Author: Liz

Fun for a good cause

Fun for a good cause

The Things want everyone to be happy and healthy, to know love, safety, and security.

That’s why they are truly honored to be part of Rachel Swirsky’s bottomly fundraiser, raising funds for Lyon-Martin Women’s Health Services. Lyon-Martin focuses on caring for the LGBTQIAA community, especially low-income lesbian, bisexual, and trans people. Any Patreon money she receives this month will go directly to Lyon-Martin. She currently has over $400 pledged, if she gets to $500 the THINGS will do a comic about bottoms – tricky when they have don’t have legs!

  • At $500,  cartoonist Liz Argall — creator of the Things Without Arms and Without Legs — will do an original comic on the topic of butts. Check out her work here: http://www.thingswithout.com/
  • At $600, Rachel Swirsky and several AWESOME authors will write a short story together about dinosaurs.
  • At $700, puppeteer, audio book narrator, and all around awesome person Mary Robinette Kowal will record the audio version of “If You Were a Butt, My Butt” in her professional studio–and she will be amazing. Here she is reading some tweets by John Scalzi. Erotically.
  • $800 – ??? whatever it will be it will be amazing

Click here to donate, it lists everything as a monthly option, because it is a Patreon page, but it’s easy peasy to cancel after initial payment if you want to donate to Lyon-Martin only (Rachel totally supports folks doing that :-)

Go here to find out more about the project.

It’s a great cause, and should be great fun. Share, donate, create, celebrate, let’s keep bringing the awesome :-)

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The Nebula Awards 50th Anniversary Conference aka ZOMG I JUST CAN’T EVEN WITH WORDS

The Nebula Awards 50th Anniversary Conference aka ZOMG I JUST CAN’T EVEN WITH WORDS

The Nebula Awards Conference was wonderful! So many great people, great programming, my only sadness was that I didn’t get to spend more time with ALL THE PEOPLE, and I really should have organized having meals with people a little bit better. I ended up not eating very much, but hospitality’s delicious ham and frozen fruit kept me going.

I made a strong decision to use the Nebula Awards Conference as a place to run some experiments and challenge myself. For the authors’ signing I printed magnets with Things on them, and wrote letters for people. I wanted to do something a little bit different, there’s something so magical about getting a letter in the mail. It was a fun experiment to conduct in a small, non threatening window of time.

Using the signing this way allowed me to figure out the logistics of sketches and taking live commissions. There are lots of niggling details that you don’t realize you need to sort out until you’re in the heat of the moment. There’s nothing like opportunities to practice, play, and run experiments. I wonder what experiments I’ll conduct next year, SFWAns might be my favorite lab rats! They’re so smart and enthusiastic, and you can have good meta conversations about pricing, marketing and workflow.

Magnets are a bit tricky to sign, but envelopes hold ink quite well and keep the magnets safe.

Sometimes love is grabbing a magnet for each of your besties!  <3

Examples of letters the Things sent ^_^. There is so much joy writing notes of love  to special folks. Wish I’d photographed more of them before I sent them into the wild.

This experiment was so useful, and when the signing was done I didn’t want to finish! I had so much more to learn and explore… and still needed to do one octopoidal love letter. Up in the SFWA hospitality suite I was inspired by Mary Robinette Kowal doing a practice run for something exciting (I’m sure there will be announcements soon). Inspired by her practice run (practice makes such a difference) I asked people to give me a prompt, or pretend I was an artist at a comics convention, and challenge me to draw something. After I drew them a sketch they could choose to donate money to the SFWA Emergency Medical Fund. The idea of working for money adding that little extra layer of responsibility, service, and fear!

Spending time with my drawings… it’s sometimes like listening to recordings of my own voice. It’s a little hard on the ego until you acclimatize! But rollerderby taught me that nothing helps craft like footage review (well, that and practice practice practice). I’m pleased with how I learned more about my own pens and what work for me in a loose sketching environment. I fear I shall purchase more copic brush pens in the future, there is something that brings out a different, more spontaneous line!

Mmm, Chicago pizza, I would love you for your tomato sauce alone.

EJ, of course, asked me to draw an anthropomorphic artillery shell!

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Drawing an actual person is always a bit scary! But Marko was a good sport, and I was told he saved Christmas!

This is what happens when you ask me to draw a waterfall!

Off you go little letters! I hope your recipients enjoy you. The designs on the stamps are in honor Martin Ramirez, who was one of the great self-taught artists of the 20th century. I love buying stamps and discovering interesting human beings. Thank you post offices around the world for giving us all these gems.

