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In this corner, we have Mobipocket, a wiry French fighter. He's got a lot of experience but it takes a whole team of folks to get him into the ring.

In the other corner, we have PayPal, a brawny little up and coming American pugilist.  He's well financed but the set of his jaw speaks to a hidden agenda. 

But wait, sports fans, if we want to get a real handle on this battle, we can't look at the boxers in the ring.  We've got to check out the training rooms in the back.  Wait a minute, they look a lot alike.  Full of skinny businessmen in dark suits with fire and dollar signs in their eyes.  Who are these guys? 

It's not Mobi vs PayPal at all.  Why, it's, it's ............Amazon against Ebay!!

We don't know whose gonna win, but we know whose most likely to lose - the writers who carry as much weight in this battle as the bait at the end of a fishing lure. 

Mobi has been having some trouble for a while.  Allegedly, it has a long, long list of e-tailers that carry the e-books of authors who offer them for sale through Mobi.  But in recent months, sales of writers have been drying up until they disappear altogether.  A read of Mobi's chat boards features posts of a number of authors, including yours truly, saying that their sales had been going gangbusters until presto, chango, they came to a dead stop.  At that point, some enterprising authors - not me, but I wish it had been - commenced looking for a way to get their royalty money out of Mobi's accounts and into their own.  See, Mobi has a policy.  It pays no royalties to writers until they total $150.00.  Funny, sales seems to stop about the time many writers would reach that threshold. 

Anyway, at least one enterprising chap figured out that if he canceled his Mobi account, that Mobi would have to pay him all accumulated royalties, whatever they totaled.  Great.  Since nobody seems to be selling enough to reach the magic number, why not pull out and wait for Mobi to suffer enough losses that it fixes the royalty structure.  Well, there's just one problem with that.  It's the little matter of getting the money to the writer.

Mobi has stated on its forum site that PayPal is not processing payments to writers from Mobi.  Other comments, from e-tailers, say that PayPal is also not processing payments to Mobi.  Why?  Mobi says PayPal objects to some of the content carried on Mobi. The Mobi site does carry a large erotic section that goes a lot further than sensual romance description in more mainstream books.  Mobi carries erotic tales that are more like a literary version of porn movies.  Essentially, Mobi carries what people post and leaves the filtering to the e-tailers and to the public's power of the mouse.

...continue reading "David vs. the Munchkins, or is it Goliath vs. Gigantor?"

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Fathers are a lot like movie stars.

They cast the biggest, the broadest, the most all-encompassing shadow in the house.  They inspire, motivate, de-motivate and terrorize.  And all too often, they do it all without ever trying.  The memory that sticks in my mind from my own family features my hubby and Zack, our eldest (now 18 and about to head off to UCF to college although Mommy isn't sure how she'll like the dorm room). 

Zack, as a combat crawler at the age when he should have been toddling, had a couple of challenges.  First, his Mom worried constantly that he might be hungry.  (She still does).  Today he can just give me the look, say he loves me, and leave the table.  As a creepy crawler, he didn't have that option.  So he was a big butterball of a baby and toddling presented size challenges.  Second, his own mental make-up, even at that little age, meant he didn't want to do anything until he could succeed.  He did his combat crawling while his peers held onto furniture and took lurching little steps. 

Then one day Zack's dad was in the kitchen and Zack and Mom were in the den.  Dad started whistling and Zack jumped to his feet and ran into the kitchen, chasing the man making the merry noise.  Yeah, his Father inspired his first steps without even trying.

...continue reading "An Ode To Daddy Dearest"

Did you know that Golden and Faerie - my books now out in paperback - are about Arts & Photography? 

It was a shock to me too.  I can only imagine how much it surprises, and perhaps appalls the highbrow artsy browsers at Amazon.  I can hear them murmuring and muttering now, one of those books in our section?  Love and lust, sex and second chances, over the top head over wonder worm heroes in love - right here with books about art?  How dare the writer post such drivel in this section!

