🛸 The Neurodiversiverse Anthology Call for Submissions

My co-editor Anthony Francis and I are so excited to announce we’re looking for stories, poetry, and art for The Neurodiversiverse Anthology, which will explore how neurodivergent folks might have an advantage in dealing with aliens. From the call for submissions:

Submission Deadline: December 31st, 2023⁠

Submit your stories at www.neurodiversiverse.com.

The universe is filled with aliens—creatures with different histories, cultures, and even biologies—who may seem strange to us. But our world is filled with a diversity of people, many of whom find each other strange. One particular group finds the rest of humanity especially strange: neurodivergent people.⁠

Would neurodivergent folks find themselves at an advantage in dealing with aliens?⁠

Let’s find out.⁠

We’re looking for short stories, flash fiction, poetry, and black-and-white line art that showcase and respect neurodivergent experiences. We’re explicitly inviting #OwnVoices and people from other marginalized backgrounds to submit stories. You can find out all the details at www.neurodiversiverse.com.

You may or may not be aware that I’m neurodivergent myself, but I am, and I’m passionate about normalizing neurodivergent brains. I’m so excited to be part of this great project, and to be working with a fabulous co-editor and wonderful publishing team at Thinking Ink Press.

Send us your stories! We can’t wait to read them. 💖

Submit your stories at www.neurodiversiverse.com.

P.S. I totally meant to post this about a week ago, when I published the call for subs on the Thinking Ink Press webpage, but my ADHD brain dropped the ball, so here we are. Good thing you have most of four whole months until the submission deadline! 😅

My Post-Corporate Life — What I’ve Been Up To

If you haven’t heard, I left my job at Dropbox at the end of April! In my 7+ years there, I got to work on Dropbox Business, Dropbox Photos, desktop syncing, the mobile app, and so many more things. I was a Quality Engineer and a QA Manager, and I learned so much about risk, leadership, and brutally prioritizing quality efforts. I got to collaborate with more lovely, thoughtful, humble people than I can count. I’m grateful for all I learned, for everyone who mentored me, and for everyone I collaborated with. We did great things together.

I left because of burnout, and I’m focusing on resting and recovering for a while before I start putting energy into what’s next. You won’t be surprised that, in the meantime, I’ve been spending time on a wide variety of things… (because I still have more interests than hours in the day :).

The cover of Your Writing Matters: 34 Quick Essays to Get Unstuck and Stay Inspired, by creativity expert Keiko O'Leary. "A beautifully written meditation on the writer's life," says Julie A. Fast, bestselling author.

I’m reading a ton. Lots of queer romance, because they make really lovely rest-your-brain books, some books about feminist Judaism, because I don’t have as much connection to my heritage as I’d like, and of course I’ve spent a lot of time reading (and re-reading) the book I’m publishing: Your Writing Matters: 34 Quick Essays to Get Unstuck and Stay Inspired, by creativity expert (and dear friend) Keiko O’Leary. You’ll be hearing a lot more from me about it, it’s available for preorder now and is coming out on August 9!

I’m moving my body a lot. (I don’t really like saying “exercise”, because that makes it sound harder than it is.) Daily walks around the neighborhood and weekly longer hikes up and down the San Francisco Peninsula. I actually just live in paradise, and I’m finally making time to visit all the gorgeous parks throughout the Santa Cruz Mountains. I also have a new Hatha yoga class that’s a three minute drive from my home that’s in the middle of nowhere, with a lovely instructor. I’m working to build up my stamina and strength for longer 10+ mile hikes again.

I’m making the most of my unstructured schedule to re-learn how to prioritize my day around what interests me and what my body needs and what interests me, instead of relying on dates and obligations and other people’s schedules. It’s been hard not to just create my own obligations and schedules, but I’m trying to unlearn the idea that my value comes from productivity, and instead focusing on the value of admiring nature, petting the cat, and truly resting. And, when I’m inspired, creating something!

On the creating front, I’ve been knitting up a storm. I’m in the middle of two shawls now, and I just finished a beaded rainbow gradient shawl. It’s ridiculously gorgeous.

I’m also writing more (… this very blog post, for example!), and I’m starting to remember that when I have the thought, “I should write about X!” I actually have time to write about it right now, and whatever I was going to do next can probably wait.

I went on retreat at the end of June, as I do a couple of times each year. I got to spend time with my soul and with dear friends who are also on the path of self-knowledge and healing. (If you’re interested in a 10.5 day retreat next March, I’d love to talk to you about the Heart Conference!)

So stay tuned for more about what I’m publishing (and I may put out a call for submissions…), what I think about quality, and whatever else is top of mind.

And, to all my past coworkers: I miss you and I’d love to hear how you’re doing. Seriously, let’s chat.

