Welcome Gentle Readers

This blog tends to wander from its main purpose -- updates on my fiction. I do have updates and excerpts of my work. But I also write about my obsessions -- food, friends and pop culture and my weird life in Los Angeles. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Banned in Boston (and elswhere), Slanguage and Updates

 A book of mine was banned this week. It was only banned for 24 hours, but it was banned in Boston and everywhere else Amazon.com services. It was a sudden kerfuffle with Digital Manga Publishing over explicit content that was quickly resolved after a whole lot of hell was raised from all quarters of the manga community. This comes on the heels of Paypal demanding that certain erotic content be pulled from Smashwords.com. This, too, was reversed when the policy ignited a fire storm of protest. I am not a fan of rape, incest or bestiality as content. However, the wording of the policy would have affected classic literature like Lolita or any shape shifting fantasy that involved werewolves. It was also loudly pointed out that Paypal had no problems accepting money from Craigslist and other sites that sell porn and facilitate prostitution. Likewise, Amazon is in a glass house where content is concerned selling everything to 'inflatable friends' to toys that even I've never heard of before. I'm not going to link them here. Just search the site for any sort of kink, and there is a book, DVD and/or product that caters to it. I always thought I'd be banned or stoned by Trek fans because of The Secret Logs of Mistress Janeway, not for a sweetly sexy and funny collection like Again Tomorrow [Now available on Amazon Kindle at  http://amzn.com/B007FN03L6;
On Barnes and Noble Nook at:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/again-tomorrow-nabako-kamo/1109212837 and And On EManga at: http://www.emanga.com/books/Again_Tomorrow]  that was legally published in another country and properly licensed here. I'm glad that the issue is resolved for DMP. I'm really glad that I didn't have to battle to keep my books widely distributed. It would be hard for Sylvia Beach to champion banned authors in an era where one or two companies control so much of either online payment processing or actual content distribution.

Manga Editing – What DO You Do?

The book banning brings up the question of what does this company do and what do I do for it. I know my gentle and curious readers. Digital Manga Publishing is a US distributor of manga, light novels and soon literature from Japan. The Digital Manga Guild is a group of translators, editors and typesetters who work in teams called localizer to convert Japanese title into English. My team consists of LW Hubbard, an ex-pat professional translator who lives in Japan, Hentai Tenshi, an independent music producer who lives in the LA area and little ol' me. Our team works under the name Haven's Blade. I thought that we would be working largely independently of each other save for proofing the final pages. It has been far more collaborative, and it calls on skills and knowledge that are far beyond the manga stories on the pages. There needs to be a broad knowledge of past and current Japanese culture and pop culture. We've had instances where we've had to figure out what to call a product mentioned that is a parody of a wildly popular snack food in Japan. In the last week, we've come across popular TV shows and a catching hit song that had to be factored into the translations. Then we had to figure out what would be a stateside equivalent for those things while not making them too American. The author or mangaka http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mangaka has to recognize the work. That was why I was listening to the RubberDucky Song earlier this week. What's been more challenging is making the dialogue sound natural and realistic when the characters are 20-something guys. Though the audience is certainly not 20-something guys, the characters have to sound as real as their Japanese counterparts. Since none of us are members of this demographic, that takes a bit of effort and all three of our brains. Among this weeks puzzlers was whether or not young punks would use the term German aphrodisiac and what could be used in its place. I couldn't find any reason for the substance coming from Germany, and I really looked hard. 

The other thing we had to be really careful of was trying to be too current with the slang. The readership has a really wide range in age, and dialog that is too set in a particular time gets dated and looks sill in just a few years. The slang has to be something that has passed into the general lexicon of speech. My rule of thumb is whether or not the Hubs uses the slang. He is so square, he's a cube (that's his description of himself). If he uses it, the term has been around for some time and is likely to stay in use. Overall, the team is aiming at a loose, informal way for the characters to speak that reads as natural to anyone that may pick up the book. I'll talk about the joys of sound FX translation and proof reading on another day. This is just a taste to show that our work is challenging but above board despite the occasional banning. It's also cool to work with some really interesting people that I wouldn't have known otherwise. We all enjoy sharing creative energy and solving each new and often amusing puzzle.


I do apologize for being such a tease about what's going on in the background. I don't mean to be. I'm torn between wanting to convey a reason for my very upbeat demeanor and just keeping mum until I can spill the beans. I can say that the schedule for these projects is holding firm, so that they day for announcements is coming as promised. Also, I have been taking notes, so I will have detailed blogs about every aspect of the mayhem that is coming.

Stay tuned.

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