Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Epic Ellen and Portia Fight: 'NOT'

According to Ellen and Portia they aren't like most other couples on the planet. Not just because they're queer, of course, but because they don't have arguments, epic or otherwise. 

Certainly NOT the type that can thwart/botch/derail plans for a fun evening out.

And the reason they don't is very simple: They're "happily married," Ellen DeGeneres is claiming, amid a hailstorm of allegations the high profile lesbian duo is anything but content.

In fact, organizers of a recent animal-charity fundraiser the ladies were billed to host are now reporting the twosome waylaid themselves en route to the gala event so they could ... um ... "fight."

Incredibly, this spur-of-the-moment disagreement was said to be so "epic" that Ellen and Portia had to scrap attending altogether, although DeGeneres now insists they weren't even scheduled to be at their favorite charity's fundraiser that night, let alone jointly hosting it.

Her attorney Marty Singer went further: “The story is a complete lie," he stated. "My client told the organizer they never agreed nor planned to attend the event. There was no fight that caused them not to attend.”

There was no comment from "the organizer" and, perhaps more notably, no comment either from Portia's attorney.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Kaitlyn Hunt vs. The State of Florida

Free Kate

Amidst growing controversy in the wrongful arrest of Kaitlyn Hunt, 18, for her same sex love affair with a fellow student, 15, Florida's state attorney general stubbornly insists he "will not drop charges."
Ms. Hunt's long term romance with the younger girl -- an advanced placement student -- enraged the minor's homophobic parents, so they maliciously waited until her eighteenth birthday to file a criminal complaint alleging statutory rape.
Assistant State Attorney Brian Workman: Stop the prosecution of an 18 year old girl in a same-sex relationshipThereafter police set up a scheme to entrap Hunt into admitting to the supposedly *illicit* relationship via a phone conversation and, once she did, subsequently arrested her for "lewd and lascivious" conduct with a child.
Biased prosecutors had been hoping to quietly persecute Kaitlyn Hunt and add the LGBT teen's name to the national sex offender registry, thereby ruining her life forever. But her parents reached out through Facebook this week and even created a petition to stop the abuse of their lesbian daughter and her lover.
Florida's Romeo and Juliet Statute was enacted in 2007 to protect young people like Hunt who engage in premarital relations from being mistreated by the law and mischaracterized as sex offenders, though an exception is clearly being made because of Hunt's sexuality. 
In a month that has seen the shooting death of a gay man in the heart of New York City's famed Village district, and a nationwide escalation of similar hate crimes toward the homosexual community, the idea of state sanctioned harassment of gays and lesbians is quite onerous.
This case, one of the ugliest to emerge from Florida since butterfly ballots and Anita Bryant, needs as much attention as possible. A large public outcry will aid in preventing further harm to these two brave young ladies by unabashed bigots and deter those same authorities from discriminating in the future as well.
Whatever your own sexual persuasion is then, it doesn't matter, intolerance cannot be tolerated by a free people. So please take a moment to show some support for Kate in this battle. She and her parents are frightened, of course, and worried sick about a future that had once seemed so promising.
Visit the Free Kate page and join the fast growing group of supporters there, and also consider joining the 100,000+ citizens who've already signed the Hunt family's petition to free their daughter from such shocking injustice.
(And thank you for visiting my blog today!)


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Amazon Nazis

'First, apologies to those looking for digital copies of THE SECRET KEEPING, FORTUNE IS A WOMAN, and THE STOLEN KISS in the kindle store now. Yes, they've been there for years and years, but Amazon has developed yet another *issue* with these titles. This time because I demanded payment for 5100 eBook units they gave away without paying me a single dime.
Free eBooks are a real boon to Amazon, of course, because they help to sell lots and lots more kindle devices, but free books don't pay my bills, unfortunately, so I had to try and get the overdue royalties...or go homeless.
Amazonged again, I guess.
In any event, with the scandalous news today that Amazon Inc's fuhrer, Jeff Bezos, employs Nazis in various managerial roles throughout his Amazon empire, I've got to say, based on my own years of experience with this truly cold-blooded corporation of his, it really doesn't surprise me one bit.
From censorship of my work, e.g. rigging my kindle titles so they wouldn't register sales ranks allegedly because their LGBT subject matter is "smut",  to de-ranking my paperback editions so they too wouldn't show up in customer search results, stripping them of tags, pirating them, etc., etc., etc., all I can say about today's revelations is that it's clear now the only thing this company isn't guilty of is goosestepping.
So far, anyway.' 

