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Hello, journal folks. I hope those participating are having a successful (so far) NaNoWriMo!!

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that this has been my Year of 10% Off Projects With No Rape, and I would like to report it's chugging along pretty nicely. I've gotten some projects I don't think I would have seen had people not heard about the 10% off deal, and they've been very very cool.

I'm posting for two reasons:

1. If you haven't heard, I'm offering 10% off projects with no rape in them this year! So if you're looking for an editor, or you know someone who is, and your projects have no rape, please get in touch before the end of 2015. This brings my rate down to $67.50/hour, and as always I offer payment plans, etc.

2. This has been a cool thing, and I'm thinking next year I should offer 10% off for something else. But what? Anyone with an idea should let me know, either here or by email -

Happy Monday, folks. I have no pistachio muffins, sadly, but I do have dark chocolate caramel wedges from Trader Joes. One must sacrifice.
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Wow, hello, journal platform people! It's been almost a year! You can always find me at [ profile] annagenoese, and right now I'm doing tumblr at [ profile] dngrcpckwithmurdericing, although that's in no way professional at all and mostly hockey players doing hockey and shoving each other. (Insert joke about how that's the same thing here.)

Today I am here to recommend a great book I read on the bus this morning: Rachel Calof's Story: Jewish Homesteader on the Northern Plains

This is the autobiography of a Ukranian Jewish woman who traveled from Ukraine to the United States in 1894 to marry a (Jewish) man she'd never met and start a life with him. She tells about how they decide to homestead in rural northeast North Dakota with his family, and the perils and successes. This is not a Jewish Little House -- this is much more stark, and much more to the point about poverty and privilege. It does not read the way current autobiographies/memoirs do -- it's much more like a letter Rachel Bella Kahn Calof wrote to her descendants so they would know about her life and struggles, so they would be able to know what her life had been at the turn of the century.

The autobiography itself is bookended by an "acknowledgments" that discusses the way the autobiography was discovered in historical archives, written in Yiddish on a "Clover Leaf Linen" writing tablet and translated into English and typed by children and grandchildren and then an "epilogue" written by the youngest son, who tells of what his mother leaves out about the rest of her life, giving an "ending" to the story, so to speak. At the end of the book are also two great, if much more academic, essays about Jewish homesteaders in the history of the United States, which I very much enjoyed reading.

I know a lot of you are interested in Jewish history the way I am, so I thought some of you might like to read this!

TW: Pet death )

I hope everyone is having a good Friday! Have a great weekend! Read some good books!
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I've had a lot of potential clients have issues with pricing this year, and trust me when I tell you that I really get that. I was able to work it out with a lot of them. I'm lucky because now that I have a day job, I can be a lot more flexible about pricing and about payment plans.

I thought it would be nice, to celebrate Hanukkah and the solstice, to offer a sale to everyone, not just the people who come to me and ask for it.

My usual price is $75/hour, and I normally ask new clients for a deposit of 50% of the estimated total to hold a spot in my schedule for anything someone wants me to do.

SALE: If you contract with me between now and 31 December for any job that you want me to do between now and July 2015, my price will be $50 per hour, and the deposit will be 25% of the estimated total. Additionally, you can split that 25% into two payments, one in December, and one in January.

Please get in touch with me if you'd like to hire me to edit your work!

in brief, the types of editing I offer )

Happy Hanukkah!
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It was pointed out to me the other day that I am extremely difficult to buy for. I completely disagree. Just pay a little bit of attention. You can always buy me a book!

Like, the number one thing I want from any person is a book. A book you love. If you have time, annotate it. A book you love that you've annotated ("And this is the part that I thought was perfect when I was 15...") is precious.

This kneejerk reaction had me listing off things as I fell asleep the other night. What other stuff do I always like from people? What do I collect? Example: My mom likes horse stuff, and she wears a lot of pins. So I might buy her a pin that is a stylized gold horse. What do I have that's like that? What have I "settled into" as I've grown older?

Here's the other stuff I came up with:

- pine. Anything pine. People on a budget can buy me the cheapest pine-scented tea light candles from the dollar store and I'll be thrilled. I own tons of pine candles, actually, I am never tired of them.

- malachite. Anything malachite. Just the stones, big rocks of the stuff, jewelry. I'm a silver-tone person, my ring sizes go from about 12 to about 13, and [ profile] kimbaandjane custom-makes my necklaces and knows what I like.

- cat toys. I have three cats! Anything for my cats -- cat toys, snacks, whatever.

- yarn. From fingering weight to bulky, whatever, 400 yds or more of any yarn in any fiber, pretty much. I even like acrylic. I like purples and oranges and greens.

- donations in my name. I am big on anything that feeds children or helps people get abortions for the most part. I also really love food pantries in general. I don't really care how much the donation is. $1. There, you've given me a gift.

- a nice card that says "I love you." I mean, if that's appropriate. (Sometimes it is really not appropriate. Sometimes it's creepy. But that doesn't stop some people. And those people really need to stop, wow.)

