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I’m alive. I just spent three weeks recuperating from the stress of finals period, when I was awake for a week straight doing nothing but writing papers. It took me the better part of Christmas to snap out of drone mode. Now I have 20 more days before SENIOR SPRING OMFG.

I’m really torn as to what fiction I should be working on right now: contest entries/anthology subs, other short stories, or a novel-in-progress. It would be nice to actually have something to show before I sink into the time drain that is college again, but I may never have this much free time where I don’t have to look for a job, and I could concentrate on making daily writing a routine, therefore a task less likely to drop off during stressful periods. Thoughts? Suggestions?

I need to cut down on my sugar intake. Maybe cut down on calories altogether. Urg.

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Originally published at Folklore Fanatic. You can comment here or there.

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Usually, this blog is about unpleasant realities that can seem insurmountable. I think the following news proves that just talking about race is enough to affect an entire industry. Corporations can and will do the right thing if enough people put up a fuss and speak out.

Bloomsbury USA is going to change the cover of its leading Young Adult fiction title this fall, Justine Larbalestier’s Liar. It was another case of whitewashing, where the white girl on the cover was supposed to represent the biracial black protagonist in the story. Many bloggers and readers expressed dismay at the misrepresentation of the main character and how the cover fed into the racist trend of sidelining both stories about people of color and authors of color (Larbalestier is white, but the conversation outgrew this one single instance), and how children of color so rarely find protagonists who look like they do on the covers of the books they are encouraged to buy. Justine took a professional risk and publicly criticized the decision to put a stock photo of a white girl on the book over her protests.

For those of you not aware, authors rarely have any say whatsoever in what the cover art for their work looks like when they are published at an old-school, non-print-on-demand publisher, the only kind of  publisher from which most books stores are willing to buy. If you want your print books to reach a large audience, you have to be willing to give up most of your creative control over everything: the audience to which the book is marketed, the language and vocabulary used in the story, the cover art, the marketing pitch, the blurb, etc. Having a contract not only with an agent but with a publisher with the clout of Bloomsbury is a big deal. Justine was brave enough to talk honestly on the Internet about a subject that could have cost her professional relationships vital to her career. She believed the risk was worth the potential cost to herself, to young readers, especially children of color if she did not. I agree with her.

It took less than two weeks of the story circulating between the blogs and publishing news media outlets for Bloomsbury to change its mind and order all of the old covers to be scrapped, conduct a photo shoot, and order new covers for the book. For a large print run like 100,000 copies, that must have cost them a significant amount of money, but the publishers decided to do it any way. The motivations behind doing this may not be as idealistic as Justine’s, and the new cover girl doesn’t actually have ‘nappy’ hair, but it is a vast, VAST improvement over the original cover.

Normally, I don’t approve of giving people ‘cookies’ for doing the right thing. But the reviews of Justine’s book make it sound fantastic, and I want this book to succeed beyond Bloomsbury’s expectations. Furthermore, Justine has recommended two authors of color who deserve as many accolades for their talents: Coe Booth, who has written Kendra, a coming-of-age story about a young mother and her teenage daughter afraid of repeating the past, and M. Sindy Felin’s Touching Snow.

Provided that this new face graces Liar when it hits the bookshelves in October, I will be one of the first to buy several copies.

Originally published at The Multiracial Muse. You can comment here or there.

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I just thought you should all know (all five of you who check back here every month or so) that I am not dead. I was locked out.

This is the third blog that WP has decided I am no longer worth of controlling and subsequently refused my password when I updated to a newer version. Damn you, secret key! *shakes fist*

Anyway, I entered agent Nathan Bradsford’s first paragraph contest for kicks with my one literary WIP.  I read some of the entries for a couple of minutes. Then my eyes started to glaze over.


Well, for one, there are currently over 800 of them up as of 1:17 a.m. PST (that’s 4:17 a.m. EST for me) on Wednesday, 2008·12·10, and the contest ends on Thursday.



You know how people tell you things to debunk common myths about their jobs, and you don’t believe them? I couldn’t imagine how a bunch of completely isolated individuals could all start different stories in different genres with nearly identical sentences. Once again, truth is stranger than fiction. Er, published fiction. But of course, none of my novels start that way. At least, I don’t think they do. Right? Right?

