Amazon Sells Fan Fiction; Nude Cumberbatch Shower Scene in Star Trek

This week a lot of places on the interwebs went berserk with Amazon’s recent announcement they will be selling fan fiction. It’s going to be called “Kindle Worlds.” I want to get into what fanfic is, how it’s different from parody, and what some of the details are with this announcement from Amazon.

Although I know very little about fanfic or fandom, my first thought was how can they do this legally? From what little I do know about fanfic, it’s always been a genre that’s been shared and not sold for monetary gain. It seems the crafty people at Amazon have figured out a way to avoid this, and it looks as if what they are doing is perfectly legal. Keep in mind. This is NOT parody. This is fanfic and the two are completely different. My books like An Officer and His Gentleman and Pretty Man are highly erotic parodies of mainstream straight stories that I wrote to be satirical accounts of mainstream fiction with gay characters. The titles alone are parody. If I had wanted to write fanfic, I would have taken a gay story, like Queer as Folk, or Brokeback Mountain, and written tender loving romances based on them in alternate worlds. But I didn’t want to do that: my statement was more political as a gay writer who was tired of the way gay romance is treated in the mainstream. And the odds of me ever writing a novel based on any *gay* story are about as strong as me wearing dad jeans in public.

For those who know nothing about fan fiction, you can read a good description here.

Here’s how Amazon can do this legally.

The company has secured licenses from Warner Bros. Television Group’s Alloy Entertainment division for Gossip Girl, by Cecily von Ziegesar; Pretty Little Liars, by Sara Shepard; and Vampire Diaries, by L.J. Smith. All three are also incredibly successful TV shows in their own right, which should add to the interest both from fans and aspiring writers.

In other words, right now you can’t just write any fanfic. It has to be based on one of the above. I do see more in the future, though. If there’s a market for it, they are ALL going to cash in on it. And if this is what readers want, no one can blame them.

This is the actual announcement from Amazon. Get Ready.

Get ready for Kindle Worlds, a place for you to publish fan fiction inspired by popular books, shows, movies, comics, music, and games. With Kindle Worlds, you can write new stories based on featured Worlds, engage an audience of readers, and earn royalties. Amazon Publishing has secured licenses from Warner Bros. Television Group’s Alloy Entertainment for Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and The Vampire Diaries, with licenses for more Worlds on the way.

This next blogger makes a few good points.  There was a m/m romance that came out a little over a year ago that spawned an epic shitstorm in the m/m community with readers and reviewers because many alleged that the author of this book basically copied everything from a gay film. There were even chapter by chapter examples given comparing this author’s m/m romance to the gay film…even song lyrics. It was NOT parody. This m/m author and the publisher have gone on to become very popular in spite of this, will be very popular at the upcoming Gay Rom Lit in Atlanta, and that particular book seemed to sell very well to m/m romance readers. In other words, the readers want this, and if that’s what they want I see no issue. However, as this blogger below states, it’s not all that fair to those who are true to fanfic. And what about the fact that readers can get great fanfic for FREE, and have been doing so for years?

The weird thing is what happens to that comfortable space that separated canonical from non-canonical. Like, one assumes that the fan-fic remains officially non-canonical — and yet, people are paying for it. And getting paid in return. Which lends a kind of intellectual and emotional legitimacy to it. And allows for a very weird thing to happen: it lets the licensed fan-fiction to become, in theory, bigger than the material that spawned it.

I wish I could say I did, but I don’t have any strong opinions about all this…except this next part bothers me. Is Amazon trying to define porn now? Evidently, there are a few stipulations that sound a lot like censorship to me.

Though there is another reason that this might not be as successful as Amazon is hoping. From the content guidelines: “We don’t accept pornography or offensive depictions of graphic sexual acts.” It’s unclear whether this is the same as Amazon’s normal ban against “pornography” that doesn’t include the huge amount of erotica that they publish, or a higher standard imposed by the licensing agreements. But one thing is for sure – a lot of the fan fiction that people would be willing to pay for includes “graphic sexual acts.”
You can read more here.

