25 Feb

Fifty Shades of Kanye

I’m not much for watching award shows; however, I do get some insight as to what happens on them through the media. Collections of reads are the basis for my comments.

Everyone has been talking about Kanye West’s behavior toward Beck. Several artists, such as John Legend, thought Kanye’s walk on stage was funny when Beck won for Album of the Year. In fact, he said, “When I said that was funny and people should lighten up about it, that’s what I meant.” Yet, I don’t, nor do many others find anything funny about an artist taking away another artist’s moment.

I wonder how it would have played out if someone did that to Kanye, especially a white artist. Would Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and the NAACP demand an apology and ask the Academy to ban the white artist? I’m not making this a racial issue, just pointing out that there is no doubt we’d hear the shouts from the African-American community, so what makes Kanye’s actions any different. This wasn’t his first incident.

The Academy members from the recording arts and music community submitted secret ballots. Since artistry is subjective, those members chose the music they liked and felt deserved acknowledgements. For Kanye to say Beck needs to show some respect and hand over his award to Beyoncé is absurd, rude, and encourages the young into thinking it’s okay to speak your mind whenever and however you want.

Here’s part of his rant, “If they want real artists to keep coming back, they need to stop playing with us…And, at this point, we tired of it.” First off, Kanye needs some literacy classes and a better understanding of ‘artist.’ Beyoncé is an entertainer. Her bio states she is a songwriter, record producer, actress, and businesswoman. Beck’s bio states he is a singer-songwriter, musician, and producer. He has played many of the instruments in his music. From what I’ve read, Beck is more of a music artist than Beyoncé. So the misled Kanye needs some guidance regarding who he considers a ‘real artist.’ If you’re going to slam someone for lack of talent, don’t do it at an awards show, and have some facts to back up your claims.

As I said earlier, artistry is subjective, which brings me to the next subject, Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James. I didn’t read the book, nor will I watch the movie. Again, my comments stem from a variety of reading outlets. This book has been the top subject since the movie release. It is receiving negative reviews from some doctors about how this will affect young people. From what I read, we should also worry about how this impacts literacy. I understand the doctors’ concerns, especially when there are plenty of people out there who lack sane judgment, such as this alleged one “Sex assault charges tied to ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ movie,” but BDSM isn’t harmful to the average reader. If the younger generations can’t decipher between fantasy and reality, then we have bigger problems other than this book.

This isn’t the first popular book about a destructive relationship. I bought and never finished Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire. Instead, I whipped it across the room. Both of these started out as self-published books and went traditional, and both do not meet basic writing standards, such as character development and plot, pace, and writing style. This supports my belief that traditional publishing has declined when it comes to writing. The big houses want quantity over quality, which probably contributes to the decay of the English language.

Fifty Shades of Grey has influenced people, and at the same time, exposed the literacy level. I’ve read many times over that story trumps writing. And in some instances, I would agree, except for this one. To understand what many writers and readers were saying regarding this poorly written book, I read articles, blogs, and reviews, and this review from DS from LA convinced me and provided me with a few laughs. Below are a couple of things this reviewer wrote about Fifty Shades of Grey.

The pseudonymous British author sets the action (such as it is) in Washington State… for no reason than that her knowledge of America apparently consists of what she read in “Twilight”… but the entire first-person narrative is filled with Britishisms. How many American college students do you know who talk about “prams,” “ringing” someone on the phone, or choosing a “smart rucksack” to take “on holiday”?

And oh, the repetition…and the repetition…and the repetition.

According to my Kindle search function, characters roll their eyes 41 times, Ana bites her lip 35 times, Christian’s lips “quirk up” 16 times, Christian “cocks his head to one side” 17 times, characters “purse” their lips 15 times, and characters raise their eyebrows a whopping 50 times. Add to that 80 references to Ana’s anthropomorphic “subconscious” (which also rolls its eyes and purses its lips, by the way), 58 references to Ana’s “inner goddess,” and 92 repetitions of Ana saying some form of “oh crap” (which, depending on the severity of the circumstances, can be intensified to “holy crap,” “double crap,” or the ultimate “triple crap”).

There are so many highly talented writers in the genre… and erotica is so much more erotic when the author has a command of the language and can make you care about the characters.

