Welcome to Buzz Worthy News where the stories are awesome and not at all well-written. Need your YA industry news? Never fear, Kate is here to give it all to you. Just, ya know, not in any kinda sophisticated sense or nothing.
In this week’s Buzz Worthy News: Terri Pratchett’s Twitter tribute, a reader app that will clean your book of profanities, controversies to round us out and more!
Buzz Worthy News is Cuddlebuggery’s weekly news post bringing you all the best information about the book and blogging world, particularly for the venn diagram of people who overlap between the two. For new releases and cover reveals of all the best Young Adult fiction, check out our Tuesday post: Hot New Titles.
Terri Pratchett Twitter Tribute
Fans of Terri Pratchett woke to a cryptic tweet on Thursday morning, posted by Pratchett’s twitter account:
Terry took Death’s arm and followed him through the doors and on to the black desert under the endless night.
— Terry Pratchett (@terryandrob) March 12, 2015
It quickly became apparent that the well-loved and widely read author of the Discworld series had passed away.
Pratchett’s publisher, Larry Finlay, paid tribute to one of the world’s “brightest, sharpest minds”.
“In over 70 books, Terry enriched the planet like few before him,” Finlay said. “As all who read him know, Discworld was his vehicle to satirise this world: he did so brilliantly, with great skill, enormous humour and constant invention.”
The author died at his home “with his cat sleeping on his bed, surrounded by his family” on Thursday, said Finlay.
Many authors, readers, and publications took to Twitter with tributes and their favorite Pratchett quotes.
“Stories of imagination tend to upset those without one.” ― Terry Pratchett You will be greatly missed, Terry. pic.twitter.com/c1jUpfEJJg
— Catapult (@CatapultStory) March 12, 2015
“There isn't a way things should be. There's just what happens, and what we do.” ― Terry Pratchett
— that meg girl (@megsaysthings) March 12, 2015
You can't go around building a better world for people. Only people can build a better world for people. Otherwise it's a cage. -Pratchett
— Katherine Locke (@Bibliogato) March 12, 2015
"No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away…” ~ Terry Pratchett RIP you utterly wonderful man.
— Lisa (@grogcat) March 12, 2015
I will miss you, Terry, so much. This is the last thing I wrote about you. http://t.co/YKAFrKjkLc
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) March 12, 2015
New Game of Thrones Trailer
Only a month left, lovers of dragons, Tyrion, John Snow, Arya, and yeah, even Sansa. Here is a really badass new trailer for the upcoming Season 5 of Game of Thrones. Eeep. Lots of Dany and Tyrion in this one, which makes my heart go pitter-pat.
Allison Janney To Join Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children
I’ve loved Allison Janney since 10 Things I Hate About You, where she spends most of her time writing dirty dirty romance novels, but the truth is, she has had a long and varied career. Now she’s taking a dip in the supernatural pond with her next role.
Allison Janney has joined the adaptation of Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Random Riggs, as Jacob’s psychiatrist. The film stars Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Ella Purnell and Samuel L. Jackson – it follows a teenager (Butterfield) who finds himself transported to an island where he must help protect a group of orphans who have special powers, from creatures who are out to destroy them.
My only worry is that they’re all supposed to have Welsh accents, yes? Will this translate to the film, do you think?
Clean Reader App Gets eBooks Squeaky Clean
Unless you’re like me and you demand grown-up words (that’s what we call them at our house) in all your e-reading, you might be interested in a new app called Clean Reader.
Clean Reader can instantly sanitize any e-book purchased through its store of more than 1 million titles.
For readers who think our culture is going to H-E-double-hockey-sticks in a hand basket, this is a frakkin’ miracle.
Basically, you download the book and the app asks you how clean you want it.
East Coast liberals in cahoots with Satan can choose “Off,” in which case the book will appear in all its original explicitness. But readers with more delicate sensibilities can pick “Clean,” “Cleaner” or the blindingly pure “Squeaky Clean.” (At that extreme setting, “Fifty Shades of Grey” is bleached to “One Shade of Ecru.”)
The app automatically obscures the F-word and all its remarkable permutations, along with the S-word, different names for deity, racial slurs and, Jared says, “anatomical terms that can be a little racy.” All told, more than 100 different words and phrases — enough for at least 14 more George Carlin monologues. And the fight is never over. “We keep finding new spellings,” Jared says, “and authors using different spaces, so we have to keep putting in different words and arrangements of words, different endings, slang terms and slang ways of using them. So it’s an ever-growing list.”
If you’re wondering what the result looks like, Washington Post has an image for you:
And if you REALLY have to know what naughty words those little blue dots are covering up, you can click on them and find out.
(p.s. I just want to say that Ron Charles, who wrote the original WP article is hilarious! Full story at the link below.)
If You Are A Woman Writer: Self-Publish
If you’re looking to get your words out to more readers, and you happen to write under a woman’s name, a new study finds that you might be better off self-publishing.
Looking at the most popular titles across the top self-publishing platforms Blurb, Wattpad, CreateSpace and Smashwords, FicShelf found that 67% of top-ranking titles were written by women. This compares with the top 100 traditionally-published titles on Amazon, of which FicShelf discovered that 61% are written by men.
