Thursday, September 27, 2007

Cheated On You With My Ex - Harlequin Launches Confessions Web Site for 2008 Romance Report

Personally, I'm not sure now I feel about this...........what do you think?

Cheated On You With My Ex

Harlequin Launches Confessions Web Site for 2008 Romance Report
TORONTO, Sept. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- I

n the age of reality television, celebrity scandals and tell-all books it seems that shocking confessions have become THE must-have accessory for fall. Whether it's a sordid affair,
a secret nip and tuck or one too many midnight snacks, we all have a few indiscretions that we're not exactly proud of. But should we confess?

Harlequin Enterprises Limited., certainly thinks so. The world's leading publisher of women's fiction today launched a new interactive Web Site,, which gives visitors a place to anonymously confess their sins.

The Web Site, featuring an anonymous online confessional forum and interactive survey, will form the basis of the Harlequin 2008 Romance Report: Confessions, which sets out to explore the good, the bad and the ugly of confessions and will be released in January 2008. "Confessions are about freeing ourselves of guilt, confiding in loved ones and developing truthful and honest relationships with those around us," said Marleah Stout, Senior Public Relations Manager, Harlequin Enterprises Limited. "Although sometimes shocking and unexpected, confessions are also extremely romantic, bringing us closer to the people we love by revealing ourselves to them."

Visitors to are encouraged to complete the online survey, which closes October 31, 2007. By participating in the survey, respondents can help shape the content of the Harlequin 2008 Romance Report: Confessions. The site also features an interactive confessionals forum where visitors can anonymously confess their secrets, sins and fantasies-without repercussion.

"Each year readers and fans of the romance report ask for more;-more tips and advice from our romance experts, more romantic travel destinations, more celebrity profiles and more insight into the world of romance," said Stout. "The Web Site is great way to involve readers and fans in the process of developing this year's romance report. Visitors to the site will be able to share their knowledge and experience with others and will play a role in helping us identify new romantic trends."

The Web Site, also home to past editions of Harlequin's annual romance report, will be updated frequently over the coming months and then relaunched in January 2008 to celebrate the introduction of the hard-copy version of the Harlequin 2008 Romance Report: Confessions. To view new confessions, content and more, visit regularly.

Harlequin Enterprises Limited is the global leader in series romance and one of the world's leading publishers of women's fiction, with titles issued worldwide in 25 languages and sold in 94 international markets. The company produces over 115 titles monthly and publishes more than 1,300 authors from around the world. Harlequin Enterprises Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Torstar Corporation, a broadly based media company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TS.nv.b). Harlequin's Web site is located at Harlequin has offices in 18 countries including offices in Toronto, New York and London. For more information please visit or

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Author Donation Requested for Emerald City Writer's Conference

The Emerald City Writers’ Conference will be held this year in Seattle October 26th through 28th. You are invited to submit donations of promotional items that will be given away during the conference. In addition to books and traditional promotional items, we also welcome gift baskets and/or gift items that can be given away as door prizes or used in our raffles. If you decide to participate, please let either chairperson know that Marilyn Shoemaker requested your donation…… advance, thanks for your possible donation…. Marilyn


Mail your promotional items to:
Aurrora Scott 7112 55th Place NE Marysville, WA 98270

Additionally, as a portion of our raffle proceeds goes to DAWN, Domestic Abuse Women’s Network of South King County, we encourage authors to consider donating a critique.

Mail your gift donations to:
Emerald City Writers' ConferencePO Box 5845Bellevue, WA 98006

Monday, September 24, 2007

Harlequin to make all new books available for downloading

22 September, 2007 (05:11) Business By: webmaster

Harlequin Enterprises, the Canadian-based romance publisher, said it will make all its new titles available online for downloading.

“It’s every single line, every single title, so it’s over 120 titles a month,” Malle Vallik, Harlequin’s director of digital content, told Quill & Quire magazine, an industry publication.
Harlequin will become the first Canadian publisher to do such a thing, Vallik said.The company thought the move was necessary to be relevant to younger readers who can download to laptops or cell phones, she added.

Vallik also suggested that fans of
the romance genre might enjoy some confidentiality with books accessible online, fans can collect them and no one else will know.

Harlequin Enterprises, owned by Torstar Corp., publisher of the Toronto Star,is the world’s largest
publisher of romance and women’s literature.

