Friday, September 27, 2013

Um, is it just me?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Shey Stahl Plagiarism Claims

On the Daily Dot Aja Romano suggests that popular romance writer Shey Stahl (see Amazon) may be "harvesting" fan fiction to create her novels.

Other blogs display examples such as between Stahl's "For the Summer" and a Twilight fanfic called Dusty.

Stahl has withdrawn her work from Amazon in the face of the allegations.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Regarding the GoodReads kerfuffle:

Not to be totally unhelpful, pundit-wise, but--
my big box of "don't give a damn", let me show you it.

Tiger Girl / Foter / CC BY

Probably because as an author I had disengaged some time ago.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Five things I wonder about fictional werewolves

This is mai sexy face -- Arrr! / Foter / CC BY-SA
  1. Why do they continue to act like we thought wolves acted in the 1970s, not how we know they act now?  (e.g. the wolves that lead the hunt and first attack the prey are typically young females because they run the fastest.)
  2. Why are only humans werewolves?  Why not, for example, pigs.  Petunia the pig-wolf.  It's totally plausible as these things go.
  3. In fact, why is it werewolves at all.  the greatest cultural interaction would have been with dogs.  Is it just because sexy man-dogs is just too much like bestiality?
  4. Why has the furry fandom approach for wolf-men really never broken through into romance?  Same reason?
  5. Is anyone writing a different take on werewolves rather than rehashing the usual dour-brothers-who-blame-their-alphahole-ways-on-being-part-beast mythos?  If so, who?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Better World Books

A lot of college kids get approached at the end of term to donate their books to Better World Books.  BWB collection boxes are also placed in various locations out in the community and they on-sell these books with the tag line "Your purchase benefits world literacy!"

But there are some things you should know about Better World Books. They do not send actual books to people in need of them. They are a 'for profit' book reseller operating through their own site, Amazon and Ebay.

If you donate a book to this program you should realize that 93% of the net proceeds from the sale of the book do not go to charity.  And that is by their own estimate.  As BWB is not a charity, independent verification is not easily obtainable.

In their defense people often laud them for having good and very cheap books.  Well of course they are cheap!  They got the books for free, sometimes (often?) from people thinking they were making a charitable donation or giving a book to a kid in Africa. And on top of that, college kids collect the books for BWB, thus providing the company with free labor.  This gives them somewhat of an unfair disadvantage over other resellers.

While it is quite true that 7% is better than nothing, many people donating books to this company are allowed (arguably encouraged) to misunderstand the nature and function of this company.So if you are talking about a book that would otherwise end up in the landfill, no biggie I guess.  If it is a resellable text book worth up to several hundred dollars--that is quite a different story.

So if you see a green box like this, consider walking past it to your nearest charity store or literacy charity such as Global Literacy Project or Books for America.  Many of these programs will pick up books from your home or business, and as they are charities your donation is tax deductible.

See also:

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Gay Detective

As soon as I saw this cover for the Cleis press 2003 re-release of the original 1961 pulp I knew I had to have it.  Holding a revolver with an extended pinky FFS.  It's better than the original cover which for some reason chose to focus on a female sort of covered by a blanket.

A Word About Safe Sex and Werewolves

ginnerobot / Foter / CC BY-SA
I often see authors suggest that safer sex practices are unnecessary for disease prevention between a human and shape-shifter characters, because the two are different species.  I have never understood this argument.

Firstly, a good many werewolves are described as acting and reacting in a fully human way when in human form, and even having children with human partners.  I mean, if you want to make your shifters super immune to all disease, that is fine--but that has nothing to do with the species barrier.  If human x shifter matings are barren this makes a stronger argument for a species barrier, but that has very little to do with disease transmission.

You see, a majority (60%) of pathogens effecting humans cross species boundaries.  Rabies, plague and the common cold come to mind. In fact, it is estimated that a full  three-quarters of the most recently emerged and potentially emerging diseases are zoonotic, consider: HIV/AIDS, Arbovirus, West Nile virus, Mad Cow disease and H1N1. And yes, there are sexually transmitted zoonoses (such as the bacteria Q fever and Lepto) although data on this is difficult to collect and it is hard to separate the respective roles of sexual versus non-sexual contact. 

Long story short, if you want your werewolf nookie without safer sex precautions, you need a better reason than the idea that diseases refuse to jump the species fence, because they actually do it all the time and most readers probably know that.

Monday, September 09, 2013


My usual advertisers does not seem to be renewing.  So this is a chance for anyone out there to grab the spot via Project Wonderful (just click the link under the ad spot).  Or you can have a guaranteed spot for $300 per year (or part thereof).

Publishing Contract as Prize

You know that stuff I usually say about contests with a publishing contract as a prize? Imagine I just said it again.

Oh, and in the case of Safkhet Publishing, they don't even pay anything for the use of the winning story.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

MARKET Masque Books

Masque Books is a genre e-publisher (digital imprint of Prime Books) with the catchy tag line "Explore the Future. Indulge in the Fantastic. Revel in the Romantic". Started by Sean Wallace with three named editors with relevant industry experience.

"Masque Books is Prime Books’ new digital imprint. Our emphasis is on both general sf/fantasy, and sf/f romance. We plan on launching with three titles in July 2013 and publishing three titles a month thereafter."

Saturday, September 07, 2013

No Boundaries Press Closes and Defaults on Payments

Erica Pike reports that in 2012 No Boundaries Press began to not send statements with payments, and then to not send payments. She gives the various aliases of the owner of this press as Kharisma Rhayne, Denise Caroline, Mystee Blackwood, and Denise Blackwood.

No Boundaries Press is now closed with no apparent mechanism in place to make good on overdue and unpaid royalties.

Liquid Silver... Something

So, a recent press release said: "Liquid Silver Books owner, Linda Eberharter, announced today that she will take a more active role in management of the publishing company."  Which is a tad confusing as Mike Feury has been referring to himself as the owner for some time.

The PR release feels like some kind of internal power politics issue that I don't really understand and probably don't need to know about.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Rise of the Dark Vanity

And I quote:

"Out of the raging fire of injustice a new company rises up from the ashes, spreading its wings like a phoenix in flight. A new day has dawned and Vigilante Publishing Group LLC is born. We have come to avenge those who cannot defend themselves from the predators who lurk in the dark and shadowy publishing world"

And all that for only $1125 to $2925.