Monday, August 30, 2010

A Muddle of Moons

First there was a press called Mystic Moon Press (Jennifer Mitchell) which closed owing money to its authors.  I have previously mentioned the problems with this (defunct) press.  (Only their MySpace page is still extant)

Now there is Mystic Moon Publishing (Stacey Thompson-Geer), who either did not google the name before adopting it or wasn't too worried about what she found.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

And the award for silliest name goes to....


It might just because I think the whole night/knight pun is seriously overused, and I have a thing about 'creative capitalisation', but really?  kNight?

Anyway.... kNight opened on July 1st of this year.

"The new venture into the book publishing industry will be met with the same strict requards we have taken with our magazine"

Requards?

"We have an excellant editor and cover artist who help give our books a polished and professional look and read."

No comment.

"Submissions Call to Paranormal Romance Writers

kNight Romance Publishing has an open submission call to its new line of paranormal romance novels. We are also accepting submissions for Fantasy, Sci Fi, Horror and YA Romances. Short stories are welcomed for our kRP kNight Lites!


KRP's Nocturnal Seduction Exclusive romances. Please see the submissions guidelines for details.

These are not erotic stories, but highly seductive romances. If you are interested, or have a manuscript you feel matches our requirements please submit to us. We will be happy to consider your work for this line."

It is not clear who is behind this new press, but I am going to guess that it is one of the debut authors.

Links

Moira Rogers: The Range of Money in Epublishing
"...so many factors contributed to this, and I firmly believe one of the biggest ones is that we’ve published with at least one publisher who has managed to effectively sell our books."

Maddy Barone: So You Want To Publish a Romance Novel
"If you submit a novel and expect to be living off the royalties of that book you will almost certainly be disappointed."

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Erotic Review 100th Issue

The Erotica Review (already a classic monthly mag despite only having been around since 1995) recently went digital-only.  There's a lot of that going around.  You can get a free copy of the 100th issue. 

The online version is one of those bloody annoying flip book things that makes a papery sound as the animated pages turn, and displays a double page spread with unreadably small type, and the pdf version isn't much better. 

I hope they will eventually realise that a digital magazine isn't just a magazine you can't get in paper form.  Its shape, type and overall formatting should be optimised for the screen, not the printer.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Five Star Expressions, Beginning of the End

Five Star Expressions, the romance imprint of Gale, a press that targets the library market is reportedly planning to close at the end of 2011.

Confirmed here: They Saved the Best for Last?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Shoe Polish For Perverts


I have written extensively about real issues of show polishing and apteryx identity. When shoe polishers manusfacturers objectify flightless birds, that IS oppression. Many brands writers do this. And to put the likes of Kiwi Shoe Polish the same category as an actual flightless bird or authentic derivative product is absurdity that hardly bears commenting upon.  But being an actual Kiwi myself I am uniquely positioned to comment on it so I will (the nationality, not the bird, or--dare I say it--fruit).

If you have better things to do than "listen to people so dependent on their label for authenticity," then perhaps you need a different venue. Because that is ALL the Kiwi Show Polish does cadre does--invoke their labels and their plea for authenticity.  And I have it on good authority that not a single Kiwi bird is used in the manufacture of this stuff. I tried to feed it to my pet Haast's eagle and he became terribly ill and was  throwing up all night.  You should all be ashamed.

Victoria Brownworth and the RWA of Gay

In the wake of her first Lamba Literary post branding all M/M writers as pro-rape perverts, Vicky B continues to act like an Asshat

Now she is falsely suggesting Erastes, in managing her LJ, banned VB and deleted her comment.  And leaning on that old (male imperialist) yardstick of real worth--how much money an author makes.  I (clearly) support selling a lot of books as much as the next person, but it is bugger all to do with the morality or literary worth of any given endeavour.

As Lamba Literary continues to give this ridiculous discourse a soap-box and it is consistent with the Lambda award policies.  So I continue to want nothing to do with them either.  They are fast becoming the RWA of Gay... in fact worse.

