Monday, 31 May 2010

Thoughts on copyright violation, piracy and illegal downloads

I have been engaged in a few discusions lately on these topics and one question keeps rasing its ugly head.

Who is hurt by copyright violation, piracy and illegal downloads?

Many people, mostly the reprobates that run the dishonest download sites, say no one. They are wrong. The artists, musicians and writers are hurt.
Of course, the pirates don’t want you to think about that because they are making too much money off their website membership subscriptions and advertising. They don’t want you to think about the human beings who created that art, music or book you are illegitimately downloading. They don’t want you to know you are a criminal (you may not like that fact, but it’s true) the minute you pilfer that prohibited copy. Because the fact is these sites are engaging in illegal distribution which is a violation of copyright. They do not have the legal right to provide any copies for downloading. By participating in these sites, you are receiving a pirated copy from an unlawful distributor.

Now, how is piracy hurting people?

Well, creative types need to make a living the same as you, and contrary to popular belief, the majority of writers, musicians or artists do not make millions in royalties. Some of us make a profit, but generally not enough to pay the bills; some artists or writers are lucky if they break even.  Most have regular jobs, our creative efforts are what we love to do in what spare time we can scape together. We send our efforts out into the world hoping someday we can aspire to have a full-time career and you, pirate lovers, are spitting on that.

Our work is our work, not yours. We allow you the opportunity to read it by offering it for sale. You do not have the right to take it!  When pirates rip us off, we feel violated, angry, sad, disappointed and discouraged.  I mean, would you want to try and make a living in a workplace where your potential customers think it is okay to take your work without paying for it?

As a writer, I can tell you months (and no I am not exaggerating) of my life can go into a book. Why would I want to waste that effort on thieves?  Would you?

Think about the person behind that song, book, or graphic next time, before you download. If you think causing pain is fun, then click your mouse.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

The One Truth (and the six lies)

No this post isn't about the secrets of the universe (I'm saving that for another day), I'm just revealing the answers to my previous post Awards and LiesIn that post I told six lies and one truth and asked my readers to guess which was which.  Now I'm spilling the secret:

My Creative Facts:


I have travelled to at least nine countries.
A lie.  I have only been to two counties, Canada and the United States.

I have never owned a pet.
Another lie.  I have been a pet owner of cats for most of my life.

I am an only child.
Lie.  I am the youngest of the family and have six siblings.

I own replica swords, including the katana from the film, Highlander.
The Truth.  I have an entire collection of replica swords I purchased from Ebay, including a reproduction of the Highlander katana and the Bride's sword from Kill Bill.

My favourite dessert is Deep Dish Apple Pie.
A lie.  I like pie, but my absolute favourite dessert is Black Forest Cake.  You can't get any better than chocolate, cherries and whipped cream.

My least favourite actor is Bruce Campbell.
An enormous lie.  I am a huge fan of Bruce Campell.

I love to watch horror movies.
A lie.  I almost never watch horror movies.  They scare me to death and give me nightmares. 

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

A Quaint Tale of a Kitty: Review of Catwalk: A Feline Odyssey

Catwalk: A Feline Odyssey by Kathie Freeman is a charming, creative book, just the type of fiction that makes perfect reading for an afternoon. Waves of nostalgia washed over me as I thumbed through the pages, as I was reminded of the books I read when I was younger.

The book is written from the point of view of a cat, a sassy, sweet-tempered girl, who narrates her own story with a delightful voice. Her odyssey begins with her first home, as the pet of a young couple. Conflicts arise and she is soon abandoned by the pair, pregnant and alone, to fend for herself. The rest of the book recounts her adventures as she finds a new place to live, becomes an accidental stowaway, and then has to find her way back home.
“Closer and closer the footsteps came, but still I couldn’t see the searcher. A few feet from our hiding place they stopped”
The book is suitable for most ages and is an enchanting read. The author does an excellent job of capturing the character of a cat and maintaining a believable note of feline authenticity. Scenes and settings are also shaped with a wonderful realistic touch, with rich three-dimensional characters.
“What fun! I pounced on it and somersaulted over, kicking at it mightily with my hind feet.”
The book does sag a bit in the middle, stretching the credibility just a bit, but not enough to detract from the enjoyment. In addition, the ending did leave a few loose endings dangling, which distracted me from the happy conclusion. These are not major problems, simply minor quibbles.
Catwalk is an appealing book and I recommend it happily.