Saturday meant OMG the actual awards! John Hodgman did a great job as Toastmaster, HILARIOUS! I’m so pleased he came and slummed with us prose folks ;-) 

The awards night started with a performance from Emperor Stardust and the Eunuchs of the Forbidden City. Henry Lien did a great job as composer, singer and choreographer. I was honored to be the tall lass in suspenders on the right. Keep your eyes peeled for the video of the fab dance number, I’ll post it as soon as I get it!

Photo thanks to @clarkesworld

And then… a great honor happened. I had been asked to accept the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation on George Miller’s behalf, as he was a wee bit busy at the Cannes Film Festival, should Mad Max: Fury Road win! Getting to rep for Australia made my heart grow a few sizes, and as an Australian who hasn’t been home for over five years holding that trophy was a little bit like hugging home.


The head of this marvelous award is a typewriter ball! Five pounds of love for dry rugged landscapes, strength in many forms, and go hard or go home.

Rob Wilkins accepting for Sir Terry Pratchett, OBE and Liz Argall for George Miller, AO

Sir Terry Pratchett received the Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award this year, in recognition of his “significant impact on the science fiction or fantasy landscape, and is particularly intended for those who have consistently made a major, positive difference within the speculative fiction field.”

Rob and I were the only people accepting for other people, and it was a delight to chat for a moment. It makes me happy knowing that Sir Terry had such thoroughly kind and decent people like Rob around during the increasing vulnerability of the embuggerance. It still makes my heart smile, thinking about good people taking care of our Terry, in physicality and in spirit.

And that is a tiny snippet of an amazing weekend. I almost bought shoes at Fleuvog’s. I kinda want to start a band with some fellow authors (even if I have to learn bass). I gazed at nominations in awe wondering how it was possible that I knew and or cared about so many on the list. I reconnected with people I care about, met wonderful new people, and now desperately want to figure out how to travel further. I wish I’d attended more panels and taken advantage of the amazing Ask an Expert sessions, but hopefully next time… I’ve already purchased my ticket.

This conference was put together with so much care and concern, organizers were like the best hosts, facilitating the awesome, listening, attending, connecting, and creating a love filled experience. Thanks SFWA and the army of volunteers that made it happen. See you in Pittsburgh :-)

The Things vibrate about their experience http://www.thingswithout.com/comic/486-the-weekend-is-over/ (re-scanned pretty picture soon come)

NPR/Tempest Bradford on the awards http://www.npr.org/2016/05/16/478269681/people-want-these-stories-women-win-big-at-the-nebula-awards

Scalzi’s fab picture gallery (including one of me) https://www.flickr.com/photos/scalzi/sets/72157668377237626/

John O’Neill/Blackgate on the awards and a shout out to the dance number https://www.blackgate.com/2016/05/16/the-2016-nebula-award-winners/

Michael Underwood (in his ever thoughtful way) touches on why a professionally oriented conference is so very satisfying http://michaelrunderwood.com/2016/05/18/nebulas-recap/

M.C.A Hogarth visually describes the post confreence feels http://haikujaguar.livejournal.com/1550511.html

I’ll keep adding more Nebula links, so I can hug them

NEBULA BATTLE!!!!!!! http://samjmiller.com/nebula-battle-tableaux-the-complete-saga/

John O’Neill at BlackGate’s write up of the full, with links to audio recording  https://www.blackgate.com/2016/05/22/a-weekend-with-the-greatest-talents-in-science-fiction-report-on-the-2016-nebula-awards/

More from Cat Rambo (inc video) http://www.kittywumpus.net/blog/2016/05/22/catching-my-breath-and-whats-coming-up/

The ever hard-working Kate Baker’s write up and squeal of delight at something well earned http://www.anaedream.com/2016/05/the-post-nebula-conference-write-up/

President Cat Rambo’s writeup http://www.kittywumpus.net/blog/2016/05/18/nebula-conference-2016-chicago/

Brilliant 10 point recap by Cecelia Tan http://blog.ceciliatan.com/archives/2869

Fran Wilde is always entertaining, so her OMG I won an award blog post is no exception.

