Em's place

Writing, anxiety-wrangling, tea.

Tea and Jeopardy 18 – A Chat with Emma Vieceli

By Emma on April 7, 2014

Tea and JeopardyThe eighteenth episode of Tea and Jeopardy is now live and you can find it here.

In this episode, the deliciously vibrant Emma Vieceli is invited into the secret lair for cake and tea. We talk about comic illustration, Patreon, swooshy hair and the joy of amateur dramatics. Warning: features chickens and mild peril. Oh, and a couple of swear words, just in case you have sensitive ears.

If you were interested in our new Patreon page, the link is here.

Credits for sound effects can be found here.

An index of all previous episodes can be found here.

Something I wanted to tell you

By Emma on April 1, 2014

I wish this was an April Fool’s day joke but for one thing, I’m not a fan of tricking people and secondly, it’s true. Tomorrow I’m going into hospital for some fairly major surgery so I won’t be around for a while. So today I am frantically finishing off some loose ends and trying not to freak out totally.

I feel that the nature of the surgery and related details fall behind my personal privacy line but I will say that it’s not cancer-related and that whilst pretty awful and frankly terrifying for me, I should make a full recovery and not suffer any long term problems. In fact, this surgery should end some long term problems that have been worsening over the last 18 months.

However, as I have no idea how long it will take me to recover enough to be back online and getting up to mischief here, I thought I should let you know the reason why. I will try to send some sort of “I’m still alive” update through Twitter and FB but I will be in hospital for anything between 2-5 days so don’t worry if it’s not for a while.

I have prepared the next Tea and Jeopardy episode to go live next Monday, no matter what state I’m in, so at least that won’t be disrupted too much.

Whilst I’m away

There are all of the other Tea and Jeopardy episodes to enjoy of course, and if you haven’t seen it, the new Patreon page with a very silly video.

If you happen to visit somewhere with a local Waterstones, I’d be so grateful if you could check out their SFF displays and see if anything has actually improved on the gender parity and increased diversity of authors front. I haven’t seen any evidence so far, other than in the Leeds branch, but I understand they were pretty damn cool already. If you have the time and means, pictures of display tables would be fantastic (please make a note of the branch and date you visited).

If you’re in need of a good book to read, for the love of all that is good in this world, buy and read the Predator Cities series by Philip Reeve if you haven’t already. I’m reading The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell at the moment and it is so good it makes me feel all needy and insecure about my own writing (perfectly natural). There’s the Copper Promise by Jennifer Williams too, anything by China Mieville (of course) and my husband is currently devouring the First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie (I haven’t read them yet).

I have no idea why I’m burbling about this. Nerves I suppose. All being well, next week I’ll be back at home, binging on Adventure Time and Black Books and re-watching HBO’s Rome (OMFG so good!) and the worst will be behind me.

But now I am scared and just want to stay and home and write more books. Life, eh?

Patrons, pledges and rewards, oh my!

By Emma on March 31, 2014

Tea and JeopardyThe intersection between money and doing something we love is a tricky place to navigate, but I’m going to just jump straight in and say that we’ve launched a Patreon page for Tea and Jeopardy.

If you know what Patreon is all about already and would like to see a very silly video and the rewards etc, go straight to the Tea and Jeopardy Patreon page here.

What the hell is Patreon?

Whilst it sounds a bit like a superhero, Patreon is a website that enables people to become patrons of something that’s made on a regular basis, like comics, videos etc – and in our case, podcasts. It’s a little bit like Kickstarter, in that there are rewards at different pledge levels, but instead of pledging once for a big one-off project, patrons can chip in a little each month to support an ongoing project that produces regular content.

The idea is that monthly patronage will ultimately enable us to do more with the show than we currently can, and that people who pledge get rewards whilst the podcast remains free for everyone. People who pledge become members of the Order of the Sacred Teacup too and I have some secret plans for the Order in the future…

The first milestone has been achieved

Yes it is a bit dark, but I like it that way...

Yes it is a bit dark, but I like it that way…

And here is a picture of me with the celebratory cake as described in the milestone. At the time of writing this we’re almost halfway to the second milestone which would reveal a secret from Latimer’s past to members of the Order of the Sacred Teacup.

So, if you enjoy Tea and Jeopardy and want to join the Order, pop over to the Patreon page and see just how silly the video we made for it is…

Tea and Jeopardy 17 – A Chat with Adam Christopher

By Emma on March 24, 2014

Tea and JeopardyThe seventeenth episode of Tea and Jeopardy is now live and you can find it here.

In this episode, the quietly splendid Adam Christopher is invited into the secret lair for cake and tea. We talk about Roobarb and Custard, New York and the prohibition era, the writing life and what it’s really like to work with Chuck Wendig. Warning: features chickens and mild peril.

If you’ve listened and got an answer for the question I asked at the end, be a bless-poppet and leave your answer in the comments below.

Credits for sound effects can be found here.

An index of all previous episodes can be found here and a bumper blooper reel can be found here (warning: contains swearing!)

Some good news about Waterstones

By Emma on March 14, 2014

On February 20th (2014) I wrote a post on wanting a level playing field as a writer of science fiction and fantasy (who happens to be female).

The response to it was pretty amazing.

I wanted to let you know about what’s been going on since then.

After I wrote that post I wrote a private letter to Waterstones. It felt like the courteous thing to do. They responded and we’ve discussed the matter in calm and polite correspondence, which delights me in this age of internet rage.

After some discussion between us I’m delighted to let you know that the issue has been discussed at length with the SF & F buyer at Waterstones and they are going to raise internal awareness of the visibility of underrepresented authors and will ask booksellers to bear these issues in mind when choosing displays.

A positive step forward

I am delighted that Waterstones has acknowledged that action needs to be taken and are taking steps to raise awareness internally. I’m looking forward to seeing the impact of this in stores over the next few months.

Unconscious discrimination needs to be actively challenged and at the start of this process, it’s likely to feel forced and imperfect. I’m hoping that if Waterstones raise awareness and local stores make a conscious effort to create more balanced displays, eventually it won’t need to be a conscious process. It will become the norm that it should be. It will end the “but women / people of colour don’t write sci-fi/epic fantasy” crap that lingers on in some corners of the industry. I’m pretty certain it will increase the number of submissions to publishers from a wider range of people. It will mean authors who are routinely overlooked will have just as much chance to be discovered as anyone else.

Can you help me to support and encourage this change?

If your local Waterstones is putting together more balanced displays – or you yourself are putting those displays together – please, for the love of all that is fair in this world, take a picture and tell everyone if you possibly can. Let’s take photos and share them and cheer it on. Either share the pics or send a link to me on Twitter (@emapocalyptic) or drop a link in the comments below. When a store makes a conscious effort to redress the balance, I want us all to stand up and applaud a positive change. Goodness knows we need some good news in this world.