I am pleased to announce that my short story O-Taga-San will be available from Drollerie Press from their Flyleaf imprint. It will be published on its own, and will cost you…pennies.

The story goes like this: I submitted a story at request for the Hellebore and Rue anthology, and while the editors liked O-Taga-San, they felt it wasn’t a good fit for the anthology.

Later, one of the editors asked me if she could still have it. I had been sending it around, and there had been some solid nibbles, but no takers. It came home again, and I sent it to JoSelle Vanderhooft and Catherine Lundoff. Both of these women are fine writers, and I’m pleased to be working with them as my editors.

Incidentally, if you know Lisa Morton, she’s in Hellebore and Rue. The story she’s published is that awesome hair story she workshopped at VP.

For those of you who were at Readercon, this is the story that I read excerpts from there.

So. Now I’ve written about lesbian Japanese adolescent shape changers. My breadth is surprising.

Ooo. Grammar class in two minutes. Gotta fly.


Not Waving, But Drowning in Nostalgia

The signpost up ahead says maudlin sentimentality. Turn around before it’s too late.

However, if you too are sad because you aren’t going to Martha’s Vineyard this weekend to see wonderful writer people and have life changing revelations about your writing, you can click on the more spot.

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Education: Waiting for Superman and Dissent

Thanks to Jim Van Pelt, I have a link to a counter viewpoint regarding Waiting for Superman, Davis Guggenheim’s new film.

Rick Ayers writes the article What Superman Got Wrong, Point by Point. in The Washington Post. It’s an article that you should read before accepting Guggenheim’s word as the final one.

I’ve been a teacher for 24 years. For five years, I taught high school and junior high. I spent a few months in that time frame subbing in various schools in a rural area, but I did my student teaching in suburbia and my full-time work in rural areas.

My husband is still teaching high school, and is in his 25th year of doing so. He’s taught in tiny schools and now teaches in an urban school. Urban means something a little different in Iowa. We still have corn in Cedar Rapids. But it’s a large school with an increasingly diverse population.

Ayers’ article would be what Bryon and I would write if we were to summarize 20 years of “getting ready for school over toothpaste and breakfast” talks.

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State of the Author, Submissions, All That Jazz

I haven’t done one of these for a while, and I’ve been very good today at work (translation: finished a grant and wrote a test.). The brain needs a little break before it moves onto a survey and some deep thoughts on a collaborative project.

So…I thought I would talk a little bit about what’s out there, and where I’m at with my creative work. I can’t let Ferrett have all the fun in this regard.

Not Circulating, but Patiently Waiting

O-Taga-San has a offer of acceptance, but nothing has been signed yet, so I will be coy, and happy to announce when I have something to announce.

Not Waiting, but Patiently Circulating

Empress Dark at Flash Fiction Online for 104 days. A query has been sent, which will in and of itself take 6-10 weeks to be answered. I understand they are a little swamped with submissions at the moment…

Mark Twain’s Daughter at Tor.com for 207 days. I know they have it, as they kindly answered my query. We continue to wait.

The Make-Over at On Spec for 117 days. Duotrope says don’t be alarmed until 180 days have passed.

As far as short fiction goes, I appear to be a paragon of patience.

In Progress

The Winter the Troll Danced with Old Nick. Getting closer all the time…

Planning Stages

The Were-Humans. I’ve taken some notes and written down some character names. My next project, this will be a Southern Iowa Gothic novella.

The Klarion Series. And we’re finally back to the project I shared at Viable Paradise next year. My first goals will be to lay loads of pipe: an overarching plot structure for 5 books, characters notes and backgrounds, and historical research. I’ll also be writing as the mood strikes me. I envision five books at this time, and this will be a huge chunk of my life for some years to come.

And you? What are you working on? What have you got out there?


Writer’s Update

Maybe I’ve written 200 words. I’m off this morning, because I have a late meeting and so I’m shifting some time around. There are other writer things on my mind, so I’m having a little trouble with ye olde discipline this morning. Still, the file is open, and I’ve written a little, so that in and of itself is something.

Yesterday, I was given the privilege of reading someone’s manuscript. That’s another cool writerly thing that is part and parcel of the whole becoming a writer experience. I actually look forward to seeing the evolution of drafts, although I know some people really find that frustrating. It does take time to do that sort of thing, but writer karma is as important as research karma. We need to read things for other writers, so they in turn may read for us.

I’m putting together an application for a speculative fiction travel grant, which I will try to finish pulling together today. This would be to gather material for The Winter Kingdom, which would be the more frost elf sequel to the troll book. I need the architecture and folklore research something fierce. I’m going anyway, but it would be nice to be able to defray costs.

There may well be a journeyman writing workshop in Vegas I’ll be going to in February. That means I’ll probably hit Vegas twice this spring. Well, Allegiant is pretty cheap…

Let me see if I can get ten minutes more of words out of this morning. Then it’s off to the office to doggedly pursue the goals of the day.


