THE SHADOW CABINET IS COMING OUT IN MARCH AND THIS IS WHY
Let me get this started WAY UP TOP here with the headline. THE SHADOW CABINET, the third book in the Shades of London series, is now coming out on MARCH 5, 2015. That’s in the United States. Dates in other countries will follow, and I’ll post them as soon as I get them.
Now, this book was supposed to come out in September, and now it’s March. WHY????
If you’ll indulge me, I’m going to tell you a little about the year 2013, as I experienced it. And a bit about publishing, and about being a human person.
Starting in 2010, I developed a few problems with pain and excessive tiredness. I just thought I was having an odd ache or two, and just sleepy, or possibly lazy. By mid-2012, though, it had gotten bad. I was often woozy on my feet, and the pain was, at times, kind of extraordinary. It capped off at LeakyCon 2012. Once I had done my job and it was over, I felt all my energy leave me in a big WOOOOOSH. I tried to get up for the final breakfast and ended up having to go back to bed immediately. I went to the doctor that week and just casually laid this out, and he was like, “OKAY, WHAT? WHY DIDN’T YOU SAY THIS BEFORE?” And he did an ultrasound and found that I had a large mass in my abdomen. (It wasn’t cancer. It was LADYSTUFFS. But I’m not going to BORE you with the details.)*
This is approximately things went, as I look at my calendar:
November 2012: Surgery scheduled, but Hurricane Sandy hits instead. Surgery canceled. Out of house for a week with no heat, water, or power. Live with Libba Bray. Get two root canals. Oscar decides it is time to move to US as clearly I will be swept out to sea unless something is done.
December 2012: Get surgery. Think will be up on feet within a few days, but not really how things work. Took more like three or four weeks.
January 2013: Get infection, which knocks me down for two more weeks.
February: Fly to England to help Oscar pack, then go immediately on tour for release of Madness Underneath.
March: Oscar moves over. Go immediately on tour with Cassie Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan.
April: Went to Houston and LA for more touring/conferences. New apartment opens with more space for two people, away from famous neighbor in 8A. So, we move, even though, at this point, as you can imagine, I’m a bit worn. Also, still dealing with some post-surgical stuff that starts to abate by this point. Told by my physician to stop moving boxes or my insides will fall out. Continue to move boxes.
May: Unpack and settle into new apartment. A lot of LeakyCon planning. So much LeakyCon planning. (I run the Lit Track along with Robin Wasserman, and the planning phase goes on all year, but really heats up the month before the conference and is basically an everyday thing by that point.)
June: Go to England with Oscar to see family, do appearance. Spend a week writing with Cassie, Holly, Sarah, Jen Lynn in Cornwall and finish up Bane Chronicles stories. Then…LEAKYCON (a non-stop week in Portland).
July: GET PUPPY. Other stuff, but once you have a puppy it’s ALL JUST POOP AND WEIRD SLEEPING.
August: Oh my god we have a puppy. WHAT HAVE WE DONE. The August schedule is all word counts and puppy training.
September: Much the same as August. These are the months of 2013 that were the most relaxing and also when I began to realize that I was running on fumes.
October: UK tour (which I get sick during and lose my voice), week of appearances in Vancouver (with a bit of a voice). Zelda (the puppy) begins to develop what will be ongoing medical issues.
November: Now writing book in every second of every day. Find out about World Book Day! Have to write novella, now. Stop everything.
I was writing — both on the new novel and also all the kinds of things writers write as part of the promotion for their novels — throughout all of the above, and doing all the other parts of my job. (The actual writing of books is only part of the “author” job now, something I will be talking about in a FUTURE POST. Finding time to write amidst all the admin that needs doing can be weirdly hard.) But those events were the highlights (and what’s written on my calendar).
By December, the problems that lead to the surgery in the first place began to reappear. The condition I have is an ongoing one, that’s not unlike garden weeding. You cut it out and it comes back, and then you cut it out and it comes back, etc. This came back a bit quickly. When I could no longer pretend it wasn’t happening, I went to the doctor. This confirmed it was back, and I was scheduled for a series of tests, the last of which was on Tuesday. I found out a few weeks ago that another surgery is inevitable. The question was and is when that surgery will happen. And I’m totally going to be okay. It’s annoying, but there are SO MANY WORSE THINGS TO HAVE.
I informed my editor at Penguin that—ha ha ha! —-this was happening again. This wrinkle meant I might be about two weeks late on getting the book in, but by this point, two weeks was a bridge too far. Books are seasonal, and there was no time left. So, the book was preemptively moved to allow me to take care of myself, to tour when it comes out, and do everything properly. It was really good of them, and I am deeply appreciative.
Now, why did I tell you all of that? Why did I list what sounds like A SERIES OF COMPLAINTS? It’s not. Much of the above was FANTASTIC! Almost everything about it was lucky. I love writing and I love touring and I have a medical issue that is completely manageable and the resources to get care. I have a wonderful Oscar and a wonderful Zelda. Someday I’ll finish moving into the apartment (that never quite got done—when we go Zelda all progress on that front basically froze). I’M NOT COMPLAINING. I’M EXPLAINING. I SWEAR.
I feel deeply responsible to everyone who reads my books. You are the reason I am here. I LIKE YOU. And I left the end of Madness Underneath on SUCH A CLIFFHANGER that you are owed a decent explanation as to why you have to wait for THE ANSWER.
For my part, I thought I was chugging along just fine. In retrospect, I know I wasn’t. In the end, my body just threw down a roadblock that I couldn’t ignore. I don’t mind this at all. And like I said, it’s not that bad. But it pays to listen, sometimes, and remember that the first job is to be human.
Otherwise, how would we write?
All that being said, THE BOOK IS COMING and I have some VERY good news to share very soon. And I thank you for sticking with me.
THE BOOK IS ALMOST READY FOR YOU.
IT HAS ALL THE ANSWERS YOU REQUIRE.
PLEASE READ IT.
READ THE FIRST TWO (THE NAME OF THE STAR AND THE MADNESS UNDERNEATH) MAYBE IF YOU HAVE NOT IT WOULD BE NICE WHY NOT TRY THEM WHY NOT??????????
Hey, I'm sorry if this is super weird, but you're beautiful, and I wondered if you'd ever thought about doing any topless pics?
Thank you for your kind inquiry. If you do not mind, I will impart some gentle advice to guide you in further communications.
Weigh the probability. I am an author of books for young adults. Does it strike you as likely that I would go casting about in my public tumblr box for people to take photos of my chesticular bookends? Normally, I find questions about books. And while everyone likes a change now and again, there is such a thing as too much change. If you were to work the numbers, what do you think the actual chances were that I was going to reply in the affirmative? Were they high? If they were, it seems within reason that you might have been in a similar condition. No. The chances were never good. So either you are an eternal optimist (and we certainly need optimists), or this was written with some other intent in mind.
I realize you didn’t come to me looking for advice on how to communicate, much in the same way that I did not come to you looking to have topless pictures taken—but here we are together. Let us make the most of it!
The key to any effective letter is this: know your audience! Everything stems from that critical piece of knowledge. You had a moment of self-awareness in the first part of your sentence. Pause there and reflect. Asking women you don’t know (or often those you do) if they want to take some topless pictures is almost a guarantee of weird. This is why Hallmark doesn’t make a “how about some topless pictures?” card. You hovered on the edge of wisdom, and you retreated. Do not retreat, my friend.
With that, I must offer my regrets. But I do not want to leave you without recourse. Have you heard of the author Nicolas Sparks? Perhaps you could make a similar inquiry to him? Or would that not be appropriate?
“This is Logan reminding you: if you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask which seat, just get on. Sheryl Sandberg said that. So don’t leave a message. Go get on that rocket ship. Or, leave a message. Your call. Your decision will tell me a lot about you.”—Logan Echolls’ voicemail on Veronica Mars Movie’s closing credits. (via mikss)
Many of you already know about some of the recent events concerning various YouTube performers and allegations of sexual misconduct. When I read about this (and it seems to come and come right now), I thought, “I have nothing to add to this.” So I just watched. And was sad. And also heartened by the fact that a really serious, progressive conversation as going on.
But then I read a piece about these events (it was in the Daily Dot, the link is here). This quote stuck with me.
“Looking at the responses from Alex Day, the Green brothers, and the cofounder of DFTBA records, one begins to notice something missing from the conversation: female voices. Among the various sex scandals and the resulting blog posts from friends and coworkers, it’s vanishingly rare to hear from any woman who isn’t speaking from the perspective of a victim or fan.
