You Don’t Know Jack

Cynthia Potts discovered Jack:

Jack is a magazine by fanfic writers, designed to showcase homoerotic fiction.
And even they don’t want any fanfiction! But the kicker: To submit, you have to
have been a fanfic writer at some point.

Translation: We only want lazy
thieves to contribute to our magazine. People who don’t see a problem with
stealing other writer’s work and perverting the intent of the story. It helps if
they’re so clueless that they don’t know the stealing is wrong, but are actually
proud of the theft.

This seemed just too bizarre to be true. But it’s for real.

Welcome to JACK, an ezine of original homoerotic fiction written by Fanfiction
Writers. The staff of JACK firmly believes in the artistic validity of textual
erotica. Our goal is to create a zine that reflects our enthusiasm and love for
homoerotic (both male/male and female/female) literature while also showcasing a
wide range of talented authors…

…The only requirement for our authors (beyond writing good fiction and being of
legal age) is that you must have written fanfiction at some time. Links would be
appreciated. Submit all stories in plain text format in the body of an email to: with
JACK Submission in the subject header. Because of virus concerns, all
attached files will be deleted unread.

So fanfiction really is practice for writing…if you want to write for an online magazine featuring homoerotic stories. 


The Milwaukee Journal reports that PAX is dead.

Starting Friday, the little-watched PAX Network will begin shedding its
current identity to become something called "i."

That little "i" is supposed to stand for "independent," and Paxson
Communications, which owns Milwaukee’s WPXE-TV (Channel 55 over the air and
Channel 15 on Time Warner Cable), says it will become an outlet for independent
and syndicated programming.

It’s not clear what this will eventually mean.

Yes, it is. I is for Informercials…

Chicks Dig Movie Bootleggers

The LA Times reports that Johnny Ray Gasca was convicted yesterday of seven criminal counts relating to his bootlegging of movies and flight from justice. One major piece of evidence against him was his diary, where he bragged that he made $4000 a week illegally taping movies with his camcorder. Gasca, who defended himself, explained the journal this way:

In a deep voice with a thick Bronx accent, Gasca told the jury that the journal
was a work of fiction written to impress girls.

"And I gotta tell you,"
he told the 12-member jury, "it worked."

I can just imagine the scene. Gasca goes up to a girl in a bar.

"Hey, baby, I’m a movie pirate."

"Really? Where’s your eyepatch?"

"I don’t have an eyepatch," he says, "but I keep a journal. Would you like to read it?"

"Sure," she says.

He takes out his journal, opens it up to key page, and shows it to her. She reads it, looks up at him, and says breathlessly:

"You sat in a movie theatre and taped THE CORE off the screen with a camcorder?"

He nods and, in doing so, redefines suave.

"That is so hot. I-I-I,"  She grabs the bar and shudders. "Oh God, I just climaxed thinking about it. Take me home, now, so I can make love to you all night."

"I have a better idea. I have my camcorder with me," he whispers. "What do you say we go to the AMC and tape SPY KIDS?"

She shudders again. "Stop. Torturing. Me. I don’t think I can take much more of this, you incredibly hot, bootlegging stud…"

Pros and Cons of POD

The Sacramento  News & Review ran an interesting, and very balanced, article about the pros-and-cons of Print-On-Demand publishing (ie "vanity presses").

there’s a difference between the POD printing technology–which has many
uses–and POD publishing. In recent years, a number of companies have begun to
offer POD publishing services to authors who want to see their books in print
but haven’t been able to interest a traditional publishing house in their work.
These writers often turn to companies with names like AuthorHouse, iUniverse and
Xlibris to publish their books for them. For a fee, which varies depending on
the level of marketing, editing and other services the author selects, POD
publishers will set up the book and print copies as they are ordered.

