Beth Wodzinski Hi, I'm Beth. I create: words and art. I do yoga. I cook tasty food. I publish Shimmer magazine. Now 37% more purple.

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Published November 21, 2016 - 0 Comments

Stina Leicht gave me a heads up about an app that makes it easy to find out what bills are currently up for a vote, and sends email to your representatives.

Check out Countable. It’s free.

Everything I’ve heard says that calling representatives is much more effective than emailing them; but apparently most email still gets through. I’m all for multiple channels of contact.

Even if you never use the email function, though, Countable is chock full of useful information that will make your calls and printed letters timely and accurate.


Let’s Talk About Journalism

Published November 16, 2016 - 0 Comments

The top-performing fake election news stories on Facebook generated more engagement than the top stories from major news outlets.” No wonder we’re living in a post-truth society.

Today, my action was to subscribe to Mother Jones, one of many outlets working hard to explore and report issues. Their private prison investigation alone is plenty of reason to subscribe, but their coverage is generally very thorough and interesting. They rely heavily on reader donations and subscriptions. A subscription, for both print and digital, is $12.00.

But I can’t just subscribe. I have to put in the work of reading the articles, learning from them, and sharing. It’s no use supporting intelligent journalism if I’m not going to read it.

Time to go read.

Nasty Woman

Published November 15, 2016 - 0 Comments

Today’s small step is an easy one. I ordered Nasty Woman perfume from BPAL. This is a limited edition fragrance, so if you’re interested, grab it now. Proceeds are divided between two excellent organizations: Emily’s List and Planned Parenthood.

Yeah, I could have done this right after the debate; better late than never.

Worth checking out:

Useful info, whether you still need a minute or are ready to fuck shit up:

“In case of emergency, do not break glass. Ask the glass politely to break itself. If it doesn’t break, then you weren’t doing it right.”

Oppose Steve Bannon

Published November 14, 2016 - 1 Comment

President-Elect Trump has selected neo-Nazi Steve Bannon as his Chief Strategist. This is a terrible idea. In an administration full of terrible ideas, this is one of the worst. So today’s tiny step was to call my elected representatives and ask them to oppose Steve Bannon’s appointment. My representatives are all Republicans.

This is, roughly, the script I used:

I am a constituent calling to let [name] know about my concerns about the Trump presidency.

I know [name] will be working closely with the Trump administration, so I am relying on [name] to use his influence with the Trump administration to ensure that President-Elect Trump works for all Americans.

I am concened that the appointment of  Steve Bannon signals a fascist direction. He is endorsed by David Duke and is openly racist, misogynistic, and a neo-nazi. Steve Bannon does not represent my values. He does not represent Utah’s values. And I hope [name] will make it clear that Steve Bannon does not represent his values, either.

Senator Hatch and Representative Chaffetz’s offices were polite and friendly. Senator Lee’s office corrected my assumption that Senator Lee will be working with Trump; Senator Lee, it seems, repeatedly called for Trump to step down and shares my concerns.

It was quick, easy, and painless to call. Maybe you’d like to call your representatives?

I’ve also signed the Southern Poverty Law Center’s anti-Bannon petition.

Who’s Driving the Bus, Anyway?

Published November 13, 2016 - 2 Comments

Before I can contact my elected officials, I need to know who they are. Turns out, there are a lot of ’em. Today’s tiny step: collect all the contact information for my various elected officials.

Here are the links I found to help you compile your own list. makes it easy to get a list of elected officials: just enter your zip code. It tells me my US Senators, my US Representative, and my state Senator and Representative. It includes links to their sites for more information.

How to contact your state governor.

Don’t forget your county government. Enter your zip code, get a list of your county elected officials and links for more information.

Find your city government. This information is much less centralized, so I don’t have a handy link for you, but it should be very easy to find.

Got all that information? Good. We’re going to need it.

Once you’ve got all the information, read this storify to find out how to contact your representatives the most effectively.

Chop Wood, Carry Water

Published November 12, 2016 - 6 Comments

The old Zen proverb.

Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.

After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.

Turns out enlightenment and the fascist apocalypse have that much in common.  And there’s a hell of a lot of wood that needs chopping now. There are a thousand ways to resist: protest, write to elected officials, support organizations doing this work already, educate yourself, take care of yourself, create despite the motherfuckers. There are a thousand issues to work on: LGBTQ rights, immigration, dismantling white supremacy and the patriarchy, protecting the environment, reproductive rights, health care, election reform. There are a thousand organizations and people who desperately need your time, your energy, and your money.

I don’t know where to start. I don’t know what’s the most important. I don’t know what actions are the most useful. But I do know that not doing anything is not going to be effective.

