Mon. March 8: International Women’s Day

image courtesy of Alberto H. Fabragas via pixabay.com

Instead of the usual intent of the week, I’m going to tell you about some of the extraordinary women about whom I’ve written for the 365 Women A Year playwrighting project over the last few years.

Imagine if society didn’t just pretend to value women on one day of the year? Imagine if they actually took action that proves they value women, including equal pay for equal work and non-toxic work environments.

Imagine if a woman’s value wasn’t tied to whether or not she CHOSE to have children, and both choices were given support?

Imagine if all the “administrative assistants” (who are mostly women) were given the recognition for the jobs they actually do and given the titles and pay of the do-nothing, useless executives for whom they work?

For many years, working my way up to Broadway, I worked as a temp in offices all around the country. Well over 200 companies over the decades. In all that time, I only met THREE ‘executives’ who actually did any work and weren’t a total waste of space, money, and time. Two of those individuals worked for the same company (and I worked for the pair of them).

Imagine what we could accomplish if the truly talented and those who did the work were given the money and support to do said work, instead of propping up those who don’t?

Now, to celebrate some of the extraordinary women about whom I’ve written:

Kate Warne. She was the first female Pinkerton. She walked into Allan Pinkerton’s office and told him she wanted to be a detective, and that women could get information that men couldn’t. She proved it, and became one of his top and most trusted operatives. She and her fellow Pinkertons often did large, theatrical, undercover operations. Among the cases were the Adams Express Embezzlement case (the case around which “Confidence Confidant” is based), where Kate posed as the wife of a forger to gain the confidence of the wife of an embezzler, and retrieve the money; a case where Kate posed as a medium to help kill a pair of lovers who’d poisoned the spouse of one of the pair, and was planning the murder of the other (I’m writing about that case this year in “A Rare Medium”). Kate was so popular as a medium that her clients were disconsolate when she solved the case and closed up shop. She helped smuggle Lincoln into Washington for his inauguration and thwart an assassination attempt. She helped bring down the Confederate spy Rose O’Neal Greenhow. She trained an entire division of Pinkerton women.

Jeanne de Clisson. In the 14th century, she became the pirate known as “The Lioness of Brittany.” The King of France wrongly accused (and executed) her husband for treason (I think it was her second husband; it might have been her third). At forty, after giving birth to seven children, she sold her land before it could be seized. She bought three ships, painted black with red sails, and became a pirate, only preying on French ships. She later fell in love with an Englishman, and retired to England. Her son, Olivier, became known at “The Butcher” and built the Château de Clisson in Brittany, which still stands today.

Giulia Tofana. A 17th century herbalist, she developed and perfected Aqua Tofana, a poison used to free women from their abusive husbands by turning them into widows. She had a tight circle of apprentices, and they are thought to have poisoned at least 600 people. The formula has never been recovered. Supposedly, Mozart thought he’d been dosed with it. Stories differ as to whether the fanatical Wilrich von Daun actually killed her while she was in sanctuary, or whether she escaped and retired to a convent.

Lavinia Fontana. She was a painter in Renaissance Bologna, one of the first to negotiate commissions like a man would. She was supported and promoted by a cadre of powerful Bolognese society women, several of whom ran their husbands’ businesses. She married a man who took her name and took care of their many children while she worked.

Canaletto’s Sisters. The Venetian painter Caneletto had three sisters: Fiorenza, who married, and whose son became a court painter in Austria and Germany, his work often confused with Canaletto’s; Francesca, and Viena, who never married. Not much is known about them, other than they were smart, lively, and devoted to their talented brother. Canaletto started his career painting stage sets, part of a family renown for theatre stage design.

Isabella Goodwin. She was the first female NYPD detective, and her work was as much about improving women’s lives as fighting crime. Like Kate Warne, she enjoyed theatrical undercover work. She was widowed young. Her husband was a cop, killed in the line of duty, and she went into police work to provide for their children. By all accounts, she was much better at it than her husband. Later in life, she married a younger man, a singer, and her final case involved medical fraud.

Susanna Centlivre. She was one of the most popular 18th century playwrights of her day. She posed as a boy to attend Cambridge; when she was discovered, she joined touring theatres as an actress, and then became a playwright. Her satires were popular, and she was part of a lively group of writers and artists. She married a “yeoman of the mouth” – one of Queen Anne’s favorite cooks, and the stability of that marriage supported her writing.

