Changes: Pretty Terrible

You may have noticed an address change: Pretty Terrible.

Increasingly, the Radish Reviews domain name hadn’t been working for me–lots of reasons, but mainly because I didn’t feel comfortable using the site for content that wasn’t at least kinda sorta related to genre books and issues. Like most people, I have a lot more going on in my life: I watch a fair bit of television and I have an ongoing fascination with various activities involving wool, spinning wheels, and knitting needles. Not to mention my attempts at visual art (anyone who follows me on Twitter or Instagram is likely well aware of the visual art thing #sorrynotsorry).

Why “Pretty Terrible”? I’d been trying to think of a new domain for quite some time and last week I drew this:

Pretty Terrible ATC

pretty terrible inspiration

I wasn’t very happy with it–there’s an imprecise blobbiness to the line work I dislike and the combination of watercolors I decided to use to fill in the background really didn’t work, either. I wrote on the back of it, “pretty terrible”. And said to myself, “Hey, wait a minute.” So I went off to see if the domain was available and lo, it was. And now it’s mine.

I will say that I’m incredibly happy with how the painting I made for the header image turned out.  It came together fairly randomly and built on some of what I’ve been doodling over the last couple of weeks. I generally work on artist trading cards (ATCs), which are pretty small. I usually start with ink and then fill in with paint or, more recently, marker.  This painting is a bit larger at 4″ x 6″ but still not tremendously large. I started with watercolor for the background, then drew the thingamabob with ink and then colored it in with watercolor pencils. The problem with having so many art supplies around is that I tend to want to use them all. Which is not always a great idea.

I am particularly obsessed with bright colors. Although my scanner seems to make them even brighter than they actually are–and as I don’t know diddly about color correction, that’s going to be interesting until I figure it out.

Pretty Terrible

Pretty Terrible

greencircles persevere

This is where I want to say something philosophical, but I don’t have anything. I just wanted a change and an opportunity to widen my scope and here we are.

Capclave 2014 Schedule

capclave-dodo

Hey so this weekend is Capclave. This is this closest thing I have to a home convention, so I’m pretty excited to be on programming there this year.  It’ll be a fun time.

Here’s my schedule (subject to change, but it’s been this for the last couple of weeks, so I think it’s good):

Friday 8:00 pm: No Means No
Panelists: Inge Heyer, Natalie Luhrs, Emmie Mears, Jon Skovron, Jean Marie Ward (M)
There is a great disturbance in science fiction and fantasy. As fans and writers you have the right to expect respect.

Saturday 5:00 pm: I Hate His/Her Politics But I Love His/Her Books
Panelists: Day Al-Mohamed, Paolo Bacigalupi, David G. Hartwell, Larry Hodges, Natalie Luhrs, Sunny Moraine (M)
Should a personal evaluation of an author be separated from how you view his/her politics? Many people refused to see the movie Ender’s Game because of Orson Scott Card’s statements on homosexuality and other writers charge that political views influence award nominations and who is picked for con programming. Is this true and if so, is it a good thing or a bad thing?

Saturday 6:00 pm: The Suck Fairy and Feet of Clay
Panelists: Barbara Krasnoff (M), Natalie Luhrs, James Maxey, Sunny Moraine
What do you do when you reread your beloved childhood classics and find they have been visited by the suck fairy and are now sexist, racist, etc? What do you do when you find out that that author that got you through junior high turns out to have giant size 30 clod-hopping feet of clay or was actually kind of evil? How do we deal with problematic works and authors?

Sunday 11:00 am: Romance and SF/F
Panelists: Victoria Janssen (M), Pamela K. Kinney, Natalie Luhrs, Sunny Moraine
A significant number of science fiction and fantasy books are reviewed in publications such as Romance Times and nominated for awards in the romance genre. Were the genre line distinctions always artificial? What are romance readers’ expectations with respect to the plot and its resolution? HEA vs. the tragic romance. Is romance handled better or worse in YA SF/F? Are certain types of romance plots (such as first love) more likely to show up in YA?

Sunday 3:00 pm: Reviews vs Literary Criticism
Panelists: D. Douglas Fratz, David G. Hartwell, Natalie Luhrs, Darrell Schweitzer, Gayle Surrette (M)
There are many different levels of reviewing. Publications such as Publishers Weekly and Romantic Times typically want only a couple hundred words, in SFRevu 500-1000 words is pretty standard, and the New York Review of Science Fiction publishes 3000+ word reviews. There are reviews that exist primarily to give readers a general idea as to whether they want to buy the newly published book without spoiling the book, and there are longer more academically oriented reviews which attempt to engage with the novel in a broader context to put the book in its place within the genre and which generally assume the reader of the review has already read the book. Do you write the review from the head or from the heart? How much of the plot should you discuss?

As always–if I’m in the public space of the convention hotel, that means I’m willing and happy to chat with people as I can. If I’m feeling anti-social, I’ll be in my room. Alone.

Rocket Talk!

Hey, check it out!  I’m on Rocket Talk!

This was a lot of fun to record–so great to chat with both Jenny and Justin about the really strong slate of short stories nominated for this year’s Hugo.

