Some surprising research from Pew:
Millennials are quite similar to their elders when it comes to the amount of book reading they do, but young adults are more likely to have read a book in the past 12 months. Some 43% report reading a book—in any format—on a daily basis, a rate similar to older adults. Overall, 88% of Americans under 30 read a book in the past year, compared with 79% of those age 30 and older. Young adults have caught up to those in their thirties and forties in e-reading, with 37% of adults ages 18-29 reporting that they have read an e-book in the past year.
Plus: “The number of independent bookstores in the US rose by more than 20% between 2009 and 2014, according to the American Booksellers Association,” Quartz reports.
(both links via NextDraft)
Scientific American reports on the horrifying ecosystem of old books:
Book scorpions are the best/worst thing to happen to books, because book scorpions! But also book scorpions…
Properly known as pseudoscorpions, these tiny, tiny creatures have a fondness for old books, because old books also happen to contain delicious booklice and dust mites. And they’re really not book scorpions… at all because they can’t hurt us, and they’ve basically been performing a free pest control service since humans started stacking excessive numbers of dusty, bound-together piles of paper along our walls and nightstands. This arrangement works because old book-makers used to bind books using a starch-based glue that booklice and dust mites love, so without a healthy population of book scorpions patrolling your collection, those gross parasites are probably having a horrible, silent field-day chewing them all apart.
(via Matt Staggs)
The English translation of Metagenealogy: Self-Discovery through Psychomagic and the Family Tree by Jodorowsky and Marianne Costa comes out September 1. Looks like it’s been out in Spanish for a while.
Here’s the description from Amazon:
A practical guide to recognizing and overcoming the patterns and influences of the four generations before you
• Provides exercises to uncover your family’s psychological heritage, heal negative patterns of behavior and illness in your family tree, and discover your true self
• Explains how we are the product of two forces: repetition of familial patterns from the past and creation of new ideas from the Universal Consciousness of the future
• Interwoven with examples from Jodorowsky’s own life and his work with the tarot, psychoanalysis, and psychomagic
The family tree is not merely vital statistics about your ancestors. It is an embodied sense of self that we inherit from at least four prior generations, constituting both a life-giving treasure and a deadly trap. Each of us is both an heir of our lineage and a necessary variation that brings the family into new territory. Are you doomed to repeat the patterns of your parents and grandparents? Or can you harness your familial and individual talents to create your own destiny?
In Metagenealogy, Alejandro Jodorowsky and Marianne Costa show how every individual is the product of two forces: the imitating force, directed by the family group acting from the past, and the creative force, driven by the Universal Consciousness from the future. Interweaving examples from Jodorowsky’s own life and his work with the tarot, psychoanalysis, and psychomagic, the authors provide exercises, visualizations, and meditations to discover your family’s psychological heritage and open yourself to the growth and creativity of Universal Consciousness. They reveal how identifying the patterns, emotional programming, and successes and failures of the four generations that influence you–your siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and great-grandparents–allows you to see beyond the stable identity formed by family lineage. It frees you to overcome your inherited subconscious patterns of behavior and illness, stop the transmission of these patterns to future generations, and reconnect with your true self and unique creative purpose in life.
By understanding your family tree and your place in it, you open your ability to heal the ancient struggle between the repetitive forces of the past and the creative forces of the future.
See also our Alejandro Jodorowsky dossier.
In her series Psychopomp, author Amanda Sledz takes a literary approach to writing about urban shamanism, magical thinking, tarot, telepathy and other themes usually reserved for the fantasy genre. The series follows four characters: Meena, a woman who has experienced a break with reality; her parents, Frank and Esther; and Lola, a teenager who is becoming a shaman whether she wants to or not.
The first book in the series, Psychopomp Volume One: Cracked Plate, explores mental illness, empathy, our differing experiences of place, immigration and cultural identity, and the way our experience of family shapes our identity — without resorting to the cliches of genre fiction or descending into boring academic prose.
Amanda was raised in Cleveland and now lives in Portland, OR. She is self-publishing Psychopomp, but her work has appeared eFiction Horror and various small literary magazines. You can also check out some of Amanda’s works in progress on her site.
