Posts Tagged ‘authors’

Does My Countenance Look Fat in This? (Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts)

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011
Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts by Mitzi Szereto

Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts by Mitzi Szereto

Countenances are integral to literature. Authors would lose a lot of content if we didn’t discuss countenances. Countenances help the reader envision the characters. With this in mind, I decided to write a novel that replies heavily on countenances.

And what better place to start than with Jane Austen’s literary classic Pride and Prejudice?

It all began in the spring of last year with a pilgrimage to Jane’s house in the lovely English village of Chawton in Hampshire. I, along with my ursine sidekick Teddy Tedaloo, decided to visit for a bit of research and inspiration in preparation for the writing of my new book Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts. Little did I realise what would come of it.

Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo call on Jane Austen

Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo call on Jane Austen

Yes, folks, you heard it here first. I met Jane Austen (or at least the non-corporeal version). And boy, did she have a lot to say! Apparently when she wrote Pride and Prejudice way back when, she had to tone things down. A lot. There was no way she could get away with telling us all the juicy stuff that really went on behind closed doors (or in the garden or out by the stable). It wouldn’t have been at all politic! Of course, she hinted a bit here and there, hoping the more savvy of her readers would pick up on these tidbits.

Whether they did or not remains to be seen. Therefore the task fell to me to… err… spill the beans.

I must admit that while writing the story behind Pride and Prejudice, even I couldn’t believe what manner of activities the characters were getting up to. Indeed, I found it positively shocking! As my fingers clicked and clacked on the computer keyboard revealing all these hidden lusts and outrageous goings-on in Longbourn, Netherfield, Hunsford Parish and Pemberley, my countenance grew heightened till I could scarcely draw a breath. I had to consume endless cups of tea to calm my nerves as well as take refreshment out of doors before I could continue on to the next chapter. Had it not been for the kind patronage of Miss Austen (not to mention the not-so-kind condescension of Lady Catherine de Bourgh), I don’t know what would have become of me. It’s most fortunate that I also had the pious (or should that be priapic?) council of Mr. Collins available, should I have required it. After all, I didn’t want matters to get too out of control. Not that the fellow had much time for me, what with his various duties in his parish, not to mention in everyone else’s. For a village parson, he sure got around!

I suppose I should be grateful for the wisdom of the Bennet family patriarch, whom one could always count on to be level-headed and not disposed to bouts of excitability like his wife. Though I suppose everyone needs an outlet to blow off steam now and then. Surely you didn’t think Mr. Bennet spent all that time in the library reading?

But what of Mrs. Bennet and her poor nerves? Were they merely the result of a naturally high-strung temperament or was there another reason for her condition? And what about the youngest of the Bennet sisters, dear impetuous Lydia? All those dishy young soldiers passing through Meryton – what’s a young lady to do? Surely she had to sample them all! As for Hill, the Bennets’ housekeeper, perhaps those details are best left to the heartier of folk.

Mitzi Szereto with Mr. Darcy

Mr. Darcy! Be still my heart!

And then there’s our protagonist Miss Elizabeth Bennet, who observed all with a keen wit and a critical eye. She was not the sort to suffer fools gladly. Nor, I suspect, was her creator, Miss Jane Austen.

As for the handsome and prideful Mr. Darcy, well… that would be telling, wouldn’t it? Let’s just say that it was no wonder the buttons on his breeches came loose, what with all that straining going on.

To be made privy to all the sexual madness and mayhem transpiring in Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts,  I recommend you avail yourself of your favourite bookseller and buy a copy today. After all, you don’t want to be left out of all the fun!

Visit the official Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts website.

“Like” the Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts Facebook Fan Page.

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A Night Out with the Homies on Hollywood Boulevard

Monday, July 11th, 2011
Mitzi Szereto with homies Vicki Hendricks and Teddy Tedaloo

Mitzi Szereto with homies Vicki Hendricks and Teddy Tedaloo

I bet you were thinking Tinseltown. Well, you don’t need to go to California to have a surreal night out. Or perhaps it’s just me. The surreal tends to attach itself to me like stepping in a piece of freshly chewed gum on the sidewalk. No matter how hard you try, you can’t get it off the sole of your shoe.

