Saturday, February 23, 2013

Question...


 If you want to see the role erotica plays in grinding down America, watch this the movie, AGENDA: Grinding America Down, here: http://vimeo.com/52009124

Free to view for a limited time, and worth it -- IF you care about the survival of your culture, your country and the families that form their foundation.

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Image by C. Garbiano via StockXchange.

Trashy Novels? Installment Two

Certainly Connie doesn’t [celebrate African Americans' struggle for freedom and equality] as her all-white cast of heroes and heroines in her own “books” demonstrates.

Observing the color of the cast of characters in Connie’s writing ... is just that: an observation. ... However, it is a bit of a stretch to say one is writing “pro-southern” literature if the South one imagines lacks people of color.

Apparently segregation (or outright exclusion) reigns supreme in her fictional world, too....
Brooks D. Simpson
Professor of History
Arizona State University
on Crossroads, his personal blog

Notice how he goes from "all-white cast of heroes and heroines" in my books (which is an accurate restatement of my description, "all the heroes in my novels are Southern white men, and all the heroines are Southern white women) to "the color of the cast of characters in Connie's writing..." that is, all the characters in all my writing.

He makes these judgments, as I've noted before, without having read my novels. If he had read them, or read one of them, he would know about this scene.  Of course, that knowledge would be no guarantee that he wouldn't ignore it ... or lie about it.

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Excerpt (edited for spoilers) 
 Sweet Southern Boys

A layer of diaphanous clouds lightened the blue spring sky when Randy halted his motorcycle in a parking lot of the Cloverdale Community Recreation Center. To his right lay two baseball diamonds, vacant now, but soon they'd be churning with activity. Only a few vehicles took up parking spaces here and there.  Whoever had driven them was nowhere to be seen.
 Randy sat astride his motorcycle to wait and a bittersweet nostalgia overtook him.  So many memories of his life were centered on this place.  Here he had cemented his friendship with Shelby and John Mark playing basketball, baseball, and the occasional round of tennis. Here he had volunteered with the youth leagues, sometimes assisting the teams  his father coached.
Here, when he was eight, he had been stalked by the crazy woman who had accused his father of sexual harassment.  Brooke Emerson.  He remembered her clearly. Tall, a bit thin, with fine hair, the palest blond he'd ever seen.  She would come to him after his Saturday games, lean on the low chain link fence that separated them and say, "Hi, Randy."

"Hi," he'd say back to her, barely audibly.  And then, deeply disturbed for some reason, he would scurry away to find Miss Gina, his ride home.

It was right after Randy told his father about her coming to his ballgames that Troy confronted her at work, and in a matter of days, a pack of feminist she-wolves had pounced on his father with breathtaking viciousness.

Although Randy had thought back over that period many times, and invariably felt deeply indignant on his father's behalf, he had never begun to grasp the full burden of false accusation -- until now.
* * *

Randy had been waiting about ten minutes when he saw Flora Jackson's Oldsmobile stop in the parking lot and drop off a passenger before turning back to the road.  Keyonne headed for the entrance to the field house, but happened to glance in Randy's direction, and paused.

Randy's heart beat faster and a sick feeling settled in the pit of his stomach.  Perhaps this wasn't such a good idea, after all.  Still, he was here and Keyonne had seen him. He might as well do what he came here to do.

He wasn't sure what to expect.  Perhaps Keyonne would ignore him and keep walking.  Perhaps he would cold-cock him.  Randy would never know until he went to him.

Head high, dignity intact, Randy stepped across the gravel, and Keyonne turned toward him.  Randy could detect no hostility in his demeanor or actions.  When ten feet separated them, they stopped and stared at one another.

Randy inhaled deeply.  "I've been wanting to see you, and ask you something, since this whole thing started."

Keyonne nodded noncommittally.  "Arright."

Throat tightening, Randy swallowed hard.  "Do you believe I hurt your sister?"

Pain came to Keyonne's face and he shook his head.

Distressed by his friend's silence, Randy had to make his case.  "I didn't."

"I know that," Keyonne said.  "I know it's not in you to do somethin' like that.  I've been wanting to tell you I don't hold nothin' against you.  But I guess I didn't have the guts."

Randy blinked back a stinging in his eyes as relief almost like pain washed over him.  "What about Miss Flo? I've been so worried that she might hate me."

Keyonne shook his head.  "Mama didn't want to believe Tam would lie about something like that, especially about someone who's been my friend for so long.  But we all know how she is. She's a slut, Randy, and a druggie. Hate to say that about my own half-sister, but she is. In the past year, her grades have fallen so's she's barely passing.  She don't act like herself.  It's breakin' Mama's heart."

"I didn't know."

"I told Mama from the start I didn't believe it.  But I guess when you're a mama, it's hard not to stand by your daughter, especially when she's in the shape Tam's in.  She's a nutcase most of the time."

"Keyonne, I'm so sorry to hear that."

"Mama believed Tam at first, but I can see that mama's doubts have grown.  It hard for her to think that an innocent boy could go to prison for thirty years based on a lie told by her child."

Randy nodded, unable to speak for a  moment.  The stinging in his eyes turned to a film of tears and he blinked hard.  "I have to go.  Thanks for talking to me."  He turned toward his motorcycle.

"Randy."

He looked back.

"I don't know if our friendship will survive this," Keyonne said.  Now tears pooled in his eyes, too.  "I hope so. But whatever happens, I'll always think the world of you, and your mama and daddy, and your sister. Tell them I said that."

