Month: February 2014

Prince Harry’s Army Bud; 50 Shades 100M Sold; African American Pastors Attack Obama

Prince Harry’s Army Bud

James Wharton, author of bestselling Out in the Army, was up for an award with Out in the City Magazine and he backed out, graciously, to offer his support to someone else.

But now he has pulled out and thrown his support to British Army Major Damian Jenkins.

He credits Jenkins, an openly gay doctor in the Royal Army Medical Corps, with making the top ranks of the armed forces more LGBTI-friendly.

Wharton told GSN: ‘I was at the very bottom of the ranks, I was a trooper. He is an officer. ‘He is in circles that are quite right wing in their attitudes and about how the military should be.

We done, Sir!!

You can read more here.

Amazon link to Out in the Army, above. Here’s the blurb:

Seeking escape from the quiet Welsh countryside, James Wharton joined the British Army. Along the way, he faced a battle of his own: finding the courage to tell his fellow soldiers he is gay.

Written with searing honesty, James charts his incredible journey from punch bag to poster boy, along the way describing the tribulations of coming to terms with his sexuality. Late nights in the clubs of Soho to early mornings guarding the Queen; rocket attacks in Iraq to tank rides with Prince Harry on the plains of Canada—this is James’s life out in the army.

50 Shades 100M Sold

This is interesting. Fifty Shades of Grey is now the fastest selling book in Random House history. Sales are huge in the US and globally. I’ll show how I predicted this months before 50 Shades even started to sell, below.

Global sales are just as staggering. Arrow Books has sold more than 27 million copies in the U.K. (and Commonwealth countries), and one million copies or more in Germany, France, Spain, Brazil, and The Netherlands. The trilogy has been translated into 51 different languages, including Russian, Hebrew, Thai, Serbian, Mongolian, Icelandic, Latvian, Korean, Lithuanian, and Slovak.

And to think I posted about it here months before the mainstream even knew about it. And that’s all thanks to a book review that tore it to shreds. The theme of my post was that FS looked interesting to me (at the time) and I didn’t like the way it had been reviewed. I was posting as a blogger, not an author. I have that right to freedom of speech as a blogger. I didn’t think the review was fair. I still don’t. The post I’m talking about is here.

Excerpt from my post:

All this aside, after I read the review I went to Amazon to check out reader reviews for the book in question. Huzzah! The largest percentage of customer reviews on Amazon for this book were five star rave reviews. There were a handful of three star reviews. And one or two one star reviews. (Update 2-2014: The book is Fifty Shades of Grey)

This puzzles me deeply. If all these people on Amazon can read a book and give it rave reviews, how am I supposed to take a “professional” book reviewer seriously? Years ago we didn’t have any choice. Amazon didn’t have customer reviews and we were subjected to the tastes and choices of book reviewers in print periodicals. In other words, the book reviewer’s opinion had more influence on our purchases. This isn’t the case any longer. We now have to vet reviewers as well as books.
I also point out in my older post how sometimes bad reviews do, indeed, help sell books. It’s the main reason why I bought FS, and probably countless others as well.

I also think this is a good example of karma working at its best.

You can read more here.

African American Pastors Attack Obama

I think most of us know that anything too heavily bible related or too deeply rooted in old time religion is not going to be pro gay. And now a group of African American pastors are attacking the President and asking for the Attorney General’s impeachment.

CAAP president the Rev. William Owens attacked Obama and Holder in an interview with The Hill on Tuesday in which he said Obama would not have been able to get away with what he is doing around gay marriage if he were white.

‘If Obama was a white man, he would be impeached,’ Owens told The Hill. ‘Obama has been given a free pass to do what he pleases, but I don’t give him a pass. I’m very black, been black all my life. He doesn’t get a pass. I don’t give him a pass.’

‘He will go down in history as the worst attorney general,’ Owens said of Holder. So far the group has been able to collect a little over 12,000 signatures.

‘The President and his administration are trampling the rule of law,’ the group said in justifying its petition drive.

You can read more here.

