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Date: Thursday, 09 Oct 2014 05:48
Demon, street art by SB, photo/color manipulation by Deirdre Saoirse Moen

Demon, street art by SB, photo/color manipulation by Deirdre Saoirse Moen

I was looking for my dinosaur pictures, but I liked that one better.

I was working on a lovely post about technological shifts. Because I think it’s a factor in the history of Ellora’s Cave. And I was genuinely rooting for all the issues to be resolved and everyone to go happily on their way. EC resolving the suit with DA, picking themselves up and working out things with their authors, etc. And, you know, surviving in some form.

They snapped my goodwill today. Permanently. (See update at the bottom.)

I generally take people at face value, assume they’re telling me as much of the truth as it’s convenient for them to, and don’t try to over-read things I don’t know. I try to be charitable in my interpretations. The number of people I don’t wish to speak to is a very short list.

It’s hard to get on that short list.

Ellora’s Cave Didn’t Tweet after August 11…Until Today

They had lots of books come out, right?

STGRB = Stop the GoodReads Bullies, a misguided group of people who feel that people who leave “too many” negative reviews are “bullies.”

Ellora’s Cave still hasn’t promoted their releases for the last few weeks, because throwing in support with STGRB was so much more important.

I Aim Jenny Trout at the Issue

I know when to use a tactical nuke.

As she succinctly put it:

By all means, if you’ve alienated a bunch of reviewers, the very next thing you should do is alienate even more of them.

Information Request from @tejasjulia

If any of you can provide.

Department of :O

It’s not a beautiful day. Yet.

Department of WTF Updatery

Trying to snippet other bits of conversation will lack too much context.

However: Ellora’s Cave doesn’t currently have a social media person. Which means that there’s an explicable lack of Twitter promotion since, oh, sometime around 8/11/14, but not an explanation for the STGRB tweets of today.

I tried to keep it simple:

I think more popcorn evenings are in my future.

Since Jaid didn’t know what STGRB meant, it may take a while….

So there’s that.

Meanwhile, there’s the mystery of who is posting using the official Ellora’s Cave Twitter account—and whether said person posting today is currently with the firm.

Author: "Deirdre" Tags: "Business of Writing, Publishing, publish..."
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Date: Thursday, 09 Oct 2014 01:00

Please Release Me

Let’s say the following:

  1. You’re a small press with a lot of authors, most of whom still have books that you get right of first refusal on their next books, either in the same genre or in the same series.
  2. You’ve had a downturn in sales, and that means staff cuts, including editors that would accept/reject and/or edit new titles.
  3. There’s a lot of grumpiness out on the ‘net, and you need some good PR.

What are your best moves?

Things I hadn’t Considered About Right of First Refusal Clauses

When I started looking at romance publishers a couple of years ago, I found this clause of Samhain’s:

5.3. If I contract the first book of a series with Samhain, do I have to give you first refusal on subsequent books in the series?

No. Samhain contracts one book at a time. We hope you’ll love working with us enough to send us all your other books, but we want you to be free to make that decision for yourself.

I hadn’t realized the prior association of Samhain’s founder with Ellora’s Cave, but I found that to be an interesting clause.

Of course you’d rather have authors writing for you who want to write for you.

Also, the more I think about it, the more I wouldn’t sign a right of first refusal clause unless there were an advance involved, where the reversion fee’s some explicit portion of the advance.

The Cold Harsh Realities of Series Numbers

Here are the current Amazon rankings for the first six volumes of H. M. Ward’s The Arrangement, a bestselling indie new adult series that’s currently up to 16 books. (Which, frankly, this series is like crack for me. Loved it.)

1 656
2 612
3 638
4 711
5 755
6 789

The cold, harsh reality of series is that, overall, the later books in the series sell less well than the earlier books in the series. Some percentage of readers never pick up that next volume. Sure, there are times when the newer books sell better—like when they’re first released. In the long run, though, they will tend to sell less well.

Ergo, the value of that next book in the series is necessarily lower than the income from the previous books.

For a troubled publisher, some writers may feel, as Lolita Lopez/Roxie Rivera (hell of a #micdrop post) apparently does, that not writing more books in the series is the right answer for them.

If you’re the publisher who’s published, say, books 1-5, and there will be no book 6, then the revenue of books 1-5 will tend to decrease over time. If, however, another publisher (including self-publishing here) publishes book 6, and books 1-5 are still listed on the author’s website, then there will still be some level of increased demand for books 1-5.

I read a lot of authors. I mostly don’t read their blogs. When I do look them up, I tend to look at their website for new books.

So what’s the publisher’s best strategy here?

Releasing the author from right of first refusal for the next books in the series, in exchange for which the author puts the publisher’s books back on their website for, say, a year.

But…but….

Consent, People

I haven’t really seen this come up, which kind of surprises me given the subsection of romance Ellora’s Cave is in.

A lot of their books are about the boundaries of consent. BDSM, for example.

What struck me in Lolita’s post: she’d essentially said she no longer consented to future publication from Ellora’s Cave.

It doesn’t matter why someone no longer consents. Contractually, it may, but consent is important, and it really, really gets me that there are, in fact, so many consent issues at the heart of this debacle.

Slower Paying?

One of the data pieces that’s been corroborated by several authors, including Lolita Lopez (at the link above) and Cat Grant: the payments, once regular, are alleged to have been getting slower.

Several authors have alleged they received their payment for May royalties at the end of September (4 months later). Lolita alleged she received December’s payment (assuming this is for royalties received in November) in mid-February, which would be 2-1/2 months later:

In February 2014, I received my 2013 Form 1099 from Ellora’s Cave. It included $13,354.79 worth of income that I did not receive in 2013. In fact, a few days after my 2013 Form 1099 arrived, a royalty check with a December 2013 date on it finally made its way into my mailbox. That’s right. A royalty check that was cut in December of 2013 took more than 6 weeks to arrive in my mailbox. The amount was enough to push me over the income limit for the next hop in tax rates so the IRS slapped my hand with a fine for underpayment.

The accounting firm that I use was not amused by this. They encouraged me to file a complaint with the IRS, but I declined. I paid the fine and the extra taxes. Clearly, I should have listened to the professionals. Hindsight, right?

In an ideal world, the payments for authors would be put immediately into a separate account. Assume 45%, then fix it for the amounts that are less (I see some sales are 40%). There would be no need to pay slower because the money would always be available on time for the authors.

Ergo, the implication when royalties are being paid slower like this (or, as others have reported, no check at all arrived for a given month): the company is using the received royalty income for operational expenses instead of setting it aside for the authors.

Edited to add this paragraph: one of the confusing parts of the various author accounts: it’s not clear if people reporting missing checks were meaning they never received a check for that month (let’s say April), or if they never received any check in April, but may have received royalties they expected to receive in April in a subsequent month.

Chop the Long Tail

With over 800 authors, some of those authors are going to be bringing in peanuts and others whole food trucks. Release the authors that are consistently not performing.

As an example, calculate how long it takes to put together all the royalty information, divide by the number of authors. Figure out how much you’re paying the people who do that work, including cutting the checks. Triple that cost. For the authors who aren’t making, on average, that much for the house over the last year, offer to release their titles (for no fee).

Probably, that’s more than half the authors. It’ll take more work temporarily, but it’ll be less work long term. Then the business is focused on the higher-performing writers.

Release the Remaining Long Tailers from Right of First Refusal

In addition to releasing existing books from the end of the long tail, release the right of first refusal for those people, too. (Might even want to make it for a larger pool.)

Charging for Reversions

Victoria Strauss runs Writer Beware, a site that warns about predatory practices and predatory companies in publishing.

Contract One Book at a Time

The editorial staff has shrunk. Money’s tighter than it should be. People are complaining. The future isn’t looking as bright as it used to.

Only contract the books you can afford to edit and produce. Given the changing market conditions, an agile approach is needed here: limit scope of future projects.

D. Renee Bagby/Zenobia Renquist has quite the post on her attempt to get reversions for twelve proposal titles.

So apart from the fact that it sounds like EC is intending to publish the books outside their contract terms (and wouldn’t that be an interesting DMCA takedown quarrel?), here’s the gotcha, in the form of a letter from EC CEO Patty Marks (emphasis added):

We have already cut staff, special EC projects and other expenses, but the drastic drop in sales has resulted in large net short-term variable production losses and slow and often negative return on investment for EC on almost every new book we publish, with the exception of a handful of the highest sellers.

So what do you do? Only contract multiple books from people who already are the highest sellers.

Renee/Zenobia has said that she was not released from twelve books under contract. Yet, in the same post, she shows that her royalties for May would not put her in that group of “a handful of the highest sellers.” And yet, EC doesn’t want to release those books back to Renee/Zenobia despite it appearing that would put her in the negative return on investment?

These things have to be business decisions and not emotional ones. There’s an old economics maxim:

If the expected added benefits exceed the expected added costs, do it. If not, don’t.

If Renee/Zenobia were to self-publish, she’d undoubtedly do better, and EC wouldn’t lose money. Isn’t that win/win?

Consent Is Key

As a publisher, you want readers, reviewers, and authors to stick with you through tough times. You want them to continue to consent to be in your corner.

Those perceptions can be managed if you look beyond initial blame and hurt. Win/win negotiations are still possible.

Respecting the word “no,” however phrased, is key.

Related: Coerced Consent: When “Yes” Really Means “No”

The image in this post’s header is free for you to use. Details and a higher-resolution copy are over here.

Author: "Deirdre" Tags: "Business of Writing, Publishing, ellora'..."
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Date: Tuesday, 07 Oct 2014 03:59

There are few things quite so grueling as having a part of you that hurts a ton go through medical imaging. So far, been there, done that with a wrist, an ankle, a knee, and now a hip.

