Saturday, May 16, 2015

Freedom of Speech - HAHABT 2015


Isn't it strange how people who speak out against the LGBT community tend to paint themselves as the victims? We see it happen all the time. A recent example from the USA is a small pizza place that said they'd refuse to serve at a same-sex wedding. They got nearly $840,000 from people who saw the owners of the pizza place as the true victim for the backlash they received. According to their supporters, they had a right to state their opinions, even if it showed massive bigotry. A recent example in Iceland is a musician spreading and advocating hate against LGBT people when a town decided to add education about homosexuality into their schools' curriculum. Sadly, he had supporters, about 400 of them the last time I knew. That may seem like a tiny number to the big world out there, but there are only about 320,000 people living in Iceland, so 400 is a lot. They set up a Facebook page and called it "Protect the Children" and hateful things were said. However, the difference between the USA and Iceland is that ten of those people are now facing lawsuits for their words.

Image by Wilpersou via FreeImages.com

Of course, the musician and his followers are now the "true" victim in all this, not being allowed freedom of speech and stating their "humble" opinions. What they failed to understand is that freedom of speech has its limit in Iceland. You're allowed to say whatever the hell you want as long as it doesn't ridicule, calumniate, insult, or assault a person or a group of people because of their nationality, color, race, religion, or sexual inclination (General Penal Code, article 233 a). In other words, they're not allowed to verbally attack what is already a vulnerable minority group. If these ten people people are found guilty, they'll get heavy fines or prison for up to two years (but most likely it'll only be fines). 

Image by ilco via FreeImages.com

So, people over here are allowed to have their opinions, but they're not allowed to express them however they please in public. It sounds bad when you say it like that, but given the alternative of allowing hate speech without consequences, it isn't bad at all. Many countries forbid hate speech and are certainly not worse for it. Countries like Sweden, The Netherlands, France, and South Africa. Canada has banned the Westboro Baptist Church for entering their boarders because of hate speech ("Church members enter Canada, aiming to picket bus victim's funeral", CBC News, 8 August 2008.).
You see, when Freedom of Speech was first introduced, it did have its limits. John Stuart Mill introduced the "Harm Principle" that would put limitation on freedom of speech. He said "the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others." ("Freedom of Speech". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 17 April 2008.).


Image by lusi via FreeImages.com

Prevent harm to others, he said. But what are anti-LGBT activists doing? They are spreading nasty messages about LGBT people to cause harm. "Harm" doesn't always mean that it's physical, it can be financial, libel, and injustice. It can be a mob yelling demeaning things at a single person, and no one can convince me that it wouldn't cause the person psychological harm. Hell, they're allowed to spread lies about minority group without having to face any consequences. Really, outright lies!

Image by coachen via FreeImages.com

I think that officials in these countries - especially the USA that prides itself of free speech - are afraid of actually trying to put legal restriction on hate speech. They're afraid of backlash from the public and their fellow congressmen (because they'll use everything to attack one another), of being accused of trying suppress opinions. Because that's what bullies do: they're loud, they act out, and they throw around big words and accusations to get their way. But these officials wouldn't suppressing opinions, they'd only be limiting how these opinions are expressed in public, and the only reason they would do that would be to protect minority groups from harm. Freedom of speech is a human right, but how is it a human right not to be able to get justice for someone spreading lies about you and trying to get others to hate you because you're Hispanic/gay/Muslim/disabled/etc.?

Image by haiinee via FreeImages.com

Now, most of my readers and fellow authors are United States citizens. I respect that you may have a different opinion about freedom of speech. This post is not about ridiculing Americans. It is simply about me being unhappy with acceptance - even protection - of hate speech when it does more harm than good (in my opinion ^.^). 

