27 September 2008


It's that time of month again. What's new and what's news?


IN HER LADYSHIP'S SERVICE is releasing in October, and the other Kegins are being pushed back in rotation. I want the books to be as close to perfect as they can be for you. Please, be patient! In the meantime, don't you just adore Debi's work?

LOVE the art Sam made, of course. Between us, we found the perfect picture of TY and night scene of Pittsburgh.

I don't think I've shown you the art for the e-book release and single-title print release of CATCH ME, IF YOU CAN. We had a lot of fun with this one.

EVIL OVERLORDS UNION is a great new one I'm just announcing today. These are fun, twisted little stories from the authors at Under The Moon, based on the Rules for Evil Overlords. You won't want to miss these glittering nuggets of satire.


As you can see, I've added a few releases to my overstuffed release schedule. For the full, updated list, please check my site.

In addition to that, I've had fulls requested from both LooseID and a NY agent...different books. Fingers crossed that it goes well. No...no crossing fingers. MUST get MATCHMAKER'S MISERY ready for the readers! I did promise.

20 September 2008

Children Left Behind

I try not to talk politics on my blog, but this is a prime example of why I sometimes do.

You know, the government talks a good game about No Child Left Behind, but the government is as short-sighted about this as they are about everything else they do. Let me give you an example of what the No Child Left Behind Act really does.

As you can see in
this article, a large percentage of MA schools are failing to achieve the goals set forth for them. Are they really failing? No, they aren't.

My local school gets a report every year that says we're failing in two areas...ESL (English Second Language) and Special Needs Classrooms. I'll refrain from my rant about Special Needs testing. How do you benchmark a child who is not only SPED but also may not be capable of testing or willing to be tested?

What about ESL? My local schools deal with a huge transient population, with not one but two homeless shelters in the area, with twice the state average of non-English speaking students, and remember that transient population? A decent percentage of these kids go to live with family in non-English-speaking countries for long school vacations, sometimes returning to school up to a week late. They have no burning urge to learn English, since they spend 16 hours a day in a household that speaks their native language, and they spend every holiday or summer in an entire country that accommodates them. To boot, their parents don't make it an issue to learn English. Then again, some of the parents speak no English, so even halting English is better than theirs. Oh, and that transient population? We have new ESL students move in every year.

It's a vicious cycle that the schools cannot hope to recover from. It's not that they are failing. It's that the standards set by the idiot government officials do not take any of this information into account. As long as their "failure" or "success" is tied to factors the schools cannot possibly control...nor is it a steady progression of an ESL child in Kindergarten becoming proficient in English by third grade, when testing begins... The schools have been set up to fail, and as long as the system grades them in this manner, they will seem to fail, even when they are succeeding.

Notice that the only two subgroupings that my local school fails in are ones that they have no hope of succeeding at. They aren't "failing." They have a fixed vote against them.

17 September 2008

fingers crossed for me

It's been a big week around here, and I could use all the positive thoughts I can get.

First, an agent I've been talking to for a couple of years (but who wanted something NOT connected to my 17 established worlds from me) has handed a submission packet from me off to one of her associates to evalutate. I haven't tried this in a long time, not since I was an unpublished author. This is HUGE step for me, one that has been a long time coming, but I kept putting off to get connected series going in indie. I'll probably never leave indie press, but I've always wanted to broaden my audience to NY, as well.

Next? The SAME day as that news came through, the Senior Editor over at LooseID requested the full on a novella I'd submitted to them. I love the thrill of a new editor, acquisitions or not. There's something life affirming about the entire thing.

And, I got my ARCs for CATCH ME, IF YOU CAN. In addition to the e-book release of this title through Mojocastle's UTM distribution ($2.50) and the anticipated print release of the full anthology of Urban Grimms from me (ONCE UPON A TIME, TOMORROW) from Under the Moon in 2009, there will also be a print release from UTM of the novella-lenth story alone, to conincide with the e-book release ($3.50). The print of it looks spectacular! I just returned my galley corrections on it to Terri and Sam. Can't wait!

13 September 2008

the honest businessman and copyright law

If you've ever wondered how oblivious to copyright law someone can be, wonder no more.


What's truly scary is that some people actually believe the "honest businessman" in this scenario is in the right. Unfortunately, the schools are so busy teaching children "the freedom of information" that they forget to teach them "copyright" along with it.

There are things you cannot do legally, things you should not do ethically.

