SA Collins

Words and Errata

Henry O’Malley

Words and Errata – The Vocal Edition – Ep 001

Words and Errata – The Vocal Edition – Ep 001

 

SA Collins - Words and Errata - The Vocal Edition

SA Collins – Words and Errata – The Vocal Edition

So our first show is in the can and has been getting quite a few listens (not in the hundreds or thousands yet, but it’ll get there. Of that I have no doubt).

If you haven’t listened to it and you have a penchant for reading M/M (Gay) Literature Fiction, then why aren’t you listening to it? It’s all we talk about!

At any rate, one thing each of my co-hosts (Jayne Lockwood and Vance Bastian) and I wanted to do was post our thoughts after a given show is released. Sort of riffing on where our heads are at thinking back on it all. So this is the first of those types of sidebar postings about where my head is at (oh Lord, I hope this doesn’t put people off from trying my works – my mental ramblings are a constant source of humor for my husband – don’t say I didn’t warn you!).

So here is my first verbal stream of consciousness posting. I hope you enjoy it as an augmentation of what we did in the main podcast.

 

So what do I ramble about this time around?

  1. Initial thoughts on the show
  2. The referendum (22) in Ireland, my feelings about my Russian queer brothers and sisters
  3. Thoughts about authors and readers joining the show
  4. Passion in writing
  5. Being understood in your works
  6. Angels of Mercy (What else?)
  7. Henry O’Malley, Omega (HO’M,O)
  8. Penny Dreadful as inspiration (John Logan fanboy here)
  9. The Flash
  10. Poor writing or cop outs in writing for Television
  11. Guaca-“mole” and the whole weirdness of this manitou like mole on my face and how it up and disappeared in like 2 days – WTF?
  12. Stream of consciousness comes to a close (for now)

Next week on 3M/Musketeers Podcast? BRAD VANCE! And we are simply over the moon about this! Please join us for that episode.

NOW available on iTunes (search for 3MMusketeers Podcast) or under Arts/Literature!!

 

Until next time …

SA C

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A Guest Blog Spot on Lady J’s Website – Hooray!

Guest Blog on LadyJ’s Site – Hooray!

Guest blog on author pal, Lady J (Jayne Lockwood)’s blog site and her erotica website SavannahSmythe.com regarding the release of my new work – HO’M,O – Henry O’Malley, Omega   A Sparrows Hollow Lycanthropic Adventure.

 

Author pal - Jayne Lockwood/Savannah Smythe

Author pal – Jayne Lockwood/Savannah Smythe

 

I encourage you to check it out and also to take note of a cracking hot story coming your way from the Lady writer herself – Lexington Black. Looks to be one helluva read and I can’t wait to sink in.

Thanks for the shout out, Lady J. Big hugs to ya for highlighting my recent release.

Check out the book that was too much for Amazon –

For every reader who buys the “watered down” abridged version (The Shrill of Sparrows) on Amazon they’ll find a email address to reach out to me and I’ll send them the controversial version of the work free of charge!

Guilt by association? Banned by my own hand? You be the judge ...

Guilt by association? Banned by my own hand? You be the judge …

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Banned By Association

Banned By Association

Guilt by association? Banned by my own hand? You be the judge ...

Guilt by association? Banned by my own hand? You be the judge …

 

Okay, maybe it was my fault.

Maybe …

So I hit a BIG learning curve here.  Epically so.  Why, you might ask? Because my first work, a novel that was released to the world from several selling platforms, Amazon being just one of them, got BANNED! But since it all took place this past week I didn’t want to do a knee-jerk blog post about it. I wanted some distance from it to sort it out. I’m like that. I can be wordy and preachy when my ire is provoked, but at times, like this time, I was able to quell that rash desire to lash out and opted instead to think things through.

I’m glad I did. And while I might not like Amazon’s decision, I recognize it was theirs to make.

I mean, they’re the big guns in the literary world, like it or not. Even the big publishing houses have to play ball with them. So a little guy like me doesn’t have much pull. I haven’t brought enough money to the table. And I know that it is all about the money.

