Wednesday, February 29, 2012

New Development in Erotic Censorship


First, I'm having two giveaways: A Life Without You at Joyfully Jay's; Hot Hands and Grade-A-Sex Deal at Stumbling Over Chaos. They'll be open for a few days. You just have to leave a quick comment for a chance to win :)

Now, the main issue. I was too tired last night to finish my blog about the Paypal erotic censorship update and am I glad I was! 

Lately the credit card companies have been under blame for Paypal's sales restriction of erotic fiction featuring rape for titillation, bestiality (includes werecreatures in shifted form), incest (includes pseudo-incest), BDSM (yes, that one too!), and "barely legal"). Wait, they have not been under public blame, but apparently also under Paypal's blame! 

The theory flying around, regarding the credit card companies (CC), is that they're little by little bringing erotic fiction under their "high risk" category. In their high risk category are p.o.r.n sites and casinos where credit cards can more easily be manipulated. The word was that the CC's were classifying erotic fiction as p.o.r.n. But that's not all. Because indie authors have been making big bucks on erotic fiction, CC's supposedly wanted a bigger piece of the pie. How could they do that? By bringing erotic fiction into their high risk category where the "insurance" fee (percentage for each transaction) is much higher than normal. In other words, they'd get a lot more money for every purchase of erotic title. It's a good theory and I meant to write about it in more detail! However, there's been a new development.

No Boundaries Press has been actively fighting Paypal by inviting those who had to take their titles down from Smashwords, Bookstrand, and All Romance eBooks to vendor their "questionable" titles from the NBP store. They found a way around the system, but people were still wondering how they were able to since it's the credit card companies who have been hovering over the Paypal Terms of Service (ToS). Well, this is taken from the NBP blog:


I know some are saying the tokens will not work. Truth of the matter is, I’ve talked to various credit card companies and also read my customer agreements.

You can go to the Bunny Ranch and pay with your Visa card kids. I was promised by the companies i spoke with that it is PayPal NOT the credit card companies that PayPal is trying to blame.

Sometimes on adult items, as a seller, you can be charged higher percentage fees — sometimes.

So, getting rid of PayPal completely is the best bet. Bottom line is the credit companies don’t care where you spend–so long as you do.I know some are saying the tokens will not work. Truth of the matter is, I’ve talked to various credit card companies and also read my customer agreements.

You can go to the Bunny Ranch and pay with your Visa card kids. I was promised by the companies i spoke with that it is PayPal NOT the credit card companies that PayPal is trying to blame.

Sometimes on adult items, as a seller, you can be charged higher percentage fees — sometimes.

So, getting rid of PayPal completely is the best bet. Bottom line is the credit companies don’t care where you spend–so long as you do.


What the heck is going on here? 

Mind you, I now feel partly sympathetic to the retailers who've had to change their policies and have been subjected to public outrage. I say partly because they could have handled things better. There was no need, for example, for Bookstrand to kick out most indie authors. Smashwords could also have taken more time to consider their stand. But then, if you think about it, they had very little time to react. The retailers had to make snap decisions, and snap decisions can often be dangerously rash. No time to think things to the end, no time to slave over the letter to authors because the letters had to go out immediately or accounts would be frozen (and money confiscated, I've heard). There was actually a very sincere letter from Mark Coker, owner of Smashwords, and I'm gluing it to the bottom of this post.

Before I do, I'd like to say that the Stop Internet Censorship petition has reached its goal of 1000! 1343 people have signed and I'm hoping a lot more will before it's sent off.

Also, If you want to read more on what's been happening. S.V. Rowle has been collecting links since it started.



The following email was sent to all Smashwords authors/publishers/agents Monday, February 27 who have published erotica at Smashwords.
-----
As with the first email from Friday (archived here: http://www.smashwords.com/press/release/27 ), you're receiving this message because you have previously published erotica content at Smashwords under your account at http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/[[username]] tied to your email address, [[user_email]]. Just because you're receiving this email doesn't mean your book or books are affected. Read on.
-----

I'm writing to give you an update on where things stand. We are extending the deadline (previously set for tonight) for Smashwords authors/publishers/agents to voluntarily remove certain content (erotica featuring themes of rape, bestiality, incest) from Smashwords . I'll communicate the new deadline in a future email once I gain new information.

I had another call with PayPal this morning. Our conversation is continuing with them as I seek to achieve a less onerous, more sensible result. 

