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Who knew? (very brief EC v DA update)

(Updated – again)

Hat tip to Courtney Milan for posting links to the latest filings in the defamation lawsuit that Ellora’s Cave brought against Dear Author and Jane Litte.

Who knew one could outright giggle while reading court documents?

A choice bit, from page 13 (please note I redacted Ms Litte’s legal name):

The public perception of the company, prior to Ms. Litte’s article, was that its founder, Ms. Engler, was notoriously difficult to work with, was a generally offensive person, who mismanaged money, who had a history of being delinquent on her taxes, who maintained an offensive and embarrassing social media profile, who suffers from severe mental health issues,who engages in nepotism at the expense of other employees, and who was generally incapable of running a large successful company

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Drinking the Ellora's Cave Kool-Aid

Reader beware: I am not a writer, I’m just a fed up reader and blogger.

Also, I’m not feeling particularly nice at the moment, as I’m pretty enraged at the utter disregard some people have for the very real risk they put people when they continue to engage an asshole who keeps. doxxing. a person.

A person with a family, the members of which a) have nothing to do with anything, yet b) are put at risk as well. every. fucking. time. that asshole replies to said people.

So if you want measured, impartial commentary, do your blood pressure a favor and go elsewhere.

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Black women and ebola -- let's do something about it.

This evening I received an email from author Roslyn Holcom, which I reproduce as a screen shot below:

Roslyn Holcomb - What about our daughters - black women and ebola
Here are the links: from The Washington Post, “Ebola striking women more frequently than men,” and Gina McCauley’s Africare donation page.

You can also read what she has to say about this huge health emergency, and the impact is has on women, here.

Please tell me, how is it that so many of us don’t know that three out of four human beings who have died of ebola so far are WOMEN?

Please share this, and help do something about this silence and about the desperate need of all these women–and the families they leave behind.

Personhood--what the actual FUCK?

I have no idea how on earth I hadn’t heard of this before–which is scary as hell in and of itself!

No abortion for rape or incest pregnancies? Any pregnancy that doesn’t result in a living birth would be considered a suspicious death and investigated by the cops–including miscarriages???

Are you fucking kidding me?

Please, for the love of sanity, tell me this is a prank.

What the hell is next? Where does it stop? At mandatory burkas and chastity belts?

More of Ellora's Cave authors speak up

It has been a crazy ten days, hasn’t it? Since Ellora’s Cave filed suit against Dear Author and Jane Litte, we have seen people saying, “now you understand why EC authors are afraid of speaking out?” Boy, yes, we do.

Which is precisely why the community rose so magnificently to the occasion, and raised the full $50,000 in less than four days–and the donations keep on coming. And, I believe, it’s that response that’s given more and more EC authors the courage to speak up about their own issues with the company. These authors are but a tiny fraction of the total contracted with EC–someone has mentioned 800 or 900 authors total. (more…)

Ellora's Cave v Dear Author - how low can you fall (pretty low)

As I reported elsewhere, on Saturday out of the blue–and absolutely not connected to Ellora’s Cave, no siree, it says so right in the tag line–a sockpuppet was created.

From where I sit–hey, Tina, this opinion, savvy? ergo, protected speech–said account is a sockpuppet for Tina Engler/Jaid Black, created strictly to try to intimidate those EC authors and other contractors so they won’t help Jane Litte fight the vexatious defamation suit that Ellora’s Cave filled against her and Dear Author.

It’s not working–donations, which had slowed down a bit, saw an uptick as soon as the toxic egg started posting how the authors had sued Ellora’s Cave (have screenshots, will share). As I type, the amount raised for Jane Litte’s and Dear Author’s legal defense is $47,503. Not bad for a relatively small online community to raise in less than three full days, huh?

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Words to sign contracts by

As many of you know, I have been following the Ellora’s Cave v Dear Author thing closely–and quite likely will until it is resolved one way or another.

On the one hand, it is absolutely popcorn worthy entertainment. In a much smaller scale, it brings to mind Charles Carreon v The Oatmeal (beware, this is an utter time suck–don’t go too far down the rabbit hole unless you have a day or two to spare).

On the other hand, the resolution of this case will help set a precedent for book bloggers, reviewers, authors, editors, etc. We should not allow ourselves to be intimidated by threats of vexatious lawsuits by the bullies of the world.

