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Sarah Is a Busy Bee

So, I had a lovely time in America!

The Smart Chicks tour you have heard about: I also saw New York, Baltimore and Massachusetts, attended not one but two weddings and not one but two debates on zombies versus unicorns. (Naomi Novik of His Majesty's Dragon renown secured my support for team unicorn by feeding me cupcakes. I am easily bought: all you need is cupcakes.)

Here is a picture of me, Scott Westerfeld and Robin Wasserman, taken by Maureen Johnson on our way to one wedding.

Right after this picture was taken we got into a van. The van door was beside me. It kept opening and closing, as if pulled by a magic hand. We could not get it to stop.

SARAH: Just drive, my fine driver!
DRIVER: drives
CAR DOOR: opens and closes, opens and closes
PASSING MOTORCYCLE: circles back to get another look
SARAH: waves. Like the Queen.
ROBIN: You know how you always say that you're cursed? I BELIEVE YOU NOW.

You would this moment have video footage of this event, except both Scott and Maureen were laughing so hard they both fouled up taking video with their phones.

The final thing I did on my trip away was attend Sirens, a convention in Denver about women and fantasy.

I was on two panels: one about fans and feminism, in which we discussed (among other things) how female creators get hated and male creators get loved. See people saying things like 'Joss Whedon is my master now' - I have never seen anyone talk about female creators like that. Women also get to create TV shows much less often, but a lovely member of the audience pointed out that Shonda Rhimes created Grey's Anatomy and is vocally hated by many fans of the show.

It is the same with writers: popular guy authors like Neil Gaiman? A lot of love. Popular lady authors like J.K. Rowling? Not so much.

In the end our only conclusion was that we must all try not to judge ladies, both real and fictional, more harshly than guys! But it was nice to all rant together.

The other panel was on YA fantasy, and is ably recapped here! Though I think I said what I wanted when I was younger was fiction on the corner of magic and deviance. (Not that I don't love a vampire. But I wish to be clear my heart is also open to demons and magicians and werebeasts of all kinds. Except the werepossum. Werepossums are out!)

I also very much enjoyed going to roundtables and discussing stuff loudly. Holly Black, Mallory Loehr (Tamora Pierce's editor, so a very fancy lady indeed) and I walked into a roundtable on sexuality in YA, and were all immediately outspoken about wanting to see diversity: there should be books for all teens, with all different experiences.

Also Malinda Lo, with Cindy Pon as her right-hand lady, ran an excellent roundtable on faeries and the fey.

During that roundtable and also the panel on YA, Malinda and I both got to talk a lot about gay characters in YA: how we're seeing more of them, and less of 'the only story is the coming-out story' but how it's very much a process, and how a lot of readers are still just not expecting gay characters at all.

In Malinda Lo's Ash, which I have previously recommended here, the Cinderella-ish heroine falls for the king's huntress rather than the prince, and readers write to her saying they were stunned when the two girls get together! I myself have received emails from people who were very surprised when Jamie turned out to be gay in The Demon's Covenant, which always makes me picture a couple scenes in The Demon's Lexicon with great amusement.

NICK: What are you looking at?
JAMIE: I was just thinking something.
NICK: What.
JAMIE: Well, speaking purely heterosexually, dude, you are smokin'.
NICK: I get that a lot.

But even though people are surprised, we see progress by seeing how people mostly accept it much more happily than they would have done in the past. My own sister was I think a little taken aback that Jamie was gay, but she likes him best and thinks that I made a Serious Mistake by not writing The Demon's Surrender from his point of view. Holly and I both got to talk about how great it was to see the massive outpouring of fan love for Alec and Magnus (a serious young demonhunter and a sparkly bisexual warlock), the gay couple in Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series.

So in conclusion: Sirens, it was lovely to meet so many great people and discuss the Things I Love Discussing in-depth! And here are some Sirens pictures.

