Just blogged this today at Women and Words about the meltdown at Romance Writers of America and some of my thoughts.
Just blogged this today at Women and Words about the meltdown at Romance Writers of America and some of my thoughts.
HAI, FRENZ! Welcome to this here whistlestop on the KD Williamson blog tour! We’re celebrating the release of her latest F/F romance, Big Girl Pill, and that involves giveaways and blogs and happy fun times! WOOOOO! See below for the schedule and for the giveaway deets!
Maya Davis is done hiding. It’s left her empty and out of touch with her family. Now she’s a young woman on a mission: getting rid of residual feelings for her former best friend from college. Her plan is to put herself through a wringer by being in Nina’s upcoming wedding and burning away whatever emotions are left, so she can start anew. Her plan, however, has big holes, and everything she’s been feeling rushes through and leaves her thinking that this was a bad idea.
Nina Sterling is a work in progress, torn between being two very different things—the person others expect her to be and who she wants to become. For the past couple of years, it’s been easier to give in toher demanding, steamroller of a mother and her pleasant but controlling fiancé, but with Maya’s return for a lengthy stay in town, and encouragement from Nina’s hilarious cousin, seeds of rebellion are sown.
As Maya and Nina try to patch up the past and get closer, old sparks rekindle, and as they both grow into who they are meant to be, those sparks might just become a fire.
And now, I’ll leave it to KD. Thanks for joining us. 🙂
I don’t write about black people simply because I’m black. That’s only one reason. Having a degree in literature has made me privy to some incredible books and epic poems, but I also got the chance to see a huge selection of harmful tropes and stereotypes about women and about people of color. I told myself that if I ever got to really write I’d do my best to educate and illuminate that POC, especially, are not “other”. Our experiences are similar. Our lives are similar, and I think I really got to showcase that in my latest novel, Big Girl Pill.
Family as a concept has a huge role in this book. As one family comes together, the other disintegrates. I delve into the importance of loyalty, communication, empathy and caring, which are things most of us strive for in family life. Just because Maya’s family is black and non-traditional doesn’t make that any different. They are flawed, but they don’t have to be broken. They laugh. They try to be there for each other and they try to be honest.
Sound familiar? Nothing “other” and unrelatable about that.
On the flip side is Nina Sterling’s experience, which is completely opposite from Maya’s. Nina doesn’t find strength in that bond. Instead, there’s toxicity. It takes her a while to really see that, but she’s young. Give her a break, yes? Still, she forges ahead and unconsciously forms something completely new for herself, which does indeed lift her up. In other words, they both pretty much strive for the same thing as they move closer toward each other. I mean, it is a romance after all.
So, what I’m trying to say is take away our skin suits and we’re pretty much the same and want the same things. Some may go after it differently, but that’s an individual thing, not a race thing.
How about we just read romance and enjoy?
KD Williamson is a Southerner and a former nomad, taking up residence in the Mid-West, east coast, and New Orleans over the years. She was a Hurricane Katrina survivor displaced to the mountains of North Carolina but has since found her way back to Louisiana where she lives with her wife and the most horribly spoiled pets in history.
She enjoys all things geek from video games to super heroes. KD is a veteran in the mental health field where she works with children and their families. She discovered writing as a teenager with the help of her English teacher, whom she had a huge crush on. With her teacher’s help, KD wrote her first short story but afterward had a hard time finding inspiration. Years later, writing fanfic became her gateway into lesbian fiction.
Indeed! How about a giveaway? Hit the link to get all signed up.
KD Williamson blog tour schedule:
Hi, Friends —
I just wanted to give everyone a heads up on a cool charity project my fellow founder and colleague at Dirt Road Books put together.
It’s a small book of recipes based on the DRB first year’s newsletter, which included a new recipe every month. My colleague, author and chef R.G. Emanuelle, is in fact a trained chef and she developed several recipes for the newsletter based on seasonal events but also short stories by fellow DRB authors.
So you’ll get a couple of sexy drinkie recipes, a few main dishes, and some sides. There’s a rib recipe and a pickle recipe, for example, and for those of you who are BBQ aficionados, you know BBQ and pickles ARE A THING.
So here’s the thing. Every year, DRB tries to put a project together in time for the holidays that benefits a charity. A Year in the Kitchen with R.G. Emanuelle is this year’s project, and ALL PROCEEDS benefit the Oregon Food Bank. It’s $3.99 to pick up your ecopy, and hot damn, you’re doing awesome-ness in addition to a little bit of cooking.
