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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Truth About Paypal, censorship, bestiality, and life in general


There is a lot of talk about this whole Paypal thing but I have to say that Paypal isn't the root of the problem. They are just the messenger in the whole debacle. Please read the entire letter, don't piecemeal it. Please keep a level head, this letter does explain some things that other people are making wild accusations about that just isn't true. Yes, some authors will be effected by this but if publishers are calm and work with Paypal they can stay open. It's the knee jerk reaction that is causing the problem. Credit card companies are behind this, not Paypal

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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/sarayork tied to your email address, Sara@sarayork.com.  Just because you're receiving this email doesn't mean your book or books are affected.  Read on.
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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], "books 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 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? (emphasis mine)

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 https://www.smashwords.com/about/beta


Monday, February 27, 2012

KevaD and Whistle Pass


Thank you so much, Sara, for inviting me to your blog. You’re very brave.

Hello, everyone. On book covers, I’m KevaD. In real life, I’m David Kentner, army vet, retired police chief, and former auctioneer. I also deal in antiques, but my wife keeps tearing off her price tag.

My first published book was a romantic MM comedy titled “Out of the Closet.” The only sex in the story occurs at the very end, and then just a touch of it. I wasn’t sure how a story of two gay men, written by a straight man, would go over. Especially one without sex scenes. I now have twelve books out - MM, MF, and one FF. Sometimes I included active sex, other times not. “Out of the Closet” remains my personal bestseller, and continues to sell even though we’re approaching the second anniversary of the book’s publication.

It wasn’t until three men I’ve known for twenty years approached me at a flea market that I understood one of the draws to that story. They thanked me for not including active sex. Yeah, they read the book. Robert, openly gay to his friends, closeted to his neighbors and community, asked if I would consider writing a suspense story without sex. The other two, a couple in secret except, again, to their friends, chimed in their support.

These men are my friends. How the hell could I say ‘no’? Not that I even thought about turning down the opportunity, because I didn’t. I went to work on “Whistle Pass” the next week.

A whistle pass is actually the name given by old time paddle wheel boat captains to the signal they’d send out in the fog when entering a narrow channel. If another boat replied, the captains hugged the channel’s starboard edges to avoid colliding. The idea of two men living in times so dangerous they’d risk their budding relationship becoming but a whistle pass came to mind.

I was born in Savanna, IL, a small river town where at the time freighters still used horn blasts to signal their locations in the fog. Savanna seemed fitting for the story’s location, and the town of Whistle Pass came to life. The Savanna I lived in as a boy was filled with corruption and illegal gambling protected by the mayor and police department. Naturally, I had to include what now seems like a writer’s godsend into the tale of Charlie and Gabe.

So, there you have the story behind the story.

Thanks for having me here. I suppose I should mention the Thermos of coffee I brought you came from that cop running radar down the street when he was busy writing a ticket. I waved so he’d know where you live. He didn’t look too happy.

Blurb:

On the battlefields of WWII Europe, Charlie Harris fell in love, and after the war, Roger marched home without a glance back. Ten years later, Charlie receives a cryptic summons and quickly departs for his former lover’s hometown of Whistle Pass.  

But Roger Black isn’t the lover of Charlie’s dreams anymore. He’s a married, hard-bitten political schemer who wants to secure his future by destroying evidence of his indiscreet past. Open homosexuality is practically a death sentence, and that photo would ruin Roger and all his wife’s nefarious plans.

Caught up in foggy, tangled events, Charlie turns to hotel manager Gabe Kasper for help, and Gabe is intrigued by the haunted soldier who so desperately desires peace. When helping his new lover places Gabe in danger, the old warrior in Charlie will have to take drastic action to protect him... or condemn them both.


Visit KevaD: http://www.kevad.net/
Be sure to friend David Kentner on Facebook! I play Castleville =)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday Not That Type Of Guy Now Available


Aiden Jackson took the disposable cell phone out of his pocket, plugged in his earpiece and answered the call. “Go.” Aiden spoke with his lips in a thin line, dark sunglasses covering his eyes as he searched the bustle of people waiting for their train at the Waterloo Station in London.


