Thursday, October 25, 2012

Amazon Weirdness (assorted)

Exhibit 1: Amazon threatens to pull book because customer keeps trying to post a positive review. Have you had positive review vanish recently? It looks like an over-zealous sockhunt....

Exhibit 2: Amazon deletes a kindle customers purchased ebooks for no clear reason. Something to do with geographical restrictions, perhaps? Surely she should get a refund, or an explanation that actually explains what happened, or something?

Exhibit 3: This is no differential pricing by region, except when there is.

Penguin confirms Merger talks with Random House

Albeit very tersely: "Pearson confirms that it is discussing with Bertelsmann a possible combination of Penguin and Random House. The two companies have not reached agreement"

Damn you, inappropriate media coverage! Bow before the might of (alleged) Pengdomzilla!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Who has the right to know?

A lot of people were pretty happy when Reddit "troll" Violentacrez was exposed.  he was banned from Reddit and lost his job.  He had posted pictures of women out in public in order to discuss their physical attributes, and also pictures of underage girls.

Not having visited those subReddits I will take Reddit's word on the fact that none of the images was actually illegal.  I assume the women and girls pictures were all clothed to an acceptable degree.  In which case they are not against policy and one wonders why he was banned.

I suppose the argument is that knowing the identity of a guy who obsessively collects pictures of young girls out of a sexual motivation is in the public interest.  And once his real name was outed it is up to other people, including his employers, to decide how they want to react.

But I really am not very comfortable with this. If no crime is actually committed, do we have the right to "out" people for doing things that many (including myself) would consider unpleasant or immoral?


What about the pro-life campaigners trying to prevent the opening of a clinic that would provide abortions.  They say: "We feel if you're pregnant you have a right to know if your midwife performs abortions as well." 

Their motivation is clearly to harrass-by-proxy anyone planning to work at the clinic, cause it not to open, and make abortion far less accessible to people in the region who would have to drive a long way to the next clinic.

But objectively speaking, I am sure they are at least as upset about abortion as most people are about posting pictures of girls in order to have sexualized discussions about them.

Where exactly is the difference in terms of right to anonymity in carrying out a legal activity considered objectionable by some members of the public. Is there such a thing as a right to anonymity? And if so, are these rights subject to some public mandate relating to how many people are disgusted by how you use it, and to what extent?


When discussions of pseudonyms come up, some one inevitably says they don't use one because they are not "ashamed" of what they write.  But guess what, neither am I.  But that does not mean I want to be open to how people would react to knowing that I write gay erotica.

What I write is not relevant to my job, because I do not make it relevant to my job.  And I don't see why some crusader should be able to demand the right break down the paper walls I use to keep my life orderly and focused.  I go to events in my professional capacity, in my author capacity, or in a private capacity. Pseudonyms, and the relative anonymity they create, are part of how I create that clarity for myself and the people I am interacting with.

But do I have the right to retain these distinctions if someone out there thinks I am a moral hazard?  Because I am sure plenty of people would.  Maybe even one of my neighbors who might want to make me feel unwelcome.  Maybe some one I work with, or for.  Maybe some bigot with a can of kerosine and a lighter.

When it gets down to it, where do my rights and and theirs begin?

My morning riddle (off topic)

Is this a word?  What is my apartment manager planning to do?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

MARKET Horny Devil

Horny Devil is an erotica e-publisher. They specialize in short stories.  They have grey on red text on their website so I didn't delve into the details.

Friday, October 12, 2012

MARKET White Orchid

White Orchid Press is a new erotic romance publisher.  The owner is named as Kandyce Johnson

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Amazon Author Rank

From my inbox, and probably yours.

"Dear [author]
Today we have added a new feature, Amazon Author Rank, the definitive list of best-selling authors on This list makes it easy for readers to discover the best-selling authors on overall and within a selection of major genres. Your Amazon Author Rank is [whatever] in[genre] .

Amazon Author Rank is your rank based on the sales of all of your books on Just like Amazon Best Sellers, it is updated hourly.  The top 100 authors overall and the top 100 in selected genres will be displayed on  And you can see your Amazon Author Rank trended over time in Author Central.

You can find your Amazon Author Rank in Author Central under the Rank tab. Historical rank data is available from September 28, 2012.

We’re always interested in feedback, so please let us know what you think.

The Author Central Team

P.S.  You may have friends who are authors; feel free to pass this email along to them.  Amazon Author Rank is a feature available to all authors registered in Author Central."

[Heavy sigh.]

Why does everything have to be a frelling competition?

Monday, October 08, 2012

Puzzle me this...

An author giving their own book a five star rating is tacky, but not inexplicable.

But why would an author give their own book 2-stars?

(Gwyn Lacy is openly a pseudonym of Gwen Hankins).

Saturday, October 06, 2012

New Taboos

It seems that the publisher of Kenny Rogers' memoir was fine with chapters on seedy sex scandals, but made him cut the chapter on cosmetic surgery.  I think that has to be considered an interesting shift in priorities.  But perhaps they were thinking of the sensitivities of a readership that will skew older (hence the release of a large print paperback, but not a standard font one?)

Friday, October 05, 2012

MARKET Midnight Fire

Midnight Fire Erotic Publishing

I am not quite sure how you publish "erotically", but I am sure it can be done. And it is nice to know "No animals were harmed in the making of this site", although I was unaware that website design normally involved some form of animal torture (the nature of which I struggle to imagine).

They state:
"Midnight Fire Erotic Publishing is an indie book publishing company.
We understand authors may not want their names associated with this genre and encourage authors to submit a pen name and alias.
We are open for submissions in all levels of Erotica."

Thursday, October 04, 2012

50 shades toys

I don't judge people based on what they read.

But I would judge the hell out of anyone who:

A) thinks this is a spanking paddle, and

B) thinks it is worth 24.99 UK pounds ( $US 40 ).

Seriously, people.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

The thing about having a biology major...

Is that when you see this:

You think this:

The whole story

A lot of journalists have clearly been fed a story with an angle built in.  How dare publishers charge more for ebooks than hardback copies of the same title? What none of the mainstream media lip-syncers seem to have done is wonder why or how that happens.

For example because they are looking at Amazon, where ebooks are priced on the agency model and so cannot be discounted, while hardbacks are sold on the wholesale model and so can be discounted. The recommended retail prices between formats are at most, the same. Differentials are introduced through retailer discounts.

And how the agency model was a response to accusations of price fixing. And how the alleged price fixing was a response to a potential monoply caused by Amazon locking in it's e-reader to its retailing website and basically making a grab for the entire ebook market.

All of which makes me wonder if the author if this so-called news story starts with an A and ends with an m. (Revenge is a dish best served via syndicated articles?)

Monday, October 01, 2012

Why I hate IntenseDebate

Getting rid of IntenseDebate has apparently FUBARed all the comments made while it was installed.

I am trying to be Zen about it.

The Ghost and Kesha

Kesha recently revealed that she once had sex with a ghost.  It seems there are more people than you might expect that report experiences with apparent ghosts, succubi and the like. Or maybe the Seacrest interview was just a publicity stunt.

On a related note, is a sexy ghost romance paranormal(1) or supernatural(2)? Or both? It must be about time for a new sexy hero type.

I for one am a big fan of The Ghost and Mrs Muir--and would lay down my dollars for something similar with more "action".

(1) "...beyond the scope of normal scientific understanding."

(2) "...some force beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature."