Archive for the ‘Random’ Category

Remember This Too

April 16, 2013

The Boston Marathon was bombed yesterday. That will be news to no one. I’m also quite sure that during and after all of this, I’m not the only one who has been thinking about what I’d do if this happened to me.

Some people rushed into the smoky aftermath of an explosion to help, not even hesitating. One uninjured bystander took off his belt and handed it to a man who then used it as a tourniquet on someone lying on the ground. Some men were cursing in thick Boston accents even as they were heading toward all the carnage without stopping to consider whether or not they were putting themselves in danger.

This warms and humbles me.

But the story that affected me the most was from a bystander who said they were only feet from the explosion. The woman recounts that her husband immediately pushed their two children to the ground and lay over them. Then another man, a man they didn’t know, lay over them as well.

Was he trying to protect the two children better than one body could manage? Was he trying to protect the father who was trying to protect his children? Maybe he wasn’t trying to do anything at all, it was simply his first instinct to shelter someone in danger, no matter what.

The thing that amazes me about this story is that the act of shielding another with your body is an acknowledgement that they are still in danger, that you know there’s a very real chance that any person in that space could be badly injured or killed and you are choosing to make your body the target, for that to be you. That, on some level, the father and the other man were thinking, “Take me, not the kids. I’ve had 30 or 40 or 50 years, they still have their lives ahead of them. I might die or suffer, but I choose that to protect them.”

When you remember the senseless violence and tragic loss of lives that happened yesterday, remember this too. That there are those who will plant bombs to hurt and kill innocent people. But there are more who will stand up in the face of that and say, “No. My act of compassion is bigger than any bomb you can ever make.”

And no one can blow up, crash, kill, or take that away from us. Ever.

A Little Girl and a Jayne Hat

April 9, 2013

How very timely this post is, in view of the fact that Fox is attempting to shut down all rogue Jayne hat makers.

Bah humbug, and yay me in hindsight for never selling any of my Jayne hats.

us with hats

Ed Greenwood & me in hats. The others are just cool.

But seriously, I make Jayne hats all the time, and I take them with me to cons. (In fact, I usually make a few on the plane when I’m on my way to cons, and then at the table where I’m hoping very much to sell my books.)

I tend to set the finished hats on the table with the books I’m hoping to sell. People often comment on them, and sometimes they ask how much for the Jayne hat.

And that’s when I hand it to them and say “enjoy.” I don’t sell my Jayne hats. That would take all the fun out of them. The Jayne hats connect me to other Browncoats, people who are passionate enough that they’re willing to fork over money they could spend on the countless other cool things in the dealer’s room at the con. I love the feeling I get when I see how excited they are about it. And then when I go to a panel and there in the audience is the hat, perched lovingly on the head of the person I gave it to and who smiled because I did.

We all get our warm fuzzies out of it and, really, it’s one of the coolest ways I connect with other fans. I love my Jayne hats.

Recently I gave one to Authoress Anonymous, and made some available to her to give away to her readers. I enjoyed that very much.

But there has been one encounter that tops all the others for me. Here is the visual aid:

Sofia and hatIt was the last day of the con, the last hours, really. The dealer’s room was closing in less than an hour. We were all tired, we were all itching to pack up our things and just go crash somewhere. Oh, we were hoping to sell one more book or two, but the con attendees were crashing too. They were few and far between in the dealer room.

And then here was a group of ladies and one toddler. She was one of those cute ones who smiles when you smile at her, and she waved goodbye to me, vs. hello, but that was cool too, because I got a wave.

I can’t remember the exact chain of events, but somehow the last Jayne hat on the table was mentioned. This was one I wasn’t really expecting to give away because I’d made it too small, and it was child sized, not adult. But I asked the lovely little lady’s mom if she’d like the hat and her mom assured me she would. I asked permission to put it on her, and got it. I put the Jayne hat on the toddler’s head and she grinned at me.

My heart was very happy.

For the next 24 hours, I kicked myself at regular intervals for not getting a picture of her wearing the hat, or even getting anyone’s names. And then I got an email with the subject line: You did something nice for a friend of mine at Ad Astra, which linked to a blog post about it.

Little did they know that THEY had done something nice for me! I was so excited to see the blog post about the encounter, and to hear that Sofia was enjoying the hat that she had, in fact, been wearing all day. They were nice enough to send me a picture when I asked. And now you can see her, and her Jayne hat, and you can imagine me with a huge smile on my face.

Ad Astra was, as always, tons of fun and I saw many good friends and made many new ones. I had a great launch for Cascade Effect, and I sold many books. I was on three panels that were tons of fun, and sat in the audience for others that were great. But Sofia and her hat made my con.

This is why I love the fan community. KEEP IT UP, guys!

On Being Brave…And Bald

September 6, 2012

So. Shaved my head. It’s been a long time coming. I’ve been threatening to do it every time I’m due for a haircut. I just hate hair. Oh, not hair itself, just dealing with it. I despise wasting any amount of my time on dealing with that stuff on my head. If I’m not good enough without it, well, then I wasn’t good enough to begin with.

Now that I’ve taken the leap, I’ve been pondering lots of different things. (Less weight on my head=more brainpower? Hmmmm…)

WHY it’s such a “brave” thing to do for a woman to shave her head. Oh, I know the historical context, the verse in the Bible, way it was used to shame women in past centuries. The fact that it’s an obvious sign of enduring treatments for a horrible disease. (Also knowing that there’s always going to be someone who wonders if you’ve done it because you had head lice.)

