Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Intellectual Property and Pirates

Senator Patrick Leahy introduced legislation earlier this month aimed at curbing online piracy and counterfeiting. The bill would give the Justice Department new authority to file a civil action against a domain name linked to a website trafficking in illegal copyrighted content or counterfeit goods. The court could order a registrar, a firm that sells Internet domain name registrations to the public, to revoke the domain name linked to the site with the infringing content or counterfeit goods. The bill also would give the Justice Department power to target foreign websites by requiring U.S.-based third parties to stop doing business with these foreign targets. This might include requiring a U.S.-based Internet service provider to block access to such sites or requiring a U.S. payment processor to block payments to the site.

According to an article at Tech Daily Dose, several groups banded together and sent a letter that calls on the committee to hold a hearing on the bill before taking action on it. In part the letter stated that this legislation "raises a host of global entanglements and serious questions that need to be evaluated thoroughly and carefully."

The article further stated:

Noting the growing threat of online piracy, the Recording Industry Association of America said in a statement Tuesday, that, "The answer from these self-styled public interest groups can't always be 'no.' Congressional and administration leaders have made it clear that doing nothing is no longer an option. If these groups have a better idea than the meaningful, bipartisan approach like the one put forward by Chairman Leahy, we welcome their ideas on how to insure that the Internet is a civilized medium instead of a lawless one where foreign sites that put Americans at risk are allowed to flourish."
What I know is that to continue to do nothing solves nothing. The majority of these pirate sites are overseas yet target American consumers (and thus defraud American artists, including authors). According to Senator Leahy, his measure would "give the Department of Justice an expedited process for cracking down on these rogue websites, regardless of whether the website's owner is located inside or outside of the United States."

Amen, brother! We'll have to see how this plays out.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Man Meat Monday

Happy Monday!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Funny

Thanks to my friend Roz Denny Fox for forwarding this little jewel along.

A paraprosdokian(from Greek "παρα-", meaning "beyond" and "προσδοκία", meaning "expectation") is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe or reinterpret the first part. It is frequently used for humorous or dramatic effect, sometimes producing an anticlimax. For this reason, it is extremely popular among comedians and satirists. Some paraprosdokians not only change the meaning of an early phrase, but also play on the double meaning:

I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn't work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.

Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather. Not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.

Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list.

Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

If I agreed with you we'd both be wrong.

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

Evening news is where they begin with 'Good evening', and then proceed to tell you why it isn't.

To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.

There's more, so expect these to turn up again a bit later...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Belong to the Night

Now available in mass market paperback:

City Of The Dead by Sherrill Quinn

Dori Falcon is a witch with a plan: get to New Orleans, locate her missing brother, and recover a mysterious and powerful amulet. Her plan never included falling for sexy Cajun cop Jake Boudreau; but without his help, she may never find the key to her family’s survival.

Belong to the Night - now 30% off directly from Kensington!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Man Meat Monday


Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday Funny

Two young boys walked into a pharmacy one day, picked out a box of tampons and proceeded to the checkout counter.

The man at the counter asked the older boy, "Son, how old are you?"

"Eight," the boy replied.

The man continued, "Do you know what these are used for?"

The boy replied, "Not really, but they aren't for me, they're for him." He pointed to the younger boy. "He's my brother. He's four. We saw on TV that if you use these, you would be able to swim and ride a bike. Right now he can't do either."

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

President Obama, Author

This November, Knopf Books for Young Readers will publish Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters, a picture book by President Barack Obama, and illustrated by Loren Long. The book is due to release on November 15th with purportedly a 500,000-copy first printing. The hardcover and ebook editions, available simultaneously, will both carry a retail price of $17.99. You can read more here.

I don't have an issue with President Obama writing a book. (This was finished prior to him taking office, not that that matters, either.) Of Thee I Sing is a tribute to Americans and to “the ideals that have shaped our nation.” I think it's a wonderful idea.

What I have a problem with is that the hardcover and ebook editions will cost the same. This is a children's book that is going to retail for almost $18. Seriously?!? It's wonderful that the proceeds will go into a fund for the children of deceased and disabled veterans. I commend the publisher for that. But... $18 for an ebook? Really?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Man Meat Monday

Anybody got a towel? Oh, never mind. I'll just use my tongue...

Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday Funny

Two nuns, Sister Catherine and Sister Helen, are traveling through Europe in their car. They get to Transylvania and are stopped at a traffic light. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a tiny little Dracula jumps onto the hood of the car and hisses through the windshield.

“Quick, quick!” shouts Sister Catherine. “What shall we do?”

“Turn the windshield wipers on. That will get rid of the abomination,” says Sister Helen.

Sister Catherine switches them on, knocking Dracula about, but he clings on and continues hissing at the nuns.

“What shall I do now?” she shouts.

“Switch on the windshield washer. I filled it up with Holy Water at the Vatican,” says Sister Helen.

Sister Catherine turns on the windshield washer. Dracula screams as the water burns his skin, but he clings on and continues hissing at the nuns.

“Now what?” shouts Sister Catherine.

“Show him your cross,” says Sister Helen.

“Now you’re talking,” says Sister Catherine. She opens the window and
shouts, “Get the fuck off the car!”

And there is the lesson in the difference between "your" and "you're".

Wednesday, September 08, 2010


Another rather high-profile case of plagiarism, author Gerald Posner and publisher Simon & Schuster has been sued by author Frank Owen. Owen alleges that Posner's book Miami Babylon as "numerous examples of word-for-word copying" of his book Clubland. The lawsuit claims that Posner's book "is little more than a frequently verbatim precis of significant portions of Clubland, a verbal reduction sauce in which 30,000 words are reduced down to approximately 10,000 and yet the flavor remains the same." In a separate letter, Owen wrote that "Simon & Schuster has known since March that Miami Babylon contains dozens of plagiarized passages, yet six months later they continue to sell the book. It's obvious that Simon & Schuster not only condones plagiarism but continues to profit from it."

Simon & Schuster spokesman Adam Rothberg tells the NY Post that while Posner acknowledges "inadvertently used phrases, to suggest that this usage amounts to copyright infringement is entirely without merit. As the complaint makes clear the unattributed use of phrases at issue was limited and in the reporting of factual events. Mr. Posner and Simon & Schuster will vigorously defend this lawsuit."

Here's my question: Why can't people just do the right thing? There's a reason why I don't read the type of book I am currently writing--I don't want to inadvertently pick up and use phrases or ideas that I may retain from another author's book. I don't know the details of this case, any more than what's been made public. I don't know if Posner indeed plagiarized Owen's book. I'm just saying...

Do the right thing.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Man Meat Monday

Happy Labor Day to all my American readers!

Friday, September 03, 2010

Friday Funny

New dress for the show............$700.00

Make-up and hair style..............$500.00

Giant stuffed bear......................$300.00

Not knowing how to hold the bear
with a microphone in your hand...........


Wednesday, September 01, 2010


My agent is coming to Tucson for my local RWA chapter's November meeting. She'll be talking with us about the publishing industry and more specifically what works and what doesn't in query letters and pitches. She'll also be taking one-on-one pitches from members who have a complete manuscript ready to go.

When I asked her to verify what fiction genres she was interested in, her response was "I'm more interested in the author than the genre." For her, it's the author's voice that matters, the way the author tells the story than what the actual story is about. Not all agents are like that. Many niche themselves in specific genres, which is fine. It just saves a writer time to know who doesn't represent the book they've just written.

My point is: if your story is the best it can be, that's what's going to sell you to an agent. Not the genre.