Wednesday, December 24, 2008

merry christmas & happy holidays

Our office is closed for the next couple days and the majority of us are heading home to family or cozying up at our homes here with friends and family.

Wishing all of our authors, readers, and supporters a very warm and happy holiday.

We love and appreciate you.

---from the women of Seal

Monday, December 22, 2008

Rest in peace, Emma

Tragic news this morning that Seal has lost one of its authors.

Emma Bee Bernstein, just 23 years old, was an amazing photographer and co-collaborator with her close friend Nona on the book Girldrive, which is scheduled for publication in fall 2009.

From the moment I saw the Girldrive blog, I admired Emma and Nona's passion for this project. They wanted to make a difference, to chronicle feminism across this country at a particularly pivotal moment in history. Their adventurousness and their pursuit of a dream is what makes this project so special. I believe their work will inspire young women to take a look at feminism, to ask themselves, Where do I fit in all of this? Nona's writing and Emma's photography capture an experience. Their goal was to write a book for and about their generation.

They wrote on their blog:

It’s about gutsy young women across the American cityscape. It’s about the past and the present, and it glimmers on the future. It’s about the promise of the open road.

Emma's passing is such a tremendous loss. Such a talented young woman. Gone way too soon. Our thoughts are with Nona and with Emma's family today. And I leave this blessing from John O'Donahue for Emma:

May there be some beautiful surprise
Waiting for you inside death
Something you never knew or felt,
Which with one simple touch
Absolves you of all loneliness and loss,
As you quicken within the embrace
For which your soul was eternally made.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Last Minute Shopping?

Books make great gifts and now is the time to support your local bookstore by going out and buying some last minute books! A few of our books have made it on to gift list recommendations so check out the below for ideas and suggestions!

The RH Reality Check gift guide offers gifts that allow you to contribute to women friendly-causes! They recommend Yes Means Yes edited by Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti as great book purchase.

Sexier Sex by Regina Lynn made it into the Sex Holiday Gift Guide on

Momaroo also listed her favorite books of 2008, one of which was Rebecca Woolf's Rockabye .

Also check out this website dedicated to why books are great gifts!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Seal Press Nominees for the 21st Annual Lambda Literary Awards

The Lambda Literary Awards seek to recognize excellence in the field of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender literature. Each year, over 80 judges -- writers, booksellers, librarians, journalists -- assess the entries in more than 20 categories.

Seal Press is excited to announce that four Seal Press titles are nominees! The finalists will be annnounced no later than March 15, 2009 and we'll keep our fingers crossed until then.


Open, Jenny Block, Seal Press


Labor of Love, Thomas Beatie, Seal Press

Transgender History, Susan Stryker, Seal Press


Fucking Daphne, edited by Daphne Gottlieb, Seal Press


Transgender History, Susan Stryker, Seal Press

Congratulations to our authors and all the authors that have been nominated, and to see a complete list of nominees click here.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Seal books at Urban Craft Uprising!

This weekend, December 6th and 7th, Michelle Goodman of My So-Called Freelance Life, and Lauren Bacon and Emira Mears of Boss of You, will be signing books at Urban Craft Uprising.

If you're in the area, this is an event you don't want to miss.

Book signings @ Urban Craft Uprising - December 6 & 7
When: Saturday signing 12 to 1 pm. Sunday signing 1 to 2 pm. Craft show open from 11 to 5 pm.
What: Fourth annual Urban Craft Uprising, a rocking indie craft show with 130+ vendors
Where: Seattle Center, Exhibition Hall
Info: Free admission. More at Urban Craft Uprising.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Seal holiday gift recs

Last spring we sponsored a writing contest with WOW! Women on Writing, which is a fantastic resource for women writers. If you don't already know about them, bookmark them now!

They've just released their WOW Holiday Gift Guide, which is full of awesome gift ideas for the writers on your list, and happens to include the following Seal titles:

Half-Assed, by Jennette Fulda

Boss of You, by Emira Mears and Lauren Bacon

The Stay-at-Home Survival Guide, by Melissa Stanton

My So-Called Freelance Life, by Michelle Goodman

Of course, Seal books make great gifts all year round, but do check out this guide. It has smart stocking stuffer ideas and all kinds of stuff writers will love. Maybe you'll want to give it to someone whose list you're on, as a helpful hint---you know?

Thanks, WOW!, for all you do.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Women's Perspectives Newsletter

For those of you who aren't getting our newsletter, check it out here:


And then sign up to receive our quarterly updates.

Thanks for checking in!


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Calling All Shaker-Uppers

You may have heard about one of our newest books, The List: 100 Ways to Shake Up Your Life — if you haven't, it's chock-full of ideas to get out, get involved, get going, and generally add some life back into your life. All the ideas in The List, from #13 Run for Office to #60 Kiss a Total Stranger to #92 Have a Baby Late in Life, are based on real stories from women who've come up with creative and often outrageous ways to do something new. You'll read about women who've biked across the US, played ice hockey, started charities, lost 50-plus pounds, gone commando, and mounted art exhibits, to name a few. But we know there are many, many more ideas out there than could ever fit into one book . . . and that's where you come in!

If you have a great shake-up story or an idea for one, we'd love to hear about it. Email with your name and a description of your shake-up. The Lister with our favorite story will win a free copy of the book! Deadline is November 30, so make sure to get yours in this weekend!

To learn more about The List, visit the website at

Monday, November 24, 2008

4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days

A while back, I heard the name of a film and knew exactly what it would be about. I added it to our netflix and my boyfriend and I watched it over the weekend.

4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days is set in Communist Romania in 1987. It tells the story of two students, roomates in the dorms, who help each other arrange an illegal abortion for one of the girls. This film brought up a lot of feelings for me because the idea of overturning Roe v. Wade always seems to be of question or concern. As a young woman who believes in every woman's right to choose, this movie made me think of the consequences of what would happen in the United States if abortion were illegal and girls and young women were forced to do terminate pregnancies in hidden places, with unsterile things, and under horrible circumstances. This movie brought those images to life. It opened my eyes to a place where girls will go to jail if they accidentally become pregnant and make the choice not to have the baby. A world where in order to even have an illegal abortion and perhaps die from it, women sometimes endure rape, just so they can pay for it.

It's difficult to believe that choice is still in question for some in the world. That because you aren't ready yet, or made a mistake, that you may have to risk your life. But I'm thankful to live in a country where I am still able to choose, and I hope it stays that way.

This movie is hard to watch at times, but really worth it.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

the F-word is still a dirty word

According to a new Daily Beast poll only 20% of women are willing to use the word “feminist” about themselves and only 17% of all voters said they would welcome their daughters using that label.

When you run in feminist circles, you think that numbers like this can't possibly be true. The very fact that "feminism" is a dirty word to so many people, a label that women would reject because of the stigmas attached to it, is evidence of how much power---personal, social, political---we give up, over and over and over again, as women. I'm not a conspiracist. It's not like I think The Man, or The Right, or women like Sarah Palin are in cahoots to keep women in their places. But each of these entities (and hundreds of organizations and ideological groups and individuals just like them) certainly distorts feminism, so much so that feminism is really just an interpretation: home, life-saver, threat, joke, dirty word.

I remember seeing this quote by feminist Paula Kamen: "A natural response is to change the word feminist to a word with fewer stigmas attached. But inevitably the same thing will happen to that magical word. Part of the radical connotation of feminism is not due to the word, but to the action. The act of a woman standing up for herself is radical, whether she calls herself a feminist or not."

