Thinking About Social Media

I’m not going to lie. I hate the feeling of being trapped.
It’s undoubtedly why I’ve come to regard a lot of my social media experiences as confining these days. Even if it weren’t a matter of Tumblr and Facebook (most recently) going out of their way to make their platforms inhospitable to queer folks, that change really made me face facts: as an author, my social media presence can make or break my career.

SHADOWTIDE Hardcopy Pre-Order

My second novel – Shadowtide, a fantasy story set in the Blue Rose setting from Green Ronin’s rpg of the same name – is now available in Kindle format from Amazon!
When two envoys from the Sovereign’s Finest disappear on a critical mission, an unlikely band of allies, led by Soot, a rhy-crow with dark and secret power, is brought together to combat a hidden threat. As portents bloom across the smuggler’s den known as Serpent’s Haven, these strange agents quickly find themselves tested by the machinations of a cult dedicated to darkest Shadow. Grieving, afraid, and unsure who to trust or where to turn, they must rely on one another and their erstwhile allies in hopes of rescuing the envoys and foiling a terrible plot. Success will bring no great reward, but failure is unimaginable. Can they overcome their suspicion and fear to fulfill their mission, or will they, too, fall to Shadow?
Additionally, you can pre-order the hardcopy book here, and with an extra $5, you can also get the ebook IMMEDIATELY in three different formats!

SHARKY GOODNESS

Okay so, I really love Big Scary Shark movies. BUT. I love them because I think sharks are utterly amazing, are vital to the health of our oceans, and deserve to be protected.

 

I would KILL for a movie like MEG or JAWS that totally advertises itself as this whole “terrifying tooth-beast from The Deeps terrorizes innocent beach-goers” movie, but like it turns out that the people realize its being driven out of its natural hunting grounds by people, and then the Well Meaning Protagonists basically team up with Giant Eating Machine and fuck up some polluters or whatever.

 

SHARKS AS HEROES. That’s all I’m sayin’. That’s the movie I want.

GenCon 2018

Here we go! It’s that time of year again! This is what my schedule looks like for GenCon 2018.
Tues

5.30p – Arrive in Indy

Wed

NOTHING WTF

Thurs

Open: GR Booth Duty
1p to 3p – Queer as a Three-Sided Die (Lucas MtgRm 3)
5p – Gaymer Gathering (JW, White River Ballroom I&J)

Fri

Open – GR Booth Duty
2p to 3.3p – Queering Your Setting (Lucas MtgRm 5)
5p – Gaymer Gathering (JW, White River Ballroom I&J)

Sat

4p to Close – GR Booth Duty

Sun

12p to 2p – GR Booth Duty

#LGBTWIP

Hello! I found this lovely meme via ‘Nathan Smith, and I’m going to do this for the novel SHADOWTIDE I am even now finishing up! I’ll be expanding the answers on this post by editing, so if you’d like to be notified when that happens, just drop a comment below! (MC in these means “main character,” but I have three of them, so I’ll be answering those questions three times.)
1: Introduce yourself!
My name is Joseph Carriker, and I’ve been doing professional game design, writing, and development since 2001 or so. I am also a baby novelist, having released a novel SACRED BAND in 2017. SHADOWTIDE will be my second, for Nisaba Press!
2: Pitch your WIP
When two of the Sovereign’s Finest go missing in the smuggler’s hold of Serpent’s Haven, a trio of envoys are assigned to quickly find and recover them. Though Ydah, a mourning night woman ranger; Soot, a rhy-raven adept and veteran envoy; and Morjin, a Roamer spy, normally all work alone, they’ve got to navigate the dangers of Serpent’s Haven with only one another to depend on.
3: Your MC in five objects.
Morjin: A pack of Royal Road cards, a brocade waistcoat, a selection of thin blades easily hidden, a wine goblet, the key to a handsome stranger’s room
Ydah: An arrow-head necklace, her broadsword and shield, her worn traveling boots, a traveling tent for one
Soot: An envoy’s pendant, a copy of his book “Of Wing & Haunch” (a guide for medical treatment of those with animal bodies), a quill made from one of his own feathers, a cup of apple brandy, something shiny that he picked up today (but is too embarrassed to admit having done so).
4: A line capturing your WIP’s atmosphere.
“The difference between the Marsh Dragon and the Bog Hollow was — not to put too fine a point on it — one’s gag reflex.”
5: Does your WIP focus on the “queer experience?”
I’d say it is *a* queer experience. It’s set in a somewhat socially utopic setting (that of the RPG Blue Rose), in which most folks identify as bisexual, and orientation-based bigotry is pretty rare. I’d say that while it’s an experience not necessarily common to our world, it is one created by living in our world as a queer person: sometimes, we all wish for a place where those were not the things that mattered, to some degree, save to those we love and who loved us in return.

6: What inspired this WIP?
A Facebook post! I talked about wanting to see a James Bond figure, except one who was bisexual, and who instead of callously loving-and-leaving people he met during his missions, he had the bad habit of actually Developing Feelings for them, further complicating his missions. Thus was born one of the MCs of this book, Morjin.

ChupacabraCon 2018

Green Ronin Publishing has been invited to be guests of honor at ChupacabraCon 2018, held in Austin, Texas! I’ll be doing a couple of panels and games, including running a game of Blue Rose and doing a couple of panels, including a Queer as a Three-Sided Die session!

