Month: July 2013

Self-Publish Tech Issue; Something for St. Jude; Weiner’s Snarky Director

Self-Publish Tech Issue; Something for St. Jude

The following tech issue that recently happened to me might not apply to new authors who are self-publishing, however, I think it’s important to mention for published authors who might be self-publishing back listed books. And, for those self-publishing more than one book at a time. There are some things you just can’t portend no matter how hard you try. And what happened to me late last night with Something for St. Jude is a good example of this. You may have heard me screaming at Amazon.

I’ve posted about how we’ve been re-releasing all my back listed stories and books from now defunct small e-press, Loveyoudivine.com. So it’s not really self-publishing in the sense that these books have already been through the publishing process from developmental editing, to covers, to copy editing. And in most cases, these stories have even been through more than that because many were trad published in anthologies that were released years ago by respected LGBT publishers like Cleis Press. They’ve gone through more than a few edits by excellent professional editors. I even left the original book covers, which I wanted to change, so readers would not get confused. So I thought I had nothing about which to worry.

Think again. Even though I’ve always been completely open and honest about all my product information…to the point of being a pain in the ass with blog posts like this, late last night I went to Amazon to check out Something for St. Jude and I noticed a review (a good review) that read, “False Advertising.” And since I don’t even advertise my books anywhere…or much of anything I write…I read the review a few times, bought the book myself, and figured out the issue.

Evidently, there was a tech issue during the upload where several short stories were added to the short e-book, Something for St. Jude. In other words, instead of getting the one short story for .99 as it had been described in the book blurb, the reader wound up getting Something for St. Jude, plus a few additional short stories for free. Of course when I get something for free by mistake, I say thank you and smile. But two readers were so upset they’d received all these short stories for free when they purchased the .99 e-book they left reviews about it. And I can’t thank them enough for leaving these reviews. This is truly the kind of feedback the world needs to see. If it hadn’t been for these reviewers mentioning this tech issue, I would never have known all these short e-books were being given away for free with a .99 short story.

Don’t get me wrong. I honestly don’t mind that people read the extra books for free and I hope that a few people enjoyed them. I’ve never been one to complain about these things, and my publishers often get frustrated with me because of this. But that’s because I do believe that when issues like this happen and someone benefits from it, good for them. To me it’s like going into the store, finding a mismarked item, and making the store honor the mistake. In fact, with all the e-book pirates out there pilfering my books, I’m kind of glad this mistake happened so readers who do pay and do things the honest way got a little surprise when they purchased SfSJ for .99 and found more than they’d expected. Good for them!

But, in the same respect, I felt awful about those poor readers who had received free e-books and didn’t want them. You can read the reviews here. I’ve left comments apologizing and thanking them for pointing this problem out to me. I still can’t thank them enough. And the problem has been fixed now, thanks to these dedicated Amazon reviewers, and Something for St. Jude is now one short story instead of five short stories for .99. As I said, had it not been for them I never would have known. And shame on me for not triple checking that. But as I said, there are some things you can’t predict no matter how hard you try. And when it comes to re-releasing back listed book issues, this might be one of them other authors should pay attention to. I’m still not completely certain how this happened. I checked all of the other books that were released around the same time and they seem to be fine.

I’d also like to add that if things like this ever come up and you need to contact me, my e-mail is public and I welcome all comments in private. I will respect your privacy and discretion is extremely important to me. rfieldj@aol.com

Weiner’s Snarky Director

It’s been established that Anthony Weiner is naughty. It’s been established he has a strong story. It’s been well established that other politicians can lie about anything and get away with it, from their book bio to their college records, but don’t do anything sexual in your personal life or your done.

And now it seems Weiner’s communications directer went batshit crazy about an article in NY Daily News where one of Weiner’s nasty little interns allegedly wrote a tell-all. According to this article, the intern claims Weiner had problems getting people to work on his staff. The only reason people were on Weiner’s staff were there to get closer to his wife and Hillary Clinton (Weiner’s wife works for Hillary). Basically, it sounds like the intern bashed all of them in a breach of confidence, including the communications director. And the communications directer, Barbara Morgan, went after the mouthy little intern without holding anything back. And it was very entertaining.

