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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.     

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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…

**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.

Finally figured out how to add images–woo-hoo!  Inserted the cover art for Unwilling Angel on the corresponding page, but I’ll add it here too–just for practice of course!

Unwiling Angel Cover 

Isn’t that fabulous?  The cover artist is C. J. England and I think she did a fantastic job!  Don’t you?

Oh, in case you’re interested, the blurb and an excerpt can be found by clicking on the Unwilling Angel page on this site.  Then, if you think you might want to read it–and I hope you do!–click on Twilight Fantasies in my blogroll and you’ll see me right there on the front page–first place winner in the Zuzu’s Petals contest! 

No post yesterday, because Unwilling Angel was released and I was busy with all the hoopla that goes with having a book released.  I tell you, it’s an aweome thing when you submit a manuscript then hear from a publisher that they would like to offer you a contract, but when it finally hits the cyber-space bookshelf–after weeks, or even months, of edits, countless hours spent working with a cover artist to find just the right cover, and days of pre-promotions, it’s a relief.  You get–or I do–a feeling of whew, at last it’s done!  Now I can move on,

The thing is, what do I do next?

I have plenty of options to choose from–five, count ’em, five works-in-progress, seven completed books which need a home, more promotions for my new release, web site to be updated, etc., etc., etc.–none of which appeal to me at the moment.  You see, after yesterday’s whirlwind, I need a break and I can feel my Procrastination Slut persona coming to the fore.

I’ve written about her before in my LJ blog, but I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned her here, so I’ll give you a bit of explanation.  I have this tendency to shut down, especially when I have a lot of things I need to do.  It’s irritating, but there it is.  I’ve learned not to fight it, but that doesn’t mean I can’t dream of what it would be like if I banished her for good.

Hmmm…I’d have numerous books either out on the market or awaiting release, I’d finish off those WIPs and get them out to publishers in the blink of an eye, I’d compose query letters and synopses with little or no painful frustration, I’d be a computer-savvy wiz at promotions, and I’d know how to upload a picture to this blog–

 –and that’s another thing, why is it when you click on the “insert image” icon on WordPress, you don’t get a “browse” option like you do on almost every other site in the cyber-world?  Instead, you get seven fields which have to be filled out and most days, my brain is way too tired for that.  Maybe while the Procrastination Slut is ruling, I should present this to her as a puzzle to be solved.  She doesn’t like to work, but she has no objection to sitting on her butt and playing around with the computer.  So, maybe if I don’t classify it as work, but dress it up as an…enigma (she likes fancy words), I can fool her into figuring it out, because I know there’s a way to do it, I just haven’t found it yet!

Anyway, the Procrastination Slut is back–hey, do you think that’s what’s wrong with the Red Sox, they’re putting off till tomorrow what should be done today, or more correctly, what should have been done weeks ago?  I’ve been trying not to think about this, but I have to say it, Boston is through for the season, they may as well pack up their equipment and slink off the field with their tails between their legs.  And I do mean slink.  They have no reason to hold their heads up and I have no desire to give them a standing O.  Come to think of it, they’d better keep their heads down, ’cause I’m sure there are a lot of fans in closer proximity than I am, who’d love nothing more than to toss a few balls and bats at them.  A word of advice, boys; keep your batting helmets handy this winter, it may save you from a hospital visit.  Oh, and during the post-season when you’re not playing, in between watching the New York Yankees win the AL and probably go on to win the World Series, maybe you should hit the Patriots up for some shoulder pads and a lesson or two on how to band together when times are tough–you obviously don’t have a clue.  To put it in lingo you’ll understand…you suck wicked bad!

Okay, that helped a little bit.  Now, back to our regularly scheduled program…the Procrastination Slut reigns supreme in my world and there’s no telling how long she’ll hang around.  So, while she’s reclining on her chaise lounge (her version of a throne), popping bite-size Heath bars in her mouth (her version of chocolate truffles), and being entertained by her sister’s latest romantic thriller (her version of a court jester), I’m going to present her with a conundrum (I think she’ll like that word):  How many cyber-space imbeciles does it take to post an image on WordPress?