On Canon in Fiction

I find that more and more, I am unconcerned with “canon” when it comes to my favorite narratives. I mean, the notion itself is fairly recent, when it comes to our storytelling. Go back as far as you like: it is a natural human tendency to take the characters we already know and have heard of and cast them in similar roles in differing narratives.
Egyptian mythology is a great example of this. There is a reason that there is no single, cogent mythological narrative to the gods of Khem. It’s because there is 2000 years worth of stories about those gods, told, changed, retold over successive generations.
The same is true of narratives of Christ and his disciples. I mean, there’s a reason why an entire council had to be convened to decide what was “Actual Jesus” and what was apocrypha.
Folklore – that lovely body of storytelling that served the function that modern fiction does now – is rife with it. Arthur and Camelot. Robin Hood. Richard the Lionhearted. Charlemagne. Over and over and over we see it: a tale, featuring a hero that grabs onto the popular imagination, who gets repurposed again and again for different stories. Some of which are wildly at odds with one another (original “your fic is ooc” thumbs-down comments).
Even in the New World we have this. The stories of Davey Crockett, Johnny Appleseed, John Henry, Paul Bunyan – there are various stories about all of them, some of which conflict with one another, as those names get reused to tell stories of different types.
Now, copyright laws (for better or for worse; this post is not about them, please) have actually done a remarkable thing. They have *changed* the way we view storytelling. Every story must be brand new. It must be unique and original. “Derivative” is a thoroughly modern slander against a narrative, as though it were a storytelling sin, when it used to be the very core of people telling stories.

Narratives of Culture & Marginalization

Narratives.

 

At the end of the day, being a marginalized person means being forced into being a participant in a narrative without your consent or control. You weren’t asked if you wanted to be part of the story of black folk in America, or of neuroatypical narratives in the zeitgeist right now.

 

You weren’t asked if you wanted to be part of the history of women’s struggles (as a woman, even the choice to entirely reject feminism is still engagement with the narrative) or to be a little gay mote in the sweep of queer narrative to date.

 

We do the best we can. Some do better than others. Some stand high above the tidewater line of those narratives, while others are swept under before the know what is happening. But all marginalized folk are *part* of these narratives whether we want to be or not.

 

For the longest time, though, straight white cisgendered male able-bodied, neurotypical people have not had a default narrative. For some reason, it was given to each of them to make their own narratives for themselves.

 

But today, they’re getting a narrative, too. Those of us who have had marginalized narratives thrust upon us are looking outward as well, and saying that the thrust of our narratives has had to come from somewhere, and we’re all comparing notes and coming to come conclusions about where that’s come from.

 

Straight white dudes are *pissed* off these days, because they’re experiencing – in many ways for the first time – having a narrative pushed on them, and they don’t like it. Every single one of them is engaged with this narrative: striking out at those who are placing that narrative back in their laps, denying that they’re part of it, owning that narrative and trying to make it better.

 

Hell, some of them are even diving straight into it, embracing the role of subjugator and Otherer by taking that narrative to its fascist end-game; “If you say I’m these things, then watch me be those things to a degree you never anticipated” more and more of them seem to be saying.

 

But it’s a tipping point, no matter what else it is. Because we’re all part of a shared narrative now – even when those narratives are all still awful in their various ways, and there is still definitely inequality between them. And maybe we have been for a long time, and will continue to be for even longer yet.

 

These narratives, though. They’re stories that define us, in many ways. And we’ve got to keep examining these stories and freeing ourselves from these stories, and finding ways to stop telling them about other people.

 

Stories are powerful. Narratives are the engine on which the vehicle of culture depends for forward movement, for better or for worse. We need them, and if we have to rely on the creative of lazy, cruel stories to keep the momentum going, history has shown that we’ll do just that. We need to learn how to step back, to divorce ourselves from our cultural laziness, and take the time to lovingly craft healthy narratives for ourselves and everyone else, as a means of curing that tendency.

And we need to develop these narratives with intention instead of laziness, to create them using craft that helps us drive towards a better future, rather than to craft them with assumptions and prejudices and hand-waving generalizations. We have to be deliberate in our creation, to aim for empathy and community. We have to turn the rising tide that swamps everyone into the one that lifts everyone instead.

We’ll do that in a hundred different ways, but ultimately those ways will be in service to a narrative. And we’ve got to craft that narrative deliberately, with the brightest, shining-est parts of what make us human, rather than the impulses from which our selfish, reductive, bigoted urges are derived.

Gen Con 2017

Industry Insider
I have been invited to be part of Gen Con’s 50th Anniversary as one of their Industry Insider programs! I’m tremendously honored to have received such an invitation, and I really do think these panels are going to be a lot of fun.
See the Schedule below for when those panels are taking place!

Schedule
My Gen Con schedule looks like this for this year!
Thursday
12pm – 4pm Green Ronin Booth Duty
5pm – 7pm SEM 17113265 Queer As A Three-Sided Die
7pm – 10pm Gaymer Gathering
9pm – 11pm VIG Mixer Party @ Oceanaire Seafood Room (30 S. Meridian)
Friday
12n – 1pm SEM17121713 The Heroes We Deserve
1.30pm – 2.30pm Book Signing
3pm – 4pm SEM17121696 How To Teach A Game
5p – 6pm SEM17121709 Right There On the Table Sex & Sexuality in Gaming
8p ENnies Awards
Saturday
10am – 12pm Green Ronin Booth Duty
12.30-1.30 Book Signing
2pm – 3pm SEM17112892 The Critical Role: Tal’Dorei Campaign Setting
5pm – 6pm SEM17113265 Queering Your Setting
8pm – 11pm SEM17103840 Candlekeep Presents (Just attending this one!)
Sunday
10am – 12pm Green Ronin Booth Duty