There's a sliver of hope that I might be able to obtain a more positive, less restrictive outcome than I communicated on Friday, yet it's unlikely we'll achieve the true result I want (no censorship) in the near term. Today, PayPal hinted at a more relaxed definition of prohibited content as, according to them [I'm paraphrasing], "probited boooks would be those for which rape, bestiality and incest are the major theme. If rape, bestiality and incest are incidental plot points, then that content might be allowable." 

This represents a significant clarification in our ongoing attempt to delineate the gray areas and push back the onerous, unfair and restrictive definitions as they now stand. It's an opening, but it's not the final word from PayPal. Our friends at PayPal are trying their their best to help Smashwords authors and publishers.

This potential relaxation doesn't solve the broader issue of censorship. I think if a writer wants to write fiction around the theme of [anything], I think they should be able to write it if it's legal.

Today's progress, while encouraging, also opens up new gray area. How does one judge whether the taboo subjects are incidental instances or major themes? Where does one draw the line? The PayPal rep and I agreed our discussion will continue, and they assured me our PayPal services will not be cut off as we both work in good faith to advance the discussions. 

A lot of people have been attacking Smashwords for my decision to comply with PayPal's requirements. They're pointing their arrows at the wrong target, and they're not helping their cause. We're working to effect positive long term change for the entire Smashwords community, and that includes all our erotica authors and readers. This change is possible only if we work together toward a common goal. When people spread lies that this is all part of a Smashwords plot to dispose of "icky books" (their words, not mine), or try to portray our actions as some sexist attack against women, or worse attacks I won't repeat here, they're wrong. Despite the ugliness shown to me and Smashwords over the weekend, I'm still working to protect these very people who attack us. The attackers don't understand what we're doing on their behalf behind the scenes, and even if they did understand I don't expect them to agree with our approach. I'd rather work with PayPal in good faith than martyr the entire Smashwords community upon the stake of this impending deadline. 

This is only the first chapter in this battle. Even if we fail in the short term we survive to fight another day. Regardless of the near term outcome, we will continue to engage to effect positive change with your help.

Over the weekend, many Smashwords authors and publishers demanded we abandon PayPal and find a new payment processor. It's not so simple, and it doesn't solve the greater problem hanging over everyone's head. PayPal is trying to implement the requirements of credit card companies, banks and credit unions. This is where it's all originating. These same requirements will eventually rain down upon every other payment processor. PayPal is trying to maintain their relationships with the credit card companies and banks, just as we want to maintain our relationship with PayPal. People who argue PayPal is the evil villain and we should drop them are missing the bigger picture. Should we give up on accepting credit cards forever? The answer is no. This goes beyond PayPal. Imagine the implications if credit card companies start going after the major ebook retailers who sell erotica?

My objective is for PayPal and Smashwords to pull the credit card companies into a more open discussion about these issues. I want all financial institutions to reevaluate their policies. I want the banks to change or clarify their policies toward something more enlightened. I want PayPal to loosen their policies. We need financial institutions to get out of the business of telling writers what they can write and what readers can read. Without this much-needed debate, the slippery slope gets more slippery for all indies.

Indie authors are the biggest publishers of erotica. Already, one retailer/distributor, Bookstrand, decided to drop all indies from their store. I can only assume they decided the angry authors were more trouble than they were worth. Our business is all about serving indie authors, so even if some segments of our author community are shooting arrows at us, we still want to help them work through this. The campaign at hand goes beyond erotica authors. It's an indie issue. Indies are breaking the boundaries previously set by large traditional publishers. This boundary-breaking scares people. We should welcome the debate about what a "good book" should look like. I think a good book is anything legal that readers want to read, even if I don't want to read it myself.

This campaign represents an incredible long shot. To move this forward, I need your help. Even if you don't publish in the categories directly impacted by this crackdown, this campaign matters to you. 

What can you do to move things forward? First, direct your attention where it matters most. Contact your credit card company or congressperson and tell them you want financial services companies out of the business of censoring what writers and readers are free to imagine with fiction. Blog about it. Tweet about it. Contact your favorite blogger and encourage them to raise awareness. Start petitions and tell financial institutions you want their censors out of your head. Contact the media. The media, with your urging, has the power to shine a bright light on the dangerous slipperly slope of censorship by financial institutions. 

If the media (both traditional and social) calls on credit card companies and banks to honestly answer these simple questions, then they'll either be compelled to acknowledge the absurdity of their policies or they'll be compelled to rewrite their policies. This troublesome tide can shift if financial institutions are forced to answer why they're prohibiting legal fiction. 

I realize my message to you today cannot possibly answer all the questions you may have. Know that we're working for all authors, even those likely to suffer from whatever ultimate changes we implement in the near term. We all want censors off our backs and out of our heads, and if that's not the result we achieve, then we'll at least work to get you more clearly defined rules. Bear with us.