A Year in the Kitchen with R.G. Emanuelle is a collection of recipes from the first year of newsletters fromDirt Road Books. It offers twelve delectable dishes, from hearty family fare to party take-alongs and fabulous cocktails. Some are seasonal fare while others are inspired by stories written by DRB authors. DRB is proud to donate all proceeds to Oregon Food Bank, which has partnered with agencies that provide spaces that make it easy for the LGBTQ community to access food.
Not only will you get some cool original recipes, but you’re helping a great charity out. Thanks and happy Monday!
HI, frenz! So…Dirt Road Books just released author Louisa Kelley’s first book in the Shift series, Fianna the Gold, and I am hosting today’s stop on the Fianna tour!
It’s a F/F dragon shifter contemporary fantasy story set in the Pacific Northwest. Adventure! Romance! Suspense! Intrigue!
And did I mention DRAGONS?
And dragon SHIFTERS?
YEAH! ALL OF THAT! Below, find all kinds of cool Fianna stuff, including an excerpt AND the chance to win books!
So come on! Spend some time with Fianna!
HAI, FRENZ!!! LOOK AT WHAT AUDIBLE DID WITH SOME BOOTS AND A HAT!
So, I’ve had this thing going on for the past few months. I’ve kept it under my hat (see what I did there) because I’ve been nervous about it and I’m kinda superstitious about some things, so I keep ’em under wraps until I feel like it’s time to talk about them.
I’ve been working with Audible to make two of my books available in audiobook.
I AM SO STOKED! I totes did a happy dance (and I’ll probably do a few more) and now, I’m passing this info on to you.
They’re a twofer, y’all. That means you buy it and you get both. Or, if you’re an Audible subscriber, you’re gonna get both of these…
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I had forgotten about this blog she did in 2014 (BAD ME! OMG!) and I saw it circulating again and…well. here. Go read it:
And that about sums it up.
Happy Monday, all.
I thought I’d reprise some basic tips for approaching a publisher (since I am one).
I’ve talked a bit about this in the past, most recently, these 5 tips for finding a publisher that’s right for you. But let’s get down to some essentials.
So let’s say you’re interested in publishing a manuscript you’re working on and you decide to approach a house. Here are some tips to help you do that correctly.
1. Make sure your manuscript is finished. This may seem obvious, but it’s not to some writers, especially those who are just starting out. I get it. You’re working on a novel and you’re really excited about it and you want to get it published. BUT…
There’s an old saying: “Don’t put the cart before the horse.” What that means is, don’t do things in the wrong order because it’ll cost you time and effort at the very least.
Most publishers do not want to see a partially-written manuscript. Publishers don’t grant contracts on the basis of a chapter or two (unless you’re a long-established author). They may read the first few chapters, but they will only do that if the manuscript is complete and the query letter and synopsis piqued their interest and if the manuscript fits their lists.
So don’t send an email to a publisher saying you’re working on a manuscript and you have X words done. They don’t care. They want the COMPLETED project, not 10,000 words of a draft.
2. Do not ask a publisher to assess the first few chapters of your unfinished manuscript to “see if you’re on the right track.”
Time is money, people. You want someone to assess your work? That’s what editors do, and they’re professional and offering a service. So pay them. Or get some fab beta readers who are willing to work with you.
This scenario — asking me as a potential publisher to assess part of an unfinished manuscript — has happened to me more than a few times in the past and just so you know, it’ll get you tossed out the airlock at almost every house you try this. I’m an exception, because I’ll explain to you that this is not how you go about approaching a potential publisher and I’ll probably provide you some links to resources that tell you how to effectively approach a publisher with a submission. Then I’ll toss you out the airlock, but gently.
Unless you’re a dick in your approach. In which case, no resources for you. Just a “we do not consider unfinished manuscripts. If you’re looking for guidance, we recommend you consult with beta readers or hire a developmental editor,” and then we put your name in the “hell, no” forever file.
It is not a publisher’s job to assess your work or help you write your manuscript so they can publish it. That’s a developmental editor’s job, and you should hire one if you’re having trouble writing a manuscript. Or hire a writing coach. Or chat with your beta readers. Don’t have any? Get some. It’ll save you getting flung out a publishing airlock and/or being put in a “hell, no” file.
3. Put a professional query packet together so it’s ready to go. This includes your FINISHED manuscript; a query letter (no more than 2-3 paragraphs that includes your background, bio, and any other things you’ve written); brief synopsis (no more than about 250-300 words). And have a longer synopsis ready to go in case a publishing house requests one.
The key here is to look professional. You want a publisher to take you seriously? Then put together some serious materials that help a publisher get a sense of who you are and what your writing approach might be. Don’t forget to have a website for your writer self ready to go to include in your contact materials.
Caitlin Berve has some great info on query packets at Ignited Ink. You should go see.
