Working and Writing

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Hello my loves! Happy almost Halloween!

I’m sorry I’ve all but abandoned you over here. It’s difficult to remember everything I’m committed to and sometimes, something gets left by the wayside. Too bad it’s my blog. I’m failing at Twitter pretty hard too.

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But at least I’m still writing! I’m currently working on the outline for my NaNoWriMo project this year–the spin-off of the spin-off of my Ash and Ruin Trilogy. Was that confusing enough for you?

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You’ll remember I released Dandelions, that was the first spin-off. In that story the main character’s sister is Maggie. Maggie wanted her own story. So I’m writing that. That’s the spin-off of the spin-off. I have the first act written, and if you’d like to read the rough draft of that you can head on over to my Patreon page and, with just a small pledge of $3 a month, you can read it and all the other fiction I’ve shared there and will continue to share (click the pic to be taken to my page!):

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If you pledge more, there are rewards that come with those pledges! I hope you’ll check it out.

I’m hoping to use NaNoWriMo to finish the rough draft of this book so I can focus on something new and witchy, inspired by my recent exploratory trip to Ireland. If you’d like to read about that, you can see what I posted over on the Spellbound Scribes’ Blog. You should follow us there! We’re a group of fantasy writers who post weekly about writing, reading, and all things bookish.

So, while I may forget to blog from time to time, know that I’m still working to bring you fiction and stories and words.

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xoxox

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Thoughts on Exhibiting at a Con as a Woman

This past weekend I was exhibiting at Stan Lee’s Los Angeles Comiccon (AKA ComiKaze). This is only my second con and was my first big con.

We’ve all heard the horror stories about how women are treated at cons, whether as a cosplayer, a panel participant, or just an attendee. Sometimes you get harassed–verbally or physically–as a cosplayer because, to some men, a costume gives them permission to ignore societal norms and stop treating you like a person. Sometimes you get talked over because obviously a man understands the subject matter better than you do in your tiny woman brain. And sometimes guys are just jerks and you get treated like shit so things like The Backup Ribbon Project has to be created.

We all get this. We get it because it’s really not all that different from our day-to-day lives except maybe we’re in a costume this time, or our harassers are.

But today I’m gonna talk about having a table at a con as an artist and the bullshit I had to smile through. These were mostly microaggressions, so I’m sure some will dismiss them, but I think they’re indicative of the crap we are trained to put up with because it’s easier to just smile and avoid rather than confront. And, who knows? Maybe a guy will read this and see himself in these douchebags and maybe he’ll try to change. That’s all we can hope for, right? A little bit of change.

So, if you’re reading this, you probably know who I am and know that I’m a writer. If you’re here because you saw this linked on Twitter or somewhere and don’t know who I am, well, I’m a writer. I have three series out under this name, all various shades of Fantasy.

I am very lucky to have a supportive husband who will go with me to conventions to help me man the table, move the heavy boxes, share the long car rides, watch the table to let me take much-needed breaks. But that’s all he is at these things: my helper. My husband is not a writer or an artist (though he his a martial artist, that doesn’t apply here). He wears shirts that promote my books and website, he passes out business cards for me, he supports me.

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But guess what reader? 7-8 men out of 10 who approach my table automatically assume he’s the writer/artist at the table. Now. I know what you’re thinking, “Shauna, that’s an honest mistake.” So let me further explain.

Behind my table are two huge stand-up banners that have “SHAUNA GRANGER” written across their tops. Affixed to the front of my table is another banner that says, you guessed it, “SHAUNA GRANGER” in bold white lettering against black.

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Now, fine, maybe their eyes miss the last ‘a’ in my first name and they think it says “SHAUN” but give me a second. Behind the table are two chairs. I sit in one, dead center of my table with a clear space in front of me for signing books. My husband sits in the other, off to the side, and slightly behind me.

And, I’m not counting the people who also looked at my signs before making eye contact and asked, “So, who’s the writer?” Because, yeah, there’s a chance we’re just manning the table. No. I’m talking about the men who would look at my banners, glance at my books, then look right at my husband, never at me, and say, “So, you’re the writer?”

Now, here’s another funny thing, reader. People who assumed I was the writer, or who didn’t assume either of us was the writer, would smile at me when they realized it was me. They would ask me about the books and nod and listen. When they bought books and I offered to sign them, they’d light up and say, “Yes, please!” The guys who assumed the writer was my husband? Would then lose their smile, lift their eyebrows, and then very quickly leave the table when my husband would direct them to me, the writer.

