RWA2018 and Suzanne Brockmann's Lifetime Achievement Blow-Up

editing_for_authors
Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

BenPanced

THE BLUEBERRY QUEEN OF HADES
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Nov 5, 2006
Messages
17,463
Reaction score
3,685
Location
dunking doughnuts at Dunkin' Donuts
I attended RWA's national convention for the first time this year, and it was a spectacular learning experience for me. During the annual general meeting (first thing I attended. Hey, I'm a member, I was there, I want to know what the organization's doing for me and my fellow writers), the subject came up of RWA's looooooooooooooong history of dragging their feet on issues. Recently, they're addressing issues on diversity in the romance publishing industry and better representation of underrepresented groups. The primary discussion is on race but they've long also looked at QUILTBAG as part of the "diversity" umbrella.

During the RITA awards, author Suzanne Brockmann received the Lifetime Achievement Award and in her speech, she excoriated RWA for long looking down on QUILTBAG authors and novels, starting primarily with her own experiences in trying to get a novel published with a gay man as a minor background character (SPOILER ALERT: in 1992, you couldn't even do that in a novel and expect the organization to stand behind you). As recently as 2008, she was asked to MC the RITA awards and after rehearsals, was asked to not mention the wedding of two gay characters in a novel she'd published then. She didn't fight back then, either. She finally fought back long, hard, and loud during her LTA speech, especially since her own son has recently gotten married to his boyfriend, speaking out in a "now or never" tone that became more strident, more impassioned, and more brilliant as it went on.

Many people who'd never heard of her before that night fell deeply, completely, and totally in love with her. (I had to tell her that I need to track down her books and how much I hate it when an author forces me to buy more books.) Full text of her speech here; make wid der klikkety.

But, obviously, not everybody shares in the enthusiasm. The owner of Clean Reads is shocked, horrified, and aghast that such a deeply profound honor has been sullied and turned into a political event, claiming she'd insulted most of the people in the audience* (which was hard to tell if she'd insulted anybody at all, considering she'd gotten THREE standing ovations during the course of her speech). Brockmann had the platform and I'd say she reminded RWA of the contract they have with their members, to represent them and promote the romance genre, and how much work still needs to be done. She kept it on track within the confines of the group and their mission, unlike various performers over the years who'd used their Oscar win to promote their stances on the Israel-Palestine conflict; that is politicizing the moment and taking away from it.

My other takeaway from this? Jesus H., those RITA awards are fucking HYOOGE. If you've seen All About Eve and the Sarah Siddon Society award Eve receives during the run of the film? You think THAT thing was gigantic? Holy crapsticks, you could probably stun an ox with a RITA.

*The original Facebook post has since been deleted but a screencap is included with the Twitter feed.
 

Sheryl Nantus

Holding out for a Superhero...
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 12, 2005
Messages
7,196
Reaction score
1,634
Age
57
Location
Brownsville, Pennsylvania. Or New Babbage, Second
Website
www.sherylnantus.com
I was pleased to see this - she called out the community, and we're all responding in the positive - and noting who's trying to drag us back to the 1950's, if not earlier.

Slow moves forward - but it's a move.

Hope to go to RWA next year in NYC - it should be a blast!
 

BenPanced

THE BLUEBERRY QUEEN OF HADES
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Nov 5, 2006
Messages
17,463
Reaction score
3,685
Location
dunking doughnuts at Dunkin' Donuts
Several people on my Facebook list are reevaluating their Facebook connections to Taylor based on the blatant homophobia, in general, and since they also write M/M. I mean, how the hell could you continue to play "one big happy" after her reaction?
 

amergina

Pittsburgh Strong
Staff member
Moderator
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Aug 20, 2007
Messages
15,586
Reaction score
2,405
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
Website
www.annazabo.com
That speech is *such* a barometer as to whether someone is a racist, queerphobic bigot or not.

