barry eisler

Rock Hudson Alleged Gay Confession; Barry Eisler on .99 E-books

Evidently, there’s new information about an alleged gay confession from Rock Hudson. This alleged confession was something Hudson told his wife at the time, Phyllis Gates. This is from Huff Po.

Back in 1958, Hudson’s wife, Phyllis Gates, confronted the Hollywood legend about being gay, according to The Hollywood Reporter. That confrontation was secretly tape-recorded by Detective Fred Otash, a private eye who had dirt on everyone from Marilyn Monroe to Judy Garland. Gates had hired him to keep tabs on her husband.

“Rock, your great speed with me, sexually. Are you that fast with boys?” Gates asked Hudson, according to a transcript of the discussion obtained by THR from Otash’s family.
“Well, it’s a physical conjunction [sic],” he replied. “Boys don’t fit. So, this is why it lasts longer.”

It’s also been alleged that Rock Hudson’s wife at the time, Phyllis Gates, was a lesbian who was constantly trying to blackmail him. This is a fascinating article  Fred Otash is mentioned here, too. It really does get into a few details you don’t read about often, and mentions a list of close friends in Hudson’s circles that were just as closeted as he was.

Outing Mrs. Rock Hudson: the obits after Phyllis Gates died in January omitted some important facts: Those who knew her say she was a lesbian who tried to blackmail her movie star husband Advocate, The, Feb 28, 2006 by Robert HoflerPhyllis Gates, the former Mrs. Rock Hudson, died January 4 at age 80, and the Los Angeles Times commemorated her passing with an astonishingly long, 1,000-word, half-page obit a week later. (Would Katie Holmes ever get so much ink?) To read that and other newspaper whitewashes of her memory, you would have to believe that Gates was a loving Brokeback Mountain wife who had been duped into marriage by Rock’s equally gay agent, Henry Willson.

I doubt we’ll ever know the complete truth, and I don’t think that matters anyway. Rock Hudson was a victim of his time and he couldn’t come out. But I think this line in the Huff Po article bothers me the most:

“He was basically a very romantic man. He was like a woman;

This comes from a biographer, Sarah Davidson, who went to the University of Douchebaggery where they obviously taught Gay Male Stereotypes 101.

Barry Eisler on .99 E-books

I post openly about the indie books I have out and how I price them. I’ve found a good deal of success in keeping the books priced at .99 for now. I’ve also mentioned I’ve been on the fence with the Amazon lending program because it makes it impossible for me to distribute the books for three months because Amazon makes me sign an exclusive to be in the program. I have a good readership at places like ARe and I like to accomodate them. But I will be releasing my next indie on Amazon, Internal Desires, and I will do the lending program for the first three months. I want to see how it works out, and I haven’t done it for a while.

In this next article to which I’m linking below author Barry Eisler discusses his thoughts on e-book pricing, promotions, and .99 E-books. I thought it was interesting. I also think that what works for him might not work for me or another author. As I said, I’m always afraid of taking a hit by NOT releasing in places like ARe. But that’s always been the case with anything like this. What I do think is important is that you try everything you can try to see what works for you. I really never have a set plan, and when I think I do and I try to repeat something it always turns out differently than it did the first time. I think the secret is to keep trying and to keep doing different things.

I’ve done a couple of free promos of individual titles through KDP Select, advertising the sales using BookBub and EbookBooster, and the results were good — the #1 free spot for my first novel, A Clean Kill in Tokyo, and the #2 slot for my second, A Lonely Resurrection. I like the free promos because if things go well with the giveaway, the title in question tends to bounce back much higher in the paid store, with more visibility and more sales. Possible shortcomings of the free promos, though, are: (i) the people you’re initially reaching are by definition a demographic that is motivated to download books for free, and that might therefore be less interested in buying them; and (ii) people who get books for free are probably less motivated to read them, meaning fewer new customers and less word of mouth. So I started wondering what would happen if I tried a 99-cent promo instead… and what would happen if instead of doing it for only one title, I did it for my entire backlist.

