Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Reprieve for some Borders stores

At least 14 Borders stores will be given a new lease on life. Books A Million sought court approval for the takeover, and a judge approved the decision on Monday, according to the Wall Street Journal. Books A Million will take control of all 14 stores by October 1.

Most of the stores are located in the Northeast and will actually expand into New England, said Publishers' Weekly.

So while it's sad to lose Borders, it's a relief to know another book chain will be taking over some, at least.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Just for fun - lavender recipes

While writing The Magic of Lavender, I came across so many delicious recipes for dishes using lavender, I thought it would be cool to create a companion recipe book. It's free from Smashwords, but Amazon wouldn't let me charge less than 99 cents, so if you'd like a copy for your Kindle, just email me at cate.masters AT and I'll send you the prc file.

So now you can create the same lavender dishes exclusive to Lavender Hill Inn. Joss Gibson's grandmother handed these recipes down to her, knowing full well it would draw the fae to the establishment.

I make no such claim about these lavender recipes. I only know that your life will be sweeter if you make these specialty dishes for your family! And yourself, of course.

Though you may not be related to a goddess like my heroine, you can still be a goddess in the kitchen with these recipes!

And while you're sipping down a lavender lemonade (or a lavender margarita!), and maybe soaking your feet in a lavender foot bath, why not sample The Magic of Lavender? With its delectable heroine and yummy hero, it's sure to sate your appetite in other ways. :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It has to be said

Piracy is a romanticized term for illegal book sharing. Not only are hackers stealing ebooks to distribute on their own sites, but “book clubs” also offer the chance to read an ebook and pass it on.

Is it any wonder no indie author - whether with an epress or self-pubbed - can catch a break? Or has to work full time at writing, but also a day job just to be able to do what they love?

Not only do ebook authors not get an advance, and receive only a percentage of royalties, but many publishers withhold royalties until a sales reach a certain amount. Sales are further lowered by thieves who siphon off profits with illegal sharing.

And make no mistake about it: it is illegal.

Margaret West cited some disheartening statistics in her recent post. But disheartening doesn’t begin to cover what I felt when I read Tracy L. Darity’s post about CreateSpace allowing resellers to print POD books and sell them at an insanely high price, and when the author fought back by selling at a lower price, snap! the other seller instantly lowered their price to outsell her. Oh, and there’s much more. Read her post, though it may turn your stomach to learn resellers can use POD to sell your book as used, so you the author will never see a profit and John Kremer’s post about how Amazon rips off authors.

So now I have to limit distribution of my Kindle books because resellers will pilfer it. I wondered how some copies of my books were being sold at ridiculously high prices. That’s the reason.

Amazon already forces authors to opt into their lending program, which cuts into profits. Why this media giant needs to rip off small-time authors, I’ll never understand. But I highly discourage readers from using this feature. Like many others, I priced my work below its fair value to encourage readers to buy. I know the economy’s tough. I like free stories too, when authors (and sometimes publishers) make them available as such. Not when others decide they should be free and help themselves.

Worse, some authors are finding their work resold under a different name. Apparently some peole are creative in the worst ways: converting ebooks to text, then putting a new cover on it and slapping their name on the product. Also covered under Mr. Kremer’s post.

I can’t wrap my head around how someone can put so much effort into stealing another person’s hard work. It just boggles my mind. Authors put so much heart and soul into their stories, sometimes years of their lives. And just like that, someone steals it?

Fighting illegal sharing – and Amazon, it seems – is impossible. So my best defense is to educate readers. If you love the books authors write, then please please please never download a book from any sharing site. Please please please give the authors their due by purchasing directly from the publisher, or if the author’s self-pubbed, then use the links they provide. Don’t buy from a reseller. Don’t download a free copy. You’re hurting them more than you know. You may justify it by saying, “it’s only one copy, it won’t impact them” but that’s wrong. Everyone thinks the same thing, and illegally shared copies quickly add up to many many copies. Please thank the author who writes stories you love by legally purchasing their work. And if you want to share their work, recommend your friends buy copies too. But don’t give it away. This business is tough enough. Authors need your support.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Second Annual Celebrate the Book

The second annual Celebrate the Book festival is taking shape.

