Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sharing sites, torrents, free reads, free uploads, freeloading or" What can I get for nothing?"

If you have ever read any of my blog posts, you know by now I speak my truth with a precise focus. This post will be no different. My topic today is the notion amongst readers of any genre (it seems that it's prevalent in the romance category) that free reads of some sort are expected. Hey, I know money is scarce. I live in the same economy you do. But if you got something to download a book onto, well... let's just say that I don't think you are worrying about how much data plans cost. Look, I know that folks will do as they please or as they feel they have to. It is not my job to wag my finger all Governor-Jan-Brewer like in your face. But a writer has to eat! Plus my other job is to hip you to something that your Mama may have failed to tell you: there are no free lunches!

Number one- I write stories for publication for a small but prominent press in the romance industry. I, we, who submit works get no advance. Only giant publishers give out advances, and unless you are a heavy-hitter, they are quite small. So no one at my press receives money upfront. The publisher takes on our work because they feel it's good and believe it has potential to SELL. Key word here, SELL. I love writing. I love eating too and paying bills. I even hope to earn a living from writing one day.

Number two- As much as I love writing, it takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears to create books. Now I know it looks easy 'cuz everybody and their pet rat is pooping out a book nowadays (and some do stink up the place) but I assure you I do not produce a book that easily. Which circles around to the blood, sweat and tears thing. I invest a hell of a lot of time, effort and thought into my books. Soooooooooooo, I DO NOT, DO NOT, offer free reads. If you have a book of mine and you didn't pay for it, you got it as a prize in a contest, or from a "sharing" site, or from a torrent site or from a friend. And the worse of the worst: downloaded it from an e-bookstore, read the book and then returned it and asked for your money back. Which is plain triflin'.

You may ask, "Who does she think she is? No free reads? Even Stephen King offers free reads. Eff her." Well, Huckleberry, Mister King may offer them but Mister King is also a millionaire. He can afford to offer free reads. See it this way. If you want something to eat in a restaurant, do you ask the owner to let you have a free meal first and then maybe you'll buy one later? Thought not. Do you ask your dentist to fill a cavity for free first and then if it's good you'll pay he/she for the second one? Thought not. If you live in a nation with socialized medicine, ignore that one. Those professionals do not roll that way. Neither do I. Why do I take that stance? Because I've observed that "free" for some reason is not respected or deemed worthy and leads to just more of a "give me" mentality. Sometimes a free thing is not always good though. This trend started with "cheap" or "discounted" ebooks to spark a reader's interest. Then it changed to $.99 cents. And now stuff is free.  Nope, not my ish. Professionals do not give away their services. I am a professional. See the progression? Where do you go from "free" anyway? Maybe pay the reader to read a free ebook? That may not be that far off. I've seen the quality of some of those free reads. Yeah, I said it. Bad writing. Bad grammar. Bad editing. No editing. No plot. You get what you pay for. Or in this case what you didn't pay for. If you load up your Kindle with free, badly-written ebooks, you'll begin to think that the crap you downloaded represents the quality of ALL ebooks, which is not true. So, it's up to you. So keep trolling for free, badly-written shit and then piss and moan about how terrible it is. Keep visiting unethical torrent sites for that book you heard about but don't want to shell out a few bucks for. But much better, help an author out and BUY a well-written read. I believe in the giving and receiving rules of the Universe. I give by writing. It's your turn to give and you'll get so much in return.

 A famous quote says, "All property is theft." I wouldn't go that far but I do believe piracy, in all its forms, sure as hell is.

ps   I apologize if you live in a country where getting stuff to read is next to impossible. This post is directed toward those who don't have that problem, those who don't value others' work and can purchase anything but perpetually look for the freebie.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Universe vs. George Zimmerman

This will be the last post on the Zimmerman case until something else occurs. I must get back to writing about my romance work and releases. I am about love, peace and justice. Not hatred.