And, I mean, money, of course, but it seems gauche to put it out there. But I just did, oh well.

I think about gifts a lot, actually, because I like to think of myself as someone who is good at giving them. But I am bad at giving them on a timetable. Give you a great gift for your birthday? Not so much, I will probably take you out for a meal instead. Give you a great gift in the middle of the week randomly? Yeah, I'm on it. I think that's mostly because I am often thinking about the people I love, and that means I often see things that remind me of them. And I tend to impulsively buy or make those things, and then I cannot wait. I cannot. I cannot wait to give my loved ones these gifts. So it's Hanukkah in October!

What gifts do you like to get?????
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My post about the OTW got some weird (to me) reactions. (In fact, I got a bunch of emails from staffers I had worked closely with, all apologizing if they had "made" me quit. NO NO NO, my darlings, no.)

So I realized I need to clarify a couple of things.

I didn't step down because of any staff or volunteers. The staff and volunteers of the OTW are pretty much all amazing. Even the ones with whom I never saw eye to eye about anything. I didn't step down because of the amount of "executive staff" type of work I was doing. I didn't step down because of the amount of work -- as I mentioned in my other post, I would have joyfully gone on giving the OTW 40 - 50 hours every week of my time if needed or wanted.

I didn't step down for any reason other than I found trying to work with the rest of the Board like pushing a boulder uphill and having it roll down on top of me and flatten me over and over. Even with two really incredible staffers who I deeply respect joining Board for the 2015 term, I couldn't countenance another two years of it. I just couldn't.

I do feel horrible and guilty and like I've abandoned the staff and volunteers, but those who had close contact with the other current Board members know what it was like and hopefully empathize and understand my decision.

I have a huge amount of respect for the staff and volunteers who keep on keeping on.

So. Right after that, bright and early Monday morning before the sun was even up, I left for #bbcon (lol) -- the Blackbaud convention for nonprofits that centers around their products nonprofits use, like Raisers Edge and The Financial Edge and... whatnot. My day job uses Raisers Edge for stuff, so I got sent off to Nashville to experience this convention. Its equivalent in SF/F is apparently SDCC because there were thousands of people there, and the convention center was about a mile long and at one point I just collapsed onto a bench and laid down on it because I simply could not keep walking. (Yes, that is what I imagine SDCC to be like, but... with comics.)

On my way there, at a client's request, I read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I actually have owned it since it came out, since I loved Sharp Objects and Dark Places. I just never got around to reading it, so reading it as homework for a client was a perfect opportunity. And, unsurprisingly, I really loved it. I actually have a lot to say about it, but I'm not settled on what I want to say in my head because I'm still distracted by how much I loved it. I predicted almost the whole plot -- up to a point, and I'm not sure how I feel about that point.

(I'm told there is a movie? This is what I get for getting all my news of the world through Tumblr. ha ha.)

Once at the convention, I read Alan Cumming's Not My Father's Son, which was divine and great and full of wit and charm, exactly what you'd expect from him. Recommended. However, it's not really an autobiography so much as it is a memoir about a specific piece of his life around his father dying. I really wanted more autobiographical details. Because I'm nosy. How did he meet his partner and how did he figure out he was bisexual and tell me more about filming Spy Kids and how handsome is Antonio Banderas in person for real and so on. But the book itself is really compelling and wonderful. Two thumbs up, five stars, etc.

On my way home, I read Gillian Anderson's A Vision of Fire, co-written by Jeff Rovin. I hadn't realized there was a co-writer or I would have been giving him credit this whole time. My apologies.

It was very charming. There was what I am calling "accidental racism" (having an Indian girl be possessed by the spirit of dead Vikings, basically? More complicated than that, but basically); and there is some sloppiness in the "action" sequences since they are done in first-person POV. But ultimately it was greatly enjoyable. It was actually way better than I thought it would be. I had girded myself to read it the whole way through even if it were terrible, but it wasn't! I liked it! I kind of want a sequel! I really liked the way it ended! I liked the mythos! I was sad it was so short! A++++ effort.
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For the last three years, I've been volunteering with the Organization for Transformative Works, and for the past year I've had a seat on the Board of Directors. I know I don't talk a lot about that here, but I want to for a moment just so that there's a public record somewhere. Because I've just resigned, and I want to make sure there's a place people can go to see why.

I have resigned because even though the Strategic Planning Committee is amazing, and they are working hard to bring the organization in a direction I'm more comfortable with, ultimately the OTW is not organized in a way that I find personally comfortable.

Mainly, though, many of the other board directors and I just don't have the same values around work, professionalism, and the way organizations should be run. That makes trying to get things done very frustrating for me, and interactions become fraught with tension even about the most innocent of subjects. The professionalism issue isn't just about getting work done or meeting deadlines or putting in the necessary time to make sure issues are handled properly -- it's also about having to deal with outright rudeness and disrespect.

With jobs, some of these issues are things to "suck up" and handle because there's an exchange of goods/services; with a volunteer organization, the volunteering itself is the exchange, and I'm not coming out with enough things in my "pro" column to justify to myself this use of my time.

