blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)
If you’ve read most any other person’s experience attending Sirens, you’ve an inkling of what I’m going to say.

Yes, it is an amazing few days—surrounded by women and men (why, YES, men do attend Sirens, and enjoy it immensely) who celebrate who they are, and what and who they love. The conversations are far-ranging and tightly-focused, curious and passionate, overlapping and attentive. The interactions are both open and intimate. There is space and there is affection. Questions and affirmations. Challenges and comforts. Embracing old friends and picking up where we left off last year, and embracing new friends with the anticipation of connections yet to be formed.

Three cool things in particular, but in no particular order:

First: Conversations about grief and grieving. Not many opportunities come about in daily life for those. People close to me are much more interested in making sure I’m “all right,” which to them means I’m not expressing loss and longing. That makes it easier for me to talk about grief with people I don’t see all the time; they tend to be more curious than concerned, and curiosity is what opens doors in search of answers. Those chats are emotional gold for me—the chance to share in the hope it’ll help someone else, yes, but also the opportunity to better understand myself and the process.

Second: The Sirens Fight Club. Hooking up with women who understand the subtle and overt challenges of choosing to train—to openly enjoy—combat arts is exhilarating. Truly, I wanted another entire weekend to spend with these women, and I knew so within the first few minutes of our meeting. We’re going to plot out a proposal or two for next year. Truly, between us, we could offer a multi-day workshop!

Hmm…

Third: Laurie Marks. I’ve said before I am grateful for, and humbled by, the female fantasy writers who “raised” me in this crazy world of storytelling. Laurie was the first published writer I’d ever met, the first to teach me about critique groups, the first to give me feedback on my very first attempted novel. I was nineteen and stupid and arrogant and ambitious, and when she told me I used too many gerunds, I had to go home and look up the word (in an actual printed dictionary, no less!) because I hadn’t a clue. We lost touch a few years later, and the more years that passed, the more awkward it felt to pop back into her life with a “Hey, remember me?”

Twenty-five years passed that way.

Nervousness remained as Sirens came closer, until I passed Laurie in the hall on the second day and re-introduced myself.

And was given a full smile and a tight hug and an invitation to lunch with her and Deb. Catching up was wonderful and too brief, but there isn’t a shred of awkwardness or nervousness on my part remaining. There will not be a horrible time-gap again!

All of that was Sirens for me.

The conference will be in Colorado again next year, but this time up in Vail at a marvelous luxury resort that—and this is the incredible part—will cost little more than the rooms down in Denver.

You want to do this, my darlings. You want to do this so, so badly.

You want to come to Vail in October, when it might be clear and merely crisp at sundown only to give way to snow-covered mountainsides by sunrise. When we will celebrate the women of fantasy who not only hold power in their own right, but wield it as well. Women of strength. Women of magic.

Women we all know.

Women like you.

#SFWApro
blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)

According to many people, I put myself in great danger last week. I took an irresponsible risk. I performed an act that, while totally stupid, required great bravery. I did something many others said that they'd like to do, but never would, because of the danger involved.

What did I do?

I—a 44-year-old-woman—camped in a state park without a human companion to share my tent.


Yes, the fun enjoyed by families and couples and (usually male) groups of friends—the outdoor activity that's described as rejuvenating, stress-reducing, and good for one's health—transforms into a courtship of death and dismemberment when undertaken by a woman alone.


Never mind the bears roaming the park in search of final pre-hibernation snacks. Never mind the overnight temperatures dropping into the upper 30s, and the daily potential for thunderstorms and lightning. Never mind the known risk of falling rocks. And certainly never-you-mind the danger of driving first on a highway at 70 mph, then up a mountainside of steep drops and hairpin turns while a local in a sportscar tailgates before passing on a blind curve. No, the danger a solo woman is told is the most dangerous—dangerous enough and likely enough and terrifying enough that any right-thinking woman would abandon all camping aspirations—is sexual violence.


