Greta Speaking in Columbus OH This Weekend — Getting an Award at the 2015 SSA Annual Conference! Plus Manteca CA; San Juan Puerto Rico; and Winnipeg Manitoba

SSA Con 2015 banner

Hi, all! I have some speaking gigs coming up soon — including at this weekend’s 2015 Secular Student Alliance Annual Conference in Columbus, OH, where I’m being given an award! I’m receiving the inaugural Ambassador Award, given to the Secular Student Alliance donor who best serves as a champion for the organization. Such an ambassador repeatedly and widely shares why the Secular Student Alliance matters and is worthy of passionate support with as many people as possible. I’m also giving a talk there on Activism Burnout: Prevention and Treatment, and I’m moderating a panel discussion on LGBT Activism Beyond Same-Sex Marriage. It’s going to be a busy weekend!

Plus I have other gigs coming up in Manteca CA; San Juan Puerto Rico; and Winnipeg Manitoba. Details are below. If you’re in or near any of these cities, I hope to see you there!

CITY: Columbus, OH (2015 SSA Annual Conference)
DATES: July 10-12, 2015
EVENT: 2015 SSA Annual Conference
TOPIC: Activism Burnout: Prevention and Treatment
SUMMARY: One of the most important keys to the success of the atheist movement is keeping activists engaged for the long haul. But the most inspired and motivated activists are often the ones most likely to eventually burn out. What are some practical strategies for preventing burnout — and for managing it when it happens? And how can activists support each other in not burning out?
LOCATION: The Ohio State University, Ohio Union, 1739 N. High Street, Columbus, OH
HOST: Secular Student Alliance
COST: $49 and up; group discounts available
EVENT URL: secularstudents.org/2015con [Read more…]

The “Coming Out Atheist” Donation Recipient for May-June 2015: The CFI Student Leadership Conference!

Coming Out Atheist coverAs some of you may already know, I’ve pledged to donate 10% of my income from my new book, Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why, to atheist organizations, charities, and projects.

Here’s why. I got lots of help with this book, and working on it felt very much like a collaboration, a community effort. (To some extent that’s true with any book, but it was even more true with this one.) Because coming out is really different for different atheists, it was hugely important to get detailed feedback on the book, so my personal perspective wasn’t completely skewing my depiction of other people’s experiences. So I asked lots of friends and colleagues to give me detailed feedback on the book: either on the book as a whole, or on particular chapters about atheists with very different experiences from mine (such as the chapters on parents, students, clergy, people in the U.S. military, and people in theocracies). Many people were very generous with their time helping out: they put a whole lot of time and work and thought into a project that wasn’t theirs, because they thought it would benefit the community. And, of course, I had the help of the hundreds of people who wrote in with their coming-out story, or who told their coming-out story in one of the books or websites I cited, or who just told me your coming-out story in person.

I want to give some of that back. So I’m donating 10% of my income from this book to atheist organizations, charities, and projects: a different one each month. Each month, one of the people who helped with the book gets to pick the recipient. (For complicated and boring reasons, this donation is consolidating the donations for both May and June.)

The recipient for May-June 2015, chosen by Debbie Goddard, is the Center for Inquiry Leadership Conference.

cfi student leadership conference banner

Since 1996, the Center for Inquiry’s campus outreach initiative has brought together student organizers and activists to train them in outreach, advocacy, activism, and leadership. Now, the conference has expanded to include both campus and community leaders.

The CFI Leadership Conference is designed around three main objectives. First, they give student and local group leaders the tools and skills they need to make an impact in their communities. Second, they create an atmosphere where new and experienced leaders can network and establish important connections to other grassroots leaders in the movement. Finally, they hope to inspire and energize the attendees and empower them to make real change in the world.

The Center for Inquiry is a 501(c) nonprofit, and donations to them are tax-deductible. If you want to support the Leadership Conference too, here’s their donation page!



Coming Out Atheist Bendingwhy are you atheists so angryGreta Christina’s books, Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why and Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, are available in print, ebook, and audiobook. Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More is available in ebook and audiobook.

Greta Speaking in Richland, WA (Columbia Area) June 16! Plus Columbus OH; Manteca CA; San Juan Puerto Rico; and Winnipeg Manitoba

Hi, all! I have some speaking gigs coming up in Richland WA (Columbia area); Columbus OH; Manteca CA; San Juan Puerto Rico; and Winnipeg Manitoba. If you’re in or near any of these cities, I hope to see you there!