“They know someone’s here,” Chuck said, his voice whisper quiet.


“Shit, they on to me?” Aiden took off his shades and picked up a book. He leafed through the pages, acting the part of bored tourist on holiday.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Flash Fiction Friday Illegal Liaisons part 2

Each week a few of us writers get together and write 100 words on a photo. Today I bring you Illegal Liaisons part 2. If you want to read part 1 click here.


Craig carried number nineteen from the building, disgusted that they’d been attacked. Four females had died in that building, he’d only saved number nineteen because she’d stripped off her clothes when the Molotov cocktail sailed through the windows, blowing the fertility rooms to bits and starting a ferocious fire. He’d been assigned the protector duty three years ago after the virus and the breeding programs failed.

Tears stung his eyes. Nineteen was more like a mate to him than a project. He shouldn’t be so attached, especially since sex was forbidden now that all pregnancies had to be achieved through in vitro.

For more FFF please visit here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wednesday Briefs the last episode of Mike's Way


Hello and welcome to my fourth week of Wednesday Briefs! I'm continuing on with Paulo and Mike's story but this will be the last update on my blog. Look for the end of Mike's way to be released in April. If you didn't catch it, click here and see where Mike and Paulo started their story.

Wednesday Brief's is flash fiction that will make you smile, make you laugh, make you cry, or even make you horny! This week, we had these prompts: "...the trial cannot proceed." Or use the alternative prompts: lily, dust pan, sugar coated, or a close encounter of the (fill in the blank) kind, or Parthenon, virile, slander, or "The purple-headed monster reared its angry head."

Today I used Parthenon, virile, slander,

Don't forget to check out the other Wednesday Briefers.


Scarlett Knight     m/f
Nephylim     m/m
Eden Connor    m/f

MC Houle    m/m



Now I give you Mike's Way

Mike turned off the shower, his eyes downcast. How had he blown so quickly? What was wrong with him? He was young and virile. Paulo dried his torso with the towel and Mike couldn’t help but stare. The guy was beyond beautiful. Desire filled him again. He should be exhausted and ready for bed but sleep was the last thing he was thinking about.

“Let me dry you,” Paulo said. He stroked the towel over Mike’s chest, paying special attention to his bellybutton and pecs.

Mike threw back his head and groaned. “This feels good. You feel good.”

“Glad you like it and I know you will like what I have planned next.”

“What?” Mike asked.

“Do you have any rope?”

Mike shivered, his imagination went to work as thoughts of Paulo above him, dominating him.

“Damn, you want it bad.” Mike grabbed both of Paulo’s arms, holding them overhead with one hand. Paulo pushed him into the cold shower wall. “Look at me and don’t move.”

Mike’s brain fuzzed as he stared at Paulo, trying to focus on the commands his lover gave.

“Spread your legs.”

Paulo inched his feet apart, swallowing over the excitement running through his body.

“Good, you’re doing wonderfully. Now, I want you to tell me where your rope is.”

“I don--I don’t have any.”

“Hmm, that means I’m going to have to improvise. I might even have to spank you for not having rope.”

“Please,” Mike hissed.

“Please what?”

Mike fumbled for an answer, his words sputtered out of his mouth. “I don’t have anything. I just want you to tie me up...What, I don’t know what you expect, I just--”
Paulo’s fingers pressed against Mike’s lips, hushing him. The tension he’d been holding in his body melted away at Paulo’s touch.

“Relax. We’ll find something that will work.” Paulo leaned in, his eyes dark with passion. Their lips brushed together gently before Paulo pulled away.

“I want you,” Mike whispered, his fingers starting to go numb as Mike kept him pinned against the wall.

“When I ask you a question, say yes sir.”

Mike felt so stupid about babbling.

“Hey, come on. I want to look through your closet and see what I can use.”

“Yes sir.” Mike happily followed behind Paulo, watching him strut through the bedroom over to his closet.


Paulo stopped and stared at the art over Mike's bed. "Interesting."


