Thursday, October 29, 2015

Readers in Boxes-All you Need is Love

The whole issue of a MF author being plagiarized by a MM author has brought forth some interesting topics. A Washington Post article used the deplorable situation to take a jab at the romance genre as a whole. Others have been sharing their outrage and demanding to know how theft like this can be prevented.

I shared my thoughts about this yesterday, but another topic that was mentioned has been bugging me. Everyone has their opinion, and I don't mean this as a critisism, but I have to wonder how 'clever' it really was to assume there's not much crossover between gay and straight romance.

Maybe it's because I've been writing menage romance for so long, I don't usually see the divide. Ya, I've had readers who devour stories with a strong heroine meeting the man who can stand by her side, that pick up one of my books and say 'Wow. I never thought I'd be into two guys falling in love, but now I want more!' Those comments always make me smile, because really, there are so many amazing love stories out thee. And like in reality, they aren't restricted by gender or anything else.

But everyone has their preference, and there's nothing wrong with having a taste for sweet romance that follows the traditional view of a relationship.

Hell, I used to read mostly horror, sci-fi, and historical romance. My favorite historicals could all be classified today as dub-con. 'Bodice rippers' because the young heroine certainly wasn't unlacing the thing for a rival Lord or the viking that had captured her.

I had some dark fantasies. I'm sure you're all very surprised to hear that! ;)

Regardless, as a prolific reader, I was--and AM--always looking for a new genre to fall in love with. I finally realized it wasn't a particular genre I was looking for, but a great story that would pull me in and refuse to let me look away. It would keep me up at night and give me all the feels.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I believe that any story that has great character development, a strong plot, and engaging writing will draw in all sorts of different readers. I have men and women from all over the world writing to me constantly about their new love of hockey, which they'd never been interested in before.

Whether it's a sport, a profession, or a lifestyle, I think good books will always find readers. And if you're looking for sexy, and have an open mind, the options are limitless.

The point isn't to convince anyone who DOESN'T read gay romance to start reading it. I'm just not a fan of assumptions, and in this case, the assumptions made by an 'author' who figured there weren't many readers that go from MF to MM, ended up being her undoing.

Also, let's stop drawing lines in the sand between the genres. Whatever you love to write or read, we're all fans of books. From the great big fat ones to the skinny ones, with real or digital pages, they're all a doorway to experiences you might have missed out on if you hadn't cracked open the cover. 

Enjoy. And I'll see you on the other side. Probably all tired out from killing dragons and having multiple orgies. ;)

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

PLAGIARISM in its most HEARTLESS form.

If you haven't heard about what's going on, I'll include some links, but here's the gist of what went down. An "author", Laura Harner, decided to copy entire novels, change them from MF to MM, and then sell them as her own.

Obviously she just copied the general concepts and then wrote her own books, right? Nope. That would indicate some kind of integrity. She wasn't inspired by these authors.

She STOLE from them.

The fact that I know, love, and respect Becky McGraw has no bearing on how disgusted and angry I am. That I've read and enjoyed so many of Opal Carew's books doesn't make me more inclined to shout about this from the highest platforms I can reach. It is my love of books, both as an author, and a reader, that makes this whole situation so damn repulsive.

EVERY single reader that picked up one of her books has been cheated. The authors she stole from--and there may be more, so I urge you to look through the books this person still has on Amazon--have been violated. This isn't a case of one community of romance writers against another. This involves us all.

I'm a little shocked that the story has been so slow in gaining public attention, but finally word is getting out. I choose to believe people wanted all the fact before they started gathering pitchforks and heaving people up on giant stakes. Which is always a good idea. This sets a precedent, and depending on how it's handled, accusations could start flying left and right.

One example that set a precedent before this is 50 Shades of Grey, which started out as Twilight fan fiction. I won't get into a debate about where that falls on the fine line between plagiarism and 'inspiration'. Many will say it was changed enough to be in the clear and Stephanie Meyer didn't pursue it. So basically, like it or not, case closed.

However, in this case, there's no doubt.

