By popular demand…

Often I’m asked if I have a newsletter. I didn’t for the longest time but I want to make it easier for readers to remember when my books are coming out. This won’t be a frequent thing, and I promise we won’t clutter up your inbox. Essentially, I will only send it when I’m reminding you that I have a new book / story out soon or if there’s legitimately huge news that I want to share with you. There will also be special contests and giveaways that appear nowhere else. I may also give you deleted scene exclusives from various projects or sneak peeks at books that haven’t come out yet.

I hope to have the first newsletter out by Oct 1, reminding you to preorder Horde and to make sure you’re caught up on Enclave and Outpost. Trust me, you don’t want to miss the finale. I think it’s the best book in the trilogy, and early reviews support my assessment.

If that sounds tempting, you just need to click on the contact link and fill in the subscribe form. I won’t share your email address and I won’t spam you.

We’ll keep you posted, and I’ll close this when we have our first 100 subscribers.

ETA: Less than 24 hours later, we have 225+ subscribers, so the first part of that contest is over with. Now my assistant has a LOT of mailing to do. You can still sign up for the newsletter or chat in comments, but the swag / book offer has passed.

If you need to know something else, ask in comments! So who’s excited about Horde?

The follow-up: on privilege.

So it’s a month later. The mail volume has finally slowed down, which is good, because I have a book to write. I’m glad I’m no longer getting hate mail, though possibly it’s because I’ve set up a pretty comprehensive set of filters. I’m not looking in the trash to check. At this point, I have some things to talk about, mostly behaviors that people may not even realize are an -ism. (An -ism is where you are actively part of the problem).

1) “I know people of your group who never had this happen.”
Your experience / observation (or those of your acquaintances) does not define the universal truth. If I have never seen a pumpkin in real life, does that mean pumpkins don’t exist? Of course not. Your argument is silly, so shut up.

2) “I know him, and he’s actually a really nice guy.”
Then our experiences differ. Maybe he’s only nice to people he perceives as belonging to his same social subset. Maybe he thinks you could be useful to him in some fashion. Regardless of “niceness”, that’s not an excuse (or a defense) for bad behavior.

3) “I’m sure they didn’t intend to make you feel bad.”
Intent doesn’t govern injury. It’s possible to offer sincere apologies for things you didn’t realize were hurtful, after the fact. But at the time of this writing, only one of the parties involved in the many incidents I wrote about has contacted me. Therefore, I can only surmise that the guilty parties don’t think they did anything wrong and that I’m (insert classic derailing argument here).

4) “You’re too emotional / sensitive / search for reasons to be offended.”
This is a classic. With any of these statements, the blame is deflected. The offending party is not responsible or liable for outcomes resulting from his behavior! This is patently a ridiculous allegation. But if you say something like this, you’re part of the problem. No, I’m not kidding.

5) “You’re alienating supporters by using foul language / being so angry.”
Really? You said / typed that with a straight face? This is generally insisted upon by those who don’t really care about an issue; they just don’t want to be guilted about it either. People who can flounce away from a discussion just because their feathers were ruffled? Guess what? That’s privilege. I can’t walk away from being a woman. I’m a woman, no matter what I do or how I do it.

There are more derailing tactics; you may not be aware that you’re using them. Why? Maybe because you don’t want to admit you have a bias. There’s a more comprehensive list here.

I’ve heard all of the above, sometimes by people who thought they were posting / sending me a supportive message. Guess what? In the past, I’ve made the mistake of saying some of those things–about other issues. Then someone smacked me on the nose and said, “Look, you’re being a privileged asshole.” And she was right. The first step to fixing a problem is acknowledging that there is one. When people say, “Oh, I’m (color / gender / religion/ creed) blind, I don’t see what the big deal is,” I narrow my eyes at them. Because claiming that and having it be true? Are two wildly different things. When people say that, they are refusing to acknowledge that the world is a fucked up place that badly needs sorting out.

So don’t be part of the problem, okay? Don’t be an -ism.

This week in SF

So this week, two notable things happened. First, two dinosaurs went on a rampage.
dino
Granted, that didn’t happen this week, technically, but this is when the backlash occurred, first for the initial column that ran in the SFWA bulletin, and then there was the rebuttal, bemoaning the spate of anonymous complaints. dino2

I’m not anonymous. And I don’t think any of this is okay. This post is going to be anecdotal… because it needs to be. I’ve held my silence when I probably shouldn’t have. But I was in the minority, a woman writing SF, and I was afraid of career backlash. I was afraid of being excluded or losing opportunities if I didn’t play nice.

