This isn’t going to be a rehash of… brown people on the cover of a book means no sales. I can’t answer that. I don’t think that it’s true but I also don’t have any evidence one way or another to speak about it with any sense. So… I’m going to leave that to the side.
What I have noticed is the discussion about the Asians in my books and how some people view them. I’ve heard for years Asian men are read as “feminine” by US readers and to some extent, I guess? I don’t know about that either. I usually try to make sure I hit the cultural notes of writing an Asian character and I have noticed one thing… if the character is depicted as Asian on the cover, this impression seems to carry through.
Case in point… two very different characters; Cole McGinnis and Miki St. John.
Both of them are mixed. Literally half Asian and half European. Both of them actually don’t have an Asian upbringing although Miki has more Asian influences from living in Chinatown but neither one of them is culturally Asian. Cole is depicted as more Anglo-featured on the covers whereas Miki is more Asian looking. This was done because of choices available and well, how they appear. Cole is bulkier and there was only one stock model that came close to what Miki could look like. Don’t get me started on trying to find Asian men in stock photography.
Now, if I had to talk about which one of these characters I would not want to meet in a dark alley while pissed off, it’s hands down Miki. While he’s probably more broken than Cole, he’s a hell of a lot more street smart and well, can be as mean as junkyard dog. Okay probably meaner since he literally has a junkyard dog named Dude and that pupper is very sweet.
Cole’s more of a white knight and well, is cowed by a tiny black cat so there you go there. Cole would save you from Miki. And probably break his nose while doing so.
So here comes the discussion, what leads to this “femme” impression on an outwardly Asian character? Or at least a main character depicted as Asian on a cover but isn’t written as being culturally Asian.
Cole’s lover, Jae-Min, is also framed in these terms and he’s very culturally Korean. So let’s toss that into the mix.
I think a lot of it has to do with someone’s idea of what masculine is. That a man can’t be emotive or reflective in any open way without having his masculine identity taken from him. We see this all the time in how writers and film makers treated the “pansy” stereotype of a gay man in the past and to some extent, this transfers to the Asian man because often times, their body shape is less bulky, less hairy and definitely not fitting into the archtype of a manly man as seen by the West.
Mind you, this is spaghetti against the wall talk. I have no idea. I’m trying to make some sense of it only as a way to see someone else’s perspective because I don’t see any of these characters as feminine. I see them as people I’ve created who have different ways of reacting to things.
Am I offended by someone calling my character feminine? Truth? No? Yes? I don’t know. I think it does minimize the character, shoving them into a gender box no man should belong in. So much of today’s society really could use a little bit of what traditionally is called feminine energy but in reality, it’s just being human.
Men shouldn’t cry. They shouldn’t show emotion. They shouldn’t hug. Or care for another man as a friend. Their relationships should be couched in grunts and manly hugs. The only time tenderness should be shown is if it’s to their kid and only when it’s small because hugging your grown son is just weird.
I’m guilty of thinking this. I have in the past. It’s hard to change what we’ve been taught and I’m not even a guy so I can’t even begin to imagine how fucking hard it is to deal with being told you can’t do these things that show how you feel just because you have a dick. Women are now being told it’s okay to be strong. Well, guys… it’s okay to be strong and cry. Or laugh. Or hug. (Preferably with the consent of whomever you’re hugging).
So… what’s your take on this? Think on stuff and let me know. I’d like some opinions. Mostly because I really want to hear other people’s perspectives on this. Phone lines are open. Keep it civil and most of all, decide if you want ketchup on your eggs or not. But… if someone does and you don’t, just pass them the bottle.
I’m probably going to ramble here for a moment just to check in with all of you.
Hellion (Ivo’s story from 415 Ink) is coming along well. After the initial 45K-ish toss of the first go at it, it’s shifted better and settling in. I’m looking forward to seeing where I can go with it.
