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Month: February, 2015

Do You Have Any Book Recommendations?

If you recall, a few days ago I asked if you would read only books written by people who are not straight cis white men. That got me thinking about my own reading list. My non-fiction section if fairly diverse, but my fiction section is largly white and straight (though I do read a lot of books written by women). As such, I’m looking for some recommendations. Can anybody suggest any awesome novels (preferably sci fi, fantasy, and horror) written by people of colour and LGBT people?

The Boy in the Woods: Part 18


Bristol hurried over to the sobbing girl. “Come with us,” she said. “We can get you out of this place.”
Palesa looked up at Bristol, anger filled her eyes. “No,” she said. “I will make them pay for what they did to my father.”
“We can help you,” Bristol said. “But let’s not do anything rash. Come with us for now. We’ll make a plan and decide how to deal with these bullies later.”
Palesa looked around. The people around them went about there day. Nobody looked at the girl or the strangers. “Will you really help me?” Palesa asked.
Bristol nodded. “I promise,” she replied.
“Okay,” Palesa said. “Let’s go.”
The group quickly left the town. They made there way to a nearby oasis that Michael had spotted on their way to the town.
“What happened to the town?” Oda asked Palesa when they were safe.
Palesa shook with fear. “It’s the king, Gunther,” Palesa replied. “He started all of that.”
“The king?” Oda cried. “What year is this? There are no more kings.”
“Tell that to Gunther,” Palesa said. “He had himself crowned king when the town became rich.”
“What?” Oda said. “The town was never poor, but it wasn’t rich either. When did the town become rich?”
Palesa thought for a moment. “Um, five years ago maybe?” she said. “I was very young.”
“Oda,” Bristol said. “When was the last time you were here?”
“Probably around five years ago,” he replied. “I was banned from this town when I was a teenager. Something about disturbing the peace.”
“Why doesn’t that surprise me?” Bristol replied.
“Hey, if you’d just lighten up a bit you could have as much fun as me,” Oda replied. “You’re no fun, baby.”
Bristol turned to face Oda. “What did you just call me?” she snapped.
“Chill out,” Oda said. “I meant it as a compliment.”
“So referring to me as an infant is a compliment in your eyes?” Bristol snapped. “What part of being a baby do you find complimentary?”
Oda sighed. “Women,” he said. “You’re so sensitive. You see that Michael: no matter what you say, women are always going to have a problem with it.”
“Actually, I think she just had a problem with you calling her a baby,” Michael replied.
“Whose side are you on, kid?” Oda asked.
“Why do I need to be on somebody’s side?” Michael asked. “Are you two fighting?”
“Um…I hate to interrupt,” Palesa said. “But can we talk about saving the town now?”
Oda and Bristol stared at the girl for a moment.
“Oh…right,” Bristol said. “Where were we?”
“She was telling us about this king,” Oda replied.
“Right,” Bristol said. “Can you tell us about how the town got rich?”
Palesa nodded. “It was some miners,” she said. “They were mining for borate when they came across these little red stones. At first we thought they were rubies, but it turns out they were something much rarer. It’s called a red beryl. People came here to get rich off the stones, which made the town a lot of money. Gunther capitalized on the wealth, but he was greedy. He sent his men out to collect as many stones as they could. He started making himself rich. That’s when he crowned himself king. He had learned that the gems were great for amplifying magic, so he had them sewn into all of his clothes. He had a minor gift, but now he’s as strong as any of the best magicians. Between his wealth and his power, nobody could stand up to him.”
“So why didn’t everybody leave?” Michael asked.
“They tried,” Palesa said with a shrug. “But Gunther programmed those robots to hunt people down and kill them. He would send them after the families of anyone who tried to escape. Soon people stopped trying: if they left, their family would die, and it was too risky trying to take the whole family. So they stayed.”
“I still woulda left,” Oda scoffed.
“You would abandon your family to die?” Michael cried.
Oda snorted. “What do I care?” he said. “At least I’d be free to do as I pleased.”
“Oh yeah,” Bristol replied sarcastically. “Because you should be allowed to do as you please.”
“It’s a free country,” Oda said.
Bristol snorted. “Yeah, with laws,” she said. “Contrary to your opinion, other people are protected under those laws and you don’t just get to do whatever you want to people.”
“And whose going to stop me?” Oda snarled.
“I already have,” Bristol said with a smirk.
“Uh…guys?” Michael said. “Aren’t we supposed to be helping Palesa?”
“Yes, yes,” Bristol said impatiently. “What else do we need to know?”

