Willamette Writers logo and image of Tempest

I’m teaching at the Willamette Writers Conference

The Willamette Writers community recently announced the lineup of teachers and keynote speakers for their conference this summer, and for the first time I’m one of them! There are a ton of amazing writers, editors, and agents on that list and I’m honored to be listed alongside them. Plus, I’ve been hearing wonderful things about this conference for a while and I’m excited to attend and absorb some knowledge myself.

The conference takes place July 31 – August 2, 2020 and currently the in-person event in Portland, Oregon is still happening. However, there is now a virtual option for the conference and, if need be, the event will go full virtual.

Here’s the list of my Master Class, Panel, and Workshops:

Master Class: Describing the “Other”
Three Sessions: Monday – Wednesday, July 27-29, 5-7 PM Pacific

Writers who want to create fiction with characters from different identities, cultures, and backgrounds often grow anxious when it comes time to describe people from marginalized groups. They wonder which words and phrases they should avoid and which words to use instead. In this Master Class, writers will learn how to avoid these description pitfalls. Through lecture and writing exercises, we’ll go beyond the basics of eliminating food metaphors and other tired/inaccurate clichés and explore how to make conscious, respectful, and inclusive language choices. Writers will come away from the session with a set of resources to help them avoid descriptions that unwittingly reveal or perpetuate bias and oppression. Bring your computer, tablet, or pen and paper for hands-on exercises.

Panel: Current Themes in Science Fiction and Fantasy
Friday, July 31, 2020 9:00 AM-10:30 AM

The world of Science Fiction and Fantasy is imaginative, big, and wild. Join noted SFF authors as they discuss current themes that have found their way into SFF, and how the industry has changed in the last few years.

Workshop: Intersectionality and Characterization
Friday, July 31, 3:45 PM-4:45 PM

When writers first conceptualize characters, they often have one or two aspects of identity firmly in mind. In focusing on one particular aspect of identity – such as race or ability or sexual orientation – you can lose sight of the fact that there are always overlapping areas of identity that affect how a character moves through the world. In this workshop, we’ll discuss how Intersectionality can be used as framework for creating fully-dimensional characters, especially when those characters are from identities and cultures different from your own. There will be hands-on writing exercises, so bring your laptop, tablet, or pen and paper.

Workshop: Writing Outside of Your Experience: Characterization
Saturday, August 1, 10:45 AM-12:15 PM

Representation and creating characters that reflect the diversity of the world we all live in is fundamental to writing great fiction. But writers often find it difficult to represent people whose gender, sexual orientation, racial heritage, or other aspect of identity is very different from their own. This can lead to fear of getting it horribly, offensively wrong and, in the face of that, some think it’s better to not even try. But representation is too important to ignore. In this workshop, K. Tempest Bradford will give you tools and set you on the right path to writing characters who represent the “Other” sensitively and convincingly. There will be hands-on writing exercises, so bring your laptop, tablet, or pen and paper.

In addition, I will attend the Writers of Color Social on Saturday morning at 7:30 if there’s an in-person event.

Registration prices:

  • Online Registration: $299.00
  • Full Conference Registration: $559.00
  • Friday Only Registration: $284.00
  • Saturday & Sunday Only Registration: $404.00

You can find more details and register here. I hope I see some of you this summer!

Big Bad Con 2019 and Me!

A bit of awesome news! The folks running Big Bad Con have invited me to be part of their event, thanks to the efforts and introductions of the ever wonderful Ajit George. After hearing all about BBC from Ajit this past weekend at WisCon I got excited to be part of yet another convention that cares about inclusivity and works hard to make the space welcoming. So not only did I agree to come to the con, I also agreed to run a Writing the Other workshop there.

Doing events like this does take funds, and I’m happy to report that the Big Bad Con folks believe in ensuring invited guests don’t take on a financial burden in coming. Thus, they have Kickstarter stretch goals to pay for these things. They just added me as the final stretch goal (the campaign ends in just 5 days).

Kickstarter Goal Tempest

They are less than $5,000 away from bringing me in along with Ash McAllan (a cyberfemme anarchoqueer stream queen and designer) and Maury Brown (lead creative and co-founder of New World Magischola). If you look through the Kickstarter page you can see all the other great invitees who’ve been funded already. I cannot wait to meet these people!

