If you are not already aware of the Requires Hate situation, there is a full report here. Briefly, a person who writes under the pen name of Benjanun Sriduangkaew was revealed to be the notorious harasser Winterfox/Requires Hate/Lesifoere/many other aliases.

For over ten years, Requires Hate made death threats and rape threats, and stalked and harassed many people, including myself. To date, she has not responded to my public request for her to promise to leave me alone.

She engaged in a systematic campaign to destroy the careers of writers whom she apparently saw as her competition, primarily women writers and writers of color, by abusing and intimidating anyone who reviewed their books, harassing and threatening the writers themselves, attempting to get the writers professionally ostracized, and engaging in blackmail. (The blackmail link goes to an anonymous report; however, I have personal knowledge of the blackmail and vouch for it.)

I am posting to state that I have reported her to the police. I previously didn't say so publicly because I didn't want to give her the pleasure of knowing that she succeeded in making me fear for my life. However, I believe that the chances of her retaliating violently against me or others, whether in person or by hiring someone, are lessened if she knows that the police are aware of the situation. If any harm comes to me, a detailed report is on file documenting that I have a longtime stalker with a history of threatening death and violent attacks, including acid-throwing.

Supporters of Requires Hate often try to garner support for her and suppress discussion of her abuse by saying that speaking out against her is inherently racist because she's a woman of color, and that to support women writers of color, one must support Requires Hate. This erases the many other women of color in the field - a number of whom have been abused by her. Despite her efforts to suppress other female writers of color, she is hardly the only one.

Marginalized people are often unfairly persecuted and falsely accused. It's reasonable to be suspicious when you first hear claims that a woman of color is abusive. But marginalized people are people, and some people are abusive. Some marginalized people are abusive. Supporting abusers is not justice.

If you would like to do something positive, I suggest that you make an effort to read and review the works of writers with marginalized identities, and to promote the writers themselves whenever possible, such as by considering them as convention guests, lecturers, columnists, and so forth. There are very genuine obstacles in their paths that non-marginalized writers don't face, and they could use your support. Also, I very much doubt that Requires Hate will revive her campaign of harassing reviewers, so it should now be safe to review again.

If you're not sure where to start, here is a non-exhaustive list of sff/mythic fiction writers with marginalized identities of various kinds. The majority are women writers of color. Writers who were targeted by Requires Hate are starred. Please consider purchasing and/or reviewing at least one book or story by one of these writers, or by another writer of your choice.

*Saladin Ahmed
*Athena Andreadis

Samhita Arni
Samit Basu
Joseph Bruchac
Joyce Chng/J. Damask
Zen Cho
Aliette de Bodard
Tananarive Due
Zetta Elliott
Andrea Hairston
Nalo Hopkinson
S. L. Huang
*N. K. Jemisin
Alaya Dawn Johnson
*Caitlin Kiernan
Yoon Ha Lee
Malinda Lo
*Rochita Loenen-Ruiz
*Karen Lord

Lyda Morehouse/Tate Halloway
Shweta Narayan
Ty Nolan
Nnedi Okorafor
*Cindy Pon
Michelle Sagara/Michelle West
Sofia Samatar
Cynthia Leitich Smith
*Kari Sperring
*Tricia Sullivan

Judith Tarr
Shveta Thakrar
*Liz Williams

If you want to talk about Requires Hate, feel free to email or PM me. Please do not discuss her in comments. Trolling and off-topic comments will be deleted.

I am enabling comments ONLY for the discussion or recommendation of works by marginalized writers other than her, and for topics related to that. (My book reviews are tagged by author: surname.) Feel free to state a subgenre or tropes that you like, and maybe I or other commenters can rec something for you.

Please note that you don't necessarily know exactly how people identify, so stating the nature of a writer's minority identity is not necessary. Let's not do any identity-policing or arguing over whether any given identity is sufficiently marginalized to be called that. Definitions differ, so we can all decide that question for ourselves.
In 2014, I got an MA in clinical psychology, spent a year working as a therapist, and published four novels.

Saying it like that makes it sound like those annoying people who post, "Oh, I didn't get much done today; I just sold three poems, wrote a novelette, cleaned my three-story houseboat from top to bottom, and cooked a five-course meal for twelve houseguests."