Well, this invasion wasn't intentional.  I self published Golden and Faerie through the Amazon subsidiary, CreateSpace.  I chose that service after some research into pricing and retail channels.  With their pro plan, I can price my books reasonably, price them at numbers I'd pay for a book.  With some of the other services, by the time the initial publishers' commission got added on, and then Amazon or the retail channel commission got added on, a paperback book would be priced at $25 to $30.  Lord knows, I'd never pay that for a  paperback and wouldn't expect anyone else to either.  With CreateSpace and the pro plan, my books get automatically listed on Amazon.  I can price them well (now listed at $12.95) and everyone can still make a little money.  It's that automatic part that's caused me some trouble.

When I did the initial book listing, I paid a lot of attention to the category, genre and sub-genre. I debated pricing with my marketing-manager hubby.  What I overlooked was one small drop-down list.  It was the browse section, meaning, where books are listed for browsing on the Amazon site.  The first entry, where you'd get set if you don't change it, is Arts & Photography.  It's such a small little list compare to the rest of the data on the site.  Small and easy to overlook.  But sometimes, the small things are the big things.  Yes, I should have sweated the small stuff.

...continue reading "Sweat The Small Stuff"

A quick blog post from sometimes sunny and sometimes stormy Orlando, Florida. I know what you're thinking, but no, we did not travel here to visit the mouse. My eldest, Zack - the braniac National Merit Finalist - was honored to receive a full scholarship to the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida. Their mascot is "The Knight." He'll be attending the school's outstanding Honors College, Burnett Honors College.

We've been in Orlando for a two-day orientation called, "The Knighting." It is now complete, and my son has registered for classes for the fall, pursuing an engineering major. He wants to go to Law School - like Mom. His Mom advised him to major in a "real" undergrad discipline where he could get a job. That was a 'do as I say and not as I do'  bit of advice. I majored in English. Many of my Law School classmates majored in either history or poli sci. With engineering, my son will have a leg up on construction, products and other very technical litigation. He can also get a job as an engineer and right now that would be easier than finding a job as a lawyer.

Zack is a smart kid and I'm very proud of what he's accomplished. I'm also very grateful to the outstanding educators at UCF who saw enough potential to give him a full scholarship. I'm confident he will achieve wondrous things and make UCF proud.

...continue reading "The Knighting Is Complete"

Drum roll, please! I got an actual customer review on Amazon. 

 A reader gave a brief review of A Faerie Fated Forever. She gave it 3 out of 5 stars, which ain't bad.  Yeah, 5 out of 5 would've been nice but heck, I'm pretty darned new at this whole publication business.  Besides, what has me doing cartwheels isn't the 3 stars.  It's what she said about the book.

The reader titled her review Good Read Overall.  She said she started reading and didn't put it down until the end, but thought there was a bit of over kill when he (Nial) finally decided he was in love.  First and foremost, I write to entertain.  When I pick up a book by one of my long time faves or by a new writer, I know it's a success if I have trouble putting it down.  If I pick up one and read it straight through - well, that's a home run.  Faerie entertained the reviewer.  That puts a big ole smile on my face.

The reviewer also said she thought there was a bit of "over kill" when Nial acknowledged that he'd fallen in love.  That comment only proves how smart this reviewer must be.  In Faerie as in ALL of my books, I write the love story over the top.  There's a fair amount of tongue in cheek involved in this and it's certainly not intended to reflect reality.  Anyone who has read this blog knows that I want my readers to escape reality.  And if you're going to escape this reality, why not write one that women would like to inhabit? 

...continue reading "3 Out Of 5 Ain't Bad"

I've been stuck in the final lap for a while now.

Yep, I'm writing the final, climactic chapter of my new contemporary romance. The problem is that I've been writing the final chapter for a couple of months. It should have been long finished.  By now, I should have finished the new one, finshed a pre-publication edit of A Sixth Sense Of Forever - the sequel to Faerie and GoldenAND started on my next projectInstead, I keep getting side-tracked on tangents, writing pages of text over one weekend and not getting back to it until the next weekend.  Then, when I read it back over, I realize that it's all wrong - either wrong for the mood, wrong for the characters, or wrong for the story.  I hit delete and write the section over again.

I've been making myself write - at least on the weekends.  I know I should write something every day.  I used to do that.  It used to be that I couldn't wait to get home and write.  The words would be churning inside, just waiting to burst free. But these days, it's sometimes tough to write on the weekends.  The problem is that my muse has turned fickle.