I want to make it clear that I'm not burned out on the work -- I'd happily put in 40 - 50 hours per week of volunteer time for the OTW's mission (and some weeks indeed I did!). This is about not being able to work with the other Board members and not being able to work within the unhealthy and unsustainable structure that currently exists for OTW volunteers.

It sucks, but that's the way it is right now. Hopefully the org can right itself. I wanted to help with that, but after three years, I'm done. It's work for other people now, and I wish those people the best.
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Right now I'm working with a client on his 350,000-word novel, so there's not a whole ton of time for reading for fun. But I've fit a bit in!

I finally finished Ancillary Justice. I can completely see how other people love this book, but I just didn't ~get it~. I will likely pick up the next one anyway, but I wish it had hit me as hard as it hit others.

After that, I read Smoke Gets in your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty. It's a memoir about a year spent working at a crematorium. Sadly, it is not as interesting as it sounds. It's written in a style that I loathe -- that of the Jezebel/Mary Sue article. The author, who is actually a pretty famous mortician (as morticians go) unsurprisingly has written a bunch of articles for Jezebel. She's also really judgy about the people she meets in the course of her life and the way they deal with death. On the other hand, going by what she says about her own thoughts about death and the way current US culture deals with death, she's probably a super great mortician who would do a really good job handling someone's death. And I definitely know people who would love this book. (They also read Jezebel regularly! To each their own!)

Then I finished With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa by E.B. Sledge. It's a memoir about the Pacific theater during WWII. I am pretty obsessed with WWII (as y'all know), but I don't actually know anything about the fighting. This might actually be the first book I've ever read about the actual fighting during WWII. It was very informative. Also about the Marines!

(Once when I was ten, I wanted to join the Marines or be a Navy SEAL. Then I learned women weren't allowed to join the SEAL teams, and lost all interest in the armed forces.)

It is, of course, really upsetting, and full of graphic details of death and war, and there is a ton of racism. And there was nothing about Jews or Nazis at all -- it was all about hating Japanese people, which is not a part of WWII I have spent a ton of time focused on. Very depressing. I don't mind hating Nazis at all, but the author's fierce dedication to hating Japanese people (and it's not even like there was any kind of reason -- just "we're at war with these people therefore I hate them"; what.) was unnerving and upsetting. Not recommended, unless you're doing research or something.

After that, I was ready for something a little lighter, so I moved on to what I thought would be, like, a kind of easy murder mystery procedural: Retribution by Jilliane Hoffman. It starts out with, like, thirty pages of detailed, horrible rape and rape aftermath. The rest of the book is about a woman realizing the man she's prosecuting for murder is the guy who raped her.

I think the big thing with this book was that there's supposed to be a "trick" of the plot, but since I saw it coming from, like, 1/3 of the way through, it didn't work for me. But I did kind of enjoy the writing, so I also read its sequel, The Last Witness, which is pretty much a direct sequel about the same characters and the same rapist.

Figuring out plots and then being disappointed when what I'm reading/watching doesn't have anything going for it besides its plot is a big theme in my life. I am the person who guessed in the middle of Scream that there were two killers. I am the person who turned to my girlfriend in the theatre and said, "Oh, he's dead," about a third of the way through The Sixth Sense, not realizing that was going to be the big reveal at the end, because it seemed so obvious at the beginning.

(I have a prediction about what the season-long plot of How to Get Away with Murder is going to be -- I got through the first episode's plot really quickly.)

To be fair, sometimes getting the plot out of the way is what I love about a show. For example, Elementary: once I've figured out the plot, I can focus on enjoying the characters!

In WWII news, I am finally reading Arendt's book Eichmann in Jerusalem. I've read other Arendt before (my college girlfriend was obsessssssssssed with her), but this is the first time I'm reading the controversial Eichmann book. Except... you know, fifty years later, it's actually not really super controversial. Fifty years later, the idea that evil can be banal is hugely... normal. The knowledge that there were Jewish officials who collaborated with Nazis... well, that's what happened. In 1963, the scandal of the articles and book -- I mean, she got death threats for what I now can't imagine being unknown much less radical or scandalous.

I'm only halfway through, but I'm loving it. Of course I am, it's Arendt, who doesn't love Arendt?

Anyway, upcoming for me is two conferences back to back -- one here in MD and one in TN. So I will be reading The Lotus and the Storm by Lan Cao over those days. And I am so excited because Tuesday is the day when we get Gillian Anderson's book A Vision of Fire AND Alan Cummings's Not My Father's Son! Bisexual Actor Book Tuesday!
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Last week, I rather unexpectedly adopted a cat. Back in January, my beloved Shiksa died of a heart attack. I thought to myself, Two cats is enough. But Vincent and Theodore have been rather lost without a third -- without an alpha female bossing them around. And one of my close friends found a post about a DC-area alpha female who needed a home.

Just a few days later, I'd adopted her.

