Updates and Other News

It’s been a crazy few weeks – what else is new? For those who know me well, the annual July 4th celebration went off with mostly no hitches and was a rousing success. I enjoyed catching up with those I don’t see often, but who are very dear to me. Wish I had the stamina to do it more often!
In any case, that’s not all the news I have to share. Warrior’s Wrath, book two in the Warrior’s trilogy, has been officially accepted by Pink Flamingo. I’m very excited about this story, as I once again get to revisit characters I have written before and adore. Warrior’s Wrath is about Rowan Langley, Marissa’s brother from Warrior’s Vengeance. Rowan discovers something about himself at the very beginning that makes him question who he really is and his anger at those who have betrayed him affects everything he does. When he encounters Aeron, a thief who stole his coin, he decides to take her as his slave for repayment of the debt. Yet when he learns Aeron is fleeing a murder charge, he finds himself feeling a very different set of emotions. Aeron, on the other hand, is irresistibly drawn to the man holding her captive, despite his harsh treatment. Throw in Rowan’s best friend, who takes a much kinder approach, and Aeron is caught up in their wicked ways and finds herself losing her heart to them.
I’m hard at work on book three in this trilogy too. Warrior’s Possession is more of a prequel to the previous two books, as it tells the story of Gillian and Royce Langley, two characters I brought to life nearly twenty years ago. I’ve re-written the book extensively, and have also come to discover that Royce’s already dominant personality is perfectly suited to the changes I’ve made. I can’t wait to finish that and send it off. I’ve really enjoyed writing in this time period and I definitely have plans to visit it again in the future.
Additionally, the third Marchand book, Regine’s story, has been accepted by Sizzler Editions. I am STILL lost as to a title for this one, but I’m sure I’ll figure one out well before the release. Regine is a domme, but encounters a man who makes her want to submit. It throws her whole sense of self into turmoil, but what fun it was to write her story and have her discover new things about herself. Being an Enchantress from a powerful magical family has given her a healthy dose of pride and confidence that is shaken in many ways, and reinforced in others. Cameron McIntyre is the perfect man for her, she just has to realize and accept it. It’s a fun ride, and I hope you’ll enjoy reading their story as much as I did writing it.
Summer vacation has taken its toll on productivity, but the routine is settling now, so I’m hoping to step up the pace again and get working on my Vikings tales. Researching these books has been the most I’ve done on these stories so far, but once Warrior’s Possession is complete, I should have enough to get started. Until I find other things that need clarification, as is usually the case. The toughest thing is getting the language/dialect down. I’m going to need to re-watch Vikings from the History Channel to remind myself of a few things. I don’t think I’m going to mind that!:)
Keep an eye out for further release information, and covers and the like – I’ll share all that the moment I have it!