Legally, the copyright on not only text but also images, music, etc. belongs to the creators or anyone the creators sold that right to. In the case of music or images, even something hundreds of years old and "public domain" (like sheet music of Bach or a painting from an Impressionist painter) may not be free and clear, if you didn't record the performance of said piece or take the photograph of said art personally. In this case, even though Bach's sheet music is public domain, the individual recorded performance of a particular piece of Bach's music is copyright to the musician. SOME musicians will allow you to use said recording, as long as you give them attribution. Some won't. If they haven't given you permission, it is illegal...and actionable...for you to use that recording without permission.

With photographs you've taken personally, you're usually safe. After all, you own the copyright on it. I've been told that some localities have separate laws about photographs taken of what they consider "national treasures." I don't pretend to understand how they can claim copyright of a photo I took (hypothetically speaking), just because they own the original landmark, but I imagine it comes down to the same sort of laws that say I have to have permission of the person in a photo I took to use it on a book cover.

So, what is safe? If you want to use photos/videos/illustrations, go to a RELIABLE, ESTABLISHED stock photo site like canstock or istock, and pay for the correct license to use the photo you want. Same thing for music.

Alternately, ask permission of the copyright owner to use the work. Now, this is touchy. There have been actual cases where permission was obtained, and the person asking permission believed he/she had the copyright owner, but it was a scam artist. In those cases, the person who believed he/she had permission was fined harshly for the use, because it was the only way for the copyright owner to protect his/her copyright...going after everyone involved, even those who didn't know they were breaking laws and thought they'd done the right thing.

With written content, it's a little more cut and dried. Unless you're using a version that was updated/translated/Americanized/etc., it's easy to establish that (for instance) Shakespeare is public domain. As with recordings of music, a translation of an older piece or an updated/modernized version of an older work is copyright of the person who made the changes. Anything that remained unchanged is still public domain. Anything that has changed...off limits without permission.

In the case of authors and cover art, your contract should allow you reasonable use of the cover art (whether that contract is between publisher and author for art the publisher arranged for or author and artist for art the author commissioned for the book), which would include displaying the art on the author's website. Still, some copy centers demand proof of the contract before allowing the author to use his/her rights in regard to it to make promo gear.

Looking for the "perfect" picture to use on your site doesn't mean you have the proper legal rights to use it. That is something that all "honest businessmen" should understand.

12 September 2008

new interview


I was asked a few questions I don't usually get asked, which made this interview a lot of fun.


07 September 2008

UPDATE-new release and new cover art!

RITES OF MATING, book two in the Kegin series, is up for sale at PHAZE, both in print and e-book. With LAST CHANCE FOR LOVE (book one) in its second month as a Phaze bestseller, readers who enjoyed LCFL may enjoy rolling right into RITES.

RITES follows the re-bred Keen into the next generation. Up first, Jole and Susan's twins (Jenneane and Joseph) are looking for mates, but it's going to be difficult to find someone who loves them and not the throne they stand to inherit.

And I have cover art for CATCH ME, IF YOU CAN, the first of my Urban Grimms stories. This particular novella will be releasing in e-book from Mojocastle in October then as part of the print anthology ONCE UPON A TIME, TODAY from Under The Moon, spring of 2009.

Meet Angelo Maretti, the conscience and heart of the Maretti-Rizzulo crime families. He was your typical straight-laced college student, until a rival family killed his sister. Now, the name of the game is getting revenge without starting a war. The only way to do that? Make every death of the guilty Ortegas look like natural causes... In the footsteps of the original Grimms tale, The Hare and The Hedgehog, it all comes back to one fact: Angelena was (pardon the pun) a dead ringer for her twin brother.

More information on these titles and more can be found at my site.

REVIEW- Heart Fate

Robin Owens
Berkley Sensation

To take the heat off of his older brother Holm, Tinne chose to marry Genista. He had no hope of his heartmate, since he'd learned she'd been married to someone else. But, a broken vow of honor by his parents drew a curse over the household, causing the death of Tinne and Genista's child and the demise of their marriage.

When Lahsin Burdock was sold as a wife, three years before she was an adult, to T'Yew (who was three times her age), Tinne had hoped the man would cherish her as he would have himself, were he free to claim his heartmate at adulthood. That was not to be. T'Yew raped her repeatedly (told but not shown in detail), beat her, berated her, and allowed others in his household to abuse and berate her...all in hopes that he would have control of Lahsin and her flair when she matured...and in hopes that she would bear a son for him.

