Monday, March 21, 2011 | By: Jessica Verday

Being Gay is Okay

I've received a lot of questions and comments about why I'm no longer part of the WICKED PRETTY THINGS anthology (US: Running Press/UK: Constable & Robinson) and I've debated the best way to explain why I pulled out of this anthology. The simple reason? I was told that the story I'd written which features Wesley (a boy) and Cameron (a boy), who were both in love with each other, would have to be published as a male/female story because a male/male story would not be acceptable to the publishers.

I'll try to keep the "not-so-simple" reason from becoming a rant and just sum it up by saying that was SO Not Okay with me. I immediately withdrew my story and my support from the anthology.

There's a lot of misinformation and half-truths in the publishing world (like the fact that everyone thinks when you publish a book you're automatically BFF's with J.K. Rowling and you get to use her estate on the weekends because, hey, you're totally rich now, right?) and there's a lot that's outside of my control (my cover design, the text copy that goes on the book to describe it, how the book is advertised, where it gets promoted in bookstores...), but there's one thing that I can and always will be able to control and that's the message I send to my fans by the stories I write.

And the message I want to send is this: You don't choose who you fall in love with and you don't choose to be gay.

We're constantly bombarded with messages from sick people who try to tell us that it's a choice or a lifestyle or an agenda. But Wesley and Cameron's story isn't an agenda or an issue. It isn't an "I have to prove something to the world" story. Wesley and Cameron's story is a love story. About one boy who loves another boy so much that when something bad happens to him, he'll do whatever it takes to get him the help he needs.

Just bittersweet, hopeful, first love. And I think the world needs more of that.

While I may not have intentionally written an "issues" story, in the real world this issue is very personal to me. I have gay friends, gay fans, and gay family members, and by allowing my story to be changed in that way I would be contributing to a great disservice to them, the entire LGBTQ community, and to readers in general. You are not wrong or a dirty little secret for being who you are. Love is beautiful and rare. When you find it, you should hold onto it and not let go. You should not be made to feel inferior.



UPDATE - 3/22 - The editor of the anthology, Trish Telep, has replied to this post. Her comment in it's entirety:

Trisha Telep said...


Oh dear. Might as well give you my two cents. Not that it really matters but... Don't take it out on the publishers, the decision was mine totally. These teen anthologies I do are light on the sex and light on the language. I assumed they'd be light on alternative sexuality, as well. Turns out I was wrong! Just after I had the kerfuffle with jessica, I was told that the publishers would have loved the story to appear in the book! Oh dear. My rashness will be the death of me. It's a great story. Hope jessica publishes it online. (By the way: if you want to see a you tube video of me wrestling a gay man in Glasgow, and losing, please let me know).

201 comments:

«Oldest   ‹Older   1 – 200 of 201   Newer›   Newest»
Jennifer L. Armentrout said...

Wow. I find that sad that a publisher would want to change that. You have my support and I'm sure a lot more with your decision.

Retard-O-Bot said...

This is one of the bravest posts Jess.. I'm proud of you for standing up for what you believe in and if I were in your shoes I'd have done the same. Fighting for what you feel is right and not backing down is a great part of who you are. And your right it is not a choice it just is, we can not help who we love, and we shouldn't try to control it. Love is beautiful and chaotic in all its forms. Cheers to you.

Jessica said...

I think that you totally made the right decision. Love is love no matter who feels it and for whom. To have a publisher decide that that is the wrong "message" is just asinine and I can't believe that this type of thing is still an issue in today's society. So sad. I give you great kudos and hope to see their story published one day elsewhere to all the acclaim it deserves!

a cat of impossible colour said...

Bravo.

Geek Girl said...

I'm really proud of you for not caving and changing your story. I'm sure a lot of people would have.

You have my full support, and I hope you'll get that story published one day, because I'd love to read it! :)

-geekgirl
http://geekgirlsbookblog.blogspot.com

Dia said...

I would have done the same thing for the same reasons. Plus I just hate being told what to do. ;) Way to stick it to the man, Jessica.

Susie Day said...

Shame on the publishers - and how sad that they have such low expectations of their readers. Good for you and thanks for sharing!

Enamored Soul said...

I am so glad I know of authors who, even in this dog-eat-dog world where every one is striving hard to get rich, who put their integrity and the message that they want to relay to their readers above ALL of that.

You have my UTMOST respect for your actions - your taking this stand is not just sending a positive message to your readers, but is also a stinging slap to the publishing community who would rather sugar-coat reality with some cookie-cutter bullsh*t. THANK YOU, from the bottom of our hearts...THANK YOU!

Email: Enamoredsoul@gmail.com or Enamoredsoul(at)gmail(dot)com
Twitter: @inluvwithbookz

Amanda said...

Way to take a stand!

Angie said...

What a beautiful description of LOVE. <3

Andi Marquette said...

Rock on, Ms. Verday! I have a feeling your story will get picked up by a better venue in the future. Good luck to you and keep on writing and rocking!

Kody Boye said...

I'm so glad I found this post (Rick R. Reed linked me to it through his Twitter account.) I'll keep my comment brief, but good on you for doing what was right and sticking to your guns.

- Kody

Z.A. Maxfield said...

Brava Ms. Verday!

Kathy K said...

Bravo! I too found my way here via Rick Reed's Twitter post and I just wanted to say I'll now be looking for your books.

You did good!

Kathy

WordLuster said...

You have just gained so much respect from me as a person and as one of your readers. I can not think you enough for taking the stand that you have. I'm assuming that you will get a lot of flack and, sadly, bad feedback for your decision to take such a bold stand. I, for one, will give you nothing but praise. It truly saddens me that the publishing world is not more open to the LGBT community and stories submitted that concern them. On an even more personal note, I would like to thank you for standing up for me.. because although you do not know me, you have done so by refusing to change your story. I am gay.

I Heart Monster said...

Thank you for standing up for what you believe in even at personal and professional cost. You are a gem and an increasingly rare find in the world... a person who doesn't sell out. What a refreshingly awesome thing to do, Jessica! ♥

Mercy Celeste said...

as others have already said. Brava.

Kiernan_Kelly said...

Shame on the publisher for putting you in this position, and kudos to you for standing your ground. You're my hero!

Chris said...

Good for you! I look forward to reading your story as is. :)

n8an said...

Thank you.

Stephani Hecht said...

As a very, very, very proud mother of a gay son, I can't say thank you enough. When you do find a home for this story, I know I will be lining up to buy it.

-Maria- said...

Bravo!! Dont't change!

J. P. Barnaby said...

There is no better way to kill a story than to mess with the author's original vision for it. That is the vision for which they are passionate.

My favorite genre to read and write is gay romance, so your co-authors are certainly misinfomed.

Personally, I would put a story up for free for my fans before I changed something so fundamental about it in order to please a publisher.

Schweigsame said...

Unbelievable that this kind of thing still happens today. THANK YOU for standing up for the integrity of your characters and your story.

Romance Around the Corner said...