That’s what happened on a recent sweltering summer evening out in Hollywood (Florida, that is) with my noir author friend Vicki Hendricks and my famous sidekick bear Teddy Tedaloo. No, there wasn’t any chewing gum, but there was plenty of weirdness packed into a few hours.

Teddy Tedaloo discovers margaritas

Teddy Tedaloo discovers margaritas

It all began with the margaritas (yeah, blame the booze, right?). You see, Ted’s never tried them before, being a real ale bear and all. I must say he was definitely on his best behaviour, unlike some of his more infamous  behaviour in certain British pubs (one of which involved a brawl with a monkey). Our trio sucked up those margaritas in a flash, feeling no pain. Summer in South Florida is excruciatingly hot – you gotta do something to ease the pain.

After chowing down on Mexican food (to help soak up the margaritas), we happened on this curious little place that offered “bubble tea” and an evening of open mic. As we deliberated over whether or not to go in, we sort of got railroaded by some old beat poet dude, who no doubt wanted to pack the audience with some friendly faces. I made the mistake of joking that maybe I should do a reading from my new book Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts and that was it: he insisted we come in. The place seemed to have lots of guys there, none of whom looked like the kind of guys who go to poetry nights in little clubs that serve bubble tea.

We sat on some high sofa thingie and perused the menu, trying to figure out which flavours of bubble tea we wanted. The poet was by this time in full swing, and we weren’t even able to catch our breath and flag down the tea guy before some comedian took over. I must confess that I’ve been away from America for many years now and his humour was pretty much lost on me. He did a lot of “short guy” humour, since he was short. Mind you, I was never one for American humour or comedians, save for The Marx Brothers and Jackie Mason. Therefore it was a relief to me when he finished.

Teddy Tedaloo meets a local belly dancer

Teddy Tedaloo meets a local belly dancer

We never did get our bubble tea. (I should add that we went to this place a year ago and never got our bubble tea then either.) Instead we discreetly sneaked out of the joint, deciding to head to this kava place near where we parked the car. We got waylaid along the way by a belly dancer, at which point Ted insisted on being photographed with her to make all his mates on Facebook jealous. The lass must have been quite taken with him, since I later found a slip of paper with a phone number on it in the pocket of his trousers.

Like the bubble tea place, we didn’t expect the kava joint to still be in business since the last time we’d popped in. But there they were, empty, but there, save for some guy playing chess with what appeared to be a woman in a burka or one of Papa Lazarou‘s gypsy wives – I couldn’t tell in the mood lighting. The kava bartender was smoking something that smelled mighty familiar, and when I made a comment about the smell, he said it was sage. Yeah, right, pull the other one, mate! When we inquired about the kava, he launched into a rapid-fire spiel about the merits of the stuff, but said we shouldn’t try it because we’d been drinking. I’d only had one margarita, but I’m telling you this: he sounded exactly like Dan Aykroyd in the film “Dragnet.” (Cue the virgin Connie Swail.)

With the kava now nipped in the bud by Mr. Aykroyd, we decided to take advantage of the chair massage on offer by the resident chair massage girl. The fact that it had started to piss down with rain didn’t make us too inclined to head back outside either. Ted, however, decided to decline the massage, as he didn’t want to get oil on his fur. He was having enough misery with the South Florida heat and humidity, as was I. Can’t say I blamed him for opting out. Frankly, I don’t know how any sane person (or bear) would voluntarily live in this climate.

As for our surreal night out in Hollywood, it came to a pleasant end, with both Vicki and myself feeling slightly more relaxed from the massage. Heck, we’ll probably do it all again next year – and hopefully remember not to drink so we can finally try that kava. Well, that’s if they’re still in business next year. You just never know these days.

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Interview with Mitzi Szereto on Visual Radio with Joe Viglione

Friday, July 8th, 2011
Teddy Tedaloo confiscates the Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts author copies

Teddy Tedaloo confiscates the "Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts" author copies

 

Mitzi Szereto chats from South Florida with Boston’s Joe Viglione on Visual Radio in a two-part interview about books, writing, publishing, and her controversial new release Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts.