Wales, who published his first novel with AuthorHouse, makes a distinction
between using a POD publisher and self-publishing. “The basic difference,” he
said, “is that when you use a company like AuthorHouse or iUniverse, they are
the publisher. That means they own the ISBN [International Standard Book
Number], and all payments for the book get channeled through them.” But because
the author has paid for the publication, and the company has no input into
content other than banning obscenity or pornography, according to Wales, “those
companies are vanity presses.”

“They’ll set you up,” he said, “but they don’t have any sort of criteria for
what’s going to be published and what isn’t.” Wales initially went with
AuthorHouse (which was called 1stBooks at the time) because he’d had difficulty
finding an agent or publisher for his first book, a rather epic fantasy novel.
It runs more than 600 pages–more than 300,000 words–in length.

…Many would-be authors decline to use the editing services offered by POD
publishers–either because it costs extra or because they think, wrongly, that
editing isn’t necessary. Without the agents and editors of the traditional
publishing system to weed out the unprepared and unworthy, some really bad books
are out there.

The folks at Pod-dy Mouth (where I found the link to this article) exchanged emails with the reporter, Kel Munger, while she was writing the article. In one of them, the reporter said:

I’m genuinely torn between a
healthy respect for access to publishing for all and aggravation that so many
people think anybody can write a good book. It’s like saying anyone can be a
brain surgeon; it would be nice if it were true, but it’s just not so.

I recommend the article for anyone who is thinking about self-publishing their book.

Why Bother Going to the Movies?

My wife always wants to see something "light" on our date night. So she dragged me to both THE HONEYMOONERS and BEWITCHED. After enduring these two inane, laughless "reimaginings" of TV classics, I think both films should be formally classified as crimes against humanity and the film-makers brought in chains to The Hague. I also think Congress should pass a law making it a crime, from this point forward, to remake a TV series as a feature film ( a law which should have been enacted after the feature versions of THE AVENGERS or SGT. BILKO). It’s too late, I’m afraid, to save us from DUKES OF HAZZARD.

Lately, there’s been a lot of head-scratching in the trades about why boxoffice revenues are taking a steep dive. There’s a simple answer. Because movies these days suck. I don’t just mean these TV revivals, but movies in general. I honestly can’t remember the last time I saw a good Hollywood  movie and, sicko that I am, I see just about everything (Yeah, I saw STAR WARS…and found myself rooting for the bad guys and wondering when George Lucas lost his writing talent. And yeah, I saw BATMAN BEGINS, and I couldn’t wait for BATMAN ENDS. It was boring  and cliche-ridden). 

Overall, there’s much better stuff on TV these days than there are in the theatres… so why would anybody want to pay a babysitter, endure the traffic, pay exorbinant ticket prices, get gouged for popcorn and soda (it’s cheaper to eat at Ruth’s Chris than my local Regal Cinema)  put up with a noisy crowd and sit on sticky seats?

And the studios wonder why people are staying home?

(PS – I just thought of the last good movie I saw: it was either MILLION DOLLAR BABY or THE INCREDIBLES. How long ago was that??)

The Eyes of a Ranger Are Upon You

Walker is back. Chuck Norris is returning to Dallas next month Clintto shoot "Walker Texas Ranger: Ring of Fire," a two-hour movie for CBS that producer/director Aaron Norris hopes will relaunch the franchise, which was cancelled in 2001. Norris tells Variety:

"Reunions are more about one-offs," he said. "I would like to do more of

To that end, action in "Ring of Fire" will pretty much pick up "as if we’ve
been doing the show the whole time," with Walker simply doing what he’s always
done: collar criminals and kick bad-guy butt (and not necessarily in the that

Plot of "Ring of Fire" has Walker investigating whether one of his Ranger
buddies is a serial killer — or just being framed. He’ll also try to track down
a teen on the run from a crime syndicate.

The big question is, will Chuck still sing the theme song?

Do Mermaids Cry?