Everything in that first sentence was the result of years and years and YEARS of work, and some of it was the results of work done years ago. For instance, I completed most of my coursework in 2013, but I didn't officially graduate until September 2014. Stranger was written in 2010-2011, but didn't come out till the end of 2014. Hostage was completed in 2012.

More importantly, everything which saw fruit in 2014 was the result of everything that led up to it. I'd been trying to learn how to write and finish a novel for something like fifteen years; it took that long for it to click. Being able to walk into a room and sit down with a client in crisis and feel confident wasn't something I learned in graduate school, it's something I learned in five years of sitting down with people in crisis with a body in the next room, and a lifetime of observation of others and myself. ("A child's among you, taking notes.")

I love being a therapist. Except (predictably) for the paperwork. And the fact that I'm still in an unpaid internship. But I love my clients, and working with my clients, and my working environment is very good.

It does bring me face to face with all the most horrible things people do to each other, and that the "justice system" is not remotely just. In America, you probably have a better chance of being struck by lightning than you do of seeing the person who raped you face any consequences whatsoever, no matter how hard you pursue it. But all of that is happening whether I know about it or not. The fact that I now know the details also means that I have a chance to do something about it. Other people are working on justice. I'm working on healing.

I love being a writer. After all those years of assuming that writing was inherently a tortuous slog, it turns out that it doesn't have to be at all. Writing can consistently flow and be fun - even if you've been writing for years and years and only ever had that happen in brief moments.

You can spend twenty years depressed and anxious and unable to do all sorts of ordinary things because they trigger panic attacks, spend six months in therapy, and leave much happier and more relaxed and doing all those ordinary things, and even enjoying some of them.

The main thing I've learned in the last year is that things can change. They can change amazingly.

Here are my four books. Two are collaborations, two are solo. Two are written under my name, two under a pen name. All four contain PTSD, psychic powers, diversity, both male and female leads, action, comedy, banter, romance, a strong sense of place, and food descriptions guaranteed to make you hungry.

Stranger, by Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith. In a post-apocalyptic frontier town where the doctor can speed up time and the squirrels can teleport sandwiches out of your hands, a stranger comes to town...

Hostage (The Change), by Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith. The sequel to Stranger. Ross is kidnapped to make use of his unique power. While his friends desperately try to rescue him, he is forced to engage in a battle of wills with a king. Available for pre-order.

You may notice that Hostage has been self-published. On January 6, when it will be released, I will link to an essay Sherwood wrote on why we did that. I hope it will spark some interesting conversation. Watch this space.

Laura's Wolf (Werewolf Marines), by Lia Silver. A werewolf Marine with PTSD meets a semi-reformed con artist with trauma of her own in a cabin in Yosemite. Together, they find love, danger, and healing.

Prisoner (Echo's Wolf, Book 1) (Werewolf Marines). DJ Torres, a hyperactive werewolf Marine who got his nickname because he actually is a DJ, is kidnapped by shady government operatives and forced to partner with Echo, a genetically engineered assassin. Hijinks ensue; also love, banter, and music recs.

The Lia Silver books are related, but can be read in either order. I am hoping to have Partner, the sequel to Prisoner, out in late January.
rachelmanija: (Default)
( Aug. 1st, 2014 02:11 pm)
I am attempting a meme.

[profile] wordsofastory gave me...

rachelmanija and food.

Food is my passion. My first meeting with [personal profile] oyceter consisted of an hour-long discussion of tropical fruit. (Best tropical fruit: fresh lychees and Alphonso mangos. I have still, sadly, never had a mangosteen. Worst tropical fruit: custard apples. They taste fine. I just can't deal with the grainy AND slimy texture.)

One of the very best things about Los Angeles is the food. Even LA-haters cannot deny that this is a great city for food. We have great high-end fancy dining. We have excellent medium-priced restaurants. We have AMAZING low-end cheap food - taco kitchens at the back of corner stores, food trucks, guys with rainbow umbrellas selling fresh fruit - mangoes, soft young coconut, pineapple, oranges, cucumbers- that they slice up while you watch and douse in chili, seasoned salt, and lime.

