Sunday, July 30, 2006

Gardening, Danielle Steel, Emjai Colbert, And Rita Winners = A Long Effing Ramble...

I really should be sorting through invoices, receipts and bank statements for our accountant to do what we pay him to do, but I just can’t be arsed, so I’m finding ways to procrastinate instead.

I did some gardening earlier, I finally got round to trimming our overgrown hedge at the front of the house. I got stung a few times by some alien plants, and a couple of spiders decided to nest in my hair, but apart from that, I got it done without any fuss. The Tall Guy was busy putting down new flagstones at the back of the house.

I also managed to find time to watch-but-not-really, Danielle Steel’s
Family Album. I used to inhale her books (yes I did, and I’m not ashamed to admit it) but I guess I outgrew her, or something. My fave DS book ever was Zoya.

I’m rather hot on books set during Imperial Russia, which is why I’ve always been fascinated by the story of The Grand Duchess Anastasia, who may or may not have been mudered by the Bolsheviks. Give me a Tzar Nicholas over a Lord Bumstead-Higginbottom anyday.

How about you guys? Any of you admit to reading Danielle Steel books? Confession is good for the soul, so spill your guts wenches!

Anyway, moving swiftly on, I was at
Cerridwen Press earlier, and I went to check out Emjai Colbert’s author page, to see if she’d released anymore books. She hadn’t, so I tried the link to her website. Her website no longer exists. Can anybody shed any light on what she’s doing now? I certainly hope she didn’t let my less than complimentary review stop her from continuing with her career, after all she got a five star review from those Harriet Klausners gals at Cupids Library:) I’m kidding of course, I do remember seeing a bad review there in March 05.

Anyway, if anybody knows what’s happened to her, let me know wont you? Thanks in advance.

Is anybody else trying to forget that
Lisa Valdez’s Patience was due out in August, or am I the only one? *Sniff*

Oh, By the way, the RITA winners are out, here they are
in all their glory courtesy of (Erm, they list the authors who finalled then tell ya who’s won)

Best First Book
Show Her The Money
by Stephanie Feagan
(0373513542) Silhouette Books (Bombshell) - Natashya Wilson, editor

Best Contemporary Single Title
Lakeside Cottage
by Susan Wiggs
(0778321908) MIRA Books - Margaret Marbury and Dianne Moggy, editors

Best Inspirational Romance
Heavens To Betsy
by Beth Pattillo
(1-4000-7044-9) WaterBrook Press - Dudley Delffs, editor

Best Long Contemporary Romance
Worth Every Risk
by Dianna Love Snell
(0-373-27426-2) Silhouette Books (Intimate Moments) - Allison Lyons, editor

Best Long Historical Romance
The Devil to Pay
by Liz Carlyle
(0743470044) Pocket Books - Lauren McKenna, editor

Best Novella
“The Naked Truth about Guys” in The Naked Truth
by Alesia Holliday
(0-425-206149) Berkley Books - Cindy Hwang, editor

Best Paranormal Romance
Gabriel's Ghost
by Linnea Sinclair
(0553587978) Bantam Books - Anne Groell, editor

Best Regency Romance
A Reputable Rake
by Diane Gaston
(0263843912) Harlequin Mills & Boon Limited - Linda Fildew, editor

Best Romantic Suspense
Survivor in Death
by J.D. Robb
(0-399-15208-3) Penguin Putnam - Leslie Gelbman, editor

Best Short Contemporary Romance
The Marriage Miracle
by Liz Fielding
(0263 842754) Harlequin Mills & Boon - Emma Dunford, editor

Best Short Historical Romance
The Texan's Reward
by Jodi Thomas
(0-425-20584-3) Berkley Books - Christine Zika, editor

Novel with Strong Romantic Elements
Lady Luck's Map of Vegas
by Barbara Samuel
(0-345-46912-7) Ballantine Books - Linda Morrow, editor

Best Traditional Romance
Princess of Convenience
by Marion Lennox
(0263848795) Harlequin Books - Sheila Hodgson, editor

So, how many of these little puppies have you guys read? I’ve read exactly one: Survivor In Death. The only other author that I’m remotely familiar with is Liz Carlyle. I haven’t heard of any of the other authors, no surprise there then, it was more or less the same last year. How many of these books have generated buzz? How is it possible I’ve managed to miss some of these*ahem* ‘gems’? Beats the hell outta me.

BTW, is it churlish of me to be happy that a past Authors Behaving Badly candidate didn’t win the RITA for Best Contemporary Singles Title? It is? Ahh fuck it, I guess I’m churlish as hell then. (g)

UPDATE - Oh incidentally, I heard from Brenda Coulter's latest audio, that when Nora Roberts (who was the MC) accepted the award for Survivor, she said that JD Robb couldn't make it, but that had she been there, she'd have thanked Nora Roberts for everything. I thought this was rather cute...

Totally Stolen From Brenda Coulter...

this is an audio post - click to play

Hey, this will come in very useful when me and TTG are on our hols! How utterly fabulous!

Erm... incidentally, you have to have a blogger account before you can use audio blogger.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

RWA National Blogging...

If you wanna know what’s going on at the RWA Nationals, this blog should help. It’s rather interesting.

The blogger visited a Jayne Anne Krentz and Susan Elizabeth Phillips seminar called ‘The Secrets of The Best-Selling Sisterhood’. Here’s my fave secret:

Incidentally, I’ve always imagined SEP to be much younger. She looks nothing like I thought she would.

BTW, this gal has a list of other RWA bloggers. Check out Brenda Coulter's audio post. I liked that idea a lot.

Stella Cameron’s Scarlet Boa Contest 2006...

Gosh is it that time of the year already? Here’s the blurb on Stella’s website:

You can get further information on this year’s contest here.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Meet Lucas.... My New Nephew...

Isn't he just purrrrrrfect..... ?

It's funny, but this little man stole my heart from the moment I held him. He's the first addition to our family for over twenty years, and oh boy, was he a welcome addition...

Sometimes I Forget That Life Isn't All About Romance...

Riverbend talks about the American soldiers who gang-raped an Iraqi girl, then burned her body to hide the evidence, and killed her five year old sister, and the parents.

I can’t imagine living with that shit on my doorstep. It was interesting reading her point of view.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

What Would You Do If You Couldn't See To Read...?

I was in Borders earlier, and as I was trying my best to read an entire Susan Donavan book, so that I wouldn’t have to actually buy it, an elderly man, and his wife ambled into the romance section.

If I had to take a guess at their ages, I’d say that they were in their late eighties. He was quite doddery, as old men are apt to be, and she was in a wheelchair, and looked very frail indeed.

I couldn’t help but overhear their conversation. Apparently, she was looking for a romance book, so he basically pushed her to the G, section, and told her to call him when she’d chosen a book.

Now, I couldn’t help but glance over at this lady, because I couldn’t figure out how she was going to manage to look at any of the books in front of her, seeing as she was so far away from them.

Anyway I watched her out of the corner of my eye, for a further few minutes, but she didn’t actually move. I was in two minds whether to ask her if she was ok, or to leave her alone, but me, being me, had to ask her if she was ok.

She told me that she couldn’t reach the books, but that she wanted a good romance book, and because her eye-sight was failing, she desperately needed large print.

I asked her what kind of romance she liked, at which point I expected her to say Barbara Cartland and she just kinda looked at me, and said she didn’t mind as long as it was a good read.

