All posts by Maria Lima

Reading Recs: Abroad by Liz Jacobs

I posted this on my patreon as a public post, read here or there.

Abroad by Liz Jacobs

It’s the story of an immigrant student, now studying in London who is coming to terms with who he is: as a Russian Jew, as gay and as he figures out where he belongs.
Nick’s story really hit home for me. Although I’m not a Russian Jew, I am an immigrant. Born in Cuba and brought to the U.S. at age almost-3, escaping Fidel Castro’s regime. I can’t tell you how much I identify with Nick’s struggle–as an immigrant, being in a new place and (eventually) coming out of the closet. 
I remember being in first grade (or kinder) crying because I didn’t understand what the teacher wanted, because I didn’t speak English well enough.
I remember being ashamed of my mother’s accent, because kids in school teased me about it. We never spoke Spanish at home, as my parents figured we’d assimilate better if we concentrated on English. There were so many cultural differences that I just didn’t get. 
My father had wanderlust and we moved house pretty much every year until they divorced when I was 16. We never got a chance to settle and become part of a community and I was always the “new kid;” the outsider. This is something that helped me out in later years, as I find it fairly easy to connect with new people now, but as a kid, it was so very tough.
Coming out as not-straight: a tough one. I’m old enough to be a tail-end baby boomer, and my generation did not just come out. I wasn’t sure how to tell people that I was bi/pan. We just did not talk about our sexualities so freely. Friends knew, especially fannish friends, but family? Not so much. Though, once I finally did say something, my mom told me she’d known for a long time – go figure. 
In Abroad, Liz captures the essence of all of these feelings so very well. I’m not a college-age Russian Jewish guy, but I understand Nick deeply and I very much want to get to know him and the other characters better. Can’t wait for the sequel.

Patreon Post live! Critical Essays and Pop Culture

Today’s Patron-only post is live! I talk about my foray into writing critical essays on pop culture – and getting paid to do so!
screenshot of patreon post
Since it’s Thursday, what better focus than the essay that started it all, Another Roadside Attraction: The Role of the Trickster for the Smart Pop book: In the Hunt: Unauthorized Essays on Supernatural. For SPN fans, you get the Thursday connection. 😀 (there’s even a lagniappe – my initial notes when I was crafting the essay)
 
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Harvey watch: or how I’m spending my weekend

As you know, Bob, Hurricane Harvey’s hit the Texas Gulf Coast as a Cat 4. (and has now been downgraded to a 1)

I’m in San Antonio, so not coastal, but we’re expecting big rains as a result, with possible flooding (this city floods way easily.)

We’ve not done too much to prepare, as we’re not on a flood plain and are actually on fairly high ground, even though we’re in a 1-story house. I did freeze up some bags of water to put in the fridge if we lose power. Last night, my folks and I moved all the chairs, small tables and other loose things from the backyard into the garage, jic of high winds. I also ordered a CPAP battery (which will arrive today).

The rain started last night after 9 p.m. and has been slow, but steady. Our rain gauge shows 1/2″ accumulation as of 6 a.m. It’s still raining, and we’ve not really got any winds, just a breeze.

Most of the expected bad stuff is at the coast and to the east. The worst part of the storm is that it’s a slow mover, and that means loads and loads of rain.

For us, it’s mostly a matter of hanging out and waiting to see what happens. I’m probably going to spend a lot of time reading, then checking in online occasionally to see what’s what.

Never say never

A year ago, I deleted my LinkedIn account, mostly because I really didn’t use it. Fast forward to now and I’ve signed up again–mostly because I’m writing again…at least, I will be once I get this expletive-deleted cast off my arm! Broken wrists suck.

My new account is pretty bare right now, as I’m typing one-handed, but I’ll spruce it up over time.

I don’t really blog much here anymore, either. Mostly, I’m on Facebook/Twitter. I hope to be better at the blogging.

Farewell, LinkedIn – I Hardly Knew Ya

I set up a LinkedIn account years ago. Not sure why. I guess because all the cool kids were doing it (at the time).

I gleefully found connections, requested links, etc., etc. After the first flush of “oh, a new social media outlet,” I pretty much just ignored it, only going there when someone requested a link to me.

Today, I decided to close the account. For me, it’s pretty much useless. I find that the engagement of Facebook and Twitter speak to my tastes more than LinkedIn ever did. So if I connected to you via the latter, feel free to come follow me on Facebook or Twitter and let’s chat.

I love binging on books

All this gray, gloomy weather + rain made this last week perfect.

