Wednesday, October 31, 2012

How NOM Works Against Marriage Equality by Fred Karger



I was going to share this FB post about how NOM (National Organization for Marriage) works against marriage equality in a Huff Po piece written by former Presidential candidate, Fred Karger, but then decided to post it here on the blog because I'd like it to get more exposure. And I don't want it getting mixed up with so many stupid facebook political status updates by ill-informed people who can't seem to focus on anything other than slamming political candidates in one direction or the other. We get it: you don't like Obama. We get it: you don't like Romney. But stop putting it in our faces. Go tell someone who cares and start doing something positive for a change.

But I digress (smile). I'm focused on a few issues, and marriage quality is one of them. In the article to which I'm linking Karger goes into detail about how NOM actually hinders marriage equality, and with a great deal of money.

The LGBT community and everyone who cares about fairness and equality face four crucial votes next Tuesday in Maryland, Maine, Minnesota and Washington State. All four elections are the doing of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM).

NOM has an unlimited amount of money at its disposal and is hell-bent on hurting millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans every conceivable way possible, especially at the ballot box.

In 2009 the Maine State Legislature passed and the Governor signed a historic bill allowing marriage equality in the Pine Tree State. On the first day possible NOM hired professional signature gatherers to qualify a referendum to repeal it. NOM was successful.

I'm not going to elaborate on this because Karger did a better job than I could ever do. If you care about marriage equality, I suggest you read the article in full. And feel free to share it. It's a lot more positive than sharing touched up photos of Donald Trump's hair flying around in the wind.

Gay Sex in Film Version of "On The Road"

 
 
I'm glad to see there will be a few gay sex scenes in the movie version of Jack Kerouac's novel, "On the Road." And really only because I can't see how they could be ignored. To ignore the gay sex would be to ignore the rebellious aspects of the entire Beat Generation.

I've read a great deal about the Beat Generation and Jack Kerouac's personal life. I keep "On the Road" in print version on my night stand, and that's the only book I keep there now. Allen Ginsberg lived right here in New Hope, back when New Hope was a theater town and filled with all kinds of creative types. There was no "gay" then. Whether or not Kerouac and the rest of the most famous members of the Beat Generation were bi-sexual or homosexual is not always clear. But one thing's for sure. There was gay sex.

I think it's important to make the distinction, though, that "On the Road" is not gay fiction and was never meant to be gay fiction. It can get a little confusing to understand for those who are younger and have grown up knowing the word "gay" as it applies to homosexuals. In those days homosexual wasn't something discussed openly...or even thought about in a positive way. In those days, a lot of the gay sex associated with the Beat Generation was almost shameful for some and for others a rebellious act against society. At least that's how I've always viewed it.

There's an interesting article here. The other thing I think is important about the entire topic has more to do with the evolution of "gay" men and "gay" sex since that time. What they thought of as rebellious back then has now become so commonplace it often goes by unnoticed. Not totally, but I don't think anyone considers being gay a rebellious act anymore.

But while the movie is brazen about gay sex (well, male gay sex), it may not attain queer classic status like My Own Private Idaho, Bound, and Mysterious Skin. While some film critics accuse Salles of turning his nose up at the gay sex in the book, the truth is that Kerouac’s novel is not really a queer work, just a work with queers. While Truman Capote, James Baldwin, and Gore Vidal wrote about men loving other men, On the Road has male characters simply jumping into bed with each other. Also, the book is way too stocked with misogyny and homophobia to be a testament to the LGBT experience, says Don Romesburg, an associate professor of women’s and gender studies and the queer studies adviser at California’s Sonoma State University.

“On the Road’s homoeroticism doesn’t affirm homosexuality or bisexuality as much as it shores up the narrator’s and main character’s prerogatives, as Beat but ultimately straight white males, to go where they want and fuck who they want,” Romesburg says. “But it’s all in the service of their freedom, not ours. Being queer and reading On the Road can be like that drunken one-night stand with a straight boy who won’t make eye contact with you after.”

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Coping With Sandy's Aftermath

I've only posted with an iPhone once before, so this post won't be long.

As everyone knows by now, the path of destruction from Hurricane Sandy goes on for miles. I have been trying to keep in touch with friends and family in Mahattan via text and e-mail, and it's been difficult at best. Power is out all over NY, NJ and PA and most land lines don't work. So far, everyone I know is OK, thankfully.

We got through the storm with far less issues than most people I know. We lost power on Monday night and we are not supposed to get it back until Thursday. The longest we have ever been without power has been a day, so that's a pretty good example of how  destructive Sandy was around New Hope and the Philadelphia area.

After last year's freak snowstorm on Halloween we bought a generator that sat in the garage for one year. It's come in handy this week. I've also been thinking about my Amish friend I once posted about who never has electricity. It's amazing how much we take for granted.

We got lucky this time compared to the thousands of people who have lost homes, and in some cases lives. With all the massive trees we have we are thankful for that as well. For those who are struggling with more serious issues, I wish you the best. I have been through a great deal in life and the magnitude of this hurricane is now in the top ten worst. But with a fully charged e-reader and my new AJ Llewellyn book I'm going to read this one out.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Deleted Matt Bomer Scenes from "Magic Mike"



It's a hurricane. It's slamming the entire east coast. For those who haven't lost power yet, no one really feels like working much.

I was going to link to a post on well known publishing blog I thought was interesting, but I wanted to keep my readers awake.

So here's a link to view a few photos of scenes that have been deleted from "Magic Mike." Why anyone would delete these scenes passes me by.

I'm told that if you buy the "Magic Mike" DVD, a lot of the Matt Bomer scenes that were deleted in the final cut will be there as part of the promotional package.

The Perfect Storm...Creative Non-Fiction as a Genre



In l991 three unusual weather conditions came together and formed what's been dubbed as "The Perfect Storm." I found it interesting because there was a book and a film about it that became widely popular in the mainstream...and controversial to a certain degree.

It's also been referred to as the Halloween Storm, or Halloween Nor'easter. And now it seems as if history is repeating itself all over again with Sandy.

Here's an interesting article written recently about that's focused on the reality angle of "The Perfect Storm," with a few interesting comments about the book and movie.

On Oct. 30, 1991, Leonard and two crew members were several days into their voyage when they were caught in the confluence of three weather systems. They were about 60 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard, off the coast of Massachusetts.

One of the crew issued a mayday, and the three were plucked from the Atlantic Ocean by a Coast Guard helicopter.

The book and the movie, neither of which Leonard participated with, portrayed him as drunk and detached. Leonard has always insisted that the boat, which later washed ashore intact, was never in any real danger.

As you can see, Ray Leonard, who was actually the skipper of the boat that was allegedly portrayed in the book and film didn't even participate in any of it. And, according to him what really happened was nothing like the book or film, which isn't a surprise. He claims they were, indeed, equipped to ride out the storm, and were in better shape than the US coast guard.

This is even more interesting:

An exception is the portrayal of the yacht whose crew was taken off-board by the US Coast Guard. Its story is clearly based on the events surrounding the Satori, which are also dealt with in Junger's book; Junger's version of the event, however, is contested by the owner and skipper of the yacht, who was not interviewed for Junger's book, but is supported by the two crewmembers on the Satori and the Coast Guard rescuers. The film highly fictionalizes the story of the Satori; it renames the boat Mistral, and leaves its crew anonymous, making no explicit claim about the "true" identity of the boat.

I think the key phrase here is "highly fictionalizes." This evidently led to controversy and wound up in court.