The Toronto-based company
sold more than 131 million books in 26 languages in 2006


Jane Porter - Odd Mom Out

Jane Porter has a book soon to be released this month (Odd Mom Out) and let me tell you every mom, daughter, niece, cousin, etc. should read it! It's about the "alpha mom", the single mom, the little girl trying to fit in with the popular crowd, it's simply wonderful women's fiction.

Here's an article which appeared in the Seattle Times I thought Porter fans would enjoy। By the way, if you live in Washington State, Oregon, California, Texas, New Jersey, Rhode Island or Hawaii, Jane will be signing and appearing with Odd Mom Out.

"Odd Mom" idea knows no boundaries

By Sherry Grindeland
Seattle Times staff columnist

The women, all poised, beautiful and elegantly dressed, sipped cosmopolitans. The Mom's Night Out party in Medina on Sunday looked like a cross between "Sex and the City" and a sorority meeting. The guests' cars cost more than I earn in a year.

My first thought: "What the heck am I doing at this party?"

I felt like I had just stepped into the pages of "Odd Mom Out," a novel by Yarrow Point author Jane Porter. Like Porter, I was a celebrity guest at the literary event. Guests purchased party tickets at last spring's Medina PTA auction.

Although the book won't officially be released until Thursday, each guest received a pre-party copy as a gift. A party perk was after-dinner dishing with Porter about the book.

Marta, the heroine in "Odd Mom Out," wears combat boots and drives an old truck. She doesn't fit in with the blond, perfectly dressed mothers at her daughter's elementary school. Independent Marta wouldn't care except for the daughter who feels left out and friendless.

The frosting on this chick-lit story is the Eastside setting. I sometimes shop at the QFC mentioned. All 18 party guests recognized the stores, restaurants and icons such as Microsoft's Bill and Melinda Gates and Steve Ballmer.

Our big question was, who was the model for Taylor Young, the ringleader of the book's troupe of perfect wives and mothers? We all swore we knew someone just like her.

We were wrong. Porter, a former teacher, explained the nemesis was an exaggeration from her own imagination.

I was wrong about the crowd, too. As conversation swirled around Judy Sidell's living room, every woman identified with the odd-mom concept. We all had felt like an outsider at different times. Insecurities, it seems, know no economic bounds.

These women do good things, such as raising oodles of money for schools. One of the hostesses, Joan Lambert, moved to California between the auction and the party. She flew back for the weekend, just to help.

Even though I haven't been a PTA member since last century, these Medina moms were as lovely as the friends I still cherish from my children's school days. They schlep kids to soccer practice, to music lessons, to swimming. As I did, they agonize over children making friends and fitting in enough that they'll like school and get invited to sleepovers and play dates.

We had more in common than I thought.

("Odd Mom Out" is published by 5Spot Books. Porter will appear at 7 p.m. Thursday at Barnes & Noble, 626 106th Ave. N.E., Bellevue.)

Pop over to Jane's website for her booksigning tour.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Article: Harlequin Thinks Unsexy Thoughts!

Harlequin thinks unsexy thoughts

Impotence is just the start: the new romance novels put the 'fun' back in sexual dysfunction

PATRICIA TREBLE September 24, 2007

This article was brought to the attention of members of The Pink Heart Society and I found it very interesting, not just because I adore the three authors who write for Harlequin and I've read all three Harlequin Presents books. All three authors have addressed issues that some women face and have done so very tastefully.

In the usual mix of mistaken identities and long-lost loves in this month's Harlequins was Sandra Marton's The Greek Prince's Chosen Wife, about a woman learning to trust after being sexually abused in foster care. It's not a character or subject that most people expect to find in a happy-ending-in-200-pages serial romance. But today's Harlequin authors are increasingly devoting swaths of their books to upfront discussions of such serious sexual issues. Last month, Annie West's For the Sheikh's Pleasure focused on a woman struggling to be physically and emotionally intimate after being drugged and raped during a night out. And plots such as these are prominently displayed in the bestselling Harlequin Presents series, not tucked away in one of the publisher's more marginal lines.