I will post this message in the Smashwords Press room at http://www.smashwords.com/press so it's archived.

Thanks,
Mark Coker
Founder
Smashwords

P.S. Please think carefully before emailing me. Although I try to reply to everyone and stay accessible, the flood of emails ultimately prevents me from serving your interests. I will send out additional updates via email as warranted, and will also post interim updates to Site Updates at   

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Giveaway - Two for One


If you want a chance to win a copy of Hot Hands and Grade-A-Sex Deal, head over to Chris' Stumbling Over Chaos and leave a comment. Easy as that :)

I've managed to do a lot of editing today (finally) on The Walls Have Ears. Looks like it's going to be a bit longer than 14k words - it's closing in on 15. 

What's been bugging me lately (aside from the Paypal fiasco - I'll write more about that soon) are all the sequels popping up in my head. I already have everything mapped out for Hot Hands and Grade-A-Sex Deal. I'm sure I'll get a new bunny for The Walls Have Ears once it's ready. Who knows, maybe I'll talk NBP into doing this again next year with a new round of stories. 

I've added another story on my to-write list! This one's a free read in the Love is Always Write writing even hosted by the M/M Romance group on Goodreads. There will probably be around 130 stories or more. This is the same deal as the Hot Summer Days short stories that came out in 4 free volumes. Here's my picture and prompt:


First, when I was looking at the pictures to choose from, this was a big NO for me. I mean, it didn't call to me AT ALL. But when I saw the prompt below, I just had to have it:

Prompt: One more day, that's all he needed. One more day to finish this presentation and get the hell out of town and back to his normal, everyday life. So it absolutely figured that some over-muscled moron with a pneumatic dick substitute would wake him up at the ass-crack of dawn and shoot his plans right to hell. At this point he'd try anything -- maybe a bribe?
Requester: Nancy

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Erotic Censorship and a Home for the Homeless Books



Most of you have probably heard about what's happening with Bookstrand*, ARe*, and Smashwords* (who are likely the first of many to come). They're being bullied and threatened by PayPal to remove "incest, bestiality, rape, and underage erotica" from their lists or their accounts with PayPal will be frozen and their money confiscated (!!). Admittedly, I would never read three of those four subjects, but I have been known to enjoy brotherly love (Lee Brazil's excellent Telling the Truth, for one). I have spent the entire day reading up on this and weeding out fact from fiction.

PayPal is using their market dominance to push distributors (and probably publishers soon - they use PayPal to pay their authors) to censor out material that "could be considered obscene". I ask, who decides what is obscene and what isn't? Is bestiality, rape, incest, and underage erotica obscene? Yes, I'd say so, but this isn't about what's obscene and what isn't. A guy running naked through a park can also be considered obscene, but that's not even an issue here. Neither is Lolita, a classic book about a relationship between a pedophile and a child (tell me if that's going to be pulled off shelves? I think not). This is about censorship.

But it's not only PayPal. In a way I feel sorry for the distributors who have had to react without notice to PayPal's brutal demands. They've had to make snap decisions and there's been no time to find an alternate way of payments, because PayPal basically says "do this or you won't get the money in your accounts". However, the distributors mentioned above are taking things further for various and unnecessary reasons. They're also pulling down titles with "barely legal" content and "pseudo incest". What the hell??
-- Barely legal means 18 and 19 years old. People that age are legally allowed to have sex, so why would anyone restrict that? So far these distributors are only focusing on "barely legal" girls, so I'm safe (because mine are guys), but they're knocking on the door right next to mine and I don't like it. 
-- "Pseudo incest" means sexual relations between (in this case) grown step/foster children and step/foster fathers/mothers or step/foster siblings (this last one is popular). Again, "pseudo incest" isn't illegal - Woody Allen anyone? Besides, if we're going for things that are illegal but still written in books, then how about murder, theft, and plots to distribute a virus? If PayPal believes that writing about incest will encourage incest, then shouldn't writing about murder (like the Dexter books) also encourage murder? That would pull off a whole lot of books and make a mass of people angry.

In short, distributors are pulling off their shelves perfectly "legal" material!

I think it's right to mention here that the only fiction that has ever been judged as illegal is erotic content that depicts children in a sexual manner for titillation. None - and I mean NONE - other illegal content has or can be judged illegal because it's fiction (killing a man in a book can not land you in jail). Why the pedophile fiction? Because when children are involved, it's a whole different ballgame.

