Friday, June 10, 2011

The Good, The Bad, The Delinquent

(not necessarily in that order)


Delinquent GOOD (news)

I totally should have posted this a week ago! My bad! Blogger Buddy Raquel Byrnes book Purple Knot released on June 3rd! She is doing a blog book tour that you can find out more about here including a stop to talk to all of YOU next Thursday! (the 16th) Raquel is brilliant, one of those careful researchers and detailed planners I admire so much and she writes romantic suspense so this is sure to make you sweat in BOTH the good way AND the bad way. She also has that special skill of being able to put 'old adages' with solid enough examples that even a thick head like mine can absorb them (she is second only to Elizabeth in my permanent link file, and you KNOW how I worship Elizabeth!). So be sure to check her out, and come back next week and talk to her in person!


GOOD DELINQUENT!!! (me)

(or rather good NEWS for the delinquent...) Yibus know my Cozy Mystery agent Ellen Pepus had passed on Kahlotus Disposal Site to her colleague who handles the majority of their agancy's YA, ne? Well I HEARD from Amy Tipton yesterday... and she wants to work with me on Kahlotus!!! I gotz agent! (well, I already gotted agent, but now I gotz TWO!)

She had a fair few changes, some of which I planned anyway, a couple of which I should have expected (she wants just one PoV, for instance, which I think for YA is an easier sell... but it can TOTALLY be done)...

And besides THAT, when I was talking to Ellen, she is interested in the Micro Mystery I am WRITING and there is a plan (you heard me cackle, didn't you?) for THAT, too!!!

I have an extra day off scheduled every week this summer, starting (hopefully) the 20th, so I plan to EDIT EDIT EDIT. Maybe by fall I will have two new books being shopped.



And NOW...


DEFINE BAD

If you write, then you would have had to be asleep this week to miss all the stuff on that bloody Wall Street Journal article by Meghan Cox Gurdon about how DEPRAVED YA lit has become (yes, I swear she used that word). Her poor [missed what the relationship was] went to buy her teen a book and found cutting, suicide and *gasp* sex. My favorite response (and thank you to buddy Kimberly Loomis for pointing me there) was from Laurie Halse Anderson, author of Speak (required reading when my daughter was a freshman) about a girl raped at a party when she is going into high school. Laurie has gotten emails from people who say they would have committed suicide without this, or her book Wintergirls about Anorexia.

Meghan's article is about this dark offering we are putting up for young people and gives the baffling argument that we are giving these kids ideas they will follow through on.

Folks, I have a master's degree in psychology. ANYONE who reads this stuff and says, 'hey, I should do that' was surely already thinking of some DIFFERENT (and possibly more lethal) dark option. A book does not push somebody to try something out of the realm of possibility already. And in fact there is a HUGE NUMBER of people for whom they see these books and think, “you mean I'm not the only one?” or and even MORE books who reach PEERS who can then act with empathy and compassion instead of horror...  Want proof with more street cred?  This blog by Matthew Rush moved me.

For ME? I have a teen. I have a tween. These books offer me the opportunity to talk about HORRIBLE topics before it is personal. They offer me an OPPORTUNITY to offer guidance before it's needed. My daughter and I have talked about war and killing (is it ever okay? Under what circumstance?). We've talked about accidental pregnancy. We've talked about rape. We've talked about what might make a person cruel. NONE of these are topics that have been personal. They have begun in literature. But you know what? I am GLAD my kid has had a chance to talk through them with me. She's learned I will NEVER judge. I will treat her, WHATEVER the situation, with compassion. She's learned the victim is not at fault. And that good people are sometimes driven to do really lousy things.

I have been on discussion boards where people say “well I'd never read anything with swearing in it,” and I confess to you, I judge them prudish and prim... but that's not the point. The point is, NOBODY is making them READ IT. THIS  (made known to me by Janet Reid) is REALLY the point... if you aren't seeing what you like, ASK someone. There are books for YOU, whatever your preference--you don't HAVE to read those dark, scary books if it's not your thing. And stop trying to CENSOR for the rest of us.