The act of a woman standing up for herself. A radical act, indeed.

via Broadsheet


Monday, November 17, 2008

Thomas Beatie, pregnant man, on Good Morning America

This morning Thomas Beatie appeared on Good Morning America with his wife, Nancy, and their daughter Susan. He discussed his new book, Labor of Love: One Man's Extraordinary Pregnancy, and how it feels to be the world's first pregnant man. Check out the video here! Also read the first chapter of Labor of Love at the ABC website.

Saturday's rallies

Tens of thousands of people across the U.S. attended rallies over the weekend to support gay rights. Although the passing of 8 was a hugely disturbing event, it's amazing and awesome to see how much it's mobilized people.

For a little levity, and just to bring light to the ridiculousness of what happened here in California, I want to share Julia Serano's post "Eliminating People's Rights," which reads:

As of today, I refuse to acknowledge 52% of Californian's rights! I will do so randomly, at my choosing. I have deemed myself the ultimate arbiter of rights! After all, as a California voter, I have a God given right to decide who is entitled to "rights" and who is not.

Thus, by the powers vested in me as a California voter, I declare that:

1) Freedom of religion has been eliminated for all of the Mormons and Catholic who funded the "yes on 8" ads.

2) Freedom of speech has been eliminated for anyone who voted for prop 8.

3) And if you fall into class "1" or class "2", then too bad, because I am eliminating your right to marry too. Ha!

special transsexual bonus:
While I'm at it, I refuse to acknowledge the gender identities of anyone who won't acknowledge mine. So watch out Ms. Blanchard and Mr. Jeffreys....

Here are a couple of shots, mine from Oakland and my friend Brendon's from Chicago.




Thursday, November 13, 2008

Barbara Walters Exclusive tomorrow night

Everyone tune in to watch Thomas Beatie, author of Labor of Love, and his family on Barbara Walters tomorrow night.

ABC has announced today that Thomas is expecting again, and we can and will find out more tomorrow night. We at Seal extend our heartfelt congratulations to Thomas and Nancy, and to baby Susan, who's going to be an older sister pretty soon.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Buy books as gifts this year!

I realize that most of our readers are book lovers, but for those of you who aren't tapped into the industry, these are scary times. They're scary times for a lot of people, needless to say, but a story in yesterday's New York Times points to some pretty stormy times ahead, including news that we've known for a while: that Borders is probably going out of business (or at least trying to sell itself).

So what can you do? Buy books this holiday season! If you normally already do, consider buying books for people you don't usually buy for. Books are an amazing gift, and you support publishing and booksellers while you're at it.

Two recommendations on Seal's list for the holidays:

For your mom or your best friend, check out The List: 100 Ways to Shake Up Your Life, by Gail Belsky.
---This is the perfect holiday gift to spark some fun ideas for New Year's resolutions, or just ways to spice things up a bit. Specifically geared toward women in their 40s, 50s, and 60s, this book has some fantastic suggestions for challenging yourself and/or the women you love.

For anyone who's interested in a memoir unlike anything they've read before, consider getting Labor of Love: the Story of One Man's Extraordinary Pregnancy, by Thomas Beatie.
---Thomas has been getting a lot of attention in the media, but his memoir is worth the read. The book is an experience unlike anything you may have read or seen thus far, as it grapples with the tough challenges and amazing rewards that Thomas and Nancy encountered on their journey to conceive and give birth to their beautiful little girl.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Repeal Prop 8

For those of you who haven't checked out the Courage Campaign, do so now.

Sign the pledge to build the Marriage Equality Movement

With enough outrage and enough momentum, this proposition truly has the potential to be overturned, which would be a beautiful beautiful thing.

Say no to amending a constitution with a simple majority. Say no to inequality. Say no to ignorance and hysteria.

Say yes to Marriage Equality.


Friday, November 7, 2008

Tango on West Coast Live and A Matter of Taste

Camille Cusumano, author of Tango: An Argentine Love Story, will be appearing on West Coast Live this Saturday, November 8th. West Coast Live is a live radio show in front of a studio audience that showcases music, books, performers and more all interviewed by the fabulous Sedge Thomson. West Coast Live airs from 10am to Noon PST time and you can listen to it at KALW 91.7 FM.

She'll also be on A Matter of Taste, Sunday November 9th from 11am to Noon!

Listen in to either of these shows this weekend to hear Cusumano discussing music, love, travel and Tango!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

the would-be utopia

First of all, thank God! To have had Barack Obama announced the president-elect before 9pm PST was truly an amazing thing to behold. It's a stunning victory, and one that we at Seal revel in along with so many of our fellow Americans.

In California, though, Prop 8 has passed. It was hard to watch the Yes on 8 Campaign in Sacramento celebrating their "win" while the party-goers in the Castro promised to keep on fighting. Meanwhile, Prop 4 at least has failed, and Ann at Feministing has a thorough rundown of all the anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-immigrant, and anti-equal opportunity legislation that was on various ballots across the nation yesterday. Some victories, and some shockingly regressive decisions.

It's strange to come to work today with such elation and such disappointment. I'm holding onto the inspiration and hope that Obama carries for so many, though. Congratulations America! Eight years of waiting for it to be over, and we've finally made it!!


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Happy Election Day

I come to work extremely hopeful this morning. There was already a line down the block at my polling place this morning, at 6.50. It was amazing to stand among the diverse group of people: gay and straight couples; black, white, and Latino voters. It was the first moment I've had where hope has overridden doubt---and that in itself is something to savor.

Just to savor the moment a little more, I'm going to allow myself to dream of what tomorrow might look like. Obama and Biden have been up late celebrating their victory, and Californians wake up to the results on Prop 8 and Prop 4. Neither have passed.

I heard from a close source that a valid fear about gay marriage is that it would alter the very social fabric of our society. The ironic thing is that I think that's true, and I say bring it on. The social fabric of our society is more interesting and beautiful with diverse expressions of love. I grew up not feeling comfortable sharing with my friends that my dad had a partner who I loved as much as I loved my parents. I wonder how different my experience would have been if I had been able to say he was my stepfather. Because that's indeed what he was to me. Tomorrow I imagine a world without Prop 8, and a world where gay partners can call each other wife and wife or husband and husband and where kids of gay parents aren't ashamed or confused or vague about their parents' and parents' partners roles are.

I have a close friend who's voting yes on Prop 4 because she wants to be able to "weigh in" should her daughter get pregnant. My interpretation of weigh in: make the choice on behalf of her daughter. In this girl's case, there wouldn't be a choice, though, because abortion would not be an option. For those parents who would vote for Prop 4, here's a simple request: Talk to your kids about sex. Wouldn't that be a wonderful proposition to put on the ballot? Prop Talk to Your Kids about Sex. Reduces teen pregnancy! Takes into account that kids are going to have sex whether you think it's a sin or not! Acknowledges the actual world we live in, where kids are bombarded by messages about sex---and so they need more information, not less! Tomorrow I imagine a world without Prop 4, where teens are able to seek out the information they need (including info about birth control!) and make choices about their own bodies.

So now I'll just sit back and wait to see if dreams really can come true.


Monday, October 20, 2008

hot solo senior sex---a contest from Seal author Joan Price

We wanted to share/reprint Joan Price's blog post from yesterday. Joan is the smart, outrageous, and totally sex-positive author of Better Than I Ever Expected, who's always coming up with fabulous new ideas for keeping senior sex front and center.