Content that "can be considered obscene" is a very broad term. What's next? Well these things are considered obscene by a lot of people: GLBT literature, gay marriage, BDSM, public display of affection between same-sex couples, trinogamy's (mmm), strip clubs, sex in public bathrooms, sex outside of wedlock, prostitution, anal play/sex. Those are just a few examples of many. Those are things I read and write. Do you?

There's a petition running to appeal to Paypal. Please, please sign this if you value freedom of speech, press, and personal choice. Banks and other financial institutions shouldn't dictate what we choose to write and read (or even buy, as long as it's legal). Where do they even come off trying to? It may not affect your genre NOW, but if we let this go, your content might be next. This also affects readers because PayPal is telling them what they can an cannot read (yes, "can" - not "may" - because people will have a harder time getting access to what they want to read).

Although Bookstrand, ARe and Smashwords have - at least for the moment - caved under pressure, others are fighting. No Boundaries Press is working on offering these new homeless books with "questionable" content a home on their sale site. The authors won't have to sign a publishing deal with them. They won't have to drop their current publisher and they won't have to stop self-publishing these specific titles. NBP's just offering a way to sell these books that are under attack and will charge no more sales fee than any of the above distributors. They're very adamant about fighting this censorship and they've found a different way to handle payments. They're not just offering this to authors, but publishers as well (and self-publishers, in case I didn't make that clear). Check out their blog if you're interested and please spread the word if you know someone who's been a victim of this witch hunt.

Lastly, if you're interested in reading more about this subject, I recommend Selena Kitt's blog. It's very thorough but in no way a dry read on the matter. According to her, she'll have to remove said subjects from her store AND any book that contains BDSM (and most of her books do). I haven't heard BDSM content mentioned by anyone else, but she was told she had to when she asked PayPal directly.

Here are more links on this topic:
Two Legs Bad: An Open Letter to Mark Coker (owner of Smashwords) - Mark himself even replied to this one.
Putting the World According to PayPal In Perspective - This is just hilarious. A fun way to learn about what's happening.
Erotica Book Banning Round Up - with more links!
Censorship and Paypal: UnConstitutional and WRONG - Wayne has listed emails to where people can send their complaints to PayPal. I'm quoting a bit from his blog:

"A while back, I spoke on this blog about my frustration and anger with PayPal. The issue at the time was that they unilaterally froze my account because I bought $6 worth of novellas from Astraea Press in aid of a charity drive. I later reviewed these books, only to learn to my chagrin that PayPal had denied the payment and frozen my account.

After this disagreeable incident, I finally decided I’d had quite enough of PayPal and their unreasonably restrictive clauses. After all, no one has the right to view my purchases and tell me which ones are acceptable and which are not. I’m an adult male in the United States of America, and as such I enjoy all the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution.

Or do I?

PayPal doesn’t seem to think so." (Author J.S. Wayne)

* These are links to where you can see the letters from these distributors. Here are the credits: Author Cat Johnson has Bookstrand letter, The Self Publishing Revolution has the All Romance eBooks letter, The Digital Reader has the Smashwords letter.

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PayPal's Censorship - Petition


I'm a little over a week late on the uptake, but PayPal is now censoring erotic fiction content! I'll write a more elaborate post on this very soon - for now I'd just like to link to the petition. This is very important , because if they're threatening sites that sell "barely legal" content (sex with 18 and 19 year olds - how is that not legal??) and pseudo incest (pseudo as in fake, not related by blood), what will be next? They say this content is "items that are considered obscene"*. Well if that's the case, what's next? GLBT literature? Anal play/sex? Prostitution? A lot of people find these "obscene". Do we really want to go down this path?

Here's the petition:

Earlier this week, PayPal told Bookstrand, a major distributor of erotic romance and other erotic content on the Internet, that if certain titles containing "objectionable" material were not pulled from Bookstrand's shelves, Bookstrand's PayPal account would be shut down and the funds within confiscated.
PayPal has a long track record of suspending, freezing, and terminating customer accounts on the thinnest of justifications, but this is going too far. By telling Bookstrand what books they can and cannot sell using PayPal services, they are also telling readers they don't have the right to read what they wish and telling authors that PayPal has the right to take away their freedom of speech and the press.
If you use the Internet to find new reading material, if you use PayPal, and/or if you support the rights of authors and readers to have the widest possible selection of topics to read and write about, please sign this petition and let PayPal know that censorship, no matter what form it takes or how it is implemented, is not acceptable. Readers, publishers, storefronts and authors have the right to choose what books are sold and bought. 
Don't leave it up to PayPal to choose how you spend your money or where.