- Francine Saint Marie, author of THE SECRET TRILOGY

Monday, January 28, 2013

Digital Publishing Predictions for 2013

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER (by Francine Saint Marie)

"The year 2013 is well underway, but, as it's still January, these eBook predictions are relatively timely and, hopefully, useful too:
Most people consider the number thirteen unlucky. It's not usually for me but, regardless, I think whether lucky or not most everyone's going to feel the pain this year from major publishing upheavals, particularly with respect to eBook publishing and distribution.
And by that, I don't only mean self publishers either -- all major players will stumble in 2013, as digital and print sales continue to decline and as digital eReading devices themselves begin to lose their appeal. The list of doom will include the likes of Amazon with their 'Kindle', Smashwords (who didn't even have the good sense to make an eReader) and Barnes and Noble with their stylish 'Nook' ensemble.
As an author who's own work has been both traditionally published and independently produced, I've seen up close the fast pace of change the publishing industry has made in only a matter of years. Unfortunately, not all of it good...or very promising. 
The good of course is that, with the availability of so many self pubbing platforms these days, an author's career is now more solidly in their own hands. Because of that, new writers no longer have to wait around praying, perhaps forever, to be *blessed* by the big guys. They don't need the big six (or is it five now) to put their masterpieces onto store shelves. 
The bad part, however, is that a writing career, even under one's own direction, can still be horribly mismanaged and go nowhere.
One of the most significant obstacles to emerge in the world of eBooks which is negatively impacting every author now is all the free downloads currently glutting the marketplace. Something originally encouraged by startups like Smashwords, but accelerated of late by Amazon with their recent and exclusive KOLL program for self publishers.
In one way or another I've been in merchandising my entire adult life, from working with major corporate clients like Bloomingdale's and Merrill Lynch, to regional chainstores and small specialty boutiques. So I know firsthand that offering huge discounts or even free products has generally been a beneficial ploy many business have relied on to promote their product lines or services.
But the trick there is that cheap or free was only ever used sparingly and for only very limited periods of time. Now go log onto any major eBook retail site today and you'll see 'sparingly' has become a thing of the past. In fact, prices overall have not only plummeted for digital downloads, freebies dominate these outlets and on most venues are even being charted as *bestsellers*.
So what? Well, essentially, this troubling trend has created a vast readership of non-customers. People these days who are purchasing an eReading device are doing so solely because they think, and rightly so it would seem, that it's a one-off investment for them. That they'll never have to buy another book again. For those with this mindset, even if a book they want is not legitimately free, they'll go to a filesharing site to get it anway. So determined are they that an author not get a single penny from them, that they're willing to face five years in prison and a hefty fine for infringement.
That overinflated sense of entitlement is very bad news for those of us who pay our rent and utility bills with the modest royalties we earn from the actual SALE of our copyrighted content, and yet another reason to reconsider giving away our books voluntarily. 
Pirated or freely promoted, free eBooks has been a boon of course for manufacturers of eReaders, which is why they have gone overboard in enticing newcomers to offer their hard-work for nothing. Yet they too are seeing a sharp leveling off of demand the past two seasons, partly because people no longer need much more than a phone or a computer screen to download and read digital books anymore.
A saturated eReader market is a problem bound to be further exascerbated in the coming years as the going price of eReader devices in general steadily falls. Indeed, one doesn't need a crystal ball to foretell that someday soon, as is already the case with cellphones, eReaders including Nook and Kindle will also be so affordable as to be considered *disposable* by consumers.
Free eBooks are disposable too, by the way, as most who download these by the hundreds and thousands, admit they usually delete the majority of such eBooks before even *opening* them. 
