Archive for the ‘Random’ Category

Take an Online Course on How to Publish a Non-Fiction Book with Me and my Agent, Dawn Frederick

January 23, 2017


I’m trying something new this winter by co-teaching an online class with my wonderful agent, Dawn Frederick of Red Sofa Literary, about how to develop a non-fiction book and get it published. The six-week course is called “Agent & Author: Publishing Non-Fiction” and we’re doing it via the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, but everything is online so you can take the course from anywhere. Dawn’s done several courses with them before so she’s a pro, while this is my first outing, and I’m excited to share my experiences with a crop of new writers.

These experiences will form the backbone of the course; we’re going to run through every step of the process of getting Wonder Woman Unbound published. It was my first book, and we’ll look closely at everything involved in going from an idea to writing a book to getting an agent to finding a publisher. The classes will break down like so:

Week 1: We’ll talk about your book ideas, and how to go from an idea to a book. I’ll share my process with Wonder Woman Unbound, and we’ll all get to know each other and what sort of books we’re looking to write.

Week 2: This one’s all about how to get an agent. We’ll discuss how to write a query letter to send to an agent, and I’ll post the query letters I wrote so you can learn what to do and what not to do. Dawn will have great insights since she’s received thousands of query letters over the years.

Week 3: We’ll dig into book proposals with this one. Selling a non-fiction book requires crafting a detailed book proposal, and we’ll run you through all of the steps and what you need to cover. Again, you’ll see various drafts of my proposals, and Dawn’s sold lots of books so she knows what works and what doesn’t when it comes to proposals.

Week 4: This week digs into the relationship between author and agent, and how to navigate all of the steps of getting a book published together. We’ll also chat about edits and rewrites, and I’ll share several drafts of a chapter of Wonder Woman Unbound so you can get a sense of that process.

Week 5: It’s time for book contracts! Dawn will really shine in this one, since she deals with book contracts all the time while I mostly just sign them, and she’ll run through what you need to know, expect, and look out for when it comes to signing with a publisher.

Week 6: We’ll chat about what happens once your book sells, both in terms of working with your publisher and all of the steps therein as well as in terms of what you can do on your own to promote your book.

All together, it will be a thorough rundown of how to see your book from idea to publication, with lots of great tips and templates to help you through the process. If you’re thinking about writing a non-fiction book or have one that you’re looking to get published, this will be an ideal course for you.

The course starts on February 8, and it will involve online activities along with weekly video chats with the group. You can find out all about it by following this link. It costs $234 to take the course, but if you are in a low-income situation you can look into getting a scholarship through the Loft Literary Center that could help defray those costs somewhat. I hope to see you there, in electronic form! It’s going to be a lot of fun.

Pennsylvania Pals, Come See Me At BookFestPA on Saturday, July 16!

July 6, 2016


America, I’m coming back to visit you soon! I’ve been invited to BookFestPA, which is part of the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts in State College and Penn State, and I’ll be there for the full day of BookFestPA on Saturday, July 16. The theme for this year’s BookFestPA is comic books, and I’ll be there to chat about the history of superheroes. I’m really looking forward to the trip; it sounds like a great festival, and everyone involved has been wonderful to work with. I think it’s going to be a blast.

I’ll be there in the main tent, with copies of Wonder Woman Unbound: The Curious History of the World’s Most Famous Heroine and Investigating Lois Lane: The Turbulent History of the Daily Planet’s Ace Reporter for sale. I’ll also have lots of free things to give away, including bookmarks and fun Investigating Lois Lane notebooks. There will be lots of other great people in the tent, too, including comic book creators like Alitha Martinez (Batgirl) and Robert Hack (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina).