I recently caught-up with her to talk about Psychopomp, self-publishing and more.
Klint Finley: I understand you wrote a first draft of the first book in college — can you walk us through how the book evolved?
Amanda Sledz: I started working on it during my last semester of graduate school. I’d finished the entirety of an MFA in nonfiction writing, and thought I’d try my hand at fiction before escaping the clutches of academentia. There were a lot of subjects that I wrote about in my master’s thesis that were perceived as being unbelievable, because magical thinking as a means of interacting with hardship was described as a natural way of operating. The tone of the thesis (which was a memoir) became very self-conscious, with the over-awareness of the audience that’s required for decent nonfiction writing. I found myself longing to write something uncorked that still utilized the same themes.
I finished the first draft, which consisted of a shorter version of each section, very quickly. The editing and perfecting and development of repetition took a long, long time.
I abandoned it after wrangling it and getting sections of it published in small literary magazines. Then just over a year ago I was cleaning off my hard drive and thought doing nothing with it would be a waste.
And, in a way, as Grant Morrison might say I had myself locked in a hypersigil. I’m fairly certain my writing career would be permanently stalled if I didn’t let it escape.
A chapter from the novel Psychopomp Volume One: Cracked Plate
Lola, get out of bed.
It’s time to measure your standards.
The Official SAT Guide For Absolutely Everyone was pocked with portraits of thumbs-up enthusiastic sweater-decked white people. Endorsements from Ivy League colleges in bold-faced type offered assurances that somewhere in the page flipping Lola’s brain would flush electric. SCORE BIG TODAY! It demanded with caps lock ferocity. The antagonism of the fiery font left her terrified to perform otherwise.
Lola decided to ignore the taunts of the front cover adorned with individuals unfamiliar to her, and turned to the back cover to hunt for the token black or Asian or multi-racial friend positioned on the manicured lawn beside people in Polo shirts, laughing about their collective conquer of the universe. There. Perfect teeth, hand jammed into the pocket of pants likely called trousers, navy blue sweater knotted at his muscular shoulders, charmed and chuckling alongside the descendents of his former masters.
Oh, fuck this.
Lola’s attention shifted to the book’s contents, for the secrets her public school education denied her. Lola turned pages and let her finger find her fate, and she pressed down and the turning stopped and she opened one eye to spy her finger’s verbal-section divination. The word was davenport.
Lola said it aloud this time as she returned the book to the library shelf. She decided to take her chances on the outskirts of Ivy League Utopia; the tucked away temples of non-aristocratic orphans and otherwise-inclined refugees from academentia, born far away from the privileged promises of ivory gates and teeth.
In other words, Lola figured she’d think about state schools.
She thought of her Granny, with a face that seemed locked at exactly ancient, every picture revealing the same blacker-than-black skin and well-worn roads of wrinkles traveling forever north. Her smile was the fierce grin of a black woman who didn’t take any shit. One day she asked Lola: “Alright, girl. What do you want? Not the little want, but the big one. Tell me girl. Tell me!”
Lola didn’t really want green pastures and gothic buildings and well-groomed friends who strum guitars and laugh about obscure philosophical references and the people who don’t get them. She didn’t want to surround herself with individuals who seemingly skip over adolescence in favor of immediate adulthood and ambitions to obtain millionaire status prior to legal drinking age – or for that matter, anyone who observed material prosperity in and of itself as the ultimate objective, as the dividing line between success and failure, making it and just waiting for death.
Not what you don’t want, girl. What do you want?
She wanted unexpected physical arrangements reflecting all the colors of her original 64 pack of crayons, and backpacks loaded with buttons like bumper stickers, declaring allegiances and outrage for a cacophony of causes and crimes, faces fixed with the gaze to melt the uninitiated. People who read by compulsion not requirement, who coax forward portraits spun from naked elation, each scene framed by stark experience. She wanted friends who wouldn’t perceive visiting her house as missionary work, friends who doubled as muses and observed the uncharted nuances of others with appreciate eyes, friends who laughed too loud and got pulled over too often and had the habit of getting things done anyway.
Girl, you’re just coloring the circle around you. What do you want?
That is what Lola wanted.
