I Guess I’m A Fan

Posted in Writing and Things Literary with tags , , , , , , , , on September 5, 2011 by AF

In my opinion, the apparent (public) personas of Jennifer Lopez, Kim Cattrall and Cameron Diaz (amongst a few others) make them three of the sexiest women on the planet today. On top of that, I generally think that Marilyn Monroe (who was anything but the dumb blonde she usually portrayed) must probably have been one of the sexiest women to ever walk the Earth since humanity began – so I suppose that makes me a fan of these women, though I don’t much like that term. For sure, I do often rather idolise sexy women with attitude and these females of our species all fall well into that category – in my mind at least.

Of course, many of you may disagree and even detest (or at the very least not much like) my choices and their work. But then, that’s the point, isn’t it? This is an example of my personal taste and not everyone likes the same things. However, the fact is that when people go to see a film starring these individuals, or if they read a book by a well known author, view a picture by a famous artist, or go to a concert by Kylie Minogue or some similar superstar, the majority of the people involved are already “fans” of what that artist provides and adulation by the audience is therefore almost guaranteed.

So, that leaves us with something of a conflict: Whilst diversity is the basis for the success of our species, finding those with a common attitude is the key to individual triumph for many and particularly for those who do the sort of things people like me do – things “artistic”. If you’ve already made it big, that’s quite easy since the mere mention of your name will enable tens of thousands (hopefully even millions) of people to instantly recognise the type of work you do and know that they like (or dislike) it…

But what of the rest of us? If you have the odd few million pounds or dollars tucked away, a TV advertising campaign will almost certainly make your fortune. But then, if you have that sort of money spare, why would you bother, unless it’s solely for vanity’s sake?

Naturally, not all of us are the next William Shakespeare (I know I’m not) and many of us wouldn’t even want to be, but that doesn’t mean that a lot of us don’t create half decent work that many would find enjoyable – if only we could get known by those members of the public who would buy what we produce if they even knew we existed and had experienced our creativity. Of course, Twitter, FB and the like are good platforms for self promotion, but is there really that much point in advertising your work to other writers? A few may buy what you do; a few may be good enough to review your work and speak kindly of it; a few also read everything they can get their hands on and may then tell others. But the truth is, I suspect, that what we are often forming on such social sites is what amounts to a pretty limited and often quite elitist mutual admiration society.

The big book stores and the whole conventional publishing industry acts as a sort of “fan club” for writers and other artists and presents their work to the world at large – sadly, since they are primarily businesses, they (quite naturally and not unreasonably) only do that for the already successful, those who have formerly achieved fame (or maybe infamy) and the lucky few these omnipotent beings decide will, by hook or by crook, be the next big thing…

There must be a better way for everyone else, but I’m damned if I know what it is…

😦

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I Actually Managed To Do Some Work

Posted in Writing and Things Literary with tags , , , , , on August 26, 2011 by AF

I’ve quite surprised myself recently. I’ve never been the most industrious of authors. When I say that, I’m not really referring to the amount I write, but more my lack of sticking to the drudgery of editing and preparing stuff for publication when I’m not pushed by some outside force (like an agent or publisher)… and that’s one of the many problems I personally find when going the Indie route that I mentioned in an earlier post.

However, recently, I’ve had a bit of a rush of blood to the head (or something like that) ever since my decision to turn at least some of my stuff into eBook format and publish it on Amazon and so forth.

On top of that, I’m equally bad at persevering with doing what needs to be done when it comes to advertising my work too. It’s true I just love to do what I do regardless, but there isn’t ultimately all that much point in doing all that work if I don’t bother to tell anyone about it, is there? Hence this post and a few other inadequate things I’m doing.

The Superior Gene:

The Superior Gene is a Sci-Fi adventure story that is set mostly in the next century. It is of course rather darker in places than my fun romances, but it also has its lighter side too. However, as with most of my Sci-Fi stories, it’s more about the human condition when a “what if” scenario confuses things, rather than tales full of “bug-eyed” monsters. Naturally, there’s quite a bit of sex in it too. Now there’s a surprise, coming from me, eh?

