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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Social Network or Homophobia Network

Recently, Facebook has set a rather scary precedent in the practise of removing photos that are deemed offensive in some fashion. Often we're not told precisely what the offense is, but a very good friend of mine was frozen on the site and warned to remove his profile picture and all photos of him and his partner together - why? Because he's gay. There was nothing overtly sexual in the photos, just two men together, their affection evident, but not sexual. A loving, sweet image of people who love each other. He was to remove all these image before his account would be released back to him. Shortly after this happened, I heard from an author who was told to remove her images of M/M romance.

A few nights later, a threat was made - very publicly - on the wall of someone who didn't like my friend - she stated bluntly that homosexuals should be shot. Was she deactivated? No. She received a "warning" for this hate-filled statement, which is in direct violation of Facebook's stated policies. So, apparently, our social network has a double-standard, or it's simply homophobic. Looks like the latter. As you can well imagine, MANY people find this disturbing and infuriating, and intolerable. So, some are speaking out.

One of the people I respect a great deal chose to post something on his Facebook account that speaks well of him, and speaks eloquently for all of us who believe there is no place in the public realm of social networks for this kind of hate-mongering and discrimination. With his permission, I am reposting his statement. I hope you will think about his words, and post your own objections to the bigotry that is apparently acceptable on the site many recognize as the largest social network in the world right now. Over to Qhuinn....

Getting Serious Now
by Qhuinn Longstrong
Friday, 28 January 2011 at 19:24

This whole hypocritical shit that has been going on lately with Facebook and those who are of same gender or bi-sexual orientations with tasteful and artful pictures on their profiles getting buillied into basically "hiding" who they are is old and tired. The world isn't meant for just some and not others. I have proof.

1. In the dawn of American civilization Pilgrims and explorers came to the New World to forge out a new life. Native Americans were not only killed, run off their homelands, or forced conversion of anglo saxon christian belief systems but eventully through the first couple of centuries were forced to live on reservations where many stil reside. Many Native American tribes have all but become extinct because of "some people thinking the country were for some and not all".

2. In the 1600s through well the late 60's(well pretty much still prevalent) African-American people have been enslaved and discriminated against. They have been beaten, separated, sold, and every other atrocity just because of the color of their skin and because "some people thinking the country were for some and not all" said they were not intelligent enough to have their own rights and lives...yeah tell that sad stupid shit to Oprah Winfrey, Sidney Poiter, Nelson Mandela, and President O'Bama.

3.In the mid 80s through 1990, a young boy who was plagued with hemophilia contracted AIDS through a life saving blood transfusion and was run out of his Indiana town. Ryan White was the center of paranoia and he was just a little kid. He was denied the right to an education, shunned, tormented, his family tormented, all because "Some people thinking the country were for some and not for all" decided it. They were sorry later, but really all they will ever be is sorry sacks of shit if you ask me.

4. Laramie,WY, a young college student by the name of Matthew Shepherd was beaten and left for dead because he was homosexual. He never did anything to anyone and yet two upstanding young men were part of the "Some people thinking the country were for some and not all" club. Pathetic and Fred Phelps and his fanatics can suck my dick!

5. Teena Brandon, a transgendered human being was raped, beaten, and killed for what....because she was born the wrong gender? Because he fell in love with a woman? I tell ya, the "Some People Who Thinking the Country is for some and not all" really need to realize that they're group is getting smaller and smaller.

I can go on and on. Despite your skin color, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or even your religeon everyone has the right to be happy and live the way that makes them that way! I think we have proven that skin color doesn't determine intelligence and sexual orientation doesn't mean you're an instant child molester or pornographer! Everyone has the right under the Constitution to be able to have freedom of speech,the press, to worship how they will, etc. and the right to post their pictures on a social network site. My problem is people getting profiles yanked because they have tasteful and beautiful pictures of same sex couples yet "straight" members can post near X rated pictures and there's no problem as far as Facebook is concerned.

THIS IS WRONG! So copy and paste this if you agree and post it to your profiles.



Saturday, January 29, 2011

COMING SOON!

