Saying Goodbye to Eugie Foster

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Author Eugie Foster passed away earlier today.

I never had the chance to meet her in person, but we had known one another online for a long time. I thought of her as part of my cohort, the group of authors who all started writing and breaking in together.

Eugie was an excellent writer. I had the honor of publishing her story “Honor is a Game Mortals Play” in Heroes in Training back in 2007. I remember how excited she was to get into her very first DAW anthology (but it certainly wasn’t her last). I’ve still got her email about that, which included a literal “Squee!” :-)   In her 42 years, she had more than a hundred short stories published, and won a Nebula Award for her writing. She was that good.

She also devoted a lot of time and energy to reviewing and helping to promote short fiction in the genre, and to working as a director at DragonCon.

I remember her departure from Tangent Online. Without dredging up the details, I admired the honesty and determination she showed throughout an ugly situation. And I cheered when she launched The Fix, which swiftly became a strong and important new short fiction review site for the genre.

Eugie + HobkinAnd then of course there was her pet skunk Hobkin. Her blog posts about Hobkin were some of the earliest things I remember reading from her, and I always thought it was awesome that she had a pet skunk. I grew up with an interesting menagerie, thanks to my mother, but that’s one kind of pet we never had.

When Eugie announced last year that she had cancer, I was convinced she would recover. It wasn’t a rational belief. I just … I guess I just refused to believe there was any chance of her leaving us.

I hate the fact that we never managed to be at the same event at the same time so I could meet her in person, but I’m glad to have known and worked with her over the years, and the SF/F field was incredibly lucky to have her.

Her husband Matthew wrote today:

We do not need flowers. In lieu of flowers, please buy her books and read them. Buy them for others to read until everyone on the planet knows how amazing she was.

Eugie’s bibliography is here.

We’ll miss you, Eugie.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Cool Stuff Friday

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Friday is excited about the first pre-order link for Rise of the Spider Goddess. (Other links, including a print edition, will be coming soon…)

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Reddit AMA

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Back in mid-2012, I cancelled an AMA (Ask Me Anything) over on Reddit. That was an interesting few weeks. Basically, at the time, Reddit was hosting a discussion inviting rapists to tell their side of the story. My feeling was that as long as that discussion was going on, I wasn’t comfortable participating over there.

This generated a large number of comments, from people calling me an free-speech hater and an idiot who doesn’t understand how Reddit works to others thanking me for drawing attention to some of the nastiness over there. It also generated my first rape threat, though it was a rather pathetic one on the scale of things.

For that reason, I was rather torn when earlier this year, Redditor and generally awesome person Steve Drew invited me to do a Fantasy AMA again. I know there are a lot of great people at Reddit, and a lot of wonderful conversations. Steve has been wonderfully positive to work with, and he clearly loves the genre. But I wasn’t about to go back on the position I had taken two years ago…assuming I was even still welcome.

So Steve and I chatted a bit. It turns out that the rapist discussion had been taken down, though I’m not sure exactly when. And then Steve put me in touch with Reddit’s Director of Communications, Victoria Taylor. She and I exchanged a few emails, and then talked on the phone so she could listen to and respond to some of my concerns.

I was very impressed with both of these individuals. While they might not have agreed with 100% of what I thought (who does?), they were both eager to listen to those concerns, to talk about what they’d been doing over the past few years to try to improve Reddit.

Some of the things Victoria talked about were:

  • Reddit has a larger team of people monitoring and moderating the communities. They’ve also added additional reporting options for inappropriate content.
  • They’re actively working toward inclusiveness and diversity. One example she pointed to was the growth in women’s topics on Reddit, including many that focus on building support.
  • She also pointed me to a study showing the decline of hate speech at Reddit.

This doesn’t mean Reddit is perfect. You had people posting stolen celebrity nudes in a Reddit topic called “The Fappening,” which apparently earned Reddit enough money to pay for their servers for a month. On the other hand, Reddit did try to remove the individual postings, and eventually took down the entire “Fappening” topic when that failed. Was it handled perfectly? Probably not. But I believe it was handled better than it would have been 2-3 years ago.

