I feel like one more post on Orlando is just noise right now. Yet I also feel silence is unacceptable. So, in short:
First, it is not any one problem, it is multiple problems. And the solutions are complex and many. Here’s an admittedly simplistic and limited list:
Yes, it is the problem of fundamentalist extremists who believe violence is a divinely blessed action (which we have in every religion). Solution: Religion isn’t going anywhere for a while, so as long as it is here, support moderate voices in all religions and ideologies, and don’t arbitrarily punish those who believe in the same version of deity as this week’s terrorist yet don’t share the same belief in violence. Embrace the messages of love and peace, and leave the outdated bigotry and fears (and rivalries) of the Iron Age tribes behind.
Yes, it is an issue of bigotry and hatred. Solution: do not shame people for being different (which only leads to self-shame), and do not support the insidious belief that some deity has deemed their very nature a sin, be that nature their sex, orientation, or race. Know that someone being different than you does not take anything away from you. Diversity is strength. And if you know someone who is not a cis-gendered heterosexual, reach out and let them know you care about them. Events like this are a scary reminder of the hate and violence that can strike them at any time just for being who they are.
Yes, it is an issue of uncontrolled gun sales. Solution: Let the government study the disease of gun violence, to determine and vote into law effective safety rules and regulations the same as we have for cars, for planes, for alcohol, for anything else that may be dangerous if abused. We can regulate gun sales and license owners without violating the 2nd Amendment.
Yes, it is an issue of mental health. Solution: greater support of mental health facilities, greater support of mental health services by insurance providers and government health programs, and less stigmatization so that people aren’t afraid to seek help.
And Yes, it is a problem of broken politics. Solution: Force States to rewrite voting district lines fairly, and push for campaign finance reform, so that the vast majority of Congress are not safely GOP or Dem seats sponsored by special interest groups and wealthy donors, where the members only have to worry about pandering to the most extreme in their party to keep their seat rather than actually being accountable to a widely representative group of voters.
Here’s some folks you can send your thoughts to or support besides the echo chamber on Facebook:
Volunteermatch where you can find general volunteer opportunities
Want to know how to get published? Well, there’s lots of ways, actually
And writer/ editor Shannon Page has put together a pretty neat collection of essays called The Usual Path to Publication by 27 published authors (including yours truly) on HOW they got published. Check it out!
And for some additional fact-dense and flow-charty info on publishing options, you can also see my post on How to Become a Novelist (Part 2): Publish a Novel
Two big bits of news for book 3, Smells Like Finn Spirit:
First off, revised Finn 3 has been officially delivered to my editor! And I am so proud of it. Of course, I’m biased, but honestly there are just so many parts I can’t wait for people to read — funny moments, emotional moments, fantastical moments, moments that made me tear up or laugh on my own re-read — and I think that’s a pretty good sign. It has more of the humor of Finn Fancy Necromancy, and expands on the world building of Bigfootloose and Finn Fancy Free, with some deep character moments I think reflect all I’ve learned as a writer while working on these books, and it completes a nice three book arc (with seeds for future books of course should Tor buy more). Not trying to sound braggy, or like I think so much of my skill or anything, I just am proud of what I created, and feeling pretty happy about being a writer right now.
And second, COVER REVEAL! Thanks to the awesome Peter Lutjen!
Hey awesome peoples, I have a teensy favor to ask, and PRIZES to offer: if you have read Bigfootloose (or enough to have formed an opinion), pretty please leave a review.
Just one click on a link below and another click on some stars, then write a sentence or two about how it transformed your life and healed your chronic inability to speak Sasquatchese — or, you know, whatever you want. Bing bang BOOM! Taking a minute to leave a review is the best way you can help get Bigfootloose into the hands of folks who might enjoy it (or any book you read, for that matter).
Links to Review Sites:
Powell’s (who also offers their own contest for people who leave comments! Bonus!)
iTunes (select “Launch in Application” at top of page)
I see two major conversation streams in my world converging here: Diversity in fiction, and our current political circus.
Diversity in fiction is about many things, but one of those is that it allows us to experience lives unlike our own, and through that experience gain a deeper understanding of people who are different from ourselves, and the ability to empathize with other experiences. This applies across all media.