Just signed my first contract with this house.... and here's the story - my first M/F/M ménage.... *deep breaths*

STRANDED!
Erotic ménage/voyeurism
Publisher: New Dawning International Bookfair
READ MORE HERE

What begins as an idyllic cruise for four friends quickly becomes a nightmare… the pleasant afternoon has had its tense moments as personalities clash. Iris is the newest member of the quartet, married to Dale Montgomery for a short time, she is reserved and elegant–a direct contrast to the earthy sexuality and eroticism of Giselle Jordan–the woman who has been Dale's closest friend for many years. When their boat is caught in the crush of a tidal wave near sunset, the four are swept into the ocean. Hours after the capsize, Giselle awakens on a stretch of beach, a short distance away is Iris, bleeding and terrified. When Iris dies, Giselle is left stranded on an island with the two men she loves. How long will it be before passion take them into the dangerous realm that is the uncharted territory of the heart?

Excerpt:

Giselle floundered, no longer even remotely doubtful that she was dying. The sound of the waves pounded in her ears and she was aching and broken in every molecule of her being. As she lay face down in darkness and misery, her senses slowly started to wake and she realized she wasn’t dead after all. The sand under her cheek was cold and wet, and the water she heard was the rumbling thunder of surf heard at ground level.

She concentrated, then dared to turn her head. It was almost dark, and a long stretch of beach stretched before her. Something bumped insistently at her side and she reached out, pulling back with a yelp when she encountered a warm body. Forcing herself into motion, she sat up and looked at who was next to her, praying it would be Blake, then trying not to be angry when it wasn’t her husband, but Iris Montgomery.

She reached out a shaking hand and touched Iris’s shoulder, giving her a gentle nudge.

“Iris!”

There was no motion or sound from the other woman and Giselle tasted fresh panic in her throat while she shook Iris. Pushing into a sitting position, she strained to see the prone figure next to her. As her eyes adjusted and the moon began to glow, casting chill silver rays over them, she spotted the bleeding gash along Iris’s side. The water was inching inward, too, covering them a little more with each lapping wave.

Biting back a scream, Giselle rose to her feet, bent, and started dragging Iris up onto the dry sand of the beach. Once there, she plopped to the fine, warm sand and leaned forward, head on her drawn up knees. As she tried to calm her terror and push it into the back of her mind, she prayed that Blake and Dale were still alive and close by.

A low, agonized moan made her shudder against a raw cold that was purely internal in origin, and she bent to touch Iris’s shoulder as the other woman fought to focus on her.

“What… what happened?”

There was a world of pain in the shaken words, and Giselle knew she was seeing the first signs of trauma and shock—what she could do about it wasn’t worth considering.

“We were hit by a wave,” she said, stroking Iris’s hair. “I don’t know where we are, Iris.”

CHECK IT OUT HERE



Thursday, January 27, 2011

The FACEBOOK saga - Part Two

OK, so here we go, Facebook Part Two!! The Saga Continues... *lol*

48 hours after being unceremoniously deactivated in the middle of a conversation, I arrived home to discover messages flying in telling me my pages were back up. A detailed check of my email turned up a message from a Facebook representative with an explanation of what happened. Grateful as I am for the prompt and courteous reply to my request to have my account reactivated, I do have some trouble believing that the issue was the image I had up as a profile picture - especially in light of the fact that this image had been used on and off for a couple of months.

This is the note I received from Facebook. I'm posting it here so that other authors might avoid this sort of incident. Also, this is the actual image that is supposed to have violated their policy - despite it being a great deal more innocuous than some book covers, and many of the profile pictures I've seen others use.



FACEBOOK REPLY:

Hi Denysé,

Your account was suspended because you uploaded photo content that violated Facebook's Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. This content has been removed from the site.

After reviewing your situation, we have reactivated your account. You will now be able to log in. For technical and security reasons, Facebook cannot provide you with a description or copy of the removed content.

Please review the guidelines below to prevent your personal account from being disabled in the future:

• Do not send messages or post photos that contain nudity, graphic or sexually suggestive content.