After thinking it over, I’ve gone ahead and accepted Steve’s invite to do another AMA. I imagine there are still people who are pissed at me for what happened in 2012, and that’s fine. There may be people who think I’m caving or compromising my principles to try to sell books, and that’s fine too.

But the specific board I was objecting to is gone. A lot of people have been working to try to make Reddit a better place. And I think that’s awesome.

So we’ll see what happens, and I’ll post details once everything gets sorted and scheduled.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Spider-Butts

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Some of you have already seen Milo Manara’s cover art for Spider-Woman #1, which generated a great deal of unhappiness across the internet. As io9 pointed out, she basically looks like she’s wearing body paint. One of many complaints raised was that a male superhero would never have been drawn like this.

Au contraire, says some dude on the internet, who heroically stood up to defy the “Social Police,” those “preachy, bloviating, pharisaic shit-heads,” and to explain why everyone who was upset about this cover was wrong, and it’s really a non-issue.

What his point seems to mostly come down to is the fact that J. Scott Campbell did a Spider-Man cover just like Manara’s, and you didn’t hear the Social Police converging on Tumblr for an outrage-fest then! Total double-standard and made-up non-controversy. So there!

Let’s take a look at both covers, shall we?

Spider-Butts

You can click to enlarge the comparison, and yes, there are some superficial similarities here in that…well, they’re both crawling. But where Spider-Man is clinging to a spherical mass of webbing and bad guys, Spider-Woman is perched on the edge of a rooftop, thrusting her ass at the city skyline for no particular reason.

There are some issues with Spider-Man’s artwork. For starters, what the heck is going on with his fingers? And his costume is almost as tight as Spider-Woman’s. You can see a few small wrinkles in his suit, which is a step up from hers, but they’re both wearing some serious butt-huggers.

Internet-dude’s whole rant sounds vaguely similar to the, “What about the Romance Covers?” response I got for pointing out the oversexualization of women on SF/F cover art.

So let’s take another look at these two covers.

Point 1: One of the basic rules of climbing is to keep your body/hips close to the wall. Or if you’re a superhero, to whatever surface you happen to be climbing. Which is exactly what Spider-Man is doing. He’s hugging his climbing surface. Spider-Woman, on the other hand…she’s not climbing. She’s posing.

Point 2: Look at how the two characters are drawn. Both are in skintight costumes. Spider-Man’s costume highlights his muscles. We’re seeing a physically strong character with extra finger joints. Spider-Woman, on the other hand, is drawn to highlight the curves of her body, sans muscle. It’s not about drawing a character who looks strong or powerful; it’s about drawing boner-bait for young teen boys.

Point 3: Even if both characters were equally sexualized (they aren’t), you have to consider the larger context. I have nothing against sexuality, or against characters being portrayed in sexual ways. But when we’re consistently reducing female characters to sexually appealing/inviting caricatures, regardless of whether or not it’s appropriate to the character or the story, then we have a problem. When women are being drawn time and again in ways that prioritize exaggerated sexuality at the expense of all else, we have a problem.

The problem here isn’t one cover. The problem is one more cover. One more woman reduced to a sexual object. One more woman portrayed in a way that de-emphasizes any strength she might have — because women can only be strong up to a certain point, and only if they’re also sexually submissive to the male reader/viewer.

Are there exceptions? Of course. Are guys sometimes sexualized? Absolutely. But don’t try to pretend that the sexualization of men occurs on the same scale as that of women, or that men are sexualized in ways that rob them of strength and agency the way women so often are.

Or to put it another way? Double standard my ass.

Related:

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Writer’s Ink: Sean Williams

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Today’s episode of Writer’s Ink features Sean Williams, an Australian author with a Whole Lot of published fiction, including the #1 New York Times bestselling The Force Unleashed. One of his latest books is Twinmaker [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy], “set in a future where “d-mat” technology, which allows for cheap teleportation and item replication, has created a seeming utopia of plenty.”

Here’s Sean showing off his ink:

WI-Williams2

In his words:

My plan is to get one tattoo for every book I have published. Unfortunately, because I’ve had trouble coming up with designs, I’ve fallen a bit behind. I currently have one tattoo. My forty-seventh book comes out in November.