I named her Queen Esther, but have ended up calling her Hadassah all the time. (I have had to explain to a lot of people why Queen Esther and Hadassah are interchangeable names to my mind. Even Jewish people. ngl, that is very surprising.)

Here are some pictures:

She is tiny -- she weighs about 7 lbs. To give you a sense of scale, Vincent weighs 19. Shiksa weighed 26.

...Now. Book log.

I am still struggling with Ancillary Justice. It is just really not for me.

Last night I read the new Tana French - The Secret Place. I thought she did an amazing job with the voices of the teenage girls, but I did not understand at all what the hell the paranormal elements were doing in there.

The mystery was okaaaaay but I am tired of books narrated by dudes that are books about women. The book would have been plenty interesting if it had been narrated by the woman who was the lead detective investigating the case. I didn't have any empathy or interest in the male narrator observing all the women who he continually reminded us he could never understand because he's a man. Tedious.

Book log!

Sep. 1st, 2014 08:33 pm
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This weekend I had the Monday (today) off from my day job, so it's been lazy around these parts. Except not really; I've been reading and crafting all weekend. I wrote a short story as a gift for a friend; I scrubbed the bathroom (buying what is, in fact, the first cleaning supplies for this apartment... after six months of living in it); I cross-stitched a gift for another friend; I'm working on knitting a shawl.

I feel back in the swing of life, which is hilarious since this is probably the hottest weekend since I moved here and even with the temp in my apartment set to 75F, the a/c has been on the whole time. (Which makes me feel like I'm melting and is awful, yet has not stopped me from running around.)

Book log!

Solipsist by Henry Rollins. It's the last of the books I read this weekend, but I'm putting it first because I didn't finish it. It's depressing as hell, a stream of consciousness narrative about suicide and depression and murder. It's supposedly fiction, but it reminds me of nothing so much as Grey by Pete Wentz, which I still haven't read more than 10ish pages of. So much fiction is really autobiography or wishful thinking in disguise, in my experience, and this (and Grey) moreso than most. Grey even has passages I recognized easily from PWentz's online journals (yes, I'm an aficionado, ahem); I'm sure that if I were more familiar with HRollins's journals from the late 90s, I'd recognize passages from those in this.

Anyway, I had to give it up about 1/4 of the way through, because there's not even a narrative, it's just fantasies about killing animals and suicide and murder and hopelessness the whole way through.

Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright. I read this when I was... seven? I loved it back then, and it stuck with me all these years; Minnehaha especially. Two kids, exploring the woods, hanging out in a secret clubhouse, meeting cool adults. It was great to reread it. Not so great was the stuff that I realized I did not even remember being in the book -- I remembered the girl character and boy character doing the same things and having basically the same thoughts. But actually there is a whole thing from the male characters about how curtains are for women, and only girls are interested in fashion; the girl characters squeal at bugs and mice and run away from scary things while the boys are brave, blah blah blah.

I did not remember that being in the books at all. It made me wonder if I absorbed it without realizing as a child, or if I immediately discarded it as ridiculous and rewrote the book in my head. Probably a bit of both, but more the latter? I hope more the latter.

Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner by Judy Melinek MD and T.J. Mitchell. Loved this!! An account memoir-style of Melinek's first year as a forensic pathologist. Despite all the murder and suicide and 9/11 stuff, it was a really light read. I read it Friday night all the way through, and really enjoyed it. (Totally recommended for people who are doing research for characters, too; there is a lot of detail.) However, I was not thrilled with her chapter on how much she hates people who commit suicide. Her dad committed suicide when she was a child and she has a lot to say about people who do that, and lingers on the subject in a truly obnoxious way. Suicides are threaded throughout the book, but there's a whole chapter devoted to some bullshit. Skip that, and the book is fantastic.

...and, of course, I am reading Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie as I said I would do, but I keep putting it down. I'm finding it a slog, even though it has bits that shine.

Book log

Aug. 21st, 2014 01:20 pm
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Over the weekend, I was in NYC visiting my nephew:

While there, I read... The Hot Zone by Richard Preston.

Basically it is a zombie novel but about real life, because it's the story of the emergence of Ebola. And everything about Ebola is like a zombie novel (especially the Mira Grant Newsflesh trilogy). I took immense glee in reading about the way the virus works and all the science-y stuff.

(When I told my mom, "I don't know, I'd rather die from Ebola than Spanish flu," she shifted her chair away from me.)

(Last year, I read The Great Influenza, and it scared the shit out of me. Ebola seems awful, but less painful for everyone involved.)

Somehow I ended up with only non-fiction on my ereader, so I'm not sure what I'm going to read next. I do have some nice fiction paperbacks at home, but I don't like to carry those around. My train ride on the way home from NYC was 100% fanfic and editing a YA sf novel, so maybe I'm due for more non-fiction. Or maybe I should finally read Ancillary Justice, which I bought when it came out and then never read because someone I hated posted about how much they loved it. Yes, I am small and petty and probably that was cutting off my nose to spite my face.