Catwalk: A Feline Odyssey is available at Amazon.ca, Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Awards and Lies

Yet another blogger award has come my way, as Fantasy Pages (the blog of author, Denysé Bridger) nominated me for the Creative Writer Blogger Award.

So, thanks Denysé for the nod!

Now for the fun part.  As a recipient of this award I must tell lies and one truth, and you my readers  have to guess which statement is the true one.  Then, I get to hand the creative torch along to seven other bloggers, so they too might think up a few whoppers and pass the fun forward.



My Creative Facts: 
  1. I have travelled to at least nine countries.
  2. I have never owned a pet.
  3. I am an only child.
  4. I own replica swords, including the katana from the film, Highlander.
  5. My favourite dessert is Deep Dish Apple Pie.
  6. My least favourite actor is Bruce Campbell.
  7. I love to watch horror movies.

My Creative Writers: 
My list consists of some of my favourite authors; all of them write fabulous books and stories
  1. Minnette Meador: http://minnettemeador.blogspot.com/ 
  2. Pat Bertram:  http://ptbertram.wordpress.com/ 
  3. Kim Smith: http://writingspace.blogspot.com/ 
  4. Marta Stephens: http://mstephens-musings.blogspot.com/ 
  5. Joylene Nowell Butler: http://cluculzwriter.blogspot.com/ 
  6. Rhetta Akamatsu:  http://rhetta.wordpress.com/
  7. Sheila Deeth:  http://sheiladeeth.blogspot.com/ 

Thursday, 6 May 2010

A Slight Historical Novel: A Review of The Creation of Eve.

My Review of The Creation of Eve by Lynn Cullen:


The Creation of Eve by Lynn Cullen is an enjoyable book and a reasonably engaging historic novel with romantic undertones. The author has created a panoramic world, with deft historic details and colourful characters. She recreates her historic setting admirably.

The novel tells the story of Sofonisba Anguissola, a female artist in the time of the Renaissance. The book begins as she is studying under the tutelage of Michelangelo and falling in love with Tiberio. That love affair does not go well, and she finds herself in the court of the Spanish Court as painting instructor to the new Queen, swallowed by the complexities of royal life.

The author does know her history and writes of a thriving 16th century world, detailed and fully realised. Where the book stumbles is in the deeper portrayal of emotion. For a novel laced with themes of love and passion, I found the style curiously detached, even superficial, at times. I often found it difficult to connect to certain characters and wondered at the validity of their actions. I also found modern sensibilities were creeping in around the edges.

As an amateur painter, I’m somewhat familiar with the creation of art, so I enjoyed the historic art references in the book, but I found Sofonisba’s involvement with her painting lacking in expressive connection; it was all technique and little enthusiasm.

The Creation of Eve could have benefitted from a deeper tone and a richer vibrancy; it is elegant history sprinkled with some muted, underlying sentiments. Still, the book is agreeable to read and the character of Sofonisba is interesting enough to keep you reading. It is a reasonably appealing, frothy novel.


The Creation of Eve is available through bookstores and online retailers.


Note:  The copy of this book I read for review was obtained free of charge though the Library Thing Member Giveaway; it was an uncorrected proof.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Did Napoleon’s Hemorrhoids Make History?

Another guest blogger today, Jean Hart Stewart, who makes a stop on her virtual book tour with an interesting musing on the quirks of history and a look at her historical romance, The Third Rose:  