Lies and More Lies

So here we go again. I feel like all I’ve been doing lately is complaining about Noble Romance. Not that I don’t have good reason, as has been outlined many times in previous posts. This time, though, things are a bit difference.
You see, about a month ago, Jean Gombart, the CEO of Noble Romance Publishing finally responded to me. TEN months after my first communication to him outlining my contract breaches, which included non-payment of back-owed royalties on both titles. But that wasn’t what spurred him to respond.
What prompted him to finally respond to me was the fact that he sent my royalty statements for May to someone else. He actually sent personal financial information that was for my eyes only to someone else. The carelessness of this action raised some very troubling concerns. Noble plays fast and loose with authors’ personal information. I have very real concerns that my personal identifying information is not being secured properly, leaving me vulnerable to some very real threats, such as identity theft.
In any case, once he responded, I immediately shot back that he had yet to address any of my breaches and other concerns. Do you know what he had the balls to respond with? That they researched my claim of owed royalties and found nothing. Yet, somehow, he never felt the need to tell me this. If he had, which I pointed out to him, he would have known the facts he had were incorrect, and this I place squarely on Jill Noble’s shoulders. All of the communications Jill and I had regarding the owed royalties was in Jill’s possession, and she never turned over any of her records to Noble Management when she flew the coop. However, I am a pack-rat and I save EVERYTHING. I pulled out all of the royalty statements, the email trails and all the proof I had that I was never paid.
I got another email, one I was not supposed to see. Gombart sent the email to his accounting staff to research and made the comment that if I was right, he’d have no choice but to return my rights. I knew I was right. However, in typical Noble fashion, they looked up one title and not the other and dared to tell me they’d give me the rights back to that one title only.
I don’t think so.
Needless to say, I once again provided him my proof that BOTH titles were owed royalties, and that all I would accept was the rights to both books back. Lo and behold, he admitted I was right. Here is the email trail where he admits I am correct and that he will return my rights:
From: Jean Gombart [mailto:jgombart@nobleromance.com]
Sent: Thursday, June 13, 2013 4:06 PM
To: Gianna Simone
Cc: renata@nobleromance.com; mary harris
Subject: RE: Status Update
Dear Gianna,
Renata did process all the # for In the Devil’s Arms also comparing your revenues against your advance and you are absolutely right. Faith in June 2011 did a mistake.
After reviewing all your accounts, we now show that we are owing you $10.40 royalties for “ Healing the Mage” and we are owing you $11.33 for “ In the Devil’s Arms”
Would you like to receive these amounts by PayPal or with a check to your attention.
We are very sorry for you to have to wait such a long time.
Please do accept our most sincere apologies.
Best Regards,
Jean Marc Philippe Gombart
Noble Romance Publishing
PO Box 467423
Atlanta, GA 31146
From: Gianna Simone [mailto:giannasimone@optonline.net]
Sent: Thursday, June 13, 2013 5:16 PM
To: ‘Jean Gombart’
Cc: renata@nobleromance.com; ‘mary harris’
Subject: RE: Status Update
Thank you for your prompt response.
I do not want any payments or adjustments – I only want the rights to both titles reverted to me ASAP, a letter stating that the rights have been reverted and both titles removed from all sites where it is currently being sold. I believe I mentioned June 25 would provide ample time for that to be completed, though sooner is better.
Gianna Simone
From: Jean Gombart [mailto:jgombart@nobleromance.com]
Sent: Thursday, June 13, 2013 5:22 PM
To: Gianna Simone
Cc: renata@nobleromance.com; mary harris
Subject: RE: Status Update
Dear Gianna,
Thank you for your answer.
We will pay you anyway because this is contractually our obligation.
We will soon be sending you the paperwork for your release for both titles.
Best Regards,
Jean Marc Philippe Gombart
Noble Romance Publishing
 PO Box 467423
Atlanta, GA 31146
(e) jgombart@nobleromance.com

I love how he blames this on the woman who handled the royalties. Technically, it wasn’t her fault, she was never provided the information to make the adjustments (thanks again Jill Noble), and she left the company, no doubt because of all of this BS. But if he had bothered to respond to me last summer, he would have known right away, and he could have locked me into those contracts for their duration. Instead, he ignored me, and now he has to pay the consequences. I also love how he decided NOW he’s contractually obligated. What, he wasn’t bound by the contracts until I pointed out his error in sending my personal information to someone else? That’s not how business is done.
I gave Mr. Gombart until June 25 to provide my reversion of rights letters. Needless to say, I didn’t get them despite my repeated requests for updates. Since he once again refuses to respond to me, I began the process of advising vendors of DMCA copyright infringement, and I included both his email and my termination of contract letter from November of 2012. Almost every vendor complied without hesitation and removed my titles from their sites. I am still waiting to hear from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I realize they are slow with this sort of thing, so I anticipated they would take longer. However, I was advised to contact Ingram, as they supply many of the sites.
I contacted Ingram and they responded informing me they had to confirm with Noble first. Do you know what he did? He told them I am still under contract to them. So now it has been proven beyond any doubt whatsoever that Jean Gombart is NOT a man of his word. For someone who claims to be a Sorbonne-educated businessman, I find him to be unethical, unprofessional, arrogant and ridiculously stubborn. He has agreed to return my rights, yet continues to once again ignore me and pretend he made no such agreement. I have it in writing though. He cannot squirm out of this, even if he continues to drag his feet. In the corporate world, that email agreement is binding. He can stall and bury his head on the sand all he wants, he put it in writing that he would give me my rights back. Whatever games he tries to play, he cannot weasel out of the fact that he made a binding agreement, and put it in writing. That he refuses to once again uphold his end of the agreement only reveals his lack of morals and inability to speak the truth.
I urge any authors out there to avoid dealing with Noble in any way. You will only set yourself up for aggravation and lord only knows what else, not to mention, you could find yourself a victim of identity theft because they will not safeguard your information.

