Posted in Fellow Authors, News and Appearances

Blog Tour- Better Be Sure- Andy Gallo

Better Be SureAndy Gallo has a new contemporary MM romance out: Better Be Sure.

When the stakes are this high, you better be sure you can win.

Jackson Murphy lost his parents to a boating accident, but they’re never far from his thoughts. He attends the same university as his parents, joined the same fraternity as his dad, and even lives in his father’s old room, along with his adopted brother Marcus. Life brightens when he meets the man of his dreams.

Edward Knowles trades full-time college for working during the day and community college at night when his father’s factory closes. He intends to stay deep in the closet to keep his job in heating and cooling. But Jack pushes all his buttons.

Jack’s college rival challenges him to bring a date to the upcoming dance. He goads Jack into accepting even though failure means he and Marcus will lose their room and Jack must leave the fraternity.

Jack is falling hard for Ed, but Ed will never agree to go the dance. Ed—not knowing the stakes of the wager—has also made it clear that Jack taking another man will end their romance.

With pressure from friends and enemies alike, will Jack hold on to his legacy… or his heart?

Dreamspinner | Amazon | Amazon NZ | Amazon UK | Amazon CAN | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes


Giveaway

Andy is giving away a $25 Dreamspinner gift certificate, two audio codes, and 3 $5 Amazon gift cards with this tour. Enter via Rafflecopter for a chance to win.

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Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d4756/?

We’re also giving away an eBook copy of (Un)Masked and one copy of Leo Loves Aries, by Anyta Sunday. Comment on the post below or a chance to win.


Excerpt

Jack’s phone buzzed, and he swatted the sound away. Too early in the damn morning. Another buzz. He drowsily pulled himself from sleep. Across the room, Marcus mumbled in his sleep.

Jack checked his phone, body surging to life at Ed’s name on the screen.

Ed: Morning!

Ed: Oh, crap, it’s probably still too early for you.

Jack couldn’t type back quick enough. Ed writing to him this early in the morning, that had to mean something, surely.

Jack: Nah, I’m totally awake. Why?

Ed: Just finished a job. Am close to Harrison….

Jack was already scrambling out of bed, messaging one-handed while he emptied his drawers for a clean shirt.

Jack: Send me your location. I’m in desperate need of caffeine. Bet you could use some too.

Ed sent a grinning dog and his location. Eighteen minutes later, Jack walked into the local Starbucks. He scanned the almost empty store and caught Ed’s broad shoulders at the counter.

Jack strode over and clapped the guy on the shoulder, giving it a lingering squeeze. “I have an eerie sense of déjà vu.”

Ed’s warm shoulder shook as he chuckled. “I haven’t mowed you down yet.”

“No, no, that you haven’t.” Their gazes snagged, and Ed definitely swallowed. Probably too early—in the day and their friendship—to tease.

Jack rocked back on his heels, dug his wallet out of his pocket, and ordered.

When they both had their drinks, they sank into armchairs in the corner of the room.

Ed’s gaze kept dipping to his chest, and Jack’s lips tipped up behind his mocha. “How was your morning job?”

“I was extremely motivated to get the job done quickly.”

Jack’s grin widened, and an ill-timed sip ended up rolling down his chin. He swiped it off. “Do you often have jobs close to Harrison?”

“Not as much as I’d like.” Ed rubbed his palm over the arm of the chair.

“I mean, a lot of the time I have to drive out farther.”

“Well, any time you’re nearby….” He raised his cup.

Ed glanced at his chest again. “I like the look.”

Jack followed the sweep of Ed’s hand and—fuck. His shirt was inside out. “Right. Of course.”

Ed leaned forward in his seat, amusement lighting his eyes as he took in the rest of him. Shivers skittered through Jack, and he held his breath. “I totally woke you, didn’t I?”

“Busted.”

The deep laugh Ed gave made it all worth it. “So you’re a high-ranking anchor in your fraternity?”

Jack snorted at the muff. From the way Ed stared at him, it was hard to tell if he’d done it on purpose or really had the term mixed up.

“We prefer to pronounce it ‘archon,’ but either way, I’m one of the fraternity leaders, yes.”

“Do you like it?”

“Which? Being in the fraternity or being an officer?”

“Both.”

Of course he’d want Jack to answer both. “Yeah, for the most part. I mean, there are a couple guys I wish weren’t my brothers, but that’s how it is.”

“How’d you pick that fraternity?”

“There wasn’t really any other option.”

Ed’s brow furrowed. “I thought Harrison had a lot of fraternities.”