My x-ray last night led to me collapsing into a sobbing pile. This was after the first round of IV pain meds. The x-ray tech thought it was just not gonna happen, not knowing exactly how stubborn I was. She and I talked briefly about what we could do that would both get a good clean image and make it hurt less for me. A bolster that supported my leg a few inches worked wonders.

Short version: I didn’t break my ass, but I apparently did sprain it.

I also have developed some arthritis in that hip since my last imaging three years ago. It’s not bad enough to explain the current issue, though.

I was given better pain meds and ushered out.

All told, I spent about six hours in the ER. Rick was wonderful and made an In & Out burger run. I managed to sleep five hours in a single session after getting home last night, so that’s better than the four hours the night before.

Probably I’ll just need to really really really keep off it for a few weeks. Sadly, this means no rowing this weekend. :(

Acupuncture has often helped manage my pain, so I have a session with my long-time acupuncturist later today.

Author: "Deirdre" Tags: "Medical, medical"
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Date: Sunday, 05 Oct 2014 16:53

I wasn’t able to sleep through the night, so I’m going to the ER. (I did manage to get a single spell of about 4 hours of sleep, but that was after 2 hours of tossing and turning to find a comfortable enough position where I could get to sleep. Every time I want to sleep, same thing.)

Because I have fibromyalgia, that means that I am now at risk for hurting worse for days than I was yesterday. Yesterday was the worst yet. Fibro’s kind of a weird feedback loop: your body thinks sensation should hurt rather than be neutral or pleasant.

As an example, Diamox, used to prevent altitude sickness, can cause a shimmery sensation across the skin. My body interprets that as pain. :( That’s not normal, though.

Restorative sleep (stages 3 and 4) returns the body’s pain levels (and sensation interpretations) to more normal levels. Most of my restorative sleep comes at the end of my sleep cycle.

The pain levels get more normal during the restorative sleep cycle, but I only get that at the end of a night’s sleep.

So sleeping through the night undisturbed is key, and I haven’t been getting that consistently. Given my pain levels yesterday, it was absolutely necessary to get the pain under control so the sleep cycle returns to normal.

I also have myofascial pain, which means that trigger points (inflamed nodules where nerves enter muscles) send shooting pain down muscle bundles.

I’ve had a lot of general (fibro) pain and specific (myo) pain and a lot of whimpering nerves. I honestly cannot tell where the pain is coming from, and that’s with some significant amount of education on the subject (I just went through a chronic pain management program earlier this year).

Normally, I wouldn’t go to the ER unless my pain were actually a 10. For me, that’s nausea, vomiting, uncontrolled crying, etc.

A 9 includes inability to get to sleep or stay asleep, which is where I was yesterday, and frankly I’ve been at a long-term 8 or 9 for three weeks. (Note: these are my definitions of pain levels for me. A lot of people use 10 to mean something less.)

So I’m going to the ER, where they can take specialized measures to make me feel better.

Author: "Deirdre" Tags: "Medical, medical"
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Date: Saturday, 04 Oct 2014 19:23
Mai Tai, Mama's Fish House, Maui

Mai Tai, Mama’s Fish House, Maui

Since my teenage years, I’ve mostly been a science fiction and fantasy reader. I’ve made several strafing runs through the romance genre through the years. However, like mystery, I’d historically found that it wasn’t a genre I could write.

There are reasons for my issues with romance in particular, many of them having to do with where romance was as a genre at the time. See: The TL;DR Erotic Romance Edition post from Love in the Margins.

After I’d written the first draft of my first (fantasy) novel, though, a project landed on my lap. Would I write porn (meaning the kinds of novels you buy in adult bookstores along with your sex toys) for money?

I’d left Scientology, I was no longer putting up with their puritanical bullshit, and I needed the income. So I pulled out my handy typewriter—yes, you heard me correctly—and wanked out a 35k book every six weeks for eighteen months straight. Well, not entirely straight. ;)

It was good money. I wasn’t overly proud of my work, but it was functional. If I ever read those fuckers again, I’d probably take to drinking. Let’s put it this way: I’ve learned a ton about writing in the interim.

I’d tried to read romance before, during, and after this period, but I just couldn’t handle the coy sex scenes with “his throbbing member” and that the sex scene had to be all metaphorical and at the end. Plus the endless “cut to black,” and the emphasis on pregnancy. Look, pregnancy and I don’t get along. Never did.

I discovered that I could enjoy writing sex scenes about bedroom scenes that weren’t my thing. And thanks to writers like Mercedes Lackey, I discovered that I could enjoy reading m/m sex scenes though obviously I wasn’t going to be having any of that.

In short, I’m more diverse as a reader and writer than I am in personal experience, and that’s okay.

So in 2009, I was having a bad time at life. It’s not my story to tell, but I wound up seeing the Twilight movie almost every day for a couple of months as a way to decompress from all the awful. I wrote this post about the book vs. the movie because I was interested in the differences as a writer.

Also in that time, I managed to write a vampire comedy erotic novel that I figured had no market anywhere.

Say What?

I know, right?

Because, you see, I really had no idea what the market for romance was like. I’d never read erotic romance, didn’t know it was a thing, didn’t know it was my thing, and just had no clue that there was an active and thriving market. Throbbing, even.

Never heard of Ellora’s Cave.

To me, it sounded like my book had “too many adjectives” and was in too obscure a subgenre.

I wrote the book longhand in fountain pen, using a different color of ink every day I wrote. I had a lot of fun with it, but I was writing for fun. I wrote it out of order (and I’m a pantser), so it’s a hot mess. I have all but one 5k excerpt in Scrivener now, though. That other 5k is in a notebook. Somewhere.

Skip forward a year-ish, I search on “vampire” in Fictionwise (remember Fictionwise?) and found Mary Hughes’s book, Biting Me Softly. Which is, I note, vampire erotic comedy.

All the dots lined up in my brain, but other shit was kicking me in life, so I didn’t have the mental space to cope. I read the other books in the Biting series, but didn’t really venture forth into reading or writing romance.

And then Nanowrimo Came

Fast forward to Nanowrimo 2012. I started a different novel, but then got an idea for a romance fanfic. So I started writing it and posting my first drafts. Which are first drafty, but I enjoyed the hell out of it. I’d post a chapter at night before going to bed and I’d have fan mail in the morning. It’s completely awesomesauce.

The other thing: as a new writer, I’d accepted all this bullshit about what writers should and shouldn’t do, but a lot of that was science fiction specific. So writing a different genre was like finally getting out of the straightjacket I hadn’t realized I was wearing. If you feel stuck, maybe trying a different genre or length will help.

Four months later, I was still having a good time.

So I thought, maybe I should see what the market was like.

Since I’d bought Samhain books before, I stuck with them. I searched through their site a few ways and read some samples. I read a few other authors. (I remember tripping and falling while out on a walk one day because I was reading Maya Banks. I became terrified I’d break my Steve Jobs autographed iPad.)

For those of you who’ve read her books, I bet you’re completely unsurprised to find that Vivi Andrews is one of my favorite writers. Humorous paranormal is one of my sweet spots.

Soon I found I was hunting the forthcoming books from Samhain. Every. Week.

I started keeping track of authors I liked (and didn’t like), tropes I did and didn’t like (not big on the secret baby trope).

I branched out to other publishers, too. From Samhain’s Lauren Gallagher titles, I followed her across to her L. A. Witt titles, discovering Riptide. I started perusing bestseller lists, and found Jay Crownover. A literary agent I like recommended Tiffany Reisz. A fan of my fanfic recommended Jenny Trout.

Still hadn’t heard of Ellora’s Cave.

It was my branching out, reading further markets, where I first found them, then bought some backlist titles from my favorite authors. In all but the case of a several-book series, I preferred their non-EC titles.

Dear Author

For about the last year, I’d been following Dear Author on Twitter, occasionally reading posts linked from tweets. When Jane Litte posted a review in August for Sarina Bowen’s The Year We Fell Down, I immediately went and read the book based on her review.

It’s funny how someone recommending a favorite book to you can shift how you feel about them. Right now, that title (or perhaps a later book in the series, The Understatement of the Year) is my favorite book so far this year. Which, Understatement has just been released and it’s worth reading. ::plug::

I went to grad school with a lot of romance writers, but I’ve never felt truly a part of the romance community until now. So, thank you all.

I still read and write science fiction and fantasy, and still feel it’s my primary genre.

In other news

I still fucking hate the verb “lave.” Just thought you should know.

Author: "Deirdre" Tags: "Publishing, Writing, publishing, romance..."
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Date: Friday, 03 Oct 2014 23:45
Greek Sphinx, Delphi

Greek Sphinx, Delphi

This post is for authors, editors, and cover artists who’ve left, or who are trying to leave, Ellora’s Cave. I’ve got a section for other resources for EC authors at the end of this post.

Authors

At least one of the following needs to be true:
1. Asked for your rights to be reverted in 2014 or had your rights reverted in 2014. Or, and I hope this isn’t true for you, your rights were reverted but EC is still selling your titles. (This has happened before with another publisher.)
2. Have taken your EC titles off your website. Or, if they’re reverted, have re-published at least some of them.
3. Have spoken up since December 2012 about late royalties, missing royalties, or suspiciously declining royalties in a public post (blog, facebook, google+, whatver) or tweet.
4. Have had an EC title for which EC has sold the contract to another publisher.
5. Have publicly posted that you’re afraid to speak up. (Thanks for the idea, Courtney!)

You must also have a non-EC title to promote, since many of the readers of this thread may not wish to enrich Ellora’s Cave.

Click on author name for the author’s website.

  1. Cat Grant. She’s giving away her three unreverted titles if you email her and has more than twenty titles from other sources.
  2. Kit Tunstall. “What I do know is I haven’t been paid for three out of the past nine months[...]“ Later received a check, commented, “The low amount of my check is hardly indicative of the financial health of the company.” Note: she later deleted those posts, and they were not archived on archive.org.
  3. Evanne Lorraine. talks about deleting the covers of her EC titles from her website:

    I loved my editor, thought their cover art was brilliant, and was very fond of the regular royalty checks.