Perhaps if we had more popular media that shared an honest view of the Mexican immigrant experience, for example, we might not have a demagogue winning votes by promising to build a giant wall and kick people out of the country, or playing on other racial and religious fears.
Not saying diversity in fiction is THE solution to any problem, but this is just one example of why I feel diversity in media is actually important not just for any specific group who see themselves continuously ignored or badly stereotyped in media, not just for those who are marginalized or persecuted in society, but for everyone. Because we are all in this together — at least until we find a way to teleport to our own planet where we can mess it up however we want without affecting others.
Bigfootloose and Finn Fancy Free comes out February 16th. This is a really critical and exciting time for the series! I hope you’ll join in the fun.
“So, this is your apartment? Nice. Where can I slip into something more comfortable?”
“Right over there, in the door past that copy of Finn Fancy Necromancy. Oh my gosh, have you read it? It’s REALLY exciting and funny an — uh, like you. I’ll get the wine.”
Why do I give this fine example of Finn Fancy love? Well, if you think it might be cool for the series to continue past book 3, continue reading.
The Finn Fancy series is not in trouble, but it has reached its first critical test. Whether or not Tor wants to publish more Finn Fancy books will likely be based on sales of book 1 and pre-sales/ sales of book 2 (Bigfootloose) over the next couple of weeks. Just because that’s how the industry works.
What this is: Me asking you to take a few minutes to support Finn Fancy if you’ve read and enjoyed it, OR if dark and quirky contemporary fantasy is something that interests you and you MIGHT read it someday. Or if you are just feeling generous toward me and want to support my dream, I suppose.
So if you DO want to help guarantee more Finn Fancy books, here’s what you can do, in rough order from most impact to least. I’ve tried to make it easy:
I think this counts as my first fan art! Heather Seevers of NW Handspun Yarns knitted a Finn Fancy gnome hat! And she created a pattern so you can do the same!
Here’s the knitting pattern:
I know that Heather’s also working with some folks on a new line of yarn specifically dyed in geek-friendly colors, like Police Box Blue, or based off of comic book colors, etcetera, so if you knit, keep a lookout for those!
There’s definitely some special knitting that goes on in Bigfootloose. So I would LOVE for others to knit gnome hats and send me pictures of them. Or, if you want to get crazy, you could knit a Bigfoot I suppose. But they probably don’t look as nice on your head.Originally posted at my Mirror Blog at: http://www.randy-henderson.com/2016/02/f
It’s award nomination time! AND THANK GAWD, I don’t need to ask you fine folks to nominate or vote for me or anything, because I already know all the awards I’m going to win this year. The people behind the people behind the scenes have told me I’m a shoe-in. So here’s the list. Don’t be jealous.
2016 Locus Award for “Best Use of Magical 80’s Tech versus PTA Blood Witches”: (magical Casio calculator watch) from Finn Fancy Necromancy, by Randy Henderson.
2016 Ricky for Best Line to Read in an Alan Rickman Voice*: “Bloody Mary, and make it as spicy as Shakira shaking her hips in a jalapeño field, please.” From Finn Fancy Necromancy, by Randy Henderson.
2016 Nebula for: Depiction of Gnomes Almost Awesome Enough to Make Us Forget the Travesty that was Gnomeo and Juliet: Finn Fancy Necromancy, by Randy Henderson.
The 2016 Ziggy Award for Four Completely Random Lines of Dialogue from a Novel Best Sung Together like a Ziggy Stardust Song:
“Feet too, Stormer,” I said. “You’re a loner, a rebel.”
“He drew me close and snuffled my head, surrounding me with his musky cedar scent.”
“I like that you look at me like I’m still that girl who didn’t know The Clash from The Cure.”
And Petey said,
“I took your Pacman watch.”
All lines from: Finn Fancy Necromancy by Randy Henderson
2016 Hugo for Best Novel Idea about Use of a Hugo: “Condom demonstration prop in sexual education class for cyborgs“, submitted by Randy Henderson, author of Finn Fancy Necromancy.**
Now I suppose if you have an empty slot after you realize that City of Stairs was 2014, and All the Birds in the Sky is 2016, you can actually add Finn Fancy Necromancy to your nomination ballot. Not that I have any expectation of winning but oh boy could I have some fun pretending like I might for that brief month or so.