I’ve been doing a lot of reading of late, mostly to cleanse my brain. Since I don’t read the genre I’m writing, I’ve been eyeball deep in mysteries. And doing series binges. There’s been a couple where I’ve said… oh man, no…this isn’t for me but for the most part, it’s been good.
Making plans for Paris and London in March. That means pulling the swag out and taking inventory. I will have some unique to Euro swag, including a backstage pass from the Sinners crew. Rebel and Savior will be available for pick up at the DSP booth at the Salon du Livre so if you’ve ordered ahead, be sure to grab some of the 415 Ink swag.
I probably will be at MxM and Reines-Beaux booth at some point but I don’t have the schedule. I’ll let you know what that is.
I DO know we’ll be at the Booking Office at the St Pancras on March 14th for the reader meet. I’ll roll out that information in a bit and start gathering RSVPs because it’s a small space and we need a headcount.
AND Ramen Assassin is into edits so… we’ll be talking more about that book and what’s going on there soon. I really liked writing it and I’m looking forward to sharing the cover!
Store Link is here: https://www.cafepress.com/rhysford
Finally got the Chibi merch up. These were created by the fabulous Em Chan of Stupid Fox fame. Huge shout out and thank you to Em… who also did Ivo’s tattoo for the upcoming 415 Ink: Hellion novel.
AND there’s a new Crossroads Gin shirt to celebrate the Euro Invasion tour coming in March! I’ll be at the St Pancras and the Salon du Livre mid-March. More details to follow BUT I will have Euro Invasion backstage passes at both events to celebrate the Sinners heading over the pond!
Lots of Chibi with all the couples… including Brigid and Donal but I’m only putting a few here. A sample of what you’ll find and yes, I do distress these but that’s because of the printing process CafePress uses. If they’re not distressed, then it becomes a solid, unforgiving block of stiffness on your shirt. This allows a bit of fabric to cut into the design and make it nicer to wear. Trust me on this 😀
There are times when it’s difficult to be in this space. As a writer of LGBTQ characters. As a person who presents female. As a non-white individual who struggles to share different cultures without preaching. As someone who battles with Aspergers and brain wonkiness and has to deal with the minefield of people’s conflicting statements and as always, the confusion of sarcasm.
I’ve been told I shouldn’t be here and a lot of other things by other people. Usually to my face but also through badly hidden whisper campaigns because you know, my existence in this space is offensive to some. Trust me, I can’t count the many ways it’s been relayed to me that I “don’t belong here” or that “I’m not really a writer” or “I should just stop writing, stop talking, stop being here”.
I’d love to say fuck you to all of them. But I try to stay above stuff. I don’t always succeed. My gut instinct is that fuck you. I hate bullies. I hate people who only “talk” to another author if they believe they can get something from them or believe it somehow raises their cachet. Truth: It doesn’t. Readers find the writing they like and as writers we have to find the stories we want to tell. No one can make you popular or unpopular based on your stories.
But it can be influenced by behaviour and well, how we treat people.
When I first started out, I paid attention to the authors who only speak to people they feel are their financial equals or better, dismissing others around them. This told me who to avoid and how I shouldn’t behave. I still pay attention to this because it’s kind of like someone being nice to you but treats the waiter like shit. My opinion of someone often isn’t formed by how they treat me (although that’s got something to do with it) but more importantly, how they treat others.
Mind you, some people I adore tell me they were scared of me which is hilarious. I’m going to assume it’s because most of the time, I’m off in my own little world and not paying attention to what’s going on. My mother says I sometimes look like a dragon debating whose head to nip off for breakfast. I swear to God, this is not true. Mostly because really the head’s got a skull and bony bits are hard to crunch through. It’s not like salmon bones.
There’s no “little people” in this world. Just people who try to make other people little or less. I hate those people the most. I’d say hate is a strong word. I’m just gonna lay it out there because dudes, sometimes the behaviour is just horrible.
