24 December 2007

update from Brenna-Dec07

I got a rejection from the TRAPS anthology with Dark Hart Press (doesn't happen often), but I have another market in mind for the story I wrote and submitted to it, "Welcome to Hell." Actually, I'm sending it to Mundania, for our shorts line. Most of my straight-genre shorts seem to end up there.

On the co-writing front, Greg and I have ONCE UPON A TIME...YESTERDAY in the publisher's hands. At the moment, it's going through first-round edits, and Under The Moon's art department is working on the internal and external designs. It's going to be an 8.5X11", illustrated edition, much as the FORBIDDEN LOVE issues are. Can't wait to see the art.

Speaking of FORBIDDEN LOVE, issue 3, SACRED BANDS, released this month. As you can see, Greg and I are sharing the cover.

In between my jobs as Senior Editor of Mundania Press, President of EPIC and teaching, I've been overseeing two categories in the EPPIE, entering contests and editing up a storm.

I've finaled one book in the EPPIE this year, and the cover for another is an ARIANA winner.

EPPIE 2008 finalist in poetry:
Phaze in Verse, including 3 of my poems

2008 ARIANA winner for Fantasy art:
Niki Browning- Fairy Dreams (written by Brenna Lyons)

NEW OUT THIS WEEK? My story "The Fire God's Woman" released in COMING TOGETHER: UNDER FIRE.

This is a very special endeavor. The Coming Together series started out as an anthology of erotic stories and poetry. Over time, they became charity anthologies. So far, the following ones exist:

Coming Together: Under Fire- Southern California Wildfire Relief Fund and the San Diego Foundation's After-the-Fires 2007 Fund
Coming Together: For The Cure- Susan G. Kohmen Fund/breast cancer
Coming Together: Special Hurricane Edition- Katrina/ Red Cross disaster relief
Coming Together for Gabrielle- premature babies
Coming Together: With Pride- HIV research (coming in 2008)
Coming Together: At Last- Amnesty International (coming in 2009)

The reasons I loathe your average e-book pirate...

It's stupidity. It's idiocy. Most of all, it's the lies that the pirates tell themselves and others to try and justify what they are doing. These are comments taken from a pirate just today and forwarded to me by an author, who is still shaking her head.

Lie 1: Someone is making the big bucks. No one would be in this industry, if they weren't making big bucks.

The truth, though I'm certain I'm preaching to the choir, because anyone actually reading this already knows the truth. This is to make me feel better, I suppose...

Truth 1: e-Publishing is a GROWING concern. The fact is, the growth is what everyone is counting on. Few publishers/authors are making even minimum wage rates on e-books, thus far. Now, there are a few notable exceptions, but those are few and far between.

Writers write, because we LOVE to write. That doesn't mean we don't want to earn money at it. It means that we'd love to earn money doing something we love, but with the liars and thieves of the world out there, in full force, we have little chance of that. That's right. They are stealing from us. They are stealing food out of the mouths of our children, not that we can afford much on what we make in e-books...or most of us, even in print books.

Lie 2: The publishers and authors create our own hell by expecting to make $22 on books that take $4 to print.

Truth 2: These people are deluding themselves and lying to everyone. VERY few e-books sell for as much as $22. A few NY presses do, because they are setting the e-book price at just below hard-bound price. Most have learned to price e-books at or just below mass market prices. All of Mundania's e-books, for instance, even those just released in collector's-edition hard-bound volumes, priced at $50 and $90, sell at between $6 and $7 for the e-book version. The trade paperbacks usually sell for between $11 and $16, actually on the lower end of the spectrum for trade paperback books.

Out of that pittance of a price...and it is, the publisher is recouping costs of registering copyright (Mundania does that for the authors), purchasing ISBN numbers and the money paid to acquisitions readers, paying editors and cover artists, paying authors their little piece of the pie, marketing the books... Few indie/e publishers are walking out with anything, let alone a lot of money from the pie. But, there is hope for future returns. HOPE of more.

Add to that the cost of printing the books, if there are print versions. The average POD (print on demand-produced) trade book, what most indie/es are selling, has a printing cost alone of a little less than half the sell price of the book. Yes, even the collector's editions, since those are hand-packaged, to get the special features onboard.

Now, look at the distributors. No...I'll get back to distributors, since that's covered in lie 3.

Lie 3: It's "morally wrong" for you (the author or publisher) to make the purchasers/readers pay through the nose for the money the distributors are making off of the deal.

Truth 3: That's the reader's fault. Not ours. The authors and publishers in indie/e go out of our WAY to provide a way for readers to purchase books direct from the publisher and/or printer. What do we get for it? Complaints that the readers WANT to purchase the books from Amazon, from B&N, from Borders, from Fictionwise, from ARe... Not that I have anything against these sites. I love working with them, but we use them, because the readers want them.

Clue coming in. Those places take between 40 and 55% of sale price. Clue coming in. Many of their agreements say we cannot offer a lower-priced alternative elsewhere, even at our own site. That means...clue coming in...we have to price our site copies at the same price we sell them for at the resellers, and that price must be high enough to cover the cost of distribution, when we use it. Clue coming in, again. Many of those final-sale points use a middle man between us and them, which also takes a cut. Thank goodness most e-book resellers don't do this, though some do. You want the convenience of one-stop shopping, then you drive the price of everything up. Not our fault. It's the fault of those who demand one-stop shopping.

If these "fine, upstanding citizens" (tongue FIRMLY in cheek there, when talking about the liars and thieves) really want to make it "fair," take the big cut out of the picture. Start buying direct from the publishers and printers and cut out the middle men you rail against. You can't have it both ways.

Lie 4: The people pirating on the street can reproduce them for $2. Obviously, anyone can.

Truth 4: Produce WHAT for $2? A CD/DVD? I'll buy that they can. Want to know why? They have taken a finished product and simply copied it. I could do that for less than a dollar for CD and less than two for DVD, but I'd be doing it illegally to get it done for that price. If I did it legally, it would take me $5-$10 to do it.

That's an idiot's argument, because it completely disregards all of the costs put into the original that are ditched in the pirated copy. Of course, they can steal something for that price. Why? Not just because they cut out the middle man. No. Because, they cut out those who LEGALLY and MORALLY have the right to their cut...the author, the publisher, the cover artist (whose art is also being stolen and illegally reproduced), the editors... All being cheated.

If these people really think you can make a paper book for $2, they are obviously thinking of a VERY short mass market book, printed offset. You cannot print a POD book, for that price. You cannot have trade paper or better for that price. You cannot do it, even if you have your own printer, like The Espresso, because on top of the $3 for a 300-page book, you've got maintenance and recouping the cost of the machine. You cannot produce a paper book of any decent legnth and quality for the price these people say you can.

Lie 5: Since everyone knows it's immoral for people to charge so much for a book, anything I (the pirate) has to do to read the book, including piracy, is fine. It's just leveling the playing field.

Truth 5: Since the established list price for books has been set for decades, it's obviously not been thought to be immoral for all this time. And, NOTHING excuses breaking the law to get something you want but don't want to pay for. (Not need...want. It's not the lesser of two evils, where your child will die, if you don't steal to feed the tot.)

Any other lies these people tell themselves aside, they are breaking the law. Simply because they don't want to follow the law...it's inconvenient for them to...does not excuse them of the law and its consequences, but that's a whole new discussion.

Lie 6: I (the pirate) have a "right" to any books I want because of the freedom of information act.

