Archive for July, 2012

Lured into the red room of pain …
July 30, 2012

Last night I got lured away from the Olympics and onto Channel 4 to watch a documentary on the rise and rise of ‘50 shades of grey’. Now I have steadfastly refused to read this literary masterpiece because, having read the first page and a half on the Amazon preview when I was in the stage of maybe I ought to find out what this is all about, I realised that I couldn’t read even more than another word of it. I openly admit here that I do not ever intend reading it – why would I want to waste any more moments of my time on it? The documentary confirmed everything I always thought but with a little more detail.

Its genre seemed to be encapsulated by the wonderful description by an interviewee of it as ‘Wuthering Heights with whips’ or ‘Mills and Boon with bondage’. The very thought turns me off, not on. Another comment – ‘I don’t know any women who want to be anally fisted before bedtime’. Actually neither do I! I listened with interest to the reviews of the language used to portray these dramatically charged sexual scenes and laughed: ‘he touched me down there’ and ‘my private bits’. Is this an embarrassed five year old straying into the world of pornography or an adult? What sexually mature woman do you know who refers to her vagina as ‘down there’? My Auntie Mable did when she told us about having to see the doctor on a personal matter, but my friend Mandy would call a spade a spade, or a fanny a fanny. I can think of a whole dictionary of suitable words, although I won’t as I’m not a porn writer. Couldn’t you have researched your vocabulary better, as well as the sexual proclivities of the submissive society, EL?

And so she came, and came and came … ad infinitum, it seems. Is this what relationships are all about? I’ve been labouring under a misapprehension all these years … Indeed Pamela Stephenson – who now describes herself as a ‘Sexologist’ – wow, when did YOU come (pardon the pun) by that trade Pam? The last I heard you were a comedienne, but I’m digressing; Pammy commented that plainly Anastasia (more on the names later) was faking as no woman comes that often. Now that would be interesting to open up for discussion, but I imagine Cosmo has already been there.

Interestingly the real BDSM devotees that were interviewed on the documentary dissed EL’s version of it all, saying that no true BDSM relationship would countenance the submissive partner being spanked until they actually needed pain killers – as Anastasia does on one occasion. Apparently, the role allocation is also unrepresentative of the BDSM community – generally it is the woman who is the dominatrix and the man who wants to submit. The theory that was being expounded by several of the interviewees was that women respond to the content of 50 shades because, in a society where women have to work hard to be independent, organised and competitive in the boardroom, they relish the idea of being able to relinquish control in the bedroom. Maybe – but relinquishing control only occurs happily in a relationship where trust, equality and tenderness are paramount, not submission and control. Any general or BDSM relationship exponent would tell you that.

So what genre would I describe this 50 shades of something as? Well, if agents and publishers go on so little as the first page and a half and a brief synopsis, so will I: first the names. Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey – apart from suggestions in the documentary that the male protagonist’s (I can’t believe I’ve called him that) name was derived from a film already made, aren’t they pure Mills and Boon nonsense? Then there’s the coy, twee language; ‘the ‘down there’ and descriptions like one of Anastasia’s orgasms (who knows which one …) ‘shattering her into a million pieces’. Christian’s cock is Anastasia’s ‘very own Christian Grey popsicle’. I can only use teenage speak to respond to that – OMG – really? Pathetic (the language, not the cock – that is said to be HUGE). And intelligent women and men all over the world in their millions are reading this? I can’t actually decide on the right genre now I have to, maybe we should create another one – although I don’t want to be insulting.