Ms. Clark, the guidance counselor, was not interested in what Lola wanted. She wore a daily safari-type uniform of khaki pants and khaki shirt to match her khaki hair, and a wristwatch with a plain black strap that squeezed her wrist like a tourniquet. The calendar tacked to a bulletin board directly behind her head offered a generic nature scene, was one month and two years behind, and revealed nothing about her daily activities. Every pencil in the jammed pencil holder on her desk was nibbled right down to the graphite. She was held in place by a protective triangle of empty paper coffee cups that left her whole office smelling of sour syrup.
Ms. Clark sat Lola down and told her in measured tones that not wanting the prestige and pedigree of the Ivy League was all fine and good, but there was no choice when it came to this test and being tested. None. She drew a zero in the air for emphasis, and her glasses slid a notch down her nose. Ms. Clark assured Lola that an excellent score would increase her chances of getting into college, (“Any college”) and so long as Lola remembered to study something that doesn’t interest her, there might even be employment afterwards.
“These grades, they just won’t work. This is just not good enough. You need to focus and get your act together so that you’re ready for a Real College Experience,” Ms. Clark emphasized, pressing a finger into a stack of papers. Lola’s confusion about the mediocrity of a 4.0 grade point average followed the tip of Ms. Clark’s finger right to the name typed on the side of the manila folder.
It wasn’t Lola’s.
Lola realized exactly then that she didn’t consider Ms. Clark to be a woman who reeked of life expertise. She seemed more like a woman who wanted to disappear.
Still: Detroit was a broken town where unemployed factory workers and overworked guidance counselors occupied porches, nursing cool glasses of little to hope for. It was a place where her mother sat similarly, sipping her own glass.
Lola squinted to look beyond the glare of Ms. Clark’s glasses to spy the crow pecking time along her eyes. She was a woman rarely asked how she was doing, and whom Lola wanted to hug. To Ms. Clark’s surprise, she did.
Then Lola signed up and arrived 30 minutes early with two #2 pencils sharpened to perfect points.
The monitor said good morning and didn’t mean it, and Lola took a booklet and a scantron worksheet and her seat. In three turns of the page the test placed Lola in a train heading west at 80 miles per hour while a rival train traveled east at 60, and the 20 mph face-off ended with mutual shrugging and one train saying, Go ahead while the other countered, Nah, after you. Then they met grills and shouted: BORED! and then they laughed and agreed to sit and wait it out until the scenery and story got a bit more interesting.
Lola whispered, “Where the hell are you two going?” and the first train huffed, and the other rolled his passenger car.
Then both started arguing about the logic of weighing mind-meat with a test that neglects the metric system, while never daring the test-taker to join the debate about whether the USA has snubbed it for nationalism purposes, or because the powers that be just thought the majority of chaw-chewing ‘mericans would be threatened by a challenge to their measuring sticks.
“There is no circle to mark for that!” Lola hissed at the trains, and the monitor shushed her and another student looked up, doe-eyed hopeful that six hours of circle-slog boredom would be interrupted by some soul violently ejected for the ruler-whack sin of cheating.
Then the end of the pencil blinked alive and said: Shaman, what are you circling?
Lola squeezed the pencil to see if it would say ouch. It didn’t.
So she asked her newly minted totem or guide or holy guardian angel or higher self: “What did you say?”
And the scantron worksheet, eager to chime in on this pivotal conversation, said: Shaman. What are you circling?
Having had it up to here, Lola spat, “I’m trying to take a test!”
Pencil sighed. This is the test.
Through it all, the other pencil was silent.
Lola felt a twinge, a familiar tweak of her cheek and so she got up to leave. The monitor barely looked up when she returned her booklet and threw the scantron in the trash. Lola thought about Detroit, how the bodies of her Irish and African ancestors were stacked like concrete blocks, their curved backs reinforcing the steel of this city. She waved when she felt them watching her, and sometimes they returned the favor, but mostly they just watched her retreat.
Lola, are you listening?
Your brother needs you.
