Tansy Rayner Roberts

Crowdfunding: Fun For All the Family

March 3rd, 2014

We’ve had an amazing couple of days – not even halfway through Day 3 of our 31 Day crowdfunding project for Cranky Women of History, and we’re already 38% funded! I’ve been madly refreshing the emails and the Pozible site because it’s ridiculously compulsive – and I know for a fact Tehani and I aren’t the only ones treating this as a spectator sport! You know who you are.

I have been teaching Raeli about percentages, crowdfunding, and other mathematical wonders, thanks to this project. She has learned to ask ‘how many supporters NOW?’ when she walks past my computer. (54 – and I love you all!)

Yesterday was amazing in other ways too – thanks to Briony Kidd, local filmaker who hosted a fantastic Write-In for a bunch of her friends. We took over her house from 10am to 6pm, with regularly scheduled breaks (but not too many of them) and wrote up a storm. I was a bit sad I couldn’t quite justify taking the whole weekend away from family stuff, but actually I think if I’d done both days of the Write-In I might have killed myself – because I managed to write a colossal 8,300 words on the project I haven’t quite got up the nerve to tell the Internet about yet because I’m too excited about it.

It might be a web serial. Cough. I WILL SAY NO MORE.

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Cranky Ladies of History are GO

March 1st, 2014

And we’re off! Lovely to see some enthusiastic early pledges at the Pozible site – especially some love for the exclusive Cranky Ladies calendar option – I”m actually really excited about putting that together, it’s going to be a combination of historical art, genuine historical snark, and some really important dates to remember!

Like, did you know Wonder Woman’s anniversary is October 25? NOW YOU KNOW. But wouldn’t it be handy to have some sort of calendar to keep track of these things?

I’m also completely gobsmacked that someone already snapped up our top tier reward, the hardback copy annotated by me. Definitely going to have to make that one special for our lovely supporter.


The Cranky Ladies of History Blog Tour has kicked off over at Fablecroft with Tehani’s post on The Night Witches.

And don’t forget to check out the piece that started it all – Liz Barr on Tsaritsa Sophia Alekseyevna of Russia, the Patron Saint of Cranky Ladies.


Friday Links Returns!

February 28th, 2014

Bulletin203_cover_front-e1393306714278And so does the SFWA Bulletin. The official announcement went up this week, as the issue is currently being printed and while this process takes more time than we would like, the e-book should be available by next week. Yes, non members are perfectly allowed to purchase it, though if you want to order a print copy I suggest you get on to that ASAP – the email for the SFWA office is in that article.

I really need to get back to doing these posts every week. So many links, so little time!

Anil Dash writes about The Year I Didn’t Retweet Men, a social experiment that reaped many rewards, and quite a bit of hate mail.

Spec Fic 13 have announced their lineup of authors – this is a reprint of the best SFF blogging of the year, curated this year by the Book Smugglers. And I’m in it!

Already linked to this one via Galactic Suburbia, but it’s VERY important so I’ll put it here too – Juliet McKenna talking about women’s SF books in bookshops and how many of us lose the game before we’re even out of the changing rooms. Liz Bourke also has some thoughts on some bookshops and their lack of representation of female SFF authors.

Following up on this is an equally important piece by the legendary Janny Wurts on The Unrecognized Trajectory of Slow Burn Success (something that is much harder to achieve in the current publishing climate). She particularly notes that while many of us believe that social media is a great leveller in allowing obscure works to find their readers – it doesn’t always work that way. She also provides a whole new perspective (for me) on Tolkien’s success which is fascinating.

Another great essay from the Women Destroy Science Fiction Kickstarter Campaign: We are the 50% by Rachel Swirsky.

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Prelude to a Crowdfunding

February 27th, 2014

All those people who asked what I was going to do with all this time once Jemima started Kinder? Well, yes. They can stop asking silly questions in future, can’t they?

Today was the first week I had the full three days (it alternates, two and then three) and it didn’t feel like nearly enough to get anything done – though at the same time I did get quite a lot done, AND had time to have a cold (seriously, my child starting school is the closest I ever get to sick leave) and had time to read and breathe and keep up with the washing up.

