Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Words from the Twilight Zone

Here we are again, time for a weekly chat about life and love and all that jazz. I’ve had a lot going on recently and most of it has been pretty good. Which is why the darker things always seem so dark they’re suffocating. It’s been a period of a change for me, at least on an emotional level. I’ve had charges levelled at me that are patently absurd, yet somehow the fiction seems to be accepted as fact. If I had half the “power” I’ve had subscribed to me, I’d be a phenomenal success at the moment. Reality is, I’m struggling daily just to find a reason to keep going.

A lot of you have known me publicly for a long time, and most of you know virtually nothing about me personally. It’s funny how that gets to be part of the allure for some people. I’m not going to reveal all here, but I will tell you a little bit more than most of you know, perhaps it will give you some perspective about who I am and why I am often such a bloody bitch about making my feelings known about issues and attitudes.

Writing is a full-time career for many people, but for those of us who do the job full-time, it’s often the second full-time that we carry. For me, I am a health care giver to an aging, failing parent–24/7 I am on call, and believe me, working around those demands is not an easy task on the best of days. Add to this the fact that my own health has been failing this year, and the demands and stress reach whole new levels. A couple of times a year, I seem to suffer stress-overload and my head gets pretty messed up when that happens. I go days without sleep, eat almost nothing, and I get overly emotional–that’s common enough and easy enough for many to understand. A break like this lasts a few days before I completely recover from it. In recent years, I’ve suffered the occasional “black-out” when this happens to me, as well, and have little to no memory of the day the break occurs. My most recent episode was the end of May, and that one cost me in ways I’m still trying to recover from, since not everyone wants to understand or allow kindness and love to be their guide when trying to deal with the fallout.

I’m not married, and never have been. I get asked that one a lot. Engaged three times before I was twenty-five, and I broke the engagements because I don’t believe it’s fair to ruin someone’s life for not being what you need. I’d have been three times divorced if I’d gone with those first moments of excitement and infatuation that made me say yes to those nice gentlemen. In the years since, I’ve never allowed anyone to get truly close to me, because I recognize that I have nothing to give to anyone at this point in my life, and I refuse to pretend otherwise. What I want and what I realistically have are a world apart and may always be that way, so… It doesn’t make me want any less than we all want, someone to lean on and trust, and love. I’m an emotional person, and I often care far too deeply for my own good. In spite of myself, I do trust, and I want to believe in people. The mistakes continue to add up, but my first reaction is to accept people for what they are when I meet them.

Writing is for me a way to escape a little, but also it’s a way to give back some of the hope that has been badly tainted in my real life. We enjoy happily ever after for a reason, it’s what many of us hope for and aspire to when we meet someone who is all we’ve ever dreamed about and wished for. In a world where we are disappointed, used, and have our dreams shattered on a daily basis, I think there’s a need in us all to believe there are still gentle and loving hearts out there, and that perhaps happily ever after is still possible if you are patient and honest. Most of all, you have to be honest and true to yourself. Everyone seems to like to throw around words like destiny and fate, and Karma–Karma is a big one, and the most often abused. What we sow in this life is what we ultimately reap, and usually the harvest comes when it’s least expected, in small and quiet ways. I think we all need to remember this, especially when we’re passing judgement where we know very little of the person we’re discussing, and even less about the reality of the situation being talked about by those who have no part in it.

My life is precisely that, MY LIFE. You have no idea what my days are like, or how alone I am from day to day, so don’t presume to judge or point fingers. I don’t believe I have the right to dissect your life, your motivations, or your reasons for doing what you do. Why should I accept you invading my life and passing judgement? Think about this, and I do mean think honestly about it. I am a public figure through my work, but my private life is just that–I’ve just given you more than I have given away in nine years of being a public person. So you know me a little better, and maybe the out-spoken and thought-provoking words make a bit more sense now. If they do, great. If not, look into your own soul and ask yourself honestly just why you resist reality. I don’t owe anyone explanation, and neither do you owe me any. But what you do owe me is the respect all people should be accorded unless they reach out with the intent of destroying you. I haven’t got the time or the energy to do about 99% of the shit I’ve been accused of in recent months. I don’t really live in the Twilight Zone, so stop forcing me to visit, please.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Today, I’d like to introduce the Aries Class. Part of the Zodiac Cyborg project, the Aries Class is one of twelve official designations within the project, each designation or class named after a star sign and standing for a specific skill set and physical type of Cyborg.