Though sexual problems have been in HP books for years, they were often "alluded to, talked about euphemistically," explains Tessa Shapcott, executive editor of HP for 13 years. "Now we're just reflecting the fact that people are freer to discuss such intimate things. People are far more honest and open about suffering." For Shapcott, the breakthrough sexual dysfunction book was Lucy Monroe's Blackmailed into Marriage. Its entire plot revolved around vaginismus, a condition that causes vaginal muscles to involuntarily contract shut. When the typically alpha-male hero discovered his bride's plight, he morphs into the most understanding husband on the planet, reassuring her that intercourse isn't the only way to sexual pleasure. "I am a 30-year-old man who understands the limits you have laid before me. I will not pressure [you] for what you cannot give ... If I say we can make love in a way that will leave us both satisfied, you need to believe me." The book is laden not only with explicit depictions of a wide variety of sex acts, but also jaw-dropping clinical-yet-romantic descriptions of the couple engaging in the most common treatment for vaginismus: the insertion of a series of dilators. And, of course, Lia and Damian live happily ever after.

"One of the reasons I believe in writing such graphic love scenes is that there are lots of women who are ignorant about their bodies," says Monroe, who, even after counselling others for nearly two decades, "can't believe the number of women who, still, in this day and age, are convinced they aren't capable of sexual satisfaction." The writer has also delved into themes of impotence -- in a novel about a wheelchair-bound hero -- and the female-centric sexual issue of endometriosis. She had no problem selling the vaginismus book to Harlequin, after another publisher rejected the book as too "risky." Like Monroe, Australian writer Annie West has sold tough topics to Harlequin, including her drug-rape book. "The plot wasn't even raised with me as being an issue," she says.

Why so many earnest plots? In part it's because today's authors, who all closely monitor their individual book sales, haven't seen a dip in purchases when the reading gets difficult. While some Harlequin Presents have the traditional "boy meets girl, boy and girl don't get along, boy and girl end up together plot," explains Marton, "some authors have moved toward a more serious approach. I don't think it's a conscious thing but some part of you says 'Oh, I can go there' and the same thing is reflected in the publisher's overall sales." The financials are buttressed by the fan mail. "I think that women who do read our books know damn well that they're going to get something that could be light but could have some meat to it," Marton says. "They are not just perfectly happy getting that -- they're interested in getting that."

While all the writers detail the extensive research needed to deal with such topics, the brevity of the books can force quick solutions. At Maclean's request, Rae Dolman, the sex therapist at Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital, read her first Harlequin, Monroe's Blackmailed, and was critical of the speed with which the heroine's disorder was overcome: "There may be women who get cured in one night but certainly not the women who come to my office," she said. Dolman did commend Harlequin for accurately tackling the myths and issues surrounding vaginismus.

Sometimes, though, the serious plots are too intense for their format. A recent book featured the European sex trade, physical abuse, pornography and the hero's prostitute sister beaten to death by the heroine's father. The mandatory happy ending after 187 pages felt anything but romantic


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

High Literature vs Popular Literature

In “Popular Literature” class—when I was a student at American Studies Gadjah Mada University majoring ‘American Literature and Culture’—my classmates and I used to have lively discussion on “dichotomy” of popular literature—often considered as low quality literature—versus high-brow literature. Why should this dichotomy exist? Who has privilege to decide which kind of literature is considered pop and which is high? And why should some people feel that they have that privilege?
Some literary critics said that when a work was produced only to follow what public wanted to read—just for fun or entertainment, no “deep meaning” under the surface of the story—then it would be categorized into “pop literature”. In addition to that, people also said the work was only for commercial’s need, because the writer needed money when writing. On the contrary, when a work was produced not only to follow public’s needs, it was written more to fulfill the writer’s ambition to communicate “something important” to readers, so that the work had “deep meaning”, then the work could be categorized into “high-brow literature”.
However, when talking about Jack London’s works, who would say that his works do not have deep meaning whereas London himself said that he wrote them only for money? Literary critics even classified London’s works into high-brow literature.
Besides that, critics said that the parameter of high-brow literature was when one work deserved to be included into canon. The canon here usually refers to “big anthologies” such as Norton Anthology, Heath Anthology, etc. Again, I want to ask, who has privilege to select which works to be included into those anthologies?
The publication of THE NORTON ANTHOLOGY OF LITERATURE BY WOMEN can be considered one way of women’s struggle to include women’s works into high-brow literature. In the ‘preface’ of its first edition published in 1985, Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar wrote:

“… no single anthology has represented the exuberant variety yet strong continuity of the literature that English speaking women have produced between the fourteenth century and the present. In the NORTON ANTHOLOGY OF LITERATURE BY WOMEN, we are attempting to do just that.”

“Complementing and supplementing the standard Norton anthologies of English and American literature, NALW should help readers for the first time to appreciate fully the female literary tradition which, for several centuries, has coexisted with, revised, and influenced male literary models.”

