Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tuesday Buildup: Running a Criminal Empire

Taken, for all its twists and turns, was a fairly straightforward book with a fairly straightforward premise--find the missing girl and then unravel the tangled web of lies. Borrowed is, well, a lot more complicated.

For one, we have money laundering. No, I don't mean washing a twenty in the pocket of your pants. I'm talking systemic cash deposits, follwed by equally systematic but infinitely more confusing transfers to numbered accounts, followed by more transfers or even purchases, all culminating in the withdrawal of funds or the acquiring of items with "clean" money. Sound confusing? It is. Here's a diagram:
And yes, I have to refer back to it in order to make sure I keep my facts straight. I may be writing fiction, but I'd like some elements of it to be true. Which leads me to my next, slightly distasteful point.

Human Trafficking. I touched on the issue of this enormous crime in Taken but it takes much more of a front row, center position here. The entire plot is driven by uncovering the source of this particular branch of a much larger human trafficking scheme. Frankie and the gang aren't naive enough to think they're going to end human trafficking in general or even one particular Russian family. They're after fixing this one thing, which has led to the deaths of people they consider friends and family.

Finally, there's something that anybody reading the Frankie series should be familiar with: falsifying documents and using aliases. At this point, everybody in the gang is involved. Now, Ian and Casey Lynn aren't in any legal trouble but they could loosely be called known associates. This means there's a good possibility people are looking for them, too. So they've got the false identities they're living and working under in London. There's going to be more of them before the journey is over, so be prepared to start a cheat sheet.

Okay, next week, we'll do a little bit on the paranormal side of things. Until then..read on!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Media Monday--Guilty Pleasure Movies

So, I was originally going to do a review of The Newsroom, because despite the yells and boos of the critics, I'm still totally in love with the show. But then I turned on the television (because I can't do anything without background noise) and what should be on the screen?

Sister Act 2. And what's following it? Sister Act.

I dare any child of the 90's to tell me they have never heard of those two movies. Whoopi Goldberg may not be on anyone's most awesome or most favorite list, but let met tell you, she knocked the shit out of the park with these two movies. I think I may have mixed some metaphors in my excitement but whatever. The movies themselves are just full out feel-good. And, unlike a lot of movies today where you either get people who can dance/sing or people who can act but not both at the same time, the main characters in these films do both. (Ok, with the exception of Wendy Makenna's character, but we'll let that go)

So I guess you can tell I really like these movies. They may not be on the same level as something directed by Aaron Sorkin or David Fincher but I love to watch them nonetheless. Other movies that fall in the same category of guilty pleasure:

Robin Hood: Men in Tights. I will randomly break out in songs from this movie. I can't help it. It's so funny to look at Cary Elwes in this movie and then look at him in something like Speed or Saw.

My Bloody Valentine (3D). I may not be able to watch the 3D version, but I still love watching the movie. It's a funny slasher film without trying too hard to be funny.

The Scary Movie series. Yes, all of them. I love all of them. I think I've established I have a love for the ridiculous and even more ridiculous and these movies definitely qualify on all levels. Plus, Anna Faris is a freakin' comedic genius as far as I'm concerned.

Finally...Waiting. I feel like any person who has worked in the food service industry relates to this movie. I've said it before and I'll say it again--any time I have a bad day at work, I come home and pop this movie in the DVD player. Because it never fails to brighten my mood.

Ok, there they are--my guilty pleasure movies? What are some of yours?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Writer Wednesday--Shea MacLeod

I told you I'd get some new stuff on here--tada! My friend and fellow writer, Shea MacLeod, is here with a guest post. Emjoy!

Losing Atlantis
Yeah, yeah, I know. Atlantis can't be lost. It’s not real. The scientists say so. Even if it was real, tales of its rise to power and sudden demise were probably based on the eruption of Thera which resulted in the destruction of the Minoan culture lo these many years ago.
I’m a writer. If I want to believe in the lost city of Atlantis and write fantastical tales of its exploits, then by golly I will!
I’m sure you’ve all heard lots of stories surrounding Atlantis. What it was. What its people were like. Where it was located. How it was destroyed and why. There are loads of stories out there.
They’re all wrong.
Here’s the truth:
Ten thousand years ago, the sun was dying. Even worse, a deadly virus sprang up out of nowhere killing billions and turning survivors into rampaging homicidal monsters. There was only one choice: flee.
So, a dying race of people left their world for ours. They built a new city on Earth and called it Atlantis. It was a beautiful city full of wonders and magic. Well, the local humans called it magic, but remember this was an advanced species from another planet. So was it really magic? Or just incredibly advanced technology?
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”Arthur C. Clarke, “Profiles of The Future”, 1961 (Clarke’s third law)
I guess we’ll never know. But that wasn’t the problem. The problem was, the Atlanteans brought the virus with them. When the virus escaped Atlantis and came into contact with the human population … well, let’s just say it wasn’t pretty. You can read all about it in Kissed by Darkness. I think you’ll be surprised. I know Morgan Bailey was when she discovered the truth!
Needless to say, the only way to stop the virus and save humanity (in the mind of a priest admittedly going slowly insane) was to destroy Atlantis. It didn’t take a night and a day. Just one big BOOM!
And in that one act of destruction, an entire people was lost, and a legend was born.
So, what do you think? Was there a real Atlantis? Where do you think it was? What’s your favorite Atlantis myth?
Shéa MacLeod is the author of urban fantasy post-apocalyptic scifi paranormal romances with a twist of steampunk. She is also rather fond of lemon curd, mushroom pizza, disco, and Ancient Aliens.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Reporting Thursday--It's Not About Reviews. It's About Having a Vagina.

