Deirdre Saoirse Moen

Sounds Like Weird

Support Zoë Keating & Family

28 May 2014

Zoë Keating’s husband has had mysterious ailments for several months. As of two weeks ago, that’s no longer mysterious: he has stage 4 lung cancer with mets.

On May 13 an MRI found 20 tumors in my husbands brain. On May 15 he could barely breathe and was in a lot of pain. A CT scan that day revealed he had a softball-sized tumor in his lung, tumors in his other lung, his liver and possibly his bones. On our way home from the imaging center our primary care doc called and told us to turn around and get to the hospital right away. My husband was admitted and they promptly removed more than a pint of fluid from his lungs, which helped him breathe better. We were there for 6 days while they performed a bronchoscopy, did more scans, gave him drugs to stop his brain from swelling and administered emergency chemo.

Anthem Blue Cross has denied coverage.

Hey, @AnthemPR_CA why is the medical reviewer who denied my husband’s hospital stay for stage 4 lung cancer an OB-GYN?

— Zoe Keating (@zoecello) May 28, 2014

Zoë’s a pretty amazing cellist. If you’re so inclined, I’m sure buying her music would help her family out right now. If not, spreading the word about her situation, including aiming the Internet Rage Machine at Anthem Blue Cross.
Or, as Zoë asks:

Please, don’t send any condolences. Send strength and love and positive energy, healing vibes, prayers, chants, interpretive dances…all of it.
And since my new album will remain unfinished for a while longer, if you want to help us in ways other than good vibes, you could buy some of my music. Listen to it, give it to a friend and think of us.

Joel Richard tells about seeing her perform.
Wil Wheaton wrote about Anthem’s denial here.

“Coverage denied…doesn’t meet criteria for medical necessity”. I WOULD CALL SAVING MY HUSBAND’S LIFE A MEDICAL NECESSITY YOU FUCKERS

— Zoe Keating (@zoecello) May 28, 2014

Amen.

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Vacation vs. Real Experience and Answers vs. Questions

28 May 2014

“I’m an expert on Africa because I took a vacation.” @cynthia_ward’s shorter Bryan Thomas Schmidt on Resnick.

— Nisi Shawl (@NisiShawl) May 28, 2014

(My recollection is that Resnick has been to Africa quite a few times and for fairly long stays for a vacation, but the sentiment is still a valid point.)
I travel all over the place.
I do not confuse that with knowing what it’s actually like to be from those places or being of those peoples.
I don’t travel to feel like I know “all about” something. Yet, I can encapsulate the gist of my experience, while recognizing that experience is from a place of (mostly) privilege.
I travel because it makes me question my assumptions in ways that reading does not. I travel because it makes me think. I travel because going around the world has given me a feel for its size and heft that not traveling did not. It’s about as long a flight from Johannesburg to London as it is from London to San Francisco or Bangkok to Johannesburg. And, for the record, I do not recommend doing them as close together as I did last year on my two-week “Jet Lag World Tour.” (San Francisco – Wellington, NZ – Melbourne, AU – Bangkok, TH – Cape Town, ZA – London – home)
I travel because it raises more questions than it answers.
For me, the single biggest boon to writing is having more questions.
Charles A. Tan wrote about the recent submissions call for stories about Africa.
Would I have felt comfortable submitting to any of the anthologies Tan links to? No. However, I have a feeling I’d have been welcome to submit to the problematic one. Save for, you know, being a feminist and all.
I’ve been to three countries in Africa: Egypt (in 2007), Morocco (in 2011), and South Africa (in 2013). This means that, among white Americans, and especially white American women, I’m probably in the top 1/2 of 1% as far as direct experience with Africa. Maybe even higher up than that.
The problem is that between those three trips, I have a grand total of a week spent on the ground. The first two were two-day cruise stops (with one day spent in one city and one day in another), and the third was part of a 14-day around-the-world trip.
I also haven’t mentioned the cruise stop details before. We were shepherded onto buses, and each bus had an armed guard. The buses traveled together with a police escort. Think about how deep an experience you can have in that context. Even so, the cruise line (NCL) stopped going to Morocco after that because of the complaints about it. I thought it was a fantastic experience and would love to go back. No, it is not Geneva, but I went because it wasn’t Geneva.
For a moment that struck me with wonder: we visited the king’s palace in Rabat, Morocco. As we’re getting off the bus, the call to prayer starts. For smaller mosques, the call to prayer is often a recording. As this particular adhan started, the muezzin’s voice cracked. I don’t know why that moment of realizing it was actually live (not Memorex) sent chills down my spine, but it did.
I also don’t want to give the impression that I’m merely a tourist. I studied Middle Egyptian at Stanford Continuing Studies before I went. I actually wanted to arrive in Egypt understanding something more than what a tour guide would tell me. Unfortunately, arguing with an obnoxious vendor at Giza, I ran out of spoons for visiting the solar barque. Sigh.
In South Africa (Cape Town), I went to visit a friend, one I helped get out of Scientology back in the day. But still I was staying at a hotel. Cape Town has some of the highest disparity between income levels of any place in the world. So, when my iPhone was stolen, I was annoyed, but I couldn’t really feel angry about it.
Maybe it’s my time in Scientology, but I’ve come to mistrust people who seem to have answers, especially if they’re overly comfortable with those answers. And it feels like that call is looking for people with answers.
It bothers me that I’ve probably “interacted with” three cultures enough for that particular submissions call.
Know what I mean?

