"I have always thought of myth as something that never was but is always happening." ~ Jean Houston, "The Possible Human"

"Nolite te bastardes carborundorum" ~ Margaret Atwood, "The Handmaid's Tale"

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Women in Horror Recognition Month: Favorite Movie Character

There have been a couple posts bouncing around in my head for a while now, but unfortunately, I have novel-writing brain at the moment.  I'm behind schedule, stressed out, and my brain absolutely refuses to remain quiet and focused.  However, I felt I had to make an effort to post in support of Women in Horror Month.  Readers of my blog are undoubtedly aware of how much I respect and admire women who work in horror.  They are some of the most supportive, kind, and generous individuals I've ever had the pleasure of knowing.  Many of them are indie and none of them get the amount of attention they deserve.  I owe a lot to my friends in the horror genre (who have never been anything less than supportive and encouraging).  So I felt duty-bound to contribute to the movement.

Onto the post . . .

****

Today, while taking a short break from writing, I was trying to think of aro-ace (aromantic asexual) characters in popular culture.  Unsurprisingly, I came up short.  I think I have mentioned in a couple blog posts about my identifying as aro-ace and how difficult it was when I was growing up.  Even today, a lot of people in my life assume they can "fix me" or I'll eventually be "normal."  This isn't helped at all by the absolute lack of visibility of aro-ace characters.  The truth is, most writers and directors seem to think an aro-ace character is boring (Stephen Moffat recently stated Sherlock Holmes couldn't possibly be asexual because he's not boring.  Or something to that effect.  When Moffat speaks, he becomes Charlie Brown's teacher).  However this shows a complete laziness on the part of said director/writer.

Case in point:  Eden Sinclair of Doomsday




 Sinclair (played by the awesome Rhona Mitra) is tough, no-nonsense, she wields a sword as easily as a gun, and handles a car like nobody's business.  When the shit hits the fan, she remains cool as a cucumber.  I'm sure she wasn't intentionally written as asexual, but she can easily be read as such.  I remember being floored the first time I saw this movie because "Holy shit!  There's a character who is ace!  And she's a fucking badass!"  I mean, she fights an actual knight!

Picture from here

She's beating him with a stick!  Big armored dude is getting his ass handed to him by a trained soldier wielding nothing more than a glorified club!

Suffice to say, I absolutely loved this movie and the handling of the character was brilliant.  I'm sure there are some people who would complain about how aloof the character comes off (which is coded sexist language for "she's a woman.  She needs to be emotional and smile.  Or at least cry."  To which I respond, "Fuck off!").  Major Sinclair is there to do a job and has to traverse a postapocalyptic wasteland to find a lunatic who might have information they desperately need.  She's a woman in the military and from the get-go, the character is introduced as being extremely mission-oriented.  That's why she's so damn good at her job.

There is so much I love about this movie, but again, what won me over was seeing a character who could be read as ace.  It is so rare to see and I wish more people, men and women, had the balls to present such characters.  Asexuals make up an estimated 1% of the population (but that number could be higher due to the amount of asexuals who mistakenly believe there's something wrong with them).  When an ace character is shown, in a respectful and accurate way, it shows ace-identifying individuals that we're just as normal as the next person and it makes asexuality a little less invisible.

There are so many women in horror whom I admire, both fictional characters and real women working behind the scenes (writers, filmmakers, etc.).  Eden Sinclair will probably always be my favorite character in horror.



*****

I'm not sure when I'll get a chance to update my blog again (I'm still hard at work on my fourth novel), but I want to make sure to include some important links.

(the official site, founded by Hannah Neurotica who is instrumental in continuing the tradition.  WiHM is also on Tumbler and Twitter)

(It is also Black History Month and Ashlee is doing a fantastic job highlighting the contributions of Women of Color to the genre.  Look her up on Tumbler and Twitter as well) 

(Another awesome blogger who works hard during WiHM.  I think she's also on Tumbler and she's definitely on Twitter)
There are so many amazing women in the horror genre.  Please go out and support their work.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Biases Against Indie Writers

Last night, I read an apology to self-published writers (2/4/13: link now dead) and it got me thinking about a number of things.  Most of it revolved around self-publishing, a term that really used to rankle me.  To this day, I much prefer to refer to myself as an indie writer.  After reading that apology, it made me realize how even though I am one, I still carry bias against self-publishing.  And I think at the heart of this bias is a mistake everyone in the writing community makes:  lumping all self-published writers into one gelatinous, faceless mass.  Those "other" writers.