Ares class cyborgs are usually male, although a female variant is not unheard of. Male Aries tend to be around the six foot mark and of a heavier build than most of the other classes, baring of course the heavy-weight Leo and Scorpio classes.

Aries are demolitions specialists. What they cannot do with explosives isn’t worth talking about. Highly adaptable, they are designed to be able to seek out and use components around them as well as packaged explosives, and to use their surroundings to maximize any blasts they set. They are masters of precision explosions, able to bend their abilities to assassination using micro-charges should they wish. On the ground in combat, they are often paired with the normally female Virgo classes, and used as backup to the heavier Leo classes.

As was common with the last models from the Zodiac project, the Aries class are built on the Garrison Inc. mark II combat chassis, bone mounts and what remains of the organic skeletal system laced with duerineium alloy. Their joints are replaced with heavy-duty cybernetic constructs and, giving the nature of the class, their organs, arterial pathways and nerve clusters are protected by a subdermal synthmesh to absorb any knocks, blows or to give them protection against any accidental blast injuries.

Johnny, the hero of Aries Revealed, is an Aries class. Like the rest of his class, he is highly adaptable, a fact the fleet did not consider when they made them, and then tried to kill them. Easily avoiding termination, Johnny and another member of his squad escaped, and have been living among the human population for years, where Johnny has discovered a surprising aptitude and ability for dancing and taking his clothes off…

Sometimes the best place to hide, is in plain sight...

Johnny makes a living on the strip circuits. His most popular routine? The Aries 7000. Bronzed and oiled, he pretends to be the scourge of the universe, one of the deadly and outlawed zodiac cyborgs. But Johnny isn’t really a stripper playing a cyborg. He’s a cyborg playing a stripper.

Milly, a freighter captain, has had a thing for the sexy stripper for months. But when Johnny, the subject of many of her hottest fantasies, asks her out to dinner, she runs. All is not lost, however; a chance encounter yields an Aries 7000 sexbot, hers for a weekend of pleasure.

It seems too good to be true. Sex with the man of her dreams without risking her heart. But Milly’s bot has some secrets…secrets that could save her life when the past returns to haunt her.


Available NOW from Ellora's Cave

Mina Carter was born and raised in Middle Earth (otherwise known as the Midlands, England). After a slew of careers ranging from logistics to land-surveying she can now be found in the wilds of Leicestershire with her husband and young daughter…the true boss of the family.

Suffering the curse of eternal curiosity Mina never tires of learning new skills which has led to Aromatherapy, Corsetry, Chain-maille making, Welding, Canoeing, Shooting, and pole-dancing to name but a few.

A full time author and cover artist, Mina can usually be found hunched over a keyboard or graphics tablet, frantically trying to get the images and words in her head out and onto the screen before they drive her mad. She's addicted to coffee and Nutella on toast.

Where to find Mina...



Saturday, July 7, 2012

Meet the Dream - Flash Fiction

Meet the Dream

The atmosphere in the spacious nightclub resonated with excitement, voices chattered away, animated discussions about the band and the show they’d given filled the air. Claire Reynes walked amid the throng of people, her smile in place, her mind still preoccupied with the tall, handsome singer she’d been dreaming about for over a year. Seeing him had been both thrilling and painful. She’d never been prone to infatuations of this type, and strangers who captivated her imagination scared her a little.