Truth 6: Bull! The Freedom of Information Act has NOTHING to do with fiction books. If you're going to lie, at least lie with something believable. Read the law instead of pulling something out of your arse.

Oh, yeah... There is no believable excuse for pirating books. Unlike sharing a single copy with one friend, there is no advantage of helping an author build a name, when you mass produce the book illegally and share it or sell it. Simply put, it hurts everyone involved.

And, for the record... Authors and publishers protecting their intellectual property aren't being whiny and saying "poor me." They are pissed off, and with good reason! If I walked into the pirate's home and said, "I have proof that you've stolen $700 of my income. I'm going to take your high def TV in payment.", you'd better believe he'd be screaming his fool head off. Hey, buddy... TIT for TAT.

27 November 2007

Incarnations of Immortality live ON!

The Long Wait Is Over: Incarnations of Immortality Series Continues

UNDER A VELVET CLOAK, Piers Anthony's newest Incarnations book, has been released from Mundania Press, LLC. The long-awaited sequel about the enigmatic Nox is here, and delivery on pre-orders is promised in time for Christmas.

It's been more than 17 years since the release of AND ETERNITY. Readers of the wildly-popular Incarnations of Immortality series might have thought Piers Anthony meant for it to end with the first seven books. Yet again, Anthony surprises his readers with new books from beloved worlds.

The master wordsmith Anthony is known for nine series worlds he's written solo and several others in collaboration, as well as a slew of stand-alone titles. Best loved among those series are Xanth and Incarnations.

This eighth book in the Incarnations series follows the woman destined to take the office of Nox, the incarnation of the Night. Kerena is a beautiful young girl, living and learning magic in the shadow of King Arthur's Camelot. In service to Morgan le Fey, Kerena seduces Sir Gawain and conceives his child, a child that is fated to die an early death. Rebuffed by all seven major Incarnations in her bid to remove the taint from her baby, Kerena vows revenge on the Incarnations, but revenge that massive carries a cost equal to the gain.

In a change from earlier Incarnations books, but in keeping with Anthony's love of indie press, UNDER A VELVET CLOAK came not from Del Rey, Morrow or Avon. Nox's book has released from Mundania Press, LLC., the five-year-old indie publisher of choice for bestsellers like Piers Anthony, Gary K. Wolfe, Robert Adams, Don Callander, Anne Logston and Louise Cooper. Mundania is home to eighteen of Piers Anthony's books alone, including his ChroMagic series and his joint work with Robert E. Margroff on the Kelvin of Rud saga.

But, UNDER A VELVET CLOAK holds a special place in publisher Daniel Reitz Sr.'s heart. An avid fan of Incarnations personally, he prides himself on being one of the first to see the completed manuscript. He offers the information that Nox's story ties up a lot of loose ends and fills in much of the background material for the series that readers will surely soak up. At the same time, he refuses to acknowledge UNDER A VELVET CLOAK as "the final chapter in the series," leading readers to wonder what else Anthony might have brewing for their favorite immortal offices.

When asked what working with Anthony is like, Reitz responds: "It's been a dream to be able to get to know and work with Piers Anthony. The man's imagination surely knows no boundaries and as the consummate storyteller, no one weaves a better tale. Piers is also easy to work with as a writer, having so much knowledge of what makes a good story and how best to present it, so editing is a breeze."

Piers Anthony states that he originally planned ON A PALE HORSE, book one of the series, to be a stand-alone novel, touching on the various aspects of death. Once he came up with the concept of "Death" as an office rather than merely a role or fact of life, an office that any person might manage to step into, under the right circumstances, he realized that he could do the same with some of the other key aspects of existence: Time, Fate, War, Nature, Evil and Good.

"Originally, I planned to stop at five novels, because I thought readers would consider it unacceptable to address Satan and God fictively. But as reader responses came in, I found no such concern, so I decided to complete the roster." Further, Anthony reports that he did think the series complete at seven books, but the readers had other ideas.

Though the readers wanted more books, especially Nox's story, Anthony originally declined, believing that anything after tackling God as a subject would be "anticlimactic." He continued to demure for more than a decade and a half.

What changed?

Piers Anthony admits to being daunted by rereading material so old and creating a "series Bible" of the facts, dates and other particulars that would be necessary to start a new book in the series. Then Jean Prior, a reader that runs a fan site with the nickname "Phoenix," created a chronology for the series and posted it at http://www.spundreams.net/~phoenix/IoIChron.html With the facts and dates already amassed for Anthony, the author saw continuing a long-dormant series as feasible.

The second change was a letter from Stephen Smith, who not only suggested Nox as the next core character again but also included the skeleton outline of a story for Nox. His three pages of suggested summary set Anthony on the path to completing this novel. It's the first time Piers Anthony has ever taken direction from a summary idea sent by a reader, and ultimately the story "as written" left the summary suggested far behind, moving in its own direction. While the early chapters were conceived by Smith, the rest of the book is from Piers Anthony's wondrous imagination.

After querying his readers via his bimonthly column at http://www.hipiers.com, Anthony found an overwhelmingly favorable response to the idea of a new Incarnations book, centering around Nox. Coupled with the option of ON A PALE HORSE by Disney, the opportunities for a new Incarnations of Immortality book were prime, so Anthony started writing early in 2004.

Jean Prior and Stephen Smith weren't the only readers Anthony hails as being instrumental in his writing process. Tim Bruening, a reader with a phenomenal memory for detail, asked so many questions about seeming departures, most chalked up to multiple timelines and the human condition, that Anthony engaged him in helping to check UNDER A VELVET CLOAK for continuity.

Based on the reader response to the project, Mundania Press has pulled out all the stops for this release. In addition to the e-book and trade paperback releases all Mundania books enjoy, an expanded edition, containing bonus material not in the trade release, will be available in 250 numbered and signed hard-bound and dust-jacketed copies and 26 similarly-enhanced lettered and signed copies.

Though Anthony describes fantasy as "generally low-research type of writing," he admits he did a lot of research for Nox's book. Borrowing from the fringes of Arthurian legend and researching magic from sources such as Patricia "Trish" Telesco's FOLKWAYS: RECLAIMING THE MAGIC & WISDOM, Anthony shares: "It really pays to have the right reference at the right time."

It might surprise readers to learn that Piers Anthony harbored concerns about his ability to sign this book to a publisher. He commented: "Many readers think that a successful author can sell anything he writes; that's not the case. The market is highly competitive." Thankfully, there was no such difficulty in finding a publisher for UNDER A VELVET CLOAK.

What is Piers Anthony's life like these days? "My wife and I live in a house on our tree farm, celebrating five decades together in reasonable health, considering our retirement age. It's really a pretty dull life, aside from my writing career."

Like Reitz, Anthony teases readers with future possibilities for Incarnations. "I think this novel does conclude the series, though perhaps only Nox knows for sure, and she's not telling."

12 November 2007


Good things come in threes, I suppose. Many of you already know that I had WE SHALL LIVE AGAIN release at the end of October from Phaze.

On the heels of that, and both on the same day, I've had two more releases this week. The first is THE COLOR OF LOVE from
Phaze. This is a re-edited reprint of my EPPIE finalist novelette from the anthology ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS, available in e-book.

The second is "The Master's Lover" in FORBIDDEN LOVE: SACRED BANDS from Under The Moon/Final Sword Productions. This one is available in the 8.5X11" illustrated collector's edition, and she's gorgeous, as always. The book will be available on Amazon right around the end of November and before Christmas on Barnes and Noble.