I’m also looking forward to attending Big Bad Con’s first POC Dinner, organized by Ajit and inspired by the one we have at WisCon every year. I love that this idea keeps spreading (Isabel Schechter has brought it to at least 3 cons that I know of as well — yay).

The BBC Kickstarter page does a much better job than I can of explaining the event and making you wish you could come — and if you have the funds and availability, I encourage you to do so — so please check it out. And back it, if you can.

Thanks to all the folks working behind the scenes at Big Bad Con for welcoming me into the fold and making this the kind of con I’m suuuuuuper excited to attend. I can’t wait.

Gods of Egypt hatewatch image showing a picture of scott woods next to images of the actors from the movie next to an image of tempest

Going for the Stretch Goals with a Gods of Egypt Hate Watch – UPDATED

Things have been a bit whirlwindy in my life and thus I did not post here when I hit my initial funding goal for my trip to Egypt. BUT I DID, I DID, I AM GOING TO EGYPT! This all happened fast. One day I hit $3,000 and started preparing for the Gods of Egypt hatewatch and then BOOM, shortly after I was over $5,000. I have some amazing friends and family.

And, because I hit my initial funding, I am reaching for my first stretch goal: $6,000. This will give me enough extra money to stay in Cairo a few days after the tour ends and take a day trip to the Valley of the Kings so I can spend one full day at Hatshepsut’s mortuary temple taking pictures. I’m quite close to this second goal. Right now the fundraiser is at $5,6661, so I need just $334 more.

How to encourage a few more donations? I still owe my supporters this hatewatch…

At 12PM Eastern today I will watch Gods of Egypt with Scott Woods and we will give you our impressions of this mess in real time on Twitter. We’re using the hashtag #WhitesOfEgypt. Keep an eye on that to follow along.

As we watch you will start to feel sorry for us, because this movie is so racist it hurts. Every time you feel that pang of sympathy, consider dropping a few bucks in the tip jar.

I will Storify the tweets once we’re done for those of you who miss it (I’ll add to this post). And afterward Scott and I will do a video of our final reactions. Which will also be hilarious.

And after that I will no longer have to watch bad movies set in ancient Egypt and go back to reading good books about Egypt, instead.

…unless I don’t hit my stretch goal…

UPDATE! We did it and we survived. Click here for the Wakelet of all the tweets. And you can watch our reaction video below.

Got closer to my stretch goal but still looking for a few more dollars!


Footnotes

  1. The number of the Beast! Ahhhhhh! []
Description and the Other Sirens

I’m Teaching A Writing Intensive at Sirens Studio 2018

Four years ago I attended the Sirens conference for the first time and fell right in love with it. You can read a little about my experience here. The theme that year: Reunion. It was Siren’s 5th year and they were celebrating the fact that in those years a small but potent community had grown up around the conference.

I didn’t get to go to Sirens in 2014 or 2015 for financial reasons – it can be an expensive event – but in 2016 I got a scholarship to attend and this year I financed it in part via Patreon. I wanted to be there to celebrate my friends Kiini Ibura Salaam (one of last year’s guests of honor) and N. K. Jemisin (one of this year’s GoHs). And I missed that little but potent community of awesome people.

Next year, I get to go back! I’ve been invited to be a part of the Writing faculty for Sirens Studio, a workshop that takes place in the days right before the main conference starts. My workshop will be on description and writing inclusive fiction:

After characterization, the aspect of craft writers who aim to create inclusive, representational fiction are most anxious to get right is description. This can be particularly difficult for fantasy and science fiction authors, who must sometimes describe types of people who don’t yet exist. In this intensive we’ll use writing exercises to explore and practice the art of description, talk about bias language, and dismantle the idea of exposition as the enemy of good writing. There will be a mix of lecture, discussion, and exercises, and all participants will leave with a set of resources for further practice and deeper understanding.

I’m so pleased I get to go back, especially because next year’s theme is, once again, Reunion. This time it really will be a reunion for me. I’m also very excited about the guests of honor: Zen Cho, Kameron Hurley, Anna-Marie McLemore, and Leigh Bardugo. It’s going to be awesome.

