Yes, folks, this weekend I was on the scene of the most heinous crime!!! Not something that happens a lot, thank goodness, but I have a horrid feeling the frequency is increasing and this scares the willies out of me.
It occurred at somewhere around 14:30pm, Saturday afternoon. I was in our nearby hardware mega store (which shall remain nameless but for the purposes of this report will be referred to as Home Depot). The hubs and I had done the usual stuff, browsed, wandered, separated and met back up three aisles down, and had a carriage with a few odds and ends in it that we needed. Extra Christmas lights for outdoors, an outdoors timer, a fancy multi-tasking screwdriver as a Christmas gift, a chain saw, and a plumbing fixture. You know, all the normal things one buys in a store like that.
Then, as we neared the checkout, we sensed trouble. There were lots of people. There were blue orchids. (Yes, blue. I have no idea why or how, so please don't ask.) There were several massive palettes displaying tool boxes that would have thrilled the Incredible Hulk, providing he lived in a mansion the size of Buckingham Palace with a garage to match.
But there were no registers without lines. So we opted for the "Self Checkout" line and within moments were at the register. And THAT'S when we saw it.
Clear, in front of us, was the moldering corpse of the ENGLISH LANGUAGE.
I wish I had photographed the sign next to the register. I truly wish I had. It was excruciatingly, agonizingly unbelievable. The best I can do is reproduce it here, which is probably a good thing, since I'd hate to offend anyone's sensibilities at this time of year. And it was hard to look out without vomiting. Here's what it said:
DONT EXCEPT NO CASH
To say I was distraught...well, that's an understatement. By the time he'd paid for our stuff and gotten me to the car, I was pretty much not breathing. I'd never seen such grotesquerie, such appalling horror displayed in public. Where CHILDREN could see it. Where tender elderly folks could be shocked into cardiac arrest. I damn near had a coronary myself.
It took a few minutes of pacing, breathing, practicing relaxation techniques and a leftover dark chocolate Hershey kiss to get me calmed down. I mumbled all the way home. And as I sat in front of my monitor last night, working on my latest book, I had to wonder.
Is it worth it? Why am I writing? Who is going to be left to read my books in the future when spelling is irrelevant, word usage practices become - well, pick one that sounds close, it'll do - and anything with more than two syllables or 145 characters is obsolete.
Do I need to point out the wounds on the corpse? Of course not. The double negative is obvious and you don't need Luminol or forensic crime scene photos to spot the egregious error in confusing ACCEPT with EXCEPT.
Whoever was responsible for this notice (neatly written, I will say, in black marker) needs a refresher course in English grammar. Their TEACHERS need a boot up their academic asses. The Store itself, I HOPE, hadn't seen it before it was scotch-taped to the register. Because if any manager saw it and ignored the mutilation of the fundamental means of communication, then laceration with sharp exclamation points is too gentle a punishment.
This can't go on, people. Not if we want to continue to read books and speak to each other using words we can all understand. So let's try and make an effort. Let's use
And let's make sure there are NO ACCEPTIONS. LOL
Thank you for your attention. You may now resume your regularly scheduled activities.
(PS. Funeral services will be announced later. NOT on Twitter.)
Sunday, December 8, 2013
Yes, folks, this weekend I was on the scene of the most heinous crime!!! Not something that happens a lot, thank goodness, but I have a horrid feeling the frequency is increasing and this scares the willies out of me.
Sunday, October 13, 2013
Some completely unscientific observations on the current television season.
It's mid-October, the stores are full of ghoulies and ghosties and long legged beasties (completely different to the ghoulies, ghosties and long legged beasties you bought last year, of course), and enough candy to render at least three states positive for Type II Diabetes. Yep, Halloween is here; feathered turkeys remind us that we have to eat more in November, and the subtle insidious crawl of holly and glitter has begun. If you listen hard you can hear the rustle of tinsel shifting in readiness for its explosion into stores, along with the terrified shuddering of pine trees everywhere.