In fact, there's an admission from the thief herself:

Responding to the Guardian in a statement, Harner said she realised she had “made mistakes”. “I own them, and I will deal with the consequences. In transforming two M/F romance stories into an M/M genre, it appears that I may have crossed the line and violated my own code of ethics,” she wrote.

“For those who know me best, you know that responsibility for my actions begins and ends with me. I will also add there are some personal and professional issues I’ve had to deal with in the last year that have stretched me in ways that haven’t always been good for me. I write about certain concerns related to military service for a reason; however, I am not offering that as an excuse. I just think whenever someone acts so out of character, it’s helpful to ask why.”
Full Article Here: Prolific Romantic Fiction Writer Exposed As A Plagiarist

My immediate thought on reading that? BULLSHIT. 

Pure bullshit. I've said this before and I will say it again. We all live through our own hell and that is never a reason to use or abuse anyone else. The response shows how calculated and heartless this person can be. She made money off of someone else's hard work. And she wants us to ask 'Why?'

I encourage you to look up Becky McGraw and Opal Carew and show your support by buying their books if you're so inclined. There will be other ways to support them and I'll be sharing that as soon as I have more information.

As for Becky, I have to say she is handling this with so much class, I admire her even more than I already did.

When asked for her comment, this is what she had to say: 

"At least her excuses were more creative than her writing."*Version*=1&*entries*=0&linkCode=sl1&tag=becmcgboo-20&linkId=OPK5BEQUF3EMXK5R


Links to original articles by Jenny Trout:

Don’t Do This Ever (an advice column for writers): Plagiarism Warning edition

Another book plagiarized by Laura Harner

Monday, October 19, 2015

New Dartmouth Cobras Hoodies for the coming chill! And a quick update...

I'm gonna keep this brief, but since I've got a lot on my plate. Most importantly, WRITING! <g>

Also, visiting some of you awesome people at the Midwestern Book Lover's Conference. Please come see me if you're in the area! 

First, here's a new design for the Cobra lovers out there. I've had a lot of requests, so I hope you like it! It's getting chilly, so who better than to cuddle up with than our boys? ;)

For books, the FULL Celestial Pets book will be out around the beginning of next month. I'm so grateful that you guys have been patient with me, so I'll have it at a VERY low price for the first few weeks. Good news is, this marks a fresh flow with the muse, so I should be releasing books more frequently. 

As for my post the other day about my daughter's school, I will be writing a full update post for that as soon as I get all the information and sort out my thoughts. But for now, I will say this. It's important that our schools have the resources, and the training, available to deal with situations like this. Whether it's bullying, violence, threats or the well-being of their students, they are in a position to do a lot of good. Or a lot of damage.

Nothing compares to the love and care of an involved parent. And the changes we have the power to make. <3

I hope you're all doing well and thanks for stopping by!


Friday, October 16, 2015

This happened at my daughter's school. And it's NOT ok.

This just happened, and I apologize to anyone who doesn't want to know personal things about my life. But I am hurt and horrified and I'm not waiting until this happens again.

My daughter's school has a no-tolerance policy for bullying. Yet, this is the response today. And it's wrong in so many ways. So I wanted to address the one person my daughter should have been able to trust:

Mr. X from my daughter's school. So far I am struggling to understand what happened, but all I know is you are the one my daughter spoke to after being told she should kill herself.

With everything happening, with all the awareness going on in schools, there are so many ways you could have replied. But all you did was tell her not to worry about rumors and to ignore the kids who verbally attacked her.

I am now waiting for the school's response, but I'd like to ask you something.

Are you aware this child lost her grandmother to suicide last year? Are you aware of the impact of suicide? The school was made aware when this happened. Were you not told?

And even if you weren't, that's no excuse. Even a kid who's living a great life at home should NEVER have to go through this. The response should be immediate. Your students should be taught this is not acceptable.

It's NOT acceptable and I will do everything in my power to make that damn clear. I'm stunned and heartbroken and angry. I thought our schools were better than this.
But they're not, are they? You have proved how blind people can be and that will end now. My daughter, fortunately, has parents who will fight for her. It scares me to think what would happen to a child who doesn't. Who hears those words and the only support they have is someone like you.