Furthermore, in the sixth edition of The Norton Anthology of American Literature appearing in the beginning of the twenty first century, Nina Baym, the general editor, stated in the preface:

“That the “untraditional” authors listed above have now become part of the American literary canon shows that canons are not fixed, but emerge and change.”

It can be included that in the long run dichotomy of pop and high literature will disappear peacefully. It is up to public to value and to choose which works they will read. I am of opinion that in society where people are mature enough to choose which works to read, bad writings will be left behind.

P.S.: This article was written to ‘answer’ my Abang’s challenge, related to the hot topic on the polemic of two sides—the community of TUK versus the community that is against it.
PT56 21.40 190907

Sunday, September 16, 2007


In some mailing lists I join, people are still discussing ‘hotly’ about ‘aurat’. (aurat means parts of bodies that are supposed to be covered.)
What is ‘aurat’?
When I was in elementary school (I attended an Islamic elementary school), I was taught that ‘aurat’ for women is most parts of their bodies, except face and palms, while for men, ‘aurat’ is ONLY from their navel to exactly above knees. It means parts of women’s bodies that are allowed to be seen are only their face and palms. Meanwhile, people can freely see men’s full head, neck, shoulders, chest, upper belly, arms, hands, and legs from knees below.
Why should women cover most parts of their bodies?
It is stated that women’s bodies—hair, neck, ears, etc—will easily turn men on. I suppose all men—creatures having penis since birth—are considered heterosexual in Islam, because people say that Islam only recognizes two kinds of sexes: male—again, all creatures having penis, and female—all creatures having vagina and breasts. If a man is turned on because of seeing a woman’s parts or her whole body, he will probably do some ‘unexpected things’, such as whistling, staring, touching, etc. Therefore, ‘to protect’ women from those unexpected acts, they are to cover (or ‘imprison’?) their whole bodies under loose clothes. This is also ‘to protect’ men in order that they will be ‘saved’ from temptation to do ‘immoral acts’. To protect men here of course means different from ‘imprisoning’ that I mentioned earlier.
I am of opinion that definition of ‘aurat’ here is closely related to the fact where Islam ‘was born’, that was in Arab. When it is related to two previous celestial religions ‘born’ before that—Christian and Judaism—that were believed by most Muslim people as “Islam in different forms” or “Islam which was not perfected yet by Muhammad”, these two religions were also born in Arab, where the people ‘originally’ wore kinds of clothes covering most parts of their bodies.
It reminded me of one question from one chat friend—a Californian male, a non believer—several years ago, “If Islam had not been born in Arab, but in Indonesia, more specific again, in Papua, where the ‘original’ people only wore ‘koteka’, do you think ‘aurat’ in people’s bodies that have to be covered would be the same—all parts of our bodies?
After reading more books and articles about human beings’ history from the very old time—at the very beginning of human beings’ life in the earth—in my effort to get rid myself of indoctrination I got from my elementary school teachers, I found out that there was time where men and women were equal, there was no separating domain—domestic and public spheres—an era where perhaps people did not know the existence of celestial religions. In that era, seemingly both men and women wore the same kind of clothes, not covering much, no imprisonment toward women, no protection given to men—from temptation to expose their sexual desires. Therefore, I do agree if people say that ‘aurat’ is very cultural. Regulation to cover ‘aurat’ is only to imprison women, and to spoil men, so that they will be able to avoid doing ‘immoral’ things. (Have you ever heard that heaven later will be full of men, on the contrary, hell will be full of women.)
In conclusion, I completely agree that this ‘aurat’ thing is just for fooling us around, just a joke. That’s why I also agree when one woman in one mailing list complained why only men are protected from sexual temptations, why women are not protected from the similar things. Aren’t there any women who get easily turned on when they see men’s naked chest, or muscular arms/biceps?
PT56 13.31 160907

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Author Christine Wells

Another new Australian author with a new release:

About Christine Wells - From her Website:

I wrote my first book at the age of ten. It was a picture book about aliens, which were the only creatures I could draw.

Many years later, after completing school, a Bachelor of Laws and a few years in a legal firm, the writing bug bit again. Not a picture book this time, but a crime thriller set in a legal firm not unlike the one where I worked. With characters not unlike the people I encountered every day. Wisdom being the better part of valor, and multiple defamation suits a very real concern, I didn't pursue that work further than the first few chapters. Regrettably, the fictional murder of ... (well, I'd better not say) remains unsolved to this day.