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My #YesAllWomen Tweets

28 May 2014

Because when I said no, I was raped. Conceding to the assault (rather than fighting) kept me out of the hospital. #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Later, found out my rapist had raped someone else. She fought. I hadn’t seen her (before my attack) because of cracked ribs. #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Being asked in a job interview, “Are you related to Rick Moen?” Froze, because I knew any real answer would cost me the job. #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Context on that last: they were Daniel J. Bernstein fans, and he has issues with my husband. My relatives should not be factored into whether or not I get a job. It was an illegal question, and I’ll call out the company: IronPort.

Re: http://t.co/RpaQ14w81p I did not get the job. Being related (or married) to someone should not be a factor in hiring. #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Knowing that posting a critique of (likely unintentional) sexism of a company’s site would cost me jobs. http://t.co/ugWOe9CEZb #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

As a handicapped female employee, I feared speaking out about Apple while I worked there. http://t.co/piPGnruAEy #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Being asked in an interview, “How do you feel about working on a team of all men?” Used to it, I’m a programmer. #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Being offered a lesser job that paid half as much because I’m female. http://t.co/igFR6ABTlX #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Trying to walk home from a pub at night and being pursued by a guy in a car who wanted sex favors. No cell phones then. #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Turning down the advances of the too-eager guy in the social group. Later find out he’s gotten a criminal record for creeping. #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Being on a team of 38 people and the only female software engineer (of ~30). #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Feeling like a software engineering team is overwhelmingly female. After counting, you realize it’s still only a third. #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

To be ignored in deference to my husband all around the world (I’ve visited 91 countries). #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Seeing a line of women in front of a store in Taroudant, Morocco. Écrivan Publique. Scribe. Insufficient education for women. #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Enrolling in wood shop & was asked why a woman would want to take shop. I’d already made bushings for fighter aircraft. #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Being told that women couldn’t possibly be good software engineers. I’d already had code (and an experiment) run in space. #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Best friend was locked out from her apartment when her boyfriend had a hooker in there. #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Being told I couldn’t take more advanced math in school because there was no one to teach the next level next year. #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Would a boy have gotten the same response?

