Vodka O’Clock 1903: BRIAN LETENDRE

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AMBER LOVE 08-JULY-2019 My work is supported by the generous backers at who appreciate my reviews and my stories; and they also get first access to what’s happening with my books and podcast.

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Back on the show is writer and podcaster, BRIAN LETENDRE. We talk about the ups and downs of comics industry blogging and podcasting; the controversy of Chelsea Cain including real tweets as revenge in MAN-EATERS (Image); Brian’s heavy metal shows Power Chords and Thrash It Out; and the joys of CampNaNoWriMo and NaNoWriMo.

Balancing day jobs with writing is getting harder. That makes NaNoWriMo and Camps much harder for both of us. Plus, Brian shares writing credit with Jolene Haley on the west coast and they bounce the writing back and forth. Camps and NaNoWriMo are great for getting writers back to forcing a routine even if that routine is different every day of the week. Navigating social media and politics is a big part of the discussion for us as readers/fans/consumers and as writers.

Comic Recommendations (we didn’t have time to mention all on the show):

  • DIE – Kieron Gillen, Stephanie Hans, Clayton Cowles, Rian Hughes, (ed) Chrissy Williams – Image Comics. Volume 1 is available now.
  • BITTER ROOT – David F. Walker, Chuck Brown, Sanford Greene, Rico Renzi, Clayton Cowles, (ed) Heather Antos. – Image Comics – Volume 1 is available now. A special summer issue will be out next.
  • ROAD OF BONES – Rich Douek, Alex Cormack, Justin Birch, (ed) Bobby Curnow. – IDW Publishing
  • LIVEWIRE – Vita Ayala, Raul Martin, Patricia Martin, Kano, Saido Temofonte, (asst. Ed.) David Menchel, (ed.) Heather Antos and Joseph Illidge.
  • BREAKNECK – Duane Swierczynski, Simone Guglielmini, Raffaele Semeraro, Lovern Kindzierski, Chris Chuckry, Jimmy Betancourt. – Titan/Hard Case Crimes. The complete miniseries is collected in tpb and available now.
  • CROWDED – Christopher Sebela, Ro Stein, Ted Brandt, Triona Farrell, Cardinal Rae. – Image Comics. Volume one came out in March 2019. 

Book recommendations from Brian:

Brian’s lifelong love of DRAGONLANCE by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman has never been a secret. He’s reading the series once again. He also recommends THE FISHERMAN by John Langan and THE CABIN AT THE END OF THE WORLD by Paul Tremblay.

Don’t Piss Off the Writer:

There’s this old saying in the author world: Don’t piss me off or I’ll put you in my next book. There are variations: I’ll kill you in my next book, et. al. 

Chelsea Cain has left Twitter twice. First for being an outspoken feminist and channeling it into Mockingbird; now for being an outspoken feminist who handled criticism so badly, apologized, and still faced a barrage of mentions. MAN-EATERS went from being a highly recommended comic series in March to the target of backlash in June about how Cain chose to include tweets critical of her into the comic as background posters as the menstruating cis-female characters are lined up for an internment camp. The tweets were from real people, actual consumers and critics. However, their usernames were not displayed in the comic. Nonetheless, people recognized them and the viral alerts went out. 

Something worth noting in the Twitter dialog of professionals is that a male writer who screwed up this badly would have been praised for being edgy or that their fans love when they behave badly. 

People have enough body shame in today’s culture. When consumers relate to fictional characters, a bond is formed. That doesn’t mean the creators know about Jane-the-Consumer personally. When called out, there are better ways to handle the corrective action than taking to Twitter. I should note that Cain also said she would love a sensitivity editor to come on board, but she wouldn’t be able to pay the person. That’s not going to fly. 

BITCH PLANET handled criticism far more professionally and quietly. That team always included top-notch essayists and guest writers. If MAN-EATERS continues, they could do things like that and PAY THE CONTRIBUTORS. 

We’re not famous and in the same kind of spotlight as a writer like Cain, so how we would hypothetically handle the same situation is merely a passing thought. If either of us were accused of destroying a legacy like Star Wars or Dungeon & Dragons, we’d like to think we wouldn’t run from criticism. But, Brian thinks he wouldn’t take the job in the first place. Although, he clarified that if the original creators were still available, he’d have them as closely involved as possible.

Amber: I would not reject Star Wars money!

Brian: For me, I think I would reject Star Wars money!

“To me, anytime I meet one of the people who has created something that has had a tremendous effect on me, the only thing I want to do is thank them and walk away. Like, I don’t want anything from them. They don’t owe me anything. They have given me something already and it had a profound effect on me and I just want to say thank you.” — Brian LeTendre

Writing Schedules and Routines:

It is July’s CampNaNoWriMo and both of us are huge fans of the camps. There’s more leeway about how to set a writing goal for the month. If you want to follow along, follow the #CampNaNoWriMo tags on IG and Twitter. For some of our other conversations of National Novel Writing Month and balancing all other aspects of our lives, we’ve talked about it at different points. Things have evolved and we’ve had shifts in our day jobs. Brian has kids who are teens now and they need to be driven to their appointments. You should be able to find those past posts with the Brian LeTendre tag here. We covered how the Camp Cabins operate versus the annual November forums.

“Writers come from all walks of life. So you have that whole sort of group of people that are like, ‘hey, we’re all in this together; we’re all trying to write a crazy amount of words over the course of the month — anyway that we can help each other or cheer each other on, we’re down for.’ And I just find that NaNoWriMo community to be one of the most positive, supportive, wonderful communities, whereas we just spent forty-five minutes talking about how it can be really rough navigating online discourse, I find that the NaNo communities are just so, oh my god, they’re so wonderful!” — Brian LeTendre


Brian on Twitter

See Brian Write (the blog which has the podcast links too)

The Midnight Society

The Thrash It Out Podcast Patreon

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