So, some of you reading this will say ‘she is just jealous of EL’s success’. Not at all. As an entrepreneur myself – as well as a writer, I applaud anyone who makes it big with an idea. Well done for the achievement EL – and I wish you many more millions of success – although what you are going to do with it beats me. The dumpy little housewife/mum who was being interviewed on American TV in the documentary claimed to only want a new kitchen and to have bought a new Volkswagon car with it so far. She steadfastly refused to admit whether she had actually tried out the many forms of spanking, bondage, whipping, nipple clamps – BDSM in its entirety, in fact – simpering that the internet was a very good research tool…

No, what I object to is this: women suffered and fought, were killed and maimed to give other women equality. We now claim to be working hard to achieve and maintain that in our society. We deplore any kind of oppression or abuse and yet this trilogy of books is glamorising – even glorifying the submission of a vulnerable woman – still a virgin at 21 so naive and unwordly in the extreme, and the media and the publishing world are promoting it – all for the sake of the big bucks; cynicism and betrayal in the extreme. Betrayal? Well, not only is it a betrayal of the great women in our history who have fought for us to have the right to say no and be believed – the suffragettes and the women who have forged a path for us to follow at their own personal expense, it also thrusts a pile of badly written sloppy porn on the reading public at large, when there are hundreds of thousands of unknown TALENTED authors out there, struggling to even be read by an agent or a publisher. They are the people who have talent pouring out of them, but they do not write what purports to be sexual fantasy, they do not write sensationalism, they write eloquent, well thought out, meaningful pieces that have something to say to the soul.

If you want something really useful to do with your millions EL, since you don’t seem to have the vision to think of anything better than a new kitchen or car, do something to help the struggling debut authors to be acknowledged and give the reading world a chance to read good fiction not mediocre porn.

Back to the real world next time and the rest of the E-publishing review …

Follow me on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Debbie-Martin-author-and-writer/290947497649847

and on my website: www.debbiemartin.co.uk

Where you’ll find lots more to read and information when my books are published.

Debbie Martin

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Self-publishing palaver
July 19, 2012

Self-publishing.

The future, so everyone says, so I’ve decided to try it out with my second dating and relationship book. The first was published the traditional way last February and you can have a lag on me with it here:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/humorous-journey-through-internet-dating/dp/1780921144

But this time, I’ve decide to try out the megalomania route (total control!) and self-publish  – so here we go: the first book I have to try to upload on to e-book and Kindle myself- yikes! How is a non-techy going to cope with that, I wonder?

Best to write myself a step by step guide …Then I thought maybe everyone else might find that helpful too, so here goes with Part One: Kindles.

Part two will appear next week when I hope I have the cover design back and can complete the full works (unless I’ve been overwhelmed by the sheer frustration of failed formatting when Word wants to do something opposite to what I want).

Typesetting basics: Kindle

In your word document, use:

  • A common serif font like Helvetica or Book Antiqua Times New Roman and Century are also recommended by some.
  • Use 11 or 12 point single space regular as a minimum. Use 18- 20 point for headings. Remember that readers can make the font bigger themselves when reading.
  • Put a single space after a full stop.
  • In dent paragraphs with em dash or 5mm.
  • Don’t have a blank line between paragraphs.
  • If using  dash, use space en dash space.
  • Avoid ‘widows and orphans’ (the stray word left flowing onto a new page all on its own – ahh!) by editing carefully.
  • Spaces sections with a blank line   or a blank line ornament  blank line e.g

*

  • Page numbering isn’t needed, but for reference purposes , centre a footer staring at the first page of the body of the text numbered at the first page following on from the title pages –e.g. maybe this might be 7 by the time the title etc  pages are passed/
  • No headers/ footers or left/right paging are required.
  • Drop the chapter numbers and title a few lines and use 18-20 point regular or italic but not bold.
  • Use hard return to ensure lines c don’t concertina (shift return).
  • Typically, you need         –      A cover

–          A title page

–          A dedication page (possibly)

–          A cover page

–          A copyright page

–          A contents page

–          A map page (possibly

Now you see how you may have reached page 7 before getting to the guts of the book for     the page referencing above.

  • Convert to Kindle using the app if using Indesign (on Amazon).
  • Download Kindle onto your computer and trial your layout.
  • When the layout is good, upload it, check it again and then publish it.

To publish on Kindle you will need:

  • The set up an agreement with Amazon.
  • Choose the royalty level in three currencies.
  • Follow the options and agree the contract.
  • Publish and wait three days for amazon to do their stuff.