I don’t care about that anymore. If this means I don’t get into anthos or invited to parties, I don’t give a fuck. I care more about doing the right thing, about speaking out, so maybe other women who have had these experiences will do the same. If enough of us gather the courage to say, “Hey, look, this is NOT ALL RIGHT,” maybe the world will change. And if not, well, at least I stood up. I spoke. I didn’t sit quiet as a victim of sexism and let it happen.

In 2007, I sold my first book, Grimspace. It says it’s SF on the spine. I believe it to be SF, though it’s certainly written differently. I write in first person, present tense, and the protagonist is a woman with a woman’s thoughts, feelings, and sexual desires. But the book(s) take place in a rich, well-built science fiction world. There’s FTL travel and lots of planets to explore and aliens. Sounds like SF, right? Apparently not. And that’s the dismissive, occasionally scornful attitude I’ve received since 2008 when I made my first appearance as a professional in the SFF fandom.

At that con, I watched a respected male SF author get sloppy drunk and make women uncomfortable, fans and writers alike. I was one of them. I watched a respected SF writer break an elderly female fan’s heart by refusing to spend a minute talking with her. He was everything brusque, self-important, and rude. I consoled her afterward. I had a respected SF writer call me “girlie” and demand that I get him a coffee, before the panel we were on TOGETHER. When he realized I was not, in fact, his coffee girl, he didn’t apologize. And once we got into the panel, he refused to let me (or anyone else) speak. He interrupted me. He talked over me. He responded to questions that the audience asked me, when they asked me, by name, and he wouldn’t respond to the moderator, who was also female.

The panel was supposed to be about pseudonyms but he made it about how sad it was that the glory days were over. Point in fact, his wife participated more in the panel, by shouting out suggestions on what old stories he should tell next. If the panel had been called, “WHAT SF WAS LIKE IN 1969”, that would’ve been fine, I suppose, and I wouldn’t have been sitting there, feeling embarrassed, powerless, and ashamed, as I wasn’t born at that time.

I went home from that con feeling very sad and ashamed, because my colleagues had treated me like nothing, even though my book, Grimspace, sold out. There were over fifty copies in stock at BAMM, and I signed every last one of them. In fact, by the time my “formal” signing came along–with Sherrilyn Kenyon–they had none of my books left on the shelf. That was pretty cool. But despite good sales, I still felt bad.

Maybe it was a fluke, I thought. So I was excited when I found out I had been put on a SF panel at Comic-Con. I went, full of excitement and anticipation. But once I got there, I found more of the same. The moderator checked the pronunciation of the names of all male guests. (They were all male except me.) She did not ask me–and she got it wrong. Then in introducing me? She called me “the token female”. None of the male panelists objected; they were fine with it, apparently, and I was too new and scared to stand up for myself in a room full of men who were ex-military, who were actual rocket scientists, or worked for NASA. I wish I had. But I let them diminish me. I let it happen. I had a broken mic during the panel and nobody bothered to replace or fix it. The writer sharing his with me frequently took it away from me, or wouldn’t hand it over when I wished to speak. The male guests were dismissive and scornful of my work and my comments. I have seldom been so belittled or ashamed. By my peers. Why? My only difference is that I’m a woman and I’m writing SF the way I enjoy it. Maybe it wasn’t that bad, I thought. Maybe the audience didn’t notice. I was, frankly, on the verge of tears.

But then, David Brin, who was in the audience, came up to me. He shook my hand and said, “I liked what you had to say.”

The subtext I took from that was this: “Hey, sorry. Not all male SF writers are like this.”

So yeah. The audience noticed. I had slightly better experiences at WorldCon and ArmadilloCon, but I suspect it wasn’t as bad because I was roaming around with Sharon Shinn, who has more power and cachet than I had at that time. But I still encountered more than my share of fans, who dismissed my work. At that point, I was disheartened, and I stopped attending SFF cons entirely. I decided I’d rather spend my travel money otherwise. To quote my wonderful friend, Lauren Dane, “If I want to feel bad about myself, I’ll go swimsuit shopping.” My professional work shouldn’t be impacted by my gender, my appearance, my religion, my sexuality, my skin tone, or any other factor. The fact that it is? Makes me so very sad. I’ve had readers and writers stare at my rack instead of my face while “teaching” me how to suck eggs.

I’ve been fighting this battle for five years now.

