Sunday, July 15, 2018

Plagiarism is NEVER okay

I honestly had no desire to write this post. I'm tired of fighting with people I considered friends. I'm tired of finding that I've burned another bridge. I'm tired o feeling like my entire damn community hates me. I just want to be left in peace to write, publish, and be with my family and friends.

But I have my lines, and I got an email this morning that reminded me, viscerally and painfully, why plagiarism is one of them. Why I will never forgive the likes of Cassandra Clare, Santino Hassell (who stole people's LIVES) and countless others.

The short answer, that I shouldn't need to give at all, is that stealing is wrong. Stealing someone's work, whether you get paid for it or not, IS WRONG. Women all over the world know what it's like to have their work stolen by men while they're ignored. POC all over the world know what it's like to have their history stolen, to have things that POC did instead claimed by white people. This is never okay, even if the author "only" steals it for fanfic.

And in a better world, that would be more than explanation enough. Stealing someone else's work and claiming it as your own is wrong. The end.

The problem, though, is that whether they realize it or not, too often people do not truly see authors (all artists) as people ourselves. They see us as little better than a store they can walk into whenever they want to grab what they want to read - and if it's not there, they get upset. They get really fucking callous. Sometimes they even get downright cruel.

No, the author in question did not die.

But her aunt died. Then her uncle died. Then her father died, after years of fighting with a debilitating disease. Then she got injured. Then she had to deal with her mother having cancer.

And authors don't get things like bereavement. Even that one small thing, we don't get. Most readers are kind and understanding, but when you're sitting on your couch crying because your life fucking sucks - because your cat just died, and money is a problem again, and you don't know why you're in constant pain - it's the 'why can't she do her fucking job like everyone else?' comments that stick most in your mind.

What does all this have to do with plagiarism? If you haven't figured it out, I'll get there.

That email I got this morning. It was from a very sweet author of ours at LT3. Their father died on Friday. Back when they knew it was only a matter of time, LT3 made sure their first book would be out in time for their father to see it before he passed. We put it in print, even though it was too short, so their father could see it and hold it. You can imagine how much that meant to the author.

We got another email a few months ago, from an author asking if they could withdraw their book and have rights reverted. Because the cancer their doctor initially thought was minor was in fact terminal, and they had little time left, and wanted to take care of as much as they could before they passed so their family wasn't left dealing with it. Despite my nearly twenty years experience with words, I cannot describe to you how devastating that email was.

Now picture any one of these authors finding out their work had been plagiarized. Put yourself in their shoes. An author too distraught and in emotional turmoil and grief to write, and who is still catching up now on all the books she'd like to finish. An author who dedicated their first book to the father who died soon after. An author who will never get to write a second book.

How do you think it would feel to them, or their surviving family, to learn that someone had turned part - or all - of their story into a Snarry fic? Into a stuffed novel on KU? Into an international bestseller?

Authors are people. We feel all the safe joy and anguish and amusement and pain as the rest of the world. Sometimes we write just to write. Sometimes we write according to a prompt. And sometimes, when the pain has nowhere else to go, we bleed on the page so we can breathe again.

And then we wake up one day and find that someone has stolen our work and claimed it for their own, without doing ANY of the things that we had to in order to put those words on the page.

It has also been well established that plagiarists are repeat offenders; they never do it just once. Even after they get caught, they either find a way to continue on, or they start over under a new identity and keep going.

THAT is why I will NEVER tolerate plagiarists, no matter if they "write" fanfic, published fic, poetry, or whatever. That is why they frankly can burn in hell so far as I'm concerned. If you disagree, that's your prerogative, but this is my line.


Friday, July 13, 2018

WIP - Like No Other

Alright, peeps. I'm in sort of a glum and frustrated mood, but writing as ever cheers me up and I'm really excited whenever I get to work on this one.

This is a VERY VERY rough draft. PLEASE forgive all the terrible Italian, etc. that will be corrected further down the road by betas and such. There are probably also brackets where I haven't come up with names because A) Italian/Japanese is too hard for me to figure out on my own or b) I haven't decided what to go with yet. There are also typos, inconsistencies, etc etc.

