An interview with Gabriel Cuellar, Contributor to “Invisible”

Tiffany A. Robbins:

This is a great post from my writer friend, Gabriel Cuellar about her essay in “Invisible,” which you should totally check out!

Originally posted on Geek Girl in Love:

Invisible-FullThis summer I’ve been posting a series of interviews from people who contributed essays to the anthology Invisible.  This anthology, edited by Jim C. Hines, explores the importance of diverse representation in genre fiction.  In the essay, “‘Crazy’ about Fiction”.  We asked Gabriel why she thinks it’s so common in fiction for female characters to be ‘driven crazy’ by rape or loss of a child, and what the representation of mental illness in fiction means for people who struggle with mental illness in reality.

On common tropes about the causes of mental illness in characters:

As a culture, we tend to want women to represent as mothers and sexual objects. I believe that’s why the two most common tropes to “drive women crazy” are those rape and the loss of a child. We don’t like to see women as soldiers, so PTSD from wartime tends not to be the…

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Posted by on June 17, 2014 in Uncategorized


The Ballad of the Wayfaring Stranger and the Dead Man’s Whore by Sean Demory

This is a short story that i just read by Sean Demory. He was a panelist at ConQuesT 45, and was presented as a horror writer. He himself said that he doesn’t set out to write horror, but sets out to write something else and it becomes horror.
I think he and his lovely short story are an excellent illustration as to why I don’t generally read the horror genre. Rather than being swept up in the fear that I assume would come with the genre, I am always swept away by the beauty and artistry of the words themselves. It is indeed a ballad, and despite its macabre settings and characters, I found it to be beautiful, lovely, and gentle. It leaves me convinced that Sean Demory has an interesting spirit that I want to bathe in, and it also leaves me continuing to believe that horror may be too lush of a genre to offer me any fear. Of course, I must admit that I’ve to this day read very little of it, and that I consider creature horror to be an entirely different thing.
Good work, Sean. It is a lovely piece, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to people who find dark poetry appealing. I can’t help but relate it to Poe’s Annabelle Lee which happens to be one of my favorite pieces of literature.


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ConQuesT 45: 10 Things I Learned From Selina Rosen

Over Memorial Day weekend, I attended ConQuesT 45 in Kansas City. One of my favorite people there was a guest named Selina Rosen who runs Yard Dog Press (Go buy their books). Her brutal honesty and fun loving spirit moved me. Sadly, she wasn’t 100% happy to be there. So, to say thank you to Mrs. Rosen for attending our little Kansas City Con, I wrote a list of ten things I learned from her.

  1. I’m not gregarious, and I need to be.
  2. Someone in this world other than my sister thinks that CJ Cherryh is amazing, and I probably ought to give the poor little paidhi-aiji a second chance.
  3. Big publishers like to piss on the little guy.
  4. Authors should go to cons for the fun, and not the book sales.
  5. I like her, so I should read her book. :)
  6. Authors compromise to make a buck.
  7. It feels good to stop compromising when you realize that you’re not going to make a buck either way.
  8. Sometimes, it okay to pull your pants down to your ankles in a public setting.
  9. I wish I were cool enough to be part of an “Avalanche of Gay,” but alas, I am not.
  10. Selina Rosen looks damn good in a hat.

Thanks for being there for me, Selina. You rocked it.

This is Robin Wayne Bailey’s photo that I stole from Selina’s facebook page.



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ConQuesT 45: Noir

This past memorial day weekend was filled with the beauty of writing and fandom as I attended ConQuesT 45 in Kansas City, MO at the Marriott hotel downtown. I wasn’t sure how much fun I’d have for two reasons. 1) I didn’t really know any of the guests of honor’s work. 2) My sister didn’t get to come with me. Fortunately, I had developed a bit of fandom for some of the returning panelists from last year, and my husband joined me.

So, I’ll get right into the amazingness.

This year’s theme was Noir-trying to embrace the dark side of the science fiction and fantasy spectrum. One of the first panels I attended on Friday was “The Changing Face of Fear.” One of my favorite panelists from last year, K.D. McEntire was there along with one of my new favorite panelists, Sean Demory. I found Sean’s take on fiction in general to be beautiful and refreshing. I can’t wait to read some of his works. I’ve been trying to add a touch of fear to a couple of my story lines, and I feel this panel helped immensely with that goal.

Next, I attended Hobbies as Research, mostly because I wasn’t interested in the other options. There I was introduced to Patrick Stutzman and found his story about a rogue decimal point inspiring. It was an interesting and entertaining panel from the perspective of an up and coming writer.