But as for the offerings of YA books... I can tell you with absolute certainty, there is a (large) subset of teens who may even have pretty nice lives who still WANT to read dark stuff. And if they don't find it in the YA section, they will find it in the horror section. I know this because I was one.


Copyright Christopher Chamberlain
Speaking of Censoring...

Friend of mine, one degree removed (hubby of one of my Authors Supporting Authors peeps) had an exhibit set up for an art show. It was CALLED Not for Victorian Eyes.

What, pray tell, if you were enlisting exhibits, would YOU think that meant?

Well the exhibit determined THIS lovely work was PORNOGRAPHY and would not display it. Explicit? Yeah, a bit. (I mean I want to fan myself) but this is NOT Debbie Does Dallas. I know it isn't for everyone... I've seen comments of people who think since it is at a DESK it is porn... but I guess I really MISS my days when sex was a little more... you know... spontaneous... the HEAT of 'can't keep our hands off each other' sex.

Now this TOO, I know isn't for everyone, though I happen to think the vagueness of this being a pencil drawing keeps this on the ART side of 'art and entertainment' ifyouknowwhatImean...

Here again though, I think... you know.... the title SAID what it IS... if you have Victorian Values, just don't GO THERE. Because some of us quite like it.


Something I thought I'd never say... Sheesh. Let's let the market decide. Now there are areas I don't really ascribe to this. I think reality TV is chosen NOT because more people prefer it, but because the RATIO of cost to produce to ad revenue is good. I'd really like to see viewers be able to vote it's low brow ass off the boob tube. I'd like there to be a venue for real TV remaining after this society brain blip is over. I think my REAL complaint though, about reality TV is it is making OTHER stuff NOT available (something not the case with books or art). My beloved soap operas are being canceled for low rent stupid people programming. (I know—not all of yibus love Soaps... I happen to, though, and really don't want it to go extinct.)

See, if we lived in a Tart regulated world, they would just segregate a different direction instead of all the networks trying the same darned thing. If they agreed to specialize during the day, everyone would have something they liked. But NOOOOOO... we are a country currently dedicated to the lowest common denominator. And as a prime number (23) I can't abide.

If there was some agreement to let everyone exist, even if it has to be in different places, I could let TV join me 'let the market decide' campaign.

Okay... you can stop the horse now. I can get off this high horse...

36 comments:

Ted Cross said...

Hogging all the agents, huh? Save some for the rest of us! Congratulations,too!

I agree on the YA stuff. Adults always underestimate both kids and young adults. Educating people is a good thing.

Christine Murray said...

Congrats on your new agent! You really deserve it, you work so hard :)

Old Kitty said...

You have a NAKED agent!! A NAKED horse and are just so lovely and naughty and NAKED!! Me and all the NAKED wannabees salute you!!!

Take care
x

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Congratulations!! That is *fantastic* news! So glad it's all coming together. :)

Censorship=wrong. And the kids are always 5 steps ahead of where we think they are.

Liz said...

you are amazing, as usual. Good luck with all of it.
*having a down day as I got a Big FAT R from a Big Fat Targeted publisher* perhaps if I weren't so selfish about royalties I might should find myself an AGENT or TWO....pass me on to one of yours wouldya? anyways: you deserve all the kudos and ultimate fame you will achieve (although I will admit that I wish I were better at writing the micro thing myself...maybe if it had less sex in it....nah...I like that part! oh well!)
hope to see you in My Micro sometime soon.
Liz/ET/Wench

Teresa aka Journaling Woman said...

You deserve to have two agents interested in you. Good job!

Ciara said...

Wow, two agents. You rock it girl! I'm so excited for you. Good luck with the edits.

Gina said...

GO HART!! Two agents? I'm still working on getting one!

