On May 23, the Boy Scouts of America voted to end their policy excluding gay youth from the organization, a decision which officially takes effect on January 1, 2014. They did not vote on their policy excluding gay adults from accepting leadership positions, nor did they change their policies on atheist and transgender individuals.
The Boy Scouts were an important part of my life growing up. I eventually quit the organization in part due to their bigotry and discrimination. When my son was six and wanted to join Cub Scouts, my wife and I were torn. We eventually let him join, and at the end of the year, we had a long talk about scouts and what it was about, the positives and the negatives, and our own conflicts. The three of us decided together not to sign back up.
I’ve already watched one of my Facebook friends quit the organization in protest, complaining about how a “vocal minority” had “bullied” a private organization into this decision. She also explained that she’s sick and tired of people accusing her of bigotry, and that she doesn’t care about sexual orientation; her concern is for the boys. She wrote a long post about the Scout Law, talking about how openly gay youth violated the ideals of that law.
This person is so concerned about the safety of the boys. Which makes me wonder, would she support allowing lesbians to serve as den leaders? Because right now, that’s forbidden by the BSA’s discriminatory policies. My mother, a straight woman, was a den leader for many years. If the “logic” of excluding gay men is because they could be potential predators (as a result of being attracted to men), how is that any different from straight women, who are also attracted to men?
Unless you’re buying into the bullshit belief that gay=pedophile/rapist, in which case you are not only a bigot, but an idiot.
She went on to talk about her fear that the boys might go off alone, and who knows what might happen? What if an older gay scout pressures a younger one into something he doesn’t want? Once again it’s not consensual sexual activity she’s afraid of; it’s the “gays as predators” boogeyman.
The Girl Scouts of America have been open and welcoming of all girls, regardless of sexual orientation. Oddly enough, I’m having a really hard time finding stories about the rampant same-sex assaults that presumably permeate the organization as a result of their decision. Weird…
According to the Scout Law, a scout is:
- Trustworthy – I would love to trust this organization with my child. That means trusting them to welcome and accept him as he grows up, trusting them to help him become a better person. A policy of discrimination and bigotry is a violation of that trust.
- Loyal – Many boys have no concept of sexual identity when they first join Tiger Scouts. As they grow older and continue in scouting, some of those boys will discover that they are not, in fact, heterosexual. Should the BSA show loyalty to their own members, or should they kick them to the curb?
- Helpful – Yet when gay and lesbian adults offer their help, scouting rejects them. In my personal experience, scouting was tremendously helpful to me in many ways. Why would the organization want to refuse that help to certain boys?
- Friendly – What’s so friendly about rejection and discrimination, about teaching kids that it’s okay to exclude “those people”?
- Courteous – How is it courteous to tell someone they’re not welcome here, simply because of who he or she loves?
- Kind – See “Friendly.”
- Obedient – I’ll admit, this is one I’ve struggled with over the years. There are times for obedience, and there are times for disobedience. To me, it’s important to obey one’s conscience, as hundreds of Eagle Scouts have done when they returned their medals in protest of the organization’s discriminatory policies. One could argue that the youth and leaders trying to ban homosexuals from scouting are following their consciences, and that’s probably true. It’s also sad and depressing as hell.
- Cheerful – I mean, come on. Gay means cheerful and happy and merry, for crying out loud
- Thrifty – Um … okay, I got nothing for this one. Except maybe that an organization looking for a stable and solid budget, one which relies in part on donations and popcorn sales, shouldn’t enact a broad policy of exclusion?
- Brave – People keep talking about how the vocal minority bullied the BSA into this decision. I think this is a ridiculous abuse of the word “bully,” but setting that aside, it takes tremendous courage to be in the minority and to speak up for what’s right.
- Clean – If you buy into stereotypes about homosexuals, doesn’t that include the one about gays being exceptionally clean and hygienic and well-dressed? After living through those week-long summer camps, the BSA could use an influx of gay men and boys! (Note: I don’t actually believe this, but for those who discriminate based on stereotypes, shouldn’t this be a point in favor of admitting gay youths and leaders?)
