Disintegration?

There’s a wee storm in the publishing world. It started last week when Jill Noble left Noble Romance. She sent out a letter to authors (I didn’t get one, but wouldn’t have expected to as I have only a single title there from February 2009) that can be found on Absolute Write if you want to see it. I’m not gonna post any links to stuff. There’s no need since this post is just my comment on what I read and observe and what facts I do know. And just so you know, my observations aren’t actual fact either because they are subjective. The bare facts are these:

  • Jill said she was the owner of the company.
  • She left the company and in the letter she sent out basically said she was an employee of the company not the owner.
  • She left the company without notice which, according to other Noble staff, left the processing of royalties in limbo since she was the one who did the reports.
  • She hasn’t removed the title of owner from all Noble Romance related social media or her own social media yet. It’s been changed on some but not all.
  • She said authors could contact specific Noble staff members for more information but at least one of those email addresses is now bouncing.
  • Editors were locked out of their email accounts. (This may have been because she left and passwords needed to be changed, not because the editors were being let go as some surmised.)
  • The author loop was shut down. (Purportedly because the authors were upset and panicked and expressed those emotions and a staff member took exception to the posts.)
  • A Noble staff member emailed at least one author and said there was already new management in place and Jim Noble, Jill’s brother and the man whom we are told by staff is the actual owner,  would make a statement by today.
  • Several authors opened a Yahoo loop for authors and staff after the other one was shut down. They also started a Facebook page for info posting.
  • Several authors have blogged about this. Also, Karen Knows Best, EREC, Teddy Pig and Dear Author have all mentioned it or devoted posts to it. (Comments on some of these have been…interesting.)
  • Jill and her daughter Natasha commented on author C.H. Scarlett’s blog about all of this.
  • Jill also commented on Facebook about it with a comment about cleaning out the trash which seemed to be directed toward Noble authors. That comment has since been deleted or made private but one author has a screenshot of it. (The comment is fact as the screenshot bears out, but the intent is subject to interpretation. I know what I think, but your mileage may vary.)

So what does this all mean? Well, for those of us who have been around long enough and have witnessed the demise of several publishing houses…it clearly appears to be disintegration of Noble Romance Publishing. A major person in the company either leaves abruptly, isn’t reachable, and isn’t conducting business as usual. Author panic ensues. Some staff defends the company. Other staff panics. A reorganization of some kind is attempted. Business as usual doesn’t quite come to pass. The house folds.

Noble seems to be following that pattern currently. Maybe I and everyone else who thinks the writing on the wall is wrong. Maybe Jim Noble can make this fly without his sister. Only time will tell. Meanwhile, there’s some nasty comments happening all over and someone on the author loop started feeding the posts there to Jill and/or her daughter Natasha which in turn has disintegrated into name calling and the public soothing of Natasha’s rumpled feathers by her mother on C.H. Scarlett’s blog. The only reason I mention this last thing is because it just seemed weird to me. Why do that in public? Can’t you just phone your kid? I mean, it leads me to believe that the comments were there for the authors who were panicked and ranting and not for Jill and her kid. Meh. What and ever.

I don’t have much vested here. I have a single title at Noble. I have never received a 1099 from them and will be requesting that they fix that. There’s a clause in my contract that they did not fulfill and I have already emailed the owner about that material breach and will be following it up with a certified letter. Basically, I want my rights back. They could just fix my problems with them and hold me to my 7 years. I don’t think they will last as long as it takes to make me wait until February 2016 for my rights. But we’ll see.

And now, here’s my photo for this week!

Yes! I finally finished the cover for Quintessence. I had been searching and searching for the right background and over the weekend I found it. This is the cover for Aiden and Cadence’s story.

And with that, I’m outta here. Have a great Monday!

 

UPDATE: One of the authors heard from Noble staff…the announcement from Jim Noble re the company reorg etc is now said to be coming middle of the week, not today. Hmmmn.

To the Bone

I’ve been working my fingers to the bone and some of it feels like it’s for free. A bunch of cover art, a lot of writing, some website work…Enough stuff that I can’t even get to my own author website which has non-existent and messed up book pages. (I really, really need to fix that.) But there are rewards for what I do. When I write, I have releases and those bring in royalties. When I do covers, mostly I get paid right away for them, for which I am grateful because with any cover there is an outlay of money on the artist’s part to create the cover. If I spend my grocery money for the week making three covers and I don’t get paid for two weeks on them, we don’t eat. Which is why I sometimes wonder why I agreed to do some covers and be paid based how well the book sells. This goes hand in hand with why the heck I wrote a story for the M/M Goodreads group for free and why you can download Breathe Me In at All Romance eBooks tomorrow for free.

