It seems that viewing faces of gay people is inappropriate according to Bing.
I was doing research for an article today and was surprised that I could not search the term "Male Gay Celebrities" with moderate search on. Not one single webpage was okay to view according to Bing. So I went to Google with the same settings and got several resources to do my article about men who are out of the closet in Hollywood. These sources were not racy, just news/gossip type sites. Not exactly what I would want my kids browsing on because of the gossip element, but there was no nudity or suggestive language.
So why does Bing think that just looking a gay man is inappropriate? I have had a long hate relationship with Bing from attempting to do research for papers in the past, their results are rarely relevant to any topic I am searching. I typically use it if I am on a computer that already has it as default, to search for Google and go from there.
Here is an image that may be too racy for Bing's standards.
For the hundredth blog post, Mathew Biggin is guest blogging about finding the courage to take the plunge. You can view his portfolio, and find out more about his work and world here.
Last week I had the great privilege of
travelling up to Finchley to attend a book launch and signing. The event marked
the debut novel of B.B. Vos (Ben), a charming and loquacious new author who was
kind enough to write a lovely message in my copy despite the fact we hadn't met
The night was a great achievement for him,
as he launched the book he'd toiled for so long over. It, like most books, was
a labour of love for Ben and was very personal to him as a man, as well as an
The book The Teeth of Beasts is a crime
fiction novel about Jewish gangsters in 1930's London and is hopefully the
first of many offerings from this new wunderkind.
Anyway, the whole event got me thinking
about how important it is as writers to follow our dreams. To follow through with
work. I'm as guilty as the next wordsmith of coming up with reams and reams of
ideas, but not following them through to fruition. I guess a lot of that comes
down to the fear factor. Writers, I suppose like most 'artists', are petrified
of failure, or at least perceived failure. It's easy to give up on something
before you've started, that way you never find out whether it is any good or
not - and more importantly, you never have to deal with people not liking it.
But as writers I think that it is important
not to be afraid of failure, and it's the same with all artists. Art is such a
subjective medium that it is impossible to create anything without some people
disliking it. You can't please everyone, but you can try to please the people
who matter, and that's what counts.
It reminds me of a quote by Jon Hamm of Mad
Men fame, who once prudently observed "It's not only acceptable to fail,
it's par for the course. You must fail in order to succeed." What a wise
old sage he is. But it's very true. Sometimes we just have to take a leap of
Which brings me back, forgive the segue, to
Ben. If Ben had given up, or been scared of failure, or wanted everyone to like
his work (particularly with how niche it is) then he would doubtless have been
scared away before he'd even started. At the very least I don't think he'd have
published it, he'd have kept it for his eyes only, hidden away from the world,
never risking showing it to anybody.
As writers I think we (and certainly I) can
learn a lot from Ben's example. He was not working as a writer at the time of
starting the novel, but he had the passion, bloody-mindedness and application
to nurture his idea and help it blossom from a tiny seed into a completed work
of fiction. More impressively still, it's written in a mixture of
Hebrew/Yiddish and English, but with a handy reference key for those (like me)
who don't read a jot of Hebrew/Yiddish.
Ben followed his dreams and he got his
reward, a completed work of art that he can be very proud of. Hopefully this
will inspire him to write the next and the next. That first step is always the
hardest, stepping out into the world, putting your balls on the line and taking
the plunge into the great unknown. So congratulations to Ben, he's accomplished
something many of us harbour aspirations of doing but are too afraid to take
that plunge. Let's follow Ben's lead and dive in to the pool.
I can not change the world with a word, or a million of them lined up in a clever way.
I am not sure if a million people can change it. But there needs to be a change. A simple yet drastic change ... as simple as Imagine By John Lennon, but as drastic as actually turning the song into a verb.
I think I just need to hide in a hole for a while, not watch the news, not know the terrible things in the world. Because knowing about it yet being helpless to change anything is too painful.
That tingly feeling you get when someone compliments your writing... Happened twice this week and I can feel my head swelling.
Then come the worries. Are they lying? Do they just pity me? Is it so bad that they can not say anything except nice things because...why bother?
The life of a neurotic writer...
I am appalled by Paula Dean losing her job over her use of the the N word. Not because I condone it, not because I am a fan of hers, this is not even about free speech, although free speech may be a good argument for not firing a woman who said something disagreeable off the air.
The reason this Paula Dean and Nigger controversy is so disgusting is because at the same time that she is being pursued for using a racial slur, people of all races make millions in the hip hop and movie industry calling women bitches, whores, referring to them as pussy and pieces of ass. These people are not condemned for these words, they make millions teaching these ideals to a younger generation.
In this country woman were not given the right to vote until after black men. Today it can easily be argued and proven that women of all races are held back, prosecuted, molested, and discriminated against as much as, or even more than black people.
