Growling Cows

I can’t believe that in the Memorial Day madness of having to go to work, I forgot to post last Monday. Yeesh. I’m a dork. But yeah, I do work on Memorial Day. I have for the last 13 years because my company puts on a big Memorial Day event. I ate something my stomach didn’t agree with at the event (been having health issues related to my stomach lately) and spent the next two days in bed in agony. Meh. I’m better now and staying away from a lot of foods I used to eat.

Anyway, you’re probably wondering about the odd title of my post. Rott came in the house the other night and said the cows were growling. Well, I grew up across the street from a dairy. I’d never heard a cow growl before. Here in the canyon, the cows come up to our fence, thrust their heads over and munch our plants and grass. I often hear them mooing and lowing. I think the growling Rott refers to is lowing. However, to his city boy eyes the cows look mean and they sound like they are growling.

I realized it’s all perception.

Perception has been the thorn in my side this week. Luckily, not a bad thorn. More a resigned eyerolling type of thorn. And no, it’s not the growling cows that pricked me. It’s Goodreads reviews or maybe it’s just reviews in general and it’s just the Goodreads ones that stuck their thorny selves into my hide.

Here’s the deal: I wrote a FREE story for the M/M Goodreads group. Someone decided to attach the stories to the author profiles so people could click on them and review them. There are two reviews on my story where the readers obviously have very different perceptions of my story than I have. They didn’t trash the story, but their comments were slightly sarcastic and showed that they weren’t happy with how I wrote the story. Mostly, they weren’t happy with it because they just didn’t see things the way I see things.

Let me break it down for you a little. First, they complained about the realism of my story because one hero doesn’t realize the other hero is the son of famous parents. Their take on this was that in the age of the internet, Daren should have known who Taylor really was. My take on this is that I don’t fucking know what KK Downing of Judas Priest’s son looks like. A lot of famous people have kids whose faces aren’t known to the public and whom you might not find if you Google them. And my character doesn’t have a reason to Google the man he’s in love with. Not everyone is into Googling the people they know. And this is a family where the famous father doesn’t want his kids in the limelight, doesn’t want them in the music business and wants him to be an attorney! A father like that isn’t going to let the press take photos of his kids. And that is exactly who my character’s father is.

Next item, the reviewers complained about how callous Daren was with his fuck buddy Wes. Well, for one, have you ever seen how unsentimental men can be about a fuck? I mean, even straight guys can be that way. I said straight up that Wes was with Daren solely as a fuck buddy. Daren wasn’t using Wes without Wes’s consent. Wes puts himself out there as a fuck buddy. I clearly said so when I said Wes flitted from man to man like a butterfly in a garden. Daren at least likes Wes as a friend. Yes, he was using him for the occasional blow job without much reciprocity, but that’s how Wes arranged the relationship. It wasn’t Daren doing something that was hurtful to Wes.

You know, a man read this story before I turned it in. A GAY MAN read the story. He didn’t see anything wrong in the way I portrayed the men and their motivations. In fact, he reminded me that men don’t use as many words as women when they talk about themselves and their relationships. He reminded me that men aren’t always as sentimental as women and can compartmentalize sex. We also had a discussion about a certain set of female readers who expect all gay romances to be as flowery and emotion baring as het romances when in reality a lot of men – including gay ones – just don’t talk like that or explain themselves that way. So whose perception of reality is actually skewed here?

The third item that they didn’t like was how Daren and Taylor react when they finally reveal they’re in love with each other. After five years, they felt the two men should be swooning over each other. In the story Daren pinches himself hard to make sure he’s not dreaming, but overall, both men are relieved everything’s going to be okay. They’re eager to get to bed. They aren’t into a long discussion of feelings right then. You love me? Great, I love you too. Can we fuck now and talk later cause I’ve had a boner for you for five years?