But for those of you playing at home she VB has now ticked off:
  • Dog in the Manger (1 drink): The only right way to be gay is my way
  • You're oppressing me (1 drink): I wuz censored the the wo/man (+ 1 drink for getting it wrong)
  • Hypocrisy (5 drinks): I can write male gay porn but you can't
  • Pointing at the Pornographer (1 drink): my sex is art, yours is pro-rape fetish
Have I missed any?

Oy.

See also:
Victoria Brownworth ~ Real Authentic Gay Porn Writer Strikes Back

XOXO: smoke

It seems that at least one author for XOXO has not seen any royalties for four years.  Not good and enough to send them straight to the 'not recommended' zone. (Do not collect $200, in fact, do not collect any dollars.)

Monday, August 23, 2010

BTW

It seems like the movie I have been waiting for, I Love You Phillip Morris, just isn't going to be shown on the big screen in the US.  But it is being released on DVD in the UK.  So it will be accessable to anyone with an all region player.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

New: Young Rebel Publications

Young Rebel Publications

Many gennres including romance.  Requires "a main character aged sixteen to twenty-one."

"YoungRebel Publications is a royalty paying, full service e-publishing company"

"YoungRebel Publications is the brain child of husband and wife team Paul and Jacqueline Young."

"•pay 45% net on royalties earned on e-book sales from this site or from our distribution partners"

"We buy e-publishing rights only and our authors are free to pursue the publication of their work in other formats"

Ravenous Romance

So back in late 2008 Ravenous Romance opened up with a lot of rhetoric about revolutionising the epublishing industry.  At this point, from what I have seen of their sales, they are about average for the genre. Book-a-day, while still at the top of the website, seems to have gone by the wayside in terms of new content. Today's "book of the day" is from May of last year and "this week's books" date not only from this week but up to four weeks ago

Ravenous is closing in on their second anniversary, which is more than a lot of epublishers do, but in the absence of any real amount of information it is still hard to say much either way.  So if anyone out their had sales data and has not reported it, please do.  Also if you have any experience about quality of editing, marketing, payments (timely, reliable?) and whether they are still acquiring new work, I would appreciate an update.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

New: Evernight Publishing

Website here, also Twitter.

"We publish all sub-genres of romance, erotic romance, and urban fantasy."

"At this time we are focusing on ebook publishing"

"We are currently hiring editors to work on an as-needed basis. Pay rate is $1.00 per 1000 words."

Owners/staff not named.

Why I hold Lamba Literary in the Same Contempt They Hold M/M

Lambda Literary: The Fetishizing of Queer Sexuality. A Response. (2010)
Me: Slash Fiction--is Appropriate is Appropiate (going back a few years, but nothing has changed)

If you don't want to click the link here is the executive summary:
  • I don't apologise for what I find romantic or sexy, and I don't accept that it makes me a pervert.
  • I write and read whatever the hell I want to, utterly without shame.
We're slash, we're brash, get over it.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Death Knell for Dorchester

Dorchester Publishing (1971--?) has gone from bad to worse to OMFG.  Smart Bitches spread the word they they had laid off the entire editorial workforce barr one and their distribution system has broken down.  Which surely must spell the beginning of the end for this press. Expect to hear about portions of the company being sold off, or outright bankruptcy, very soon.

"President John Prebich said the departures of the two were part of Dorchester adusting staff to its new operating plan."  [via PW] Firing competent staff is an adjustment in the direction of not operating.  It may not be their plan but it sure is my prediction.

See also:
Don’t Have To Tell You What This Portends

Thursday, August 19, 2010

M/M: Fisking Gawker (discussing Out)

Based on an Out magazine article on M/M that is so eye-roll inducing (inept, insulting, rife with stereotyping and naive) I can't deal with it right now, Gawker asks: Why Are Straight Women So Obsessed With Gay Sex? He missed a few of the the romance stereotypes with:

"These homo bodice rippers are meant for the types of suburban ladies who pick up those paperbacks with Fabio on the cover."

