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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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.

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!

What To Get Me For My Birthday: Help The Philippines

Published November 11, 2013 - 18 Comments

Hooray, it’s my birthday! It’s been a good year, and the next year should be even more incredible. I’ve got a good husband, a good house, good friends, a good job, and everything’s terrific. So presents are nice? But really: I’m all set.

So today, let’s leverage the power of the Velociraptor Birthday Princess to help out some people who aren’t having such a terrific time right now. Donate to Philippines disaster relief, and I’ll match. Just leave a message in the comments with the amount and the organization you chose, and tomorrow morning I’ll total it all up and make a matching donation. Cool? Cool.




When Everything Is Stuck

Published March 1, 2013 - 2 Comments

So you’re having one of those days (weeks, months). Everything’s gray and stagnant and impossible. You try and try, but can’t seem to get any traction, and you’re just so tired. You know this isn’t the truth, you know this is just the jerkbrain kicking up dust, but there’s so much dust that you can’t see the simple quiet clarity that’s at your core.

It is slightly possible that by “you” I mean “me.” It is slightly possible that by “you” I mean “all of us.”

Try this. It only takes 5 or 10 minutes.


First, lie down take a deep breath. Remind yourself that this is a dust storm, not the eternal truth. Remind yourself that this normal, even though you feel like the most broken fucked-up freak in the world right now. Remind yourself that this is temporary, even though you feel like things will be like this forever.

Remind yourself, even though you don’t believe it at all.


Now, start breathing in for four counts and out for four counts. You can count as quickly or as slowly as you want. In-2-3-4. Out-2-3-4. Even though all this breathing stuff is hippie bullshit and won’t work. Even though you’re way too fucked up for simple fixes like this. In-2-3-4. Out-2-3-4.

It’s just breathing. You were doing that anyway. All we’re doing is bringing the tiniest bit of concentration to it.

Maybe you’re starting to feel a little better. Shh, don’t tell your jerkbrain. Or maybe you’re feeling stupid now because this isn’t working, of course it isn’t working, and you were an idiot for thinking it might help. Whatever you’re feeling: just keep going. In-2-3-4. Out-2-3-4.

Do this for as long as you want, but for at least ten breaths (in and out = 1 breath). When you’re ready, take the next step.

In with Clarity, Out with Stagnation

Now it’s time to sit up. Sit comfortably, no fancy meditation position required. You don’t even have to sit up straight if you don’t want to (and I know you don’t want to.) Continue breathing as in the previous step. When you breathe in, imagine the quality of clarity filling you up. When you exhale, imagine the quality of stagnation leaving you. Imagine these however you like: perhaps quality is a white light. Perhaps it is cool clean air or the scent of irises. Perhaps stagnation is a dark fog, perhaps it is a thick tar, perhaps it is the smell of old onion, perhaps it is dust.

Just trust whatever images or sensations come to you. Even if none come at all. Even if you’re clearly too stupid/broken/clumsy/unimaginative to do this right. Even if it’s all bullshit. Even if there are a thousand other things you should be doing right now, if you weren’t such a loser.

Do this for as long as you want, but for at least ten breaths (in and out = 1 breath). When you’re ready, take the next step.

Add Your Arms

Continue breathing. Continue visualizing clarity coming in and stagnation going out. To this, add some rhythmic movements of your arms. If you’re familiar with the Dance of Shiva, try that (it’s ok to use a level you’re super-familiar with for this; no need to do something too hard and make yourself cry). If you’re not, just move your arms around, in rhythm with your counting and your breath.

Even if you’re really clumsy, even if your movements are graceless and uninspired, even if this actually helps perk up your brainmeats a little and oh God we can’t have that because then you’ll have to do something, maybe even that thing you’ve been avoiding.

Do this for as long as you want, but for at least ten breaths (in and out = 1 breath). When you’re ready, take the next step.

Add Your Legs

Now it’s time to get your legs moving. Stand up. Start moving your legs. If you know a Dance of Shiva leg pattern, use that. If you don’t, just move your legs around, in rhythm with your arms and your counting and your breath.

Even if the only leg movement you can think of is an awkward high-school dance shuffle. Even if you try kicking like a Rockette and stumble. Even if all you can do is march in place. Even if it’s too hard to keep your arms and legs and breath in synch and oh damn you forgot about the qualities and obviously you suck at this and should just give up and go back to bed and eat Doritos until you die. Even if all of that, just keep going.


Visualize clarity coming in and stagnation going out.

Move your arms.

Move your legs.

Do this for as long as you want, but for at least ten breaths (in and out = 1 breath).

Everything Is A Little Bit Better Now

Maybe just the tiniest bit. Maybe there’s just a little more energy, a little more room to breathe, a little more possibility.

What will you do now?

