Sunday, June 28, 2009

Finally!

I'm finally, thank God, feeling better. The problem with migraines for me is I'm sick and in pain for DAYS when one hits. And this one I'm not entirely certain I could have done much more than what I did. I know my head hurt the night before I realized I actually had a migraine and not just a really bad headache. What made me understand it WAS a migraine was the fact that I was light and sound sensitive and the headache moved*, a classic sign of a migraine.

So I took my meds on Wednesday, but it didn't really do any good. Sigh. This is what I get for stressing over something I shouldn't have. I know the risks when I get too stressed, and I know what I should do to reduce that stress, but this time I allowed it to overwhelm me and paid the price.

What was I stressing over? Some emails I exchanged with Diane Pershing, president of the RWA. And while I don't agree with her stance on e-publishing I shouldn't have let the reluctance to change a point of view cause me almost a week's worth of pain. And if I ever start to do something that silly again I know just the man to stop me.

Hear that, sweetheart? Feel free to sit on this Italian girl's hands to get her to stop talking!



*With migraines, the headache will "travel" around your head. In other words, right now the headache is at the top half of the back of my head; a few hours ago it was focused right above my right eye.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Migraine

Sick migraine today. Not a happy camper, but meds are keeping me from actually throwing up, so that's a good thing. Sitting in a dark room today, will hopefully be back tomorrow.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Response to RWA re: Career Minded Writer



As many of you may be aware, Diane Pershing, president of the Romance Writers of America, published a response to an article posted by Deidre Knight of the Knight Agency (here's the link to Ms. Knight's article and a link to Ms. Pershing's response). I have to take offense at the fact that the RWA doesn't feel that those of us who are electronically published are career minded authors. So after deliberating for a few days, here's MY response, for what it's worth. Please remember that this is only my opinion based on observation and research.

I am a member of the RWA and Passionate Ink. I am an author of several e-books. I have only been published for a little over a year, but I have five books out, one in print. The majority of those are novellas, something the NY publishers aren't in the market for, which limits my distribution options. My first full-length novel has been finished and submitted to an electronic publisher, as the majority of my market is in e-books. I am also the daughter and daughter-in-law of people who own their own businesses. I have learned quite a bit from both men on how to look at the business side of my work.

This IS a business, something we tend to forget as authors. Each of us has a choice in how we wish to sell and distribute our products, whether that be electronically or in print.

Now, forgive me for what I am about to do. I am going to list something that the majority of us already know who are electronically published.

In the e-book model, I produce a product (novel). Once the product is complete to the best of my ability I begin shopping it to corporations (publishers) in the hopes that my product is something that fits well within their product line. When a corporation decides that yes, it can sell my product, the polishing process begins (editing and cover art) to make my product ready for distribution. During that time advertising and promotions begin to let the marketplace (aka the readers) know that this new product will soon be available for purchase. Reviewers test my product to see if it is something their readership would be interested in and will suit their needs, and give their opinions. Then my product goes on the market. From the sales of that product I receive a percentage, the editors and cover artists receive a percentage and the distributor (publisher) receives a percentage. All are happy with what they receive.

In the print book model, I produce a product. Once the product is complete to the best of my ability I hire someone to shop that product to corporations (an agent). The agent sends my product to corporations in the hope that it will meet their criteria. If it does, I receive a payment in good faith that the product will make a certain number of sales, a payment that will be deducted from future profit. The polishing process then begins, readying it for distribution. During this time advertising and promotions occur, informing the marketplace that my new product will soon be available for purchase. Another good-faith payment is made to me, one that will be deducted from final sales. Then my product goes on the market. From the sales of that product I receive a percentage,the agent receives a percentage, the editors and cover artists receive a percentage and the distributor receives a percentage. A certain amount of those sales are held back in reserve against returns, and I receive my final good-faith payment. All are happy with what they receive.

Frankly, I fail to see how either business model is wrong. Both have good and bad points. Both are equally valid. Neither, to me, can be said to be better than the other. Where failure comes in is with a) the product (it was shopped to the wrong market or was somehow inferior to a similar product) or b) distribution (a failure that has caused more than one book to fail, print or e). It's simply a matter of supply and demand, and whether you prefer your money at the front end or the back end of your contract,and what your preferred percentages are.

