I went to see the “Fifty Shades of Grey” movie and left feeling disappointed and decidedly unmoved.  It was well-filmed, well-written and well-acted, but it didn’t do justice to the book or its readers. Why?  Come on – if you saw the movie then you know the answer. There was no sizzle, no spark – no chemistry – between Christian and Ana. And the sizzle sells the story. Without that spark, the film fell flat.

I think some of that and perhaps a lot of it is due to the control the book’s author insisted upon exercising over casting.  Rumors are rampant that the author is demanding even more control over the sequels.  If she gets it, then there is no point in making the films. And that’s true even if Erika Mitchell (E.L. James) has a background as a film assistant and a television executive.  Even if the author has a background directing or producing movies, she must step aside from her book’s movie.

A story belongs to the writer when it lives only on the hard drive of the writer’s computer.  As soon as it leaves that safe, secluded nest, a story belongs to the readers – or its movie producer, director, screen-writer and actors. If the author doesn’t let it go then it won’t grow into something that lives, breathes and inspires. The book will be like the child who never leaves home.

In casting the movie, particularly, the author should not – absolutely should not – be involved.  A writer developed a vision of her characters that helped her tell their story.  Because her vision was so strong, she believes her readers saw the characters in the same way.  The author believes that if the characters appear in any way other than the way she wrote them then the story will not work.  The author convinces herself that she owes it to her readers to be sure that any film adaptation will feature only actors who look the part. The author is lying to herself, of course.  Every reader sees the story differently, and a film producer, director and script-writer will have their own vision. That’s the story they must tell — not the one written in black and white by an author. The author’s story inspires the movie, but it can not confine the movie.

It never mattered that the actors playing Christian and Ana looked the part because Hollywood is like a fairy godmother.  It can turn a black actor white, a white actor black, and a human into an alien.  It can surely turn blond, red-headed, or black-haired actors into people who look like Christian and Ana. But Cinderella’s fairy godmother could do more than dress her for the part,  and Hollywood can do no more than turn out players ready for the play.  Chemistry can’t be created.  All the amazing special effects in the film-maker’s arsenal can’t create the special human magic that either occurs or it doesn’t.

In “Fifty Shades of Grey” – the movie – the magic spell was never cast because it never existed between the actors. People who watched the movie without having read the books were left wondering one thing:  What kind of idiot female would dance to a tune played by a stalker with a God complex? Without the chemistry, the love between the characters never sold the story.

When an author’s book is made into a movie,  there is only one place the author belongs — in the audience.  The creative team making the movie must be allowed the freedom of spirit and independence of action that must occur to allow them to create a visual depiction that carries a viewer the way a good book carries a reader.  The creators aren’t telling the writer’s story.  They are showing the story that played in their heads, in their hearts, and in their spirits – while they read the writer’s tale.  They are readers with cameras and make-up brushes, with scripts and director’s chairs.

A story told well will create a different picture for every reader, shaded and contoured by the reader’s own beliefs and experiences. Most readers can not take that picture and translate it into a film that moves the viewer. Making a movie is a creative act and every member of the team is an artist in his or her field. An author must respect the creative process enough to get out of its way.

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Dear readers and authors everywhere – Shall we break out the champagne? The royals have thrown open the castle gates to admit within the sacred walls the indie authors who dared to take their work directly to the people. Post Indie Revolution the eyes of at least some of the royals are opening to realize that in depriving writers of a chance, the gatekeepers also deprived the royals of a choice. It’s a new day, and in the dawn of the light of freedom and possibility, the crown lies where it has always belonged — upon the head of the reader whose finger hovers over the buy button.

Yes, publishers are blinking and as their eyes adjust to the blinding light of the new dawn, they are seizing some of the control they formerly ceded to literary agents.  Check this out:

Publishers are playing literary agents at their own game, seeking out new talent for themselves and cutting out the industry’s powerful middlemen.

Executives within HarperCollins, Jonathan Cape, Little, Brown, and Tinder Press are inviting “un-agented submissions”, marking a dramatic cultural shift for an industry having to readjust to developments such as self-publishing, as well as the often huge advances demanded by agents for coveted titles.

“Publishers Bypass Literary Agents To Discover New Talent”, The Guardian, Dalya Alberge.

I’m not a’tall surprised to find that one of the leaders of the new movement in publishing shares the name of a certain duck lady.  Mary Anne Harrington of Tinder Press, Headline publishing’s literary imprint noted that in relying upon gatekeeping literary agents, perhaps publishers have been “drowning out other, fresher voices.”   You think?  It figures that one of the first publishers to get a clue would be blessed with a duckly moniker.  Quack back at’cha Mary Anne Harrington.