I do pray rather fervently that the court forces EC to show its books and explain why they are sending checks through the mail in a way that violates USPS rules (undated metered mail–see this post)

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On that note, isn’t romance a beautiful thing? The fundraising was made public in the morning on Friday October 3rd. Not even 12 hours later, the community had raised over $38,000.00. People, learn from TC/JB delusions and do not piss your target market off. They’ll band together and bitch-slap you. Hard.

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But, back to the point of this post.

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Dear Author / Jane Litte Defense Fund

Edited to add alternatives to contribute to the Dear Author/Jane Litte legal defense fund for those who are boycotting GoFundMe.

Yes!

Since the news that Ellora’s Cave has sued Dear Author and Jane Litte broke out, many of us in the romance reading community have asked for a way to help Jane financially–because lawsuits are used as a threat, to silence critics, precisely because they are expensive. And usually more expensive to the defendant, particularly in states where there is no provision to refund them even if the court rules in their favor.

Well, now we can.

Smart Bitch Sarah created the Dear Author / Jane Litte Defense Fund using crowdfunding site GoFundMe. Here’s the text on the donation page:
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Ellora's Cave v Dear Author - wanna help?

The saga continues. Jane posted a brief update on the suit today:

Today there was a temporary injunction hearing.  During the hearing the judge did not grant the injunction, but did request that we come back for a more thorough hearing, where we would be able to provide evidence  in our defense.

Truth is an absolute defense to defamation.

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

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

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

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

You can reach me at jane@dearauthor.com.

Thank you in advance.

Now, I know that there are a lot–quite a lot–of current and former EC authors who follow this blog. Just this past February one of you reported, anonymously, on shenanigans there. So, hi there, still not getting paid?

I hate being harsh, but chances are you are not going to see much–if any–of that money (see this post by Carolyn Jewel explaining what’s likely to happen here).

In the meantime, many of you feel gagged by a confidentiality clause in your contract with Ellora’s Cave–plus, scared of a defamation lawsuit for say, reporting on matters of public record and imminent interest.

Well, never fear–there are still ways you can help Jane. First of all, the screenshots of public statements? You, those who have worked for EC in any and all capacities, are the most likely to know where those might be, and snap them up. Go, hunt them down, email them to Jane.

Or, if you want to put a second layer between you and her, let me know in the comments and we’ll figure a relay system.

But if you really, really want to speak up and say your piece, both because you are frigging tired of the injustice of having the company that hasn’t paid in you however long, spending money in retaining an attorney to sue a blogger for speaking out for YOU…well, there’s a chance you can.

Check out this post on confidentiality clauses by the ever amazing Courtney Milan, where she says in part:

If you are an author, an editor, or a cover-artist who would testify as to the truth of the statements Jane made, but for the confidentiality clause, contact me. If there is enough interest from those who would testify but are afraid for confidentiality reasons, I will look into finding a lawyer to accompany you to the hearing–someone whose job it is to represent your interests, and to make sure that you’re speaking up to the maximum allowed without putting yourselves at risk.

And to all of you who are already speaking up, boosting the signal, and standing strong against this effort to silence us and chill our speech…Thank you.

I would now like to direct your attention to...

this cool Ellora’s Cave Author Exodus Support thread, created and maintained by writer Deirdre Saoirse Moen.

See, a number of authors currently under contract with EC are asking their readers NOT to buy those books. Apparently, they are either not receiving royalties, or are not convinced those royalties actually reflect their sales, or quite simply want the rights to their books back (for which they need sales below a certain number for a period of time). For whatever the reason, these authors are publicly–and quite courageously–asking their readers to support them by NOT buying any books of them currently published by EC.

However, many of these authors have books elsewhere–either under a different pen name with another publisher, or perhaps even self published–and those books? Oh yeah, they would love it if any of their readers were moved to purchase those other books.

So what are you waiting for? Go on over there, check that list. I’m betting you’ll find something there you’ll want to read.

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If you are a book blogger, I ask you to consider posting this information for your readers as well.

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And for those of you who are on Twitter, Courtney Milan of the iron cast balls and awesomesauce writing is exercising her right to speak about Ellora’s Cave using the hashtag #notchilled, and she invites all of those who want to continue to be free to express their opinions about facts to participate.