- Reverent – This ties into the BSA’s discrimination against atheists, but in terms of homosexuality, do you want to hear something shocking? Not all religions condemn homosexuality! For some devotedly religious individuals, duty to God means loving and welcoming all people.
This continues to be frustrating and painful to me. Boy Scouts did so much for me as a kid, and I believe they do a lot of good. And this week’s decision was a good first step. But it’s only one step. The organization still has work to do if it means to live up to its own stated ideals.
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.
- Fri, 17:39: RT @boxleitnerbruce: 1st day on set. This is the view from my trailer. #DeepCove #CedarCove @hallmarkchannel @cedarcovetv (PHOTO) http://t.…
- Fri, 18:19: A close-up view of the flower that several have called Canna, but others have disputed. Hope this helps. Gorgeous! http://t.co/wKIf96Vu2l
Author Kristin Kathryn Rusch writes about a major change in book distribution and what it potentially means for writers.
It’s a really long article. It’s really worth reading. The *exceedingly* short take-away of it is that you may soon be seeing copies of NO DOMINION on bookstore shelves near you…
(x-posted from The Essential Kit)
We watched an ENTIRE SEASON of TV this week! Because it was 2nd season Sherlock, which is only 3 episodes. :)
The very end of The Reichenbach Fall, although I’d seen it quoted roughly a million times already, was still very effective. In fact, the whole episode was. Somehow I spent at least half of it with my knees pulled up and my hands over my mouth, despite obviously knowing how it was going to end.
I will never be able to watch Cumberbatch as Sherlock again without thinking “Oh, you with the cheekbones and the collar!” Which isn’t the line (nor is it from The Reichenbach Fall, but nevermind that), but it’s the gist of it anyway and it’s giggle-worthy true.
It was about halfway through A Scandal in Belgravia that I finally became converted to the idea of Benedict Cumberbatch as utterly swoonable. Perhaps I’d hit the saturation threshhold necessary, after Into Darkness immediately followed by A Scandal in Belgravia, but the Moment Itself was when Sherlock returns home to discover that the [redacted] has [redacted] poor [redacted]. The transition from curiosity to deduction to utter rage all without discernable change of expression was O.M.G. *ded*
(I really can’t suss Sherlock. I can’t decide if he’s really the high-functioning sociopath he claims to be, or if actually he feels things so deeply he uses his intellect to belittle everything in order to protect himself. Presumably the latter, but of course, part of the charm of the character is that nobody can tell which it is.)
All of which leads me directly into remembering Laura Anne saying, “Cumberbatch stole every scene he was in, in Star Trek, which makes you appreciate just how good Martin Freeman is, that he doesn’t let Cumberbatch do that in Sherlock.” Yes yes yes. It’s so much less flashy a role, but she’s so right. And he just tore me apart in The Reichenbach Fall. Waugh!
I’m now hopping for series 3. :)
(p.s. hm. how do i have no sherlock icons? *fixes that*)
(x-posted from The Essential Kit)
I’m heading down to New York in a few weeks to meet up with my editors, and I’d love to see some of the NYC area bloggers and other bookish folks while I’m there. It’s too short notice to arrange an official event, but I thought maybe we could all get together at a casual eating/drinking spot and just hang out? I will still bring swag, and will be happy to sign books of mine if you bring them along.
I’m free in the evening of Thursday June 13th. NYC book folks, let me know if you want to join me (and if you have any suggestions for good locations)!
Originally published at another world, not quite ours - Megan Crewe's blog. You can comment here or there.
Benny Checks In
Benny gripped the stolen handbag and got in the queue. He’d got the itch, got it bad. He couldn’t bear it. He went back down the alley.
It wasn’t fair. He’d sweated for that bag, he’d done the legwork, he’d taken the risks. It was his bag.
Swap it for a measly wrap? He had a better idea. He’d sell the plastic, the phone. A bag like that had to be worth something. He’d work hard, get clean…
That itch, cockroaches in his belly. He had it bad. Shaking and shuffling, Benny got back in the queue.
~Audio narration of this story is available here.
