Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Proposed RWA Chapter--Diverse Hues

-----FORWARDED RELEASE--My comments in [italics]-------

[Formatting seems to be a bit mangled, I did my best to fix it]

We would like to start a special interest chapter of Romance Writers of America for Ethno-cultural Romance named “Diverse Hues”.

  • We aim to be a strong voice and advocate for ethno-cultural romance
  • We aim to be a place of tolerance and promote diversity
  • We aim to bring awareness to publishers and agents about the significant reader’s [singular? Must be a very significant reader.] market/interest in ethno-cultural romance.
  • Contests for both unpulished and published writers open to members and the public to promote the genre
  • We aim to hold an award ceremony as a part of the RWA National conference.
  • Loops (Groups) in place for published/unpublished authors to share and support each other.
  • A newsletter
  • A members’ critique group.
  • Host workshops for both unpublished and published writers, members and non-members.
  • Dues would cover attending a Diverse Hues online workshop per calendar year of members choosing.
  • Host agent, publisher, and editor pitches.

As a special interest chapter we'd advocate for the genre, authors, aspiring authors and their diverse books and strive to be a strong voice of this emerging genre, Ethno-culture Romance. We are reaching out to authors/aspiring authors in this category. We'd love for you to be a part of us. For us to complete the application to start a specialty chapter we need fifteen members. We are hoping you will be counted in.

How we define Ethno-Culture Romance:

Ethno-culture Romance novels that focus primarily on the romantic relationship and revolves around Interracial, Multicultural or Cultural aspects of the character(s),location or theme(s)

What is meant by Interracial, Multicultural or Cultural:

Interracial: conducted, involving, or existing between different races. (MORE THAN ONE racial group.) Which includes interracial (character(s)) of multiple ethnic, cultural or religions heritage/ancestry. This is a
tolerant and respectful place for all. That means that language shall be respectful and geared to general audiences. We reserve the right to refuse comments, books, authors and individual who do not adhere to respect and tolerance while on our site.

Multicultural: of MORE THAN ONE culture relating to, consisting of, or participating in the cultures of different countries, ethnic groups, or religions.

Cultural: of a particular social, ethnic, religious group; Which is includes characters of the SAME CULTURAL group (such as Native American, African American, Hispanic… and other cultural groups)


A Central Love Story: The main plot centers around two individuals [not tolerating poly-amorous diversity?] falling in love and struggling to make the relationship work. A writer can include as many subplots as he/she wants as long as the love story is the main focus of the novel.

An Emotionally-Satisfying and Optimistic Ending: In a romance, the lovers who risk and struggle for each other and their relationship are rewarded with emotional justice and unconditional love.

Once we have 15 interested individuals we will fill out the application for special chapter status. If we can have more than fifteen interested that’s even better. This will be presented at the July meeting. If they approve
our application we will have a busy year ahead of us.

If you are interested in becoming a member of RWA and having a specialty chapter for Ethno Cultural romance, we need you. We are also looking for team leaders to support the board within this proposed chapter and general members.

Please respond with your name, email information, if you are interest in supporting the board and let us know if you are currently a RWA member and any questions you may have to diversehues[at]gmail.com.

Thank you,

Diverse Hues

(a.c. Mason (Mason), Theresa Breaux, and Ambrielle Kirk)


Sunday, March 25, 2012

...For Dummies

My favorite review of the Writing a Romance Novel for Dummies is: "If you want an excellent book on writing romance then get the Complete Idiot's Guide instead of this one."

Because let's be honest here, if you want to go the I'm Stupid route, you might as well go all the way.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

No Boundaries Disambiguation

No Boundaries Publishing, publisher of horror and romance, has closed.  [04/2011-03/2012].  They seem to have been offering contracts as recently as January.