He held out his hand.  They walked to each other and grasped the base of each other's thumbs in a trembling handshake. Without another word, they parted. Keyonne resumed his trek to the field house and Randy kickstarted his motorcycle, rolled out of the parking lot, and headed home.
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No people of color in my "imagined" South? Methinks Brooks D. Simpson's own bigotry and intolerance, which involves actually perpetuating falsehoods about others (i.e., deliberately misconstruing and misstating what I had written about my novels, stories, characters, etc.), is far worse than that of people he accuses of it. 

Is anybody really surprised at this?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Trashy Novels? Installment One

Men as victims, falsely accused. Evil feminists. In Chastain’s fictional world, women are the protagonists, men simply objects upon which women project much (good or evil). And there’s a strong sexual undercurrent in them, sometimes veering toward the strange.... 
No wonder your “books” have not captured the imagination.... They’re simply not very good.
... your self-published novels ... tend toward the trashy.
The comments above were written by a critic of mine who is bigoted toward me because I'm a proSoutherner and a proponent of Southern (i.e., Confederate) heritage. His disapproval of me includes disparaging "reviews" of my novels which, significantly, he hasn't read, on his personal blog.

I'm not sure how he conceptualizes "strong sexual undercurrent". I don't know if I would apply that term to my stories -- I've described them, especially Southern Man, as having sexual themes, and a strong sexual component because, well, it's difficult to write about sexual harassment or the destructive fallout of the sexual revolution with writing about ... sex.

Here's a description of my first release, written cover-blurb style.
In 1983, in moss-hung Verona, Georgia, the tender and tenacious love between a hardworking man and his adoring wife is tested by sudden adversity.
Corporate executive Troy Stevenson must confront his nascent alcohol abuse or he risks losing the wife, daughter and son he deeply loves.  When his latent destructiveness impacts his family,  he moves to their weekend cottage to come to grips with his personal weaknesses.
But busybodies at his company assume he left home because his marriage is in trouble. Encouraged by the assumption, co-worker Brooke Emerson, an amoral, 1980s material girl romantically obsessed with Troy, attempts to seduce him, setting in motion a chain of events with harrowing consequences for him and his family.
Southern Man takes readers from the hills of Appalachia to the University of Alabama during the Paul "Bear" Bryant era; from staid New England to drug-drenched and sex-saturated Haight-Ashbury in the Summer of Love; from the glittering skyline of Atlanta to moss-hung south Georgia -- and reveals what can happen when a good man becomes the object of lust and the target of vengeance.
Yes, there are without doubt "sexy" passages in the novel.  But are they trashy? In my opinion, trashy sex scenes are written to titillate the reader -- usually solely for that reason. I believe this is the motive for writing pornography, erotica (porn lite) and erotic romance (porn extra-lite).

By contrast, the sexy scenes in Southern Man serve at least two main purposes -- to illustrate the strong sexual bond, within marriage, between the protagonist and his wife; and to compare it with the destructive "free-love" style of sex handed down from the sexual revolution. Below is an excerpt that I consider to be one of the most overtly sexual passages in the novel.

Being each other’s first and only, Patty had nothing to compare him to, but she was quite certain that there was no better lover on earth. As newlyweds, they learned sex together, doing what came naturally and teaching each other.

He could be the tenderest, most attentive lover imaginable. Most of the time, he was sweet and slow, his attention focused on her—on loving and pleasing her. But other times, more rarely, he was an animal, intense and vigorous and single-minded, in it for himself, driven by his body’s physiological need for release. Then, he seemed hypersensitive to everything she did, every touch, every kiss, the very sound of her voice.

Both extremes filled Patty's heart with love for him, like Scripture said—good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over—even as they filled her body with cravings for him.

She especially cherished the knowledge that no one else in the world—nobody but she—knew what he was like when he was sexed up. That part of him was hers, and hers alone.

Nobody but she had ever seen him when his hair was tousled by his lover’s fingers ... when his lips grew red and his lipline went fuzzy ... when moonlight slanting through the windows reflected off the whites of his eyes and the tips of his teeth, making them glow like nacre ... when, under lowered lids, his dark eyes smouldered, and his beautiful face took on a sultry expression of yearning ... when he was caught up in the warm, dreamy pursuit of ultimate gratification, and his respiration would go from long and deep to quick and staccato ... when it would catch in his throat from a spike in pleasure as they slowly, tantalizingly worked their way toward fulfillment ... it was like making love to an angel come down from heaven.

Trashy? You tell me.

I'll visit this subject again in the future.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Them Changes

This is a scaled down image of my new web portal, conniechastain.com. Eventually, the icons will become clickable links to various sites, pages and/or blogs.  If you visit http://conniechastain.com before the image mapping is complete, you can still visit the sites that are completed and online using a temporary text link.(Cont'd below graphic.)



















There are always unforeseen consequences when you go changing websites and such. There will likely be broken links and page-not-found errors for a while, but all you can do with them is fix 'em when you find 'em.

And it never hurts to have good music to work by.  Like this:

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Hooray! Duck Dynasty Returns This Month!

Happy, happy, happy!

Pay attention, Mister Pre-- Presi--  um.... HEY, OBAMA. This is how REAL MEN skeet shoot, Jack!


I hardly ever watch TV -- just Crimson Tide football and an occasional movie.  But I watch Duck Dynasty!  Love the Robertsons, love the show.  Clearly, A&E got this one right -- right down to the theme music -- ZZ Top's Smart Dressed Man!