DevFest 2020


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DevFest, “an inclusive, positive online conference for all technologists”, is this weekend! I’ll be presenting along with 15 other people on Saturday, October 24th.

This year’s conference topics include battling imposter syndrome;, a film script parsing tool that automatically tests film scripts to determine whether or not they pass the Bechdel Test; growing a cloud application; changing code reviews into learning experiences for all involved; my own talk on the biases inherent in language and how to choose our words more carefully so we don’t cause unintended harm; plus more. See the full schedule here.

I hope you can join us!

Silence is Not an Option: Stop Racism and White Complicity

Black Lives Matter.

Stop police brutality and end systemic racism.

Ending racism can only be done if white folx consciously, deliberately, and sincerely look at how we perpetuate and benefit from white privilege.

So, I am adding my voice to what I dearly hope you have heard non-stop (because it must be stated and repeated and acted upon, again and again until racism, sexism, ableism are not embedded in our systems): Dear fellow white people, we must act to end our systemically racist society – silence is complicity which enables racism. It is not enough to merely be not racist; We must be anti-racist.
Do something, now.
Do something, tomorrow.
Do something the next day.
Learn. LISTEN. Learn. Educate yourself. Discuss. Grow.
Be uncomfortable, this is how we grow. While we as white people have the ability to shrink from our discomfort (this is part of white privilege) Black people are dying. So, we must step into the discomfort and dismantle white supremacy and systemic racism.

Not sure where to start? Here’s a really good place:

21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge

Want a one-stop resource?

A Compilation of Anti-Racism Resources For White & Non Black Musicians in She Shreds Magazine


The Case for Reparations in the Atlantic by Ta-Nehisi Coates

For Our White Friends Desiring To Be Allies (Ask when you don’t know — but do the work first) by Courtney Ariel

Check out the She Shreds post I mentioned above for more articles


1617 podcast series by the NY Times. This is an incredibly well-done podcast series that talks about the history of slavery. It would rival any university-level course in its thoughtfulness.

* Please try to order books from your local brick-and-mortar book store *

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge – NPR interview here

Warriors Don’t Cry by Melba Pattillo Beals – C-Span interview from 1994

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Dr. Robin DiAngelo – discussion at Seattle Public Library

Check out the She Shreds post I mentioned above for more titles


The Urgency of Intersectionality by Prof. Kimberlé Crenshaw on TED Talks

James Corden: It’s Time for Change in the US


Urban Triage: Our mission is to foster Black families’ self-sufficiency, community leadership, advocacy, and student success through parent engagement and cultural heritage.

Black Visions Collective (BLVC) believes in a future where all Black people have autonomy, safety is community-led, and we are in right relationship within our ecosystems.

Check out the She Shreds post I mentioned above for more organizations

Horror Writers Panel at the Fox Cities Book Fest!


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The Fox Cities Book Fest is offering amazing panels and discussions! It’s all happening Right Now!

Yes, you will be able to find me on panel with Sara Read, Chris Welch, and James Lowder. Come join us at the Horror Writers Panel on Saturday, October 13th.

The Horror Writers Panel will be held at the Kaukauna Public Library at 207 Thilmany Rd, Ste 200, in Kaukauna, WI.

You can find the entire schedule for the Fox Cities Book Fest here.

The daylight is fading and a deep chill is setting in. Is there a lovelier way to shiver than to talk about horror in October?

Story Up at Pantheon Magazine




You read that right – my story “Stars Reflected in Every Drop” is up and available for reading at Pantheon Magazine!

Maria Haskins‏ called this a “luminous story.”
(I’ll be honest. I squeed when I read that.)

Also, go check out Maria’s work. Here’s her It Begins In the Garden to start you off. Tell me if you don’t feel a shiver and a strange glowing hope reading that story.


Moving the Margins: Fiction and Inclusion


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There’s a new MOOC opening from the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa – Moving the Margins: Fiction and Inclusion. Yes, the same university that brings you the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

What’s a MOOC?: It stands for Massive Open Online Course. “The IWP’s massive open online courses (MOOCs) offer opportunities for interactive learning in creative writing and literature to unlimited numbers of participants around the world. MOOCs offer prerecorded video lectures provided by contributing authors, including IWP Fall Residents and University of Iowa professors; live and asynchronous discussion-based instruction provided by highly qualified teaching teams; reading and writing assignments; and inclusive community-based feedback.”

