Posts tagged Read For Pixels

READ FOR PIXELS INTERVIEW: Faith Hunter

As part of The Pixel Project’s Read For Pixels campaign, we interview authors from genres as diverse as Science Fiction and Fantasy to Romance to Thrillers about why they support the movement to end violence against women and girls. 

Today we welcome New York Times bestselling author Faith Hunter who writes three series: the Jane Yellowrock series, dark urban fantasy novels featuring Jane, a Cherokee Skinwalker; the Rogue Mage novels, a dark, urban fantasy/post apocalyptic series and role playing game featuring Thorn St. Croix; and the Soulwood series featuring Nell Nicholson Ingram. Faith was to take part in a live Read For Pixels Google Hangout but due to unexpected technical issues with Google Hangout, Faith has very kindly agreed to do this exclusive interview instead.

Faith is also taking part in the 4th annual International Women’s Day Edition of the Read For Pixels campaign fundraiser by generously donating a very special perk to help raise funds for The Pixel Project – she has assembled an exclusive goodie bundle featuring personalised and signed books (including the ARC of the upcoming Jane Yellowrock novel DARK QUEEN), an exclusive micro story that only the donor has access to for 12 months in advance of everyone else (Faith will be printing it out and signing it!), and Yellowrock swag galore. This is available for one (1) generous donor only so hurry over to the Read For Pixels IWD 2018 fundraising page to donate to get it before someone else does!

(UPDATE: Faith’s goodie bundle has been picked up by a fan who pounced on it the moment it was posted! However, there are plenty more goodies available from authors including Aliette de Bodard, Ann Aguirre, Genevieve Valentine, Kimberly Derting, Lauren Oliver, Leigh Bardugo, Lynn Flewelling, Molly Harper, and more.)

If you’d like to have a chance to participate in live Q&As online with other award-winning bestselling authors who will be having live Read For Pixels Google Hangouts over the rest of March 2018, check out the schedule here.

And now, over to Faith…

Picture courtesy of Faith Hunter and book covers courtesy of Penguin Random House.

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FaithHunter10

1. Welcome to The Pixel Project‘s Read For Pixels campaign, Ms Hunter! Thank you so much for your support for the anti-violence against women work that we do. Let’s start by talking about your signature female protagonist Jane Yellowrock and newcomer Nell Ingram who is fast becoming a fan favourite. We absolutely love both of them! Who and what were your inspiration for Jane and Nell?

That’s a hard one seriously! As a commercial writer, ideas and characters are always floating around in my head. It isn’t inspiration that I need to find new characters, it’s the time and work and willingness create something new.

In Jane Yellowrock’s case, I was having tea with Kim Harrison (yes, that Kim Harrison) when the idea for a Cherokee skinwalker character began to grow. She had been banging around in my brain for a while (Jane, not Kim) but sitting and sipping allowed the character to germinate, along with an idea for a plot and conflict that would allow her to develop. Not a vampire main character, which was the most common type of Urban Fantasy character at the time, but a monster hunter, a vampire hunter with all the skills and abilities and tools to get the job done.

Nell came from my garden. The knowledge that plants can think and react and alter their environments to make them more habitable has been around for a long time. So why not a paranormal character who might be something like a dryad? Nell is a gardener, a plant whisperer who empathises with plants on a much deeper level than a regular human, and who also solves paranormal crimes on the side!

 

2. Neither Jane nor Nell are typical urban fantasy heroines – they have learning curves, they make mistakes, and they often get frustrated by men trying to control, thwart, or manipulate them. In other words, their experiences very much mirror the experiences of many women and girls worldwide. Was it a conscious decision on your part to portray them like this or did they evolve organically to be this way?

Yes and no. There is manipulation in all less-than-brutally-honest personal relationships. In the case of the world in which Jane Yellowrock and Nell Ingram live, there are also the paranormal creatures, apex predators, who, because of the cultures and times they came from, are master manipulators, selfish creatures who are as likely to use force to get their way as gamesmanship. They are beings and creatures who fight and influence and maneuver their way through what passes for relationships in their world, seeking control and power

All that said, I grew up in the fifties, sixties, and seventies, which were times of shifting gender roles and sudden sexual and personal freedoms, as well as the advent of the US civil rights movement. All those changes are hardwired into me, part of the reality I lived and still live, and part of my creative processes too. We have come so far and yet have so very, very, very far to go. So… the answer to the question is yes, my main characters evolved organically. And no, they are a product of my imagination and my personal and cultural history.

 

FlameintheDark_Web-cover-final3. You have tackled the issue of violence against women (including domestic violence, rape, and forced marriage) head on in the SOULWOOD series and handled it extremely well through the eyes and voice of Nell Ingram. Why did you decide to make violence against women a major theme in SOULWOOD and what were the particular challenges that you faced when writing about the issue through the story?

Working her way into the normal world, after growing up in a polygamous cult, Nell sees the dangers to women and children from both the inside, as a victim, and from the outside, as a recovering victim. Violence against women is not the purpose of the series, but that violence is what Nell sees, what she is attuned to, and what she is most capable of dealing with. It is also what she is most likely to take on. She has sisters still in the cult and from the beginning she refused to cut and run and leave them behind. Protecting her sisters, being there as a safe haven, is what makes her tick. Because violence against women and children is a major part of the character’s background, it permeates the series.

Yet, the biggest challenge as the writer has been to keep all that in the background, to make it less than front and center, more organic rather than in your face. To show without telling.

