Scheherazade in Blue Jeans
freelance alchemist
First Editions 
[sticky post]
31st-Dec-2013 02:46 pm - Projects
Writing - photo
Hi! I'm Shira. I write and edit stuff. If you'd like, you can sponsor my writing and activism via a PayPal subscription or Patreon.

* "Wool and Silk and Wood" in Electric Velocipede #15/16, November 2008
* "Unruly Harvest" in Polu Texni, December 2008
* "About a Girl" is a poem and a perfume; check it out at Violette Market!
* "When Her Eyes Open" in Lone Star Stories, February 2009; it was reprinted in the 2009 Eaton Science Fiction Conference's speculative poetry sampler, and was nominated for the Rhysling Award.
* "Twelve" in Cabinet des Fees, March 2009
* "Nine Things About Oracles" in Electric Velocipede #20 (2010)
* "The Library, After" in Mythic Delirium #24; it won the Rhysling Award! Reprinted in Mythic Delirium #30 and The Nebula Awards Showcase 2014.
* "The Changeling's Lament" in Stone Telling #5; nominated for the Pushcart Prize, the Tiptree Award, and the Rhysling Award.
* "Mushroom Barley Soup: An Invocation", in Stone Telling #8; nominated for the Rhysling Award.
* "nameless", in Through the Gate #1
* "The Oracle Never Dances", in Mythic Delirium #27
* "Ereshkigal's Proposal to Hades", in Mythic Delirium #27
* "The Busker, Broke and Busted", Apex Magazine #48, May 2013
* "And the War is Never Over", Strange Horizons, May 2013
* "Where We Died", Niteblade #24, June 2013
* "Limbo" in Flying Higher: An Anthology of Superhero Poetry.
* "Not Too Bold", Niteblade #25, September 2013

Short Fiction
* "The Angel of Fremont Street" in ChiZine, January 2009. It was shortlisted for the Million Writers Award.
* "Fortune" in Ravens in the Library: Magic in the Bard's Name, the s00j benefit anthology. Reprinted in ChiZine, May 2011.
* "Valentines" in Interfictions 2, November 2009. Reprinted in Apex Magazine, June 2011 and The Mammoth Book of SF Stories by Women in December 2014.
* "And to My Wife" in Electric Velocipede #20 (2010)
* "Salt Brides" in Abyss & Apex, October 2010; it has been nominated for the Micro Award.
* "Between Truth and Life" in Steam Powered: Lesbian Steampunk Stories, January 2011; podcast at Toasted Cake in February 2013.
* "The Portal to Heaven" in Electric Velocipede #21
* "I Am Thinking of You in the Spaces Between" in Apex Magazine, October 2011; it's on Tangent Online's recommended reading list and is a Million Writers Award Notable Story.
* "Splinter", Apex Magazine, November 2012
* "Happy Hour at the Tooth and Claw", in Clockwork Phoenix 4. It's on Tangent Online's Recommended Reading List.
* "Becca at the End of the World", in Apex Magazine, October 2013. You can listen to it at The Drabblecast. Reprinted in Zombies: More Recent Dead, edited by Paula Guran, September 2014.
* "The Final Girl" in Strange Horizons, April 2014.
* "The Selves We Leave Behind" ("The Angel of Fremont Street"/"Fortune") by Upper Rubber Boot Press, June 2014.
* "The Cartographer's Requiem" in The Journal of Unlikely Cartography, June 2014.

Flying Higher: An Anthology of Superhero Poetry, with Michael Damian Thomas.
Liminality, a Magazine of Speculative Poetry, with Mat Joiner (ashlyme )

In process: Cicatrix is the seriously bent portal fantasy, Places You Haunt is the Vegas mythpunk, and Shayara is the political thriller urban fantasy.

Conventions 2014
* I'll be at Arisia, Vericon, Wiscon, Readercon, and PiCon.

Where Else am I?
You can find me at Facebook. You can be my fan there, too. I'm also on Tumblr, Twitter and Ravelry. Not on MySpace. :)
11th-Jul-2014 08:29 am - Some quick clarifications
The Restraining Order
I think I'm seeing a misconception about the RO, and I want to clarify it.

I believe people might be assuming the the RO is for the rape - it's not. It's for the assault & battery. (Timeline for new readers: rape 5/29/13, A&B 5/31/13. I did not see him on 5/30.) Because that's the crime he was committing when the cops arrived.

The full story is in my posts from last year, but a summation: I reported the rape at ~1am on 5/31. Two cops came to take my statement, and I was told that the SA officer would contact me next business day. I e-mailed Judah to inform him that I had filed a report.

That morning, he showed up at the house. He violently assaulted me. When he decided he was done, he grabbed some of his stuff and went to put it in his truck, and I called the police, who arrived almost immediately (benefits of living in a small town). They interviewed both of us separately, investigated the scene of the crime (he'd thrown me into a bookcase hard enough to knock it free of the wall, stuff was scattered, etc.) and documented my injuries.