"Looking" is Renewed; Paula Deen on Michael Sam; Eric Himan on Arizona Gay Hate Law

Looking is Renewed


HBO gay TV show, Looking, was recently renewed, according to this article. As the show has progressed, the ratings have continued to rise…in spite of some negative reviews I’ll never understand. Sometimes viewers make the strongest statement, and in this case it’s with higher ratings. In my own small way I’ve posted positive things, and I’ve tried to pass it on to all the readers I know who love to read m/m romance. (I’m not sure how, but you can watch online, too.)

Nick Hall, the HBO executive behind the show, told GSN at the same event: ‘Each of our shows that we do are kind of designed to meet certain expectations. Of course you always want your show to be seen by as many people as possible but I do think it’s been really critically revered and it’s a show that people are talking about in a good way.’

You can read more here. It’s been critically welcomed by all the people I know. And I know I’ve said this before. But last week’s episode turned out to be another story with which I could personally relate in more than one way. They talk about engagement and marriage so casually now. It’s refreshing.

Paula Deen on Michael Sam

In what sounds like it’s coming from an alternate universe because it’s hard to parse at a glance, Paula Deen is trying to make a comeback by comparing herself to Michael Sam. Sam is an openly gay football player who recently came out. Deen was involved in a scandal last summer where it was disclosed she used the N word. She doesn’t refer to Michael Sam by name, at least not according to this article.

Deen tells People magazine in a story out today: ‘I feel like “embattled” or “disgraced” will always follow my name. It’s like that black football player who recently came out.’

There’s something convoluted about this. Michael Sam never used racist language or did anything wrong, at least not that I’ve heard. Michael Sam is not embattled or disgraced. If anything Michael Sam has become a hero to many. So how Deen could even compare her situation with his doesn’t even make sense. (Too much butter.)

You can read more here, where they go into more detail about the comparison.

Maybe Deen could make her comeback and change the negatives associated with her name if she became a gay activist.

Eric Himan on Arizona Gay Hate Law

Gay singer, Eric Himan, wrote a song about the discriminatory bill in Arizona that will allow business owners to refuse business to gay customers based on the owner’s religious beliefs.

 He quickly wrote a song called Not Going Anywhere Tonight, made a video and posted it on YouTube.

 ‘I couldn’t take it,’ he writes on the YouTube page. ‘I had to write this song and put it out there. I urge everyone to take it seriously. Bills like this could easily find its way across our country.’

‘In just a few short hours I wrote Not Going Anywhere Tonight, a soulful musical message to the Arizona Legislature.’

You can read more here, with links to where you can listen to the song.

The people affected by this law in Arizona are infinite.

Update: The Governor of Arizona vetoed the bill last night.

Texas Ban Unconstitutional; Heidi Cullinan on Promotion/Marketing

Texas Ban Unconstitutional

In Texas a federal judge ruled the ban against same sex marriage unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia based his decision on “Supreme Court precedent.”

“Today’s court decision is not made in defiance of the great people of Texas or the Texas Legislature, but in compliance with the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court precedent,” Garcia wrote in the order. “Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our U.S. Constitution.”

You can read more here.

It’s definitely a milestone, but also it still feels like the tiniest baby steps.

Heidi Cullinan on Promotion/Marketing

I found a short, interesting blog post the other day by m/m author, Heidi Cullinan that I think affects all authors in all genres nowadays. And indirectly, publishers and readers. Cullinan discusses the way authors have to market and promote these days, and also the frustrations that often go along with it. It’s actually a shared post from another blog, which is stated up front.

I strive to lift awareness of not just my work but works like mine, the whole LGBT romance pool, but even that is not the main purpose of why I’m here. I like to thank bloggers with ad purchases and guest posts and ARCs. I’ve made a forum for fans to chat, and if you link/@ reply me on social media and I’m able to see it, I’ll do my best to reply or at least like your post. I don’t buy reviews. I don’t ask people to buy books on a certain day at a certain hour at a certain place to game the system. I don’t send mass invites to “events” on Goodreads or Facebook.

I think what she’s saying is what many of us try to do. She also mentions the pressure all authors are feeling now to market and promote even harder…if that’s possible to do. (Where do you cross the line?)