Whould You Avoid Reading Books by Straight Cis White Men?


Have you heard about the challenge to read books written but people who aren’t straight cis (not trans) white men? The writing industry is made up largely of straight cis white men, so the point of the challenge is to get people reading books by marginalized groups who tend to be ignored by publishers and readers.

So would you take this challenge? Why or why not?

Why Read Fifty Shades of Grey?

The Fifty Shades of Grey movie just came out, so I thought it might be interesting to get some different perspectives on it.

Did you read the novels? Why or why not?

Did you see the movie or do you plan to? Why or why not?

Is all the criticism of the story justified? Why or why not?

The Boy in the Woods: Part 17


“What is this place?” Bristol asked as they entered the town.
Oda looked around, confused. “I don’t know,” he replied. “This is where White Rock was, but this is not the town I remember.”
The town was dark. It was late in the day, but the sun hadn’t even began to set yet, however, even the sky seemed grow dark as soon as they crossed into the town.
“This place is weird,” Michael said. He looked down at the hard-packed dirt road. “They don’t even have paved roads.”
The three of them walked deeper into the town. They were surrounded by houses with thatched roofs. There wasn’t a single building that was higher than one story, and it didn’t look like there were any businesses or shopping malls around.
“What is this place supposed to look like?” Bristol asked Oda as a man road passed them on a horse.
“It’s supposed to look…modern,” Oda replied. “This place looks like we fell into the dark ages.”
Bristol nodded her agreement.
“How is that possible?” Michael asked.
Oda shrugged. “Don’t look at me,” he said. “I can’t time travel.”
“Nobody can,” Bristol scoffed. “Time travel is impossible.”
“Says who?” Oda demanded.
Bristol turned to him angrily. “Says science!” she snapped. “If we could time travel, we’d already be able to do it.”
Oda snorted and walked forward. He looked around until he noticed some people talking quietly at the corner of a house. He walked over to them quickly.
“Excuse me,” Oda called as he approached the people. “Can you tell me what’s going on here.”
The people turned to look at him suspiciously.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” a tall man in a tattered outfit said. “Everything’s fine. Come on, dear.” He grabbed a short woman around the shoulder and lead her away quickly.
“That was weird,” Michael said from behind Oda.
“Who are you?” a well-muscled man demanded. “Why are you here?”
Bristol gulped. “We just came here to buy some supplies,” she replied. “We’re travellers. We’re trying to get to the city.”
An old woman stepped out from behind the man. “You should go then,” she said. “Get to the city before anyone knows you were here.”
“But what about supplies?” Michael asked. “We don’t have anywhere to sleep, or any food. And Bristol needs new clothes.”
“So do you,” Oda said drily.
“You need to leave,” the woman said. “Quickly.”
“Why?” Oda asked the woman.
She shook her head and hurried away from them. The rest of the people dispersed too.
“Hey!” Michael cried. “Come back!”
“Let’s go,” Bristol said. “We can get supplies somewhere else.”
“Who are you?” a voice demanded behind the three.
The whirled around to see the first bit of technology they had seen in the town. A seven foot tall robot with automatic machine guns on either shoulder stood facing them.
“You are not a citizen,” the robot said. “Who are you?”
“We’re just travellers,” Bristol cried.
“What is your name, foreigner?” the robot demanded.
“B…Bristol,” Bristol replied.
“Your full name, foreigner,” the robot said.
“P…Patterson,” Bristol said. “Bristol Patterson.”
The robot turned to Oda. “What is your name, foreigner?” it said.
“None of your damn business,” Oda spat.
The robot readied it’s gun at Oda. “Your name, foreigner,” it demanded.
“Oda, tell it your name,” Bristol cried. “Please.”
Oda sighed. “Sato Oda,” he said.
The robot lowered its gun and looked down at Michael. “What is your name, foreigner,” it said.
Michael gulped. “Michael Fujita,” he replied.
“Why have you entered this land?” the robot demanded of them.
“We just came to get some supplies,” Bristol said.
A large rock slammed into the back of the robot before it could reply. The robot turned around and scanned the area.
Michael looked around the robot and saw a young girl facing the machine. She looked to be about the same age as Michael. She wore a dirty dress that went down to her ankles Her black hair was very short and her dark skin was covered in a layer of dust.
The robot aimed its guns at the girl. “Palesa Igwe,” it said. “You have threatened the peace of this great land. You will now be eliminated.”
A man jumped in front of the girl before the robot could shoot. “No!” he cried. “Please, she’s just a child.”
“Abeeku Igwe,” the robot said. “Your daughter has threatened the peace of this land. She must be eliminated.”
“No!” Abeeku cried. “Take me in her place.”
The robot raised its gun to Abeeku’s head and shot. The man collapsed to the ground, dead. The girl screamed.
The robot turned back to Bristol. “Leave now, foreigners,” it said before walking away.

