March 27th, 2011

msauvage purple

Wicked Pretty Update

Quick recap: Jessica Verday dropped out of the "Melissa Marr-ish" Wicked Pretty Things YA anthology after being asked to change a "G-rated" male/male romance to male/female. The editor, Trisha Telep, made a bizarrely cheerful non-apology; Running Press claimed to both support LGBTQ writing and stand behind the editor 100%. Out of thirteen stories in the anthology, five other writers (Lesley Livingston, Karen Mahoney, Lisa Mantchev, Brenna Yovanoff, and Seanan McGuire) have pulled out as well. This still being the weekend and a situation in progress, no responses from the other seven have appeared yet. However, Ann Aguirre has dropped out of a different Telep anthology and Melissa Marr has asked them to take her name off the cover copy because seriously what the hell was that about anyway.

I'm sure that further developments will roll in tomorrow, but Caitlin Kittredge stopped by to say,

I had a story in Telep's anthology "Kiss Me Deadly" and a forthcoming one in "Corsets & Clockwork". Unfortunately, C&C had already gone to press (like, physical final copies) when all this bullshit blew open, or I would've yanked it so fast the earth would've reversed rotation.

I contacted Running Press/Constable & Robinson and told them I wouldn't be submitting/selling them any more of my short fiction while they continue to employ Telep in any capacity, and I urge other former/current antho. contributors to do the same. The quickest way to effect a positive change is to hit them in their profit margin.

Last night, I also got a pingback from Dina James' journal, where she points out the downside of a scorched-earth boycott: she had no idea what Trisha Telep's views were (and supports the Wicked Pretty Things protests), but when people talk about never buying any Running Press books again, they're talking about her books, including the ones Telep didn't edit. (She also states that she will not work with Telep again.)

On that note, Saundra Mitchell has dropped out of yet a different Telep-edited anthology, but still supports Running Press--and, to their credit, you need to know why: "I’ve withdrawn my short story “Tromsø by Polar Night” from Trisha Telep’s THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF GHOST STORIES- but I’m very proud to say that my story for C&R/RPK’s TRUTH & DARE is still on. That editor, Liz Miles, not only encouraged me to write in an experimental form, her call of entry specifically asked for stories with LGBT content."

So, despite Running Press's contradictory, have-the-cake-and-eat-it response about supporting LGBTQ writing but standing behind Telep, it sounds like the best course of action for readers at this point is to specifically boycott anthologies Telep edits. The best course of action for writers seems to be the one they're already taking: pulling stories that haven't made it to press yet and refusing to work with editors who want to make gay characters disappear.

Running count: six writers out of Wicked Pretty Things, two authors who are dropping out of different anthologies, two authors who have nothing currently to pull but won't work with Telep again, and one writer who doesn't even want her name anywhere near it.  

ETA April 2nd: There was, in fact, a formal apology from Trisha Telep that no one saw until about 3/29-3/30.

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