Freddy here. I want to talk about my Outside the Margins column today, but first I have to tell you about PBA.
What is PBA?
Prism Book Alliance is a great source for readers of queer fiction. They are a review site - they do mostly MM romance but review other stuff as well. Their reviewers do a great job of reviewing the book without giving away major plot points (or the endings - which we as authors and publishers appreciate), let us know what worked for them or what didn't, and they try to highlight why other people may like the book even if they didn't. Positive people. And that's awesome.
Brandilyn is the site owner. It started off as a review site of her own and has grown tremendously over the past couple of years. She does a lot of things for both the readers and authors.
Five Things Fridays
Retro Reads Author Spotlight
Outside the Margins
All of these allow readers a one stop location for the reader to find lots of different info while allowing authors to help build a platform for themselves. You can pick and choose what information you want to see and so forth.
When Brandilyn asked me to be an OtM contributor, I jumped at the chance, not really knowing what I would do. Ultimately I decided on a flash fiction piece. ;) There are a lot of different contributors to the column, all sharing, spreading ideas and facilitating discussions. It's wonderful to see so many different people come together to talk about things they feel are relevant to them, publishing, readers, and the world at large. Edmond Manning has wonderful commentary as does Hank Edwards. Posy Roberts shares bits of wisdom with us. There are wonderful articles by KJ Charles, Anna Zabo, Brigham Vaughn, and so many others. And the best part about it? All these different voices are in one spot to share their voices, experience, and wonder with the world. What other place would that happen?
So, thank you, Brandilyn. For bringing all of us together and giving us a place to speak.
I know what you're thinking. Only Freddy could write a SWL about band-aids, but it's totally reasonable I swear. I have proof why band-aids are awesome. If you get squeamish easily don't look at the next photo. (It's totally not that bad).
Last Wednesday I was attacked by this blister! I didn't even notice it until after it had torn open (<---- same person who walked around 3 days with dislocated elbow), but when I noticed it, I did because it hurt. Isn't the blister in the most inconvenient spot? That part of your toe bends all the fucking time. How is a band-aid suppose to stay on that sucker? 'Cause you want one when wearing shoes and walking around all day. Otherwise all sorts of crap ends up in it and you could get an infection. (Not the best way to lose a toe BTW, or foot really. Or a leg. That could happen too.) )
BEST BAND-AIDS EVER! They stay put. They don't feel funky. And they come off when you want them too. TRIFECTA. So, yes, my Stuff We Like post is about Band-aids, but who hasn't had a blister from hell?
Hi! It's Silvia Violet and I'm taking a turn for Stuff We Like. For today’s post, I’m going to talk about one of my favorite things, Tumblr. Now to say I like Tumblr doesn’t exactly describe our relationship. Tumbr is like that man whose deliciously bad and you know he’s terrible for you but you can’t make youself stay away. It’s my guilty pleasure and one of the biggest enemies of productivity and yet, I go back again and again.
One of the things I dearly love about Tumblr is that no matter what kind of blogs you follow - cupcakes, puppies, Renaissance painters - you’ll ultimately end up with gay porn on your dash. It’s as if Tumblr has an algorithm that works like this puppies = men with puppies = men with men with puppies = gay porn. Or cupcakes = people eating cupcakes = men eating cupcakes = men eating cupcakes off other men = gay porn. And if that’s the life lesson we’re to learn from Tumblr, that all things come back to naked men loving all over each other, then I’m good with that. (For the sake of not turning this into a porn blog, I'll give you a milder example)
Tumblr has also brought me so much fandom goodness! I’ve been down the McKirk (McCoy and Kirk from Star Trek, especially Star Trek reboot) rabbit hole oh so many times.
And the things Stony (Steve Rogers and Tony Stark from the Avengers) does to me cannot be discussed in public. And there are so many other ships, a whole armada. I’m a rare bird in that I never wrote or read fanfic before getting into the m/m genre. Tumblr opened that world for me.
Thank you Tumblr for being such a seductive bastard! You can join me in the Tumblr madness here.
For today's Stuff We Like, our wandering SFF author, Angel Martinez, is back for a post :)
Hi all! It's summer. Yeah, I know, officially that's not for a number of days yet, but let's face it - the kids are done or almost done school. The beach traffic has already begun. We've had out first heat wave. And...
Farmers' Markets are back.
I think everyone has some version of Farmers' Market near them. Some of them are year-round, and not quite like the old markets where individual farmers trucked stuff in for the weekends and some are seasonal, from the roadside stand to the large, annual market spaces. It's one of the few things I like about summer, because you can actually find local, fresh-picked produce, so much nicer than the shipped in, force-ripened stuff from the wintertime.