Her attention turned outward a heartbeat later when a ripple of breathy anticipating shot through the crowd, buffeting her senses in waves of emotion that was almost a physical entity. She stopped and slowly looked toward the front of the room, frozen to the floor as the four men who’d been onstage less an hour earlier entered the room. The singer everyone’s attention was focused on looked around, and Claire saw his discomfort at the furor his presence created. Muted screams from some fans made him wince a tiny bit before he recovered his composure and smiled.

She watched as he was surrounded by woman who all talked at once in an effort to engage him, and while he was polite and courteous, he spared none of them more than a casual glance or a quick kiss when they insisted on pictures. Claire walked further away, intent on escaping the craziness in front of her. She’d almost reached the French doors that led onto a softly lit balcony, when someone bumped her from behind and sent her stumbling into the wall. Her drink splashed the front of her pale green dress, and she cursed at the stain that was quickly spreading.

“Are you all right?”

She opened her mouth to say something sarcastic, and the words sputtered out when she was captured by pale grey eyes that were genuinely concerned.

Michael Eden was even more devastating when he was this close. Just over six feet tall, sandy blond, unruly hair fell across his forehead, his handsome face was lightly tanned. She was struck by the overall impression of broad shoulders and a presence that was both strong and gentle.

“I’m fine,” she said, when he frowned. “My dress isn’t so lucky.”

She looked past him and saw the crowd had been watching them, and the looks being cast her way were not overly friendly. The instant he glanced over his shoulder, the annoyance vanished into adoring smiles again. Claire saw his mouth tighten in response and she knew he was irritated.

“Maybe I should be asking you if you’re all right,” she noted.

He looked at her and his mouth quirked in a half smile. “You’d be the only one here who noticed if I wasn’t,” he said.

“You don’t like this very much, do you?” She was acutely aware of his hand on her elbow as she righted herself, the firm grip of his fingers branding heat into her skin.

“I like to sing,” he shrugged. “The rest of it…”

He didn’t finish the sentence, and she felt weirdly lost when he withdrew his hand. For a couple of moments she was undecided, torn between logic and the sense that he didn’t want her to leave him. Considering she was just another fan, she chose the route that was logical, and murmured a quick thank you as the restless crowd decided they’d waited long enough.

She fled the reception room and found a bathroom a few minutes later. Once inside, she looked at her dress in dismay. At least she’d only been drinking Club Soda, so there’d be no stain once the satiny material dried. She glanced at the air dryer on the wall and went over to it, twisting the nozzle to the side so the stream of hot air was aimed at the wet spot on the front of her dress. It took about ten minutes, but it was mostly dry when she left the washroom and returned to the reception area. She headed for the balcony and stepped outside into the cooler night air.

The only light on the wide patio like balcony was what streamed out from the reception room. There were a couple of discreet bistro tables and chairs, and a multitude of plants and flower boxes. She spotted him immediately, one arm raised so his hand was against the back of his head, and his expression was shadowed as he looked outward. When she would have gone back inside and left him to his solitude, he dropped his arm and turned, his gaze meeting hers.

“I’ll go back inside,” she offered, her voice barely more than a whisper. “I don’t want to intrude.”

He smiled and held out his hand, inviting her closer. “It’s fine.” When she reached his side, he looked out over the city beneath them. “Gives a sense of false power when you look down on humanity like this,” he said. “Just like standing on a stage does. You can forget the people below you when you get caught in the moment.”

“You don’t seem to enjoy the reality of it very much, though,” she said, staring up at his profile, silhouetted against the light that poured from a window a feet away.

He tilted his head and looked at her, his smile emerging slowly before he spoke again. “I can’t think of a single person here tonight who’d have said that to me.”

She couldn’t hold his sharp look, so she twisted to gaze out at the city. “Maybe more people should pay attention to you in the right way.”

He laughed, and the sound of it stroked over her skin like a caress, making her flush with heat and awareness of him. He leaned down on the wide rail of stone that kept them safe, and he watched her, making her blood burn in her veins and stain her cheeks scarlet. In the half-light, she suspected he could see her response to him.

“What are you thinking about right now, this moment?”

“That I should be heading home while I can still get a taxi,” she answered.