Her answer (I’d bet money on this one):  Ask me later, I’m too busy wasting time right now.

I can’t think of a single thing to write about right now.  So I’m just going to do my personal style of…um, can’t remember what it’s called…you know, that psychic thingie where you have a pencil in your hand, you clear your mind, and let your pencil write without thinking about what you’re writing, only I’m doing it with a keyboard instead of a pencil–and jeez, I hope my editor doesn’t read this ’cause she’ll probably drive all the way up here from Georgia and shoot me for that run-on sentence.

It’s a ho-hum Tuesday in my neck of the woods.  The sun is coming out, melting away the mist that’s hovering around the mountains and we’re supposed to have a high of 73 degrees today.  It was down in the forties this morning when I got up and it’s almost like being back in Maine.  Except here I have the mountains around me, which is something I really missed when I lived in Maine.  Not that there weren’t mountains there, but we lived in southern Maine, about a half hour south of Portland in a little town called Saco.  You had to drive some distance to see mountains, but I could get in my car and be at the beach in about ten minutes.  That was nice, but I’m not a beach type of person, I much prefer the mountains.  I guess that’s because I was raised in Knoxville, at the foot of the Smoky Mountains. or maybe it’s because my dad’s family is from Black Mountain, NC, and I spent a lot of time there while I was growing up.  We always went to the mountains on vacation.  I never even saw a beach until I was eighteen and went to Florida with some friends after my freshman year of college.

Stream of conciousness–is that what this is called?  Hmm, doesn’t sound right, but what do I know?

Since I got up, I’ve been researching publishers, trying to figure out who I’m going to submit my manuscript to–you know, the one I just got the rights back for?  I’ve got a list of five, one of which is located in the South and is looking for books with a strong southern presence, which Snow Shadows definitely has.  It takes place in the mountains of North Carolina and is based on an ancient Cherokee legend–hard to get more Southern than that.

Next, comes the dreaded query letter–blech!  I don’t even want to think about that right now.

Okay, I’ve got to say this and quit putting it off.  Maybe if I write about it, I can put it aside.  The Red Sox lost last night and the Yankees won, which means our lead in the AL East is down to 3 1/2 games.  There are eleven games left and I’m afraid the prediction I made back in May is about to come true–the Yankees are going to come back and take the AL East.  The Red Sox, well, the way we’re playing right now, we don’t even deserve to be in the wild card race, but we’ll probably make it.  I just don’t think we have a snowball’s chance of going any farther (further–there’s those two words again, I’m going to have to look them up on Grammar Slammer and get them straight in my mind once and for all).

And as Forrest Gump said, that’s all I have to say about that.  It’s too painful to talk about.

So, this ho-hum day is going to be spent in the worst possible way–well, okay, maybe not the worst possible, but it’s pretty bad in my book–drafting, and hopefully polishing, a query letter to be sent to the publishers I’ve chosen to submit to.  I probably should read over the synopsis again, I’m sure it could benefit from a bit of polishing too.  I should probably get busy on that right now…

The thing is, there’s this side of me I call the Procrastination Slut and I have a feeling she’s going to come to the forefront today.  Which means I probably won’t get a thing done, at least, nothing of any value.  

Oh, well, that might be the best thing considering my second book is coming out tomorrow, and I’ll be busy all day with promotions.  I hope you’ll check it out, Unwilling Angel by Caitlyn Hunter at www.twilightfantasies.com.  It’s a sweet paranormal romance along the lines of It’s a Wonderful LIfe.

 

It’s a rainy day here in the mountains of western North Carolina.  Not that I’m complaining.  After a winter with little to no snow, a spring that will be remembered for its April cold snap instead of  its April showers, and a summer of unbearably hot, dry weather, we definitely need it…but (you knew there was going to be a “but” here, didn’t you?), but the thing is, I hate rainy days.

