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Showing posts from June, 2020

Beat the Book Pirates at their Own Game

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If you're an artist of any stripe, you likely entered the "copyright" discussion based on your well-justified fear of having your pocket picked by unscrupulous plagiarists and resellers. As a typical creative artist you make a tenuous living from your avocation. If you're trying to survive on it, you are most likely living well below the poverty line. But most of us harbour dreams of making enough money from our art to give up our jobs in the real world. The faint chance of doing that becomes nearly impossible when someone finds a way to steal the food from your hand when it's still on the way to your mouth. I pretty much made back the money I invested in self publishing my horror collection, Psychedelia Gothique before pirates made it available for free all over the internet. I haven't made a penny on it in years, but that's at least partly my fault. If I had done a better job of self-promotion and made a bigger splash on the front end; if I had continue…

Pan-Taxonomic Relationships and Other Quirks

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In the 20th century, a mainstream or genre book that was purported to contain lots of sex was pretty predictable. 75% of that sex would be homogenous and heterosexual, created largely for the coveted 21-34 year old white male demographic. Playboy and Penthouse were major taste makers of the day. Another 20 per cent or so would be just as homogenous and heterosexual and intended to titillate women from 30 to 54. Think Valley of the Dolls. The rest was aimed at literary and cultural niches with writers like Henry Miller and Anais Nin leading the charge (again mostly male, heterosexual, and relatively unadventurous). Within the smaller niches hid all sorts of lesbian, gay, bi, fetish; any sort of sex that was considered marginal was frowned upon - if not criminalized at the time, so discretion was mandatory.Books and stories that explored sexuality within that context were pretty brave. Great stories by the likes of Joanna Russ, Ursula Le Guin, James Tiptree Junior and Samuel Delany. Con…

Poems; a Strategic Rationale

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When fiction defines you, but stories refuse to gel – plots sit leaden, deaf and numb;characters drift aimless, without goals;sentences stumble, half-formed and forlorn toward the trash.When interruptions rattle like machine guns from surrounding trenchesdrawing your gaze, tautening nerves;muddying thoughts, pummeling your muse.When demands come barking, bulletins whistling through the airyou dive for cover, behind telephones and monitors whiteboards and income statements – lest your senses are left splattered on the wall. Distractions, distractions, provoking your reactions.The enemy is in the walls, the foundations. Unclear orders squawk through tinny speakers.Victims lie screaming at your feet!Instead of raging, hysterical and distraught.Try moving softly into shadows Drawing colours down, allowing words to lose themselves in playmind-dancing through minefields, cavorting through ordered rankstheir trails of mischief fluttering like bright banners in the sky.Poems to commemorate th…

Time for New Voices

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One person's Oscar Wilde is another person's Dr. Seuss. It doesn’t matter how good a writer is, their work will only appeal to a finite percentage of potential readers. William Shakespeare may be the greatest writer who ever lived, but the language he used – so far ahead of its time that he coined a whole textbook worth of new words and phrases – was pretty dated by the end of the 20th century. Lots of theatre-goers and readers continue to love and appreciate his eloquent voice, but a good proportion of his potential audiences has trouble staying engaged with the now-archaic language. While the Bard effectively addresses the basic shortcomings of human nature, his work can’t be expected to pointedly confront issues more relevant to modern times.“Nope. That Shakespeare fella’s not for me,” a Mark Twain or Clive Barker lover might say.The public’s tastes change constantly over time as different challenges face humanity; different issues fill the mass consciousness; different lev…

If Math Class was Like Sex Ed, None of Us Would Count Past 10

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I never really think thematically when I'm writing blog posts, but sometimes themes just happen. I accidentally open a Pandora's box and the ideas keep coming out - one triggering another and before I know it, I'm writing extensively on a topic. When I wrote the Showers and Growers blog post, I intended it as no more than a bit of titillatingly and relatable silliness. The thing that surprised me most was the number of people (mostly guys) who had never heard of the concept. I naively assumed that the manner in which different guys ‘present’ would be something that would be taught in Sex-Ed class in high school. After all, there has been quite a flap in Ontario over the past few years about sex ed classes going too far and getting too explicit. It seemed to me that information about guys’ erections - the full range of what is normal  would be a valuable thing for both boys and girls to learn about as they approach the stage of finding out for themselves and potentially rea…

Selling Sex in the Clear-Eyed 2020s

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I'm far from the first person to note that sex sells, but it is an interesting item to update in this age of social consciousness.I feel more comfortable tackling sexual subjects in fiction than in non-fiction. In fiction, there's always the defense that you as the writer are only reflecting a character's point of view or even commenting on or criticizing it by dealing with it in a fictional set of circumstances. It can be an effective tool to portray people on opposite sides of the generational divide.or to address issues like consent. It can come back to bite you if not done sensitively - or at the very least, alienate you from the very segment of the book buying public that you were hoping to attract..  Values that were considered liberal in the 1980s can come across as archaic in 2020. This can be a difficult thing for older people to wrap their heads around. As a member of that demographic, I can relate. ie: "My friends have always called me an advocate for divers…

Literary Growers and Showers

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[GRAPHICS REDACTED]Sometimes the male gaze can still offer unique perspectives. For instance:“Growers” and “showers” are terms that are most often used to reflect penis length. Showers are the wysiwyg guys. What you see when they are not sexually excited doesn’t change significantly when they are. Growers are guys who start small. They were the boys who hated going into the showers with they other guys because sometimes their packages appear very tiny indeed. But these are the ones who show the most impressive growth when erect, generally lengthening by 4 centimeters (2 inches) or more from one state to the next. A recent twitter topic I encountered made me realize that the terms could also be used to describe the way writers lay down their early drafts on the page. As far as I could tell, about half the people seemed pretty much satisfied with what they produced in their early drafts. If the first draft is equivalent to the flaccid state, there are lots of writers who are pretty much…