He laughed again, and she shivered. “Liar,” he taunted. “What are you really thinking about? Or should I guess?”

“You don’t know me, it’s unlikely you have any idea what I’m thinking about, Mr. Eden.”

“Prove me wrong then, Miss…?”

“Claire Reynes,” she supplied into the pause.

“Talk to me, Claire, or I’ll be left to believe you’re like every other woman in this place, and your goal is to get into my bed tonight.”

Her eyebrows rose and she shook her head. “Keep talking, Mr. Eden, maybe you’ll believe that.”

He shrugged and turned his back on the view, leaning down on his elbows as he kept his look level with hers. “Most of the people here are just waiting to get a chance to convince me and my band that we should fall in love with them.”

“Is that your ego, or are you really that jaded by all this?”

He straightened up and ran his hands through his hair, leaving it more unruly than it had been. “I don’t know,” he admitted.

“What are you thinking about, Mr–” He interrupted, requesting she use his first name. “Michael?” she corrected, “you asked me, now I’m asking you.”

He snorted a laugh, and turned to snare her eyes with his shrewd gaze. “How honest do you want me to be?”

“I asked, what makes you think I want a lie?”

“I’ve been thinking about fucking you,” he replied, tone casual. “The moment you saw past this bullshit here I wanted to know what it would be like to fuck you.”

Her heartbeat roared to furious life inside her, the pounding pulse almost deafening in her ears as she absorbed his blunt statement. She was blushing all over, and her breath was coming in shallow gasps. He stood and placed his palm against her chest, smiling.

“Your heart’s beating so fast,” he remarked, his voice soft and sweet. “You’re real, Claire. This isn’t a game for you, is it?”

She wanted to take the last step that would put her next to him, but she stayed still. Tears sprang to her eyes and he sighed, then drew her close, holding her so tight she was drowning in him. The light scent of his skin teased her nose, and she closed her eyes when his hands stroked a light touch over her back.

“I’m sorry I was so rude,” he murmured into her hair, then rested his chin on the top of her head. “I’d like to take you out for a drink, if you’d like to go with me?”

The thread of uncertainty was what swayed her, and she drew back, staring up into his handsome face. “What if I told you you’d been right when you figured you knew what I was thinking?”

His slow grin transformed his features into wicked delight. He cupped her face with his hands and bent to cover her lips, his tongue licking her bottom lip, coaxing her mouth to open to him. Her arms wrapped around his neck and she sucked his tongue into her mouth, shuddering when he groaned softly and pulled her body tight to his as their mouths fused in roused desire. Long moments later he broke the kiss with a gasp, and their foreheads touched. His breath was quick against her flushed skin, and she felt his words when he whispered, “There’s a bar in my hotel room, why don’t we head over there?”

“I don’t do one-night stands, Michael.”

He nodded. “Believe it or not, neither do I.”

They stared at each other for a long moment, measuring truth and trust, and hope.

“Let’s have that drink,” he suggested.

To be continued...

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Fifty Shades of Dark Realities

Despite the title of this post, I’m not necessarily discussing Fifty Shades of Grey, but in general terms romance novels as a whole, and this “type” in particular. We’ve all heard about these novels, it’s impossible not to be bombarded with some form of awareness of this specific set of books at this moment in time. While many, many millions of readers, male and female, adore the books and proclaim them wonderful, the reality is, there’s an insidious and darker aspect to the story E.L. James has told here. I think we’ve forgotten some of the more obvious negatives represented in this narrative given from the perspective of an innocent and virginal young woman just graduating from university.

