Fantasy For Footholds: A Fundraiser

There’s a lot going on right now, things are bleak, and while escaping into a fantasy world looks very attractive, it can also feel very weak and selfish. How can I hide in the safety of a world I control while hospitals and evacuation routes are bombed, while “patriots” attack Americans for their names or ethnicities, while parents bring their children to a refugee station and then leave them behind as they return to fight? Who am I to sit comfortably at my desk while all that happens?

I’m a worldbuilder, that’s who I am. And it’s time we build a better world.

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A Political Stump That Shouldn’t Be Political

Gonna take a moment to share something that frankly shouldn’t be political, but judging by the party-lines vote so far, apparently is.

Someone shared a meme on Facebook to say that white men should be treated well because they won World War 2. This of course not only ignores the contributions from BIPOC members of the armed forces (and all women), but blatantly denies the history of why there were fewer non-white combatants than there could have been, such as official regulations which prevented enlisted black men from serving in the same capacity as enlisted white men. Dorie Miller shot down enemy planes at Pearl Harbor in a cook’s uniform because he was not allowed to be a gunner. He saved countless lives, was awarded a medal, and was sent back to continue as a cook until his death, because that was the regulated role of a black sailor.

This shared meme also ignores that tens of thousands of eligible Asian-American men could not fight alongside white soldiers because they had been taken from their homes without due process and imprisoned for years in camps where people were shot to death if they walked too near the fences—a thing which is Very Bad if it happens in Europe, but apparently is not worth mentioning in history classes when it happens here.

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Grace Julian Clarke & 2020

On Saturday, I went to the unveiling of a new historical marker. (I know, I know, but not everyone can have my thrilling rock star life.)

This nerd event was special, though.

Grace Julian Clark

Grace Julian Clarke was an author, a journalist, a clubwoman, an activist, and a force of nature. She was also my great-great-great-aunt. She was born in 1865, the daughter of the significant-but-mostly-forgotten congressman George Washington Clarke. Growing up in an abolitionist home, she was well-prepared for a career in social reform.

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Marathon livestream for charity! Please join me.

hands with vote pins
Photo by cottonbro on

November 3 is a particularly significant day in the United States, laying out a path for the future.

But in fact, we can re-write the future every day, with thousands of choices. And you can make me give you an early glimpse of Kin & Kind.

If you’ve been online with me for a while, you know that slavery and trafficking is something I am against — and something we can fight with tiny daily decisions, from the brand of chocolate bar we eat to the clothing we purchase, as well as the more obvious issues like the porn industry.

So on November 3 I will be live-streaming all day to raise money for IJM to fight slavery and exploitation.

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When Change Is Necessary (As It Is)

Very personal post today, friends. And long.

(Note: I really debated posting this and potentially diluting signal. This is not me lecturing on racism or its effects or its solutions; God knows there is plenty of formal and informal education available, and I’ve linked some at the end. This is my own thoughts on my own blog on my own working out frustration and inability, which might resonate with and perhaps prompt some others who feel as I do. Let me be explicit — if this post is taking time from more educational or proactive reading, skip this. If you’re interested in my personal experience, it’s here.)

I have always been the kind who called or wrote instead of the kind who marched, because I can articulate a more detailed argument. Nothing against marching, props to those who did, I just thought I could use my own skills (I do words professionally) in another avenue. But in the last few years I have been increasingly frustrated with expressing my opinion as a constituent. (Last week, for example, I finally received a senatorial response to my January plea on proposed changes to Title IX making sexual assault harder to prosecute, a month after those proposed changes were enacted, and that response was just a “thank you for your message” and a ridiculously insulting mansplaining-down that Title IX existed, as if anyone who wrote to express specific concerns about proposed changes wouldn’t know what Title IX even was.)

My sister Alena (L) and myself

As a behavior professional, I know that a lack of response leads to escalation. That’s just the science. (Watch anyone whose snack doesn’t immediately fall out of a vending machine.) If we didn’t want people marching and shouting instead of kneeling or writing, we should have listened earlier. I’m glad I escalated. This is about Baby’s First Protest, if you will.

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Shard & Shield is A Go!

It’s happened! It’s out in the world. Shard & Shield is loose and in readers’ hands.

Early reviews have started to appear. Sales ranks have started to climb. And all in all, this has been a successful launch, so thank you all very much!

Preorder Bonuses

If you forwarded your proof of purchase or library request as instructed, you should have gotten your goodies within 24 hours.

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Charity Update for Preorders

Serious post today, guys. This is a very important update for legal reasons.

Shard & Shield cover
I chose a charity relevant to the story, that I’d learned more about during research. Oops.

Sometimes you have good intentions, and yet it just doesn’t work out like you intended.

If you’ve been with me for a while, you know I do the occasional charity benefit. Cupcake the Dinosaur likes to appear at community events and raise money for, say, the local animal shelter or Needy Family Fund. I have sold books for charity fundraising before and participated in the Giftmas campaign each year for the Edmonton Food Bank. And most recently, I pledged to donate two dollars for every preorder sale of Shard & Shield to a specific charity organization.

Well, it turns out that was illegal.

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Shard & Shield: Preorders & Loot & Charity

Today is the official start of Shard & Shield‘s preorder countdown, and I’ve got goodies to share!

Got a minute? Let me tell you about what’s available if you order your copy in advance. Bonus: You get the sadistic glee of watching me try to be all professional as cold rain intensifies. (It’s winter in New Zealand, where I recorded this just a couple weeks ago.)

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Charitable: Donate with Me, 2018 edition

We’ve just finished Thanksgiving here, complete with turkey and Beef Wellington and dinosaurs.

dinosaurs and Beef Wellington
dinosaurs and Beef Wellington

Thanksgiving is fundamentally about both gratitude and sharing. Frequently at the end of the year, I list some of my charities and invite readers to donate with me. We don’t talk amounts, there are no special prizes, it’s just me sharing some causes and the organizations I trust to do something about them. None of these links are connected to me, I get no kickback or prize for referrals or anything. This is just part of me thanking all of you for helping me to support these groups, who offer help to all in need regardless of identity, creed or worldview, etc.

So, in no particular order:

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The “Problem” With Strength and Femininity

So a couple of weeks ago there was a little cluster of complaints again online about why can’t we just have women characters embracing their femininity instead of doing all these hero things.

This could be puzzling at first, because a lot of these complaints come from folks who also espouse things like “motherhood is the ultimate heroic act” which seem to suggest that femininity can be heroic, but of course the actual meaning is about traditional gender roles.

And this is boggling to me, because women can be pretty darned heroic while being extremely feminine.

The Women of Weinsberg. (King Conrad III occupied the town Weinsberg in 1140. The women carry their husbands after being granted to leave and allowed to take their belongings.) Lithograph, c. 1910. Sarotti-chocolate picture.

The Women of Weinsberg.
Lithograph, c. 1910.

I’ve covered a number of historical examples before, so this time let’s take the legendary women of Weinsberg. When their town’s conqueror announced the men would all be executed but the women could leave with whatever valuables they could carry on their own backs, the women marched out carrying their husbands. How many of those husbands, d’ya think, were up there piggyback thinking, “Geez, I wish my wife was more demurely feminine”? Or do you think he might have at that moment valued her extremely feminine protectiveness, strength, and even stubborn defiance of authority? Continue reading