“It’s all bullshit,” Morgan tells TPM. “I mean, it’s such bullsh*t. She could f**king — f**king tw*t.” Oh.

Morgan goes on to say that Nuzzi is a “slutbag” and says “she sucked.” Also: “You know what? F**k you, you little c*nt. I’m not joking, I am going to sue her.”

In a statement this morning that was sent to reporters and available on The Washington Post, Morgan says, “In a moment of frustration, I used inappropriate language in what I thought was an off-the-record conversation. It was wrong and I am very sorry, which is what I said tonight when I called and emailed Olivia to apologize.”

My fifty cents: Sometimes you just have to get it all off your chest and let them have it.

"Tampa" Preys on School Boys for Sex; Lesbian on Two and a Half Men; Women Who Love Gay Romance

“Tampa” Preys on School Boys for Sex

There is a new book out this summer, Tampa, that is creating a category six shitstorm everywhere because it deals with a female school teacher who preys on teenage boys for sex. I haven’t read it, so this is not a comment or a review. According to the author, Alissa Nutting, this is her way of making a statement, using shock value in fiction to make that statement, and addressing a serious issue with satire (yes, satire and child abuse). So far, it’s been banned in bookstores in Australia and the author won’t even let her own Catholic parents read it.

She said, “I wanted to satirise the way these cases are received in society. Always looking to excuse the woman rather than looks at it as a criminal case, the way we do with men.”

She continues to talk about how she was inspired by a Florida case that involved a female teacher seducing a teenage boy, and how she wants to change the way society looks at these things. Isn’t she just the ultimate concerned citizen.

She said through the sexual content in her book and the extreme character of Celeste…who won’t even have children because she’s scared she’d want to have sex with her son when he’s a teen…she wants to change people’s way of thinking when the seducer of a pupil is a woman and not a man.

All I can add to this right now is that I don’t know what planet she’s been living on, because in the society where I live I haven’t seen much of a difference between the way men and women are treated in these cases. It’s a crime; you’re a fucking creep; man or woman. If anything, I think the female teacher who goes after the teenage boy tends to get more heat from society than the male teacher. In fact, when older women go after younger men…and the men don’t even have to be minors…there’s always a double standard and the woman is treated worse. So from what I’ve read so far the defense about what motivated Nutting to write a book like this isn’t very strong. It’s sounds contrived and she’s reaching too far.

As a sidenote, this is another HarperCollins gem, which makes me wonder just how bad things are in trad publishing right now. I did read a few of the reviews, which are interesting. But I’m not linking to this one. And that’s because I can’t help feeling this is nothing more than a grandstand by an author and a publisher who isn’t as concerned about kids as she (they) is about making money. I write erotic romance and I have to watch every single step I take to the point where I can’t even use the word “boy” to refer to a grown man in a book. And when I see something like this I want to spit nails.

Here’s what one reviewer wrote:

Brave and beautifully written; a provocative look at a taboo subject. — Irvine Welsh Tampa is a wild ride – sexy, fast, funny, and frightening, the counterpoint to Lolita. Humbert Humbert is tame by comparison. You won’t want anyone to know how much you enjoyed reading this book. — David Vann Tampa is an instant classic. A dirty, funny, shocking, provocative, Nabokovian scandal-in-waiting that will be read and mis-read and fiercely debated. — Matt Haig Tampa charms and seduces you into the mind of its remorseless female protagonist then twists the knife by skating uncomfortably close to your own inner darkness. Lock up your sons. — Viv Albertine

Brave? I will be buying this and reviewing it.

Alissa Nutting’s literary agent is Jim Rutman of Sterling Lord Literistic. If you’ve written a book with underage characters and sex, this is the man to query.

Lesbian on Two and a Half Men

I recently read they will be introducing a new character on the TV series, Two and a Half Men. And she’s going to be a lesbian. I can still remember what a huge deal it was when “Ellen” wanted to come out on national TV.

“Two and a Half Men” is introducing a new female voice to shakeup Season 11. That voice will come in the form of Charlie Harper’s (Charlie Sheen) illegitimate daughter, Jenny, a 21-year-old lesbian from New York.

