Friday, August 29, 2008

From Craigslist

Quoted from Craiglist, found via Jan Darby at the Absolute Write forums

Ravenous Romance needs freelance copyeditors for erotic romance novels (50K words) and short stories (2500-7500 words). Quick turnaround. Interested in long-term contracts for high volume of work.

Compensation: $200 per novel, $25 per short story


Ravenous Romance needs interns to read and evaluate erotic romance novel and short story submissions and copyedit manuscripts. Must have some copyediting training and/or experience, an affinity for erotica or romance books, and great communication skills. We offer a fun work environment and great experience for your resume!

Compensation: no pay

Contracts and Covenants--veinglory

Put simplistically:
* A covenant is an agreement made with a feeling of trust, which specifies what you will unreservedly provide to another person.
* A contract is an agreement made out of suspicion, which specifies what another party must do for you.
Problems occur when a person enters an agreement seeing it as a covenant, things go wrong, and they find themselves exiting via an agreement being treated as a contract.

For example, when people getting married are asked what the likelihood is that they will divorce, the median answer is 0%. This, in the full awareness that the answer in relation to other people is about 50%. Most people sign a marriage contract with little or no awareness of what they are agreeing to in event of the divorce they don’t expect to have.

Writers with a covenant outlook tend to equate suspicion of a publisher’s abilities (will they sell many books?) with moral suspicion of the publisher’s nature (No they are not a scam!). They willingly shoulder the greater part of the responsibilities (all authors these days have to promote their books to make any sales, even best sellers!) and tend not to doubt the capacity of the publisher (do they have distribution? Marketing staff? Expertise? Capital?). And if you look at it from the other end, if a lot of authors are covenant thinkers, publishers find it makes life easier not to rain on their parade.

For example, the agreement between a patient and doctor is often seen as a covenant where both aim to make the patient well. But 50% of us will eventual die while under treatment for an injury or disease, and doctors are left making crucial end of life decisions often with very little prior notice and no way to consult directly with the patient. Would they want extreme measures taken to preserve their life? What types of outcome would be worse than death for this person, and what would not? But what would happen if the doctor talked about end of life issues with new patients who are there to get over the flu, not pick out a casket?

It is not surprising that very few e-publishers talk about the realities of the current market, the typical sales figures and the prejudices an e-book writer might face as they try and move into richer commercial markets. People, especially people at the beginning of a new enterprise, actively do not want to look at the downside, or contemplate what will happen if it all goes pear shaped. That is a fact of life and a psychological blind spot that is to some extent necessary if we want people to undertake large projects with uncertain benefits: books, boyfriends and children come to mind.

But you don’t have to live in gloomy land in order to protect yourself from misfortune. You just have to visit. I would suggest that author put aside a little time to think some negative thoughts and put in place some basic protections, have a nice bottle of wine and a comedy romance DVD to get back to the sunny side afterwards…. Here are a few suggestions. If I have missed any please let me know.

* Make sure your will covers disposition of books and their royalties.
* Make sure you have copies of contracts and royalty statements. If there are any missing, request replacements. You probably won’t need them, but if you do it may be too late to ask for those replacement copies if the publisher has already folded or become hostile. Also it is simply a good idea to have complete records in case something happens to the publisher’s copies.
* Read through your contracts and make sure you have a basic understanding of them. Look specifically at how renewal occurs, which rights you have sold and any options clauses that might limit where you can submit future work. If you do not understand any sections do a little research online or ask for clarification. You signed it, you need to know what it means.
* Consider joining an authors’ association that offers expert advice and legal support, or identify a lawyer near to you that has experience with publishing contracts. You may never need them, but if you do you won’t be in a good state of mind to do careful research. And professional groups may not be all that sympathetic if you join only after you have a problem.
* Google your publisher and be aware of what other people are saying about them. But always consider the source, every major companies has a few problems that may be due to freak events, unstable people, or old history.

Finally, there is nothing that says you cannot take a covenant approach to life, being positive, generous and trusting. But if you do so you need to know for sure that any parties you enter into a binding agreement with are taking the same approach, and always will. My advice, even to the most sunbeam-and-pixie-dust inclined, is to trade an hour or two of suspicion for the security of a fair contract with a reputable publisher who is not only inclined, but obliged, to live up to your expectations.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

On the Lighter Side...--veinglory

From my collection of vintage pussy postcards and photos. An Edwardian era LOLcat (they had better grammar).

The weary here a rest will find
(for kittens only, bear in mind.)

Which does remind me.... I like hot-hot-hot erotica, written and visual, but I also like material in the coyly suggestive to cheerfully risque. I sometime wonder if the erotic romance categories can be a little restrictive in suggesting that erotica comes primarily only in different quantities, not different qualities. Not to mention sometimes conflating sexual explicitness with theme. It is sad how much confusion can be caused just by writing a sweet MM or menage... but I digress.

If you want to see some more vintage photos of couples, mild pin-ups and general craziness I could occasionally feature of some of the more interesting shots. But I am not sure of that is wandering a little far afield of our designated topic....

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Ravenous Correspondence--veinglory

I have decided to copy below exactly what I asked Dalyn Miller about Ravenous Romance and the full reply. You will see in my letter a slightly blunter statement of my current assessment of erotic romance epublishing than I normally project on the EREC blog. EREC is to some extent a group entity with, would you believe, a more positive tone than my own personal, gritchy view of the world. (Most people find EREC gloomy enough, even so). Anyway, for your edification and information with thanks to Dalyn Miller, apologies for the length:

Dear Dalyn Miller,

Epublishing sure is living in interesting times. I appreciate your visit to my blog. I apologize for getting a little tetchy. Across the three main sites of discussion (Dear Author, EREC, Absolute Write) I have seen accusations of everything from ignorance to harassment--not to mention the suggestion my career would suffer. I guess it was starting to get to me. Especially as some of these posters certainly appeared to have a connection to Ravenous.

