Sunday, September 28, 2014

Back from the Cave

Ellora's Cave has reverted the rights back to me of my unpublished work (yay!). When we were informed of the change in editorial policy, I asked for my rights back. Although they had the right to do as they planned, I felt it wasn't in the spirit of the contract, and I was extremely unhappy that they changed it. Now I have the books back.
 I'll list them here. And I'm going to say it straight out. If anyone is interested in these books, they are back in my possession and available to be contracted.
All this publicity might as well do some good, right? So here I am, pitching.

1. A trilogy about a scandal set in Washington, DC. With dragons and other paranormal creatures originally planned as a STORM miniseries. This is in proposal, not yet written. Once I've tweaked it, it can be a standalone trilogy, or the start of a new series.
2. Last Enchantment. A full manuscript. It's about a woman with incredible psychic powers, and those powers rely on her virginity. Six months before the story starts, she's raped, and  now she's trying to find a new purpose in life. The hero is a vampire earl-spy who helps her do that. I'm thinking of rewriting him as a dragon. This was written as part of the STORM series, but I'd love to do a bit of rewriting and refresh the whole concept. 
3. Her Dark Star. A full manuscript. A rock band manager who is a bit of a slob, meets a woman who used to be a girl pop star. They're both guest judges on a reality show. He cleans up, she smartens up and they fall in love. It was written as the last book in the Nightstar series, but with some light rewriting, could form the start of the new rock star series that I was creating before all the waste matter inappropriately struck the air distribution system.

So there you have it. Three stories I'm very proud of looking for new homes. I could self-publish, but that takes a lot of time and money, and right now I don't have a lot of either. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Ellora's Cave

This is just to state my case. I’m not asking anyone to do anything or to help me, just so people are aware of where I stand in this.
As some of you know I was involved in a similar case years ago. Triskelion went bankrupt and took around 70 authors with it. Ellora’s Cave authors number in the hundreds. This is much bigger, and could potentially be nastier. If management turns the situation around, then I will be the first to applaud them, but I cannot agree with some of the methods they are employing to do that.
I joined Ellora’s Cave in 2007 and for most years since earned good money and was treated well by them. I enjoyed my time there because I was never asked to be “one of the family,” they paid on time, the cover art was lovely, and the editing was rigorous, but excellent.
This year my royalties plummeted so alarmingly that I had to make some serious decisions about working with the publisher. Also, the quality of the cover art is way down, since they fired the artistic directors earlier in the year. The prices of the books are way above the prices any of my other publishers charge. (In my opinion, the nature of erotic romance has changed drastically since the publication of “50 Shades of Grey” took pseudo-BDSM mainstream, and the books once considered erotic are now better marketed as “hot” or “steamy").
Now things have changed and I’ve been forced to ask for my rights back. I have 19 published books with EC. Two unpublished manuscripts are in the editing queue and have been for over twelve months. I’ve had a response on the two unpublished ones. A form response on the others.
No, I can’t have my rights back on those two. If I don’t cooperate with the editing, Ellora’s Cave will exercise its contractual right to edit and publish the books anyway. If those books do come out, I will make a statement to say I had nothing to do with the editing and the books are released without my cooperation. After that, it’s up to the reader to decide.
By “editing,” they mean “light editing.” The editors are not even allowed to alter spelling mistakes, because that would be changing the “author’s voice.” So a worse-than-spellcheck scenario. That is not what I have come to expect from Ellora’s Cave, and not what was in the spirit or the intent of my contract. I cannot in all conscience agree with the new policy.
For security reasons, Ellora’s Cave has always kept its financial records, including royalties and author payments, on a separate, non-networked computer, which is restricted to a very few members of staff. Last year they announced a new system, but since they still say they're unable to wire our royalties direct to our banks, I'm not sure what has changed. Except that it led to a lot of delays in payments. 
Some people have already noticed that I have taken my Ellora’s Cave titles down from my website and blog. That is pending their decision about reversion and my queries about royalty concerns.
Sadly, I’ve taken the decision not to send them any future work until the current situation is resolved. If you do buy one of my Ellora’s Cave books, I’m unlikely to see the royalties from it. But if you love my writing, I’m only grateful you want to read my books and I truly hope you enjoy it.

Once I regain those titles, I’ll be selling them elsewhere or re-editing and self-publishing them. 
I’m proud of what I did at Ellora’s Cave and the editors I worked with, Briana, Jillian and Justin, and the cover artists, Syneca and Will. 
They have all gone now, and so have I. 

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

September Newsletter

So I got up, turned on my computer and there was a strange smell. Then smoke started curling up the back of my monitor.
Oh dear. I switched it off before it could actually burst into flames, and so I’ve spent most of the day shopping for a new one. I have edits to get in and books to write!
So this newsletter is a day late. Sorry!
Last month I carried on writing the next book in the Even Gods Fall In Love series. What a treat it is to get back to historicals! I do love writing them, going into a different world and writing about people who live there. The one I’m writing concerns Mercury, who you’ll meet in Mad For Love, Bacchus’s story, the second in the series.
There have been some odd coincidences and things that have made this series somewhat spooky. For instance, in Bacchus’s world, mazes feature a lot. He’s the god of wine and madness, so mazes are his thing. What was there a craze for in the mid eighteenth century? Mazes! Tada! That’s only one thing that’s happened. I recently introduced a new character, a nymph, and when I looked up her mythology, she turned out to be the future wife of one of my favourite characters. Blending ancient myth and historical romance has been pure win.
After my frantic gadding about it was nice to get back to my desk, exploding monitors apart. I’ve even joined the world of the mechanical keyboard!
I’m also planning to write the next Emperors of London book. I am wallowing in historicals right now and enjoying every minute.
Unfortunately I haven’t had too much time for contemporaries, and even worse, I seem to have temporarily lost my mojo for them. I’m writing paranormals under a new pseudonym and they are going fine, so I should be happy that those things are going so well. I even got in the Amazon top ten with the pseudonym. I guess that makes me a best seller!
This month there will be a Department 57 re-release. Crystal Tides, another in the Crystal miniseries. When all the series is out, I’ll do a box set of all four. I’ve really enjoyed seeing my backlist get a new lease of life, and the new covers are gorgeous. I was sorry to lose the Loose-Id covers but the new ones are lovely, too.
There will be another in the Thorndykes series out next month. That’s the Regency rakes, who were turned into vampires and shape-shifters, falling in love with women in today’s world. The first one found his lady in Texas in “Dispossessed.” More about “Dancing at Midnight” next month!
Sorry this one is all about books. That’s my thing, you see. Books, reading and writing. This year has been frantic, but deeply enjoyable.

I’m starting to look at flights for RT in Dallas next year, and I’m thinking about stopping in New York on the way, because I love the city and it makes the flights far more bearable. International flying is getting worse, but it’s still manageable. Does anyone have any tips for travelling light? I need formal clothes, informal ones and tough ones for the ranch when I go to stay with Kathryn Falk. A bit of a tall order!