They brought us to the courthouse (because I requested an RO against him). The process to get an RO: The victim tells their side of the story, and the perpetrator tells theirs. Judah confirmed every detail of my account of events (of the assault and battery; we were instructed to leave the rape out, as it would be investigated separately), and added several details that I'd forgotten due to shock (example: him twisting my wrist behind my back).

So yes, I guess it's easy to get a restraining order - if the perpetrator openly confesses, to the judge, on record, that he violently assaulted you.

So keep that in mind. The RO was put into place specifically because Judah told the judge that he violently assaulted me and described the assault in horrific detail. There is no he said/she said here.

Yes, I have the recording of this, to be released after the trial.

So the reason that it's for A&B instead of rape is not because there was any doubt that he raped me, but because the A&B was in progress when the cops arrived, and I had not had time to complete a formal report of the rape with the SA officer yet. (I did so later that day.)

When can we call someone a rapist?
When they rape someone, IMO.

But there's been some "you can't call someone a rapist until they've been convicted", and that is hilarious bullshittery.


Only 6% of rapists get convicted. 6%.

Are you really saying that 94% of rapes are false accusations? Are you? Because if you are, wow, not even the ickiest of MRAs claims a false accusation rate that high.

The actual false accusation rate is 2%. Which means the failure point between rapes everyone acknowledges to have happened (including the police) and rapists being convicted is a broken criminal justice system. We'll talk about that another time.

But if your line is "you can't call it rape until he's convicted", you are calling 94% of rape cases false accusations. Consider that.

Y'all can ask me questions about this stuff, but I'll be at Readercon all day, so responses will be delayed. There's actual productive and respectful conversation about the situation going on here.
10th-Jul-2014 02:20 pm(no subject)
Many thanks to those who've been awesome over the past few days; I really appreciate you.

Just a note that I continue to be HELLA BUSY. Readercon starts this evening - here's my schedule! Note that Thursday at Readercon is FREE, which mean, locals, that you can attend my reading if you'd like! And if you like the con tonight, buy a membership and join us for the weekend!

Me-at-Readercon stuff:

* Yes, I am huggable; just make sure I know you're there first!
* Yes, I'm still in The Boot for my broken foot. It doesn't slow me down very much, thank goodness.
* My only solid meal plans = the poetry dinner on Saturday. If you want to grab lunch, dinner, or a drink, let me know! There are lots of restaurants in the immediate area that have GF options, and most are very affordable.

So Readercon should be good, and enderfem arrives right after Readercon, which makes me all the happy. <3

As far as the ongoing contretemps, I'm not going to be at my computer to refute lies and misrepresentations, but all of my Judah posts are public and tagged with his name, so if you *are* choosing to engage, that's where you can find accurate info to refer to. (If you're not, I respect that 100%. Do not use spoons you can't afford. This stuff is difficult for a lot of us.)

I am gonna see if I can get a shred of writing in. This is my last chance this week, so wish me luck! I hope to see a bunch of y'all at the con!
9th-Jul-2014 09:29 am - Some seeds for future posts
Like I said, I've been talking to a lot of people in backchannels, waiting for the hosts' response before discussing more about it openly; I'd hoped for a better response from the hosts, but such is life.

So here are some seeds for future discussion.

"punished forever"
This is a phrase one of my correspondents keeps hearing, in that people do not know how to handle this shit long-term, and some object to the idea that Judah will be "punished forever" for raping me.


I have my thoughts on that.

But I told my correspondent that the concept these people were looking for is called restorative justice. And that we're not at the point of considering that yet, because before we can enter into a restorative justice framework, the perpetrator must take responsibility for his actions and commit to restoring the damage they did. Judah is not there yet, given his actions on June 21 and in the civil case recently. Any talk of him returning to the community is seriously premature. Is it a NEVER thing? That isn't up to me.

I'll state again, as I have many times, that throughout this civil case, one of my goals has been to get him to go to anger management classes and domestic violence offender treatment. Will that make him a safer person? I honestly don't know. But his refusal to admit that rape and assault and battery are wrong tells me that he's not safe at all at this time.

So what it looks like to me is that maybe we'll be at the point of having this discussion in a few years. I doubt he'll get there sooner, judging by his words and actions over the past month.

old-school alt-sex crowds vs. new-school consent-culture crowds
Someone phrased it like that this morning and I was like YES THAT. There is a generational thing at play here, too. There's an old-school "the cops are our enemy" thing that steps in part from the 60s/70s and in part from the adversarial relationships MA police have historically had with kinky people.

But this is not a cops vs. kinksters thing. This is one person reporting a rape and assault and battery against another, and following all of the necessary steps in the criminal justice system for her own protection.

Women get killed all the time by men they have restraining orders against. This is knowledge I live with.

Plus, let's be honest, this old-school alt-sex crowd in particular - y'all are white. The cops aren't your enemy.

