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The LeFou Controversy… WTF?!

Last week, articles began to pop up about the boycott of Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast and I just can’t not talk about it. Why would anyone want to boycott a Disney movie? Because it slightly (trust me, it’s not that big a leap) altered the animated version of Gaston’s sidekick LeFou to make him openly gay in the live action film.

This was seen by some religious groups as “pushing an agenda” and “no longer a wholesome family film, as Disney used to do in the past.”

Boy, was someone not paying attention to Disney movies over the years…

Seems they conveniently forgot that racism, racial stereotypes, sexual harassment and attacks, death, orphans, sexist plot lines, statutory rape, and other horrifying tidbits that usually go right over children’s heads have all featured in Disney films over the years. In Beauty and the Beast alone, you have…

  • an entire town of people who shun the intelligent and educated as odd and insane
  • Gaston, Belle’s sexist, manipulative, devious, abusive, and dangerously obsessed stalker, who rallies the town into a murderous mob and tries to kill the man she loves
  • three featherbrained beauties who forgive all of that because he’s just so dreamy
  • the unscrupulous asylum director who locks up Belle’s somewhat quirky, but perfectly sane father for a pouch of coins
  • and let’s not forget the Beast himself, who demands an exchange of Belle’s father for Belle herself. The entire length of their romance, she is his prisoner! It’s basically a fairy tale-ized  case study on Stockholm syndrome.

But, apparently, that’s all acceptable, as long as no man openly shows romantic interest in another. Let that sink in for a second. Prejudice, hatred, abuse, stalking, misogyny, manipulation, and attempted murder are all acceptable, but one man crushing on another is pushing an agenda and no longer family friendly.

I honestly don’t even know where to start on this; it’s just too messed up for words. So let me just say thank you to Disney for using your platform to send a positive message for our society, subtle as it is. It’s a small step, but an important one. Thank you for showing children all over the world that it doesn’t matter whom you love, because  love is universal. You chose the perfect medium to introduce it: a story whose core message is that it’s what’s on the inside that counts, and true love can overcome anything. But you need to do more. You’ve already empowered women so much with FrozenBrave, and  Maleficent, it’s time to give a voice to others who need it as well: give us a movie focused solely on an LGBTQ romance.

And thank you to all the detractors who made this movie front page news. Your intolerance shone a massive spotlight on something that might otherwise have been overlooked. Many people who might not have gone to see the movie before will do so now, just to show their support.

BeastAnd if you still think LeFou’s sexual orientation is unacceptable in Beauty and the Beast, I offer you my own version of the fairy tale as an alternative. It’s still not family friendly, and you probably still won’t like it, but at least there’s no homosexuality in it.

To my own disappointment…

Fear

I was honored recently to be asked to review an ARC of a collection of short stories by Michael Chambers. It made me remember how much I used to love writing them myself and it sparked a desire to write a new one. Then fellow author Lincoln Farish pitched an elaborate idea for a psychological thriller and it spawned this little baby.

Continue reading “Fear”

Self-Publishing: The New Gold Rush

gold_rush_flyer

On January 24, 1848, one lucky fellow named James W. Marshall found gold in California. For the next seven years, hordes of hopefuls flocked to the West Coast state in hopes of striking it rich with a pickaxe and just a bit of luck. For the vast majority of them, that never happened. What did happen was thousands of opportunistic entrepreneurs making a fortune selling gold seekers the tools they needed for forty times the actual price.

While self-publishing is by no means a new idea, it follows a similar trend. According to Wikipedia (so take the info with a grain of salt), in 2008, there were more books self-published than published by traditional means for the first time in history. For those who got into the eBook publishing game that early, the following handful of years were truly fruitful. The eBook market expanded rapidly as people not only accepted digital books, but embraced them with amazing enthusiasm. Those authors made tidy little fortunes, some even went full-time or built up enough status to rival traditionally published bestsellers, and like James W. Marshall, those early success stories had budding authors all over the world flocking to self-publishing in droves.

But that growth stage of endless opportunity is over now.

Continue reading “Self-Publishing: The New Gold Rush”

WANTED: Honest Review. Will Pay In eBook.

Open book

Calling all readers and reviewers!

