Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Publishing is a Business, Treat it as Such

Do you ever get an email and you feel like Alan Funt is hiding in the bushes? Ohh… sorry, probably showed my age there. Think… Ashton Kutcher on his acclaimed television show, Punk’d.

In any case, I woke up today under the assumption that it was just an ordinary Tuesday. However, it would seem that I was way wrong. I signed onto Facebook and I was alerted to a new…we’ll call it ‘drama’ that’s going around in the publishing world as of late. Unlike most dramas in the publishing world, I usually scan over the information just so I can be aware of what everyone is gossiping about, but rarely do I stop to comment, much less form an opinion on the topic. That was until today. There was something about the parties involved that prevented me from merely walking away as an uninterested party. What was that reason you ask? Well, here’s my point of view on things from an outside observer’s perspective…

It would seem that a certain author, who I will refer to from now on as “Author X” is involved in a legal dispute with one of Author X’s publishers. Apparently the dispute centers around something referred to as FRoR (Future Rights of Refusal). From the information I saw, it appeared that this publisher offered Author X a contract on a book, but felt the writing and/or story fit better under a different imprint than the one Author X preferred it to be in. For those of you who don’t know what imprints are, they are basically a way for readers to help ascertain which books fit into certain categories, i.e. ménage, shifters, BDSM, etc.  Some publishing houses do have much more specific imprints and/or guidelines, but this is to just give you an idea.

Now, let me fast forward a bit so I can bring you all up to speed. From what I read this 
author did not accept the contract and after 90 days (the time frame which is normally applicable during the FRoR) Author X took her story and self published it. Here’s where things get a tad messy. Author X did not verify with her publisher who held FRoR to confirm that she was able to self publish said work. Then it would seem that said publisher took actions to protect their interest in the characters which they held the FRoR on.

So there you have it. There’s a legal dispute that is between Author X and said publisher. You think this would be the end of the story. But, wait… there’s more!

We all know there are always two sides to every situation, so I will give you both sides to this coin from my perspective. First, I have no qualms with said publisher and I have no skin in this game. I do however, have a history (albeit a small one) with Author X which does lend to my opinion on this topic. You see, a little over a year ago I shared one of her new release links on both Facebook and Twitter. Then I went so far as to tag Author X in the post. It wasn’t too long before I heard from Author X. I’d say maybe only an hour or so passed before I received quite a baffling private message from her on Facebook. Author X chided me, in quite a condescending manner for tagging her in a post without first letting her know ahead of time. Apparently, Author X hadn’t bothered to go see what it was that I tagged her in, but instead decided to school me on professionalism and how my actions were in “poor form” (actual words she chose) to not let her know beforehand. Umm…what?!?!  You’re mad that I helped promote your new release to my thousands of followers and friends without first notifying you?  Oh the horror!!! Clearly I was completely out of line!! *rolls eyes* Anyway, after I deleted the posts, thus removing her being tagged, I informed her that I was only trying to help out a fellow author (again…how dare I?) which I do from time to time. She then apologized and tried to pull the foot which she had jammed in her mouth out, but sadly failed by continuing to be condescending and explain how she was such a busy and prolific author that she gets confused sometimes. A word to the wise, if you’re going to try and apologize for being rude and arrogant, you might want to try doing it without lavishing yourself with compliments. It might just be considered in… “poor form”.