I mean, I think it is interesting that my book, with a rough sex scene (the hero in the story is raped physically by the bad guy in the series) near the end of the book, could be blocked/banned because of that scene when say EL James 50 Shades (of crap, if you ask me) gets a pass. Though to be fair, I guess rape wasn’t in the cards for that drivel. But what about the Bible? It has rape, pillaging and all sorts of violence spread throughout the work.

TO BE CLEAR: I don’t consider the Bible (or any other religious text, for that matter) to be holy or sacred. They are books like any other – written BY MAN. So yeah, I so won’t get into that debate ’cause to my way of thinking that’s just messing with 9 bags of cray-cray (as my granddaughter says).

But as a newbie author, doing the self-pub thing on my own, I know I have a learning curve ahead of me. I know that my works will stumble and I might make some epically bad moves. I get that it’s part of the process. I don’t expect to be “the next BIG thing” when it comes to literary works. Though to be honest, I do write literature. I write character studies. I find them infinitely fascinating to write from. I want to immerse the reader into the psyche of the character who is telling you the story. All of the inner monologue that we all have in our day to day lives that never gets said to the outside world.

Those monologues are deeply fascinating to me. At times I listen to my own mental ramblings as I interact with others. Not that there are voices in my head – well, okay there are, but they are my characters working out their upcoming scenarios that I need to get sorted before I write them down – I SWEAR!

Anyway, so my first work was out there on all platforms –

 

The reworked and final image for the first of my HOMO series of gay werewolves set in 1956 West Virginia.

The reworked and final image for the first of my HOMO series of gay werewolves set in 1956 West Virginia.

 

Amazon   (Sold as The Shrill of Sparrows – abridged edition – A point I’ll come to later) 

 

The Shrill of Sparrows - the reworked abridged edition as sold by Amazon.

The Shrill of Sparrows – the reworked abridged edition as sold by Amazon.

 

Amazon had the original work – HO’M,O – Henry O’Malley, Omega  as it was originally released (with the rape scene in the next to last chapter). But here is where I think I misstepped and it only became apparent to me as I woke up this morning.

 

Inspiration for Hank O'Malley in my story

Inspiration for Hank O’Malley in my story

 

The book does have sex scenes in it. This is for three reasons:
  1. It was meant to be a fluff, fun and slightly scary read as part of my NaNoWriMo 2014 writer’s challenge project that I won last November -writing the bulk in what made it into the published work within 26 days out of the 30 for the challenge. The werewolves have this ease with themselves where sex comes into it because that is how pack life is for them. The sex keeps them rooted to their human existence.
  2. It was meant to be a story for my very first fan, Michael, who has a penchant for sexy guys and werewolves. I wanted to do some thing for him. I even made him one of my wolves IN the story. He loves it and I couldn’t be happier. The hot and heavy man action was a nod to him.
  3. Sex within my packs of werewolves (which are ONLY male, btw) is a way of exchanging power. It is a metaphor I am using in that submissiveness doesn’t equate weakness. Sometimes, it actually takes far more courage to be there for another in that way. I wanted to play with that dynamic. My wolves keep telling Hank (Henry) that, as the pack’s new Omega, he doesn’t belong to them – they belong to him!

 

That is a very distinct but important difference. But that isn’t the topic at hand here. What is is how I classified it and where I think I went wrong with it all.

 

Amazon, like many of the distributor options out there for self-publishing authors, has their own guidelines and category systems to publish your work.

 

Where I think I went awry is that I classified it as erotica because of the sexual nature of my wolves. It really wasn’t that. That was my misstep. I see that now. BUT, what I do rail against is how Amazon handled it. I got this as my only warning regarding the work:

 

 

Hello,
We’re contacting you regarding the following book:
HO’M,O – Henry O’Malley, Omega: A Sparrows Hollow Lycanthropic Adventure by Collins, SA (AUTHOR) (ID:5629640)During our review process, we found that this content is in violation of our content guidelines. As a result, we cannot offer this book for sale. If we identify additional submissions with similar content that violates our guidelines, we may terminate your account or you may lose access to optional KDP services.