It would be grossly inaccurate to say that there are no women in the amorphous online community that surrounds the vlogbrothers, DFTBA Records, Tumblr fandom celebrities and geek-culture bands like Chameleon Circuit. But when it comes to the kind of devoted fan community one finds on Tumblr, most of the Internet celebrities who end up with “idol” status are part of the same demographic: cute, nerdy white guys who write and vlog about things like Doctor Who, YA literature, feminism, gay rights, and Internet culture.”
I thought about this a lot. Aside from Melissa Anelli, I didn’t see any women speaking about it from entirely outside the sphere of events. And that did bother me. (Though I want to add: I think Hank Green made an excellent video on this topic. I hope it gets a million views.)
So, because that gap is there, and because I have the benefit of being older—I thought I might widen the focus a little and talk about my own experience and maybe how we got here and where we can go from this point. Because there are many, many places to go.
I’m about to get personal, and also, if you have any issues with stories of a sexual/abusive nature, just be aware that I am about to list some. But if you can bear with it, maybe go through, because there is a rainbow on the other side.
I was recently reading David Sedaris’s latest book, and in one essay he brings up the fact that as a teenager, he had the sudden and off-putting realization that all of his sisters had been approached by men in cars who had exposed themselves to them while masturbating. And I stopped for a moment, because something in my brain said, “Well, of course.” It happened to me when I was 14, stuck outside of school on a Philadelphia side street late one afternoon when my mom had forgotten what time our holiday concert practice was over. I was lured to the car when the man mumbled a request for directions. I seem to remember using a string of expletives and most likely my middle finger, then I spent the next 45 minutes debating whether or not to knock on the convent door and ask to be allowed to stay inside until my mom got there. In the end, I angrily paced the sidewalk until she got there, furious that it had happened, thinking up new, as-yet unheard of curses. I wanted him to come back so I could key his car into the next century. I wanted to go home.
I said nothing to my mother.
In my protected life, largely devoid of danger, I have been:
- Physically grabbed twice on city streets and pulled along by a stranger until breaking loose
- Groped on the street (no count on that)
- Groped on an airplane over the course of several hours while crossing the Atlantic until I told the person responsible (who had by then come to sit next to me on the plane) that I had a TERRIBLE SICKNESS (I had mono) and coughed in his face until he retreated. Then I leaned over and coughed over the seat on him.
- Ground on the subway. (Look this one up if you don’t know it.)
- When answering an ad for a nanny while working abroad in London, lured to a remote location by a much older man, where it was revealed the entire interview was a false pretense. I was then offered money in exchange to be a live-in sexual partner (the salary would include “three times a week, some dinners, and clothes.”) This episode ended with me jumping out of a still (slowly) moving car.
- Given GHB (or similar) at a party by someone who then followed me as I left (as I realized there was something wrong and I was losing consciousness). He attempted to lure me to come back with him to his room, and I kept conscious long enough to continue walking away. I got to where I was staying and locked the door before passing out, fully dressed, coat on, on the floor for five hours.
- And one other incident I prefer not to go into, of a more serious nature. (Don’t panic. I just prefer not to, and it’s my prerogative not to. I am sure you understand.)
I really have led a very protected life. These things I describe? Are really quite common. Gross, right? And I was born into relative privilege, so there are so many women facing so much worse. (Also, gender is irrelevant here. These things can and do happen to anyone. But the numbers for women are higher, and I am getting to that.)
Why did I just make that list? Why did I drop this series of bummers on you? I’ll tell you.
The idea is this: things just HAPPEN to girls, and it’s part of the fabric. We often don’t even mention them. Or maybe, we DIDN’T. Not so much. Because it was just understood that there was a certain amount of shit we were going to have to go through, and the only possible responses were to: OVERPROTECT US, or BLAME US, or NOT BELIEVE US. Because what the hell else do you do? (When I have described these things, often matter-of-factly to men I now know in adulthood, they tend to sit there and boggle because so many SIMPLY DO NOT KNOW how very common it all is.)
I’ve seen many of you commenting about these recent events and saying that you want to give up on your community of friends, that you’re confused and sad and disappointed and what is going on and how did this even happen?