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*From PayPal's ToS.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Men With Emotions


I'm guest-blogging at Randy's Book Bag Reviews Today :) The topic is Men With Emotions. I actually have follow up blogs written about this topic that have to do with emotional men in books, but they will be posted sometime in the future on my blog (probably).

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Work Work


I've been relatively quiet for the past few days, because I'm doing the final edits for Absolutely Eric! It's going to line-edits very soon. I cannot express how much I'm looking forward to sharing this story with the world. I love in ways I've never loved anything else I've ever written.

Things have been going well:

4.5 pants @ Pants Off Reviews
4 stars @ Manic Readers

4 stars @ Brief Encounters

4 hearts @ MM Romance Reviews (Tana Rae Reads - only on Goodreads for now)
4 stars @ My Book Boyfriend (and OMG the picture she chose!)

I got the cover for The Walls Have Ears (looove the color!). It'll be out in March, but I still have to work on the edits:


Blurb:

Short and scrawny college student Harley Santos has a strange relationship with the guy on the other side of his bedroom wall. For weeks, the two have been masturbating to each other’s voices, but they have never met in person. In fact, Harley doesn’t know which one of the two roommates next door is his wall-mate. What he does know is that he’s in love – at least with the wall-make in his fantasies.

When Harley’s roommate (Ryan) is asked on a date by one of his neighbors, Harley is devastated that his wall-mate mistook not-hot Harley for super-hot Ryan. Helping Harley through his heartache is Tasha Novokov, the other neighbor, who is tall, dark, and impossibly handsome.

When Harley’s affections shift to Tasha, his heartache hits an all time high because with all the girls hanging around, Tasha has to be straight.


Anyway, in the words of the poor, over-worked Orc peons: work work.
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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Grade-A-Sex Deal Excerpt


Here's a little excerpt from yesterday's release of Grade-A-Sex Deal:


A light knock on the door brings me out of my misery. The only perk of this job is about to enter, and perky he is indeed.

Troy Anderson pokes his beautiful face into my office, swings his slim, athletic body inside and locks the door behind him.

“Come in,” I say calmly to the young kid who only ever wears skin-tight jeans and sleeveless tops. My guess is that he does it just to tease me. I can’t take my eyes off his thin waist and nicely toned biceps and whenever he catches me ogling, he shoots me a smirk.

“What can I do for you, Troy?”

“You can give me an A on that exam you’re making,” Troy replies in his low, seductive voice. His blue eyes scan the table in front of me. Out of habit I pull a folder over my notes. 

“And why would I do that?” I ask in my monotone teaching voice.

Troy’s full lips quirk into a smirk. “Because we have a deal.”

He walks to my desk and traces the edge with a long finger. My eyes follow that finger where it slides off the wood and lands on his growing bulge.

“The deal’s off,” I state matter-of-factly. 

An old magazine lies on top of my screen. I grab it and pretend to sink my consciousness in the wonders of the South-American rainforests while everything within me is fantasizing about what he keeps hidden in those jeans.

“No way,” Troy says with a confident smile in his voice. “I haven’t been coming to see you every week for you to bail out now. The exam is next week.”

I count down a full minute before I lower the magazine to answer. “I’m very well aware of that, Mr. Anderson, but you didn’t show up last Monday night. You broke the deal.”

“Oh come on, I was studying,” he says and for the first time I hear a crack in his resolve. It surprises me so much that my eyes fly up to meet his. That gorgeous, sandy-blond hair half covers one of his blue eyes and sweeps the curve of his neck. His slender jaw flexes on his tanned face as he swallows.

“What do you propose?” I ask calmly, trying hard not to reveal how much he affects me. His mere presence is enough to have me jumping hoops. Yes, we do have a grade-A-sex deal, but the more we meet the more I like having him around. 

He resumes his calm nature, leaning over the end of the desk with his perky little ass in the air. “Well, I’m here now. You can do me twice.”

He has my undivided attention for a few seconds before I toss away the magazine, grab a pen and start flicking through the Webster’s. 

“Oh come on,” he murmurs, edging himself a little farther towards me. “I know you have other guys knocking on your door every night. It’s not like you didn’t have anyone to play with. How many guys have you fucked this week?”

“Several,” I reply with a shrug. “How many teachers have fucked you this week?”

“Several,” he echoes with a carefree grin and adjusts his perfectly shaped elbows on my desk. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

New Release!


