greygirlbeast: (death&themaiden)
[personal profile] greygirlbeast
No, The Red Tree didn't win the World Fantasy Award, but that in no way diminishes my pride and my joy at having been nominated. And my congratulations to all the winners. And my thanks to Peter, who would have accepted for me, had I won.

Here is it, Día de los Muertos*, and me without calaveras de azucar. Truthfully, I've never had a sugar skull, but would love to someday.

Sirenia Digest #59 should be going out the subscribers this evening. There were a few problems with the first PDF that are being corrected, and we'll get it out to you as soon as everything is just so. Yesterday was spent on the issue's layout. Today, I have to go back to actually writing, and, truthfully, it's a sort of relief.

---

I really dislike getting angry first thing in the goddamn morning. Or, well, early afternoon. For that reason, I try to avoid reader comments about my books on Amazon.com. This morning, I slipped up, and found this, posted anonymously two days ago by "R.M.B." (I've not bothered correcting R.M.B.'s misspellings):

I was very intrigued with the reviews of this book. It sounded great and I couldn't wait to read it. I was very dissappointed and quit after about five chapters. As is mentioned by other reviewers, the main character is very foul-mouthed and difficult to like. Also, and forgive me if this is a spoiler, in all the reviews and the synopsis I saw on this book nowhere is it mentioned that there is a very heavy gay/lesbian story-line. It's certainly not the first (nor I'm sure the last) book I've read that contains this element, but as that is not my taste and certainly not what I thougt I was getting here, I felt like that little detail was hidden. Frankly I feel a little mislead and wish I could get my money back. I can overlook some of these issues in some books, but this one was'nt one of them.

So, yeah, here's some angrifying shit (thank you for that word, Kristin Hersh). And suddenly I'm having flashbacks to that last (and horrible) Readercon 21 panel this past July, during which I had to listen to people complain that books ought to come with warning labels. Is it wrong for writers to respond to critics? No, not in the least, and I don't know who thought up that tiresome old chestnut. Regardless, I want to be clear that what I am responding to here is not the fact that the reader disliked the novel, as a novel, but to the reader's homophobia and sense of entitlement.

To start with, had she or he actually read "reviews of this book," he or she would have known that Sarah and Constance were lesbians. Few reviews fail to mention Sarah's sexuality, or the fact that she becomes involved with Constance. Ergo, the "reviewer" is either lying and didn't read reviews, or means cover blurbs when he or she says "reviews." Secondly, it is no one's responsibility— not mine and not my editor's and not my publisher's and not Amazon.com's —to inform anyone "that there is a very heavy gay/lesbian story-line." Does R.M.B. think books should notify their readers when there are very heavy straight plots? Of course not, because, remember, heterosexuality is normal and to be expected. It's a given that straight characters will suit the "tastes" of most readers, so this sort of warning would be silly. Obviously. So, never mind the disgust that betrays this reader's homophobia, there's the entitlement issue, that she or he has a right to be informed of queer characters, so such characters can be safely avoided. Same old shit, different goddamn day.

Is this worth me getting upset over? Yes. Maybe it wouldn't be, if gay men and women were accorded the same legal rights as straight men and women. But we are not. We are targeted as deviant. We are shat upon. We are relegated. We are shunned. We are threatened and murdered for loving those we love, and, ironically, told we cannot die in war. We are told we are sick and need to be cured. Even were all this not true, I would find the expectation that a book about us ought to come with a warning utterly abhorrent. So, yes. Sarah Crowe is a lesbian, and she's also "foul-mouthed," and if that gripes your ass, don't read my goddamned novel. If your sensibilities are so easily assaulted, do some research before you buy a book. Don't publicly whine after the fact, because the world can't be bothered to hold your little hand and cover your little eyes and keep you safe from all you find distasteful. And if you are going to publicly speak your opinion about a book, criticize the actual book, instead of using it as a platform for your loathing of queers. Want to review a book? Then review the fucking book, asshole.