I like being e-published. Would I turn down an opportunity to be print published? No. Would I give up e-publishing?

No. It's a business decision, pure and simple. You need to find your marketplace, do your research, ask questions, and hope that organizations like the RWA will steer you away from the bad publishers, be they print or e.

Based on this, yes, I consider myself to be an informed, professional businesswoman. I know my market, my distribution channels, and am willing to work with corporations to improve my product for the marketplace. I am aware of my options re: front-load payment with smaller returns vs larger returns with no front-load payment. I consistently research my competitors (you should see my e-book and print shelves, they bulge with past and present romances) and trends in the marketplace. I try to maintain my own brand while meeting the needs of the marketplace to the best of my ability. And I respectfully request the same recongition and respect that is handed over to other businesspeople within this community.

Thank you.

Dana Marie Bell
Electronic Author
Memeber of the RWA and Passionate Ink
Passionate Plume Finalist


P.S.: Please, if I'm wrong on any point of the print model feel free to correct me. I've written this up based not on what RWA educated me on, but what I was able to glean through research and listening to those with more knowledge than I on that particular business model. Something I wish more people would do concerning the epublishing business model.

P.P.S. I am willing to put my royalty statements where my mouth is. I haven't joined PAN despite the fact that I am eligible several times over due to the stories of other electronic authors who did so and were treated with a great deal of disrespect.


For those of us who wish to make changes within the RWA, be you print, e, or both, please consider joining this group and letting your voice be heard: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/RWAchange/

Friday, June 19, 2009

Diane Pershing Responds to Dierdre Knight

And I have only one comment to make...




To read Ms. Pershing's response to Ms. Knight, click here.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

What's on YOUR Desk?

I have been tagged by Amy S. And since my brain is currently flipping between two WIPS, I'll take the time to fill this one out and flip it back to Bunny.

List five bookish things on your desk:

1. Bent, by Sean Michael. What can I say? I've added some BDSM to my M/M pile and this one is one I've been meaning to read.

2. Diamond In The Rough, by Diana Palmer. Guilty secret: I LOVE Diana Palmer.

3. Sesame Street's Animal Alphabet. What? I've been meaning to read it with M. *blushes*

4. Immortal Danger by Cynthia Eden. One of many books I picked up at RT that I've been meaning to read.

5. The Spells Bible: The Definitive Guide to Charms and Enchantments, by Ann-Marie Gallagher. Did I mention I just finished working on a wizard? I picked this guide up just for that series and never read it. It got buried under post-it notes. Sigh.

List five non-bookish things on your desk:

1. The remote. Hey, I like my TV.

2. Post-It Notes. Because that's the only way I can keep track of stuff other than the stuff they bury.

3. A pen. Otherwise the sticky notes would just be... sticky.

4. A sample packet of Singulair. M. was diagnosed with allergies, and that was the medicine he was given.

5. Bedazzle Nail Art. I like butterflies on my toenails. Not one word.

Tag at least five people to do the same:

And here is where I have problems. I can think of a couple people, but not sure I can tag five of them. But...

1. Jambrea Jo Jones, author of Runaway Man. Hey, Jambi!

2. Bob Roman, aspiring author in the sci-fi genre. I've read his first book, and it rocks. Bob, don't hurt me. I still need your input into my genetic dragon shifter space cowboy story. (And doesn't THAT make your brain hurt?)

3. Moira Rogers/Bree, author of Sanctuary Lost. I bet she has chocolate on her desk. I don't have chocolate on my desk. My kids stole it.

4. TA Chase, one of my favorite M/M authors. Wonder what's on his desk?

5. Aaand... drawing a blank on anyone else who might do this. AH! Keith Melton, author of Blood Vice! Not sure if he has a blog, but hey! At least I thought of someone, right?

Hey, Amy? Tag-Back!

Now off to work on my WIP...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Deirdre Knight on the RWA and E-Publishing

I'm proud to be a member of Passionate Ink, my on-line RWA chapter. But I'm not sure I'm proud to be a member of the RWA, and I'm not the only e-book author to feel that way.

