Chapter Seven, Part 2 is up. There won’t be any more Sweep in Peace until we are back from NY.
So I got into a fight on Twitter yesterday. There is a sock puppet account “in defense of publishers,” but really only in defense of Ellora’s Cave. They had the audacity to tweet the list of donors to the publishers and ask them to blacklist the authors in an effort to intimidate. The stupid, it burns. The older I am, the more social media wears me out. It’s like a great sucking vortex that just drains my energy off to nothing.
There was whining here, but Gordon suggested I take it down.
Kid 1 is looking at colleges. Like really looking. It freaked me out so much. She was five years old what seems like ten minutes ago and next year she will go off to college. What the hell? Where did the time go?
I’ve been looking at instances of violent crimes on college campuses. This is probably not helping my state of mind. My poor mother. How in the world did she sent me off to another country when I was 16?
Well, anyway, that’s probably enough gloom and doom for one morning. I am going to try and push the new installment of Sweep in Peace out, so you will be entertained while we’re at NYCC. And we are horribly behind on Kate 8. Here is a little snippet for your fun and pleasure. Warning, bad words ahead. [Read more...]
I know you are all sick of Comicon and promo, but I have to do this. It’s part of the gig. BURN FOR ME will be available for early sale date during New York Comicon. So if you are attending, try to hit the Saturday event to grab your copy.
You also have an opportunity to snag an autographed copy of Magic Bites and a tiny stuffed lion.
But I am not going to Comicon!
Come see us at B&N on Thursday.
If you miss us in New York, you can find us at Murder By the Book in Houston. If you can’t attend the signing in Houston, but would like a signed copy, here is the link. Murder By the Book ships in the continental US. If you are an international reader, email them through their website and they will work with you on shipping.
Thursday, October 09, 2014
New York City—7:30 PM SF/F
Round Robin Story Telling Event
Barnes & Noble# 2675
(33 East 17th Street, New York, NY 10003)
Friday, October 10, 2014
New York Comic Con—1:15 PM – 2:00 PM
PANEL: Playing With Magic
1A01, Jacob Javits Center
Saturday, October 11, 2014
New York Comic Con: 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM **Penguin Booth @2108**
In-booth singing—50 copies of Magic Bites/ giveaway
**Penguin Booth @2108**
Saturday, October 11, 2014
New York Comic Con—12:30 PM – 1:15 PM
TICKETED IN BOOTH SIGNING,
Early on-sale of BURN FOR ME
(HarperCollins Booth #2118, Jacob Javits Center)
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Reading & Signing w/ Kim Harrison
MURDER BY THE BOOK
(2342 Bissonnet ST., Houston, TX 77005)
Brief summary for those of you unfamiliar with this situation:
Dear Author is a book review blog owned by Jane Litte. DA features a numbers of different bloggers, reviews books, primarily romance, and e-readering-related gadgets, and offers news on the general happenings in the publishing world. They are well known in the online romance community for their snarky tone. DA is very clear that they are targeting readers rather than authors, so you won’t find fluff promo pieces there. The reviews are frequently very critical and the tone of the comments tend toward combative.
On September 14, 2014, Dear Author posted a long and rather well-researched article, alleging that Ellora’s Cave, one of the pioneers of the erotic e-fiction for women, has some troubling issues. The article commented on sweeping layoffs, authors who haven’t received their royalties, and other signs of general financial instability, such as tax liens. The article also mentioned that many authors contacted DA anonymously for the fear of reprisals from EC. These fears were, apparently, justified.
On September 27, Dear Author announced that it and Jane Litte personally were being sued by Ellora’s Cave. According to DA, “EC is seeking injunctive relief (which I presume means I stop blogging about them), monetary damages in excess of $25,000 for harming their business, and identity of commenters.” You can read the legal paperwork for yourself here.
To summarize it, and I am not a lawyer by any means, EC alleges that DA’s post defamed the company, irreparably damaging EC’s reputation and ability to do business, and demands that DA take down the article, pay EC $25,000 in damages, and turn over the names of anonymous commenters, presumably so EC can go after the complaining authors as well.
Jane of DA was forced to retain a lawyer.
Let me state upfront that I am not a frequent visitor to DA. Some of the reviews of our books they did made me grind my teeth. One in particular, which accused me of class warfare against the poor, made me foam at the mouth. Because, you know, it’s not like I knew what I was writing about and haven’t lived in the South without any support from my family on $400 per month. I advocate that the best response to reviews is no response or a polite thank you and I don’t want to be tempted.
Furthermore, I’ve argued with Jane before on publishing issues and I know it can be a very frustrating experience. So, I am not a frequent visitor. I do drop by once in a while and read news and tech reviews, because they are well-researched and useful, but I limit myself to those topics. If an author tells me they are going to comment on DA, I usually advise them to think through their arguments before posting. Like Goodreads, this is a place for readers.
This morning I donated to DA legal fund. People must be watching it closely because someone already asked why.
I put my money where my mouth is because this issue is bigger than whatever residual butthurt I have over some reviews of our books.
I have been defamed. A few months ago an anonymous blog posted an attack piece that claimed several self-published authors and a traditionally published authors purchased reviews. Our pseudonym was among those named. We never bought reviews. It’s unethical and we don’t need to. Our books sell enough as is. Right now all I have to do is say, “Hey I have a pdf of the newest book available” and I will get a dozen requests within minutes. But even though we have been on the internet and in the public eye for years and this anonymous blog offered no evidence, some people believed it. I saw the tweets. I know what it’s feels like to be defamed. I am naturally sympathetic to anyone who feels their name have been smeared.