Why?  Well, it has nothing to do with getting wet or anything like that, it has to do with the fact that my muse always seems to abandon me on rainy days.  She flies the coop of my brain, catches a flight to sunnier climes, and hides there until dryer weather returns to bless her home terrain.  All of which leaves me floundering in a sea of unwritten words and unfinished manuscripts.

My first line of defense in this case is usually to edit and/or polish one of those many unfinished manuscripts, but that’s dicey.  I usually find that whatever I edit ends up getting re-edited when I re-read it and cringe at what I wrote on a brainless rainy day.  Does that make sense?  I told you my muse was AWOL.

When I lived in Maine, there was the option of turning on the TV and watching a replay of a Red Sox game (there was almost always one playing on NESN) which I loved, especially if it was a game they won.  Can’t do that here, though there’s probably an Atlanta Braves game on somewhere, but I’m not that big a fan of the Braves.  I miss NESN!

I could do some research, but–and I hope you’ll pardon me–blech!  I hate research more than I hate rainy days! 

So, my options today are to do some housework or read.  It shouldn’t be hard to figure out which one I’ll choose.  I love to read.  My “to be read” pile is almost as tall as I am, and my “books to buy” list is as long as my arm.  Before I started writing, I would never have let myself fall so far behind with either my TBR pile or my BTB list.  But, since my fist book came out, I noticed a  drastic fall-off in my reading habits.  I just can’t seem to find the time to read anymore.  Proof of this lies in the fact that I’ve lived in North Carolina now for over ten months and I still don’t have a library card!  Sacrilege!  That’s the first time that’s happened since I learned to read when I was four years old.  Usually the first thing I do when we move is visit the public library and get a library card.  I even got one in Denver, and we only lived there for two months while my husband went through some training in the Air Force.

Hmmm…maybe I should try to find my rusty, unused umbrella, see if it still works, and take myself off to the library.

I now have three blogs, one on LJ, one on WordPress, and a new one I just set up on Blogger. In addition to that, I have a page on Author’s Den (which I really need to do more with), a page on MySpace (which I can’t figure out and don’t like to use because my Internet security program keeps popping up and flashing little warning signs at me about it being a “dangerous” site), and a page on Gather (also which I really need to pay more attention to). Plus, I’m signed up to post on the 20th of every month on the Twilight Fantasies Blog (one of my publishers), which shouldn’t be too much of a chore since I can probably use one of my posts from one of my many blogs. I also have a page on several Yahoo romance sites which I rarely, if ever, do anything with. Last, but not least, I’m trying to re-vamp my web site and learn the ins and outs of creating and maintaining a successful small business on the Internet–and don’t let anyone tell you that being an author isn’t a business. I think any author you talk to, will back me up on that one!

I don’t plan on keeping all the blogs, I’m just trying them out and when I find the one I’m most comfortable with, that’s the one I’ll keep. MySpace is out for me, because I get a serious case of the heebie-jeebies every time I log on to that one. AD, Gather, and the various romance sites on Yahoo, I’ll keep because I think they’ll be valuable–at some point–for promoting my books.

Which brings me to my point in all this; with my second book coming out in less than a week, I know I need to be promoting, but I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed. All this is taking a major chunk of my time and I haven’t written more than a couple hundred words all week. So, where do you draw the line between promotion and writing? I don’t have a clue, but I think it’s something every author must figure out for herself.

Since this is only my second book, I’m telling myself not to agonize over it too much, just do what you can and hopefully, as I gain more experience, it will get easier. Maybe, some day in the far-off, distant future, I’ll get the hang of all this and then I’ll not only be a multi-published author, but I’ll also be an efficient and productive promoter!

Only time will tell.

Whistling Woman by CC Tillery

Winds of Fate

Storm Shadows

Snow Shadows

PMS Anthology

Romance of My Dreams