Wednesday, May 25, 2016

How Good Intentions Run Amok

A recent climbdown by Evanston City Council comes as a relief to local massage and bodywork businesses. The good news is that these local government officials recognized that massage is a valid activity often with a therapeutic purpose. In their efforts to ensure secret prostitution dens were not operating in the local decades-old registered businesses, they came up with a ballooning proposed ordinance that prohibited touching peoples behinds or having advertising with pictures of the masseurs.  Eventually the trouble they were causing legitimate providers, and the fact that illegal sex work is general not done in licensed premises anyway, caused the council to drop the whole idea.

I can't help but see a parallel to the various efforts to quash pornography being accessed by children or the spread of extreme pornogrpahy which end up proxy-banning anything involving nudity or intimacy altogether.  From frozen Paypal accounts to rampant Amazon adult tags to RWAs covergate to prisoners having erotic romance novels seized as contraband.  The relatively short history of erotic romance is replete with examples of the genre being caught in the cross fire between well-meaning regulators and their real target material--generally of some kind of obscene material.

And as a point of clarity, in the United States erotic material in itself has been established as legally not meeting the requirements of "obscenity" because an interest in sex is not innately prurient ("shameful" or "morbid"). In general the features that have been judged to cross the line are sexual activities that would be illegal in real life combined with being in the erotica genre which is widely deemed not to have literary merit, a rather dubious pair of distinctions.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Quoth: Google's AI could "theoretically" write a romance novel of its own

"According to a Google spokesperson, romance novels are particularly helpful to learn colloquial language because they have predictable themes and plotlines, but use colourful and varied vocabulary to convey them."
 --The news that Google's IA is learning conversational language from erotic romance novels.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Smoke at Renaissance Romance

Based on reviews on their Facebook page Renaissance Romance is falling behind on their royalty payments. Their free Wix  website is also less than impressive. File this one under: NOT RECOMMENDED.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Market: Hot Tree

Hot Tree Publishing is seeking romance in all sub-genres.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Author of BDSM Non-Fiction Charged with Crossing a Legal Line

Michael Makai, author of BDSM non-fiction guides, has pleaded guilty to sending obscene material to a girl prior to initiating a relationship with her. The relationship, with a 17-year-old, was not itself illegal.  This creates what seems to be an unusual situation where it seems that the written word was criminal despite the end goal itself being legal.

That said, one wonders if it is wise to take BDSM advice from an author that the NY Dailly News reports is a registered sex offender due to a sexual assault conviction in 2001.

RWA Apologizes for 2005 Romance Definition Survey

"The survey ... asked RWA members to vote on whether romance should be redefined as being between one man and one woman. .. The survey, however, sparked a discussion that compelled our LGBT+ members to justify their existence to others and to participate in debates about their humanity and their capacity to love. This incident was a low point from which RWA’s reputation has never recovered ...We apologize for letting our members down and for failing to treat all our members with the respect they deserve."

See the full text here.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Torquere non-payment reports

Venerable M/M epublisher Torquere Press is reportedly bouncing check on one of their prominent authors Sean Michael. These reports are back by former owner of the press, Julia Talbot. It seems unlikely that if this is happening only one author is effected?