One door closes but others will open, and when they do I’m first in line to buy your book. It was a very brave thing you did, my hat's off to you!

AJ Llewellyn said...

Congratulations on having such awesome integrity. How long is your story? If you contact me privately I'd like to help you place it with a publisher who love it the way it is written!
ajllwllyn@aol.com

Pia Veleno said...

Standing O!

The M/M romance genre is growing by leaps and bounds, and we'd be thrilled to read your story as is. No girls required.

D.W. Marchwell said...

I applaud your honesty and your principles. As both a school teacher and an author in the m/m genre, I could not agree more. It's not only children who need to learn that "being gay is okay". Kudos to you!

airi71 said...

Bravo! I hope you find a home for the story. I know I'd buy it.

Marla said...

Thanks to Belinda McBride pointing the way here from her Facebook account. I hope your positive message makes its way around the globe, and I'll definitely support an author who takes such a stand. I've added all three of your Hollow series to my Amazon wish list and am looking forward to reading them. Also hope you will find a publisher for this story, as well.

Jenna said...

Good for you! Whenever you do have this story published, please pass the word around. I will certainly buy it!

Cassandra Gold said...

Beautifully put. I hope the story comes out from another publisher soon, because I'd love to read it.

Deborah Blake Dempsey said...

Good for you. Your story is real to the people who live and love authentically.

Brooke said...

You are remarkable about not letting anyone change your book. You can find other publishers who are looking for LBGT books to publish.

Natalie L. Sin said...

I'm amazed they asked you to change it. Really disappointing, in this day and age.

Patricia Lynne said...

This topic is something I've seen a bit the past few weeks. A twitter friend wrote a blog about an agent that told her to change her African American boy into a white girl. My writing buddy discussed his characters' sexuality and how to respond if a publisher or agent suggests a change that would make the story hetro. Even I discussed being asked to make changes like that.

It's good to hear that you didn't bend and change the story. Sexuality in a story shouldn't scare us away. My one friend said he isn't bothered reading a hetro stories. Why are all us straight people making such a big fuss about reading a gay story? I've recently read a few. I loved them, the stories were great, the characters awesome and I will definitely read more. Hell, I'm writing a few and my biggest fear w/ the stories are having some one try to convince me I need to make it a hetro story.

Kudos to you and everyone else who stands their ground on any changes about race, gender or sexuality!

AmyBeth Inverness said...

Way to go for standing up for the story and the issue. I would love to see the day when same sex romances are categorized as simple "romance" instead of being shelved in the "alternative lifestyle" section.

T D McKinney said...

You have my utmost respect.

Anonymous said...

I love this industry, overall, but have occasionally been embarrassed by it. This would qualify as one of those times.

Ellora's Cave is proud of our LGBT authors and their emotional, heartfelt, inspirational work, both in the industry and within the gay community. I'm sure several other fantastic epubs feel much the same.

Rock on, Jess.

Kelli Collins

Eric Arvin said...

Wonderful post! I'm applauding you so hard I'm getting palm burn. Bravo! You've got a new reader.

Taln SilverGrizzly said...

Simply ..... Thank You.

Taln SilverGrizzly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
S said...

Thank you. You just earned a new reader.

Noly said...

Bravo! I'm very impressed with both your decision to pull out rather than change your story from m/m to m/f and with your decision to let people know that you are sticking by your principals. Kudos to you.

Mark David Gerson said...

Bravo!

Bianca Sommerland said...

Jessica, as an author and a reader, I applaud your grit and integrity. This is your story and no one has the right to try and change it. I hope you find somewhere else to publish it. By your passion alone I know your readers will enjoy your beautiful romance.

Warmly,
Bianca

Aunt Amelia's Attic said...

Bravo for you, for doing what you feel is right!

Stephanie said...

Jessica,
lump.in.throat.while.reading.this. Seriously. You are awesome, proud of you.

Lavinia Thompson said...

Good for you!!!! I too have gay friends, one of whom I have very close with. I am glad to see someone is able to publicly stand up for the LGBT community. I'm what my LGBT friends call a straight ally and I am damn proud of it. I'm deeply saddened that publishers would do that though, makes me really lose faith in them and a bit of the society around us. As long as there are people like us who stand up for them though, they won't get away with it completely.

David said...

Thank you for being an ally.

J. A. Kosse said...

I fully support you and am posting your story everywhere I can. RUNNING PRESS no longer has my support or money and I will NOT spend any of my money on their products.

J. A. Kosse said...

Jessica - please submit this news to http://www.hrc.org/. They FULLY SUPPORT LGBT rights and they would not take lightly to hearing this.

Shiku said...

I blogged about this a couple of days ago; would I compromise the sexuality of my characters if asked by a publisher or agent? And the answer is absolutely not.

Good on you for standing up and saying no.

Somewhere out there are young adults, confused about their sexuality and what it means. And meanwhile, things like this are happening. What kind of message does that send to those youths? They need to know that being gay is okay, and having literature depicting gay relationships, I think, will go some way to letting them know that nothing is wrong with them.

Josh said...

Reject the tyranny of being picked: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2011/03/reject-the-tyranny-of-being-picked-pick-yourself.html

Andrew Ashling said...

You have my utmost respect and I hope this publisher goes the way of the dodo.

Anonymous said...

I applaud you - and throw cookies/gold stars your way. Thank you from the bottom my heart for doing this.

OllieArryson@peacemail.com

jessewave said...

Jess
I think you have a lot of personal integrity to withdraw your story from this anthology, and it's shameful of Running Press, which published historical M/M stories in the past, to now send such a homophobic message.

Thank you for taking a stand which could affect your future earnings. Many of us take a stand where it doesn't cost us anything, so it's great to see someone like you do something for a principle that means so much to them. Rock on Jess! Somehow Iim sure you'll find another publisher who will publish your story.

melinda said...

So Jessica, I hope you turn your story into a book!!! I would be the first to buy it. Love you and everything you write!!!!

KB/KT Grant said...

Not many authors would do what you have done. I applaud you.

Trisha Telep said...

Oh dear. Might as well give you my two cents. Not that it really matters but... Don't take it out on the publishers, the decision was mine totally. These teen anthologies I do are light on the sex and light on the language. I assumed they'd be light on alternative sexuality, as well. Turns out I was wrong! Just after I had the kerfuffle with jessica, I was told that the publishers would have loved the story to appear in the book! Oh dear. My rashness will be the death of me. It's a great story. Hope jessica publishes it online. (By the way: if you want to see a you tube video of me wrestling a gay man in Glasgow, and losing, please let me know).

Sarah Rees Brennan said...

Well done for sticking to your guns, Jessica, but I'm so sorry that happened! It's appalling that it did: I think YA more than anything else has a responsibility to say to kids that they're okay the way they are - whatever sexuality or race, and that means writing more diverse fiction, even if writing more diverse fiction comes (as sadly we know it does) at a price.

I'm so, so sorry and outraged for you that there was that kind of price.