Well, Florida, that land of sunshine, palm trees and Walt Disney World has spoken. And truly has given a Mickey Mouse verdict. Am I surprised? Nope. Am I disappointed? Yep. But I ruminated on this and came to these conclusions: in the Divine scheme of things (yes, capital d), Zimmerman will not escape Universal Law. No matter if you believe in God or not, the Universe abhors a void. His taking of Trayvon's life created a void. So, to balance things out, the Universe will seek to fill it. Mr. Zimmerman should put on his seat belt because when the Universe has to step in and fill a void, its solution NEVER looks like what you think it should or what you want. So, yes, Mr. Zimmerman may be free but he ain't off the hook. Why do I say that?

He still has several cases to face, Number One, I am sure that Trayvon's family's lawyer is preparing a civil lawsuit (wrongful death) against him. Number Two, it seems that a pair of brothers associated with the complex either where the murder happened or where Zimmerman lives are bringing a civil lawsuit against him also. In a civil proceeding, you must give a deposition. There is no way Zimmerman cannot make one. There is no escaping it. He has to talk. That should be interesting since he did not take the stand and speak in the criminal trial. Number Three (and I hope this comes about), The Department of Justice may bring Civil Rights charges against him for violating Trayvon's civil rights. That will be difficult to do. Still, it's possible. Most tellingly, Zimmerman is not the type to go quietly into the night and go away. He'll keep popping up like a bad penny and show what he's really made of. Yes indeed, the Divine works in mysterious ways. So it is convenient that Mr. Zimmerman is free because he is going to be very busy as the Universe works to fill that void.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Trayvon Martin, Florida and self-defense

(This is a revised post. I’ve heard so much testimony and read so much I had to revise it)


I really want to get back to talking about pleasant topics like my, and my colleagues, romance writing. Again the ratchet refuse to let me keep it light and breezy.

Since the Trayvon Martin murder last year, tons of crap has been spoken about the young man. Do I know the particulars of the case? No. Was I there? No. But I am a citizen of this country and know its history and its laws. And that of Florida. That sunshine-y state has palm trees, is a place where many languages are spoken, and is home to Walt Disney World and Universal Studios amusement park and balmy breezes. What folks tend to forget is that Florida is a southern state first and foremost and has a bloody history and nutty gun laws. Its naissance began with annihilation of the original indigenous folk there along with the Seminole people and enslavement of Africans. It has never been a welcoming place for people of color. Yes, Cubans and Cuban-Americans have thrived there but not without a fight. Haitians are still struggling. It is well known that once pigmented people venture outside of their comfort zone or are seen as not where they belong in Florida that it gets uncomfortable. One rather uncomfortable zone for Blacks is the area called the “Redneck Riviera,” that part of the state more inland, the panhandle. Not a place I’d want my car to break down in at any time of the day. Yes, it’s not warm and fuzzy place for my kind. It’s called life. But I’m getting away from myself.

A little history of that idyllic town of Sanford where all this tragedy went down, reveals that it was the same lovely burg whose KKK contingent was bent on lynching baseball great and integrator, Jackie Robinson when he appeared to play a major league game. He had to flee or he'd been one of those strange fruits swinging from a tree down there. Look up the story or go watch it played out in the current film, 42. Ah, tranquil Sanford. Wonderful place if the suntan you have is not permanent.  

Like I said, I do not know the particulars of the Zimmerman case. But I know this: an unarmed boy is dead. What else do I know? That he was seen as a “suspect” by a zealous, town watch captain. Why? Because Trayvon was walking in the evening in an area where this wannabe cop thought he shouldn’t be. Recipe for disaster.

