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Yes, I have another song lodged in my brain.  Difference is, this song I actually like–who doesn’t like John Fogerty?  I’m one of his biggest fans, and “Deja Vu” is one of my favorite songs.  Like they used to say on “American Bandstand,” it has a good beat and you can dance to it.  That’s true, but what makes it one of my favorites are the words.  Fogerty took a Yogi-ism, something that most people would chuckle over, and built a powerful anti-war song around it…and it works.  You have to admire a man who can do that. 

So, why am I singing that particular song?  No, I’m not at war…well, maybe I am.  I just spent all day composing an email to my publisher telling them I was taking back the rights to my book.  It was a very hard thing to do and my hands are still shaking, but I know in my heart it was the right thing.  Now, if I can only convince my head and my nerves of that.  

The thing is, this publisher is in breach of contract in not just one, but several ways.  I blogged about this a few weeks ago, back when I first started thinking about asking for my rights back.  I decided at that time to give them the two weeks they asked for to straighten this whole thing out.  I was hoping for the best, but deep down I expected the worse–or maybe I was just burying my head in the sand.  Who knows?  

In the end, I got what I expected, the worse.  And now, I’ve been advised by another author who’s already filed suit against them and pulled her rights that I shouldn’t ask for my rights back, I should demand them–which is what I did–in a long email complete with an attached file which detailed all my reasons.  I’m pretty sure that’s what has my hands doing the jitterbug, I hate confrontations, even when they happen in cyber-space!

Okay, so the email’s been sent and truthfully, I’ll be very surprised if they respond.  God knows a lot of their authors have been trying to get a response out of them recently, but they seem to be ignoring all of us.  So, I’m following up the email with a certified letter and then I’m going to keep sending the email every day until I get a response.

Wish me luck.  Who knows, maybe I’ll be the writer that finally makes them sit up and take notice.  And hopefully, do what they have to do to fix this godawful mess before more authors get hurt. 

On the plus side in my life while all this has been going on, the Red Sox swept the Angels and  moved one step closer to the World Series!  Now all they have to do is win the ALCS against the Indians–whoops!  Strike that, you know how superstitious I am!  Instead, I’ll just offer my deepest gratitude to the Cleveland Indians for taking out New York.  Now I can sit back and relax while I watch Boston and Cleveland battle it out for the prize.  I won’t go so far as to say I’ll be rooting for the Indians, but if they beat us and move on to the World Series, I don’t think I’ll mind as much simply because it wasn’t the Yankees.

Also, I submitted a query to a print publisher for my paranormal romance, Snow Shadows, and they asked to see the entire manuscript–okay, strike that one too.  Arrgh!  I really need to work on ridding myself of these stupid superstitions.

Maybe that would be a good self-improvement project for taking my mind off this war I’m fighting with my publisher.   

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Just a few kudos to StarDust Press and a heads-up to other epublishers out there who may be struggling, and also to those who’ve already gone under (especially those who are rumored to be starting up under a different name!)  This is the official public letter from StarDust:

Dear authors and editors,

After much discussion and negotiation and evaluation, it is with regret that we announce StarDust Press is closing effective September 30, 2007. We are saddened that despite all our efforts, SDP is bleeding, and the investors have decided to cut their losses.

We know that you would all be concerned with this development, so we address all your concerns one by one below.

1. Authors and editors would be paid the royalties/editorial fees due them.

2. All books would be taken off the website and Fictionwise by September 30, 2007.

3. From September 30, 2007 onwards, all rights to the published books revert back to the author, and as such, you can submit them to other publication houses for publication.

4. For unpublished books, you may send to other publication houses as early as now.

5. For authors whose books are currently under edits, we would send you a personal email on the matter.

SDP was established to do legitimate business, however the environment wasn’t conducive to its survival.  And so, we have no choice but to take this step.

Thank you for all your support and we wish for the best for you in all your endeavors.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reply to this email.  Your question my also be the question of the others.

Thanks,

Raine

For StarDust Management

…and there you have it, the professional and classy way to go out of business.  No harm, no foul–well, if you don’t count the seven months I spent waiting for news on my manuscript.  Eek!  Sorry!  Chalk that one up to my pissy mood today.  Truthfully, I’m grateful to StarDust for getting me started and for doing the right thing by bowing out before they were forced to.