So what I’m going to do is: look for one small thing I can do each day, within my geographical, budgetary, and other limits. I’ll post about it here, and you can join me; or you can tell me what action you took today. I believe in the power of tiny steps. Let’s take some. Let’s take some tiny steps together.

Today’s action: Download your copy (free for the next few days) of Rebecca Solnit’s book, Hope in the Darkness.

With Hope in the Dark, Rebecca Solnit makes a radical case for hope as a commitment to act in a world whose future remains uncertain and unknowable. Drawing on her decades of activism and a wide reading of environmental, cultural, and political history, Solnit argued that radicals have a long, neglected history of transformative victories, that the positive consequences of our acts are not always immediately seen, directly knowable, or even measurable, and that pessimism and despair rest on an unwarranted confidence about what is going to happen next.

Let’s get chopping.

Books Read, 2014 Edition

Published January 1, 2015 - 0 Comments

This year’s goal was 150 books. Well, we moved this year, and it feels like I spent all year either packing or adjusting. Still, I managed 60 books. Uniformly by white authors, except the times I intentionally sought out books by people of color; more books by women than by men; and predominantly pleasure reading. And I think there were a few more books that I forgot to record.

1. Waiter Rant, Steve Dublanica. Based on the blog. Male, caucasian.

2. Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie. Remnant of a spaceship kicks some ass. Female, caucasian.

3. Doctor Sleep, Stephen King. Follow-up to The Shining. Male, caucasian.

4. Flowers in the Attic, V. C. Andrews. A manual of bad parenting. Female, caucasian.

5. Known Devil, Justin Gustanis. Book 3 in a series about hijinks in paranormal Scranton. Male, caucasian.

6. The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax, Dorothy Gilman. 65-year old woman joins the CIA, hijinks ensue. Female, caucasian.

7. Ashes of Honor, Seanan McGuire. Toby finds kidnapped daughter of a friend, hijinks ensue. Book 5,375  in the series. Female, caucasian.

8. Vampire Academy, Richelle Mead. Our Heroine is a vampire’s bodyguard/best friend. Book 1 in the series. Female, caucasian .

9. Bride of Death, Tim Pratt. Our Heroine returns from the dead, kicks some ass. Book 2,573 in the series. Male, caucasian.

10. The Amazing Mrs Pollifax, Dorothy Gilman. Mrs. P goes to Turkey; hijinks ensue. Female, caucasian.

11. Chimes at Midnight, Seanan McGuire. Toby the junkie. Female, caucasian.

12. Hit Man, Lawrence Block. Hit man gets a doggie. Male, caucasian.

13. Half-Off Ragnarok. Alex vs cocatrix. Female, caucasian.

14. Shadow Unit 14. Bear and Bobet. Female, Caucasian.

15. Hit Parade, Lawrence Block. Hit man hijinks continue. Male, Caucasian.

16. Hit List, Lawrence Block. Hit man hijinks continue. Male, caucasian.

17. Hit and Run, Lawrence Block. Hit man hijinks continue. Male, caucasian.

18. Under the Banner of Heaven, John Krakauer. Mormon fundamentalist mayhem. Male, caucasian.

19. The Elusive Mrs. Polifax, Dorothy Gilman. Mrs P. goes to Bulgaria. Female, caucasian.

20. Into the Vampire City, Phil Tucker. Vampire Miami. Male, caucasian.

21. Handbook for Dragon Slayers, Merrie Haskell. Charming Germanic dragon tale. Female, Caucasian

22. Sanctum, Sarah Fine. Girl goes to city of the dead to rescue friend who committed suicide. Female, Caucasian.

23. Heartwood, Freya Robertson. Tree people vs water people. Female, Caucasian.

24. Fiction River, Crime. ed. K. Rusch. Crime fiction anthology.

25. Service Included, Phoebe Damro. Female waiter in fine dining. Female, caucasian.

26. The Hunger, John Delucie

27. Claire deWitt and the Bohemian Highway, Sara Gran. Friend murdered in SF. Book 2. Female, caucasian.

28. DMQZ, Quinn Flemming. Former cop investigates in post-epidemic New York. Male, Caucasian.

29. Best American Mysteries 2012, ed. Robert Crais. Varies.

30. The Falling Woman, Pat Murphy. Lady archaeologist, Mayans. Female, Caucasian.

At this point, I decided to read non-white people for the rest of the year.

