Category: nathan bransford

Tom of Finland Stamp; Barbra Streisand on The Normal Heart; Debbie Boone Pro-Gay Beliefs; Publishing Links

Tom of Finland Stamp

Last July Queer Town Abbey had a blog hop and I was part of it and I contributed a prize. Instead of putting one of my books up that time, for a change I decided to give the winner a fairly valuable collection of five print books from Tom of Finland. I’ve been haphazardly collecting things like this for a while, and we even had a Tom of Finland shop in New Hope for tourists for a short time. So when I saw there will now be a stamp in The Netherlands for Tom of Finland I found it interesting that something from gay culture like this would become so mainstream.

Finnish gay erotic artist Touko Laaksonen, AKA Tom of Finland, is to be recognized in his homeland with a series of commemorative stamps by Finland’s postal service.

The stamps will be released in September this year as the first of a series of commemorative stamps recognizing prominent Finnish artists.

Tom of Finland produced more than 3,500 erotic drawings before his death in 1991, mostly published in early gay muscle magazines beginning in 1956.

This isn’t just gay culture, it’s also part of pop culture…and part of an era. And like Harvey Milk, I highly doubt Laaksonen ever would have guessed he’d reach stamp status.

You can read more here.

Streisand on The Normal Heart

Barbra Streisand owned the rights to The Normal Heart for many years. It’s an LGBTI play written by Larry Kramer. For various reasons Streisand never found the right way to adapt The Normal Heart to film and when the rights reverted back to Larry Kramer he started slamming Streisand for not working hard enough to do a film adaptation. This has all been talked about many times, and now Streisand is speaking up in her own defense.

‘It’s a fabulous, fabulous play and I thought it could make a great movie,’ she says. ‘It was so ahead of its time in terms of understanding gay marriage. I wanted it out in 1987. Everyone who goes into that play comes out understanding why you want to get married to someone.’

But there were battles over the script with Kramer and by the time Streisand felt the script was finally ready, she could not get the go-ahead from her studio, Columbia, and went on to make The Mirror Has Two Faces instead.

It would be 18 years before Streisand would make another movie – a supporting role in 2004’s Meet the Fockers.

Aside from the fact that all this is excellent free publicity for The Normal Heart, I don’t think it’s going to harm Streisand. If anything, I think when The Normal Heart airs on May 25 on Showtime we’ll all be watching very closely. And that’s because Ryan Murphy of Glee and American Horror directed it. I haven’t always been a huge fan of Murphy in the sense that his portrayal of gay men…especially gay men…tends to be one dimensional, stereotypical, and often self-indulgent. His TV show The New Normal was not received well, and I can’t even sit through one episode of Glee at this point. That’s not because I’m anti-gay. I AM gay. I’m just anti-bullshit. The most recent season of American Horror was more like fanfic of the old TV show Bewitched, from the covens right down to the evil mother witch. Only Murphy pulled out all the stops by adding incest, bestiality, rape, and all those other “artisical” elements those of the Hollywood fake-it-real-good crowd love to use when they want us to think they are on “that cutting edge” and they are making millions of dollars to be deep and heartfelt.

I’ll be watching on May 25th. And frankly, even though I’m not going to slam Streisand for not making the film herself, I am VERY sorry she didn’t make it. I wouldn’t have had any worries then.

Debbie Boone Pro-Gay Beliefs

This is exactly the kind of article that you probably wouldn’t hear someone like Ryan Murphy talk about openly. He would just ignore it. But I think it’s important because it gets to the heart of a very deep issue we’re all dealing with in the US right now. And that issue is being Christian and coming to terms with supporting gays. You see, Ryan Murphy would only tell you about the Christians who hate gays and want to discriminate against them. He wouldn’t tell you about Christians like Debbie Boone who searched and questioned everything she’d ever known to support gays.

Boone, whose father is anti-gay singer and actor Pat Boone, attended the GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles on Saturday with lesbian friends and talked about her journey to becoming a Christian who embraces the LGBT community.

