Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Is it just me or are things getting a little crowded in the ebookstore market. For a long time there were a few big ones (Fictionwise), a bunch of little ones (Diesel etc), some genre (AllRomanceEbooks) and niche outlets (RPGnow etc) and straight-from-the-publisher options. For those inclined there are also locked-in options like the Amazon Kindle or apps such as for the iPhone....

Now it seems like everyone wants to be an all-genre all-format ebookstore. Last week Barnes and Noble jumped into the fray with their so-called "world's largest ebook store". Today the major UK book retailer The Book depository opened their US ebook storefront.

Which begs the question, where exactly do y'all get your ebooks?

The answer from my ebook folder seems to be....

1) Review copies (sorry, I am behind on reviews!)
2) Lulu
3) Fictionwise
4) Direct from publisher
5) other (various)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Bulletin: Smoke at Lachesis

It seems that Lachesis Press is the latest to be experiencing payment delays and signs of difficulties (poor contract, books not available for sale).

See also:
My Official Farewell to Lachesis Publishing

Friday, July 24, 2009

R.I.P. E. Lynn Harris

E. Lynn Harris ursued a career as a successful, closeted IMB executive, whilst writing his stories about the lives and loves of gay black men. His first published novel The Invisible Life cast light on the "down low" lifestyle. The Invisible Life was briefly self-published before being picked up by Martha Levin at Doubleday. Another ten novels followed with the same publisher, including many best sellers. His work included elements of romance but crossed over many genres and was particularly popular with female readers. E. Lynn Harris died yesterday at the age of 54 after a short illness.

See also:
Author E. Lynn Harris dies at age 54 [Yahoo News]

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Monday, July 20, 2009

Ebook News

Not with a bang, but a Whisper.
In the wake of discovering that certain books offered to Kindle's were not legal copies, Amazon outraged some readers by showing the are willing and able to retractively "unsell" Kindle editions, deleting them from reader's devices. As Publisher's Lunch explained: "For customers ... it was a reminder that they are licensing the right to view a file rather than owning it. And it showed how the cool Whispernet--which downloads books "in 60 seconds or less," can also make those books disappear just as quickly."

"Barnes & Noble made its long awaited entrance into the e-book market with an announcement late Monday afternoon of the launch of the Barnes & Noble eBookstore (www.bn.com/ebooks)." [via PW]

Special Project Calls

Publisher/editors who would like their project to be listed here should send their special project calls to veinglory[at]gmail.com. Special projects are defined as themed calls for submissions with a specific deadline. Announcements may be edited for length--for full details please refer to the publishers website or email the editor.

Deadline: Open
Lyrical Press: Steampunk
Lyrical Press welcomes authors to submit their brilliant blending of 19th Century steam power with science-fiction/fantasy. In a word – Steampunk. What’s Steampunk? You know that movie/comic book series The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen? That’s Steampunk. It’s the perfect marriage of an era when steam power was in use and science-fiction/fantasy elements. It’s goggles, gears and corsets. It’s fun, adventure and excitement. Lyrical Press is accepting all forms of Steampunk, with a focus on romance and erotica. If you’re manically mad about mechanical masterpieces set during the Victorian age we’d love to hear from you. Sensuality level: All – with a focus on romance/erotica. Length: 30,000 – 80,000 words. Please follow Lyrical Press’ guidelines found here when submitting. Send submissions to submissions @ lyricalpress (dot) com.

Deadline: Jul 31, 09
Ellora's Cave: Dance of Desire
Story length 10K – 30K words. Erotic, the hotter the better. The story must incorporate the theme in a significant manner. Dance of Desire – releases February 2010; subs deadline 7/31/09. Theme: Dance (anything from polka to pole)

Deadline: Aug 1, 09
Slash Books Call For Submissions - "In Uniform"
(Almost) nothing is sexier than a person in uniform! Slash Books is looking for short stories (500 - 20K words) that explore the gay or lesbian relationships of people in uniform - any uniform. Firefighters, police, french maids... all of these are valuable fodder for our target authors. We want to learn all about the many ways people in uniform find love! Your story should focus on the relationship and its evolution. While sex is a part of a healthy relationship, we're looking for plot and characterization, not simple PWP. Intriguing characters and interesting situations are the ticket to success here. Be creative! All genres (humour, action, angst, etc) welcome. To request the extended guidelines, or to pitch a story, please contact 'submissions AT slashbooks.ca'.
Deadline for pitches: August 1 2009
Deadline for submissions: September 15 2009
Estimated publication date: October 15 2009.