Lola stopped in the bathroom to collect herself and wipe the diagramed sentences from her eyes. She inhaled a puff from the useless inhaler with a propellant that had supposedly been altered for environmental reasons, and frowned at its failure to open her asthmatic airways. A second inhale further confused the formula as her lungs expanded with stagnant lavatory fumes and the remnants of someone’s aerosol hairspray. Still, she had to linger just a bit longer because sometimes she knows and that time, she knew: her phone would ring any second.
Lola met her own eyes in the mirror and shipped thoughts to the something that lies beyond the first layer of screen: I know you’re there. I can feel you coming. Then her cell phone sang the lost notes of rotary phones and Lola kept exchanging information pools with whatever set of eyes resides on the other side, and she didn’t break the eye-lock when she held the electronic device to her face and said, “Hello?”
First she heard laughter, and then shut up yawl, and then the laughter was louder and she was on speakerphone so she didn’t say anything. She waited. Finally a voice barked: “Yo, your brother’s whacked out over at Jimmy’s house. Come collect his ass.”
Laughter, shrill and ripe all over again.
“Alright then,” she said, hanging up before their sickness infected her trance. She twisted at a few stray strands of reddish-brown hair escaping her thick braid and returned phone to pocket. Lola connected the dots of her freckles with invisible lines, wondering if dots could be beautiful. If she connected them to the north they looked like a sparrow; to the west, a pair of hummingbirds. She checked her back pocket for the pencil as the gap between her two front teeth winked her awake and away. Pea had the same gap. She called it the door their souls snuck through, the one that also swung the other way to facilitate their escape. She wondered if anything else could sneak in.
Pea preferred to call it evidence they were missing something .
Pea. Her brother. Right.
Published October 2012 by One Eye Two Crows Press
Copyright 2012 by Amanda Sledz
Rushkoff discussed the idea of present shock back in 2010 The Edge Annual Question — 2010:
By surrendering my natural rhythms to the immediacy of my networks, I am optimizing myself and my thinking to my technologies — rather than the other way around. I feel as though I speeding up, when I am actually just becoming less productive, less thoughtful, and less capable of asserting any agency over the world in which I live. The result something akin to future shock. Only in our era, it’s more of a present shock.
I try to look at the positive: Our Internet-enabled emphasis on the present may have liberated us from the 20th century’s dangerously compelling ideological narratives. No one — well, hardly anyone — can still be persuaded that brutal means are justified by mythological ends. And people are less likely to believe employers’ and corporations’ false promises of future rewards for years of loyalty now.
But, for me anyway, it has not actually brought me into greater awareness of what is going on around me. I am not approaching some Zen state of an infinite moment, completely at one with my surroundings, connected to others, and aware of myself on any fundamental level.
Rather, I am increasingly in a distracted present, where forces on the periphery are magnified and those immediately before me are ignored.
He also discussed some of these themes in an interview in New Inquiry last May.
The answer, apparently, is no. The Awl looked through the cost of different New York Times best sellers from the past seven decades and comparing the costs using a tool from Bureau of Labor Statistics to convert all the costs into 2011 money. The conclusion? Hardcover books have cost roughly $30 2011 money since 1951, with the exception of some large outliers in 1971.
The article concludes:
And it’s good that we’re doing this now, as the uncertainty looming over the publishing industry is unimaginably big. Both the competitive pricing and release patterns of e-books and the ascendance of Amazon and similar e-tailers (okay, just Amazon, really) threaten to change the business of book publishing into something that will be completely unrecognizable on an historical basis. All this at a time when even members of the Fourth Estate are railing against the horrors of bookstores, even the independent ones. (Needless to say, I disagree with him in a manner that involves the use of profanities: support your local bookstore.) I hope this is not the case, but maybe only James Patterson can save us.
(via Matt Staggs)
"At one time or another Sue Lange has been one of the following (pretty much in this order): child, student, potato picker, first chair flautist, librarian, last chair flautist, babysitter, newspaper deliverer, apple picker, form cutter, drama club treasurer, track and field timer, Ponderosa Steak House salad server (before the salad bar days, of course), disco dance instructor, waitress, wire harness assembler, usher, Baskin-Robbins ice cream dipper, volleyball team captain, biology club treasurer, circuit board checker, form reader, day camp counselor, tutor, stock room attendant, nurse aide, chemistry technician, senior chemistry technician, right fielder, Plant Laboratory Supervisor–non-radiological, house sitter, first base, receptionist, stage manager, data input technician, actor, bookkeeper, vocalist, typesetter, songwriter, recording artist, home builder, viticulturist, Digital Production Manager, orchardist, and Applescripter. Lately she’s been writing.”