To the case at hand…
It is important to note that in cases of abuse and exploitation—gender is irrelevant. But it is also worth noting that the cases we are talking about now are all about girls—usually underage—being taken advantage of by males, a bit older, with some celebrity. I spend a lot of my free time* trying to start discussions on the nature of gender in book publishing, as that’s where I work. As a culture we do tend to give the nod to men more than women—as voices of authority, as objects of adulation, as examples of excellence and the standard bearers of quality. This is not a vast conspiracy, but a long and deep rooted habit that is taking time to unwork. But one of the steps to unworking is to realize that it’s a thing. THIS DOES NOT MEAN YOU CANNOT OR SHOULD NOT HAVE MALE HEROES. It does mean that we need to explore, on occasion, the nature of the adulation.
In these recent cases, the adulation turned into sexual exploitation, something that’s not new in any respect. BUT! What is new is the focus and awareness that’s been brought to the subject. Take heart, and take notes. And watch Hank’s video, because I think he really nails it. The idea that sex and romance is a chase—a wild, violent chase in which one party must submit—is problematic in the extreme. When discussing any kind of sexual contact—if you’re not talking from the same level, it’s not a discussion, and it’s not healthy. If you are offered the chance to have some kind of sexual contact with a “celebrity” (of any water) ask yourself this: do I feel like I am less than this person? Is this person doing me a favor? Is this person LIFTING ME UP because I am SO LOW and they are so AMAZING and they can do ANYTHING and I am A WORM and must put up with it to keep this AMAZING THING.
Those are the wrong answers, and it means it’s not a healthy relationship.
And if you’re a minor and this person is an adult? Please listen to your Auntie MJ. You may be thinking, “But this case is different! We really love each other! [Other person] is not like the others! I’m not like the others! This isn’t weird! We’re totally a couple!”
You’re not a couple. You’re a victim, and you need to get out of there and tell someone what is going on. I know there may be a pull inside of you—a pull so strong—toward this person. You may think this is going to work out. It’s not going to work out. I am not trying to kill your dreams, but to get you to a place of safety, as you are currently not in one. ACTUAL ADULTS KNOW THAT IT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE TO HAVE SEXUAL CONTACT WITH MINORS. Adults that do not follow this rule ARE PREDATORS. There is a reason it’s illegal. It’s not just some idiots trying to ruin your good time. YOU WILL ONLY BE THANKFUL LATER THAT YOU GOT OUT OF THERE.
And don’t let this mislead you into thinking that you should give up on all the things you love, that there’s a dangerous spider under every rock. There isn’t. And if we all move into this conversation and make it a public one, and make it a healthy one, only good can come.
I can tell you this…I’ve been, like I said, in some of these dark corners, and I’m here, right now, a FULLY GROWN LADY, and I’m doing awesome. None of those bastards slowed me down. If anything, I stepped on a few of them to get to you guys. I love your enthusiasm and I love your fandoms and I love how you embrace all of these new, great things—these songs and stories and people. There is no reason to give up. None at all. NOT EVERYONE IS BAD. That’s one of the lies that these kinds of incidents breed. If you need help, HELP IS OUT THERE IN DROVES.
Do not be afraid to tell someone. It’s the only way it stops.
Those of us who have crashed on the rocks—well, we climbed the rocks and built a lighthouse. And we keep the lights on for you, and we will always be here, and the light will remain on no matter how great the storm. And when the storm is over, we will still be here.
Whoo, boy, it is dark and dangerous on these Tumblrs these days, is it not?