I also have about 3k+ written on the next Anti-Heroes story, about Byron and Leland, but that's for my Patreon ^^

This is the prologue and first chapter. I hope peeps enjoy!

Friday, June 29, 2018

Queer People at Not Interchangeable

In point of fact, NOBODY is interchangeable. Every person on the face of this planet is unique, and the world looks the way it does because of that uniqueness. People are good. People are bad. People are wonderful. People are evil incarnate. And everything in between.

But I'm focusing on queer people because what Hayden Hunt is doing is bullshit. It's wrong, it's insulting, it's hurtful.

Let's just start right off the bat with her main defense:

Yes, Edie Bryant's books are Hayden Hunt's books imagined as FF.
You know what re-imagining looks like?

Ocean's 8. That  is a perfect example of re-imagining. "What if we did Ocean's 11 but all women?"

And they did it. Wonderfully. Beautifully. They took women who are professional criminals and had them pull a heist. Simply "changing the gender" would not have worked. That's not how it works at all. You could not have simple taken Ocean's 11 and simply "switched" the gender (leaving aside all the complexities of gender for now) of the characters and have the movie be authentic.

Because right from birth women and men have very different life experiences. That's just for cis straight people (leaving aside race, which is a whole other thing. If I covered every single nuance of this problem, we'd be here for the next month and I assume nobody wants that).  When you throw in queerness, especially transgender, non-binary, genderqueer, etc. the matter gets even more complicated. When you throw in anyone who deviates even slightly from whatever the hell "normal" is, it's impossible to simply "switch" anything.

Ocean's 8 knew this, and did itself proud with how well it re-imagined Ocean's 11 but all women.

Hayden Hunt displayed no such capability. She didn't re-imagine anything. She didn't change anything except names and pronouns and swapping penis for vagina. Her stories are exactly the same word for word. That's what we call lazy. That's what we call mistreating readers. That's what we call insulting and hurtful to queer people.

We're not interchangeable. Not in life. Not in stories. We aren't all the flamboyant gay good or the butch or the uber femme trans lesbian. You can't just write a story as MM then change 'he' to 'she' and think you're re-imagining a story.

I have re-imagined stories countless times. I LIVE for taking traditional romantic tropes and making them queer as hell. And queering fairytales my favorite thing to do.  But I don't simply simply change 'Cinderella' to 'Ashton' and leave everything else exactly the same. That's not re-imagining. That's bad writing. Every good writer who's queered fairytales, from Marie Sexton to Tami Veldura and so on, knows this, and have written damned good queered Cinderella tales. It takes a hell of a lot more work than changing pronouns and body parts, and it's insulting to even consider putting that on the same level.

That Hunter is queer herself doesn't make it okay. That's what we call abusing your own community. Don't shit where you sleep.

No, this is not an instance of an author who can do what she likes with her own books. I mean yes, technically, no one can stop you. The same way no one can stop the assholes who write plantation owner/slave and nazi/jew stories.

But shitty actions have consequences, and you don't get to take offense when your crappy behavior is called out.

An ethical writer would look at their MM story and go 'I wonder what would happen if they were women instead of men" and write a whole new story. They would have said 'hey, readers, look at what I did, I hope you enjoy this FF take on my MM novel!'

A lazy writer with no respect for readers or her own community says 'I'll just change the names, pronouns, and body parts'.

If you are defending this reprehensible behavior, you're part of the problem. You are defending an unethical writer, abuse of the queer community, and abuse of readers.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Story Stuffs - Like No Other

I am taking a social media hiatus for basically my own mental health. I won't get into why, I'm sure most people know anyway.

But I know there were a LOT of people excited about my newest project. I am currently focusing on finally getting two stories that I owe people and am super horribly late on - one, the prize winner for an LT3 giveaway. The other was an auction winner.