The background to is that I started it to encourage authors who epublish to do their homework and either have realistic expectations, or continue to aim for commercial publishing as someone hoping for a full time writing career clearly should. I also want to encourage good ebook authors to submit to the best epublishers rather than the fly-by-night basement publishers with sparkly websites but no skills or capital. To be perfectly honest most erotic romance epublishers are, at best, a waste of time for any semi-professional writer. Our site collects sales figures and reports of publisher misconduct (primarily charging fees or failing to pay royalties)--to help authors make informed choices. I think a good many of us are hoping to see a breakthrough, fourth generation epublisher that sells in the 5 figure and up range (within two years of release). This will signal the beginning of a truly professional era for epublishers after years of Wild West trading with presses opening and folding every few months.

That is the background, but what are my questions? Well this all began because Dear Author picked up that a respected agent was selling to an epublisher. Involvement of an agent is a sentinel for 5 figure+ deals and so of great interest. Simultaneously we became aware of pre-existing rumors that someone was backing Lori Perkins to *start* an epublisher, and the ambiguity attracted my interest as a blogger. There seemed to be elements of interest and it furthered the goal of the blog of encouraging analytical thinking in epublishing authors. So I suppose my main questions are these.

1) Are agents other than Lori Perkin's submitting their clients' work to Ravenous Romance
2) Is the advance being paid $1 per manuscript page
3) What approximate sales per title is Ravenous Romance predicting and is it in the 10,000+ range
4) Did Hollan package the Cosmo Kama Sutra?

I will be perfectly honest and say that the tone of some comments suggesting that a "real' publisher will clearly do better in this game (along with agented "real" authors) although potentially true is not likely to play well in communities heavily populated by authors, editors, owners and even brand-loyal readers of existing erotic romance epublishers. Which is not to say that existing publishers are setting the bar high enough, I think a shake up and new approach would be welcome. That said, a hostile response to discussion of technical details and difficulty in pinning down facts is more typical of presses that fail to thrive or are approaching a critical failure (Dark Castle Lords, New Concepts, Triskelion). And the sheer number of 'crash and burn' episodes in erotic romance epublishing has, perhaps, cultivated a skeptical ambiance. So I appreciate the opportunites to clear a few things up in my own little corner of the internet.

Please be sure to let me know what parts of your reply may be quoted on the blog.


Emily Veinglory

Dear Emily,

So sorry for the delay in my response, thank you for your patience! I understand he trials and tribulations which have come with e-publishing, especially in the erotica and romance categories, however, it is an exciting new world for publishing and those of you who have been in it since the early days have experienced the highs and the lows of the industry. Skepticism is to be expected. However, please be aware that Ravenous Romance’s principals are approaching this business from a professional standpoint, are investing a lot of money in it, and are bringing in partners who will help them achieve new levels of success for their authors, including a sophisticated web marketing firm who will ensure that they are reaching the right consumers in the right way.

You are already aware that your site is an incredible resource to this community and we’re pleased that the buzz has already begun for Ravenous Romance here and elsewhere! And we’re pleased that our authors are chiming in--enthusiasm is infectious, after all! However, authors aren’t always able to communicate the facts of the business model as clearly as we can as publishers. That’s why we’d prefer questions be asked directly of us instead of speculated upon in the public forum.

The answers to your questions are below:

Are agents other than Lori Perkin's submitting their client's work to Ravenous Romance? Yes, and we have contracted some agented work already. However, we expect many more submissions once we release our announcement next week. We are looking forward to seeing both agented and non-agented submissions.

Is the advance being paid $1 per manuscript page? Advances depend on the book and the author’s sales history, but our rule of thumb is $1 per page, in the literary tradition of Anais Nin’s famous collector. Our goal is to give new writers an opportunity to reach readers. We will also publish award-winning writers and their proteges, who come to us as a result of Lori’s expertise and experience, and will be able to give them a new outlet for their work. As we grow, the advances will be based on the authors’ previous titles’ sales.

What approximate sales per title is Ravenous Romance predicting and is it in the 10,000+ range? We are not comfortable releasing details of our business assumptions, but we expect aggressive sales in the multiple thousands of copies per title, and our sales figures have been vetted by digital publishing industry experts.

Did Hollan package the Cosmo Kama Sutra? No. As one commenter astutely pointed out, the Cosmo Kama Sutra was published two years before Hollan incorporated.

As I referenced above, we will be releasing a general announcement to the book trade and the public next week, and it will have even more information. Further announcements will come as we grow closer to our December 1 launch date. I will be including you on every announcement from here forward; you will be fully informed about every aspect of Ravenous Romance as we release that information. And we would like to invite you and your readers to share your comments and suggestions with us directly as we develop the website and content.

Thank you again for your interest. Feel free to reprint any or all of this email on the site.


Dalyn A. Miller
Dalyn Miller Public Relations, LLC

Monday, August 25, 2008

Blog Talk--veinglory

eromtic whatmance?

It seems like increasingly the existence of erotic romance has begun to warp the understanding of erotica and romance as core genres. First it seemed like a lot of readers were unaware of erotica that was not romantic. Then I came across this summary of the genre distribution of ebooks:

"What a shocker, 15% of all the titles available are romance, if you include the 4% erotica in there too, the lion’s share of ebooks are ‘adult’ content." [Alex Lee]

Romance is 'adult'? Golly, maybe some of the more conservative members of the RWA were right with their warnings about the Ides of Sex turning the whole genre to porn? (The shocker to me is that only 15% of ebook fiction is romance, I'd have guessed more like 50%.) See the full results here.

The Ultimate MMF

I wonder where the whole sexification issue leaves inspy romance. At authorfest 2008 it was suggested that the two hot genres in romance are erotic romance, and inspirational. Of course religious romance comes in other stripes and Christianity is a large and internally diverse world religion. So the ultimate cross-over might be erotic inspirational romance?