A Central Pennsylvania Book Festival
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Carlisle Expo Center
100 K Street
Carlisle, Pa 17013
9:00 am to 4:00 pm (doors open at 8:30)

$5 admission for adults
Children 12 & under free

Featuring DAVID BALDACCI, author of Absolute Power, The Camel Club, Split Second, Saving Faith, The Christmas Train, and many more!

Children’s writers & illustrators, local historians, and book resellers will have booths, plus we will have exciting and interesting programs, storyteller & illustrator stage performances, and activity centers aimed at children and all adults. Don’t miss this unique experience.

Festival chair Lynn Hofer can answer questions from authors, venders and others about how to participate - email her at info AT or call 717-440-0869.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Literary star to visit Carlisle

Margaret Atwood, Booker Prize-winning author whose works include A Handmaid's Tale, Alias Grace and The Blind Assassin, will be part of Dickinson College's Visiting Scholars and Writers Program this year.

On Tuesday, Nov. 29 at 7:00 p.m., she'll give a reading at Dickinson's Anita Turin Schlecter Auditorium. On Nov. 30, she'll hold a Q&A session followed by a book signing - details still TBD.

I am so excited. To me, Margaret Atwood is the equivalent of a literary rock star. Her writing defies description, and ranges from her most recent dystopic The Year of the Flood, to speculative to poetry and essays.

Once I learn more details, I'll share them here.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Rowena Through the Wall by Melodie Campbell

I met Melodie Campbell through Sunny Fraizer's Posse group. Melodie is the General Manager of Crime Writers of Canada and has recently published a new book, Rowena Through the Wall. She has an impressive resume with over 200 publications, five awards for fiction, and is a great comedy writer. In July, her book hit the Amazon Top 100 list for time travel romance
Her Blurb: "Is that a broadsword on your belt, or are you just glad to see me? When Rowena falls through her classroom wall into a medieval world, she doesn't count on being kidnapped. The stakes get higher as the men get hotter. Good thing she can go back through the wall when she wants . . . or can she?????

I had a chance to ask Melodie about her book.

(1) Is there anything special you'd like to tell us about Rowena Through the Wall?
I got my start as a comedy writer, and editors have called my fiction "Wacky" and "laugh out loud funny". In Rowena Through the Wall, I set out to write a ripping suspense novel. Instead it decided to become a comic time travel adventure, with outrageously spoofs bodice rippers.

(2) Did any particular event inspire the plot?
Inspired by anxiety. I was sitting at my desk one day, totally overwhelmed with work, family and parental care giving, and thought if I could walk through the wall into another world I would. That night, Rowena got her start.

(3) What are you doing to promote your books?
Lots and lots of guest blogging on both sides of the Atlantic. My publisher is well connected in the social media world for which I am grateful. They have done web-advertising and novel giveaways. Crime Writers of Canada have numerous promotional opportunities and I'm taking advantage of all of them.

(4) What's next for you?
I've just heard from Orca that they will publish The Goddaughter, a comic mob caper set in Hamilton, Canada's Steeltown. It should be out next year.

(5) When you're not writing, what are you doing (hobbies, etc)?
Being General Manger of Crime Writers of Canada keeps me more than busy during the day. I live in Ontario in a two-story mortgage with husband, two kids, and a giant Frankenpoodle. I love fast cars. Lots.

(6) What didn't I ask you that I should have?
I've been a banker, marketing director, comedy writer, college instructor, and possibly the worst runway mode ever.

Rowena Through the Wall:
"Hot and Hilarious!"
Midwest Book Review
"Jack Sparrow meets Stephanie Plum" F
ormer editor, Distant Suns Fantasy Magazine.

It's great to know you, Melodie, and I hope we can talk you into coming to central Pennsylvania to do some signings. It would be fun.

Talk About Self-Publishing

Today on my blog, Susan Says, Maria Zannini talks about her timeline from the start of an idea to being published.  Ever wondered if you have the time or knowledge to go this route?  Maria's first book, The Devil to Pay, is available and she did it herself.

Have you ever thought about self-publishing? How long do you think it would take you? Read about Maria's experience.