Memo To Romance Authors: Nazis Are NOT “Leading Men”

[WARNING: This post contains an upsetting photograph.]

Our imaginations and personal interests will invariably take us down our own writing paths. It’s any author’s right to invent what he/she wishes to invent. Our creativity means everything.

So I’m not one usually to hit out at other authors’ chosen fictional subject matter. Yet there are times you feel you have to make clear where you stand as a matter of fundamental moral principle. Thankfully only very occasionally are there those tales that make you, frankly, gasp and shudder:

A story of an SS officer, his Jewish wife and their fight against the Reich

After gasping and shuddering at that cover blurb, I could only shake my head in disbelief. I’m sure if you want to, you can find that indie novel; but I won’t name it here. (I think it’s a 2015 publication.) I had never heard of it before, nor of its author, until I first saw its full cover pop up on my Google+ the other day.

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Let’s Not Forget The Balcony Scene

We seem beset lately with academics being funded to study high-profile, fantasist entertainment. We’ve recently been informed that “Disney Princesses” are dangerous to young girls. Now, for older ones, it’s being widely reported that so are the likes of Love, Actually:

Screen capture of the Telegraph.
Screen capture of the Telegraph.

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“I’m having a few and wishin’ that you were here….”

You may recall that post I wrote last summer about Frank Sinatra’s Strangers In The Night song. I enjoy settling back now and then to his music. Last night, pre-dinner, I was listening courtesy of my iPad to a Christmas present that had come, uh, my way….

Screen capture of part of my iPad music collection.
Screen capture of part of my iPad music collection.

If you don’t understand what all the “fuss” is about regarding Frank Sinatra and would like to, I recommend that Ultimate Sinatra. The 4 CDs version has a helpful background booklet on his life and career. The compliation includes just about everything that marked him out as a distinctive artist.

This post came to mind this morning because our chalet owner here in La Clusaz has had a habit of putting his iPod on the bar and playing Sinatra – even in a room populated mostly by other first-language French speakers. That’s not a shock, though. Sinatra has always been popular here in France:

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“Disney Princesses”: An Existential Threat?

Whenever I see reports like this, I sit up and take notice. I wonder: how I am doing? I have quite a few women characters, so I take my portrayal of them seriously:

Screen capture of the Washington Post.
Screen capture of the Washington Post.

Its main argument is:

….The plot of “The Little Mermaid,” of course, involves Ariel literally losing her voice — but in the five Disney princess movies that followed, the women speak even less. On average in those films, men have three times as many lines as women.

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Warmth Amidst Winter’s Chill

As we know, e-books have changed writing in more ways than we can hope to count. Yet certain aspects of the “old-fashioned” paperback are hard to top. For instance, you can pull one you’d authored off a shelf and try to impress your nephew’s girlfriend…. ;-)

Excerpt from "Passports," on the iPad app for Kindle. Click to expand.
Excerpt from “Passports,” on the iPad app for Kindle. Click to expand.

Naturally, it’s, uh, “tougher” to autograph Kindles. If you have one or more of my novels, I just wanted once more to say “Thank you.” I hope you have enjoyed, or will enjoy, the read(s).

After all, without you there is really no point to any of this. And in a more personal sense I mean you beyond being a reader/follower. The three months since the sudden deaths of my mother and my uncle (and with many a conversation with my father since then taking to spiraling downwards into his depressingly declaring he’s wishes he was dead too) have been the toughest and saddest of my life….

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Dueling iPads At Dawn

We can forget – or we choose maybe to try to overlook – how competitive writing can be. Given the nature of the craft, that isn’t surprising: some authors will invariably achieve more success than others. Clearly, though, as in other walks of life, chasing success can also bring out the worst in some people.

There used to be a time that when honor was deemed at stake gentlemen took to the dueling field with pistols to settle their scores. Today, we’ve moved on. In our more egalitarian world, we ALL can throw dirt at each other on social media.

In the writing realm, those in the same genre seem the most likely to go head to head. If you ever find yourself in the line of fire between feuding authors, the best thing to do is run. At the very least, try to take whatever cover you can find.

Free Stock Photo: Soldier in gas mask with cloud of smoke.
Free Stock Photo: Soldier in gas mask with cloud of smoke.

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Because The Mourning Can’t Start Without Her

We’ve had a great deal of sympathy since my mother’s October 26 death (and my novelist uncle’s two weeks before – who I especially miss as a friend and a mentor). It has all been much appreciated. But there’s always others out there lurking, aren’t there?

You may unfortunately know the type yourself too: relations who are easily insulted, who are always stirring the pot, and are also always demanding – like overgrown children – to be the center of everyone’s attention, and if not given their way seek to create still more trouble, and often do their “stuff” in a deviously and underhanded manner so as never to get the entire family offsides. Divide and (try to) conquer, so to speak. (Please excuse the coarse language that appears in the following.)

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For 2016: Let’s Resolve To Listen And Learn

The Voice of America radio and web site is about the closest you will find to an “official” media voice of the government of the United States. I like to visit it regularly – just to see what my government is thinking publicly. (Now, now, let’s not be overly cynical about public v. private for a moment at least.) Today, it has this story about New Year’s Resolutions:

Screen capture of the VOA web site.
Screen capture of the VOA web site.

The world is still a huge, diverse place. We always have our differences. Political ones are perhaps the touchiest.

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I Think It’s All Correct Now

Authoring and social media – inseparable these days. Getting them right is really important. My main social media links on the final page of Distances – published only a month ago – have always been correct:

Screen capture of last page of "Distances," on Kindle for iPad.
Screen capture of last page of “Distances,” on Kindle for iPad.

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Treasure Those Around You

I’m sure you don’t begrudge me taking a few days off for Christmas…

Free Stock Photo: A house with Christmas lights at night.
Free Stock Photo: A house with Christmas lights at night.

Uh, that’s not my house, by the way. :-)

Before I vanish for a bit (I’ll still be – as the mood hits me – on Twitter), I thought I’d share some excerpts from the three novels – including (mostly) from the brand new one, Distances.

They are not comedies. However, there is naturally some light-heartedness in them as in real life. I hope you enjoy these…. and please pardon any coarse language – as you may know they are not children’s books:

Excerpt from "Passports," on the iPad app for Kindle. Click to expand.
Excerpt from “Passports,” on the iPad app for Kindle. Click to expand.

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