And I'm totally with you on the YA controversy. I've read every type of YA book out there, and never made one bad decision as a result. It's ridiculous that people would even think it.

erica and christy said...

CONGRATS! That is very good and exciting news. I'm with you on the soaps. Very sad. christy

Mason Canyon said...

Way to go Hart! Congratulations on the new agent and good luck with your projects. Looking forward to Raquel's post.

Mason
Thoughts in Progress
Freelance Editing By Mason

Hart Johnson said...

Ted- teehee... yes... that's me... a hog *snort*. And it's so true about people underestimating young people.

Christine-thank you!!!

Jenny-I haven't broken the news to her yet that this makes her naked, but i'm pretty sure she'll be on board.

Elizabeth-thank you! And they ARE ahead--it makes it so critical for adults to be a little open-minded as to the POSSIBLE things they might be reading.

Liz-so sorry about the rejection! As for agents... in reality, the increased success is what we do more than makes up for that 15%--they first make our work more marketable to FIND the publishers, and then help us negotiate with those publishers. If you want any mystery pointers, give a shout (though I'm not an expert, but I AM getting the formula)

Teresa and Ciara-thank you!

Gina-well two LOOKS like a lot, but in reality they work TOGETHER, and just cover different genres, so it wasn't a shoe-in that Amy would want the YA, even though Ellen does my mystery. And you are totally right--I read ALL that stuff and there's nothing wrong with me! *shifty*

Hart Johnson said...

Ha! Sneakers!

Christy-thank you! (and i happen to think those soaps are a great school for both story telling and acting... fast pace, every day, fast on their feet, responding to real world changes.

Mason-thank you!!!

Jan Morrison said...

great news my Tartlette! You haz an agent, you haz two!!!I knew you would for Kahlotus - why not - you did so well with it...
and as for censoring - gaaah - so stupid - do these people have any concept of what they're doing - they are like folks at the tidal wave holding tiny sponges. They haven't the slightest concept of what kids are exposed to - and do quite well with if you ask me.
Jan Morrison

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

Yay! Congrats for you! Question, i have Amy Tipton flagged as not working with SFF and i know Kahlotus has a ghost MC - i was just wondering what genre you consider it?
Also, i totally LOVE that picture. Porn my ass. There's nothing explicit about it

Misha said...

Congrats on getting another agent! I'm glad to hear that your books are getting you somewhere. :-)

Completely agree with the points you made about the WSJ nonsense. Avoiding difficult topics might be fine, but what if one of those dreaded things happen to the child? It must be better to discuss it with them before hand...

Hart Johnson said...

Thank you, Jan!!! A good analogy, plus the fact that loudly fighting it makes more kids WANT it... taboo anallat...

Sarah-I have Kahlotus pegged as edgy mainstream YA. It HAS a ghost narrator, but honestly I think she is a 'realistic' ghost. She isn't having a romance with anyone or even visible broadly (only a handful of people who are sort of attuned to that plan--which I believe is how it IS, as I had a friend in Portland who could see these 'people'). I ALSO think though, their agency has stratefied agents by genre and Gary is the SFF person, so that may very well be WHY so if you had a crossing genre one that falls into ONE genre she takes and another she doesn't maybe try it and if she thinks he's better suited?... or try him and if it is more YA than he does...

Misha-that's how I figure it, and it's been reinforced by my daughter actually TALKING TO ME if things come up with her friends or in her life.

GigglesandGuns said...

Congratulations! I'm happy for you.

Everyone likes different things. How boring if we all liked the same things.

Helena said...

YAY for you and Kahlotus! I knew as soon as I read the first chapter on Amazon that you had a winner. From here on out may the story have smooth sailing all the way to publication.

Christopher said...

Thank you for posting my artwork! And congrats on your two, or should I say "double agents".