Here's the goods from Joan herself:

What's your best tip for hot solo senior sex? I've published my 10 Tips for Hot Sex after Sixty that apply mainly to couples (and I've been criticized for that), and now I'm asking your help in compiling the best tips for pleasuring yourself solo after age 60 (or 50, or 70, or 80).

Here's how to enter the Solo Sex Hot Tip Contest:

1. Email Joan with "contest tip" as your header.

2. In your email, describe in about 100 words your Solo Sex Hot Tip, including an anecdote from your personal story about how this tip improved your sexual pleasure. (I'm not looking for porn or even erotica---just the nuts & bolts how this tip worked to enhance your pleasure.)

3. Be sure to include your full name, mailing address (so that I can send you a book if you win!), and email address in your email. This information will NOT be shared.

4. You're welcome to post tips anonymously as a comment here, but realize that I can't give you an award if I don't know who you are.

Prizes: One entry per month will receive a free copy of Better Than I Ever Expected, and the best entry of 2008 also will receive a free copy of Getting Off: A Woman's Guide to Masturbation, by Jamye Waxman. (No, you don't have to be a woman to enter the contest.)

And then what? All entries may be posted on this blog and/or used in a follow-up book or article, at my discretion, without your name (I promise!) or any identifying info that could cause you embarrassment. I'll ask you for a code name to use if I decide to post your tip. Entries may be edited.

I don't know how many entries this contest will attract, so I'll give awards as the best ones strike my fancy, rather than by a certain deadline. This could be an ongoing contest.

Enter soon and enter often!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Tango in Portland

Camille Cusumano, author of Tango: An Argentine Love Story is in Portland this week attending the Portland Tango Festival. Yesterday she appeared on AM Northwest to teach the host, Dave, how to dance tango and also to talk about her book. Check out the video here.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Who Does She Think She Is? --- premiering tomorrow in NYC

This is a post for our New York readers and supporters.

Who Does She Think She Is? features five fierce women, all artists, who refuse to choose between motherhood and career. The film premiers tomorrow, Friday, October 17th, at Angelika Film Center in New York City---and it's coming to San Francisco later in the fall so stay tuned for updates on the west coast!

Courtney Martin will be moderating post-show talk backs at both the 5pm and 7pm showings, which will include an artist from the film and the filmmaker, Pamela Tanner Boll.

Let us know what you think if you catch the show!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Second Installment of "So, how is the maternal political?"

Last week I posted the first of two installments of Shari MacDonald Strong's post about the issues that mothers will take with them to the poles. As the editor of The Maternal is Political, Shari knows that this election there are a lot of issues of great importance and here, Shari discusses what's on her list. Check out the first installment below, then continue reading here!

...So as we move into the final weeks of the election, I’m listening for details, and watching carefully to see what the candidates have to say about the issues at the top of my list...

• Reproductive Rights: Like Governor Palin, I would “counsel” any woman I know to carry her pregnancy to term, if possible. That said, I don’t for a moment believe that I have a right to tell another woman what she has to do with her body, what she legally can do with her own body, because I realize that I don’t know what it’s like to walk in her shoes, and I’m not the one who will be responsible for the life she might carry to term (and I know that the government won’t necessarily be there to help her feed, clothe, care for, provide health care for, or educate said child). I think about the days of deadly, back alley abortions, and the prospect of seeing Roe v. Wade repealed terrifies me. I want to hear what the candidates have to say about Roe v. Wade (and about the potential appointment of supreme court justices who could repeal it), as well as about reproduction rights – and the moms I know do, too.

• Paid Family Leave, Health Care, and Other Family Services: Not coincidentally, abortion rates could be brought down substantially in the U.S. if the government provided crucial social services and addressed important political issues (e.g., access to health care, subsidized child care, paid family leave, gender pay equity, paid sick days, flexible work hours) that would make it possible for more pregnant women to have their babies, if they want to (and many of them, of course, do). Yes, I’m concerned about these pregnant women, and I’m also concerned about the women who already have children and are stuck between a rock and a hard place because they can’t afford childcare and can’t afford not to work; they can’t afford health insurance and they can’t afford the medical bills they get if they don’t have insurance. It’s one thing for a candidate to say s/he cares about families; what are they going to do to relieve the burden?

• Education: My children’s education is one of my biggest concerns, and if I could sit down and ask questions of the candidates, I’d make sure it’s one of their biggest concerns, too. How will you make sure young children get a good educational start? Will your presidency help support after-school programs? What will you do to make sure my husband and I can send our children – all of them –to college? Anybody?

• Maturity: I’m passionate about a wide range issues, in addition to the five-plus listed above, but I also want to briefly mention maturity (and I’m not talking about age, McCain and Biden). Some pundits call it looking presidential. I call it being a grown-up. Enough with the bickering and sniping and arguing, already. I get enough of that at home. (I have two kindergardeners and a third grader.) I want to see which of the candidates can be diplomatic and generous; who refuses to be mean-spirited and petty. After all, I’m a mother. I tell my children to treat others with respect; I encourage them to talk and not to hit. I tell them to look for friends who treat them, and other people, well. Our country deserves nothing less from its leaders. Some candidates try to get away with bad-mouthing, but moms know a cruddy attitude when they see one. Over the next several weeks, I’ll be watching – I’m already watching. Very closely. And everyone knows: when she’s watching closely, there’s not a whole lot you can get by a mom.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

May We Have This Dance? The Seal Press podcast series presents an interview with Camille Cusumano

Click over to our Seal Podcast page and listen to our newest episode, an interview with Camille Cusumano, author of Tango: An Argentine Love Story. In this interview, Camille gives us an insider's take on this personal, spiritual dance, provides tips on dance etiquette, and explains what makes tango so empowering. After listening to Camille describe the sights and sounds of tango in Buenos Aires, you'll want to put on your dancing shoes and tango, too.

For all of you in the SF Bay Area, come dance (or learn to dance) with Camille this Sunday, October 12th, from 1:00-4:00 PM at the Museo ItaloAmericano at Fort Mason. Camille will be reading from Tango, and there will be a tango exhibition and dancing for everyone. Hope to see you there!

To learn more about the sights and sounds of tango from Camille, check out the video below.

Monday, October 6, 2008

"So, how is the maternal political?" Shari MacDonald Strong, editor, The Maternal is Political has the answers!

The election is right around the corner. Women everywhere are thinking about the issues that will impact their decision on election day. I had the privilege of asking Shari MacDonald Strong, editor of The Maternal is Political: Women Writers at the Intersection of Motherhood and Social Change, what she thought. What are the issues that mothers take to the polls, what are the most important issues for families, and which issues should we focus on when we vote, and why? Read below for Shari's response.

Keep in mind, this post is one of two posts. We'll post the second half later this week, tune in!!

As the editor of the anthology about motherhood and politics, The Maternal Is Political: Women Writers at the Intersection of Motherhood and Politics, I’m often asked, “So, how is the maternal political?” I usually pause when confronted with this question – not because I don’t have strong opinions on the subject, but because I’m dumbfounded that this is a question we still ask in our society. How is motherhood political? It seems more reasonable to ask, How is it not? Because, of course, every act of mothering has a political dimension: from how we spend our time to how we spend our dollars, from what we teach our children to what they teach us. The opposite is also true: every political act impacts every single mother, because each shapes the world in which our children live.

After decades of being largely ignored, political motherhood is currently getting a tremendous amount of press in the U.S., because Republican V.P. candidate Governor Sarah Palin is getting a lot of press. Whether she’s disembarking from her plane in St. Louis for her debate with Joe Biden, with baby Trig in her arms, or promising to be a “friend in Washington” to those with special needs children, she wears the mantle of motherhood. Gone are the days when the acknowledgment of maternal figures in our political landscape was simply a token nod to “soccer moms” or “security moms.” Today, we have the “hockey mom” who the G.O.P. would like us mothers to think of as our peer, our voice. Motherhood has arrived on the political stage!