Deadline: Aug 1, 09
Pink Petal Books: Winter Olympics
We seek 15,000-25,000 word novellas featuring male winter Olympic athletes. Pink Petal Books Presents: Men of Winter (Winter Olympic Athletes)Submission Deadline: August 15, decisions by Sept 1Electronic Publication: January 2010, print May 2010 We’re looking for hot Olympic Athletes who love the snow. Think skiers, snowboarders, ice skaters, bobsled…the possibilities are endless. We welcome all orientations, so long as one of the male characters (or both!) are Winter Olympic Athletes. Stories don’t have to take place at the Olympics. For more information visit: http://www.pinkpetalbooks.com/index.php?/Submission-Guidelines/pink-petal-books-presents-special-project.html

Deadline: Aug 30, 09
Call for Submissions: Pirate Stories!
Liquid Silver Books is looking for Pirate stories that cater to the relationship between characters with desire, chemistry, passion and an adventurous well-written story. This series is open to any genre and must feature a Pirate scenario. Each story will be published with a Liquid and/or Molten heat level and will be scheduled to release in 2010 as single titles (not anthologies or duets).Submission requirements:
* Full manuscript in Ariel, 12pt saved as RTF.
* Length: 30k – 80K
* Genre: All genres, but must feature a Pirate scenario.

Deadline: Aug 31, 09
Samhain: A new, yet-to-be titled spring 2010 space opera anthology.
I'm looking for fast-paced, action-adventure space opera romances. Don't know what space opera is? Think Star Wars, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica or my personal favorite, Firefly/Serenity. For more information on space opera, you can check out the entry on wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Opera. I'm open to M/F, M/M, or multiples thereof, and any sexual heat level. The only rule is the story should be set mainly or entirely in space and the romance must end happily ever after or happy for now. The anthology will include novellas from 25,000 to 30,000 words in length and will be released individually as ebooks in April 2010. Questions can be addressed to Sasha Knight sasha[at]samhainpublishing.com

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Smokey Moon

Well, Mystic Moon is not looking good....

July 18
It's getting Worse: "Jennifer Mitchell, the so-called CEO, is not answering her e-mail or her home phone. The business phone has been disconnected."
Termination of Contract/Official Notice: "I am no longer affiliated with Mystic Moon Press and am currently in process of regaining my rights for my manuscripts."
PLEASE READ!: "If you follow my writing or have thought about buying one of my stories from Mystic Moon Press, DO NOT! They are not paying their authors and in my opinion, are a scam."

July 17
Mystic Moon Press mystery. "Is Mystic Moon Press one of the many epubs to fail? First we're told that there was some kind of identity theft and that's why we weren't getting paid for our stories...."
One of those days: "Mystic Moon Press, has likely fallen in on itself. The one lady who did most of the editing (and most of the work, in my opinion) resigned. Then the other main editor resigned."

See also:
E-Publisher Does A Runner And Screws Her Authors? Say It Aint So J.M…

Considering Smoke

The EREC "smoke" category reflects an epublisher that may be in trouble. It is usually based on one or more of the following reasons: non-payment or severely delayed payment, unreasonable contracts terms, or multiple reports of unprofessional behavior (abusive language, inadequate editing etc). Low sales volume is not a key factor but can be part of the overall picture. I haven't added any new presses to this category recently but a few are, IMHO, getting closer and I would be interested in your thoughts.

Ellora's Cave
* Delayed payment, term of copyright contract (not always negotiable), declining sales, general peculiar behavior (e.g. suing Borders).
* But still one of the best paying markets.

The Wild Rose Press
* A few specific complaints, really low sales
* But mostly not all that many complaints, many authors publicly satisfied with this press.

* Ongoing delays and glitches.
* But while the problems are persistent they seem mainly overwork rather than lack of clue per se.

Ravenous Romance
* Non-standard contract with long terms and invoicing requirements and low sales.
* But contract is apparently negotiable upon request and the press is new.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Acronyms R Us

I see that Midnight Showcase is now going by MS Fiction, or just MSF. They share this strategy with the august publishing enterprise of DCL (Dark Castle Lords) and the increasingly smokey TWRP (which is either The Wild Rose Press or the sound you make when you zipper up too quickly). Oh, and I guess EREC. Thus proving definitively that acronyms are pretentious....

Saturday, July 11, 2009


* Anti-Plagiarism Day: Friday 17 July
* Copyright Unfringement (character cakes)
* Please flag the ebay listings of this egregious pirate (via Karen Scott)
* Teefury doesn't seem to care if their T-shirt designs are copied from the works of uncredited/uncompensated photographers (sigh)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Information wants to be free? (or people want it to be--but why?)

There has existed, through history, the idea that the transfer of ideas should not be impeded. I happen to agree with this for the most part. I think some sort of information should be, and will tend to become, freely available. Publicly funded research results, information that advances the public good, philosophical debate, news, etc. When this type of information circulates freely it benefits everyone. But I also deeply believe that those who labor have the right to benefit from their labors. And I do not generally find these two ideas conflict with each other, for the simple reason that in most cases the product of our labors is a work, not an idea--and books are no exception.

