December 1st, 2010 | 13 Comments »


It is easy to respond to many of the comments that people leave here, because the comments are interesting. Whenever one comes in, I get a message to my email telling me that a comment is there for my approval, so I pop over to this site, approve it, and often answer at the same time. However, comments on this blog go to two different places, depending on their nature — they might go to a certain post, or they might go to the spam folder.

Actually, a good number don’t even make it as far as the spam folder. One of the plug-ins I use on this site is “Bad Behavior,” which stops around a thousand or so attempted spam comments every week. For a blog on erotica, the name “Bad Behavior” is simply delicious; and it lets me see notices such as this:

If you find Bad Behavior valuable, please consider making a financial contribution to further development of Bad Behavior.

And I do, and I did! I do find bad behavior valuable, and I did make them a small contribution.

Those comments, though, that get through Bad Behavior’s defenses, are relegated by Akismet to the spam folder:

Akismet has protected your site from 1123 spam comments already, but there’s nothing in your spam queue at the moment.

Generally, I don’t do much more with the spam folder than empty it a few times a week. But this time, I took a more careful look at the comments, and found some amusing surprises. In the future, I’m sure I’ll just be deleting without reading again. But just now, I will take the opportunity to copy some in here and answer them.

Some, of course, cannot really be answered. The most common type of spam I get is simply a long list of links, usually to medications of some sort.

Others are more cryptic:

puv, xdsyb hb ioslgvtf d voodu.

znou zunhlokm a qy r!

sku [best tube clips]

, jszz aq cn v jmni y.

qhbbny meyehf orgw g hysq. crv, [adult dvd empire]

, cxuk j wjzrtszo h grnpti kr zbxc adz.

gwx vw pli.

It reminds me a bit of being in a country where I don’t speak the local language — most of what I hear is gibberish, but every once in a while I catch a word or phrase as it whizzes by (like “adult DVD empire”). Without understanding the whole sentence, all I can do is guess at the meaning (I’m supposed to go to an empire and purchase adult DVDs?). I get by in these situations pretty well by just nodding and looking thoughtful.

Some spam is comprised entirely of familiar words, and yet… something seems to be missing. Like verbs. And syntax.

name sure contribute leg rise funny basic issue down along sentence cabinet quality join absolutely tea head key move perhaps spring better channel supply team east marriage writer nice direct edge certainly strike door much rather throughout exactly forward individual arise text benefit should fall disappear choice during work hate home union thus finish have less length aid difficult doubt suffer comment theme yet visit household leg press none permanent shoulder if like switch edge exactly park care title government manage criticism

*Nods and looks thoughtful*

OK, this one has familiar words, and verbs, and syntax (or at least a stab at it), and yet… and yet…

Right away when I blend with to go to my weekly canoeing or dragon boating, my teammates are all good-looking amused by my fivefingers sport shoes, and rubberneck at them looking for some time. I divine the toe-shaped relaxation shoes makes it look like a web of some throw, but it’s not like I can swim in these fivefingers shoes. I’m finding the outdoor sports shoes very untroubled, and although I cannot depreciate with it as I would with predictable constant distraction shoes, at least I can stride along the pontoon or bank zone in plenty, contrastive with when I used to shuffle barefooted. My feet old to cripple or get scorched from the latest ground, but not with these fivefingers mockery tease shoes I don’t. Win a look at the pictures to be wise to persevere how the fivefingers open-air sports hold up to ridicule shoes look like from the top and bottom.

*Nods and looks totally confused* Do you write for Japanese t-shirt companies too, by any chance?

My favorites, though, are the ones that accidentally wind up somewhere almost relevant. Like this one, appended to my review of Rachel Kramer Bussell’s Fast Girls:

Did you people notice that the main character is a girl in this game? Interested to see how that plays how.

Yes, you know, I totally DID notice that the main character was a girl in each story! That was very perceptive of you! Probably the last line was meant to be, Interested to see how that plays… and how!

Another “reader” commented on the same review:

Hello, you site is very funny he told me to cheer up .. Merry Christmas.

I don’t know if I’d call the whole collection “funny,” exactly, but yes, it could cheer someone up, considerably.

It’s good, actually, to see the book reviews getting so much attention. This one for Fulani’s Secret Circus of Pain and Degradation drew these insightful remarks:

Just wanted to say that is in my best blog list on #3 place, This is again an super adorable post Best Regardss

* * *

The Kolumbian philosophy of Divorce ! :)

* * *

Hi everyone Thanks for such polite info. The information which you provided on this blog is truly useful and informative for each person. This would be a help for every age of people who needs info on “Social Networking”; it took me a long time to read all the comments.