Who am I writing about this year? More Kate Warne plays, dramatizing some of her other cases. A play about Dawn Powell and Dorothy Parker, two of my favorite writers (who weren’t particularly fond of each other). Marie Correlli, born Mary McKay, a popular Victorian novelist.

Among my earliest heroines were Louisa May Alcott and Harriet Beecher Stowe. They are two of the reasons I became a writer.

Who are the women who inspire you?

Tues. Feb. 9, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 265/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 13 — Ice Boulders

image courtesy of Jill Wellington via pixabay.com

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Waning Moon

Mercury Retrograde

Snowy and cold

Busy few days.

Friday morning, got some writing done on GAMBIT COLONY. Then did a grocery run to Trader Joe’s and a curbside pickup at the library.

Home, decontaminated.

Sent off my review and invoice. Got paid. Got out a few LOIs. Got out a couple of pitches to an editor.

Caught up on box purging, so I was where I hoped to be by the end of the day.

Spent way too many hours trying to get my mom a vaccine appointment. Every other area of the state has appointments to spare. Here, we have nothing. On top of that, there was a secret “pop-up” clinic here on cape, but you had to know someone to get an appointment. How is that equitable? It’s not.

 I’m tired of Baker smirking and lying. He says Walgreens is giving vaccines. Multiple Walgreens locations are up on the state and county websites as vaccine locations. Only “no appointment available.” You know way? Walgreens ISN’T GIVING VACCINES IN THE STATE OF MASSACHUSETTS. So why are they on the state and county website?

Baker says CVS is giving out vaccines. Multiple CVS locations are on the state and county websites. Only “no appointment available.” You know why? There are only THREE CVS locations giving vaccines in the entire state and NONE of them are on Cape Cod. So why are Cape Cod locations on the state and county website?

On the location list is the Hyannis Stop & Shop. Not only has the website been down for nearly two weeks, now that it’s sort of up, it states that no vaccines are being given at that location. So why is it listed as a location on state and county websites?

The delays are not the issue. The lying and misinformation are.

And if there are so many open appointments in other locations in the state, why aren’t those doses being sent here instead, where there are NO appointments, and a huge population of seniors?

FFS, I could do better using Google Docs to set this up than the state has.

Saturday, up early and did a dump run. Still couldn’t fit all the recycling into the car, but I crammed in as much as I could. Swung by the other grocery store to get a few things before the incoming storm.

Got some work done on GAMBIT COLONY.

Did my quota of box purging.

Found some old love letters. Re-reading them, wow, I’m glad I’m not with any of those guys. One, who I though was so wonderful at the time – reading the letters back, he was extremely manipulative and emotionally abusive. He died a couple of years ago, and I was sad at the loss and remembered the good times. These letters give me a more complete picture of reality. Another, wrote beautiful letters. I’d always thought of him as “the one that got away.” But when I reconnected with him a few years ago, he’s gone all evangelical religious, and we have nothing in common anymore.

I made the right decisions not to be with them. Which is good to know.

Found some more really cool stuff. Threw out a ton of stuff. I’ll be doing another dump run next week.

Read AUNTY LEE’S DELIGHTS, by an author from Singapore named Ovidia Yu. I loved it, and ordered more of her books. She’s also a playwright, and has also been to Edinburgh with her plays, so I’m even more eager to read her work.

Found a bunch of my old articles that aren’t digitized. I will scan them and put them into my clip files and portfolios.

The Goddess Provisions box finally arrived, after sitting in the postal facility in Arizona for over a week. It was worth the wait.

The coffee shipment, that was supposed to be here on Wednesday, made it as far as Westboro, and then went back to CT for some reason. By the time it arrives, it will be stale.

The Wolferman’s order arrived. I had a problem when I ordered it with the promo code. The customer service rep promised to put it through and adjust it. Instead, they CHANGED THE ORDER to something cheaper and sent me what I didn’t order. Not only that, it’s something I WOULDN’T’ have ordered, because it wasn’t what I wanted. I have to find my original paperwork and squawk. It also makes me less likely to order from them in the future, because who the hell knows what will show up?

In other words, Mercury is very retrograde.

Heard back from 365 Women – I’m going to write a Kate Warne play for them this year, AND they’ve accepted the proposal for DAWN AND DOROTHY IN THE AFTERLIFE (I wasn’t sure it would be their thing) AND a play on Marie Collier. So I’ll be busy.