So why the double standard? Why is yet another woman being punished for the same behavior that makes a man rich?
I makes me think of the expression, “If a man sleeps around he is a ladies man, if a woman does it she is a whore”- “If a man raps about bitches and pussy he makes his career and is idolized by millions, If a woman uses a slur term and it comes out she loses her career and has to make a public apology to millions.”
Being called a bitch, a whore, or nigger makes a person feel like less than human. Trust me I know this, I also know that when I was called a whore at 11 years old the male teacher did nothing. That same month a student got suspended for calling another a nigger. Women still do not matter, is the message being sent to girls everywhere when these things happen. Paula Dean should not lose her job unless every man who has ever made a dime by publicly dehumanizing women is prosecuted equally as she was for something said in private.
Tonight I am listening to Van Morrison on Pandora. He makes me feel melancholy. I want to be on a sail boat in the middle of a still ocean with the sky stretched out before me, stars brilliant, outline of the milky way clear. I want my children to be asleep in the cabin below me, and my honey dozing off next to me under the stars after we stay up half the night talking like we used to do. That is where want to be. So far away from the real world, far enough away to believe that maybe it is the dream and the only reality is my family the sea and the sky.
Doing research, keeping busy. Writing in Slip and doing some research about other cultures. Sometimes there are things about the world you can not unlearn and it changes you. I guess sometimes a person needs to change, to grow, but tonight it just hurts.
Thursday-Sunday Free this week only Green Light by Amanda Harris Kindle edition.
Download this weekend to read when you have a bit of leisure time.
After this weekend it will no longer be free so get it while you can. :)
And if you like it feel free to review it on Amazon and tell the world, If you don't Love it feel free to email me to tell me why very quietly. ;0)
How To Be Happy.... yeah right like I know. I am told that I always seem so cheerful, and I am because what is the point of being grumpy? But I can't say that I am happy all the time even though I am cheerful most of the time. That is not to say that I am sad, or even down.
A friend told me once that her mother told her that happiness was a bird that would come and visit sometimes then go away again, just to be grateful when it came. I agree with that. Life is full of moments of complete happiness, even joy. But it is not the status quo, nor should it be for how could we appreciate happiness if it never left?
Why am I up at 2:30 in the morning? Well I don't know. Since I am up why am I not writing? I don't know that either, I am studying up on stuff though. I guess I am eager to start on a new project tomorrow morning. I am collaborating with another writer and I will not get credit for the work, but I will get paid to write, and if I am going to write anyways getting paid would be nice. Yep. That is about it at two a.m.
I just finished The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. I initially loved it, during chapters one-six I could not put it down, then I wanted to toss it out of a moving vehicle at chapter seven. I spent the rest of the book looking for redemption for the main character. I don't know what to say. I hated the violence, the weakness of the main character, and the visual images I could not shake after some of the chapters. On the other hand, I plan on reading more of Khaled Hosseini's books. I actually do not recommend this book to anyone unless they are a bit tougher than me. It was beautifully written but to be honest there are just some things I cannot handle knowing about the world.
“It’s like somebody took knife, edgy and dull and cut a six inch gash in the middle of my soul.” I’m On Fire- Bruce Springsteen. I love that song, that saying. It feels that way to me sometimes, like my soul is gashed. I don’t know what causes this displacement of feelings, this spiritual torn in half horrible feeling, I just know that sometimes it happens.
I love songs or even out of context lines from songs that get my mood. The rest of the song is pretty good as well, but that line I love.
I would post a link to the video, but I find the video to be horribly tacky. The song is about lust. The video is about lust between a married rich women and her mechanic. I am sorry if I am old fashioned but a romance between a married women and someone other than her husband is just gross. Love or lust or whatever should not involve a spouse who is left at home, torn in half. Love should not involve hurting someone and breaking vows. Even in my fantasies I cannot muster the idea of stepping outside of my marriage.
Although this may be because my wildest fantasies are pretty boring. Most of the time I daydream that my husband and I find ourselves separated due to some horrible *but not too horrible*fate, like he gets lost at sea on a comfortable desert island for a few months. Meanwhile, in his absence I somehow manage to get super fit, and super hot, sell my novel to a huge publishing house and buy a home by the sea, which I manage to keep perfectly stylish and pristine. When he returns from his voyage, I am so overjoyed to see him that I never take him for granted again, and he in turn sees that without him, I have my life in perfect order and he respects me for the wonder that I am. Sure, there are a few steamy momentswhen he first returns from his island, but I will keep them to myself. So there you have it, my wildest fantasy involves Architecture and Martha Stewart paint…
So I am up at midnight, the house is silent and dark. Everyone has been kissed, hugged, and snugglebugged. It is just me and the soft glow of my computer. I am editing Slip, and I come to the scene where the little girl is huddled in a small closet as her captor makes his way down the hall to her and the doornob rattles. Suddenly I find I am not so comfortable editing in a dark house at midnight. It seems that I should be over being able to scare myself. But I guess I am just a kid at heart.
