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One Year as a Full-Time Writer

It’s been one year since I began my new life as a full-time writer.

In my fantasy world, I imagined I’d be producing a new book every month, with essays and short stories in between. I knew better, but it was a nice fantasy.

In reality, here’s what I’ve done over the past 12 months:

  • Final revision on Revisionary
  • Wrote, revised, and sent my first middle-grade fantasy manuscript to my agent
  • Sold my first SF trilogy to DAW
  • Finished the first draft of book one of said trilogy, and gotten about 35K through the rewrite
  • Wrote and sold a fantasy short story
  • Wrote and sold an article to io9
  • Wrote and sold an article to Uncanny Magazine
  • Prepped and self-published UK editions of the Princess books
  • Attended the Launch Pad astronomy workshop
  • Presented at the Lansing Rally of Writers and the MSU Young Author Conference

I also started a few short projects that didn’t end up going anywhere.

I’ll be honest, I’m glad I made that list. I’ve been feeling really unproductive for the past year. Looking back, there’s more I wish I’d gotten done, but that’s not a bad year at all. Especially since being a full-time writer doesn’t mean I get to write full-time. There’s also stuff like:

  • Grocery shopping
  • Doctor appointments for the kids
  • Dishes, vacuuming, and other housework
  • Prepping dinner most nights
  • Dealing with various school-related problems and crises
  • Chauffeuring kids to various activities
  • Catching Pokemon

Not to mention I’m still putting in ten hours/week for my old job. Most of that is telecommuting, but it’s still ten more hours each week.

All in all, this has been a good change for me. My writing productivity may not have rocketed upward as much as I’d hoped, but I’m less exhausted and less stressed. I’ve gotten to spend more time with my kids. I’m even exercising a little more, since I can take the dog for walks during the day or go Pokemon hunting in the neighborhood with my son.

It’s definitely harder making myself sit down and write when I’ve (theoretically) got the whole day to do it. Before, I wrote during lunch because it was the only guaranteed hour I had each day. Now, it’s too easy to say, “Eh, I’ll get to that later this afternoon.” I’m hoping to turn up the self-discipline again once the kids are both back in school next week.

Summer vacation has not been the most productive part of the past year…

Financially, there’s been a small hit. I left a good-paying job last year, and our savings has felt the impact. But I think overall, we’re steady. Selling that trilogy helped a lot, and we should be fine for at least the next several years. I am having to be a bit more careful with the spending, though. (No matter how much I might be drooling over the new Canon camera body or some of those lenses…)

My hope is to keep doing better than one book a year, plus extras. Terminal Alliance (the first SF book) has been challenging, but I’ll at least have some of the worldbuilding and character development done when I start in on the sequel, so that should help, right?

Hmph. Who am I kidding? Every book comes up with its own new and creative challenges.

Anyway, bottom line? I’m happier now, and I’ve written more than I would have otherwise. There’s plenty of room for improvement, but I’m calling Year One a victory.

Oh, and anyone else considering going full-time as an author, I should warn you there may be some side effects, as illustrated by this before and after photo…

Jim Before and After


Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Photography Processing: Lessons Learned

When I first started getting more seriously about this photography stuff, I focused mainly on getting a decent DSLR and learning how to use it to take better pictures. Pretty much common sense, right? I didn’t realize at the time how important the processing of those pics was to the final result.

At first, I was using the camera’s default settings, which meant every image came out as a jpg file. At the beginning of 2015, I switched that setting to RAW. Now, instead of the camera processing the image and compacting it into a jpg, I got the whole file with all the data and information the camera captured. Suddenly I could adjust white balance, tweak the exposure and shadows, and so much more. Compare the camera’s default jpg of Zoey from last year (left) to the one I processed from the RAW file (right).

Zoey JPG Zoey-raw

That was just the start. In the past, I’d used Photoshop to do some basic fixes and adjustments to my photos, but I’d never really learned to take advantage of everything the software could do. (I’m told Lightroom is even better, but like everything else in this hobby, that would require spending more money.)