There were other things I was going to write about in this entry, but I'm too angry. The whole goddamn world is falling into ruin, and people have time to be offended at queers. This shit has to stop somewhere. To quote Malcolm Reynolds, my favorite space cowboy, "So here is us, on the raggedy edge. Don't push me, and I won't push you."

* My mistake. Día de los Muertos is November 2nd. Surely, I knew that.

Date: 2010-11-01 05:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] xjenavivex.livejournal.com
:: applauds::

Date: 2010-11-01 05:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] glasscut.livejournal.com
If we're getting warning labels, can I get one for when a book is laden with Christian moralism, too? I'd like to avoid getting through a series of book only to have a lion (or Dragon or Elf or DragonElfLion) appear at the end to redeem me for my sins, if you please.

Date: 2010-11-01 05:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

DragonElfLion

Those tend to freak me out.

Date: 2010-11-01 05:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cucumberseed.livejournal.com
No one ever talks about readers' responsibilities. By the time someone who hasn't seen the writer naked, in one way or another, reads the thing written, the writer's told the people what they saw; work is done, responsibility discharged. Bah. Going further down this road is only going to make us both angrier. I hear you. I agree, and it makes me angry, too.

Date: 2010-11-01 05:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

Going further down this road is only going to make us both angrier.

Sadly, I don't feel I have much choice ion the matter.

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From: [identity profile] tarots.livejournal.com - Date: 2010-11-01 10:03 pm (UTC) - Expand

....a very heavy gay/lesbian story-line...

Date: 2010-11-01 05:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stsisyphus.livejournal.com
Huh, I guess it's been a while since I read the book, but I don't seem to remember the passages in which she moves to Provincetown to become a lesbian socialite trapped in a series of meaningless sexual escapades while juggling her advocacy of gay marriage, rescuing closeted teens from abusive communities, and raising her children in strict defiance of local moral-majority authorities.

On the other hand, I'd like to see more of your "heavy gay" stories.

Re: ....a very heavy gay/lesbian story-line...

Date: 2010-11-01 05:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

On the other hand, I'd like to see more of your "heavy gay" stories.

Oh...you will. With gay sauce on top.

Date: 2010-11-01 05:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] david lemoine (from livejournal.com)
Well said. It's really too bad that so many assholes seem magnetically pulled towards your "oh so offensive" work. I wish it weren't so.

Date: 2010-11-01 05:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com
It's really too bad that so many assholes seem magnetically pulled towards your "oh so offensive" work.

I'm a shit magnet.
Edited Date: 2010-11-01 05:47 pm (UTC)

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Date: 2010-11-01 06:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] swarfega.livejournal.com
I hate to point it out, but the homophobic reviewer also has a Glenn Beck book included on their wishlist.. -shudder-

Date: 2010-11-01 06:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] egologic.livejournal.com
I'd say that fact alone brings the picture fully into focus.

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Date: 2010-11-01 06:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ashlyme.livejournal.com
What does this arsehole want? A pink triangle sticker on the front of the book? "Warning: Contains Gays"? Seriously. Fuck off. I saw this kind of crap on reviews of Silk, and it angered me. Being both foul-mouthed and queer myself. Perhaps this bastard would prefer us if we were demure, but I doubt it.

*Pour* on that gay sauce...

Date: 2010-11-01 06:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

What does this arsehole want? A pink triangle sticker on the front of the book? "Warning: Contains Gays"?

Yes.

Pink Sign

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Re: Pink Sign

From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com - Date: 2010-11-01 06:36 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

From: [identity profile] ellistrae.livejournal.com - Date: 2010-11-03 05:29 pm (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2010-11-01 06:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ashlyme.livejournal.com
Well, I'm sorry that this jerkwad has annoyed you.

Hope you get that sugar skull.

Date: 2010-11-01 06:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

Hope you get that sugar skull.

Spooky's looking into it.

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Date: 2010-11-01 06:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lupa.livejournal.com
I hate that sort of thing. I HATE it. I hate that people feel like they need to be warned about the things of beauty in any life, whether mine or yours or the next person's or that of a fictional character. Literature is there to share the joys and the uplifts and the scars and devastations of human beings, and love and sex affect all of us, on all places along the queer spectrum. Fuck anyone who thinks they get a pass, and dryfuck anyone calling those things of universal power and presence "issues."