I picked out Garwood’s The Lion’s Lady, but the print was much too small for her. At this point her hubby came doddering along with his walking stick, and cheerfully asked her if she’d managed to find anything. I looked at him and told him that she couldn’t see the books, nor could she reach them from her current position.

I escorted them both to the front of the shop, and asked one of the assistants if there were any large print romance books. He told me that unfortunately, there weren’t, so I asked if there were any romance audio books. Fortunately, for the woman in the wheelchair, there were a few romances, including Robert’s Blue Dahlia (of course), on tape.

I left the elderly couple in the capable hands of the assistant, but I have to say, that episode made me think.

I can’t imagine being unable to read books, because I couldn’t see the words.

Reading is such an integral part of my life, that I don’t know what I would do, if I had to rely solely on audio books. I do have a couple, but I much prefer letting words flow through my mind, using my own mental voice, rather than being reliant, on somebody else’s interpretation of the words, to guide me through.

So, in celebration of the beauty of reading, I’d like you guys to let me know which books you’re reading right now, and whether or not they’re worth recommending so far.

I’m currently reading Audrey Niffenegger’s
The Time Traveller’s Wife, and so far it’s marvellous.

Here’s the blurb off the back of the book:

Now doesn’t that sound fab?

Now it’s your turn. you’re even allowed to mention Changeling Press books, as long as the covers don’t suck great big hairy donkey balls.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


From AngieW's blog...




(1) Your choice of either an iPod Shuffle, OR a fifty dollar gift certificate
(2) An autographed copy of REALITY CHICK by Lauren Barnholdt
(3) A copy of the August issue of Teen People, which lists REALITY CHICK as a Can’t-Miss Pick for August
(4) Free tuition to a session of Lauren’s YA writing class


STEP ONE: Simply copy and paste this whole message (including the info about the contest) into any blog, message board, email list, myspace bulletin, or anywhere a lot of people will see it!

REALITY CHICK by Lauren Barnholdt is NOW IN STORES!

Going away to college means total independence and freedom. Unless of
course your freshman year is taped and televised for all the world to
watch. On uncensored cable.

Sweet and normal Ally Cavanaugh is one of five freshpeople shacking up
on In the House, a reality show filmed on her college campus. (As if
school isn’t panic-inducing enough!) The cameras stalk her like
paparazzi, but they also capture the fun that is new friends, old
crushes, and learning to live on your own.

Sure, the camera adds ten pounds, but with the freshman fifteen a given anyway, who cares?
Ally’s got bigger issues — like how her long-distance bf can watch her
loopy late-night “episode” with a certain housemate…

Freshman year on film.
It’s outrageous.
It’s juicy.
And like all good reality TV, it’s impossible to turn off.


Check out Lauren on the web at www.laurenbarnholdt .com or on her myspace at

STEP TWO — Email Lauren at lauren (at) and let her know you’ve posted about the contest and the book, and you’ll be entered to win the prize pack! The winner will be picked at random on September 1st. The more places you post, the more entries you get. Have fun and good luck!!!

(Ok, this is my good deed for the day, and I'm not even sure who Lauren Barnholdt is, but it saves me from taxing my blogging brain too much, heheh!)

Sunday, July 23, 2006

And The F*cktard Of The Week Goes To...

Jan W Butler for apparently writing the following in an edition of the Romance Writers Report, courtesy of Kate’s blog.

Jesus. Fucking. Christ.

You know, I’d love to know what the
Queen bees of romance think of articles like this. I wonder if they secretly agree, or if they’re disgusted by the absolute drivel that comes from the mouths of people who should know better.

BTW, I didn’t realise that the RWA only targets college-educated, married, middle-class, monogamous, and moral people? So unmarried women don’t read romance?

Mrs G Has Her Say, Part Deux...

Check out this great post from Mrs Giggles. All I can say is, what she said.

And that’s all I’m saying about the latest blogland bust up.

Friday, July 21, 2006

A Way To Minimise The Effects of Negative Reviews? Or Merely Censorship In Disguise?

I found this on an author blog, via a link from Sybil:

Hmmm... Aren't you Americans big on freedom of speech etc, etc, etc?

What if the reviewer genuinely hated a book? Is it right that only the good reviews should be featured at the top? I know they aren't talking about banning the crappy reviews, but isn't this a type of censorship? Would it even work? Wouldn't some people just choose to look at the negative reviews first anyway?

If a one star review is well written, without bashing the author, why should it be relegated to the bottom? What's the point in having reviews on a site such as Amazon, if authors can pick and choose which reviews go where?

I don't post reviews on Amazon, as a general rule, so it doesn't really affect me, but doesn't the whole idea make you feel a tad uncomfortable...?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Karen Does Deanna Lee's, Undressing Mercy...

So I read Undressing Mercy a couple of days ago, dontcha just love the cover? No? Well sod ya then!

Anyway, here’s the blurb:

My Verdict

I really liked this book, I really did.

I was initially drawn to Undressing Mercy because I liked the front cover, but when I read the blurb, it seemed just a tad too bland for me, but I persevered, and decided to have a quick flick through anyway. (Note to Ms Lee, the blurb needs work..)

I read the first couple of pages, and decided to purchase. (By the way, I paid a whopping great £8.99 ($15) which I thought was bloody expensive for a book that only has 182 pages. This is what I call a rip-off.)

My favourite thing about Undressing Mercy was the hero, Shamus Montgomery. He was lovely. I love me some darkly brooding, yet sensitive arty type men, who know how to use their penis properly treat a girl right.

I loved his intensity, and this is something that Ms Lee managed to convey very well. He wasn’t an arsehole, and at no point in the book did I feel the urge to take a meat cleaver to his very manly tackle. Can I hear a Hallelujah for that?

I loved the fact that Ms Lee also managed to make him sensitive, without turning him into My Gay Best Friend. I love sensitive men, but I certainly don’t want to be channeling Lizza Minnelli’s David Gest whilst reading a romance book, ya know what I mean?

Mercy was a slightly more complicated kettle of fish. I did like her, but I had to fight really hard to understand her reasoning for not pressing charges on the arsehole who raped her. She had all the evidence she needed, but instead she chose to leave her place of work, and so the perpetrator managed to get off scott free. Grrrrr. HOT BUTTON, HOT BUTTON, HOT BUTTON!

Now I know that this is often the case in real life, but Mercy was a very strong character, and it just seemed to me that somebody as mentally tough as she was, would have wanted to see justice done. In the book, her motivation for not pursuing the bastard who raped her, was because she didn’t want to be seen as a victim, which, I would have understood a bit better, had her life not been ruled by the actions of the colleague who’d assaulted her.

Now being a Borderline Feminist which basically means I like to wear perfume, and shave my under-arm hair choosing to not act against a man who raped you, is something that I find hard to understand, and never having been a victim of rape, I can only imagine that I’d want justice if it had happened to me.

Having said the above, I did like the heroine. Apart from the whole rape issue, she was a strong woman, who didn’t take shit from anyone. I especially liked the way she dealt with the obligatory arsehole in the book, who’s sole mission in life was to make her life a misery.