“No, not like that.” Jack waved his hand and shook his head. “My dad, both of them were in Pi Kappa Phi. Marcus and I grew up hearing all the stories about their days in the house.”

“Wow, that’s cool.”

“Yeah, they met when they were freshmen and were friends until… well… until my parents died.” He thought he’d been ready to deal with the issue, but confronted with it, he froze.

Ed scooted up on his chair, leaning forward. “You okay, Jack?”

Jack rubbed the ring at the chain around his neck and drew in a calming breath. “Yeah. Yeah.”

Ed seemed to realize Jack needed a change in conversation, because he abruptly started telling Jack how his sister had woken him last night screaming murder. She’d gone to the bathroom at night, and when she walked back to her room, someone was in there, rustling the sheets.

Ed had launched into her room with a bat only to be confronted with their cat. The first time the cat decided not to be shy. In the middle of the night, rolling around Becky’s bed. They laughed so hard, they needed to make a cup of hot milk to settle down again.

“Sounds like you’re a good guy to have around… wayward cats.” And panicking… friends.

Ed sipped his coffee. “What about you?”

“I like to think I’m a good guy to have around too.”

“I’m sure you are.” Ed set his coffee down. “Look, about last night….”

Jack clasped his cup, muscles rigid. Here it was. “Yeah?”

Air blew into the café along with a group of rowdy hipster students toting stainless steel cups. Jack shuffled forward on the cushion to hear Ed better, but Ed’s gaze strayed toward group and his mouth flattened.

Jack cursed the interruption, but it was clear the moment had passed.

“What are your plans the rest of the day?” Ed asked instead.

“The rest of the day?”

Ed laughed, and Jack soaked it up.

“Class, bantering with Brittany—she’s awesome—frat meeting about the spring formal, messing around with the guys. Might squeeze some actual study in there.” A lot of study, actually.

“Messing around with the guys?”

That piqued your interest, did it? Jack smirked. “Play a bit of ball if the weather holds. Get out the PlayStation and hit the video games if it doesn’t.”

“What’s the spring formal?”

Jack groaned. “The bane of my life.”


Author Bio

Andy Gallo prefers mountains over the beach, coffee over tea, and regardless if you shake it or stir it, he isn’t drinking a martini. He remembers his “good old days” as filled with mullets, disco music, too-short shorts, and too-high socks. Thanks to good shredders and a lack of social media, there is no proof he ever descended into any of those evils.

Andy does not write about personal experiences and no living or deceased ex-boyfriends appear on the pages of his stories. He might subconsciously infuse his characters with some of their less noble qualities, but that is entirely coincidental even if their names are the same. And while Andy leaves the hard sci-fi/fantasy for his alter ego, Andrew, in his mind a touch of the supernatural never derailed a good relationship.

Married and living his own happy every after, Andy helps others find their happy endings in the pages of his stories. He and his husband of more than twenty years spend their days raising their daughter and rubbing elbows with other parents. Embracing his status as the gay dad, Andy sometimes has to remind others that one does want a hint of color even when chasing after their child.

Author Website: https://www.andygallo.com

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/andygalloauthor/

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/92829509-andy-gallo

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Posted in Fellow Authors, News and Appearances

J. Scott Coatsworth’s “Oberon Cycle” trilogy is out – “Ithani”!

IthaniThe final MM sci fi book in J. Scott Coatsworth’s “Oberon Cycle” trilogy is out – “Ithani”!

Time is running out.

After saving the world twice, Xander, Jameson and friends plunge headlong into a new crisis. The ithani–the aliens who broke the world–have reawakened from their hundred millennia-long slumber. When Xander and Jameson disappear in a flash, an already fractured world is thrown into chaos.

The ithani plans, laid a hundred thousand years before, are finally coming to pass, and they threaten all life on Erro. Venin and Alix go on a desperate search for their missing and find more than they bargained for. And Quince, Robin and Jessa discover a secret as old as the skythane themselves.

Will alien technology, unexpected help from the distant past, destiny and some good old-fashioned firepower be enough to defeat an enemy with the power to split a world? The final battle of the epic science fiction adventure that began in Skythane will decide the fate of lander and skythane alike. And in the north, the ithani rise…

Oberon Cycle Trilogy

Ithani Buy Links

Dreamspinner eBook | Dreamspinner Paperback | Amazon eBook | Amazon Paperback | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink | Goodreads

Book 1: Skythane:

Dreamspinner eBook | Dreamspinner Paperback | Amazon Kindle | Amazon paperback | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink | Goodreads

Book Two: Lander:

Dreamspinner eBook | Dreamspinner Paperback | Amazon Kindle | Amazon Paperback | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink | Goodreads


Giveaway

Scott is giving away a $50 Amazon gift card and ten copies of “The Stark Divide,” the first book in his other trilogy, his other trilogy, “Liminal Sky,” with this tour. Enter via Rafflecopter:

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Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d4753/?T

The eBook for Skythane (book 1 – Ithani is the final book, #3) will be on sale at the Dreamspinner store for just 50¢ on the release date. So if you haven’t read this one yet, here’s your chance.


