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We appreciate the fact the current political environment is highly charged, but we want to keep Spacefreighters Lounge a stress-free place for everyone to visit and exchange ideas about SFR.

Therefore, we ask that you please refrain from making political references that may antagonize those with differing viewpoints. Thank you for your consideration.

Friday, September 30, 2011

TERRA NOVA COVERING OLD GROUND


Well, dear readers, it’s the start of the new television season and that buzz in everyone’s ears is the excitement surrounding Executive Producer Stephen Spielberg’s $20 million dino baby, “Terra Nova”.

I mean, geez, what’s not to like, right? It’s enough to make a science fiction fan drool. It’s got cool CGI cityscapes of a depleted, toxic Earth in the year 2149. It’s got an even cooler, sparkly, techie-looking particle-accelerator time-travel gate that takes its heroes back 85 million years “to set things right” so they can avoid this eco-disastrous future. And, oh, yeah, it’s got awesome CGI dinosaurs a la Jurassic Park to keep things interesting once our heroes get back in prehistoric times.

What it doesn’t have, alas, is an original idea anywhere in sight, or a writer capable of avoiding plot holes big enough to allow a T-Rex to plow through. (I’ll just blame Brannon Braga for that, even if it’s not all his fault.) Spielberg, it seems, was focused on the look of his show to the detriment of some other things. For just a few of the television/SF clich√©s we’re working with, try these: frontier family, disaffected teen, maverick cop, practically everything from “Lost in Space”, the “others” from “Lost”, all the dinosaur stuff and the ineffective fencing (it's coming, trust me on that one) from Jurassic Park, untrustworthy authority, grizzled commander and, well, I could go on, but you get the picture.

The Earth that sends these colonizers to the past is gasping its last, but somehow can afford to equip the teams with all the modern conveniences. They don’t have to build the least little thing using local resources. They even drive big mohawking vehicles powered by some kind of power cell. Think how much energy it would take to send those babies back in time! Of course, it’s not explained what powers the fuel cells or how they might be recharged. Same goes for the electricity that is in profligate use in the settlers’ compound. Guess maybe they have the whole solar thing figured out. If so, you wonder why the Earth is such a mess.

The only thing that saves the show for me is the presence of the wonderful Jason O’Mara in the role of maverick cop/dad Jim Shannon. He’s much better than his material, lending genuine emotion to his interactions in the family scenes, and providing a thinking woman’s action man as backup to Stephen Lang’s slightly off-kilter Commander Nathaniel Taylor. I’ve been a fan of O’Mara’s since his days on the short-lived “Life on Mars”. One day maybe he’ll get both the role and the attention he deserves. Until then I’ll just have to be content to see him in roles where he has plenty of opportunities to take his shirt off.

For somewhat similar reasons I’m interested to see how the new show “Person of Interest” turns out. Film actor Jim Caviezel (of Jesus of Nazareth fame) is the draw here, starring as a burnt-out Special Ops soldier recruited to intervene and prevent crimes such as murder or kidnapping before they happen. Again, not such a unique idea to think violent crime could be predicted and prevented by eliminating the “criminals” ahead of time. Phillip K. Dick wrote the short story that led to the movie in which Tom Cruise played a cop who becomes a victim of the system (Minority Report).

In this case the “system” is the security monitoring structure set up to scan cameras and communications after 9/11. According to the show’s premise, the network is designed to flag terrorist threats—certain statements, actions, etc. that represent a high security risk to the U.S. government and its citizens. Anything else the system picks up—kidnapping plans, or murder threats, for example, are considered irrelevant and discarded by the computer. The man who developed this elaborate, high-tech system for the government, played with appropriately nerdy elan by “Lost”’s Michael Emerson, can’t sleep at night thinking about all those potential victims. So he quits his government job, drops off the grid and goes looking for an equally disaffected Caviezel to save the people the computer casts off as “irrelevant”.

So the set-up is somewhere between “Quantum Leap” and “The Equalizer”, but with actors of the caliber of Caviezel and Emerson and writing of at least decent quality in the series opener, the show has promise.

Next week I’ll take a look at my returning faves “Fringe” and “Supernatural” and update you on my writing progress in Donna’s Journal.

Final Word on the Banana Man Saga

Colonial Forge High School Principal Karen Spillman tendered her resignation this week, following the controversy over her handling of an incident in which sophomore Bryan Thompson, aka "Banana Man", ran onto the football field at half-time dressed as a banana. Read the full story at http:\\fredericksburg.com

Cheers, Donna

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

BANANA MAN SLIPS NOOSE

Virginia teenager Bryan Thompson returned to school at Colonial Forge High School yesterday after serving out five days of his original ten-day suspension for running out onto the football field at half-time dressed as a banana.

