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I recently finished the Smashwords formatting on Whistling Woman. It took me a long time, but I’m happy to say I received this email from Smashwords within a half hour of submitting the book:

Congratulations! There were no AutoVetter errors! Your book is now in the queue for review by our vetting team.

So, Whistling Woman is available on Smashwords but it’s waiting on the Premium Catalog approval. Not too shabby for a first time effort but I have to be honest and tell you, it wasn’t an easy thing to do–even with the free Smashwords Style Guide by Mark Coker. Still, there were no Autovetter errors and I’m told that’s a really good thing.

The thing is, I’ve been reading quite a few free books on my Kindle and though I haven’t tried any yet, I plan to check out some of the free offers on Smashwords. That is, if I can bring myself to do it. I love free books but…I absolutely hate the quality of some of the ones offered for no cost. Because, they aren’t really free, some of them come with a price. Not a monetary one, but an emotional one. Too many–and if you ask me more than two or three is too many!–left me frustrated and in a few cases downright angry because of the time I lost reading them. Not that they were all bad, there were a lot of really good ones out there, but some of them were full of typos, grammar errors, and yes, bad writing in the form of repeated words, missing words, words that have no business being where they are in the book, cliches–yes, I know, my love for cliches is well-known, but come on, there’s a reason “too much of a good thing” is a cliche–historical inaccuracies, implausible events, TSTL characters…the list goes on and on.

And that doesn’t even touch on the worst of all–formatting errors. When I see a book that isn’t formatted properly, the first thing that comes to my mind, especially if it’s a self-published book, is this author doesn’t take pride in their work.

That’s not a good thing because there are plenty of books, many of them free on Kindle or Smashwords, that walk you step-by-step through the formatting. All you have to do is follow the books and you’re almost guaranteed to have a, well, maybe not perfectly formatted, but at least nicely formatted book. You know, one that doesn’t make the reader want to slam it up against the wall immediately delete it from their reading device and never purchase another book by you again.

So, please, if you’re an author, self-published or not, and thinking of putting your book(s) up as e-books on Kindle and/or Smashwords, grab a little pride! Get yourself a copy of these books, read them, and more importantly, follow them!

Publish on Amazon Kindle with Kindle Direct Publishing (Put out by Amazon.com. It doesn’t really walk you through the formatting steps, but there’s a lot of valuable information in there and it’s free.)

How to Publish Your Kindle Book on Amazon for Free and Make Money From Home by Ron Taylor (I haven’t read this one yet so don’t know how much help it is. It’s free for Prime members and only .99 for everybody else.)

How to Publish an Ebook on a Budget by Stephanie Zia (This one’s no longer free)

Smashwords Style Guide by Mark Coker (Free and a must-have if you’re going to publish on Smashwords. You can also view it or download a copy on Smashwords.)

Also, if you do click on the links for these books, check out the “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” box just below the book cover. Lots of other books there that not only deal with formatting, but with marketing and writing too. Plus, if you’re thinking of publishing on Kindle, there are lots of good tips and advice on the KDP forums and help pages.

And finally, check out Jinx Schwartz’s blog post DYI Kindle e-books, I did it and so can you. Ms. Schwartz just reposted this and if you’re going to publish on Kindle, it’s a must-read!

Very interesting and thought-provoking post by Jane on Dear Author; Publishers, It’s Your Move. In the article, Jane gives a list of 8 things publishers can do to reconnect with their readers and in number 4 notes that: “The great wealth of crappy self publishing offerings helps to increase the value of quality offerings but if the higher priced goods are crappy, then readers might as well pay $.99 instead of $7.99.”

I have to admit to a slight wince when I read the “great wealth of crappy self publishing offerings.” My sister, Christy Tillery French (the other half of CC Tillery) and I spent upwards of 4 months reading, proofing,and formatting then re-reading, re-proofing, and re-formatting many times over before we even considered submitting Whistling Woman to Kindle Direct Publishing. Quality was uppermost in our mind while we did that. We read countless books on how to format your e-book for the various e-readers and did our best to follow the directions of authors who have walked the self-publishing path before us. And from all indications, we got it right. Everyone I’ve talked to who has read or is reading Whistling Woman (available on Kindle for a low $2.99!), has commented on how clean the formatting is. Both Christy and I have read the book on our Kindles and (pardon the vanity) it looks beautiful. So I have to disagree on the quality of self-published e-books. There are some that are of an equal or higher quality than the e-books being released by the major publishers.