Or if not me, you can add your deserving-writer-friend-whose-book-you-h
(On a completely unrelated note, I define “deserving-writer-friends…” as folks who have eligible works for award nomination and happen to take me to a delicious meal and/ or offer a really good neck and shoulder massage. Just saying. No reason.)
There. Done. Phew. Now I don’t have to do all that uncomfortable promotiony stuff about awards for the next several months.
PS: All joking and Finn Fancy aside, you really should nominate the stuff you read and liked in 2015. Those folks worked hard, are no doubt mired in Imposter Syndrome, and it really makes them feel good to have that work validated by nominations.
Ending Soonish Nomination details:
If you are a SFWA member, you can nominate for the Nebula Award until February 15th. Note the word-counts when nominating. And you can also nominate for the Andre Norton award for YA books as well.
If you’re a member of the 2015, 2016, or 2017 WorldCons, you can nominate for the Hugo awards. You’ll need your membership number (emailed to you by MidAmeriCon if you’re registered for 2016, or by Sasquan if you went 2015 but not going 2016). And you’ll need a PIN, emailed to you by MidAmeriCon (and if you haven’t received it by Feb 5th you’re supposed to email them at firstname.lastname@example.org).
Have fun! And good luck to all the amazing authors who really do deserve an award. I’ll probably list a few suggestions when I find the time again.
*You know you tried it.
**EDIT NOTE: I realized upon re-reading my post that the Hugo bit may be seen as me devaluing or desecrating the Hugo, a sensitive topic after last year. Just wanted to say that’s not the case, I think the Hugos are awesome, and hope truly great works and good folks win the awards this year. Left the joke though.Originally posted at my Mirror Blog at: http://www.randy-henderson.com/2016/01/2
I’m having a blast visiting book clubs to discuss the Finn Fancy series. Here’s a couple of photos (more to come):
Greater Tacoma Scifi/ Fantasy Book Club
Bellingham Scifi/Fantasy Concern Bookclub
Other Realms Book Group, Seattle
If you are in a book club, might I humbly suggest this is a great time for you to pick Finn Fancy to read? Here’s why:
* Reviews describe it as a fast paced and fun read full of laughs, laughs and more laughs — a great way to stave off those post-holiday winter blues!
* It came out in paperback January 5th! Or you can get the Hardback for nearly the same price with all the deep discounts — WHAT A DEAL! But wait, there’s more … 😉
* The sequel, BIGFOOTLOOSE AND FINN FANCY FREE, comes out February 16th! So no long wait to see what happens next!
* If your book club is within reasonable driving distance, I’ll happily come join your discussion of the book if you’d like, and answer any questions you have!
* If your book club is in distant lands, or is online, I will happily participate in any online Ask Me Anything-style discussion you set up (e.g. via Skype, Google Hangouts, or invite me to your Meetup group or email thread, etc).
So when you all go to vote for what to read in next month, might I humbly suggest that Finn Fancy Necromancy (or Bigfootloose) is, if not the best choice, then the even besterest choice!
In my social media feed, a lot of people were sharing this post about City on Fire, a book with sentences so bad they are funny (much like entries into the Bulwer-Lytton “Dark and Stormy Night” contest but not intentionally so).
I laughed. Then I learned about the author, and the history of the book.
I think we can learn a lot from this example, but not just about bad sentences.
WHEN I FIRST READ THE HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE SENTENCES:
First, yes, these sentences are pretty bad. As in, this is a master class in bad sentences. I think an annotated version of this list that breaks down just why each is so bad would be very helpful for writers.
The examples range from pretty common writer errors like:
“But that was where the drawing ended. Below was just white space.” The problem here is stating something so redundant and obvious that it becomes ridiculous. So we can take this, and learn from it to make sure, for example, you don’t write something like “His heart beat in his chest,” because if you are human, where else would it be beating?
To a wide range of other issues as in these examples:
“Just then, a horripilating Scaramouche appeared at her elbow.”
“Breasts like bronzed mangoes.”
In fact, there appears to be a lot of bad breast descriptions in the book.