Friday, August 31, 2007

Nora Roberts, I would have your babies

Seriously, I would.

Having been called the most confrontational person ever on a number of occasions, I can't deny the allegation that I enjoy controversy. It's the spice of life, after all. It keeps things interesting, and gives me something to write and think about, not to mention ideas for my writing. So yes, I have found the drama of this past week abundantly entertaining. I won't claim otherwise.

Perhaps my favorite part of this week has been interacting with other authors I don't normally encounter. Nora Roberts has been weighing in regularly on the MGP issue, and offering what I consider to be very good advice to new and aspiring authors. I don't read Nora's books; the headhopping drives me batshit. (I realize I headhopped like it was going out of style in Svetkavista, we'll talk about that later) But it's refreshing to know she actually cares about the little guy. In addition to finding her commentary amusing and intelligent, I love this one fact above all others: she wastes time fucking around on the Internet just like the rest of us.

Honestly, given the speed with which she can write a novel, I had always pictured her as sitting in a dark, 5' by 5' room with nothing more than a folding table and metal chair, typing so fast that cartoon smoke rises from the keyboard. Of course this raises the question of how does she write novels so fast when she's online? Katrina Strauss and I think she's got monkeys in the basement.

Anyway, while the excitement was fun for a bit, I'm starting to get tired of the drama. What started out as a constructive dialog about the pros and cons of epublishing has, in the last few days, devolved into a mudslinging insult war. People are taking the opportunity to bash authors or publishers they don't like with no constructive reason behind it. That's when it stopped being fun for me.

So now I go back to writing, which is what I should be doing anyway. Reckless Liaisons is shaping up nicely and I fall more in love with Sebastian Cade each day. His brother, Alex, also makes his presence known and at a cross between Ceallach Ruthven and Trevor Caufield, I guarantee you'll like him. The book is more "traditional Regency" than I have written in the past, and whether that's me growing as an author or not I'll leave to the readers to decide. Best of all - the series will be in print. (insert internal dance of joy here) I'm already compiling fun things, so keep your eyes peeled for info on how to get your very own Scandalous Situations goody bag.

And Nora, I mean it, the offer's open.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

And, it seems, the band played on...

How ironic that just yesterday I finally speak out on this issue, and that very night, more information surfaced regarding the status of Mardi Gras Publishing. Authors are now speaking out - and no, I don't credit myself for this, just think I have damn good timing.

I am reposting below a message that has been circulating the email forums all day. I did request permission to repost the message, and feel it is important to pass on in as many ways as possible, for reasons that should be obvious.

The authors, editors and staff of Mardi Gras Publishing would like
to respond to the information that is spreading quickly through the
various sites. We would like to set OUR record straight.

We were surprised to hear on August 4 that Teresa Jacobs, the
owner "forgot" to sign our royalty checks. We learned that on August
4 she parked a new publishing company called Satin Rouge Publishing
on GoDaddy. Thus far no site has been built, however on the Mardi
Gras submission page she has one particular line going to this new
company she appears to be trying to open. Until August 27 she did
not return any telephone calls and despite logging into her various
Myspace pages, did not log on to our staff/author list to address
our concerns.

The majority of us have not been paid royalties for our books, many
of us were told we sold less than we knew we did, most editors have
not been paid nor has regular staff.

In light of the fact that Teresa Jacobs has abandoned Mardi Gras
Publishing yet continues to sell our books, we request you cease and
desist buying ANY Mardi Gras books, in whatever format from here on
out. Every sale that is made is money going into her pocket and
longer before we can get our rights back.

Thank you.

The Authors, Editors and Staff of Mardi Gras Publishing

Another author has also shown courage today and spoken out against MGP. The very talented (and very dear friend of mine) Katrina Strauss has finally revealed her own experience, which should make any legitimate author or publisher downright nauseous. I encourage you to read her story here.

Monday, August 27, 2007

A Sad State of Affairs

First of all this will be the first time I have publicly stated that I have resigned from Aphrodite's Apples and am no longer their Editor-in-Chief. There was absolutely no animosity in my decision. Being in law school full time, as well as trying to manage a writing career of my own and battling increasing health problems has prompted me to step down from the position and allow someone to take over who can dedicate more time and attention to the job than I am able to give right now. I do enjoy being busy 24 hours of every day, but there comes a point where one is forced to, as they say, slow down.

