This is an updated version of a post that originally appeared in the June 2019 edition of my newsletter Readiculous Musings. You can subscribe for it HERE.
It is the one month anniversary of WICKED FOX coming out. So, I think I am feeling a bit nostalgic and I am thinking a lot about what has brought me to this point. And one of the biggest factors was having a good community around me. Now I know that this phrase can be vague, especially to people just joining the writing and the publishing worlds. So, I thought I’d break down what types of communities there are and then give a few examples of how those communities have boosted me and helped me get to debut!
First, there is the macro level of the greater writing community. This community is all over the world and really only gets together during big events (such as Book Con, which I was lucky enough to attend this month!). Mostly, they interact online. So, you’ll find a lot of conversations happening on Twitter. This is great because it provides access to those who don’t have the physical, mental, or financial ability to travel to the big conferences each year. You can get advice from other writers or industry professionals, connect with new friends, and even pitch your manuscript in fun Twitter pitch events! This was my first introduction into the writing world. When I found writing Twitter, I was mostly silent, learning from those who came before me and their wise conversations. Then I slowly dipped my toe in over time. It gave me a chance to process my opinions on big topics and how I wanted to exist within the community.
Then, there is the more “medium” level of community. The one where you have something more specific connecting everyone in the group. This could be the genre you write, how you identify as a writer or person, or even just geographical location. I am personally in a few groups. One is for DVPit alumni (authors who found their agents or editors on the Twitter pitch event #DVPit), I’m also in a group for Asian authors, and then a group for authors debuting in the year 2019. It’s been great because sometimes your experiences are very specific and it’s nice to get people who can understand that and talk it out with you! All of these groups also live online (specifically in facebook groups). But I do know of some that utilize chat apps like Slack! This type of community gave me a chance to work out some of my more complicated feelings on things (such as my identity as a WOC and how I wanted to incorporate my Asian identity into my writing). It also gave me a chance to ask more nuanced questions on a forum other than Twitter.
Then there are the smaller groups, often they are critique groups. This can be anywhere from 2 to 20 people. And they are often the ones that you share your more personal ups and downs with. Also you share you manuscript with them so they can give you feedback! I love these groups because they are a safe space for a writer. They let us vent with no judgement and they know us better so they understand more innately why we think the way we do. Also, they help make our writing better! This type of group helped me build my skills in my writing as well as work out how I wanted to go about doing the nitty gritty like querying agents!
Finally, there are the small, tight, very personal groups. These are the people who know you inside and out. The people who are not just your critique partners but your friends who you would fight for through thick and thin. This is what my group of writing friends are to me. We call ourselves a lot of things. The more zany one being “writer cult” but the one we’re more widely known as is Writer’s Block Party (we have a blog of the same name). These ladies don’t just know about my writing, they know about my life. They know about tragedies I’ve gone through and joys I’ve experienced both in the publishing industry and outside of it. This type group is not necessarily common. So, I always tell people that it’s not necessary to have a group like WBP to survive the publishing industry. But, one of the reasons we bonded so wellwas our love of books and writing. We also didn’t immediately become as close as we are today. We built these friendships over years. I was just talking to one of the girls in the group about how the longest relationship (outside of family because Axie and I have known each other for 20+ years) is about 5 years. And most of us are just nowbeing published. So, that was a long journey together fighting for the same dream. It matters that we’ve been through it all together, because we have someone who understands all we’ve been through and has stuck by our side through it all! This type of group helped me survive. Not only writing, but life in general. They are my rock through everything I’ve been through the last three years!
Speak up:Comments Off on How Community Boosts Me
If you’re buying Wicked Fox or requesting it from your library, I’d love to give you a gift to show my appreciation! These beautiful character cards were created by the amazingly talented Alexis Castellanos (http://alexiscastellanos.com/)
Please fill out the form below to receive your character cards!
This Wicked Fox order gift campaign will be running through July 1, 2019 (which means it is open for those that can’t pre-order for any reason and wish to buy the book during the first week it’s on sale!) Open Internationally!
You can order a SIGNED COPY of Wicked Fox here:Signed Orders
Signed Orders (PSB)
You can order at any of these places:Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Other Buy Links
Thank you for ordering Wicked Fox (or for requesting it from your library!) As a thank you, I’d love to send you a few custom character cards! Just fill out the form below! (Open until 7/1/2019)
Speak up:Comments Off on Wicked Fox Order Gift!
| TAGS:preorder, wicked fox
Hi everyone! I wanted to write a post because I have a really fun announcement. My good friend, Claribel Ortega, has long been an up-and-coming voice in the publishing world. She started a podcast, Write or Die Podcast, this year to highlight the journeys of writers and their struggles to achieve their dream of being published authors.
Write or Die is a podcast that aims to share the real stories about what it takes to become an author – the gritty, infuriating, pull your hair out because it’s been years – stories of writers who didn’t give up despite it all, and are now living out their dream. It’s hosted by authors Claribel Ortega & Kat Cho and releases every Friday.