Deidre Knight, herself an e-published author and the founder of The Knight Agency, has posted something at ESPAN, one of the electronic chapters of RWA. It addresses the recent RWR letter president Diane Pershing wrote concerning educating the authors who belong to the RWA. Frankly, she just doesn't get the difference between how New York, "dead tree" publishers look at things and how e-publishers look at things. And the fact that she called those of us who write e-books "published" as opposed to published really has several authors upset. In fact, in her letter she insists she understands very well, thank you, when it's quite obvious she doesn't.

Let's face it, NY pubs are starting to look at the e-pub model and wondering if they can't use some of what's there in their own business model. If the RWA can't see what the big publishing houses are beginning to see, I have to wonder about the future of the organization.

Anway, if you're interested in this issue I would take a look at Ms. Knight's article. I think you'll find it interesting. I know I did.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Brains. I Has Them.



Got good news and semi-bad news.

Good news? Shadow of the Wolf is done, it's out of the Meat Grinder and it's with my beta readers!

Bad news? M, who just had his fifth birthday party, woke me a half an hour early this morning to build his new Thomas toy. It's this complicated "send Thomas down the spiral to crash into stuff" toy that requires some hand strength to put together. Needless to say, decaffeinated and in full Mommy Mode, I snapped that puppy together in under an hour. It wasn't until I was almost done that my hand decided to have a hissy fit of the "Guess what? You're on codeine today!" variety.

Um. Yeah. I have the feeling that once Dusty is fully caffeinated I'll be hearing about that. So far all he's done is shake his head, take a sip of his soda and settle into work.

So I'll be in the thumb brace today, which means this is probably the most typing I'll do. Maybe I'll go over my notes for Bunny, maybe I'll plot my next shifter or fae story, but either way, today is mostly a sick day. If I do that I should be able to work on Bunny tomorrow.

Friday, June 12, 2009

COVER ART!


Genre:

ISBN: 978-1-60504-632-7
Length: Category
Price: 4.50
Publication Date: July 28, 2009
Cover art by Tuesday Dube



Isn't it pretty?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Naming Games



I've been thinking. Yes, I know, get out the hardhats, hide under the tables, she's gonna blow.

Not today. I'm too tired to blow. Which disappoints Dusty no end, but that's another story.

So what I've been thinking about is names.

Take my current WIP, My Heart's Desire, for instance. It's almost done, odds are it's going to turn into a four story series, and I'm thinking of changing the name. "My heart's desire" is a phrase that will show up in each of the books thanks to a magical spell that calls to the mate of each brother; it's why the closer I come to the end, the more I think Heart's Desire needs to be the series title rather than the book title.

So if I go with this, it means that I need to come up with a new name for Heart. Don't be surprised if you go to check on my progress and find that something has taken Heart's place on my line-up; it will be the same book, just a different name.

So, my conundrum: Do I K.I.S.S. it, like My Heart's Desire: Christopher and Lana? Or do I go with individual names, like Wolf Man: My Heart's Desire Book One? I'd better decide fast, since I'm really hoping to have this to my beta readers no later than Monday (I'd prefer sooner, but with the kids home I never know how much work I'll get done).

I think I'm leaning more towards individual names, even though that means more work for me. Individual titles tend to stick out more in my mind, followed by the plot line, then the character's names. Dusty suggested I look for a phrase or word that repeats itself in the manuscript and name the book after that, which I've done before (Dare to Believe was named that way). Another option is to look at the overall book, get the feel for it (like I did with Cat of a Different Color) and come up with the name from that. I'm sure I'll figure it out before the book is done; I've already got something bouncing around, but it hasn't come to the forefront of my brain yet. It might have something to do with the rather loud Thomas the Tank Engine whistle my five year old is currently blowing.

I doubt that Dusty will be happy when I say, "Well at least something is getting blown, right?"

Anyway, it's time for me to put my thinking hat on and come up with something that feels right. And take the Thomas whistle and do terrible, horrible things to it.

