Hello my darlings, I’ve known for some time I would have to write this post, but it’s not something I’ve been chomping at the bit to do. The other day, I posted something that was a way to help me process the horror in Orlando, and I was almost instantly called out for my “allyship.” And it was put in quotation marks just like that. Aside from the fact I didn’t think it was a particularly approriate time to try and pick fights with people who were trying to sort through a fuckton of grief, the lady was super not hip to facts. See, what happened was this woman had seen a Tweet, and jumped to eleven thousand conclusions based on that single Tweet. To her, I wasn’t a part of the QUILTBAG+ community, so I had no right to be commenting on anything. Except I was very clear in an accompanying Tweet, in the same thread, even, that I am, in fact, queer. This isn’t a secret, and hasn’t ever been. I even reached out to apologize to the woman who went high holy roller on my Tweet, accusing me of fetishizing the QUILTBAG+ community, hoping she would see that there was a lot more accompanying the single Tweet she’d called out, if she’d kept reading. But she didn’t reply. She kept Tweeting about the bullshit “allyship” but never acknowledged the apology I’m not entirely sure I was due to give, but I saw her point through the eyes of the isolated Tweet and wanted to make amends. My reality did not match her narrative. She had a point to make, and no amount of pesky facts was going to alter that. I see this a lot on social media. A LOT. Over the last two years, it’s become the new hip thing to pounce on literally anything anyone says ever with the sole purpose of being the expert in something to get all the reTweets and fist-pumps of being more outraged than everyone else, and being the person to call all the...
Hello my darlings! Today I bring you an interview I’ve been dying to post for ages with one of my very most favorite people in the world, literary agent, (one of mine, to be specific!) Brent Taylor of TriadaUS Literary Agency! The first time I worked with Brent, he was a wee intern and was a huge help during the Hook, Line, and Sinker contest back in 2012. When I signed with Uwe Stender and Brent, at the time, Brent was brand new to agenting. I remember saying to friends, “With Brent, it’s not ever a question of if he will sell. It’s when.” and he certainly didn’t disappoint. He’s been kicking ass for his clients and it’s been a pleasure to watch, and be among them. Let me step aside and let the sir speak for his own awesome self. 1. First off, how long have you been an agent? What made you want to dive into this wacky business in the first place? I’ve been an agent since September 2014. I’m terrible at all math that isn’t “how much money does this publisher owe me,” so I think that’s roughly a year and a half. I’ve known that I wanted to be an agent since my first internship in 2011. There’s something so magical about shepherding books into the world that would’ve changed your life as a reader. 2. What genres do you represent? How important is the genre, or will you take on something different just because it gives you the feelings? My taste is eclectic, but I tell people that I represent upmarket fiction across all age categories: middle grade, young adult, and adult. I’m also very interested in illustrated fiction and other unique formats (like novels-in-verse). Even if something doesn’t feel like an obvious fit, I’ll always give it the benefit of the doubt, because writing is the most important to me. I’m not an obvious fit for SFF, but there are two MG/YA SFF projects on my list that I just couldn’t say no to—the writing was phenomenal. 3....
Hello my darlings! I’ve dreamt for years about writing this post. Or at the least, having the opportunity to write it. A few years back, the big thrill was writing my “ZOMG I HAVE AN AGENT!” post. I didn’t write one when I signed with my second set of agents. I super wanted to, it’s a great story, but also, I felt weird about it. Like I was demanding a second baby shower or something. Which is stupid, honestly. I love, LOVE reading posts about people signing with new agents, no matter how many they’ve had before. Please never stop posting about your wins, folks. They give me life. Hell, I love going to second/third/infinity baby showers, as well. But I’m super weird about feeling like I’m flailing my arms begging for some level of attention. Despite that absurdity, I’m going to share a little of my tale today. I went to my first writer’s conference when I was 12. It was an RWA con in Indianapolis at a big hotel. My mom drove me and a friend and dropped us off for the day. It was apparently so odd for someone so young to be there, a freaking news crew came. Seriously. I was on the Channel 8 news and an agent was all, I AM HERE FOR THIS KID AND HER BOOK. It was very bizarre. My mom still has a VHS recording of this somewhere. At the time, I also had an offer from an acting agent, and I figured I could always come back to writing, but acting was more time sensitive, so I went with that. Cut to my long and tortuous path to finding an agent as an adult. 12yo me didn’t realize how swell she’d had it. I had two books on sub with my first agent. I had some trips to acquisitions, but neither sold for various reasons. And then all manner of lunacy happened. Had a heart attack, left my first agent, dealt with some mild brain damage that made writing quite difficult, husband was...