On the left is a picture of Sophie. I’ve already done the initial white balance and such in RAW, but haven’t done anything else. On the right is a picture where I’ve reduced the color noise, added a few contrast layers, added a saturation layer to brighten her nose, blurred the foreground a bit, and added a little sharpening.

Sophie-raw1 Sophie-raw2

It’s particularly apparent when it comes to Milky Way photos. For a long time, I thought I just didn’t have a good enough lens and camera, or maybe I wasn’t getting the settings right. I could see the Milky Way in my pictures, but it was awfully faint. The shot on the left is an example of a jpg straight from the camera. But then I started researching how professionals process these pictures, and I realized a lot of the pics they start out with look faint and washed out too. But look what happens when you add several layers of contrast adjustment and a little bit of noise reduction.

Milky Way jpg Milky Way 2

I know the experienced photographers are probably rolling their eyes and saying, “It took you how long to figure this out?” But for me, this was an exciting revelation, one that’s added a lot to my photos … at least when I have the time to really work on them.


Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Basically, it’s the culture, attitudes, comments, and actions that enable sexual assault. Whether it’s victim-blaming, perpetuation of rape myths, attacking survivors, or–

Oh, wait. I have a better idea. Let me show you some of the comments I’ve seen since my article about sexual harassment in SF/F was published over at io9 yesterday.

Content warning for slurs and other garbage.

Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Today’s Plan

  1. Try to stay off social media.
  2. Make progress on the novel rewrite.
  3. Profit!!!

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Awesomeness Out of WorldCon

My editor, Sheila Gilbert of DAW Books, won the Hugo for Best Editor – Long Form! I’ve worked with Sheila for more than a decade now, and she’s been both a wonderful editor and an all-around great human being. I’m so happy to see her receive this well-deserved honor and recognition.

Sheila Gilbert

Photo via Edward Willett


Michi Trota became the first Filipino to win a Hugo award. She won, along with Michael and Lynne Thomas, for her work on Uncanny Magazine. Combine that with Alyssa Wong winning an Alfie from George R. R. Martin, and you get one of the best photos of the weekend:

Alyssa Wong and Michi Trota

Photo via Alyssa Wong


Looking at the voting stats, Invisible 2 came in pretty high on the longlist for Best Related Work, which is wonderful to see. Thank you to everyone who nominated it.


Mary Robinette Kowal gives a masterclass in how to accept the consequences of your actions like a grown-up, as well as single-handedly showing that no, the convention wasn’t selectively using its code of conduct to punish people for political views or beliefs.


Andy Weir and The Martian won the Campbell Award and the Hugo for Best Dramatic Work, Long Form, respectively. Which led to actual astronauts accepting in both categories. I made a joke on Twitter about it not being a real party until the astronauts were wearing the Campbell tiara. Little did I realize…

Stan Love wearing the Campbell tiara

Photo from Twitter (uncredited)


Next year’s North American Science Fiction Convention (NASFIC) will be in San Juan, and my friend Tobias Buckell is one of the guests of honor! This is awesomeness times two!


There’s so much more wonderful and amazing news from Worldcon. Huge congrats to all the Hugo winners. Nnedi Okorafor won for Binti. N. K. Jemisin took home the Best Novel Hugo for Fifth Season. A translated work, “Folding Beijing” by Hao Jingfang, won the Best Novelette. So many well-deserve honors.

While no event is ever perfect, almost all the accounts I’m reading describe Worldcon as a great time.

I’m sure there’s other great stuff I haven’t mentioned. Please remedy that in the comments! 🙂

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.


More Worldcon Thoughts

We all knew I’d end up posting a follow-up to yesterday’s piece about Worldcon’s expulsion of Dave Truesdale, right?