I didn’t get my one and only tattoo until I turned thirty, after a string of failed romances. I was feeling pretty glum and needed to do something for myself, something defining and privately declarative, and eventually I came up with the perfect design for a place that normally only someone close to me would ever see. This was way back in the dawn of time, before everyone had a Chinese character on their upper shoulder.

The design comes from the I Ching. Hexagram 23, “Splitting Apart”, is usually associated with disintegration and decay, which seemed appropriate after all that heartbreak. It has a deeper meaning, though, as all hexagrams do, and it is this meaning that I wanted to be permanently etched into me. It goes something like this:

You have a cherry tree. It’s diseased and dying, which is obviously bad. But as long as there’s one cherry left on it with a viable seed, you can start over. You can grow a new, healthy tree from scratch to replace the old tree.

Repeat.

My tattoo is the character associated with that hexagram, since hexagrams themselves are hard to tattoo well and tend to warp with age. I may have got it wrong, it may mean “massive prat” if you say it the wrong way, but the story behind it has got me through some very difficult times in my personal and professional life. I’m glad it’s there.

My next two tattoos will be an infinity symbol and the outline of Mr Mischievous’s grin. All I have to do now is figure out where to put them. Decisions, decisions.

I told him that if he decided to catch up on those 46 other tattoos all at once, I’d be happy to have him back for a special edition of Writer’s Ink. But in the meantime, here’s a close-up of his tattoo:

Sean Williams Tatto

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Cool Stuff Friday

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Friday meant to get this post up four hours ago…

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Spider Goddess Update

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I tend to get a bit obsessed with new projects sometimes. On the bright side, I’ve decided to go ahead and do a print edition of Rise of the Spider Goddess, to go along with the ebook. Yay! I’ve also been looking into cover art options, finishing up the annotations, and thinking about the best way to publish and promote this sucker.

This is what I think the text of the print version will look like:

Sample Page

I’ve also been messing around with cover font possibilities:

Font Ideas

None of this is final yet. (And that particular color combination is giving me a weird Law & Order vibe…) But I’m having a great deal of fun.

It will probably be at least December before this is available, but I’ll keep y’all updated :-)

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

The Tribe Series by Ambelin Kwaymullina

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Ambelin Kwaymullina was the other Guest of Honor at Continuum earlier this year. She’s a delightful, intelligent, and all-around wonderful human being. Ambelin is an Aboriginal writer and illustrator from the Palyku people, and is the author of a number of award-winning picture books as well as a YA dystopian series.

She was kind enough to give my daughter the first book in that series as a gift. I picked up the second at the convention. Having read them both, I am now waiting Very Impatiently for the third and final book to come out!

Book one is The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy]. Book two is The Disappearance of Ember Crow, and doesn’t appear to be out in the U.S. yet. I’m not seeing it from Book Depository, either. Grumble.

Here’s the description in the author’s own words:

The Tribe is a three-book dystopian series set on a future earth where the world was ripped apart by an environmental cataclysm known as ‘the Reckoning’. The survivors of the Reckoning live in an ecotopia where they strive to protect the Balance of the world, the inherent harmony between all life. But anyone born with an ability – Firestarters who control fire, Rumblers who can cause quakes, Boomers who make things explode – is viewed as a threat to the Balance. Any child or teenager found to have such a power is labeled an ‘Illegal’ and locked away in detention centres by the government.

Except for the ones who run.

Sixteen year old Ashala Wolf leads a band of rebels who she names her Tribe. Sheltered by the mighty tuart trees of the Firstwood and the legendary saurs who inhabit the grasslands at the forest’s edge, the Tribe has been left alone – until now. A new detention centre is being built near the forest, and when The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf begins, Ashala has been captured by the government and is on her way to interrogation…

I loved these books.

Dystopia is popular these days, as is dark, gritty, often hopeless fiction. While these books certainly have a dark and dystopic setup, there’s also hope and joy and life and love. You read the books and you don’t walk away thinking, “Well, the world sucks, and everything is hopeless.” You walk away thinking, “Humanity sure screws things up sometimes, but we will survive, and we will make things better in the end.”