Mandi said...

Nicely done!! You have my support :)

karenhealey said...

Good for you, Jessica! Totally the right decision, and one I would hope to make in your situation.

Totally Rawkin Designs said...

As a bonus mom to a wonderful gay son, I say KUDOS to you...why shouldnt my son be able to read a story that could be about his life? Why must "his" story be relegated to something too dirty or wrong to read!

Saundra Mitchell said...

This whole thing deeply saddens me. Being gay is not "alternative sexuality." Being gay is about falling in love, the same as being hetero. It makes me screamingly crazy that the mere presence of a gay character is perceived to be about SEX, how backwards.

Good on you for withdrawing your story rather than compromising on its content, Jessica. Glad to have you as an ally!

Michelle said...

I was glad to see Trisha's comment and would like to suggest that Jessica post an update on the original post with that text. When reading the post, I thought there might be more to the situation than was readily apparent, and it turns out to be so.

It's great that you stand up for what you value. However, sensitive and complex issues such as this aren't black and white, and it saddens me to see someone or something vilified unjustly because a piece of information wasn't available when the blog post was written.

Shveta Thakrar said...

*clap, clap, clap* Thank you.

greenspace said...

I'm glad to hear that Running Press liked the story after all, Trisha. and I hope other authors will see your comment, and submit stories that are gay-themed (if that's what they have a passion to write) to other anthologies, knowing they'll be judged on quality & suitability for the anthology, not on conformity to straightness.

Courtney Milan said...

These teen anthologies I do are light on the sex and light on the language. I assumed they'd be light on alternative sexuality, as well.

I don't even know where to start. You wouldn't even think to say that a teen anthology that is light on sex and language would be light on, say, people of color, would you?

Saying, "Gee, I thought that having gay people in an anthology would be like having explicit sex" is wrong on so many levels. This is the most utterly asinine defense I've seen.

You say, "my rashness will be the death of me." Uh, that's not rashness. It's bigotry.

momoffrank said...

WTG I am glad that you are strong enough to stand up for for what you you believe These days so many people will change or hide who they are and what they believe for the sake of "almighty dollar". The world world needs more young people like you!!

Lauren said...

Wow. I'm sorry you had to make that choice, but good on you for making it.

It's easy to think we'd do this or that when confronted with something like this, it's a lot harder to actually do it. Good on you.

JMS Books LLC said...

You did the right thing. If you ever consider publishing the story as a stand-alone e-book, you'll definitely be able to find a publisher willing to take it on. Not to shamelessly self-promote, but I would love to consider it! http://www.jms.bz/5

Thank you for standing up for what you feel is right!

--
J.M. Snyder

JMS Books LLC
a queer small press
http://jms-books.com

Lindsay N. Currie said...

That was a lovely blog post. Lovely.

Julia Broadbooks said...

*slow clap*

Young adults most of all need to hear the message that the world can accept you just the way you are.

Nicole Peeler said...

Thank you for posting this. I value your decision and your bravery in being honest about why and how your decision was made. Brava!

Jennifer Armintrout said...

Wow. That is beyond ridiculous. Keep your chin up, find a publisher who will take it, or self-publish it. You'd have my support, and I won't be buying books from that publisher until they get their heads out of their collective booty holes.

Cait Miller said...

I applaud you for sticking to your principles. I hope to read your story soon because I know without a doubt it will find another home.

Amy said...

Thank you so much for making that hard decision, and for being brave enough to post about it. I hope we get the chance to read this story, because it sounds wonderful.

It's so sad and outrageous that you had to make this choice at all.

Nikki Hopeman said...

The world would be a better place with more folks who think like you and have the guts to stick to it. Thanks for that.

Erastes said...

Although I applaud you for sticking to your guns, I was rather confused that the publisher was being painted as homophobic, because they are anything but, and they've been publishing gay books, gay erotica, gay romance for years. I'm glad the editor stood up and admitted it was her error, and that Running Press would have been happy to have the story in the anthology. Hopefully the editor will be a little more open next time--and NOT call gay "alternative" which denotes that it's not normal--or a choice. Vegetarianism is alternative. Homosexuality is not.

Beth Wylde said...

Hallelujah. Way to stcik to your guns. I'm sure your story will easily find a great home elsewhere. It's sad to see publishers still discriminating against stories just because the main couple isn't m/f. How the hell do people rationalize that? We are who we are and we love who we love no matter their color, kink, gender or orientation.
Bravo Ms. Verday and thank you for having the balls to do the right thing. ^_^
Beth
www.bethwylde.com

JulieLeto said...

I applaud you for standing up for your story!

AnnK said...

Thank you for taking a stand. You made the right decision.

Cayla Kluver said...

Thank you for your support of the LGBT community and for being brave enough to pull that story and your support of the anthology. This ought to make the literary rounds. Bravo!

Lisa said...

I think it is ridiculous that they would want to change the relationship like that! Good for you for standing up for your characters!

Larissa {Larissa's Bookish Life} said...

That is disgusting!

Thanks for taking a stand! You were very Brave and I will NOT be getting this Anthology!

rodgers.shelli said...

i really admire you standing up for what you believe in. my sister in law is married to a wonderful woman and the crap she has went through is unreal. but she is finally happy and we have all presented an united front with her to all the people who want to run their mouth about her choice. its not a choice its her heart

J. Koyanagi said...

The world needs stories about queer love--stories beyond "issue" fiction. I applaud you and am dismayed by the publisher's response to your piece.

J. R. Tomlin said...

The antho goes on my "do NOT buy" list. Great to see an author standing up for her principles!

Selene Coulter said...

Thank you for standing up for the LGBT community.

You've just gained a reader.

They've just lost one.

I've re-tweeted (and will keep doing so) across the interwebs and have some LGBT peeps as my followers. Hopefully this'll get picked up by other (higher-up) people.

omoidashita said...

Well I now know who wont be publishing anything I write.

Holly Black said...

I am appalled that you were put in that position. I agree with Sarah Brennan that YA more than anything else has a responsibility to say to kids that they're okay the way they are - whatever sexuality or race. But also, I am shocked that anyone would find the story of two boys in love to be in any way shocking.

You did a really brave and good thing, both in sticking to your guns and in posting about it.

Sean Wills said...

@Trisha Telep

Oh dear. Might as well give you my two cents. Not that it really matters but... Don't take it out on the publishers, the decision was mine totally. These teen anthologies I do are light on the sex and light on the language. I assumed they'd be light on alternative sexuality, as well.

Why on Earth would you assume that 'alternative sexuality' would be put in the same category as swearing and explicit sex?

Jaimie said...

@Sean Wills

Why on Earth would you assume that 'alternative sexuality' would be put in the same category as swearing and explicit sex?

I think you're jumping the gun a bit, because the story might have had sexuality in it. Maybe that's what she meant? Of course she used the word "alternative," but then that is a publishing term for better or for worse.

Jessica, may we ask what level of sexuality there was in the story?

Susan Oloier said...