Reading Deprivation


I’m not reading.  Starting about an hour ago, I’m NOT READING.  Anything.  Especially not books or the internet (goodbye facebook :( ), but also not email (as much as I can avoid it) or user manuals or anything.  (Not blogs! :(  Goodbye Robin McKinley, until next week!  Not the awesome book by Tanya Huff that I just started.  :(  How will I survive?)

So far this means that I’ve started writing a presentation I’m giving in a week and a half, which I otherwise might have procrastinated for far longer.  It also means that I found myself scrolling through the MS Word options, just because I wanted to disable spell check!, and technically was reading ALL of the options, looking for ones I might want to change.  Because that was an important use of my time.  *facepalm*

I’m not counting IMing or texting with friends in this “not reading” category, because that’s communicating with real live people who happen to be on the internet instead of a phone or in person.  Also, writing is not reading.  Duh.

In case you’re wondering, I’ve started doing The Artists Way, by Julia Cameron, and I’m up to Week Four, which mandates Reading Deprivation.  Since I haven’t been blogging much, this seems like a good time to resume.  I’m not allowed to read the internet, but I can still talk to it, right?

Fortunately, this only lasts a week.  I can make it.

Whew, third draft rewritten.

Today being the first day of my holiday vacation, I just finished editing the third draft of my vampire story, “The Organville Vampire”. It’s a lot better now, nearly a real story!

When I type in the changes I’ll call it the fourth draft, and I’ll know how long it is.  And then I’ll print it out for my beta readers!  Should be ready by the new year…

(Now I need to go buy Christmas presents… at least my priorities are in order?  :-/ )

Last Fairy Godmother Wordle

I’m a little behind on NaNo. This week is kicking my butt, with too many things to do. But I’m not worried, I still have plenty of time to catch up. Meanwhile, here’s a wordle of the story:

Wordle: Last Fairy Godmother NaNoWriMo2011

Detritus of my craft

The detritus of writing
I just noticed these things lying about my living room.

(It’s a bit grainy, because it’s night-time.  And I won’t remember to take a new picture in the morning.)

I know that I’m in the writing spirit because I have many important bits of the writing craft lying around my living room.

From top to bottom:

  • The most awesome, portable, roll of fine-point markers, by Staedtler.
  • My previous LFG notebook, Clairefontaine because I love them, and quad because it’s more versatile than lined.  Cloth-bound.
  • My new LFG notebook, also Clairefontaine, also quad, but spiral-bound. (I just started this one, so the previous one is still hanging around.  It will move onto a shelf once I’m settled into this one.)
  • The stack of pages (held together with one of my favorite pens) that is my Vampire Story printed out.
  • The large spiral unlined notebook I use for brainstorming when the small quad paper isn’t working.
  • Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid, by Douglas R. Hofstadter*, which I loved the first half of years ago, and which I decided to pick up again this weekend.  I’ve just learned (again, since presumably I learned it the last time I read it) what a canon is and what a fugue is.
  • Very large (ok, “very” in my little non-artistic world) drawing paper, for extra-large brainstorming.  Not often used: but used this weekend.
  • And finally, chocolate.  Duh.

(The picture does not include my laptop, because I am using it and didn’t think to include it as one of my writing-things, even though it is.  I have selective blindness, sometimes, often without explanation.)


* I swear I don’t usually have so many^ things with the odd^^ “dt” sound pairing just lying around near each other.

^ i.e. greater than none

^^ odd for English, obviously.  I assume “dt” is German in Staedtler and Hofstadter?

writing update

I just noticed I haven’t posted about my writing in a while, and you might think I’ve quit.

Never fear, I haven’t!  I’ve been working slowly, but steadily, on the same New! Shiny! project I mentioned in January, THE LAST FAIRY GODMOTHER.  And it’s rolling along.  No angst, no bashing head into the wall, no pulling teeth.  I know what’s going to happen later in the story*, and so I keep writing until I get there.  My characters keep surprising me–there was a funny bit with a tea kettle I didn’t see coming–and a few things that showed up as throw-away lines have turned into plot points.  The coolest thing is that I’m still interested in the story.  I know that in a little while, they’re going to reach a whole new place and it’s going to be fascinating (to me) to find out who is there and what miscommunications will turn up.  I know there is plenty of room for miscommunication, and I know things will go horribly wrong, but I don’t know the details yet–and I can’t wait to find out.  I’m hoping it’ll be funny and meaningful, all at the same time, and hopefully not too much like watching a train wreck**.

At my current writing pace, I  might finish this (draft of this) novel in about 3 years.  o_O  I’m hoping to pick up speed somewhere along the way–NaNoWriMo would be an excellent opportunity–but in the meantime, it’s going along.  And I keep having new things to add to this story.  Until that stops, it’s all good.