In the interest of getting more reviews for my books, I am making all of them available for free, in exchange for an honest review. Is there a book of mine you’ve had your eye on for a while? Are you looking for something new and fun to read? Want to give my books a try but aren’t quite sure? Can you compose and publish an honest review?

Where have you been all my life?

I will provide you with a free review copy of any of my books in the digital format of your choosing and all I ask in return is an honest review. I don’t want to do book review exchanges (they make me feel uncomfortably obligated), and I don’t want to pay readers or review blogs for reviews (that’s always seemed shady to me). This is as fair a transaction as I can think of to do: One book to one reader for one review in a reasonable amount of time (which you get to choose).

Click around my website if you aren’t sure you want to take the plunge, and if you decide you do, the button below will take you to the sign-up page. 🙂 Happy reading!

I WANT TO REVIEW!

Dear 2016: F*CK YOU!

I made an early 2017 resolution at the beginning of this month to plan out and schedule all my social media marketing for 2017 before the year began. If you’ve ever done social media marketing, you know what a royal pain in the ass it is. My goal was to get it all done and out of the way so I (1) wouldn’t forget and (2) didn’t have to worry about it for an entire year, and I was doing so well, too!

Until, 104 scheduled tweets and 70 quote graphic creations later, I receive this email in my inbox:

untitled

A bit hard to read, so let me give you the gist of it: Another eBook store is closing due to insolvency. They are shutting down operations in 3 days and because of money issues are offering to pay $0.10 on the dollar for their last quarter sales.

This is the fourth eBook store (that I know of) to close in the six years I have been a published author. I think it’s safe to say that I came in at the trailing end of the eBook boom and it’s now pretty much over. It saddens me because it means one less place where readers can go to find great books. One less Indie-friendly place for authors to lower their literary anchor. There are plenty of factors that have contributed to this, and unfortunately those same factors will continue to affect other eBook stores until the little guys all go out of business the same way small, mom-and-pop corner book stores were and continue to be pushed out of business.

It saddens me to see a healthy, growing book market place sicken with lack of competition. It saddens me when I see people posting about how eBooks should be free because they cost nothing, or that authors who dare charge a price for their work should be pirated or boycotted. It saddens me when the beautiful tradition of spreading word about one’s favorite book turns into a tradition of spreading word about where to get that book for free illegally. It doesn’t just hurt the authors who put their life and passion into page upon page of beautifully crafted fiction; it hurts their editors, their cover artists, their formatters, their publishers, their publicists, and their bookstores. An entire industry suffers for the misdeeds of the few, and this is the result.

Another bookstore gone.

So here is my plea to you for 2017:

If you’re a reader, support the authors who bring you the books you love. Purchase from legitimate bookstores, tell your friends, maybe leave a review. Don’t download content from pirate sites, or share it with others. For every book someone downloads illegally because, “It’s just one book, no big deal!” there are hundreds, thousands more downloaded for that exact same reason. It’s never just one book, and it’s always a big deal.

If you’re a writer, don’t give up! Now more than ever the world needs our words. It needs our truth, and our fanciful lies–the first to paint the world as it truly is, and the second to give hope that something better exists, if only we believe hard enough to make it happen. Support your fellow authors, buy their books, tell your friends about the ones you love. We’re all still readers as much as writers–never forget that.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to every single one of my readers around the world. Thank you for reading, for trusting me to give you something worth your time and money, for being the starlight throughout a dark year, and for giving my dreams a home among your own. And thank you to all the writers I have met along the way for being the most incredibly supportive people I have ever met in the world.

I wish all of you nothing but the best in 2017, may you find the happiness and success you’ve always dreamed of.

See you all on the other side of New Year’s.

 

EDIT TO AMEND:

Since my gut reaction post, info I was too upset to pay attention to at the time has given me a very chilly wake up call. ARe’s actions and notices leading up to this email (which I forgot all about because they didn’t concern me) are suddenly adding up to something much worse than just an eBook store going out of business. We’re talking premeditated fraud on a massive scale. Long and the short of it, if you are an author with books listed for sale on ARe, pull them down immediately. If you’re a reader who purchased my books on ARe and have trouble recovering them, send me your receipt from ARe and I will send you a coupon code to download the book(s) from Smashwords for free in whatever format you like. Send to me directly at alianne (at) aliannedonnelly (dot) com.

Ugh, man… just, ugh…