I am well aware of my reputation for being opinionated, outspoken, and perhaps even a bit bitchy. What you may not realize is that I have showed restraint on many issues over the last year, so as to avoid any negative associations with Aphrodite's Apples as a result of my opinions. Well, folks, the leash is off now. And you ain't seen nothin' yet.

My first target: the rather dismal state of the epublishing industry at the moment, in the wake of so many publishers closing up shop or simply...fading away. Given the relative ease with which a person can launch their own publishing company (and I'm not talking run it successfully, that's no cake walk, but just open one), it's to be expected that publishers will come and go with some amount of frequency. And perhaps in a way that's good, because it allows for the truly quality houses to stay open, and to shine.

But any time a house closes, it impacts at least a few authors - in the case of Triskelion, many more than that. And in some ways I'm inclined to say that's okay too. Publishers come and publishers go, just like hairstyles and boy bands. Don't misunderstand me, what the Trisk authors are going through right now is awful. I don't wish it on anyone. They have a right to be upset, and they have a right to get back what is theirs and what they are owed.

Yet another publisher seems to have hit the skids this month. No books have been released this month at all (which hey, shit happens), and apparently neither has the publisher made any contact with her authors to let them know what's going on. Word on the street - yes, those rumors all of you have heard and probably passed on - is that certified letters are being returned unopened, phone calls and emails are being ignored, and authors are generally confused, angry, and quite honestly, frightened. What is going on with their lovingly crafted work, they wonder? The books continue to be for sale through the publisher's website, and through third party distributors such as fictionwise. Will they ever see those royalties? Will they ever hear from their publisher again? Is the house closing? What is going on?

Camille Anthony recently went public with her troubles at another small press. Not only does my heart go out to her because she is an enormously talented author whose work I enjoy in my spare time, but I was proud of her for standing up. For broadcasting her cautionary tale to other authors so that they can better avoid falling into a similar trap. And I can't help but wonder, why don't more authors stand up and spread the word? Because let's face it, as long as there continue to be fresh-faced uninformed aspiring authors out there, and there always will be, these houses will continue to pull in contracts.

Yes, there are some very helpful resources out there, WriterBeware, Preditors and Editors, Piers Anthony's personal site, but the complaints lodged there are usually anonymous. And for every negative report Piers provides, there is almost always a positive one in rebuttal. Perhaps what these authors need is real faces and names to put with the experiences, to better give them credibility.

My challenge to you, then, is this: talk about your bad experiences. Don't let others fall into the same traps that you did. Will you gain some enemies from publicly speaking out against certain publishers? Yes, you probably will. I expect at least one or two new adversaries as a result of this post. I couldn't care less. Whisperings and hushed discussions don't change things. And this sad state of affairs definitely needs some changing.


Thursday, August 09, 2007

Updating on the Updates

Dear Readers,

Are you wondering why I've not updated my website when I've had a new release last month? Where are the excerpts, you grumble irritably. I'm no more pleased, I promise you! I had a computer crash in July and lost close to everything. The year and a half old laptop, which has broken three times already, may be savable, but tech support has yet to offer any, well, support. (Yes, my "Death to Dell" campaign will be starting up soon) Even better, the external hard drive I'd been using to back up my laptop crashed within days of the computer fiasco. If Dell doesn't come through, I really will have lost a great deal, including 10,000 words of Woman of the Forest, my retelling of the Ancient Roman legend of Rhea Silvia.

But in other news, you heard right, "Eyes Like Yours" is now available from Red Rose Publishing! Curious as to how my chops fare with contemporary romance? Well, at $0.99, you've no excuse to not check it out. Hurry on over to and grab your copy.

I'm hard at work on Reckless Liasons, book one of my new Scandalous Situations series, exploring my favorite type of hero, the Regency rake. I promise you'll like Sebastian Cade just as much as you enjoy Trevor and Vere. But wait, you haven't met Vere Fane, Earl of Westmorland, yet, have you? Not to worry, "A Scandalous Arrangement" will be released later this month in A Rose Of Any Colour from Freya's Bower. What are your naughtiest fantasies? Vere knows them, and can carry them out all without wrinkling his cravat.

More news soon, darlings.