Yes. It's going to be that kind of post. Good thing I'm not in Michigan.

Stop the GR Bullies continues to...I don't know. Thrive? Persevere? Honestly, I have no idea what they're doing, besides posting entries on what constitutes a "bullying" review. Leaving aside the obvious freedom of speech issues there, I'd like to point out something very important.

Unless both participants are minors, NOTHING is really bullying.

For people so up in arms over what is and is not appropriate, their continued usage of the word "bully" when it is by no means appropriate is nothing short of appalling.

My original intent today was to discuss the legal implications behind the site. There has been a lot of commentary on whether what they are doing is legal or not. In light of recent events, that particular portion of the dialogue has become even more relevant. I'm going to do this the easy way--copy and paste. The bolding, of course, is mine.

(1) travels in interstate or foreign commerce or within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States, or enters or leaves Indian country, with the intent to kill, injure, harass, or place under surveillance with intent to kill, injure, harass, or intimidate another person, and in the course of, or as a result of, such travel places that person in reasonable fear of the death of, or serious bodily injury to, or causes substantial emotional distress to that person, a member of the immediate family (as defined in section 115) of that person, or the spouse or intimate partner of that person; or
(2) with the intent--
(A) to kill, injure, harass, or place under surveillance with intent to kill, injure, harass, or intimidate, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person in another State or tribal jurisdiction or within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States; or

(B) to place a person in another State or tribal jurisdiction, or within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States, in reasonable fear of the death of, or serious bodily injury to--
(i) that person;
(ii) a member of the immediate family (as defined in section 115 [1] of that person; or
(iii) a spouse or intimate partner of that person;

uses the mail, any interactive computer service, or any facility of interstate or foreign commerce to engage in a course of conduct that causes substantial emotional distress to that person or places that person in reasonable fear of the death of, or serious bodily injury to, any of the persons described in clauses (i) through (iii) of subparagraph (B); [2] shall be punished as provided in section 2261 (b) of this title.
So, let's just consider that dealt with. Oh, and the punishments? Not pretty.

Since I try and be as thorough as possible when dealing with an issue of both this magnitude and volatility, I forced myself to read every post on the Stop the GR Bullies site. And the comments. The comments were just as bad. Sometimes worse.

Which is when the focus of this piece changed.

I'm not the first person to discuss this particular component of this fiasco. As mentioned last week, there are numerous sites devoted to the social (in)justices being done by this site.  But when something slaps even the most complacent in the face (and yes, that's me--I'm willing to admit it), it needs to be addressed.

It's been pointed out that the only victims (I refuse to use the terminology employed by the site) that have been profiled are women. One of the theories being posited is one of numbers--more women than men read, thereby making it logical that there will be more female than male reviewers, leading to the conclusion that there is a greater possibility for strident female reviewers.

I have another theory--actually, it's not my theory, it's just something that fits the situation.

Lack of Fit Model/Bias

Don't worry if you haven't heard of it. I hadn't either until I started doing research for this piece. I told you, I like to be thorough. Thankfully, the explanation of this bias is short and sweet:

Lack of Fit Model/bias proposes there is a perceived lack of fit between agentic characteristic of traditional male roles and women’s supposed communal/expressive characteristics; agentic women are evaluated negatively when they violate the tacit cultural assumption they must be communal

To have a better idea of what this entails, you have to take a look at the characteristics of both traditional male and female roles. One thing I discovered is that defining traditional male and female characteristics is a lot like how the Supreme Court once defined pornography--I'm not sure, but I'll know it when I see it. What I mean by this is that out of the half dozen or so scholarly papers I read and the various web sites I visited, none of them actually set down a list of characteristics for each role. They were alluded to or glossed over but never explicitly stated. The closest thing to a list came from--wait for it--Wikipedia.
  • Women are more emotionally expressive.
  • Women are more emotionally responsive.
  • Women are more empathetic.
  • Women are more sensitive to others' feelings.
  • Women are more obsessed with having children.
  • Women express their feelings without constraint, except for the emotion of anger.
  • Women pay more attention to body language.
  • Women judge emotions from nonverbal communication better than men do.
  • Women express more love, fear, and sadness.
  • Women laugh, gaze, and smile more.
  • Women anticipate negative consequences for expressing anger and aggression.
  • Men are more obsessed with sex.
  • Men are overwhelmed by women's expressions of emotion.
  • Men express more anger.
  • Men are stoic.
  • Men show emotion to communicate dominance
Noticing something? These aren't characteristics so much as stereotypes. Like I said, this is the closest there is to a "defined" list and by no means is it complete. Some of the other words associated with being female that I ran across included submissive, weak, warm; some of the words associated with being male were dominant and competent.

Having done that, we need to go back one more layer and look stereotypes in and of themselves. Whenever people speak of stereotypes, one of the foremost attitudes is that it (the stereotype) originates from within the perceive or within the perceived.  

Stereotypes are the result of social interaction.

It's simple cause and effect, something that's been demonstrated in a variety of ways. Our interactions with other people lead to the creation of a stereotype, which is then extrapolated to include a group--based upon our experience with a limited number of individuals who may or may not identify with the larger group. An area where you see this happen quite often is in food service. A server will look at the new table in their section or even a table coming through a door and make an instant judgment on what kind of table they're going to be. 

In a male-dominated society, centuries of social interaction have led to a stereotypical women being complacent, compliant, meek, humble, shy, retiring, caring, warm, and above all else, submissive to authority. A stereotypical man is harsh, abrasive, strong, proud, withdrawn, and above all else, dominant. These are the roles created for men and women by men and women.

People automatically stereotype others, based first on physical characteristics. This automatic stereotype does not have to permanent--this is where using individuating information comes in. It can help people look past their initial judgment of someone. Again, using serving tables as an example, a server may approach a table thinking the table is going to be a "problem table". But the initial greeting and interaction changes that judgment, which enables the server to look past the stereotype they imposed upon the table when they were seated. Unfortunately, individuating information can also work to reinforce a stereotype if the information being presented is irrelevant to a change in judgment and the person in question is already "atypical" of their perceived stereotype.

Okay, let's put all this together (by the way, I always hated that part of a paper--I just explained everything for you, damn it!). What the hell does all this mean in relation to the larger issue at hand?

The behavior of the victims is being judged more harshly BECAUSE THEY ARE WOMEN.

Have you ever noticed how they don’t go after men? And that men don’t do this to each other or to women? There may be a case or two of that happening, but I’ve never seen a male author or male reviewer behave this way. Just the skankier, slobbier women authors and reviewers.

…there are a few men in their group but mostly you’re right. Men don’t behave this way.(1)
That's taken from the Stop the GR Bullies site. Just like this is:
Intelligent adults who read regularly, who purchase books regularly instead of waiting for freebies or bargains, don’t waste time on a bunch of shrewish women who form packs and harass and bully authors and readers.
Oh, this too:
They must have very little joy in their lives if this is what makes them happy. It’s pathetic really.
 And this:

But then again, they pretty much only read YA fiction. I find it strange that middle-aged women (or those in those 30s/40s) still read YA books.
 The last time I checked, there wasn't an age limit on books. If so, then don't I feel like an ass for reading Anne of Green Gables earlier this year. Well, I was only 29 then, so maybe it wasn't that much of a faux pas.

The site says that the victims exhibited "bullying behavior" in their reviews because they (the reviews) were overly caustic, harsh, sarcastic or combative--all stereotypes associated with male gender roles. Let's look at that Lack of Fit Model/Bias again.
agentic women are evaluated negatively when they violate the tacit cultural assumption they must be communal

So, because these victims didn't bat their eyelashes or follow the old mantra of "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all" or didn't "act like a woman", they're horrible people.

Basically, they're being attacked because THEY HAVE A VAGINA.

Wow. What a way to not take any motherfucking steps forward in equality, Stop the GR Bullies.

(1)--They think this absolves them of their behavior. In fact, highly prejudiced people are more likely to explain away gender inconsistent information by saying its due to situational causes--i.e. they're not profiling men because men don't act "that way"

A great deal of this information was gleaned from Psychology of Women: A Handbook of Issues and Theories (Denmark and Paludi). If you have both the time and the money (it's a textbook and not a cheap one), I'd advise you to check it out.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tuesday Buildup

First, I want to remind people that the giveaway for my entire book collection is still open. It's running to the end of the month, so if you haven't commented on the original post, you still have a shot. Just leave a comment on this post and your name will go in the metaphorical hat.

Borrowed is coming along nicely. Woohoo! Next week I'll be delving in to some of the criminal aspects of the book. For now, enjoy the snippet below. (Originally posted on my Facebook page--so you may have seen this before)

“Another round, girl.” The old man tapped his dirty shot glass on the bar, not even attempting to hide his leer. “No cheating.”

I poured him another shot of Chopin, filling it to the brim. Before he asked, I pushed the small bowl of pretzels toward him. When he grinned, showing the gaping holes where teeth should have been, I fought to hold back my instinctive shudder. “Going on the tab?”