The Boy in the Woods: Part 16


“This is disgraceful,” Bristol announced as she walked into the kitchen the next morning.
“What is?” Michael asked.
Bristol looked down at herself and made a face. “Look at me,” she said. “Even after showering I look filthy. These clothes will not do.”
“Are we going to get to the city soon?” Michael asked. “You can change there.”
Bristol sighed. “We would be in the city already if we didn’t keep getting sidetracked,” she said as she sat down hard next to Michael. “Those thieves chased us off course, and they took their bikes back. It’ll take us days just to get back to where we were, and then it’ll take us a few more days to get to the city.”
“So it’ll take us even longer to get there?” Michael whined.
“Quit your griping,” Oda said as he entered the room. “There’s a town not far from here. We’ll head there and pick up a few supplies.”
“With what money?” Bristol asked.
Oda grinned at her. “That’s my secret,” he said.
Bristol raised an eyebrow at Oda. “I don’t think I should trust you,” she said.
“Relax girl,” Oda replied. “Do you want clean clothes or not?”
Bristol thought for a moment. “Yes,” she said finally. “How far are we from the town?”
“About half a day’s walk,” Oda replied. “I figure we’ll get there, rent a room, grab some food, and pick up our supplies the next day. If we’re lucky, we might even be able to catch a ride into the city.”
“Let’s go!” Michael cried, jumping out of his seat.
“What’s the hurry, kid?” Oda asked. “Aren’t you enjoying our little journey?”
Michael giggled. “Of course I am,” he said. “This is fun. That’s why I wanna keep going.”
“Are you going to be disappointed when we get to the city?” Bristol asked Michael with concern.
“No,” Michael replied. “Then I get to start a new journey.”
Bristol laughed as she began to walk out of the cabin.
“Look out!” Oda cried. He dived into Bristol, knocking her to the ground hard.
As they hit the ground, a rocket flew through the door inches over Michael’s head. Michael dived to the ground beside Oda.
An explosion erupted where the rocket hit and sent debris flying everywhere. When the dust settled, the three stood up to look at what had been the cabin.
Bristol’s face went pale. Oda’s turned bright red. Michael simply stared at the stared at the damage in shock.
“You missed,” a man’s voice said behind them.
They turned around to see Yaro and the woman.
“What the hell is your problem?” Oda cried. “Why do you keep harassing us? Just leave us alone.”
The woman chuckled. “I don’t think we will,” she said. “See, you’ve made yourselves our enemies. Now we intend to destroy you.”
“But why?” Michael asked.
The woman shrugged. “Why not?” she replied.
“So you’re just going to follow us for no better reason than to harass us?” Bristol asked.
“Not quite,” the woman replied. “We’re going to follow you until we’ve destroyed you.” She turned and walked back into the tree line without another word. Yaro followed her.
The three stared into the trees until they were sure the thieves had gone.
“What the hell?” Bristol cried. “What’s wrong with them?”
Oda shrugged. “I wish I knew,” he replied. “Those two make no sense.”
“Are we going to go now?” Michael whined.
Bristol looked down at him and sighed. “Well there’s no point staying here,” she replied.
They began to follow Oda towards the town.