So, I am not going to go into all the details because a lot of it has to do with what is going on between the person stalking me and her family. And no matter what she has done to me it is not right for me to blast that…
is back in Philly with Zelda again, goes to The Field Across the Street*
ME: Look girl! A whole field to yourself! A huge field! ZELDA: Hang on I gotta lick this can in the parking lot. ME: Zelda, LOOK. Look! Huge field! Birds! And there’s a squirrel! ZELDA: *dimly considers field* *continues to lick can* ME: Come on! We came all this way! ZELDA: I suppose I can LOOK, just to APPEASE you. ZELDA: *trots into field* ME: It’s good, right? ZELDA: I suppose. MAN WITH METAL DETECTOR: *appears* ZELDA: BARKBARKBARKBARKBARK ME: Calm down girl. I’ll take you over so you can meet the man. ZELDA: *rumblerumbleRUMBLEgrowlbarkrumbLEBArkrUmBle* MAN: Hello, pooch! ZELDA: *tentative wag* MAN: *shifts metal detector* ZELDA: *leaps back 15 feet* ZELDA: ARE YOU A MONSTER?? ME: Zelda, it’s just a metal detector. ZELDA: ARE YOU A GOD? ME: Oh. Ghostbusters reference. Nice one, girl. ZELDA: What? ME: Ghostbusters. ZELDA: I’m a dog. I don’t understand movie references. BARKBARKBARKBARK MAN: I’m totally not crazy! I’m just here metal detecting the soccer field, looking for pirate treasure. I have 15 dogs and they all have parvo! Want to smell my hat? Not the dog, you. ZELDA: (soto voce) This is what I have been *trying* to tell you. ME: I see what you mean. Let’s leave. ZELDA: Hang on. Gotta dig a hole right here. MAN: Your dog’s digging a hole! I dug a hole once, I think. Maybe for the bodies. Can’t really remember. ME: Come ON, Zelda, we gotta be at the thing. ZELDA: *furious digging* MAN: One time…you’ll like this story…one time, I had a gun, and… ME: I LEFT SOMETHING IN THE OVEN COME ON ZELDA ME: *drags Zelda* ZELDA: LOOK! I FOUND DIRT! Now I’m going to eat it. ME: *lifts Zelda* ZELDA: BUT I FOUND DIRT… MAN: Hey, did you see another guy with a metal detector? ME: Nope! *runs* ZELDA: Don’t look at me. YOU’RE the one who said we had to go to the field. I was perfectly content licking the kitchen wall. ME: *puts Zelda down* SECOND MAN WITH METAL DETECTOR: *appears* ZELDA: I’ll just let you handle this, shall I? There’s a suspicion of bird poop on this driveway and the only way to really test out my theory is by licking it up. I’m like CSI Zelda. SECOND MAN: I’m much crazier than the first man! ZELDA: *licks ground* SENDING THE RESULTS TO THE LAB. THE LAB IS MY STOMACH. ME: And this is why we live in the city.
Earlier today I received an email from a high school English teacher in Strasburg, Colorado who plans to teach an elective Young Adult literature course. A group of parents created a petition to “cleanse” the book list, claiming that the majority of the books on the curriculum, “are profane, pornographic, violent, criminal, crass, crude, vile, and will result in the irreparable erosion of my students’ moral character.”
Paper Towns and Looking for Alaska have been targeted in particular, and the press attended the most recent school board meeting. The motion has been tabled for the next meeting at 7:00 pm on April 9th at Strasburg High School: 56729 e. Colorado Ave, Strasburg, CO 80136.
Please join me in emailing letters of support of the teacher at Strasburg who has heroically stood by her curriculum and stood alone at School Board meetings defending the books. It’s important to keep your letter as civil as possible, even if this kind of thing turns you into a giant squid of anger.
Letters should be addressed "To the School Board" and emailed to StrasburgYALiteratureCourse@gmail.com. It would also be a great help to attend the next School Board meeting if you live in the area.
I am extremely grateful to those who have come out in support of my books on the various occasions they have been challenged, who understand that I am not out to corrupt teenagers, and who further understand the importance of reading books critically and thoughtfully as a whole, rather than focusing on individual scenes ripped from their context. Thanks for supporting my books, and thanks for being awesome.
Just letting you guys know that silence hasn’t meant inactivity on the stalking front. A number of irons are in the fire, and I’m getting more information than ever before. I just don’t want to burden you too hard with all of it or make my Tumblr / internet presence ENTIRELY ABOUT this terrible…
Sarah Rees Brennan has a new post up about her experiences (some of them heart-breaking) as a now-published author who used to write fanfiction. It’s well worth a read, especially for the way it highlights the role that gender may play in these issues.