Now, back on topic… I don’t get involved in these types of disputes between publishers and authors for one very important reason. That being, because I am a firm believe that every instance is as unique as the parties involved. Case in point, I’ve had poor experiences with other publishers, but I kept those experiences private because they were my experiences, and my dissatisfaction with them may not be someone else’s dissatisfaction as every situation is different. You might be asking yourself why I’m getting involved in this dispute then. Well, I’d be happy to answer that question for you! Allow me to explain…
I received an email this afternoon from Author X. Imagine my surprise when I opened said email and read the lengthy request for my help. What?! You want my help? Umm… yeah, let me think about that. Back to what I was saying, Author X was very clever to add an email confidentiality disclosure to the bottom of her email warning me that any sharing of her email could be considered illegal. Eeeks! Soooo glad I read that warning! However, in the long email Author X claims that she would like my assistance in spreading the word on her situation with readers and authors on various avenues such as blogs and message boards. She even goes on to state in her email that I may include the information within her email to do so. Huh? So, wait… let me see if I’ve got this straight. You, who previously attempted to school me on professionalism, is now asking for my help in a situation that you’ve gotten yourself into? To add to that, I’m being warned in the confidentiality disclosure to not share anything she sent me, but then she contradicts her requests by asking me to use the information she’s given me to help better her cause? Umm…  I may have forgotten to mention this, but Author X is basically asking me to help her in a cause which would negatively affect my book sales and future relationship with said publisher. Further, I’d like it known that I don’t claim to be a psychic, but something tells me that if I was drowning and in need of a life preserver, Author X wouldn’t so much as throw me a rope. This may seem like a harsh assumption on my part, however, I remind you that the only time in four years that Author X has said two words to me was to put me in my place for doing something nice. Outside of that I’ve not heard a peep from her. And now she wants my help? Riiiiiiight. Let me get right on that!

Here’s the problem as I see it, and please know that this is only my opinion and I am by no means a lawyer, a judge or even an expert of the topic at hand. However, speaking as a published author who has dealt with several houses and contracts over the years, I offer the following:

Author X has a publishing house which holds FRoR over her characters in a book, and they have offered her a contract for a book which contains said characters. Which means they have not refused the book. If Author X is under the assumption that they have refused said book – which honestly in this case I don’t know how she could have been – then Author X has an obligation to the publishing house and to herself to confirm her assumption. No smart business deals were ever based on assumptions. Every reasonable business minded person will tell you that unless you have it in writing, you don’t have it. However, even with this being my opinion on the subject it still wouldn’t have been any of my business. At least not until Author X decided to send me an email asking for my help.

So, to summarize I offer you all this….

The publishing world is a business. And like with all businesses, there are contracts. Those parties involved in said contracts are legally bound to uphold their end of that legal agreement. If an author has chosen not to do so then that is on them. Business is not some touchy feely, hand holding trip to Grandma’s house where you can do something wrong and you’re given a kiss and a cookie. Not at all. There are consequences involved in the actions you take. And if you find yourself in the unfortunate predicament of Author X, I ask you to do the right thing and not attempt to form a mutiny against the publisher you’re disgruntled with. It is a selfish act wherein you are asking others to take the heat (possibly financially and professionally) for your bad judgment.

It’s a big old scary world out there, so never bite the hand that feeds you! 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

@SensuousPromos Book Tour for Vallory Vance’s, The Beginning of Forever

Welcome to the 6th stop in Sensuous Promo’s Book Tour
for Vallory Vance’s, The Beginning of Forever.

About The Beginning of Forever ~
The story of Amber Grayson and Kevin Miller began with a flash fiction piece, Rainy Day Surprise, about the couple enjoying a rainy afternoon with the help of a new toy. Much to my amazement, I received a lot of encouragement from readers to write more about this sexy man, his uptight girlfriend and the naughtiness that went on when they closed the doors.
In the Moment, was born. This short story chronicles how the sometimes pushy office manager managed to wrangle herself a cowboy. Amber is in full dictator gear in this one. And she should be because she’s the Project Manager and Kevin’s boss. Undaunted by the towering woman in her constricting black suit, Kevin has a lot of fun peeling her out of it.
I am pleased and little sad to let this couple go after our year together. It has been an awesome ride with them and one I hope you’ll take.

View the book trailer on Youtube:

The Beginning of Forever by Vallory Vance
Amber Grayson, a conservative executive, found true love with fiancé, Kevin Miller. He infused her life with a sense of adventure and challenged her thoughts about appropriate bedroom behavior. After such a steamy affair, Amber was expecting nothing less during their engagement.
Even with the rushed timetable for the wedding combined with the stress of merging their households and finances, Amber is excited to begin a family with the man of her dreams. However, the beginning of forever is more difficult than either of them thought.
Locked in a battle of wills, Amber and Kevin find their commitment to each other and their future tested. Is this the beginning of their lives together or the end?