Another ‘got a clue’ lady has a different name – but hey, we can’t ALL be named Mary Anne, can we?  Katie Espiner, a publisher at HarperCollins imprint, Borough Press, awoke in the bright sunlight to an epiphany – she was allowing other people to make her decisions. She promptly held an open submission that discovered a promising new author because:  she wouldn’t allow other people to make her choices for her in any other area of her life.

The gate-opening trend among publishers has prompted some literary agencies to cast a wider net – but at least one is doing it with a Jekyll and Hyde mentality.  Agency Curtis Brown is holding a writing course that has discovered 15 debut novelists over the last 2.5 years.  Yet the chairman of that very same agency, Jonathan Lloyd, retains enough of the royal mentality he acquired working at HarperCollins during the Castle era to remain skeptical of publishers actually making their own choices.  Lloyd said, publishers “don’t have the resources, time and energy to deal with the flood of manuscripts that they’re going to get. And they won’t be filtered.”

I’m happy that publishers are finally descending from their ivory towers to seize their companies’ destinies in their own hands. And I’m delighted that literary agencies are awakening to discover that they have to get out and find the talent because writers no longer crawl to their doors in such great numbers.  But I’m still one of those writers who left the beggars’ line at the dawn of the indie revolution.  I don’t even own a hat and groveling on bended knees gives me leg cramps.

If a literary agent, publisher or big shot movie producer is insane enough to take a flier on romance or erotic romance by a crazy duck lady who publishes as Mary Anne Graham and Olivia Outlaw — I’m easy enough to contact. This blog has a “contact me” link in the upper right corner and I bet Amazon or D2D would be glad to steer any legitimate inquiries my way. Otherwise, I’ll continue to write my stories where lovers get the happy ending that reality too often denies.

Y’all keep reading and I’ll keep writing.

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*WARNING WARNING WARNING!!*

*THERE ARE DISGUSTING SEXUALLY DEVIANT PRACTICES DESCRIBED BELOW, WITH OFFENSIVE OPINIONS AND NASTY FLAVORED HATERADE!*

*IF YOU ARE A LITTLE CRYBABY WHO IS “TRIGGERED” BY REAL LIFE THINGS AND HAAAAAAATEFUL OPINIONS, GET BENT AND GET THE HELL OUT!*

*IF YOU COMPLAIN ABOUT THIS POST, THAT MEANS YOU DIDN’T READ THIS WARNING, YOU SUCK, AND SHOULD DIE FROM DONKEY AIDS ASAP!*

This is the Angry Old Fat Man, soon to be forced to watch one of the most anticipated (and IMO, most lame) film in recent history: Fifty Shades of Grey.

The only things I know about the movie and the books it is based on is the trailer, a few news stories, and very very little about what my wife the Crazy Duck Lady loves about her chosen genre.

  • The protagonist, a woman of course, is a normal middle class chick who’s underemployed. She’s a gorgeous hottie in her 20s (probably early 20s) WHO IS A VIRGIN.

The first WTF inability to suspend disbelief is right of the gate. If you’re a hot little 20-something female, you got your share of dick long before college graduation. Some babes get so bored with dick and their owners at that time that they turn into LUGs – Lesbians Until Graduation.

A hot-as-hell 20-something female virgin? Get the fuck outta here. Only if she got all of her orifices (including her mouth… LOL!) sewed shut in high school is this possible.

  • Her love interest is a late-blooming entreprenuer billionaire who is so rich he has at least 20 expensive cars in the garage of his palatial digs.

A single guy who can rest his ass in a different car every day of a month is not going to be satisified with resting his weiner in one vajay-jay every fucking day for the rest of his life. PARTICULARLY if he made his money by working his way into it, as opposed to inheriting it. He needs a way to unwind, and only a moron thinks he can unwind by listening to the yammering of the same woman every… damn… night. No matter how sweet her tits and ass are in her 20s, her mouth stays in overdrive about the most banal shit until she’s an ancient hag.

So the second WTF inability to suspend disbelief is a single billionaire dude whose life isn’t a parade of premium-grade cocaine and ultra-high-class hookers.

  • Billionaire dude is into sado-masochism and promises the entire rest of his life to the woman who can take his “abuse”.

From what I’ve heard of it, “sado-masochism” here is related to real sadism/masochism like McDonalds Chicken McNuggets are related to chicken marsala. If, you know, chicken marsala involved blood and pain of the diner as well as the chicken.

