Monday, September 28, 2015

Brewing up a special treat for you!

October's going to be extra sweet again this year! I'm holding my annual Halloween bash on my blog at, and you're invited. There'll be plenty of goodies for everyone - tasty recipes, authors sharing chilling tales of spooky moments they can't forget, and best of all, books.

Visit every day for new posts. Many authors are offering giveaways, so don't miss out.

And if you're an author and would like to participate, I still have a few dates open. Email me at cate.masters AT and I'll set you up.

Friday, September 18, 2015

The importance of research

I've said many times that I'm a research nut. When digging up information for a story, I can get lost in the process. Only a small amount of what I find actually makes it into the story, usually, but that's okay. It still adds to the foundation. Because the last thing you want is a rocky foundation.

But stories aren't the only reason authors should research. After spending such a long time writing, revising, and polishing up the story, authors should put every bit as much effort into researching publishers before submitting.

2008 was a crazy year for me. I'd amassed a backlog of stories I'd written over many years. Some, I'd subbed to literary magazines and was elated when they were published.

Then, one of my critique partners at the time suggested I try an online publisher. At that time, e-presses were fairly new, or at least unknown to me. So I began browsing, and targeted a few publishers, depending on their submission guidelines, because a few stories were paranormal, speculative and mainstream, and a few were romance.

With so many stories already written, I subbed quite a few. And was over the moon when I had about 14 acceptances. Needless to say, 2009 was a crazy year with whirlwind promo.

Fast forward to 2015, when the contracts have reached their term. Many of the publishers I've worked with since those early times have been wonderful -- The Wild Rose Press, Wild Child/Freya's, Lyrical Press have all been more than professional and generous. Since signing with Decadent Publishing, they've been amazingly professional, friendly and helpful, going above and beyond what other pubs do.

Another publisher, not so much. Beginning in about March of this year, I began emailing them regarding the rights for two stories. The contracts for both expired in July and August, and I wanted them back. Except for one, the email addresses listed on their web site are all invalid, so I tried sending tweets inquiring about who to contact, and had my virtual fingers slapped.

The female publisher is a "friend" on Facebook, so I messaged her several times. No response.

Frustrated, I resorted to the certified letter. When the USPS tracking site confirmed the letter had been claimed from the PO box, I did a screen shot and sent that through FB to the publisher.

No response.

One editor actually answered me, but said she couldn't help.

So I tried the publicity person. She said rights reversions were done in batches, and was sure mine would be included in the next batch. That was Sept. 2.

As of today, my author page is still up and Eternal Press is still selling my books through their site and through affiliate sites such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc. Worse, recently both books have had sales.

I appear to be stuck in this rights limbo. According to Writer Beware, there aren't a lot of options unless I choose to file a legal suit. At this time, I'm still hoping to avoid any ugliness, though it wouldn't be the first time this publisher had encountered legal difficulties. One author was slapped with ridiculous "kill" fees for contract termination after requesting a change in the book cover. Writer Beware listed other problems in this post.

I did, however, file a complaint with Preditors and Editors. Wish I'd checked there to begin with - Eternal Press is listed as Not Recommended. I second that.

The takeaway is this - do your research. There are plenty of resources online to guide you. Here's one with a fantastic list of links. Check it out before signing any contract, and always, always read through every line of a contract before agreeing to the terms. If it doesn't feel right, don't sign. There are plenty of great publishers out there, so just keep looking.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The summer of yes

I was out and about, and a window ad with this little saying hit me. What a great idea! I can't remember the store (so please don't sue me), but the ad inspired me. I'm going to make this a summer of yes.

I can't work on my stories as much as I'd like, but I *will* work on them.

I'm actually not falling too far behind. Next month, the rights to Death Is A Bitch will return to me, and I've been gearing up for that. I've made this new cover, which I'm pretty happy with.

And I've taken the story from 33k to 48k - 15,000 words of greater detail and depth and "feels." I'm really excited about it! I can't wait to re-release it, though I'll have to wait a few months.

In the meantime, I've started work on my first steampunk. I hesitated before because I hadn't read any stories, only seen amazing movies like The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen or Wild, Wild West or Sherlock Holmes or Around the World in 80 Days (if you've never seen the last movie, it's a very fun flick, and Jackie Chan is always amazing to watch. YouTube has the entire movie online:

I've been reading up on steampunk, and have a better sense of the worldbuilding that's needed. The actual story's about 2k as of yesterday, but the background work is pretty well fleshed out, and that's every bit as important.

So, I'm making the most of the time with my grandboys, and making the most of whatever writing time I can squeeze in.

How's your summer so far?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Looking for Romance?

I celebrated my novel's first birthday last month. It was a fun year, full of events and celebrations -- much more fanfare than I'd given either of my non-fiction books, which lived a quiet life tucked in the pages of catalogs geared to educators.

Typical of the youngest of the progeny, Casting the First Stone had gotten the most attention, and while it probably didn't know the difference, I'd gotten used to it. So what to do in year two?

Keep celebrating, of course! This Saturday, February 14, I'll be celebrating with 20 other writers (including fellow Susquehanna Writers bloggers Cate Masters and Susan Gourley/Kelley) at "Love is in the Air" at Aschcombe Farm and Greenhouse in Mechanicsburg. If there's anything better than a book celebration, it's a multi-author book celebration!

So if you're in the mood for a dose of romance or a dose of spring (or both), stop in between noon and three on Saturday. We'll have  prizes and book swag and while we'll certainly have books on hand, we're also happy when you just stop by and talk to us.