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Dwelling in Probabilities - C. Lundoff's Journal

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Anne Bonny
Dwelling in Probabilities - C. Lundoff's Journal
Catherine's website



December 31st, 2015

Where I'll be in 2015

Anne Bonny
Updates to follow as I have them.



  • Marscon 2015 - March 6-8, Bloomington, MN. I'm a guest again this year and doing panels and a reading, as per my norm.

  • Saints and Sinners Literary Festival - March 27-29, New Orleans, LA. Combination birthday trip/vacation/conference. I'm not doing any programming but will be around and about.


  • Bi+ Story Slam - April 9th, 7:30-9:30, Nicollet Diner, Minneapolis. Bisexual Organizing Project AWP 2015 offsite event. I'll be reading a thing, as will other folks.


  • 4th Street Fantasy - June 26-28. Minneapolis. Schedule,TBD. This is back to conflicting with both Twin Cities Pride and the Antiquarian Book Fair so I won't be around all weekend. No idea about panels yet.


  • CONvergence - July 2-5, Bloomington, MN. Panels - see CONvergence tag.

  • Diversicon 23 - July 24-26, St. Paul, MN. Panels and more panels


  • Sirens - October 8-11. Denver, CO. Panels.

  • Arcana - October 23-25. St. Paul, MN. Editor Guest of Honor


August 25th, 2015

First, I'm going to Sirens Con this year for the first time! And it looks amazing! I'm going to take the precon workshops and spend a whole week talking to other writers, readers and fans about women in fantasy. I can hardly wait!
I'm on back to back panels on Friday morning, because that is what my life looks like:

Women of the Revolution: Changing Genre and the World
Amy Boggs, Justina Ireland, Catherine Lundoff, Casey Blair
The fantasy genre is filled with revolutionary female characters. Some overtly overthrow regimes, and some challenge our conception of what is possible for women in our world. What does it mean to be “revolutionary” for female characters, and what makes their revolutions compelling? We’ll talk about why and how revolutionary female characters work, including which tropes are problematic, which important narratives writers and readers overlook, and how they reflect their societal context.

Women of War: Trauma and Healing in Speculative Fiction

Ann Aguirre, Artemis Grey, Catherine Lundoff, T. L. Morganfield, Bethany Powell
When revolutions and wars break out, everyone pays their own price. Warrior women go home with physical scars—or with trauma that isn’t written on their skin. Revolutionaries see others die for their ideals. Healers exhaust themselves and still cannot save everyone. The costs of war are often a central theme in fantasy literature, too. From depictions of PTSD to the treatment of physical injury, this panel will talk about books that deal with hurt and healing in the aftermath of battle.

And there's panels and papers and time to veg out and planned meals and tea and a dance and--but you get the idea. You can still sign up, too, FYI.

And what else am I up to? PT for my shoulder, which is definitely helping. Working on my business plan and starting to buy things I need for tabling and sales and whatnot. Hoping to shop for a laptop in the next few weeks and meet with an accountant.  Working on misc projects, including one with an ASAP deadline for next week. Going to the Mn State Fair (it's a thing in these parts, what can I say? Plus, seed art!) this weekend. Wrangling work, which has become utterly insane.
At any rate, seed art portraits of Brigitte Lin and Michelle Yeoh by artist David Steinlicht, because I adore them and have to get back to work:

[David S. Lin image][David S. Michelle Yeoh image]

August 18th, 2015

Mirel Wagner "No Death"

Anne Bonny
A new-to-me musician, Mirel Wagner, singing a gloriously Gothy zombie love ballad. Good stuff!

August 14th, 2015

It's been a full week!

  • My wife, Jana Pullman, has a new blog post up about creating a replica of a Shakespearian-era bookbinding and here's what it looks like:

  • Jana's also participating in a new book arts show at the MN Center for Book Arts. The opening is tonight, but for those who aren't in town, here's her new binding of Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea:

Front cover - marbled paper and marbled leather, structure is a Bradel dos-a-dos

Back cover -

  • And in Catherine news, I sent out a brand new story (an Emily one), subbed two workshop teaching proposals and made progress on some Queen of Swords Press-related work. I  had realized that I'd like to do a soft launch of some of my own work before I do a bigger launch that includes other people's work, but it suddenly dawned on me that that approach had fewer dependencies that I thought. So going to be plugging away at those options. QoS will have it's own social media eventually, but not there yet, so please keep watching the sundry C. Lundoff's feeds here, on Twitter (@clundoff) or Facebook.

  • I did an author interview to promote the new Luna Station Quarterly: Best of the First Five Years anthology. You can read it here.