I'm happy to announce that Grade-A-Sex Deal was released by No Boundaries Press today! I'm doing a pretty funky office-chair wiggle. So glad I have a tiny heart shaped sticker over my webcam ^.^

Blurb:


When College professor Daniel Corrigan was brutally kicked out of his home after revealing his true sexuality to his wife, he had to make a whole new life for himself. For the first time in two years Daniel’s main heartache isn't the none-existent relationship with his two kids, but the fact that the grade-A-sex deal with his student Troy Anderson is about to expire. After a whole semester of office fun, Troy has managed to squeeze his way into the core of Daniel’s soul. Daniel, however, is positive he’s nothing more to Troy than a teacher who can modify a grade. 

A Grade-A-Sex Deal is the second of five in a series of short stories, College Fun and Gays.


I've set it up on Goodreads.

It's $2.99 and available from these sellers (will add links as they pop up):
No Boundaries Press Store (to buy directly from the publisher)
Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk
Barnes & Noble
Bookstrand

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hop Winners and a Word on Homophobia

There were 40 entries to my giveaway this time, which is more than last time and absolutely fantastic. It still indicates that I have a lot of work to do for the m/m-only blog hop in May. We'll want greater numbers than 40 with 130 m/m authors, publishers and reviewers already signed up (and more coming). If you're an m/m author, publisher or reviewer (don't have to be m/m-exclusive publisher or reviewer) and want to take part in the Hop Against Homophobia, sign-ups will be open until May 16th. The more the merrier.

If you're a reader, we'd love it if you could mark down this event and tell your m/m-reading friend about it. This is for a good cause: to help create awareness against homophobia and to stand together as an m/m genre (authors, publishers, reviewers AND readers) to try to help the world see gay fiction as first class literature, not second class. I'm sure many of you caught the RWA's stint of excluding same-sex romance stories from entering their More than Magic contest. RWA cancelled the contest after an uproar from the GLBT community and supporters, but they followed the cancellation up with a lame excuse that shows that the m/m genre still has a lot of work ahead of itself to be considered normal. We hope that Hop Against Homophobia will be a step toward making that happen.

But you  probably came here to see if you won! The plan was to draw three winners, one for each prize offered, but since I have two kids I decided to draw four winners. What I did was print out the entrants' names, cut it down in strips, fold the whole lot up and let them draw two each.

The winners are:

PD Singer - Hot Hands
Lisa - Hot Hands
Valentina - Grade-A-Sex Deal (it will be out very soon!)

Congrats guys :) I'll send out the emails later today. For the rest of you, I'm so sorry you didn't win this time, but I'm taking part in the Easter hop where you'll get another chance :) Then, of course, there's the May 17th Hop Against Homophobia where my prizes will be a bit more extravagant and in greater numbers. 

Until then, you're welcome to download my very short but very sweet free story, In His Pocket. If you get warning messages, just continue to click "continue" until you get the file to download (I hear this can be a problem for international people).

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Giveaway Errors

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It appears that Blogger has been acting up for the past few days and some people aren't able to comment to enter the Valentine's Hop giveaways. If you encounter such a problem on this blog, feel free to email me and you will be entered into the contest: eripike at gmail dot com.

To enter this giveaway, just leave a comment and a way for me to reach you (you can see my official hop post here).
To find a list of the 33 m/m authors in this blog hop, go here.

...or just scroll down ^.^


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Valentine's Blog Hop!

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It's that time again when I feel like throwing out some books to willing readers. I'm single this year for the first time since I was sixteen, but I'm happy nonetheless. Where will I be on Sunday February 14th? Curled up in my La-Z-Boy with Valentine's stories ^.^ We don't really celebrate this day over here anyway.

I didn't write any Valentine's stories this year, but since all my stories are about love I'd like to give away what I have. These are all e-books and there will be three winners - one book for each.

- Hot Hands: A story about a college boy who's been a victim of sail-by goosing.
- A Grade-A-Sex Deal: A story about a teacher who has a grade-A-sex deal with his student. (Will be published in February)
- A Life Without You: A story about a college boy who's in love with his roommate.

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Just like last time I won't make you jump through hoops to enter the giveaway. All you need to do is leave a comment below and a way for me to contact you. I'll announce the winner early on the 15th and send him/her an email. I'm inviting you to click the follow button to the right, but it's not mandatory. There's really no point if you're not an m/m reader and/or have no interest in keeping up with my writing. I'm also leaving a link to my author page on facebook - again, optional. No extra entries or anything like that ^.^

Take a look at all the other people taking part in this. We're talking 263 people of all genres. Only want the m/m ones? There are 33! Have a look at the list I made ^.^

Want a cute little free read? In His Pocket is available for download at NBP's website (just click continue until you get it - ignore the warnings/errors).