A lot more information has come out in the past 24 hours. At this point, it’s obvious from what’s been shared publicly that Dave Truesdale violated multiple items of Worldcon’s posted code of conduct, and that this was something done with a great deal of planning and forethought.

The more we learn about Truesdale’s actions, the more it’s become clear to me that the con made the right call in kicking his ass out. Not for his political beliefs. Not for derailing a panel or utterly failing to do his job as moderator. But for his planned and deliberate disruption of the convention. He also recorded (and intends to publish) panelists without their knowledge or consent, among other things.

(And there are other things as well, some of which have not been shared publicly. I don’t know when or if that will change.)


Part of my frustration yesterday was that Worldcon put Truesdale on this panel as moderator to begin with. He’s someone whose over-the-top rants I’ve been aware of for years, if not decades, including his conflicts with Eugie Foster, his hostility toward attempts at inclusiveness and spotlighting authors traditionally excluded from the genre,  his behavior after the SFWA Bulletin cover mess a few years back, and much more.

As one person put it on Twitter, “Truesdale’s gonna Truesdale.”

A number of people pushed back on this, and made good and valid points about how much we can expect programming volunteers to know about the history and background of their panelists and moderators.

I find myself thinking of last year, when I was editing Invisible 2, and ended up running a blog post by someone who was known in other circles to be…problematic, at best. I had no clue. One suggestion (which I’m hoping to follow) was that I needed a co-editor who might be more aware of areas like that. Ultimately, that mess was my responsibility as editor. But is it fair to expect me to have vetted all of my potential contributors?

And I only had about twenty. Worldcon has a hell of a lot more.

The programming mess at World Fantasy Con also comes to mind. There’s a general sense that WFC should have known what they were getting when they put Darrel Schweitzer in charge of programming. But then, there’s a difference between selecting someone to run your entire programming division vs. going through all of the volunteer panelists and moderators.

Ideally, I do think there should be awareness of who’s being put on panels, and recognition that when you put someone like Truesdale in charge of a panel, there’s a good chance you’re gonna get a dumpster fire. But that’s easier said than done. We’re not all online. We’re not all in the same circles.

I don’t have an answer on this one, but I welcome people’s thoughts.


A note to myself for future reference: Posting something potentially inflammatory before spending most of the day away from the internet and visiting friends? Bad idea…


We’ve seen the predictable whining that the thought-police banned Truesdale for his beliefs. If that was the case, then I do think that would be a problem.

But that’s bullshit. Truesdale was banned for his actions.

That’s a really important distinction to me, and sometimes it’s a confusing or complicated line to try to draw. It’s one of the things I was concerned about yesterday, when less was known. Now, this is about me personally. I don’t expect or demand everyone to agree with me on this — I’m not sure I can even explain it that well — but that distinction between trying to judge people’s beliefs vs. judging based on their actions is pretty much a core principle for me. (Even if, being human myself, I sometimes fail to perfectly live up to it.)

I hope that made sense.


In conclusion, from what I’ve seen now, Dave was kicked out for his actions, which violated multiple aspects of the code of conduct. And I’m okay with that. (The kicking out part, not the violating the code of conduct part…)

Also, yesterday gave me a bit of internet burnout. I’ll keep reading comments, but I probably won’t be responding/posting much more today.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Worldcon Expels Truesdale

For anyone claiming the recording Truesdale made without anyone’s knowledge or consent somehow vindicates him, or that he only hijacked the first few minutes of the panel, here’s what I heard from Truesdale’s own recording:

  • It begins with introductions
  • Then Dave starts reading his “Special Snowflakes” treatise
  • After five minutes of this, Sheila Williams cut in and began shooting him down
  • Dave pipes in a minute later to try to ask, “But what about conservative SF?” Williams keeps going.
  • About nine minutes in, Neil Clarke points out that they’re still off-topic, and gets yelled at by random loud dude in the audience.
  • Eleven minutes in, Truesdale says he wasn’t finished. Gordon Van Gelder points out they’re off topic.
  • Truesdale tries yet again to get back to the evils of political correctness. Sheila Williams shoots him down again.
  • Fifteen minutes in, Truesdale goes off about “a certain group” of bullies who can’t stand disagreement and will crucify you for having other opinions.
  • After another minute and a half of this, Williams and others once again try to respond and get back on focus.
  • Twenty minutes in, Truesdale starts talking about this one anthology editor who produced a mostly/all-male anthology and got crucified, and why it wasn’t his fault, and–
  • Several people try to respond and refocus.
  • About twenty-two minutes in, Wiscon is mentioned. Predictably, Truesdale takes a jab at Wiscon.
  • Jonathan Strahan defends Wiscon and talks about the goal of listening to *more* people, not fewer.
  • Twenty-five minutes in, Truesdale continues to talk about how there’s too much intimidation “from the left.”
  • Gordon Van Gelder points out, again, that the panel continues to be off-topic.

I stopped listening at this point, because I’d heard more than enough. Listening to his own recording, the man hijacked at least half the panel for his own personal crusade.


Follow-up blog post at http://www.jimchines.com/2016/08/more-worldcon-thoughts/  (You knew I’d end up doing a follow-up on this one, right?)


Updates since I posted this:


Just catching up on today’s Worldcon drama. It began when Worldcon selected Dave Truesdale to moderate a panel on the State of Short Fiction. Instead, it’s been reported that Truesdale used the first 10 minutes of the panel for “a 10 minute monologue on how ‘special snowflakes’ who are easily offended are destoying SF.” (Source) He was literally clutching bead necklaces that he called “pearls.” Some people walked out of the audience. Other panelists shot Truesdale’s assertions down and tried to get the panel back on topic. Basically, it sounds like a mess.

This morning, over on Facebook, Truesdale shared an email he says he received from the convention, revoking his membership for his “unacceptable behavior” during that panel.

To be clear, I’m not at Worldcon. I didn’t see first-hand what happened on this panel. (I have read multiple reports from folks in the audience and others on the panel.) It does sound like Truesdale acted like an ass, derailed the panel, and pissed off a lot of people who wanted to, you know, talk about the state of short fiction.

As you might have guessed, I have thoughts about all this…

  • Who the hell thought it was a good idea to put Dave Truesdale in charge of this panel? He’s been doing these rants for years, if not decades. How can the convention turn around and pretend to be shocked by his pearl-clutching derail when that’s pretty much who he is and what he’s known for?
  • I’ve seen panel derails and blow-ups before. People have gotten into shouting matches, walked off of panels, and so on. I’ve never heard of someone being kicked out of the con for it. (Not invited back as a panelist, sure. Kicked out? Maybe it’s happened, but it’s not a practice I’m aware of.)
  • Right now, we have only Truesdale’s post about him being kicked out. It’s possible there’s more to this than just his ridiculous behavior on that panel.
  • As Truesdale has gone public with this, I hope Worldcon will issue a statement clarifying why he was expelled from the convention, and whether he violated convention policies either on the panel or elsewhere.
  • ETA: From the Worldcon Code of Conduct: “MidAmeriCon II reserves the right to revoke membership from and eject anyone at any time from a MidAmeriCon II event without a refund. Any action or behavior that … adversely affects MidAmeriCon II’s relationship with its guests, its venue, or the public is strictly forbidden and may result in revocation of membership privileges.

I think we’ve all seen people derail panels for their own personal agendas. Truesdale’s moderation might have been an epic shitshow, but is it grounds for expulsion?

Like I said, we don’t have all the facts on this. Just people’s comments on the panel, and Truesdale’s own account of why he was kicked out. But it sounds like a mess.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Cool Stuff Friday

Friday is determined to get this manuscript turned in today!

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.