I’d like to touch on the above observations. The first one about the novel’s setting and British slang would drive me crazy. Why doesn’t it bother more Americans that the setting doesn’t coincide with the words? It would be like the Hobbit having a southern dialect. It’s as funny as Madonna pretending to have a British accent. http://youtu.be/eWb2bhCqCUc

As a writer, I go through several revisions to make sure my sentence structures are good, characters and plot fleshed out, and I’m not repetitive with action and words. Sometimes I don’t realize until my third edit/revision that I used ‘laugh’ 50 times, or the characters twisted their neck every tenth page. Are my books flawless? Is this blog post flawless? No. There isn’t a flawless book out there. But a devout writer and/or reader can see whether the author put in the time and hard work to learn the craft, because that’s what artistry is about.

There are plenty of talented writers in this genre and others. And erotica IS much more than blushing and flushing (stated 125 times), murmuring (199 times), inner goddess (I don’t even know what that means), and grinning and frowning (each 124 times). Words ignite an image in our heads that fires up emotion—gets the juices flowing and the desire. Inner goddess doesn’t do anything to my nether region other than make me laugh. Does body shattering, gasps, and he’s hot really get the majority hot and heavy?

If you’re eighteen or older, and are curious about how I write erotica, please click on the below tabs to read my poems. They have a bit more detail, some might consider crass, that keeps with the realistic goal of dirty fun.

  • Lover of Mine
  • Crimson Lover
  • Sex and Cheap Wine

Lover of mine, show the way

Of how you learned to kiss and play.

Lay me down, without a sound,

Hands touch, lips merge, then I’m bound.

Close my eyes, enhance your touch

Grip my breasts, but not too much.

Spread my thighs, ready to ride,

Change your mind and open wide.

Tongue glides down, tango my clit

Buck and moan, as I see fit.

Beg for you, to fuck me now,

Cock in hand, begins to plow.

Long and hard, deep rhythmic thrusts,

Make me scream with orgasm lust.

Juices mix, while searching depth,

From length and wanted, bigger breadth.

Worship me throughout the night,

No longer feeling, my pussy tight.

Wee early light, our bodies plea,

When finally limp, deep inside me.

Ease me into a sequestered life

full of history and sinful delights.

My breasts tingle when you open my veins

to desire, release mortality’s chains.

For I had thought the provocative

a disgrace, lips have me ask to forgive.

My bodice unthreads, from skilled fingers,

slide down my damp skin that conquers

the yearning pleasure brewing inside

for so long, legs widen when I cried.

Pushes my clit against the fabric

while your breath plays in my ear like music.

You grab my ass, pulling me close

removing the rest of my disheveled clothes.

Our whispers blend, echoing the room

for you to fuck me deep into my womb

and enjoy every inch with long, hard thrusts

legs stretched out, nipples twist, make us cuss.

This perfect fuck as the undead

lean down to clean your still throbbing head.

My love floweth over

like a cheap glass of wine.

An old starlet has-been

secluded, unrefined.

No more parts to play

for an extravagant price,

only barstools with beer

looking for men to entice.

Wasn’t long ago

they sought my swollen crimson,

offering drinks and cocaine

to relieve their tension.

Foreplay wasn’t the same

the merest formality.

Lovers complained

but they lacked sexuality.

Ate ice cream and pussy

as though they’re alike

give them head anywhere,

use their cock as a spike.

Look back, not much changed

in the way I’m treated now,

except for how it ends,

I gather clothes, then take a bow.

What are your thoughts about Kanye and Fifty Shades of Grey? Why do you think the book was so successful? Good or bad, society took notice of Kanye and E.L. James.

Artists and Success,
Baer Necessities

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18 Feb

Scrib Away

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA few years back, I joined a site called Scribophile as a free member. This site allows writers of all types of genres to post their works for critiques. How it works is that in order for you to get feedback, you must give feedback for karma points. Once you accumulate five karma points, you can post something you want critiqued. The concept is great because in order for anyone to get feedback, they must give it, therefore, everything posted on there will receive at least three critiques.

