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Upcoming Events

Terminal Alliance - Papberback Cover ArtIt’s going to be a busy few weeks. In addition to the October 30 paperback release of Terminal Alliance, I’ve got three different events coming up: two in-state, and one out-of-country.

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October 20, 2 – 6 p.m.
Unreality Fest. Battle Creek Barnes & Noble. Battle Creek, Michigan.

“This is a festival celebrating science fantasy, science fiction, horror, and paranormal authors and their work. This year’s authors include Jim C. Hines, Danica Davidsion, J. Gabriel Gates, Lindsay Mead, Patricia Arnold, Curtis S. Arnold, Steve Copling, Thomas H. Picard, Corbin Dailey, and Sandy Carlson.”

October 24, 6:30 – 8 p.m.
“Prep-Tober” Writing Workshop/Q&A at East Lansing Public Library. East Lansing, Michigan.

“Attention all current and would-be writers! Thinking about tackling National Novel Writing Month this year? Not sure how to get started? Jim C. Hines, SFF author of the Magic Ex Libris, Princess, Jig the Goblin, and new Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse series is hosting a Prep-Tober writing workshop Wednesday, October 24, 6:30-8pm. He’ll talk about the writing process, how he got started, and answer any questions you may have. A book signing will take place at the end.”

October 31 – November 5
Les Utopiales. Nantes, France.

“Fortes du patrimoine laissé par Jules Verne et du passé surréaliste de Nantes, les Utopiales se sont installées dans le paysage culturel nantais au tout début du nouveau siècle, en l’an 2000.”

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Unfortunately, this means I’ll be spending much of Terminal Alliance day on planes, but you know what? For a trip to France, I’m okay with that.

This also means I’m trying to get everything ready and/or finished now, because the next few weeks are going to be hectic. But once I get back home, that’s it for me until ConFusion in January. Nothing to do but sit around and relax while I finish page proofs for Terminal Uprising, work on the third Janitors book, write those other pieces, like an anthology introduction and a solicited non-fiction piece… Not to mention getting ready for the holidays. And my wife’s birthday. Plus the dog needs knee surgery. And we have to finish clearing stuff out of the garage.

…and if I keep listing things, I’m going to end up running away from the computer and hiding in my Protective Blanket of Fear.

Happy Wednesday, all!

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Content warning for discussion of a teacher arrested for sexual touching of students.

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Earlier this month, as I was sitting in the airport getting ready to go to ICON, an email popped up from our school district superintendent. He was writing to let parents know that a fifth grade teacher had been arrested on five counts of second degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of assault with intent to commit second-degree criminal sexual conduct.

This was my son’s teacher a few years ago.

My wife spoke with my son while I was gone. He says Mr. Daley never did anything like that to him, which was a relief. He also talked about how disappointed he was in his teacher.

You and me both, kiddo.

My son is in eighth grade this year. If you’d asked me who his best teacher was in the decade he’s been going to school? I would have said Mr. Daley. He was patient, supportive, encouraging, and seemed to genuinely care about his students.

And now, every good thing he did is tainted by the question, Did he really care about his students? Or was it all some sort of grooming behavior, laying the groundwork to see what he could get away with, and with whom?

I trust and believe my son when he says nothing happened. I know fifth grade was a good year for him in many ways, and a relief after a rough time in fourth grade. Mr. Daley was a big part of that. But I also know at least four boys have come forward with these accusations — accusations the news reports claim are corroborated — accusations that were enough to justify an arrest and formal charges.

I’ve worked with rape and abuse survivors. I’ve observed groups with convicted abusers. My wife is a licensed therapist, and has way more experience than I do working with both survivors and abusers. Mr. Daley was one of our favorite teachers for either of our children. Neither one of us had the slightest inkling.

And I start thinking about other, more publicized accusations of harassment and assault, and the denials that follow. People coming out to proclaim the accuser must be lying because the accused is a “very fine man,” and they’ve never seen anything to suggest he (or she) would do such a thing.

Well, yeah. Predators don’t have neon forehead tattoos labeling them rapists and harassers and abusers. The soundtrack doesn’t shift to a minor key when they enter a room.

