The Latest and Greatest

Lots of news to share. First and  foremost, I can announce that my agreements with Noble Romance Publishing are terminated. I can’t say more, but it is over. Which I am glad for, as it’s been over a year since this mess started. It’s nice not to have the stress of that hanging over me anymore.
I also have some release news to share. Claimed by the Enchanter, the third in the Magiste Bayou Chronicles, will be out very soon. I don’t have links or anything yet, but I will be sharing as soon as it hits my hands. This book is the story of Regine Marchand and Cameron McIntyre. Reggie, as she calls herself, is a domme, and enjoys being in total control of every aspect in her life. Cameron is a dom as well, but he senses a submissive side to Reggie and wants to show her how pleasurable that can be. There are quite a few twists and turns in the story, as Reggie comes to learn many things about herself, and Cameron pushes her to her limits. At the same time, he helps her find out who really cursed her horse, putting her in danger. And as much as Reggie wants to resent Cameron, she finds herself falling for him, faster and deeper than she’d ever imagined.
Also on the horizon are releases for the revised and updated Magiste Bayou Chronicles. Both books, now called Claimed by the Devil and Claimed by the Mage, have been extensively re-edited and contain new content. I am very pleased with these updates and am looking forward to sharing them with you, along with the new covers.
I am also getting ready for the release of Warrior’s Wrath, though I’m not quite sure of the timeframe for that. Likely in the fall, though I’ll update as I get more news. (Update: I learned this morning that Warrior’s Wrath will be out in early 2014 Stay tuned for more details as we get closer) This is the story of Rowan Langley. He gets quite a rude awakening in the very beginning of the story, and when confronted with a slip of female thief, finds himself capable of things he’d never imagined before. It’s a good thing Aeron learns to crave Rowan’s torments.
With all of these books, keep an eye out here for more news and info, as well as giveaways and other fun sorts of things. I’ll be participating in a few events online and hopefully in person as well, in the coming months, and will share the details with you as I finalize them as well.
I will be at the NJRWA Put Your Heart in A Book Conference October 18-19, 2013, in Woodbridge NJ. I’ll be signing some of my books at the bookfair on the 19th. If you’re attending, or simply in the area, come find me.
On the homefront, I am still unemployed, and looking forward to school starting in a few weeks. While I’ve made significant progress and am closing in on the end for Warrior’s Possession, the third in the Warrior’s series, having the kids around during the day has made it difficult to maintain the pace I had going before the end of June. So I look forward to that. 
And now, I’m off to tend some household projects. One good thing about unemployment, is that slowly but surely, I will have the cleanest closets in town! 🙂

