Sep. 17th, 2013

Fan Fiction Fan (a documentary memoir of the electronic publishing revolution in gay genre fiction)


Cover for 'Fan Fiction Fan'



A decade before e-books and self-publishing shook up the publishing industry, an author faced a dilemma: When you've written stories in a genre that is rarely published, what do you do?

At the beginning of 2002, Dusk Peterson (a journalist, history writer, and aspiring professional novelist) stumbled across the fan fiction community, where tens of thousands of readers and writers enjoyed gay genre fiction, which publishers rarely published.

Peterson's Muse didn't want to write fan fiction. That didn't matter. Gleefully, Peterson began posting male/male stories with original fantasy settings and characters to "slash" fan fiction e-mail lists, at the same plunging into fanficcers' world of online fiction, "songvids," conventions, celebrations of movie premieres, and endless discussions of literature, history, sexuality, and ethics. In the process, Peterson became part of a community that was taking advantage of the Internet's power in order to distribute stories, art, and videos that couldn't be professionally published.

This first volume in the Pixel-Stained series includes reminiscences, stories, and art from yaoi author/artist mdbl; Steve Berman, founder of the gay and lesbian speculative fiction publishing company Lethe Press; J. M. Snyder, founder of the queer fiction press JMS Books; and m/m romance author Emily Veinglory.
 

About the series:

The president of a speculative fiction organization once described writers who post their works on the Internet as "pixel-stained technopeasant wretches." The Pixel-Stained series publishes Peterson's memoirs in the form of e-mail, posts, and other documents. These accounts depict life at several electronic literature communities connected with gay genre fiction, as witnessed from the inside of those communities. Many members of these communities were pioneers in popularizing electronic publication, paving the way for the e-book revolution and the massive wave of self-publishing.

Depicting the rise of blogging, social networking, web fiction, e-zines, e-books, and print-on-demand publishing, this memoir series shows how readers and writers in the twenty-first century have used computer technology to reshape culture and society.
 

Volume One contents:

0 | Introduction.

1 | Stumbling Across the Fan Fiction Community, and Diving in Headfirst.

Interlude & fiction | Tropes. With excerpts from The Fool, Life Prison, and Tops and Sops.

2 | Discovering the Joys of Fan Mail and Cons.

Interlude & art | Headers. With an illustration.

3 | Warnings and Websites.

Interlude & art | What Was Happening in the World of Original Yaoi Publishing during 2002. By mdbl, founder of Private Parlor. With illustrations.

4 | A New "Star Wars" Film Comes Out, and the Fanficcers Go Wild.

Interlude & fiction | What Was Happening in the World of Gay Speculative Fiction Publishing during 2002. By Steve Berman, founder of Lethe Press. With a story from Trysts.

5 | Discussions of Litslash and Disabilities.

Interlude & fiction | What Was Happening in the World of Original Slash Publishing during 2002. By J.M. Snyder, founder of JMS Books. With an excerpt from Operation Starseed.

6 | The World of Darkfic is Explored.

Interlude & fiction | What Was Happening in the World of M/M Romance Publishing during 2004. By Emily Veinglory, m/m romance author. With an excerpt from Alas, the Red Dragon.

7 | Grumbles About the Lack of Original Slash, Mere Days Before That Subgenre Takes Off.


Excerpt

Resurfacing
E-mail to Jedi Clara, March 2002

This doesn't seem to be my year for computers. First, my computer crashed in January for the fourth time in six months (I've been putting off taking it in for repair since then, as it involved two six-hour round trips). Then my backup computer (which had been showing signs of wanting to go belly-up) died a few days ago. Then when I checked my backup backup computer (won't do anything but word processing), I found that its disk drive was no longer working. So I've resorted to my backup backup backup computer (yes, we have a lot of half-functioning computers in this house), whose mouse won't work.

Fortunately, my family member's computer (now renamed Old Reliable) is still working. Equally fortunately, the choking sounds my backup computer was making (multiple error messages) caused me to be backing up hourly any file I worked on – I'd just finished backing up on disk a scene I'd written when the computer went, "Pop!"