For maximum disdain, and to tick all the stereotype boxes, that should obviously read: "These trashy homo bodice rippers are meant for the types of gin swilling, semi-literate suburban housefraus who pick up formulaic paperbacks because Fabio is bare-chested on the cover."

As for "The phenomenon emerged from “slash fiction”.That is true of some of the recent enthusiasts.  But plenty of people read M/M and don't even know what slash is--I found them in reverse order.  I think the phenomenon emerges from having a libido and an imagination, not having a television and a thing for pointy ears.

He then quotes Wilson from Out's explanation of why women like M/M: "a straight romance narrative—the usual machinations that bring a brutish alpha male and a wasp-waisted young female beauty to the point of bodice-ripping penetration—can’t deliver the same heady emotional frisson as a “bromance" which slashers and M/M authors alike view as a courtship between equals."

Of the many unconvincing global explanations of the M/M readership this strikes me as the most perverse.  That we are so incapable of imagining a man and women as equal we go for gay romance.  Maybe that is true for some people but how, exactly does it explain M/M D/s?  Or the fact that most slash and M/M still rests heavily on a power imbalance with an alpha male?

I don't think we know why women like M/M, I don;t think all women who like M/M like it for the same reason.  I have also lost interest in explaining this 'aberation'. 

He then continues: "From what we learn from these two authors, it’s not that women want to imagining overtaking these gay hunks, it’s that they secretly want to be gay men."

Um, what?  No really.  Even if you buy Wilson's pet theory, which I don't, how does that work?
  • Women want romance between equals (most sex/fantasy surveys from the last 50 years beg to differ).
  • So they read same sex romance (so why not F/F?). 
  • So they want to be gay men = Logical Syllogism FAIL.
"In Western sexual dynamics, women are often assumed to be passive, the ones who are ravaged by men. But, by aligning herself with a gay male identity, the straight female reader can envision herself as powerful, sexually potent, voracious and the active participant (or top)"

In blurring the fantasy/reality divide we seem to have reinvented penis envy. Freud would be proud.  I am not saying some M/M fans are not transgender or genderqueer, but putting the whole damn genre and readership in a single well-defined box is rather simplistic and not queerfriendly at all. 

"Gay male sex (especially of the anal variety) is one of the few transgressive acts still left in our porn-riddled culture, mostly because it gives most straight guys the heebie-jeebies."

Really?  I must be far more out there than I thought.

"Even more forbidden is making another man a bottom "

Almost all my books M/M are 100% bottom POV.  So I guess I am not fitting into this tidy generalisation based on a second-hand hearsay, sample N=1.

"These horny lady writers insinuate..."

Tick the box for insinuating that erotica writers are particularly lusty, but you lose points for not implying erotica readers are frigid or afraid of real sex.

"Human sexuality is a strange, complex, and wonderful thing and the harmless escapades that happen in people’s fantasies shouldn’t be used for debates about identity politics. As long as everyone is getting off, what’s the big deal?" [bolding mine]

Didn't you just argue that everyone involved in this sub-genre wants to be a gay man because it's the only way they can feel powerful?  If all that matters is that people get off, you really shouldn't care, or write articles about, exactly how or why.

See also:
Out magazine articles
Reaction to Out article by Gehayi
At the Cooler
OMG! You Mean Seperate Is Not Equal?
On a related note:
Here Media (parent company of Out/Advocate/Alyson) in financial trouble?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Ten Reasons to Come to RomantiCon 2010 October 7-10

Otherwise known as 10 reason why I will not be going to Romanticon.