You’ve probably guessed the announcement by this blurb (and from the title of this post), but I’m going to say it anyway…
I am the new co-host of Write or Die Podcast! 🎉😍😱💯📚
I am so excited to get to spend time talking to inspirational authors with my best friend! Hope you guys can tune in and check it out. If you want some suggestions then here’s the episode that inspired us to try out this co-hosting thing, my interview: Ghostober Episode 3: Kat Cho & The Monthly Whale Fight
And here’s my first official episode as co-host (we get to interview the amazing Laura Sebastian, author of ASH PRINCESS): Episode 21: Laura Sebastian & The Great Publishing Bake Off
Speak up:Comments Off on New Co-Host on Write or Die (WorD) Podcast!
| TAGS:podcast, writing advice, writing journey, writing tools
So, I am stealing an idea from my writer BFF, Claribel Ortega and posting some of my content a month after it appears in my newsletter. It won’t be everything, just stuff that I think might be interesting to people and probably anything that is a record of my journey in publishing! So here we go!
This post originally appeared in the July 2018 edition of my newsletter Readiculous Musings. You can subscribe for it HERE.
Things are pretty hard these days. And it’s a time where I’ve seen a lot of questions being asked in terms of being a writer, especially if our stories are more the fanciful, escapist kind (mine definitely are). Is it okay to talk about your books and to promote them when things in the world seem to be so dire for so many?
The answers that I see are varied. And I will admit that perhaps the conversations I’m privy to are cherry picked because of who I choose to follow on social media. But my take-away is that we should not only keep creating and talking about our stories, but that they are needed now more than ever. I am, of course, speaking from the point of view of a woman of color. So, I am a bit biased in the fact that I think stories by marginalized groups are really important in times when empathy is lacking in the leadership of my country.
After the depressing ruling by the SCOTUS about the travel ban, I tweeted something that isn’t new. In fact, I will readily admit that I’d seen this message tweeted multiple times in response to mutliple bigoted actions of the current administration: Studies prove that reading fiction fosters empathy in readers.
My interpretation of this is that people who read and read widely are more likely to understand their neighbor’s better. Less likely to be afraid because something is “unknown.” More likely to be open-minded to hearing the stories of others and to reach out a helping hand. And when we write for kids and teens, it’s important now more than ever to create stories that can create and foster empathy.
It’s okay if people have found it hard to keep writing in today’s climate. But if you can, and if you want to, then don’t let a sense of guilt keep you from creating your art. Throughout history art has been the best and brightest tool of battling oppression. So many have created new forms of art in order to preserve their culture and humanity when others would seek to strip it from them. And now is no different. We have a right to tell our stories. And, hopefully, these stories can help bring a bit of light into the world.
Speak up:Comments Off on Creating art during times of turmoil
Well, it’s the end of the year. Which means…time for wrap up posts! Wheeeee!
So, let’s just jump into my list of favorite books, music, kdramas, movies, etc. of 2017!
Favorite Books by genre:
So, I actually made a video talking about my favorite books. I don’t know if it’s the holiday season or just 2017-syndrome, but I got a little emotional talking about my faves. If you want to watch me almost cry then click below!
I’ve been wanting to post my favorite books of 2017, and today’s Top 5 Wednesday is Top 5 Faves. BUT I’m going to cheat and do my top 9 Favorites.
Rebel Seoul (2017)
I have written a THOUSAND reviews and done a THOUSAND videos about why this is my favorite of the year. So I’ll link you to all of them. But TL;DR: bromance, giant robots, swoony romance, awesome kdrama and manga influences!
Daughter of the Burning City (2017)
Another book that I’ve talked my HEAD off about all year. I love the dark carnival setting. The found family aspect. The strong female lead in Sorina and how she cares so much about her family. I also really like how Foody doesn’t hold back with some of the creepy details. She makes a world that would scare me to live in, but I’d totally want to visit at the same time.
Forest of a Thousand Lanterns (2017)
Loved this Chinese retelling of the Evil queen from Snow White! Gorgeous world building. Evil AF main character that I can’t tear my eyes away from! I was taken on an emotional rollercoaster by Xifeng. She is not one to let your heart settle before she makes another questionable decision. Also, she might EAT your heart, so be careful!
Saints and Misfits (2017)
A very personal and emotional journey of one muslim girl’s journey to find courage after a traumatizing event. You really get steeped into Janna’s life and heart. She places people into three categories: saints, misfits, and monsters. The problem is that the monster she knows is someone no one in her community would guess and you can imagine that really weighs on her throughout the book.
The Inexplicable Logic of my life (2017)
This book DESTROYED ME. I swear my eyes were leaking the whole time! I loved the concepts of friendship and family and acceptance. It’s hard to know who you are or who you want to be when you’re in high school. It’s even harder when you tack on labels that other people insist on using to look at you through. For our main character that’s stuff like having a mother who died when he was a baby, a biological father he never knew, and a loving adoptive father who is gay. None of these things should matter, but of course they do in Sal’s life. Good thing he has his best friend Sam. But, of course, life is never a straight line journey. And things happen in both Sal and Sam’s life that make them take a hard look at who they are and what family means to them.
