Sunday, May 31, 2009

Bulletin: RT credit card issues

It is being reported on several forums and loops that attendees of the Romantic Times (RT) convention have had trouble with credit card fraud--probably relating to use of the credit card at the Wyndham Hotel. If you did this you might want to go online and check your recent charges. A quick Google suggests that the Wyndham hotels have something of an ongoing issue with protecting credit card information from hackers? (that is, they aren't good at it--last year hackers are reported as getting card data from Wyndham hotels). This hotel chain might be one to avoid?

See also:
* RT Forum
* Hackers Steal Thousands of Wyndham Credit Card Numbers
* RT Conference Attendees May Face Credit Card Crap

Wall Street J.

I picked up a newspaper on the way home. I see one section starts with a half page splash saying "A Book Lover's Summer" and a picture of a woman on a hammock. The review section itself is only one page. Are these things shrinking (well of course, they are--the real question is: why?).
This 'summer reading' page starts with the line "If we ever needed a healthy does of escapism, this sure is it." But what, exactly, is the Wall street Journal's idea of escapist reading....

* Non-fiction, 5 reviews (escape from reality with... books about reality?)
* Literary fiction, 4 reviews (escape from reality with tales of pathos, ambiguity and suffering?)
* Murder/thriller/crime, 3 reviews (okay, fictional death and mayhem is some people's idea of escapism)
* Followed by cross-genre, horror and saga with a review each.

Here are some snippets from the reviews of three of the fiction books....

* "the melancholy of a man looking ahead to his own death..."
* "...a park avenue matron mourns the death of her soldier son..."
* "His beloved older brother committed suicide at the age of 13..."

In short: escapism, you're doing it wrong. Is one to assume that....

1) ...present company excepted, romance and erotica reader do not read the Wall Street Journal of represent less than 6% of the escapist book readership so as not to show up in a selection of 15 books,
or 2) those readers who do enjoyed romance and/or erotica should be ashamed and not expect a great newspaper to sully it's pages with such trash (although books about people being killed by "rats with knife-edged arms" is fine).

But as to that who "why are the newspaper book review pages shrinking thing; I have a theory about that....

A Notice from Samhain

"In the most recent issue of the RWA’s Pro newsletter (Prospects) it was reported that Samhain is closed to submissions. We’re unsure where the erroneous information came from, but we are not closed to submissions and have no plans to be." [Angela James, Executive Editor]

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Bribes :)

I really appreciate those of you who have sent in data. However the data set is starting to age and time out, anything older than 365 days is automatically deleted. So if you have been thinking of submitting or updating data, now might be a time. As an extra inducement anyone who responds by midnight on Monday (US central standard time) will go in the draw for a copy of Passionate Ink: A Guide to Writing Erotic Romance. I will include in the drawing anyone who recently submitted data and hasn't received my confirmation email yet. There will be updates by the end of next week and I hope to have publisher-specific data for some of the new up-and-comers.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Originator's Covenant: for discussion

What would you, as publishers and/or authors, feel about the following. This is currently for discussion only not for signatories.


The following is not a contract or legal agreement of any kind but a voluntary statement of intent agreed to freely by those who asked for their names to be attached below.

The Originator's Covenant for Authors
The authors writing under the following pen names agree to the following:
* I will not plagiarise.
* If detected in either intentional or accidental plagiarism I will remove from sale the work in question and any other work available from the same publisher at the earliest legal opportunity.
* I will not make these works, in any form or edition, available to the public until the copyright holders of the plagiarised work agree that they have been appropriately compensated, or in the absence of living copyright holders for a period of not less than five years.

The Originator's Covenant for Publishers
The persons named below are, at the time of affixing their names, empowered to make the following commitment on behalf of the publisher or imprint identified next to their name/s. The persons named below agree to the following:
* I agree that I shall not knowingly contract plagiarised works.
* If it is determined that I am publishing plagiarised works I will remove from sale the work in question and any other work by the same author, at the earliest legal opportunity.
* I will not make these works, in any form or edition, available to the public until the copyright holders of the plagiarised work agree that they have been appropriately compensated, or in the absence of living copyright holders for a period of not less than five years.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Breaking News: Plagiarism, Still Bad

I like the Smart Bitches blog a lot, but I am getting a little tired of statements like: "But the reaction never changes. Within the community of writers, some bring up the issue as a matter of educational opportunity; others wish we’d stop talking about it already ... the lack of an effective reaction to the plagiarism itself is frustrating."

