Selah March

May 26, 2009

Making friends and influencing people: Ur doin’ it rong

Filed under: blah blah blah,Industry,Romancelandia — Selah March @ 10:23 am

I’ve been avoiding the Romancelandia blogs in favor of writing, so I almost missed the “Avon editors diss online romance reviewers” kerfluffle. But while it doesn’t surprise me that mainstream NY print publishing isn’t 100% caught up on the marvels of the online reading/reviewing community and how it can be used to further sales and build reader enthusiasm, I have to wonder at the vitriolic tone in response to what seem to be rather innocuous and well-intended — if possibly ill-informed — comments.

Yeah, it makes sense to say, “Dude, you might be a tad behind the curve on this,” and provide data to support your point. Less with the sense-making is the whole, “OMG, you took a piss in my Wheaties ON PURPOSE and I’m TOTALLY GOING TO CUT YOU,” thing.

I thought the intent was to educate the industry on the joys of the online community, not score Imaginary Intraweb points by launching attacks and fomenting bad feelings. Doesn’t look like those Avon editors will be standing in line for any “education” anytime soon. Counter-productive, much?

But what the hell do I know? I live in jeans and dirty sneakers, and my style-quotient is WAY below the norm. Maybe sporting a massive a chip on your shoulder is the new black?

April 12, 2009

Amazonfail/Amazon Rank + review of YotC

UPDATE II: The LA Times weighs in.

UPDATE: Smart Bitches attempt Google bomb = Amazon rank.

So, how long do you think the Taliban-esque branch of the conservative right wing has had Jeff Bezos’ balls in their pocket? Check here for bits and pieces of the sad tale. Outrage is rampant, petitions are circulating, the media has been alerted. We’ll see if it does any good.

And incidentally, if the stated goal is to protect the kiddies, then WTF is up with some of the titles that still have rankings and searchability?  Check this list. Talk about lame. Seriously…if you’re gonna cave to the wing-nuts, at least be efficient about it. Nobody respects a half-assed effort at pandering and cowardice.

Also, Twitter is abuzz with the news. Or atweet. Whatever.

Happy Easter to those who celebrate. We’re Orthodox Christian, so our fast begins today and our Easter is a week from today. Less crowded grocery aisles! Cheaper legs o’ lamb! Rabbit-shaped chocolate on clearance! It’s a good thing.

I got an early gift from Teh Bunny in the form of a thoughtful, amazingly insightful review from Kassa for Year of the Cat. Just what I needed to warm me on a chilly, gray day.

March 31, 2009

Bored now.

Filed under: blah blah blah — Selah March @ 8:51 am

UPDATE: Thanks for the comments. What’s up now is just a placeholder till I can get my act together and do something more elaborate.  🙂

Please pardon the ugly while I struggle to redesign the site. Got tired of the singin’ the blues. Looking for something warmer…lighter…dare I say it? Will I jinx the entire northeastern US and bring down an April blizzard on our heads if I say I’m feeling spring-ish?

Here goes nothin’.

March 30, 2009

Yes. THIS.

Kerry Allen has the last word on e-piracy. Everybody else – and that includes “industry professionals” who tell authors to quit bitching about being bent over and buggered without benefit of lube by scumbag thieves because it might “alienate readers” – can just suck on this for a while, yes? Yes.

Also, have you visited Romance Cooties lately?

March 22, 2009

Cadbury eggs are birthed from the loins of Satan himself.

Filed under: blah blah blah — Selah March @ 5:27 pm

In other news, Kerry Allen has finally (FINALLY) launched Romance Cooties. (Because I haven’t been waiting six months already. Jeez.)

I’m finding Twitter an excellent way of getting further and further in the hole when it comes to my writing, but I’m picking up lots of nifty gossip. For example, Blind Item the First: What major epublisher has let it be known the “fad” of m/m romance is over? This despite at least three other large epubs reporting increasing sales in the sub-genre and calling for more m/m submissions?

Saw Duplicity last night. Very Ocean’s 11, but darker and with more sex, and about 30 minutes too long. Theater was PACKED.

So far this first weekend of spring ’09 has been a bit of a bust in terms of productivity on any level, but I have high hopes for tomorrow. Can’t possibly be more of a slacker than I have the past two days.

March 16, 2009

Grrr. Argh. Plus! Actual content.

Filed under: Asshats on parade,blah blah blah,Industry,Reviews,shameless bragging — Selah March @ 6:48 pm

I caught a nasty undercurrent of that whole “authors need to keep their mouths shut lest they alienate readers” thing again today, and it made me a little sick inside – particularly since the conversation was about ebook piracy. Apparently, authors just need to suck it up, buttercup, because the last thing readers want to hear is that we’re pissed over thievery.

