announcements

Guess what just came in the mail? Trust & Treachery have arrived.

After many months of waiting and working patiently, it has finally come in.  The anthology that Meriah Crawford and I conceived of almost two years ago is now in print and it looks even more amazing when you hold it in your hand.  It is a fantastic collection of stories from some great authors.  A book that everyone involved can be proud of!

TrustandTreacheryArrivalYou can get your copy at Amazon, or Barnes and Noble, or from our amazing publisher Dark Quest Books.  And just a snippet from the back for those of you interested – from New York Times bestselling author, Donna Andrews:

“This anthology contains some extraordinary stories that will linger in your mind long after you close the book’s cover. The contributors to this anthology explore the delicate dance between trust and treachery across a sweeping variety of genres, time periods, and universes. What happens when you’re betrayed by the person you should be able to trust above all others? The one you love. Maybe even the one who has promised to love, honor, and cherish you. Or even the person who gave you life. What happens when you’re betrayed by the supposedly benevolent institutions that are supposed to protect you? Your government. Your ruler. Your god. What if it’s your own mind that you can no longer trust? Read on and find out!”

Oomph Release Day and the Story behind “Speak Softly”

It’s Release Day! Crossed Genres’ anthology Oomph: A Little Super Goes a Long Way has officially been released! My story, “Speak Softly” appears in this very fun collection.

It’s easy to save the day when you’re invulnerable, can fly, or can punch through steel. But what if you’re just… really calloused? Or can hover for three seconds? Or can only punch through things made of aluminum? Oomph: A Little Super Goes a Long Way explores what it takes to be a superhero with just a little bit of power, where heroes and heroines use their small gifts to great advantage.  Sometimes you don’t need a big lever to move the world.

Print ($11.95) ISBN-13: 978-0615569710Ooomph Front Cover

Amazon

Createspace

Coming soon: Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million

Ebook ($4.99)

Amazon (Kindle)

Barnes & Noble (Nook)

Coming soon: iTunes, Kobo, Sony, Smashwords

Review copies of Oomph are now available. To request a review copy or for more information, please contact publicity@crossedgenres.com.

I’m very excited to say my story “Speak Softly” is in this awesome collection.  And trust me, it is awesome. No, I’m talking about the anthology, not my story (although I really like it too).  It took me a few days to review the final galleys before returning them, not because it took me that long, but because I couldn’t help but be entranced by the other stories.  In two words: Very cool.

But I wanted to take a little space on this blog to talk about the story behind “Speak Softly,” or perhaps more specifically about one of the characters.  One of the great things about being a writer is that you get to infuse bits of your own life, both good and bad, into any piece of fiction.  That might be why writer t-shirts that say, “Be nice or I’ll put you in my novel” or why tuckerizations are so popular. It is an homage to an individual or a situation or even a setting.

The character Doug in “Speak Softly” is an homage to my friend and colleague Auxiliarist Doug Smith. Doug was the FSO-CS (Translated: Communications Officer) with Flotilla 23-6, the Drum Point Flotilla of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary. If you don’t know what that is, the Auxiliary is the uniformed volunteer component of the Coast Guard. Basically, our job is to “support all USCG missions except roles that require “direct” law enforcement or military engagement.”  Doug was an expert when it came to looking at new ways for our District to take advantage of social media and technology to better support our mission.  When I was brand new to the Auxiliary, he was someone who was doing what I wanted to do and stood as a model and example for me to follow.

I know there are Auxiliarists who are out on the water doing harbor patrols for Port Security, and marine environmental patrols, and some who work search and rescue operations, boating safety education, vessel safety examinations and so much more. What Doug and I do…what we did, seems small in comparison - Communications and Public Affairs – we shared information, talked to people online, and promoted safety on the water.  It was a “small thing” but I didn’t mind.  From Doug, I was always learning new ways to better reach people digitally, new ideas for web-based communication to bring to the Auxiliary, and the drive to increase our effectiveness as a support for the U.S. Coast Guard.

On October 27-31 of last year, Hurricane Sandy visited the East Coast.  And during that time, Doug and I were online, using social media and other communication tools to relay notices and information including preparedness, shelter information, numbers for electrical problems, and weather updates.  The sources the information came from included the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, FEMA, VaDOT, NCDoT, Annapolis PD, MD Weather, Readydotgov, USCG New York, Port of Baltimore, NC Emergency Management, NOAA, HurricaneWatch, and more.  We did our “small thing” to keep people safe. In total, over the 5 days, we shared and relayed over 500+ messages.DougSmithUSCGAux

In a lot of way’s both Dougs (fictional and real) are similar. Although Doug in “Speak Softly” is a double amputee, the real Doug also had a disability, dystonia, a neurological disorder that caused the muscles of his face to twitch. But perhaps more importantly, both men led a life of service and believed that all of us have a commitment to help others, and it is as unique to each individual as our own abilities and skills.  As far  as Doug (either of them) is concerned, if it can make doing the job easier, more efficient, or more impactful; if we can keep people safe…then there is no such thing as a “small thing.”   🙂

Doug Smith crossed the bar on December 10, 2012 and Doug, the Guardian, in “Speak Softly” is my homage to him.

