Friday, September 4, 2015

Featured Guest Blog and Giveaway: Erica Pike

Today (or yesterday!), I'm on Love Bytes Reviews to talk about my personal experience with depression and burnout (which is why you haven't seen anything new from me in ages! But you'll have something soon). Oh, there's also a giveaway. And I put in a whole lot of info on Iceland - landscape, LGBTQI rights and elves!

Friday, August 21, 2015

GRL 2015 Pre-Orders

It's that time of year again: GRL!! That's GayRomLit Retreat, for those who don't know. It'll be held in San Diego this year and my cousin Thora and I are going. I can't wait to feel some actual sun on my skin. The weather in Iceland has been horrible this year. And I've been inside most summer...which is entirely my fault, but I've been writing (you heard me!). 

Zathyn, Sam, Katie, Thora and I are doing a theme for the costume party. I already have my costume ordered ^.^ I'm going to bring the same SWAG from last year: postcards, bookmarks, short story paperbacks, and Icelandic candy. What's different this year is that I'll have a publisher table along with 19 other authors. I'll have my MLR books and my Ice Cave book there. We're calling it an indie pub table, even though it's also for books from publishers who aren't selling at the retreat. I haven't worked out the price for each book yet.

For those who are interested in buying paperbacks at a reduced price can order from this pre-order sheet. It's only for those who will be at GRL since I'm literally hand-delivering the books at the retreat. I've added short descriptions beside each title, but you can go to these pages to read more: Boston Boys and College Fun and Gays

Because I'm going as a featured author, I did a guest post for Elisa Rolle a while back. I've been so busy trying to finish my next novel that I didn't have much time online, but I'm linking it now. I'll have three other guest posts on other sites leading up to GRL.

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

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

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

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

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

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." ( 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]"