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So, Rosemary Laurey alerted me to this story about a guy in Afghanistan, who was sentenced to death because he downloaded a report which suggested that Muslim fundamentalists who preached that the Koran justified the oppression of women, were acting in direct contravention to the teachings of their Prophet Mohamed.

The fate of Sayed Pervez Kambaksh has led to domestic and international protests, and deepening concern about erosion of civil liberties in Afghanistan. He was accused of blasphemy after he downloaded a report from a Farsi website which stated that Muslim fundamentalists who claimed the Koran justified the oppression of women had misrepresented the views of the prophet Mohamed.

Mr Kambaksh, 23, distributed the tract to fellow students and teachers at Balkh University with the aim, he said, of provoking a debate on the matter. But a complaint was made against him and he was arrested, tried by religious judges without – say his friends and family – being allowed legal representation and sentenced to death.

What the fuck?

Anyway, the Independent are trying to get his conviction quashed:

The Independent is launching a campaign today to secure justice for Mr Kambaksh. The UN, human rights groups, journalists’ organisations and Western diplomats have urged Mr Karzai’s government to intervene and free him. But the Afghan Senate passed a motion yesterday confirming the death sentence.

Anybody who feels that this is grossly unjust, (and really, why shouldn’t you?) please, please, please go and sign this petition, to help save this man’s life.

No way should a man be sentenced to death because he was forward thinking enough to want to read about women’s rights. What kind of religious freakishness is that?

Friends

Thursday, January 31, 2008
Posted in: Uncategorized

“The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but to reveal to him, his own.”
-Benjamin Disraeli

I got a card this morning from one of my best friends, who I don’t see all that often, but when we meet up, it’s always like we were never apart.

She asked me to be Godmother to her unborn child.

I was so moved I cried for about an hour.

Friends are great aren’t they?

What’s the nicest thing a friend ever did for you? What’s the nicest thing you ever did for a friend?

I see that Rene Rocco, AKA Dishing Diva, AKA Rene Lyons has decided to change the name of her publishing company:

Hello everyone

After discussing things with our accountant, Frank and I decided to do away with Dragon Spell Publishing and operate solely under our corporation name of Lyrical Press Inc. We’re the same old owners doing the same old business, just under our corporation name and at a new location:

Lyrical Press.Com

Along with preventing any future problems doing business as Dragon Spell (we’re 99% positive it wouldn’t cause any problems but that 1% was too much for Frank and I), we also realized that being Lyrical Press, Inc. but operating as DSP might cause some confusion with readers and authors. Especially since Lyrical Press, Inc. is on everything except for the website. We learned this only by facing that particular situation and finding that to some, it might seem confusing. We want only good for our authors and staff and so, after agonizing over this decision for weeks, we decided it was best to make the change now, before it’s too late.

Frank and I had the hope of using Dragon Spell Publishing as the place to sell or romance/erotica titles, while expanding our catalog to include other genres (Young Adult) under our company name of Lyrical Press, Inc. Trial by error taught us this might confuse some, look a bit sloppy, and that was simply unacceptable to us as I am fanatical when it comes to organization.

It’s difficult finding our footing, learning what works and what doesn’t, under the watchful eye of the public, so I hope you bear with us as we welcome in Lyrical Press, Inc.

Thank you for your understanding and support as Lyrical Press, Inc. grows and thrives.

http://www.lyricalpress.com

publisher@lyricalpress.com

As a an astute cyber pal of mine pointed out, they’ve probably made the change because the Dragon Spell name might be tainted Google-wise, now. Oh well, we’ll see what happens with them I’m sure.

How long are we giving Lyrical Press before they close down “due to hormonal women and bitching”? *g*

Thanks to you-know-who for the tip-off.

I found this review of Dorothy Koomson’s My Best Friend’s Girl, on Youtube, and I quite liked it, so I thought I’d post a link to it on here.

Danke Smith, one of my serial lurkers (the Youtube video is hers by the way) posted a comment about the book, which I thought I’d highlight on here:

I wasn’t sure where to leave this comment about The American Version of Dorothy Koomson’s My Best Friend’s Girl so I thought I’d leave it here.

I noticed it is about to be released in America with an awful cover that doesn’t do the story justice. What is most interesting, I think, is that the cover blurb from the publisher makes a race issue when there isn’t really one.

Also, it has been paired with books about interracial romances on Amazon.com. It’s as if because the main character is black, there is nothing else to the story.

Thought I’d bring it up because I know this is a subject quite close to your heart. Mine, too! ; )What do you think?