The prize story is half done. I hope to tackle it here shortly after I've done a few LT3 things and some editing. That story is called The Toymaker's Hoard, and takes places in Love Tokens verse. It's about a dragon, a human, and a half-faerie (and the grown children of the latter two, who are good at causing trouble).

The second story is also fantasy, but as mentioned on twitter the other day, is basically a mish-mash of Romeo and Juliet and The Count of Monte Cristo. Since so many peeps seemed excited about this one, I thought I'd give a few of the details and such I do know about the story. The working title is Like No Other.

The setting will be loosely inspired by Venice, but rather than a lagoon it's located on the open ocean and doesn't have the sinking problem. It will also be a mish-mash of Italian and Japanese cultures, at it's base inspiration (much like medieval India was the foundation/inspiration for High King).

The "Capulets" are the Ferro family, and Carac is our Juliet/Edmond Dantes.

The "Montagues" are the Ishikawa family, and Arata is our Romeo. He dies in the prologue.

So who does Carac fall in love with in the course of his revenge? That I'm not telling :3

The Ferro family has iron magic, meaning they can manipulate and control iron, which includes steel. They are famous swordsmiths.

The Ishikawa family has stone magic, though I haven't decided on what kind yet, or what they're known for.

Never fear, the Ishikawa are not a bunch of katana-wielding samurai. There will be katanas, but the sword of fashion is of course the rapier (along with my old friend the main gauche).

Most of my names are merely fill-ins until I can get betas further down the road who will help me with the Italian and Japanese (like, Carac - which is purposely not Italian for story reasons - later becomes a count, obviously, and his alias is Dante Amore right now. I suspect that will change. But this kind of thing is a problem for future me).

Carac's friend and assistant in revenge is Forthwind, and he too acquires a romance. The prince of R&J will be a princess. I have the first few chapters outlined, and am aiming to outline them all, then will settle into research and draft the first few chapters to see if things will work in action the way they do in theory.

I don't know the length of it yet, though I suspect it will be at least 60k.

Let's see if I can pull this off :3

And now I return to my cave. Ciao ;)


Monday, April 16, 2018

Release Day - Fighting for You

So Waiting for You was about Shanna, our marvelous queen-in-waiting, and her handsome men. But it also introduced Penli, her rather flamboyant best friend.

There are a few elements of Penli that are important to me. One is that he is significantly older than Shanna, but that has no real bearing on their friendship. I'm four years older than my wife, two years older than Samantha, and seven years older than my best friend. I have nearly always been the youngest of my friends, because of the way my birthday falls. The phrase 'age is just a number' is important to me, because it's so very true in my day to day. And while you can find plenty of may/december romance around, seldom do you see friendships of that nature.

Two, Penli is one of my favorite character types - the flamboyant pretty boy who likes his pretty clothes and is a little bit vain, but could also kill you with his pinky if suitably provoked. He's been compared to Lord Akeldama, and that beloved vampire was definitely one inspiration.

He's also a former soldier (a former assassin) who just wants to be left in peace to recover and live a quiet life. Beneath his foppish clothes and cynical mien is a man worn to the bone who just wants to rest. I grew up in the military, that's why I write about soldiers a lot, and the fact they come home and so often are treated like criminals or garbage bothers me. So I write Penli and others, and hope they have some effect on the small slice of the world that reads them.

On a lighter note, he was great to write in that he doesn't want to be the hero, but can't help himself, how does he get himself into these situations??? And it was also fun to write his visceral hatred of Tishasanti, the way they'd both been completely bastards to each other over the years, sometimes justified, and sometimes not.

And of course, this book introduces the MC of the third book, Looking for You

I hope everyone enjoys Penli and his boys. As ever, thanks for reading.

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P.S. My newsletter died unexpectedly (mailchimp deactivated the account without bothering to tell me) so here is the new one if you want to sign up again. 

Plagiarism is NEVER okay

I honestly had no desire to write this post. I'm tired of fighting with people I considered friends. I'm tired of finding that I...