Romance heroes are as a rule larger than life men, mostly strong, independent, alpha males who are often arrogant and enigmatic. While this is meant to be alluring, in the real world, it’s just as often a source of frustration for women who deal with this kind of man daily. I like this kind of romance hero myself, they’re my stock in trade. I also enjoyed aspects of Fifty Shades of Grey–but there are also aspects of it that are somewhat frightening, too. Let’s take the “hero” of this story, Christian Grey. He’s a megalomaniac, a control freak of amazing proportions, and he likes to practise a less-than-reality-based BDSM lifestyle. Oh, and at the tender age of 28, he’s richer than god and inspires fear in businessmen twice his age. To offset this apparently “privileged” life we learn that his childhood was less than blessed, he was beaten and abused by “the crack whore” who was his mother, and in his teen years, his adoptive mother’s friend stepped in and began a Dom/s relationship with him before he was even of legal age.

Anastasia Steele is presented as the “all-American girl” who catches the eye of Mr. Grey. She's impossibly naïve, to the point of annoyingly stupid at times, and while we are told often of her strength, she exhibits precious little of it throughout the tale. She is, in fact, the kind of “heroine” that some editors refer to as TSTL–Too Stupid To Live. When she’s not falling on her ass clumsy, she’s chatting with her Inner Goddess or the voice of her conscience, neither of which shows any real sense. She swoons over Christian, she moons over Christian, she attempts to say no to Christian… All of this we’re told makes her more appealing to him.

Ok, story aside, let’s look at a few points that go unspoken in all this. Fifty Shades of Grey and books like it, those that present an unrealistic and romanticized view of unbalanced relationships, are influencing the perceptions of romance for an entire generation just waking up to their sexuality, both men and women. Hell, older men and women well-versed in relationship interactions are being influenced by these books. We’ve all heard about how they’re saving marriages and all that, which is great if it’s helping you open up to your partner about the intimate aspects of your relationship. BUT, why aren’t we hearing about the other side of all this? Because it’s ugly, and it spoils the fantasy that’s being sold to us all. How many people have bought the “toys” with no real understanding of their use? How many men have hurt their partners with whips, floggers, plugs, anal beads, and all the other trappings of BDSM? Instruments that give pleasure in the right hands, be it laced with pain or not, but in the hands of the inexperienced and uninitiated can cause real injuries. How many women have asked their mates to tie them up, or spank them, or cuff them, only to be left feeling utterly used and terrified by the resulting experience? How can any of this be perceived as romantic or loving?

How many women, realistically, want to be told what to wear, who they can see, where they can work, when to eat, when to exercise, etc.? The enlightened, average woman calls that emotional and psychological abuse when her girlfriend tells her she’s met a guy who does this to her, doesn’t she? At what point in time did all that’s been fought for in recent decades with regard to women’s rights become disposable? Is this really romantic? Most of us if faced with this in our real lives would tell the guy to bugger off and find himself a doormat to walk over. But, if you’re young, inexperienced, and impressionable–which is a state we all, men and women, go through as we grow into our adulthood–and this, you’re told by books and movies, is an expression of love, not an abuse of your trust and love, are you so quick to tell your Prince Charming to take a hike? Unlikely. Therein lies a problem. The vulnerable have just become even more vulnerable to those who see this as an opportunity to take advantage, to get what they need or want, and do it in the guise of romance and love.

There is a huge difference between a dominant male and a domineering one, but the distinction comes with life-experience to a large degree. And, how many “bullies” will pass off their aggressive tendencies as their Dom side, especially to those who haven’t a clue about the fine-lines? Are we encouraging weaker women to allow men like this to take control of their lives? It can happen easily enough. Maybe for some, they don’t want to be responsible for the choices that make them unhappy, so allowing a “Dom” to take over removes that burden for them. Who knows? The true nature of BDSM, or indeed, Dom/s is that in its truest lifestyle form, it is a loving partnership based on incredible trust. With the watered down and irresponsible presentation given in Fifty Shades, it’s a young woman being taught that what she wants is what Christian wants. A virgin heroine no less, and she’s not even had the pleasure of bringing herself to orgasm when she meets Mr. Grey and he begins to teach her his version of passion and sensuality. He freaks out on a regular basis, stalks her, terrorizes her on emotional levels at times, and yet she is drawn and calls this love.

