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Posts tagged as “The Neurodiversiverse”

[twenty twenty-four day one three four]: victory condition

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Wow, the Neurodiversiverse Kickstarter not only got funded, we reached our first stretch goal - bookmarks!

We had hoped to reach postcards or even the audiobook, but this was a great achievement, and I'll take it. Not only did we take in almost $9K to help pay our authors and defray other costs in the book, but also a hundred and eighty people backed and another hundred bookmarked the campaign. Which means that over two hundred fifty people liked it ... and probably ten times as many looked at it. Mission accomplished!

Next up, finishing the ARC (the preliminary version of the book for industry and sensitivity reader review).


Pictured: Graphics from the Kickstarter, which were not only fun to do but taught me a lot, and an Old Fashioned from Select restaurant in Greer.

[twenty twenty-four day one three one]: celebration!

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Yay! The Neurodiversiverse Kickstarter funded, with two and a half days to go! And it has been amazing, after a month of slow but steady growth, that the Kickstarter continues to now rapidly fund even as we're trying to publicize it! A shoutout to Cat Rambo, who graciously let us do that guest blogpost! Let me shout back, with the story card we came up with for Cat's story, "Scary Monsters, Super Creeps"!

Now that we've met our funding goal, we've announced our stretch goals, which include cool things like bookmarks and postcards and, if we really stretch, an audiobook of the anthology.

But we've also been posting about our process, talking about how we selected our stories for the anthology and how we organized them into our current table of contents - which required setting up a Kanban board in Airtable to help us organize it quickly, efficiently, and, most of all, understandably.

Airtable is a system that looks a lot like a spreadsheet, except it's actually a database under the hood, enabling you to build different views of the same data; a Kanban board is one such view, with rows turned into "cards" organized into "stacks" by a given field - and as you move cards about in the stacks, the field changes with it. This helps visualize the flow of, well, many things - including stories in the editing pipeline, or stories in the table of contents; I'm even using it for tracking the writing of new stories. But for now, the most important thing is that it enabled us to put together this:

We're proud of the table of contents - but also, pleased with the process that got us there, and hope other people find it as useful as we did.

So please, go check those posts out, and maybe even help spread the word so we reach our stretch goals!

-the Centaur

[twenty twenty-four day one three zero]: and then he rested

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It's been a long day dealing with a whole sequence of guff, so here I present to you Loki, taking a nap after his hard work on reconciling large language models with classical symbolic artificial intelligence.

-the Centaur

P.S. The Kickstarter is almost there! ... 94%, with ~3 days to go! Like, back and share!

Guest Post on The Neurodiversiverse at Cat Rambo’s Blog

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Hey folks! I have a guest post on The Neurodiversiverse up at Cat Rambo's blog! Check it out:

In it, I talk about the aliens in science fiction, the origin of The Neurodiversiverse, about neurodiversity and representation, and about some of the cool stories that we are featuring in the anthology!

Cat is not just an author in The Neurodiversiverse, she's also the author of the space opera You Sexy Thing and lots of other cool stories and novels. Thanks to Cat for the opportunity!

The Kickstarter runs for just 3 more days, so please read, like, back and share!

-the Centaur

[twenty twenty-four day one two seven]: so what if we did a hardcover?

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So Liza and I have been working on the upper reward tiers for The Neurodiversiverse Kickstarter (we're so close! almost 85% of the way there!) and we think we have a solution for producing the limited hardcover edition. Unfortunately, the bindery that produced Thinking Ink's limited edition of The Hereafter Bytes has gone out of business, but we found a few similar options (and may even be able to reduce the price). Above is a mockup of what it might look like, and below was the actual original for The Hereafter Bytes:

Hopefully some people will buy this reward tier - it is pricey on purpose, in the hopes that backers will back this because they want to support the project (and just in case something goes wrong with the printing costs). Just a few of these will take us over the top, so please pledge ten of them! :-D

-the Centaur

[twenty twenty-four day one two six]: working on the neurodiversiverse kickstarter

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Hacking away at publicity for the Kickstarter for the Neurodiversiverse, which is at +80%! But that means we have almost a thousand dollars to go, and we're really far from our stretch goals. So I'm working to publicize it further with guest blog posts and such, as well as pushing further on social media.

