- The Jade Temptress & the Future of Jeannie Lin – This news kind of made me get my rant on. I’m frustrated with white readers, but I’m also irked that HQN is giving up so easily. There’s a market for multicultural romance out there, but I don’t think you’ll find them by marketing to the same white readers you’ve been marketing HQN historical books to. Ugh, I don’t even know what to say anymore.
In September 2013, Harlequin HQN released my first single title historical romance set. The Lotus Palace was supposed to be a new milestone in my writing career. A chance for a higher advance, wider distribution, more readers.
It tanked. The print sales were so poor on Lotus that Harlequin pulled the sequel, The Jade Temptress, from print distribution to publish it digital only. There’s no other way to slice it – this is a huge step back from the Jeannie Lin master plan.
- The problems with #WhiteAlly #AllyClub by @suey_park – Writer Suey Park went to town on Twitter the other day, tearing self-professed “allies” to shreds.
White folks: I am not your caretaker, your teacher, your crutch, or a token for your resume of diversity inclusion.
— Suey Park (@suey_park) December 7, 2013
- 21 Racial Microaggressions You Hear On A Daily Basis – In a similar vein, Buzzfeed has this picture listicle of people sharing the cluelessly hurtful microagressions they’ve experienced. (h/t to Alisha Rai)
Each event, observation and experience posted is not necessarily particularly striking in and of themselves. Often, they are never meant to hurt – acts done with little conscious awareness of their meanings and effects. Instead, their slow accumulation during a childhood and over a lifetime is in part what defines a marginalized experience, making explanation and communication with someone who does not share this identity particularly difficult. Social others are microaggressed hourly, daily, weekly, monthly.
- Marginalized Characters Do Not Define The Story – This should be required reading for anyone looking to write the “other.” Writing marginalized characters to fill a plot purpose is not only offensive, it’s shitty writing.
If Harry Dresden were gay, then suddenly The Dresden Files is a series about sexuality. If Claire were Black, then The Morganville Vampires would morph into a book about race. If Gin Blanco were followed around by several GBLT friends, then they may even be books that are trying to play politics or make a point!
Of course, people forget that being straight is a sexuality, or that being White is a race. Harry Dresden is definitely straight, we see several of his love interests (and he hardly sees any woman without wanting to have sex with her) yet, no-one would characterise this series as some kind of treatise on straightness or straight sexuality. But include a major gay character and suddenly it’s making a statement. Now it’s a commentary on all gay sexuality, now it has an agenda.
- The World’s First Hunk: Why We’re Obsessed with Muscle Men – Ran across this one on my Tumblr feed and found it fascinating. It has lots of pictures of Old Timey bodybuilders, some of which wear only a fig leaf. Literally.
When Eugen Sandow took the stage in 1894, clad only in a pair of miniature briefs, audiences swooned. Not only did Sandow have one of the finest musculatures in the Western world, but he made physical beauty his primary talent: Instead of focusing on magic tricks or daring feats, Sandow simply posed like a gorgeous hunk of marble.
Though the bodybuilding trend was initially based on notions of health, it found broad appeal using the allure of physical attraction. Instead of catering to mainstream morals, German-born Sandow played up his womanizing reputation, even encouraging scandalous rumors to circulate. It was no accident that the imagery of “physical culture,” as recreational exercise was known, became closely intertwined with sexuality and pornography.
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