Show Me What You Mean: Cover Art

You know that feeling when you’re learning a new skill and probably have a grasp of the mechanics but it hasn’t connected to the viscera?

I learn best on my own, not in a classroom or following a structured curriculum. I like to follow my nose hither, thither, and yon, tracking down threads of information that in some way or another add to my body of knowledge.

Gathering the pieces together to be able to publish my own stories has led me a merry dance, I can tell you.

There are lots of resources online. Some free, some, not. (In fact just about every aspect of learning to be a writer/author can be found online, free or not!)

That’s where I ran into Joel Freidlander, over at The Book Designer. Among many wondrous resources, he has this little thing going called eBook Cover Design Awards, where you can see what makes a cover work and what doesn’t. (at least, according to one person) November is up now.

Go ahead, take a squiz. (Aussie slang for take a look) And if you have something of your own to send in, go ahead. If nothing else, you’ll get a whole lotta visibility.

You might not agree with some of his critiques, but if you’re like me you’ll love the thoughtful food.

Bon Voyage Stella Young

Alpha Werewolves Are Doomed!

… because one of my favourite sites (io9) done told me so!

So what does this mean for the good old werewolf pack mentality in Fantasy? Probably not a lot, because it’s a trope that still works.

But wouldn’t it be fun if someone wrote a ‘wolfie’ story from this new perspective?

C'mon guys, I'm game if you are.

C’mon guys, I’m game if you are.

Dandy Lion and Teh Pawz of Doom

We had high hopes for our dandy-lion wine, (see part 1 and part 2) but alas, it wasn’t meant to be. For some strange and unknowable reason we’ve ended up with dandelion and orange cider vinegar. We’re going to have a chat with our wine making expert next time we’re in town to pick up our latest batch of red wine. Thusly armed (with both red wine and information) we will try again next year, omitting the oranges. Mrs Widds and I concur, ‘the oranges did it!’


In my last post I teased you with teh pawz of doom. Here’s the pic again to refresh your memory.

Pawz of Doom

Pawz of Doom

No, we haven’t gained another household member, this is Coco, the neighbourhood cat Widdercat refused to have anything to do with, and we, being well trained staffpersons, also had nothing to do with. (sneaking cuddles down by the lake doesn’t count)

A few weeks after Widdercat crossed to the Summerlands, Coco decide to drop in for a visit. After thoroughly checking every nook and cranny in the place, (just because someone has vacated the premises physically doesn’t mean they don’t leave ambushes for fluffy interlopers) she decided we would become her adopted staffpersons for a few hours every day.

Teh Fluff of Doom

Teh Fluff of Doom

I dare say she felt it her duty to make sure we didn’t lapse into any un-staffpersonly habits.

This has always been my chair

This has always been my chair

It’s kinda like being cat grandparents. You get the cuddles and playing (and cyoot photo ops) then pack ‘em off back to their parents.

World Domination

World Domination


A Funny (Lesbian) Thing Happened on the Way to the (NaMoWriMo) Forum

I would’ve liked to say this didn’t take some the shine off, but it did. And interesting in light of my previous post on becoming ‘invisible’.

The facts are these:

I wanted to connect with other lesbian SF writers on NanoWriMo so I posted this:

Lesbians in Spaaaaace
I decided to start this thread because I did a search for ‘lesbian’ and only found one thread title that had ‘lesbian’ in it in the first 10 pages of the search. That was for the whole NaNo site
Now there are two!
I’m talking about lesbians who get out of bed in the morning, pull on their big-girl kick-ass space boots and go save the galaxy!
Lesbian FTL engineers and ore freighter pilots, stellar cartographers and xeno-archeologists, cooks and colonels.
Lesbians talking, laughing, loving, breathing, fighting, f*cking, crying, drinking, riding, winning, losing, cheating, kissing, thinking, dreaming … (3 gold stars if you know this reference)
Lesbians doing every imaginable and beyond-imagining job in SF.
Here’s my novel synopsis. The idea was sparked by the score counter in Bejeweled Twist – another 3 stars if you know this too! Just in case I don’t win one of the ’30 covers, 30 days’ covers, I used the amazing and fun-est ever, Pulp-O-mizer to create a ‘pulp fiction’ one.
Humanity has reached the Asteroid Belt, and is poised to expand beyond the solar system. Only one thing stands in their way, the Tarra company who for decades, has had a choke hold on the technology and fuel needed to make that leap.
Captain Gorda Figaro of Mobius Station, a 3rd generation O’Neil sphere, tries to keep a lid on the explosive situation, while hiding her true motives from a Tarra envoy bent on keeping the Station and all who call her home, under Earth’s control.
Bel Beck, a ‘scraper’ (asteroid miner who ‘scrapes’ the minerals from the surfaces of the asteroids) spends her time on-station making Gorda Figaro’s life hell, and the rest of the time working with the rebel scrapers, (the Knight Whiskey Runners) who are searching for an alternative to Tarra fuel.