Robert Parker’s errors in APPALOOSA reminded me that a few weeks ago, my 10-year-old daughter Madison spotted a logic flaw in RL Stine’s book DEEP TROUBLE. In the scene, a mermaid is held captive in an aquarium full of water. RL Stine wrote:

The mermaid cooed. Then I saw her wipe away the tears that had begun to run down her face. She’s crying again, I thought, feeling guilty and miserable. She’s pleading with me. I put my face against the glass, as close to hers as I could get it…

"She’s underwater," Madison said. "How can he see tears running down her cheek?" That’s a darn good question, I replied. You’re very observant. You ought to be a detective.

I suggested that she write to RL Stine and ask him the question. She did. So far, he hasn’t replied.

No Rewrites, No Editing

I remember reading an interview with Robert B. Parker somewhere where he said he doesn’t go back and rewrite his work…he just bangs it out and moves on.  Apparently, his books aren’t edited by his publisher, either. Bill Crider posts the evidence.

From Appaloosa,

p. 266: "The room was quiet and

p. 238: "Bragg took a tan leather case out of his inside coat pocket. He offered a cigar to Bragg and

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro says NO to fanfic

Holly Lisle is hardly alone. Celebrated author Chelsea Quinn Yarbro is no fan of fanfic, either.  From her "official" Yahoo discussion group:

Please note:

Any attempt to violate her copyright will result in criminal prosecution by her legal services.
Since becoming the official Chelsea Quinn Yarbro Group we will no longer be able to post personal poetry or other works by members anywhere within the group pages or posts. This is due to recent developments that aren’t with this group, but for other legal reasons.

In Globe and Mail article, Yarbro describes some of her run-ins with fanficcers.

"I have absolutely no sense of humour
        about copyright infringement," she writes. Yarbro has dealt with four
        instances of infringement during her career, including one where a fan
        story was printed in a magazine against her express wishes and the writer
        even mentioned as much in an introduction. Although Yarbro has managed
        to settle these issues out of court, she points out that in the U.S.,
        "willful infringement, meaning you know the writer has said no and
        you do it anyway, carries with it a maximum federal fine of $250,000 and
        a maximum of five years in a federal penitentiary."

When asked whether non-profit on-line fan fiction constitutes
        at least a grey area, she responds: "I think it is nonsense — and
        that is a mild word for the one I would prefer to use — and that fans
        who do it show a profound disrespect for the writer and the work they
        misappropriate in such cases. If fans want to write, they should make
        up their own stories with their own characters. That’s what fiction is
        all about."


Megan Lindholm says NO to Fanfic

Fantasy author Megan Lindholm/Robin Hobb comes out strongly against fanfic on her site. She tackles all the usual "pro-fanfic"  arguments one by one and in great detail.  Among her comments:

“I should be flattered that readers like my stories enough to want to
continue them.”

        That’s not flattering. That’s insulting. Every
fan fiction I’ve read to date, based on my world or any other writer’s world,
had focused on changing the writer’s careful work to suit the foible of the fan
writer. Romances are invented, gender identities changed, fetishes indulged and
endings are altered. It’s not flattery. To me, it is the fan fiction writer
saying, “Look, the original author really screwed up the story, so I’m going to
fix it. Here is how it should have gone.” At the extreme low end of the
spectrum, fan fiction becomes personal masturbation fantasy in which the fan
reader is interacting with the writer’s character. That isn’t healthy for

On the notion that fanfiction is good "practice" for becoming a writer, she says, in part:

  No. It isn’t. If this is true, then karaoke is the path to become a singer,
coloring books produce great artists, and all great chefs have a shelf of cake
mixes. Fan fiction is a good way to avoid learning how to be a writer.
Fan fiction allows the writer to pretend to be creating a story, while using
someone else’s world, characters, and plot. Coloring Barbie’s hair green in a
coloring book is not a great act of creativity. Neither is putting lipstick on
Ken. Fan fiction does exactly those kinds of things.

Her long, self-described "rant" is worth a look.