As for my sub-title, check out: Cowboys and Schoolteachers. And I quote: "this analysis finds that secular men are depicted as overwhelmingly strong, economically and physically, but that this strength is frequently overcome by the emotional strength of the heroine, who tames them. Christian heroes, on the other hand, are less overpowering figures at the beginning of the texts but are more dominant within the relationship, subject instead to the will of God."


Dana Fredski is now submitting to an unspecified online publishing company, formerly known as Ravenous Romance (cache). Hmmm.

Thanks for some useful information from Dalyn Miller Public Relations, who have recently announced taking on Ravenous Romance as a client. (With some rather retro rhetoric about a "female-empowerment approach to erotica" if you ask me--but what the hey).

Specifically "Lori Perkins is a paid editor and minor shareholder in Ravenous Romance™. She does not take a commission on any book sold to Ravenous Romance™." Which actually does clear a few things up. And "Ravenous Romance™ does accept non-agented submissions. You can email us at for submission guidelines." --So I have added them to the PLIST.



I am the publisher of Renaissance Publishing, an independent publisher in Singapore supporting our fledging writers' scene with an annual writing contest giving out cash prizes and publishing the top entries. We also PAY local writers to write for us generously! You caused great reputation damage to us and our efforts when you irresponsibly posted on this Singapore writers' blog cum forum: that we are a publisher who do not pay their authors.

In the absence of the message which I do not recall, I will assume I made a comment on this blog that confused Renaissance Publishing with Renaissance ebooks and I am happy to publically repudiate any such confusion.

I have since gotten the administrators of that blog to take away your comment but the damage has been done. I presume your slanderous comment was prompted by this thread, the confusion of the similar name, and your earnestness to seek justice for Condor221. I hope the same sense of righteousness and justice will prompt you to post a public apology and correction for your error surely caused by not even bothering to surf our website to find out who we are first before maligning us in a public domain like that.

Telling lies to Bob in the next cubicle is slander, posting lies on the open internet is actually libel. Just for future reference. Also, I have no idea who Condor221 is or how they fit into this.

Renaissance Publishing is funded and managed by writers passionate about books. We have invested much money and effort and it pained us tremendously to see our reputation marred overnight by your baseless accusation. Please put yourselves in our shoes. We will appreciate your effort to restore and clear up our reputation so that we can carry on our work to discover and support talent in Singapore.

I doubt my opinion is quite so powerful. But FWIW. Yes I was in error in confusing the two presses. It seems more useful to say so here than track it back to the blog where my original comment, whatever it was, is no longer on display.

For future reference: Renaissance Ebooks versus Renaissance Publishing versus Renaissance Publishing (all different companies).

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Ten Questions for Erotic Romance Writers--veinglory

Time for a straw poll on some of those repetitive questions. Feel free to email it to me if you prefer to be anonymous, The results will be posted when/of I get at least 50 responses.

1) Would you object to other people calling your work erotica?
2) Would you object to other people calling your work pornography?
3) Approximately how many books (novella or longer) have you published?
4) With how many different publishers?
5) Have you published in ebook format? If so are you basically satisfied, or dissatisfied with your epublishing experiences?
6) Are you published with a large commercial press (e.g. one that pays an advance over $1000 and produces offset print runs)? If you are not, is this kind of publishing one of your career goals?
7) Do you like Poser covers? Yes, no, sometimes?
8) Do you like mantitty covers? If so, with or without chest hair?
9) What romance/erotica blog to you read most frequently? (Not including EREC).
10) What erotic romance sub-genre do you think might be the next big thing?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Ravenous Romance Redux/Chronology--veinglory

December, 2006: Hollan, described as a "Massachusetts-based packager" does a deal to release romantic lifestyle books in partnership with Sterling Publishing.

August, 2007: "Schmidt and Penn left Quayside Publishing Group to launch Hollan—specifically, folks at Quayside say the pair are not only taking way too much credit for creating Quiver, that house's line of sex books, they also took some book ideas when they left. Schmidt says her former employers are just "bitter,..."

September 2007: Hollan Publishing, owned by Holly Schmidt and Allan Penn, found an imprint called Ravenous for 'sex books'.

July 2008: Allan Penn, Holly Schmidt and Lori Perkins are all listed as representing the L. Perkins Agency at the RWA Conference.

August 3: Author Dana Fredsti reports on Twitter-- "Met Holly & Lori from Ravenous Romance at the RWI Conference yesterday too!"

August 4: Dana Fredski has a novel proposal accepted based on a short story.

August 10: Agent Lori Perkins writes: "...two of my clients are starting an epublishing venture and they are buying so much of my clients' work ... I'm also going to be editing ... for them."

August 12/13: Jill Elaine Hughes/Jamaica Layne shares the following about Ravenous Romance "I believe the titles [Hollan] has put out that qualify for “blockbuster” status are : The Cosmo Kama Sutra..." / "...a print partnership with Simon & Schuster"

Note: Cosmo Kama Sutra is published by Barnes & Noble's publishing arm Sterling Publishing (imprint: Hearst Books). Although many of Hollan's more successful books are under the Sterling Publishing/Hollan Publishing imprint I see no way Hollan can claim CKS as one of their books. Examples of sales by the more popular Sterling/Ravenous books are:

Bookscan: Year to Date - 2,917, total - 3,355
Ingram: sales this year - 48. Last year - 6.
Amazon sales rank: #712,052

Bookscan: Year to date - 10,717, total - 17,337
Ingram: sales this year - 175. Last year - 57.
Amazon sales rank: #76,449

August 14: Jill Elaine Hughes/Jamaica Layne announces a four book deal with Ravenous Romance. Previously publishing history: Virgin Cheek and New Concepts Publishing.

August 17: Publisher's Lunch lists a sale by Holly Schmidt, presumably as an agent, at Hollan: "Susan Davies's AFTER I'M GONE, a guided journal for readers to fill out to express their innermost thoughts, secrets, and wishes to friends and family, creating a legacy that will live on after they die, to Lauren Marino at Gotham, by Holly Schmidt at Hollan Publishing (World)."