Let me make my first prediction about the movie: there will be no sodomy. Unless you count oral sex as sodomy, in which case you probably will think this movie is horribly scandalous.

For the rest of us who have seen at least 5 minutes of porn made in the 21st Century, or read pretty much anything written by the Marquis de Sade in the 18th Century, the sex in the movie is going to be bland as hell.

There will probably be (simulated) blowjobs and (simulated) penis-in-vagina. And according to news stories, there’s going to be “sex toys”, aka vibrators and dildos.

As a comparison, dildos are weapons in video games that 13-year-olds play nowadays, and porn (supposed to be viewed by people 18 and over, but usually frequently gets seen by 13-15 year-olds) now features ON A REGULAR BASIS analingus, anal sex, and ass-to-mouth. Hard slapping and rape-like choking are also near-mainstream in porn.

So if you want woman-logic-style mommy porn, then go see Fifty Shades of Grey. Or if you love your wife enough to have your eyeballs, ears, and erections assaulted by dipshittery, then proceed.

 

And now, time for AOFM to do the nasty – and watch the movie.

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It’s the husband of the Crazy Duck Lady, with the simple announcement that all of her Carnal Collateral books have been published and are online, waiting for you guys to download them and salivate over them (or whatever it is you do).

You can see the last one, Devil’s Delight, in the sidebar and the Olivia Outlaw books page. Or you can click the links I just graciously provided for you out of the (diminishing) goodness of my (cold, black) heart.

Sorry I haven’t been updating. Not motivated enough to be creative. Been too angry at situation, work, life in general, and the attempts to maintain my much coveted status as one of the rich. You know, the rich. The ones near the age of 50 working two part-time jobs to keep the luxuries of such extravagant lifestyles, like living indoors in small houses with electricity, plumbing, and food. And no retirement money or plans at all, and no medical coverage. The Affordable Care Act apparently has, in one of its several thousand pages, a provision that says “health insurance shall be affordable to all – except ANGRY OLD FAT MAN, who is too rich to enjoy all benefits listed in this document without paying out his ass“.

I hope everybody who came up with and approved of such a travesty burn in Hell while being raped by the barbed penis of Satan.

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For the last 3 months or so, my books have been enrolled in Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program, and have only been available on Amazon. That changes this week, starting tomorrow. My books will “roll out” of KU this month, and by the end of January all of my books will be available on other forums again, this time through Draft2Digital.

I get the concept of Kindle Unlimited. I get the benefits for readers and the benefits for the forum offering the subscription. Under the model, readers can budget X dollars per month, read all they want, and never risk going over budget. Having the readers subscribe keeps them on Amazon, which benefits to some degree from the subscription, but benefits to a larger degree on Kindle Fire purchases and on everything else readers buy from the Zon, which wants to be everyone’s one-stop shop. But none of the services can survive unless the benefits flow to the author and that is the fatal flaw with the program.

KU requires that authors offer their books exclusively on Amazon. There is a large “pool” of money from the subscription fees, and authors earn a borrow/sale each time a reader. Amazon pays each author the same percentage of that money, regardless of the sales price of their book. In exchange for participation, authors also receive a bump in ranking because borrows are rated as sales, and the right to run a limited number of promos every 90 days per book by either discounting the price for a few days (a countdown deal) or by giving the book away for a few days.

While the promo opportunities and the rankings boost are of some benefit, borrows tend to “eat” sales, so even those benefits are blades on a double-edged sword. Plus, there appears to be reader backlash, meaning that readers feel that if they have to pay for a book and others are getting it “free”, that is unfair or they feel that the book must not be worth their money if it is enrolled in KU. It doesn’t matter how high a book is rated if real sales dollars are not flowing into the author’s pocket.

The largest problems with KU are the exclusivity requirement and the payment structure. Without exclusivity, many authors might enroll series leaders in the program, use the promo opportunity, and gain sales at full value for the rest of the books in each series. With exclusivity, authors will not even do that, because it means that the series leaders couldn’t be sold on other forums, and if a whole series isn’t available, readers will often buy none of it. The payment structure means that authors who should earn $2.05 on a $2.99 book are making as little as $1.33 – and lack a guarantee of making even that. It also means that authors with a .99 cent book are making way more in KU than they make in sales. The unfairness of that structure has led to a bunch of scammers who post very short pamphlets on KU – some of them are only 10 pages in length. That means that if a reader opens the pamphlet, the author earns a sale because the reader has read a tenth of the book. And that author makes as much as a real, hardworking writer who has his or her work enrolled in the program.