TiamatsVision- For those unfamiliar with your work, tell us a bit about yourself.
Sue Lange- Well I started out as a child, and then I grew up. After that terrifying experience I moved to New York City and discovered who I really was. Turns out I was musician so I started a band. Crabby Lady was the last incarnation. I stripped the music from my lyrics and published my story as science fiction (“Tritcheon Hash”). That went over like a lead balloon so I tried again (“We, Robots”). Blowing my modicum of success with the second book all of out of proportion gave me the nerve to try it once more, hence my third book, “The Textile Planet”.
TiamatsVision- How did the idea for Book View Café come about and what was involved in putting the site together?
Sue Lange- A number of people on the SF-FFW Yahoo group (women writers of speculative fiction) started yakking about offering fiction for free online to create some buzz for our work. We read stuff like Cory Doctorow’s manifesto on the subject and got inspired. Never one for talk without action, Sarah Zettel grew tired of our ranting and said, “Let’s do it.” A bunch of us got eager and jumped on the band wagon, and voila, BVC is born.
TiamatsVision- What do you see happening with Book View Café in the future?
Sue Lange- I think we’re going to become a publisher. We’re going to have a model in place for publishing Internet fiction and making money at it. We’ll know how to make it, serve it, promote it, and sell it. We’ll have a handful of formidable partners that will be able to distribute our product in the myriad formats out there. We’ll have content in Internet formats, ebooks, print books, and podcasts. Wherever there is content, we will be there.
TiamatsVision- Tell us about your current project titled “The Textile Planet”, which is available on Book View Cafe.
Sue Lange- “The Textile Planet” is a rather long-winded tale of speculative fiction. Because it was so overwritten, I decided it would be perfect for adding even more content to in the form of links to back story and little playlets and stuff like that. It could go on forever with bits added here and there as I see, and perhaps the audience sees, fit. Underneath it all though, there is a story. It follows corporate stooge, Marla Gershe, as she foments revolution in her day job. The consequences of her foolish action follow her eventually to the ends of the universe.
TiamatsVision- What inspired you to write it?
Sue Lange- Three day gigs: my job at the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant, my job at IEEE Communications Society, and a weird little part-time thing I did on the NYC textile exchange. The first two jobs were and are hectic at times and very inspiring when considering revolution. I’m sure there are many people out there who have also at some point in their life fantasized about tipping the in basket over the side of the desk and pulling the emergency switch. They can relate to those moments that inspired this story.
The third job was just plain bizarre and inspirational for anyone writing spec fic. It pretty much provided the setting and circumstances of the story.
TiamatsVision- The main story centers on the textile industry and fashion. Is this something you’ve always been interested in?
Sue Lange- No, but that textile exchange job gave me a slit of a window into how it works from soup to nuts. The textile exchange itself consists of little offices in the Chelsea section of NYC. The Seventh Ave./30th Street area. Around Penn Station actually. There’s no fancy building or big sculpture to let you know something big is going on. The only evidence of its existence is that you’ll see racks of raw mink rolling around the dirty streets at odd hours. Surrealistic. You look at one of these racks and wonder what the value is. Thousands of dollars? Hundreds only maybe, until they’re stitched into a coat? That and the fact that 7th Avenue was renamed Fashion Ave. are the only indicators of the industry. There are a lot of wholesalers in the area selling fabric and notions by the ton to the trade only. So there’s that.
My gigmaster sold shop towels from Russia where they were cheap to make. All day long he moved Russian shop towels from one buyer to the next. He was quite successful at it. He had a bunch of other businesses here and there as well. I had been working for him for about three days when he asked me if I wanted to be a plant manager for a textile concern of his down in Georgia. I ask you, would you take a position that someone is so desperate to fill they’re asking strangers? I’ve spent long hours imagining the horror that place down there must be and “The Textile Planet” resulted from that. I did some research for it, but fabrication based on my imaginations is so much more fun. In the end there’s not much basis in reality in the book. Especially when we get to the ends of the Universe, but I guess that’s obvious.