In fact, judging by the e-books I’ve read from the major publishers vs. the self-published e-books, I’d venture to say that whether you pay the outrageous prices from the big publishers or the much lower price for a self-published book, the odds of getting a poor quality e-book are about the same. I have a Sony Touch e-reader, a Kindle, and a Samsung Galaxy Tab with all the e-reader apps, and I have numerous e-books on each one. With the exception of one Stephen King book and a few books by fave authors, I’ve never paid more than $5 for any e-book. I just refuse to do it and I no longer have an auto-buy list simply because I learned pretty fast that in the world of e-books, high price doesn’t always equal high quality. So, being a cheapskate, a skinflint, and a Scrooge admirer of the highest order, most of the e-books I buy cost no more than $.99, and though I don’t know for sure, I’d be willing to bet I have just as many that were free. A great many of those books are self-published, as Whistling Woman is, and I’ve found very few that have glaring formatting errors, typos, or grammatical mistakes. Which leads me to believe that most self-published authors are at least making an effort to get it right.

I heartily agree with Jane’s admonitions to the big publishers, “Be synonymous with quality” but I have to add that a cheaper price doesn’t always mean cheaper quality. And yes, I know that Jane isn’t saying all self-published books are low-quality because the truth is, there are quite a few that are…well, crappy, but there are also quite a few self-published authors who take pride in their work and strive to make it the best it can be.

For any authors out there who dropped their RWA membership this year–that would be me–and need a little confirmation you made the right choice, Emily Veinglory has a great post up today over on the EREC blog.  Be sure to click through to part one, which includes links to other authors’ take on the current situation between RWA and e-pubbed authors.  While you’re there, take the survey too because it gives you a chance to speak your mind about how you feel about all of this.  It’s also an interesting read for any aspiring romance author who might be thinking about joining RWA.

There’s also an informative post by Alice Anderson, creator of the CataNetwork, on her blog dealing with the same topic.

I won’t restate everything these two authors have said–they’ve done an outstanding job already–but I will say that RWA wasn’t for me.  I knew it before I joined and went ahead and wasted my money anyway–don’t ask me why, I’m still trying to figure that out myself! 

I’m fully aware there are authors who might find RWA to be the perfect place for them and if you’re one of them, by all means, sign up and send them a check…BUT if you’re trying to make up your mind, do a little research first.  These two blog posts are a good place to start.

I’ll leave you with a few words of wisdom from Ms. Anderson:

“You are not alone in the world, dear writer. The internet has brought us together. You have options. Start exploring them.”

snoopy_dance

Lots of things to celebrate today:

1.  It’s Read an E-book week!  Hip-hip-hooray!  Haven’t been bitten by the e-book bug yet?  Then why not go for a quick, easy, feel-good read  to get in the spirit, so to speak.  Come on, you know you want to and have I got just the book for you!

*Warning, blatant self-promotion ahead!*

Check out my novella, Unwilling Angel.  A short, fast read guaranteed to lift your spirits!  And if you want something with a little more, um, bite  to it, take a look at Snow Shadows, about a Cherokee shape-shifter who doesn’t bite–unless you want him to!  Available in e-book at your favorite online e-book supplier and mine; FictionWise.

2.  Baseball, baseball, and more baseball.

First, the World Baseball Classic.  Did you see that game last night between the US and Venezuela?  Wow!  My man, Youk, hit another homerun–that makes two!–and I’m betting he’ll hit more before it’s over.  Adam Dunn ain’t doing too bad either!  Better yet, now that the WBC has started, that means the regular season isn’t far behind.

Second, Manny Ramirez finally signed with the LA Dodgers so now we won’t have to see his name pop up everywhere.  No offense Manny, but even I got tired of seeing your face splashed all over the online sports news.  I mean, really, what are you trying to be?  The (insert whatever pop-celeb you’re sick of hearing about) of baseball?