You can read more here.

James Patterson Wants Government to Help Publishing; Barry Eisler on Digital Denial; Agent Rachelle Gardner and Non-Compete

Author James Patterson didn’t exactly say there should be a government bailout for the publishing industry, but he did make it clear he’s worried about traditional publishing, brick and mortar bookstores, and how the press doesn’t mention e-books with any significance. And to show how strongly he feels about this, he took out an ad in Publishers Weekly and The New York Times Book Review. When asked to go into more detail, this is how Patterson replied:

I don’t think it’s a question of bailing out, necessarily. In Germany, Italy, and France, they protect bookstores and publishers. It is widely practiced in parts of Europe. I don’t think that’s outlandish. But people have mixed feelings about the government doing anything right now… There might be tax breaks, there might be limitations on the monopolies in the book business… I’m not sure what needs to happen, but right now, nothing’s happening.

The article to which I’m linking then goes on to mention a few more things that seem to support Patterson in a way I found somewhat peculiar.

The idea that we may be creating a future generation that doesn’t have ready access to books (of whatever format) is quite a frightening one, don’t you think?

What I think is there are people like Patterson and the author of this article who have not been paying attention to what’s been happening in publishing in the last five years. In my lifetime, I have never had more access to books before since I switched to digital reading completely. And, I pay less now, too. Tony and I have younger nieces and nephews who all have access to e-readers and we did NOT have anywhere near the access to books or reading that they have right now.

Granted, they don’t go to the local bookshop anymore. They buy their books online in digital format. But does this really call for a government intervention? And should any government be responsible for bailing out something that’s becoming obsolete?

The fact remains that publishing is changing, whether we like it or not. The world is changing, like it or not. And from what I’ve seen with these changes, especially with kids and young adults, we’re creating a generation that has access to books like no other generation before it. But I doubt Patterson or the author of this article has ever bothered to read a novel on an iPhone like my nephews and nieces…and like me. Hell, kids aren’t even being taught to write in script anymore. They print.

I’m a fan of Patterson’s work. I respect everything he’s accomplished ten times over. But if Patterson thinks the publishing industry needs a bailout, maybe he should take some of his millions and open a few brick and mortar bookstores of his own and see how that works out for him.

Barry Eisler Talks About Digital Denial

In an article author Barry Eisler wrote for Outskirtspress.com, he talks about how his recent speech at the Pike’s Peak Writer’s Conference went over…and how some publishing professionals received it.

And yet, when I offered these fairly axiomatic observations during a recent keynote at the 21st annual Pike’s Peak Writers Conference, the reaction among some editors and agents in the audience (and elsewhere) was extremely negative, with some walking out; others taking to Twitter to urge others to leave, to boycott my talks, and to boycott conferences where I’m talking; and a fair amount of name-calling.

Interesting reaction. You can read more here where he talks about the “truths” of traditional publishing.

As a side note, Eisler has also released a novel that some think it is “disturbingly pro-gay.” I haven’t read the book, but you might want to check out this post to see how he responds to that comment. I can’t seem to find a direct link, but if you click the link above and scroll down the post is titled, That Power of Accurate Observation Is Called Political By Those Who Have Not Got It

Agent Rachelle Gardner and Non-Compete

In this recent blog post, the comment thread went berserk when agent Rachelle Gardner talked about how published authors should take heed to the non-compete clauses. Then she goes into a polite discussion about self-publishing in a blog post that’s titled: Will My Publisher Let Me Self-Publish, too?

I swear I’m not making this up.

More does not always equal better. More books in the marketplace might mean more money in your pocket, but it also means less time available to pay attention to high quality writing, and less time available for giving each book the full weight of your marketing efforts.

First of all that doesn’t even make sense, because if you’re a writer who is lucky enough to have more money in your pocket you are doing something right and why in the hell would you need to focus on more marketing? Second, I’d like to know who left her in charge of what is and is not considered quality writing. You know, I’ve been seeing a lot of that quality of writing sort of thing on literary agent blogs for years. I’ve always wondered who put them in charge of quality control.