TiamatsVision- What made you decide to make this a multimedia project?
Sue Lange- I wanted to cut out some stuff that was making the action drag. Instead of just cutting it out, though, I used it for clickable content. The radio play is just more of the same dialogue illustrating that Marla is having a bad day. It just never ends, so I had some friends in for dinner and we recorded the various conversations that had been cut out, added some sound effects and background patter and there you are. Multimedia content.
TiamatsVision- Do you plan to do more multimedia projects in the future?
Sue Lange- Depends on how this one works out. If people are interested in it. I love doing it, but I don’t know if it enhances a person’s enjoyment of the material. The story really stands on it’s own, but I like adding sound effects. Instead of describing what someone is hearing, maybe it’s better to give them an example. But does anyone really care what a home-made version of a Santana song without percussion would sound like? I mean, just thinking about it is pretty funny, considering Santana’s lineup was about 75% drums et al. But if someone is not familiar with Santana’s music, they might not get just how bad it would be. If you’ve listened to the recording you know how bad it is. And having been part of lots of DIY music projects, I know how funny it can get. It’s worth a cheap joke.
TiamatsVision- What are some of your interests other than writing?
Sue Lange- Music, obviously. I love movies. I’m writing a piece on Lina Wertmuller’s “Love and Anarchy” for the Aqueduct Press, 2008 wrapup. I just learned to ride horses a couple of years ago. I do organic farming, have a peach orchard and do vegetables and my signature garlic every year. And I love to perform. Sing, dance, pass gas. It’s all good.
TiamatsVision- What else have you written and are there other projects you’re currently working on?
Sue Lange- My first published book was “Tritcheon Hash”, about a hapless space age pilot that has to visit Earth and see if a partnership with the inhabitants there will be a win-win situation. “We, Robots” is about a hapless domestic robot that learns what it means to be human. “The Textile Planet” is about a hapless worker in the textile industry. And my next project is called “The Perpetual Motion Club” which is about a hapless teenager that gets hung up on a basketball star and perpetual motion phenomena.
TiamatsVision- If people want to read more of your work or purchase your books where do they go?
Sue Lange- Amazon of course. “We, Robots” is cheaper at the publisher’s website (http://www.aqueductpress.com/orders.html). My blog on the subject (usually) of The Singularity Theory is at http://scusteister.livejournal.com. My website is kinda fun: http://www.suelangetheauthor.com and I have a couple of stories up at bookviewcafe.com for free. Some of my other stories have been published on the Internet. Can’t remember exactly where right now. A lot of the sites have vanished. The current issue of Premonitions, a UK magazine, has my story “Jump”. A dark story, not like me at all.
Susan Wright writes science fiction novels and nonfiction books on art and popular culture. New York City is her home, where she lives with her husband Kelly Beaton. After graduating from Arizona State University in 1986, Susan moved to Manhattan to get her masters in Art History from New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts. Susan is currently the Spokesperson for the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, a national organization committed to protecting freedom of sexual expression among consenting adults.
TiamatsVision- For those unfamiliar with you and your work, tell us a bit about yourself.
Susan Wright- I’ve written over 25 novels and nonfiction books on art and popular culture. Right after I got my masters in art history from New York University, instead of becoming a professor as I had intended, I started writing. I was lucky enough to get an agent and in 1994, I published my first Star Trek novel, "Sins of Commission". I wrote 9 Star Trek novels in all, and I have a new story in the Mirror Universe Shards and Shadows anthology coming out in January, 2009 called "Bitter Fruit".
I’m also the spokesperson for the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom. I talk to the media about BDSM, swinging and polyamory to debunk stereotypes and defend our communities’ right to hold events. NCSF is a great organization, the only one devoted to helping people in need. The website is www.ncsfreedom.org
TiamatsVision- You recently released a book called “A Pound of Flesh” which is a sequel to "To Serve and Submit" . What is this series about and what was your inspiration in writing it?