In relation to this, but also on a completely different note, a study was made in 1996 about homophobes. The result? "...students who had the greatest sexual identity conflict -- young men and women who reported a straight identity while scoring highest on homosexual tendencies -- also exhibited a number of behaviors consistent with homophobia. They tended to report more negative or fearful attitudes toward gays and lesbians, tended to be biased against homosexuals in hypothetical situations, and were more likely to endorse anti-gay policies." (ibtimes.com) Meaning that those who protest the loudest are most likely to be homosexual. Here's a video that explains the study:


I should have started the post with the below introduction, but I wanted to dive right into the issue. Today is the International Day Against Homopohobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia. For the last four years, I've been organizing the Hop Against Homophobia, Bi- and Transphobia with friends. The hop starts today and ends on the 24th. Over 100 authors, publishers, reviewers, and cover designers of LGBT literature are taking part in the hop to spread the message about bi-, trans-, and homophobic discrimination, and stand together against discrimination of our books. It is tradition to offer a prize. I'm offering one of my ebooks to four people who comment. The winners will be chosen at random and may choose which ebook and in what format. I will draw the winners on the 25th and contact them, so please include your email or a way for me to contact you (e.g. a facebook link) in your comment. But everyone can get something: I have a number of free works that anyone can download.

If you're interested in more articles about the issue in Iceland, here are a couple of links:
Freedom Of Speech
Come On Kids, Let's All Join Hands And Be Gay!

Here are other links on free speech vs. hate speech:
Free Speech isn't Free
Here Is Why It's Time To Get Though On Hate Speech In America
Hate speech or free speech? What much of West bans is protected in U.S.

And below are the links to the rest of the people taking part.

Happy hopping :)

Edited: The winners are redtigerburninglust, Kassandra, MA Church, and Trix. Congrats :) You will receive email shortly. 


Saturday, April 18, 2015

LGBTQ Push Back Giveaway!


Hi guys,

I'm taking part in a massive giveaway to try to raise money for LGBT organizations. What you need to do to try to win one of the 224 books offered is to donate to an LGBT organization of your choice (but this is in answer to the Indiana pizza place disgrace, so an Indiana LGBT organization would be nice - but not necessary), comment about it on this site: LGBTQ Push Back, and do the Rafflecopter (on their site). 

Here's a direct quote from the organizers of this fundraiser:

"Changing laws and attitudes takes time, and right now there are LGBT people in need who can’t afford to wait. The sooner we can help them, the better, and the more resources we have, the more help we can offer.

That’s why 224 authors, review bloggers, and publishers have got together to offer something wonderful: a reward for people who do a little bit to give back to charity. Instead of spending $5 on a book in the next two weeks, give that $5 to an LGBT charity of your choice, tell us about it in the comments, and go into the draw to win a book from one of our participating donors. And because it’s not all about money, if you can’t make a donation then please take a moment to share a charity’s links and tell us about that instead.

Three fundraisers have been set up to counter the hateful effects of Indiana’s SB 101. #Pizza4Equality is aiming to match the money raised by *that* pizza parlor, with all donations going to Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors Fund. Another fundraiser is aiming to raise $100,000 for Indiana Youth Group. Finally, Planting Peace is trying to raise $100,000 to provide beds for homeless LGBT people.

Please consider giving to one of these deserving fundraisers, or any other LGBT charity anywhere in the world. We’re not telling you where you should donate your time and money, only asking that you do. The smallest things can make the biggest difference, and together, we can do something incredible.

The Charity Giveaway will run from the 18th of April until the 1st of May. [This last emphasis is mine]"

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

All Romance eBooks Book Blast! 25% Off.


Hi guys,

Today - on my birthday! - is ARe's Book Blast. All my titles are available at a 25% discount today. Loads of more books as well. Here's a link: ARe's Book Blast.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Boston Boys: "Erica Pike knows how to break a reader’s heart..."

It was a wonderful surprise to see the Boston Boys series reviewed on Prism Book Alliance. It received 4.5 stars and the review was for the series as a whole as well as each individual book. Here's a little quote:

"This series has a theme for everyone, characters you just want to hug and protect from the world, and age appropriate dialogue and prose. Each story in the series can stand alone, but as with most series, you get a richer experience if you read them together.

Throughout the series, we watch the power of friendship help heal heartbreak, protect fragile hearts, and guide friends to love."

Thank you Brandilyn ^.^


By the way, Prism Books is having a fantastic contest throughout 2015. This is what they say on their site: "One random commenter will win a $25 gift certificate each month in 2015." That's for the site as a whole - not just this review.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Jamie Lynn Miller: Romance Among the Stars


I have a guest today! I've been marathon-watching Stargate Atlantis (for the third time...), and appropriately have Jamie Lynn Miller here to talk about her latest M/M sci-fi release: An Endless Sea of Stars. 