ZYZ Recap – includes write up of panel “How to handsell your book” http://zakzyz.com/new/2016/5/17/nebula-weekend

ZYZ Recap – Author signing at the Nebulas http://zakzyz.com/new/2016/5/18/author-signing-at-the-nebulas-part-2

The Unbreakable Princess Alethea BEA and Nebulas writeup – http://aletheakontis.com/2016/05/the-unbreakable-princess-alethea/

Lexie Dunne Recap http://www.dunnewriting.com/2016/05/nebula-conference-recap.html

Beth Cato http://www.novelocity.org/?p=1912

#SFWApro

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Nebula Awards Conference Programming

Nebula Awards Conference Programming

Hello!

I will be at the Nebula Awards 50th Anniversary Conference, exciting stuff! I’ll be doing a spot of programming, an ask an expert session, the author signing, and possibly a little bit of dancing!

Thursday, May 12 • 3:00pm – 4:00pm
The Future of Racism
The past’s virulent racism against the Irish has now faded to linguistic artifacts like “paddy wagon” and “red-headed stepchild.” What traces will present-day racism leave behind, and what new forms of racism will emerge? Jennifer Cross • Liz Argall • Tanya DePass • Michael R. Underwood.

Friday, May 13 • 4:00pm – 5:00pm
Ask an Expert: In the Ask an Expert Village, you can sit down for a one-on-one with an expert. Sign up for these 10 minute sessions at the registration desk.

Liz Argall – Making Comics “Liz currently creates a webcomic, and in past lives written work for hire comic scripts, been an artist talent scout, created a comics anthology, and hand sold books at conventions. She doesn’t have all the answers, but she knows of lots of neat places to start.”

Friday, May 13 • 8:00pm – 9:30pm
Mass Autographing (there will be magnets!!)

… and there might be some dancing to Radio SFWA at the awards ceremony (Henry Lien is awesome).

 

https://nebulaconference2016.sched.org/speaker/liz.argall

Hope to see you there!

Gratuitous gorgeous photo from NASA, not actually a nebula.

#Moon #Venus #Jupiter...#Earth Good night.

Australian

Australian

Yesterday I was re-reading a story of mine as I was working on a creative residency application. “Soon She Will Be Forty” still makes me tear up, and reading about the life of a derby player has extra resonance right now.

Antipodes CoverThe postie made a clatter when he dropped off mail and parcels. I went to the door and one of the packages was my contributor’s copy of Antipodes, Antipodes, the official journal of the American Association of Australasian Literary Studies. It was so strange to have just read a story, and then hold in your hands the book it was published in.

Antipodes internal A study in flesh and mind

I laughed out loud when I saw the book. Yesterday and the day before I’d gone on a bit of a Peter Allen binge. The opening of the 2009 version of “I Still Call Australia Home” is so beautiful:

I’m always trying to find the perfect cover of Tenterfield Saddler. There is something in it that speaks to my Australia. It has that ache of big country hurt by drought and flood. It has an elegance of emotion that comes from talking simply, yet poetically, about people. It’s a specific story about Peter Allen’s grandfather and father, and Peter Allen’s own complicated relationship with home. That specificity gives us the space to feel so much, to connect to bigger things.

I cry every time I hear Tenterfield Saddler. Love mixed with sorrow; that connection to land, the passing of time. It comes out in stories like Falling Leaves, Blunt Force Trauma Delivered By Spouse, and A Study in Flesh and Mind. It is why I asked that these stories be narrated by Australian readers when they’re selected for podcasts. To me, you can taste the Australian soil in them, a grief and love.

Kuisi and You is about PNG, but Australians singing about war, humanizing the loss, that’s something that’s been in my bones ever since I heard Eric Bogle sing The Band Played Waltzing Matilda (some day I’ll dust off my guitar and do an open mic that’s these songs, and I Was Only 19. I’m sure David Morrison would approve of a woman owning these.)

Australian musicians are often my comfort food, Liz Frencham, Fred Smith, Baterz, Spooky Men’s Chorale, Mal Webb, Judy Small (who has retired after 30 years because she has no time now she’s a circuit judge!), Uncle Kev Carmody (who once told me to keep singing, because there need to be more women telling their stories. The most generous storyteller I’ve had the pleasure to listen to), Tim Minchin, all the rockers from Divinyls to Hunters & Collectors to Paul McDermott singing Hunters & Collectors, endless JJJ Hottest 100, memories of the National and Major’s Creek, to name a few.

It was nice to get Antipodes in the mail, good to see a story I love so much in print. That story is a love letter to many things, and good timing to hear the final question the story asks.

I haven’t been able to get home for five years, but Australia will always be in my bones.