Danke x

What do I think?

my-best-friends-girl.jpg

Firstly, the American cover sucks great big fucking hairy donkey balls, and secondly, this book wasn’t about effing race. It was about betrayal, death, adoption, and friendship. Why oh why do these publishers have to mess with stuff that aint broken? If Ms Koomson had wanted to make this book about race, then I daresay, she would have done so in a more obvious manner.

Richard Madeley even states in the video, that he wasn’t aware that Kamryn was black until the incident with Tiegan at the supermarket. This should be a flashing neon sign to the publishers, even though it’s obvious to anyone who’s read MBFG, that this book isn’t about race. Sheesh.

lmao.jpg

I really heart C’um Hither Global. The guys who write the fake news pieces are just so damn funny.

Their latest news story is funny as hell:

Former E-book publisher, Claire Yancy, blames disgruntled authors in her recent arrest for DUI, assault of a law enforcement officer, manufacturing Methamphetamine, prostitution and internet mail fraud.

Husband of Claire Yancy, publisher of the non-operational Lion Tease Press, had reported his wife missing late last week after their landlord attempted to serve an eviction notice and a group of girl scouts attempted to obtain payment for 44 boxes of cookies his wife had ordered.

Aren’t they naughty? Heheh.

The Blurb from Samhain:

Sometimes getting to heaven requires a trip through hell.

Twelve years ago, it looked like Del Prescott had it all. The wealthy family, the car, the looks and charm, and the perfect boyfriend. Then, mysteriously, she disappeared to “study abroad.” Now she’s back, and it’s not merely to attend a high school reunion. She’s here to face her demons—and Blake, the man she has never stopped loving.

Blake Mitchell is a changed man, thanks to surviving twelve long years of difficulties that began after Del dropped out of his life. Now she’s back, and she’s nothing like the polished, stylish world traveler he imagined she’d be. There’s a darkness about her, and a grim expression in her eyes that says she’s prepared for fight or flight.

Blake’s concern for her breaks down the walls Del has built around her heart and she finally begins to heal from the abuse she suffered at the hands of her own family. But the betrayal goes deeper than either of them ever imagined—and it’s about to come back to haunt them.

I read this book on Saturday, and I have to say, it was the most disturbing, moving, beautifully written book that I’ve read in a while.  Although, it’s not a book for the squeamish, because it deals with what for some will be a hot-button topic.

I loved Shi’s characterisations. I was totally emotionally invested in the h/h from the get-go. The heroine’s story was really heart-breaking, and I was moved to both anger and tears at times, over the stuff that she’d had to live through. The hero was just the most beautiful man, even though he’d also had his own issues to deal with.

What I loved about Beautiful Girl, was that although Blake had assumed that Del had left him without so much as a goodbye, all those years ago, when they meet up again, he’s not an arsehole with her. Neither is she with him. From the moment they meet again, I bought that they were two people who’d never moved on from each other in twelve years, and were still in love. I really did.

These next couple of scenes from the book totally epitomised the nature of their relationship, and just what a gorgeous man, Blake was:

“So if we hadn’t had a few roadblocks tossed at us, you think we’d be married and trying to con a friend into babysitting for us just so we can sneak a meal in peace?”

“Hey, no reason we can’t still do that.” He kept his voice casual as he came to a stop in front of the law office.

Her grin faded, replaced by a wistful expression. “Blake…”
Shaking his head, he said, “I’m not going to try to rush something on you, but I already told you that I never got over you. I don’t see it happening either, not after twelve years of loving you.”

She looked down and when her gaze came back up, her green eyes gleamed with tears. “Blake…” Her voice was thick and husky.
“Shhhh.” He dipped his head and kissed her softly. “Don’t go thinking about it too much if you’re not ready for it. But I did figure I should probably let you know that I still love you.”

Scene2:

kissed her lips, her cheek, nuzzled her neck. “You are beautiful. You’re soft, you’re sexy…you’re the woman I’ve loved my entire life. “
“Blake…” Her voice was thick with tears and he eased back, staring into her eyes.
“Shhh…” he whispered. “Close your eyes…listen to me, to my voice…feel my hands. You’re beautiful, Del. You make my heart hurt just to look at you…”

Just beautiful.

And can I say Shi, I loved the way the love scenes were handled. Lesser authors would have totally messed up those scenes, and left me feeling beyond icky.

This book was tremendous, and I definitely recommend that you guys go and Buy, buy, buy!