Book 1 – Jason, Source Of The Gene is (as I mentioned a while ago) now published for Kindle and has been selling quite well. In fact, to be honest, it’s selling very well considering the fact that I’ve done almost nothing to seriously promote it.

Still, you do really need to read it before you start the second and third books of the trilogy and they are coming along much quicker than I anticipated – largely as a result of my new found diligence.

Book 2 – Louise, Progress of The Gene is perhaps the biggest surprise for me, since that too is now available for Kindle… I know – already! Scary, isn’t it? I mean, what am I thinking? Two books in a month! Jeez! Louise is quite exciting too with a fair bit of death and danger along the way and plenty of sex, of course.

The book explains more and takes the story forward quite a lot. Louise is the one main character  common to all three books.

However, more terrifying yet (for me) is the fact that…

Book 3 – Justin, Destiny of The Gene
will also be finished in eBook format in the next few weeks too! I know – bloody hell! Actually, Justin is the book that pulls the whole thing together and makes this into a real trilogy. It explains things about my scenario that must surely puzzle some readers within the other two books, which in part set the scene for book 3 to happen at all.

Anyway, like I say, book 3 will be out fairly soon too, so please hurry up and read books 1 and 2…

😆

Actually, thinking about it now, I suppose the trilogy could quite easily be turned into a whole series, if some TV or film producer is interested… Anyone?

Oh well… never mind, eh?

😉

Follow The Indie Route?

Posted in Writing and Things Literary with tags , , , , , , on August 16, 2011 by AF

I can understand those who favour the Indie route to publishing and there are two main reasons for that…

Firstly: Who wants to hang around whilst dozens, perhaps hundreds, of agents wait three months to not even bother to read your submissions, query letters and so on? And many publishers seemingly won’t even open mail that doesn’t come from an agent.

Authors tend to be independent thinkers (the literal meaning of “Indie” is independent if you don’t know, as I didn’t until a while back), so it’s hardly surprising that they are not immediately enamoured of the stranglehold that the system has had on their livelihoods.

Secondly: The conventional agent/publisher setup has more and more moved towards making their authors do most of the work anyway and many authors now have to find, arrange and then attend their own book signings, lectures, talks, do their own advertising and more – so why would they want to give away ten to twenty percent of their meagre royalties to someone who’s doing damn all for them?

However, there is also a third reason: The publishing world has changed only in the last few years – very rapidly and dramatically. We are witnessing a revolution that has resulted from the rise of the Internet and the sudden explosion in communications that has engendered a desire for eBooks. What was once a fad, a niche, a trickle, has now almost magically turned into a mighty torrent in which conventional publishing is often close to drowning as it is carried along by the current. Of course, Amazon did much to kick it off, but now many of the big guys are scrambling to climb aboard and some of them have pretty certainly left it too late.

The problem that I see with all that (and it’s where I kind of think the big publishers have shot themselves repeatedly in the foot with their past arrogance and greed, which threatens to make them ultimately irrelevant) is that the Indie scene is not just about independence, but almost a way of life where often only the most diligent and tenacious of its believers are likely to succeed.

The reason I say that is because a whole lot of writers want to do just that: write! They don’t have any desire to be entrepreneurs, salespeople, marketers, advertisers and all the rest. By their very nature, writers are usually creative people and they are mostly happiest when they are just writing in the hope that someone, somewhere, will read what they turn out.

However, I suppose they could always seek a person or company who would be their agent in this and who… Ohw… Goddamn it!

😉

There Always Seems To Be Sex In Everything

Posted in Writing and Things Literary with tags , , , , , , , , on August 11, 2011 by AF

That’s: there always seems to be sex in pretty much everything I write – blog posts, books, short stories – even my Sci-Fi novels. I guess that says something about me, do you think?

Ah, well… Why not, eh? After all, it’s what makes the world go round for most of us, isn’t it? Let’s face it, without sex, we’d probably all still be single cell organisms. Worse than that, it would appear that I’d have nothing to say about anything – and I do like to write, even when relatively few people read it.