I am happy to talk about plagiarism, but how about discussing something to do about it other than go to talks where it will be explained to us in words of two syllables or less (it's stealing words; it's bad; really, really bad.)

Plagiarism happens. Various people catch plagiarists. Plagiarists suffer the consequences of their actions. We all support that (with the usual marginal exceptions). Many of us write letters of protest, boycott books, spread the word. Seriously, here we are with our pitchforks, loading rabid ferrets into the trebuchet.

Talking about it is fine but how about talking about doing something about it instead of talking about how people are sick of just talking about it. Yes, people will still do it. People will still be caught doing it. It will still be bad. They will still get in trouble. Like sands through the hourglass, some undergraduates and some authors will continue to plagiarise--because you can't cure stupid.

What is this reaction we are all meant to be having? For full participation a few clues might be in order. Or is it an error to take independent action rather than mobilise as an orange-jumpsuited minion (and go listen to people's talks).

See also:
So, what shall we do about plagiarism?


Call me evil, but I think it's nice to know that even the writers at Publishers Weekly can fall prey to a spellcheck-resistant typo:

"The Supreme Court rejected an appeal form John Steinbeck’s son over who owns the copyright to The Grapes of Wrath and other books."

See also:
Steinbeck's latest sad story

Monday, May 18, 2009


"...a federal district court in the southern Russian province of Dagestan issued an unprecedented ruling, ordering a journalist of a local newspaper to pay compensation in an amount equal to US$1,000 ... The plaintiff, an author whose work of fiction was reviewed in the publication's book review section, sued the reviewer, claiming that the author and his family had experienced severe mental suffering and that his professional reputation was damaged as a result of the review." [Global legal Monitor]

"Smashwords represents the future of ebook publishing, distribution and retailing," said Selena Kitt, president of eXcessica Publishing. "Their publisher-friendly royalty structure recognizes that ebook publishers deserve more favorable terms than offered by conventional ebook retailers. Smashwords backs their so-easy-even-your-mother-could-use-it publishing platform with super-responsive support that enhances the reading experience for our customers."

"The breakthrough crossover novel, and the so-called “gay novel” that sells a million copies, are both out there; but they’re 10-15 years away. And when it happens, it’s more than likely going to be an ebook, because very soon few people will be reading on paper!" [MM erotica author Mel Keegan]

Friday, May 15, 2009

IPPY Winners

Gold: Broken Wing, by Judith James (Medallion Press)
Silver: The Road to Eden’s Ridge, by M.L. Rose (Iroquois Press)
Bronze: Star Crossed, by Margaret Hastings-James (Comfort Publishing)

Gold (tie): Tasting Him/Tasting Her: Oral Sex Stories, edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel (Cleis Press)
Silver: Flagrante Delicto, by Santillo (Santillo Photography)
Bronze: In Deep Waters 2: Cruising the Strip, by Radclyffe and Karin Kallmaker (Bold Strokes Books)

Results in full here.

Marketing to women

The latest buffoonish attempt to market to women is Dell's "Della" website with an emphasis on being portable and patterned (and it sounds like the current website is less girly then it was on launch)--and tech tips including how to "track workouts and reach your fitness goals". This is probably because after looking at all the stylish but malnutrized young waifs on the website you will being feeling insecure?

The whole thing seems to fit the Harlequin model that women are not interested in anything about technology other than its ability to fit in a purse. But t least they do recognised the ebooks with: "It's easy to turn your netbook into a completely portable eBook reader." But they might also want to recognised that women also want computers will raw processing power, even if they don't come in a darling paisley print.

See also:
Dell "Adamo"

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Data Begging

I am still looking for sales reports for any major erotic romance offset printed imprint (Avon Red, Harlequin Blaze, Black Lace etc). I need a couple more before I can add them to the data set as a generic category in comparison to ebooks. It looks like the easiest data to get for print runs is any of the following: first year, total to date, total to end of contract.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Kiss Me Cliche

I know that titles get re-used all the time. But it seems to me that one title to stay away from would be one that is pretty much unique, and very well known--unless you are deliberately alluding to the former famous work. And in any sane universe Kiss Me Deadly is a famous work, both as a novel and as a movie.