In any event, the post touches on a lot of feelings we all have. You can check it out here. I often find myself shunning more aggressive approaches to marketing on a daily basis.

Side note: The post is on a review web site I didn’t know was around until recently, Live Your Life, Buy the Book. From what I can see, it’s fast, it’s detailed, and simple to navigate. And I don’t think they’ve ever actually reviewed me so no hidden agenda on this end. My biggest fail is in submitting books to reviewers. I just feel awkward doing it.

Alec Baldwin Article New York Magazine; Gay Marriage Gains Support; Oscar Poll & Judy’s Kids

Alec Baldwin Article New York Magazine

Last summer seemed to be the perfect proverbial storm for celebrity mishaps with regard to questionable statements and comments. I posted about Alec Baldwin here several times, and about Paula Deen, here. Since then, both have been dealing with fallout from these incidents. And now Alec Baldwin has an article coming out next week in New York Magazine explaining himself in detail, with a few interesting observations that are hard to ignore.

‘Am I a homophobe? Look, I work in show business. I am awash in gay people, as colleagues and as friends. I’m doing Rock of Ages one day, making out with Russell Brand. Soon after that, I’m advocating with Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Cynthia Nixon for marriage equality. I’m officiating at a gay friend’s wedding. I’m not a homophobic person at all. But this is how the world now sees me.’

However, even in this article he’s been branded politically incorrect once again because he used the word “Tranny.”

He writes about an LGBTI group he met with in Hawaii shortly after the photographer incident and starts a sentence this way: ‘One young man, an F-to-M tranny … ‘

 Tranny is considered an offensive term when referring to transgender people.

That’s questionable. I’ve posted about “tranny” as a word or reference here in the past, with examples of how the word is still a huge part of gay culture in some places and many do not take offense to it. Here’s what I posted about. This quote comes from Babe Trust, a professional drag performer in Brooklyn.

Tranny means different things to different people. Do I know some people who feel more comfortable with explaining their gender and sexuality as “tranny”? Yes. Its that okay?

By one “community” effectively silencing and oppressing another to “not say” certain words or be so untrusting of people that you believe that everything comes from a place of violence, is sad.

If someone identifies as “tranny,” the people who attack the term as offensive are oppressing the people who have a valid claim over the term.

My only comments are now that a lot of this mess with Baldwin has settled is that he might be TOO familiar with the gay community. He seems to know the terms/jargon well enough. When he got slammed for calling Anderson Cooper “a toxic little queen” he really didn’t say anything most of the gay people I know personally don’t say regularly (not about Cooper, in general). Does that make these gay people homophobes? Is there yet another double standard? Gay men refer to each other as “queens” often, and sometimes in endearing ways that mean no offense, and no offense is usually taken. Trust me, it’s not the first or last time Anderson Cooper has been or will be called a “queen” in the gay community.

Baldwin is also being scorned in the article for a small slam against pundit/entertainer Rachel Maddow.

‘I think Rachel Maddow is quite good at what she does,’ he writes. ‘I also think she’s a phony who doesn’t have the same passion for the truth off-camera that she seems to have on the air.’

I’ve never been a fan of Maddow, or her brand of million dollar pundit fakery. But I’m no fan of any pundit who gets paid millions of dollars to sway public opinion in either direction, liberal or conservative. I just don’t like them and would never trust them. And I think they are fakes, too, all of them. Think Rush Limbaugh.

I personally don’t use the words Baldwin used, like tranny or queen. Not in public or in private. As a writer I know how powerful words can be and how often misconceptions can be drawn…especially in these politically correct times we’re living in right now. I don’t think Baldwin is a homophobe either, not after reading some of the things I’ve read from him in the past six months. Calling him homophobic for using the wrong words and terms just doesn’t make sense, considering the scope of his life and his past experience. The real homophobes in places like Arizona who want to discriminate against gays by turning them away from public places don’t use any offensive words or terms in public, but they’re still homophobes of the worst kind. The religious folks who refused to make a gay wedding cake recently didn’t use the words, Tranny, Fag, or Queer.

I do think Baldwin is guilty of not being able to play the game as public personality as well as someone like Rachel Maddow, which is a shame. But then again, there’s a reason why MSNBC ratings are so painfully dismal.