In fact writing and sex have a lot in common for me: I adore both activities even when I don’t get paid for doing either of them! Mind you, money’s important – sex anyone?

However, on that score and in the true spirit of shameless self promotion, some of my novels are now coming out as eBooks…

Seductive Chance, my story of an artist who discovers all sorts of things about himself and women over a two year or so period is now available for Kindle on Amazon. It’s a bit of light-hearted fun with quite a lot of sex in it too (of course).

The women in the book tend to be fairly strong and decisive (and naturally pretty horny), whilst Mike Farmer, the male lead and narrator seems to spend most of his time full of self-doubt. He’s a nice guy at heart and pretty quiet and unassuming, just like me I guess… Hah! Okay, okay… not at all like me, then!

The Superior Gene: Book One – Jason, Source Of The Gene is also there (books 2 & 3 of the trilogy should also be up there in the next few weeks/months). The Superior Gene is a Sci-Fi adventure story that is set mostly in the next century. It is of course rather darker in places than my fun romances, but it also has its lighter side too. However, it in part describes an Earth where women have finally realised that it doesn’t matter a damn what men think. Naturally, that means there’s quite a bit of sex in it too. Now there’s a surprise, eh?

Even if you don’t buy either of the books (though it would be lovely if you did, of course), just take a peek at them at least, will you? Will you really? Please… Pretty please?

😉

Is There A Better Way?

Posted in Scandalous! with tags , , , , , , , on July 8, 2011 by AF

Naturally, I’m talking about sex and relationships. Yeah, I know – what else? However, it’s not just me and my quirky way of looking at things that has triggered this post (for once).

More or less by accident – well via Twitter actually – I came across this post from “MyDevina” who describes her blog as, “a fun, flirty, irreverent look at being sexy, single and over 30”. The post in question got me thinking, yet again, about relationships, friendship and all the rest and my eternal query, do we demand too much from each other and, indeed, from ourselves at times.

It’s a good post and it makes sense if you have the time to pop over and take a look at the full article here. The gist is that we sometimes have a tendency to compare the new partner in our life with the old one – perhaps not always as generously as we should. I guess that would be: if only he/she had been different, or things had worked out another way. Thus the piece highlights the fact that it can on occasions be hard to let go of the past and also suggests a few pretty logical reasons why. Like I said, it’s a good post…

Nevertheless, the part of the post that particularly sparked my thoughts was really just this bit near the beginning: “During our official relationship we were not best friends, and our sex life was good but lacked some trust. After our breakup – and time passing – we became best friends and our sex life was awesome.” Of course, MyDevina is absolutely right and it does take time to develop a “oneness” – a mutual understanding that can result in incredible closeness. Even if your new significant other is going to turn out to be the much talked about and (certainly for some of us) perhaps mythical soul-mate of your life, you’re not going to immediately have that sort of intuition with someone you don’t yet really know, are you?

To me, there are a number of conclusions that could be drawn from all that. In the first place, one could, of course, say that best friends have better sex, but we know that’s not true because strangers who meet in the night can have awesome sex and best friends might want entirely different things in bed anyway. I think that a generosity of spirit is far more important – wanting to give pleasure as much as just wanting to selfishly enjoy it (mixed together with a hefty dose of experience and knowledge of the mechanics involved for the opposite sex of course). That, though, is an attitude that best friends are more likely to feel and exhibit, don’t you think?

However, more importantly in my opinion, is the question this raises about relationships and our expectations from them. One thing that many women go on about endlessly (not unreasonably and I’ve mentioned this before) is the subject of honesty. I have often wondered if the reality isn’t that, if we could all be totally honest about our wants and desires without pressure from others, preconceived ideas about artificial “right and wrong” conventions and what we should have, feel and expect, most women simply want something very different from a relationship than most men. I don’t mean by that just physical side either – not just the old cliché “he only wants me for one thing”, though I don’t see what’s wrong with that either – it’s solely the dishonesty involved that makes it unacceptable, in my opinion. The difficulty with that is, of course, the guy who’s totally honest and says at the outset that, “it’s just sex and I don’t want to wake up in the morning next to you” isn’t going to get laid very often, is he? Or at least not with the average woman he might find attractive when they have both grown up with their current fixed ideas about conventional relationships.

