Monday, December 31, 2012

Latest Links

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Forever Amber a.k.a. 309 East 83rd Publishing a.k.a. RDD Books

It seems like Forever Amber's new iteration might be RDD books? It is a name being used in AllRomanceEbooks for titles being sold on Amazon by 309 East 83rd Publishing. Except for the multiple foreign language versions (e.g. spanish) which are listed under "rdd books" on Amazon also. (Confused yet? I know I am.)

This same title is, in turn, breaking Amazon policy in that something extremely similar is available for free as written by the real author some time ago (1891, see: "The Power of Mesmerism, A Highly Erotic Narrative of Voluptuous Facts and Fancies" at Project Gutenberg)

Then there is the name of the "author" Stephen A. Heche -- which seems designed to cause confusion with our own Stephani Hecht.

Excerpts show characters referred to by their initials for some reason? And some of the details are rather imperfectly gender-swapped.

Oh, and at least some of the editorial reviews posted seem to be fake, or at least referece review sites that are unknown to Google.

I am sure that in terms of WTF, Forever Amber is a gift that keeps on giving. But I suppose I should start another list of their plagiarizing rampage.

Friday, December 28, 2012

MARKET Go Deeper Press

Go Deeper is an erotica e-publisher. They state they will launch in December 2012, which should be any day now. They offer a 25% royalty, which is on the low end for ebooks.  As is so often the case, I would suggest taking a 'wait and see' approach.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Publishers that sound like they specialize in erotic romance....

...but they don't.

Scarletta Press has a new vanity imprint called, I kid you not, Red Portal Press.

And they specialize in children's fiction.

Friday, December 21, 2012

NRA Caveman Philosophy

I find it interesting that, in his attempt to shift attention away from gun control, NRA spokeperson Wayne LaPierre didn't just try to pass blame to movies and violent video games (mainly ones a decade or more old, for some reason).  He felt that the best way to show clearly how bad violent fiction was, was to compare it to porn.

"Isn't fantasizing about killing people as a way to get your kicks really the filthiest form of pornography?"

If we are to assume this means they feel guns should be legal, and violent media illegal--what does it say about their attitude to sex fiction? Because it seems to me that he just said that the only tin worse that fantasizing about killing someone, is fantasizing about having sex with them.

Holy red herring, Batman.

See also:

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Sugar and Spice Press plagiarism announcement

Sugar and Spice have posted a front page announcement of a plagiarism issue with one of their titles.  The author in question seems to have plagiarized A Harlequin title from the 1990s.  Perhaps not anticipating that it would be reissued.

Based on the excerpt provided, the book in question is Too Close for Comfort by Stephanie Morris. To my memory, this is not the first time that romance has been plagiarized and the heroine race-swapped.

Morris is also published by Amira, Phaze, Bookstrand, Red Rose, eXtasy and Class Act Books and self-published.  Given some of the Amazon reviews I would suggest those titles might also have some suspicious qualities (e.g. IR where characters are not described, choppy plot).

December 21 update: Phaze has also withdrawn Morris's titles.

Some Links

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

MARKET Insatiable Press

Insatiable Press seems to have a lot of top name authors (Lauren Dane, Sylvia Day, Lorelei James etc). Is this an imprint of an existing press?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

MARKET: Paramance

Paramance is the paranormal adventure/romance imprint of Malachite Quills (found 2011).  I would suggest taking a wait-and-see approach. It doesn't reek of potential, IMHO.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Harlequin Bypasses Carina

Harlequin is starting a new digital-first imprint, separate from Carina--and it will release erotic romance.

Mystic becomes Phoenix

Specifically, the former Mystic Press (which defaulted on paying author royalties) seems to have reappeared as Phoenix Fire Press.

On the page where they sell a bunch of services, products and probably a slightly used kitchen sink, we find the following:

"Heavy Editing(Includes capitalization, punctuation, sentence structure, story flow, detailed comments with corrections and includes three rounds of all editing services. 50 cents to 1.00 per page depending on the length of the manuscript."

From their Facebook page:

"We are accepting submissions!! Phoenix Fire Publishing is a small press publishing company created by an author for authors. We accept all genre's and provide the best pr for our clients and authors. Please inbox me for any questions you may have."

Needless to say, this is probably one to avoid.

In response to the comments below.

  • My quotes were cut-and-paste from the website before it was changed.  Any suggestion to the contrary is disingenuous.
  • Ms. Jones states that she took an ownership interest ("co-ownership") in Mystic Press within a month of it opening.  As such, she took on the responsibilities of the company including payment of royalties.  If she did so without having any idea what state the company was in; that is her problem. Mystic should have been formally wound up, right reverted and payments made before she started a new press. Because if you will cut and run once, who says you won't do it again?
  • The truth is a rock solid defense against any claims of libel.

See also:
[Dec 5, 2012] Author Warns Mystic Press Reopening Under New Name 
[Dec 9, 2012] Phoenix Fire Publishing Owner Publishes Fake Customer Testimonials
[Dec 10, 2012] Mystic Press put to rest after True Story now made public. 
[Dec 11. 2012] The Real Phoenix , Phoenix Fire Publishing--Avoid It.
[Dec 23, 2012] Phoenix Fire: How to make enemies and create adversaries

Sunday, December 09, 2012

MARKET: Front Porch

Front porch Romance seems to be a non-erotic romance e-publisher.  There is not a lot here to recommend them so far.

The capital letters in the guidelines are suggestive but at least they kept it off the sin list:"All contemporary and mainstream submissions MUST be male/female as hero/heroine."

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

MARKET: SteameReads

SteameReads is an erotic romance e-publisher based in Australia. It is apparently a spin off from an curiously anonymous print press. With an equally unnamed owner and staff.

PRESS RELEASE: Riverdale Books

----- QUOTE-----

December 5, 2012

NEW POP CULTURE E-BOOK PUBLISHER RIVERDALE AVENUE BOOKS TO LAUNCH DECEMBER 17th

First Digital Publisher to Feature a Pop Culture Line

NEW YORK CITY – (Dec. 5, 2012) – Riverdale Avenue Books (RAB), a new publisher specializing in e-books and audiobooks, will launch December 17th.  Headed by veteran literary agent and publisher Lori Perkins, RAB will publish five separate imprints and will start with two titles. 

