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Marriage Equality

Jun. 26th, 2015 | 03:54 pm

In February 2001 — on Valentine’s Day, in point of fact — Lisa and I and two of our dearest friends drove from Portsmouth, NH to Burlingon, Vermont, where we had an appointment with a minister (a former Catholic priest and a friend of friends) to sign a license of civil union. It was flurrying a bit as we found the Burlington courthouse and began filling out the paperwork for the license. This involved my remembering my parents’ years of birth, and about halfway through the process, Lisa put down her pen.

“I’m not sure I actually want to do this,” she said.

I refrained from pointing out that not only was this my best chance to get on her health insurance, saving us about $500 a month plus the cost of my asthma medications, but that we’d just driven through the fringes of a snowstorm to get here. “Well, if you really hate the idea, we don’t have to. We can just stand witness for Don and Thomas.”

“I hate the idea of marriage. It’s like a virgin sacrifice, and it’s a horrible institution.”

“I’m not fond of it either, but this is a civil union. We can make that mean something different.”

“It’s the same damn thing.”

“Like I said, we don’t have to do this. Oh, look, isn’t that an adorable puppy!”

Someone had brought in their 3 or 4 month-old shaggy mixed-breed puppy to get its license, and most of the courthouse staff had come out from behind the tall counters to pet it and make much of it. The puppy was clearly loving the attention, and Lisa took a deep breath.

“All right. I’m going to go say hi to that puppy and think about it.”

I finished filling out the paperwork, and after a few minutes she came back and said, “All right. I’m ok with this. Let’s do it.”
I remain sorry that I didn’t have a whole fistful of treats to offer that puppy.

At that point we’d been together 22 years, and the plan was that we would have a celebratory party at some later date — we didn’t want it to feel as though our newly-legal status trumped the 21 years we’d already been together. What with one thing and another, we never had the party, and five years later Lisa was dead. It was unclear at her death whether I was a legal spouse or not, and there was no real reason (and no money) to take anything to court to find out. To the COBRA people, I was a spouse, and had 6 more years of her insurance, though they had no code for same-sex partner, and had to list me as a child, adding a note to the file; to the pension administrators and the bank that held her IRA, Lisa’s death came before New Hampshire recognized civil unions, so I was not a spouse. At the funeral home, I made the arrangements, and was acknowledge as the proper party to do so by nice Mr. Gagne, but Lisa’s sister signed the authorization as next of kin. My parents loaned me the money to cover the expenses because the life insurance hadn’t come through, and after 3 years of dealing with cancer, we had no savings left. We owned the house jointly, so it was automatically mine, but I couldn’t pay her debts until we went through probate, because I wasn’t a spouse.

This used to be normal. I heard a hundred stories like this — and worse, so much worse — as we lost friends during the AIDS crisis, and I’ll be the first to say that we were tremendously lucky, as we did all the correct paperwork and had supportive families. And while we have a lot of work still to do (employment discrimination, for one big thing — what’s the point of getting married if coming out will get you fired), at least there is something better available than the weird patchwork of yeses and noes that followed Lisa’s death.

And that for me is another thing that marriage is about, along with the familiar talk of joy and happiness, dignity and acknowledgement. It’s the right, when things are at their worst, to take care of the person you love. That is also why this matters.

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Star Wars: Rise of the Empire

May. 3rd, 2015 | 02:02 pm

Another update - I’ve been signed to do a short story for the Del Rey bind-up Rise of the Empire! I’ve been a Star Wars fan since the very beginning, and the idea of writing in that universe fills me with excitement.

Star Wars and me...Collapse )

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Another General Update

May. 1st, 2015 | 03:25 pm

Or perhaps this should be titled “May? Already??” It’s been a busy spring! The giant snapping turtles have emerged from hibernation in the pond behind my condo, and it looks as though the wisteria is going to bloom very soon. The trees around the pond, and one dead tree that has fallen into the pond, are all covered with wisteria vines, and when they’re all in bloom it’s an amazing sight. I’m not sure what will happen to the vine on the fallen tree when the rest of the trunk rots away, but for now, it’s a strange lump of greenery hung with the occasional flower cluster. I’ll try to post pictures once it come into full bloom.

Third Path is now at Fandemonium and being edited. I’m pleased with the way it came together, and I hope Sally (our editor) and MGM will be, too! We’re still hoping to see that out in time for Shore Leave and/or the Chicago Creation Con in August. I’ve got the Wraith novella due in September, too, and am looking forward to that.

Next up, I owe Jo my final section of Oath Bound — one long flying sequence — so that the ms. can go to the editor. We’re planning on a mid-fall release, and I expect to make that without trouble. Barring unforeseen weirdness, of course!

As far as solo projects go, I’m working on the plot for the next Points novel, Point of Sighs. This will be the novel in which we see just how bad Philip’s stars are for water… Lisa and I only made a few notes on this one, and they weren’t as helpful as I might have liked, as we were still arguing over which of the three possible plots we were going to use. I have most of the big pieces in place, but am still working on the details — in fact, I just downloaded a new Scrivener template designed especially for mysteries. I’ll be interested to see if it helps me juggle the pieces.