August 10th, 2015

The answer being a not super interesting: "still here."
Last week featured:
  • Layoff notices at day job, kind of. Some departments going much faster than others; my personal departure is delayed for awhile but is on the schedule for down the road apiece (after next year, in all likelihood, maybe longer. But then, they said my department wasn't getting axed at all, just a few months back.).
  • A chipped front tooth, probably from all the stress-related teeth clenching. Our fab dentist was able to file my front teeth down and save the tooth for the time being, because she is awesome and has the right tools. But still not much fun for me.
  • The beginnings of the exciting shenanigans which will accompany getting my mother onto the state program to pay for the hideously expensive nursing home care. And by beginnings, I mean sending the initial email that says "Houston, we're going down" in the sense of running out of resources. For the record, in other to get on Elderly Waiver/Medical Assistance in MN, you have to be down to your last $3000 in the world, no assets. But it takes about two months to get on. And you go on getting whatever monthly stipend you receive, if you get one. So enormous amounts of stress and juggling. Can't file the forms until next month, unless there's an emergency, apparently. And if there's an emergency that uses up all her available funds, not really clear where the balance will come from in the meantime. Sigh.
  • Did have a nice weekend at least, including seeing Fury Road again on Friday,  going to the Powderhorn Art Fair with a friend on Saturday, going to another friend's birthday/housewarming and getting in a hole of day of writing and sundries, plus a MN Fringe show on Sunday. So far, I've got a short story draft to finish up and sub this week and two class proposals submitted, plus some awards reading done. heading into a lively week and tons of work.
Hopefully more good news than not soon.

August 4th, 2015

So I know a lot of people ask why I don't do more and why I need so much spare time...actually, no one asks that. Instead, let's talk briefly about 2013 and 2014 from a writing perspective, namely mine. The very condensed version is that I parted ways with one of my publishers for a variety of sound reasons, then nearly got picked up by another publisher before I had a nice attorney vet their contract. Nice attorney said bad idea, and I believed her, and thus I dodged becoming part of the Ellora's Cave disaster of 2014. However, that meant that I had spent a lot of time (2013-early 2014) writing book proposals, being depressed about my career, moving my mother across country, finishing a novel, working a day job and having my entire social network implode. Those were good times. But, I digress...

Around this time last year, there came rumblings at the day job which, due to a zillion years in corporate IT, I recognized as likely presaging eventual layoffs (projected timeline announced this week, as a matter of fact, but projected as slow moving). I decided that it was time to get my life back together. I spun off my erotica and erotic romance under Emily L. Byrne, wrote a bunch of stories and essays both as Emily and as myself and got a bunch of stuff either published or in the pipeline and started a whole bunch of financial planning on various fronts. I also took classes, talked to a lot of experts in various areas and bought a domain name. I decided that I would self-publish and see how that went, and maybe think about publishing other authors.

Then a friend of mine's publisher went belly-up and I realized that one of her series was exactly the sort of thing that I wanted to publish and could market (unlike previous publisher). I talked to her and she was amenable, but now I was tackling a bigger project than I had planned on. Fast forward through more elderly parent crises and other stuff and I got referred to a nice small business attorney. And found a web designer and a template and a terrific logo artist (S.L.Johnson). I'm most of the way through my business plan and have a full list of all the other things I need to do next. What I don't have in place yet includes my finalized LLC, my financial structure, books ready to go out the door yet, distribution accounts, submissions guidelines and all that good stuff. So we are still early in the process, but beginning to gain traction. Think of this as Update #1.

Here is a brief description and page proofs of the new logo (bliss!)

About Queen of Swords Press:
Queen of Swords is an independent small press, specializing in swashbuckling tales of derring-do, bold new adventures in time and space, mysterious stories of the occult and arcane and fantastical tales of people and lands far and near. What does that actually mean? It means our publisher likes all of the following: swashbuckling tales with female protagonists, people from wide-ranging cultural and racial backgrounds having adventures in outer space, LGBT and/or Q characters engaged in magic and swordplay and historically-flavored stories that reflect diverse casts of characters doing interesting things.


July 31st, 2015

 The mostly complete TOC for Queers Destroy Horror has been released and it includes my essay, "Creatures of the Night: A Brief History of Queer Horror." 😃😃😃
It will be out in October, 2015, as a special issue of Nightmare Magazine. That'll be the same month as my appearances at Sirens Con and as Editor GOH at Arcana 45, which makes it extra cool.