“We are the first full service digital publisher to launch a pop culture line, with a foreign rights department and a Los Angeles based film agent,” according to Ms. Perkins. “We are also working with Audio Realms to produce simultaneous audio books on most of our titles.”
The five imprints are:

·                             Riverdale/Magnus Books, a joint venture with award-winning LGBT publisher, Magnus Books, created by Donald Weise, which will publish 24 LGBT titles a year beginning with the Dietrich/Coward biography. Other books in the pipeline include an unauthorized biography of Gore Vidal’s love life, as well as a gay Twilight.
·                             Riverdale Pop will publish a pop culture title each month. Its first title, an unauthorized EL James biography, already has foreign rights sales prior to publication.  Other celebrity subjects will include Katie Holmes and Justin Bieber.
·                             RAB HSF is a horror, science fiction and fantasy line.
·                             RAB Truth is an erotic memoir line.
·                             RAB Desire will publish erotica and erotic romance.

The first two books are:

·                             THE SECRET LIFE OF EL JAMES: An Unauthorized Biography, by New York Times best-selling author Marc Shapiro;
·                             DEEPLY SUPERFICIAL: MARLENE DIETRICH, NOEL COWARD AND ME, by Michael Menzies

“RAB will give readers the same immediate gratification that they have come to expect from all forms of media and entertainment,” Ms. Perkins said. “Each imprint represents a genre that we believe is consumable, and will keep our readers coming back for more. Simply put, we will give readers the books they crave.”

RAB’s offices at 5676 Riverdale Avenue in New York City are the former offices of Baen Books, the first successful genre epublisher.

RAB hosts Between the Covers, a free monthly reading series in the East Village at Happy Endings Lounge, 302 Broome Street, on the first Friday of every month, Betweenthecovers.journurl.com.
Ms. Perkins, a leading New York literary agent, was formerly Editorial Director of Ravenous Romance. Prior to founding Magnus Books, Mr. Weise was the Publisher of Alys[2]on Books.



5676 Riverdale Avenue, Suite 101, Riverdale, NY 10471 – 212 279-6418riverdaleavebooks.com
[2] 5676 Riverdale Avenue, Suite 101, Riverdale, NY 10471 – 212 279-6418riverdaleavebooks.com

----- END QUOTE -----

Monday, December 03, 2012

BandN ties ebooks to credit cards

One user reports that Barnes and Noble ebooks expire when your credit card does. Has anyone here experienced this issue?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

I very much doubt that Desiree Holt is the "world's oldest published erotic romance author"

What do you think?  I am sure someone in the biz out there is older than 76.

Market: Swoon Romance


Swoon Romance seems to be a general romance imprint (an endeavor of Month9Books). It seems fairly professional with staff listed by name. Their niche is the novella length.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Shadoe Publishing

Honestly, Shadoe has one of the least professional looking publisher websites I have seen in a while:  an annoying popup ad banner on each page and other intrusive ads, "cute" rotating transitions on the graphic and generic book-spines background.

Then there is: "Get the help you need to complete your book with our affordable design, editing, and marketing services, most of which are FREE" and "we do not charge an upfront fee".

Um, most of which? Upfront fee?

Also: "On the cover letter please state your real name and not a published name or pseudo-name"

I think they word they are looking for is 'pseudonym'.

The only named persons associated with the press seem to be Laura McCabe ("Publicist/Agent/Translator") and authors of the books currently available, Q C Masters (1 title) and K'Anne Meinel (8 titles).

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Market: Tempo Romance

Bullitt Publishing has opened a non-erotic romance imprint called Tempo Romance. Print is via Lightning Source and ebooks via Smashwords.  Which makes me cautiously non-optimistic about their prospects.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Can a Black Person do Blackface?

There is a lot of controversy over the casting of Zoe Saldana as ground breaking black singer Nina Simone.

Simone sang very directly about the issues she struck for being dark-skinned and having natural hair.
By contrast Saldana will apparently have her skin darkened with make-up, a rumored nose prosthetic, and wear an afro wig to play the part.

One one hand I can see the problems with casting an actress that needs to wear semi-blackface.  On the other hand I feel just as uneasy with commentators calling Saldana "ethnical ambiguous" as if having a lighter complexion makes her somehow not black enough, and deserving of having her performance boycotted.



Does Saldana look an less like Simone than Daniel Day Lewis/Abraham Lincoln or Nicole Kidman/Virginia Woolf? Or for that matter Sidney Poitier as (light skinned) Justice Thurgood Marshal or Will Smith as Muhammad Ali?  Is it only females who must be cast exactly to type, or is it mostly females who suffer under racially biased beauty norms and so need to see a Nina who is really as dark as Nina.

But then I see that make up job and false nose and... well.  No, that's not good. And Simone's daughter is not happy with the choice.

I don't know....

Friday, November 16, 2012

Fictionwise Closing Date Set

Most Fictionwise customers will now have received an email including the following:

"Fictionwise is in the process of winding down its operations, and Fictionwise.com (including eReader.com and eBookwise.com) will end sales on December 4, 2012. Please note, you will not be able to access your Fictionwise Bookshelf after December 21, 2012."

The writing was on the wall ever since Barnes and Noble acquired Fictionwise.  But I for one am not going to be transferring my book or my custom to Nook.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Silver Smoke

Author Mercy Celeste reports that Silver Publishing is seriously behind in payment of royalties. She includes a copy of a letter from the owner admitting to being in debt to authors.

Other authors have also reported problems.

As per my usual guidelines, missing or seriously delayed royalty payments make a press "not recommended".

See also:
I think this is going to get heated. My opinion, from hard experience, is that once a press fails to pay you because they simply don't have the money, the time for loyalty may be over.

I very much doubt that the answer is to get more authors to join so the press can earn money off their work to pay your arrears.

I do not think it is 'hate' to point out that a publisher has failed to pay royalties as promised. As long as that remains true, I will keep saying it. I also do not think it is disloyal for anyone to openly say something that is clearly true.  Any other claims about this press are, from my point of view, fairly unimportant and I have no opinion about them.

