Monday, November 18, 2013

My Book of Poetry is Available on Amazon!!

Yay! Interview with the Faerie (Part One) and Other Poems of Darkness and Light is available at Amazon!

I haven't even received my copies yet :-)

The link to purchase is below. It will also be searchable and purchasable by libraries and other outlets within the next few weeks.

If you (or anyone you know) reviews poetry--or poetry or fiction dealing with Celtic, dark fantasy, science fiction, or Pagan themes--and may want a review copy, let me know.

I love this cover!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Lots of Cool Writerly Stuff Happening...

So much of my musings get posted on Facebook, that I often forget to update my blog. Here's a quick synopsis of recent goings-on:

  • My first chapbook of poetry is almost ready for purchase! I received the final proof today, and so far so good. It is titled Interview with the Faerie (Part One) and Other Poems of Darkness and Light. It contains five "dark" poems (including Interview), one "grey" poem, and five "light" poems. These categories are of course somewhat arbitrary, as most of the stuff I write has an a dark edge. It may be more fair to say that some are more hopeful than others. In any case, it will be available on Amazon and for Kindle. It also has two cool illustrations--created for Interview--by my friend and artist Tony Gerardi. I'll update this blog with links once it's available.
  • An editor for the Polish speculative fiction magazine Creatio Fantastica discovered one of my poems on Tales of the Zombie War and I've granted them permission to translate it into Polish and feature it on their site. They will also be running a translation of part of Interview with the Faerie, and an interview with me. It's currently slated for their December/January issue. Again, stay tuned for final details!
  • I have submitted a zombie short story--which also happens to be one of my favorite pieces of writing--to a new market. The story is, I think, hampered by the fact that it's a "zombie" story; really it is a speculative apocalyptic horror story told through a 12-year old boy's eyes. I love this story, and I really believe it needs to be published! So fingers crossed.
  • After yet another 3-month hiatus, I wrote a chapter of my novel-in-progress today (The YA novel about the teen-aged embodiment of the Goddess Kwan Yin, working title Ownership of the Gods.) I really want to put forth sustained effort on this in the coming months.
That's all for now, folks!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

It's Possible

It can be frustrating to be a writer without much time to write (to say the least.) Luckily, there are other writers out there who are doing it. They are writing. They are actually finishing entire short stories and even (gasp!) whole books. Some of them even have families and children and jobs.

And for those of us who are not able to allocate much time to writing, it's a blessing that others have done it. It's a sign that it's possible. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

An Example of Sexism (and other 'isms') Among Writers -- A Rant

I'm not *that* easily offended. Things that get many of my liberal/feminist friends and colleagues offended typically don't rile me in the same way.


Because this is the essence of why sexism exists. This, my friends, is the reason women authors (on the whole) are not treated as being "equal" to men authors. Why they are not taken "seriously." This is the essence of why both men and women feel they need to fit into two genders and two quaint little boxes proscribing "optimal" male and female behavior.

First, I invite you to read the article that got me so riled here. The title is quite apt, because I needed a strong stomach to read it. 

So, go ahead and read it. I'll be waiting here.
. . .
All done? Take the time to munch a few saltines if you're feeling nauseous.
. . .
Back? Good. Let's discuss. 

I'll start with the preliminaries. Mr. Gilmour has every right to read what he likes. We all like what we like. He wants to teach what he loves. He has that right also, and it appears he was perfectly upfront with the University of Toronto about the content of his course.

Mr. Gilmour writes: 
I teach modern short fiction to third and first-year students. So I teach mostly Russian and American authors. Not much on the Canadian front. But I can only teach stuff I love. I can’t teach stuff that I don’t, and I haven’t encountered any Canadian writers yet that I love enough to teach.

Um, okay. I was taken aback by the assumption that only Russian and American authors qualify as (apparently) being good writers in this genre. But again, we all read what we like and if Mr. Gilmour has had success only reading authors from these countries, he has every right to continue doing so. 

But then, I almost fell out of my chair:
I’m not interested in teaching books by women. Virginia Woolf is the only writer that interests me as a woman writer, so I do teach one of her short stories… when I was given this job I said I would only teach the people that I truly, truly love. Unfortunately, none of those happen to be Chinese, or women. Except for Virginia Woolf… Usually at the beginning of the semester a hand shoots up and someone asks why there aren’t any women writers in the course. I say I don’t love women writers enough to teach them, if you want women writers go down the hall. What I teach is guys. Serious heterosexual guys. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Chekhov, Tolstoy. Real guy-guys. Henry Miller. Philip Roth.


