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UK: pay attention across the pond

UK: pay attention across the pond

Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Posted in: Azteclady Speaks

As you guys get ready to vote in a General Election (again) you may want to keep what is happening in the US right now, front and center in your mind.

Talk to everyone you know–family, friends, co-workers, strangers on the street–and make sure they fucking show up and vote.

Vote, for democracies in the West are under attack, and–as you can see if you are paying any attention to the orange menace and national embarrassment shenanigans over here–they are a lot more fragile than we want to think.

Defend your freedom by exercising your ONE fucking responsibility wisely.

Show up. Vote.

Good luck.

Congratulations, Serena!

Congratulations, Serena!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Posted in: Azteclady Speaks

Serena Williams, GOAT, has just announced her pregnancy!

Heartfelt congratulations to her, and best wishes for an uneventful pregnancy, and good health for both mother and baby.


For unpub writers, from Susanna Kearsley

Samhain Publishing closed, but...

Quick note: there were some WordPress shenanigans that made it impossible for either Karen or I to post for a while; then, there’s life. Sorry ’bout that.

So, after last year’s false alarm, Samhain Publishing finally pulled the plug, on February 28.

From the outside, and because that they gave a bit more warning than other publishers, it seemed as if the closing process was going to be a relatively smooth affair.

Alas, that’s not to be. Reports over at Absolute Write Bewares forum are that Ms Brashear is asking authors to sign some questionable documents in order to get their right reversions letters, plus making them wait until sometime in the summer paying the last of the royalties owed them.

What irks me is that Ms Brashear et al must have known this was coming at least a couple of months prior to closing. Why didn’t they have all their ducks in a row before making the announcement? Why didn’t they open a dialogue with their authors regarding when and how the rights reversals and last payments would be made?

So here we are, yet another publisher behaving badly.

All Romance eBooks is closing

Update below the fold

See further update at end

Here’s the full email to customers:

December 28, 2016

It is with great sadness that I announce our intent to wind down the operations of All Romance eBooks, LLC. For the first year since opening in 2006, we will be posting a loss. The financial forecast for 2017 isn’t hopeful and we’ve accepted that there is not a viable path forward. 

We realize that you have choices when it comes to shopping via the Internet. We appreciate those of you who have chosen to shop at All Romance and will miss your patronage. We’re grateful for the years we’ve been able to serve you. The site(s) will be closing down on December 31, 2016 at Midnight (Central/US) and you will no longer have access or be able to make purchases. 

Please take this opportunity to finalize any transactions, download your purchases, and back up your library.


Lori James

All Romance Ebooks, LLC

I have no idea whether there were any rumbles about this before now, but I confess my surprise, and my dismay. I don’t think giving customers (readers and authors/publishers) a mere three days to get everything straightened out is all that considerate. Perhaps it means it was a relatively sudden decision? If anyone knows, I’d appreciate the input.


Some EC news...

Go over here to read the post, if you are interested.

And so it goes...

Whenever a tragedy strikes, there are those happy to point fingers, to either self-congratulate (à la Drumf) or claim that the victims got what they deserve.

Usually, sooner or later those people get that they deserve.

To wit: that asshole ‘pastor’ from Georgia who rejoiced, after the massacre at Pulse in Orland, that “they got what they deserved,” has been arrested on child molestation charges.

May the full weight of the legal system ream his worthless ass.


For all the men expressing their outrage...

…over everything, from Hillary Clinton’s fairly earned nomination as candidate for president of the US, to Bradley Cooper not actually being Chris Kyle (though he played him in the movie American Sniper), to Ghostbusters being actually a decent movie for what it is, to women having opinions online…

You obviously have serious feelings about things you know nothing about. So, here, have a quote:

Blessed is the man, who having nothing to say, abstains from giving wordy evidence of the fact.
George Eliot

Oh, and by the way, that quote? Written around 1879. And George Elliot? Pen name of novelist Mary Ann Evans.