August 20: Now Hughes lists six sales to Ravenous Romance, most on proposal.

ETA-->August 22: Fredsti now mentions a four book deal with Ravenous, and sending three further proposals.

December 1: Planned opening of ebook imprint Ravenous Romance

So depending on how you read it, Schmidt and Penn are Perkin's clients, or colleagues. Perkins either works for Ravenous Romance or represents them to authors, or represents her authors to them. Or perhaps all of the above.

So that clears that up.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Online Happenings--veinglory

The Harlequin Romance Report survey is open for responses. As is usually the case I found it pretty much impossible to answer and ended up leaving most of the answers blank.

The 2009 EPPIE categories are out, with the usual tinkering.

Why You Should Turn Gmail’s SSL Feature On Now -- from Web Monkey. Open your gmail account, on the top right click 'settings', on the last option at the bottom of the setting pick select 'always use https'.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I do not like your ebook spam, with apologies to Dr. Seuss--veinglory

I do not like your e-book spam.
I do not like it in my box.
I do not like it with Firefox
I do not like it in my house
I will not click it with my mouse
I do not like it here or there.
I do not like it anywhere.
I do not like your e-book spam.
I do not like it, Spam-I-am.

I could not, would not, on a boat.
Even by Wifi, it gets my goat.
I will not read it in the rain.
I will not read it on a train.
Not in the dark! Not in a tree!
Not in a car! You let me be!
I do not like it in my box.
I do not like it with Firefox
I do not like it in my house
I will not click it with my mouse
I do not like it here or there.
I do not like it ANYWHERE!

I know many authors go through periods of being a little, shall we say, "enthusiastic" with promotions. I know I have. But the amount of ebook-related spam in my inbox is starting to get ridiculous. An example just arrived addressed endearing to 'Dear (Contact First Name)'. That just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Or irritated and dyspeptic, one of those two.

Here are some things to keep in mind when emailing out book promotion, or at least when emailing it to me. This applies to any email not sent via an 'opt in' mechanism such as a newsletter, loop or notification list--
1) If we are genuinely friends, do whatever you want. If I don't like it, I'll tell you.
2) If we are more vaguely acquainted I have probably forgotten you. I have a terrible memory and I am also very self-absorbed. So open the text of your email by reminding me who you are and where we met. Then tell me why you think I wanted to know about your book (or your blog, website, fee-charging service, penis enlargement device etc).
3) If we are not acquainted start straight out with why I want to know about your book. For example: I am submitting this book to be reviewed by the POD people blog. Or, I am submitting this press release as potential content for EREC blog. Or, I read on your blog that you love MM with characters over 50 and I just happen to have released one. Etc.

I think with sensible promotion, from the readers point of view, it really comes down to this: If you don't have a reason for thinking I will want to know about your book--don't tell me about your book. If you do have a plausible reason for thinking I might want to know about your book, please mention in your email what that reason is.

If I reply to your message asking where I know you from, and why you thought I would want to know about your book, please reply. If you are just really excited and contacted every person whose email address you had in your possession, I totally understand that. Everyone gets one free pass.

But if you have, in fact, written a silver fox MM ebook, or possibly some centaur Femdom, my email is veinglory at and I want to hear from you. Oh, and yes, EREC does accept any content that fits in with the mission of the blog (include a byline if you want one used, otherwise material is assumed to be provided in confidence).

Monday, August 18, 2008

E-Piracy, the Little Red Hen's perspective--veinglory

You see it all over the place. The idea that works that are online should be free, digital works should be free. I think that drastically misinterprets the underlying hacker ideal. The hacker notion was that if you bought a printer, you should be able to access the source code, modify it, fix and replace it. And a good many people who have owned glitchy printers probably agree--but in this scenario the company made money selling you the printer. The open source, freeware, hacker ideal is not--and never has been--a blanket argument against copyright, let alone a universal one. Those that interpret it that way are, for the most part, seriously missing the point.

I get that traditional publishers may buy into the Doctorow doctrine. I mean ebooks may be given away free for many reasons. And one of them is to give extra functionality to a current or future owner of the print book. But when the ebook is a product, complete in itself, the decision about whether to charge money, and how much, is purely at the discretion of the copyright owner. That is, in most cases, the author.

How many of you, as kids, read the Little Red Hen?:

One day as the Little Red Hen was scratching in a field, she found a grain of wheat.
"This wheat should be planted," she said. "Who will plant this grain of wheat?"
"Not I," said the Duck.
"Not I," said the Cat.
"Not I," said the Dog.
"Then I will," said the Little Red Hen. And she did.

And the story continues with the hen cutting, threshing and milling the wheat, making the dough and baking the bread--all without help. And then:

She made and baked the bread. Then she said, "Who will eat this bread?"
"Oh! I will," said the Duck.
"And I will," said the Cat.
"And I will," said the Dog.
"No, No!" said the Little Red Hen. "I will do that." And she did.

The way we labor varies. My grandfather work in coal mines, he was illiterate all his life. But he was a good man who sent his kids away to school and wanted them to have easier lives. He worked in the union and fought hard to ensure miners got to earn a fair wage for their labors.

I work in an office and on a computer, but we have to fight the same for workers rights today, just in different areas. If someone pockets a lump of coal here or there it makes little difference. if someone emails an ebook to their grandmother, I won't get too upset. But if they post my books en masse to a filesharing site just because God gave them an index finger, and Daddy and Mommy gave him a Mac I will fight that tooth and nail.

My bottom line is this: if you want to eat the bread, make your own bread, find someone who is choosing to give away their bread, or pay for mine. I will never apologise for fighting for the right to benefit from my own labors.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Press Release--veinglory

"Kathryn Struck, President of Awe-Struck eBooks, has made the announcement on the EPIC lists that Mundania Press LLC will acquire ownership of Awe-Struck eBooks as of January 1, 2009. Awe-Stuck will become an imprint of Mundania Press LLC, as is Phaze Books, Mundania Press, and New Classics, and continue to run as a separate company, yet be integrated into the Mundania Press LLC family.

