Ember Days: Going Woke One YA Author at a Time

There is a new movement in the literary world, especially in the YA market, of authors cancelling books before their release. This just happened when author Alexandra Duncan cancelled the release of her novel Ember Days, which was set for release in March 2021. Why? Because she got cold feet after going woke. I’m sure the craziness of the world probably stoked some of that fear seeing as Marxist hate mobs roam the streets looting, tearing down monuments, and killing black cops in the name of social justice.

The author herself stated as much when she said this in a recent interview: “I definitely struggled with whether it was okay for me to write about a culture outside my own.”

But yet she wrote the book.

She got an agent.

She got a publisher.

The book was edited and a cover designed – the thing was ready for release, but she killed it. I’d also argue, the author probably killed her career in the process, because who in their right mind would want to invest anything on a gutless, spineless author who buckles under pressure and her own white guilt? If she was this concerned about exploring the Gullah Geechee culture – why write the book in the first place?

Later in the same article Duncan goes on to say: “Clearly, the fact that I did not see the signs of the problem with my book’s premise in my research or conversations about the book is evidence that I was not the right person to tell this story. I am deeply ashamed to have made a mistake of this magnitude and hope my actions will not negatively affect the cause of bringing greater diversity to children’s literature.”

How so?

First of all, how many people are bringing to light the Gullah Geechee culture? Not many, so the fact that author was even attempting to do this should be praised, because of her novel, people will learn something new about a rich culture heritage of the United States. Secondly, in her own statement, nobody around her seemed to see a problem with it – so why does she? Is it because she’s white and telling a story outside your lane is racist and will get her cancelled or attacked by the mob online?


She also stated she researched the Gullah Geechee culture, which is a good thing. There might be some issues with the book in terms of getting everything right, but in the world of fiction, that is okay – I mean this isn’t a non-fiction book after all. And if she wanted to make sure she captured it correctly, she could talk to people with a deeper understanding of the culture and make corrections. But to come out and cancel the project this close to release is unprofessional.

Finally, she talks about diversity in children’s literature – as if her actions make her some noble saint. How many authors out there are writing a story like the one you wrote? None, because its YOUR story. Nobody had the idea you had, nobody created the characters you did, or use the same plot or dialogue – nothing. You know what that means? You took nothing away from nobody, except yourself when you decided to cancel your own book.

This is starting to become a trend, especially in the YA world. I went to a writer’s conference with a panel of YA authors, including Scott Westerfeld – author of Uglies.  And I was shocked when he and the other panelist told authors not to write books with black protagonist or dealing with culture/races outside their own.


This form of literary discrimination is wrong and should be rebelled against at every level, because nobody is writing the story you are. I don’t remember people getting pissed that a woman wrote a story about a boy wizard or even Westerfeld writing about a female character. The idea we as authors must stay in our lane or else should inspire all of us creatives to take the challenge on and flip off the establishment in the process. We don’t need affirmative action in the art world, because in 2020 voices are no longer being censored, unless your white – if your white, nobody gives a shit about your work. But if your black or a transgender or gay or the holy trifecta as a black, transgender queer – your writing is in high demand.


Whites Cannot Write About the Black Experience

Today, I watched a video by Meg LaTorre, a fantasy writer and literary agent called, “Why Books Are Rejected,” (link). I would recommend give it a watch, the advice she gives is very insightful. Having tried to publish a couple of my works, and getting next to no feedback, always made me wonder why my novel was rejected – so getting a glimpse behind the curtain was groovy.

However, she does give some question advice that instantly made my blood boil. Basically, she goes on to say (and this is just a summary and not a direct quote) that white writers should not write about the black experience. Simply put, we are stealing their stories.

Does anyone else out there find this incredibly stupid?

I’m all about the celebration of diversity, but this is nothing short of self-censorship! The idea that a writer cannot write about a certain experience because they are not of that gender or race is the dumbest shit I’ve ever heard. Maybe Meg needs to realize Harry Potter was written by a woman! So, by her stupid logic, J.K. Rowling should have written about a female’s journey at Hogwarts, right? What about James Cameron and Ripley from Aliens or George Romero’s, Ben; one of the first black heroes in horror in the classic Night of the Living Dead?!

Hearing this new ‘woke’ philosophy, especially when related to fiction, just pisses me off. Right now, at Marvel, only Muslims writers can write about Kamala Khan – as if a Christian author or atheists couldn’t write the character and do it justice!

Currently, you look at Marvel and DC as an example, and you see a dying industry because it ran to express a political agenda instead of entertaining the reader. Instead of creating interesting new characters for the comic fans to get behind, they did a reboot of all the classic characters and turned them female and gay – GIVE ME A FUCKING BREAK!