So here’s the deal. I thought I’d give the new cover thing a try because I thought it might bring my work to the eyes of other publishers and authors who are looking to self-pub and need covers.  I thought it might be a good investment in terms of getting my work in front of more people and a different audience.

The same goes for the Goodreads story. This group has nearly 6,000 members. I’m willing to bet a lot of them don’t know me and/or haven’t read my work. Doing the prompt for their Love is Always Write event is a chance for those members to get to know my work. If they like it, they could go looking for my backlist (damn, need to fix my website!) in order to find other books they might want to read.

So you could say that both ventures are an experiment. Obviously, if the cover art one doesn’t start paying out more than I’ve paid in, it won’t be a viable venture long term. I’m keeping track of what I spend and will compare it to what I make to see if this is something I should continue with. It’s only one publisher, if I decide it’s not working out, I can stop. The other publishers pay me up front, one directly via Paypal (for which I’m grateful) and the other via Paypal echecks which means I get paid in about 4 days. Sometimes the wait sucks, but at least it’s not quarterly.

With writing, you always have to wait to get paid if your publisher is a small indie press.  Sales come in and then the pubs pay out royalties (unlike the big NYC houses that pay an advance and then you have to earn that out via sales.)  I’m used to royalties trickling in from my different publishers at different times of the month. It’s cute when Rott calls me at work to tell me I got a check from “The Cave.” Some pubs pay with a check mailed to me and others via direct Paypal or Paypal echeck.

So I’m working my fingers to the bone to get all my projects done as quickly as possible. Now, that the Goodreads story is done, I’ve got to finish my expansion of Mating which shouldn’t take long. After that, I’ve got two more manuscripts to work on. One is a novella (probably about 15-20K) for MLR Press’s Father’s Day releases. It will be the last story about my pilots Sebastian and Ryder. The other manuscript is the long await sequel to Fire Season, Fire Storm. I’m so looking forward to writing Holden and Garret again.

As for really giving my work away for free…tomorrow you can get a copy of Breathe Me In for free from All Romance eBooks as part of their Earth Day celebration. I did this once before and it was great. For those of you who like the Tales series and/or like M/M books, you’ll definitely want to download this one!

Now, it’s time for a Marcus and then off to work with me.

Oh, what a yummeh Marcus! *sigh*

Have a great Monday!

Unhinged

I was writing last night and wrote the line that my hero was so overcome by his passion for the other hero that his brain had come unhinged. I think I have a little of that today. I feel brain dead for sure. I read a novel, did about a dozen covers (some mockups and some finals), did a few website graphics, and wrote a few thousand words this weekend. Oh, and we watched The Big Year. Funny movie. Really cute. Now, it’s Monday and my brain definitely feels unhinged. So I’m just gonna give you a sample of what I did this weekend, hand you off a Marcus and toddle off to my office. Since my boss didn’t call me over the weekend I guess our office pool didn’t win the MegaMillions either.

I love it when authors are easy to work with. Makes my life a whole lot easier and means I can actually do that many covers in a weekend. So kudos to everyone I’ve been working with lately!

Now, time for a retro Marcus (ie one I’ve posted before) who will guarantee that at least something will go right for me today. 😉

Here’s a little tip for some of you who like my M/M books, on April 10 All Romance eBooks will have Breathe Me In as a FREE download in honor of Earth Day. So mark your calendars and go get it for FREE! Have a happy Monday everyone!

News of the Day

Today’s post is a just a hodge podge of information. I have some stuff to share and no other ideas about what to write because, as usual, Daylight Savings Time just fucks me up.

First of all, I have a new cover! Ellora’s Cave’s artist Syneca did this great cover for Runaways. Originally, Runaways was a short story at Freya’s Bower. There was more to the story but I just wrote one piece of it and submitted it. Now, I’ve got my rights back so I expanded the story as it was meant to be. A nice little M/M/F menage. Very hot stuff. It should be out later this month.

Next stop is my story for the M/M Goodreads group. It’s almost finished but it’s not exactly in my normal voice. It’s a little different and much heavier on the sexual tension than the actual sex. So not my usual way of writing a short story or novella. At any rate, I got myself some beta readers because it’s been awhile since I wrote from a prompt and this isn’t coming out in my normal voice so I need to ensure it all sounds good. I should be done way in advance of the deadline thank God.

And speaking of deadlines, I intend to have Runaways’ sequel, Mating, expanded and to my editor at EC by the end of March. This one stays M/F but it’s getting more to the story and a hefty dose of added sex as well. No cover art as yet. At least, if it goes novella length, it will get a new cover otherwise it gets a Quickie cover which I already have.