Whenever a self-published writer does something offensive or acts like a complete asshole, this is reflected on the entire community.  Suddenly we're all unprofessional assholes who don't understand how writing works.  We're those writers who are so thin-skinned we can't take even the most mild of criticisms.  It's really quite funny (in the most depressing way) how whenever a traditionally published writer stirs up controversy, lashes out at a critic, or acts like a complete asshole, you will never ever hear something similar.  "Oh, those traditionally published authors are all the same," "Why hasn't traditional publishing been eliminated yet," "I absolutely refuse to review a traditionally published book because of how unprofessional those sorts of authors are."

Newsflash:  self-published writers are human beings.  Not all of us are alike.  We all have good days and bad days.  It doesn't make our books any less valid.  Sure, sometimes it's annoying hearing the same criticism time and time again (particularly of mistakes you are too painfully aware of), but most writers aren't going to fly off the handle at every little criticism they receive.  I'm the first to admit my first novel was a complete mess because I had no idea how self-publishing worked at the time.  On top of all the other stresses of writing, it sucks when you are expected to be representative of a group that is so diverse it's completely impossible to do so.  Self-published writers aren't allowed to have "bad days" because we are still fighting like hell to be recognized as writers.

Perhaps the darkest result of this bias is how vulnerable it leaves indie writers to sexual harassment at cons.  I have mentioned before that I was bullied at the first convention I ever attended (by a man who I later found out had a long-standing reputation for inappropriate behavior around women).  I didn't report the incident until months after it happened and only then, I did so at the urging of trusted friends.  I'm not a push-over and I sure as hell am not one to shirk away from bullies, especially if I see someone being mistreated.  So why didn't I report this incident?  Because my immediate reaction was, "This happens to everyone.  If I do anything, no one will believe me.  They'll think I'm some weak little self-published writer who can't hack it in the real world.  I'll gain a reputation and I'll be finished."

Even now, I'm ashamed that I thought that.  It was cowardly and stupid, but I'd venture to guess that's how a lot of indie writers feel, especially if the bully is someone who works in traditional publishing.  We feel we have to be thick-skinned and tough.  We have to stand there and take it to prove we're real writers.  How much harassment goes unreported because of this kind of thinking?  It really does make one wonder.

Publishing is gradually changing.  Perhaps one day, self-publishing won't be so stigmatized.  It is my wish, my hope, that more people recognize the value in writers who publish on their own.  There are so many wonderful writers out there, both indie and traditionally published.  You just have to give us a chance.



*I have updated my scheduled appearances for 2014.  I do hope to see some friendly faces there.  My resolution for this year is to be more aware of what happens at conventions (if I ever see someone being bullied or harassed, I will step in).  If you have experienced bullying or harassment, please report the incident.  Bullies and harassers won't stop unless they are caught.  

If you think you have been the victim of such an incident but aren't sure, or you don't know who to report it to, feel free to email me.  I'm more than willing to listen, I don't judge, and I will help in any way I can.  I will believe you.  Genre women always stick together.

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Storyteller Returns

Did you miss me?  Probably not.  For my few wonderful followers who still keep up with me, despite my habit to go A.W.O.L., I will explain where I went this time.

2013 will always stand out in my mind.  This year, I released three novels.  I really don't recommend doing it.  You see, my long absence was due to my overexerting myself to the point of exhaustion.  The third novel consumed whatever time I had and my determination to make it perfect brought me right to the edge of sanity.  That probably sounds melodramatic, perhaps it is a bit.  However, when you read a 300+ page (100,000+ word) manuscript 7 or 8 times?  Well, one cannot help but be a little melodramatic.





 Available now on Amazon: A small slice of my sanity
Cover art by Michael McClellan

That's the front cover to the manuscript that has been my baby since July.  Oh yeah, once I finished my second novel, I dove right into the third one (much to my brother's chagrin).  What followed was months of long nights, endless frustration, and more than a few tears.  There were numerous setbacks, each one feeling more disastrous then the previous one.  Still, I couldn't stop working.  My efforts paid off: From the Ashes came out towards the end of November.  I'm currently taking a short break to recharge the creative batteries.  I'm hoping to begin work again in mid-January because this story has just gotten started and I've got plenty more to tell.