I’ll also be giving a talk in the Downsbrough Community Room at the Schlow Centre Region Library at 11am on Saturday; it’s right next to BookFestPA’s main tent. My talk is on “The History of Women in Comics,” and I’ll chat about Wonder Woman and Lois Lane, of course, as well as several other great female superheroes as I discuss the evolution of women in superhero comics over the best eight decades. The presentation is going to be jam packed with all of your favourite heroines and villainesses. I’m putting the PowerPoint together now, and it’s absolutely loaded with so many fantastic female characters. Catwoman? For sure. Supergirl? Of course. Black Widow? Yep. Ms. Marvel? We’ve got both of them. Batgirl? ALL OF THEM. Gwen Stacy? Like ten different versions. Patsy Walker? I’m going to have to force myself to stay on track so I can get to everyone else because I could talk about Patsy Walker ALL DAY. It’s going to be so much fun!

So if you’re in the ballpark of central Pennsylvania on Saturday, July 16, come say hi! You can hear me chat about awesome comic book ladies, check out books from a variety of awesome folks, and I’ll even give you free stuff. Plus there’s going to be a costume contest! You can dress up! It’s going to be a great day, and I think a good time will be had by all. Check out the BookFestPA page for more information, and I hope to see you there!

Superhero Angel Paper Craft Decorations, Including Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Ms. Marvel, and More!

December 22, 2015

I saw a cool classic style angel design on Buzzfeed this weekend and thought, “That’s fun! I bet I could make a Supergirl from that,” because I’m all about Supergirl as of late. The new show is the BEST. So I built myself a template based on what I saw and customized it to Supergirl, and quite liked it. Plus it was really fun to build. So I built more. And more and more. And ended up with ten superhero angels that are now decorating my home and making it all sorts of festive. Here’s what I ended up with!

1) TV Supergirl: Melissa Benoist is amazing, and I am all about that costume.



2) Wonder Woman: Because, of course. It’s me! Who else would you expect?



3) Batgirl of Burnside: It’s just the best costume.



4) 1970s Catwoman: A classic, and super rad.



5) Ms. Marvel: Kamala Khan is maybe my favourite character in comics right now.



6) Lois Lane: With superpowers, as seen in some classic 60s stories.



7) Thor: I love me some Lady Thor. The comic is killer, and she’s so much fun.



8) Patsy Walker, aka. Hellcat: My pal Kate Leth has a new Patsy Walker series starting tomorrow with art by Brittney Williams and it looks AMAZING.



9) TV Hawkgirl: Such a cool character, and I can’t wait to see more of her in Legends of Tomorrow.



10) Maps Mizoguchi: AW YEAH MAPS!! If you don’t love Maps, then you just don’t have a soul.



If any of you happen to be interested in making angels of your own, here are all the PDFs for you. Just print them out, cut yourself a flap on one of the sides of the angel so you can stick it all together, fold it together and tape or glue it up! They’re really easy to put together. Yay for festive fun!

The PDFs:











Come See Me At Boston Comic Con Next Weekend, August 8-10, At Table D221

August 1, 2014


Next weekend is Boston Comic Con at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston, Massachusetts, and I will be there! I’ll be at table D221, and I’ll have copies of Wonder Woman Unbound for sale, along with free postcards and bookmarks and fancy signed bookplates. If you’re going to the convention, you should absolutely stop by and we can chat about Wonder Woman or comics stats or whatever else you’d like to talk about, and I’ll give you some free stuff. Here’s a handy map of where I’ll be:


The convention runs August 8th to 10th, and I will be there ALL weekend. Here are the hours, for your convenience; I will be at my table for all of them, most likely:

  • Friday, August 8 – 2pm to 8pm
  • Saturday, August 9 – 10am to 7pm
  • Sunday, August 10 – 10am to 6 pm

I’ll also be sharing my table with Kate Leth, the New York Times Bestselling author of the Adventure Time: Seeing Red graphic novel, as well as the Bravest Warriors comic and the upcoming Fraggle Rock: Journey to the Everspring and Edward Scissorhands comics. She also drew a great piece for Wonder Woman Unbound, the fantastic bondage diagram on page 69. I’m sure she’ll be doing awesome sketches and signing stuff, so definitely get in on that too.

