More Pictures From Skagway

Greetings! Using foul sorcery, I have managed to get pictures from SKZB’s phone onto a device useful for posting them! Please hold celebrations of this fact until the end of the post, or we’ll be here all night (also, the confetti is cursed).

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Brandon’s dog wearing a hat. I guess this is how they roll in Montana. I do love a great hat.


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The Harbor House in Skagway! We really made it there!


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Carcross is apparently a thing from a folk song. He played it for me and everything, but I don’t remember the name of it.


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Kendall, Erik, and Toni. Awww.


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This time, with Steve!


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Steve, me, and the Harbor House, totally getting photobombed by a sweet mountain.


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Here we are, the intrepid adventurers of the road. BADASSERY.


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Apart from the unspeakable beauty of this scene, can we consider the choice of combining Italian and Mexican in one restaurant? Specials, of course, were sweet and sour chicken and Mongolian beef.


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Pretty sure this is just after the Hailstorm of Doom? We wanted pictures of the rainbow.

That’s it for this batch of pictures. You may applaud….. NOW.

Live Reading from The Incrementalists!

10 minutes to broadcast, we’ve just tested and things seem okay! This is the event link:


This Tuesday, at 8 pm central, Steven Brust and Skyler White will have a Hangout On Air to read from their book The Incrementalists. The Hangout will be broadcast live for your entertainment and edification!

Before dropping by on Tuesday to watch Skye and Steve be charming Persons of Letters, be sure to visit the website of the book ( and read the excerpt posted there.

Now, on to a couple of technical notes. We’ve used regular  google hangouts before (because, y’know, modern technology makes long-distance conversations with friends and co-authors more pleasant) but not the On Air feature. Google swears it will be easy, but they also took Reader away from me, so I have some trust issues with them. We’ll see! This post right here will be the hub of information for the event, and I’ll update here if anything changes between now and 8 pm Tuesday.

The way to find the Hangout ought to be to visit Steve’s G+ page, and after the reading is finished, the video will be posted on

EDITED TO NOTIFY CITIZENS OF EARTH OF THE FOLLOWING: You do not need a G+ profile to watch the broadcast!

Incrementalists Book Tour!

Hey, this is Jen. Since Steve doesn’t like to talk about himself, I get to write this post giving everyone gets the heads-up on when and where to see him and Skyler geek out about The Incrementalists. I got to hear them read from the book and talk about it at 4th Street, and I think the best way to describe it is infectious literary glee.

Here is the tour so far, along with convention appearances:

(Edited by Steve, 31-Oct-2013)

August 29 — September 2: LoneStarCon3 (WorldCon) in San Antonio, TX

I’m not a WorldCon sort of guy, but it was good seeing people, and it wasn’t horrid, and, you know, like that.  High points included (but were not limited to) butting in on John Scalzi’s conversation with Robert Silverberg (and thanks, John, for being so gracious about it) to tell Silverberg my Silverberg story.  I’m glad I got to do that.

September 24: The Incrementalists release date!

We laughed, we cried, we fell down.

September 26: Murder by the Book in Houston, TX, 6:30 pm

This was a good signing, and the staff set the tone for the tour by being really great.  That was the only consistent thing with the book tour: never met staffers who were less than sweet and wonderful.

October 1: Alamosa Books in Albuquerque, NM, 6:00 pm

Disaster as a signing–four people showed up; two of them were friends with Skye, one fan, and fan’s mother.  Still, had fun, and got to hang out with Walter Jon Williams a bit.

October 2: Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, NC, 7:00 pm (Steve only)

There was a charity auction of some sort going on in the bookstore, so we moved next door to a very nice coffee shop.  A bit hard to hear when the blender was going, but overall it was good.  Nice turn-out.  A very sweet woman came from the audience to read Ren’s sections (since Skye wasn’t there) and did an outstanding job.  Also, someone showed up with the original artwork for Jhereg; Teckla; and The Sun, The Moon, and the Stars.  Really, really cool.  Later, a really nice guy took me out for a wonderful steak. He drove a Tesla. *faunch*

October 4-6: FenCon X in Dallas TX

As a book-related event, it fell kind of flat, but as a convention I had a great time.  Got to do a wonderful panel with Skye and PNH and TNH about the creation of the book.

October 6: Book release party at BookPeople in Austin, Texas

This was almost more fun than we could stand.  Standing room only, everyone seemed really into the reading, and the Q & A went great.  Everything we could have hoped for and more.  Met Jeremy (about to be a VP student) and got to ride in her sports car. WEEEE!  Then drinks with friends.  A glorious night.