I understand feeling shocked. I understand not wanting to believe. I was so much happier thinking of this guy as just a great teacher instead of an alleged sexual predator.

I understand wanting to bury your head in denial. But every time someone proclaims, “The victim must be lying, because the accused is such a good man and he’d never do that,” not only are you hurting the victim — not only are you calling them a liar and adding to the burden and pain of speaking up — you’re also providing cover for predators. You’re saying all they have to do is act like a good person around you, and you’ll actively support them and help them to discredit their victims.

Sometimes it’s people you never would have expected. Sometimes it’s people on your “side.” Sometimes it’s people you really liked.

The next hearing in this case is scheduled for late November. Daley will have his time in court, and is legally innocent until proven guilty. It’s possible he is innocent. But given that false accusations are statistically unlikely, given that there are multiple, corroborated accusations, given that enough evidence exists for multiple charges to have been filed, I find that very unlikely.

No matter how much I might want to believe otherwise.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Cool Stuff Friday

Friday has mixed feelings about this whole exercise routine thing.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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October 10 is Mental Health Awareness Day. If you’re a regular reader, you probably already know I’ve been dealing with depression for a while now. Got the official diagnosis back in April of 2012. Started on antidepressants the next month. Began seeing a counselor shortly after that.

The depression had been there a lot longer. I remember feeling suicidal as a kid, and getting close enough to scare myself at least twice. Looking back, I can see stretches where the brain weasels got the best of me in college too, and they had a good old time messing with my head the year I spent living in Nevada.

Lucy: Psychiatric HelpThe pills helped to stabilize my mood and get me back to a healthier baseline. The counselor helped me make some changes with my life. Neither of these things actually fixed or cured the depression. Like my diabetes, it’s still there — I’m just doing a better job of managing it.

Unlike the diabetes, I can’t take a drop of blood and measure how Depressed I am today. Wouldn’t that be nice? “My Depression Level is 193. Better watch a half hour of kitten videos.”

A big difference in my pre- and post-diagnosis life is that I now know the brain weasels are there. I’m better at recognizing when I’m just having a lousy day vs. when the Depression is getting the upper hand. Being able to identify the problem, knowing it’s real, helps a lot.

But it doesn’t make the problem go away. I know it’s there, and I know there are cracks in my mental health the brain weasels can sneak through. To choose a totally hypothetical example, say a book I’m working on is going a lot more slowly than I want…

One of the best things I’ve learned over the past six years is that I’m not alone. Since I started talking about the depression, I’ve spoken with a lot of people who are fighting the same disease. Others are battling different mental illnesses. And none of us are alone in that fight, even though the brain weasels will totally lie and try to make you think you are.

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Lesson One: Depression lies. It says you’re alone, you’re unworthy of love, your failures are deserved and your successes are flukes, your happiness is fleeting but sadness is eternal, your problems are inescapable, and things will never get better. It’s all lies.

Lesson Two: Mental illness is real. You know, I had zero problem going to the hospital for my diabetes back when I was diagnosed. My blood sugar was over 600 at one point. It didn’t matter how strong or determined or optimistic I was if my pancreas was taking early retirement.

Mental illness is just as real and valid as any other. Willpower won’t make my pancreas start working. Willpower also won’t rebalance the chemical makeup of my brain. There are things I can do to help — exercise can be a useful tool for both diseases — but it won’t cure the problems.

People get sick. That doesn’t make you a failure, and it’s not your fault.

Lesson Three: Getting help is … helpful. Going to the doctor and the counselor was hard. Really hard. But it made a huge difference. It may have saved my marriage. It helped my relationship with my kids, and with the other people in my life. It helped my writing.

It may take time to find a doctor and/or therapist who’s the right fit. If you go on medication, it may take time to find the right dosage and the right med or combination of meds. And some health insurance plans can be a nightmare.

But if you can, it’s worth reaching out for help.

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For those in the U.S., Mental Health America has what looks like a good set of tools for getting started, including screening tools and steps to find help. MentalHealth.gov has some resources as well.