    Yesterday I deleted those covers from my website, which makes me want to sob.

    I still adore those stories, but Ellora’s Cave isn’t paying me. I sent them formal notice requesting payment and the reversion of my rights. I received an automated response to both emails stating they’re overwhelmed with requests.

  4. Avril Ashton. Spoke about royalty issues. “I’m going to say that once again Ellora’s Cave isn’t paying royalty checks. I’m going to say that once again, emails and phone calls and fucking homing pigeons are being left unanswered. Silence on all correspondence.”
  5. Jan Springer. Commented on DA, “Jan, one of the EC authors not getting paid and fighting to get her rights back.”
  6. Trista Ann Michaels. Spoke about royalties not arriving.:

    Another month has gone by and no check from EC. Emails and phone calls go unanswered, just like always. I have no doubt if I was to go up there in person, I would find the office doors locked.

    . . . .

    It’s a shame that we at EC have to resort to such a tactic, but I’m adding my name to the list of authors who are asking that readers not buy their EC titles. We’re not getting paid for them anyway.

  7. Lex Valentine. Lex commented on Passive Voice: “I got a lovely check September 23 dated August 31 for May royalties. It was $43 and change. The only thing I found curious was how it took nearly a month for that check to get from Ohio to Southern California and that I got a check at all considering some of my EC author friends haven’t been paid.”
  8. Lynne Connolly has said “I just want my rights back.”
  9. India Masters, also writing as Keira Cole. She comments below, “My last check, covering royalties earned for the month of April, was $48.94 – around 1/4 of my usual earnings.”
  10. Abigail Barnette/Jenny Trout. One of my favorite people, and I’m a fan of her Boss series. She says:

    I’m an Ellora’s Cave author. I only have one book there, and it has never been a bestseller, but I love it and I would be heartbroken if it were to end up as part of a bankruptcy settlement. So, I asked for a reversion of my rights last week, after a summer of rumblings from other authors who weren’t happy with their experience with the company. I myself have never had any payment issues with Ellora’s Cave, but having been in the business for almost a decade, I’ve learned that when authors are saying that they aren’t getting paid, other things aren’t getting paid, either. As Litte points out in her post, if a company goes bankrupt, authors can lose their rights permanently, so some Ellora’s Cave authors are faced with a difficult, possibly bridge-burning choice right now. I’ve never met an Ellora’s Cave staff member about whom I could say a bad word, and it pains me to cut ties with a publisher that I feel has treated me well, but in business you have to make hard decisions to protect your interests.

  11. Lynne Connolly. Comments below, and has removed her EC titles from her website as well as gotten reversions on her unpublished titles.
  12. Shoshanna Evers. Comments below, and has gotten several titles reverted.

    I would also like to add that everyone who works at or for EC has always been awesome to me, and Romanticon used to be my favorite convention. I’m sad this is going down the way it is.

  13. Cassandra Carr. Comments below. Has gotten two shorts reverted, but still has several titles at EC.
  14. Regina Cole. Has a non-EC book available for pre-order, Draw Me In.
  15. Suz deMello. Commented below, asking for rights back on five titles.
  16. Kate Sherwood. Tweets: “Please don’t buy my EC novella. I don’t want any profits from it to contribute to EC’s lawyers’ bills. #notchilled” She’s got other titles available.
  17. Liz Crowe. Commented below, and generously offered the Stewart Realty series ebook for our readers.
  18. Kelly Maher. Asked for reversion of her EC titles.
  19. Lissa Matthews. Spoke up about royalty accounting and also getting a cover that wasn’t compliant with Amazon’s standards.

I have one book filtered at Amazon and I don’t even have a year’s worth of sales numbers on it, but I can tell you it definitely meets the ‘sells less than 100 copies in a calendar year’… No one even knows the book exists unless I tell them. And it’s filtered because I didn’t specify No Nudity for the cover. Okay, I took blame for that, but how was I supposed to know I had to tell Ellora’s Cave what their distributors would and wouldn’t allow on covers in order for them to be found by readers and not stashed so deep into the abyss? I had never had to specify that before and believe you me, I learned that lesson. Because the next and final book that I submitted specified on the cover art form NO NUDITY!

  1. Berengaria Brown. Comments below. She’s got plenty of non-EC titles for you to read. Thanks, and welcome!
  2. Delphine Dryden. Comments below. I have read and enjoyed her Cosmo/Harlequin titles, but she’s got plenty of others.
  3. Leigh Ellwood. Comments below. She’s got quite a few titles out and is a very versatile writer.
  4. Lolita Lopez / Roxie Rivera Wrote a heart-wrenching blog post about her EC relationship. She has plenty of titles to entice you with, especially if you like paranormal or sci-fi in your romance.

Additionally, A. Nonny Mouse comments below, “I’m an EC author who’s received obviously backdated checks, suspect royalty statements missing books, whose questions and concerns have gone unanswered by TPTB. I’ve removed all EC books from my website and have asked for all my rights to be returned. Obviously, they haven’t bothered to respond.”

To Participate

Please comment with, email me with or tweet me with your pen name and website (and link to the post if #3), and I’ll add it to this author list. Fan of an author not listed? Let me know!

Note: EC covered a wide variety of erotic romance tropes, and there’s no guarantee that any particular author will write something that speaks to you as a reader.

Editors

You’ve commented publicly, even if anonymously, that payments to you are currently, or have been recently, late.

  1. Just sayin’ comments: “I am a former EC editor and have not been paid since the beginning of the summer.” I believe, but obviously can’t be sure, this may be the same “Just sayin'” who comments below.
  2. And me commented below saying they have not been paid since early summer.
  3. This makes three adds, “I’m yet another EC editor who hasn’t been paid.”
  4. Me too also comments below, “I’m an unpaid editor too.”
  5. Lemon Squeeze Editing is a group of laid off EC editors now offering their services as freelance editors.

Cover Artists

You’ve commented publicly, even if anonymously, that payments to you are currently, or have been recently, late.

  1. Dar Albert Commented on Avril Ashton’s blog:

    They owe me for covers for two months. They worked me like a dog, took the art, and now tell me nothing. Or that they have no idea when I will be paid. I am really frustrated. Got bills, got a life, got just me, no back up, and now I have no loyalty for a company I served for six years as an artist.

    If you need covers for a book project, you can contact Dar at Wicked Smart Designs. I’m sure she’d appreciate the work.

Promotion Opportunities

  1. There’s a Google Doc form for each non-EC book by an EC author for bloggers to promote. Here’s the tweet. This is a great project to help get exposure for authors. Here’s the resulting web page.
  2. Felicia would like to feature EC authors on Top Off Tuesday. (I’m not affiliated with that, just passing along the info.) Covers should have a male with a top all or partly off.
  3. Angela would like to feature EC authors with non-EC titles on Boosting the Signal.
  4. Kastil Eavenshade tweets that her blog is open for EC authors to promote non-EC titles.
  5. Agents of Romance tweeted that they would love to help EC authors promote non-EC titles.

Copyright

Several EC authors have noted that Ellora’s Cave did not register their copyrights. Victoria Strauss tweets how to check if your copyright was registered. More direct link is here.

Romance Writers of America

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America

If you’re a SFWA member and are having trouble receiving payment, or believe your royalties aren’t accurate, you may be able to use SFWA’s Grievance Committee resource. Not all EC titles fall under SFWA’s purvue, but many stories are science fiction, paranormal romance, or similar genres.

Comment Note

Note: Comments use gravatars. If you wish to comment anonymously, be careful. To the extent the law permits, I will protect anonymous commenters. Also, all comments are moderated unless there’s a previously-approved comment from you.

Author: "Deirdre" Tags: "Publishing, publishing"
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Date: Friday, 03 Oct 2014 23:23

First, there’s an Ellora’s Cave Exodus Support Thread update further down.

Dear Author/Jane Litte Defense Fund

SBTB’s Jane Wendell has set up a gofundme for DA’s defense fund. She’s also offered non-gofundme ways to contribute.

Many people have been asking if and how they can contribute to Dear Author and Jane Litte’s legal defense. Consequently, this campaign was created. The Dear Author Jane Litte Legal Defense Fund will be run through Go Fund Me. Any donations made to this fund will be used for Jane Litte’s defense against the defamation suit filed against her and Dear Author Media Network LLC by Ellora’s Cave. You can read more about the suit at Dear Author.

Why a fund?

Because lawsuits are expensive (that’s why they’re so often used as a threat, if you’ve ever wondered). Because of that, and because the duration of the litigation is undetermined, Jane will need financial assistance. Jane’s attorney, Marc Randazza, is contributing by discounting his hourly rate. Even with a generous discount, it’s still expensive.

Jane Litte has set aside $20,000.00 of her own funds to fight this defamation suit and has paid the large retainer out of the fund but that money will be depleted quickly as the case progresses.

If you’d like to donate to the legal fund, you can follow this link to the GoFundMe site, and make your donation. Please note: these are NOT tax deductible donations, as this is NOT a 501(c)3 not-for-profit
entity.

All funds will be used for Jane’s legal defense, minus the fees charged by GoFundMe, and because we don’t know what the end result will be, we have no way of knowing what the total amount required will be. If there are any funds left over when the suit is finished, they will be donated to the Society of Professional Journalists Legal Defense Fund (http://www.spj.org/ldf.asp).

If the fees do not exceed $20,000, we will attempt to refund the donations per the GoFundMe policies (http://support.gofundme.com/entries/22603558-How-do-I-issue-a-refund-to-a-donor-). Countries with the following currencies are supported: $ USD, £ GBP, $ CAD, $ AUD and € EUR.