I don’t understand this attitude, especially coming from an industry professional whose livelihood is tied to the success of epublishing.

To paraphrase author Ann Vremont, alienated readers aren’t the problem, from a business standpoint – alienated BUYERS (and potential buyers) are the problem. Is a buyer/potential buyer going to be offended because I come out strongly against ebook piracy? Why? They’re willing to pay for the books they read. Ebook piracy hurts them, too, because it causes prices to rise, the same way insurance fraud causes premiums to rise. It’s caused at least one author to reconsider writing an entire series because the profit/loss margin was too thin. So buyers and potential buyers who are willing to pay me for my work should be just as unhappy about piracy as I am.

But if the readers this industry pro was talking about are the ones who steal books, well, then…fuck ’em. Let ’em be alienated. They’ve already alienated me, and no lame-ass justification like “but if I like what I steal, I may pay for it later,” is going to change that.

I know I can be offensive as hell, in that whole “if you don’t have anything nice to say…” way of women everywhere. I know it’s probably cost me a few sales. I know it’s made me a few sales, too. There are companies to which I’d never bother submitting my work because I find the comments and behavior of some of their employees off-putting. I have no doubt at least one or two of these same companies would reject my work only because it’s mine. So we’re all in agreement, and I’m good with the balance.

And digital thieves can still blow me.  🙂

***

New reviews:

4 Stars from BookWenches for Year of the Cat: “Selah March’s Year of the Cat takes the fairytale Puss and Boots and stands it on its ear. This is not the children’s story that many of us grew up loving; this is a much darker tale filled with anger and violence… For all its dark overtones and BDSM theme, this is a very well-done and enjoyable story about love and the transforming nature of sacrifice made in the name of love. Ms. March has done a fantastic and clever job of weaving a fairytale out of Year of the Cat. The tone is very matter-of-fact and “once upon a time,” even though the subject matter is a little startling. This has a distinct feeling of being the dark counterpart to the Puss in Boots tale, and I was thrilled to be able to pick out similarities in plot between the two stories.

If you are a fan of the fairytale, I recommend that you give Year of the Cat a shot. It will give you a whole new outlook on Puss in Boots that has nothing to do with cartoon tabby cats who sound suspiciously like Antonio Banderas. Well done, Ms. March. I look forward to your next offering!” ~B.D. Whitney

4.5 Stars from Reviews by Jessewave for Whiskey Tango Foxtrot: “I’m not a huge fan of mysteries or horror stories, but the very aptly named Whiskey Tango Foxtrot was an enthralling read that kept me wide-eyed and reading voraciously to find out what happens next. I’m looking forward to reading more from Ms. March.” ~emmyjag

Finally, I have a guest blog up this week at BookWenches on the subject of antagonists, villains and anti-heroes. I tried not to sound like my senior year English teacher. I suspect I failed.

March 5, 2009

Occasionally, I “insult” my mother by calling her “Mom,” too.

Filed under: blah blah blah — Selah March @ 6:18 pm

This pissed me off beyond the telling. Not the original post, but the blithe, “yeah, I’m screwing you and I could give a fuck, aren’t I frickin’ ADORABLE?” attitude of a certain commenter.
Hey, doll. I know you’re sort of irredeemably slimy, you know you’re sort of irredeemably slimy, do we really have to listen to your attempts to justify your sliminess on top of it?

We do?

Really?

*sigh*

How ’bout this: If you can’t afford to buy a book, instead of stealing it…don’t buy it. Save up. That’s what I do when I see something I want and don’t have the money in my wallet to purchase it. Yeah, I know – how 20th century. Why eschew instant gratification at any cost? Not like it’s SCREWED AN ENTIRE ECONOMY OR ANYTHING.

The invitation to blow me stands. I’m sure you won’t mind if I close my eyes and think of England (or Edinburgh, as the case may be), and then disinfect like a scene out of Silkwood when you’re through, right?

I need to go buy something off iTunes and pay for it. Maybe twice, for good measure. Who knows? Maybe it’ll start a trend.

January 23, 2009

Wanna hear a fairytale?

Filed under: blah blah blah,Family — Selah March @ 1:19 pm

Once upon a time (1990, to be exact) on a cold day in January, a twenty-three-year-old preschool teacher dragged a single large suitcase, four cardboard boxes and a few garbage bags full of extra clothes into the house of a handsome young doctor and his two-year-old little boy.

The young doctor was heartbroken – newly separated from his wife, who’d left him to move to California and “find herself.” The preschool teacher was homeless, having worn out her welcome on the sofas and guest-beds and floors of her friends, and unable to afford an apartment of her own, even while cleaning houses on the weekends.

The little boy was confused, unhappy, and desperately in need of mothering.

The preschool teacher had come to play Mary Poppins on a strictly temporary basis. She’d end up staying for what’s turning out to be the rest of her life.