Stafford County School Superintendent Randy Bridges overruled CFHS Principal Karen Spillman's disciplinary action for Thompson and several students at the school who had supported him by wearing yellow tee-shirts sporting "Free Banana Man" or "Free Speech" logos. As long as Thompson obeys school rules, the remaining five days of his suspension will be dropped and Spillman's threat of a year-long suspension can be dismissed as an empty one.

The Banana Man's return to school was uneventful, according to reports in the local newspaper, the FREE LANCE STAR. Apparently Thompson has vowed to behave himself, and he has had his 15 minutes of high school fame. I'm sure his mother and the school system's lawyers are all breathing huge sighs of relief.

Cheers, Donna

Friday, September 23, 2011

FREE BANANA MAN!


Okay, so maybe this subject is not quite the stuff of the stars. Or maybe it’s proof that we’re already living in that Orwellian future we feared and fought so furiously in the Sixties. The fight went out of us long ago, and it takes something stupid like this incident to remind us of how much we’ve lost.

It all started with a banana. Well, not precisely a banana, but a kid in a banana costume. The “costume” consisted of a bright yellow cape with a banana top. High school sophomore Bryan Thompson from a community close to my central Virginia home, thought it would be funny to don the "banana" and run out onto the football field at half-time. The crowd at the home game at Bryan’s school, Colonial Forge High, thought it was funny, too, and since there was no one else on the field at the time—no band performing, no plays being called—one would have thought this a harmless prank.

Apparently CFHS administrators thought differently. At the time, Bryan was briefly detained by a Stafford County sheriff’s deputy, but was not charged and was released to his mother’s custody at the field. The next day, however, CFHS Principal Karen Spillman suspended Bryan for ten days, with a recommendation that he be suspended for the rest of the school year. The charges: Disobedience of an administrator. Disrespectful behavior toward an administrator. Disruption of an activity. Refusal to follow directions of an administrator. Key word here appears to be “administrator”.

Witnesses say no one appeared to chase Bryan off the field and that when apprehended he was calm. He was laughing, however. Guess that constitutes “disrespect”. Also lack of judgment, but then Bryan suffers from high-functioning autism, which has gotten him in some mild trouble before in school, once for having a cell phone in class, once for creating a website that encouraged students to post “silly” pictures of themselves for the entertainment of their peers. Some have suggested his previous “crimes” have made him a three-time loser.

If the reaction to Bryan’s prank seems overdone, consider the school administration’s Draconian response to his schoolmates’ support. Yellow tee-shirts were confiscated from some students who were allegedly whipping them around as “rally flags”. Pep rallies have been banned. Parking passes have been suspended because someone scrawled “free banana man” on his car.

Two police cruisers were called to the school in advance of a feared student protest that never materialized. Bananas have been banned from the school. (Yes, you read that right. Apparently some radical wrote “Free banana man” on the fruit and passed it around.) Students have been commanded to remove yellow tee-shirts that not only refer to Bryan, or banana man, but also to free speech in general. The ACLU is now involved on the side of the students.

All of this could have been avoided if the school administrators had simply called Bryan and his mom into the school office on Monday morning and asked him not to do anything so silly again. Mom would have promised it would not have happened again. Bryan would have apologized and maybe given up the banana costume and within a week, life at Colonial Forge would have been back to normal. No. Instead it has become a Big Freakin’ Deal and one more example of how our lives have been circumscribed and http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifour freedom of expression curtailed.

Cooler heads may prevail and save Bryan a year’s suspension. I hope so. There is little doubt he will serve out his sentence of ten days (a sentence his mother is appealing). After all, he has DISRESPECTED AN ADMINISTRATOR! The weight of mindless bureaucracy is overwhelming in this age of administration, and even YouTube is powerless to lift it. Unless we all stand up as one, we will each be crushed beneath it in turn.

Check out the video of Banana Man's run and the latest news of Bryan's appeal at http:\\fredericksburg.com.

Cheers, Donna

Friday, September 16, 2011

Donna’s Journal

Action!
Actions we've taken as writers. Where are we? What are we doing?