I got back to Ireland on Tuesday. It's children's book month in Ireland, so I have library events every day this week and next, and this weekend I am attending Octocon, an Irish fantasy convention, on Saturday discussing Paranormal Romance Vs Urban Fantasy at 12, and Likeable Anti-Heroes at 2pm. On Sunday I will be doing a workshop on writing YA with Claire Hennessy.

Guess who else will be at Octocon? George R.R. Martin, of A Song of Ice and Fire fame. I think this means everyone will be staring at him in fascination, and I will be able to say all the scandalous things I can think of and not get in trouble...

I also have a book to finish, a book to edit, two short stories to edit, and I have to move house. (Alas, Cherry Bomb of my heart, goodbye forever.) And I must put up chapter one of The Demon's Surrender for all of you!

So in November... I may die. We shall SEE. Until my death, I'd love to talk about books, my curse, zombies versus unicorns, feminism or anything at all.


( 84 comments — Leave a comment )
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Oct. 14th, 2010 03:40 pm (UTC)
Whew! *takes deep breath*

You did a lot and I felt rushed reading this.

George R. R. Martin, gu-uh... say embarrassing things because you will post here and I can fangirl him vicariously through you.

Have a great day!
Oct. 14th, 2010 03:44 pm (UTC)
I happen to love Alec and Magnus, but I am a wee bit distressed at their (apparently huge!) age difference. But then again, mortal/immortal romances do tend to make me a little uncomfortable. (Yes, he may look like a young twentysomething, but he's actually 107! I have been told I look 16, but I would never date someone who is 16. That's nearly 10 years and a lifetime of experiential differences!)

ANYWAY, I do think it's progress that we are able to accept incidentally LGBT characters without much problem, although the blindness to queerness still attests to the overwhelming heternormativity of our current society. But I may not be one to talk--I tend to read many things with a queer bent and I may be in the minority. (For example, I tend to read a slightly Sapphic vibe into Mae and Sin's relationship.)

Too bad I missed you in NYC! Would have gone to the zombies vs. unicorns panel, but we were hosting two girls from France. :)
Oct. 14th, 2010 04:00 pm (UTC)
Well, being immortal is different from being old, I think? And their age difference and differing life experiences does get taken on in the next series! But I admit, I never loved Magnus until Clockwork Angel, when I got to see him be younger and more vulnerable.

I think lots of us can read subtext into books, and that that can be problematic - reading subtext and never expecting text - as can the people who just Never See Gay People in their fiction. And I say that as someone who loves subtext, as it indicates people being complex, which I love. (You're not wrong to see a little extra about Mae and Sin's friendship: it's meant to reflect that experience of being a teenager, and having a friend who is so cool that you're not sure quite what you feel about them.) But subtext is not representation, which we all need.

Heh, I was being very boring in the audience, but Maureen Johnson's Sarah Palin, Zombie Supporter impression was a truly epic moment, so you did miss out!
(no subject) - thegreatmissjj - Oct. 14th, 2010 04:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sarahtales - Oct. 14th, 2010 04:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kilerkki - Oct. 14th, 2010 04:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sarahtales - Oct. 14th, 2010 04:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 14th, 2010 03:46 pm (UTC)
Someone read Demon's Lexicon and didn't notice that Jamie was gay? Seriously? That's a great set of blinders. Like in life, I guess.
Oct. 14th, 2010 04:31 pm (UTC)
Proves once and for all that gaiety is no threat to Our Way of Life. Because if people didn't even notice that Jamie entered flaming...
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 14th, 2010 04:08 pm (UTC)
I liked it! I did not get the chance to chat with all the people I wished to (I would have loved to talk more with Sherwood Smith) but I felt it was a chatty atmosphere.
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - sarahtales - Oct. 14th, 2010 04:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rachelmanija - Oct. 14th, 2010 05:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 14th, 2010 03:52 pm (UTC)
Well, speaking purely heterosexually, Girl, you are smokin' in that red dress! Just sayin'.;-)

It's true that female writer's are more often the target of hate attacks. I have the feeling many people (unconsciously?) consider it legitimate to attack a woman but not a man - even if I have no idea why. I remember how some fans got positively RABID when Marti Noxon became executive producer of Buffy and they didn't like the new theme of the show. Like lunatics! I always thought they wouldn't have been just as aggressive had it been one of the male writers of the show.