The stuff of your classic Harlequin Romance, you say? Bet you can even envision the cover, can’t you? Something with a grinning couple – she’s petite and wearing a sweater set, he’s got a white lab coat and a stethoscope – and a cute toddler. Maybe a puppy.

But wait! Now cut the heroine’s hair very short, except for a skinny, braided tail that reaches her butt, and die it purple. (No shit – PURPLE). Stick several piercings in her ears and roll a pack of cigarettes in her shirtsleeve. Take the hero out of that lab coat and stick him in tied-dyed scrubs, and trade the stethoscope for an electric guitar. His hair is longer, too…yeah, longer than that…no, seriously…LONGER…

The toddler can stay cute, but switch out the puppy for an iguana named Napoleon.

Okay. Not so Harlequin anymore. But the Goals, Motivation and Conflict remain the same, right? And the happily-ever-after?

Skip ahead nineteen years. The little boy is twenty-one now, and still living at home (which is another story altogether). His younger brother and sister still occasionally ask to hear the story of “how mom and dad met and got together.”

I always begin the story with “once upon a time.” I always finish it with “all happy endings are a Work In Progress.”

It seems to work for them. Which is good, because it sure as hell works for me.  🙂

Happy weekend, folks.

December 18, 2008

Things that make me go HEE!

Filed under: blah blah blah — Selah March @ 12:31 pm

Full disclosure: I read most of the first book in the Twilight series, skimmed what I couldn’t bear to fully digest, but passed on the movie…though I did allow Youngest Spawn to see it, precipitating a full hour of raving over the coolness that is Vampire Wuv, followed by two hours of deprogramming by yours truly.

Highlights included:

ME: “So if you were seventeen and you woke up to find your boyfriend watching you while you slept — in your bedroom, where he hadn’t been invited — what would you do? Keep in mind your future as a normal American teenager is at stake here, because there’s always the option of sending you to live with your grandmother in the tiny, primitive village of Neohori, on the tiny, primitive island of Chios, where the streets are too narrow for cars and your weekends will be spent making pilgrimages to the shrines of various Orthodox saints and martyrs, not to mention attending the celebration of the liturgy at the convent of Nea Moni.”

SPAWN: “Uh…”

ME: “Try harder.”

SPAWN: “But it’s so ROMANTIC. He loves her SO MUCH.”

ME: “BZZZZT. The words you’re looking for here aren’t ‘romantic’ and ‘love’ so much as ‘unhealthy,’ ‘stalker-like’ and ‘obsessed.’ How ’bout this one? What if every time you proposed to act independently and make your own decisions, your boyfriend tried to force you to do what HE wanted instead?”

SPAWN: “That depends. Am I making stupid decisions?”

ME: “You make stupid decisions all the time. Your refuse to wear a coat in December in the northeast. You live on Rice Crispies. When I try to get you to reconsider, you call me controlling and mean, and insist you want to learn from your own mistakes.”

SPAWN: “But Mom? You don’t sparkle.”

So you can see why THIS made me howl with slightly hysterical laughter. This part in particular brought me joy:

KRISTEN STEWART (upon waking to find the vampire watching her sleep in her own damn bedroom): Holy fucking shit! If you weren’t so hot I’d have you arrested! How long have you been doing this?

ROBERT PATTINSON: 2 months.

KRISTEN STEWART: But I’ve only lived here one month according to the script.

ROBERT PATTINSON: Yeah, the script was written in six weeks. Don’t get hung up on shit like that.

Second only to this:

KRISTEN STEWART: Dad, you’re embarrassing me almost as much as my acting! I’m just going over to his house to have dinner with his family, I’ll be back before 11. Unless the ravenous vampires murder me, of course.

BILLY BURKE: Alright, just bring this pepper spray with you. It’s literally the very least I can do to offer it to my teenage daughter.

KRISTEN STEWART: Daaaaad! Stop being such a loser, I don’t need this!

BILLY BURKE: Really? Weren’t you almost raped by four guys earlier in the movie?

KRISTEN STEWART: Yeah but I have a BOYFRIEND now, which means I no longer have to be independent or physically capable of doing anything on my own. GOD!

And this:

PETER FACINELLI: Kristen’s been bitten! She’ll be turned into a vampire within minutes unless you suck the venom out! I can’t do it for some reason or another.

ROBERT PATTINSON: Since the whole novel this is based on is just Mormon propaganda for abstinence and bloodsucking is a metaphor for sex, what exactly is this advocating?

PETER FACINELLI: Look, all I know is that even though it’s going to be REALLY HARD, you’re just going to have to PULL OUT of her before CLIMAX. The climax of the movie, I mean.