Click here to listen to Part 1

Click here to listen to Part 2

 

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Interview with Mitzi Szereto on Book Talk

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011
Portrait of Miss Caroline Bingley (courtesy of Jane Austen Prequels and Sequels)

Portrait of Miss Caroline Bingley (courtesy of Jane Austen Prequels and Sequels)

 

If you haven’t heard about my soon-to-be released book Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts, now’s your chance! Check out my interview with Kory French on the Book Talk show at BreakThru Radio, where I discuss how I approached the writing of my version of the Jane Austen classic, along with a whole bunch of other bookish (and not so bookish) topics.

So get listening now at:

Book Talk interview with Mitzi Szereto

 

 

 

 

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Pirates Aren’t Always in the Form of Johnny Depp

Monday, May 16th, 2011

pirate (public domain image)Contrary to popular opinion, writers aren’t writers because they have nothing better to do and are merely killing time until they end up at the cemetery. The majority of us who toil with the pen (and keyboard) need to earn off our labours, just like everyone else on the planet. If you ask a bricklayer if he/she would work for free rather than be paid, what do you think the answer would be? How about accountants, librarians, school teachers, electricians, farmers, architects, graphic designers, nurses, shopkeepers, janitors, clerical workers, street cleaners, and so on and so on?

Unless they’re offering their services for charity, I suspect the answer would be a resounding NO. We all have to make a living. We all have bills to pay. And we all have to survive.

So why is it that some individuals out there seem to be under the impression that the product of our labours should be given away for free and without any form of compensation? If you wonder what I’m on about, I’m talking about pirates – and by pirates I don’t mean Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean. I mean pirates who steal copyrighted content and upload it to websites so others can read it FOR FREE. We all know this has been going on with music, but how many of you are aware that authors are likewise having our work stolen and, consequently, the food taken out of our mouths?

Despite the existence of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, many authors such as myself have had the displeasure of discovering that our work has been pirated in the form of our copyrighted material being illegally copied and made available for free for download on the internet. It’s all well and good that hugely successful (and wealthy) authors such as Neil Gaiman think it’s just fine and dandy to have our work ripped off and not be paid for it, but hey, Neil can afford to be ripped off. The majority of us cannot. “You’re not losing sales by having stuff out there,” he says. Get real, Neil. Don’t compare your international sales levels to that of the overwhelming majority of writers whose wallets really feel the pain when their work is pirated.

Contrary to what many people might believe, this form of theft isn’t always a matter of scanning print books. These pirates have managed to bypass the digital security measures put in place by electronic publishers such as Amazon Kindle and do their copying that way. (Clearly a lot more work needs to be done on the part of Amazon and others to prevent this from happening.) I’m assuming that these pirates were interested enough in these books to buy them in the first place. So what’s the motivation behind copying them and uploading them to be read for free? Isn’t that what public libraries are for?

Frankly, I just don’t understand what these book thieves are getting out of it. Have they nothing better to do? Do they not have a job or a family or a dog that needs to be taken for a walk? What’s the point of this exercise? Are they serving a greater good? Not if the greater good is a crime, they’re not. Is what they’re doing any different to that of a shoplifter stealing a book from a bookshop? If a shoplifter is caught, he/she would be prosecuted for theft.

Theft is theft.

Unfortunately, it isn’t only copyrighted works that are being pirated. A growing number of authors (many self-published) have been discovering that content they’ve written and posted on websites for free have been stolen and offered for sale on Amazon Kindle as electronic books. Talk about ballsy! But yes, there are opportunists out there stealing work that’s already being offered for free, putting a different author’s name on it, and then selling it for money. It’s bad enough to be cheated out of money, but to be cheated out of getting credit for your own work as well? Talk about adding insult to injury!