I'd also like to add that the "Not For Victorian Eyes" Virtual Art Tour is still under way and looking for blog hosts. You can drop by my blog for more details:

http://manyfacesart.blogspot.com/2011/06/not-for-victorian-eyes-virtual-art-tour.html

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Hart, congratulations! That is awesome news.

Alison said...

Wow - where to begin?! Well, with a congratulations on the second agent. Yay! Plus - sheesh - wait til hubby sees the image at the top. You will have a new follower. Of course, I'll be looking at the cabana boy, so it's all good....

Stephen Tremp said...

Congrats! on the agent. Now go forth and celebrate. Do something crazy. Just don't get caught!

Tina said...

Wow. What a post. I have a comment about every point you made. But I'll start with this: I like you. I agree with everything you've said, from the read widely and put it down if it offends to dark books should be available because they lead to discussion just like you mentioned. I remember so many of my friends' moms forbidding a book by Judy Blume (I think it was Deenie) because she mentioned the word masturbation. I was puzzled since my mother and I had already discussed it so it wasn't news to me. I wrongly thought all moms were as open, honest, and easy to talk as my mom. Wrong!
Congrats on the double agent thing! So excited for you!
As to the censoring of "art", that's ridiculous, too. Again, if it offends you, DON'T LOOK!
I won't even start about the reality TV thing. We disconnected our cable. No need for it when 99.9% of what's available is total crap.
Tina @ Life is Good

Johanna Garth said...

Two agents! What a way to kick off the summer. So happy for you.

I feel you on the audience thing. A grandmother left a review on my book where she said they didn't need to talk like cops (read F-bomb) and she didn't like all the sexy talk! Geez-then why did you read it? It wouldn't be the same book w/o sexy talk and F-bombs. Same goes for YA. If it doesn't work for you find something that does.

youngbloodblog said...

congrats to someone who So0o0o deserves this: you Gotz Two!!! What is most exciting (I'm putting myself in your shoes) is that Kahlotus agent is agenting you as YOU!!!! THAT's real accomplishment - at last. You worked so hard; & the ABNA disappointment has turned into something even better. Good for you, Girl

Missed Periods said...

Wow. Congratulations. I am so jealous, I mean HAPPY for you.

Siv Maria said...

Great news for you and good luck with your new agent, well additional one anyways. Interesting "High Horse" comments. The market for YA novels change with the times, they always have and they always will. Whats all the fuss about? Ha ha, remember Lady Chatterleys Lover?

Regina said...

Now your a double agent...I always suspected it!! lol Congratulations, that is great news.

Catherine Stine said...

Stumbled upon your blog and now I'm following. Cool. Congrats on the deal with Amy Tipton. I've met her and she's smart, friendly and all around great. As far as YA lit, hey, the darker the better.

Simon C. Larter said...

Okay, first, it's been way too long since I swung by and commented. I read in GReader, sure, but it's just not the same.

Second: congratulations on double-agentage! Go you, darlin'! Yay for an increase in nakedness worldwide!

Third: I hear you on the dark YA issue. And I totally dug Matt's post. And (again) I was the kid reading Stephen King at age 13, and scaring the bejeezus out of myself 'cause I wasn't supposed to be reading it and the only way I could was to stay up late after everyone had gone to bed, and this one time, while reading Skeleton Crew, I finished "The Mist," and spent the next three hours lying awake watching the window to see if any mist was going to arrive with nasty monsters in it. Seriously.

Fourth: I don't have a fourth. I just wanted one more sentence. Or two, as the case may be. Three, I mean. Er...four. Um...okay, I'm stopping now.

Ketutar said...

Firstly, congratulations!

Secondly, I think Meghan just defined bad. Unfortunately she didn't think of asking anyone else's opinion or help to find literature better to fit her idea of what YA literature should be, before she did...
In my mind there should be some sort of compromise, so that people could really choose for themselves, without getting upset for the censor or lack of it.