But for me and for other mothers I know, getting a mom into office, while desirable, was never the point. I had hoped that having a mom on the main ticket (months ago, I presumed this would be Hillary Clinton) would bring mothers’ interests into clear focus in this election. But despite all the recent attention given to a small town mom from Wasilla, this hardly seems the case. The candidates speak in generalities about health care reform and education, but the moms I know are looking for specific, impassioned answers about what a McCain/Palin or Obama/Biden administration will do for our children. So as we move into the final weeks of the election, I’m listening for details, and watching carefully to see what the candidates have to say about the issues at the top of my list.

• Iraq/Afghanistan: Just once I would like to see a candidate acknowledge in an emotional and unapologetic way that the people dying in the War on Terror – including U.S. soldiers and Iraqi and Afghan civilians -- are somebody’s children. While I understand the need for national security, I also want to see the candidates express sincere regret at the ongoing loss of life and a strong commitment to bringing our troops home, timetable or not. No more cavalier, We have to do what we have to do. No more shrugging the shoulders at the necessity of “collateral damage.” I want to see a sober understanding of what the loss of each life has meant to that person’s family members, both in the U.S. and overseas, and a determination to bring this war to an end.

• The Economy: In the last year, I watched my best friend’s marriage come to an end, in no small part because of the effect the economy had on her relationship with her husband, whose co-owned mortgage brokerage crumbled as the real estate market faltered; another family I know had to abandon their efforts to adopt a teenager girl from Russia, because the real estate market slowed so badly, the husband’s earnings as a realtor couldn’t be stretched to accommodate an adoption. My husband and I eye our own mortgage nervously. Families everywhere are struggling to survive and to live responsibly and honorably in the face of economic crisis. Both candidates say they’re committed to fixing the economy. I want to know: How? I’m not an economics expert, but I’m also no dummy. I want more details.

To Be Continued!! Check in later this week for the rest of the issues that Shari and mothers and women accross the country, are taking to the polls!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Jenny Block, author of Open on The Tyra Show!

Jenny Block, author of Open: Love, Sex, and Life in an Open Marriage will be on The Tyra Banks Show tomorrow, October 2nd. Block will be providing commentary based on her own experiences and the research she did for her book. Hopefully this will be informative and educational and a unique opportunity to hear more about open marriage. She was also recently on The Mike and Juliet Show discussing her open marriage. Check out the clip here

Monday, September 29, 2008

Celebrate Your Freedom to Read

It's Banned Books Week. Which is timely, given the recent controversy surrounding Palin and her alleged role in banning some of our best-loved books in her home state of Alaska.

Here's what Banned Books Week is all about:

Observed since 1982, this annual ALA event reminds Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted.

I thought this was fun, the list of most challenged books and authors of 2007:

The “10 Most Challenged Books of 2007” reflect a range of themes, and consist of the following titles:

1) “And Tango Makes Three,” by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
Reasons: Anti-Ethnic, Sexism, Homosexuality, Anti-Family, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group

2) The Chocolate War,” by Robert Cormier
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Violence

3) “Olive’s Ocean,” by Kevin Henkes
Reasons: Sexually Explicit and Offensive Language

4) “The Golden Compass,” by Philip Pullman
Reasons: Religious Viewpoint

5) “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” by Mark Twain
Reasons: Racism

6) “The Color Purple,” by Alice Walker
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language,

7) "TTYL,” by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

8) "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” by Maya Angelou
Reasons: Sexually Explicit

9) “It’s Perfectly Normal,” by Robie Harris
Reasons: Sex Education, Sexually Explicit

10) "The Perks of Being A Wallflower,” by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

The most frequently challenged authors of 2007
1) Robert Cormier
2) Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
3) Mark Twain
4) Toni Morrison
5) Philip Pullman
6) Kevin Henkes
7) Lois Lowry
8) Chris Crutcher
9) Lauren Myracle
10) Joann Sfar

Celebrate Banned Books Week by recommending one of these books or authors to someone you love. I'm bringing the list to my next book club meeting.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Left Turn Magazine reviews Susan Stryker's Transgender History!

In their October/November issue, Harris Kornstein of Left Turn Magazine reviews Transgender History (one of the first of our Seal Studies Series!) by Susan Stryker.

"Pioneering scholar-activist Susan Stryker's newest book offers a concise and accessible crash course on the history of activism for the rights of "gender deviant" people, mainly in the US and in the past fifty years. Framed through a transfeminist lens, the book provides a useful introduction for those unfamiliar with the language of transgender identities, politics, and history. Even for those of us who feel relatively experienced in genderqueer speak, there are myriad moments in history to be revealed or remembered, and Stryker's recounting includes context and theory that is unlikely to be found elsewhere."

Be sure to pick up Left Turn this month to read the rest of this great review!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Save Bitch

Bitch magazine is trying to raise $40,000, and they need all the support they can get. If you've ever read Bitch, you know that it's a magazine we need---as women, as consumers, as feminists. Even $25 or $50 can go a long way.

Seal Press would have gone under a long time ago if we hadn't been bought by Avalon Publishing Group back in 2000. We were threatened again when Avalon was bought by Perseus, but we managed to survive that transition, too, though the number of books we put out and our staff was dramatically reduced. Bitch is trying to survive in a hostile environment, and we commend their work and are putting out the word, the call: HELP THEM KEEP PUBLISHING & DONATE. Their voice is so needed.

The Seal staff

Monday, September 15, 2008

Tango: An Argentine Love Story

Camille Cusumano's new book, Tango: An Argentine Love Story is coming out in October and we've just received a great review from Library Journal!

"According to Cusumano, tango-like yoga and Zen, which she also practices-is a way of life, and her keen and colorful observations of everything from the milongas (tango dance halls) and her dance wardrobe to the people she met and danced with to the neighborhoods she lived in and the foods she ate create a thoughtful account redolent with the sights, sounds, and tastes of her own tango experience. "
~ Library Journal

Enjoy this video of Cusumano dancing the Tango:

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Palin and book banning

I've been refraining from weighing in on the political drama surrounding Sarah Palin because we're making a concerted effort to focus on books here on the Seal blog. But it's been days now since the rumors have been flying about the supposed list of books that Sarah Palin had banned from her local library, and the librarian she fired. I was forwarded the rumored list this morning, and I was ready to get all worked up about it when Krista, justice-seeker that she is, forwarded me the link to and their coverage of the myths surrounding Sarah Palin. (Yes, this outs me as not up to speed in my political blog reading since the bogus claims have been out for days.)

Not a Book Burner
"One accusation claims then-Mayor Palin threatened to fire Wasilla’s librarian for refusing to ban books from the town library. Some versions of the rumor come complete with a list of the books that Palin allegedly attempted to ban. Actually, Palin never asked that books be banned; no books were actually banned; and many of the books on the list that Palin supposedly wanted to censor weren't even in print at the time, proving that the list is a fabrication. The librarian was fired, but was told only that Palin felt she didn’t support her. She was re-hired the next day. The librarian never claimed that Palin threatened outright to fire her for refusing to ban books."