Thus we've already had a few weeks to dabble our toes in the new Fall television season. So. Was it good for you?
Personally, I'm sort of underwhelmed. There was the usual amount of hyperbole, flash, bang and brouhaha for the last weeks of summer, heralding what was supposed to be a new season of shock and awe. Thus far, I'm not shocked and there isn't an ounce of awe anywhere, far as I can tell.
(Caveat: I don't watch a LOT of regular television because so much is available online to watch at my convenience. I'm only now catching up with True Blood, and a couple of other series, like American Horror. Thanks to my BFF for recommending that and failing to send along tranquilizers to go with it, damn you Scott Carpenter! LOL)
Series that shows some sort of promise:
This is perilously close to being one of my guilty pleasures, mostly because of the dude. Yeah, I admit it. There is something seductively attractive about a tousle-haired Brit with gorgeous eyes in a long coat. The concept... the "awakening" of Ichabod Crane and the resurgence of paranormal nasties that date back to Salem when it was hot (in a bad way)...meh. It's an interesting notion, but I worry about its sustainability. Plus the writer in me squirms each time I trip and fall into a plot hole. One has to assume that Washington Irving never lived in this particular reality, because introducing an out-of-place costumed Brit as Ichabod Crane and not having ONE person turn around, lifting an eyebrow and saying "Seriously?" ...well, that sort of defies belief. Plus some of his expressions ("I have an eidetic memory") are flat out wrong. Eidetic, as a term for memory, was coined in the 1920's. Ichabod was probably hitting REM sleep right about then. Nit picky? Sure. But a solid script/plotline would have caught that. However, as I said, this show is redeemed by Ichabod, luscious lad, a good supporting cast, and some pretty damn fine special effects, a couple of which grossed me out. (See the neck scene in the pilot. Yuuuuuuck). So this one'll get thumbs up, if you want an hour of eye candy with a bit of adventure. And these days, hell - I'll take it. LOL
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Being a massive Avengers fan, this was a must-see from the get-go. (Sorry for the multiple use of hyphens.) Agent Coulter is still with us - yes, applause is absolutely appropriate - and every bit as lovable. I admire this character enormously for his blend of calm efficiency and wry humor. With - here - a strong helping of action hero. He's pitch perfect (congratulations to Clark Gregg for his portrayal) and although the cast has yet to gel into a smooth whole, this series might be the breakout success of the season. Two thumbs up...based on future possibilities. And Joss Whedon, of course. LOL
Series that haven't debuted as of this writing that might have potential:
(Probably featuring a long coated Englishman. Yes, it's a trend, folks). Jonathan Rhys Meyers deserts the Tudor court for the age of vampirism. There are those amongst us who wouldn't object to a bit of neck biting from this chappie (although I'd line up for Charles first), so if its done as well as the promotional commercials, I might consider giving this one a whirl.
The tried and true human cop-robot partner storyline, but this time coming from JJ Abrams who's FRINGE I very much enjoyed. (I miss Walter, the cow and the butterscotch pudding.) Since I'm always up for a good bit of science fiction, this one will get my attention as well when it debuts.
Series not on my cable lineup that I'm sorry I'm missing:
Masters of Sex
Would love to see a couple of episodes of this one. Not because I'm a kinky voyeuristic pervert (honest. I'm not. Well, not all the time. LOL) but because the subject matter is fascinating (Masters and Johnson readers pay attention) and the cast features Michael Sheen, one of the most polished and versatile actors around. He awed me (yes, awe. Really.) as Tony Blair in THE QUEEN, and I barely recognized him from the Evolution stuff. So I'd love feedback from anyone who's seen any of this series?
Series I'm going to miss:
The Newsroom: It ended a few weeks ago on a somewhat controversial note. This incredible series, incisive, politically foresighted, brilliantly acted and award-winning, suffered (in my opinion) an epic fail with their season finale. In any other show it would have been a great end. And Jane Fonda was extraordinarily funny. And gorgeous to boot. But for an Aaron Sorkin series, which had already raised the bar several times, the last show was... sad to say... meh. However, I do miss Will McAvoy, Sloan, Mackensie and all the rest. Hope they come back!