Let's start with some questions:

Is there, or has there been, a person in your life you dreaded telling about writing M/M romance?

My husband. It was four years after we got married that I started writing gay fiction (I'd previously been writing m/f). Telling my husband that I wrote male/male stories was one of the most awkward and difficult conversations I’ve ever had in my life! At least on my part! Turns out I’d worked myself up for nothing. Bless his heart, he took the news without even blinking and has been my biggest supporter ever since my first book was published in 2008. Like he said, it’s perfectly acceptable for a man to get turned on by watching two women together, why should it be any different for a woman and two men? Smart man, my husband.

If you could live a day in your favorite film of all time, knowing to come out of the experience alive and well no matter the genre of the movie, would you?

Yes, absolutely! And the movie would be Star Wars, hands down. I'd give anything to either wield a lightsaber or fly an X-Wing!

Have you studied anything that you consider backs you up as a writer?

Yes, actually, I have. I've been interested in law enforcement since I was a kid and over the last several years I've taken more than 72 weeks of citizen police and fire academy classes. I used my knowledge to write Memory's Prisoner, Burnin' for You and Out of the Shadows.

Almost everyone has a quote that has stuck with them for a long time. Do you have one?

"To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life" - W. Somerset Maugham

This was on a bookmark I found inside a hardcover book I bought at a used bookstore. I couldn't believe how appropriate it was. I've always escaped into a book when things got tough, from when I was a kid. I think it's why I ended up becoming a writer.

Do you believe in the supernatural? If so, what kind, i.e. UFOs, ghosts, rebirth, poltergeist?

Yes, absolutely! I believe in ghosts, aliens and reincarnation.

What's the best fortune you've ever gotten in a fortune cookie?

Honest to God, about five years ago I got one that read "You will become an accomplished writer". I nearly fell out of my chair! I immediately taped it to my computer monitor where it still is today, inspiring me every day.

You can only watch one TV show for the rest of your life. What show is it? Why?

That would have to be The X-Files, hands down. I loved every aspect of that show, from the aliens to the creature of the week to Mulder and Scully's amazing relationship.

Could you just stop writing, for the rest of your life?

Good lord, no! There are way too many stories locked up inside my head and I don't see myself running out of ideas. Ever.

You’re going to end up on a desert island, all alone except a couple from one of your published stories. You get to choose, but keep in mind you’d probably end up witnessing them trying to kill boredom with sex. A lot. Which couple would you choose, and why?

I think I'd pick Cade and Toby from An Endless Sea of Stars. They're both quite comfortable being in and around water. So I'd get to watch them walk around in just their underwear (or nothing at all!) and frolic in the ocean. No way could I ever get bored!

Writing summaries and blurbs, love it or hate it?

Hate it! LOL! Writing a 50,000 word story is easier than having to try and condense the whole thing down to a couple of sentences.

Well, thanks for that. I haven't had the internet since I moved houses, so I've been watching TV series while I've unpacked. Among those were Firefly (and Serenity) and Stargate Atlantis. I also watched Star Wars as a child and they certainly made an impact on me. Those who know me know I'm a sucker for sci-fi. So, here's the guest post:


Many thanks to Erica for having me here today to talk about my new novella, An Endless Sea of Stars. I've been a sci-fi fan since 1977, the year that a little film called Star Wars hit the movie screens. I was only six years old back then. While my friends wanted to go see Bambi I was begging my dad to take me to Star Wars. My mother thought I was nuts and refused to go, saying my dad was just wasting his money because I wouldn't understand the movie. Seven days later and seven consecutive trips to the movies with my dad and she had to admit she'd made a mistake. :-)

To this day Star Wars remains a big part of my life. My home is filled with about a thousand pieces of memorabilia and photos of myself with many of the actors. I also love shows like the original Battlestar Galactica, Stargate SG-1, Firefly, Buck Rogers, Babylon 5, Fringe, Doctor Who and Alien Nation. I also read sci-fi novels voraciously.

So why it's taken me to this day to write my first m/m sci-fi novella I have no idea! LOL! But inspiration finally hit and An Endless Sea of Stars was born.