And now, here’s the second thing: I’ve been made aware of a post (that I’m not linking to)  from a guy who is swinging at me again. Why? Because I’m getting my girl cooties all over his SF. He implies I’m incapable of grasping sophisticated SF references due to my gender–that I don’t actually write SF because it has women, sex, and feelings in it. I’m so tired and disheartened right now. The one bright spot was my experience at KeyCon in Canada, where I was not only made to feel welcome but valued. Not a single soul at the con questioned my credentials or my quality of fiction, due to what I don’t have in my pants.

But I’m still here. I’m still writing. You cannot shut me up. I will NOT SIT DOWN. I will not stand quietly by anymore. I am a woman. I write SF. And it’s not acceptable to treat me as anything less than an equal. I won’t stand for it. And I won’t get your fucking coffee.

—– ETA:

So this post has been up for a few hours now. It’s gotten some reads. And the hate mail has begun. Warning: some of them are fairly horrible & may be triggering.

Email 1:

“Dear Ann:

Quit your bitching. Obviously your work is drek or you couldn’t crank it out so fast. Who cares what anyone calls the crap you write? So fuck off and stop whining about equality. Shit is equal to shit.”

Email 2:

“Your such a cunt. You need a good cocking. That would give you something else to think about.”

Email 3:

“Its bitches like you that are ruining SF. Why cant you leave it to men who know what their doing?”

Email 4:

“You think you write SF? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. SF is about important issues and there is no filth. The men on those panels were right not to let you talk if this is the stupid shit you have to say.”

(All errors made by OP.)

Dance monkey has big news. And so do I.

dance monkey I’m excited to officially announce the sale of a new YA series, this time contemporary romance, to Feiwel & Friends. I love working with them, and I’m tickled to be continuing my partnership with Liz Szabla, who is such a freakin’ genius.  The whole crew at F&F is amazeballs.

Anyhow. The first book is called The Queen of Bright & Shiny Things. I think this is an amazing YA title; I feel like it’s sweet, tender, raw, heartbreaking, beautiful, and a little profound, just like first love. It’s a big, deep book, not just a romance, though it is that, but also about love and relationships at all stages, people coming together and breaking apart, sometimes for reasons they can’t control. It’s emotionally rich, I think, on a level I’ve rarely achieved.

Blurb

Sage Czinski is trying really hard to be perfect. If she manages it, people won’t peer beyond the surface, or ask hard questions about her past. She’s learned to substitute causes for relationships, and it’s working just fine… until Shane Cavendish strolls into her math class. He’s a little antisocial, a lot beautiful, and everything she never knew she always wanted.

Shane Cavendish just wants to be left alone to play guitar and work on his music. He’s got heartbreak and loneliness in his rearview mirror, and this new school represents his last chance. He doesn’t expect to be happy; he only wants to graduate and move on. He never counted on a girl like Sage.

But love doesn’t mend all broken things, and sometimes life has to fall apart before it can be put back together again…

This is slotted for publication in spring of 2015, and I’m already working on some extremely cool extras. Hint: there are original songs! And music videos, starring a hot indie musician who perfectly embodies Shane’s look and musical style. I promise you’ll love this project as much as I do. The book is just so… I dunno. I feel like I need to get Courtney Milan, Karen Alderman, or Maja Colak to tell you more about it.

Anyway.  Here’s a big WHEE of excitement because this is my 30th book sold! Now you all know about my secret book, the one I wrote as a gift for my daughter. Well, she fell in love with it. So did my editor. And eventually, y’all can too.

*gambols madly*

 

Bronze Gods Blog Tour

Bronse Gods tour banner

April 30th – The Nocturnal Library
May 1st – Heidi @ Rainy Day Ramblings
May 2nd – Jenny @ Supernatural Snark
May 3rd – Mary @ Book Swarm
May 6th – Melissa @ Books and Things
May 7th – Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer

I’m excited to announce that these fine bloggers will be hosting us (Andres and me) for the Bronze Gods tour. You won’t want to miss this, readers. We’re not doing interviews. We’re not doing guest posts. Instead, you’ll get a sneak peek at the personal correspondence between our hero and heroine, Janus Mikani and Celeste Ritsuko. This will be almost like a short epistolary story enriching the sexual tension present in Bronze Gods. Since these notes are sequential, you’ll want to start at The Nocturnal Library and check in at all the blog stops so you don’t miss any of the banter.