To learn more about our content guidelines, please visit our Kindle Direct Publishing Help page at:

https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A2TOZW0SV7IR1U

Best regards,

Kindle Direct Publishing
kdp.amazon.com

 

That was it. No – “can you modify the work to address the issues we see here (and then list them)?” There was nothing much for me to go on. When I clicked the link they provided, I got this as the only explanation (which wasn’t much to latch onto):

 

The scarcity of Amazon's KDP policy with regards to content. There's precious little to latch onto and learn from.

The scarcity of Amazon’s KDP policy with regards to content. There’s precious little to latch onto and learn from.

 

Since the work was classified as Erotica, I assumed that the first two sections of this lack of direction was the Pornography and the Offensive Content areas of this little policy write up. But how was I supposed to work with that?

It could’ve meant that ANY of my sex scenes were objectionable, right? I had to question it all. So I went out and offered a “hey, I’m new – what do I do to address this so I can learn from it and not repeat it?” I just wanted something or someone to direct me to what was in violation of the policy.

All I got was this (the bolding and underlining of the email content are mine as I am just drawing attention to what stood out for me when I read it):

 

Hello,

We’re contacting you regarding the following title:

HO’M,O – Henry O’Malley, Omega: A Sparrows Hollow Lycanthropic Adventure by Collins, SA (AUTHOR) (ID:5629640)

We’ve confirmed that your book(s) contains content that is in violation of our content guidelines and we will not be offering this title for sale in the Kindle Store. As stated in our guidelines, we reserve the right to determine what we consider to be appropriate, which includes cover images and content within the book.

If you wish to re-publish your book(s) with content that meets our guidelines, it will need to be submitted as an entirely new ASIN and go through our standard review process. Previous customer reviews, tags, and sales rank information are not transferable because the title will essentially be a different product.

Our content guidelines are published on the Kindle Direct Publishing website.

To learn more, please see: https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A2TOZW0SV7IR1U

We appreciate your understanding.

 

So all I got was a ‘confirmation’ that they were right in their first judgement of the work, and that I better pay attention or my entire account with them would be cancelled.

 

For a publishing company, this is woefully short of any real direction and leaves it wide open to capricious interpretation that any given reviewer might object to. Indeed, there are works I know to be up there that are definitely in violation of their policy but somehow I got flagged because of it. I feel like I have a big old red flag waving above my head now with them.

 

So what have I learned from this? Words matter. DUH! I should’ve seen that one coming.

 

So I am gonna take this one on the chin. I’ll be much more clever about how I package something going forward. I am driven by this not because of this first work going through the wringer to get out there on the biggest publishing platform that’s out there, but because of the work that I have waiting in the wings.

 

The FINAL - FINAL version of the book cover for "Angels of Mercy - Volume One: Elliot"

The FINAL – FINAL version of the book cover for “Angels of Mercy – Volume One: Elliot”

 

Angels of Mercy I do NOT want to be blasted or banned by this type of capricious labelling by Amazon or any other publisher. I know it’s literature and NOT genre fiction. It is a massive work. It is a deeply penetrating look at what gay young men go through to establish themselves in the context of sports and their personal lives. It is about the pressures of what society expects of them – the script they feel they must follow to succeed in their given sport. It is about choices and compromises that we, as gay men, must constantly do to eke out some sliver of happiness for ourselves in a world that is still quite homophobic about our existing at all.

 

Another of Hank O'Malley - tough luck lookin' like that, huh?

Another of Hank O’Malley – tough luck lookin’ like that, huh?

 

The tide is changing. I am emboldened by the success stories of young men and women finding acceptance with their loved ones. But there are still so many who are thrown out of their homes, who are shunned and abused for the lives they lead. This is why character studies intrigue me so. No matter the sub-genre I write in – whatever form it might take, I will always write from that inner-monologue perspective. It is the mindsets of those characters that I think is an immensely powerful viewpoint to write from.

 

So yeah, lessoned learned. I’ll move forward. I’ve made peace with it.

