Know Yourself: One Happy Parent

As a long-term comic head, I have become enamored of every type of comic book. I have horror, Classics Illustrated, science fiction, traditional superhero, and tons of international comics in more long boxes than I can count. The one comic lane I could never get in to: educational comics. I love the old Civil Rights, How Toons, and history comic books. What I could not stand were the ‘this is how the digestive tract works’ or ‘let’s wind our way through the eyeball’ offerings. This would seem to be in direct opposition of my cheerleading the use of comics in educational settings. Hey, I’m complex. As a parent, my dislike has curdled to disdain.

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Writing to a Non-Existing Audience

Originally published at Thagomizer

Recently I was having a conversation with a couple of friends and acquaintances regarding the release of my novel, Hollowstone. As I explained the premise behind the book, they expressed it was a novel they would be very interested in reading.

They then expressed that they don’t read books. As the conversation continued, they explained it was in large part to their horrors in school. Horror stories I was all too familiar with. The others elaborated that they hated being forced to read classic literature which usually translated works written by old dead white men and ergo deemed as the only type of “literature” worth reading.

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KidLit: Recommended Reading on Justice and Understanding

Originally posted at The Writer’s Block

At a time of great unease and injustice, those of us who are parents of children have a challenge ahead of us. Most of our kids will be exposed to the happenings of the world, and well they should. At the same time, what books can we read to them that will help them understand, and provide tools they will need to survive, thrive, and engage? We reached out to several Minnesota writers with children to compile this list of suggestions. This is by no means definitive, nor complete.

This list was compiled by Kurtis Scaletta, Shannon Gibney, Lana Barkawi, Kathryn Savage, Molly Beth Griffin, Sarah Park Dahlen, Bao Phi, and Lorena Duarte Armstrong.

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#WhitewashedOUT Twitter Chat with Margaret Cho to Kick Off AAPI Month

Today is the first day of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Hollywood has been preparing for this month by announcing film after film after film with white people playing Asians. To that end, we’ve teamed up with some of the minds behind #WeNeedDiverseBooks and comedian/actress Margaret Cho to launch a new movement to tell Hollywood we are #whitewashedOUT.

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Ink and Ashes and Tu Books’ New Visions Award for YA Writers

This week we’re excited about two things: one is a book, the other an awesome opportunity.

ink_and_ashes_smallFor us readers: Ink and Ashes by Valynne Maetani came out this week. As a lover of mysteries as a child, I can’t wait to crack into this one!

And for us writers: the award that got Maetani published — The New Visions Award from Tu Books — also opens submissions this week! Tu Books is dedicated to diversity in genre fiction for young people and is under the banner of Lee and Low books, which publishes children’s books by authors of color. We definitely need more publishers with that goal in mind!

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Dismantling the Master’s House of Cards with the Master’s Tools

Being an author, understandably more than a few people have wanted my thoughts on the Hugo/Sad Puppies controversy. For those of you just joining us, this piece by fellow Nerd of Color Arthur Chu gives an excellent summary here.

Before I go any further, let me preface by saying this. As a writer, awards and accolades don’t even rank in terms of priorities. Don’t get me wrong, they’re awesome and I appreciate the honor as much as the next person but it goes back to a point my friend Pauline Trent and I discussed one day. There are generally two types of artists — and by artists I mean visual artists, writers, musicians, dancers, etc. The first type of artist is one who wants to be world renowned as a great artist. The second type of artist simply wants to produce as much work as they can possibly produce. More often than not, the latter leads to the former.

Whether it’s an essay, a social media update, or a novel, whenever I write, I have three objectives in mind: to enlighten, to entertain and to empower. So while awards may not be a priority for many writers, we still acknowledge the huge accomplishment in having one’s work recognized by industry peers and fans alike. Over the years, the Hugos have recognized some truly gifted authors. I’m honored to call a couple Hugo nominees good personal friends of mine. But as this fiasco just illustrated, the Hugos are yet another symptom of a corrupt system that is the publishing industry.

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