Archive for 'i am sad'
What Stace had to say on Wednesday, October 5th, 2016
Well! I’d expected to be back here on the blog sooner, sorry–the girls went back to school, we all got sick, and I’m working my butt off. (Also, I’m allowing myself one hour three days a week to play through the Batman Arkham games on the PS3; I’ve finished Origins and am now halfway through Arkham City. I think City is a little more fun so far, but Origins has more fun things to do. Except for the Bird side mission, because that glitched for me and I never got to finish it grrr. I really wanted the damn “Disarm and Destroy” skill! Anyway.)
I have a couple of review for MADE FOR SIN that I didn’t blog before! First, a really lovely one from B&N:
Stacia Kane has a knack for writing damaged characters. …Kane draws her Vegas with all the casual depravity the city is infamous for, with aging Mafiosi, pick pockets, safe-crackers, fences, compromised cops, chorus girls, and thieves rounding out the cast…. I love Kane’s characters: they manifest a deep and riveting moral ambivalence, acted out in dark and magical worlds.
(It’s actually quite hard to pick an individual quote or two from that review, but the full thing is definitely worth a read.)
It’s About the Book has this to say:
If you like urban suspense with a twist, this book has it in spades. And while it might start off slow and gentle, it silently crawls under your skin and haunts your dreams. I know I’ll be thinking about it.
From All About Romance:
…the chemistry between Ardeth and Speare worked for me. They circle one another suspiciously, come to reluctant truces, and move from begrudging respect to sexually charged friendship in scenes that had me not wanting to put down my reader. This book has elements of romance to it, but it’s definitely more urban fantasy than traditional HEA romance and as with many an urban fantasy series, the ending of Made for Sin leaves things rather open-ended – and left this reader wanting to read the next book in the series right away.
And speaking of my books etc….
I imagine many of you have already heard about the closure of Ellora’s Cave Publishing.
When I started writing seriously in 2005/2006, EC was the biggest name out there in erotic romance. Everyone wanted to be an EC author; it was a goal of mine, and I’ll never forget the day I got that acceptance email from them. I was thrilled.
I know a lot of authors did not have a great experience with/at EC. I’ve heard (a few of) their stories. I know many people felt honestly cheated and betrayed by them, and those stories, those feelings, are valid; their experience was their experience, and just because mine was different doesn’t mean theirs was or is untrue. It’s the nature of publishing, to some degree, that different writers can have wildly different experiences with the same publisher. While I honestly saw/heard nothing that led me to believe EC was being malicious or deliberately mistreating authors, again, that does NOT mean that A) it didn’t happen; and B) that those authors are wrong to feel that they were maliciously or deliberately mistreated. In other words, if there are authors out there telling stories about their ill treatment at the hands of EC, I believe them–I absolutely do–and I’m not at all saying they’re lying or exaggerating.
However. That was not my experience. Not at all, not remotely. My time at EC was–truly!–nothing but pleasurable, professional, and fun. One of the first “I loved your book!” emails I got for UNHOLY GHOSTS came from Raelene Gorlinsky, EC’s publisher, and that was very typical of the way I was always spoken to and treated by everyone at EC. I always felt valued. I always felt professionally treated and like I mattered. EC went out of its way (seriously, out of its way) more than once for me, and I was and am grateful for it. I stopped actively writing for EC because I’d moved in a new direction with my work and didn’t have the time (or the option clauses) that would allow it, but that is the only reason I stopped. I made good money at EC. I loved being, and was proud to be, one of their authors–I always will be proud to have been one of their authors.
Again, I’m not saying others didn’t have different experiences, or that their experiences didn’t or don’t matter or aren’t valid. For them this news is either a sigh of relief or a moment of bitter pleasure, and I understand that, and am happy for them. But for me, EC was a great place. It was a house I loved working with and writing for, and I’m genuinely very sad to see it close down. I wish all of my former EC associates, from writers to cover artists to layout designers to editors (my editor Brianna St. James was, IMO, the best editor at EC, and I adore her and adored working with her) to management the very, very best in future.
However, their closure does mean that the rights to all of my EC books revert to me. For a while I’ve been toying with the idea of getting them all together, re-editing them (mostly to remove stylistic quirks put in place due to EC’s rather specific house style, which I admit to never being a huge fan of), and releasing them all–except, of course, for the two I co-wrote with the always-awesome Anna J. Evans–in one big omnibus edition, for a couple of bucks. That would be:
BLOOD WILL TELL
THE EIGHTH WAND
ACCUSTOMED TO HIS FANGS
DAY OF THE DEAD
DAY OF THE DEAD was a novella (which I loved; it was written as a Halloween story [if the title didn’t give that away] and has a big hot-sex-in-a-graveyard scene, heh), but the others are all full-length novels; BLACK DRAGON is my medieval romance, which isn’t erotic per se but still has explicit sex scenes in it, of course, and, in addition to being only the second book I ever wrote, was my attempt to write an old-school-type of romance (so the voice is a little different). I actually re-read BLACK DRAGON recently; I was trying to remember a specific thing in it, so opened up the file and began perusing, and ended up going back to re-read the whole thing start to finish. That was pretty fun–I’ve always had a real soft spot for that book and its characters anyway–and I was pleased to see that, despite the many things about it I would probably do/write differently now, a dozen years or so after I wrote it, I still think it was a pretty good book.