• Remove any remaining photos of this kind that you have uploaded on the site.

• Do not use the site to harass others or contact people you do not know. You are not allowed to send unwanted friend requests or messages to strangers.

For more information on conduct that is prohibited by Facebook, please read our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, which can be accessed by clicking on the "Terms" link at the bottom of any Facebook page.

We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your cooperation going forward.

Thanks for contacting Facebook,

M****
User Operations
Facebook

As you can see, there are many, many ways to interpret what is acceptable, and what isn't - and we are pretty much left to the tender mercies of other people's perceptions and sensibilities. At the risk of repeating myself, this report process needs to be revisited and in fact made a proper process, not simply a matter of anyone being able to press a link and have someone else's work summarily dismissed or held hostage until they beg to have it restored.

I also have to take this chance to thank some truly astonishing friends. For those of you who are not familiar with the term Role-Player, let me explain it thus: Online Actor who brings to life the characters from books, some are in fact gifted storytellers themselves who keep the characters in constant motion, alive and breathing - to the great delight of their fans, and the fans of the authors whose works are being portrayed. I have only recently become familiar with this art, and yes in the right hands it is an art.

When I was deactivated so suddenly, the Role Playing community surged to the forefront in support of me, they immediately started investigating what happened and why - and in short time had discovered a great deal of evidence that this was in fact the work of hackers. Motives are varied, ranging from jealousy and envy, to simply being dicks with nothing better to do. Whatever the reason, it brought forth an amazing show of faith and support - something for which I will always be grateful.

To my friends at Black Dagger Eternity - in particular, John Matthew, Qhuinn Longstrong, Phury, and Rehvenge - above and beyond, you are all wonderful.

The Black Dagger BDB group.

The des Quatre-Freres Brothers - Rémy, Matéo, Sébastien, and Aimé

The players at Lords of the Underworld - Lords and Pandora - in particular, Paris Promiscuity - Pandora, and William - The Beloved - Lords

Clan Wolfhaven - in particular Dememtri Wolfhaven, who is one of my most cherished friends, and a brilliant role-player.

You have all rallied for me, and there are no words to thank you for your love, your friendship, and your support. I know I have missed some of the people here, and I apologize. Please know my thanks extend to all of you!! The amazing people at XoXo Publishing were stellar, as well - so special thanks to them, also.

So, to family, and friends - and all those who are both - many, many thanks for all you've given me through this craziness.

To the authors who are reading this - backup your pages with the tool FB provides for that action, and be wary of who you trust. Paranoia is not something I advocate, but after all this, believe me, I'm a lot more aware in a bad way of the lengths people will go to crap all over someone else's work in an effort to exercise the power they feel with their anonymity protected by a computer screen.



Monday, January 24, 2011

The power that is FACEBOOK

We all know the site, and most of us use it for many networking purposes, be it personal interactions with family and friends, or promotional for our books and creative work. So, imagine the horror when you're in the middle of a conversation and you're asked to login again–then when you try, you get the news–your account has been deactivated. You have been summarily deleted out of existence with no explanation or warning. And while you stare, you receive an email saying you have been deactivated for "misconduct" and that's all you're going to be told!

This is precisely what happened to me last night. Was I shocked? Yes. Horrified and freaked out, honestly. It's a new day, and now I'm just majorly pissed off, I have to admit. See, the powers that be have deemed a report severe enough to have my pages frozen in cyberspace–and whoever pushed the report button doesn't have to prove anything, I do. Is it just me, or is that policy a little bit backward? The internet is an amazing thing, but all this anonymity is giving some strange people a lot of power that they shouldn't possess on a good day, never mind a bad one.

We live in an open world when we enter a public job–and being an author means a huge chunk of your life is out there as public record. How it's perceived is really an unknown quantity, but in many cases I suspect it's highly romanticized for readers and fans of our work. Most of the people who have rallied around me are friends and fellow authors who understand how rocking this is to the promotional end of things we all have to do to make readers aware of our books.

So, here I am a day later, and I've had some time to rethink the whole FB approach, and whether it's even worth it, honestly. It's a bloody retarded site in so many ways, with no real safeguards for anyone in place–adults and/or children alike, yet we've all been programmed to think we need it.... A few years ago it was MySpace that was the be-all and end-all of the social networking world–so in a few years Facebook will be the dinosaur of the trends.... who knows what will take its place?? Ultimately, is this site a help or a hindrance to us? We all know it sucks up huge chunks of time that could be spent somewhere else, and if you do lose your account after two years of hard work–the real kicker is THEY KEEP ALL OF YOUR INFORMATION AND WORK, but you don't have access to it. Isn't that theft of intellectual property?

I don't know about the rest of you, but it seems to me the more we feed this mindset, the more lost we get. Does Facebook really equate with better sales? Or is it a myth that we perpetuate ourselves with our hope that the hard work is benefitting from the time we spend interacting with everyone on social sites? For what it's worth, I don't think so, honestly.

All that said, I do have a new page, and I have no idea if the old ones will be reactivated. I have forged a lot of friendships, and there are a lot of upset people reacting to this deactivation. It is long past time that this site placed some worthwhile constraints on its use, and stopped allowing anyone and everyone to arbitrarily bring about the deletion of months and years of work and networking because they don't like a picture they see, or a post they read. One thing that this site could learn from good old MySpace is the simple little safeguard of allowing you to set a page for "adults" and then you've got a small protection in the fact that if you set it for grown ups then the responsibility is not yours to ensure young minds are not corrupted. Not rocket science, is it?

At the end of the day the real problem is we're all grown ups in this business. At what point in time did we lose the ability to be adult in our approach to others? Why is it necessary to police someone else because you don't like what you see on their pages? If you're there, in most cases, it's because you asked to be. A quick unlike or unfriend will remove the offensive individual from your view. Unless you encounter someone who is spouting the benefits of annihilation or mass murder, or posting truly pornographic material, why assume you have the right to judge what others will find sensual or artistic? We talk about our open society and the freedom of expression–yet we exhibit shocking close-mindedness each time someone is subjected to this kind of attack, don't we?

All this freedom is just pretty words, it seems, because as long as one person is able to hold the power to silence your expression, there is no freedom, and everyone's under the sword. Welcome to the Dark Ages of the CyberWorld...



Monday, January 10, 2011

Bring in the New Year with BOOKS!


It is time to let the winning begin!

Yes, tons of fun and prizes heading your way.There are hearts on Coffee Time Romance & More. There are hearts on author's websites.

There are hearts on publisher's websites.Remember if you want to get the clues to find those hearts, you will need to have our toolbar to receive the clues every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday!This will help you be enter to win a new Pandigital color e-reader!

To read all about how this works and the legal junk, click here.




Saturday, January 08, 2011

Destiny Blaine: STEAM TOYS

Steam Toys: Just Released
Available Now at Aspen Mountain Press

Revenge is a hot, bitter dish when served up enthusiastically by someone empowered by extra steam.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Blurb:

Heidi Labeidi, a successful Nevada brothel owner, had the world by its tail until her deceptive lover Stan Graves disposed of her. Lost somewhere between life and the afterlife, Heidi materializes in her former home thirty years after her death. She has a second chance and she’s hell bent on solving her own murder.

With a knack for creating pleasure-inducing trinkets and furniture, Edward Brady is an eccentric mad scientist on the verge of greatness. He’s also in desperate need of an assistant and his problems are solved when he discovers a sensual ghost enjoying his sex toys.

Heidi has something to offer Edward but her assistance comes at a price. And when Edward becomes an assassin’s mark, only Heidi can help him. Will Edward barter with a ghost who can save him and if he does, will the former madam become the one woman Edward is unable to resist?

Excerpt:

Heidi squeezed his fingers. “You’re a thoughtful man, Edward, but trust me when I tell you: I’ve ruined many a man’s reputation. You’re considered a genius in this town. You don’t want this city to turn its back on you right now. You’re on the verge of something great and I want to come along for the ride.” She slid her arm under the table and touched his knee. “And I want a lot of rides with you, Edward.”