Just look at the picture of baby feet again:

Also, look! The Humble Bundle Book Perk bundle is mighty tempting.

Book log

Aug. 14th, 2014 12:45 pm
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One of the things I find the most useful and awesome about reading people's journals is reading their book logs. I am not a big fan of goodreads and I don't find amazon reviews to be helpful in general. I like to know what people I know think about books. and I was thinking maybe I'd go back to posting my own book log a bit more regularly. Prepare yourself.

For now, the last few books I've read:

Whipping Girl by Julia Serano )

Instead of jumping right to the next Serano book, I took a break and read Living Nonviolent Communication )

(Then I spent two weeks reading Captain America/Winter Soldier fanfic. My favorites so far are this fic in which Bucky is actually a member of the Communist Party and challenges Tony on capitalism and politics, and also this fic, which I linked on Twitter, which is about Steve making a YouTube video about braiding Bucky's hair.)

And now, today, I am once again on an Amtrak train headed to NYC -- this time to visit my nine-month-old nephew and eat some NY pizza. The train was late and we sat at the station for a while, so I sobbed my way through Women of Valor: Polish Resisters to the Third Reich by Joanne D. Gilbert -- basically it is transcribed oral history of four 90-something Jewish women who fought the Nazis during WWII. On the ground. In Poland/Russia/Germany/Hungary. Good thing I got a seat by myself. I didn't bring tissues so I am wiping up my tears with my plaid pajama pants. This is exactly the book I longed to read when I was an nine-year-old kid in the basement of my shul reading my way through the shul's Jewish history library. Not Gentiles being heroic and saving the Jews, but Jewish people fighting to save themselves, organizing factions of resistance, smuggling people out of ghettoes and death camps -- totally recommended.

Although... I mean, obviously the shoah was awful and horrific, but every time a historian remarks that it was "unprecedented" or "unimaginable" I'm kind of like... did no one else learn about what happens when settlers colonize land? Like, okay, no, the settlers colonizing the USA did not consider it a "world war" but they basically did the same thing to the Native Americans that was done to the Jews (and others, yes, I know) during WWII. Like... on purpose. Genocide is not a new thing. Systemized genocide is not a new thing. I think some of these historians are not very good at their job.

4 shots of espresso this morning was not enough and now that I'm done crying I will be reading some more fanfic about Bucky Barnes, thanks
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First! I would like to apologize to anyone who tried to access or email me at in the last month -- there was a confusion with my hosting service, which has now been sorted. Please come email me and hire me to edit your awesome work (or just chit-chat, I am becoming a chit-chatter in my thirties).

So, I did in fact read Other People's Houses by Lore Segal. And... I did not really like it. For a multitude of reasons, starting with the fact that it has the pretension so many literary fiction novels have of being told from the point of view of a young girl. In this case, the narrator is six, seven, eight, nine -- but, of course, the real narrator is much older, and just affecting the tone of a young girl, and sometimes will break the narration to interject notes from the future. I found that very annoying and disruptive.

The other big thing I didn't like was that throughout the book, the narrator seemed extremely disinterested in romantic relationships with men (and kind of obsessed with other women, which I was into). Toward the end, she started having somewhat romantic relationships with men, as she got older, and still seemed like she didn't enjoy herself, and thought they were kind of boring and dull (or maybe I thought they were boring and dull because she wrote them as such?). Then, last page: suddenly she is married! And happy! Okay, sure.

Then, last few paragraphs: but nothing is ever good because the world is and always will be terrible, what are you going to do about it, everything is awful but the world keeps spinning and people keep living their lives, so what.

That was a very abrupt and depressing stop. (It was not an ending by any stretch of the imagination.)

The cool thing about this book was actually how much I enjoyed reading it. I stayed up late to finish it one night, actually, because I did enjoy the prose so much.

In my quest to read more literary fiction (sponsored by Garret Weyr, who gives me all these books and makes me tea; you will recall that in the past, I have had a lot to say about Garret's books too)... um... Right.

In my quest to read more literary fiction, I have started Regeneration by Pat Barker. It's set during WWI, exploring the experiences of British officers being treated for shell shock. It's beautiful, absolutely beautiful, and also horrifying and sad. I am reading basically two pages a night at this point, so I might need to swap it out and read it during the day instead of before bed.

Genre reading, my true love: I am rereading The King's Name by Jo Walton (woo!), reading some Nora Roberts single title romances that I apparently skipped over in the early 90s, and I am finally reading Contact by Carl Sagan after seeing (and loving) the movie five or six times.

Now here is a story about life in Maryland: I went to Midas to have a professional put my MD license plates on my car (in addition to not owning any tools at all, I have very long fingernails and also don't like to touch my car unless absolutely necessary). The person behind the counter at Midas had a lot of opinions he felt compelled to share with me, including that he hates 4-H because he thinks it's "handouts" !!!!!! And his favorite president was Reagan, because "when Reagan was president, everyone had a job, but you're probably too young to remember." Wow! Also, by the way, he really likes the Girl Scouts. (Why Girl Scouts but not 4-H? Amazing. I am so sorry he hates joy.) And, to cap it off, he told me he thought I should get married so I would have a husband to put my license plates on.