I loved the chemistry between Mercy and Shamus. The contrast between these two people, which had nothing whatsoever to do with colour, was one of the things that I especially liked about the book. I felt that Mercy was the more fiery, (if sometimes slightly insecure) character, whilst Shamus was her anchor, who was able to pull her back, when things got too rough. They felt like real people, and it was easy to relate to them.

Not to say that they could be my next door neighbour or anything, because I imagine that Mercy is nothing like Betty, the elderly lady, who lives next to us, with her noisy freakish Yorkshire Terrier dog…. Erm I digress…

Anyway, to sum up, I often compare reading a book to taking a cruise on the Mediterranean, sometimes, the waters are so rough, you want to puke your guts up, and the people who you meet are so fucking annoying, they make you want to eat your own children, but other times, the waters are lovely and smooth, with hardly a ripple to mar the coastline, and it’s a joy to share a margarita or two with your fellow cruisers.

Well this book was comparable to the latter. Deanna had a good voice, the book was easy to read, it had the right emotional elements when needed, flowed along at a nice pace, and didn’t make me want to punch the bookseller chick at Borders or demand my £8.99 back. What more can a reader ask for?

By the way, for those who don’t particularly enjoy page after page of gratuitous, mind-numbing sex scenes, *cough*Elizabeth Bevarly*cough, cough* I can assure you that this book is probably on par with your average Blaze, in terms of the sexual content. The words, cock, fuck, and clit were used on the odd occasion, but don’t worry, it was all very tastefully done. *g*

You can visit Deanna Lee
here and buy Undressing Mercy here.


I’ve been tagged by Keishon, so here are my answers.

When did you start blogging and why?

I started blogging in April 2005. I’d mainly been on Yahoo groups, but I had too many controversial opinions to go posting them on author loops. The Stepford way of posting, that some groups encouraged was just not me. I wanted to slice and dice at will, and unfortunately, a lot of the authors were into that whole, ‘if you can’t say anything nice’ shit.

What don’t you talk about?

Ultra-personal things that may be happening in my life, everything else is pretty fair game.

Are you and your blogging persona the same person?

Pretty much, the main differences being that when I’m being irreverent or sarcastic, people in my real world get it, whereas, in the blogosphere, some people like to think that my sole purpose in life is to make their lives a misery. Seriously, that shit takes far too much energy.

How do you use blogging to build friendships?

Not really sure, I used to comment a lot more on various blogs, but these days I’m reluctant to put my thoughts on other people’s blog, unless I’m familiar with them, and like them.

On my own blog, I like reading other people’s opinions, so I post on a variety of subjects, and I refuse to pigeonhole myself in a way that means that my blog subjects are limited.

How would you describe your writing style?

Brilliant, at best, lazy, at worst. *g*

Seriously, it depends on my mood, sometimes erratic, other times introspective, sometimes controversial. but mostly tongue-in-cheek.

Also, I can’t be arsed remembering grammatical rules, and I have a habit of mixing up my metaphors. Mrs Mackay, my English teacher in high school would be so proud.



Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Do Nuns Have Sexual Thoughts?

I was driving along this morning and I saw a couple of nuns in full habit. My first thought was, poor bitches sweating in this heat, my second thought was, I wonder if they're both really virgins, and my third thought was, I wonder if they masturbate...

Any nuns out there want to enlighten me?

What? What else am I supposed to think about when driving in this heat?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

I'm Sorry, I just Don't Get It...

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Erotic Fiction Is One Of The Reasons We Have lost 75% of Our Readers.... Says Author Jill Barnett

I found this author interview at the Book Bitches blog. The author is a lady called Jill Barnett.

One of the questions that she was asked was this:

This was her rather interesting answer:

Is it me, or does she seem to be blaming the loss of romance readers, on the introduction of erotica/erotic romance?

It can’t possibly be because of the constant regurgitation of the same old, same old cookie cutter stories, being churned out by both big name, and midlist authors? Nope, let’s just blame erotic books. That’s the ticket.

I wonder how many erotic romance books she’s actually read? More to the point I wonder if she's lumping erotica in with erotic romance? That comment about little room for voice in erotic stories, struck me as being a little patronising and myopic. I think Emma Holly has an amazing voice, and she writes erotic fiction. Methinks she’s just insulted a whole lotta authors out there, and she doesn’t even know it.

Oh well, it's not like she's a lone voice here, we know there are lots of authors who feel the same way as she does.

I bet she’s Elizabeth Bevarly’s bestest friend. *g*

Breastfeeding Celebs, Superman Returns, Holiday Tales, And Other Random Things From My Week…

Helen Baxendale

Emily Breastfeeds Baby In Public

I saw Helen Baxendale (Emily from Friends) breastfeeding her baby this week. I had a meeting with a client at the hotel where she happened to be staying. We were sat in a main lounge area, so I looked at the passers by, to gauge their reactions, I’d say that most of them were more embarrassed than anything else. One of the employees of the hotel, walked past, and looked utterly horrified by the sight. Helen looked too harassed to give shit what anybody else thought.

Her baby was too cute for words, although it must be noted that she was wearing the most horrendous puke-green and white blouse, and her hair looked as if it would have benefited from a brush being run through it.

Carnival Fun

Some of my girlfriends and I went to our town’s annual carnival last week, it was heaps of fun, unfortunately, I only have about three pictures, because my battery decided to die, almost as soon as we got there. Godammit.

We ate lots, drank lots, danced lots, got our arses pinched by total strangers, and went back to our respective partners. My kinda day.

Keep-fit Karen

This week, I started my Bikini Body Countdown To Cali programme. It’s been a while since I went to the gym, and I can certainly tell, by the extra skin that’s found its way onto my hips. Anyway, no more crappy food, and I’ve started swimming again. I’m aiming to lose at least 12lbs. The last thing I want is to be harpooned by somebody mistaking me for a beached whale. Also, I know I’ll gain about 14lbs whilst over there, with all the crappy food that will be made available to us.

If I can be arsed, I’ll do a weekly report on my progress. If I can be arsed.

Holiday With The Girls

My sister and her best friends are going on holiday tomorrow. They’re going to Agia Napa for a week, that should be very messy. Girls on holiday together are often messed up affairs.

The last time I went on holiday with my girlfriends was a few years ago, when we went to Corfu. I produced a video diary of all our activities actually, and called it Corfu Uncovered.

It was all very messy. Lots of drinking, lots of flirting (not by me, I hasten to add) and lots of general bad behaviour (again, not me). Four of us travelled, and by the end of the hols, I was pretty pleased to get home. Girls on holiday together can be a nightmare, especially if one feels that she’s not getting the same amount of attention from the guys. One of the girls (T) had a face like a wet weekend all holiday. So much so, that I had to tell her that she was acting like a bitch (hey nobody elese dared, and she was my best friend after all) and that she ought to belt up.

She proceeded to ignore me and the others for the rest of the holiday. Sigh.

The funniest moment of the holiday was when we got on a bus, still drunk from the night before, and we were laughing that hard and that loudly, that the coach driver kept giving us the evil eye. It didn’t help that we were sat, right behind him. Anyway, I said something to S, just as she was taking a drink of water, and she laughed so hard, she spat the water onto the coach driver. Oops.

He stopped the coach (it was full by the way) and ordered us off the bus. I stood up, put on my best ‘don’t fuck with me’ voice, and told the bus driver that if he threw us off, we’d sue him and the bus company for abandoning us, and consequently endangering our lives, in a foreign country.