I think as an industry, romance leads the way for fantasizing love and sex, making it larger than life, and for some, an unattainable dream. We’re teaching people, old and young, to want impossible things from the partners we choose. People NEED to talk and communicate, that more than anything else is what defines an honest and real relationship between people. Strip away the money and the glamour, and what would most of us see in Christian Grey? A man who uses women to soothe his anger and satisfy his sexual needs. Sure, he’s “fifty shades of fucked up” and that appeals to the need most women have to save and nurture, but how many women want to have their asses spanked and to be treated like children because their husband/boyfriend gets pissed off over some perceived transgression–like going for a drink with your best friend. Again, we’re sending some very negative and dangerous signals to young women if this is the way “romance” and “love” are being marketed by the industry.

And what are we teaching the young men of our society? That if you push hard enough, you can be a “Dom” personality? Dominant personalities are natural, they’re not bullies dressed up in Dom trappings. Money doesn’t buy submission, and if it does, you’re not a Dom, you’re an abusive bastard who’s using fear to manipulate others into giving you what you want. Young women who are insecure and unsure, they’re potential victims for this kind of abuse. Don’t kid yourself, either, unless this kind of relationship is mutually sought, it is a prime source of mental and emotional abuse. Most loving couples don’t really need to dominate, stalk, or control their partners to the point of obsession. Obsession is unhealthy, and not romantic. Time to balance the perceptions, at least in my opinion.

A new breed of sexual predator - Reposted

Recently, I posted this article to my blogs, and then after much though, decided I had perhaps revealed too much of myself with all that was said. So, I deleted the posts. In retrospect, while I have lost all of the wonderful and supportive comments that were made, I now have a better understanding of why, perhaps, the post needs to stay here for everyone to see. So, with my apologies, it is back to stay, and I hope that it might serve to help someone else avoid the agony this put me through. Thank you to everyone who's read and commented when it first appeared, and I hope you will not think too badly of me for having deleted your thoughts and support. Believe me, it was and always will be very precious to me!

How do you recognize, or in truth define, an online sexual predator? It’s a tricky question, isn’t it? And most of us would never want to admit that we’ve encountered one, let alone fallen in love with him. But, I have recently. I’m going to speak openly about this despite the sense of idiocy I feel about having fallen into this kind of trap. Maybe someone else can pause long enough not to be sucked into it all by pretty words and intense connection.

First, why the very cold and ugly phrase sexual predator? In this case, and at the core of all predatory relationships, you have a darkness that is usually hidden behind brilliant lightness and sweet words. All of that amazing devotion that evolves so quickly in the online world can blind even the smartest of men and women, because while we are online we are deeply connected to the people we choose to spend our time with, be it in light socializing or continuous one-on-one conversation with people we seem to “click” with in amazing ways.

Six months ago I “met” someone on Facebook, someone who was pleasant and creative. He was involved with a woman I knew casually, and they were very happy when I first encountered them. He was out-going and witty, and I was charmed by him. BUT, he was someone else’s guy, and I simply ignored him beyond the hello and laughter we exchanged in the role-play group he was running at that time. About a month later, I noticed very dark and angry posts going up on his page, and I contacted him privately, expressing my concern. His lady also sent me a message and told me they’d broken up and it had been ugly. I was faced with choosing which one of them I would believe or support, and when she vanished, he and I continued to talk, until most of our days began to be spent together while we worked.

He told me she was “crazy” and cited endless examples to prove to me he was being harassed and persecuted by her obsession with him. He said he was forced to remove his “real-life” profile because she hounded his ex-girlfriend, and was after his family. I had no reason to question him, he was smart and savvy, and I figured he was being honest. We had no reason to lie to each other, did we?

Over the course of weeks, we became a team, writing together, hanging out together, and falling in love with the fabulous intimacy we shared. A running joke with us became that we shared a brain because often we were typing/speaking the same words at the same time–and when we wrote together, the chemistry and passion was sizzling hot. To people who read our work, they knew we were the real deal.

