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February 27, 2015

Excerpt: The Hitwoman's Downward Dog by @JB_Lynn_author

The Hitwoman's Downward Dog

Piss, sprawled out on the sofa, watched me with her good eye. "What happened to you, Sugar?"

Unable to speak because of the painful lump in my throat, I shook my head.

"Did you lose them both?"

It took me a second to figure out what she meant. Groaning loudly, I raced to open the cellar storm doors. Sure enough. DeeDee was there waiting to be let in.

She almost bowled me over as she bounded inside. "Hungry."

"In a second." I ran up the stairs into the backyard, slamming the storm door closed behind me. "I'm never going to hear the end of this, " I warned myself.

Running over to my car, I yanked open the door and peered inside.

"You, Forgot. Me." Disdain dripped from every syllable that came out of God's mouth.

"I was distracted," I told the lizard, hoping he'd drop the matter.

Nook page 56 of The Hitwoman's Downward Dog by J. B. Lynn

Buy The Hitwoman's Doward Dog at Amazon

February 26, 2015

Changes in Blogger's Adult Content Policy

by Donna Huber

If you are using Blogger as your blogging platform and post adult content - Romance/Erotica authors and reviewers - you may find your blog set to private come March 23. We have seen in the past romance/erotica author blogs disappearing. Now Blogger is updating its adult content policy officially to prohibit explicit content.

According to Blogger's announcement, "as of March 23, 2015, you won't be able to publicly share images and videos that are sexually explicit or show graphic nudity..."

The announcement goes on to state, "we’ll still allow nudity if the content offers a substantial public benefit. For example, in artistic, educational, documentary, or scientific contexts."

Most romance/erotica authors and reviewers that I know have their blog listed as 'adult', but will that be enough for Blogger?

My opinion, for what it is worth, is that book covers with nudity or sexually explicit images will be allowed because of its artistic nature. So if the only images you are using on your blog are book covers and your blog is marked 'adult', then things will continue as normal for you. Book trailers will probably be okay, too as long as they clearly support the book and are not just sexually explicit to be sexually explicit.

You may be getting into a gray area with images that inspired your characters. This practice has always been risky do to copyright issues and lack of permission to use a person's image. I would recommend if you are currently doing this (regardless of the sexual nature of the image) to discontinue this practice for legal issues it could cause.

If you think your blog may run up against this policy, there are a few options.

  1. Remove the images
  2. Mark your blog as private (if your blog does violate the policy, Blogger will automatically set your blog to private on March 23). Private blogs can only be viewed by the owner, admins, and those the owner shares the blog with.
  3. Shut down your Blogger blog. It is relatively easy to make a backup of your blog. 
  4. Look into a self-hosted WordPress blog, though I suspect they have some rules on sexually explicit content as well.
  5. Wait and see. 
Blogger has stated that it will not delete any content or blogs that are established, they will just set the blog to private. Any blog that is started after March 23 may be removed if it violates the policy.

February 25, 2015

Nostalgia by @RossMKitson

Number Eight (Battlestar Galactica)
Number Eight (Battlestar Galactica) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
So here’s a thing. After a rather drawn out house move and the sledgehammer style disposal of the creaking old PC, I’ve recently downloaded 30GB of music from G-drive onto the wife’s laptop (now nominally the family computer). Having lost all the former playlists I decided to create some new ones, and amongst those thought a compilation of Eighties music would be good. Let me tell you, it’s been a soul-changing experience akin to finding out your parents were secretly Cylons (they weren’t, as Cylons in Battlestar Galactica are all uber-good looking, except Dean Stockwell).

I’ve always had a mild degree of musical snobbery. Through my life I’ve smiled wryly at the vagaries of pop fashion, valued bands that play ‘real instruments’, and quite admired those with a political stance (providing it was left of centre and not accompanied by the trample of jackboots). So, to my horror, I found myself adding Eighties pop band after pop band to my new compilations. Alongside The Specials Ghost Town, I put Madonna; abutting Visage Fade to Grey, I slide in Duran Duran; next to Gary Numan’s Are Friends Electric (arguably the greatest baseline in modern music), I deposit… Bonnie Tyler…. 
English: A cropped version photo British singe...
English: A cropped version photo British singer Bonnie Tyler (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I could go on. I find myself humming along to Belinda Carlisle, the Bangles, Bros, Wham…. My inner music snob wails and gibbers, desperately seeking some The Smiths, Dead Kennedies, Depeche Mode, The Cure… But it’s no use. I’ve started listening to Eighties throwback stations on the radio—replete with big hair AOR bands. When I’m alone I start playing air guitar like I’m in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. I have… nostalgia. 