I’m also about 50,000 words into an entirely unexpected project. It’s a new thing for me on several different levels. First, it’s as close to high fantasy as I’m ever likely to get — not a genre I’ve ever tried before — and, unusually for me, I started writing long before I knew what the throughline of the story was going to be. The working title is Water Horse, and it’s about the aging king of beleaguered kingdom who manipulates his allies, his lovers, and even his prophesied fate to try to save his people. I’ve realized as I’ve been going on that it’s an inversion of the classic quest fantasy, told from the point of view of a common villain, the queer sorcerer-king. Or mostly from his point of view: this is — also unusually for me — a large-cast novel, and it’s been really good to stretch myself that way. I’m hoping to finish this over the course of the year, and have the book available in the first half of 2016.

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Stargate Update

Apr. 13th, 2015 | 09:13 am

A quick Stargate update, as I haven’t done one in a while!

First, Third Path is just about done, and we should be handing it off to Fandemonium right on schedule, at the end of April. My hope is that this means the book will be ready in time for Shore Leave and for the Chicago CreationCon. We’ll certainly be doing everything we can to make that happen.  (I’m really pleased with the shape of the ms., and with a subplot involving Ronon, but I can’t say any more without spoilers. Oh, and some scenes with Zelenka and the Wraith Ember…)

Second, I’ve signed a contract with Fandemonium to produce a Wraith-centric novella, Lost Queen! When the queen Moonwhite disappears after a secret meeting with her sister Light Breaking, her consort Blaze suspects treachery. Light Breaking denies all involvement, however, and sends her own consort to aid in the investigation – or possibly to shape it to her ends. Unfortunately, the trail leads to a world within the Lantean sphere of influence, and Lanteans’ queen and her people are there before them. Blaze must outwit the Lanteans and stave off treachery from his old friend if he’s to have any chance of saving his queen.

(Lost Queen is part of a new series of Stargate novellas produced by Fandemonium, showcasing shorter pieces that explore different parts of the Stargate universe. Because of length, they’ll be e-book only, and they’re a great chance for us as authors to play with ideas that might not sustain a full novel.)

Third – I and a whole bunch of Fandemonium’s authors are going to be at the Stargate CreationCon in Chicago! No details on the panels yet, but we will be speaking, and Sally and Tom will have books for sale. If you’re planning to attend, please stop by the table and say hi!

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Wind Raker - First Impressions

Feb. 12th, 2015 | 06:11 pm

Another snippet from Wind Raker! Over lunch at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, Jerry Ballard and museum director Dr. Peter Buck try to find out more about the German archeologist, Wilhelm Friedrich Radke, who’s been foisted on their dig…
First Impressions...Collapse )

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Order of the Air Omnibus

Feb. 9th, 2015 | 04:20 pm

In conjunction with the 2/15 release of Wind Raker, Crossroad is putting out an omnibus edition of the first three Order of the Air novels — Lost Things, Steel Blues, and Silver Bullet (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Crossroad, Smashwords). If you were curious about the series, this is an excellent chance to check it out, at what amounts to a 40% savings.

Lost Things, Steel Blues, Silver BulletCollapse )

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Wind Raker - An Arrival

Feb. 1st, 2015 | 11:52 am

Wind Raker comes out in two weeks! The official release date is Feb. 15 (one day after Valentine’s Day, should you be looking for a present for a discerning reader ;-) and it’s available for pre-order on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Here’s a taste of the story, as Gilchrist Aviation arrives in Hawaii. Douglas Patterson is the son of the company handyman, who abandoned his children when he left town to look for work. Stasi and Mitch have taken them in temporarily, but this new job has meant bringing them to Hawaii, too…

Read more...Collapse )

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Jan. 24th, 2015 | 10:30 am

First, Wind Raker is now up for pre-order on Amazon! I’m really pleased with the way we were able to integrate Jerry’s archeological sections with the aviation sections, and it was a lot of fun to research and write the gang’s new plane, the Consolidated PBY Catalina. PeriscopeFilm.com has reprinted the original pilot’s manual, which was enormously helpful in getting a feel for how the plane worked. It also contained some useful reminders, including “All maneuvers are prohibited except those prescribed for normal flight.”  In case you didn’t get it, half a page later the manual reiterates: “All acrobatics are prohibited in this type of airplane.” It’s just a bit different from the smaller transports that Gilchrist Aviation normally flies!

Second, the audiobook edition of Point of Hopes is in production, once again by Matt Leisy, who did the audiobook for Point of Knives! (I owe him another list of pronunciations, too.) I’m an extremely visual writer (and reader), and have a bad habit of picking names that look good without much regard for how they’ll be pronounced. I have been trying to get better at that, but it’s still kind of humbling to see what I’ve put a good reader through...

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Wind Raker!

Jan. 18th, 2015 | 11:12 am

Wind Raker, the fourth book of the Order of the Air, is now scheduled for release February 15! Once again, we have a spectacular Bob Eggleton cover, which I am delighted to share.
(Cut for image size)Collapse )

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Oops - it's 2015 already, isn't it?

Jan. 11th, 2015 | 11:28 am

Well, that was a year! It was busy, mostly in good ways: I had three new books out, plus the year’s best anthology that I edited with Steve Berman; I sold three new pieces of short fiction and had a story in Gardner Dozois’s annual year’s best collection, and Lethe Press and Crossroad brought more of my backlist back into print.

The 2014 roundup...Collapse )
2015...Collapse )

Happy (belated) New Year to one and all!

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