An idea for anyone interested …

I love to hear about new books as much as the next person.  And I’ve noticed that some of my readership is comprised of writers.  And a simple fact of life is that some have more and others less readership than I do.  Certainly it’s a given that we all have different readership.

I’ve heard of blog tours, guest bloggers, etc.  And this isn’t so different as that; but a little bit, yes.

I’d like to, on Sundays I think, have one or maybe a few authors post their books.  Just cover image, the blurb, links to buy — no reviews, no hype, just “Here’s a book you might like, here’s what it looks like, here’s where to get it, and here’s who wrote it and (s)he can be followed at this other blog right here on the other side of this link” type of thing.  Oh, I’m not saying I’ve got loads of followers nor that they’ll flock to the book, or any such thing, but exposure is exposure and it might make for an interesting trend — I mean imagine if every author who follows me does the same thing, and then every author who follows them, on down the line.  Not a bad deal, right?

I’d also thought of, perhaps, another recurring feature — maybe on like Mondays — of a guess blogger.  Just a post by someone who has something to say on life, love, writing, fiction, the universe … nothing too topical, it should keep in the general tone of the blog:  polite, friendly, upbeat, etc.

Either way, anyone interested can use my Contact Me form to let me know.  Just let me know you’d like to participate and I’ll send an invite to the email address provided.  You’ll write your post, and they’ll go into a review queue.  The books I’ll probably just choose up to 5 at a time in a first come first serve basis.  The guest posts I’ll read and pick the one I like best and the winner will get queued for auto-publish on Monday morning; if I get more than one really good post … I’m open to suggestions on that one.

Writer’s can’t take time off

Greatest Hits (Billy Joel albums)

Greatest Hits (Billy Joel albums) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s another National Novel Writer even this month and while I’ve ceased having anything to do with them I still haven’t got around to blocking/unsubscribing from the periodic emails, and I’ve friends who still do it and still peruse the forums.

There is this pervasive notion among those who give writing advice that boggles my mind so thoroughly it deserves a second post … I’m not sure I’m up to providing a link to my first tackling of this subject.

What topic? This idea you have to write. You can’t take time off for family, for holidays, for illness, for simple lack of inspiration. To this I say “bullshit“, emphatically and unshakingly bullshit.

Now the argument is that, if you find one reason to not write you’ll find other and fall into a vicious cycle of unwriting.

Lawrence Block says:

“If you want to write fiction, the best thing you can do is take two aspirins, lie down in a dark room, and wait for the feeling to pass.
If it persists, you probably ought to write a novel.”

Excerpt From: Block, Lawrence. “Writing the Novel.” Open Road Integrated Media, 2010-06-15. iBooks.
This material may be protected by copyright.

Check out this book on the iBooks Store: https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewBook?id=411349843

If you have a story you want to write, you’ll write it. If it is such a chore that you can talk yourself out of it, then you may wish to ask yourself what is your real reason to do this and if it’s worth it.

Me? I just spent a week in hospital. I’m fine, but in pain – major surgery is unpleasant that way; I’m on narcotic pain relief, suffice to say I’m not writing. Besides, I can’t pick up my writing back without popping my stitches so I can’t write if I weren’t vaguely out of it.

My point is, I still want to see the end of Now & Forever, so the day I can pick that bag up and complete a rational though at one and the same time I’ll be right back to writing, and probably better at it as the surgery fixed a painful problem that is not an open topic for discussion (not embarrassing or tragic, just personal and private).

Artists need not bleed for their work. Certainly they should not buy the razor blades, bare their wrists, and make all the cuts themselves. Our art should be part of us, it should be something we can’t not do. Art is also life, we cannot make good art if we do not live. Take musicians who take their music so seriously they burn out after a half dozen albums because they are never not touring or recording, now think of Buffett or Billy Joel with their decades long careers, upwards of hundred albums, and no burn out: they remembered to live. They took time off for love, divorce, children, getting shot at by Jamaican police, philanthropy, etc.