I have finally come to that moment of truth in my current work in progress, the scene that reveals the true nature of my leading characters: the love scene. Maybe I should put that in all caps: THE LOVE SCENE. Yes, that’s better. I can’t overemphasize the importance of this crucial interaction between the hero and the heroine in defining who they are—not just for the reader, but for the writer in charge of shaping them.

For some reason, my hero and heroine are just not fully formed until I see how they respond together in bed. What they want from each other in that intimate setting is (or should be) a reflection of what they want from each other in the relationship—comfort, security, adventure, trust, freedom, a key for a prison, a cage for a demon, balm for pain, release for anger. And the traits revealed when the characters have their clothes off can be dramatically different from the ones they show when fully dressed. The gruff can be tender, the timid become bold, the weak grow strong and the strong are driven to their knees.

For some of my books, I had the key love scene—the first time the h/h make love—outlined in my mind before I ever began writing the rest of the story. I had the characters and the fantasy of their time together, and in some ways I built the relationship around that. (Is this too much information? Sorry! I did have a plot and all, too.) Sam and Rayna, the hero and heroine of Fools Rush In, my current WIP, were secondary characters in my two previous books. I should have had some idea of who they were. But I didn’t truly know them—their secrets, their needs, the things that brought them to each other--until I got them into bed together at last.

I’m still learning, so I won’t make any revelations here—S#$%&y First Drafts and all that. What I really hope, since I’m forced to work backward here, is that being together doesn’t change them! That is, being together can only change them into the characters we already know (since this is a prequel), and not into someone else. Tricky.

Of course, no book has just one great big LOVE SCENE and done! Well, actually there are plenty like that, but I hate those, and I certainly don’t write them. Ideally, the intimacy of the love scenes should progress as the relationship builds throughout the book until at the end the lovers are as close as they can possibly be, joined body and soul. First encounters are shadowed with secrets withheld, questions unasked, insecurities, lack of trust, even fear. Those internal conflicts which threaten to tear the lovers apart are often hiding in the background in that first scene, and quickly make an appearance as the characters reflect on what has just happened. As their commitment to each other solidifies, that, too, is reflected in more intimacy and openness in the later love scenes.

One other thing, since I seem to be talking rules now. I’m a firm believer in the school of thought that says the love/sex scenes in romance should contribute to the plot. In this case, of course, we’re referring to the emotional plot, but in romance, the emotional plot is equal to any other plot you have going—be that science fiction, suspense, historical or whatever. In my books, you had darn well better not skip the sex scenes or you will miss something significant between the lovers—a revelation, an important concession, an advance or a retreat on the road to commitment, or most often, the opening of a heart. Sex makes people vulnerable, and not just to diseases or pregnancy—that’s why we warn our teenagers not to engage in it frivolously. It’s dangerous. And very dramatic. That’s why it must be used to move the story forward.

And that’s why I use it to find out who my characters truly are.
Cheers, Donna

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Mission Success: Laurie's Journal

We Were All Witnesses

Watching the tenth anniversary coverage of 9/11--the disaster, the recovery, the building of the memorial and rebuilding of the site, there was one quote that really stuck in my mind.

Whether we watched from nearby,
or from very far away,
we were all witnesses.

What happened that day forever changed our country, our perspective, our world, our future and each of us, individually. Every life was impacted in some way—from monumental to minor—but we were all touched by the tragic events of senseless hatred, and by the explosion of compassion and patriotism that followed.

What does not kill us makes us stronger.

Indeed.

Laurie’s Journal

So where am I with my writing?

Struggling.

Two weeks ago I set myself some very ambitious goals, in retrospect probably much too ambitious, to complete my third novel by the end of October. It seemed realistic enough.  The novel is 90% complete and although it needs a significant trim (over 40,000 words), I didn't see that as a major roadblock. Since then, I realized my assessment was far too optimistic. It's going to require a lot more work than I anticipated. (Drat!)

So I’ve slipped into mental reconstruction mode and lost a lot of time at the keyboard while I work out where the story needs to go and where it needs to be. I keep reminding myself it's all just part of the process, but sometimes that whiney little inner voice of doubt tries to drown out my confidence by shouting, "Maybe I should just quit."  Buck up, soldier. Time to regroup.

That which does not kill our dreams makes them stronger.

An Experiment

I participated in an exercise on a writer's site that was both enlightening and confidence-shaking. This is how it worked:

Participants submitted up to 1,000 words of the opening of a manuscript to a special queue. All submissions were anonymous.

Then critiquers (also anonymous) would act as “editors” perusing a slush pile. They would tell the writer exactly where they stopped reading in a few words.

