The Property Brothers; Lesbian Publishing; Cowboy Sex Slaves

The Property Brothers

There’s a TV show I watch often called, The Property Brothers, for various reasons, one of which is that Tony and I have always been interested in real estate and we’ve always been invested in real estate. Although Tony doesn’t practice real estate professionally, he has his license in escrow and he got the license to know more about the business. When I’m not browsing through vicious vituperative publishing blogs for sport and sheer ridiculous entertainment, I’m perusing real estate web sites to see what’s happening in the market.

For those who don’t know, The Property Brothers is a TV show where identical twin brothers, Drew and Johnathan Scott, help people with the home buying experience. Drew is the realtor who helps the buyer find and purchase the home, and Johnathan is the licensed contractor who helps the new home owner renovate the home. I’m very critical about a lot of these shows on HGTV, and I’ve posted about that before. But I honestly have to admit that Johnathan Scott’s designs and renovations are always something I could personally live with. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him do anything stupid.

But, there’s a lot we don’t know about the Scott brothers, and this article I found talks about ten secrets you don’t see posted everywhere.

Both Jonathan and Drew starred on the Canadian series Breaker High. Drew had a role on Smallville and Jonathan was on the X-Files! Not wanting to become “starving actors” they went into real estate. “During University we did our very first property, ended up flipping it–before flipping was a trend or cool. We did ended up making about a $50,000 dollar profit. We thought this was something, while still in college. We went back to school for construction and design and our company exploded and we were approached to do Property Brothers . . .”

As a side note, there’s also a third Scott brother, J.D. Scott. He’s an author and a performer, and I think he needs a show of his own. From the few things I have seen, he sounds outspoken, too.

Since very early on, JD has been the writer of their family. He has penned many scripts, stories and articles over the years. He was also the founding member of Canadian sketch comedy ensemble “YFG –Another Comedy Troupe” and a member of the internationally known “Loose Moose Improv”. JD has always embraced all forms of entertainment from acting to music. He has performed in Las Vegas at Caesar’s as a celebrity impersonator for superstars Adam Lambert and David Bowie. In the mid 90’s, the brothers began investing in real estate as a means to fund their production projects. Their first company, Dividian Production Group has since evolved into Scott Brothers Entertainment. JD has also directed a couple of festival films in recent years and heads up the creative team for their company.

Lesbian Publishing

(Update: Someone sent me this link about women in publishing in the UK and I thought it was important enough to add to this post.)

I always maintain that the world is run by straight men…even the publishing industry. In many ways gay men face the same kind of discrimination as women from straight men, often on a daily basis. I get it constantly. It’s time for a change. Lesbian authors are now getting into self-publishing and some have been very successful. So when good friend in NY, Joanne, sent me an article about author Kiki Archer I had to post something about her.
 Kiki Archer is a UK-based, best-selling, award-winning author. Her novels “But She Is My Student,” its sequel “Instigations,” and her latest offeringBinding Devotion,” all quickly became bestsellers in their genre, and Kiki is now working on her fourth lesbian fiction novel, due out late 2013.

A former teacher, Kiki left the field of education to be a stay at home mum and it was during that time that she turned her hand to novel writing. She loves the outdoors, anything sporty, and can always be found biking, quading or rambling with her two children.

Kiki is an active advocate for equal rights for the LGBT community and believes strongly in the importance of coming out. She is very vocal in the defence of equal marriage and is confident that ‘gay rights’ will soon become a non issue.

I think lesbian fiction, like gay fiction, has been getting more attention in the past few years. Small e-presses like Ravenous Romance have published lesbian fiction, and I’ve seen others as well. But for a long time most lesbian fiction was much like gay fiction in the sense that authors and readers didn’t have many choices. The small LGBT presses could only take on so many projects a year, and if a lesbian author was lucky enough to get into an anthology all she got was a flat fee and a free copy of the book. But now it seems as if lesbian authors are finding their voices in self-publishing as well. And the women readers I know personally are very excited about this. It also makes me wonder about the future of small presses, but that’s another post.  
I can’t find a link to the article my friend sent me about Kiki Archer, but here’s a link to Archer’s web site where you can read more about her and her books. She’s been number one on the bestseller Amazon UK list for lesbian fiction. My book, Chase of  Lifetime, hit number one on the UK Amazon bestseller list for a few weeks when it was first released and that was a nice feeling because I didn’t expect it from such a humble little venture. But with so many things changing in publishing these days, I’m starting to think that one of the best ways to go is self-publishing. At the very least, until you are lucky enough to get noticed by a huge publisher, you will always remain in complete control of your work. In other words, if your small publisher, like, decides to go out of business in a month’s time, you won’t be scrambling around like I am right now trying to get all your titles with them re-released as indie books. More to come on that topic very soon, too.
But for now I think it’s important to recognize the excellent lesbian authors out there who are changing the world. If you have never read lesbian fiction, I urge you to begin with Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown. This is not only a classic lesbian novel, but it’s as relevant today as it was forty years ago.
Cowboy Sex Slaves
I saw a link the other night on social media from LGBT book reviewer Gerry Burnie about cowboys as sex slaves and I was amazed when I read it. I’ve written my share of cowboy stories. I’m familiar with the rodeo circuit because I grew up not far from here. And I even have a good friend who owns a dude ranch in Montana. But I never knew the extent of this.
Cowboys were heavily exploited and usually brutally treated until such time as they became able to beg, borrow, buy or steal a gun. They were used not only as cheap and disposable labor, but also for sexual release by older and stronger men. Such adult men used the pretext of a scarcity of women to establish enforced homosexual relationships in remote camps and ranches comparable to the relationships for which today’s prisons are notorious.
It’s a very eye-opening, compelling article. You can read more here. And now that I know about it, I’m going to try to research it more and tackle the topic in the future in my own gay romance.