"The Master's Lover" is a novelette from the STAR MAGES universe and is my first M/M sensual romance. Not that I have many M/M stories in mind, but it's a first, and that's always noteworthy.

03 November 2007

Isn't erotica porn?

In recent list discussions, it's become apparent again that many people who don't read the many genres of sensual and erotic romance and erotica have no clue what the terms mean. Some still believe that erotica IS porn. Some are screaming for the rating scales that the indie publishers have already been using for the last several years. It's a mess. So, I'm off on explanations again.

To someone who's read erotica and sensual romance, since I was a young woman...half my life, now..."erotica" does not have a negative connotation, as those calling for a new term without the negativity seem to feel it does.

Porn does. I fully see the negative connotations of the word "porn," though I don't deny that there is a use for porn. It fills a want some people have, and having seen some of it, even I admit that some porn is higher end work that appeals to a cross-over audience of erotica lovers.

IMO, the main problem some people face is the fact that there are readers who think porn and erotica are the same thing. They aren't and never have been. There are authors/publishers who mislabel porn as erotica. I can't stop that, but that's been happening since the beginning of time (bait and switch in publishing). The best advice I can give readers new to the genres is to find a company that actually sells erotica or erotic romance and not porn and start there, with books you know are labeled correctly.

At the same time, "erotic" itself means (definitions from the dictionary): relating to expressive love, especially sexual love, and desire; tending to arouse sexual desire. Now, the DEFINITION of erotic contains the word "love" twice. The root of the word "erotic" is eros, an ancient Greek word that specifically means "sexual love." Eros is one of the major types of Greek love, also including storge (familial love, affection as one feels for a brother or child), philia (brotherly love--not for a blood brother but others you deem your close confidants, neighbor to neighbor, loyalty, friendship) and agape (love, the abiding love of marriage, content in a relationship...some people tie this to divine love, as well). It's in good company.

OTOH, the definitions of "pornography" include: sexually explicit pictures, writing, or other material whose primary purpose is to cause sexual arousal; lurid or sensational material; prurient and possessing of no redeeming qualities. Hmmm... No mention of love in there. No mention of anything beyond sexual stimulation, at its basest level, to boot. "Porn/pornography" takes it's roots from LATE Greek (later than eros, by far...after contact with Europeans), meaning "writing about prostitutes." No, I'm not kidding. That was what the word translated as, according to the dictionary I'm using.

Now, this is not me saying the readers new to the genre's ideas are "wrong." Opinions are admittedly of those who hold them and not necessarily going to match anyone else's. This is me saying that someone who reads the genre and knows what the words mean has no reason to see a negative connotation to them.

As I said earlier, the term erotica does not have a negative connotation for me. Even its definition is positive. It's roots are positive. The only negative connotations I see are in the minds of people who HAVE confused the two terms (erotica and porn).

02 November 2007

New release...

What's new from me? WE SHALL LIVE AGAIN is out from Phaze!

Amunmaruku visits her in her dreams, a long-dead Egyptian prince, whose tomb Anna is excavating. He haunts her in her waking moments, making her question her sanity. Is it her psychometry or something more sinister? When the past, present and future collide, it's up to Anna to close the door connecting them.

Of censorship and idiots...

You might notice, if you pay attention to such things, and you're on lists with me, that I've changed sig/tag lines. Want to know the story behind this? I'm sure you do, now that I've engaged your interest.

A list owner of a list I will not name, because I generally respect both him and his list, demanded I remove a line from my old sig line. In the interest of fairness, the "offending" line was a snip of a review I got for my work in FORBIDDEN LOVE, BAD BOYS issue. It said that I was "one of the most deviant erotic minds in the publishing world...not for the weak." That quote, BTW, was from Rachelle at Fallen Angels Reviews.

Apparently, SOMEONE found that quote offensive, and the list owner (in a fit of some sort of madness I cannot fathom) decided that I shouldn't be allowed to use it anymore. I'm not list owner there, so I don't really have a choice in the matter, save leaving the list, and since it's one of my best resource lists, I am not willing to leave the list over something so ridiculous, though it goes against my grain to let something like this slide.

This is what I find amusing. Read that quote again. There's not a single swear word in it, not even an erotic term. Not even really a blue word that's not one of the big 7.

What is there to find offensive in the quote? Deviant? Erotic? Not for the weak? They are words, and they are all words I've explained in my blog long ago.

The combination threatens someone? Again, why? I'd love to know. Is someone out there THAT insecure in their world that the comment, about me...not them, is that shattering? Amusing. I'd like to say interesting, but unless there's a really good story behind this, I don't think I'd find it interesting.

I was gracious about it, and I did change the tag line, because I don't want to lose the list, but this is a clear case of censorship, in my opinion. There's no other term that covers it.

20 October 2007


And what would that be? "Dumbledore is gay." It's brilliant, I say. Some people out there are saying that JKR has hurt her sales. I say they're wrong. Some people out there are saying she's shot herself in the foot with readers. Not a chance.

Why? Because there's guaranteed to be another HP book burning or three. Now, I've written blog posts on this subject. Book burnings really only worked when books weren't as accessible. What will happen now?

1) People who are opposed to the idea of a gay character in a YA book will write blog posts, giving her and the books free promotion. Can't ask for better than word-of-mouth, no matter what they are saying about you. Just spell the name right, please. Even my post is helping her.

2) People who are vehemently opposed will arrange a book banning. Oh, but that HELPS sales. Why? Because people will buy the books just to see if they are as bad as they sound...or just because they are banned, and said individuals are vehemently opposed to banning, because it's censorship. AND, it provides more fodder for the news services, more promotion you can't buy with all JKR's money, but she can buy it with her mouth.

3) People who are RABIDLY opposed will arrange a book burning. Ditto on the promo, as you might have guessed. In addition, what do you have to do to burn books? PURCHASE them, unless you want to go to jail (at least for a night or two...and then pay fines and damages to the store owner) for mobbing a store and stealing them, which adds even MORE promo. So, you purchase them. That puts money in the pockets of the author, publisher, agent... Oh, yeah. That's teaching them a lesson. That's hurting them. Hurt me more, please.

In short, the ONLY down side to this would be the possibility that someone will try to physically harm JKR. Possible? Yes. I'm sure she has mail readers, passing hate mail along to the authorities already. It's just a whole slush more of them.

13 October 2007

Why would you read...

Yet again, someone has asked me why anyone would bother to read certain things, complete with many assumptions. So, let's cover it.

First of all...

Why read paranormal? Several reasons.

1) Paranormal is a complete escape from daily life. Paranormal has characters who are both more than and less than human, in their own ways. The problems they face are typically not the same ones you do. If they face the same ones you do, they face ones you cannot imagine on top of it. And, it's not just a rehash of the old movie monsters. These are humanized and have their own unique world rules.
2) Since the characters have abilities humans do not, it allows for story lines and situations that you won't find in a "real world" romance. In a paranormal, the vampire or psychic that can read thoughts can know precisely what his/her partner wants and provide it. No awkward sex there. And, even in loving relationships in the real world, there are awkward moments, in and out of the bedroom. It also allows for a delightful forced seduction scene, since both parties know precisely what the other wants. Takes the guess work out.
3) Paranormal allows a certain whimsy and dark edge (yes, both) that may be achieved without it, but perhaps not as simply.

There's more to it, of course, but those are the baseline reasons.

Why read erotic? Again...several reasons...