I have a post brewing about new-school consent culture, but I want to talk to some party hosts first.

It's very telling that said consent culture party hosts reached out to me immediately after I posted what Judah had done to reassure me that he would not be invited to their parties.

This doesn't break along generational lines entirely; the scatter graph is scattery! But there is a preponderance. And I see that reflected also in the embrace vs. rejection of Geek Social Fallacy #1: Ostracizers are Evil. There's a really good discussion to be had there.

This post may get added to throughout the day. If you have a question or a topic you'd like to see addressed as part of this exploration, please let me know in comments. But for right now I'm not really organized on this and I legit have stuff to do today.

ETA: Yes, I'm aware that Scott continues to post lies about me. He can do that as much as he wants. His position seems to be "ha, so you admit to doing X!" when I said X was what I did the whole time. (Clarity here; his claim is that I denied texting what I totally agree I texted. Um?)
This post is the rest of the story about my violent rapist attempting to violate his restraining order to attend an annual party I always attend, while my foot was broken. Please read that post first.

Several people here and on Facebook noticed that I left out something big: the hosts' response. I stated everywhere I was asked that this was an open-invite party, that I was sure he had not been specifically invited (as he has not been invited to any invite-only parties within the community), and that the hosts were looking into it in order to make decisions in the future (which is why I've been silent on the topic, to give them space to do so). I extended the full benefit of the doubt and expected a logical result.

I was wrong.

I did get part of that - they banned Judah, but only after hearing from multiple other people that he had "creeped on" them in the past, thereby establishing the pattern I'd been pointing at all along. But I find it telling that that's the reason. I find it interesting that one rape isn't enough to ban someone for.

How many rapes is enough? Does the rapist get to rack up a few more if they're cute? Because the party hosts have publicly declared that they ban all rapists, but the ones I know about aren't cute. Reads to me like Readercon's situation enforcing a ban against one creeper no one liked and choosing to not enforce a ban on a creeper they were friends with.

It reminds me very much of that.

I posted a later post debunking that this was a me vs. hosts thing. At that point, I thought that was true. I now know where that idea came from - it came from sunspiral and roozle making it me vs. them.

So this all becomes the story of Scott Lefton and Rachel Silber making my rape, my assault, and my fear for my life and wellbeing on that day All About Them.

Scott posted his new party rules yesterday. Many people noticed something interesting, and it's this specifically: the post, as written, defends against people protecting themselves while making no statement about not breaking laws. It makes their parties look more welcoming to rapists than to people who are afraid of encountering rapists.

In other words, calling the police as prescribed to enforce a restraining order is much, much worse than rape, assault and battery, and animal cruelty.

As I've spoken to people offline about this, I've underlined again and again that all I want is for people to be able to make an informed decision as to whether they want to be in the presence of a rapist. Scott and Rachel's prior message of "we ban all rapists" made many survivors feel safe. Knowing that they don't ban all rapists is important information. Knowing that they are deeply against the enforcing of restraining orders is also information. I know that Scott's post will guide many of us in our decisions whether to attend his functions. I genuinely thank him for that. All I wanted was for people to be aware of what their policies actually are.

So let's break down the timeline here.

At pretty much exactly 7pm, I am inundated with text messages and Gchat telling me that he's there. I start shaking; my heart starts pounding. This is the first time he's tried to hunt me down. I respond with "I thought he was banned! Do Scott & Rachel know he's there?" People promise to tell them. I wait, violently nauseous and very afraid. People get back to me: "They say that they'd ask him to leave if you were there."

Me: "But... he's a known rapist who preys on young women at their party. Why is he not banned."

Everyone: "We have no clue but they won't ask him to leave unless you're there."

(I'm paraphrasing. Screencaps and shots of my phone are available, and will almost certainly be used as evidence in the trial.)

I talk - actually on the phone, which should tell you the state I'm in - to two trusted people, which helps a little. Time is ticking by and Judah is still there. Time is ticking by and Judah's next victim is there. Time is ticking by and the only thing that will keep my rapist from raping some girl he finds there tonight is me showing up at the party. (In my triggered mind.)

Remember that I am in extreme neck/shoulder/upper back pain, btw. Which is the only reason I didn't go. Which no one knew.

I get dressed. I text party host Rachel "On my way with the restraining order." To give her time to clear him out of there. I was told that's what it would take, so that's what I did.


(I texted another person, not a host, that this would involve police, because it would if Judah refused to leave. I chose that person deliberately as I had wondered if they were aiding and abetting Judah. I was right.)

I picked up the phone to call a cab - and my hands were shaking too much to dial. I sat down. I struggled to breathe. I thought things through.

I decided that I could not walk into that party at that time and look into his cold, vicious eyes. That that would do more harm to me than good. Even though it would help others. I chose to put my own oxygen mask on first, as I say. And I still feel shitty about that. I still feel like I should have been able to charge in and fix it. But doing so would have ripped me to shreds even more.

So I chose to stay home.