Long Way Down (2017)
I am NOT someone who reads books in verse. I’d heard a lot of great things about Long Way Down and I was lucky enough to snag an ARC. So I decided to read it randomly one night while I was on a trip with my family. I was up until 3AM finishing it. It was such a powerful read. Every word had weight. I admire Jason Reynold’s talent so much that he can make one word mean so many things and have such an impact on me. I literally had goosebumps reading this book. Even if you don’t read in verse, you should pick this up.
I Believe in a Thing Called Love (2017)
I love Maruene Goo’s humor! I was SO EXCITED when I heard about a book about a Korean American girl who uses Kdramas to find love. But it was so much more than that. Desi could have BEEN me as a teen. She is a girl who analyzes her world and has found success in school and extracurriculars by being meticulous. So when love never goes her way, she decides studying something where love always work is the key. So she watched Korean dramas and maps out the path to love. Oh Desi, you poor misguided dum dum. But seriously, I can imagine this being something I’d have tried at 17, lol. I mean, she goes a bit far at some points and I can’t imagine I’d have put anyone in danger to find my one true love in high school. But, I can totally understand why Desi wants to figure out why she’s such a klutz at romance. I just want to hold her close and tell her everything will be okay and also smack some sense into her.
Such a fun middle grade adventure! I loved the strength of the main character. She wasn’t like in-your-face Katniss shooting and arrow style. But she was smart and passionate and she was trying to save someone she loved. And I love those motivations especially in middle grades. I also liked that the book had an awesome muslim girl as the protagonist. And that her culture was an ingrained part of who she was. Yes, she was trapped in a mechanical Jumanji-like game, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t still a multi-faceted person.
BTS – Spring Day
BTS (방탄소년단) ‘봄날 (Spring Day)’ Official MV Music video credits: Director : YongSeok Choi (Lumpens) Assistant Directors : WonJu Lee (Lumpens) Director of Photography : HyunWoo Nam(GDW) Gaffer : HyunSuk Song (Real Lighting) Art Director : JinSil Park (MU:E) Producer : Emma SungEun kim (GE Production) BigHit Entertainment. All rights reserved.
Wanna One – Beautiful
워너원, 하나가 되기 전 우리들의 이야기. 데뷔앨범 ‘TO BE ONE’의 프리퀄 리패키지 앨범 『1-1=0 (NOTHING WITHOUT YOU)』 Beautiful 은 혼자였던 과거의 두려움과 간절한 그리움 그리고 미래에 대한 갈망을 담았으며, 워너원의 한층 성숙해진 감성을 담은 곡이다. ‘TO BE ONE’ Prequel Repackage album 『1-1=0 (NOTHING WITHOUT YOU)』 The title track ‘Beautiful’ talks about the fear and longing for the past and the yearning for the future.
G-Dragon – Untitled
Available on iTunes @ smarturl.it/GDRAGON_KWONJIYONG Available on Apple Music @ smarturl.it/KWONJIYONG_GDRAGON #GDRAGON #지드래곤 #GD #지디 #권지용 #KWONJIYONG #Actlll #무제 #無題 #Untitled2014 #OUTNOW #COMEBACK #NEWRELEASE #YG More about BIGBANG @ http://ygbigbang.com/ http://www.facebook.com/bigbang http://www.youtube.com/BIGBANG http://iTunes.com/BIGBANG http://sptfy.com/BIGBANG http://weibo.com/bigbangasia http://twitter.com/ygent_official
Lee Hyori – Seoul
MV] Lee Hyori(이효리) _ Seoul (Feat. Killagramz) *English subtitles are now available. 😀 (Please click on ‘CC’ button or activate ‘Interactive Transcript’ function) [Notice] 1theK YouTube is also an official channel for the MV, and music shows will count the views from this channel too.
Harry Styles – Kiwi
Harry Styles’ self-titled debut album is available now: http://hstyles.co.uk/music iTunes: http://smarturl.it/HS-iTunes Apple Music: http://smarturl.it/HS-AM Spotify: http://smarturl.it/HS-Spotify Limited edition CD: http://smarturl.it/HS-LtdEd-CD White vinyl: http://smarturl.it/HS-WhiteVinyl Photo editions: http://smarturl.it/HarryStylesStore Target: http://smarturl.it/HS-Target Amazon MP3: http://smarturl.it/HS-AmazonMP3 Deezer: http://smarturl.it/HS-Deezer Best of Harry Styles: https://goo.gl/UzwxNi Harry Styles – Harry Styles (Album 2017) https://goo.gl/z1GUVh Subscribe here: https://goo.gl/6UDD4P Director: Us Exec Producer: Morgan Clement Exec Producer (usa): Sheira Rees-Davies Producer: Steve Overs DoP: Ben Fordesman Artist Stylist: Harry Lambert Costume Stylist: Sharon Long Art Director: Dan Betteridge Casting: HammondCox Casting Editor: David Stevens @ The Assembly Rooms Colourist: Simone Grattarola @ Time Based Arts Production Company: Academy +
Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo
So much heart! Great acting by the two leads. The friends were cute and really helped to boost up the main characters and highlight who they were. I especially loved Bok Joo’s relationship with her two best friends. The older brother fell flat for me, but I also felt like he was just there as a plot vehicle to cause growth in Bok Joo (Not sure how I feel about that, but I really enjoyed Bok Joo’s character arc and it wouldn’t have been what it was without him).