I’m sure it’d be faster to take a picture, but here’s the to-be-read shelf:
Michael Carroll: THE ASCENSION, SUPER HUMAN
Neil Gaiman: THE GRAVEYARD BOOK
Sarah Rees Brennan: UNSPOKEN
Cassandra Clare: CIY OF BONES, CITY OF ASHES, CITY OF GLASS
CS Friedman: LEGACY OF KING
Nick Harkaway: ANGELMAKER
Gene Kemp: THE TURBULENT TERM OF TYKE TILER
Sheridan Le Fanu: IN A GLASS DARKLY
Ian Whates: CITY OF DREAMS AND NIGHTMARES
Pamela C Dean: THE SECRET COUNTRY
MC Beaton: DEATH OF A CAD
Faith Hunter: RAVEN CURSED, DEATH’S RIVAL
Lynn Fwelling: THE BONE DOLL’S TWIN, HIDDEN WARRIOR, THE ORACLE’S QUEEN
Ben Macallan: DESDAEMONA
Catie Murphy: STONEMASTER
Keri Sperring: THE GRASS KING’S CONCUBINE
Alan Steele: SPINDRIFT
Jane Yolen & Midori Snyder: EXCEPT THE QUEEN
Philip Jose Farmer: PEARLS FROM PEORIA
Paul Cornell: LONDON FALLING
Saladin Ahmed: THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON
Juliet E McKenna: BLOOD IN THE WATER, BANNERS IN THE WIND
Adrian Tchaikovsky: EMPIRE IN BLACK AND GOLD
Anne Lyle: THE ALCHEMIST OF SOULS
Emma Newman: BETWEEN TWO THORNS
Walter Jon Williams: THIS IS NOT A GAME
Mike Shevdon: STRANGENESS & CHARM
Michael Colby: SEEDS OF EARTH
and an assortment of non-fiction i’m not man enough to add. and a bunch of stuff on the e-reader, too, of course. all the crowdfunded stuff of the past year or two! waugh! someday! :)
I’m currently reading (heh, on my e-reader) KHAN OF MARS, a SPIRIT OF THE CENTURY novel by Stephen Blackmoore. I doubt I’m man enough to turn this into a poll, either, so if you have an opinion about what I should read next you’ll have to express it the old-fashioned way, by typing it out. :)
(x-posted from The Essential Kit)
When I was in Dublin this week I was fortunate to stay with Lynda Rucker, and her housemates Liz and Charlotte. Liz has a fabulous dog called Coco who is a sweetheart. As I’ve mentioned before my dog Minnie is not one for PDAs, but Coco is a total extrovert with her affection. I couldn’t resist taking a snap of her with my mobile phone.
Minnie gave me a glad welcome when I arrived home, and a proper sniffing. I wonder if she was thinking ‘The cheek of her! Spending time with another mutt.’
I snuck into a few shops in Dublin, and spotted this incredible Lady Gaga-esque pair of shoes.
I’m already tall but I would be a giant in these. I was thinking how heavy they would be to wear, and how awkward it would be to walk in them. Imagine sitting down, crossing your legs, and… impaling your shin with the back of the boot.
Still, those shoes have attitude in abundance. My respect to those who can wear them – or afford them!
As nice as it is to visit the city it’s also wonderful to return to the woods. I think the aristocracy had the right idea – one should have a town house and a country estate. One day!
In the meantime, here’s a glorious temporary shelter that’s cropping up all over the place – only good during sunshine, alas.
Author Interview: Tim Tingle on How I Became a Ghost from The Edmond Sun. Peek: "My great-great-grandfather...was 10...when his family began the long walk (The Trail of Tears) to what is now Oklahoma. I wanted to write a book based on these family memories that a young reader would enjoy, with humor and discovery, with snow monsters and shape-shifting panthers."
Author Insight: The Write Mood from Wastepaper Prose. Peek: "Sometimes the simple act of writing becomes challenging. How do you make yourself write when you aren’t in the mood? Do you ever reward yourself at milestones?"
African Youth Literature: What Visibility in the International Market? by Mariette Robbes from PaperTigers. Peek: "While catering for their local readership, publishers in Africa also wish to be known internationally and to have business with publishers from others countries."