I Feel Vi-o-lated…

Monday, January 28, 2008
Posted in: womanly things

hi-eat-me.gif

I went for my cervical smear test today, and I have to say, no matter how often I have that speculum shoved up where the sun doesn’t shine, I still always feel like I’ve been ten rounds with Mike Tyson. I already had the obligatory hot bath, so now I’m off to find some non-fat cheesecake to make me feel better.

What do you guys do to get over the dreaded gyno check-up?

OK, don’t die of shock, but I really loved this book. Not only did I really enjoy it, I didn’t have the normal issues, that I have with Mckenna’s books.

1. The hero wasn’t a total asshole
2. Apart from going skinny dipping in a pool that didn’t belong to her, the female didn’t do anything that would classify her as Too Stupid To Live… Oh shit, yes she did. *whistles*
3. The heroine was more intelligent than the average Shannon Mckenna Heroine, AKA, she wasn’t a total walk-over.
4. The Villain didn’t reduce me to incredulous laughter at his antics.
5. The actual plot wasn’t paper thin

High praise indeed. I will deffo be buying her next book. (I say that as if there was the slightest chance I wouldn’t buy her next offering, regardless of whether this book had sucked or not. There wasn’t.)

I got this e-mail this morning:

Apparently, Teresa Wayne has transfered all the old Mardi Gras Publishing books to LA MEDIA. Yes all the ones that went to print now say LA Media on them, all except Kenna Fallon’s book Untamed.

Is this true? Can any former Mardi Gras authors out there, search for their print books at Barnes and Noble to double check?

The e-mail went onto say that apparently a lot of these authors didn’t sign an agreement for their books to be sold at LA Media.

Once a ISBN is used once for a company, the # is listed world wide… under the company. to change it is a criminal act because the authors didn’t sign on to be part of the new company.

Also allegedly, Teresa Jacobs didn’t pay some of the authors for their print books:

She never paid anyone for their print, and gave us a bogus print fee of about $400 when the fee is about $100. So she still cheating and stealing off many authors who got their rights back and moved on.

Can anybody verify this, because surely if the above is true, then Teresa Jacobs is being a very very naughty girl?

Ye Bloggers of Old, Where Art Thou?

Saturday, January 26, 2008
Posted in: Uncategorized

I came across this great post by CindyS, and it brought home to me, how much Romanceland is missing out by not having the likes of Maili, CrankyReader, and other absentee bloggers around.

Maili’s last blog post was in June 2006 as far as I can recall. I believe her and Will were moving to Germany or something?

Also, although JaynieR and I had a slightly acrimonious parting of ways over the Tina Engler AKA Jaid Black-married-a-convict-and-thinks-murderers-are-misunderstood, lovefest, I still think it’s a shame she’s dropped off from Blogland.

I also really miss, and worry about the girl from the blog, Baghdad Burning. Her and her family were forced to leave Iraq in April, and she’s only written two posts since then. The last post was dated October, when she was in Syria:

The first evening we arrived, exhausted, dragging suitcases behind us, morale a little bit bruised, the Kurdish family sent over their representative – a 9 year old boy missing two front teeth, holding a lopsided cake, “We’re Abu Mohammed’s house- across from you- mama says if you need anything, just ask- this is our number. Abu Dalia’s family live upstairs, this is their number. We’re all Iraqi too… Welcome to the building.”

I cried that night because for the first time in a long time, so far away from home, I felt the unity that had been stolen from us in 2003.

I really hope she’s ok.

Anyway, Cindy also mentioned Jay from Yapaway Jay, another blogger I used to frequent.

And lastly, I miss Monica (shut up Sybil!), I really do. She doesn’t post with any kind of regularity these days, and although many people (including me, may I add) didn’t always like her views, she was one of the few authors who’s blog didn’t bore me senseless, and one of the few on-line authors that I found very difficult to dislike.

Have I missed anybody out?


Blurb From Amazon:

Nobody’s home at the millionaire’s estate on remote Frakes Island. And nobody seems to be watching. Becca Cantrell dives in for an illicit midnight skinny dip – and gets hauled out by a towering, hard-muscled guy with burning dark eyes. He seems to be in charge. Good. The man is the embodiment of her most intense fantasies. And she’s up for risky thrills…

Nick Ward can’t tell her that he’s spying on a vicious Russian crime boss. Becca could be his worst enemy: an assassin sent to kill him, a call girl sent to distract him, or the worst scenario of all – a clueless innocent. Anyway he looks at it, she’s trouble: beautiful, bare, dripping-wet trouble. The kind he can’t resist.She’s not scared. After one taste of his hot mouth, Becca soon discovers just how fearless she can be. She’ll need it, too – because things are about to explode on Frakes Island, launching Becca and Nick into danger they could never have imagined – and a passion that could destroy them both…

I know, I know, what can I say, she’s my drug of choice. No doubt I’ll be bitching and whinging about how stoopid her heroine is, and how ridiculously assholic her hero is, but when all’s said and done, I’ll still probably buy her next book. Big effing sigh.

