The Unexpected, the Sublime, and the pastime of looking up.

Welcome to my latest monthly newsletter! If you’d prefer to get this directly in your email each month, you can sign up here: http://eepurl.com/TEWfv

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Thinky Thoughts: The Unexpected, the Sublime, and the pastime of looking up.

The last thing I expected this month, after just having seen the total solar eclipse in April, was an even more mind-blowing celestial event! But a Coronal Mass Ejection resulted in spectacular auroras at both poles of the Earth, and with little to no warming I decided to abandon other plans and hop in the car late Friday night to chase it.

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Going to Great Lengths to Definitely Not See the Sun

The total solar eclipse as seen from Colebrook, New Hampshire, with Venus visible in the sky and the sunset effect through bare trees.

 

In this newsletter

  • Thinky Thoughts: Going to Great Lengths to Definitely Not See The Sun
  • Daron’s Guitar Chronicles new vols 1, 2, and 3 are live!
  • Free read: my oldest story on the Internet
  • Book rec: The Night Eaters
  • RomCon in Ashland, May 18th! Neon Hemlock live on May 22!
  • Photos from ICFA!
  • WIP Report: dragons are eating my brain!
  • A recipe: Scones!
  • One Featured Backlist Book: Wild Licks

 

Thinky Thoughts: Going to Great Lengths to Definitely Not See the Sun

After seeing the total solar eclipse in 2017, and noticing that a 2024 eclipse trip would land on my birthday weekend, we started planning to see it right then. A year ago we booked our hotel, rental car, and flights to Austin, Texas, which would normally have the highest chance of being sunny in early April of anywhere in the country. By contrast, New England typically has the highest chance of being cloudy. So it made sense to plan well in advance to go to Texas.

However, Mother Nature had other ideas.

Our flight TO Texas was cancelled because New England was experiencing a nor’easter with ice pellets being driven by 60 mph wind gusts. Because we were going to be delayed by a day or more, we lost our rental car reservation. AND for the entire week leading up to when we were supposed to leave, we’d been watching the cloud cover predictions and Texas was looking like it might be entirely clouded over along the path of totality.

Well. I took the cancelled flight as a sign. We did not go to Texas.Continue reading →

How BDSM is Like Frozen Yogurt

So, I’m reorganizing the way I handle my blog(s), email list, Patreon, and social media. I’m going to crosspost a monthly “news and notes” across all platforms. It’ll typically open with what I call “Thinky Thoughts,” followed by the “news” of where I’m going, where I’ve been, what I’m working on, and what’s new to read.

Previously this material was scattered across my various social media and then usual compiled in the newsletter, with sporadic posts at Patreon as well, but now that I’m about to start posting more fiction content to Patreon, it made sense to streamline the rest.

This post is the first full “news and notes” update I’m putting on my main blog at ceciliatan.com (and onto Tumblr and Medium and everywhere else it crossposts like LJ, Dreamwidth, Goodreads, etc!). Wherever you’re reading it, welcome! Come hear my tale of WHY it is that I’m about to start posting more to Patreon, and how the answer relates to the issue of How BDSM is Like Frozen Yogurt.

(If you’ve already read my newsletter or patreon update, this is the same stuff…)

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Duck Day 2023: Full Canto

If you’ve read my “Duck Day” posts before, you know it’s my rundown of what corwin and I made for Thanksgiving. In 2023 we left for Aruba with my Mom that Saturday, and I thought I would work on the recap post then. But “Aruba” and “work” do not mix, and instead I read two lovely books and lounged about in the shade (and finally began to feel a little bit recovered from having had COVID in September…)

Anyway, now it’s February 2024 and I’m finally posting this so I can close the dozens of tabs still open on my browser since November!Continue reading →

Ann Bannon / Cecilia Tan Lesbian Pulp Fiction Talk

Writer Ann Bannon via Zoom holds up a copy of her book Odd Girl Out during an online discussion

Well, that was fun! My talk with Ann Bannon went swimmingly. We could have easily talked for another hour. Over 200 people had RSVP’d for the event and all throughout, each time one of us said something funny or pointed, we could see the emojis floating up our screens in the back-end of Zoom.

The recording is now live on YouTube for anyone who missed it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IeyaveFkFXQ

Turns out Ann and I have a lot of parallels.

  • We both studied linguistics in college and ended up with linguistics degrees.
  • We both wrote defining works right when we were fresh out of college, her Odd Girl Out, me Telepaths Don’t Need Safewords.
  • We were both writing about sexuality and lifestyle that were taboo at the time, but which later became acceptable to depict in the mainstream (lesbian relationships, kink & BDSM).
  • We both had the experience of our publishers selling our books, successfully, to readers outside of our subcultures.
  • We have both had readers treat our fiction as if it was some kind of how-to manual!
  • We’ve both heard from readers who were validated by seeing themselves in our books, and whose lives were changed because of it.