 

4.  Both the JANE YELLOWROCK and SOULWOOD series also go straight to the heart of the roots of violence against women – patriarchy, misogyny, and toxic masculinity. We see this in SOULWOOD where Nell’s former church is poisoned by the misogyny of the church male elders’. We also see this is Rick LaFleur’s story arc and Leo Pellissier’s actions. What’s striking is that unlike many Fantasy novels that normalise or even romanticise toxic masculine behaviour, your stories make it crystal clear that these masculine norms and behaviours are absolutely unacceptable. How have your own fans responded to your repudiation of toxic masculinity? Do you think that this kind of writing is able to engender discussion of and change the conversation around misogyny and toxic masculinity in the genre and fandom?

Thematic issues in books and series are and should be secondary to the storytelling. If the themes come before the plot and conflict and character development, the writing gets tired fast. So, while the underlying theme in the books is women who can stand on their own two feet and who don’t put up with bullshit, that is the unspoken truth, not the purpose of the story.

My characters are women who don’t need others to make them whole. Characters, and for that matter, real people, who feel incomplete without others, who feel weak without others, who feel empty and frightened unless they are part of a herd, have a mentality will never let them be true heroes. My characters, despite being flawed and having real weaknesses, are not herd creatures. They stand alone and they stand and fight for what’s right. And that means taking on the big bad uglies of society.

My fans seem to love it! As to whether my characters engender discussion and change the conversation about misogyny, I have no idea. I  hope so. But that is thematic. I just tell stories.

 

5. On the flipside, we also see excellent examples of positive masculinity as embodied by Eli and Alex Younger (JANE YELLOWROCK) and Occam (SOULWOOD) who all demonstrate that masculinity is not dependent on dominating and oppressing women and that treating women as equal human beings should be a given. Was this a deliberate choice to not only break stereotypes but also address toxic masculinity and the violence, pain and havoc it brings (including violence against women)?

I like heroes. Heroes lift others up, put others first. Heroes are not made smaller when others are made larger. Heroes know who they are and want the best for others. They are loyal and self-defining. They are strong enough to be soft. My male heroes and my female heroes fit this definition.

 

6. Sexual consent is sometimes a blurry area in many urban fantasy and paranormal romance books but as we can see from Jane’s relationship with Bruiser and Nell’s relationship with Occam, it is possible to have a healthy relationship with enthusiastic consent and not lose an ounce of romance or sexual tension. Do you think this blurred line is an issue that writers in the genre are now actively addressing and what tips can you give to less experienced writers who want to ensure that consent is part of the relationship equation for their characters?

Yes! I see writers, male and female both, addressing the concept of consent and it makes me leap for joy! I see us addressing Stockholm syndrome, and the way predators often groom their victims. I see us changing the way romantic courtship takes place, showing a way into sexual and romantic relationships that do not include prey/predator roles. I’ve been talking about thematic nuances and thematic underpinnings, and consent, for me, is not part of the thematic underlayment of a book or series. For me, mature sexuality is part of character development and character development is a device that is conscious, part of the in-your-face storytelling. Consent is part of the way people and characters show respect for each other.

As a writer, I have to be aware that immature people and immature relationships almost always follow toxic formulas. It’s easy to write an immature character and a lot harder to write a full bodied mature character. I try to take the hard road. Always. The hard road means a better book.

Advice for less experienced writers? Don’t take the easy way out. Don’t write what is easy. Write what is difficult. Write the thing that makes you sweat and weep and push through to make your book and your characters work.

 

DarkQueen7. Over the years, a number of authors who have participated in the Read For Pixels campaign said in one way or another that authors can help stop violence against women by telling the right stories. In your opinion and experience, how can authors strike a balance in their storytelling between raising awareness about sexism and violence against women and telling an engaging story without being pedantic or preachy or falling back on toxic tropes?

The pen is mightier than the sword, right? My job isn’t to teach or preach or show toxicity. My job isn’t to change the world. Not that I’m stepping away from responsibility or opportunity. But “showing a better way” and “preaching a new concept” has to be secondary to writing a good story. THAT is my job. The conflict resolution and character development have to come first. If people see a lesson in the thematic underpinnings of a story, well that is great and I am honoured. But ripping the blinders off of society is a tough job. Telling a great story is what they pay me for. And the times I can do both? That is icing on the cake!

 

8. Geek culture in general (including Science Fiction and Fantasy) has had its share of critics saying that it’s still too male-dominated despite a rising number of prominent, well-respected, and well-known female authors such as yourself. What do you think needs to be done to make Geek culture as a whole whether it’s comics or gaming or books – more welcoming for women and girls?

Honestly, I think a lot of men – not just geek men — have no idea how to have healthy relationships with women. Maybe instituting “How To” classes in high school? Teaching roles in conversation, so guys can have discussions with women instead of stalking them? Teaching men how to tell when they’ve have reached a final line and need to turn away? Giving demonstration in what stalking is?  Teaching women how to say “No,” with a lot more finality? Teaching women that it’s okay to be firm and direct and even pointedly mean (if necessary) when we say no? Teaching women that we don’t have to be polite and sweet in the face of harassing persistence. Basic stuff needs to be taught in adolescence.

And if it’s the adult men we want to teach, then panels in ComicCons, titled “How to Attract a Woman and NOT Be A Dick”? I know that sounds silly but, it needs to be taught somehow somewhere. I’d love to sit on a panel with that topic!

 

9. Publishing has started having its own #MeToo reckoning with survivors coming forward to name a number of male authors and editors as having a history of behaving extremely inappropriately towards female colleagues (including workplace bullying and sexual harassment and assault at cons). What do you think the publishing industry can and/or should do to address this issue?

Fire the publishers and editors who have more than one accuser. I say “more than one accuser,” because one woman might use the #MeToo movement as way to get revenge on a man for other things. But where there is a lot of smoke, fire the men (and the women) accused. And then do their parts by buying books for publication that depict healthy adult relationships. Publishers and editors should make it a point to recognise toxic attitudes in the books they buy and help writers to take a step in the right direction of depicting healthier relationships.