He lost a second group, and in the weeks that followed, while he struggled, I was with him, consoling, calming, and keeping his temper in check…listening with love and empathy to someone I wanted to help. He hit upon a new series of books and we bought them together, read and discussed them, then he asked me to help him create a new group where we could write together and make something truly special. None of the “trouble-makers” from his old groups were to be allowed near us. I agreed. In the couple of months that followed, we did in fact make magic with the group we created, then things changed, almost overnight.

Whispered lies and insinuations can get into the heart of anything creative and start the rot. By the time this occurred, I was head over heels in love with this guy. I’d have done anything for him. We’d made plans, were allowing the days to take us closer to each other all the time. The first real “fight” was devastating. Hour after hour of hammering away at me to supply him with information I simply felt no need to hand over. In the end, I did relent, and peace was restored. I realized in retrospect that I should have walked away that night, but I was in love, wasn’t I? He admitted to me that night that he didn’t know how to back off even when he knew he should. A warning unheeded by me.

A few days passed, and because of personal pressures and professional stress, plus the strain of being in a long-distance relationship and trying to hold a role-play group together for him, I had stopped sleeping altogether. Three days passed, during which I slept for approximately two hours, and I’d stopped eating entirely. This makes the best of us judgementally impaired, and susceptible to suggestions from others that feed our fears. What happened after I reached this dark place is the culmination of months of trust in someone who was, ultimately, using and abusing me.

I have in my possession a week’s worth of anger and insanity that was levelled at me. At one point in the final week, a lawyer’s advice was sought and eventually I was given back work that had been taken in a sweep of fury and anger from my beloved partner. A psychiatrist has looked at those messages in great detail, the conclusion being that it is his opinion that I fell prey to an emotionally unstable person who might at heart be dangerous. The phrase “sexual predator” was broached, and the “evidence” presented to me once my mind cleared enough to listen.

In a panic, my partner contacted me with promises of starting over, of fixing what went wrong, etc., and fool that I was, I still believed him. So, I went about doing all that was needed to eliminate a potential legal disaster from coming down on his family. The moment the situation was resolved and the threat removed, I had one last message. “I have to go for awhile, I’ll check back with you in an hour.” That was three days ago. He deleted his personal email address when I asked him “where do we go from here?” I learned quickly there was not going to be a second chance, and he was already telling anyone who would listen that I was mentally unstable and obsessed and harassing him, and stalking him… ALL the things his previous girl was accused of being. The pattern was becoming quite clear.

It’s very easy to be betrayed by your emotions when you are open and trusting. A friend of mine told me I was easily taken in because he was listening to me and thinking of me, and that made me easy to read. We were “perfectly matched” even in temper and strength, as well as creative passion. The difference between us was simple, I meant what I said, he was using the opportunity my naiveté gave him to use me and laugh at me. The most ironic thing in all this is that according to some of his friends, HE is not even a he, but a she with a really good line. I could very easily pretend none of this happened, but in truth, I’m just the latest in a long line of women who find themselves abused in this way because they are caring and intelligent, and trust too easily.

When online, there is no guarantee that what you are seeing is the truth in anyone. What you invest is real and honest, but you have to take the other party on faith, and that’s where the con man lives and waits in many cases. A sexual predator preys on your desire to be loved and understood, tells you everything he slowly learns you need to hear and feel to be cherished and secure. I’m not an insecure woman, yet with him, at the end, I had nothing but insecurities, and he insisted that the only one I could trust was him, because everyone else had an agenda. I wasn’t to talk to anyone about things, or handle things on my own–he wanted to “take care of me” and make me feel safe. All of this was wonderful, I thought. I must have had my head up my arse because if anyone else had come to me with this kind of story I’d have shaken some sense back into them.