Dear Author / EC suit update

Dear Author posted an status update regarding the lawsuit filled late last week by Ellora’s Cave: Jane Litte has retained the services of Marc Randazza, First Amendment Badass. You can visit Mr Randazza’s website to check out his credentials, or follow the previous link to see what Ken White of Popehat’s fame has to say about him.

I’m not a lawyer nor do I play one online, but I do have a feeling that this example of legal thuggery will be stomped in short order like a disgusting New York cockroach.

I also believe that this whole thing is a blatant attempt at intimidation of Ellora’s Cave authors, editors, cover artists, and any other contractors and employees who have not been paid–either at all or in full–so that they keep quiet about it.

Which is why I applaud all the different authors and bloggers who are actually doing their bit to stand up against EC, to speak out, and to spread the word about what is going on–both right now with the defamation lawsuit against Dear Author and Jane Litte, and generally within Ellora’s Cave.

Particular kudos to Courtney Milan, who is going a step further. Madam, you have stones.

 

Edited to add: I just learned that The Los Angeles Times has picked up the story.

The Streisand Effect in all its glory, baby!

I Heard That Dear Author Was Getting Sued, So I Thought I'd Remind Everybody That Tina Engler Married A Convicted Murderer

Elloras Cave get worse and worse. What fuckery is this?

The following was originally posted on KKB on June 15th 2007: Here’s the link.

_______________________________________________________________

JaynieR posted an interview with Tina Engler, AKA Jaid Black on her blog earlier today.

The purpose of the interview appears to be two-fold. Firstly, it seems to be an opportunity for Black to give her side of the story, in terms of her marriage to a *convicted felon, (if the link is broken, search for a David Roy Keen) serving time for shooting, and killing an ex-girlfriend; and secondly, to discuss her feelings, on the failings of the current U.S penal system, and its bias towards the poor, and the uneducated.

Ms Black’s decision to marry a prisoner, serving a life sentence for murder is her affair, and I feel that it would be remiss of me to publicly comment on my personal feelings relating to this matter.

In actual fact, what disturbed me most was Black’s assertion that locking up prisoners is tantamount to human trafficking, and that a person who deliberately takes a life, cannot be blamed for their actions.

When one reads the interview in its entirety, the delivery of her message is staunch, and unflinching, whilst her belief that she speaks a universal truth, appears to be unshakable. (more…)

Ellora's Cave--oh dear!

Karen has often sounded the alarm when it comes to digital publishers screwing their authors, editors, cover artists, etc.

Ellora’s Cave, and its founder Tina Engler / Jaid Black, have often come up in these discussions, for obvious reasons.

Jane over at Dear Author has a post up on this digital publisher that it’s a must read. Sadly, it doesn’t bode well for current authors and contractors to Ellora’s Cave, but it may act as a cautionary tale to writers who wonder where to submit their books.

Good luck to all of Ellora’s Cave currently indentured authors, etc.

Rock Addiction, by Nalini Singh

As a participant in the release tour, I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of Nalini Singh’s new contemporary romance, Rock Addiction, the first in a five-title series called Rock Kiss, that she’s self publishing. As most of you know, part of the deal, when participating in an author’s release tour, is to write and publish a review of the book in a timely manner. Please note that neither the author nor TRSOR Promotions, who organized all the blogger events related to the release, have asked for anything but a review, period.

However, and in the interest of full disclosure, I am a fan of Ms Singh’s Psy/Changeling series. I am not a fan of her Guild Hunter series, and up to now I have only read one of her previously released category contemporary titles, Desert Warrior–and I confess that I wasn’t terribly impressed with it.

With that in mind, this is my (quite long) review:

Rock Addiction, by Nalini Singh

A few years ago, Sarah of the ever Smart Bitches and Jane of the wonderful Dear Author created a campaign to Save the Contemporary! Why, you may ask. Well, because for a while there it seemed that single title contemporary romance had disappeared off the face of the earth. We had–and still have–plenty of contemporary category length romances, but they are problematic in their own way, as they must conform to stringent requirements specific to their publishing line. And most single title, full length contemporaries for a good long while seemed to be required to include a thread of suspense–there was a stalker, an unsolved murder, a conspiracy, a ghost, vengeance…you name it. It seemed that there could be no romance without external conflict.

(Feel free to tell me my reading is limited and list all your recommendations for good, straight up contemporary romances in the comments.)