Ok, don't get me wrong because it's just curiosity, but I have to ask: how much of Supernatural is in Demon's Lexicon, if any? Please don't get this wrong, i love your books, it's a great story with great characters (and better storytelling, to be fair). It's just that I started to watch it recently and some similiarities struck me. And because it would be SO great if someone made a tv show out of DL :)
Oh, you poor sweetie. Please don’t feel at all self-conscious about asking this question, because it’s totally fine, and I so appreciate you saying you like the books (and I would love to have a TV show!) but this is actually something that comes up a lot. This ask about my books is really nice, which is why I chose it, because people have told me they find hostile asks upsetting. I do myself.
Since this question DOES come up a lot, sometimes in not-so-nice ways, I figured maybe I could use this nice question and write some kind of Ultimate Tumblr Answer to all such questions so I wouldn’t have to answer it again.
This is going to be kind of a BIG answer and it might feel overwhelming, so check out of it any time after the simple answer, which is:
None. Zero. Zip. Nada.
There is no Supernatural in my books. I promise you.
I have only seen a few episodes of the first season of Supernatural, back maybe six years ago, and I didn’t enjoy it. (Which doesn’t mean that people can’t enjoy it. Many people cooler than me enjoy it. I have a brilliant lady astrophysicist friend who owns all the box sets!) I’m not going to go into why I didn’t enjoy it, because then people will come and argue with me about my judgy ways, and criticise all the stuff like Vampire Diaries and Teen Wolf that I do like. Fair enough, people. Let us all like what we like, accept that we like different things, and everything will be lovely!
I always feel like I have to be careful talking about Supernatural: if any Supernatural fans read the Demon’s Lexicon series and think to themselves, ‘Hey, this contains some of the stuff what I like, i.e. demons and brothers (the only two things TDL and SPN have in common)’ - then fabulous. I want people to read my books, and whatever way they get to my books is wonderful.
But it’s also important to be clear and honest: I would not base a book series on a TV show I never saw much of, and which I didn’t enjoy. That would be a lot of time to devote to stuff I didn’t enjoy! I wouldn’t do it. (Why do people think I would? Well, we’ll get to that later.)
There are a lot of demon stories out there, and a lot of family stories out there, but here are some obvious dissimilarities between Supernatural and the Demon’s Lexicon series:
1. The brothers in Supernatural are actually blood related, while the brothers I wrote about are not blood related. They are not even the same species.
2. One of the brothers in Demon’s Lexicon is disabled.
3. Road-Trip-Through-Small-Town America is a very distinct aesthetic Supernatural seemed to be going for. Can’t be achieved when your setting is England. The magic system itself is rooted in American folklore—mine is totally different.
4. There are ladies in my series who are present in every book and important, whereas I do not believe the Supernatural series has a female lead present in every episode or indeed season.
5. There’s also a queer character present and important in every book, and I do not believe the Supernatural series has a queer character present in every episode. Or indeed season.
6. There are no angels in my world and I understand angels become pretty important in Supernatural. Obviously, they like angels and I like—other stuff.
This has come out seeming judgy of Supernatural after all. I understand that Supernatural now has a queer lady character played by Felicia Day, and that’s excellent. I don’t mean to bag on Supernatural. But it is a very different story to the story in my books, and its creators have very different priorities to me, and I think that’s pretty clear.
There’s something else to be discussed here, which is that people may say unto me: Why’d you write books about brothers and demons if you didn’t want people to think your books were fanfiction, you dumb jerk?
I have two answers to that.
1) I can write what I like and I think it’s gross to say that I can’t.
2) It wouldn’t have mattered what I wrote about. Every book I’ve ever written gets this. My books haven’t just been called Supernatural fanfiction. They get called Harry Potter fanfiction, too. Definitely! How would I have the ability to come up with my own characters?
No, the hero of Demon’s Lexicon is definitely Harry Potter. (Y’all remember that Harry Potter was an evil demon, right?) And Unspoken is definitely Harry Potter too. (Y’all remember that Harry Potter was a part-Japanese sassy girl detective? As well as being an evil demon. That Harry Potter. Such a multi-faceted individual.)
My books are also Twilight fanfiction. (What isn’t?) And Full Metal Alchemist fanfiction. Just ceaseless fanfiction. And that means of course that the books are very, very bad.
My books get called fanfiction all the time, I think, for two reasons:
a) I am a girl. Dudes get to write perceived-as-derivative/actually-derivative fiction all the time and it’s a HOMAGE, but girls can’t do either. People decide girls’ stuff is derivative and lousy all the time, whereas boys’ stuff is part of a literary tradition and an important conversation. This is sexist and terrible.