He got back on the bus and continued to drive to the water park. We sobered up around 2pm that afternoon. Oh happy days.

Superman Returns

Absolutely Bootiful Man...

In other news, The Tall Guy and I went to see Superman Returns last night.

After reading some of the American reviews that were less than complimentary, I was apprehensive about going to watch it, but as it happens, I FUCKING LOVED IT.

There was always going to be the obvious comparisons between Brandon Routh (
Bam, he’s so mine) and the late Christopher Reeve, but I’m happy to say that he wore the Superman suit, like it was made for him, (erm… you know what I mean) and man, that boy was hot. He’s joined Will Smith, and Christian Bale (Batman) in my Hot Man sandwich, and yes, I happen to be the filling.

What I loved about the film was actually how simple it was, and how it managed to stay true to the original Superman (I’m sorry, but I’m far too young to remember the black and white version).

I loved that Routh was able to make me forget that he hasn’t always played this role. BTW, Can I just say that everytime he came on screen as Clark Kent, I had the insane urge to get nekkid. Is that wrong?

Apparently most of America thought that Kate Bosworth was a crap Lois Lane, but fuck that, I thought she was just right, even if she could have done with eating a bit more food. Man, that female was thin.

Kevin Spacey was brilliant of course, as Lex Luthor, but the man’s a genius, so I wasn’t really surprised. Also, Parker Posey, who played Lex's obligatory slutbag sidekick, was pretty good too.

When TTG and I discussed what our feelings on the film, afterwards, we agreed that for 2 plus hours, we’d both wished that such a man existed in this troubled world of ours. That feeling was compounded, when we got home, and switched BBC News 24 on, to find that the Israeli’s had just bombed some more Lebanese people.

I'd say the world definitely needs Superman. And I need to have Brandon Routh's babies.

Paris Hilton’s New Record

I heard it the other day, and I have to say, I thought it was rather good. Yes, I liked it, regardless of how over-produced it probably was.
It was a feel-good summery record, and I bet she does really well in the British charts. At least she’s trying to earn her own money. Can’t fault her for that.

New Cell Phone

I got a new mobile phone this week, the Nokia 6280 with a 2 megapixel camera, a built in MP3 player, and 3G capability (whatever the hell that means). It’s very cute.

Well, that’s all for now, I managed to read both Deanna Lee’s book, and Judi McCoy’s book, and I’ll be reviewing them shortly.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

C U Next Tuesday... Horrid Word Day...

You know, no matter how often I read the word 'cunt' in a book, it still manages to jar me, whenever I come across it. I'm in the middle of reading an Elloras Cave release, and it just popped out from nowhere, and took me right out of the story.

Whatever happened to the good old vagina eh? Even 'snatch' is preferable to cunt. *Shudder*.

Mrs Giggles Has Her Say...

Even Mrs Giggles has had to have her say on a certain Badly Behaved Author.

This shit’s gone wide and far huh? Sometimes it’s just best to give in gracefully, and avoid the shit.

Due To Read: Deanna Lee's, Undressing Mercy...

I wonder if Deanna Lee knows that Amazon UK, has this book listed as Understanding Mercy, instead of Undressing Mercy.

What a mistaka-to-maka. Deanna, go tell them to pull their socks up for Oprah's sake!

I quite like the cover. It doesn't really tell a story, but I like the sepia coloured photography. It's quite sensual, and readers are left in no doubt what kind of book they're gonna get.

It's a
Kensington Aphrodisia erotic romance book.

To be honest, I'd not heard about this line, till recently, but I've already read one, and it wasn't half bad. Shit I forget the name now.

Anyway, will review this once I've read it.

By the way, I bought a Judi McCoy book today, anybody read her? Is she any good? Should I even be asking seeing as I've bought the damn thing already?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

One Red Paperclip… There’s A Sucker Born Every Minute…

You’ve got to admire this guy. It was a fabulous idea, but it just goes to show that some people will buy into any gimmick.

He started the whole trading process with one red paperclip, then 14 trades later, he ended up with a house.

Mind you, if I’d been trading stuff for that long, I’d expect a much bigger house, after going at it for a year.

How do people come up with these ideas? More to the point, how can they be arsed to keep up with it?

Oh well, good for him anyway.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Tuesday Special Author Interview: Teresa Roblin

Author Name: Teresa Roblin
Genre: Paranormal-romance
Latest book in shops now:
Now You See It

Before we begin this interview, I need to check that you’re still grounded and that your head isn’t swollen from all of your success, so with that in mind, when was the last time you did the ironing in your house? *g*

What a laugh that you should ask that question. Everyone in my family knows that I don’t iron. I hate irons and irons hate me. (Have killed three so far).

I had to iron three suits and three shirts (for my husband and two sons) and my outfit last weekend for my cousins wedding. Otherwise, I normally take the clothes out of the dryer a bit damp, shake them out, hit them against my legs and fold them. This girl will do anything to get out of ironing.

The first book of yours that I ever read was
Hocus Pocus, and I recall how much I liked the plot device of having the heroine be the victim of a spell, which meant that she always had to tell the truth, where did the inspiration for this book spring from?

My inspiration came from the spell that I wrote. I wanted to write my first book, but I didn’t know where to begin. Once I had the spell, a whole bunch of ideas started popping into my head of things that could happen to Amanda and Mark, and off I went writing from the seat of my pants.

You currently write for
Cerridwen Press, which is the mainstream sister of Elloras Cave, (famed for their verrry sexy books). Have you any plans to write for EC in the future, if not, is there a particular reason why?

Oh yummy, Elloras does have steamy books. At present, I’m developing a style that is more sensual/erotic. Don’t know if it’s hot enough for Elloras. Till then I’ll keep on writing and learning.

What are your thoughts on writing love scenes? Do they present any particular challenges? Do you let anyone else read them before they are published?

I find writing a really great sex scene takes time and effort. I want to get right into the heroines/heros heads and bodies and really describe their emotions, positions, the heat and excitement that is building. I want the reader to become a part of the escalating sensations and to finish the scene satisfied. (and turned on)

Do I let anyone read them? I’ve been forturnate enough to belong to a critique group that’s helped me get where I am today. They’re absolutely honest and generous with their thoughts, ideas and critism. They’ve read all the sex scenes I’ve written so far.

I tried using my husband at the beginning, but I always ended up getting sidetracked.

When you develop your characters, do you model them on people you know in your life, or do they all come from inside your head? Is there really an Aunt Lilly out there? *g*

Hehe, I modelled Aunt Lilly after myself. (my character, not my age) I’m a typical first-born, Italian, Aries female who always seems to get into trouble. Otherwise, I pull characteristics from my family and friends and add them to my characters. It makes them come alive and become more three dimensional.

Writing romantic comedy has to be one of the hardest things an author can do. With so many readers with differing views on what is funny, and what isn’t, is there an element of risk involved in writing a comedic book?

There’s always an element of risk writing comedy because it appeals to a person’s intellect. Sure my readers will have differing views on what is funny, but in the end aren’t we all the same?

Do any of members of your family read your books, and if so, what kind of feedback do you get from them?

Some of my family have read my books and are amazed. They’ve given me only positive feedback. Every once in a while they’ll call me if they think up any ideas for future books.

What were your favourite books as a child?

Dr. Seuss
Nancy Drew
Alice In Wonderland
The Flying Carpet, and anything else I could get my hands on.