I'd like to take this opportunity to promote the m/m-only blog hop that'll take place on May 17th. That's the date for the International Day Against Homophobia. We already have 120 m/m authors, publishers, and reviewers signed up and if you'd like to take part go and have a look at the Hop Against Homophobia blog :) If you're a reader you're free to have a look as well - we look forward to seeing you there on May 17th ^.^

Have a lovely Valentine!

Erica :)

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Valentine's M/M Short-List


Hi guys :)

I'm taking part in Drea Becraft's Valentine's Day Blog Hop. It launches on the 11th of February. There are 263 blogs to visit for a chance at prizes. Out of those there are 33 M/M authors. I made a list of those to make things easier for people who only read M/M. Just click the names to go there :)

M/M Authors:

Erica Pike: An e-copy of my gay romances: A Life Without You, Hot Hands, A Grade-A-Sex-Deal.
Norma Nielson: Amazon GC
Zathyn Priest: eBook of The Curtis Reincarnation
K-Lee Klein: ebook copy of either Love & Patience or Theme of Hearts
Tara Lain: The winners choice of any Tara Lain book (two winners)
Tara Lain: A choice from my backlist and a $10 Starbucks card (She has two entries...I don‘t know if it was a mistake or not – go
Havan Fellows: 2 winners – choice of book from my backlist
Elizabeth Noble: [Unknown]
Belinda McBride: Winner’s choice of a book from my backlist
Kharisma Rayne: 2 backlist Ebooks of choice
Lily Sawyer: winner’s choice of one of my books
DC Juris: winner’s choice of 1 pdf from my backlist
S.J. Frost: Winner’s Choice of one title from my backlist in ebook
Anne Barwell: An ebook copy of my novel Shadowboxin
Rawiya: A choice of , Time to Make the Donuts or My Lieutenant or Something Fresh Served Hot
Lee Brazil: 6 ebooks
Keta Diablo: 2 PDFs of Crossroads
H.B. Pattskyn: A signed copy of Heart’s Home
Julie Lynn Hayes: Winner’s choice of backlist.
Shannon West: ebook copy of Georgia Heat
PD Singer: Choice of backlist story or  my new novel, The Rare Event, and a PD Singer keychain flashlight
West Thornhill: Copy of Transcend
Stephanie Danielson: Winner’s choice off backlist
L.M. Brown: ebook copy of the Gift of Love anthology.
Charlie Cochet:  Ebook of When Love Walked In, $10 Amazon GC, & a bookmark!
Gabrielle Evans: $50 Amazon GC
AJ Jarrett: $25 Gift Card to Amazon
Laura Harner: $15 ebook bucks from All Romance eBooks
Megan Slayer: $5 GC to Changeling Press
Sara York: $20 at Amazon
Jaxx Steele: T-shirt and Mugs
Jana Downs: First three books of the Ravyn Warriors series in .pdf format
Charlie Cochran: A goodie bag of very English toiletries

Pubs/Review sites/Blogs that are offering M/M books (or have m/m sections):

No Boundaries Press: 1 Book A month for 6 months & 3months
Breathless Press: 3 Winners – choice of book from our back list
Ren Thompson: $25 GC (GLBT blog)

Erica :)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Misc. Tidbits

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I've started reading Infected: Prey by Andrea Speed and so far I'm captivated! Wow, that girl can write.

Hop Against Homophobia has reached an awesome number of 70 m/m authors/publishers/reviewers and we're expecting lots more. The M/M-only blog hop kick-off date will be on May 17 (International Day Against Homophobia) and readers are welcome to visit the blogs and see if they can win a book or ten! It will be advertised later :)

I just got my edits back from MLR Press, No Boundaries Press and two from my critique partner AM Riley. I have a lot of work ahead of me. Three are short stories but those take just as much work as the novel-length manuscripts. Thankfully, the novel manuscript (Absolutely Eric) is nearly done. I just have tiny changes to make. Sooo exciting and I can't wait to reveal the cover. I'm looking forward to share this book with everyone ^.^ Since I'm all about setting goals these days I'll give myself until the end of next week to finish all this.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

M/M-Only Blog Hop



We're opening up registration to our m/m-only blog hop.

Basic rules are that you must be an M/M author/publisher/seller/reviewer. You don't have to be m/m-only publisher/seller/reviewer as long as you're offering a m/m-related prize.

Here's the official post:

An M/M-only blog hop!