----------------------Forwarded Message-------------------


1. It is literally the Party of the Decade in Romantica publishing. The woman who started it all is throwing a bash to celebrate the 10th anniversary of her first book and the birth of her publishing company. And, sister, the Queen of Steam is doing it up! Saturday night’s party will whisk you away to Trek Mi Qan, the setting of Jaid Black’s irresistibly sexy, funny and romantic book: The Empress’ New Clothes, which took the internet by storm and launched a publishing revolution. Fierce, gorgeous Trek warriors and beautiful slave girls made of sand will perform for your pleasure. You will dine like royalty and dance the night away in a distant galaxy of wild imagination.

2. You deserve it. You work hard and you should treat yourself like an Empress once in a while. If you don’t, who will?

3. Did we say Party of the Decade? We meant Parties of the Decade. The opening act for the Saturday night Trek Birthday Bash is Friday night’s Roaring Twenties costume ball. Dust off your glad rags, break out the beads and boas, and brush up your Charleston, dollies, we’re gonna party likes it’s 1926! Fun is the password to get you into the EC speakeasy, where you can, drink a little bootleg brew, enjoy a floorshow from the EC Cavemen, take your chances with a one-armed bandit, and cut a rug to your favorite songs.

4. It’s a great value. Registration price and accommodations cost a fraction of other conferences, and we have a special rate for guests and spouses to attend just the parties and dinners. Set in a lovely semi-rural area of Ohio at the height of the brilliant autumn color season, the hotel has great food, service and rooms, and yet is extremely inexpensive compared with the luxury resort hotel prices you’ll pay at other conventions. Plus, there are plenty of inexpensive things nearby for guests and spouses to do, if you choose to bring them.

5. It’s a fun, safe, get-away-from-it-all vacation with loads of things to do and time to hang out with people who share your interests. (And tax-deductible for authors!)

6. Cavemen. Some of our hunkiest and most popular Cavemen cover models will be on-hand all weekend to perform, autograph books and calendars, pose for pictures, and hang out at parties. Need we say more?

7. You’ll meet readers, authors, models, reviewers, editors and other industry professionals in an informal setting and in workshops and focus groups designed to illuminate, entertain, and give you input into the future of our books.

8. You deserve it. You know you do. Think about all the things you do for other people. Now think about the last thing you did for yourself. See?

9. Big Prizes!

10 The Goldilocks Factor. Some conventions are just too big. With so many authors and readers, the lines for everything from food to books are long, and there is little opportunity for the twain to meet. Some conventions are just too small. With too few authors, readers and events, there is not much reason to travel so far and not much excitement when you arrive. RomantiCon is just right. With just the right mix of authors and readers, events and downtime, everyone has the chance to meet everyone else in quiet, conversational settings and raucous parties.

Time is running out to sign up, so if you’ve been on the fence, go ahead and make the leap. Because, most of all, you deserve it. So seize the day and come celebrate with us. to sign up: https://www.jasminejade.com/romanticon/registration.html

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Vintage Reflections Publishing

This seems to be another non-erotic romance epublisher.

Vintage Reflections Publishing

"Established in February 2004, Vintage Reflections Publishing, LLC began publishing digital books with a focus on classic historical romances set in the early 20th century."

The seem to have a pretty strong focus.  But the wording is as per normal for 'clean' romance epublishers.

"Vintage Reflections Publishing is open to submissions for all romance including Highlander romances, contemporary romance, and historical romance."

All romance other than that involving consummation?  Being specific about what you publish is fine.  But if you exclude some pretty major types of romance, you are not open for submission of "all romance".

"Romance should not contain any graphic language, violence, or sex."

Including, one assumes the book sold under the category of 'War'.  Yes, I know.  They mean 'on screen' violence, but all the same.... They have also moved into print but do the mean through the shelves (I don't recall ever seeing them shelved but that doesn't meant they aren't), or through online ordering?

"Vintage Reflections’s books are available in trade paperback only through major online outlets, local and national chain bookstores, and distributed through Ingram and Baker & Taylor."

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Links (China Edition)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Tracker


Tracker described what an average ebook is making in its first month, year and in total. The bottom axis is time with years marked off by diamonds.