This recent trip of mine was to Golden Gate Canyon State Park, in the mountains above Denver, Colorado, and it was truly a solo camping experience. My tent site was isolated, set back from the dirt road, bounded by forest and rocky slopes, just barely in sight of the parking area up the rise. If I sat still, no one would know I was there.


Since I was there midweek, the two sites that shared my area of the campground were empty. The next-nearest collection of sites was about a football field away, tucked among trees on the other side of the slope, far beyond my line of sight. Only one of those campsites was in use. I saw their truck and, once, passed the woman on the way to the nearest vault toilet.


In fact, I saw fewer than a half dozen humans in three days, and spoke to only one of them. Add in the fact the region is remote enough there's no cell phone service anywhere within the park, and you could say I was somewhat isolated.


And isolation is what most people believe was the most dangerous aspect of my camping trip.


But, my darlings, isolation was actually what made me safe.


In The Woman Traveling Solo Question, writer and traveler Christine Gilbert does a fabulous job outlining the reality of the sexual violence risks women face, and places it in the context of global travel. The same facts—that a woman is overwhelmingly likely to suffer sexual assault in the company of people with whom she has an existing relationship—apply domestically. Yet we tell women to curtail their public lives and experiences by terrifying them with tales of brute men in the bushes and predators lurking in the darkness.


And when we consider the risks to a woman camping alone, she is at greater statistical risk—at greater factual risk—in a crowded RV campground than an isolated campsite.


"You're so brave!" a woman told me. And I don't really know how to respond to that. I certainly don't feel brave for choosing to camp, no more than I felt brave traipsing through London, or driving from New York City to Indiana, or any of the other things I've done in my life.


What I do feel is "prepared." I pack up my food and pack out my trash every night to deter bears and other wild things from snuffling around my campsite because I know a bear preparing for hibernation is far more dangerous than a skulking human. I bring along a variety of things that'll help me keep warm in case temperatures drop more than anticipated and/or I end up soaking wet. I'm educated about what to do in the event of a severe thunderstorm, a possible flash flood, a brush fire. I bring my dog—not because he's an attack dog (because he is so not!), but because he's a excellent alarm. And yes, I carry weapons that are legal and that I am trained to use, while recognizing the realistically rare need I'll have for them.


So what would I consider most dangerous? Camping under the conditions in which I camped without ever considering any of those non-sexual things. The real idiot isn't the woman who camps alone. It's the parent or scout leader who takes kids for a hike on the mountain while lightning flashes overhead. The person who doesn't think to pack in waterproof matches or a handful of dry tinder. The person who thinks it's just fine to keep a bag of fruit and beef jerky in the tent because no bear would really come close to humans. And it's the person who assumes the woman is in great danger because no one else is around to protect her.


I absolutely, positively refuse to curtail my life, my aspirations, my visceral experience of living, and so I choose to camp alone.


I sit alone in the cool mountain sunshine and listen to the wind caress the trees, to the whoosh of a raven's wings, to the chitter of chipmunks.


I take my dog on a hike and immerse in the experience of wild places, and learn to read the signs of my dog's even greater sensory immersion.


I sit by a campfire after sunset to feel both infinitesimal in the darkness and secure in the night.


I creep out of the tent in the wee hours to see the silver and shadows of unsullied moonlight, and the swath of crystal dust in the sky.


And I return to people knowing myself, rather than a camping companion, better.


And, frankly, if driving across town for a movie is worth the rather high risk I'll be injured or killed in in an auto accident, it's more than worth it for me to "risk" camping alone.


I'd invite y'all to join me but I'd much rather you invite yourself to a personal retreat. Don't listen to the doubters. Know what's real.

Y'see, knowledge is potential. Action is power. Put them together, and you have the freedom of discovery. :)



blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)

I made the mistake of reading yet another pair of articles examining what it means to write a “REAL” Strong Female Character.

I should know better, truly.  Thousands upon thousands of words expended on the issue! Countless examples and counter-examples in an attempt to make it very clear! Comment after comment debating those words and examples!

And in the end, it’s about as helpful as debating what color the walls ought to be painted while the roof is leaking like a sieve.

I’m a busy woman, so I’m going to make this quite simple and brief:

It doesn’t matter if the sharp pointy thing a woman carries is a darning needle, a plow, a pen, a sword, a scalpel, or a brooch. It doesn’t matter if she wears skimpy black leather, frumpy jumpers, billowing gowns, maternity jeans, heavy armor, or a wimple. It doesn’t matter if she sleeps with everyone, concurrently or consecutively, or if she sleeps with no one at all. If she has kids or hates them. If she spends her time nurturing or demanding. If she talks to women or talks to men, or talks about women or talks about men.

It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter.

Here’s what does matter:

A strong character assesses the situation, accepts responsibility, makes decisions, takes on a leadership role, and initiates action. A strong society doesn’t blink when that character happens to be a woman.

Done.

#SFWApro

blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)

From The Guardian comes this observant article on the success women are finding in self-publishing.

Reactions can be summed up thusly:

"Let me argue the methodology!  Let me discredit a single line in the article!" -- Folks who are certain there wouldn't be any gender disparity if women would just shut up about it already.

"It's just because of romance!" -- Folks who either failed to read the entire article, don't want the wrong type of folks playing in their sandbox, or both.

"Yeah, but those women are just lucky."  Folks who'd rather ignore and/or degrade the achievement of successful women than accept that their success happened outside the traditional scope.

"I don't need to read this because it's all bullshit anyway."  Folks who saw "women" and/or "self-publishing" in the article's title, and assumed the topic wasn't worth their time.

"Yep." -- Women who are self-publishing.

#SFWApro

blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)

Someday I'll get to posting about the weird (for my) process of writing Breath of Stone.  In the meantime, here are some links I simply can't keep to myself:

I Am an Indie Midlister (and That's Okay) From [livejournal.com profile] haikujaguar comes a great post on her experience as an indie author, her sales numbers, and the perceptions of success in today's direct-to-reader  publishing world.

Via The Passive Voice, link to and discussion of The Bookseller's First Independent Author Preview.  As I mentioned in the comments there, it's still important for industry-to-industry discussions of indie-published works to be compared positively to trade-published works.  Many in the industry have little experience, exposure, or knowledge of what is happening outside their boundaries.  They don't know or understand how readers are connecting with independent writers.  They aren't at the forefront of the change.  They still need to be told where to look.

(Aside: Also, as a middle-aged woman, I have extensive experience with such comments.  After all, I grew up hearing, "That's really good, for a girl!" and being told that should be taken as a great compliment.  The trade-publishing folks who using "Well done, for self-publishing!" also think they are being progressive and complimentary.  It'll pass.)

Speaking of gender perceptions, Women You Should Know delivers a fabulous interview with the woman who, as a child, was featured in the 1981 LEGO ad with such a positive message about creativity in childhood that had nothing to do with gender.  Rachel Giordano speaks well to the issue of today's gendered toys, and how easy it is for those toy-imposed messages to affect choices of life and career.

Lastly, and back to the writing front, I offer you the blog post What Agents, Editors, and Art Directors Look For Online.  Alack and alas, I discover upon reading it that I would be a terrible prospect for an agent or editor.  I've written things that might be divisive!  I've discussed the publication process!  I've told people when my books are on sale!  I share some things from my personal life!  If you really want to delve into it, there is one anonymous response that goes into great detail about what the person wants to find and avoid in someone's social media presence.  And, to add a dash of humor, there is a survey respondent who doesn't really want to be reminded that writers might research their online presence as well because they "don't like the feeling."

blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)
Back in June, Anne Johnson hosted my guest blog post on writing gender equality in epic adventure fantasy.  Just a couple days ago, this 2011 story got a bump when it was featured on Tor.com.

And it got me thinking…

Let me say from the start that it’s fabulous to see archeologists pay better attention to little details like the sex of the folks they’re researching, particularly when they’re defining the culture based upon that research.  It’s awesome to see the combat-based contributions of women have made throughout history acknowledged.  And the more articles we have like Hurley’s We Have Always Fought, the better.

But as tempting as it is to wave that research around — “See?  We can have women in our stories!  History says so!” — it’s important to acknowledge the fact we don’t need to justify our stories.

Read more... )
blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)

Today I'm a guest at Anne E. Johnson's blog, where I talk about putting women (plural!) of agency and influence at the core of the story.



Traditional gender roles are hard to combat for the fiction-writer, especially in a genre like fantasy which has a long tradition of distressed damsels being captured and needing saving. Even for a writer who is aware of this problem and wants to defy it, knowing how to let the females drive the story takes a lot of thought and practice. Today's guest, Blair MacGregor, generously shares her advice.


Read the rest here!

In other news, I'm not changing another word in Sand of Bone until its final edits are sent to me.  That means it's time to both work on Breath of Stone!

blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)
Tonight I ran the first promotion for my women's class. They have brand-new yellow belts now, and the positive experience of showing their kata and self-defense to their family members.

I kept cutting my gaze over to their kids, all of whom were closely watching and smiling. It isn't often kids get to see the process of their parents working toward a goal, let alone performing in front of others. Considering the number of pictures of the kids were taking, and the enthusiasm of their applause, it was just important for the them as it was for their moms.

Tying on their new belts tonight was an awesome experience I'm fortunate to share with these brave women. They're already changing. A mere ten weeks into the experience, and they're already so much more comfortable with their own abilities. One has decided she wants to learn nunchaku. I can't wait to see what they'll be doing by the end of summer.

Last night's dojo-wide belt promotion was equally wonderful, but for a different reason. Y'see, about a year ago, I took on an autistic student. He was twelve years old and had very rough physical coordination. He never spoke more to me than a barely-whispered "Yes, ma'am," rarely looked at me, and very rarely responded to direct questions.

His progress has been phenomenal. He now gives me brief answers to questions like, "What did you do in school?" When I put the stripes he has earned on his belt, he will look me in the eye and shake my hand. But he hasn't been able to run an entire kata on his own, not without someone either calling out the pattern (turn and low block, step and punch, etc.) or performing the kata beside him.

So he and I had a private lesson Wednesday night and worked on something special. At promotion, I came out on the mat with him and asked him to do kata with me just as we had the day before, with him pretending to be the teacher helping me learn the kata.

He put his toes on the starting place, waited until I took a place a few feet away, and began. He called out every single movement just as I had been doing for him, he spoke loudly enough for everyone in the dojo to hear it, and he performed the movements himself. I didn't say a word. I didn't move before he did. And he did the entire kata without a single mistake.

And he gave me a high-five at the end and burst out laughing.

And all the students cheered and all the parents clapped.

And this sensei cried.

I love my job.
blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)
I thought of writing a long post on the conversation about the visibility of women writers in SFF, but decided it all boils down to this: I am sick unto death of seeing articles and opinion pieces about the need to acknowledge women writers, from publications and groups that refuse to review and include and support women who self-publish.

The most common reason given for rejecting self-published works from reviews, sight unseen, is that there are just too many of them to review. By the same token, there are far too many traditionally published novels to review as well, so there is that. I get it. Making decisions takes time, and it can be difficult to choose which reviews will best please the readership. Thus it’s easier to set aside a single publication method as not-reviewable.

That reasoning suffers from two downsides. First, the policy cuts out the work of many women whose writing didn’t gain approval from a relatively small audience of editors, but instead found a great audience among readers. It cuts out women who decided they didn’t want to seek such traditional approval, and chose instead to control and direct their own work. It turns away from women who have found success outside the system that the diversity-in-the-genre articles are ostensibly trying to impact.

Self-publishing is empowerment; cutting its existence from the landscape of writers’ options, while pushing for greater visibility of women writers, is rather counterproductive if inclusion is the actual goal.

Second, the policy ensures the publication will be missing out on the broadening conversation readers are having with a number of self-published writers. It won’t affect those readers much, since they’re obviously getting their information from a variety of sources. But there are readers who are entrenched in traditional publications and reviews, and will not venture far from the familiar. Those readers will be missing out on the greater conversation as well.

Again, making decisions takes time and can be difficult.

I knew when I self-published the sort of attitudes I’d be facing from traditionally-oriented reviewers, publications, bloggers, and even other writers. To act surprised that I’ve found the environment to be pretty close to what I expected would be disingenuous. I’m simply pointing out a contradiction that troubles me.

The review policies on self-published works will eventually change, likely when it becomes apparent that readers are having conversations the publications aren’t. And when it does change, we’ll be starting the conversation on the visibility of women all over again.

Until then, though, I’ll just keep watching the policies that state a support for women writers, as long as they’re not self-published women, because those self-published women should stay in their own playground.

Well. I guess that became a blog post after all.

While you’re here, tell me who your favorite self-published women writers are!
blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)
Over on my Wordpress blog, I can see the places others have clicked links to my site. I didn't recognize one of the referring pages that landed on a past post of mine (It's the Same Advice), so I clicked it to find out where it came from. That led me to a different LiveJournal were a person had linked to the above article as well as Where the Boundaries Drawn. That's cool.

Then, the comment right under it made me laugh:

The moment a woman describes a guy who came onto her as "creepy", she loses all my sympathy. "Creepy" means, precisely, "a man who is interested in me, but not good enough for me." All the woman is saying is, "This guy thought he was good enough for me! Isn't that awful?"


I couldn't help but leave a response:

That might be your precise definition, but it certainly is not mine. A creeper is someone who does not believe the object of his/her desire has the right to decline said desire. A creeper is someone who is certain the primary reason the desired object declines is either extreme arrogance or complete stupidity. A creeper is someone who believes the arrogance and stupidity can be corrected by the right amount of mockery, insults, ignoring of requests to be left alone, and/or force.

Are there men who aren't "good enough" for me? Why yes, there are. Men who think the best way to open a relationship is to place hands on private parts of my body, or back me into a corner, or refuse to take a polite "no thank you" as a valid response are, indeed, not good enough for me.

Every person has the right to choose the traits and behaviors they'd like in a partner, and it's rather odd to see that right couched as a dismissive comment.


I've taught women in martial arts for more than a decade now, and I've had the chance to watch women decide what sort of shit they no longer need to put up with. As a result, more than one of the boyfriends/spouses faced with changing abusive behavior or losing their significant other have decided I'm a "man-hater."

Nope. I'm an asshole-hater. There is a difference. Quite a big difference.
blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)
After a stumble-start last fall, my experiment with a women-only karate class is off to a fantastic new start. The first class was on Tuesday, with seven women in attendance.

Most uncomfortable moment: Making it clear to my own (male) teacher that he needed to leave the dojo before we started class. I'd made it clear to the women there would be no men, no husbands, no children in the dojo at all.

Most awesome moment: When everyone walked out the door saying, "See you next class!"

Once upon a time, I was uncomfortable with offering a women-only class. I'm a staunch believer in men and women training together, and see huge benefits come from that. Then I chose to listen to the women who expressed a passing interest in karate, but never actually took a class.

Body image. Fear of judgment. Fear of failing. Fear of being the worst one in class. Discomfort with a physical sport. Discomfort with being seen enjoying an aggressive sport. All those reasons and more, I heard over and over from women who murmured their interest in karate to me when no one else would hear them.

I pride myself in creating a safe and supportive environment for new students who are, more often than not, nervous stepping on the mat. I've had kids cry crocodile tears at the start of class, and beg to come back for more by the end of class. I've had adults hesitant at the beginning because of physical limitations realized at the end that I'll work with them to reach their goals. But whatever atmosphere my methods and personality create, it wasn't safe and supportive for a subset of women who wanted karate training enough to mention it, but feared it enough to never try.

So I set out to create that environment. No men. No witnesses. That was a big deal for all of the women who committed to showing up. Then we talked about the physical stuff, and I shared my Ultimate Karate Dork stories as well as the problems my hip dysplasia caused. We talked about things women don't often discuss with men: boobs that get in the way, post-pregnancy body problems, hitting other people.

On the mat, we not only worked hard on technique, but we laughed. Laughed and shared and enjoyed everyone's company. We started on the basics of dojo etiquette, chatted about the boundaries of Sensei-In-Dojo and Blair-In-Supermarket, and acknowledged that it feels very strange to say "Yes, Ma'am/Yes, Sir" at first. We worked up enough of a sweat that everyone was at least a little sore the next day. And we spent time listening to one woman sharing an issue she'd been struggling with all day, and we offered support.

Unlike six or seven years ago, when most women I spoke with wanted "self-defense" without all that "karate stuff," these women want the whole thing. They want to earn the black belt. They are working hard, asking questions, making mistakes and corrections.

Three to six months from now, I suspect they'll all be ready to transition into the standard classes at least once a week. By then, all those preliminary fears will have been encountered. Best of all, this group of women is helping me refine these ideas by giving me honest feedback.

...and I have to back up, because my hopes are running away with me. :) The true test will be how many of those seven women commit to a longer-term program. The decision point will be this coming Thursday.

In the meantime, I am thrilled with the two classes we've had so far. I come home happy, energized, and grinning. It feels like the beginning of a community.

And in the writing news, I suddenly wondered if I should end Sand of Bone 20K words deeper into the larger story. This is not all that helpful to my stress level, alas.

blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)

If we’re paying attention, what we write tells us a great deal about ourselves.

This little dialogue exchange and I went back and forth for two days:




”Besides,” Luke said, “I’d hate to tell the Old Man I let you leave town without even getting a little sparring in.”

“Nothing manipulative about that statement,” she muttered, and narrowed her eyes when he gave a guilty shrug.  “First of all, you don’t let me do anything, Sensei Luke.  Second, don’t call him the Old Man anymore.  I don’t like it.  Respect matters.”

She expected him to give the eye-roll of irritation or the cocky grin of indulgence most men would have responded with.  Instead, he offered her a solemn nod and met her gaze.

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Text me the address,” Jack said.  “If I’m still in town, I’ll drop by.”



Why was it so troublesome?

I was worried the main character, the woman who goes by Jack, would sound too bitchy.

That’s a problem, really.  My problem.  I don’t much like discovering how deeply certain biases sit in me.  It isn’t comfortable.  But it is real, so there ya go.

There isn’t a thing Jack says to Luke that isn’t true.  Luke is being manipulative, he has no right to imply he has authority over her despite their relative rank in martial arts, and calling a past teacher the “Old Man” does strike Jack as disrespectful.  But she isn’t asking Luke to change, nor is she offering him the chance to realize he ought to change.  She tells him—point blank—what’s wrong with what he is saying.  There is nothing “bitchy” about it.

I say many things like that in real life, but I realized I say them with the notion, “And if you think I’m a bitch for saying so, I don’t care,” in the back of my mind.  That’s a problem as well, but a realistic one.  People–and more often than not, the “people” refers to women–who draw lines and limits without couching them as optional deeds or giving the other person “credit” for acquiescing are often named pushy, humorless, angry, bitchy.

My decision to self-publish was and is driven by many reasons.  But at the core, the decision comes from wanting to tell my stories my way, as professionally as possible, and connect with readers who like them.

Jack is a woman who has decided she will no longer put up with the little falsehoods expected of a woman who gets along by getting along.  She doesn’t want to play nice anymore by couching honest criticism in sweet diplomacy.  She still has plenty of insecurities, faults, and demons from the past, but she’s going to call bullshit when she hears it, and she expects the other person to be adult enough to handle candor.

I’m sure I’ve come across these writerly decisions before, but I can’t remember being quite so aware of it.





Crossposted at www.blairmacgregorbooks.com.
blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)
First: I am in love with this article by Sherwood Smith and Rachel Manija Brown. As I mentioned in comments at [livejournal.com profile] sartorias's LJ, a female character cannot be confident, competent, and likeable without being deemed a Mary Sue. (That doesn't even touch upon appearance, which is a whole 'nother target of spite and vitriol.) I remember a beta reader once telling me a character was a Mary Sue because of those three factors. It didn't matter that the character had been show to earn those traits; the three in combination simply Could Not Be Done is the character was to be "realistic."

Think about that for a moment. A character with competence, natural and practiced talents, who was liked because of the way she actually treated others was not realistic. She simply wasn't insecure enough, tormented enough, or outcast enough to be realistic.

That's a fucking sad commentary on what "real women" are supposed to be.

And I should note that the majority of folks I read throwing about the Mary Sue accusation to other writers are women. That's double-fucking sad, in my opinion.

(Yes, I know the original definition of Mary Sue. Alas, linguistic drift has bestowed a slightly different definition now, and that's the one we're stuck with, and I don't deem it interesting, necessary, or productive to insist everyone use the phrase in its "proper" fashion.)

Second: This post by John Wiswell--now a fellow graduate of Viable Paradise--made me cheer first (because hooray! more VP grads!). then made me grumble. I know there is a subset of self-publishers who cannot fathom the worth of critique prior to publication. My suspicion is it's the same subset who would have, in the pre- self-publishing days, written long diatribes to agents and editors in response to rejections.

Me, I see nothing incongruent between attending Viable Paradise and self-publishing. One is for craft and fellowship. One is a business decision. Anyone with shoulder-chips might indeed have good information about their side of the argument, but not the best judgment on which path is best for others.

Third: I have no link for it, but have been following various blog posts and Twitter comments from folks attending WFC in London Brighton. (Thanks for the correction, [livejournal.com profile] green_knight !) From writers who have the "proper" credentials, who should without a doubt be treated to at least the crumbs of common courtesy. And they are not.

That sort of disregard of writers--at what is supposed to be a celebration of such creativity--is a pretty good indication of what value such folks place on the writers' creations. And don't sing the "But they're all volunteers!" song my direction. I've volunteered for numerous non-genre, professional conferences and conventions. I and other volunteers assumed courtesy and professionalism were standard expectations, not something guests received if they caught us a good time and were appropriately humble in their requests.

Fourth: Check out David Gaughran on the tightening of Traditional Publishing/Author Solutions ties. If you're planning to go the traditional publishing route, it's critical you read and understand it. If you're self-publishing, it's equally important. Alas, it's becoming more difficult for new writers to avoid being shuttled into dead-end and horribly expensive self-publishing "services" that are endorsed by the same traditional publishers who sneered at Author Solutions and their ilk just a couple years ago. "I know those other people say Author Solutions is a scam, and is being sued by their past customers," says the new writer in search of validation, "but Big Respected Publisher says they're awesome, so it must okay to give them thousands of dollars!"

And I was certain I had a fifth link, but it has vanished.

(Edited to correct location of WFC.)
blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)
I usually stay out of political conversations online, and plan to continue that habit for it has served me well in recent years. So understand I am being completely, utterly, without-a-doubt serious when I say I'm not interested in seeing anyone's comments, opinions or scientific references on abortion.

However.

The Twitter-born comment by Erick Erickson--made after the passing of the Texas bill regarding abortion clinics--telling "Liberals" to go bookmark a site for coat hangers set a torch to the anger in me usually reserved for the calculatingly cruel, the joyfully nasty, and the deliberately spiteful folks who get their greatest kicks from the praise given them by their like-minded buddies.

Yes. Well.

Read more... )

What would Jesus do in this situation? I'm not certain what action he'd take. But I'm fuck-all confident Jesus wouldn't have told anyone to go buy coat hangers. Jesus wouldn't be snickering over that comment's cleverness. Jesus wouldn't be deleting it to avoid responsibility.

Have fun explaining all that when the Rapture comes your way.

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blairmacg

May 2017

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