“I think it would be great have that voice on the show from a different perspective,” “Two and a Half Men” creator Chuck Lorre told reporters at TCA. “The show has had enough testosterone to last a lifetime.”

I’ve watched the show on and off over the years, and it’s actually one of the few I’ve liked. It should be interesting to see how a lesbian character is handled…portrayed. Because most TV sitcoms still don’t seem to get it right with gay male characters in the sense that they never show the diversity within the gay male community. Just like straight men, we’re all different. Same goes for lesbians.

Women Who Love Gay Romance

The title of this anthology poses an issue with my blog posts because it’s so long…The Women Who Love to Love Gay Romance. I think in terms of search engines when I’m blogging and I try to keep the titles short and simple. However, this title needs to stay because that really is a summation of all the stories in this book.

I still don’t have an exact release date yet, however, it will be next week. I’m still having cover issues and it’s hard to set an exact release date at this point. But it will be sometime next week, and I’ll be posting about it periodically from now until then.

Here’s the introduction as it will be pubbed in the book:

When I first imagined the notion of an anthology of short stories about The Women Who Love to Love Gay Romance, I wondered about how many responses I would receive in the calls for submission. The next aspect that made me stop and wonder was whether or not I would receive the kind of stories I wanted to include in a book like this. In other words, I wasn’t looking for M/M Romance written by women in the classic sense. And I didn’t want drawn out academic diatribes about gay men in M/M Romance. I was hoping to receive stories about women who not only love gay romance, but were willing to include strong female characters in gay romance as active participants in the actual romantic storylines. But more than that, these stories also had to be plausible…or at least reasonable…as well. In the same respect, I didn’t want to place any restrictions on the authors, and I wanted them to run with their fictional fantasies, so to speak.
 

An unusual thing happened. The moment I opened the first story submitted for the book and I started reading I couldn’t put it down. It left me in tears and yet it had a happy ending. In fact, I hesitated to open the next story because I was worried it wouldn’t be as good as the first. But the same thing happened the second time: I couldn’t stop reading. And that’s literally what happened with each story that followed. What is even more interesting is that none of the stories are similar, and yet they come together in this book and complement each other in a way I could not have predicted. Some of the authors have been published before, and some are brand new voices. And when I was finished reading all the stories, I found that’s it’s not only possible to include female characters in gay romance, but there’s a deeper emotional meaning that taught me a few things I didn’t know about why so many women love to love gay romance.

 

 

Iowa Decides Complaint Against NOM: Gay Marriage; Fred Karger


 

Iowa Decides Complaint Against NOM: Gay Marriage

I’m on the Rights Equal Rights mailing list, and this came earlier today. This is being spearheaded by Fred Karger (above right), former Presidential candidate, first openly gay man to run for President of the US in US history, and gay rights activist Republican. I’ve posted about him many times. You can do a search above. Although gay marriage is legal in Iowa, NOM worked hard to block this. And, more important, there are still millions of gay couples in the US (me) who are not legally allowed to marry, and NOM would like to block that, too, if possible.

From my inbox:

DES MOINES, IOWA — Our request for an investigation by the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board is moving forward. On Thursday, August 8th at 12:00 noon, the full Board will be voting on whether it will act on my complaint that the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) has once again broken the law by refusing to report its donor’s names in two Iowa statewide elections. The Des Moines Register had a big story on Friday by Jennifer Jacobs (full story below, or CLICK HERE).

NOM funded and ran both Iowa Supreme Court Judicial Confirmation Elections in 2010 and 2012. In 2010 NOM spent $635,000 and in 2012 NOM spent upwards of $100,000. NOM never reported its donor’s names as required by state election law. We are working with the prestigious Davis Brown Law Firm in Des Moines, and are optimistic that the August 8th hearing will open the door to a third state ethics investigation of NOM. I will be going to Des Moines to testify before the Commission.

The complaints that I filed in Maine and California against NOM have led to long and fruitful ongoing investigations by both state ethics’ offices. 