"Again, my aunt. She loved ancient Greek mythology so she painted the Parthenon. It's cool." Mike loved the way his aunt had put paint to almost every wall, doing some type of mural or art work. "My aunt was accused of lying about her art then of slander by another artist a few years ago. It disturbed her so much she left the city, moved to Los Angeles."

Paulo searched through his clothes, grabbing a belt and the tie from his blue bathrobe. Mike licked his lips, wondering if Paulo would let him touch him right now. He didn’t want to mess up and make Paulo angry. Usually he was so sure of himself, confident and in control, but with Paulo he felt different. The man made him quiver in a good way.

“Lay down on your bed. Face down.”

“Oh God.”

Paulo lifted his right eyebrow.

Mike shivered. “Yes sir.”

Mike lay face down. He glanced back over his shoulder at Paulo, curious to what he was doing. With belt in hand, Paulo leered at him.

“I’ll make sure you enjoy this. Trust me.”

Need pumped through him, turning him rock hard and leaving him ready to come again. “Yes sir.”

Monday, February 20, 2012

Cover Art

I love creating cover art so much that I've decided to create for others. These beauties are some of my favorite that I've done. If you have need then I'm your girl.


Not That Type of Guy cover created using art by DW Skinner







For more information about cover design or pricing you can visit my website or contact me at sara@sarayork.com




Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sunday Six Not That Type of Guy


Chuck’s tongue teased Aiden’s nipple through the cloth. Aiden wanted to yank Chuck’s blond wig, pull him away and ask what the fuck he was doing, but the main bathroom door swung open, and the clip-clop of dress shoes echoed in the tiled room.


Was it the guy following them?


Chuck gazed into Aiden’s eyes, and a smug smile tilted his lips before he slanted his mouth across Aiden’s.


What the fuck?


Aiden froze. 


Not That Type of Guy Available March 1


Find more Sunday Six here.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Flash Fiction Friday with Chris Quinton


Each week me a a few other writers take a photo and write a 100 word story about that picture. I hope you enjoy todays Flash. Huge thanks to Chris Quinton for being my guest today. She's been a great sport and had no idea what I would write. I hope you enjoy todays FFF. If you would like to see more Flashes click here.


Chris hated that Mike glared at her. She couldn't help it if Rick enjoyed her company. They weren't dating, just good friends, but Mike didn't understand.

"Is he still glaring at us?" Chris asked.

"Yes, I wish he would just ask me out," Rick said.

"Maybe you should spill your drink on my lap."

"No way, I'd look like a jerk," Rick said.

"Fine, but don’t excpect him to ask you out unless you show some interest.”

Chris giggled then tipped her drink into Rick’s lap, he yelped.

“What in the world?”

Mike jumped up, rushing around to Rick, shooting Chris an evil look. She smiled to herself, glad that she’d thrown Rick and Mike together. Mission accomplished.


I hope you enjoyed the flash. Now that Chris has Rick and Mike together take a look at Fox Hunt.
For more FFF's click here.

Fox Hunt

Robert Rees, full-time librarian, part-time art restorer, is called in to finish a commission when his father goes into hospital – a pair of Elizabethan portraits on oak panelling, Adam Courtney and Ann Darcy. Trouble is, there’s more interest in the paintings than Rob ever bargained for; a lot of people want to get their hands on such priceless treasures, and they’re not always particular about their methods. Just as well he’s got his brother’s mysterious friend Fox on hand to look out for him, then, isn’t it? Or, for that matter … is it?

Purchase Fox Hunt

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Drop and Give Me



Thank you Sara so much for having me today! I’m thrilled to be part of anthology of great authors but one of my favorite topics – very hot men in uniform. Or out of uniform… J layer by layer – slowly – okay, I’m digressing here… It’s not really that hard, there are hot men about…it’s an understandable distraction. J

I had fun writing this book and ‘working with’ Jason and Cade, although I’m not sure if they’re working since they either talked up a storm or ignored me. Oye. Anyway, I want to give away a copy of Uniform Desires to one lucky. Leave your email address with your comment to be entered automatically. I’ll announce the winner at the end of the tour.

