“Governments for Worldbuilders” is Here!

I know I just said that my publishing-focused stuff is shifting to the Lagrange Books site. But for my own book, I’ll make an exception—especially when it’s a book that is at the heart of what this blog is about.

At long last, the book that’s been percolating for over seven years is done! Readers of this blog have followed along as we discussed how authors can use concepts from politics in their work. And now, Book One of the Politics for Worldbuilders series is complete and available for purchase! Check it out!

A Quick Thought on Microaggressions

[A meta-comment first: I’m going to be transitioning a lot of the Lagrange Books stuff over to LB’s dedicated page, and refocusing this site on my own personal work and thoughts. It’s been a while since I’ve felt free to write my own stuff just because!]

I’d always been leery of the term “microaggression.” Not because I think the meaning of the term was silly; I’ve experienced it often enough in my own life to know otherwise. But the term itself, semantically, seemed to argue for too much. “Aggression” involves deliberate harm, whereas microaggressions are often unintentional, and sometimes even unnoticed by the recipient until much later in the day. Worse, “aggression” is something that justifies a violent response (something I’ve spent much of my scholarly life studying). Does a microaggression justify a micro-violent response? What does that even mean?

And what does “microaggression” add to perfectly good existing concepts like thoughtlessness, rudeness, misspeaking, or the like?

Recently, however, I had a personal experience that gave me more insight into what “microaggression” could mean, and what it could justify. Typically when I experience one of these, I tend to shrug it off; the speaker is not meaning to offend, and getting into a whole discussion would derail the conversation. However, the most recent event was actually in the middle of a professional class on microaggressions! I thought the context justified correcting the misspeaking.

The experience of doing so was illuminating. Speaking up felt like it violated strong social norms against putting people on the spot and creating conflict where no apparent conflict existed. And yet I felt I was justified in speaking up. This, it seemed to me, helped explain what calling something a “microaggression” accomplishes.

Putting it into just-war terms, correcting a microaggression is a justified response to the microaggression, even though it tends to overstep our usual social boundaries—but as with war, a proper response needs to be proportional. The offense was unintentional and almost harmless; the mere fact of a microaggression did not permit me to be actually rude in my response, or hurtful, or to do harm. The response had to be tactful, to acknowledge the lack of malice in the microaggression.

I still do not like the term “microaggression” because of the semantics around its use. In particular, I find abhorrent the way in which a motivated few have used the act of pointing out  microaggressions as a social weapon, calling for shame and ostracism of the offender. But I can at least justify the term, and use it carefully until I find a better one.

In a nutshell, receiving a microaggression entitles you to respond with a single “well ackshually“!


New Sci-Fi Anthology Coming Soon… — Lagrange Books

Long ago, Lagrange did a call for submissions for science-fiction short stories, with a theme of “asteroids.” Some fantastic authors responded with stories that were fun, provocative, insightful, or gloriously cheesy. An accumulation of other projects pushed this one to the back burner for a while, but the time has finally come for these stories […]

via New Sci-Fi Anthology Coming Soon… — Lagrange Books

“Governments for Worldbuilders” is Coming!


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Way back in 2013, I talked about writing a how-to guide for authors and other worldbuilders about using politics to make awesome stories. Gradually, I started posting about political topics, now helpfully collected on this page.

Last summer, I finally turned my work into a manuscript, deepening the discussions and adding new material. Since then, it’s been going through edits, layout design, and now cover design.

Now, at last, the end is in sight. Expect a cover reveal in the next week or two. I can’t tell you how excited I am!

New Release! “Bad Dreams and Broken Hearts,” by Misha Burnett


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So in October, Lagrange Books published an awesome hard-boiled detective fantasy collection by the incredible Misha Burnett, and for some reason WordPress wouldn’t let me post about it for weeks…

But that was then. Feast your eyes on this sweet cover:

2019-1151 Misha Burnett b01.jpg

And the book itself is even better! But don’t take my word for it. Here is a great review from Jon Mollison:

Misha’s writing snaps along with the brisk pace, terse delivery, and blank slate hero that marks all the best hard boiled works.  His understated descriptions and emotional subtlety are in display here at their finest.  For his writing alone, this book deserves a place on your shelf.

Rugar’s World is a city set in a straight up fantasy realm.  It isn’t our Earth plus magic, it is its own world with its own history and politics and cultures.  Our protagonist is a quiet American type of guy who keeps the peace in a west coast city that lies somewhere on the cultural and physical border between LA and Seattle.  City politics rears its ugly head and complicates otherwise straightforward murder investigations.  Think Bright without the heavy handed identity politics.  Or Law and Order with wands and necromancers and nations filled with golems and vampires.

Buy it today in Kindle, or in print from your favorite retailer. You’re going to love it!