And yet this poor title has been subjected not only to association with one of the lowest grossing movies of all time, but also a totally non-noir (despite what the blurb might lead you to believe) Harlequin novel.

English is a large and evocative language, even when limiting one's self to phrases of no more than three words. It would be nice if people tried a little harder. Otherwise I am left to wonder whether they are hoping to make a few "accidental" sales, or so deficient in both literary and cinematic knowledge that they don't even know why that phrase felt a little familiar to them?

Friday, May 08, 2009

New: Cordelia Press

Cordelia Press, all genres including romance. Opened May 1st: "We’re thrilled to be launching the newest ebook publisher on the web today ... As an English teacher and writer myself, I considered how I would want to be treated by a publisher and what I valued in a company to which my name is connected ... The result is Cordelia Press. We are looking for brave, honest fiction."

Thursday, May 07, 2009

The latter, in this case.

For those who follow the rise and small of small presses in general--developments re: Kunati, a small press based in Canada.

Kunati Books neglecting its authors
Implosion of a house of cards

Wednesday, May 06, 2009


International Association for the Study of Popular Romance
Open for members.

Embracing eBooks by Malle Vallik
"We get no thrill out of connecting a doohickey to a whatucallit. A woman will, however, overcome obstacles to use technology if it makes her life better. And quite frankly, that is exactly what eBooks have to offer."

Amazon unveils new Kindle DX in New York
"At a news conference today in New York, Jeff Bezos unveiled the next generation of the Kindle, which has an 8.5-by-11-inch screen."

Dorchester Publishing is now accepting general submissions via email.

Free geocities website hosting closing by the end of 2009

Monday, May 04, 2009

Newish Epress

New: Rebel ePublisher founded by Joan De La Hay
"We don't accept any pornography, works promoting hatred of any kind, violence or profanity not pertinent to the story line. In other words if we find it offensive we will not accept it. We're also not looking for fan fiction or erotica."
(Yet another submission guideline suggesting one needs to be psychic about what will offend the editor).

...not to be confused with Holly Lisle's Rebel Tales e-zine.
(You also have to know exactly what Ms. Lisle likes and dislikes, but it has nothing to do with sexual content and is very carefully spelled out.)

(We seriously need a few more names for these things, next it with be Forbidden Rebellion epress and the Rebel Romance ezine....).

Bah, Humbug

I am having one of those bah, humbug moments.

What is it with a site, author or blog having a name for their followers? Do people actually like that?

Doesn't it suggest they are followers, not in the "I read it because I want to" way, but in a "I love you because you are so righteous" sort of way.

And what is it with authors referring to their "fans". Who really identifies as being a "fan" of anything except perhaps a sports team.

Maybe I just need a reality check. But it seems to me that I follow a blog, not a blogger--and I am a fan of a book, not an author...

Sunday, May 03, 2009

RavRom: Cherchez the sales figures?

Dear Author is reprising the reason Ravenous Romance is a transformative wave in the eyes of some people, and a disappointing queeb for others. My opinion is on hold while awaiting those sales figures. I wonder when I might expect to see them?

See also:
Lori Perkins On Erotic Romance

Friday, May 01, 2009

Circlet Press call for short stories -- Jules

Circlet has just posted a new call for submissions of short fiction. Cash payment is at the token level, but you also get several copies of your choice of Circlet's books -- which is a nice deal for 250 words if you happen to like Circlet's taste in fiction. Details as follows:

Starting next Friday May 8th we will begin a new feature called Fiction Fridays where we will showcase erotic microfiction. We are looking for short pieces (250-1000 words) that fit in with the Circlet Press guidelines which can be found here:

Payment is $5 via Paypal and your choice of print Circlet publications that will fit into one priority mail package (roughly 3-5 books) or choice of 5 Circlet e-books. There is no submission deadline as this will be an ongoing feature.

Please send submissions to with Fiction Fridays in the subject line. If you send your submission as an attachment please include your name and contact information in the attachment.

Please let us know if you have any questions.


October 3-4, 2009
Norcross, Georgia, USA