For more, here’s a full article on what Karger has been doing. Karger has been fighting to expose NOM by asking for investigations. He goes about this by filing complaints against NOM based on alleged state violations with respect to full disclosure of who contributed money toward the fight against gay marriage. I know all this gets complicated, but it really is important from a legal (and ethical) standpoint, and Karger has been relentless in going after NOM in what seems to be one of their weakest links, so to speak.

The National Organization for Marriage opposes same-sex marriage and worked to persuade Iowans not to retain justices who authored a 2009 ruling that made gay marriage legal here. Karger, who is openly gay, supports same-sex marriage. He intends to be in Iowa for the ethics board meeting.

The board will decide whether Karger’s complaint is “legally sufficient,” said Megan Tooker, the board’s executive director. If the answer is yes, it will order an investigation. If the answer is no, the board will dismiss the complaint.

How this turns out is anyone’s guess, however, it’s nice to see someone…anyone…going after NOM this way just to let them know we’re not going to take it. This isn’t something you will hear in the LGBT community, or on Fox News. It’s a new brand of politics I think might just catch on with younger people who have been so highly disappointed in the past decade with all politicians.

Ann Rule Sues Biased Book Reviewer; African to Behead Gays

Ann Rule Sues Biased Book Reviewer

Authors are not particularly litigious about anything. I’ve seen three cases of blatant theft where unknown authors have stolen romance books just this summer alone and put them up on Amazon for sale, and so far I have not heard one single case where the authors who were allegedly plagiarized have brought suit against one single thief. Authors don’t usually think that way.

And the last thing we ever see is an author file suit against a book reviewer, especially a well known author like Ann Rule. But Rule seems to feel strongly about this, and for highly valid reasons.

In this article, it states the review was written by a freelance writer named Rick Swart for Seattle Weekly.

Titled “Ann Rule’s Sloppy Storytelling,” the Weekly’s cover story also contained “other inflammatory comments, including ‘evil,’ ‘sociopath,’ ‘bunch of lies’ and ‘straight out slander,’ ” Rule’s July 18 complaint alleges.

But, the interesting part is that the book Swart reviewed so poorly, “Heart Full of Lies,” was closely connected to him personally and he failed to disclose this to his readers and his publisher. Swart, the book reviewer, was engaged to a woman named Lyisa Northon who was on trial for killing her husband in 2000. This woman who killed her husband, Northon, claims she was abused by him. Ann Rule’s book, “Heart of Lies,” was based on this murder case, and the book claimed Northon was a sociopath interested in getting insurance money from the husband she murdered.

Northon later sued Rule for defamation, but a federal judge tossed out the case in 2007 and ordered Northon to pay more than $60,000 for Rule’s legal fees after an unsuccessful appeal.

Clearly, Northon is far more litigious than Rule, which always tends to be the case.

The publication, Seattle Weekly, was owned by different people at the time, and also at the time, the editor of the publication wrote a public letter two weeks after the book review was published stating that the Seattle Weekly did NOT know the book reviewer, Swart, and Northon, were engaged to be married. So the paper did try to disclose everything…although after the fact. And I think this next quote is extremely important to understand…for authors and all those who call themselves book reviewers.

Bremner said Tuesday the newspaper’s actions haven’t gone far enough.

“It’s appreciated, but it doesn’t suffice,” she said. “That headline’s still out there — it’s all over the Web. You can still find this article on (the Weekly’s) site. It just doesn’t go so far as to say it was false.”

Twenty years ago the magnitude of something like this wouldn’t have sparked a lawsuit by any author. It would have been buried in the archives of Seattle Weekly and only a handful of people would have seen it. But nowadays, when dubious book reviewers write defamatory reviews they are out on the Internet for all the world to see thanks to search engines and they never disappear. Never. They will always be there. Even if the book reviewer is eaten in a shark attack, they will always be there.

First, I think this brings up the topic of full book reviewer disclosure, which I mentioned in a post about BEA 2013. From my comments:

It’s a good piece about objectivity and disclosure…in part. I take the above paragraph to mean that if the reviewer is reviewing an erotic romance novel and he or she doesn’t like erotic romance as a rule, he or she should disclose this up front…or at least somewhere within the review. I’ve read more than a few bad book reviews for erotic romances and I’ve always appreciated when the reviewer makes this disclosure up front. This way I know where the reviewer is coming from, so to speak.