October 11: Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego, CA 7:00 pm

Not a lot to say about this one except that it was really good, well attended, and an over-all delight.  Sven and Kristin were more than kind chauffeuring us around.  And donuts!

October 12: Borderlands Books in San Francisco, CA 3:00 pm

We had thought the book release party at BookPeople would be the high point, but this turned out to be even better–wonderful, wonderful staff, great turn-out of people really interested in the book and the questions, and a whole bunch of friends; introducing Skyler to some of mine, meetings hers.  And, geez, they sold out of books.  God, this one was amazing.  I still smile thinking about it.

October 20: Pandemonium Books in Cambridge, MA 7:00 pm (Steve only)

Good times, seeing some old friends who I’d missed and meeting on-line friends in person.  My friend Anne read Ren’s parts–and did so really well.  Good turn-out, and then wonderful hospitality by Cecelia and Corwin, and afterward got to meet Jason, who put us up the next night.

November 9: Uncle Hugo’s Bookstore, Minneapolis, 4PM (Steve only)


Thoughts on “Striking a Prose”

So Steve posted this lovely thing about women in fantasy plots. It follows on the Jim C. Hines phenomenon of genderswapping fantasy cover art.

There are so many tropes and plotlines that treat their women characters creepily, demeaningly, dismissively, or brutally. Brilliant commenters added to the list (and I hope there will be many more*).

Then I made this comment:

You finish up a great novel on the subway on the way home, watch a trailer for a hotly anticipated new movie, and then thoroughly enjoy an hour or two of the latest video game. You try to talk to your boyfriend about how cool these wildly popular properties are, but he’s all just “blah blah blah there aren’t any MEN in those!” Even when you point out the men that are in them, he just comes up with masculinist crap about how they’re just background abs, don’t have any agency, and don’t get to talk to each other. GAWD, would he just shut up already and enjoy cool things like a NORMAL person?!

And I realized two things, which I want to unpack a bit.

One. Judging by how I banged that out without even thinking about it, hit send, and then teared up a little bit, this has some personal significance to me. I look at various media properties** and think, “nope, demeaning, creepy, don’t wanna.” I’ll watch a trailer for something with a guy and his reaction is about how cool it looked and mine is about how it had three characters plus a pair of tits.

Do you know what usually happens next? I apologize for having that reaction. “Sorry, I know you’re excited about that thing. I don’t mean to always bring up the issue of crappy representation of chicks.” Yep. I constantly apologize for talking about being disappointed by this stuff. (To be clear, I can’t recall anyone ever accepting these kneejerk apologies I offer.)

Fuck it. I am disappointed. This isn’t nitpicking or participating in outrage culture. This is just, you know, wanting to relate to characters in stories. If I can’t, then I don’t want the story.

Two. That comment I wrote doesn’t apply as much to books.  I read a lot of books, and there are zillions more books that I want to read, more than I’ll ever possibly have time for. Lots of sexist plot tropes make it out there and some of them get to be bestsellers (lookin’ at you, Dresden, wizardly king of chivalry), but I’m not bombarded with ads and reviews for them all the time. I don’t have to wade through piles of sexist novels just hoping against hope to find one I can enjoy without rolling my eyes and feeling a bit queasy.

I don’t know if novels have less of these problems than other media or if my systems for gathering recommendations and being exposed to books are sufficiently advanced that I don’t notice the problems. Probably some of both.

Anyway, round of applause please for novels in general, for giving me stories and imagination and delicious explorations of being human and being a girl, no matter what sort of person the protagonist happened to be, since I first learned to read chapter books.***



*Someone needs to do Harry Potter, for instance. (edit: nevermind, someone did by the time I posted this)

**There’s some upcoming game, and chaos showed me the trailer for it: a woman is being hung for witchcraft or something, and a dude swoops in and saves her and kills all the danger and she sort of buffs her nails adventurously. The same game has bus ads I keep seeing around the city: His head, facial expression action-worthy. Her head, behind his in sidekick position, simpering at the danger.

I roll my eyes every time I see it because somewhere a bunch of people think it is SO AWESOME that this game has a dude AND A LADY in all the teasers. Yes, I know how fucking videogames work and that someone has to be the sidekick, but COME ON. Gratuitous damseling foul. Also, yes, the airships in it look sweet. No, I don’t want to fucking play it.

***I know that children’s books are A Thing, but when I was tiny, I considered them just what I had to read until I could learn enough to read REAL books. I don’t have nostalgic happy-feelings for anything younger than Little House on the Prairie and the Bobbsey Twins. Sorry, Dr. Seuss and Goodnight Moon.