I’m writing about Scribophile because I think it’s important for a writer to see where they are in their writing, especially self-published authors. To me, it’s beneficial to get feedback from strangers, and it allows me to sharpen my critique skills. Whether or not I have a critique partner, it doesn’t hurt to get more input. Reading peoples’ works also helps me see where my own writing works and fails. Recently I read a chapter of someone’s story and I saw the “beginner me” in their writing. The person used big or odd words that didn’t go with the character let alone with the sentence, and that is exactly what I did when I first started writing. Instead of saying something as simple as, “Carl got out of the car.” I would write, “Carl ejected himself from the car.” I thought choosing different words made me smarter, but it had the opposite effect. Anyone who read my works knew I was a novice writer.

Of course, no one ever pointed this out to me. I figured it out along the way. When I first considered publishing, I joined a writing forum to get some help. Unfortunately, no one wanted to bother, including the site’s owner. The long-time members on the forum found it much more interesting to argue politics or belittle newcomers than guide them. It’s one of the reasons I stay away from the forums on Scribophile—to avoid discussions and arguments. I stick to critiques and check out their contests.

What I like most about Scribophile is that I can throw something up whenever I want  feedback, which is why I always make sure I have at least 5 karma points. Last November, I wrote a book, which I am revising now, and I’ve written some poems to submit to magazine publications. I’m not sure I’d post my novel on the site because it’s much better for me to exchange with someone so they get the entire novel, but small things such as short stories and poems are good. I did post my poems. The feedback was wonderful, and I can pick through the comments and suggestions to see which ones will make my poems better.

If anyone asked me about critiques, I’d definitely recommend myself first and then Scribophile. It’s a way to get quick feedback on something you’re working on.

Have you heard of Scribophile? What sites do you use for assistance?

Critiques and Writers,
Baer Necessities

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11 Feb

Baer Baked Granola

Today, I’m talking about something near and dear to my heart—food. Thank goodness I married a man who enjoys food as much as I do, and he eats everything I cook. Even though I enjoy food, I also know that eating healthy is an essential part of life, especially as I get older.

When I was living single in the States, I cooked for myself but nothing special. I made chicken with carrots, celery, and potatoes in a crockpot, or a meal of salmon, sweet potatoes, and peas. Now living in Germany, I take the time to find new recipes.

Most people say that because I don’t work, I have the time to cook. In a sense that’s true, but if something is important to us, we will find the time to cook. I might not have a full-time 9 to 5 job, but what I do now is much more tedious than what I did at my 9 to 5 job. What I’m trying to say is we’re all busy, but we can put some time aside for cooking. Cooking big lunches, which normally takes 1 hour for preparation and cooking, has made me aware of ingredients.

In the process of eating healthy, I have reduced our processed food intake. One of the worst things, and one I believe is a big contributing factor to obesity, is processed foods. For the most part, I won’t buy anything that has foreign ingredients. And I’m not talking foreign because they’re written in German, but foreign because it has some chemical or coloring to preserve it.

As a teenager and adult, I ate granola bars to fill in the hunger between meals. Granola is one thing you can bring as a snack while shopping, biking, or walking somewhere. The ingredients are good, but when I look at the sugar and/or fat content I’m shocked. It’s also pricey for the few bars in the box.

I decided to search for granola recipes so I can control the sweetness that goes into it. There are many recipes out there for homemade granola, so one more won’t hurt. I found one but made many changes to fit my tastes. With prep time and cooking, this takes about 1-1/2 hours.

Ingredients

Dry Ingredients

wet_ingredients

Wet Ingredients

 

 

Ingredients

3 cups oats
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
2 T. chia seeds (optional)
1 cup banana chips (broken into pieces)
1 cup almond slivers
1 cup cashews (broken into pieces)
2 T. unprocessed brown sugar
2 T. cocoa
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/8 cup maple syrup
1/8 cup honey

 

