- Comedy wildlife photo entries for 2018
- There is an official Instagram for UPS Dogs. But the first photo is a baby alpaca. #DogFail!
- Animal Tweets to make your day better
The wonderful folks at Uncanny Magazine have been kind enough to host the cover reveal for Terminal Uprising, book two of the Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse trilogy.
We’re also doing a giveaway for an autographed hardcover of Terminal Alliance. So head over to check out the wonderful cover Dan Dos Santos created, and enter for your chance at a free book!
Or if you’d like, you can click on one of these the Terminal Uprising pre-order links first:
- HARDCOVER: Amazon | Mysterious Galaxy | Schuler Books | Indiebound
- EBOOK: Amazon | B&N | BAM | Kobo | iBooks
For those of you who enjoyed Terminal Alliance, here’s the official summary for the sequel, coming February 2019. It’s now available for pre-order at most retailers. (Still waiting for B&N and BAM to get the hardcover listed…)
Cover art will be coming soon, and I’ll probably get a sample chapter posted in another month or two, once I finish the final revisions.
Human civilization didn’t just fall. It was pushed.
The Krakau came to Earth in the year 2104. By 2105, humanity had been reduced to shambling, feral monsters. In the Krakau’s defense, it was an accident, and a century later, they did come back and try to fix us. Sort of.
It’s been four months since Marion “Mops” Adamopoulos learned the truth of that accident. Four months since she and her team of hygiene and sanitation specialists stole the EMCS Pufferfish and stopped a bioterrorism attack against the Krakau homeworld. Four months since she set out to find proof of what really happened on Earth all those years ago.
Between trying to protect their secrets and fighting the xenocidal Prodryans, who’ve been escalating their war against everyone who isn’t Prodryan, the Krakau have their tentacles full.
Mops’ mission changes when she learns of a secret Krakau laboratory on Earth. A small group under command of Fleet Admiral Belle-Bonne Sage is working to create a new weapon, one that could bring victory over the Prodryans … or drown the galaxy in chaos.
To discover the truth, Mops and her rogue cleaning crew will have to do the one thing she fears most: return to Earth, a world overrun by feral apes, wild dogs, savage humans, and worse. (After all, the planet hasn’t been cleaned in a century and a half!) What Mops finds in the filthy ruins could change everything, assuming she survives long enough to share it.
Perhaps humanity isn’t as dead as the galaxy thought.
- HARDCOVER: Amazon | Mysterious Galaxy | Schuler Books | Indiebound
- EBOOK: Amazon | B&N | BAM | Kobo | iBooks
Content warning for discussion of mass shootings and domestic violence.
But calling it “dating violence” misses a very significant factor. I dug through a list of school shootings from the past few years and tried to pick out every story that seemed to involve any sort of dating/romantic relationship, either real or desired on the part of the shooter.
Anyone want to guess what I found? In every single case, the shooter was male, and the target was female.
Remember last week when I talked about needing to teach kids to hear and accept “No” for an answer? Let me be more specific. Being able to set and respect boundaries is important for everyone. But we desperately need to teach boys and men to respect “No.” That male sense of entitlement is literally killing people.
The whole “incel” thing is another example where we see a guy committing murder because he feels the world owed him sex. Yet, despite the fact that both men and women can be “involuntarily celibate,” it’s only the men lashing out with violence, killing people because they’re unwilling to accept women telling them no.
As a society, this is exactly what we teach men to do. We teach them to be persistent, to never accept no for an answer. The entertainment industry is flooded with stories of men essentially wearing down the target of their desire until the woman says yes. We teach them that women aren’t people, but things to be won and used.
Again and again, we see where those lessons lead:
Santa Fe High School. Texas. Kole Dixon, 16, a sophomore…said that friends told him that the gunman first entered an art classroom, said “Surprise!” and started shooting. The suspect’s ex-girlfriend was among the people shot in that classroom, he said.* Sadie Rodriguez, the mother of Shana Fisher, 16, told the newspaper that her daughter rejected four months of aggressive advances from accused shooter Dimitrios Pagourtzis… Fisher finally stood up to him and embarrassed him in class, the newspaper quoted her mother as writing in a private message to the Times. “A week later he opens fire on everyone he didn’t like,” she said. “Shana being the first one.”