The Boy in the Woods: Part 15

Motorcycle ride

Michael yawned as he walked out of the bathroom and into the bedroom across the hall from Bristol’s. He made his way across the room and curled up in his bed. The last thing he heard before falling asleep was the showing being turned on.
A shriek coming from the bathroom startled him awake some time after he had fallen asleep. He threw himself out of bed and ran towards the noise.
Oda was hurrying up the stairs when he ran past.
Michael reached the bathroom seconds before Oda. They threw themselves into the room to see Bristol, who was half dressed after her shower, with a knife to her throat. The man from the foest was behind her.
“It’s about time you two show up,” he said with a smirk.
“What do you want?” Michael demanded. “Why don’t you just leave us alone?”
“You stole my bike,” the man said. “You’re going to pay for that.”
“Where’s the woman?” Oda demanded as he looked around.
The man smirked again. “She’s…around,” he replied.
“Wh…what do you w…want?” Bristol cried. “W…we don’t have any m…money.”
The man looked Bristol up and down. “Are you sure about that, hunny?” he asked. “You look pretty well off to me.”
“She’s not lying,” Oda said. “We aren’t exactly living in the lap of luxury out here.”
The man looked around the cabin. “You’re doing pretty good from what I can see,” he said. “I’ve gotta make a living you know.”
“Why don’t you try getting a job?” Bristol cried angrily.
“Shut up,” the man spat. “Do you think I chose this life? My friend and I didn’t choose to be outlaws. Society drove us here.”
“Why not just live off the land?” Michael asked. “That’s what my grandpa and I did.”
The man snorted. “I’m not a hermit,” he cried. “I’m just down on my luck.”
“Let us help you,” Oda said. “We don’t have any money, but we can give you your bikes back. And we can give you some food too.”
“How ’bout you tell us why you’re out here?” the man said. “What drove you to our desert home?”
Oda raised an eyebrow. “It wasn’t riches if that’s what you’re thinking,” he said. “The girl’s trying to do some sort of science experiment.”
“Science?” the man spat. “You’re here for science?”
“What’s wrong with science?” Bristol asked.
“Nothin’,” a woman’s voice said from behind Oda.
Oda whirled around to face the woman, but Michael continued to face the man.
“Just can’t get rich off it,” the woman concluded. “Tell ya what: you give us this cabin, and we’ll call it even.”
“You can’t take my cabin,” Oda spat. “Why don’t you leave before me and the kid make you?”
“Why don’t I slit this girls pretty little throat?” the man replied.
“Go ahead, she’s annoying anyway,” Oda said.
“Hey!” Bristol cried.
“But you won’t,” Oda continued. “You’re not a murderer. You’re just someone looking to make a quick buck.”
“And I suppose you’re mister honest livin’,” the woman said as she looked Oda up and down. “I think I know you. You go to Whitemont High?”
Oda raised an eyebrow. “Maybe,” he said. “But there’s no way you went there: I would have noticed someone as pretty as you.”
“Oh, you knew me,” the woman said. “You just didn’t think I was all that pretty back then.”
Oda titled his head to the side. “Who are you?” he asked.
“That’s none of your concern,” the woman said. “Now give us the cabin.”
“Where will we sleep if you take our beds?” Michael asked.
“What makes you think I care?” the woman asked.
“You shouldn’t steal!” Michael cried. “It’s not nice!” He grabbed a hairbrush from the counter and threw it at the man’s head.
Oda rushed at the woman while she was distracted.
The man flinched, moving his arm partially away from Bristol’s neck.
Bristol stomped down on the man’s foot and ran towards Michael. “What now?” she asked.
“Now we convince these thieves to leave us alone,” Oda cried.
“That’ll be easy,” Michael said. He kicked the man, who was still favouring his foot, hard in the chest. He stumbled back into the bathroom’s window hard. The window was still open from the man’s entrance, so he tumbled out of it and fell to the ground a story below.
“Yaro!” the woman cried. She ran out of the room and down the stairs.
Oda, Michael, and Bristol looked out the window. The woman burst out the door and ran to Yaro’s side.
Yaro turned over and slowly pushed himself to his feet. “I’m fine,” he snarled. “Get the bikes.”
The woman hurried over to the two motorcycles and pushed one over to Yaro. He climbed on and started the bike. The woman ran back to the other bike and started it.
Yaro looked up at the three still watching them. “Don’t think we won’t be back,” he snarled before driving off after the woman.
Bristol sighed. “Now what?” she asked.
“Now we sleep,” Oda replied.
Michael and Bristol stared at Oda as he shrugged and left the bathroom.