1) You already have a healthy sex life, and reading books that stop at the bedroom door is rather annoying and condescending. After all, if you enjoy sex, why not read books that don't beat around the bush about it? Now, that doesn't mean that's all these women read. Many, like myself, will read the full range from sweet through erotic. Many (again, like myself) read straight genre work, as well as romance and erotic.
2) You've HAD a healthy sex life, but you are currently partnerless or unable to have sex for some reason...perhaps health-related. I see a lot of this, as well. I've met grandmothers in wheelchairs, who read erotic books, because they remember what they had but cannot currently engage in said activities. In that way, they are vicariously experiencing what they so fondly remember...

And, YES. Not nearly everyone who reads books are disassociated from the experiences. It is not uncommon for women (and some husbands) to report that they read, get aroused and either climax to the book or (more commonly) go find their spouse or significant other to engage in some hot sex. Some husbands tell me they purchase erotic romance and erotica books for their wives specifically to illicit this response. It's a different sort of foreplay. Since women experience sexual arousal first in the mind and then in the body, this isn't a bad plan overall, and it's helped many marriages, in my experience.

Back to the subject...

3) Experimentation. Perhaps the reader is trying to learn what appeals and wants the safety of testing it in the mind first. Perhaps the person is not experienced, partnerless and not into one-night-stands (sensible)... There are a lot of reasons to read that stem from this same root. Basically, it's a way to gain safe knowledge and a feel for what excites then file it all away to use later.
4) Dual arousals. There are some things in erotic books, even some things I've written, that I wouldn't want to try in real life (probably wouldn't arouse in real life). Still, they are arousing, in some manner. There's nothing wrong with an active fantasy life. It's a departure from real life...things you don't mind contemplating but don't really want to experience. Everyone has a line. Whatever that line is, once you've exceeded it or hit that nit, it's not going to work for you in the written word, any more than it would in real life.

5) And, I hesitate to mention this, but it exists in small numbers, so I'll mention it. Might as well, if I'm going to be fair and honest. This is another form of escape. What someone has in his/her life is so unsatisfactory/dysfunctional, these people are looking for something positive (idealized or not). Yes, it exists. In large numbers? Probably not as many as you might think.

Side note... The primary consumer of erotic romance and erotica for women are women aged 35+. These are mature women who know what they want to read. That doesn't mean that is the only audience for erotic romance and erotica for women. Some of my readers are men. Some of them are much younger.

Another thing... The erotic work of today rarely bears any resemblance to what you read years ago. I was reading erotica in the 80s...Hottest Blood series books. Aside from the dark, edgy, paranormal bent (currently growing in the mainstream romance and erotic romance markets, at the moment), there is little to connect them. Basing what you believe women's fantasies are on any one book, especially an old one, is likely not going to help you much. Even if everything you read was new, you'd want a wide range.

For instance here... Some get off on extreme BDSM, and some run screaming from it. Some like one type of kink, some another. It takes all kinds to make this world spin round.

The bottom line here is, what arouses one woman will repulse another. There's no single thing I can point to and say "THAT will arouse a woman." It's not possible. Some are acceptable in the mainstream. Some aren't. Some acceptable in the mainstream repulse me personally; others the mainstream shies from are more acceptable to many women I know.

A further note...you cannot effectively lump all erotic together. If you've seen my post about the difference between sensual romance, erotic romance and erotica, you'll notice that they are very different in focus and (to a lesser extent) in content.

I would disagree that you don't see bestselling authors having characters eat at McDonald's. In fact, I can name one that did recently. Sherrilyn Kenyon's UNLEASH THE NIGHT shows Wren going to a McDonald's (or some other fast food, though I think it WAS Micky D's) drive through, because he's been in a jail cell all day and is ravenous. Grinning... Whether or not someone is billed as a real person along the way has nothing to do with what else happens in the book. Going to McDonald's does not a boring book make.

Rejection blues and a twist on the old line...

From a list discussion of rejections/submissions: Author Barbara Kingsolver handles rejection by not considering her project rejected. Instead, she visualizes that she's addressed it 'To the editor who can appreciate my work,' and it has simply come back stamped 'Not at this address.' You have to keep looking for the right address.

Actually, she's got a good head on her shoulders, in my opinion. I keep telling people that things aren't actually "rejected." Rejected has several connotations, but one of the more notable ones is "To discard as defective or useless; throw away." Since I know my work is not defective or useless, I choose not to think of it as a rejection.

It can be a refusal. That would mean ONLY either an unwillingness to do something or "To decline to jump (an obstacle)." That is appropriate. They are declining to jump into production of the book, because they are uncertain of the end result or leery of the conditions of said jump. I can take that.

They can decline. That would mean "To refuse politely." They can refuse politely. Read again what refuse means.

They can pass on it. The most common definition of pass, in this context, is: "To allow to go by or elapse." Think about that one. It means that they stand aside and let the story go on to somewhere else. That's a positive note.

NEVER focus on rejection, IMO. Instead, focus on the fact that they declined/refused and have taken a pass to allow someone better suited to take the project on.


05 October 2007

For the MOMs

If you are a MOM, you have a MOM, if you're married to a MOM, you work with a MOM, you have passed a MOM on the street... Watch this and pass it along. You won't regret it.

William Tell Day!

30 September 2007

When are you...

When are you a writer? When do you get to use the title? When are you published?

These questions get asked a lot, and sadly, many of the answers I can give to them involve that amorphous "eye of the beholder" thing.

When are you a writer? Do you write? I don't mean shopping lists and e-mails to your buddies here. I mean, do you sit down and write, for some reason outside of necessity? Do you enjoy writing it? It doesn't matter if it's an essay on world peace, a poem, an article, a short story or a novel. Do you want to write? Do you want people to read it, whether or not you want to be paid for it? If you've answered 'yes' to all the questions in this paragraph, you have every right to call yourself a writer. That doesn't make you a professional writer, but it means you have the passion for writing. Having a passionate person that will never publish call herself a writer in no way diminishes me as a writer. Why would it?

When are you a professional writer? Ah...I brought it up. I should answer it. A professional writer sees writing as a career, at least as a professional pursuit, even if it's one that might never pay the rent. A professional writer learns about the market, hones his/her craft, learns the expectations and what the terms mean and applies them correctly. A professional writer has a professional bearing: doesn't submit in IM-speak, doesn't throw temper tantrums and...dare I say it...doesn't play the prima donna with publishers. A professional author accepts reasonable edits and is knowledgeable enough to know when the suggested edits are wrong and why they are.

When are you a published author? This one is more difficult. Whether or not something is published varies, depending on who you are talking to and what his/her mindset is. For instance, for the purpose of "publishing credits," this blog post is not published. If I wanted to pitch this same post as an article to a magazine, I have "published it," in that I have offered it for consumption in a public forum, and as such, I have extinguished my first rights on it. It's now a reprint.

So, what can you use as a publishing credit?

If you have published with a paying magazine or anthology, even if the payment is a small stipend and a copy or two, it's a publishing credit. If it's a well-known magazine and/or semi-pro or pro rates, that steps the credit up a notch.

If you've had work published (and paid for) in a newspaper, it's a publishing credit. If you've worked for the paper as a regular correspondent, step it up a notch.

If you've had work published with a royalty-paying press (not self/subsidy/vanity here, but we'll get back to that one), it's a publishing credit. If you've won awards, reviewed well and/or sold well, move that credit up a notch. Some people move it up a notch, if you've published with a NY conglomerate. Some will take any reputable royalty-paying press at about equal value. (NOTE: This includes indie/e-publishing.)