What does a typical day as a writer consist of?

A typical day for this writer consists of sending off my sons to school, putting the house in order, getting dinner ready by lunchtime and writing till about 2:00p.m., then going out to pick up the boys, having dinner and closing myself in a room around 9:00p.m. (when the house has finally grown quiet) and writing till the early morning hours.

Not glamorous at all.

If you only got 5 books to keep for the rest of your life (the horror!) which would they be?

Oh, that’s easy, all of Karen Marie Moning’s Immortal books.

Which authors are you glomming at the moment? (reading a lot of?)

Besides Ms. Moning’s books, I try to stay away from paranormal books because I don’t want them influencing my stories. Instead, I stick to the Harlequin Presents and any Historicals I can get my hands on. Particularly enjoy Margaret Moore and Jennifer Ashley (two very funny ladies)

Do you have other close romance writer friends, and if so who are they?

My close romance writer friends are my critique group. Together we’ve weathered the rejections (and there were many) and celebrated (with champagne) our successes.

There’s Molly O’Keefe who wrote for Flipside and will soon have her first Super-romance coming out soon, Michele Young whose first historical, “Pistols at Dawn,” published with Five Star, will shortly be available on Amazon, Mary Bray who was a Golden Heart finalist last year, Maureen McGowan recently agented with the Knight Agency, Sinead Murphy recently agented with The Ferguson Literary Agency, and Susan Daly who is on the homestretch of polishing her contemporary romance and submitting it to the an agent who requested it.

We all started with the same dream and have been each others cheerleading section.

When did you realise that you wanted to write books, and who or what inspired you?

Five years ago when I turned the big 4-0, I figured this was a good a time as any.

If you could have a one-to-one conversation with a famous historical figure, who would it be with and what would you talk about?

I’d love to shadow women who were unique. Cleopatra; courtesan Madame de Pompadour, or the concubine Lola Montez. I’d want to ask them questions about the men in their lives. (and their secrets)

What is the greatest challenge facing women in today's world? Have women's issues been given short shrift by the mainstream media and/or politicians?

In some countries the greatest challenge facing women is being able to survive. To not get raped. To be able to feed and cloth themselves. Having the right to choose one’s husband, their education, or their words.

In the middle of all the ugliness that exits on our earth, whispers from beaten women have turned to loud cries that are finally being heard.

How many times did you get rejected (if indeed you did) before you got published?

After I finished writing Hocus Pocus, (the first time) I did an agent blitz my first year and sent off a query letter to 130 agents. I ended on a roller coaster ride of requests and rejections. Thirty didn’t even bother answering.

130? Wow, that’s a lot!

What is your ultimate goal when it comes to your writing?

My ultimate goal is to continue to write books that people will enjoy and for one of my stories to be adapted for TV or better yet, made into a movie.

Although they account for more than half of all books purchased in the U.S., with over 51 million romance readers in the United States, the genre has not always received the respect it deserves in the literary world. Why do you think that is? Could the scorn be based on the fact that 90% of the readers are female? Is this merely sexism in the form of literary snobbery?

Perhaps a bit of both.

Which of your books is dearest to your heart, and why?

Hocus Pocus because I got to spread my wings.

Which of your books has achieved the most commercial success so far, and what do you think made it so successful?

Again, Hocus Pocus because it appealed to so many people. The reviews have been great and the response from readers has been tremendously satisfying because I really made them laugh.

I’ve always wondered about this, but as an author, once your books are published, do you actually go back and read them yourself, and if so, are you able to enjoy them, or do you perhaps see things that make you want to chew your own arm off in frustration? (grin).

I don’t go back and read them. My philosophy is, ‘don’t look back, just keep moving forward.’

Just recently, it was suggested that reader reviews aren’t as credible as reviews by your peers, and that only writers/authors should be able to review books in the first place, what are your thoughts on this?

A reader review and a writer review, in my opinion, are two different animals.

A reader will look at your story differently than a writer. A reader may enjoy your work and tell you what appealed to them, what made them laugh/cry, why they hated it, but they may not be able to point out why your book did or didn’t do this for them.

A writer will point out exact problems. Point of view switches, weak/or no hooks, telling as opposed to showing, great/poor dialogue, too much back story that tends to slow down the story and pace, etc. They look at your book and dissect each element and tell you where your strengths and weaknesses are.

Has anything a reviewer or reader said or written about you changed the way you write?

Nope. Thank God and knock on wood (tapping my thick head) I’ve been very lucky only to have positive reviews.

Recently, it was alleged that e-book authors don’t have the same earning potential as print book authors, what are your thoughts on this?

Since I’ve never gone up to a print book author and asked, “So how much you make on your last book?” I really can’t compare the two. And since I’m a new kid on the block, people will not know of me yet. I do know that erotic e-books sell reaaaallly well.

Do you think that RWA should have a separate erotic romance category in the RITA awards?

In my opinion, no. Erotica is an element that might, or might not, be found in a book. A Western, a paranormal, no matter how you slice them, are still a western and a paranormal. But hey, that’s just me.

When was the last time you went overseas and where did you go?

Three years ago I went to the Dominican Republic. (Time for a holiday)

Who are your favourite romance hero and heroine of all time?

Just one? I’m married, not dead. HEHE!!!


If you could choose one publishing company to write for, who would you choose, and why?

Wow, that’s a tough one. All of them have come a long way and are doing fantastic jobs at marketing and distributing their writers. If I had one I’d pick Random House/Dell because of the fantastic job they do with their covers and promotion. But at this early stage of my career if any publisher came to me, I’d be ecstatic.

If only one person could read your book, who would that be? (as in the person who you would want most to read your book)

Easy, Oprah. She keeps reading books that are serious and deeply emotional. I’d like her to laugh and fall asleep with a smile on her face.

If you had to pick, who would you say has been most influential within the romance genre?

I guess that would be the biggest distributor, Harlequin Romance.

Name your top five favourite romantic films.

Somewhere In Time
Kate and Leopold
Love Actually
What Women Want

What was the last book you read, and did you enjoy it?

Spell of the Highlander, by Karen Marie Moning and yes I enjoyed it and all her books so far. (Keep checking her website for her next book)

Have you ever written a book that you didn’t particularly care for, and do you cringe if you see people picking it up to read it?

So far I’ve only written two books, Hocus Pocus and
Now You See It. . ., and I’ve been lucky with my readers/reviewers responses.

What do you enjoy the most and least about being a writer?

Most – the satisfaction of seeing the smiles on my critique groups faces when I get a scene right.
Least – being alone for most of the day with only my characters to talk to.

Have you got any words of wisdom for the aspiring writers out there? Any good research sources?

Believe in yourself. That’s what Oprah has said and I’ve followed her advise.
The second most important thing came from Dr. Phil. It was, “find something in life you to be passionate about, then invest in yourself.”

I did both and so can you.

Finally, when’s your next book due out, and what’s it about?

I’m presently working on a story about a werewolf who doesn’t want to be what he is and won’t accept his mate. He just wishes she’d leave town. I’ve got a heroine who won’t leave town and has an agenda of her own.

Sounds fab Teresa! I’ll be looking forward to reading that when it comes out then!

Thanks so much for taking the time out to answer these very nosy questions!

It was my pleasure!

