Calm Your Tits and Just Feel the Tingle

by Renee Miller

 

I can say calm your tits, because I have a vagina, so piss off.

Today, I want to discuss the Hugo awards and all the shit festering around them this year. But first, let me be completely clear: I don’t support the sad, rabid puppies or whatever ridiculous name they go by these days. Maybe I’ll start further back, in case some of you are living under rocks, and explain a little about these groups.

The Sad Puppies is a movement that claims to want to make the Hugos great again. They campaign against the Hugos limiting what genre fiction should be. But while they claim to want to diversify, when you break down their comments, rants and such, you’ll see they’re essentially about defining the science fiction genre by excluding all who don’t fit into their rather limited ideology, which, it seems, includes only stories about space exploration (whether they’re well written or not). Of course, that’s just my opinion, which is humble and mostly unimportant, because I don’t share the religious or political views of the Sad Puppies.

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So, let’s discuss the Rabid Puppies… those naughty dogs.

They appear to be a group of individuals who oppose diversity and would rather live in a white male dominated world. Wait…

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Never mind that. My take, after reading countless blogs, comments, articles, etc. is that they’re essentially trolls that aren’t worth stressing over.

Some people say the Sad Puppies are merely a front for the Rabid Puppies. Some, including both groups, claim they’re separate entities with similar beliefs. I don’t know what the truth is. For me, the fact that the Puppies, sad or rabid, exist at all is sad, and I don’t support their movement or anything they’ve done. Hear me, people who skim and don’t read everything all the way through? I DO NOT SUPPORT THE PUPPIES. Got it? All right.

Why are we discussing them at all then? Well, for the second year in a row, the SP/RP have “gamed” the Hugo Award nominations, which, for those in the sci-fi and fantasy industry, is a pretty big deal, by getting Chuck Tingle’s Space Raptor Butt Invasion nominated for a Hugo Award. When I saw the nomination, I laughed. Hard. I laughed some more. And then I wiped my eyes and realized people are pissed about it.

PISSED.

hulk

 

 

Some feel Mr. Tingle should bow out. Let someone “more deserving” be eligible.

Hmm.

Let’s look at the word “deserving.” Who decides that? Not me. Not you. Well, sort of. Deserving is a subjective term. (For those of you who get subjective and objective confused, subjective means based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinion.) What I feel is deserving, someone else might say, “Hmmm, no.” and vice versa. Deserving is a matter of opinion.

Moving on.

The Puppies wanted outrage, I imagine. They wanted a shit storm. In some ways, they got it. Lots of folks out there are suffering panty bunching of epic proportions, but for the most part, what this little stunt got was amusement. Why? Mr. Tingle is a pretty popular guy, and if you’ve taken the time to read his work, you’d see why. He’s fucking hilarious. Weird. Raunchy. Deliberately ridiculous. And did I mention he’s fucking hilarious. Anyone who has a sense of humor about things finds the whole thing at least a little bit funny.

And let’s remember, if any of you are still experiencing issues of bunched panties, last year the Puppies didn’t get their way. Not entirely. Last year, Hugo voters chose to give no award in several categories that were dominated by Puppy nominees. Yes, this ensured “deserving” authors didn’t win either, but let’s remember, the Puppy nominees also went without an award, which wasn’t their intention.

I’m bored with the Puppy discussion. Are you? Cool. Let’s move on. I decided before I offer my opinion on this matter, I should read Chuck Tingle’s Raptor Butt book. You know, so I could fully appreciate his deservingness (not a word, I know) of the nomination. In my humble opinion, it’s not terrible. The setting is good. It had some backstory, some “feels.” It had pretty decent dialogue, and the sex was kind of okay. All right, the sex was funny.

With lines like,

“You ever think about what it would be like to fuck a human.”

“Yeah, I mean, who hasn’t?”

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And…

“Pound me like the homo spaceboy that I am.”

oh my

It’s comedic gold. And after laughing my way through Raptor Butts, I picked up his follow up, Slammed in the Butt by My Hugo Award Nomination. Yes, it’s ridiculous and raunchy, but he takes some shots at himself and the erotica genre. For example:

“At the end of the day, this is still gay erotica, you’re gonna have to get pounded.”