You can read more here.

Gay Marriage Gains Support

Many polls have been suggesting there’s been a rise in support for gay marriage, but this is the first I’ve seen that actually goes into more detail. Some of the results are even surprising.

A survey by the non-partisan Public Religion Research Institute released today (26 February) shows some 53% of 4,509 Americans support same-sex weddings, compared to 32% in 2003.
 
This is the most interesting part for many:
 
Jews were its biggest supporters with 83% positive feedback, followed by 58% of white Roman Catholics and 56% of Hispanic Catholics. Some 46% of Hispanic Protestants favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry.
 
Most practicing Catholics Tony and I know not only support same sex marriage, they all know or are related to someone who is gay. That’s just a personal observation, not anything scientific. We also know many gay Catholics.
 
I hope all the folks over at social media check this out when they start slamming all Catholics. I get really sick and tired of it sometimes.  
 
 
Oscar Poll
 
This is interesting about the Oscars. There’s a survey that says most Americans haven’t even seen best picture nominees yet.
 
It may be one of the best years in recent memory for high-quality Hollywood film, but two-thirds of Americans have yet to see any of the movies nominated for the best picture Oscar, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Sunday.
 
To be honest, we haven’t seen any yet. We barely have time for a social life so we don’t put going to the movies as top priority anymore. Plus, we either stream or rent movies on demand these days. If there’s a choice between sitting in my own comfortable home and watching a film or sitting in a cramped seat next to someone who is sneezing and coughing, I’ll choose the former. The odds are we will see the films nominated eventually, at least some of them. But not before the Oscars. And, not because they were nominated or won an Oscar.
 
 
Side note: Here’s a link for those interested in Judy Garland’s children doing some kind of tribute to Garland at the Oscars.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Extent of AZ SB 1062; Cutting Aid to Uganda; LinkedIn for Publishing

Extent of AZ SB 1062

I’m sure most have heard about Arizona law, SB 1062, but like me most don’t know the extent of this law and how many it could affect. Or what the ramifications could be.

I’m not even going to try to paraphrase all this. It’s something that could be a legal mess if AZ Gov. Jan Brewer doesn’t veto it this week.

Second, SB 1062 does much more than ADF admits. Businesses of course must comply with state and local law. SB 1062 radically expands RFRA’s limit on government action to include action by private parties that are merely complying with the law.

That means that if an employee believes his employer’s compliance with a local law would violate the employee’s religious beliefs, SB 1062 allows the employee to sue the employer.

You can read more here.

The most startling thing about this law for many is that it’s using religion to base a state law in a country with a firm stand that has always separated church and state.

It should be interesting to see what Gov. Brewer does. Aside from everything else, this could be the defining moment in her entire political career.

Cutting Aid to Uganda

President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda signed a bill that would allow gays to be jailed for life. As a result, several countries have aggressively stated they will cut AID to Uganda.

Norway, Denmark and The Netherlands have become the first countries to either redirect aid away from the Ugandan Government or freeze aid.

The Netherlands froze $9.6 million in aid to Uganda’s legal system, saying that if Uganda’s courts were to enforce the country’s new harsh laws further criminalizing homosexuality then they did not want to assist that process.

Denmark and Norway have also said they both planned to redirect around $8.5 million in aid, to a combined total of $17 million, away from the Ugandan Government – with that money instead going to Non-Government Organizations and human rights groups in Uganda

US Secretary of State John Kerry stated the US will do a full review now, too.

You can read more here.

LinkedIn for Publishing

I’m usually a big fan of the old phrase never say never these days as so many things continue to change in publishing. I posted a while back on LinkedIn and how I wasn’t a member because I always thought of it as more of a place where people in business, mostly corporate, went to network. However, I recently joined after I got a few requests from other publishing professionals I know…including two agents and several authors. I’m not certain, but this might be the reason why.

LinkedIn is opening its publishing platform to all its members. Last week, the platform was opened to about 25,000 users. More will be added gradually until every member has publishing privileges. Multiple languages will also be supported when the service is fully implemented.