Queers Destroy Horror!
Preliminary Table of Contents

Original Fiction

  • Golden Hair, Red Lips — Matthew Bright

  • Dispatches from a Hole in the World — Sunny Moraine

  • The Lord of Corrosion — Lee Thomas

  • Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers — Alyssa Wong

Reprint Fiction*

  • Bayou de la Mère — Poppy Z. Brite

  • Alien Jane — Kelley Eskridge

  • Rats Live on No Evil Star — Caitlín R. Kiernan

Reprint Poetry

  • The Skin-Walker’s Wife by Lisa M. Bradley

  • No Poisoned Comb — Amal El-Mohtar

  • The Rotten Leaf Cantata — Rose Lemberg

  • On Moving Into Your New Home — Brit Mandelo

  • Flourless Devil’s Food — Shweta Narayan

  • In Memoriam — W. H. Pugmire

  • Worm and Memory — Lucy A. Snyder


  • Roundtable Interview with Meghan McCarron, Brit Mandelo, Rahul Kanakia, and Carrie Cuinn — Megan Arkenberg

  • Creatures of the Night: A Short History of Queer Horror — Catherine Lundoff

  • The H Word: A Good Story — Lucy A. Snyder

  • The Language of Hate — Sigrid Ellis

  • Slush Pile Politics — Michael Matheson

  • [more forthcoming]

Author Spotlights

  • [forthcoming]


  • A.J. Jones (Cover**)

  • Elizabeth Leggett (Dispatches from a Hole in the World)

  • Cory Skerry (Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers)

  • Eliza Gauger (Lord of Corrosion)

  • KG Schmidt (Golden Hair, Red Lips)

* There are only three reprints listed here because late in the process we had the opportunity to include an additional original story by an author we’re pretty excited about including. But since it was very late in the process we weren’t sure if it would work out deadline-wise. So if the author is able to finish the story, we’ll include a fifth original story; otherwise, we’ll add a fourth reprint.

** Note the pre-order cover displayed here is not A.J. Jones’s cover. It’s just a placeholder while the original artwork is being created and finalized.

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July 28th, 2015


Gender Balance Made Easy - Add an Apocalypse and Stir!

Thank you, Catherine, for inviting me to talk about my post-apocalyptic steampunk novel, A Circus of Brass and Bone (Amazon).

A Circus of Brass and Bone began life as a serial story that I wrote as a medical fundraiser. This led to several unique challenges. The one that I'm going to talk about today is how inconveniently generous women are.

Yes, you read that right. 

One of the rewards I offered for supporters was to have a character named after them. In the beginning, this was well and good. When a new character appeared, I would choose a name of the appropriate gender from the donor list and keep going. Because the book focuses on a circus traveling through the collapse of civilization and the challenges they must overcome in each new city, there were plenty of new characters. Then the female names from supporters began to pile up.

Now, for context, you need to know that I laugh and point every time I encounter a book or a TV show that falls prey to the Smurfette fallacy. My favorite movies usually pass the Bechdel test with flying colors (and flying kicks!). I'm a female science fiction writer. I thought I had this stuff down.

The circus members were fine. From the conjoined sisters to the skeleton man, the girl sharpshooter to the snake oil salesman, the gender balance came out about even. They were important characters, after all. I'd spent some thought on balancing their motivations, personality quirks, abilities, and, yes, genders.

Minor characters didn't matter as much, right? After all, they were spear carriers. If they did their job, whether they had girl bits or boy bits was irrelevant. It wouldn't really affect the story.

But now I had all these extra female names. I started having to stop and question why I'd assigned a particular gender to a bit character and if I could do it differently. A Circus of Brass and Bone is set in a slightly alternate version of the United States not long after the War Between the States, which complicated things. Restricted gender roles! Historical verisimilitude!

Fortunately, the book has an apocalypse. After an aetheric chain reaction wipes out a third of the population, many things change. All sorts of people step up to do what needs doing. The way they do it is of course strongly influenced by their previous roles in life. And that, gentlepersons, is why some of the most interesting stories happen during or after a disruptive event.

Some characters' genders were still locked in by their historical role, but not as many as I'd initially thought. Avoiding the default spear carrier minor characters changed the story more than I'd expected, and for the better. The scene excerpted below would not have existed without those changes.

From what I've described, you might be imagining a heavily female-weighted book. Not so. Even though it felt strange writing so many women in minor roles, the kicker is that I ended up with a cast of characters that was pretty much equally balanced. I have to wonder how many stories that feel "naturally" gender-balanced to their writers and readers are nothing of the kind.

What I learned is that gender balance requires active thought about even minor characters, especially in historical settings. And when in doubt, add an apocalypse!

Excerpt from A Circus of Brass and Bone (Amazon):

Mrs. Della Rocca opened her door wearing an apron lightly dusted with flour. The aroma of biscuits drifted out to greet them.