I was totally against Ghostbusters 2016 and the current Terminator movie – not because of the female casting and leads, but the message they try to shove down my throat. With Ghostbusters, when I saw the teaser posters, I was excited – I liked the cast and the director. But that trailer, holy shit did it suck and it totally turned me off to seeing it. Same with all these other ‘woke’ films. Write great characters in great stories and I will watch them.

People keep doing the whole “Wakanda Forever,” bullshit as the black community totally rallies behind Black Panther. I love how the character and movie got a bunch of people into the theater and into the Marvel universe, but it wasn’t even created by black authors. It was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, two white dudes in 1966!!!

The thing people forget, let’s say an African-American and I write a story about a young black kid who goes on a road trip. We could have the same characters and central plot points, but the two stories would be completely different. Different in voice, tone, and emotion – and both be equally good. But this woman and a lot of ‘woke’ agents today wouldn’t give me, as a white male, any credit and might even refuse to publish my book because I’m a white author writing about the black experience.

Fucking ridiculous.

Hey writers, prove this chick wrong. Write what you like, no matter who the character is or their race, sexuality, or what have you. Just make the character good and the story fantastic. Don’t let the world censor your fucking creativity.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Racism in a Workshop or Just Another Weak Writer Incapable of Criticism: A Reaction to Rani Neutill

I read an article recently I thought was absolute dog shit. I mean this is the type of writing you don’t want to step in, and when you do, you want to dig it out with a stick.

It was posted over on Long Reads and is written by Rani Neutill. First off, I’ll give credit where credit is due – the piece is well-written. It is clear this writer is talented in the art of the word and spent, a long damn time, writing her article – hence it being crucified over on Long Reads.

But that’s it.

The message is junkie blood splatted on the ceiling of a roach material, rust colored and ripe with Hepatitis C.

The name of the article is, “The Psychiatrist in My Writing Class and His ‘Gift’ of Hate.” And the tag line, I kid you fucking not is – Rani Neutill recalls a literary workshop in which a white man critiqued her ability to write in ‘proper’ English.

What the fuck?!

The first few paragraphs are fantastically written, capturing the writing room with amazing detail. I was hooked. And then she went down the path of no return, going completely woke and racist in a single line. She says, “All my classmates are white.”


You live in the United States and go to school in New England of all places, what the hell did you expect?

I don’t understand, how in this day and age, calling people out on their race isn’t racism? If I wrote the same article about the horrors of a critique group by proclaiming, “All my classmates were black.”

People would be pissed.

“All my class mates were asshole transgenders.”

The LGBTQ whatever, whatever would hang me from the nearest lamp post by my dick!

The rest of the article is about how this poor, poor woman was discriminated against by a ‘white’ dude because he questioned her grammar and language abilities in a story. Guess what babe, this happens to EVERYONE in a critique group and has nothing to do with racism, but your horrible fucking writing skills.

The way she writes reminds of those stuck up pieces of shit in writing classes that think they’re the next big thing, crafting the mega-masterpieces of this generation. The type of people who can’t stand it when someone points out the issues in their stories without loosing their minds.

I had a class where a Nazi-like Feminist ripped my story apart in front of the entire class for 45 minutes and I didn’t give a fuck. In fact, it made me stronger as a writer, because now I can take anything. This one dude in this class broke this woman like a witch on a medieval torture rack.

She’s still fucking crying about it.

The rest of the article jumps between flashbacks showing where this stuff comes from – turns out she’s a Bengali immigrant and she struggles with her identity and language. So she goes off on this one, poor dude because she’s insecure about herself.

Its sad.

And like I said, there isn’t a writer on this planet whose taken a writer’s workshop who hasn’t been lambasted for poor grammar and horrible writing. That’s why you go so you can grow and improve as a writer. But I guess that slipped past her while attending a fucking class in New England.

Newsflash Rani, not all whites are racist! You clearly are, because you can’t see past neither your ego or the skin color of your classmates.

I swear, she goes off on this dude in her head. Of course, she doesn’t have the spine to stand up for herself in the class, but instead holds it in so she can further fuel the victim fire in her twisted mind. I won’t link to the article, because it is utter trash.

Not in the writing, like I said, it is well written. Very well written if I’m to be honest (better than this rant, that’s for sure). But I don’t support hate speech or racist authors no matter how good they are. You can Google it. You’ll find it.

And if Rani reads this – get a fucking life you clown. Stop seeing everything through the eyes of a victim and be strong.

Do keep writing, because you are very good at it – and if one dude can break you so easily, how will you deal with this or other people hating on your work, because it will happen. And does.

I also hope you can learn to stop being a victim and seeing those around you, who may look differently, as the enemy.

Be happy.

Be proud of yourself and your culture.

And stop being a damn racist.