Tuesday, September 18, 2018

KBoards Kerfuffle

A keen-eyed community member noted what looks like a change in the Terms of Service associated with a change of ownership for the KBoards forum--a site where the author's sub-forum is by far the most active area. Many of the following terms are standard but some seem an over-reach in relation to authors using their pan names on the forum and potential transmitting works through direct message (see underlined).

"You agree to grant to KBOARDS.COM a non exclusive, royalty free, worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual license to reproduce, distribute, transmit, sublicense, create derivative works of, publicly display, publish and perform any materials and other information you submit to any public areas, chat rooms, bulletin boards, newsgroups or forums of KBOARDS.COM or which you provide by email or any other means to KBOARDS.COM and in any media now known or hereafter developed. Further, you grant to KBOARDS.COM the right to use your name and or user name in connection with the submitted materials and other information as well as in connection with all advertising, marketing and promotional material related thereto, together with use on any other VerticalScope Inc. web sites. You agree that you shall have no recourse against VerticalScope Inc. for any alleged or actual infringement or misappropriation of any proprietary right in your communications to KBOARDS.COM."

This goes a little further than the usual legal as covering and is, not surprisingly, causing concern and a likely exodus. Especially as the change was not flagged and new consents were not gathered for it--suggesting an intent for it to apply immediately and to pre-existing materials. Way to kill your forum, VerticalScope--but with a buzzwordy name like that, is it really any surprise?


  • David Gaughran notes that the majority shareholder of VerticalScope is Torstar, previous an owner of Harlequin. 
  • The admin now is only accepting account deletion requests via email to  privacy at verticalscope.com

See also
VerticalScope’s Overreaching TOS 9-19-2018
Dumpster Fire at Kboards 9-19-2018

Monday, September 17, 2018

Trends: Harem Romance

It seems like "harem" and "reverse harem" are becoming increasingly popular keywords in erotic romance.  It seems to bridge the gap between certain kinds of M/F+ and F/M+ and the harem tropes already well established in anime.

From what I can tell most of these are not literally harem scenario where the protagonist has access to a household full of sexual/romantic partners.  In anime it is more a case of a person be presented with, and possibly exploring, a range of possible partners before ending up with one/some/all  of them. In romance reverse romance with a female protagonist is more common and "all" seems to be the preferred outcome.

 I would be interested in learning more about this trope if any of you could send me a better description or harem and reverse harem as erotic romance tropes, and perhaps some recommendations of good books of this type to try?

See also:

Sunday, September 16, 2018

REVIEW: Undertow by Brooklyn Ray

UNDERTOW is the second in a series, but easy to slip into.  The reader is introduced to a circle of young witches embroiled in some inter-personal strife,  very complicated magic, and possibly an occult war. The relationship between water-witch Liam and necromancer Ryder is already complicated before omens of death and visits from a sinister kelpie up the stakes considerably. 
Brooklyn Ray does an excellent job of dropping the reader into the midst of sharply drawn characters and more new adult high stakes magical angst than there is water in the ocean.  And I don’t mean that as criticism, I love me some sexy magical life-and-death angst.  And the texture and aesthetics of the world (magic, familiars, fae, demons etc) are very enjoyable and delivered entirely without clich├ęs or tiresome exposition—things just are how they are.

My only complaint would be that this novella seems like a long chapter from the whole story.  The strand of the story resolved in this part is the one most immediately relevant to the point-of-view character Liam but with loose ends that need resolving within just a few weeks.  And I can’t help but feel that Liam is not one of the more dominant characters in this charismatic ensemble cast. 

The question is whether I want to keep paying for the Port Lewis stories on an ongoing installment, and that depends somewhat on whether I think the story does ultimately reach a satisfying resolution.

8/10, Review copy via Netgalley

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Heyer Covers

The new covers being given by Sourcebooks to the classic romance novels of Georgette Heyer are:

1) Not news.  The books that are now out of copyright have been covered more often than Yesterday by the Beatles.

2) Boring as hell and baffling in their font and palette selection (for a story set in 1818).

Thursday, August 30, 2018

New Market: 13Red

13Red Media is seeking submissions for several imprints including:

"Cherry is our LGBTQ-focused Romance and Erotica imprint. Send us your sexiest, but make sure your characters are well-fleshed and the plot is strong. Novel length should be between 60,000-90,000 words. Novellas of 20,000-30,000 words will be considered for Erotica only."

Monday, August 27, 2018

Melodrama Publishing Lives Up to Their Name

Melodrama Publishing came to my attention after I saw one of their books in my local Walmart.  I have to say the presentation of the book itself did not make a positive impression.  It had that trade paperback size, $15 price tag,  and overly shiny cover that you see more often from under-achieving self-publishers than a press with in-store distribution. Nevertheless, it take some serious skills to get your books on the shelves of a Walmart Supercenter--so I was intrigued.

Melodrama was founded in 2001 by author  Crystal Lacey Winslow and now includes works by fifteen other authors--the book I saw being by Nisa Santiago. Although in this case the correlation between pseudonyms and actual writers might be a loose one.  There seems to be some interesting history with the name of Santiago which was initially intended to be a pseudonym for Danielle Santiago but was ultimately used by Melodrama as a pen name for a number of different ghost writers (after Danielle failed to deliver promised manuscripts).

Melodrama Publishing seems to be a strong and now well-established presence in urban/African American fiction with a focus on tough, glamorous heroines and dramatic stories involving organized crime.  This apparently popular niche supports higher pricing on both paperbacks and kindle editions (up to $9.99).  In a time when many small presses are cutting prices and going under, Winslow has developed a recipe for success that demonstrates that my first impressions were 100% wrong.  Melodrama Publishing is the kind of author-founded press most of the others aspire to be.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Review: Salt Magic, Skin Magic--Lee Welch (8.86/10)

When you consider books that are competently written, the biggest question is whether a given book will deliver the kind of reading experience you happen to enjoy.  So I embark on an angst M/M romance with fantasy elements and a Victorian setting--there is a pretty good chance that this is a book I am going to enjoy.

A cursed nobleman and a conflicted commoner magician collide in a enormous decaying mansion where something sinister is afoot.  The gothic mood,  sexy romance, and magical mystery are nicely balanced--and female supporting characters are given room for their own motivations rather than being slotted into the usual stereotypes (as is sadly so often the case). After some initial misunderstandings and conflict our heroes get to work breaking the curse.

As stated in the AAR review of this book the story and world building are clever.  Even well-worn tropes such as fetishizing upper class culture are given a new twist the being expressed as a very realistic actual real fetish of John Blake the industrial magician.

I think there are only a few weaker points, such as how easily the characters seem to come up with revolutionary magic ideas in a world-setting where they should be discoverable to many.  And the cover while undeniably very striking and  attractive suggests pure high fantasy and does not represent the dark tone or period of the story, or even the appearance of the characters as described in the text. There are many readers that adore historical fantasy and it is a kindness to give us covers that signal genre so we can find them.

My rating 8.25/10
Gay Book Reviews: 6/10
Joyfully Jay: 9.5/10
Just Love: 10/10
Love Bytes: 9/10
Scatter Thoughts: 10/10
Amazon: 9.4/10
Goodreads: 8.7/10
Aggregate: 8.86/10