Fourth Street 2017

I tend not to join heated conversations, particularly internet ones, for a couple of reasons: They’re rarely actually conversations; I get emotionally hooked and obsess over things that take me away from my work; and I have a bit of (perhaps faulty) programming in my head that runs this way– angry people are potentially dangerous. My tendency is to stay out of their way.
But I’m wading in.
I love Fourth Street. Unabashedly. It’s a place I feel safe to be me — to be the overly-excitable, talkative enthusiast who asks too many questions, who gets carried away. It’s a place my kid feels okay being who he is, and that means more to me than I can put into words. It’s a place where excitement and emotional intensity run high. And I love that. Most of the time. This time, it really challenged me.
I tend to read how (and how strongly) a person feels before I process what they say. I had registered something – not danger, not threat — but something that called for heightened alertness before Steve even started talking. The second thing I remember feeling was some weird kind of exclusion anxiety, the sense that there was a high-stakes conversation already in progress that I hadn’t known about. Consequentially, welcoming ceremonies didn’t feel super welcoming. The experience I was hoping for — what I love about Fourth Street — felt under threat. I felt uncomfortable.
I feel much more uncomfortable now.
I’m not saying anyone made me feel this way. Hundreds of things, and experiences, and social forces, and neuroses contribute to my emotional reaction to things. I am not making anyone else responsible for my reactions. I am saying how I feel. As a data point. As practice.
Because I want to talk about things that matter and that elicit strong emotions. I want to hear everybody. I know that the expression of strong negative emotion (particularly anger) makes that harder for me.
So what do I do? I only see three choices, and I don’t love any of them: I stop talking about certain highly-charged topics, I excuse myself from the conversation when the expression of strong negative emotion becomes overwhelming for me, or I stop talking with particular people. Maybe there are options I don’t see, but for now, this is me trying to break my programmed preference for silencing myself in the face of discord, and talk about something that makes me feel vulnerable and afraid.
So here’s my question: how do we have a conversation about how we talk? How do we get to hear everybody? How do we create a space for meaningful conversation from a wide range of passionate voices about the stories we love, the ideas behind them, and the craft of their creation?
Okay, that wasn’t one question, it was three, but math isn’t emotional enough to interest me.

Faery DNA

A round-table discussion I’ll be leading at the Sirens women’s literary conference this October in Vail, CO:

Faery DNA by Skyler White:

After grounding the group in shared ideas and terminology using a short excerpt from Mihaly Cskiszentmihalyi’s “The Evolving Self,” we’ll explore some of the basic tropes of faeries and their stories to learn from—and possibly tamper with—our literary genetic code. Topics include the changeling and the stolen child; nature sprites; faery beauty, sexuality, and love; and parallel worlds.

And a nice new and Falling, Fly review by Minding Spot:

“Fantasy and Paranormal lovers will enjoy this, but it is not light reading or the faint of heart. The story Ms. White tells is unique in its presentation and will stay with you for days to come.”

Is There a DOCTOR in the House?!?

My son as the 11th Doctor Who at Dragon*Con 2010
My son as the 11th Doctor Who at Dragon*Con 2010
A great moment, if not a great photo. A pipe burst in the ceiling, causing water to pour from a light fixture. Luckily, two Doctor Whos were on the scene to address the problem with their sonic screwdrivers (before hotel security removed everyone from the area)
A great moment, if not a great photo. A pipe burst in the ceiling, causing water to pour from a light fixture. Luckily, two Doctor Whos were on the scene to address the problem with their sonic screwdrivers (before hotel security removed everyone from the area)

And then … there was THIS:

‘and Falling, Fly’ Book Club Discussion Questions

Thank you to Mistie at Borders in Arlington, TX for contacting me for and Falling, Fly book club questions. This is something I’ve been meaning to write for a while, and Misite’s outreach gave me the kick in the pants I’ve been needing to get it done. The document is below if you’d like to use it for your own book club.

and Falling Fly by Skyler White: Book Club Discussion Questions (PDF, right-click to download)

Feel free to contact me if you have any other questions about using and Falling, Fly for a book club.

Heroes, Heroines and Villains

Bite Club is closing out their month-long profile of me with a Q&A today:

Q: What is easier to write- the hero, the heroine, or the villain?

A: They’re like people, really, each difficult and easy in their own ways. I have a lot of fun writing villains, but I have to be careful not to get carried away. It’s way too easy to fall into the hand-wringing cackle. Heroes are wonderful to write, because hey, what better way to spend an afternoon than thinking about everything yummy in men, but it can be very difficult for me to put myself into a man’s head sometimes, and I have to be disciplined about not just staying on the outside enjoying the packaging.

Opposite problem writing women. I really enjoy my noodle time. I like to ponder stuff, ask myself questions, examine things from different perspectives, and the heroine’s head is the most comfortable place for me to do that. She’s usually the easiest to write, but I have to be careful not to over-indulge because it’s easy.”

And there’s a new and Falling, Fly book review over at Swamp Dweller that made my day:

“Wow. Words elude me when I try to describe this novel. It’s quite possible the most beautifully-written, captivating, un-put-down-able novel I’ve read in years … intense and vibrant … the strong, lyrical prose transports you to the world of fallen angels and immortal souls … you just can’t have anything else going on while you’re reading it. You literally can’t put the story down.
I pimp this book to anyone I know who can handle it. This is an awesome, gripping dark fairy tale. It’s gritty and raw, with a certain vicious poetry that digs deep into the reader’s hearts and minds. This book has landed on my keeper shelf, and that’s where it will stay!”