It still bothers me, this notion that a woman isn’t fundamentally beautiful just because she exists. That this is something we can gain or lose by conforming to changing and sometimes arbitrary standards of grooming.

Anyway, I’ve been asked a lot in the almost-week since I’ve shaved my head why I did it. The answer: Because why not?*

OK, fine. #LeahStepsOffSoapbox

*I won’t claim that the fact that my eleven year old son was mortified when he saw me wasn’t a bonus. After all, he’s eleven and I’m his mother. By definition, everything I do is mortally embarrassing. Therefore, I take this as confirmation that I’m doing my job well.

Dead Lines

June 29, 2012

Just a little silliness inspired by a Twitter conversation this morning involving @FantasyFaction, @PVBrett, and @PrinceJvstin. It made me think of @MykeCole‘s Control Point, so he got a mention too. It makes so much more sense if you’ve read their books and/or follow them. Which I recommend anyway.

So here it is, the start of a short wherein writers are kept as slaves to their audience.

Dead Lines

The rain was hard and ruthless, throwing up sprays of water from the puddles collecting in the dark prison yard. A cliché if I’d ever written one. Too bad this wasn’t just the product of one of my bad writing days. The rain was a frigid reminder, dripping down the neck of the prison-issue poncho—I’d have given a lot for this to be nothing more than a badly turned phrase.

“Keep moving, Petersen!”

Fac, everyone’s least favorite guard, stood on the wall, glaring down at me, his hands twitching on the shotgun. Some days it seemed like his tenuous grip on self-control was all that stood between us and the prison graveyard.

I shuffled back into motion, catching a wry grimace from Brett. “Fac’s in a good mood today,” he muttered. “He didn’t even threaten to shoot you.”

I didn’t look back him; conversation wasn’t allowed in the yard. “It’s cause I got five thou’ on the Regency YA paranormal science-fantasy yesterday,” I mumbled back.

“The one with the cannibals?”

I just dropped my head forward in a subtle nod.

“Your own, or did Weimer slip you some again?” Cole, ahead of me, said, his lips barely moving.

“Shut up, asshole,” I hissed. “You’ve had writer’s block before too.”

He didn’t reply. I watched him. His walk had the flavor of a march to it. I’d always thought he looked like he held himself as if there should be a gun in his hand. Maybe it was my imagination, ‘cause he wrote military. But I wondered if he’d been a soldier on the outside. Not that it mattered anymore, what any of us had been. We were writers now, and that was all we were.

“Inside!” shouted Nine, standing at the door to the inside. “Let’s go, writers!”

We trudged past her, that incredible rack, and that gun-arm of hers, back into the dubious comfort of the common room. They’d removed a lot of her cyborg stuff since Cole conjured her, in a careless flash of inspiration and exhaustion. But one thing they kept was the gun arm. It was really too bad that she couldn’t have been on our side. But she was Fac’s, just like everything we created here.

“Break time’s over,” she barked. “Back to work!”

We filed back into the work room, turning, one by one, into our chain-link cubicles and the typewriters waiting there. That was all we got. Pencils could be weapons. Scifi writers couldn’t be trusted not to hack computers. Only thing you could do with a typewriter, besides write, was throw it. And they’d bolted them to the tables after Schmidt tried that.

Nine followed behind, snapping the leg restraints on each of us as we sat down.

I glanced around as I lifted my hands to the keys, just in time to see Brett idly push up the edge of his sleeve as he did the same. The crisp-black edges of the tattoo made my heart stop.

“Shit, Brett, are you trying to get us all killed?”

He pushed the sleeve back down so fast his hand was only a blur of movement and I wondered what that tat would look like if I could see the whole thing. And what it could do.

“Shut up,” he hissed.

I thunked back against my chair, my heart beating again, wild and frantic with fear and a desperate hope.

“When’d you do that?” I whispered, my eyes locked on the keys in front of me.

“Been working on it,” he said.

“Finish it?”

He tipped his head forward.

“Shit,” I whispered to myself.

“Cole ready too?”

His head dipped again.


“Gave me the signal this morning at chow.”

Shit. This might really happen.

“You sure you’re good for your part?” he whispered.

The familiar resentment flared hot in my face. Them with their proven, published magic. Just because mine had been scifi. Boys. Always wanting to prove theirs was bigger.

“You just worry about your own business.”

“It is my business if you can’t come through and we all get—“

“Shut it, Brett, and work!” barked Weimer. “This ain’t social hour.”

We shut it and I saw a shiver run over Brett. Probably just as relieved as I was that it had been Weimer who’d snuck up on us and not Nine. Or Fac.

Weimer was on our side. Slipping us word count when we were short, passing on info about security weaknesses and helping us hide our powers. He even pretended he didn’t know about the pruno I brewed up for my muse. And he was helping us escape. Tonight.

Your Punctuation Personality Type: A Guest Post

June 11, 2012

I’m guest posting over on the blog of Bryan Thomas Schmidt, @BryanThomasS, with a funny called Your Punctuation Personality Type.

It’s sort of a combo of Jung and Briggs Myers and your daily horoscope that I totally pulled out of my ass.


Your Punctuation Personality Type