The head of the group just got my email about a quote for the articles – that were published over the past two weeks. She told me I should contact her via Facebook Messenger. I don’t use FB Messenger because of the hacking issues, so. . .it’s an issue. Besides, the articles are up. I’ll be sending her PDFS of the clips – at the email address I have.

The incoming storm on Sunday gave me a huge headache.

But I did write the opening of DAWN AND DOROTHY IN THE AFTERLIFE. It’s kind of weird, but I like it.

Also worked on a grant proposal that has to go out in two weeks. Hate everything I wrote for it. I have to create three 250-word pitches within the proposal. I think I need to write my kind of treatment or Writer’s Rough for each project, and then distill it down. Starting at the blurb doesn’t work. It’s reading flat. So that’s on the agenda for this week: Three treatments.

Got in my quota of boxes on Sunday, too.

The snow started around noon and was so pretty! Lovely, big flakes. We had a fire in the fireplace. The power flickered, and went off once for a couple of minutes, but held pretty well otherwise.

Sunday night into Monday was rough. I woke up every hour or so with intense pain in my knees. I know I’ve been working them hard, carrying boxes up and down from the basement, but this was intense.

Then, I find out, overnight Sunday, the plow guy packed ice boulders into the bottom of my driveway and they froze there. It took me FIVE HOURS to shovel the driveway, get the ice boulders cut down, and the front walk. There was an ice crust, so I had to take the hoe and crack a section, shovel, crack a section, shovel. After twenty or thirty minutes, I had to stop and rest. I’m not twenty anymore, and I spent the past year sick. I can’t, physically, do this anymore.

For the ice boulders, I had to take the hoe and hack at them until I broke them into pieces I could lift and toss.

It was not fun.

My neighbor across the street watched me struggle for five hours (he’s about thirty years younger than I am). As soon as I went inside, he got a bulldozer out of his garage and cleared his own driveway in about five minutes. Really? He could have said, “I see you’re having a hard time; I have heavy equipment and can clear it out for you for fifty bucks.”

It’s not a surprise, though. This is a guy that hasn’t worn a mask once during the entire pandemic.

It’s a far cry from when we first moved here, and all dug each other out. Or the year where we had a series of snowstorms and the town couldn’t be bothered to plow us out, so after nearly a week, we all got our shovels and dug out the street ourselves.

Anyway, after five hours of this, I was wiped out. Funnily enough, my knees were fine, but the left leg and hip that’s been bothering me for the last few weeks were in bad shape, along with my arms.

I spent the afternoon reading contest entries instead of purging the basement.

I managed to get some client work out in between shoveling sessions, so at least it wasn’t a total loss.

Still no vaccine appointments on Cape Cod. Other areas have open appointments and are worried about expiring doses. Why aren’t they being re-routed to the Cape? I’m on EVERY list to learn about when appointments open, and. . .total silence from all of them. Why is the county listing sites as locations that don’t have appointments or doses? The only sites that should be listed are those actually offering appointments. New ones should be added as they go live. That’s basic organization.

But the state and county information remain incorrect. Nobody is fixing anything, or getting anything better organized. Governor Baker is pulled a Jared Kushner on us, and just continues to let us die. He doesn’t give a damn – he hasn’t, or he wouldn’t have reopened back in May, and kept us open when our daily virus numbers were double and triple what they were when we were shut down last spring. I’m sick of it, and I’m at the end of my rope.

My editor at SCRIPTMAG assigned me two more articles. So I’ll get the interview requests out today and get going on research.

I’ll send off my “personal update” for the class reunion later, do some client work, get out some LOIs. Work on the first treatment. I already got a little bit of work done on GAMBIT COLONY this morning, to settle me.

I might sneak in another curbside library pickup this morning, fi the next storm hasn’t started by the time the library opens. Because yes, we’re getting another storm today.

More shoveling.

And, this afternoon, I have to scrub a section of the basement floor, let it dry, and then place some boards down so I can restack the newly packed boxes. That way, once we know where we’re moving, it’s just a case of loading boxes.

It feels good to let go of a lot of this stuff, and the stuff that’s kept is being integrated into the household, even though it will have to be packed again soon.