Seven Questions for Literary Agent Gemma Cooper from Middle Grade Ninja. Peek: "If you expect publishing to be in its own weird timezone, then you won’t be as surprised when it goes through stages of being crazy-manic and then deathly quiet. Be patient and go with it."
The Cabinet of Curiosities: short fictions for the young and mischievous. Highly recommended.
New Voices Award from Lee & Low. Peek: "...award-winning publisher of children's books, is pleased to announce the fourteenth annual New Voices Award. The Award will be given for a children's picture book manuscript by a writer of color. The Award winner receives a cash prize of $1000 and our standard publication contract, including our basic advance and royalties for a first time author. An Honor Award winner will receive a cash prize of $500."
The Core of the Verse Novel from Marion Dane Bauer. Peek: "Because experimenting with new methods and styles is the best way to stay fresh in the midst of a long career?"
Tips for Tackling BEA from Wastepaper Prose. Peek: "...we know a lot of you are headed to NYC to attend. We've thought back on past experience and each of us has come up with some last minute tips that could help if you prepare and have an enjoyable show."
Diversity on the Page, Behind the Pencil and in the Office by Judith Rosen from Publishers Weekly. Peek: "In doing research for books, he (illustrator London Ladd) recommended that creators develop a relationship with others so that they can understand them better. 'It would enhance your work,' he said."
Kidlit Cares for Oklahoma from Kate Messner. Peek: "...because Oklahoma needs help right now, given the magnitude of damage from this week’s EF5 tornado. Please consider making a donation to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Effort now. If you donate at least $10, I’ll enter you in a drawing to win a signed book."
Parragon Publishing India Unpacks High School Horror Fantasies from All About Book Publishing. Peek: "Parragon is one of the largest visual book publishers operating out of 35 countries worldwide. The company has tied up with the best printing facilities in the world and its books are printed in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Europe, USA and other locations."
Pack(ag)ing It Up from Gwenda Bond. Peek: "No one I know who's done this kind of work has any illusions about the downsides going into it. Though I have heard horror stories about people it has worked out pretty awfully for or who were made to expect things that didn't materialize. But I will also say that not everything I've heard is a horror story."
Interview with Award-winning Author Don Tate by Brittney Breakey from Author Turf. Peek: "Speaking earns decent income and allows for promoting my books. But it also steals valuable time away from book making."
Is Our Culture Becoming Too Critical and Open? from Jody Hedlund. Peek: "...we're seeing an increase in readers sharing their thoughts about books more publicly (instead of privately or in the confines of book groups). And hence with the increased openness, we're also seeing more negativity (as well as positivity)." See also an Open Love Note to Debut Authors about Hurtful Online Reviews.
Turning Story Opening Don'ts Into Dos by Angela Ackerman from The Bookshelf Muse. Peek: "If you want to start with action, you’re probably a plot type person. Go ahead! You do need to show your main character in an interesting situation (notice I didn’t say dangerous, just interesting) where their own personality shines through."
Deepening Character: a Conversation with Cliff McNish from Notes from the Slushpile. Peek: "We’re prepared to forgive even villains a great deal if they make us laugh. It works doubly so for our heroes. Keep them seeing the amusing side no matter what happens."
Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Awards
By Lena Coakley
The 2013 winners for the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards were announced on Thursday at North Kipling Junior Middle School in Etobicoke, Ontario, where students gathered for a celebratory presentation.
Winner of the Children's Picture Book Award Category: A Hen for Izzy Pippik by Aubrey Davis, illustrated by Marie Lafrance (Kids Can Press).
Winner of the Young Adult / Middle Reader Award Category: The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen by Susin Nielsen (Tundra Books).
Aubrey Davis, Marie Lafrance and Susin Nielsen are all first-time winners of this award.
The winner of Ball by Mary Sullivan was Joy in Manitoba, and the winner of Nothing But Blue, Me, Penelope and Country Girl, City Girl, all by Lisa Jahn-Clough was Deena in New York.
This Week at Cynsations
- Eric A. Kimmel on Marketing Manuscripts to Publishers
- New Voice Polly Holyoke on The Neptune Project
- Event Report: Lindsey Scheibe & Riptide
- Event Report: Joy Preble & The Sweet Dead Life
- New Voice Laurie Boyle Crompton on Blaze (or Love in the Time of Supervillains)
This has been one of my favorite work weeks ever!
