Monday, July 31, 2006

Eat my Amazon Shorts

I've decided to document on this blog each and every time I run into a roadblock for myself or CES because of the nature of my material (i.e., sex).

Here's the latest. has introduced a new "product" called Amazon Shorts. No, they aren't apparel -- just very short stories or pieces from authors that Amazon will sell for 49 cents and give the author a teeny tiny cut. I don't know who might buy such an item, but I thought it would be a cool way for me to do some pre-publicity on my upcoming non-fiction book, Your Erotic Personality.

Amazon asks you to "apply" for this program and the application is pretty simple -- just tell them the names and ISBN numbers of your currently available books. So, I did that. After they confirm that you're really an author, they send you a one-page sheet about what kind of material is appropriate for their program. The sheet focuses on length and marketability of whatever you want to write. That's all.

I tinkered with my introduction to Your Erotic Personality to make it shorter and less descriptive, and I included a fun list of the 12 erotic types that are outlined in my book. There were no dirty words in my proposed Amazon Short. Not one.

But rejected it because they don't deal in erotica. Hmmmm. Let me get this straight. They will sell all manner of erotic anthologies on their site (making money from every sale). They will feature on the recently launched Amazon Fishbowl series three Playboy bunnies talking about life in the mansion and the MALE authors of the book WHY MEN FALL ASLEEP AFTER SEX. But my book -- a fun, light-hearted take on 12 erotic personality types written by a woman -- is dangerous and offensive.

And might I also point out that they knew all my titles were erotic before I even submitted anything because they had asked for a list of my books. So, basically, they wasted everybody's time.

Can I even begin to tell you how tired I am of double-standards and bullshit in the world of sex-related material? If I were a Playboy bunny, Amazon would be happy to give me space and time on their illustrious site. If I were a man writing about sex, well, that would be amusing stuff and they'd not blink at all. But I'm neither. I'm persona non grata.

Looks like I'll have to find another way to give people a glimpse into my upcoming book. The PR methods available to "normal" people aren't available to me.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

PBS has no cajones!

In this absolutely fantastic column by my very favorite columnist, Mark Morford, you can learn about the plight of "The Good Night Show"'s Melanie Martinez. PBS fired her as host of this kiddie show when they discovered (because she told them) she had once done public service announcement spoofs on sex and virginity. In other words, she's a normal sexual woman with a sense of humor. Dangerous stuff.

At the end of the column is a link to where you can write to PBS to tell them you're mad as hell. I urge you to speak your mind -- and threaten to withhold future donations. If they're going to cave in to the religious right, do they deserve your money?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Chris Bridges -- funny weird or funny "ha ha"?

If you don't know who Chris Bridges is, you don't know what you're missing. He's the court jester at Hoot Island and he's a Celebrity Writer at Custom Erotica Source. But more important, he writes the funniest damn erotica you'll ever read.

If you don't believe me, either buy his book Giggling Into the Pillow or listen to me read one of his stories this week on my podcast. I swear if you don't laugh, you don't deserve to have sex.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Never Mind!

Guess what? Seems yours truly was more of a self-righteous pain in the ass than the folks at Archipelago Books! So, as Emily Litella would say, "Oh! I'm sorry. Never mind."

I wrote AB a scathing email after they rejected the auction. Yesterday, they wrote me a response, explaining that they didn't object to CES as a "benefactor" -- they were merely confused by Ebay's message and thought it was some sort of spam (yes, because the word "erotica" appeared in it). So they just rejected it.

I assigned very negative motives to them and that was wrong of me. As the representative there so succinctly stated, "I encourage you not to forget that despite all the faces and fronts of the internet, we aren't what we click." Well put, don't you think?

We've exchanged several messages since my previous post and ironed out this misunderstanding. Archipelago Books would be happy to be associated with future auctions from CES.

Please consider this a very public apology, Archipelago. Maybe I'll learn to keep my big mouth shut until I have all the facts.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Trouble with Rectitude

I once thought that the province of literature was an open-minded one, where thoughts and ideas flowed freely. I believed it was the last vestige of the disenfranchised. When society turned its insensitive, unfeeling back on someone, that person could always find refuge in the written word. Those words might not always get published because not all voices appeal to all readers, but the whole point of literature is to give voice to people who have something to say.