If you are thinking about coming to Sirens, think harder! It’s still a small conference – this year they broke all previous records by having about 225 people all told – and it’s still more in the academic conference mold than the SF convention one. That’s what makes it great. There’s a concentrated amount of programming, there are panels and discussions and presentations, the attendees are all smart and love reading, and it isn’t primarily about writing and writers, it’s about reading and readers. If you love books, if you love fantasy, if you love fantasy books written by women, then then you will love Sirens. And you should come. Registration is open. See you there.

Pyramids and Punk

Watch The #PyramidsAndPunk Reading from Surel’s Place

My month long residency at Surel’s Place is almost over, and on Thursday it was time for me to show off my work for the local Boise artist community. I read from three of my works set in AfroRetroFuturist Ancient Egypt — The Copper Scarab, the current novel in progress, and a short story in progress — all set in different times about 100 years apart. At the end I also took questions from the most excellent audience, who braved the cold to see me.

I livestreamed the event and trimmed the finished video so the boring parts are all gone.

If you enjoy the reading, you can support ore of the same either by becoming my patron on Patreon or by contributing to my Trip To Egypt crowdfunding campaign. With both, you can read more of the work in progress (depending on what level you donate) as I go.

WX Cruise Caribbean boat

Why You Should Attend The Writing Excuses Cruise & Help Others Do So As Well

This week the fine folks at the Writing Excuses podcast announced the next cruise and retreat. In 2018 I’m joining the team as an instructor alongside Amal El-Mohtar, Maurice Broaddus, Piper J. Drake, Valynne E. Maetani & more. The workshop starts on 9/22 in Houston, and the cruise sails from Galveston, TX and goes to Roatan, Honduras, Belize City, Belize, and Cozumel, Mexico before docking again on 9/30. It’s going to be a fabulous trip and I’m very much looking forward to it.

Before I tell you why I’m so excited for this based on my experiences over the past couple of years, I want to ask for your help with something. Every year, alumni of the Writing Excuses retreats raise funds for a full ride scholarship to the cruise. This is in addition to a scholarship funded by supporters of the Writing Excuses Patreon (the $20/month level). The more money they raise, the more people who can’t afford this cruise get the opportunity to experience this. Please consider donating to the Alumni fund before December 15th, or giving ongoing support via Patreon. I’ll give details on how to do that at the bottom of this post.

But first, let me tell you why I think going on this cruise is an awesome opportunity for writers.

I first came on the cruise back in 2016 when I was invited to be a staff member. That year we sailed around the Caribbean, and it was my first time on a cruise ship. The nature of cruises like the one we took is that we only spent a few hours on each island, and so there wasn’t much time for seeing more than one thing and certainly not enough time to get a real sense of the place.

WX Cruise Caribbean zoo

That said, having one distinct experience in each place, getting some time in places I’d never been, being exposed to even the slightest hint of something outside of my life, was powerful. It made me want to have more time, to visit the places for real. But I also appreciated those few hours floating in clear, warm ocean water and allowing myself to just be and breathe and listen.

WX Cruise Caribbean beach

This year’s cruise was very different. We went to the Baltic sea with stops in Sweden and Denmark and Estonia and Russia. There were no beaches! But with each city there was time enough to again have a distinct, capsule experience.

WX Cruise St Petersberg

And it was on this trip that I discovered how even a small amount of time in a place can provide inspiration for my writing and fodder for my creativity. I talked about this in episode 13 of ORIGINality (skip to the 1 hour mark for the stuff on this trip in particular). I was able to turn experiences I had in Europe into useful reference points for the novel I’m writing set in Egypt. And I know down the line the places I’ve been will bubble up in some other way. Everything one does can benefit ones writing.

WX Cruise Stockholm

Beyond that, the cruise instructors all offer classes, there are critique groups and other workshops, the chances for one-on-one discussions with amazing authors, editors, agents. There’s networking and craft working and skill building and the opportunity to get to know some amazing people. I have felt so very lucky to be part of it the last two years and to get to be part of it going forward.

