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September 17th, 2011


08:11 pm - SIGNAL BOOST: SAY YES TO GAY YA
Originally posted by darkspirited1 at SIGNAL BOOST: SAY YES TO GAY YA
This comes from an article by rachelmanija entitled, Say Yes to Gay YA.
(click the link for the full article)

Our novel Stranger has five viewpoint characters; one, Yuki Nakamura, is
gay and has a boyfriend. Yuki's romance, like the heterosexual ones in
the novel, involves nothing more explicit than kissing.

An agent from a major agency, one which represents a bestselling YA novel in the same genre as ours, called us.

The agent offered to sign us on the condition that we make the gay
character straight, or else remove his viewpoint and all references to
his sexual orientation.


This isn't about that specific agent; we'd gotten other rewrite requests before this one. Previous agents had also offered to take a second look if we did rewrites… including cutting the viewpoint of Yuki, the gay character.


It's time to stand up and demand change. Spread the word everywhere if you are just as angry and outraged by this.


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September 1st, 2011


02:27 pm - Back in the Saddle
Managed three for three on getting up early to go to the gym after week of too ill to do so. Can anyone recommend a good diet that I have a reasonable chance of following that would melt away body fat if you are getting a decent amount of exercise? I can't really do a low-carb breakfast as I eat at work and can't really cook there.

Went on a four hour hike for a team building exercise with work yesterday, and went a pretty reasonable way up Ben Lomond. There has been some talk of doing more of these, and I would be quite tempted - I'd forgotten that I get inspired to write poetry when I'm out in the hills in my own head (inside of in a character's.)

Got my academic transcript sent in on Monday and was informed the course selection for the part-time LLB would be done by today. I don't know when they'll actually get round to informing us, though, so I'm on complete tenderhooks - this affects a big part of my life for the next four years - or more.

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August 27th, 2011


11:51 am - Writer's Block: It’s Women’s Equality Day!
Do you think women are treated as equals? What changes would you like to see?


The number one thing I like to change in this world for reasons of equality is FGM.

For those of you who are not aware, FGM stands for female genital mutilation, sometimes euphemistically known as female circumcision. There are parts of the world whereup to 90% of females are deprived of vital parts of their sexual organs at around age six. And it happens in Britain, and to British girls abroad; don't kid yourself that it doesn't.

This can range from removal - and we are not talking about antiseptic surgery here; this usually happens with broken glass or a kitchen knife, without anasthetic - of the fleshy hood, of the clitoris, to almost complete removal of the external genetalia. People who do that generally sew the area closed afterwards, leaving a small hole for urine and menstrual blood to pass through. The husbands of those who survive the process (secondary infections commonly kill 10-20% of girls who go through this) are then expected to rip the stitches on the wedding night.

The process - as you can well imagine - is devastating to fertility; those secondary infections that don't kill the girls frequently render them sterile, it makes pregnancy and delivery immensely more dangerous, and I like to think that it must make sex considerably less frequent. I don't believe most men are rapists, see, and I imagine that most men can't want to cause their wives the sort of pain sex with mutilated genitals must cause.

I have no real idea why this is practised. Why on earth anyone would institute a cultural practice that makes sex - a process that has the potential to make the sweetest, most tender relationships, the laughter of one's joy and the comfort of one's sorrow - into an ongoing source of pain and misery, and is all to likely to make bearing children difficult if not impossible, I have truly no idea. Is it all about control? A thought that, if women can't have pleasure from sex, they won't be tempted to stray?

I have no idea. I view that idea with an extreme, visceral horror. My sexuality is important to me. The idea that someone could take away my capacity to take joy in it makes me literally sick to my stomach. The only thing that could make that worse is that the people it is happening to aren't even mature women who know what they are missing. It is confused, terrified, traumatised little girls, and it is being done to them by their own families. They will never know what they are missing.

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July 6th, 2011


01:52 pm - The Use and Abuse of Stereotypes
www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-14030336

Just whose image of squatters is "middle class treehuggers ekeing out an alternative lifestyle in someone else's home"? Anyone I have ever had to deal with squatting has been either mentally ill or prevented from claiming benefits.

Where exactly are all these inadequate, patronising stereotypes the current government seems to be trying to exploit coming from? Every time I pick up a newspaper it seems to be referencing apparently commonly-held ideas I've only just heard of.

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June 23rd, 2011


02:03 pm - Human Rights and Wrongs
So tonight am off with Mark for a Refugee Week do around an exhibition my work helped commission. It's called Human Rights and Wrongs and has portraits of and taken by some torture survivors we work with plus their stories.

Sadly, it is currently at the Platform in Easterhouse (why anyone decided to build an art exhibition studio in Easterhouse I have no idea). But it will be being displayed in a number of other locations in Scotland - and possibly further - in the next few months, notably in Central Station in Glasgow for a week. If you get a chance, I really do recommend going to see it - myself and other members of my team, plus our clients, have put a lot of work into it, and the various pictures are really rather stunning - I haven't yet seen them in situ.

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June 14th, 2011


02:00 pm - For those who enjoy taking the piss out of the right-wing press...
www.qwghlm.co.uk/toys/dailymail/

Mwahahahahha :D
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June 6th, 2011


01:58 pm - Bad Timing
Sorry to anyone who was hoping to see me at that event - I was supposed to be making the Saturday and Sunday, but it turns out that taking the fish course at my uncle's wedding was NOT a bright idea...
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May 18th, 2011


01:34 pm - Copy-posted from flannelcat
"...I can understand why a property development company might get upset at squatters. As far as generic ideas go, it's not a nice one.

But when a site that's been left derelict for fifteen years and has no hope of getting planning permission is taken over by a group of gardeners who not only turn it into a community garden but promise to leave the site if said company ever gets their planning permission, retaliating with threats, assault, dragging them through the courts, then finally carrying out an illegal eviction with an arrest is not the not the way forward.

Long story short: this is what's happened at Brighton Mound. The surprise eviction and destruction of the garden was this morning. The company in question is Hargreaves. Spread the word, spread the bad publicity, email them if you feel it's appropriate. Let them know just how much in the wrong they are, and just how much they cannot get away with it..."

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April 21st, 2011


01:48 pm - Bleurgh...
Well, we didn't get the flat we were bidding on. Some git bid £2K over the valuation price for it, which was more than £15 over the asking price.

I thought this crap went out with the end of the housing boom.

So the old lady who technically owns our current rented house wants it back, despite the fact that it's a first floor flat with no walk-in shower and she has such severe mobility problems she's been in a care home for the past year. So we need to find a new place. So the three houses in the place we want to buy in that aren't insanely expensive are all playing silly buggers and putting odd conditions on viewing and selling (not quite a virgin's tear on a warm day in February, but not that far off - group viewings on a Wednesday afternoon? How many people who are working to pay for a mortgage could make that?). And we need to be out of here by the end of May.

Damnit :(

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April 1st, 2011


08:06 pm - 40K Madness
W00t! Got Gray, Daniel and I into the next Death Unto Darkness!

And semi-accidentally chose Daniel's character's name for him in process... ;p

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