That's it from me folks, as you can see, I haven’t totally abandoned the author interviews, if any other authors catch my fancy, then I’ll probably have a bash, but for now, it’s ciao from me!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Do We Really Want The Heroine To Look Like Angelina Jolie?

A poster on the All About Romance group list, commented that she’d recently read a book in which the author likened the heroine to Angelina Jolie. Apparently, this totally put her off the book.

Now lots of people love Angelina Jolie, but there’s a fair amount who think she’s nutty as a fruitcake. Somedays, I’m one of those people, other days I have girl-on-girl lesbian fantasies about her don’t think she’s too bad.

I don’t really get why authors liken their characters to popular culture figures in the first place. As well as possibly dating the book, surely the author takes a huge risk in assuming that the reader, firstly, knows who the hell they’re referring to, and B, actually likes the celebrity in question.

I’m sure no author in their right mind would liken any of their heroines to Britney Spears mother of the year, but I have read books where the author likened her characters to Meg Ryan (who I’m not keen on), and Ben Affleck (who I hate). Needless to say, I couldn’t finish either book.

This is one of the reasons why I’m so glad that
J.D Robb’s, In Death books don’t have depictions of Roarke on the front cover. I much prefer to use my imagination, rather than have an image of Antonia Banderas forever imbedded in my skull. In my mind, Roarke is the most beautiful man in the world, and for the sake of my continued enjoyment of this series, I would like him to stay that way.

What do you guys think? Are there any universally admired celebrities out there, who you would hate a lead character to be likened to?

Suck It Up And Keep Quiet For Oprah's Sake...

Author, Shiloh Walker has an interesting post up on Romancing The Blog, it’s all about Authors Behaving Badly. She has some relevant and useful advice for every author, who’s work has been criticised by a reader at one time or another.

My favourite paragraph was this one:

For those who haven’t worked it out yet, the answer is no. Authors also need to remember that what goes on in Blogland doesn’t always stay in Blogland.

Apparently, Laura Lee Guhrke, MJD, and Adele Ashworth, have all had (dis)honourable mentions in this week’s Romantic Times. I wonder what the readership is these days...

Anybody seen the article yet?

A Real Life Sex Slave Revisited...

I decided to pay a visit to the Common Kajira for the first time in over a year, to see if she’s come to her senses and dumped her Master yet.

Nope, she’s still asking for permission to fart.

Oh well, each to her own I guess.

Friday, July 07, 2006


Well if this ad isn't a blatant attempt at marketing via controversy, I'll eat my hat.

Methinks racism is far too sensitive a subject for a multi-million dollar company like Sony to use for marketing purposes.

I'm intelligent enough to know that this is just a marketing ploy, but we all know that there are those out there, who wouldn't get wet if it was raining brain cells.

I'm sure this will cause a major furore throughout the world, with liberal lefties seeking to ban the ads, thus making the campaign a success, but why oh why, did Sony have to go there? Tut, tut.

A Year On, England Remembers 7th July 2005

My heart goes out to the families of the people who were killed in the London bombings last year.

We observed a two minute silence in the office at noon.

It will never fail to amaze me how people can kill innocents in the name of religion.

The Tall Guy and I watched BBC's Question Time, last night, and what saddened me was the number of Muslims who instead of outrightly condemning the bombings, almost tried to justify this most heinous of acts.

Terrorism that kills and maims can never be justified. Never. End of.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Dear John, Aren't Readers Bastards?

Somebody just sent me this link: I refuse to link, but you guys can just copy and paste into your web browsers.

It’s an entry by Laurell K Hamilton’s arse wiper assistant.

He/she heard about the latest trend of taking potshots at MJD and wanted to offer his/her support.

The letter to MJD starts:

He/she goes on to add:

This bit tickled me no end:

Pass me the fucking sick bucket. Some people will do anything just to get in on the action.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Enrique's Bulge?

I think Enrique Iglesias is one brave guy. Fancy telling a tabloid newspaper that he may have the smallest penis in the world. (paraphrasing of course) Doesn’t he know what these people are like?

I’ve just spent the last hour trying to work out if indeed he does have a small penis, there certainly doesn’t seem to be a discernible bulge, even when at rest…

Anna Kournikova is probably one of those rare creatures who believes in quality over quantity…

Popular Search Phrases This Week…

Slut - I’m still trying to figure out how they got to my blog

How to maintain a hard-on – Ask my husband, that bad boy can go for hours… Unfortunately...

Blog, bad covers, changeling Press – Hmmm, I wonder what they were looking for…

Bitches available in indida – I have a feeling that’s supposed to say India, or is there something you’re not telling me

"ejaculate in my mouth" – I wondered how long it would be before I came across a sperm related search phrase

women who swallow cum – I’m glad to say, I’m not in that particular club

Triskelion Publishing rumors – Rumours? What rumours? Does anybody want to enlighten me?

karen swallow cum – She bloody well does not!

Fletchina Archer – She seems to google herself quite often, I can’t believe that it was a reader wanting to know more about her books. Sorry.

did cristiano ronaldo rape a girl – I don’t think he did, but he did get Wonder Boy Rooney sent off, the swine!

i want to ejaculate on my wife's face – And you’re on my blog because?

where to buy karen scott – Camden Market, I’m the girl wearing the luminous green fishnet stockings, balancing the tiara on her head, drinking Moet from the bottle.

Karen Scott and Bam – Seriously
honey, people are gonna start talking…

supersized cocks – Way-hey!!

Cristiano Ronaldo Rape consensual – An amazing number of people wanting to know about this case

huge penises for karen – What have they heard?

authors like diana palmer" – Cardboard uber alpha heroes, TSTL heroines, predictable plot devices? Nah, there’s no author quite like her.

Karen Scot Authors Behaving Badly – Lots of searches linking me to authors behaving like twats, I wonder why…

why do women love to be mean to another woman? – Welcome to Romanceland my friend…

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

No More Drama...

So, I decided to change my url, mainly for a few reasons. The first being that I started feeling like the visiting authors were taking over. I looked at various comments over the past couple of months, and it shocked me to learn that over 70% of the comments on my blog were being left by authors.

Not to say that I don't appreciate them, but seriously, I never started this blog to feed the ego's of certain writers out there. Mary-Janice Davidson wrote in her blog that bloggers like myself expect authors to kiss our arses, well that's simply not true. I much prefer other readers to visit my blog, simply because they are more fun, and aren't going to get all huffy about shit that in the great scheme of things, just don't matter.

I want to be able to take the piss out of shit fucking covers without egotistical fucking maniacs coming out and frothing at the mouth, that shit just makes me want to do really bad things.

Other author bloggers like Sam Winston, Eve Vaughn, Desiree Erotique, and Sarah McCarty have been with me from the first, and I always like to hear from them, but to be perfectly honest, all the attention from other authors and their cronies was just getting a bit much.

When I started this blog, it was never with the intention of having 600 plus hits a day, I just wanted a place where I could say what I wanted. I've found that actually, I was happier when I was getting less than 100 hits per day.

I love having rousing discussions and mass debating, but in recent months, there's been less and less of that, and I just thought it was time I made a change. Readers tend not to hang out at author blogs, and just lately, Karen Scott's World has been bombarded by writers.

It was getting so that the people who used to post, started lurking, because they didn't want to be involved in the drama that me and my blog attracts. This had been pissing me off no end, especially when it started taking an authors vs readers slant.