Are Metrosexuals Obsolete?

A researcher by the name of Casanova is studying the term "metrosexual".

It seems she found that white-collar urban men are now all metrosexuals, so the word has become obsolete.

I think she might want to expand her data set.  IMHO "metrosexuality" is still a necessary land-bridge for non-New York socialite, non-gay men who want to be well-groomed.


Friday, November 09, 2012

Amazon Betterizer

Yes, it's all very cute and charming to created neologisms, but I do think a website devoted primarily to selling the written word could come up with a better name for their choice optimising tool.

Betterizer?

Really?




Your Character as a Wine?

Author Ally Blake teams up with Tyrrell's Wines to produce a wine themed after a character in her latest romance novel.

Says she: "Arabella is fun, fresh, charming and sophisticated, just like a bottle of Arabella Rose."

What beverage would your hero or heroine be?

In the case of my Ballot's Keep series: "Xeras is nice to look at but extremely acerbic and doesn't travel well. Think of a cheap un-oaked chardonnay served very cold."

Friday, November 02, 2012

BroadLit

I was already kind of leery of the name BroadLit for a publisher.  Broad being generally accepted as a derogatory term.

And now we have a logo that is vaguely suggestive of cosmetic surgery, be it a lot of collagen in the lower lip or some serious boob lifting.


Thursday, November 01, 2012

3rd Life

I find the existence of Dolcett fetish kind of unsettling enough.

It edged a little closer to reality as part of 2nd Life role-playing.

And now we have the arrest of a man, a police man no less, who was apparently preparing to act out this fetish in fully real life.

[Shudder]

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Amazon Weirdness (assorted)

Exhibit 1: Amazon threatens to pull book because customer keeps trying to post a positive review. Have you had positive review vanish recently? It looks like an over-zealous sockhunt....

Exhibit 2: Amazon deletes a kindle customers purchased ebooks for no clear reason. Something to do with geographical restrictions, perhaps? Surely she should get a refund, or an explanation that actually explains what happened, or something?

Exhibit 3: This is no differential pricing by region, except when there is.

Penguin confirms Merger talks with Random House

Albeit very tersely: "Pearson confirms that it is discussing with Bertelsmann a possible combination of Penguin and Random House. The two companies have not reached agreement"

Damn you, inappropriate media coverage! Bow before the might of (alleged) Pengdomzilla!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Who has the right to know?

A lot of people were pretty happy when Reddit "troll" Violentacrez was exposed.  he was banned from Reddit and lost his job.  He had posted pictures of women out in public in order to discuss their physical attributes, and also pictures of underage girls.

Not having visited those subReddits I will take Reddit's word on the fact that none of the images was actually illegal.  I assume the women and girls pictures were all clothed to an acceptable degree.  In which case they are not against policy and one wonders why he was banned.

I suppose the argument is that knowing the identity of a guy who obsessively collects pictures of young girls out of a sexual motivation is in the public interest.  And once his real name was outed it is up to other people, including his employers, to decide how they want to react.

But I really am not very comfortable with this. If no crime is actually committed, do we have the right to "out" people for doing things that many (including myself) would consider unpleasant or immoral?

*****

What about the pro-life campaigners trying to prevent the opening of a clinic that would provide abortions.  They say: "We feel if you're pregnant you have a right to know if your midwife performs abortions as well." 

Their motivation is clearly to harrass-by-proxy anyone planning to work at the clinic, cause it not to open, and make abortion far less accessible to people in the region who would have to drive a long way to the next clinic.

But objectively speaking, I am sure they are at least as upset about abortion as most people are about posting pictures of girls in order to have sexualized discussions about them.

Where exactly is the difference in terms of right to anonymity in carrying out a legal activity considered objectionable by some members of the public. Is there such a thing as a right to anonymity? And if so, are these rights subject to some public mandate relating to how many people are disgusted by how you use it, and to what extent?

*****

When discussions of pseudonyms come up, some one inevitably says they don't use one because they are not "ashamed" of what they write.  But guess what, neither am I.  But that does not mean I want to be open to how people would react to knowing that I write gay erotica.

What I write is not relevant to my job, because I do not make it relevant to my job.  And I don't see why some crusader should be able to demand the right break down the paper walls I use to keep my life orderly and focused.  I go to events in my professional capacity, in my author capacity, or in a private capacity. Pseudonyms, and the relative anonymity they create, are part of how I create that clarity for myself and the people I am interacting with.

But do I have the right to retain these distinctions if someone out there thinks I am a moral hazard?  Because I am sure plenty of people would.  Maybe even one of my neighbors who might want to make me feel unwelcome.  Maybe some one I work with, or for.  Maybe some bigot with a can of kerosine and a lighter.

When it gets down to it, where do my rights and and theirs begin?

My morning riddle (off topic)

Is this a word?  What is my apartment manager planning to do?


Sunday, October 14, 2012

MARKET Horny Devil

Horny Devil is an erotica e-publisher. They specialize in short stories.  They have grey on red text on their website so I didn't delve into the details.

Friday, October 12, 2012

MARKET White Orchid


White Orchid Press is a new erotic romance publisher.  The owner is named as Kandyce Johnson

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Amazon Author Rank

From my inbox, and probably yours.


"Dear [author]
Today we have added a new feature, Amazon Author Rank, the definitive list of best-selling authors on Amazon.com. This list makes it easy for readers to discover the best-selling authors on Amazon.com overall and within a selection of major genres. Your Amazon Author Rank is [whatever] in[genre] .


Amazon Author Rank is your rank based on the sales of all of your books on Amazon.com. Just like Amazon Best Sellers, it is updated hourly.  The top 100 authors overall and the top 100 in selected genres will be displayed on Amazon.com.  And you can see your Amazon Author Rank trended over time in Author Central.


You can find your Amazon Author Rank in Author Central under the Rank tab. Historical rank data is available from September 28, 2012.

We’re always interested in feedback, so please let us know what you think.

The Author Central Team

https://authorcentral.amazon.com


P.S.  You may have friends who are authors; feel free to pass this email along to them.  Amazon Author Rank is a feature available to all authors registered in Author Central."