The anonymous factor worked well for me, because I think it made for some very honest, no-holds-barred feedback. It also resulted in a few cryptic and sometimes amusing comments. I was informed in no uncertain terms that it was completely unacceptable to include a grandfather’s clock in a SF story.

My opening got dinged for a long list of reasons including:
  • passive verb
  • too much technology
  • not enough technology
  • self-consciously geeky technology (Ha! Love it.)
  • clunky dialogue
  • didn’t like character's nickname
  • not enough backstory
  • too much backstory
  • didn't like the last sentence
  • too much foreshadowing
  • telekinetics should be spelled telekinesis (two different things)
  • Too much romance chat for SF (the battle rages on)
  • and doesn't want to read about character’s relationship problems in SF 
So now that all of my writerly faults have been laid bare, let me reclaim my dignity by announcing ten critiquers read all the way to the close. (Hey, that means I just got ten requests. Woot!) It was a great illustration of how subjective each reader’s and/or professional’s reactions can be. Although not all feedback I received was helpful, I learned a lot and it gave me some great insights on what does and doesn’t hook a reader (or an editor) when they begin a story.

I also had my shot at the slush pile. My biggest reason for stopping was that a submission was so wordy it took five sentences to say something that should have taken only a few words.  (Don't throw tomatoes!  I took voice, tone, style and genre into consideration.) My second most frequent reason was a failure to connect with the character/s.

Beginnings

So what does make for a great beginning? I'm going to be investigating that question in the next week. Unfortunately, I missed a timely presentation by the amazing Darynda Jones at my RWA chapter meeting on Saturday, but she was sweet enough to send me the handouts.  I also have a few promising web sites to investigate.  I hope to post more soon.

Friday, September 9, 2011

APOLLO 18: HOWLING AT THE MOON


According to history as we know it, there were 17 NASA Apollo missions to the moon, six of which, in the words of John F. Kennedy, “successfully land[ed] a man on the surface of the moon and return[ed] him to earth”. Scientifically, socially, politically and in every way possible, the moon missions were an outstanding success, despite their cost (which in today’s terms would be considered minimal). So why haven’t we been back?

Merely a case of “been there, done that”? The American public does have an appalling lack of attention span. What, more moon rocks? Ho-hum. Rising costs, poor administration, lack of presidential leadership and support, squabbling about priorities within NASA itself, all took their toll until today the U.S. space program is a moonshadow of its former self.

But what if there was a more sinister reason we never went back to the moon? What if the Russians, then we ourselves discovered a secret so terrifying it threatened any future manned exploration of our closest celestial neighbor? That’s the basis of APOLLO 18, a “mockumentary”-style film in theaters now. The premise, that an 18th Apollo mission was sent to the moon under the pretense of a satellite launch, the public, the astronauts and their families told literally nothing about the mission, is built with great seriousness from the opening seconds. Title credits appear on the screen claiming that the film was edited from actual NASA footage just made available through the Freedom of Information Act after so many years, blah, blah, blah. There are no actors’, director’s or any other credits. We are directed to a website, www.lunartruth.com for more details.

We’ve seen this kind of manipulation before, of course. THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT was the first major low-budget film to rake in the profits with a hand-held camera, no script and the illusion that this was REAL, guys! (I hated it. The camera work made me sea-sick and I kept yelling at the screen for the protagonists to follow the stream, not to cross it! Idiots!) Last year’s PARANORMAL ACTIVITY films did BLAIR WITCH one better by not even leaving the bedroom for their thrills and chills.

APOLLO 18 spent quite a bit more money to get the effect of the stark lunar surface, the distorted fish-eye camera angles we’re all used to seeing inside the tiny space capsules, and the important stuff when bad things start to happen. The result is both authentic enough to captivate and scary enough to make you jump out of your seat. That much I really enjoyed.

The problem I have with this style of movie-making is the seriousness with which the filmmakers take themselves. They never, never admit to the illusion they are creating. No, no, they say. It’s real. It really happened just this way! See—no credits! No actors! We have a website where we give you the facts!

Well, you know what? Bull! It’s a MOVIE! There was no Apollo 18. Moon rocks are just moon rocks. I’ve touched one, and it didn’t bite. But now thanks to this “reality film”, there will be idiots walking around who will think there were 18 Apollo missions and we stopped going to the moon because there are carnivorous rocks up there. Of course, they are the same ones who think the Blair witch is real and the PARANORMAL ACTIVITY films recorded real events.