The characters are wonderful. Heroes and villains, humans and [spoilers]. There’s such a range of powers and personalities, and it all just works. I particularly like that we see a similar range in the government and elsewhere. There are no monolithic blocks of good or evil people. You get a sense of the larger struggle playing out throughout the world.

You wouldn’t think a book about an interrogation would be such a page-turner, but I lost several nights’ sleep to these books.

I did feel like book two stumbled a little at the beginning. When Disappearance begins, Ashala has retreated from the Tribe after accidentally injuring someone she cares about with her power. This part didn’t quite work for me, but that might be because I’m 40 years old, and I forget that Ashala Wolf and the rest of the Tribe are still kids. Regardless, once we moved past that part, the story once again sucked me in and wouldn’t let go.

Book two expands the scope and the worldbuilding in wonderful and completely unexpected-but-consistent ways. It’s a book about love and despair and history and family and religion and hope and evil and so much more.

So here’s the deal:

  • You need to go pick up book one and read it.
  • Candlewick Press needs to hurry up and release book two so I can push all of my U.S. readers to get it.
  • Ambelin Kwaymullina needs to magically make book three be out now so I can read it and see how everything comes together.

Any questions?

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Writer’s Ink: Elizabeth Bear

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Elizabeth Bear is the award-winning author of a whole bunch of stuff! How’s that for specific? Her most recent book is One-Eyed Jack [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy], one of her Promethean Age novels. She’s part of SF Squeecast, co-created the Shadow Unit web serial, and has taught at a number of different SF/F writing programs and workshops.

She also has a spider on her arm, which she explains thusly:

As you can see, my body doesn’t have much use for colored ink, especially red. So much for permanence!

I got this after I moved back to New England. The spider is a local wall-crawler: I’ve always had a fondness for spiders, and they’re a bit totemic for rock climbers, which happens to be my sport. And the sugar maple leaf is a reminder of home: this is the place I have always been happiest, and autumn is my favorite season. I actually brought in a particularly spectacular maple leaf for the tattoo artist, Steve Gabriel of Guide Line Tattoo in East Hartford, CT, to copy.

WI-Bear

I definitely recommend clicking to enlarge the picture and see the details. The one on the left is when the tattoo was brand new. The one on the right was taken a few days ago for this post. My theory is that the spider has been waking up at night and feeding on the red ink. Makes me wonder what it will eat when it runs out…

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

ApolloCon GoH & SF Signal Mind Meld

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Announcement the First: I’m very excited to announce I’ll be the author guest of honor at ApolloCon in June 2015. I’ve never been to Houston before, and I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this convention.

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Announcement the Other: I’m part of the latest SF Signal Mind Meld, talking about disabilities in SF/F. I talked about my love of the movie How to Train Your Dragon, which I’ve also blogged about before. David Gillon also raises some good points in his comment at the SF Signal post.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

New Project: Rise of the Spider Goddess

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A few weeks ago, I got an idea. I got a wonderful, terrible idea…

Almost twenty years ago, when I was a sophomore in college, I started writing the adventures of my D&D character after the end of a campaign. It was bad. Really bad. But it was this 50K novel that made me seriously consider the possibility of becoming an author.

I read an excerpt of this story as part of a fundraiser in January of last year, and people told me it made them laugh — both the story itself, and my editorial asides. A few people even said they were interested in hearing what happened next…

…you’re probably starting to see where this is going.

I’m thinking about publishing an annotated version of that 20-year-old book. The prose itself would be unedited. That’s right, every paragraph of purple prose, every time a character takes a drawn-out infodump, every adjective and adverb stacked up like a linguistic Jenga tower, it would all be there for your amusement.

My thinking on this is threefold.

  1. Giving my own bad fiction the MST3000 treatment could be entertaining.
  2. For writers, this could be a helpful tool, both to show that even “successful” authors had to start somewhere, and by highlighting my various mistakes so others will learn what not to do.
  3. Truly completist fans might get a kick out of having my very first book. Plus you’ll see a few ideas that showed up in later, published books.

It would probably be a $3.99 ebook. I’m dubious about a print edition, but we’ll see. I’d probably do the formatting like so:

“Time, as we understand it, is an illusion. It is not a line, but an intricate web in which all events are interlaced. Creation and destruction—they are one and the same.”