Third,  Alex Rodriguez opted to have arthroscopic surgery on his hip instead of trying to play through the season with a torn labrum.  From all reports, he’ll be out for 6-9 weeks.  If I’d been in his shoes, I would’ve done the same thing but…with everything that’s happened in his life lately it seems like awful convenient timing.  Just saying…

3.  The sun is out, all the snow is gone, the temperature is in the high 70’s, the squirrels–both gray and white–are capering, and the birds are singing their little hearts out.  Spring has sprung here in the mountains of North Carolina and I’m loving it!

4.  Got an email from my publisher last night asking for a short bio for the PMS: Poison + Murder = Satisfaction anthology.  That means it should be released soon!  My short, The Secret Life of Alice Smitty, is one of the stories.  Double woo-hoo!

5.  Made it through another revision of Storm Shadows this weekend and I think it’s just about ready to be submitted.  For right now, Betty Sue seems to be satisfied with her character and her happy ending.  Whew!  Now, let’s just hope she stays that way!

So there you have it, five reasons I’m doing Snoopy dances.  Don’t you just love it when the angels give you multiple reasons for dancing?

I’ve been sitting on a comment to one of my posts for about two months now, wondering whether I should approve it or send it to the spam queue or just delete it.  The person who wrote it wasn’t very happy with me or my post about a new e-publisher that I’d had some warnings about.

Here’s the comment:

wow, you are ignorant AND boring. good luck with your publications jerkwad.

Okay, first, thanks for the good wishes–even if you did blow it with the “jerkwad” thing.  As for the “boring” part, I can’t really argue with that because I am essentially a very boring person.  The “ignorant” part though, that’s a matter of opinion and I have to say, it doesn’t really bother me.

Anyway, the real reason I’ve hesitated to approve the comment is the author signature:

 Vicious
casualhomicide@gmail.com

“Casualhomicide”, huh?  A little creepy, not to mention slightly loony, so I just left it in the comments and had pretty much forgotten about it until a couple of days ago when I realized I might just be, as this anonymous person said, ignorant.

No, seriously, I have proof.  Read on and see if you don’t agree with me.

Okay, so, I had an e-book come out this past Thursday, Unwilling Angel, a sweet paranormal romance that takes place at Christmas.  Perfect timing on the release date, right?  Well, yeah, it would’ve been, except me in my awe-inspiring stupidity, included a free copy of the book as part of the prize I’m offering in two holiday contests.

See?  Stupid!  Stupid!  Stupid!

*warning: run-on sentence ahead!*  Beyond the fact that I’ve read several reports on how useless contests are for generating sales for authors–but they are a good way to get some name recognition!–and the countless times I’ve been warned not to ever give away a free e-book–too many authors have done that only to have the copy of the ebook that was the prize shared with the countless other people.  I even know of one author who recently came across the book she’d given as a prize listed as a free give-away on the winner’s web site where the winner said something like, “It’s yours to read, pass on to someone else, or just trash”–beyond all that, I know that most people when they have the chance to win something for free, are not going to waste their money puchasing it until after the contest is over–if then.  And by the time both of the contests I’m in have ended, the Christmas season for this year will be over.

Which means, in my incredible stupidity, I’ve pretty much put the kabosh on sales for this book during the season when a Christmas book can expect the best sales.

See, told ya’, stupid!  Stupid!  Stupid!  I can’t say it enough!

So, I’m trying to think of a plan to offset my idiocy and so far, the only thing I can come up with is another contest.  Yikes!  Problem is, I don’t know if I can do what I want, which would be to run a contest where the prize is a free copy of my print book, Snow Shadows, to one person who buys Unwilling Angel.  I mean, you’d have to purchase something to win–is that even allowed any more?  Plus, what effect would that have on the sales of Snow Shadows?

*sigh*  I’ll say it again, stupid!  Which leads me to believe that anonymous person who commented and said I was ignorant just might be right.  At least in this case and hopefully, it’s only a passing affliction!