Fuck Black Friday

Published November 22, 2012 - 39 Comments

Tired of the Black Friday hype? Think it’s stupid to line up at Wal*Mart for three days to get twenty bucks off a DVD player or something? Think it’s all bullshit?

Me, too.

It’s time to say Fuck Black Friday again. I was going to wait until it was actually Friday, but since Black Friday itself is creeping into the rest of the week, why not start now?

Last year, instead of having some fancy sale, I just started giving stuff away. I ended up giving out a handful of Shimmer copies, a few shiva nata lessons, a picture of my cats, and a couple hundred bucks to various charities, ten bucks at a time. A lot of people matched the donations I made, and I got some cool stuff from other people as well. It was a wonderful antidote to the relentless commercial pressure of the season. Let’s do it again.

So here’s how it works.

Leave a comment with your request. I can offer Shimmer copies, spots in a Shiva Nata class, my own fiction, charitable donations, poutine-making lessons, and lots more. What would make your life better? What would make the world better? (Note: I totally reserve the right to refuse requests. I’m not gonna give you a million dollars, and I’m not going to donate to your local KKK Rapist Fathers Advocacy Group. Yanno?)

If you’re feeling the spirit and have something you’d like to give away, go ahead and offer it up. Absolutely no commercial pitches. Totally free stuff only. You’re also more than welcome to help grant requests of other commenters, too. There’s so much need.


What can I do for you?

I do have to work on Friday, so won’t be able to hover over this post every second, granting wishes like a grumpy fairy godmother, but I promise all requests will be addressed.

Three Good Things

Published November 7, 2012 - 1 Comment

1. Last night, the United States voted against misogyny, rape apology, racism, the Koch brothers, and theocracy, and voted for equality and progress.

2. Yesterday afternoon, my novel came unstuck. It’s finally my novel, not a plodding alien wasteland. And it is a delight.

3. We are having poutine for dinner tonight.

World Fantasy: We Have Arrived!

Published October 29, 2009 - 5 Comments

“Let’s just drive to San Jose,” we said. “Flying sucks and it’s not that far.” Famous last words, etc. Probably the most horrible part was the death-defying narrow concrete chute of construction I had to drive through at dusk on Donner Pass, but there were dozens of other annoyances.

There were some bright spots. We had a lovely lunch at the Winnemucca Pizzaria, an unexpected oasis in the middle of Nevada. Our hotel room is very nice. And best of all, the Fairmont offers free parking if you have a hybrid (regularly $26 a night! Eeek! Or the hassle of finding other parking.).

So I’m even more delighted than usual to have arrived at World Fantasy, and am eager to take on the world tomorrow — after a nice long sleep.

Weekend Update

Published August 16, 2009 - 0 Comments

If you haven’t yet, go read Sean Markey’s story “Shatter Shatter” over at Brain Harvest. It’s a great little story and worth the three minutes it’ll take you to read.

The Strange Horizons fund drive continues. They’ve met their goal, thanks to John Scalzi, but contributions are always welcome. Win prizes! Support a really terrific magazine. Browse through the archives while you’re there — years and years of top-notch stories, freely available.

Sean’s been sick lately, and yesterday we ended up taking him to instacare to get a sinus infection diagnosed and treated. Poor bunny.

My to-d0 list is approaching 80 things, which is on the ridiculous side. Things have been moving slowly around here because Sean hasn’t been feeling well, but I think it’s time to get some stuff DONE. I shift to a new schedule at work next week, with every other Monday off; I’m hoping that having a whole day to myself every other week will help me plow through my backlog of tasks and be even more awesome.

Back to the salt mines!

Get behind the mule

Published August 2, 2009 - 0 Comments

Had a lovely week of vacation in Florida with Sean. I spent a lot of time sleeping and playing in the ocean, and did nothing at all more demanding than hanging out with Sean’s family. They’re an enjoyable lot, so it wasn’t demanding at all.

I could have used another week off, I think. Towards the end of my vacation, I was just barely able to start to think about getting back to work — but I wasn’t ready. I needed the first week to just rest, I think; I needed more time to actually get restored and rejuvenated.

So I spent some time streamlining my list this week. I let go of a few projects, and got myself to buckle down and finish off a few others. I put more leisure and fun things to do on my list. I spent more time at yoga and less time pounding my head on the mountain of stuff I have to do.

Still grumpy, though. I still want to do everything.

Came back to a mountain of work. I’ve been chipping away at it, but it’s been a slog, and it’s made me grumpy. One of the things I realized on vacation was how radical the mismatch is between all the stuff I want to do and the available time — it’s just impossible. Partly, that was a depressing realization, that I simply can’t do everything; but it was also reassuring. The reason I’m not getting everything done isn’t that I suck (though, sure, there are some areas I could improve in); it’s that it’s impossible.