Well, it looks to me like per title ebook sales have pretty much flattened out.  So while the sector as a whole may be growing, that doesn't mean onwards and upwards on a per book basis.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

MARKET: Lionhearted Publishing (closed to submissions)

Forever, My Knight
Lionhearted is a romance epublisher.  They state that books are released as paperback and ebooks.  But while they publish ebooks it seems they don't (or didn't) accept email submission of manuscripts.

"If an editor is interested in seeing your work, they will ask you to send the material via postal mail. "Requested Material" should be written clearly on the outside of the mailing envelope/package. Include a return envelope with prepaid postage if you want your material returned, or it will be recycled."

The paperback option is described as 'not POD' but also doesn't seem to involve being on the shelf in stores.  Also most of the titles they list on Amazon are trade sized (and priced).

A Hallow Heart"We do not stock shelves with inventory that would be considered "old" in a month and covers stripped and books throw away."

They seem to have a smallish output (which,IMHO, is a good thing) and to get got reviews including from print bastions like Romantic Times.  However the cover art ranges from okay to terrible.

An Absolute Write thread suggests that  this publisher became inactive a few years ago.  It is hard to tell from the website, but Amazon suggests that they have had  only one new release since 2007.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

So what's the deal with Amish romance?

USA Today recently covered the surge in the popularity of Amish romance. Most inspirations seems to attempt to match the religion and morals of the character to those of the reader. But all these Amish stories are certainly not being sold to the Amish, who are banned from reading them.

The romance blog-elite are quoted, included Jane of Dear Author who suggest the small town atmosphere is a large part of the appeal. Others reference the Christian value or lack of sex. And, of course, they could just be part of the rotating spectrum of humanity subject to fictional objectification (last month: native Americans, next month: Greek millionaires).

Today, Psychology Today, Jezebel, ABC and a little further back Time are all giving this topic (Amish romance novels) prominent coverage... is it the zeitgeist, or did someone at Bethany House wrote a  really good press release?

Monday, August 09, 2010

Orangina, Real Cougar

Orangina (for those not aware, an orange-flavored soda drink) has these ads. This cougar isn't a gal though ;)



More French Orangina furriness here.

Samhain Closes MBaM

The announcement of Samhain closing 'My Bookstore and More' went out a few weeks ago.  Samhain will still sell books from their website, but without the freestanding site and parallel sales of ebooks from other publishers.  Personally this strikes me as not a big deal.  But I am a simple sort of person.  I like authors to be authors, publishers to be publishers and bookstores to be bookstores--with a minimum of twain meeting.

See also:

Sunday, August 08, 2010

RavRom Website Down?

Currently the Ravenous Romance website is giving me 'You see this page because there is no Web site at this address'.  Just a glitch?

NEW MARKET: Embrace


Salt Publishing seems to have launch a romance imprint called Embrace, which will itself have two divisions of Red Velvet and After Dark.  (See also, their Facebook, Submission Guidelines, interview).  There is no website yet abnd the blog seems to be run by an editor (the editor-in-cheif of the imprint?) not the publisher.  Embrace seems to be an epublisher of erotic (and very erotic) romance..

Saturday, August 07, 2010

BBC Romances Stand the Test of Time

I was recently asking whether any M/M features a hero over 50.  There were not exactly a flood of responses.  And indeed there is not a lot of romance of any kind that deals with those in middle age and beyond, who look like everyday people.  But there is one area that represents an exception--BBC romance comedy television series from the 70s and 80s.

As Time Goes By (1992-2005) tracks a romance rekindled after almost 40 years.  Jean Mary Pargetter (Dame Judi Dench) runs a temp agency and Lionel Hardcastle (Geoffrey Palmer) is retired and trying to publish a memoir. Meanwhile Jean is also being persistently courted by a much younger man, (Alistair Deacon played by Philip Bretherton).