Excerpt

Venin stood under the dome of the chapel, the waters of the Orn rushing past the small island to crash over the edge of the crater rim, where they fell a thousand meters to the broken city of Errian below.

The Erriani chapel was different from what he was used to back home. The Gaelani chapel in Gaelan had sat at the top of a tall pillar of stone, open to the night sky, a wide space of grass and trees that intertwined in a natural dome through which moonlight filtered down to make dappled shadows on the ground.

This chapel, instead, was a wonder of streaming sunlight, the columns a polished eggshell marble with glimmering seams of gold. Red creeper vines climbed up the columns, festooned with clusters of yellow flowers that gave off a sweet scent.

Both were bright and airy, but the Erriani chapel lay under a dome supported by fluted marble columns, a painted arch of daytime sky and the rose-colored sun blazing overhead.

The last time he’d gone to chapel had been with Tazim, before his untimely death.

Long before the troubles that roiled the world now.

Something drew him back. A need to reconnect with his past. To bridge the gap between then and now, between who he was and who he had become. Taz would have liked this place.

The chapel here had survived the attack, while much of Errian had not. The city below was a jumble of broken corrinder, the multistory plants that were the main building stock for the city. They would grow again, but the sight of the city’s beautiful white towers laid low struck him to the core.

So had Gaelan looked, after the flood.

Venin turned back to the chapel and unlaced his boots, baring his muscular calves before he approached the fountain that splashed at its center. The cool flagstone beneath his feet sent a shiver up his spine, and green moss filled the gaps between the stones.

Some builder whose name was lost to time had tapped into the river itself to make the fountain run, and the water leapt into the air with a manic energy around the golden statue of Erro, before falling back down to the pool.

Venin knelt at the fountain’s edge on one of the well-worn pads, laid his hands in the shallow water, and let his wings rest over himself, making a private place to pray.

Erro and Gael, spare us from danger and lift us up into the sky with your powerful wings. He gave Erro deference, being that this was his chapel, but he hoped Gael would hear him too. The god of his own people had been known to intervene in mortal affairs before, and if what Quince had told them about these ithaniwas true, they would need all the help they could get.

Venin’s wings warmed.

He looked up in astonishment to see the statue of Erro giving off an intense golden glow. His mouth dropped open, and he stood and stared at its beautiful male curves and muscles. Maybe the gods were answering him.

Venin reached up and touched the statue’s outstretched hand. The shock knocked him backward onto his ass, and he hit the ground hard, slamming into one of the marble columns.

Venin groaned, stunned, and reached back to feel his wings and spine. He seemed to be in one piece.

Taz would have laughed his ass off at the whole thing.

After a moment he sat up cautiously. He wrapped his arms around his legs and stared up at the statue, his chin on his knees.

The glow was gone.

Did I imagine it? He stood and felt the back of his head. A lump was already forming there. That’s gonna leave a mark.

Something had changed. Venin didn’t know what yet, but he was sure of that much.

He pulled his boots back on and laced them up. With one last suspicious glare at the statue, he turned and stepped out of the chapel, taking a deep breath of the moisture-laden air.

Then he leapt into the sky to soar down to the broken city.


Author Bio

Scott lives with his husband of twenty five years in a Sacramento suburb, in a cute little yellow house with a brick fireplace and two pink flamingoes out front.

He inhabits in the space between the here and now and the what could be. Indoctrinated into science fiction and fantasy by his mom at the tender age of nine, he quickly finished her entire library. But he soon began to wonder where all the queer people were.

After coming out at twenty three, he started writing the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at Crown Books. If there weren’t many queer characters in his favorite genres, he would will them into existence, subverting them to his own ends. And if he was lucky enough, someone else would want to read them.

His friends say Scott’s mind works a little differently than most – he makes connections between ideas that others don’t, and somehow does more in a day than most people manage in a week. Although born an introvert, he forced himself to reach outside himself, and learned to connect with others like him.