Who is surprised that “She used a male pen name, she said, to ensure her works would be taken seriously. Female authors were published under their own names during Eliot’s life, but she wanted to escape the stereotype of women only writing lighthearted romances.”?

Answer: no woman who has dealt with men and their prejudices and delicate feelings is surprised.


Da Donald: I’m going to make America GREAT again!

Melania: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.




(I’m so weak)


Holy what the fuck, Samhain?

Last year I had to eat my words in a really big way about ‘just reader and blogger’ Jane Line (aka Jen Frederick, author)

Now I have to eat my words about Christina ‘just kidding’ Brashear and Samhain.

I said a while back that Samhain’s announcement that they were closing their doors sometime this summer showed a lot of class (which, compared to EC-we-have-changed-our-name-ECforBooks, it did).

I did say that because I could only see the face the company showed in public, and I believed that while there were rumblings, it was a natural part of the process. People were being fired, or losing contract opportunities, etc.

Then came the announcement that oh, no, they found a way not to close.

Today I see that there’s another email, which has not been made public (yet?), which calls that big, honking, PUBLIC announcement a few months back, a ‘misunderstanding’ on everyone’s part.

What the actual fuck is this? I thought Samhain was a company run by a professional. More fool me.

Authors, beware–no one but you truly gives a shit about your career.

Make that the credo you live by. Make sure all your contracts have an escape clause for when publishers start behaving like assholes, and don’t sign with anyone who won’t allow you to protect yourself. The honeymoon turns to hunting moon soon enough.

Edited to add: Lauren Gallagher/L.A. Witt writes an open letter to Samhain and Christina Brashear. (I repeat: what the actual fuck????)

Further edit: under the cut, there’s a lovely screencap of the email that was sent (yesterday?) to Samhain authors. (via Ambergina at Absolute Write)


Jesse Williams at BET Awards 2016

Listen—don’t just hear and nod your head. LISTEN!

(Full text below the cut)

Now we go, now we don't go (aka, Samhain update)

No idea what is going on behind the scenes here, as I have not seen the email that was sent out to Samhain Publishing’s authors at some point yesterday/last night.

What is known is that, after announcing they were closing (and firing staff/editors/etc?), Christina Brashear is now saying that Samhain will not close.

Honestly? This sucks for those authors who were ready to move on. I see on twitter that several were close to getting their rights back, and had, therefore, already started the process of having new covers made, so they could republish. That money, time and effort? Well, it’s wasted, unless Samhain decides to revert those rights anyway.

Which, from the publisher’s point of view, why would they (unless it’s in the contract)? I mean, already edited and published works that continue to sell, are passive income for them, after all.

And this doesn’t even touch on those editors and cover artists who have already moved on.

Mind you, I had seen some subtle rumbling about things not smelling all that fresh in Denmark, but nothing overt enough that I could point it out with confidence, as evidence of behind-the-scenes drama or upset. After this course reversal, I’m a lot more concerned, and disappointed. From the sidelines, this seems pretty callous and careless, as least when it comes to those authors’ careers.

I just don’t know, folks.

White privilege?

White privilege?

Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Posted in: Azteclady Speaks

So I see this headline on the main page at nbcnews.com: “I was fired because of my race”

When I click through to the article, I see the actual headline is “Wendy Bell Sues TV Station, Says Firing Was Because Of Her ‘Race'” (square quotes included).

It so happens this woman is white, and was fired after writing some pretty racist, paternalistic, and condescending bullshit about an entire community, in the wake of a shooting that left five people injured; to whit:

What if my kids are gay? What do I tell them?

Listen to a smart, compassionate man.

Imbue your children’s lives with love, not with hatred.

Keep on dancing.

Do you know the difference between...
(update at the end)

Torquere Press LLC and Ellora’s Cave? (now, stupidly enough, “EC for Books”–because nothing says “publishing empire” like a generic, forgettable name, hemorrhaging authors, and piss poor service)


Well, the former are not only amateurs in the ‘let’s not pay royalties and give trite, tired, unbelievable excuses for that’ field. They are also criminally stupid–as in, ‘let’s write a fraudulent check for those royalties, see if that’ll shut the unpaid authors up!”