His damn prick was ready to negotiate the terms.

You do?” Edward asked, engaging himself in what must’ve looked like an odd one-sided conversation. By the time he realized what he was doing, half the restaurant’s customers were now turning around, staring at him with marked curiosity.

Heidi tilted her head toward some of the patrons. “You’re seated at a table for two. You requested a couple of wine glasses. Two meals have been served. This seat is vacant and you’re holding a hand that doesn’t exist.” She looked down at their entwined fingers. “Your thumb is jerking as if you’re massaging my wrist. You don’t think this is newsworthy for the Las Vegas Lifestyle Magazine?”

“You’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen,” Edward admitted. “If I can see you, then they must.”

“No, Edward,” she said, standing.

He stood too as a polite gesture.

“I don’t exist in your world. You’re the only one who can see me.”

“Then I’m one lucky guy.”

Heidi held her shoulders back. A quick tilt of her head sent ringlets tumbling across her shoulders. “That depends on who you ask at the moment. In public situations like this, I recommend that you listen and let me do the talking. Some here are ruthless snakes when it comes to tearing down a man’s reputation, especially one like yours, and they’ll be anxious to poke fun at the crazy man, the man who inevitably will catch the eye of their women because of his deep pockets.”

“What’s that mean, exactly?”

“You’re about to make millions, the kind of money this city hasn’t seen since the days of Howard Hughes, and you’re acting as crazy as Hughes himself.”

“I’m not hungry,” he told her, feeling like he’d known her at another point and time in his life. “I want to take you home and—”

“And what, Edward? Get to know me?”

“Yes.”

She took a deep breath. “Oh for heaven’s sake, sit down and finish your meal and then meet me at the curb. As long as you’re looking at me like I’m dessert, there’s no way you’ll enjoy your dinner. Besides, you’re drawing too much attention.”

“I would think someone in your line of work craves center stage.” he pointed out, snapping at her.

Heidi leaned forward. “Careful, Edward, everyone is staring now.”


Destiny Blaine’s Book, Steam Toys is available now from Aspen Mountain Press. Check out other excerpts and information here: http://www.aspenmountainpress.com/ or follow her blog here: http://www.destinyblaine.blogspot.com/


*JANUARY 2011 NEW RELEASE*

THE THIRD PROMISE
Series: Sport Wives #6
Destiny Blaine
Siren-Bookstrand Publishing
Released January 2011
Erotic May-December Cowboy Ménage a Quatre Romance, M/F/M/M
Buy at Siren HERE

Special release day discount at Bookstrand ONLY: For one week only, all other Siren-BookStrand titles by Destiny Blaine are 15% off! Offer ends January 13th.

Suzy has always wanted more. Now, she has all she can handle and she still wonders, "Are two men really enough?"

When the Giovanni brothers introduce Suzy to a close friend, she gets her answer and finds herself pondering possible scenarios. Does Branson Braxton have anything to offer a woman or is he only interested in an eight-second ride?

A man hell-bent on keeping his friends safe, Branson Braxton goes out of his way to protect the Giovanni family. Soon, he finds he’s devoted and attracted to Suzy Giovanni. He’ll do anything to protect her and goes out of his way to love her.

Read a hot excerpt in this thrilling new release HERE

Don't forget Destiny Blaine’s December releases, Cowboys For Christmas and A Cowboy’s Christmas Story now available at Amazon, Bookstrand, and other online bookstores.




Friday, January 07, 2011

From Kitty Blogger to Kitty Author

From Kitty Blogger to Kitty Author
By Sparkle

Remember a few years back, when there was all this hype about going from blog to book? A lot of potential authors took note, and hardly any of them acted on it. Well, I actually think going from blog to book is a great idea, and I have two books out that generated from my blog (although my second and latest, Dear Sparkle: Cat-to-Cat Advice From the World's Foremost Feline Columnist, contains a lot of material that did not originally appear in my blog). Going from blog to book is a great idea if you do it the right way. Let me explain how this kitty did it:

• I had a blog long before I even thought of doing a book. But not every blog is book material. You need a niche, something you specialize in. Since my blog was written in First Person Cat, I already had a niche going, and I drilled down from there. So you humans need to have a focus or topic for your blog, if you want to do a book someday. If you are a novelist, there has to be some aspect of your character's lives that you are passionate about - make your blog about that. Or perhaps you write in a certain genre, such as romance, science fiction or mystery. Blog about aspects of that world.

