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Todd’s Stunt Double Goes to Meetings and We Can’t Show His Face

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So, for reasons I’ve never been fully clear on, the Chinese insist on taking (wildly inappropriate) English names when they come stateside, a problem that Mei Li and Ping are avoiding because someone–presumably Sera or Dr. Wolf–convinced them that May Lee and Ping are perfectly functional American names that don’t make either of them stand out strangely. That said, I’ve known girls named Mei Li in real, actual life who used American names like “Coco Butter” and “Agnes.” The former is a stripper pseudonym and the latter is a Grandma name, and neither really fit the bearers of the name well.

So, while I’m not completely clear on why this happens, I do have a fun theory.

I’ve had a lot of different names given to me by my Chinese friends from year to year–from Fat Ox (which didn’t translate offensively in Chinese but sounds awful in English) to, and I’m being dead serious here, “God’s Weapon-Gift” (武天赐). Names in Chinese have meaning, and people often have more than one name that people actually, for serious use. Not just truncations, like Jo from Jody, but full-on names that describe your character. The aforementioned Coco-Butter had a nickname that translated out into “Five Mouths,” for instance. (I absolutely do not have time to explain why I got the exceptionally regal nickname I listed above.) I suspect that this custom makes the choosing of an English name much less of a serious affair for a visiting Chinese student than it would be to me if I had to choose my own Chinese name–especially since there’s apparently a custom of your friends giving you different names.

With this in mind, however, yes, Cid’s Chinese name is Fat Beard.

What You Get from Patreon

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I’m drumming up ways to give value to people who support us on Patreon, and access to sketches at the $1 per month pledge feels like a bit of a limp effort because there’s ultimately no access to new content there. I want to beef up what our $1 subscription folk get. So far, there’s only one person doing this, but we like him and it’d be nice if he got his money’s worth.

I’ve added a $3 tier, and I’m pretty excited about what I’m doing with it.

Context: I got a fantastic rejection from Tor.com today. Those of you who aren’t into the arcana of the publishing world might wonder how a rejection can be fantastic, and that’s okay. Have a peek:

Dear Mr. Klick,

Thanks so much for submitting to Tor.com, and for your patience while we evaluated your story. Unfortunately, I’m afraid that “Introductions” isn’t quite right for us.

The writing is fantastic, and we liked the partnership between the characters, and the way the power dynamic between them changed throughout the story. Our reservations lie mostly in the structure: the supernatural elements only come in in the last quarter of the story and have nothing (that we could perceive) to do with what came before. So we must regretfully hand this back and wish you the best of luck placing it elsewhere.

Please send us more of your stories in the future.

That feels pretty good to read. They’re industry titans, and they really like my writing. That won’t pay the water bill, but it certainly does pay the ego. Rejection is still a binary, however, and my story needs a home. Its been rejected a few places, and honestly, my desire to submit to markets wanes every time I get a “thanks, but no thanks,” so the truth is that I haven’t shopped this story around very much and I don’t want to anymore.

A younger me would have gone back and screwed with the structure to get the dark fantasy element to die into the characters’ relationships back in the beginning. But that wasn’t the goal of the story; the goal was to write a subversion of certain colonialist tropes and to have some Lovecraft on the side. (It’s perfectly fine that this story isn’t for Tor, by the way. They publish excellent stuff, but they also know what they want and are entitled to that, so if you’re feeling bad about my getting a rejection–don’t. Tor.com is great; go read some of their stuff. It’s free and generally awesome.)

As far as the story’s goals go, it’s complete. There are things I could tweak infinitely, and I could send them to magazines over and over again infinitely, crossing my fingers that someone out there will pay me one cent a word. That’s not art. And it’s not what being a writer is about.

So I’m going to give subscribers on Patreon access to my fiction as I edit and release it. Again this is at the $3 support level, but here’s the kicker: the stories are all going to be DRM free PDFs, and I encourage anyone who is a subscriber and gets access to the stories to share them around as much as they want.

Without further ado, then, this is the first story up on Patreon. I’ve edited it one last time since Tor.com read it, and I gave it a better title: Flowers in the Pyramid.