Beaten Track Radio Author Chat (Jamie Fessenden)

Hi there!

This past Saturday Jamie Fessenden Co-hosted with me on Author Chat Live on www.beatentrackradio.com

If you missed the show – where we discussed the difference between M/M Romance and Gay Fiction as well as Jamie’s books – click the link below and you can listen in.

Also, if you’re an author that would like to co-host with me live on the radio, send me a message via email or through here and let’s get you scheduled.

 

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Book Sale for Closer

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/775332
 
Available in Ebook and Paperback. Audio coming soon!
 
“Gripping, creepy, and plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing.”
 
“An incredibly well-devised page turner. “
 
“If you like your love stories with a supernatural element, you should like this one.”
 
My new novel, Closer, is on sale for 3.00 at Smashwords. Follow this link and the code is RAE50 before you check out.
 
WATCH THE TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1DrBTMHs0o

Anxiety Author

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unsplash-logoNik Shuliahin

Living with anxiety is like living with a ghost who, on occasion, like’s to pop out of the closet, from behind the door, or behind a shower curtain.
Yes, that’s exactly what it’s been like for the past three months.
The first attack was bad. The second was worse. The third was a little more expected but having one makes you feel like you’re dying.
Your body is screaming at you that something is wrong.
You feel terribly light headed, you shake, your body feels off and you feel like you’re in another world.
Sometimes it gradually comes on, sometimes it hits you like a freight train after you get off an elliptical machine.

After several trips to the E.R., an EKG machine, and a CT scan to make sure that I was having neither a heart attack or a stroke, I was given medicine for it.

I let the medicine run out because I thought I was too much of a man to need it.

I regret that decision as of late as they’ve returned. My therapists have talked me through how to bring myself down off of one, and those techniques are somewhat effective. The key is to try like hell not to give into the fear.

But it’s lonely as hell.

I haven’t been able to work very much since all this started. I’ve been silent on social media (for the most part and probably to the pleasure of some folk) as an attack can eat up an entire day.

I will be going back to the doctor and will be getting back on medicine for this. White knuckling your way through something like this isn’t healthy long term. While there’s nothing wrong with your organs, yet, a constantly elevated blood pressure can cause injuries and lasting medical issues later on.

I don’t want that.

I’ll be going through the blahs again once I am medicated. Contemplating cracks in the wall and dealing with nausea as my body adjusts to the chemicals I am putting in me.

Meanwhile, I’ve been drinking warm milk and working out on my machine. I’ve gained some weight, enough to stretch my buttons on my pants to the breaking point, but I think it’s because I’m building muscle underneath my insulation. But slowly, and surely, I’ll work on getting both my body and mind back under control.

There have been a lot of friends who’ve helped me out – who’ve talked me off the ledge. They’ve assured me in the throes of the panic that I am not dying and the doctors I’ve been to aren’t crazy. To them, I say thank you.

I do, however, have a greater appreciation for mental illness. I really appreciate and am humbled by this mess going on right now and could only imagine what someone with a more powerful illness must go through. When your mind speaks, it demands that you listen, and that gray matter is a powerful and very loud instrument.

I know often times I am not the most diplomatic person, sometimes to the detriment of popularity, but as a mental health advocate, especially my brothers and sisters in arms who suffer from PTSD and other service-related injuries – I am pretty much ready to become even less so.

Mental health should not be put into the shadows, I agree. But it shouldn’t be brought out into the light and treated as a trope or a money maker. It should be respected as the diseases of the mind are extremely powerful. They hurt in ways that are impossible to explain. Depression, S.A.D., Cyclical Dysthymia, Eating Disorders, Panic Disorders, G.A.D, Borderline Personalities, Bi-polar Disorders, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Schizophrenia are just a few of the many issues that American’s have.

There’s an entire doorstopper of a book called a D.S.M (it’s up to volume 5 now) that psychologists and Psychiatrists use to treat and diagnose these maladies. Psychopharmacology that is used to treat these and many other illnesses often times makes the treated physically ill. Personally, they made me weepy, tired, they gave me diarrhea, dry mouth, and made me very tired. There were zaps in my head that would make me feel scared and it takes up to a month to get into your system and become therapeutic. In the interim, the patient takes benzo’s (a highly addictive fast-acting medicine) to calm down should a panic attack happen.

Googling your symptoms is a double edge sword. BEcause according to WebMD you could have a panic disorder, or you could be dying of cancer. But that’s always their second choice, even if you stub your toe. You could ice it, or try chemotherapy. However, also thanks to Google, there are a lot of forums and support groups that pretty much list every symptom you possibly could have and there’s something to the knowledge that what I am going through isn’t unusual for my condition.