It's strange. I'm disappointed and relieved. My mother and I skirt around political conversation. She's the quintessential peacemaker, and I'm quick to get all caught up in the firestorms surrounding the candidates I don't like. So last night when she told me that she felt upset by the coverage of Palin, I thought (in my silent voice), But she is MESSED up! Still, I bit my tongue. Today I'm reminded again that my mother's more balanced approach is a good one. Sarah Palin is not the devil. While I do not support her, and I do not support McCain, it's important to remember, as my mom said last night, "We're talking about human beings here." And isn't that Obama's message, after all? To learn how to disagree without condemning and rushing to judgment. I have a long way to go. But I'm happy to hear that Palin didn't ban books I love from her local library. Along with lots of my peers, I find myself looking for reasons not to like her, but maybe instead I should focus on the reasons why I support Obama and Biden. I'm not even sure that's possible, but it's a worthy personal election-season goal.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Curve - Back to School Special!

Curve Magazine did a back to school special listing their favorite books! Seal Press was well represented with Michelle Goodman's first book
The Anti 9-to-5 Guide: Practical Career Advice for Women Who Think Outside the Cube
and The Nonrunner’s Marathon Guide for Women by Dawn Dais. These are obviously must-haves for getting back to work as fall approaches! Both of these authors have second books coming out with us in the future. Dawn Dais has a great guide to biking on our spring list, Spinning Your Wheels: A Cycler's Guide to Getting Off Your Butt and Into Gear, and Michelle Goodman's second book My So-Called Freelance Life: How to Survive and Thrive as a Creative Professional for Hire will be available in October. Pre-Order now!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

new faces at the Seal blog

It’s been a couple of weeks since our last post because we’ve been initiating a change to bring more bloggers to the Seal blog. From here on out we will still be posting, but now you’ll be seeing posts from our publicists and marketing staff as well. We are going to attempt to do author guest posts more regularly than we’ve been doing, and we’ll be posting information about Seal events and noteworthy news about our books.

Stay tuned for lots more variation of posts, and welcome to the rest of the staff!

Thanks for reading,

Krista and Brooke

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

julia serano on sexism

Julia Serano, author of Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity, is one of the smartest women I know. Of any book Seal has ever published, Whipping Girl is the one that most opened my mind and most altered my perceptions of sexism, misogyny, and trans issues at large.

Julia's AlterNet article, "Rethinking Sexism," out yesterday, is a worthwhile read. In fact, Julia's always worth reading. Here she covers the three differing feminist perspectives with regards to the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival's womyn-born-womyn only policy, which bars trans women from attending. One of the commenters points out the fact that feminism and transgender ideology make "uneasy bedfellows." Which is exactly why Julia is such a trailblazer---because she's working from within "the movement." She's an outspoken feminist and trans activist. I feel like the burden lands on feminists to first acknowledge the ways in which transphobia and trans misogyny negatively impacts all women. And admittedly, many do. And yet, some of the biggest stand-offs are happening among feminists and inside the LGBT community (and yes, there's overlap there). It's a battlefront, that's for sure, and I commend Julia's unwavering dedication to thoughtful, balanced, and patient analysis of these issues.


Friday, August 1, 2008

brushing up on the backlist: HUNGRY FOR MORE

It's always cool to see one of our authors being interviewed years after their books come out, and especially when the book is mentioned. Today I want to call attention to Hungry for More, by Robyn McGee, which was actually the second book I acquired at Seal Press when I started in 2004.

On today, Robyn talks about the misrepresentation, and/or limited representation, of black women in film and television. "Female film roles are prone to stereotype," she said.

McGee lost her sister to gastric bypass surgery, which prompted her to write this book on black women's body image.

Thanks, Robyn, and check out the book.


Thursday, July 31, 2008

is pink the enemy?

Over at th Guardian this week, there's a little commentary about books aimed at women are becoming increasingly homogenised, girly and bland-looking.

As a press that publishes books by women for women, Seal struggles with the pink thing, too. I've described us as the antithesis of chick lit. We're a content-driven press that doesn't do much fluff. That said, we've published pink covers, bOObs and Rock Your Stars being two stellar examples of pink (still anti-chick lit) covers we've done recently.

So why do we do it? Finding the perfect cover is a tricky business. Marketing is an imprecise science, no doubt. We put our trust in our designers, and at the point of designing a book cover, oftentimes the designer is working from a cover memo and a summary of the book and just their own design sense to go on. I'm not a fan of the chick lit genre, but I also don't think books aimed at women are increasingly homogenized, girly, and bland-looking. I spend time looking at covers because I work in publishing, and if anything I think books aimed at women (chick lit and romance aside) are getting increasingly smarter and edgier.

Seen any good covers lately that fit this bill that you'd like to share?

(via Salon.)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

women who eat meat

Back in January I posted about craving hamburgers, a post inspired by Sex and Bacon, which was just written up on AlterNet yesterday.

Jen Rios (right), our Online Marketing Manager, and I (yep, left) were having this very conversation on the Friday of BlogHer, an occasion for treating ourselves to burgers and wine, along with Krista and Seal author Jennette Fulda. A civilized Friday lunch if I may say so myself.

Cheers. Just wanted to share that the burger-lovin' lives on. And thanks to Jennette for the photo. She and Krista ate cobb salad.


Monday, July 28, 2008

entrepreneurialism and cupcake love

For those of you who aren't familiar with Rachel Kramer Bussel's cupcake blog, Cupcakes Take the Cake, now's the time to check it out.

Her interview of Seal authors Lauren Bacon and Emira Mears, coauthors of Boss of You has great insight into the business of running your own business, plus Emira and Lauren's cupcake preferences. That's right, it's practical and fun!


Thursday, July 17, 2008

"The Business of Being Born"

Hi! This is Andie East, publicist at Seal Press and this is a guest post.

Last night I watched this truly amazing film, "The Business of Being Born". I'm sure most of you have just had the words "Ricki Lake" pop into your head and for good reason. She was the executive producer of the film and the film does feature her, and director Abby Epstein, in their quest to learn more about the capitalistic culture behind childbirth.

I learned that many women don't know their options when it comes to childbirth and that hospitals and doctors have things on a tight schedule that encourages interventions to speed up the process of labor. I also learned that laying flat on your back to give birth is the absolute worst option and, surprise surprise, rather than midwives being a more expensive and unsafe way to give birth, are actually more safe and less expensive. A midwife costs around $4,000 start to finish for a birth whereas a hospital birth that is completely normal will cost $13,000. In fact most doctors have never even seen a natural childbirth that does not involve drugs.

The most amazing part of the film were the numerous women who were documented having at home births. I can't tell you how beautiful it was to see a baby drop down from between a woman's legs, and have it held to her chest and then see the look of wonder and joy on each woman's face. Women in their own homes being held by their partners, their other children nearby patting the newborns head. It was amazing.

The saddest thing to me was that so many people didn't know the facts and figures and options when it comes to childbirth. It made me think of a book we published a few years ago called "Deliver This!" by Marisa Cohen. It's a comprehensive book about the choices out there and how to make them regardless of what you hear from doctors, friends or society.

Though what I'd really like to hear is your own labor stories. The choices you made when it comes to childbirth. I myself have never had a child and had never thought of having a child at home. But after watching "The Business of Being Born" I don't think I could do it any other way.

Let me know! What did you do? What did you experience? When are you going to see the film!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

open marriage, celebrity style

In what one blogger called the "worst-kept secret in Hollywood," Will Smith has confirmed his open marriage with Jada Pinkett Smith.