CITY: Richland, WA
DATE: Tuesday, June 16, 2015
TIME: 6:00 pm
TOPIC: What Can the Atheist Movement Learn From the LGBT Movement?
SUMMARY: The atheist movement is already modeling itself on the LGBT movement in many ways — most obviously with its focus on coming out of the closet. What else can the atheist movement learn from the LGBT movement… both from its successes and its failures?
LOCATION: Riverfront Shilo Inn, International Ballroom, 59 Comstock, Richland, WA
HOST: Tri-CIty Freethinkers
CO-SPONSORS: Mid-Columbia Pride and the Mid-Columbia Coalition of Reason
COST: Free
EVENT URL: https://www.google.com/calendar/render?eid=YzF1NW5laTNsMWltcjQ3OHN1ZzExcWdvaHMgZnJlZXRoaW5rZXJqZW5uQG0&sf=true&output=xml#eventpage_6 [Read more…]

Greta’s Secular Students Week Blogathon! Episode 1: Thoughts About Realism in Fiction

SSA Week logo

I’m doing a mini-blogathon today for Secular Students Week!

This week is Secular Students Week, when people around the Internet are celebrating the fantastic work the Secular Student Alliance is doing to empower students. Their goal is to get 500 donations now through June 17th: if they do, they’ll receive a $20,000 challenge grant! Help them keep up their amazing work by giving this week. A gift of $5, $10, or $20 will go a long way towards helping them reach this goal and empower secular students: please give today!

In today’s mini-blogathon, I’ll post a new blog post once an hour, from now (a little after 9:00 am Pacific time) until 5:00 pm Pacific time. In addition, for every donation that’s made today via my blogathon, I’ll post a new cat photo!

This hour’s blogathon post: Thoughts About Realism in Fiction. I’m writing a novel, an erotic fiction novel, and I’m encountering an interesting conundrum. I want my novel to be realistic: I’m setting it in the real world, in real places, with real historical developments (the novel is set in the not-too-distant past, starting in 1970 and ending more or less now). I’m doing a lot of research to make the novel as realistic as possible: finding out how long it takes to get a graduate degree in library science, looking up which states had same-sex marriage when, digging up old editions of Our Bodies, Our Selves, that sort of thing.

But there’s a limiting factor here — and that’s the fact that the book is fiction, and is therefore, by definition, counter-factual. If I have a character work in a library at the University of Iowa (something I’m still deciding on, by the way) — well, there were a limited number of people working in the libraries at the University of Iowa, and my character wasn’t one of them. The very fact that I’m writing fiction set in the past means that I’m warping history, even if very gently.

So I’m having to decide: How much warping of history am I willing to do? Does it matter whether there really was a U-Haul office in Northampton, Massachusetts in 1989? Does it matter when the University of Michigan got a queer studies department, or indeed whether they have one at all? As long as these things are reasonably plausible, do they have to be true? What would it even mean for something to be plausible, but not true?

Would welcome thoughts on this.

Once again — please support the Secular Student Alliance! Help them get their challenge grant of $20,000 by reaching their goal of 500 donations now through June 17th. Even small donations help. Please support them today!


Comforting Thoughts book cover oblong 100 JPGComing Out Atheist Bendingwhy are you atheists so angryGreta Christina is author of four books: Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God, Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why, Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, and Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More.

“Highly Recommended for Everyone”: Amazon Customer Review of “Why Are You Atheists So Angry?”

I’ve gotten some nice Amazon customer reviews for Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, and I thought I’d repost some of them. Here’s a good one, five stars out of five. (As of this writing, the book has 156 customer reviews, with an average rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars.) Here’s what David J. Couture “Stunned And Amazed – Dazed … had to say:

Highly Recommended for Everyone

If you’re looking for just a capsule review, here it is. I unequivocally recommend this book to everyone: believer, non-believer, questioner, or otherwise!

Ms. Christina presents her arguments carefully and logically in a very straightforward manner. She explains her positions so well, that I continually found myself thinking, “Yes! Exactly!” I felt like she was expressing ideas that I’ve had, and doing so exactly as I would LIKE to if I only had the eloquence and reasoning ability. If you are a believer in God, and are open to having a dialogue about your ideas and beliefs in a calm and eminently reasonable manner, you’ve found the right book!

To close out this brief review and give you a taste of what is in the book, here is her comment on the “6 Blind Men and an Elephant” story […]that progressive/moderate believers use to describe their idea that all believers believe in essentially the same thing and just differ in their interpretations. “Why do the six blind men just give up? Why don’t they compare notes and trade places and carefully examine the elephant to find out what it is? You know – the way we do in science.”

Excellent book – highly recommended.