Here's drwex 's post about that day, which starts to show the Lefton/Silber false reality being constructed.

And here's a thing: "My understanding is that he cleared this with the hosts beforehand; my understanding is that the hosts assumed Song would not be present, though they didn't speak to her directly."

I don't know if this actually happened. As Wex said, the hosts never spoke to me directly. Personally, if I knew about a situation like this, if the restraining order was for something much lighter, not assault and battery (because anyone who has an RO against them for violent behavior is not welcome at my house, PERIOD), and the offender called asking if his victim would be there...

I would not tell him no without contacting the victim in any way to find out. Especially since, in over 7 years, the victim has only missed one of this set of parties, and was seen on social media working out her ride to the party. The default assumption would have been, should have been, that I was coming. Scott and Rachel claim that they were told I wasn't - but given that I only made that decision at 2, and only told my ride, who did not tell Scott and Rachel, I find that not very believable.

The second interesting bit of evidence of lies on the part of the hosts is here.

"uh, when the guest isnt there, and the hosts are asking the person named to leave, and that person is doing so, threatening to show up at someone's home with the police is over the line. it was being dealt with, the person was leaving, and at that point it was clearly about making a point and not caring at all about the home owners."

Judah was not asked to leave until I texted Rachel. So the story being bruited about is that the hosts were handling it and that I escalated unnecessarily. The timeline does not support this lie in any way. (I also want to point out the difference between "On my way with the restraining order" and "I'm calling the cops on you, the hosts," because that is a BIG DIFFERENCE. They're claiming the latter. It was the former.)

And that last sentence - let's look at that. If my goal had been to make a point and I had not cared about the homeowners, I would not have texted them. I texted them to give them - and Judah - time to decide whether he should stay or go. If my goal had been to bring the cops to the party, I would have shown up with the cops. So clearly that was not my goal. My goal was to get Judah to leave, which I had been told could only be accomplished by me being there.

So I texted.

And Scott went up to Judah and told him he had to leave... and told him that he was always welcome in their house. A sentiment he shared with others who were curious about what he was telling him.

I became aware of all of this later. What I knew that night was that they would be investigating and might change their policies in the future. I know that many attendees were distressed to see a rapist at the party and communicated that distress to them; I've been told that they interpreted that as being under attack and as me bringing the internet down on their heads. Which is patently ridiculous, given that I had publicly given them the benefit of the doubt every step of the way, I had not named them, and I had not let anyone theorize about what was going on in their heads.

During their "investigation", they sent me nastygrams that showed that they were focused on the utterly imaginary idea that I was calling the cops on them to the exclusion of much else. However, the preponderance of "WE ARE NOT OKAY WITH THIS RAPIST BEING AT PARTIES" did lead them to ban him.

minkrose , who has seen much more of this stuff than most anyone else, wrote about why she does not want to be around Judah Sher. She wrote that the day Scott and Rachel were due to call her. That week put a lot of stress on all of the people who've had to deal with Judah.

Caution: Rape apologism in the comments.

My pull quote from this on Facebook: "I think Judah is sick of there being consequences for his actions. I think he feels that a year is long enough, and now he gets to have whatever he wants from our community back in his life, no questions asked, no remorse demonstrated, and no improvements or changes required. When I last spoke to him, a year ago, he acted very put-upon, as if this was all something that was being done to him, that he didn’t really understand why it was happening. He wanted pity, and sympathy, and I refused to give that to him, and I cut off contact.
"I would feel better about this if Judah demonstrated steps to improve or change his behavior, but I haven’t[sic]."

So. Multiple people had issues with Judah's attendance and said so. I'm told that that made the hosts feel attacked, and that's why they attacked me. I can only reiterate that I am not responsible for the actions of others; the only actions I am responsible for are my own. (I find it interesting that they say attacked, given that I'm the one who got beaten up.)

But the fact of the matter here is that Scott and Rachel find the enforcement of a restraining order on their property to be worse than rape. Were I them, my solution to that would be to not allow people who have restraining orders against them onto my property. Clearly they've made a different choice.

Geek Social Fallacies writ large.

During the course of this, I've spoken to several people about it. Some have said "You can't expect concom rules at a house party." I don't, at all. My view has been all along that if your vocal public policy has been "we ban rapists", you are telling your guests that your party is rapist-free (to the best of your knowledge). If that policy changes, you owe it to your attendees to let them know so that they can make an informed decision about their attendance.

I'm no longer invited because of my imaginary "threat to call the police".

But I decided weeks ago that I would never attend one of their parties again. I decided it when their emissary sat across from me in a restaurant and told me that they were banning Judah, not because he raped and assaulted me and has been abusive to other party attendees in the past, but because they'd heard from too many others that he has a pattern of being sexually inappropriate towards them. Hearing it from me wasn't enough; they had to hear it from unknown numbers of other people.

One known and confessed-to rape was not enough to alter his welcome at Scott and Rachel's parties.