For me personally, I have refused to blurb any book that uses toxic predator/prey methodologies, Stockholm syndrome, or other toxic tropes in the romantic angle. I have no idea what the editors think when I tell them no, that I won’t blurb a book that depicts toxic elements as a norm, but I am very frank in my replies about the problems. We all have a responsibility, and this is where I take my stand. I say no. A lot.

 

10. You have been so very incredibly supportive of our “Read For Pixels” campaign and our anti-Violence Against Women work as a whole. Why do you support ending violence against women and what do you think authors can do to help end the violence?

I worked in a hospital lab for 40 years. I was part of the evidence collection for rape victims. It was horrible. Utterly horrible, what victims have to go through, even after an assault. Throughout my entire life, I’ve seen abusive relationships, and not just abusive men, but abusive women too. It’s a human problem, a victim problem, not just a women’s problem.

That said, I have female writer friends who have suffered abuse and who have been dragged through the dirt, vilified, threatened, and abused again when they speak up against their accusers in the publishing arena. It’s my job as a human being to stand with them when they name names and call the guilty accountable. It’s all our jobs. We have to get off our asses and fight to be human. Together.

READ FOR PIXELS INTERVIEW: Ian Whates

As part of The Pixel Project‘s Read For Pixels campaign, we interview authors from genres as diverse as Science Fiction and Fantasy to Romance to Thrillers about why they support the movement to end violence against women and girls. 

In this interview, we talk to Ian Whates who is the author of seven novels, the co-author of two more, and editor of thirty-odd anthologies. Seventy of his short stories have appeared in various venues and his work has been shortlisted for the Philip K Dick Award and twice for BSFA Awards. In 2006, Ian founded award-winning independent publisher NewCon Press by accident.

NewCon Press is taking part in the 4th annual International Women’s Day Edition of the Read For Pixels campaign by donating a Mystery Book Box to help raise funds for The Pixel Project. NewCon Press will send this box anywhere in the world to one (1) generous donor only! More details are available on the Read For Pixels fundraising page.

If you’d like to have a chance to participate in live Q&As online with 12 other award-winning bestselling authors who will be having live Read For Pixels Google Hangouts, check out the schedule here.

And now, over to Ian…

Picture courtesy of Ian Whates.

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Ian Whates 31. Why is ending violence against women important to you and why did you decide to take action about it by supporting The Pixel Project

I believe violence against anybody to be wrong, particularly when it involves somebody in a position of perceived authority or strength victimising someone more vulnerable – be that in terms of gender, race, or social standing. I’ve never understood the drive to exercise power in this way. Women in different cultures around the world have frequently been cast as victims of the desire to dominate, to hurt, to control, and any undertaking such as the Pixel Project, dedicated to highlighting and opposing such behaviour, has to merit support.

 

2. You have very generously offered to donate a couple of Mystery Book Boxes – one for each of our Read For Pixels campaign in 2018 – in support of our anti-VAW work. As the founder of the acclaimed NewCon Press, what do you think publishers can do to help stop violence against women apart from raising funds?

There’s a temptation to say ‘not much’, but that would be shirking responsibility, and that word is key: responsibility. Publishers, particularly when they are as niche as my own, have very limited influence on the world, but that’s not the same as having no influence.  There is an onus on us to behave responsibly in selecting what we publish; by ensuring that unacceptable behaviour is either omitted entirely or shown to be unacceptable and portrayed in a light that vilifies both the act and those who resort to it, we can make a difference. A very small difference perhaps – a drop in the ocean – but the cumulative effect of enough drops over time can contribute to change.

 

3. As a prominent male author and editor, what do you think men in the publishing industry can do to help stop violence against women?

From the editing and publishing perspective, I can only echo much of what I said in response to the previous question. When something comes across my desk (or screen) that shocks me for the wrong reasons, I will always go back to the author and explain why I reacted in this way and why a given scene or phrase is not acceptable.

As a writer, a lot of what I write reflects my own beliefs, my own moral compass; I sometimes write a character or a scene intended to shock, but when doing so I always look to incorporate a payoff that delivers justice or restores balance. I think, as authors, we have a duty to consider moral issues while seeking to entertain, or thrill, or amuse. In many ways it’s a great privilege to present our work to readers in the hope and expectation that they will enjoy the results. With privilege comes responsibility – that word again. I am under no illusion that my writing is significant enough to educate anybody, but I have certainly used it to highlight issues, and if some aspect of a story should give a reader pause, or cause them to reassess, so much the better.  As writers, we have a responsibility; that doesn’t mean we should ever allow that to become a burden or govern our imagination, but neither can we afford to ignore it.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Read For Pixels 2018 (International Women’s Day Edition)

reveal-read-for-pixels-2018-slideJANUARY 25th, 2018 (WORLDWIDE): The Pixel Project , a 501(c)3 anti-Violence Against Women non-profit, is proud to announce their third International Women’s Day (IWD) Edition of their “Read For Pixels” campaign featuring live Google Hangouts with award-winning bestselling female authors in honour of International Women’s Day (IWD) 2018 and in support of the Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign which aims to raise US$1 million in aid of The Pixel Project. Participating authors include Amanda Hocking, Ann Aguirre, Beth Cato, Beverly Jenkins, Carrie Vaughn, Dana Cameron, Diana Rowland, Faith Hunter, Jodi Meadows, Lauren Oliver, Lynn Flewelling, and Molly Harper.

“Read For Pixels” IWD 2018 Google Hangout sessions will run on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings throughout March 2018. Each session will feature an author reading from one of their books and discussing their writing, why they support ending violence against women, and women in the media, geek culture, and popular culture. Each session will also include a live moderated Q&A session for fans and book lovers to ask their favourite authors questions in real time.