So the only thing I lost that's a pain to reconstruct is my last letter to you. I'd written a lengthy letter that was along the lines of "OH MY GOD, THE PHANTOM MENACE ZINE ARRIVED, IT'S SO ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS, I'M ABOUT TO HAVE A HEART ATTACK, YOU'RE AN UTTER SWEETHEART TO SEND ME THIS, KISS KISS KISS—" and as you can imagine, it's a bit hard to reconstruct that type of letter.

I've spent the last couple of days working on what was supposed to be my first PWP [First Time], but my characters decided to get all chatty on me. I can't figure out why my characters get the yen to stop in the middle of having hot sex in order to discuss the moral implications of what they're doing. I certainly never did anything stupid like that. (Alas.) To make matters worse, my protagonist declared that we weren't going to write about my sexual fantasies; we were going to write about his sexual fantasies. And since I find his tastes a bit squickish (whatever other problems I may have, I am not into strappadoes), I ended up discovering that erotica is not a genre I'm good at writing. My characters are too darn bossy.

Mind you, I had other problems with sticking to erotica as well. I remember when I first started reading slash erotica; it seemed to me to bear as much resemblance to real sex as cotton candy does to real food. Wonderfully sweet, but oh my goodness . . . Slash characters never have problems getting aroused. They never have to stop to argue over what type of furniture they should use for the positions they want. They never make costly errors in bed and have to beg their partner for forgiveness. And they never have to get into a cold car at three a.m. in order to drive five miles to the nearest open drugstore to buy the right supplies.

So you know the convention for First Time stories? Two pages of agonizing over whether to go to bed together, followed by ten pages of blissful sex? Well, I've turned the convention on its head and suggested that the real agonies of First Time encounters are most likely to occur in bed.

Just writing a realistic "Where the hell are we going to find lubricant at this time of night?" scene did me good.

Having thrown my characters into each other's arms and let them drone on about sexual ethics to their hearts' content, I've now sternly told them, "You're going to engage in a little action next time, damn it," and have sent them off to hell. Literally. That's what they get for foolin' with the Boss.
 

Available as a DRM-free multiformat e-book (epub, html, mobi/Kindle, pdf, doc): Fan Fiction Fan.

Jul. 10th, 2013

Pro-Gay and Ex-Gay Christians – Is There Room for Dialogue? (Narrative Nonfiction)


Cover for 'Pro-Gay and Ex-Gay Christians - Is There Room for Dialogue?'



"Two American Anglicans would watch the events of July 1997 and be stunned by what happened. Both knew that Anglican attitudes toward homosexuality would shape the lives of people like themselves. Both believed that the decisions of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion could result in more heartbreak and tragedy in the lives of same-gender-attracted people, or else the decisions could bring those same people to spiritual fulfillment and the peace of God. One of the Anglicans was a leader in a gay ministry. The other was the leader of an ex-gay ministry."

In the late 1990s, most Christian denominations and other faiths remained deeply divided on the issue of homosexuality and related topics, such as gender roles. This collection of narratives and traditional news articles looks back at that tumultuous period, when Christians around the world engaged in battles and occasional dialogue in an attempt to determine the future of the Christian Church.

This 30,000-word collection is part of the Narrative Nonfiction series, providing narratives and other nonfiction about religion, literature, gender, sexuality, and other topics.


Excerpt

 Maggie Heineman was tired of moles. As a Philadelphia member of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), she was taking part in the Marriage Mailing List, an e-mail list for people advocating the right for gay people to marry; Ms. Heineman had a gay child, so this was a matter of personal interest to her. She knew, though, that another, less sympathetic person was "lurking on the marriage list," as she put it: Robert R. Larimer, Jr., the chairman of Washington for Traditional Values. Fuming, she sent an open letter in May 1996 through the list, asking Mr. Larimer to read a speech by Mitzi Henderson of PFLAG, "Bridges of Respect." Ms. Heineman quoted Ms. Henderson as saying, "I am not recommending that we give up one iota of commitment, but I am reminding us that we must continue to share our humanity with those with whom we disagree, and invite them to do the same. Only then will we be able to enter a real dialogue."

