Archive for 'things that really suck'

What Stace had to say on Tuesday, September 20th, 2011
The Check-in

Sigh. This has happened to me a lot lately, so forgive me if I rant for a minute.

Anyone can email me. I love it when readers email me, frankly; it makes everything worthwhile and more. There’s a contact form here on the site that you can use, if you want. Or ask; I give my email address all the time, all over the place. It’s staciakane AT gmail. Go ahead. I love to hear from you. I am currently way behind on answering reader emails, yes, and for that I am horrendously sorry. But that doesn’t mean the emails themselves don’t fill me with squealy delight. They do.

Here’s what does NOT fill me with squealy delight: Emails from people who clearly have no idea who I am. Don’t get me wrong; I hardly think I’m a household name. Of course I’m not.

But at least a couple of times a week I get emails asking me if I’m interested in “developing an app,” “sponsoring a product,” “participating in” some sort of promotion or activity or whatever, or–these are my favorites–offering me their services for a guest post on the blog. See, they’re Real Professional Writers(ZOMG!1!!!), and presumably my blog is in great need of some Real Professional Writing and could really benefit from their personal flair and expertise and stuff. And in exchange, all this Real Professional Writer asks is that I link back to them/their site!

Sorry, but this is insulting. I myself happen to be a Real Professional Writer, one with more credits and experience than you, Ms. Give-me-your-blog-audience-to-publicize-myself. You’d know that if you’d bothered at all to even look at the blog you’re proposing to visit. And you, Mr. App Developer? Why exactly should I pay you to develop an “app” based on…what?

I get them on Goodreads, too; a new “friend” will send me, immediately upon my approving their request, an email with links to and info about their self-published books (sorry, but I haven’t had a single commercially published author do this) and a request that I review it. They never mention my own books; they never give any indication that they even know me as anything more than just another name on a list. Again, I don’t expect people to just know my name but I do expect them to at least, you know, look at my Goodreads page–the one they had to click on to send me the request to begin with? Their books often don’t fit into any of the types of books I’ve ever rated at Goodreads and don’t fit into UF either; it’s a form email they send to every person they can, the way spammers do (and that’s what they are, spammers). I generally reply and ask what about me specifically makes them think I’m the audience for their book, and they never respond (shocking, I know).

You contacted me. Yes, I know I’m just one email address out of many you’re spamming/just one Goodreads account out of many you’re spamming. I don’t care. Don’t contact me if you don’t have any idea what you can actually offer me. Don’t contact me if you have no idea who I am and can’t even be bothered to spend two minutes scanning my website. It’s not like information about me and/or my work is secret; I have a whole website devoted to it.

Don’t contact me if you do not have an answer to the question, “Okay, and why are you contacting me, specifically?” Because I’m going to ask. And if you don’t have an answer, we’re not doing business. Of any kind. (I will report you for spam, too. Goodreads is a place where readers can talk about books; that’s what it exists for. Those readers don’t want or deserve your contempt, and “contempt” is exactly what it is when you treat them like potential sales rather than individuals, and when you look at them and see only what they can do for you, and behave as though they have some obligation to do that. Like your desire for self-promotion is more important then their time/privacy/right to go about their business without being solicited by you. You don’t care about their actual interests or tastes, you don’t care about their likes or dislikes, you only care about getting them to buy your book. You may not realize it’s contemptuous, but it is.)

I love having my pals over here for guest posts. I’m happy to offer people guest spots if I think it’s something my readers would be interested in, and I don’t mind requests from people asking if I’d be willing to let them do a guest posts. It’s fine. Please feel free to ask. But I somehow don’t think my readers are that interested in Random Nonfic Writer’s Random Blog Posts. And I get pissed as hell when Random Writer treats me like some kind of idiot who’ll be so sparkly-diamond-eyes thrilled to have a Real Writer offer to do a guest post for me that I won’t even consider the truth of the matter, which is that they’re trying to use the years of hard work I’ve put in to build my own audience to give themselves a jump without any effort.

Having someone here on my blog to write a guest post is in essence me endorsing that person and/or their book. It’s me saying to my readers, “Hey guys, so-and-so is a pal and a good writer, and you might enjoy this.” I don’t generally do that for strangers (unless of course I was blown away by their book). No, my blog doesn’t get thousands of hits a day, but it’s a fairly solid audience; we hit the mid-four digits every week, at least (did I mention before about the weird dichotomy there? When I used to get maybe 100 hits a day, a lot more people commented. Now there are way more hits but hardly any comments. Just seems odd).

So, there you go. My little semi-rant about spam and self-promotion.

Anyway. On to other things.

Last night I got a look at the revised SACRIFICIAL MAGIC cover, and I’m really, really pleased. I’ll be showing that one off ASAP; the chick on it actually looks like she could be Chess! And it has a new sort of feel that I just…I really dig it, it’s a cool cover. Can’t wait to show it to you guys, so let’s hope I get the OK fast.

I also have the final playlist for the book, which I won’t be posting for a while yet–probably not until January or so–but I do have it all set up. Incidentally, although there was an extended exclusive excerpt of Chapter One up on Stellar Four, and although there will be an extended exclusive excerpt from Chapter Two up on Dark Faerie Tales for the Supernatural Smackdown event, I won’t be posting Chapter One in its entirety on the site until the end of February, and the first three chapters will go live the day of the book’s release.

And, there’s a new interview with me up at Novels on the Run, so go check it out!

What Stace had to say on Friday, September 16th, 2011
Your Cervix and You

So it seems there’s a whole bunch of debate about the HPV vaccine and whether or not girls should be given it–why aren’t we talking about it being given to men, btw? Or are we, and I simply missed it? Because those women aren’t catching HPV from each other, generally.

Anyway. This post isn’t actually about the HPV vaccine. It’s kind of not even about HPV, although it is a bit. See, here’s what happened.

Apparently a writer named Ayelet Waldman had HPV, and was a bit upset by the finger-pointing etc. she felt was happening in the course of the vaccine debate, and so mentioned on Twitter that she’d had HPV. And the internet went crazy with people telling her, basically, that she was a dirty old whore or whatever for daring to speak of such things. See, HPV is a sexually transmitted disease, which means that even though Waldman got it from her husband–and thus the people involved were those married people who are apparently permitted to have sex–it’s still a horrible and shameful thing to have. The responses Waldman got to her tweet were pretty shocking; people were disgusted that she dared to mention such a thing. They called her names. They were very upset that they happened to be eating when she mentioned the word “cervix.” How dare she discuss her personal health! How dare she confess to having a disease that huge percentages of people have!

It’s dirty and shameful, you see, because she’s talking about a disease she got because of her having a vagina, and because she occasionally lets a man put his penis into it. The whore! I bet she wasn’t even concentrating solely on the idea of making babies while she let him do his filthy business to her. Imagine, a married woman confessing to having sex! I may never recover from my disgust.

In reaction to that, the Village Voice has declared today “Talk About Your Experience With HPV Day.”

So I’m using it to jump on my own little bandwagon here.

See, I have no experience with HPV. But I still had precancerous cells on my cervix fifteen years or so ago, and because of that, having a pap smear saved my life.

HPV is becoming more and more well-known, and that’s a good thing. There’s a vaccine, and regardless of anyone’s personal feelings about whether or not young women should be automatically given that vaccine, I think we can all agree that having a vaccine is a good thing.

But I feel like in all of the discussion about HPV and how it can and often does lead to cervical cancer, it’s not mentioned very often that yes, HPV is a cause. But it’s not the only cause. Every woman who ever had cervical cancer (or precancer) did not and does not have HPV. I tested negative several times, but still had that colposcopy and LEEP biopsy, and I know I’m not the only one.

Cervical cancer doesn’t only strike women who are sexually active. Anyone, any woman, can get cervical cancer. Virgins can get it. Nuns can get it. People who’ve never left their homes in their lives can get it. Having cervical cancer does NOT automatically equal HPV; while HPV is a sexually transmitted disease, cervical cancer is NOT.

I don’t want that to be forgotten, because I think when we fail to clarify that, when we fail to mention and remind people that HPV is not the only cause, we encourage women who aren’t sexually active, or who’ve only had one partner and both were virgins, or whatever else, to skip getting their pap smears. (BTW: A dear friend of mine who happens to be a lesbian has asked me to point out that yes, this means lesbians do indeed need to get annual pap smears. Apparently she once met an actual gynecologist who was confused about this.)

That’s a mistake. Pap smears save lives. If you are a female over the age of sixteen or so, you need to get one. Period. Doesn’t matter if you’re having sex or plan to; get a pap smear anyway. Yes, it’s kind of uncomfortable, but it’s a fleeting discomfort. It doesn’t really hurt. And yes, maybe it’s a bit difficult if you’re the modest type, but suck it up. You don’t have anything your doctor hasn’t seen before, and this can save your life. It’s important. Just do it.

HPV is nothing to be embarrassed about. It’s very common. But HPV is also not the only cause of cervical cancer, so the fact that you do not have HPV is not a guarantee that you don’t have cervical cancer.

If you haven’t had a pap smear done in the last year, call and make an appointment now.

What Stace had to say on Monday, August 29th, 2011
So…yeah. This sucks.

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.