I mouthed off about a book recently that had some controversial topics about it. I don’t apologize for that, especially now that I am going through this. But I will apologize to anyone who reads this about not listening to other’s when they said that some of the things being written were hurtful. I brushed them aside. I now know what it’s like to feel invisible, to not be heard, to be sitting next to my husband who’s laughing at a television program while I sit on the opposite side of the couch trying to catch my breath. It’s not fun. It’s not something that should be brushed aside.

Hurting someone whether intentionally or unintentionally isn’t funny. Making a buck off of someone else’s misery is …well, I promised myself I wouldn’t cuss about this…fucked up! (sorry, I didn’t make it) If you’re going to get into an issue, I would encourage you to get into it. Learn something, teach something, elevate the conversation into something that can educate the world. If you don’t feel like you can, then don’t. Let someone else do it.

Meanwhile, I will continue drinking my warm milk. Exercising. And keeping my breath Trying to get my head back on right. In the interim, consider me batshit crazy – but that’s always been the case.

Page Stuffing and Bonus Books on KU

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unsplash-logoLacie Slezak

You’re the reason why we can’t have nice stuff. Seriously.

Yesterday I watched a video by Heather’s Hangout on Youtube where she named and shamed authors by cheating the KU system.

You can watch her video here 

As you know Kindle Unlimited allows readers to read as many books as they want for a monthly fee of 9.99.

For readers that’s awesome – it’s like Netflix for books.

However, the agreement that each author enters into when they decided to go with Kindle Unlimted does a couple of things.

First off, it gives exclusive rights to Amazon to publish the book for the duration of the KU contract. So, while on the program authors cannot have their books listed with any other book distributor.

Secondly, once you sign up for the program authors are paid by pages read. The breakdown is like .00046 cents per page and that number fluctuates constantly.

Pages read also increases visibility on Amazon’s website. The more pages read, the higher the ranking of your book in the genre(s) it’s listed under.

That’s all great.

However, the system is far from perfect. For example, not only do authors have to deal with piracy of e-books, piracy of audiobooks, click farms in China that cheat the system, now other authors are gaming the system by stuffing their books with ‘bonus books’ and listing it all for 99 cents.

((I think listing a book for 99 cents is outrageous enough, as it devalues books and the work put into them. ))

As mentioned in the video above, this has caused some authors to jump over E.L. James (Fifty Shades of Grey) in the Amazon ranking.

Not because of the quality of their work. Not because of the popularity of their work. But simply because of mathematics. Think card counting at a Vegas Casino.

While it’s technically allowable under the current Amazon TOS – click here – in my opinion, the entire thing is completely unethical.

With as hard as it’s become to compete with all the shady aforementioned things listed above, to know that fellow authors are out there screwing over others, is really sort of disgusting.

If your talent alone can’t carry you into prominence, if you have to absolutely game the system to reap the benefits of a program designed to be egalitarian for both readers and writers, no matter how much money you make, no matter how popular you become, you’re work should be viewed for what it is.

A fucking sham job.

Furthermore, you’re working to totally delegitimize the ranking of Amazon completely and other bestsellers lists out there.

There are authors out there who dream of becoming best sellers. Authors who actually have the talent to do it on their own and you and your buddies are standing in their way – completely unfairly I might add – so that you can pad your pockets.

Way to be a buddy fucker.

 

The Irksome element in the M/M Book Genre

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Victor Rodvang

You know, I could never really put my finger on what it was about M/M romance that irks me so bad. This has nothing to do with writing.
But it has everything to do with the fighting.
I’ve thought about it. I’ve wandered around it. I’ve left it alone and let it slide. And then something else happens and suddenly there it is, once more.
Gay people have been around since Ancient Greece, Alexander, Rome, during the dark ages, the Renaissance – I mean, Michelangelo? Hello?! The reformation, the age of reason, the gilded age, industrialization, the great depression, the Civil War, Walt Whitman, WW1, WW2 – Alan Turing – the forties, fifties, sixties, seventies, AIDS – and despite it all – we’ve survived. Somehow.
We are a nebulous people.
We have no place to call home. No ethnicity. No physical characteristics that set us apart from another. We don’t come from some region of the world. We are everywhere. Alive. Thriving.
But we are a people and as a people we are as diverse in personality and philosophy, theology or lack thereof as everyone else.
We have created culture, we’ve destroyed civilizations, we’ve conquered the world, we’ve been conquered by it. We’ve been taken lovers by Kings (King James comes to mind), and have created the most exquisite art when commissioned by Popes, we’ve saved the world, and did you’re hair before your wedding. We’ve operated on you, taught you, flown you across the sky, and buried your body.
WE.ARE.
Nebulous we may be but we are as old as time itself.
And we do not need you to survive.
I think this genre has had good intentions but I think it’s colonized us – or has attempted to.
It uses paternalism, the same paternalism used against women and minorities going back forever – to shoe horn us, or to create this static border around us, and define what is in fact so nebulous about us.
Like you know better than we do about who we are. America, Western civilization, and the modern world is but a glimmer of the time in which we’ve existed.
It’s like you’re trying to save us. Not only from the world at large. But from ourselves.
And in that, you drag out of every single corner of society anything with the word ‘gay’ on it and prop it up for the entire world to see, and embrace, and to hell with you if you don’t.
I resent that.
How dare you?
I have within me, the same amount of majesty, the same artistic inclination, or warring battle cries as any and all races, classes, and groups of people my gender, or otherwise.