Thanks, David! And if any of you have read Why Are You Atheists So Angry?, it’d be awesome if you’d post a review.

***

Here, by the way, is ordering info for the book in all three formats — print, ebook, and audiobook!

Why Are You Atheists So AngryEbook editions:
The Kindle edition is available at Amazon.
The Nook edition is available at Barnes & Noble.
Smashwords has the book in multiple formats, including iBooks, Sony Reader, Kobo, Kindle (.mobi), Stanza, Aldiko, Adobe Digital Editions, any other reader that takes the Epub format, Palm Doc (PDB), PDF, RTF, Online Reading via HTML, and Plain Text for either downloading or viewing.
All ebook editions and formats cost just $7.99.

Print edition:
The print edition is available at Powell’s Books.
The print edition is also available at Amazon. However, be advised (if you haven’t been already) that seriously abusive labor practices have been reported at Amazon warehouses. Please bear that in mind when you’re deciding where to buy my book — or indeed, where to buy anything. (For the record: Powell’s employees are unionized.) Again, that’s the link for Amazon US — it’s available in other regions as well.
The print edition is available at Last Gasp.
The print edition is $14.95 USD. It is published by Pitchstone Publishing.

Wholesale sales of the print edition:
Bookstores and other retailers can get the book from Ingram, Baker & Taylor, and other standard wholesale distributors. It can also be purchased directly from the publisher, Pitchstone Publishing.

Audiobook edition:
The audiobook version is available at Audible.
The audiobook version is available on iTunes.
The audiobook version is available on Amazon.
And yes, I did the recording for it!


Comforting Thoughts book cover oblong 100 JPGComing Out Atheist Bendingwhy are you atheists so angryGreta Christina is author of four books: Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God, Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why, Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, and Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More.

“Very helpful to me as a level 4 cancer human”: Amazon Customer Review of “Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God”

Got a really nice customer review on Amazon of Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God. Four stars out of five. (In fact, the book now has 22 Amazon customer reviews, and 19 are either four or five stars.) Here’s what Marv Worthen had to say:

Good focus on a very basic issue

Good focus on a very basic issue, with real examples of how religion prone people insist on getting their faith ideas into a death service. Very helpful to me as a level 4 cancer human.

This particular one has really touched me, for reasons that I think are probably obvious. Thanks, Marv. And if any of you have read Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God, it’d be awesome if you’d post a review.

Comforting Thoughts book cover oblong 200 JPGThe Kindle ebook edition is available on Amazon (that’s the link for Amazon US, btw — it’s available in other regions as well); the Nook edition is available at Barnes & Noble; and the Smashwords edition is available on Smashwords. All ebook editions are $2.99. You can get the audiobook on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. The audiobook is $2.99 (discounted slightly on Amazon, of course). (The print edition is scheduled for the fall.)

Here’s the description of the book, and some wonderfully flattering blurbs: [Read more…]

Happy Blogday To Me! Greta’s 10th Blogiversary

cake with ten candlesHappy blogday to me
Happy blogday to me
Happy blogday, dear Greta
Happy blogday to me!

As of today, I have been blogging for ten years. (Technically it was ten years ago yesterday, but my very first blog post on May 30, 2005 basically just said “I have a blog!”, so I’m not counting that.) My first real blog post was posted on May 31, 2005. It was… well, okay, this makes me a little sad now, what with everything that’s happened in organized atheism in the last ten years including Richard Dawkins revealing himself to be a giant douchebag, but my first real post was a brief review of Richard Dawkins’ book, “Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder.”

For a trip down memory lane, here are a few posts from my first year of blogging that I’m particularly proud of and that I think still stand up today:

Reading diary, 7/11/05: Existentialism and Human Emotions (note: if I were writing this today, I wouldn’t be as hard on modern philosophy as I am here, I’d be more precise in my criticism)
How to get married (although I really didn’t know how to do pics in my first few months!)
JT LeRoy and Hoaxes
Porn and Musicals: An Analogy
On the Rhythms of Writing and Fucking Off
Art diary, 4/18/06: LACMA, MOCA, and Why All Art Would Be Improved by Snarling Bears

Here’s to the next ten years!


Comforting Thoughts book cover oblong 100 JPGComing Out Atheist Bendingwhy are you atheists so angryGreta Christina is author of four books: Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God, Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why, Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, and Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More.

“Great ideas for living life in the face of our mortality”: Amazon Customer Review of “Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God”

Got a really nice customer review on Amazon of Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God. Five stars out of five. (In fact, the book now has 21 Amazon customer reviews, and 18 are either four or five stars.) Here’s what O. Blacklock had to say:

Great ideas for living life in the face of our mortality

Good nonreligious way of coping with our inevitable death.

