conspiracy

Michael Hastings Death; Sara York Interview; Winston Gieseke

The multi-talented award winning journalist Michael Hastings’ death has left many in shock this week. He was only 33 years old, but he’d accomplished more in his short lifetime than most people do in a span of decades. This article has a few good photos of him.

Hastings’ groundbreaking reporting on Gen. Stanley McChrystal‘s candid criticism of the Obama administration is credited with ending McChrystal’s military career and earned him a 2010 George Polk Award. He was 33.

The Rolling Stone and BuzzFeed reporter is being remembered by many of his colleagues as an unfailingly bright and hard-charging reporter who wrote stories that mattered.

This next link will lead you to a piece that has a video of the car crash. It’s very disturbing to watch and I would suggest that if you are not comfortable with things like this you pass on it.

 A photographer from freelance photography/videography outfit Loudlabs alleges to have been on the scene immediately after journalist Michael Hastings died in a fiery car crash early yesterday morning.

Because of the nature of Hastings’ work as a journalist, this next article gets into speculative theories about whether or not his death was part of a conspiracy.

Journalist Michael Hastings death early Tuesday morning, June 18, in Los Angeles after the Mercedes C250 coupe he was driving slammed into a palm tree at high speed has sparked conspiracy theories that Hastings, like Clooney’s Clayton, was targeted for his investigative reporting. The crash was so intense that the car’s engine and transmission were found 100 feet from the main wreckage.

And this peice gets into even more detail about the conspiracy theory.

Meanwhile, LA Weekly reports that Hastings was reporting extensively on the CIA at the time of his death, and the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald pointed out that Hastings’ last article for BuzzFeed was on the NSA and the Democrats’ love of spying on Americans.
 
It doesn’t take much thought to guess that Hastings would have been working on the topic of spying on Americans, especially with all that’s been happening with Edward Snowden. However, so far all speculations of conspiracy and foul play have been knocked down, and they say his death was, indeed, an accident.
 
In the past twenty years, Tony and I have had four Mercedes and one of the main reasons why we have them is for the safety factor. And when I read that Hastings was driving a Mercedes and that it blew up the way it did, I had to stop and wonder myself. Of course any car can do anything in an accident and no one is ever 100% safe in an accident no matter what they drive. But it still makes me wonder, because we’re living in interesting times right now.
 
Sara York Interview
 
Last night an author I know from social media, Sara York, did an online interview with WT Prater, whom I don’t know, that I thought was worth linking to today. She’s one of those people I see on social media often, and I always like what she has to say and what she does in public. She has a lot of books out, but she’s never in-your-face obnoxious about hocking them. I also never get that scent of pure bullshit and fakery when she’s on social media that I do detect too often on social media.
 
But the thing I liked most about this particular interview is that the questions were interesting, and Sara York answered them well. One in particular about self-publishing caught my attention, because I would have answered the question exactly the way she did in the interview. What I find interesting nowadays is that literary agencies like The Nelson Agency and Dystel & Goderich, to name just two of many, have been helping their authors self-publish for the past two or more years. Self-published authors who have already been published with large publishers even have a name now: hybrid authors. This is because they both self-publish and trad publish. And yet I still see small authors with small start up e-presses in genre fiction turning their noses up at self-publishing as if they are too grand for it…even though we’ve reached a point in publishing where some of the most popular bestselling authors are now proud to admit they’ve self-published.
 
In any event, Sara York did a great job in the interview, and it was interesting to put the voice and the thoughts with the person I see on social media so often. I highly recommend listening to it. Here’s a link, and I had no issues listening to it on my iPad.
 
Winston Gieseke
 
A few years ago I received an e-mail from an editor in Germany asking if he could reprint a short story I’d written for an older Starbooks Press book I was in titled, “Noah’s Arch,” in Dreamboys and Macho magazine with publisher Bruno Gmunder. Of course I was so thrilled I jumped at the chance. This really is my favorite kind of writing, and I’m huge fan of all this publisher’s work, magazines and books.  
 
And this year I was contacted again by Bruno Gmunder with a different editor, Winston Gieseke, who wanted to know if I was interested in submitting anything to a few anthologies he was working on. Once again, I made the time to do it. I’ve submitted to the upcoming release, Daddy Knows Best, and for another titled, Straight No More. I’ll post more about them when they are released, but I wanted to talk about Winston Gieseke today.
 
I’ve worked with a lot of editors in the past, but this time I’ve enjoyed my e-mails with Winston. We both have a lot in common, and I found his basic information fascinating. He has a blog you can check out here. It’s titled Expats in Berlin. Although I’ve never been there, my partner, Tony, has been many times on business trips and he’s always raved about Berlin. This is from the about page:
 
Expats in Berlin details the experiences of John and Winston, who relocated to Europe’s hippest city from Los Angeles with their two adorable and moderately well-behaved dogs.

The site was named Best Blog by the Web Critics Association of North America and has enjoyed fairly positive write-ups in People magazine, USA Today, and Monster Truck Monthly. It has also been discussed in various forms of media by celebrities and journalists, everyone from Anderson Cooper and Howard Stern to Gayle King and those women on The View.