[Heavy sigh.]

Why does everything have to be a frelling competition?

Monday, October 08, 2012

Puzzle me this...

An author giving their own book a five star rating is tacky, but not inexplicable.

But why would an author give their own book 2-stars?

(Gwyn Lacy is openly a pseudonym of Gwen Hankins).

Saturday, October 06, 2012

New Taboos

It seems that the publisher of Kenny Rogers' memoir was fine with chapters on seedy sex scandals, but made him cut the chapter on cosmetic surgery.  I think that has to be considered an interesting shift in priorities.  But perhaps they were thinking of the sensitivities of a readership that will skew older (hence the release of a large print paperback, but not a standard font one?)

Friday, October 05, 2012

MARKET Midnight Fire

Midnight Fire Erotic Publishing

I am not quite sure how you publish "erotically", but I am sure it can be done. And it is nice to know "No animals were harmed in the making of this site", although I was unaware that website design normally involved some form of animal torture (the nature of which I struggle to imagine).

They state:
"Midnight Fire Erotic Publishing is an indie book publishing company.
We understand authors may not want their names associated with this genre and encourage authors to submit a pen name and alias.
We are open for submissions in all levels of Erotica."

Thursday, October 04, 2012

50 shades toys

I don't judge people based on what they read.

But I would judge the hell out of anyone who:

A) thinks this is a spanking paddle, and

B) thinks it is worth 24.99 UK pounds ( $US 40 ).

Seriously, people.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

The thing about having a biology major...

Is that when you see this:



You think this:

The whole story

A lot of journalists have clearly been fed a story with an angle built in.  How dare publishers charge more for ebooks than hardback copies of the same title? What none of the mainstream media lip-syncers seem to have done is wonder why or how that happens.

For example because they are looking at Amazon, where ebooks are priced on the agency model and so cannot be discounted, while hardbacks are sold on the wholesale model and so can be discounted. The recommended retail prices between formats are at most, the same. Differentials are introduced through retailer discounts.

And how the agency model was a response to accusations of price fixing. And how the alleged price fixing was a response to a potential monoply caused by Amazon locking in it's e-reader to its retailing website and basically making a grab for the entire ebook market.

All of which makes me wonder if the author if this so-called news story starts with an A and ends with an m. (Revenge is a dish best served via syndicated articles?)


Monday, October 01, 2012

Why I hate IntenseDebate

Getting rid of IntenseDebate has apparently FUBARed all the comments made while it was installed.

I am trying to be Zen about it.

The Ghost and Kesha

Kesha recently revealed that she once had sex with a ghost.  It seems there are more people than you might expect that report experiences with apparent ghosts, succubi and the like. Or maybe the Seacrest interview was just a publicity stunt.

On a related note, is a sexy ghost romance paranormal(1) or supernatural(2)? Or both? It must be about time for a new sexy hero type.

I for one am a big fan of The Ghost and Mrs Muir--and would lay down my dollars for something similar with more "action".

(1) "...beyond the scope of normal scientific understanding."

(2) "...some force beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature."

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Man Booker Prize judge thinks book bloggers are killing lit crit.

"Eventually [book blogging] will be to the detriment of literature. It will be bad for readers; as much as one would like to think that many bloggers opinions are as good as others. It just ain't so. People will be encouraged to buy and read books that are no good, the good will be overwhelmed, and we'll be worse off. There are some important issues here."

Boo-fricking-hoo, I say. 

Does he seriously think readers don't know that not all opinions are created equal?

Has he not considered that bloggers are sometimes (often) beating professional critics because their opinions are more useful?Perhaps because they embrace more genres (e.g. romance) and more reasons for reading (e.g. entertainment).

High literary institutions are all very well, but they do not own the readership, and they do not autmatically get the right to lead, represent and determine the purchases of the entire readership. The don't get to unilaterally decide what is "good".  Or force people to buy books that don't meet their needs.

Frankly, Sir Peter needs to grow up and realize that we know that not all opinions are create equal.  And most people would not rank his opinion near the top of the personal list when it comes to deciding what books to buy and read.


See also

Monday, September 24, 2012

Feedburner

It seems that Google acquired Feedburner because they wanted to screw it up and close it down. Because of the way my feed is configured I was unable to retrieve the subscriber list. So if you were subscribed via rss or atom you will need to resubscribe via the feed option currently at the top of the left column.

Apologies for the inconvenience.

Update: Now it is working again.  But still goes obsolete in less than a month....

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Market: Lonehouse

New epublisher Lonehouse has a call out for romance, erotica, women's fiction, and general fiction.  The material in the open call seems to be all there is at the moment.

Editor Cat #1


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Author Royally Screwed by Forever Amber

Remember Forever Amber a.k.a. 309 East 83rd Publishing, the rampant plagiarists? Well one tale has emerged of an author whose entire book was appropriated by these asshats, who managed to publish it before she did.

I do hope that puts pay to any notion that 309 East 83rd Publishing is in anyway legitimate.  I think they need to be put out of business as soon as possible.  And if they (he? she?) want me to think any different they should pay full restitution to all affected authors and prove the legal origin of any book they still offer for sale.

Although I personally would not take away the lesson that registering copyright is a necessity, unless you happen to have posted most or all or your work online prior to publication.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Didn't see that coming

Tina Burns seems to have left Liquid Silver and gone to work at Total-Ebound. Somehow I missed this until now.

Any other considerations aside, I am having a little trouble working out why a distinctively British e-publisher wants an American Editor-in-Chief.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Muso Update

My experience with Muso, the DMCA notice service, was pretty much a success. I joined for a few months and got every pirated copy they could find taken down.  I have not done an exhaustive search to see if they missed any, but I did check everything on the first 5 pages of Googling my pen name, and none of the listings had a live file.After there were no more 'hits' I terminated the subscription and just monitored the email updates on the account to make sure a whole lot more hadn't popped up.

I joined again this month because they have added a new service.  Now they will get even the listing of the file taken down from major search engines.  While having the file taken down prevents it from being downloaded, the junky file share listings and download button stay up, potemtially interfering with readers finding your websites and real points-of-sale.  De-indexing from Google is also a great strategy to use against fileshare sites that ignore DMCAs. So I think this is a great added service.