That is an A+ reason to find a male-identified person to marry, don't you think? It should be the plot of someone's next romance novel, or a totally not weird at all Craigslist ad.
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So I have moved to Maryland, which I don't think I've mentioned here, and taken a very low-key day job at a youth development nonprofit. I am enjoying the job a whole ton, and not really enjoying Maryland very much (plus I am far away from my six-month-old nephew, which is hard). I've cut back a bit on my freelance work, although I still have space in my schedule for a few clients each month, never fear!

But I also -- and this is the real astonishment -- have space in my schedule to read.

I'll tell you what, though, I don't think Nora Roberts wrote the "In Death" books with the expectation that anyone would ever read forty of them in a row in under a month. But that is what I have done, and I say unto you... do not do it.

Although I did, surprisingly enough, enjoy book #32, Salvation in Death -- it really stood out from all the others in a good way. There was much less of Roarke's Irish eyes and poet's mouth, and more murder and mayhem and mystery.

When I was rereading the first 10 or so books in the series, what struck me was how much they are like the first two seasons of Castle!

I also recently read the auto/biography of King Peggy of Otuam in Ghana, which I enjoyed a whole ton. An entire ton, that is how much I enjoyed it. The conceit of writing it in the third person did throw me off a little bit, but it read kind of like a fairy tale in a lot of ways, and I think that was the point.

Next up: Other People's Houses by Lore Segal.

What are you reading?


Mar. 28th, 2014 09:09 pm
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Hello, it has been forever. I mostly hang out at [ profile] annagenoese these days, feeling like I'm never quite pithy enough for the cool kids and their 140 characters.

The past few months, [ profile] c_katherine and I have been working diligently to get the sequel to Salt and Silver out. We've self-published, but as two professional editors, we did not skimp on the editing, proofreading, book design, etc.... We're extremely proud of both the content and the book production, and we're thrilled that the book is finally available. We think people who liked Salt and Silver will enjoy it, and I hope that even if you didn't read Salt and Silver, you'll give this one a shot.

Gaby has always felt a little too big for her small town -- but once she moves to New York City, she realizes she's a little too plain and a little too nerdy for anything really exciting. Then she meets a geeky-cute guy who insists he's a "blood demon" and there to save her. That's less exciting and more scary -- and it gets scarier when it turns out he's telling the truth, kicking off twenty-four hours of mayhem, adventure, doppelgangers, snobby demon hunters, and a mermaid who likes to gamble.

And death. So much death.

The hero and heroine of this book are both asexual (but not aromantic); the heroine is plus-sized. They run around north Brooklyn, and run into vampires, demons, witches, a cranky diner owner, demon hunters, doppelgangers, and a gambling mermaid who might be a trickster god. There is minimal gore; most of the fighting is done with salt and tricks. Oh, and sometimes Doors talk and lead you to Hell dimensions.

We hope you enjoy it!

Buy Blood and Salt from Amazon!
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In the last few weeks, I've received more than my usual number of emails asking if I'll work on a manuscript from developmental editing to copyediting to proofreading. No editor should do that, folks. It should be three separate editors.

Here's why: Even an editor will start to see things that aren't there. Even an editor who is highly trained and skilled will substitute "the" for "teh" or mentally add in a missing comma in a manuscript they've read four times.

This is why I have a list of colleagues to whom I refer clients who need proofreading done on books I've line edited, or who want me to do the final polish and need someone to do the developmental editing. Any editor who tells you they can do an equally great job of line editing and copyediting the same manuscript should be regarded with suspicion at best.
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I will admit that The Great British Bake Off kind of frustrates me (along with the Irish one and the Austalian one... etc.) because I want to shake some of these people who don't know how baking soda works. I still find British enjoyable to watch, though, because it's a cooking competition show with hugs!

And watching it has led me to........ The Great British Sewing Bee. Fantastic. So fantastic. It's Project Runway for British home-sewers!!

It makes me dearly miss my sacrificed-to-the-flood sewing machine, but I've been steadily hand-sewing fun stuff. I hand-pieced my first quilt block a few weeks ago (look!), and just the other day I made one of my friends a pretty Kindle pocket with a lining and everything (pretty!).

Another needlecraft I just learned is tatting -- taught myself from YouTube videos! I am sometimes pretty decent (see!), but it's really hard (a mess!). It's easier when I use fingering-weight yarn instead of size 10 cotton thread (prettyyyyy). I did start learning on a shuttle, but I found it nearly impossible, and so swapped for a needle -- suddenly, magically, it was super easy! But the patterns are still difficult.

Can you tell it's my slow season? Please, someone, give me something to edit before I cover my house in doilies and quilts while watching British crafting TV!
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Recently, an image has been floating around the parts of Tumblr where I hang out. It's Maslow's hierarchy of needs, and at the very bottom (ie, where the most important, life-giving thing is supposed to be) someone has drawn an extra piece of the triangle and added "WI-FI". Every time I see it, someone is saying they relate to that, and that they're embarrassed to relate to it, or ashamed, or feel stupid.