No Boundaries Press, an all genre epublisher, is still open.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

New: Entranced Publishing

Entranced Publishing, opening next year, will publish four romance and erotica imprints. They are currently seeking editors.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

You must be frikkin kidding me

Further Amazon bollocks. Right now my top (and only) "recommended" romance book is Your Best Body Now: Look and Feel Fabulous at Any Age the Eat-Clean Way. This book is presumably 'romance' according to the 'shit we think women might want' definition. (Way to over-extend your brand, Harlequin).

"100 books hand-selected by our editors that we think [Mom's will] enjoy"

Dear Mom, bought you a 99c ebook.  Enjoy.
100 Books for Mother's Day reveals that Amazon thinks Mom's enjoyment is limited to a swathe of pastel pink and turquoise books about motherhood, romance, being (a certain kind of) women, and family dramas with a literary twist... and a few rather out of place looking paranormal fantasy or historical memoirs thrown in.

I would suggest giving your mom a book you like, or she personally might like, or a voucher so she can chose her own damn book.

CyberWorld call for Submissions, could be clearer....

Via Email: "All genres including Gay and Lesbian stories and romance and sensual romance. No erotica."

Via Wesite: "Romance - non erotic"

So, possibly an opportunity for those who can write non-erotic sensuality.

Oh, Susan, you are so squishy and lightly scented, in a non-arousing way.  When I hear the music of your voice I am overwhelmed by deep feeling of ambivalence and a visceral desire not to fornicate with you!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Adams Media Gets into Romance

Adams Media (better known for quirky non-fiction and "unofficial" spin offs of famous books)  is opening a digital imprint called Crimson Romance for "romantic suspense, contemporary, paranormal, historical, and erotic romance." 

"Our only rule is everyone has to be a consenting adult. Other than that, we’re looking for smart, savvy heroines, fresh voices, and new takes on old favorite themes."

"We are not interested in old-fashioned stories of domineering men."

A.k.a. our only rule is that one member of the romantic unit have a vagina and we have disdain for the genre's 'dominant' trope.

I suspect Adams Media has some things to learn about digital romance.

See also:
Industry Interview – Crimson Romance by Cassiel Knight

Thursday, March 15, 2012

More Prudery Problems

Digital Manga (DMP) has been suspended from Kindle. It does not seem to be immediately clear which titles, and which content in these titles, has triggered the response.  The kindle content guidelines state, unhelpfully, "...what we deem offensive is probably about what you would expect"

I have to agree with Uncle Walter on this one

What in earth is going on with this cover, and what has it got to do with Chicago? (On Amazon, via Uncle Walter)

DMCA service

I decided to try out MUSO, a service that will send out DMCA take-down notices to pirate sites for $15 a month.  I don't think pirate sites have a big effect in my bottom line, but I do think they should respect my copyright.  I do not, personally, want to spend any significant amount of time tracking them down and sending notices.  So this seems like a reasonable solution.  I will let you know how it goes.

See also:
Curtis Agency, E-Reads Launch Program to Neutralize Pirates

ETA: The first thing I have noticed is that they processed my payment before verifying my account.  So technically I am now paying for a service they have not yet decided to provide.

ETA#2: Campaign is now live and has flagged its first pirate who is offering literally every one of my ebooks and about 100 others as one zip file.

ETA#3: I've already burned through 21 of my 60 monthly take-downs.  Found copies in Spanish with new cover art (not authorized).  Interesting.

ETA#4: So far I am very happy.  Muso posts a list of detected files.  When I check many are already down so I opt to 'ignore' them to save my 60/month.  Most of the rest came down very shortly after hitting the 'take-down' switch.  The link stays up so you can confirm they are really down. If they stay up you have the option of sending a reminder. Only successful take-downs after sending the notice count to the 60 limit.  I suspect I will continue to use this service on an on-going basis.

ETA#5: I get a real feeling of progress from things like this 4Shared notice: "'Emily Veinglory - The Nameless God.pdf' is unavailable. This file is no longer available because it's identical to file banned because of claim".  So you don't have to keep telling 4Shared to take down the same file over and over again.  That's nice.