Scott’s stories subvert expectations that transform traditional science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something different and unexpected. He runs both Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark.

His romance and genre fiction writing brings a queer energy to his stories, filling them with love, beauty and power. He imagines how the world could be – in the process, he hopes to change the world, just a little.

Scott was recognized as one of the top new gay authors in the 2017 Rainbow Awards, and his debut novel “Skythane” received two awards and an honorable mention.

You can find him at Dreamspinner here, Goodreads here, on Amazon here, on QueerRomance Ink here, and on Facebook here.

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Posted in Fellow Authors, News and Appearances, Stories

Rainbow Advent Calendar 2018

Hi and welcome to the Rainbow Advent Calendar event 2018.

From the 1st – 24th of December authors of GLBT+ fiction will be opening a door to a selection of festive stories to while away the winter days and get you in the Christmas spirit.  Find stories from your favourite writers and discover some new ones along the way.
A small gift from us to you for all your support in 2018

This page contains the masterpost of links to the authors and their stories as they are revealed throughout the event.
You can also join our Facebook group here to get notifications and spread the festive fun.

I’ve written a short story called When Harry Met Sully which you can download at Bookfunnel – the link is above the cover.

Christmas is the season for making friends..and maybe more

When Harry goes to his local homeless shelter to help with the Christmas decorating, the last thing he expected to find was a sexy Christmas elf.

Download the book

 

 

 

Posted in Fellow Authors, Future Works, News and Appearances

Sight Unseen script selected for Oaxaca Film Festival

Nicholas Downs and I can now give you the exciting news that we’ve been keeping quiet for so long.

Our script, “Sight Unseen” is an Official Selection of the Oaxaca Film Festival 2018 in two categories!

Oaxaca Film Festival, a well-respected and well-known festival, has been running now for nine years. Out of the thousands of projects that were submitted this year, less than 5% make the cut, so we are very proud of this accomplishment.

“Sight Unseen” is a FINALIST and will be competing with other projects in the category of ‘Best Fade Out’ i.e. selected scripts with well-defined ending of the story line.

You can see the official selection here – https://www.oaxacafilmfest.com/global-script-challenge…

It will also be competing for the main award of the 2018 Global Script Challenge: Best Overall Script.

We are both over the moon that we got this far, and we look forward to being a part of this incredible festival.

Posted in Fellow Authors, Future Works

Blog Tour -24 May – Psychopaths & Sinners – Jack L. Pyke

I’m thrilled to welcome Jack L. Pyke to my website today on the Psychopath and Sinners blog tour. Jack is one of my Auto Buy authors and this series, starting with DON’T has kept me enthralled with every new book that comes out. I guess this one will be no different.

I love dark and gritty, men with issues, a certain , shall we say, loosening of scruples and morals and boy, does this series have this in spades. Jack writes like a true wordsmith and her books are a delight to read. And re-read.

And check out this awesome cover….

 

In case you missed any of the tour stops, here they are

Blog Tour Stops:

https://thebloggergirls.com/

  • May 22: Kimmer’s Erotic Book Banter:

http://kimmerseroticbookb.wixsite.com/kimmerseroticbb#!

  • May 23: Books Laid Bare Boys:

https://www.books-laid-bare-boys.com/

  • May 24: Diverse Reader:

http://diversereader.blogspot.co.uk/

  • May 25: Men & Men Midnight Café:

http://mm.midnightcafe.uk/mm/index.php

 

Author: Jack L. Pyke

Novel: Psychopaths & Sinners, Don’t… book 5

Release Date: 22nd May, 2018

Blurb: “Because us? Psychopaths and sinners… we don’t need fixing, Gray.”

Three bodies, three mutilations, each one with something… unusual inserted into the wounds. The deaths are enough to leave Ash Thomas scrambling around to find someone to trust as the murders hit so close to home and heart.

For Gray Raoul, MI5 director of G-Branch, the deaths offer something else, a fall back into a familiar life where culling serial killers cater to his own darker mindset. But the farther Gray moves away from home, the more he realises serial killer games in the field are nothing compared to who he has locked up back at home. Sometimes walking the fine line between psychopaths and live-in lovers is a far darker game.

For Ash, that might just mean he’s on his own now, facing a killer who has a deadly fascination for pretty young men and dancing Holly Blue butterflies over their skin.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This picture has a special significance in this story. Read to find out what 🙂

 

Jack L. Pyke blames her dark writing influences on living close to one of England’s finest forests. Having grown up hearing a history of kidnappings, murders, strange sightings, and sexual exploits her neck of the woods is renowned for, Jack takes that into her writing, having also learned that human coping strategies for intense situations can sometimes make the best of people have disastrously bad moments. Redeeming those flaws is Jack’s drive, and if that drive just happens to lead to sexual tension between two or more guys, Jack’s the first to let nature take its course.