The typical ban against pornography on Amazon is basically the same as it is everywhere else. I listed these things in my upcoming anthology, The Women Who Love to Love Gay Romance.

Standards apply: No Incest, rape, underage characters, or bestiality.

But does this apply to Amazon’s “pornography” rules with fanfic? Or is Amazon and the people they are in partnership with in Kindle Worlds going to define “porn” for us? It should be interesting to see how this plays out.

In any event, fanfic does sell and readers seem to want it. Fifty Shades of Grey, which is allegedly fanfic based on Twilight has proven this. And the example I gave above about the m/m romance author proves this as well, too. He has built quite an epic following. And if this is what readers want, Amazon is going to give this to them. The hard part for me is that if anyone wants to read good fanfic, and I do believe there is good fanfic out there, you can get it for nothing. Only most people don’t know about this, and they will be shopping at Amazon to pay for their fanfic.

If you do a simple search, you’ll see what I mean about how this announcement has ignited tons of opinions. Here’s one more link I found interesting, because this person also wanted to know how Amazon found out a way to sell fanfic legally.

I personally am not the biggest fan of fan fiction, as some of you might know. But rest assured that the Scanners “Head Asplode” pic I’ve used to lead off this article doesn’t come from a place of distaste as much as pure shock at Amazon’s insane, bold, and genuinely brilliant plan to sell legal fan fiction.

Nude Cumberbatch Shower Scene in Star Trek

This next article talks about a nude shower scene in Star Trek with Benedict Cumberbatch. Why they would remove a scene like this passes me by.

“We had a scene with him where we saw him actually take a shower,” Abrams told Conan O’Brien. “It’s not in the movie but we have this. It’s one of those things we ended up cutting.” In true Abrams fashion, the brief moment plays against the backdrop of Star Trek-ian dramatics, with water showering over Cumberbatch as he stares ominously. (Maybe thinking up his next move?)

I’m just glad it wasn’t a nude shower scene of Chris Pine they’d cut out. I know this isn’t huge news. But as an erotic romance author I find these little things both interesting and silly sometimes. We’re not watching Star Trek just for sexual reasons. We like it for many reasons. But the fact is that Cumberbatch and Chris Pine are extremely attractive men and if they had faces like mud fences we most likely wouldn’t be watching Star Trek. So why the need to always cut out what might be a great sexy scene? It’s not like we want Chris Pine or Cumberbatch to drop the soap or anything in the shower.

E.L. James photo attribution here.

Mean Matt Bomer Comments and Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia; Chris Pine on Women

Mean Matt Bomer Comments and Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia
This is the first post I’ve done about Matt Bomer playing the lead in the film version of Fifty Shades of Grey in a while. Matt Bomer is a very talented young actor who I’ve seen in a variety of roles. And while I would love to see him in Fifty Shades because I think he’d be perfect, not everyone agrees.
“Only problem for me is Bomer is gay and knowing that, not that I have anything against it, is that it’s a turn off for me,” one fan wrote. “I would know the whole time he’s not really ‘in the mood.’ Sorry if that sounds mean, it’s just about suspension of disbelief. I’m sure many fans who don’t know this detail would find him perfect.”
This comes from a “fan.” I think this fan is an idiot. Because if he/she knew even a hint about Hollywood he/she would understand that most of the actors he/she has been watching all his or her life are gay…they just never told you about it. Aside from that, straight men have been playing gay roles for a long time and no one ever said they were too straight.
So if Bomer does get the part, I think it’s going to be the challenge of his life to show idiots like the fan above that he’s capable of doing it…which most people seem to think he is. This kind of attitude is the reason why so many gay men don’t come out of the closet.
In spite of this “fan’s” comment, Matt Bomer is still the biggest contender for the role.
To read more vituperative (can’t give up that word for anything) comments about being openly gay and being an actor, you can check out this link. Some of these vicious comments are the reason why so many bloggers are doing the Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia this week. This reaction to Matt Bomer playing the lead in Fifty Shades is proof homophobia exists in even the most subtle forms today. So if you’re not familiar with the Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia, check out the link above.
Chris Pine on Women 

These are the little pop culture things I find interesting all the time: like what Chris Pine wants in a woman. Pop culture and technology usually play big parts in my novels and short stories, and these little pieces of information often help inspire me with subplots and smaller scenes.