Mr. Gilmour writes, "I say I don’t love women writers enough to teach them." Okay, we've got it, Sir. You don't like women writers. But at this point, we--the readers--are really getting the impression it's not that you don't like women writers, it's that you haven't read enough of them. Because if you did, you would see that there are amazing women writers. (Any reasonable lists of "best writers," inevitably have women on them. If you’re looking old-school, how about Austen, the Bronte sisters, Wharton, Shelley? Or more contemporary writers such as Morrison or Atwood?)

And finally, the point that really blew my mind:
What I teach is guys. Serious heterosexual guys. F. Scott Fitzgerald(1), Chekhov, Tolstoy. Real guy-guys. Henry Miller(2). Philip Roth. [See my notes below]

Honestly, I'm not upset that Mr. Gilmour is not "interested in teaching books by women." That is his preference, and his right, and the University of Toronto accepted him on those terms. And every major university that I know of offers a course or two that will specifically address women writers.

Here's one problem: You should be well read enough to recognize and acknowledge the existence of great women writers. Because that is the reality. You might still choose not to teach them in your class--that is absolutely okay. Women writers may not be your personal favorites (also okay.) But you don't even acknowledge they exist. The woman writer is invisible.

Another problem: In Mr. Gilmour's warped mind, there is a “masculine” and a related heterosexual benchmark. Obviously, in his estimation, non-contemporary men writing during less enlightened times meet his criteria for optimal heterosexuality, for "manhood," and for general validation as writers and as human beings.

We are to assume, then, a homosexual man is not a “real guy?” And what makes a heterosexual man a "serious heterosexual guy?" Because my husband might want to know. 

Mr. Gilmour, YOU ARE THE PROBLEM. I pity every woman; pity every person of any gender who must sit through your classes as nuanced human beings. Because you clearly believe there is an Optimal Writer and an Optimal Way to Be a Human and it is white, male, privileged and staunchly heterosexual and homophobic. 

I despair for the dozens of students you have made feel "less than." I'm disgusted, because you are an educator. You should strive to do better. 

- - - - 

(1) A "serious heterosexual guy"—which Gilmour considers admirable—is in this case a "playboy" who succumbs to alcoholism and was reputed to abuse his wife. 
(2) A "serious heterosexual guy" in this case engages in numerous 'sexual escapades' even after marriage. And marries five times.

Being a philanderer or having substance abuse problems does not make you a bad person—that is not my point. My point is: There is a certain profile emerging of what Gilmour considers preferable "masculinity." And it obviously carries over into what he reads, what he doesn't read, and who he considers "real writers." And therefore, what he writes, teaches, and puts out into the world.

As someone in a position of power and influence over younger men and women, Mr. Gilmour is simply upholding the sexist, gendered, imperialist beliefs that prevent both women and men from feeling comfortable being their true, nuanced selves. 

He is upholding the erroneous belief that women are not--and can not--be "real" writers.

Friday, September 6, 2013

On Love and Bliss

This post is primarily about love, in some of its myriad forms.

Earlier this week, I had a relatively rare moment of bliss. It was fleeting, it was unexpected, but it was very real.

I was driving to my new job (yay!) which shows all the signs of being truly meaningful, fun, and playing to many of my strengths. I was also thinking about my kids... about my son who is off to a good start in junior high; about my daughter who is also doing well beginning 4th grade. And about how amazing they both are in their own ways. And how lucky I am to have them, and have the ability to be present for them in the ways they deserve.

And I thought about my husband, who has taken the brunt of financial responsibility for all of us. And about how he has grown in the 20 years I've known him. And about how he has gracefully put up with my multitude of flaws during those same years.

And then I really thought about how loved I am... and how lucky I am.

And I thought about how self-love--being honest with yourself and striving to do what honors you-- is a component of being truly healthy and happy.

And I experienced a moment of immense joy--right in the center of my chest. In my heart chakra. And the beauty of it almost took my breath away.

I will carry the memory of it, because life does not often afford these moments. (At least, not to me!)