Promotion and pitching:

Pitch your book at a lowest price possible as there’s more opportunity in gaining large numbers of very low priced sales than less numbers of higher ones. Amazon will give you the opportunity to have freebie days too – when anyone can download your book for free. Don’t worry that you’re giving it away. The more people who get it and like it, the more sales you’re likely to make later.

Some other tricks:

  • Get people to rate it for you. The more often it’s rated at 4 and above, the better it’s odds in the algorithm that Amazon applies to ‘recommend’ it to purchasers of other similar books. This is based on sales and ratings. The more of each, the more Amazon promotes it for you – neat – huh?
  • Ask everyone you know on Facebook to buy it.
  • Have a twitter account active and promote it on there – especially on the freebie days.
  • An editor/copy editor are a must: what you put on there is the finished product, so make sure it is finished to a high standard first.
  • ISBN’s – all major book stockists recognise self-published ISBN’s and won’t touch them. Save yourself some money and don’t buy one unless you’re determined to see this book in print too.
  • Set your price low. The mentality of internet sales is low price = bulk sales.

So, now it’s time for me to have a go! Next week I’m going to turn it into an e-book, rather than a Kindle so it’s available for free download to my lucky Amazing weekend attendees:

See www.singlesthatmingle.co.uk for all the information about this – 9th to 11th November.

Now that was all very serious stuff wasn’t it? And not a creative bean in sight, so now I’m going to write some more of Chained melody, where the plot thickens …

More to follow next week …

Follow me on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Debbie-Martin-author-and-writer/290947497649847

and on my website:

http://www.debbiemartin.co.uk/

where you’ll find lots more to read and information when my books are published.

Debbie Martin

Beyond the page – Sandra’s revenge
July 12, 2012

… She’d joined a class, you see. The lure had been too much and once she’d started thinking about it, she couldn’t put the thought aside, no matter how hard she tried. She’d gone during the day when he was at work or on a Saturday morning when he thought she was doing the shopping. She’d practiced hard. She’d mastered the dips and the drops, the shimmering vibrations of the body layered ontostaccatomovements of the hips as they flicked and twitched in a wicked invitation to touch, no don’t touch! The fluid undulations and rotations, mimicking the impression of riding a camel, or some other beast, as her body circled and enticed, come here, join, entwine…Slow and tantalising, wild and whirling, graceful and floating, with a myriad of veils divested, one by one as the various layers of the human psyche are divested from the loftiest and most philosophical thoughts – the cool blue veil – to the earthiness of physical desire and need – the red veil . . .

She dropped the blood red veil to the floor in a swirl. The dance had finished. She breathed heavily. Yes, she would perform well tomorrow evening.

The whole secret gave Sandra such satisfaction. And it had insidiously changed so much for her too. Just the exercise itself had made her slim down, and that weight problem that he thought she had? Well it had simply melted away, replacing her low self-esteem with a sense of admiration, for her now sleek but voluptuous body, but also for having been able to master the subtle arts of the dance. Of course he didn’t even notice the change. He saw nothing but what he expected to see in front of him and she kept up the persona for him, refusing to share even the smallest part of her new self with him. He might share the same bed with her, but his hands never touched even the top layer of the shapeless old nightie she wore so even the most intimate moment they might share didn’t betray her.

The mantra of ‘stupid , fat and useless’ which he’d instilled in her over the years was replaced with ‘lithe, skilled and able.’ So, what else could she do?  Maybe she wasn’t so useless after all. She’d looked in the ‘sits vac’ column, something she hadn’t done in years. She’d ringed the ones she tentatively wondered if she could manage and been amazedly delighted when she’d been offered a job.  She started it next week.

The next evening she had to wait for him to go out before she could leave herself. She’d already carefully packed her costume in a bag and hidden it behind the shabby brown suitcase in the wardrobe. When she arrived at the venue, the other dancers were bustling around in the dressing rooms. Marie, the class teacher fell on her breathlessly,

‘Oh Sandy, thank goodness you’re here now. I was starting to worry…You’re our star… Everything is alright, isn’t it?