 

I’ve also become more determined to get Angels in front of a literary agent rather than self-pub it myself. I want that work to succeed on its own merits and not some capricious label that some fucktard reviewer who probably can’t write a sentence to save their life making a decision that has a bearing on my work getting out there.

 

HO’M,O (or The Shrill of Sparrows as it is now known at Amazon) is fluff – it’s not meant to change the world. I mean, I go dark in it. I want it to be more terrifying than just sexing man-on-man love action (though there’ll be plenty of that because I think the sex between the boys is what will keep them rooted to their human existence and deal with the horrors of the wolf that is within them).

 

Love a boy in wolf's clothing, don't you?

Love a boy in wolf’s clothing, don’t you?

 

Monsters are a way for us to examine our darker natures. Sexual violence, along with violence of any kind, is a strong metaphor to do that. I don’t intend to start pulling punches in that. But I also can see how I need to be much more exacting in how I classify the work going forward.

 

I’m learning. I’m trying to sort it out. And in a very real sense, I am intrigued by this mistakes and missteps. As always, I learn most from where I go wrong. So yeah, lemonade out of lemons and all that rot.

 

Face forward, looking to the bright horizon.

 

Time to press on…

 

Until next time.

 

SA C.

 

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Quick! The Stork Done Took My Baby!

Quick! The Stork Done Took My Baby!

 

Okay, not really freaking out too much here. I mean, there was no stork, even if there was a baby (of sorts).

What happened was, I bit the bullet. I grinned and bear(ed) it. I took a leap of faith…

I published my first work.

The book is out in the world now. Hall-le-fucking-lu-jah!

The book is out in the world now. Hall-le-fucking-lu-jah!

I’m happy with it. Even if it isn’t the type of work I normally do. Part of me was concerned with that — perceptions and all. You see this work is a silly piece of fluff. Well, not silly, more sentimental and erotically charged. And while I am not about censorship when it comes to gay men and our sexuality, it is rather strange that I have a very sexual book out there that my mother can read!

Okay, I should stop worrying about that. I am gonna write what I’m gonna write. It is what it is. Right?

Yeah, well, I ain’t so sure now. Only because the next work I am putting out there is the important one. It’s the series that I feel the strongest about.

Hank and my boys of West Virginia are great. I love them and they’ve given me a spark of interest in writing about werewolves that I didn’t know I had. I sort of love my furry beastie guys. And Hank’s a rather pretty boy in their midst. I mean, the picture I have of him as an inspiration says nothing but pretty (if decidedly, beefy) boy.

 

Inspiration for Hank O'Malley in my story

Inspiration for Hank O’Malley in my story

Oh, that ain’t the only picture of him, neither (as he’d no doubt say):

Another of Hank O'Malley - tough luck lookin' like that, huh?

Another of Hank O’Malley – tough luck lookin’ like that, huh?

So yeah, pretty and beefy. Just look at them arms and them pecs, will ya? And I am not so much for blond guys – but, uh, yeah. He’d do — no kicking to the curb with that purdy boy! #jussayin

And Hank’s a lovely boy to write about. He’s caring, un-obsessed with his own good looks, genial and easy to get along with. Completely unassuming. And who’da thunk he’d be in the middle of a werewolf war that was about to break loose? Or that his mama and closest thing to a grandma he’s got are a pair of powerful witches? I know he sure didn’t.

Hank and his boys are near and dear to my heart. Which was sort of a revelation. I mean, as an author, you are deeply involved with your characters and your worlds that you create. That’s fairly a given — unless your completely dispassionate about the work then, why bother? But even if you are deeply in bed with them, it doesn’t always mean you have to like them much.

But with Hank, Riley, Tanner, Mike, Toby, Darby, Dylan, Maynard, and Spike – I am really already rooting for these boys to triumph over the likes of Cade Bowen/Talbot.

Don’t know who he is?

Yeah, well, go pick up the book, dammit!

And I’d like once again to thank Steve Grand for providing the emotive inspiration for my gay werewolves of Sparrows Hollow, West VA.

Country Crooner Steve Grand in all of his bloody manly redness...

