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Writing Staytreat

Last week was supposed to be a writing retreat. I was gonna finish up those final revisions on Terminal Uprising, then (hopefully) get through the first draft of Project K.

And then on Friday we had a medical issue arise. Nothing life-threatening, but I ended up staying home to help out. They’re mostly healed up by now, which is good. But it threw a fire-spider into the writing work. While I did get the revisions done and turned in, that was the entirety of last week’s wordcount.

C’est la vie. We’ve got several chronic medical conditions in this family, and that means sometimes stuff happens. I’m disappointed not to have gotten the chance to spend time with some cool writer people, and I’d love to have a finished draft of Project K, but I’ll get there.

Now that the hurt party is mostly better, I’m going to try and make this week my writing retreat week. Even though I’m not retreating anywhere. I’d love to get that draft done by this coming Saturday, if possible.

Only 800 words so far today, but it takes a little time to regain that momentum, and there are plenty of hours left in the day!

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Markswoman, by Rati Mehrotra

Markswoman Cover ArtAt ConFusion earlier this year, I picked up a copy of Rati Mehrotra‘s debut YA fantasy, Markswoman [Amazon | B&N | IndieBound]. Like everything else lately, it took me a little while to get to it. But once I started reading, I raced through the book.

Here’s the official synopsis:

Kyra is the youngest Markswoman in the Order of Kali, one of a handful of sisterhoods of highly trained elite warriors. Armed with blades whose metal is imbued with magic and guided by a strict code of conduct, the Orders are sworn to keep the peace and protect the people of Asiana. Kyra has pledged to do so—yet she secretly harbors a fierce desire to avenge her murdered family.

When Tamsyn, the powerful and dangerous Mistress of Mental Arts, assumes control of the Order, Kyra is forced on the run. She is certain that Tamsyn committed murder in a twisted bid for power, but she has no proof.

Kyra escapes through one of the strange Transport Hubs that are the remnants of Asiana’s long-lost past and finds herself in the unforgiving wilderness of a desert that is home to the Order of Khur, the only Order composed of men. Among them is Rustan, a disillusioned Marksman whose skill with a blade is unmatched. He understands the desperation of Kyra’s quest to prove Tamsyn’s guilt, and as the two grow closer, training daily on the windswept dunes of Khur, both begin to question their commitment to their Orders. But what they don’t yet realize is that the line between justice and vengeance is thin … as thin as the blade of a knife.

I called the book fantasy, but it feels more like a blend of fantasy and science fiction. The book is set in an alternate Asia in the distant future, and includes everything from transport hubs to telepathic weapons to words of power. Those weapons are made from metal brought to Earth long ago by The Ones — it’s unclear exactly who or what they are. You also get scenes where you glimpse the futuristic cities of (I think) the past.

None of it is fully explained, but there’s obviously a lot of depth to the world, and Mehrotra gives the reader enough to draw them in, leaving us eager for the next piece.

There’s a love triangle that pops up in the second half of the book. Honestly, I could have done without that. But props to the author for how she handled the overly aggressive/stalkery guy. Behavior that in another book might have been rewarded is in this book called out and met with real consequences.

I enjoyed both protagonists (Kyra and Rustan) and many of the secondary characters — particularly some of the elders of the Marksmen and Markswomen. Tamsyn is pretty much flat-out evil, but it works for the story.

The ending felt abrupt. Not a cliffhanger, exactly, but there’s no real denouement. And the next book, Mahimata, doesn’t come out until March of next year.

All in all, I think it’s a strong debut. I’d have liked to see a little more of the larger world and story Mehrotra is setting up, but I definitely enjoyed the book.

You can read the first part online, if you’d like to check it out.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Cool Stuff Friday

I’m heading off to a writing retreat next week, so I probably won’t be around online very much.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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When I was finishing up Terminal Alliance, I invited people to ask me anything they wanted, and picked some of those questions to answer in the Author’s Note. Here are the four Q&As:

  • From Chris: What has been the biggest surprise (or unexpected benefit) since you started writing full time?
    • I started writing more-or-less full time in September of 2015. I knew I wouldn’t magically become a SuperAuthor, putting out twelve books a year, but I was still surprised at how difficult it could be to balance writing with everything else—taking care of the kids, running errands, housework, walking the dogs… (Not to mention getting out to catch Pokémon.) I thought I knew how much discipline and planning and structure I’d need. I was mistaken. But I’m getting better.
  • From both Ilona Andrews and TheBarbarienne: How can you tolerate a giant beard when it’s so freaking hot out?
    • It’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make to look this sexy! Also, the warmth of the Giant Beard is balanced out by the draftiness of the bare scalp.
  • From Piers: What’s the fastest land animal?
    • Our cat Pippin when he hears a can opener in the kitchen.
  • From Paul: What draws you to use humor so much in your fiction? (This is far from your first humorous SFF after all!)
    • I believe humor is incredibly powerful and valuable. It brings laughter. It helps us cope with darkness. It allows us to tell difficult and dangerous truths. It’s a way of pointing out the absurdities of life. It creates connections between people. Also, it’s a lot of fun to write!