I’m just so, so tired on so many levels. I’m burned out to a frightening extent. I know there won’t be any rest for me until after the move, but once we’ve moved, I HAVE to take some time off. I just hope I can keep going until then.

Fri. Jan. 10, 2020: Reviewing Focus & Prepping for a Writing Weekend

Friday, January 10, 2020
Full Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and mild

Hop on over to the Ava Dunne blog, Affairs of the Pen,to read about what the characters miss when they go out to sea.

We’re supposed to hit record high temperatures this weekend around here. The snow is already melting. IF it’s dry enough, I’ll do some more yard work.

Got out a bunch of LOIs yesterday, worked on the GRAVE REACHmedia kit, did some work on the marketing plan for the overall series.

Dropped off and picked up a bunch of stuff at the library.

The first shipment of books for the contest arrived. Very exciting! I unpacked them, checked them against my list. I have a few digital ones to download, which I will do over the next few days, and then I’ll start reading. I like getting the entries in two shipments. It means I can finish the first batch by the time the second batch arrives, and it gives me time to give the ones vying for the top spot and finalist spots a second read.

Yes, I take my work as a contest judge seriously. These authors poured heart and soul into the work. I approach each with excitement and joy. I WANT to fall in love with every book I pick up. The categories have become more and more competitive each year, with both the quality of writing, and the way the winning authors are growing the genre.

In the afternoon, I read F.P. Lock’s dissection of Susanna Centlivre’s plays, letters, and poems. It was very interesting, and makes me even more excited to write about her. I look forward to reading her plays — I got several from Project Gutenberg. The Lock book came from Taunton Library via the Commonwealth Catalog — I’m so lucky to have access to that.

To my great joy, I received notification that 365 Women accepted BOTH the proposal for the Susanna Centlivre play and for the Isabella Goodwin play. I’m absolutely delighted. I am researching Susanna already. I’d like to get that play done and out by the end of June. That gives me the second half of the year for Isabella’s play.

I got a little bit of work done on the Winter Solstice romance. I’m at the point (six chapters in), where I need to start typing what I’ve written in longhand and making tracking sheets, because I’m losing certain elements. I have an outline, which helps. I have a feeling it will be more of a women’s fiction novel with romantic elements rather than a romance novel. There are issues I’m exploring that take it out of the romance formula, while still having my two protagonists falling in love.

I’m still struggling with the last few pages of “Trust.” I hope to get it finished this weekend.

I need to do some tweaks on the Lavinia Fontana play, too, SERENE AND DETERMINED, because I have my eye on a potential submission for that.

I had a wacky idea of an out-there dream project (in real life) that I will never be able to fund (in real life), but it would make a cool premise for a book. Made some notes. So we’ll see.

Idea Cookies, right?

Working on the books for review. I want to get the reviews out next week, and get in the next books for review. I can juggle those deadlines with contest entries and research books.

Re-read Donna Leon’s QUIETLY IN THEIR SLEEP and A NOBLE RADIANCE over the last couple of days. I get so much out of this series every time I read it.

Finished watching the documentary on the Dark Ages. I didn’t know most of what was in it. Very interesting.

One of the LOIs I sent out yesterday already got a response for more interaction. I will do that later today. We will see if we are a good match. But it was a pleasant, professional response, and it was quick, so we’ll see how it goes.

Lots of errands this morning. As I’ve been writing this, it’s moved from sunny to cloudy. Reminds me there was a red sky in the morning, which means there could be rain later. Looks like it will be sooner, rather than later.

So, how did I do on this week’s intent of focus?

Pretty well, even though the focus was spread over a lot of projects. But whatever I worked on, I FOCUSED on. I got more done (although it never, ever feels like enough).

I feel as though the energy I focused on the Susanna Centlivre research really paid off, as did the focus on the LOIs. It’s too early to see if the pitches hit true, but I’m happy with the quality of what I pitched.

I’m looking forward to a creative weekend. Let’s hope next week is positive and creative, too!

Monday, May 14, 2018: #UpbeatAuthors The Next Step on the Ladder

black-and-white-construction-ladder-54335

Photo courtesy Khimish Sharma, via Pexels.com

Monday, May 14, 2018
Dark of the Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

 

My first response to that is, “Which ladder?” I have various limbs on various ladders. I write in different genres, under different names, in a variety of formats: prose, theatre, television, film, radio. Journalism. Essays. Marketing writing. Reviewing.

I do very little editing for private clients now, because the time/money ratio doesn’t work for me, too many would-be writers default on payments (when they’re not trying to lowball me down to a fraction of my rate), and I need the primary focus to be on my own work. When I edit, I am generally hired by the publishing house to work for something under contract that has passed particular gate-keeping standards.

I am with more than one publisher. One of them, who has signed several projects, is small, just starting out. We are taking a risk on each other. Among the reasons I was excited to work with them was that they pay small advances, don’t demand their writers acquiesce to a boiler-plate contract AND, instead of POD, they do small print runs. The print runs are after a certain digital threshhold is reached, but the POD model was not working for me, so I wanted to try this. I am still with another publisher who is doing the POD model, and I have submissions out to several other publishers, who work on a mix of models, so we’ll see what happens. I also liked them because the editor with whom I’m working constantly pushes me to be better. And that is my goal — that every book I write is better, in both craft and art, than the previous books.

About a year ago, I sat down with a lawyer, an agent, an editor, and a marketing advisor, and we came up with a plan. I was unhappy and frustrated with the way things were going in my career. I knew I wasn’t writing what the Big Five wanted; I wanted to explore some things that they are currently giving lip service to, but not following through on, and I wanted to do it in my way. We were not a good fit at the time. I knew I was going to part from an agent I’d been working with for several months, because we were not a good fit. When we got together, she was excited by my work and my voice; but the more we worked together, the more she wanted to dilute it and take out what made it unique. She kept telling me my themes and issues were “too hard for the typical reader.” In other words, she wanted me to dumb things down, and I didn’t want to do that. Also, she only wanted to commit to a book at a time, and I need an agent who is interested in long-term career planning. She has since signed a friend of mine, and they’re doing great together. I’m happy for both of them; they are the right fit. We were not.

As far as the marketing writing went, I wanted to have the confidence to say “No” to the lowballers locally and reach farther afield. The interesting thing is that as soon as I did that, I landed two clients locally with whom I work well, WHILE also reaching beyond the bridge for clients who pay better.

We took four or five days together, and I took about twenty pages of notes. We crafted a plan. Some of that we followed; some of that has fallen by the wayside for various reasons.

I re-stated my commitment not to “niche” — to me, that’s a death toll for a creative life. Far too many people who “advise” freelancers sneer and call what I do a “generalist.” I prefer to call it being a “Renaissance Writer” and I’ve written on this topic for both WOW-Women on Writing and Write Naked!

I wanted to get back into article writing, which fell by the wayside for a bit. I started pitching again, and I did pretty well, but that seems to be one of the things that falls away first. Since I enjoy articles — every part from the pitch through the research through the writing and the polish, especially working with a good editor — I need to get back on track with that.

One of the big changes I made was in the way I do pitch letters. Instead of trying to frame what I do to sound like what they want, I’m more specific in the elements I think will appeal and more specific in where our paths diverge. I’m more myself in the cover letter — while still structuring it the way I find works — hook, one paragraph summary, technical info, bio, why this market. And the results are good.

This year and next, I’m on a brutal contract schedule. I’d spent a couple of years working on different types of material, on working on craft. Now, with a commitment to more than one series, I am sitting down and writing the books.

Last year, PLAYING THE ANGLES was re-released, as the first of the Coventina Circle paranormal romantic suspense novels (in its original incarnation, it was a stand-alone). The second book in the series, THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, just released, and the third, RELICS & REQUIEM, will come out in October of this year, with the fourth, GRAVE REACH, coming out in May of 2019. So that’s a tight schedule.

Last year, the first Nautical Namaste mystery, SAVASANA AT SEA (as Ava Dunne) released. It’s a not-quite-cozy mystery series, whose protagonist is a yoga instructor on a cruise ship. Only one of those books comes out a year! But the next one, DAVY JONES DHARMA, is due in early December this year.

TRACKING MEDUSA, the first Gwen Finnegan mystery, re-released this past January. As I worked on the second book, THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, I realized that there was a chunk of it that slowed down the plot. Yet the information was necessary to where my characters were in their emotional lives and how they’d built their day-to-day relationships. Flashbacks and info-dump conversations wouldn’t work; so my editor and I decided to pull out those chapters, flesh them out into a “between-the-books” novella, now called MYTH & INTERPRETATION, and put that out this summer. BALTHAZAAR is still scheduled to come out in January of 2019, and that is now back on track, the pace and content correct.