Hey, don’t look at me like that, I bet you guys have authors who you shouldn’t love like a fat kid loves cake, but do anyway, don’tcha?

God, this crap annoyed me beyond measure.

Some people simply have no respect for the dead, or the grieving:

A controversial church described as a “hate group” has said it will protest at Heath Ledger’s memorial service because he played a gay character in Brokeback Mountain.

The Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church – which has previously said they wished a million people had been killed in the London terror attacks in 2005 – issued a statement saying the Australian actor was “now in hell”.

“WBC will picket this pervert’s funeral, in religious protest,” the group said.

“God hates the sordid, tacky bucket of slime seasoned with vomit known as Brokeback Mountain and He hates all persons having anything whatsoever to do with it.

“Heath Ledger is now in Hell, and has begun serving his eternal sentence there.”

Un-effing-believable.

OK, Here’s Your Official Welcome!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Posted in: Uncategorized

Welcome to my humble abode, isn’t it pretty in purple?

Huge thanks to Luna at Luna Stone Designs for her patience, and humour.

She was great, and didn’t lose her mind over my incessant nitpicking. Muchos gracias mate!

If you’re tired of your blog, but don’t know how to go about making changes, Luna is your gal! She’s a demon with code!

With such a pretty blog, I probably should turn over a new leaf, and be all sweetness and light like Sybil, waddaya think? *g*

Heath Ledger Is…Dead?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Posted in: Uncategorized

Oh. My. Effing. God

I’m currently tweaking and updating URLs, so no official welcome and thank-yous just yet, but on my blog post travels, I came across this woman. Remember her? She was the slave who’s master made her wear a diaper as punishment or something.

Funnily enough, I’m happy to see that she’s doing ok, because every now and then, she does pop into my mind.

Here are some photographs taken whilst at my sister’s graduation last year:


Beautiful cathedral


‘Reconciliation’


Sis, BF and some random friend


Sis and her Uni BF


Gorgeous water feature outside cathedral

Awwww….they make it so damn easy for me to be…. well…me…

Anyway, since author, Deborah Smith (I believe she wrote the award winning book, Crossroads Cafe) has much to say for herself, I thought I’d give her comments the exposure they deserve, cuz you know, I’m nice like that.

Thanks to the Anon commenter who posted this link of a cached Amazon post that she wrote, presumably, at the height of the CE Love Fest.

This is what she had to say:


“Hi, y’all. I debated whether to post publicly {K: Ooops, too late, and Google forgets nothing unfortunately} about this tempest in a teapot in the romance world, because the last thing I want is to be eviscerated by Nora Roberts’ avid fangirls. But there’s a quiet little stream of conversation in the world of romance writers as to why Roberts, unquestionably the richest, most award-winning, most successful romance novelist in the world — in fact, one of the most successful novelists in the world, period — hangs out at a blog site called “Smart Bitches,” where the topics include open attacks on authors so far down the food chain that one wonders how Nora has time in her busy career to even notice they exist.

Now Roberts has weighed in (via an interview with the national press) on a controversy surrounding old-school historical author Cassie Edwards. I don’t know Cassie Edwards; I’ve never read one of her many (nearly 100) historicals. But so far as I can tell she’s a hardworking, 71-year-old author who’s never slammed any other author in public. To the best of my knowledge Ms. Edwards is considered a rollicking good storyteller who likes to write westerns and pirate novels. She does not appear to have any pretensions, and her fans clearly love her books.

But — according to reports launched by the Smart Bitches bloggers, who admitted beforehand that they don’t like Ms. Edwards’ old-style books, and have spent considerable time making jokes about them — the author “plagiarized” bits and pieces of research material. The horrendous offense? Some passages about (I’m not kidding) buffaloes and ferrets. Looking at the passages myself, all I see is a writer who maybe should have paraphrased some research info a little better. I don’t see malicious or greedy intent; I don’t see “plagiarism” in any serious legal interpretation of the charge. If there’s more to the issue than that, I haven’t seen the evidence.

But I kinda doubt that Ms. Edwards’ success is built on her nature writing. I kinda doubt she sat at her computer thinking, “If I use this other author’s description of a buffalo, I’ll sell ten times more books.”