Isn't it?

Well, no. Not always. I'm infuriated tonight because Archipelago Books in New York, a very tony "not for profit press committed to bringing works of classic and contemporary literature from all corners of the world to our shores" objected to my designating them as the benefactor in my recent charity auction on Ebay. This is an organization that presents itself as an entity of tolerance and acceptance, an organization that embraces new voices so much, it wants to be sure we get exposure to them. But apparently, sex is not an idea they can support. Mine is not an important voice, my ideas are not worth

Within hours of my posting a charity auction for a Quickie (which I want to do monthly and had intended to choose a different charity each time), Archipelago Books contacted Ebay to protest any affiliation with Custom Erotica Source. Ebay was then obligated to cancel the auction. Is it just me or is that hypocrisy in the extreme? How can a business (for profit or not) purport to facilitate subversive, unknown, or unpopular ideas and then turn around and exclude one because it objects on moral grounds? Can it be that they publish nothing that somebody doesn't find objectionable? I tend to doubt that.

You've all seen CES. It's pretty tasteful, given the subject matter. The whole idea behind CES is to present sex in a positive way and to make erotica accessible to people who might be shy about reading it. CES won't bombard you with pop-ups or make you feel like you need a shower after you leave it. But Archipelago Books objected on moral grounds, nonetheless. It wouldn't surprise me if they didn't even visit the site, and just saw the word "erotica" and panicked. (I shouldn't assume, but it certainly shocks the hell out of me that anybody could visit CES and really be offended by it. At least, anybody not firmly entrenched in the religious right.)

I've run CES since 1998 and this incident is just so typical of the barriers my business faces simply because it deals with a topic so many people are afraid of. The Better Business Bureau won't even allow CES to be rated (thereby ensuring that it never gets even a modicum of legitimacy). I must pay more than a "regular" business for my credit card merchant account because mine is an "adult" business. (How CES could even be remotely lumped into the same camp as "Teenage Facial Cum Shots" is beyond me, but that's the myopic world of business for you.) I cannot use PRWeb to distribute press releases any more because they've blacklisted CES.

And now even a charity won't accept a donation from CES. The whole situation defies comprehension. All I can do, however, is move forward because narrow-minded pinheads such as those at Archipelago Books aren't likely to change their minds. I've relisted the charity auction and selected Reading is Fundamental as the benefactor of the auction proceeds. (They didn't object to the M.J. Rose book auction I posted last month, so I think they don't make moral judgments about those who give them donations.)

So, if you'd like to bid on a Quickie and know that your money is going to a good cause, visit the new auction . And never, ever buy anything from rectitude-ridden Archipelago Books.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Miserable Artist Woes

M. Christian forwarded this link to me and I just love it.

Chris (that's M. Christian, by the way) and I are both writers and therefore subject to the self-inflicted ego annhiliation that is part and parcel of offering your work to the public. We wrestle daily with feeling like crap because somebody else got a book deal or an interview or a mention or some nod indicating approval. It's insane, really. That's why I love this link and its tongue-in-cheek advice about how to stay miserable as an artist -- it's a great reminder that writers, artists, composers, musicians, and all creative types need to stay focused on the work itself and not the reaction to or criticism of it.

Sure, we all like to know that what we've created touches people in some way. But is that why we do it? Hopefully that's not the primary reason. If an artist doesn't please herself first, how can she please others?

And isn't this funny coming from a writer of erotica who writes SO MUCH stuff to the specifications of clients? Wish I had a camera so you could see my artist's soul withering away....

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Sex in fun places

For proof that sex is truly everywhere and that it's just plain fun, check out the Sexculturas blog. A guy in Barcelona, Spain has assembled all sorts of photos where sex figures prominently in art or daily objects (although in some cases, he makes it figure prominently, if you know what I mean).

For those of us who basically speak only English, don't panic when you go to the site and see that it's in Spanish. Go to the WorldLingo translation site and plop in the URL. Voila (or however you say that in Spanish). You'll have a reasonably good idea of what the blog says -- and you'll get a few laughs at some of the awkward translation attempts.

I love it when people do this stuff. They view sex with a wonderfully healthy eye and celebrate it with joy. I raise my glass to you, "PRU"! (And I'm adding you to my Cool Blogs page at Custom Erotica Source!)