In this case it’s actually more about the way Chris Pine is wearing his beard in the photo, not about his love life. I recently wrote a character with a beard like this and it helps for me to study these photos when I’m describing that character. I would love to show the photo, but I’m not sure about copyrights so you’ll have to check out the link. It’s worth the effort. It’s a great beard and I wish I could grow one like it. The problem is after around 35 years old beards start to turn gray and I don’t have the patience or time to keep up with getting rid of that gray.

In any event, here’s what Chris Pine is looking for in a woman.

“I think anything that any normal man would be looking for: intelligence, beauty and a sense of humor. . . You have to be able to carry a conversation after the initial attraction kind of dies down,” he said.
I couldn’t agree more.

People Like Us Star Chris Pine Wins CinemaCon Male Star of the Year

When I saw that Chris Pine had won CinemaCon Male Star of the Year, I wanted to do a quick post about it. Though most know Pine from Star Trek, I first saw him in a film called People Like Us and loved both the film and his performance (highly recommend this film to anyone). I posted about that here last November.

“With this summer’s Star Trek Into Darkness … and then at year’s end, with the release of Jack Ryan, without a doubt 2013 is going to be Chris Pine’s year,” CinemaCon managing director Mitch Neuhauser said Thursday. “Chris Pine has emerged as one of Hollywood’s hottest and most accomplished young actors, and CinemaCon is thrilled to honor him as its 2013 Male Star of the Year.”

I’m not really a die hard Star Trek fan (Tony is), but I do like some of the films, and thanks to Chris Pine I’ve rediscovered them again. And Jack Ryan sounds good, too.

Jack Ryan is an upcoming American actionthriller directed by Kenneth Branagh, based on the character Jack Ryan created by Tom Clancy. The film stars Chris Pine in the title role, becoming the fourth actor to assume the role, following Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck. The film is scheduled for release on December 25, 2013.

You can read more about Chris Pine here, and here

Gorgeous Chris Pine in "People Like Us"

After all that’s been going on around here with clean up and the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, last night we got power back and watched a movie on demand just to escape from reality for a while. Of course we haven’t been hit like people on the coastline and for that we’re more than thankful. But there are still tons of people without power, it’s still hard to get gas, and a lot of businesses are still closed and no one knows when they’ll reopen. I just spent twenty minutes on the phone with friends who have been without power since Monday listening to them vent, and the temperature is going into the thirties tonight. Of course we invited them to stay here, but they have exotic pets and don’t want to leave them alone.

But this movie I’m talking about, “People Like Us,” was perfect as a slight diversion. I’ve been a fan of Chris Pine for a long time and his performance was outstanding. I just hope he keeps getting parts like this. There aren’t enough movies out there like this in the first place. No spoilers, but I will say this: the ending blew me away. And that doesn’t happen often. Just when you think you know where the story is going and how it’s going to end, they threw in something different. For those who tend to get emotional, be prepared to have tissues on hand.

 Sam (Chris Pine), a struggling corporate barterer in New York, is in trouble after one of his deals violates federal law, and the Federal Trade Commission threatens him with investigation. Sam’s boss (Jon Favreau) tells him to bribe federal officials at Sam’s expense. Returning home, Sam learns from his girlfriend Hannah (Olivia Wilde) that his estranged record-producer father, Jerry, has died in L.A. of cancer. Sam tries to avoid attending the funeral, but Hannah insists on making arrangements. After flying home to L.A., he stays with Hannah at Jerry’s house and has a tense reunion with his mother Lillian (Michelle Pfeiffer).


You can read more here.