‘Homo sumhumani nihil a me alienum puto’  –  I am human,  nothing human can be alien to me.
Stop telling us we’re wrong.
Stop telling us, no.
Stop telling us to be quiet.
Stop arguing with us about things that concern us unless you’re arguing to protect an investment and if you really want to argue on that premise – then we’ve walked into slave owner mentality.
My brother James Baldwin said back in the day, I ain’t your negro.

James_Baldwin_37_Allan_Warren

Well, I ain’t your homo.
I am not, nor are my brothers, some poor pitiful homos that must be protectively pressed against your bosom.
Just like any healthy relationship out there, the dynamics of and definitions of need and want are important.
I want you in my life – as an equal.
But I don’t need you in my life to exist.
The statement of, “We want gay men to have happy endings.” is a kind and virtuous one.
But we’ve had endings. All of them.
And we will again.
You’ll give birth to us. We are your children. We will survive.

Trumpettes in my books ( I did Nazi that coming)

Yesterday, for the first time in presidential history, Donald Trump spoke at a ‘value voters’ summit hosted by the nefarious hate group ‘Focus on the Family.’

After promising support for LGBT Americans, he ditched them for his base.

Mostly, because his presidency sucks and he needs the support of his base.

I really don’t want to focus too much on what was said there, but he validated this organization that stands against my marriage. He told them that they their homophobia will be supported by him. Pence, a virulent anti-gay former governor, passed a law in Indiana that backfired spectacularly. Jeff Sessions has reversed the governments support for L.G.B.T people.

I’ve never been more worried for my country, for my friends, and for my own life as I am now under this administration.

Yet, here we are.

Often times when someone who is an actor, singer, writer, stands up and says something that his base doesn’t like they are told to shut up and sit down or they’re told to shut up and (______) fill in the blank with their chosen profession.

Get out of politics they say.

Well first off, fuck you.

This administration is a direct threat to my family. This goes beyond politics, this comes right into my home, into my consciousness, and it’s influencing my work. It’s anxiety, it’s fear, it’s rage, and fury.

Your political choices are also a threat. Maybe you voted for fiscal responsibility, party loyalty, or the republican party that once was – you know, the one that used to stand for freedom and liberty.

However, the failure of Trump to move any sort of policy forward, legislative or otherwise, and the narrowing of his support to his more virulent fans, has caused him to shift over to the evangelical hate groups with bullshit names like “Focus on the Family.”

logic

The amount of cognitive dissonance required by you to vote like this and then curl up with one of our books, or books written about gay people, knowing you’ve made our lives that much harder – is beyond the pale.

And yet – here it is. There are other books you should probably be reading. Mein Kempf comes to mind.

Or perhaps some poetry, one in particular by YEATS comes to mind:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Sound familiar?

There’s a lot of scared and hurt people out there. A lot. There’s no telling what this will turn into since the world has decided to lick the proverbial boots of authoritarianism. And once again, we’re engaging in a fight for our survival.

I am reminded of P!nk’s lyric, “I’m not here for your entertainment. You don’t want to mess with me tonight.”

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This idea that people shouldn’t speak out, especially those who are trying to create a brand for themselves, or make money applies to those who are more interested in that side of the equation.  And you may find writers out there who write this stuff and still think like you do. However, that’s evident in the kind of work they put out anyway and it always has been.

These aren’t just books. These are people’s lives. Fictional characters developed from running a pen over the scars people carry.

Thank God, I and so many more of us out there are artists. And Art requires that we honestly reflect the world as it is. So, quite frankly your money is no good here anymore.

Please leave. You’re uninvited. It’s just you and your hand tonight.

 

 

Authors: Get Paid!

Not so much a rant as an observation.

People’s work has value.

If that person punches a time clock, or if that person is a salaried employee, if that person works as a contractor, or if they work for themselves. That work has value. I haven’t said anything wildly out of line there. Sort of a ‘no duh’ statement right?