Anyway. The point is, I’ve been considering compiling all those together and releasing them myself, and this is an opportunity to do so. The only hesitation I have, really, is wondering if that’s even something you guys would be interested in. All of the books (except BLACK DRAGON) are paranormals, and BLOOD WILL TELL has lots of action in it (and not just in a that’s-what-she-said kind of way but genuine fighting and car chases and such), but they’re still romance, not UF. ACCUSTOMED TO HIS FANGS is a MY FAIR LADY spoof, even, which has what I still consider to be one of the funniest lines I’ve ever written (my vampire hero, who’s been in hibernation for a hundred years or so, is making toast; he muses to himself that sliced bread is “in his opinion, the greatest invention since the seed drill.” Yeah, maybe it doesn’t sound as funny written out here like that, but I giggled like a loon when I wrote it, and I still giggle at it now). Point is (again) the book is written as a comedy and is supposed to be at least amusing. So none of these books are what you would typically think of when you think of me/my work.
The other hesitation, of course, is if it’s worth doing simply because if you’re interested in my erotic romances, you’ve probably already read them.
So, what do you guys think? Is an omnibus like that something you’d be interested in? Something you’d pay three or four bucks for? Let me know. It wouldn’t take a long time to put together, really, so doing it wouldn’t take me away from any of the other projects I’m working on (aside from Downside [both Book 6 and the second Terrible-POV story], I’m finishing edits on a gothic that my agent and I are both excited about, and toying with an idea for a sort of episodic story, and working on a sexy early-twentysomething [is “New Adult” still a term?] paranormal adventure romance, and considering some options for the dystopian YA whose concept–and thus its chances–that show “Penny Dreadful” completely shat upon, sigh) so that’s not really a concern. It’s more just curiosity/uncertainty if it would sell enough copies to be worth the effort at all.
Soooo…that’s it for today, I guess. I have lots of other stuff to blog about in the coming weeks, but for the moment we’ll end it there.
Goodbye, EC, and thanks for the memories.
Note: Since I wrote this post, I learned some things that, having been away from the romance/erorom genre for seven years, and having deliberately distanced myself from online drama for the sake of my fucking sanity, I was not aware of. Please see my follow-up post here.
What Stace had to say on Thursday, January 21st, 2016
Florence King has died.
I am heartbroken.
I was nineteen or twenty when I picked up a copy of CONFESSIONS OF A FAILED SOUTHERN LADY. And I fell in love with it. I recommended it to practically everyone I met; I read and re-read it dozens of times. How could you not fall in love with an author who says, “No matter which sex I went to bed with, I never smoked on the street,” as proof that she is still the lady her grandmother wanted her to be? How can you not fall in love with an author who makes you laugh so hard, for so long, and keeps doing it on almost every page? You can’t, or at least I couldn’t, and I was desperate for more.
I was lucky there. Plenty more existed. Over the years I’ve read (almost) all of it, and loved all of it, to the point that for a while I actually subscribed to the National Review just to get her column, “The Misanthrope’s Corner.”
It wasn’t just the humor, or the wit, or the incredibly sharp eye she turned on everything, that made me love her work so much, or keep reading even when I disagreed with her. Florence King’s writing jumped off the page; everything she wrote was elegant, concise, with an edge that could cut glass. This is the woman who, in a review of some turgid literary novel, referred to a long, dull analytical conversation between strangers passing in the night as a “zipless Weltschmerz.” This is the woman who cancels an eye appointment with an optometrist whose receptionist doesn’t know how to spell “King” because, as she says: “If his receptionist couldn’t spell King, what was the optician who hired her like? I wouldn’t trust these baby bloodshots to just anybody, to paraphrase Lynda Carter, so instead of rescheduling the appointment I canceled it.” The woman who referred to a religious gathering as “the Promise Keepers Washington writhe-in.” This is the woman who once wrote a reviewer a letter chastising his positive review of her book because the review was poorly written (Miss King [she was never “Ms.”] reviewed numerous books professionally herself, and all of those reviews were delightful to read).
It’s that last one that speaks the most to what she meant to me, though. Florence King was the first writer I ever read who talked about writing. Who analyzed other writers she admired (an essay on Edna Buchanan was one of my favorites) and what was so admirable about them. She talked about punctuation–I can’t recall her exact words about comma usage here, but she said something about how she liked to use as few as possible so the sentence would just slide down the reader’s throat in one smooth gulp; it’s an analogy I think of constantly while working. She talked about word choice (“Fear of getting mad is so widespread that nobody says mad any more. The word is angry: somehow it sounds less mad than mad,” isn’t the best example, but it’s one I can link to)
and language in general. She talked about passivity in language and weasel-words and phrasing which obfuscates the point. She talked about paring sentences down, getting to the meat, and eliminating all of the side dishes. She talked about words in harmony with each other and the importance of an “ear.” She wrote a long article about GONE WITH THE WIND, wherein–among other things–she discussed some of the literary rules broken by Ms. Mitchell, and how it didn’t matter; it was from her I learned that any character in a story must have a purpose for being there, and that characters without purpose shouldn’t be created (Mitchell broke this rule, specifically in one very subtle way: the strong implication that Rhett Butler had a son with Belle Watling. The child is brought up two or three times, without ever being called Rhett’s son despite the obvious truth that he is, but the potential plot issues which could be caused by such a character are never addressed. Perhaps it’s because only the reader sees all of the comments about him, which means that one character [Melanie] only knows that Belle has a son who lives elsewhere, and another [Scarlett] only knows that Rhett has a young male ward in New Orleans; this put the reader in the fun position of knowing personal secrets that the characters do not, but still doesn’t make any difference to the story itself.)
None of these were part of a specific writing lesson. They were just observations she made while skewering culture or people (or complaining about fact-checkers and copyeditors, which she did hilariously more than once), but they made me think, really think, about how things are written or said. They made me think about how to express what I meant in the best, clearest way. They made me think about how to think, how to draw connections between one thing and another, and point them out. They led not only by explanation but by example.