The good thing about all this is that I think we’re reaching a point where Wilbur and Orville Wright are going to be turning things over to the aviation professionals, so to speak. In other words, all book reviewers (including me) are going to be more professional than ever as more authors become more litigious and online readership begins to lose the Wild West appeal.  
Writing serious book reviews is no longer a hobby. And it’s becoming more important than ever to disclose certain information that might make a book reviewer bias. And I think book reviewers everywhere (including me) are going to be held more accountable, as cases like this lawsuit with Ann Rule continue to happen. In other words, if I decide to review Courtney Milan’s newest release, I’m going to tell you up front that I think romance novels that have book covers with women in long flowing gowns are typically the worst forms of literature ever written. I might love Milan’s novel and review it well. You never know. But I’m still going to disclose that I’m biased anyway…whether I like the book or not. That’s called being an honest, responsible book reviewer.

I’ve set up google alerts for this case, and I’m going to follow it and see how it unfolds. Many times cases like this really do depend on the judge. And if this comes before a judge who is in any way familiar with some of the sleazy practices that have been happening in book reviewing all over the universe in the past ten years, I have a feeling Rule might have a case. In any event, I’m glad she’s decided to sue. I’m not particularly litigious myself. I once gave a tenant back his entire security deposit in spite of the way he left an apartment, just to keep from going to court. However, sometimes you just can’t take the easy way out and forget about it. And if Rule were to win a case like this, it would set higher standards for book reviewers everywhere (including me).

African to Behead Gays

In a chilling duo of articles I read over the weekend, it seems the African President, Robert Mugabe, thinks that gays are worse than pigs and he wants them beheaded. The idiot also thinks homosexuality is something that is a “practice,” and it’s not an equal right. But it gets even better: he’s waiting for two men to procreate.

“If you take men and lock them in a house for five years and tell them to come up with two children and they fail to do that, then we will chop off their heads,” Mugabe said emphasising that he would ruthlessly deal with homosexuality.

On top of all this, he thinks that he’s going to uplift the status of women, get this, by encouraging them to have more babies.

In this article, he claims that countries like the US are threatening to stop AID if he doesn’t accept “the practice of homosexuality.” First, someone should inform him we don’t “practice” homosexuality. We are born that way.

“This thing (homosexuality) seeks to destroy our lineage by saying John and John should wed, Maria and Maria should wed. Imagine this son born out of an African father, (US President Barrack) Obama says if you want aid, you should accept the homosexuality practice. Aah, we will never do that.”

According to the article to which I’ve linked above, Mugabe gave this speech about gays being worse than pigs before thousands of supporters who cheered him on. I don’t know what the overall feeling is about gays in Zimbabwe, but I do know that he’s been referred to as a dictator, not a president.

I think someone should tell President Mugabe the story of Marie Antoinette.

On the same day, her hair was cut off and she was driven through Paris in an open cart, wearing a plain white dress. At 12:15 p.m., two and a half weeks before her thirty-eighth birthday, she was beheaded at the Place de la Révolution (present-day Place de la Concorde).[131][132] Her last words were “Pardon me sir, I meant not to do it”, to Henri Sanson the executioner, whose foot she had accidentally stepped on after climbing the scaffold. Her body was thrown into an unmarked grave in the Madeleine cemetery, rue d’Anjou, (which was closed the following year).

 
 

Johnny Weir Willing to Ignore Russia’s Stance on Gays

Johnny Weir Willing to Ignore Russia’s Stance on Gays

Russian President, Vladimir Putin, signed anti gay legislation and most of the global LGBT community is livid about it, including me. Playwright, Harvey Fierstein, wrote a piece in the NYT and mentioned a boycott on the 2014 Olympics in Russia. This is why:

“Just six months before Russia hosts the 2014 Winter Games, Mr. Putin signed a law allowing police officers to arrest tourists and foreign nationals they suspect of being homosexual, lesbian or ‘pro-gay’ and detain them for up to 14 days,” he wrote. “Contrary to what the International Olympic Committee says, the law could mean that any Olympic athlete, trainer, reporter, family member or fan who is gay — or suspected of being gay, or just accused of being gay — can go to jail.”

