Decisions, Decisions…

Today I made the decision to leave the holiday box set. I haven’t heard from them yet, but I hope they release me and my book. It would mean burning bridges but after seeing a Twitter storm erupt the last few days when Authors of Color (AOC) pointed out how a recently released box set by the same organizer featuring romances with Asian heroes written primarily by white women (with not a single Asian author in the set) hurt people of color (PoC) and fetishized the Asian male, the reaction from a few of the participating authors bothered me. While one author apologized and thanked them for making it a learning experience for her, the rest dug in their heels and admitted no wrongdoing. I commend them for standing up for what they believe but when they blamed the AOC who called them out for being mean and nasty, I thought, did they even hear a single word the AOC pointed out? 

Their response made me uncomfortable being in their next box set/anthology as an AOC. I could stay because we’re this close to releasing it. But I also can’t, not after what I’ve seen. Not after finally realizing that as an AOC, I will always belong to a marginalized group of people whose voice doesn’t get heard as much as it should. And the fact that my main Liz Durano name focuses on stories that often touch on heavy topics like suicide, PTSD, and domestic abuse while slowly incorporating PoC like me, if I don’t take a stand for what I believe in now even if it means burning bridges, when will I?

So… that’s my Friday so far and it’s not even ten in my neck of the woods. At least, I’ve had my coffee so it isn’t really all that bad even if, as I write this, the circle of authors I network with has grown considerably smaller.

Edited to Add: I accidentally marked this as Draft while I was on my iPad so if you received the additional notification that it was published, I apologize. I do want to stress that my decision to leave the set had nothing to do with the argument posted by critics that “white authors” had no business writing about Asian heroes. My issue came from the way I viewed their reaction to the concerns by making the WOC, who brought the issue up, as villains. But what’s done is done and I have to move on and return to my books. One author said it all along in one of her well-known pieces of advice: it’s all about your books. Just write them.

26 thoughts on “Decisions, Decisions…

  1. But doesnt that kind of thinking shut us all back in the box though?
    Can I now only write about divorced, white British working class women, born in 1953 with 2 kids? No flights of fancy, no exploring the world, or lives other than our own?
    Write what’s in your heart darling.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t think you’re limited to that though. The whole thing started when they used marketing copy that said, “For fans of Crazy Rich Asians and TATBILB…” which were both written by Asian Americans depicting an Asian American experience (#ownvoices) and they did rectify that mistake by removing it from their copy.

      But someone found a review on a blog from last month that stated that two of the stories (or 3, I don’t remember) didn’t even portray Asians well but more stereotypical, so they got dinged by AOC on not doing the stories about POC well and for also not having a single Asian author on the box set/anthology.

      One of my favorite stories of all time is Memoirs of a Geisha which was written by a white man but it portrayed the world and the character so well. So there’s no boxing anyone in, just writing stories well and not calling out WOC who point stuff out to you because then, you’re denying them, a group that’s already been marginalized, their own voices and experience.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Well, it depends which side is talking and which one becomes offended or not offended. Words are powerful and if authors, and in this case, the anthology’s white authors, can’t get an ethnic group right even if their argument is that they just wanted to write romance and race shouldn’t matter, they’re not the ones who get affected in the end, especially if the characterizations are not represented well except with a broad stereotypical brush. This one was tricky and one I hated that Business Me was screaming to leave well alone and do business as usual but the WOC in me said, nope, girl, you can’t not walk away from this one.

      As an author, I did not win this round. I burned bridges. A lot of bridges.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I wish. I have to expand the books that I had originally written for this holiday anthology. And then I can tackle the rest on that list. The holidays are fast approaching after all!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yup. Only it’s too much outlining and not actual writing yet. I need to slip sections between sections and I want to do it in one go. So outlining and plotting it is. I’m actually getting used to it.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’m a reformed pantser lol

        I actually did outline all my stories when I first started writing decades ago. And I hand wrote all of them, too, in notebooks but by the time I was ready to write them, I ran out of steam. But maybe it was because 20 years ago, technology wasn’t as accessible as it is now. My outlining also was for Dev and Luna’s story back then and I had to buy ALL THE BOOKS about that time. I only started pantsing with fan fiction but there is a sort of outline there, too, with the canon.

        It was just harder to get back into it being a pantser for so long but when it stopped working with Loving Riley and the worst case with Jordan, I knew I had to go back into it and find a system that worked for me. So here I am…

        Liked by 1 person

      4. You should write it! Erotica can be as little as 5k words! I have to come up with one story for that *ehem* secret society I created. They’re bound to have a Halloween party, that’s for sure!

        Liked by 1 person

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