UPDATE: I got it! Shadow of the Wolf will be the new name. It has to do with the look of the mark he leaves on Lana, and when they first meet. WOOT!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Writing, With Children

So for the second day in a row not much writing has happened thanks to the small people in the house. It seems like the moment my fingers touch the keyboard someone calls my name, or wants something, or needs to tell me how badly they kicked the butt of the bad guy in their video game. It's been non-stop "MommyMommyMommy" for two full days.

Please, dear Lord, make it stop raining so I can kick their tiny little butts back into the yard. Please? With whipped cream and a cherry on top?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

See The Future, E-Book Readers


Text books of the future?

Pardon my ramblings, but I read this article and got to thinking, and you all know how dangerous that is. According to an article in ComputerWorld, e-Book readers are gaining in popularity, and while I think that's wonderful I have a few thoughts on it.
E-book shipments are taking off worldwide, says market researcher In-Stat, with worldwide shipments expected to grow from almost 1 million units in 2008 to close to 30 million units in 2013, due in part to the popularity sparked by Amazon's Kindle.
The kids manning a booth at a Taiwanese computer expo had this to say about them:
A group of high school students at Netronix's Computex booth said they all want e-readers this year because they're "cool." When asked if the fact Netronix had comics in their e-readers had anything to do with their enthusiasm, they said, "maybe, but [the e-readers] are just so cool, so light and you can put all your books in them." Many Taiwanese students carry around bags of books so big that some parents buy small suitcases with wheels to ease their burden.
A lot of e-book reader enthusiasts have been saying that e-book readers could be the future for high schools and colleges everywhere (and I agree), but it remains to be seen if the academic world will pick up on it before the students do. It's nice to know, however, that the younger generation is gravitating towards e-books! I've heard rumors of a color e-book reader that would be perfect for things like comic books and graphic novels. Since I love seeing book covers in full color I'd probably love a color e-book reader.

And now for my walk of shame: I have no e-book reader. I read e-books on my laptop and on my Sprint HTC SmartPhone, which looks something like this:



I haven't seen the need to buy an e-book reader since I essentially already have one. The screen is very small (it's a phone, after all) but it's full color and if it needs power I simply plug it in, sit back and continue reading. The page turn rate is fast compared to some of the page turn rates I've seen on e-book readers, and since that slow page turn rate is one of the few things that turns me off of e-readers I'm very happy with what I have.

The only cons to a "phone + e-reader"? It's back-lit, which means I have difficulty reading it in bright sunshine, and the battery power isn't as good as the battery power of an e-reader. Still, I have to wonder: is a $270 device that only reads e-books better than a multi-functional device that has less battery power but has the same price? Add in the fact that I can read in bed without waking my husband or tacking on an outside "booklight" that has about the same battery power as my phone, and all in all I have to stick with the multi-functional device.

The pros to a smartphone? It has it's own OS, which means I can install programs on it like Adobe Reader or Microsoft Reader. My phone reads .html, .pdf, .lit and .doc/.rtf/.txt. I can install Mobipocket if I like so I can read .prc's. Why can't e-book readers do what my phone can do? The only books I can't read on it have DRM, and I don't want to read those books anyway. And since it's a PDA I can make phone calls, put doctor appointments in the calendar, check the weather, read my e-mail...

I guess what all my rambling means is that I think e-book readers should have an OS like my phone does, whether it's Windows or Mac based, so I can install programs on it like I can with my SmartPhone. Why not, Sony? Amazon? How about a back-light you can turn on or off, or a button that puts you in e-ink mode for sunny days and lit mode for dark, midnight readings? I don't really see why it can't be done. After all, if my little phone can pack all that in, why not a dedicated e-reader?

Monday, June 8, 2009

8K and Counting...


A magical Beckett brother? Perhaps...

I only have 8k more to go before I send my current WIP, My Heart's Desire, off to my beta readers. So far I'm liking what I've got, but I need to make sure I have my logic holes fully filled in before I send it off. I think that will eat about half of that 8k. I always, always think I've covered everything I need to, and I'm always wrong. So it's off to The Meat Grinder in about 7k.

