It’s that time of the week when I answer your anonymous questions about writing and all that stuff connected to it. Every Thursday, I’ll be answering two questions from the Big Damn Writer Question Box.
Trout Nation Posts
Astute readers will notice that I have an ad–GASP!–in the sidebar of my blog. Now, prepare yourself for a weekly advertising post.
For my inaugural Tee-Of-The-Week (which is chosen by me, I’m not told which products to feature), I choose this incredible beast:
If you would like to wear this visual representation of my soul, you may purchase it here. 5% of the purchase price is donated to charity, and you get to tell them where to send it!
Jealous Haters Book Club: Handbook for Mortals Chapter 1 “The Magician” or “That’s not how any of this works.”
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Before we get to the recap proper, I want to warn some readers about potentially sensitive content. That is, I want to warn you that if you’ve ever worked in the theater in any capacity, you will be fully outraged through this entire chapter, to the point that you might want to throw your phone or laptop or tablet or however else you’re reading this. So, read this only a soft surface to prevent damage to your device, and try not to fling it too hard.
In other news, Kayleigh Donaldson’s piece at Pajiba has been updated to include a response from Gill de Mace’s agent about the cover art controversy, as well as what might be the most bizarre aspect of this entire drama: the author of the infamous My Immortal has spoken. You can read her full statement at Pajiba, but this is the highlight:
Because I’ve received several messages asking this, and predict I may receive more, I’ll answer it here. No, I am not Lani Sarem. Really bad fiction simply tends to read the same.
Imagine if the writer of My Immortal, the most notoriously horrible fanfic of all time, called your work “bad fiction”? How could you ever possibly recover from that? You’d have to change your identity and start fresh with a new life. I mean, really, imagine that the author of My Immortal wanted to distance herself from your work.
Another rumor I’ve seen going around is that Handbook For Mortals: Book 1 Of The Series sold 7,000 ebook copies in the week following the controversy. I’m calling bullshit until someone can offer definitive proof. The only platform the book seems to be available on is Amazon, and even there it hasn’t broken the top 1,000 sales rank. During that week, when I was keeping occasional tabs on it, I never saw it rise above 10,000 in overall Kindle sales. In short: this claim of astronomical e-book sales is just as believable as the book’s claim to the #1 New York Times spot.
And in catty gossip news, an industry acquaintance on Facebook staunchly defended Lani Sarem, to which I responded in my usual Trout way, and Lani Sarem responded. I do not have screenshots, as I care so little about what a con-artist has to say that I didn’t bother reading the replies and muted the thread altogether. That’s not important news, but I know for a fact some of you will like hearing that story.
So, let’s get to the dirty business.
In every generation, there is a chosen one. She alone was almost driven crazy by a ticking noise coming from her coffee mug. She will also recap every episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer with an eye to the following themes:
- Sex is the real villain of the Buffy The Vampire Slayer universe.
- Giles is totally in love with Buffy.
- Joyce is a fucking terrible parent.
- Willow’s magic is utterly useless (this one won’t be an issue until season 2, when she gets a chance to become a witch)
- Xander is a textbook Nice Guy.
- The show isn’t as feminist as people claim.
- All the monsters look like wieners.
- If ambivalence to possible danger were an Olympic sport, Team Sunnydale would take the gold.
- Angel is a dick.
- Harmony is the strongest female character on the show.
- Team sports are portrayed in an extremely negative light.
- Some of this shit is racist as fuck.
- Science and technology are not to be trusted.
- Mental illness is stigmatized.
- Only Willow can use a computer.
- Buffy’s strength is flexible at the plot’s convenience.
- Cheap laughs and desperate grabs at plot plausibility are made through Xenophobia.
- Oz is the Anti-Xander
- Spike is capable of love despite his lack of soul
- Don’t freaking tell me the vampires don’t need to breathe because they’re constantly out of frickin’ breath.
- The foreshadowing on this show is freaking amazing.
- Smoking is evil.
- Despite praise for its positive portrayal of non-straight sexualities, some of this shit is homophobic as fuck.
- How do these kids know all these outdated references, anyway?
- Technology is used inconsistently as per its convenience in the script.
- Sunnydale residents are no longer shocked by supernatural attacks.
- Casual rape dismissal/victim blaming a-go-go
- Snyder believes Buffy is a demon or other evil entity.