Much of this is rehash of other books in the series. At the opening of Heart Fate, Lahsin has decided to escape T'Yew's estate before she undergoes her second passage to unlock her flair...and before he can cap her flair with suppressing cuffs. Though the sentient residence isn't willing to let her go, Lahsin shatters all of its defensive spells and runs for her life...to First Grove and Balm Heal, a magical garden that only admits those desperate and in need of healing.

Tinne, on the other hand, is informed by Genista that she wants a divorce. Though commoners sometimes divorce, the nobility never has. Though Tinne knows the scandal of the first noble divorce ever on Celta will stain the family for generations, he feels it would be dishonorable to hold Genista to a marriage that is harming them both. Though the testing is intensive and intrusive, he agrees to it and releases her.

It isn't until the aftermath of his divorce ritual that he learns his heartmate is missing and sets out to track her down. Tinne is devastated by the loss of his child and the divorce, traumatized by several other events in his life/the series. Lahsin is devastated by the cruelty shown her by T'Yew. Neither of them wants a new relationship, but Tinne determines to teach Lahsin to defend herself and to help her survive her second passage, so she might repudiate her marriage to T'Yew and be free from harm. But, are heartmates ever that simple?

We're back to Celta, and it feels like only yesterday that I was reading in this world. As always, Robin Owens' writing is vivid, lush and nearly tactile.

Her characters always have a dark edge, and these characters are no exception to the rule. Their pain is stark and heartfelt. The only complaint I have about the characters is how quickly Lahsin made her final decision to accept Tinne. Other than that, right on the money for me.

As usual, the Fams were a joy! It's a great time when you get to see Fams interact with each other and play one-upmanship. This book gives a great dose of that, with Tinne's catFam (Ilexa) and Lahsin's dogFam (Strother) trading barbs. Anyone who owns animals will appreciate the Fam's personalities. I tend to share cute-Fam stories with my kids, as I read.

Robin makes you cry...and makes you laugh so hard you'll startle your own Fams with the outburst. It's a wild ride of emotion and situation.

Like all the books in the series, it's a keeper and a re-read. It's not my favorite, but Robin's characters are all so wonderful, you'll enjoy the glimpses of them in future books. Can't wait to see whose story we get next!

04 September 2008

REVIEW you will want to preorder this one

Rowena Cherry
release date 10/1/2008
ISBN 9780505527400

I am a fan of Rowena Cherry. No doubt about it. She's a stellar writer, and her worlds are incredibly intricate. Not to mention the fact that her Djinn Princes are mouth-wateringly hot and scrumptious.

I was lucky enough to be gifted an advance copy of KNIGHT'S FORK, book three in Rowena's Tigron/Djinn Princes. What a gift! It hasn't been long since I've read the first two novels in this series (FORCED MATE and INSUFFICIENT MATING MATERIAL), though I read the novella more than a year ago (MATING NET). Still, I don't think this world would diminish, even if it had been years for all of them.

Like all the books in this series, the title is based on a chess move or situation. A "Knight's Fork" arises when an opponent's knight is faced with two of your pieces, and you must choose to save one, knowing that the danger still looms for the other. In short, it's the proverbial "rock and a hard place" situation.

For Prince Djarrhett, The Saurian Djinn, trouble comes from all sides.

He's taken a vow of chastity, in a large part due to his "unfortunate childhood accident of fate." Read that as a bout of human mumps leaving him a very virile and potent Djinn but incapable of experiencing the rut-rage. That is both a blessing and a curse to him, since it means he isn't dangerous, when a fertile Djinn woman is around, but it also means he can't experience the imprinting, which will make him crave the first female Djinn who is rut-rageous he scents.

He's pursued by the Queen Consort of the Volnoth, Electra-Djerroldina (Prince Tarrant-Arragon's older sister). Her pursuit isn't completely carnal, though. Electra was mated to the youngest Volnoth prince to seal an alliance between Tigron and Volnoth, a mating that was never expected to bring forth children. Who knew his father and older brothers would be killed off, leaving Viz-Igerd with the impossible task of impregnating the wife he loves? Electra has no wish to commit body-treason (adultery) with Rhett. All she wants is his semen to accomplish a pregnancy she might pass off as her beloved husband's...and perhaps prepare her reticent body to carry a child that Viz-Igerd would sire later.

He's on an impossible quest, namely proving his unstable half-brother Devoron has rut-raged on a full Djinn female on Earth, Demetra, who is believed dead.

