Posts Tagged ‘Facebooking’

The Facebook Virgin

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

It all started with Dave Gahan.

“What, your erotic writing?” I hear you ask. Good guess – for let’s face it, the man’s voice defines “erotic.” Alas, I’m afraid my reply will be far less sexual than the image of me lying naked on my bed in a room lit with candles, listening to Dave singing “Everything Counts” as I tap breathlessly away on my laptop. You see, way back in the old days (roughly a year ago) when I first started getting into this full-time job known as Facebooking, one of my very first Facebook friends was – (drum roll) – Dave Gahan! (And yes, I mean Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode fame.) Some of you may already know about my prolific use of the social networking site Facebook. In fact, I’ve even been mentioned in the Guardian for my Facebooking proficiency. Therefore it seemed like a good idea to become “friends” with Dave Gahan on the off chance that he might actually be Dave Gahan.

Now I’m not so naive as to believe whatever proverbial hogwash someone tells me. Of course I had my reservations as to whether the individual to whom I was engaged in Facebook messaging was, in reality, the man in possession of the most erotic voice ever to ooze from a microphone. To be honest, I was quite coy and dismissive about the whole thing, volleying humourous little barbs into his court as to the nature of his true identity. As time went on, however, he said enough things to make me believe he might be genuine. Perhaps it was a vagueness not to speak all that much about himself (which would have been a dead giveaway that Dave Gahan wasn’t really Dave Gahan – as in trying too hard). Perhaps it was the self-effacing quality he had when he offered me the occasional personal tidbit about his failed marriages and his former drug addiction. But I think it was that sense of insecurity he displayed when making reference to his new solo album that finally clinched it for me. Many artists are insecure about their work, especially those who possess the greatest talent. Ergo I was hooked.

Our Facebook exchanges continued along at a pleasant and steady pace. “Dave” demonstrated a wisdom about life from one who hasn’t exactly had an easy time of it, and we got on quite well, though I still teased him now and again about his identity. He wasn’t at all bothered with trying to convince me – which only served to convince me even more that my Facebook friend was Dave Gahan. Then one day I received an add request on Yahoo Messenger from a man I’d never heard of. Curious, I accepted, my intention being to delete him the moment I found out who he was and what he wanted. He immediately sent me an instant message, saying that he couldn’t go on like this anymore and he had to come clean. It was my Facebook friend – and he was NOT Dave Gahan, but a 37-year-old divorced electrician from Kent. My Dave Gahan bubble had burst.

Could this mean that no one on Facebook is who he or she claims to be? Okay, so call me a skeptic, but I’m beginning to wonder if maybe my new Facebook friend Jimi Hendrix might, in fact, be dead after all. And as for all those pokes I keep getting from Jim Morrison

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Is the Print Book Destined For Death?

Friday, August 8th, 2008

Within the past week I’ve had two people say to me – “but I like REAL books!” They were, of course, unhappily referring to the increasing popularity of electronic readers such as Amazon’s Kindle, and therefore the increasing popularity of books you can download and read on said reader. Unfortunately, I own no shares in Amazon.com (I wish I’d gone with my gut instinct on this years ago rather than listening to the dotcom doomsdayers, one of which was the investment guy who advised me to buy mutual funds whose managers are now all in jail), but that’s beside the point. Granted, in a way I agree – there is nothing like holding a book in your hands; it’s tangible, tactile, it looks nifty on a bookshelf, and hell, it can even make a damned good door-stopper, to say nothing of performing other important household functions. Why, just the other day while Facebooking I found myself being harassed by a wasp. Needless to say, he meet his fate quickly (and no doubt painlessly) at the hands of a novel I’d grown bored of reading.

So why am I jabbering on about Amazon Kindle? Well, for very good reason! My bestselling and now out-of-print erotic novel The Captivity of Celia (written as M. S. Valentine) has just been published as a Kindle book. Indeed, thanks to Amazon Kindle it has been brought back to life, and several of my other Valentine titles will be following suit via this platform. Is that such a bad thing? Not if it puts a few bob in my pocket! And I’m suddenly hearing from other authors who are feeling quite encouraged about this new opportunity to gain readers and thus earn a bit to put toward the rent.

Speaking from the rather prejudiced perspective of a writer, the really great thing about the Kindle is that the author can publish directly with Amazon, thereby cutting out those annoying little middlemen such as literary agents and book editors and publishers who, as many of us in this business have already learned, know as much about publishing good books as your senile old Aunt Gertrude in Hoboken, New Jersey. Hang on a minute – isn’t Gertrude the name of that editor who rejected my last book?

So before we go starting up a Kindle fatwah, we need to gain some perspective. People who like print books will always buy print books. The marketplace cannot ignore such a large percentage of readers. However, those who prefer the transportability, the varied features, and the ability to store a multitude of titles, not to mention being able to bookmark them, will add the Kindle to their reading repetoire. There’s room for all of us. Let’s just all try to get along, shall we?

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