Run, Don’t Walk, from Noble Romance

Well, here we go again. The CEO of Noble Romance Publishing, Jean Gombart, continues to lie about how he and the company are treating their authors.
The latest comments from Mr. Gombart now appear on Piers Anthony’s site. Clearly, Mr. Gombart is not telling the truth in his comments. I am a perfect case in point.
I’ve chronicled the situation on my blog from the moment the whole mess began last July. Jill Noble left the company abruptly and with many issues unresolved. I didn’t realize at first exactly how bad those issues were, having only experienced them for myself. Once the implosion occurred, and I heard from other authors, I realized that there were many more issues, far more grievous than mine.
In any case, I didn’t know what to do. Things were going from bad to worse, and I wanted the rights to my two books back. But after continued silence from the remaining management at Noble, save for a “we got your email, understand your concerns and will get back to you” canned response, I was really starting to worry. Jim Noble, the owner of the business, made absolutely no attempt to reach out to anyone. Nothing at all.
In the meantime, Noble authors were subjected to threats and insults and general nastiness by Jill and her daughter on the loops. When it became clear we would not be swayed by these threats, they shut down the group. So we created our own, but of course, we also gained a spy or two who passed along everything that we shared on our PRIVATE loop.
Then came word that Noble hired Mr. Gombart. In his introductory email to the Noble authors, he invited us to reach out to him – he claimed he wanted to hear our concerns and issues and wanted to work with us to build up the business and maximize sales. I thought, okay, let’s see what happens. I sent an email. I outlined all of my issues – the general concerns about the health of the business and the ability to turn it around (at that point, the company looked to be in complete tatters), the appalling treatment from existing Noble staff, my contract breaches, and my interest in seeing what his plans were to make things right. I received no reply.
Then I proceeded to hear what Mr. Gombart had to say to those people he did actually take the time to respond to. He was “going to teach authors to behave,” and “there are no breaches as far as we are concerned.”
I was dumbfounded. Really? Granted, most of my breaches are minor, easily resolved. However, in the case of each book, I am owed back royalties. It’s not much, and again, easily resolved. Still, owing an author the royalties due them is a major breach of contract. I began to get angry. So I revised my email outlining my concerns, and sent it off in a certified letter, which the contracts – offered and signed by Noble Management, Jill Noble-Shearer at that time – required in order for Noble to review the issues. The clause also gave Noble 90 days to respond and resolve the issues. If they did not, at the end of the 90 day period, I was within my rights to terminate my contracts.
Needless to say, Noble didn’t respond. So at exactly 90 days from the date Noble received my letter (I have proof of delivery), I sent off another certified letter terminating my contracts. Again, nothing. My books remained on Noble’s site, Amazon, B&N, ARe and Bookstrand. My piss-poor formatted print version of In the Devil’s Arms also remained for sale, though its ridiculous $19 price has ensured I haven’t sold a single one of those. Healing the Mage never made it to print – oh, wait, is that another breach?
In any case, I proceeded to follow-up with weekly emails to Mr. Gombart. I quoted the contract clauses, pointed out that I knew he had received my letters, and that he was now required by those contract clauses to remove my books from all sites and provide me with a letter stating that all rights have reverted to me. I reminded him that I owned the copyrights on the books, not Noble, and he was now infringing on my copyrights. Now some authors actually spoke on the phone with Mr. Gombart, but for me, that has been an impossibility. I work full time and have two school-age children. The time I have available to devote to such calls would have to come at hours when Noble’s business day is over. That situation will be changing very very soon, however, and I do believe it’s time for Mr. Gombart to see that I am indeed real. After all, who wrote the two books that he refuses to take down? Regardless, until now, my only method of communication was sending emails and certified letters.
And I’ll admit it, I was angry. The tone of my emails was professional, but there was no question that I was pissed off. I’ve never had any response to any of my communications. My books are selling next to nothing. I’m a non-entity to Noble.
I’ll also admit, I have publicly tweeted about these unethical business practices. I’ve commented on Facebook, on various Noble-sanctioned loops (though I’ve since been banned from those for daring to speak the truth – heaven forbid other authors see the reality of working with Noble), anywhere I can. Absolute Write. SFWA. I gave Piers Anthony my side of the story, proving the lies Mr.Gombart is trying to pass off as truth.  I filed a grievance with RWA – Noble ignored their letter too. I’ve looked into legal assistance, and that is likely where this is headed, though the process is slow because of other issues. But it is far from forgotten or over – Noble continues to infringe on my copyrights by refusing to take down my titles, refusing to respond to me in any way, and refusing to pay the back-owed royalties.
And it’s time that everyone knows the truth, despite whatever denials Mr. Gombart and Noble may state. Noble Romance Publishing and Jean Gombart have treated authors with a total lack of respect, contract clauses are outright ignored and he is lying when he says all letters have been responded to.
There are other things that I’ve seen and heard as well, and they are just as appalling as the way I’ve been treated. However, they are not my stories, so I can’t speak to them.

Here’s a link to Brita Addams’ blog, detailing her horror story.

And here’s a link to Margie Church’s blog talking about her Noble nightmare:

You can read about Kari Gregg’s POD disaster here:

If anyone else wants to share a link, let me know and I’ll add it – I know there are others who are in a similar, and in some cases, worse situations.