Oh, and: Please don't die? At least not so soon?

Oct. 14th, 2010 04:17 pm (UTC)
Thank you! And yes, Marti Noxon was brought up at the panel. Nobody says 'Marti Noxon is my mistress now' and I agree with you completely that the attitude would have been less virulent if it had been one of the male writers.
(no subject) - mein_profil - Oct. 14th, 2010 05:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 14th, 2010 03:57 pm (UTC)
I can't decide whether or not it would help you to know that you are very, very high on my list of Celebrities I Would Totally Make Out With, but in the spirit of female creator love: you are! You and Greta Salpeter/Morgan and Alyson Hannigan, who is an actress rather than a writer but hey. Also I hate Eric Kripke with a passion and wish he and his misogynism would die in a fire, so there is a little equality for you?
Oct. 14th, 2010 04:16 pm (UTC)
I do not think I count as a celebrity, but thank you. ;) Especially as Alyson Hannigan is a most attractive lady!
(no subject) - kermit_thefrog - Oct. 14th, 2010 07:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - elucreh - Oct. 14th, 2010 07:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 14th, 2010 04:00 pm (UTC)
Your post made me realize another disparity: the lack of female equivalents to "buddy movies" and "bromances". When's the last time you saw/read something that featured two main female characters that go on an adventure together? The only thing that comes to my mind is Thelma and Louise, which didn't exactly end well.

Does anyone have any suggestions?
Oct. 14th, 2010 04:04 pm (UTC)
Sarah Connor Chronicles for TV shows? And Mercedes Lackey's Vows and Honors series is about two ladies who go adventurin'. But there should be more!
(no subject) - shiraz_wine - Oct. 14th, 2010 04:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ashkitty - Oct. 14th, 2010 06:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - wendyzski - Oct. 14th, 2010 10:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ashkitty - Oct. 16th, 2010 01:27 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - radioactivepiss - Oct. 14th, 2010 05:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - shiraz_wine - Oct. 14th, 2010 05:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - insane_duckfish - Oct. 15th, 2010 12:40 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - shiraz_wine - Oct. 15th, 2010 01:11 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - vociferocity - Oct. 15th, 2010 04:52 am (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - vociferocity - Oct. 15th, 2010 07:00 am (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 14th, 2010 04:02 pm (UTC)
One important thing I must know, because it is my favorite holiday.. What are your Halloween plans this year? And is Halloween as big a deal in Ireland as it is in America?
Oct. 14th, 2010 04:28 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure yet, due to possibly having to move house that day. I may also have an event. And a True Blood party has been discussed. But I think it is a bigger deal in America. You guys know how to be fancy!
Oct. 14th, 2010 04:23 pm (UTC)
I am desperately trying to work out how somebody did not see that Jamie was gay. I cannot get over this! How? But then I remember not everyone is like me and desperately searching for it, I guess. But even so. Does not compute.
Oct. 14th, 2010 04:25 pm (UTC)
In a wild moment I nearly bought a last-minute flight to Dublin so I could see you and GRRM at Octocon, but decided to be a responsible student and save money. Now I have a sad. :(
Oct. 14th, 2010 04:27 pm (UTC)
George R.R. Martin is pretty fancy! But I am not really fancy, and I will probably be visible elsewhere other times, chattering away, as is my way. ;)
(no subject) - alaerien - Oct. 14th, 2010 09:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 14th, 2010 04:29 pm (UTC)
just a little question...umm... a while ago, you tweeted some excerpts. Phases, to be exact, about what all the characters say in DS and i was just wandering if there will be a more of Jamie/Seb issues?
cause' i really liked it but i'm since it is from Sin's POV...well... she kinda hates magicians...so i don't see how we would see much about Jamie