But, as I said, it’s not just about the sex. Doesn’t the piece I quoted suggest that, when you’ve gone through the initial relationship bit and it hasn’t worked out, but you actually like the ex, then the pressure’s off? Thus, you can at last be yourselves – both of you! Gone is the (self inflicted) need to pretend that you feel or want something different from what you do because you know it’s what the other wants and, if you actually had something special together, even though it wasn’t all each of you wanted, that part where you were great together can flourish and become wonderful.

Everyone’s different, of course, and so is every relationship, but aren’t our preconceptions and the conventions we have grown up with and acquired since, the real problem with many if not most relationships that don’t work out long term? Do we in fact just expect too damned much from others and even from life itself? Perhaps the perfect life – the “American dream” if you like (for my friends in the US) – is just an ideal that most of us will seek and not actually find. If you have found it, then good luck to you and my advice for what it’s worth is to hang onto it for dear life. Do, though, just take the time and trouble to “read between the lines” to make sure that your partner really does view your relationship in the same light, whatever he or she says – honesty cuts both ways!

😉

I Got To Wondering

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , on June 15, 2011 by AF

That’s wondering, as distinct from wandering, which I also have a tendency to do, but then at my advanced age, what do you expect?

Anywaa-aay… I got to thinking about all the various conventions and attitudes by which we live – they are certainly many and varied around the world, but how do they develop? What first made people in parts of Asia start to believe that showing the soles of your feet was somehow “rude”? Or, come to that, why throwing a shoe (or was it shoes?) at the then President G. W. Bush of the USA was so insulting (apart from the possibility of hitting him on the head and knocking some sense into it). That is something that occurs all over the place, but it is much more an Arab (and perhaps Asian) thing than any other since it is apparently they who mostly tend to consider shoes as “dirty” or “unclean”.

I suppose, though, that the strangest and most wildly varying attitudes around the world are those that we have towards nudity and sex (you knew I’d get around to my favourite subject sooner or later, didn’t you?)…

In the so-called developed world, the UK is a bit on the puritanical side at times, though we seem fascinated by the sex lives of others, most notably celebrities. Nudity also seems to worry us too, but again not that of others – especially when it comes to pictures of pretty young women in newspapers like the Sun. The Germans will apparently, as someone once said to me, strip off anywhere and in front of anyone, though I can’t say that fills me with a huge amount of anticipation, with the notable exception of Heidi Klum and a few like her. The French? Who knows what the French really think about anything? The Latin countries, like Spain and Italy in particular seem to me to have a very healthy attitude to nudity and sex, neither of which usually phase them in any way and they are both usually regarded as part of life’s rich pattern – a nice and enjoyable part – and that sounds about right to me.

Arab countries and others who follow the Moslem faith are generally way out of date (to my way of thinking), but then so are most of their more rigid attitudes to women. Their often total ban on even a husband and wife showing affection towards each other in public seems to me to be simply archaic and, in truth, outright stupid. Again, though, that’s just my opinion and I confess that there’s not much that I properly understand about Islam – although what I do know does nothing to encourage me to study it further. Yet the fact is that many, if not all, of our ingrained attitudes that are not the result of simple superstition and myth probably have their root somewhere in one organised religion or another – and each to his own on that one! What people believe about their preferred deity is personal and none of my business… except…

Well… where do American attitudes to nudity and sex come from? It seems to me (quite possibly wrongly) that their approach to those subjects is chock full of contradictions. Their (laudable in my opinion) position on free speech and freedom of expression allows that almost anything goes and yet their underlying mind-set appears to be one that exhibits cultural insecurity in the extreme. There are (I understand) strict and precise rules about the amount of “butt crack” that can be shown along with gasps of shock-horror if a woman should go topless on a beach (I realise that some of these things may vary from state to state) and yet just about anything is seemingly for sale in nightclubs and strip joints, lap dancing clubs and so on. I mean, where does this dichotomy come from?