I tend to get philosophical and introspective during the late nights.  There have been numerous times when I've had friends insist I take a break (I have a tendency to drive myself into the ground.  I don't stop until I'm exhausted to the point where I can barely lift my head).  Why do I punish myself like that?  Is it a love of the written word?  Well, that's certainly a factor, but there are many writers who share a similar love, but they probably have much healthier habits (that don't result in regular bouts of exhaustion).

I think I may have figured it out, but it might just be the exhaustion talking, so bear with me.

I've often thought of writing as the most solitary of the arts.  Filmmakers have a crew to help create their vision.  Most of the visual arts have a similar support system (dancers have performances as do actors.  Painters have galleries and can show people works in progress.  Musicians have bands).  Some writers have groups, others do not.  When it comes right down to it, writing is something you do alone.  You can show people the finished product, though as I recently wrote to a friend, sometimes getting people to read your work is like pulling teeth.

I've never been sociable, never really fit into the world.  A great deal of my time is spent alone.  I'm not lonely, except for in crowded rooms.  When I'm not writing, I'm left alone.  I don't mind being alone, but it gets to be so quiet.  When I write, it gives me something to think about.  It gives me a purpose.  I can sort things out in my writing, make sense of certain things.  It's certainly never quiet.  Perhaps the most important things is that it makes me happy.

I guess that means I'm doomed to a life of constant exhaustion, insomnia, and frustration.  A life lived alone, often with no one but characters I created to keep me company.  Living in a world of my own creation, one existing only in my head.

But there are a few readers out there who will see this world.  Who will enjoy it.  There are some people who will read the words I wrote, the story I created, and ask for more.  Maybe they will even fall in love and identify with a character I dreamed up.  Perhaps I story I write will make at least one person feel less alone.

For me, a life dedicated to the written word is a life lived well.  The written word will always be a thing of power and beauty.

I'm a storyteller and I'm proud of it.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Genre Feminism at Meta Con

I kept meaning to write this, but am currently working hard on a rewrite.  My third book is due in November and any free time I have to spare is immediately sucked up by my manuscript.  My genre feminism panel was the best convention experience I've had to date and I wanted to write something about it.  A lot of people came and almost everyone participated, making it an incredible experience and a productive conversation.  So without further ado, here's my write-up of the panel.

After my experience at WisCon and the subsequent reports of harassment at other conventions, I decided I would do my best to hold a panel on genre feminism at whatever convention I attended.  Having a number of strong, badass genre feminists in my life, I feel the topic is one frequently overlooked when it comes to feminism.  Women working in genre face an absurd number of -isms (sexism, classism, racism, ableism, homophobia, etc.).  Yet because what we do is often considered a "low art," our concerns are often ignored.

The first genre feminism panel I did was at OSFest.  While it was an okay experience, I didn't feel anything was accomplished.  There was a certain amount of self-publishing hating and one panelist even suggested a writer's reputation was more important than another person's safety (so if there's a chance you might work with a serial harasser, you shouldn't spread "rumors" about him/her to other people).  It wasn't a bad experience, but it wasn't a good experience either.

So I felt a certain amount of trepidation going into my genre feminism panel at Meta Con (my second one ever).  When I found out I was going to be on my own in front of a room of people, I think I almost had an anxiety attack.  I was even further put off my game when I was late to my panel because I had forgotten my badge in my room (very long story about this).  So when I finally started, I was not only nervous, I was shaking with anger.

My goal when giving a genre feminism panel is to touch on two topics: intersectionality (how to bring more diversity, both in characters and in artists, to genre) and how hidden misogyny causes many of the harassment problems encountered at conventions.  To start the conversation, I always ask a simple question aimed at women: How many of you have felt, or feel, like you have to justify being at a genre convention?

At Meta Con, this simple question sparked what proved to be an incredibly lively conversation.  A veteran con goer mentioned how she was quizzed about all aspects of "Star Trek."  She added an excellent point: "Here we are, years later, still having the same conversations."