“Welcome!” she said. “You must be new to town!” She tossed a questioning glance in the storekeeper’s direction.

“This is Mr. Knall,” the storekeeper told her. “He’s a traveling salesman, selling ladies combs. I told him how good your biscuits were.”

“Marvelous. Come on in! Lunch is still cooking, but I’ll get you some biscuits and tea.”

As soon as they sat at the table, Christopher opened his salesman’s suitcase. “Let me show you—”

“Wait.” The storekeeper put up his hand. “First, let’s enjoy the biscuits.”

Mrs. Della Rocca came out of the kitchen with a plate in each hand, and a biscuit on each plate. She set the biscuits in front of the men and beamed. “Go on then!”

Obediently, Christopher picked up his biscuit and bit in. The biscuit was hot and fluffy on the inside, but he noticed a slight bitter aftertaste he didn’t like. Too much baking soda in the recipe, perhaps.

Not wanting to alienate his host, however, he finished the biscuit, smiled, took a sip of tea—and slid sideways as the world tilted and darkened around him. He barely felt the impact when he hit the floor.


Christopher Knall straightened from his labor in the chicory field, pressed his hand to the small of his back, and leaned into a stretch. Dried sweat made his shirt crackle under his hand. Mud coated his pants. He was hardly the fine sight he’d been when he walked into town with a suitcase full of ladies’ hair combs and men’s shaving sets to sell.

Something moved along the road in the distance. He squinted. Wagons, traveling their way. Poor bastards don’t know what they’re getting into. Can I warn them somehow?

When the caravan got closer, the thought vanished. He gaped.

It must be a hallucination. He’d finally cracked. The procession was led by a woman standing on top of her saddle as if that was a perfectly ordinary way to ride a horse. A freakishly thin and elongated man rode in one of the wagons behind her. A pair of miniature humans perched atop another. And the giant bone and brass thing that flanked them could only have ridden out of a nightmare.

Continued in A Circus of Brass and Bone.

Read more

Ebook available at major online retailers for $3.99: Kindle | Google Play | Smashwords | B&N | Apple | and many others
Trade paperback available from Amazon.com for $13.99: Amazon

Book website: http://www.circusofbrassandbone.com/

Author website: http://www.aswiebe.com/


"Read if: You would love to read about circus freaks, espionage, war elephant golems, intrepid female ship captains, monkeys finding true love, and the authentic smells of large cities."

- Goodreads reviewer

"the world has a texture and a past that appeals even as it appalls ... The characters have a lot of bad stuff happening to them, but they retain both agency and their moral sense. The darker scenes never devolve into hopelessness or pointless gore."

- Marissa Lingen, Novel Gazing Redux

"'Circus' is a steampunk fantasy piece told in a period voice. It has a thick Dickensian accent and the affectations of Christie, Shelley and Austen. It's sparking conversations you'd expect at a dinner party where Katherine Dunn, Cormac McCarthy and Kurt Vonnegut had a little too much wine. It's imaginative modern literature."

- Rob Callahan, Vita.mn

July 27th, 2015

And post-another con...

Anne Bonny
This weekend was Diversicon 23, a small Twin Cities-area con (longtime readers may recall that I was one of the guests at Diversicon 21). This year's guests were Ytasha Womack who's an Afrofuturist writer, choreographer, filmmaker and scholar from Chicago and Rob Callahan, a local storyteller, writer and arts journalist. I met Ytasha a couple of years ago a the Twin Cities Book Festival when she was in town promoting her book Afrofuturism and was quite impressed with both her and the book. And she did not disappoint. She was articulate and fascinating and charming and funny, easily one of the best GOHs that I've seen at a science fiction and fantasy con. I got to spend a fair amount of time talking to her about her work on a couple of panels as well as some hanging around time, all of which was very pleasant and interesting. She also has a great sense of personal style and the con was lucky to catch her on her way up, so said we all.

The con as a whole was pretty decent (and those of you who skipped it missed out, just saying). I got there on Saturday and ate lunch with some of my writer pals before appearing on a panel on Aging in Science Fiction and Fantasy, which was a decent enough panel, though I'm not sure that it was particularly ground-breaking in terms of what we discussed. After that, I had a lovely conversation with some local fans before going to dinner with friends at Mai Village in St. Paul. Then, we headed back to the con for the auction, where I picked up 2 books by Elizabeth Lynn (the books I was missing from the Chronicles of Tornor, in fact!), Angela Carter's Nights at the Circus, a James Morrow novel and a 5 more wuxia including early Sammo Hung and Shaolin Soccer. I also found a new home for Mom's big stuffed dragon that's too big to fit in her current room. Then it was back home through the wilds of St. Paul while playing the popular new game Everything is Closed/Partially Blocked Due to Construction (road construction is much worse than usual this year and I live about 30 minutes drive from the hotel under optimal conditions).