It’s an assault on a person, the diminishing of a person’s worth. It’s the reducing of a soul and mind to nothing more than a fish or a rock. And yeah, I fucking hate it when I see it and not going to lie, usually cements my opinion about the person doing it.
Am I perfect? Fuck no. Do I dislike some people? Hell, yeah. I can give you a list. But I’m also not going to seek them out and shove them into the darkness. I can dislike someone and remove them from my life, my awareness. AND act civil to them when we interact. It’s not hard. We’re thinking creatures. We’ve got thumbs! We can comport ourselves with a modicum of decorum and be socially shallow for a few minutes.
Still, we have to speak up against the diminishing of a person. I can disagree with someone’s opinion but still respect their existence.
That said, assholes seeking to destroy society and our homeland are exempt from this. In my mind. I will forever rail against this because well, they seek to diminish not just one but many.
So I leave you with one thing… you’re worth being nice to. Being civil to. Being civil in return or maybe even being civil first. Our behaviour should not be dictated by the way others behave and if a foul bitterness rises in you at something someone says or writes, stop and assess. We have to right our own ships… or we will never reach the stars we’re aiming for.
Paperbacks are now 30% off. Then, are you attending the Paris Book Fair? We offer free ship to the Livre Paris using coupon: PARIS19. Please only use coupon for Paris Book Fair pick up, otherwise your books get a Parisian vacation without you! http://ow.ly/5KGB30nmAXd
Paperbacks are now 30% off. Then, are you attending the Paris Book Fair? We offer free ship to the Salon du Livre Paris using coupon: PARIS19. Please only use coupon for Paris Book Fair pick up, otherwise your books get a Parisian vacation without you! http://ow.ly/5KGB30nmAXd
Rebel and Savior French translated paperbacks are being released in April BUT you can order them through Dreamspinner Press for the Salon du Livre and get them before they are released! Order for pickup at the Dreamspinner Booth at the Salon! I will be there to sign them! Use the code PARIS19.
(Yes this is Google Translate… it is the best I can do! 😀 )
Les livres de poche sont maintenant 30% de réduction. Alors, assistez-vous au Salon du livre de Paris? Nous offrons un bateau gratuit au Salon du Livre Paris en utilisant le coupon: PARIS19. Veuillez utiliser le coupon uniquement pour le ramassage au Salon du livre de Paris, sinon vos livres bénéficieront de vacances à Paris sans vous! http://ow.ly/5KGB30nmAXd
Les livres de poche traduits en français Rebel et Savior seront publiés en avril MAIS vous pouvez les commander via Dreamspinner Press pour le Salon du Livre et les obtenir avant leur sortie! Commande pour le ramassage au stand Dreamspinner au salon! Je serai là pour les signer! Utilisez le code PARIS19.
So at some point, I came into contact with an agent of Satan.
Probably that toddler on the plane.
Now I have a cold.
It’s at the point of mostly icky, some miserable and just want sleep.
The dog is handling the sleep portion of my cold because I have to work so I had to outsource. He does a good job. Because man, he’s asleep and snoring.
Hellion’s going well. Or so I think. I’m excited about a plot point. It’s just a matter of trying to hit it right. That’s always the struggling point in a book. Is this angle working and did the author pull it off.
Sadly, I can’t actually use a lot of cold medicine because of the meds I take. I also hate NyQuil. And half a Benadryl will take me out into a coma for days. Seriously. I don’t know how people take two of them. I look at a damned Benadryl and I pass out.
So, it’s going to be sweet black tea…hot and with li hing mui lemon in it.
Just watch. And listen.
Then maybe… talk.
I wanted to drop a quick hey and wish you all a Happy New Year.
After spending two weeks or so in the wilds of Hawai’i, I am back home in San Diego having fed my friends and family much food. Now is the time to head back into the grind and work on Ivo’s story.
I’m much happier with the plot and hope I can do the boy justice. *grins*