Wishing all of you those snippets of bliss, also!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Back to the novel!

After four+ months of relative non-writing, I submitted the next chapter of my novel to my critique group yesterday.

And it felt good.

I'd been trying to get a few short stories into shape enough to submit them, because I really need to "up" my published credits, and that's not going to happen unless I actually submit stuff.

But, it came back to the novel chapter. In which (some of) the eeevvvviiilllll protagonists are introduced.

I'm interested to see if my group thinks I made them too evil. This is a young adult novel, after all.

Monday, June 3, 2013

What to do when you write in your head

I am the very definition of a frustrated writer. I want to write – it's always what I wanted to do. However, between raising my kids and having various jobs, I just don't have the energy and focus to write as much as I'd like. Not even as close to as much as I'd like to, currently.

But, I am always writing in my head. I try not to think too hard about all those stories that I've hatched and nurtured and brought to a point of almost fruition; only to not write them down or follow up on them and to have them simply fade  away, as ephemeral as a ghost.

Right now I am driving. No, I'm not texting! But, I am dictating this blog post. Because I was just at the bookstore squeezing in some work while waiting for my kids' classes to be done. And there are always those thoughts running through my head. Always those thoughts tumbling around that I should write down but never do.


I can still dictate blog posts. I can make an effort to at least say what's on my mind, and perhaps even return to them at a later time.

This means that blog posts will be more frequent, if not a bit in Inelegant. Because when you're dictating a blog post on your phone, then editing them as you squint at the tiny text because you forgot they're  not exactly going to read like Hemingway. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I Have Work to Do and I Haven't Written Anything in Over a Month. So Naturally, It's Time for a Blog Post

One of the things that has been running through my fevered brain lately is how much I used to really practice and live my spirituality.

Before I had kids, I was the Goddess Go-to Girl. (For those unaware, it was while living in Chicagoland from 1995-1997ish that I discovered my inner Pagan/GoddessWoman. (It was always there of course--I'd been reading and studying about pre-Christian and non-western religions and deities for years before that; and had declared myself Officially Not Catholic the second after I made my confirmation in high school.) When we moved back to the area in 1998 I promptly found a Unitarian Universalist congregation that was Goddess-friendly, and quickly helped to form several "Earth-Based Worship" groups.

I had the exquisite freedom to spend my (non-working) time learning more, leading Circles, and practicing aspects of my spirituality. I was tuned into alternative health, I purchased household/body products that were Earth-friendly, and generally felt that I had a pretty balanced life.

But I didn't have children, and I wanted them. I wasn't sure how many--at least one, and at times perhaps three--but I knew I wanted them, and Ari did also.

Having children for me was fraught with unbelievable challenges, and a ton of pain and sadness that I don't want to go into right now. I will say--and I think it's important to say this for others who are struggling--that due to difficult circumstances I was more or less in a depressive mode for most of a decade.

When I came out of that period of my life, I had two incredibly beautiful and truly nice children, who I adore.

What I lost, somewhere, were key aspects of my spirituality. There was a time when I danced around a Maypole every year. Years where I gathered at the Full Moons with others. On a regular basis, I would invoke the energies of the four directions, bound together by Spirit. There were meetings where I sat in sacred circles with other women and we celebrated sadnesses and joys and life passages...asking for the Goddess or the Gods to bear witness to our intents or sharing of grief.

They were truly magickal times, in many ways. The real kind of magick that happens when you meet with others, and focus your intentions, and just generally feel connected to your fellow humans and connected to the totality of Life.

I'm not completely sure why I am here and not there any more. I believe it's a combination of things. Not having the time/headspace to engage with my spirituality. Having seen a few too many people behave badly. Not liking to fit in a box--any box. Just generally growing in my spiritual beliefs, and not knowing that they can be shared as easily in a Circle of others.

I do remember one point several years ago where I felt I had to make a choice--do I want to be a "pagan writer" or a "speculative fiction" writer. I chose speculative fiction. I'm not completely sure why, now, that I even felt I had to make a choice.

And so here I am. And I wonder what happened to the woman who was so passionate about the environment, the woman who believed that every choice was tied into living her spirituality.

At some point, that woman started buying diapers by the case at Wal*Mart--even though she swore she'd never shop at Wal*Mart--because it was easier. And cheaper.