In any event, the comment thread is interesting, with comments from people who don’t seem to agree with Gardner. And The Passive Voice blog has a few interesting things to say about Gardner’s post, here. The comment thread over there gets even better.

I’m starting to think I really need to dig deeper to find a few more literary agent blogs that are offering writers some positive advice in these changing times, because I’m getting tired of the same old song and dance routine. Don’t they think we know any better?

What’s a Gay Chickenhawk; Award for Worst Book Review; Eisler on Objectivity; Bully Site Taken Down; Public Domain LGBT Pics

(Update: The web site to which I referred in this post that claims to be anti-bully is up and running again. I don’t think it would be fair to link to them because I’m not linking to sites that are in direct opposition. I’d like to remain objective. But you can do a simple search for any of these web sites, and they aren’t hard to find.)

I don’t know about anyone else, but I always find these things like “gay chickenhawk” interesting, especially since I missed out on that time period in the seventies and eighties where there were so many symbolic slang references in gay culture. I honestly couldn’t tell you the difference between what a red, yellow, or brown scarf means. And even though I’d heard the term “chickenhawk” I never really knew what it was until I looked it up.

According to Urban Dictionary, this is a chickenhawk:

A Gay term for an older man that constantly chases after younger men typically in their 20’s.

The heterosexual female equivalent is the Cougar.

Wiki gets into it a little deeper:

It is sometimes used as a disparaging vulgarity within the LGBT community, or seen as a slur against people in that community. The label can be applied to a man who seeks partners with the look of someone young, regardless of their target’s age.

And here’s an interesting thread at Real Jock.

On to the Hachet Award, which is an award for the worst book review of the year. You can get there from here.

The prize was founded last year by literary website The Omnivore to reward the “angriest, funniest, most trenchant” review published in a newspaper or magazine. Its serious aim is to raise the profile of book critics and “promote integrity and wit in literary journalism.”
“Book reviews are, in the main, too fawning and dull,” said Omnivore editor Anna Baddeley.

What this award seems to be promoting are book reviews designed only for the sake of entertainment. I get that; I’ve been entertained by a few book reviews in my time. And I think if it’s taken with a tongue in cheek attitude there’s nothing wrong with it. There are a few reviews I’ve wanted to write about certain books I”ve read but I’ve refrained because I thought it would stir up too much of a crapfest.

However, I don’t think book reviews are “too fawning and dull.” Not the good or the bad. I think book reviews (for the most part) are honest and people/readers are only trying to help other people figure out whether or not to buy a book. I also think readers want to express their opinions about books they’ve read. I know I do.

BUT, there’s one thing to always consider when writing an overly exaggerated bad book review: the odds are you’re going to be helping a book and an author you don’t like. I’ve seen it before too many times to fall into that trap myself. Which is also another reason why you don’t see me writing over the top bad reviews often. That’s how I found “Fifty Shades of Grey,” and I highly doubt the reviewer was trying to promote it. And I saw one living hell of a gay book get slammed and roasted last year and that hunk of mess went on to become a bestseller and it pushed an obscure new author right into the most pitiful, sickening, foray of social media cuteness and awesomeness I’ve ever seen in publishing.

So I’m hoping this award isn’t meant to be taken seriously, and that it is just for the sake of entertainment. But nothing would surprise me anymore.

Now here’s a smart, simple post from the brilliant Barry Eisler. Though I’ve never read any of his books, I have been linked to his blog and I love the way he writes posts that make me think. I may not always agree with him, but I always respect him.

The primary function of America’s establishment media is to launder government propaganda into something the citizenry will believe is objective news. The New York Times is a dutiful exemplar.

I think this is probably one of his shortest posts, but it gets into a very interesting topic: mainstream media. I’ve often posted about how frustrated I get with bloggers who don’t utilize the who, what, when, where, and why factors when writing blog posts. I get even more frustrated with the mainstream when I see this happen. And it’s really as simple as that. Objectivity is another story.