 

Posted in Fellow Authors, News and Appearances

Release Day and Cover Reveal- His Personal Assistant by Lisa Harris

Don’t you love this cover, and doesn’t the blurb draw you in? I’m reading this one and it’s wonderful. There’ll be a review coming soon. Congratulations to Lisa on her upcoming release on 26th January.

 





TITLE – HIS PERSONAL ASSISTANT
Editor – R. E. Hargrave
Cover Designer – The Graphics Shed
Genre – Contemporary Gay Romance
Series – Book 1 – Men of New York
Length – 76k
Release Date – January 26, 2018
 
At the tender age of twenty-one, Kade Hutchins is at a crossroads, having endured enough hardship to last a thousand lifetimes. With money tight and career at a standstill, he’s running out of time and options. The day he applies for a job that isn’t exactly in his field of expertise and meets his new boss, Mr. Preston, is the day his fate is changed irrecoverably.

Luke Preston is the kind of man others envy. Rich, successful and unattached, his no-nonsense, ‘take no prisoners attitude’ has made him one of the highest profile litigators in Manhattan. He’s also a man with secrets. Secrets he wants kept under wraps since tragedy rocked his privileged existence to the core. When Kade, a man some fifteen years his junior steps foot inside his office, Luke wonders if his heart will survive.

 

 

Brushing an errant piece of fluff off my shoulder, I straightened the hem of my shirt and took a deep breath. Not that it did much good. By the time the elevator doors opened on the tenth floor, my nerves were beyond frazzled. With less than a minute to spare, I stepped inside the plush, modern offices.
A striking woman sitting behind a large reception desk greeted me, looking most business-like. What didn’t make sense was the way she seemed ready to pounce the second she saw me. I was surprised she didn’t fall flat on her face, considering she wore a pencil-thin black skirt and high-heeled shoes and was on her feet and running toward me like a crazy person.
“Thank God you’re here!”
“Um, what?” I took a wary step backward. She was kinda scary.
“Please tell me you’re Kade Hutchins.”
“Oh. Yes, I am.”
She held out her hand and when I took it in mine, I was impressed by her firm, assured grip. “You have no idea how relieved I am to see you.”
“Uh, thanks?” The warm smile she gave in response made her round, hazel eyes sparkle. Her hospitable attitude made me feel at ease in an instant, and I couldn’t help but grin back.
“The name’s Kimberly O’Connell. I’m the paralegal around here.”
“It’s nice to meet you, Ms. O’Connell.”
“Oh, please, I insist you call me Kimberly.”
“Okay.”
Releasing her hold on me, she pointed a manicured finger at the closed office door located behind the desk. “Come on, Kade. Let’s get you in to see His Highness.” Covering her mouth, she giggled.
“Who?” I stopped myself from joining in, but it wasn’t easy. She had an infectious laugh.
“Luke Preston. The ass you spoke to on the phone.”
“Oh.” I didn’t know whether it was appropriate to agree with her or not, but decided it would be best to err on the side of caution.
“Sorry about him, by the way.” Kimberly knocked, before lowering her voice to a faint whisper, and adding, “I had no idea he was going to answer the phone when I went to make his coffee. He usually lets the machine pick up, but I didn’t think to switch it on since I was only going to be gone a few minutes.”
The moment I let out a nervous chuckle, the door to Luke Preston’s office flew open.
Tall and broad-shouldered, the strong jaw, high cheekbones, and dark brown hair slicked back so not a lock was out of place, coupled with the way his body filled out that navy suit, made Luke Preston look more like a model than a lawyer. My guess was that he was in his mid-thirties, but holy shit, did he wear it well. Startling emerald eyes fringed by long, dark lashes stared at me with such intensity that, for a split second, I forgot to breathe. His sharp features were softened by flawless, pale skin and full lips so plush, I wondered what they would feel like pressed against my own. In that briefest of moments, I knew I was in trouble as my head began waging a war with my heart so fierce, I didn’t know whether to pull him in for a kiss or run for my life.
All I could do was wait for him to say something… anything to break the tension.
 
 

 

L. J. HARRIS is a mother, wife, an introvert and author. Her family is her life, her soul, and the very reason she gets out of bed every day. Coming a close second is her writing.