And, of course, this:

KRISTEN STEWART: I want you to make me a vampire so that I can be with you, even if it means sacrificing my own life as a mortal.KRISTEN STEWART

ROBERT PATTINSON
: So, the next generation of young women are currently flocking to see a female lead starring in a movie by a female director based on a bestselling book by a female author, and in this movie the main character wants to become completely submissive and self-sacrificing for a male.

KRISTEN STEWART: I love you. Put a baby in me.

ROBERT PATTINSON: At least the other three books can’t possibly be more misogynistic and depressing.

ME: “BZZZZT. Wrong again. But thanks for playing.”

*Edited to add: Note pingbacks in comments from the Robert Pattinson Fan Club?

All hands on deck. Man the lifeboats. Women, children and boys with big eyes, pretty lips and tight butts first. The deluge is expected in ten…nine…eight…

December 17, 2008

Update re: M/M Romance Goes Mainstream.

Filed under: blah blah blah,Excerpt,Industry,WIP,Writing — Selah March @ 10:38 am

Remember Running Press and their upcoming experiment with releasing m/m romance as actual romance? (http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6622447.html)

Looky! Covers!

transgressions

falsecolours

Ah, spring…when a young man’s mind turns to thoughts of BOOTAY in BREECHES…

Congratulations to Erastes and Alex. April can’t get here soon enough.

NON SEQUITUR ALERT: So am I the last one in the known world to discover Erotica Cover Watch? Why didn’t somebody TELL ME?? I mean, aside from the obvious attraction of Man Candy Monday, the posts themselves are a freakin’ HOOT. Plus, Mathilde and Kristina make several excellent points, which I shall not list here and now because I’m supposed to be writing, and I fear my brilliant and ever-stylish crit partner may break out the flogging implements if I don’t send her…let’s see…yes, the breath-play chapter is up next.

But first, an excerpt from Chapter 4 of Year of the Cat, my WIP based on Perrault’s Puss in Boots, because I can write historical-buttsexin’-boys, too…except mine’s more pseudo-historical, and includes shape-shifting and BDSM and a spot of forced seduction. Details, details…

***

All evidence to the contrary, Etienne was neither a halfwit nor a fool.

Impractical? Certainly.

Guileless? Without a doubt.

But in one particular subject, Etienne possessed no peer — the study of the supernatural. Indeed, his late and deeply lamented father had often expressed concern over the hours his youngest son spent poring over tales of the gruesome and fantastical. From children’s fairy stories to the journals of long-dead sorcerers to grim accounts of witch-hunts and burnings, Etienne’s appetite for the otherworldly was insatiable. Paradoxically, ’twas from this investigation of the inhuman that Etienne developed his most apt observations of humanity — for how better to learn the ways of good, decent men than to study the depravity of monsters?

Therefore, by the time he’d lingered three-quarters of an hour in the company of the man who called himself “Jacques,” Etienne knew his visitor to be a scoundrel, a villain…and quite possibly not a man at all.

None of this kept Etienne from accepting Jacques’ apparent generosity. For ’twould take a halfwitted fool, indeed, to reject warmth on a freezing night, meat for an empty belly or a healing touch on bloody wounds.

But the blaze in the fireplace no longer seemed to burn so brightly — not when compared to the glittering amber of Jacques’ eyes.

“Pray, tell me,” he purred, “what do you know of passion?”

Etienne could only stare. He went on staring even as Jacques loomed over him, caught his face between his large hands and growled, “Tell me, mon petit.”

Etienne struggled to find his voice. “I know nothing of passion. I am…untouched.”

Jacques’ lips quirked in a sinister smile. “So sweet, like spun sugar. I fear you’ll rot my very teeth.”

The kiss Jacques pressed upon Etienne’s mouth tasted of salt and iron, and awakened in Etienne a delirious kind of hunger. He found himself clutching at Jacques’ shoulders, tearing at the sleeves of his coat with his sore fingers. When Jacques pulled aside the collar of Etienne’s shirt and licked at the line of flesh he’d revealed, Etienne stifled a moan.

“No, mon petit, let me hear your cries,” Jacques murmured, his words setting a heated buzz against Etienne’s skin. “Let me lap them from the hollow of your throat.”

Etienne fought, at war with his traitorous body. “Monsieur, please, I do not—”

“Hush,” Jacques whispered and caught Etienne’s chin in his hand. The blacks of his eyes had taken on a strange, slitted appearance as he gazed into Etienne’s face. “You’ll only tire yourself, and gain nothing for the effort.”

“But you said you wished to be my servant in all things, Monsieur. Yet you would take me without my consent?”

“I would coax your consent from its hiding-place and make it sing out like the bells of Notre Dame on Christmas morning.”

His words sounded like nothing less than the simple truth. Etienne stilled himself against the hard cottage floor, his body not quite entirely limp with submission.

***

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