Minneapolis & Outside Agitators

Something I honestly did not know before this past week is how deeply confusing living through a crisis like this is. Speculation gets turned into rumor gets turned into “I know this for a fact!” more quickly than I would have thought possible.

But there are hundreds of eyewitness reports from around Minneapolis that arsons were being committed by small groups of white men, apparently outsiders, moving rapidly around the city mostly in vehicles without license plates; watching that get endlessly dismissed on Twitter as “what the authorities always say” from people outside the state has been enraging.

First, I just want to note: all of this is happening because a group of Minneapolis police officers murdered a non-resisting Black man who’d been accused of the pettiest of all possible minor offenses. They murdered him in cold blood, in front of witnesses, with a camera running, because they felt completely immune from consequences. This is happening because in murder after murder like this, the cops are immune from consequences. There have been endless peaceful demonstrations, from marches to letters to the editor to sports teams “taking a knee” and police officers still assume that they can murder Black men with no consequences, and when they discover they might possibly be faced with consequences, they are enraged and take out their anger on the entire community.

That’s how things started here.

(Cutting here because this is going to run long.)

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Miscellaneous writing news + a virtual book signing

In the last week of April, I won the Minnesota Book Award followed two days later by the Edgar Award (both in the Young Adult category). Last week, the Nautilus Book Awards named Catfishing on CatNet a Silver Winner. (The Nautilus Book Award focuses on books striving to make a better world and goes heavily to non-fiction, but they also have a YA fiction category.)

edgarjpg-012c5587ac712a4f

I don’t have my Edgar yet but this is what they look like.

I am deeply honored that my book has spoken to so many people. You can see what else it’s a finalist for (and when/how the winners will be announced) here.

If you happen to need a copy of Catfishing on CatNet, or a copy of my short story collection or anything else they’ve got in stock, I’m going to do a virtual signing at Uncle Hugo’s/Uncle Edgar’s on Tuesday, May 12th, and if you get your order in before noon on May 12th you can get a personalized signed copy. (After that, there should be plenty of signed copies available for order, but they will not be personalized.)

 

 

Mayday, Fictional Mayday, and “So Much Cooking”

If you’re one of my Minneapolis readers, you have probably at least once attended the Powderhorn Mayday Parade and festival put on for 45 years by In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater on the first Sunday in May. My family has attended most years since sometime in the late 1990s; I’ve been in the parade with my kids twice. Everything in the parade is human-powered, and the puppets and costumes were overwhelmingly made by participants out of materials like papier-mache, under the guidance of teaching artists hired by Heart of the Beast.

mayday1

After the parade is the pageant. I used to go to the pageant, but got out of the habit when my kids were young and squirrely. The time lag between parade and festival is substantial, especially if you’re watching near the northern end of the parade (which we always did because it’s so much less crowded the further north you go) and we liked bringing chairs to sit on, which we then had to either return to the car (always parked miles away) or carry to the park (ugh) and we liked the parade better than the pageant anyway. The pageant is a performance done at Powderhorn Park that finishes with a flotilla of boats bringing a giant puppet of the sun across the lake.

mayday3Once the sun puppet arrives, it’s raised up, along with a giant Mayday pole that’s also a tree of life, and the audience sings “You Are My Sunshine.”

One of the things about Mayday that nearly everyone who goes agrees on is that it’s clearly magic. The weather for the parade is not always great. I’ve watched it in both rain and snow. (I’ve also bailed a few times because the weather was so miserable.) But when they row the sun across the lake, no matter how bad the weather was earlier, the sun comes out. It’s uncanny.

The Mayday Parade and Festival is enough of an iconic Minneapolis event that you can make reference to rowing the sun across the lake, and expect people to understand what you’re talking about.

Last year, Heart of the Beast announced that they were taking a year off. So there wouldn’t have been a parade this year even without a pandemic. It may possibly return next year.

Back in 2017 or 2018 I worked on a sequel to “So Much Cooking,” my story about cooking during a pandemic. I didn’t get very far, and for various reasons I don’t think I’m going to ever return to it, but the bit I wrote included a section about a post-pandemic Mayday Parade, which I’ve decided to share on my blog. Please consider donating to HotB — which was already struggling, and like all arts organizations, has been hit really hard by the pandemic.

Story excerpt is below the cut.