And so, imagine my utter delight in reading a contemporary romance about two adults, with nary an external conflict or contrived plot point! Yes, reader heaven indeed.

Mind you, there is conflict, and these two people have plenty of baggage, but they deal with it, both their own and each other’s, by talking–whodathunkit, right?–and by valuing and respecting the other’s feelings as much as their own.

Here’s the blurb provided by the author:
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And just to ice the cake of awesome...

we have yet another Rafflecopter giveaway to celebrate the release of Rock Addiction.

(I do apologize but I am unable to make the widget work for me. However, just follow the link above and you’ll be able to enter and get a chance to win a $100 gift card. Sweet, yes?)

Also, in case you didn’t know, you can get your very own copy from amazon by following this handy, dandy little link.

There, don’t say we don’t make it easy for you :wink:

KarenS Capsule Review: Tempting Her Best Friend by Gina L. Maxwell...

tempting

Sensuality Rating: TORRID: Sex is explicit, but it doesn’t take over the whole damn book. There may be some kinky stuff too, but not much.

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads.com;

Alyssa Miller is tired of waiting for her next-door neighbor to see her as more than just his best friend. Ready to let off some steam, she heads to Las Vegas for a romance book convention where, if she’s lucky, she’ll get down and dirty with one of the sexy cover models.

Dillon Alexander doesn’t do commitment—especially not where his best friend is concerned. She deserves a man who can give her the world, not damaged goods. But when he realizes Alyssa intends to have a one-night stand on her vacation, he hauls ass after her to make sure he’s the one to scratch her itch.

Neither of them expects their explosive chemistry to burn hotter than the lights on the strip, but with a little help from Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, a flamboyant matchmaker, and TSA, what happens in Vegas might not stay in Vegas…

I never met a friends-to-lovers book that I didn’t like, and Tempting Her Best Friend by Gina L. Maxwell was no exception. I read this book in about an hour and a half and I really liked it. There were some really sweet moments, and it was great to have a heroine who knew what she wanted and went after it – ish. For such a short story, it had surprising depth, but it was also amusing in parts, as the following quote from one of the secondary characters trying to help Alyssa win back her man, can attest to:

A spark of hope flared in her chest. “Can you?”
His eyebrows hitched arrogantly as if to scold her for even doubting him. Holding the door open, he said, “Honey, as far as you’re concerned, this is Oz, and I’m the motherfucking Wizard.”

The best thing about the book was that it was only £.99, so if you fancy a really sexy and lovely friends-to-lovers story, you can Kindle the book from Amazon.com here.

KarenS Capsule Review: You Own Me, by Shiloh walker

You own me

Sensuality Rating: TORRID: Sex is explicit, but it doesn’t take over the whole damn book. There may be some kinky stuff too, but not much.

This book was phenomenal y’all, but then Shiloh Walker rarely lets me down.

Check out the blurb from her website:

It had always been her…
Ten years had passed since the doors slammed shut behind Decker Calhoun, taking away his freedom, but more importantly, locking him away from Elizabeth Waters, the only woman he’d ever loved—the woman he’d given up everything for. The day he was sentenced, he’d looked at her and said, No regrets, Lizzie.
But he lied, because he did have one. Although he’s been out of jail for three years now, he was a year too late. Lizzie never knew how he felt and just months before he was released, she found somebody else and it’s too late.
Or maybe not. It seems that Lizzie’s boyfriend wants an open relationship and two can play at that game. Now all Decker has to do is convince Lizzie that he’s the better man…and has been all along.

This was such a different feeling book, it really was. I have to say, I kinda loved the fact that Decker, the hero, had been in jail, I’m not sure what that says about me, but of course, it’s a romance, so he had a damned good reason for what he did. This is one of those books you might pick up not quite knowing what to expect, but man it was worth reading. I started reading it, and I just couldn’t stop. It was bloody fantastic.

I loved the heroine, loved the plot, loved the relationship between Decker and Lizzie. Guys there was such great emotional depths to this book, and of course the sexual element was sizzling too, but the moments of truth between them, and the scenes where the intense longing between the two of them fairly leaped off the page, are what made this a fantastic read for me. Oh, and did I mention that it was a friends-to-lovers theme? You all know what a sucker I am for those, and nobody does it better than Ms Walker.

If you want to check out an excerpt, flip to Shiloh’s site here, and you can Kindle this at Amazon.com here. Trust me, you won’t be sorry that you did.