1) Preheat oven to 250° F (120° C). In a large bowl, combine the oats, coconut flakes, chia seeds, almond slivers, cashews, brown sugar, and cocoa. (Depending on how sweet you want your granola depends on how much sugar you add.) Mix it around with a spoon.dry_ingredients2) In a smaller bowl, combine the vegetable oil, maple syrup, and honey. (Again, it depends on how sweet you want it. I’ve seen granola recipes call for 2/3 cup of vegetable oil, 1/4 cup of maple syrup and 1/4 cup of honey). Mix with a spoon.wet3) Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well. This is important because you want everything coated evenly with the oil and sweets, so take your time.mixed4) Pour the granola onto a few cooking sheets. Make sure you pat it down as much as possible to create one layer. Put them in the oven and set the timer for 15 minutes. When the 15 minutes are up, take the granola out, mix it around (very important) to make sure all granola cooks, pat it down into one layer again, and put it back into the oven. You will do this three more times. The granola should cook for 1-1/2 hours.on_tray5) When it’s done, take it out, add the banana chips, and make sure to cool it all the way before transferring it to whatever container you want to use.mason_jarsThis amount lasts a month for us. We eat two tablespoons of it in our Greek yogurt every morning. You can also try other variations, depending on your likes. When I started making granola, I didn’t put in the chia seeds or cocoa. I used oats, coconut flakes, almonds, cashews, and raisins. We’re both not big fans of raisins, but the white raisins went well with this recipe. Over the holidays, I made oats, coconut flakes, walnuts, pecans, raisins, and cranberries. We didn’t care for the pecans, so I’ll be leaving them out the next holiday season.

Have you ever made granola? What snacks do you make for your active days?

Granola and Health,
Baer Necessities

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04 Feb

Why Limit Myself?

limitsWhen I prepared to publish my first book, I hadn’t a clue as to how to publish let alone the different outlets. From reading articles and blogs, I soon realized that Createspace, Kindle, Nook, Smashwords, and LuLu were the way to go. Aside from Smashwords, I published through Createspace, Kindle, Barnes & Noble (Nook) and LuLu.

Now I’m not very good at promoting myself. AT ALL. I don’t like asking people for reviews or exchange reviews, promoting on blogs, social media, or researching the top reviewers on Amazon in my genre. I’m lazy to do any kind of promotional research, and I am uncomfortable tooting my own horn, so to speak.

Since I haven’t been able to overcome my promotional difficulties, I recently looked into other publishing outlets. I figure, the more places my books appear, the more exposure and possible sales. A couple months back, I tried to publish through iTunes Connect. The whole procedure was complicated, and when I finally got to the uploading part, I ran into a snag. It requested information regarding Mac, iPhone, iPad, etc. Aside from iTunes, I don’t own any Apple products, so I aborted the process.

A few weeks ago, my husband asked me why I’m not selling my books on Google Play Books. I told him I don’t buy books from there, and he responded, “But other people do.” I do have my blond moments. He was right, so I took his advice and published on GPB. It wasn’t too difficult. For those of you curious about it, just create an account using a gmail account, upload the cover and “pdf” file, fill out the information regarding description, ISBN, length and subject, and your book will be available after it’s processed (1/2 hour). I was also allowed to choose to have my books on GPB or GPB and Google Books.

Here is a screen shot of what my GPB book page looks like for my own reads and purchases.
GPB
The links to my Google Play Books are on my website, http://www.authordenisebaer.com/index.html – MY BOOKS under each book. What’s cool about GPB is that I can keep track of my favorite books, what I’m reading now, TBR list, history, purchased books, reviewed, and books suggested to me. Similar to Amazon, you can read a sample of the paperback or eBook version and write a review without leaving the site.

Here is a screen shot of my Google Books page for reads and purchases.
GBSince I recently uploaded my books to Google Play Books, I haven’t run into problems with it. There are authors who have pulled their books because GPB changes the price on the books whenever they feel the need. Since I priced my books higher, and I could use the exposure from Google itself, I think I’ll keep it on there for now. Besides, if they want to give my book away free and still pay me royalties, then I’m fine with that.

The next site I’d like to discuss is Gumroad. This site is great when it comes to costs. Taken from their site, “We take 5% + 25¢ per transaction. We don’t charge any additional monthly, hosting, or setup fees.” It was a bit clunky while trying to figure out the uploads, and such, but not too difficult. Again, the links to my Gumroad books are on my website, http://www.authordenisebaer.com/index.html, MY BOOKS under each book. An inlay pops up so you don’t have to leave my site to purchase the book. Less clicks, the happier the customer.

With my next book, I’m considering a first publication run on Gumroad. If people are afraid to purchase from Gumroad, then I’ll publish  on other outlets.

Where are your books listed for publication? What are your cons and pros regarding Google Play Books or Gumroad?

Freedom and Publishing,
Baer Necessities

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