It’s like I don’t know myself any more.

My main problem, as I see it, is that I hit my month’s wordcount goal a few days ago, and while I promptly set myself a ‘stretch goal,’ I obviously didn’t believe in it because I haven’t written a word since.

cranky-ladies-logoI have edited a short story that’s appearing in a pro anthology later this year, and I did my BAS two days early instead of my usual one day late, so there’s that.

Also, finally, FINALLY, I finally ticked off the final stages of the SFWA Bulletin that has been filling my world since I committed to it back before Christmas. It is in the hands of printers and e-book designers now, and off my desk which means I can be fond of it again. I’m proud of what we did with it, but it’s going to be a while before I volunteer again to take on an editing job…


There’s this other project that has been waiting in the wings, ready to fly. Tehani and I have been plotting the Cranky Ladies of History anthology, featuring a bunch of exciting authors and even more exciting historical women of note. Tehani blogs about the project here.

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Hobart Book Launch: Ink Black Magic & Path of Night

February 27th, 2014

ink black magic party

Galactica Suburbia 94

February 23rd, 2014

Download the new episode now!

insectarmyIn which we get excited about awards, and sexism in SF. In other words, it’s Galactic Suburbia!

Aurealis Award Shortlist

Tiptree Award Winner & Shortlist – first Australian Tiptree winner! Congrats to N.A. Sulway!

Culture Consumed:

Alex: All Harry Potter movies; Project Bond; Supurbia
Tansy: Regency romance novels, Minister of Chance
Alisa: Supurbia

Pet Subject: the not-SFWA “debate”, the pervasive dismissal of women in SF

Note: this episode was recorded several days before broadcast, before Sean Fodera made his apology to Mary Robinette Kowal, who accepted it gracefully. Please look at her post about why she accepted, and the role of apologies in general.

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Authors of Influence

February 21st, 2014

McCaffrey-WhiteDragonIt’s a while since I’ve got my feminist rant on. I rather missed it.

So on Wednesday I put up a post about wanting to see more discussion about the female authors who formed an early influence on the writers around me. It struck a chord, apparently. My Twitter and Facebook feeds (not to mention comments on the blog itself) filled up with list after list after list of female authors, stacks of them, mostly connected to the SFF genres. It was particularly fun when conversation struck up – one name mentioned reminded someone else of another, and so on.

It was pretty cool.

My favourite tweet of the day was from Sunil Patel (@ghostwritingcow): “I love seeing the names of all these female authors in one place. It reminds me THEY EXIST. I’m so used to seeing male names.”

I also had a request to assemble the full list of responses to my public question. Here they are – the number next to them shows how often they were mentioned by different people.

It’s a very unscientific survey, not least because I forgot to specify ‘SFF’ in the tweet etc. and thus got a more diverse range of names than even I expected. I’m not sorry. This list makes me happy.

If anyone wants to write a guest post for my blog about *why* one of these authors (or any female author missed off this list) was so important to you early on, please get in touch! I’m particularly interested in the question of influence over later or current writers/editors.

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On Influence

February 19th, 2014

shapeWhich writers are important to you? Those of you who write, which authors most influenced you?

And before you answer that question, stop and think about the gender thing.

Juliet McKenna has written a brilliant piece about one of the key reasons that female SF authors often struggle to build their careers: how easily their works disappear because they’re not being pre-ordered, promoted or pushed nearly as much as those of their male counterparts.

The meme that the female author in SFF is somehow a rare, precious, unlikely object, persists to this day. But you know what? There were women writing SFF in the 70′s, and not just a token handful. There were women writing in the 80′s and the 90′s and the 00′s and oh look they’re writing RIGHT NOW.

And yet when booksellers (and it’s not just booksellers) put out lists or displays of what to read after George RR Martin, how often are those lists all male?