What the fuck guys? What the actual fuck?

This happened a lot. A lot.

At one point my husband looked at me and said, “Wow  they really do just assume it’s me, don’t they? Just because I’m the guy at the table. What bullshit.”

Another thing that happened that really tested my patience were the guys who made fun of my books or my very presence at the con as a novelist, not a comic book artist.

Yeah, that’s right. You know these guys, the ones that think it’s funny to tease you about who you are or what you’re doing. I’ll give you an example of a conversation I had with a guy who was probably ten years younger than me and had absolutely no intention of ever buying my books.

Guy: So, I imagine it’s pretty hard to be a novel writer at a comic book convention.

Me: No, not really.

Guy: Really?

Me: Really. I have a different product, so it stands out.

Guy: People actually buy your books?

Me: Yes.

Guy: Do you sell a lot?

Me: I do alright.

Guy: *smirks* Right.

Me: Well, when people do buy, they buy whole series.

Guy: Right because they can’t buy them anywhere else.

Me: No. My books are available at all retailers.

Guy: Really. (no, not a question)

Me: *strained smile*

Guy: So. Tell me about this series. *points at Elemental Series*

Me: *Give brief explanation because it’s 5 books*

Guy: The Elemental Series.

Me: Yes. *Starts to explain what “elemental” means*

Guy: *cuts me off* So, Potassium, Magnesium…? *Stupid asshole smile*

Me: Yeah, alright.

Guy: So what’s the story about?

Me: I just told you.

Guy: No but what’s it about.

Me: Each book?

Guy: Yes.

Me: *starts to explain book one*

Guy: *cuts me off* Do people ever come back the next day and tell you they liked your books?

Me: The very next day? No, I don’t expect people to read a whole novel series in less than 24 hours.

Guy: So they don’t.

Me: They usually find me online later.

Guy: Online. Right. *walks away*

Yeah. Bullshit like that happens to us all the time. See, I consider everyone who comes to my table as a potential new reader. Even if they start off as a jerk, I am in sales mode so I don’t treat them like jerks, even if they deserve it. But if you’re never going to be interested in something a woman has created or if you’re coming up just to be a total asshole, don’t waste our time. Move along and find a table only manned by men. Only go to a table where you might spend money, not just to make yourself feel like a big man because you’re not. You’re a tiny man.

Guys, don’t be these guys. Because, honestly, we only have so much patience and you might be the one we lose it on.

ETA: The guys who would wait to approach until after my husband would leave the table. I’d see them lingering, their eyes glancing in my direction, not really talking to anyone at any other table, and then my husband would leave for a minute and the lingerers would swoop in to talk to me. It was creepy and they never bought books.

ETA 2: The asshats who tell you to smile. I have been told to smile by men my whole life. My whole life. I don’t stand around or walk around like a grinning idiot. How weird would that be really?! But men would come up to my table, from the opposite direction as the one I was looking and would say shit like, “You’re supposed to smile when a customer comes up.” Like, bro, I wasn’t looking in your direction, but thanks for the advice.

It’s New Release Day!

Today is the day! Today is the day that Wycked – The Seventh Matilda Kavanagh Novel is live!

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I am very excited to have this book out in the world just in time for Halloween. And I’m even more excited to say that I broke my record for pre-orders with this book!

If you haven’t had a chance to pre-order it, you can just go buy it now! Here are some helpful links for you:

Amazon | Amazon UK | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Smashwords | iBooks

I’d also like to give you some information about a contest I’m running right now. You can enter to win my very own author proof of Wycked, personalize and signed just for you!

It’s an easy enough contest. All you have to do to enter to win is post some reviews of the previous six Matilida Kavanagh Novels. You can post on Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Smashwords, iBooks, and Goodreads. That’s six websites, for six books, so you can have as many as 36 entries into the contest!

Now, don’t worry; I don’t expect you to post 36 unique reviews. You can just take the review from each book and copy paste it to the other sites. And you don’t have to review all of the books. If you only want to review one or two, then that’s fine. If you only review Wytchcraft on Amazon, that’s your one entry. If you take that review and copy paste it to three of the retail sites, that’s three entries for you. You follow? You can enter as many times or as few times as you like.