While there have been disputes over the context and research of the book, there have been controversies that surround The Perfect Storm. Families of two crew members sued the film makers for the fictionalization of events which happened prior to the loss of the Andrea Gail.[4] In 2005, the Florida Supreme Court ruled against the family of Captain Tyne by a 6-2 vote.
 
Aside from my personal feelings (I didn't like the book or movie much), what I find interesting is that the book is considered "Creative Non-Fiction."
 
Creative nonfiction (also known as literary or narrative nonfiction) is a genre of writing that uses literary styles and techniques to create factually accurate narratives. Creative nonfiction contrasts with other nonfiction, such as technical writing or journalism, which is also rooted in accurate fact, but is not primarily written in service to its craft. As a genre, creative nonfiction is still relatively young, and is only beginning to be scrutinized with the same critical analysis given to fiction and poetry. It is sometimes referred to as docufiction.[1]
 
It's almost like Roman a clef, which is like biography but mixed with fiction...embellishment, satire, and even parody...which I've done a few times. Let's face it, one key ingredient to most books is the "what if" factor. Without that, if books were based on real life, they wouldn't be very interesting because real life isn't that interesting to begin with. In fact, romance as a genre is based almost entirely on the escapism and rarely related to reality. That's one reason why we read them.  
I think these things are important to know for a variety or reasons, especially with all the loud voices on the Internet speaking and commenting about things about which they don't really have a clue. I understand why the author of "The Perfect Storm" did what was necessary to make the book more interesting. I also understand why the real people involved were not thrilled about that. But I don't always think one thing is entirely connected to the other. There's nothing that says the people who were actually involved in the storm can't write a book of their own and replay their personal experiences. Whether or not anyone will buy it and read it is another story. Publishing is a business, not an outlet for one or two people to enjoy themselves. And while the real story might make a great PBS special, I doubt it would have been a huge bestseller.
One of the most widely discussed topics today seems to be the fact that so many think they have a great memoir. But all they really have is a story that is important to them, and not to anyone else. I may have posted this before on this blog, but I can't remember so I'm posting it again. There's an old saying in the antique business: "Nobody wants what grandma had except grandpa." And I tend to think that's true with books and stories as well.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hurricane Sandy...



I went to look for photos about Hurricanes on google, and one that I'd posted last year came up and I thought that was interesting. I've been planning to do a long blog post about personal blogging in terms of personal legacy and this experience just reinforced my opinions about blogging. For many, what you put on your blog and what you put on the Internet will one day, indeed, become your personal legacy. So it's important now to think about how your blog posts will look in the future when you or anyone else looks back at them.

In this case, I posted about Hurricane Irene in August of 2011, and then tropical storm Lee. But the photo above is from a nor-easter we had in the spring. That was just some of the damage. We get hurricanes and nor-easters in this part of the country, but usually not a little more than one year later. Most of the time it's more like once every five years. So this "Frankenstorm" isn't something we haven't had to deal with before, but the frequency with which it's happening is unusual. I know people who are still recovering from the last one.

The photo above is basically what Tony and I have to deal with during storms like this. We don't have to worry about flooding, but we're surrounded by huge trees and you never know which one might come down. So far, everyone is expecting the worst and hoping for the best with Sandy. I know for a fact that all NJ State troopers have been called in for duty and we're in a state of emergency here.

I just hope everyone gets through this okay, especially those in areas that tend to flood. If they tell you to evacuate, listen to them. Don't be a hero. It's not worth it. This thing is going to be around until Tuesday from the latest report I heard.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Hurricane Sandy: Direct Hit on New York, New Jersey, Delmarva October 29...

Posts may be sporadic for the next couple of days, depending on where Sandy makes landfall and how bad it actually is. So far, the latest reports say it's heading toward New Jersey/New York, and since New Hope is only an hour from NY, on the NJ border, we're planning for the worst.


Hope that wherever it does hit, everyone is safe and there's not much damage. So far I think it's still too early to tell, but it doesn't hurt to take precautions either.
 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Kindle Lending Library Now in France, UK, and Germany

The following is from an e-mail I received from Amazon. From my experience, I would recommend participating in the lending library for at least the first 90 days the book is released. I've found it helpful with the four .99 e-books I've self-pubbed on Amazon, and it offers readers a chance too not only see what you've done but it also gives them a break. The odds are if you are publishing for the first time you are not going to sell thousands of copies the minute the book is released. That takes time, hard work, and a great deal of patience.

The only problem I find with the lending library is that once you sign up you can't distribute the books anywhere else for 90 days. Being that I like having my books distributed in as many places as I can get them to the public, I've only done it for 90 days and opted out after that. But not with all books. I'm keeping "Jonah Sweet of Delancey Street" in the lending library and offering a free promotion for everyone very soon. I'll post more about that when I do it.

Reach even more readers and earn more money!

We are excited to announce that the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library is now available in the UK, Germany and France and that the KDP Select fund has been increased to $700,000 for October.

Did you know that books enrolled in KDP Select in August earned 77% more royalties from paid sales than the three months before they were in the KDP Select program? Enroll your additional titles today and increase the discoverability of your books and your earning potential. Visit your
Bookshelf and select the books you would like to enroll.

To find out more about KDP Select click
here and for The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library click here (for the US) and here (for the UK).

Thank you for choosing KDP to publish your work and for enrolling in KDP Select.

Kind Regards,
Kindle Direct Publishing
http://kdp.amazon.com
______________________________
Connect with KDP and other Authors and Publishers:
Like us on
Facebook
Follow us on
Twitter

Why I had to Revise This Book Cover; Kergan Ewards-Stout Wants to be Defriended; Frankenstorm

(Update #2: With regard to the Kergan Edwards-Stout article in the Huff Post, being that the post was centered on President Obama's support of same sex marriage, and when I think of support I'm talking about support on a federal level, not on a state to state level, I wanted to post this link to an ABC news article on the President's latest comment on same sex marriage. Evidently, he's not supporting same sex marriage on a federal level if he should win a second term, and he's basically saying that same thing all the other candidates before him have said in the past. It's not very encouraging, because gay marriage on a state level means nothing for most of us. We need equality on a federal level.)

(Update: The moment I posted this cover on facebook, author Janet Post, told me this cover model has been used on her book, so this cover won't be used either and it's back to coming up with a new cover. So this will now be an ongoing post about the difficulties of coming up with decent book covers. Of course I'm not using it. And I'm sure the cover artist will agree. I'm just glad Janet caught this in time before it went to print.)

Earlier this week I posted a preview cover for a new .99 e-book I'm self-pubbing on Amazon next month. It's titled, "A Sign From Heaven Above," it's very erotic gay romance, and you can read more about it with the link.

Unfortunately, I thought I had the perfect cover. Simple and clean; nothing I found offensive. And then I wrote a post thanking Gay Rom Lit for a contest they held last weekend where I won a copy of a gay film on DVD. While I was linking to the GRL web site in my post, I noticed they had the same image that I'd used for the cover of ASFHA. I'd purchased mine from one of those stock photo sites to make it all legal, and I guess they did the same thing. That was the first time I'd ever been to the GRL web site. I usually get all that information from social media.

So I thought about it and decided to change the entire book cover. The cover artist agreed. I doubt the folks at GRL would have minded, but I didn't want to usurp their territory. I bought another image, revised the entire cover, and this is what we came up with. I still like the first one better, but I'm okay with this.


Sometimes these things happen and sometimes you catch it before it goes to print. I once released a short story titled "Strawberries and Cream at the Plaza," and soon discovered after it was released another mm romance titled "Strawberries and Cream" had been released around the same time. In that case, there was nothing I could do about it. My story was a re-print from an older anthology and it had been titled years ago. And I'm sure the other author had no idea either. It happens. At least this time I had a chance to revise it.