This is why I love having people of all-ages at panels: we get an idea of where we need to go.  Women shouldn't still be made to feel like posers simply because of their gender.  I brought up the hidden misogyny in the "fake geek girl" label and how it's applied liberally to women at conventions.  Women are constantly accused of not really liking genre or not getting it.  Applying this label dehumanizes us and in doing so, justifies our being harassed.

There was a gamer at the panel who brought up the monumental amount of harassment and bullying faced by women gamers.  Girl gamers, from my understanding, are often berated.  Anita Sarkeesian (of the awesome Feminist Frequency) was bullied, harassed, and even threatened when she spoke about the gender disparity in gaming.  She still gets backlash whenever she questions why there aren't more heroines or why misogyny is so blatant in some games.

A couple who work in tech came to the panel and the man brought up how his girlfriend was frequently second guessed or treated differently from male colleagues.  This kind of discrimination drives me crazy because you don't need a penis to program!  Another woman (a badass working Mom) told of how much she was second guessed when she started working at a construction company, even though she had shown she was more than capable of doing her job.  It's stories like these that show how much women are underestimated and how consistently.

Another thing that needs to be acknowledged is how harassment is a problem for both genders.  While men may not experience it as often, it still does happen.  I try to make my panel a safe place for everyone (no man-hating allowed.  Douche-bag hating, yes, but no man-hating).

When I first began the topic of harassment, I brought up my own experience at WisCon.  I mentioned how aggravated it made me and how angry I was at myself for not reporting it immediately.  However, the experience opened my eyes to how women are encouraged to be silent.  Because the harassment was not overtly sexual, I didn't speak up because I thought who would believe me (worse, I thought it would make me seem weak. Like I couldn't hack it).  An audience member brought up how she was harassed on the bus ride over.  She mentioned she was just wearing normal street clothes (not her cosplay costume).  It's a sad reality faced by genre women that at some point, we'll all experience harassment.  To me, that's unacceptable.

I used this to segue into how we can combat it.  I mentioned how one of the many, many issues I have with SFWA is their denial of protection to other writers.  Traditional publishing is really only interested in protecting its own (one of the many reasons why I'm glad I didn't go that route: I don't want to support any organization or business that denies protection to those who need it).  Another audience member stated it would be a good idea to organize a grassroots organization to protect writers who are disregarded by SFWA.  This is an excellent idea and I think it's what Broad Universe (of which I am a proud member) aims to do.

In just under an hour, I had one of the most incredible and empowering discussions with a fairly large audience.  Afterwards almost everyone took a business card and I even ran into someone who I had seen at WisCon.  Looking out at the audience, I was reminded of the power and diversity of women and allies.  We are at our strongest when we support each other, when we listen, when we laugh together, when we share, and when we put our heads together.  We agreed that there should be more diversity, both in characters and in artists.  There needs to be more people of color, more people from different socioeconomic classes, people of different abilites, more LGBTQ people, and more gender diversity.  Instead of speaking for different groups, we have to learn to listen to different experiences.  That's another thing that really irks me about the traditional publishing system: there are too many authors speaking for other people without bothering to listen to them.

After my experience at Meta Con, I have decided that from now on, I will run my genre feminism panels by myself.  I came to this decision because I want to listen to people who don't work in mainstream media/publishing.  I want to hear what the audience has to say, listen to their experiences and concerns.  I like making a connection with people, both men and women, and hearing their ideas.  This is something traditional publishing and mainstream art never seems to do.  They tell people what they want instead of listening to them.  The gate-keepers decide what does/doesn't qualify as art and the people who benefit from such a market are touted as experts.

However, from my experience, many genre fans are tired of this system.  Women are tired of being underestimated, harassed, and made to feel as lesser than.  We demand greater diversity and safety at conventions.  We demand to be seen as equals, which we are.

I'm a genre feminist and proud of it.






Thank you to all my genre feminist friends who encouraged me to write about this.  Your support and kind words always give me courage.  Everyone should be so lucky to have such an amazing group of badass, tough, endlessly talented, and fierce genre feminists in their life.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Busy, Busy Writer

One thing I don't think anyone talks about in regards to writing is how drained it leaves you.  I don't know about other writers, but by the time I finish a novel, I feel all the sleep I've missed.  I'm left feeling empty and exhausted.  This was especially true yesterday, when I released my second novel.  I spent so much time making sure every last word was perfect.  The book itself isn't perfect, but I did the best I possibly could to improve upon the last book.  As I will do with my third novel (hopefully to be released in October).  Now that the second novel is done, I'm left feeling somewhat melancholy.  I dedicated so much time and effort into it, poured myself completely into the work.  Now it's finished.  For some reason, it always leaves me feeling rather sad.