Be kind to yourself. You deserve health and happiness.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Back from ICON 43

Got home around midnight last night, collapsed into bed, and was immediately pounced upon by one of the cats. I guess Chewie felt I owed him four days’ worth of scritches, and he meant to collect RIGHT NOW. Cats, you know?

ICON was a great deal of fun, as always. We had a delightful set of guests this year: Mike Mullin, Daniel Mohr and his hetero life mate Wolfie B. Bad, Mike Miller, and Joe and Gay Haldeman. I love that my Toastmaster duties give me the chance to hang out with and get to know our guests each year.

And of course, I got to spend time with so many other great ICON friends. I emceed a silent film narration challenge for the first time, and also joined in the round robin storytelling, which I’d never done before. I won’t even try to recap the two stories we came up with, but the fire-spider erotica subplot was all Mike Mullin’s fault!

I ended up taking a lot of pics this year. I’ve got most of the good ones posted in their own Facebook album. If you’re Facebook-averse, you can also check the Flickr album.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Joe Haldeman and Gene Wolfe Wolfie B. Bad gives CPR to Mike Miller Author Mike Mullin Batgirl and Bane

And now, having pet the cat enough for him to leave me alone, I’m off to catch up on everything else from the past few days…

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Cool Stuff Friday

Friday is ICON day!

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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ICON Schedule

I’m off to Cedar Rapids again this coming weekend, where I’ll be Toastmaster at ICON 43. That means I get to introduce this year’s guests of honor, Mike Mullin, Daniel Mohr, Mike Miller, Wolfie B. Bad, and Joe and Gay Haldeman.

Here’s my schedule, for anyone who might be there and wants to say hi.

Thursday

Friday

  • 7 p.m. Opening Ceremonies
  • 9 p.m. GoH Challenge: Silent Film Narration

Saturday

  • 9 a.m. Representation in SF/F
  • 10 a.m. Author/Artist meet and greet
  • 1 p.m. Speaking to Paradise ICON writers
  • 4 p.m. GoH Interviews
  • 9 p.m. Round Robin Storytelling

Sunday

  • 9 a.m. GoH/Benefactors Brunch

I’ll also be doing author photos again this year. I believe there should be sign-up information at registration/check-in. (And you’re allowed to sign up even if you’re not an author.)

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Cool Stuff Friday

Friday sez, “Thank God it’s me.”

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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The Dragon Prince

The Dragon PrinceMy son and I watched the first (and only, so far) season of THE DRAGON PRINCE last week. Co-creator Aaron Ehasz was the head writer and director of Avatar: The Last Airbender, so I was really excited for this.

Of course, Avatar was an amazing show, and it’s going to be hard for anything to live up to that standard. The Dragon Prince might not be as amazing as Avatar, but I still enjoyed it.

OBLIGATORY SPOILER WARNING

The show is set in a more “traditional” fantasy world of kings and magic and elves and dragons. It’s a well-developed world, with a lot of history and detail, but there was a lot in the first episode that felt like variations on themes I’d read and watched a lot already. It didn’t feel new.

It picks up more with the second and third episodes, as human princes Callum and Ezran join up with the moon elf assassin Rayla to try to save a dragon egg. We also get more character development in general, which is one of the show’s strengths.

It doesn’t feel as diverse as the world of Avatar, which was disappointing. I mean, making a black man king was pretty sweet…until the show immediately killed him off. Seeing General Amaya, a deaf woman, leading troops and kicking ass, was wonderful, and I hope she gets more screen time in season two. (I loved her interpreter, too.)

There’s a lot of humor and banter and fun, but also some genuinely touching emotional moments. I particularly love Rayla’s struggles and conflicts, and moments like when she casually tells Ezran he’s worth losing a hand for.

Several people said they thought this was intended for a younger audience than Avatar, but I’m not sure. Avatar had some deep and powerful themes, but at its heart were a trio of young kids. The Dragon Prince doesn’t feel as deep, but it still deals with war and death and corruption and torture.