You can support it as simply as pledging for a book or an ebook (or a sticker or pin or even $1 for no reward). But you can also get reward bundles that have lots and lots of Thinking Ink Press books in them:

Or an awesome tote bag and pins and stickers and such!

And if you REALLY want to help us out ... you can get your name in the book. Just sayin'.


-the Centaur

[twenty twenty-four day one two three]: 75% of the way there …

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Our Kickstarter for The Neurodiversiverse is over 75% now! And my co-editor Liza put together a wonderful video for the project, now available on the Kickstarter page (just click the header image you see below):

I already posted about this on social media but not here I think, so ... we've also gotten the molds for the neurodiversity rainbow infinity symbol pins, and expect to get a look at pin prototypes real soon now!

So, if you love science fiction, neurodiversity, pins, or science-fictiony neurodiverse pins, in celebration of an #ownvoices anthology about neurodiverse encounters with aliens, please back us and share!

-the Centaur

[drawing every day 2024 post one one seven]

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Okay, technically, this is Photoshoppery, and not a drawing, but it is my art, and it is 2:41am, and I would like to simultaneously announce that if we make $20K on our Kickstarter, we're definitely doing a sequel anthology, and also to announce that I'm very behind on Camp Nano, so I am going to bed.

One thing to note on this (which is composed of our existing art, plus public domain NASA images) is that it can take a variety of different layered images to create the above effect. I cut the original cover artwork into three different pieces to create the original backdrop, and added two more (with 50% opacity erasure of the edges to make the starfields blur together). The stars needed a similar treatment (that's two copies of the binary stars, tilted to make the swooshies work well, which themselves also had to be faded). The cover itself had some filters applied to make the art look like something, but a nonspecific something.

Lots of techniques. Real drawing resumes tomorrow - two of them, to keep up drawing every day.

-the Centaur

The Neurodiversiverse Kickstarter is Still Going

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Hey folks, this is a reminder that we still have a Kickstarter going for The Neurodiversiverse: Alien Encounters! While the campaign is running, you can reach it at or by searching on Kickstarter. This hopeful, empowering anthology explores neurodiverse encounters with aliens, and we'd love your help paying our authors more money (and, if we reach stretch goals, doing an audiobook or even a sequel)!

Please check us out, like, back and share!

-the Centaur

[twenty twenty-four day one ten]: at clockwork alchemy 2024

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So we had a great first day at Clockwork Alchemy! I got a great Guest of Honor banner for my table, and we had a delightful Tea with the Author Guest of Honor in the con's amazing Tea Room!

My co-editor for The Neurodiversiverse, Liza Olmsted (far left on the picture below), was on an #ownvoices panel, which was very informative! I particularly liked her quote:

The world is so much more beautiful with intersectionality ... everything is so much more nuanced."

Liza Olmsted

"Intersectionality" is a funky word for the simple concept that people aren't a single attribute, like "black" or "women" or "gay" but that each person is a combination of all these things - and discrimination isn't just additive, but can compound in interesting ways. In one famous court case, for example, a court ruled that a group of black women weren't discriminated against because the company had hired a lot of black men (in a factory setting) and a lot of white women (in an office setting) thus improving the percentage of blacks in the factory and women in the office - but the point was, the women were being discriminated against for being black and women at the same time, and the court was essentially arguing you couldn't be one or the other. But, if you acknowledge that people can be more than one thing, you can take their distinctive appearances into account into how you treat them, rather than sweeping it under the rug.

Neurodiversiverse author Clara Ward dropped by and left us a few of her new book, "Be the Sea", which is (as I gathered from discussions) a climatepunk story featuring neurodiverse and nonbinary characters. I worked with Clara before on Doorways to Extra Time and we're excited to have her back for this one!

We hope to see you tomorrow at the con! Next up, Steampunk Vehicles, Bringing Anthologies to Life, and the world premiere reading of "Jeremiah Willstone and the Choir of Demons"!