NEW BOOK RELEASE: “The Wand that Rocks the Cradle: Magical Stories of Family”


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At last, after many long months of work and the fantastic contributions from our authors, The Wand that Rocks the Cradle: Magical Stories of Family is live on Amazon! Available in both Kindle and paperback formats for your reading pleasure. And if you’re enrolled in Kindle Unlimited, it’s included in your subscription!

This anthology celebrates the exhilarating wonders and hidden depths of family, as only fantasy can do. Featuring celebrated and award-winning authors, these stories will make you laugh, cry, and wish for more. Check it out, along with other anthologies from Lagrange Books!


The Wand that Rocks the Cradle: a Fantasy Anthology Coming in September!

I’ve been sadly quiet since May, mostly because I’ve been trying to juggle several different projects. First off, the long-running “Politics for Worldbuilders” project is finally being compiled into a book series; the first volume is nearing completion. Second, Lagrange Books is getting ready to publish our first single-author book, by fantastic author Misha Burnett. More news on that soon…

But it’s the third project, which was actually the first project, that I want to tell you about.

Back in May, I was spamming everyone with the Kickstarter project for The Wand that Rocks the Cradle, our fantasy anthology on magical families. Since we met our funding goal, I’ve been working hard to finish the editing, coordinate with our cover designer (the talented Melody Knighton), and produce the actual book. And now, behold:

We are now taking pre-orders on Amazon for the Kindle edition, with a special pre-release price of $2.99; once we launch in September the price will go up to $3.99.

(But there’s another way you can read it for free… If you sign up for the Lagrange Books mailing list, you can join the Advance Reader Team—you’ll get access to prerelease copies of Lagrange publications, in exchange for leaving totally honest reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, or other online sites. This is a totally optional, but totally fun, way to be involved.)

We’re all incredibly excited for this release. And once you start reading, you will be too!


Fantastic audiobook performance of my Chanuka fairy-tale!


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If you like audiobooks and podcasts, and you have kids (and even if not!), and you like fantasy fiction, you definitely need to give Elderberry Tales a listen. The host and voice-actor, Carrie Coello, provides performances of classic and new tales. For this week, she graciously agreed to feature one of my own stories, a fairy tale about the holiday of Chanuka called The Princess, the Dragon, and the Baker.

Grumpy dragon is grumpy...

Grumpy dragon is grumpy…

You can hear the podcast on Elderberry Tales here. When I get a little time I’m going to be setting it up as an audiobook for sale, but you can beat the rush and download it for free!

Only a Few Hours Left for “The Wand that Rocks the Cradle”!


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The Kickstarter campaign for The Wand that Rocks the Cradle is about to end, and we have blown past our goal with room to spare. I can’t wait to get to work publishing these great stories!

If you were thinking of backing this anthology, now is your last chance. See you there…

Emotional Whiplash

Here’s a brief sketch of my internal monologue during the Kickstarter project for The Wand that Rocks the Cradle, now about five days before the deadline:

Day 1: Oh my God we just got over 25% in one day that’s amazing!!

Day 3: Oh my God we just crossed 50%! Holy cow holy cow holy cow! We’re going to get so many backers and then we can do an audiobook and interior illustrations and all the authors get paid more than pennies and it’s going to be amazing!!

Day 7: Okay, slowing down a bit, but we still hit 70%, not too bad, not too bad!

Day 13: Okay, we’re stalled at 75%… do we need more PR? Maybe offer a cool new backer reward? Something?

Day 16: Awright, back in business! Not exactly rolling in dough, but good solid progress. Up to 88%, going great. We’ll get there.

Day 22: Um, hello? Anyone there?

Day 23: Okay, this cannot be the end! Time for some shameless begging…

Day 24: Okay, shameless begging got us a few bucks, up to 92%. Maybe update the graphic? Maybe I was spamming people too often with updates? Maybe the updates weren’t interesting enough? We’ve got a bunch of followers who haven’t contributed yet, maybe some of them will chip in right at the end?

Day 25: Seriously? Less than $40 left? Aargh! That’s like a cup of coffee a day or something! How can it be this hard?? Come on, Kickstarter, do your thing!


In the meanwhile, I’ve been scoping out a huge number of cover artists in different places online. We have options. The frustrating thing is that it’s hard to get a sense of what will attract our audience in particular; the emotional tone of this anthology is very different from my usual. I’d call it “wistful,” “poignant,” “tender” at times, with a few darker and lighter bits thrown in for spice. But the design aesthetic for a lot of cover artists these days seems to be “glowy action chick with a low-cut dress and werewolves,” which might not be where we want to go. Except, what if it sells anyway?

The marketplace is a fickle temptress, yea verily!