“Timur always pays his shot, girl.” He tossed the premium vodka back in one gulp. Grabbing a handful of broken pretzels, he shoved them in his mouth, tiny crumbs dropping onto his stained shirt. “I’ll tell Aleski you’re doubting Timur.”

I held my tongue, turning my attention back to the dirty glassware. Aleski Kozlov had even less patience for the washed-up, broken-down bum than I did, which was saying something. On the other hand, Aleski loved me—something he took great pains to remind me of every afternoon after he handed me my meager tips and right before he propositioned me.

If море had ever heard of the concept of sexual harassment, I’d eat my shoe.

Timur tapped the glass on the grimy bar again, exhaling loudly. I poured another shot, noting it down on the dog-eared notebook all the bartenders used to keep track of customer tabs. There were no computer systems, no credit or debit card systems. Море was all about the profit and any of those things would just cut into the bottom line.

There was no question about being cheated. Nobody would cheat Aleski Kozlov.

Almost as if I’d summoned him by thinking too much, Aleski swaggered into the main room. A glance at the clock showed it was close to four. My relief would be here any minute and then the only thing that stood between me and home was thirty minutes of Aleski’s sweaty caresses and poor attempts at seduction.

“Ah, the beautiful Mary!” Aleski’s English was better than Timur’s, his coarse accent all for show. Once or twice I’d caught him speaking with one of the local police and there’d been only the faintest trace of his homeland in his voice. Depending on the company, he could sound like the lowest farmer or a bored ex-pat tooling around in the London slums.

Since I was working under a forged visa and currently wearing color-changing contacts, a wig, and a bra that made me look like a porn star, I didn’t hold the chameleon characteristics against him.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Media Monday--My New Obsession

Well--my entire day was thrown off. I have no idea why, since I was up at a decent time and did actually get some things accomplished. But then I fell asleep in the middle of the day and now I feel entirely out of whack. Ugh. Naps--I both love them and hate them.

Moving on.

I stumbled across a show on Syfy and I have to admit, it's both terrifying and kind of funny. Terrifying because I was one of those people who was absolutely freaked out by Paranormal Activity and its sequels and so most shows dealing with the paranormal wig me out. Funny because, well, the people are just...funny.

The show in question is Haunted Collector. Apparently, this is the second season, which is sad, because now I know I missed a whole season of this wonderfulness. Basically, the team of paranormal investigators visit various places at the request of people being haunted and do multi-day investigations in an effort to find out the source of any hauntings. Where this differs from other shows, such as Ghost Hunters (at least as far as I can tell--it's been a while since I watched that particular show), is the depth to the research the team does.

Oh, and if they find a haunted object, they remove it from the premises.

This usually works at helping the spirits settle back down. But not always.

The research team is comprised of the main guy (for lack of a better term), his son, his daughter, and three non-related individuals--researcher, tech, and investigation. Everybody participates in the actual investigation. They do the teams of two bit, sometimes with two teams, sometimes with three. They also do the usual EMF and EVP investigations, which can be pretty damned freaky.

But really, the reason I love the show is because the main guy, John Zaffis, has the most out of place voice I have ever heard. Seriously. There are times when he's explaining things or just talking that I have to pause the show and laugh for a few minutes. It's not that he's saying anything funny. He just has a very precise, very specific voice. And it's so out of place with the show that it tickles my funny bone.

Now, having given you a run down on the show, I'm going to go watch a few episodes. And try not to laugh myself into a coma.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Reporting Thursday: Stop the GR Bullies

I've started this post two or three times. I'll delete it and start over and then delete it and start over....you get the picture. I'm torn between my desire to not contribute to an already volatile situation and my desire to share my opinion on said situation.

First, let's get the basics out of the way. Stop the GR Bullies is a site that proposes to do exactly that. The individuals in charge of the site have identified individuals they feel are "bullying" either fellow reviewers or writers on Goodreads. This site is an attempt to fight back, so to speak, against these individuals. As of press time (I've always wanted to say that), none of the four posters to the site have been identified by anything other than their handles. They have no plans to shut the site down, despite the general uproar it has caused.

Why is it causing an uproar? Well, when I said they were "fighting back", I actually meant they were releasing personal information about these "GR Bullies".

Now, the backlash as been tremendous. Really, it has. It almost makes me wonder if these people considered the possibility that individuals aside from their victims (and I'm not using this word lightly--I'll explain more later) might find something negative in such actions. I'll do my best to not rehash what has already been said, especially since it was said in a way I couldn't begin to improve upon (don't worry, I'll give you some linkage later). I'm not going to talk about the people the site has profiled--I don't know any of them, I have no connections that I'm aware of with any of them, and they are not the ones on trial here. (more on this later).

What I want to talk about, very briefly, is the terminology being bandied about and the implications behind said terminology.