It’s true for all of us. Take a day off to climb a mountain, take a two week honeymoon in the Italian Riviera, relax and recover when you find yourself stapled shut after a visit to the ER, take a nap in a hammock on a warm sunny spring day … it’s okay, your book will still be there when you get back.

To those who say I should have written while in hospital and should be while recovering, I repeat: bullshit.

Thinking about penises, dolphins, and elephant trunks

English:

English: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My mind wanders, and to very odd places sometimes.  Maybe it’s because I’m an author; or perhaps it’s why I’m an author … I’m not even sure if there’s a difference.

This time it wandered to the notions of male power and phallic symbolism.

Certain people see phalluses everywhere they look and decide this is signs of male dominance.  If that’s the case, then perhaps it’s also a sign of God‘s gender, because the criterion I’ve encountered in scholarly attempts at these kinds of arguments really seem to amount to “anything even vaguely cylindrical is a phallus”.

Case in point:  A critique of the Little House books that I don’t recall terribly well, but it relied on the idea that Pa’s rifle was, in some way, symbolic of both his penis and his power.  Funnily enough, I strongly suspect that it was a symbol of nothing at all, and was a factual hollowed tube of metal which lobbed high velocity chunks of lead for the purposes of self-defence and obtaining of meats.

Really, by this same reasoning, dolphins are phallic symbols, elephants’ trunks are …

Thing is, some things just need to be cylinders or approximately so.  A streamlined shape for going through water?  Phallic.  A streamlined way to fill something up with high explosives so that it can reach escape velocity in a vertical orientation?  Phallic.  What other shape would you have them be?

I saw an image of a woman standing beside a taxi she’d made up to look like a vagina — it was interesting, but you must admit, not terribly aerodynamic.

True, yes, we are in a patriarchal society; true, yes, men do hold greater power than women (at least in Western culture, there are exceptions on some of the non-Western societies as I understand them); true, yes, symbolism can exist in certain things.  I just find it so amusing that so many feminists have penises on the mind to such extent that when they see a portabello  they see a man’s genitals.

This isn’t to say that, at times, penises are hiding places; either by design, mistake, or a bit of both.  Whether or not they’re symbolic of anything, I’m sure, varies.  Some fantasy book covers of a few decades ago?  Those towers and castles that look like towers and castles, nah; some of the more creative ones that … maybe at first glance might be modelled after mushrooms … look again, few mushrooms have a small slit at the point — that’s penis.  A gun, no — a projectile weapon of that sort can’t help its shape; until we have particle beam weapons there’s no other pragmatic form, after that we can start maybe shaping them like trumpets since we may want to accelerate the particles or beams before ejecting them … still a ray-gun modelled after a pistol or rifle is just to keep it recognisable … the rayguns of more than a few 50s pulp SF mags and novels which had that odd little, shall we say knob on the end?  Mmm-hmmm …

I honestly believe, especially in the case of the book covers, that a lot more of it is sophomoric silliness than any malicious anti-feminism.  I might be wrong, certainly wouldn’t be the first time; but such is life.  I just think that in the case of being taken seriously in a matter it is wise to think over the arguments in question.  That needless phallic symbols are places is undeniable, but are the malicious or childish?  The former is certainly a terrible thing, the latter is certainly foolish and rude, but hardly a statement against anyone’s rights.  It’s a reversable thing — making vaginal symbolism for malicious purposes makes you no better than the penis-mongers, making it to be sophomoric makes you no more clever, but it can also be used to make a positive and important statement — it all comes down to intent combined with reasonable interpretation.  But first you just have to relax and ask yourself: is this a cigar or a big brown dick, to paraphrase George Carlin.

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Shamless Self-Promotion for Writers

Jaye:

Got a blog or site you wish to unabashedly share?

Originally posted on Jodie Llewellyn:

Okay… I want to try something a little different.