If you've had a work published self/subsidy/vanity, you've hit a sticky point. According to Dee Power's yearly interview with agents and editors, many do not consider self/subsidy/vanity a valid credit. Caveat... If the book is an award-winner, has won the jackpot for sales in self/subsidy/vanity or otherwise distinguishes itself as outstanding (and not just by being a good book, unfortunately), it is a publishing credit.

You see, some things people will tell you are not publishing credits will BECOME publishing credits, if they serve the purpose. Examples?

If you've written tech manuals for a company that were not "published" in the larger sense, and you go on to write a fiction book that depends on that machine or computer program to swing the plot line...or you write a non-fiction book on the same subject, those tech manuals are a writing credit, since they establish you as knowledgeable in the field you are writing about.

If you maintain a blog or newsletter (online or in print) on a subject that you're writing about, it can also show you as a consummate researcher and expert/recognized in your field.

Hoping you all get to the point where you have so many publishing credits you can pick and choose which to bother telling people about!

BTW, my latest credit of note... Fairy Dreams is currently #3 in Fantasy at Fictionwise!

23 September 2007

Why do they...

This is another series of questions about NY that I get asked a lot. Why do some publishers put out the same old thing? Why do they resist breakout books? Why aren't books from established houses being edited? Why do they resist change that would make them more profitable and reduce the waste and at least a portion of the losses of the industry, today? This post is an amalgam of the answers I've given to these questions and a few more.

IMO, you've missed the interference of the money men in creative endeavors. Now...mind you, NONE of these things are meant to be generalizations. Not all NY publishers are doing these things. There are some publishers avoiding parts of this and some striding headlong in, but these are the trends of what I'm hearing is happening...and some of it, I'm seeing.

Years ago, the editors chose what books to sign. Now, the editors are overridden by the bean counters (no offense...I am a bean counter by training), who are trying to run numbers on what's worked for them before and accepting weaker books with elements that have worked in stronger books OVER fresh books without those elements. It comes out to the rule of diminishing returns, like you see in movies. The worst part is, they report to the press that they don't understand why their figures just aren't calling the bestsellers. Hand up. I think I know.

Worse, they are overplaying what works, until people are sick of it. Glutting the market on a handful of things isn't going to help, IMO. And, it's certainly not going to help, when you've got misrepresentative and carbon copy covers and blurbs, because they've worked well before. NO! For pities sake, you speed the readers' boredom factor along, when you aren't telling them what's new.

Worse, they adopt what's working in indie/e, with the announcement that they want to cash in...then they try to fit what was working in indie/e into their own cookie cutter version, which doesn't work. Why? Because... DING... You've just changed what worked in indie/e. If you want what works, don't screw around with it. Now, some are loosening the reins and allowing it to simply work. That's good. I wish they'd do it more often.

Years ago, the publishers took pride in making sure a book came out well-edited. Now, they are pressed for production on a schedule by the money men that leaves the editors short-handed and swamped, fighting for time to do it all...and sometimes without the ability to push the schedule back, if a book just isn't ready yet. In short, the editors are expected to toe a line that works fairly well in mass production, but it doesn't work well for a creative project being polished. Holding them to 4 books from that line a month (or whatever) isn't always a good thing. I'd rather see 3 one month and 5 the next, if the book pushed back comes out edited well. But, the editors are not given that leeway.

And, they allow big names to slide in edits, because they figure they are going to sell anyway. Or...the big names are sick of editing, and they don't want to lose what they see as their "cash cow" author over edits, so the author is allowed to negotiate edits out of the contract. Anytime they allow this, they compromise their company name, to some extent. Knowingly allowing quality to dip, ESPECIALLY on the cash cow, isn't good for the goodwill with readers.

Years ago, as long as there was an existing genre or subgenre to market a book to, the publishers marked them correctly. Now, you have some that don't LIKE the way they should be marketing what they've got, so they are playing bait and switch on readers and mismarking books ON PURPOSE to try and force cross-readership, upset readers be damned. For instance, erotic romance sells well, so let's market this straight erotica or this dark romance genre book (with no HEA and lacking a few other essentials of a romance genre book) as erotic romance/romance. No one will mind... Yeah, right.

All said and done, they are following the numbers into territory that is not effective in producing quality then wondering why there are quality complaints.

And the one time they aren't following the numbers, they are still following what used to work for them, sticking in the rut they have dug over years of circling the same territory. The companies are afraid of change. That's their problem, all the way around. For that reason, they aren't willing to crash the behemoth of a system that has stood for so long, a system they still doggedly insist works, despite their own complaints in the media that it's not working.

Eventually, the waste will become too much, and the industry will have to make a move to a POD system. The affordability of POD machines will make this move less painful, as time goes on. The big boys will be able to have several of these units in-house. NY already DOES use POD for backlist, in some cases, so they see the value in it, but they stick to the old system of offset printing, warehousing, stripping and such for new releases.

Basically, while I understand that corporations live and die by the bottom line, putting the money men in charge of an "art" business isn't going to get them what they want. The industry was in a lot better shape when editors had more say in what happened, IMO.

18 September 2007

New Art

I always love getting new art in, but this one goes beyond the usual! Alessia Brio just delivered this fantastic art for WE SHALL LIVE AGAIN, coming Oct 22nd from Phaze. I think you'll agree that it's mouth-watering good.

Blurb: Amunmaruku visits her in her dreams, a long-dead Egyptian prince, whose tomb Anna is excavating. He haunts her in her waking moments, making her question her sanity. Is it her psychometry or something more sinister? When the past, present and future collide, it's up to Anna to close the door connecting them.

17 September 2007

Major happy dancing!

Not only is Fairy Dreams officially out (on the Mundania site, on Amazon, on Fictionwise, on Books-A-Million...), but Phaze in Verse has just released (on the Phaze site and on Fictionwise). Both are available in print and in e-book.

In addition, my dear hubbie has been doing some upgrades for me, so my system is smooth and fast. I've gotten my old office cleared out, so my son can have a room of his own again, and my new office is almost ready for me to move into it. I can't wait for that, and I'll post a few pictures when I manage to move into my new (to quote Rowan West) "muse salon."

Happy reading and enjoy this wonderful fall weather!

11 September 2007

NEWS of the week!

What a wonderful week! Okay, it's raining outside, but I happen to like dancing in the rain, and it's a good week for dancing.

What's up with me?

Fairy Dreams has officially released, in both e-book and print. You can find it on the Mundania site, Books A Million online and Amazon. Of course, it's coming to more outlets soon, like Fictionwise and Barnes and Noble.

Phaze has signed another reprint and a new work from me this week. The reprint is The Color of Love, my novelette portion of the 2006 EPPIE finalist ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS (which also included Kally Jo Surbeck and Elaine Charton). The new work is a novelette entitled WE SHALL LIVE AGAIN. It has a tentative release of October 22nd...a mummy story, just in time for Halloween, which brings me back up to (at minimum) 7 more releases before January 2008.

Mundania Press, LLC. has been named Publisher of the Week by the Independent Book Report Blog. I'm having a lot of fun with this one. I agree with them, though. Mundania is a stellar company to work for.

I received my print copies of Phaze in Verse, which officially releases in e-book from Phaze on Sept 27th. She is gorgeous. If you haven't seen the cover art yet, you may want to check out my site. Alessia Brio did a fabulous job on that one, in my opinion.