* Not that I’m going to tell you, of course…

** Incidentally, you can spend hours watching train wrecks on youtube.  http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=train+wreck&aq=f.  I wish I were kidding.

Google Book Settlement overturned!

I’m not a published author. I have no works in (or out of) print. But I hope to, some day. And this decision now will affect what can and will happen to my books (and my rights over them) when I am published.

Here’s how I understand the Google Book Settlement.‡

First, Google decided to borrow lots of books from libraries and digitize them, without asking the copyright holders for permission, and then made them searchable online. To go with that, Google would display ads to the people searching those books–effectively making money by presenting works they don’t own, without giving any money to the copyright holders (or asking for permission).

Then, some copyright holders and the Authors’ Guild got mad at Google and said, “hey, you’re a big bully!”* So Google said, “Oh, you’re right, I’m so sorry. Here, let’s settle this out of court. I’ll give you lots of money, and you let me keep doing what I’ve been doing. And you let me know if there are any books you don’t want me to digitize.**”

The Authors’ Guild’s eyes glazed over at the sight of the piles and piles of money, and they said, “Sure, ok!”

Then lots of other authors, who realized suddenly that the Authors’ Guild wasn’t actually representing them personally, took notice and said, “Wait a second. You want me to tell you that you aren’t allowed to digitize my works that I own? But I own them!” And then people started wondering, “Wait, what about copyright holders that we can’t find? Aren’t we just stealing their works?” And people in other countries said, “Uh, our works aren’t covered by U.S. copyright, so you’re not allowed to take our books without checking our laws.”

Then Google came back and said, “But this is the future, people! Can’t you see the future? A world where everyone can find exactly the bit of works they want, and they can check in advance whether they want to buy a book, from the comfort of their own livingrooms! (In their underwear!) Authors will make more money, because we’ll be selling more books! You can’t stop the progress of technology!” They also said, “This helps disabled people who can’t read have another way to access your work! This is all about the disabled people***! You’re hurting the disabled people!”

A lot of people (including me ;) thought about this and said, “Ooh, the future is shiny. I likes it. I want the future!” And they also said, “I want to help the disabled people! Of course I do!”

But then they shook their heads and said, “Wait a minute. Why do we need to agree to this crazy thing just to help the future appear? Why do we need to give away people’s ownership of their own works in order to help people access those works? Why can’t we do this in a sensible way that benefits everyone? Let’s have an opt-in system!”

Lots of people joined the settlement with objections, lots of others opted out of the settlement with objections. Lots of people had no idea what to do, so they did nothing. And there were probably some people who liked the settlement just fine, and accepted it.

Finally, it went before the court, who, taking over a year to do so, had to decide whether this settlement was “fair, adequate, and reasonable.” It (by which I mean he, Judge Chin, my hero) concluded “that it is not.” See here for his full opinion: http://www.nysd.uscourts.gov/cases/show.php?db=special&id=115. Judge Chin gives a remarkably open-minded response–in other words, he explains exactly why this isn’t fair or adequate or reasonable.  Yay!†  Score one for the rights of the little people!

Also, here’s SFWA’s announcement: http://www.sfwa.org/2011/03/judge-rejects-google-book-settlement/

‡ Does the internet need another person describing the issue and talking about it in public? Of course not. But I’m happy about the recent court decision, and so I’m going to talk about it.

* All dialogue^ and actions described herein are invented by me, and probably bear little resemblance to the actual events. Particularly the bit about glazing, in the next paragraph.

^ And, uh. Chrome’s spell-checker is telling me that “dialogue” isn’t spelled that way. Really? It prefers dialog. Dialog is only a valid spelling (in my Not So Humble opinion) for dialog boxes, those things that pop up and ask questions. If actual people are talking to actual other people, then it’s a dialogue. With a “u” and an “e”. *sigh* What is this world coming to?

** This is known as having to opt-out of the settlement. It puts the burden of administration onto the authors and publishers, instead of putting it onto Google who would be benefiting from the settlement.

*** I’m just certain there’s a more PC term I should be using here, but I’m failing to think of it. If you can suggest a better way to phrase this, please let me know. I don’t want to detract from my otherwise funny story by offending anyone.

† Ok, seriously?  Chrome thinks “yay” isn’t a word, either.  Nor “ok”.  This, right here, is why I usually disable spell checkers.  And grammar checkers.

I am up Early

It’s 6, and I’ve been up for an hour, and it only just occurred to me that I should blog about this.  Liza, awake before the butt-crack of dawn?  On purpose?

The idea was that I would wake up an hour early today, and go for a walk before getting ready for work.  (Ben would wake up early, too, but he doesn’t hate mornings as much as I do.)  Now, “an hour early” is a variable thing, since I wake up anywhere from 7:30 to 8:30.  But I figured 6:30 seems reasonable, until I remembered that the sun doesn’t rise until about 6:40, and we have a big ol’ hill that hides the risen sun for at least an hour.  So, 6:45, then.