Hello, my darlings! Today, I am very excited to bring you a chat with literary agent, and all around badass, Jim McCarthy of Dystel and Goderich Literary Agency. Jim is a faboo agent who has had a hand in escorting some genuinely amazing books down the publishing path. Let’s dive right in, shall we? 1. First off, how long have you been an agent? What made you want to dive into this wacky business in the first place? I landed at Dystel & Goderich as an intern 17 years ago, the summer after my first year of college. When I graduated, a full time job had just opened up. And I signed my first client way back in 2003. I’d love to say that I chose to work in publishing for noble reasons, but when I started part time, the main reason was that of the 50 resumes I had sent out, the first call, interview, and offer was here. I fell in love with the job, but those early days, I did wonder if I should have held out longer because other people started calling. “I could have been a ticket taker at Radio City,” I complained. But let’s just say it all worked out. And I’m here 17 years later for a host of reasons. 2. What genres do you represent? How important is the genre, or will you take on something different just because it gives you the feelings? I’m willing to represent just about anything (other than poetry where I’m at a loss. That said, I’m best known for doing YA, fantasy, romance, and mystery. Because those have been my most successful areas, they’re where I’m most comfortable and where I see the most submissions. But I’m always looking to push myself. 3. Tell us a little bit about how writers go about snagging a magnificent agent such as yourself? Aside from slush, you’ve had some amazing success with online contests as well! I have done well with pitch contests! In the most recent Pitch Wars, I signed Laura Creedle...
Hello my darlings,
I’ve known for some time I would have to write this post, but it’s not something I’ve been chomping at the bit to do.
The other day, I posted something that was a way to help me process the horror in Orlando, and I was almost instantly called out for my “allyship.” And it was put in quotation marks just like that.
Aside from the fact I didn’t think it was a particularly approriate time to try and pick fights with people who were trying to sort through a fuckton of grief, the lady was super not hip to facts.
See, what happened was this woman had seen a Tweet, and jumped to eleven thousand conclusions based on that single Tweet.
To her, I wasn’t a part of the QUILTBAG+ community, so I had no right to be commenting on anything.
Except I was very clear in an accompanying Tweet, in the same thread, even, that I am, in fact, queer. This isn’t a secret, and hasn’t ever been.
I even reached out to apologize to the woman who went high holy roller on my Tweet, accusing me of fetishizing the QUILTBAG+ community, hoping she would see that there was a lot more accompanying the single Tweet she’d called out, if she’d kept reading.
But she didn’t reply. She kept Tweeting about the bullshit “allyship” but never acknowledged the apology I’m not entirely sure I was due to give, but I saw her point through the eyes of the isolated Tweet and wanted to make amends.
My reality did not match her narrative. She had a point to make, and no amount of pesky facts was going to alter that.
I see this a lot on social media. A LOT.
Over the last two years, it’s become the new hip thing to pounce on literally anything anyone says ever with the sole purpose of being the expert in something to get all the reTweets and fist-pumps of being more outraged than everyone else, and being the person to call all the eyes to the thing over which they should also be outraged.
It’s a bloodsport at this point.
I am 100% here for people calling out problematic things in the world. So very here for it. I hope to hell if I’m ever doing something not okay, someone will call me on it in a way I can learn from my mistakes and damn well never make them again.
And I will make mistakes. I’m not even in the same hemisphere as perfect.
But it’s not about that anymore. It’s about being seen as RIGHT, facts and people who get stomped on in process be damned.
So, that’s where this post is coming from.
I didn’t want to write this post.
When I wrote my last book, I was very open in advance that I suffered from OCD and was more than willing to be as open as possible about it because I wanted to educate and help however I could. I was comfortable with that transparency.
This book, the one that sold, the Vagina Book, well, I didn’t want to do that. Being exposed and vulnerable about my OCD is a lot less scary than telling the world the details of my vagina.
The story is about a woman dealing with a disorder, vaginismus, and I really wanted that to stand on its own.
But, alas, I don’t appear to have that option.
Because what I see happening on social media, and not just my silly little Tweet this weekend, is this: Someone does a thing. Someone calls out this thing. Outrage over the thing reaches a fever pitch. The person who did the thing opens up and explains the outrage is actually not based in fact, and they are forced to open wounds and expose themselves in their defense.
Pitchfork-waving crowd gives no fucks.
No one wants to Tweet out, “Oh, hey, I was wrong. Can we all apologize to the person I just made open up about sexual abuse/religion/divorce/etc.?”
And let’s face it, no one gives a flying fuck in space about a boring old fact. They want the furor. They want the fire. It’s more fun to RT and rally troops around injustice than it is to accept everyone got hella carried away and did a big, bad, wrong thing.
When my book went out, someone in publishing got MAD. And I mean, supes mad. They were offended I had written a book about the subject matter, of which they were familiar, and the book was “funny.”
This was before I was willing to come right out and say, “OH HEY I WROTE THIS BOOK BECAUSE I SUFFERED THIS BROKEN VAGINA DISORDER AND I WANTED TO WRITE SOMETHING I WOULD HAVE WANTED TO READ ABOUT IT.”