If you’d like to use an alternate method to contribute, there are two options available. First, if you’d like to use a credit card, you can send a contribution via Paypal to jane@dearauthor.com. Please make sure to earmark the funds “Jane Litte/Dear Author Defense Fund.” As stated previously, if the total costs for the lawsuit are lower than $20,000.00, Jane will refund the monies donated.

If you’d prefer not to use a credit card, please email Sarah at sarah(AT)smartbitchestrashybooks.com.

Any amount that you can contribute is most appreciated.

They’ve raised $36,000 so far. Amazing.

To me, that says one thing: The internet wants its popcorn.

Perhaps the single most amazing contribution is one from Lolita Lopez aka Roxie Rivera.

Lolita Lopez / Roxie Rivera

Lolita Lopez / Roxie Rivera Contribution Note

She’s written a truly heartwrenching post, Ellora’s Cave. The Grabbed Series. #notchilled tl;dr: she’s walking away from her Ellora’s Cave series.

Lolita’s one of the more successful Ellora’s Cave authors, but her daughter’s disabled, and the money from Lolita’s writing goes toward helping take care of her daughter’s future.

It’s a crappy situation to be in. I know I’ll be checking out her non-EC titles.

Some Additional Notes About the Ellora’s Cave Author Exodus Support Thread

I’ve been in contact with a few EC authors who aren’t ready to be included on the list. That’s fine. It’s still a resource that’s there for you later if you wish. Also, if you don’t want to be listed, that’s also fine.

Initially, I added people who’d posted somewhere. Not all were aboard with that. I overstepped with a few people, and I’m sorry for that.

There’s a story that someone asked EC for a reversion, then got an email that said EC was reverting. Then the author said something and EC apparently changed their mind. I’m not sure how that’s possible, given that they don’t have the rights to grab back again, but there it is.

So: if you’re in doubt, or are trying to revert your works, please take your time. We’ll still be here for you.

Plus, grief has no timeline. Many of you are still reeling in the sheer WTF? of what happened, and it’s only been a few weeks. Some of you have years of careers—and it’s just not possible for everyone to switch their hearts around that quickly, especially if they’ve been treated well over the years.

So, I’m not going to add additional people unless they ask or unless I’ve confirmed it with them. You can comment here, you can email me (deirdre@deirdre.net), you can tweet me (@deirdresm), you can message me on facebook (@deirdresm) or Absolute Write (Deirdre). Whatever you’re comfortable with. I’m also @deirdresm on ello, but I don’t really have a feel for that yet.

Note of Potential Future Conflict of Interest

I’ve applied for a position (not in publishing) where blogging/tweeting about the ongoing EC issues would be a conflict of interest if I get the position. I’d really like the job, so I’d appreciate some warm thoughts that I’ll get it. There are plenty of other people who can pick up the slack.

I’ll still keep the EC Author Exodus Support Thread updated as it’s an ongoing project.

If I suddenly stop mentioning the EC issues and don’t respond about certain kinds of things, I haven’t been bought out or silenced. I made a choice about where I’d like my career to go, and that is a side effect with this particular position.

Author: "Deirdre" Tags: "Business of Writing, Publishing, ellora'..."
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Date: Thursday, 02 Oct 2014 22:06

tl;dr: The request to out anonymous commenters in the Ellora’s Cave lawsuit isn’t a part of the complaint or any motion; it’s in a memorandum of law, tacked on without any supporting legal citations, and not phrased as a request for the judge to do anything.

Much has been made about the request in the Ellora’s Cave lawsuit against Dear Author about the request to out the anonymous commenters on the Dear Author post at the heart of the lawsuit. The complaint is embedded in this post at The Passive Voice if you wish to follow along.

I’m not a lawyer (and this post is not legal advice), but I am something of a legal ruling groupie. I’m fascinated by the law, sometimes finding myself reading judicial opinions for the sheer joy of judicial language use. Back in the dot bomb era, when I wondered if programming would ever snap back to the pre-bubble normal, I took paralegal classes, including legal research, anticipating a potential career change. That said, my education was general, California-specific, and I didn’t finish the program. So, not only am I not a lawyer, I’m not a paralegal, and I’m not familiar with Ohio law at all, case law especially.

Here’s how my understanding of a judge’s role changed during that time. Essentially, a judge’s purpose is to make rulings within their legal ability to do so about questions properly raised before them. As a general rule, they can do nothing unless something is asked (“moved” or relief prayed for), nor can they do something unless they have the legal authority. Well, they can, but it’ll likely get overturned, and no judge likes that.

At the very end of the PDF (p. 21 of 22) appears this zinger:

Additionally, Plaintiff request that Defendants disclose the name of the anonymous commenters on the blog so that the spreading of the defamatory statement can be stopped.

Let’s look at that in the scope of the document as a whole, sticking to general legal principles.

Structure Is Important

First, legal filings have a structure. The structure differs somewhat jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Here are the sections in the filing in DA’s case:

  1. pp 1-8: Complaint and claims for for relief.
  2. pp 9-14: DA post that EC was complaining about. Note that this does not include the anonymous (or pseudonymous) comments.
  3. p 15: Motion for temporary restraining order.
  4. pp 16-22: Memorandum in support of the motion. The anonymous commenter request appears here.

Essentially, a motion asks a judge to do something, and the memorandum in support tells the judge why they have the authority, based on legislation and prior case law, to act in mover’s favor. So: this is what we want you to do and this is why you should do it.

Before we get into all that, let’s get into controlling vs. persuasive case law for a minute, but be aware this is a gross oversimplification. Essentially, case law is controlling if it’s in the “chain of command” of courts from the court hearing the case, and is considered mandatory for the court to consider. However, the details of the case may mean that ruling isn’t directly relevant.

Persuasive case law, well, maybe someone in Hawaii wrote a great ruling that happens to address the issue very succinctly, but there’s nothing in Ohio law that’s quite as close. So an attorney might cite the Hawaii case in an attempt to persuade the judge. The judge, however, is not required to use the Hawaii court’s reasoning in their ruling.

With all that in mind, let’s look at the case citations in the memorandum.

TRO Memorandum Case Citations

There are seven cases cited (excluding references to other cases) in the TRO’s memorandum, and I’ll discuss each briefly.

Perhaps of note is that all cases cited for defamation are cases where the parties were ruled against in the citations. Sometimes, cases where the plaintiff loses make for the most interesting (and valuable) rulings, so I’m not sure that’s indicative of anything. I just found it amusing.

1. Mike McGarry & Sons, Inc. v. Robert Gross, et al

This ruling lays out what’s necessary in Ohio to get a TRO. You can read the ruling here.

This case is in the Eighth district, and Akron’s in the 9th, so my understanding is that this is persuasive, not controlling. Given that there’s a controlling case with similar wording, why bother with this one?

There are four criteria that have to be met:

A party requesting a preliminary injunction must show that: (1) there is a substantial likelihood that the plaintiff will prevail on the merits, (2) the plaintiff will suffer irreparable injury if the injunction is not granted, (3) no third parties will be unjustifiably harmed if the injunction is granted, and (4) the public interest will be served by the injunction. Procter & Gamble Co. v. Stoneham (2000), 140 Ohio App.3d 260, 267.

In the case cited, here’s the example of irreparable harm. One guy ran a painting company, then re-joined his former employer, then left to found a competing firm. It was found that he was soliciting his former employer’s clients to come with his new, competing firm. That was determined to be irreparable harm.

Brendan McGarry testified that all of the clients that Gross admitted to conducting business with were McGarry & Sons’ clients. (Tr. 67). Attempting to start one’s own business by taking away customers that were serviced by a former employer is precisely the type of irreparable harm that a covenant not to compete is designed to prevent.

So, not particularly relevant as a whole.

2. University of Texas v. Camenisch

This is a US Supreme Court case.

It’s a case about a deaf student and who should pay for interpreter accommodations.

“The purpose of a preliminary injunction is merely to preserve the relative positions of the parties until a trial on the merits can be held,” then I must be missing something because I don’t understand how that applies in this case. It’s cited in the next ruling, and that one line’s cited in the memorandum, but I don’t get it.

3. Midwest Retailers Association, Ltd. v. City of Toledo

This case cites the quoted sentence in the previous ruling. The case was about a new law requiring certain retailers to have 24/7 surveillance cameras, and they wanted a preliminary injunction to prevent the law from taking effect while the case was heard. The judge converted this to a temporary restraining order against the new law and granted it. A good chunk of the ruling is about the fourth, fifth, and thirteenth amendment consequences of the law.

It’s cited here because of the way it weighs the relative factors in granting a TRO, and it’s controlling for the Akron area. Unlike the first ruling, it uses this wording as the criteria:

To grant either form of injunctive relief, a court must consider: “(1) whether the movant has a strong likelihood of success on the merits; (2) whether the movant would suffer irreparable injury absent a stay; (3) whether granting the stay would cause substantial harm to others; and (4) whether the public interest would be served by granting the stay.” Northeast Ohio, supra, 467 F.3d at 1009; see also Rios, supra, 345 F. Supp. 2d at 835.

So if that’s the controlling opinion, why the first two? I don’t get it.

It initially jarred me that this ruling was written in first person. It hadn’t stuck out to me how rare that was, though it seems more common in dissenting and concurring opinions.

4. Hersch v. E. W. Scripps Co

Here’s the ruling.

In the case at bar this court must determine whether a “stupid act” is substantially synonymous with an exercise of “poor judgment” and “impropriety,” or whether it connotes a greater opprobrium.

I have to admit, this sentence made me laugh. Irony?

Also:

[T]his court is persuaded by the evidence before the trial court that the characterization of the conduct of attorney Hersch as “stupid” is either true or is an exceedingly charitable assessment of his behavior.

And, in the end, the publication was ruled to be not defamatory.

It is the considered opinion of this court in view of the posture of the evidence in this case, that to be charged with having “acted stupidly” carries no greater opprobrium than to be charged with having committed an impropriety and with having exercised poor judgment. Under the authority of Williams v. P. W Publishing Co., supra, this court is persuaded that, as a matter of law, the summary of Judge Zingale’s remarks contained in the Cleveland Press article was not so false and defamatory as to serve as the basis for an action for libel.