It wasn’t just writing, though. Miss King had a love of, and a knack with, historical anecdotes and stories. If you do not follow any other links in this post, follow this one, an absolutely fascinating analysis of the Lizzie Borden case (who else could refer to the Borden case as a “zany tragedy?”). It was from Miss King that I learned the gruesome details of Edward II’s death (they shoved a red-hot poker up his ass) and the best story about the importance of punctuation ever told: Edward was imprisoned, and his queen and her lover wanted him dead. Of course, they needed to communicate said desire in writing, but could not actually order it in writing, since regicide is a pretty serious crime. Their compromise was genius. They sent a letter which read, exactly like this, “Kill Edward not to fear is good.”
Place the comma after “Edward,” and see what you have. Now remove it, and put it after “not.” Isabella and her dastardly lover knew what they were doing. That’s plausible deniability if ever I saw it, and it’s the kind of story that makes those of us who love words and language shake our heads in admiration.
The National Review has archived some of her columns–that’s where the links in this post came from, as otherwise it’s hard to find her work online–but that archive isn’t really representative of her entire body of work (which is not really political), IMO, and although the columns contain her trademark wit and style, none of them are her best work, either. That came in her books, from CONFESSIONS to THE FLORENCE KING READER and beyond–the latter contains a chapter from the bodice-ripper she wrote in the 70s (when the term “bodice-ripper” actually fit) under the pen name Laura Buchanan; her description of writing it while drinking glass after glass of bourbon, culminating in her passing out in a closet, is hilarious. If anyone is looking for a place to start as far as reading King, I’d say either of those two titles is the place to go.
And I urge you to do so. I can honestly say that Florence King is part of the reason I became a writer. She made me realize it was possible. She taught me what to do and what to look for. I didn’t always agree with her, but I always loved reading her take on things. She was an inspiration to me, and I cried when I learned that she had died.
RIP, Miss King, and thank you.
***A few other tidbits:
YES, Downside 6 is happening, and I am working on it. Carpal tunnel has been limiting my work-time/word-count a bit, but I’m doing better.
I caught some horrible plague-sickness at Christmas and it took me a couple of weeks to get better. The Brits refer to this sort of cold as a “lurgy,” (with a hard G) and that describes it pretty well.
For Christmas, I bought myself an InStyler–supercheap on Ebay. I like it. It works pretty well. It takes a bit of time to do my hair, but the results are good, and it’s much easier than rolling my damp hair in Velcro curlers and sitting around in them for hours, which is what I’ve been doing.
The Hubs and I are still obsessed with the game Far Cry 3, which he’s been playing on the Playstation 3 since we bought the thing back in the summer(?) According to the game, 115 hours have been spent playing it. Mostly he plays and I watch; we allow ourselves like an hour of this several times a week (I’m not watching him play when I’m supposed to be working, I promise!). If you’re not familiar with video games or don’t know which one to try or whatever, I highly, highly recommend it. (Far Cry 4, which he has also played all the way through, is good, too, but I prefer 3; the scenery is prettier. I was Very Excited when I saw they were using the Himalayas as a setting for 4, but there’s actually very little time spent in the mountains, which was/is disappointing.)
I think that’s about it.
What Stace had to say on Wednesday, July 11th, 2012
Guys…what the fuck is going on?
Seriously. What the fuck is going on here?
I honestly don’t even know where to begin, or what to say. I find myself growing more and more disturbed by things I’m seeing lately, on an almost daily basis. Like, to the point where I’m beginning to wonder if perhaps writers and readers simply should not interact with each other at all. Like, to the point where I’m considering withdrawing from the online world more than I already have (which, I’m sure none of you have noticed because you have full and busy lives, but is a bit).
It seems like almost every day we have yet another bag-of-douche acting like a fucking…I don’t even know what a good analogy is. Like a fucking vindictive shithead, vomiting their poo all over the internet and delighting in making other people feel bad. They claim this is justified, that they are Taking A Stand.
Guys…at the risk of Godwinning, reviewers are not Hitler. They’re not Mussolini. They’re not Pol Pot. I’m not aware of a single reviewer who has actually, say, kidnapped an author and tortured them in the basement, no matter how offensive they may have found that particular author’s book. I’m not aware of a single reviewer who has committed mass human rights offenses, or has engaged in some sort of cover-up, or has stolen money from people, or whatever other actions that might constitute, you know, actual activities a serious and definite stand should be taken against. For that matter, I’m not aware of a single book that has bombed spectacularly because some people got upset about it on Goodreads. The books that (appear to have) started this whole mess? Hardly failures.
I’ve been hanging around the online reading/writing community for seven years now (“Lane, I’ve been going to this school for seven years now. I’m no dummy.”). In that time I’ve seen quite a few authors behaving abominably. I’m only aware of one whose behavior was execrable AND whose books were not successful, but in that case, actually, I think the lack of sales has more to do with the fact that her books were utter shit (and even then, there were several poor misguided souls out there who liked them. Which is their right. I just personally thought the books were garbage).
So let’s get this straight, and let’s say it in boldface so there is no mistaking it:
You are not Taking A Brave Stand when you “out” people on the internet, no matter how rude or nasty you may think that person has been. You are not Exposing Their Crimes At Great Risk To Yourself. You are not a Miraculous Crusader For The Rights Of Others. You are not Karen Silkwood. You’re not even Woodward & Bernstein. You’re just an asshole with no perspective, to be honest.
And you should be fucking ashamed of yourself.
I’m ashamed of you. I’m ashamed to share internet space with you. You make me sick to my stomach.
Ever hear the phrase “Two wrongs don’t make a right?” Why don’t you think for a minute about what that means? Even IF–for the sake of argument–even IF we take your thesis as a given: That there is a segment of people online who secretly hate certain authors and delight in ripping them to shreds, and who get off on the sense of power they get from insulting and hurting and misrepresenting authors who they know can’t fight back, and who honestly believe they have the power to hurt the careers of those authors…
Even if we take that at face value…
How exactly is outing those reviewers on the internet HELPING anyone? How are you making yourself look like anything but a miserable, bullying piece of shit? How are you doing anything but making the tension in reader-writer relations–a tension with which I admit to being increasingly uncomfortable with every new kerfuffle–WORSE?