If all goes well, I’ll be finishing up final revisions on Terminal Uprising before the weekend, which means I’ll need to do another Author’s Note. Which means I need your questions!

What would you like to know? I’ll pick my favorites and answer them in the book. (Note: “Favorites” could be the most interesting, humorous, or just whatever I feel like answering.)

Make sure you include whatever name you’d like me to use for you if I pick your question.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Cool Stuff Friday

Friday is more than halfway through these final revisions…

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Long before my daughter began dating, I had guys joking about how I should greet her prospective boyfriends. Sitting in the living room cleaning a shotgun was a popular idea. People who knew me a little better suggested I should sharpen one of the swords instead.

I also have a teenage son. Funny thing — not once has anyone suggested that when he brings home a prospective girlfriend, I should greet her with shotgun and/or sword in hand.

Heteronormative assumptions about my kids aside, the idea that I’d have to intimidate a girl into not taking advantage of my son seems absurd on the surface, right? But when it comes to our daughters, we’re flooded with “jokes” about how we have to use implicit threats of violence to keep the boys in line.

I keep getting into arguments where guys tell me sexism isn’t a thing anymore. That girls are just as violent and abusive as boys. That there’s no epidemic of rape and violence carried out by men and boys against women and girls.

Often in the same paragraph, these guys will talk about the horrible violence they’d inflict on anyone who raped or abused their daughters. Not once have I seen them express the same protectiveness about their sons.

It quickly becomes clear what they really believe. They know, deep down, that the threat of sexual violence against their daughters is real. That girls and women are disproportionately targeted. That one of the biggest threats to women — if not the biggest threat — is men.

This is not to say that men and boys aren’t assaulted as well. They are, and it happens far too often. Likewise, women absolutely can be abusers. But statistically, women are far more likely to be attacked, and men are far more likely to be the attackers.

And every time I hear someone joking about getting the guns out to greet the daughter’s new boy, I hear someone who knows how bad things are for girls and women in this society. Even if they don’t want to admit it.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

End of School Year Chaos

In the past seven days, I have…

  • Spoken to my editor about revisions on Terminal Uprising
  • Attended my daughter’s high school graduation
  • Helped with the planning and preparations for said daughter’s open house this coming weekend
  • Attended my son’s induction into the National Junior Honors Society
  • Attended awards night for that same son

I am ridiculously proud of both of my children. I’m also feeling a bit frazzled, and am looking forward to summer vacation.

In the meantime, here’s a photo of my daughter in her graduation robes, and a shot I took of my son at NJHS night. (Shared with their permission.)

Daughter's graduation photo

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

ETA: I had a brief exchange with Rusch on Twitter after this post went up. I said I agreed with much of her article, but that it felt like she was on an anti-agent crusade. To which she replied, in part, “I am on an anti-agent crusade.” I mention this because it helped me better understand why Rusch went where she did in her post.

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Yesterday, Kristine Kathryn Rusch posted an article titled An Agent Nightmare Revealed, talking about an accountant/bookkeeper who embezzled more than $3 million from a major literary agency. She goes on to discuss the need for authors to be in control of their own business and finances, and whether or not any authors should still be using literary agents.

I agree with a fair amount of what Rusch writes here. Donadio & Olson, the agency in question, screwed up. Rusch notes that they’ve known about the embezzlement since last fall, but failed to contact all of their clients to alert them to the problem. WTF? And the embezzlement has apparently been going on since at least 2011. I’m not an accountant, but it seems like any business should have some safeguards and auditing practices in place if they’re handling that much money…

Rusch also talks about how writers neglect the business side of things. Again, I agree. Whether you have an agent or not, your writing career is your responsibility. You’ve got to read your contracts. Be aware of what rights have sold, and when payments should be coming in. Follow up on discrepancies, or any transactions that don’t match what you’re expecting.