Kergan Edwards-Stout Asks People to Unfriend Him on Social Media...

If people are not going to vote in the next election the way Kergan Edwards-Stout is voting, and they are not supporting his candidate of choice, Edwards-Stout is turning his back on them, will have nothing to do with them, and wants them to unfriend him on all social media.

I'm not a friend of his on any social media, so I didn't have to unfriend him. But I probably would have it he'd been a friend. I've been openly gay all my life, and I'm with my partner for twenty years. We've bought, renovated and sold property together. We've started and sold small businesses. We've buried parents and grandparents in those twenty years. We've helped parents and family members through everything from divorce to chemotherapy. We've also buried good friends and watched older gay couples go through all the legal issues same sex couples face. We've had our attorney plan and organize our affairs so that we both have legal POA for health issues and financial issues. I've stood by Tony's side while a priest gave him last rites when they thought he was dying five years ago. I brought him home after a three month hospital stay when he weighed 90 pounds so he could recuperate in his own home instead of a nursing home...against everyone's advice...they didn't think I could do it alone. So I may not be father of the year like Kergan Edwards-Stout, but there's nothing he can even imagine that I haven't already been through twice by this time in my life. And I don't take kindly to people giving me orders as to who I should vote for in either party, Democrat or Republican. I happen to be a registered Democrat and have been all my life. But I still don't want ANYONE telling me who I should vote for, just as I would never tell anyone who they should vote for. That's an individual choice we all have the right to decide for ourselves.

What prompted me to comment on this Edwards-Stout post was an e-mail I received from a good friend in Brooklyn. I've posted about her before. She and her partner have been together for thirty years, and they were here, in New Hope, offering me all the support I needed when Tony went through his health crisis five years ago. This friend of mine was a lifelong Democrat who became disillusioned with politics in the last five years and now she's an independent voter. She was wearing a "Vote for Romney" button in her Brooklyn neighborhood one day this week. I don't always agree with her on politics, but she's still my friend and I still respect her choices. She was attacked verbally by six people that day for wearing that Romney button. Of course the poor thing was terrified. She's not wearing that button again any time soon. But you see where I'm going with this. She wasn't out to attack anyone. She was minding her own business, doing her own thing.

I'm not a political person. I do work hard to support same sex marriage, and all things LGBT all the time. I even get into some of these issues in my fiction even though I know no one reads my books to get political insight (smile). But I would never have the audacity to actually tell someone how he or she should vote. And I'd like to make that distinction clear here, in writing. So if you aren't supporting my candidate of choice, I'll still be your friend on social media, or anywhere else, no matter who you are voting for this November. I have no right to tell you how to vote just as you have no right to tell me how to vote. And I don't want to lose your friendship, whoever you might be, because of the same kind of discrimination I've been facing all my life.

Frankenstorm Approaches

In case you have not been following this, we are bracing for what might be the perfect storm here in the mid-Atlantic. There's a hurricane moving north up the Atlantic and it's going to collide with a front coming from the west. The link will provide more details, and I'm no weather expert, but I do find it interesting that this same time last year we had a freak snowstorm here on Halloween that created problems for days afterward. I lost so many small trees I stopped counting.

As far as the models go, this approaching storm might still go out to sea, which would be nice. Tony and I don't live near the coast but we do live on three heavily wooded acres with massive tall trees. And when the wind goes above sixty miles per hour, we go to the basement. Living with so many trees is interesting because you can never predict which tree will go down. We've had some trees removed we thought were unsafe, but then a storm would come along and a tree we thought was perfectly safe would go down. You can never predict anything with trees.

So I'm hoping that if this storm does happen, we ALL get through this with as little damage as possible. You've heard that old saying about "if a tree goes down in the forest..." Well, trust me, they do make a sound, and it's not a sound you want to hear often.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Big Thanks to A.J. Llewellyn and Gay Rom Lit 2012



For those who don't know, every year there's an event held for authors and readers and publishers called Gay Rom Lit...GRL. This year it was held in Albuquerque, NM, and though I would have liked to have attended it was just too far and there were too many things happening. I've had four weddings this fall so far, and one more to go. And Tony and I don't travel often these days because we have two dogs and we take them with us when we travel because I don't trust pet sitters or boarding kennels. I've seen and heard too many bad stories. And one dog is going on thirteen years old and it's not easy for him to travel anymore, so we're basically stuck with taking short weekend trips for the time being.

So when I received an e-mail last Monday morning informing me that I was one of the winners of the Final Give Away for GRL 2012, I was both thrilled and surprised. It's a DVD of "Is It Just Me?" and I haven't seen it yet. So I'd like to send a big shout of thanks to the people at GRL for this.

Next year, from what I've been told, GRL will be held in Atlanta. And that's nice to hear. Not only is Atlanta one of my favorite cities in the US, Tony and I are both familiar with it. Tony traveled there on business for years, and I actually lived in Spartanburg, SC one summer taking classes, which was only a few hours away from Atlanta. I spent a lot of good times there, and I LOVE the south. It's also not that bad a drive from New Hope...about twelve or thirteen hours...and we don't consider that a long drive at all. So I'm hoping I'll be able to attend next year, and get to meet so many of the people I know online.

I'd also like to thank author A. J. Llewellyn. A. J. had a contest about a week ago and I entered never thinking I would win. I don't usually win contests, not even small amounts in the instant lottery, so that was a nice surprise, too. And I'm a big fan of A. J.'s work. I've collaborated with A. J. on blog posts, I've ranted about piracy when I was frustrated, and I've posted about A. J.'s work here on this blog a couple of times. A.J. has a writing style that draws me into the story from page one, and keeps me there until the end. I can even remember certain characters (I'm bad with names, but I do remember the characters), which doesn't always happen. I like that. It means I'll take that with me forever.

The book I won is titled, "Mating Tomeo," and you can read more about it here.  So a huge thanks to A. J. as well for having the contest.

  

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Janet Reid's Interesting Post about Self-Publishing

I found a link on twitter today that led me to an interesting post on literary agent Janet Reid's blog about self-publishing. I used to follow her blog but stopped for a variety of reasons. And those who follow this blog know that I'm not a vigilante when it comes to self-publishing as opposed to legacy publishing. I think there is good and bad in both and I've remained on the fence about it. But I think writers, especially new writers, need to know facts from all angles.

In the post Reid talks about what authors who are thinking of self-publishing should expect if they have ambitions of ever getting published with large publishers.

If you're thinking of doing this, here's what to consider:

1. To get noticed, you have to sell a lot of books. By a lot I mean more than 20,000.

If this number doesn't daunt you, ask yourself this question: have you ever sold 20,000 units of anything?


This is very true. No complaints. But the main reason why writers move into self-publishing is because large publishers aren't taking on as many new authors anymore, they aren't paying out the advances they used to pay, and from what I hear they aren't selling as many books as they used to sell. I doubt most of their new books sell 20,000 print copies. So it stands to reason that large publishers want to jump at the chance to get authors who sold more than 20,000 books. But, if you could sell more than 20,000 copies you're doing something right and why would you even need a large publisher at that point?

But there are varying opinions on this topic. Another reason authors self-publish is because larger publishers haven't been paying attention to what's been happening with digital books and the digital market. Or paying attention to readers for that matter. In this article, the biggest readers in the US are an interesting crowd.

The most likely book readers in the United States are high-school students, college-age adults and people in their 30s, with e-book use highest among 30-somethings, a survey released on Tuesday showed.

Then the article says this:

Among Americans who read e-books, those under 30 are more likely to read them on a cell phone, at 41 percent, or on a computer (55 percent) than on an e-book reader (23 percent) or tablet (16 percent).