She discovered a passion for putting pen to paper in her later years, jotting down poems in birthday cards for family members.

It was then a spark was lit, and ever since, she’s been unable to switch off the urge to share her stories.

L.J. Harris discovered that as much as experiencing pain, loss and betrayal can be devastating, capturing the feelings of anguish and loss that some of her characters have had to endure without firsthand knowledge would have proved difficult.

L.J. has been previously published and has shared several online stories and looks forward to continuing to share her work.  She can be found at:

CONTACT LINKS:

 

 

Posted in Fellow Authors, News and Appearances

LGBTQ Community Plea to Facebook

QUICK UPDATE ON THIS

The petition is live and kicking and we are already over 800 signatures in 24 hours. Please join us if you feel the same way ?

Thank you

https://www.change.org/p/susan-mac-nicol-equal-facebook-standards-applied-to-lgbtqi-community/

Long post ahead. And be warned, you may see some images you don’t want to see:)

There’s been a growing trend with social media giant Facebook in the past years to filter out content that it believes is harmful to both its brand, the community, and its users. We have no problem with this. It makes sound business and ethical sense and with the ongoing government demands for industry leaders like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to step up their game and protect people, country and lives, we applaud any initiative to do just that.

What we have a problem with is the double standards we believe it applies to some of its policies and decisions. Nowhere is this more prevalent or evident to those of us than in the LGBTQ community.

We’re specifically talking about the book publishing world here, where authors, publishers and bloggers use Facebook as a social and promotional tool. We’re talking a world where men love men, men kiss men and men have sex with men. We’re also talking the use of erotic and sexy pictures used to promote or tease readers with relationship stories and love and romance tales of men falling in love.  About covers meant to entice the readers with their sexy bare-chested men and their racy look. However, no respectable publisher will publish a cover that’s pornographic. And we all have respectable publishers.

Here are the things we do as authors and readers to meet Facebook requirements, so we don’t offend people who might find our content unpalatable:

  1. We set most posts to friends. They are the people who ‘theoretically’ want to be here and are interested in the content we post
  2. We set up private and secret groups where people who ‘theoretically’ want to be part of what we offer can participate.
  3. We run closed private events where ‘theoretically’ only people who wish to participate join in.
  4. You’ll notice I’m using the word ‘theoretically’ in italics and I’ll explain this in a bit.

It’s all consensual. The fact that the Facebook strategy, as evidenced in Mark Zuckerberg’s statement that he wants people to be responsible for what they see on their timelines, is a massive step in the right direction.

https://www.facebook.com/notes/mark-zuckerberg/building-global-community/10154544292806634

‘Third, even within a given culture, we have different opinions on what we want to see and what is objectionable. I may be okay with more politically charged speech but not want to see anything sexually suggestive, while you may be okay with nudity but not want to see offensive speech. Similarly, you may want to share a violent video in a protest without worrying that you’re going to bother friends who don’t want to see it. And just as it’s a bad experience to see objectionable content, it’s also a terrible experience to be told we can’t share something we feel is important. This suggests we need to evolve towards a system of personal control over our experience.’

Socialsamosa published this opinion-

https://www.socialsamosa.com/2017/02/facebook-community-standards/

This time around, Facebook has weighed their options, and come up with a decision to not be the judge, jury and executioner, rather letting the audience vote and choose as to what constitutes as objectionable content to them.

Let the people choose is a mantra we could all learn to live by. 

However, we cannot condone the fact that there are people within the groups, and whom are ‘theoretical friends’ who join or befriend people (catfishing) purely for causing trouble and trolling to make waves. It’s unfortunately a part of the social network lifestyle.

As authors, we have rigid standards we apply to a friend request. What we write about, i.e. LGBTQ stories, is targeted much like the LGBTQ individuals in the real world are. We do not wish to have people whom take exception to what we do and cause trouble simply because they can, because of their beliefs and their doctrines.

To this end, Facebook has both their anti-bullying and hate crime community standards. We believe our genre on Facebook could benefit from both policies being enforced. They aren’t. Instead, we have one person with a grudge or out of spite, reporting what we deem to be an innocent picture, where we believe we have met the Facebook Community guidelines based not only on what we have posted, but what other people in the heterosexual world are posting, yet we suffer and they appear to be allowed to get away with it.

Even posting in secret or private groups isn’t sacred. Either someone reports a picture based on the fact they are simply trolling to make trouble, or Facebook bots find a picture and take it down. We were under the impression private and secret groups were ‘safe spaces’. This is not said with any element of naivety. We understand that pornographic pictures can’t be posted in groups as well, that pictures still need to meet community standards. We completely agree with this. Again, our concern is this appears to be one set of rules for one and another for the LGBTQ community. This group posts naked women with bare butts, nipples, and women together in sensual and erotic poses, yet when we do the same with men, we are targeted and banned.