If anything, this may be the most relevant citation of all, but not for the reason esteemed counsel might expect. ;)

Either “true” or “exceedingly charitable,” huh?

5. Am. Chem. Soc’y v. Leadscope, Inc.

You can read the ruling here. From the case summary:

In determining whether a statement is defamatory as a matter of law, a court must review the totality of the circumstances and read the statement in the context of the entire publication to determine whether a reasonable reader would interpret it as defamatory.

One of the propositions of law discussed in the ruling is this:

Damages for defamation must be based upon harm caused by the defamatory statements, as distinct from harm caused by a public lawsuit or other proceeding.

So the interesting thing here is that the defamation claim? Lost in this case.

We reverse the appellate court’s decision finding that the trial court did not err in overruling ACS’s motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict on Leadscope’s counterclaim for defamation. We hold that when reviewed under the totality of the circumstances and in the context of the entire publications, ACS’s statements in the internal memorandum and its attorney’s statements in Business First are not defamatory as a matter of law. [...]

The cause is remanded to the trial court with orders to vacate its judgment for Leadscope on the issue of defamation.

The short version is that ACS essentially claimed that Leadscope stole their invention and Leadscope countersued with defamation claims. The ruling (and dissent and concurring opinions) is all about the nuances of qualified privilege, and that doesn’t seem to be applicable to the way it’s cited in the EC TRO memorandum.

I particularly recommend J. Pfeifer’s dissenting part about the defamation case on pp. 40-49.

ACS, “one of the world’s leading sources of authoritative scientific information,” announced to an audience that included the scientific world and the financial world that virtually everything that Leadscope was built upon was stolen. A few words to the right audience can be ruinous. And the jury determined that those words were ruinous to Leadscope, Blower, Johnson, and Myatt. The majority has not demonstrated why those jury verdicts should not stand. [...]

In both instances—the employee memorandum and the Business First article—the statements made by ACS were false, were made with the knowledge that they were false, injured the reputations of Leadscope and the individual defendants, and adversely affected them in their business.

But still ruled not defamatory. Interesting case to cite from that perspective.

6. Bluemile, Inc. v. YourColo, LLC

You can read the injunction ruling here. From the EC lawsuit:

The facts are strikingly similar to Bluemile, Inc. v. YourColo, LLC. In Bluemile, the plaintiff, an Ohio corporation, sought a temporary injunction against the defendant, who owned a business claiming the same business name.

In my opinion (though, again, IANAL and TINLA), there is no similarity, and the “strikingly similar” made me wonder what quality pharmaceuticals the esteemed esquire had access to. In Bluemile, there was a clear intent to confuse the trademark held by the plaintiff and siphon off their potential customers by the defendant with a confusing domain name (bluemile.net). The defendant’s site was intended to be confusing.

According to Plaintiff, Defendant uses the website to misdirect traffic through malicious use of Plaintiff’s registered trademark and post false and misleading information about Plaintiff’s products to Defendant’s benefit and Plaintiff’s detriment. Thus, in the Court’s view, Plaintiff is likely to succeed on the merits of some or all of its claims.

None of the above is true—or claimed to be true—in the Dear Author case.

In the Bluemile kind of egregious behavior, it strikes me that a temporary/preliminary injunction is the only possible answer.

7. Guion v. Terra Marketing

This is a Nevada Supreme Court case from 1974, and I’m unaware of it being controlling case law for Ohio. Besides, Nevada. Odd state. (Says the Californian.) Here’s the ruling in question.

So the case here is that the defendant put up signs visible to the plaintiff’s potential and actual customers, that said:

A Terracor representative threatened to kill me! What next, Rick Johnson. I regret having done business with a Terracor representative. Doing business with a Terracor representative introduced me to a new low in ethics.

The case hinged partly upon whether or not the party making said threat was a Terracor representative, and hence on the truth or falsity of the statement. But—the order of magnitude of the statement here is way different than the Dear Author case and claims.

Which reminds me. Nowhere in the DA post, The Curious Case of Ellora’s Cave did DA claim that anyone having issues with payment was currently/recently an employee. My take, which may be incorrect, was that it was about issues freelancers and authors were having.

And yet, one of the false statements claimed in the lawsuit (p. 3) is:

a. That employees of Ellora’s are going unpaid when in fact they are being paid.

Surely there’s a case somewhere in the last forty years that’s controlling that’s more relevant. Surely.

Some Humor Because You’ve Stuck With Me This Far

One of my favorite legal writers of all time is retired (forcibly) US District Court Judge Samuel B. Kent, especially Bradshaw v. Unity Marine.

Defendant begins the descent into Alice’s Wonderland by submitting a Motion that relies upon only one legal authority. The Motion cites a Fifth Circuit case which stands for the whopping proposition that a federal court sitting in Texas applies the Texas statutes of limitations to certain state and federal law claims. See Gonzales v. Wyatt, 157 F.3d 1016, 1021 n.1 (5th Cir. 1998), cert. denied, 528 U.S. 1118 (2000). That is all well and good–the Court is quite fond of the Erie doctrine; indeed there is talk of little else around both the Canal and this Court’s water cooler. Defendant, however, does not even cite to Erie, but to a mere successor case, and further fails to even begin to analyze why the Court should approach the shores of Erie.

(So, persuasive, not controlling.)

Plaintiff responds to this deft, yet minimalist analytical wizardry with an equally gossamer wisp of an argument, although Plaintiff does at least cite the federal limitations provision applicable to maritime tort claims. See 46 U.S.C. § 763a. Naturally, Plaintiff also neglects to provide any analysis whatsoever of why his claim versus Defendant Phillips is a maritime action. Instead, Plaintiff “cites” to a single case from the Fourth Circuit. Plaintiff’s citation, however, points to a nonexistent Volume “1886” of the Federal Reporter *671 Third Edition and neglects to provide a pinpoint citation for what, after being located, turned out to be a forty-page decision. Ultimately, to the Court’s dismay after reviewing the opinion, it stands simply for the bombshell proposition that torts committed on navigable waters (in this case an alleged defamation committed by the controversial G. Gordon Liddy aboard a cruise ship at sea) require the application of general maritime rather than state tort law. See Wells v. Liddy, 186 F.3d 505, 524 (4th Cir.1999) (What the …)?! The Court cannot even begin to comprehend why this case was selected for reference. It is almost as if Plaintiff’s counsel chose the opinion by throwing long range darts at the Federal Reporter (remarkably enough hitting a nonexistent volume!). And though the Court often gives great heed to dicta from courts as far flung as those of Manitoba, it finds this case unpersuasive.

Again, persuasive not controlling, and unpersuasive in the end.

And, my favorite part:

After this remarkably long walk on a short legal pier, having received no useful guidance whatever from either party, the Court has endeavored, primarily based upon its affection for both counsel, but also out of its own sense of morbid curiosity, to resolve what it perceived to be the legal issue presented. Despite the waste of perfectly good crayon seen in both parties’ briefing (and the inexplicable odor of wet dog emanating from such) the Court believes it has satisfactorily resolved this matter.

Getting Back to the Request to Out Anonymous Commenters

It’s been a long post, so here’s anonymous commenter request again:

Additionally, Plaintiff request that Defendants disclose the name of the anonymous commenters on the blog so that the spreading of the defamatory statement can be stopped.

So, EC is asking Dear Author (et al) for the names of the anonymous commenters on the blog to stop the propagation of that post.

  1. It’s the readers, not the commenters, who are going to spread whatever was in the post. The commenters are there for internal engagement (within the context of the post), not external engagement (between the post and the outside world). Commenting does not in fact spread the post.
  2. EC may want the sources of DA’s information, but those people are not necessarily anonymous commenters. Or pseudonymous commenters. Or commenters. They may never have engaged with Dear Author publicly at all.
  3. As SBTB commented, the Streisand Effect pretty much ensures that the Internet will remember, in glorious detail, any attempt at censorship.
  4. Note that the statement does not ask the judge to do anything.
  5. Having skimmed more than two hundred pages of case law (so you don’t have to), I don’t see a single case that supports the request to out the anonymous commenters. The request is aimed at Dear Author, not the judge, and is in a curious place.

The average person, however, will read that line, not take the context into account, and think it means more than it perhaps does.

Which is why I think it’s just thrown in there for the chilling effect: “We’ve outed Dear Author’s identity; you’re next.”

See Also

Beware: Anonymous Commenters & Those Who Seek To Unmask Them

Author: "Deirdre" Tags: "Business of Writing, Publishing, ellora'..."
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Date: Wednesday, 01 Oct 2014 19:58

As I’ve stated before, and you’ve no doubt picked up, I’m quite the fan of Tim Grahl. I got to meet him at the World Domination Summit this year. One of his mantras is: focus on being relentlessly helpful.

He’s done book marketing for a lot of really big names, so I listen to him. He makes sense. He sounds like a really nice person (and has been in all my interactions with him).

Back when I was in Dublin, I attended one of his first Indie Secrets workshops with Michael Bunker, an indie author who writes Amish science fiction.

They are now doing that workshop again, and it now has an additional three-hour session.

The single thing that struck me the most can be summed up by contrasting it with a snippet I pulled into a post yesterday from Carolyn Jewel’s post The Flush Pile:

Do not assume a publisher has an interest in your book selling well. They should, but they don’t. Their interest is in seeing which books unexpectedly hit. That’s it. If it’s not you, you’re screwed.

Does your book make an immediate hit? Because if it doesn’t hit fairly quickly, then it’ll be brushed off the shelves to see if next month’s book offerings do better. How your last book did will affect your next book’s orders—especially for a series.

Bunker’s approach is different. Measured. Long-term. Something that seems positively relaxed given what I’ve heard about first-day craziness. And yet, he does have launch success, too.