I then turned my thoughts to stories that were less likely to result in a garnishee over my wages for many years to come. My first love, Regency historicals.
More time passed in fevered scribbling before my long-suffering husband suggested I might consider giving up work and writing full-time. Angels broke out in a chorus, manna dropped from Heaven and I remembered why I had married this absolute gem of a man in the first place. Still, it took many months before I gathered the courage to take the plunge. I free-fell into the vast void of structure less days, where tailored suits and stockings were no longer required dress and the only rule of thumb was to be out of my pajamas by 10am.

Four years and two children later, I still live by that rule.

Golden Heart Award Winner:
Scandal's Daughter
Berkley Sensation
Release Date: September 2007

For more information, visit

Author Robyn Grady

From Robyn's Blog:

I can hardly believe it! My first Harlequin book is out.

DREAM JOB,HOT BOSS! is available through Amazon now,UK release September 2007,in Australia/NZ, November 2007. I'm in love with the cover. Serena and her hot boss, David Miles, are exactly as I'd imagined! For those in the States, this book will be included in a Harlequin Presents Collection due out July 2008.

I'm just as thrilled about my first Silhouette Desire! THE MAGNATE'S MARRIAGE DEMAND is a Christmas release, available in the US, December 2007. I'm in the midst of finishing my second Desire - a plot about blackmail, undeniable attraction and second chances. Due out in March!

For more info on Robyn go to her website:

Paula Roe

Paula has a new Desire book debuting this month.

I’m British-born, Aussie bred, living west of Sydney, where it gets too hot in summer and never cold enough in winter. In my former, paid (non-writing) life, I was an assistant/secretary/PA, office manager, software trainer and aerobics instructor.

I've been writing ever since the age of eleven after I got hooked on the glorious historical romances of Johanna Lindsey, Kathleen Woodiwiss and Shirlee Busbee. At sixteen, I tried a collaboration with my then-best friend (our first attempt!) but it fizzled when we both started jobs and then she moved to another city.

Forgotten Marriage
Publisher: Silhouette Desire
Release Dates: September 2007 (USA) / Australia/NZ - November 2007

Boardrooms and A Billionaire Heir
Publisher: Silhouette Desire
Release Dates: May 2008 (USA) / Australia/NZ – TBA

For more information on Paula go to her website:

Three New Australian Authors with Debut Books

My darling Australian author friend, Annie West has asked me to post the following contest:

It's a New Aussie Author Contest because September is such a fantastic month for new Aussie romance writers.

the September debut novel by Christine Wells

An earl of debauchery - Sebastian Laidley, the sixth Earl of Carleton, is solely committed to his hedonistic lifestyle, until he makes a promise to his dying godfather. He must find his childhood friend Gemma a husband in three months - or marry her himself.

A lady of dubious virtue - The daughter of a notorious seductress, Gemma Maitland has the body of a siren but a mind for more practical matters. Snubbed by Society, she has just one ambition: to run her grandfather's estate.

A passion that begs to be unleashed... To find Gemma a husband, Sebastian lures her to his estate under the guise of helping with his sister's wedding. During the festivities, there is no shortage of men vying for Gemma's hand, much to Sebastian's dismay. Gemma has always been in his heart, but when she turns her wiles on him, she burns her way into his soul...

the September debut novel by Paula Roe

A tragic accident had erased pieces of billionaire Finn Sørensen's memory. Including all recollection of his wife. But what wife?

The one he'd been told had married him for his money? The one who now owned a controlling share of his family's jewelry empire?

Ally McKnight's image was burned into Finn's memory from photographs -- pictures that captured the passion between them. It was time she received a surprise visit from her long-lost husband. The one who wouldn't let her forget just what she owed him.

the September debut novel by Robyn Grady

Promoted - into the boss' bed!

Working in Sydney's most dynamic advertising agency, Serena Stevens is in heaven! And she's just landed the agency's biggest account - this will make or break her career... Serena's sexy boss, Australia's top tycoon David Miles, may be all business in the boardroom, but soon he's loosening his tie...and he wants a little business in the bedroom! One wild night later, Serena knows it's too late for regrets. And now Serena has to choose - career versus love...her dream job versus her hot boss! What's a girl to do...?

For The Sheikh's Pleasure
Annie West’s September release (after all I'm still a new author!)