I want more people to have the opportunity to be part of it. And so I’m asking that if you have $5 to spare or $10 or $20, please donate to the alumni scholarship fund. You can donate via PayPal to wxralumscholar@gmail.com by December 15th. If you donate via credit card, please mark it as a gift and not as for a good or service, so they won’t be charged a fee. If you really hate PayPal, email that address and they’ll work something out with you.

If you have $20 a a month to spend, consider supporting the scholarship through the WX Patreon. You get cool extras if you do.

And if you’re a person who would love to come on the cruise and would benefit from it but cannot afford it, keep an eye out for when the scholarship applications open. It’ll be announced on the Writing Excuses website, social media, etc.

Finally, if you’re a writer and you can afford the time and price of the cruise, please join us! I have no doubt this year is going to be as wonderful as the last two. The ports we’re visiting have the potential to offer inspiration or relaxation, and the instructors are going to teach you amazing stuff.

Come on a boat!

Tempest in front of Surel's Place sign

My November Writing Residency Starts Now! (+ Events)

As previously mentioned, I am the writer-in-residence at Surel’s Place this month. My residency officially starts on the 6th, but I slipped in yesterday so I could get settled while the local artist pop-up shop event is happening. I’m already in love with this house and I know I’m going to get a bunch of work done while I’m here. And since I spent the last month researching, my creative well is super full. I’m ready for this.

While I’m here in Idaho I’m taking part in a few events.

Workshop: Crafting Characters Who Aren’t Like You

When: Saturday, November 18th 1:00pm–4:00pm

Where: Surel’s Place, Garden City, ID

$10 Registration Fee, click here for Full Description and Tickets (There are scholarships available, just email info@surelsplace.org)


Reading: Pyramids and Punk

When: Thursday, November 30th

Where: Surel’s Place, Garden City, ID

Free and open to the public

Doors at 6:30pm | 7pm reading, Q&A follows


On Friday, December 1 I’m reading as part of Garden City’s First Friday events, details to come.

I’m also working with the local NaNoWriMo community liaison to do a write-in here at the residency house. If you’re local and part of NaNo, that information will be posted on the local board.

wiscon

My WisCon 41 Schedule

I’ll be at WisCon this weekend, just as I am every year. EVERY YEAR. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

If you want to find me, here’s my schedule:

Stop, Collaborate and Listen | Fri, 4:00–5:15 pm Conference 2

Amal El-Mohtar has a history of collaborating with likeminded souls, from editing a poetry zine to performing with a troupe of writer/musicians to co-writing fiction and beyond. How is it possible to discover fellow travelers and co conspirators across space and time(zones)? What are the benefits of such long distance collaborations, and how do different kinds of collaborative projects come together?

Julia Starkey, K. Tempest Bradford, Amal El-Mohtar, C. S. E. Cooney , Max Gladstone

Social Media in 2017 | Sat, 10:30–11:45 pm University C

LiveJournal is now hosted in Russia and doesn’t support HTTPS. Facebook is infected with fake news and trolls (not to mention giving us only random access to what friends have to say). Twitter keeps adding features we don’t want and allowing trolls to flourish. What’s worth using? Is there any way to change the social media landscape?

Rachel Kronick, K. Tempest Bradford, Emma Humphries, Sunny Moraine

How Lazy Writing Recreates Oppression | Sun, 10:00–11:15 am Capitol A

Themes of colonialism and racial oppression are extremely popular in the genre of science fiction. Authors of sci-fi often use the tropes of the genre to explore real issues in the world, however, colonialism and oppression is only alluded to in the fictional elements and not in the elements of the story based in the real world. Practices like color-blind casting are not only lazy but uphold white-default characterizations, stereotypes of marginalized people, and damage the spirit of real diversity and inclusion. On this panel, we will discuss stories like Doctor Strange, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Doctor Who and Star Wars, and how these stories fall short and recreate oppression in their stories through lazy writing, as well as what writers need to be aware of when writing.

Mark Oshiro, K. Tempest Bradford, Nicasio Reed

Reading: Looking for Trouble | Sun, 1:00–2:15 pm Michelangelos

I will be reading from my story The Copper Scarab, which will be just out in Clockwork Cairo!