For reference, here are the nominated stories:

In other news, I was hoping to have time to compile a links post to go up while I’m at Readercon–I don’t think that’s going to happen as I seem to be running out of time.

But I will mention that Elise Matthesen has some gorgeous shinies up for sale. “Everything I Know” is coming to live with me but I was also quite tempted by “Bring Me the Heart of Edward Cullen”, too.

Readercon 25: My Schedule

I’ll be at Readercon 25 this coming weekend–I am always happy to meet new people and if I’m in one of the public spaces, that means I’m approachable. If I’m by myself, chances are good that I’ll be reading or knitting or drawing–please interrupt me! If I need alone time, I will be in my room.

That said, here are the panels I’m going to be on–to say that I’m excited about them all would be an understatement. I am not officially participating in Meet the Pro(se) on Friday night, but I’ll probably stick my head in for a little while.

Friday July 11

11:00 AM G This Whole Situation Is Monstrous!: Supernatural Excuses for Abusive Behavior. Leah Bobet (leader), Liz Gorinsky, Catt Kingsgrave, Natalie Luhrs, Veronica Schanoes, Peter Straub. Paranormal romance for adults and teens often provides supernatural excuses for abusive behavior. For example, in Cassandra Clare’s The City of Lost Souls, a character’s abusive behavior as a teenager stems from his confusion over being turned into a werewolf. Years later the teens reunite, explanations are given, and the boy’s redemption story briefly takes center stage in the narrative. Instead of focusing on abusers’ redemption through human aspects overcoming monstrous aspects, and obscuring the unpleasant truth that abuse is a very human behavior, is there a better way to use the supernatural to talk about abuse?

7:00 PM G Romance Recs for Spec Fic Fans. Saira Ali, Beth Bernobich, Rose Fox, Victoria Janssen (leader), Natalie Luhrs, Cecilia Tan. At Readercon 24, “Making Love Less Strange” discussed ways for spec fic authors to incorporate romance into their work. Building on that, this panel will provide and invite recommendations of romance novels that spec fic fans will enjoy and authors can learn from. Some examples include Meljean Brook’s The Iron Duke, a steampunk police procedural; Isabel Cooper’s No Proper Lady, starring a time-traveling demon-battling assassin; and Sara Creasy’s Song of Scarabeus, an action-packed cyberpunk space opera. Prepare to take notes.

Saturday July 12

11:00 AM G Criticism in the Service of the Field. Chris Gerwel, Andrea Hairston, Donald Keller, Robert Killheffer (moderator), Natalie Luhrs. An editor performs quality assurance (QA) on a book, making it the best book it can be. Literary critics might be seen as taking the QA role for the entire industry of publishing, or the specific portion of it in which they ply their trade. How does the practice of criticism change if critics of speculative fiction take it as their goal to help the field be the best it can be?

Sunday July 13

11:00 AM ENL Readercon Recent Fiction Bookclub: Ancillary Justice. Francesca Forrest, Adam Lipkin, Natalie Luhrs, Sarah Pinsker (leader), Sonya Taaffe. Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice is gender-bending space opera with a thriller pace and sensibility. Critics are hailing Leckie’s worldbuilding in the story of Breq, the remaining ancillary consciousness of a formerly great warship. We’ll explore Leckie’s themes of humanity and justice, as well as the way the book’s use of nearly exclusively female pronouns shakes up or affirms our notions of a gender binary.

Three Quick (Happy) Things!

I don’t generally do promotional posts here, but I would like to take a minute to mention three things that I think are pretty awesome. I’m not being financially compensated for these mentions but I did receive a review copy of a book.

In For a Penny

First, Rose Lerner’s In For a Penny is being re-released today!  I loved this book and am so happy it’s found a new publisher.  Lerner’s having a pretty spiffy looking giveaway to celebrate, too. I’m also looking forward to getting my hands on A Lily Among Thorns when it’s re-released in September, as well.

Sweet Disorder

I also recently read Lerner’s newest book, Sweet Disorder, and liked it quite a bit (disclosure: I received a review copy from the author and we are friendly on social media)–I love Phoebe and Nick so much and, much like In For a Penny, this book deals with class differences and how the protagonists have to work their way through that–and some other conflicts–on their way to what I hope is a happily ever after.  The secondary characters are also wonderful.  I’m just thrilled that Lerner’s books are all going to be available again. And with such pretty covers, too!

52WeeksBetterBodyEver

The second thing is that my friend Hanne Blank is raising money for a project called 52 Weeks to Your Best Body Ever! It’s not a diet or exercise program (although there may be recipes and interesting ways to move one’s body involved) but instead it’s a weekly newsletter for an entire year about radical body acceptance and it’s going to be awesome.  Hanne is a tremendous force for good in this world and I’m really excited about it.  Way more info to be found on the Indiegogo page!

And finally! My dear friend Fran Wilde has a delightfully creepy story about food and love in Daily Science Fiction today: “Nine Dishes on the Cusp of Love”. I love this story so much and I’m so glad it found a home. Go read!