So I reblogged it with some commentary, because that's a lot of bullshit right there. Here's the text of my Tumblr post, and the original Tumblr post I made (that's my fandom Tumblr, so clicking around it will likely be NSFW, fyi).

hierarchy of needs altered to include WIFI

I have seen this a lot. And I want to say something: Stop.

For a lot of people, a connection to the internet is how they find food and shelter and warmth. A connection to the internet is how they find security, stability, and a freedom from fear — a place to live, people who will help protect them. Psychological and emotional support.

The internet connection is how we find belonging and love — for many of us, this is where our chosen family lives. It’s where we find self-esteem because it’s where we learn, where we share our mastery, where we get the recognition and respect that meatspace society doesn’t offer us. This is where we pursue our inner talents, find fulfillment.

I’m in the privileged position of never having needed (so far, knock wood) to post a request for help from strangers because I can’t pay my rent, because I need a safe place to stay where people won’t hurt my body — we’ve all seen the posts from people who need our help. Who helps them in meatspace? No one. Who helps them on the internet? WE DO. WE HELP EACH OTHER HERE.

Note: Yes, having the internet and devices to use it makes you privileged in some ways. But that doesn't make you less privileged in others. Intersectionality, baby.
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Content notes for this entry: discussion of an eating disorder (restrictive), doctors, weight, fatness, confronting oppression.

Assumption: You are body positive and have read most of the materials linked here. Do not comment on this post to tell me that fat people are disgusting and going to die of heart disease or whatever. Keep your bullshit to yourself.


Let me tell you about a trick I know.

It is only in the last couple of years that I've had health insurance and started going to doctors and taking stuff pretty seriously. (I basically hit my wall of feeling crappy, to be honest.)

I read a lot of material about going to the doctor as a fat person, with a lot of advice. The advice always boils down to giving the reader two choices if the doctor is a jerk about fat people:

1. Leave
2. Confront & educate

I've done the first one more than once. I'm also the caretaker of a person who sees a lot of doctors, and I have walked that person out on more than one occasion as well.

I think #2 is pretty important -- doctors need to be educated about their bullshit if indeed they have some bullshit happening. I mean, I once went to a doctor who told me to "keep it up" when I told her I was only eating 230 calories every day. Then she added thoughtfully, "Try to eat less fat." That's bullshit.

But sometimes "confront and educate" isn't something you can do, for whatever reason -- and don't even get me started on the idea that someone should educate their oppressor!

With that particular doctor is actually where my advice comes from, because I left her office -- in complete fucking crisis, having left work early the day before because I was hallucinating from not eating enough calories to keep my body going -- and cried in my car, then got a smoothie, then asked for help from people I trusted. In this case, I ended up going to Michelle Allison, the "Fat Nutritionist" and signing up for sessions with her.

That's where I learned this trick.

Tell whichever doctor giving you a hard time, "Oh, I'm dealing with this, thanks, my nutritionist and I are working on it."


I have never had a doctor ask for my nutritionist's name or contact info. I've never had a doctor accuse me of lying about having a nutritionist (although I have totally had them accuse me of lying about exercise and calorie counts!). I've never had a doctor continue the conversation about size after that statement.

Without fail, the doctor always says, "Oh, in that case..." and goes on to give me what I am sure is pretty much the same treatment they'd give a thin person.

It's been about 18 months since my last session with Michelle, and I still tell doctors (like, you know, my eye doctor, who has no business commenting on my size in the first place) that I appreciate their concern, but my nutritionist and I are handling it.

It is okay to not always be the perfect fat person with the perfect educational response. It's okay to deflect instead of confront. It's okay to let the doctor keep thinking their bullshit thoughts. Especially when you have a problem that needs treatment and the doctor is focusing on your size instead of your problem.
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Blah blah blah life. I still haven't seen Pacific Rim (but I want to), and at some point I'm going to write down my thoughts about the use of sexual assault to make a female character seem stronger and/or more desirable (short version: OH MY GOD STOP IT).

For now, I just wanted to say hi, I'm still alive, still taking on clients and working with some amazing writers. I just got some new tattoos, too, so I want to give a shoutout to ihearttattoo studios in Columbus, Ohio. (I was there for Empires shows, of course.) The owner/tattooist Chris is really fantastic, does amazing line work, and was a really good dude to both me and the friend who came with me to also get tattooed. If you're in that area and looking for a clean, safe, respectful, talented tattoo artist, I can't recommend Chris at ihearttattoo enough.

(If you're in the NYC area, I've been getting my tattoos at Solid Gold in Elmont. They do great work, are affordable, and are super respectful of people's bodies. Their website is kind of schmuckola-y, but when you go in, they're good dudes. No women tattoo artists, though, unfortunately.)