So, I'm starting afresh, same blog, different url. The readers and authors who I already link to, will be able to find me if they want to, but at least for now, the number of people who read my blog will hopefully diminish to a comfortable number.

This has been a cleansing experience for me, and now I feel like I can start all over again. I feel like I'm all alone in the blogosphere, and it's an absolutely wonderful feeling.

Monday, July 03, 2006

How Much Time Does Your Man Spend With The Children...

I was listening to my usual radio station earlier today, and the topic today was about the role of men as parents. Apparently, less than 15% of men in this country take an active part in raising their kids. The most popular excuse given by the men who called in, was that they were the breadwinners, and therefore had little time to spend with their kids. One bloke did call in who was a house-husband, and he said that he’d taken the decision to leave work because he didn’t want to miss his kids growing up.

Miriam Stoppard’s column this week, was a letter from a 23 year old woman, with a three month old child, complaining that her partner doesn’t help out with the baby at all. She also seemed to be worried that the baby’s arrival, far from bringing them closer together, actually seems to have driven them further apart.

I’ve never really understood people who have children in the hopes that it will make their relationships stronger. From looking around me, it seems to me that children are more likely to place a greater strain on a relationship, than bring couples together.

If the relationship was in danger before the birth of a child, then coupled with new financial worries, post natal depresssion, and sleepless nights, what chance have they got? Not to mention the fact that most women’s libido’s wane after childbirth, therefore leaving the men to either turn to DIY, retain blue balls, or have an affair.

One of my best friends and her partner had their first baby last year. Their relationship was in a bad place before she got pregant, and when the baby arrived, it seemed to go from bad to worse. Whenever I speak to her now, she seems beyond stressed. The irony is, all her life, all she’d ever wanted to be was a mother. I asked her a couple of weeks ago, if she was going to have anymore children. I was surprised when she told me in no uncertain terms that she definitely wouldn’t have any more.

I’m hoping I don’t feel the same way, if my ovaries ever decide to get off their arse, and do the job they’re supposed to.

More Authors Behaving Badly...

Dara Joy seems to have been a naughty girl... check out this post by the Dear Author girls... very, very interesting...

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Ask Karen Anything...

I can't be arsed to blog about anything deep and meaningful after England's exit out of the World Cup yesterday cuz I'm too depressed, so I thought I'd steal Scott's idea, and get you guys to ask me any burning questions you may (or may not) have.

I'll answer every question posed, (within reason) and try to be as honest as possible (I said try.)

You can ask me about anything, what do I do for a living, who would I choose between Will Smith and Denzel Washington, what I think of romance authors, what do I think of Oprah. You ask it, I'll answer...

E-Publishers - An Interesting Site That Dishes The Dirt...

I found this site via Mrs Giggles’ blog. Piers Anthony’s Internet Publishing website, basically dishes the dirt on the behind–the-scenes activities within ebook publishing companies. As far as I can tell, his main source of information are authors/publisher’s employees who e-mail him (under the promise of anonimity) with information about their own experiences. Very interesting.

Here are some entries for the publishers that we’re most familiar with.

Amber Quill Press "The Gold Standard in Publishing." Currently closed to submissions, except by invitation, as they are scheduled well into 2005. . They have a legal notice to the effect that a number of their editions are being pirated by other publishers; only the Amber Quill editions are legitimate and paying royalties. February 2006 update: “Amber Quill press is primarily a 'submit by invitation only' publisher...any unsolicited synopses, partials, or complete manuscripts sent to our email addresses or snail-mailed to our business office by either author or an agent will be deleted unread, without exception.” That's plain enough; they don't much care whether you live or die.

Elloras Cave

Elloras Cave "Romantica" which seems to be very graphic erotic romances for women, but no pedophilia, bodily functions, necrophilia or bestiality. 40% royalties. I did not find other terms listed, but have a very favorable report from more than one of their authors; it seems they pay monthly and on time. They are now expanding into print as well as electronic publication. They receive 100,000 hits daily and regard themselves as THE place to be for erotic romance.

So this would seem to be a top choice for sexy romance. I met and chatted with some of their personnel at EPICon; they seem like nice folk. Their acceptance rate is 4-5%, which means one out of 20-25 manuscripts. They believe they do as well for their authors as any electronic publisher. They describe five levels of eroticism, so it seems you can choose your type. Their hardest erotic is the main seller. But they do have limits, so check their requirements. June 2004 update: But now I have a report of extremely arrogant behavior by one of their editors. October 2005 update: I saw a TV interview with them, where they said they now do $11 million business a year. It seems there's gold in the hot stuff.

June 2006 update: Another negative report of bad editing and bounced checks. That's mischief. I suspect they got too big too soon and are losing their grip.

Ebookad They have a wide variety of genres and the site is impressive. Royalties of 65% plus 10% for referrals. But here's the rub: they have a dreadful reputation for not paying their authors and not responding to queries, whether by email, phone, fax, snail mail, or lawyers. Ongoing reports at the blog site TELEREAD show many defaults and few and late payments. So this seems to be a fraudulent outfit that uses income from sales to pay off a few squeaky wheels while ignoring the majority. Stay well clear. February 2006 update: I was sent an explanation, which I summarize without comment: many complaints are not eBookAd's fault, but the publishers who upload books making mistakes. Some fraudulent charges (monetary) have been made, which are complicated to clear. Explanations have been made, but some folk refuse to listen. So things have gotten messed up, but they are trying to work through it, slowly. June 2006 update: But I have feedback from publishers saying that eBookAd has gotten as much as $20,000 behind on payments due them for books. This is a serious matter for a small publisher; it could break some. Authors are unlikely to understand why they get stiffed on royalties, and of course the stiffed publishers get the blame. I am not naming the publishers; they get the same anonymity that whistle-blowing writers do. Maybe EBookAd will catch up; I hope so.

Echelon Press

But unfortunately they seem to have taken a turn for the worse, becoming nonresponsive to legitimate queries. That's a bad sign. February 2006 update: More bad news about late releases, untimely editing, and nonresponse to authors. It seems they push marketing “opportunities” that cost the author money but do not necessarily deliver any sales. They are coming across like a vanity press

Extasy Books

February 2006 update: An author report indicates that they were originally good, but gradually went downhill with improper editing and a difficult attitude. It seems they claim to be second only to Ellora's Cave in reputation, payouts, and reliability, but this is extremely doubtful. April 2006 update: I heard from Stefani V Kelsey, their Executive Managing editor, with a sensible discussion of their situation. Their contract states that they have the right to make edits to maintain their standard, but some authors refuse to allow it and prefer to leave, which eXtasy gladly allows.

Okay, I have been on both sides of such editing. As a general rule, the publisher does need this right, because some writers are not as literate as they think they are, and may throw fits rather than admit it. But sometimes editing becomes abusive. Xanth left DEL REY when the editor started hacking out entire chapters or author's notes without heeding the author's protest; twenty years later I still get queries from confused readers because of that damage. (The editor surely has a different side of it; unfortunately he's dead.) So sometimes authors and publishers just have to part; what seems reasonable to an editor may seem like a stab through the heart to a writer.