And you’re a fucking hypocrite. Outing people from behind the veil of anonymity. Yelling at people for daring to express opinions while behaving as if every word you type is precious and golden. Deciding it’s your place to attack people you deem “bullies.” (By the way, I’m also not talking about the difference between bullying and what you seem to think is bullying, and how offensive that is, and how I’m tired of seeing people hide behind the buzzword-of-the-day to justify their own complete lack of human decency.)
Honestly, I’m not just angry and sick about this. I am both of those things, intensely. I’m furious. I’m horrified.
But I’m also disheartened. I’m so tired of it all, you guys. I’m just so fucking tired of it all.
You know what? I’ve been on the receiving end of internet rage. I’ve had things I said misrepresented. I’ve gotten hate email–more than once. I’ve found people saying the most vile and hurtful things about me, lying about me. It wasn’t nice. It wasn’t fun. It didn’t feel good. It still doesn’t. I’ve seen it happen to others, too. And I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.
I’m sick of the goddamn internet feeding frenzy. I’m sick of feeling like we’re all trapped on the island from LORD OF THE FLIES.
But you know what? If it’s anyone’s responsibility to put a stop to that shit, it’s MINE. I am the product creator. I am the merchant. I am the content originator. In other words, I am the one with the responsibility to guard my public image, to guard my art, to guard my integrity, and to watch how I represent myself. You could even say–and hell, for the sake of argument I will, even though it sounds egotistical and I really don’t think of it this way–that I have a responsibility to set an example.
I cannot control the behavior of others. I CAN control my own behavior.
Here’s the thing. Have I seen situations where I feel statements or actions of writers have been taken out of context, or overreacted over? You bet your ass I have. Has it upset me? Hell, yes, it has. Has it happened to me, where something said in one spirit was taken in a completely different one? Regular readers know it has (and I won’t even discuss in this post the sexism of that situation, or of this one, though I may do that soon. Suffice to say at the moment that I’m sick and tired of the attempts made to keep women and their opinions in line while no such offense is taken when men say the same things, or of women being yelled at for their “tone” and “attitude” whereas no one does the same at men. Ever visited a heavily male site like Aintitcool? Why don’t you go take a look at the vitriol there, and say something about it? Oh, I know. Because you’re too busy being an asshole about women who dared to step off the very narrow path of behavior you deem appropriate).
But here’s the other thing.
If writers never went crazy and unloaded on readers, if they never did things like try to out them or get their little friends to vote down their reviews or report them to try to get them deleted…if writers never sent nasty emails to reviewers or threatened to name AIDS-infected prostitutes after them (because that is so totally hilarious, yo) or tried to get them banned from websites…if writers never sent emails out to their cronies asking them to write positive reviews of their books or leave comments on less-than-positive reviews on retail sites or blogs…if writers never took to the internet to bitch and moan about those stupid readers who dared to not like their books and what morons they are and how they don’t deserve to live…in other words, if the idea of a writer cheating, gaming the system, and generally acting like an entitled little shit had never occurred to anyone? If all writers behaved with integrity? If no writer had ever behaved as though readers are nothing more than their personal publicity service with some kind of duty to help them promote their work? If no writer had ever behaved as if readers have no right to express an opinion?
Well, gee…if no writers had ever behaved like that, do you think readers would be so anxious? Do you think they would interpret any sort of comment by a writer on or about a review (and keep in mind I disapprove of writers commenting on reviews at all, this is just a general question) as an attack or attempt to intimidate? Do you think all this shit would have started in the first place?
Because I kind of don’t.
The fact is, the burden is on us. No, I didn’t start writing with the intent of being a Public Figure. Yes, I do find it upsetting that writers have to be so careful what we say, not just about reviews but about anything and everything else. But hey, that’s part of the job. And it’s easy to forget that it’s not just writers. It’s not an outgrowth of “celebrity.” It’s an outgrowth of having your thoughts and opinions exposed to a large group of people. Sooner or later somebody’s going to take offense. If you say something to enough people that will happen. That’s just the way it goes. I find it upsetting no matter who it happens to; I wish and wish that we could all remember those people on the other “side” of the computer screen are people, with thoughts and feelings. Maybe they’re having a bad day. Maybe they’re lonely or sad. Maybe they’re just not thinking about everything they say with the gravity Lincoln afforded the Gettysburg Address. People make mistakes. People mess up. People forget their audience, or fail to phrase something exactly, or whatever else. I hate that people are so eager to leap onto others like a pack of wild dogs. I hate that we seem to think the internet means it’s okay to say anything to anyone, about anyone, with no consequences. But you know what? People get carried away, too.
It’s easy to look at the current climate and talk about how ugly it is. And it is. Not all of it, but a segment of it. I know I’m not the only one growing increasingly disgusted by it, increasingly uncomfortable with it, increasingly angry and upset. I know I’m not the only one who’s been seriously reconsidering my participation online. I know I’m not the only one who finds the tendency toward outright glee when someone makes a mistake, the way everyone jumps in to laugh and point, to be highly disturbing.
But the answer is not to jump in and out-disgusting the people you feel are disgusting. The answer is not to forget your responsibilities to other people. The answer is not to create a website so full of vile slime and attacks, a website that deliberately tries to disrupt lives and could potentially incite violence–a website that outs mothers with children in their homes and encourages people to harass them (think about that again for a second: MOTHERS WITH CHILDREN IN THEIR HOMES)–that it turns the stomach and then pat yourself on your smug fucking back like you’ve just Scored One For The Good Guys.