Not Conducive to Writing

When I started this blog, I wondered what I would talk about, and felt weird using it to talk about me. Yet, that seems to be exactly what happened. Guess I’m not as wary of sharing as I thought I’d be! 🙂
In any case, I suppose the title of this post could refer to any number of things. For me, it’s the actual number of things going on that causes it. Since November, my average per day is running around only several hundred words a day, though I’ve made some editing/revision process on both WIPs. But the crazy life has gotten in the way – my two hours at night have been lackluster, both because I have other, more urgent things that need my attention or I’m so exhausted.
First we had our Disney trip, which is recounted elsewhere on the blog, then my son’s birthday, then the holidays were upon us. Usually a tough time to get writing done between working and prepping for all that, but I tend to make up for it during the week my office closes for winter break. Not this year.
This year’s winter break consisted of prep for my daughter’s Sweet 16 party (which is a few hours away now!). These days, a Sweet 16 is much like a wedding – you rent a hall or catering facility, get a DJ, photographer, flowers, favors and the like. We’re having a candle ceremony, so you need a fancy candelabra (thank you Name With Flame – you bailed my ass out big time!). There’s invitations to send, and logging response cards, then seating arrangements, picking out specific songs (for each candle recipient, the video/photo montage of daughter’s life, and the father/daughter dance), deciding on the menu, and so much more. At least, this has given me some experience for when the day comes to plan a real wedding!
Since January, I’ve made several trips to the pediatrician with both kids – recurring bronchitis, stomach issues, etc. That’s been weighing on me a bit – this season, we’ve so far avoided the flu (only half of us got flu shots) but seem to have been hit with everything else. Was just there again last night and wouldn’t you know, day before the big bash, she’s got bronchitis AGAIN!
Add to all that, the turmoil at the day job. Again, I addressed this in another post, but as each day passes, the fact that I will be losing my job at a company I worked at for 24 years becomes more of a reality. And while I do have excitement about the possibilities, especially as they pertain to my writing, I am also dealing with great sadness. My boss is my friend as well, and has been the best boss I think I’ve ever had. My “little group that could” has been a family outside of the home and we truly enjoy working together (with the exception of a couple batshit crazy ones. I’m sure many of you have seen my tweets of pure frustration and aggravation). It’s a bit freaky knowing that comfort zone will soon be gone. That’s where I go to keep my sanity and my brain sharp – it’s sort of an escape from the home insanity, and the 8 hours a day are just enough to keep a sort-of balance between my various worlds.
So my progress has been minimal on the writing front (I know, in some ways I let it be that way, but my head can only handle so much without exploding), but I am consoling myself with the fact that it IS progress, no matter how slow. One by one, various obstacles will fall away, leaving me with less turmoil to deal with. I’ve lived through periods like this before, and I know how it ends up on the other side – usually with a book or two finished and another one or two underway.
Now THAT’s something to look forward to!