I don’t see how Kindle Unlimited can continue to exist under the current arrangements. If Amazon wants the program to survive, it will need to make some real changes. Particularly, it must do away with the exclusivity requirement but it must also pay out in percentages, based on a book’s standard royalty rate. For example, Amazon might pay 80% of a standard royalty rate to books enrolled in the program. That would guarantee an author of a $2.99 book a royalty of 80% of $2.05 ($1.64) and an author of a .99 cent book with a royalty of .35 cents would make 80% of that (.28 cents).

Additionally, rolling out of the program makes my books available to all readers again, and that is a good thing. Authors far and wide are leaving KU, including many who are much less insane than a crazy duck lady – writers like HM Ward and JA Konrath.

So, starting tomorrow, my books will begin appearing on other venues via Draft2Digital’s distribution service. I’m choosing to experiment with D2D because there are less technical challenges in uploading books, so they get out faster, the service shows near real-time sales numbers, and it pays out monthly. Smashwords still has challenges in some of those areas. Additionally, D2D offers some nifty features I’ll be able to take full advantage of when all my books are out of the program – like an “Also by” page and a “teaser” for a different book of my choosing.

Kindle Unlimited and other subscription programs can not exist without content – a lot of books, offering a wide and growing variety in every genre. Without content, the service isn’t worth the subscription fee. Through the current structure of the program, Amazon is guilty of some of the same sins as were traditional publishers before the indie revolution. And traditional publishers nearly went under because of their unfair treatment of authors – those who survived learned the virtue of flexibility and made significant changes. Now, if Amazon wants Kindle Unlimited to survive, it must do the same.

I’m looking forward to welcoming a legion of new readers who enjoy highly sensual novels which will have a happy ending. The third part of my “Devil” series written as Olivia Outlaw – “Devil’s Delight” – is already available through D2D because I didn’t enroll it in KU and you can pick it up today at many of your favorite retailers. By tomorrow, my “Dangerous Relations” series will be available everywhere – By this Friday, 1/9/15, my “Sultan’s Toy” and “Carnal Collateral” series and boxed sets or bundles will be out and about as will Part 1 of my Devil’s series “Devil’s Deal”- By this Saturday, 1/10/15, my “Mary Anne Graham” books will be out and about – the “Forever” series, “Romancing the Rose,” “The Duke of Eden,” and “Brotherly Love” will be available, and on January 25th, the middle book in the Devil series, “Devi’s Demand” rolls out, meaning the whole Devil’s series will be available.

So, by the end of January, the entirety of my insanely romantic and delightfully sensual books written as Mary Anne Graham and as Olivia Outlaw will be available for your reading pleasure at retailers all over the web. Do the crazy duck lady a favor and pick up one or two and find out why love is better over the top!!

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Sales at other sites were dismal, so decided to try Kindle Unlimited aka KOLL for the required 90 days to see how it would go. Payouts had been at $1.53 per book. Amazon dropped it to $1.33 for the month just reported – October. The result? I unchecked my auto renew boxes but I’m in until early January. Most other indie authors are doing the same and some have books due for renewal in the next few weeks.

I may try D2D in January. Smashwords has never gotten its act together with payments and D2D pays monthly. People already complained that KU lacked books and it’s about to lack a lot more books – – likely, reducing available reads to the point that the program can’t survive.

The solution? Amazon needs to stop the “contest” where they pay millions to a few authors as a reward for the best sales & put all $$ in the KU payout pot. It needs to guarantee authors between $1.50 and $1.80 per book – OR pay a monthly per book fee ($25 or so per month). If Amazon wants to keep KU going and GROW it, then it should do both – at least for some books. The bottom line is that there is no “one size fits all” solution. Amazon needs to set criteria – if your book is a 99 cent title then your max borrow rate is 75 cents. If your book is fewer than 50 pages, then you will get 99 cents per month and if you “stuff” a book with material that is not real, genuine, writing in order to meet the page requirement, then you are banned from Amazon. If your book is a $2.99 title or more with over 50 pages of original, author-generated writing, then you get the higher payout and/or monthly bonus.

If Amazon wants to grow Kindle Unlimited, then it needs to give authors incentives to put their books in. If Amazon wants Kindle Unlimited to survive, then it at least needs to be fair with authors – below the $1.50 mark is a virtual no-writer’s land.

Readers – if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited- you should email or call Amazon and find out why Amazon is not putting the money into the program to give you a reading experience that earns your $9.99 per month. Authors, please let me know your thoughts about the future of Kindle Unlimited and whether you’ll keep your books in the program after this month’s $1.33 payout.