EC isn’t seeking damages for defamation, it is going on a witch hunt. I’ve read the article. I fact-checked what I could and I found that at least some of Jane’s assertions are accurate. There is a tax lien. There is evidence of authors withdrawing their books and complaining about not being paid. There is evidence of the staff layoffs.
In this instance, Jane is acting as a journalist. A journalist must report the news. That’s their primary function. If you are an author and you suspect that your publishing house is engaging in unethical activity, you may not always be in position to sue. I worked as a legal secretary and a typical billable hour by an attorney in US ranges from $200-$400. Not every author can commit that kind of money. Your first line of defense is your agent, your second line of defense is your writing organization, and your third line of defense is general public. We reach that general public through the media. As a community of readers and writers, we need a forum. DA is part of that forum. It is in our best interests, as a community, to preserve it.
As an aside, I found Jaid Black/Tina Engler’s responses throughout this affair – she is the primary owner of EC – incredibly off-putting. But this is the matter of corporate, not personal behavior. As a corporation, EC is trying to muzzle and bully DA. It’s trying to force Jane Litte to disclose identity of her sources presumably to punish them. It’s trying to shun public scrutiny, which by the way, backfired on a staggering scale. EC attached DA’s article to the complaint, and everyone from Guardian to LA Times picked it up.
You have to ask yourself, if everything at EC was above board and if all those laid off editors and authors are lying, why not take a reasonable approach to the situation? Why not contact DA and say, “We understand there has been some confusion. How can we shed some light on this matter? Would you be willing to do an interview with us?” Instead EC slapped them with a suit seeking $25,000 in damages. I was alarmed by the article, but the law suit convinced me. It smells of desperation. Something is seriously wrong with EC.
EC is the Goliath. It has more money and it can draw out the legal battle. DA’s income is not nearly in the same league. I can’t imagine their ad revenue covers much more than their expenses. For better or worse, our justice system is more friendly to people with money. An average citizen with an average income can attempt to sue a large company, but even if their case has merit, the party with the bigger purse often wins. It’s not fair. This case in particular is a slippery slope. What’s next? Bloggers being sued for negative reviews? Authors being sued for speaking about the breach of their contract?
To reiterate, muzzling free speech is not the best way to go. I’ve lived in a country that did that and I do not recommend it. Gordon and I do not always agree with DA, but we like that the authors have a place they trust to report unethical behavior of the publishers and we are willing to contribute to keep it alive. That’s why.
I do not speak Latin. If anyone would like to take a stab at proofreading this section, it would be mightily appreciated.
“Good.” I stood up. “Ascanio, I need you to get on the phone. Start with hospitals and clinics near her work route and give them her general description. Let’s make sure that she isn’t unconscious somewhere in a hospital bed. And when Derek comes in, please tell him to stay put.”
Ascanio snapped into a precision salute. “Auribus teneo lupum, Mea Regina!”
Why me? “Auribus tenebo lupum. You will hold the wolf by his ears. You do not presently hold him. And stop calling me queen.”
Ascanio grinned at me. “Yes, alpha.”
Winners of the tiny Currans have been emailed and announced in the widget. Their names are: Jana Leah, Shez Lyman, Samara Dragstra (Netherlands), Rebecca Kim, and Samantha from Minneapolis.
A taste of Burn For Me for your reading pleasure. Yes, I am bribing you. I am sick and I need to work. I have no content.
My cell phone rang on the table. I never went far without it, even in the house. I picked it up. An unlisted number. Oh goodie.
“I need to talk to you,” Mad Rogan said into the phone. “Meet me for lunch.”
My pulse jumped, my body snapped to attention, and my brain shut down for a second to come to terms with the impact of his voice. I’d slap myself except my mother and grandmother already thought I was nuts, and hurting myself would get me committed for sure.
“Sure, let me get right on that.” Hey, my voice still worked. “Should I bring my own chains this time? Or do you have bigger plans, and this is some sort of freaky murder foreplay”— why did the word foreplay just come out of my mouth?— “and I’ll end up cut up into small pieces inside some freezer at the end? I can just spray myself with mace and shoot myself in the head now and save you the trouble.”
“Are you done?” he asked.
“Just getting started.” I was so brave over the phone.
“Lunch, Ms. Baylor. Concentrate. Pick a place.”
“You seem to be under the impression that I work for you and you can give me orders. Let me fix that.” I hung up.
Grandma looked at my mom. “Did she just hang up on Mad Rogan?”
“Yes, she did. Did you know that Adam Pierce showed up at our house last night?”
Grandma’s eyes went wide. “He was here?”
“She met him outside.”
Grandma swung toward me. “Did you take any pictures?”
My phone beeped. Unlisted number again. I answered it.
“I’m not a man of infinite patience,” Mad Rogan said.
I hung up.
“Pictures or it didn’t happen!” Grandma declared.
I scrolled through my phone and pulled up the shot of Adam Pierce in a Mercer T- shirt. “There you go.”
Grandma grabbed the phone. It beeped. She answered it. “She’ll call you back. Nevada, can I email Adam’s picture to myself?”
“You have to hang up first.” She hung up and clicked the phone, typing with her index fingers. “Arabella is going to flip.”
My mother sighed.
Grandma passed me the phone. “Here’s your phone back.”
His voice was quiet and precise. “If you hang up on me again, I will slice your car into small pieces and hang them on your roof like Christmas wreaths.”
I don’t know what the hell this plague is, but it is terrible. I’ve got fever, cough, clogged nose, upset stomach, the whole nine yards. I have jury duty today, so I am hoping they will let me out or I will infect the entire justice system with my crud. Sorry if you emailed me. I will try to get to it later. Kid 2 is going to the doctor today and I hope to do the same.