In total, FicShelf looked at 227 bestselling self-published titles, a mix of fiction and non-fiction. When it focused on novels, the results were even more skewed: of 134 fiction titles, 109, or 81%, were by women, 11 were by men, and 14 were unknown.
I’m not sure how true or false this study is. I find it suspect that it was conducted by an online publisher. There also didn’t seem to be any differentiation by genre, so make of it what you will. But as far as the lists of top books, etc. goes, this isn’t very heartening, for certain:
FicShelf also found, it said, that “men are more likely to receive recognition for their work … with preconceived notions of a ‘literary canon’ and curated lists of top titles still dominated by male writers”. Male authors account for 80% of titles in the Telegraph’s “100 Novels Everyone Should Read”, 85% of the Guardian’s “100 Greatest Novels of all Time”, and 70% of the Telegraph’s “The Best Books of 2014”, it found.
I would be interested to find out how different genders do across a multitude of genres.
RWA Advice On Discussing Race or Same-Sex Relationships: Don’t
The RWA hasn’t always been the poster child for awesome decisions, and a certain article in the newest edition of the Romance Writers’ Report has got some romance writers in a justifiable tizzy.
Article item below. A neutral approach makes no sense for me. pic.twitter.com/rMILVjcrYa
— Racheline Maltese (@racheline_m) March 8, 2015
After reading the article posted above, author Racheline Maltese took to Twitter to explain why it was she found the topic so troubling.
As a gay person and romance writer an RWA article advising writers to avoid controversial topics like gay marriage on social media stings.
— Racheline Maltese (@racheline_m) March 8, 2015
For Maltese and other writers like her (gay, non-white, marginalized), such topics are important to talk about, to educate others about. A “neutral approach” isn’t possible for someone who is living out one of the “million polarizing topics”. Maltese goes on to say:
Y’all, among the things I write is gay romance, so this advice is actually terrible for me. One of my recent projects is, in fact, a bisexual interracial romance about a polyamorous couple. So yes, I’m going to talk about gay marriage and racial justice. Also, for fuck’s sake (hi, we do curse at this blog), my co-writer and I are both queer. We’re not controversial political positions. We’re people, who tell stories.
And after writers like Chuck Wendig, John Scalzi and Courtney Milan took up the cry, Maltese felt compelled to write a letter to the Romance Writers’ Report which she then posted on her blog:
While it is always important for everyone to remember the consequences of their words online, identifying issues that impact the basic civil rights and equality of marginalized groups as topics to be avoided is naive, hurtful, and implies that LGBTQ+ people and people of color don’t read and write romance. It was particularly ironic for RWR to include such advice in an issue that also focused on diverse romance. Is RWA truly committed to diversity?
It’s an excellent question and I’m sure we’ll all be waiting to hear what the Romance Writer’s Association has to say in reply.
50 Shades of Thomas Jefferson
In what has to be the worst idea in Facebook history (and there have been some doozies, let me tell you), author Stephanie Dray, in a badly mangled attempt to promote her new book about Patsy, the daughter of Thomas Jefferson, posted a joke saying that a BDSM book featuring Jefferson and his slave Sally Hemmings was in the works.
In case you can’t read the tiny writing she wrote:
The 50 Shades of Grey/Jefferson Mashup we’ve got in mind. Oh, yes, we told our editor about it. Which means it’s happening, people. Imagine the possibilities. “Come, I want to show you my playroom. It has surveyor’s equipment, a whirlygig chair and a theodolite…” #WhoLetUsWorkTogetherIndeed?
Dray went on to joke:
Dray: Hahah, Joseph Ryan. Which book? The one where Jefferson shows Sally Hemings some shackles?
[Redacted]: I don’t know why, but the whole concept is hilarious to me.
Dray: BECAUSE IT’S HILARIOUS
A brief bit of history, Hemings was 14 when Jefferson started his “relationship” with her. She stayed his slave until the day he died, after which she and his children with her were freed. So joking about whipping and shackling a young girl in a tawdry BDSM romance (which is an insult to BDSM, btw) is in the poorest taste.
Dray has since posted an apology on her Blog:
Racial justice is something that I feel deeply about. Something that I think deeply about.
But apparently not deeply enough.
Because after editing this book, I made a joke–which I won’t repeat in the interest of not offering new offense–thinking I was mocking our culture’s casual acceptance of women’s lack of consent in sexual circumstances.
Instead, I hurt people and sent a message that goes against everything that I’m about. It undercut what I’m trying to accomplish with my work. And with my life.
I’m a writer; it’s my job to pay attention to what my words are actually communicating. And I’m bitterly disappointed in myself for communicating in any way that would trivialize the very matters I feel most passionately about.
To that end, the post has been removed. I would like to extend my heartfelt apology. And I thank those of you who made me take a hard look at this.
I was wrong. It will not happen again.
The following line “thinking I was mocking our culture’s casual acceptance of women’s lack of consent in sexual circumstances” is to me a picture of the old phrase, “that’s like comparing apples to oranges”. Why in the world would you choose 50 Shades of Grey to discuss lack of consent?? Because while it could be argued that Anna made a dumb decision to hook up with Christian Grey (YMMV), she wasn’t under duress. She could have walked away at any moment, something that Hemings certainly didn’t have the privilege of doing.
Dray’s apology seems sincere, but I’m not sure it will do much to stem the flood of angry emails she is probably receiving at the moment.