The genre ones need revisions. I’m not happy until everything is perfect (except for typos, gah! I always miss those even after five passes) before I submit anything to anyone for professional review, so there was no way most of my WIPs would have gone up there. NarcoLexy, however, has a focused opening, IMHO, and the reader should be able to have a clear sense of my voice by the end of the third sentence or so. Want to read it? No? Well, too bad. Here it is:

When I filled out my application to Harvard, I literally spent about fifteen minutes on the essay. I’m a procrastinator, and I wrote it the day it was due. I’ve managed not to tell most people that minor little detail. There are several reasons for this:
a) People will hate me.
b) The average listener will not believe me / will think I am bragging.
c) Someone might pass on the unquestionably bad advice that “procrastination pays” to an impressionable high school student. Terrible Things happen. Lexy sad now.
d) In an ironic twist of fate, the story will reach the ears of my professor, who secretly harbors a grudge against students he perceives to be ‘lucky.’
Yes, I have had many occasions in which I chose to procrastinate and I pulled through, but my sanity is not the better for it. Deadlines are vindictive, sanctimonious, stubborn little bastards. It is always better to deprive them of their powers before they have a chance to strike.

~ Chapter 1, NarcoLexy

If I've enlightened, inspired or enslaved your mind, please consider buying me a tea. Hell, just buy me one anyway. I'm still poor.

Originally published at Folklore Fanatic. You can comment here or there.

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I am now working on the Obama campaign every single day. I’ve been making phone calls and knocking on people’s doors trying to convince them to vote for Obama since the week of the Democratic National Convention at the end of August. Lots of our volunteers here in PA have become complacent, thinking that victory is a sure thing, which is absolutely not true, and the few of us hardcore workers have been trying to pick up the slack.

I have a commission-based job to plan out after the election, a NaNoWriMo novel to outline, a request from an editor for a short story partial, and re-enrollment at Harvard (my last chance) for next spring to worry about. I finished my voice acting projects earlier in the month, but more work is coming. It is so hard to keep up with the several blogs on which I’m supposed to be working, much less my RSS feeds to which I am normally addicted. There is never enough time as it is without the 2008 Election, and now that we’re down to the wire, everything is surreal, and I’m just trying to capture and catalogue it privately for future reflection as best I can.

I think the racists have intimidated a lot of our earlier canvassers who were people of color - everyone is so brave to put up with some of the crap people hurl at you. Just the other day, my boss’s white mom took a black woman out canvassing with her for the woman’s first canvas. The first house they approached, a woman looked out the window, saw the two of them, and screamed that if they didn’t get off her property in ten seconds, she was going to call the police and Thre Would Be Trouble. No Obama pins, no posters, no visible campaign materials. It was seeing a black woman on her doorstep that made her freak out.

The crap that ignorant (usually white) people will say to you when they think you’re white is really, really scary.

Als, the word socialist is bandied about a lot here. I don’t think it means what conservatives think it means. Libraries are socialist. The Post office is socialist. The Veteran’s Administration, Social Security, Medicare and the Wall Street bailout are socialist programs. Obama? Not so much.

Interesting links for the week:

· (where the candidates fall on a political spectrum - you’ll probably be surpised)
· (I can say without a doubt that the shocking examples of PA political behavior do not surpise me. At all.)

If I've enlightened, inspired or enslaved your mind, please consider buying me a tea. Hell, just buy me one anyway. I'm still poor.

Originally published at Folklore Fanatic. You can comment here or there.

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So, back from vacation! Actually, I returned a few days ago, but I've just been so busy working on my eBay business and playing catch-up that I haven't had any time to update.

Progess on, good and not so good:

I entered the Summer Literary Seminars Russia contest and didn't win, but it was a good experience nonetheless.

I auditioned for Project Runway, which was a disenchanting experience--I actually wrote a full disclosure on the process but it's not edited yet. Hopefully I should have it done soon. The good thing is that it hasn't discouraged me from pursuing fashion in the slightest. ;)

I've made progress on a contest entry I'm going to submit to Dark Recesses Press. I'm having difficulties deciding on which genre (or lack thereof) I want to use to try and obtain an agent; there are so many good agents, but very few of them read all of the genres in which I want to write-- fantasy, sci-fi, horror, mainstream, historical romance, YA. The problem with having so many developed ideas at once is where to spend most of my energy. I have to choose, or nothing will get done.

The Civic Light Opera interviewed me for an internship as the assistant to all four of the stage directors for their summer season. For those of you less familiar with the business side of theatre (that would be...everyone, including myself?), the CLO summer internships are some of the most competitive in the country, so I was honored to merely have a serious *chance* at the hardest slot they offer, even if my chances are very slim. I should know the results any day now, and if I don't get the position, I can start job-hunting with abandon. Joy.

Pendant Audio, one of the audio production companies to which I belong, had a casting call for an Indiana Jones serial. I absolutely LOVED the idea, so naturally, I had to audition (at the last minute, as usual). They had more auditionees than for any other serial so far, so I wasn't expecting anything, and to make the process harder, they wanted us to imitate the film voices as closely as possible. The casting results went up today and I got MARION RAVENROOD! The only female part.

This is me bragging. I am PSYCHED. Here I thought my male voices were the only halfway decent ones. O.o

So a red-letter day, to be sure. I hope I can channel that energy into many pages of enticing text.


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July 2010



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