For the review of Jeremy Edwards’ Rock My Socks Off, readers (or read-things) commented:

There is obviously a whole lot to know about this. I believe you made some excellent factors in Functions also. Keep operating , great position!

* * *

Hello there, I found your blog by way of Google although looking for first help to get a coronary heart assault and your post looks incredibly interesting for me.

* * *

this post is very usefull thx!

No prblm! Gld to hlp!

I’ll close with a representative sampling of spam comments from various posts.

I adore this blog theme. How hard is it to customize? Would you be able to shoot me an email? I would love to get this theme and use it on some of my blogs. Thank you in advance, Marcella.

It’s called “Sakura,” Marcella (or “Marcella”), and it’s pretty easy to customize if you have even basic html knowledge. You’ll need to be using a self-hosted WordPress site, though. Sorry I don’t have time to send you a personal email, but I’m sure you understand.

Love your site man keep up the good work.

Thanks, dude.

this reform legislation is not likely being perfect, but it truly is nowhere from being your monstrosity that requires dismantling. whenever anything, it needs to be beefed up on paying for healthcare for most of us. Without it, a catastrophe of monumental proportions awaits us all.

Wrong blog, but I have to say, I do support access to healthcare for all. It seems unlikely that I’ll ever write an erotic story on precisely that theme, though.

Superb blog post, I have book marked this internet site so ideally I’ll see much more on this subject in the foreseeable future!

Thank you! I do have more stories in the pipeline, so keep checking back.

Have you ever considered placing more videos to your blog posts to keep the followers more interested? I mean I just read through the entire post of yours and it was quite excellent but since I’m more of a visual learner,I found that to be more handy well let me know how it turns out!

Ah…. that’s a whole ‘nother genre, there, and not one I’m going to get into. But visual learners can still read books, you know!

hi there, I haven’t spoken to you on the msn in a while, but I believed I would email you from my fresh Notebook!! No joke, I work for a top company at this point in the revision dept. Don’t tell everyone but we uncovered this site that is totally glitching and mailing out absolutely free Netbook!! to anybody that signs up. I think you may possibly have to confirm your email, xox alte omafotzen

You haven’t spoken to me on “the msn” ever. No one has.

Do you have a MyDirtyHobby ?

Yes, but I’m not going to tell you what it is. ;)

Howdy blogger how was the whether in Montana this tyme of the year ???

Howdy! I have know idea watt its lyke their now.

As a Newcomer, I am always looking on the internet for posts which can easily help me. Although do you know how come i just can’t see all the pix on your web site? Regards, Renea.

I don’t know. Maybe because you’re not a visual learner?

I love your weblog.

Aw…. thank you! So do I.

*  *  *  *  *

Posted in • Dear Spam
November 14th, 2010 | 12 Comments »


I was recently traveling for work in Latin America. I had a few days off when my scheduled work was done, and I decided to take a short internal flight to see some sights — the land is large, time is short, was my thinking.

For some reason, we were required to be at the airport two hours early — for a flight that was on time and took about 10 minutes to board. Practically the full two hours then was spent in one small waiting room of a domestic airport, which did at least offer seats, some posters on the wall, and free coffee (seriously! free coffee! and it was good, too!).

For a long day of trekking, I hadn’t brought a laptop or reading material. Fortunately, a fellow passenger (I guess also without reading material) struck up a conversation. He was a doctor, from Germany, who’d been attending a medical conference and now was enjoying his few days off. We talked about a lot of things — health care systems in Germany and the US, travel, the country we were in, and so on, and at one point found ourselves on the subject of the US economy.

He said he could tell the effects of the US recession by the way Americans had become more “calculating.” Just as I was wondering if I’d gotten more sly and devious in recent years, he explained that by that he meant that when he saw Americans these days, either in Europe or when he traveled to the States, they were always calculating and figuring out the cost of things. How much would it cost to rent a car? What would that meal cost in dollars? How much to add a third night in the hotel? Which he said they didn’t use to do.

“For me,” he explained,” “when I’m on vacation, I don’t calculate. I’ve already made the decision to go. Like this tour. If something comes up that costs another 10 euros, I don’t think about that, I just pay it.”