Forty-seven percent of younger Americans read long-form e-content such as books, magazines or newspapers. But the highest e-book use was among people 30 to 39, at one quarter.

I only read digital books now, no more print. I read most on my phone. I read "Fifty Shades of Grey" before it went mainstream in digital format. Newsweek Magazine recently announced it's going completely digital in January. So where have the large publishers been, and how can anyone blame authors for being curious about e-publishing and self-publishing?

Reid then says this in her post:

If you self publish you are no longer just the author, you're the salesperson for your book. Do you have any experience selling? Did you love selling Girl Scout cookies? Do you like calling people and asking for money (as in fund raising?) Do you gladly spearhead the fundraising drive at your school, synagogue, church?]

First, all publishers, large and small, now expect authors to promote, market, and sell their books. Publishers don't do that work for you unless your name is J.K. Rowling. So I don't see how that's any different from self-published authors marketing and promoting their books. And some are quite good at it, far better than a lot of authors I've seen with large publishers. They are far better at it than I am. These self-published authors can work the web better than our politicians.

Be realistic. 20,000 units is a huge number of books. It's a hard number to reach even if you're published by a big publisher, with an accomplished sales force and established avenues to the retail market.

This brings me back to the article to which I linked above about the biggest group of readers. Unless Reid is talking about the digital online retail market, I don't get that statement. I'm not giving up my e-readers, my tablet, or my iphone to go back to print books. Most of my own book sales come exclusively from digital sales, not print sales and I have over 100 published works out there. I have no control over how people read. I don't care how people read my books. But the numbers prove one thing: people are reading more digital books now than ever before and most of the marketing and promotion authors do is now online and it doesn't cost them a cent.

This post is not to dissuade you from self-publishing. Have at it with all your might. BUT be realistic about what self-publishing is, and what it can accomplish. And more important what it can NOT accomplish.

Well, if I had read this post not knowing what I know now it certainly would dissuade me from self-publishing. But it is important to be realistic about self-publishing and it is important to understand that you're not only an author when you self-publish, but also a businessperson. It's not as simple as it looks. I know that from experience. I still prefer working with publishers over self-publishing, but I found that in order to continue to write I had to start self-publishing. And I have no regrets about it. As a side note, even if you have a publisher, you're going it alone. Because once that book is pubbed it all points back to you, not the publisher.

I'd also like to mention that even though Reid makes some interesting points in her post for authors who have the ultimate goal of getting published with large publishers (if that is their only goal), she fails to mention that many of her colleagues have started e-publishing services, in house, so their own clients can self-publish their own books. The AAR supports them. These other literary agents are helping move their clients forward and I doubt the majority of them are selling 20,000 copies. And these clients who are using literary agent e-publishing services are, indeed, considered self-published.

So while Reid's post is not inaccurate by any means, and I do understand where she's coming from because a lot don't fully understand self-publishing, there are about 50 shades of "Lovely Lolly" that aren't being mentioned and those who are thinking about self-publishing aren't getting all the facts. I'm not giving you all the facts here in this post because that would take far too long. But I am suggesting that you read as much as you can about self-publishing, you do what you think is best for you, and you remain realistic. There are still many things changing in the publishing industry and no one knows where things are going at this point. But if all these literary agents are starting e-publishing services in order to self-publish their clients (which I think is wonderful; authors need good, smart agents like this), I don't think self-publishing is going to disappear any time soon, nor do I think self-published authors will be required to sell 20,000 books in order to be taken seriously.

















Bayonets in the Military; Election Day Shift in Same Sex Marriage



As a coincidence, I'm working on a story for a European print magazine right now that has a military theme and bayonets are mentioned in one escape scene. Although this story will never see the light of day in digital book form, or even in the US, I want it to be accurate. I've been freelancing for small private publishers in Europe for years, mostly Germany and Russia, and they usually tell me what they want and I deliver it to them. In this case it was a military story, set in the present, with an escape theme.

And when I heard a comment about bayonets in the military during this week's Presidential debates, I figured I'd better go back and do a little research to see if bayonets are actually used in the present day military. I probably could have just used gun or rifle instead of bayonet. But the story is ready to go and I didn't want to revise the entire thing all over again. After fifty or so revisions, it starts to get tired. And the last thing I look forward to is revising a story in any capacity that I thought was ready to  be submitted.

In any event, this is what I found with a simple wiki search:


A bayonet (from French baïonnette) is a knife, sword, or spike-shaped weapon designed to fit in, on, over or underneath the muzzle of a rifle, musket or similar weapon, effectively turning the gun into a spear.[1] In this regard, it is an ancillary close-quarter combat or last-resort weapon.

However, knife-shaped bayonets—when not fixed to a gun barrel—have long been utilized by soldiers in the field as general purpose cutting implements.

In the US this is how they are used:

The American M16 rifle used the M7 bayonet which is based on earlier designs such as the M4, M5, & M6 bayonets. All of which are direct descendants of the M3 Fighting Knife and have spear-point blade with a half sharpened secondary edge. The newer M9 bayonet has a clip-point blade with saw-teeth along the spine, and can be used as a multi-purpose knife and wire-cutter when combined with its scabbard. The current USMC OKC-3S bayonet bears a resemblance to the Marines' iconic Ka-Bar fighting knife with serrations near the handle.
 
To play it safe, I double checked with this link:
 
While the bayonet dates to the 17th century, it has evolved through technological innovations over the years. In 2003, the Marine Corps replaced its standard-issue bayonet with a longer, sharper model, the OKC-3S. The new model, designed by New York's Ontario Knife Co., was also more effective when brandished as a hand knife - not to mention more ergonomically correct. Perhaps more vitally, the blades were also better able to pierce body armor, a concern particular to modern warriors. More than 120,000 bayonets were commissioned to supply one to each Marine, at an estimated price of $36.35 each, or $4,362,000 total. In addition to potential use in hand-to-hand combat, bayonets are said to be useful for keeping prisoners under control and for "poking an enemy to see whether he is dead."

So they are still used and I didn't have to change a thing in the story. As a side note, the hardest part of getting information about bayonets was finding a web site/article that didn't have a snarky political slant. Almost every single piece I came across had a spin on bayonets, in one political direction or the other. And all I wanted to know was whether or not they are still being used. Evidently, they are. Not often. But they are still around.

Election Day Shift Same Sex Marriage

I've posted several times about how frustrated I've been about same sex marriage and equal rights not being mentioned in the mainstream or by any of the candidates running for President in this election. So frustrated I almost decided to stop posting or dealing with the issue altogether. And then I came across a fascinating article on CNN's web site that helped put things into perspective for me.

From her Baltimore kitchen, Rebecca Murphy is lobbying legislators, crafting signs and making phone calls as she wages a battle to allow gays and lesbians to marry in her state.

The married mother of two doesn't have a personal stake in the fight. Rather, Murphy represents the growing number of people nationwide who support gay rights regardless of their own sexual orientation.
 
I've been hearing things like this crop up almost daily in recent weeks. So this could be one reason why same sex marriage isn't being mentioned at all in this election. There's been a slow shift taking place for a long time, and more and more straight people are starting to support same sex marriage openly.
 
Of course there are still those who don't support same sex marriage, and they tend to be very vocal about it:
 
While support has grown, there are still many who oppose allowing gays to marry and are doing their part to strike the measure down. The Rev. Frank Reid and his wife, Marlaa, of Bethel AME Church in Baltimore run workshops for single African-Americans in an effort to encourage strong marriages and discourage sexual behaviors that can lead to HIV/AIDS.
"I do understand and accept that there are other patterns for families," Marlaa Reid says. "However, the basic prescription for marriage, I embrace it as a biblical prescription. A man and a woman."
 