News yesterday of two more e-publishers who won’t be with us for much longer.  I know, I know, we’ve heard it all before and without a doubt, we’ll hear it again.  Having been with two e-publishers who went down; StarDust Press who handled the whole thing professionally, and Twilight Fantasies Publications, who…didn’t, I sympathize with the authors of both companies.  As for the owners well…you be the judge.

Shadowrose Publishing is now listed on the EREC blog (Emily Veinglory’s site) with a cloud of smoke, meaning there have been “some reports of trouble.”  Preditors & Editors says their link is “broken.”  No word from Piers Anthony yet, but then Mr. Anthony’s page isn’t scheduled for an update until next month, and I imagine he’ll have something to say when he does update.  Smart Bitches Who Love Trashy Books, Dear Author, and Karen Knows Best have all reported on this as have, I imagine, many other blogs out there in cyber-space.

Shadowrose is a perfect example of taking the low road and I have nothing but loathing for them.

The second, Dark Eden Press, is a relatively new e-publisher.  Most of what I heard about them during their short time in business, was positive.  There were a few rumbles, but since they’re closing, the negatives are not really relevant here.  What is relevant is the way the owner, Debra Durham, has chosen to handle the closing of her business.  Instead of slinking away and hiding, Ms. Durham has taken the high road, releasing a letter to her authors telling them what she plans to do.

Her letter can be found here.  I dare every person with even the vaguest notion of starting an e-press now or at some future time, as well as every e-publisher in business today, to read it and learn!

The thing is…all this has me wondering what the hell is the matter with people these days?  And like I’ve said in the past about the owners of Twilight Fantasies who chose to take the low road when they closed, how the hell do they look at themselves in the mirror every morning, knowing what they did to their authors?

What happened to doing the right thing, admitting you failed, and taking responsibility for your actions?

<sigh>  I guess it’s pretty naive and foolish of me to believe that the golden rule I learned as a child–treat others as you would like to be treated–still stands.  It doesn’t, at least not in e-publishing.  The golden rule for e-publishers these days seems to be sign as many authors as you can, grab the money and run, and oh yes, we mustn’t forget the most important part, fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke.

I really hope St. Peter’s taking names, and plans on kicking some ass when the time comes.     

That just about sums up how I feel right now…wasted and without a clue what to write about.  I think I may have done some serious damage to my muse with my latest writing binge–two novellas in two months!–and I don’t know whether to get down on my knees and beg her forgiveness or just leave her to sulk in a dark corner of my mind until she gets over it.  Probably better to leave her alone and let her cool off a bit, she’s liable to kick my ass if I don’t.

So, I’ve been writing, and like I said, I’ve completed two novellas, one a cougar story which needs some serious polishing before I do anything with it, the other a…I’m not sure what to call it.  I submitted it as a paranormal romantic suspense, but now that I’ve had time to think about it, I think it’s more of an urban fantasy, with elements of romantic suspense.  It’s not paranormal–I don’t think–and I hope the publisher doesn’t throw it in the trash because I sent it under the wrong genre.  Just another thing to chew on my fingernails about while I wait to hear from them.  Nineteen days and counting…

I do have something to keep me busy while I wait; the first round of edits on Snow Shadows, my paranormal romance that’s coming out later this year with L&L Dreamspell.  But since I haven’t written anything on this blog since shortly after Christmas, I decided I needed to get in at least one or two entries for January before I sink into the mire of rewrites and revisions.

Plus, a couple of things are weighing heavy on my mind right now.

First the owner of the now defunct e-publisher, Twilight Fantasies Publications, which shall not be named, did something I find truly despicable and repugnant, she’s self published a fifty page novella she once offered as a free read on her publishing site.  When I heard this, I had a true WTF moment?  Not the first this publisher’s given me and probably not the last.  Anyway, not only was the book once offered as a free read, it’s now up for sale for over sixteen dollars (hardback) and just under seven dollars (paperback).  I mean, come on, who’s going to pay that kind of money for a book that size, much less one that’s already been released for free?  It is offered in ebook format for under four dollars, but still…

The thing is…this author, who put this book out originally under her pen name, is now offering the same book under her real name.  I guess that’s a case of changing the names to protect the innocent, huh?  Not that she’s innocent in any way or form in my mind.  She’s slapped a new cover on it, listed the publisher as Twilight Fantasies (I assume to make it look like the book was good enough to get accepted by a real publisher), put the original editor’s name on it (who I understand was never paid for her work), and is asking an unbelievable amount of money for it.  Can we all say scam?