Every once in a while, I get on these reading binges, so I just go with the flow.

I’d been meaning to reread/catch up on 2 of my favorite authors, Christopher Golden and Thomas Sniegoski, so I started with them.

As of today (5/21/2016), I have read or reread 24 books. My binge started a week ago. (Of course, I got a lot more read thanks to 2 days of being bed-bound with stomach bug…though I’d rather *not* been sick!)

My list so far:

  • Reread/read books 1-7 of Chris Golden’s Shadow Saga (I fell in love with the first book more than a decade ago, and adore this entire series)
  • Reread/read 1-7 of Tom Sniegoski’s Remy Chandler books (Love Tom’s earthbound angel, Remiel!)
  • Finished the Whyborne & Griffin books (so far) by Jordan L. Hawk, books 4-7 (Really enjoy these)
  • Vampire Empire Book 3, The Kingmakers by Clay and Susan Griffith (I’d put this off, because then this story would be over. That said, I totally have Geomancer, the first of the next series)
  • Roses and Rot by Kat Howard (One of the best books I’ve ever read. That it’s a debut novel: astounding!)
  • Reread Tam Lin by Pamela Dean (hadn’t read it since it came out in 1991. Sadly, for me, it didn’t hold up to what I remembered.)
  • Thomas Rhymer by Ellen Kushner (enjoyable read)
  • Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner (enjoyed it, but I have to admit I prefer Lynn Flewelling‘s Nightrunner books)
  • Inheritance (Adaptation #2) by Malinda Lo (very much love this series; like above, I was putting off reading bc it’s over)

I have no idea what I’m going to read next. I’ve got at least 850 books on my TBR pile (ebooks).

ETA3: Concluded the reading binge with Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Boys (all 4 books) – a grand total of 28 for 10 days of reading.

ETA – oops, forgot a book, so I’ve updated the list
ETA2 – damn, forgot 5 books – yes, I told you all it was a binge!

Never is a long time…or in this case, a short one

So back a while ago, I posted that I was putting down the keyboard and not writing anymore thanks to the fibro/chronic illness stuff.

Well, never turned out to be, not for some months.

It took an article about urban fantasy for me to get going once again.

Yes. I’m writing.

And by writing, I mean compiling research, background, etc.

I know the overall idea, but not the specifics yet. This could end up being a long series.

Nope, it’s not sold yet, because it’s not yet written, and that could take a lot of time, but I’m back in the saddle, yo.

The end of an era

I often get questions via email or social media about what I’m working on, if there are going to be any more Blood Lines books, etc.

Sadly, the answer to the above is pretty much no.

In 2011, I was diagnosed with Sarcoidosis, an autoimmune disease that can affect multiple parts of your body. Mine was primarily in the lungs, which meant that although I was breathing okay, the oxygen was not being transmitted out of my lungs properly. The sarcoid also affected my eyes, causing severe inflammation in both of them, raising the pressure to dangerous levels.

I was constantly exhausted and in pain. Turns out, on top of everything else, I had fibromyalgia, which often appears in connection with sarcoid and/or other autoimmune issues.

Will I get better? No, not really. The sarcoid is in remission now, and has been for a couple of years and my eye pressure is being controlled and monitored carefully. The rest of my immune system is still wonky and new stuff seems to crop up every year – all autoimmune related. I get sick with communicable diseases a lot easier these days. I carefully husband my time, trying to make sure I can do the things I need to.

Bottom line: I am in autoimmune purgatory and most days, it takes all my energy to go to work and complete my tasks there. Writing is just not in the cards anymore, as exhaustion has taken over my life. It’s sad, but it’s reality and it’s taken me a couple of years to come to grips with this.

I’m not blogging anymore, but you can definitely find me on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks to everyone for all your support!

I am collateral damage

This is a great post by writer Kari Sperring about how older women are marginalized and considered collateral damage in the SF/F world.

She’s absolutely right. We are invisible. Our work is often invisible. And when you’re over 50, queer, Latina and disabled – yeah, well, invisible is pretty much the default.

It sucks. It hurts. It makes me feel useless and washed up. I’m exhausted just thinking how much work it would take to write more books and try to get them published. There are entire universes in my head that want to be written. Full-blown characters cry for a voice.

I don’t know if their voices will ever be heard, and it makes me cry.

I’m doing what I can right now, buy purchasing books from women like me and helping to boost their signal via social media and hope that somehow, my fatigue & exhaustion will abate and I will find the energy to move forward with writing.

crossposted from LiveJournal – you can comment there.