As long as you are comfortable with $15 a month and know how to start and terminate a paypal auto-pay, I would recommend trying this service.Once I have all the listings and files down I will try a more serious search and see if they missed any.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Harlequin and Fidelity?

I was rather surprised by a recent Harlequin desire I started reading last night. Specifically that the hero and heroine have sex despite both knowing that he is in a serious relationship with a marriage-minded girlfriend.

They are not in, nor do they expect to be in, a relationship at the time, and they don't use protection despite both knowing she is not on the pill. Oh, and the girlfriend is in another room of the same (admitted large) house chatting with the hero's mother and other family members at the time.

There a lot of boundaries I might encourage Harlequin to push, but I am not sure infidelity is one of them.  I would have thought that was rather central to the brand.  Is this popping up in any of their other books?

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Grace

A church put up a sign featuring a copy of 50 Shades of Grey being burned and the line "50 Shades of Grace".

One journalist stated that the church was trying to "grab book lovers' attention" and that "people who drive by the sign don't understand why a church would want to affiliate themselves with a book largely about sex."

My question would be: why would a church want to affiliate with book burning? And why they think such an image would have any kid of positive impact on book lovers?

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Revisiting Noble Romance

The new CEO of Novel Romance is, apparently, Jean Gombart (who seems to have no publishing experience). 

The pattern of non-response to most author communications continues. Tax documents have not been sent. Royalties seems to still be outstanding (?). Rights are not being reverted to author who are dissatisfied or consider their contract to have been breached.

But Noble has made at least some of the outstanding payments to authors.

Nevertheless the general situation still seems pretty dire with some authors requesting a boycott.

In my opinion the remains 'not recommended'.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Just Romance

I understand the context, but I still find it interesting that Harlequin would use the phrase "just romance".  In any context. Ever.  I mean that is the heart and core of their brand, not "just" anything.
No comment on the "betterforever".

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Book burnings are bad, okay?

I don't think you have to be a big E L James fan to realize that any call to burn books is regressive, puritanical, and frankly patronizing to the reading public. And it doesn't matter who is doing it or why.

You don't fight abuse by suggesting females are too weak minded to separate fantasy from reality, and will run out and beg to be abused just because they read a smexy book.

Or is the suggestion that reading a novel about a dubious relationship is some kind of "thought crime"? Thus rendering this charity less progressive that Queen Elizabeth the first who famously said: "I have no desire to make windows into mens souls."

Defining "Abuse"

I was pretty much stopped cold by a line in an interview with authors SL Armstrong and K Piet. I will start by saying I have read and greatly enjoyed these authors' book and I have no issue whatsoever with fiction about consensual incest or the points they are making in this post as read in its entirety. In fact I fully agree.

That said, I was temporarily shocked to scan down and see a bolded bullet point saying: "Love and Consent Should Trump Abuse"

I absolutely agree that "The addition of consent shouldn’t somehow make the content more objectionable" when speaking of relationships depicted in fiction.  And, actually, that fiction is fiction and you should be able to write about any damn thing you want up to and including stuff that would be wildly horrible if it happened in real life.

However in the real world abuse can and does occur with victims that love their abuser and consent to the abuse, including but not limited to children, animals, the developmental delayed, and those who are under the abuser's total control despite possibly being (objectively speaking) free to leave at any time. 

What happens in fiction is fiction and I have the somewhat unpopular view that absolutely everything should be allowed.  But abuse is the kind of subject where it is important to be very clear when you are talking about fiction and when you are talking about the real world. Even if that means prefacing every single statement with an awkward caveat.



Just my 2c.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Can you unjump a shark?

The story so far:
  • Victoria Foyt published a dystopian novel where white people are an oppressed minority
  • Many of the things in the book and promotional materials are widely deemed to be extremely racist
  • Just as the reaction started to settle down Weird Tales' Marvin Kaye declared Foyt's book was totally not racist and they would be publishing an excerpt in the next issue (cached version here).
  • Many authors pulled their stories from Weird Tales and much was said about how badly it the mag has sucked since changing hands about a year ago (and firing all the good editors).
  • Weird Tales' new publisher John Harlacher says: Oops, I take it all back. And deletes Kaye's post. (A little more about the whole thing here).

In which RWA makes things "clearer"

RWA has recently been clarifying its position that general members must be "seriously pursuing a romance fiction writing career". 

My first thought is that this puts the 'romance is between one man and one women' debate of yore in a new light.  As, had the initiative succeeded, M/M writers would presumably have been expelled from the general (voting) membership. 

However in this case the people having their asses handed to them are the writers off books 'with romantic elements'.  Including people who have been up until now been general members, not to mention RITA nominees, PAN members etc. (Oh, and RWA has a 'with romantic elements' special interest chapter.)

This "clarification" looks a hell of  lot like a change of position because the implication seems to be that, contrary to what was said at the last convention, 'WRE' members will be ousted from the general member category into the non-voting, unwashed category.

Well, it was about time for the semi-annual RWA cock-up, wasn't it?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Ravenous for numbers

Do you remember when Ravenous Romance hit the internetz with a hiss and a roar back in 2008? I sure do.  My comment was: "Time, and sales volume, will tell."

It would be nice to have some sales numbers for them :).  Novella length anthologies count in these numbers too, in case you were wondering.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Market: Captive Unicorn

Captive Unicorn is a new erotic and erotic romance e-publisher. Royalty-only, typically paying 37% of cover price. Light on details re: owners and staff.

Racy?

Can penning a novel narrow your job prospects?  Well, there does seem to be one job you wil have more trouble getting: ambassador to the Vatican. Proposed Bulgarian ambassador, Kiril Marichkov, got knocked back-- reportedly due to the content of his out-of-print novel Clandestination.

The book has been characterized as  'racy' and 'gay' because an impoverished character turns to prostitution. Apparently it is deeply offensive for a married, straight author to write about a gay act carried out by a straight man as an act of desperation even though the character regrets his behavior and prays for forgiveness afterwards.