I mention all this because Grahl and Bunker, along with Nick Cole, are running another set of the Indie Secrets Workshop on October 16th and 23rd. Check it out.

Author: "Deirdre" Tags: "Publishing, Writing, indie-publishing, s..."
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Date: Tuesday, 30 Sep 2014 23:38

εξοδοσ-web-image

Quite the round of updates this morning. Probably because I slept so late. (Which, given my post yesterday, is a good change.)

Dear Author and the Temporary Injunction Hearing

A TRO was not granted today, but there will be another hearing on it. Jane makes the following request:

Therefore, If you are willing, I need help with the following:

Individual authors, editors, cover artists willing to testify, either in person, via telephone or in an affidavit to payments made/not made.

It would be best if you could testify in person, but a sworn written statement will be adequate.

Additionally, if you have any Screenshots of any public statements regarding Ellora’s Cave, those would be helpful too.

You can reach me at jane@dearauthor.com.

Courtney Milan on Confidentiality Clauses

Courtney Milan has a great post on confidentiality clauses here. She’s also offered to help find representation for people who wish to speak up but are afraid to because of the confidentiality clause.

But there is one thing that I know for sure–silence breeds fear. And no matter how broad the confidentiality clause is, there are some things that it can’t prevent you from saying. So if you’re an Ellora’s cave author, editor, or cover-artist, and you would speak up but you’re afraid, say that much. Go on twitter. Post it on your blog or your Facebook page. “I’m an Ellora’s Cave author, and I’m afraid to speak up.”

I want to talk about this for a minute. Fifteen years ago, I was in a pre-IPO startup with a culture of silence and fear. Two years ago, I finally wrote about it. I was only able to write about it as a fable, thirteen years after it happened. Here’s another side of the story. I am $COLLEAGUE in this telling—and I’ve never said that publicly before. The stress cost me a hospital stay with a kidney infection.

So: I get it. It’s one of the reasons I want to help provide support.

If you are willing to state that you’re an EC author afraid to speak out, and have non-EC titles to promote, I’ll add you to the Ellora’s Cave Author Exodus Support Thread.

The Flush Pile

The advice I was given by a number of senior writers back when I was learning the ropes was: money in hand is important, but reversion clauses are a critical negotiating point that may, in the long run, be even more important.

Carolyn Jewel’s post The Flush Pile – An Author’s Perspective is one of the single best posts I’ve ever seen about the business of writing from the school of hard knocks. You should read it, engrave it onto copper plates, and frame that sucker. Okay, I exaggerate. A tidge.

Do not assume a publisher has an interest in your book selling well. They should, but they don’t. Their interest is in seeing which books unexpectedly hit. That’s it. If it’s not you, you’re screwed.

Gulp. Welcome to the post-Kindle world of publishing.

Is Your Copyright Registered? Are You an RWA Member? SFWA Member?

I added three important updates to the Ellora’s Cave Author Exodus Support Thread. that you may have missed.

First, several EC authors have said their copyrights were not registered. This link allows you to check if yours was.

If you’re an RWA member or SFWA member and are having trouble with Ellora’s Cave, there are links to grievance processes. I don’t know much about RWA’s, but in the years I was a SFWA member, I know SFWA’s was pretty awesome.

For the EC Authors Who Haven’t Had Problems

There’s no universal experience with Ellora’s Cave. Some have had problems, some have not. Some have questioned their royalty accounting, and others believe it’s fine.

In short, some people have had absolutely great experiences with Ellora’s Cave, and other’s haven’t. Please don’t assume that others have the same experience you have, and be gentle with the people who can’t quite believe what’s happening because their own experience is so much more positive.

The people who could wind up being the most hurt—and not just financially—are the ones Ellora’s Cave has protected the most: their best-selling authors. They’ve had incentive to ensure that these authors have had premium experiences, possibly at the expense of those in the long tail. And with (if I counted accurately) 934 active authors, there’s quite a long tail.

It’s hard to want to ask for reversions when your experience has been strong, even if some of your titles aren’t selling well. It’s hard to want to go with another publisher for some work when you’ve had an ongoing relationship. However, this leads to having all your eggs in one basket, which can go fabulously well or fabulously poorly, depending.

So here’s what I’d suggest for authors who are in this boat—or, really, any author.

  1. Build your email list. If you don’t already have one, start now.
  2. Work on your marketing. If you don’t have a strategy, Tim Grahl at Out:think Group has a free 30-day course that may help you.

Best of luck to you. Really.

A Question About Discovery

IANAL and TINLA, but….

As I mentioned before, there are some suspicions of hinky royalty accounting. Others have stated their non-EC titles didn’t have the precipitous drop.

So, my question: doesn’t the nature of this lawsuit mean that Amazon can be subpoenaed for the royalties for titles?

A Pithy Thought

You can’t build trust with your entirely pseudonymous author list by outing the real name of a pseudonymous blogger.

Last, But Not Least

εξοδοσ-web-image

You probably saw the image up at the top. It’s free for you to use. There’s a smaller version just above, also free for you to use. The characters, ΕΞΟΔΟΣ, literally mean “exit” (or “going out”) in Greek. Of course, it’s also where the name of the second book of the Bible, Exodus, comes from. I admit I wasn’t thinking about the deeper historical meaning of the Israelites leaving slavery in Egypt, and I mean no disrespect in using the term. The ankh, well, that symbol’s all over Ellora’s Cave’s site.

I’ve made several products on Redbubble, and here’s the plan. Several of you may wish to speak out. Several EC authors have said that they are quite poor. Thus, for them, calling in testimony in Dear Author’s case may be prohibitively expensive for them.

I’ll make 75% of my royalty on these items (10-20%, depending on the item) available for people for whom it would be prohibitively expensive to speak out. Every month when I get my royalty statement, I’ll update how much is available below. I don’t expect it’ll be much, though, based on past experience.

Here’s a 100% detail of the background on the non-clothing items:

εξοδοσ-detail

Author: "Deirdre" Tags: "Business of Writing, Publishing, ellora'..."
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Date: Monday, 29 Sep 2014 17:59

Backing into Bonifacio, Corsica

Backing into Bonifacio, Corsica


I’ve been in excruciating pain for the last couple of weeks.

It started innocently enough: I got an awesome Thai massage, which loosened everything up.

Loosened everything up enough that I managed to later torque some muscle in my hip, a rather critical muscle/muscles for balance. This was bad the day we were in Sardinia, meaning I wasn’t able to see the rather awesome caves there.

Walking was excruciating. Climbing up and down stairs was excruciating. Rolling over in bed was excruciating.

The last meant I wasn’t sleeping, so I had a persistent fibromyalgia flare on top of everything.

We’d picked this cruise because I’ve always wanted to see Corsica, and one of the places I wanted to see was Bonifacio. The photo above is one of the last pics I managed to take. We were up early that morning (and I’d climbed the stairs to the Top of the Yacht bar) to see the sailing into port. Bonifacio’s kind of weird: all the ships have to back in, hence we went in flag first. (The odd flag is actually two flags: Bahamas, for the ship’s registry, and Norway, for the Captain’s nationality.)

I got off the ship, only to discover that I really couldn’t walk more than 100 feet without breaking into tears from the pain. Given that, I declined to go on the day tour I’d hoped to see. Instead, I hobbled down to see the shops, literally going from bench to bench. I spent the rest of day in bed.

The next day, we were using tenders, so I never got off the ship. Rick says I didn’t miss much, but it looked to me rather like an awesome place we went in Costa Rica—kind of a small beachy place with a small town, but not too much. I love those places.

I don’t need to say how much of an idiot I was for trying to go through all the Vatican museums, but I lasted through two hours of that idiocy. We had a nice hotel in Rome near the Vatican. Except for the slow waitstaff and the three steps up and down to get from one side of the building to the other, I really liked the place.

Had enough emergency meds to last through today, but I’m not better enough to function without more than my usual, so I’m going to the doctor.

I’m still really bummed about missing what I wanted to see in Corsica, and about not being able to see St. Peter’s Basilica.

Author: "Deirdre" Tags: "Medical, Travel, medical, travel"
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Date: Saturday, 27 Sep 2014 23:12

It was just under a year ago that Eugie Foster broke open a dam with her plea for people to buy her work, but not the Norilana editions. She was fighting cancer, an aggressive form.

Unfortunately, the treatments she’s gotten, including radiation, several courses of chemo, and stem cell therapy, weren’t enough to save her life.

Sadly, she died today.

If you don’t know Eugie’s work, she was an amazing writer with a Nebula award and a hundred-ish publishing credits to her name. Link below.

Her last published story is, “When it Ends, He Catches Her,” published in Daily Science Fiction.

A Note from Her Husband

Matthew M. Foster said:

Eugie Foster, author, editor, wife, died on September 27th of respiratory failure at Emory University in Atlanta.

In her forty-two years, Eugie lived three lifetimes. She won the Nebula award, the highest award for science fiction literature, and had over one hundred of her stories published. She was an editor for the Georgia General Assembly. She was the director of the Daily Dragon at Dragon Con, and was a regular speaker at genre conventions. She was a model, dancer, and psychologist. She also made my life worth living.

Memorial service will be announced soon.

We do not need flowers. In lieu of flowers, please buy her books and read them. Buy them for others to read until everyone on the planet knows how amazing she was.

You can find her fiction linked here on her website.

Some Tweets from Others

May she never be forgotten.

Author: "Deirdre" Tags: "In Memoriam, Writing, memoriam, norilana..."
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Date: Friday, 26 Sep 2014 23:09

The suit link here hinges on several claims Jane made about payments and economic status of the firm.

What’s of particular interest here is the statements in the lawsuit open up the Ellora’s Cave books for discovery since it does indeed revolve around whether or not authors, editors, and employees were paid properly.