I had an opportunity to review copy-edits on Feral Curse (Book 2 in the Feral series) from Candlewick Press and Walker Books (writer in action). And I had the opportunity to celebrate Austin debut YA author Lindsey Schiebe (reader in action) and connect in person with two amazing groups of teens and the librarians who lead them to reading success (author in action)!
|Members of the Wolves Cedar Park High School Reading Group arrive in style at the Barnes & Noble Arboretum in Austin.|
|Reviewing the set-up with librarian Chris Kay (see her photo report on the event!)|
|Chatting with Cedar Park readers about reading and writing|
|Answering questions about the writing life|
|Wow! I was presented with a gorgeous plaque! What a thrill!|
|Posing with the top readers at Cedar Park High.|
|Dinner with blogger JennRenee, Greg Leitich Smith and public librarian Jane Dance at Louisiana Longhorn Cafe (we had fried and grilled alligator as an appetizer) in historic downtown Round Rock.|
|Chatting with the Round Rock Public Library Teen Book Club|
|Posing with the Round Rock Public Library Teen Book Club.|
|Bethany Hegedus, me, Jo Whittemore, Nikki Loftin & Cory Putnam Oakes at Lindsey Scheibe's launch for Riptide!|
Cynthia Leitich Smith on Writing for the Long Haul from Janni Lee Simner from Desert Dispatches. Peek: "I have a respectful patience for the inner artist but always hold her accountable." Learn more about Janni's Writing for the Long Haul blog series.
Congratulations to Greg Leitich Smith on the upcoming re-release of the Peshtigo School books (Ninjas, Piranhas and Galileo & Tofu and T. Rex (originally published by Little, Brown) from IntoPrint Publishing, LLC! See more information.
Congratulations to Lindsey Lane on the sale of "Particles" to FSG! From Publishers Marketplace: "exploring themes of loneliness and interconnectedness from multiple viewpoints, set in or around a remote pull-out on a rural Texas highway where a particle-physics-obsessed teenage science genius disappeared..."
- The Ultimate Spaceship Face-off
- Tracing the Career of Judy Blume
- Time Management: Seeking Discipline
- David Lubar: First Public Stand-up Comedy Performance (PG)
- First Native American Actress to Walk Cannes Red Carpet
- What Parenting Books Can Teach Us About Critiquing
Join Cynthia Leitich Smith, Tracy Wolff, Mari Mancusi, and Emily McKay at 1 p.m. May 25 at Cedar Park Public Library in Cedar Park, Texas.
I’ve never been one for big cities. In some ways, I think of it as an extension of my introversion. Big cities = too many people, too much going on, and I get twitchy just thinking about it.
But I’ve watched my fellow authors do the occasional New York trip to visit with editors and agents, and it’s been strongly advised by a number of folks that I do the same, especially with the relative success of Libriomancer.
So when I received an invitation to moderate the Adult Book Bloggers Panel at Book Expo of America in New York, I was happy to say yes. I’m even happier now that I’ve been chatting with my panelists, including Sarah from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books — the woman responsible for making me do this — along with Mandi from Smexy Books and Rebecca from The Book Lady’s Blog.
My BEA schedule, excluding meetings and such, looks like so:
- 5/29, 11:15 a.m. – 12:05 p.m. — Book Blogging Panel.
- 5/31, 3:30 p.m. – 4 p.m. — Signing at the SFWA table.
- 6/1, 12 p.m. – 12:30 p.m. — “Meet the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America,” with myself, Jeri Smith-Ready, and Leanna Renee Hieber.
I am both excited and a bit intimidated. I’ve been to NYC once in my life, helping a friend move, and that was more than a decade ago. On the other hand, I’ll be spending time with a lot of great people, and attending an event devoted to the awesomeness of books. How can you not love that?
So blogging will be light to nonexistent next week. This will be my first time at BEA, and my second time in NYC (the first was more than a decade ago, helping a friend move, and I didn’t see that much of the city). My plan is to try to have fun, hopefully collect some books, and shamelessly gawk at everything.
