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kit
22 August 2016 @ 10:17 am

My mom died yesterday, quite suddenly in the end, after a long illness that had been the focus of her and our lives for most of the last year. In her own inimitable fashion she absolutely refused to let us tell people what was going on, and if you knew her, you know we didn’t dare cross her wishes. *wry smile*

My son, upon hearing Grandma had died, said, “Does that mean she’s with the gods now?”

I said, “I guess it might. And she’s probably telling them how to get everything sorted out.”

He paused and said, “But they’re gods. Shouldn’t they already have that taken care of?”

Not according to Mom’s satisfaction, kiddo. That’s for damn sure.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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kit
12 August 2016 @ 10:02 am

there are a lot of things i’d like to get done this year. too many to be realistic. and i have, y’know, a whole to do list about it, but sometimes i apparently just need to sit down and mumble to myself in a longer format as if it will somehow make a difference.

the must-finishes are doable: august needs to see the redeemer notes finished (going pretty well, those; i *might* finish by monday), benedict revisions, year of miracles copy edits. i can probably get all that done. probably. we’ll see.

beyond that it gets muddier because i want to be writing something new but also will have to do redeemer revisions and benedict line edits, and those things always always throw a spanner in the works.

first thing i need to write, tho, is the 4th & final YA epic fantasy novel for my nephew, a series which i will be kickstarting next year.

the next three things i want to write after that are sequels to benedict, atlantis fallen and magic & manners, and perhaps a couple more murphy lawless novellas in between.

these are grimly pragmatic writing choices: they’re all self published and are therefore the fastest route to income that i’ve got. there’s no way i can finish all of them by the end of the year, even if i was writing full time and with no other edits to deal with. (…okay, there’s a very faint chance i could finish them all by the end of the year, but it’s not very likely.) it’s more likely they’ll take me through the end of first quarter next year in terms of writing/editing/producing (altho ted will be doing as much of the production side as is humanly possible, YAY!).

i would *like* to then spend a few months writing some things for sending out to the trad market, before doing another round of heartstrike/austen/lovelorn lads rough drafts.

none of this will go as planned, of course, but it’s what i’d like to do over the next 18 months…

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

 
 
kit
08 August 2016 @ 04:46 pm

I’m starting a pseudonym to write shapeshifting billionaire paranormal romances under. (Believe it or not, shapeshifting billionaire paranormal romances are a thing. A very popular thing! And SO MUCH FUN to write, OMG!!!)

For early access to the Murphy Lawless novellas, you can subscribe to my Patreon page! I’ll be posting about them when they’re released, but they’ll come straight to your inbox this way.

And for today, a teaser chapter from RAVEN HEART, the first Alaskan Totems paranormal romance by Murphy Lawless! :)

RAVEN HEART: CHAPTER ONE
A surveyor’s mark, hot glowing orange, cut a line across an arm’s length of mountain stone. The paint splashed a few pieces of loose rock, but not enough to wipe it out if Elena knocked them away. Farther down the mountain, where grey stone turned to loose scree, another mark could be overturned entirely, but it wouldn’t make any difference. The surveys were done, and the development rights for the land had been put up for lease.

The federal government had given Alaskan natives more of their land back than any other Native American tribes—and that was a problem right there, given their land back—but this whole swath of mountain, traditional Tlingit hunting and gathering territory, still fell under federal lands, all the way out into the bay, and it turned out there was oil in them thar waters.

Elena Peratrovich’s mother, and her mother before her, had been fighting to get the land recognized as Tlingit territory for decades, long before anybody discovered oil, and today, they’d lost for good. No one in the tribe had the money to buy up the resource rights, and that meant the profits from oil and fishing development would benefit…well, someone else. As always.

So Elena had come to the mountain to say goodbye, to look out over the bay and the forests before oil platforms and cruise ships became eyesores on the glacier blue waters. She’d hiked up with the sunset around ten o’clock the evening before, and sat on the mountain through the long dusk and the few, hours of night. The horizon, never truly dark, began to brighten with grey again before three, and by four, soft gold light turned the sky pale behind the mountains. Shafts of brightness threw color on the mountainside, gradually illuminating scraggly brown and green moss, and stretching for the spruce forest that made up the range’s tree line. Farther down the stubborn spruce gave way to leafy trees and fern-filled undergrowth, Alaska’s all-but-unknown rain forests providing trees of massive size, even up to the cedars that had once made up the southeastern tribes’ traditional houses.