Every contract I get from my agent comes with a cover letter reminding me to read the contract. Because even though they go over every contract, it’s possible they might miss something. Or there could be a clause I don’t understand. As the writer, I need to understand.

Track your sales. Bookscan and publisher Author Portals can help with this. You don’t have to obsess over every week’s numbers, but know how your books are doing. Know when they’ve earned out, so you know when to expect royalties to begin showing up.

But then Rusch goes on to say, “Do not hire literary agents … If you already have a literary agent, extricate yourself from this relationship. Cancel it, get your books out of that agency, and hire an attorney to do your negotiations.”

Loki Facepalm

This is exactly the type of absolute, one-size-fits-all advice I try to warn people against when I do panels and writing workshops.

I understand that Rusch has had some bad experiences with agents, some of which she describes in the article. It sounds like she’s happier on her own, and hopefully her career is doing better without an agent.

That’s great. She’s not the only author to make that choice. It’s the choice that works for her.

On the other hand, my agent has helped me land a large number of book deals I wouldn’t have been able to do on my own — mostly subsidiary deals through the agency’s contacts and their trips to international book fairs, where they’ve sold my stuff to publishers in Germany, France, Latin America, and more. Earlier this year, I wrote a pitch for a major publisher I’m waiting to hear back on. That opportunity came about through my agent; it’s almost certainly not something I would have heard about on my own.

In other words, for me, working with my agent has been the right choice, and has significantly improved my income as a writer.

But wait, what if my agent, or someone at the agency, is skimming from my royalties? As Rusch notes, “Prestigious agencies embezzle.” (I’m not clear whether Rusch meant some prestigious agencies embezzle or all of them do.)

This is where it’s important to be aware of your sales, as well as the checks you’re expecting, and when those should be coming. And if something seems off, follow up.

Rusch has a lot of good advice for writers about understanding your contracts and not neglecting the business side of writing. I just wish she didn’t mix that good advice with the alarmist “all writers should immediately dump their agents” rhetoric.

Do your research, and make the choice that’s right for you and your career.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

The wonderful folks at Uncanny Magazine have been kind enough to host the cover reveal for Terminal Uprising, book two of the Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse trilogy.

We’re also doing a giveaway for an autographed hardcover of Terminal Alliance. So head over to check out the wonderful cover Dan Dos Santos created, and enter for your chance at a free book!

Or if you’d like, you can click on one of these the Terminal Uprising pre-order links first:

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Too Many Men Can’t Handle Being Told No

Content warning for discussion of mass shootings and domestic violence.

Teen Vogue recently published an article about the link between dating violence and gun violence.

But calling it “dating violence” misses a very significant factor. I dug through a list of school shootings from the past few years and tried to pick out every story that seemed to involve any sort of dating/romantic relationship, either real or desired on the part of the shooter.

Anyone want to guess what I found? In every single case, the shooter was male, and the target was female.

Remember last week when I talked about needing to teach kids to hear and accept “No” for an answer? Let me be more specific. Being able to set and respect boundaries is important for everyone. But we desperately need to teach boys and men to respect “No.” That male sense of entitlement is literally killing people.

The whole “incel” thing is another example where we see a guy committing murder because he feels the world owed him sex. Yet, despite the fact that both men and women can be “involuntarily celibate,” it’s only the men lashing out with violence, killing people because they’re unwilling to accept women telling them no.

As a society, this is exactly what we teach men to do. We teach them to be persistent, to never accept no for an answer. The entertainment industry is flooded with stories of men essentially wearing down the target of their desire until the woman says yes. We teach them that women aren’t people, but things to be won and used.

Again and again, we see where those lessons lead:

Santa Fe High School. Texas. Kole Dixon, 16, a sophomore…said that friends told him that the gunman first entered an art classroom, said “Surprise!” and started shooting. The suspect’s ex-girlfriend was among the people shot in that classroom, he said.* Sadie Rodriguez, the mother of Shana Fisher, 16, told the newspaper that her daughter rejected four months of aggressive advances from accused shooter Dimitrios Pagourtzis… Fisher finally stood up to him and embarrassed him in class, the newspaper quoted her mother as writing in a private message to the Times. “A week later he opens fire on everyone he didn’t like,” she said. “Shana being the first one.”

*Per the second link, it sounds like Fisher wasn’t the killer’s ex-girlfriend, but a girl he’d been aggressively pursuing.