The plans are for the existing staff, editors, and artists to keep doing their jobs for Awe-Struck. The only changes are that Kathryn and her partner Dick Claassen are retiring from publishing to pursue other interests, including writing and music. They both have agreed to be available for consulting through part of 2009.

Awe-Struck brings along a readership for many more genres of romance, especially regencies, along with non-fiction.

For Phaze and Mundania this will have little impact.

Phaze Books
Exceptional Erotic Fiction"

Thursday, August 14, 2008


I while back I asked who was your favorite Robin Hood. So just as a break from the old routine... who is the best Cleopatra. Surely the mother of all Femdom. Some played the part and some are just dressed for it. Here are my top picks, is your favorite here?

Tina Turner

Sophia Loren

Sarah Bernhardt

Petra Nemcova

Marilyn Monroe

Lilly Langtree

Elizabeth Taylor


Claudette Colbert (added for Cat)

This, that, and a cat--veinglory

Automatic text reader is a program that will try and simulate someone reading your work out loud. Still not exactly fluent, but potentially useful for proofreading?

Some other webtools:
* Plot Amazon sales ranks
* Widgetbox: to make a widget that previews your blog (to put on your website or other blogs)
* One loop to rule them all: a yahoogroup to tell you when you can promo on other yahoogroups (when did life get so complicated?)

Mills and Boon are now accepting submissions online. Please join me in welcoming them to last century.

Even amongst low-end small presses, Lulu-printing Passion for Poetry sinks to a new level. And I quote: "Our charges providing your poem are sent to us ready in a word format is American $500 or £250 UK pound (if the poems are just sent loose needing to be arranged then depending on how much etra work is needed we will have to charge more for the service)$300 or £100 when you send in the manuscript.... The rest paid when you OK the book.."

New(ish) blog: The Galaxy Express. Romance in sci fi, sci fi in romance--and maybe even that rarest of beasts, actual sci fi romance. It's new but I have high hopes.

And just for fun: Keyboard-Shaped Waffle Maker--for making waffles in the shape of keyboards, not just a waffle maker in the shape of a keyboard. Although of course to make waffles in the shape of a keyboard the waffle maker does, um, have be ... in the shape of a keyboard.

more cat pictures

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Kinktalk: CFNM [an adult content post]--veinglory

I generally blog more about romance than erotica or the dreaded 'pornography', but erotic romance borders on both genres, and I do keep an eye on both areas. So I will occasionally discuss what is happening with sex-genres, especially those targeting female markets. This post is about CFNM, which is short for 'clothed female, naked male'. The links in this post are not work safe. If you are not comfortable with pictures showing sex acts do not click these links.

CFNM is described as female dominance. With posed/acted material, CFNM generally shows clothed women doing whatever naughty things they want to naked men (see: CFNM Adventures, CFNM Friends). Okay, whatever rocks your boat. I guess I have been living under a rock, because I hadn't come across this while idea until today. It does seem to be a kink with a real female viewership, (e.g. Visual Sensation for Women), showing the limitations to the whole men are visual, women are not idea.

But when I look at "real" CFNM (e.g. Male Stripper, Extreme CFNM) I don't always see female dominance. These are meant to be, and sometimes genuinely seem to be, parties where the women are members of the public. And in these many of these events what I see is 'girls gone wild' style exploitation of women. Get women drunk, throw naked men in the mix, get footage. I assume they women sign disclaimers at some point and are adult, but I wonder if all of these 'empowered' women feel when they see the pictures later. In fact many of these scenarios seen to totally flip who is being humiliated (e.g. "Real amateur girlfriends, wives and mothers get drunk at crazy euro CFNM stripper party and end up ... some strange stripper cock on camera").

These issues aside I do think that having a character leave all or some clothes on during an erotic scene can be a way to play with dominance and power issues. But I doubt any erotic romance publisher would touch a scenario based on getting people drunk to get them to embarrass themselves, unless it was the villain doing it and he suffered a very apt revenge.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

New: Ravenous e-books--veinglory

Currently Hollan Publishing has an imprint called Ravenous. Apparently Ravenous Romance they are going to be huge in erotic romance epublishing. News to you? News to me too. See here for the only website they have up as yet. My feelings could be described as 'skeptical'. Skeptical with a side order of incredulous, hold the benefit of the doubt.

I would be more convinced if not for weird aspects of the deal such as an agent being involved in multiple roles (editing an anthology for the press, and editing her own author's work to submit to this new press). Agent involvement would only make sense if Ravenous are anticipating selling tens of thousands of copies of each erotic romance ebook title. That would be literally unprecedented. Some ebook romance titles do that well, but all titles from an epublisher, routinely? Never.

If they actually do change the face of epublishing I will have to eat some crow. But we hear this kind of hubris all the time and it tends to fall flat. The fact that you can make pretty successful art, craft and non-fiction romance coffee table books doesn't mean you can sell steamy ebooks. (p.s. 'When Cats Fly' seems like a pretty transparent 'homage' to Ten Speed's 'Why Cats Paint'? that seems less like a leading book than a following one...)

And if their strategy will be: " push for this new imprint will include full-page ads in Romantic Times, Publishers Weekly, and other major magazines, as well as major broadcast media. There will also be a huge presence at the Romantic Times conference in October" (comment 27) Well, good luck with that.

So far the only evidence of Hollan’s ability to sell ebooks in the 10,000+ range is they are rather good at doing something else, and they plan to advertise in venues where the majority of readers are not very interested in ebooks (an approach others have tried in the past many times). If there is more to it I would like to know. I think it would be unwise to underestimate what the top epublishers are already capable of, and to assume any company will certainly (or even probably) do an *order of magnitude* better. Especially when they don't seem to have any notion about how to carry out a controlled online launch of the new endeavour.