The NJRWA Conference – A Rousing Success

Last weekend, I attended the NJRWA Put your Heart in a Book conference. I’ve been to it before, many years back. For the last several years, it usually coincided with day job travel, so I haven’t attended in quite some time. This year worked out perfectly, and since 2012 was fairly successful on the writing front, the opportunity to participate in everything I could was impossible to resist. I registered, reserved a room for the entire weekend, and signed up for the bookfair.
Of course, at the time I registered, I didn’t know there was a brick wall coming up to slam into me – the whole Noble disaster. But as it turned out, the conference ended up being a perfect opportunity to spread the word about that mess and the lack of ethics behind it all. I shared the information in a roundtable session moderated by Heather Graham (fangirl moment #1). I outlined a bunch of the tactics others have experienced at the hands of Noble and anyone affiliated with them. The outright contempt that past and current management subjects their authors to, FOR NO REASON, was met with contempt of its own. I had other opportunities to share this information throughout the conference as well, and I did. Because as I learned this weekend, word spreads, but until someone hears it from the horse’s mouth, everything is questionable.
Case in point – Jennifer Probst. (Jen, get ready! lol)  I have known Jennifer Probst for close to twenty years now. Back in the day, she was a regular in our critique group. We were sorry when life, as it will do, kept her from coming anymore. But the best part about Jen is not only is she lots of fun, she is one of the biggest cheerleaders in our chapter! Seriously – I suspect she has a stash of pom-poms in her house somewhere. Her excitement for her fellow writers and friends is that genuine, enthusiastic and infectious. 😀 Anyway, as some of you might have heard, Jen’s book, The Marriage Bargain, topped all the bestseller lists and got her an awesome deal with Simon & Schuster. Her name and Entangled Publishing are on the map. One of the roundtables I attended at the PAN retreat was moderated by Bob Mayer. He mentioned Jen’s story in his presentation, about 10 minutes before she came in. Once he knew she was there, he asked her to tell her story. When she finished, he admitted he’d heard at least 14 different versions of the story from 14 different people, and none of them said anything like what she did.
That whole point brought home how important spreading the word about Noble, face to face, with the facts, had become. So in that respect, the conference was a great success. People heard it – and I bet they’ll share it as well. Writers like to talk as much as they like to write and read. Besides, truth trumps the BS every time!
Anyway, one of the things I like best about this conference is that the content – workshops, special events, social gatherings – are on a caliber of National’s conference, but on a much more intimate level. There aren’t 3,000 women running around a hotel/resort, there’re 300. Or thereabouts, could be more, but anyway… There’s time to talk to people, to truly meet them and spend some time relaxing over a drink, or a snack, or just catching our breath in the lobby. The workshops are top-notch and I learned a lot in every single one I attended.  Since I’ve gone back to more regularly writing historical, I was very interested in the workshop hosted by Eliza Knight and Kimberly Killion, “Corsets, Codpieces and Kilts… Oh My!” It was very informative – some of it I knew, a lot of it I didn’t. It was probably also one of the most fun workshops I’d attended – quite hysterical at moments – and I will be using a bunch of the info I picked up.
Of course the booksigning was lots of fun too – I sat behind Jen! And Mary Jo Putney! (fangirl moment #3)  And then realized Eliza Knight was right across from Jen! (fangirl moment #4 – and not a pretty one, I’m afraid. lol).
On Saturday night, a bunch of us grabbed dinner in the hotel bar, and Heather Graham joined us (fangirl moment #5). That was the most fun I’d had in a long time – I surprised myself by being fairly calm and somewhat civilized! lol  Seriously, Heather has an awesome sense of humor and she and her husband were genuinely regular – like the crew I hang with in my neighborhood – and fun. And Heather seriously rocked it during the party Saturday night – she’s got an amazing singing voice too!
Bottom line – one of the best cons I’ve attended, for many reasons. Some of them fun – like hanging with my friends and making new ones, and the opportunities available to me as a published author – and they will be remembered for years with lots of fondness. Some reasons not-so-fun, but important, and I got to be a part of that as well. There’s still a ways to go, and NJRWA’s conference was the perfect place to continue that progression, on several and very different levels.
Here’s hoping the stars line up so I can go again next year!

Changing of the Seasons

Not really a complete change though – technically the cooler fall weather and the leaves turning won’t really start for a few more weeks around here. But summer vacation is ending, school is starting in a few days, so to me that signals the change. And I’m hoping it will bring a little more order to our little corner of the world.
It’s been a busy and eventful summer. On the home front, I can now honestly say I can’t wait for my daughter to get her driver’s license. The chauffeuring gets old fast, and somehow she had somewhere to go nearly every night. Much easier when her friends come over here, but that brings its own set of dilemmas. At least now, I can say no to Tuesday night guests and not be made to feel like I’m the evil stepmother in Snow White!
I turned a lot of my focus toward revising my next vampire story, The Night Club. It’s just about finished – I’m still doing some final revisions and adding a couple new scenes and just trying to get everything clean and logical. Which got me thinking ahead to my next vampire book. I actually began sketching it out. Just jotting down some ideas of what I think should happen, no real writing. Yet. You may remember Josh and Sophie from The Taste of Magic – well, they have their own tale to tell. So I started my spreadsheet for their story.
In the midst of that, I also began the sequel to Warrior’s Vengeance. Rowan Langley is the hero in Warrior’s Wrath, and if you read WV, you know him as Marissa’s brother. He learns a few things about himself that turn him very angry and bitter. This doesn’t bode well for the heroine, Aeron, a Welsh woman who steals from him. I’m having lots of fun getting this first draft down, and hopefully will complete it quickly. At the rate I’m going, there’s actually a good chance of that.
I’m also doing some minor work on the sequel to Prince of the Universe. I had lost my fire for that story a couple months ago, but it’s back. Christina and Reygar’s story is a bit more difficult to pinpoint. I’m focusing on world building at this point, and making my usual lists – these are of various cultural customs and societal norms. With each one that becomes clear, the trouble between the Aldarran and “Earth Woman” gets stronger. This book will be set entirely on the planet of Aldarra – and civilization on that planet is very different from Earth’s.
Lots of irons in the fire, which is kind of crazy, considering the insanity and chaos of the rest of my life. But my mind just works that way – I suppose because I’m a Gemini and there are way more than two of me in here! 😀 Each part of me wants to be focused on something, so to appease them all, I spend a little time on each planned book, at least so when I finish the two I’m neck deep in, I’ll have at least two more to get to work on. The madness keeps me focused – I get 2 to 2 ½ hours a night to write, so I’ve been trying to use it wisely. With school starting, I may even gain another hour – no more kids staying up late because they don’t have to get up in the morning! It’s really hard to concentrate on medieval England when Mario’s in the background trying to save the Princess!