I am Princess X, by Cherie Priest

Cover Art for I Am Princess XBack when my son was in school, I noticed Cherie Priest’s YA novel I am Princess X [Amazon | B&N | IndieBound] in his Scholastic book order form. Naturally, I added that to the order we sent in!

Let’s start with the official summary from the publisher:

Once upon a time, two best friends created a princess together. Libby drew the pictures, May wrote the tales, and their heroine, Princess X, slayed all the dragons and scaled all the mountains their imaginations could conjure.

Once upon a few years later, Libby was in the car with her mom, driving across the Ballard Bridge on a rainy night. When the car went over the side, Libby passed away, and Princess X died with her.

Once upon a now: May is sixteen and lonely, wandering the streets of Seattle, when she sees a sticker slapped in a corner window.

Princess X? When May looks around, she sees the Princess everywhere: Stickers. Patches. Graffiti. There’s an entire underground culture, focused around a webcomic at IAmPrincessX.com. The more May explores the webcomic, the more she sees disturbing similarities between Libby’s story and Princess X online. And that means that only one person could have started this phenomenon — her best friend, Libby, who lives.

I stumbled a little in the beginning, because I’d gotten it into my head that this was a fantasy novel. Between the princess thing and the fact that Priest is known for SF/F… and the fact that I didn’t read the back of the book as closely as I should have. This is not speculative fiction. It’s YA mystery with a bit of a thriller feel.

It’s also a comic, which was cool. You get pages from the I Am Princess X webcomic interspersed between some of the chapters. I would have liked a bit more of the comic, but it made sense for it to end where it did, about 2/3 of the way through the book.

There’s no romance to speak of. The heart of the book is the friendship between May and Libby, which I liked a lot. I also appreciated the strained relationship between May and her father. May’s parents are divorced, and neither one of them is doing a great job of parenting. Her mother isn’t really part of the story, but I liked that her father was at least trying. Not always successfully, and he certainly messes up sometimes, but he wasn’t just a cardboard failure of a parent, or completely absent from the story.

Computer gurus Trick and Jackdaw were interesting characters as well, though they didn’t feel as well-rounded. But I’m not sure if I really wanted more of them, or if I prefer it this way, with the main focus on May and her story.

It was a little too dark for my son (he’s 11), but I enjoyed it.

You can read an excerpt here.


Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Content warning for racist advertisements, used as examples.

Oh, Darrel Schweitzer, no.

Remember a couple of weeks ago when Sarah Pinsker pointed out a number of problems with WFC’s proposed programming track? I blogged about it here, and a number of other people weighed in as well. Some of the many complaints included:

  • “Spicy Oriental Zeppelin Stories” as a title for a panel about “unlikely aerial fantastic fiction.”
  • “Little to no acknowledgement of any recent writing in the genre,” per Foz Meadows.
  • Schweitzer’s choice to ignore the feedback he received before the program was published.
  • A panel about “perversely alluring freaks.”
  • The heavy emphasis on dead white men, to the exclusion of so many others.

Well, Schweitzer and a few of his friends have stepped up to set the record straight. It started when Chet Williamson posted on Facebook that “Spicy Oriental Zeppelin Stories,” as a phrase, “is not a racist creation by Darrell Schweitzer.” Despite Google not finding any reference to this phrase, except from Schweitzer himself, Williamson found a painting by Jerome Rozen that used the title in question.

Fair enough. Williamson is correct that this proves Schweitzer did not invent the phrase. Williamson also points out that this supports Schweitzer’s claim of the phrase being “an old in-joke among pulp fans.”

Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Signing Pics and Book Winner

Had a lovely time last night at Schuler Books with Stephanie Burgis, Patrick Samphire, and Merrie Haskell. I posted a few pictures over on Facebook. Photo quality isn’t the best — I blame the kit lens I was using — but I love some of the expressions 🙂

We had a good turnout, read some bits from our respective work, and chatted about writing and worldbuilding and the difference between writing for kids and writing for adults and all that good stuff. Thanks again to everyone who came out to see us! I hope you had as much fun as I did!