Full episodes of Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo available at https://www.viki.com/tv/32634c-weightlifting-fairy-kim-bok-joo Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo 역도요정 김복주 – Trailer | Lee Sung Kyung & Nam Joo Hyuk 2016 Korean Drama 2016 Korean Drama ‘Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo Summary What else could there be to life than barbells and heavy weights?
SO EMOTIONAL. LOVE Reaper and Goblin relationship. Wasn’t as into the relationship with Ji Eun Tak. I was very invested in Reaper and Sunny’s relationship. Reaper was probably my favorite character. I wish they utilized Sungjae more , though 🙁
GOBLIN 쓸쓸하고 찬란하神-도깨비 | Starring Gong Yoo & Kim Go Eun | December 2 on DramaFever! Be the first to watch! Sign up for episode alerts ➤ http://bit.ly/2eON3WT === Goblin (쓸쓸하고 찬란하神-도깨비) Starring Gong Yoo and Kim Go Eun Gong Yoo (Coffee Prince), Kim Go Eun (Cheese in the Trap) and Lee Dong Wook (Blade Man, My Girl) star in a supernatural romance that proves love can find its way past anything, including death.
Love Park Hyung Sik. New crush. It could have done way more with the bromances especially between Park Seo Jun and Park Hyung Sik. However, I loved watched Hyung Sik so much, that I was happy and entertained most of the time watching it.
Full episodes of Hwarang available December 19 at https://www.viki.com/tv/29810c-hwarang Hwarang 화랑 – Trailer | Park Seo Joon, Park Hyung Sik, Choi Min Ho, & Kim Taehyung 2016 Korean Drama 2016 Korean Drama ‘Hwarang’ Summary History is often made on the backs of truly passionate, talented young people.
While You Were Sleeping
I LOVE LEE JONG SUK. Also, this drama…kinda…it kinda made me like Suzy as an actress. There! I said it! I’m not taking it back! Listen, she might have been a log of petrified wood before, but she bloomed under the love of Lee Jong Suk. THAT IS HIS MAGIC! This drama also had such great tie ins between all the characters and story lines. It was kind of episodic in that there were different court cases that needed to be solved and different dangers for our three leads. The supernatural elements of the prophetic dreams was handled really masterfully and I like how they delved into the concept of cause and effect of our actions and how they change the flow of destiny/fate.
➡ Watch full episodes of While You Were Sleeping: http://bit.ly/WatchWhileYouWereSleeping About While You Were Sleeping (당신이 잠든 사이에): Why is she starting to have these bad dreams and can they be stopped? Nam Hong Joo (Suzy) is an unemployed journalist who lives with her mother and puts little energy into trying to find gainful employment.
(also, Jung Hae In = new crush)
Before I get into it, I’ll say it. This movie was a complete 180 from the tone of the other Thor movies. I had a hard time believing that Thor was suddenly so hilarious and witty. But that aside, I really enjoyed this film. I loved Taika Waititi‘s What We Do In The Shadows, which is a mockumentary about vampires in New Zealand (if you haven’t watched it then GO WATCH IT NOW, I’ll wait). So, I totally got where the new humor came from. Taika Waititi is hilarious and I loved him as the rock monster. I think that the ladies got to step it up in this film and I was so happy with that. Valkyrie is my new girl crush for sure! And they really did a nice job of taking advantage of the complicated relationship between Loki and Thor that was set up by the other films. I love Loki because of how morally ambiguous he is. And the fact that Thor still wants to believe in his bother is one of the things I actually have always liked about Thor (even when he was a pompous bore).
I wasn’t really that into Spider-man anymore about the bajillionth reboot, but I honestly thought this version was a great reboot of the franchise. It seemed more genuinely teenage to me. The school life Peter had and the way he interacted with his friends seemed really appropriately awkward for who Peter Parker is. And I actually really liked that I didn’t have to rewatch him get bit by a spider and “discover” his powers all over again (this isn’t a spoiler, since this Spider-man appears in Civil War this takes place after that and he obviously had his powers in that film). We just got into the meat of him BEING spider-man, which is probably what helped give the faster pacing of this film
Stranger Things Season 2
Three words: Season Two Steve. (May be spoiler-ish stuff in the below video, but it doesn’t really give anything away about the plot)
Babysitter Steve is the best Steve Harrington. TV Guide’s official YouTube channel brings you behind-the-scenes access to your favorite shows and interviews with your favorite celebs!
This show is so funny and clever and sharp! It also does not shy away from addressing issues like racism, homophobia, transphobia, etc. I loved the nod to the growing pains of the publishing industry in the Male Fantasy Author episode.
We should all try to find the confident Gina Linetta inside of all of us:
Check out some the Gina Linetti’s best one-liners from the FOX series, BROOKLYN NINE-NINE.
I know this show isn’t new in 2017, but I watched it for the second time this year with a huge group of my critique partners and I cried so hard! I don’t know why the second viewing hit me so hard. I do theorize that it’s because of who I went to see it with and because the political climate in America is trash right now. I maybe long for a time where people fought for ideals and country above selfish greed.