Wish me luck, and if you’re going to be at BEA, then I hope to see you there!
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.
*laughs* To my delight, the artist for the Dublin Laydeez Do Comics drew the aftermath of the cookies I made:
I like how the plate says “gone!” :)
Apparently having an artist do the, er, meeting notes, is standard for the Laydeez Do around the world, which is pretty nifty.
(x-posted from The Essential Kit)
- Thu, 22:34: I love and am cool with people who love and are cool with people. Bullies reform! Everyone be nice! Come: http://t.co/5wDRjuD3qe
- Thu, 23:03: Never underestimate the power of a cute dog, or her tongue. Um. Yeah... Or the need for paper towels. http://t.co/OGTUqDeNDi
- Fri, 04:06: Sparty expresses doggy embarrassment. https://t.co/lqViPdP43T
It was pointed out to me - quite forcefully, in fact - that this was small use to anyone else, or indeed to myself if I couldn't remember it. Other people, I was reminded, post theirs in public fora, to make the information accessible to others, with the possible notion of attracting a small, y'know, audience.
So okay, then. Here is my BayCon schedule:
1. Themed Reading: Urban Fantasy on Friday at 9:00 PM in Central
(with Kyle Aisteach, Pat MacEwen, Kevin Andrew Murphy, Jaymi Elford)
Authors read from their urban fantasy works.
2. Location, Location, Location -- Setting Your Story in an SF World on Saturday at 9:00 AM in San Tomas
(with Juliette Wade, Paul Carlson, Todd McCaffrey (M), Aaron Mason)
Your character has to live somewhere, and that somewhere needs to support the story. It's embarrassing to have a great scene all written involving bikini- or Speedo-dressed people, when they all live in the first permanent settlement on the Moon, and only landed yesterday....
3. How to Tell one Dragon from another on Sunday at 11:00 AM in San Tomas
(with Audrey Kiehtreiber (M), Irene Radford, Pat MacEwen)
Not all dragons are alike. Simple mistakes in taxonomy can be dangerous to your plot line or your health. In this panel we present dragons in history, myth, and folklore from Asia to New Age.
4. Themed Reading: Fantasy on Sunday at 9:00 PM in Alameda
(with Jenna M. Pitman, Pat MacEwen, David Friedman)
Come listen to authors read from their fantasy works.
...Apparently I have two separate readings, Friday and Sunday. I shall read two separate things. Y'all should definitely come to both. A panel is only a panel, but a good piece of work is a Smoke.
Laydeez do Comics – Dublin had its first meeting last night, and it was a blast. Our guests – Sarah McIntyre, Maeve Clancy, and Alan Nolan – were fun, witty, and full of smart insights and tips about the business of comic books.
We had an attentive audience, and a good question and answer session afterwards. Dublin writer Catie Murphy brought along ginger snap cookies (recipe here), which were a big hit will all the attendees. Lynda and I were touched by Catie’s generosity and thoughtfulness.
Galwegian artist Róisín Curé travelled a long distance for the meeting, and also did the honours of documenting the event through a cartoon. She laboured away for most of the evening, and her results are beautiful.
Lynda and I were blown away by the quality of our guests’ presentations and the knowledge they shared. It was better than either of us could have hoped. It’s a long haul up the stairs to the Odessa Club rooftop bar, but it’s definitely worth the effort.
Afterwards people chatted in the room, and then in the bar. It was lovely to meet new people who are passionate about the vast potential of comic books.
The next meeting is probably going to be in September, and we’ll announce more news about that in the coming weeks.
Thanks to our guests and all who attended!
I know it’s blasphemy, but argh, there are too. many. books. in this house. Between Christmas and EasterCon, I (we, but I cop to it: *I*) had some significant Bookstores Accidents, and while this is most of the time merely inconvenient because there are never enough shelves, when I’m facing moving, all I can really wonder is why I didn’t bloody well buy digital copies of ALL THESE BOOKS.