The individuals running Stop the GR Bullies chose that title for a reason. On a guess, I'm going to say because the word "bully" is one that, with the exception of some UK slang, has a universally negative connotation. And if you broke the word down by usage, looking at just the verb/noun form, there would be no exceptions to its negativity.

The site takes great pains to expound on what they call "bully culture", in an effort to give visitors to the site an idea of what they, the posters, are fighting against. What I find interesting is that with all this effort and linkage--and they do a good job finding articles to back their opinion, so kudos to their research team--they still can't get the terminology correct. Now, none of the individuals involved claim to be writers, so I can almost forgive them their ignorant word usage.

Almost. If it was another subject and I didn't have the tiniest of hangovers (they make me cranky).

"Cyberbullying" is when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones. It has to have a minor on both sides, or at least have been instigated by a minor against another minor. Once adults become involved, it is plain and simple cyber-harassment or cyberstalking. Adult cyber-harassment or cyberstalking is NEVER called cyberbullying."...Stop CyberBullying
One of the most widely publicized cases in recent history involved the suicide of a teenage girl after weeks of bullying, both in person and online. Phoebe Prince was a recent immigrant to the United States, emigrating from Ireland with her mother and sister in 2009. When she began accepting social invitations from male classmates, her female classmates responded by spreading malicious gossip and physically attacking her, sometimes while on school property. The intimidation tactics continued online, via Facebook and Twitter. Less than six months after beginning school in South Hadley, MA, Phoebe Prince hung herself in the stairwell of her apartment building. She was only fifteen years old. Her body was discovered by her twelve year old sister. Even after her death, crude, belittling comments were posted on Prince's Facebook wall (they were later removed by her family). Two months after her death, six students attending the same school as Prince were arrested and charged in relation to her death. Legislation dealing with anti-bullying was signed into law in May of 2010.

That is bullying. It is actions by minors committed against minors. As horrible as all of that was, only three of the six were charged as adults. In the end, none of them received a jail sentence. What this says about how our culture views crimes committed by youth against youth is a subject for another time.

What the individuals at Stop the GR Bullies are engaged in as CYBER-STALKING. And as horrible as cyber-bullying is, cyber stalking is worse.

Case in point: Kathy Sierra. In 2007, Sierra, who is involved in game development and blogged about marketing,canceled speaking engagements and took her blog down after she became the focus of an online mob. She was issued death threats, her personal information--including addresses and Social Security Number--were posted on-line, and she was also threatened with rape. In the end, no one was arrested, as there was a great deal of back and forth over the origination of the material and the authenticity of said origination.

There is no federal (United States here) legislation involving cyber-stalking/harassment. As such, there is no concrete definition as to what constitutes such behavior. Still, Paul Bocij has authored several papers dealing with the subject and he has identified some characteristics of cyber-stalking/harassment.
  • False accusations. Many cyberstalkers try to damage the reputation of their victim and turn other people against them. They post false information about them on websites. They may set up their own websites, blogs or user pages for this purpose. They post allegations about the victim to newsgroups, chat rooms or other sites that allow public contributions, such as Wikipedia or Amazon.com.
  • Attempts to gather information about the victim
  • Monitoring their target's online activities and attempting to trace their IP address
  • Encouraging others to harass the victim.
  • False victimization.

Now, let's take a look at what those brave, brave souls at Stop the GR Bullies are doing.

(Sorry, I can't get my snapshot thingie to work--copy and paste it is!--actually, that works better so I can asterisk some things--obviously I can't undo what Stop the GR Bullies has done, but I'll be damned if I'll make it easier for them to get their message across)

GR Name: Victim 1
Real Name: Victim 1
Location: Don't Be A Stalker
Category: Ringleader
Level of Toxicity: DEFCON 1, Maximum Alert
Out of all the GR bullies, we consider **** to be the biggest offender.  **** is one of the three ringleaders who organises assaults on authors on Goodreads and on her Redacted Book Blog.
On each Buzz Worthy News post on Redacted, there is a section at the end called Redacted, where *** and her cohort talk about the latest “author scandal.”  This usually sets the minions off onto a witch hunt for said author/s, and not-so-strangely enough, after each Redacted post, the author/s mentioned is then stalked, terrorized, and humiliated until that author/s either retreats into the shadows or leaves Goodreads altogether.
As if this weren’t bad enough, she has personally led several attacks on authors, about which we will talk below.  But for now, here is a brief analysis of the ringleader herself:What *** believes she is: the fearless leader of a special jihad against misbehaving authors.  That her purpose in this life is to put them in their place and teach them the GR bully code of conduct.
What *** really is: an unemployed housewife who stays at home, drinks, and sometimes takes care of her children, that is when she is not drinking, tweeting, or waging her holy war against authors.
 Are we seeing the problem here? This isn't even the worst one.