And Amazon – I’d love you to comment on this post and to explain why you’re not being fair to your authors which would in turn provide Amazon KU subscribers with the most reading choices possible. Right now, it looks like Amazon is pushing a dwindling supply of “all you can read” books on unsuspecting customers with one hand, and working covertly to kill Kindle Unlimited with the other.

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Hey babies, it’s the Angry Old Fat Man again, touching base with all of Mary Anne’s/Olivia Outlaw’s readers.

always_angry

News item #1: Olivia Outlaw has completed Book Two of the Carnal Collateral series: Devil’s Demand. It’s currently out on the Amazon Kindle. Which leads me to…

News item #2: The buttons that allow you to buy Mary Anne’s/Olivia’s books from other vendors besides Amazon may be dead for awhile. You see, Amazon has some new ways of distributing e-books, especially if you’re a voracious reader (like many of you aficionados of romance novels), and we are now participating in these new methods of distribution.

One is called Kindle Unlimited, and it’s a lot like Netflix for e-books, except better. You pay a monthly fee to enjoy access to over half-a-million titles on your Kindle or any other device that can use the Kindle store.

The other one is only for Kindle owners with Amazon Prime, and it’s called Kindle Owner’s Lending Library. You can “borrow” books FOR NO ADDITIONAL COST other than your Amazon Prime account, and that’s in addition to all of the other benefits you get from that service.

There’s only one bit of bad news. For authors to participate in these Amazon programs, they must publish exclusively via Amazon for at least a few months. No Barnes and Noble, no Smashwords, no other vendors for those months – just Amazon.

News item #3: I fixed the links to Olivia’s book covers that were not correct. They look OK now, but if you find one that isn’t, please contact me or Mary Anne and I’ll get it working right.

Thanks, sweeties, and remember, don’t get angry. THAT’S MY JOB!

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Me, myself, and I – the “Olivia Outlaw” version of me, that is – have made the lead book in the “Sultan’s Toy” series free.  You can grab it free almost everywhere except Amazon.  It’s available free NOW at Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Diesel and a host of other online sites and it is or is about to be free at Apple.

It’s only 99 cents at Amazon.  If you’d like it free there, I suggest you scroll to the bottom of the product page and report a lower price.  If readers complain, Amazon might match the freebie.  If not, go to Smashwords or Barnes & Noble and pick it up there.

Who wouldn’t want to get captured by a handsome sultan?

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A fun new MTV article talks about Fifty Shades of Grey fans who want to pay PERMANENT homage to the books.  Yes,  there are people who have various Fifty-related images and sayings tattooed on their persons — in various and sundry locations.

Don’t get me wrong, I like “Laters, Baby” as much as the next Christian Grey fan, but I don’t want it emblazoned on my chest, neck, fingers or toes. And I really don’t want Christian’s tie tattooed on my ankle.  (Why would you have a tie tattooed on your ankle?)

IMHO, the most devoted of the tattooed fans in the MTV piece is the one with quotes from the book inked on her body.  Yes, that’s right.  Check it out for yourself.  By all the ducks in the pond, I don’t even want quotes from my books tattooed on my skin.

Someday these ladies are going to have children and they will have to explain that key to the “red room of pain tattoo” not to mention all the sex toys.  Good luck with that…..

 

 

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Hey babies, it’s your rockin’ and rollin’ favorite angry old fat dude here. It’s been a long time since the last post, so I just wanted to reassure you, Mary Anne’s/Olivia Outlaw’s readers, that we’re doing OK and nothing super bad or good has happened. We’re just busier, that’s all.

A second job for yours truly has resulted in more neglect to the website, and the Crazy Duck Lady has had her full-time hours reinstated for her day job, so she has less time to grind away at video slots the latest books in her two ongoing projects, the Carnal Collateral male/male series and the Forever faerie series.

Well, I finally had to break down and update some more behind-the-scenes stuff on the website. Of course it had stabilized so now Yahoo is hard at work trying to screw it up again. At any rate, I got the updating done tonight, so the site should comply with their little rules and regulations and they can stop bothering me so I can stop thinking about ripping their faces off and rubbing course sea salt onto their raw exposed face muscles and letting diseased rats chew on their fatty little cheekbones.

Night night! Sleep tight! Don’t let the rodents bite!

P.S. I’ll update the website a little more soon with proper cover pictures while Mary Anne gets her freak on with the man-on-man action.

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