Category: fanfic

Principal Comes Out; Long Beach Gay Mayor; Fanfic Author Gets Huge Deal

Principal Comes Out

As Gay. I just figured I would add “as gay” like the rest of them in case someone doesn’t understand the phrase “coming out.”

In any event, the Principal of a high school in Washington, D. C. came out in public during a gay pride event. Evidently, he’s been in the closet all his life, just turned 50, and got tired of keeping it a secret.

“I want to say publicly for the first time because of your leadership, care and support that I am a proud gay man who just happens to be the principal of Wilson High School,” he said while in the school’s atrium, according to The Washington Post.

He’s received a great deal of support. But of course the Westboro Baptish Church is planning a protest because the school actually had a gay pride. (Are they even a real church? I’m not joking when I ask that, and I’m not being snarky. I’m Catholic and I’m not familiar with these start-up US churches that seem to come and go like fast food restaurants. We had one around here once called “The Church on the Rock” but it didn’t seem to last long.)

You can read more here. I can’t even imagine what it must be like to come out at the age of 50. But I’m sure this principal feels as if a huge weight has been lifted.

Long Beach Gay Mayor

The young straight guy who actually introduced me to Facebook when it was first launched lives in Long Beach, CA, and I thought about him when I read this article. I used to follow his blog daily (this dates back to 2003) until we both got busier in life. I was writing reviews and interviewing bloggers for bestgayblogs.com at the time and even though this guy was straight I thought his blog was so well executed I asked if I could interview him for the web site. He’s also a school teacher and one of the most talented authors I know. Looking back now, I think it’s interesting that I got to know him through blogging and I’ve been following his life online from the day he graduated college, to the day he married, right up to now where he has two daughters and just celebrated a milestone birthday. We’ve never actually met in person, but I still considered him a friend.

In any event, the mayor of Long Beach, California is openly gay and much younger than most mayors. He’s making history because he’s gay, Hispanic, and the youngest mayor ever to serve there.

At 36, he’s the youngest mayor ever and he’s the first Hispanic elected to the city’s top job.

Garcia is also the first openly gay mayor in the coastal city just south of Los Angeles.

He had the high-profile endorsement of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. ‘Thank you, Long Beach!’ Garcia wrote on his Twitter page on Wednesday morning.

You can read more here. I saw someone on social media predict that we would have an openly gay President by the middle of the next decade. We’ve already had one closeted gay President…James Buchanan.  

I’ve seen people argue the point about Buchanan being gay. Please don’t do that here. I’m not Dr. Phil and this isn’t up for discussion.

Fanfic Author Gets Huge Deal

Anna Todd, a 25 year old One Direction fanfic author, just snagged a six figure three book deal with Simon & Schuster for After.  It was pubbed on Wattpad, a fanfic web wite, and it has millions of readers. Here’s the blurb:

The story summary: “Tessa Young is an 18 year old college student with a simple life, excellent grades, and a sweet boyfriend. She always has things planned out ahead of time, until she meets a rude boy named Harry, with too many tattoos and piercings who shatters her plans.” Other One Direction members, such as Niall and Zayn, show up in the story as college frat guys.

To get a better understanding of what One Direction fanfic is check out this web site.

I find this fascinating for a number of reasons. One, S&S is actually publishing something that readers want to read. That’s a novelty in itself. Two, I never thought I would see the day fanfic garnered deals like this…for those who don’t know, Fifty Shades of Grey was Twilight fanfic before it was trad pubbed. Three, because the usual haters of anyone writing fanfic for money (especially big money) are coming out in droves in their clicky little twitter feeds to slam it, with that same old tired, endless song and dance of Pa-LAY-Jee-Arr- izm.

I don’t believe there are any new tropes or storylines left to write…at least not any worth reading or that would appeal to the general public. If they exist, there aren’t that many and would most likely appeal to the fringes. Most of what we read in books, view in films and on TV, and hear in music is just another interpretation of something that’s already been done a hundred times before. It’s the way in which it is done that matters most.