GR name: Victim 2
Real name: Victim 2
Location: Stop Wondering
Category: Stalker/Information Fetcher
Level of Toxicity: DEFCON 1, Maximum AlertOur sources tells us that the GR bully known at *** is really ***. who lives with her husband,***, in ****.  *** and *** frequent *** and *** usually on Sundays at 4:30 pm (here are couple screenshots in case the links disappear: .)
*** is what we here at STGRB call a stalker and an information fetcher.  Whenever the bullies are stirring up trouble, she jumps into the fray, terrorizing and stalking the victim/victims being targeted.  Then, she brings back the information she has found to the group.  From what we’ve seen, she appears to take her job very seriously and is dedicated to her stalking duties.
As for her professional life, well, she doesn’t have one.  She doesn’t work for a living or take care of children.  From what we’ve gathered, all she does is stay indoors, at home, and sit in front of her computer ALL DAY LONG!  So if you’re wondering how she has so much time to stalk people online, that’s how.

I'm not going to go through and point out each characteristic these "profiles" embody. I'm assuming if you're still here, you can put two and two together and get four.

These profiles go on to give detailed accounts of "actions" that would cause the victims to be selected for profiling. They had an opinion, they weren't nice enough, they were too bitchy, so on and so forth. In other words--the perpetrator is blaming the victim.

Yes, I said victim. And I mean it. A victim is defined as :
(n.) Person who suffers from an injurious action or event

The posters at Stop the GR Bullies have violated what constitutes a reasonable expectation of privacy, thereby violating the rights of the profiled--making them victims. 

Some people may say that the individuals profiled were "asking for it" by posting their personal opinions, by engaging in argument/debate with other people, etc, etc. I wonder if these are the same people who would make the argument that if an individual is dressed in a provocative manner, they "deserve" to be sexually assaulted. I'm hoping not, because that would only make me more pissed off.

Anybody else feel the need to throw up a little? Or a lot?

And just in case you weren't sick enough, take another look at those profiles. Notice the pronoun usage? Both of those redacted-as-much-as-possible profiles are of women. As a matter of fact, the only individuals profiled are women. To me, this looks like a campaign targeting women.

Now you can be sick and pissed off.

I tried to shorten these, but in the end, I just went with the authors' words. Because they said it so much better. (emphasis is mine)

 Although there is no comprehensive, nationwide data on the extent of cyber stalking in the United States and other countries, some ISPs compile statistics on the number and types of complaints of harassment and/or threats involving their subscribers, and individual law enforcement agencies have compiled helpful statistics. There is, moreover, a growing amount of anecdotal and informal evidence on the nature and extent of cyber stalking. First, data on offline stalking may provide some insight into the scope of the cyber stalking problem. According to the most recent National Violence against Women Survey, which defines stalking as referring to instances where the victim felt a high level of fear: (US department of Justice, 1998)
It has been estimated that approximately 20,000 Americans are being stalked (D’Amico, 1997), and with somewhat more liberal estimates ranging as high as 200,000 (Jenson, 1996). Australian data from the Bureau of Statistics suggests that in 1997 more than 165,000 women over the age of 18 were stalked (Lancaster, 1998). Further estimates suggest that as many as one in 20 adults will be stalked in their lifetime and that up to 200,000 exhibit a stalkers traits (Tharp, 1992). Evidence collected by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office suggests that of the 600 cases reviewed; roughly 20 % of them involved some form of electronic communication (L.A. Times, Saturday 23rd of January, 1999). Given the latter finding, there is sufficient evidence to warrant that electronic mediums are in fact providing the stalker with new avenues for the deliverance of their threat (Petherick, 1999).
In the United States, one out of every 12 women (8.2 million) and one out of every 45 men (2 million) have been stalked at some time in their lives.
·         One percent of all women and 0.4 percent of all men were stalked during the preceding 12 months.
·         Women are far more likely to be the victims of stalking than men - nearly four out of five stalking victims are women. Men are far more likely to be stalkers - 87 percent of the stalkers identified by victims in the survey were men.
·         Women are twice as likely as men to be victims of stalking by strangers and eight times as likely to be victims of stalking by intimates.
In the United States, there are currently more than 80 million adults and 10 million children with access to the Internet. Assuming the proportion of cyber stalking victims is even a fraction of the proportion of persons who have been the victims of offline stalking within the preceding 12 months, there may be potentially tens or even hundreds of thousands of victims of recent cyber stalking incidents in the United States (Cyber angels, 2003). Although such a "back of the envelope" calculation is inherently uncertain and speculative (given that it rests on an assumption about very different populations), it does give a rough sense of the potential magnitude of the problem. Jaishanker and Sankary

 Forgive me while I go throw up. A lot.

You'll notice I've bolded Stop the GR Bullies and referred to the full name every time I've mentioned the site. I did this on purpose. I want you to remember the name. I want you to remember what they've done. And I want you to take a stand for what's right. I'm not proposing you engage in their tactics--please, don't lower yourself to their level. But if the topic comes up, have the facts. Know the difference between the truth being presented by these individuals and the truth presented by facts and experts.