And I don’t keep an alarm clock, or any clock, in the bedroom.  Which may explain my hour-long variation in typical waking-up time.  So I moved a nice analog clock with a charming bell into the bedroom last night, even though it’s been losing time for quite a while.  I reset it to “real” time last night, and set the alarm for 6:30.  But while I was lying in bed I thought, wow this could go really wrong when that alarm doesn’t even try to wake me up until 9am.  Not to mention that I can’t tell whether it knows the difference between AM and PM, or if it’ll just ding twice every day.  If it does know the difference, it probably thinks it’s PM now, not AM, and so we extra won’t get an alarm.

In light of this clock-problem, last night as I was falling asleep I told myself to wake up around 6:30 or dawn, whichever seemed easier.  (This often works for me, I just don’t usually bother.  I mean, who would want to be awake then?*)

So this morning when I found myself awake, and it was dark out, I scrunched up my eyes to tell whether it was really dark out, or just nearly-dawn and getting lighter.  (By the way, it’s just starting to get lighter now.  Charming, really, like watching sunset in reverse.  Huh.)  The house across the street has rather bright lights, and just over the hill from us is a greenhouse that keeps lights on most of the time, and we have these huge dark pine trees behind the house that look pitch-black against even the night sky, and the moon might have even been out.  So, there were lots of explanations for a light-colored sky that don’t involve it being nearly-dawn, but I was awake, so it must be close, right?

Wrong.  It was 5.  But I was already awake, and going back to sleep for an hour (or an hour-and-a-half, or two hours) would just make me not want to wake up again**.  So I got up.

And I worked on my vampire story revisions.  I’d had some pretty useful ideas as I was falling asleep last night (there’s something a bit disturbing, though, about falling asleep while thinking about a vampire story, even if I do know how it turns out), which I hadn’t gotten up to scribble down then because I was going to be waking up early and wanted to be rested.

It has yet to be seen whether this “walking” thing will be effective, or whether I’ll just be zonked all day.  (And I still have half an hour before I’ll feel justified in making Ben wake up to keep me company.)

* Aside from at least 3 of my favorite people, plus my father, who are all decided morning people. I don’t get it at all.  It’s still night-time.  I could be asleep.

** Not to mention that I suspect I’m allergic to our forced-air heat, and that part of my trouble with mornings has to do with the heater being on for an hour before I wake up.  And at 5, the heater isn’t on yet.  It’s on now of course.

New year, new project

Happy New Year!

Since last we met, several exciting things have happened.  Haven’t you missed me?

First, I wrote THE END of my Vampire Story.  Again.  This is THE END of the Second Draft!  Not the final draft, I have a major revision to go, but it will be a revision not a re-write.  I’m planning to start revision at the beginning of February.  I got burnt out figuring out how to get to “the end” so I could move on to the next story bouncing around in my head, so I’m giving myself a good bit of distance before picking it up with my Editor Goggles on.  But any later than February seems like procrastination.

Vampire Story, Second Draft
7500 / 7500 (100%)

Second!  I started my next story!  This one has been bouncing around in my head for a couple of years, just as a vague idea for a fairy tale that ends (or maybe starts) with the fairies getting the upper hand.  Why is it that Rumpelstiltskin never wins the first-born child?  This is the story where he does.  Well, not Rumpelstiltskin himself, but some other fairy creature.  That was all I had, a bare premise.  I wrote a short story called “Wing Stop” a while back, which ends wrong but I couldn’t ever figure out why*.  A couple of months ago, I suddenly developed a plot and characters.  I don’t know where they came from**, except that I was given this fabulous poem called “Bad Day” by Kay Ryan about an elfin tailor.  And suddenly I knew how the child was taken, and a bit later I figured out what came next, and then–BLAMMO!–I had a whole*** novel-lengthed† story arc.

This has never happened to me before.

I suppose it still hasn’t quite happened.  I mean, the story was brewing in the back of my head for yearsSomething must’ve been going on back there.

And eventually I discovered some characters and stuff, too.  So, I’ve started writing!  See?

The Last Fairy Godmother
2000 / 100000 (2%)

Ok, I think that was only two things, even though I said “several”. You could invent a few more for me if you wanted.

* Proof that I do and have finished things, despite the trash I talk about myself.  Just not “final draft”, “ready to be published” finished.  :-/

** Maybe from reluctance to find the end of my Vampire Story.  Funny how procrastination can have some fab fringe benefits.

*** Well, whole by my definition.  There are a whole lot of blurry details and not-so-details that I haven’t figured out.  And I do still have to write the whole thing.

† At least, I hope so.  What if it falls short?  Hrm.