I can safely guarantee the reaction would have been 100% different.
To that person, I was an outsider cracking dick jokes in a story about something I had no business cracking jokes around. I was not entitled to see anything around the scenario as funny.
Because I hadn’t led with my vagina.
A desperate call to my agents was made. LET ME TELL YOU HOW FUN THAT WAS.
“Excuse me, two dude agents, but I need to go into great detail about my own vagina so other people don’t get upset about me discussing vaginas in my book.”
I was really, REALLY mad. Super mad. And humiliated. And exposed. And I felt horrible because it hadn’t been my choice to share this part of myself, it had been pulled out of me as a precaution to keep from getting another crazy angry letter. (Seriously, that person hates me more than I can fathom.)
And see, it’s not like I could email her and say, oh, by the by, broken vagina club high-five. No one cares after the fact.
No one cares.
When the book was announced, within an hour or two, a woman popped up to correct us on what the disorder actually meant. Because obvs we didn’t know.
I didn’t put my best vagina forward.
And I see the people on Twitter who are championing #OwnVoices stories and it makes me SO HAPPY. I love everything about #OwnVoices.
Except the people who demand to know, in advance, that any book written about a thing HAS to be an #OwnVoices or they are ready to be burn folks at the stake. And they have to have proof. Lots of proof.
I suppose I could have told the woman who questioned my queerdom about my sexual history and positions used and listed every single time I was beaten up in school or locked in a locker or that time a guy pledged to rape me so I could see what I was missing because I was a lesbian in high school. (So the rumors stated.)
I shouldn’t have to defend my experience. It’s mine, my very own, and I should be allowed to talk about it at a pace which is comfortable to me, not catering to vitriolic masses.
No one should be put in a position to have to show graphs and charts and peer reviewed studies to validate their lives to a mob on social media. But to refuse to do that allows said mob to completely erase who a person is with 140 characters of venom and misinformation.
I don’t stop being queer because some random person Tweets as such. But to all the people who don’t know me outside what that spiel of rage saw, I am *only* what she claimed. My reality was erased by her misguided witch hunt to anyone who read her words and ignored mine.
And I straight up re-fucking-fuse to let someone step in and try to do that with the topic of my own goddamn vagina.
Some people are definitely in the #OwnVoices club but aren’t out about the topic they are writing about. Some people are brave in very different ways. Some people are committing an act of absolute badassery just by writing the story in the first place.
Not all of us have it in us to be balls out to the world about every facet of our personal lives.
For me, I will talk about just about anything, but my broken vagina wasn’t on that list.
It is now. Not because I wanted it to be, not because I was comfortable with it, but truly, because I do not have the mental strength to hold back the social media mobs should there be a dull day on Twitter, and someone decides to come at me for writing about vaginas when I HAVE NO GODDAMN RIGHT.
I owe them NOTHING. But I do get to take that ember of power away from them. They don’t get to swing blindly at me out of nowhere and dissipate my existence to fit their ranting storyline. This is my tale, and I’ll be good goddamned if I let anyone sully it with malintent.
So, let me be quite clear: I was diagnosed with vaginismus after the birth of our son. I was traumatized by it. A history of sexual abuse did not make the act of amazingly painful sex with my husband a fun topic for me, nor did the eventual complete inability to have sex.
There were doctors and therapists and physical therapists and all manner of surreal, vagina-centric tactics invoked.
And then I learned a woman I knew in real life had dealt with it as well and was equally traumatized.
That inspired me to look up statistics. And when I saw how ridiculously common this disorder, and others like it, is, I decided to write the book I wish had been around for me to read when I had been going through it all.
From this point on, I will gladly, and I do mean GLADLY, discuss this disorder and my experiences with it to anyone who asks. I’ve spent a lot of time prepping myself for this, and I am extremely willing and ready and my heart is in it.
I personally believe there needs to be a thousand times more conversation around disorders like this and women’s sexuality in general, and I am very glad to put my experiences out on display for anyone it might help or educate.
But, let the record always show, this wasn’t my original choice. I felt pushed into this because I knew if a storm ever came, no one would care in the slightest what the facts surrounding my vagina were.
And if I can ask a favor, in the future, if people would maybe take a breath, or dig for information, or maybe even just give people the benefit of the doubt before throwing the flaming bags of poo, I can honestly say it could potentially save people from having to reveal painful, and vulnerable sides of themselves they weren’t prepared to divulge.
No one knows the lives of others. Not for one second. Even with people like me who are generally open books, sometimes we have hard limits, folks.
I will always understand the desire to have all the information, and I get that a trash fire is a lot more fun than boring old reality, but be very aware, this kind of behavior can and does hurt people.
And I’m pretty sure that’s the exact opposite of what it’s supposed to do.
I hope you all are magical and well, my loves.
Until next time,
Peace, Love, and #OwnVaginaRead More