Official music video for Immigrants (We Get The Job Done) by K’naan featuring Residente, Riz MC & Snow Tha Product Donate $10 to Lin-Manuel’s Immigrants: We Get The Job Done Coalition at: http://bit.ly/2tOfD3A and win a chance to attend the Los Angeles opening of Hamilton Buy/Stream The Hamilton Mixtape Here:
That’s it for my 2017 faves! If you have any favorites from this year I’d love to hear about them!
Speak up:Comments Off on Kat’s Year End Round-Up!
| TAGS:kdrama, music, random thoughts, TBR
Hello strangers, remember me? I’m the person that’s supposed to keep this blog updated, even though I haven’t posted in MONTHS. I apologize for my LONG absence, but to be fair you can still find me pretty regularly over at Writer’s Block Party! And I have been much better at keeping up my new(ish) Authortube/Booktube vlog over at YouTube.
STILL, this blog was my first love and I’ve been horrible at keeping it updated. Partly because I did want to try out those other formats of connecting with everyone (vlogging is fun but time consuming, y’all!)
Also, because my writing has…not been going well. So, I thought I might talk about fallow periods and the search for motivation and inspiration when you’re a writer or a creator.
According to Cambridge dictionary “fallow” means: Fallow land is not planted with crops, in order to improve the quality of the soil A fallow period of time is one in which very little happens.
But Mirriam-Webster has a girl’s back because this is the first thing that pops up in their definition:
Way to both support and subtweet me Mirriam-Webster!
ANYWAY! You get the gist. It’s a period of time where a writer is not writing. There should be a sub-definition that says “a period of time where a writer questions all their life choices and regrets everything.”
The idea of a fallow period for writers is not new. However, if you look at the origin of the word it’s a time when fields don’t produce crops, but it’s ALSO a time when the fields are regenerating nutrients to be able to grow crops again! This definitely changed my view on the time periods when I couldn’t write and how I would treat them. This idea was first presented to me when a CP sent me this post.
So, instead of just seeing periods of time where I’m not creating as a negative, I see it as a chance to rejuvinate my creative well and to refresh my mind. I try to read all the books I couldn’t concentrate on when I was actively writing or revising. I use it to watch all the shows I’d been missing out on. And I pursue other creative endeavors because I know that when I’m actively writing I can’t do many other creative things at the same time. So, right now that’s being more active on my Instagram
And on my youtube channel!
Still, the idea of most of the things I’m doing is to work toward being able to write again. So I try to find inspiration and motivation in everything I do. I keep journals and lists of ideas as they come to me. And I try to let myself write if I want to, but I don’t set any deadlines and let it just flow naturally. This way, I find that most of the things I end up writing during my fallow periods is very personal and it helps to bring my stories closer to my heart.
What do you guys do during your fallow periods? How do you refill your creative wells?
Speak up:3 comments
| TAGS:hope, random thoughts, writing advice, writing journey
Eight kids show Matt de la Pena the the real reason We Need Diverse Books. *mic drop* Visit our Indiegogo campaign to support our mission: http://igg.me/at/diversebooks TRANSCRIPT: Matt de la Peña: So, hey guys. I just wanted to ask you a couple of questions about books. I’m an author, right.
Since there was more interest in my Diversity Conversation post than I expected (and because I do not consider myself an expert on this topic), I thought it might be helpful to provide a more comprehensive list of outside resources. I’ve compiled links to resources for anyone who would like to further their personal education on diversity and the diversity conversation!
I will be updating this with more links as they come to my attention.
***My request to you if you’ve come here to learn more about the diversity conversation in kidlit (especially if you are not part of one, many, or any of these marginalized communities). Please keep an open mind and be ready to be wrong. It’s important to overcome any internal biases that might have been picked up along your life (whether consciously or subconsciously). One of the reasons systemic racism and harmful stereotypes have permeated our world is because we can’t overcome these internal biases because we don’t see how insidious they can really be.***
Also, if you’re here, it’s probably because you want to learn. The BEST way to do that is to follow all the people who wrote these resources in the first place. And to support the authors who are creating diverse content. Buy their books! (Link to my diverse Goodreads books list: HERE)
how cis/het/straight is presented as the “norm” in our society.
Here are resources to learn from about diversity in kidlit:
Twitter list of Diverse writers
(it is in NO way comprehensive, but feel free to follow any and all of them!)
Okay let’s go more in-depth shall we?
Writing With Color provides Blogs – Recs – Resources
They also provide Writing With Color – Featured Research Guides
Some Marginalized Authors are nice enough to storify conversations and threads:
How about some videos too?
TRANSCRIPT: “We hate each other because we fear each other. And we fear each other because we do not know each other.” – Martin Luther King, Jr. What Authors Are Saying… John Green: Hi. My name’s John Green and we need diverse books.
Uploaded by We Need Diverse Books on 2015-12-03.
Join Susan Dennard, Roshani Chokshi, Thao Le, Mark Oshiro, Axie Oh, Janella Angeles, and me (Lily Meade) for an awesome discussion in the Diversity in Young Adult Literature panel. Diversity in YA Fiction is so important to me. I had such a wonderful time. – â†” open for more!