I also realized I hadn’t yet picked a winner on the Heroine Complex giveaway. Shame on me! That has now been remedied, and an email sent off to Heather, who was blessed by the Random Number Generator to receive an ARC of this fun book. Congrats!

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Pics from Last Week

This was my second attempt at photographing fireflies. Basically, it involves setting the camera on the tripod, taking lots of 5-second exposures, then layering the ones with fireflies together in Photoshop using the Brighten blend mode. I’m a lot happier with this round than my first attempt. Next up: finding a better setting and background, and maybe trying a wider lens.


We went to the local fair last week. The sunlight was pretty harsh (and hot!), but I liked how a few of my shots turned out.

Bottles at the ring toss game

Ferris Wheel

Carnival ride - upside down

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

HEROINE COMPLEX: Review and Giveaway

Heroine Complex - CoverOne of the best things about writing for DAW is that they occasionally shoot me an ARC or finished copy of one of their new releases. Which is how I got my hands on an advanced review copy of Sarah Kuhn‘s debut novel Heroine Complex [Amazon | B&N | IndieBound].

The cover shows a scene from the beginning of the book, in which our two heroines take on a group of demonic cupcakes. Which should tell you most of what you need to know. But for the sake of completeness, here’s the publisher’s description:

Evie Tanaka is the put-upon personal assistant to Aveda Jupiter, her childhood best friend and San Francisco’s most beloved superheroine. She’s great at her job — blending into the background, handling her boss’s epic diva tantrums, and getting demon blood out of leather pants.

Unfortunately, she’s not nearly as together when it comes to running her own life, standing up for herself, or raising her tempestuous teenage sister, Bea.

But everything changes when Evie’s forced to pose as her glamorous boss for one night, and her darkest secret comes out: she has powers, too. Now it’s up to her to contend with murderous cupcakes, nosy gossip bloggers, and supernatural karaoke battles—all while juggling unexpected romance and Aveda’s increasingly outrageous demands. And when a larger threat emerges, Evie must finally take charge and become a superheroine in her own right … or see her city fall to a full-on demonic invasion.

Review: This is a fun read. It took me a few chapters to get drawn into the story, but the more Evie started settling into her role as substitute hero, the more I was hooked. There’s a nice balance of demon-fighting action and actual character-building and messed-up relationships, including Evie and her best friend Aveda, Evie and her troubled sister, Evie and her romantic interest (a demon-studying scientist who raided Neil Gaiman’s wardrobe), as well as a lot of secondary relationships and interactions.

The violence is all relatively light. There’s also some sexual content.

I suspect you’ll have some readers complaining, “Why aren’t there more male characters? Why are the only guys the love interests and background players?” I also suspect many other readers will find those complaints to be a strong recommendation for reading the book.

Some revelations were a bit predictable, though there were also twists I didn’t see coming. And that’s okay. This isn’t a story that attempts to be super-deep and mysterious and profound. It’s an unapologetically fun story of two Asian-American women fighting demon cupcakes in San Francisco and doing their best to save the world.

Read an excerpt.

Giveaway: DAW sent me not one, but two ARCs of this book. So I figured one of them should go to a reader. If you’re interested, leave a comment about your favorite superheroine. I’ll pick a winner at random and mail you a copy early next week.


Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Newsletter and New Book Title

Klud the goblin will be sending out my next newsletter soon, and will be revealing the title of my next book. And possibly a few plot details to go with it.

I’ll also be giving away an autographed book to one subscriber at random, as usual.

If you want to sign up, now’s your chance. If you’re already signed up, you should be seeing something within the next week. And if you have zero interest in newslettery type things, that’s okay too!

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

World Fantasy Con Programming Mess

World Fantasy Con 2016 Programming has been announced.