The White Queen: Only a couple of episodes left to slake my thirst for costumed intrigue, beheadings and gratuitous tit shots. (Sigh. Apparently boys will be boys, even when adapting a Phillippa Gregory novel.) ln spite of the flaunting of the flesh - it is pay cable after all - this has still been a most entertaining glimpse into the Houses of York and Lancaster. Historical accuracy aside (which will doubtless be hotly debated), anything that makes viewers want to know more about that time is okay with me. The acting has been flawless, the costume/settings felt real and all things considered, it was a fun weekly journey back in time. All good, as far as I'm concerned.
And I am SOOO disappointed to have to say this; ONCE UPON A TIME IN WONDERLAND
I think I'm spoiled by Snow, Charming, Regina, Henry and the rest of the Storybrooke characters from Once Upon a Time. (Love me some Rumpelstiltskin!!!) I had high hopes for Alice - it's from the same folks. But somewhere along the line, it lost something. Whimsy? A sense of wonder? I don't know. Alice herself didn't "grab" me the way Emma did. The White Knight, in his shorn head/leather jacketed incarnation, looked like he'd just come from an audition for a role in a gritty British detective drama. The plot was choppy and hard to follow, since Jafar and the Genie made immediate appearances, the Red Queen looked like a second rate knockoff of Charlize Theron in her Chanel/wicked queen personas, and even the White Rabbit with John Lithgow's voice failed to entrance me. I am so sorry about this. I might even try another episode to see if I was just having a bad night. But I am so afraid the messy storyline - and a couple of really low-grade special effects shots - have ruined this one for me.
Game of Thrones
I forgive you the Red Wedding. I want a large dose of small Tyrion Lannister. I want the evil doers to have evil done unto them and I want to watch while Danerys' dragons cook a couple of people in King's Landing. I was completely immersed in this series, every person, every world, every nuanced utterance. My network has components named from Westeros. (I talk on Arya every day and back up my system to Casterly Rock.) So hurry back because I want to know if Winter is HERE, dammit.
True Blood (Gets an A++ for theme song. Oh yeah, don't we all wanna do Bad Things?)
Okay, I caved on this one and am in the middle of a gigantic True Blood fest. Just completed watching Season 2. Some series are probably better watched in lumps and I think this might be one of them, since I've very much enjoyed watching the growth of some of the characters and the introduction of various story elements. I do, however, endorse the sentiments that Sookie is a twit, Bill a bit of a clod and Eric looks good naked. This also redefines the notion that "It's not porn, it's HBO" is closer to the truth than you might think. Several scenes had me in a wide-eyed state of OMG. However, it's well acted (mostly), excellently produced, I love Lafayette, and I'll eagerly await the next season, since I should have caught the rest of them before Bon Temps opens it's doors again.
So there it is. I missed your favorites, I'm sure. But I'm always happy to get feedback or comments, so feel free to leave some! This is just one writer's opinion - and no disrespect to any of the talented people who create television programs is intended. I love my tv and can't imagine life without it. So keep those shows coming, because in spite of all the armchair critics like me, there are still going to be gems of entertainment we'll always remember. M.A.S.H. anyone?
(Or you could always read a book.. LOL)
Sunday, June 2, 2013
So please don't STEAL MY BOOK! I have to pay bills like everyone else!!!
Yes, this is going to be a sort of rant, since when a book that's out for less than 48 hours appears for "free" someplace it shouldn't be, the author (that would be me) gets a tiny bit pissed. Like most of my peers, I have Google set up to ping me if they find my name anywhere online. (i.e. "George Clooney escorted the ever-ravishing Sahara Kelly to the LA premiere of his latest film last night, thus confirming rumors that these two are an item. She was stunning in a heavily beaded lace gown by Donatella Versace that clung to every curve, much like George himself." Or things like that.)