I have no idea what this particular vanity press charges to publish something, or if they even charge, could be they take it out in royalties, or something, but if they do, my question to this scurrilous woman is; did the money you owed your authors, editors, and cover artists pay for this?  And if so, when can we expect our percentage of the royalties?  Will you pay them or will you slink off into hiding like you did before, complaining all the way about people being mean to you?

Beyond that, I feel sorry for any reader who purchases your exhorbitantly priced book, they could’ve gotten your fifty pages of nothing (totally my opinion of course) for…well, nothing!  Kind of makes me wish I was vindictive enough to prove your point about how mean people are by posting a message to any readers out there who want to buy your book and offering to send it to them for free.  But alas, woe is me, one of the first things I did when I severed ties with you was delete my copy of the free download.  Oh well.  And, knowing you and your pompous jerk of a husband, you’d probably sue me for copyright violation or something.

Which brings me to the next thing on my mind–Cassie Edwards and her “alleged” plagiarism of various authors.  This one really pisses me off, for a number of reasons, all of which I’ll comment on tomorrow–I hope!

Right now, I’ve got to see if I can coax my muse out of hiding.  I may need her when I work on  those edits!  Hmm…maybe an imaginary trail of white chocolate macadamia nut cookie crumbs will do the trick. 

Oh, and before I forget, Go Pats!  And, sorry Peyton!  You didn’t make it this year, but I’ll be rooting for your brother in the play-offs.  Eli’s coming…

Do you ever have one of those days when your mind can’t seem to settle on any one thing but is constantly jumping around like a jackrabbit on drugs?  Well, I’ve been going through a string of days like that.  Haven’t gotten any writing done to speak of and for the first time in years, I didn’t put up my Christmas tree on the day after Thanksgiving.  Just wasn’t in the mood.  What’s up with that?  Usually Christmas is my favorite time of year.  I count down the days for months, waiting for Thanksgiving when I can put up my tree and then dive headlong into the season.

Not happening this year and I’m not sure why, but I think perhaps it’s because I submitted my paranormal romance, Unwiling Angel, to another publisher even though I have no idea how things with the first publisher, Twilight Fantasies, are going to turn out.  I just don’t know if it was the right thing to do, but I was sick of biding my time while the owners of TFP decide what they’re going to do, so I submitted.  I didn’t try to hide anything from the new publisher and I have to tell you, I was blown away when they wrote back saying they’d like to offer me a contract.

That’s when the doubts started to set in.  I hesitated, worried that I was going to drag them into this mess with TFP and okay, I’ll admit it, also worried that my writing career would be hurt in some way if I signed the contract.  I talked to my lawyer and he advised me not to sign, but to wait a few more months until we know a little bit more about what Twilight’s going to do.  So, I wrote the new publisher and explained why I wouldn’t be signing the contract and…

the owner called me at home!  That one really knocked me for a loop.  I mean, it’s extremely flattering that they were willing to take a chance on the manuscript in the first place, but to call me at home and give me the reasons she thought it was okay for me to sign with her company?  That was, to say the least, over the top pleasing and gratifying!  It also warmed my heart because of all the books and stories I’ve written, this one is my favorite.  I really want to see it published.   Perhaps I was blinded by that, but this morning I followed my heart, signed the contract and sent it back to them.

The thing is…my mind is still worried.  Why?  Well, I’ve narrowed it down to three things:

1)  I had been thinking of putting in some extra work on the manuscript; adding about thirty-five thousand words, taking it from novella to novel length; fleshing out the love story between the heroine and the hero; and while I was at it, spicing it up a little bit.

2)  This is another new e-publisher and I’ve been burned twice–well, actually I was only singed on the first one, but the second one was a full-out, writhing-in-agony, burning-at-the-stake conflagration–and I swore I’d never take that chance again.

3)  I know several authors who will, like my lawyer, think I’ve done the wrong thing.  I’m not looking forward to sharing this news with them.