And the bachelor really picks a wife on TV. Give me The Twilight Zone any day.

NOTE: Donna’s Journal will return next week.

Cheers, Donna

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Burning of Badjuju

It's time again for the annual tradition here on Spacefreighters Lounge.  The Burning of Badjuju.  No worries.  This isn't an act of violence, it's an celebration of overcoming adversity.  But let me explain...

In Santa Fe, New Mexico, there's an annual tradition of burning Zozobra. This ritual flaming of the "Old Man Gloom" effigy represents letting go of all the cares, disappointments and griefs that have accumulated in the past year. For weeks prior to the event, residents converge on the offices of the Santa Fe Reporter to leave artifacts of their troubles. The monstrous puppet is then stuffed with these notes, documents, photos, legal papers, and other representations of aggravation and set ablaze before a crowd of thousands.


Last year, we created our own version of Zozobra for writers coming up with the name "Badjuju" for our version.

Today, we're building our Badjuju to torch this weekend. Help us stuff our "Writer's Old Man Trouble" with your rejection slips, deep-sixed manuscripts, misguided reviews, low contest scores, delusional judge's comments, and other worries and woes so you can watch them go up in a blaze of glory.

For the sake of nostalgia, let's see what some of last years' Badjuju participants tossed into the heap.

From Sharon Lynn Fisher:  "That feeling of being left behind when it seems like everyone around you is selling!"  Hmm, Sharon has since sold to Tor in a two book deal. Torching Badjuju sure worked for her.

Donna Frelick also had some items to add, among them "Somewhere around 3000 extraneous words from both of my current manuscripts--if I could only figure out which ones!"  If I'm right, Donna has more than succeeded in her goal and garnered a few contest finals and wins along the way.  Maybe there's something to this Badjuju thing?

We had other items thrown into the pyre by Pauline Baird Jones, Lisa Paitz Spindler, Lisa Lane, Jaleta Clegg, Frances Pauli, and Sandra Stixrude.  Read what they had to contribute in last year's event.  Then join in the fun. 

What would you stuff into Badjuju?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Returning to Another World

Laurie's Journal

My crazy crunch time at work is finally over, and I can now return from my world of projections, strategic plans and expenditure analyses to spend more time in my favorite place--my writing universe.

*happy, happy dance* 

I'm also returning to a planet I left behind four years ago when I shelved a favorite project in favor of two manuscripts I thought might be more marketable. (In hindsight, that was probably a big mistake, but you know the saying about hindsight and visual acuity).

Reopening Katrina's story is like a homecoming of sorts. Sometimes you can go back again...at least in the fictional world...and this realm and its characters will always hold a special place in my heart.

Let me share a little story behind the story.

In the mid-90's I was actively marketing several romance novels and I was getting requests, but as is the challenge in this business, no takers. I eventually got discouraged--extremely discouraged. In 1997, I strayed away from my trusty keyboard and the months became years, and the years soon turned into almost a decade. Meanwhile, I was distracted by a series of other pursuits including a business venture raising Thoroughbreds, a five-year stint as a reserve law enforcement officer, and a hold-down-the-fort battle (and it was a real battle at times) running a small ranch while my husband was on a series of deployments with the military for five years. During this time, my novels lay dormant on my computer, gathering the equivalent of electronic dust, and the yet-to-be-written stories still in my head receded into the dark places in my mind that seldom see the light of day.

Then, on a lonely Halloween night in 2006, I had an epiphany--and a lot of help getting back on track.

David was still on deployment and for some reason (call it karma) I was possessed to sit down and spend my evening watching a Lord of the Rings marathon. Funny thing about that. I detested those movies prior to that night. I found them long, dull and boring. But for some reason this particular night...I "got" them. The underlying themes spoke to me about mythic quests, perilous adventure and tests of the heart. And the themes weren't the only ones talking. The characters of this world--that long forgotten epic in my head--started whispering in my ear, tapping my shoulder and tugging on my shirttails. And they were very insistant.

They said, "If the world is ever going to know our story, you need to tell it...while there's still time."

A stroke of inspiration led me to sit down at my computer the next morning and start pounding away on the keys. Within a few months, I had written 90% of the first draft. All the while, I beat myself up for ever abandoning my writing. My God, I'd lost an entire decade! How could I have become so distracted? Why did I let so much precious time pass?