My son spent a fair amount of time drawing parallels between the two shows. (He was asking when the Appa-analogue would show up. Then we got the episode with Ava the wolf.) If you’re a fan of Avatar, some of the humor and characters and conflicts will feel familiar. I think that’s mostly a good thing. But Callum was a little too Sokka-like for me — they’re not only written with a similar voice, they’re played by the same voice actor.

My biggest complaint is that it’s too short. The season ends on a nice moment, but with plenty of conflict building on the horizon. Literally. And there’s obviously so much more world building and history to get into. In a lot of ways, season one was just laying out the groundwork and establishing the world and characters.

The animation style was a little annoying at times — a bit choppy. It could be striking and beautiful too, but not as much as the artwork in Avatar.

Netflix hasn’t officially announced a second season yet, but I’m hoping and assuming they will, and I’m looking forward to watching it.

Anyone else seen it yet? What did you think?

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Cool Stuff Friday

Friday is off to Ren Fest this Sunday!

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Lessons from a Viral #MeToo Tweet

I posted the following on Twitter yesterday, and it kind of exploded on me.

Now that the responses are beginning to die down, here are nine Very Important Lessons I learned from Very Helpful Men.

1. “Harassment” is just too vague, and men will end up shunning women altogether to protect themselves!

This is an actual thing Tweeted by, I assume, an actual man. I think he meant this to be a negative outcome of the #MeToo movement. But pretty much all the women I’ve spoken with and listened to would love it if guys who can’t distinguish flirting or friendly interaction from harassment would just leave them the hell alone. So, win-win?

2. Apparently, I’m bald.

A number of people made a point of mentioning this. As you can imagine, I was quite shocked. Bald? Me? When did this happen? Why didn’t anyone tell me sooner? (Many of these same men wanted me to know I’m unattractive as well. Which is a shame, given all the work I’ve done to appeal to the toxic male troll demographic.)

3. Women who don’t want to be harassed should stop dressing up and putting on makeup, since this is something women do only to get men’s attention. (Which is why men never wear makeup!)

This came as shocking news to the many women who wear makeup because, you know, they like the way it makes them look. And to women who dress up because it’s required for their job. And to men who wear makeup. And to the countless women who were harassed and assaulted no matter what they were or weren’t wearing.

Multiple guys jumped in with this victim-blaming bullshit. I’m happy to say they were thoroughly mocked and blocked.

4. A single accusation from the #MeToo witch-hunters is enough to destroy a man’s life and career.

I know, right? I mean, look what happened to this poor man who was accused of harassment by well over a dozen women. The only job he could find after that was President of the United States.

5. But men can be victims too, and women can be perpetrators!

I’m not sure what about my tweet made people think they needed to make this point, but yes. Absolutely. Men can and are often victims of sexual harassment and assault, and while the majority of perpetrators are men, there’s no gender restriction here.

Shoutout to Terry Crews in particular, who has done heroic work speaking out as a survivor of sexual assault, and helping to raise awareness for male victims.

6. I guess I pee sitting down?

Of all the trolling Tweets telling me I wasn’t a “real man,” this was my favorite. I mean, this guy has such a toxic, rigid, fragile sense of masculinity that his go-to insult was, “Oh yeah? Well, you pee sitting down!” Makes me wonder if this is one of those guys who’s so insecure he won’t even use the toilet seat to poop.

And the underlying assertion that supporting #MeToo and being against sexual harassment makes you less of a man? Just…wow.

7. This Tweet will not get me laid.

I’m so glad to hear this. I mean, that Tweet has had almost 700,000 impressions so far. If I had to have sex with even a fraction of those people… Look, I’m 44 years old, all right? I’m in pretty good shape, but that’s just ridiculous.

Also, does anyone else find it pitiful that, for some guys, the only reason they can conceive of for speaking out against sexual harassment is to try to get laid?

8. The #MeToo movement didn’t care about Bill Clinton’s sexual predation!

That’s right, this movement that didn’t exist during Clinton’s time as president had no impact on his sexual behavior. Alas, if only someone would invent a time-traveling hashtag.