Now that we've finally released some gay romances, we (Erica Pike, NJ Nielsen, and K-Lee Klein) have begun to take part in blog hops. They‘re great fun and we‘re very appreciative to be invited along for the ride. One thing we‘ve noticed though is the lack of M/M specific blog hops created for writers and readers of our particular genre. So we thought, why not make one?

K-Lee came up with the clever name: Hop Against Homophobia, and we've decided to use the International Day Against Homophobia, May 17th, as our official hop kickoff date. The hop will run until midnight May 20th.

We hope to get as many authors of gay (M/M) fiction as we can to sign up and show their support. Publishers, sellers and reviewers are welcome to take part as long as your prize is M/M-related.

Here are the author participation requirements:

--- Be an author/publisher/seller/reviewer of M/M fiction.
--- Offer a M/M-related prize (M/M book/ebook, or GLBTQ swag, t-shirt, whatever you can come up with).
--- Provide links of other blog participants to your blog visitors (will be explained in an email, but it'll be as easy as copy-paste).
--- Talk about the International Day Against Homophobia in your May 17th blog entry (as little as just a mention – your choice).
--- Add the colorful Hop Against Homophobia image to your blog/website with a link to the official hop site (http://hopagainsthomophobia.blogspot.com/).

We are discouraging the use of gift cards as prizes. In doing this, we hope to attract readers more specific to our M/M genre and not just readers looking to score a gift card. We want m/m fiction lovers to win our prizes!

We plan to do as much promotion on this as we can and we'd appreciate it if all participants could help by mentioning the hop once in a while. This is OUR (people of the gay fiction genre) hop, and if successful this year, it could turn into a fabulous annual event of M/M love!

What is a blog hop? Take a look at this post.

For authors/publishers/sellers/reviewers interested in taking part, specifics will be sent via email once we get closer to the date, so everyone will know what to do. But for now, please sign up and encourage others to do the same :)




Saturday, February 4, 2012

18% Gray Review


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If you're looking for a sappy romance - this is not it. If you're looking for a book that contains two rough men fighting through the enemy's territory, running for their lives - this is it! 

What I love about 18% Gray is how naturally the "romance" develops between the two guys. The bits where they did connect on their journey were touching and heartfelt without being overly so. I loved the beginning, so funny. I also admire the way Anne Tenino writes; fluent and clever. 

The name of the book is great, but other than a very brief mention of 18% gray, I really don't see the relevance. Except maybe that the gays in the Red zone have to hide and use symbols to get lucky. 

I also don't see the purpose of Benigna, unless she has something to do with the other books. The one part I can see her moving the plot along (after the brush incident) would have been solvable without her. I don't know if she was for comic relief. The little "nunette (love that word) frustrated me more than anything else.. 

There's obviously going to be a second book and I can't wait to read it :) 

Definitely 5 out of 5 - heck, make it 10 out of 10!


Friday, February 3, 2012

Author Chat, Giveaways and More


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There's an author chat at No Boundaries Press facebook page and a chance to win Hot Hands.

Another m/m title to win is Kharisma Rayne's Bound by Temptation (the cover is so cool!).

They're only for today, so be quick :)

I shared the blurb for my February NBP title on the author chat. It's called A Grade-A-Sex-Deal:


For weeks, college student Casper has been the victim of sail-by goosing and groping. The problem is that Casper would very much like to get more than groped by those wonderful, big, hot hands. 
With a journal full of clues, he sets out to discover who his mystery groper is. However, he may be in serious trouble once he discovers the ominous identity, trouble that has nothing to do with the light bondage involved.


That's right, it's a student/teacher relationship ;) There's no cover yet, but you can expect me squeeing over it soon.


Finally, a little reading status. I'm 50% in 18% Gray and I loooove it so far. I love dystopians.

Oh one more thing! Hot Hands got a B+ review from Brief Encounters. I'm not exactly sure what that's in stars, probably 4. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

February Reading

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I'm ashamed to say that I've known a bunch of m/m authors for almost a year now but I haven't read a single work by most of them. I feel that's something I should change this year, so here are my reading goals for 2012:

-- Read two books a month by an author I'm personally familiar with / friends with. 
-- Read at least one book a month by an author I haven't read before (doesn't have to be someone I know).
-- Read 60 books this year (slow reader! I like to sink into the books and read them at leisure).

That's three books a month. Then, of course, I can read whatever else I want once I've finished those three. I start by chopping down what I already have on my Kindle, then I'll start buying more. Since January has already passed I'll read 4 and 2:



It's just embarrassing talking to these authors when I haven't read their work! I'll make a status report by the end of the month so you can kick my bum if I've been slacking.