Publisher Woes Part 2

Here we go again. I spoke a couple of months back about the implosion at Noble Romance. Jill Noble pulled a major flounce (not my term, but it certainly fits! Don’t remember who used it first, but thank you and if you tell me, I’ll update here! :D) and then proceeded to publicly dump on all the authors, calling them trash, recruiting her daughter to get engaged in the public name-calling and smear tactics, etc. It pissed me off – after all, despite what Jill & Co. might say publicly, I did nothing wrong. Well, other than bug her for my owed royalties. BTW, in case you haven’t heard, Jill is now an agent – representing authors! Ain’t that a hoot? I wonder how many will want to work with her after seeing how she treated her authors previously.
In any case, after that initial brouhaha, the powers that be at Noble hired a new CEO. I have to say, he made getting royalties paid a priority and he did it fairly quickly considering the disaster he stepped into. I sent off an email explaining my issues with Noble. I didn’t rant, or threaten, didn’t act out of line, but strongly pointed out my serious concerns about the company. I didn’t hear anything back, but information started to filter through and I decided before I went the certified letter route, I’d watch and see if anything looked to be improving. It wasn’t.
So I typed up a very professional letter, stating my issues in a very business-like manner (I’ve written a ton of business letters – 23 years in sales & marketing for a global corp. gave me a lot of experience). I took it to the post office, paid for it to go certified, with return receipt and tracking. And off it went.
It sat in the PO box for some time before it was finally signed for. I do have my receipt in hand now, in my file with all the other documents. However, after several weeks, there has not been a response. Granted, I gave them the contract-required 90 days to resolve the issues, but I expected at least some sort of reply. Something to indicate they received my letter and are reviewing my issues. Nothing. As I thought on it, I realized the people running this company have no idea how to be professional in any way.
I shouldn’t have been surprised. Some of what I heard he had to say about dealing with the Noble authors truly disturbed me. Who did this guy think he was to tell us how we should react and behave? There is no doubt after being royally screwed over by Jill and Noble in general that several authors, including myself, are angry. We have a right to be. But that doesn’t mean we behaved less than professionally. And for the CEO to insinuate that, and further alienate the very authors that provide Noble with their product, was not a smart move. While I can’t speak for them, I strongly doubt many of the current Noble authors are planning to ever send any more manuscripts to them. I know I’m not. Poor marketing – hell, poor organization and business management, period – lack of communication, truly horrible POD’s and a general contempt for the authors have made them a serious NEVER AGAIN on my list of publishers.
But what has really sent me over the edge is the latest information from various sources. It has come to my attention that our new CEO, Jean Marc Philippe Gombart, has no intention of responding to certified letters (or even reading them), or to anyone who expresses any anger. Um, excuse me? Does he not realize there are serious breaches of contract going on here? I am owed royalties on each of my books – one of them for over a year now! That’s MAJOR! I don’t have the proper forms for the IRS (I don’t care what the hell stupid phrase you put in your contract, the IRS regulations trump that and if I get fucked over because Noble refuses to provide me with form 1099’s, it won’t be pretty).  Piss-poor POD formatting and lack of author copies in all available formats (outlined in my contract as due to me) I can see being a minor point of contention to someone who HAS NO PRIOR PUBLISHING EXPERIENCE AND STILL NO CLUE HOW PUBLISHING WORKS. 
I can deal with the “minor” issues – I admit to being willing to work with a learning curve (23 years of business experience has taught me that as well). But this guy is a seasoned businessman according to the press release. Knows how to run a business. Is that so? By allowing the lack of payment to continue, and flouting IRS regulations? Not smart business-like behavior to my perspective. In fact, it’s foolish. Because if I complain to the IRS that Noble hasn’t provided me with all the forms I need to have for accurate files, the IRS is going to be going after Noble. Not me. Not paying me the money I am due on the books that I sweated over is going to get them a letter from a lawyer. Not me. (Okay, the IRS might look closer at me, but I have a really good CPA – my sister. And I keep copies of everything. I’m clean!)
Yes, I am contractually obligated to give them 90 days to resolve the breaches (you wouldn’t believe the list I now have of contract no-no’s. I learned, sadly, the hard way). But if they’re not even going to read my letter, then the 90 days becomes irrelevant. How can you fix the breaches if you don’t know what they are? And how in the fucking hell can you expect to keep my rights with such grievous breaches?
The sheer arrogance of this man boggles my mind. When authors send him an email he lowers himself to actually read, his response is “Call me.”  Shouldn’t that be the other way around? My 23 years of experience in business (yes, I am repeating it again – I’m not a green newbie in every way) have taught me that the new boss reaches out to the employees, (in this case, the authors, though I wouldn’t exactly say we’re employees), not the other way around. Besides, someone like me, who works that FT job, can’t make calls related to writing on work hours. My boss and coworkers support my writing career – as long as it doesn’t interfere with the job that actually pays my mortgage and covers my kids’ health insurance. When I get home from that paying job, it’s too late to call, business has ended for the day. Besides, there is no way in eternal hell I am racking up long distance charges for someone who can’t even be bothered to read a certified letter concerning major breaches of contract.
The unethical and downright rude behavior of the management at Noble (TIIC) is appalling. Sneering at authors and acting like they’re gum stuck on your shoe is not the way to win loyalty.  This lesson has been a costly one for me, but I am now wiser. While the loss of unpaid royalties will not get my electricity shut off, it will do that to others. Now I have to say – how dare they trifle with people’s lives as if they mean nothing? I seriously feel like I’m dealing with a Leona Helmsley-type here – self-centered, vain and arrogant, everyone should show them respect. No way. Not when you don’t give me that same respect. It’s clear from what I’ve learned in the last few months the people who provide Noble’s products are somehow viewed by management as inferior and not worth dealing with. You know, eventually, all those contracts will expire (have no doubt, the letter intending not to renew my contracts is drafted and ready to go, even if it has to wait. For now, anyway). And all those rights will legally revert to the authors. Does Noble’s management not worry about that? Do they truly think the continued lack of communication is going to make the authors want to keep their work there, and submit more? And do they really think anyone in the publishing universe will forget what has happened? Actually, on that last point, they do seem to think that. I find that rather amusing – no one ever forgets (or forgives) in the internet age.
If they do truly think all those things, then I have to believe we are dealing with very ignorant and clueless people here. If this type of behavior continues, my guess is that Noble won’t survive for much longer anyway.
At least, that’s what I’m hoping. Yeah, I know, I’m coming off like a bitch. Hell, I am one, usually! lol But I don’t care anymore. I will never send them another word of my work again, and I will, one way or another, come hell or high water, get my rights back and leave them in a trail of dust so big, they’ll be choking for weeks!