Excerpt (R) ~
“Of course I love you.” She scooted forward and kissed him.
He quickly caught her neck, held her so that he could feel the warm rush of her breath. Her kiss held no passion, and felt like one you’d bestow on a friend. He needed assurance that she was with him until the end, no matter what.
“How about ‘I want you so bad’?” He moved his lips over her throat and felt a beat brush against his mouth.
“Tell me.” He nipped at the delicate skin of her neck, tasting the spray of scented mist on his tongue.
“I want you so bad.”
The husky pant of her desire pounded in his head and stilled the quiver in his chest. She was his again.
He yanked the rim of the T-shirt over her head, ripped the short shorts and panties down her legs. Reclining back on his haunches, he massaged between her legs, his fingers slickening with the motion. His.
Her hands twisted into the pillows, flopped at her sides and her moans filled his ears. He slipped his fingers into her, watching her move, while his cock thumped unmercifully against his zipper.
“Just let go, Amber.” He bent over, caught her mouth, and thrust his tongue inside. Her moaning deepened and her eyes squeezed shut. Bucking wildly beneath him, she tore her mouth from his and warmth rushed around his fingers. He kissed her gently and rose from the bed, removing his clothes slowly.
Dark wisps of her hair fanned out of her braid onto the cream pillow bunched beneath her head, and her large wide-set eyes fluttered open to meet his in a soft gaze. Her lips parted to speak but only expelled a shallow breath. There was a part of him that wanted to watch the trailing of her hands from her neck on their languid journey down between her breasts. And there was a part of him, a stronger part, which draped her trembling thighs over his forearms and lunged into her.

Buy Links
·         Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/356812

About The Beginning of Forever ~
The story of Amber Grayson and Kevin Miller began with a flash fiction piece, Rainy Day Surprise, about the couple enjoying a rainy afternoon with the help of a new toy. Much to my amazement, I received a lot of encouragement from readers to write more about this sexy man, his uptight girlfriend and the naughtiness that went on when they closed the doors.
In the Moment, was born. This short story chronicles how the sometimes pushy office manager managed to wrangle herself a cowboy. Amber is in full dictator gear in this one. And she should be because she’s the Project Manager and Kevin’s boss. Undaunted by the towering woman in her constricting black suit, Kevin has a lot of fun peeling her out of it.
I am pleased and little sad to let this couple go after our year together. It has been an awesome ride with them and one I hope you’ll take.
View the book trailer on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LhtuGJCEpU

Connect with Vallory Vance online:
The Vallory V Blog: www.valloryv.wordpress.com

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Brace Yourself for Liz Crowe's, "Good Faith"

Make sure to read this entire post and look for the Rafflecopter contest! 

OMG, OMG, OMG!!! It's almost here!! After delighting us with her delectable stories in the Stewart Realty Series, Liz Crowe's highly anticipated final installment, Good Faith will be here in just thirty days!

I first came across Liz's books and this series when I picked up Sweat Equity. At the time I was having a dork-o-saurus moment and didn't pay attention to that little number 2 at the end of the title. Which, had I been paying attention I would have realized that this was the 2nd book in her Stewart Realty Series. I just liked the look of the blindfolded gal on the cover and the blurb sounded good. Well, little did I know that Jack and Sara would set set the pages on fire. Like most of us, I love a good book, so when I found this book I fell in love with Liz's writing style. She has a unique way of spinning a tale which doesn't fit the typical mold of so many books on the shelves these days. As wonderful as her story telling is though, there is something even more awesome that I got to find out when I became a member of Romance Books 4 Us. Liz is a delight to chat with. She has a wit and charm about her that not many have these days. She doesn't take herself too seriously and has a true passion for her characters and their stories. Plus, she brews beer! I mean... Hello!! She writes amazing books and brews beer? Does it get any better than this? Well, if you ask me, I would say I think not!