Participating authors have also generously donated a range of exclusive goodies to help The Pixel Project encourage fans and book lovers to donate to the Pixel Reveal campaign including: unique author-curated goodie bundles, signed first editions or book bundles by participating authors, sonnets written especially for donors, 1-to-1 Skype calls to talk about writing, tuckerisations, and more. Additional goodies are donated by NewCon Press, acclaimed authors Aliette de Bodard, Genevieve Valentine, Jacqueline Carey, Karen Rose, Kimberly Derting, Leigh Bardugo, Susan Dennard, and Nalini Singh, and up-and-coming YA author Juliana Spink Mills. Donations begin at as little as US$5 and the goodies are available to donors as “thank you” gifts and perks depending on the donation amount. Fundraising will take place in tandem with the Google Hangout series over the month of March.

“Violence against women is one of the most widespread and entrenched human rights violations in the world and The Pixel Project is delighted that so many acclaimed female authors have stepped up to join us in raising much-needed funds and widespread support for this cause,” said Regina Yau, Founder and President of The Pixel Project.  “Since its debut in 2014, over 80 authors have participated in the Read For Pixels campaign, collaborating with us to raise approximately US$48,000 for the cause and ignite online discussions about violence against women by fans and supporters. This is the 4th year we’re holding the International Women’s Day Edition of the campaign in recognition of the importance of the voices of female authors, a number of whom have faced gender-based violence in their lives. It is our hope that their support of the cause will inspire fans of their wonderful books and book lovers worldwide to not only donate generously, but also begin taking action to stop the violence in their communities wherever they are in the world.”

 

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 For more information about Read For Pixels, contact Regina Yau at info@thepixelproject.net or visit: http://is.gd/Read4Pixels.

About The Pixel Project (www.thepixelproject.net)

The Pixel Project is a complete virtual, volunteer-led global 501(c)3 nonprofit organisation whose mission is to raise awareness, funds and volunteer power for the cause to end violence against women at the intersection of of social media, online communities new technologies, and popular culture/the Arts. Their flagship initiative is the Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign which aims to turbo-charge global awareness about VAW using social media while raising US$1 million by getting a global audience to collectively unveil a million-pixel mystery collage of Celebrity Male Role Models at US$1 per pixel.

READ FOR PIXELS INTERVIEW: Charles de Lint

As part of The Pixel Project’s Read For Pixels campaign, we interview authors from genres as diverse as Science Fiction and Fantasy to Romance to Thrillers about why they support the movement to end violence against women and girls. 

In this interview, we talk to Charles de Lint who is the author of more than seventy adult, young adult, and children’s books. Renowned as one of the trailblazers of the modern fantasy genre, he is the recipient of the World Fantasy, Aurora, Sunburst, and White Pine awards, among others. Modern Library’s Top 100 Books of the 20th Century poll, conducted by Random House and voted on by readers, put eight of de Lint’s books among the top 100. Charles’ latest book, THE WIND IN HIS HEART, will be released on September 19th, 2017.

Charles will be taking part in the 4th annual Fall Edition of the Read For Pixels campaign by donating a one-of-a-kind perk to help raise funds for The Pixel Project – a perpetual place on his private mailing list through which he sends out a haiku a day to about 25 friends. This is available for one (1) generous donor only! More details will be available once the Read For Pixels campaign (including the fundraising page with this goodie on it) kicks off on 1st September 2017, so check out The Pixel Project’s Facebook page and Charles’ Facebook page  in September 2017 for the link to the fundraising page to donate to the campaign. If you’d like to have a chance to participate in live Q&As online with 12 other award-winning bestselling authors who will be having live Read For Pixels Google Hangouts, check out the schedule here.

And now, over to Charles…

Picture courtesy of Charles de Lint.

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cdl-300 dpi1. Why is ending violence against women important to you and why did you decide to take action about it by supporting The Pixel Project?

I don’t just believe in gender/religious/racial equality. I genuinely can’t understand why anyone would think it’s okay to bully or harm another human being. To do our part in eradicating violence, it’s incumbent upon each and every one of us to do everything in our power to stop this ugly behaviour by nurturing mutual respect and kindness using whatever platforms we have.

Mine is simply by portraying all the characters in my fiction as equals, with the strengths and weaknesses that any of us might possess. I don’t get preachy about it, but I’ve written plenty of fiction dealing (in part) with violence against women, kids, and marginalized people, and I’ve heard from many readers that they gained strength or felt empowered because they felt less alone and found role models to look up to.

I’ve also had the honour of hearing from counsellors and ministers who’ve used my fiction in their work, and everyday people—even prisoners—who’ve affirmed that my writing helped them look at issues in a different light. I can’t imagine a more gratifying response to one’s creative output, and it sustains me even when my writing hits all the inevitable potholes and such.

 

2. You have very generously offered a perpetual spot on your private Haiku mailing list to one generous donor in the upcoming Read For Pixels fundraiser. Aside from helping raise funds  to keep anti-violence against women work going, what do you think authors can do to help stop violence against women?

The interesting thing about stories is that they aren’t a passive art form. Well-written stories allow the reader to invest their imagination in the reading process and part of that investment is to immerse oneself in the lives of the characters you meet in the pages. Aside from great entertainment value, which is important to me, a major side benefit is that the reader can come away with a tangible understanding of how the “other” is not so different from oneself. Every “other,” from refugee to the opposite gender, can be understood and, more importantly, empathized with, if you can experience the world through their eyes.

Authors don’t need to lecture. They only need to depict truthful stories that, as they unwind, show readers that treating others as we’d like to be treated ourselves shouldn’t be considered freakish behaviour, but rather the norm.