Speak up:3 comments
In honor of Author Mentor Match, I made ANOTHER vlog. I know, I know. You’re thinking, “Kat, can you calm down on these vlogs?” And my answer is “NEVER!” Haha, Just kidding.
Anyway, I wanted to make a video about Mentorship Programs before AMM opens to applications in April. And I tapped into my friends and CPs to give you all some insight!
I discuss what mentorship programs are in the writing world and if they might be right for you. Also, I’ m sorry I talk so fast here, there were so many things I wanted to say!
~Full Quotes Below!~
“I think for me mentorship is also a way of growing and tending to the community. The idea that now that I’m part of the community and I want to be involved in reaching out to others who maybe feel more outside of it and pulling them in with me is a huge part of it. it’s not really just about the writing.” – Katy Rose Pool
“The world of publishing can be overwhelming, and so much information can only be gleaned from being in the community for years and pushing through many of the steps it takes to get published. We’re all helped along the way by someone, receiving key advice or support from fellow authors/publishing professionals. Through mentorship, more experienced authors can pay it forward, helping someone newer to our world navigate it with more ease. Mentees are a part of our community, and I want them to feel more welcome, and initiate them into the fold.” – Alexa Donne
“It feels a bit strange for me to offer to mentor another writer, when I still feel like a clueless newbie myself. Five years into my “writing career,” I have just a smidgen of experience in publishing, and I’m happy to share what advice I can, because this can be a confusing and heart wrenching industry. But I think the writing community, especially the YA online community, is so great about creating opportunities to help each other learn and grow. And it’s important to me to try to give back to the community that helped me get to where I am now.” – Heather Kaczynski
“Mentoring has been one of the most rewarding things that I’m so proud, and feel so lucky, to do as a writer. Many times, authors say they write the books that the younger versions of themselves would loved to have read. On that same note with mentoring, I’ve always hoped for the chance to provide the support and motivation to other aspiring writers that I know would’ve helped the younger writer I once was, still lost and hardcore struggling on my journey to publication. It’s an amazing experience to give back that way, to be able to help someone find their way on the journey, and to editorially guide the mentee and their manuscript you already love into the best shape it can be. Best of all, in mentoring, you gain a great friend in the process—one who you’ll always be there for in whatever highs and lows comes their way, and one who will support you just as much on your own path.” – Janella Angeles
“Nobody makes it in the publishing world without A LOT of support. I’ve always been fortunate to have people willing to share expertise and willing to read projects that were, shall we say…less than great. I love doing anything I can do to pass on my knowledge. Mentoring is particularly great because you get to be like the fun aunt but also the stern parent! You get to pick a project you love and cheerlead it and fangirl when it succeeds. But you also get to lay down some of your hard-earned wisdom and beat up the manuscript you love for its own good. It’s also given me A WHOLE TON of renewed appreciation for how hard it is to write and revise a book!” – Mara Fitzgerald
“We’re Janice Ian and Damien from Mean Girls. Come sit with us and we will explain how all this chaos works.” – Mara Fitzgerald
“it like…sort of feels like being in a writer sorority…except your big does things like highlight entire paragraphs and go “this is technically good but i know you can make it better” – Christine Herman
“Having a mentor prepared me really well for having an agent — it taught me how to implement intense, detailed feedback, how to work under deadline, and how to truly get my book to the next level. but because I didn’t have to impose professional boundaries on my mentor, I also got a great friend out of it — & a CP I can shove my books at until the end of time.” – Christine Herman
“Mentoring is an excellent way to remind yourself that you have no idea how to write a novel.” – Amanda Foody
Speak up:Comments Off on Writer Mentor Programs: What are they & are they for me?
| TAGS:pitching, querying, Vlog, writing advice
Jan05, 2017 |
I’ve watched the conversation around diversity change over the past few years when it comes to literature and YA/kidlit in particular. I took interest for obvious reasons, I am a writer of color who wants to write about my own experiences and heritage. However, even as a POC I was not prepared for some of the hard lessons I’ve learned over the past few years. And I came to realize that it’s because I didn’t have the foundation for it yet. I had to build that first before I could enter the harder conversations and really understand what they were about (let alone partake in them! Which, I still don’t do that often because I am still learning).
I’m going to make an analogy for this post with the hopes that I can shed light on my own journey and perhaps help at least one person understand how much time it takes to even begin to understand this ongoing conversation we call “diversity.” So, I’m going to compare the conversation about diversity to school courses.
When I was a senior I took a class that beat the snot out of my brain, Biochemistry. I was so wrung dry after a semester of it that I dreamed about it (or, more accurately, I had nightmares about it). However, I still got a very respectable B+ in that course. I know that the only reason I got that grade was because I’d prepared myself for it. I took a year of intro biology, a year of intro chemistry, a year of organic chemistry, plus labs for all of these classes.