I found your link through Twitter. I absolutely applaude you for your courage to stand up for what you believe in. It is not the easy thing to do, but I believe it is the right thing to do.
You have my complete support. I have the same passion for giving voice to those with disabilities, so I can totally relate.

Anonymous said...

If the publisher is fine with it and it's only the editor that appears to be a bigot (and whoops, her bad. So sorry!) then why hasn't the publisher and this editor asked the author if she would please let them publish the story in the anthology as she wrote it now that the editor sees the error of her ways?

hannah said...

God. It's insane to believe this kind of crap still happens.

You're awesome, Jessica, and we're lucky to have you around.

Jessica Verday said...

@Jaimie - Three kisses. One implied - "When he was kissing me, and holding my face like I was air and he couldn't breathe..." and two direct "he kissed me one last time" and "I kissed him one last time." Also, for the record, there was one F*ck in there ("God, he's so f*cking rich") that was never pointed out as being "too heavy on the language."

Jaimie said...

@Jessica

Ahhh, there you go. Thanks Jessica. I always like having the facts before I make conclusions.

Nina @ Death Books and Tea said...

You did whats right...not giving in to the publishers.
Nothing's wrong with m/m...
Congratulations on not changing your story to fit publishers expectations.
Love is love. No matter what the gender is.

Sean Wills said...

@jaimie

If the problem had been sex, then the story (presumably) would have been rejected on that basis in the first place. The original post says upfront that Verday was asked to change it to a story involving a 'straight' romance, which wouldn't have fixed anything if explicit sex was involved.

Becky Black said...

Just wanted to add my voice to the many saying good on you for refusing to give in and change your story. You have my respect and I hope we get to see your story somewhere else.

Louisa Edwards said...

This is a wonderful post, and I love reading all the comments supporting you and your stance! I have nothing to add, really, other than to say I would've bought that anthology for your story alone, and I very much hope to get the chance to read it somewhere else someday soon.

Anonymous said...

Given the editor's response, it is hard to fathom why such an incompetent person would be assigned to the project.

Glenn Ingersoll said...

Thanks for taking this seriously. Unlike Ms Telep, who seems to think it's all light-hearted fun that she has the power to shut out "alternative sexuality." Ooh, and wrestle!

hughman said...

I wholeheartedly applaud you Jessica for standing for the right thing here. You are an inspiration to all writers who believe in their work.

Also, I was surprised at the "editor's" flippant response. She sounds rather ignorant and uneducated about what young people are interested in reading (hint: it's not based on her narrow-minded parameters) and the choice of her as an editor here is puzzling.

Bravo to you Ms. Verday!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for taking a stand.

Kristi Cook said...

Brava, Jessica!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for understanding that being gay is about love. Your gay family, friends and fans love you for standing with us.

Master of Ceremonies said...

Well done. Haven't seen your work, but buying your first book in the trilogy now. Anyone with as much integrity as you have shown is worth a read.

Chris said...

Thank you for standing up for your story.

I do hope your story finds a home somewhere.

David Groff said...

Don't blame this on the publisher--they do a lot of LGBT work, as other commentators have noted. Blame it on the nitwit anthologist. in denigrating "alternative sexuality" she did a rash and unjust thing that she is now airily trying to brush off. Shame on her.

Caitlin Kittredge said...

Jessica,

I contacted you off-blog, but I just wanted to say publicly I applaud what you did. It takes a lot of guts to stick to your convictions, especially in this industry.

Malinda Lo said...

This was really disturbing to me, especially because I was invited to participate in one of these anthologies but was unable to do so because of time. It's not like I only write about gay people, but -- oh who am I kidding, I pretty much only write about gay people. :) I wonder if the editor was really aware of that when she invited me? I do hope she changes her opinion about "alternative sexuality" in the future.

Amsel said...

These teen anthologies I do are light on the sex and light on the language.

This part would be alright, as it's understandable if the anthology doesn't want to go that way. However, you wanted her to change it to M/F - going against what you stated.

I assumed they'd be light on alternative sexuality, as well.

It's not an "alternative sexuality". Is it a minority compared to heterosexuality? Yes. But seeing as you wanted it M/F, clearly gay love is more offensive to write about than straight love, in your opinion.

I am proud that you stood up to this, Jess. I would love to see you post the story online.

And to the editor - please contact your publishers before making such a biased decision. If it was a well written story and that was the ONLY gripe about it (which is seemed to be) then you could have contacted them about it and seen what they wanted, if you were unsure.

J.J. said...

Thank you for the vote of support.

Letey Petey said...

You rock.

gavinatlas said...

Thanks very much, Jessica. Your books are the next ones I buy.

a_hoffman79 said...

You have just gained a new reader in me. From one ally to another, I applaud you and respect you without knowing anything else about you or your work *yet*.

Best, Angela

Joe Gallagher said...

Trish-

I would love to see the video of you wrestling a gay man because that would totally prove that you're not a homophobe...oh, wait, no it wouldn't. You're a homophobe no matter who you wrestle.

Jessica- you're amazing!! i wish there were more people like you in this world!

Valerie Kemp said...

Wow. I don't know which is more disturbing, your being asked to change your story or the "explanation" about why you were asked.

Kudos to you for standing for what you believe in - both for pulling your story and for going public. I hope one day people will understand how very important inclusion is in YA. Beautiful post.

Mark R. Probst said...

I really was perplexed, since I knew that it didn't sound at all like a position Running Press would take. Now that we know it was the editor and not the publisher who objected to the material, I would hope that Running Press would want to make this right and to invite you back in, or is it too late?

Ronni said...

xoxoxo!

Yuki said...

I've never heard of you before, but I came across this post and... wow. I appreciate you doing that; you're very brave! I'm glad you stuck up for yourself. I'll make sure to check out your work!

angel Graham said...

Being gay is okay! Thank you Jessica.

I applaud you for taking a stand on your characters. I am writing a love story between two women. If I were told I'd have to make it between a male and female, I'd have to say no, because then it would not be my story. It would not be my character's story.

The editor (Trish) I believe...is right. Her rashness is going to cause problems. Glad she said something, but now a story that could and should have been published in the anthology is not there.

Could have and still can make a difference. Please find a way to publish it.

Robbie (BoywithBooks) said...

You've gained readers because of this. I know that I am not the only one who had absolutely no interest in your books before this, but now have the desire to pick them up and see if the "gel" with my reading tastes.

Thank you for your decision and statement, and I hope that you and the publisher can come to an arrangement where the story can be printed. If not, I totally want to read it anyway.

Bandana Jack said...

jessica,

you and your work have previously outside my ken, however your explanation of the situation you found yourself and the decision that precipitated was so well written that i will be watching for more of your writing. having read the editors response, i have great hopes that this little story will find itself published and perhaps even into the gay blogosphere. we have little enough positive news, and portrayal in the arts that it will be welcomed, especially if your quality of fiction is equal to your non fiction writing.

thank you...

Victor J. Banis said...