Susan Wright- These two books are about pleasure training houses in the 11th century - Viking sex! In "To Serve and Submit" , Marja is a submissive heroine who learns through her battles to save her homeland how to use her true nature to become a powerful woman. She falls in love with her master, Lexander. I got the idea from artifacts found in Newfoundland of Viking settlements, and I imagined what would that society be like if it had flourished. I knew the first “new world” settlement would include Native Americans as well as Vikings. Marja’s mother is a Skraeling and her father is Nordic so she straddles those worlds.
In "A Pound of Flesh" , Marja travels to Europe to save the slaves from the pleasure houses, but she has to fight Lexander, her former master and lover, to do it. I loved writing the BDSM scenes in this book because I think it makes the sex more creative - they aren’t the typical love scene. I have much more ability to move the story along during these scenes because the interactions are more intense.
TiamatsVision- Did you have to do any special research for this series?
Susan Wright- LOL! I found the leather community in New York City in 1991 and have been thoroughly involved ever since. So the BDSM is a completely natural expression for me.
For the Viking and real-world building, yes I did a tremendous amount of research. I also benefited because I studied art history for 7 years with an emphasis on the Middle Ages so I have a strong grounding in medieval societies.
TiamatsVision- Are there any future books planned for this series?
Susan Wright- Yes, but my editor left Roc and the future of this series is in doubt. At some point, however, I will return to Marja and Lexander’s story. They will go to Tantalis to deal directly with Lexander’s people who are enslaving poor misfortunates into their pleasure houses.
TiamatsVision- What got you interested in writing, and who are some of your favorite authors?
Susan Wright- When I was a young teen, I loved Heinlein novels. They were dated, but nothing could beat his story-telling. I was a passionate reader and that was always the most important thing“‘a story that could take me away and show me things I’d never imagined. Now I read mostly science fiction and urban fantasy. Also lots of 19th century novels, any I can get my hands on, so Trollope with his copious output is a favorite of mine.
I got a computer when I was getting my masters, and that’s when I became a writer. I’m big on editing over and over, putting together a story and layering in details, so I need a computer to create the way I want to. The words poured out of me. I couldn’t stop myself from being a writer, despite the hardship that it’s caused in my life. But being able to write full time, and create the books I want to, is worth everything I had to give up.
TiamatsVision- You’ve written the Dark Passionsbooks for the Star Trek series and a book on Area 51, “ UFO Headquarters: Investigations on Current Extraterrestrial Activity in Area 51” . What else have you written and what are you currently working on?
Susan Wright- My first science fiction trilogy is called Slave Trade. The first novel, “Slave Trade" , is available on a brand new cooperative of over 20 published authors - www.bookviewcafe.com. I’m really excited about this project. A bunch of us authors got together to create a fun website where we give away electronic versions of our out-of-print and unpublished work. I’m posting a free chapter of "Slave Trade" every Tuesday - you can read the chapters online that I’ve already posted, or download it. If you can’t wait each week to read it, you can download the entire novel for $4.99.
Currently I’m working on “Confessions of a Demon” and the sequel, "Demon Revelation" . They’re urban fantasies set in New York City, featuring a possessed human heroine, Allay. Demons are emotional vampires, living off the feelings of others. Allay has to survive in the midst of an ancient demon war without becoming anyone’s pawn. "Confessions of a Demon" will be published in October 2009.
TiamatsVision- How did you get involved in writing the Dark Passionsbooks for the Star Trek series?
Susan Wright- My editor, John Ordover, came to me with the idea of writing a set of mirror universe novels featuring the “bad girls” of Star Trek. That was the working title but Paramount nixed it, unfortunately. They feature Seven of Nine and Kira Nerys as lesbian lovers, with Deanna Troi thrown into the mix as well. They’re my best-selling Star Trek novels, which makes sense, don’t you think?
TiamatsVision- What inspired you to write a book about Area 51 and tape an interview with UFO hunters? Is this something you’ve always had an interest in?