Rosalie Winters is a challenge. Beautiful and aloof, she doesn't play the games of flirtation and seduction that Sheikh Arik Kareem Ben Hassan expects from women. She intrigues him with her lack of sophistication and guile.

Arik realises he must move slowly to gain her trust. But he also knows that once she's at his command Rosalie will welcome the loving that only he can give her.

The contest will run through September and October, winners drawn on 31 October and published on this website. To win, send me an email ( with the word 'contest' in the heading and answer these simple questions:

• What is the title of Robyn Grady's next release? (You'll find the answer on her

• What is the title of Paula Roe's 2008 release for Silhouette Desire? (You'll find the answer on her

• What is the title of one of my 2008 releases? (You'll find the answer on my page )

• What major writing competition did Christine Wells' story Scandal's Daughter win? (You'll find the answer on her website

Easy as pie! Good luck! Annie West

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Dorce Show

Dorce is the name of one most popular transsexual in Indonesia. I don’t remember when he/she had operation to ‘let go of’ his/her penis and then the surgeon made a vagina for his/her genital. I don’t really know his/her private life so I don’t know whether he/she has a spouse. (Forgive me for not following the hottest gossip in Indonesia. LOL.)

He/she has become a host of one quite popular television show in Indonesia, named “Dorce Show”. This talk show has invited many people to be guests, and they come from various background. I am not one of its loyal audience of course since I don’t like watching television. However, I know this program that is aired five times a week, around 09.30-10.30. My dear Mom oftentimes watches it Therefore I once in a while know the topic of the show, especially when I am at home around that time and luckily pass the dining room where one television set is located and my Mom watches it.

Last Friday, a workmate told me the topic of this show aired one day before, September 6. A woman who has got domestic violence from her husband was interviewed. When Dorce asked her, “Will you divorce your husband?”, the woman said, “No.” The answer got a big applause from Dorce him/herself and the audience in the studio did it too. Furthermore, Dorce said, “Be patient, Bu (one greeting usually addressed to a mature woman in Indonesia, a bit similar to ‘Ma’am’ in English). God will pay you back. Just pray that your husband will realize his mistake. He will change, I am sure. And for you yourself, you will go to heaven for being patient.”

The applause and the comment from Dorce, directly or indirectly, have supported the status quo of male chauvinism in Indonesia. Besides, it will make millions women who watch the show will think that domestic violence will easily be abolished only by praying to God, no need a real action.

My friend’s story reminded me of one Dorce show I accidentally watched several months ago. There were some women as guests to be interviewed. They had the same background: their husbands were imprisoned because of doing one crime. The first woman was “interrogated”, “Will you divorce your husband?”

I knew from the way Dorce asked the question, the tone he/she used when asking that, and also from his/her facial expression, I instantly could conclude that Dorce expected the woman to answer, “No.” Unfortunately, unexpectedly, the woman answered, “Yes.” Automatically, Dorce commented, “Yes? Oh … Do you plan to get married again?”

The woman responded cheerfully, “Yes. I have got married again for several years.”

Dorce sighed, although in a tone of joking said, “In fact you are a bitch, eh?”

In Indonesian culture, it is still a common thing for a woman to be called “bitch” if she gets married again not long after getting divorced. No matter what, staying married with one man is still worshipped and the woman who undergoes it although she gets domestic violence will get a big applause from society.

FYI, as far as I know, Dorce is the only case of transsexual who got operation to “change” the genital and it was made known publicly. His/her being celebrity, his/her way to get dressed as a good Muslim woman (covering all of the body, sometimes also the head), quoting some verses from Alquran in his/her show, in my opinion, easily attracted public’s attention (seemingly, this also made people forget the fact that Dorce is a transsexual) although there are also many people who are against him/her by accusing him/her not to accept the life/sex God has chosen for him/her—a body with penis.

As a feminist, one thing that bothers my mind is that Dorce, a transsexual, where in the reality there are many other transsexual/transvestite/gay/lesbian people that are marginalized, even follows the stereotype of “good women” in this patriarchal culture. I am wondering if after the genital operation, Dorce then felt like he/she was a “real” woman, forgetting that he/she was once a transsexual so that to be accepted as a “real woman” he/she had to support the stereotype? I assume that it would be much better if Dorce joined the women’s movement, to crush the stereotype of good men and good women in the male chauvinist society.

