Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Dear John Letter, or maybe a Declaration of Independence

There comes a time in a writer's life when she must break up with a publisher.

There are right ways and wrong ways to do this.
This is probably the wrong way.

My last book was mauled by the Book Bears of House Style.
Every species name that isn't human is italicized.
The planet names are italicized.

I wonder if it had been "Martian" instead of "Rabbitoid," if that would have to be italicized as well.

I am deeply irritated by this and apologize to my readers. I think you're smarter than that.

House style has been my bane with this press over the years. If it hasn't been demands for more sex and cruder language, it's been house style.

Deliberate removal of necessary commas. Refusal to use even necessary colons (I snuck one in) or semi colons.

Purposely misspelling words. "Use "wrack" for the remains of a shipwreck. Use "rack" for pain." If my character is racked with pain, instead of wracked, I expect a rack in the room.
At one point my editor misspelled "caffeine" in a note. I asked if we were now required by house style to misspell it.

Deliberate censoring of words. I was not allowed to use "queer" as an umbrella term for QUILTBAG people, even when two gay men are talking.

But this, assuming the readers are too stupid to make sense of a sentence such as "The Rabbitoid leaped on the Cythorian's back," without italicizing both beings makes me scream and shout and tear my hair.

The fact that EVERY other house puts out a paperback within weeks of the ebook release, if not simultaneously, makes the two year delay on paperbacks at this press look antiquated. It has passed annoying and gone straight into "losing sales."

But that's not the worst of it.
The contract has gotten steadily worse over the years
The first refusal clause, which demands that even unrelated works be submitted, has decreased in length of those works from 10,000 words to 7500 words. This is one of the few clauses still negotiable.

This, however, THIS is the dealbreaker:

1. Grant of Rights:  Author, on behalf of herself/himself and her/his heirs, executors, administrators, successors and assigns, exclusively grants to the Publisher during the full term of copyright and any renewals and continuations and extensions thereof, the right to publish, print, sell, distribute and license the Work throughout the world, and in any and all media and forms of expressions now known, and all subsidiary rights granted in the Subsidiary Rights clause hereunder. (emphasis mine)

Term of copyright is my lifetime plus SEVENTY YEARS.
(Assuming Disney doesn't manage to get it extended even farther)

That is pure chicanery of the highest order. Even with 100 copy escape clause, this is still bad stuff.  Ordinary publishers do not engage in this level of rights grab, nor do they demand the rights forever.

So, the time has come. The sales are not what they once were. My first story with them sold 147 copies in the five days that comprised its first moth of publication. My most recent piece sold 117 copies between October and April.

That brings us to another problem. Royalty checks used to come fairly consistently around the 10th of the month following. October's money would show up around mid November. Then it became the second month, with a 2 week delay after the fifth business day of the month. Which means May's check should have been here around the 23rd. Now, it's July 31 and May's check hasn't arrived.

I have fulfilled my last First Refusal clause for Ellora's Cave. They get nothing more. I will request reversion of the items I have that aren't selling to meet the 100 copy level.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

My Sexy Saturday Blog Hop

Today's offering is from "Out of Options" originally in Storm Moon Press' Like it or Not Anthology, which has just been released as a stand alone story.

Please note, the consent in this story and this anthology is dubious at best. The stories are not for everyone. The excerpt is fairly safe.

"Mmm," Jarrett offered him the cherry, dangling it by its stem in his direction. Connor flicked the cherry with his tongue like it was a piƱata. Then he let the sweet, alcoholic fruit sit on his tongue before he drew it, stem and all, into his mouth and kissed Jarrett's fingers. Connor held the cherry behind his teeth as Jarrett tugged the stem out, looking as if he'd like to head straight for bed. "We're gonna have some fun and then crash hard. Since we don't have to get up, we can spend all day tomorrow in bed, too."

"First installment." Connor giggled, the drinks going to his head. He finished up the cherry, not really liking it, but Jarrett's reaction had been worth it. He'd make the sex as hot as he could tonight.

Jarrett just kissed him and left their empty glasses on the coffee table. "Come on, babe. I can't wait to be back inside you." He stood up and reached both hands down to Connor.

Connor smiled and let Jarrett pull him to his feet and straight into another kiss. He'd never met a man who liked to kiss as much as Jarrett did, and he loved it.  They staggered down the hall, entangled in each other's arms and distracted by kisses and undressing.

Jarrett flopped back on the bed, shirtless and barefoot, and laughed. "Come on, strip off. I want you naked. And then you can come finish me up."

"You're drunk, and I shouldn't take advantage," Connor teased. He stripped slowly, letting Jarrett have a show.

Jarrett wolf-whistled approvingly. "Brat."

Monday, July 22, 2013


Even a grumpy succubus can be pulled out of her den from time to time. So, I am vanishing for about a week.
The My Sexy Saturday blog post will appear as usual.
And if I can make the app work, I might post from Kansas City.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

My Sexy Saturday Blog Hop: Sexy is my Drug

The rules are seven words, seven sentences, or seven paragraphs. This week, seven sentences of indirect sexy from Curse of the Pharaoh's Manicurists. Because I'm hard at work on the sequel.

“Charles, love, do you mind shaving me?” he asked as he circled the brush in the shaving mug. “You do it so sweetly.”

Charlie washed up as Edward lathered his face. “Of course.” He tied a towel around his waist and took up the razor. After stropping it on the back of his belt, he stroked it over Edward’s jaw. “I enjoy shaving you. It’s intimate. Personal, you know?”

Monday, July 1, 2013


I love wrimo months. I've written more than a few books during them. Right now, I'm doing the futzing around and working on everything routine.
A little gay diesel punk. A little horror/paranormal. A little straight steam punk. A little nonfiction.  

And today's count is 2156 words. I'll have a sample tomorrow.