[Let's all take a moment for a big sigh, shall we? Dreams are the duct tape that holds some of us together. LOL]
Anyway, back to the rant. I followed the Google link and found my book, offered for FREE, folks. That's like no ka-ching for Sahara. No extra pennies to set aside for that next convention, or the power bill. Guess which will get sacrificed first? Yep, unpack the suitcase. It's the first time I have seen this happen so rapidly after a book's release. But this ain't my first rodeo, and I am well aware that probably every damn thing I ever sweat blood over is out there for free someplace. I figure I have as much chance of stopping that kind of theft with a voodoo doll and a sharp pin as I do with a DMCA takedown notice. So I try and ignore it and focus on the wonderful people who DO buy my books, by making sure every one I release is the best it can be.
Over the past couple of years, since I've been self-publishing (and loving it, btw) the subject of DRM (Digital Rights Management) has cropped up. Now like many people, I'm kinda fuzzy on this stuff. On the surface, it would seem that protecting my work and guarding my copyright would be a good thing. It should mean that people who post it for free are TRULY BREAKING THE LAW. And I can shoot 'em dead, right? LOL (Kidding. Kneecapping will work fine.) However, I've seen more than a few comments from readers that the DRM system - and I guess it's the Amazon one - is "annoying, unwieldly, etc". In other words, not a good thing for readers.
Urp. The horns of this dilemma manage to shove themselves right up a writer's...um... plot lines. Do we enable DRM and do our best to protect our babies as we send them out into the wild jungle that is eBook World? Or do we go the other way and send them out stark naked so that even more readers can easily handle them and play with them, although we run the risk that they'll be abused?
I honestly don't know the answer to this. I've read long and impassioned arguments from both sides of the fence. I don't really sympathize with people who believe that everything on the Internet should be free. (If so, why can't I shop Tiffanys.com without a credit card, huh?) It seems that perhaps there's some confusion over digital content versus traditional content. A paperback book goes from hand to hand. One person to one person. An eBook can be emailed to a hundred thousand people at once. I can't see that there's any kind of parallel there, but that's just me. I'm a dumb writer who simply tells stories, apparently.
So here's the bottom line... I would LOVE to hear from READERS please, you honest-to-God wonderful people who buy books because you like to escape into other worlds/times/places. If you would like to leave me a comment about this whole shebang, I'd really appreciate it. Tell me what you think, if you care either way, if you've found DRM a pain in the bookmark or never noticed the damn thing?
Because YOU are the people who truly count when all is said and done. Your opinion matters, each and every one of you. Whether you're a Kindle or a Nook or an i-Anything reader, give me the skinny on your take? If it wasn't for you... well, I'd be on a helluva lot more meds. LMAO
Thanks for bearing with me....
Sunday, April 14, 2013
Precious Moments of Perfect Beauty
|(Chatham, on Cape Cod, Massachusetts)|
Sunday, April 7, 2013
Mommy Porn - Redux
From the desk of a writer who did NOT hang naked from a chandelier last night after doing tequila body shots with the defensive line of the New England Patriots. Sorry.
My last blog was a rant about the pervasively stinking odor many continue to attach to the genre of books known formally as Erotic Romance. NOT, as I pointed out at length, Mommy Porn. However, after reading comments, browsing discussions and wandering through the social media, I've realized that it's time to administer a polite bitch-slap to the other side of the aisle. No, not the Republicans, although God knows they need it sometimes... this bitch-slap goes out to some of my peers. Read on and see why I might well be about to piss off a few people.
We loudly denounce the title of "Mommy Porn". And there are many sound reasons already mentioned for doing so. But in the midst of our emphatic protests, what do we continually see? A number of erotic romance writers publicizing and promoting their work by offering up salacious details about their own sex lives. By thrusting naked penises into our Facebook feeds (over coffee? Puhleeze. I check FB in the morning. I prefer a spoon in my coffee, thanks.) and by rehashing every little slurp, squeak and squish they experienced last night in bed.