Date: 2010-11-01 06:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

Dryfuck.

I like that.

Date: 2010-11-01 07:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] negothick.livejournal.com
Interesting: murder, abuse, suicide, and threats to our consensus reality don't bother the "reviewer," but oh gracious, let's not have any foul language or Lesbians. Priorities, he would say.

Date: 2010-11-01 07:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

Interesting: murder, abuse, suicide, and threats to our consensus reality don't bother the "reviewer," but oh gracious, let's not have any foul language or Lesbians.

Americans are pretty numb to violence and existential shock, but they can't seem to get over dirty words and the whole sex thing.

Date: 2010-11-01 08:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] neutralgenius.livejournal.com
I think because you and a few of the other people who have commented are pissed, that it covered enough for me to be amused. Course, if someone had written that about my books, I would not be a happy panda. But, I digress. I find it hilarious they feel like they need a warning for homosexual content. That's what some research into a book is for :] And reader's shouldn't get pissed at the author for finding something in the book that they're reading. They can just put it down, return it, something. People are stupid and never seem to realize that, oh hey, sometimes it you have to take the blame.

Anyway, I don't remember The Red Tree being heavily homosexual especially within the first five chapters. And on a completely unrelated note, I just wanted to say that The Red Tree has been a bit of an inspiration for my National Novel Writing Month novel.

Date: 2010-11-01 08:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com


Anyway, I don't remember The Red Tree being heavily homosexual especially within the first five chapters.


Well, there is the scene in Chapter one in Amanda's apartment, and then Constance and Sarah do the nasty in Chapter Five, which includes "Pony," and the kinky ponygirl stuff...and R. M. B. claims to have "quit after about five chapters," so there you go.

Me, I think she needs to see a proctologist about the broom handle lodged in her rectum.

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Date: 2010-11-01 08:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] joemuszynski.livejournal.com
such ignorance is all too common, and seemingly getting more so. hmmm - rudeness too.

the only novels nominated for the award that I read were The Red Tree and the winner. Though interesting, the winner has dissipated. The Red Tree is still lingering. i would have selected otherwise.

Date: 2010-11-01 08:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

You should also read Jeff VanderMeer's Finch and Kit Whitfield's In Great Waters.

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Date: 2010-11-01 08:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alvyarin.livejournal.com
I'm sorry. I hate people. I know it doesn't make it any better to know there is one more person on your side but...here I am.

We need some more leggy Magenta photos around here! Or pictures of Smeagol...I'd be happy with either.

Date: 2010-11-01 09:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com


We need some more leggy Magenta photos around here!


I fear very few were taken.

Or pictures of Smeagol...I'd be happy with either.

Sméagol we can arrange.

Date: 2010-11-01 09:06 pm (UTC)
sovay: (Psholtii: in a bad mood)
From: [personal profile] sovay
but as that is not my taste and certainly not what I thougt I was getting here

I want warnings for Amazon.com. I don't expect to get badly written bigotry when I look for a review.

Date: 2010-11-01 09:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

I want warnings for Amazon.com. I don't expect to get badly written bigotry when I look for a review.

We should campaign.

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Date: 2010-11-01 09:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] saladinahmed.livejournal.com
I'm looking at all these books on my shelf and not one of them has a 'WARNING: ONLY HETERO WHITE DUDES IN HERE' sticker on it. I felt like that little detail was hidden. Frankly I feel a little mislead and wish I could get my money back.

::starts working on little star-and-crescent MOOZLIMS AHEAD warning sticker for forthcoming novel::

Date: 2010-11-01 09:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

::starts working on little star-and-crescent MOOZLIMS AHEAD warning sticker for forthcoming novel::

You should let R.M.B. know.

Date: 2010-11-01 09:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vyrdolak1998.livejournal.com
One of my authors got a really nasty review on Amazon, and like your reviewer, this one admitted that she hadn't even finished the book.