Great Mills High School. Maryland. All indications suggest the shooting was not a random act of violence. Rollins and the female victim had a prior relationship which recently ended.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Florida. Student Victoria Olvera, 17, said that Cruz had been abusive to his ex-girlfriend and that his expulsion was over a fight with her new boyfriend.

Italy High School. Texas. Shook said the girl who was shot had moved to the school district a few months earlier. She said the girl had briefly dated the suspect, but that she did not know much about her.

Rancho Tehama Reserve. California. The wife’s car was still there. Her body, shot several times, was hidden beneath the floor. “We believe that’s what probably started this whole event,” Tehama County Asst. Sheriff Phil Johnston told reporters.

Mattoon High School. Illinois. [T]he teen targeted a female student at Mattoon High School who he said called him gay.

North Lake College. Texas. He had been stalking her for quite a while but she didn’t make anything of it,” her mom said. The family says witnesses told them Torres had approached Janeera in front of an art exhibit and yelled at her saying, “You know who I am and you know why I am here!” The family also says the two never dated and were not even friends.

North Park Elementary School. California. The slain teacher was identified as Karen Smith, 53, who police said was Anderson’s estranged wife.

Antigo High School. Wisconsin. A school administrator said he does not believe Wagner targeted the victims. Instead, interim district administrator Donald Childs told The Associated Press he believes Wagner planned to enter the prom and start shooting randomly. A student who did not want to be identified told FOX6 News Wagner had been depressed following the break-up with his girlfriend.

Rogers State University. Oklahoma. Sources said a woman was studying in a music hall when she spotted her ex-boyfriend, Fees, outside. Fees shot through the window at the woman, but she was able to run to safety and call authorities, reports say.

#

We see the seeds in the way so many men lash out with threats of violence when a woman dares to tell them no. We see the statistics showing that the most dangerous time for a woman in an abusive relationship is when she tries to leave.

I know, I know. “Not all men,” and all that. Most men don’t go on killing sprees when a woman turns them down. But the list of men who do is too damned long.

So many guys are so obsessed with being “real men.” Here’s a thought. Maybe a real man should have more emotional stability and maturity than a toddler throwing a tantrum when he doesn’t immediately get everything he wants. Maybe he should be man enough to hear the word “no” without having to whine, curse, threaten, and/or kill. Maybe that’s what we should be teaching boys and men.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Cool Stuff Friday

Friday has seen the final cover for Terminal Uprising, and looks forward to sharing it soon! 🙂

 

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Boundaries, Part Whatever

Sometimes I think two of the most important things we can teach kids are that they have a right to say no, and that if someone tells them no, they have to respect that.

I know some Very Clever People will point out that there are exceptions. If I tell my five-year-old child to stop shoving his LEGO Star Wars figures into the garbage disposal while cackling and saying, “In its belly, you will find a new definition of pain and suffering as you are slowly digested over a thousand years,” he’s not going to have much luck telling me no. If my boss gives me an assignment and I tell him no, that’s probably gonna end badly for me.

(On the other hand, if that same five-year-old doesn’t want a kiss from Aunt Rose? He has the right to say no. Maybe today Aunt Rose will have to settle for a fistbump.)

But I think most of us are able to understand and discuss this without having to derail for those “whatabouts.”

You have the right to say no.

If you’re on the receiving end of that “No”? You don’t have to be happy about it. You can feel hurt or angry or whatever. But you still have to accept it.

You have the right to say no, even if you said yes in the past. You’re allowed to change your mind. You’re allowed to decide that today you want to set this boundary, regardless of whether you set it yesterday or not.

You have the right to set rules and boundaries in your own space. You decide who can and can’t be in your home. You decide who can call you, text you, talk to you online, and so on. You have the right to tell someone to leave you the hell alone, and to block their ass if they can’t respect that.

If someone tells you to stop talking to them? Stop talking to them! Don’t argue. Don’t whine about how it’s unfair. Don’t keep coming back to explain yourself, or to try to get the last word. Grow the hell up and get on with your life.

To put it as simply and clearly as I can, you don’t have a right to another person. Even if you disagree with them. Even if you hate them. Even if you’re attracted to them. Even if you’re married to them.

That sense of false entitlement to another human being is at the core of so much dysfunctional societal rot. Rape and domestic violence and the epidemic of men physically hurting or killing women for telling them no…

Learn to say no, and to respect it from others. Teach kids the same. Expect the same from the people in your life. Demand the same (when it’s safe for you to do so). Support people’s right to set their own boundaries, and help push back against those who would ignore them.