31. Silver Phoenix, Cindy Pon. Our Heroine flees a predator and heads to the city to find her father. Hijinks ensue. Female, Chinese-american

32. The Good House, Tananarive Due. Voodoo in the pacific NW. Female, african-american.

33. The Chaos, Nalo Hopkinson. well, Chaos ensues. Female, Carribean

34. All the Lucky Ones are Dead, Gar Anthony Haywood. Death of a hip-hop star. Male, African-american

35. Devil in a Blue Dress, Walter Mosely. Easy takes a job to pay the mortgage. Male, african-american

36. Sly, Slick & Wicked, Angela Henry. Death of a gallery owner. Female, african-american.

37. Kitty Goes to War, Carrie Vaughn. Kitty vs werewolf vets and snow. Female, caucasian

Somewhere around here, I got really distracted from my reading plan and the rest is not in order; and I also stopped reading POC exclusively. I wanted a lot of comfort books, it looks like.

38. Mrs Pollifax and the Hong Kong Buddha, Dorothy Gilman. Hong Kong hijinks. Female, Caucasian

39. A Palm for Mrs Polifax, Dorothy Gilman. Mrs P goes to a health resort in Switzerland. Female, Caucasian

40. Mrs Pollifax and the Whirling Dervish. Mrs P goes to Morocco. Female, Caucasian.

41. Mrs Polifax Pursued. Mrs P. goes to the carnival and to Africa. Female, Caucasian.

42. Mira Grant, Parasite. First book of the new series. Female, Caucasian.

45. The Egypt Game, Zilpha Keatly Snyder. Loved this book to death when I was little; still do. Female, Caucasian

46. Cretaceous Dawn, Michael and Lisa Graziano. Yay dinosaurs! Male, female, caucasian.

47. Axe Cop, Malachai and Ethan Nicholle, male, caucasian

48. Sandman, Volume 1, Neil Gaiman. male, caucasian

49. Kill City Blues, Richard Kadrey, male, caucasian

50. The Science of Herself, Karen Joy Fowler, collection. female, caucasian.

51. Questionable Practices, Eileen Gunn, short story collection, female, caucasian

52. The Spectral Link, Thomas Ligotti. collection. male, caucasian.

53. Scene and Structure, Jack Bickhame. male, cuacasian.

54. Bad Little Girls Die Horrible Deaths, Harry Connolly. collection. male, caucasian.

55. Streets of Shadows, ed. Maurice Broaddus. multiple authors. Collection.

56. Geek Love, ed. Shanna Germain. multiple authors. Collection.

57. A Key, and Egg, an Unfortunate Remark. Harry Connolly. Pacifist urban fantasy, charming. Male, caucasian

58. The Shambling Guide to New York. Mur Lafferty. Our Heroine writes tour guide for Coterie. charming. female, caucasian

59. Shadow Kiss, Rachelle Mead. Vampire Academy Book 3. female, caucasian.

60. Blood Promise, Rachelle Mead. Vampire Academy Book 4. female, caucasian.

2015: Let’s hit 100 again, and read more diverse books.

Hello, 2014!

Published December 31, 2013 - 1 Comment

I have big plans for you.

1. Significant Shimmer Shenanigans. We’re releasing Issue 18 (guest edited by Ann VanderMeer) in January; plus we have some enormous plans for 2014. Stay tuned…

2. Write all the things. Especially the novel, but also a bunch of short fiction. No Really This Time I Mean It. For Serious.

3. Health. This means doing a lot of yoga and a lot of swimming and eating better (more vegetables, fewer Doritos) and deepening my pranayama and meditation practices. There may also be a tai chi class starting in January.

I also have a trio of second tier targets.

4. Read all the books. I hit 105 in 2013; can I do 150 in 2014? And read even more of the short fiction.

5. Do all the art. I’ve already signed up for I think 4 classes for next year? plus I still have some from 2013 that I haven’t finished. So. I’ve already rearranged one room to have a dedicated art space; now I just need to do all the art.

6. Keep developing my own business. All in good time.

Books Read, 2013

Published December 31, 2013 - 0 Comments

I could do a Year In Review, but instead I’ll just say: I read some books this year.

In addition to these books, I discarded a handful of books that I was not enjoying at all, and have another 20 or 30 or 50 that I’ve started but not yet finished. This looks like a long list but it’s just scratching the surface of what I’d like to read.

I also read a bunch of short fiction — basically everything from Strange Horizons, Lightspeed, Nightmare, BCS, Apex, Clarkesworld, Ideomancer, uh and a bunch of others.

