Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Brainwashed...or Bribed?

O. J. Simpson prosecutor Marcia Clark has a very interesting explanation for why the Casey Anthony jurors rendered a not guilty verdict. It's worth a read.

My take? It's more reasonable to assume these jurors were bribed than to believe that all twelve agreed such damning evidence failed to meet the State's burden.

In the face of the evidence they were given, they will never be able to speak coherently or intelligently enough to defend or explain such a verdict.

R.I.P. Caylee.




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Tuesday, March 08, 2011

✷ Book Spotlights and Giveaway!

My good friend Darlene over at Peeking Between the Pages is spotlighting the $.99 Kindle sale of THE GREAT PRETENDER and THE GREAT BETRAYAL!

Visit her site to enter the giveaway! First prize = $25 Amazon Gift Certificate, and then two paperback copies of TGP and two of TGB to 4 lucky winners!

Deadline to enter is 4/2/11.

Good luck!

Update:

Darlene announced the winners on Sunday, April 3rd, and all prizes have been awarded/mailed!

Congratulations to the winner of the $25 Amazon gift card: Sarah E.

Winners of paperback copies of THE GREAT PRETENDER: Cheryl Kelley in Illinois, and Anita Yancey in Georgia

And of THE GREAT BETRAYAL: Debbie Penny in Michigan and Birgit Lehner in Austria, Europe.



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Monday, January 03, 2011

Seg-book-gation

Happy 2011, Readers!

Writing to share a thoughtful two-part piece in the Examiner by Wendy Coakley-Thompson. I was featured, along with authors Bernice McFadden, Carleen Brice, Kathryn Stockett, et al.





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Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Unity Tastes Good

It sure does. The thoughtful Carleen Brice put together this really insightful video - check it out:



And here's a discussion on a She Writes Blog Talk Radio show, hosted by Kamy Wicoff. Carleen Brice and Bernice McFadden are among the authors in the discussion. It's an hour-long show, but has some progressive nuggets.




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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Ongoing Saga of Jim Crow Publishing

Yes, it's happened again. Yes, I'm still talking about it. And yes...I'm pissed.

Jaclyn Dolamore, author of MAGIC UNDER GLASS wrote a "brown" skinned protagonist.

Her publisher "white-washed" the cover:
Putting a white person on the cover of a book about a brown-skinned character doesn't merely imply that people of color aren't worth as much to publishers; it pretty much says it outright.

 (To see Jaclyn's view of her lead character, check out her trailer for the book here.)

So now we have yet another crop up that exposes the publishing industry's present-day Jim Crow practices. Remember Justine Larbalestier's cover just a few short months ago?

Why do you think this topic is ignored by the mainstream media? Why isn't this a hot topic on The View? Could it be because of the "crony" and "good-old-boys" club? After all, journalists and producers want book deals (and powerful friends), too. So shining a spotlight on the blatantly racist practices of the publishing houses probably wouldn't keep one in their good graces.

This upsets me because I feel the implications of each and every one of these incidents deep in my soul. Things like this should not still be happening.

Justine Larbalestier expressed it very clearly:
Every year at every publishing house, intentionally and unintentionally, there are white-washed covers. Since I’ve told publishing friends how upset I am with my Liar cover, I have been hearing anecdotes from every single house about how hard it is to push through covers with people of colour on them. Editors have told me that their sales departments say black covers don’t sell. Sales reps have told me that many of their accounts won’t take books with black covers. Booksellers have told me that they can’t give away YAs with black covers. Authors have told me that their books with black covers are frequently not shelved in the same part of the library as other YA—they’re exiled to the Urban Fiction section—and many bookshops simply don’t stock them at all.

She also said:
The notion that “black books” don’t sell is pervasive at every level of publishing. Yet I have found few examples of books with a person of colour on the cover that have had the full weight of a publishing house behind them. Until that happens more often we can’t know if it’s true that white people won’t buy books about people of colour. All we can say is that poorly publicised books with “black covers” don’t sell. The same is usually true of poorly publicised books with “white covers."

When does this end? When does the book industry's white supremacist activity end? So many people are affected by this insidious system, yet the scars go unseen, the pain ignored.

Freedom? How can people who are treated like 2nd-class human beings actually be free? Every time something like this happens, it exposes the unspoken and closeted enslavement that still exists in the United States. And the offense is compounded by the fact that, for various reasons, people allow it to continue month after month, year after year, both directly and indirectly. In silence.
"The Negro was to accept the biracial system and his subordinate status. He was to seek advancement within the confines of his segregated black world. He was to develop the friendship of influential whites and use their assistance.

By cultivating habits of hard work, thrift, and honesty, he was to demonstrate his claim to wider acceptance and better treatment. Above all, he was never to present any organized challenge to the existing order of things or engage in movements which might be regarded by whites as detrimental to their economic and political interest." - Booker T. Washington

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Friday, November 13, 2009

The Great "Czech" Pretender

Reginald Brooks and family continue to demonstrate the universal nature of their story with their arrival in the Czech Republic! My first novel, THE GREAT PRETENDER, is "Zůstaň se mnou" in the Czech Republic. "Rolkesen" in Turkey. "Wielki Klamca" in Poland. Citizens of the world, right?

And in other news, check out this great post from author Bernice McFadden. She asks a great question! How are we going to get that very important memo to the publishing industry?


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Monday, October 05, 2009

The Advantages of Being a White Writer by Justine Larbalestier

I'm extremely encouraged to see this recent post by author Justine Larbalestier. In my last post on character treatments, I asked who is decent enough to get honest about the literary climate and its effects. Justine Larbalestier certainly is. And we need more writers willing to step up to the plate like her and be honest about the climate and what it means for authors who aren't white...until the climate improves and provides equal opportunity for all.

This writer has a very clear understanding of the problem, as you can glean from the way in which she introduced the discussion:

I know that the title of this post is going to lead to some comments insisting that it’s not true that white writers have any advantages and that many white people are just as oppressed as people of colour. I don’t want to have that conversation. So I’m going to oppress the white people who make those comments by deleting them. I don’t do it with any malice. I do it because I want to have a conversation about white privilege in publishing. We can have the discussion about class privilege and regional privilege and other kinds of privilege some other time. Those other privileges are very real. But I don’t want this discussion to turn into some kind of oppression Olympics.

Can you even imagine the verbal lynching a non-white author would receive saying something like this?

Justine goes on to say:

I want to make it clear that I’m not saying that we white writers should feel guilty about any of this. Guilt is a pointless emotion. White writers who’ve written about people of colour and won acclaim and awards don’t have to hand their prizes back. That would change nothing.

What I am saying is that we need to be aware of our privilege and listen to criticism and act upon it. We need to do what we can to change things. The more novels with a diversity of characters that are published and succeed in the marketplace the more space there will be. The more people who can find themselves in books, the more readers we’ll all have, and the more opportunities there’ll be for writers from every background. Of course, it’s not just the writers who need to be more diverse, but everyone in publishing, from the interns to agents to the folks in sales, marketing, publicity, and editorial, to the distributors and booksellers.

There are many wonderful books by writers of colour. Read them, talk about them, buy them for your friends. Point them out to your editors and agents. Be part of changing the culture and making space for lots of different voices. The problem is not so much what white people write; it’s that so few other voices are heard. If the publishing industry were representative of the population at large we wouldn’t need to have this conversation.

Thank you, Justine. Where have you been all my life? :-) You've actually lifted my spirits and renewed my hope.

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