 

 3. As a prominent male author, what do you think men can do to help stop violence against women?

It’s pretty basic. Just as we shouldn’t let racist comments from our friends and acquaintances slide, neither should misogynist comments or jokes go by without questioning them. You don’t have to get heavy about it. Even just saying, “I don’t understand,” as often as necessary to someone trying to justify it to you, sends a clear message that this attitude no longer flies.  Speak up when you become aware of something that’s not right, be it trolls on the Internet or some jerk on the street. And always be a rock for those who might need our support. Treat your partners and women friends with the genuine respect and honesty they deserve.

One more thing: read women writers and recommend their books to your male friends. What better way to get inside the workings of the female mind than to look at the world through their lens and voice? I believe it’s entirely possible to create a new normal and I can only do my best to set a positive example in my daily life and my creative work.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Read For Pixels 2017 (Fall Edition)

reveal-read-for-pixels-2017-fall-slideJuly 27th, 2017 (WORLDWIDE): The Pixel Project (www.thepixelproject.net), an anti-Violence Against Women non-profit, will be holding the fourth annual Fall Edition of their “Read For Pixels” campaign. “Read For Pixels” 2017 (Fall Edition) features live Google Hangouts with award-winning bestselling authors in support of the Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign (http://reveal.thepixelproject.net), which aims to raise US$1 million in aid of The Pixel Project. Participating authors include Adrian Tchaikovsky, Alafair Burke, Genevieve Valentine, Ilona Andrews, Isaac Marion, Kass Morgan, Ken Liu, Kristen Britain, Paul Tremblay, Sara Raasch, Soman Chainani, and Vicki Pettersson.

“Read For Pixels” 2017 (Fall Edition) Google Hangout sessions will run on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings from September 1st to October 1st 2017. Each session will feature an author reading from one of their books and discussing women and girls in their books, why they support ending violence against women, and women in the media, geek culture, and popular culture. Each session will also include a live moderated Q&A session for fans and book lovers to ask their favourite authors questions in real time.

Participating authors have also generously donated a range of exclusive goodies to help The Pixel Project encourage fans and book lovers to donate to the Pixel Reveal campaign including: Exclusive swag bags and book bundles, signed first editions or special editions of participating authors’ books, micro stories written especially for donors, a chance to be a minor character in their upcoming books, and more. There are also exclusive goodies courtesy of Aliette de Bodard, Charles de Lint, Dan Wells, Karen Rose, Kendare Blake, Steven Erikson, and more. In addition, the Berkley and Ace/Roc/DAW imprints at Penguin Random House are each donating a mystery book box. Donations begin at as little as US$5 and the goodies are available to donors as “thank you” gifts and perks depending on the donation amount. Fundraising will take place on Rally Up in tandem with the Google Hangout series over the month of September 2017.

“Violence against women is one of the most widespread and entrenched human rights violations in the world and The Pixel Project is delighted that so many acclaimed authors have stepped up to join us in raising much-needed funds and widespread support for this cause,” said Regina Yau, Founder and President of The Pixel Project.  “To date, the Read For Pixels campaign have collectively raised almost US$44,000 for the cause and ignited online discussions about violence against women by fans and supporters. We will continue to hold the Fall Edition of “Read For Pixels” annually in September as part of our ongoing programme of Read For Pixels events and activities. It is our hope that the authors’ support of the cause will inspire fans of their wonderful books and book lovers worldwide to not only donate generously, but also begin taking action to stop the violence in their communities wherever they are in the world.”

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For more information about Read For Pixels, contact Regina Yau or Maria del Rio at info@thepixelproject.net or visit: http://is.gd/Read4Pixels.

About The Pixel Project (www.thepixelproject.net)

The Pixel Project is a complete virtual, volunteer-led global 501(c)3 nonprofit organisation whose mission is to raise awareness, funds and volunteer power for the cause to end violence against women using a combination of social media, new technologies, and popular culture/the Arts. Their flagship initiative is the Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign which aims to turbo-charge global awareness about VAW using social media while raising US$1 million by getting a global audience to collectively unveil a million-pixel mystery collage of Celebrity Male Role Models at US$1 per pixel.

THE SURVIVOR STORIES PROJECT 2017: PC Cast, 57, USA

The Pixel Project is proud to present our fourth annual Survivor Stories Blog Interview Project in honour of Mother’s Day 2017. The annual campaign runs throughout the month of May 2017 and features an interview per day with a survivor of any form of violence against women (VAW) including domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, stalking,  online violence against women, female genital mutilation, forced/child marriage, sex trafficking, breast ironing etc. This campaign was created to provide:

  • VAW survivors a platform to share their stories and solutions/ideas on how they rebuilt their lives and healed/are healing.
  • Girls and women currently experiencing or who have survived VAW ideas, hope, and inspiration to escape the violence and know that there is light at the tunnel and there is help out there.

Our 3rd  Survivor Stories interview is with PC Cast from the USA.

TRIGGER WARNING: The first two Q&As in this interview may be distressing for some Rape and Sexual Assault survivors.

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The Survivor Bio:

#1 NY Times and #1 USA Today bestselling author PC Cast is a survivor of rape. With more than 20 million books in print in over 40 countries, she writes multiple bestselling YA series. PC is a member of the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame. Her novels have been awarded the prestigious: Oklahoma Book Award, YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Prism, Holt Medallion, Daphne du Maurier, Booksellers’ Best, and the Laurel Wreath. PC is an experienced teacher and talented speaker. Ms. Cast lives in Oregon near her fabulous daughter, her adorable pack of dogs, her crazy Maine Coon, and a bunch of horses.  When she isn’t writing she can be found at her favorite yoga studio, or hanging out with her daughter and a close group of friends.  She loves travel, craft beer, good wine and awesome vegan food – not necessarily in that order. Ms. Cast’s picture is (c) Stark Photography.