We have several different sorts of markets around us here. Delaware and the nearby counties in Pennsylvania have a lot of farms still and thriving Amish/Mennonite communities. We get a lot of farm stands along the old state roads. The Amish stands always have seasonal fruits and vegetables, but a lot of them also have yummy jars of pickled items and honey from their own apiaries. Wonderful stuff.
We also have seasonal Farmers' Markets all up and down the state where vendors large and small bring produce, canned and bottled goods, crafts, art, and thingamajigs during the growing season. Local strawberries are the best. Local anything in the summer is wonderful. But there's nothing like the fruit picked for just that day. Even if you don't go to buy, it's so much fun to go and look. Pic on the right is from the one in Rehoboth Beach - one of the bigger ones - but they crop up all over.
Then we have the year-round markets, too. These are sometimes more indoor flea market than traditional farm market, but it's usually kind of a mix. The one we have nearest us is half Asian market, half Supermercado, with the produce section smack in the middle. No, not everything is local, especially not in the winter, but it's a heck of a lot cheaper than the supermarket and you can find whatever you need for any dish imaginable. Ginger root, Thai peppers, whole sugar cane, jaggery, persimmons, mangoes of all sorts, whatever you need, they have it. There also happens to be a Korean restaurant inside the farmers market, which does a food festival annually where they serve food to the community for free. They had to move it outside this year because it's gotten too big. Other year round markets have some of the best baked goods in the area and various specialty vendors. In the summer, most of them have outdoor flea markets in the parking lots/ grassy areas where you can browse for all sorts of wild stuff, from handmade jewelry to antique car parts.
Summer's sticky here. It's hot and generally yucky. But at least we have the Farmers' Markets - that helps make the rest bearable.
Freddy here with another fun-filled SWL. Oh, Beer, how I enjoy you to the fullest.
I know some people are beer drinkers. I am. There are so many different types out there these days it's hard not to enjoy them. Now don't get me wrong, I enjoy alcohol of many different kinds, not just beer. Wine often gets its due, as it should. It's great stuff. The hard liquor does as well, depending on what it is, otherwise it can be shunned just as badly (if not as worse) as beer.
Beer often gets the reputation of being uncultured, low brow, piss water. Times are changing, not fast enough for me though.
I was born when the microbrews really started taking off in the US. People took a look around and said "We can do better." And they have. Just walk into your local grocery (or alcohol seller) and you will see a humungous selection. All you have to do is find what type you like. And there are a TON.
There are two main types of beer: top-fermenting yeasts which produce our Ales, and bottom-fermenting yeasts which produce our Lagers (most beers are lagers). The ales are produced using warmer temperatures while the lagers are produced at colder temperatures. There is Belgian style of spontaneous fermentation, referred to as lambic, that is gaining some traction too. Beer styles are so much more than the fermentation process though. Beers are categorized by factors such as colour, flavour, strength, ingredients, production method, recipe, history, or origin.
Case in point: IPAs - Indian Pale Ales - have been popular over the past five years, though their traction is slowing. It was getting to the point they were so hoppy you could only taste the hops, no balance to the other flavors in the beer.
And yes, beers should have lots of different flavors. Just look at the picture above. Do you think those beers are going to taste the same? Up there is a blonde ale, a stout, an IPA or pale ale, and an amber ale or dark larger. (Please note, these are mainly guesses based on the coloring - that's why there are some "ors" in the bunch.) Each of these have been made using different ingredients and methods producing a vast array of flavors to enjoy - Yeast, Grain, Hops, & Water all mixed together to produce something unique and ready to go hand in hand with a meal. All good beer goes better with a meal after all, just like wine. You just have to know how to pair it. (Sound familiar?)
I had Wine Appreciation in college (quiet, it was a hard class - not just drinking), and my Professor Vine (yes, that was his real name) had some good advice.
"Don't listen to the snobs, they're drinking to impress and mostly crap is coming out of their mouths. Drink what you like. Enjoy what you drink, whether it be wine, beer, or something else."
Those words stayed with me, as did his lessons in enjoying food with alcohol and not just alcohol to get drunk. There were $20 bottle of wines that we tasted alongside some $200 bottles, because he wanted to prove a point. Sometimes a name sells the bottle, sometimes it's the taste. Go with the taste—the expensive bottle didn't always win. Pair what you like to drink with food and your taste, sometimes the rules help, but don't force yourself to drink something because tradition said so. Sometimes beer is the better choice.
I loved him.
Beer has come a long way since the seventies, when people started thinking the could really make something out of it. I encourage everyone to go to a tasting, because yes, there are beer tastings all over the place, and see if you find something you like. You never know. You might find a beer just for you.