Now, I'm told that this final novel can be read as a stand alone, but really why would you want to? These stories were meant to be read and enjoyed many times over and over again. Don't believe me? Take a look at this peak into this upcoming novel which will be absolutely, positively not what you are expecting...

Good Faith

Strong personalities—volatile marriages—stressful careers—conflicting goals—difficult children.

Contemporary challenges facing close-knit families form the crucible that forges a new generation.

Brandis, Gabriel, Blair and Lillian emerge from the entanglement of their parents’ longstanding emotional connections, but one’s star will burn brighter – and hotter – than the others.

With a personality that consumes everyone and everything in its path, Brandis Gordon struggles to maintain control as he ricochets between wild success and miserable failure. His life proves how even the strongest relationships can be strangled by the ties that bind.

Brandis and Gabe Frietag are as close as any brothers, bound by both loyalty and fierce rivalry. The strength of their ultimate alliance is tested time and again by Brandis’ choices.

Companions from birth, Blair Frietag and Lillian Robinson share loner tendencies, but come to rely on each other through adolescence. As they mature, both are forced to confront their feelings for the men they knew as boys.

Somewhere between the tangle of good memories and bad, independence and addiction, optimism and despair, the intertwined destinies of the new generation finally collide, leaving some stronger, others broken, but none unscathed.

As a chronicle of three families navigating the minefields of teen years into the turbulence of young adulthood, Good Faith holds up a literary mirror to contemporary life with joys and temptations unflinchingly reflected. Its fresh, real-life voice portrays the sheer volatility of human nature, complete with the hopes, dreams, and unexpected setbacks of marriage, parenthood and “coming of age.”

Good Faith (Advanced Excerpt)
Liz Crowe

© 2013 Tri Destiny Publishing – All rights reserved.  Limited duplication allowed for pre-approved promotional purposes only.  This content may not be shared or distributed in any capacity at any time outside the scope of the original intent without express written consent of Tri Destiny Publishing or their representative.