Being told that I was “too fat” when in fact I had so little body fat that I was anorexic. #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Because my husband (then bf) felt safe walking around his old neighborhood at night; I didn’t. Too many drunk people clubbing. #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Because someone revealed in an interview that I was interesting because I’d fill a quota. Not because of my skills. #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Asking about parenting plans are illegal, but being asked interview questions that danced around my plans for time off. #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Hearing from a recruiter, time and time again, over decades, that a company hired a man instead of you. #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Forgot the one that’s plagued me the most! Told over & over that men don’t like smart women. For my safety, I should play dumb. #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Oh yeah. reporting harassment. I have a story about that, too. http://t.co/13jqUps7pE #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Rick and I didn’t believe that a man we knew slightly killed his wife. Hans Reiser is a murderer. https://t.co/Zp5sRvlCsi #YesAllWomen

— Deirdre Saoirse Moen (@deirdresm) May 27, 2014

Some other tweets I retweeted:

For every rape of a WW, 5 go unreported. For BW, the ratio is 1:15. #YesALLWomen #YesALLWhiteWomen

— Jenn M. Jackson (@JennMJack) May 27, 2014

Because a female driven YA novel will be pushed as blame for a man’s murder before his own misogyny. pic.twitter.com/pYpeNLmxbC #YesAllWomen

— Kayleigh Anne (@Ceilidhann) May 24, 2014

Do not. suggest. violent men. see sex workers. We already deal with outrageous levels of violence. We’re not your garbage collectors.

— Quirky Adorkable (@LoriAdorable) May 25, 2014

@deirdresm This is exactly why we feel the creating a National Girls in Science Day http://t.co/xgpgbJ8sYy is so important.

— Dr. Faye Abood (@DrFayeAbood) May 27, 2014

#YesAllWomen because when I say I don’t want kids, people tell me I will change my mind. You don’t hear people saying that to men.

— Lauren Grace Guillot (@LaurenGracy) May 27, 2014

#yesallwomen because the correct answer is actually never and no not okay ever pic.twitter.com/8d89Kck9fw

— Jackie Ball (@Jackierball1) May 27, 2014

#YesAllWomen because when online dating, women are afraid of meeting a rapist or being killed. Men are afraid of meeting someone fat.

— sylvia (@sparklystuff) May 27, 2014

#YesAllWomen Because we don’t report sexual harassment in the workplace for fear of being fired.

— Christina Hernandez (@XtinaHernandez) May 27, 2014

Not directly related, but timely:

If you go to bed with a book you’re never going to bed alone.

— Pam van Hylckama (@BookaliciousPam) May 27, 2014

Last, this one made me laugh.

“Alpha male” sounds like everyone would be better waiting until the beta and production releases come around.

— Les Orchard (@lmorchard) May 25, 2014

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Book Mockups

27 May 2014

Recently, I’ve become impressed with some of the stuff available on Creative Market, and some of the categories of things I didn’t feel I needed until I saw them.
Now, this is a pretty good business card if I do say so myself.
desamo-graphics-card-layers
But this? Looks compelling on an entirely different level.
card-display-mockup
The above is one of the mockups included in this package of 4 business card mockups from Silviu Stefu of Pixelglow. $7 (and you’ll need Photoshop)
So, what does a book mockup look like then? I’m so glad you asked.
Here’s a sample cover.
coffee-and-canopy small
But here’s the mockup, using another mockup package from Pixelglow, also $7:
coffee-and-canopy-cover-mockup

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Crow Baby

26 May 2014

We have a crow fledgling that’s been involved in several adventures where my mom’s gone to protect the little dear.
Crows have a very complex family structure, and our fledgling’s parents are very involved in their baby’s upbringing.
crow baby

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I Think My Guardian Angel Is on an Acid Trip

23 May 2014

This was my response to someone’s line about their guardian angel.
guardian angel 700x980

Available Now

On Redbubble in T-shirts and stickers.
On Søciety6 in prints, pillows, mugs, tote bags, wall clocks, and as a shower curtain. Styles for tech cases will be uploaded soon.
#3 Design element credits

Bonus

Feel free to spread around the image at the head of this post or the following earlier version:
acid-trip-first-700
It’d be nice to have a link back to desamo.graphics, deirdre.net, redbubble.com/people/desamos, and/or society6.com/desamo, but it’s not required.