Why, then, do we have such a hard time paying people what they’re worth?

Or better yet, why do we expect certain work to be done for free?

I’ve seen so many posts in the last couple of years about raising the minimum wage, universal health care, teachers salaries, wallstreet screwing over the little guy videos, antilobbying videos, pay equality in the workplace, and on it goes.

Yet, people are working harder and harder for less and less. I always hear people put it off on bloated corporations like Walmart – but I am starting to think that that isn’t the case.

I am starting to think people believe they are entitled to more, for less.

Well, There is no such thing as a free lunch, is still a valid economic observation.

Someone is paying for that shortfall.

However, it’s not just the consumer at fault. Someone had to have come along and devalued work for a reason. That reason is to jump ahead of the competition. However, take books for an example, someone came in and sold their book at 99 cents and suddenly they have best seller status . Then another one does it. Then another. Soon you have 60,000 plus word novels being sold in their entirety – months worth of work – for the cost of a bag of Doritos at the gas station.

That isn’t the end of the story, now readers who’d been buying up these dollar books now that the trend is set, balk at 6.99 for a novel. It’s not their fault. Why would they?

Then comes KU and for less than a paperback a month, you can read till your head explodes. The author is paid 0.0046 per page. Amazon publishes 3,000 books per day. I was reading other people’s sharing of the blog from the author who announced she was leaving KU. One commenter replied, “I know these people are being short changed BUT without KU I couldn’t read all I want.”

I’d been working for a company for a little while. Was hired in, excited go work for them, excited to work with them, we’d agreed on a salary and I set off – full steam ahead.

I poured everything I had into making this thing work, late hours, sometimes in the middle of the night, sometimes all nighters. Project after project. I worked as a troubleshooter, liaison, Public Relations, head hunter, you name it.

Yet, before too long the emails started rolling in. At first they were pleasant enough, then they started being a little more curt, then brash, then demanding. Not only was I doing all this stuff over here, now I’m dealing with multiple personalities and that was just from one person.

However, the work was finished. Everything planned out for a year, signed, sealed, delivered. Yet through all this they pay started to diminish before it disappeared entirely.

Yet work remained, maintaining and daily ops work remained, but I couldn’t stay.

I quit.

My time and effort was worth something to me. The work I had done was worth something to me. Yet like the KU lady – the work I had done became something they were entitled to.

Even after three months of not getting paid.

There is no such thing as a free lunch. People are NOT entitled to it. You are ENTITLED to get paid for work you do. Stop selling yourself so goddamn short. Your work has value. Make them pay for it.

This isn’t about money at a certain point it becomes about self respect.

P.S. I think I may have been a Union boss in a former life.

Last Day of my blog tour: When Heaven Strikes

When Heaven Strikes - High Resolution (1)

 

Blog Tour: Interview Prompts, Excerpt & Giveaway — F.E Feeley Jr. – When Heaven Strikes

 

Last Day of blog tour. It’s hard with everything going on right now to give a shit about book sales and book reviews etc as our country worships at the altar of our lady of perpetual bullshit.
However, I do want to give a shout out to Lily for being amazing and for taking care of this.
All the people in my life that encouraged me to keep going with this. You’re in my heart. Thank you very very very very very much.
All the blog spots that hosted me.
It means a lot. 
I know we’re kind of in a funky place right now – especially gay guys being shut out of publication.
Your life, your love, your road, your sex, your pain, your passion, your faith, your lack of faith, your hopes, your families, your marriages, your failures, your triumphs, your lives, your deaths, your spirits, and all that comes before you and will come after you – are important. You are important. You’re a thread woven into the tapestry of life, without you there would be a lot of color missing from the tableau.
Don’t be discouraged. Self pub if you have to.
You’re stories are important. They should be told. Popularity isn’t the standard.
Feedback isn’t the standard.
Ability is – talent is – hard work is – if this is what you burn to do. If this is what you feel you were meant to do, male or female, gay straight or whatever, you should follow that.
Don’t let people talk shit to you. Don’t let anyone put you down.
Aspire to the art. Aspire to make yourself better at your craft than the book prior.
Stay humble to those who have been supportive of you.
Take criticism with a grain of salt.
Evolve.
Don’t argue anymore. Don’t get into fights over trivial things because people will always try and distract you by raising the bar.
You’re enough. Be enough.
That’s all anyone can ask.
Thanks to everyone who spent their hard earned money on this book. I am so thankful to you. Without your support – I couldn’t go on. I love connecting with you, I love meeting with you in mutual understanding, and giving you a break from the crazy. Thanks for ‘getting me’ and my work.
See y’all soon.