Getting up to No Good!


I’ve received information and posted what I can confirm of my Spring Convention and Events schedule. So if you want to catch up to me in March or April this year, visit the Events Page! I’m really excited to be teaching some writing and editing workshops, chatting with writers and fans, moderating and speaking on panels, and hanging out with some really cool folks around Western Washington! Hoping to see some of you out in the Wilds of Western Washington this Spring!

A distant view of a young blond woman wearing a backpack as she jumps joyously into the air along a dirt path lined with fir trees that leads down the the ocean in the distance.

 

Black-and-white photo of a dark-haired young woman holding a microphone as if she is about to start singing.

My “Sin” of Vocal Fry:


I was watching a video on YouTube by linguist Dr. Geoff Lindsey about the recent hate expressed for the speech phenomenon of “Vocal Fry” and some of the mechanism, sound symbolism, and other issues around it. One of the things he brings up near the end of the video is the idea that much of the of the current discussion may have an element of sexism and/or ageism to it. And, as someone who does speak with a bit of “fry” (or “creaky voice” as the British call it), well… I have an opinion.

The Vocal Fry Among American Women discussion that’s going around reminds me of a phenomenon I encountered as a singer and speaker when I was in my twenties and thirties. My male instructors/directors and coworkers (with the exception of my High School choir director Richard Stout) often directed me to sing and speak more “forward,” to sound “brighter and more open,” while my female instructors/directors and coworkers often preferred my tone when it was slightly more relaxed, or “creaky.” “Pitchier” as one of them called it. Other women, I discovered, sometimes found my “bright” tone irritating or “girly,” while men found it more “feminine,” except on the phone, where, ironically, men often told me I sounded “sexy” when my voice was more “fried.” So, yes, I do think a lot of the current public hate for “vocal fry” utilized by American women is sexism (and ageism, since it’s usually directed at women under 40.)

I’ve been working to return to my lower, more relaxed tone recently, since, as I age, I care less about how “feminine” I sound and more about how comfortable I am with my own voice.

We should be comfortable with our voices as with our bodies, we should not find ourselves attacked for what is natural and comfortable for us. I’ve always had a little bit of a lisp; I speak in a lower register than some women, and with a bit of “fry”; I have a regional accent (Central California Valley melded to “SoCal/Val”); I “whoop” when I laugh; and I’m perfectly fine with it. You should be too.

 

 

 

Marty Arriving in November!


There will be a new Kat Richardson Fantasy Crime Noir novel out in November 2024 from Fairwood Press! (Working title: Storm Waters. Scroll to the bottom of the page to see the listing.)

So, I’ve been saying “damn it Marty” for a while and referring to “Marty Fucking Storm” off and on for… umm… about 5 years. And I’ve read the opening scene in several iterations at a couple of conventions, so some of you know what I am talking about. But for those who don’t:

Some wisecracking ex-bootlegger named Marty Storm turned up in my brain a while back, pestering me to write about him. He looks and sounds like a character from a classic 1930s Hollywood crime film and talks like a character out of Dash Hammett or Raymond Chandler. He’s also a water mage, owner of a shipping company based in Los Angeles and Long Beach California, with some spooky-ass family in Bayou Barataria outside of New Orleans. Initially his story was pretty grim, but over multiple revisions, it got a little less bleak, though it’s still pretty Crime Noir with a big ol’ heap of Magic. The story takes place in the first half of 1934—just before the deaths of Bonnie and Clyde, and immediately after the repeal of Prohibition—when Marty finds himself suspected of the murder of his mistress. Investigating the crime to save his own ass drags Marty back into the heart of family problems he’s been dodging for years, and magical contracts he didn’t know existed.

So after a lot of revision, rejection, more revision, more rejection, etc… I threw in the towel and got in touch with Patrick Swenson and Fairwood (who is also a big crime noir fan, like me) and he said “Yes.”

So, spread the word: Storm Waters! Historical Fantasy Crime coming in November from Kat Richardson!