I tend to think that Jane probably has her tail covered, or at least mostly so.

Popcorn, anyone?

The House in West Hollywood

I thought I’d add the small amount of fact-checking I tried to do for my own self on the West Hollywood house thing.

Here’s today’s DA tweet about it:

So here’s what I was able to find.

  1. On March 2, Jaid Black/Tina Engler announced on facebook that she was moving from Venice Beach to West Hollywood.

  2. On March 3, Jaid named William Cerqueira as her real estate agent in a facebook post.

  3. Cerqueira has a website, but all the sales listed on it are at least four years old. There’s also this link, which lists no sales at all. That page links to a different, dead website.

  4. Cerqueira’s Yelp listing has an endorsement from Jaid B., who says she leased a home with him as her agent. (Note: I just found this today.)

So here’s the thing: Jane saying that Jaid purchased (rather than leased) a home isn’t inherently defamatory. Even if it were, it’s about Jaid’s personal life in California, which makes me wonder if it’s a valid cause of action for a state suit filed about an Ohio business in state court in Ohio against an Iowa LLC.

Author: "Deirdre" Tags: "Publishing, publishing"
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Date: Friday, 26 Sep 2014 20:43
Wheat field, photo by Viktor Hanacek.

Wheat field, photo by Viktor Hanacek.

Over the last two months, half a dozen people that I’d spoken with for about fifteen minutes total decided to recommend a book to me: Wheat Belly. They recommended it for two reasons, I’m sure: one, they each knew I was celiac or on a gluten-free diet. Two, they knew I was fat.

The first time someone mentioned it, I downloaded and skimmed the sample of the book. To me, it looked like the typical diet book, full of pseudoscientific claims in addition to some genuine ones.

On Recommending This Book to a Celicac

Here’s what I’ve wanted to say to everyone who’s recommended this book to a celiac:

Dude.

Do you think a celiac, of all people, has no clue how dangerous wheat can be?

Did you know that my intestines bleed when I accidentally eat a sandwich made with regular bread? That a smaller dose can land me in bed with three days of diarrhea and misery? Or that about half a crouton’s worth can cause me to run a fever for a couple of days? That my thyroid’s mostly shut down (a common co-morbidity) and is now sixteen times normal size? That my supposed “wheat belly” is actually a medication and thyroid side effect?

Did you know that I know people who’ve needed 16 to 26 units of blood (over a course of one to two years) after their diagnosis? That I know people who’ve wound up in the ICU because of celiac-induced anemia?

That I know people who were losing so much weight they could have died?

That I know someone who was being evaluated for a heart transplant before they figured out she had a wheat allergy? (Not celiac, a true allergy.)

Did you know that I have met people who get seizures from small amounts of wheat?

It dissolves our intestines. How much worse could it be, really? I don’t really know of any other analogous food issue.

On Recommending it as a Diet Book

Look, there are some things I agree with: less sugar, more traditional foods, there are good fats. Except, of course, this diet cuts out swaths of foods that aren’t bad for you. Buckwheat, to take an example, isn’t a grain, and is one of the best vegetarian complete proteins. Why limit it?

But I’m not open to villifying wheat for the 95% of you for whom it does no apparent damage. I do sincerely thank all of you gluten free people for making more food options available to me, but I’ve always stated: if it doesn’t make you feel better or doesn’t improve your medical numbers, I’m not convinced it’s worth the bother.

I’m not convinced that the increase in celiac disease expression is related to eating newer forms of wheat, as claimed in the book. If that increase is related to a single food, it may also be corn or soy. Or, you know, the shift from butter to margarine around WWII. It could be canola oil. It could be that we’re no longer eating much liver. Or lamb. It could be a different answer for different populations.

Other people have done takedowns of the book.

The Only Diet Advice I’ve Ever Heard That’s Worth Following

The first is from Michael Pollan:

Eat food.
Not too much.
Mostly plants.

The second is one I heard from a friend who’s Japanese, though I’ve never heard it from another Japanese person:

Thirty different foods a day.
One hundred different foods a week.

No, I don’t mean ingredients. I mean foods. Spices count.

It’s an interesting goal.

But avoiding buckwheat, which isn’t a grain, because industrial wheat may be bad for you? That’s crazy talk.

Also, because I apparently have to say this: recommending a diet book to a fat person you have just met and barely know is a dick move.

Author: "Deirdre" Tags: "Medical, Rants, Science, food, medical, ..."
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Date: Friday, 26 Sep 2014 20:33

VaticanFlagOnMoon

As we were wandering through the Vatican museums the other day, Rick saw this small display. It has the Vatican flag, a small sphere with a few specks of rock, and the following inscription:

Presented to the people of the
Vatican City
by
Richard Nixon
President of the United States of America

This flag of your state was carried to the Moon and back by Apollo 11, and this fragment of the Moon’s surface was brought to the Earth by the crew of that first manned lunar landing.

I think that’s the first time I’ve seen anything Moon-mission-related outside a science museum.

Author: "Deirdre" Tags: "Science, Travel, science, travel"
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Date: Wednesday, 24 Sep 2014 18:18
Cat Grant, photo by Adam Bouska

Cat Grant, photo by Adam Bouska

Cat Grant asked troubled erotic romance publisher Ellora’s Cave for rights reversion on three titles. She got an answer: two thousand dollars.

Over on Absolute Write, poster junierob said:

That is on the low end of what other authors have been told–by a lot. I wonder if they were more reasonable with her because they knew she’d post it publicly.

After that, Cat thought about it, then decided to give away her three Ellora’s Cave titles for free.

No, I’m not kidding. I would rather give these books away than see EC make another penny’s worth of profit from them.

I’m tired of being told to “sit down, shut up & do what we say or we’ll sue you.”

So go ahead, EC. Sue me. I double dog dare you.

Author Tymber Dalton commented:

If they try to sue you, that means they will be forced to go through the discovery process, which is something I sincerely doubt they want made public. If they were smart they’d simply revert your rights.

Exactly so. As I pointed out in my prior post on Ellora’s Cave, EC refused to produce documents about their business records when sued by one of the owners of the company for her share of the profits. There’s no way they’d open up their books for an author, even in court.

Cat got a lot of support for her move, and speaks out more in a later post:

I don’t have a “day job” to fall back on. I’m a disabled widow who’s been writing full-time since 2008. I have a back list 30-odd books strong. This year alone I’ve had six releases, with another two, possibly three, in the pipeline. Not as prolific as some, but I’m not exactly lazing around the house all day doing nothing, either.

I have to admit that, uh, I have several Cat Grant titles, but I haven’t yet gotten around to reading them. So I can’t personally recommend her work, but I found her through her co-author, L. A. Witt, who happens to be one of my favorite erotic romance writers. I’m just still catching up on Witt’s titles, and thus the purchased-but-as-yet-unread co-authored titles with Grant. (It’s not personal, I’m about 40 Witt books behind still, having discovered her only last year.)

In addition to Ellora’s Cave, Cat Grant is published through Samhain, Riptide, and others, including quite a few self-published titles.

Anyhow, if you’ve never read any male/male erotic romance, and might be interested, consider giving Cat Grant a try. If the titles she’s giving away aren’t of interest, please consider at least reading a sample of one of her other books.

Meanwhile, Ellora’s Cave owner Jaid Black/Tina Engler posted this classy photo as her facebook profile pic.
Ellora's Cave owner Jaid Black/Tina Engler recently selected this classy photo as her facebook profile pic.

Author: "Deirdre" Tags: "Publishing, publishing, romance"
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Date: Sunday, 21 Sep 2014 14:42

nQZcA7PRTyuduZPSZQ88_wanderlust-sm2

One of the things that truly fascinates me is how things fail. How businesses fail, how wars start, how bridges collapse, and how factories explode. For Ellora’s Cave, a long-established erotica and erotic romance publisher, it’s a complex tale of tax liens, slow royalties, broken promises, complete lack of communication, and the founder’s weird paranoid ramblings. Technically, EC hasn’t failed yet, but it certainly appears to be flirting with the drainpipe if not outright sucking it.

Jane at Dear Author (DA) has a great post, The Curious Case of Ellora’s Cave, that documents the tax liens, including an unpaid lien dating to July of last year.

At the same time, court records showed repeated tax violations by [EC founder Tina] Engler [aka Jaid Black] and Jasmine Jade Enterprises. Since 2009, Engler has had a tax lien filed against her by Ohio Department of Taxation in every year except 2010.

Last year’s lien is $35,853.21, and this year’s is $105,819.92. The ongoing nature of the liens and their size suggest poor cash flow.

Yet, in August 2013, the Akron Beacon Journal profiled Ellora’s Cave quoted the CEO stating EC sold $15 million per year—200,000 books.

Royalty payments have been late. Not once, not twice, but on an ongoing basis. Roslyn Holcomb speaks out. Avril Ashton and Cat Grant have asked people not to buy their Ellora’s Cave titles, hoping that will reduce their sales enough to get EC to agree to a rights reversion—as well as cut their losses on royalties due. Avril self-published her latest book instead. (Avril talks more about that choice in this post.)

Quite a few are afraid to speak out about their own troubles with EC. Kenzi comments on DA’s post:

I’ve been terrified to say anything publicly. It isn’t just dealing with the repercussions at EC; it’s also the fear that you’ll make yourself undesirable to other publishers. Who wants to be seen as a troublemaker?

Ms. Black claims on her Facebook page that this is all lies. There is no proof. I wish someone would call her out and ask which parts are a lie. When was the last time her editors and artists were paid? Is she claiming they have been? Is she saying it’s untrue that authors have been told their books will be copyedited and released without their input? Even though a lot of us have gotten those emails? Does she really want us to start posting these things publicly as proof?

Eden Connor comments about a similar experience with Silver Publishing:

Speaking out is the right thing to do. And I’ll mention here what I said to the publisher at Silver when he threatened to sue me for speaking out: Sue me. Please, please sue me. Because in order for any court to determine if slander took place, step one would be for you to turn over the books for a forensic accounting by a court-appointed auditor.
And he did not sue me, because having to open his books was the last thing he wanted.