And speaking of objectivity, here’s some interesting information about “That site that shall not be named,” Stop the Goodreads Bullies. I’ve remained objective about this site since last summer, and I will remain so until the end of time. I’ve never complained about a review for one of my own books, and I rarely even read them. I don’t get bullied and I don’t think of myself as a victim. If you screw around with me online, I’ll most likely ignore you because I don’t want to give you any attention. If you do it face to face, you run the risk of me mopping the floors with you.

In fact, one of the things I have to do this week is figure out how to stop getting notifications every time someone leaves a review for one of my books on goodreads. I never got those notifications before, and now suddenly I’m getting them every single day. And please don’t get me wrong. I appreciate all reviews and I thank people for taking the time to write them. I just like to step aside when it comes to reviews of my own books.

I actually hesitate to post anything about this bully web site now because so many are so passionate about it. But this is news, regardless of anyone’s opinion. And to ignore news of any kind just because you don’t agree with it defeats the purpose of freedom of speech. In any event, it seems this web site has been taken down for reasons I’m not sure about. There are a few articles I could link to, but frankly I don’t trust the sources to be reliable.

For those who don’t know, this is a web site designed to attack online bullies who they claim attack books and authors. And there’s a strong opposition to this web site that’s led to some interesting articles since the site was launched. It’s also supposed to be reader based, and not for authors.

You can read more about it here, here, and here.

Now, if you’re an LGBT blogger, you probably have as much trouble finding public domain photos as I do, and this might help a little. It’s not something I’m raving about right now, but at least it’s a place to go for public domain LGBT photos. And it seems simple enough. One of my issues with deviantart.com is that it takes too long to figure out what’s free to use and what’s not. And some of the most dreadful photos of all time seem to have the most protected copyrights. These highly protected amateur images always remind of the old saying, “You’ll Die with Your Secret.” Because if bloggers like me were allowed to use your images and link back to you, you’d be getting more attention and recognition. As it stands, no one really cares about your copyrighted photos. We can, and will, live without them.

All I know is that if I post a photo here that I’ve taken myself, please feel free to use it in your blog post as long as you link back to me. I’m not that grand that I think I’ll ever become rich and famous for my photos, and if you can use one, have fun with it.

This article gets into more about how hard it is to find LGBT public domain photos. Check around, you’ll see what I mean. I would also imagine it’s just as hard to find public domain photos for any minority group.

 Ever notice how news orgs like TV stations will show gay wedding cake toppers and all they have done is duplicate either a male or female figure and place them side by side so it looks like twins are getting married to each other! Or they just show disembodied hands holding each other! Or worse an image of gay people holding hands but looking away from the camera – implicitly reinforcing the idea of a stigma to being gay. It’s sad, yet often they have few if any alternatives.

Photo above courtesy of this photographer. And a big thank you for sharing.

Barry Eisler Posts About Sockpuppet Site and Why I’m Not Removing My Name From the List

ETA: Instead of writing a new post on this topic…which I’m frankly growing extremely bored with all the way around…I’m linking to a blog post that talks about Joe Konrath’s latest blog post and his feelings about buying reviews and sockpuppetry. No comment from me. Everyone has a right to an opinion. But it’s an interesting, if not entertaining, read. You can get there from here.

I once wrote a scathing review for a local pharmacy based on my personal experiences with the pharmacist and the shabby way I was treated. I left my own name with my e-mail address and followed all the rules of the web site. Six months later I was contacted by the pharmacist who owns that particular pharmacy and he told me if I didn’t remove my negative review he would contact his attorney and sue me.

I left the review up. It was based on my personal experience and it was an honest review. I had nothing to hide. After I refreshed his memory and reminded him who I was and the experience I’d had there, I told him to feel free to contact his attorney and do whatever he wanted to do. I never heard from him again. As far as I know the review is still up and I still stand behind it.