If in fact they are going to enforce these arrests in Russia, why any gay person in his or her right mind would even go there passes me by.

As a side note, up until 2009, the US would not allow anyone with HIV to enter the country. President Obama put an end to that ridiculous law in 2009 and I think it was one of his first official acts. Russia still places travel restrictions on people with HIV.

In a recent piece, Olympic athlete, and openly gay man, Johnny Weir, wrote about how hard athletes work to reach the point where they can participate in the Olympics and how much it means to them. He’s not in favor of a boycott, but I’m not sure exactly what his point is. He’d calling for gay athletes to participate, he’s saying what Russia is doing is wrong, and yet he’s not giving a valid argument as to why we should support him…other than that he deserves it and he’s entitled to our support. While I respect all the hard work he and every other athlete has done to reach that point, it’s hard to put anything else before the issues that are going on right now in Russia with LGBT people. Seriously. We’re not talking about money and winning awards. We’re not talking about ice skating and competition. We’re talking about the quality of life with maybe millions of human beings. And humans beings will always trump anything else for me.

Weir says this:

To have a boycott would not only negate the career of some athletes who have only one chance at competing at the Games, but also the over-time shifts an exhausted father takes to make ends meet, or the social acclimatization of a brother who can’t go on spring break because his brother needed another costume, or the mother who works part-time at a job far beneath her, just so she can afford to watch her first born perform for the world. The Olympics are not a political statement, they are a place to let the world shine in peace and let them marvel at their youthful talents.

Once again, this is bigger than someone’s dad’s sacrifice, or someone’s brother missing ridiculous spring break, dude. And how Weir can actually say these things without considering the bigger picture surprises me. He clearly comes from a place of both entitlement and privilege

There isn’t a police officer or a government that, should I qualify, could keep me from competing at the Olympics. I respect the LGBT community full heartedly, but I implore the world not to boycott the Olympic Games because of Russia’s stance on LGBT rights or lack thereof. I beg the gay athletes not to forget their missions and fight for a chance to dazzle the world.

I had to re-read that paragraph a few times just be certain I wasn’t missing something. I hope his ass doesn’t wind up in prison. Way to go, Johnny boy. It’s always best to put yourself first, be self-serving, and forget about the majority of innocent LGBT people suffering through the physical and mental injustices of Russia’s stance on LGBT rights…or lack thereof.

I don’t think I’ve read anything that self-serving before. And I read the entire piece, not just what I posted here.

You can read more here. And the comment thread is even more interesting.

One person said this, and at least I don’t feel as if I’m in the minority this time.

Wow. So having the privilege to dedicate one’s life to sports (and it IS a privilege) trumps torture and imprisonment.

I’m not saying that Olympians aren’t amazing people. But what about the average person? What about the average LGBT kid who can’t compete in the Olympics and is wondering whether or not he or she will survive the day?

Weir and other athletes desperately need some perspective.

Forbes Promotes Gay Shame; Mean Girls Racism Big Brother; American Idol Racism Lawsuit

Forbes Promotes Gay Shame

I often talk about how shame plays such a huge part in the lives of gay people. And even though we’ve come so far in the past few years that same brand of shame still continues with publishers like Forbes. And the kind of shame I’m talking about now isn’t something that always registers as quickly as it should…I would bet most of the people who read what happened this week with Forbes and the President of Ireland didn’t even pick up on it.

According to this article in Huff Po, Forbes published an article about the President of Ireland and they said he was gay in the article. They were wrong. The President of Ireland isn’t gay. But instead of just posting a simple retraction, Forbes posted a fucking *apology* to readers, not the President. They will allegedly contact the President of Ireland in private and apologize to him for calling him gay. Obviously, they feel the need to go out of their way because he’s not gay.

 The article, posted Tuesday by Ireland-based blogger David Monagan, called Higgins an “acknowledged homosexual.”

Higgins, a poet and intellectual who supports gay rights, was elected as Ireland’s ceremonial head of state in 2011. One candidate he defeated, Sen. David Norris, is Ireland’s foremost campaigner for gay rights and famously open about his homosexuality.