Then she says: “Whenever an author has a conflict with us, their first threat is to go running to you and P & E [Preditors & Editors, listed in the Services section] and speak ill of us.” They use this threat as leverage to break legal contracts. So who is right? Obviously opinions differ. And she says: “As for the comment of us claiming to be second only to EC [Ellora's Cave], I wish.” It seems that several authors said that EC considers eXtasy their foremost competition. She referred to that jokingly, then got roasted for it. I've been there too; there's hardly anything you can say that some ignorant jerk won't misconstrue. Overall, I am impressed with Stefani's explanation; she comes across as sincere and human. Now watch some blogger scream “Piers Anthony is dating Stefani Kelsey!”

But I do have a report that their statement of accounts can be fouled up. And one more note: they are withdrawing from Ebookad, which has been having its own problems. eXtasy creating its own site, and is holding new releases temporarily until that is functional. June 2006 update: Stefani Kelsey has left the company. From elsewhere I learned that she and the owner, Tina Haveman, had a blowout at a convention when Tina was publicly drunk and verbally (and sometimes physically) assaulting authors, booksellers, and customers, and Stefani got fired. Authors are angry and will likely leave. I will remake the entry when I learn how eXtasy settles out.

New Age Dimensions Publishing April 2006 update: they have abruptly closed as a small press, because of the effects of Hurricane Wilma, and are reverting to being a self publisher. All royalties have been paid, and titles reverted to the authors.

New Concepts Publishing

They never close their doors to submissions, and their editors have excellent discussions on what they are looking for, but they are said to be somewhat lax about responding to authors. February 2004 Update: But I have a very bad report on their sloppiness and nonresponsiveness and possible cheating of authors. If they list no sales, when there have been sales, how long should one allow it to be in the pipeline before crying foul? Maybe their personnel are overworked, but I'd be wary. April 2004 update: I have received other bad reports, as well as emphatic defenses of the publisher by other writers and its staff. After a struggle--see my comment in the

April 2004 HiPiers column--I conclude that misunderstandings account for much of the bad feeling. The publisher is not trying to cheat anyone, but has not always kept authors informed. One writer reported that the publisher's site was hacked at the end of 2003, causing it to be offline for over a month, which may have contributed to the confusion. June 2004 update--But complaints continue, so it's not over yet.

December 2004 update: Complaints still are coming in, acknowledging routine problems from disorganization and overworked staff. They also are reported to resist reverting contracts at their normal termination dates, even refusing delivery on a certified letter with such a request. Read the complaint on the National Writers' Union site; legal action is being considered. That's arrogant mischief. There are too many instances; I have to say that this publisher should be avoided. August 2005 update: it seems that in the interest of enhanced sales they are spicing up their books, and removing the less sexy titles. They seem to have changed their nature, and books not rated R or more will be on the back burner.

Samhain Publishing A new publisher currently accepting submissions in all genres of fiction and nonfiction. No pedophilia, bestiality, necrophilia, racism. Royalties of 40% of the cover price. Allow 4-6 weeks for a personal reply. They take full rights for digital and print, for (I understand) 7 years, but the contract is negotiable. This is a dog-in-the-manger Grab; they should not have more rights than those they need to publish. Things like recording and movie rights should certainly be excluded, and print rights unless they specify serious intention to use them.

April 2006 update: I received an email from one of their authors saying that Samhain does use the print rights, and expects to print some of the longer works later this year. Then I heard from the publisher with much more information, including a sample contract, and from other writers. Their contract seems reasonable to me, though it lacks an audit clause, and they are indeed using the print rights. Clauses are negotiable, they do not take movie rights, but do take half of translation and book club sales, which is a lot. I heard from one writer that when she had interest from a big traditional publisher, Samhain released her contract and wished her luck. This is Publisher-from-Heaven territory. In sum: they take a lot, but their writers love them.

Scheherazade This is a new electronic bookseller of Romance novels. One year contract for electronic rights, renewable by mutual agreement. 50% royalties, of the retail download price, paid quarterly. It has a good audit clause. I have a favorable report on them; they are going for quality rather than quantity, a good sign. June 2004 update: They have a cute sensuality guide, range from G to PG-13 "Your twelve year old may ask awkward questions that make you blush" to X "Your husband may ask awkward questions that make you blush." Minimum 50,000 words. Heroine should have larger-than-life adventures while falling in love. Love stories that break the rules, push boundaries, flaunt (surely they mean flout) formulas, but no erotica. February 2005 update: They have a new Romance line, Hot Flashes, featuring older women, 40,000 words up. June 2006 update: Folded.


December 2005 update: I have a strongly negative report that their editing was horrible, author queries are ignored or cursed, authors are not notified of the exact date of publication, reversions are not necessarily honored, and that an author who has the temerity to place a book elsewhere becomes a pariah. February 2006 update: I have three refutations from their authors, who say that most of their authors are with more than one publisher and not ill-treated here, that editing is okay, authors have not been cursed, and the date of publication is specified in the contract.

One was evidently set up by the publisher, trying to lecture me about doing my research before making such a report, and I was hardly impressed. But the other two seem legitimate, so the preponderance does favor the publisher. We'll see what subsequent reports say. April 2006 update: three more negative reports confirming the December update. So this seems to be a two-tier publisher, with favored authors who like it well, and unfavored authors who don't. As far as I can tell, the problem is occasional arrogance and error rather than dishonesty, and sometimes a new author doesn't know what is standard practice, such as thorough editing, and takes offense. This publisher seems to do well enough in sales, which is, as one writer said, the bottom line.

June 2006 update: another complaint: changing publication dates without notice, inappropriate art work, bad editing, nonresponse to queries, and abrupt cancellation of contracts when questioned. (So it seems there is a response...)

Venus Press

August 2005 update: but I have anonymous negative reports on them. They seem to be screwing up (pun intended): failing to pay royalties, fouling up contracts, losing manuscripts. Authors are leaving. Beware. October 2005 update: I received half a blizzard of responses defending the publisher, the essence of which is that four people tried to manipulate the company, quit in wrath when they failed, and swore to bring it down. I have been on both sides of this sort of thing, having been blacklisted for six years in my own early days, when I protested being cheated by a publisher.

Being right does not always bring victory, especially when the other side has no concern for truth. Objective third parties can still be mislead. My conclusion is that in this case the publisher has the right of it, is not wronging writers, and is okay to be with. I regret being the agent of misinformation. See also my brief discussion in the OctOgre 2005 HiPiers column. December 2005 update: this dialogue resulted in my placing my semi-erotic story collection Relationships with them. See my Dismember 2005 column. So obviously I think they're okay to be with, but it also renders me non-objective about them. Bear that in mind. (I try to be objective about publishers, but also note my conflicts of interest so others can make allowances.) April 2006 update: I received printed author's copies of my collection Relationships, so can confirm that they have gone POD.

Whisky Press A number of genres, ranging from Inspirational to Erotica Romance, but no porn. They are looking for novellas up to 35,000 words and novels 40-50,000 words. I did not find information on royalty rates, but they are said to be good. June 2005 update: No charge for epublication, but if you want a trade paperback edition, there is a one-time charge of $90 by the printer. August 2005 update: I have a favorable report from an author: they are good to do business with, and prompt on royalties. Royalty is 7.5% on print books, 30% on downloads. February 2006 update: Now I have an extremely negative report on them not paying some authors. April 2006 update: a report that they fouled up a royalty report, but fixed it when questioned. Another report is very positive.

Hmm… interesting.