 

#Disability Panel at @GeekGirlCon Seeking Your Input (Please RT and Share)

A Fate Worse than Death:  The Last “Outsider” in Popular Culture – Disability

This a panel at the upcoming GeekGirlCon (August 11 and 12, 2012) and we hope to make it a fantastic panel with a lot of discussion.  More than 1 in 10 Americans live with an apparent disability. But this isn’t reflected in books, comics, films or television (e.g. Less than 2 percent of TV show characters display a disability and only 0.5 percent have speaking roles).  When seeking to include characters with disabilities, creators are asked, “Why?”  There is greater acceptance when beloved characters are killed as opposed to maimed or permanently disabled; and celebrations when they are cured. It’s assumed that disability isn’t like diversity – it’s weird and different and uncomfortable and sad.  Discussion will examine the reluctance to include characters with disabilities, common myths and stereotypes, and some of the common controversies using examples from popular and geek culture, personal experiences in industry and discourse with audience members.  But we need you!

We want to hear REAL questions, hard questions!  The panel is made up of folks with experience in film, comics, web-series, and more; and all of them have either included disability, have a disability, or been part of the battle for inclusion.  What do you want to hear about?  I’m posting this prior to the event to urge people to send me (the moderator) questions.  There’s no guarantee we can get to all of them, but here is an opportunity to learn what really goes on behind the scenes, and as a community crowd-source ideas and solutions.  So lets hear from you!  Post in the comments or send me an email at DaysMail@gmail.com .  If you prefer, I’ll even get on the phone with you, just call 206-333-1791.

Our amazing panelists:

TEAL SHERER – Teal Sherer is an L.A. based actor, producer, and activist for performers with disabilities. Her new show (which posts every Tuesday), is  “My Gimpy Life,” a comedic web series produced by Rolling Person Productions, directed by The Guild’s Sean Becker, and written by Gabe Uhr. She was a founding member of Blue Zone Productions – a theatre company that promoted actors with disabilities, and played the role of “Honey” in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at the NoHo Arts Center. Last year, she produced and starred in the Pulitzer Prize winning play PROOF, the first person with a disability to play the lead role of Catherine. However, most people may be familiar with Teal from her appearances in the third and fourth season of the award winning web series, “The Guild” as the recurring character “Venom” – a total bitch on wheels. Teal is a member of the SAG Performers with Disabilities Committee and teaches dance and drama classes to children with disabilities through the UCP (United Cerebral Palsy) Play Project.

LAWRENCE CARTER-LONG – Recognized for his expertise in the arts, access and media, Lawrence is a sought after media spokesperson on a wide variety of subjects ranging from medical ethics to media representation of disability. Appearances have included the New York Times, NPR, the BBC and several appearances on CNN, among others. Lawrence was founder and curator of the groundbreaking “disTHIS! Film Series.” Along similar lines, he has been a member of the steering committee of the ‘ReelAbilities: Disabilities Film Festival’ since 2010 and an advisor to NYC’s Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts as part of their Disability in Entertainment and Arts Link (DEAL) project since 2006. In May 2011, Lawrence began working with the National Council on Disability – an independent federal agency that recommends federal disability policy to the President, Congress and other federal agencies – as their Public Affairs Specialist.  Lawrence curated and will be presenting a selection of films showcasing the history of disability in cinema on cable systems for Turner Classic Movies in October 2012.

LIZ HENRY – Liz Henry is a poet, translator, blogger, and editor as well as a computer geek and web developer. She has been publishing zines and small books since 1986.  For Aqueduct Press, she edited WisCon Chronicles Volume 3: Carnival of Feminist SF. Her latest book is Unruly Islands, a collection of anarchafeminist technoutopian poems.

 

 

 

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GAIL SIMONEGail Simone has written Simpsons comics for Bongo, Killer Princesses for Oni Press (with co-creator and artist Lea Hernandez), and a Rose and Thorn limited series for DC Comics. Simone is the creator of the Women in Refrigerators List, which raised awareness of the treatment of women in comic books. In 2003, she took over DC’s Birds of Prey title, turning it into one of DC’s steadiest selling and most critically acclaimed books. In 2007, she took over writing duties on Wonder Woman. Additionally, Simone’s commitment to creating diverse casts of characters led her to win a Glyph Comics Award for Best Female Character in Thomasina Lindo—one of the lead characters in Welcome to Tranquility—a creator-owned comic published by WildStorm. She returned to writing the Birds of Prey series for DC Comics and can be followed on Twitter (@GailSimone) or her Tumblr, “Ape in a Cape.”

DAY AL-MOHAMED – Okay, they’re the REAL panelists, I’m just moderating.  :)  But for those of you interested - Day Al-Mohamed is editor for the upcoming anthology, “Trust & Treachery” and hosts the multi-author blog Unleaded: Fuel for Writers. She is an active member of the Cat Vacuuming Society of Northern Virginia Writing Group, and DC Women in Film and Video. When not working on fiction, Day is Senior Policy Advisor with the U.S. Department of Labor, heading up the Add Us In initiative, and as a part of the agency’s Youth Team she is designing a skills-based video game to better teach the Department’s “Skills to Pay the Bills” employment training curriculum. Day is proud to serve as Public Affairs staff officer with Flotilla 24-01 in the Coast Guard Auxiliary and lives in Washington DC with her wife, in a house with too many swords, comic books, and political treatises.