People in LA love food. They are passionate about food. They photograph their meals and post them on the internet. They follow food trucks on twitter. They make earrings of teeny cupcakes and wear them to pastry shops. If you read the Chowhound board for Los Angeles, every single restaurant thread will have at least three posters claiming that it used to be good, but now it's gone downhill. This includes restaurants that opened last week. The sushi is always fresher on the other side of the freeway.

My grandmother used to say, "Food is love." I would say, "food is feeling." Food is memory. Food is culture. Food is passion. A bad relationship with food, or an illness that affects eating, or only bad food available will make you miserable in a way that goes way beyond the actual moments where you confront the problem food. Being able to enjoy food again is a shocking joy.

As I type, I am drinking a cup of coffee with powdered creamer because my milk ran out, and eating wafer cookies with black sesame cream.

rachelmanija and werewolves.

The biggest influence on how I think of shapeshifters is Ursula Le Guin's A Wizard of Earthsea. If you transform yourself into an animal, you think as an animal thinks. Will you remember how to become a human again? Will you still want to, when you can soar as a hawk?

To me, the most interesting thing about being a person who can become an animal is what it would feel like to be an animal. I can't know what that would be like, but when I think of the moments when I've thought the least and felt the most, when I've reacted most purely on instinct... they're all moments that felt, if not good exactly, very pure. Very clear. Stripped down to the basics. Usually, in fact, that does feel good. If it doesn't, it's because of context - like, you're fighting for your life. But that can feel good, too.

When I imagine being an animal, I think of a combination of being enraptured in the present moment, caught by the beauty of a sunrise or the taste of a peach, and of an adrenaline rush. Halfway between combat and meditation.

I'd like being a wolf, I think. It would be very tempting to stay one.

rachelmanija and fashion.

I had no interest in fashion until [personal profile] oyceter convinced me to watch Project Runway, and in between designers squabbling and having meltdowns, I started getting a sense of how different silhouettes and colors create different feelings, and the history of fashion, and why people get very passionate about matchy-matchy. Watching the designers dissect the designs and listening to them explain why they liked one dress and disliked another, I started seeing what they saw. And then I started having opinions.

I now own quite a few dresses. And shoes. And blouses. And skirts. I periodically poke through ebay and etsy, and I wear shoes to work that I bought in Paris. I have Betsey Johnson dresses and Prabal Gurung for Target shirts and a dress. I wear my matchy-matchy belt and shoes and smile to myself.

For myself, I like very girly dresses with fitted tops and skirts that swing. I like bright colors and jewel tones and patterns, and also slinky black and corsets. I like black leather jackets and Battenberg lace, and slashed tops and high boots and trench coats. I don't wear stiletto heels.

The main thing I learned from Project Runway is that fashion is supposed to be fun, and it's about wearing things that you like and that make you look good.

I used to think of it as this horrible game of one-upmanship and that it was all about desperately keeping up with the correct thing, or else everyone laughs at you. But now that I'm out of high school, I think of it as a buffet you pick and choose from, and a set of elements that, if you understand them, you can use to create a look that will say what you want to convey. It's like writing, if you think of it. You select the tropes, or you select the silhouettes and colors and shoes. If you do it right, you have said, and you feel, "Playful!" or "Sexy!" or "Badass!" or "Classic Elegance!"

You are embodying a feeling, not just a look. Sometimes you're embodying a story. See how these dressesconvey the sense of an atmosphere and a story? And these convey a different story.
rachelmanija: (Default)
( Jan. 24th, 2013 11:19 am)
You may have noticed that I have not posted much recently. I have been very busy, and that is not going to change any time soon. But also, in part due to the special pressures of my work with the families of murder victims and other survivors of trauma, certain types of internet interactions and content have become very triggery to me.

In terms of internet interaction, I am going offline except for my own LJ/DW and Facebook, Goodreads, a few other LJ/DWs, and, of course, email. If you want to talk to me, please come here and comment, or else email. I will keep everyone on my f-list so they can read my locked posts, but will be cutting way back on my own reading. If you have a post that you think I would be sorry to miss, please comment or email me with a link.