YOU ARE NOT A GOOD GUY.
You are, in fact, the opposite of that.
I’m sorry this is so disjointed, and confused. I’m sorry it doesn’t make my point as clearly as I would like. I’m just too sick and sad and angry and upset and whatever else over this. It is horrifying. HORRIFYING.
I may well discuss this more later.
What Stace had to say on Monday, August 29th, 2011
I really, really hate to say this but…on Friday I emailed the organizers of Dragon*con to cancel my appearance.
We had some scheduling issues here that made it look like I wasn’t going to be able to go, but I was hope hope hoping, so I didn’t say anything or cancel. Then that stupid hurricane happened and flights were being canceled left right and center. I was supposed to fly standby and it was very clear to me–thanks to the airline rep I spoke to–that I had the proverbial snowball’s chance at making it at any point in the next week, really, much less Sun-Mon-Tues (my original plan), because of all the storm-stranded people who took precedence.
And at some point you start to wonder if the universe isn’t trying to tell you something, really.
So I don’t get to go. And I’m really just…I’m so sorry, and I’m so sad. Dragon*con is the highlight of my year, seriously, and I feel completely sick about this.
Fingers crossed for next year. I’m just…I can’t apologize enough, and I’m just devastated about this.
What Stace had to say on Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011
I was just getting ready to do my big excited release-day post this afternoon when I heard that L.A. Banks has died.
That just sucks.
I didn’t know Leslie well; I didn’t really know her at all, to be honest. But I met her at my first RT ever (Orlando 09), at a dinner for St. Martins authors. My good friend Caitlin Kittredge writes for St. Martins, and while we had a different event we’d already committed to, Caitlin asked me if I’d like to tag along with her to stop in and at least say hello to everyone etc. etc.
I was pretty nervous and felt a bit out of place, (like I often do) especially since at that point I only had one small-press book on the shelves. And of course didn’t have any deals in the works with St. Martins. So I just kind of hung back; I met Caitlin’s editor Rose and we chitchatted for a few minutes–she was great–and just sort of hoped I didn’t look too conspicuous.
Then L.A. Banks walked in, with a couple of other people. I think the noise level in the restaurant rose a few decibels, because Leslie was so happy to see everyone, and everyone was so happy to see her, and it was like the party was really starting.
So Caitlin introduced me to Leslie, and I probably blushed and looked awkward, but Leslie gave me this big warm hug and asked me about myself and my work and my upcoming series with Del Rey (Caitlin had mentioned it) etc. etc., and seemed genuinely interested in my answers.
That’s the kind of person we lost today. Someone who went out of their way to make other people feel comfortable and welcome, someone genuinely kind and friendly.
And of course someone who wrote great books.
That’s a loss for all of us. There are so few people like that in the world, and now we’re down one more, and that just sucks.
My heart goes out to Leslie’s family and close friends.
I don’t much feel like promoting my release today, sorry. I’ll come back tomorrow with that one.
Hugs to all of you.
What Stace had to say on Monday, July 25th, 2011
Amy Winehouse died.
I’m sure you all know that. I’m sure this is only one of thousands of posts about her and her death that will be posted today, that have already been posted. But I want to say something about it; I need to say something about it, so I’m going to.
Amy’s music wasn’t the type I normally listen to, but I honestly loved Back to Black. I loved the sixties-esque, bluesy feel of it. I thought her lyrics were stunning and gritty and dark and beautiful, and her voice incredible. And today–all weekend–I’ve watched other people–other women–talk about those lyrics especially, how it felt to them like Amy really opened herself up, really exposed something of herself and how much that mattered to them, and why it mattered to them. They talk about dark times in their lives when those lyrics and that music helped them and spoke to them and made them feel not so alone. They talk about what a tragedy this is, how much they wanted another album, how deeply they identified with the troubled soul laid bare for them in song.
I’m also seeing other people–mostly men; some women, yes, but more men–talk about how they’re not surprised, how Amy deserved to die, how she was a junkie slag, how we’re all stupid if we didn’t expect this and stupid for caring to begin with. Oh, and of course there’s a healthy dose of “Kids died in Norway so how dare you people care about this when something actually important has just happened,” as if people can’t care about both, or as if no one is allowed to mourn the loss of someone who touched their lives because another tragedy with a bigger body count has taken place elsewhere. Like if your grandparent died on 9/11 you shouldn’t have cared or something. Along with that comes quite a bit of “Those kids in Norway didn’t deserve to die and Amy did” or “those kids in Norway had futures and Amy pissed hers away.”
(This post isn’t about the tragedy in Norway, and for the record I am horrified and saddened and deeply troubled by it.)
I find a number of things troubling here, and am kind of struggling to articulate all of my thoughts and feelings on it. I’m troubled at the loss of someone with talent. I’m troubled at the loss of someone who was clearly in a lot of pain. I’m troubled by the callousness of so many of the responses (just, as it must be said, I am by the callous responses many people make anytime any kind of death is reported in the news).
I find myself thinking back to when Kurt Cobain died. I personally never cared for Kurt Cobain or his music; in fact I strongly disliked both. But I remember well the way his addiction was handled in the press, and I remember that the response to it was one of sadness and concern, the response to his death one of shock and mourning. I remember how the public discourse seemed so much to be about worry and support. And now I remember the response to Amy’s addiction was scorn and disgust, and the response to her death–not everywhere, it must be said–seems to be more of the same, with a healthy dollop of “she deserved it.” I don’t remember people calling Cobain an ugly whore because of his addictions, or discussing how if he touched them they’d want to bathe with bleach, or wondering why anyone in their right minds would want to be anywhere near him. I don’t recall, when River Phoenix died, people saying he deserved it. So why the vitriol against Amy Winehouse? Is it easier to dismiss and shame her because Ladies Don’t Do Such Things? Why is it okay for talented men to be fucked up, but talented women aren’t allowed? Why are men with addiction problems forgiven and hoped for, but women are condemned?