It’s important to pay attention to the way this is worded. Forbes called him an “acknowledged homosexual.” That phrase itself is an insult, like “practicing homosexual.” But they didn’t call him a car thief, a murderer, a bank robber, or a rapist. They didn’t call him anything that should have warranted an apology. They said he was gay. All they had to do was retract what they’d done and move forward. No apology needed, because gay isn’t something negative and it isn’t a crime.  

But the fact that they felt the need to issue an apology, as if there is something inherently wrong with being gay in a general sense, shows how Forbes and other media outlets are constantly promoting gay shame and most of the general public doesn’t even know it, including gay people who are still struggling with issues and not out of the closet. I know that’s the kind of article I wouldn’t have even noticed ten years ago. But now that I’m more aware of how the LGBT community is portrayed in the media, it’s like that proverbial slap in the face. And I think it’s time to start slapping back.

Mean Girls on Big Brother

One of the reasons why I’ve been watching the reality TV show Big Brother since it first aired about eleven or twelve years ago is because it’s interesting to watch how real people interact, and react, in a stressful situation where they are kept hidden from the world and they are competing to win a half a million dollars. Since I started watching BB, I’ve seen everything from people stabbing each other in the back to falling in love. It’s part of the game, it can be highly entertaining and amusing, and the gender politics is fascinating.

But I have never, not in all the years I’ve been watching, seen anything like what’s been happening this season. There is a group of mean girls that rivals anything that’s ever been produced in a film or a book. It’s worse than what I’ve seen in publishing with mean girl book review sites. And these women on BB aren’t just mean girls, they are racist and filled with hate. In most cases they don’t even know it. Here’s just a tip of what’s been happening with these mean girls. If you do a simple search for “Big Brother 15 Mean Girls” you will come up with tons of other articles and forums with people who agree with me. In fact, America got a chance to vote someone off this week, and they chose the meanest, racist girl in the house. Unfortunately, she figured a way out and she’s still there.

The plastics are up for eviction. And by plastics I hope you have watched the movie Mean Girls. Aaryn is Regina Goerge, Kaitlin as Gretchen Weiners and GinaMarie as the dumb Karen. Will the Queen Bee get stunned by getting voted out? Perhaps, this week has been fetch.

The most interesting thing this season about the mean girls and the racist remarks is that they’ve made hideous slurs against Asian Americans, and the host of Big Brother, Julie Chen, is Asian American. You have to wonder, first, how dumb can these mean girls be? So far, Chen has addressed the issue on her own TV show, but she’s been playing it cool every Thursday night during the live eviction show she hosts. And frankly, while I admire Chen for being professional and taking the high road, it’s getting a little frustrating. Even last night, Chen had a guest on the show who was a previous contestant, Jeff Schroeder. I’ve posted about Jeff Schroeder’s anti-gay remarks in previous seasons. And yet there he was last night, sitting opposite Julie Chen, laughing and joking around about some of the meanest, racist people I think I’ve ever seen on TV, and not a word was mentioned. His anti-gay remarks were never addressed aloud, and since then CBS has continued to promote him.

We’re living in interesting times now. And racism is a huge topic this summer, especially in the African American community thanks to Paula Deen’s racist remarks and thanks to the Zimmerman verdict. And for CBS to ignore what’s been happening on Big Brother with regard to the racism, and to welcome Jeff Schroeder on the show as a guest, is about as insulting to all minorities as what Forbes recently did to the LGBT community. I wonder if the mean girls will be invited back a few years from now if BB is still on TV.

I know Big Brother is only a game. I get that. I know people are expected to do and say things in order to win that they normally wouldn’t do or say in real life. But how far does it go? And how long will it continue before CBS mentions it openly instead of just skirting around the issue. This past week there was an interesting discussion between Barbara Walters and Whoopi Goldberg on The View. Walter’s was promoting her 20/20 special about the new royal baby, and Goldberg said she wasn’t interested in the royal baby. Walters smiled and continued to promote the 20/20 special. The next day I checked the ratings for the 20/20 special and they weren’t very good, so maybe Goldberg had a point? And if TV networks and producers think they can get away with the same thing they did twenty years ago, they’re in for a surprise. Most of us don’t care about the royal baby enough to watch a one hour special. But we do care about racism. And if nothing is mentioned about the racism on Big Brother at all this season, I have a feeling a lot of people like me won’t be watching Big Brother next summer.