It’s a humorous scene which is how I intended it. So in this instance, there is a little literary license taken because the scene is meant to be funny not all that reality based. But again, a GAY MAN read this and didn’t find it to be out of the ordinary at all. Men downplay their emotions a lot and use humor to cover. So once again, the two readers have a different perception of reality than me and my gay male beta reader (who is an author as well.)

So I guess they heard growling cows. Meh. It happens. What can you do? 😉

How about a Marcus so I can get myself off to work?

Such a fun photo! Well, that’s my perception anyway. LOL Have a great Monday!

 

Battles

Everywhere I turn there are battles raging. On the net, it’s the Paypal thing and books with questionable content (ie the ones with titles like “Daddy’s Little ****.”  There’s always some kind of battle raging over at Dear Author and this week’s seems to be about plagiarism. And on the home front, Rott’s doing an outpatient rehab thing. So everywhere I look, people are cranky. It’s messing with my need for a little karmic peace.

I understand the Paypal thing. It’s not about censorship. It’s about what credit card companies have for rules. They don’t want their product used to support illegal activities. Some erotica books are about things that ride the line in terms of legal and illegal. Rape, incest and sex with underage individuals is illegal and therefore books that glorify those topics are among the things the card companies don’t want to be attached to. So Paypal, which is a gateway or processing medium for those cards, has to crack down on businesses that sell those books. Now, as I understand it, the crackdown is bordering on a witch hunt and some books that don’t contain that content are being targeted. *sigh* Nothing in this world is perfect. I expect that there will be some books that slip the noose just like there will be some that are unfairly targeted. To me energy should be focused on how to let Paypal know that they need to fix the wrongly targeted items, not spent bitching about it. But that’s just me.

Now, on the plagiarism thing…that woman who copied all those books knew what she was doing. She was a treasurer on the board of an RWA chapter! She knew the difference between right and wrong and made the conscious choice to do something illegal. She only apologized because she got caught and exposed across the publishing community. I don’t feel sorry for her. I don’t feel sorry for thieves. If she feels embarrassed by her actions, I don’t feel sorry for that! She brought it on herself and she should be embarrassed and a whole lot more. Personally, I don’t think she is embarrassed. I think she’s pissed that she got caught. And if I were one of the authors she plagiarized, I’d be getting together with the other authors and hiring an attorney to sue her. And I’d be contacting law enforcement over it as well. What she did was a crime. That makes her a criminal. It does not make her a sympathetic creature.

Here at home, life goes on. There are bumps in the road. Lots of them. I get tired of them, but I deal. What else am I gonna do? Pack up my fluffy babies and leave? Where would I go? And it sure as hell wouldn’t stop me from worrying about him. *double sigh* Sometimes I just wish my life could be sweet and uncomplicated.

Since it’s Monday, how about a sweet, uncomplicated photo of Marcus to ease our burdens and battles?

Now, that is something to sigh over!

Before I go, just wanted to mention that Encounters: Magic Lessons is out now. It’s a March release but it’s up early. You’ll find it over at Pink Petal Books.

Have a great Monday!

And Then It Got Ugly

Wasn’t it just a couple of weeks ago I posted about the art of winning arguments on the net? Uh huh. Some people did not read that post. Some people got in a big brouhaha over the weekend. Did I speak up? Yes, a little. Did I get in any arguments? Um, not really. Was I offended? HELL YES. And worst part of it all is that I tried really hard to follow my own advice and stay cool and professional and not instigate or reply to inflammatory statements and remarks.  I tried not to take anything personally cause nothing was directed at me with my name on it. And still I was offended.