Right now, my brain is mush.  I worked so long and so hard that I completely wore myself out.  I have no time to rest though.  Now I have a convention next weekend that I need to prep for.  I'm moderating two panels, giving a reading, and doing four different signings.  A self-published writer has no time to rest.  In less than two weeks, I'll start on another intense rewrite of my third novel (with a self-imposed deadline hanging over my head).  I think two weeks is all I can afford between novels.  When I'm not rewriting, I'm preparing information for different presentations at conventions.  I wrote on Facebook yesterday that I've all but forgotten what it means to have a "day off".

I wanted to update my blog to let my beloved readers know that yes, I am still among the living.  I also wanted to share the good news: Through Storm and Night, the second volume in The Shape Shifter Chronicles, is now available (both on Amazon and CreateSpace).  I hope you will look it up.  I spent the past few months of my life on it.

Also, as I mentioned above, next weekend I will be in Omaha at OSFest.  I have listed it under my Scheduled Appearances page (along with the information on the panels I will be moderating, the reading I'll be giving, and signing times).  I hope to see some wonderful readers there.  I will be live tweeting as often as I can while I'm there.

I promise my next blog will have more substance to it.  Right now, my brain is not cooperating with me (I think I'm still in recovery mode).  This summer is proving to be quite a busy one.  Between convention appearances and rewrites, my time is just eaten up.

My brother designed the cover for Through Storm and Night.  I wanted to include a picture on my blog because I think it came out beautifully.


Thank you, dear readers, for your patience.

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Sexism and Classism Problem in Speculative Fiction

"When someone opens their own original restaurant, critics don't call it a 'vanity' restaurant. So I don't see why there is a stigma to making a book on your own"

My best friend's mother made that analogy (thanks Robyn! Thank your Mom for me too).  Like me, she is also a self-published writer.  She writes westerns, one of those genres that us women folk aren't supposed to touch (unless it's a cowboy romance).

This week, the SFWA took a lot of heat for the blatant sexism found in its bulletin.  If you were unaware of the controversy, here are two good sites that have good summaries: Further Thoughts on SFWA and Round up of Some "Anonymous Protestors".  (Also a good article about Misogyny in writing: 25 Things to Know About Sexism and Misogyny in Writing and Publishing)

What I find absolutely stunning is how many women in one of the groups I belong to jumped to the defense of these two men who blatantly and unashamedly objectified women writers and editors.  Then I thought about my own experience at a recent convention and I realized that this was par for the course.

In May, I debuted as an author at a convention dedicated to feminist speculative fiction.  For the most part, it went fine.  There was a real sense of support and encouragement.  Then on the final day, I was harassed by an older white male editor in full view of at least 6-8 supposed genre feminists (or at least supposed genre feminist allies).  Nobody said a word.  When I posted it on Facebook, the outpouring of support I received from fellow genre feminists (real ones) was overwhelming.

I had another life-changing experience (a good one) earlier in May when I met two personal heroines of mine: Jen & Sylvia Soska, identical twin horror filmmakers.  Spending an afternoon just talking shop with two fellow genre feminists who actually liked other genre feminists was one of the best experiences that I've ever had.  Through them, I met more interesting genre people.  This experience and my later convention experience led to an epiphany: writing's classism problem is what part of why this blatant sexism is an ongoing problem, particularly in genre.

I'll explain (forgive any loopiness, I'm currently in the midst of preparing my 2nd novel for release and therefore a little low on sleep).

Most of my genre feminist friends are filmmakers or at least connected to the filmmaking community.  They're also all indie artists.  Indie genre feminist filmmakers have multiple avenues of support, not the least of which is Women in Horror Recognition Month.  Founded by Zine writer, Hannah Neurotica (check out her work.  It's badass), this organization is dedicated to highlighting the work of women in genre.  Women filmmakers can make connections and find support through this organization and others like it (such as the Viscera organization).  My editor at Planet Fury, Heidi Honeycutt (another genre heroine and total badass), also sits on the board of both of these organizations.  Talking with women like Heidi, Hannah, the Soskas, and other filmmakers familiar to these organizations, I can't help but be in awe of how supportive these women are (both towards one another and towards new artists).  There's no sense of competition, or at least not vicious competition.  Rather, there's a sense of if one succeeds, it's a win for everyone.