For every person discussing what a vile person Charlie Sheen is and has become, there are many willing to pay huge amounts of money to see him ramble. And that’s now, after the shit around him finally reached an un-ignorable level. Let’s not forget that Charlie’s had addiction issues for years; let’s not forget how many women have accused him of domestic violence. How much shit did we hear about him when those incidents happened? It was a quick news story that then disappeared, and when his name came up we didn’t hear much about it. If it was mentioned it was in a cheery “Those problems were totally overblown and are behind him now” sort of way. He was called a “partier” and a “lothario.” Now how many times in the last couple of years did you see an article about Amy that didn’t focus on her addiction problems or mention the violence in her relationship with her husband in a snide and condescending manner? How many comments to those articles didn’t focus–in Charlie’s case–on how much the commenter hoped his troubles really were behind him, and how many of the comments in Amy’s case weren’t about how ugly and skanky she was? How many times was Amy’s behavior chuckled about as if it was just normal and fine, how many times was she fondly called a “party girl?”
Googling things like “Amy Winhouse slut,” “Amy Winehouse slag,” and “Amy Winehouse disgusting” brings up millions and millions of hits all about–yes–how Amy was a slut, a slag, and disgusting. “Amy Winehouse disgusting” brought up over nine million hits, largely Facebook groups, blogs, videos, websites, whatever, devoted to how disgusting Amy is. “Charlie Sheen disgusting” brings up two million, and even on the first page you can see the difference; they’re calling his behavior disgusting, not him, or they’re quoting Denise Richards. I realize doing a few Google searches is hardly a scientific study, but I do think it’s telling.
Sure, there’s a difference. Charlie’s fame didn’t come from singing about/talking about drugs and alcohol. I know that, and I know that’s part of the response I’ll get about this post. I guess the implication there is that–my old favorite–Amy shouldn’t have mentioned it if she didn’t want to be judged, and Amy asked for it when she sang about things that had meaning for her. Of course that can’t really be argued with; every artist knows that creating art for public consumption means opening oneself up to public criticism. That’s the name of the game, and of course everyone has a right to their own reactions to things and to express those reactions. My comments or concerns aren’t about that so much as the fact that we seem to be much gentler and more forgiving when it’s a man whose problems we’re discussing rather than a woman. (It’s not just publicly either; when I asked about this online I had a girl who’d entered AA at a young age remark on how different were the reactions she got from the reactions the men she knew in recovery got. They were tortured and cool; she was a dirty slut.)
(We can say the same thing about Britney Spears, actually, a young woman who had a public breakdown while we all watched. When Britney was a sexy virgin everyone loved her; the minute she gained a few pounds and showed evidence of stress people started stoning her in the public square. Part of this is simply the way of the world these days. As I said Friday, it feels like our culture has devolved to the point where other people aren’t seen or treated as human anymore, but merely artificial constructs created for our entertainment, and we delight in going online to say whatever clever little cruelty we’ve invented in our vicious little heads, then sitting back smiling at our own pithy disregard for other people’s feelings. After all, we’re perfect, aren’t we, so obviously anyone dealing with problems we don’t ourselves deal with or not living their lives the exact same way we do are inferior in some way, and thus deserving of our scorn. I digress.)
This is getting very long, so I’m going to hold off on the second part and post it tomorrow. It’s about my own feelings about blogging and putting things out there, and all of that. So for now…that’s all.
What Stace had to say on Monday, January 31st, 2011
You know, I don’t even really want to discuss any of the stuff that came up last week anymore. I’m sick of it. I’m sick of having my motives questioned, sick of being told I’m lying about them, sick of being told I’m a petty vindictive bitch, sick of being called a hypocrite, sick of being told I equate bad reviews with mean and thus obviously can’t handle reviews at all, sick of being yelled at for my “tone,” sick of being told I’m obviously egotistical and self-centered, sick of being referred to and treated like the Will Hays of the publishing world or something, or like I think I’m the freaking Black Gate of Mordor and you must get through me personally to be published so you better do exactly as I say, or that I told anyone they “wouldn’t get published” if they didn’t follow my advice, which is the biggest pile of bullshit. Since when is “another writer might not want to blurb you” equal to “forget about being published ever, bitches?” FFS. I was even told by one non-writer that I was making all women writers and the entire urban fantasy community look bad.
And in fact I was/am seriously considering either giving up the blog altogether or going back to what I’ve been doing the last few months, which is basically just making the blog about me personally and not really expressing any opinions at all. Because quite frankly, it’s not worth it to me (which funnily enough was the point of last week’s posts, too). Watching myself get slammed all up and down Twitter and all over the internet and finding nasty emails in my Inbox is not worth it. Being thrown into the center of some kind of huge swirling controversy simply for sharing my experience as truthfully as possible and giving a bit of advice which people are free to take or leave–advice I wish someone had given me, advice that was just meant to be helpful and friendly, something to think about, since the subject came up (publicly, not privately as some people seem to think)–isn’t worth it. I have too much going on in my life, frankly, and don’t need to be screamed at and torn apart by a bunch of people I don’t know, who don’t know me, who’ve never even heard of me before or read any of my work but who nonetheless feel qualified to call me rude/egotistical/self-centered/weak/scared/vindictive/fake/hypocritical/oversensitive/advocating dishonesty, and feel perfectly justified in doing so as loudly and as often as possible, even though my post was nothing personal, and aimed at no one in particular.