Updates and Catching Up

So as usual, I’ve fallen behind in posting – it’s been a very crazy, busy month. Between the day job escalating, not to mention a tradeshow in Chicago, and the kids’ spring sports schedules heating up, my days and weekends have been jam packed. We also have the start of dance competition season, one down, two to go (one this weekend) before Nationals this summer. And to top it all off, another day job business to Vegas next weekend. I’m hoping things will settle down a bit for April, because there are some very big things happening that month.
To start off, the Noble Romance Authors Blog Tour kicks off next week, April 5, 2011, to be exact. It’s going to be a blast – nine of the hottest Noble Romance authors will be spending time visiting each other blogs, talking about our books, writing, and all sorts of fun things. There will be excerpts from recent releases, as well as some really awesome prizes.
In conjunction with the tour, Noble Romance is releasing an anthology comprised of six short stories by the authors on the tour. Entitled Red Roses & Shattered Glass, the anthology will b e released on April 4, 2011, just in time for the tour kick-off. My story, titled Bound for Love, involves the reunion of Nina and her master, Zane. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Here’s the cover, another amazing job by Fiona Jayde. She just keeps blowing me away with every cover I see.
Of course, now I have some ideas for other patrons of Nina and Zane’s exclusive BDSM club, so I may revisit Secrets in the future. I’m looking forward to that, but not just yet.
First, I need to finish the revisions on my medieval capture story, first and foremost, a title! I’ve been on a pretty good streak in that area lately, but my usual lack of skill in coming up with catchy titles has kicked in and I’m at a loss for this one. After that’s done, my two-part “mini” sci-fi series will command my attention. Actually it already has, Vega and Merry have been quite vocal about being left in the dust for my other works, so I’ve been trying to work on that a little. And Vega’s brother Reygar is getting impatient for his story to be told as well. He’s a rather grumpy guy to begin with, so this is not sitting well with him. J
Anyway, keep an eye on this spot – starting next week, we’re going to have some fun around here. Then, when the tour has completed, look for some new regular posts for me. I have been preparing for a new series for the blog, at the moment, tentatively called “Focus On…”  My hope is to feature a different author/friend each week or so and talk about various things, not only writing and books, but other topics as well.
And join me in hoping spring will truly kick in very very soon!