Some of the file sharing sites that have uploads of copyrighted material work in conjunction with an organisation called the DMCA (apparently nothing to do with the governmental statute), therefore pirated material can be reported (and hopefully removed) by them. However, for those sites that don’t have a relationship with this group, you’re sort of shit out of luck, especially if you can’t find anyone at the site to report the stolen content to (which is often the case, especially if they’re outside the USA). Having said that, if the site collects a subscription fee from its users, you can report them to the financial services they employ, be it PayPal, MasterCard, etc, which may or may not result in the financial relationship being terminated (and therefore causing inconvenience to the site offering the pirated material). The point is, writers need to be vigilant and chase after these bastards themselves – and be prepared to make it a part of their regular work routine. Further to this, book publishers need to become pro-active about this issue, because they too, are losing money. The responsibility should not be borne entirely by the author.

For those of you out there who have no sympathy for writers and can’t understand why we’re bitching when our work is at least being read, let me pose the question again: Would YOU work for free?

 

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Bats in the Belfry (A Date with Colin Farrell)

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011
Mitzi Szereto with Teddy Tedaloo take over Belgium

Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo take over Belgium

Belgium. It evokes many things: chocolate, waffles, beer, the EU, Colin Farrell

Yes, I said Colin Farrell. If you’ve seen the Irish gangster film “In Bruges” you’ll know what I’m talking about. Oh, and by the way, don’t use the French “Bruges.” Use the Dutch “Brugge” – unless you want to piss off the Dutch-speaking majority around these parts. The filmmakers either didn’t know this or, considering the derogatory comments made about the city by the characters in the film, clearly didn’t care!

So why Brugge? Why not Brugge? I mean, Paris is just sooo yesterday. Everyone goes to Paris. Brugge is smaller and more manageable, and so much cleaner. In fact, it’s one of the cleanest and tidiest places I’ve ever been. Only in Brugge would I run into some random woman from Texas whose name also happened to be Mitzi. Only in Brugge would the captain of our canal boat ask if Teddy needed a seat belt. Only in Brugge would we be given garlic bread by a couple from Oxford. You just can’t get this in Paris!

Teddy Tedaloo at the pump

Teddy Tedaloo at the pump

Okay, enough propaganda. The real reason we went to Brugge (and Belgium in general) was for the Kriek (cherry beer). Being an ignorant foreigner, I figured Kriek was Kriek. Was I ever wrong. There are many kinds of Kriek, and they vary in taste and quality. I have it on expert authority (a local) that the best Kriek is Lindemans or Liefmans, the latter of which Ted and I enjoyed tremendously at an authentic Belgian pub in Brugge (one of those hard-to-find places that wasn’t heaving with tourists).

Brugge as seen from the top of the Belfry

Brugge as seen from the top of the Belfry

As for those bats in the belfry I mentioned, I surely had a slew of them in my head that didn’t come from the Kriek. You see, I decided to undertake the arduous climb up to the top of the famous Belfry. I still can’t quite fathom why I had to pay eight euros – hell, they should’ve paid ME to climb up there. At least Ted was in a good mood. Mind you, he didn’t have to do the climbing; he left that to me.

All that schlepping around seeing the sights and trying to figure out maps with Dutch street names can make a person (and a bear) thirsty, and there’s only so much beer you can drink (even if it’s Kriek), especially when you’ve only just had breakfast, so I wisely carried a little water bottle around with me. Anyway, one lunchtime I bought a Belgian waffle from one of those shopfront windows, choosing to eat it while sitting along the ledge of a water sculpture that consisted of two horse heads, one of which had water coming from its mouth. By coincidence, this location happened to be where all the horse-drawn carriages started their journeys. I soon noticed that the drivers were using a bucket to collect water from the spewing horse-mouth in order to provide their horses with a refreshing drink. Noting the empty state of my water bottle, I found myself envying the horses and wondered if the water might be suitable for human and ursine consumption…

…When along came a trio of Italian tourists. They spent a moment contemplating the horse mouth, whereupon the more authoritative of the group took it upon herself to refill her empty water bottle. I sat anxiously by, waiting to see what would happen when she drank the water, indicating that I was most interested in the results of her venture. The signorina partook of her spoils and smiled encouragingly at me, giving the product her stamp of approval. I waited to see if anything would happen to her, such as violent convulsions or instant death. (Horses probably have heartier constitutions than Italians what with all that grass and hay they eat.) However, all was well and the trio moved off to other adventures, at which point I deemed it safe to fill my own bottle, though I got a really dirty look from one of the horses.