The Structure, Also, of Social Revolutions

Have you read this book?

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions discussed the idea of paradigm shift, how science changes its theories and ideas. I’m sure there’s been a lot of different ground covered since the book came out philosophically, but the premise of Kuhn’s book comes in kind of handy for my discussion of the recent decision to stop Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

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What I Don’t Know Can Hurt Me

The times, they are a-changing.

There’s an issue we’re teasing apart into different filaments at the college. Diversity at Kirkwood is at an all time HIGH. Coolness and awesomeness! We have lots of students from different countries. We have lots of students who speak different languages.

We have lots of students who are coming from rural subculture. We have lots of students who are coming from urban subculture. We have lots of racial diversity. Finally!

This is the first time many of our white students are interacting with diverse populations. Come to think of it, this is the first time many of our teachers are as well. This five-year period has seen an incredible spikes. We’re recruiting abroad and in the Chicago areas, and Iowa is bringing in immigrants.

BUT what we haven’t seen to get us ready for all this? A scaffolding support system that helps us all get along. In reacting to a fight in the atrium, we hired a stone-faced security guard. It had become a gathering place for black students. Now, it’s not. Instructors complain of how loud our Islamic students are, our black students are, and our Hispanic students are. Cultural norms are rubbing each other along raw edges.

If there’s one thing the Internet has taught me in recent years, it’s that you can’t decide your own culture, ethnicity, socio-economic class, any aspect about you is “base-line normal,” and everything else takes you into exotic country.

As a professor, I feel it’s important for me to get educated. Most efforts at Kirkwood start modestly, and our modest beginning appears to be a reading circle.

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Flailing About

I’m full of odds and ends on this Thursday morning.


Haircut tonight. After years of not really caring about my hair, Bryon has discovered he likes the colored dye thing. He’s put in requests for white and blue on some occasion. So tonight, Margot and I will have the Ramona Flowers discussion, and we’ll see what she thinks of sinking heavily into Cindy Laupnerville.

Yesterday, I hit 55.7K and finished through chapter 18 of the Troll story. I’m just about 60 pages from the end. After the 4th rewrite, it’ll be good to go. I’ll go through and do some editing, sharpening, and cutting. But I’m jazzed, because not only only is there light at the end of the tunnel, but there is also a hole big enough that I can crawl through.


My friend Catrina Horsfield and I are taking a summer trip in June to Finland and Norway for research for each of our novels (my sequel to troll, her wizards). I love planning itineraries, so expect much Norway blabbing in the future.


Viable Paradise friend Brent Bowen posts this inspiring piece for writers. It’s a well-written thing worth the read.

Another post coming up. I have discovered I don’t want to bury these things in that post.


Jon Gibbs Interview

As a companion piece to the Fur-Face book review, here’s an interview from Jon Gibbs. Welcome, Jon, to Writer Tamago. Thanks for the delightful and funny interview. For the record, I really like Mr. Tinkles a lot too.

Tamago: Where did you get your ideas for Fur-Face?

Jon: I’ve always liked the idea of someone hearing voices other folks can’t hear. I think it opens the door to lots of potential embarrassment and misunderstandings, especially when there’s a third party in the conversation. The Adventure Safari theme park was inspired by a local zoo, near where I lived in England, and the amazing underground tunnels beneath Disney’s theme parks.

Tamago: Have any writers influenced your writing style? How about other books?

Jon: If what you read influences you the most, then Terry Pratchett has had a big effect, especially his Guards novels. I love the way he has you laughing one minute, then choking back tears the next.

Tamago: Are any of your characters patterned on people you know, or have known?

Jon: Not intentionally. I like to think I’m a lot like Snowy, but in truth, I’m more like Doctor Euston (Billy’s dad), over-protective, useless at DIY and generally boring. Aggie Cranbrook is a bit like my old gran, except Aggie’s friendly, likes children and can’t fart the alphabet.

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Fur-Face: When Roald Dahl Meets the Ebook

Flash back to the beginning of June. June 1st was Hulk Hercules‘ book day. It was also the book day of fellow author Jon Gibbs Fur-Face.

Jon is a writer’s writer. He runs a very interesting blog about writing, and works hard to help other writers find critique groups at Find a Writing Group. He’s an active member of writing groups and organizations, and writes the occasional column over at Apex. I’ve linked to Jon several times.

It seemed logical for me to revise Fur-Face for a couple of reasons: we had the same book day, Jon is also writing middle grade, and I admire Jon as a writer.

Just in case your interested, you can purchase Fur-Face at Amazon.

So, Fur-Face. Man, I wish I could write like a Brit! It’s not fair! I have half the genes, and I’ve read enough classic literature to choke a horse. However, because I want to choke horses in my idioms, I guess I’m American.

Fur-Face has the feel of British children’s literature. And your kid is going to like it. If’s a fine book to share with your child as the first ebook story you read together. The only way I could imagine the experience being more fun is if there were illustrations of cats in sunglasses.

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