Love U :)
Oct. 14th, 2010 04:40 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :) I admit we don't see much of Jamie at first, since as you say he is off being magiciany, but later Sin's life intersects with the magicians dramatically, and Jamie plays an important part! It was fun to write Jamie from the POV of someone who is scared of him. Plus Seb has some things to do early on... and later on as well. ;)

To make a long story short, I promise more of Jamie and of Seb and their issues! And I promise to put up some excerpts of Surrender with Jamie and Seb in them soon.

Edited at 2010-10-14 04:41 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - CityofAlec - Oct. 14th, 2010 04:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 14th, 2010 06:00 pm (UTC)
I just want to say that I love you and your blog updates and I can't wait for the first chapter of Surrender. And the cover(s)! Time, it is slow (for me, I suppose not for you).
Oct. 14th, 2010 06:25 pm (UTC)
I just wanted to throw out there that I love your comments on how we seem to be, collectively, so very down on female creators. (Not that every fan is, but that fandom as a culture is.) If you ever wanted to, say, do an entire breakdown of this (since you surely have ever so much free time on top of writing, touring to promote your books, and being your own person) it would make me happy. I've never seen this addressed before, and when you raised the point at Sirens I was pretty much blown away realizing 'OMG she's right' and it sounds like you've been having these thoughts for a while, because you were very clear and direct.

Ahem. This wasn't meant to be a begging comment, it was supposed to be a gratitude comment. So: Thank you for raising this really quite important point. It was very interesting.
Oct. 14th, 2010 06:28 pm (UTC)
I love your comments on how we seem to be, collectively, so very down on female creators. (Not that every fan is, but that fandom as a culture is.) If you ever wanted to, say, do an entire breakdown of this (since you surely have ever so much free time on top of writing, touring to promote your books, and being your own person) it would make me happy. Because: I've never seen this addressed before. Also because when you raised the point at Sirens I was blown away realizing 'OMG she's right', and would very much like to hear more. Also because it sounds like you've been having these thoughts for a while, since you were very clear and direct.

Ahem. This wasn't meant to be a begging comment, it was supposed to be a gratitude comment. So: Thank you for raising this really important point. It was very interesting.
Oct. 14th, 2010 07:56 pm (UTC)
See, I'm not sure I can, because so much of my realisation was waking up and thinking 'Why do I feel so hated and beaten upon - why do I feel as if people have been saying I've been doing the wrong thing for years and years?' And that way leads to a pity party really fast, and I don't think anyone's interested in me going 'Mummy, people are so meeeean to me.'

And the personal stuff also means I can't be objective in the slightest, and I don't want to condemn fans! Because I love fans. Fans of mine, especially, but also fans of Georgette Heyer, Diana Wynne Jones, the Vampire Diaries. Fans of all kinds. I love people who get excited about fictional things. And I don't want to go too far because of my hurt feelings. ;)

I don't think I'm brave enough to be as clear and direct as I was at Sirens, even - I felt guilty after the panel, and yet a friend told me she was surprised how much stuff I'd held back.

So, I agree with you I'd love to see a breakdown of it! But I feel I am not the person to do it. *looks speculatively around at others*
(no subject) - hypatia_eidos - Oct. 14th, 2010 10:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 14th, 2010 06:46 pm (UTC)
...I may have to listen to things you say instead of stare at GRRM. Because otherwise I may shout things at him, and get into trouble, and get deported or something. (Not that I don't love ASOIAF. But have some major gripes with it. And also want to yell things like 'IF YOU DON'T WANT FANFIC, FINISH YOUR OWN DAMN BOOK.' ;)

At least I'm going with the doppelganger, so if I get into trouble, I can say it was actually her!
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