 

stark_photography_cast_portraits_005_cropped1. What is your personal experience with gender-based violence (this may include domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, female genital mutilation etc)?

When I was thirteen I was raped by an eighteen-year-old young man.  He and I had been “dating.”  I put that in quotes because at thirteen I was too young to be allowed to date.  The night he raped me I was staying with an adult friend of the family while my father, who was a coach, was out of town with his team.  The friend worked nights, which was when Alan stopped by her apartment to say hi and hang out with me.

First he kissed me, which I remember thinking was fun.  As he kept doing more – reaching under my shirt, undoing my jeans – I asked him to stop.  He paid no attention to anything I said. When he forced off my pants I tried to stop him.  He said something I’ll never forget: “Oh, please.  Like you’re a virgin?”  I was dumbfounded.  I didn’t know what to do.  I’d already said no.  He was twice my size.  I was terrified and I remember freezing and being unable to speak or move while he was raping me.  I also remember he got pissed when he had to force his way inside my body saying sarcastically, “So, you’re not even going to help me out here a little?”

 

2. How did you escape the violent situation/relationship/ritual?

When he was done I told him I had to go to the bathroom.  He let me up and I went into the bathroom, locked the door, and took the hottest bath I could stand.  He was in the living room.  By that time, because there was blood all over him, he called through the door to ask if I was okay.  I don’t think he thought he’d done anything wrong.  He certainly didn’t act like it.

Eventually he left because he knew the woman I was staying with would be home from work soon.  I saw him once after that.  He tried to rape me again, but we were in public and my father was waiting down the street for me, so it was easy for me to get away from him.  Alan wasn’t from my town, and back in 1973 the world was much bigger.  I never saw him again.

 

3. How did you heal and rebuild your life after the violent situation/relationship/ritual? What actions did you take?

It was 1973.  There was no such thing as “date rape.”  I blamed myself.  I believed I was broken.  I didn’t tell anyone what happened – not the adult friend when she came home; not my father (he raised me); not any of my friends.

I spent the next several years being promiscuous.  My thought process was, “I’m broken, so why not?”  Now I understand I was trying to take my power back by being the aggressor in sexual situations.  I loathed myself.

I didn’t begin to heal until I was in my late twenties.  I had to grow up enough to understand that what had happened wasn’t my fault – I hadn’t asked for it – I hadn’t deserved it just because I allowed my “friend” to come over unsupervised.  When I realised that I began to get help.  I went to a therapist and I finally started talking about what happened, and that is when I truly healed.

 

4. What would you suggest to or share with another woman or girl facing the same situation as you did?

What I’d like to share is simple:  IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT.

It sounds like we should know that.  It seems we should all be aware, but when it happens to you, everything you know changes.  So, we need to sound our empowered yawps from the rooftops of the world as we shout: IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT HE ABUSED YOU.  YOU ARE NOT BROKEN – HE IS.  WE SUPPORT YOU.  WE LOVE YOU.  WE WILL LISTEN TO YOU.  WE WILL BELIEVE YOU.

Say it over and over again, and don’t let any women – young or old – shoulder the fault of a patriarchal society’s apathy.

 

5. How do you think we can end violence against women?

The only way we can end violence against women is to end the patriarchy.  As long as men rule – in politics, in corporate America, in positions of power – women will continue to be abused because MEN ARE NOT MADE TO FACE THE CONSEQUENCES OF THEIR ACTIONS.

Over and over again the media shows us examples of men who are convicted of rape, only to receive mere slaps on the wrist because their lives could be ruined.  THEY SHOULD BE.  The Good Ol’ Boys’ club is alive and thriving, especially with Trump as President. Men don’t hold each other accountable for their bad behaviour, so women must.  Until more women are in power this ideology will continue.

As Martin Luther King, Jr said so eloquently in his Letter From Birmingham Jail: “We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”

We must demand our freedom from the patriarchy.

 

6. Why do you support The Pixel Project?

Because I support the empowerment of women.

Editor’s note: Watch PC and her daughter Kristin talk about feminism, surviving rape, and eradicating violence against women in our Read For Pixels Google Hangout recording below.

READ FOR PIXELS INTERVIEW: Juliana Spink Mills

As part of The Pixel Project’s Read For Pixels campaign, we interview authors from genres as diverse as Science Fiction and Fantasy to Romance to Thrillers about why they support the movement to end violence against women and girls. 

In this interview, we talk to Young Adult Fantasy author Juliana Spink Mills. Juliana was born in London, England, but moved to São Paulo, Brazil at the age of eight. Now living in Connecticut, she writes mainly young adult and middle grade fantasy and science fiction. Recent work includes short stories in the anthologies ALIENS: THE TRUTH IS COMING (Tickety Boo Press, 2016) and JOURNEYS (Woodbridge Press, 2017). Her first novel, a young adult urban fantasy, was published in February 2017 by Woodbridge Press. HEART BLADE is book 1 of the Blade Hunt Chronicles series.

Juliana took part in our 3rd annual International Women’s Day Edition of Read For Pixels, donating signed and personalised copies of HEART BLADE and some nifty swag to help raise funds for The Pixel Project. If you wish to donate to the campaign to help us reach $10,000, visit the campaign page which will be open until April 29th 2017.

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ju51. Thanks for joining us today, Juliana! Why is ending violence against women important to you and why did you decide to support The Pixel Project by donating copies of your book HEART BLADE to the IWD 2017 Young Adult book bundle for the Read For Pixels campaign fundraiser?