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(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

 
 
kit
02 August 2016 @ 11:01 pm

Picoreview: Ghostbusters: Honestly I thought it was pretty bad. By about 2/3rds of the way through I was wishing I’d gone to see Jason Bourne. I mean, there were a few laughs and stuff, but I wasn’t enthralled by Holtzmann, which, after the buildup I expected to be, and just…yeah. I mean, it was okay, but mostly meh.

Then the whole climactic battle came and I felt it finally all pulled together into something I wanted to watch.

More comments behind the cut but it’s I feel it very important to mention up front that I didn’t know until now that I needed a Chris Hemsworth dance movie. :)

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(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

 
 
kit

I wish everybody who believes that voting for a third party in a two-party presidental election is a protest vote would go out and run for office themselves under a third party and work their way up through the system and create a situation where a third party was a viable option instead of taking away a vote for the party which, like it or lump it, their values most closely align, and potentially giving what is still arguably the most powerful political position in the world to someone who has no business holding that position.

Because if you want to change the political stalemate in the US, if you really want to change it, you’re going to have to start at the bottom, not the top. It requires hundreds of individuals dedicated to the third party platform to run for office. To get those politicians into place requires the support of hundreds and thousands of people willing to canvass, financially back, and actually vote for those politicians until the party is widely recognized and represented in local and state governments. Only with that kind of on-the-ground support is there any chance of building a platform in which a third party candidate is a realistic option for the Presidential seat.

And let’s be frank: it will probably still take decades, at that point, to get a third party candidate into the White House. As people have been fervently pointing out, women have been running for President since the 1880s, but it’s taken until the early 21st century for one to become a viable option. The habit of voting for Democrats or Republicans is entrenched; building a legitimate base for a third party candidate has that to surmount too, and even if one should get as far as the presidential elections, entropy is hard to overcome.

I can hear people shouting, “That’s why we’re voting for one now! Break the cycle!” And I get that impulse, I do. I even get that people opting to vote for a third party in the upcoming election *don’t expect to win*, that they are in fact registering a protest vote.

But many thousands of people just voted protest votes in Britain and are horrified to find themselves in a situation where Britain has made a public international statement that as a people they want to leave the EU, and there appears to be no politically viable way out of that. It was a binary vote. There is no safe protest ground in a binary vote: it is either yes or no, on or off, in or out.

Like it or not, at this stage in the political arena of the United States of America, a presidential vote is a binary vote. Voting for a third party does not, in the USA, cause the dominant parties to say “We had better adopt some of this third party’s platform because 5% of the voters clearly feel strongly about it and we want to reflect their passions so they’ll vote for us.”

Well, it would be *nice* if it worked that way, but it would also be nice if I woke up a NYT Bestseller tomorrow morning because that’s what I *want* to have happen with my career. Just because I think it would be nice, or indeed, because I think it’s how it Should Be, doesn’t have any bearing on how it actually is.

To make our presidential elections anything other than a binary choice requires, as I’ve said above, a movement that starts on the ground with the passion of all the people who are unhappy about the binary choices putting their lives and activities where their mouths are and getting into office. This is a much, much, much harder proposition than simply casting a vote for a third party in the presidential election. It requires time and dedication and determination and obstinancy and conviction.

It’s also the only thing that stands a chance of working.

I don’t, incidentally, think voting for a third party is throwing away your vote. I do think, however, that it may be throwing away the country’s future: all too often, third party candidates split the vote and hand the presidential position to the party the third parties have _less_ in common with.

I believe presidential elections are too important to risk that with, and I believe this one in particular is much, much too dangerous to play that game with. The next president will almost certainly be appointing several Supreme Court justices, who will be guiding the United States through the next twenty to forty, even fifty, years of social change and law development. I believe the collective futures of women, people of color, queer people, immigrants–anyone who is not, in essence, a straight white man–should be considered in the balance against the weight of a protest vote.

From where I stand, protecting the safety of those people and the lives of children being born into this world is a vastly more powerful and significant action than the casting of a vote for a third party candidate at the presidential level. From where I stand, running for office as a third party candidate and building the necessary groundwork–a proposition which I realize would be likely to take longer than the lifespan of most people reading this–is taking powerful action. But those options are as far as powerful actions go right now, as far as I’m concerned, because like it or not, this is how the system works.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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kit

Earlier this summer a friend said they were going to vote for Trump.