I know I write fiction. If I talk about having twenty-seven orgasms in a row, most folks will raise an eyebrow and give me the "oh really? Yeah, sure, Sahara's yucking it up again" look. Rightfully so. But what do people think of the author who discusses the intimate details of her sex life? The writer who apparently modeled her hero after her man, a gentleman possessed of assets that might well incur envy from an Arabian Stallion? Or the author who complains about male pubic hair getting caught in her teeth? That little gem being presented after delivering an intimate description of the oral sex she gave her husband the night before.
These are not meant to be humorous anecdotes - at least if they were, here's a hint. Epic fail, guys. I'm a private person by nature, and I tend to believe that what happens in the bedroom should damn well stay there. That's just me. If it WAS just me, you wouldn't be reading this blog because I don't really care what the hell you do in bed. BUT...and here's the big one... let's think about this situation from a new perspective.
Suppose you've never read an erotic romance. Suppose you're curious and you happen across an author who promotes herself as an erotic romance author. You check out her blog, her Facebook page and her website. And what on earth do you find? You find pages of descriptions of her sex life and more than a few photos of nude guys who bear little resemblance to anyone you've ever met. Excerpts from her work that feature endless f**king. Apparently she and her heroine have a lot in common.
So you, the naively curious reader, are now gathering an impression here, from this writer's on-line promotion of herself and her work. And what impression do you think that is? Yeah. Oh GOD. This woman writes nothing but sex. She has nothing but sex. She wants to teach me how to suck off my husband and show me penises that aren't anything like his. Urp!
Okay...you do the math. Doesn't that kinda sound like porn to you? Especially if you're like the majority of regular folks, and only have a slight passing acquaintance with actual porn...if that!
I thought back to Lora Leigh's Reader Appreciation Weekend in Pittsburgh last fall. There were a couple of "incidents" involving an obviously conservative group which was meeting at the same hotel. It's not an unusual situation and many of us have come across it one time or another. In this case, a woman with two children wouldn't enter an elevator with some of the authors. Her words to her kids were something along the lines of "Don't look at those women. They write filth." [Hearsay. I wasn't there at the time, thank heavens.]
It was very nasty, rude and inexcusable. But let's step back and put this comment next to the points made above. Has this woman ONLY seen the sex-crazed postings? Has she accidentally found the comments about how one erotic romance author can come from just having her nipples gnawed? Or her neck bitten while she's getting it up the ass? (Fictional comments, folks. But not that far off ones I've read myself, sadly!)
I will never understand people with such biases, but I am coming to realize that there might just be some excuse for their opinions. And some of US are perhaps a little bit responsible for fostering that dreaded "Mommy Porn" label. Does this make me a Victorian prude? Maybe. <shrug> Call me whatever you like, but I will not surrender my privacy, the details of my sex life, or get into any kind of intimately sexual discussion online. If you've got a new way of making a guy come, good for you. But keep it in places that are restricted. Not just by a "click if you're over 18" but by password protection. These days, it's not that difficult.
We are, first and foremost, writers. I plot, I plan, I craft my characters and my story with every bit of skill I have. As do most of my peers in this industry. We're proud of what we produce. But at the end of the day, I am still just a writer. I'm not a Sex Goddess, an expert on the forty-three variations of navel nibbling, or a woman with an entourage of well-hung pool-boys ready to satisfy my every whim. (Whim number one? Wash my car, FFS.) See? An ordinary woman. Pretending I'm not doesn't get me anywhere I want to be. Writing the best book I can and having fun with promoting it does. I wish those writers who apparently want folks to believe they LIVE their work would just CUT IT OUT!!!!
Thank you!! And truly, no offense intended. Just my two cents...