-the Centaur

[drawing every day 2024 post one oh seven]: more kickstarters

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SO! Our Kickstarter for the Neurodiversiverse is live at (which just links through to the Kickstarter page for the duration of the campaign). And I'm proud to say that we are number one of projects if you search for neurodivergence!

For this project I had to create about fifty images in Photoshop - mostly by remixing other imagery we had, admittedly, but sometimes it took a bit of cleverness to make everything work out, as in this physical picture of most of our books and flash fiction postcards - not all of which I had on hand for the picture, and some of which don't even physically exist yet, like the softback of The Neurodiversiverse:

Liza and I (with the help of Betsy and Keiko) put a lot of time into this and I'm proud of the result:

So, please check it out and back us ... we have reward tiers everything from $1 for token support, to early bird ebooks at a discount, to the book and the ebook themselves, all the way up to getting your name listed in the acknowledgements at the back of the book:

And, while I hope to get in some real drawing today, I am unabashedly using this as my Drawing Every Day post, because I spent hours and hours on art today and that should count, dang it.

Drawing every day.

-the Centaur

The Neurodiversiverse Kickstarter – and Clockwork Alchemy Author Guest of Honor!

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Hey folks! This is a "sticky" post up for the next week or so to remind you that I will be Author Guest of Honor at Clockwork Alchemy - and that we're running a Kickstarter for The Neurodiversiverse! Please check out the Kickstarter - and click to be notified when it goes live, I'm told that helps "the algorithm" when it launches.

I was selected as Clockwork Alchemy GOH not just because of the Jeremiah Willstone steampunk series, comprising one novel and a dozen stories featuring the rayguns-corsets-and-aliens world of Victoriana, but also because I've been involved in Clockwork Alchemy since its inception. Please visit us at the con!

At Clockwork Alchemy, I will be joined by my Neurodiversiverse coeditor and friend Liza Olmsted. Our schedule at the event is the following - including a Tea with the Author on Friday and the debut of the audio drama "Jeremiah Willstone and the Choir of Demons" on the anthology panel on Saturday:

Friday, April 19

  • Own Voice Stories - 2:30pm / Synergy 5 - Liza Olmsted, M.D. Neu, Sumiko Saulson, Emily Flummox
    Why promoting and celebrating 'own voices' stories is imperative!
  • Tea with the Author Guest of Honor - 4pm / Synergy 2-3 - Anthony Francis
    Come have tea with me! Ask your questions. I don't promise enigmatic answers!
  • Author Signing with Anthony Francis - 6pm / Convene Lobby
    Come get your books signed!

Saturday, April 20

  • Steampunk Vehicles - 1pm / Inspire 1 - Anthony Francis and Michael Tierney
    We'll talk about airships, land walkers, behemoths, and time machines!
  • Author Signing with Anthony Francis - 4pm / Convene Lobby
    Buy more of my books in Author's Alley, and I'll sign them too!
  • Bringing Anthologies to Life - 5:30pm / Synergy 5 - Anthony Francis, Liza Olmsted and Dover Whitecliff
    We'll discuss the challenges of bringing anthologies to life, and debut the very first Jeremiah Willstone audio drama, "The Choir of Demons"

Sunday, April 21

  • Favorite Steampunk Books - 10am / Synergy 5 - Anthony Francis, Madeline Holly-Rosing, Dover Whitecliff
    What are the greatest steampunk books and series? We have opinions! And will share.
  • Author Signing with Anthony Francis - noon / Convene Lobby
    Buy more of my books in Author's Alley, and I'll sign them too!
  • Author Signing - Last Call with the Author's Alley - 4pm / Convene Lobby
    Buy more of ANYONE's books in Author's Alley, and we'll all sign them! Or sign our own. Whatevz.

Finally, for the duration of the campaign, will link through to the Kickstarter! We're campaigning to get enough funds to pay our authors full "pro" SFWA rates, and if we surpass that, the funds will go to the planned second book in the series: The Neurodiversiverse - Binary Stars! Back and share, folks!