Teddy Tedaloo checks out the local chocolate supply

Teddy Tedaloo checks out the local chocolate supply

Did I mention that we went to the chapel known as Bloedbasiliek? It so happened we arrived right on time to receive a blessing from the priest over a scrap of cloth claimed to have some drops of Jesus’s blood on it. (Hey, everyone else was doing it!) This is the same chapel from “In Bruges” where one of the hit men goes up to the altar to touch the relic. In fact, I’m certain I saw a hit man go up to receive his own blessing after Teddy and I had ours – some Euro-gangster dressed in an expensive suit and wearing blue-tinted shades. All he needed was to carry a sign that said “I’m a dodgy European gangster” and he couldn’t have been more obvious. I won’t mention the Beware of Pickpockets signs posted all over the place. So much for being watched over by a higher power…

Teddy Tedaloo enjoys some Kriek with his mate Metteko in Brugge

Teddy Tedaloo enjoys some Kriek with his mate Metteko in Brugge

I should add that the minute it became known we were going to visit Belgium the invites came pouring in (not for me, but for Ted, whose social calendar was booked up before we’d even boarded the Eurostar!). First we met up with his mate Metteko in Brugge, where our happy group consumed plenty of Kriek (what else?), followed by plenty of Carbonnade (Flemish beef stew), all the while being serenaded by gypsy musicians from Slovakia, their lively rendition of a Russian ditty prompting the two bears to dance their paws off at the table.

Teddy Tedaloo enjoys yet more Kriek with his mate Berthus in Brussels

Teddy Tedaloo enjoys yet more Kriek with his mate Berthus in Brussels

The next afternoon in Brussels Ted met up with his mate Berthus for cake (and later, Kriek). It turned out that the waiter at the cafe was a big fan of the two furry gents and insisted on being photographed with them, afterward giving Ted a big paw shake (with yet another waiter getting into the act) as we left. I guess the first waiter was trying to make up for having told me en francais that they didn’t have any toilets and I should use my glass. It took me a few beats of forgotten high-school French to pick up on what he was saying, at which point I realised he was having a laugh. Or at least I think he was…

As for the Kriek, I’m going to check online for a supplier – one that will give me a bulk discount!

For a quick video tour of Brugge, click here!

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Win a copy of “Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts”

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011
Teddy Tedaloo receives his advance copies of Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts

Teddy Tedaloo receives his advance copies of Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts

Step right up and enter to win a chance to receive a pre-publication copy of my raunchy and outrageous new novel, Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts! The book won’t be out till July, but if you fancy a sneak preview, speak now or forever hold your peace! (Or whatever it is you prefer to hold…)

For more details on how to enter, please visit the official Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts website. Oh yeah, and while you’re at it, you can become a fan on Facebook and keep up with all the news! After all, you don’t want to be left behind, do you?

 

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Mitzi Szereto chats on BBC Radio Shetland

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011
Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo with the BBC Radio Shetland "Sideways" crew

Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo with the BBC Radio Shetland "Sideways" crew

During my recent appearance at the Wordplay book festival in the Shetland Islands of Scotland, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by BBC Radio Shetland presenters Jonny Polson and Amz Fisher for the “Sideways” programme. Topics discussed include how I got started writing, teaching erotic writing workshops, my upcoming books (including Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts), and pretty much everything else I get up to that’s suitable for broadcast on the BEEB!

Listen to the interview here:

http://mitziszereto.com/Sideways BBC Radio Shetland with Mitzi Szereto

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A Valentine Bear’s Wedding

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

For those of you who don’t follow society events, you’ll be kicking yourself that you missed the major event of the season, if not the century!