Also, if you were one of the awesome people to pre-order Wycked, that counts for an extra entry. Just show me proof of purchase before the release date (today) and it’ll count!

So, you can either send me links or screen shots of your reviews and pre-orders to shaunagranger @ gmail . com (no spaces). You have until midnight on Halloween to get your entries in. I will pick a winner on November 1st. Good luck!

Fun Round Up

So lots of things going on. October is here, the heatwave may have finally broken, and I have a chance to win a Monster My Little Pony!

If you follow me and my writerly friends on The Spellbound Scribes blog, then you know I posted about Neil Gaiman’s All Hallow’s read. If you don’t follow the blog, then you should check out the post! If you haven’t participated in All Hallow’s Read, you should, if you’ve thought about it but feel intimidated by the idea, check out my post for a boost of confidence!

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If you’re into my new series, Matilda Kavanagh Novels, you’ll be happy to know the third book, the holiday story, Yuletide, is up for pre-order on Amazon! Every person who pre-orders will feel the warmth of my love and affection. You know you don’t want to miss out! So treat yourself to an early Christmas present and get your copy pre-ordered so when you wake up on December 5th, you’ll have something special for the weekend!

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And finally, if you caught my post the other week, you know I’m in a battle to win a custom made My Little Pony. I designed my very own monster pony based on the creatures from my Ash and Ruin Trilogy, Pestas. The pony is both creepy and pretty, my favorite combination! But I need help to make sure I win and you can help! It is decided by popular vote, so all you need to do is click this link, scroll to the poll and choose “Pestas, by Shauna.” Only one vote per IP address so it literally will only take you fifteen seconds to help me (or longer, I don’t know what your connection is like). And again, you’ll feel the warmth of my love and affection!

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So there you have it! A fun little round up! And if it turns out you knew about all that stuff already, you’ve got your pre-order, you’ve voted, and you’ve read, well then… here’s an adorable puppy for you!

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All Hallows Read – Halloween 2013

Last year was the first year I ever participated in All Hallows Read. If you’re not familiar with it, it is this cool concept that Neil Gaiman came up with, where on Halloween you give out at least one scary/Halloween-themed book to kids to help promote reading. Though it doesn’t have to just be kids, people are taking the concept and running with it, which is pretty cool too. But the idea is to promote reading among kids who might not be so excited about reading.

Now, I’m no fool, I don’t just give out books, I also give out little goody bags and then offer the books too. Last year I only gave away five books. I was heartbroken when one little girl looked me in the face and said, “I don’t like reading.” Yeah, this is what we’re working against.

I’ll admit, last year I was actually kind of nervous asking if kids wanted the books and often found myself not asking, especially if it was a huge group of kids at one time. Though often, once you drop the treat into their pail or bag, the kids turn and run too quick for you to say anything about the books. I found it was way easier to give the tiny tots books because their parents were right there and I could look at the parent and say, “Would s/he also like a Halloween picture book!?” And of course parents loved that.

But this year I decided to be more active and vocal about the books. And this year not ONE kid said no if I got the chance to ask. Yes, some still turned and ran before I had a chance to ask, but if they lingered just a second, that’s all I needed to quickly say, “I have books too! DO YOU LIKE SCARY BOOKS?!” Once again the parents of the tiny tots loved it and were happy to take the picture books, but the older kids surprised me so much. Last year, every single pre-teen and teenager said no when I asked if they wanted a book. But not this year.

I gave out seven copies of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline to kids ranging from 7 years old to 12 years old. I gave out four copies of Forest of Hands and Teeth to teens ranging from 13 years old to 15 years old. I gave out nine copies of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps to kids ranging from 7 years old all the way to 16 years old. And that 16yo zombie boy was my favorite. I looked at him, sad I didn’t have an “age appropriate” book for him because his friend got the last copy of Forest of Hands and Teeth and said, “You might be too old to want Goosebumps.” To which he replied, “No way! Never too old for Goosebumps!” And happily picked one from the stack.

I also gave out five copies of It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown and around 10 copies of two different Witch-themed picture books to various tiny tots. And often, when I held out the choices, the kids (even as small as 2 years old) would pause and actually consider which book they’d like to pick.