9. Catcalls and sexual harassment are compliments!

Cool, cool. Please take this steel-toed boot to your nethers as a compliment as well.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Cool Stuff Friday

Friday is worried about pumas.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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This began with a pattern I saw of white people who’d been accused of racism asking for and getting reassurance from their white friends that they weren’t really racist. It’s not a new phenomenon, but I saw a lot of it earlier in the month, and talked about it on Facebook.

During the ensuing conversation, someone asked how I’d respond if someone accused me of being racist or sexist or bigoted or whatever. Another friend said they’d never seen anyone accuse me of such things, and that I was a feminist and a good person.

I genuinely appreciate this person’s faith in me, but … no. Whether or not they’ve seen such things, I can assure you that I’ve screwed up many times, and that in many of those instances, people called me on it.

  • One of the more memorable examples was a woman who came up to me after a panel to criticize my portrayal of a particular character in the Princess series. (She was right, and her comments led to a small addition in the final book.)
  • Another example that still makes me cringe is from almost twenty years ago, making a joke to my officemate that was so not okay. (I want to go back in time and smack younger Jim upside the head.)
  • Several people called me on a joke about mansplaining a few years back, because the joke erased transgender people.
  • I was asked to do an impromptu talk about men and rape at a Take Back the Night rally in college. A woman came up afterward to thank me, but also to point out that one of the phrases I’d used was sexist.

I could go on, but the point is, it happens. We grow up in a world steeped in systemic inequality, in racism and sexism and discrimination and bigotry. Do you really think it’s possible to grow up in such a world and not have these things affect you? That you’re somehow magically immune to these things?

None of us are perfect. The question is, what do we do about our imperfections? Do we work to be better, or do we lash out against anyone who dares suggest we might be flawed? That we might be … human?

It’s not pleasant. I still tense up when someone confronts me. I feel defensive. My mind runs through the whole, “But I’m a good person!” script.

The thing is, when someone confronts me on this stuff, they’re not saying I’m a horrible person. Those examples I gave earlier? For the most part, I’m friends with the people who called me out. (In one case, it’s so long ago I don’t even remember who it was that came up to me.) These people didn’t write me out of their lives or proclaim me Lord Evil McEvilson of Evil Manor.

And as unpleasant as it is to be confronted about this stuff? It’s usually hard for the person doing the confronting, too. They’re probably tense and anxious and bracing themselves for anger and defensiveness and mockery and attack.

“But I’m not racist/sexist/homophobic/etc!”

It’s not a binary thing. Humanity isn’t split into two groups, one of which is 100% pure and never says or does anything problematic, while the other is all-bigotry, all-the-time.

Foot-stepping is a useful metaphor here. If someone says you stepped on their foot, they’re not accusing you of being an Evil Foot-Stomper. They’re not saying you deliberately tried to break their metatarsals and phalanges and minotaurs and whatever other bones make up the foot. (I’m not a bone specialist.) They’re just pointing out that you stepped on their foot, and asking you to remove your foot and be a little more careful in the future.

It’s not an all-or-nothing thing. (See also, “Only a Sith thinks in absolutes.”)

“But I didn’t step on their foot!”

I hear this one a lot, in comments like, “People play the race card so often it’s lost all meaning!” Often, it’s because people are clinging to that binary all-or-nothing view. Racism has to be full-blown, intentional and deliberate, with KKK robes and nooses and burning crosses. Anything less is just people looking to be offended.

Yeah, no. Maybe I didn’t stomp on your foot while wearing cleats, causing compound fractures and the eventual amputation of your lower leg. Maybe it was just a small bruise, utterly unintentional. Maybe I didn’t even notice when I did it.

But it still hurt. Especially if that foot is tender from being stepped on so often.

That last part is key. People who are constantly being trod on are a lot more aware of when it happens. If someone tells me I stepped on them, I really need to listen.

“But what if they’re wrong?”

All right, sure. There are exceptions. There’s a troll in SF/F and comics who likes to claim everyone’s racist against him. Kicked out of Worldcon? It’s because he’s Hispanic. A big name author doesn’t like him? Accuse that BNA of being racist against Hispanics!  I’m pretty sure we can all recognize this kind of blatant and unimaginative trolling for what it is.