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Award Nominations & Virtual Award Ceremonies

My new novel, Catfishing on CatNet, is up for a lot of awards this year, which is delightful. The pandemic, unfortunately, means that basically all the award ceremonies are going to be online. For the convenience of family, close friends, and extremely committed fans, I’m collecting here the schedule and links to all the virtual award ceremonies. This post will be updated as I get more information. (Some of these award ceremonies are not happening for months and their information right now is just, “we’re going virtual, more information coming.”)

I just want to say: I feel so incredibly honored by every one of these nominations. Looking at the other books in my category is an absolute delight in every single case, and I need to remember to call one of my local bookstores that’s doing mail order or delivery and order some of the ones I haven’t read yet because they look amazing. 

The Minnesota Book Awards, April 28th, 7 p.m.

Catfishing on CatNet is a finalist in the Young Adult Literature category of the Minnesota Book Awards, which are presented each spring by the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library.

The Minnesota Book Awards will be live-streamed online on April 28th at 7 p.m. More information here. I believe they’ll have a live-stream up on the page; they’ll also be streaming to YouTube and to their Facebook page. Finalists will be called on the phone in order to make acceptance speeches. If you register at the link as attending, you’ll be entered to win a set of all the winning books.

The Minnesota Book Awards did a series of “Meet the Finalists” events on Zoom, which you can watch on YouTube; they’ve set up a playlist. Minnesota has such an amazing array of incredibly talented and interesting writers.

The Edgar Awards, April 30th, 10 a.m. CDT.

Catfishing on CatNet is a finalist in the Young Adult category for the Edgar Award, which is presented by the Mystery Writers of America to the best mysteries of the year. I was absolutely, totally floored to be nominated for this — although in fact one of the things I most love about YA is how seamlessly it can embrace multiple genres.

MWA is going to announce winners, a category at a time, on Twitter. (The MWA feed is @EdgarAwards.) We were all asked to submit a video of ourselves giving an acceptance speech, and I think the winners’ speeches will be uploaded to YouTube and linked. Anyway, watching the announcements roll out on Twitter tends to be how I watch awards shows I’m not attending in person regardless so I have to say, I love this option.

The Nebula Awards, May 30th, 7 p.m. CDT.

Catfishing on CatNet is a finalist for the Andre Norton Nebula Award for Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction. This is a science fiction award, given by SFWA (the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America). There is going to be a whole virtual Nebula Weekend, and the awards will be livestreamed. I don’t know a lot of details beyond the date and time, but as they’re announced I expect they’ll go up on SFWA’s website. (The programming for the virtual weekend is being announced May 15th, I think.)

Editing very quickly to add links:

https://events.sfwa.org/events/55th-annual-nebula-awards/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fTixQc410o

Locus Awards, June 27th

Catfishing on CatNet is a finalist in the Young Adult category. More info on watching the Locus Awards (which will also be virtual) when I have more mental bandwidth. (To quote a quip I saw on Twitter this morning, “this live-action production of Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower really sucks.” Great book! Not something I really wanted to live through!)

ITW Thriller Awards, July 11th.

The International Thriller Writers award the Thriller Awards each year, and Catfishing on CatNet is a finalist in the Young Adult category. The ITW is hosting a “Virtual ThrillerFest” on their Facebook page and will be announcing winners on July 11th. (More details to come.)

The Hugo Awards, August 1st or 2nd.

Catfishing on CatNet is a finalist for the Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book, which is given with the Hugo Awards but is technically not a Hugo Award. (The good news for Lodestar Finalists: that means we go first, right after the Astounding Award, I think.) The Hugo Awards along with the Lodestar and the Astounding Award are nominated by the members of the World Science Fiction Society — which is to say, the members of WorldCon. Anyone who wants can buy a supporting membership to ConZealand and vote (and! you generally get a voter’s packet with electronic copies of most of the nominated works.)

ConZealand announced in March that they were moving to a virtual convention. They did a lovely job streaming the Hugo nomination announcements and I expect the awards show will also be live-streamed. (I can’t find a schedule on their website yet, so I’m not actually sure which day it’ll happen.)

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q. Is it a total bummer not being able to go to the awards ceremonies?
A. I am both very disappointed and also very aware that in the context of a catastrophic global pandemic, there are people with much worse problems than “my trip to Los Angeles to maybe win an award is now cancelled.”

Q. How many of these were you going to go to in person?
A. Well, the Minnesota Book Awards, obviously. (Those would have been in downtown St. Paul. I just about could have walked.) I was also planning to go to New York for the Edgars (and to see my nephews!) and to Los Angeles for the Nebulas (and to see a friend who lives there!) I was probably not going to make it to ConZealand. New Zealand is a very long, expensive trip from Minnesota, and I would love to go to New Zealand sometime but I’d really rather go in February, when it’s summer there and winter here. I know, I know, New Zealand has very mild winters, but August is usually one of the nicest months in Minnesota and February is typically the worst.