K. Tempest Bradford, Eileen Gunn, Pat Murphy, Nisi Shawl

Steven Universe and Consent | Sun, 2:30–3:45 pm Caucus

Rebecca Sugar, creator of Steven Universe, said the following at San Diego Comic-Con: “It’s very important to me that we speak to kids about consent. That we speak to kids about identity. There’s so much I have to say about this. I want to feel like I exist and I want everyone else who wants to feel that way to feel that way too.” Let’s talk about how the show deals with issues of consent, especially in regards to its use of SF ideas like mind-sharing, body-swapping, and fusion. What can we learn from SU about how to (or how NOT to) discuss consent in SF texts? What history is there of discussing consent explicitly in SF, and how does SU  connect to it or fail to connect to it? And, going back to Sugar’s comments: how does consent relate directly to identity on SU?

Ty Blauersouth, K. Tempest Bradford, Seth Frost, thingswithwings, JP Fairfield, Jo Vanderhooft

Decentering Whiteness in Fandom | Sun, 10:00–11:15 pm University C

A more in-depth look at how whiteness is always the focus in fandom, fan works in particular. How POC characters are forgotten, written out, killed off by fandom so their white faves who do no more than glance at each other can be together in fanon bliss. How do we de-center the narratives built around minor white characters and problematic faves versus existing POC characters? A hard topic and not for those who think this doesn’t happen.

Tanya D., K. Tempest Bradford, Mark Oshiro

 

Me with the steampunk scarab necklace I got for the con

My AnomalyCon Schedule

I’m one of the guests at AnomalyCon this year! If you’re in the greater Denver area, get on down to the con. If you’re already attending the con: hooray! Come find me.

The Source of Our Power | Fri 6pm in Mesa Verde A

Writing a story is one thing, but writing serial novels and then maintaining an audience and a relationship with that audience takes a lot of energy. Successful authors talk about the source of their (seemingly) endless reserves.

Panelists: Ken Liu, K. Tempest Bradford, Wesley Chu

Social Linguistics | Fri 7pm in Mesa Verde A

Words are created, coopted, morph in meaning, become empowering or divisive. A discussion on the evolution of the meaning of words through their social use, as well as the development of colloquiallism.

Panelists: S. Dunn, K. Tempest Bradford, Ekaterina Sedia

Defense Against the Dark Arts | Fri 9pm in Windstar

Being an activist, or sometimes just being a marginalized person who exists on the internet, or even writing a character the fans don’t expect, can result in a lot of harassment and online backlash that might even creep into your personal life. A discussion of how to protect yourself and your family as much as possible.

Panelists: A Milton Davis, K. Tempest Bradford, Tanya DePass, N. Lightfoot

Technology in Fiction | Sat 10am in Mesa Verde A

We’ve all seen those movies with implausible computers, old tech in a new age, etc. Join us as we discuss how to write believable technology, even if you’re not a techie yourself.

Panelists: K. Tempest Bradford, S. Dunn, K. Major, N. Lightfoot

The Best Science Fiction In The World | Sat 12pm in Mesa Verde A

Science Fiction is bigger than its founders ever imagined, and there’s so much out there. We talk about our favorites: the guilty pleasures, the big inspirations, and the things you should be reading or watching.

Panelists: K. Tempest Bradford, Ken Liu, Seanan McGuire, C. Kemp

Is it Possible to Like Problematic Things? | Sat 1pm in Wind River B

Tale as old as time. Something comes out in one of our favorite fandoms, but the author appropriated a culture or left out any diversity or filled the story with fridging tropes. Is it possible to enjoy but engage? A discussion that should be approached only after attendees have read K. Tempest Bradford’s 101 series.

Panelists: K. Tempest Bradford, S. Glassman

What’s So Funny? | Sat 2pm in Mesa Verde C

Humor is a coping mechanism, but it’s also a vital mechanic of fiction. Our authors talk about humor, and it’s sure to be a lark.

Panelists: K. Tempest Bradford, Milton Davis, S. Dunn

We Need Diverse Books | Sat 3pm in Mesa Verde C

You’ve been reading white authors all your life. Maybe you don’t even think about it. But you need to get your hands on these great and diverse stories.