Teddy Tedaloo and his lovely bride Ninny

Teddy Tedaloo and his lovely bride Ninny

I refer to the recent Valentine’s Day wedding of my beloved bear and the co-star of Mitzi TV, the famous Teddy Tedaloo. Just about everyone who was anyone was in attendance (except for Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, who was not invited due to his species-ist beliefs and his continued inability to get the site functioning properly). All the socialite bears were there, not to mention HRH herself, Queen Elizabeth II. Man, there was so much bling in that church you needed sunglasses!

Family portrait

Family portrait

The Queen, sweet old dear that she is, gave a little speech after the Archbishop of Canterbury did the whole formal nuptials thing. (Judging from HRH’s expression, I’ve a suspicion she was hoping her grandson and future granddaughter’s wedding this spring would at least equal in prestige and grandeur that of Teddy and Ninny’s.) Liz is a huge fan of Ted’s and even has a paw-print autographed photo of him in her private quarters at Buckingham Palace, so of course she wouldn’t have missed his wedding for the world. And with a bit of tinkling of the ivories by that other famous queen Sir Elton John accompanied by the delightful tones of Kylie Minogue, how can anything possibly go wrong?

Champagne

You just had to ask, eh? Well, the champagne was a-flowing and Ted was a-drinking… so much so, in fact, that he passed out in the coatroom just after the wedding cake was sliced up and consumed (he had three pieces). His bride thought he’d done a runner, only to discover that he’d fallen asleep! Apparently someone’s coat had fallen on him and – bears being bears – Ted thought it was time for hibernation. Poor Ninny was in a right state, until the groom resurfaced some time later, wanting to wrap up the evening as quickly as possible so that he could hurry home to change into his pajamas and watch Coronation Street featuring Leanne and Peter Barlow’s much-publicised “blessing.” (Unlike Teddy and Ninny, things didn’t turn out so great for Leanne and Peter.) Ninny, however, managed to convince Ted to take a quick spin around the dance floor first, though he still managed to get home and in his PJs in time for Corie.

Mitzi Szereto and her date Caramelo

Mitzi Szereto and her date Caramelo

To say it was a bittersweet moment for me, as a mum, would be understating the fact. You see, Ted’s an only bear, and to watch him taking his vows in front of all those people, well… I shed quite a few tears, believe you me. Thank heavens I had the comfort of my date, the very handsome Caramelo, who’d flown in all the way from Dubai to attend the wedding, along with his mum, who was Ninny’s Maid of Honour. Sure, it’s early days yet, but I think it’s safe to say that things with Caramelo and myself are progressing along quite nicely. I just hope that I’m not his rebound girl, because he was sort of interested in Ninny first.

Sexy Ninny

Sexy Ninny

As  for the happy couple, the last I heard they were heading off to enjoy their honeymoon, which, if this glamour photo of the blushing bride is any indication, should be a red-hot one, indeed!

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Social Networkers Need Some Table Manners!

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

No TrespassingAs users of social media, we’ve all been the targets of online marketers and spammers and webcam girls. Of course, social media is still fairly new, and the boundaries are continually being tried and tested, not to mention pushed. We’ve all made mistakes and, we hope, learned from them. This isn’t the first time I’ve addressed this issue (see Tweet Tweet Tweet: Will Someone Please Shoot That Effing Bird?). However, there really needs to be some form of established etiquette – because the methods being employed to get one’s message across are getting out of hand.

Now I’m not exactly a novice on this subject. In fact, I’ve even given talks about the use of social media (see Social Media For Creative Artists). Although I’m going to focus on those in the writing and book business, I’m sure we can find parallels in other fields. As everyone knows, I’m a big user of Facebook. I’ve worked very hard to establish myself on the site and build up a fan and friends base. I always try to be respectful of others and respectful of the space of others. Meaning: I do not post my “advertising” on people’s personal profiles or personal fan pages. By advertising, I mean self-promotional content.

This is the kind of thing you often see manifesting itself in sneaky posts on your wall – you know, the ones that say “nice to meet you,” but a “nice to meet you” that happens to include a very handy link to a website or the jacket of a book. Add to this the practice of tagging someone in order to get your content onto their page. Further add to this a reply tweet that uses your Twitter name to spread someone else’s message. And these are just the subtle methods.