I read once where Nora Ephron allegedly based You’ve Got Mail on The Shop Around the Corner. And The Shop Around the Corner was allegedly based on something else I can’t remember now. Only an asshole or an amateur would call these unique interpretations plagiarism.

I applaud Anna Todd and S&S. They’re doing something right.

You can read more about the fanfic deal here.

Release Day: The Preacher’s Husband; Chapman Jock Comes Out; Gone With the Wind Prequel

Release Day: The Preacher’s Husband

Update: Here’s the purchase link for Allromanceebooks.com

This is the second book in the Glendora Hill series, The Preacher’s Husband.

Right now it’s up on Smashwords, and I’ll keep posting with updates as it becomes available on other web sites where e-books are sold. Sometimes it takes a while to upload these books.

This is a stand alone and you don’t have to read the first book to understand this one. It’s priced at .99 for the time being and it has 60,000 words.

Here’s the back cover copy description:

In this next full length novel from the Glendora Hill series, The Preacher’s Husband, cowboy Kelly Barrett takes off on a road trip to join his husband in Texas to begin a new adventure. Kelly has a new job as ranch manager and his gay minister husband just took over a new church on the outskirts of town.

But after a brief stop at the Grand Canyon, Kelly runs into an unusual man on a motorcycle, both literally and figuratively, and they wind up finishing the road trip together where at one point they are forced to spend the night at a remote gay resort in the middle of nowhere. There are even more surprises in store for them, and Kelly’s uneventful life as the preacher’s husband turns into something far more complicated.

With the help of Sebastian Holt and other recurring characters from the series, Kelly winds up questioning everything about his life. And while he’s going through his dilemma, Sebastian’s son, Kick, comes out of the closet in a show of rebellion that sends whispers all over town…with a devastating scene at the very end that could ruin all their lives.

Will Kelly figure out how to be the perfect preacher’s husband? Will Kick finally see the dangerous game he’s playing could kill him? Or will life as everyone knows it in perfect Glendora Hill, Texas change forever?

Chapman Jock Comes Out

Mitch Eby, a football player at Chapman U, recently came out of the closet and found a great deal of support.

He made a speech to his teammates:

He said in part: ‘It has taken me years to accept myself for who I truly am, so it’s irrational to expect everybody to unconditionally accept me right away. However, the one thing that I hope that I can count on from each of you, my teammates, is your respect. Your respect as a friend, your respect as a teammate, and your respect as a man.’

The team applauded when he finished speaking, some gave him a hug and one even called Eby his hero.

More here. There’s a photo of him in football gear, too.

After watching the violent coming out scene last night on the TV show Shameless, this is nice to hear.

Gone With the Wind Prequel

There’s a new Gone With the Wind Prequel coming out that was authorized by the Mitchell estate. Its focus is on the Mammy character from GWtW, and it’s supposedly going to give life to the Mammy character. Mitchell has been criticized for not making the Mammy character more three dimensional in Gone With the Wind.

The completed book, “Ruth’s Journey,” is the fictional telling of the life of one of the novel’s central characters, a house servant called Mammy who otherwise remains nameless. The story begins in 1804, when Ruth is brought from her birthplace, the French colony of Saint-Domingue that is now known as Haiti, to Savannah, Ga. The Mitchell estate has authorized the prequel, which was written by Donald McCaig, the author of one of two authorized “Gone With the Wind” sequels, “Rhett Butler’s People,” from 2007. (The other was “Scarlett” by Alexandra Ripley, released in 1991.) “Gone With the Wind” won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1937 and has sold hundreds of millions of copies.

I’ve never been a huge GWtW fanboy. I know I’m in the minority but I’ve always thought GWtW has more corn than Iowa, and more camp than a drag show.

But I do find these prequels interesting from a writer’s POV. I think it shows that anything can be done. But more important, fanfic is okay and you can make millions of dollars with it as long as it’s authorized.

