Shattering the Glass[es] Ceiling

Today I’ll reveal the winners of Smile, the middle grade graphic novel by Raina Telgemeier. I have a surprise announcement about that. But before I get to that, let me distract you with this.

Not long ago, I watched a movie on the Hallmark channel involving an “ugly duckling” hero who turns into a swan. His hottening factor? Taking off his glasses at the suggestion of his dating coach. Suddenly, he’s Swoon City.

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Sigh. Remember this old maxim: “Men seldom make passes at girls [or in this case, guys] who wear glasses”? By the way, Dorothy Parker, famed writer/critic said that in 1937. Marilyn Monroe uttered a variation of it in the 1953 movie, How to Marry a Millionaire. I guess people still take that maxim as gospel. But I couldn’t help thinking that if the dude in the Hallmark movie had invested in a pair of stylish frames, he wouldn’t have had to take them off to be hot.

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I look better with glasses. You get it? I look [at things] better with glasses. Ha ha. Okay, I’m laughing alone here. Yes, I know the advantages of contacts. Many people love their contacts. I’ve tried contacts. My eyes simply don’t have enough moisture. So after much frustration, I returned to glasses and never felt happier.

Yet in some movies and TV shows, certain attitudes prevail about the wearing of spectacles. For example, the idea that people with glasses aren’t as attractive as people without them or seem nerdier. (Bet you’re thinking of the CBS show, The Big Bang Theory, right about now.) I’m here to announce that a paradigm shift about the limited appeal of glasses wearers is needed.

May I present Exhibits A, B, C, and D?

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© Copyright 2010 CorbisCorporation ryan-gosling-glasses

Ladies and gentlemen, I rest my case. (You get it? Glasses case? Huh? Huh? Okay. I’ll stop.)

For a great article on the benefit of great frames, check this out:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2234931/Specs-appeal-Men-make-passes-girls-wear-RIGHT-glasses.html

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Now, I’ll reveal the winners of Smile. Here’s the surprise: I’m giving away THREE copies of the book, rather than two. I also have signed stickers.

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So without further ado or tired jokes, here are the three winners:

Andy Murray of City Jackdaw
Carrie Rubin of The Write Transition
Afton Rorvik of Afton Rorvik

Congratulations, winners. Please comment below to confirm, then email your street address and phone number to lmarie7b(at)gmail(dot)com. If you would prefer an eBook, please send the email address you use with Amazon. Afton and Carrie, when you confirm, please tell me if you would like red, orange, or blue daisies. I will send two to each of you. (They are about six inches wide.)

Daisies

I’m sorry that I can’t afford to send daisies your way, Andy. But you will get a book. 🙂

Thanks to all who commented.

Triple Daisies

I’m working on more daisies. Sorry. The purple ones are spoken for.

How to Marry a Millionaire poster from doctormacro.com. Hot guys found at pinterest, swoonworthy.net, bookishtemptations.com, and blackdoctor.org. Dog with glasses from mrwallpaper.com. Eyeglasses frames from flowerhop.net.

Check This Out: A Gift of Shadows

Welcome back to the blog where my guest today is the très fabuleuse Stephanie Stamm. She’s here to talk about A Gift of Shadows, book 2 of her Light-Bringer trilogy, which launches today!

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Woot! Here’s a synopsis:

shadows_promoSome Gifts come in Dark packages.

The Making gave her wings, but two months later, Lucky’s Gift has yet to appear. When it finally does, she’s in Lilith’s Dark world, and the Gift comes as a deadly power that causes Lucky to question everything she thinks she knows about herself. Her only support is her boyfriend’s brother. While Lucky struggles with her Gift and her feelings for Kev, tensions escalate between Dark and Light, and the barriers between worlds start to fail. Can Lucky and the Fallen find their way through the deepening shadows?

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Jordie received a dark package and wonders if his Gift is in it. Or is this just a gift?

Um, moving on, isn’t that cover très cool? But wait. There’s more. You can have this very book, thanks to a giveaway I’ll mention after I talk with Stephanie.

Happy-Release-DayEl Space: Happy Release Day! Though you’ve been on the blog before, I still have to ask you to supply four quick facts about yourself.
Stephanie: I can pretty much live on different kinds of soup during the winter.
I’ve never been able to write a fast first draft without editing as I go.
I’m fascinated with psychology, spirituality, and the inner journey.
I get cranky when I’m too busy to have time to read fiction.

El Space: Tell us about this next part of Lucky’s journey. Nonspoilery of course. 🙂 How has Lucky grown?
Stephanie: Lucky has gotten stronger, tougher. She’s impatient to learn more. She has more agency. In the first book, she was more reactive, doing what she had to in response to what happened around her and to her. In A Gift of Shadows, she acts as well as reacts and makes more independent choices, some of which cause problems for her.