‘I’m really happy to be here in support of GLAAD, because I am one of the people that has made the transition from an old way of thinking to a new one,’ she said in a red carpet interview with Traipsing Thru Films.

This is something I’m seeing all over, and hearing it from readers all the time. In fact, a study was done recently claiming that most Catholics support gays and gay marriage. The times are changing and we all have to change right along with them…even gay activists.

You can read more here. This really IS the new normal.

Publishing Links

There isn’t a thing that happens on publishing blogs that I miss, however, I don’t post much about them here on the blog anymore because they are either boring, frustrating, or just plain ridiculous. I’m tired of the e-book debate: people are reading e-books and print books now and e-books aren’t going anywhere. But there are some things out there that might be important (interesting) to other writers and when I see them I try to post about them.

Here’s a link to literary agent Janet Reid’s blog. She posted about why she doesn’t like to see people add links to query letters. She claims the links don’t look good and she’s just not fond of them. But I think it’s important to mention that no one can really trust any links anymore in e-mails unless you know someone personally. I followed a link through an e-mail last year from what I thought was Amazon, and I wound up having to cancel a credit card as a result…as per Amazon’s recommendation. Links can contain viruses, and all kinds of malware that could ruin your life. So I never add links to anything in e-mail unless I personally know someone, and I never click them either. This is also why it’s important to make a clear subject line. I find myself deleting e-mails without clear subject lines now more than ever because I don’t feel comfortable about them.

Here’s an interesting link to an article about e-books, with facts and a few figures.

Here’s one on digital journalism that’s interesting. They seem to be worried about catching up with all things digital.

This link helps celebrate National Poetry month with a video of “Arthur” performing the poem “Today is a Very Boring Day.”

Finally, there’s an interesting post over at Nathan Bransford’s blog. In the post Bransford links to a commentary (I think it’s commentary, with this one I’m never too sure because she talks in circles…think Hannah on the TV show Girls) by a blogger who gained pinky finger fame on the fringes of publishing for a short time when she worked for an unnamed literary agent and dubbed herself (and her blog) The Rejectionist. I never followed her much because I found it too disconcerting to try to figure out what she was talking about half the time. I don’t think she’s working as a literary agent “rejectionist” any longer, and I think she even managed to snag a book deal. In any event, her commentary discusses what I think is a new publishing venture for her (don’t quote me on that; I only skimmed) and how we have a lack of African American authors and books thanks to what seems to be a suggestion that publishing as an industry doesn’t support them as much as they should.

But it’s the comment thread on Bransford’s post I found interesting about the topic of African American authors. I don’t really have any comments of my own on the topic because I’m still too busy working to break some of the LGBTI stereotypes in publishing I’ve had to face as an author all my life. I’m not complaining, trust me I’m not. I also fully understand that publishers can only publish a certain amount of LGBTI content because they are going for broad markets and thinking like businesspeople. I love writing LGBTI fiction and all content, however, I often wish there were ways to penetrate the mainstream market a little more.

Consultation with Christine Pride; AIDS Discrimination

Consultation with Christine Pride

I’m not sure this would be for genre authors, but it might work for them, too. Christine Pride is an experienced editor with Random House and Hyperion who has edited eight NYT bestsellers. I found out about this consultation on an author blog, Nathan Bransford, and I thought I’d share it in case anyone is interested. I’ll comment below.

Pride mentions this:

I’m offering a limited number of one hour Skype or phone sessions from February 10th to February 15th. This is your chance to have one-on-one time with an industry veteran to get individualized advice, information and answers.

The consultation fee is $200. And I think if you have $200 to invest in your writing career with a publishing professional it certainly couldn’t hurt. But on the other hand, you don’t find $200 dollars in the street every day and there are many authors making that in digital publishing on their own right now without investing a dime in advice from consultations. They’re spending their money and time in marketing and promotion.