Novelists have no such organizations.  Why? Because there is a distinct sense of classism among writers that dictates how we're allowed to interact with other writers. The biggest divide between writers is the method of publishing: traditional vs. self.  Traditional writers (and those that work in traditional publishing) are allowed to abuse, bully, talk down to, and basically shit all over self-published writers.  We lowly self-published writers are expected to sit there and take it ("Oh, you have a thousand articles on why self-publishing is for losers and why it inevitably fails? Please, do show me.  Because I'm too stupid to have done any research into this topic.  Thank you for deeming me worthy to speak to.").  Yes, those in traditional publishing never tire of telling those in self-publishing how risky our venture is.  Or writing about how risky it is.

Traditionally published individuals have access to merits, awards, reviews, and accolades that self-published writers do not.  It is because of this that most writers (not all, but I'd estimate a fair amount if not a majority) don't see self-published writers as actual writers.  Rather we're just those stubborn lazy children that didn't have the smarts or dedication it took to find a traditional avenue of publication.  Traditionally published books are still seen as the only valid kind of writing.  Their mettle has been tested and highfaluting professionals have deemed them worthy to join the ranks of "real writers".  One of the benefits is that you get a certain amount of privilege that allows you to judge what does and doesn't qualify as "real writing".

So when I see women sticking up for the privileged white male editors' right to objectify women, I'm not surprised.  I'm not even allowed to have an opinion on the topic because how would I know anything about writing? It's not all that surprising that women who reap some benefits from the patriarchy continue to support it.  Instead, these women think that focusing on getting the SFWA to recognize small presses is a bigger concern.

Um, hello? Could I maybe suggest we recognize self-published writers the right to have a voice and to just exist? This kind of sexism hurts me too, but it also kind of sucks to be disregarded and dismissed.  Brushed aside like an annoyance, silenced, and not considered a peer.  Could self-published writers perhaps have a place at the table, maybe share an opinion or two, without being shouted down and scolded? Could our opinions also be seen as valid? Could we maybe also be recognized as fellow writers and peers?

I'm not suggesting that all traditionally published writers are like this, not at all (I know some traditionally published writers and they are lovely individuals).  However, I do think that a lot of them are blind to the amount of privilege they have.  All the complaints I'm hearing about SFWA come from traditionally published writers, most of whom could belong to SFWA if they so chose.  You know who I'm not hearing from? Indie writers, especially women, who probably experience more than their fair share of discrimination (be it sexism or classism).

Most self-published writers work their asses off.  I have to work as hard as any traditionally published writer (I'd wager twice as hard as most).  I love my job and I'm dedicated to the art of writing.  I've been reading practically since I could walk and even though I make mistakes, I learn from them.  I know about writing, I've done my research.  To suggest otherwise is not only demeaning, it's insulting.  Just because someone only writes novels, doesn't mean they're incapable of writing short stories.  It might just be that's not the expression they're most comfortable with.  I have never seen a filmmaker chastise another filmmaker because they didn't start out making shorts.  Writers on the other hand? This is sadly common place (and if you're one of the writers that thinks less of others because they didn't start the way you think they should have: not only are you a tool, you're an asshole).

I have always tried to support other indie artists, especially women.  If I experience any kind of success, I will dedicate my life to making sure other indie women novelists have a shot and a support system.  I want to lift others up, not trample over them in an attempt at success.  If the only way to achieve success is by bringing others down, then I want no part of it.

I will be a guest at the next convention I'm attending.  I have submitted a panel on genre feminism and one topic that I'm going to try and bring up is how to bring it to writing and publishing (we desperately need something like Women in Horror Recognition Month, because this tearing each other down bullshit has got to stop).  Right now, there is little to no genre feminism in publishing.  There may be those that lean towards it, but anytime you discriminate against another human being (for any reason), then you aren't really supporting feminism.  You cannot be classist and a feminist.