This is Book One of the Genesis Project series, which follows the lives of a test pilot and an engineer as Earth strives to build a starship that will take them beyond the Milky Way and into deep space. My friend Gina calls the book a "futuristic romance" and I love that description. While it has sci-fi elements to it, the story takes place entirely on Earth with its focus on the love story between Toby and Cade.

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!


BLURB:

The year is 2121. While Earth has conquered exploration of the Milky Way, we have yet to develop an interstellar engine to take us beyond our own galaxy. Thus the Intergalactic Exploration Alliance and the Gemini Project were formed.

Lieutenant Tobias Dekker is fresh out of the IEA academy and determined to be assigned to the Gemini engineering team. Putting career above all else. He knows from experience that relationships have no place in the Alliance. Commander Caden Flynn is equally determined to see the Gemini prototype take flight to uncharted space. The engine is his late father's design and he wants nothing more than to be the test pilot that breaks the next light speed barrier.

Two men dreaming of a sea of stars find that it's instead an ocean here on Earth that brings them together. Can Cade convince Toby to open up his heart and take a chance on love and explore the universe with him, side by side?

EXCERPT:

Toby rolled his eyes and crossed his arms over his chest. “Anyone ever tell you you’re a smartass?”

At that Cade finally let loose with his suppressed laughter. “I had you going there, though, didn’t I?” he smirked.

Toby waved his hand in dismissal. “Yeah, yeah. I’ll have you know that’s never happened to me before. I would’ve gotten us outta there. I just needed another minute…or two,” he finished with an embarrassed grin.

“You know, I really should report this to Hank,” Cade quipped as he finished removing his wetsuit. “But!” he held up his hand before Toby could say anything. “We can forget about the entire thing if…” he trailed off for a second and rummaged in his duffle bag, pulling out a bottle of Kentucky bourbon and showing it to Toby. “…you have a drink with me.” He shrugged one of his shoulders. “Since I couldn’t get you to a bar with me I thought I’d bring the bar to you.”

Toby paused. Alone, in the dark, sharing a few drinks. This wasn’t a good idea. He should politely decline and say they needed to start heading back. But his mouth was apparently not listening to his brain, because before he could stop himself…

“Deal.”

A very pleased smile crossed Cade’s face and he reached over and squeezed Toby’s bare shoulder before turning back to the duffel bag and producing two plastic cups. A few minutes later they had donned their t-shirts and shorts and were relaxing on the bow, sitting close enough that their shoulders were almost touching. The clouds had dissipated, revealing millions of stars twinkling in the clear sky and a full moon reflecting on the water.

Cade took a swallow of bourbon and turned his head toward Toby. “I can’t get over what an amazing feeling it was, being down in those caves tonight.”

Toby took a drink as well. “Been through those caves ‘bout a hundred times. But like I said earlier, there’s something different every time. It never gets boring.”

Cade looked up toward the sky. “It’s like being out in the stars. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it.”

Toby couldn’t help his wistful, and envious, sigh. “Closest I’m probably ever gonna get to the stars is in one of the flight simulators.”

“From what I hear you’ve made some fabulous improvements to those simulators,” Cade said. “I wish I’d had you building and programming them when I was in flight school.”

Toby turned to look at him. “How did you know I was on the simulator team?”

Cade shrugged, took another drink. “After we met I took the liberty of looking into your Academy history.” He grinned. “I was curious as to who was going to be teaching me.” Cade shifted so that he was turned more fully toward Toby. “And I was damn impressed at what I read. You need to stop selling yourself short when it comes to your dream of working on the Gemini project. You’re in the top two percent of your class, Toby. Alliance Command is not going to overlook that when they hand out assignments next month.”

Toby shook his head. “Don’t you think they’d want someone older, more experienced, working on something as monumentally important as Earth’s first hyperdrive engine?”

“Just because you haven’t been in space doesn’t mean you’re not qualified to work on a starship engine. It’s about technical expertise, not flight time.”

Toby now turned to face Cade, a tinge of excitement in his voice. “Tell me about that. What’s it like up there? I’ve gotta admit that as much as I want to experience it for myself, it makes me kinda nervous, too.”