Sandra smiled at her. ‘Just a little delayed.’

She slid into her costume and swiftly completed the transformation. Looking in the full length mirror, she barely recognised herself. Not fifty, fat and frumpy as she’d used to joke ruefully to her friends, but a sibilant siren, skirts slipping softly to her ankles, swishing as she slid gracefully onto the dance floor. It was a ‘hafla’, a Turkish dance party, with other troupes and classes joining in the demonstrations and the audience made up of the class members, their friends and partners. Her class was hosting it. The audience sat at tables around the dance floor, cabaret style.

As soon as she was on the dance floor she spotted him. He was sitting on the far side of a table towards one side, trying to be insignificant, yet watching the movements of the dancers with hard, hungry eyes. She felt a moment of panic as she felt his eyes slide over her. Not yet, not now, she silently prayed. The eyes stayed on her, but not out of recognition, out of desire. He shifted his position, straining forward to get a better look from his deliberately slightly obstructed view – probably cursing he’d chosen this half-hidden seat now.

She stood in position, shrouded in the seven veils of her dance, eyes masked with vibrant, sumptuous sequins and feathers so only her full mouth could be seen, curved slightly in a mysterious smile. Cool spiritual blue was the top layer, peeling down through turquoise, green, yellow, orange, cerise to deep pulsating red; the red of blood coursing through a body that was revealed in its transformation from spiritual to sensual as each layer enveloping her unfurled, coloured the room and dropped like shimmering pool to the floor; another layer of herself had been discarded. All restrictions removed. Sandra whirled and  gyrated, entreated and enticed, withdrew – and the metamorphosis happened  in front of their eyes – from a cool blue nymph to a scarlet siren, climaxing by throwing herself in abandon across the floor with a gesture that flung her body open in its’ entirety to any would be possessor – ‘take me . . .’

The room was transfixed, and so was he.

M/F

Sandra escaped to the dressing room, exhausted with the effort of portraying the emotions as much as following the right choreography. The class crowded round her, congratulating her, expressing their delight in her, and the class teacher was enraptured, holding onto her hand and grinning like a clown. The bustle swathed her in a sense of having finally arrived. Her exhaustion dissipated as their energy and enthusiasm trickled into her, until all of a sudden, the moment was now. Now was right. She allowed them to lead her back into the dance arena for a general round of applause for the whole class for having put on the show, and then she was being whisked into the crowds to say hello here, have her hand shook there, be introduced to this person or that.

‘I must introduce you to Frank,’ Mandy said, ‘you know my . . .’ Her voice trailed off, as she made a coy gesture indicating ‘my lover’ but not actually saying it. ‘He’s always a bit derogatory about belly dancing, but he won’t be able to be now he’s seen you dance.’

Sandra smiled and turned to look into the ashen face of Frank.

The chapter ended there, and Mary rested the book back into her lap. Frank – father’s name was Frank. Was the book telling her something? Had father treated mother this way? She concentrated hard on reviving the sense of her father in her mind. The way he’d stood – the sag of his shoulders mimicking the droop of his moustache, eyes dulled and defeated. Then by contrast mother sitting in her chair – this chair – ram-rod straight, cold, brushing Mary’s hair so hard she felt sore afterwards; not a soft atom in mother’s body, ever. No, fathers’ whole demeanour told her that he was unlikely to have been the aggressor. Mother on the other hand . . .

More to follow next week …

Follow me on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Debbie-Martin-author-and-writer/290947497649847

and on my website:

www.debbie@debbiemartin.co.uk

where you’ll find lots more to read and information when my books are going to be published.

Debbie Martin

Beyond the page as Sandra sways …
July 5, 2012

Now it starts to get interesting for Sandra…

‘. . . Sandra glowered at him with hatred, but he didn’t see her venom. He was buried in his damn Telegraph as usual. ‘Blah, blah, blah . . .’ she mimicked him, from her hidden position behind the upheld pages, openly making mocking faces at him as she silently mouthed the words. He just continued to drone on about HIS views and HIS opinions and HIS ideas, never, once, ever, asking her about hers. And of course the weight problem came up too – it always did. He called her blubbery like a whale: and the fact that she didn’t work.