So while I don’t think it could hurt anyone to do something like this, it’s probably not something I would ever do. But this one falls into the category of what’s not right for me might be right for you.

You can read more here.

AIDS Discrimination

We don’t hear about this sort of thing all the time, but it is still happening and I think it’s important to make people aware that it’s happening. A gay worker in the UK was allegedly asked by his employer if he has AIDS. The boss also used other offensive gay pejoratives I won’t repeat here.

A gay British worker has spoken out after his boss asked ‘Do you have AIDS?’ when he was ill.

Jack Howell, 36, said he was ‘mortified’ after boss Peter Chambers made the comment when he had come out of a toilet looking pale and sweating.

At a tribunal hearing yesterday (28 January), Chambers admitted it was ‘inappropriate’ but said it was part of ‘office banter’.

You can read more here.

The worker does have a condition called Raynaud’s Phenomenon, but because he’s gay his boss allegedly decided to stereotype him.

I know this kind of thing happens more often than not, and most of the time we don’t hear about it because the workers are too mortified to speak up.

How to Write a Novel; Russia Bans Gay Gathering For Holocaust Victims

How to Write a Novel

I don’t usually post about non-fic books like this, but I’m doing it this time partly because there aren’t many good books out there like it and partly because it’s a self-published book authored by former literary agent, Nathan Bransford. Bransford is also a long time blogger and the author of a middle grade book series, and the unusual thing about his blog is that it has continued to be just as popular even after he decided to pursue a professional writing career and leave agenting.

Speaking as a blogger now, the reason why that’s so unusual is literary agent blogs usually receive many hits because so many unpubbed writers want to snag a literary agent. The readers want something from the blogger. This makes sense. It’s not easy to snag an agent or a book deal in trad publishing and connecting with an agent through a blog makes writers feel closer to their goals. In other words, the odds are these same literary agent blogs wouldn’t be as popular if the bloggers weren’t literary agents. And Bransford has proven that it is possible to continue to draw a large audience as a blogger without having anything to offer them other than good blog posts that range from writing tips to personal conversations about life, books, and objective criticism. As a blogger, I know how hard that is to do.

In any event, I haven’t read How to Write a Novel yet, but I’m going to buy it later tonight just so I have something to use as a point of reference when I need to prove/discuss something here on my blog. There’s one other non-fic book I loved, also written by a literary agent, Noah Lukeman, I still refer to often when I’m about to submit a novel to a publisher. And from what I’ve read through excerpts and early reviews, it looks like Bransford’s new book just might wind up becoming a staple for other writers for many years to come. But more important, Bransford’s book is priced at $4.99.

You can read excerpts at Bransford’s blog, here. And this is the Amazon page where you can purchase it. I’m sure it will be distributed at Smashwords and other places where digital books are sold as well. Although the book cover isn’t anything elaborate, if you’ve been following Bransford’s blog for any length of time you know orange is his favorite color.

Russia Bans Gay Gathering For Holocaust Victims

I still shudder when I think about the Holocaust, especially when I think about how many gays were persecuted during that time. The millions of lives lost should never have happened, and it wouldn’t have happened if the world had been paying closer attention to what the Nazis were doing, and taking aggressive action against it.

Upon the rise of Adolf Hitler, gay men and, to a lesser extent, lesbians, were two of the numerous groups targeted by the Nazi Party and were ultimately among Holocaust victims. Beginning in 1933, gay organizations were banned, scholarly books about homosexuality, and sexuality in general, were burned, and homosexuals within the Nazi Party itself were murdered. The Gestapo compiled lists of homosexuals, who were compelled to sexually conform to the “German norm.”

And now when I read about what’s happening in Russia to gays it gets even more frightening. The other day I read something about Putin welcoming gays to Russia for the Olympics. But after reading this next article I can’t help but wonder how welcome gays really are in Russia and I think the call to boycott the Olympics is more important than ever. I’ve written a series of post on this, here. As you can see from those posts I’m not the only one who feels this way…aside from Johnny Weir who thinks sports is more important than lives. He makes me shudder, too.