How many rapes do you think is too many?
8th-Jul-2014 07:58 am(no subject)
Quick hit:

I am mega busy pretty much through the first weekend in August; the times I'm not at a con or out of state, I need to use for writing and other projects. Don't expect to see much here!
1st-Jul-2014 03:59 pm - Readercon schedule!
(Busy days; lots of writing yesterday, doctor today.)

Readercon is July 10-13 in Burlington, MA. Thursday at Readercon is FREE, so you can come to my reading even if you don't attend the rest of the con. :)

Thursday July 10
8:00 PM The Map and the Story.
Jonathan Crowe (leader), Chris Gerwel, Greer Gilman, Shira Lipkin.
Maps are a familiar sight in our field, but lately a number of stories have placed maps and cartography at the core of the story itself. Maps serve as portals to other worlds, cartographers remake the world in a map's image, and mapmaking itself becomes a means to discuss the distance between perception and reality, between the map and the territory. Panelists will discuss the ways in which maps and cartography have escaped from the endpapers in recent works of fiction.

9:00 PM Reading: Shira Lipkin.
Shira Lipkin reads recent short fiction and poetry.

Friday July 11
3:00 PM Plot Without Conflict.
Liz Duffy Adams, F. Brett Cox (leader), Samuel Delany, Eileen Gunn, Shira Lipkin, Anil Menon.
In Western writing, conflct is considered essential to plot. The classic three- and five-act structures taught in writing courses and workshops revolve around a central conflict. But does plot require conflict? The Japanese kishōtenketsu structure is built on four acts: introduction, development, twist, and reconciliation—best known to Western readers as the structure of four-panel manga. Deep and rich stories are told within this structure, which, by comparison, shows the three-act structure to be fundamentally confrontational. What can writers steeped in Western notions of plot conflict learn from a careful analysis of alternate structures?

Saturday July 12
12:00 PM Writing and the Visual Arts.
Greer Gilman, Shira Lipkin, Eric Schaller, Romie Stott (leader), Diane Weinstein.
Writers who are also photographers and visual artists may find that the two fields influence each other in surprising ways, whether by bringing narrative to image-making or by writing from a camera-influenced viewpoint. Panelists will discuss this experience and the ways they find the written and visual media complimentary or antithetical. Does the camera never lie, or does it create fiction? Is a picture worth a thousand words or is a word worth a thousand pictures?

Sunday July 13
10:00 AM Variations on the Theme of Unreliable Narrators.
Peter Dubé, Theodora Goss (leader), Eileen Gunn, Shira Lipkin, Adrienne J. Odasso.
What can you do with an "Unreliable Narrator?" Following last year's unreliable narrator discussion, the panelists came up with a large catalog of differently unreliable narrators. This year's panel will explore these unreliable narrators and the discuss the many things that authors can do with them.

12:00 PM Horror for Diverse Audiences.
Gemma Files, Nicholas Kaufmann, John Langan (leader), Shira Lipkin, Jennifer Pelland, Shveta Thakrar.
Stereotypes and -isms often come from the id, from a place of deep fear. Horror writers have made use of this for ages, particularly describing monsters and monstrousness in ways that evoke racial anxiety, sexual anxieties, and fears of bodily change. However, that only works if your audience is in the racial majority, sexual majority, and able-bodied. What is the place of horror based on normalized fears for someone who doesn't or can't identify with the norm? How can writers effectively write horror for diverse audiences with diverse fears and anxieties? Can horror be a tool for expanding social empathy and social justice?

1:00 PM Unlikely Cartography.
Carrie Cuinn, Shira Lipkin, Sarah Pinsker.
This summer, Unlikely Story will publish their Unlikely Cartography issue, featuring stories by Shira Lipkin, Kat Howard, Sarah Pinsker, Carrie Cuinn, and others. Together with editor A.C. Wise, these authors will discuss their stories, and other authors (historical and modern) who similarly explored the cartography of the fantastic. Influences and discussion topics may include Calvino's Invisible Cities, Eco's Legendary Lands, Post's Atlas of Fantasy, Mieville's The City and the City, and more.

I hope to see a lot of you there!
27th-Jun-2014 03:11 pm - Aside from that.
Judah took over a lot of my week, but he didn't take over all of it.

I did more writing; decent amount of work done on the novel Wednesday and Thursday, mostly Thursday. Today Elayna and her partner cut my writing time short almost to nonexistence, but I just had a helpful rubber duck debugging session with ashlyme to figure out a thing about the structure of the novel, and I am energized all over again about it.

ashlyme and I also went through the whole Liminality slushpile yesterday. Our problem at this point = too much really good stuff, and the reading period is open for a whole 'nother month! We're really excited about what we're going to be bringing you. :)

Also I submitted a poem somewhere I've never dared before.

And I applied to be a Planned Parenthood clinic escort! They've already gotten back to me; interviews/training in the next two weeks.