(Yes, I got some nasty emails about UNHOLY GHOSTS right before its release, too. That was quite upsetting. That was also worth it, because it was about my work; my art, and that matters deeply to me. This isn’t, and doesn’t.)
Of course, what’s happened is the perfect example of why I said “Be careful what you say because people will misinterpret it/take offense when none is intended/attribute motives to you which aren’t yours/claim you’re ‘protesting too much’ when you try to explain that no, that really wasn’t your motive.” That reaction is exactly what I meant, everyone. Go ahead and tell me again why I’m wrong to suggest caution in your online dealings unless you enjoy being attacked. I don’t mean that to be rude, I’m just pointing it out.
Anyway. I was going to give it up. And I’m still considering what I might do. But meanwhile I had this post planned, and have told people to expect it, and a few people have encouraged me to go ahead and post it, so here it is. I guess I really can’t be attacked more than I have been, or made to feel worse, or made to wonder any more what the hell I did that was so wrong that I deserved that kind of fury.
One of the most interesting comments I saw last week and throughout the weekend were the number of unpublished writers, or un-NY-published writers, talking about “helpful” reviews, and how great it can be to find reviews that give “constructive criticism.” (Those are actual quotes, btw, not me being sarcastic.) How they would never feel bad about any review because it’s all feedback and that’s so valuable and they learn from it.
And it got me thinking. What do I learn from reviews? What have I learned from my reviews?
Well…not a damn thing, to be honest.
Before you get all up in arms again, let me make a couple more things clear. I love readers. I love reviewers. I will and have stood up (many times) for the right of readers and reviewers to say whatever they like, in whatever way they like, and have said over and over that reviewers are great and I’m grateful for them, and that I wish the tension that often appears to exist between writers and readers wasn’t there. I do often read my reviews and I almost always enjoy reading them, even if the reviewer didn’t like the book.
But enjoying them and respecting them isn’t learning from them. I don’t. And here’s why. Read the rest of this entry »
What Stace had to say on Thursday, November 18th, 2010
In work work work, oh yes. I plan to have Downside 4 finished by the beginning of next week, hopefully sooner. I’d actually expected to have it done already, but a plot twist came out of nowhere and necessitated some more words and some changes. This is a really twisty one, which is fun; I’m hoping everyone thinks it’s fun, at least. BFF Cori is enjoying it, so I’m trying to reassure myself with that, because she wouldn’t like it if it was awful.
I got an email this morning letting me know that A GLIMPSE OF DARKNESS, the story-in-the-round from the Suvudu blog (me, Lara Adrian, Harry Connolly, Kelly Meding, Lucy Snyder) is up for Kindle pre-order on Amazon now.
Which reminds me, BE A SEX-WRITING STRUMPET has been out on Kindle for a while now and still has zero reviews, even though it’s been selling. Won’t someone please give it a little love? *whine whine*
And one other little link, to an interview with me done by Apex Magazine. The interview is here. I was given the questions a couple of months ago, and was frankly rather stunned by that first one, but after some discussion, myself, my editor, and my publicist decided it must have just been badly worded, because the interviewer seemed so nice and friendly, and had been quite enthusiastic about the series when speaking to my publicist. Fool me once, shame on me; I’ve certainly learned my lesson in that. I’ve never before had an experience like that, where I take considerable time away from my writing to do what I think is a nice thing, and have it turned on me so roundly; I haven’t been set up like that, and I don’t care to have it happen again.
This isn’t about the review, of course; you all know how strongly I feel everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and to the expression of that opinion. I’m not remotely bothered by hers. I am, however, bothered by the fact that I was blindsided like that, and that I answered those questions with a view towards helping someone out, being nice to them, and giving them the benefit of the doubt, only to find out that there was an agenda there. This has happened to me once before, you may remember; I did a podcast interview with several other people (including my friend Jackie Kessler; this is also how I met Simon Wood, who is a really cool guy) about the Harlequin Horizons thing, and found out after it aired that the host’s questions weren’t as innocent as they seemed, and that he turned around and reamed Jackie, Simon, and I because we were “elitists.”
But again. A lesson learned is a lesson learned. Next time I get an interview that starts with a question that makes me feel slapped, I’ll cancel the interview instead of assuming the interviewer didn’t mean to be so harsh; clearly she did mean to be just that harsh, and clearly there is a degree of amusement there in being that way to my face and making it appear as if I don’t understand what’s happening.
The only reason I’m mentioning this at all is because I often get interview requests through the site, and I try to accommodate them; in fact, I’ve never turned down an interview request, or a guest blog request, I don’t think. Unfortunately I’m not going to be able to be so open with them anymore, especially if I don’t know you.
So from now on, if you want an interview with me, please submit your questions along with the request, and let me know what if anything will be appearing along side it (a review, a discussion, whatever). If you have submitted such a request in the last couple of months and haven’t yet gotten a reply, please re-submit. I’m trying to catch up on emails but with the book in the final stretch I’ve barely had time for anything else; I’ve been doing around 5k per day, plus edits etc.
The good news is I’m pretty pleased with how it’s shaping up, and I’m hoping you all will be too, since your opinions are the important ones.
And here’s a snippet! A snippet which will hopefully make you smile, in which Chess and Terrible are about to do some nocturnal investigating for her latest case. Remember it’s just a tiny snippet!:
Her car rattled and bumped its way over every little rock and patch of uneven ground, banging Terrible’s head on the ceiling once. “Shoulda brung my car.”
“No we shouldn’t have, and you know why we didn’t.”
He sighed. Heavily. “’Stoo small.”
“Every car is too small for you.” Her smile this time was genuine.
Instead of answering, she slid the car up to the door and shoved it into Park. “Come on.”
What Stace had to say on Thursday, September 23rd, 2010
Yesterday I learned, through my fellow League of Reluctant Adults members, that Jennifer Rardin passed away on Monday. She was only forty-five.