Can you feel the contempt for Ellora's Cave in this author's comment?: "I think this lack of knowledge about publishing and reaching target audiences (and the slow growth of those audiences) show that even the successful epubs have not exploited all avenues for building readership. I’d rather have a seasoned publishing executive with 20 years experience publishing books that sell big behind a startup publisher than a an unpublished housewife." Lord knows I never sent a book to EC, but ... ouch.

If there is a large untapped market we have all been ignorant of Hollan/Ravenous and their authors will have my abject and sincere apologies for not seeing it. At all. The ebook reading public is small, growing slowly, and I can’t see any way it would support those kind of figures over the next few years. My prediction, a new genre, new format and big mainstream ad push = overextending in every way.

Time, and sales volume, will tell.

Related posts:
So Much for the Industry's Famed Collegiality [Aug 03, 2007--MediaBistro]
MEN IN SHORTS too! [Aug 12, 2008--The agent in question, Lori Perkins]

GUEST MONDAY: What's in a name? by Celia Kyle, part 2 of 2

4. Can you remember to answer to it?
Everyone's goal is to get published (Okay, that's my goal) and someday do signings or go to reader/author conferences. Can you envision yourself answering to your pen name of choice? If not, choose another. No matter how pretty and flowy and gorgeous it looks on a book cover. Instead of naming a new baby, you're naming yourself and you better be able to pop your head up and raise your hand the moment someone screams for Sarah Bontemptature. If you don't like being called Ms. Bontemptature, pick a new name.

5. Does your difficult to spell or ethnic name tie in to your writings?
If yes, then a bunch of that rubbish above won't apply. If you only write highland romances, then a typically highland surname or first name may fit your genre, spelling be-damned. If you focus on Hispanic chick-lit, Angelique Martinez would be straying from the above rules due to spelling, but your target audience may not have an issue with the spelling of your name. It's all subjective folks, but hopefully these guidelines will help you in narrowing the selection field a bit.

6. Are you okay with the nickname associated with your chosen name?
My pen name is Celia Kyle. Not long after choosing and announcing the name, I was saddled with the nickname Ce. I love it! But, if you’re a Jennifer that must be called Jennifer, get used to being called Jen and get over it. We are human and humans tend to be innately lazy. Why spend all the extra time typing out your full name when three letters will suffice? Exactly. If you don’t like the nickname, choose a new name or become more flexible.

This is your name! You wouldn't name a child without a bit of research and scrounging through baby books, would you? If you want a name that hearkens to your ancestry, search for surname meanings. There are plenty of sites specializing in providing meanings behind surnames from around the world.
Now, another question authors often pose is whether they should adopt a second pen name for some of their works. If you currently write inspirational/religion based romance and are branching out to erotic romance, then yes, you should definitely adopt a second pen name. I’m sure your more conservative readers do not want to know about your more adventurous works.
A few things to consider when deciding to adopt a second (or third) persona/pen name:
-Do you have the time and the funds to properly promote this second identity?
We’re talking a domain name, host space, advertising, chats, loops, etc. You’ll be doing everything you do now, but twice.
-Will this identity be completely separate and unknown to your other identity?
Are you going to have a combined main site with directions to choose the door on the left for hard-core kink and the door on the right for vanilla sex? Or will your readers of kink not know about your vanilla writing tendencies?
-Is your new genre/style so completely different that it would shock and turn off your current readers if they knew of your new venture?
If the answer is yes, you need a new name. If it’s a no, or a possibly, chances are you should stick with your original pen name and move on. The extra work isn’t worth the hassle.

Remember: Be You! Be Different! But spell your name like everyone else and make sure you're not a porn star in the making... Unless, of course, you are.

Below is a listing of baby name sites as well as surname meaning websites:


Baby Names/First Names

Celia writes about curvy, quirky chicks and the hunks who make their sex lives sizzle. Find out more about her BBW ladies over at

Monday, August 11, 2008

GUEST MONDAY: What's in a name? by Celia Kyle, part 1 of 2

Thanks to Celia Kyle for this guest post about the oft-discussed issue, choosing a pen name.

Many writers, me included, find that upon considering writing for publication, they need a pseudonym, or pen name. Why? Everyone has their own reasons. My main reason is that I write erotic romance. While I'm not embarrassed by what I write and am proud of my accomplishments, I also know there are individuals in the world who can easily become obsessed with others. I don't want to be the center of someone’s obsession. Nu uh. No sir. So, in an effort to hide the real "me", I created a pen name.

Everyone has a different way of going about choosing their name. From using an old family name, your middle name or your maiden name, there is a plenitude of different variations to choose from. While I can't tell you which to choose (it's an entirely personal decision), I can guide you with a few questions to help you along the way.

1. Is it memorable?
You don't want to choose a name no one remembers. Something blah and boring won't stick in a readers head. Now, this isn't a license to choose a name that screams "I'm uber different!" either. Just something that flows together well while fitting your genre. Celia means heavenly and I like to think my characters see a bit of heaven through my writing. Kyle is Irish and since I'm part Irish, it seemed to fit me. You can use any rhyme or reason for your choices, but make it memorable.

2. Is it easy to spell?
Jennyfer Rogerz is likely to be recommended by a reader to another reader as Jennifer Rogers. Now, if someone typed in "Jennifer Rogers" while searching for "Jennyfer Rogerz", it's likely they won't find what they're looking for. Choosing an engaging name doesn't mean you can't spell it phonetically or use the most common spelling. Be you! Be Different! Just spell it like everyone else.

3. What's your competition like?
Is there a porn star using your selected pen name? How about some famous scholar? A convicted child molester? Don't know? Google your pen name. Heck, Google the name before you announce to the world that you are Jenna Jamison and they think you've got porn movies out the wazoo and have just started writing erotic romance. Will your hits go up? Absolutely. But are they the hits you want? Google your chosen name before you buy your hosting and domain name or fill out your first cover art request form. You'll thank me later.

...Continued in part 2, tomorrow!