In the meantime, I had three terrific opportunities. One was to pitch a serial. Those of you who’ve known me for several years know that I used to write four serials in four genres under two names for 18 months a few years back. A total of 8000 words a month. I love writing serials, and I miss it. I had the chance to pitch to a company that specializes in serials.

I pitched a fantasy/adventure novel. I’d written the first four chapters a couple of years ago and put it aside for scheduling reasons. But, when I had this opportunity, I wrote a few more chapters, and outlined what would be the book-length arc of this serial. I fell in love with it all over again. If it’s picked up, it goes back in the schedule; if not, it will be back-burnered again.

I also had two other ideas, stand-alones, that I played with, on and off for a couple of years, writing my way in the first few chapters, then making notes for my Writers’ Rough. On impulse, I polished pitches and tossed them into a Twitter pitch day for a specific company. Editors liked both; so I’m working on some additional chapters, polishing them, and sending them out by deadline this month. Again, if the editors want the full manuscript, they go back into the schedule sooner rather than later; if not, they are back-burnered until next year, when my contract schedule isn’t quite as demanding.

As I said above, I have a couple of other pieces out on submission; if they are contracted, they will be worked in. I also have a serial novel — which is different than a novel broken down as a serial. This is a set of novels that are all of a piece. It follows the filming of a television series over several seasons. Not a series, in the sense that each stands alone and progresses. These novels all fit together like puzzle pieces. One of my publishers has expressed interest in looking at it when the first five or so puzzle pieces are ready. When will that be? I don’t know.

I also made a commitment to do more script work again. I’m taking this year off from stage plays (I wrote four in three years for 365 Women). But one of my radio plays will be produced later this month, and I want to submit some screenplays I’ve polished.

Along with all this, I will pitch to higher-paying clients and higher-paying article markets. Gotta keep a roof over my head, and if I don’t keep up the writing pace I can’t. This is my profession, not my hobby. I am paid to write. That IS my day job. While my book sales have jumped considerably since I moved webhosts and redesigned my websites, I still need the marketing writing and article writing for income. Plus, I enjoy it.

So, my “next step” is building on the foundation of the series on which I currently write; continuing to expand the publication contracts with other publishers at higher-paying tiers, and book higher-paid marketing and article gigs.

I’ve found a process that works for me as far as the new ideas — because, as we all know, new ideas come in batches. I write my way in for a few chapters, then sit down and do a Writer’s Rough Outline. That way, whenever I can actually sit down and WRITE the book, I can drop into its world. The Writer’s Rough outline captures the initial energy of the idea, and then, as I work, I can develop the structure and the craft.

In the coming weeks, we will sit down again and assess how this last year played out. What worked, what didn’t. Where I lost focus, and what I dropped because it didn’t work. And we will craft a plan for the coming year that will guide me toward the “next step on the ladder.”

I don’t want fame. I worked in theatre and film for too many years and see how it can hurt creativity and general life; that is not what I want. I do want financial stability, and to be paid fairly for my work. There is no reason not to be paid well doing work I love. My profession is writing. I will not let ANYONE decide that it’s a cute lil hobby and I don’t deserve to be paid a living wage. I will dig in and do it, and earn my living. It will be a mix and match of projects and styles and tangents, but writing is my profession. When I decided I wanted to work on Broadway, I didn’t let anything or anyone stand in the way of achieving that goal. Now that I’m writing full-time, I feel the same way.

My next step is increased earnings and visibility for my work. It is also participating in the community of writers who love what they do and are committed to a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work across the board, no matter what the profession. It is refusing to “dumb it down” or change what I write because people I don’t respect threaten not to buy what I write. The great thing about writing is that there are plenty of authors writing in plenty of styles and genres, so there’s something for everyone. It’s fine if someone doesn’t connect with my work — there are wonderful authors out there with whom they WILL connect. But threatening me and demanding I change what I write is not going to work.

Artists have a responsibility. I believe that responsibility is to bear witness to the world, to expand people’s vision of the world, but also to create better worlds and help us find ways to reach those better worlds inclusively and fairly. A better world needs social and economic justice. By respecting our own value, our own worth, we set the tone.

For more inspiration on valuing your work, please visit Lori Widmer’s Words on the Page blog. It’s great all the time, but May is Writers Worth Month. It’s especially great now.