There’s another author who occasionally writes angry blog posts about how I’m a racist because I wouldn’t publish his essay in one of my Invisible anthologies. The fact is, that essay was a one-sided hit piece on an individual editor, and was inappropriate for the anthology. I definitely made mistakes in my handling of the situation. Was I racist in making those mistakes? I don’t believe so, no.

These are outliers. Exceptions.

They’re not an excuse to dismiss any and all accusations anyone might make in my direction.

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None of us are perfect. We all screw up. It’s not the end of the world, and nobody’s asking or expecting you to be perfect. Just listen and try to be better.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Cool Stuff Friday

Friday would like this outline to finish writing itself, please and thank you.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Stuff I Did or am Doing

Stuff #1: I’m the guest/interviewee person on Kevin Sonney’s latest Productivity Alchemy Podcast. We chat about the struggle to stay productive, useful tools like Habitica, and … I’ll be honest, I don’t remember exactly what else we chatted about. I guess you’ll just have to click and find out!

Stuff #2: Klud the goblin will be sending out my next author newsletter soon, probably by the end of this week. In addition to giving away a free signed book to one subscriber, he might give folks a sneak peak at Terminal Uprising and/or spill the beans about Secret Project K. Or maybe he’ll just grumble about the lack of goblins in The Good Place. Here’s where to subscribe, if you’re interested.

Stuff #3: On Saturday, September 8 at 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time, I’ll be part of a Google hangout discussion about “Trashing The Rape Trope: Writing Violence Against Women in Fantasy.” I’ll be joining authors Martha Wells and Kate Elliott. We’ll also have a live Q&A portion. This is hosted by The Pixel Project as part of the Read for Pixels campaign to end violence against women.

Stuff #4: Only two months until Terminal Alliance comes out in paperwork, which should also bring down the price of the e-book. The publisher reworked the title font a bit for the cover, if you want to take a look.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Pro-Life?

I’ve been thinking about the phrase “pro-life” for a while, and what that would really look like in the U.S. The phrase is currently used almost exclusively to mean anti-abortion, but if someone truly cares about protecting and preserving life, shouldn’t they also believe the following?

Abolish the death penalty. I mean, this one is pretty self-explanatory, right? How can you be pro-life and pro-execution at the same time? And that’s before you even get into the research suggesting that as many as 1 in 25 people sentenced to death in the U.S. are actually innocent.

Provide universal health care. Lack of health insurance increases your odds of dying. People argue it’s not the lack of insurance, but other factors causing the different outcomes. But a 2009 study found, “After additional adjustment for race/ethnicity, income, education, self- and physician-rated health status, body mass index, leisure exercise, smoking, and regular alcohol use, the uninsured were more likely to die.” You want to reduce those deaths? Make health care available to everyone.

Improve mental health care. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. We’re talking about 45,000 people who take their own lives every year. How much could we reduce those numbers if we did a better job funding mental health services and providing support to those who need it? Not to mention destigmatizing mental illness to eliminate the shame of asking for help.

Gun regulation/control. According to the FBI, there were more than 11,000 gun-related homicides in 2016. The per-capita rate of gun-related deaths in the U.S. is eight times higher than in Canada, and 27 times higher than in Denmark. There are countries with higher gun violence rates too, of course. But looking at gun death rates in Canada and China and the UK and Germany makes it clear we could greatly reduce those deaths in our own country…if we wanted to.

Reduce poverty. A 2011 study found that 4.5% of U.S. deaths were attributable to poverty. How many lives could we save by increasing the minimum wage, or by focusing tax breaks on the poorest segments of our population instead of the wealthiest?

Diplomacy first. If you’re pro-life, shouldn’t it go without saying that military conflict has to be a last resort?

Maintain and improve environmental standards and regulations. A 2013 study from MIT found that air pollution, primarily from vehicle emissions, causes about 200,000 early deaths each year. The reversal of environmental regulations in the U.S. is projected to cause thousands of unnecessary deaths in the coming years.