The next time I want to read a racy gay book, I suspect I will be looking elsewhere.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Noble Defections

Jill Noble (late of Noble Romance) will apparently now be an epublishing-only agent with the Lori Perkins Agency.

A hat-trick of hinky?

Or more, depending on how you count it.


Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Yet another "Sin List"

Sinlist [ (snˌlɪst]
n
a list that includes, indiscriminately, abusive actions that cause measurable harm to others and actions that  transgression a specific religious or moral code, as if to imply objective equivalence between these categories.
"What won't you publish? 
 Stories with illegal activities without negative consequences
Bestiality of any kind
Rape (male or female)
Pedophilia (any physical relationship between minors and adults)
Same-sex romances
Pornography"

Bad Author, No Cookie

Quote via TM Publishing:

"Many readers today struggle to find something worth reading. Unfortunately, many books—even best sellers—are littered with graphic descriptions of sex and violence. In a busy world, a reader might spend a good portion of their reading time just looking for a good book to read!

...

More importantly, in every genre, TM Publishing books and magazines never include graphic descriptions of sex or violence. Great literature can be clean literature, too"

Monday, August 06, 2012

Not That Cerridwyn Press

Late in 2010, Ellora's Cave morphed Cerridwen Press into their Blush imprint.  So I was rather confused to see recent references to a Cerridwen Publishing. Well, actually Cerridwyn.  But it still seems odd to brand a new romance press with a name that has been used by a previous romance press. I don't think one letter is enough to avoid confusion.

Edited to add banners:

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

The Rise and Fall of a Ruby Lioness

[~November, 2011] Ruby Lioness Press (owned by Angelique Mroczka) opens
[24-28 November, 2011] RLP starts to use social networks
[22 December, 2011] RLP joins Smashwords
[~26 December, 2011] First book released
[14 February, 2012] First book on Amazon
[June, 2012] RLP owner and staff post a series of blog entries on how stupid authors are doing bad things
[31 July, 2012] RLP is still accepting manuscripts for publication
[1 August, 2012] RLP Closes

Lifespan: ~8 months
Authors: 24
Books: ?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Score one for the so-called "anti-bullies"

One of the reviewers targeted by 'Stop the Goodreads Bullies' has decided that she has had enough of their harassment and closed her review blog.

Reviewer Wendy has closed Cupcake and a Latte, a blog that provided valuable YA reviews, and also her Twitter account.

It is sad that the blog-verse will lose Wendy's reviews, but I understand that sometimes it is just too stressful to deal with the crap that some people are willing to shovel onto anyone they disapprove of.

Update: to be clear the anti-bully in this case is Carroll Bryant, not STGRB, although the two seem to have some association back of house and STGRB covered Bryant's complaints--so I do tend to see them as part of one general movement by authors against reviewers,

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Noble Romance FUBARed?

While the lights are still on, everything else seems to be a bit of a mess. Many of the authors are circling the wagons, no doubt hoping to get their royalties and/or rights back.

Update: Noble Romance added to our "Not Recommended" list.

See: 
Update:

Tales of a Trunk Novel

  • Penelope Trunk is trumpeting that she sold a book, decided to self-publish instead, but kept the advance.
  • Greenfield at Digital Bookworld called this out as impossible, and then edited it back to somewhere between implausible and unusual. Comments on this post point out that the self-published version fo this book is only 50 pages long--so perhaps not the full 300-page product initially contracted.
  • Ron Hogan adds that she stepped out on Que, a rather minor imprint of Penguin and perhaps not "all that". And that the cancellation seems to have been rather last minute.
All in all I am not sure that this so much the triumph of a scrappy author over the incompetence of mainstream publishing, as an author who never finished the book and took advantage of a legal loophole?  Time will tell.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Jill Noble Leaves Noble Romance

Senior Editor Jill Noble is leaving her position at Noble Romance.  The exact reasons are unspecified but Noble describes them as "powerful and legitimate".

Noble romance is known for taboo-breaking themes and an overall brand that is largely synonymous with Jill Noble.  Therefore its future without her seems uncertain at best.

The CEO of Noble Romance is Jim Noble.

Update: Noble Romance Publishing: Poof! Gone Baby Gone?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The book reviewers love to hate

Well, color me surprised. My quick-and-dirty comparison of scores from the new 'Rotten Tomatoes for Books' website shows that higher ratings actually correlate with better sales (as estimated by Amazon sales rank).

With one notable exception:


Is the online reviewing world going bonkers?

  • First we had the anti-meangrrl-Goodreads-reviewer stalker site allegedly set up by self-publishing authors, sparking a rampant, recursive and blithely hypocritical GR-bullying meme.. 
  • The Chick Lit Girls went after an author who revealed they charge fees and suffered under an internet dog pile (which I guess I was part of).
  • Then Rotten Tomatoes had to close a movie to comments for the first time ever due to virulent attacks against anyone posting negative reviews about a Batman movie.

I think it is time to take the dog for a long walk, have a couple of G & Ts, and hope the tomorrow will be another day.  Perhaps one in which all the teacups are not rattling with self-important storms of hissy outrage because some stranger posted some  less-than-sparkly comment about a book or movie on the internet.

See also:

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Instant Shades

So what does a publisher do if they need a 50 Shades style erotic novel or two, but don't have a back catalog or bottomless budget?

309 did it the under-the-counter way by just hijacking and rewriting classics, but it seems this particular solution is in the air:Take a classic, and sex it up.

Total E-bound is doing saucy versions of Austen and Conan Doyle.  At least they are giving the original author co-credit....

I am unconvinced that there is a big market for classics verbatim with sex added, rather than written-from-scratch pastiche.  But time will tell.

Monday, July 16, 2012

How much per star?

It seems that http://chicklitgirls.com/ charge for reviews, but get very upset if you mention this online.  I don't think anything you tell every author that approaches you for a review can be counted as a "secret".

Update: The Chick Lit Girls blog seems to have closed.

See also:

Forever Amber/309--now plagiarising dead people


These public domain short stories so they could reissue them. But taking the book, changing it a little and claiming authorship under a new name is not legitimate.

And Amazon does not accept ressiued public domain books.

