Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Screaming Purple

Today I am wearing purple to remember those young people who took their own lives after intense anti-gay bullying, and to offer hope, support and solidarity to teens who are struggling with those issues in their lives now. You are not alone, and your voices are incredibly important and valuable. Hang in there - it will get better, I promise. You will get stronger and understand just how precious you are. And you will see all these voices around you in a different light. Not as powerful and big as they seem now.

Along the same lines, over at Chasing Ray, we're talking about what made us want to scream as teens. Here's an excerpt from the incredibly poignant contribution from Anonymous:
" mother despaired of my clothes when I went away to school. She complained when I wore knee-length sweaters, baggy jeans and long coats, all year ‘round. My mother always told me to stand up straight and didn’t understand why I didn’t make “more of an effort” in college.

Didn’t she understand that the message I’d already received was, disappear?"

And a bit from Cecil Castelucci:
"He told me I was wrong. That I didn’t know what my own thoughts were about it because I was too young. That I was just parroting what my clearly liberal parents said. So, he dismissed me. That enraged me. I mean, come on, just cause you're 15 years old it doesn’t mean that you don’t know what your own thoughts are. Or that you’ve been influenced or are parroting your parents. Ask my dad. When I was a teenager, we got into debates and disagreed about stuff all the time. He still thinks that graffiti on the subways is not art. I still totally disagree with him and I am now way older than 15. So, the thing that enraged me, made me want to scream and tear my hair out was being dismissed."

Here's a small clip from mine at the end:
"But what made me want to scream the most was the double standard. How I couldn't cut my hair, but my brothers could. How I couldn't play sports, but my brothers could. How I couldn't go out and have friends, but my brothers could. It was the same double standard I saw with my parents - my father was engaged in discussions involving family decisions, but when my mother spoke up, she was told that no one asked for her opinion. She ran our home, but in public had to defer to my father. She made every important decision, but had to pretend that my father was the one "in charge." It was infuriating, not to mention an outright lie."
Check out the rest of the post - it's wonderful to see all those voices together.

Monday, October 18, 2010


If you haven't checked out John Scalzi's "Things I Don't Have To Think About Today" post, do that now. He totally gets it.
"Today I don't have to think about men who don't believe no means no . . . Today I don’t have to think about whether I’m married, depending on what state I’m in . . . Today I don’t have to think about whether I’m being pulled over for anything other than speeding . . . Today I don’t have to think about the people who’d consider torching my house of prayer a patriotic act . . ."
And this article, by Will Neville of, a project of Advocates for Youth, gives us a good idea of just how deeply ingrained misogyny is in contemporary US/North American culture. There is video footage of frat boys at Yale shouting "No means yes, yes means anal..." as part of an induction exercize for new pledges.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Links, Upcoming Events, Awesome Video

I shared this video on Facebook, but love it so much I want to share it here, too. It was created by my partner-in-crime, Hollis, and it ROCKS.

If you're not sick of me like I am, you can check out a recent interview on Sayantini Dasgupta's blog. I'm not doing many interviews these days, but Sayantani had the best, thought-provoking questions, and I cleared off some space to answer them. Check that out here.

I'm going to be in Albuquerque, New Mexico from November 5-7th for YALSA (the Young Adult Literature Symposium of the American Library Association)'s conference on diversity, and on November 22nd, I'll be in Orlando, Florida for the ALAN conference (the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents, a branch of the National Council of Teachers of English). If you're in or around either of those, please come by and say hello!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

My Thoughts on Self-Pubbing and Ebooks

I have a post up here on my thoughts about self-publishing and ebooks. Here's a quote:
"I've been wondering which route to take with my own writing lately and these links were very interesting to come across. My debut novel, Shine, Coconut Moon (McElderry, 2009) released to rave reviews, has received enthusiastic support from the teacher and librarian communities and is holding its own vis-a-vis sales, considering it was one of the quieter releases last year. But publishers have become increasingly risk-averse over the past few years. I sold Shine in 2007. My current project, a contemporary, realistic YA with elements of humour and romance is, according to editors, "too quiet," "too commercial," or it "won't stand out." The first and last translate to something many of us, particularly writers telling the stories of marginalized folks, have heard incessantly: "this won't sell," or "there is no market for this." It is something I'd heard over and over from both agents and editors about Shine."

I also link to a few different articles and posts. Here are some quotes . . .

From The Wall Street Journal:
"There will always be the lucky new author whose first novel ignites a hot auction. But more often today, many debut novels that would have won lucrative advances five years ago today are getting $15,000 or less, says Adam Chromy, a New York literary agent. Mr. Chromy was recently disappointed with the immediate response from editors for a debut novel he thought was exceptionally good.
Meanwhile, small independent publishers are becoming more popular options for new writers. Leslie Daniels, a literary agent for the past 20 years, was thrilled to sell Creston Lea's recently published debut short-story collection, "Wild Punch," to Turtle Point Press.
But the author received only a $1,000 advance, typical of the advances paid by small independents. "I can't make a living as a writer, but it feels great to have these stories out in the world," says Mr. Lea. The author, who lives in Vermont, builds electric guitars and writes on the side. Jonathan Rabinowitz, publisher of Turtle Point Press, says "Wild Punch" has sold about 1,500 copies, including 150 e-books. He described the performance as 'encouraging.'

"The smaller advance has a ripple effect. Ms. Daniels, who earns a 15% commission, used to make $11,250 on a big publisher advance of $75,000 or so. Her cut on Mr. Lea's $1,000: $150."
From an interview with author Karen McQuestion, who had two agents, almost sold novels several times, but ultimately never got published by traditional, mainstream publishers, then self-pubbed half a dozen of her books, signed with Amazon Encore, and optioned one of her books to film. The entire interview is up on J.A. Konrath's blog:
"Sometimes I still can’t believe the turn my writing life has taken. A year ago I was a failed novelist with years of work on my hard drive, and now I have readers and an income. Life is good."

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Statement Worth Reading

Here is a link to the Carl Brandon Society's official statement on the Elizabeth Moon controversy. I particularly like these two paragraphs:
"Regarding “tolerance”: “Tolerance” is often considered one of our primary duties as citizens. “Tolerance” does not mean agreement, consensus, likeness, or even understanding. It does not mean assimilation. It does not require friendship, nor even dialogue. It is simple. It means refraining from expressing negativity towards things that are different from or alien to you. Tolerance is part of our social contract: you tolerate me, and I tolerate you; we both refrain from attacking one another; we live and let live. On the other hand, tolerance doesn’t deserve reward, either. As a social responsibility, it doesn’t change, lessen, or end; you never cease to be responsible for tolerating others. 

Regarding “teachable moments”: It is not the responsibility of members of marginalized groups to educate others about their group’s reality, history, or oppression. In situations like the current one, where someone has made bigoted statements against members of a particular group, members of that group have the right to be outraged and hurt without being forced into a false “teaching” position . . . " 

Friday, October 1, 2010

Ellen, Using her Platform to Say Something

Caught this on Facebook today. I love that people are stepping up and speaking out, especially those with large platforms. If you haven't seen Ellen's statement, watch it now: