Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Cake or Death: Con Edition

I have recently found out about a great organization that has set out to help sci fi and fantasy fans of color attend SFF conventions: Con or Bust.

From their "About" section: Con or Bust is a non-profit "whose mission is to increase racial and ethnic diversity in the production of and audience for speculative fiction. Con or Bust isn’t a scholarship and isn’t limited by geography, type of con-goer, or con; its goal is simply to help fans of color go to SFF cons and be their own awesome selves."

Con or Bust has been around 2009 as a response to Racefail09, which was about the lack of characters of color in fiction, and whether non-people of color have the right, responsibility, and/or ability to write COC. Reactions were varied, and many of them were passionate, some angry or defensive, but it broke wide open the discussion.

A side issue was the dearth of POC sci fi and fantasy writers. Linked to that was the lower numbers of convention-goers who were POC.

So Con or Bust decided to do something about it. Since then, they have made it possible to make donations, and also hold an auction (full of awesome stuff!) in order to raise funds that are then used to send fans of color to various SFF conventions.

The auction for this year opens on February 10, and closes on February 23. (Keep in mind timezones, folks).

Some of the offerings:

A poem written for you/about by Jane Yolen. (Yeah, that Jane Yolen!)

A custom, handspun, handwoven scarf, your choice of color

A custom, Police Box bag or laptop/iPad case

A manuscript critique up to 10,000 words by Lynne M. Thomas, or a fiction critique up to 10,000 words by Yoon Ha Lee (who also has a short story collection Conservation of Shadows available as a separate bid)

Pillow cookies from one person (cookies wrapped in brownies, anyone?) and a New Orleans care package from another

Books, many many books (including The Spiritwalker Trilogy by Kate Elliot with a copy of "The Secret Journal of Beatrice Barahal"; multiple series by N. K. Jemisin; the Newsflesh series by Mira Grant; signed ARCs of A Natural History of Dragons and The Tropic of Serpents; an illustrated, hardcover, gift edition of Stephen King's The Shining; and many, many more).

This is only a sampling of the auctions on the first two pages. The auctions for this year are already up to page 4.

So please, take a look, ogle the wonderful, and get ready to bid on the 10th, and/or spread the word about an organization doing a lot of good.

Monday, February 3, 2014

White Privilege

The past handful of days, the concept--and reality--of white privilege has been bouncing around my small corner of the internet. It's been even more prevalent for my friend and fellow writer, Xen.

As a response, he posted this reference guide for dealing with white privilege when you encounter it. He says it so well, I got his permission to post it here, so I hope and encourage everyone to read it and to think about their own behaviors and the privilege they might be benefiting from without even realizing it.

Xen Sanders on 'white privilege':

A handy-dandy reference guide on what to do when offering advice regarding white privilege and how to deal with it in society:

1. Look in the mirror. Are you white?***

2. If the answer is yes, please sit down, observe a respectful silence, listen to what people of color are trying to tell you, and remember that you are not in any way, shape, or form qualified to advise on this subject. If you think you are, please see step three.

3. Google "white privilege." Educate yourself about what it is. Do not get defensive; do not automatically assume it cannot be you because you just don't like the idea. You are not being attacked right now. You are not an awful person. No one thinks you're horrible. No one hates you. And no one is calling you a racist for enjoying white privilege, so don't worry about that, either; let's get past that right now and work past that defensive knee-jerk reaction. If you see signs of white privilege in your life, it doesn't mean you're a racist at all. It just means society subconsciously favors you, and you've never even been aware of it. That can change, but please don't expect sympathy or congratulations for realizing your privilege.

4. Look in the mirror again. Still white? Yeah, that's not going to change. That's okay. There's nothing wrong with being white, just as there's nothing wrong with any other color. What can change is you, and how you respond to the people of color--if any--in your life. It is never okay to tell people of color how they should feel about race issues. I'm sorry, it's just not. It's never okay to presume to speak for us, either. We are intelligent, well-educated people. We can speak for ourselves; the harder matter is actually getting people to listen when it doesn't impact your life if people who aren't like you don't enjoy the same privileges you do, and when sometimes listening involves an uncomfortable and embarrassing level of self-analysis. Also? You don't have to shout louder than we do to be an ally. Sometimes the best you can do is listen, ask questions, and try to empathize, even though you can never understand because it's not a life you've lived. We wouldn't expect you to. But we do expect you to realize that--that you do *not* understand what it means to live life in the role of a person of color, and no amount of advocacy will change that, and any claims that you "get it" are false and offensive.

Check your privilege. Check yourself.

Show a little respect, and we'll be happy to give it back to you.

***If the answer to #1 is "no," disregard #2-4, and just do your best to educate, advocate, and not bite the heads off your white friends if they need to be told over and over and over again because they're just not getting it.


Here's the link for his post: Xen Sanders' facebook status on white privilege 

And here's his website: Xenarchy

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Saying Goodbye to the Year

I usually try to come up with resolutions when the new year rolls around, but the more I think about it for 2014, the more it seems like a futile endeavor. My resolutions always end up the same: write more, read more, edit this or that, send out queries, focus on my health and try to lose some weight, build better habits and try to get closer to some of my life goals.

All very general in recent years, because the years would pass by without nothing achieved (or not enough) when I had more specific resolutions.

This year, I am not going to worry about resolutions, promises to myself to do X or Y.

This year end, I have spent New Year's Eve day spending time with my aunt, watching "Frozen" with my mother, crafting a gift, listening to music, talking with friends online, and shortly, a bit of writing on a story I began earlier in the year.

Tomorrow, I will spend more time with family, rest and relax, grade, and edit.

I want 2014 to reflect these two days, full of obligations and enjoyment, and balancing between the two. A year where I have time to rest, but also to have fun, and to get projects done that are just for me, as well as complete projects with and for others.

Happy New Year, and happy writing.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Great Advice for NaNoers

Robin LaFevers (author of Grave Mercy) has some great advice for writers who get stuck and the usual methods are just not working. Some tips are meant to prepare for the writing (so you have all the tools at hand), others are tips to help you just get the words on the page.

Post is here: Frog Marching The Muse

Also, she has chapter one of the sequel to Grave Mercy, available on her website: Dark Triumph.

Read, write, and for those of you doing NaNoWriMo, good luck making your word count goals.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Gorgeous!

In that funny way that anyone who has googled a single specific fact and found themselves, hours later, in the most random and unexpected places can attest to, I have discovered this wonderful artist: Alberto Seveso.

Drops of ink in water, and the results are paint drops floating upwards, silk, fabric coiled about itself with a sensuousness that goes beyond... just beyond.

Go. Look. See.


A Year in the Life

Cross-posted from Red-Inked Leaf, my editing blog:

Up until this past year, I have edited numerous manuscripts. Some I have seen nearly from beginning to end, others only in fits and starts, some only a few pages. Such is the life of a writing group member.

Writing groups are a great way to gain experience as an editor, seeing how different people write, and different people to react to being edited. But it is a far cry from editing a manuscript from first read to final release.

Purple Haze took about a year from when I first received the manuscript until it was released into the wild. It's the first book I've edited with Savant Books and Publications, so in part, I wanted to take my time and see that I did it right. But I also needed to find the balance between writing my own work, teaching college-level English and Psychology, and editing nonfiction freelance (along with some weekly volunteer work, a vague semblance of a social life, and a year full of a number of health issues).

The first step, after an initial read-through, was to decide whether to edit a chunk of chapters and send those to the author, then do another chunk, and so on; or to edit the whole manuscript and send that. We opted for the former, running on enthusiasm and a desire to jump into it.

As I made edits and suggestions, I sent those out, and George edited them and sent them. I held off on my second round of edits, though, until I had gone through the whole manuscript. Then we started the process again.

At first, the focus was bigger ideas--content, plot, characterization. As those were edited, our focus narrowed to smaller issues, until it was line edits: grammar, punctuation, sentence structure.

It took about three or four rounds of "edit, send to author" before we felt comfortable passing it on to the proofreaders. At that point, we also starting working with the cover artist on the cover.


Now we are in the post-release marketing stage. So below is the press release of Purple Haze. Please read, and I hope you get the book, and pass along the description. Happy reading!

Savant Books Announces the Release of George Hudson's New Novel, "Purple Haze"
Savant Books and Publications LLC, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, announces the release of George Hudson's novel of past and present murder and intrigue, "Purple Haze."


Savant Books and Publications LLC, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, announces the release of George Hudson's novel of past and present murder and intrigue, "Purple Haze."

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

George Hudson's "Purple Haze"
George Hudson's "Purple Haze"
PRLog (Press Release) - Jul. 26, 2013 - HONOLULU --
A skull discovered in a lake leads FBI investigators Bryan Langston and Joe Mallory on a dangerous search for answers to a thirty-year-old unsolved murder. What they don't know is that there is someone still alive who will do whatever it takes to keep the truth buried, even if that
means killing again.

George Hudson was born in East Tennessee in 1947, into a family of seven other siblings. His life was deeply impacted by the Tennessee Valley Authority and by the lakes throughout the area in which he was raised. He has been a lifetime educator, teaching history in the public schools in Tennessee for thirty years. George also taught as an adjunct professor of history and is presently teaching at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. In his writing, he intersperses bits of history about the area to add local color and sentiment. He and his wife, Gail, live in Chattanooga.

"It's exciting to finally have this book available for all to read," says Hudson. "'It has been an untold story in my imagination for a long time."

"Purple Haze" by George Hudson - 274 pages - 6" x 9" Trade Book - Color Softcover. ISBN 9780988664050. Suggested retail price $16.95. Released in July 2013 by Savant Books and Publications, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.

This book is available from the publisher, printer and Amazon.com at

http://www.savantbooksandpublications.com/9780988664050.php

from Savant Bookstore Honolulu at
http://www.savantbookstorehonolulu.com

and directly from Amazon.com at
http://www.amazon.com/Purple-Haze-George-Hudson/dp/0988664054/

Savant Books and Publications LLC is a publisher of enduring literature and media for the 21st Century. For more information visit www.savantbooksandpublications.com

Friday, July 26, 2013

First Book Release as Editor: Purple Haze by George Hudson

I've mentioned a few times that I have been editing for a local publisher. It's been about a year since I first met with the senior editor and founder of Savant Books and Publications. I've gone through the interview, the training, the waiting for a manuscript, and the lengthy process of editing an unfamiliar story and working with a new author (in the midst of teaching, and for a time, editing someone else's psych dissertation).

Well, I am stoked to announce (though I am keeping the squeeing to a minimum), that today marks the release of my first edited work with Savant: Purple Haze by George Hudson. You'll be hearing more about it over the next few months, but I hope you'll take some time to check out the description. You can buy it directly from Savant, or through Amazon.

Purple Haze is about a murder investigation set in Tennessee. A skull is found in a lake, and a thirty-year-old mystery is brought to the surface...