So, um, no.  Strike two.

I suspect there are more 'reinvented' books but only had time to check a few right now.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

309 East 83rd Publishing

Okay, so what's the deal with 309 East 83rd Publishing?

http://foreveramberpublishing.com/ redirects there (You may remember they were busted for rampant plagiarism)

The website still says "We are still in the process of uploading and debugging our new site
and will have a brand new and shiny site completed on Friday, May 11, 2012" ... in July.

Some of the books are clearly repackaged.  For example, the book now listed as "Travels in Seduction" by Bethany Ratner seems to be identical to what was "Travels with Angelina" by Felicia Sussex.

Hmmm.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

1Place for Romance closed

Romance e-tailer 1PlaceforRomance is closing up shop. At least it is being wound up in an orderly fashion.

Monday, July 09, 2012

DZFiction, wait and see

Absolute Write's Uncle Jim is inclined to say "publisher is not an entry level position."  I would be inclined to say the same about being an ebook retailer.

When you looka at DZFiction at first it seems fine.  They allow derivative works but it seems to be only of material loaded to their site and categorized as permitting same.

But then I see mention of permitting "scanlations"--which usually means scanning a manga, and translating the language of the text.  Scanlations are normally done without the permission of the copyright holder.

Then in answer to queries on the forum DZ writes:

"Just to clarify, all fanfiction are not for sale - users will be blocked from pricing any work under this category."

As I am sure you all know, unauthorized fanfiction is just as illegal free as it is when you charge money for it.  That is why mainstream vendors need to stay well, well away from it.

"We believe in giving our users a second chance and allow them to learn from their mistakes"

So everyone gets to plagiarize once (per account)?

Account are available to all ages.

My advice would be to steer clear of this outfit until they work out how to operate fully within the law.

Friday, July 06, 2012

12 Shades of Coat-tails


Mills and Boon is calling its new sexy line of sexy old (reprint) books "12 Shades of Surrender" -- a.k.a. if-you-liked-50-Shades-of-Grey-please-give-us-all-your-money.

I understand the motivation but wish they has been just a tad more subtle about it.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Charity Books

Sometimes it seems to me that if a book is for charity, or is written by a child, it is means to be untouchable. So what kind of bitch would criticize a book by a child, for a charity.  Answer: me.

It is great that a ten year old wrote a book to help work through his issues with nightmares, and wants to help fund cancer research after his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.

However:
  • The book is 28 pages long 
  • It is priced as $18.63
  • Only $1 of this is being donated
This leaves me less than entirely impressed with both the precocious talent of the child and the charitable intent of the book..

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Wonderful World of Kenneth Eng

There's normal grade author-crazy......and then there's Kenneth Eng.  Author of a 2005 book about cyborg dragons (or some such)  which he promoted by:
  • (2005) Giving Eragon a one star review on Amazon and recommending his own book instead. (Ditto Harry Potter, and probably others).
  • (2007) Discussing it on Fox News when he was meant to be explaining why he wrote a newspaper column called "Why I Hate Back People" Then he ended up in jail for a while for threatening to kill his neighbors.
  • (2012) Releasing a new book about a haunted aquarium pretty much the second his sentence ended and he was allowed back online.
  • Spamming everything in sight.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Fisking eLectio

Some of you may have received the following missive from eLectio


Hello,


First, let me assure you that this is the only email you will receive regarding this topic.  You will not receive additional emails with incessant requests for support.  Also, please know that I am not posing as some "ambassador" from a small, non-existent African country whose client has a proposition that will result in untold millions for you and your family.

Now, let's get down to business.



This introduction is about as reassuring as opening the door and finding a large man in a ski mask, who immediately says: "I assure you I am not a mugger"

I want to take a moment and tell you about a company that I have founded:  eLectio Publishing (http://www.electiopublishing.com).  eLectio Publishing is a Christian Digital Publishing company that exists to discover and distribute fiction and non-fiction works that ultimately glorify God.  We have stringent decency guidelines on our website (feel free to look through them).  We also have a worldwide distribution agreement with one of the America's premiere digital publishers.  In addition, we have our first signed author with another three authors in contract negotiations.

The "first signed author", by a wild coincidence, has the same name as the author of this letter.

Here is why I am emailing you.  I believe that God will provide everything that we need in order to make this venture operate.  But that is where you come in.
If you are a believer in Christ, there are three things you could do to help us:

1.  Visit our website at www.eLectioPublishing.com  Share the website with friends, especially if they have a talent for writing.  We are absolutely interested in new talent.
2.  Become a fan of our FaceBook page at www.facebook.com/eLectioPublishing.  Also, if you are twitter, follow us on Twitter (www.twitter.com/eLectioPubs).
3.  Please pray about and consider donating to our crowd-funding campaign to help us offset our initial expenses.  We are counting on God to provide us with the donors needed to give us everything that we need (as we do not have any intention of opening this business upon a mountain of debt).  Even a $10 donation will help us get where we need to be (if we get enough $10 donations, we will reach our goal in no time).  Also, you will receive perks and public recognition (should you so desire it) when you donate.  Also, please tell any and all of your friends that may be interested in helping out.

The link to the fundraising campaign is here:  http://igg.me/eLectio

Christ wants you to send me all your money.  No, really. 


Understand that primarily we just want to get the word out about our new business.  However, if you are led to give, we truly appreciate all the support.
And again, there will be no further unsolicited communications from us.
Many blessings to you,
Jesse S. Greever
CEO, eLectio Publishing


Begging and Christ-spolation. This is a new low in the world of digital publishing.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Katie Price

Katie Price knows how to make an impression at a book launch

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Solstice

Solstice Publishing sent out an email to authors recently including the following statements, which do not really cast them in a very favorable light.

"The existing Solstice business model is a hybrid of traditional and vanity publishing. The company effectively offers light editorial services" [a.k.a. we don't edit very well.]

"Our intention is to start with you and your book, and build a web-based universe around them - allowing you to share your inspirations, processes, and other works with a community that supports and is inspired by you." [a.k.a. we don't really get that most of our readers just want to buy books.]