ETA#6: No new infringements posted in five days.  It is not looking like I need to keep this service on full time. I will try a search later to see if I can find any that they are missing.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


In an extraordinarily banal but possibly also economically wise move, Harper Collins-slash-Avon has opened a digital imprint for erotica.  What is banal, you might ask.  Well.
  • It's for women, there pink.  Very pink.  (The pinup bimbo, well, I have no idea what that's about.) And then you get to the website which is red, very red.
  • Reporting focuses on women reading ebooks out of shame (a.k.a. women are more "dishonest" than men about reading erotica ).
What is someone new is a digital publisher actually encouraging this alleged shame and dishonesty with a tag line of: “private pleasures with a hand-held device.” Which reads both as a double entendre and an encouragement of "hiding" your erotic reading so as not to look unladylike (perhaps this is where the pinup comes in).

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Paypal Reversal

So Paypal has backtracked to say their policy will only apply to visual images in books and texts (even without images) focused on child pornography.  More importantly they will deal with infractions on a  case-by-case basis, rather than persist in banning entire categories.

One wonders whether Bookstrand will welcome self-publishers back into the fold or reveal attitude of feeling better off without them? Out of this whole mess, I must say Smashwords considered and very transparent approach impressed me the most.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Market:: House of Erotica

House of Erotica is a UK-based erotica publisher.  They are open to submissions and pay 50% on net.

WTFery of the Week

"The moment we separate sexuality from child-bearing, we turn women into generic sexual objects, which makes it impossible for them to obtain what they want, because sexual objects are generic."

In a rambling piece about how American women are going asexual and erotic fiction like 50 Shades of Grey is evidence of this.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Dorchester Drama Ends

Publishers Marketplace reports that Dorchester Publisng is closed and will be placed under foreclosure by the owner. This may not be good news for the authors.

Revisiting the Penguin-Amazon-Kiana Davenport Thang

It seems that Penguin was all read to publish The Chinese Soldier’s Daughter (original title, sigh) by Kiana Davenport until they found she had self-published some short stories (Cannibal Nights) through Amazon. When she refused to deleted the collection, they cancelled the release.

Now I don't know exactly what was in the contract, and there seems to have been a right of first refusal.  In which case the author did screw up. I totally get that.(And the author's poor David vs Goliath posturing does nothing for me). You could, however, argue that a different genre and length means the work failed to have the "resemblance" necessary to trigger the clause.

Either way, dumping the book, allowing Amazon to pick it up, rename it The Spy Lover and laugh all the way to the bank while using the whole brouhaha for publicity... well. I agree with Streitfeld: That's a dumb move. It plays into those pervasive self-pub stereotypes about big publishers being controlling and not willing to share their toys.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Dorchester Goes Dark

It seems like Dorchester Publishing's decline is continuing. They have reportedly ceased operating from their official address. They currently employ no editorial staff whatsoever. Multiple authors report missing sales information and non-payment over an extended period. Freelancers also report non-payment from Dorchester Media which operates the True Story magazines ("Trues") [example]. Their viability is so low some have declared them dead [example], while others report staff are "working from home" [example].

It may seem repetitive to keep reporting this, but it keeps happening. Dorchester keeps getting less viable, keeps selling book and magazines, and keeps not paying authors.  This keeps being unacceptable.

Monday, March 05, 2012

The fine line between "Design" and "tracing"

As authors we are warned that music companies are rather litiguous, and quoting lyrics isn't a great idea.  But apparently if you are making designer goods, tracing a album cover and slapping some lyrics on it is perfectly okay?

I think the "designer defense" must be a bit like the "literary defense" when it comes to blatantly selling derivative works?  (See a bunch of other examples here).

Sunday, March 04, 2012


Apparently there is a new put down.  Trashy Romance is so last decade.  Now it's Mommy Porn.

Because if there is anything more silly and innately ridiculous than what women read, it's what women who care for children read.