People who insist on hiding behind false identities are inevitably hiding more than just their names. I think that’s an inarguable truth. Learn well from this, because trust is all we have to go on, and it must be extended carefully or you’ll lose a lot more than you can imagine at this stage. If you enter into a “relationship” and it progresses to the stage where “I love you” is exchanged easily and daily–there is no reason to hide your life from the person you’re telling your most intimate secrets to–if they continue to hold back simple things like a phone number, a full name, an address…ask yourself if this is someone you SHOULD be extending all your trust to. I think when the brain kicks in over the promises of love, we all know that someone like this is bored and looking for the next woman to exploit. Enjoy your social networking, but be wary and smart. I wasn’t, and as a result, I may never fully trust anyone again. That’s sad, and such a disservice to the people out there who are decent, but will pay for this man’s abuse of my love in spite of my intelligent awareness that he is not the template by which anyone should be measured.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Fan Fiction and Copyright

This is a tricky subject and one a lot of people DO wonder about, whether they write, or simply read works based on the property of others. Fan fiction has been a training ground for many, many authors over the years, and while it does in real ways violate existing copyright, most publishers, authors, and film companies have long ago stopped exerting energy trying to prevent the use of their property in this fashion. With the advent of the internet, the task would be monumental and never-ending, and would never be successful anyway.

I wrote fan fiction for twenty years, it taught me to hone a story-telling skill, find a voice, and ultimately how to craft a story people want to read. A couple of years ago I was introduced to another form of fan fiction–the world of role-play writing. Some of this writing involves created original characters, but MUCH of it is based on the work of authors and film writers. Authors hold copyright to work, along with their publishers, that’s a straight-forward concept anyone can understand. But copyright is a flexible interpretation to some, and it can be argued that what another writer creates based on the work of someone else still belongs to the person who created the new work. It’s my understanding that original content IS copyrighted to the writer who does in fact write it. Realistically if your “source” characters (someone else’s creations) can be changed to “Jack and Jill” and still work–it’s unlikely you’ve violated anyone’s copyright, and you have in fact created something that is uniquely yours.

What happens if the work is written by two people, though? Does either of them have the right to summarily change the work of the other? I have no idea, but common sense is telling me that if you recycle, repost, or have a third party re-write the work of the original author, WITHOUT their permission, then you are violating their rights. (I’d love to know if that’s a correct assumption, simply as a curiosity, so if we have a lawyer reading, please let us know!)

Recently I was asked for the second time if a novel of mine could be role-played on Facebook. The first time I was approached, I thought it would be amazing and fun. In the end, I changed my mind. In the year and a half since then, I’ve grown to understand why many authors are uncomfortable with the concept of role-play, fan fictions, and any unauthorized use of their work. The second request came only a couple of weeks ago, and it was a different novel than the one I was first asked about, but the answer is the same–an appreciative but firm no. If they choose to do it anyway, they do it without author sanction. I respect the fact that there are many talented people who like to tell stories, and have no desire to pursue a writing career, they simply want to share with like-minded fans. I think for me what has changed my mind so radically about so much of this is the simple fact that too many people view it as their right, and that is where you really DO violate an author/creator’s legally held rights. When you choose to “interpret” or “represent” a fictional character that belongs to someone else, you become an ambassador of sorts for that author and character. That is a responsibility, and one too many people forget when they get caught up in their make-believe.

At the end of the day, if you violate too many rights, and show flagrant disrespect for the creations of others, you will probably find yourself facing legal troubles. When in doubt, ask, that simple. Most authors are approachable and reasonable. When you change partners to write fan fiction or role-play, don’t recycle what you did with an earlier partner, because that is a blatant violation of rights unless they tell you it’s okay to have your new partner rewrite the stories you own with them. And, perhaps the most important rule of all is to always remember that whether you’re “playing a role” or writing a fan fiction, you represent other people’s work to the readers you’re courting. Behave in a way that does not do your source a disservice, because that source still has the right to sue your ass if he/she chooses to.

If you’d like to know more about ©Copyrights, check out this very informative and useful article: http://asidefromwriting.wordpress.com/2012/04/08/writing-101-copyright/

And, in case you wondered, yes, everything on this blog is copyrighted and registered with identification numbers, just like ALL my work, and that includes fan fictions, role-play writing, and my professional works.

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