Ann Leckie, Elizabeth Bear, and Sacred Prayers

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Ann Leckie hit a science fiction grand slam with her 2013 novel Ancillary Justice, winning both the Hugo and Nebula awards for Best Novel, as well as the Arthur C. Clarke and British Science Fiction Association awards. On her way there, having obtained a degree in music from Washington University in 1989, she predictably enough worked in several fields besides music or writing: she did office work, waited tables, and was at various times a sound engineer as well as a “rodman” on a land surveying crew. While an understimulated stay-at-home mom following the births of her two children in 1996 and 2000, in 2002, she tried her hand at NaNoWriMo, a.k.a. National Novel Writing Month, resulting in the first draft of what would eventually become Ancillary Justice. She went on to hone her skills under noted science fiction author Octavia Butler at the Clarion West Writers Workshop in 2005, completing her debut novel over the next six years. Concurrently, she wrote and sold over half a dozen works of short fiction to periodicals including Realms of Fantasy and Strange Horizons as well as editing the online F/SF magazine Giganotosaurus from 2010 to 2013.

Ancillary Justice tells the story of Breq, the only survivor of the treacherous destruction of a starship other than the ship’s artificial intelligence; as allies, she and the AI essentially merge in their quest for vengeance against an imperial ruler. It was followed by two further works in the trilogy, Ancillary Sword (2014) and Ancillary Mercy (2015), both of which were well received; the final work earned Leckie another Best Novel Hugo nod. Her speculative fiction works since include 2017’s Provenance, which was nominated for a Hugo, and in 2019, her debut epic fantasy The Raven Tower, which the Kirkus Review describes as “[sharp,] many layered, and as always for Leckie, deeply intelligent.” She lives with her family in St. Louis, Missouri.

Elizabeth Bear is the award-winning author of three dozen science fiction and fantasy novels as well as over a hundred short stories. Besides poetry and the odd bit of nonfiction, the genre-hopping Bear has written in myriad speculative fiction subgenres, including cyberpunk, steampunk, classic generation-ship science fiction, space opera, vampire and other paranormal fantasy, epic fantasy, historical fiction, and futuristic mystery, to name a few. Her writing often features strong female characters, such as wizards or special forces warriors who happen to be women. Not infrequently, her works include queer characters and relationships.

Born in 1971 in Hartford, Connecticut, she has said that she is a third- generation science fiction fan on both sides of the family. Bear (née Sarah Bear Elizabeth Wishnevsky) is of Ukrainian and Swedish descent; she started writing while in grade school, “little stapled ‘books’ of stories about dinosaurs and race horses and aliens,” and then tried her hand at poetry. She went on to be a reporter for her college’s five-day-per-week newspaper. Before turning to writing full-time in her mid-thirties, she worked at positions as wide-ranging as stablehand, “media industry professional,” and being the person who gets up at three in the morning to bake for a donut shop. She published her first novel, Hammered, in early 2005, following it with two sequels, Scardown and Worldwired, before the end of that year(!); after spending some time living in Las Vegas, she returned to Connecticut in 2006. During that period, she won both the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer and the Locus Award for Best First Novel.

She carried on writing at quite a prolific pace, publishing nine more novels in the next five years. Her short story “Tideline” drew major recognition, winning both the Hugo and Sturgeon awards in 2008; she hit Hugo gold again with her novelette “Shoggoths in Bloom” (2009). That same year, she won the Gaylactic Spectrum Award for Best Novel for The Stratford Man (Ink and Steel and Hell and Earth). Reviewer Annalee Newitz of io9 has said that Bear “is famous for combining high-octane military [and] spy tales with eccentric and subversive subplots.” Elizabeth Bear has taught at both the Viable Paradise and the Clarion West writers’ workshops. She lives in Massachusetts’ Pioneer Valley with her spouse, writer Scott Lynch.

I think the problem is that some writers (and some readers) have spent a lot of time internalizing our societal narrative that women…just aren’t interesting. The things we do and have done don’t make good stories, or if they do, those stories are women’s stories, and not for general consumption.

Elizabeth Bear, in her nonfiction “Where Are All the Women?” (Tor publishing blog; 2017 essay on science fiction)

Blessed is the match consumed in kindling flame.
Blessed is the flame that burns in the secret fastness of the heart.
Blessed is the heart with strength to stop its beating
for honor’s sake.
Blessed is the match consumed in kindling flame.

—Hannah Szenes (a.k.a. Hannah Senesh), World War II Resistance hero, 1944

Creator of heaven and earth,
You are me,
I am you.

—Navajo Maiden, 1929

Check out this review of You Should Be Writing by Becca Anderson and Nita Sweeney


The Book of awesome women writers

Medieval Mystics, Pioneering Poets, Fierce Feminists and First Ladies of Literature (Feminist Book, Gift for Women, Gift for Writers)

This one-of-a-kind tome takes a tour with Sylvia Beach and other booksellers as well as librarians, editors, writers, bibliophiles, and celebrated book clubs. Join women’s studies scholar Anders as she takes you on a ribald ride through the pages of history. Chapter titles include “Prolific Pens” (including Joyce Carol Oates, author of over 100 books), “Mystics, Memoirists and Madwomen”, “Salons and Neosalons”, “Ink in Their Veins” (literary dynasties), and the titillating “Banned, Blacklisted, and Arrested.”


Prayers For Calm

Meditations Affirmations and Prayers to Soothe Your Soul (Daily Devotion for Women, Reflections, Spiritual Reading Book, Inspirational Book for Women)

Calming Prayer: Becca Anderson, bestselling author of the motivational books Prayers for Hard Times and The Woman’s Book of Prayer, brings us a new, up and coming classic, Prayers for Calm. Becca learned the power of healing prayer firsthand from pastors in her family who pray with their congregation as well as from working with Dr. Larry Dossey, a physician who prayed for his patients to great effect, leading to his book Prayer is Good Medicine. Through a mix of Bible verses, prayers for tranquility, quotes for quietude and peaceful poems, Prayers for Calm offers solace and serenity for every day of the year.