I mean, I know why. It’s far, far more satisfying to go browse and buy physical books than it is to do the same with e-books. And the local bookstore from which I prefer to buy books doesn’t have an e-storefront, so I can’t even go browse and then order digital copies and keep the money flowing to Chapters. And I *do* bring loads of books back to the secondhand shop for credit (thus compounding the problem in one way, but nevermind that right now), but right now I have a *ton* of unread books, which obviously are not best for trading in.
I suppose all I can do is either pack them up or spend the next few weeks reading frantically. I mean, there’re what, maybe 30 books max, I could no doubt read them all–well, in a week, if I could just flop down and read without interruption, but ahahahah.
Maybe I should make a list and have people vote on the order I should read them in. Or maybe I should just START READING.
In the meantime, I really should instigate a rule of only buying one book by an author in hardcopy (because it’s easier/more fun to browse/discover that way), and if I like it, buy the rest digitally. I’m doing that with Rachel Caine’s Morganville books…
(x-posted from The Essential Kit)
I was so enchanted that I begged him to make a post, and here is the beginning.
Laurie Boyle Crompton is the first-time author of Blaze (or Love in the Time of Supervillains) (Sourcebooks, 2013) and looks forward to the release of Adrenaline (FSG/Macmillian, 2014) and The Real Prom Queens of Westfield High (Sourcebooks, 2014).
From the promotional copy of Blaze (or Love in the Time of Supervillains):
When comic-obsessed Blaze stands up to her evil ex, he posts a racy picture of her online and a battle of epic proportions ensues.
Before she knows it, Zap! Thwack! Pow! Blaze becomes the target of intense bullying.
She must learn to channel her inner-superhero if she hopes to gain the ultimate victory; rescuing herself.
Read an excerpt of Blaze.
How do you psyche yourself up to write, to keep writing, and to do the revision necessary to bring your manuscript to a competitive level? What, for you, are the special challenges in achieving this goal? What techniques have worked best and why?
As a debut author I’m in a unique (and extremely blessed!) position of having three books under contract with two different publishers so I have pressing deadlines all over the place.
It works well that I’ve always been able to convince myself that my own deadlines are ‘real’ which is probably helped by the fact that I’m a little bit gullible.
When I find motivation lagging I try to tune in to the inspiration that drove me to write the story in the first place. That initial spark is something that should continue to burn throughout the process.
I also try not to think about the book going public. When you write edgy YA, imagining your mother or grandmother reading your work can tend to stifle creativity. Of course, this game of pretending nobody will ever read the book grows harder as the process draws closer to publication day.
The writer’s worst enemy in the late stages is a little thing called perfectionism. The final read-through can be brutal since it’s the last time for making changes. It’s difficult to let go and release your book into the world, but there comes a point where you just need to decide on the word you have changed back and forth with each draft and accept the fact that you won’t be able to tinker with this story anymore. Then the best thing is to turn focus to the next project.
How did you go about connecting with your agent? What was your search process like? Who did you decide to sign with? What about that person and/or agency seemed like the best fit for you? What advice do you have for other writers in seeking the right agent for them?
I love talking about my wonderful agent! The day I signed with Ammi-Joan Paquette of the Erin Murphy Literary Agency was the day things turned around for my writing career.
Mind you, I still had a long path before getting that first publisher yes (and six months later the second one!). But I’m constantly telling writers they need the right agent, not necessarily the right now agent.
I learned this lesson the hard way. After working on my craft for a number of years I got my first offer from a reputable children’s agent and I was thrilled. Finally, here was someone who would get my book in front of editors! I was on my way! But on my way to where? It turns out I was in for three years of heartbreak and insecurity.
That agent happens to be great for some people and we split on the best of terms, but looking back it should’ve happened much sooner. I do not in any way blame that first wrong agent for those early manuscripts not selling, no agent sells every manuscript they take out on submission. But there were many signs along the way that we were not a good fit.
We parted ways. Within two months I had an offer from a new agent at an established agency on Blaze (then titled "Fangirl"). She seemed very nice and said all the right things, but I didn’t quite feel that love that I’d heard other authors talk about. I let the offering agent know that I had a few other partials out and here is the other piece of advice I try to tell any writer who will listen: in addition to contacting those agents with partials, I also wrote to all those with queries who I hadn’t heard back from, letting them know of the offer.