Which means it brings education and an opportunity to learn and be a part of a community to anyone who is interested and has access to the internet. It’s free. This is so important. Higher and further education is expensive. MOOCs like this allow scholars with limited or no financial resources to participate in education. We writers tend to know about what it’s like to have limited financial resources.

What’s so important about the margins?: It’s where we find the voices of the marginalized. Those outside of the mainstream. Those not published in major (high paying, widely read, and therefore normalized) magazines. These stories aren’t published in such places because they lack brilliance or great story-telling; Long Hidden - edited by Rose Fox and Daniel Jose Olderrather, they’re not picked up by these magazines because the characters don’t look like or think like the mainstream stereotypical protagonists, or the story may reference songs or food other than what mainstream popular culture accepts as normal. In short, they’re stories about the rest of us.


This is the perfect place to mention the quintessential story about stories in margins:

Read Sofia Samatar‘s “Ogres of East Africa” at Uncanny Magazine here! It’s in Sofia’s anthology “Tender: Stories”, and it’s the opening story in Long Hidden‘s Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History anthology. And that’s exactly what it is. It’s also brilliant and finely crafted.

Back to the MOOC:

“The International Writing Program (the IWP) at the University of Iowa presents, with generous support from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the US Department of State, the course “Moving the Margins: Fiction and Inclusion.” This course will be given as a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) July 15 – Aug. 31, but the course site will remain open until Sept. 15. You may take the course at your own pace during that window of time.

You as participants will read and listen to writers (many of them former IWP Fall Residents) speaking about and writing about voice, character, setting, style, language, and about “moving the margins” of the known and the expected. And as writers balancing vivid imagination and craft, you will work towards an inclusiveness that allows for different kinds of thinking and different kinds of writing.

The course content includes writers who are both native and non-native English speakers, and we welcome those of you who are working on your own English language skills. Reading and listening to writers from a variety of backgrounds, and locating your own voice and experience through the writing of stories are strong language practice techniques.

Registration for the course is now open. Learn more here, or go straight to enrolling here.

I do not know anything about this course other than what is available on their website. But I hope that it is true to its title. The more people who are passionate and interested in learning about writing and inclusion who attend the course, the better the discussions and learning. So I mention it here.

Other titles you might be interested in if you are looking for amazing stories from authors, voices, viewpoints too often marginalized:

Reading – Friday, May 25th


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If you’re in the Madison area on Friday, May 25 from 9 to 10:15 pm, join us for a short story reading at Michelangelo’s on State Street! This is a WisCon reading, but is open to the public.

With Megan Arkenberg, Julie C. Day, and Sarah Read — stories delicious, fantastic, weird, and wonderful.


Shimmer no.42


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If a bear…
by Kathrin Köhler

You know in the same way that anyone who lives in an isolated village in a deep-shadowed wood knows anything: it’s been repeated so often you’ve choked on it since you were a child. One day a bear will show up at your doorstep.
(1000 words)


Yes, dear readers, that is my name on the cover of Shimmer’s 42nd issue!
My story “If a bear…” and a few interview questions and answers appear therein, along with three other gorgeous, shimmery tales. This issue will not leave you hungry.

When I received my author’s copy, I went to proofread, but wound up reading reading the whole issue, because, as expected of the fine folk at Shimmer, this is a breathtaking issue.

Issue #42 of Shimmer contains the answer to life, the universe, and everything. Promise.

The Triumphant Ward of the Railroad and the Sea
by Sara Saab (available 3/6)

Almost everyone I entertain over a frosted fifth of vodka — bottle balanced precariously on a foldout tray, half my attention on keeping it upright — wants to know how I became a competitive eater. Also, how I found myself living on the Dbovotav Coastal Express. (5500 words)

They Have a Name For That
by Sara Beitia (available 3/20)
Mother insists everyone always said what an attractive quartet the family was, and there’s a stair wall lined with years of family portraits to bear this out. And now Cal and her groom will have children of their own, probably immediately, and they’ll be beautiful, of course, because Calliope won’t have it otherwise, and somehow that’ll settle it, because her life is a fairytale, so she can’t conceive otherwise. It’s not her fault. (6100 words)