The fact that I used my own name and I was willing to own my words, in print, gave me the courage to not back down to his bad behavior and his bullying. I’ve made a point of doing this with all my reviews that I leave everywhere, including book reviews. I learned a long time ago that whatever you put in print is forever…and whatever is posted to the Internet never goes away.

I recently posted about a web site that’s called “No Sock Puppets Here Please,” that was started by a group of authors who have become disenchanted with fake names and identities. I reluctantly signed my name to the comment thread of the post. I did it with reluctance because I wasn’t thrilled with the way the site was executed and it seemed a little too extreme for me. I don’t even know who the architects are. But I signed it anyway because I thought the basic premise was valid, because I thought it was addressing a huge Internet issue, and because this issue will become even more valid in the future.

Author Barry Eisler posted about this same web site last week. I even commented on that post and I agreed that I hesitated the same way he did when he first signed his name to the site. However, since then he’s removed his name from the list and he’s elaborated about why he removed his name in a more recent blog post.

My name is still on NSPHP and I’m leaving it there until I see something I disagree with so drastically I don’t want to be associated with it. So far, I haven’t seen that. What I have seen are people who are hurt, frustrated, and tired of fake identities. In some cases, jaded and left feeling drained. I also know this isn’t a problem that’s isolated to the publishing industry. This issue with corrupt identities and sockpuppets runs rampant on the Internet everywhere. I have friends with businesses who fight fake reviews from their competitors constantly. The people who installed my granite counters asked me to leave a good review because their competition was leaving bad fake reviews. A friend who owns a furniture/design business told me he’s so frustrated with sockpuppets in his industry he’s thinking of taking legal action. Even my mechanic, who I’ve been using for fifteen years and never had an issue with, recently suffered from bad reviews left by vicious competitors.

So when I signed my name to NSPHP I was thinking about the issue itself…in a broader sense than what happens with book reviews. I was thinking about the future, Internet corruption everywhere, and how millions of people have been subjected to this kind of online corruption in all walks of life. To think this issue is isolated to book reviews may be focused correctly in a smaller sense, but to simply isolate the issue to publishing and book reviews would be ignoring a more generalized issue of online corruption that I don’t think will be allowed to continue in the future. Could I be wrong? Of course. The heavens might open, celestial choirs might start to sing, and all Internet corruption will vanish forever.

I love Barry Eisler, and I still share a lot of the reservations he has about NSPHP. He wrote two eloquent blog posts on this issue that came from his heart and I respect his opinions…to the point where I actually feel awful about not agreeing with him. But I don’t feel awful enough to remove my name from the NSPHP list. And I don’t feel…not yet…signing my name was misguided:

And yet I doubt any of them will withdraw their names from NSPHP’s front page, or even smiply acknowledge that their premises and conclusions were in error; the actions that followed, misguided and disproportionate.

I’m not one of the original architects of NSPHP and my name is buried somewhere on the comment thread. But I’m still leaving my name up there. Big words don’t change my mind, and I don’t drink Kool Aide. As I stated, this issue isn’t isolated to book reviews, it’s all over the web. People on social media are suffering from sockpuppets and judges are siding with them. Politicians are dealing with sockpuppets who leave defamatory remarks that will stay on the Internet forever, and they are trying to pass laws to hold web sites responsible for sockpuppetry. And while NSPHP is focused on books and reviews, the issue at hand is happening everywhere and I don’t see it going away.

I almost agree with what Barry said here:

I know many people will be unpersuaded by what I’ve written here (for many reasons, including the kind of insidious resistance caused by mistakenly committing to something like NSPHP in the first place). Which is okay, obviously. We don’t all have to agree. But hopefully we can disagree with a little less vitriol…even if we think the other person is directing vitriol at us.

Unfortunately, although I agree with most of what Barry said, I still remain respectfully unpersuaded. And that’s because I believe in the laws all civilized societies need in order to function properly and keep people safe from harm. Most people who use the Internet are good, decent people who don’t take advantage of the honor system. I truly believe this. But there are those who will take advantage and they will abuse their power. And good people will suffer as a result. But I do agree with Barry that we can disagree with less vitriol, which should be a goal for everyone in these trying times.