Looking forward to your comments and questions.

(And, yes, I’m still editing and coaching, and I’ll be attending some conventions this year, too.)

 

Norwescon and Left Coast Crime 2024


So, I’ve gone and registered for two upcoming genre conventions in my area: Norwescon—Seattle-area’s longest-running Science Fiction and Fantasy convention, which happens over Easter Weekend  (March 28-31 this year) at the Hilton-Doubletree near SeaTac airport; and Left Coast Crime—a wandering Mystery Literature convention which will be hosted at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue On Seattle’s Eastside (what a mouthful), in mid-April.

I’m already talking to the programming folks at NWC, so I will be on at least a few panels and I might be holding some workshops. LCC is a bit of a different beast, since the programming folks essentially look at who wants to be on programming and what they are good at or interesting to hear talking about, and then stick them on a panel that fits. Or don’t. Because you don’t attend Mystery conventions as a pro the same way you attend SFF cons. Panel selection is based on the programming folks knowledge of the genre and the attendees, so the panels are likely to be created to showcase the writers and other pros that the attendees are most likely to want to see or hear from, plus a few smaller names to round out the panel and give the newer or lesser-known folks a hand up. Therefore, I have no idea if I’ll be on anything at all. But it’s always fun to hang out with the Mystery Fans and writers regardless.

So if any of you are hoping to catch up to me in person before the my next book comes out (sometime next year) that’s a couple of places you can find me. Hope to see some of you around!

 

I’m Very Annoyed


I haven’t been getting anything but spam here for about 6 months. I figured you guys just didn’t have anything to say to me, which was sad, but understandable. But today I discovered that WPMail forms has been borked for months and not sending mail to me because the value in the “from email” —which was provided by WPMail itself!—is unacceptable. It’s fine using the same information in the “reply to” part of the backend, but not in the “from email” part. What fun, eh? So, until I figure the bastard thing out or replace it completely, I’m stuck asking you all to contact me through my professional mail, which is: kat.rchrdsn at gmail.com  Fun stuff… (if you love spam, depression, and paranoia.)

 

Closeup of a raging wood fire. Image by Brigitte Werner (ArtTower) from Pixabay.

Who Owns You?


The following is a rant cut and pasted from my spewing on Blue Sky about new AI Training policy at Zoom. I shall now reproduce my rant here, so I don’t have to keep on cutting-and-pasting all over the Internet:

I’m not naive to the fact that all business now pads its nest with data scraping and selling information about its consumers to other businesses, but…

For Crying Out Loud! Now it’s not just my prefs and personal data, but my actual self that’s for sale *without my permission AND I don’t get paid!*

There’s a common legal concept that the one thing you absolutely own is yourself. (I did spend a lot of time hanging around with lawyers in my youth.)

If I do not own me, I own nothing and have no inherent rights.

 If a company can unilaterally decide that the essence of another’s Self is theirs for the taking simply because I utilize their platform (for which I pay) then I am no longer mine.

 Is this not the definition of slavery—to not own yourself? to have no control over your body, your thoughts, your essential being? Are we not appalled by this? We should be.

And I could go on, but I’ll stop here because I already spend too much time wibbling between rage and despair.

 

The Problem of the Runcible Spoon (a bit of Writer Archeology)


Quite a while ago (late January of 2011, in fact) I wrote the following about runcible spoons and what they are and aren’t. At the time there was actually rather less Internet than there is now, and also a bit different flavor of Wild West to it all, so I’ve had to make a few edits and and had to unlink due to the disappearance of one of my reference sites. But imagine my surprise when I was suddenly getting hits from my old WordPress site (which hasn’t been active since 2018) this week. It seems artist and teacher Jenie Yolland has copy-pasted my little research rant because they have a deep and abiding love for Sam Neil’s reading of The Owl and the Pussycat, and an interest in weird table utensils. And all that is utterly fine with me, so, without further ado, here is a slightly updated version of what I said about runcible spoons way back when:

Ah the Runcible spoon, which rose to fame in the Edward Lear poem “The Owl and the Pussycat” is not, in fact, the poet’s invention–no matter what the internet says. How do I know this?