Q. Are you going to dress up in cocktail attire like the Minnesota Book Awards suggested?
A1. YES, I will be wearing EXTREMELY FANCY CLOTHING and you should most definitely picture me accordingly.
A2. If you’re holding a cocktail, that means you’re in cocktail attire, right?

 

Election 2020: Democratic Primary

I first got asked when I was going to write this post in early February of 2019. Fortunately, by virtue of waiting until after Iowa and New Hampshire, I never had to develop an opinion on Andrew Yang more complicated than, “I have always said that the Presidency is not an appropriate entry-level political job, and nothing that’s happened since 2016 has made me reconsider this stance.”

TL;DR — I’m endorsing Elizabeth Warren.

Here’s who’s on the Minnesota ballot, but no longer running:

Andrew Yang
Cory Booker
Deval Patrick
John K. Delaney
Julián Castro
Marianne Williamson
Michael Bennet
As of 2/29, Tom Steyer. (I left my assessment of him below.)
And as of 3/1, Pete Buttigieg (Ditto.)
Holy shit, Amy Klobuchar dropped out on 3/2 (assessment is still below.)

I am not going to write about any of these people. They have dropped out. If you are dead set on voting for one of them anyway, you obviously already have an opinion and thus don’t need mine.

On the ballot and also still running:
Bernie Sanders
Elizabeth Warren
Joseph Biden
Michael R. Bloomberg
Tulsi Gabbard

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MN Precinct Caucuses: No Longer a Presidential Primary, but Still Happening

So heyyyyyyyyyyyy, my fellow Minnesotans, as you (hopefully) know, this year we have a PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY (which I will write about shortly) THAT IS HAPPENING AS AN ACTUAL ELECTION ON MARCH 3RD. I am VERY MUCH looking forward to casting a ballot for my preferred Democrat at my usual polling place, it’s going to be so great.

But! Caucuses are still happening, and you can still go. They’re happening on February 25th, and you can find the location of yours via the Secretary of State caucus finder page. Note that the Republican and Democratic caucuses take place on the same night but (usually) in very different locations. Do not go to the Republican caucus and then look around for the DFL caucus; you will not find it.

Caucuses are basically the grassroots-level party meeting for the political parties. Things you can do at a DFL caucus (I think you can also do most of these at a GOP caucus but I’ve never gone):

  • You can introduce a resolution, which is forwarded up the chain and used to write and revise the state party platform.
  • You can often meet elected officials and candidates, and hear them speak.
  • You can often sign up to hold office within your local party unit. (In theory you “run” for these jobs but in practice you usually “raise your hand when they ask who’s interested.”)
  • You can often sign up to be a delegate to your Senate District convention, where you’ll have the opportunity to endorse candidates for State House and State Senate, and elect delegates to go to the State DFL convention (and, ultimately, the Democratic National convention).

In my opinion, it’s the opportunity to be a delegate to your Senate District convention that is the main reason to go — at least if there’s an open seat, or a challenger. The DFL endorsement has historically been extremely powerful in legislative races, and it’s the Senate District conventions where these endorsements are given or denied.

There are a lot of reasons to dislike this system. But if you have the time and wherewithal to go to your Senate District convention, it’ll be you with the outsized piece of political influence. Which might be an improvement. Or you could go and do your best to block endorsement; that’s also an option. (Here’s my Beginner’s Guide to Senate District Conventions, for those who need it.)

There are a number of vacancies this year, as well as incumbents with challengers. (Here’s a handy article from MinnPost with a list of who they know is running.) Below, you will find my best attempt at a guide to whether your Senate District convention (which also includes the conventions for your State House district, as a convention-within-the-convention) is likely to be worth attending.

A COUPLE OF IMPORTANT NOTES.

  1. I based my “is this person opposed?” mostly on that MinnPost article. For any open seat, expect additional people to join the race.
  2. If you become a delegate and the endorsement is contested, you will be contacted by everyone running. They will all either call you or show up at your house to knock on your door, or both. Some people find this intrusive. I really like it: it means I get to chat with the actual candidates and ask them all my questions. But mileage varies here.
  3. I do not write up races prior to endorsement. You’ll have to do your own research. Which should be easy enough because the candidates will literally be knocking on your doors. Ask them your questions!