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Creating a Media Kit for Yourself

21 May 2014

Confession: I have been to more than my fair share of webinars of late. I’ve learned that “webinar” = “We will sell you something.”
That’s not always a bad thing, though.
So I attended (aka sat in my living room chair in my jammies) a webinar earlier today about creating media kits and press releases for indie authors. Except, as it turns out, not just indie authors.
In this webinar, I learned there are seven audiences for your media kit:

Seven Audiences for Your Kit/Book

  1. journalists, which includes freelancers
  2. bloggers
  3. book reviewers
  4. retailers
  5. individual buyers
  6. event planners
  7. anyone who wants to promote you or your book (editor, podcaster)

When they got to #6, I was sold. Remember those frustrations I’ve been uttering over the years, speaking as a programming head? About how someone wants to speak and how it can be hard to figure out who they are with minimal effort?

Your Number One Goal

  • make their job easy

Yes, please.
Rick has a saying that I try to keep in mind, “Make it easy for people to help you.”

Another Confession

I love media kits. Not just for people, but for hotels. Did you know the Burj al Arab has a media kit? And that you can download beautiful high-res pictures like this one in 3500×2533 size, perfect for any desktop background?
Yeah, I get that we’re probably not going to wind up as a desktop background for anyone. But that’s not the point. The point is: make it easy for people to get the information they need for writing about your work or contacting you.

But…My Publisher

Yes, if you’re a writer published by a larger house, your publisher probably has made a media kit for you and your book. Depending on how they work things, you may not be able to provide an electronic form of that on your website.
The catch is, your publisher’s interest only extends so far. Their goal is to promote their current catalog. Your interest is to promote you.
You can make your own media kit for you as a writer, though you shouldn’t work at cross purposes to the publicist at your publisher without a good reason. (A good reason can include: you’re also being published elsewhere, including indie publishing, or you’re about to branch out into a different genre, etc.)

Flipping the Table for a Minute

Speaking as a convention runner for a minute, I’d like to give you some ideas of what it’s like coming in to run programming for a convention.

  1. You’ll get a long list of people you mostly don’t know, or don’t know well. Sometimes that list is literally just name and email address. Sometimes you have a short bio, but that’s unusual in my experience. It’s also unusual to get the person’s website, so you have to look them up.
  2. Some people will write in to be on programming. Some of these people are wonderful, and others are people you shouldn’t consider for any reason. Naturally, it’s not obvious which is which. Note: if you are writing in to be on programming, please assume the person receiving your email has no idea who you are. Provide information about who you are and why you’d be interesting, but also please do not be overly familiar. Receiving something lewd intended for someone else is awkward at best.
  3. You’ll need to make a balanced schedule, including some from the first two lists, and some new names.
  4. You have to make a call based on really limited information, such as what’s on someone’s web site, about whether or not to have them as a speaker.
  5. A media kit is more than I need, typically, but it wouldn’t hurt.

Coming Back Around to the Webinar

The intro pricing on the media kit template, good through Monday May 26th, is incredibly competitive at $67. Here’s the link to purchase. (Note: not an affiliate or anything.)
If you don’t currently have any media kit or anyone doing public relations for you, then this package seems to be a great place to start. The author, Joan Stewart, has been a newspaper editor, and has therefore been on the other side of media and press kits over the years.
Another thing I don’t know if the kit mentions: please give photo credit to your photographer(s) and also specify photo rights. This is the standard in journalism, and too frequently I see zero credits given. Any media outlet is going to need to know that they have the right to reproduce a photo for editorial use, so please make the rights clear.
Also: please have black-and-white photos available, too, because that photo that looks great in color is going to look horrible if it’s converted without care. Many print publications are in black and white.

Most of the writer sites I’ve been to, including my own, don’t have a media kit link that I can find. The usual places you’ll find that linked are:

  1. From the “About” page, which is typically a top-level page. Example from Tiffany Reisz.
  2. From the links in the footer that include things like Privacy Policy and Copyright. Example from Apple. Note: if you have infinite scrolling turned on as a feature (which I hate), don’t put anything here.

Those are the two most likely places to look. If you have anything in the footer, the media kit link should also be here. The footer has the advantage of being one click from any page, where a media kit link off the About page is generally two clicks.