It’s a powerful elixir, nostalgia. I suspect mine is orange MD20-20 flavoured. In my adolescence, I abhorred the pop bands of the time—Wham, Duran Duran, Culture Club, Spandau Ballet, Human League, latterly Bros, New Kids. They were a common source of derision from the lads to the lasses, a good way of teasing them as they wrote the band names on their pencil cases and folders. Yet I’ll hear Wham’s Club Tropicana, or Duran Duran’s Save A Prayer and I find myself really enjoying the tracks. Maybe I’m mellowing, maybe they’ve grown on me (after thirty years), or maybe it triggers a memory of the time, the place. Nostalgia is like the soundtrack to our lives—whether it’s the music, the TV programmes, the films, the board-games or the books. It ties the memories together, glues it into something that feels almost cinematic. I think of me and five friends being the only ones dancing the Time Warp at a school disco in 1985; of feeling rebellious at my mate Nik’s house playing Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s Relax at top volume as school term ended; of Careless Whisper being the song you suppressed your terror and asked a girl to slow dance to at the end of the 13th birthday party at the Rec.  

Oddly I was thinking this not so long ago when I watched Guardians of the Galaxy with the kids. They loved it, the wife loved it, but I think I loved it more. Not just the soundtrack, but the style of the film—it was an Eighties sci-fi film done with modern special effects. As I watched Starlord leaping about and generally getting beaten up I was back in the early Eighties making ‘pew pew’ noises with my makeshift blaster. The rogue-ish heroes were very much Han and Chewie, with a bit of Galactica’s Starbuck chucked in for measure. Maybe with the success of Guardians, Disney’s new Star Wars film will escape the dark lumbering of Revenge of the Sith, and look more to the cheeky fun of Star Wars (New Hope). 

But more on my sci-fi love in another post (assuming I get invited back…). 

So I’ll leave you with thoughts of another era—whether that’s your own soundtrack to the Sixties, Seventies, Eighties or Nineties—and maybe give my inner music snob a rest for a while longer.

About the Author

Ross M Kitson is a doctor, occasinal blogger, full time geek, and sporadic author of fantasy and YA sci-fi. If you were curious about his work you could check him out on Amazon. And his first fantasy book for free, yes... Free! At Smashwords. 

February 24, 2015

Indies Unlimited Excellence Award Winner

The winners of the 2014 Indies Unlimited Excellence Awards were announced yesterday. 

Be sure to visit the Indies Unlimited website to see the other winners and finalists.

February 23, 2015

Review: The Abduction of Lilly Waters By T.M.Novak

by Claire Rees

The Abduction of Lilly Waters
The Abduction of Lilly Waters by T. M. Novak is every parent’s worst nightmare. Beth is fleeing from her violent relationship with her boyfriend. Being heavily pregnant she stops to go to the toilet at a diner, taking her daughter Lilly with her and leaving her outside the cubicle. Whilst Beth is in the toilet, Lilly is taken by somebody that nobody seems to have seen. The two detectives assigned to the case scramble to find clues and leads, anything that could lead them to Lilly’s location. Although it seems that every lead and clue they find leads to a dead end. Nobody saw Lilly leaving the diner, Lilly’s car seat is missing from Beth’s car. Was Lilly taken by somebody who knew her and Beth or is this somebody that may have been following them or just seen them and knew where the car seat was? The detectives are at a loss and decide to start with Beth's ex. Soon the detectives find themselves with nothing to go on, and with Beth being no help at all, they fear that Lilly will be lost forever.

I really enjoyed the book as it is fast paced and keeps you on the edge of your seat. Even though the whole story was great, the ending was my favourite part. It was a huge surprise for me at the end, one I did not see coming. The story is written really well and I could feel myself empathising with Beth and feeling her desperation in wanting Lilly back.

Buy The Abduction of Lilly Waters at Amazon

Book info:
Available formats: ebook and print (134 pages)
Published: January 2014 by Master Koda Select Publishing
ISBN13: 9780985983857
Genres: thriller, police procedural
Read: February 2015

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