Country Crooner Steve Grand in all of his bloody manly redness…

In a very real way, they’ve already been turning the creative wheel on the next part of their adventure. Trouble is, I’ve got a crap load of new stuff to churn out in the other series that I am just dying to get out there: Angels of Mercy.

Angels of Mercy - Volume 1: Elliot

Angels of Mercy – Volume 1: Elliot

It’s interesting because I am still not about the sales. In a very weird way though, I want to know what other’s think of my work. I know there’ll be some who bash it all to hell. There’s haters out there who do nothing but trash talk every damned thing that’s out there.

It’s just the way ’tis, thassall. <– As Hank would say.

There isn’t much that I want to censor from my work. I am so not a prude when it comes to sex. It doesn’t make my work erotic in nature because of this (though I do admit that the Sparrow’s Hollow series is deeply tinged with eroticism). Usually when sex enters my books it is because it is a part of the natural order of life. Whether it would be to have a family or simply for the pleasure of it all. I rail at those who get all uppity about it. The duality of not wanting to read about it and yet it is a very intrinsic part of life. I mean, we all got here because our parents fucked. Let’s be honest about it and pony up and embrace that everyone does it to a degree (not intending to take away anything from those who are asexual – that’s their gig and hey, I’m happy for them if they’re content to be so). I can’t though.

Sex is important. It is a vital part of why we pony up to the relationship table, right?

My works will reflect that. My Feigr story is predicated on that. Sex is power to them, a means of manipulating and rewriting genetic code. They are very fearsome creatures who use our desire as a means to an end. Allure has a very dangerous connotation when it comes to my Norse infused Fae.

So yeah, one of my baby’s has done flown the coup. It’s just as well. I gotta make room for the next part of their tale (it’s already brewing in my head).  Hank and the boys are waiting with baited breath for me to finish out my Angels (volumes 1 and 2 – that I plan to release simultaneously in the first quarter of this month). Volume 1: Elliot is already in the can (as it were). Marco (volume 2) is near completion. I think I’ll be ready by March at the latest. In a real way that’s a good thing I guess. It means, I can prep the Angel series for a proper send off. Hit the blog tour stuff and get the word out there.

Angels of Mercy - Volume 2: Marco

Angels of Mercy – Volume 2: Marco

Who knows? With a little luck, I just might have something here.

And the literary nest will never be empty. No, I think that as I take my last breath on this Earth (hopefully many, many moons from now) my last thought will be: shit, they’ll never know how that ended now.

The life of a writer, I suppose. A lonely craft it is.

Still, I can’t think of what else I’d like to do more.

Until next time… 
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Goodbye to 2014 and here’s to a great 2015 …

Best Wishes in #2015 and what I learned from this past year…

 

“…and I count the times I have forgotten to say, THANK YOU. And just how much, I love them…”

 

[embedplusvideo height=”255″ width=”400″ editlink=”http://bit.ly/1xwlxnA” standard=”http://www.youtube.com/v/X0WjOiqebbI?fs=1&vq=hd720″ vars=”ytid=X0WjOiqebbI&width=400&height=255&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=1&autoplay=0&react=0&chapters=&notes=&lean=1″ id=”ep9939″ /]

 

So a quick post about where I am after this whole writing endeavor of mine that I plunged headlong into without really thinking about it all.

So what did I learn?

Quite a lot, actually.

I learned that writing is a very quiet, lonely (save for some really great discussions about the craft with my hubby and some writing pals and my betas) business. I sort of knew that, but really didn’t understand the full breadth of it all.

I learned that writing a novel, no matter the actual size, is a very cathartic craft and really does take it out of you emotionally as well as physically (just the sitting for hours on end can be a bit grueling).

But I’ve also learned to listen to others. To truly try to understand where they were coming from (even if I didn’t wholly agree with their positions). I learned that after all these years I still crave to hear what my gay brothers (and sisters) have to say about our lives – even if I feel we have quite a way to go in creating a real and lasting community amongst us.