And when the MC tries to “get to know” his Hugo Award nomination, the barista who is the author replies,

“It’s cute, I get it, but we like to come in at four to five thousand words for these things. A date’s probably going to push us over the word count.”

And then there’s lines like:

“Sure, he’s penetrating deep within my throat, but he’s also penetrating my heart.”

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What I’m saying is I admire Mr. Tingle’s comedic talent. That’s not an easy thing to master.

And I think for other authors to demand he withdraw (pun intended) is ridiculous. For one, he didn’t nominate himself (or did he?), so why should he? This is on the Hugo voters to sort out. Just as they’ll have to sort out other unfortunate nominations. I mean, a lot of people are pissed that My Little Pony got a nod too. Let’s remember, short form is usually full of comic book shows, not a cartoon about rainbow pony magic and shit. So imagine the outrage when those happy little fuckers got a nod. (I hope the sarcasm in these lines is translating here.)

pony jerk off

At the end of the day, this isn’t about an erotic comedy author usurping the Hugo award nominations. It’s not about deserving or not deserving. This is about politics, as most awards are. Sorry, guys, but speculative fiction awards (as well as awards in most other genres) is often politically driven. The awards rarely go to “deserving” authors (unless that author is Stephen King), and as long as popularity and politics play a factor, it will always be an unfair process. Am I whining? Never. It is what it is. (And what it is, is an ass load of bullshit.) Oh, almost forgot: that’s my humble opinion.

Don’t worry about Mr. Tingle or the ponies. If they win, well, then you can get the riot gear ready. Don’t forget to kiss your mamas goodbye, boys. Odds are, though, Raptor Butts and Pony Love won’t win, because the universe isn’t that funny.

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Quantifying Creepiness

by C.M. Saunders

Creepy: Causing an unpleasant feeling of fear or unease (Adj.)

We all have a thing. Something that creeps us the fuck out. I know a girl who is terrified of dwarves. Even worse than that, there are people who walk among us, looking all normal and shit, with a profound fear of cheese. Yep, it’s true. The condition even has a name, Turophobia.

My thing is creepy crawlies. Not very original, I know. But my bug fear has a weird little twist. The more legs they have, the more repulsed I get. Dung beetles? Cool. Centipedes? Forget it. There’s also something intrinsically creepy about lobsters and crabs. It’s those pincer things. Therefore, despite being about half an inch long, earwigs put the fear of God into me. ‘Cos they have lots of legs AND pincers, see?

Yep, it’s irrational. On paper it looks damn stupid. But it’s something I can’t control. With humankind being a race of such disparate and complex individuals, anything is possible. What might freak one person out might make another get his freak on. One man’s poison, etc. It’s one of the things that makes our lives so colourful. Imagine how boring this would be if we were all the same.

So is quantifying creepiness even possible?

Apparently so. There’s a wealth of material on the Internet to prove it (so it must be true, right?). Everything from academic papers to sketchy articles like this one. After digesting some of this information, a few points become evident. Some things are almost universally creepy. Clowns? Creepy. Spiders? Creepy. Serial killers? Creepy. Using those indicators, it would be fair to assume that serial killer clowns like John Wayne Gacy would push the creep factor through the roof. It wouldn’t be a complete surprise to discover he had a thing for spiders, too. He was just that kind of guy. Some people make it easy for the rest of us to judge them by ticking every. Fucking. Box. Or at least one box too many.

Usually, though, it isn’t so straightforward. Some boffins (smart, scientific types) have decided that people’s jobs should be taken into account. Apparently, the job with the highest ick factor of all is funeral director, while things like morticians also rank highly. Basically, anything involving death. Does that mean we find death itself creepy? Possibly. On the other hand, according to the statisticians, your friendly local weatherman is about as scary as a poptart. But guess what? That doesn’t mean a weatherman can’t be a serial killer. You just wouldn’t expect him to be, so you’d be even more horrified when sneaks up behind you and stabs you in the throat. Tellingly, a writer friend of mine disagreed with the first assumption because the funeral director she knows was ‘Hot, has amazing abs, and rides a Harley.’ So it turns out, when someone is pleasing to the eye, we’re willing to overlook a lot. Who knew, right?