4. Make sure you read the submissions guidelines THOROUGHLY and prepare your query packet and manuscript accordingly. If you don’t do that, a publisher will wonder what other instructions you ignore. Every publisher is different, so make sure you know what each one is looking for.
And with that in mind, make sure you send the right query packet to the correct publisher. This has happened to me more than a few times, too — I’ve gotten query letters addressed to someone at a totally different house.
Details are important, friends.
5. It’s okay to ask if you’re not sure about something in a publisher’s submissions requirements. It’s okay to send a quick email to ask for clarification. Be polite and get to the point immediately in that email. Don’t go on about the project you’re working on or your super-sexy query packet. Just ask your question, say please and thank you, and go about your business. And if the publisher doesn’t respond to that one little email, well…maybe you’ll want to approach other houses instead.
All right. Just remember, publishing is a business. Think of approaching them as if you were getting ready for a job interview. You want all your materials ready to go, and you want to present yourself as a fellow professional. Don’t give them reasons to think otherwise.
Just a quick note for a shout-out to this, May Fourth, in which we celebrate Star Wars.
And also, RIP Peter Mayhew, the actor who portrayed Chewbacca. He left us this past week at the age of 74.
I’ve been thinking about age and the different social and political contexts different generations grow up in and I’m now of an age that usually requires younger people to mistrust me, view me with suspicion and/or frustration. Get the hell out of the way, old. It’s our time, now.
I remember being that age. But I also remember going into the activism trenches with a lot of people 10, 20, 30, 40 years older than I am. Some even older. They’d been around a while, and had seen a lot of shit, and they continued fighting, not only for themselves, but for youngs like me, and they shared their time, energy, resources, experience, and wisdom to do that.
I hadn’t gained the luxury of hindsight yet, but watching those older activists work, and their patience and fortitude in the midst of hell — I was lucky to have worked with them and to have learned from them.
It is possible to age in such a way that you remember who you are and who you were. I hope I’m doing this right, because I’m drawing a lot of strength and inspiration from younger people (and okay, maybe I’m proud that my generation is raising these young people I see as kindred spirits…ha!).
I’m reminded of a queer conference I attended soon after the 2016 elections. I went to an intergenerational panel, designed to foster discussion between olds and youngs. I came of age in the 80s, and I know the weight of political and social boots on your neck. I know the lack of resources and the lack of policies to support those of us who were marginalized then and who are marginalized now. I know that people have died in this fight, and they will continue to do so.
Some of what I fought for was the right to marry even though I figured I’d never see it and so it was never part of my personal world view.
But fuck, I wanted people growing up behind me to be able to have that right, to be able to make that choice if they wanted it. And I wanted younger people maybe never to experience the fear of expressing affection for their partners/spouses/baes in public. To just BE in public, in all the glorious, multitudinous ways queerdom expresses.
We’re not there, yet. We’ve made gains, but we’re not there yet, and all we’ve gained can be taken away. So my work’s not done.
My work also means that I’ve expanded my worldview, and educated myself, and my fight now is for all marginalized people caught in systems of oppression, to hopefully use the privileges I have to do whatever the hell I can.
The work is never done, and I see that now, at this age.
I listened to all those young people in that discussion expressing their fears about that 2016 election, and their uncertainties about what would happen, and what it meant.
I said that we’d been here before. We’d been facing opposition for decades, and we will continue to face it going forward, but, I said, a lot of us olds have organized, created space, fought shitty policies, and changed hearts and minds. We can do it again. I also said that I wasn’t going to sugarcoat things, because it’s bad, and it’s going to get worse, but they all had backup. I said this is, sadly, your time. You’re first string, now, but the cool thing is, people like me are on the bench and we have your backs. I’ll offer whatever wisdom I’ve acquired, whatever tips I can share that might be adapted to these times, whatever support I can. We’ll do this together.
And I will go into the trenches again with these new generations. I don’t know how not to do that, and I wonder if those older people who continued their activism when I was so much younger had that same realization.
They said the work is never done, but there was so much life in their eyes, and so many stories, and such strength in their smiles. There is beauty in a life lived in service to the work and to others, whether those others are alive, gone, or not yet among us. There is beauty in finding joy, love, and comradeship even in the worst of times. Working alongside those older people taught me that.
And I hope I can be as cool an old as they were, and that I know some of them still are.
So I’m super-stoked to be a host on this here awesome blog tour for the one and only Lambda-winning Sacchi Green! Dirt Road Books just released her latest collection of F/F short stories (full disclosure: I am a co-founder and co-owner of DRB) and we’re all extremely excited about this anthology, and we think you will be, too. It spans historical eras, themes, and deals with narrative and characterization as only Sacchi can. Continue reading