BY BOTH SIDES

Yep. Everyone freaking offended me at some point or another. See, one group I’m on made a remark that offended the people on another group. That group in turn used the same remark to say something offensive about the first group. Sound a little 5th grade-ish? It was. And I’m probably going to burn in the hell of their loop when all the shark-mouthed typists get wind of this…both loops. Double crucifixion. I guess it means I get to come back twice from the dead on a Sunday. But only if they crucify a couple of thieves as well. And now, I’ll get raped over a barrel by a rhino for using the bible and Easter as an analogy of sorts. I just know I’m gonna get reamed. If I don’t…if they choose to ignore my inflammatory words…HUZZAH! THANK GOD! Because yanno, nothing inflammatory over the weekend was ignored. Every little nuance and syllable was scrutinized in case someone was picking on someone else.

Now, it’s true that the above words are a tad tongue in cheek. You see, I’m trying to find some bit of humor in all of this in order to restore my psyche to some sort of equilibrium. ‘Cause it really is true that both sides offended me. And the saddest thing is that last year I left one of the groups because a member offended me and a friend and was allowed to do so unchecked. I came back this weekend in a show of support because of an issue of discrimination. I’m not even there 2 full days and someone there offended me. Again!

You’d think I’d learn my lesson and just not join that group again. But I’m in for a penny (well $12.50 to be honest) so I might as well take a leaf from my own post of January 23 and let it go. So I am. And I’m not leaving this time. I want to see what happens. If I email the head of this group, she’ll probably tell me that the offenders didn’t mean to offend me. That’s probably true but it doesn’t take the sting away. Guess I’ll have to pull up my big girl panties and deal.

What did I come away from the weekend with? One, a heck of a lot of respect for a woman who started an RWA chapter under a lot of gunfire. Two, a healthy appreciation for two authors whose words and cool heads I have always admired. Three, my sense of humor…intact.

Everyone and their mother and brother and cousins five times removed are blogging about this brouhaha. People who aren’t in the organization are blogging about it. It’s ugly. I feel dirty from the fallout. And very, very sad.

Should I be blogging the political trail like the other authors? Maybe. But seriously, I think they have enough people spouting fire and brimstone. They don’t need me to jump on the blog-bandwagon. I’d rather do a Rodney King. Use my humor to make little cryptic remarks on my blog that not many people will understand and pretty much no one will understand 100% unless they ask me in an email. Which I will reply to. Right after work. 😉

I will do several things in support of what I feel is right though. One, I’m not leaving RWA, RRW or PAN. If things need changing, it ain’t gonna happen if all the movers and shakers take their toys and wallets and go home. Two, not gonna let any of em offend me to the point that I start considering leaving those three groups despite #1. Three, I’ll send whatever emails and letters I need to in order to assist in the call for RWA to make some policy changes so another brouhaha like this doesn’t happen. Four, gonna ignore the blogs by readers who are spouting fire and brimstone over something that is kinda, sorta not their bizness cause they aren’t RWA members or even authors trying to enter the contest in question. Five, not gonna take this stuff personally. I have a family to support therefore I need to sleep at night. Six, not dwell on this stuff. Which means it’s time for me to stop blogging about it in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…

It’s Marcus Monday and have I got a yummeh one for you today!

 

Now, I’ve got to go to work.  You all try to have a good Monday and dodge the ugly, okay? 😉

The Art of Winning

In the four years I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve probably written on this topic before. I don’t have the time this morning to slog back through four years of posts though so here I am all prepped to talk about winning an argument. Yesterday, Nikki (Motley) and I were talking about arguing with people on the net. I’ve been around the net long enough (18 years) to know there is an art to winning when people on the net are contentious. It’s simple really. You walk away.

Now, for those of you who say walking away isn’t winning, I beg to differ. First, you have to understand the very nature of arguments on the internet. You have people who feel emotion A about a subject. You have people who feel emotion B about that subject. Each side tries to convince the other to change their mind/stance. And they do this knowing full well that they have an audience who is critiquing their argument, some of whom back stance A, some of whom back stance B, some who like to stir the pot, and some who just enjoy watching the fur fly. This leads me to the key to winning.

People engaged in arguments on the net or who are watching or backing those who argue on the net are all in it for one thing…attention.  Therefore, the key to winning is to walk away. Give no attention to these people. Ignore their contentious behavior. You will come out on top guaranteed.

