Monday, October 26, 2015

Aleksandr Voinov vs. Riptide

Aleksandr Voinov (one of the founders) and Riptide Publishing are having a rather public parting-of-the-ways.  Public that is since Voinov's post on Sunday "Why I cannot publish Nightingale"  which elicited Riptide's response "A Statement Regarding Aleksandr Voinov".

10/29: Now this from Abi Roux, and this from Alexis Hall.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Should Sexting only Occur With Consent?

christopher frier brown / Foter / CC BY
In Romancelandia the depiction of safer sex remains largely controversial.  Whether contemporary "hero/heroine" characters should typically been shown having it, whether description of the condom is necessary or can be considered assumed, etc.

And given that many authors are considerably older than the characters they write and often in stable relationship rather than still seeking Mr/Ms/Mx Right, it pays to be up to date with contemporary dating behavior if you plan to depict this in your stories.

One of these newer practices being explicit texting, which popular culture and the media generally assumes is just a rather risky behavior of teens that allows their nudie pictures to get spread all around school.  But as I have previously discussed it is predominantly a behavior within relationships, with generally positive outcomes.

Obviously sexting with a person you have just met or are still getting to know is a more risky behavior, and a recent paper revealed another aspect of this risk.  That is that attitudes towards sexting are highly variable and misunderstandings can lead to the initiator of the sexting inadvertantly making the other person feel harrassed or simply creeped out.

In a free online article A A Hasinoff discusses how sexting is portrayed in sex advice columns and how issues of security, privacy, and consent are rarely covered.  But that it is important to know that the person you are sexting wishes to engage in this behavior and is not negatively effected by it. 

Are your contemporary romance characters sexting?  And is sexting consent the new "condom"?

Thursday, October 22, 2015

MARKET Churn Publishing

Churn Publishing (questionable name choice there) is a publisher paying 50% of net proceeds.  Their actual business model is considerably less-than-clear to me.  Right down to their tag line that says "Romance -- Women's Fiction -- Erotica" but a submission page that says they take only sub-genres of romance.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Turquoise Morning Press / Sapphire Nights Books Closing

bennylin0724 / Foter / CC BY
The sites and social networks for Turquoise Morning Press and Sapphire Nights Books are down amid reports that they will officially close on November 1, 2015.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Can an artwork be guilty of a crime?

Graham Ovenden is now a twice-convicted child abuser with a fixation on very young girls.  Nothing about that can be defended. Or anything other than condemned utterly.

Graham Ovenden's paintings have also been sentenced to destruction by court order. 

The ones in his studio, that is.  The many in public and private collections will continue to exist despite being presumably equally tainted.

If this act was to protect victims from their images being promulgated against their will, I would probably understand that.  But a direct obscenity charge seems untenable against the works themselves, if the new images are anything like his previous works.

It is not a comfortable thing when a recognized artist is also a sexual criminal.  But his body of works now exist in their own right and have their own complex place in art history. Those already in galleries around the world (now mainly withdrawn from display) and those the pubic has not (and may never) see.

Friday, October 09, 2015

MARKET Elevation Books

Elevation Book Publishing is be seeking drama, contemporary romance, and self help. Given that they list "services" I am not 100% sure whether they are fee-charging or not.

"Elevation Book Publishing supports getting your work to readers by stacking the deck for excellence at the hands of professionals. Elevation Book Publishing uses innovative techniques to produce dynamic, entertaining and comprehensive books."

: / 

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

The Meaning of "Erotica"

Within specific communities it is often assumed that words like pornography, erotica, romance, and erotic romance all have fixed and universal definitions.  When in fact these defintions are varied, changeable, disputed, and any shared meaning the do have is highly specific to particular communities and subcultures.

Consider for example this article about the use of sexual materials by sex offenders.  Here erotica rather than being a more refined and 'worthy' subset of pornography distinguished by artistic merit, is in fact a much more broader category including things not deliberately created to be erotic at all. Specifically "Erotica can include almost any object that has become sexually meaningful to a person, including but not limited to vibrators, dolls, specific clothing (e.g., undergarments), naked orclothed pictures of a child or adult, whips, magazines..."

My point here is not to start an argument about which definitions are correct, but rather to draw attention to the fact that definitions do not generally express a pure truth about our shared reality--more often they are created  by a person or group of people with a specific goal in mind.  Erotica and erotic romance is often defined by authors who create or consume this work so as to distinguish it from other sexually explicit work.  An approach that simultaneously elevates and demeans sexually explicit work in general by suggesting only certain 'special' forms are artistic, moral or otherwise acceptable, while others (and perhaps sex itself) remains generally shameful.

Of course when you look at the full range of sexualized material out there it is hard not to feel that some of it is in fact shameful.  But I would strongly suggest that the shameful quality is not sex itself.  Even the US supreme court recognizes that an interest in sex per se is healthy and not obscene.  So any material we wish to argue is objectionable it must be on some other basis (the possibilities being too complex and fraught to get into here). 

In other circles the goal of the definition of 'erotica' is quite different such as in the paper cited above which looks at any materials that may influence a person with a predisposition to sexual violence to develop and perhaps act on those fantasies.  A categorization that explicitly does not depend on the intent of the creator of the material or its effects on a psychologically normal person.  And as such leads to a very broad definition indeed.

Both of these definitions of erotica serve the purposes for which they are created.  One to help people identify when sex offenders are in possession of material that may feed into dangerous fantasies, and the other to help writers described a "good" type of sexually explicit prose.  But both of these definitions are built on complex assumptions about how these materials interact with the psyche of the people consuming them--assumptions that should not go unexamined.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Copyright

Leaks surround this new trade deal have shown that there will be some significant effects on copyright with impacts on creative professionals and consumers.  Effectively this deal with make the eleven other nations* in the new zone align with US copyright laws. 

Previously these nations differed in some significant ways. For example in New Zealand and India copyright extended 50 years past the life the artist rather than the US/DMCA's 70 years. (Japan did not pass this aspect of the agreement.)

Some countries held out on other points, for example to get a webhost must take down potentially copyright-infringing material upon receipt of a simple notice from the rights holder in the US, but this will still require a judicial order in Chile.

Other nations already well-aligned with the United States, such as Australia, will not experience any changes in the handling of copyright.

Overall synchronizing approaches to copyright and data handing should add the free trade of works including e-books, to the overall benefit of the industry.  However authors and publishers affected will need to brush up on the new rules when they come into force in their jurisdiction.

* Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore & Vietnam

Sunday, October 04, 2015

MARKET Luminosity Publishing

Luminosity Publishing is an erotic romance publisher looking for fast-paced romance at 10,000 -- 100,000 words.  

Thursday, October 01, 2015

MARKET: Fireborn Publishing

Fireborn Publishing is seeking "everything from romantic, through all heat levels of romance, and erotica."  The take lengths from 5000 words and up. Currently short on M/M ad ménage, The current site seems to be a bit of a placeholder, hence the Web 1.0 coding.

MARKET Adore Publishing

Adore Publishing is seeking "urban fiction, African American romance, street lit, woman's fiction, and interracial romance". Their website does not exactly fill me with confidence. I am going to guess the two owners of this startup are also the two authors they currently list.

Spero Publishing acquired Eternal Press and Damnation Books

In a move that came to a surprise to many of their authors, Eternal Press/Damnation Books and all titles under contract have reported been acquired by Alan Leddon of Spero Publishing.  At least some of the related announcements for and communications with authors are occurring on their Facebook page.

Spero Publishing seems to be a small publisher of children's and role-playing game books.  There is not much to suggest an ability to easily onboard and skillfully market a large catalog of genre fiction.