Adventures in e-Publishing, Cat Valente is right about everything ever, and night of the (not-gay!) living dead
It's still February, which means my essay, "Writing Our Own (Alternate) Histories," is still in this month's issue of Crossed Genres. If you've got the time and inclination, check it out!
Speaking of things you can read without pulping trees first, Aleksandr Voinov is doing an experiment. He's posted his and Raev Gray's short story, "Spoils of War" on Smashwords, and is letting readers decide how much to pay for it. So far, it's been interesting to see the results. Check out his first three posts about it here, here, and here.
If you haven't read Cat Valente's blog lately, you've probably missed out on her posts about angry-making gender coding in hygiene products and the hell that is gender relations in popular media.
Please go read them. If it seems a little angry, that's because these things are worth being angry over.
Jim C. Hines added some commentary on the topic, which is (as usual) spot on as well.
And you know, I'm interested in this as a writer because I want to innovate and imagine and make good stories that don't propagate harm. When I say that, though, that's such a small thing compared to how important it is to look at this problem of culture as a human being living in it.
Regardless of your gender or sexuality or politics, these are the messages we see and hear and read and repeat, over and over, without thinking. We are so accustomed to it that we think that, "oh, it's just the way things are," when men are violent, or when women are victims, or when relationships fail because people don't know how to have them properly, or when people are harassed in the workplace, or when a boy likes dolls or a girl likes to climb trees, and it's exhausting because all of us have to invest so much time in either a) conforming to something which is not natural to us, or b) fighting the tide of expectation and everyone who tries to enforce these roles.
As human beings, this is a matter of life and death.
In less cheerful news, an upcoming anthology I'd planned to submit to has recently been withdrawn by the publisher because of anti-gay sentiment expressed not by possible readers, but by other authors who've submitted work the publisher.
When I write here about LGBTQ stories being harder to sell, or about LGBTQ writers having a steeper hill to climb in order to earn respect and make a living at their writing, I often get notes from people who tell me that these problems are long since past, and to get over it, and that there is no movement that actively wants to silence people like me, or the stories that we want to tell.
And yet, apparently the idea that the living dead (and those who survive to fight them) might exist in ways that transcend mainstream attitudes about gender and sexuality, and that someone might want to put this stuff in a book, is sufficiently robust a threat that multiple someones acted to shut it down.
I'm hoping this project will find another bigger, better, and more badass publisher. I was already writing my submission more for the love than for the money. Now, though, I'm writing it because I've got something to prove as well.
(And, because a post about zombies warrants a mention of it, if you dig both zombies and poetry, check out Vicious Verses and Reanimated Rhymes. I'm in there, my friend John C. Hay is in there, and everyone I know who's bought a copy has said exceedingly nice things.)