Susan Wright- I wanted to find out the truth about UFOs. So what better way than to write a book about it? I sold it to St. Martin’s Press so I could live while I was doing all of the research. Since Area 51 was getting headlines in the mid-90s, I focused on that. It’s not far from where my parents live, and I’ve always been curious about the adjacent Nevada Test Site where the nuclear bomb tests were held in the 50s and 60s. This fall, ten years later, I got a call from the History Channel’s UFO Hunters who were doing an Area 51 episode. I got to go back to the border of Area 51 where we saw a Pave Hawk rise up from a gully and fly right over the top of us, like it came up from the depths of the earth! It was really exciting to get to tell what happened. The episode is supposed to air early in 2009.
TiamatsVision- What is the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF), and how did it get started?
Susan Wright- I started NCSF in 1997 while I was working on an ad hoc project for the National Organization for Women to overturn their anti-SM policy. It took three years, but we did it! While I was educating NOW about BDSM, I kept getting emails from women who were being discriminated against or losing their child custody during divorce battles because of their BDSM. So I went to 5 of the biggest educational and social groups and asked them to join a “coalition” for sexual freedom. We had the educational and social aspect down, but we needed an advocacy group to fight the stereotypes and stigma of alternative sexual expression. Now we have 55 Coalition Partners and almost a 100 Supporting Members (groups, businesses and events who support NCSF).
NCSF has lots of different projects - our Incident Response helps people in need, along with the Media Outreach Project. We also have an Educational Outreach Project that gives workshops on how to produce events and protect yourself. We also have a new project - the DSM Revision Project that is working to educate the American Psychiatric Association about the harm the current diagnoses in the Diagnostic and Statistic Manual (DSM) are doing to BDSM practitioners and cross-dressers. There’s a petition calling for the APA to adhere to scientific research when revising the DSM. You can find that on the front page: www.ncsfreedom.org.
TiamatsVision- As Media Spokesperson for NCSF, what’s involved in getting the word out about your organization?
Susan Wright- I do a lot of interviews to influence the coverage of alternative sexuality. It’s having an effect - the term “consenting adults” has permeated the media and public consciousness. The vast majority of Americans agree that as long as it involves consenting adults, it’s nobody else’s business. That’s a welcome but very slow change that religious conservatives are trying to stop. There are groups that are dedicated to stopping gay rights and they dislike BDSM even more, so they attack our events.
TiamatsVision- What are some of your successful and more difficult cases?
Susan Wright- We have lots of successes! We help 600 people, groups, events, businesses and clubs every year. You can read the articles under NCSF in the News going back 8 years that reads like our greatest hits. We successfully defended Jack McGeorge, a UN weapons inspector who went to look for weapons in Iraq, when the media tried to discredit him because of his association with NCSF and BDSM. We successfully defended 5 major conferences in the Midwest in 2002 when Concerned Women for America spread lies that blood would flow in the hallways. We fought back Missouri State Senator John Louden when he tried to outlaw BDSM and BDSM conferences in that state. Last year we defended Kink.com when they were attacked for buying the SF Armory building, and we supported Folsom Street Fair when the Catholic League called for a boycott against Miller brewing for sponsoring the Fair because of their poster featuring Leatherfolk in a faux-Last Supper tableau.
TiamatsVision- What is a Kink-aware Professional, and what exactly do they do?
Susan Wright- NCSF’s Kink Aware Professionals project is a free referral list of doctors, therapists and lawyers who are “kink aware” meaning they understand the special needs of kinky people. They have placed their names and information on this list, arranged by state and city, so people can find them. It really helps to have a therapist or doctor who understands about BDSM so you don’t waste time trying to explain everything. There’s still an appalling amount of discrimination by professionals, so most people don’t want to out themselves to their doctors. Also if you’re in trouble, you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars an hour explaining to your attorney the difference between SM vs. abuse. Kink Aware lawyers tend to be very helpful to those in the BDSM, swing and polyamory communities who are in trouble. It’s an invaluable resource.
TiamatsVision- If people want to purchase your books or find out more information about the NCSF, where do they go?
Susan Wright- You can go to my website - www.susanwright.info It has a link to Book View CafÃ© where "Slave Trade" is being offered in free chapter downloads. Also there’s a link to NCSF, and a link to my blog on Live Journal. There’s also links from my books so you can buy them if you want to. Or send me a question. I love to talk to readers.