One More Tiny Plea

If you’re published by a small press, in your book blurb on your site, please make the publisher name be a live link to their site and, if possible, your book on their site. I know this sounds incredibly obvious, but you’d be surprised how infrequently it’s true.

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Cutoff Culture, Again

19 May 2014

So, not long after my cutoff culture post, I see a note in my spam box that’s clearly from ex numero dos. Unintentional, granted, as it looks like his account’s been hacked.
But what the fucking hell am I doing in his contact list anyway?

Chuck,
What’s really creepy is how many times and in how many ways I have to tell you not to contact me.
No, I don’t want you to be my Facebook friend.
No, I don’t want you to add me on LinkedIn.
No, I don’t want to be in your Google+ circles.
No, I don’t want to follow you on [X}, where X is any service out there.
I obviously can’t stop you from reading my blog, in which case you might have read this:
https://deirdre.net/exes-and-cutoff-culture/
Since you probably don’t recognize yourself in that, you’re #2.
But, you know what? Get a life. Stop being so creepy. Remove me from your email contacts, ’cause that’s just not gonna happen.
Sorry to send this to other people, but his account was obviously hacked, and he’s always had a bunch of sockpuppets, so I’m not sure which of you are real and which are the email addresses he’s actively using. So long as the message is received and honored, I don’t care.
Adding this to my blog because reasons.

Fucking hell.

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Equal Marriage: Are We Really Halfway There?

19 May 2014

My friend Deana pointed out that, as of today, there are 18 states (plus D.C.) who offer equal marriage, and an additional 7 states where marriages are on hold pending appeals.
That’s half the states, folks.
Plus Illinois will start issuing licenses on June 1, and we’re expecting to hear from Pennsylvania tomorrow.
As a note, I prefer the term “equal” marriage to “gay” marriage or “same-sex” marriage as the latter two erase, among others, those who may feel like they have straight relationships, but their biology is complex.

[![Source: Wikipedia](/images/2014/05/Samesex_marriage_in_USA.svg_-700x433.png)](/images/2014/05/Samesex_marriage_in_USA.svg_.png)Source: [Wikipedia](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Samesex_marriage_in_USA.svg)

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How Not to Run a Book Signing

19 May 2014

For those of you not tuned into the romance world, you may have missed the big kerfluffle over the RT Booklovers convention signing.
Like some of the smaller pro-heavy cons in SF/F that are open to all, namely World Fantasy and the SFWA Nebula Weekend, there’s a huge signing called the Giant Book Fair. At 1200 people, RT isn’t that much larger than a typical World Fantasy, but it does cost about three times as much and is far more program heavy.
I’ll tell you something: on the whole, no one buys books like romance readers. No one.
Furthermore, most of their favorite authors go, and most of them want to buy and get books autographed there at the con. A lot of the writers have giveaways (like samples of a new book or glossy cover cards for indie authors), so it pays to visit all the writers you care about.
I’ll tell you that, as an author, I’ve loved these kinds of signings. They can be awesome fun. Worst case, you wind up sitting next to an interesting writer you didn’t know before, give a couple of autographs, and talk to some people.
The problem: with there being more and more romance writers, and not enough space to set them all up in. So how did they divide them up?
By whether or not the books purchased were returnable, as Courtney Milan explains.
Now, if you were looking for a book in the computer section, would you think to look in an entirely different room because O’Reilly books aren’t (or at least weren’t, back when I worked in a bookstore) returnable?
Multiply that times 1200. Now add the fact that a significant fraction of the people who are writers and signing for people publish for both kinds of presses and therefore it’s not going to be clear to the average reader who is going to wind up where.
Worse, authors had to pick whether they were going to sign one kind of book or the other. So, if like Courtney Milan, you happened to have a number of books published traditionally, you had to decide if you wanted to be in that room or the other. The one where you might be perceived as not playing for the team with your traditional publisher, or where you’re not playing for yourself or your small press for your other works. It’s a horrible situation to put authors in, let alone trying to have readers find them.
Also, to give you an idea of the size of the rooms, one writer I follow on Twitter tweeted that her signing was in row 38.
There are no easy solutions on this one. I get that.

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