Let us think of Boston

Hi, peeps. Horrific day.

I’ve seen some of the video and a lot of images circulating online of the terrible events unfolding in Boston today. Many were graphic. Others showed the sidewalks after people had been taken away, deserted and stained with blood. Reports on the news emanating from area hospitals speak of limb losses, amputations, and shrapnel. Some people lost their limbs at the scene. Two people — including an 8-year-old child — have died thus far. One hundred thirteen, some reports say, are hospitalized. Something like twenty of those are in critical condition.

I went back and looked at some of the images and video again. I don’t know why. Maybe some macabre need to feel connected to my fellow humans in this time of grief and distress. The second time, I saw something more than the wounds, the damage, the bloody sidewalks. I saw dozens of first responders, dozens of police officers and military personnel engaged in helping and treating the wounded. I saw many regular citizens also helping, and these helpers running right into the carnage to do what needed to be done and lend aid where they could. And I’m hearing stories now about how thousands of local people have offered others places to stay in the wake of this terrible, terrible event.

I’m holding on to that, because I don’t know what else to do or how else to process.

To help, here are some online resources:
NPR offers some links

MSNBC offers some links to help, as well.

The Red Cross is taking donations. You can also text a $10 donation to them at 90999.

Google has set up a person finder site.

Boston officials have a phone number for people to call if they’re looking for information about loved ones: 617-635-4500. Please don’t call it unless you really are looking for a loved one in the Boston area.

The Boston Globe has set up a site for people in Boston willing to put people up for the night.

It also has a site for people who need a place to stay.

For those place to stay links, please don’t use them unless you are actually in the Boston area. Keep the links free for those who really need them. Thanks. Keep in mind cell phone service is touch and go right now because everybody is trying to get through to everybody else in the area. If you’re in the area, stick to texting or emailing (if you can). Keep your fellow humans in your thoughts, friends. We need all kinds of love and healing right now.

Cancer doesn’t care.

Hi, all.

I wanted to take this time to say a few things about something that’s been weighing on my mind. As a writer, I tend to express myself in that medium, about a great many things. Here, I have something to say about a topic that is particularly relevant (it’s been all over the news) in general, but also to me personally.

Breast cancer sucks. I say that as someone who has known women (and one man) who has battled it, as someone who knew someone who lost her battle with it, and as someone who is currently personally affected by it. That said, I’m fortunate. Mine was caught early. It was non-invasive and stage 0.

So I know what organizations and foundations can do to help people who battle cancer. I’m also incredibly fortunate because I have health insurance, and in America, which is supposedly one of the greatest nations in the world, a third of the people in our country cannot afford health insurance. So they have to rely on organizations and foundations to provide low-cost healthcare and screenings, in hopes that diseases like cancer are caught early and can be treated before they’ve progressed.

But there’s a more important message here.

Continue reading

Something that doesn’t sit well with me

Hi, folks–

Took a little hiatus there. Hope everyone’s well. A writer colleague of mine sent me the link to this article, and it kind of irritated me. No, not the fact that my colleague sent me the article. THAT didn’t irritate me The topic of the article did.

It’s from The Telegraph in the UK and it’s titled “E-books drive older women to digital piracy.”

And I started gnashing my teeth before I even read it. Why? Because book and music piracy is totally not cool. It’s just not. It’s not only unethical, but it’s theft. Plain and simple. Here’s my take on it.

And here’s a quote from the article:

One in eight women over 35 who own such devices admit to having downloaded an unlicensed e-book.
That compares to just one in 20 women over 35 who admit to having engaged in digital music piracy.
News that a group formerly unwilling to infringe copyright are changing their behaviour as e-books take off will worry publishing executives, who fear they could suffer similar a similar fate to the record labels that have struggled to replace lost physical sales.
The picture across the entire e-reader and tablet markets is even more troubling for the publishing industry. Some 29 per cent of e-reader owners of both genders and all ages admit piracy. For tablets the figure rises to 36 per cent.


That’s pretty unsettling. And disappointing, especially if you’re a writer. As an individual, I choose not to rip people off, and I choose to pay artists and writers for the work they produce, as well as support the industries that publish them. Now, I also support libraries and ebook libraries. Here’s why. That’s a whole other issue. The point is, I’m bummed that technology has, in a weird way, created new pirates. Or perhaps that people have allowed themselves to be lured into it. I’m all for ebooks and ebook readers. But it does make me sad that people use the power of technology for not-so-nice things. Double-edged sword, technology.

Anyway, hope you’re getting through your post-Rapture depression. 8)

Bummerific: A Different Light fades to black

I’m not pleased at all to report that A Different Light Bookstore in San Francisco is closing its doors.