—Taken from the Journal of Averlon Lan’thar

Every book should open with a pseudo-deep and utterly
meaningless quote from a character we know nothing about.
Also, gratuitous apostrophe abuse should be punishable
by Taser.

I haven’t come up with an official title yet. A few ideas:

  • Rise of the Spider Goddess
  • Curse of a Fallen Goddess Drunken Muse
  • Godslayer and Prosekiller

What do you think? Does it sound like the kind of thing you’d be interested in checking out?

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Radiant, by Karina Sumner-Smith

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Radiant cover artI was fortunate enough to receive an advance review copy of Karina Sumner Smith‘s debut fantasy novel Radiant [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy], which comes out on September 23. It’s a dystopian future fantasy, billed as book one of the Towers trilogy.

From the publisher’s description:

Xhea has no magic. Born without the power that everyone else takes for granted, Xhea is an outcast—no way to earn a living, buy food, or change the life that fate has dealt her. Yet she has a unique talent: the ability to see ghosts and the tethers that bind them to the living world, which she uses to scratch out a bare existence in the ruins beneath the City’s floating Towers.

When a rich City man comes to her with a young woman’s ghost tethered to his chest, Xhea has no idea that this ghost will change everything. The ghost, Shai, is a Radiant, a rare person who generates so much power that the Towers use it to fuel their magic, heedless of the pain such use causes. Shai’s home Tower is desperate to get the ghost back and force her into a body—any body—so that it can regain its position, while the Tower’s rivals seek the ghost to use her magic for their own ends. Caught between a multitude of enemies and desperate to save Shai, Xhea thinks herself powerless—until a strange magic wakes within her. Magic dark and slow, like rising smoke, like seeping oil. A magic whose very touch brings death.

With two extremely strong female protagonists, Radiant is a story of fighting for what you believe in and finding strength that you never thought you had.

The central premise made me think of Ursula K. LeGuin’s story “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas.” You have the same horrifying choice: the Towers can create a utopian existence, but only by horrifically enslaving and using their Radiants. We meet the Radiant, Shai, and see first her fear and pain, but as the story progresses, we watch her realize that if she does choose to stay away, she’ll be dooming her home Tower. It’s a great setup for the book.

Xhea doesn’t know a lot of this at first. She just knows she’s been hired to deal with a tethered ghost (Shai). It’s how she earns a little extra money and a hit of magic, which acts very much like a drug for Xhea. The summary talks about how Xhea’s experiences awaken a new, dangerous magic within her, but I think what’s even more powerful is the friendship and loyalty Shai awakens. Xhea has grown up in the dystopian ruins on the ground beneath the floating towers. Shai has grown up a tool of her society, little more than a glorified super-battery. Neither of them have much experience trusting others, nor reasons to do so. Which makes the relationship that develops between them that much more powerful. It feels like a well-written love story without the romance, if that makes sense. That relationship is great, and was for me the most touching and engrossing part of the book.

The secondary characters were well done too, often hard-edged and worn down by their broken society, but you still see glimpses of humanity and kindness and more.

There were some times when it felt a little bumpy — description that didn’t quite come together to create a clear picture in my mind, or scenes were the pacing felt a little off. All of which is pretty standard for a first novel, and none of it bumped me out of the story or diminished my enjoyment.

While this is book one of a trilogy, Radiant is relatively self-contained, coming to a satisfying ending while leaving some of the bigger, societal conflicts for the next books. I just hope Xhea has an easier time of it in the next one, because that girl ends up on the receiving end of more than her share of breaks and bruises.

You can check out the first chapter on Sumner-Smith’s website.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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I’ll be at Geek Fan Expo 2014 in Detroit this weekend, doing … you know … geek stuff. Expoing. That sort of thing.

Here’s my more-or-less finalized schedule, in case you’ll be in the area and want to say hi:

Friday, September 5

  • 4:30 pm, Authors Unite!
  • 8:00 pm, Jim C. Hines – Autographs
  • 10:00 pm, Authors Readings

Saturday, September 6

  • 11:00 am, Diversity in Geek Culture with Jim C. Hines
  • 12:00 pm, Living on the Edge: Technology and social trends that will grow in fiction
  • 3:00 pm, Jim C. Hines – Autographs
  • 4:30 pm, The Collective Works of Jim C. Hines
  • 5:30 pm, How to Screw Up Your Stories
  • 8:00pm, World Building

Sunday, September 7

  • 12:00 pm, Getting it Out There
  • 2:00 pm, Blogging with Authors

More schedule information is available on the GFX website.