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Sunday, March 24, 2013
Like many a reader of erotic romance, I watched CBS Sunday Morning with interest today, awaiting the much-publicized segment on Ellora's Cave publishing, cover models, erotic romance author Desiree Holt and the heated world of eBooks in reference to this particularly popular genre.
Boy, was I disappointed.
Desiree was her charming and funny self, a lovely, warm and sweet lady with a talent for writing hotly erotic love scenes. But the overall presentation took a drastic dive down the toilet with the expression "Mommy porn". At that point, my enjoyment evaporated.
Yes, it was almost the last piece in the show, and yes it was clearly designed as an amusing "puff" piece. But the scant passing wave given to Ellora's Cave - a publishing company that forged highways down which so many of us now walk - well, that was close to insulting. Many people write erotic romance, but would not be doing so, or making any money doing so, were it not for that "little company that dared" a dozen years ago.
Back then, we were pioneers, driving our wagons into a west where outrageous ideas were welcomed, where almost nothing was off-limits and everyone shared the fun of being part of a growing family entranced with the freedom to go beyond the bedroom door. At NO time did any of us consider ourselves pornographers. We fiercely argued against being labeled "erotica", and rightly so. We fought for recognition even though we were shunned for several years. We worked on our plots, developed our characters and crafted our novels every bit as carefully as did the Danielle Steeles or the LaVryle Spencers of the time. The craft, the art, the talent...there was no difference in our minds. But there are always those for whom one word, one mere implication, is sufficient to start them turning red, breathing fire and screaming noisy protests.
Okay, it's a touchy subject. But back then - and still today - I'm one of those authors who has to continually explain the difference between erotic romance and erotica. And now, thanks to media pieces like this morning's CBS Sunday broadcast, I'm going to have to up the ante and defend myself against the accusation I write "Mommy porn". Bleeeeeccch... how offensive a phrase is that, anyway?
WTF does it mean? Google it and for God's sake, do NOT hit "Images". I made that mistake and got everything from Angelina Jolie (?), EL James, Dr. McDreamy (really?), Fifty Shades (duh) and a really appalling collection of shots from porn films. UNEDITED. (Parents, don't do this unless you are completely sure you're not being watched. Put the dog in another room. They're that bad.) And THIS is what I'm supposed to be writing? I soooooo don't think so.
I've always felt porn was pretty degrading to women. But I'm not an expert or even a beginner. I know very little about it, except that I have no interest in it. And I sure as hell don't write it. My stories, like those of almost all the other writer friends I've made in this genre over the decade plus I've been in it, consist of a PLOT (yep, that IS a four letter word). They contain CHARACTERS who do interesting things, fall in love, cry, laugh, snore now and again - and even fart occasionally. They also do what 99.99% of the rest of us do. They have sex. And I describe it, in varying levels of detail, as part of the overall story. Yes, you can actually take out the sex from most of my stories and still have a plotline. You'll have a shorter book, but the point here is that the sex is only PART of the story. I've always felt that erotica has its place. It's sex without the need for detailed plots or well-defined characters. And for those who like that, it's fine. Porn, on the other hand, is one thing only. All sex, all the time and most of it with women pleasuring men. Again, if that's your bag, go for it.
I'm not anti-porn. I'm just violently against being accused of writing it. And I think there are more than a few erotic romance writers who would agree with me.
So please friends, help a tired writer out. Should you hear that godawful phrase, set the speaker straight? Explain that there is NO SUCH THING as Mommy porn. (Unless you're talking about MILF, which I won't even get into.) There ARE, however, wonderfully erotic romances that explore the physical and emotional horizons of relationships. These books entertain, amuse, and sometimes arouse the reader. They're meant to, as are so many things we buy these days. But they are not, in any way, shape or form, pornography, mommy or otherwise. They're just a wonderful read, an escape from our daily routine and yes, a source of pride for those of us lucky enough to write them.
As a footnote...Desiree? Try Stretch Armstrong. Much more flexible than Ken. LOL