This is not the first time I found I had to stop writing because of fear, the other time was when I was working on 13 Months and the main character dragged me through a swamp at midnight. Somehow this feels even creepier because the monsters in a swamp pale in comparison to what humans can do to eachother.
So now the lights are on, and I think I am going to wrap up the editing for the night.
I am super excited about getting Slip done. I have really enjoyed writing it and can't wait for some feedback from my readers. I think I will post the first page soon.
"It is easy to look at the choices of another person and think, “I would not have done that.” And you will be telling yourself the truth. YOU would not have done that if you were her, you with your unique set of life experiences would have made a different choice in her place, but if you truly were her, not some “walk a mile in her shoes” cliché but with only her life to draw from it is likely you (yes even you) would have made the same mistakes exactly. A slider knows this, and in this one way we are better equipped to deal with diversity than the rest of the world. Sometimes I think it is the only way. " -Miranda (Main Character of "Slip")
American Honey. I love that song. :) And I love our
bees because two or three times a year we get yummy honey. This is a fall batch compared to a summer batch. The difference in shade is due to the flowers available at different times of year. There is a subtle taste difference as well.
“All men fear death. It’s a natural fear that consumes us all. We fear death because we feel that we haven’t loved well enough or loved at all, which ultimately are one and the same. However, when you make love with a truly great woman, one that deserves the utmost respect in this world and one that makes you feel truly powerful, that fear of death completely disappears. Because when you are sharing your body and heart with a great woman the world fades away.
You two are the only ones in the entire universe. You conquer what most lesser men have never conquered before, you have conquered a great woman’s heart, the most vulnerable thing she can offer to another. Death no longer lingers in the mind. Fear no longer clouds your heart. Only passion for living, and for loving, become your sole reality. This is no easy task for it takes insurmountable courage.
But remember this, for that moment when you are making love with a woman of true greatness you will feel immortal.” — Ernest Hemmingway
Sometimes even if is seems clear, it still needs to be said. Don't forget to write. Every day. Please. If you are going to try to become a published author, you have to write. I am guilty of this too, I will write for some other website, or for school, or my blog, but not work on my own novel. The one thing that I actually enjoy will fall to between the cracks of so many other things that need to be done. Even if your only doing a page a day, don't forget to do it. Show up! Do if for you, because no one else can get that story that is locked up inside of you out. So get to work.
I have never been out of Miami. Until I was seven I lived in a hundred year old house by the sea. Then my Mom died and I was swept into the penthouse at the top of Daddy’s downtown skyscraper. I have lived at the top of this tower for eleven years.
Two of the walls in my room are made of glass. When I was a small girl I used to pretend that I was a princess, high over the ocean, preparing for the day when the sea creatures would crown me their Queen. A prince charming never came in to play in these fantasies. I never felt the need to be saved, even if I was a lonely princess high in a tower.
Dad hired Lorelei to take care of me. She was only fourteen when she came to us, twice my age but still too young. She had trouble with human languages, but she was well versed in the magic, and Brazilian jujitsu. My Dad saw her as a natural fit as a nanny/body guard/ best friend/ Mother figure. Dad always treated her like another daughter and most people thought she was my sister. She taught me the ancient words that have been lost even by the Folk, and each and every day without exception she and I spar until one of us is flat on our back or broken.
Today I have finals in my third semester at University of Miami yet she still challenges me to a fight. At twenty-five she is stronger than she was when she began training me all those years ago. But I have come a long way from the lonely seven year old motherless child, who would tap out crying within ten minutes of each session.
“C’mon Morgan, you’re getting soft on me.”
Lorelei moved around me in a blur but I reached out my hand and easily found her hand, applying the right amount of pressure until I heard the satisfying ‘pop’ of the dislocation of her wrist. Lorelei grinned at me with an unmistakable sparkle in her eye and bowed to show that I won this round. I turned my back on her and walked out of the room.
“Good luck on your finals Morgan,” She called as I shut the door to the training room behind me.
Each day I need sun. It is not just because I am a Miami girl. I literally need the sun to recharge me. On my way to the roof my Dad tracked me down.
“Morgan, next time try to cut Lorelei some slack.”
“Dad you know she heals in like five minutes, and she would not let me leave until I’ve proven myself,” I pouted just a bit when I replied.
“That is not the point” he called behind me as I continued up the stairs.
I admit that I felt a little pride at being told to go easy on the same person who nailed me to the ground so many times I could not count. But I could not let Dad see that.