I turned bright red, I kid you not. Bright bright red. Even I thought it was funny. They said, “I take it you’re a Hillary fan,” and I said, truthfully, that it wasn’t so much that I was pro-Hillary as I was vehemently anti-Trump. (This has changed: I’ve really had to examine my prejudices against Hillary and question how many of them were instilled by 30 years of media telling me she was evil and corrupt, but that’s another post.)

My friend said, “Why?” and I said, “Because Trump thinks that women are things, not people, and if he’s elected President he’s going to be the person appointing at least two, up to probably five, Supreme Court justices, and every right women have will get rolled under. If you think, for example, that there are any circumstances ever under which a woman should be able to have an abortion, you should not vote for Trump.”

(I don’t know if I had the clarity of mind at that moment to actually say “You in fact need to vote for Clinton if you think women are people,” because a vote for a third party in a two-party system isn’t a protest vote, it’s taking support away from whichever major party, whether you like it or not, aligns more closely with your values, hopes and expectations of your country. Which is also another post.)

I asked them why they liked Trump, and they said they liked the sense that he was cutting through the bullshit and saying what he thought and that somebody who wasn’t tied to the political system seemed like they could do a lot of good.

I said I understood that, to a degree, because I *do* understand that it feels like politicians frequently say one thing and do another, and that they’re always very careful about what they say so they aren’t committing to anything, and I *get* that there are millions of lower and middle class white Americans who feel like nobody in Washington is listening to them.

I also said that Trump is a billionaire, he was born a billionaire, he’s going to die a billionaire, and he absolutely does not care about the lives or futures of people who are not billionaires, regardless of the stories he might tell from the pulpit.

I said as somebody for whom the environment is an important topic I thought Trump would literally burn the world down in the name of making a profit for himself and his billionaire friends and that it would do the rest of us no economic good at all. And I said I didn’t have any great hopes for Clinton improving things environmentally but I thought she at least wouldn’t make it worse.

My friend said I’d given them something to think about, and admitted they hadn’t thought beyond the surface of Trump’s presentation. They said that that was on them, it was something they should have done.

I don’t know if I convinced them to vote for Clinton. Obviously I hope I did. But honestly for me what mattered most was that we had a conversation about politics and nobody (especially me, because who are we kidding, I’m prone to this) flew off the handle, and that we both made each other *think* a little bit. And that’s valuable, not just to me personally but to our political system and our future as a whole.

(Ad hominem attacks in comments will not be tolerated.)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

 
 
kit
20 July 2016 @ 09:08 pm

At the beginning of July all the Star Trek episodes became available on Netflix. I let out a squee heard ’round the world (it was, too, thanks to Twitter), because I’ve been wanting to watch it with Indy; I was a little younger than he was when I watched pretty well the entire original series (the, er, only series, at that point), and I think it’s a pretty great age to be introduced to Trek.

The non-Kirk pilot is not included, and the episodes are presented by air date rather than production date, which is…pretty clearly not ideal, but I’m not dedicated enough (especially since I’m watching with Indy) to hop around and watch them in production order.

So the story starts in media res with the pretty awful and yet in moments brilliant “The Man Trap,” where a salt-desperate alien able to take on the form of anybody that someone thinks strongly enough about kills several Enterprise crewmen in an attempt to survive. There are sexual politics at once embarrassing and not too horrible for their time, but the thing I liked most was how sympathetically, in the end, the alien was presented: she was the last of her species, not *bad*, but trying to survive. And there’s a straight-up amazing moment when she transforms into McCoy, and Deforest Kelly’s body language flawlessly mimics the actress playing the alien’s. My hat is off, sir.

The alien’s real, monstrous form, once revealed, was sufficiently scary to Indy that he told me he didn’t want to watch any more of that show, and (before he was in any danger of going to sleep) that he had had a bad dream about it. Fortunately, we’d bought a dreamcatcher for him while in North Carolina, so I put that up and all was well.

This morning he asked quite eagerly if we were going to watch more of Star Trak tonight. :)

So tonight we watched the second (aired) episode, “Charlie X,” and hot damn, people, Captain James T Kirk gives a straight-up lesson in consent to the teenage guest star in that episode:

Kirk: It’s not a one-way street, how you feel & that’s all. It’s how she feels, too. If she feels anything for you at all, you’ll know it. There are a million things in this universe you can have & a million things you can’t. It’s no fun facing that, but it’s the way things are.