Source: The Edge, Boston

Different Light was the oldest and probably among the most beloved LGBT bookstores — nay, institutions — in the country. It opened in 1979 and has been a beacon for thousands of people since then, an iconic Castro bookstore at which prominent members of the LGBT gay literati would gather and do readings (like Armisted Maupin, for example).

Last year, owner Bill Barker told The Bay Citizen that the store was struggling financially and that digital innovations like the Kindle had hurt in-store sales.

It’s not just a store’s closing that hurts. It’s the loss of another place where LGBT people could go and be accepted, to feel safe for a while in the company of people who also identified as LGBT, and to be surrounded by books written by and for LGBT audiences. A Different Light wasn’t just a bookstore. It was a salon, a safe zone, a focal point for community, a meeting place, and a part of the tapestry that makes up the LGBT experience in this country. I’m already mourning.

Please, support your local independent booksellers, no matter how you identify.

Happy reading.

Sometimes pirates are so. not. cool.

Rant originally posted August 3, 2010 at andimarquette.com.

Hi, folks.

On June 28, 2010, a copy of one of my books was uploaded to a website that doesn’t do much by way of policing its users. That upload may have cost my publisher and me quite a few sales, because other users most likely downloaded it. My book wasn’t the only one there. I saw several titles by colleagues and I spent a lot of time alerting them and the publishers about what was going on in this dark corner of the web.

Here’s the thing. If you make unauthorized copies of something and then distribute it online, you are stealing. If you do not have written permission from the rights-holder(s) of that work to make reproductions and distribute it, you are engaging in theft and copyright infringement. If you are downloading pirated copies of stolen work, you are a thief, too.

This particular part of this particular site is geared toward lesfic readers. It’s also home to several users that I and a bunch of my colleagues are watching. A few of them are busy little pirates, and have over a hundred illegally reproduced and uploaded titles that they distribute to whomever wants them. A few are so out of bounds that they actually request a donation from downloaders. That’s right. They are making money off a book they did not write, they did not edit, they did not produce, they did not publish, they did not market, and whose copyright they are violating. That’s like coming into my house, picking up my wallet, taking part of my paycheck, and leaving.

Now, I don’t mind if people buy one of my books and share it with a few real friends. And I have been known to send free copies of my books to people I know who are having a harder financial time than I am, and who I know would buy that book if they could. So yes, pass it around among 3 or 4 of your friends. Talk about it. Recommend it. Enjoy it.

But don’t steal it. If you take that book, scan it, and post it online so dozens, hundreds, maybe thousands of people can read it, you have taken a lot of money away from my publisher and from me, and by extension, you’ve impacted your fellow readers who are supporting us by buying our work. Because if that publisher isn’t getting paid, she can’t stay in business.

This is lesfic we’re talking about. It ain’t a big community. Many readers meet their fave authors in person, as well as their fave publishers. For every hundred books that are downloaded for free, that’s a bill I’m going to have a hard time paying. Some of you may know my dog, Taylor. If not, you can find her on Facebook and find out some of the medical issues she has. Some of you probably have pets yourselves. My royalties–which aren’t much, because this is a small, select audience–help pay for her medicine. I don’t have kids. Taylor’s the closest thing I’ve got to that.

Every book you steal from me affects her, as well.

My royalties also help pay my rent. I’m extremely grateful that I get those royalties, because if I have any left over, they go into an emergency account.

Every book you steal from me diminishes my emergency account. And in this day and age, every bit you save is important.

My royalties also help pay for transportation to get me to work. I have to work. But I’m not making anything even close to a six-figure salary. I’m barely scraping by, like most of you.

Every book you steal from me means I scrape harder. I count on those royalties to help me with certain bills. But every book you steal leaves me tightening my belt a little more. And certain things, like Taylor, come first in my world. So do family emergencies. And sometimes there are car situations. Or plumbing problems. Like any of the many things that can crop up.

Every book you steal from me hits me where it hurts.

I, like 99 percent of my fellow authors, work a full-time day job. I try to make a lot of stuff available for free online for readers. There are also many, many sites that offer even novels that authors post–with permission–for people to see, read, enjoy, and share. But published works are a direct result of many people working to produce something. Producers work hard. And I, personally, think that paying producers for their hard work is a reasonable thing to do. It shows you support our missions, you support the publishers who are making lesfic available to you, and you would like to keep that author writing.

Every book you steal from me ensures that my publisher doesn’t get paid, I don’t get paid, and other readers suffer because without money to keep the publishers going, they can’t pay the producers, either, and thus another resource may tank.

Every book you steal from me screws us all.