Ok, it’s been a week since the U.S. elections. I usually don’t make political posts, I mostly want to sell my books, but the times call for it, I think.  I’ve wanted to just sit with the notion that Trump was declared the winner for awhile. I have heard the wailing of my friends going on about how terrible it is that Trump got elected, and that this shows that American liberals are living in a bubble and need to pay attention to the ‘Good People ™’ of the Midwest.  You know, the salt of the earth types who ‘won it for Trump.’ First off, I grew up in the Midwest, and it’s not the ‘liberals’ who are in a bubble, it’s those ‘Good People™,’ the Left wants to emulate.

Want an example? In my little town, everyone was Caucasian except one family, who were mixed Indian and Mexican. They were Good People ™ too; everyone who knew them knew that.  The man worked for the town, and the children were all clean and well behaved. I was another mixed child, but I was also Good People™ because everyone knew my maternal family, and well, *it* happened in the best of families, didn’t it?  I was told many times how lucky I was that my Caucasian step-father accepted me, the strange little dark-haired and dark complexioned kid. No, the trouble came when a true outsider family came to live there. They were white which was good, but they were—Catholic, which was an unknown. People didn’t know if they would be Good People ™ or not. Keep in mind, that the denizens of my little town would not call themselves ‘racist’ or ‘bigoted.’ Hell, just look at how they allowed their children to play with the Catholic children before they knew they were Good People ™, and they let me and Lupe buy at the local stores didn’t they? How dare you call them racist?

But they don’t want Black people moving into town.  The TV says that they are all thieves and rappers, and who needs that?  They don’t want people with odd religions moving in either. I mean, the Catholics turned out ok, but You Never Know. Ah yes, when confronted with the uncomfortable or the unknown the Good People ™ of my little town wag their heads wisely, and say ‘Well, You Never Know.’  Code phrases for “iffy’, ‘let it be’ or “bury it, but let’s not talk about it.’

These are the people who voted for Trump.  These people are not ‘rednecks’ or ‘evil’; they just live in a bubble, a comfortable one. No, the evil ones are the carnival barkers who nod right back and say, “Yep, You Never Know! Give me $20.00, and I’ll make you safe from that Stranger over there!” thereby making the towns people’s worst fears true, and, incidentally getting them to dig for that $20 bill. These evil people are selling their fear back to them, claiming that only they will make the world safe for the denizens of my little town, thus getting rich off it. Now they’re getting elected off it.

I guess I hold to the values that I learned from my little Midwest town. That everyone deserves the right to live and love as they want to, provided it hurts no one else.  That one has the right to make a decent livelihood, and think about God however they want to. Those values that make me a ‘liberal’ outside the Midwest Bubble.  

I grew up with those Trump voters, and am certain that when those Good People ™ find out that the carnival barkers that are screaming “Fear your neighbor’ do not have the answers to keep them truly safe and prosperous, the Good People™ will be Pissed Off. Much like the protesters on my street right now. The ones chanting ‘Not my President.’ You see, I don’t think that what has the protesters angry is Trump, the man, so much as what he says and does. The carnival barker routine, the one that divides people, degrades them and makes them scared.  Granted, it has made him and his cronies very rich and very successful.  Now, though, that said Trumpster and company are in the wheelhouse of government, all I can say is that they need to change their tune real fast.  Or Well, You Never Know.

  

 

   

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SALE!
Greetings Gentle Readers!
In honor of the Seattle Steamposium, my books will be on Sale on Amazon.Com starting this Friday. This will be a limited time offer, so if you’ve wanted to start reading my novels, this weekend will be a good time!

 

https://www.amazon.com/Wind-Dancer-Steampunk-Adventure-Mystery-ebook/dp/B00RE0AX9M/ref=pd_sim_sbs_351_4?ie=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=QEJQBRSCHSKJTM5TS73K#nav-subnav

 

Appearing at Seattle Steamposium!

I will be reading from my new novel Alien Devices at The Seattle Steamposium at the Washington State Convention Center on Saturday afternoon,  9/24.  We’ll be giving away  signed copies of the Wind Dancer novel to three lucky individuals that sign up. So come on down, see the international Steampunk community in Seattle, and maybe win a free book! For more information: http://seattle-steamposium.com/

See you there!

To buy Alien Devices: https://www.amazon.com/Alien-Devices-prevent-zombie-apocalypse-ebook/dp/B01J7D4M9A/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1473705519&sr=1-1&keywords=raven+bond#nav-subnav

 

Appearence at Westercon 69

It’s official! I will be appearing at Westercon 69 in Portland, OR. The weekend of the 4th of July. My schedule so far includes my reading from my works at 3:00 PM Saturday and being on a panel about Steampunk, Multiculturalism and Gender on Sunday from 2 to 3 PM.

So, come to a great Convention, see me, and maybe buy one of my books. (I’ll even sign it for you!)

