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, June 10, 2012

Writing and Publishing -- The Perilous and Profane

Before I begin, I must warn my gentle readers in the strongest of terms that while this blog is about my current writing endeavors, the language and content are very, very naughty. It is very likely not everyone's cup of tea. There are unseemly things done with bud vases and other things too raucous for delicate sensibilities. I'm looking at you, Maw-in-law! Though a bit of that salty language is your son's. Onward then!
It has been very correctly pointed out to me that there is a great deal going on in my life as a writer and editor that is not reaching this blog. I blame the nature of social media branding. I have to have blogs that are aimed at particular audiences who read my work, so they can easily find it in searches. However, a lot has been going on lately, and since this began as a blog about my writing, it's only right that I bring everyone up to speed.
The Return of Sybaritic Press
Things have been fairly quiet on the publishing front save for works by Marie Lecrivain and me. That is changing in a very big way with our first anthology of creative non-fiction. It is called Alternate Lanes, a compilation of works about modes of transportation in Los Angeles that don't involve automobiles. From walking to cycling, buses and trains, the writers talk about their experiences warts and all in poems and essays and photographs. Mine humble contribution is called Crosstown Express. It details the wild dichotomy of riders and scenery on the two bus lines I take to the hospital a few times a month. I have not seen as many swings between affluence and poverty nor as many types of citizens since riding the route 23 trolly line in . That route has been documented by Urban studies researchers and sociologists. There is even a YouTube video that lovingly shows the line. Marie has a wonderful piece on the strange adventures and perils of walking in LA. Yes, people, there is quite a lot of walking in LA. We're getting some serious buzz about the book, and there isn't even a galley. We're also going to do book fairs once again this year though I'm not sure there will be any drunken parrots in the booth. It's a long story.
My Debut in a New E-Zine
Last week, I made my short story debut in a Full Metal Orgasm or FMO, a cyber sexpunk e-zine. The editor takes a deliberately provocative title to make sure there is no doubt that the content is unflinchingly adult in nature. That not only attracts the desired readership, it should warn away those who would be offended by the material. Being the contrary soul that I am, my contribution is not like the others. The Companion is about a dystopian society where someone can be arrested for stealing food and get a decades long sentence in a hell-hole of a prison or sold to a farmer on a colony as a full service slave (yes, service extends to the bedroom). It sounds like it should fit with the no holds barred, brutal sexuality of the rest of the amazing works in this collection. I certain started to write it that way. Somehow, it became this delicate, sensual character study with a very sweet ending. I was really pleased with it and knew it would find a home somewhere in my other works, but the editor very kindly bought the work anyway. It's become a point of controversy with the zine, but that's what I do. I hope my fans who are kind enough to buy it will read the rest. Despite protestations to the contrary, the rest of the stories are very smart and are often saying more that they seem. Reading the entire zine will be like taking an excursion into dark and fascinating places. It's well worth the trip.You can buy it from the website HERE or on Amazon for Kindle HERE.
The Perils of Localizing Yaoi Manga for DMG
I work as an Editor for the DigitalManga Guild(DMG). We work in teams called localizers (they make the material readable for a local audience). Each team consists of a translator, an editor and a letterer. My primary job as editor is to take the raw English translations into more colloquial English. The casual way people talk in the US. That sometimes means translating Japanese pop culture references into the US equivalent. I pass the edited script to the letterer who replaces the Japanese dialog with the new dialog. The whole team is responsible for QC on the finished pages. Finally, I also write the synopsis that will appear on the various websites where the manga will be sold. We're typically given 90 days to finish a 200 page book. We've finished two thus far. We're just finishing volume one of a four part series that we will be working on through the summer. The second one, Wild Boyfriend, just turned up on the company website (see photo above). This means it will be published soon. Working on the localizing team has been an education I really didn't expect. I wrote a blog about one aspect of it on our official site. DMG tweeted it to all of its followers.
Without further ado:
My localizing team mates and I were lulled by the sweet, funny romance of Again Tomorrow. While there were some epic sex scenes in every chapter of Nabako Kamo’s manga, there were a lot of other things going on as well. There were intrigues at the office or at various schools or, in one case, on a crowded subway. If there were eyes that were too young and tender for yaoi, it was easy to move to a benign location in Again Tomorrow. Curious little ones would likely find a panel with two salarymen working in a cubicle very dull and move on. Don’t get me wrong. Again Tomorrow is a white hot, sexy manga. However, the mangaka likes to build the tension or ratchet up the jeopardy for each of the couples before the pages and pages of heated coupling. Thus, the localizer who is also a parent has ‘safe’ pages on which to click when the children wander too close.

This is not the case with the current manga Heaven’s Blade is localizing. Sakira’s Wild Boyfriend covers many more couples who come together in a swift and explosive fashion. The safe pages are far fewer in number and really hard to click on when in a panic. I’m lucky as I only have the Hubs peering over my shoulder periodically. All I have to put up with are comments like:

‘You can’t tit f***k a guy!’
‘He put a bud vase with a flower in there!’
‘Who keeps that many sex toys at work?’ (That one gave me pause.)
‘He just happened to be carrying roofies to school.’
‘Sweat is NOT the same as lube!!’

The comments are a bit distracting, but  could never derail me. I have been thrown into fits of giggles – mainly at my Hubs’ consternation, but I always manage to find focus after a while. My team members, however, have a stickier problem. They have young ones with curious eyes. Fortunately, they are none too stealthy. My team mates have to use cat-like reflexes to switch to a different screen and avert disaster. Of course, the little darlings who never seem to pay attention to their parents before, notice when their parents move so abruptly. Thus, they hang around hoping for a glimpse of what was so interesting. To combat that strategy, my team mates have taken to doing their part of localizing when their little ones are fast asleep. They have been a lot punchier during Skype or email exchanges with this manga. I admire them for soldiering on with their fatigue fuzzy brains through their regular workloads while still churning out quality translations and lettering.

I don’t think any of us anticipated such perils when we signed up to be localizers. Still, it’s a fun gig, and the problems are amusing in their own way.

Again Tomorrow - Ashita Kara Mouichido © Nabako Kamo. All rights reserved. Original Japanese edition published in 2010 by Taiyoh Tosho Publishing Co., Ltd. It’s available for Kindle HERE, for Nook HERE and other formats HERE.

That's covers everything going on at the moment, book wise. There is a whole lot of film related stuff in the works that I'll cover another time.

Stay tuned.

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