 
Napoleon’s Hemorrhoids

I’ve been fascinated by a book of that name, written by Paul Mason. It’s packed with unusual and interesting bits of information. Its basic premise is that much of history was accidental, the result of a chance happening and luck. I can’t begin to tell you about all of them, but here are two. Although it’s a page turner of a book as he exposes a lot of myths. 
Now to the Napoleon story. Napoleon has long suffered from hemorrhoids and the day of last battle of Waterloo he was unable to mount his horse. His doctors accidentally overdosed him with laudanum, and it’s possible this is what caused the fatal delay of starting the battle. I write about this in The Third Rose so of course I loved this bit of historical gossip. It’s pretty well established that if Napoleon had begun the battle earlier Wellington would not have been able to join forces with Blucher and the battle would probably have been lost.
Another story that is a gripper. Marie Antoinette might have avoided execution if she hadn’t changed escape plans at the last minute. Louis IV had planned to leave alone in a small carriage and she would follow. Marie, however, insisted they travel together. They left at night, after she got lost in the Tuileries gardens and delayed the start by a half hour. A broken wheel on the larger carriage and the slower pace also delayed them, and so they were three hours late for the planned rendezvous with their armed guards. They were finally caught, only 25 miles from Belgium and safety.
What if? It seems from reading even snatches of this book you can’t help but wonder about the fate that rules us all.
As I say, I was enthralled. There’s a tidbit in the book about almost any famous man. If you have a favorite event of historical personage I’ll look it up for you.

Author Website:  http://www.jeanhartstewart.com/index2.htm

For the full schedule of Jean's tour stops:  http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2010/04/virtual-book-tour-third-rose.html?zx=eb73ec2b8a6b4cf4




The Third Rose:

When Sara Coverly hides in Lord Wolverton’s bedroom to avenge him for the rape of her friend, she is determined to shoot him so he can never ruin another female. Instead she finds herself wondering if she’s picked the wrong man! Wolf decides he needs a token fiancée to cover his tracks as he searches for a spy, and soon Sara finds herself helping him. And falling deeply in love.


Wolf’s espionage duties bring danger to them both. When he
decodes a message threatening the assassination of Wellington at Waterloo, they both set out for Brussels to catch the villain.


Can their growing love endure through war, a desperate villain who is out to stop them, and Wolf’s determination to save Wellington at any cost?


Excerpt:

At last. The bastard had come home. He must have lit more candles, as the room became brighter. She could see a large man, elegantly dressed, stride across the room. Double drat! He moved out of her vision, and she did not dare part the draperies any further. She waited, breath suspended, as he re-appeared and sat on the bed. He arched one long muscled leg, bending over to tug at his boot. His face was in shadow, but his build was powerful, that of a more than adequate sportsman. His size didn’t worry her. A gun was a great equalizer.
He meant to take his boots off himself? She was surprised he didn’t require his valet to wait up for him. An unusual bit of consideration for a servant, one she’d not expected. She’d thought she’d have to stay hidden until the valet had come and gone. Perhaps this was better, since at least he was decently clothed. Not that she’d let any missish tendencies deter her. Actually seeing a large nude male might be educational.
Now was the time.
She cocked the gun and stepped out in front of him, the barrel pointed directly at him.
“You will please rise, my lord. I do not intend to shoot a seated villain.” She felt pride in the composure of her voice. She’d worried a little about that.
Wolverton did not appear unduly upset, although his eyebrows arched upward. He bent the long leg stretched on the bed and clasped both hands around his knee.
“A woman. How interesting. I admit you make a very fetching young man dressed in those breeches, but your voice is definitely female. Might I inquire why you have your gun pointed at me?”
She had to give him his due. His tone seemed as cool as hers, and she certainly must have been a nasty surprise. Although come to think of it, he probably often found women accosting him in his bedchamber. But surely for more pleasurable purposes, cad that he was.
“Stand up, my lord.”
Neither her voice nor the hand holding the gun on him wavered, as Joshua Sinclair, Earl of Wolverton, slowly placed both his boots on the luxurious Aubusson carpet and rose to his feet.
“Is there anything I can do for you, madam?” he inquired, as politely as if he were asking her if she took milk with her tea.
She shook her head slowly, carefully lowering the gun a trifle. What a shame he was such a handsome devil, but then she should have expected no less from a despoiler of virgins.
She was pleased to see him blanch a little as he realized where she aimed.
“Can I persuade you to raise your gun a little? I don’t mind being shot in the chest nearly as much as if you hit the most valued part of my anatomy.”

You can find The Third Rose at Red Rose Publishing.