105. City of Ashes, Cassandra Clare. Sequel to City of Bones. More shenanigans.

106. Fat Vampire 2, Johnny Truant. What is it with me and fat vampires this year??

105. Fat Vampire, Johnny B. Truant. What it says on the tin.

104. Yes, Chef. Marcus Samuelsson. Autobiography.

103. Red Glove, Holly Black. Sequel to White Cat. Magic and Mobsters, book 2.

102. Hyperbole and a Half, Allie Brosh. Yay book!

101. Twenty Palaces, Harry Connolly. Prequel to the series.

100. Evil Dark, Justin Gustanis. Sequel to Hard Spell.

99. Wild Card, Jamie Wyman. Trickster gods play poker.

98. The Lives of Tao, Wes Chu. Training montage with aliens and tai chi.

97. Wayward, Blake Crouch. Sequel to Pines. Our Hero is the sheriff now; hijinks ensue.

96. Wild Mind, Natalie Goldberg.  Writing as practice.

95. Hard Spell, Justin Gustainis. Cop in supernatural-infested Scranton.

94. Pines, Blake Crouch. Man gets into a car accident in small Idaho town; hijinks ensue.

93. In Defense of Food, Michael Pollan. Eat food, mostly vegetables, not too much.

92. City of Bones, Cassandra Clare. Hidden supernatural world in New York.

91. The Field Guide, Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi. Children find guide to fairies, hijinks ensue.

90. Indexing, Seanan McGuire. Federal fairy-tale investigation unit.

89. The Night Is Watching, Heather Graham. Haunted theater in a historical Arizona town.

88. Twelve Sharp, Janet Evanovich. Hijinks, identity theft, kidnapping, murder.

87. The Warlock’s Curse, M. K. Hobson. Book 3 of the series; hijinks in the next generation.

86. Fat White Vampire Blues, Andrew Fox. New Orleans vampire story.

85. Rock Your Plot, Cathy Yardley. Short collection of plot advice.

84. The Night Ranger, Alex Berenson. Hostage rescue in Kenya/Somalia.

83. Midnight, Stephen Leather. Book 3, sophia.

82. Nightmare, Stephen Leather. Book 2, his sister.

81. The Bone Flower Throne, T. L. Morganfield Rapey aztec hijinks.

80. Chasing Darkness, Robert Crais. Old case reopens.

79. The Walk, Lee Goldberg. Earthquake in LA

78. Blood Safari, Deon Meyer. Africa, environmentalist, bodyguard.

77. Heaven’s Prisoner’s, James Lee Burke. Alafair origin story.

76. Chomp, Carl Hiaasen. “Reality” tv star vs loveable animal handlers

75. The Bat, Jo Nesbo. Harry Hole in Australia.

74. Adaptation, Malinda Lo. Planes crash due to birds; teens at the center of giant government conspiracy.

73. Doll Bones, Holly Black. Kids take direction from haunted doll, hijinks ensue.

72. Gooseberry Bluff Community College of Magic. Our Heroine investigates demon trafficking at community college; hijinks ensue.