Sorry, but I really don’t get it! If you believe in a benign and loving deity, then surely you have to believe that sex was given to humanity for us all to enjoy, or it makes a total nonsense of your own beliefs. If you don’t believe, then what the heck’s your problem with what has clearly driven our very creation and further growth into the modern human race?

Anyone want to explain? 😉

For Once I Should Be Serious

Posted in People, Society and Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 29, 2011 by AF

It’s a serious matter and that makes me very wary of saying anything at all about it in public, but then it’s something that I abhor and feel very strongly about, so here goes…

The subject is rape.

In truth, it’s something I don’t really understand from a male point of view, because I have never really wanted to do anything to, or with, a woman that she didn’t want too – that to me is part (a very big part) of the magic of sex. I might on occasions have wished that a beautiful woman felt differently (or even bloody well noticed me, if I’m honest), but that’s light years from what we’re talking about here. Heck, we wish for all sorts of things – I wish I was George Clooney, but life can be such a bitch and so I’m not.

However, recently, there has been considerable anger and debate in the UK over a statement made by our Justice Secretary, Kenneth Clarke, that some kinds of rape are worse than others, or words to that effect at least. I’m not even a fan of Ken Clarke as a politician and I certainly don’t believe in a justice system that worries more about the “human rights” of criminals and terrorists than those of their victims, or even of ordinary people. In my opinion the current trends have been utterly stupid political correctness gone absolutely loopy.

All that said, I do think Mr. Clarke has a point of sorts in this instance, if I’ve understood what he’s saying correctly. Rape, like burglary, mugging, domestic violence, murder and all the rest, is a fact of life – part of the human condition – whether most of us wish it were not so, or not. I do, though, understand (I think, at some level at least) how a woman can view all rape as equally awful and that any man who rapes should be castrated and left to rot in a hole somewhere – that is only natural. It’s exactly the same as a parent must feel about the driver of a car that kills their child – he (she) deserves all they get and much more. It’s murder! There should be no forgiveness! Right?

Looked at dispassionately, though, there are so many variables involved in any crime that we cannot make sweeping statements and lump all drivers who speed, or robbers, or even rapists together. All crimes of a broadly similar nature are not the same. A woman who goes out on a date and perhaps likes and finds her partner for the evening attractive, but he misunderstands all her signals and fails to uphold the most basic of rules – “no” means “NO!” – will (in the short term at least), be just as horrified, hurt, disgusted, even traumatised, by this man’s abhorrent behaviour (of which he will hopefully be utterly ashamed in the cold light of dawn and increased sobriety), as any other rape victim.

Yet that situation simply cannot, in my opinion, be regarded in exactly the same way as the evil, twisted bastard who stalks a woman (or grabs her randomly off the street) and then subjects her to a litany of brutal and degrading physical, sexual and mental humiliation usually designed specifically to satisfy his hatred of women and to sadistically break and demean her and probably traumatise her for life. Such acts actually have little to do with sex at all (and more to do with inadequacies of the male involved) and there is a viciousness about such perpetrators that is surely disgusting to all decent people of both sexes and who I, frankly, believe deserve no mercy at all. To talk of human rights for such people as that is an affront to the rest of humanity and to the term “human” itself – they certainly should be thrown in a hole to rot along with paedophiles, mass murderers, youths who beat up old ladies for a few pounds and similar scum!

But a guy who gets too impassioned and looses his sense of judgement? No. He should be punished of course, because there’s no excuse and he needs a lesson that will remind him to be more respectful the next time, but to compare the two situations, or even all the variations in between those extremes is just plain foolish and (I think) does nothing to advance the cause of women at all.

Putting unequal crimes against women into one huge category is just as demeaning to all men as the male attitude that sometimes says all women are the same in bed in the dark – it’s not only wrong, it debases the decent people in society, who are, incidentally, in the vast majority, whatever some victims might have us all believe.

So… Go on, then – tell me why I’m wrong…  😦