My coworker was talking about her classes the other day and said that she was required to take biochemistry but half of the class hadn’t taken intro biology yet. I was floored at how that’s even possible. How could you understand the very complex subjects of biochemistry without taking the intro class first? It just didn’t seem logical! (unsurprisingly most of those students dropped the class)
The reason I’m telling these strange school anecdotes is to say that I think people should learn the basics before they can join the more advanced classes.
If you look at conversations about diversity in the same way, you should learn the basics in the 101 courses about inequality, systemic/institutional racism, systemic misogyny, internalized sexism, systemic ableism, and how cis/het/straight is presented as the “norm” in our society.
After all of those foundational courses, it’s possible to join the advanced courses which are the ongoing conversations about why X book is problematic or Y movie is appropriative or Z author’s Twitter feed is insensitive to the very audience they write for.
I see people jumping into conversations on social media or at a house party to explain why they don’t understand why such-and-such is a big deal. And I can completely understand why they don’t get it. It’s because they don’t have a foundation built up yet. They don’t know the long and hard history of how we got here as a diverse country/society. It’s because they haven’t learned the basics of why this all matters. The issue is that when you take biochemistry without taking biology 101, the only one that suffers is you. When you try to push your way into conversations about diversity without understanding, you’re hurting other people. This is where my analogy ends and the real talk begins.
We need to stop being so naive to think we already have all the tools to talk about the problems with society just because we live in it. The world is not perfect, we know that much. However, why the world isn’t perfect is up for debate. The thing that isn’t up for debate: other people’s pain. If someone says they’re hurt, that’s it. You believe them.
For me personally, I joined the YA community when I was still learning about my own identity and coming to terms with the idea of writing myself onto the page. I still defaulted to what society told me was the “norm.” I made my MC’s white because I didn’t know if YA audiences would relate to POC MC’s. I also did not know enough about other marginalized communities to speak about their issues. I still have a lot to learn when it comes to communities I’m not a member of, so I still sit back and listen to those kind enough to speak out about it (for free! Seriously, emotional labor is labor and many people do it for free).
On top of that, POC/marginalized can be biased too. Being a racial minority does not stop a person from being ableist or heteronormative, etc. I had to unlearn many off-hand statements I used in every day conversation because I didn’t realize that it was perpetuating an ableist norm. I also had to unlearn some phrases that were cruel to other POC and Native groups. I grew up in the United States, which means I was raised watching TV shows that told me white was normal; and men married women; and boys played with cars and girls played with dolls. My parents NEVER told me that was normal, but society did. And I had to decide for myself if that’s what I would believe or not.
We all have to unpack our biases. And we all need to understand the basic foundation of why these conversations are important. Until then, it’s fine to be quiet and listen. There is no need to be active in the conversation all the time. Sometimes it’s enough to just learn. That’s actually why so many marginalized voices speak out, to help people understand.
I don’t mean to scare anyone away from joining an earnest conversation. But it is on you as the “learner” to understand that your need to learn does not supersede another person’s pain. So asking a marginalized person on Twitter to teach you about their life’s history of marginalization in a 15 minute conversation over 140 characters is probably not the place to start your learning. We are in the age of the amazing internet and google is an awesome thing. And once you’ve created your foundation then you can dip your toe into smaller conversations (perhaps start off in a closed community among friends who are willing to explain the harder things. That’s what I did)
I’d be happy to answer questions if anyone has them and if I don’t have the answers I’ll say that too. After all, I’m still learning as well.
Here are resources to learn from before entering the diversity conversation:
I also have a Twitter list of Diverse writers (it is in NO way comprehensive, but feel free to follow any and all of them!)
For even more links and resources go here: The Diversity Conversation pt2: Resources and Links
Speak up:8 comments
| TAGS:diversity, random thoughts
Dec29, 2016 |
Hello friends, I’ve been thinking about writing a Twitter 101 post for awhile. Not only because I think Twitter is ah-maz-ing, but because I know Twitter can be confusing as all heck! It’s like when you see your grandma posting random questions on your Facebook feed and you realize she thinks Facebook is Google. And you laugh and think “Oh, Grandma.” Well, that’s us when we don’t know how to use Twitter.
So, here we go!
(Please note that a lot of these points are my own opinions and based on how I personally use Twitter, but I offer this as a general guide to be adjusted for your personal use)
Okay, now for real, here we go!
Hashtags are a fun way to reach a broader audience. Many people will search a known hashtag to see what people’s opinions are on it. So be aware of which ones you’re using and why. Big ones for writing/reading are:
#amwriting, #amreading, #amrevising — just what they sound like, any random thought or advice for people who are writing, reading, or revising. Also, just to update on your personal writing/reading/revising status.
#amquerying — I made this one separate because I believe it’s to be used a bit differently. You can definitely share advice and random thoughts about querying with it. But I wouldn’t recommend posting too many tweets about your querying status as it is a very subjective and personal journey in many ways. I do think it’s a great hashtag to give words of encouragement and advice to others who are querying or about to query.
#TBR — To Be Read. I think that says enough.
#WeNeedDiverseBooks and #WNDB — This was started in reply to a need for more diverse books and is a great movement. Go to WeNeedDiverseBooks.org for more about WNDB.