71. The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination, ed. John Joseph Adams. Mad scientist shorts.

70. Three Parts Dead, Max Gladstone. Magicians, dead gods, cigarettes.

69. Redshirts, John Scalzi. Extras object to having their lives controlled by the script.

68. Celebromancy, Michael Underwood. Magic via celebrity.

67. Geekomancy, Michael Underwood. Magic via geeky attachment to pop culture.

66. Howl’s Moving Castle, Diana Wynne Jones. There sure was a lot of cleaning in this book.

65. Just A Geek, Wil Wheaton.

64. Fade to Black, Francis Knight. Magic and industry and the underworld.

63. Graveminder, Melissa Marr. Surprise, you’re in charge of the dead in your little town.

62. The Empty Chair, Jeffrey Deaver. Lincoln Rhyme vs Insect Boy

61. Shadow Unit 13, Bear and Co.  Yay Shadow Unit!

60. The Blessed and the Damned, Michael Wallace. Even more polygamist hijinks.

59. The Wicked, Michael Wallace. Further polygamist hijinks

58. Mighty and Strong, Michael Wallace. Cult of ex-polygamists

57. The Righteous, Michael Wallace. Murder among the polygamists.

56. Circus: Fantasy Under the Big Top. ed. Ekaterina Sedia. Collection of circus stories.

55. The Coyote Road, ed. Datlow and Windling. Collection of trickster stories.

54. Aloha from Hell, Richard Kadrey. Sandman Slim Book 3. Back to Hell.

53. Kill the Dead, Richard Kadrey. Sandman Slim Book 2. Zombies.

52. The Seersucker Whipsaw, Ross Thomas.  Electoral hijinks in Africa.

51. The Novellas, Lealan Patrick Burke. Collection of horror novellas.

50. Morgue Drawer for Rent, Jutta Profijt. Bureacratic hijinks.

49. Morgue Drawer Next Door, Jutta Profijt. Nuns and hijinks.

48. Morgue Drawer Four. After his death, a car thief works with the coroner to fight crime.

47. After Life, Rhian Ellis. Old murder in a town of mediums.

46. Wide Open, Deb Coates. Army girl returns home with ghosts to deal with sister’s death.

45. Kill Whitey, Brian Keene. Russian mobster is hard to kill.

44. Against the Fall of Night, Arthur C. Clarke. Far-distant future humanity.

43. The Human Division, John Scalzi. The serial.

42. Getting Shit Done, LaVonne Ellis. LaVonne’s take on productivity.

41. Cold Magic, Kate Elliott. The cold mage and the wrong daughter.

40. Life, Keith Richards. Autobiography.

39. I Hate Killers, Barry Lyga. Son of serial killer fights crime.

38. Crossing, Andrew Xia Fukuda. Teen-aged Asian kid faces racism, serial killers, and a high school musical.

37. Demolition Angel, Robert Crais. Starkey and bombs.

36. The Forgotten Man, Robert Crais. Spoiler: it’s not his dad.

35. The Last Detective, Robert Crais. Girlfriend’s son is kidnapped.

34. The Sentry, Robert Crais. Pike and Dru.

33. The First Rule, Robert Crais. Old friend of Pike’s is killed, hijinks ensue.

32. Wild Seed, Octavia Butler. Two superhumans have contrasting perspectives on eugenics.

31. Midnight Blue-Light Special, Seanan McGuire. Book 2. Covenant comes to town, hijinks ensue.

30. Writing without Teachers, Peter Elbow. Do lots of freewriting and don’t fret.

29. The Collected, Brett Battles. Assassins captured by former victim, hijinks ensue

28. Impulse, Steven Gould. Book 3, starring Cent.

27. A Latent Dark, Martin Kee. Shadows and souls, vaguely steampunky.

26. Garrett Investigates, Elizabeth Bear. previously unpublished Garrett stories.

25. Bad Moon Rising, Ed Gorman. Private detective investigates commune.

24. The Name of the Star, Maureen Johnson. Modern Jack the Ripper, ghosts.

23. Best American Science and Nature Writing 2012, ed. Dan Ariely, Tim Folger

22. Nightfall, Stephen Leather. Negotiator’s father has sold his soul to a devil; hijinks ensue.

21. They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? Horace McCoy. Desperate dancing in the 30s.

20. The Ask and the Answer, Patrick Ness. Book 2. Living and fighting among the enemy.

19. Partials, Dan Wells. Teens rebel against tyranical dystopia.

18. Knock Knock, S. P. Miskowski. Generational horror in the woods.

17. The Pleasure of My Company, Steve Martin. OCD guy finds love.

16. Line and Orbit, Sunny Moraine and Lisa Soem. Gay science fiction romance. Genetics.

15. Blood Oranges, Kathleen Tierney. Urban fantasy parody.

14. Phantom, Jo Nesbo. New drug violin, hijinks ensue.

13. The Knife of Never Letting Go, Patrick Ness. Kid on a planet where everyone can hear men’s thoughts.

12. A Fall of Winter, Elizabeth Hunter. It’s the last of the 4. I can stop now.

11. The Force of Wind, Elizabeth Hunter. Apparently I can’t stop reading these damn vampire books.

10. This Same Earth, Elizabeth Hunter. More vampires and old books.

9. A Drop of the Hard Stuff, Lawrence Block. 1st year of AA

8. A Hidden Fire, Elizabeth Hunter. Vampires, old books.

7. The Keeper, Sarah Langan. Should have read this before The Missing.

6. After The First Death, Lawrence Block. Alcoholic wakes up after blackout with dead hooker.

5. Dinocalypse Now, Chuck Wendig. Dinosaurs and apes and superheroes and hijinks.

4. The Missing, Sarah Langan. Evil telepathic virus makes people insane, world ends

3. Good Behavior: A Dortmunder Novel. Donald E. Westlake. Burglary hijinks with nuns.

2. Sandy My Name, Judy Gilligan. Family struggles to care for foster child with undiagnosed fetal alcohol syndrome.

1. The Maze Runner, James Dashner. Post-apocalyptic YA.

Donations for Philippines Disaster Relief: The Results!

Published November 12, 2013 - 0 Comments

Yesterday, you fine folks donated $185 to Typhoon Haiyan relief organizations.

Today, I rounded up to $200 and made my own donation.

Between us, that’s almost $400, helping suffering people in the Philippines.

Thank you very much for an excellent birthday!

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