-the Centaur

[twenty twenty-four day one oh five]: going back to victoriana

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Hey folks! I've got just a quick post for you now, because I need to go heads down on Jeremiah Willstone #2, CITADEL OF GLASS, for Camp Nanowrimo. Prepping to be Guest of Honor at Clockwork Alchemy next week - and creating the Kickstarter campaign for The Neurodiversiverse, which we want to go live before CA - has put me behind on my word count for the month ... so I need to make a few changes.

In "normal" circumstances, I have a pretty simple day: take care of food, cats and laundry, work for several hours on the project of the day, and then break - on Mondays and Wednesdays, a late break for dinner where I catch up on reading, on Tuesdays and and some Thursdays, an early dinner break before writing group and the church board meeting, and on Fridays and Saturdays, an early break for coffee and drawing / writing before a late dinner and more reading (with date nites with my wife thrown in). This structure makes sure I'm both making progress on life and work projects during the day, and creative projects at night.

But you can't do that during Camp Nanowrimo or regular National Novel Writing Month - at least, not if you get behind, because if you do, you will fall farther and farther behind. Writing in Nanowrimo actually makes it easier to write more in Nanowrimo - generally, you can raise more questions for yourself than you can answer in a writing session, creating the fuel for future sessions. But once behind, that can jam up - stuck in "writer's block" where you haven't raised enough interesting questions for creative mind to answer, or not thought through the answers enough when you get to the point of writing the outcome of a confrontation.

When I'm behind on Nano, I have to drop my normal "read and eat" strategy in favor of "crack open the laptop at every available opportunity". And I won't limit myself to "write and eat" during meals and "laptop in the coffeehouse" sessions: at the very end of the day I'll set up the laptop in the kitchen , sitting down to bang out the day's wordcount before I let myself crash for the night, where both I and the laptop recharge.

"Autistic inertia" is the way many autistic people describe their inability to start or stop tasks, and some feel it is one of the most disabling aspects of autism. I don't have a formal diagnosis of autism, but informal tests put me on the spectrum - and being aware of your own neurodivergence and the experiences that other people have with the same neurodivergence can help you find strategies that work for you to cope.

For me, I can work on tasks for hours and hours on end - but if I don't have a long enough block to do a task, I tend not to start a task. Now that I understand that I may be struggling with autistic inertia, that helps me understand what may be going on. The feeling that I won't be able to get anything done if I don't have time to get everything done is just that, a feeling. In reality, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step towards it ... and the journey towards 50,000 words in a month begins with one word on the page.

-the Centaur

Pictured: Normally, there should be an open book or sketchbook next to those delicious fish tacos.

DON'T FORGET: Please sign up for our Kickstarter at - my understanding is that the more people who sign up to be notified when it goes live, the better the campaign will go on launch day! And if you're in the Bay Area, please come see me at Clockwork Alchemy where I'm the Author GOH!

[drawing every day 2024 post one oh three]: the neurodiversiverse kickstarter cards

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So, no drawing-drawing today, as we needed to complete the Kickstarter for The Neurodiversiverse, which goes live early next week - and we (and by we, I mean I) had to ALSO complete the graphics for the book cards we will be handing out at the Clockwork Alchemy and Con Carolinas conventions. Have a look!

While Photoshoppery isn't the artistic skill I wanted to refine when I started Drawing Every Day, it is a skill that also needs to be perfected. I had to generate a LOT of graphics by today so we could submit the Kickstarter, and then these two cards - by TONIGHT, to get the order into Moo in time.

But, we did it! Hopefully the cards will arrive in time. Cross your fingers!

Drawing (or Photoshopping) every day.

-the Centaur

Pictured: Front and back of the Kickstarter cards, based on a draft of our cover, itself based on art from Barbara Candiotti, one of the contributors to The Neurodiversiverse. More information on The Neurodiversiverse Kickstarter will come shortly before it goes live next week.

[twenty twenty-four day forty-three]: neurodivergence by the numbers

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So! While working on The Neurodiversiverse I've been reading up a lot on neurodiversity. According to Devon Price's Unmasking Autism, autism is massively undiagnosed, and for good---well, understandable---reasons. From parents concerned about their uncommunicative children or fans of cold geniuses on Sherlock and the Big Bang Theory, our culture focuses a lot on certain stereotypes of autism---while ignoring a much larger group of people who suffer from the same underlying conditions in their brains, but who are able to "mask" their behavior to appear much more "high functioning" or even "neurotypical".