I’ve conversed (over my social media) with some really amazingly creative people in all facets of their various occupations and social lives. I was heartened to discover that the experiences I’d amassed in my life regarding my sexuality and my perceptions about it weren’t dirty or wrong (I never really thought they were – just that everyone in the mainstream seems to have a bug up their ass about it). In taking a Human Sexuality course this past few months really gave me an appreciation about sex and humans that made it all very real and personal for me.

I’ve liked my on-going conversations with sex workers (like Rocco Steele, Boomer Banks, Tayte Hanson, Colby Keller, Levi Michaels and Armond Rizzo, to name a few) who have been kind enough to respond to my little tweets to them about the work they do and the other things that interest them outside of the porn business. I really am fascinated with all they do – beyond their current incarnations as porn stars. They are truly some amazing individuals and I am heartened to see how truly brilliant they are in how courageously they live their lives.

 

Colby Keller and all of his auburn glory

Colby Keller and all of his auburn glory

 

 

Rocco Steele and Boomer Banks -  two men who's lives are very fascinating...They inspire me too.

Rocco Steele and Boomer Banks – two men who’s lives are very fascinating…They inspire me too.

 

I am emboldened that the few who have previewed my current work (I haven’t published anything yet – though they’re all going to hit early in 2015) have said that I really have something with Angels of Mercy. That’s been the most rewarding thing of all this past year.

The FINAL - FINAL version of the book cover for "Angels of Mercy - Volume One: Elliot"

The FINAL – FINAL version of the book cover for “Angels of Mercy – Volume One: Elliot”

 

For my wolves of Sparrows Hollow – A BIG THANK YOU – ’cause you’re gonna be my very first release to the world in 2015!

 

The reworked and final image for the first of my HOMO series of gay werewolves set in 1956 West Virginia.

The reworked and final image for the first of my HOMO series of gay werewolves set in 1956 West Virginia.

 

I like that my musical muses – Steve Grand and Jay Brannan have been kind enough to exchange and, in their own way, encourage me to reach for my own stars. It makes my devotion to their craft and their art that much more special and personal. These men, these brilliant writers, inspire me each and every day in the things they do.

Grand fanboy here and proud of it! #teamproud #teamgrandfam

Grand fanboy here and proud of it! #teamproud #teamgrandfam

 

 

jay_brannan_new_album

Jay Brannan’s new album – released  July 2014.

To all of my newly formed author pals I’ve come to know and interact with, I am heartened and enriched by our exchange. A special shout out to Jayne Lockwood and Brad Vance for being the great people you are. Thank you.

To my family and friends – you still teach me so much and I am looking forward to knowing what you have in store for me next year. To Michael Rumsey, Matthew Gallien, Vincent Mazza, Patricia Hamilton and the hubby JL. To Zorro and Katya (my two brilliantly smart, and infectiously lovable cats). To Matt Rayne and L.a. Le – two crazy cats in my FB life… I look forward to what you’ve got in store for me next year!

To Keely and Whitney – the girls in my life and the family I cherish.

And lastly, to my cast of characters in my works. Thank you. Even if you aren’t real except in my mind and heart, you mean the world to me because you’re mine. Of my heart, of my mind, of my flesh and blood and tears (there’s been a little of each to create them all).

So I’ll close this first year in the chapter of my writing career and be thankful for what I have and what I know I have yet to do. It’s a lonely craft, this writing thing is, but I can’t think of anything else I want to do.

So in these final hours – I’ll leave you with a simple song that from the time I heard it as a boy it affected me so. It is from the Carpenters – who were my absolute love when I was a boy. Karen’s voice still gives me the chills every time I hear her. I miss her creativity so.

Cheers!

And for any nay-sayers this next year – yeah I got only one thing to tell ya…

 

In the heat of the moment this made total sense...

Haters be warned…

 

ADDENDA –

Boomer and Rocco both were quick to respond to my NYE tweets – proving yet again, what lovely men they are! LOVE THESE GUYS!

 

Feelin' the love... guys who appreciate their fandom.

Feelin’ the love… guys who appreciate their fandom.

 

 

Boomer being his witty and charming self...

Boomer being his witty and charming self…

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