Jessica,

Having had my own issues with Running Press, I have to say this is probably not institutional homophobia - it' more like the left hand never has a clue what the right hand is doing. But I applaud your decision. When a writer starts letting others dictate what he/she writes, she becomes less an author and more a...well, the French called them Les Grandes Horizantales.

BTW there are any number of publishers doing short stories as e-books these days. I can recommend Untreed Reads highly, and MLR Press has a line as well.

Anonymous said...

Wow, it's so strange the way so many people are bashing the editor. It's obvious she was trying to diffuse problems that's why she took the preppy route, no?

Also, to people like Sean Wilis who I greatly admire, arent you guys being too politically correct here?

This is America, where people still think its a sin to be gay. Being gay is not the norm, its still looked at as the exception. This is life. It's unfair but that's life. We do not live in an Utopia. The editor used the word "alternative sexuality" because lets face it that is how the topic of gay relationships is treated in publishing. What did you want her to call it? Why are people acting shocked about the terms she used? It is what it is. Is it right? No! But nowhere did she say being gay wasnt right but because people become so defensive and accusing, that's why she added the wrestling gay people part. She was clearly nervous.
I suppose why this is so annoying to me in the same manner I find what this author went through as annoying, is that we are pressuring people not to speak their mind. We label them racist, we label them homophobes, just because they have a certain belief that people want to view as that.
A good example is the Kings of Leon sceneario and Ryan Murphy. "Go play with some f**king dolls," is an insult I have heard several straight men say to one another, but the minute a gay man aggravates a straight man, and the straight man rightfully retaliates, its oh, he's homophobic. He hates gay people. PLEASE.
It's clear that there are a lots of publishing companies out there that still view gay things as "alternative," in the same way they viewed things with people of color as "different." It is what it is, as a society we arent there yet. Gays can still not get married in every state and that should be proof enough to show that a decent amount of Americans still are not okay with homosexuality. Take racism back in the sixties, and today. It's way better. It's the same thing I think will happen with Homosexuality. Till then, lets be careful not to get to lost in polotical correctness.

Of course some are going to read my post and assume I hate gay people, without even knowing if I am gay, bi, and so on. Good luck to the author and hang in there. It is what it is. Life isnt fair.

Anonymous said...

That was the most insincere tragedy of an "explanation" I've ever seen. Really, Ms. Telep? As a grown woman and a professional editor your response to being called out on your blatant bigotry and homophobia is basically "Whoopsiedoodle, silly old me"? It's even more appalling when you consider the recent gay teen suicides that have been in the media, and the push to show love and support to LGBTQ teens.
I am a mother of a pre-teen girl who reads voraciously; my daughter is your target audience. Your disgusting ignorance has ensured that, in the dozens of books we purchase for her every year, none of the anthologies you've edited or taken part in will ever grace our home.

Ms. Verday, I commend you for standing up against this outrageous display of blatant homophobia, and I sincerely hope that you will seek out another, less bigoted anthology to publish your story in...and when you do, I will be proud to buy my daughter a copy.

Rick R Reed said...

It's good to hear that the editor stepped up and said it was her decision and not the press's. Still, she sounds like a very silly and thought-free kind of gal, certainly not one I'd want editing my work. So maybe you dodged a bullet.

Romantic Heretic said...

I had a similar thing happen to me. In that case it was someone who disagreed with a political opinion I posted on line. They made it clear that as long as I worked for them I was going to keep my politics to myself, and if I had to post they would have to check it first.

Needless to say, I pulled out of that project.

Good on you, Jessica.

Tanya said...

It is what it is, as a society we aren't there yet...Till then, lets be careful not to get to lost in political correctness.

Yeah, because sitting back and waiting for things to change has always worked in the past. Did you miss the point of the whole Civil Rights MOVEMENT??

Kudos to you, Jessica, for taking a stand against this kind of bigotry instead of "not getting lost in political correctness" like some people would prefer.

SHAME on you, Ms. Telep, for lumping homosexualiy in with explicit sex and foul language.

sophiamcdougall said...

I'm so sorry you were put in this position, and impressed at how you chose to handle it.

Ms Telep, I am unsure how you think video of you wrestling a gay man would help matters. If it's to prove you don't think you can catch The Gay by touch, well, that's a pretty low bar to clear. And it's really not about what you. It's about the LGBT teenagers whose sexuality you just treated as obscene.

N. K. Jemisin said...

Thank you for posting this, Jessica. I know how hard it can be to go public about bigotry. But the more people who do it, the sooner the climate will change so that no one else has to.

Re: the anth editor, I really shouldn't be surprised anymore by how thoughtlessly hurtful people can be, but maybe one day that will change too.

Sean Wills said...

This is America, where people still think its a sin to be gay. Being gay is not the norm, its still looked at as the exception. This is life. It's unfair but that's life. We do not live in an Utopia. The editor used the word "alternative sexuality" because lets face it that is how the topic of gay relationships is treated in publishing. What did you want her to call it? Why are people acting shocked about the terms she used? It is what it is. Is it right? No!

Which is why I'll never be apologetic for calling people out on their prejudice. I am not saying that Telip harbors any particular anti-gay feeling, or that she hates gay people - I'm only saying that she's perpetuating a very common and very damaging idea about gay relationships. The fact that society apparently isn't 'ready' for a story like Verday's is all the more reason to tell it.

As for being 'lost in political correctness'...well, as you pointed out, I couldn't get married in most states in America (I also can't get married in my own country, which only legalised unequal civil partnerships a few years ago). Compared with that, I think I can handle being called politically correct.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sticking by what you beleive in! It makes me very happy as a gay man to read that you did this.

Michael M. Jones said...

So sorry to hear this happened, Jessica. But major points to you for withdrawing rather than change such a fundamental part of your story.

I hope this outcry helps to show that there are plenty of readers out there who would actually welcome LGBTQ stories in an anthology. As the YA reviewer for Realms of Fantasy, I'm always trying to find material along those themes to help with awareness. Sadly, Trisha Telep's shortsightedness is making me reconsider how I feel about her projects. (For the time being, she gets the hairy eyeball from me. Grrr, argh.)

Good luck finding a home for your story!

Erica Hildebrand said...

This post is beautiful and poignant. I applaud your decision, and hope Wesley and Cameron's story sees print soon. Well done.

Best,
Erica

Greg said...

I applaud you for pulling out, and keeping your morals in the right place!

And like everyone else, I hope to someday read this story. You're now on my radar... good luck getting off :)

Greg

Will Belegon said...

Thank you, Jessica. Your integrity and courage are greatly appreciated.

LoonyMoonyy said...

I bow to your awesomeness! You are an amazing woman :)

QKC said...

I have such respect for you. You definitely have my support. *When* it is published, I will be buying it most definitely as this story sounds like something I would love. I'm spreading the word to my friends.
Growing up made fun of and physically hurt, to put everything lightly & briefly, I am disgusted by the people who try to soil the notion of love in the name of "protecting marriage" or, even worse, "protecting the family". Reading your post really brightened my day & I was not going to write such a long comment but here I went. haha.
Anyway, thank you thank you THANK you for what you did - for not "selling out", so to speak. Do let us know when this story is picked up!