Russia recently banned a gay gathering that was organized to pay tribute and honor to LGBT people who were persecuted and were victims of Nazi Germany. And in banning this gathering the Russian government has sent a message to the world and it’s infuriated gay activists.

But the authorities rejected the application, saying paying tribute to gay victims of Nazi Germany could potentially ‘influence’ children on homosexuality.

Nikolai Alekseev, founder of Moscow Pride, said: ‘The Moscow authorities are becoming increasingly absurd, and the ba of the rally to denounce the crimes of Hitler and Nazism is more proof of this.

‘The government is approving of Nazi Germany’s genocidal policies.’

In an even more homophobic hate oriented move, it’s been alleged the Russian government has banned all gay gatherings.

You can read more here.

Nathan Bransford Post About Bullies and Goodreads

Nathan Bransford Post About Bullies and Goodreads

I wasn’t planning another post today, however, I ran across a recent blog post by author Nathan Bransford about alleged Goodreads bullies and I wanted to link to it for various reasons. One of which is to be able to go back and revisit the topic in the future. I really do think of my blog as a journal and I like having references. Another reason is that I think it’s one of the most neutral and intelligent posts I’ve read on the topic of online bullying in a long time.

I have always remained objective on this particular topic, and I will continue to do so. When I posted about a web site called Stop the Goodreads Bullies over a year ago here on this blog, I offered no opinions whatsoever, and I’m not doing it now. But I think this is an issue that deserves to be mentioned, I think it’s newsworthy to anyone invested in books and publishing (including readers), and I think it’s going to continue to be newsworthy because so many feel so passionate about it.

From Bransford’s post:

Everyone knows that it takes a thick skin to be an author. But no one who writes a book deserves to be subjected to online abuse. It’s one of the strange aspects of online life that it feels like nothing to attack someone through a computer screen, but the recipient of that attack feels as acutely as if it happened in “real” life. Make no mistake: These aren’t reviews, they’re personal attacks.

Bransford goes on to comment about bullying, and he even mentions the web site Stop the Goodreads Bullies. I highly recommend checking this post out. There are over 250 comments that will take a while to read, but it’s well worth your time to see how heated this discussion can get.

What I also find even more interesting is that Bransford is also a consummate, talented blogger as well as an author. He can go to great lengths of writing blog posts with links to publishing related articles on other web sites that are interesting and informative and can enrich our lives, and he only gets a handful of comments. But he posts about goodreads and bullying and the comment thread ignites, which is why I think this debate is only going to become more intense with time.

Nathan Bransford and a Worthy Cause…

I didn’t list nathan Bransford’s blog yesterday in my post about literary agents, because I don’t have time to follow it every single day. But I did check it out today, and I saw that he’s doing something very nice for a very worthy cause. It takes a second. Check it out and leave a comment. Here’s info, pilfered from facebook:

Agent Nathan Bransford is doing a great thing today for Charity. If you leave a comment on his thread, he’s donating 1.00 for each comment, to a very worthy cause. It only takes a minute. Just leave a name, where you live, and a wish…

Nathan Bransford – Literary Agent: Making Spirits Bright With Heifer International
I’m a literary agent with the San Francisco office of Curtis Brown Ltd. and the author of JACOB WONDERBAR AND THE COSMIC SPACE KAPOW, which will be published by Dial Books for Young Readers in 2011.

Someone Told Me it Was Writer Appreciation Week…

Okay. According the Nathan Bransford, this is writer appreciation week. So I posted a comment on his thread and now I’m posting my own appreciation for the writers who contributed to the LASTING LUST anthology. Without you guys, it would have been impossible to put that book together. It turned out to be a mix of stories and came together as a solid, relevant book.
So thank you all:
Tony Wards
R. Wilde
Randy Buck
Jenyphr Rashad
N. Vasco
Roxanne Rhoads
Hobert Glasse
Shanna Gardener
S.R. North
Christian Graziedella