• Explore different themes within your niche. Within my blog, I covered certain topics - book reviews, cat-to-cat advice, my diary (things that went on in my life), product reviews, feline celebrity interviews, etc. Over time, I realized I could put together a whole book of cat-to-cat advice - for a long time, it was the most popular part of my blog. As long as it is all within the blog's character or personality, you should allow yourself the freedom to cover topics related to your niche. You may discover ideas generating from your blog that did not at first occur to you. In the beginning, I had no idea that I would wind up being the world's first cat expert... who also happened to be a cat!

• Treat your blog like a magazine, with an editorial calendar and regular updates. You don't have to update every day, as I do, but at least do it a few times a week. Get in the habit of writing regular posts, and if you are going to be away from the computer or out of town for an extended period, write posts in advance and schedule them. Writing a book takes discipline, and blogging in a professional manner - posting regularly, creating deadlines and keeping up with them - will help teach you that. If you are serious about writing a book, this is one tip you absolutely cannot skip.

• Grow your fan base through social networking. I was an early adopter in social networking. I have never been in the first wave of users, but I came in shortly afterwards. I started my social networking with a site called Friendster in 2005, and from there went to MySpace, then to Twitter and Facebook. I made a lot of friends through these venues, and many of them became regular blog visitors too. The secret there was that I shared myself with my social networking friends and cared about what they did and had to say; I did not just talk about my blog. When it came time to promote my book, I did so both on my blog and through social networking, and since I had already established a friendship with these groups, it came off naturally, instead of sounding hype-y.

• If you are self-publishing, or micro-publishing, give your book extra-added value - don't just spit out your blog's content into book form. My first book was micro-published, and I included lots of nice black and white photographs to illustrate the advice columns I used. I also had an editor comb through my book to correct any errors or typos, and had the book laid out in InDesign to give it a professional look. Luckily for me, my human is an expert in these areas (she has been an editor for several cat generations!), so I just gave her the task. You may have to pay someone in something other than headbutts. It is also a good idea to hire a professional book cover designer to create your book cover. It shows when an author skimps on that.

• Use your blog to promote your book. You might think that would be redundant, since part or all of your book's content is on your blog, but you would be surprised at how many humans who read your blog will also buy a copy of your book! Although I still have not yet set it up, having a section of your blog totally devoted to your book or books is not only a great idea, it really is mandatory.

• If your book is being sold on Amazon, whether it's micro-published, print-on-demand or (like my latest book) traditionally published, create a page for yourself in Amazon's Authors Central section (https://authorcentral.amazon.com). You can feed the RSS of your blog to your Amazon Author's Page, giving both you, and the content from your blog, a presence on the largest book-selling website on the internet.

I hope you find some of these tips helpful! Creating a blog that is worth visiting regularly is really an accomplishment, and if you can do that, chances are there is a book somewhere in there.


Sparkle is an award-winning author, blogger, advice columnist and supermodel. She is also a cat – a ruddy Somali of champion lineage, in fact, whose father, GC Tajhara’s Miles Davis, was twice on the cover of Cat Fancy. Sparkle’s first book, Dear Sparkle: Advice from One Cat to Another, won the Wild Card category at the 2007 Hollywood Book Festival and honorable mentions in several other contests. She also recently came home with the Pettie Award — the pet blogging equivalent of an Oscar — for Best Cat Blog. Sparkle lives in Los Angeles with two humans, two feline roommates (both rescue cats), and (unfortunately) a dog.

Dear Sparkle: Cat-to-Cat Advice from the World’s Foremost Feline Columnist (Adams Media) is her second book.

You can visit Sparkle’s blog at http://www.sparklecat.com/