At RWA this year, a panel of well-known authors was asked if they had their careers to do all over again, what would they do differently. One replied that he'd have started writing much earlier. But Diane Gabaldon said something that really struck a chord with me. She said she wouldn't have had the life experience to write the books she'd written if she'd started earlier. Amen, sister.  And *lightbulb!*

Things happens for a reason.

To everything, there is a season. (Turn, turn, turn)

In that moment, I realized I hadn't finished this novel before now because I wasn't prepared to finish it. I no longer resent that decade as lost time. Now I'm grateful for it.

Although two other novels managed to bump this story out of line to be completed first, I've now returned to the world I love so well and the characters that are probably responsible for my second chance at a writing career. I've come home to Draxis, and this time, I'm bringing to the table a very valuable commodity that may have been lacking before--a whole lot of life experience.

Now...*drum roll please*...I have some great news to relate that provided me with a fresh burst of incentive. Draxis (under a working title) just finaled in its first contest! *\o/*

Now you'll have to excuse me because I really need to get back to work.  :)

(To be continued...) 

Friday, September 2, 2011

APOCALYPSE NOW OR LATER




A week after our brush with the apocalypse here in central Virginia, I am back at my keyboard with a grateful heart. My house is still standing, despite an earthquake, a major freak thunderstorm and a hurricane. I have electricity and drinkable water and drivable streets. There are a few trees down in my neighborhood, a few neighborhoods just getting the lights back on. But overall, Fredericksburg fared better than Louisa County (at the epicenter of the earthquake), Richmond, Virginia Beach or Cape Hatteras (lashed by winds and rain) and certainly better than dozens of little towns in Vermont (surprised by Irene’s floods).

Being of a Biblical turn of mind here in Virginia, we’re inclined to keep an eye on the horizon for a plague of locusts next, but perhaps things are back to normal, what with a tropical storm headed for the Gulf Coast and the earthquakes back where they belong in Alaska and California. We will definitely be watching the outcome of those acts of Mother Nature with a more heightened sense of sympathy now, though. In the face of the true power of this world—when the earth moves or the wind blows at a hundred miles an hour or the sea rises up and takes the shore—humankind has little more than faith, hope and a limited set of survival skills to rely on.

The question I have, in the midst of all this real destruction, is why one of the most popular sub-sub-genres of SFR and YA is post-apocalyptic fiction. Of course, the story set in a bleak future following the destruction of our current decadent society has been an SF staple from the establishment of the genre. And it certainly must have seemed that the “end of civilization” was near at other times in our history—during the Cold War, for example, with the threat of nuclear war hanging over our heads.

But as T.S. Eliot once said, “This is how the world ends, not with a bang, but with a whimper.” Today, in 2011, it really does seem as if we might be on the way out. In a slow crumble, as the temperatures rise and the ice caps melt and the oceans rage and the earth groans. Do I want to read a novel about it? Not really. Do I want to spend months writing one, putting all my emotions into it, living it day after day until it’s done, then selling it to others for them to enjoy? Hell, no. I actually have a story to tell about the end of the world as we know it, but the thought of living with it while I write it depresses hell out of me. It’s one thing to write to exorcise your demons. It’s quite another to draw a pentagram on the floor, burn a black candle and whisper incantations in the night, thinking you can manage whatever rushes into the room.

Think I’ll stick with torturing, slave-trading aliens, thank you very much. They may not sell, but they’re not nearly as scary.

Donna’s Journal

Discoveries
New authors, cool web sites, great workshops, great online sites!

The biggest obstacle to digital publishing is piracy, by which Internet thieves steal e-book files and offer them free through filesharing sites like rapidshare and megaupload. Now the Curtis Agency and E-Reads have collaborated on a program to find and take down pirated files, a program that will help not only Curtis Agency authors, but others as well.

The system, developed by Muso TNT, sends out “spiders” over the Internet to find unauthorized files, searching by author. The spiders store the files on a password-protected site for later inspection by the author, agent or publisher. If the files are found at an unauthorized site, one click sends the files to a site administrator, who issues a standard Digital Millennium Copyright Act and takedown procedures notice. http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifQuick and easy, even if chasing digital pirates is like playing Whack-a-Mole, as one commenter admitted in the back-and-forth that followed the article in E-Reads' blog.

E-Reads describes itself as “a trail-blazing reprinter of out-of-print genre and general fiction and nonfiction by leading authors.” Books are available in ebook and paperback format. The Curtis Agency is a well-known New York literary agency. Read the full article about the anti-piracy system at http://www.ereads.com.


Cheers,Donna