It’s far too easy to see violence against women as something that ‘happens to other people’; something that – when it does happen – is loud, and highly visible. And sometimes it is, but other times, violence against women is quiet, almost invisible, and easily brushed aside by those who are not affected. The Pixel Project does a great job in shining a light both on the ‘loud’ and the ‘quiet’, showing women everywhere that they do have a voice, and guiding people all over the world in ways to raise awareness and teach their families and friends to fight VAW.

 

2. Parents are usually the most influential role models in a person’s life. As a mom, what do you think parents can do to help prevent violence against women and girls in future generations and to get boys involved in helping to do so?

As a mother of both a son and a daughter, I think one of the most important things parents can do is make their homes an open and safe space for discussions on any and every topic. This teaches kids that communication is a better way to solve problems, and that resorting to violence is never the answer. Opening family time to debates and discussions also teaches respect, a key life skill for all children to learn if we want to put an end to VAW.

 

3. In your opinion, how can authors like yourself best support efforts to kick off social change to end violence against women?

I think authors – especially of middle grade and young adult novels – can contribute by not perpetuating certain story tropes that condone violence against women. Writing a variety of female characters that show strength in different ways helps, as does writing male characters that go against some of the prevalent stereotypes.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Read For Pixels “Flash Donation Matching Weekend” with New York Times Bestselling Author Karen Rose

read4pixels-rallyup-karen-rose_1

MARCH 8TH  2017 (WORLDWIDE): The Pixel Project, a 501(c)3  anti-Violence Against Women non-profit, is thrilled to announce the first ever Read For Pixels Flash Donation Weekend courtesy of New York Times bestselling mystery/thriller author Karen Rose which will take place from 12am PST March 11th 2017 to 11.59pm PST March 13th 2017. Ms. Rose has pledged a dollar-to-dollar match for up to a maximum of $4000 in donations made to the Read For Pixels 2017 (International Women’s Day Edition) campaign during this period.

Ms. Rose’s generous pledge covers any donations coming in via the Read For Pixels (IWD Edition) fundraiser during these three days whether they are made by book fans in order to get exclusive perks and goodies from their favourite authors or are standalone donations.

To encourage her global fan community to support the cause, Ms. Rose will also make several unique goodies available on the Read For Pixels fundraising page to reward her fans worldwide for donating. These include 1-to-1 Skype calls for individuals and book clubs as well as goodie bundles comprising her books or series paired with hand-knit items that she has personally made in support of the Read For Pixels campaign.

In addition to Ms. Rose’s contributions, all perks and goodies donated by authors and publishers for the campaign will be released just in time for the 11th March kick-off of the Flash Donation Matching Weekend. There will exclusive goodies from the 11 other Read For Pixels authors including Aliette de Bodard, Jacqueline Carey, Karen Chance, Kendare Blake, Kristin Cast, Laini Taylor, Mary Robinette Kowal, Michelle Hodkin, Michelle Sagara, Shannon Mayer, and Tessa Gratton. Additional goodies come courtesy of Penguin Random House’s Berkeley and Ace/Roc/Daw imprints, acclaimed Fantasy authors Anne Bishop, Darynda Jones, Diana Gabaldon, Kate Elliot, Keri Arthur, Kimberly Derting, and many more.

All funds raised are in support of The Pixel Project’s Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign which aims to get men and boys on board the cause to end violence against women while raising US$1 million to keep The Pixel Project’s anti-Violence Against Women campaigns, programmes, and initiatives alive.

Regina Yau, Founder and President of The Pixel Project, said: “Karen Rose has been a staunch long-time supporter of the movement to end violence against women and it is our hope that her generosity will inspire book lovers worldwide to not only attend the upcoming Read For Pixels author Google Hangouts, but to also donate generously and begin taking action to stop the violence in their communities wherever they are in the world.”

To donate to the campaign during the Flash Donation Matching Weekend, visit https://thepixelproject.rallyup.com/read4pixels2017-iwd

To learn more about Read For Pixel, visit: http://is.gd/Read4Pixels

To learn more about The Pixel Project, visit www.thepixelproject.net

 

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For more information, contact Regina Yau at info@thepixelproject.net 

About The Pixel Project (www.thepixelproject.net)

The Pixel Project is a complete virtual, volunteer-led global 501(c)3 nonprofit organisation whose mission is to raise awareness, funds and volunteer power for the cause to end violence against women using  a combination of social media, new technologies, and popular culture/the Arts. Their flagship initiative is the Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign which aims to turbo-charge global awareness about VAW using social media while raising US$1 million by getting a global audience to collectively unveil a million-pixel mystery collage of Celebrity Male Role Models at US$1 per pixel.

About Karen Rose (www.karenrosebooks.com)

Award winning, internationally bestselling romantic suspense author Karen Rose earned her degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Maryland.  She lived in Cincinnati and worked in the engineering field for years before she began writing novels in 2003.  Rose currently lives in Florida.  Connect with her online at karenrosebooks.com, and facebook.com/KarenRoseBooks.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Read For Pixels 2017 (IWD Edition) – Live Google Hangouts with Award-Winning Bestselling Women Writers saying NO to Violence Against Women

reveal-read-for-pixels-2017-slideJANUARY 23rd, 2017 (WORLDWIDE): The Pixel Project, a 501(c)3 anti-Violence Against Women non-profit, is proud to announce their third International Women’s Day (IWD) Edition of their “Read For Pixels” campaign featuring live Google Hangouts with award-winning bestselling female authors in honour of International Women’s Day 2017 and in support of the Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign, which aims to raise US$1 million in aid of The Pixel Project. Participating authors include Aliette de Bodard, Jacqueline Carey, Karen Chance, Karen Rose, Kendare Blake, Kristin Cast, Laini Taylor, Mary Robinette Kowal, Michelle Hodkin, Michelle Sagara, Shannon Mayer, and Tessa Gratton.