Say what you will about Jaid give-readers-the-finger-I-despise-romance-professional-victim Black, she’s too cunning for that.

She’ll just never write checks for those royalties and other bills.

Update: Julia Talbot, former owner of Torquere, has her say on this mess (as of today, only dog knows what’s next)

OMFG--are you serious?

I really need to stop following #notchilled.

For one, the implosion of EC is never ending, and after a full year and a half of this bullshit, I’m tired of the repetition. It’s same shit, different day, again and again and again–and as a reader who really has no dog in this fight? Not really worth the effort.

On top of this, some of the things said there¹ by EC’s authors/former authors make me want to screech.

Take this one, for example:RobinLRothamonbusinessethics (more…)

Ellora's Cave -- once more, with feeling

For the past year and a half, a number of authors with books published by Ellora’s Cave have publicly asked their readers to refrain from purchasing those titles.

The latest is Em Petrova, who writes on her blog that she’s been waiting for royalty checks since December 2015 (that’s five months, for the calendar-challenged among us), and that that last check was for royalties for March 2015 (that’s a full nine months behind).


PSA: Ellora's Cave website

PSA: Ellora’s Cave website

Monday, May 9, 2016
Posted in: Azteclady Speaks

(Edit after the cut)

Customers, beware!

Apparently the security/trusted website certificate for Ellora’s Cave main website has expired.¹ What this means for customers is that, if you provide your credit card information to the website, in order to purchase books there, you have no guarantee that said information is secure.

I don’t know, nor care, what companty is the IPS for that site, but just as an example, right now GoDaddy has an offer for one-year certificates for $62.99, so it’s not as if it’s a terribly onerous expense.

Mind you, one would think that anyone who runs an online business, understands that, even if the cost was significantly higher, this is not a luxury, but an essential component thereof.

~ * ~

¹ I’m not linking, for obvious reasons. Then again, I wouldn’t link even if the SSL was there :shrug: (more…)

Samhain update of sorts

Samhain update of sorts

Friday, May 6, 2016
Posted in: Azteclady Speaks

Some of you may remember that, earlier this year, Samhain announced that they are starting to wind down operations, and that this process will likely take at least, and likely longer than, six months.

I have kept my ears open for news on this regrettable development; as a reader, I had never heard/read anything negative about them. If there have been rumbles over the years, they have been pretty quiet.

However, after the announcement came out back in late February, I heard some vague rumors that things weren’t going quite as smoothly as Ms Brashear might have wanted. Not being privy to industry scuttlebutt, I really didn’t know anything concrete, so I kept quiet.


"My models are my children" -- sounds familiar?

There’s a…well, I guess we can call a sort of exposé on ‘the dark side of modeling’ over at cnn.com.

For my purposes here, the short version is that, as happens with writers and publishers, models are suing a number of ‘talent agencies’ for everything from withholding payment (gee, sounds familiar to anyone?) to micromanaging the models’ lives, down to what they eat.

Apparently, very few modeling agencies are willing to disclose how they conduct their business to reporters, but a few had things to say. The one soundbite that made my mental alarm go was this one, made by one of the principals at one of the agencies named in the lawsuit:

“My models are my children. I care about all of them. This business is not all about money, but about people.”

Many years ago, in this very blog, author Shiloh Walker commented that she doesn’t want her publisher to be her family, but a properly run business. A couple of months ago, Courtney Milan tweeted that very often, it’s family who commits the worst abuses against vulnerable people (sadly, I don’t have a link to that tweet).

Further, anyone reading this blog for more than a couple of years, has seen this pattern of behaviour repeat itself with at least a half dozen publishers.

Anyone want to place bets as to when those models who work for that agency, and who are part of the lawsuit, stop being this person’s ‘children’ and transform into ‘bad apples’?