Frantically, I calculated 10 euros — hey, that’s nearly 14 dollars! or 112 Local Currency Units, or twice what I paid for dinner last night. Must be nice being a doctor!

My first reaction was that I’ve always “calculated” costs, recession or no. But as I thought about our exchange later, I realized it’s not quite so simple. What “a lot” of money is depends so much on the situation. $50 is an outrageous price for a dinner entrée (in my world); I’d consider it for a dress for a close friend’s wedding; it’s a hell of a deal on an iPad. I’d just paid $300 without hesitation for a plane flight and transportation to one of the most amazing sites on the continent, while feeling grateful for the free coffee that would save me, what, 50 cents because now I wouldn’t have to buy my own. Context is everything.

One thing authors and publishers talk about with each other, and with readers, is book prices. With the boom of self-publishing, many authors are now put in the position of choosing their own prices for their books. Publishers and editors have to make those decisions for their authors.

Now, how do you set a book price? It’s not just a question of what it’s “worth.” You need to recoup your expenses (the time spent writing, the cost of an editor and a copy editor / proofreader, a typesetter, a cover designer, the cover art and any internal art, the paper, the salaries of the people in marketing, and so on), and you need to make enough of a profit for everyone that it’s worth it to continue the process. Retailers and online stores will take their cut. Typically, the author makes a royalty from each copy sold, a percentage of the book’s sale price, which can range from 10% to 40%, depending on the publisher and whether it’s a print book or an e-book and where it’s sold.

If you price a book too high, no one will buy it, and you make nothing. If you price it too low, unless you have a ton of sales, the money brought in is too low to be worth much. So really, you want the book to be priced at the highest amount that still seems fair and attractive to the reader.

But how much is that?

Let’s take a paperback novel of, oh, 200 pages. We’ll assume too that it’s a good book; one that you would be happy to have read, and one that you would be happy to own, at least for several months until your family complains that you have too many darn books all over the place and for heaven’s sake can’t we take some of these things to the thrift store because it’s not like you’re ever going to read them again, not when you keep getting more all the time (not that that ever happens in my house). Not a classic book, not one that you’re going to have dipped in bronze, but one that you’d truly enjoy, even if you only read it once.

How much would you pay?

(I’m going to give everyone a few moments to jot down their answers.)

Retailers are guessing that you’d spend around $5-$15 on a paperback from an unknown author, and less on an ebook. Maybe $9 for an ebook. Maybe $2. Nobody really knows! And it’s a different answer for every person, so that adds to the complexity too.

But I have another question. Not just “how much” would you pay, but “would” you pay anything at all? Do you buy books?

I assume that everyone still reading this blog post is interested in reading books (anyone who got here just by googling, hoping for hot S & M photos of my naked ass being whipped with a riding crop will have realized that there aren’t any here today) (because how would I hold the camera, people?). So, OK, how many of us buy books? How about new books?

I’ll confess that most of my books come from the library, and then after that, the used bookstore. I read a book, or at least part of one, every day of my life; I’ve worked in publishing and writing for years; but I still treat books to some extent as a luxury. I’d buy a crappy meal in an airport because “I have to eat” — but I wander through the bookstores in airports, thinking how much I’d like this or that one, and then (probably with that German guy watching), I calculate the price… oh, plus tax… and it seems self-indulgent.

In the US, at least, the “holiday season” is upon us. It’s being shoved down our throats, and has been since before Halloween. I don’t mind buying people gifts — honestly, I quite enjoy it, “commercialism” or no. But I remember that my favorite gifts to receive when I was growing up were books. So I’ve decided. That’s what I’m giving this year — books. Physical books for people who’d want them, ebooks for my green friends, maybe gift certificates for people whose tastes I just can’t fathom.

And at the risk of sounding obnoxious or even self-serving, I’m going to urge others to buy books too. They’re great value! $5 of $10 or $15 is not “too much” for something that brings such pleasure, and lasts for so long (books can be re-read, and loaned or given to friends). If you support your favorite authors, they will write more! I know I’m sounding a bit like Pledge Week on NPR, but it’s true. They’re not all just writing books for their health, you know. (OK, maybe they are for their mental health. But you know what I mean.) You don’t have to buy my book. I’ve reviewed several great ones here on this site. You don’t have to buy erotica, or even fiction. Buy whatever you please, and whatever pleases you. But no more complaining about how “kids today” don’t read, can’t think, can’t communicate, don’t know anything, if we don’t give them books and let them see us reading. We either value it or we don’t, and if we do, we should support it. And do it!

