World Fantasy Convention 2018

I spent last weekend at the World Fantasy Convention held this year in Baltimore, Maryland’s Inner Harbor, a very scenic and lively public waterfront. WFC celebrated the 200th anniversary of the publication of FRANKENSTEIN and the theme was appropriately “Ports in a Storm” because it rained like hell on Friday. We could barely swim to the restaurants and bars!

It was wonderful catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. The Clarion West and Beneath Ceaseless Skies parties were particularly fun. Charles de Lint (Lifetime Achievement Award), John Kessel, and Jim Kelly, three of my Clarion West instructors, were there and I was able to catch up with them. Even though I didn’t get a chance to see everyone I’d have liked to, it was nice just knowing that we were all in the same friendly space.

My days and evenings were spent at readings, panels, catching up with friends over dinners, lunches, and many, many, many impromptu meetings in hallways, elevators, and so forth. Truly a mini-vacation from the mundane world; I came home relaxed, recharged, and inspired.

Lamenting the loss of LGBTQ Sections in bookstores and libraries

On vacation last March, my husband said, “I haven’t been able to buy a gay book since Lambda Rising closed.”

The funny thing is, it is true. Lambda Rising was our local gay book store, six metro stops and 25 minutes away. We could skip down there and spend an hour browsing through thousands of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, AIDS, STD, and sexuality books. Then there were the videos for sale and, of course, the porn magazines. Don’t forget the gay-oriented greeting cards that you couldn’t get anywhere else. That list too much of a mouthful for you? Well, that’s kind of the point. The great thing was that, in other cities like Boston, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Seattle, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and even small towns, there were LGBTQ specific bookstores, too.

Everyone went there. Now, the bookstores are almost all gone.

These bookstores were places where we’d meet friends before going out to dinner. They were easy places for anyone, and that especially included the deeply closeted, to go and safely meet friends and get a book or magazine that they could take home and read in the privacy of their own home and remember that there were others like them out there. I’m talking the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s. I don’t say that as a date range because each of those decades had their special challenges and if you don’t know what they are, I suggest you do a little homework.

There aren’t that many physical bookstores left, much less gay ones. So how does one browse the gay literature anymore? It is becoming next to impossible. Why? Because bookstores don’t believe they need to set aside sections just for LGBTQ folks.

We make a point to duck into any bookstore we run across because, well, it’s just what we like to do. We poke around and then have to ask, “Do you have a section for LGBTQ books?” The answer is always this, “We have lots of gay books. They are shelved with all the other ones. What author are you looking for?”

“Someone or something new,” we say.

“You’ll have to be more specific.”

Macintosh Books on Sanibel Island in Florida had a huge rainbow flag out front so we were hopeful and excited to check it out. The clerk said of the sprawling stacks, “They (LGBTQ books) are scattered throughout all the different sections.” So I asked if they could recommend any authors, and that confused him. Then I asked why he had a Rainbow Flag flying out front. He just looked at me funny and then refused to tell me if he was the owner or not.

We are undergoing a loss of tribe these days. I call it dilution. Here is another example. I was a member of River Road Unitarian Universalist Church for many years and coordinated the LGBTQ group there, organizing brown bag lunches, gatherings, rally participation, and area coordination meetings for marriage equality, and served as a congregation liaison under Reverend Scott Alexander. I eventually hit volunteer burn out and left the church. Years later, I ran into a friend from there in the local library parking lot. I asked her how the old LGBTQ group was doing.

“Oh, we don’t need a group,” she said. “We’re just a regular part of the congregation.”

I cried nearly the whole way home.

We have lost a sense of community. We are losing the cohesive ties that helped us combat GRID, then AIDS, then other discrimination that eventually led to marriage equality. Yes, there is burnout associated with all this work, but many hands make the work light. Where are our hands for the transgender fight? Where are the living networks we need to protect what we have gained? How can we protect and teach our hard fought history? How do we support our community if we don’t think we need it anymore? I am not, and never will be, just a regular part.

Not having LGBTQ specific sections in physical bookstores is just further intimidation for the curious, the closeted, the shy. It is a subtle form of discrimination and it should be stopped.

Not having LGBTQ specific sections in PUBLIC LIBRARIES is just further intimidation for the curious, the closeted, the shy. It is a subtle form of discrimination and it should be stopped.

So go into a bookstore and ask to see the LGBTQ section. If they have one, make sure you buy a book.

Impact, the new anthology from Queer Sci Fi is Out!

The fifth annual Queer Sci Fi anthology, IMPACT, is now out in stores. Here's a YouTube trailer and, yes, I do have a story in there titled, Railgun Platform 6D in Classified Mid-Earth Orbit Receives Orders to Fire, so check it out! 