...continue reading "In Uncertain Times, We Have to Work Harder For Happy Endings"

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Grey's - The Finale.  Happy and sad and puzzling all rolled up into a two hour teaser to keep viewers wondering until next season.  I'll leave the pondering of Izzie and George's fates to others.  That's not what started me asking about the rest of the story. 'Twas the post-it vows and Shonda Sunshine's tease that did that. 

As you surely know, instead of making a trip to City Hall on a day when two friends' lives hung in the balance  - even if they didn't know about George yet - Mer/Der decided to get married by writing vows on a post-it note. Mer had suggested the quick trip to City Hall because she couldn't live another day without being married to Der.  He agreed, but later, it was Derek who came up with the idea that they'd write down the vows they wanted to make to each other on a post it note.  Then, he said, they'd be married.

They decided to vow:  (1) they would love each other even when they hated each other; (2) no one could leave or run away; and (3) they'd take care of each other when they were old and senile.  Kiss and tender moment and they left and proclaimed themselves married.  But of course, they aren't. I'm sitting in South Carolina where we have common law marriage where they could proclaim themselves publicly married and make it so.  Grey's is situated in the state of Washington where there is no such thing.  Mer and Der proclaiming themselves married does not make it so.

In an interesting interview with Ausiello of TV Guide, Shonda  Rhimes says that the post it wedding "will have big reverberations next season."  Now there, romance fans, is a REST OF THE STORY CHALLENGE. 

Anytime a man you want to marry suggests a post-it wedding, you should worry.  There are lots of shoes left to drop here. One is what they didn't vow - fidelity.  If Izzie and George do go off into the great beyond, likely more doctors will be brought into the mix.  They'd provide potential romantic threats for Mer/Der's unorthodox coupling.  There's the nurse Der slept with a couple of times - what if she was pregnant?  There's Der's ex off on another show that lots of folks think should return to this one.  On Private Practice, Addison has been flirting with a romance with a married man.  What if she returns to Seattle determined to get her man back and give marriage another try?  In real life, Ellen Pompeo is pregnant and if her character gets pregnant, there would be a lot of social pressure for a wedding and some issues for the couple to deal with like, whose last name would the baby have.  There will surely be pressure from staff and friends to make the marriage real which is likely to cause Mer to bow up, refuse and stir the pot some more.  Little issues, like last names on medical licenses loom as well.  What if there's another lawsuit or a trial with the one filed last season?  Mer couldn't claim marital privilege based on a post-it wedding. 

How would I write the rest of the story?  Der's Mom gave the couple her seal of approval and even passed along the engagement ring she'd never allowed Addison to wear.  But Mer (which I just do not find realistic) proclaims herself not a ring kind of gal. She's not wearing the precious heirloom.  Der's sisters don't like Mer anyway and once they find out she's not even wearing the ring - they may change Mom's mind too.  Implications?  Obvious and many.  The family may bring in some of Der's old girlfriends.  They may conspire to show Mer in a bad light.  They may push Der to demand a formal wedding which Mer's decided she doesn't want because they're already married.  I suspect the social pressure from the hospital will play a part along with some snide comments from Mark.  Insecurity on both sides will rear its ugly head because they don't really have papers on each other.  If Mer won't wear an engagement ring, will either she or Der wear a wedding ring?  That's bound to cause some internal friction between the couple.  I can see Der not telling his family about the "wedding" and Mer not understanding.  I can imagine his family's reaction when he does tell them.  Der's family is much more traditional.  A post it wedding?  Get real.  Clearly, they would say, he staged the farce because deep down, he didn't want to marry her at all.  Deep down, they'd say, he still considers himself wed to Addison, or wed not at all.     