- The Scoobies kind of help turn Jonathan into a bad guy.
- This show caters to the straight/bi female gaze like whoa.
- Sunnydale General is the worst hospital in the world.
- Faith is hyper-sexualized needlessly.
- Slut shame!
- The Watchers have no fucking clue what they’re doing.
- Vampire bites, even very brief ones, are 99.8% fatal.
- Economic inequality is humorized and oversimplified.
- Buffy is an abusive romantic partner.
Have I missed any that were added in past recaps? Let me know in the comments. Even though I might forget that you mentioned it.
WARNING: Some people have mentioned they’re watching along with me, and that’s awesome, but I’ve seen the entire series already and I’ll probably mention things that happen in later seasons. So… you know, take that under consideration, if you’re a person who can’t enjoy something if you know future details about it.
First up, big thank you to everyone who tweeted links or left reviews or even just messaged me to say, “I finished it in 12 hours when is The Boyfriend coming out?” Also, thank you to everyone who pointed out the formatting errors with the Smashwords copy. A new copy will be available this week, and then it will be distributed to other platforms.
One thing I feel bad about, though, is that in this giveaway I said you could leave links to Amazon or GoodReads reviews, and looking back I was like, “Wait, what if they think I’m going to go read those reviews?” Don’t worry, I did not read your reviews. I’m not in a mental place where I even want to read reviews right now, so you’re totally safe.
Now, let’s get down to announcing these winners. The random number generator has spoken!
1st Prize: A Kindle Fire 7 (8 Gig) and a signed paperback of The Boss: Rebecca Rosen
2nd Prize: A $25 Amazon Gift Card and a signed paperback of The Boss: Laura Nichols
3rd Prize: A $5 Amazon Gift Card and a signed paperback of The Boss: Elena Johansen
4th Prize: Signed paperbacks of The Boss and First Time: Brianna Bernardo
I’ll be contacting you guys via email to get your information and send you your prizes.
Again, thanks everybody for spreading the word and reading my books. That means a lot to me.
Jealous Haters’ Book Club: Handbook for Mortals, Intro and Chapter 0, “The Fool” or “There Must Be Something More Than This Technicolor Dream Hair Life”
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While I was away on my fabulous vacation and only receiving internet contact from the outside world sporadically, shit. blew. up. Which is how it always happens. Stuff I want to be snarky and sassy about always seems to take place when I’m incommunicado, while the scary, serious shit goes down when I can’t escape it. But late last week, when I heard about Handbook for Mortals: Book 1 of the series (actual title), the literal overnight success that swept up to the very top of the New York Times Young Adult bestseller list to unseat the reigning YA phenomenon, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, I had to get the scoop. Because I, like pretty much everyone who watched the scandal unfold over a few dozen hours, knew in the very bottom of my heart that there was absolutely no way that a book no one had ever heard of, from an author no one had ever heard of, released by a publisher no one had ever heard of, had managed to knock a new American classic out of the #1 slot by playing fair. As the sordid details unraveled, I was glued to my phone.
Unfortunately, I had to do some extreme shit to get a signal.
But it was all worth it. Because there’s nothing I hate more than seeing someone game the system to get ahead of other authors who work far harder and deserve it so much more, and on this one, shining, rare occasion, that someone was exposed for their lazy, obvious fraud.
Writer Kayleigh Donaldson did an amazing job of reporting the story, which was broken by author and publisher Phil Stamper, who investigated the details with bookseller Jeremy West. You can read the whole sordid tale here, and I really hope that you do because it’s epic and so full of absurd twists and turns that it could have been a screenplay about a con gone wrong written by Danny DeVito. The basic run down is, bulk orders for Handbook for Mortals: Book 1 of the series started rolling in exclusively at bookstores that report to the NYT list. The book wasn’t available in any physical form at any bookstore, anywhere, and it was listed as out of stock and ranked lower than #100,000 on Amazon, but the bulk order stats boosted the title to the top of the NYT chart. The resulting scandal involved a veritable who’s who of late ’90s, early ’00s people you go, “Who?” about. Like…Blues Traveler is somehow involved, and the chick who played Glorificus on Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and culminated in the New York Times revising and printing a corrected list which returned The Hate U Give to its rightful place.