Of the books I read in my teens, it’s extremely noticeable to me that many of the titles by male authors are still in print, still turning up in bookshops around the world (hello Stockholm!) and yet the titles by female authors… well, let’s just say it’s a good thing I hung on to those yellowing paperbacks, isn’t it?

On Twitter today, there were some responses to Juliet’s article.

Foz Meadows (@fozmeadows) said: What bugs me is that these are meant as *beginner’s* guides – like there’s nowhere else to start but with dudes.

Kameron Hurley (@KameronHurley) said: beginner’s guide! If I was young woman interested in SF& presented that I’d feel so welcome!

and: it’s endless.Why don’t more women write/read SF?Shocker is we still do even tho we’re erased

I (@tansyrr) said: Frustating how many female authors I read in the 90′s you don’t see on shelves now.

Kate Elliott (@KateElliottSFF) said: For me most frustrating those women never spoken of as influential/important.

This is something that’s been burning a hole in my brain for a while now. It’s so rare to hear about the female writers who have influenced those working today. I know that I read a bunch of stuff that changed the way I thought about the genre, and a lot of it was by male writers, but that’s not what I want to talk about today.

Because while the male writers of ‘yore’ often get critiqued by today’s standards, somehow they don’t get swept under the carpet quite as efficiently as the female writers, whose flaws and failings are often held up as the reason WHY they’re no longer read today. The male authors get forgiven for their quirks and ‘of their time’ silliness and behind the scenes scandals, while the female authors do not.

So today I want to talk about a bunch of female writers (and editors) who were early influences on me and my writing.

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Agathon #14 The Sittaford Mystery (1931)

February 19th, 2014

Kathryn and I started out with a challenge to read every book written by Agatha Christie, in order of publication – we’re blogging as we go along. We spoil all the things!

Yes, it’s been a while, but we’re still going! The Sittaford Mystery is also sometimes called Murder at Hazelmoor.


First I need to say that I didn’t actually note the giant spoiler on the front cover, until I was photographing it for the blog…

This feels like a fairly ‘typical’ Christie murder mystery, although it has the distinction of including neither Miss Marple nor Poirot. Instead the detective in charge of the case is an Inspector Narracott, who is described as competent and intelligent, but doesn’t have much in the way of defining features otherwise. Indeed for the first ten chapters of the book I was wondering if Christie had written a mystery in which the detective had no personality at all. Come chapter eleven, however, it becomes apparent that Inspector Narracott is not the star of the book at all. Enter Emily Trefusis, determined to clear her fiance, Jim Pearson, who has been wrongly accused of the murder…

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The Feminist Rake and Other Bedtime Stories

February 18th, 2014

duchessSo, here’s a thing. I’ve always considered myself a reformed ally of romance writers (having been thoroughly educated by friends that my teenage scorn of the genre was unwarranted and based on many false premises). I’ve read Beyond Heaving Bosoms. I’ve listened to almost every episode of the Will Write For Wine podcast. I know the correct and socially appropriate ways to use phrases like ‘Glittery Hoo-Ha’ and ‘Magical Wang.’

But until very recently, I would never have considered myself a romance reader. Yes, I’ve read most of Jane Austen, some of Georgette Heyer (I prefer her murder mysteries) and all of Jennifer Crusie, and maybe a couple of dozen random contemporary romance titles in my life. Normally my romance reading happens from the outside looking in, though. The occasional genre-crossover title, or books like those of Mary Robinette Kowal and Gail Carriger which starts out using the trappings of romance fiction but moves on further.

Ahem. All of which is a long round about way of saying, I started reading Courtney Milan novels two weeks ago, and now I’ve fallen into Regency Romance and I can’t get out. I don’t want to get out. This shit is PURE CORSETED CRACK and I can’t get enough of it.

I have read sixteen titles in the last fortnight. Seriously. Only about 3 of them were novellas. I have burned my Kindle Paperwhite red-hot. I have started ordering titles from the State Library without worrying if I’m going to read them within the prescribed three weeks because I can’t consume these things fast enough.

I am reading books instead of messing around on the internet. Nearly every day. I don’t recognise myself.

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