The Imitation Sea
by Lora Gray (available 4/3)
You find the dead Angel at five a.m. in the slurry of broken bottles and rotting fish on the Lake Erie shore. It almost looks human in the morning light, a ten-year-old, maybe eleven, boyish, face bloated, limp and blue and doughy.  (3200 words)

If a bear…
by Kathrin Köhler (available 4/17)

You know in the same way that anyone who lives in an isolated village in a deep-shadowed wood knows anything: it’s been repeated so often you’ve choked on it since you were a child. One day a bear will show up at your doorstep. (1000 words)

There’s four delicious stories to eat, imbibe, or read, as you prefer.

Perhaps you’ll find the answers you’ve been looking for. If you’re lucky, you just might find a question you didn’t even know to ask.


Review: “Murder Feels Awful” by Bill Alive


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MurderFeelsAwfulCoverWell I stayed up until 2:30 in the morning finishing “Murder Feels Awful” so I could find out how everything resolved itself.

I did indeed laugh out loud as I read. I also snorted out loud. You have been warned.
EMPATH DETECTIVE. I had no choice but to read this.
Bill Alive did an excellent job balancing humor, pacing, and serious social issues. At turns light-hearted and at others intense (both dark and hopeful), I found this an accessible read. Some excellent dialog and snippy remarks, and over-all wonderful pacing. The plot and characters were mostly grounded and three-dimensional — complex. That is to say, the plot involves some difficult topics as dealt with by complex imperfect characters. Exactly how I like it.

The view point character, Pete, is a young man who thinks things and talks to women in a way that I would not want to normally read. Except that Pete is human and learning, and I appreciate that Bill Alive created him fully so that I could not easily dismiss him (instead, I hoped he’d keep learning and evolving).

I felt a bit guilty liking this as much as I did — it feels so light and easy to read — because not all the characters were “like me”: Pete’s more (naively) sexist than any character I’ve read in a looooong time. But I was rooting for him and Mark (Mark really helped balance Pete). Mark made Pete think, and I appreciated reading that. We’re not born enlightened (well, maybe we are and society takes that from us, but that’s a different conversation); we’re educated into and empathize into awareness and enlightenment.

Also, I like it when artists create characters who aren’t perfect, who don’t have all the money in the world to throw at their problems, who actually have to communicate with one another and who rely on one another to get by and to survive… you know, like the vast majority of us. Bill Alive has created characters who don’t have perfect lives, who are themselves flawed. Flawed and genuinely human. I appreciate that. There’s depth and history… I have questions, and it’s a damned good thing there’s more books, because I Want To Know.

I enjoyed the self-awareness of the book. I think the meta aspects work wonderfully. I am often delighted when art is aware of itself and when artists play with that awareness to create something different. This awareness doesn’t always pay off, but in “Murder Feels Awful” I feel it did.

I also enjoy interstitial works. This novel has a cozy mystery feel, but is perhaps more serious than what some people might term “cozy”. Except that I never cared for cozy mysteries precisely because of this point — someone dies and the characters of the story romp and hi-jinx their way as if someone hadn’t just died, hadn’t just been MURDERED. I could never get over that disconnect. Bill Alive bridged that disconnect beautifully.

For full disclosure, I received the book for free and I’ve met the author. I’m buying this and the whole series because I love good stories and I love the artists/authors who create them = I’m going to help them pay the rent so they can keep writing more 🙂

This post is a part of my effort to review more of the books I read. Also a part of my newly embraced “finished is better than done” mindset. That’s why this isn’t perfect. But you’re reading it and getting the idea, and that’s the point.





I’m thrilled to let you know that my story, “Girl Singing with Farm”, was accepted by Reckoning!! Reckoning is an annual journal of creative writing on environmental justice. Oh yeah, you know I’m thrilled to have had a story accepted by them.

I will be letting you and everyone I see know when “Girl Singing with Farm”, and the other fine stories the good folks at Reckoning took on, is available.


There’s so much to say, and at the moment, I can’t even begin. Therefore, I’ve been quiet lately. Not because I have nothing to say, but because I have too much to say, too much I want to point out, too much to express.