Anonymous said...

What an awesome non-apology by the editor.

You've gained a reader. I've never heard of you before today, but tomorrow's payday and I'm going to be looking to buy some of your stuff.

Daniaegg said...

Jess...good for you for standing up for what is right...whether or not it is "politically correct". As a white female married to a black man for the past 14 years I have experienced the bigotry that your so-called "editor" so blatently expressed. GOOD FOR YOU!!

janni said...

Just here to add another voice of support. Like so many, I'm dismayed this was even an issue and sorry you had to make this decision -- but there's a point at which making a sale becomes far less important than telling our stories as they need to be told.

I hope this story that needed to be told finds its right home very soon.

Tim Susman said...

Good for you! The people above have said it all, so I'll just add my bravo and heartfelt thanks, as one boy who loves another boy so much we went across the country to get married. :)

Lauracea said...

Well done Jessica - I heartily support you. I had an M/M novel on the submission trail a while ago. It's more a light literary thriller than romance and it's non-explicit. But agents and publishers shied away with comments such as they don't publish this type of material. One even said, "Is this another Brokeback Mountain?" I'm not gay but I found the remarks so hurtful, personally. It's now, fortunately, been published but I find people I know saying they couldn't read such a thing. Now if it was M/F, they'd leap at it. Ah this world...

Leigh Ellwood said...

I hope you are able to find a home for your story. Every story deserves to be heard, and it looks like you have a long list of readers waiting for it. :-)

Neo-Prodigy said...

Also stepping in to say thank you for taking a stand against such rampant bigotry.

ambyr said...

I'm surprised by Telep's comment, given that the only anthology by her I've read, Kiss Me Deadly, has lesbian characters (in "Behind the Red Door"). Not coincidentally, that was my favorite story in the book. I don't know whether it was okay because the main character in the story is straight, because they're lesbians and not gay men, or because (horrifying thought) the story ends with them breaking up, and the break-up is cast as positive.

Sharon S. said...

I think someone really underestimated their audience. People now a days, especially teens are more accepting of gay relationships. I just starting reading some m/m romance and my teenage daughter writes it! Those love stories tend to touch me more because of what they have to go through to be together. Good call on your part

Caitlin Kittredge said...

@ ambyr

"Behind the Red Door" was my story, and I have to say I wondered all the same things as you when this whole mess broke open. I got dinged for dropping an F-bomb in the story by Ms. Telep, but she had nothing to say about Ani and Deidre's relationship. Maybe it didn't meet her definition of "romantic"...

Either way, sad. Thanks for your kind words about my story.

Liz Argall said...

Dear Annonymous

"I suppose why this is so annoying to me in the same manner I find what this author went through as annoying, is that we are pressuring people not to speak their mind. We label them racist, we label them homophobes, just because they have a certain belief that people want to view as that."

Please bear in mind Jessica did not call her editor homophobic, she called her editor out on her behavior. Change happens through sustained action. I suggest you watch Ill Doctrine's "How to tell people they sound racist." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0Ti-gkJiXc

Your post did make you sound a little bit homophobic, that does not mean you are, but your word choice indicated to me that you were angry we were having a conversation about homophobia (and to everyone, I highly recommend that clip, it is so easy for conversations about racist/homophic/sexist activity to be hijacked away from what actually happened… some great activist strategies in there)

Kenneth Mark Hoover said...

Great post, Jessica. I am glad we have writers like you who are willing to stand up for the right thing.

Liz Argall said...

I should add, that while Trisha sent an apology I think tone and content is important. Personally, I feel that the apology seeks to minimize what occurred and that it would be useful for her to consider how she can more effectively apologize and make amends.

What I would find valuable in an apology:
Acknowledgement of wrongdoing that does not seek to minimize what occurred (so she got part-way there, but this is not the space for humor).
Specific, not generalized details of what she has learned, how she will try not to do it again (we all screw up) and how she will actively work against prejudice (now knowing how much can be rendered invisible by heterosexual privilege).

Anonymous said...

"I suppose why this is so annoying to me in the same manner I find what this author went through as annoying, is that we are pressuring people not to speak their mind. We label them racist, we label them homophobes, just because they have a certain belief that people want to view as that."

I don't care what people do or don't BELIEVE... but when someone's BELIEF starts impacting my life, when someone's BELIEF starts getting treated like FACT... that is when I personally get angry. A person can believe whatever they like about homosexuality, but that doesn't mean it's correct, and if it leads to me not being able to marry who I love, adopt, having to fear for my life, and authors not being able to get stories published, that is not ethical. It's not right.

Anyhow...

Thank you, Jessica Verday, for standing up for yourself and not backing down. The GLBT community needs more good, hopeful and non-stereotyping fiction, especially for young GLBT individuals who have a hard time finding fiction they can identify with. Your bravery gives me hope for the future.

And...

What the hell does wrestling have to do with anything, dear editor? Gay men can wrestle just as well as straight men, and you can't catch The Gay from touch. o_O So... What's the point?

Rachel B. said...

Here via BookShelves of Doom, where, after reading a short summary of your situation, I was ready to send large buckets of annoyance to Running Press. I'm a bookseller, my area is YA, and I would have happily returned all the Running Press stock in the store if it had been their call.

Glad it's not.

I'm sure your story will find a home in a much more interesting anthology. My teen experience was in no way light on either sex, "alternative sexuality" (those quotation marks denote my mocking tone), or "language" (ditto), and I think most teen readers appreciate it when work aimed at them isn't artificially vanilla.

Anyway, good on you, sorry the editor was so boringly homophobic, and I look forward to reading your work elsewhere.

Constable Robinson said...

The young adult anthology Wicked Pretty Things, due to be co-published in the United States by Running Press, was commissioned by Constable & Robinson Ltd, which is wholly responsible for its content. Running Press has no direct association with Trisha Telep, the editor of the anthology.
The misunderstanding which has led to Jessica Verday’s story, ‘Flesh Which Is Not Flesh’, being excluded from this anthology, ostensibly on the grounds that it concerns a m/m relationship, is entirely regrettable and something we have sought to correct. Constable & Robinson Ltd remains fully supportive of LGBTQ writing, and apologises unreservedly for any offence caused.

Running Press said...

Running Press Teens deeply regrets any offensive comments recently made by Trisha Telep, anthologist for Wicked Pretty Things. At no point were we consulted in Trisha’s decision to reject Jessica Verday’s story as submitted. Opinions expressed by Ms. Telep do not reflect our publishing philosophy. As publishers of quality Young Adult literature, we proudly support the LGBT community and are deeply committed to publishing diverse authors and subject matters. We have since approached Ms. Verday to reconsider including her original m/m story in the anthology. Even though we respect her decision to decline, we have a responsibility to all of the talented writers that have contributed to Wicked Pretty Things, and therefore intend to move forward with publication.

Liz Argall said...

I think I was a bit too soft in my respectful challenge of Anonymous and it bugs me... getting that balance is always too tricky. Challenge a person too softly and it can appear like support or glossing over things. Challenge a person too hard and your chances of expanding their mind and getting them beyond the fear state and into dialogue evaporates. It is an ongoing journey.

Anyhow that is why a diversity of voices is so awesome and I wanted to draw your attention to Keffy Kehrli's post he wrote about Jessica's experiences and how it relates to his very similar own experiences with a publisher (you have to scroll down a little bit) http://kehrli.livejournal.com/677629.html

I love what he says about allies and what we are doing when we don't stand up for stuff.

Cat Rambo said...

I also came here after seeing Keffy's post. Thank you for not changing the story and thank you for talking about the experience. That's one of the best ways to change this sort of attitude.

"Wrestling a gay man in Glasgow" - errr....wtf was that supposed to mean?

Memory said...

Thank you. Just, thank you.

Constable Robinson said...

I sincerely regret the sequence of events which has led to Jessica Verday’s story ‘Flesh Which Is Not Flesh’ being excluded from the forthcoming anthology Wicked Pretty Things. This has been the result of a misunderstanding on my part which is entirely regrettable. Along with publishers Constable & Robinson Ltd, who commissioned the anthology, and Running Press, who are due to co-publish the book in the United States, I fully support LGBTQ issues. I apologise wholeheartedly for any offence that I have caused and offer the assurance that I would not in future reject any story on the grounds that it included a gay (or any LGBTQ) relationship.

Trisha Telep

ivanova said...

Good for you!

Thanks for being both a classy writer and a wonderful ally to the LGBT community. I hope this incident wins you many fans.

As for the editor's comment, . . . wow! Way to palm your bigotry off on mythical other people, fail to apologize, and insensitively add a bizarre off-topic comment that I think was supposed to signify, "I love the gays! Some of my best friends, or people I wrestled in Glasgow, are gay!" She's puttin' it all right out there!

Anonymous said...

Dear Constable Robinson / Trisha Telep,

Thank you.

Thank you for owning up to the original errors (both the editorial decision and the original explanatory comment) and actually apologizing.

It's upsetting that the situation happened at all, but reading your apology and your pledge to do better in the future helps. A lot.

Your willingness to be mature and adult and to acknowledge that it was a mistake and to learn from it is heartening and greatly appreciated. It really does make me feel a whole lot better.

I can only speak for myself, but I accept your apology. Cheers.

A Backwards Story said...

As a fellow (prospective, in my case) writer, thank you for sticking to your beliefs. It's horrible that you had to go through this situation and that in today's world, people still have a problem with who someone chooses to love. It shouldn't matter. If you find someone to love, who cares if you're both the same gender? Love is a precious gift that not everyone experiences in life. Who are we to say they're wrong?

Not only did you stick to your guns, you told the world. You're a brave person and I applaud you!

Steve Emmett said...

I'm horrified by Trisha. That last comment of hers about wrestling 'a gay man' and being beaten? I guess some of her best friends are Jews, too? Shameful.

Trialia said...

As a fellow writer (though not professionally published or intending to be) who was a gay teenager and is now an adult lesbian, THANK YOU for this, Jessica. Thank you for being a decent human being and sticking to your guns.

I'm going to have to check out your book, now. :)

kitrona said...

Thank you for taking this seriously instead of blowing it off like the editor seems to be doing. I hope the writers I know do the same thing when it's their turn. :)

Ella Press said...

For what you did, I applaud you. You're right, love is rare. We shouldn't be afraid to tell people who we are or who we love.

xo,
Ella

flamesword said...

Thank you for standing up for me. I hope you're able to publish your story elsewhere, but if not, I want you to know that you speaking up about it NOT being published has had just as much impact on me and many others as the story itself would have if we'd been able to read it. Bits of hope and moments of light make a difference, whether in fiction or reality. Finding a story about people like me amongst the others would have meant a lot, but knowing that someone like you cares enough to take a stand for us when we are being left out or written out means just as much, if not more.

The teenage girl that I was is grateful for the hope that one day, when enough people like you stand up and speak out about it, stories like yours will become common in YA fiction, and then teens like me won't have to reach the age of twenty before realising that it's normal, that what was 'wrong' with me was that I am gay, and that there's nothing wrong with that at all. Thank you.

Charlaine Harris said...

Hats off to you.

Fickle said...

I'm really glad that you pulled the story out rather than rewrite it and that you had the courage to post about it.

Personally, I would have been thrilled to see a story like that appear in a general romance novel anthology. I usually have to buy gay romance anthologies if I want anything like that and while those are awesome, I would love it if queer relationships were accepted enough to just be included in general anthologies as well.

Thank you for taking a stand.

kestrelsparhawk said...

Thank you for sharing this story. I do NOT see what "misunderstanding" there could be when you were explicitly asked to change the sex of one of the parties. I think you're right about the publisher association -- basically, that they'd rather keep a convenient relationship with someone who apparently doesn't think kids' stories should be allowed to have same sex pairings, whatever the reason.

I'm glad we'll get to read it somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

The misunderstanding was between the Editor and her publisher, it appears.

I hate to play Devil's Advocate because the editor was wrong, but please note that there certainly are bookstores and parents who will not carry or purchase a book with same sex romance in it. The editor could legitimately have felt she did not have the right to risk the publisher's money with the additional handicap of (wrongheaded) censorship, without herself being evil in any way.

She should have talked with them... But I'm not ready to write off her soul yet, either.

Anonymous said...

That's the thing, she didn't ask the publisher.

Asking would be the most minor act for someone to actually be LGBT friendly rather than just say they are.

After asking there is being an advocate and asking for further reasons, finding what the actual objections are and seeing if you can effect change. <- and within it there are many options, from citing research, asking what actual stats are etc and challenging the publishers assumptions.

Being an advocate is scary and you can't fight every battle. But assuming and not even asking? That's enforcing the perception that there is something wrong with LGBT.

Patricia Lynne said...

Anonymous said... "I hate to play Devil's Advocate because the editor was wrong, but please note that there certainly are bookstores and parents who will not carry or purchase a book with same sex romance in it."

I think I'd like to point out that there's people out there who won't buy romances because sex is described within the pages. So should every romance be toned down so the publisher will make money? What about swearwords? Not everyone wants to read a book laced with F-bombs. My point is not everyone likes every kind of book, money is always lost to readers who don't approve of something and no amount of changes will fix that.

Anonymous said...

Thank you.

inkgrrl said...

Thank you so much for making that choice. I have a real problem with LGBT being labeled alternative anything - that's like labeling red hair an alternative color. Nothing alternative here, just human.

Adela Clancy said...