This is a timely subject---one our staff has been thinking about a lot since the publication of Open: Love, Sex, and Life in an Open Marriage, by Jenny Block. There's no way this option works for all couples, and Jenny doesn't even begin to suggest that. But she makes a compelling case for open marriage and why it should be more widely accepted, at least. Open marriage is all about honesty, after all, and who can claim they've never known anyone who's cheated. Yeah... The argument being, if you're gonna cheat, why not be open about it. Jenny asserts that it saved her marriage.

One of Jenny's aims has been to open the bedroom door on open marriage, as it were, and say to the world that it's way more common than you think, and that being involved in an open marriage is not sexually deviant. And so it seems that with people like Will and Jada, and other celebs like Oscar-winning actress Tilda Swinton (among others) that goal is getting closer and closer to being realized.

For more, check out Jenny's website and blog.


Monday, July 14, 2008

BlogHer 2008

This year I'm pleased to announce that four Seal authors are speaking at BlogHer.

If you're going, check these amazing ladies out!

Jennette Fulda, author of Half-Assed: A Weight-Loss Memoir

What We Do: Blog to Book Redux

"On the "Blog to Book" panel, I'll be happy to talk about how my blog led to a book deal, the ways I used my blog to promote my book, and incentives I used to motivate my readers to get the word out. I can also answer questions about how to set up a book web site, how to plan your own book release party, and how to sell autographed books from a corner of your apartment with PayPal and a big box of bubble mailers."

Jennifer L. Pozner, founder and executive director of Women In Media & News (WIMN) and author of a forthcoming book about the how reality television is harmful to women (Seal Press, fall 2009)

What We Believe: Top-notch Political Opinion Commentary

"Pozner’s journalism and media criticism has been widely published in corporate news outlets (eg., Newsday, Chicago Tribune, Boston Phoenix) independent media (eg., Ms., The American Prospect, Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture), new media (eg., AlterNet, Salon, HuffingtonPost), and anthologies (eg., BitchFest: Ten Years of Cultural Criticism from the Pages Of Bitch Magazine, Catching a Wave: Reclaiming Feminism for the 21st Century, The W Effect: Bush’s War on Women), among others."

Laura S. Scott, author of Childless by Choice (Seal Press, fall 2009)

Who We Are: Women Without Children and the Blogosphere

"Lately, I’ve been spending all of my time on the 'Childless by Choice Project,' a research, book, and documentary project on the childless by choice in North America. In the sixteenth year of my childfree marriage, I asked 'How and why do people, like us, "opt out" of parenthood? Is it a choice? Or, is it a process?'"

Fueled by curiosity and introspection, I traveled to ten American states and two Canadian provinces to survey the childless by choice and to determine why, for millions of North American couples, the question 'When should we have kids?' had morphed into 'Should we have kids?'"

Melissa Ford, author of The Land of If: Understanding Fertility and Exploring Your Options (Seal Press, spring 2009)

MommyBlogging: When the Road To Motherhood Is Anything But Smooth: Infertility, Adoption and Miscarriage Bloggers

Melissa is the author of the infertility and pregnancy loss blog, Stirrup Queens and Sperm Palace Jesters. It started as the space she wished she had found when she was going through treatments for the first time and has evolved into hub of activity and information--from the newly-diagnosed to those parenting after infertility or adoption or living childfree after infertility. She is the keeper of a categorized blogroll of over 1300 infertility blogs and writes the daily Lost and Found and Connections Abound, a news source for the infertility blogosphere.

Good luck to all of you, and for any readers who don't know about BlogHer, check it out. And if you're a blogger, you need to be going to this conference.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

is buying your own home on the horizon?

Last night I went and saw the Sex and the City movie. I loved it. I was a fan of the show, and despite the fact that I'd heard peeps here and there about the movie not being "very feminist," I was totally swept up by it.

One of Carrie's dilemmas at the beginning of the film is about the fact that she won't have any rights to the home she and Big are moving into together if she doesn't pony up with some money for part of the down payment. It's all glitz and glamor and pretty ridiculous to think about the many millions of dollars the penthouse suite they're considering purchasing in downtown NYC would actually cost, but I thought the very fact that Carrie's friends (mostly Miranda) are on her to make smart choices about home ownership were very progressive and smart.

This spring we published OWN IT! The Ups and Downs of Homebuying for Women Who Go It Alone, by Jennifer Musselman. I thought about this book while I was watching the movie last night, and then I got into the office this morning to find this awesome interview from the lovely women at WOW! Women on Writing.

I have a handful of single friends who own their own homes. Though it's true that the dream of owning a home is often wrapped up in fantasies of falling in love and having a family, deciding to put off the decision because you don't have those things is something that I think too many women can relate to. I love this book because, like the women from Sex and the City, Jennifer is hardly giving up on the dream of love. But in the meantime, until that happens for her, she's got security and a home she can call her own. And the coolest thing, it's not even as unobtainable a dream as it seems.


Monday, July 7, 2008

two must-reads

It's not too often that we get side-by-side hits in a major magazine. But this month's Shape features two of our spring titles:

Half-Assed, by Jennette Fulda, and About Face, edited by Anne Burt and Christina Baker Kline.

This is very awesome, and congrats to our authors!


Thursday, July 3, 2008

the pregnant man memoir

Today's Salon article, "What the Pregnant Man Didn't Deliver," sort of tries to give a balanced approach to Thomas Beatie's story, though of course the title itself speaks to the goal of the piece: to pinpoint what Thomas didn't deliver.

I'm proud to announce that Seal has picked up this title. Today's Salon piece and a June 22 New York Times piece, both mentioned that the memoir has been shelved, but not that it's on track for fall publication here at Seal.

The Times presented what I thought was a thoughtful perspective, essentially concluding that gender is complicated, and that the Beaties' story is one that shows there’s plenty of room for the reshaping of traditional ideas about husband and wife, mom and dad, and what constitutes family. The Salon piece, on the other hand, seemed intent on finding trans activists who wanted to condemn Thomas and point out places where he's failed the trans community. For what, I wonder?

Thomas's whole story will be told in his memoir, and it's a fascinating and moving story about family and identity and love, and ultimately about wanting to have a baby with his wife. I think it's true that the notion of family is ever-changing, and that having loving parents, no matter what those parents look like, or how they express their gender, is what matters. Thomas is a trailblazer because he's willing to share his story and he's not shying away from his truth. Why should he have to? He could have done this all in silence, like some trans men before him, but it seems to me that his willingness to be public with his choices can't do anything but help the trans community. Thomas also defines as a man, and he's legally a male, and a husband. If the trans community does in fact want visibility and equal rights then Thomas is doing his part. He's comfortable in his skin, as a man, and proud of his wife and family. He's an honest guy who wanted to have a family and who's opting to tell his story publicly. And who has brought a wanted and loved child into this world. Congratulations Thomas and Nancy!


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

more on Maternal

Susie Bright has an awesome post about our new anthology, Maternal Is Political, which she contributed to.

I purposely refrained from writing about the whole Rebecca Walker fracas (above all because it was just too upsetting and frustrating to make sense of), but Rebecca also has a piece in the anthology, and part of Susie's post mirrors my own wonderment over the whole thing:

I can't feature why Rebecca would wash her dirty laundry in public... unless she were desperate for money. Or losing her mind. Or both. And even then— how are you suppose to reconcile with your family after this? I guess you pretend they're dead. But they're... not. R. says A. has cut her out of the will, which is presumably worth millions. For having a baby? Does money really drive people this batshit? You feel like calling each member of the Walker family into the room, and interviewing them separately. What a tragedy.

Anyways, I've recommended this book before, and I'm doing it again. I think it's one of the more insightful, educational, and needed books on our spring list.