However, as a self-confessed “calculator,” I have sympathy too for those who find purchasing anything hard to rationalize at the moment. So… I will announce my first-ever book giveaway! Yes! Just like some of those other cool bloggers, I’m going to give away a book on this site. Signed, even (if you choose the hard copy and not the e-book). Not my book, but a novel by Jeremy Edwards (so, signed by him, obviously, and not by me). I’ve read it, and I approve of this book!

The giveaway will be held November 18 – 24. I’m going to be interviewing Jeremy here, posted November 18, and details of the giveaway will follow the interview. Check back!

August 26th, 2010 | 4 Comments »

When I was in high school, I found this Valentine’s Day card. On the cover, it said, “Kiss me, stranger!” and then inside it said, “Aw, come on… you can kiss stranger than that!” I thought it was hilarious (I was easily amused in high school) (well, I’m easily amused now too!), so I bought it for my boyfriend.

He was less amused. “You think I kiss strangely?” he asked, a bit worried. No, no, no. OK, not everyone appreciates every joke. But his questioning it did make me consider just why I found it funny. It’s not that odd kissing is humorous to me — no, it was the verbal play, the confusion between the adjective and the (wrongly formed) adverb. And indeed, I still enjoy that sort of linguistic humor today.

One of the stories in Transported, “Just Browsing,” was entered in the online 2009 Erotic Writing contest at bettersex.com, and made it to the final round. Stories are judged by reader votes, which means that authors are motivated to spread word of the contest to their friends and their friends’ friends and so on (which I’m sure is the point). I have a few friends who are not shocked by my erotica writing, so I let them know about the contest.

One friend emailed to say she had voted for me and loved the story, and her friend had voted for me too, even though she hadn’t liked the story (so thanks? I think?) because she doesn’t like “stranger sex.”

My first impulse was to say, “Oh, I can write about much stranger sex than that!”, remembering that old Valentine. Though I’m glad I didn’t.

I’m also glad that I didn’t say the second thing that popped into my head, which was, “But they weren’t strangers.”

Now, why would I have even thought that? In the story, a woman traveler visiting an unfamiliar city stops into a used bookstore. While perusing a coffee table art book of erotic Japanese woodblock prints, a man comes up behind her, looks at the book over her shoulder, and dot dot dot. They exchange a few words, and even their names at the end, but no, they hadn’t met before.

They weren’t friends. They weren’t colleagues, or roommates, or acquaintances. They were strangers. I see that, yes, I do. There is no way for them to have been more strangers to each other unless one of them hadn’t come into the bookstore.

So what was I thinking?

What I did say to my friend in response, to pass on to her friend, was “Think of them as friends who just hadn’t met yet.” Which is really how it was, in my mind. I was making a distinction, even without really being conscious of it, between “strangers who remain strangers” and “strangers who really belong together but have not met yet, who are so compatible that skipping a few weeks of dating and going straight to the sex is entirely appropriate.” That kind of stranger.

Certainly we have lots of examples of that kind of stranger in fairy tales. (Digression: For some reason, fairy tales have been getting a lot of attention recently in the world of erotic writing — check out Alison’s Wonderland, for example, an anthology of erotic versions of classic fairy tales.) There’s no sex in traditional fairy tales, at least not the versions I had as a child, but people certainly do fall so deeply in love that they marry on the basis of first meetings. Sleeping Beauty was asleep when the prince fell for her, and upon waking, felt the same. Snow White was actually mistaken for dead when her prince fell in love — he wasn’t smitten by her vivid conversation. It’s not just Western fairy tales; you see similar instances of instant attraction, or even attraction before the two have met, just based on “he heard word of the king’s youngest daughter” in Russian tales, Chinese ones, and so on.

Some people see one of the messages of tales like that as “What men really value in women is physical beauty.” I don’t deny that that message is there, but it’s not the one I found. What I believed was more along the lines of, “When two people are right for each other, they’ll know it instantly, and they’ll be ready to act on it.” I’m not defending that as a fine philosophy, I’m only saying it’s the message I got. And I think there must be some of that in many of my stories. I believe it’s OK for these characters to have sex with each other on the spot because I do see them as compatible. They’re not making the wrong choice. They’re just… cutting through some red tape. Skipping a few traditionally preliminary steps.