I hope to see lots of you next weekend! It should be a really good time.

A New 3 Chicks Review Comics Podcast With A Special Guest Host: Me!

July 28, 2014


This weekend, I had the pleasure of guest hosting one of my favourite comics podcasts, “3 Chicks Review Comics.” The podcast’s regular hosts are Sue from DC Women Kicking Ass and Kelly Thompson from “She Has No Head!” on Comic Book Resources and the massively popular Kickstartered novels The Girl Who Would Be King and Storykiller.

The show was a ton of fun to do. We started off by talking about Wonder Woman Unbound and dug into a few corners of Wonder Woman’s history, which is always a good time. Then we reviewed two new comic books, Storm #1 which I loved but Sue and Kelly only liked, and Saga #21 which we all loved because Saga is just amazing. Up next was a chat about my women in comics stats, which led into a discussion of the big Comic-Con announcements and how not a lot of them involved female creators. Unfortunately we taped on Saturday morning, and were finished before the first image of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman was released; we would’ve had a lot to say about that! But we covered all of the other big Comic-Con news and worried that we might come out of the weekend without any female-led superhero films, which sadly came to pass.

So go give the episode a listen! It’s on iTunes and Podbean and generally quite easy to get a hold of. It’s always a great show, and I had a blast doing it.

A Blog Semi-Vacation

June 6, 2014

Tomorrow I am heading to Florida for a two week family vacation (life is rough for old Timothy R. Hanley, that’s for sure) and so things will be a little quieter around Straitened Circumstances while I’m gone. It’s 2014, so I’ll have wifi and whatnot, and will definitely pop in for notable Wonder Woman news. Expect Wonder Woman solicits, if they come out in the next two weeks, previews, and a Wonder Woman review, and hopefully Zack Snyder will release a picture of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in the near future! I’m sure I’ll have some thoughts about that.

So yeah, there will be posts. Just fewer posts, because I will be busy sitting in the sun and reading books; 94% of what I do on vacation is read. I’ve got some books lined up that look really cool and that I’m very excited to dive into, including Six-Gun Snow White by Cathyrenne M. Valente, River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay, and many more. Like ten more. My suitcase might be overweight.

After a lot of searching, I’ve also got myself some fantastic new swim trunks that will allow me to stealth cosplay as Wonder Woman while I’m on the beach. Check them out:


So if you see a guy on a Florida beach rocking those shorts and reading books while everyone else is frolicking in the waves, it’s most likely me. Come say hi. I’ll probably be a shining white beacon because I am all about super high SPF protection.

In the meantime, you can compensate for the lack of new posts by listening to me talk about Wonder Woman Unbound with Mark Lynch of WICN’s Inquiry. It was a super fun show to do; Mark really knows his comics and loves the Silver Age, and it’s always a good time to dig into the weird world of Wonder Woman. We chatted about Lois Lane for a bit as well, which I am always glad to do.

Anyway, I’ll be around, just less often, for the next two weeks. And hopefully I’ll return with stories of some fun comic book adventures! There are a couple of shops I’m really looking forward to checking out, and fingers crossed I’ll make some cool finds. Once when I was in high school I was off on vacation and found the ENTIRE run of the death of Superman in a random bookshop for twenty-five cents an issue, so let’s hope for something awesome like that. And if I don’t find anything cool, at least there will be sun and orange juice.

Violence, Misogyny, And Why All Men Must Be Better

May 26, 2014

This weekend, a young man in California went on a killing spree. The media has been covering the story extensively, but are highlighting his father’s connection to The Hunger Games movies and speculating about his mental health rather than addressing the vitriolic misogyny at the core of a Youtube screed and a 140 page manifesto the perpetrator left behind. The man was a virgin, and was furious with women for not giving him the attention he felt he was entitled to. He frequented sites run by pick-up artists and men’s rights activists that degrade and dehumanize women, internalized their hateful messages, and then bought a gun and meticulously planned out his vengeful attack.