Friday, June 27, 2008

not funny . . .

Men who joke about beating their wives are either:

a) really beating their wives
b) have beat their wives in the past (reformed wife-beaters)
c) have thought about beating their wives and thereby somehow feel they can justify being verbally abusive
d) sick

So here's a recent interview transcript from John McCain, in which he jokes about beating his wife.

As far as I can tell, McCain is definitely "c." It's been rumored for years that he's verbally abusive---calling Cindy a "slut" and a "cunt" and god knows what else. So it's just not okay. It's not funny. It's not something to shine the spotlight on. It's "d."


Thursday, June 26, 2008

thank you, StirFry Seminars

Today was our antiracism training. We'll have a follow-up 2-hour session in late July. Thirteen of us attended, and it was a solid step in our larger journey and toward the commitment we made to our readers around building awareness, diversifying, and so much more.

Today felt like a small but important step, as it provided a space for our staff to talk about where we stand, what we want to achieve, and where we're going from here. We'll check in periodically about what we're doing and what we're acquiring, but I hope that this message reaches many of you who commented to our blog back in April: We understand the difference between intention and impact and we are taking it all in, listening, and learning. The conversations that are coming from the mistakes we made are productive and promising, and I know that they'll carry Seal to a better place.

Thanks to StirFry, our readers, and our staff.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Thank you NWSA conference

Another conference, good panels, great discussions, lots of booth duty, new friends, and good times. Despite extended exhibit hall hours and a raspy voice from talking way too much, Andie and I had a good time in Cincinnati (and an evening in Kentucky). Thank you to all the wonderful professors and graduate students who came by the Seal booth to express their appreciation for what we do. And many thanks to the Seal authors who came to the conference this year to sign books, talk to conference attendees, and join lively discussions. The new Seal Studies books were a hit, and Andie and I were both touched by the outpouring of support for Seal. We feel reinvigorated to bring quality books to your classrooms and to your lives.

Next year, NWSA is in Atlanta in November, and we'll be there.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Michelle Obama clearly rocks

Michelle Obama has been getting tons of press since her appearance on The View yesterday. More proof of the power of daytime TV on middle America. She talked about sending Laura Bush a thank you note, which people seemed to agree was a very stand-up thing to do. She talked about wearing her heart on her sleeve and about being passionate and taking risks.

If Hillary couldn't take the nomination, all I have to say is thank god for Michelle Obama. It remains to be seen how she's going to handle everything the media is throwing her way. The New York Times ran a piece on Michelle's "subtle makeover," which was picked up on by the Today Show this morning. From my take on it, the segment seemed to imply that Michelle would do well by the campaign to just fade into the background and let her husband shine. They talked about her fashion sense, and the hoopla about her $150 dollar dress from White House || Black Market (one of my faves) and how it's selling out across the country now.

As they sat there alternately comparing her to Jackie O. and Barbara Bush (whose popularity, apparently, is due to the fact that she doesn't do jack shit), I found myself thinking (hoping) that there's no way Michelle has it in her to be a wallflower, no matter how much the media and the public and even the campaign try to force her into being more palatable. I can see her doing it for the sake of doing it, until Barack is elected. And you know, if she's gotta play the game then she's gotta play the game. Here's wishing her luck for the long months until November!


Monday, June 16, 2008

another awesome anthology

The concept behind our newest anthology, About Face, is truly unique. Women writers write about the ways their faces have impacted their lives. At first pass that seems like an esoteric concept, and then you consider how important our faces are. Twenty-five women of all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds considered this question, and their stories are moving---tragic, hilarious, revealing. I felt inspired to journal about my own impressions of my face when I acquired this book, to consider how I present and the impressions I make in the world because of the face I live with. I'm very pleased to announce this book to the world. It's a beautiful collection, a beautiful group of women.

Thank you to our editors, Anne Burt and Christina Baker Kline, for making it happen.


Friday, June 13, 2008

feminism is an idea, not a movement

A recent blog post by Amanda Marcotte asserts just this: "feminism is an idea, not a movement."

Amanda, along with Seal author Jessica Valenti, was recently referenced in an article by Linda Hirshman that's created a lot of upset in the feminist blogosphere and beyond.

The debates are complex, in part because the centerpiece of the conversation focuses on intersectionality---feminism through the lenses of race and age and gender. It's a huge topic, and it's been fascinating to follow those writers who are articulating all of it so eloquently. I highly recommend Jill Filipovic's amazing post if you want to read more.

But what's come out of this, and what's been coming up a lot in recent months (largely due, I think, to Hillary and Barack as the nation's first female and black presidential hopefuls), is that the feminist "movement" is pretty much over.

Its reference here and elsewhere in quotation marks speaks to the fact that we're in a different place than our foremothers of the 1960s and 70s. I've found myself trying to figure out where I stand in the movement, whether my own feminism is feminist enough; the Seal staff has been undergoing our own internal dialogue about our feminisms as a press, and what it means to be a women's press with a feminist sensibility that doesn't always publish exclusively feminist books.

I want to thank Amanda for her realization. Feminism as an idea helps me, at least, to better understand why we fight and struggle and grow and debate the way we do. It's an important struggle, and one that's wrought with frustration and reward alike.

Onward ladies. Have a great weekend.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Monday, June 9, 2008

brushing up on the backlist: DESIRE

I like this interview with Lisa Solod Warren, editor of Desire because there's a lot of information here for aspiring anthology editors, and because Lisa speaks to Seal's mission to publish books that inform women's lives.

Desire is all about women's wants---and it's a fascinating exploration. Krista wrote about Desire last year, so here's a cool reminder that our backlist books are still out there and making an impact on readers.


Thursday, June 5, 2008

sucked away by BEA

We've been MIA, swept away by the blitz of BookExpo America.

The weekend was amazing. It's a treat to get to see what publishers are up to, and to experience the way the entire industry comes together once a year to show their wares. I'm always stunned and overwhelmed and humbled and grateful and inspired and moved. This year's show was in LA, and so it had its share of celebrities, most of whom I missed. I would have liked to have seen Brooke Shields, but the only celeb I saw was Dionne Warwick.

Krista and Andie and I manned our little Seal booth and took meetings---and thank you to all of you who were there and stopped by to say hello.

We're back in full swing and sort of glad to be home. I had no idea that downtown LA was such a happening place.

If you have any fun BEA stories to share, by all means, please do. The highlight for me was sitting in the nipple-shaped semi-enclosed full-size waterbed on the roof of The Standard Hotel.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

SEND A MESSAGE: Sexism Sells, But We're Not Buying It!


If you know anyone who's thinking that Hillary is just whining about being unfairly treated by the media, maybe this video will change their minds.

The Women's Media Center and Media Matters launched "Sexism Sells, But We're Not Buying It" to illustrate "the pervasive nature of sexism in the media's coverage."

If you watch the video and think to yourself, This is not okay, then sign the petition.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

an update for our readers

This post is to let our readers, authors, supporters, and critics know that we are moving forward with our anti-racism training with StirFry Seminars and Consulting. Thank you, Elusis, for suggesting them. Our training date is on June 26th, and every employee who works on Seal titles will be encouraged to attend, and the four of us dedicated to Seal (Krista and I, along with our publicists, Andie and Eva) are absolutely attending.

In addition to our training, we are taking steps toward hiring consultants to help us review some proposals and possible acquisitions. I've personally reached out to agents and a handful of authors as well. These are our first steps, and we are committed to the constant pushing forward of these larger agendas and goals we've promised to pay attention to.