  4. If you want to go to your Senate District convention and can’t make it to your caucus, you can send in a form asking to be made a delegate in absentia. There’s a decent chance you’ll at least get to be an alternate.

Of course, the Senate District convention is basically an all-day event, and are you even available? I have included dates and location information. (Many thanks to the person who sent me the spreadsheet after I complained on Twitter about this information not being available.)

Senate District 59
Senator Bobby Joe Champion
59A Rep Fue Lee
59B Rep Raymond Dehn

Is anyone here being challenged? Yes, Bobby Joe Champion is being challenged by Suleiman Isse, and Raymond Dehn is being challenged by Esther Agbaje and Isaiah Whitmore.

When is the SD 59 convention? March 28th, convening at 9:30 a.m., North Community High School (Jacobi Gym).

Senate District 60
Senator Kari Dziedzic
60A Rep Sydney Jordan
60B Rep Mohamud Noor

Is anyone here being challenged? Given that Sydney was elected last month after an 11-person special primary, it seems really likely that she’ll be challenged, but no one’s listed in the MinnPost article.

When is the SD 60 convention? April 18, convening at 9 a.m., Edison High School.

Senate District 61
Senator Scott Dibble
61A Rep Frank Hornstein
61B Rep Jamie Long

Is anyone here being challenged? If so, I found no information about challengers when I looked.

When is the SD 61 convention? March 21st, at Washburn High School.

Senate District 62
Senator Jeff Hayden
62A Rep Hodan Hassan
62B Rep Aisha Gomez

Is anyone here being challenged? Yes, Jeff Hayden is being challenged by Omar Fateh.

When is the SD 62 convention? March 28th, 9 a.m., at South High School.

Senate District 63
Senator Patricia Torres Ray
63A Rep Jim Davnie
63B Rep Jean Wagenius

Is anyone here being challenged? Jean Wagenius is not running again, and there are at least five people running for her seat: Husniyah Dent Bradley, Jerome Evans, Eric Ferguson, Emma Greenman, and Tyler Moroles.

When is the Senate District Convention? April 19th, 11 a.m., Sanford Middle School.

Senate District 64
Senator Dick Cohen
64A Rep Kaohly Her
64B Rep Dave Pinto

Is anyone here being challenged? After being challenged by Erin Murphy, Dick Cohen decided not to run again. At the moment, she appears to be the only person running for the seat, and possibly no one who might be interested is going to bother challenging her for the endorsement.

When is the Senate District convention? March 15th, 1 p.m., Central High School.

Senate District 65
Senator Sandy Pappas
65A Rep Rena Moran
65B Rep Carlos Mariani

Is anyone here being challenged? Not according to the MinnPost article.

When is the Senate District convention? March 14th, 10 a.m., St. Paul Central High.

Senate District 66
Senator John Marty
66A Rep Alice Hausman
66B Rep John Lesch

Is anyone here being challenged? Yes. In 66A, Alice Hausman is being challenged by Cari Ness and Tanner Sunderman. In 66B, John Lesch is being challenged by Athena Hollins.

When is the Senate District convention? Saturday, April 11th, 9 a.m., at Washington Tech high school.

Senate District 67
Senator Foung Hawj
67A Rep Tim Mahoney
67B Rep Jay Xiong

Is anyone here being challenged? Tim Mahoney is not running again. Hoang Murphy and John Thompson are running for his seat.

When is the Senate District convention? March 28th, 9:30 a.m., Harding High School.

 

 

 

 

My 2019 Fiction Roundup

The cover of my book, CATFISHING ON CATNET. Shows a teenage girl looking in alarm at her cell phone, with the tagline, "How much does the internet know about you?"

The only fiction I had published in 2019 was my novel, CATFISHING ON CATNET. If you’re nominating for awards, the Hugos, the Nebulas, and the Locus Awards all have a special category for YA. (Okay, technically the Andre Norton Award may be a separate award, but it’s presented along with the Nebulas, and the Lodestar Award is a separate award, but it’s presented along with the Hugos.)

It is also eligible in the novel category.

It is currently a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award (!) and the Edgar Award (!!) (that one still blows my mind.) My publisher also ran out of printed copies and had to order another run — so if you tried to buy it locally and couldn’t, just know that it should be available again shortly!

Since the beginning of 2020 I’ve had a short story published on Clarkesworld (“Monster“) and my short story “Little Free Library” will appear on Tor.com this spring. The sequel to CATFISHING ON CATNET is scheduled to come out in April of 2021.