Ellora’s Cave has also been particularly reluctant to open their books, as you’ll see later.

There’s also talk about hinky royalty accounting:

I don’t personally know anyone who isn’t getting a check at all. I’m getting checks, but the amounts are questionable. I’m doing well to get a six dollar monthly check. I have trouble with the concept that a new release sold less than ten copies in two months when all my previous books had decent releases. I’ve spoken with several authors who hand-sold twenty or more books at a book fair and were credited with less than five.

Simple fact is, of all my friends who are published with EC and close enough to discuss money and sales, none feel their checks are accurate based on past sales and their personal accounting. Over twenty authors and not a single one of them feels they are getting paid. These are people with multiple publishers. They are NOT experiencing drops in sales across the board, only from EC.

EC also claims that it hasn’t talked to Amazon about a massive drop off in sales.

Summary so far:

  1. Massive tax liens.
  2. Downsizing.
  3. Paying royalties late, and paying smaller than perceived correct royalties.
  4. Claiming there’s a massive drop off in Amazon sales, but not talking to Amazon about said dropoff.
  5. Three other authors say that the dropoff is not true for them with books published by other publishers (including self-published).
  6. EC principals accusing people talking about late or non-payments of lying, causing others to be more afraid (or angry) about speaking out.

Hmmm.

On the surface, it appears that:

  • The slump, to the extent that it’s real, is related to cover art issues and EC’s ebooks being too expensive.
  • Hinky royalty accounting.
  • If the money isn’t in EC’s accounts (which late royalties imply), could money have been diverted to other ventures and/or people?
  • Authors have been left in the dark.

Some Thumbnail Numbers

Let’s make the following assumptions.

  1. The tax lien amounts are directly related to sales.
  2. The $15M number is true for 2013, correlating to the $105k Ohio tax bill.
  3. Engler/Black was hit with a $29,679.52 tax bill from the City of Akron in March. The City of Akron tax rate is 2.25% on adjusted net income (cite: tax form). Ergo, the adjusted net income for 2013 was $1,319,089.78. That’s after all expenses such as royalties. (Paid royalties if it’s cash-based, accrued royalties if it’s accrual-based.)
  4. If 15M/1.32M are for the same tax year, then the business has 8.8% net profit.

The obvious question: where’s the million-and-a-third bucks?

DA goes on to say:

In the meantime, Engler boasts of her Rodeo Drive shopping trips and her new property purchase in West Hollywood on her Facebook page.

I see.

Pity her real estate agent’s website is four years out of date.

EC’s Prior Lawsuit

Once upon a time, someone threatened me with a lawsuit. I didn’t have a good response handy, so I said, fliply, “Well, discovery should prove interesting.” It proved to be the exact right thing to say. Obviously, the lawsuit never happened.

In 2008, Ellora’s Cave was sued by Christine Brashear, who went on to become the founder of Samhain (a press I like very much). You can read her lawsuit against Ellora’s Cave six years ago, which sounds like some of the same ongoing issues. PDF here.

During that suit, Ellora’s Cave got quite the smackdown from the judge. Not only did they refuse production of documents, they no-showed for the final pre-trial conference:

Defendants willfully evaded the production of discovery, resulting in unnecessary delays of this case and increased legal fees. Defendants’ actions in this case have crossed the line from a zealous defense to malingering, malfeasance, sabotage and delay. [...]

It is suspect that all three of them failed to appear for the final pretrial. The Court could understand if one of them had neglected to put it on their calendar or “forgot” to come. But the absence of all three, who concede to receiving notice of the hearing, is questionable. [...]

Such continuous, systematic delays and flagrant disrespect for court orders resemble an unwillingness to defend and bad faith attempts to derail the case from moving to a resolution.

Brashear won on summary judgment. This is pretty damn rare in business lawsuits.

Personally, I’d never have been an author with them after that point. If they evaded discovery in a lawsuit, there’s no way I’d ever trust them to pay royalties accurately.

Meanwhile, there are two threads over on The Passive Voice: one two.

From the EC letter PV links to in the second article:

Also, please note that almost all the royalty checks have been mailed, with the exception of a handful that should be out by end of week. We are not bankrupt (rumors) and are not in any kind of shape to even file bankruptcy.

[We] are not in any kind of shape to even file bankruptcy. Wow. That’s so comforting.

Commenter Antares says:

I used to do bankruptcy law.
Based on my experience, if I saw my publisher put out that statement, I would immediately sue to get my rights back.
What do I mean by ‘immediately’? I mean today. I want my suit going forward and notice served before they file for bankruptcy. Maybe I can get relief from the stay to litigate in state court. Maybe not and I’ll litigate the suit in bankruptcy court. But I bet when I offer to buy back my rights and put money on the table, the trustee will settle.

Antares later follows up with:

Look, in an earlier comment I wrote that I would file a suit against the publisher immediately. Why?
To get my rights back? No.
Then why?
To improve my position against the other creditors.
Once the publisher files for bankruptcy protection — and the minute a business owner uses the B word I know he’s gonna file, it’s just a question of when — the writers no longer have rights. Yeah, you got the copyrights, but you licensed some of those rights to the publisher. Those licensed rights are now assets of the estate. The court’s duty is to equitably divide the assets among the creditors. If you are due royalties, you are an unsecured creditor. Maybe there is some entity in the bankruptcy food chain lower than an unsecured creditor, but I never saw such. [...]
Bankruptcy is a tool. You can use it to break contracts. To me, it is the start of negotiations.
If you 1) have a contract with EC, 2) are owed money by EC, 3) know two other writers whom EC owes money, and 4) want to get really nasty with EC, ask a bankruptcy attorney about an involuntary bankruptcy.

In this particular case, I’m not sure if discovery would prove interesting or not. I’m very curious about what happened to all that money. Disappearing gobs of money plus weird paranoia tends to scream one thing to me.

However, if you’re an EC reader, you might not want to add to the pile at present. Support your favorite authors in other ways. If you’re a writer, I’d strongly suggest not submitting to EC. If it’s too late, ask for a reversion.

If your payments are late and are significant, I strongly suggest you consider Antares’s words.

Meanwhile

Meanwhile, EC is still open to submissions, and is still holding their $325 per person annual convention in Akron, Ohio next month. Complete with Cavemen.

Edited to add: and in the extra bonus unhappiness round check out the comment from Adam (sorry, no direct link, so I’ll quote one paragraph):

Wasn’t it you who told me at Romanticon™, who cares if one of the models inappropriately touched a teenaged fan, that is what the fans are here for? Wasn’t it you bragging about how endowed some of the Cavemen were because you had personal experience? Wasn’t it you who said it didn’t matter how a book was crafted, or how many typos were in it, as long as it was nasty? As the father of teenaged daughters, this is something I am very unlikely to forget, and a life lesson I want my girls far, far away from. Were this the first such incident, it would have been perturbing. But, this was just the latest in the chain of strippers behaving inappropriately with women, sometimes for money. See Romantic Times, circa 2008 and the semi-public sex one of your Cavemen engaged in for money.

Anyone happen to have that RT issue handy?

Kit Tunstall has also asked that people not purchase her EC titles. Also Evanne Lorraine.

Cat Grant reports on what the buyback offer for her three remaining titles was.

Author: "Deirdre" Tags: "Publishing, publishing"
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Date: Sunday, 21 Sep 2014 12:09

So, you’ll never guess what we saw in Civitavecchia yesterday.

Reunited with Lost Luggage

Reunited with Lost Luggage

Yep, the long-lost bag was found!

Sadly, this threw off the bag count, and another bag was left behind. I’m hoping this doesn’t become a trend….

Author: "Deirdre" Tags: "Travel, travel"
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Date: Wednesday, 17 Sep 2014 09:30

In the last installment of the lost luggage saga, mom’s suitcase was pouting in Köln, Germany, despite there being no visits to Germany on her itinerary.

On Monday, we visited Ibiza, one of the Balaeric Islands. That was the day the luggage was due to try a re-delivery attempt in Málaga, despite our having left there on Saturday.

Yesterday, we were in Menorca, and we heard the luggage was in Mallorca. There are fast ferries between the two every hour, and the ferry that arrived in our port was berthed within easy walking distance.

After our private estate tour in the morning, we were hoping that the luggage would get delivered.

Alas, it was not to be. We sailed away.

So near and yet so far.

Author: "Deirdre" Tags: "Travel, travel"
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Date: Monday, 15 Sep 2014 23:29

Mark Greyland, aka the son of Marion Zimmer Bradley, needs your help. He’s currently in the hospital; he entered the ICU with diabetic ketoacidosis a few days ago. His doctor had never seen a blood sugar reading that high. Thankfully, he’s been pulling through, though he is still in the hospital.

Here’s what he needs help with:

  1. Housing in a sane, stable, safe environment within 15 miles of Berkeley, California. He can’t drive due to poor eyesight. He does have funding for this.

  2. Counseling. He’s never had any. This interview is the most he’s ever said about what happened to him.

  3. Help with getting permanent disability. The hospital is working on this in part, but he could very much use some kind of advocate who’d help him.

  4. Any kinds of resources you might be able to think of in the Berkeley area. Frankly, I don’t even know what to ask for.

  5. Your love and affection, kind thoughts, prayers.

Ideally, if there’s some kind of existing charitable foundation that can help, pointers would be amazing.

He simply hasn’t been able to cope with everything going on.

His Space Kitten! shirt has cheered me up quite a few times. I’ve worn it in Ireland and at Worldcon in London and most recently in Gibraltar. His more recent work is here.

(Please repost or forward to any interested parties. Thank you.)

Author: "Deirdre" Tags: "Important Things, Marion Zimmer Bradley,..."
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