Sunday dawned early with a migraine and the need to head back to St. Paul for a day of panels. I made it to my 11 AM panel by minutes, though, and spent a lively hour interviewing/grilling Ytasha about Afrofuturism and showing off art by John Jennings. It was quite interesting and I think I got a better understanding of the scope of Afrofutrism as an artistic/cultural movement. After that, we got Ytasha out of the hotel for a short lunch break at Nelson's Deli, then back again for hanging out and eating. The Alternate Sherlocks panel turned into a discussion of some of our favorites (Elementary generally preferred to Sherlock, the graphic novel Baker Street, split on the Robert Downey version, nobody likes stupid Watson, Carole Nelson Douglas' Irene Adler series, etc.) and recommendations regarding the fabulous Sherlock Holmes Collection at the University of MN Library. Then, I got to go grill Ytasha about comics (she has a multimedia graphic novel out, called Rayla 2212). We also talked about some recently recovered Golden Age comics featuring culturally diverse protagonists like Nelvana of the North and related. Good stuff and an interesting chat to close out the con. After that, I hung out with Ytasha and Anton (her guest liaison) for a bit before taking off.

Taking involved racing home, starting to cook dinner, adding another dining companion (for a total of 4), then bolting off to see Mr. Holmes (Sir Ian McKellan, et al) with one of my friends. It was, for the record, sadly disappointing. The performances were good, but dear god, there were few cliches they did not bring out of storage. Older protagonist wrestling with dementia, victimized women, with or without emotionally abusive spouses, irritatingly superior small boy in danger, bees in danger, the aftermath of the bombing of Hiroshima, because when in doubt, you trot out everything you have. All to get to...well, nothing really, except SAD. SO VERY SAD. So yeah, disappointed. Now back to the regular fun of my week, day job and catchup, and no more cons for a couple of months, which will be novel at this point.

July 23rd, 2015

My Diversicon 23 schedule

Anne Bonny
Diversicon 23 kicks off tonight with a reading at DreamHaven at 6:30 by GOH Ytasha Womack and Special Guest Rob Callahan. I'm going to put in a big plug for Ytasha's book Afrofuturism, which is a great introduction to Black and African American science fictional culture. I've heard her read before and she's quite interesting, with work that encompasses scholarly texts, graphic novels, films and

My schedule (I'll be there Saturday and Sunday; Friday night is MCBA's Biennial and Book Arts Crawl and we have a ton of friends with exhibits up).


3:00-3:55 PM Krushenko's (Room 101)
Panel: Aging in America and in SFF Not all SFF fans are young and lively. What is it like to grow old in America, and how has old age been treated in science fiction & fantasy? Martha A. Hood, mod. Phyllis Ann Karr, Catherine Lundoff


11:00-11:55 PM Mainstage (Northern Pacific) Panel: Afrofuturism and Science Fiction. Does Afrofuturism work within more or less traditional SF? Outside and parallel to it? How does it propose new directions for the genre? What's next for Afrofuturism?
Catherine Lundoff, mod.; Ytasha L. Womack

2:00-2:55 PM Krushenko's (Room 101)
Panel: Alternate Sherlocks. From TV to movies to spin-off books, the characters of Sir Arthurr Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories go ever onward, conquering new mediums and having new adventures. From vampire hunting to alternate histories to misadventures of Sigmund Freud to the mystery-solving skills of Irene Adler, Mycroft Holmes & Mrs. Hudson, most of us have read or watched some variation on the Holmes canon. How do these stories keep going and keep inspiring? What are some of our favorites? Where do we see the opportunity for new & different adaptations? Will they ever run out? Catherine Lundoff, mod.; Cynthia Booth, Matt Coe, Eric M. Heideman

3:00-3:55 PM Mainstage (Northern Pacific)
Panel: Diversity in Comics and Rayla 2212. Author Saladin Ahmed has been engaged in an ongoing project that's been rediscovering characters of color & women in precode comics that show a far more diverse comics world than ones many of us grew up with. More POC comics creators & characters are being discovered & celebrated, including Ytasha L. Womack's Rayla. Let's talk about this brave, not so new world, that explores what comics have been & can be in the future. Catherine Lundoff, mod.; Ytasha L. Womack

And lots of other discussion on diversity in YA, and a bunch of other fun things. Come on down to Bandanna Square (in St. Paul) and check it out!
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