I'm not looking for answers or solutions, just musing. And perhaps I just needed to write something that wasn't a business-related web page or press release, since I've done no creative writing for over a month, as the title of this post states.

If there is a question here, perhaps it is: Can you ever go back? And should you?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Kelpie

I'm thrilled to assist my friend and writing-critique-group member, Trisha J. Wooldridge (T.J. Wooldridge), by revealing some tantalizing snippets from her upcoming first novel, The Kelpie. And I'm also happy to be participating in her scavenger hunt! Enjoy the snippet below--and thanks to Trish for letting me be a part of this!
~ Suzanne

            Water sloshed as if someone were just getting out from a swim.  Rings rippled out from a bunch of plants moving toward the shore.  It slipped from the water, stepping up, revealing the weed-covered body of a horse.
            Not a horse.  The nightmare of a horse.  It curled its lips.  Beneath the greenish black lips were sharp, shark-like teeth--not the teeth of gentle, hay eating horses. 
            Its eyes reflected – or glowed – red in the sun.

"Suzanne is a member of my critique group, Traveling Java, who were key in making The Kelpie a reality—and making easier the lives of my Spencer Hill Press editors, Vikki and Laura.  Suzanne also happens to be the only mom in our group, who also happens to have children around Heather's and her siblings' ages, so she was especially helpful in making sure my parenting bits were accurate!  Thank you, Suzanne!"

Monday, March 25, 2013

Latest Poetry Acceptance! And upcoming FUN!!!

I'm happy to announce that my poem, "There are the Words; and There are the Spaces" has been published in the March 2013 issue of The Wayfarer: A Journal of Contemplative Literature.

This is a wonderful new journal--I highly recommend you check it out! Not just for my poem (which is of course spectacular! *wink*) but the photography is amazing and the written pieces are stellar.

A free e-version and link to purchase a print edition are below:


ALSO...WATCH THIS SPACE for some fun, coming later this week. You like fun, don't you? Let me just leave you with the words, "scavenger hunt." ;-)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

My Arisia 2013 Panel Schedule

Arisia--an awesome science-fiction and related interests convention--is sneaking up. Two weeks away, give or take a day. I've been a panelist here for several years. Last year I had a large number of gender-related panels. I decided to mix it up this year and expressed interest in other panel topics. Here's my schedule:

The Mind of the Nerd: Psychology and Fandom
A Hero Like Me
Worldbuilding with the Soft Sciences
Being a Sex-Positive Parent
Zombies: Victims of Parasites?
When Faith and Science Meet
Broad Universe Rapid-Fire Reading
The Psychology of Villainy  ** I've asked them to take this off my schedule, because my Sunday is crazy.**
Have We Arrived?
Why Zombies? Why Now?
How Fans Hurt and Help Public Faces of Fandom
The Undead and the People That Love Them

The above should be linked to the descriptions. I know the formatting is a bit wonky, because I cut-and-pasted from the site. If the panel titles are NOT linked, go to and scroll down until you get to me.

Who's going to Arisia? What are your thoughts on the above panels?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Why I Miss My e-Mail Client

I've been contemplating why I have so much more difficulty keeping track of my "to-do" list now that I'm not working an office job.

I haven't worked for a year and a half, and for a while I figured it was simply that I am better about "getting stuff done" when there is an outside influence providing structure to my days. And that is part of it.

But there is so much disparate stuff to keep track of now... Stuff related to the kids. Bills to be paid. When I have library duty. Medical appointments. And all the stuff related to being a writer: Subscriptions, periodic searches for markets, keeping up with Facebook lists and emails, etc.

For the past year and a half, my ability to stay on top of everything has declined. I am constantly "losing" emails, or not responding to things, or letting balls drop.

I have finally figured out I MISS MICROSOFT OUTLOOK.

My primary email is gmail. It does not provide the ability to color code items to categorize them. (I work best when I can categorize things visually.) Also, I can't follow an entire conversation, because gmail treats every new email--even it's part of a longer discussion--as a discrete email. I WANT TO SEE THE CONVERSATION FFS!

So, I'm trying to use the "Tasks" feature in gmail and I may just have to go back to always having a notebook or something with me to keep notes/to-do's. Because I just can't keep track of it all.

What do you do?