We have so far facilitated meetings between new kitty Charlotte and, separately, Nicky and Bash. Charlotte was discomfited both times. Bash was sanguine. Nicky was in PAROXYSMS OF PUPPY JOY. Oh, man, he loves cats. Charlotte and Whisper have been warning each other about each other's presence through the closed door; we'll see how *that* intro goes tonight...

The broken foot is still waking me up at night. The problem is that the muscles are stiff, so I flex my foot in my sleep, which brings the pain that jars me awake... will report this to the orthopedist on Monday if it doesn't stop. Not walking on it all day tomorrow = sound decision. I have evening plans with friends; hopefully during the day I'll get some writing done and get Charlotte's cat tree put together. Mechanically inclined friends are welcome to help (plus we need help getting the AC units in); we have a bunch of parts and no instructions. COMEDY.

And that's how things are beyond the obvious.
25th-Jun-2014 10:17 am(no subject)
Last small post for now, then I have to go shower, then write...

Current household/relationship roll call!

Elayna is 19, I know, you guys, ridiculous. She's transferred colleges and will be attending Framingham State in the fall, still majoring in Elementary Education.

Still married to Adam (yendi , Tsalmoth and Yendi on Twitter). No news is good news? Life is good, he's doing cool stuff at work, and he and I are working on a nifty project that we'll post about very soon. And we're talking about renewing our vows for our ten-year wedding anniversary this October.

Dating Mat (ashlyme , Damsonfox on Twitter). Sadly this is long-distance. Lots of poetic pining! He and I are co-editing Liminality, which is gonna be so awesome.

* Guild Navigator Nicodemus Pontifex (Nicky), age 6?, chihuahua/corgi mix. Has adjusted well to our household, but does still need training to help him get over his anxiety, which is $400, and I dunno, we'll find it somehow.
* Count Sebastian Vorcattigan (Bash), age 13?, Maine Coon. Still gorgeous and mildly disdainful and gigantic.
* Milady de Whisper (Whisper or Wisp), age 5?, tuxedo kitty, new as of Mother's Day. Slinky and sneaky and to be adored on her terms alone.
* Charlotte, age 2?, tortie. New as of this past Friday! Has not yet accrued additional names or titles, though Elayna thinks she might be an empress. Absolutely darling, very smart, adores people.
25th-Jun-2014 09:53 am(no subject)
Okay, this is a day of small posts, because I forgot to mention: I won't be going to Pi-Con this weekend. My foot is not healing as quickly as we'd like it to be, and walking around on it all weekend is not recommended.

(Related: Am available for hanging out this weekend after all, so there's that.)
25th-Jun-2014 09:36 am(no subject)

I've been made aware that some have created a me vs. party hosts narrative.

That does not exist.

You'll notice that my prior post said nothing about the hosts of Saturday's party. It's a huge, busy party and things happened fast - and the hosts have e-mailed me saying they're investigating. I know they've already spoken to some people. They have a call scheduled tonight with someone who has a lot of extra-relevant feedback for them. The reason I didn't say anything about them is that this is actively getting worked on.

And yet, completely outside of the process of the people actually involved, someone has decided that they want a me vs. the community narrative.

I'd like you to think about who that narrative serves.

It serves no one but Judah.

Y'all know that I will name and shame if a situation merits it. The fact that I have not tells you that this me vs. hosts narrative is patently false.

Consider your sources.
...well, Judah stuff has eaten up most of the past three days, though I did have a good chat with ashlyme before most of it hit.

Elayna's partner Aza has been visiting, which means less time alone in the house to write! But they're going to museums today and tomorrow, so my priority list:

* look over and edit that one story I finished at asakiyume 's and find a damn title for it
* more work on the novel - I found a way around that thing that was bedeviling me to the point of setting the whole thing aside, wrote the next chapter and a half (interrupted by dogsitter (presumably not from Porlock)), then had a very active weekend. Must get back on it, because what I've got so far just nails it, and that's exciting.
* slush-reading with ashlyme for Liminality. SEND US YOUR POEMS Y'ALL

I have a lot of frustration about Judah re-inserting himself into my life after this absence, and one of those frustrations is that when I'm dealing with this shit, I'm not writing. I can't get the writerbrain going. And I have momentum on stuff. I want to be working, y'all.

Not to mention that I have several other projects in the hopper, one that I get to talk about soon, one less-soon. I have been doing a lot of moving on and building anew, and here he is with a bulldozer.

So. Anyway. Today I hope to write and do writing-related tasks.

23rd-Jun-2014 01:40 pm(no subject)
Pulling this out of my Facebook comments to highlight it:

I appear to have become a longitudinal study in how rape is handled in a community that knows both the survivor and the perpetrator. It's easier to share outrage in the immediate aftermath than to make changes a year later - to treat this as an acute issue rather than the advent of a chronic issue, which is what it actually is.
And specifically, Judah Sher is a rapist and abuser who has once again begun to escalate his behavior toward me.