Chris and Lana are coming together nicely; the bad guy gets his comeuppance in a most satisfactory way; and since everything I write winds up turning into a series, I'm seeding the book with the makings of the next three (there are four Beckett brothers). I've got the meta-plot of each of them bouncing around in my head already, but don't worry, Bunny hunters! Bear Necessities is talking louder than ever, so as soon as Heart is done, I'll be writing two bears and a wolf lady.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Dumb, Da-Dumb-Dumb-Dumb!

Today was the last day of physical therapy, at least until after I talk to my doctor. I don't know if she'll decide to send me back or not, but I'm expecting that she might.

So since today was my last day, the therapist was kind enough to show me some exercises that wouldn't just help with my back but also with my knee. We put some light weights on my ankles (one pounders) and put me to work.

I don't think I realized how much my knee hurt until I switched back and forth between my "good" knee and my "bad" knee. I've been told to stay in my "pain free zone" and gradually add more weights and reps as the exercises become easier. I left a little sore, but feeling like I'd done a good job. Then I went shopping, since R has a birthday party to go to tomorrow and I needed to pick up a present for his friend. I also needed to pick up M's prescription, and some covers for M's bed (long story). By the time I was done at the checkout counter I felt like someone had taken a tire-iron to my leg and back. I came home, ate lunch, lay down, and wound up falling asleep.

So I guess this is a round-about way of saying I got no work done today, but I did learn that there are times when shopping after PT is a Very Bad Idea. I'm going to do some work tomorrow while Dusty takes R to his party, so I'm considering today my Saturday and tomorrow my Friday.

I hope everyone has a good weekend, whether you're working or playing!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

I've Got A Secret!

I've seen a mock-up of the cover for Dare to Believe, and I have to squee. It's fabulous. I can't wait until it's officially up so I can share it with you all!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Yahoo Ate My Newsletter

I finished the newsletter last night (a day late, I know, but there's been a lot going on) and sent it out, but it hasn't appeared yet. Not in the group, and not in my inbox.

Sigh.

If it hasn't appeared by the end of the day, I'll re-do it. This might mean duplicate newsletters if Yahoo decides to go ahead and send out the previous one. Hopefully it won't come to that, but it might.

Thank you, Yahell.

UPDATE: Looks like the newsletter finally (nearly eleven hours later!) went out. I really wonder what's going on with Yahell these days...

Monday, June 1, 2009

Wow, I Made Book of the Week!



WOOT! Very Much Alive is Book of the Week over at Whipped Cream Reviews! Thanks so much to everyone who voted and enjoyed the book!

Favorite Quotes

"I had the right to remain silent, but I didn't have the ability." Ron White

"So let me get this straight. You want me to kill the little guys, kill the big guys, crowd control those I can't, buff the team, debuff the boss, keep myself alive, AND keep you alive, all while waving a stick and dressed in a towel?" - Anonymous Role Playing Gamer

"I think that statue over there is a statement on modern life. The statement is, "Well, shit." - Varric, Dragon Age II

"Why is it all claws and guns? Can't we piss off a fuzzy planet? Still dangerous, but hey. Bunnies." - Joker, Mass Effect

"Last night, I lay in bed looking up at the stars in the sky and thought to myself, "Where the heck is the ceiling?" - Dilbert


"Aim at the high mark and you will hit it. No, not the first time, not the second time and maybe not the third. But keep on aiming and keep on shooting for only practice will make you perfect. Finally you'll hit the bull's-eye of success." - Annie Oakley

"It is only when you fall that you learn whether you can fly." - Flemeth, aka The Witch of the Wilds, Dragon Age 2

"The very existence of flamethrowers proves that sometime, somewhere, someone said to themselves, 'You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I’m just not close enough to get the job done.'” - George Carlin

"I hear there's a wild bridge tournament down the street. And you know Bridge. It's a lot like sex. If you don't have a great partner, you'd better have a good hand." Barry Weiss, Storage Wars

"You know, I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, wouldn't it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them? So, now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe." - Marcus Cole, Babylon 5, "A Late Delivery From Avalon"

"I aim to misbehave." - Capt. Malcolm Reynolds

"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid." - Albert Einstein

“If you think you can or think you cannot, you are correct.” - Henry Ford