Of course, the launch of Forbidden Love: Sacred Bands should happen any time now. There was an art hold-up on the last issue, but now that it's been settled... Can't wait to see that one. The cover and internal art I've seen so far is beautiful, but that is no surprise with UTM/FSP.

And, I should be receiving my certificate for the Spinetingler's Book of the Year 2007 any day now. Four of the authors have received theirs in the last few days, so it's just a matter of time, until mine arrives. I can't wait. I may actually take that one to RT with me. From what I hear, it's gorgeous.

10 September 2007

03 September 2007

01 September 2007

Which is right?

Yet again, the rules of writing rear their ugly heads. Yet again, I have to give a reply that is sure to aggravate some people.

Which is right? ... or . . .? Should there be an extra space before and/or after the ellipsis? What about em dash? What about the final comma on a serial list?

The frustrating part about this is that most of these things are dictated by house style and not by a single right/wrong answer.

Some houses want three periods for ellipsis. Some want no extra spaces. Some want spaces between, before and/or after the ellipsis. Some want you to place the coded ellipsis into the mss, by way of WORD auto-format.

Some houses want you to submit with the em dash already in place. Some want you to submit with -- in place, instead, and they want to make the final find/replace to make them em dashes. Some want spaces before and after an em dash. Some want no extra spaces.

The serial comma is even more confusing. Dropping the final "serial comma" (or Oxford comma, as it's sometimes called) is a holdover from journalism, where space is a big issue. It's less common to find fiction editors who want it dropped, but that does seem to be on the upswing. In fact, several of my fiction editors, quite recently, have told me to drop the final serial comma.

I highly suggest checking the style sheet and/or guidelines for an individual publisher/editor/agent, before submitting and making these things match what is required by that individual. As in all things, do not ignore the diretions given; if you do, you risk rejection and you make a bad impression (sloppy, unprofessional and hard to work with).

If there is no direction given on these items, I would say to err on the side of three periods with no extra spaces at all and to denote an ellipsis as -- with a space before and after (when used in the middle of a sentence to set off a clause), with only the space after (when used as a hard break that leads into another sentence starting) or with no extra spaces (when used as a hard break at the end of a quote). As for the serial comma, I would err on the side of not using it, but as long as you are consistent throughout your mss, it's not going to be the deal-breaker.

Happy submitting.

31 August 2007

The moments that matter...

There are days that stick in your memory. Some authors talk about the day the book was accepted or the moment the author held the first print copy in hand. Who knows why one moment makes all the others fade away? Who knows why other books have been like that for me...highlights and hazy memories of the rest?

FAIRY DREAMS has never been like that for me. The moments are crisp, clear...not blending together much at all.

I remember the moment the idea struck me, sitting there, listening to
Master Efenwealt's song "Perhaps A Dream," the final words echoing in my mind. "Will they come again?" I listened to the song several times in succession then started writing, the idea of fairies watching over the women of the Blake family firmly ensconced in my fevered mind.

I remember days and nights of the muse riding me hard on the story and coming up for air 2 months later with a stunning 164,000 words of book, 20K of which would later be removed as back-story and would ultimately become the backbone of a prequel novella. Even at the moment I typed the last word into the computer, I had the idea of the second book in the series.

I remember the querying, the rejections, the acceptance, edits, cover art... A long, hard road but every moment worth it.

Every moment with this book is precious to me. Every new development is a treasure.

Rowan West once told me that the ones that count, the ones that are going to be big for us, are like this. We instinctively know what works best, and our focus on it is so extreme, it's capable of evoking emotion and thoughts no other work does. As far as FAIRY DREAMS is concerned, I'd have to say she's right.

30 August 2007

We write sensual and erotic books. That means a couple of things. It means we get to be show-offs and have fun sites. It means we appreciate the sexuality of humans.

It also means we're vigilant about our private lives, to some extent. We don't go around sharing our home addresses. In some cases, we use a pen name AT ALL TIMES we're the author persona, we don't tell anyone where we live, past a state...which may not even be true, because some of us live in areas or have family that would skewer us socially for writing sex or even romance...and some of us would conceivably lose our jobs over what we write.

Now, I've always been an advocate for using a pen name, even on your copyright page (and I will not sign with a publisher that won't allow me that). I've always been a proponent of having a PO Box, though that's not always a help in a small town, admittedly. I've always suggested putting your pen name as a "business name" on your checking account, because you can accept money orders made out to the pen name, if you do. I've always believed this would give authors an opaque though not completely solid wall of protection. And, it does...until someone does something stupid.

Such stupid thing started for some authors when one of the two indie/e publishers to recently do so filed bankruptcy.

Now, I won't rehash my feelings and the flawed essence of the current bankruptcy laws and how they negatively impact the rights of authors to earn a living. That is something that really needs to change, and the only way it's going to change is by authors contacting their congressmen and senators with demands for changes in the bankruptcy laws, but that's not what we're here to talk about today.

We're here to talk about the "veil of a pen name" and how that veil can be ripped away and irreparable harm done to authors, in the process.

Step one: The publisher files bankruptcy and lists authors as creditors. The authors are owed money from the publisher, so this has to happen. Authors are further named under the "assets" section, since their contracts are tied up in the bankruptcy. The courts are going to insist that the legal names and addresses of the authors be listed in the court paperwork, which is admittedly a public record.

HOWEVER, those records are not searchable by Google or other search engines, so the author still has a modicum of privacy, in that the someone would have to go into the database, pay to access the records, know which records they want and know how to interpret everything to find the authors. Not impossible but expensive and time consuming.

Step two: Some eager-beaver blog that purports to "protect authors" has to have its collective head so far up a spacious posterior as to think it's a "good idea" to download said legal documents and post them, in their entirety, to their blog site, in an effort to "protect authors."

You read that right. In order to "protect authors," this site, which I will not name, out of courtesy to the authors still attempting to get the Google trail of this idiocy removed, because I know what protecting an erotic author means... It means you don't OUT them. You don't risk their jobs and personal life by posting their information on a searchable forum. It means that just because you CAN access it, doesn't mean you SHOULD post it for the world at large.

What I find most amusing is that the bloggers involved feel justified in doing this, because they are "protecting authors." In fact, there was nothing about protecting authors in this act. They certainly weren't protecting the authors of the defunct publisher, since outing them is patently dangerous to them, in some cases. And, there was no way that the names and addresses of the affected authors was information that would have helped any other author out there.

They feel justified--or did, until they'd had enough complaints to open their eyes that the decision to post the information was a highly unpopular one with authors--because the information was already "public record." As I said, just because you CAN doesn't mean you SHOULD.

So, no matter what steps you take to protect your identity, always be aware that there are those who don't think before they act. Not that I would tell anyone not to write what calls to them, but this fiasco has been an eye-opener to many authors, and I hope the learning experience will stop other blog-owners from doing something equally ill-advised.

That said, what's new from me? FAIRY DREAMS is on pre-sale at Mundania. FORBIDDEN LOVE: SACRED BANDS will be releasing from Under The Moon/Final Sword Productions on Sept 6th. And, I just learned that THE LAST OF FION'S DAUGHTERS will be releasing in print in Feb 2008 from Phaze!

Oh, and don't forget that the EPPIE (for published e-books) will open for entries on Sept 1. You can read the new guidelines at this link. Shortly after EPPIE closes, the QUASAR (for e-book cover art) will be opening. You can find out about QUASAR at the same link.

Happy writing and publishing!

26 August 2007

Update on my NEWS post...since someone asked...