Why Steampunk?

I was recently told that my Owen Strong Mysteries are not ‘Steampunk’. One:  because the characters use Magia, or Magic as we call it. Two: because this ability imbues the worlds technology and so on, so there is very little ‘steam powered’. Three:  the dating system is taken from the Roman cult of Mithras, so 1895 Ano Mithre rather than 1895 A.D. There is no Christian religion in Strong’s world. They had other issues as well, but at least they offered me their feedback which I love.

While these are all interesting arguments, I must assert that the novels do belong in the Steampunk Genre which is a very broad umbrella indeed. While the world is imbued with magic, it matters to the story about as much as steam power does to Doyle. While magic informs the world our characters are in, it is still the 1800’s only in many ways a *better* century than the one that informs our modern world so much. Our social attitudes towards, race, women’s equality, sexuality, politics, et al. all it can be argued formed in the 1800’s. This to me is the allure of Steampunk, that we can create a different, a better society with all the romance and mystery that the age entails. What do you think? Let me know! If you haven’t yet read an Owen Strong Mystery, Might I recommend this:

http://www.amazon.com/Strong-Mystery-Murder-Steampunk-Magica-ebook/dp/B010KPV21A/ref=sr_1_sc_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1460675637&sr=8-3-spell&keywords=ravne+bond

 

July

Hello Gentle Reader,

Well July certainly was a month.  Besides getting the first Steampunk Magia omnibus of three Owen Strong and Jinhao novels published. I also was a guest reader at GearCon in Portland OR. It was my first GearCon.  Stephen and his staff were both very helpful and very professional to a bewildered author far from home. Thank you everyone, I look forward to next year!

On a more personal note, we managed to finally get the side yard at our home  turned into a courtyard with red brick paving, a large table and chairs with a big sun umbrella. As long as the weather holds good, I’ll be spending most of my days out here. If you’ve ever lived in the Pacific Northwest, you know exactly how rare it is that we can hang in the sunshine. I intend to enjoy it while I can.

If you haven’t yet, I want to remind you that the collection of three Owen Strong novels in one volume, entitled Strong Mystery, is available through Amazon as either a digital or a physical trade paperback here:

http://www.amazon.com/Strong-Mystery-Murder-Steampunk-Magica-ebook/dp/B010KPV21A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1438980006&sr=8-1&keywords=strong+mystery+raven+bond

If you have bought it already, my deepest thanks. If you could please find a moment to review it on either Amazon, or the Goodreads site, consider the thanks doubled. I also love to hear from you– what you liked as well as what you didn’t like in the stories is incredibly valuable to me.

Until next time!

Supreme Court of the United States affirms equality under the Constition

Today the SCOTUS pronounced that under the Constitution of these United States, all are equal under those same laws, no matter who or how they love. I find it interesting that they cited the 14th Amendment to that same Constitution as the foundation for their decision. The 14th Amendment was created after the American Civil War as an answer to the notion that the different ‘races’ (ie., those that look different than what the society says are the ‘best’) should be treated differently by society. The 14th Amendment is a resounding slap in the face to this notion and every mean, petty notion of non-equality like it. It is an appeal to what is best in us as human beings, and so affirming it is a victory for all of us.

Cynicism Is A Cheat

So the other day I was at one of my favorite local bookstores when I saw a children’s book on display:
Tom Swift and His Polar-Ray Dynasphere. I looked on the inside cover and there is a lovingly done line drawing of Tom Swift Jr in a typical teenagers room., wearing a typical teenagers pullover, jeans, and sneakers sans socks. The thing is he’s looking out a window that shows the earth revolving below him with a rocket ship passing by. Very cool. It made me sad though. I have to ask why don’t we write books like that anymore? Books full of hope and ideas/ideals for tomorrow?

I believe that you can point to the popularity of the works of Phillip K. Dick and the other ‘Dystopian’ genre writers of the 1980’s as being the start of it. Suddenly, grim gritty cynical noir-style prose was in high regard, and even higher sales. Soon every story had to have either a broken protagonist or a crumbling dysfunctional civilization. Bonus points if your story had both, it was much more likely to see print as publishers tastes gave way to the money people who were only concerned with their bottom line.
Why did such themes become popular? Lots of people make their living out of answering such questions. I shall not try to second guess them. I will just say things like climate change, the hatred of science, the Mideastern wars, and social injustices are enough to make anyone turn to cynical answers.
Now, I love my dystopian noir-style writings, don’t get me wrong. In fact, I would have to say that my own writing has definitely been influenced by them. But I think we both as a society and as a group of science fiction writers have gone too far in that direction.
I once asked a British friend what he thought the biggest difference was between Americans and Britons.
He said that he had seen repeatedly that Americans simply believed that if they got together in a large enough group, then worked out a plan, they could change anything. His face took on a look of wonder and he then said, “And you know, you can!”
I believe we are in danger of losing that ideal that to the hip, worldly-wise cynical reply.
For the first time since 1963, American space efforts have to pay for a ride on the vehicles of other nations. We are told by our leaders and in our genre, to dream small, that there is no frontier, no age of miracles. This, even while it is announced that there is a vaccine for lung cancer that has been developed by one of the poorest nations in the Western Hemisphere.
There is a disconnect at work here. I have seen it among every political and social philosophy as well as in the genre fiction in every country in the first world. I believe that its cure lies in us daring to dream again. Daring to write the stories that tell us that we can.