… and checked back the next day to see if anyone had joined in. Someone had – a moderator, who informed me she was ‘… going to lock this as a duplicate post.’ because ‘ …there are a bunch of us writing queer space farers’ on the ‘LGBT+scifi thread’.

You know that feeling when your gut tells you something is going on, but you have nothing really concrete to support it?

Then something happens, so small in the grand scheme of things, that you’re tempted to dismiss it out of hand, but you’ve learned some hard lessons about trusting your instincts and/or intuition, and suddenly you see that tiny thing as a clear … signpost, if nothing else.

I don’t identify as queer, not do I write queer fiction. I am a lesbian who writes lesbian fiction. And it seemed to me there was no place set at the NaNo table for my humble little thread.


‘Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it’ – probably said be a great many people but attributed to George Santayana

P.S. OK, so it wasn’t exactly a ‘humble’ thread. I don’t think I could do ‘humble’ if I tried. It was exuberant and full of joie de vivre!

P.P.S. The gold stars are still available if you guess correctly! :)


Coming next: The Pawz of Doom!

Pawz of Doom

Pawz of Doom



I wasn’t, and then I was. Now I am, and this is what I’m going to do …

… for NaNoWriMo 2014

Cover Art for my 2014 NaNo project

Pulp-O-Mizer is the funnest thing ever.

Go! Play with it now!


P.S. If you’re NaNo-ing, I’m there as ‘Widder’


Wherein I Chat About ‘Invisible-isation’

I’m a peaceable gal by nature. I live my life according to my personal code of ethics and have people in my life who do the same.

Most of the time I post about the aspects of my life that have to do with writing, (or cats, and glaciers) or things that impact my life. (and therefore my writing) But occasionally something gets up my goat (mixed metaphores, I know) and I choose to speak about it.

Recently a young woman did a television interview and said some rather interesting things. The interesting bit starts at about 1 minute in.

I thought to myself, like Oprah, ‘she’s gonna cop some flack for that’, and although I disagreed with her point of view, I let it slide because hey, live and let live, right? And, in a much more perfect world than this, she’d be right.

Then, on my favourite go-to website for bubblegum/pop culture/ occasionally serious, lesbianly (and very U.S.-centric) stuff, AfterEllen, someone had taken up the cause to defend the young woman. 


There’s a danger here.

This is the ranty bit:

Yes, by all means. Let’s de-label ourselves to invisibility.


It worked out so well for us last time.

It’s working out so well for us at this very moment, all over the world.

It’s working out so well for us right in our own backyards.


And this is the more nuanced bit:

It’s imperative that we continually define and redefine ourselves. It’s what we do after all. And I don’t begrudge us wanting to shift the weight of outmoded, oppressive, offensive labels from our shoulders. It’s how we grow. It’s how our tribes, and the larger society we inhabit, evolve.

But in doing so, we can’t afford to dismiss the bloody and hard won battles that have given some of us on this planet the privilege of labeling ourselves ‘label-less’. Those battles to claim our label, to claim our tribe, are still being fought by a horrifying majority of us.

Personally, I doubt the rallying cry is, ‘I am not a label’.

And finally, a slight segue but still on topic, Jove Belle writes eloquently about her concerns on the ‘invisible-ising’ of feminism at Women and Words.