Good books and hot men, really what more could one ask for? Make sure you’ve entered on each blog for a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Certificate! Not a hardship since we’ve all shared our favorite smex scenes from our books. ;)

Monday: Devon Rhodes hosted Sue Holston
Tuesday: Sue Holston hosted Em Woods
Wednesday: Em Woods hosted Me
Thursday: You are here!
Friday: Simone Anderson will host Devon Rhodes




Blurb:

Patience and training have provided him with the tools he’ll need to fight for what he wants.
Home on leave, Cade Donovan isn’t looking for a hook-up, let alone love. Certainly not while he is out with his brothers. When Cade steps in to even the odds in a fight outside a bar, he is instantly drawn to the man being ganged up on. Acting on instinct, the Marine Corps sniper is drawn to the smaller man like a moth to a flame, refusing to give up until the man is his.
Being the younger brother of the school bully has made Jason Carlson’s life hell. During yet another retaliatory fight, a man comes to Jason’s aid just when he thinks his life and his luck have gone from bad to worse. Warned to stay away from his home, Jason accepts the invitation of his rescuer and soon realises that his life has been forever altered. He can have everything he desires, if he’s willing trust Cade with his heart.
When the reality of loving a man in uniform sets in, Jason must find the strength within himself to believe and know that love is worth fighting for.

Adult Excerpt:

Jason nodded and tugged at his uniform shirt. “Off! Take it off!”

“Hmm, bossy, aren’t we?”

“No, needy. Get it off.”

Cade made short work of removing his uniform and boots, while Jason stripped his own clothes off and stepped into the shower.

“Is that a hint that I stink?”

“Not at all,” Jason said, moving the curtain enough to give Cade a view of his naked, wet body. “I figured you would want a shower after travelling and I wasn’t willing to wait until you were clean to have you in my ass.”

Cade smiled and nodded. It had been a toss-up what he’d wanted first. Jason’s idea meant he didn’t have to figure it out. Cade stepped into the shower and ran his hands over Jason’s body. He’d missed this, missed being able to touch his lover whenever and however he wanted. His cock was hard and demanding. One of Jason’s hands wrapped around his shaft, the other manipulated his balls.

“Oh God!” Cade moaned, fisting Jason’s cock, swiping the forming pre-cum across the head and down his length.

Jason turned and offered Cade his ass.

Cade dropped to his knees and spread Jason’s cheeks, intent on tasting his lover before screwing him. Bright purple plastic stared back at him.

“What the—”

“I told you I wasn’t willing to wait. I stretched myself earlier and used one of the plugs. I might not mind the burn of your cock stretching me, but we’d both hate to have to wait to prep me,” Jason said over his shoulder.

Cade bit the buttock in front of him, withdrew the toy from Jason’s body and let it fall to the floor of the tub then stood. He reached around Jason for the bottle of lube that had been stuffed into the shower caddy then coated his cock.

“Are you ready?” Cade asked, positioning the tip of his shaft at Jason’s entrance.

“Yes, do it!”

Cade nodded and pushed forwards slow and steady until he was fully seated. The last bands of tension and fear released. He was home. He loved and was loved by the man of his dreams. Cade waited for Jason to adjust to his invasion before withdrawing most of his length. Sheathing himself in Jason’s body was unbelievable and he rocketed his hips back and forth. Bracing himself with one hand on the wall, he wrapped the other around Jason’s cock and stroked in time to his thrusts. Moments later, Jason careened over the edge, his body almost painfully clenching Cade’s shaft. Riding out Jason’s orgasm, Cade thrust a handful of times more before falling over the same cliff, shooting load after load into Jason’s body.

“Mine,” Cade said, kissing Jason’s shoulder, raising a mark as he did. “I love you.”

“I love you too. Why don’t we clean up and see about a repeat performance?” Jason offered, meeting Cade’s lips over his shoulder. “I’ll always be yours.”

“And I’ll always be yours,” Cade echoed.