OK, there’s not one iota of truth in that second paragraph, but something had to fill this space. Everything else you’ll read here is true, we promise.
Learn more about us here.

 
In addition to that blog, Winston also has another web site, here, and here, where you can learn how to follow him on social media.
 
And, he’s absolutely adorable!!
 
 
 
 

Brett Easton Ellis Doesn’t Think Matt Bomer Can Star in 50 Shades Movie; And Lit Agent Simon Lipskar’s Letter to the DOJ on E-Book Pricing…

This seems like the week of asshatery, and Brett Easton Ellis tops the list of asshats by saying this:

Okay I’ll say it. Matt Bomer isn’t right for Christian Grey because he is openly gay. He’s great for other roles but this is too big a game.

In more asshatery, he then said this:

I am NOT discriminating Matt Bomer because of his sexuality. Fifty Shades of Grey demands an actor that is genuinely into women. Get it?!?

Evidently, Mr. Ellis doesn’t know about all the women loving and reading m/m romance and m/m fiction. And once again we have Hollywood fail because they hired someone to produce a film who knows nothing about why the book sold millions of copies.

I didn’t love “Brokeback Mountain” the way so many other people loved it. As a gay man, I found fundamental flaws in both the book and the film. I didn’t like the fact that straight male actors were hired to play gay men when there are so many gay actors out there that could have played the parts just as well. I didn’t even know there was such a huge fandom for Brokeback until recently when I discovered that allegedly m/m romance as a sub-genre can be traced directly back to Brokeback. I’ve heard that all this fandom began as fanfic, much in the same way 50 Shades originated in an ironic twist. Yet I do think the straight actors played the parts well in Brokeback.

And now there’s an interesting turn of events with regard to the film version of 50 Shades. It’s been rumored that openly gay actor Matt Bomer is in the running for the lead role in the film version of 50 Shades only there are some who aren’t sure he’ll be able to pull it off because he is openly gay, Brett Easton Ellis being one of them. I find that interesting, insulting, and absolutely wrong in so many ways I could write endlessly about it. The people who don’t think Bomer can play the part because he’s gay are basically saying that two straight actors can play gay parts without any issues, but gay men can’t play straight parts and be believable.

And once again the gay community gets a kick in the ass, from an asshat. I guess Hollywood forgot all about Rock Hudson, and how he played nothing but straight parts all his life. Oh, yeah. He wasn’t openly gay so that was okay. And what about all the other closeted gay actors out there right now who are playing straight men? They are there, you’d better believe it. They are terrified to come out because they know they won’t get anymore straight parts if they do come out because of asshats like Brett Easton Ellis.

It should be interesting to see how this all plays out in the future, and I’m not just talking about the 50 Shades movie. I’m talking about the way all openly gay men are treated when it comes to getting straight parts. I got slammed in more than a few places when I criticized the Brokeback film because I didn’t like the fact that two straight me were playing gay men. People told me there’s nothing wrong with that as long as the actors can act…and I knew they were right. But if that’s the case there should be nothing wrong with Matt Bomer playing a straight man. We already know he can act. Let’s see how Hollywood handles it this time. I would be willing to bet that Matt Bomer WON’T get the part, and we’ll still be worrying about those fucking chicken sandwiches over at Chick-fil-a when the real injustice is happening in far more important places than a fast food restaurant no one really cares about anyway.

Simon Lipskar Addresses the DOJ on E-book Pricing:

The settlement with three major publishers recently announced by the Department of Justice demonstrates that the government has a fatally flawed understanding of the economics and history of the emerging ebook industry and, as such, has constructed a settlement that undermines a healthy market defined by robust competition. It is my obligation as the president of one of the industry’s leading literary agencies to write and try to persuade the court not to approve this ill-conceived settlement.

It’s a painfully long letter that basically says what most literary agents have been saying all along. There’s no mention about the legal issues in Lipskar’s letter with regard to alleged conspiracy and doing business in an unfair and dishonest way. It’s more emotional than practical. And the law isn’t about emotions. The reason why there are laws is to protect consumers from conspiracies.

I. Did the Alleged Collusion Cause Consumer Harm?

The government’s investigation into agency pricing springs from a flawed premise. On Page 8 of the Competitive Impact Statement, the United States makes a claim that is wholly unsupported by fact: “As a result of Defendants’ illegal agreement, consumers have paid higher prices for e-books than they would have paid in a market free of collusion.”

In the most basic sense, I’m taking this to mean that if I speed down the highway at 100 miles per hour in a sixty-five mile per hour zone and I don’t have and accident and I don’t kill anyone, it’s okay to break the law. Maybe I’m misreading this…but it’s not something I would have written and released in public if I’d been Lipskar.

What also concerns me is that I’ve always been taught that agents represent authors, not publishers or book sellers. So why would a literary agent even get involved in something like this? And I’m putting aside all the flaws I saw in Lipskar’s letter to the DOJ when I ask this question.

You can read more about it here.