Saturday afternoon and evening, there was a big party. This party occurs annually; of it and its sister party, I've missed only one in the more than seven years I've lived in Boston. I had a ride all lined up... but I woke up Saturday morning with terrible pain in my neck and shoulders. The pain didn't get better, and the muscle relaxants made me muzzy-headed, so I regretfully decided not to go. E-mailed my ride and took a nap.

I woke from my nap to text messages and Gchats from several friends at the party warning me that Judah was there.

Let's break this down.

After a year of not harassing me face to face, Judah has decided to go to a place he knows I'll be, has every reason to expect I'll be. I posted nowhere that I would not be at this party that I always attend. Yes, my foot is broken, but I did post that I went out Friday night regardless, so if he's looking at my social media, he knows the broken foot's not a deterrent. (And the fact that I got a barrage of "are you on your way? you should know he's here" messages shows that the general expectation was that I WOULD be there.)

Let me remind you that I have a restraining order against him. Had I been there, I would have called 911, and he would have been arrested.

What was Judah planning on doing to me Saturday that he wouldn't care about getting arrested for?

And here's another layer of interesting scary shit: Last time I sprained my ankle, I was with him. I posted at the time (in something I'm not linking to here because it discusses some things I don't discuss publicly) that ankle/foot injuries are extra scary for me because of a domestic violence relationship I was in when I was much younger, where my ex would specifically re-injure my ankle so I couldn't run.

I wrote that post in Judah's bed. With him sitting beside me. To explain why I was so twitchy and edgy about a simple sprained ankle.

So. Judah walked into a place where he thought I would be extremely physically and emotionally vulnerable. To do - what? Intimidate me, harass me? Assault me again, in the time he had before the cops showed?

What harm to me would be worth Judah's arrest, in his mind?

I am very shaken by this. This is the first time he's deliberately attempted to flout the restraining order since it was put in place. I had thought he'd disappeared into his new friends group, that he was avoiding mine. This is unpredictable, it was deliberate, and I'm not entirely sure what the next steps are. I had to spend my yesterday e-mailing party hosts and cons explaining that my abuser is escalating and might show up on their premises. That's not a fun place to be.

I posted a reminder on Twitter and Facebook that he's a rapist. On FB, I got some pushback, much of which amounted to "why are you posting this again now, a year later?"

Because I don't want him to be a Missing Stair. If he's trying to insert himself into my community again, I need to repeat that, underline it. He is a serial abuser who has a nine-year pattern of emotional abuse, escalated in recent years to rape and physical abuse.

The thing about escalation is that it tends to not stop.

I'm not a vengeful ex out to be mean to someone for no reason.

I'm the person keeping the big damn spotlight on the rapist in our midst.

Because aside from the whole "was he going to stab me? what was he going to do to me?", there's the fact that this is a party where my very charming rapist likes to pick up chicks.

So this is not entirely about me. This is about the next girl, and how I do not want there to be one.

EDIT: Since the question arose on Facebook: This is an open-invite party, with details posted on LJ and multiple mailing lists. He was not on an invite list.
23rd-Jun-2014 10:20 am - New story!
"The Cartographer's Requiem" is up at The Journal of Unlikely Cartography!
16th-Jun-2014 09:33 pm(no subject)
Everything hurts/Doesn&#39;t work
Orthopedist: *palpates ankle and foot*
Me: "OW" at appropriate points.
Orthopedist: "...that's not where your ligament is. That's bone."

So the reason my ankle wasn't getting any better even though I was wearing the air splint religiously is that I do not *have* a sprained ankle, I have a broken foot. Or bone bruise. They apparently get the same treatment, so we're doing that treatment - seriously heavy-duty boot to stabilize my entire foot, not just my ankle.

If I'm not seeing improvement in two weeks, I get an MRI to figure out why. But I'll be in the boot for a month, best-case scenario.


Related: Am looking for a ride to the Beginning of Summer party, because haha am not navigating the T all the way to Melrose with a broken foot.

Otherwise things are good - I am SO EXCITED about some of the poems we've gotten at Liminality, it's been good to see K again, and Elayna's partner Aza is visiting. And I had a great meeting with my doctor today about my whole genome sequencing, which I am seriously geeking out about.

I have my final Pi-Con schedule, which I'll post tomorrow, and my preliminary Readercon schedule.

I still don't have a pony. Which is really an appalling oversight on Adam's part, I think.

Many more things, but my brain is tired. Tomorrow. *nod*
Originally posted by cafenowhere at You Will Be Visited by Three Spirits: Predators Past, Present, and...?
TW for discussion of child abuse, rape

More and more details are emerging from the deeply sad and disgusting history of Marion Zimmer Bradley and (her husband) Walter Breen's abuse of children. By and large, these are not new facts. This is history: personal, legal, and fandom history. I am not going to link to the proof. Suffice to say, legal depositions and plenty of damning accounts are available online, many using the keyword "Breendoggle."