Actually, I have 2 September releases...a total of 7 more releases, to my knowledge, by Jan 1, though there may be as many as 10 in that time frame. I'd be glad to pass along information, as I get it.

On presale now...

Fairy Dreams, the first of my dan Aidan fairy books, is on pre-release from Mundania Press, LLC. This book is releasing in both e-book and trade paperback. It's dark fantasy sensual romance.

Mollie has impossible hopes and dreams. When one of her dreams comes true in the form of Cadal, she wonders what else is possible. Are her dreams of fairies as real as her dreams of Cadal? Is she losing her mind or learning her destiny?

Cadal came to the Blake estate to fulfill a promise as quickly as he can. Guiding Mollie until she learns to run her estate sounds like a simple task to Cadal -- until Mollie looks in his eyes for the first time. He wants her in a way he hasn’t wanted a woman since Xanthe. If only she wasn’t human…

In September...

6th- Forbidden Love: Sacred Bands will be releasing from Under The Moon/Final Sword Productions (the site is being rebuilt at the moment). This is an anthology of dark erotic romance stories in a variety of genres...all M/M, my first M/M writing, to be precise. The cover authors for this issue (the top 3 stories of the usual 9-12 in an issue) are myself, Gregory L. Norris and Claudia Christian. This book is offered in an 8.5X11, illustrated collectors' edition and usually sells for about $16-18 or so. My release in this collection is "The Master's Lover" from my Star Mages world.

Thebes, 4th C BC... The elite fighting force, inspired by Plato's Symposium, consists of 150 homosexual couples, the fiercest force of their day. Forbidden Love, 21st C AD... In deference to the Sacred Bands of the Thebes elite, this collection is all M/M couples, facing darkness and danger as a working team.

27th- Phaze in Verse will be releasing from Phaze. This is an anthology of sensual and erotic poetry. It will be released in both e-book and a print version. I don't have the price on it yet. I have three poems in this book.

In Oct/Nov...

?- Once Upon A Time, Yesterday will be releasing from UTM/FSP. This anthology is by Gregory L. Norris and myself only. It's 8 stories (three of them my novellas or novelettes), based on the old, unsanitized Grimm's tales, 135K of urban fantasy dark erotic romance. All updated, gritty and bloody, as the Brothers Grimm would have written them, had they penned their tales today. It's the same 8.5X11, illustrated collectors' edition that Forbidden Love releases in.

Once upon a time, the Brothers Grimm penned a book of morality tales. They weren't the sanitized fairy tales of the 20th Century, and if they were recited to a child, late at night, it was in an effort to scare him straight. But, it's the 21st Century, and it's time to take the magic and mayhem back. Loosely based on Grimms, this is an urban fantasy offering you don't want to miss.

releasing in ?- Written In The Stars will be releasing from Mundania Press, LLC. This is another offering (a category-length novel) in my Star Mages world. It will be released in both e-book and trade paperback.

Orphaned. Cast out as a demon, denied her training. Salvation had a price. Riena would rather run than be forced to marry Karris. If she fails, it means death for her brother and herself. If she succeeds, she’ll lose Caiben’s love.

Caiben is everything Riena’s ever wanted in a man. He’s her rescuer, her teacher, gentle and caring, nothing like Karris. He’s also a powerful mage with a royal guard.

Neither of them is what they seem. If Caiben learns Riena is female, she’ll find herself in Karris’ hands. If Riena learns Caiben’s secrets, there is much more at stake.


?- Forbidden Love: Love's Bitch will be releasing from UTM/FSP. Like all the Forbidden Love anthologies, it will be the collectors' edition and will contain 9-12 great stories from some of the best I've worked with. My story for this collection, if it's accepted, is "Close Enough To Human," the Xxan universe, which is new to my readers.

?- The Color of Love will be releasing from Phaze. This is one of my favorite little Christmas stories, a novelette of mine about second chances in love.

It's been a year since Michael Justice broke Grace's heart. She's moved on: a new and annoyingly-perfect boyfriend, her thriving art gallery and almost no regrets. But, now Michael is back in town, a spoiled artist who always gets what he wants...except Grace back, she vows. If only there weren't a magical mood ring telling Grace what she doesn't want to hear, mainly that her perfect Michael-free existence isn't so perfect...and not at all what she really wants.

In addition, Mundania should be releasing some short stories of mine (straight genre fiction), starting sometime this fall. These stories will be released in e-book only and include:

A Wasted Mind- horror- Imagine a modern-day Frankenstein story, and you've got the general idea.

Birthright- dark fantasy- Want the true story of the connection between Van Helsing and Dracula? This is my version of it.

Becoming A God- dark fantasy/sensual content- From my Night Warriors Beast stories... Being a beast (vampire) doesn't have to be all bad. Some days, it's good to be a god.

25 August 2007

Getting your rights back?

A few times per year, the question comes up. A publisher is in breach of contract, non-responsive, disintegrating before the author's eyes. "How do I get my rights back? What do I have to do?"

First of all, you have to make sure you have a legal leg to stand on. If your contract has a "either party may cancel with X days notice" clause, obviously you have a right to cancel the contract at any time. If you are buying your way out on a release clause, again...you can do that at any time allowed by the contract. If the contract is in breach, you have the right to take whatever steps you agreed to in contract, in case of a breach.

You do NOT break a contract just to break it. You signed a legal agreement, and unless you have a legal reason to sever it, you should ride the contract out.

How you get your rights back depends on your contract. If the contract is in breach, it should have steps you should take. Your certified letters to the indie/e publisher SHOULD reference precisely what's wrong, what the breach is you're calling into play. The contract probably lays out how much time they have to remedy the situation, before rights revert to you, and still you MAY have to send a second certified letter, telling them they have defaulted and you demand immediate release of your books, but usually not. You can also reiterate that in your letter, their time frame to correct the breach, if such a thing exists in the contract.

Some contracts have a "may be canceled by either party with 90 days" sort of clause. If it does, remember that you have that 90 days to ride out, even when you invoke the clause. The publisher MAY release you earlier, but legally, you can't force them to.

And, they still owe you your royalties, either way. No matter how you leave the contract, they owe you what they owe you, though you might not see it.

If they sign for the certified letter, you have your clock for the time frame, based on that. Signing for it means the court will assume, rightly or wrongly, that they read the contents of the letter after signing for it. If they REFUSE the letter, do not open it. Save it, with all stamps and such attached to show it was refused. You may need that later. Hopefully not, but if the publisher refuses it, you may not be dealing with a reasonable human.

Unfortunately, to my knowledge, if they refuse the letter and refuse a subsequent letter, stating that they have been in breach for X amount of time, you have to formally break with them publicly. As much as I loathe that sort of approach, it may become necessary. If you, for instance, haven't been paid for your sales in months and have no contact with the publisher, warning off the readers may no longer be an option plan. You can't allow the books to continue selling, knowing you won't be paid for them. As long as you can keep it out of the public eye, try to do so. Warn other authors off privately, of course...since no one wants to see another author walk into a pit. Contact
Piers and P&E about the situation, definitely. But, try to keep the readers out of it, if you can. Left no choice, go there, but don't do it lightly, and give the publisher response time, no matter how hard that seems.

The problem remains, at that point, you cannot sell the books to another publisher, while they remain for sale with the old one, even if you have taken all contractual steps to remove them, even if the contract is in breach, even if you no longer consider the contract valid. Nor can you sign them elsewhere, in many cases, unless you have a formal release, signed by the publisher, even if they are no longer selling at the publisher site and other outlets.