I've seen and heard this before. We all have, and coming basically from the same source with the same type of "holy" biblical mind-set. So that's going to take a while to change, but for the most part I agree that people are starting to accept same sex marriage without even thinking twice about it, which can only move equality forward. Most people nowadays know at least a few openly gay people, or are related to at least a few. And those who think they aren't exposed to gay people should take a closer look at their neighbor, their cousin, or their employer.
 
It's a good article to read in full, and it gives a different perspective on how same sex marriage might become legal...and without the help of any President. From what I gather, people are starting to decide for themselves and there's evidence that proves there's been a shift in the way they've been thinking about same sex marriage everywhere.
 
 
 
 
 
 





 
 



Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Bad Writing Tips That Make Me Crazy...

When I see profoundly bad writing tips that make me crazy, I get this feeling deep down that won't go away unless I post something about it. This could be a joke, but you never know these days. I hate to see new writers get bad advice from those who think they know it all. At least the bad writing tips have to be profound to make me crazy, not just small things. And, this is why I rarely offer writing advice, not even in jest. With over 100 published works on Goodreads.com, I have yet to find a clear definition of what's considered great writing because that's just too subjective.

In this case, I saw this gem below on this publishing blog and I couldn't help thinking about all the writers that might get confused by this kind of advice. You have to remember that what works for one writer won't work for another. It is all subjective and whenever you see someone offer writing tips like this, take it about as seriously as you take the alleged facts in Presidential debates.


Let's start with #1:

I'm thrilled this author always has a plan. But that's not how it works for all writers and this should not be taken seriously. I rarely have a set plan...even when the publisher asks for an outline I tend to deviate because my characters decide how the books end, not me. I sit down and start writing.

#2:

I rarely decide the endings of my books. My characters do that. My characters guide me. So while I know that when I'm writing a romance it will end happily, I'm not exactly certain where...or how...the book will end. And I like that. I like being kept in suspense while I'm writing the book. And if I'm not, I start to wonder if readers will be. So take this one with a HUGE proverbial grain of salt.

#3:

I'm just going to refer this one to other books I've read recently. I see the words was, got, and put, in books that have been written by Pulitzer prize winning authors all the time and there's nothing wrong with using them. Like all words, they shouldn't be overused. But if you do use them no one is going to fault you for it. In fact, most readers use those words themselves and won't even notice. But more important, during copyedits words like this are almost always removed anyway if they are overused.

#4:

This blows me away whenever I see it. Truly proven authors like John Irving use adverbs all the time and there's nothing wrong with them unless they are, once again, overused. But then nothing should be overused. There's this bigotry against ALL adverbs these days that passes me by and I don't think readers care all that much about it.

#5:

I don't even get this one. So I'm not going to comment. But I'm certainly not going to pay attention to it either.

I would like to say this author and blogger were joking around, but I'm not certain. I think it could be a joke because the blogger used the word "got" in the post. If it is in jest, I think it's hysterical. But for those who might take something like this seriously, always remember that advice like this is subjective and it should NOT be taken too seriously. This is the kind of advice that can screw up an author for years until the author finally reaches that seasoned point where he or she sees how subjective writing is. As far as I know, no one has ever written a set standard for what's considered good writing. If they do, I'll be the first to read it.

Cover Preview: A Sign From Heaven Above




"A Sign From Heaven Above" is a new release I'm indie publishing with Amazon. This time it's not a full length novel. It's a 9,000 word short story that's erotic gay romance, and it's never been published before anywhere. It will be offered as a .99 e-book indefinitely.

I actually wrote this a long time ago...years...and kept it in my files because I wasn't sure what to do with it. I didn't think it was right for Loveyoudivine.com, I didn't see any calls for submission for anthologies where I thought it would fit, and I focus mostly on full length novels with Ravenousromance.com. So, as they say, it was orphaned for years.

Tag Line:

Sometimes all it takes is one little sign to help show us the way

Raw Blurb subject to change:

Although Ricky has been living in his new home in the Hollywood Hills for a few months, he hasn't had a chance to meet his new neighbor. All Ricky knows about him is that he's young, attractive, and seems to live a fast life. This doesn't bother Ricky much because he's not looking to meet anyone at this time in his life. He's forty years old and the reason he moved to the West Coast was because his partner of twenty years passed away suddenly and Ricky's still grieving.

Then one afternoon when he least expects it, Ricky meets his neighbor in a very unusual situation and finds him as smart and funny as he is attractive. Ricky likes him so much he invites him to dinner and they talk about Ricky's love of horses, riding, and his Amish background. But when it comes time to get more intimate, Ricky's not sure he wants to proceed. He feels guilty, as if he's cheating on his deceased partner, and he silently prays for a sign from heaven to tell him he's doing the right thing.

I'm not sure about a release date yet, but it will be out before Thanksgiving, and probably much sooner than later.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Fred Karger Files Charges Against Anti-Gay Marriage Group


I post these things primarily because most people aren't going to read about them or hear about them in the mainstream. Evidently, Fred Karger, an openly gay man who ran on the Republican ticket for President this year, is seeking the names of private donors who have been helping to fund a private anti-gay marriage group called The National Organization for Marriage....NOM.

Yes, you heard that correctly. Karger is openly gay, a Republican, he supports gay marriage, and he ran for President. Will wonders ever cease. Pardon my sarcasm, but let's face it. The only thing we hear about these days with regard to equal rights is what's posted on the Internet by small groups with good intentions. Or small blogs like mine that average about 1,000 hits a day. You don't see anyone else talking about it, not Democrat or Republican.

In any event, this is what Karger wants:

Fred Karger, a California-based gay-rights activist and unsuccessful Republican presidential candidate, has sent a letter to U.S. District Court Judge D. Brock Hornby asking him to find NOM in contempt of court for failing to disclose individual donors in the current election cycle, as possibly required by recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings in the case.

Karger also sent letters to the American Bar Association and its state-level counterparts in Maine, California and South Dakota asking that NOM chairman John Charles Eastman, a constitutional lawyer and law professor, be disciplined for the same reason.

This is why he might not get what he wants:

NOM maintains this year's contribution came entirely from its general treasury. Under Maine law, the organization is not required to disclose the sources of such donations, provided the funds were not solicited for a specific political purpose.

The federal court rulings have "not required that NOM disclose donors to its general treasury, any more than the Supreme Court and other courts have required disclosure of donors to the ACLU or Human Rights Campaign, which are supporting Question 1," Eastman said in a statement earlier this month.

"NOM is in absolute compliance," says Carroll Conley Jr., co-chairman of Protect Marriage Maine, which received the organization's $250,000 donation. "The Supreme Court did not require them to reveal the names of their donors who gave to their general fund."

You can read more here.

I recommend reading the entire article because it gets more complicated than this. It's been alleged that NOM is not in full compliance. But there's an ongoing investigation to determine this.

At least Karger is doing SOMETHING. Because no one else in the LGBT political landscape seems to be doing a single thing to help advance same sex marriage and equal rights.


Sexuality and Women's Changing Needs: Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey; Nonfiction

 
Because there are fifty contributing writers in the nonfiction book "Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey," the advanced book promotion has been interesting. There's isn't one set web site or blog to get pre-release information. What's been happening is something I've been seeing more of on the Internet: social media promotion.

In other words, the majority of informational posts about "Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey" have been through twitter and facebook. Of course contributing authors like me are also posting on our web sites, but mostly it's been all about fast, interactive social media. As a side note, this book isn't the only change I've seen recently with regard to this subject. More and more people in general seem to be casting long individual blog posts aside for longer status updates on facebook to share their information. Makes me wonder if twitter will eventually lengthen their 142 character limit for updates.