I don’t recommend moving with that sort of speed in real life (or not all the time, at least). But I’m not writing dating manuals, I’m writing fantasies. Fairy tales couldn’t be acted out either — it wouldn’t be the Princess and the Pea or even the Princess and the Penis, but the Princess and the Restraining Order. Snow White and the Seven Felony Charges. But — I do like the idea of instantly recognizable compatibility, whether at a party or on a plane or in a bookstore.

I’ll close with a photo of a little fairy tale book I picked up at an English bookstore in the Middle East recently. I’m afraid that inside, the story is just the traditional one. But I do like its cover!


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Posted in • Stranger Sex
August 4th, 2010 | No Comments »

My mother is the sort of woman who was always saying things to me like, Why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free? and Why buy the loaf if you can get all the slices? The first meaning, basically, “If you have sex with him now, he’ll never marry you,” and the second meaning… um… probably the same thing, though the metaphor is a little murkier.

Usually when I remember those sayings, it’s to think about how odd and a bit messed up they are; but this month the second one made me think of anthologies.

An anthology is a collection of stories (in this case), each written by a different person. Different slices, if you will. And why buy the loaf? Because! That’s the only way you can get all the slices! True, some anthologies do accept some stories that have been previously published elsewhere. However, in the act of gathering these specific stories, on this specific theme, the anthology becomes something special. A loaf, you see, not just a heap of disparate slices. (OK, so the metaphor isn’t perfect for me either. You still get the idea.)

I’m reviewing two anthologies this month, which is why the topic has been on my mind. In preparation, I’ve arranged an interview with popular anthology editor M. Christian, who has over 20 anthologies to his credit, and whose new anthology Best S & M III I’ll be reviewing this month. Look for his interview to appear here within a week, and the review shortly thereafter.

You know how the French have hypermarkets instead of just supermarkets? (I promise I’m not bringing up the loaf/slices metaphor again.) Well, Rachel Kramer Bussel is like a hypereditor of anthologies, not merely a supereditor. The promotion for her latest, Fast Girls, is a “tour” of reviews, one a day for the month of August, on different blog sites. Sharazade’s day is August 21, so please check back here then to read all about it. However, I’d also encourage you to check the tour schedule here and read the reviews from the other sites. Not only is it a good way to discover other blogs you might like, but it’s interesting to read so many different takes on the same anthology.

I feel a little guilty writing a whole post that’s only a preview of coming attractions, so I’ll throw in a spoiler to balance things out: I really liked both anthologies. Check back this month to find out why!

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August 1st, 2010 | 11 Comments »

My trouble began in Slovenia. (Query to self: Would this be a good beginning for a story? His troubles began, as they always did, in Slovenia. But where to go with it after that? Save idea. File.)

From the top, then. My trouble began in Slovenia. In Ljubljana, to be exact, in the airport. I love airports with free wifi! Props to you, Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport! I had a few hours between flights, so I cleared out the email from a few accounts and then checked my Facebook.

But what’s this? Blocked? A security check? Facebook tells me I’m trying to log in from a location they are “not familiar with” (even though last time I checked, Slovenia was on the map). I had to first type in some odd words—no problem—and then my birthdate—also no problem—and my account was “restored.” Thank you.

Ah, but then I checked my Sharazade account. Same problem: Facebook still couldn’t find Slovenia (even though I had just logged in from there, providing them with a valuable clue). Again with the random words. But as I was hoping I’d put in my correct birthday and date, I got a different security test! This one wanted me to identify photos of my Facebook friends. Seven friends, and I could make no mistakes (although I was allowed to skip two). The first photo came up, with a choice of seven names… and I had no idea who it was.

Well, of course I had no idea who it was! Of the seven names listed for me, I hadn’t a clue what any of them looked like. In fact, of the 70 or so friends listed as friends on my account there, I’ve only met two of them in person, and I haven’t seen one of them since 1983. I backed out of the test, terrified of guessing and getting a person wrong, at which point my account would… I don’t know, dissolve into a million pixels. Or arrest me. Something bad, anyway.

When I returned home, I tried again—but I was still locked out, and was still being offered the photos test (not the easier birthdate test). I looked, and looked, and looked all over Facebook for an email or phone number to report the problem and ask help. There is nothing! Seriously! Nothing! There are only FAQs and “Help” topics, and they don’t address this problem. There was one that directly referenced the “I can’t recognize the photos in that test” problem, and you could submit a report, which I did (in detail)… but it didn’t go to a person. It went to a mailbox dump, and sent back the message

Hi,

Thank you for submitting this bug report and taking time to help us
improve the site. Unfortunately, we are unable to respond to every bug
report individually, but we are reading them.