Yet I do not see Neil Gaiman getting chased around and called a plagiarist like I was this summer when I wrote three words which also appear in the Hunger Games! (And before that, as it turns out, in The Emperor’s New Groove. Llamas, sue the Hunger Games!)
I am very tired of seeing women insulted for things every dude in the world is allowed to do. It is not literary critique. It is violent misogyny.
b) I used to write fanfiction. (These two issues—sexism and fanfiction—are actually very closely intertwined, because writing fanfiction is something that mostly girls do, and thus like all things Associated With Ladies, such as sewing and pink, is treated as dumb and worthless. And fanfiction, as I’m going to discuss, provides people with a narrative that go ‘why this lady actually sucks’ and people love narratives which say that.)
For those who didn’t know I used to write fanfiction, it’s obviously irrelevant to your opinion of me, and honestly, you can cut out here. Definitely if the person who asked me about Supernatural this time around wants to cut out here… they should. I am about to get mad. It is not your fault. I have just got this too many times, and I have had it up to here.
When someone is traditionally published after writing fanfiction, they get treated like trash, both by people who think fanfiction is weird rubbish and by people who themselves like to write and read fanfiction.
The problem that needs to be fixed is not kick all the girls out of YA, it’s teach boys that stories featuring female protagonists or written by female authors also apply to them. Boys fall in love. Boys want to be important. Boys have hopes and fears and dreams and ambitions. What boys also have is a sexist society in which they are belittled for “liking girl stuff.” Male is neutral, female is specific.
I heard someone mention that Sarah Rees Brennan’s THE DEMON’S LEXICON would be great for boys, but they’d never read it with that cover. Friends, then the problem is NOT with the book. It’s with the society that’s raising that boy. It’s with the community who inculcated that boy with the idea that he can’t read a book with an attractive guy on the cover.
Here’s how we solve the OMG SO MANY GIRLS IN YA problem: quit treating women like secondary appendages. Quit treating women’s art like it’s a niche, novelty creation only for girls. Quit teaching boys to fear the feminine, quit insisting that it’s a hardship for men to have to relate to anything that doesn’t specifically cater to them.
Because if I can watch Raiders of the Lost Ark and want to grow up to be an archaeologist, there’s no reason at all that a boy shouldn’t be able to read THE DEMON’S LEXICON with its cover on. My friends, sexism doesn’t just hurt women, and our young men’s abysmal rate of attraction to literacy is the proof of it.
If you want to fix the male literary crisis, here’s your solution:
Someone forgets I pay attention, sweetheart. As I've said a few times before, you're going to have to wait until July for anything further. If NZ does extradite Dotcom, they can do the same to me when and if the Feds ask. Too bad they've had to wait two and a half years, kike bitch.
I apologize for the language above, but it is left whole to show a rather ugly point.
So: My ask box is closed now.
And I’m doing something very, very, very rarely do, and my friends have been begging me to do about this whole thing since day one: meet it head on.
The above ask was sent in by my stalker. This is why my ask box remains closed.
Maybe it is time to show what stalking really is and does.
Imagine getting messages, the type of which make the above seem mild and sweet (add in sexual threats, death threats, and vows to be up to this forever), any time you have any ability for anyone to contact you.
Every day. At times multiple times a day, sometimes in a stream of messages that clog your inbox.
And when you never once address that, they start contacting your friends, your sister, your parents. Your brother in law. Your infant nephew/godson.
Threatens them consistently. Sends them packages. Sends them postcards. Look sup their private info and parade it in front of them.
For 5.5 years.
Things that thus far haven’t helped: An arrest. An international warrant. International attention. Stays in mental health facilities. Nothing deters this behavior.
Stalking is one of the crimes that takes the victim out of the equation, because of how likely it is that being in it exacerbates the situation. And if we do nothing and let the world exist like this, we are enabling a kind of malice that could threaten the very positive and at times powerful ways we exchange ideas and connect to each other.
The Internet is the wild west, and at some point the cavalry’s gotta come in, here.
The FBI has been amazing but are limited by a foreign nation’s wish to completely ignore a situation that has been proven many times over to exist.
I can only be so defiant in private while balancing the need for my and my family’s safety.