About the QSF series:  It's hard to tell a story in just 300 words. Each year we ask writers to take the challenge, turning in stories across the queer spectrum. The rules are simple. Write a complete sci fi, fantasy, paranormal or horror story, include LGBTIQA characters, and do it all with just 300 carefully chosen words.

How to get a copy:

Amazon Kindle: 

Barnes & Noble:

iBooks:

Kobo:

Angus & Robertson

Goodreads:

 

Giveaway:  Queer Sci Fi is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card with this tour – enter via Rafflecopter for a chance to win.

 

 

Worldcon 76, San Jose, CA

Hey Everyone! 

I am looking forward to attending Worldcon 76 in San Jose this weekend (Aug 16th through 20th)! Yes, attending is the operative word since I have been super busy revising my novel after a developmental edit and getting ready to send it out to my wonderful beta readers. So, I am panel-free and plan on relaxing and catching up with old and new friends and taking a much-needed break. 

That novel? Yes, things are underway on several levels but no reveals quite yet. Oh wait, there is one: if all goes well, this will go to print in the second quarter of 2019! 

Stay tuned, and come say hi if you see me at the con.

Cheers!

Bob

The QSF anthology, RENEWAL, is out!

September 13, 2017

Guess what? I have a story, TO BE SEDUCED IS TO BE REBORN, in the new Queer Science Fiction anthology, RENEWAL, and it got an honorable mention. Cool! The story is about love in the future and the choices we could make given the chance.

You can get a paperback copy here, or pick up an eBook at one of the links below:

Mischief Corner Books

Amazon

Kobo

iTunes

Yes, this was a contest, so here are the results:

The judges were Angel Martinez, Ben Brock, Jerome Stueart, and Clare London

Winner: Steve Fuson, Mating Season

2nd: S R Jones, In a Bind

3rd: Siri Paulson, Urban Renewal

Honorable Mentions:

R R Angell, To Be Seduced is To Be Reborn – HM
‘Nathan Burgoine, First Shift – HM
Foster Bridget Cassidy, Springtime Fae – HM
Lex Chase, When Light Left – HM
Rebecca Cohen, Late Fees – HM
Rory Ni Coileain, Longitudinal Case Study – HM
Zen DiPietro, A Fertile Mind – HM
J.S. Fields, First Commission – HM
Steve Fuson, Mating Season – HM
Lia Harding, Homefront – HM
Emily Horner, Bluebonnets – Judge’s Choice – Scott
S R Jones, In a Bind – HM
Jackie Keswick, Patience – HM
CB Lee, True Love’s Kiss – HM
Kristen Lee, Rings of Blue – HM
Elsa M León, Love Rituals – HM, Judge’s Choice – Jerome
Leigh M. Lorien, Green Burial – HM
Carol March, The Shaman – HM
Siri Paulson, Urban Renewal – HM
Wendy Rathbone, The Groomsman – HM
Stephanie Shaffer, Miss You – HM
Ada Maria Soto, The Dust – Judge’s Choice, Angel
Ginger Streusel, Auto-Renew – HM
Soren Summers, Lament – HM
Robyn Walker, Wrong Daughter – HM, Judge’s Choice – Ben
Eric Alan Westfall, Merry Go Round – HM
E R Zhang, ARC – HM, Judge’s Choice – Clare

And here are all the other wonderful authors chosen for the book:

Colton Aalto, Third Seat
Kiterie Aine, Gen 2547
Martha J. Allard, Snowless
Tam Ames, Vernalis
Richard Amos, Again
Jeff Baker, Restoration Inc
Redfern Jon Barrett, Alif
Abby Bartle, Werewolf
Joe Baumann, Walkers
Rose Blackthorn, A Circle Has No End
Dustin Blottenberger, Fields
Jaap Boekestein, That Part You Love
Matthew Bright, Below the Hill
L.M. Brown, Upgrades
Michelle Browne, The Birthing Pod
Jenn Burke, Chrysalid
L. Brian Carroll, Rumble
Fenrir Cerebellion, Faulty Resistance
Ross Common, Tattoo Artist
Carey Ford Compton, I Will Be Your Shelter
PW Covington, Dash T
Andi Deacon, The Test of Gold
Vivien Dean, All That Fire
Bey Deckard, Soul Food
Jana Denardo, Falling Waters
Nicole Dennis, Mystic Blossom
Matt Doyle, Torin
Jude Dunn, The Whole World is Watching
J. P. Egry, Coffee Cat
Sarah Einstein, The Witches’ Garden
Tray Ellis, Fresh Start
K.C. Faelan, Ouroboros Undone
Ofelia Gränd, A Fake Cup of Coffee
Sacchi Green, Third Time’s a Charm
M.D. Grimm, Ophiolatry
Nephy Hart, Rebirth of a Dragon
Kelly Haworth, Shedding
Hannah Henry, The Tiger and the Lily
S R Jones, In a Bind – HM
Ellery Jude, The Sprout
Dustin Karpovich, Rainbow Powers
Lin Kelly, The Projector
Jon Keys, Gift of the Little People
Reni Kieffer, New Reign
Mia Koutras, Real Time
Aidee Ladnier, LightHeart
A.M. Leibowitz, Fresh
L.V. Lloyd, The Librarian
Mary E. Lowd, A Jetpack of a Different Color
F.T. Lukens, Checkpoint
Catherine Lundoff, Firebird
Anne McPherson, Brick and Blood
Lloyd A. Meeker, Renewal
Xenia Melzer, The Joys of Death
R.L. Merrill, Exchange
Daniel Mitton, The Unmarked Grave
Eloreen Moon, First Contact
John Moralee, After the Fall
Lyda Morehouse, Murphy’s Landing
RL Mosswood, Molt
E.W. Murks, Chrysalis
Milo Owen, Seeing You
Carrie Pack, Allora’s Kiss
Terry Poole, All Hail the New Queen
Irene Preston, Certified Organic
Shilo Quetchenbach, Blackout
E.J. Russell, Reboot V5.0
Ell Schulman, Take a Third Option
Patricia Scott, Hope’s Renewal
Andrea Felber Seligman, On the Day After the Second Long Rains
Mindy Leana Shuman, Genesys
L M Somerton, Library Fines
A.M. Soto, The Dust – Judge’s Choice, Angel
Andrea Speed, The Return
Andrea Stanet, The Harbinger
Paul Stevens, Winter Idyll
J. Summerset, The Ritual
Naomi Tajedler, Gilgul
Laurie Treacy, Coffee Break
Natsuya Uesugi, Switch
Zev de Valera, The House of Many Windows
J. Alan Veerkamp, Loyalty Index
Brigitte Winter, Sunrise
Alexis Woods, Fealty
Christine Wright, Rejuvenation

My first podcast is right here!

Recent events have made me interested in getting REMOTE CONTROL out there in the world again. I recorded the podcast and sent it along to Interzone Magazine for their podcast site, TRANSMISSIONS FROM BEYOND. TFB is still going, but the podcast of the story was taken down a few years ago. After all, the story was published in June of 2008. Oddly enough, it still reads fresh to me. Tell me what you think.

 

THIS COULD HAPPEN....

Don't kid yourself. I once explained this story to an acting Marine Colonel at a cocktail party in 2010, a few years after it had been published, and he said, "That's actually a good idea." He turned and walked away leaving me a bit nervous. 

This story is about border and immigration control along the Mexican border. It's also about gun rights. It's about how all that can go really, really wrong and how we need to keep believing that good will surface in even the most unlikely places.

Presidential reading list loss

One fact about Trump is that he will never be First Reader. He doesn’t read and he’s proud of it. All past presidents have brought great works and authors to the general public. Bill Clinton spotlighted Maya Angelou generally, and Gabriel García Márquez, specifically ONE HUNDRED DAYS OF SOLITUDE. Obama highlighted Helen Macdonald’s H IS FOR HAWK, Colson Whitehead’s BARBARIAN DAYS, and SEVENEVES, a sci-fi novel by Neal Stephenson. Ronald Reagan brought us Tom Clancy’s THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER and made it a bestseller. Most of all, John F. Kennedy brought us Ian Flemming with CASINO ROYAL and all the James Bond novels since.

Reading lists from interesting and powerful people, especially presidents, give us insights into what guides their thinking, what stimulates their thoughts, and through what literary doors they are able to escape and decompress. Their lists show that they are, in many ways, just like us.

Trump is not a reader. Sad.

A few miles from shore?

“Bob,” you ask, “why do you have ‘A Few Miles From Shore…’ typed out under your site’s name?”

Thanks for your question!

The line is a reference to a favorite quote by Andre Gide that I find inspirational. Here is what he said: “One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.”

Sometimes my writing life feels like that, out there discovering new lands. You’re out there on the ocean. Some days are bliss. Others are perfect storms. Then you find some land. Is it an island, a short story? How big is it? A novel continent? A newly discovered inland sea?  An archipelago of linked stories?

So, this website is my little boat. While you’re here, you can see some of the places I’ve been. Pretty simple.

Welcome aboard!