There was more I wanted to do after opening ceremonies, but I needed food, so I left for the evening. Saturday began with my husband by my side who had no idea what to expect from the world of ConQuesT. We started the day learning about how to get started doing stained glass, and followed up with another fear panel entitled “How to Scare Your Reader” where we heard from Sean Demory and were introduced to Robin Wayne Bailey. It took me a little while to warm up to Robin, but I quickly found myself admiring his opinion and viewpoints. This only increased throughout the weekend, and I must now call myself a fan of him if not yet of his work.

After lunch I attended a “Finding Your Audience” panel that was geared not so much on writing for a specific audience, but on physically finding who and where your audience is in the world. I was most impressed with Selina Rosen on this panel. She runs Yard Dog Press, and has a lovely, jaded view of the world of publishing. I loved hearing from her because she doesn’t bullshit at all. She tells it like it is, and I can’t help but feel that her opinion matters. I can’t imagine that her voice isn’t a representation of the jaded world of publishing in general, and as an unpublished writer, I feel it’s important to hear that voice. The publishing world has been burnt and financially devastated. Those who have come out the other side of watching people stop reading, are the ones we need to listen to. Money matters to these folks. It may not matter to me as a writer, but it matters to the people who are publishing us. It is nice to be reminded of that. Plus, she’s a funny lady, and newly married. So Congratulations to you and your wife, Selina! P.S. I got one of your books, and I can’t wait to read it.

That afternoon, my husband, Cameron, struck off on his own and found the realm of the hard sci-fi geeks. You guys made him a very, very happy man. They also scared poor Clair Ashgrove to death when she accidentally attended the “Where Has the Hard SF Gone?” panel instead of the “Urban Fantasy vs. Paranormal Romance” panel. She finally came into the latter panel wide-eyed, saying, “They started talking about grey matter.” Of course, she recovered quickly, and switched to her usual romance genre with her usual grace. I later attended her self-editing panel and finally introduced myself to her as one of her clients. I was flattered that she knew who I was right away, and had some very nice things to say about my story that her company has helped me with. I have nothing but nice things to say about the folks at Finish The Story.

We finished the day with “The Art of Adaptation: Different Media, Different Approaches” where there was a lively discussion of book to movie adaptations. There, I fell in love with Mark Oshiro. He’s a witty man with very similar viewpoints as myself and my husband. He’s quite lovable as well.

By Sunday, I was started to lose steam, and was grateful to attend a few panels that were more entertaining if not intellectually stimulating. There was a very nice panel on “Space Opera: More Than Mind Candy.” The highlight of my day was the “Queer Eye for Sci-Fi” panel that left me really wanting to add LGBT representation into my writing, though still feeling a little unqualified to do so. They were such a great group of panelists and they left me feeling warmly awash in their “Avalanche of Gay.”

I went into the whole weekend with few expectations, and I left inspired and feeling warm fuzzies all over. We have such a great group here in Kansas City. I love the writing community here, and I can’t wait to one day be an asset to that community. Also, Cameron got one of his favorite Glen Cook books signed, and got his first experience meeting and visiting with a beloved author. It doesn’t get any better than that.


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Review: the Day Boy and the Night Girl

Recently, I finished reading The Day Boy and the Night Girl by George MacDonald. It was a fun little short story. George MacDonald tells the story of a witch that raises a boy entirely in the daytime and raises a girl entirely in the nighttime. Of course, at some point, the roles get screwed with.

I felt it read like a nice little fairy tale. The story does seem a little worn out to a modern reader, but that of course has everything to do with this reader’s perspective and not a fault with the writing. Overall, a quick read and worth the time if you’re interested in reading some basic fantasy that helped lay the groundwork for our modern takes on the subject.

The Day Boy and the Night Girl by George MacDonald

The Day Boy and the Night Girl by George MacDonald

It is short enough that I actually got it from the library. Rarely do I ever borrow from the library as I’m a slow reader, but it is fun to do so on occassion. I like the feel of a hard back book, and books from the library have that distinct smell of age and order.


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Review: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

As much as I didn’t want to fall in love with this book, I did. I nearly put the book down in the first two pages solely due to the writing style, but thank goodness, I didn’t and I urge you not to if you try reading it. The story is beautiful, and (despite the most epic, want-to-kill-the-author-because-of-character-death scene) totally worth reading. It travels quickly though not too light of a read. I did find it predictable, but the story is about the how the character handles it, not about being surprised by it. I look forward to reading the next in the trilogy, though it’ll be quite a while before I get to it.


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The firsts that were denied, they come away clean with innocence.

The adult doer of such may taint filthy all that she touch,

but that one first thing that at one moment may have brought joy,

will never fail to do so. It carries immunity to taint.

Even should first things come with spirit of rebellion,

the doer’s true nature weakens to that of childhood

when confronted with the essence of firsts.

For nothing corrupts what the mind made pure, long ago before the filth.

It matters not, the pain of denial that kept the first untouched.

For neither angry words nor punishing blow can taint the nature of first.


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