This post brought to you by someone who may end up being an object lesson for a future post, depending on how things go.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

A few nights ago, my wife woke me up at about three in the morning. Through the open windows, she’d heard what sounded vaguely like a velociraptor from Jurassic Park making that chirping/rattling/growling sound they make right before they eat your face. For a countermelody, something else — or maybe it was the same thing — kept screeching.

She’d already checked to make sure all of our animals were inside, so we knew it wasn’t our cats/dogs/guinea pig getting eaten by a genetically modified dinosaur.

I’ve lived in Michigan for about four decades, and I had no clue what was out there. So I grabbed a flashlight to check it out. Then I put the flashlight back and grabbed one that worked.

This wasn’t a terribly powerful flashlight, just a little LED light. But it was enough for me to avoid any dog “gifts” as I walked through the back yard. By now, I knew the sound was coming from a large tree on the other side of the fence.

I shine the light around, and quickly spot three sets of shining eyes watching me from the branches. The flashlight wasn’t strong enough for me to make out anything except the bright, glowing eyes. My brain was now alert enough to run through a quick checklist.

  • Dinosaurs are extinct, and Seanan McGuire lives on the other side of the country, so these probably weren’t real velociraptors.
  • The eyes were on the front of the head, not to the sides. Ergo, probably predators of some non-velociraptor variety.
  • They were about twenty feet up, suggesting either birds or maybe large cats?
  • Oh, cool — we have owls!

I hung out for another minute or two, hoping I’d be able to see more, but the darkness mocked me with its…darkness.

And then, right before I turned around to come inside, some long-dormant instinct made me raise the flashlight and look up. The beam illuminated a fourth pair of eyes in the branches directly above me. Just…watching.

Jurassic Park Gif: Clever Girl

I was tempted to grab my camera and try to climb up onto the roof to get some long-exposure shots with the zoom lens. Then I remembered it was three in the freaking morning, so I went back to bed.

The next day, I spent a little time online listening to different owl calls. It might have been a group of barred owls, probably feeding their young.

They haven’t come back, which makes me a little sad, but helps everyone in the house to sleep better.

But the real lesson here is that if we ever are attacked by mutant dinosaurs or whatever, I’ll be one of the first to be ambushed and eaten.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Project Updates

TERMINAL UPRISING is sitting with my editor. My agent called yesterday to share a few comments on the manuscript. Overall, he thought it was a good book, and a strong follow-up to TERMINAL ALLIANCE.

#

After spending a year on that book, I needed a break. So for the past week, I’ve been planning out a completely different project, something unrelated to any of my current series. The next Janitors book will be my priority, since that’s under contract and I don’t want to leave people with 2/3 of a trilogy, but I’m really excited about this new thing.

I normally start with a rough outline, then leap into the first draft. This inevitably leads to the discovery that my outline is broken. It’s not until after the first or second draft that I start to pull everything together and figure out how the book is going to work.

This time, I tried something different. I wrote the rough outline, but then tried writing what I called Draft Zero. It’s somewhere between an outline and a proper draft. It’s broken into chapters and scenes, but each scene is very sparse, between 50 and 500 words.

As always, I discovered problems with the outline. But I’ve been able to find and fix a lot of them in Draft Zero. It’s possible (probable) (inevitable) that I’ll hit additional potholes as I start writing Draft One, but I’m hoping there will be fewer, and I’ll be able to finish this project more quickly.

#

For now, though, I need to turn my attention back to Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse III. I planted plot seeds in the last chapter of TERMINAL UPRISING, and it’s time to start thinking about how the heck I’m going to turn those seeds into a story.

I’m also expecting to hear back from my editor soon, at which point I’ll need to dive in on final revisions to TERMINAL UPRISING. I’m actually looking forward to that. This feels like part of the payoff for the past year’s work — I have a book that, hey, I think is pretty good! And now I get to go through with advice from very smart professionals to make it even better!

(Also, I get to see cover art. Will share as soon as I can, but Dan Dos Santos has once again done a lovely job.)

#

So that’s one book to revise and two more to write. Along with three pitches my agent sent out for Potentially Fun Thing that may or may not happen.

That should be enough to keep me busy and out of trouble…mostly…for at least the next year.

 

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Infinity War (Spoilers)

We don’t make it to opening weekend for most movies, but I figured with as much time as I spend online, this would be my only chance of seeing Infinity Wars before stumbling over spoilers.

Speaking of which…spoilers after the cut!

Get This Man a Shield Meme

Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Cool Stuff Friday

Friday made it through the week without getting called in for jury duty!

