Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Banks as censors?

This week there has been a lot of publicity about PayPal and Smashwords and the issue of erotica and censorship. The Smashwords platform is built on PayPal both as a way to exchange sale prices and as a way to pay writers their fees.
PayPal gave the company days to remove all items from its library that contained rape, incest or bestiality.
I don’t write or read stories with rape, incest or bestiality themes, but I believe that you should have the right to do so if you wish. It concerns me greatly that the company that we need to sell our books can effectively hold us to ransom. But it seems from Mark Coker’s (head of Smashwords) latest press release, that PayPal itself is being held to ransom.
And by banks and credit card companies, no less.
“I had another call with PayPal this morning.  Our conversation is continuing with them as I seek to achieve a less onerous, more sensible result.
 There's a sliver of hope that I might be able to obtain a more positive, less restrictive outcome than I communicated on Friday,  yet it's unlikely we'll achieve the true result I want (no censorship) in the near term.  Today, PayPal hinted at a more relaxed definition of prohibited content as, according to them [I'm paraphrasing], "books for which rape, bestiality and incest are the major theme.
 If rape, bestiality and incest are incidental plot points, then that content might be allowable."
 This represents a significant clarification in our ongoing attempt to delineate the gray areas and push back the onerous, unfair and restrictive definitions as they now stand.  It's an opening, but it's not the final word from PayPal.  Our friends at PayPal are trying their best to help Smashwords authors and publishers.
 This potential relaxation doesn't solve the broader issue of censorship.  I think if a writer wants to write fiction around the theme of [anything], I think they should be able to write it if it's legal.
 Today's progress, while encouraging, also opens up new gray area.  How does one judge whether the taboo subjects are incidental instances or major themes?  Where does one draw the line?  The PayPal rep and I agreed our discussion will continue, and they assured me our PayPal services will not be cut off as we both work in good faith to advance the discussions.”
[excerpt from press release 28]

I don’t know about you, but I fear a world in which a bank controls censorship.
It’s the same thorny issue as deciding what is art or pornography. And who gets to decide?
Can they then, tell you what you can and can’t spend your money on? Can they block your credit card from being used to purchase certain kinds of items or information? Scary, scary world. Even if it probably would have been good for someone to stop me before I paid for that watermelon maxi-dress, we can’t allow this.
Indie authors are the biggest publishers of erotica.  Already, one retailer/distributor, Bookstrand, has decided to drop all indies from their store.
Bringing attention to this will, I hope force the banks and credit card companies to explain themselves, or to change their policies.
No one tells me what to read or what to write.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Father John Misty

Father John Misty is not what he sounds like. It is actually the AKA for Joshua Tillman. He was the drummer with Fleet Foxes who are an awesomely cool band as well.
I love this song and the lyrics are great too. The rights for the song and music clip, of course, belong to J Tillman.


Jesus Christ, girl
What are people going to think?
When I show up to one of several funerals
I’ve attended for Grandpa this week

With you
With me
But someone’s got to help me dig

Jesus Christ, girl
It hasn’t been long so it seems
Since I was picking out an island and a tomb for you
At the Hollywood Cemetery

You kiss
On me
But we should let this dead guy sleep

Jesus Christ, girl
I laid up for hours in a daze
Retracing the expanse of your American back
With Adderall and weed in my veins

You came
I think?
Because the marble made my cheeks look pink
But I’m unsure of so many things

Someone’s got to help me dig

I just can't work out (yet) how to embed the video in here. Still on my blog 'L' plates here.

The girl in the clip is a complete train-wreck and I say that with awe.  I swear there is a story in there somewhere. She's a disaster! But really, who hasn't danced with a lamp at least once in their lives?

You haven't? What the? Add it to your bucket list... lmao

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

My e-books

My e-books

Until I work out how to link this to the home page - or Smashwords makes an app…
This will have to do:

A woman and her kids try to start again. They buy a house in small town America and hope to be hidden, but life is never that easy.

Strangers on a train. A young girl travels across Europe. She hopes to experience more of life. And in a way, she does.

Angela has had the same dream lover since she was a teen. One day he unlocks her door and walks right into her apartment.

Young lovers in Old Havana. But the girl catches the eye of an older man.

 Weddings. They stir up the emotions and sometimes they reignite old flames.


Well, not sure where to start.
At the beginning. Right?
This is my first post on my new blog site. I’ve popped my own cherry so far as blogging goes. Lol.
You may know me as mrstrentreznor from my fanfic writing. 
I now have more stories up there than I can sometimes keep a track of. Thirty nine as of this morning, but that is likely to change. They cover a range of genres from Twilight to Van Helsing. A long time ago, I decided, out of sheer politeness, to answer every review that anyone ever left for me. Initially it was that ‘omg someone liked my story’ thing, but over the years it has become a joy. Yes, hard work, but still joy. I spend many hours a day answering each review.
Reviewers sometimes inspire me. Give me a line or an idea that inspires a whole fic of its own. You point out mistakes, correct my own inconsistencies and I love you for it. I see it as a two way street; you look after me and I’ll look after you. Okay? Deal?
I have recently attempted a dip in the world of ebook publishing. I now have five titles listed at Smashwords.com. 
They are short stories, really. Some a little longer and three are free. I keep checking my download stats like a loony and can proudly say that over 1300 people have downloaded them already. They have just been approved by Smashwords for what they call premium distribution; that is, to be sent to all the big book sellers like Apple and amazon.
Once I am happy that I understand how it all works, I will dust off the longer stories.
I feel a lot like a mother bird pushing her babies out of the nest. I’ve prepared them and prettied them up as well as I know how, and now they have to fly (or fall) on their own. Maybe a kite is a better metaphor, because if they fall, I will pick them up and dust them off, clean them up a little and encourage them to fly again; running along with them.
I just totally did a squee when I saw one of them on the e-shelves at Barnes and Noble.
I will try to keep this blog for information about me and my books.
Sadly, the main issue with all this self-promotion stuff is that it takes me so much time to do; leaving me less time to actually write. One of these days I will get that Tardis or learn how to get more hours in a day. I’ve already given up on the housework. Pity my poor children… lol.
So many words… and so little time to say them in.