That's terrible they wouldn't publish it the way it was. What kind of message does that send to today's teens struggling with homosexuality? Not a good one.
There are so few books published involving gay relationships it's sad. I have absolutely no problem with gay/lesbians, one of my best friends is one, and I find it kind of insulting the fact this won't be published. Love is love no matter who it's between. It doesn't really seem like society is changing very much does it? Prejudice is still out there, it's just horrible it has to be seen in the form of books and publishers.
I hope you'll publish the story online, I'd love to read it anyway :)

Anonymous said...

You are awesome. I look forward to reading your work in the future.
Laura

Risika said...

You totally have my support Jessica. I stand by you in your decision. I am kind of surprised that the idea of male lovers wasn't accepted.. and sadly at the same time i'm not surprised. Our society needs to learn to accept everyone for who they are. I hope to read your story one day soon!! You are amazing for standing your ground!
~Kasey

Elinor said...

Ms. Telep, your second apology is fine - thank you for it... right up until you say you support 'LGBT issues'.

I am sure you used this phrase with positive intent, but just in case you're in any doubt as to why it's an inappropriate phrase: we are not issues, we are people.

with best wishes to all involved, and hopes for more YA (and other) literature which treats LGB and T people as fully rounded human beings.

Elinor

Nicole said...

You are right to stand up for your story and for love! Asking you to change your story is just wrong, and then saying it is because the anthology should be light on "sex, language and 'alternative sexuality'" just makes it worse...way to lump gay relationships in with curse words as something to be avoided!

I do hope we will get to read your story in some other venue...I love your other books!

Kitten Likkens said...

Hmmm...this is very curious because I happen to know for a fact that the Publisher at Running Press is gay. Big whoop...I'm gay too. I met him in San Francisco over a decade ago and let me tell you, sweetie, he is very out and proud of it. He himself published anthologies of gay fiction when he lived in SF...so I really don't think he or RP had anything to do with the rejection of the story. Geez, do a simple search of the Running Press site and you'll see a long list of gay titles. As for the editor of the anthology, I don't know her at all...but it sounds like she made some mistakes which will probably have some repercussions on her career. Oh, snap! Hey, maybe the story just wasn't all that and she didn't have the heart to just say it...and instead (poorly) chose some other excuse that she thought would soften the blow?...Anyhow, I've got to applaud you Jessica because now you are going to blow this story out at retail, honey. Rake in the BUCKS! I see several new pairs of Louboutins and maybe even a Birkin bag in your future...WORK GIRL!

head of the table said...

Trish, Funny thing about being employed by a publisher as an editor. You represent them. To the author and to the public. So, in fact, this was a decision made "by the publisher."

As an aside, I would be willing to guess that your wrestling partner was probably identified in some other way prior to the bout. Perhaps he is an author, another editor, a donor to some cause. I highly doubt that his primary description in that (or any arena) was "a gay man." What I'm saying is, if this was a public event, the announcer did not decree "and now see esteemed editor Trish wrestle with a gay man!"

Allen said...

Thank you for standing up for your story and, by extension, the many readers, many of them young, who are hurt when people decide that LGBT characters are too "adult" or "inappropriate" for them to read about.

I know that when your writing is your career, it's important to make good business decisions. And I know that unfortunately, there can be (hopefully rare) occasions where you have to choose between a job and staying true to yourself and what you want to accomplish. I have a lot of respect that, in this instance, you didn't back down from your values.

Jonathon Arntson said...

Thank you for standing up for your values. I appreciate that.

Matthew MacNish said...

That's ridiculous. Good for you for standing up for your story.

Kel said...

I'm sort of horrified by the unconscious bias presented in the original decision. While the editor's job is to try to present the right books tot he publisher, I think it says something horribly shameful that we consider same-sex love stories "Alternative". Can't they just be "Sexuality" or "Romance" with an understanding that every romance is different, and every romance is of the same value?

Thank you for sticking to your original story, and please let us know when it's available - however you choose to pursue publishing it.

attackfish said...

here from Hathor, and brava.

But, I just wanted to mention, as a woman with disabilities, your conflation of sickness with moral degradation, lying, and prejudice to be pretty offensive. Could you maybe change that to something else, like maybe "cruel" or "disgusting" or "small minded" or "nasty"? Because that's what these people are, not sick.

denelian said...

i'd like to second what attack fish said - conflaiting "illness" and "evil" [or misguided, or ignorant, or fearful, or whatever you use to describe people being hateful] is also problamatic.

it's why i read Katie MacAlister - she has disabled HEROINE'S! that kick ass! how freak rare is that! not "i have this slight disability which actually makes me badass and more attractive" - but *actual disabilities*.


that aside - taking a stand against anti-LGBTQI BS is great!

and Trish - thank you for that REAL appology. i've enjoyed MANY of your anthologies. i'll be more hesitant to buy, now - but i won't flat-out REJECT them, as i would have WITHOUT said real appology. i'd go an make it, again, someplace MORE public, not buried at the bottom of a loooooooong comment thread...

markdeniz said...

Totally agree with your decision and glad to see that the publishers were fine with it. However I am dismayed by the editor's decision and reply to your post.

Anonymous said...

I think this is a beautiful post that I will be sharing with everyone!! :)Jessica Verday you are awesome.

Anonymous said...

I love you as an author. You have pure talent, but being gay goes against God. But you go ahead and believe in what you believe. You'll have to answer to it one day. Best wishes. Can't wait to read The Hidden.

Anonymous said...

I respect the integrity of your reasons to withdraw your story from the anthology based on the fundamental changes that the editor asked of you.

But it sounds like there was an honest miscommunication between the editor and the publisher as to the intended purpose and audience of the anthology, and both say the publisher would be delighted to include your story.

Grace can be found in forgiveness.

Anonymous said...

I'm posting this kind of late, but I just barely saw this and have to say that this is really neat of you to do! Most people would've gone along with it, without the courage to stand up for what they believe to be right. So, congratulations for just being completely awesome! Keep up the good work! :p

Anonymous said...

Jessica, I always have been a fan of your writing, and now I know I always will be. Your moral strength, integrity and sheer bravery in writing this moving post amazed me. I truly and completely admire you.

You are wonderful.

Anonymous said...

Well done, Jessica, for your stance on this matter. And Trish, well done for accepting the responsibility for your mistake. We are all of us human and fallible, and occasionally make bad or even very bad decisions that we later regret. Non-heterosexual myself, I was not born understanding issues relating to gender and sexuality, and it is only personal life experience that has corrected some of my originally mistaken notions regarding such issues, particularly with regard to homosexual men. I would also add that some of the worst bigotry I have ever heard has come from the mouths of lesbians and gay men against those not in the same minority/ies as themselves. I am inclined, based on what I have read here, to accept Trish's apology, but also to say to her that I agree with others here that she evidently has much yet to learn on the subject of diversity. I hope that she will have learnt from this rather dreadful mistake and gain in wisdom as a result; and I wish her well for the future. But my applause is solely for Jessica. It is truly heartening to hear of individuals taking a principled stand on hugely important matters like this.

Esme

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