Dialogue with the enemy, though, seemed highly unlikely. Still unsettled over this incident, Ms. Heineman turned her attention to the mailing list for which she was Webmaster, an unofficial PFLAG discussion list. In doing so, her attention was caught by a message posted by a new member of the list, an Ontario resident named Steve Calverley. He was responding to an earlier posting by someone who had said that they had never known of any gay person who "went str8." Mr. Calverley wrote:
 

I know too much from my own experience to let that pass without comment.

I certainly don't dispute that Deb has not previously met anyone that meets that description but it has actually been my own life experience.

For fifteen years (from about age 17) I self identified as gay and was "out" for ten of them. I was in three gay relationships, the longest of which was 3-1/2 years. I was fully "out", serving a term on the board of Gays for Equality (Mississauga), played ball on the Cabbagetown Gay Softball League (1981), and, well, what else can I say. I really was there.

Seven (plus) years ago through a process that I wasn't even looking for before it began, I found myself leaving it behind. Once I understood that I was actually headed out (of the gay lifestyle) I began to actively pursue it. As a result, I left it behind and I'm very happily married now and have (finally) found what feels to me like real freedom and peace within myself.

 It really is possible.



After this confounding announcement, more correspondence followed between Mr. Calverley and the other members of the list. Then, in Ms. Heineman's eyes, Mr. Calverley dropped the ball; he mentioned that he had read Mitzi Henderson's speech. Now Ms. Heineman knew what she was dealing with: a spy sent to infiltrate the PFLAG list.
 

Available as a multiformat e-book (epub, html, mobi/Kindle, pdf, doc): Pro-Gay and Ex-Gay Christians – Is There Room for Dialogue? Narratives and News on Christianity and Homosexuality during the 1990s

Jun. 26th, 2013

New interview

I'm quoted in this new article mentioning John Preston (toward the end of the article).

Jan. 4th, 2012

Daily life: I've been gifted with Eternal Dungeon fanfic! And Three Lands fan art!

"Because you were talking about being new and everything, I am sort of trying to nurture your posting process and draw you out the way people were nice enough to do to me when I was new and terrifed, so you keep posting forever and ever and ever . . .

"(only unfortunately my version of subtle nurturing and tactful drawing-out is 'OMFG C'MERE EVERYBODY COME LOOK AT THIS OMG SQUEE!!')"

--Maculategiraffe to fellow writer Mydonald.


How I reply to comments at this blog (usually).


First the dull stuff:

What I did for my Muse recently )
My New Year's resolutions )

And now the really good stuff:

Links related to my writings: fanfic, fan art, reviews, and a new essay by me )

Sorry, guys, I'm still catching up on replying to your comments. I decided to post this now, rather than make you wait forever.

Sep. 18th, 2010

NONFIC: Article on m/m writers of BDSM fiction

An article of mine on BDSM fiction by original slash writers and m/m writers appears in this month's issue of The Leather Times, published by the Leather Archives & Museum. The article summarizes the rise of slash and m/m, and it gives brief introductions to the writings of three authors: Maculategiraffe, Manna Francis, and Syd McGinley. (I was under space constraints; otherwise, the list would have been much longer.) There's also a brief quote from Nigel Puerasch.

I wrote and submitted this article last year, before the current kerfuffle over the genders of writers in the m/m community. Being of a nonstandard gender myself, I've naturally been interested in the gender issues that arise in the original slash and m/m communities. However, I'd like to think that my approach in this article to the subject of m/m writers' genders is a tad bit more sophisticated than some of the recent journalistic approaches.

HTML version of the article at my Website.

PDF version of the article within The Leather Times.
The Leather Times index.
Leather Archives & Museum warning page.

(The last page of the issue contains small pictures of hunks from the waist up; otherwise, all artwork in the issue is worksafe. As opposed to the text, which ain't.)

The remaining contents of this issue of The Leather Times are interesting: an article on queer BDSM in Ancient Greece, as well as an article on the controversy over a gay leather column in The Advocate in 1969. If you're not familiar with The Leather Times, it's worth a peruse if you're interested in BDSM history, especially gay BDSM history; every issue contains articles on that topic.

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