And a little bit more from Fred Smith about his expat life when he was in DC ;-)

Things at the Nebula Conference

Things at the Nebula Conference

The 2016 Nebula Conference will be celebrating 50 years of the Nebula Awards and the line up of folks shortlisted is quite spectacular. It’s the sort of shortlist that makes you want to read all the things and fall in love with reading all over again.

The programming looks so interesting I’m worried I might forget to socialize! I’m glad there are specifically set aside spots of time for lunch.

I will be part of the participants signing and have ordered a short run of Things Without magnets in celebration. It’s a 50 magnet print run and they will sell for $2 each. I’m curious to see how they will go.

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I have ordered these magnets, they should arrive in about a week!

#sfwapro

Two Author Spotlights! Christopher Barzak and Rudy Rucker

Two Author Spotlights! Christopher Barzak and Rudy Rucker

Moar neat stuff up at Lightspeed Magazine! Sweet stuff for free and if you want to subscribe you’re supporting MOAR AWESOME!

I interviewed Christopher Barzak about his story Map of Seventeen, it’s the sort of coming of age story in a rural and remote community with all the sorts of nuance I love. The Story. The Interview.

And more recently, I interviewed Rudy Rucker about his story The Knobby Giraffe. Physics, shaping reality with some love for Leibniz and a splash of romance. Fun creative processes, collaborations and reflections on his Transrealism Manifesto. The Story. The Interview.

In memoriam and into the future

In memoriam and into the future

This year seems to have contained more death than usual. I don’t know if it’s the way the seasons move, my generation is old enough to have more people in the danger zone. Death is a constant, but some major voices have been lost, and I’m still not over Whitlam. Within one year we have lost David Bowie, Alan Rickman, David G. Hartwell, Leonard Nimoy, and Sir Terry Pratchett, among many. And now Prince.

There is a bitter sweetness of death that comes with eulogies, discovering people anew, sometimes discovering them for the first time (such as Zaha Hadid). A time to sit with people’s stories, what they gave to the world and how they were connected to the lives of others.  It makes me want to honor them, so many people have worked towards creating better spaces in the world.

When I get home tonight I’m going to create some things… work on a comic, write an e-mail that might be a small pebble for change. When I get home tonight I’m going to support some things. I’m going to subscribe to some podcasts I’ve been meaning to support for months. I’m going to buy a music album. I don’t know if I’ll have time to buy art with all these to dos, but you bet I’m going to scope some out.

May we create beautiful spaces in the world that honor the dreamers that came before and the dreamers that are to come.

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Interview with Kat Howard

Interview with Kat Howard

My boss at Lightspeed (Robyn Lupo) and I interviewed Kat Howard about her story Maiden, Hunter, Beast. It mentions unicorn stickers and pictures of cats, so you know you want to read it… you might want to read the story first.

You can read the article for free online, but you can also support and see a whole lot of radness by subscribing.

Individual issues cost just $3.99, and/or you can subscribe for just $35.88/year and you know you’ll be supporting fab fantasy and science fiction stories.

lightspeed

David Hartwell

David Hartwell

David Hartwell, photograph by Catriona Sparks (from flickr)
David Hartwell, photograph by Catriona Sparks

I had a different post planned for today, but this must take precedence.

David Hartwell has had a massive brain bleed and is not expected to recover.

I think of what an absence he will be, such a smiling face to look forward to at conventions, the instant knowledge that that part of the bar or party would be imbued with life and good conversation because he was there.

I think of what a blow it must be to those who were closer. I’m so sorry for your loss, an absence feels like it would be beyond words.

I wrote the following on Facebook, but such things can disappear in the fire hose of stuff and it is good to collect memories in this era of online wakes.

I have two memories of David Hartwell, one was at, I think it was a WFC? I think he was guest of honor and should have had no time to chat, but somehow the flows of traffic meant that barcon was him and me chatting for a goodly while. It was one of those easy flowing conversations with someone who was clearly deeply knowledgable (and I love oral history), but was also actively interested in what a new person had to say. I was struck by his warmth, wit and intelligence.

My second memory is at the Nebula awards, just after SFWA had worked through various important controversies, and a bunch of “new and diverse” authors turned up. His eyes shone to see all the new folks, practically cackling with joy to see all the new faces and ideas.

He was someone I looked forward to seeing, always delighted if there was an opportunity for a good yarn, a valued elder in our community. He will be missed.

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