It’s obviously wrong to pre-judge anyone on what they do for a living. Just like it’s wrong to judge them on where they come from, the colour of their skin, or what music they are into. The only thing that really matters is what people are actually like. You know, their personality and shit. And here, a Reddit user by the name of Saigonsquare has helpfully attempted to produce a handy formula to help us decide how creepy the people around us really are.

Creepiness = (Awkwardness x Forwardness / Attractiveness) ^ Persistence.

See the role ‘attractiveness’ plays? It’s right up there, which means my friend with a thing for funeral directors isn’t such a freak after all. Apparently, if you are considered charming and/or good-looking, you can get away with murder. Just ask Ted Bundy.

Of course, this all breaks down when you enter the murky world of the Internet and you can’t actually see who you are talking to. Or, perhaps more accurately, who is talking to you. Sure, they might have a hot profile pic, but how do you know it’s not fake? I was happily chatting away to a hot chick online recently who’d sent me a random friend request a few days before. Things were going pretty well, until ‘she’ sent me a picture of ‘her’ dick. Yup.

Every item in that formula is subjective. Take ‘persistence,’ for example. Everyone likes it when someone shows a romantic interest in them. It makes us feel wanted, valuable, even a bit special. We also like a bit of persistence. The keener the admirer is, the more they must like you. But too much persistence? Nope. Then you’re heading into potentially dangerous stalker territory. So where do we draw the line?

Same goes for ‘forwardness.’ Someone who displays just the right level of confidence is a real go-getter, right? Which can only be a good thing. They probably have a well-paying job, a nice car, prospects, ambition, all that good shit. Nobody wants to go out with a slacker. But there’s a fine line between ‘confident’ and ‘cocky.’ And after ‘cocky’ comes ‘pushy,’ which is an obvious turn-off.

This brings us to the ‘Awkwardness’ part of the equation. Some things just feel wrong. We don’t know why, they just do. It’s instinctive. It’s entirely possible that whatever causes us to lose our shit is linked to some primal condition buried deep within us. A legacy, perhaps, of the time when we crawled around on our bellies in swamps. But obviously, that doesn’t explain what the fuck clowns have to do with anything.a

 

 

 

Dear Gym Douche…

by Steve Wetherell

Dear Square Dude Track Pants,

Hi there. You probably don’t know me, I’m one of the intangible mists that cohabit the gym you seem to live at, serving only to selfishly occupy the equipment you immediately want to use or hog up the full-acre of mirror you seem to require at all times.

I should explain. I go to your gym (I’m assuming it’s your gym, because you sure seem to act like it is) maybe twice a week. Three if I’m feeling like a hero. I don’t like exercising, you see, but I do like beer and pizza, which means I have to go to the gym if I don’t want to choke to death on my own neck fat. When I go to your gym, I go there to do as much exercise as I can in an hour, then I leave for climes more familiar and less armpit-smelling.

In short, I’m no fitness nut. But I still pay my fees, so how’s about you take that condescending look off your swollen, fluid-retaining face?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against people who like to keep in shape. On the contrary. I see guys hitting the gym on their lunch hour or ladies jogging through sub-zero November nights and I commend them. I do. I commend them from the warmth of my car while I drive to the bakery. I realize that their lives will be longer and more fulfilled than mine, and I accept that my life will be shorter and more bacon-centric. It’s the circle of life. Some of us are gazelles, some of us ain’t. But there’s “keeping in shape” and then there’s “being square”, and the two are very different things.

Let me explain. I see the guys who keep in shape, and when they lift their free-weights they spend a lot of time looking in the mirror. This is because they’re checking their form, and that’s what you’re supposed to do. But you, Square Dude, the first thing you say hi to when you enter the gym is your own reflection. Then you do a little bit of exercise (while looking in the mirror) and then when you’ve finished your three reps or whatever you look in the mirror again. Maybe give it a little flex, a sly wink. Seriously, Track Pants, if Kim Kardashian wrote an autobiography and filmed herself having sex with it, she still wouldn’t be as self-obsessed as you.