May to December (1989-1994) deals with Alec Callender (Anton Rodgers)  a 53-year-old solicitor who meets and marries a much younger woman (ZoĆ«, 26,  played by Eve Matheson).  The show tracks their relationship from first meeting to a possibly reparable break up after the birth of their daughter.

In To the Manor Born (1979-1981) Audrey Forbes-Hamilton (Penelope Keith) has to sell the manor house and lands owned by her family for generations.  It is bought by Richard DeVere (a.k.a Bedrich Polouvicki, played by Peter Bowles) a self-made supermarket millionaire originally from Czechoslovakia.  The two have an adversarial relationship that gradually grows closer, culminating in their marriage.

Butterflies (1978-1983). Ria Parkinson (Wendy Craig) is a housewife frustrated by by her stale marriage and undemonstrative husband.  She embarks on what would know be called an emotional affair with her friend, the wealthy and successful Leonard (Bruce Montague).

While many consider these shows sedate and rather embarrassing, they are also witty and gently provocative.  After all they cover topics such as infidelity, romance across age and class differences and post-natal depression.  The sheer quality of the writing and acting means these shows hold up well and are worth watching, or rewatching, decades later.

Friday, August 06, 2010

MARKET Sapphire Nights Books

Website

Romance Guidelines

"We are currently seeking erotica and erotic romance of all shapes, forms, types and genre."

Dorchester Goes e/POD

"Dorchester will continue to do print copies for its book club business and has signed a deal with Ingram Publisher Service for IPS to do print-on-demand copies for selected titles. ... some e-books that are doing well in the digital marketplace will be released as trade paperbacks with IPS fulfilling orders; the company, however, will not do any more mass market paperbacks for retail distribution."

"On his decision to drop the mass market format Prebich explained: “These are like pioneer times in publishing. We felt like we needed to take some chances and make a bold move."

Even as a supporter of e/POD it looks to me like a bold step backwards for Dorchester based on falling sales and income, rather than a strategic advance into a new area.

Full Story at PW.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Joy Berry--no love for erotica

Erotica author Joy Berry has attracted the ire of the lawyers of parenting advice guru Joy Berry, as explained on the Smashwords blog.  Like Mark at Smashwords I am sure this is a coincidence which could probably have been amicably resolved.  However the PG Berry and/or her lawyers apparently don't believe in giving any benefit of the doubt.  Kudos to the erotica author who made the move from Joy Berry to a new pen name of Ginger Starr.  Rather than losing a name she is gaining the moral high ground. (Ginger Starr at Smashwords).  As for PG Berry's highly valuable good name, I think it may come out of this tempest in B-cup a little the worse for wear.  [via POD people]

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Zombie Romance

I am amazed at how many zombie romances are out now.  For example anthologies Hungry for Your Lovethe Loving Dead and My Zombie Valentine.  Not to mention full on zombie erotica like for the Love of the Dead: Gay Zombie Erotica.  There is zombie romance for the young adult crowd (Generation Dead), and well  frankly the list could go on and on.

And now it seems some of them are going the next step--to the big screen.

Most of these books are played at least partly for laughs.  The question is, how many are actually effective as romances?  Because the comments on this post suggest the squick factor is pretty damn high.  But then the only example I have actually read, a short story by Ally Blue, may not be too HEA was crazy sweet in its own demented way.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

New: Hot Tropica Books

Hot Tropica Books

"Hot Tropica Books is a private imprint for a group of writers, editors, and cover artists working in a co-op together and giving back 80% of the net royalties to the authors. This helps them to make writing a career choice and not just a hobby. "

Which seems fine except that I can't say that I know what 'net royalties' are....

"CEO and owner: Michelle Keefe"

"WE ARE CURRENTLY CLOSED FOR SUBMISSIONS UNTIL SPRING 2011."

On their website/blog story lengths are not given.  Those 'books'  listed on Omnilit seem to be mainly short stories in length.