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If that doesn’t work for you, next Saturday I’ll be at Kazoo Books with author Tobias Buckell for a joint booksigning/reading/spontaneous ice bucket challenging/whatever we feel like doing, really. One way or another, it should be entertaining.

That’s September 13 at 2:00 pm. at Kazoo Books Parkview.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Nude Celebrity Photo Hacking

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I wonder how many disappointed people are going to end up on this blog post after a Google search flags that title…

Anyway, Chuck Wendig has a blog post that says a lot of what I’ve wanted to say on this topic: A PSA About Nude Photos.

A few highlights:

“If you don’t want nude pics leaked, don’t take nude pics with your phone —” *Tasers you* *steals your shoes* SHOULDN’T WEAR SHOES BRO

— Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) September 1, 2014

It is not rape, but it is deeply demonstrative of rape culture because it is an act that exploits a woman and her body without her consent. And then, as if to vigorously rub salt into the wound with the heel of one’s callused hand, the judgey-faced shitty-assed judgments of countless men follow in the wake of the violation: victim-blaming, slut-shaming, Puritanical finger-waggling.

“But wait!” the commenters say. “I’m not blaming the victims, but the reality is that there are bad people out there, and you have to be prepared!”

Here, have a quote from Diana Rowland:

Here’s the problem. Let’s say I’m a celebrity. I have a photo that I took of my boobs. It’s on a password protected phone/computer/drive what have you. But according to your line of thinking, BECAUSE I’m a celebrity I should be prepared for someone to steal that pic and post it (which is, of course why I have it behind encryption, etc. )Yet some clever soul manages to get through my encryption, steals the pic and posts it. But, hey, I should have expected that to happen because I’m a celebrity, right?

Let’s say I’m still a celebrity. I have boobs. I keep them covered up in public, and I even have personal security. But some clever soul manages to defeat my personal security guard, rips my shirt off, and gropes my boobs. But hey, I should have expected that to happen because I’m a celebrity, right? I should keep boobs under even MORE clothing and hire MORE security or, hell, just not go out because, after all, I’m a celebrity. I should have been better prepared.

It all boils down to this: I should be *prepared* to be assaulted, and when it happens it’s obviously because I didn’t *prepare* enough, no matter what steps I took, and I didn’t “recognize the reality.”

No. That’s wrong.

“But the internet isn’t secure! If you take nude photos on your phone, you have to know there’s a risk of them getting out!”

And if you order something online, you have to know there’s a risk of your credit card information getting stolen or your account getting hacked. If you carry a wallet, you have to know there’s a risk of someone stealing it. If you leave the house, you have to know there’s a risk of getting hit by a runaway ice cream truck. If you inhale, you have to know there’s a risk of swallowing a freaking spider.

This isn’t about people living in the delusional land of marshmallow-flavored unicorn farts and spontaneously rainbow-generating kittens where nothing bad ever happens. We spend a ridiculous amount of time and energy teaching women to protect themselves. “Don’t walk alone, don’t walk at night, don’t go on a date alone, don’t let your drink out of your sight, don’t take a drink from anyone you don’t know and trust, keep your hand over your drink , don’t drink at all, carry mace, carry pepper spray, carry a gun, don’t wear revealing clothing, don’t wear headphones, don’t carry too many packages, lock and deadbolt every door and window in the house, close every curtain and blind, and so on.”

And yet somehow if a crime is a) in some way sexual and b) committed against a woman, all a lot of people want to focus on is what she did wrong. As if they haven’t heard these messages all their lives, and if they’d only follow all the Right Steps, then they would finally be 100% safe and secure.

The idea that women would be safe if they’d only follow these steps? That’s your land of unicorns and rainbows and ignorant naivete right there. And the assumption that they’re not already taking precautions? That’s just arrogance and ignorance on your part.