As for abortion… Personally, I don’t think it’s my place to tell women what they can and can’t do with their bodies. But if you really want to reduce abortion rates? Provide free birth control. A 2012 study found that no-cost birth control for women dropped abortion rates between 62 and 78%. Provide comprehensive (not abstinence-only) sex education, which significantly lowers unwanted teen pregnancies. And hey, universal health care can also lower abortion rates.

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There are a lot more “pro-life” issues and positions I could have listed, but hopefully this is enough to make the point. Shouldn’t pro-life mean actually trying to, you know, preserve and protect people’s lives?

Yet, in my experience, most people who claim to be pro-life aren’t terribly interested in most of these issues. Often, their positions are diametrically opposed. It’s almost like the pro-life label, as it’s commonly used, isn’t about being pro-life at all.

Weird…

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Blogging Thoughts

I’ve been blogging in one form or another for about 20 years ago. Back in the late 90s/early 2000s, it was LiveJournal and hand-coded a Geocities website, mostly to post my daily wordcount and talk about progress on the novel with a handful of other newbie and wannabe writers. (I even remember my old Geocities website address!)

That’s a lot of blogging. I vented over legal struggles (behind a tight friends-lock) back in the early 2000s. I bemoaned my rejections and celebrated the occasional short fiction sale. I talked about diabetes and depression. As I developed an audience, I also became more aware of fandom and of the larger SF/F scene, and wrote more about that. I argued and vented at folks — often justifiably, but not always. I celebrated stories I enjoyed. I talked about harassment and discrimination and inclusion and the ongoing struggle to make my genre more welcoming to those who have been historically excluded. I posted cat pictures and made memes of book covers.

I haven’t been blogging as frequently this year. Partly, that’s because I’ve had to focus more on the fiction writing — first revising Terminal Uprising, then writing ProjectK in three months before trying to get started on the third Janitors book. I have a few smaller contracts and deadlines coming up as well.

But I also find myself hesitating sometimes because I feel like I’ve already talked about a given topic. Sure, I could write about the underlying racism and hypocrisy of Robert Silverberg’s criticism of N. K. Jemisin’s Hugo win and speech, but do I have anything new to say that I haven’t said a dozen times before? Or I could talk about the frustration that even after 13 published novels, I still get stuck trying to plot out the next one, but I’ve written about my writing and process so many times, aren’t we all tired of it?

And I’m realizing I’m wrong about that. Just because I’ve written about something before doesn’t mean everyone’s read it. (How arrogant would it be to assume everyone’s read the entire archives of my blog?) Hell, some of you people weren’t even alive when I wrote my first LiveJournal post!

I wrote something on Twitter last night about how I wrote and published a lot of books before I even considered quitting my day job. This got a number of responses, which surprised me at first — it’s hardly the first time I’ve talked about that.

Our audience, our community, is constantly changing. And it’s not about always having something new and unique to say. Sometimes it’s about participating in the conversation. Sometimes it’s about trying to offer counterpoints and balance to the nastiness.

I’m still struggling with the planning for book three, so I can’t guarantee a flood of new blog posts. But I’m going to try to stop chucking possible posts and topics just because I might have talked about them before.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Cool Stuff Friday

Ray, when someone asks if it’s Friday, you say yes!

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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“It wasn’t their words, it’s that I started to believe them…”

Actress Kelly Marie Tran — the first woman of color to have a leading role in a “Star Wars” movie — wrote a personal essay for the New York Times: “Kelly Marie Tran: I Won’t Be Marginalized by Online Harassment.”

“Because the same society that taught some people they were heroes, saviors, inheritors of the Manifest Destiny ideal, taught me I existed only in the background of their stories, doing their nails, diagnosing their illnesses, supporting their love interests — and perhaps the most damaging — waiting for them to rescue me.”

After The Last Jedi came out, Tran was harassed off of social media by toxic “fans.”

“And that feeling, I realize now, was, and is, shame, a shame for the things that made me different, a shame for the culture from which I came from.”

It’s a powerful essay. I strongly recommend it.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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