With the recent release of Chris Anderson's book "free" the notions of tangibility and profitability seem to have got tangled up again. And at the centre of the issue is plagiarism. It is wrong, is it avoidable. Everything on the Internet is supposed to fee open source and free because... um, damned if I know. Perhaps because people want free stuff and they don't think they should have to feel guilty about stealing it?

I mean, it seem to me that there are two entirely separable qualities at play. One is abstraction. An abstract idea will tend to be free. You can come up with the idea of a vampire pirate, but you can't own that idea, you would have trouble selling it, and as such no one could really steal it. If, however, you write a novel about a vampire pirate that specific series of words constitutes a work in the same way that brush strokes make a painting and ingredients a cake. It is a product of labor, wholly owned by its creator, able to be sold and subject, practically and morally, to theft.

As an entirely separate issue there is tangibility. The book may be made available in paperback, or as an ebook. This is purely a matter of format. It has relatively little impact, if any, on how hard the work was to create and how much it is worth. The fact that a work is made available in an intangible form does not make it an abstract idea (with specific exceptions) lacking innate worth. A digital work is still a work, and no one knows that more than the author that did the work. When this type of work circulated for free some people get a free book and someone gets exploited. I am not really seeing the public good.

Excluding, it seems, Chris Anderson who cut and paste large sections of his book from uncredited sources such as Wikipedia and other websites and blogs. So it seems many people are willing to be instructed about whether artists should expect to be paid for digital works by someone who seems to either not understand or not feel bound by the relevant laws and other codes of online conduct. And more importantly, one who would rather appropriate the work of others than do it himself.

As such he may have failed to understand the distinction between and idea and a "work". Anderson wants to benefit from the labor of others, and to rearrange the world such this this theft is considered natural and virtuous. I expect those who are rushing to agree with him may share those qualities. The rest of us are stuck with trying to work for a living.

Monday, July 06, 2009

GUEST POST: Blog Content Theft

Content theft happens all the time online and it's complicated by international sites that do not recognize the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998. Some call it pirating, but I'd rather call it theft. As a friend pointed out, the term "pirating" gives theft a quasi-romantic outlaw connotation.

Plagiarism. Most of us know about plagiarism because we've had it hammered into us in school. Plagiarism is when you steal someone else's writing and imply that it's your own. You've copied content from someone's site and put it on your own site with no credit to the author.

Plagiarism is also when you steal someone else's ideas. You've stolen content and rewritten it so that plagiarism-detection software will not be able to catch it. This is theft of ideas.

Unfortunately, plagiarism can't be prosecuted in a criminal court of law. But it can be pursued spectacularly through civil courts – we're talking massive lawsuits.

Copyright Infringement. This is an online phenomenon. People copy content IN ITS ENTIRETY and put it on their own websites, adding an author credit and a link back to the original site. Then they pat themselves on the back for not plagiarizing. Maybe they truly believe that they're helping out by "circulating" content and giving it more visibility.

This is content theft. First, you've duplicated content, which harms you and the author. Google and other search engines don't like content duplication across sites, so they will penalize both sites with lower ranking in the search engines results pages. In short, no one will find either site and traffic drops in both places.

Second, you're making his content work for you, especially if you have a higher page rank. Every time someone searches on "eighteenth century costuming", your site will come up before his. Everyone will go to your site. Page-exposures and ad-clicking goes up on your site. Now you're stealing money that would have rightfully gone to him for content that he wrote.

Even if neither site runs ads, you've still hijacked traffic that should have gone to his site. He probably has internal links leading to more content on his site that no one will see because they've read what they were interested in on your site where you put the content that you stole from him. Do you really think anyone will go through the link to his site after they've read the information that they wanted in its entirety on yours?

The right thing to do. Don't copy content in its entirety. Quote no more than one or two sentences, and then link back to the original site. If you don't want to lose visitors off your site, then have a new window open with that link.

What to do if it happens to you. I have detailed instructions on my Obsidianbookshelf.com website. I've had content theft happen to me four times. In all four cases, I contacted the website owner first with an informal request that he or she take down my content immediately. I got the impression that the first two didn't know they were doing anything wrong, and I'd inadvertently given them a big scare. The third sent me a snotty reply but she did comply, and that's all I wanted. The fourth ignored me so I contacted his Internet Service Provider who ripped the content down within three hours of my email. That's all I wanted – end of story.

Val Kovalin at Obsidianbookshelf.com
Val Kovalin reviews m/m fiction and writes about the genre


1) Ellora's Cave
2) Amber Quill Press
3) Loose Id
4) Samhain
5) Liquid Silver Books
6) Cobblestone Press
7) Torquere
8) Changeling
9) Wild Rose Press
10) Freya's Bower

Friday, July 03, 2009

Bulletin: Black Lace

The word on the street is that Black Lace will not be publishing any further books for the foreseeable future.

See also:
No New Titles for Black Lace and Nexus
Erotica on hold for Black Lace and Nexus at Virgin