Okay, I think I hit the nail on the head with that last one–selling a book should be a happy occasion.  Right?  Oh hell, it should be a screaming-from-the-rooftop, champagne-corks-popping, day-long-happy-dance!  That’s how I felt with every book and short story I’ve sold, and the fact that this publisher is interested enough to take a chance on my novella, knowing that if TFP files for bankruptcy, the rights could be held up for unknown amounts of time in a court case, should at least edge that celebration up to a week-long event…but I’m just not feeling it right now.

Hopefully, once I announce it, my friends and fellow authors will surprise me.  I’m pretty sure my lawyer won’t, but hey, he’s a lawyer.  What can you expect?  This was a decision made from the heart and everybody knows lawyers don’t have hearts–oops!  Sorry Paul, couldn’t resist that one! 

All kidding aside, I’m hoping some day I might be able to look back on this and know following my heart was the right thing to do.

**I’m not sure, but I have a feeling that this post may turn into a “Friday Folly”–hence  the asterisks and question mark.  Oh well, we’ll see.

Twilight Fantasies Publications has closed its doors and the authors–of which I am one–have no idea what’s going to happen next.  Will they file for bankruptcy, thereby leaving the future of our books in the hands of the court?  Or will they just fade into oblivion, thereby leaving all their authors to wait and wonder if it’s safe yet to re-submit their work?  Who knows?  I can give you my opinion–I think they’ve packed up their toys and gone home and we probably won’t hear another word out of them–but that certainly isn’t etched in stone and fair warning, it’s based more on my own personal hopes than facts.

So, I’ve been reading a few of the blogs and watchdog sites which have seen fit to comment on the closing and I’m very dismayed by some of the posts by other authors.  Particularly those made by authors who are more experienced and thus in a much cushier position than authors who are just starting out–like me.  Normally, I enjoy reading the thoughts and remarks of people who know more than I do about a given situation, but this time around, I’m a little…um, sickened by their smugness.

The thing is…these authors who are speaking from their loftier perches on the ladder of success, seem to be well, I think blaming is too strong a word here, so let’s just say implying that when an author gets caught up in the death throes of a dying epublisher, said author has no one to blame but herself.  I’m sorry, but I don’t get that.  Haven’t these people ever heard of compassion?

Apparently not.  A few of them have even gone so far as to say we–meaning the authors who are caught up in the <insert name of epublisher who’s gone belly up here> debacle–were so “desperate” to get published, we would have handed our rights over to just any old Tom, Dick, or Harry on the cyber-space highway as long as they offered us a chance to get our work out there.

Now that just flat-out pisses me off, and I’m here to tell you it isn’t so.  Not in my case and not in the case of countless others who have–or will in the future–go through this.  I’ve been privileged to read the work of some of those authors and I can tell you, these are not fly-by-night, anything-for-a-quick-buck, looking for glory, desperate authors.  These are writers who have poured their hearts and souls into their work, who have taken the time to learn how to write a book, and who, in some cases, are turning out better work than some of the crap written by several of those best-selling authors published by the big New York houses–and trust me, you don’t even want to get me started on the unoriginal junk that’s being churned out by those people.

Okay, so there are authors out there who think it’s our fault we’re going through all this heart ache.  Where do they get that?  Perhaps–and I’m quoting a fellow author here–it’s their “Diva Attitude” that makes them say things like this.

…and even as I write this and worry that some of those “Diva Authors” are going to take a very big, very vicious bite out of my ass for it, an email just came through my inbox warning of yet another epublisher–one that’s been in business for a while and by all accounts was one of the more stable ones–that is closing its doors.  If it’s true, several of those “Diva Authors” are going to be caught up in this one and we’ll be able to see how they handle it.

Poetic justice?  Maybe, but I prefer to think of it as sweet revenge.  Which probably makes me sound like a spiteful bitch, but I can’t help being glad they’re going to get a taste of their own medicine, because I know for a fact it won’t kill them…but it is a bitter pill to swallow.

Got sugar?         