El Space: How has your world expanded in this book?
Stephanie: Lucky spends some time in Lilith’s world in this book. There, she learns more about Lilith and Luil and makes some friends and some enemies. Kev gets to explore more of the Dark and Light Realms. Some events still take place in Chicago, but the larger world Lucky now knows she’s a part of starts impacting the city as well.

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El Space: This is the middle book of your trilogy. What did you find challenging about writing a bridge book?
Stephanie: Recapping enough of the first book to refresh the reader’s memory without restating too much, and at the same time setting up for problems to come in the third book, while still wrapping up enough to give a sense of an ending. It really was a challenge. Whenever I found myself struggling, I took comfort in the comments I’ve read or heard from other trilogy authors about the difficulty of writing that middle book.

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El Space: In an interview with urban fantasy authors Kelley Armstrong and Carrie Vaughn here, the interviewer asked them to respond to the accusation that women are destroying science fiction and fantasy. How would you respond to that allegation? Remarks like that make my blood boil, by the way.
Stephanie: I’m picturing a “No Girls Allowed” sign tacked on a tree house.

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I’m not sure what it even means to “destroy” a genre. I would assume the people who make those accusations are referring to the growth of paranormal romance novels. I would call that an expansion of the urban fantasy genre, not a destruction of it. And the popular novelists in both urban fantasy and paranormal romance have both male and female fans.

men-vs-womenSome male writers have long complained that women can’t write science fiction—leading to the distinction between “hard” and “soft” SF, a not-so-subtle gendering through adjectives. The claim that women are destroying science fiction and fantasy is just a continuation of that argument, and it rests on an unquestioned evaluation of the “male” or “hard” version of SF as somehow better than so-called “soft” SF. The supporters of that claim seem to me to be fearfully clinging to their particular idea of what the genres can or should be, instead of allowing those genres to encompass whatever authors can bring to them. Frankly, I don’t even understand how one genre—or sub-genre—can be threatened by another. Each sub-genre will have its own readers and fans, some of which may cross over to the other. Seems like a win-win to me.

Incidentally, I loved Kelley Armstrong’s YA Darkness Rising series.

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Dont Stereotype MeEl Space: I agree with you! What stereotypes, if any, bother you in sci-fi/fantasy? How does your series challenge those stereotypes?
Stephanie: I’m bothered by the helpless or over-sexualized female. That’s changed in a lot of contemporary writing, with the kickass heroine becoming more of a norm. While the strength of that kickass heroine is a move forward, she can become a female version of the male idea of toughness, where any show of vulnerability is “feminine” or “weak.” The willingness to be vulnerable actually exhibits a different kind of strength. I tried to write female characters who are both tough and vulnerable. And I tried to write male characters who are both as well.

I’m also troubled by female characters who see other females as rivals instead of friends. I wanted to show strong female friendships in this book too. Romance is more central in Shadows than it was in Wings, but those female friendships are also very important.

El Space: What’s next after this series for you?
Stephanie: I’m incubating the seeds of a standalone fantasy novel based on figures from two different ancient religious traditions. I’ve got some research to do to figure out exactly where that book could go and how it will be shaped.

I also want to spend some time working on poetry, polishing some existing poems for submission and writing new ones.

Thanks, Stephanie, for visiting! You’re always welcome.

And thank you to all who dropped by. Since you’re here, check out this book trailer for A Gift of Shadows:

Looking for Stephanie? Look for her at her website and on Facebook. A Gift of Shadows is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords. Also, the eBook for A Gift of Wings is on sale for $0.99 to celebrate the holidays and the release of Shadows. You can get A Gift of Wings at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

You can be entered in the drawing to win one of two prizes Stephanie is offering—a paperback or an eBook of A Gift of Shadows—just by commenting below. And just because Christmas is around the corner, I’m offering a second eBook of A Gift of Shadows to a commenter. If you like, share with us your favorite female science fiction or fantasy author. I’ll start with some of my favorites: Lois McMaster Bujold, Juliet Marillier, Octavia Butler, Ursula Le Guin, and Robin McKinley. Winners will be announced on Tuesday, December 16.

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A Gift of Shadows has the Supervillain Seal of Approval.

A Gift of Shadows cover courtesy of Stephanie Stamm. The Rising cover from Goodreads. Book release image from mywrittenromance.com. Books from bellschool.org. No girls sign from whispermumstheword.com. Men vs. women sign from diniprathivi.wordpress.com. Christmas ornaments from ezdecorating.blogspot.com.