Publisher Woes

The past week has been surreal, to say the least. I have to wonder though, why these sorts of things happen whenever I go on vacation. Strange coincidence.
In any case, as many of you already know, last week, Jill Noelle Noble left Noble Romance Publishing. When I opened the email, I suspected it was an update to an email received a few weeks earlier. Boy, was it ever! To say I was stunned would be mild. Wow, what the hell does that mean now? So I posted my very nice thank you to her – after all, for those who may or may not know, until Noble accepted In the Devil’s Arms, I was literally about to throw in the towel on pursuing publication – and wished her well. But then the loop exploded with questions, and I had a real big eye-opener.
See, for some time, I’ve always felt like I was an inconvenience. My emails went mostly unanswered, commitments were made that were not upheld, and when I did receive responses, I felt like I was being a nuisance. I figured, hey, my books aren’t selling all that great, so maybe that’s why. Or maybe, based on my editing experiences, she just really didn’t like my work and wasn’t interested in anything further from me. Which was fine, I’ve sold a few other titles since then to other publishers, so that was some validation. But a couple of my issues were more than asking when I would see my PODs, or who I should send my next manuscript to.  In those cases, I continued to send a very nicely worded, “when you have a moment, can you please let me know?” email every week or so. I got one response, with a promise to resolve the issue by a certain date, but that deadline passed with nothing.
I’ve come to learn I am not alone on the receiving end of this general lack of regard. And as I learned more, the more shocked I was at how bad the whole situation had become. Authors were then prevented from discussing genuine grievances with each other, when our private loop was shut down. So a few authors opened another. We learned we had a mole – who shared our *private* comments publicly. Then went so far as to insult and make threatening comments to people who were reasonably trying to figure out what the hell had just happened.
A Noble employee sent out an email which was meant to appease and calm our jitters. It did nothing of the sort – in my opinion, the fact the owner did not in some way attach his name to that message indicated a further lack of respect for the hard-working authors whose work Noble depends on to actually be in business. I mean, if no one writes any books for them, exactly *how* can they stay in business?
To be fair, I am not in as deeply as others – I have only two books with them and a short story. Others have so much more invested in Noble, and are suffering by not getting royalty payments in a timely manner or having their legitimate issues addressed.  To top it all off, there now appears to be some sort of effort to turn our valid grievances into us being a bunch of unprofessional, untalented losers. Criminals tend to try and blame the victims of their crimes for committing them in the first place. That’s what this feels like. We have been victimized, yet somehow, it’s our fault this is the situation we’re in.
Clearly, there were significant issues to cause this massive implosion. I get that, but when the people most severely affected by that are not allowed to question and demand answers as to what the future holds for their work and careers, well, to me, that’s what I call unprofessional. Immature. Foolish. When the people who actually caused the train wreck then try to pin the blame on others, their pathetic actions show how desperately they are trying to save what’s left of their reputations. Not to mention, their behavior reeks of pure arrogance.
I’m still feeling a lot of emotions, as are many others. At this point, I just want my rights back. I have other places I can place these books where they won’t languish. There are further books in the series that will just gather dust until I can free the first two. After that, I want nothing more to do with anything related to Noble and its current and past management. I deserve more respect and I can and do get it elsewhere.
Here are links to others’ blog posts about this debacle. Some are Noble authors, some aren’t. But I think they explain it far more succinctly than I can, and give much better insight into what really was going on behind the scenes. This isn’t a complete list, I know I’m missing a few, but I will update as I can (at work and some sites are inaccessible to me at the moment)

Bryl Tyne
J.S. Wayne
Bianca Sommerland
Brita Addams
Lindsay Marene Ordone
Aleksandr Voinov
Karen Knows Best
Two Old Farts Talking Romance
Vacuous Minx
Ellie Writes