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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I sent the manuscript for Terminal Alliance to my editor and agent on Sunday, which means I am now allowed to stop and breathe and catch up on a little of what’s been happening in the world recently. I wanted to start with the discussion about the Writers of the Future contest that’s been making the rounds.

I was a first prize winner in the context back in 1998, and attended the 1999 workshop. My story was published in Volume 15. At the time, I knew L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of the contest, was also the founder of Scientology. We were told the contest and its finances were completely separate from the church.

In 2012, I talked about some of the reasons I no longer believed the “firewall” between the church and the contest was as strong as we’d been told.

That was six years ago. Since then, I’ve learned more about people’s experiences, how the contest operates, and the alleged firewall between the church and the contest.

The Writers of the Future trademark is registered to the Church of Spiritual Technology. As of 1994, Scientology owned the WotF trademark. Ownership was transferred in 1997 to the L. Ron Hubbard Library…which has the exact same address and correspondent as the Church of Spiritual Technology.

The workshop is taught using materials from Dianetics. J. W. Alden posted a thread with one of the first handouts the writers receive at the WotF workshop. I remember that particular worksheet from my own workshop week. What I didn’t know until Alden pointed it out was that the text of that worksheet comes directly from page one of Dianetics.

Transphobic edits. Keffy R. M. Kehrli was a WotF winner in 2011. His story “Bonehouse” was, to the best of his knowledge, the only story to receive any edits that year. The edits in question? Removing references about a trans character who was transitioning.

The anthology sells poorly…except to Scientologists. Jason Sanford investigated the Bookscan numbers for previous WotF anthologies. He found sales to be relatively low, but with an unusual anomaly:

“Across this three week period sales match up extremely well with related Scientology locations, which would suggest more than 90% of total sales are bought in locations with a large Scientology presence.”

This would not be the first time the church encouraged or forced members to buy books with Hubbard’s name on them.

The publicity machine has gotten much more intense since 1999. Winner Anaea Lay wrote about her mixed feelings after the workshop. One quote that jumped out at me was, “The winners are not real people to ASI. It’s not malicious. From ASI’s perspective, there are no real people, just pawns in their great publicity machine designed to sell books with L. Ron Hubbard’s name on them.”

WotF Staffers are all Scientologists. This point was made by ex-Scientologist Dierdre Saoirse Moen, and affirmed by contest director Joni Labaqui in a letter to Frank Wu (see Edit 4 in the linked blog post).

  • Why does this matter? I see two things here. One is that it undermines the idea of any real barrier between the church and the contest. The other is various reports of unfair labor practices within Scientology, and whether the people working at WotF are a part of that.

Winner speeches are allegedly used at Scientology ceremonies. Former Scientologist Mike Rinder writes that the winners’ speeches and photos are used at weekly Scientology “graduation” ceremonies, as a way of bestowing legitimacy on both L. Ron Hubbard and the church.

WotF Presence at the 1987 Worldcon. Conspiracy Theories, edited by Chris Evans, is a chapbook discussing the presence of Author Services Inc and related manifestations of L. Ron Hubbard at Conspiracy, the 1987 World SF Convention in Brighton, England. I’m not sure how much weight to give events from more than 30 years ago, but it’s part of the history, so I thought it worth including the link.

#

None of this makes me any less proud of my winning story from 20 years ago. The judges are not Scientologists, and they chose my sword and sorcery piece as one of the best stories they saw that year. I enjoyed the workshop, made some friends, and had a wonderful experience.

Did it kickstart or provide an irreplaceable boost to my career? Nope. I can’t see into alternate timelines, but I’m 99% sure I’d be in the exact same place if I’d never won. (Everyone’s experience is different, of course. I know the contest was much more of a springboard for at least one now-big-name author. But as a rule, a single story sale/publication will not make or break your career.)

I’m not interested in shaming winners or people who choose to participate, or the judges, some of whom are people I have tremendous respect for. But I want to make the information available so people can make more informed choices about whether to participate.

If I’d known then what I know now? I would have removed Writers of the Future from my submission list and sent that story to another market, somewhere without the transphobia, with a bigger audience, and without the close connection to a religious organization with a long list of alleged abuses.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Cool Stuff Friday

Friday missed his deadline, but is on the very last chapter of this rewrite!

 

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Cool Stuff Friday

My friend Edric is launching a treasure hunt with a $100 cash prize. It begins tonight, April 6, at 8 p.m. Eastern Time at http://happinessboard.com/TreasureHunt.html

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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