Tag Archives: Yasmine Galenorn

SNAHM: Yasmine Galenorn

Hi friends – I’m … still here. It’s been … a year, huh. Lots going on. Lots. Let’s just move right along. I have to say straight up, this post is a year late, and it’s on me. It is entirely, absolutely, 100% on me. My apologies. My apologies to you, my apologies to Ms. Galenorn. I messed up. I did want to share her post though – but also note – it was written almost a year ago, it should have gone up at that time. I will say, I definitely think it’s still relevant. (In fact, maybe it was meant to be – to be posted now considering…)

So without further ado … Yasmine Galenorn

I want to thank Limecello for asking me to write a blog post on diversity/being a writer of mixed background. The world of media’s been filled with a lot of controversy this year—well, every year, I guess, but this year I’ve noticed it more.

And I’ve been thinking about the concept of diversity in books, movies, etc., a lot because this relates to me directly—as both an author, and as someone who has a mixed heritage background. Maybe I don’t look it…my Irish side seems to comes out a lot stronger than my Cherokee in my looks…but yes, I am mixed blood and honestly, it has never played a big part in how I think about myself. Probably because of that very fact—nobody bothers me about it because hey, I look white, to be blunt. No, I get attacked in other ways.

It hit my mother though, right where it hurts most, with family. With her husband’s family (my stepfather). And I knew it hurt her because when she was alive, she talked to me about it. I’d like to say he stuck up for her, that he put a stop to his mother treating my mother like a second-class citizen, but I can’t, because he, himself, was a racist though he would never have accepted that fact. But honestly, when you marry someone who is part Native American and then refer to NAs as “warhoops” and Hispanics as “wetbacks”…I’m sorry, you’re racist. When you won’t let your wife drink any alcohol because she’s part Native American, you’re racist. And so on.

Anyway, I had a long, long post written with all sorts of examples and I deleted most of it and decided to rewrite…just a blunt post.

I’ve seen so much ugliness in the past few years on the net. I’ve been called a whore/slut because my female characters are unapologetically sexual and lead alternative lifestyles. I’ve been trash-talked as a writer because of my looks—because I’m fat and unapologetic about the way I choose to dress, about the fact that I have a wonderful marriage, and that I’m successful and not ashamed of myself. Apparently, size has something to do with how well the words come out of my brain, according to a subset of trolls. I’ve seen friends get death and rape threats due to speaking out about the nature of being a female who writes science fiction and fantasy.

Enough. Just. Enough.

I no longer care about making my valid arguments and refuting the idiots because: Diversity? Whether it be in gender, color, size, sexuality, it’s not going away, people. The “good old days with family values” only existed for a minor subset of society. Women were struggling for equality. People of color were struggling for equality. L/G/B/T people were struggling for equality. The only ones who weren’t struggling with some form of discrimination were white men.

So here’s the thing: yes, you have less power when you share that power around. You have less power over others. That doesn’t mean you don’t have the power to shape your life into awesome…

What does it mean? This:

  • It means you can’t beat your wife.
  • You can’t rape your date.
  • You can’t terrorize the neighbors because they’re black.
  • You can’t pass over someone for a job simply because he’s Cherokee.
  • You can’t spit on a woman entering the military because you think she can’t handle the training.
  • You can’t deny Jim and George the right to marry.
  • You can’t pass over Linda for a promotion just because she’s fat and you would rather promote the size 4 blond so you can ogle her boobs.
  • You can’t force the local pagans to attend your church or to stop practicing their religion.

IOW: You can’t deny others basic rights simply because you don’t like them, you don’t agree with their religion, or you think they won’t serve you or that they are less than you. And, to be blunt, if you have a problem with this, I suggest you reexamine your ethics because…sorry, you’re wrong.

Anyway…I’ve seen too much online over the years to make me truly ever trust anybody I don’t know personally. Because those anonymous trolls and flame baiters? They aren’t bots. They are real people. Maybe the neighbor next door. Maybe the person you pass on the street. And they’ll smile to your face, and turn around and harass and hound and attack in private when they think nobody’s watching. When they believe they can get away with it. They’re cowards, but they’re dangerous cowards because sometimes, they take their hatred into the streets with guns. Or they beat up their girlfriends. Or they bully a little black girl just because they can.

So ya know…Enough.

Take a deep breath and decide—what do you want people to remember you for when you’re gone? Do you want to make the world a better place? Start by speaking out when you hear someone making a racist joke. Don’t sit by while the guys in the locker room talk about date-rape. Just stop adding fuel to the fire or enabling it by remaining silent.

Maybe I’m preaching to the choir…but if the choir doesn’t keep singing, all of this crap will slide back into acceptability. And it will just go on. And on. We can change things…one person at a time. One family at a time. But it starts with us. With the person in the mirror.

Yasmine

SAIHM Feature + Guest Author & A Giveaway: Yasmine Galenorn

My darlings it is November! How did that happen?! Also, it’s the first Tuesday! >.> Yes. *koffs* So – it’s time for our Guest Author & A Giveaway feature! Today we have Yasmine Galenorn, she’s a first time guest at ALBTALBS so everyone give her a warm welcome! I also loved her answers, and I hope you do too.