 So an armed (and when this guy got out of his car to follow Trayvon, he already had his gun chambered; he was looking to use his piece) Mr. Zimmerman pursues the boy after being told not to by the 9-1-1 dispatcher. Zimmerman approaches, never identifies himself and supposedly a fight ensues. Now I don’t doubt that they had a few words. Hell, if you, a total stranger, had been following me and had finally rolled up on me I would have done my best to beat you down too. Except I don’t think it went down like that. I think after the exchange Mr. Z found out that the kid did belong there. Trayvon probably told him that he was going to tell his dad about Zimmerman stopping him for no reason. And probably like all dads, Mr. Martin would have told the complex’s neighborhood watch or the cops that a known trouble maker had bugged his kid. Now George couldn’t have that happening. Mr. Zimmerman already had priors and a bad rep with the cops and was known for his bizarre behavior around the neighborhood. So now, Zimmerman is all upset that his hunt ain’t going like he planned. So, this tale he tells the cops after the fact is a big, ugly, deadly lie. A lie to cover up the fact that he was angry because he wasn’t going to get to play “hero” that night because Trayvon was not the hoodlum he had profiled him to be who was up to something. No, he couldn’t let this boy tell on him. George’s father was a retired magistrate who was used to getting his unstable son out of scrapes. This faux pas would be yet another one and who knows how daddy would react to having to get his son out of a jam again?

Did a life and death struggle really occur with George fearing for his life? I doubt it. I doubt it greatly. Oh, I believe assailant and victim argued but who had been the real assailant? Occupants of the complex heard male voices arguing. Some did see two men on the ground at one point. I still say that the only one in a life and death struggle was Trayvon. Evidence points to that. No DNA transfer was found on Zimmerman or his gun but he insisted that they fought over the weapon and that the kid was beating him mercilessly. You can’t beat anyone mercilessly with your hands without getting blood on you. Trayvon had NONE of Zimmerman’s blood on him. Police said rain washed the blood off his hands. What was it? Monsoon season? And what kind of piss poor police work is that, that a corpse’s hands go unbagged in the rain at a crime scene? And Mr. Zimmerman said Trayvon had been straddling him and whipping him to the point of death. Now if Zimmerman carried his gun in his back waistband how does he pull it when someone had him on his back and is beating the crap out of him? Naw, that dog don’t hunt. And there is the matter of the screaming heard on tape and both mothers claim it’s their son. I believe Trayvon’s mother when she says it’s her boy. Mrs. Zimmerman…well she loves her son too. But it makes no sense that Zimmerman’d be screaming. HE had a gun. And sadly, abruptly the screaming stops when a gunshot is heard on tape. I say it was the boy’s last cries for help. I have soooooo many questions. Main one. George said Trayvon was sitting on him, and miracles of miracles, George gets to his gun and in the midst of all this tussling and movement and shoots a hollow point bullet DEAD CENTER of the boy’s heart. Hell of a shooter, aren’t you Mr. Zimmerman? With all that frantic stuff going on, you can land a bullet STRAIGHT into someone’s heart. WOW. And more miracles happen. After he shoots, NO BLOOD falls on Mr. Zimmerman. Man had NONE of Trayvon’s blood on him. Sorry, it does not wash. I say he executed that boy to cover up his asinine antics. And then claimed self- defense to cover his ass. This is where the rubber meets the road people. In Florida, the lovely gun laws, (“castle-doctrine”, “self-defense or “stand your ground”, etc.) can be put forth even though YOU initiated stuff. How ratchet is that? You can start shit and explain that you had no choice but to kill because you felt your life was in danger. George knew these laws, took a course in them and passed with flying colors. I say at some point he stood over the kid and shot him or shot as the boy tried to escape. That’s how you get a CLEAN, DIRECT bullet into someone's heart, have no blood on you and also how you get your target to stop screaming. It’s also how you get to tell the story your way because you're the only one alive.  Mr. Zimmerman says he shot Trayvon in self-defense. But truly it’s the work of a slickster who committed a cold-blooded murder. That’s what I say.

 I say the kid was standing his ground. Let’s see what Florida, land of palm trees and Walt Disney has to say.