Thanks for checking in and we'll continue to update you periodically on our progress.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Ode to authors

This week I'd like to thank the amazing The Boss of You duo, Lauren Bacon and Emira Mears.

It's been such a pleasure to work with these two incredibly smart women. We're proud to have their book on our list. Not only did they write a great book, which we've all found to be really helpful and informative, but they're really working the promotion part of their publishing experience effectively---like pros. We appreciate their efforts immensely.

Lauren and Emira's production schedule was smack in the middle of Seal's acquisition by PBG. Their editor was laid off, and they had to go with the flow as we shuffled and reorganized. We did, and they did, and everything turned out A-OK. Thanks you two for being patient and having faith.

Check out their website great example of what a website can be and do.

Thanks you two.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

three cheers, California!

Five years ago I was the maid of honor in my childhood friend's wedding. My dad officiated. Family and friends came from miles away to celebrate. The day was perfect. The brides were beautiful. I've always referred to that day as a wedding, but it wasn't. It was a commitment ceremony, which never lessened its validity in my mind or my friend's, but it certainly did in the eyes of the law.

So here we are, almost five years to the date (their anniversary is in June), able to say that we're making progress---though certainly circuitously. Today's California Supreme Court decision (READ IT) apparently still has to go to the voters in a constitutional referendum from what I've read today. Then California will be the second American state (after Massachusetts) with full marriage rights.

I especially appreciated this part of the opinion:

"[A]ffording same-sex couples the opportunity to obtain the designation of marriage will not impinge upon the religious freedom of any religious organization, official, or any other person; no religion will be required to change its religious policies or practices with regard to same-sex couples, and no religious officiant will be required to solemnize a marriage in contravention of his or her religious beliefs."

Yay for separation of church and state, something that's been far too conflated during these long Bush years.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

how can you make your sex sexier?

Read Sexier Sex.
This new Q&A with the author and Cory Silverberg was a good reminder for me about everything that's awesome about this book.

The book has eight parts that offer "easy to follow answers to common and not so common sexual interests."

Like what, you wanna know?

* How to Make Erotic Art with Cell Phones
* How to Delete Your Ex
* How to Have Cybersex
* How to Use Technology to Have More Time for Sex

One of my favorites is How to Seduce Someone in 160 Characters or Less and How to Share Your Orgasm for the Sake of Art.

This book is smart and fun and full of all kinds suggestions, ranging from hot to hotter to hottest. What could be better than making sex sexier, right? And using the things you own---like your computer and your cell phone---to make you a better lover? It's good stuff, I promise.


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

moms, recommend this to everyone you know!

Seal has long championed books for moms. Over the years we've done a ton of mom books, which have tended to cover ground that's hard to talk about: from sex after baby to postpartum depression to the reality check of finding out that being a mom sometimes sucks.

And though we've tackled a wide range of topics, we've never done a book quite like The Maternal Is Political, just hitting bookstores now. The contributor list alone will make you want to flip through this book and see what it's all about: the late Benazir Bhutto, Barbara Kingsolver, Nancy Pelosi, Rebecca Walker, and Cindy Sheehan are among the writers who give voice to issues that matter to mothers (and by extension should matter to all of us).

This is one of those books that we published because it needed to be published. The editor, Shari MacDonald Strong, pieced together an anthology that really ought to be required reading in an election year. It's raw and charged and doesn't paint a particularly rosy picture. It's one of those books that will serve as a wake-up call, though, for moms and all of us who care about moms, too.


Monday, May 5, 2008

You will definitely laugh--and you might cry too

Sounds scary and foreboding, right?
I know.
But reading about other people's mishaps is not nearly as scary as actually traveling with kids--yours or someone else's. Check out one of our newest titles: How to Fit A Car Seat on a Camel: And Other Misadventures Traveling with Kids.

My kids are older now (13 and 11), but when I think of car trips with a toddler and a baby, or a six-year old and a four-year old, I get a little knot in my stomach (at least I think it's a knot and not the "Sicilian" tuna I had for lunch. Only time will tell). You never knew what was going to happen next if you had the kids on an excursion. Whether you're trapped in a car, a plane, a bus, a boat, or a train, you're still trapped, and you're still responsible. I always felt like I was in hyper-attentive mode waiting for an explosion of sorts. What kind of explosion will it be? That is the question. It's not relaxing. That's just funny to think of now. I can remember thinking that getting away from the house would be relaxing. So gullible. Even my youngest son says I'm gullible. ("What's that word mom, for people you can trick easily? Who'll believe anything?")

It doesn't matter if you're traveling to your mom's house for a holiday or to a place with a pool so the kids can swim, or to another country for an adventure, if you're using vacation days, it will not be a vacation. An experience, yes. An adventure, most certainly. But vacation probably isn't the word I would use.

This is a great collection. Lots of different experiences, with kids of different ages, and travel for all kinds of reasons. It made me laugh and cry. And I wanted to run right home and say to my kids, "Remember the time . . . ."

Thanks to editor Sarah Franklin and her contributor extraordinaire Katherine Ozment for putting it all together and working with us.

Until next time.


Thursday, May 1, 2008

Today and the Expat Harem

Check it out!

Seal editors Anastasia Ashman and Jennifer Eaton Gokmen were featured on The Today Show when Matt Lauer showed up today in Istanbul during his annual feature, Where in the World Is Matt Lauer?

Congratulations to Anastasia and Jennifer, and check out Tales from the Expat Harem. It's an exciting book that covers a broad range of experiences about what it's like to live as a foreigner in modern Turkey.


Friday, April 25, 2008

A Public Apology

To Our Readers, Our Friends, Our Critics,

We are taking action immediately to remove the offensive images from It's A Jungle Out There. We are currently reprinting, and we will make these changes now. We apologize for any pain or concern these images have caused.

We do not believe it is appropriate for a book about feminism, albeit a book of humor, to have any images or illustrations that are offensive to anyone.

Some have asked the valid question, "What were you thinking?"

Please know that neither the cover, nor the interior images, were meant to make any serious statement. We were hoping for a campy, retro package to complement the author's humor. That is all. We were not thinking.

As an organization, we need to look seriously at the effects of white privilege. We will be looking for anti-racist trainings offered here in the Bay Area. We want to incorporate race analysis into our work.

In the meantime, please know that all involved in the publishing of It's A Jungle Out There, from editorial to production were not trying to send a message to anyone about our feelings regarding race. If taken seriously as a representation of our intentions, these images are also not very feminist. By putting the big blonde in the skimpy bathing suit with the big breasts, the tiny waist, and the weapon on our cover, we are also not asserting that she is any kind of standard that anyone should aspire to. This 1950s Marvel comic is not an accurate reflection of our beauty standards, our beliefs regarding one's right to bear arms, nor our perspectives on race relations, foreign policy, or environmental policy.

We also extend this apology to the author, Amanda Marcotte, who did not select these images for her book. Writing humor is very difficult. While our intention was to complement your words, we see that these images have had the opposite effect, and for that, we are sorry.

Sincerely and humbly,

Krista Lyons-Gould and Brooke Warner

UPDATE: Please note that, upon reflection, we realize that the second to the last paragraph of this post doesn't do a good job of conveying our intended meaning. We do not want to delete it, but we do want to make a note around our intent, since its purpose was to further articulate the "what were they thinking?" question. We apologize that this paragraph undermines our apology. We acknowledge that the images are racist and not okay under any circumstances. We are wholeheartedly sincere in our apology, and the actions we've laid out above will be acted upon immediately.