(Also, I wonder which book store she visited.There's plenty of "light" available.)

Thirdly and connected to secondly:
I don't know where the art show was held and by whom, but the galleries ought to be free to for themselves choose what they want to display and what not. Then you choose the gallery you go to.

I really don't want SOMEONE to choose what EVERYONE should be seeing, doing, eating, reading...

The reason to why EVERYTHING that can be understood to be offensive to many - like animal cruelty, sex, victims of any sort of violence, plastic operation pictures and most of what is called "modern art" - should be restricted and not shown everywhere at any time, is that everyone should be able to choose what they want to see.
No one individual should choose for every other individual, and things shouldn't be censored EVERYwhere, but not allowed EVERYwhere either. Every place where everyone should be able to go, like food stores, streets, schools, official buildings, and libraries, should be free of this kind of images, so that people don't need to choose between getting an education, food or a good book and being forced to see something they don't want to see. Nevertheless, these images should be available for those who want to see them.

I don't know where your borders go when it comes to seeing things - perhaps you don't have any, perhaps sex and nudity is okay, but violence, blood and cruelty is not, or something different, but you are not the person whose personal borders should be used for everyone. Neither am I or anyone else individual. We are part of a society, and it was the sensitivity, consideration, kindness and solidarity that made human kind to survive and thrive, not some Aryan superman qualities or strength, insensitivity and ruthlessness. We have to design the common society to encase most individuals, and then leave room for the rest.

Pornography is "the depiction of erotic behavior intended to cause sexual excitement".
Erotic art is depiction of erotic behavior intended to cause sexual excitement or desire.
Really, Tart, what's the difference?
What is so offensive in the word "pornography"? I find the urge to name everything "pretty" rather amusing... strippers are "exotic dancers", girls in porn magazines are called "glamour models" and pornography is called "erotic art"... I read Anaïs Nin for one reason, and one reason only. Sure, one could discuss the artistic value of her writing, but most people don't really care about such things.

Would you display this piece of art on your living room wall? Would you send is as a post card to your father, mother, brother, sister, daughter...? Your daughter's teacher? If not, why not, if the responsibility of censorship is on each individual? It's their choice to look at the picture, isn't it?

BTW, reality tv IS what the market decides. It's about the fact that a lot of people are ready to do anything to get famous - or infamous - and even more love nothing more than watch others do stupid things. Like America's Funniest Homevideos. Humiliation television extraordinaire, 20+ years and still going strong. Talk about cheap production! And look at all the magazines being sold by reality tv celebrities and/or people doing stupid things.
No, market very seldom chooses quality. The Romans were quite right when they said the people is happy if they only get bread and circuses.

Have I beaten the horse enough now?

More Cabana Boys for the people!

Deb and Barbara said...

First off, CONGRATS!!!! Such awesome new, Hart! I need to read me some Kahlotus. And second, agree with all your points re YA. My girls are now 17 and 20. They have always been savvy, sensitive and aware. Hiding shit from them was never an option. Thankfully having it open to discussion has proved unbelievably potent on all fronts: awareness, protecting them, and close and open communication.
B

Ca88andra said...

Good to hear good news! My boys haven't ever read much fiction. They are all into non fiction, preferably about sports and more specifically about Australian Rules Football.

Cold As Heaven said...

I'm against censorship, and definitely don't have Victorian values (btw, what's wrong about pornography). On the other hand, I don't like reality shows, mostly because I think they're stupid

Cold As Heaven

Matthew MacNish said...

Amen, Hart! I'm sorry I missed this the first time, thanks so much for letting me know about it, and for the mention, too.

Mark P Sadler said...

I may not have commented for a while but I am reading at least weekly. Have you tried YA author Lisa McMann. She has a dark trilogy Wake, Fade and Gone that deal with some of the issues you mention and gasp, drugs too! Anyone who has a teenager knows they ate exposed to this stuff so yeah for you in advising to minimize the damage