Until recently, the ability to publish articles was reserved for well-known leaders like Bill Gates, Martha Stewart, and Richard Branson. With publishing privileges being opened to all members soon, LinkedIn can become a place where you build your brand and share your expertise too.

I haven’t looked into it much yet, but I will check it down the line and post more.

You can read more here.

J. K. Rowling Gets Slammed; Shame on Davey Wavey; Eric Holder on Marriage Bans

J.K. Rowling Gets Slammed

(Update, below)

An unknown novelist/copywriter, Lynn Shepherd, wrote a post in Huff Po recently and titled it “If J.K. Rowling Cares About Writing She Should Stop Doing It.” I think this might be a way for a desperate unknown to get attention, and the article might have been geared this way on purpose, to garner comments. I’ve been seeing a lot of that lately with the entitlement set, usually in Huff Po, and it’s really getting tired. But even if that’s not what this is, it’s one of the most pointless pieces I’ve ever read. And also a good example of what not to do if you’re trying to build a name as a writer. Notice I didn’t say author. I said writer.

She discloses she didn’t read anything Potter, but then she gets into The Casual Vacancy.

It wasn’t just that the hype was drearily excessive, or that (by all accounts) the novel was no masterpiece and yet sold by the hundredweight, it was the way it crowded out everything else, however good, however worthwhile. That book sucked the oxygen from the entire publishing and reading atmosphere.

The Casual Vacancy did get a lot of attention, and rightly so. It was so far out of Rowling’s typical genre everyone was curious. It also got a lot more criticism than most books, and for reasons I didn’t think were fair. I reviewed it here not long after it was released. I also mentioned in the review I’d never read anything in the Potter series because it’s not my genre. Frankly, I was amazed at how well written TCV was. I hadn’t expected this, and to me it confirmed that J.K. Rowling is more than an author. She’s a writer.

From my five star review, excerpt:

What some readers have commented on is that there’s a dark side to this book, and I just didn’t see that. There’s a realistic side. I saw that very plainly. But I didn’t see all the darkness and gloom. Like I said, it’s real and sometimes it’s intense. And sometimes there’s some wit and humor worked into the book when you don’t expect it. It’s also gossipy in the way many small towns are. But I just didn’t see all that darkness and gloom others talked about.

After a few more comments about TCV, Shepherd then comments on Rowling’s mystery, The Cuckoo’s Calling. I didn’t read that one, again, it’s not my genre. For those who don’t know, Rowling released TCC with a pen name, and some lawyer’s wife leaked the truth about Rowling being the author and Rowling wound up suing, winning and donating the money to charity. In her quest to criticize Rowling for being successful, Shepherd doesn’t mention this in detail.

In any event, the point of Shepherd’s post is that thanks to Rowling other unheard of writers like Shepherd get lost in the proverbial shuffle and don’t get any attention because Rowling is still getting it all. Shepherd suggests Rowling should retire now that she’s made her fortune and give other writers, like Shepherd a chance at their shot for fortune and fame. It’s a dumb point to make. And clearly Shepherd isn’t aware of the fact that not all writers are in this for money and fame. We’re not all out there trying to compete with Rowling or anyone else. We’re writing because that’s what we do. That’s what we love. And if fortune and fame come along, fine. But if they don’t we’ll still love what we do.

Shepherd, unfortunately, seems to be looking for a brass ring that may or may not exist. She seems to express a sense of entitlement…that she deserves her fame and fortune and Rowling is getting in her way. It’s a vulgar attitude at best. Rowling, in the other hand, has proven that she’s more than an author. She’s a writer who can hop genres and I would imagine write on any topic in any genre she wants. In other words, even if she didn’t have fame and fortune, as a writer she could still mop the floors with the likes of Lynn Shepherd.

The problem these days with a lot of “authors” I see is that they’re doing it for all the wrong reasons.

You can read the entire diatribe here.

Update: I was curious. Shepherd is a trad published writer. Web Site here. According to her bio page, she also has a strong background in public relations. To her credit, it all looks highly legitimate and the web site is well executed.

Shame on Davey Wavey

This isn’t recent, but I found it interesting from a cultural POV. There’s a blogger on Youtube who goes by the name Gay Family Values and he once made a video slamming Davey Wavey.