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Media and Culture

Media is one best way for promotion. Many companies use media to promote their products or services to public, both via printed and electronic media. Media is also best way to promote ideologies that will influence people’s way of life, one of them is ‘culture’. Therefore, media is also oftentimes considered as the scapegoat of the changing in lifestyle, habits, behaviour, etc.

Colonialism era—where many western countries, usually referred to ‘white’ people colonized eastern countries, usually referred to ‘coloured’ people—created gap between the white and the coloured. This gap engendered inferiority to the coloured—the colonized—toward the white—the colonizers. This phenomenon is easily understood if until now the inferior feeling still dominates the coloured. This resulted in view that everything from the west is more interesting, more appreciated, and more modern than the east.

The emergence of internet and television has bridged between the west and the east so that the spread of culture takes a shorter time more easily, and even more thorough. The absorption of one aspect of culture from the “superior” countries to the “inferior” countries happened ‘somewhat naturally’ and people seemed not to realize that. In television business, people behind the screen, such as the owner of production houses, the directors, the producers, and the owner of television stations, only think about their own profit, so that they air programs that refer to the superior countries, to attract more audience, to increase the rating, that means to attract more advertisers, without caring whether what they have done will decrease their own cultures.

Should we blame the next generation that probably feel more proud to be called, “MTV generations”? Should we blame them who don’t really know their own traditional dances, languages, performances, and some other aspects of Indonesian cultures? Should we blame them who prefer spending their free time hanging around shopping malls and enjoying meals in fast-food restaurant having foreign franchise? Aren’t they products of the egotism of capital owners, and older generations that bombard media with foreign products?

Gramsci with his famous hegemony theory proposed an idea to involve the ‘organic intellectuals’ (such as academicians) participation to get rid of foreign cultures. The academicians are encouraged to make the young generations realize the dangers of foreign cultures to abolish the local cultures; not the traditional intellectuals (people who have money) that even seem to legitimate the power of foreign cultures.

However, I believe it is not as easy as turning our palms down. The academicians do not have as much money as the capital owners—behind the screen of media. It is difficult for these organic intellectuals to produce programs to compete with the programs proposed by those who only think of profit for their own pocket. As far as I observe, the number of these organic intellectuals is not comparable to those traditional intellectuals. Therefore, it is not wise to give the burden to watch the bad impacts of globalisation on the next generations’ lives to the organic intellectuals only.

What can we do now?

As a mother of a teenage daughter, I just have one suggestion to all of us: to have open communication and harmonious relationship with our children. Good and open communication will enable us to guide our children without making them feel led forcibly. One generation gap between our children with us sometimes make them consider us old-fashioned if we do not follow their ‘world’. We always have to follow and accompany them when undergoing something new, discus it together, while look for solution together too. Not all values and ideology coming from the west are bad. This is our duty as parents to choose and select which is positive which is negative, based on our discussion together with our children.

Let us start from home.

PT56 13.47 110907

Media and Gender

In Indonesia, there are not many people who understand the difference between ‘sex’ (refers to male and female) and ‘gender’ (refers to man and woman). Just like what I wrote here some time ago, that there still many people who don’t know the difference between ‘feminist’ and ‘feminine’.

Claudette Baldacchino, a feminist journalist, opined that gender refers to social, cultural, and psychological factors when one wants to define someone as masculine or feminine. Furthermore, Baldacchino also sated that gender is not just an important aspect how “other people” see and perceive “us”, but it also influences “our” way to see and perceive “ourselves”.

Last Friday August 24, 2007, I discussed ‘anorexia’ and ‘bulimia’ in my Intermediate 4 class. The class consisted of 16 students, six boys, eight girls, most of them are senior high school students, and only two of them—girls—are college students. The class took place from 2pm until 4pm, the time where many people are sleepy and tired, due to the hot weather in Indonesia, especially my hometown. We discussed two quite long passages. The passages illustrated a bulimic patient named Melissa DeHart. Her suffering started from her wish to be as slim as Hollywood celebrities that looked so slim; very pretty and attractive due to their slim bodies. DeHart wanted to be as pretty and attractive as them so she started to be on a strict diet to slim down her body.