Yeah, thanks. I’m holding my breath here.

Now I had to ask myself, how much did I want my Sharazade account back? Well, a lot. Most of my friends there are writers and publishers and erotic businesses. I read their announcements and calls for submission and contests and offers of review copies of books. I announce there when I have a book release or I’ve updated my blog. I use that account, in other words, and I wanted it!

I devised a plan. I emailed someone who was linked as a friend on that account. He opened his Facebook account and clicked on my friends list. I opened my account to begin my test, and we opened our gmail chat. So the photo would come up, and seven names to choose from. I sent him the list of names and described the photos, like He’s a man in his late 40’s, perhaps, short gray hair and glasses, and he’s sitting with a large orange and white cat, and my friend would scroll through the photos of the seven names listed as choices and try to identify the person. If you’ve spent any time on Facebook, you know that people post photos from, oh, their third grade class group shot, or a Halloween costume party, or trying out a wacky new hairstyle. Even worse, the photos didn’t just come from ones that person had selected himself, but also from photos posted by other people in which he’d been tagged. Even posts that weren’t photos at all, but book covers or concert posters or whatever.

The good news was that we answered all the questions correctly. The bad news was that we took too long, and were still locked out because of that! And seven new names were offered up. Fine. We tried again, making a concerted effort to go faster. Again we were successful in identifying the photos, and again we took too long. Seven new names. Well, at this point, it was time to give up. We clearly weren’t up to the task, and I was just a bit worried that continuing was going to cost me this friend!

Next, I got another friend to compile a list of all my friends’ names. With her help and what I could find with my own searching, I made myself a study guide with the names and 1-3 identifying photos. It was 22 pages long, and would have been longer if I’d been able to get photos for everyone, which I wasn’t. (I do hope this is beginning to sound as frustrating and absurd to you as it did to me.) And I studied that thing like I was going for my first driver’s license. When I felt ready, I sat down to take my test yet again. This time, though, after I typed my random words, there was only the message, Someone attempted to access this account from: Slovenia. Do you recognize this location? I clicked “yes,” and, three weeks after I’d left the Ljubljana airport, I was in.

Now, someone posited that all this was to “protect” me and my account. From what? And why is someone hacking into my account from Slovenia more dangerous than someone hacking in from, say, three blocks from my house? Why is this picture thing considered a way to prove my identity—since clearly it’s possible to learn the photos of the friends associated with the account, even when I couldn’t log in? Why is there no way to contact Facebook directly and report a problem such as this?

Those are all rhetorical questions, and I ask them just to vent a bit. But here’s the question, nearly a thousand words later, that I actually want to answer. Why does Facebook think that a friend must be someone whose face I recognize? What, in other words, is a “friend”?

Writing is a solitary business. It can even be a lonely business. I’m entirely self-employed and write from my home office or the occasional coffeeshop. Networking with other writers is companionable and enjoyable. It’s also extremely useful. We share tips and leads; we critique one another’s work; we provide encouragement and commiseration; we exchange advice on contracts and taxes and marketing strategies. There are various lists and bulletin boards and similar online homes for writers… and there is Facebook.

There are all kinds of friends—those who will water your plants while you’re on vacation, those who will nurse you through an illness or injury, those who will assure you that for heaven’s sake, you are not fat!, those who will watch your children; and those who will positively impact your career.

Do I need to know what all of those friends look like? No, I don’t think I do. Recognizing a person from a photo might be one type of a test of one kind of friend, but I maintain that it is a very poor test of a writer’s friend. A good writer’s friend is more someone who checks (and answers) his/her email and shares useful information and provides encouragement and inspiration. The glory of the Internet is that writers now can make friends outside their geographical community. I notice that the Oxford English Dictionary has expanded their entry for the word friend to include this new sense: a contact associated with a social networking website. Yes. Thank you!

I can’t kid myself that anyone from Facebook is reading this post. But it will make me feel better anyway if I can toss my bottled message into the ocean and say to them: Please. Support our online friendships. And let us travel!

My Facebook page is here. I’m happy to accept new friends, whether you post photos or not. And I still have no idea who that guy with the orange and white cat was.

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