You may think, “I’ve seen her at LeakyCons, she’s not affected by this at all!” Never make an assumption by the strength someone is able to project that they are unaffected. And never assume that someone who doesn’t give her life over to something negative completely - disappear from the internet, etc - doesn’t just as much peace and justice as those whose lives lose major functions because of this activity. There is sometimes a paternalistic rise in compassion that rises to meet the level to which a person has been affected. If we start judging that way, we forget that no matter the victim and no matter the effect, the crime is the same and it must be stopped.
So there you go. A glimpse into my life.
If you wish to stand against stalking, please reblog; and as a bonus, please add your own thoughts about the necessity that a country’s law enforcement agency (in this case New Zealand’s) starts to take this seriously.
This post is for teachers, mostly, but also librarians and people who like posts. For ONE WEEK—March 17 to 21—I am doing an SKYPE TOUR in which I will speak to classrooms and (potentially) library groups via the WIZARDRY of Skype. Visits are free, of course. All you need to do to schedule one is sign up on this page and Penguin will be in touch!
ANOTHER OPEN REPLY TO THAT BLOGGING COMPANY, ON THE OCCASION OF THEIR SECOND LETTER TO ME
MJ: HI!!!!!!!! YOU WROTE AGAIN! We are best friends now! Anyone who writes to me twice is in the INNER CIRCLE.
As part of our [PROGRAM], [COMPANY] is working hard to generate enthusiasm about quality writing by drafting engaging, original posts for blogs like yours.
MJ: You are using words I love to hear. Original. Engaging. QUALITY. Many people—bitter, angry people—might say that hiring total strangers to write content on your own, personal site is the opposite of original. But those people are thinking small, and I think big, like you. And there is nothing more I like than a QUALITY BLOG POST. I want my posts to be like German cars—put together in a factory far, far away from me.
After reviewing your site, I’d like to suggest a topic for your readers: Some Things Children can Learn from Dr. Seuss.
MJ: Oh. I *guess* this is fine? You’re the expert—I don’t want to second-guess you, but, I don’t really write for that age group, and I think a lot of things children can learn from Dr. Seuss are pretty evident. Also, which book? Is The Lorax? I hope it is the Lorax. I always liked The Lorax, because he used to stand on a stump in his underwear and speak for the trees. And, I mean—again, I don’t want to step on your toes—isn’t this kind of a big subject? He wrote A LOT of books.
Is it okay for me to send the draft to this email address?
MJ: **** YES.
For your background, [COMPANY] makes an automated online proofreader that finds and explains grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes in all types of writing. Because more than 3 million users have submitted their writing to [COMPANY] for proofreading, our team has incredible insight into not only how people are writing, but also what mistakes they’re making.
MJ: It is completely correct for you to equate the number of people who submit to your service online with having a high level of expertise. Because the one thing we know for sure is that the internet is not full of idiots who will sign up for literally anything. Also, nothing provides insight like an automated proofreading program. This is why Clippy was so popular and is a beloved feature of Microsoft Word.
For some examples of past guest posts we’ve written as part of our program, check out the blogs of [SOME PEOPLE]. Please let me know when you can squeeze this post into your blog calendar.
MJ: Squeeze! You have again correctly assumed that a). I schedule blog posts b). I have so many of them that that schedule is packed tight and c). in this very tight schedule of many, many blog posts I would like to SQUEEZE stuff written by total strangers into every open space. I’ll crowbar it in if I have to. You know why? When I see a space, I like to fill it. When I hear silence, I scream. When I see a peaceful, empty landscape, I hope someone puts a strip mall in it. Like you, I think the internet should be CRAMMED TO THE MAXIMUM with anything. Literally anything.
Assuming it’s a date range that works for both of us,
MJ: Are you like, super-busy?
I’ll send you the article straight away and it’ll be yours to approve or reject. I’m looking forward to your feedback!
The authors you think are so “big” that they have become celebrities— they’re real people. They have real lives and real pain, just like you do. Please remember this when you interact with authors either in real life or online.
When authors see a nasty review, they cry…
I grew up wanting to be an author more than anything else and I assumed they all had charmed lives where they never had to worry about mundane stuff. And even though I am a writer and I should no better, sometimes I am still guilty of thinking that way about writers I really love and do not know.