Celia writes about curvy, quirky chicks and the hunks who make their sex lives sizzle. Find out more about her BBW ladies over at

Sunday, August 10, 2008


The publisher list is about due for a substantial update. It should list all for the in business erotic romance publishers. I'd really appreciate it if a few of you could check down this list (below) for any presses that might be missing, or that have closed and need to be removed. If you have any extra time I would appreciate feedback on any important information about these presses that might be missing from the PLIST and whether any need to have 'smoke' or 'fire' advisories added. Thanks to anyone who can help out.

ABCD Webmasters
Amber Quill
Aspen Mountan Press
Asylett Press
Black Velvet Seductions
Carnal Desires
Changeling Press
Cobblestone Press
Crescent Moon Press
Dark Castle Lords
ETA Dark Roast Press
Discipline and Desire
Ellora's Cave
Eternal Press
Forbidden Publications
Freya's Bower
Hearts on Fire
ImaJinn Books
LA Media
Lachesis Publishing
Lavender Isis
Linden Bay
Liquid Silver Books
Logical Lust
Loose Id
ETA Lyrical Press
Midnight Showcase
Mojocastle Press
Mystic Moon
New Concepts
Pink Flamingo
Pink Petal Books
Red Rose Publishing
Renaissance Ebooks
Resplendence Publishing
Romance at Heart
Romance Divine
Samhain Publishing
Shadowfire Press
Tantalizing Tales
Tease Publishing
Total E-Bound
Wicked Women of Color
Whiskey Creek Press
The Wild Rose Press

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Playgirl, no more--veinglory

Apparently PLAYGIRL magazine will be closing its print edition and going web-only. Frankly I had no idea the magazine was still in print. I looked through the meagre free parts of the PLAYGIRL website and was more amused than aroused.

Blog responses to the news don't include a lot of unalloyed dismay:

"while a woman’s name was listed as being in charge, straight men were dictating what women should find erotic." [crocodile caucus]

"Playgirl may not have given ladies exactly what they wanted (coughhardcockscough). Well, nobody's perfect..." [fleshbot]

"The magazine that brought beefcake into the lives of shuttered gay men and the average American household will no longer be available..." [bearotic]

"Playgirl Shuts Down After 35 Years of Not Getting Their Target Audience" [Fashionindie]

"What was Playgirl's target demographic?" [The Corsair]

"Even the mere thought of Spencer Pratt posing nude was enough to kill Playgirl." [TMZ]

"And, with Playgirl’s death, so too we must mourn feminism and all its cultural byproducts, like Playgirl. Why, cruel God, why?!" [Queerty]

Friday, August 08, 2008

Research Roundup #1: Wu, 2006--veinglory

In a study of undergraduates Wu (2006) compares women who read romance to other women and to men. The basic conclusion is: "Most romance novels promote deeply constraining patriarchal values, reading romance novels plays a role in shaping the meaning of self, sexual identity and attitudes and behavior relative to this patriarchy." So, totally a neutral examination of the data then?

Here are some more out-takes of interest. Anyone who indicated that at 1% or more of their reading was romance was put into the 'romance reader group'. The results are described as: "...readers [of romance] self-reported greater sex addiction, greater sex drive and greater number of orgasms required for sexual satisfaction ... Readers of romance novels had fewer sex partners, a lower level of self-assessed femininity than non-readers, and were older when they had their first thoughts of sex and had their first sexual intercourse."

Apparently this is "inconsistency between attitudes and behavior". I really don't see it. Romance readers have more sex addiction and high sex drives, they also have more orgasms. What is inconsistent? That they have fewer partners? Makes sense to me, they get more sex by hooking up with someone regular and perhaps having some solo orgasms. Maybe it is because I am a 'reader' but that makes sense to me. Let's skip to the author's conclusions.

"This study argues that the content of romance novels is at least a modestly powerful molder of the sexuality of those who read them." When did it do that? What I see is some data suggesting that undergraduate women that read romance (or perhaps just read at all, volume of reading does not seem to be partialled out), start having sex a little older (still on average under 18, so not exactly spinsters), have more orgasms with relatively fewer men (still averaging 5 partners--not exactly life-long monogamy, actual number of sexual encounters was not recorded). Absolutely nothing in this data shows that the romance caused the rather modest difference in average behaviour, rather than people who are less promiscuous and more sexual being more inclined to read romance (go figure. I mean what would liking fidelity and sex have to do with enjoying romance fiction?).

In fact Wu writes later: "no cause-effect statements can be made" (so what was that "powerful modifier of sexuality" thing?). But goes on to say "the attitude-behavior inconsistencies (again where?) noted among romance novel readers the result of the socialization influences of the novels or do people with such inconsistencies gravitate to such novels?" So, does romance turn undergraduates into hypocrites, or is it just that hypocrites are drawn to romance? Hmmm, it's a conundrum.

So, if you follow this, romance readers bow down before the patriarchy by being less feminine, wanting more sex, having more orgasms and having fewer sexual partners. Honestly, if that's what the patriarchy wants me to do, I might just be cool with that. Anyway. Maybe you will be able to make more sense of this than I did. The full paper can be found here.

So, not setting a precedent, then?--veinglory

Salman Rushdie threatens to sue over what a policeman from his protection detail published in the book On Her Majesty's Service. "Sir Salman said the book was defamatory and is demanding that the offending chapters be removed."

Meanwhile Random House, who published Rushdie's Satanic Verses, backed out of releasing The Jewel of Medina just six days before launch because: "this book might be offensive to some in the Muslim community, but also that it could incite acts of violence by a small, radical segment’." (see: SBTB for more)

I guess the message is 1) what is good for the goose may still get the gander's dander up and 2) a publisher may make a stand on principle, but take away the lesson that it totally wasn't worth it.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

How not to learn the trade--veinglory

Let me start by saying I don't know a damn thing about the 'World and Romance Academy'. I can't say, however that they give much of an impression of having a clue.