I knew, in fact, that Kirk was generally a lot more progressive & outspoken about womens’ rights than his reductive image has made him. But the SECOND EPISODE. That was awesome. Also awesome is that I paused it there to ask Indy what had happened:

Me: Does he like that girl?
Indy: Yeah.
Me: Does she like him?
Indy: No.
Me: So what does that mean?
Indy: He should leave her alone!

Leaving me w/this cross sense of
1. My 6 year old gets this, &
2. Aren’t geeks supposed to admire/emulate Kirk? HERE’S A NUMBER TAKE A CLUE

Anyway, aside from excellent unexpected consent lessons, “Charlie X” is a really, *really* good episode. It’s chock full of behavioural lessons and impossible quandaries both for the crew and the guest star, and yeah, wow, that one knocked it right out of the park. (It was written by a woman, DC Fontana, and now I’m really looking forward to seeing more of her episodes.)

(Kirk’s costume changed almost every time he left the room and came back again. I noticed it, pointed it out to Indy, and Indy noticed it after that. :) But wow, the remastered colors! Some of those shirts really ARE green! And oh my, the dramatic lights falling across the eyes in key and tense moments… ♥ :))

(Also, oh, my, yes, Uhura really does flirt with Spock from the outset! I love it!)

(And the crew IS multi-ethnic! And there are women wearing pants! And…! ♥!!!!)

Indy is looking forward to watching the next eposide tomorrow. ♥!

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

 
 
kit
15 July 2016 @ 12:33 pm

Except this is not a Kitsnaps. This is a picture taken by Young Indiana, who is captivated by my big camera and asked, “Mama, can *I* try some pfa..fopa…forpar…far-tography?”

I think “‘far’tography” is the most wonderful word in the world, and will be featuring Indy’s far-tography from time to time on Kitsnaps. What a darling kid. <3 h_baloo

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

 
 
kit
15 July 2016 @ 08:13 am

there is too much to do today. this week. i’m out of steam, overwhelmed, and tired, although i feel the latter is hopefully mostly due to indy getting up more than an hour earlier than i hoped he would.

still, it’s the kind of morning that makes me wish i drank coffee. #sigh

thinks to do today assuming i am not the one who goes into town but at least accomplish by monday:
finish laundry
– put laundry away
clean the kitchen (well, it’s clean*er*…)
– vacuum living room
– bonus: vacuum kitchen area carpet
– bonus bonus: vacuum entryway
– tidy JUST OnE SHELF in the living room
– work on silly paranormal romance novella
– do many, many REDEEMER notes
– do newsletter
post a kitsnaps
– finish chance extras

by month’s end:
– finish REDEEMER notes
– finish silly paranormal romance novella
get FINAL OLD RACES STORY posted to patreon
– get YEAR OF MIRACLES compiled & posted to patreon
– coordinate with ted for getting YEAR OF MIRACLES collection e-pubbed
– try to get BEWITCHING BENEDICT revisions done

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

 
 
kit
11 July 2016 @ 11:02 pm

I did a little coloring whilst in Amurrica. I might’ve done more, except the next few pages I can do with crayons and I didn’t have any. (More accurately, I only had access to 24, which is totally not enough. Also I screwed up and didn’t put a color-catcher page between two of the pages so I need to see if I can erase the colored pencil shadows that got pressed through onto what’s supposed to be my next page to color.)

(Other people don’t worry about things like this, do they? Oh well.)

eqp09

Indy: How come you didn’t color the lady?
Me: I did. She’s just really really pale.
Indy: *looks so dubious*

eqp10

There are like…four versions of the swooping off with Leetah scene in this coloring book. I mean, okay, one is Leetah saving Dewshine from the zwoot & her and Cutter being all sexytimes above it, so it’s not exactly the same, but it’s damn close, and then there’s this one and there’s another one with Cutter snatching Leetah & breaking Rayek’s spear and then there’s a THIRD that’s a simplified version of the scene/emotional content that was done for a potential, not-using-the-book-art coloring book that never happened, and honestly, one of those would have been enough. It’s a like 32 page coloring book, it really didn’t need four versions of that scene. Or two. Especially when I can think of dozens and dozens of frames I’d have loved to have seen in the coloring book.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)