Ok, so I hate making videos attacking other YouTubers but I have had a bad day and the last thing I needed was for a Gay YouTuber to block me and remove a comment about equality. Today I logged on to YouTube to
see who had posted videos and I came across a new video from Wickedkewl = Davey Wavey. The title of the video was: “Ask A Hot Straight Boy”. I left a comment: “Davey I am disapointed that you didn’t make a video about Maine today”. Davey’s response to remove the comment and block me from his channel. WTF?

No comment from me. I expect serious, intelligent social and political comments from Davey Wavey like I expect Pat Robertson to marry Rush Limbaugh. And Davey Wavey never has portrayed himself as anything more than a pop culture figure who works hard to create his own brand of parody many find amusing. I also would never try to contact him because flighty superficial gay men like Davey Wavey tend to live in their own trumped up world and he would just ignore me. It would be a waste of my time. In other words, it makes no sense to take him seriously.

You can check out the video here. I also recommend checking out more Gay Family Values if you haven’t seen it yet. I think it represents a segment of the LGBTI community we don’t see often.

Eric Holder on Marriage Bans

Eric Holder is the most important law enforcement officer in the US. And his recent comment to attorney generals in many states about not having to defend marriage bans basically says what most courts have found, which is marriage bans with regard to equality are unconstitutional.

U.S Attorney General Eric Holder today issued guidance to state attorneys general on same-sex marriage bans, announcing they are under no obligation to defend a ban they believe to be unconstitutional. Since before his election, President Barack Obama had said he believed DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 that banned the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages, was unconstitutional, and later, as president, joined with Holder in deciding to not defend that ban in federal court.

The key word is unconstitutional. It has nothing to do with religion.

You can read more here.

iPad Security Flaw; Rush Limbaugh on Matthew Shepard

iPad Security Flaw

I titled this post with iPad because I know so many read this blog on an iPad, but it’s a security flaw that’s with other Apple devices, too. If you haven’t been reading or listening to the news to learn about an update that hopefully fixes it you might have to deal with what’s called a cyber “man in the middle attack.” I updated immediately. It’s a really a quick fix that doesn’t take long. And from what I’ve read it’s mostly for people who use unsecured Wi-Fi connections.

Some people have issues with the update. I didn’t have a problem. I highly suggest reading this article below for more information.

The iPad upgrade, though, was something of a disaster. The device disconnected itself in the middle of the upgrade for some reason (I really don’t know why; I had it sitting off by itself on the corner of my desk; all I can think of is the cable got bumped). Interrupting the process is never good, and in this case it totally freaked out my iPad. I lost everything on it and it wouldn’t even show me my home screen!

I didn’t have any issues when I upgraded, knock wood. But evidently that’s not the case with everyone. If you are tech challenged you might want to check it out with an Apple rep.

You can read more here.

Rush Limbaugh on Matthew Shepard

Faker and multi-millionaire pundit who will do anything for a buck or to get attention, Rush Limbaugh, recently commented that the death of Matthew Shepard was not a gay hate crime. His highly disorganized sentence doesn’t even make sense.

‘Jason Coll(ins) – who by the way took number 98 in solidarity with Matthew Shepard, who was, it’s now been proven didn’t happen, but reputed to have beaten up by a bunch of anti-gay bigots.’

You can read more here about the Matthew Shepard hate crime, where there are several details about what transpired.

In 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act  which allows for added charges and harsher jail sentences for those convicted of what is deemed to be a hate crime, a crime against somebody’s race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity.

The article gives an assumption about why Limbaugh doesn’t think Shepard’s case was a hate crime. But I’m not weighing on that. My point with this entire part of the post is to inform people that Rush Limbaugh is a pundit, a radio personality, an actor, and a personality who will do anything to get attention. In a way, he’s an exaggerated clown given far too much credibility than he deserves.  He’s laughing all the way to the proverbial bank. And he’s not the only one. He’s just like the rest of them, even his biggest competition on the liberal end. Don’t pay attention to anything these pundit people say. They are getting paid millions of dollars to sensationalize and spin truth and most people don’t realize this.