Make no mistake, I can write blog posts about this, Barry Eisler can write blog posts about this, and so can everyone else. But there are a lot of hurt, frustrated people out there and it’s starting to show up in more than one place. And web sites like NSPHP are what I believe is the beginning of a new Internet age that’s on the verge of explosion, where we are going to have to stand behind our names the same way we’ve had to stand behind them in the past when we wrote letters to the editors of a newspaper or magazine. I was an English major in college with a concentration in journalism. Among many things, one thing I recall clearly was a professor telling me that in journalism it’s important to always stand behind your name and own your words. Try sockpuppeting with a reputable print publication and see how far you get.

Now, if by chance something happens and I feel the need to remove my name from NSPHP, I will gladly admit I was wrong and post it in public. But right now, my name remains where it is.



Chase of a Lifetime on Kobo, and Amazon Indie Publishing from Catherine Ryan Hyde & Barry Eisler


While I don’t want to bore everyone to death with details about the technical process involved in self-publishing a book on Amazon, I did want to show that one of the things I thought was important was to edit/proof my book downloaded to an actual e-reader. I wanted to see how the e-book would look on one of my own e-readers. I have five and I started with the basic Kobo e-reader with e-ink. I don’t want to assume anything, so I’ll also be testing the book out on every type of e-reader to be sure it looks the same on the most basic to the most recent tablet. And, this is editing that’s more like triple checking because the book’s already been extensively edited and copy edited down to the last line…both before and after conversion. And, “Chase of a Lifetime” is a 60,000 word full length novel, not a short story or novella.

The one problem I found while I was checking things out last night on my Kobo was that the copy editor I hired made changes, got them wrong, and I had to go back and line edit each small thing. They weren’t large. It was more of a matter of style than anything. But since I’m in charge this time and I get the final say, the copy editor isn’t going to do anything to my book I don’t like. Another problem I’m finding is that things like indentations and page numbers tend to get screwed up during the conversion process. But it’s being figured out as I write this post.

Overall, I’m happy with the way the book looks on Kobo. I wanted to be sure people who own Kobo products could download the book on Amazon, too. I won’t get into mobi files or epub files because I doubt people want to know about this. Until I started this Amazon project I didn’t want to know those details. But if I can download a .99 Kindle e-book to my Kobo, iPhone, or Nook, I would imagine anyone else can.

I also want to link to a great post I read yesterday. I was having one of those “what the fuck did I do now” moments with regard to Amazon publishing. So I did a few searches to see how other authors view the process and found a great interview/post between author Catherine Ryan Hide and Barry Eisler. For those who don’t know, Mr. Eisler walked away from a slick deal with St. Martin’s to pursue self-publishing, and CRH is the bestselling author who wrote “Pay it Forward.” The post helped calm me down and took away all my second thoughts (well, not all, but I’m working on them). That may sound dramatic, but I’ve always depended on the collaboration with a publisher and doing it alone for the first time ever after doing it with a publisher for twenty years can be scary. I’m also glad I found this post by CRH by accident. I’ve been a fan and I’ve read her book “Jumpstart The World.” It’s one of the best YA books I’ve ever read with LGBT content. It made me feel much better to know that someone I respect and admire is speaking about the Amazon indie self-publishing process, too.

I’ll keep posting more about the process of getting “Chase of a Lifetime” out next week. I’m shooting for a release of early next week. But I’m not committing to anything yet until I know the book is up and ready. But it will be up for sale sometime next week. It will be on Amazon for the first ninety days, and then I’ll decide whether or not I need to start distributing it anywhere else. I know there’s this mindset that all books should be distributed in as many places as authors can get them. (I’m a huge fan of sites like ARe and 1place for my purchases.) But I also know that most e-book sales do come from Amazon. At least that’s been my own personal experience, not hearsay. At the very least, I will probably try to get it up on the most popular romance sites where e-books are sold.