Their page on about their 'writing erotic romance foundation certificate', for example, says this to me:

* Copy editing is not a priority (capital letters and periods are fun to use when you feel like it).
* We think erotic romance is primarily about cock (see top picture) and pussy (see even less subtle 'bottom' picture). (But these picture are by artists so it isn't gratuitous, right?)
* We suspect your main problem will be writing about sex (see points #1, #4 and #5).

Will taking their course (520 euros) and/or paying for an analysis of your manuscript (200 euros and up) make your work publishable? Of course it will, as they are also a publisher! Yippee! And what's that you say, they are also a literary agency? What luck!

And in this course where you get "Invaluable advice from top romance editors and writers" who exactly are these unnamed advisers? Are they perhaps the people who are being asked to donate their teaching time for free here?

Oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

Oh dear.

p.s. they have contests where the entry fee is 10% of the prize amount. But how many red flags does a person need?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

What is happening to our words--veinglory

It's a free fun content, posted for your information. But does the bolded section really make literal sense if these are meant to be romantic excerpts? Has 'erotica' in the process of becoming 'not porn' stopped meaning 'sexy'? Or am I weird for thinking romantic kisses are typically a bit erotic?

"Show us your best Kiss Scene excerpt. We’ll post the first 30 excerpts right here on during the month of August and at the end of the month we’ll post a poll. Whoever gets the most votes will be crowned as the Kiss Off winner.

1) Kiss scenes must include a kiss.
2) Cannot contain erotic content.

3) Must be 1500 words or less.
4) Must be pulled from a romance novel released in ebook format between January 1st and July 31st 2008.
5) Must still be available for sale on the internet.

Enter your excerpts here:"

Sunday, August 03, 2008

The Obligatory RWA problems--veinglory

I may not be a fan of the Affaire de Coeur magazine, but credit where credit is due. Affaire de Coeur does review and otherwise cover the work of African American authors in a way most industry magazines and websites do not. They do not categorically refuse gay romance like Romantic Times magazine (although I have yet to see a gay romance review on their pages). I think AdC should be up front and easy to find at conventions if only because Romantic Times desperately needs some competition to shake up their own thinking when it comes to diversity issues.

So it is unfortunate to read the following at the AdC blog: "Around mid-afternoon I went back to the goody room to restock magazines, business cards and subscription cards only to find that all had been removed. In the places where we had been set up was a virtually identical set up of Romantic Times magazine. All of our business cards, magazines and subscription cards had been removed and replaced ... After visiting with several of the participants in the room, I found out that many people had things who had just disappeared and their space taken over like they had never been there. Among this group were the alternative lifestyle authors as well as some of the other groups who might not walk the traditional path."

I would have hoped that after the Manloveromance problem at the Romantic Times convention last year the lesson would have been learned. Conventions cannot discriminate and they cannot let other attenders do it while they stand by and "not concern themselves with any of those sorts of issues". Sheer selfishness is enough motive for most people, but a dose of direct competition or bigotry with mean that small outfits and minority groups will always bear the brunt of this sort of crap, unless the host of the event steps in.

Thank you to the staff of Affaire de Coeur staff for doing what they could. I can only imagine how craptastic it is for authors and publishers to devise fun promotional materials only to have someone move or bin them when no one is looking. And bravo to Bonnie Kirby to say what many people have been thinking: "This year, I'm convinced it is done by parties who feel that they have the right to edit and control what all participants see ... The fact is that the literary world is not defined by one group's opinions nor are they in a position to determine what all of the attendees are exposed to. Sadly, based on past issues of this sort, they will continue to behave in this dishonorable manner and RWA and similar organizations will just allow it."

Phagocytosis (a.k.a. Amazon, Son of Blob)--veinglory

One of my replacements for, at least for locating out of print books, has been Abe Books. The boycott by myself and a few others is not exactly being felt at Amazon head office. In fact Amazon's profits are up 41% on the same time last year.

While the economy is generally staggering along its downward spiral, Amazon is expanding. Now they have acquired Abe Books (the news from CNET, via Dear Author). The implications for Abe Books are not really clear at this time. But Alibris is starting to look like a better alternative. (Please don't tell me if it is owned by Nazis, or even worse, Donald Trump)

And if you aren't familiar with phagocytosis its what this big blobby neutrophil is doing to the little wiggling bacteria below.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

For Sony e-reader owners--veinglory

Thanks to Teddypig for drawing this to my attention.

For those of you with Sony e-readers who like to read pdf ebooks, there is a new update available to the Sony e-reader software to allow you to do this more easily. The new update with enable 'reflow' on pdfs and the reading of the so-called industry standard EPUB format (personally I still prefer pdf).

“The Reader is an open device and we will continue to explore formats that will provide the widest variety of content for Reader users,” said Steve Haber, senior vice president of consumer product marketing for Sony Electronics. “This upgrade opens the door to a whole host of paid and free content from third-party eBook stores, web sites and even public libraries.”

New Sony readers already have this update, existing readers can be updated from the Sony site. Choose the "MP3 and Portable Electronics" tab. If you update the ' E-Book Library', then plug in the reader the software will provide step by step instructions.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Going Down in Flames/Quoted for Truth--veinglory

Blue Phi-er was never what I considered a terribly promising press, for the usual reasons (lack of experience, lack of start up capital, terrible website, generally being sans clue). Nor are they an erotic romance e-publisher. But the owner said something that resonates with me and is relevant. You can find his complete whining email here. The line I am focusing on is this one:

"For you upcoming authors, think carefully about what you are doing with requesting us to publish your books. Once your book is in print we are in bed together, for better or worse."

Bloggers comment a lot on flailing and failing presses. Maybe it is partly for the entertainment value, or morbid curiosity. But largely it is because of the utter truth of the statement above. If you choose a sexual partner over the internet, you ask them no questions, you take every statement they make at face value, and you do not use caution and protection, you will be lucky if the worst you encounter is someone who vanishes the next morning leaving you with a little 'blue fire' down below.