Sex Slaves Want Resignation; Benjamin Leroy on Queries; Women who Love Gay Fiction

Sex Slaves Want Resignation

This is something I never knew. Thousands of women were forced into prostitution during WWII in Japan. And now it seems two former Korean sex slaves in their 80’s want the resignation of Mayor Toru Hashimoto because he actually tried to justify this act of sex slavery and prostitution.

The women, who did not appear in public, said in a statement they were heartbroken by Hashimoto’s “outrageous comments” and didn’t want to be seen contributing to a less-than-sincere apology.

Instead, they demanded that Hashimoto, 43, apologize and resign as mayor of Japan’s second-biggest city.

It’s a fascinating, heartbreaking piece from the sex slave angle in itself, but when you read about how someone actually insulted these women and tried to justify these actions of the past it will blow your mind. I have always been a proponent of legalized prostitution. I actually do believe we all have the right to do what we want with our own bodies, men and women. However, there is a huge difference between forced prostitution and legal prostitution. One is a choice. The other is taking away a fundamental choice that leaves the kind of emotional scars that never go away.

I hope he does resign.

Benjamin Leroy on Queries

If you haven’t experienced the fresh hells of querying a literary agent, I suggest you read this post. I don’t want to turn this into a negative thing. I truly don’t. There are excellent agents out there who handle the query process with professionalism, and they never insult you or treat you like an inferior. I’ve had both good experiences and bad with queries (mostly good). And I am very pro-agent.

For a long time the query letter was the only lifeline between authors and publishers. If you didn’t have an agent the odds were your books would never be pubbed. Although it’s still like this to a certain extent with large publishers, there are many new authors out there, both pubbed and un-pubbed, who have been paving the way in indie publishing for other authors. I even include the recent announcement from Amazon with Kindle Worlds here. Fanfic authors deserve credit, too, because they are constantly building readership in spite of the obstacles.

In any event, learning how to actually work the query process is a good thing for authors. You learn how to write tight book descriptions and you learn how to handle rejection as well. But while I think it’s a good idea to query widely and to research agents, I also think it’s a good idea to query and explore all your options as an author nowadays. And you do have other options besides querying.

Benjamin Leroy has a list of the top things you shouldn’t do when querying an agent. Some are good, others annoy me. This is one that I find a little tired now. But it’s not the worst thing I’ve ever seen.

Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Don’t tell me your book is a “guaranteed bestseller” because nobody knows that kind of thing and if you’re delusional about that, you’re going to be delusional about a bunch of things and I’m too old to deal with that.

A lot of new authors tend to do this…make promises like the one above. They don’t mean any harm. They are nice people hoping for the best. I’ve had more than one calls for submission for anthologies of my own and I’ve worked with a lot of new authors. I tend to enjoy their innocence. I like meeting them and I don’t think they are delusional. But this is also where new authors have to be careful. There are vipers out there who don’t have the time or patience for newbies. Try not to be too innocent. You don’t get points for that from everyone. So this is good advice from Leroy…it’s excellent advice. But it’s good in the sense that it proves how insulting the query experience can be sometimes and how careful you have to be while querying.

There’s a simple reason why a scorpion will always sting: it’s in their nature.

Women Who Love Gay Fiction

I’ve had excellent responses to the calls for submission that I released in January for my upcoming anthology, The Women Who Love to Love Gay Fiction. Yesterday I replied to everyone who submitted and I told some of them their stories will be included in the anthology.

This is going to be different than most anthologies in many ways. And not just because of the theme. The authors who will be included have given me a wide range of stories that cover all kinds of territory I found fascinating. And one author submitted three short stories in an almost short story trilogy fashion. At first I thought I would only take on one of the stories. But once I started reading them I wanted to find out what happened to the characters, and I decided to publish them all back to back.

I’ll post more about this with excerpts in the coming weeks. I haven’t set an exact release date yet, but I will do that very soon. I originally thought it would be August, but things are moving along so well it might even be sooner.

On another note, here’s a great link to the Alumni Association of Princeton University that will lead you to a video about Gay Marriage.

During the Every Voice conference for Princeton’s LGBT and ally alumni, Hayley Gorenberg ’87, Deputy Legal Director for Lambda Legal, discusses the strides made in the marriage equality movement and what needs to be done in other realms such as the trans-rights movement and HIV-AIDS rights.