#ownvoices — this is for use about books written about marginalized characters written by authors with those same marginalizations. It’s important to note that it’s not just writing about a character that shares experiences with you (e.g. if your character is at space camp and you went to space camp, that is not ownvoices). It’s specifically to address sensitive experiences with marginalization and how that affects a person and telling those personal stories (e.g. if the character is a black teenager dealing with #BLM and the author is a black woman dealing with #BLM)
#MSWL — Manuscript Wishlist was created by an agent to help writers see what kinds of stories agents and editors would love to see in their submission piles. (Note: It is not for pitching, that should only be done during designated Twitter pitch dates on the proper pitch hashtags, see below)
#MuseMon, #2bittues, #1linewed — Amazing tags where you can share quick blurbs of your writing
And sometimes online pitch conferences use a specific hashtag (NOTE: These are to be used on the scheduled day of the event and not before or after if you are pitching)
#DVPit, #pitmad, #SFFpit, #Adpit, #kidpit, #PBpitch
I even use a hashtag for my sister’s puppy and I’m not sorry! #luckythedog
2. @-ing people and replying to people
If you reply to someone’s tweet, it’ll automatically start your tweet with @personstwittername
If you reply to a tweet that has other people tagged in it, your reply will automatically tag ALL of them. So be aware if you only want to reply to the original poster, you have to delete those extra twitter handles.
If you start your Tweet with an @ handle in order to tag another person, it won’t show up in your main feed. It’ll only be in the tab that says “Tweets & Replies” in your profile. I hear this might change soon, but for now, if you want to @ someone and want it to show up in your main feed, then add a convenient period “.” before the tag. That way Twitter will think it’s a normal Tweet.
Sometimes you’ll see a tweet that sounds like half an idea and that’s because it is! It’s part of what we call a “thread,” tweets that are linked as “replies” to each other that form a fuller thought than can be expressed in 140 characters. People will often number them to show they’re part of a bigger thread:
Sometimes people don’t number them, which does make it harder to follow the full thought, but if you click on any tweet it shows all the replies made to that tweet:
4. Quote Tweeting
It can be used to boost a previous tweet:
It can be used to show support for a thought or post (it makes it easier to provide the link to a thread of tweets so the reader can click on the original tweet and read the whole thread):
Some people quote tweet as a more public way of replying to a thought, or to add their own thoughts on top of the original Tweet.
IMPORTANT TO NOTE: When you quote tweet someone to add your personal opinion, think of it like you’re highlighting your reply to them. It shows up more prominently in feeds. It includes your reply and the original tweet to show why you’re reacting the way you are. This is important to be aware of if you’re replying with your opinion on someone else’s opinion, especially if it’s to disagree with them. This is exponentially important to be aware of if you’re commenting on a marginalized person’s comment on something they find personally harmful. If you do this, it is the Twitter equivalent of going “Well, actually…”
Be aware that if you replying as if you’re trying to “correct” someone’s opinion when you are NOT part of the community affected, it comes off as condescending. It is hard to convey tone in text or Twitter. So, if this is a sensitive subject then take a beat and think through whether this opinion needs to be blasted to all of Twitter.
5. Some often used abbreviations and hashtags:
ICYMI: In Case You Missed It
FF: Follow Friday
IMHO: In My Honest Opinion
IMO: In My Opinion
TBH: To Be Honest
LRT: Last Retweet (this is to refer to the last thing the person retweeted)
IRL: In Real Life
(some are just abbreviations to save character space, they’re pretty self-explanatory if you just think it through. e.g. b4 = before, bc = because, some1 = someone, ppl = people)
6. Parting Thoughts on Twitter “etiquette”
Twitter is a great equalizer. We can tweet at celebs we love and people we’ve never met before in real life. However, it’s also public. This means your conversations are blasted for all to see and it makes your “opinions” more magnified since it is in front of an audience. Before you tweet something, think to yourself, “Would I say this in front of a panel of people at a book conference?” Or “Would I announce this at a crowded party where I don’t know everyone?”
If the answer is no, then think about why that is. Is it because you’re not sure of your stance on the subject? Is it because you don’t really know a lot about that particular topic you’re just saying your opinion based on your limited experience? Is it because your comment is reactionary instead of thoughtful?
If so, don’t tweet it.
So often, people reply to tweets and threads as if they’re having a personal debate in their friend’s living room, but they’re not. They’re having an internet fight for all to see. And since Twitter gives limited space for more complex thoughts, it can be misconstrued VERY quickly.
If you’re a writer/author/creative and you are using Twitter as a platform to gain readers and network with industry people, then be willing to back up anything you say on Twitter.
There are authors that say political and sensitive things on Twitter and they’re amazing. Why? Because they truly believe in what they’re saying and will defend it even if it’s an in-person conversation, a panel at a conference, or on Twitter. That conviction is important when you’re taking a stand on Twitter. These aren’t opinions they made in a day or a week. They’re opinions that have been carefully thought out (taking into account others who might be affected by them) and are meant to better the conversation and community. I assume most people reading this are in kidlit/YA/MG, so I think it’s important to point out that our intended audiences are kids and teens. That adds a layer of responsibility about what we stand for both in our books and in our public personas.