But now this grandmother (and accomplished violinist) is fielding national wire service inquiries about her alleged misdeeds. And Nora Roberts — unsolicited, unharmed, with no personal beef with Ms. Edwards in any way, as far as I know — has stood up atop her unassailable pile of money and awards to say — in the national media –that Ms. Edwards appears to have committed plagerism.

Why does Roberts feel compelled to play lawyer, judge and jury regarding a fellow author? Roberts has achieved a level of good fortune 99.9 percent of authors can only dream about. But does that make her not only the spokeswoman for the romance genre, but also its enforcer of public condemnation for unproven offenses?

Not for me, and not for thousands of other hardworking authors trying to earn a living down here in the trenches, that’s for sure.”

And on that bombshell, I’m off to the pictures with TTG. I may even buy a violin with my popcorn whilst I’m out. :)

Updated to add: Here at Karen Scott Central, (thanks to AztecLady) we’ve realised that Ms Smith’s motives may not have been so pure after all. She was the lady who ‘jokingly’ accused Mancusi and Maverick of encouraging pedophilia by wearing their school girl outfits, at the height of the RWA Swanhat-gate Lovefest last year. She originally posted on the SBs blog, but here’s her comments at DA.

Now we know why she’s hating on Nora and the SBs so much; she’s getting them back for making her look stupid and clueless. *g*

You know what really chaps my arse?

People (Read: some authors) who are so twisted up with bitterness, that they simply refuse to see beyond the end of their own noses. These people (read: some authors) point blank refuse to acknowledge that sometimes, their (mostly perceived) ‘enemies’ are right.

They consistently take the opposing view, just because, they can’t bear the thought of conceding that sometimes these people, who they hate beyond measure, might actually be talking sense. It’s a strange phenomenon, and one that I’ve only ever experienced, with very young children, until recently. (You know, the game that you play, where you say the sky is blue, and the child says it’s black?) I’ve seen more examples of this, over the past couple of weeks, than ever before.

Every author, who’s ever tangled with a Mean Reader Blogger, predictably came out with their own twisted version of events, with regards to the plagiarism lovefest. They ‘gleefully’ bashed the SBs and DA, whilst lamenting how terrible it was that those bitches (paraphrasing of course) had put a 71 year old through all this stress, and brought shame to the genre, (and God, can’t they shut up already?) yada yada yada. My head still hurts from all the sneaky sideswipes.

I wasn’t surprised by any of it, as it happens. Unfortunately, I do tend to have low expectations of romance authors in general (I love the exceptions obviously), so this was just par for the course, as far as I was concerned.

It was a shame though, especially for the absolute lovers of the genre. And whilst I admit that bloggers like myself may have played a part or two, in fostering those very negative feelings that some authors have towards Reader Bloggers, (no apologies for that I’m afraid) it seems to me that some of them (authors) seem to forget about the majority of the bloggers who simply adore the genre, and want to promote it, every chance they get.

Readers like KristieJ for instance. There are more KristieJs out there, than Karen Scotts. You guys know that, right?

And also, let me say here and now, that in my opinion (and of course I’m rarely wrong) The SBs, and the gals at Dear Author have done more for the genre, than a lot of the authors who have partaken in the Reader Blogger-bashing and the faux hand-wringing that’s been taking place in Romanceland of late.

These women do a really great job, (for those people who need things explaining to them, I’m talking about the SBs and DA) in the Blogosphere, and without their presence, I think Romanceland would be a much less interesting place to visit.

By the way, if you’re wondering if I’m talking about you, I probably am.

(And for every person who suggested that this whole issue has just been about blog hits, you guys really need to think about that some more.)

Didn’t the owners of Venus Press shaft their authors by just upping sticks, closing down the site, and running away last April?

Well, seemingly, they are open again, and by the looks of it, they have some of their old authors too.

Now, what kind of business shuts down without saying a word to anyone, then opens again, like nothing ever happened?

Also, do all the authors know that they’re apparently in business again?

And more to the point, why would these authors trust the owners to look after their interests this time round? What are they? Stupid? Don’t they remember the flurry of people jumping ship, just before they shut down, and the bad smell that always seemed to follow Venus Press everywhere??

There isn’t even an explanation, as far as I can see, as to where they’ve been, why they shut down, and what they’ve been up to, since closing.

My advice to authors? Keep the hell away.

It’ll end in tears again. Mark my words.

Updated to add:
Apparently some of the books at VP are already being sold by other publishers. What are the implications for the authors, if this is true?

Also, apparently, the purchasing function isn’t working, so I wonder why they’ve relaunched the website? Curiouser and curiouser…

Thanks to you-know-who-you-are for the tip-off.