“Read For Pixels” IWD 2017 Google Hangout sessions will run on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings throughout March 2016. Each session will feature an author reading from one of their books and discussing their writing, why they support ending violence against women, and women in the media, geek culture, and popular culture. Each session will also include a live moderated Q&A session for fans and book lovers to ask their favourite authors questions in real time.

Participating authors have also generously donated a range of exclusive goodies to help The Pixel Project encourage fans and book lovers to donate to the Pixel Reveal campaign including: unique author-curated goodie bundles, signed first editions or special editions of popular books by participating authors, sonnets and stories written especially for donors, a chance to be or name a minor character in their upcoming books, and more. Additional goodies are donated by Berkley Books and Ace/Roc/Daw Books at Penguin Random House, acclaimed Science Fiction and Fantasy author Kate Elliot, and New York Times bestselling Fantasy authors Anne Bishop, Darynda Jones, Diana Gabaldon, Keri Arthur, Kimberly Derting, and more. Donations begin at as little as US$10 and the goodies are available to donors as “thank you” gifts and perks depending on the donation amount. Fundraising will take place in tandem with the Google Hangout series over the month of March.

“Violence against women is one of the most widespread and entrenched human rights violations in the world and The Pixel Project is delighted that so many acclaimed female authors have stepped up to join us in raising much-needed funds and widespread support for this cause,” said Regina Yau, Founder and President of The Pixel Project.  “Since its debut in 2014, over 60 authors have participated in the Read For Pixels campaign, collaborating with us to raise approximately US$34,000 for the cause and ignite online discussions about violence against women by fans and supporters. This is the third year we’re holding the International Women’s Day Edition of the campaign in recognition of the importance of the voices of female authors, a number of whom have faced gender-based violence in their lives. It is our hope that their support of the cause will inspire fans of their wonderful books and book lovers worldwide to not only donate generously, but also begin taking action to stop the violence in their communities wherever they are in the world.”

More information about Read For Pixels can be found at: http://is.gd/Read4Pixels.

 

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About The Pixel Project (www.thepixelproject.net)

The Pixel Project is a complete virtual, volunteer-led global 501(c)3 nonprofit organisation whose mission is to raise awareness, funds and volunteer power for the cause to end violence against women through campaigns and initiatives at the intersection of social media, new technologies, and popular culture/the Arts. Their flagship initiative is the Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign which aims to turbo-charge global awareness about VAW using social media while raising US$1 million by getting a global audience to collectively unveil a million-pixel mystery collage of Celebrity Male Role Models at US$1 per pixel.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Read For Pixels Campaign 2016 – 3rd Annual Fall Edition

reveal-read-for-pixels-2016-fall-slide_finalAugust 3rd, 2016 (WORLDWIDE): The Pixel Project, an anti-Violence Against Women non-profit, will be holding the third annual Fall Edition of their “Read For Pixels” Google Hangout campaign. “Read For Pixels” 2016 (Fall Edition) features live Google Hangouts with award-winning bestselling authors in support of the Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign, which aims to raise US$1 million in aid of The Pixel Project and the USA’s National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Participating authors include Christopher Golden, Dan Wells, Gregg Hurwitz, Josephine Angelini, Martha Wells, Max Gladstone, Steven Erikson, Susan Dennard, Tami Hoag, Victoria (V.E.) Schwab, and Veronica Rossi.

“Read For Pixels” 2016 (Fall Edition) Google Hangout sessions will run on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings throughout September 2016. Each session will feature an author reading from one of their books and discussing their writing, why they support ending violence against women, and women in the media, geek culture, and popular culture. Each session will also include a live moderated Q&A session for fans and book lovers to ask their favourite authors questions in real time.

Participating authors have also generously donated a range of exclusive goodies to help The Pixel Project encourage fans and book lovers to donate to the Pixel Reveal campaign including: Exclusive swag bags just for Read For Pixels, signed first editions or special editions of participating authors’ books, a chance to be a minor character in their upcoming game, and more. In addition, Berkeley at Penguin Random House and Kensington Books are donating mystery book boxes. There are also exclusive goodies courtesy of Lee Child. Donations begin at as little as US$5 and the goodies are available to donors as “thank you” gifts and perks depending on the donation amount. Fundraising will take place on Indiegogo in tandem with the Google Hangout series over the month of September.

“Violence against women is one of the most widespread and entrenched human rights violations in the world and The Pixel Project is delighted that so many acclaimed authors have stepped up to join us in raising much-needed funds and widespread support for this cause,” said Regina Yau, Founder and President of The Pixel Project.  “To date, the Read For Pixels campaign have collectively raised over US$27,000 for the cause and ignited online discussions about violence against women by fans and supporters. We will continue to hold the Fall Edition “Read For Pixels” annually in September as part of our ongoing programme of Read For Pixels events and activities. It is our hope that the authors’ support of the cause will inspire fans of their wonderful books and book lovers worldwide to not only donate generously, but also begin taking action to stop the violence in their communities wherever they are in the world.”

More information about Read For Pixels can be found at: http://is.gd/Read4Pixels.

 

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About The Pixel Project (www.thepixelproject.net)

The Pixel Project is a complete virtual, volunteer-led global 501(c)3 nonprofit organisation whose mission is to raise awareness, funds and volunteer power for the cause to end violence against women using  a combination of social media, new technologies, and popular culture/the Arts. Their flagship initiative is the Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign which aims to turbo-charge global awareness about VAW using social media while raising US$1 million by getting a global audience to collectively unveil a million-pixel mystery collage of Celebrity Male Role Models at US$1 per pixel.