The whole situation is appalling, and I have nothing to say about the media’s lack of focus on the shooter’s obvious misogyny that hasn’t been said better elsewhere; I suggest Jessica Valenti’s excellent piece in The Guardian. But watching the public reaction to the shootings on Twitter and elsewhere this weekend has been depressing. Those who pointed out the misogyny at the heart of the violence, many of them women, were met with choruses of “not all men.” It seems that certain men, faced with women talking about their own experiences with misogyny, feel compelled to make the conversation all about themselves, essentially proving the original point.

None of this is surprising. “Not all men” is such a common refrain that it’s become a meme. But this weekend, the “not all men” chorus was answered with the #YesAllWomen hashtag on Twitter, because while “not all men” threaten women, all women have felt threatened by men. Women related their experiences with sexism and misogyny, highlighting the daily issues they face just by being a woman in a patriarchal society.

It is indisputable that we live in a society that undervalues and dehumanizes women. Rates of sexual violence against women are massive, while the number of prosecutions of rapists and perpetrators of assault is miniscule, much less convictions. In my own field, I regularly write about sexism in the comic book industry and have yet to be threatened in any way, while every woman I know who writes about the same topics has been met with rape and/or death threats. Again, this is not surprising information. Such things have been going on for quite a while; millennia, in fact.

Now, you may be a man who has never threatened a woman, has never committed an act of sexual violence, and has certainly never brought a gun to a sorority house. Congratulations, you’ve reached the lowest bar of human decency by not doing something terrible. But here’s the thing: All of the misogyny that’s out there, this culture of entitlement and disregard for women’s agency that breeds contempt and violence, that’s on us. We are the primary beneficiaries of the patriarchal society that spawned it, and it’s our job to stop it. All men must be better.

Being men, we have it much easier in our society, on account of the fact that the world was designed for us. Men have been in charge for a long, long time, so by and large everything has been created in our best interest. We make more money. We hold more positions of power. Even in the most mundane, everyday experiences, things are better for us; we can ride the subway without being groped, we can talk and people will listen to us, we don’t have to watch our drinks at parties, we don’t have to carry pepper spray or tasers or rape whistles or arrange our keys like a weapon when we walk home alone. And it’s easy not to notice these advantages, because it’s our only experience of the world.

This is exacerbated by a general lack of understanding of anyone else’s experiences. Again, patriarchy. The majority of what we see, hear, read, and experience is through the lens of men. For example, when you go to the movies, on average 75% of the characters are men, 13% of the films are written by women, and only 7% are directed by them, despite the fact that women are half of the population. Our cultural experience is a male experience, and thus male issues and perspectives get amplified. The result is an echo chamber that shapes our view of the world, further entrenching us in the system of male-centrism at the core of our society.

We need to aggressively counter this.

Because if we don’t, we get swallowed up by dominant cultural messages just by going about our day, and thus reinforce the patriarchal system. Women’s voices are marginalized, so we need to seek them out. We need to go out of our way to read, listen to, see, and talk to women so that we can understand their experience of the world. Fiction, non-fiction, music, television, comics, everything; we need to engage. We have to understand their perspectives as best we can, and realize that there are perspectives, plural, because women are not monolithic. We need to value their experiences of the world as much as we value our own.

Not being a sexist jerk isn’t enough, because our society is inherently rigged against women and we’re benefitting from it. We need to counterbalance our own personal experience of the world, and then go out and be better. And show other men how to be better. And most definitely teach boys how to be better. We need to take apart the patriarchy that we’ve built brick by brick, and to do this we have to see it. And hopefully, eventually, things will start to shift.

Seeing women as people and respecting them isn’t even the least we can do. It’s not even step one. It’s step zero; it’s the landing we start on. It’s basic human decency. Step one is engaging, and understanding and actively countering the biased system we are steeped in every day. All men must do this, or we are tacitly enabling its continued existence. All men must be better.

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