As you might imagine, spending your whole day trying to react in ways that are fundamentally unnatural to you---and trying to hide the ways that you react that are natural to you---can stress people the fuck out. But many people never get a diagnosis---either because they're from a disadvantaged group, or because they don't want to risk the stigma and potential negative consequences of a diagnosis, or because they mask too well and no-on notices how they are suffering. But if you don't understand your condition, you may employ coping strategies which may actually do more long-term harm than good.

Well, now there are a lot of online tests and self-help books and even sympathetic therapists who can help people understand themselves better. While I've always known I was a bit strange---mostly solitary, typically withdrawn at family gatherings when I was a child, or explicitly labeled as having a weird brain---I've never pursued a diagnosis of any kind---in the past, because I didn't feel I had any trouble coping to the point that I needed help, and in the present, because having a disability label attached to you can have negative social and legal consequences that I have no interest in dealing with.

BUT! The personal stories of Unmasking Autism resonated a lot with me, and I now have friends who have gone through formal adult diagnoses of autism and ADHD, as well as an undiagnosed autistic friend who clearly is autistic and has to manage her life the way a masking autistic person does, but who did not pursue a diagnosis for precisely the same reasons that many other masking autistics do not pursue it: unless your condition is very severe, it isn't clear that a formal diagnosis can actually get you help, and it can often get you a lot of hurt. But UNDERSTANDING it, that, that we can now do.

So! And I note I again use "So!" at the start of a paragraph. Is that a verbal tic? Who cares? SO ANYWAY ...

Diagnoses of autism, and other neurodivergences! The neurodivergence I identify most with is Social Anxiety Disorder---in fact, this is the neurodivergence I chose for the protagonist of "Shadows of Titanium Rain", my own submission to The Neuroversiverse. But other people have suggested I have characteristics of OCD, or ADHD, or Autism, and I even went into therapy for stress and anxiety during the pandemic. So I decided to take five online tests: Social Anxiety Disorder, Autism, Anxiety, ADHD, and OCD.

The results are at the top of the blog---and I already gave away the game through the order I listed them. Normalizing all the scores from zero to a hundred, most of the tests put the boundary of "you've got the thing" at somewhere around 60-70% of the possible points you could score - let's call it at 2/3, or 66%, shall we? OCD scored the lowest - roughly 53%, which the test judged as "you've got OCD tendencies, but not OCD." ADHD was a little higher, 60%, and general Anxiety still higher, 63%. But none of these were over the "you've got it" thresholds for these tests---they just indicated a general tendency in that direction.

Things start to change with Autism: my test results for "Adult Autism" (*cough* MISNOMER) were 70%, well within the boundary of "you've very probably got it". Some of my friends are quite surprised to hear this, as they didn't see this in me at all; I guess my condition is "mild" and/or I mask very well.

But Social Anxiety Disorder? 86%, off the charts. And this wasn't a surprise: not only do I have a huge raft of coping mechanisms to help me deal with social situations, I also have some of the more subtle symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder that you might not expect would be symptoms. For example, in certain socially awkward situations, I can partially stumble while walking. Most people, even those close to me, never notice that my foot briefly drags when we're walking and something socially awkward occurs - yet balance and coordination issues are a symptom of social anxiety.

Again, I've not pursued a formal diagnosis, and I don't plan to. But understanding these things about myself helps me understand why I've built a mass of coping mechanisms and masking strategies in my life---and can help me start to construct a healthier way to cope with the world within which I live.

If you feel alienated by your world, perhaps that's something you could try too.

-the Centaur

[twenty twenty-four day twenty-eight]: yeah there were a few

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We got a LOT of submissions for the Neurodiversiverse. Many were actually on topic! Some, however, despite being well written, were not. And we really want this anthology to follow its theme of empowering stories of neurodivergent people encountering mentally diverse aliens, so we're focusing on that - and already have several strong stories that we know where we want to place in the story sequence.


-the Centaur