So, what do you do? As horrid as it sounds, you may have to actually file suit/engage a lawyer to file a cease and desist, if they won't take the books down and give you a signed release. Ideal? No. Of course not. No one wants it to come to a court case, but if it does, it does. It's the risk of contracting with ANYONE. But, try non-judicial routes first. A reasonable publisher will know that being in breach puts them in a bad legal position, and a bunch of authors banding together to file suit or hire a lawyer is an ugly moment. With all likelihood, it won't progress this far.

22 August 2007

RT PREP...indie/e please read


It's time to start planning for RT 2008. I have to have the panels set by the end of the week. I'll be inviting non-EPIC members from indie/e, as well, but I want the bulk of the last two panels to be EPIC members.

Just a little information, the panels I'm looking for people to sit are...

e-book Law- specifically contract red flags and contract concerns, release clauses, Millennium, copyright and trademark concerns...both in the book and on the web site or other online promo.


e-marketing- specifically what will shoot you in the career foot, netiquette, etc. as well as doing it yourself. In short we don't want to know how to hire someone else to do the work for you. We want to show how easy it can be to do it for yourself and do it right.

Even if you don't get chosen for a panel, we'll be doing handouts to panel attendees that you can get promo in, on both of these subjucts PLUS the two classes we're offering on choosing an indie/e publisher and submitting to them.

In addition, I'll be coordinating promo for the indie/e authors attending both signings (not that you can't do your own, of course, but this will be a little something extra), so even if you don't want to do panels, sign up for this list, if you'll be there. Publishers and authors, please pass this information along to your attending authors and editors.


Clearly...fame isn't everything...snicker

Just so no one accuses me of stealing it... Yes, the line was from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Philosopher's Stone) and was stated by Severus Snape.

The article that started it all...

Okay, so let me get this straight. Stephen King, the most famous author walking the earth, most likely, walks into a bookshop and signs 7 copies of his book, which raise the value of the book immensely, and someone reports him for vandalism?

Now, granted...most authors ask the manager before signing books, but this is Stephen King. How does not one but several people mistake who he is?

Just when you think you're so famous, no one can possibly mistake who you are, something like this happens.

21 August 2007

NEWS, news and more NEWS!

There's a lot going on, so let me recap as best I can.

I just learned that THE LAST OF FION'S DAUGHTERS is coming to print with Phaze in Feb of 2008! Since this was a reprint, I didn't realize it was going to print, but it is. Can't wait for that!

I have a release date for FORBIDDEN LOVE: SACRED BANDS. It seems the official release date is September 6th from UTM. The slight hold-up was caused by art delays, and if you've ever seen the B&W internal art UTM uses, you know it's worth the wait.

Greg is nearly done with the last bit of our joint book, ONCE UPON A TIME, YESTERDAY, releasing in Oct/Nov from UTM.

And, last but not least, I've entered The Brava Authors Novella Contest with a new novella of mine entitled MAY THE BEST MAN WIN.

It's been a huge week for me.

19 August 2007


It seems there's been some confusion of late about what EPIC is and what it isn't. To that end, I'm about to restate it. I give blanket permission to repost this, as long as it goes intact.

EPIC (The Electronically Published Internet Connection) is a professional organization consisting of e-published and print-published authors and publishing industry professionals. We're a worldwide organization, currently in its 10th year (2007), which more than 650 members in upwards of 9 countries and in nearly every genre of fiction and non-fiction.

EPIC's goals are:

Educating people on indie/e-publishing as a viable and growing publishing industry concern. We have several programs that pursue the realization of this goal, including (but not limited to) articles and trifolds on the subject, member-convention panels and our own yearly convention (EPICon), which is open to both EPIC members and non-members. We also have the model contract and red flags, available to everyone, member or not.

Educating people on reading e-books. The fact is that anyone who frequents a computer has, knowingly or not, read e-books. The only trick is educating them in what e-books are and in breaking down old biases. Again, we have several programs that help us realize this goal, including articles, free CDs, convention presence, e-Fiestas and one-on-one interaction.

To be a support, networking and information network for authors and industry professionals. The main conduit for this is our members-only materials and EPIC lists.

To celebrate excellence in e-publishing. To that end, we run the EPPIE and ARIANA/QUASAR awards yearly (for e-books and e-book covers). These awards are open to all e-books published for sale during the eligible period (Oct 1, 200X through Sept 30, 200Y), whether they are self-published, subsidy/vanity-published, published in indie/e or published in NY. We even welcome reprints (whether reprints of print books or of e-books), as long as an earlier version of the material was not entered in the contest before. They're the longest-standing (9 years) and most inclusive (23 categories in the EPPIE and 15 in the ARIANA/QUASAR) e-book awards in existence.

To further celebrate excellence, EPIC actively promotes the winners of both the EPPIE and the Dream Realm award (the second oldest e-book award) in our information packets and CDs.

To encourage people outside EPIC working toward the same goals we are. In pursuit of this, we offer our FRIEND OF E-PUBLISHING award yearly to someone working tirelessly to advance the industry. Former winners of this award include: Steve and Scott Pendergrast (the owners of Fictionwise), Nick Bogaty (the head of IDPF...the International Digital Publishing Forum), Michael Hart (the originator of Project Gutenberg), Louise Snead (publisher of Affaire de Couer Magazine), Piers Anthony (for his advocacy and his hipiers site) and Katheryn Falk (publisher of Romantic Times Magazine)...among others.

To promote literacy, as all professional publishing industry groups do. To this end, we run the New Voices Contest for middle school and high school students. The students pay not one thin dime to enter the contest, but they compete for prizes that are 100% funded by EPIC and member/industry donations.

That's what EPIC IS. Now, what is EPIC NOT?

EPIC is not RWA, SFWA or any other WA out there. We're inclusive, not exclusive.

EPIC is for contracted and published authors and industry professionals. EPIC is not for unpublished authors. Though we offer information and support, we are not in the business of teaching you how to write. We're in the business of teaching you how to self-edit/hone your craft and how to publish, promote and build a career.

EPIC is not a policing authority for publishers. Yes, we do have a committee looking into a code of ethics that publishers can choose to sign, much as agents agree to the AAR...or not. The publishers listed on the EPIC site are publishers that have one or more members within EPIC. We don't investigate them, vett them or otherwise "approve/recognize" publishers. If the publisher is listed there, it means their representatives are members, and that's a member benefit. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Nor will EPIC "punish" publishers or play referee between authors and a publisher. We will not post a "wall of shame." If you have valid complaints on a publisher, Hipiers list and P&E already exist, for this purpose. While the members of EPIC are more than happy to share their resources, even to information when dealing with an unethical publisher and/or how to choose a publisher, EPIC is not a professional mediator.

EPIC is inclusive; that means that EPIC does not show a bias, based on genre you write, color of your skin, religion, national origin, politics...

No, the E in EPIC does not stand for "erotic." As previously stated, it stands for "electronically." I have no clue who started such a ridiculous rumor about EPIC, but let's set the record straight. EPIC includes straight-genre authors, romance authors, children's and YA authors, non-fiction authors, poets...and yes, authors of sensual and erotic fiction. It also includes publishers of all of the above. I repeat, EPIC is inclusive.

Not even our contests are all erotic. The EPPIE, for example, has a sum total of 5 erotic categories in a total of 23. Is that unreasonable? Considering how prevalent erotic e-publishing is (with even NY jumping on the bandwagon)...no, it's not unreasonable.

Hopefully, this will clear up any confusion over what EPIC is and is not.