And I’m sure there are more I’m not thinking of! I was particularly struck by the “how to” manual thing. At the time when Odd Girl Out (Bookshop.org | Amazon) was published, there was no way for people to find out what the lifestyle was like. All they knew was what their homophobic teachers, clergy, and parents told them. So Ann’s books really functioned as a window into how things could be…Continue reading →

Ann Bannon and Cecilia Tan Discuss 20th Century Lesbian Pulp & Erotica

From Closet to Classic: Ann Bannon and Cecilia Tan Discuss 20th Century Lesbian Pulp & Erotica

Screengrab from the University of Illnois website that describes the event "From Closet to Classic: Ann Bannon and Cecilia Tan Discuss 20th Century Lesbian Pulp & Erotica" an online presentation on January 18, 2024.

I’m very excited and honored to be doing this online talk with Ann Bannon, the legendary author of the Beebo Brinker books, the foundational novels of the lesbian pulp genre in the 20th century. (I’m still getting a kick out of talking about the 20th century like it was a long time ago! If only!) The Rare Book library at the University of Illinois is hosting us on Zoom, so you don’t have to be at UofI to attend!

To get the Zoom link invite, sign up here: https://go.illinois.edu/closet

The official description

Please join the Rare Book & Manuscript Library via Zoom for a conversation between two of the most influential writers in lesbian pulp and erotic fiction of the 20th century.

Ann Weldy, better known by her pen name Ann Bannon, is the author of a series of five lesbian pulp novels known as “The Beebo Brinker Chronicles.” Written from 1957 to 1962, the books were bestsellers when they were first released, and have had remarkable longevity, especially for genre fiction. They have been published in five different editions and in several languages and are often taught in women’s studies and LGBT studies courses. The books’ popularity and impact have earned Ann Bannon the title of “Queen of Lesbian Pulp Fiction,” as well as numerous awards for pioneering gay and lesbian literature. A play based on her books has been produced twice in New York and now all over the country, from Boston to Seattle.

Cecilia Tan is an award-winning writer of science fiction/fantasy, romance, and erotica, and a 2010 inductee to the Saints & Sinners LGBT Writers Hall of Fame. Her books include Bent for Leather, Black Feathers, and the Magic University series, named by Autostraddle a “Trans-Inclusive Fantasy Series for Harry Potter Fans.” Her short stories have appeared in Ms. Magazine, Asimov’s Science Fiction, Absolute Magnitude, Strange Horizons.

Please join us!

2023 in Review

So. This was the year that my cat died, my Dad died, and I got COVID. I keep saying I’ve been getting no writing done. But that’s not exactly true…?

It’s mostly that I haven’t been progressing on the Big, Important Novel Series that has occupied the center of my writing life for the past decade (aka the Vanished Chronicles), so it doesn’t FEEL like I got “any” writing done. Certainly in comparison to the years when I had three books (maybe even four?) come out, while publishing a serial with 2-3 chapters per week, plus short stories, my output is minuscule when juxtaposed. It also feels like I didn’t “write” much because much of what DID come out this year were “inventory” stories, which had been sitting around in the hard drive waiting for their final polish or rewrite. But they all count, don’t they?

They do.

So here’s a recap of everything I wrote in 2023. 

BENT FOR LEATHER and the story “Personalize Your Netherparts”

This year has been a slow rollout for my new short story collection, Bent for Leather. I say “slow rollout” because the initial goal was to publish in April to coincide with my keynote at International Ms. Leather and Bootblack (IMsLBB). An IMsL edition was printed, but to fulfill the Kickstarter stretch goals, two new pieces of interior art needed to be commissioned and then completed by the artist. So it took until September to get that edition finished and uploaded, and my plan had been to do the “official” launch in November.

But I got COVID in September so all I managed in October and November was to ship the copies due to backers. I didn’t do any of the marketing I had planned. I haven’t had the brain cells.Continue reading →

Readercon 32 (2023) Schedule

I’m finally returning to Readercon after a few years of pandemic-forced break! And the schedule I’ve got looks quite juicy! Readercon, if you’re not familiar with it, is a science fiction convention, but it’s focused entirely on books and magazines (no costumes, no gaming room, no film room). Outside of academic conferences, it’s got the highest level of discourse of any con I’ve ever been to. It now takes place in the Boston area in the Quincy Marriott on July 13-16.

Thursday Night Reading
Things open with my reading on Thursday night, 9pm in the Blue Hills room. Traditionally, programming on Thursday night at Readercon has been free and open to the public, so please come by and hear me read from my brand-new erotic short story collection, Bent for Leather. (I’ll probably even read the newest story in it…)

Friday
“What has RWA got that we ain’t got?”
Salon 4, 12 noonContinue reading →