Please do not email, comment, or otherwise inform me if anyone is saying mean things about me, lying about me, or making accusations about me online. I do not want to know, and due to cutting back, the only way I will know is if you tell me.

The one exception is if anyone makes overt or covert violent threats. (Overt: "I'm going to break her knees with a baseball bat." Covert: "It would be awesome if someone raped her. Ha ha! Just kidding! I would never do that!") If you see any of those, please screencap them and email me. If you don't know how to screencap, cut-and-paste the text and copy the link. I will report them to the appropriate law enforcement agency.

I'm not naming the other triggers here because, as you probably know, triggers can be complicated and very personal, and trying to explain would probably only make people feel like they're walking on eggshells. But no general topics are banned here. You can still come on over and talk all you want about trauma, murder, how much you enjoyed a violent movie, etc. If you hit on anything that pushes my buttons, I'll let you know. But honestly, you probably won't. I've had very few problems reading comments to my own LJ/DW.
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rachelmanija: (Naruto: Super-energized!)
( Nov. 7th, 2012 10:53 am)
I turned down an invitation to a public election-watching party, sponsored by the Obama phone bankers, because I thought we wouldn't get the results till today and I'd lose my mind.

Instead, I went to my psychopharmacology class, where we were discussing depression. The first half of the class, anxiety would have been a better topic. The class erupted into cheers halfway through, since half the class was watching their iphones under their desks. I suggested that we change the topic from depression to mania. ;)

I then drove to the party, where I was just in time to see Stevie Wonder give a speech! And then I watched Obama's speech on a movie-sized screen, in the company of hundreds of cheering Obama supporters. And also my neighbor and her teenage son, who has been working hard for Obama all summer, though he's not quite old enough to vote himself. We all hugged. He was covered in political stickers, including a large one for LGBTQ rights.

I remembered the many arguments I've had over many years with supposedly liberal people who told me how [African-Americans, straight men, teenage boys, etc] do not and will not support LGBTQ rights... and I thought, "Ha ha! This straight teenage African-American boy is one of the MANY people who are proving you wrong."

As can be seen in the multiple victories for marriage equality. Yay!

Enjoy this post from a fashion blog with photos of the Obamas from yesterday. I shall just go ahead and be shallow: that is one good-looking family. Sasha is so cute, and Malia has gotten beautiful -- and tall! Does anyone know where the girls' outfits came from? Are they designer?

I will be interested to see whether the Republicans continue to be the party of the foaming, paleolithic, misogynist, anti-reality, pro-plutocrat, rape-apologist extremist right, or if they try to steer a little closer to the center so they are merely the far right. Demographically speaking, right-wing extremism seems like a losing long-term strategy. Thank God.

ETA: Best election photo: Princess Captain America protects voting rights!
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1. I am feeling totally overwhelmed. There is not enough time in the day to do everything I need to do. I am, by the way, including "sanity time" in "need to do," and in fact prioritizing that fairly highly - certainly above household tasks. Result: apartment is a horrifying disaster, and there is a mysterious Smell in the garage which I have not yet managed to track down. (Maybe if I procrastinate long enough, the source will become skeletonized and the Smell will cease.)

2. I went to a martial arts class yesterday for the first time in years, at a local aikido school.

Pro: School seems nice and relaxed. Sensei seems well-qualified. I am pretty sure the training won't be a problem for me physically. (I have some old injuries.) I enjoyed myself. The techniques are intriguing. It's very nearby, so I am likely to actually show up. Total difference from my last style (Shotokan) means I can access beginner's mind.

Con: Maybe it's a little too relaxed. I miss using my feet. (I mean, for kicks and so forth.) They don't do the more spectacular aikido techniques, the ones where people seem to fly through the air. (Or, more likely, they do do them, but in a more pared-down and less spectacular way. There are definitely forward rolls.) I really like kata, and aikido doesn't have that. (Though one could certainly think of things in terms of "partnered kata.")

I'm thinking of checking out a few more schools in different styles in my vicinity. I'm also thinking I should give aikido a couple months of serious training before I decide whether or not it's for me.

Advice, tips, sympathy, etc welcome.
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