Thanks, O. Blacklock! And if any of you have read Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God, it’d be awesome if you’d post a review.

Comforting Thoughts book cover oblong 200 JPGThe Kindle ebook edition is available on Amazon (that’s the link for Amazon US, btw — it’s available in other regions as well); the Nook edition is available at Barnes & Noble; and the Smashwords edition is available on Smashwords. All ebook editions are $2.99. You can get the audiobook on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. The audiobook is $2.99 (discounted slightly on Amazon, of course). (The print edition is scheduled for the fall.)

Here’s the description of the book, and some wonderfully flattering blurbs: [Read more…]

“For anyone interested in exploring sexual psychology and the human condition”: Amazon Review of “Bending”

I’ve gotten some nice Amazon customer reviews for my book Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More — now out in print, as well as ebook and audiobook! Here’s a good one, five stars out of five. (As of this writing, the book has ten customer reviews, and nine are 5-star reviews, with one 4-star.) Here’s what Alysa H. had to say:

A wonderfully kinky intellectual exercise

Reading this book was, for me, less about reading erotica and more of an amazing intellectual exercise. That is, I enjoyed these stories as pieces of writing but only occasionally as erotic. And this has naught to do with the author’s abilities to convey desire, eroticism, etc. I mean, I’m giving this book 5 Stars, see?! I’ve got a “Your Kinks Are Not My Kinks, And That’s OK” mentality, and the author’s (sometimes repetitive) kinks as on display here may or not overlap with yours or mine, even in cases where the differences are in the minutiae — which can be pretty darn important when it comes to kink! — but no matter what your kinks, this book is for anyone interested in exploring sexual psychology and the human condition.

Thanks, Alysa! And if any of you have read Bending, it’d be awesome if you’d post a review.

***

Here, by the way, is ordering info for the book! [Read more…]

A Few Quick Notes About Blocking, Muting, Unfriending, and Banning

I’ve said things like this many times in different venues, but I’ve never put it together here in a single place I can link to — so I’m doing that now.

Ahem.

If you don’t respect my basic right to moderate my own online spaces — don’t bother to comment in any of them.

If you think I’m obligated to listen to anyone say whatever they want, for as long as they want to talk to me — don’t bother to comment.

If you think free speech means people have the right to force me to listen to whatever they want to say, whenever they want, for as long as they want, in whatever space they want, in as ugly a manner as they want, and that I’m obligated to listen, forever — don’t bother to comment.

If you think blocking, muting, unfriending, or banning people in my online spaces means I hate free speech, am not interested in constructive dialog, and am only interested in listening to an echo chamber — don’t bother to comment.

I love arguing. I’ve been arguing online for years, and I’ve been following other people’s online arguments for years. And I know when arguments are going nowhere — and I know the arguments that signal, “I’m not actually listening to you or thinking about what you’re saying.” My time on Earth is limited, and you do not have a right to that time. I will decide for myself who I do and don’t want to engage with. I will decide for myself which conversations are worth my time, and which ones are not.

And this trope of “You are a terrible person if you block or ban or mute people” is one of the most common forms of Internet harassment — especially for women. It’s extra insidious because, to people who aren’t clued in to the reality of being a feminist woman on the Internet, it can sound very reasonable. The mere fact of having boundaries, the mere fact of making decisions about who we are and aren’t willing to engage with, gets us framed as close-minded, non-skeptical, censorious, fascist bitches. When it’s aimed at women, this “How dare you block or ban or mute!” trope basically means, “You have no right to have boundaries. It is your job to listen, patiently and politely, for as long as people want to talk. Men have the floor, and women are the audience. You are a woman, and that means you’re a public commodity, and you have to give access to yourself to anyone who wants it. Quit whining, and engage with every asshole who wants to engage with you.”

Don’t do that. If you want to engage with me, understand that I have the right to leave that engagement at any time. If you want to engage with me in my space, understand that I am not obligated to give that space to you. You have that right, too. You can opt out of conversations with me at any time. You can stop following me on Twitter or Facebook; you can stop reading my blog; you can block me or mute me or unfriend me or unfollow me. And of course, you have the right to say what you want in your own spaces. But if you can’t accept that I have a right to walk away from conversations, don’t start a conversation with me. Thanks.


Comforting Thoughts book cover oblong 100 JPGComing Out Atheist Bendingwhy are you atheists so angryGreta Christina is author of four books: Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God, Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why, Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, and Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More.