrinth together. This suited us both so we just went with it.

Kevin, Gabriel's legal husband. They got married at Frolicon 2015. I helped officiate. 

Cat. Cat is complicated. She is my on-again/off-again girlfriend. She is the wife of one of the personalities that lives in Angel's head. She is Gabriel and Kevin's ex. She is a people I am responsible for.
777
Finn. Finn is Gabriel's slave boy. He kind of comes as a package deal with Gabriel.

Gwen and Sarah
. They are Gabriel's schmoops, and I like them a great deal. They mean enough to be included under the "my people" umbrella. Gwen in particular makes me all protective.

Extra kids:
I acquire these in phases, with each of the kids. They always have friends who need an extra mom.

Tabitha and Bradley, friends of my older two. I have taken tearful late night phone calls, given advice, and offered endless comfort to both.

Alex needed a place to stay when booted out.

Brandon just needs an extra mom, the kind who gets him as a gay kid.

Imani needed support and a hand back on his feet.

Cameron needs a place where he can be himself.

Jamie, who dated Victoria and discovered my oldest is a psycho. But she also got us Tribble and stays in touch.

And more I'm sure I missed (I'm tired)


On my extended family:

My Dad is 71, has fought cancer and won and is doing his best to keep going. He's buried two ex-wives and his surviving ex is incarcerated. (tax issues)

Mom lost her battle with leukemia in December 2014. She buried her last husband and two ex-husbands (my dad and Wicked Stepfather) showed for her funeral. The third could not be reached. (not that we tried)

I have two bio sisters:
Jennifer is my half sister on Dad's side. We are very similar, despite being raised apart. She has never married but does the Cool Auntie thing. She has her BA and works for a lumber company.

Brenda is my half sister on Mom's side. We are very different. Her ex is putting her through hell, trying to bankrupt her with endless court proceedings and take away their youngest daughter, who doesn't want to live with him. She has an MBA and works two jobs.

Sherrie is my step sister from Mom's second marriage. She is a real estate agent, and has grandkids. She also has a sister of whom i do not speak.

Hopefully this clears things up a little.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Let's talk about Xenophobia

So, Brexit.
There are a lot of reasons why people voted to leave. There are going to be a lot of consequences.
But one thing that is showing up is a lot of "Foreigner Go Home" sentiment.

We're seeing it here too.
Understandable. Humans are violent, xenophobic, tribal monkeys. This is a given. Early in our species it was a survival trait. But that time has been over for thousands of years.

Now, here in our current election cycle, Trump talks about deporting all the illegals (meaning anyone with a Hispanic surname), marking and deporting all the Muslims.

There are some in his camp who are for shipping all the blacks to Africa.

Someone forgot to give Trump the Atwater Memo.
 You start out in 1954 by saying, "Nigger, nigger, nigger." By 1968 you can't say "nigger"—that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff.  You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.

Trump has been saying it. He's been putting out the divisions, without any of the coded economic language. He's not saying "let's cut food stamps." He's saying "Let's send them all home."

The question is, once the Muslims and Mexicans are gone, and the blacks (50 million of them) are being rounded up for transport to Africa, who is next? Who do the followers come for next?

I've had a quote from A Man for All Seasons ringing through my ears as I think about that.

William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!
Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
William Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!
Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!


"And when the last civil rights law is down, and the mob turned round on you, where would you hide then, all laws being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from sea to shining sea, Man's laws not God's! And if Trump cuts them down and his mob are just the ones to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that blow then?"

Because when all the Muslims and Hispanics and Blacks are gone, they will inevitably come for women. So even you actually think forced transportation and relocation of 50-60 million people  is a net good, remember that it will come around on you.

And this is why Xenophobia, such as we're seeing in the wake of Brexit, such as we're seeing at Trump rallies, is a feminist issue.

Friday, June 17, 2016

My Household or Polyamory while multiple

My mother used to give me static about not using the phrase "family" but rather referring to them as "my people" or "my household."

I never felt like explaining the concept from Supernatural: Family don't end in blood.

I get odd looks when i mention I have two husbands.

I am legally married to Mudd.

27 years ago, this August, we stood up in Rolla Bible Church, said our words and signed our paper.
27 years, good and bad, 4 kids. 6 moves, a near fatal accident and several nervous breakdowns.







Last Samhain, I Accidentally Married Gabriel. (fair warning that goes to TV Tropes)

We had walked the labyrinth, separately. I found him in the middle and took a while to recover. (apparently I was putting out candles just by walking past them) He held my hand and we walked out. In his religion, and that of my ancestors, that is enough to be married.

So, I have a second husband. And I am his Waifu.




The rest of my household includes:
My two younger children.
My girlfriend (our exact relationship is very complicated. I'm her big bad boyfriend, and she's my girl, and sometimes it gets more serious, depending on which personality is out when.)
Gabriel's husband
Their houseboy
A lesbian couple
Three Extra kids who do not live with any of us.

We're a big rambling S-group. And I am adjusting, jealous Scorp that I am.
Relationships vary depending on who is prime at any given time. The hazard of being married to someone with multiiple personalities is that you're always in a poly relationship.


Monday, June 13, 2016

Let's talk about Hate

Yesterday, I awoke to the news that a shooter had killed 50 people and wounded 53 more in a gay nightclub.

Later in the day, I got news about a man who was pulled over for a speeding ticket on his way to LA Pride, and arrested for a car full of rifles and bombs after neighborhood watch reported him for peering in windows. He said he was going to Pride..

The narrative around the men was achingly familiar to anyone who watches news.
The first, being Muslim, was labeled a terrorist. (he did call 911 and claim to be Daesh, but Daesh did not take credit until after the event. It was grandiose self-inflation on his part)
The second, being white, was labeled mentally ill.

They were BOTH garden variety homophobes.
The only difference is they believed their religious rhetoric more than most and decided to act on it.

~~~

I asked myself why I was so angry about it, so afraid. It's hundred of miles away. I didn't know anyone. And these days I'm only marginally involved in the community. Not like the early 2000s when I was volunteering at the Center twice a month.

Then I remembered:

Mudd was recently featured in an article in the local GLBT magazine. Photos and all.

Olivia and her friends, and most of the local gay youth group went to a showing of Rocky Horror on Friday.

They will both march in the Pride parade come October, and I will be watching.

My household goes to Perpetual Transition every Monday night.

We are all targets.

~~~

I thought too much yesterday.
I figured the Right Wing would be salivating.
They get fifty dead queer PoC, which they would consider an objective good in itself, that they can pretend to care about and Muslim to blame for it.  (The LA event would have been much more problematic for their narrative.) I write political thrillers and that would have been a master stroke of plotting in my opinion.

And Ted Cruz, who has connections to Kevin Swanson, a pastor who called for the death of gays, tweeted about his "thoughts and prayers."  Hence the "pretending to care" part.

There was a lot of anti-immigrant sentiment--even though the shooter was American. There was a lot of anti-Muslim sentiment.

I tend to ask the latter: How can you tell? Or shall we just murder all 3.3 million in the US, plus all the ones who look Middle Eastern but aren't Muslim, in the name of our fears? Because genociding religious groups is not good publicity.

My father opined that they're all crazy and we need to be out of the Middle East entirely. I reminded him of Dr. Jezbi and Dr. Ahmed, both of whom had saved my life and my hearing.

~~~~

And people ask why I live by the axiom "Straights hate Gays." They think it's sad, that it doesn't give allies enough credit.  Maybe it doesn't. But it means that things like this never surprise me.


And now, I think I need more chocolate. It's the thing after Dementor attacks. And this one has been a lulu.