I wish some wonderful fanfic author would write a prequel to my book, An Officer and His Gentleman, and talk about Chance’s life before he started working for the creepy old man who made him walk around naked all the time. I won’t get mad at you. I’ll support you all the way. I have no issues with fanfic.

You can read more here.

Amazon Alternate Universe; The Fosters; LGBTI Arrests in Russia

Amazon Alternate Universe

I’m not clear on this, so I’m just posting facts. The article to which I’m linking talks about how Amazon is having success with alternate universe fiction…which is like fan fiction, but not absolute fan fiction. (I think)

Here’s an explanation that might put all this into perspective. I’m not going to attempt to define it in a short post.

Also, the article to which I’m linking mentions author, Hugh C. Howey. I’ve posted about him before, here, with regard to alleged (keep in mind alleged is the key word and nothing has been proven by any means) paid book reviews and aggressive author promotion that includes influencers. He’s one of the alleged amazon .99 millionaires and works with literary agent, Kristin Nelson, in Denver. The Nelson Agency was one of the first to start an e-publishing service for its clients/authors, working with clients in partnership to self-pub digital books. NLA’s Digital Liaison Platform was mentioned in a post here, by Nelson, that discusses how literary agents are changing with the times.

And then Amazon.com opened a creative door for him (Howey). The book-publishing unit at the online retail giant created an imprint devoted to fan fiction, Kindle Worlds, last May. Fan fiction is often dismissed as mediocre writing by wannabe authors.

If there is a bottom line to all this, I think it has to do with the fact that readers want these books and they don’t always care as much about originality as they do about storyline. Readers want to be entertained. I know a lot of writers who have a problem with it. I don’t. If readers want this I see no reason why they shouldn’t get it.

Amazon is betting its alternative universe will succeed because its business model is different. The company doesn’t need blockbusters to offset the duds in its library. That’s because the lion’s share of the books it publishes are read digitally. Amazon doesn’t have to worry about printing costs, distributing books to stores and buying back unsold books from those stores.

You can read more here. It will be interesting to see if this really does take off. I have a few alternate universe stories I’d like to execute but I’ve been fearful of the review police who might try to shoot me down. And they do that, especially if you aren’t a promotion aggressive author like me who is willing to do anything to get reviews. I also have to make a point of actually reading one of Hugh Howey’s books to see what everyone’s talking about. When I do, I’ll post a full review here on the blog.

The Fosters

Friends of mine turned me on to a new TV show called, The Fosters. It’s about a same-gender couple fostering kids and it’s breaking many gender boundaries, educating people, and getting into topics we normally don’t see anywhere.

There are two people in the picture above. Callie is on the left. She is a young, straight woman who was born female and identifies as such (also known as ‘cisgender’). She’s bounced from foster home to foster home with her little brother, always with a protective watch over him. She is currently living with the Fosters, a same-gender couple, and is “in love” with one of her foster brothers. Unless you watch the show, how could you know such personal details? Is it visible? Can you just “sense” it, whatever that means? No? Ok.

You can read more here, and check The Fosters out on the ABC Family Channel. It airs Monday nights, 9/8c.

LGBTI Arrests in Russia

Unless you read publications that are LGBTI oriented you are not going to get all the news about what’s happening in Russia during the Olympics. On Friday, more than a dozen LGBTI activists were arrested in Red Square and why they were arrested is sketchy at best.

Police arrested 10 activists near Moscow’s Red Square who held rainbow flags as they sung the Russian national anthem just before the games opened. Authorities have released the advocates, but reports indicate police beat and threatened to sexually assault them while they were in custody.

I’ve read various comments about them being arrested because they didn’t have permission to protest. But even if that is the case an arrest is something completely different from sexual assault and beatings.

Unfortunately, it might take months to find out what really happened. And that will be long after everyone has forgotten about how “exciting” and “heartwarming” the Olympic games actually are.

You can read more here.

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.