Until the rules are the same for everyone you’ll forgive us that we cannot take the Facebook Community Standards seriously, and until we are all judged on the same content, ditto.

All someone must do is report a post and the poster is immediately suspended, banned or their account is taken down. There is no presumption of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ no allowance for an argument as we all get the same canned stock response and are frustratingly not given any sensible answer as to why we are suddenly locked out.

As authors, we rely on our personal Facebook pages to interact with our readers. We have our pages to promote and sell our books, and our personal accounts to keep readers interacting with more personal posts and socialise with them. However, for goodness sake, Facebook cannot be that naïve to think every person on this application really has 1000 best friends or family. People use Facebook to network, to grow socially. Whether Facebook likes it or not, people using their application are not just keeping in touch with family and friends. However, they are happy to benefit from this revenue wise with sponsored posts, post boosts and advertisements from these very same people being banned.

There is a dearth of issues regarding the Facebook Community Standards, and you can see the posts below where their bots and their individual reviewers have failed to do their job.

Banning a Robin Redbreast card? http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/facebook-bans-robin-redbreast-christmas-card-for-sexual-content_uk_5a099debe4b0e37d2f38ea29

 

A pair of swans mating?  That’s verging on simply inane even by Facebook standards. And then there’s all the other fuss about the grey areas by other people. See links below.

https://www.lifewire.com/facebook-groups-4103720

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/x-rated-facebook-group-people-11381976

https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/people/welcome-to-the-secret-celebrity-filled-world-of-closed-facebook-groups-1.2904053

https://newsroom.fb.com/news/2017/05/facebooks-community-standards-how-and-where-we-draw-the-line/

https://www.cheatsheet.com/technology/heres-how-facebook-decides-what-you-can-and-cant-post.html/?a=viewall

https://www.indexoncensorship.org/2017/11/six-times-facebook-violated-community-standards-removing-content/

https://medium.com/@az_sum/dear-facebook-why-dont-you-follow-your-own-community-standards-f381a17a8fa0

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-06/facebook-banning-algorithims-block-lesbians-from-using-dyke/8676284

http://metro.co.uk/2017/03/07/facebook-fails-to-remove-child-abuse-images-because-they-dont-violate-community-standards-6492678/

http://ncac.org/blog/on-violence-and-nudity-facebooks-opaque-community-standards

http://culturedigitally.org/2015/03/facebooks-improved-community-standards-still-cant-resolve-the-central-paradox/  by tarleton@microsoft.com

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/5/15/1662403/-Facebook-has-a-real-problem-with-community-standards

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/z43g9a/facebook-needs-to-fix-its-censorship-double-standards

https://techcrunch.com/2017/02/16/facebook-nudity-filter/

Facebook Community Standards

This is the full extent of the newly created (2015) Community Standards regarding NUDITY. It’s pretty brief –

Nudity

People sometimes share content containing nudity for reasons such as awareness campaigns or artistic projects. We restrict the display of nudity because some audiences within our global community may be sensitive to this type of content – particularly because of their cultural background or age. In order to treat people fairly and respond to reports quickly, it is essential that we have policies in place that our global teams can apply uniformly and easily when reviewing content. As a result, our policies can sometimes be more blunt than we would like and restrict content shared for legitimate purposes. We are always working to get better at evaluating this content and enforcing our standards. 

We remove photographs of people displaying genitals or focusing in on fully exposed buttocks. We also restrict some images of female breasts if they include the nipple, but we always allow photos of women actively engaged in breastfeeding or showing breasts with post-mastectomy scarring. We also allow photographs of paintings, sculptures and other art that depicts nude figures. Restrictions on the display of both nudity and sexual activity also apply to digitally created content unless the content is posted for educational, humorous or satirical purposes. Explicit images of sexual intercourse are prohibited. Descriptions of sexual acts that go into vivid detail may also be removed.’

I asked Facebook to remove this PUBLIC set photo and was told it did not violate their community standards. I understand this is apparently two people with their ears together but to anyone else looking, it is at first glance depicting a woman’s genitals, no matter what the actual content is. A thirteen year old would not look deeper than what this is supposed to represent.