It’s not healthy. I’d recount the tale of Narcissus here, but Narcissus has three syllables, and I kind of get the impression that’s two syllables more than you’re interested in. Besides, Narcissus was good looking, whereas you are just square.

Another thing that guys who keep in shape tend to do is grunt in exertion now and then. Usually at the end of a tough set of reps. And that’s all it is- a grunt of exertion. If they ever approach a scream, it’s because something important has just snapped or they’ve just remembered how much they miss bacon. It’s never…how can I put this…it’s never sexual.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing untoward with two square dudes giving each other a bit of encouragement in the gym. And I know that a vocal blast can sometimes give you the extra burst of strength and energy you need. But, for your convenience, I’m going to make a brief list of things you can’t shout in the gym without making it sound like you’re failing a porno audition;

“YES”

“DO IT, MAN”

“GIVE IT TO ME”

Seriously dude, we both know why you’re making those noises, and it’s probably not because of your subconscious homoerotic passion for your gym buddy. If it was I’d understand- everyone needs love, Track Pants, even square people. But you make those noises for the same reason you asked the gym dude to turn up that particularly awful hip-hop track. For the same reason you complained loudly about how crowded it was when you came in. For the same reason you stand there and eyeball the people using “your” machine until they leave. You want people to see you. You want them to know you’re a gym guy.

Why? For the same reason you cram yourself full of creatine and god knows what else. For the same reason you spend more time in the gym than you do at home. It’s because you’re short, isn’t it?

Now, hang on, swell-face, don’t unleash your roid-rage just yet. Hear me out. I understand. I do. You grew up shorter than average and rather than console yourself that some of the world’s most deadly special forces prefer their candidates more diminutive, you decided to make up for your lack of height by becoming as wide as you are tall.

But even though you’re perfectly perpendicular, you’re still not happy. You’re still so aggressive. You still can’t get past the Short Man Syndrome.

I only bring all this up because of that incident the other week. You probably don’t remember it, but I remember it quite clearly. I call it the ‘sweat balls’ incident. I remember the day because you weren’t wearing your usual track pants. I was on the running machine, concentrating on not being fat, and you were doing your usual thing of shouting your homoerotic catchphrases and looking at yourself. Then you came over to the floor fan and started drying your balls. Literally flapping the leg of shorts over the floor fan right in front of me.

Now this in itself was disgusting, obviously, but the weird thing is that you were looking at me the whole time you were doing it. I saw you in the mirror. Just standing there. Drying your balls. And staring at me.

Look Square Dude, if I want my sexual preconceptions challenged then I’ll go down to the Blue Lagoon where everybody’s better dressed and cocktails are half price before eleven.  I’m cool with dudes who like dudes. But I want you to think about what you were doing when you were standing there and mad-dogging me whilst fan-drying your crotch. Was it some kind of intimidation technique (surprise! It worked you mad, sweaty-testicled idiot!) Do you want my recognition? Should I stop what I’m doing and say “Hey, I saw you lift those weights and you rocked. You dry your balls right in front of me anytime you need, man. Take your time, you’ve earned it.”

I respect your right to be any shape you want; rhomboid, rectangle, whatever. In return I expect you to respect my right to use the gym I pay my membership for without becoming part of your odd little domination fantasies.

I appreciate we’re at the same place for very different reasons (I want to lose weight, you want to compensate for your crippling emotional inadequacies) but I think if we both adhere to some very basic rules, we can get along just fine.

Rule number one is; No Staring At People While Drying Your Balls.

Rule two is… actually, you know what? Rule one is just fine. Let’s leave it at that.

 

Yours Sincerely,

Round Dude Beard Face.

 

 

 

 

Deviant Dolls: Welcome, Membership and Other Boring Shit We Have to Deal With

 

Welcome to Deviant Dolls.

So, what and who are we? We’re authors. Some of us poor bastards also have day jobs, because let’s face it, mortgages have to be paid and kids (of the human and furry variety) like to be fed. We are not a publisher, as we’ve explained, so don’t send us your shit. Not that it’s shit. It might be. We don’t know. We don’t care. What we want is bodies. Your bodies. And your minds. Okay, your soul. We like souls.

Wait, things have gone off the rails here. Let’s take a few steps back.

