Bookstore Shelf Sadness & Sticker shock

Last week Monday, I walked into a book store and walked out without buying anything.

Usually, this is a cause for celebration for me. It’s a test of my self-control. Can I go into the bookstore and not come out with arms full of books? This time, it was different. I didn’t want to buy any of the books I saw. I haven’t really been in a book store for over two years I think and while that brick and mortar chain isn’t my favorite chain ever, I can usually find something that I can get excited about.

Sure, I didn’t have a great deal of time. I don’t really have money to spending on a book or two or three. (My gift cards that I haven’t used are for another store entirely. I don’t think I can get to that store by bus.) And when I looked for authors I have been following, they didn’t have anything new. (Look, I’m not about to be capitulated by another book of short stories. Okay.)

So, I was reading the shelves looking for authors that maybe I haven’t tried or that seemed interesting. You know, in the few minutes I had and was confronted with the fact that virtually nothing was facing outwards and that big blocks of shelf space were taken up by very old, very stodgy, old school fantasy and science fiction with a few shelves of really big name current authors such as Butcher, Mcguire and Harris. So, they’ve got good agents or publishers, go them. And a very large shelf of Brandon Sanderson who is the “successor” of Robert Jordan.

Asimov. Asimov had a book turned face out. (A Foundation novel no less.)

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Knock-offs, Counterfeits, Clones and Plagiarism

And how does this apply to Fashion and writing.

I’m a fashion person. I’m also a writer person. And the last three years or more I’ve spent more time being a writer person than I have been a fashion person. (My current dream job is putting together a girl targeted AAA noncombatant horse MMO with enough clothing skins to rival GW2. Yes. Goals! GW2 is known as Fashion Wars.) But both industries, and a lot of industries have a major problem with theft.

I’m not going to talk about outright e-book download theft and how that hurts authors. I’ve already done that.

No. I’m talking about creative theft. Writers and Fashion Designers stealing from other Writers and Fashion Designers. I’m talking about companies stealing the designs/ideas of Designers and Writers and copying them. I’m talking about knock offs and counterfeiting, genre clones and plagiarism.

Theft is the reason why we have copyright, trademarks and patents. Because human beings like to steal from each other for some reason and the easiest thing to steal are ideas. Ideas are hard to prove to be original. It’s hard to prove who had the idea first. (Fashion is just beginning to tiptoe into patents. Trademarking has been standard for years.)

So, what is the difference between a knock-off and a counterfeit?

Well, both are stealing. The knock off however doesn’t try to pretend that it’s from a famous brand name.

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GW2, Dev Firings & Being a Female Content Creator

Apparently, when I’m sick, there are times things just blow up around me. My neighbor’s pipes, the GW2 ArenaNet Dev firing…

I covered this a little bit on twitter in a vaguey-vague sort of way and discussing how it is to be a female in just about any industry. So, for those of you not into computer gaming around July 3rd, GW2 Game Devs and Narrative Designers (aka writers) held a Reddit AMA about doing story work in GW2. One of the devs came out of that AMA and decided to talk a bit on her personal twitter about how in a linear narrative MMO like GW2 that it’s really difficult to make characters with compelling personalities because there are a lot of players who are projecting a personality onto that NPC and you don’t want to contradict their thoughts. It was, for me as a fledgling narrative designer myself, an interesting thread to read.

And that was all well and good.

Then people wanted to comment on said tweet thread because this dev works for GW2, she has a lot of followers and one of those followers or someone who saw the tweet thread who also happens to be a very popular content partner affiliate youtuber twitch livestreamer (aka youtuber content creator who also happens to get kickbacks from GW2) decided to comment.

And that was all well and good. Because yes, social media, discussion.

Here is the sticky bit.

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Dad Advice, Originality and Writing

About a year or so after I left college, I went to work for my father at his small parts machine shop “part time.” (That never happened.) I worked on the floor running a mill power, a drill and milling machine that could be programed with a computer (to make your life that much easier and faster.) Every job that came out of the office came with a job sheet and the job was broken down into where the job went on the floor. You were to use this sheet to mark down the day you worked on the job, your initials and how long it took. (This was supposedly to price the job.)

If the part was a part that the shop had done one hundred times before, the side of the sheet had an estimated amount of time that was based on the time that other employees before you had taken to do the job. Now, I was new. I’d never done any of this before. And so I remember asking my dad about those times and saying I knew that I couldn’t be that fast!

He told me: “Worry about what you’re doing. Don’t worry about what other people are doing.”

That advice came in really handy as I worked in the shop. I spent two years on the floor mostly running the mill power and focused on what I was doing and doing it to the best of my ability and not worrying about how fast I was or if I became the best mill power machinist ever. (Now, this did irritate some people for different reasons. Other people didn’t care. All I cared about is if my father, my boss, thought I was doing a good enough job. Period. Then I took over the office and I didn’t give a shit about how long it took them to complete jobs as long as the jobs were completed before they were due! Not an easy task given the way things were ordered.)