There are no words strong enough to express my utter contempt for "reviewers" who trash a book they haven't even read in its entirety. Amazon should allow all such reviews to be deleted on that basis alone. If you didn't finish it, you're not qualified to review it. Anyway, a book isn't "bad" just because it isn't your cuppa.

I agree, the way some people demand that art, or personal blog posts, and so on, come with "warning labels" or "trigger alerts" really drives me nuts. If you don't want to read something, don't read it.

People have complained because my second novel "has so many bisexual characters" and because in my first novel, the characters use some strong language. What do they want, a ratings system? Book clubs put warnings on books, of course, but the movie ratings system was implemented to replace the old Hayes Office outright censorship (still firmly in place for television). Do these oh-so-sensitive readers really want to start down that slippery slope?

Maybe they do. :-(

Date: 2010-11-01 10:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

What do they want, a ratings system?

That is precisely what several people who attended the Readercon panel I mentioned in this entry proposed...with straight faces.

Do these oh-so-sensitive readers really want to start down that slippery slope?

If they cannot ban such subject matter outright, I think that's exactly what they want.

Date: 2010-11-01 10:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] spank-an-elf.livejournal.com
RMB stands for Revolting Moronic Blatherbluss. The Blathersbuss’s are a fine old family, deep rooted in hatred and intolerance. They live behind stacks of blood money and often hold book burnings on birthdays.

I think I'll wander to Amazon and have some fun.

Date: 2010-11-01 10:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com
RMB stands for Revolting Moronic Blatherbluss. The Blathersbuss’s are a fine old family, deep rooted in hatred and intolerance. They live behind stacks of blood money and often hold book burnings on birthdays.

Thank you. Now I'll know to take the Blatherblusses off my invite list for the next lesbian orgy and blood-sacrifice potluck.
Edited Date: 2010-11-01 10:40 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

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Date: 2010-11-01 11:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] catconley.livejournal.com
It's sad, because it seems like a good portion of "speculative fiction" readers only want to speculate about the "pretend" parts of the book. They don't want to read anything that would make them speculate about their their real-world world views at all. They are happy to entertain the idea of elves and dragons and whatnot (even if the elves are gay, or the dragons can change their sex) because it ultimately doesn't matter - it's all just make-believe, and it's not pushing any of their real-world boundaries. But a GLBT supporting character or (*even worse!*) narrator can challenge their real-world world views, because GLBT people really exist, and who knows, might prove to be interesting or empathetic narrators - and then what? It forces the reader to ask "What if?" in a real life kind of way - not just "What if elves were real?" but "What if GLBT people were actually interesting human beings? Whoa, far out." Apparently a lot of speculative fiction readers are uninterested in that, which is sad for followers of genres that focus on asking "What if?".

As an interesting side note: Merriam's second definition for "speculate" reads as follows: "To assume a business risk in hope of gain." So, really, complaining about not liking a speculative fiction novel - you were warned right in the genre name that that might happen :) Caveat emptor and all that :)

Date: 2010-11-02 02:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

It's sad, because it seems like a good portion of "speculative fiction" readers only want to speculate about the "pretend" parts of the book. They don't want to read anything that would make them speculate about their their real-world world views at all. They are happy to entertain the idea of elves and dragons and whatnot (even if the elves are gay, or the dragons can change their sex) because it ultimately doesn't matter - it's all just make-believe, and it's not pushing any of their real-world boundaries.

I've seen this, phenomenon, but my impression (and all I have to go on is this one review and the readers' apparent interest in Glenn Beck) is that this reader isn't even that open minded.

"To assume a business risk in hope of gain."

Thing is, many "readers" now think like "consumers," and they want money-back guarantees if a book does "work."

Not another Bigot

Date: 2010-11-01 11:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jessamyg.livejournal.com
As Billy Connolly once said, "Fuck off, he hinted."
Can I have a sticker to put on books that says "Warning! May contain scenes that disturb the equilibrium of your consensus reality." I'm certain some of these people don't live in the same world I live in, or am I becoming solipsistic in my old age? There's a group of Christians who stand in our local square and sing and preach for hours and hours and, though it grates on me at times, I wouldn't think of going up to them and telling them to shut the fuck up because they offend me. Well, I might THINK it.