Such stories I would argue can still fulfill the current artistic need to be also social commentary. Just look at the works of Gene Roddenberry for example. Such stories do not have to be whitewashed, or Polly Anna like. This is a need that we desperately have at this moment in time, because cynicism for all its protective glaze encourages us to not care, to not be invested in the future. A future that we need to invest in, given climate change, the hatred of science, and social injustices. And for those reasons alone, cynicism is a cheat.

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The Race Thing in the U.S.

If you happen to live outside the United States you may have caught that those of us who live here are currently caught in social conflict around the issue of race. I am not going to talk about the specifics of that conflict, it has been written about much more fully than I can ever hope to achieve and from all points of view. What I am going to talk about is some of my experiences being a non-White European looking person in the U.S.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I should say that I am not an American ‘Black’, nor am I an American ‘White’. Instead I am what is now I believe referred to as ‘mixed race’, what used to be called sometimes proudly, sometimes derogatorily, a ‘half-breed’. My mother is of Western European ethnicity, and my father is Native American. I have been called ‘too dark’ by some and ‘too light’ by others. I have been told with contempt that I can ‘pass’ for White by some Tribes folk, as well as disdained that I did not grow up on a Rez and that my mother is clearly ‘White’. I have also been looked at with disdain, pity, condescension, and discrimination by “White’ Americans, some well-meaning, (‘but you talk too well to be an Indian!’), some not so much, which I won’t repeat here. I have lived with racial discrimination my whole life.
So, I have a stake, you might say, in this recent conversation in the U.S. about race. I don’t speak about it much, despite its personal impact on me. In fact, this is likely the only the only thing I will say on the subject. Thanks to the Internet, more people are aware of the gross indignities perpetuated by those who have both have power and a racial agenda. It is about time. To those of you who might not ‘get it’ let me share a couple of things from my own life:
I have been ‘routinely stopped’ for driving in some areas at some times. Hard to prove as the officer in question always has a ‘good reason’ to stop me that seems to never result in a ticket. Funny thing is, I have “White looking’ friends who drive in the same areas at the same times and have never been stopped. Also, my wife has noticed that whenever we travel I always am pulled aside for ‘extra examination’. I have been stopped while walking by law enforcement and after being searched, required to ‘prove that I am a citizen’ as I ‘looked too foreign’. No, I did not get their badge numbers. I am not stupid enough, to do anything other than comply.
This one is so subtle, yet so pervasive, that I fear almost no one who is “White looking” will get it, yet I offer it as an example of what it is like to live every day looking non-white European in the U.S. I cannot walk into a store without a store employee following me around, usually a White European looking one who is ‘there to be helpful.’ Seriously. When I go into the *same store* with ‘white looking’ companions, this does not happen. When the store personnel are not White European looking this does not happen. Occasionally I test this out and turn to my shadow and asked them for something. I am sad to report that my suspicions have been verified every time, in every case from chain stores to up-scale ones. You can see the employee visibly relax as soon as they hear that I have demonstrated that I am an educated English speaker, therefore not a thug or a savage. Sometimes they even stop following me. Sometimes they just hover a couple of aisles over. Everyone seems to at least be aware enough that no one has refused me service in oh, five or six years now. When they did it was always with the best of reasons, of course. Still, it’s annoying to never know if entering a store will get me hostile suspicion and a ‘helicopter attendant’ or not. In some ways I prefer that to the ‘I don’t see you’ strategy that used to be in fashion. Do I still go shopping? You bet I do, I have simply learned to live with it.

And that is what I really want those of you reading this to understand. That for decades, if you are non-White looking in the US, you learn to live with it. You learn to make do, to comply. Because if you don’t, you choose to fight all the time, you learn to ignore the looks and the comments and carry on, because that is what you do.
I do not need ‘special rights’ or ‘privileges.’ In fact, I wish the American Left would stop using ‘privileges’ as I feel it implies that to expect basic human decency is somehow a cherry on top of the sundae of life. I am sorry, but the expectation that you will be treated by those in power the same regardless of your skin tone or biological plumbing is called a Right. Americans have fought numerous wars for this principle. Shall we call it what it is please?
What do I want? “I look towards a day in this country when one is judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” That is what I want. Martin Luther King said that nearly fifty years ago. It’s time we all caught up.
I am done speaking on this.