Nalini Singh's Rock Addiction cover reveal!

Nalini Singh announced a couple of weeks ago that she has written a contemporary romance which will be released on September 9th.

This is cool news. Even cooler? It’s part of a short–five installments–series centered about a successful rock band.

The news made me happy, so I’m taking part in the massive cover reveal:

Rock Addiction cover

What do you think? Isn’t it a great cover? I really like the lip ring and the belt and the hint of chest hair :grin:

And check out the blurb:

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New Book Alert: Love and Shenanigans by Newbie Author Zara Keane

Love and shenanigans

I read an excerpt of Zara Keane’s new book a while ago and I was really impressed, and couldn’t wait to buy it once it came out. Well it’s out so of course went and Kindled it!

Here’s a blurb from Amazon.com:

Vows in Vegas…
Three days before leaving Ireland on the adventure of a lifetime, Fiona Byrne returns to her small Irish hometown to attend the family wedding from hell. When she discovers the drunken vows she exchanged with the groom during a wild Las Vegas trip eight years previously mean they’re legally married, her future plans ricochet out of control. Can she untangle herself from the man who broke her heart so long ago? Does she even want to?

…True Love in Ballybeg.
Gavin Maguire’s life is low on drama, high on stability, and free of pets. But Gavin hadn’t reckoned on Fiona blasting back into his life and crashing his wedding. In the space of twenty-four hours, he loses a fiancée and a job, and gains a wife and a labradoodle. Can he salvage his bland-but-stable life? More importantly, can he resist losing his heart to Fiona all over again?

If you want to check out an excerpt, Zara’s got the first chapter up on her website here

If you want to Kindle the book, you can download it from Amazon.com here.

Happy reading!

Willaful Review: Destiny's Surrender by Beverly Jenkins

17331377Sensuality rating: sinfully steamy, then lawfully steamy. ;-)

I didn’t make it through the first book in this series — feisty heroine and love/hate relationship, I could not deal — but Destiny’s Surrender sounded so interesting, I had to give it a try. It was a very different kind of read, and pretty compelling.

Set in San Francisco in 1885, the story opens with an encounter between prostitute Billie and her favorite john, Drew. She’s a little perturbed afterwards to discover her birth control was faulty, and sure enough, she becomes pregnant. This isn’t a book that follows the unwritten rules of romance, however: Billie has no certainty at all that Drew is the father.

The realistic tone continues as we discover that Billie has been pregnant before and had a chemical abortion. It made her so ill she can’t face another, and decides to have the baby and give it up to a good family — or more accurately, let her madam sell it for the money to live on when she has to stop working. However she didn’t realize how much she would love her baby, and when the time comes, can’t bear to let him go. A convenient birthmark proving parentage, she turns to Drew for help.

Drew’s reaction is also far from typically “heroic.” He’s very angry — the fact that Billie arrives just in time to ruin his engagement to a “suitable” woman doesn’t help — and just wants her and the baby to go away. But his strong-willed stepmother has other ideas.

I was sorry the splot hinged on an implausible heriditary birthmark; I think it could have worked without it. I also disliked the suspense plot, which features a very nasty villain. (This was also why I DNF’d the first Beverly book I tried.) But I really enjoyed Billie, who’s about as far from emo as a person can be; she always faces facts and does what she has to do. This line kind of sums her up: “for Billie birthdays had never been anything to put on the dog for. She acknowledged it when she got up in the morning, then got on with her day.” It’s sadder, in its way, than many a more obviously tragic heroine. Billie is also brave and resourceful, and eventually makes a place for herself in “respectable” society through those traits.

Drew was less defined as a character, and I would have liked to see less of the nasty villain and more of Drew’s growth as a person. One of the interesting things about this story is that it’s set during a time when black Americans were starting to lose freedoms they previously had. Drew, who is of African-American and Spanish heritage, is a successful lawyer who finds that judges are suddenly refusing to allow him into courtrooms; although he’s from a well-off family and isn’t financially dependent on his career, this is a blow. But not a lot of time is spent on it.

I appreciated how essentially ordinary Billie is – she’s neither exalted as special, nor demonized for her pragmatic reactions to  being poor and pregnant. Contrarily, that made the book something out of the ordinary. I give it 3 1/2 stars; you can buy it here.

Published by Avon. Review copy from the public library.