‘. . . and that really is the crux of it?’ He suddenly put the pages down flat on his lap and looked directly at her over the top of his wire – rimmed glasses. Questioning, no: he wasn’t questioning her – he never questioned. He told : he told, criticised, belittled, and shamed her. He never questioned, otherwise he might have got a very different answer to the one he got. The question was rhetorical, just saying, ‘I’m right aren’t I?’ It just didn’t have the ‘aren’t I?‘ at the end of it.

Sandra hastily re-composed her belligerent sneer to a face of polite agreement. ‘If you think so, dear’ she said meekly, not even knowing what she was agreeing with because her mind had been totally taken up with the wonderful release of baring the teeth of her frustration at him in the seconds before the question-statement was posed.

‘Hmmm’ he said, narrowing his eyes at her, not quite sure if the response was satisfactory enough, and then obviously deciding it was only Sandra – it would do. He shook the newspaper pages slightly to remove any crumples from them and withdrew behind them again. The voice was slightly muffled as it continued from behind the barrier, ‘I’ll have that tea now, but make sure it’s not too weak, and there’s only one spoon of sugar in it, oh and I don’t want that flowery mug you gave me last time. You may want to act like a char woman but I drink my tea out of a proper cup and saucer like a gentleman would.’ He didn’t even look to see if Sandra acknowledged and obeyed the command: he knew she would.

Once the tea was satisfactorily made and provided in the appropriate format, Sandra escaped to the bedroom. She left the bedroom door just ajar – so she could hear if he moved from his throne and came upstairs to see what she was doing. Not that he was likely to. His interest in her had dwindled to nothing but the odd reprimand and string of orders years ago, once the children were grown. She’d outlived her attraction to him when she no longer provided anything material in his life. He’d already looked elsewhere, anyway. She knew that. She occasionally found the odd hotel or restaurant receipt in his jacket pocket when she took it to the dry cleaners. They were careless oversights on his part which merely told her he didn’t bother to hide anything anymore. Such absolute arrogance. She didn’t know who the current one was, but she suspected it was a woman at the office. She’d noticed his enlivened tone when he’d declaimed the woman as a tart for going to a belly dance class – a belly dance class of all things!

The comment had made Sandra pick up her ears – partly because she could tell that his interest was obviously piqued and whilst Sandra had long since ceased to care about his betrayals, she was canny enough to realise that it was wise to keep track for her own self-preservation. But she had also been curious about belly dancing. It conjured up tantalising images of raven haired beauties, barely covered in diaphanous silks, bejewelled and sequined, trailing seductively over the shoulders and sexual appetites of their male audience.  She almost smelt the heady scent of desire, the mystery of decadence, the pounding beat of the drum as the dancer flicked and shook her hips and breasts to its rhythm – the rhythm of sweat and thrust and sex. She shivered slightly in excitement. That was something she hadn’t experienced in a very long while. She crept to the bedroom door and listened silently for a few minutes. There was no sound at all below. He was either still deeply immersed in the stuffy news print or he’d dozed off. Either way, she could.

She stripped her shapeless woollen top off, dragging it over her head roughly, and hastily let her tracksuit pants drop around her ankles like a puddle. Hidden carefully at the back of her wardrobe, underneath an old dress, was the outfit. It was skimpy and exciting. She slid into it, smoothing the soft transparent drape of the skirt over her hips, running her hands down to her thighs, and then swinging them slightly, luxuriating in the way the fabric fell against her bodies outline, hiding it, but revealing all. She sighed with satisfaction, wriggled her shoulders slightly in a shimmy, making her breasts rub against each other exuberantly, bubbling over the top of the tiny sequined bra. She smiled.

 

More to follow next week …

Follow me on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Debbie-Martin-author-and-writer/290947497649847

and on my website:

www.debbie@debbiemartin.co.uk

where you’ll find lots more to read and information when my books are going to be published.

Debbie Martin