Okay, I wasn’t going to write about this, but the fact is, I’m still mad about it and I can’t think of any other way to get it off my mind.  So, I’m going to get it all down, and I apologize if it’s all a little garbled and incoherent, but hopefully once I get through with this blog entry, that’ll be the end of it.

A little background first, I’ve been locked in a battle with an epublisher for the rights to my book, Unwilling Angel, which won first place in their Zuzu’s Petals writing contest and was published by them.  After various breaches of contract, I wrote them and told them I wanted my rights back.  They, in turn, wrote me back and tried to blame me–and a few other authors who were asking for their rights back–for the whole mess. 

Now, while I have written a little about this fight, I’ve managed to avoid coming right out and saying the publisher’s name.  Not that it would’ve taken a genius to figure it out, but I at least tried to keep my mouth shut and not spread vicious rumors.  As of this past weekend, that’s over with.  Last Monday, Twilight Fantasies Publications shut down their web site and on Saturday, they shut down the author’s loop, the reader’s group, and their blog site–all without having the courage to come out and warn the authors who had remained loyal to them.  No word, no explanation, not even a “go jump in the lake,” even though the authors who were still with them were practically begging them to post something on the author’s loop and explain what was going on.  They didn’t see fit to do that and the lack of explanation has taken me to a whole new level of fury.  Not for myself–well, okay, a little for myself–but more for all the authors they left hanging.

Okay, so Twilight Fantasies Publications is owned by a husband and wife team.  I know the wife is a teacher and it’s my understanding the husband is too.  The wife is also an author who writes erotic romance under a pseudonym, and the husband seems to be very protective of her.  To a point.  When all of this started happening, he was quick to cite her illness as the reason behind the lack of communication and their failure to honor their contracts.  But he, as co-owner, never stepped up to the plate to do anything to help her run the business, just made excuses and quite arrogantly suggested that it was the fault of the authors because they weren’t doing what needed to be done to keep the business afloat.  WTF?  It’s his business, and while most authors are happy to do whatever is needed to sell their books, most aren’t willing–or able–to step in and run a publishing company.

So, in my eyes, he’s no more than a spoiled brat who knows he’s in trouble and is doing everything he can to point the finger of blame at someone else.  Sure, he took up for her, but if he really was fully behind her, he would have stopped issuing excuses and done whatever he could to save the business.

He didn’t, he was way too busy trying to find someone to share the guilt and in so doing, he shoved the guilt firmly back in her corner.  She will be the one to suffer for all of this–if, that is, she has even a smidge of conscious–and the suffering isn’t likely to end with the demise of her business.

As a teacher, in a state which I’m told frowns on anything that even approaches pornography, I have to wonder what will happen to their careers if all this gets out.  She writes erotic romance–something a lot of people say is nothing more than dressed-up porn–and beyond that, she and her husband were running a business that dealt in erotic books.  Doesn’t matter that they also published books which were “sweet romance,” most of the books they were selling were erotic.  And I think that’s the only thing the condemners will see.  As a teacher, I don’t think I’d want to be in her shoes–or his either, for that matter–if that ever comes out.

Now, as to her being an author, what I want to know is how could she do what she did?  She’s an author, for Pete’s sake, how could she treat other authors that way and live with herself?  Didn’t she think about how she would feel if she were the one on the receiving end of that type of misbehavior by a publisher, or is she, like her husband, so childishly arrogant that she thought she could get away with it by pointing her finger at everybody else?

The thing is…what effect this whole ugly mess will have on either or both of her careers is yet to be seen.  I have a feeling it isn’t going to be pretty when it all comes out.  I mean, I’ve lived in the south for most of my life and I can’t see the residents of the Bible Belt letting her–or him–off easy.

So, one career down, one to go.  I can’t imagine some other publisher, especially one who knows what she did, accepting anything she writes for publication.  One thing I’ve learned, cyber-space is a small world.  Now maybe there are some out there who might take a chance and publish something by her, and I have to say it’s my wish that she finds them.  But, I also have to be honest and tell you, if she does find someone who will publish something she writes, I hope they’re as unscrupulous and uncaring of their authors’ feelings as she and her husband were.

Because, well, payback’s a bitch.

Whistling Woman by CC Tillery

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