 

This cover was banned and caused a lot of trouble for the author. Our question is WHY. Since when did men’s bare chests become persona non-gratia? We’ve all seen a lot worse. Once can only imagine it was some sort of personal vendetta against the author herself or cover model who is a well-known adult entertainment actor. An explanation would have been welcome.

And this one in a private group left me with a three day ban for contravening the standards on sexual acts. No doubt because of the boner – or was it? Perhaps it was simply the idea of two men together.

An author was banned for these ones

Whereas this one can remain

This one in a secret group earned me a week ban

And this one remains.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This one of the man earned a ban while the female one is still up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The below picture is still there, while slightly covered it leaves nothing really to the imagination and all a female picture needs is a little bit of covering.

Whereas these ones of men earned a 7 day banning in a private group

It’s not difficult to see there’s a trend against home erotic or male part nudity yet the lady pictures are allowed to remain. For every male picture we’ve had banned, I can find a similar, often worse one of a female. I’m not sure whether it’s the reviewer’s personal sensibilities that are being offended (which should not be the case, they need to be open minded and unbiased in this role) or the policies of Facebook not being sensible. Perhaps it’s a mixture of both.

We see plenty of nipples too in groups, see through like this one. Let’s be honest – just because they are covered in see through material doesn’t mean we don’t see the nipples, something Facebook has banned clearly in it’s policies.

Double standards abound. We reserve the right to defend the picture we post against our accusers, who may be simple haters of the genre we write in. It is BULLYING pure and simple and Facebook have a community standard for that too. Although as authors, I am not sure we are deemed to be private individuals in our right as opposed to being public? Does this make it right that people can target us as individuals but not assist us because we write books as a profession? This is a grey line indeed. We’d welcome discussion on this topic.

 Bullying and Harassment: How we respond to bullying and harassment.

We don’t tolerate bullying or harassment. We allow you to speak freely on matters and people of public interest, but remove content that appears to purposefully target private individuals with the intention of degrading or shaming them. This content includes, but is not limited to:

  • Pages that identify and shame private individuals,
  • images altered to degrade private individuals,
  • photos or videos of physical bullying posted to shame the victim,
  • sharing personal information to blackmail or harass people and
  • repeatedly targeting other people with unwanted friend requests or messages.

We define private individuals as people who have neither gained news attention nor the interest of the public, by way of their actions or public profession.

What we would like Facebook to do is acknowledge our voice as a genre, one that is part of a $1.08 billion (2013) industry, and find a compromise between common sense and fulfilling these community guidelines. We’d like to have people making decisions about our posts that are rational, sympathetic and LGBTQ friendly.

We’re happy to accept decisions made rationally and honestly, it’s all we asking for.

Thank You.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Fellow Authors, News and Appearances

Back to School HOP! #BackToSchool #BlogHop #Giveaway #FUN

 

To celebrate the start of a new school year some really awesome blogs and authors are giving away a lot of prizes!
Enter them all for more chances to win!

FOND MEMORIES OF MY SCHOOL DAYS 

I confess I was a bit of a nerd at school. The one who enjoyed it, the one who did well in most subjects (except maths, which I hated with a passion.)

I did what was called an Academic course, because I wanted the chance to go to University. English, French, Afrikaans, Maths, Biology, Geography. Afrikaans was compulsory, as was English. I wanted to learn another language so French it was. Biology fascinated me, and Geography seemed like an easy enough subject to pass.

Maths? Ewww. Trigonometry? Never understood it, couldn’t wrap my head around it. I wasn’t planning on being a rocket scientist or mathematician so who cared? Algebra- good gracious, really? Who needed that. I scraped through my Matric (English A-levels) by the skin of my teeth on this. But then I did use to copy the homework of my cleverer friends in Maths before I went into class. So I wasn’t really surprised at my grade E result.

English – no surprise this was my favourite subject. I sailed through it, getting my distinction and honours, being part of the Debate Team, excelling in the story and essay writing. Biology was my next distinction. I just missed my A grade in Afrikaans getting a B and also got a very respectable grade B for French. Geography was an average C.

 

Home Economics? I’m about the least domesticated person in this area you could imagine. We had to knit a donkey one time as a home project. I paid my two besties to each knit one half then sew them together to give me a pass. I hated cooking, and sewing and crap like that.

I formed some great friends at school, in the seventies – 1976 – 1980 was when I did my ‘secondary school’ time. So long ago. One of those friendships has stayed with me, the others not. I’m grateful for what I learnt then and how it moulded me into doing what I do today. I may not be able to chase tornados, develop an antidote, visit France and speak like a native, be an engineer or cook like Nigella- but at least I can write a good story.

 

 

 

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