But that’s not all. We’ll also be including sample pages from the inspectors’s case files. If it’s bizarre or entertaining, we’ll pull it out of the archives and dust it off for your amusement. There may also be giveaways.

I hope you’re as excited as we are about this! And many thanks to the lovely, generous bloggers who agreed to take part with special appreciation for Maja who organized it all and Jenny who made this lovely banner!

See you on April 30th.

Anniversary recap

So Mérida was magical. No lie. It’s the most romantic city in Mexico so far as I am concerned. It’s not a tourist town, and since it’s not directly on the ocean, it retains its historic, colonial charm. However, Progreso Beach is only half an hour away, so this is more enticing than Cancun. All the tropical goodness, none of the tourists.

Onward to anniversary goodness.

First, we had a long, luxurious couples massage en suite. Then we went down to a private candlelight dinner under the stars on the patio. The meal was sumptuous: asparagus salad with pears and apple vinaigrette, baked salmon encrusted with mushroom, wild rice in celery sauce with grilled zucchini on the side, finished with a mango mandarin custard and accompanied by my favorite sparkling wine.

Conversation was lovely, and we had a private trio of musicians, two guitarists and a cellist, who sang to us while we ate. They offered classic Spanish love songs, including Besame Mucho, which Andres used to sing to me. He sang it on our anniversary, too. I cried more than once; I was so awed and overwhelmed.

I ran upstairs to drop off the chocolate bouquet in our hotel room and to check on the kids. They were fine with a movie and room service, so off we went to an incredibly romantic carriage ride, the first I’ve ever taken. The night was balmy and warm with a tropical breeze. Andres and I cuddled and talked, kissed and nuzzled. It was the perfect anniversary. I can’t imagine how he’ll top it next year, but he says he has plans.

To finish this post, here’s a little slideshow, though it doesn’t really capture just how wonderful the night was. But it’s one I’ll remember forever. Hope you enjoy the glimpse.

Dance monkey does the YA sashay

dance monkeyIt has been really hard to keep quiet for the last two weeks. Major excitement has been percolating behind the scenes, but now, at last, I have clearance to announce the uber-exciting news.

NEW DEALS

HORDE, the final book in the dystopian Razorland trilogy, again to Liz Szabla of Feiwel & Friends, in a nice deal. By Laura Bradford, World English

MORTAL BEAUTY, Doctor Faustus meets Mean Girls in this edgy paranormal revenge trilogy set in a dark world of secret societies, twisted bargains, and forbidden love. Three books, in a good deal, to Liz Szabla of Feiwel & Friends. By Laura Bradford, North American.

Those are my guesstimates of what the PM announcements will say. How close I am, who knows? But the important bits are, I have sold FOUR more YA titles to Feiwel & Friends. Squee! Uber squee!

The schedule will tentatively look like this:

Fall 2013 Horde
2014 Mortal Beauty
2015 Dire Charm
2016 Dead Lovely

Title and projected dates may change. (Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball.)

It’s so awesome to be able the share the news at last. Feel free to post comments, questions, and squees.

Five more books incoming!

Here’s the full scoop, if you wanted to know more. Thanks to Kady Cross for the informational hookup.

Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Author of Grimspace and Aftermath, Ann Aguirre’s new trilogy, pitched as Prison Break in space — on a prison ship filled with warring factions, hostile territories and savage retribution, only the strong survive, to Anne Sowards at Ace, in a three-book deal, for publication in beginning Fall 2013, by Laura Bradford at Bradford Literary Agency (World English). Translation: Taryn Fagerness at the Taryn Fagerness Agency

Ann Aguirre & Andres Aguirre writing as A.A. Aguirre’s BRONZE GODS, a steampunk fantasy wrapped around a whodunit, where gaslight detectives solve ritual slayings and magic is a shameful secret, to Anne Sowards at Ace, in a two-book deal, by Laura Bradford at Bradford Literary Agency (World English). Translation: Taryn Fagerness at the Taryn Fagerness Agency

Brave New Love, not for me

I had been invited to write a story for BRAVE NEW LOVE. I did. I turned it in.

And then some things happened. Bad things. And more bad things. Read those posts if you want all the details. I’ll summarize: an author was booted from an anthology for writing a m/m romance. The subsequent response from publisher and editor was unsatisfactory, to say the least.

I can’t endorse this with my work. Which is why my Razorland story will not be appearing in BRAVE NEW LOVE. I will find another venue. Love is love–and I do not support censorship or that kind of insensitive, destructive bias.

That’s all I have to say.