The thing is, I should be dancing for joy.  So, why aren’t I?  I admit to a sort of half-hearted jig, but the things that are bogging me down are searching for another publisher and writing yet another query letter–Aha!  There you have it!  I despise writing query letters and tend to put it off until I can’t put it off any longer.  Witness all the completed WIPs on my computer that are just sitting there gathering cyber-dust.

Jeez, whoever said you have to take the good with the bad, sure knew what they were talking about!

For me, this past weekend was one of extreme highs and lows, and in my mind, can only be compared to a roller coaster ride.  It had the heart-pounding thrill of climbing that unbelievably high slope, the breath-stealing anticipation of reaching the top then teetering there for a few spine-chilling moments, and finally, the mind-blowing descent down the other side.  By Sunday, I didn’t know whether to give in and enjoy the sensations or shut my eyes and scream, “Stop the ride, I want to get off!”

I climbed into the car on Friday night while it was hovering at the ride’s lowest point, held there by the Yankees defeating the Red Sox–a game we should have won and would have if our stellar and much-revered bullpen had performed the way they were expected to.

On Saturday morning, the car started its rickety climb up the slope when I received word from a publisher saying they wanted to include my short story “The Secret Life of Alice Smitty” in their PMS: Poison, Murder, Satisfaction anthology–see Saturday’s post “Happy Dances.”

Shortly after that, we reached the pinnacle when Josh Beckett led Boston to a 10-1 trouncing of the Yankees.  It was a beautiful thing, especially since I actually got to see it!  Of course, I had to watch it on Fox–do those people have any idea how incredibly dull and insipid their sports coverage is?–but even that wasn’t enough to dull my excitement.

Sunday morning the car was teetering on the summit when I received word from the publisher of my first book, “Death by Indifference,” that they were closing at the end of this month.  This one was its own little roller coaster ride in and of itself.  I was in turn, crestfallen, ecstatic, pissed off, and hopeful.  Crestfallen because that meant my book would only be available till September 30th.  Ecstatic because they’d had the good sense to close before being forced into bankruptcy as so many others in the epublishing industry have been in the last few months–thereby tying up the rights to countless books for months on end and causing unfair and unbearable distress to their authors.  Pissed off because I knew for months this was coming, I saw all the red flags and ignored them.  I’d signed a contract with them back in February for my paranormal romance, “Snow Shadows.”  They more or less sat on the manuscript for seven long months, and I can’t tell you how many times I thought of writing them and pulling the book–patience is not a strong point of mine!–but I let it slide.  How stupid is that?  Hopeful because it means the days of wondering and worrying are over.  As of September 30th, I can submit both books to other publishers and with any luck, they’ll see the light of day sometime in the future.   

Sunday afternoon and we’re still teetering on the brink.  My husband and I have been looking for a house for the past six months or so.  We finally found not one, but two we like enough to make an offer on and now we have to decide which one we like more.  They have a fairly equal amount of pros and cons, so the only thing to do now is weigh each pro/con individually and see where that leads us.

Sunday night, we plunged into the abyss when the Red Sox blew another game to the Yankees–I don’t want to talk about it!–then it was back up again when the Patriots won their game against the Chargers, hopefully silencing at least a few of their critics regarding the accusations of cheating which came to the forefront this past week.  One of the other bloggers on WordPress, http://firedannyainge.wordpress.com, made a very valid point about this and I quote,

The Patriots have lost quite a few players in recent years that weren’t too happy about not getting paid. Ty Law, Lawyer Milloy, Willie McGinnest, Adam Vinatieri etc… to name a few. Wouldn’t you think if this had been going on for a long time that one of these players would have blown the whistle if they knew?”

Well, duh, of course.  Why didn’t I think of that?  So, thanks firedannyainge for pointing this out and giving me ammunition to use against my husband who is a Colts fan.

So now, the hair-raising ride is over at last, I can climb with wobbly knees out of the car, and get on with my normally dull and staid life.  The thing is, I have a sneaky suspicion I’m going to be feeling the repercussions from this particular roller coaster ride for a long time to come.

Whistling Woman by CC Tillery

Winds of Fate

Storm Shadows

Snow Shadows

PMS Anthology

Romance of My Dreams

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