To quote one of my favorite authors, Mira Grant--Rise up while you can.

(Okay, a little dramatic, but you get the point)

Now, for the promised linkage from other, more social justice sided viewpoints:

Fangs for the Fantasy
Shattersnipe: Malcontents and Rainbows

And from bloggers:

Dedicated Readers Only

And finally from authors:

Jennifer Armintrout
Rachel Vincent

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tuesday Buildup--Frankie Post

So, I'm working on the next Frankie Post novel, Borrowed, right now. It picks up about four months after the end of Taken...which you can read right here. Enjoy!

“Honey, I’m home.” Jack’s voice echoed from the front hall. Monster lifted his head from his position on my feet, wagging his tail. “What’s for dinner?”
“Food.” Casey Lynn turned her head away from the stove, shaking the contents of the frying pan. “We’re still waiting for Ian. He got stuck in traffic.”
“I was wondering where that charming specimen of man was.” My former client, Shea MacLeod, took another sip of wine, sighing. “He’s like yummy chocolate.”
“You said the same thing about ex-husbands one and two. And three.” I rubbed my shoulder, grimacing. “Why does physical therapy have to hurt so much?”
“Because if it didn’t, people would go around getting shot all the time.” Jack strode into the kitchen to drop a kiss on the top of my head before heading to the mudroom. His boots made a muffled thud as he kicked them off, shrugging out of his jacket at the same time. “Seriously, what’s for dinner? It smells fantastic.”
“Shea’s been directing Casey Lynn in making curry.” I leaned into Jack when he sat down next to me, resting my head on his shoulder. Monster licked Jack’s feet frantically for a few minutes before falling back asleep. “I think I should take some antacids before we eat.”
The front door thudded open again, followed by Ian’s yell. We all answered him, Jack nudging me. “He’s nuts about something.”
“How can you tell?” Casey Lynn glanced over her shoulder again. Shea gestured with her wine glass and Casey Lynn turned her attention back to the curry.
“His voice gets higher. It’s his tell.” Jack grinned when Ian stormed into the room. “Told you.”
“Have you guys seen the papers back home?” Ian tossed a stack of newspapers on the table. Jack and I both sighed.
“Ian, this is home now. Stop wondering and pining about things back in the States.” Jack took a sip of my wine, grumbling. “Beer. Definitely need a beer.”
“Alexia Mitchell is dead.” Ian dropped into a chair, running a hand through his hair. “They found her body yesterday morning. NYPD is keeping the details under wraps, but it’s rumored to be a mob hit.” He reached over, took Shea’s wine from her limp fingers and gulped down the contents. “And the star witness for the prosecution’s case against International Affairs, Roxanne Murphy, is missing.”
“You’re burning dinner, Casey Lynn.” Rage filled me, making my head spin. “Jack.”
“Yeah.” He finished my wine, the glass clinking on the table when he set it down. “I know what you’re thinking.”
“What?” Ian rose, grabbing the bottle of wine. “What are we going to do?”
“What we said we would.” Jack rapped his knuckles on the table. I finished his thought.
“We fucking finish it.”

Monday, July 9, 2012

Media Monday--Review of TED

First off, let me say I have never seen a single episode of Family Guy. It just didn't appeal to me. Plus there's the fact that I get asked repeatedly if I was named after the character in the show. Because clearly, even though the show is less than ten years old and I just turned thirty, this is a valid question.

Anyway, after seeing the previews for Ted, I was totally on board. I mean, really, a talking teddy bear? A drug using, hard drinking, even harder partying teddy bear? How can I not be excited about that?

Let me tell you, the reality is even more than my imagination could have hoped for.

Simply put, Ted (the bear) is the result of a little boy's magical wish and a promise to always be best friends. Instead of just leaving it at that, the story actually takes you past where most happily ever after stories would end. Because really, who hasn't wondered what happened after Cinderella and the Prince got married? Or after Sleeping Beauty and the Prince hooked up? Along the way there's murder, a kidnapping, foul jokes, and general mayhem. Everything a lovely fairytale should have.

Like I said, this is the story of what happens when man and bear grow up and man falls in love. Mila Kunis, who I adore, had the thankless job of the girlfriend who is "coming between" man and friend. She did a wonderful job of portraying the woman who just wants the person she loves to live up their full potential--which can include being frustrated and hurt when they seemingly choose not to do so. In the end, she's the reason that man and bear can continue to be, well, man and bear. And no, I'm not going to explain that statement because I'm not spoiling the movie.

Mark Wahlberg absolutely sells the role of John Bennet, the little boy who finally has a friend of his very own, one who will never leave him. One of the funniest scenes in the movie (something that you can see in the preview) is where John and Ted deal with a thunderstorm. It's the kind of silliness that you totally expect of young boys and yet at the same time is mildly embarrassing in a thirty-five year old man. This dependency between man and bear is something that gets addressed repeatedly in the movie and something, I'm happy to say, that's resolved in a heartwarming and realistic manner.