*Per the second link, it sounds like Fisher wasn’t the killer’s ex-girlfriend, but a girl he’d been aggressively pursuing.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Florida. Student Victoria Olvera, 17, said that Cruz had been abusive to his ex-girlfriend and that his expulsion was over a fight with her new boyfriend.
Italy High School. Texas. Shook said the girl who was shot had moved to the school district a few months earlier. She said the girl had briefly dated the suspect, but that she did not know much about her.
Rancho Tehama Reserve. California. The wife’s car was still there. Her body, shot several times, was hidden beneath the floor. “We believe that’s what probably started this whole event,” Tehama County Asst. Sheriff Phil Johnston told reporters.
Mattoon High School. Illinois. [T]he teen targeted a female student at Mattoon High School who he said called him gay.
North Lake College. Texas. “He had been stalking her for quite a while but she didn’t make anything of it,” her mom said. The family says witnesses told them Torres had approached Janeera in front of an art exhibit and yelled at her saying, “You know who I am and you know why I am here!” The family also says the two never dated and were not even friends.
North Park Elementary School. California. The slain teacher was identified as Karen Smith, 53, who police said was Anderson’s estranged wife.
Antigo High School. Wisconsin. A school administrator said he does not believe Wagner targeted the victims. Instead, interim district administrator Donald Childs told The Associated Press he believes Wagner planned to enter the prom and start shooting randomly. A student who did not want to be identified told FOX6 News Wagner had been depressed following the break-up with his girlfriend.
Rogers State University. Oklahoma. Sources said a woman was studying in a music hall when she spotted her ex-boyfriend, Fees, outside. Fees shot through the window at the woman, but she was able to run to safety and call authorities, reports say.
We see the seeds in the way so many men lash out with threats of violence when a woman dares to tell them no. We see the statistics showing that the most dangerous time for a woman in an abusive relationship is when she tries to leave.
I know, I know. “Not all men,” and all that. Most men don’t go on killing sprees when a woman turns them down. But the list of men who do is too damned long.
So many guys are so obsessed with being “real men.” Here’s a thought. Maybe a real man should have more emotional stability and maturity than a toddler throwing a tantrum when he doesn’t immediately get everything he wants. Maybe he should be man enough to hear the word “no” without having to whine, curse, threaten, and/or kill. Maybe that’s what we should be teaching boys and men.
Sometimes I think two of the most important things we can teach kids are that they have a right to say no, and that if someone tells them no, they have to respect that.
I know some Very Clever People will point out that there are exceptions. If I tell my five-year-old child to stop shoving his LEGO Star Wars figures into the garbage disposal while cackling and saying, “In its belly, you will find a new definition of pain and suffering as you are slowly digested over a thousand years,” he’s not going to have much luck telling me no. If my boss gives me an assignment and I tell him no, that’s probably gonna end badly for me.
(On the other hand, if that same five-year-old doesn’t want a kiss from Aunt Rose? He has the right to say no. Maybe today Aunt Rose will have to settle for a fistbump.)
But I think most of us are able to understand and discuss this without having to derail for those “whatabouts.”
You have the right to say no.
If you’re on the receiving end of that “No”? You don’t have to be happy about it. You can feel hurt or angry or whatever. But you still have to accept it.
You have the right to say no, even if you said yes in the past. You’re allowed to change your mind. You’re allowed to decide that today you want to set this boundary, regardless of whether you set it yesterday or not.
You have the right to set rules and boundaries in your own space. You decide who can and can’t be in your home. You decide who can call you, text you, talk to you online, and so on. You have the right to tell someone to leave you the hell alone, and to block their ass if they can’t respect that.
If someone tells you to stop talking to them? Stop talking to them! Don’t argue. Don’t whine about how it’s unfair. Don’t keep coming back to explain yourself, or to try to get the last word. Grow the hell up and get on with your life.
To put it as simply and clearly as I can, you don’t have a right to another person. Even if you disagree with them. Even if you hate them. Even if you’re attracted to them. Even if you’re married to them.
That sense of false entitlement to another human being is at the core of so much dysfunctional societal rot. Rape and domestic violence and the epidemic of men physically hurting or killing women for telling them no…
Learn to say no, and to respect it from others. Teach kids the same. Expect the same from the people in your life. Demand the same (when it’s safe for you to do so). Support people’s right to set their own boundaries, and help push back against those who would ignore them.
This post brought to you by someone who may end up being an object lesson for a future post, depending on how things go.