"Many of you expressed concern about current marketing efforts ... The fact is that most publishing houses are unwilling or unable to really put the resources into marketing all but the barest handful of high profile books and writers." [a.k.a. we are sorry that you expected us to provide marketing support, and we advise you to get over yourself.]

"There have been a handful of books published under our label that really needed significant editing and improvement before being offered to the public." [a.k.a. in case you missed the earlier euphemism: our editing sucks].


As a bonus, from their website: "Solstice does alot of promoting for the books." and "We send all of Solstice Books off for reviews --- We can't make the review sites review the book, But we send every book to review sites." [a.k.a. this is an example of 'lightly edited' text.]


The overall tone is rather similar to when Hearts on Fire was reinvented as Solstice.  Will they be shedding books and authors again?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Amazon and Indy Copyright

It seems that Amazon is finally doing something to prevent people from self-publishing copyright-infringing material through Kindle.

Predictably, they are doing it in a ham fisted way. Specifically, demanding that self-publishers prove their publications are their own, within five day, by posting urls. Because that's how copyright works.  (Not.)

On the positive side they are limiting these notices to authors of works that duplicate online material and so might reasonably fall under suspicion..But it seems like quite a few legit books are also getting caught in the net.

It seems that most users with book/online correspondences can provide this kind of proof--but I wonder what happens when you can't?

See:

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Why is Harlequin listing non-fiction as romance? And why is Amazon letting them?

See: 

How Winning Works: 8 Essential Leadership Lessons from the Toughest Teams on Earth
Book - Romance - Contemporary

The Beauty Detox Solution: Eat Your Way to Radiant Skin, Renewed Energy and the Body You've Always Wanted
Book - Romance - Contemporary

The Happy Stepmother: Stay Sane, Empower Yourself, Thrive in Your New Family
Book - Romance - Contemporary

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Scarlet Tie Books

Well, here's another one.

Seeking "quality GLBT fiction with a strong emphasis on plot and characterisation". 

"Our mission is to offer high quality books for readers of m/m fiction" (What happened to L, B & T?)

The people behind it are Zachary Sexton and Meg Leigh.

The tiny gray font on the website put me off really looking much further.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Time and Tide Publishing

Time and Tide are a new publisher with two anthologies for which they are seeking submissions (one of them the inaugural title for their erotica line). 

They are not, however, planning to pay for these submissions.

This might make sense if the profits were going to charity, it was a non-profit fan publisher, or the anthology was in a genre without commercial potential.

But as far as I can see, none of these apply,

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Twins....

Twins so identical they can't even have their own light source.

Some People are Easily Shocked


Concerned citizens who complained about the "nearly naked" woman on this billboard presumably do not go to the beach very often.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Fanfic in Microcosm: fanfiction.net

I can remember when FanFiction.net  first started in the late nineties. It hardly seemed like a viable idea given the inevitable rampant copyright infringement. And yet it prospered. Somehow it seemed to become the norm to tolerate the site (although a number of major authors went on record as not tolerating fanfic and the site respected this) .

Predictably, a lot of the fiction posted was erotic--and this presents something of a double jeopardy (copyright infringement risk, plus obscenity risk). You were meant to be 18 yeas old to join but it was an open secret that the many of the members were younger.

Rather than alienate their core demographic, in 2002 Fanfiction.net decided to lower the acceptable age to 13, and so lower the acceptable rating to 'M' ("Detailed descriptions of physical interaction of sexual or violent nature" not allowed).However quite a few authors claimed an M rating when their material probably exceeded that category. Given that stories are moderated only if reported, they were likely to slip under the radar. (This is, after all, where 50 Shades first appeared).

The latest development started lat in May and has continued into June.  It seems a lot of stories are getting reported and subsequently removed.  The underlying cause seems to be user-reporting, possibly galvanized by "Critic United".

Is this "bullying"?  I would say: no.  It is simply another, somewhat ironic, example of how being tolerated is not the same as being accepted.


See also:
Dear fanfiction.net [June 5]

Monday, June 04, 2012

ISOTUT WTF

ISOTUT is not a romance publisher, but they are so inept as to deserve comment.  Here is the content from their website, with a few observations added in brackets:

"We, ISOTUT Publisher, is [singular/plural disagreement] an Independent Book Publisher, as we are not part of a group of publishers that are owned by any Large Publishing Houses (Company[ies]).


We publish all writing genre's [misplaced apostrophe] and we do not turn away any of our writers or their books.[We don't care if you can write, only if you can pay]


Those fees that we will quote you in our publishing proposal is [singular/plural disagreement] for our services to edit / design your book.


We do not [an] pay advance [upon] royalty[ies].


We pay for all the advertising / promoting and setting up your book with our wholesalers worldwide, on our end as we do not charge you for those fees as this keeps your fees down. [Run on sentence]


We set up your book with our wholesalers which are in the US / Canada / UK / Europe / Australia and in Brazil, for all bookstores and booksellers to order and to sell your book worldwide.


For being a new author you will not find a publisher that will pay you upfront (advanced royalty). [bollocks] You need to get your foot in the door first and when your book sells great, then other publisher's [misplaced apostrophe] will contact us [more bollocks]. We will then contact you to let you know that a large publishing company has taken an interest in buying the re-print rights [more bollocks]. They will pay you advance, but not until you get noticed and your book sells great. This will take time, years. [even more pure, unadulterated bollocks]


The main reason that publishers do not pay [an] advance [on] royalty[ies] [bollocks continues], is that there are over 3.5 million plus book titles published worldwide each year. There is no knowing how a book will sell until it is out in the market [sigh], and what the author is willing to do on their own to get noticed as the author of their own book.


To date, there are 30 million plus book titles published and each new book has to compete with those books. New authors also have to compete with authors that have been well known for the past 15 - 30 plus years.


The only way a book will do well is based on what the author of that book wants, on what the author is willing to do to get themselves noticed as the author of their book [Unless, of course, the get published by someone who is in possession of a clue]."

Looking at the introduction to their best-seller I find the statement:

"Neither is this book written with any perfect skillfulness such as in proper sentence structuring, or even correct usage of grammar - as that it not its true purpose."

Since when did publishers take pride in illiteracy?