Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving in new ways


The "holidays" bring a set of expectations to the door. We all get the yearly visit. While the particulars vary, the overall similarities are part of the American culture. We celebrate and give thanks with family, friends, and food.

The gatherings of my youth are but fond memories. The older generations, those people who passed the family name down, are gone. What remains of my parent's generation is fractured by death and ill health. My generation is equally scattered on holidays, busy with the younger generations of children and grandchildren. I have no biological children. My father has been gone for many years. My mother has Alzheimer's. The sister of my heart moved away. I am, for all intents and purposes, alone on this day, without blood relatives who share my memories. 

That's not to say I don't have people around me. My online posse is far-flung but wishes for a happy day arrived. My partner is the oldest of his siblings and we have an unconditional welcome at his youngest sister's house all days. 

Life goes on in different directions. We had a traditional Thanksgiving meal at the care facility with my mother. Afterward, we had traditional Thanksgiving dessert at his sister's house. 

So while the day didn't unfold as in year's past, it was nonetheless a good day. I could be morose that the beautiful memories of yesteryear will not be re-lived, but I'm not. This is what I have now, today, and I count my many blessings. 

Now that my partner and I are finally home again and into our comfortable old clothes, it's time to call a few of my cousins. It's time to embrace a new normal and make it my own as I go forward in life. I'm sure it will provide a new set of Thanksgiving memories, and Thanksgiving opportunities to enjoy and to be thankful for. 

Rayne
rayneforrest.blogspot.com




Wednesday, November 2, 2016

They stole my story!!!


The Insecure Writer’s Support Group

There you are. It’s a rainy evening and you’ve written over one thousand words in the current work-in-progress. You’re winding it down for the day. A little surfing at your favorite online bookseller is in order. You can download a new book and tottle off to bed to do a little reading.

Not so fast. There is YOUR cover on someone else’s book! 

Okay, okay. You know everyone and their sister is buying cover stock from a very limited available pool of quality stock. You just have to grin and bear it and remember you bought that cover stock because the guy is pretty sexy. 

So you scroll a few more pages and then it happens. Holy crap! SOMEONE STOLE YOUR TITLE!!!  

Well, it’s not exactly your title. Your title’s The Alpha’s Broken Finger and this - this - this THIEF used The Alpha’s Broken Toe. And you can't copyright titles and names. But dammit! That’s awfully close. And both stories are about how his mate, be that mate male or female, saves him.  

What the heck is going on?? Is this something serious or did we simply inspire another writer? Haven't we all gotten inspiration from someone else somewhere along the line? Who hasn't read a story and been blown away by a particular turn of a phrase and then had it creep into our usage? 

Plagiarism is a risk we all take when we publish a book. While I wrote the above tongue-in-cheek, the theft of intellectual property is no laughing matter. The honest among us have all seen covers and stories so similar to our own that the hair on our arms raises in alarm, disgust and anger. It’s not a good feeling. So what do we do about it?

The serious among us view our work as both creation and business. There are steps we can take if we’ve been pirated (DMCA letters) or suspect plagiarism (an attorney versed in the applicable laws).  One of the sad truths about this business is it’s stacked against the author. We do the work of creation and everyone makes a profit on our backs.

I could let the ugliness of theft stop me from writing, but I won’t. I could put my money into lawyer fees (and if seriously pissed off I will). I submit DMCA letters albeit in a lazy fashion. For better or for worse I’ve accepted the risk because I believe Karma exists.

If we accuse another writer of plagiarism and it turns out to be a weird coincidence, we’ve gained an enemy, one unlikely to ever forget. And do we want to apply the stigma of plagiarism to someone else who may have simply had a similar idea? How would we feel if we were unjustly accused of such a thing?

I know that sooner or later savvy readers will catch on and avoid suspect “authors.” The problem of deliberate, premeditated theft is so pervasive that even with a hundred thousand keyboards raised against it, it’s not going to go away. And that’s not right and that’s not fair.

The best thing I can do is put my energy into writing the next story and not dwell on the inequities of this business. I could allow it to discourage me, but I won’t. I do what I do for the honest readers and there are enough of them left to keep me going. And that will just have to be good enough until karma kicks butt.

Rayne
rayneforrest.blogspot.com

(This is a modified version of a post that was written for another venue in 2015.)

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