Finally, Ted himself (voiced by Seth McFarlane) is just...funny as fucking hell. I really don't have any other way to describe him. I'm not sure if it's because the character is a teddy bear or if it's the voice or what, but the damn bear absolutely dominates the show. Even in the scenes he's not in, there's still this undercurrent of Ted-ness that keeps you keyed up and ready for the next bit of Ted.

All in all, this movie rocked. Shout-outs to Giovinni Ribisi as the creepiest single dad ever and to Ryan Reynolds as the creepiest hook-up ever. I'm still not sure if he was putting in a cameo or if he was a named character, but he was still creepy as hell. Ted is definitely a movie worth seeing.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Food Friday--What I Love About Summer

Let's face it, there are certain foods you can eat during the summer that just taste better because it IS summer. Maybe it's childhood memories, maybe it's the heat, maybe it's the increase in fresh fruit and vegetables. Who knows--seriously, who knows? I don't.

What I do know is the following foods are things that just make me three thousand times happier when I'm eating them and it's summer.

Ice Cream--I'm one of those people who will eat ice cream year round. But to be honest, there's nothing more amazing than standing in front of a freezer eating ice cream straight out of the container with the air conditioner running at the perfect temperature.

Popsicles--The only time I really love popsicles is from about April to October. That's when it's hot in Florida. If I'm trying to get to sleep and I just can't cool down, two sugar free popsicles and I'm pleasantly chilled. I can slip between the covers and conk out.

Corn on the Cob--I love corn year round. But I've found that in order to truly appreciate corn on the cob it needs to be summer. And the corn is much better when grilled. Just sayin'.

Fried Chicken--I like to experiment with different marinades and breadings with fried chicken and supper is the ideal time to do that. I've done buttermilk cajun, spicy sweet tea, honeyed BBQ...I pretty much just let my mind go nuts. It's pretty fun and usually tasty.

Those are the big four, at least for me. What about you guys?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Happy Anniversery to Me!!

Yes, that's a double exclamation point up there. I just checked and it's been right at a year since Food, Fun and Urban Fantasy was launched into the blogosphere. You know what that means.


(Okay, I'll stop with the exclamation marks, I promise)

To celebrate, I'm going to give away my entire book catalog. That's right. Every book, even the shorts, will go to one lucky person. Every book, including the latest release, Shades of Blood. And if you play your cards right and I get a swift kick in the ass, said person will be among the first to read Winged in its entirety. Actually, we'll just make that part of the deal anyway--the winner will probably just have to be patient for a month or so.

Okay, now that you're all hyped up, you probably want to know how to get this amazing gift, right?

All you have to do is comment.

That's it. Comment.

The winner will be selected randomly in one week, so spread the word fast and spread it far. (God, that sounds weird and yet so familiar). Only one comment per person, please. Multiple entrants will be disqualified--so play nice and fair, folks.

Let the celebration begin!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Media Monday--Not What I Planned

Orginially, I planned to give everyone my review of Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter (the movie, not the book, although I've read it). But then my Blogger went nuts and I had other shit to do, so, no longer feeling the urge to go all ALVH on ya'll.

Instead, let's talk horror.

I've been spending the past few days watching various DVDs I own, because, well, there really isn't anything on the damn TV right now. Whenever I have one of these movie marathons so to speak, I tend to stick with a theme. I don't like to jump genres.

This time, I've been doing horror.

In the past few days, I've gone through Darkness Falls, The Reaping, House on Haunted Hill, Constantine (not really horror but close enough), and maybe one or two more, I can't remember. Before I hit the hay tonight, I'm going to be watching Sorority Row and trying for The Skeleton Key. If I really want to be depressed, I'd watch The Mist, but it's Monday. That's depressing enough.

I have no idea why I love horror movies. My mom and sister both hate them. Most of my friends do. I've been told my biological father loved them, but I'm not sure that's the kind of thing that gets passed on by genetics. Since I'm also one of those people who will cover their eyes and hyperventilate during intense horror movies, I really have no idea.

I'm serious on the hyperventilating thing. I did it with The Blair Witch Project, The Sixth Sense, and The Ring. I'm also one of those people who have very vivid dreams about things I watch. I woke up in cold sweats and panics after watching Blair Witch 2, Paranormal Activity, and one other movie. God knows what it was, I've apparently supressed it. Maybe it was the original Boogeyman. (The sequels were pretty laugh-out-loud-tastic.)

So, despite all this, I'm a horror fan. God knows why. Maybe it helps with writing crime fiction. Maybe it helps with writing some of the darker parts of the paranormal romance books. Whatever it is, I've got a wide range of materials to choose from.

Hey, it's the first of the month. FEARNET should have new movies. Hmmm....