Now, I apply that advice to other areas of my life adding it to my lifetime perspective in writing and in general. Worry about what you’re doing. Don’t worry about what other people are doing.

Because, I can’t control other people. I can control me and I can control my reactions. That’s it.

Boundaries.

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The Body Positivity Movement

Or the Ashley Graham Effect.

Recently, Ashely Graham went undercover on Undercover Boss: Celebrity Edition, in order to help out some deserving people she’d found through social media that were plus sized and wanted to be models, run non-profits and do dance. And I’ll be honest, I don’t watch a lot of Undercover Boss, in fact the last one I watched was the Bridal Store episode, you know, the Bridal chain that has subsequently filed for bankruptcy and gone out of business. Most of the episodes don’t interest me.

Watching Ashley Graham go undercover into the fashion world was a cringe worthy experience. She knew what she was getting into. She knew exactly what she was getting into and she still (hopefully mostly for the cameras) got a bit cheesed off. I admire her grit and tenacity and applaud what she’s doing, even if it’s a big disingenuous for her to be going on something titled “Undercover Boss.” Because the open call she went to at the model agency, she didn’t own that modelling agency. She couldn’t walk back in and rip that guy with the European accent a new one about representation and that’s not the way we do things here. Not in 2018.

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Not All Strong Female Characters are Warriors: Marian

Marian is a very minor character from Anne Bishop’s Black Jewel’s Trilogy, The Queen of Darkness. So, no gifs today. In the Queen of Darkness we really don’t learn much about her other than she’s Lucivar’s wife and Daemonar’s mother and her first weapon was the frying pan..

And you’re going, wait, Ginny, this is about female characters who aren’t warriors! Let’s be clear, Marian isn’t a warrior, Lucivar is and Lucivar wants to be sure all the females in his life can defend themselves including his wife because he loves them. Marian is fleshed out in a short story called “The Prince of Ebon Rih” from the collection Dreams Made Flesh.

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#TuesdayThoughts: Parents and Players, Don’t Play Star Stable

onxygearDon’t play Star Stable. Just. Don’t.

I’m withdrawing my support for this game. I am or have taken down the Star Stable Diaries. I am or have removed my previous reviews of all their games that say they’re a great game. The reviews that have brought me traffic to this blog daily.

I can’t support this game anymore.

Yes. I’ve been increasingly frustrated with the game as time goes by and they keep giving the players just enough content to keep the complaints down. But I’ve stuck with it, keeping an eye on the train wreck because I honest to God do wish this game well. I care about this game, too much so. I want them to succeed so that Game Developers can see that “games for girls” don’t have to be dress-up flash games or super short “Vet” games. That games that have girls as a target market are worthy of just as much money and development time as big AAA games marketed for boys. And I was willing to keep my support up floating around this blog despite this blog being about my books and my fashion career and writing because gaming is that important to me too.

(I want horse games that have fashion and MMO quest mechanics and crafting/housing and PRETTY HIGH LEVEL GW2 graphics DAMN YOU.)

Over the last week, I have been patronized and disrespected and asked multiple times to violate a clear stated boundary and given that this is a very long (and I do mean going back years) pattern of behavior to their player base. I’m done supporting this game even passively.

So, dear parents and potential players of Star Stable, a brutally honest review from an ADULT Female Gamer. This is going to get long.

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#Fashion is Art: A harsh truth of the industry pt. 3

Lastly, and what most people seem to think Fashion is, fashion is an art.

And the harsh truth in the grand scheme of things, art is the very last thing fashion is. Fashion being a business and fashion being a science comes before art. Yes, designers are artists with huge egos and the temper tantrums and deep desire to create and not have their work copied or stolen. There is no getting around that.

Knock offs and counterfeiting are a huge part of this business too. Because money.

Fashion has a long history going back hundreds and thousands of years and it’s not entirely clean or pretty; slavery, the silk road, feudal sumptuary laws, the conspicuous consumption of nobility inspiring revolutions, fashion designers choosing sides or being accused of spying during the Great Wars, sweat shops, tuberculosis epidemics and toxic chemical waste from making acrylic, nylon and the like.

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Not All Strong Female Characters are Warriors: Colette

Ratatouille (2007) is a cute story about a rat named Remy who likes to cook and dreams of being a chef and only eating good food. He gets his chance when he ends up in Paris at the restaurant of his idol, Gusteau. Through a rather silly turn of events, Remy ends out helping Linguini, the trash boy, who made a mistake with the soup. And because the head chef, Skinner, thinks Linguini made the soup, he assigns the sole female chef in the kitchen to supervise Linguini and thus Remy.

This is Colette.

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