Re: Not another Bigot

Date: 2010-11-02 02:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

There's a group of Christians who stand in our local square and sing and preach for hours and hours and, though it grates on me at times, I wouldn't think of going up to them and telling them to shut the fuck up because they offend me. Well, I might THINK it.

Xtians can be peculiarly noisy people...

Date: 2010-11-02 04:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shaula82.livejournal.com
Fuck. That.

In a way, I wish your books did have a sticker on them to signal the prominence of queer characters and characters of colour - I might have gotten into them sooner ;) (I started reading your work when Daughter of Hounds came out, by fluke, and now you are my favourite author.)

Date: 2010-11-02 02:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com


In a way, I wish your books did have a sticker on them to signal the prominence of queer characters and characters of colour - I might have gotten into them sooner ;) (I started reading your work when Daughter of Hounds came out, by fluke, and now you are my favourite author.)


Problem is (and this is horrid to have to say), more often than not, novels getting labeled as GLBT and placed in that section of a bookstore is the kiss of death in terms of sales. aside from that, I don't want to be singled out as a queer author, not unless books by straight authors featuring straight characters also come with identifying stickers...

Date: 2010-11-02 04:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mizliz13.livejournal.com
Yes, fuck that. Indeed.

Date: 2010-11-02 02:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

Yes, fuck that. Indeed.

The power of the f-bomb.

Date: 2010-11-02 05:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theninth.livejournal.com
I'm sorry you got that review.

I'm sorry that so many people are so "politically correct" that they demand soft language and warnings on everything. It makes me want to put warnings on things like the newspaper. "Warning: May contain homicide and rape." I hate that everyone will immediately cry "That's triggering" over jokes or fictional stories -- even when the "triggering" event is crucial to the plot.

I hate that one can't write a character that's a bigot and a racist without people blaming the author and assuming that he or she must believe/support/be everything they write (Or at least all the negative things they write).

I hate what we as a society are becoming.

I don't even like putting warnings on piddly little bits of fanfiction I write. If it ever gets to a point where published books need warnings I will officially quit writing completely.

Date: 2010-11-02 05:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

I hate that everyone will immediately cry "That's triggering" over jokes or fictional stories -- even when the "triggering" event is crucial to the plot.

I loathe— and will not tolerate as valid —that atrocious misuse of the word triggering. The purpose of good fiction is to trigger emotions and reactions, even (and maybe especially) if those emotions and reactions are difficult to deal with. We call this catharsis through art, which is one of art's primary functions. I feel as though we've reached some point where people want their phobias and traumas treated as precious bits of their personality, instead of as problems to be confronted.


I don't even like putting warnings on piddly little bits of fanfiction I write.


So, don't.

(no subject)

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Date: 2010-11-03 11:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bbluemarble.livejournal.com
That review is exactly the sort of shit that causes me angst over my own sexuality. I am so disgusted by that sort of bigoted, loudmouthed prick to the point that it makes me ashamed to be straight. Please know we're not all like that.

That review also makes me want to write just to prove something. Like, "Oh you think gay sex is bad? That's the worst thing you can think of? Really?! Okay, here's a nice unassuming straight couple and--oh wait, nope, erotic cannibalism. And I'll write it heartfelt and believable and it will haunt you forever because, for just a minute, I pulled you out of your head and into theirs and you couldn't stand to face, for just one fucking second, that your own concept of love might not be the one and true only reality. Bet you want your money back now!"

Some people see reading as a way to constantly reinforce their own world view; I think they're doing it wrong.

I could say it's not worth it and don't let them get you down, but that would be a lie. In this case, as with any social issue, silence equals complacency. Keep writing what you write. There is power in it.

Date: 2010-11-04 03:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kent allard (from livejournal.com)
Not surprisingly, R.M.B. is married to a pastor: http://webpages.charter.net/nlcm/About%20Us.htm

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