I’ve got Kissing Joan Collins and Magic Lessons out right now as well as stand alone versions of Afterburner and Rousing Caine. With Runaways and Mating on the horizon, I’ll be doing some cover ads to help promo the books. I’ve got space on an ad for RWR magazine coming out in April. The Rainbow Romance Writers have a full page ad and I’m one of 9 books in the ad. Kissing Joan Collins is on the same row as A.C. Katt’s Shattered Glass which is a cover I did. So I feel like I get double exposure!

Speaking of covers again, I signed a contract to do covers for MuseItUp Publishing and I’ve got some feelers out with other publishers as well. Hopefully, you’ll all be seeing more of my work in the coming months in new places.

I am signed up to go to the GayRomLit reader’s retreat in Albuquerque, NM in October as an author. It should be a fun time and I’m really looking forward to the break from work and home. I’ll be taking some swag and signing books and I’m definitely going to have some kind of Lords of Aether swag to give out. We want to get ourselves more readers from that retreat.

I’m signed up to judge the Rainbow Awards and will be reading a few books for that over the next few months. I’m also going to do first round judging for OCC’s Orange Rose contest as well. Not sure if I’ll be entering any contests myself this year. I keep thinking about it, but thus far haven’t done it. Maybe the contest the Passionate Plume chapter puts on. I finished really well there last year.

Motley’s coming home to stay soon. Her roomie is graduating so baby’s coming home to mama. 😉 The babies will love it. They miss her horribly especially Rambo. And a welcome home to my friend Hilly who’s back in California after an extended stay in Idaho.

Uhhh. There’s probably more news I could think up, but I’m drawing a blank for the moment so maybe it’s time to stop. Heh. At least, that means it’s now time for a Marcus!

Oh, that is so nice for a Monday morning. A definite pick me up! Now, off you all go and have a great Monday!

 

 

Comfort Zone

I finished Kissing Joan Collins early Sunday morning and turned it in to my editor. It’s a short novella for Valentine’s Day and will be out at MLR Press. The story has a little more snarky humor than I usually inject into a story and it vaguely reminds me of chick lit stories. I dedicated the book to a fellow author because of something he said once that stuck in my head and became fuel for this story.

Usually, when I dedicate a book to someone it’s because they’ve done something that somehow influenced the story. It might be that they just encouraged me when I needed a boost to finished. Or they could have said something that spawned an idea. The smallest influence could be the reason I dedicate a book to someone.

In this instance, the other author said something about authors needing to step out of their comfort zone sometimes. I don’t think it was one of those profound things you say where everyone goes “WOAH.” You know what I mean – the “I coulda had a V-8” moment. I think it was just something he said in conversation (I forget if it was on a loop, in a chat or in email) and probably didn’t intend for me to take away as inspiring. But I did.

You see this story is about how two men (it is a gay rom story) step out of their comfort zones one Valentine’s Day and discover a bright future together. The backstory is that the two guys meet in college and are instantly attracted to one another. They both react really dorky and are embarrassed by their actions so they each hide their attraction. They go on to spend their college years as roommates and best friends. As adults, their friendship continues. Then, one of the men leaves the area for a year for work. While he’s gone, the one left behind realizes he still has deeper feelings for his friend. The one who’s away realizes he loves and misses his friend so much that one, he needs to move back home and two, he needs to tell the other guy he wants to be with him.

The hero who moved away enlists the help of his friend’s siblings, who of course know their brother loves this guy. They set s scene that forces both men out of their comfort zone and confessions ensue. Of course, a hot night together also ensues. Followed by a morning with doubts and fears exposed. But they work it out because I don’t write anything but happy endings. LOL

The catalyst, the thing that forces the men out of their comfort zones…a dress. One man dresses as Joan Collins playing Alexis Carrington in Dynasty in order to get the attention of the other man. The sight of his friend in a dress has the other hero leaping the barriers of his comfort zone to try to get with him. So it’s almost as if the Joan Collins outfit is a character all its own in this book.

At any rate, it’s a charming little fun story about a guy in drag trying to nail his best friend. 😉 It will have the standard Valentine’s Day cover for sales at MLR Press and I made it a fun cover for third party distribution sites.

I’ve got other projects I need to get to next but I’ll probably take the next day or two and figure out which one should be next. Meanwhile, let’s round up this post with a lovely Marcus on this Monday morning.

Oh yum. Marcus and a fast machine. What a great combo! Everyone have a great Monday!