In any event, this post isn't about social media. It's about what's been happening with "Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey." I'm going to post a longer excerpt from my essay as we get closer to a publication date. But right now I'm linking to the FWoFSoG facebook fan page where a new quote from the book is posted daily. I think that's a nice way to market, and kudos to Bella Books for coming up with informative marketing tools that aren't in your face or obnoxious. It's fast information, we all get the point, and it focuses on the important aspects of the book without spoilers.

The latest daily quote is about women's sexual needs and how they may or may not have changed over the years. From my own POV in the m/m/gay fiction genre, I get private e-mails all the time from women readers who discuss this topic in a general sense.

Here's the latest quote from FWoFSoG, by author Heather Graham:

“In the past few decades the role of women in our culture has changed more drastically than in centuries before. Or let me say—the roles we show to the world have changed. Have our basic needs and desires changed on a purely carnal level? Probably not. Women with sexual prowess existed as far back as the days we lived in caves, but until relatively recently we didn’t accept the idea of the wicked, wanton female as every man’s wife.” —Heather Graham “Fifty Shades of Woman”

This was Friday's quote, by author Rakesh Satyal:

Today's FIFTY DAYS OF FIFTY SHADES quote: “The student/teacher relationship is one that has appeared in art from time immemorial (paging Socrates!), but in pitting Ana as a finals-studying coed against the willful, angerous, punitive power of business magnate Christian Grey, James makes explicit the steamy pedagogy that piques the fantasies of many a fledgling academic, while avoiding the creep factor that would define a similar relationship written about a high school student and educator.

"After all, college is the real sexual awakening for many people.” —
Rakesh Satyal, "Crass Is in Session"


I think "Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey" is going to be an interesting way for readers and other authors to see how others interpreted FSoG as fiction, and as a huge runaway bestseller that no one ever expected to take off. There's really no explanation as to why some books become big like this, and it doesn't happen that often, but at least in this book of essays about FSoG I've been finding explanations I wouldn't have come up with on my own.

The quotes will be updated daily on the facebook page I linked to above, so if you click like you'll be able to see what's happening and how other people are reacting. I'm not going to say, "Click LIKE for this page." I hate that. I really do. I never do it. But in this case, being that FSoG the novel has sparked so much discussion the non fiction book, "Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey," is an interesting page to follow to see where people are going with this topic. I have no doubt that the minute I share this blog post on other social media I'm going to get comments from people who both loved and hated FSoG. And there's nothing wrong with that, because "Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey" is a bipartisan book. I like books that spark any kind of discussion because that means they hit a nerve somewhere and that doesn't happen all the time. 

There's going to be a give-away contest from the publisher that I'll post about when I get more information. I'm also trying to come up with my own give-away, which I don't do often. I'm just waiting to see how they will be distributing the books. I'd rather do a digital give-away because my readers are almost exclusively e-book readers, but it might have to be print. I'll post more about that, too.   


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Yelp Takes A Stand Against Fake Reviews...



I find this link to the LA Times particularly interesting because of all that's been going on with regard to reviews in general in the book community. When I say in general, I mean there are many questionable things I see all the time about book reviews and they have nothing to do with bullying or a lot of what's been discussed this past year.

I'm talking more about this sort of thing right now. In this article, the LA Times talks about how Yelp is starting to fight back against businesses that post good reviews for themselves...or pay for good reviews for themselves. Notice I said good reviews, because that's not something new anywhere in the Internet with regard to all reviews in any industry. They also comment with sockpuppets and shills in order validate these reviews.

In an attempt to fight fake feedback, the popular review website has rolled out an alert system to warn users about businesses that it suspects has paid for positive critiques.

On Thursday, warning signs began popping up when users tried to access the pages of some businesses with five-star ratings. To read on, users must click a button that says, "Show me the reviews."

We caught someone red-handed trying to buy reviews for this business," the red-bordered alert box says. "We weren't fooled, but wanted you to know because buying reviews not only hurts consumers, but also honest businesses who play by the rules. Check out the evidence here."

The alert will be removed after three months, Yelp said, unless there's any indication the business continues to trawl for reviews. More alerts will be posted as the company continues its investigations.

Sounds fair to me. At least consumers are now being warned that five star ratings and reviews are not always necessarily honest. It's an interesting article and I recommend reading it in full for more than one reason.

In fact, something interesting happened to me recently while I was leaving a review on Goodreads. I noticed that one particular author had rated (not reviewed) 1,998 books within a small amount of time. Very ambitious, and I was curious about it. I know that's not impossible. Some people are avid readers. However when I clicked to check out the books she had rated, I found myself wondering WTF was going on. Every single book was in the same genre, every single book she'd rated had a five star review, and the majority of the ratings had been posted on the same day in January of 2011. Immediate red flag for me.

I'm not naming names. And in the grand scheme of my life this doesn't mean much to me. A few of my books were there with five stars and I guess I should be thankful for that. But on the other hand, is that what rating and reviewing is all about? Clicking five stars one after the other in order to promote a genre or an author? Not for me it isn't. I do have a lot of five star reviews up for books I've read, rated, and reviewed, but I've actually read all those books. I do sometimes rate and review on the same day, but never hundreds and hundreds, one after the other. The most I ever rated on the same day, one after the other, were a collection of older Anne Tyler novels I'd read years ago.

Then I saw this same author with 1,998 ratings had rated all of her own books as well, which is something else I'm not fond of all that much. I don't rate my books on Goodreads because I can't be objective about them. I wrote them, of course I want people to buy them. So I step back and let readers do this. And the reason I do this is because it makes sense. Sometimes it's just as plain and simple as that. It. Makes. Sense. We all know the basic difference between right and wrong, and for those who don't, e-mail me and I'll tell you (smile).

I think what Yelp is trying to do makes perfect sense, too, and at least they are doing something in order to warn consumers that some reviews can be questionable. This entire review/rating issue is an ongoing problem that's not going to disappear any time soon unless something's done about it, so I would suggest to anyone who has taken advantage of the honor system on goodreads, yelp, or anywhere else something is rated and reviewed they might want to rethink what they've been doing. We're all starting to catch on to what's been happening and we dont' like it. Most of us do leave honest reviews and we take it seriously. I prefer to remain quiet and not name names when I come across something questionable, but someone else might not be as nice as me.

Photo: Morguefile.com

Friday, October 19, 2012

Billionaire Bad Boys: The Ivy League Rake


I try not to post about myself or my books too often because I don't want that to be what this blog is all about. In doing this, I often tend to neglect my own work and overcompensate with other things I hope people will find interesting. But I wanted to talk about an upcoming release tentatively titled, "The Ivy League Rake" that's part of an eight book series concentrated in billionaire bad boys.

For those who don't know what a rake is, this might help:

A rake, short for rakehell, is a historic term applied to a man who is habituated to immoral conduct, frequently a heartless womanizer. Often a rake was a prodigal who wasted his (usually inherited) fortune on gambling, wine, women and song, incurring lavish debts in the process. The rake was also frequently a man who seduced a young woman and impregnated her before leaving, often to her social or financial ruin.
 
 
I've been enjoying this series so far, mostly because I've never actually written a really bad, evil character before. In fact, the worst character I ever wrote about was in a Virgin Billionaire book when Luis meets his long lost identical twin brother, Gage. And even then Gage wasn't a total rake because he turned out to be a nice guy by the end of the series. To me, a rake is everything above, including selfish, self-centered, arrogant in a clueless way, and painfully thoughtless to everyone else's feelings and emotions. And yet there are still gay men who are not only attracted to them, but can't wait to try and change them.
 