But that’s not all, friends. That is not all. Lani Sarem, clearly aware that a cute white author with quirky hair can usually get away with anything short of murder and win the support of racist garbage people, just so long as whatever the hell it is they’re doing can knock an author of color down a peg or two, decided she was going to play the “poor, attacked” author card. From The Hollywood Reporter:
She believes The Times caved to social media pressure. “My personal opinion: I’m a first time author; I did some great numbers,” Sarem says. “They put me on the list. The list is curated. They didn’t have to put me on the list despite how many books I sold. When these people made a big issue, they were like, ‘This is too much effort.’ ”
That’s right, everyone. The people who objected to lazy, transparent manipulation of the system in an attempted shortcut to literary fame and fortune are just, dare I say it, jealous haters?
“The last book that caused a lot of controversy was Fifty Shades of Grey,” Sarem points out. “And it was caused by the book community because it was nothing like what they’ve put out. Whether you like the book or hate it, you have to acknowledge it outsold everything.” She continues, “I remember seeing an article where someone in publishing said we had to stand up and look at this because there were people out there that wanted to read this and we would never have put it out. That’s what people forget. There’s a world out there of people that read books; they just don’t exist in this little pocket, in this niche.”
Lani. Honey. Sugar. Baby doll. You did not need to make this so easy for Mother Trout.
So, here we are, at the start of another Jealous Hater’s Book Club, skewering yet another con-artist author touting herself as the Lewis and Clarke of an entire genre. Because Handbook for Mortals isn’t just another badly written wish-fulfillment urban fantasy that makes the legendary My Immortal read like Tolstoy in comparison– Oh, wait, I’m sorry. That was a typo. It should have read, Handbook for Mortals is just another badly written wish-fulfillment urban fantasy that makes the legendary My Immortal read like Tolstoy in comparison. In fact, it started out on Wattpad, a site known for fanfic (although it does feature original works), so it has common internet roots with both My Immortal and Fifty Shades of Grey. At least this isn’t a blatant rip-off of someone else’s work, though.
Without further ado, let’s get into Handbook for Mortals!
The Sister is finally here! Thank you to all the readers who asked for more Neil and Sophie. I hope this book delivers.
Right now, you can buy it on Smashwords. When Amazon is available, I’ll update the link here. iBooks, Nook, and other platforms usually follow within a week or so, and I’ll announce paperback and audio versions on my Abigail Barnette Facebook page as more information becomes available.
Now for the exciting part! Since I’m a) terrible at timing and b) terrible at self-promotion, I’ve chosen to release my latest book while I’m on vacation to a remote cabin near Munising, Michigan, where there is no internet and no cell service. What does that mean? I’m glad you asked. It means I can’t tweet or Facebook my great news about my book release! So, I’m doing a raffle, in which I am encouraging you, my faithful readers*, to promo the hell out of this book on Twitter. Promo the hell out of it on Facebook. Promo the ever-living tar out of it. Here’s what’s in it for you:
1st Prize: A Kindle Fire 7 (8 Gig) and a signed paperback of The Boss
2nd Prize: A $25 Amazon Gift Card and a signed paperback of The Boss
3rd Prize: A $5 Amazon Gift Card and a signed paperback of The Boss
4th Prize: Signed paperbacks of The Boss and First Time
So, how do you enter? Simple. Tweet a link to this post or one of the buy links. Or put it on Facebook. Or Tumblr. Add it to your GoodReads shelf. Review it somewhere. Put it in a comment on something. Tell someone about it. Tell anyone about it, and fill out the form below with the link to where you helped me out by spreading the word. You can enter as many times as you want, as long as you’re sending me different links. I’ll pick winners via random number generator and announce them here on August 29th (and via email, so be sure you give me on that you check).
*I bet you’re wondering about the asterisk. Well, here’s the deal. Due to shipping and the wonky way Amazon works with their gift cards not being international and also just getting you this Kindle and you being able to plug it into the wall, this giveaway is only open to people who live in the United States. It’s not that I don’t love and appreciate you all. It’s just logistics and how freaking expensive it is to mail stuff out of the country.
When you’re ready to enter, here’s the form:
Thanks again, everyone who reads this series or has recommended it to other readers over the years. It means the world to me that you love my characters and their adventures, and your excitement over this book has lifted my spirits in a really dark time.