That morning his father had roused him from a sound sleep. He’d blinked, confused, by the angle of the sunlight. He rarely slept much past eight since he usually had some sort of training or the other.
“Let’s go son. Time for lunch.”
Brandis had dragged himself up, his limbs feeling like they weighed a thousand pounds each. His brain buzzed with a strange sort of energy, his typical state, and not at all welcome considering it normally didn’t hit him until later in the day. The conversation his father began as soon as they were seated at their usual diner did not help.
“So, listen, Brandis. These girls…Katie’s friends from college….”
Brandis sipped his ice water, waiting for his father to finish the thought. His heart pounded, and his face flushed hot with embarrassment.
Jack sighed, as if exasperated that Brandis didn’t pick up the thread on his own, leaving him to carry on with the awkwardness about to ensue. Then he leveled his gaze, his face open, not angry or judgmental. “I think that you may be in for some…I mean, they’re…shit.”
“If you are gonna tell me where babies come from again,” Brandis said, after deciding to ease his father’s obvious distress. He cocked an eyebrow and half a smile. Jack seemed to relax somewhat as Brandis continued. “Don’t bother. I already know.”
He flashed his brightest smile up at the middle-aged woman who stood at their table, coffee pot in hand. She blinked rapidly at him, and at that precise moment, Brandis got his first flash of…something…about his power. Up until now he’d merely been “Brandis the trouble maker, the causer of strife.” Suddenly, he felt strong, amazingly so, stronger than even the man sitting across from him, a taller, older version of himself. His body tingled all over, as he tested the smile out again on the woman, making her slop some coffee out onto the table. His father frowned, but then chuckled as the woman walked away after they gave their orders.
“Son,” he said, leaning back and cradling the coffee mug to his chest. “Your adventure has only just begun.”
“Huh?” Brandis picked up his cup but didn’t drink any. He hated coffee, but had ordered it in a burst of need to be more like Jack. As he sipped the bitter stuff, he was transported back years before when he and his dad would spend every single Saturday morning together, eating breakfast at this very diner. He had adored the man, he remembered distinctly. His chest hurt at the simplicity of their relationship then. He looked away from Jack’s deep blue, knowing gaze.
The subject changed of its own accord, and Brandis let it. Although part of him wanted to ask for advice, a much bigger part would not allow the words past his lips.
They ate, discussing the upcoming football season and Brandis’ part in it. The recruiting company Jack had contracted last year to video his every move would start up with the first game. He’d made varsity again, technically as backup quarterback to a senior boy. Brandis didn’t see this as a setback and had every intention of starting under center by the second or third game.
Finally, when they pushed their empty plates back and sat looking at each other, Brandis felt more comfortable in his father’s presence than he had been in a long time. Jack said, “I am pretty sure at least one of those girls sleeping in the basement is determined to change the status of your virginity for you probably as soon as tonight.”
Brandis choked on the last sip of lukewarm coffee. His face burned, and his body tingled again. “I’m…it’s…uh….” He clutched the napkin in his lap unable to meet his father’s eyes.
“No need to say anything. Let’s just say your mother is an astute reader of female intent. While I was busy admiring your sister’s friend’s ass, she apparently read the girl’s mind or something.” Brandis’ face flushed even hotter.
He resisted the urge to protest, to proclaim his innocence of such things. Because he wanted it back—those mornings between them, father and son, man and boy, not this awkward, man and almost-man bullshit. Because while the thought of one of his sister’s college friends popping his cherry remained a pleasant fantasy, it also made him feel older than he wanted to be right then.
“So, I bought a box of condoms this morning,” Jack went on. “Put some downstairs in the side table drawer and the rest in your room. Use them please.” He sipped the last of his coffee, looked as if he were about to get up, then leaned forward, touching Brandis’ wrist. “Have fun. Don’t be an asshole to women. Let every experience teach you…something. Because you are nothing as a man if you don’t learn from every woman you…love.” Jack looked out the window onto the nearly empty parking lot. Then he turned back, tightened his grip on his son’s arm. “God, you are so…young.” His face fell a moment, then he perked up again, his eyes twinkling. “Okay, so, your mother told me to tell you not to let them corrupt you. But all I’m gonna say is this: always wear protection, no matter what, no matter how much you don’t want to. And don’t let your mom catch you in the act. I’ll handle her otherwise.”
Then he let go, stood and smiled, draping a friendly arm around Brandis’ shoulders as they exited the restaurant.
“You really didn’t tell me you were admiring Katie’s friend’s ass, did you, Dad?”
“No, son. I most certainly did not. You obviously misheard me.” Jack winked as he stood by the passenger’s side of his classic Corvette convertible and tossed the keys to Brandis. “Remember what I told you. Don’t ride my clutch.”

About Liz Crowe

Amazon best-selling author, beer blogger and beer marketing expert, mom of three, and soccer fan, Liz lives in the great Midwest, in a major college town.  She has decades of experience in sales and fund raising, plus an eight-year stint as a three-continent, ex-pat trailing spouse. While working as a successful Realtor, Liz made the leap into writing novels about the same time she agreed to take on marketing and sales for the Wolverine State Brewing Company.   

Most days find her sweating inventory and sales figures for the brewery, unless she’s writing, editing or sweating promotional efforts for her latest publications. 

Her early forays into the publishing world led to a groundbreaking fiction subgenre, “Romance for Real Life,” which has gained thousands of fans and followers interested less in the “HEA” and more in the “WHA” (“What Happens After?”).  More recently she is garnering even more fans across genres with her latest novels, which are more character-driven fiction, while remaining very much “real life.”

With stories set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch, in successful real estate offices and many times in exotic locales like Istanbul, Turkey, her books are unique and told with a fresh voice. The Liz Crowe backlist has something for any reader seeking complex storylines with humor and complete casts of characters that will delight, frustrate, and linger in the imagination long after the book is finished.

If you are in the Ann Arbor area, be sure and stop into the Wolverine State Brewing Co. Tap Room—but don’t ask her for anything “like” a Bud Light, or risk serious injury.

Would you like the opportunity to meet Liz? 

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