A few nights ago, my wife woke me up at about three in the morning. Through the open windows, she’d heard what sounded vaguely like a velociraptor from Jurassic Park making that chirping/rattling/growling sound they make right before they eat your face. For a countermelody, something else — or maybe it was the same thing — kept screeching.
She’d already checked to make sure all of our animals were inside, so we knew it wasn’t our cats/dogs/guinea pig getting eaten by a genetically modified dinosaur.
I’ve lived in Michigan for about four decades, and I had no clue what was out there. So I grabbed a flashlight to check it out. Then I put the flashlight back and grabbed one that worked.
This wasn’t a terribly powerful flashlight, just a little LED light. But it was enough for me to avoid any dog “gifts” as I walked through the back yard. By now, I knew the sound was coming from a large tree on the other side of the fence.
I shine the light around, and quickly spot three sets of shining eyes watching me from the branches. The flashlight wasn’t strong enough for me to make out anything except the bright, glowing eyes. My brain was now alert enough to run through a quick checklist.
- Dinosaurs are extinct, and Seanan McGuire lives on the other side of the country, so these probably weren’t real velociraptors.
- The eyes were on the front of the head, not to the sides. Ergo, probably predators of some non-velociraptor variety.
- They were about twenty feet up, suggesting either birds or maybe large cats?
- Oh, cool — we have owls!
I hung out for another minute or two, hoping I’d be able to see more, but the darkness mocked me with its…darkness.
And then, right before I turned around to come inside, some long-dormant instinct made me raise the flashlight and look up. The beam illuminated a fourth pair of eyes in the branches directly above me. Just…watching.
I was tempted to grab my camera and try to climb up onto the roof to get some long-exposure shots with the zoom lens. Then I remembered it was three in the freaking morning, so I went back to bed.
They haven’t come back, which makes me a little sad, but helps everyone in the house to sleep better.
But the real lesson here is that if we ever are attacked by mutant dinosaurs or whatever, I’ll be one of the first to be ambushed and eaten.
Friday will be dropping by Penguicon tomorrow!
- Celine Dion and Deadpool team-up for the Deadpool 2 soundtrack. (Link via The Mary Sue.)
- LEGO kinetic build of Luke dodging Vader in the Death Star trench run
- Star Wars sand sculptures.
- Creative Star Wars cosplay
TERMINAL UPRISING is sitting with my editor. My agent called yesterday to share a few comments on the manuscript. Overall, he thought it was a good book, and a strong follow-up to TERMINAL ALLIANCE.
I am always happy when I have so few notes on a manuscript that it’s almost like I’m reading it for pleasure. Like with this one. https://t.co/s3ifvRCSgZ
— Joshua Bilmes (@jabbermaster) May 1, 2018
After spending a year on that book, I needed a break. So for the past week, I’ve been planning out a completely different project, something unrelated to any of my current series. The next Janitors book will be my priority, since that’s under contract and I don’t want to leave people with 2/3 of a trilogy, but I’m really excited about this new thing.
I normally start with a rough outline, then leap into the first draft. This inevitably leads to the discovery that my outline is broken. It’s not until after the first or second draft that I start to pull everything together and figure out how the book is going to work.
This time, I tried something different. I wrote the rough outline, but then tried writing what I called Draft Zero. It’s somewhere between an outline and a proper draft. It’s broken into chapters and scenes, but each scene is very sparse, between 50 and 500 words.
As always, I discovered problems with the outline. But I’ve been able to find and fix a lot of them in Draft Zero. It’s possible (probable) (inevitable) that I’ll hit additional potholes as I start writing Draft One, but I’m hoping there will be fewer, and I’ll be able to finish this project more quickly.
For now, though, I need to turn my attention back to Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse III. I planted plot seeds in the last chapter of TERMINAL UPRISING, and it’s time to start thinking about how the heck I’m going to turn those seeds into a story.
I’m also expecting to hear back from my editor soon, at which point I’ll need to dive in on final revisions to TERMINAL UPRISING. I’m actually looking forward to that. This feels like part of the payoff for the past year’s work — I have a book that, hey, I think is pretty good! And now I get to go through with advice from very smart professionals to make it even better!
(Also, I get to see cover art. Will share as soon as I can, but Dan Dos Santos has once again done a lovely job.)
So that’s one book to revise and two more to write. Along with three pitches my agent sent out for Potentially Fun Thing that may or may not happen.
That should be enough to keep me busy and out of trouble…mostly…for at least the next year.