American Idol Racism Lawsuit

Whether you agree with this or not, I thought that since racism is a huge topic of discussion right now I should post about it.

“American Idol” is being sued by 10 black former contestants, claiming they were kicked off the show in their respective seasons because of their race, TMZ was the first to report.

I used to watch American Idol faithfully, but then I noticed subtle forms of racism, especially with gay contestants and gay remarks. Simon Cowell used to find it amusing to refer to Ryan Seacrest with snide comments filled with gay innuendo, as if there was something comical…or shameful…about being gay. Cowell thought that was okay to do, and no one ever questioned him. Cowell is a straight man and like most straight men he has the power and the upper hand at all times. Seacrest who is also a straight man laughed it off and ignored the comments. That kind of gay pejorative was the reason we stopped watching. It just wasn’t funny to us, and that spoiled the entire show.

But this issue with American Idol is more complicated than other racial issues I’ve seen. There have been African American contestants who have won American Idol. And there was even a gay contestant who won. So it should be interesting to see how it plays out in court. Frankly, I hope they all at least win a settlement this time, just for the anti-gay comments Cowell used to make to Seacrest. Am I being too politically correct? Probably. But it has to start somewhere.

Ryan Field New Backlist Releases

Ryan Field New Backlist Releases

I hate writing blog post titles like the one above, but if you know blogging it’s important to title and tag a post a certain way for search engines. I would rather have just titled this post “New Releases” and left it at that.

And here they are, as I’m getting the notifications from Amazon daily:

A Young Widow’s Promise link

This is a pg rated erotic romance with a straight female main character and a gay sub-plot. It’s a novella and I think it’s about 30,000 words. It’s also a civil war historical and the setting of the novel is something I researched in detail. It all takes place on the New Jersey/Delaware border, where at one time there was a prison that held confederate prisoners of war. Felecia, the main character, falls in love with a confederate solider after losing her husband and sons in the war. She’s also taken it upon herself to dig graves on the front lawn of her home for as many dead confederate prisoners of war as possible. I’m adding the blurb to this one because it’s very different from anything I’ve done before.

Blurb

Felecia Roundtree is thirty-seven years old, she’s already lost her husband in battle, and prays each morning her two young sons live to see another day. With her own two hands, she’s turned the front of her property at remote Locust Point, NJ, into a burial ground for unknown Confederate prisoners of war, hoping someone will return a kind gesture to her own loved ones. Then one morning in August, just after she has a vision of her dead husband, three Confederate prisoners of war turn up at her doorstep begging for mercy. One is near death; the other two aren’t much better. Though she’s reluctant at first to help the enemy, she offers them food and shelter, and then eventually begins the romance of her lifetime with a young old Confederate named Calvin. When she learns a deep dark secret about the other two Confederates, she’s not sure what to think. Felecia has no idea she’s even falling in love. Nor does she realize she’s preserving an important part of American History. But she’s true to her promise every step of the way.

Billabong Bang link A short erotic romance with a multi-race character.

Another Regular Bud link A short erotic romance sequel to A Regular Bud.

Babycakes link A short erotic romance set in Australia in the Daintree Forest that was once published by Alyson Books.

Bury It, Officer link A short erotic romance with a hint of light BDSM and shoe fetish. Also in a previously pubbed anthology edited by Cleis Press and Rachel Kramer Bussel.

Strawberries and Cream at the Plaza link This is a pg rated gay romance without a lot of sex. It was originally pubbed in a different version about ten years ago in an Alyson Books anthology. It is in no way associated with a m/m romance titled Strawberries and Cream. As you can see, this story was released a while ago, long before Strawberries and Cream was even a thought.

That Cowboy in the Window link  A short erotic romance with a gender bending twist, about a transgender who can actually pass as a woman without a single issue. The ending is happy, but not in the way most might expect.

That’s it for now. All of the above titles are on Amazon for .99, and will be for at least the next three months.