And heeeey. If you think you aren't and you don't like what's being said, then guess what? You are! You just want to hide behind "it wasn't a good venue for that" or "I'd miss her just talking about her singing group" or any other excuse you can come up with to try to say "she shouldn't have said that."
 

Jeneral

Cat wrangler
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Messages
1,512
Reaction score
273
Location
Florida
I watched the RITAs from home in my pjs with a glass of wine (couldn't go to the conference, but my CP was up for a RITA so there I was!), and her speech took my breath away. At the same time the chat group I'm in with some writing besties who were there were filling me in on how most of the room was incredibly supportive, but there were the occasional pockets of pearl-clutchers. She said difficult things that needed to be said (and needed to be heard), and I really hope that we as an organization can make some progress from here.

Also, I got to hold a RITA last year, and those things are heavy AF. :ROFL:
 

Tazlima

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jun 26, 2013
Messages
2,805
Reaction score
902
I read the speech and all I can say is, that was beautiful.
 
Last edited:

Alessandra Kelley

Sophipygian
Staff member
Moderator
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Mar 27, 2011
Messages
15,660
Reaction score
2,421
Location
Near the gargoyles
Website
www.alessandrakelley.com
Several people on my Facebook list are reevaluating their Facebook connections to Taylor based on the blatant homophobia, in general, and since they also write M/M. I mean, how the hell could you continue to play "one big happy" after her reaction?

Some context, please?
 

ElaineA

All about that action, boss.
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 17, 2013
Messages
6,886
Reaction score
3,066
Location
The Seattle suburbs
Website
www.reneedominick.com
I keep seeing a lot of people mentioning the complaints--within an hour of the speech--but not one of them crossed my Twitter feed until the screencap of Taylor's terrible take. Sometimes I just have to be grateful people are so blind about what they are revealing about themselves.
 
Last edited:

BenPanced

THE BLUEBERRY QUEEN OF HADES
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Nov 5, 2006
Messages
17,463
Reaction score
3,685
Location
dunking doughnuts at Dunkin' Donuts
Some context, please?

I'm talking about forming author-author connections with somebody within the genre who makes such comments, and then how can you pretend everything's hunky-dory and keep these connections when an incredibly toxic atmosphere has been created. I've met people in science fiction/fantasy circles who've tried to explain away such behaviors in order to keep the peace and not appear to be The Troublemaker™; people who've connected to Taylor on Facebook are wondering if they want to continue to keep that connection, even if it's "just" a Facebook friendship and not a "real" one.
 
Last edited:

veinglory

volitare nequeo
Staff member
Moderator
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 12, 2005
Messages
28,726
Reaction score
2,902
Location
right here
Website
www.veinglory.com
Clean Reads defines itself predominantly as a "conservative publisher". Which seems like the epitome of making it about politics.
 

cmhbob

Did...did I do that?
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 28, 2011
Messages
4,449
Reaction score
665
Location
Green Country
Website
www.bobmuellerwriter.com
I read the speech courtesy of a link on amergina's FB page, and loved it. What a writer, and what a mother.

I've got 8 mutual friends with Ms. Taylor, and I don't see any of them dropping her. About half of them probably agree with her, and the rest have some many author connections they don't realize they're friends with her.

When I read Ms Taylor's post, there were quite a few people there praising Ms. Brockman's speech, both for content and venue. How can you not use a pulpit like that when you get access to it? It was a Lifetime achievement award, and her writing and her children are part of her lifetime.
 

Alessandra Kelley

Sophipygian
Staff member
Moderator
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Mar 27, 2011
Messages
15,660
Reaction score
2,421
Location
Near the gargoyles
Website
www.alessandrakelley.com
I'm talking about forming author-author connections with somebody within the genre who makes such comments, and then how can you pretend everything's hunky-dory and keep these connections when an incredibly toxic atmosphere has been created. I've met people in science fiction/fantasy circles who've tried to explain away such behaviors in order to keep the peace and not appear to be The Troublemaker™; people who've connected to Taylor on Facebook are wondering if they want to continue to keep that connection, even if it's "just" a Facebook friendship and not a "real" one.