Release Monday!

Healing the Mage is here! I’m very excited about the release – I had so much fun writing Lily and Aidan’s story.  It’s available at Noble Romance Publishing now!
When I first started writing this book, the words poured out of me, I finished the first draft in a little over a month.  Of course, as always is the case, the story changed drastically from that first draft.
Both Lily and Aidan were mentioned in passing in In The Devil’s Arms. I didn’t have any specific plans for taking them any further, until the day Aidan’s predicament with becoming a Mage revealed itself to me. I had no clear idea for the story, but starting writing anyway. Before I knew it, I had the poor guy in excruciating, insanity-causing pain with no idea how to get him out of it. Thankfully, Lily tapped me on the shoulder and the rest fell into place. Not that she was happy about it, but Aidan finally convinced her magic doesn’t have to be bad.
There’s a lot of magic in Healing the Mage – the magic the characters use in their daily lives, and the magic of two people falling in love. Which is the core of all of my books – who can resist the miraculous feeling of falling in love with the one person who completes you? Of course, when you have a stubborn, demanding dom and a reluctant sub, sometimes the magic can seem like a curse.
Here’s a little more about the story:
Lily Prentiss wishes she could ignore her inborn healing magic so she can live life on her terms, not follow the path her Magiste family chose for her. But when she stumbles across Aidan Marchand in the excruciating throes of evolving into a Mage, her touch is all that stops his pain and she can no longer deny her powers. When the sexy Dom seduces her into willing submission, she finds she doesn’t want to resist and actually enjoys giving up control.
Aidan has more to worry about than just his rapidly maturing powers – his business partner is blackmailing him into funding a venture that involves kidnapping young girls both magical and mortal, and selling them as sex slaves. Even as Lily’s touch eases Aidan’s pain, he knows staying with her puts her in danger from his enemies. But the gift of her sexual submission helps him even more than her healing magic…so how can he let her go?
I hope you’ll enjoy reading Healing the Mage as much as I enjoyed writing it. To celebrate its release, I’m giving away two copies this week. Leave a comment and share the magical moment when you realized your true love was The One. My moment occurred at a Bruce Springsteen concert in 1984. I still have not met anyone who can match my passion for Bruce’s music, it’s magical on its own. The way the man writes lyrics always amazes me, even when my DH and I are singing along to a song we’ve already sung a thousand times before. Twenty-six years later, we’re still going to Bruce concerts and blasting The Boss’ music throughout the house, much to the dismay of our children!

New Cover

Release day for Healing the Mage is rapidly approaching. I thought I’d share the cover – another amazing job by Fiona Jayde.

I really think it captures Lily and Aidan so beautifully, and it’s hot as hell, isn’t it? For those of you unfamiliar with the story, Healing the Mage is the next book set in the Magiste world of New Orleans. You may recognize his name from In the Devil’s Arms, though he didn’t make an appearance, he is Devlin’s son. The same with Lily – she is Helene’s goddaughter, and only mentioned in passing, But these two had been wrangling for their own story since they came into existence, and now it’s here. Here’s the blurb (a special thanks to Shoshanna Evers for your help with this!)

Lily Prentiss wishes she could ignore her inborn healing magic so she can live life on her terms, not follow the path her Magiste family chose for her. But when she stumbles across Aidan Marchand in the excruciating throes of evolving into a Mage, her touch is all that stops his pain and she can no longer deny her powers. When the sexy Dom seduces her into willing submission, she finds she doesn’t want to resist and actually enjoys giving up control.
Aidan has more to worry about than just his rapidly maturing powers – his business partner is blackmailing him into funding a venture that involves kidnapping young girls both magical and mortal, and selling them as sex slaves. Even as Lily’s touch eases Aidan’s pain, he knows staying with her puts her in danger from his enemies. But the gift of her sexual submission helps him even more than her healing magic…so how can he let her go?
Healing the Mage will be available from Noble Romance Publishing on February 28, 2011. Stop back here – I’ll be posting a couple of excerpts and giving away a copy or two!