The Boy in the Woods: Part 14


“How on Earth did you get this thing?” Bristol asked Oda. She looked around the two-story cabin with interest. Oda had had a clothe cube much like Bristol’s, but, instead of expanding into a tent, in expanded into a cabin.
“Why should I tell you?” Oda replied. As he sat down on the couch in the tiny livingroom.
Michael walked into the kitchen and started to rummage through the already full refrigerator.
“Fine,” Bristol snapped as she came into the livingroom. “I was just asking.”
“Mind your business, stupid girl,” Oda snapped back.
“Why are you fighting?” Michael asked from the kitchen. “I thought we were friends now.”
Bristol looked over at Michael. “Just because he helped us, doesn’t mean I have to like him,” she said. “He’s a rapist. He doesn’t respect women.”
Oda snorted. “I respect women plenty,” he said. “I respect their bodies, their beauty, and their feminine virtues. I don’t however, respect you: you’re no lady.”
“In other words, you’re a misogynistic pig you thinks women are only meant to be objects for your enjoyment,” Bristol said.
“Don’t be stupid,” Oda cried. “Women have their place, and men have theirs. It’s not my fault I recognize the beauty of a women.”
Bristol stuck her tongue out at Oda. “You don’t want women to be your equal,” she said. “It hurts your male ego.”
“What are you guys fighting about?” Michael asked as he sat down next to Oda. “I don’t understand what you’re saying.” He began to eat the sandwich he had made.
Oda looked at Michael carefully. “Let me tell you about women,” he said. “They’re emotional. They take everything personal. Especially when they’re Bristols age. A good woman knows her place: in the home taking care of her family. Bristol hasn’t learned that yet. Given the type of influnece she’s had, she may never get a husband.”
“I don’t want a husband!” Bristol screamed. “Come on, Michael. Let’s go get cleaned up.” She took Michaels hand and pulled him up the stairs to the bathroom. “And don’t even think about following us,” she yelled to Oda.
“What’s wrong?” Michael asked when they were alone.
“Listen to me,” Bristol said as she looked him in the eye. “Never turn out like that man: he’s not a good person. He’s an entitled monster, and he hurts people for the fun of it. I know you want us to be friends, but I don’t trust him. I don’t think you should spend much time with him either.”
Michael blinked. “Okay,” he said slowly. “But…what if he changes?”
Bristol shrugged. “I don’t think he will, but we can worry about that later,” she said. “Just…be careful.”
“Okay,” Michael said again.
“You stink,” Bristol said, changing the subject. “Go have a bath.”

Time to Get Back to Writing

I needed some time to recover after the conference, and I had to submit a story to a magazine the day after the conference, so I haven’t really thought about the blog lately. But I will now get back to writing that story I was writing. I’ll post Part 13 tomorrow.

SoJo Cal Is Finally Here!

Here is SoJo Cal:


Dan Linford talked about how atheists view Christians who support the LGBT community and why supporting the LGBT community does not contradict their Christianity:


Russell Glasser discussed his experience as an atheist activist in the Bible belt and why such activism is still necessary:


Zinnia Jones talked about her experience as a trans activist and how trans people can learn more about their identity and where to find support:


Heina Dadabhoy discussed their views on Islam as an ex-Muslim and the difference between criticism and bigotry:

Please watch these videos and let us know what you think. This is our first conference, so we’d like to know how we can improve, what we did well, and what people would like to see in the future.

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