Where's it all headed?  One possibility is that Mer will be pregnant on the show and it won't be a stable pregnancy - which would fit the character.  The medical challenges might bring Addison in for a consult and possibly even some of the temptation for Der I was discussing earlier.  Reunion sex is even a possibility given that a pregnant Mer would be moodier than a non-pregnant Mer and Der would likely spend most of his time reminding himself he promised to love her even if he hated her.  If Der's not the husband then Mer would call the shots with treatment.  And if it culminated in a life or death decision, then Der wouldn't have any legal right to tell the medical team to save Mer before the baby.  The one with the legal right to call the shots would be the next of kin, Mer's sister, or her designated "person" Christina or even Mer's Father.  Dramatic implications in that struggle are obvious.  It could end with a life or death scenario, with Derrick demanding one thing and the others demanding another.

The medical scenario works the same even if Derrick is in a life or death crisis.  His next of kin would be Mom, influenced by his sisters.  They'd have already had the tug of war - was there or wasn't there a wedding?  No priest or reverend, no license, no marriage Der's family would conclude.   In Der's case, he could be lingering in some unconscious state for which his family blamed Mer.  They might forbid her from even seeing him, calling for some in the staff to break the rules to get her into his room. 

With either scenario,  but especially with Derrick lying ill and near death, I can imagine a court battle between either Mer/Der and the family/friends over the wedding that wasn't. 

Shonda Sunshine says the post it wedding will cause big reverberations next season.  Now if that doesn't get your writer's imagination churning, I recommend a long vacation somewhere tropical with moonlight walks on the surf that end in some grown up games with waves lapping at your legs.  And other body parts. 

How would you write the rest of the story?  Game on, Grey's fans!!

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Many of us imagine the perfect mother as some combination of TV matriarchs June Cleaver and Marion Cunningham. Those mothers and the ones so often portrayed in film and literature are happy, well adjusted souls. They act as the rudder, steering the family through the choppy waters of life. Society's image of "the perfect mother" is someone who puts aside her wants and wishes, her goals and ambitions, and focuses on those of her children or her spouse. In other words, to fit the mold, the perfect mother must be the perfect martyr.

I've never been much for molds. I don't like them for my characters and I don't like them in my reality. I've also never been much for martyrdom. If I'm nailed to a cross then I can't hug my kids. Hands down, I think hugging and frequent reminders that my love and my support are unconditional beats trying to guilt my two phenomenal sons (Zack -18- and Sam -11) into doing "the right thing." Who says it's the right thing anyway? The phrase makes my point - social norms make mothers into judges who decide absolute right and absolute wrong, who know that Junior must do this or that to be happy and productive but that doing the other thing would not only be wrong, it would make him miserable.

...continue reading "The Best Mothers Are Certifiable"

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Currently, I'm terminally indecisive about Mobipocket. I think there's something strange with my sales declining about when I'd have earned out royalty. But then again, I've been married to hubby the magificent for over 20 years. Likely, I've acquired his gift for seeing conspiracies around every corner.

I had deactivated my books on Mobi. But realizing that I may be seeing a boogeyman that's not there, I just reactivated.

I want to beat the invisible monster, but I also want to get my money. They're holding a sizeable chunk until I reach 150 Euros. Let's see how long it takes!

Personally, I'm counting the days until Smashwords starts their new affiliate program. Smashwords does something amazing. It pays the royalties writers earn every month. Imagine, if you earn the money, Smashwords pays you. What a concept.

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The husband here, reporting for duty.

I have been doing other things besides reading my wife's book, Brotherly Love, believe it or not. Avoiding stabbing myself in the neck or running out in front of a Greyhound bus while screaming in terror, for instance.

Not a big fan of the romance genre. Sorry.

Anyways, one actual useful thing I've been doing is getting A Faerie Fated Forever ready for paperback. To be blunt, I never liked the original job I did on the cover design. It seemed a bit amateurish to me, which is strange because it was not the first one I ever did (that one was E-Mail Enticement). So I took the opportunity to change the front cover and make it a little more professional looking.

You should now see the new cover on our website, both in the sidebar and, of course, in the Complete List of E-Books page. I will look into how difficult it is to change the cover on the e-book sites. If it's worth the trouble, you'll be seeing the new cover on those as well.

And where else will you be seeing the new Faerie cover, you may ask? Why, on the paperback of course! The CreateSpace page is up for it already, but it won't be active until we get the proof copy and make sure everything is acceptable for you, the reader. The Amazon page selling the paperback will be up and running shortly after that.