Probably the first publishing platform to push free downloads as "an effective marketing tool" was Smashwords. Launched by self-publisher Mark Coker only five or six years ago, this eReader-less publishing company is still in its grace period for writing off operating losses -- seven years maximum per IRS laws. But the day of fiscal reckoning for all publishers, distributors and authors alike is coming soon, and despite the heady and ebulliently optimistic tone of Coker's quarterly newsletters, his fledgling enterprise too will soon have to show genuine profit-making, or go bust.
Freebies, which the Smashwords site has always been awash in, don't generate any revenue, so...will that company survive the reality check presently looming?
Doubtful. Unless it has a funky new eReader currently on the slab.
We as writers won't prosper, either. Nothing from nothing leaves nothing, remember. With that in mind, below is a summary of 2013's imminent shakeups I'm predicting and flagging:
1. Major scandal of Google proportions for retailers like Amazon who are already suspected of 'fixing' their site algorithms and sales ranks to favor certain book publishers over others. Government oversight is long overdue in this area and the focus of these inquiries will also be on retailers accounting methods and whether these are 100% truthful, since currently there are too many gltiches in report mechanisms and no trusted independent party to audit for accuracy.
2. Smashwords will try various maneuvers to keep itself afloat and viable: staggering royalty payments, offering adverts, making backdoor deals with reliable sellers...etc. None of this will work; they have to have real book sales ASAP, and from as many author members as possible, not just a handful of inter-connected Indy publishers. Additionally, Coker's much complained about obsession with "quality formatting" over quality content, if not abandoned, will speed up Smashwords' end-of-days scenario.
3. Barnes and Noble is a wildcard. One, because they seem to appreciate the volatility of the digital marketplace and stand firm on certain tried and true retail methods while still experimenting. Two, because the company's semi-cautious approach hasn't proven an effective strategy for maintaining marketshare, of which theirs' is rapidly shrinking. B-and-N has been around a long time, making brutish Amazon look like an unruly teenager in comparison, but to survive when the digital bubble fully bursts, they have to get it together this quarter at the latest. Instead, they seem to be in a whole different dimension altogether, judging from their reaction times, which have been sluggish at best.
4. Some familiar names that are presently prominent in the digital retail sector will fold because they don't manufacture anything else but eBooks and eReaders, and in those areas they are desperately floundering. These companies will close their virtual doors with a very loud slam heard and felt by all, before their fudged accounting is ever fully exposed. But that's not to suggest they'll get away with this; it just may take some time to pinpoint precisely which third-world countries their ex-CEO's are hiding in.
5. Some freebie-pubber-gurus who've alleged to have 'made millions' by simply advocating the virtues of free promotion to unsuspecting new indies will simply be sued for their deceptive practices, since, in reality, resorting to fraudulent means of promoting and selling one's own titles is illegal. Techniques such as paying for customer reviews supplied by people who have never even read the material they're praising, or purchasing five-star ratings, Facebook likes and a phony Twitter following, constitute serious consumer fraud. As does viciously trolling competitors and posting negative reviews on their titles in an effort to deter potential readers from sampling and buying them.
5. Print sales will every so slowly begin to rebound, all across the board."
Published by Fifth Column Press
on January 27, 2013

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Amazon Vine praises THE SECRET TRILOGY

says Saint Marie's LGBT classic "is worth every penny."

AMAZON VINE™ TRUSTED REVIEWER G. Uhl: "Worth every penny. The problem with reading Francine Saint Marie is that for a little while after, everything else sucks. It's too good...the prose and wit and the perfect way the author balances the sexy with the gin and the corporate with the waiter and the honor with the dishonor among women."

AMAZON VINE™ TRUSTED REVIEWER Reading Junkie: "Saint Marie's third novel in the Secret Keeping series is wonderful and it brings this worthy saga to an appropriate ending....This book wraps things up very neatly...Kudos, Francine, for a job well done."

[click cover to download extensive free preview]