Because I read Boswell’s The Life of Samuel Johnson in college. There’s a scene in the diary wherein Boswell and Dr. Johnson have stopped at an inn while traveling and they must provide their own utensils while they eat from a shared bowl. Boswell is put out that he has only his belt knife and cannot keep up with the prodigious gobbling pace of Johnson who has a “Runcible’s spoon”. This invention of a man named Runcible (no, his first name isn’t mentioned that I recall, but I’d bet on “John” just to be perverse) is described by Boswell as a long handle with a spoon bowl at one end and fork at the other, and one sharpened edge to make a small knife (I’m afraid I’ve forgotten if it was the spoon or the fork that had the sharpened side). Boswell is interested in Runcible’s invention and though Johnson finds it a bit of a challenge, it’s a huge step up from making do with a belt knife and fingers as Boswell has to do.

Johnson predates Edward Lear by a considerable time. That the internet has widely reported the story of the Runcible spoon as an invention of Lear’s does not, in fact, make it true. It’s the invention of Runcible.

And although it is sometimes mislabled a “spork,” it is, in fact, a variation on Mr. Runcible’s spoon. (The Slightly Less Than Official Spork Page claims “’Spork’ is the colloquial term for `Runcible Spoon’” but the spork doesn’t usually have a sharpened edge and there’s no knife edge on the official patent design.) The original must have had a longer and more distinct handle, but still… a spoon bowl, fork tines, and one sharpened edge…. Plainly a Runcible’s spoon. You can imagine how swank Dr. Johnson must have been to own such a marvel in the Eighteenth Century. Very, very swank! No sharing germs with the peons for Dr. Johnson! No burning his fingers snatching bits of meat out of the stew pot with his unaided hand.

And, in spite of what my parents told me, a central-pivot salad tongs is also not a Runcible spoon. Just isn’t. Sorry. Not to mention how could the Owl and Pussycat ever have eaten “mince and slices of quince” with a salad tongs? Ridiculous. But with a Runcible spoon? Easy as… well, as pie. Om nom nom!

Also, the poem wouldn’t have rhymed very well with “spork.”

A pair of silver-colored salad tongs, which look like a giant pair of scissors with a spoon bowl and a large fork where the blades ought to be

 

Editing Schedule for August and September


Due to back-to-school pressures and rescheduling, I have open editing, consulting, and coaching slots for the rest of August and September!

So, if you’ve got a project in need of Developmental or Line Editing, or you’re interested in some personal coaching or consultation on a project or just some one-on-one about your writing, get in touch!

 

What I’m doing


So it’s been awhile. Doing some Editing and Writer Coaching,  but still looking for more clients, got an account on BlueSky Social (you can find me there as @katrichardson) in hopes of dodging the Social Media apocalypse on Twitter, and throwing myself against the wall of some short stories and an attempt at A New Novel (or whatever it turns into.)

The Edgar Allen Poe inspired anthology Kickstarter at Falstaff Books was successful, so that’ll be coming out before the end of the year (sooner, IIRC, but check the campaign link updates or Falstaff Books for info as that moves further in production.

In the meantime, it’s mostly dogs, digging/filling holes and grading roads on the someday-house site, and trying not to eat all the tasty baked goods Mr. Kat has been learning to make.

 

Tricksy Bastards


Scissor Gnomes. They have been a plague upon me since I was a child. Put the scissors (or box knife) down while working. Use another tool for a few minutes… Finish. Reach for the scissors… They aren’t where I put them. Look everywhere in the vicinity. Find them not. Yell and scream at the Scissor Gnomes, tell them this is Not Funny. Walk out of room. Return. Scissors are back where I first put them down. Scissor Gnomes: Total jerks.

3d rendered model of man-like figure dragging a large pair of scissors.