This actually turned into a few full requests, including one from my absolute top choice; Ammi-Joan Paquette. It turned out, she hadn’t received my original query but she was intrigued by my book and asked to see more. As things progressed towards her offer of representation, I came to understand that agent love that other writers talk about. And I certainly feel it still.
So authors, when you get an offer take the time to contact those agents you’ve queried! At the worst it will save busy agents time reading a query for a book that’s already spoken for. And at best, well, you just never know.
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Melt shortening in a large pot over a low heat. Cool a bit, then add sugar, molasses and egg. Mix well (it won’t completely mix together). Stir in spices, then add the flour and mix thoroughly. Chill in fridge until completely cold. Form 1 inch balls, roll in white sugar, and bake at 350/175/gas mark 4 for 8-10 minutes. Cool & store in an air-tight container for maximum snappiness. Makes about 6 dozen cookies.
It’s actually very important to cool the dough completely. I spread it on a cookie sheet and put it in the fridge, which makes it take not too long.
These are ginger snaps, but they are not as snappy as storebought ones regardless of what you do. So far the only kind of shortening we’ve found that actually makes them *snap* is Crisco. (If anybody in the UK/Ireland knows of a direct correlation to Crisco over here, I’d be grateful.)
It’s also very important, if you want cookies that actually snap, to make the dough balls no more than 1″ in size. Bigger than that and they won’t snap. Dunno why, they just don’t. And you can make these with butter and they’ll be gorgeously delicious but not snappy.
(x-posted from The Essential Kit)
Last night Maura McHugh and Lynda Rucker launched the inaugural Laydeez Do* Comics event in Dublin. It was an enormously successful launch, with 3 excellent speakers (Sarah McIntyre, Alan Nolan and Maeve Clancy) and around 15-20 attendees. I saw people I knew, met new people, and met some people who knew me. :)
As always, going and talking to people about comics makes me desperately want to do them. In my copious free time. *agonize* I have this ever-growing pile of script ideas, and just aaguuuugh! I know people who would draw for me, if I could just get scripts written! Waughghgh!
Of course, all three of the speakers are writer/artists, which makes me feel like I should be DOING WEB COMICS AND PRACTICING DRAWING. (No, I don’t know what’s wrong with me. There’s probably a medical term for it, though.) And of course I think “God, no, it would be too humiliating to show my pathetic drawing skills,” but then I think of the first page of Questionable Content compared to today’s strip and I think well, that’s no excuse… Anyway, my personal neuroses aside, it was a terrific evening and I’m very much looking forward to the next one in September.
Oh. *laughs* Also, I brought homemade gingersnaps, which I figured would go over well, but I wasn’t expecting the rhapsodies I got. I was asked for the recipe twice. And I heard someone ask who’d made the cookies and someone else responded, “The woman in the front row with the long hair,” which is just so not how I ever imagined myself being described… :)
*Ladies do, not Lazy Do, which is how I persist in reading it… :)
(x-posted from The Essential Kit)
I'd forgotten about it during all of last years rush to other things. Then I was looking for something else and rediscovered it. I then had to hunt down my Dramatists Sourcebook and decide on a theater to send it to. After all, it will never be produced if I don't send it out.
See, back then I actually went through the book page by page and marked specific theaters as especially good prospects for various plays.
Even with all that previous work it still took me all day to get the submission actually sent off.
But, it was a good feeling none the less.
For those of you who consider yourself a new writer - there is ONE trick to becoming published etc. - that secret is simply that publishing is a numbers game. You send off X number of pieces and you get X number of sales. That's it folks. SEND OUT YOUR WRITING. Even when you suck someone will buy it.
The only difference between you and those other authors is that what they are offered is currently MORE, not because their work is better than yours - a lot of the time it isn't better - they are offered more because they are slightly ahead of you as a BRAND or you are BRANDABLE (cute, special) - brands sell more and faster. That's it. Don't be sold on the idea that your writing sucks, unless you know it sucks. Mostly writing is decent to okay to maybe good to slightly better to good to even better to really fucking good.
- Current Mood: amused