Jennifer was a Leaguer for a while (she left due to time commitments not too long ago), and as such was someone I spoke to in emails on a semi-regular basis, someone I “knew,” in a bit more than just the general casual way so many of us writers know each other. She was funny and kind and smart, obviously someone who cared deeply for her family, her friends, and her readers; that came through in every email she sent to us and every discussion she joined in, even the ridiculous ones (which let’s face it, most of the conversations at the League are).
I am terribly saddened by this news, as are all of us at the League. We’ve lost a friend, someone we laughed with and cared about, a vivid and talented lady. Jaye Wells wrote a lovely tribute on the League blog here from all of us, and Nicole Peeler has another lovely one here.
If you’re a fan of her books, or someone who met her, and would like to leave condolences for her family you can do so here or on her website (linked above). I’m sure the messages being left are a great comfort to her family, and I urge you to take the time to let them know that her life and work touched you in some way.
I have some other updates and stuff to share, but I’ll do those tomorrow.
What Stace had to say on Thursday, September 9th, 2010
Yep, I’m being lazy, and although I’ll be posting this Thursday morning it’s actually quite late Wednesday night as I write this, and I got barely any sleep last night, so I’m quite tired.
And because I’m quite tired I have very little to discuss. It occurs to me I should mention Dragon*Con. I had a wonderful time at the con, I really did. Friday I got to hang out with Caitlin and my family, in addition to sitting and chatting in the bar with a number of other people whose names I’m not going to mention because they probably don’t want to admit they were actually in public with me, ha. No, actually, it was just a lot of people. But I think a great time was had by all.
This was my stepdaughter’s, and my daughters’, first Dragoncon, and they were pretty awed by the whole thing. We left them at home on Saturday–that being the most crowded day, usually, and yeah, it certainly was–and wandered around ourselves. Ended up–surprise!–in the bar again. I did a little interview for a very nice girl named Day, and my friend Shannan came along, and somehow the conversation turned to a video I saw online once of a couple discussing their bestiality and how they really love their pet miniature horse. Hey, I just saw it, okay, I wasn’t in it or anything. And I wasn’t talking about it like it was a beautiful love story or something. It just came up in conversation, as these things are wont to do if you hang out with weirdos like me and my friends.
The point of my mentioning it is, apparently on Sunday people were hearing that I actually had a bestiality porn video on my phone, and was showing people. So there goes the rumor mill! I’m waiting for the tale of how someone caught me shooting up in the bathrooms or something to get out. Because, um, of course that never happened! Ha ha! No, not me! (Of course I’m joking. It totally happened. Ha! See what I did there? Oh, I am a card.) No, really, honestly, of course it didn’t happen, because I didn’t shoot up anything in any bathrooms because I am not a shooter-upper, but such is the nature of rumor that I’m expecting more outrageous stories about me, is all. My agent says that’s a good thing, because obviously if people need to talk about you you’re doing something right, and he said something else that was really wise and reassuring but I don’t remember now what it was. Anyway, I find the whole thing both terrifying and amusing, so we’ll see which of those wins out.
On Saturday too we hooked up with our pals Chris and Mike, and went for drinks in the restaurant, and then to home.
So Sunday I was pretty well exhausted. To the point where I started drinking around two pm just in order to stay awake. You know, hair of the dog and all. And it worked; I did in fact stay awake. I had a panel at 5:30 that my children got to come and see, which was pretty cool; they waved at me a lot and I waved back, and they really wanted to wear costumes so they were Wonder Woman (Faerie) and Batgirl (Princess). Sadly, hubs had to take them all home shortly after that panel ended, leaving Caitlin and I all on our alones. We didn’t end up in the bar that night, well, not the Hyatt bar where we’d been. Instead we had dinner with more friends, two very awesome ladies, and then we hooked up with other friends and hung out in the lobby area by where the comic artists alley was, drinking from the little bar there and looking at costumes and generally having a gay old time.
And that was it. We came home. Had considered going back Monday but I was exhausted and felt like absolute crap. Yes, all that vodka caught up with me on Monday; I was capable of movement and speech and all, but I certainly didn’t feel like my chipper self, and the thought of dragging my ass down to the Marta station, and from there on the train down to the con, and then around the con, just didn’t appeal. So I didn’t get to see the dealer room at all this year, which was again a disappointment since I wanted to get myself something. (Of course, it also meant there was no repeat of last year’s corset issue. And I admit, part of me wondered if that booth wouldn’t have a picture of me taped up somewhere with a warning not to let me anywhere near the store. Now I’ll never know, sigh.)
What else shall I mention, in my lackadaisical blog post? My stepdaughter went home this morning, so it’s been kind of a downer day here, which sucks since Caitlin is here. And then she leaves tomorrow which makes me sad too. And all my Dragoncon pals, of course, have already left, which always sucks.
On the plus side, though, work on the 4th Downside book is coming along nicely. Work on the t-shirt designs and other things is coming along nicely, and I’m quite pleased and enthused and I think you all will be too, at least I hope so. I have the deleted scenes from CITY OF GHOSTS and a list of other updates and tidbits ready to be added to the site, along with more really cool reader-made stuff that I think you guys are going to love. And I’m going to do a list of research books, and sort of suggested reading/things I read, for those who want to learn a bit more about that stuff. So I’m quite excited about the next wave of updates. And as always, if there’s anything you guys want to see on the site, let me know, and I will do my best. (And if you’ve done anything like wallpapers or artwork or something along those lines and would like to share it on the site, let me know that too.)
Oh, and several of you asked questions in the comments on my little “How Babies Are Made” series. I will get to them as soon as possible, and give you what answers I can, okay?
I think that’s it for today’s lackadaisical blog post.