Panelists: K. Tempest Bradford, Zetta Elliott, A. Howard

AnomalyCon Celebrity Tea Duel | Sat 5pm on the 12th Floor

The grandest excitement on stage! Our biggest guests battle each other for the best cuppa!

Hell Hath No Fury | Sat 7pm in Wind River A

Ways to impede, motivate, change and inspire female characters (that aren’t rape tropes).

Panelists: Seanan McGuire, K. Tempest Bradford, T.L. Morganfield

Queer Identities After the Apocalypse | Sat 8pm in Wind River B

Trans healthcare and queer reproductive choices in post-apocalyptic worlds, even if the topic is a little close to home.

Panelists: D. Edwards, S. Glassman, K. Tempest Bradford

The Messiah/Hero Complex | Sun 11am in Mesa Verde A

Many stories, video games, and legends revolve around the idea of a young “chosen one” who is going to progress through the hero’s journey regardless of what they do to get there. How much of that story is wrapped up in Christianity embedded in our Western storytelling? What storytelling goes beyond this timeless trope?

Panelists: Stant Litore, Tanya DePass, K. Tempest Bradford, A. Brooks

 

Tempest at the Ocean

Where to Find Tempest in 2017

My Tempest World Tour continues, and this time it actually includes more world, I promise!

I’m heading back to Portland, OR, in March to stay for several months. Though, as you’ll see, I won’t actually be there much in March. This summer I’ll likely then spend a few months in Seattle. Once fall rolls around I’ll be looking for a warm weather place t spend the rest of the year.

AnomalyCon March 17 – 19th, Denver, CO

I am going to be a guest at AnomalyCon in March! I’m very, very excited out this. My first time as a guest at a steampunk con.

I’ve had a peek at the program schedule and it is PACKED with good stuff. And the other guests? Soooooo many amazing people I really look forward to seeing: Milton Davis, Tanya DePass, Zetta Elliott, Stant Litore, Ken Liu, Seanan McGuire, Ekaterina Sedia, and a bunch of other folks I’m looking forward to meeting for the first time.

By the time the con comes around I may even be ready to offer the attendees a sneak peek of the steampunk novel I’m in the midst of writing. If you’re dying to get a glimpse of it now there will be a post coming up about that later this week.

International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts March 22 – 26th, Orlando, FL

Right after AnomalyCon I’m off to Florida for ICFA. I plan to be around town for about a week after ICFA, so if you Orlando peeps wanna get together, ping me now.

WisCon 41 May 26 – 29th, Madison, WI

This year I’m helping to coordinate the POC Dinner and POC Safer Space. More deets to come!

Writing Excuses Workshop and Retreat (& Cruise!) July 28 – August 5th, 2017  + WorldCon August 9 – 13th, Helsinki

I will once again take part in the Out of Excuses cruise. I had a fabulous time last year (I should have blogged about it… more blogs, my first Resolution) and anticipate an even better time this year.

This cruise is a European one and timed so that if you’re going to WorldCon in Helsinki you can go from the boat to the con with a few days in-between to catch your breath and take your time getting there. And yeah, I’ll be at WorldCon, too.

I am not one of the official instructors at the workshop, though I may do a breakout session and put in some one-on-one time. The real reason to go is the amazing lineup of authors and editors and agents, which includes Ken Liu and Aliette de Bodard and Desiree Burch and a bunch of other fancy people. The way the cruise is structured, there will be plenty of time for conversation and writing together and some fun offshore excursions.

You can check out all the details on the registration page. It does cost some money. There will be scholarships this year as there have been in the past. Details on that are coming, I believe. I’ll update y’all (I promise… I do!).

If you can’t do the cruise but are coming to WorldCon, let me know. I have no set plans at the moment, don’t even know if I’m going to be on programming. We have some time to work it out.

After WorldCon I could be persuaded to hang around in Europe if anyone is dying to have me as a houseguest. ;)

This is all the stuff that’s confirmed so far. I also really want to go to Sirens and am heavy planning on it, but that’s not set in stone yet.

How many of you will I get to see this year?