He's temporary guardian and male role model to a spoiled and deceptively-innocuous half-Djinn prince (Thor-quentin, the younger of Tarrant-Arragon's nephews from his younger sister Martia-Djulia).

Oh, and let us not forget the devious Saurian Dragon (aka Rhett's father), who will do anything up to sacrificing his son to break the alliance between Tigron and Volnoth...and the "Wicked Tarrant-Arragon," who believes his older sister guilty of body-treason and sees only one way to save her life...

Okay...you MIGHT believe that I've told you the whole book. You'd be dead wrong. This is just where the book jumps off into an amazing array of plots within plots and reversals of fortune. Even when you think you know what's coming next, you never really do with Rowena's books, which is one of the reasons I adore her writing.

The characters are delightful, as always. Rhett is, by far, the most morally-centered and least foul-tempered of the Djinn princes, not a great surprise, since he can't rut-rage. Electra is a woman who is caught between two men that she deeply cares about, neither one of which she wishes to hurt. Even her pining husband, Vis-Igerd, is a delight to the senses. He's confused and angry, but all he really wants is what is best for Electra and his people, even if it doesn't feel right for him.

The world continues to grow and entrance. Rowena leaves the reader with just enough questions to make you want to preorder the next book in the series...NOW. There are still secrets that need uncovered, and discerning readers will be salivating for them.

I can't wait to find out who gets a story next. Will it be
Devoron? It seems set up to facilitate that.

At any rate, this entire series wins a place on my keeper shelf. Kudos and two thumbs up to Rowena Cherry for a winning series!

03 September 2008


It's always great to have a productive day. Yesterday, despite all of the interruptions (and there were many) was such a day.

I'd like to claim that getting the art sheet off to my new cover artist was the most productive thing I did. I'd be lying, though it's always hard work to do a good job on an art sheet. Maybe that's why I always get such great covers...because I do take that time?

I'd like to claim that writing 5000 words in the Kegin world was the most productive part. It's not bad, but it was one of those days I can do it on autopilot, so it didn't feel productive, while I was getting the work done.

The edits I did on the first of the Urban Grimm stories were much more effort and felt much more rewarding, simply because the added storyline pieces were SO intense. But, it still wasn't what made me feel like I was being most productive, which should shock me. It doesn't, because what makes you feel most productive isn't always a rational thing.

So, what did make me feel most productive? Getting my EPPIE entries in, believe it or not. Don't ask me why that is. I only have three entries this year, which is a very meager year for me. There's only been one year where I had less to enter, in the last 5 years, and I've entered as many as 13 eligible books out of a possible 20 in one mad year.

Still, getting the forms filled out, the money sent, the short taken from the anthology formatted and converted for the contest, and sending all the files off... That made me feel productive. Did I already mention that the psyche makes no sense some days? You write 6000 new words, between two projects, and do edits...and you feel more productive filling out forms and renaming files? The mind definitely doesn't make much sense.

For more information on the EPPIE and QUASAR awards (which I'll have an entry for next year), visit EPIC's blog or site!

02 September 2008

UPDATE from Brenna

It's been an interesting week, all the way around! Energizing, sometimes frustrating, but interesting.

You might remember that LAST CHANCE FOR LOVE (my re-release of the original title plus SECOND SON, which is now included in the novel) took #1 bestseller for Phaze in July. The August bestsellers are posted. LCFL is still #9, and FATES MAGIC (a new world for me) is #15. At Fictionwise today, FATES MAGIC is #7 bestseller for Phaze, and LCFL is #8. And, a friend passed along that LAST CHANCE FOR LOVE was in the site-wide bestsellers on ereader.com a few weeks back. I'm sorry I missed that one! As always, the readers put me there by reading my work. I'm so glad you're enjoying it. At least, the reviews so far say you are.

Other news?
RITES OF MATING (Kegin EBL book 2) is on track to release next week. Can't wait to see it up there!

My cover for THE LADY'S LOWBORN LOVER was accepted by Logical-Lust. For the first time (with a publisher...I'll discount my learning experiences with self-publishing) I'm both author and cover artist of a book. I'm already working on the stories and covers for future Kielan books.

Kielan is a new world for my readers, but it's connected to a favorite series of mine. In the Kegin books, I talk about the Council of Worlds. There are three humanoid races on the Council: the Keen, the Kielan, and the Wolkin. I'm currently writing in all three of those worlds. Look for more from all of them in coming months and years!

And stand by. Book six of Kegin brings the other two races to Kegin!