And if you’re one of the people who immediately went searching for these photos? Did it ever even occur to you that you were getting off on the sexual violation of another human being? Or that every time you share those pics or increase the page counts for the websites hosting them, you’re rewarding the people who committed those violations?

Let’s keep the focus on the fact that stealing and distributing someone’s private photos is a crime. It’s not just the price someone pays for being a celebrity. Or for being female.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Magic ex Libris, Book Four

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Mostly for my own reference, today I wrote the opening paragraphs of the as-yet-untitled fourth book in the Magic ex Libris series.

I would share the first few lines, but they won’t make much sense until you’ve read Unbound [B&N | Indiebound | Amazon].

Anyway, yay! Deadpool approves of new books. And also of random violence, which should be starting in this next scene. Poor Isaac…

DEadpool2

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Magical Words Guest Post: Despair

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My final (for now) guest post at Magical Words went up on Friday. This one was about the down times in the writing career.

We don’t talk much about the despair, at least not publicly. I think there’s this belief that authors should project an air of confidence, because if we ever admit our neuroses we’ll drive away all of our fans and readers and then nobody will buy our books, and suddenly we’re back in the Black Cloud of Despair™, and oh God this blog post is going to be the one that destroys my career, isn’t it? Why oh why didn’t I write about rainbow-farting unicorns? Quick – go look at some cats!

But do you want to know a secret? Get a writer somewhere quiet, and most of us will admit to having had some bad times. Pretty much every long-term I’ve talked to has described at least one time they thought their career was over. Even #1 NYT Bestselling Authors get times of feeling like a fraud or a failure…

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Writer’s Ink: Anne Harris/Jessica Freely

Snoopy Pumpkin

Michigan author Anne HarrisAnne Harris, aka Jessica Freely, has spent more than fifteen years searching for a home for her latest novel, All the Colors of Love [Amazon | B&N]. But before we get into that, let’s hear about that frisky-looking devil tattoo…

My tattoo is a doodle of a little dancing devil I’ve been scribbling since I was in fifth grade. I got it when a good friend learned to tattoo and she desperately wanted to get ink in me. I’d never planned on having a tattoo, and was a bit skeptical, so I made sure to get something that was uniquely mine, and to get it on a part of my body I wouldn’t see all the time. As it turned out, however, I love it. Sometimes I do forget it’s there and it’s always a nice surprise when I glimpse it again. I’ve thought about getting more tattoos but I’ve never followed through on it. I may wind up being one of those rare folks with just one.

Anne/Jessica asked if she could talk a little about All the Colors of Love, which is a YA gay science fiction romance about Harry, the son of a supervillain. Harry veers between suicide attempts and futile plans to kill his abusive father.

Colors is a sequel to her first novel, The Nature of Smoke. It’s also the first gay romance she ever wrote, and changed the course of her career.

In her words:

I wrote the first draft around 2000 or so, when I was still firmly ensconced in traditional NY publishing. My mother had just passed and my dad was dying and I needed something to lift me up, so I gave myself permission to write anything I wanted. That turned out to be Colors and writing it was more fun and freeing than anything I’d ever done before. I was as surprised as anyone else, especially since working with these characters felt like invisible shackles had been taken off my wrists and for the first time I could just write.

I knew I had to pursue it.

Unfortunately, at that time there was no commercial market for gay romance, let alone a gay YA science fiction book written by a woman. My sf editor wanted me to make the characters straight and my agent convinced me to write Libyrinth instead, which I did, but I wrote Colors too, and I started the long search for a market. When one finally did develop, it was for gay erotic romance, not YA. I set Colors aside again and went on to published over 15 short stories, novels, and novellas (many of them sf/f) in that genre. Fortunately, markets change and now some publishers are taking non-erotic gay romance and several have started YA imprints. Finally, fifteen years after I first started this journey, Colors is out in the world. To say I’m pleased to share it with readers is a vast understatement.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Cool Stuff Friday

Snoopy Pumpkin

Go forth and carpe the Friday!

Please note that cats or dogs pressing their heads against the wall can indicate a serious health problem: http://www.petmd.com/cat/conditions/neurological/c_ct_headpressing

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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