I know lots of you aren’t going to agree with me on this. One reason is because none of us can stop ourselves from correcting someone who has their facts wrong. This type of argument isn’t exactly the kind I mean though. I often have to answer argumentative posts on loops from people who think that just because I used Amy Grant’s Breath of Heaven in the video posted on this blog that I must be infringing on her copyright unless she gave me permission. Um, wrong. And I can prove it. Get your facts straight before you accuse me of copyright infringement. The video is posted to YouTube who has an agreement with most labels for the use of their music. And a lot of artists can’t give permission for the use of their music anyway. Oftentimes, their label owns the copyright not the artist.

So the people who want to be contentious about copyrights and videos need to be told the facts. I don’t argue with them. I state the facts baldly (as I have above) and I usually post a couple of links to articles on news sites about the agreements with the labels and a link to YouTube’s own blog that goes into detail about how the agreements work. End of the argument as far as I’m concerned. I corrected their misguided statements with the facts and at that point, I walk away because there is nothing more to be said. If the contentious person wants to keep arguing their point, they can talk to themselves and their minions. I’m not going to argue with them.

Arguing on the net is a waste of time and the ability to walk away from wasted time and emotion is definitely winning. You are not ever going to change the minds of contentious people. No amount of logic and arguing your points will make them change their stance. You truly need to understand this before you let one of these people suck you in. And those of you who get into these “debates” in order to support, protect and/or defend a friend need to be especially cognizant of the fact that you aren’t going to change anyone’s mind. The best defense of a friend is to teach them to walk away.

People left standing on their own screaming their stance like Chicken Little look pretty ridiculous and pathetic. And they look like losers. So learn to walk away from these people because it really is the only way to win.

Now that I’ve given my lesson on winning net wars, here’s another Marcus from a past post to cheer up your Monday.

A winning stance wouldn’t you say? 😉 I think so, but then I think his arms are pretty sexy. LOL I hope you all have a wonderful, contentious free Monday!

What Can I Say?

Honestly, what can I say about yesterday that hasn’t already been said? I can’t think of a thing. I wanted to do what I’d done ten years ago and tie a flag to my car’s antenna. Unfortunately, my Honda doesn’t HAVE an antenna. Ten years ago I was driving a 280ZX and I left the power antenna partially extended so we could attach a flag to it. I flew it proudly too. Somehow, I thought I’d see more cars with flags and other signs of patriotism. I saw very few.  And then I saw something weird. I took Nikki home and there’s a fire station just outside the gates of the complex she lives in. I rolled out of the gate, looked at the fire station and saw that their flag was not at half mast.

I have to admit that bugged me. The flag where I work has been at half mast since Friday. And here’s a very nice, shiny and newish fire station in Costa Mesa, in a nice neighborhood, showing no recognition of an important day in our country’s recent history. No show of respect for those who died. I wasn’t exactly offended, but I was saddened by the fact that they hadn’t put that flag at half mast. The station looked like it was just any other day rather than the 10th anniversary of the worst attack against this country on our own soil.

I don’t understand people who go to the extreme of ignoring the anniversary of such a historic event nor do I understand those who take it to the other extreme of remembrance, those who are so overcome by the event and the day that they cannot function. We should remember this. It profoundly affects us all in some way and those who say that day had no impact on their lives are lying. At the very least, it affected our economy so it affected them. Even if you personally don’t want to acknowledge it, it affected everyone.

Anyway, I wonder who in that fire station put the flag out yesterday.

Since it’s Monday, it’s time for another Marcus and then it’s back to the grind for me, not that the grind ever really stops because I work at home at my other jobs. A Marcus always makes Monday go a little easier for me though.

I would play ball with him any day. *le sigh* Hope you all had a good weekend and are now facing your Monday relaxed and destressed! Happy Monday!