At one point, I heard one mom say to another, “Oh yeah, I think they do that every year. They gave us a book last year.” That’s right, I’m developing a reputation which is fantastic. And very often I heard kids yell to their parents and friends, “I GOT A BOOK!” Which of course made me do a little Halloween dance. At one point a little girl yelled from our porch, “They’re giving out books!” And I was really worried she was warning people off but then five kids came running up for their books. I can’t even.

But more surprising? We ran out of goody bags because there were actually more trick-or-treaters this year than last, but we still had books. So when people came to the door, I apologized about being out of candy, but offered the books instead and you know what? They happily took the books. Not one kid said, “No thanks.” Not. One.

So I started out with nearly 40 books and now only have 5. This is amazing.

Gave away one more book right after I took this pic.

Gave away one more book right after I took this pic.

Hallowe’en Contest and Book Giveaway!

WOA (1)Alright my lovelies! The contest is now open!

Send me your creepiest, funniest, most creative jack-o-lanterns and I will choose five lucky winners to receive an eARC (electronic advance reader copy) of World of Ash one month before the publication date!

You can post a pic on my Facebook page. You can post a link to your pic on my Facebook page or here in the comments. You can instagram a pic and tag  me @dyingechoes. You can even tweet  me a pic of your grinning jack @dyingechoes! Easy peasy people!

The contest runs through Halloween so you have from 10/26 through 10/31 to get your entries in! Any posted on 11/1 or later will not be considered.

Now for the rules! If you enter the contest you are agreeing to read World of Ash by the release week and you will write an honest review of the book and post it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble (you can post it elsewhere too of course, but those are the minimum). You must post your review no later than 12/7/13. If you cannot or are not willing to do this, please do not enter the contest. Anyone not following the rules will feel my wrath! It burns us, Precious.

Also, for bloggers: I have a blog tour running through YA Bound where all of you are welcome and encouraged to sign up. 148477_1708773278633_1217118393_1914634_6377389_nYou will of course have the option to read and review the book should you sign up for the tour. I would much prefer my blogger followers/readers to sign up for the tour and allow other readers (who are not bloggers) to participate in this contest.

Winners will be announced on the blog and on Facebook on 11/4. Winners will be asked to provide their preferred ebook format (epub, mobi, pdf) and I will personally email the copies.

It’s pretty simple!  Good luck to all!

American Horror Story: Coven – Episode One and Rape Culture

American-Horror-Story-Coven-Season-3-Poster-3American Horror Story: Coven premiered last night. It was, mostly, fantastic. I was so excited that they decided to go the witchcraft route. And when I found out that Angela Basset was playing Marie Laveau, I nearly died. And Kathy Bates as Madame LaLaurie? Two historical figures? SHUT UP. So awesome.

Obviously, they’re going to take some liberties with the Craft. Obviously they’re going to upset some people. Obviously. But I like to watch in the same frame of mind as when I watch a movie that was a book. They’re going to mess stuff up, so let it go and try to enjoy the story they’re telling.

But I was so disappointed last night. If you haven’t watched it yet, this is a small spoiler. It happens in the first half of the show, so I’m not ruining everything for you.

I was disappointed because, yet again, a girl was raped in order to progress her story. WHY? GODDAMMIT WHY? Writers, we can do better. A girl does not need to be violated in order to further her plot. This character is a strong-willed female who doesn’t take shit from men in the first place, so what do they do? They degrade her. They show her in a gang rape scene, drugged and unable to defend herself.

And possibly worse than that? There was no fucking warning before the show started. It was done predictably enough, which in of itself is horrible that the buildup to a rape scene can be predictable, so when it’s coming, you could look away or fast forward. But the show opens with a TV-MA rating and warns of L for Language, V for Violence and S for Sexual Situations. I say we need another warning: SV for Sexual Violence.

The episode contained sexual scenes between consenting characters and violence outside of the sex scenes. So there is no reason why we should anticipate a sexual violent scene, except for the fact that it is becoming so damn predictable. Has it come to that? Where we should turn on a show just expecting that a woman is going to be sexually assaulted? I don’t want to do that and I think it’s disgusting that anyone would expect us to.

People say they’re tired of hearing about “Rape Culture.” Well guess what? Shit like this just proves we live in it, every damn day. I’m tired of talking about our Rape Culture too. Too bad it won’t go away so we can actually stop.