“Good luck on finals,” He called as the door to the roof sealed shut behind me.
I started an Author page on Facebook.
I love the writing, and even the editing, but the marketing? Not so much. But I need to figure it out and I have been told that Facebook is the place to start for networking. So here is the link: Amanda Harris "Like" me if you would like. ;)
Iris Johanson's Bonnie will be released in a month. I don't remember the last time I was so eager for a book release. If anyone is looking for a new author and have not tried Iris Johanson, her thrillers are addictive. I will put down anything and everything when I find her books. Her character Eve Duncan is a forensic sculptor (the best in the country) who is fueled by her own personal tragedy. The new book Bonnie is supposed to answer all the questions that the reader has from reading the rest of the Eve Duncan books. If you browsing for a new author or if you already love Iris Johanson be sure to finish up the Eve Duncan series for when Bonnie is released in October.
The first Eve Duncan book is:
There are many in between, and Bonnie is coming out in October!
I have switched schools, and majors. This is exciting for me for many reasons, the least of which being the fact that I have eight glorious weeks off. During my eight weeks I plan to write, write, and write! Without regard to perfection, and even if my muse is lazy. Real writers write regardless of how they feel. I am so happy to be able to do this. I still have a lot on my plate with the kids but I will use this time wisely because it really is a gift. At the end of the eight weeks I am finishing my last bit of school up for my AA. Then starting on my BA in Psychology. I decided to switch because a degree in English, or a liberal arts degree is a very limited degree. I will have all the knowledge with a Psychology degree that I would have with an English or Liberal Arts degree, yet I will be able to get a job with out any additional certification, whereas if I stayed on my original path I would have had to get additional certification before searching for employment anywhere. I think I will enjoy studying how the mind works, and human nature, I think it will give me a greater ability at character development and I am looking forward to the classes I will take. But for now I am taking the next eight weeks to wholeheartedly pursue my original dream of being an author, before life gets so busy with school again that it goes to the back burner.
It has been two months since I have been here. A few times I sat down with something to say, but deleted it all because it is not something I would want to read. My life has been pretty normal lately. Just finished my summer courses with all A's, I am enduring the Florida August, and dreading the fall semester to the point that I am tempted to skip it. But considering I started college about seven years later than everyone else, I really can not afford to skip a semester. But the burn out I am facing, and the book I am trying to write, make me feel like I cannot afford not to.
Meanwhile I will keep trying to improve my grammar, because a dear friend, and a book critic, both informed me that it could use a bit of work. I am eager to get one of the projects i am working on done and I know that when school starts it will grind to a halt... but still I am somewhat excited about learning Biology, Spanish, Math, and Magazine Writing in the fall.... somewhat.
I need to take my own advice. I think it to myself often, I tell my kids, I tell my writer friends... Just let go of trying to be perfect. Show up do your best and worry about the rest later.
I have not been taking my own advice. In fact I have been terrified to write for a while now. Why? I dunno, I guess because I am a perfectionist. But I don't let my kids wad up their work when they make a mistake. I don't let them quit because it is hard and they feel small to the task. So why have I let my fear cripple me?
I dunno. But on that note I am going to bed. I know... I know it would more inspirational to say on that note I am starting on my book as soon as I am done with this post, but I have a ton of homework to do tomorrow and the kids are having a sleep over tonight at my house so I need to rest at twelve thirty a.m.
Tomorrow, though... tomorrow I will let go of the fear and I will just do it... or some other cliche ... whatever.
Rejections, bad reviews, bad days, writers block,low to no pay. Life won't go on hold so I can perfect my writing, and there don't seem to be a great deal of encouragement these days. I will keep on and cheer up soon. Today though... I just want to give up.
Anna Nicole Smith makes me ..... Hungry?So I bought a stack of magazines from the thrift store, I was reading through a 2002 article with Anna Nicole Smith and reporter describes how she insisted he eat her jalapeno stuffed olives, and then follow them up with lemon soaked pickles. I can't get the combination out of my mind. I was never a fan of her, but after tasting the jalapeno olives... maybe she should have had a food network show. And the lemon soaked pickles? I have not been brave enough yet, not sure my taste buds could withstand such horror Nirvana. :)
I gave blood today. Not sure why they insist on using such big a** needles. I guess so the blood flows faster. I was focused on my daughter so I did not notice the needle till after the deed was done. This is a good thing. Now I have a big comfy t-shirt to show for my effort. Yep.
I really wanted to spend the summer writing... But NO I had to take summer classes... In such a hurry to Graduate........... WHY???? So I can be qualified to write? I am not sure this is leading me there. In fact I am pretty sure that all of my college classes combined did not help my writing as much as when I just sat down each day and forced myself to write, then edit edit edit. I am getting a little burned out and cynical about college all together.