I meant, “Who is Taylor and what reaction?”
 

Tazlima

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jun 26, 2013
Messages
2,805
Reaction score
902

frimble3

Heckuva good sport
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Oct 7, 2006
Messages
8,904
Reaction score
1,624
Location
west coast, canada
Clean Reads defines itself predominantly as a "conservative publisher". Which seems like the epitome of making it about politics.
I would have thought 'religious' rather than 'political', but, I guess these days that's a blurry line.
 

veinglory

volitare nequeo
Staff member
Moderator
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 12, 2005
Messages
28,726
Reaction score
2,902
Location
right here
Website
www.veinglory.com
To me "conservative" reads as "the non-liberal political party in that country". But since moving to the US politics and religions seems to have become heavily conflated.
 

cool pop

It's Cool, Miss Pop if You're Nasty
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Oct 20, 2009
Messages
660
Reaction score
126
Location
Texas
This happened on FB with some small time, unknown author who went on tirade about Suzanne's speech, exposing the author's racism and homophobia. People have been tearing her down on FB for days. I don't know what these people are thinking saying this crap in public.

Well, the Clean Reads woman and the FB author should get together and write a book called, "How to ruin your career in less than a month." It would be a bestseller because they are definitely experienced.

The Clean Reads lady should be ashamed being a publisher. She should be concentrating on her authors because lately all I've heard about her company are complaints. Maybe she should tweet about that.

Clean Reads used to have another name for years but I forgot what it was. Started with an A.
 
Last edited:

amergina

Pittsburgh Strong
Staff member
Moderator
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Aug 20, 2007
Messages
15,586
Reaction score
2,405
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
Website
www.annazabo.com

veinglory

volitare nequeo
Staff member
Moderator
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 12, 2005
Messages
28,726
Reaction score
2,902
Location
right here
Website
www.veinglory.com
I think part of the problem was when they changed the name to "Clean" because it does come with baggage that anything they won't, include gay romance, is being called... not clean. A press can choose to include or exclude anything from their scope but what you call yourself (and that scope) matters.
 

Sunflowerrei

Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 22, 2012
Messages
1,438
Reaction score
86
Location
Queens, New York
Website
www.michelleathy.com
I heard about her speech via Twitter. I read a lot of romance, so I follow a lot of romance authors--and they were all excited about the speech.I read the transcript, loved it. It's exactly what needs to be said in these times. I watched the video last night on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books and her inflections and the whoops of the crowd make the speech that much better. Good on her for using her platform.
 

BenPanced

THE BLUEBERRY QUEEN OF HADES
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Nov 5, 2006
Messages
17,463
Reaction score
3,685
Location
dunking doughnuts at Dunkin' Donuts
A friend on Facebook posted a link to an open post from a woman who just wouldn't STFU about this and with every "but I'm not racist/homophobic!" reply kept digging herself deeper and deeper. (What made it really bad was she complained how the use of Language, in particular the word "fuck", in romance novels only proved the authors' and readers' lack of education, coming ][ this close to saying they're stupid. What made it even worse was she comes ][ this close to telling you some of her best friends are a black/brown/Not White™ [yes, she uses the articles "the" and "a" when talking about black people, as in "the blacks" or "a black"] and only refers to President Obama as "the previous occupant of the White House".)

ETA: In another post, she tries to make her point about discrimination and affirmative action by...talking about her black Lab.

ETAA: In a comment to another post, it's revealed she's making a formal complaint to RWA.
 
Last edited:

Laurasaurus

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 12, 2012
Messages
410
Reaction score
36
Location
England
I know you're being mature and kind by not posting the link, but by god I want to read that thread. :D
 

A large christmas tree with lights outdoors in the snow, with a snowman, houses, and children