More blatant forms of such promotional trespass consist of folk posting content designed to draw attention to themselves and their product without even attempting to disguise what they’re doing with a personal message, plastering these website links and book jackets, not to mention book trailers and book events right smack dab onto your wall like a giant neon sign. Perhaps they justify this activity by saying so-and-so is a Facebook friend (and possibly a fellow writer), so I guess that means I can be a squatter in his or her house.

Wrong!

I mean, it’s bad enough when this happens on your personal profile, but you won’t believe the number of times I’ve had to remove the advertising of various individuals from my fan pages. I mean, I’ll have a fan page for a book of mine (for instance In Sleeping Beauty’s Bed), and these cheeky buggers will post a book jacket and link to THEIR book on MY book’s fan page. Excuse me, but this is really taking the piss!

Now I’m all for self-promotion as everyone knows, only this is not the way to go about it. I realise things are tough out there, and I know it’s likewise tough to make a buck, but for pity’s sake, use some common sense. If you’re posting to a fan page or group page or even a personal page that indicates it accepts and welcomes these kinds of posts, then fine. But to randomly post on personal profiles, groups and fan pages that are clearly NOT an interactive billboard asking for your advertising (and you can see no evidence to indicate that it is), well, that’s just plain tacky and rude. In fact, it’s SPAM.

Of course you can always remove these posts, and I do it all the time. However, there’s only so much I’ll tolerate when it keeps continuing, especially from the same individuals. Allowing yourself to be a graffitied wall to benefit and promote someone else’s agenda is not going to make them like you. (They don’t like you – they’re using you!) Rather than outright removing said person from my friends list, I try to give them a chance to mend their ways by making my displeasure known via a polite note requesting they cease and desist. You’d think this forthright and civil approach would work and therefore generate an embarrassed apology, right? Well, think again.

A recent SPAM-fest I was made the victim of came from some supposed “book reviewer” who listed quite an impressive CV of where he’d reviewed books. I received a Facebook friend request from said person, and I thought, well sure, of course I’d like him as a friend – until I started to get daily posts on my wall of his various book reviews, none of which were even of my books! Now excuse me, but what in hell is that about? Did my Facebook profile suddenly turn into Publisher’s Weekly? Needless to say, I sent him a polite note requesting he kindly refrain from said behaviour. And get this: he actually un-friended me as if I’d done something wrong!

Awhile back I had another bizarre run-in with some Norman Bates of a poet I’d never heard of. This individual’s personal information was vague to say the least, unless you count the hazy photos of her that looked as if they’d been taken when Nixon was president. It seemed she was hiding behind some paid membership website – and she was continually posting on my Facebook profile and various fan pages advertising said website. When I asked her to stop spamming me, I got a nasty message, followed by some extremely nasty, erroneous, and downright libelous comments she attempted to publish on my website. Had they not been so pathetically inspired by professional and personal jealousy I’d have reported her to my web-host (and my lawyer).

Then just the other day an author posted her book release event on my profile wall, likewise tagging me for the event, following it up by posting her book trailer. Since when did Mitzi Szereto become Barnes & Noble? Hey, I have my own books to sell! Rather than send a message, I removed her from my friends list. I’m not going to be nice with second chances anymore, especially when I end up being disrespected for it. Yes, I’m interested in seeing what others are doing, but I’d prefer not to have it forced on me via a space which is supposed to be for my use and under my control, especially when I can easily find out what’s happening in my newsfeed and by visiting friends’ profiles and pages! I post many things, a lot of which are not self-promotion (I’m big on animal welfare groups such as StopCrush.Org and Charlie to the Rescue), so I find it annoying to get a post that’s not only irrelevant to me, but serves no purpose other than to get a free ride off my hard graft. I don’t much care for freeloaders, nor do I know anyone who does.

So if you want to mark your territory, use your OWN personal profiles and pages to get your message out rather than trespassing on those of others – or else ask permission before you post or tag as a method of self-promotion. It’s called “having good manners!” 😀

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