I have proof that Wal-Mart is the devil

This is going to be long and ranty, so buckle up, children.

I had a lovely stay with the Bree half of Moira Rogers, and I did get to meet the Donna half more than once. She’s fabulous, as is her counterpart. Both their husbands are charming. I enjoyed myself immensely; that part of my trip to Alabama was fantastic. But I needed some alone time to really dig into this book. If interesting people are around, I want to chat, not work, so I removed myself to a hotel for the last few days I’m in town. At this point, you’re thinking it’s all roses, right?

Well, I was writing away today when I got an email from my husband. He tells me there’s a problem with the Peru trip; they require passports to be six months from expiration before they can book the trip. Do I want to miss a company-paid trip to Peru? HELL NO. Plus, I should / need to go to add detail to Shady Lady when I get copyedits back. This is not just a fun trip, though it will surely be that. Assuming I survive the hoop-jumping. So my passport only has four months left on it; it expires in December.

So I immediately use my Google-fu to find an agency that can expedite the order and get me a new passport next week. I find one that is recommended by Forbes magazine. (We leave on August 26th.) Don’t do this if you have any other choice, by the way. It costs an insane amount, on top of the governmental fees. But I am between the proverbial rock and a hard place today, so I start getting things together.

I should’ve known it was not gonna be like a hot knife through butter when it took me half an hour to print all the required forms and documents in the Holiday Inn business center. That was due to computer mess. Note to Holiday Inn, you should NOT buy E-Machines, seriously. These are the jankiest machines on the market.

So I finally get this stuff ready to go. It’s 4:30pm now, but I still need to get a passport photo taken. The agent at the front desk tells me that she thinks Wal-Mart does them, and there’s one right up the road. So I call the Wal-Mart to confirm. The woman on the phone assures me, “Yes, we do passport photos.” I ask, “Is there a certain cut-off time? Like before five or six?” Because I’m not sure how long it will take me to get there. She replies, “No, they do them until 9pm.”

I’m pleased. The cabbie is quick and prompt (later Randy will save my bacon). The Wal-Mart is, indeed, right up the road, so he drops me off, and I promise to call when I’m done. Thus, begins my descent into hell. It started slow. I went into the money center and got a money order. The line was long, but I did get the money order. (I have a checking account, but I literally have no printed checks. I use my debit card for everything or I just use Bank of America’s BillPayer to cut a check for me. So an agency that requires this form of payment, well, it has to be a money order.) I got the $200 MO, government fees for the passport, rush, and the passport card.

This taken care of, I go back to the photo center. Dear Mercy. Nobody was there. I waited 5-10 minutes before she came back and I asked to have a passport photo done. The clerk replied, “I don’t know how to do that.”

Utterly nonplussed, because I CALLED to confirm beforehand, I ask, “Well, can you call someone who does know?”

I wait another 10-15 minutes. The supervisor comes to the back, where I am waiting, once more alone. She says, “What’s wrong wit’ you?” (Awesome customer service by the way. I think she thought it was a complaint.)

I said, “I just need a passport photo taken and I was assured on the phone you could do it at this location until 9pm. Surely someone in the store has been trained. A manager?”

She then gets on the phone to call a manager. I wait another 10 minutes. The manager comes. “Nobody knows how to do this, ma’am, but the girl who is supposed to be working called in to say she’s running late and will be in at 6.”

It’s now 5:30 btw. So I’ve already been waiting close to 45 minutes. I say okay, what’s half an hour more at this point, and I go buy the blue pen I need to sign all the forms and eat supper at Subway. I read some of THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO on my Kindle. At 6:10, I reckon Ebony ought to be at work by now, so I go back to the photo center. Sadly, there is nobody there. Again. I wait until 6:45. She never comes. The manager never checks back on me. Nobody apologizes for my time or inconvenience. Shame on you, Wal-Mart! This is the one at 1600 Montclair Rd, Irondale, AL, btw. Feel free to boycott them. If they couldn’t serve me as promised, they should’ve done something to make up for the trouble I went to.

At this point, I give up. I look for other alternatives, because I must get these photos done today. I speak to a woman at Kinkos and she promises they can help me. I am not feeling hopeful. I call Randy, who comes to get me. We go to Kinkos but it’s almost 14 miles away. In a cab. So, yeah. You can imagine what that cost, there and back.

I do get the photos made. But I lost two hours of my work day, plus all that cabfare, because Wal-Mart is the devil. There are no words for how much I hate them right now.