I know a lot of you have websites you care about, blogs you update, books you’ve published and wish to promote. Or maybe there is an article you want to share, an image that makes you laugh, or a quote that you adore.

I want to see them!

So… this is a free for all post. Leave a comment and say whatever you want to say. Promote your book, call people to your blog, leave an inspirational quote, have a rant… whatever!

This blog has around 2,500 followers , so lets share our work, show everyone what we’ve been up to and just generally talk about this wonderful thing we call writing.

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Saying “YES!”

Jaye:

And a lovely followup to a post I reblogged last night …

Originally posted on Creative Infrastructure:

Donuts for sharing (flickr user Johnny MrNinja, Creative Commons)

Donuts for sharing (flickr user Johnny MrNinja, Creative Commons)

I wrote a piece last week about saying “no” to unpaid/underpaid artist labor that took off in the inter-webs like a bat out of hell with over 4000 hits/hour at its weekend peak.  I would much rather be remembered as the person who says “YES!” than the person who says “NO!” so offer this follow-up.

Just – or even more – important than knowing when to say “no,” is knowing when and how to say “yes.”  Giving builds community; giving builds friendships; giving builds social capital (although one need not think of it in those terms); giving lifts the spirit of both the giver and receiver.  We may give of our time, we may give of our money, we may give of our things, we may give of our talent.  Related to giving is sharing – we may share knowledge, share…

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Just Say NO!

Jaye:

Perfectly said.

Originally posted on Creative Infrastructure:

Doughnut A first year graduate student in my arts management class presented a paper this week on arts labor economics.  Her undergrad degree was in acting so she had never delved into the topic formally. She certainly understood through anecdotal observation that there is an imbalance between artist labor supply and artist opportunity and that artists are often paid less than their peers in other fields (to put it mildly).  Among the factors she considered was that artists are often willing to work for low or even no pay because the joy of doing the work is payment enough.   In concluding her presentation, she posed a rhetorical question that I paraphrase here: How can we make this vicious cycle of artist oversupply and underpayment stop?

Following this presentation, I returned to my office and this email:

Hello!

I want to reach out and see if you have any film students that…

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One Picture a Day…………….Day 296

Jaye:

This was so beautiful I had to share.

Check out the blog it’s from, LOTS of gorgeous images.

Originally posted on One Picture a Day:

February 8, 2014….Day 295

Breaking Free

Breaking Free

I like the way the stretchy fabric is working. Often props are a crutch but sometimes they make the image.

Two lights were used. One light was placed to the left of the frame and slightly behind the model basically to light the background, the second light was placed to the right of the frame facing the model.

This is a digital image processed in Lightroom. Exposure and brightness were adjusted and the image was rendered to a monochrome using a global desaturation.

I’ve been asked if my images are for sale, most are, please ask.

Do not copy or use any of the images or text here or herein without written consent. © Copyright 2013 Stan Katz, All Rights Reserved.

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Nominate your favourite indie author(s)

I hope, maybe, some of you will nominate Love or Lust certainly I do hope that some indie author or other has put a book out in the past year that has inspired or impressed you enough to nominate he or she.  You can also, by the by, nominate multiple books/authors.

Indie Author Land rgb-01

The 50 Self-Published Novels Worth Reading (2013/14)

Nominations Now Open!!!

We need your help in putting together a list of some of the best self-published books from the past year. Read something great? Nominate it. Written something great? Urge a fan to nominate it.

The interest our list has already generated has been phenomenal; in the three days since we opened up nominations it has already become our most popular post ever. That’s great for our ego, but more importantly, it means that whichever books make the list will get the exposure they deserve.

The Rules

1. The book must be self-published or published by a small, “indie-minded” house.
2. The book must have been published on or after 1 January, 2013.
3. The book must be available for purchase, in paperback or ebook format, from a large store – Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
4. Only nominations received on or before 21 April, 2014 will be considered.

Haven’t read a self-published book yet? Here are some we think might be worth your consideration.

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