I would really like fandom to stop using that word. Modifying "boondoggle" in this way suggests that the arguments about what to do about MZB and Breen were useless wastes of time and energy. It minimizes the horror of how fandom failed to excise a pernicious predator, how people colluded to protect perpetrators rather than victims, how survivors were shamed, gaslit, and silenced, and how the truth was allowed to sink out of sight and out of mind.

There's been a critical generation gap. Fans who knew of MZB and Breen's crimes seem to have assumed the information was common knowledge. They stopped discussing it. They let sleeping dogs lie. Which means a swath of current fans and writers (including myself until about a month ago) were completely ignorant of what MZB and her husband had done, what Breen was convicted of. No doubt it would be unpleasant and even painful to constantly footnote every mention of MZB's writing with "and she abused her children and enabled her husband to rape children." But there must be other ways to pass this information on to future fans. I mean, many of us are writers. Communication is one facet of our jobs.

The MZB/Breen situation feels disturbingly familiar to those of us now fighting for harassment policies and their enforcement. We have our own "missing stairs" or "open secrets." We know we have serial harassers attending SF conventions, and we warn our friends about those problem attendees. But not everyone is going to hear these warnings through the grapevine, just as many of us were left in the dark about MZB/Breen. And it's not as if we don't have sufficient evidence or proof of the problem. Instead, we have con committees that are fearful of litigation.

"...while we could of course cancel [their] membership, if we did so without telling fandom why, there would be a big row. And if we told why, [they] would sue for slander and libel and we didn't have $75,000.00.

It was pointed out that truth is a defense in a case like this. So it is, but [they] would probably sue anyway. And even though we have all sorts of evidence establishing the main facts, if not each individual instance, we'd still be out several hundred dollars in lawyer's fees even after we'd won the case."

That's from a 1963 newsletter about Walter Breen. In response to my "WisCon Wins and Fails" post, I heard almost the exact same reasoning from a WisCon volunteer co-coordinator. Fifty-some years later, and we are still (supposedly) immobilized by the fear that a serial predator will sue.

How many times have jackasses threatened to sue but never followed through?
If the NBA can ban an owner for life because of racist statements, why can't a con ban a known harasser?
The SFF community contributed over $53,000 to the "Women Destroy Science Fiction All Genres!" Kickstarter. Do you really think, if a con volunteer got sued for enforcing the harassment policy, we'd let them go broke?

We need to fix our missing stairs now. I can't bear the thought of, twenty years from now, younger writers and fans "discovering" their literary heroes are moral scumbags. Or that the same creepers bothering them at cons were known to be problems even back in my day. We in the SFF community pride ourselves on envisioning grand, complex futures. We need to develop longer memories. Otherwise, our future will be a shameful repetition of the past. The MZB/Breen history reemerging now is a timely, if painful warning.

Originally posted by dsmoen at Marion Zimmer Bradley: It’s Worse Than I Knew

Trigger warning: child rape

Moira Greyland (MZB and Walter Breen’s daughter) has agreed to let me share her email.

This is really hard stuff to read, and I’ve just thrown up my lunch. I knew about none of this part of things until a few minutes ago.

Hello Deirdre.

It is a lot worse than that.

The first time she molested me, I was three. The last time, I was twelve, and able to walk away.

I put Walter in jail for molesting one boy. I had tried to intervene when I was 13 by telling Mother and Lisa, and they just moved him into his own apartment.

I had been living partially on couches since I was ten years old because of the out of control drugs, orgies, and constant flow of people in and out of our family “home.”

None of this should be news. Walter was a serial rapist with many, many, many victims (I named 22 to the cops) but Marion was far, far worse. She was cruel and violent, as well as completely out of her mind sexually. I am not her only victim, nor were her only victims girls.

I wish I had better news.

Moira Greyland.

Followed up with:

It should also be noted that Walter was convicted on 13 counts of PC 288 A, B, C, and D.

Oral sex was the least of anyone’s worries.

Link to the California Penal Code for context.

No. Words.

Originally published at You can comment here or there.

10th-Jun-2014 10:01 am - Phew!
So yesterday was:

* the foster care home study (went well! classes are in September)
* launching Liminality (submit, poets! we have a bunch of submissions already, but want more!)
* car repairs (needed new battery and something something oil gasket; also need more stuff done, but have to wait til we have more money)
* planning for Elayna's partner's visit
* planning for our Florida visit
* researching dog boarding options
* working on secret project #2
* finishing OITNB season 2

And more.

I hope today will be easier!

The plan for today is knitting, edits for a forthcoming story, and hopefully perfecting the story I finished on Sunday (thanks for the Writing Day, asakiyume ! thanks for the ride, cucumberseed !) or getting more work done on one of the other stories I have in various stages of completion. I have to get those edits done today; I am most terribly behind. But last week did have several Lost Days in it, what with the sedated dental work and the ankle sprain. (Am off crutches, still splinted, trying to walk as little as possible.)

How's by you?
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