“It’s a lot like scuba diving, actually,” Cade began, then tipped his head up toward the sky, his voice gone quiet. “Surrounded by an endless sea of stars instead of water. It’s beautiful. And so serene. But there’s so much more out there to explore than in just our galaxy.”

Toby couldn’t help but smile at the passion and wonder in Cade’s voice. “You said we’re close to breaking barrier three?”

Cade nodded and finished off his drink, poured himself another and topped off Toby’s. “The engine tests we’ve been running are really promising. Captain Hoffman’s team is burning the midnight oil.”

“From what you told me last month it sounds like you are, too.”

Cade blew out a breath. “You know how badly you want in the Gemini program? That’s how badly I want to pilot that next barrier flight. It’s going to come down to myself, Logan Ramsey, Kenji Tran or Padma Singh. And they’re all damn good test pilots.”

“Well let me give you some sage advice that a friend of mine gave me,” Toby said with a grin. “Don’t sell yourself short.”

Cade gave him a look. “Now who’s the smartass?”

Toby just laughed and knocked his cup against Cade’s. He settled back to look up at the stars, and Cade did the same. They let the quiet of the open ocean surround them for several minutes, nothing but the sound of gentle waves against the hull.

“Does this place have a name?” Cade asked quietly.

“Not that I know of,” Toby answered.

“Then I think we should call it Dekker’s Cove.” He once again turned his head to look at Toby. “Thanks again for taking me out here. This is your spot and you didn’t have to share it with me.”

Toby turned his head to look back at Cade, his voice sincere. “I wanted to. I knew you’d appreciate how special it was.”

Cade pinned him with a gaze full of hope and desire. “There are a lot of things I’m finding are special down here.”

Toby’s breath caught in his throat. It would be so damn easy to give in to Cade’s flirtations. To say the hell with it and just reach over and touch him. Because Toby knew that’s all it would take. One touch. But then what? A summer fling, like they were teenagers away at camp? Toby just wasn’t wired like that, for one-time hook ups. Especially with someone like Cade. He knew he’d want more and he knew it’d never work. He just needed to keep reminding himself that it was Cade’s friendship that was most important, what he really wanted, was the only thing that would work between them. But it was getting harder and harder to do with each passing day he spent with Cade. His heart was warring with his head. And he honestly didn’t know which was going to win.

The moment stretched on between them, Toby knowing Cade was waiting for something from Toby, but he didn’t trust himself to speak.

Cade glanced away, then back. “Toby, I…”

And Toby’s stomach somersaulted, certain of what Cade was going to say next. He wasn’t ready for this…

“…I have to leave tomorrow.”

Toby blinked and released a breath he didn’t realize he’d been holding. “Wh-what?” he stuttered, completely caught off guard by Cade’s words, so far from what he had been expecting.

Cade sighed. “I’m needed back at Alliance HQ. I found out this morning but was putting off telling you.”

“That – that’s okay. I understand,” Toby replied, trying to hide his disappointment.

“I even brought a holo vid of a rugby match I was hoping to show you tomorrow,” Cade grinned and Toby chuckled. “Next month, okay?”

Toby nodded. “Next month.”

Next month. One last chance for Toby to sort out his feelings for Cade. And be able to live with that decision with no regrets. He had a sneaking suspicion that was going to be easier said than done.
  

BUY LINKS:

LuLu (Paperback and epub): http://tinyurl.com/qe5oeal
Barnes and Noble: http://tinyurl.com/ow92qj2
Also available at the iBookstore

CONTACT INFO:
Jamie Lynn Miller



Jamie Lynn Miller has been writing fiction since childhood and decided to take the plunge and go pro in 2008, finding to her amazement that people truly enjoyed her love stories. She’s a romantic at heart, and her tales reflect the desire we all have to find “the one,” persevering through trials and heartache for that happy ending.
Jamie has a degree in fine arts and has spent the last twenty years working as a graphic designer, though she’d much rather be writing. She was born in Chicago and still lives there today with her husband and their two furry, four-footed children, er… cats.
If she’s not brainstorming story ideas, you can find Jamie at a sci-fi convention, in front of a furnace doing glass blowing, or on a mat twisted into a yoga pose.