So without further ado … your typical ALBTALBS Author Interview with Yasmine Galenorn! \o/

Courting DarknessWhich would you most like to go to? A​ncient Greece, ​Rome, Egypt, China, Mesopotamia, Africa, or South America? Why?
Um…can I pick Finland? Because I have a special connection there—not by blood but by spirit. If not, then Mesopotamia, because I love the B52’s song. *grins*

Which fairy tale would you most like to be in? ​Least? Why (for both)?
Most: I’m picking Where the Wild Things Are. YES—I maintain it’s a modern fairy tale! I want to travel with Max to the island and meet the Wild Things. And some times, I want to stay there, because the concept of living on a magical island full of wild creatures who were also malleable sounds like a lot of fun.

Least: Cinderella. I don’t believe in Happily Ever After (though I do believe in Happy For Now), I don’t like housework, and I want my man to be an equal partner, not my rescuer. 😉

What’s the best book you read as a school assignment?
Watership Down. It’s still my favorite book. I absolutely love it, and see it as modern myth. I had to contrast/compare it to the Odyssey in 9th grade. I still cry over the end, no matter how many times I’ve read it, and my favorite character is Fiver.

What do you think about clowns?
Do we even have to go there? *shudders* Have NEVER liked clowns. They freak me out. They invade your boundaries and space and then victim-blame you for being a poor sport when you tell them to back off. I can’t imagine being married to a clown. That would be a deal breaker.

Night SeekerCelebrity/Author death match – who would you most want to take on? [you don’t have to say why ;)]
Oh hell, I dunno. Alyssa Day. Because I love the woman and no matter how it came out, I’d be happy . *laughing*

What did you do with the money from your first royalty check?
Bought a new desk and chair and got my first tattoo! WAY back in 1998.

What items have to be close by when writing & not just the sensible stuff like research notes, but the other perhaps slightly goofy stuff (bowl of m&ms, stuffed animal, stress ball, pot of coffee).
Other than my notebooks, research, Daytimer, dozens of pens and other office supplies…there are a number of trinkets I love but the ONE constant throughout my writing life has been Miss Kitty, the porcelain kitty I’ve had since I was 7 years old (and that is…a little over four decades). I traded a necklace for her at school. She’s been my writing mascot ever since. I have a lot of other baubles and things, but Miss Kitty? She has to be there.

If you had to become a bear, which type would you choose? Why?
I LOVE BEARS I LOVE THIS QUESTION…*calms down* Okay…Brown bear. I love brown bears. The goddess I’m a priestess of created the bear in the Finnish traditions/mythos and names him Otso. Bear is tattooed on my arm. I have three cave bear teeth that are 20,000 years old. I have statues of bears—including a very large one in my yard. I have pictures of bears. I have stuffed bears—I love the Gund Snuffles bears and collect them. Oh, you wanted to know why? Because brown bears are…bears. Isn’t that enough reason?

Shadow RisingA twisted fairy offers you perfect health. You’ll never be sick or get a migraine again. The catch is you’ll break a bone every three years until your 75th birthday. Nothing crippling, but still a break. (Anything from a femur to your pinky.) Do you take the offer? why or why not?
Um, sure. Considering that at most, I’d maybe, possibly, live 15 years after 75 years old, that’s five bones and none of them crippling? Okay. Fine. I won’t be going wind surfing or sky diving at that point. That’s fine. Even at my age, if all health concerns magically vanished until I was 75—sure.

If you were to become a spammer, what product would you peddle? And what would your message be? Come up with the most attention getting, creative, crazy thing. Yes, that’s a challenge.
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​T​ell us two truths and a lie. (The catch is you have to tell us what the lie is later in the comments)

  1. I lived in a converted school bus and slept with a hatchet by my head.
  2. I firmly believe I was an Egyptian Pharaoh in an earlier life.
  3. I never went on a date with any of my boyfriends/girlfriends/husband (and former husband) before I got involved with them romantically.

If you could be a super hero what would your super hero name be? And what would your nemesis be named? What would both of your super powers be?
The Empress of Dark Sparklies. My powers would be the ability to enchant and delight, with the darkest of sparkly magic. And my nemesis would be Grumpy Conservo-Dude, who has the power to drain the magic out of any gathering, and the fun out of any situation.

Night VisionIf you could switch places with someone for 72 hours, whose life would you want to live?
Honestly? Nobody. If I loved it more than my own, I’d regret coming back. If I hated it, I’d never be able to talk to that person again without thinking, “I know too much about what their life is like.”