I asked my class a question, “Why do many people think that being slim is beautiful?” None gave me an interesting and critical answer, but one. One female senior high school student answered, “Because having slim body means healthy, Ma’am. Fat bodies usually refer to diseases, such as hypertension, easy to get heart attack, obesity, etc. The others just said, “I don’t have any idea Ma’am…”

To me, it showed that they didn’t realize that they had been bombarded by media on the idea of beauty. There are many advertisements promoting that beauty is slim, both in electronic media—such as television—or printed media—such as newspapers, tabloids, or magazines. If one advertisement didn’t directly promote slimming product, it would use slim models that would emphasize the idea “pretty is slim” or “slim is pretty”. Some parties that want to socialize an idea “Big is Beautiful” did not succeed yet to change the “old” paradigm.

The fact that my students were not aware of the bombarding media on the idea “slim is pretty” showed the failure of their understanding and perceiving themselves using their own belief, when we wanted to refer it to Baldacchino’s definition on ‘gender’. They did not need to always follow what media said about something, they were supposed to be confident to use their own parameter when valuing something. In Indonesia, parameter of being pretty, besides having slim body—one universal thing I suppose, being pretty also refers to having fair complexion, and having long straight hair.

What is the relationship between media and gender?

If the supporters of the status quo of patriarchal culture use media to eternalise their ‘faith’ in male chauvinism, I am of opinion that people who struggle to create a more equal society use media too; such as publishing newspapers, magazines, tabloids or journals focusing on gender equality. Unfortunately, until now, journalism field is still considered masculine sphere. Research done by the International Federation for Journalist (IFJ) published in Brussels in 2003—involving 39 countries in the whole world—stated that the number of female journalists was only 38%, 11% higher than the similar research done one decade earlier. The number 38% only referred to the number of journalists, not including the decision makers, such as editor, the chief of departments, or even the owner of media.

The National Commission of Women in Indonesia encouraged people to write in public as one way to reduce domestic violence, including to support the non gender-biased media. Write anything. And in my opinion, the easiest media to tell the world is via blog. In addition, don’t forget what Baldacchino said, when writing, use our own way of thinking to understand and perceive our own experience.

PT56 09.17 110907

September 11, 2001-The Day the World Changed

As I was getting ready for work I couldn't help but stop and watch all of the ceremonies at the World Trade Center site, the Pentagon, and Shanksville, PA where the brave travelers on that flight stopped the terrorists!

So I'm hopeful no matter where you live that you're saying prayers for those who lost someone dear on that horrible day, for soldier's fighting to protect your freedom, and for those all over the world who have lost someone due to terrorism.

For me, September 11th was a day I will never forget.......God Bless America

Anne McAllister New Blog

Harlequin Presents author, Anne McAllister has a new look to her website.

Stop in a read about her October Release The Boss's Wife for a Week.

Tycoon seeks wife for one week's employment . .

Spencer Tyack needed a wife. Not forever. Just for a week. A wife he could show off in public and share a room with in private. But who could fill the position? Certainly not his buttoned-down, efficient assistant, Sadie Morrissey . . .

But Spence was in for a big surprise. Not only was Sadie sensible in the boardroom, she was sensual in the bedroom.

But what would happen at the end of the week?

Friday, September 7, 2007

Jane Porter - Interview on All Things Girl

ATG Interview: Jane Porter, Author

Jane Porter is the author of several books, including Flirting with Forty and the soon to be released Odd Mom Out. Recently, Jane spent some time talking with All Things Girl about herself, her books, writing, and simply living life.....




Breaking News

Annabelle's Courtship has been on the Top 10 Bestsellers list for Samhain Publishing since the book's electronic release. (It will be releases as a tradesize paperback in February 08 and will be available at all major bookstores.)

Debbie Macomber once told Lucy that she'd know her books were really getting popular when they showed up on Doubleday's flyers or ads for new members. Well, Deal With This will be an alternate selection for Doubleday and Rhapsody Book Clubs. So, she's feeling pretty great. LOL

Lucy's two foreign exchange students have returned from Korea for their second year to stay with her family. Which makes that 5 teenagers in Lucy's house. (Well, six if you count her nephew currently living with her.) If you all were wondering why you don't see her online as often as you used to...that sort of explains it, no?

The first book in The Goddard Project series, Satisfaction Guaranteed, spent three weeks on Nielson Bookscan's National Bestseller's List. Connected to Ready, Willing & And Able, it got some great reviews and neat reader reaction (thank you everyone who took the time to write or email). Lucy's hoping to have 5 to 7 books in this series.
ANNABELLE'S COURTSHIP - Samhain (e-release - Aug 07)
MEAGAN'S CHANCE (One of 2 Inspirationals Lucy wrote as LC Monroe - Samhain)
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