So writers, if you truly believe that self-published writers are not actual writers, that is not feminism.  If you can stand by while another woman is harassed simply because you're traditionally published and she's self-published, that is not feminism.  Throwing self-published writers to the patriarchy because you're worried about your own reputation, that is not feminism.  Not recognizing other artists because they're not elite and/or rich (by your standards), that is not feminism.  Siding with the big guy over the little guy, that's not feminism.  Feminism is about equality, meaning everyone has a voice.  Not just a privileged few.

*****

I mentioned a few artists in this blog post and chances are, over the coming months, I will mention a few more.  I have told the genre feminists that I know I will gladly lend my voice to their upcoming projects.  Because even though it's small, I would like to help them in any way that I can.

The Soskas (a.k.a. the Twisted Twins) have a movie out called American Mary.  I wish I would have gotten to blogging sooner as it recently had a limited release (sorry ladies!).  However, the DVD is available on June 18th.  It is a movie that I highly recommend seeing.  It's at times funny, tragic, scary, and dramatic.  Most of all, it empowers its female leads, which is something rarely seen in movies.  These women take control of their bodies and lives in a way that is truly remarkable.  Katherine Isabelle, Paula Lindberg, and Tristan Risk all give outstanding performances.  The movie is beautifully shot and not a frame is out of place.  The story is strong and keep the audience involved until the very last scene.


The Soskas have dedicated their lives to making incredible art.  They have also made things easier for other genre women by busting through numerous glass ceilings (which makes them heroines in my book) and being extremely gracious to their fans as well as fellow artists.  They have earned every bit of success they experience and I'm proud to know them.

So do yourself a favor: get a copy of "American Mary".  You won't regret it.

****

I'm going to be quite busy over the summer, so my updates may be sporadic at best.  However, I'm still on Twitter and I live tweet from conventions.  Feel free to follow me (I would greatly appreciate it.  I'll owe you a hug).

Also, my next novel, "Through Storm and Night" comes out at the end of July.  I do hope my wonderful readers/followers will check it out.  I've worked extremely hard to make it even better than the first book (which probably could have used one more hardcore edit).  Live and learn.  However, I'm really, really looking forward to readers reactions to rebels.  I'm so happy with how they came out and I think a lot of readers will just fall in love with them.

Well, I must run.  An indie writers work is never done!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Questions That No Man Working In Genre Will Ever Be Asked

I wanted to include "white, hetero-normative" in the title, but it seemed to be a bit too long.

Wikipedia has recently started moving American authors that are women into their own category: "American Women Authors".  They are no longer listed under "American Authors", because women need their own separate category apparently.  You can't be both an American woman author and an American author apparently.

In honor of that, I decided to compile a list of questions that genre men are never asked and will never be asked (yes, I'm sure it has been done before, but I feel like doing it again).  However, it's perfectly fine to ask a genre woman (with some adjustments, namely switching "masculine" with "feminine/feminist" and obviously "man" with "woman").  Note: I haven't included race or sexual orientation due to genre being overwhelmingly white hetero-normative men.  Also, this list is meant to include authors, filmmakers, and other artists who work in scifi/fantasy/horror.  Feel free to include to add to the list in the comments.

So, without further ado...

Questions No Genre Man Will Ever Be Asked

* What's it like being a man working in genre?

*Do you ever worry about your work being construed as anti-masculine?

*If your work flops, do you think it will make things more difficult for other men?

*How do you feel about other men working in this field? Do things get catty or is it more like a brotherhood?

*Genre seems to be incredibly anti-man (some might even use the term exploitative).  Why do you work in it?

*People don't normally expect this kind of violence from men.  Do you worry about the kind of example your setting? (Okay, I know.  Men are asked about the violence in their work too.  However, there is a double-standard there.  It's more acceptable for men to include violence in their work whereas when a woman does it, they're almost always asked about it, especially if the violence is perpetrated by a woman)

BONUS: Rejections Men Will Never Hear

*You're too masculine to write serious fantasy/horror/scifi.  Maybe if you just use your initials or a penname, you could sell it.

*People won't read/watch fantasy/horror/scifi that's been written/directed by a man

*There are too many white hetero-normative male characters in your story.  Nobody wants to read that.

*If you included more romance and less genre, then you'd easily find a market.

*Can't you put a vampire in it?