Deviant Dolls is about books, readers, and marketing, not always in that order. We write books. We must promote said books to readers. We love readers. If you don’t love readers, get outta here. Why are you writing anything? As a collective of authors, it is our goal to get as many of our weird, horrific, hilarious, edgy, outside the mainstream stories to readers. This means we need a network. Part of the purpose of the Dolls is to help each other find new readers and to keep our current readers happy. Not so hard, right? It is when you’re going it alone.

So, are you still interested? Well, we don’t have a lot of hoops to jump through, but we do have some criteria members of this gang must meet. These are as follows:

Balls

Metaphorical or literal, you’ve gotta have balls to be a Doll. Why? We aren’t about pussy-footing around the shit. We want to take risks and want authors who aren’t afraid to take a leap with us. If you’re worried about image or think you’re fancy, walk away now.

Books

Members of Deviant Dolls must have books published (indie and/or traditional) in the genres listed on the main page. This includes horror, comedy, erotica and everything in between or just outside. If it’s edgy, a little over the line, a little outside the line, or so far away from the line we don’t even know what to call it, then it’s a book for the Dolls. We don’t have a minimum requirement, but let’s say if you’ve just published your very first book, you MUST meet more than a couple of the other criteria to make the cut.

Also, we expect a certain level of professionalism in regard to said books. If we read a sample of your work online (and it’d be handy for you to send us a link to where we might do so if you don’t have a look inside feature available for your books), and there are numerous typos, spelling/grammatical errors, or the storytelling is just plain awful, we’ll deny membership. Why? We don’t believe ourselves to be the highest judge of what makes good fiction, but there are basic standards every author should strive to achieve. We’re promoting you to our readers, so we ask that your books meet those basic standards.

Social Media Presence

If you aren’t on social media, just keep walking. Social media is a valuable tool for networking and marketing. If you don’t believe this, then you won’t fit in here. How big of a presence do we want? You must be active on at least one site, preferably more, and have some kind of following.  Let’s face it, as a member, we’re sharing our loyal readers and followers with you, it’s only fair we get the same in return.

Commitment

We don’t expect a lot out of our members, but participation is a MUST. We require a strong if not emphatic willingness to promote DD’s brand, because our brand is YOU. If you can’t be bothered, we’re not above kicking your ass out. Do you have to blog every day? No. Every week? No. By commitment we mean you must be willing to promote each other and participate in the collective in some meaningful way on a regular, consistent basis. Blog posts are most welcome. If you want to write one every month, that’s great. Every week, you’re nuts, but also great. Every three months, sure.  We know life takes priority, so we’re not assholes about it, but anyone who consistently opts out isn’t an ideal candidate for a collective of authors.

Big Girl Pants

Or big boy, whichever you prefer to wear. By this we mean, play nicely. Drama queens, don’t let the door hit you on the way out. If you can’t get along with someone, learn how to tolerate them. No bullying. No whining. No bullshit or drama. If we see any behavior that crosses the line, or that is cruel or anything drama related, we will eliminate the parties responsible from membership. Members who feel they’re having a serious issue with another member, for whatever reason, may contact DD’s founding members (Katrina, Renee, or Hanna) and we will deal with the matter accordingly. However, if you’re just butt-hurt because you like to be butt-hurt, sorry, but our answer will be “grow up.” Ideal candidates are not easily offended. Actually, it should be pretty hard to offend you at all. If you’re easily shocked, upset, angered, etc. this is not the group for you.

On Pen Names and Alter Egos

We don’t care if you’re boy or girl or something in between. We don’t care if you’d rather wear a mask and a cape when you venture into the big bad publishing landscape. That’s cool. We only ask that authors using pen names reveal their true identity, and a way to verify this, to one of the founding members, for reasons. We will not breathe a word of your real name to anyone, not even each other, if that’s what you wish.

 

And that’s all we ask. If you’re still interested, contact us at deviantdollspub@gmail.com. Include “Membership” in the subject line, and in your email, give us links to your social media and books, so we might creep a few pages and check you out. As a fun way to screen new members, we’d also like you to tell us why you want to be part of DD. Your answer doesn’t really matter. Such things amuse us.