We all know rakes in real life, but it wasn't always easy to follow the formula because when it's applied to gay men in current times a lot of the old rake standards wouldn't be believable now. In other words, what was considered "immoral conduct" over one hundred years ago would be considered standard today. So I had to get creative and come up with things that I thought would bother me if I were attracted to a modern day rake.  
 
In the second book of this series, "The Wall Street Shark," the rake is probably one of the most thoughtless, unfeeling people I've ever come across. All he cares about is making money, building exposure for himself, and sleeping with other men, including one that gets him involved in a public sex scandal. And the main character who's been married to him for ten years still makes excuses for him and still hopes he can change him at the expense of his own emotional well-being. That's an interesting part of the rake theme, to me. The one who isn't the rake always feels this need to change the rake, as if he's the only man in the world capable of doing this.
 
In any event, I'll post more about rakes and about the series as I get closer to a publication date. Here's the blurb for "The Ivy League Rake."
 
Elroy Donahue, the spoiled heir to a billion dollar ice cream fortune, must get a degree from Harvard in order to gain control of the family fortune. Thankfully, what he lacks in academic skills he makes up for in looks, personality, and a deep seated desire to get what he wants no matter how he has to do it.
Then humble Kyle Sparrow comes along and changes everything. Kyle’s an excellent student, he’s grateful to be at Harvard on an academic scholarship, and he’s never been promiscuous. When Elroy discovers Kyle is his new roommate, he immediately begins to figure out ways to seduce him.
But Kyle isn’t like the other guys Elroy has known in the past. He wants love; he craves emotion. For the first time in his life, Elroy is not only rejected, he’s forced to examine his careless lifestyle and take responsibility for his actions. The harder he tries to do the right thing the more he fails.
Will Elroy’s thoughtless attitude discourage Kyle? Or will Kyle turn out to be the only man on the planet who can transform this billionaire bad boy into the man he knew he could always be?

Photo: Morguefile.com

Male Full Frontal Nudity ll: Michael Pitt and Zack McGowen




After posting earlier this week about a male full frontal nudity scene with Bobby Cannavale in "Boardwalk Empire," I remembered a few other scenes I'd happened to notice recently and figured I'd post about them, too. And it's Friday. We're in the middle of a vicious election, gas prices are soaring at record highs, and Joy Behar's big mouth is still running overtime. So it's nice to take a break from it all for a day or two.

I find it interesting that actor Michael Pitt...who happens to be one of the best actors in Hollywood with or without his clothes...did a full frontal nude scene in a film called "Dreamers" (2003) and he also starred in "Boardwalk Empire" when it first launched. In fact, he was the only reason I bothered to watch BE in the beginning, and then they killed off his character and I'm only hanging on now by a thin thread (which has nothing to do with male full frontal...the storyline's just not keeping my interest).

As far as I know, Michael Pitt did not do any full frontal nudity in BE. Which is slightly disappointing because he did such a great scene in "Dreamers."  You can watch the entire scene here. I often wonder if some actors do certain scenes at the beginning of their careers in order to get recognized, and then never do them again once they are established. Tom Cruise did more than a few scenes without his clothes, so did Brad Pitt. I don't think either one ever did full frontal, but they showed plenty in the beginning and haven't showed anything since then. This tells me that there's no limit to what some people will do for a buck in the beginning, and art has nothing to do with it...and I'm not one to judge nudity in films or TV shows. I actually think nudity, when done well, adds to the artistic reality of certain scenes and there's nothing dirty or obscene about it. Kind of like nude models in drawing 101 freshman year of college. At first it's a little awkward, but after fifteen minutes the nudity isn't an issue anymore. I've been to plenty of nude beaches in my time, and I felt awkward at first about stripping down to nothing. But it didn't take long before it felt perfectly natural.

In any event, another more recent male full frontal nude scene was done in "Shameless," by actor Zack McGowen. In this case, the full frontal nudity did add to the artistic quality of the the scene in which he did it, and that show is so reality oriented I think it's like cheating if there aren't a few nudes scenes. It also added to the popularity of Zack McGowen, which stands to reason because male full frontal is considered so taboo. What he had between his legs was nothing to be ashamed about. You don't see a nice one THAT nice every day of the week, in real life or on TV. Here's a link to photos I can't post here where you can see it in all its glory yourselves.




Thursday, October 18, 2012

Hoping Lambda Sees That Newsweek Mag Goes Digital



Earlier this week I posted about the fact that the LLF still doesn't accept digital submissions from authors for the Lambda Awards. There are links in that post where I've posted even more in the past on this topic.

Not only is it costly for authors to submit copies of print books these days, but most authors have a large digital readership that's building constantly.

So this is why I'm hoping the folks at the LLF who are in charge of the Lambda Awards read this article about Newsweek Magazine going completely digital in a few months. I've been predicting this sort of thing for the past five years at least. I also think all magazines will follow Newsweek's path eventually.

So why is it taking so long in book publishing?


Newsweek is ending its print edition and transitioning to an all-digital format by the end of 2012, editor Tina Brown announced on Thursday.

The magazine has been in print since 1933. That will end after its Dec. 31 issue. The shuttering of the print edition will inevitably seen as a harbinger of things to come for the wider industry.

The all-digital tablet edition will be called Newsweek Global. it will launch in early 2013 and require a paid subscription.

The Only 36 Storylines...in the World



I've posted before how I don't believe there are any truly original storylines left in the world. I know some will disagree with me, but I'm not the only one who believes this.

According to this blogger, a French writer named Georges Polti actually came up with 36 storylines that have been done over and over again. In this case it's thirty six "dramatic situations."

This could be applied to any genre, from romance to mystery, in my opinion. The Cinderella story is a good example for romance. Pygmalion would be another. This interpretation of storyline happens in comedy all the time. Just take a look at some of the finest older sitcoms ever produced on TV and each episode is something that was usually done before.

The reason why I think it's important to know this is because it's not something new. It's not even parody, like I've done more than a few times with erotic romance. You might think the latest book you're reading...or writing for that matter...is completely original, but the fact is that the storyline can most likely be traced to something that's already been done before in the past. I don't think this is anything to get upset about. The way storylines are written, produced, and interpreted vary each time they are done. And the important thing to remember is how well they've been done, which is where the originality really matters. In other words, anyone can reinterpret the Cinderella storyline, but that doesn't mean they will do it well.

Here's a list of Polti's thirty-six storylines:

1. Supplication: a character is desperately seeking something
- a Persecutor; a Seeker; a Power in authority, whose decision is doubtful
2. Deliverance: a character is in danger and is saved
- an Unfortunate; a Threatener; a Rescuer
3. Crime pursued by vengeance
- a Criminal; an Avenger
4. Vengeance taken for kin upon kin
- Guilty Kinsman; an Avenging Kinsman; remembrance of the Victim, a relative of both
5. Pursuit
- Punishment; a Fugitive
6. Disaster
- a Vanquished Power; a Victorious Enemy or a Misfortune
7. Falling prey to cruelty/misfortune
- an Unfortunate; a Master or a Misfortune
8. Revolt
- a Tyrant; a Conspirator
9. Daring enterprise
- a Bold Leader; an Object; an Adversary
10. Abduction
- an Abductor; the Abducted; a Guardian
11. The enigma: a problem needs to be solved by the character
- a Problem; an Interrogator; a Seeker
12. Obtaining
- a Solicitor and an Adversary who is refusing, or an Arbitrator and Opposing Parties
13. Enmity of kin or family
- a Malevolent Kinsman; a Hated or a reciprocally-hating Kinsman
14. Rivalry of kin
- the Preferred Kinsman; the Rejected Kinsman; the Object of Rivalry
15. Murderous adultery
- two Adulterers; a Betrayed Spouse
16. Madness
- a Madman; a Victim
17. Fatal imprudence
- the Imprudent; a Victim or an Object Lost
18. Involuntary crimes of love
- a Lover; a Beloved; a Revealer
19. Slaying of kin unrecognized
- the Slayer; an Unrecognized Victim
20. Self-sacrifice for an ideal
- a Hero; an Ideal; a Creditor or a Person/Thing sacrificed
21. Self-sacrifice for kin
- a Hero; a Kinsman; a Creditor or a Person/Thing sacrificed
22. All sacrificed for passion
- a Lover; an Object of fatal Passion; the Person/Thing sacrificed
23. Necessity of sacrificing loved ones
- a hero; a Beloved Victim; the Necessity for the Sacrifice
24. Rivalry of superior vs. inferior
- a Superior Rival; an Inferior Rival; the Object of Rivalry
25. Adultery
- two Adulterers; a Deceived Spouse
26. Crimes of love
- a Lover; the Beloved
27. Discovery of the dishonor of a loved one
- a Discoverer; the Guilty One
28. Obstacles to love
- two Lovers; an Obstacle
29. An enemy loved
- a Lover; the Beloved Enemy; the Hater
30. Ambition
- an Ambitious Person; a Thing Coveted; an Adversary
31. Conflict with a god
- a mortal; an Immortal
32. Mistaken jealousy
- a Jealous One; an Object of whose Possession He is Jealous; a Supposed Accomplice; a Cause or an Author of the Mistake
33. Mistaken judgment
- a Victim of the Mistake; a Cause or Author of the Mistake; the Guilty One
34. Remorse
- a Culprit; a Victim or the Sin; an Interrogator
35. Recovery of a lost one
- a Seeker; the One Found
36. Loss of loved ones
- a Kinsman Slain; a Kinsman Spectator; an Executioner


Ten years ago I probably would have disagreed with this concept and ranted about how originality is the only thing that really matters. But not anymore. I've seen too much and read too much. And so far I haven't found anything of any quality that's ever been completely original...quality being the key word here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

No Calorie Birthday Cake...

Tony celebrated another birthday this week and I decided to do something different this year. We both don't eat cake because it's so fattening. Tony will sometimes, but I haven't had a piece of cake in about four years. And every year for the past twenty years I've been buying a birthday cake and taking a spoonful, and then throwing it away three or four days later.

And I hate to waste food more than anything in the world. Besides, we both stopped making a big thing out of birthdays a while ago. So this was my alternative.

 
 

So, Candy Crowley, What About Equal Rights and Same Sex Marriage?



I have always found Candy Crowley to be an excellent example of how objectivity in American journalism is dying. During the heated Democratic primary between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in the last Presidential election she proved her bias time and again. It's always seemed to me that her true intention is not to inform people with issues, but to turn events and issues around to promote the candidate of her own personal choice. When I heard she was going to moderate the Presidential debates last night, I almost didn't bother watching. She's the reason why I have not watched CNN in four years, and I have feeling she could be the reason why CNN has failed in ratings so much in the last four years.

I rarely get into politics on this blog, as most people know. And that's because I hate politics so much I don't like to get into it. I'm an independent voter who swings to the far left on some issues and to the right on others. The most important issue to me, at this time in my life, is equality for all Americans, mainly legalizing same sex marriage on a federal level. I'd also like to see same sex couples in the military receive all the benefits straight married couples receive. I'm not going to list everything here because that would be another post, and I repeat the most important issue that matters to me is equality for all Americans. And the LGBT community isn't getting that right now.

So far there have been three important debates in this election, two Presidential and one Vice-Presidential, and no one has mentioned equality for gay Americans or even the topic of legalizing same sex marriage on a federal level. In previous elections we at least heard the topic mentioned. This time everyone's gone dead silent. For those who don't know, and I sure most of you don't know this, here is how the questions for last night's debate moderated by Candy Crowley were chosen.

The Gallup polling organization picks about 80 uncommitted voters. Those voters will work with moderator Candy Crowley of CNN, and she decides who in the group will get to ask a question. Crowley said she and a small team of helpers will try to get as broad a range of questions as possible and nobody else will know the questions in advance.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1012/82467.html#ixzz29Z9n4k6F

According to this, Crowley basically chose and organized all the questions. That's an interesting position for someone as partisan as Crowley to be in. What I find interesting is that out of "80 uncommitted voters" not one had a question about same sex marriage. So there wasn't one smart gay American in the entire house last night? I find that hard to swallow. What I find even more interesting is that even though Crowley felt compelled to interject and fact check during the debate last night in a way I found highly unprofessional, she didn't bother to ask the one key question that is so important to millions of gay Americans. Where do you stand on legalizing same sex marriage on a federal level?

Plain and simple.

I know where Mitt Romney stands, so I don't think that question is all that important with regard to him in this election. But I do think it's important with regard to President Obama. He's been candid about his personal feelings on same sex marriage, and that's great, but I want to know, in simple terms, how he feels about legalizing same sex marriage on a federal level. How he, or Mitt Romney, feel about anything on a personal level is of no concern to me as a gay American. In the past the President did what all politicians do with this topic, he basically said he wanted to leave it up to the states to decide. And that's just not good enough for me anymore, not as a swing voter who is tired of politicians all over passing off issues that tend to be controversial. I know how Gavin Newsom feels about gay marriage on a federal level just as I know how Mitt Romney feels. But I still don't know how President Obama feels. And if anyone reading this blog post has a solid link that says he is going to legalize same sex marriage on a federal level, please let me know. But don't give me your opinions and guesses. I want a solid quote.

Again, out of 80 people asking questions last night, I find it hard to believe that not one brought up the topic of same sex marriage on a federal level and equality for all Americans. I felt as if I were watching debates set back in the l980's instead of 2012. I know I'm supposed to "believe" that the President supports same sex marriage across the board on a federal level because he feels this way personally.That's what I've been told by all my ultra liberal die-hard Democrat friends, but I reserve the right to not trust in the President's truncated stand on the issue until I hear the President discuss it openly and candidly in a public forum. The town hall debate last night would have been perfect. As a side note, when these TH debates started in the 90's, the questions were not chosen by moderators, they were random questions.

I also find it hard to believe that in working with the voters who asked the questions in last night's debate Candy Crowley didn't even remotely focus on same sex marriage. And if this is such a hot topic now, which we all know it is, what motivated her to avoid this question? I could make suggestions, but they would only be guesses. I could say she's just dumb and doesn't realize how important this issue is to gay Americans, many of whom have contributed huge sums of money to the President's campaign. But we all know that's not the case and Crowley isn't dumb. The only good guess I can come up with is that the question of equality and same sex marriage did not come up last night because no one wants to deal with it during the election.

The only problem is that now I'm supposed to cast a vote in a few weeks, and I'm still not sure how I'm going to do that. I voted for President Obama last time, but I have been disappointed in how the past four years turned out. I want to vote for him again this time, I really do. I actually believe all Presidents need at least eight years to move the country forward. But it's not going to be easy for me to do that again if he keeps avoiding the issue of equality and same sex marriage. Some might call that a spite vote on my part. And to a certain extent, maybe it is. My only reply to that would be stand in my shoes for just one day, find out what it's like to be an openly gay American, and see for yourself what it's like not to have the same basic rights all Americans have.

I'm hoping in the last debate things will be different. I'm not asking for much; just one answer to a very simple question: Do you support same sex marriage on a federal level?