(I will never again get a tattoo from someone who is disrespectful of my body. Seriously. Life is too short.)

My tattoos are stars between my fingers (that's the left hand; they are also on the right). I'm getting a lot of "Oh my god, you'll never work in an office again!" reactions -- but let's be real. An office that wouldn't hire me because of tattoos between my fingers definitely wouldn't be hiring me anyway.


PS, Elementary is still, like, the best television show I've ever seen in my life. Wow. Also up there is Paul Hollywood's Bread. Mmm bread.
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I wish I were better at writing about media. I usually end up getting distracted, or just rewatching what I want to write about, instead of finishing my blog posts-slash-essays.

I just read "Watson, I Need You: Thoughts on Elementary's First Season" by Abigail Nussbaum, whose thoughts about media I always enjoy even when I don't agree.

NB, Elementary is the only show I watched this past season. Well, I also watched Best Ink, but mostly I fast-forwarded through to the parts with Pete Wentz's face, so I'm not sure that counts as watching.

Anyway, Abigail says something in that piece that I've seen in a couple of places -- that even though Elementary does a lot of stuff really well...

...the fact remains that she enters Holmes's life as his caretaker, and that despite becoming his partner in detection she still plays a caretaking role in his life, worrying about his sobriety and even assuring Gregson that she will manage him when his pursuit of Moriarty threatens to fly out of control. While this is not an uncommon role for Watson to play in Holmes's life (again, see House), it takes on a very different meaning when Watson is a woman.

(Do not get me wrong -- this is not the thrust of the article, it's just what I zeroed in on.)

So the thing is, to me, that while I do agree with this, and, in fact, it was a huge problem for me on House, that Cuddy was this kind of killjoy "Mommy" figure, it's actually not a problem for me with Elementary. Here's why: Joan has her own problems and issues.

There is clearly some stuff going on with Joan. We see her being not very interested in sex or romantic partnership. Her outfits are never meant to be read, in the Watsonian sense (as opposed to Doylist, see here for an explanation of these terms if you've never heard this before), as traditionally "sexy". Even though her boots have high heels on them, they're clearly actually meant for practical things -- comfort and height. She wears them almost literally every single day, and when she wears snow boots in the episode with the blizzard, those snow boots are the same style as her daily boots, with the same heel. (That's very New York-y, a heeled snow boot.) She has feelings about the people who are murdered, even when they're bad people.

I actually have a lot of thoughts about this show based on costuming -- you'll note that when Joan feels confident in what she's doing and/or pleased with herself, she wears bright colors. In the beginning, you could think that she's wearing greys and blacks to be professional, but it becomes clear that she wears greys and blacks because she's sad and unsatisfied. When she's solving cases herself, she wears flowered skirts, or brightly colored pants.

(In the last episode of the season, her sweater kind of matches Holmes's sweater -- she's wearing a solid bright color, and he has patches of the bright color on his sweater.)

(I told you I get distracted.)

Okay, focus: I think Joan has her own issues, and a couple of those issues are control and caretaking issues. Let us not forget her addict ex-boyfriend and her dead patient! As opposed to seeing Joan as something of a Cuddy/House figure, as the stereotypical (in our society's media) woman-taking-care-of-a-brilliant-man, I see Joan as a flawed person who may not realize she's working out (or taking out) her own issues by being Holmes's caretaker in a lot of ways.

I also think that a lot of credit needs to be given to things like, for example, when Watson calls out Holmes's misogyny, he stops what he was doing. He apologizes to her. He is very focused on consent. He knows he's flawed and doesn't understand feelings, and relies on Watson's people skills and knows it, appreciates it. Thanks her multiple times.

(Also, it appears he kind of wants to be her service submissive. BRB, writing 200,000 words of fanfic.)

I love Elementary, in case that's not clear. I've watched the whole season all the way through several times at this point. I'm thrilled with it. (Dade Murphy and O-Ren Ishii solve crime!) Even though I have my issues with it, I genuinely believe it's the best show on tv in years.

Also, I find it very comforting that I can always solve the crime/puzzle quickly. Get that out of the way, then enjoy the rest of the story.

(That is also what I like about Lehane books!)

I can't wait for season 2.

In other media news, a few days ago I watched Born in Flames, which is a documentary-style (but not in an annoying way) movie. It's feminist science fiction that is basically a lot of different types of women talking about how to have a revolution. Like, pretty much it's a movie about intersectionality. But it's from 1983, which is before that word even existed! I loved it so much. I thought it was really wonderful. If you like feminist science fiction, feminism, intersectionality, or terrigreat movies from the '80s, you might like this. After it was over I felt exhausted and had to watch, like, episodes of Castle to deal with my "feels hangover" (what I called how I felt on Twitter). If you do decide to go for it, trigger warnings for violence against women, sexual assault, pictures of dead women, and bombs in the Twin Towers. I thought it was a really incredible film, especially when it dealt with and discussed the different ways race and class (and sexual identity) impact the way women feel they can participate in revolutions.


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anna genoese

November 2015

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