What five other authors do you think more people need to be reading? (You can assume you’re already on the list ;))

  1. Shawntelle Madison.
  2. Kerry Schafer
  3. Karen Mahoney
  4. Holly Black (The Coldest Girl in Cold Town is one of my favorites as of late)
  5. Chloe Neill

Who are you choosing for your zombie apocalypse team? [Real, then fictional?]
Real:

  1. My friend Andrew. He’d be my choice for leader of the pack. If anybody can survive the zombie apocalypse, he can.
  2. I’d be the brains.
  3. Samwise—my husband—to run the underground communications/computer network.
  4. Marc and Andria, my assistants—both strong and handy.
  5. Carol, one of my best friends.
  6. Gary Numan—my favorite singer because we’re going to need entertainment. *koffs*celebritycrush*koffs*

Autumn WhispersFictional:

  1. Leonard McCoy from Star Trek: He can cure anything with that tricorder.
  2. Buffy: because she’s…Buffy.
  3. Daryl from the Walking Dead: Because besides being eye candy, you have to love a guy who can shoot a good cross bow and have no remorse.
  4. MacGyver: because he can create ANYTHING.
  5. Han Solo: because HAN SHOT FIRST!
  6. Thor: because he’s Thor, any other reason needed?

(Hey, you said ‘team’…to me a team means numbers!)

What a fun interview! But now I want to talk a little about Native American Indian Heritage month, and about how that relates to me. You might not know, but I’m (a significant) part Cherokee. I don’t talk about it much because honestly, I see it as just part of who I am. It doesn’t make me any more special or less special than someone who’s part Norwegian or part African American.

I’m one of those people who are kind of adrift about my family heritage. Most of the rest of my origin is Irish, but the honest truth is this: I don’t know much about a lot of my ancestors. I tried to investigate my Cherokee ancestry but my ancestors weren’t on the government rolls and that makes it difficult to pursue information.

Night's EndThe genealogy of my family wasn’t documented very well and with a great-grandma who outlived eight husbands, nobody really even knows what her original last name was, as far as I know. Our family? Not so close. Add to that, my blood father was my mother’s cousin (a long and involved story there. My mother left my stepfather for very good reasons, got pregnant with me, and then unfortunately went back to him)…and you begin to understand the complicated dynamics involved in my background.

However, I do know this: I grew up in a town where ethnicities weren’t accepted very well. I grew up hearing my stepfather refer to Native Americans as ‘warhoops’ (right in front of my mother and me), and Hispanics as ‘wetbacks.’ It didn’t make me ashamed of my background. In fact, his prejudice only served to make me leave that town and my family as soon as I could.

I also know that when my mother first married my stepfather, Grandma wouldn’t allow Mom to walk through the front door for a couple of years because she was part Cherokee. (Yes, I called—her Grandma. Blood related or not, she actually treated me pretty nicely though everybody knew I wasn’t actually H’s daughter. She didn’t take it out on me like he did—he abused me for just existing.)

Priestess DreamingMom was forced to go through the back door or the ‘servant’s entrance.’ After my stepfather finally spoke up—two years later—and his brother and sister argued with Grandma, she relented. But two years of being relegated to ‘servant’ status affected my mother’s already low self-esteem and I don’t think she ever recovered. When I heard the story, it made me that much more determined that I’d never let anybody stop me from what I wanted to do, just because of who I was.

Once I left home, I don’t believe I’ve ever suffered discrimination because of my ethnic background. I’ve been discriminated against because of my weight, being tattooed, and to some degree—being bisexual—more than anything else.

But yes, that, and the whole dynamic of knowing what happened to my mother, did affect my writing. In my books, there are hate groups and racism, even though it’s within an urban fantasy setting.

While some things in my world are idealized, others are not. In Otherworld, same-sex marriage? Legal and no problem to most people. Alternative lifestyles and sexualities? Maybe not the norm but just a matter-of-fact presence. But discrimination exists, and not only among the humans. My D’Artigo Sisters’ father hates one of Camille’s husbands simply because of his heritage. He’s prejudiced. And it causes a rift and he pays a price in losing his daughters’ respect.

Panther ProwlingI approach the themes of ‘other-ness’ and discrimination from a world-centric POV rather than taking it down to one ethnicity. Because I see racism and discrimination in every group, in every country, every continent, every religion, every gathering of like-individuals. There will always be a few who browbeat those who aren’t part of the ‘us’ in the us-and-them. So my writing focuses on oddballs and misfits, and those who live—like I do—a little bit on the fringe. In fact, I truly don’t know if I believe in ‘normal’ as truly existing.

I’ve always been on the outside, always been a ‘misfit’ in the norms of society. And that has made me realize how important subculture becomes. It’s also made me think about how important it is that those of us in the subculture not become exclusive. We cannot allow ourselves to take on the characteristics of those who would make us feel less-than-human, less-than-acceptable—whether it be for our ethnic heritage, or our weight, or the way we choose to portray ourselves.

So, next time you see a heavily tattooed fat chick wearing retro-pinup clothing, before making quick assumptions about her, remember: that could easily be me. ~grins~

So tell me, how do you see yourself against what is thought of as ‘normal’ in society? I’m giving a mini-book basket to one commenter (must be USA, I’m sorry), including the first three books in the Otherworld Series, the first book in the Indigo Court Series, and the first book in my Chintz ‘n China series.

You all know how this goes! Guess – which one is the lie that she told? What crazy question do you want to ask Yasmine? (Or you know, a reasonable one. Or something about her books.) And go go GO!