On the bright side, after some internet backlash, it looks like they’ve renamed the “Spicy Oriental Zeppelin Stories” panel. So, um, yay for that? But that particular panel name was a symptom of a bigger problem.

I first found out about this from Sarah Pinsker’s series of Tweets. Some of the problems she points out include:

  • A panel about “perversely alluring” freaks. (Panel description has since been slightly tweaked.)
  • “More mentions of Lovecraft in the program than all women or works by women COMBINED.”
  • Heavy programming emphasis on white men, particularly old/dead white men, to the exclusion of others.

Foz Meadows writes more about this mess. File770 also has a roundup of reactions.

I don’t know what was going on in the mind of Darrell Schweitzer and anyone else involved in putting this program together. But I can’t help thinking about the announcement late last year that the World Fantasy Award trophy would no longer feature the bust of H. P. Lovecraft.

And now we have five different panels that focus either directly or indirectly on Lovecraft.

It’s possible this is a coincidence. I believe Schweitzer is a strong Lovecraft fan, so his focus might just be indicative of his own narrow interests. But whether it was deliberate or not, it feels like backlash. A slap in the face of those who talked about how hurtful the Lovecraft trophy was, and all the reasons they wanted to see the award become more inclusive and welcoming to a broader range of fantasy and creators.

Wouldn’t it be great to see the World Fantasy Convention become equally welcoming instead of what feels like petulant doubling down?

It’s not something that just happens all by itself. If WFC wants to become more relevant, there needs to be conscious and deliberate effort to change direction. To look not just at fantasy from decades ago, but the brilliant, creative, exciting work being produced today.

I love the idea of a World Fantasy Convention. I’m utterly bored by another Whitedude Fantasy Convention.

Schweitzer allegedly said “there was no quota system or affirmative action in place” when asked about his programming choices. I get what he’s trying to say, but he’s wrong. Schweitzer’s own quota system is pretty obvious. It might not have been a conscious or deliberate quota, but the programming certainly meets its 90% works by men quota, and its 96% works by white people quota, and so on.

Gods, I’m so tired of the defensive “quota” bullshit. Nobody’s asking for quotas. But it would be nice if people would at least try to recognize their own biases. Sometimes that means yes, you need to actually step back and count. Count the number of women you’ve included in your programming, the number of people of color, and so on. Not because you’re supposed to include an arbitrary number of people from any given category, but to recognize whether your own unconscious choices are narrower than you realized.

While you’re at it, maybe reach out to ask others to look over your proposed program, and maybe help you catch whether what you think is a “harmless in-joke” is going to piss off and hurt a lot of people, making it very clear you don’t really want them as part of your convention.

It just seems better and easier to do that kind of work beforehand, you know?

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.


A reader named Romy alerted me to the Harry Potter Alliance, bringing fans together for good causes. Here are just a few of their accomplishments over the past decade or so, from their website:

  • A partnership with Walk Free that engaged over 400,000 fans and resulted in Warner Bros. changing the sourcing of their Harry Potter chocolate to be 100% UTZ or Fairtrade.
  • Raising over $123,000 for Partners In Health and sending five cargo planes of life-saving supplies to Haiti.
  • Donations of over 250,000 books across the world through HPA’s Accio Books campaign.

I’m particularly enchanted by the annual Accio Books campaign. And I love that the different houses compete to see which can collect the most books. (Ravenclaw was the winner last year, which seems appropriate somehow.) The whole thing just sounds like fun, collaborative work to make the world a better place.

If you’re interested, you can donate, join a chapter, or volunteer.

J. K. Rowling herself has spoken about the group, saying, “I am honoured and humbled that Harry’s name has been given to such an extraordinary campaign, which really does exemplify the values for which Dumbledore’s Army fought in the books.”

I love seeing fans come together like this. I love the hope and the optimism … and I’m always happy to see how stories can inspire people to change the world for the better.

Goblin: Keep Being Awesome!!!



Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.


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