Publisher Woes Part 3!!!


Well, it looks like it’s time for legal action. The 90 days as contractually stipulated that I gave Noble Romance to correct my breaches of contract has gone unanswered. I even had the courtesy of giving them about a week’s notice that the deadline was approaching. On the 90th day, I sent another email, exercising my right to terminate the contract, as is very clearly outlined in my contract. Here is the specific clause which is included in contracts for both books I have with Noble (there’s more to this clause, but this is the part that is most damning to Noble):
“VI: Term of Agreement
In the event that either party commits a material breach of the terms of this Agreement, the other party may notify the party in breach by providing a written description of the breach which shall be delivered by certified mail. If the breach is not corrected within 90 days after such notice, then the aggrieved party may terminate this Agreement and all rights granted the Publisher will thereupon revert to Author at the time of the termination.
Upon termination of this Agreement for any reason, Publisher will remove listing of the Work from its website and all download-based distributors and advise Books in Print that that particular ISBN is no longer in print. Publisher may continue to sell existing stock of physical formats (diskettes, CD’s, cassette tapes, print books) but may not create new physical copies of the Work.”
Well, guess what – I’d consider owing me money on each book for over a year constitutes a material breach, and not answering my certified letter, as I was obligated to send, and did so, honoring the terms of the contract on my part, constitutes not correcting breaches. Not even a fucking acknowledgement of the receipt of my letters. Therefore, I am within my rights to terminate said contract. Which I most certainly did.
Clearly, Noble Romance Publishing has no intentions of acting professionally, or ethically. Hell, they’re outright stealing from other authors! You may find of particular interest, how they are violating the copyright of Aleksander Voinov. Here is his blog post outlining the outright thievery of his work: http://aleksandrvoinov.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/noble-romance-has-violated-my-copyright.html
I am appalled at the behavior of people who consider themselves savvy businessmen. Excuse me? What freaking planet are you living on that lying, cheating and outright stealing make a savvy businessman? I’ve learned several things over the last months and it is not pretty. I am not at liberty to discuss a lot of what I know, because it’s not my place to tell it, but trust me, these people running Noble have got no idea what it means to be in business. In this day and age, just about everything communicated via the internet is legally binding. You can’t say that the person in charge (Jill Noble) who signed the contracts had no authority to make changes to those contracts and renegotiate them as necessary, and that the communications via email aren’t valid, then turn around and say you are enforcing the electronic contract, because clearly, that person who signed the contract in the first place (Jill Noble) wasn’t authorized to do so! If email or internet communications aren’t valid, then I have news for you – none of the contracts signed electronically are valid at all either. Which means I, and only I, hold all rights to my work. And if you dare say that my email terminating the contract isn’t valid, well guess what? There’s a certified hard copy heading your way. Nothing more legally binding than that – and you are required by the terms of the contract to honor it!
As I said initially, it’s time for legal action. It seems the only way these people will behave professionally, ethically and legally is by forcing them to it. I’m ready to do so. So are others. I’ve put my paperwork together and am filing an official grievance with RWA. And please spread the word – if anyone aspiring to be published is even considering Noble on their short list, advise them to get the hell as far away as they can as fast as they can. It will only cost them money, heartache and aggravation.
I very strongly suspect Noble will not last through the long haul, but the sheer pig-headedness of TIIC will keep them hanging on as long as they can bleed more money from their authors. The problem is, enough of those said authors have had enough of the bullshit and are no longer willing to let themselves continue to be treated as garbage. I know I’m not. Game on! (If only I could say that about the NHL. Whaaa! What is wrong with this world?)

Oh, and check this out:  Noble has a new meaning! http://jswayne.wordpress.com/noble-romance-publishing/

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Inspiration

Another week, another snow storm. This one’s ice and freezing rain as well. Ugh! Despite having grown up in the Northeast, I am not a fan of snow, or cold weather in general, yet there are some good things about it – the holidays, and hockey (read: NY Rangers) season. That’s really about it, as far as I’m concerned.

But today’s post is not about the weather. It’s about inspiration. Writers live for inspiration, and when it strikes, it’s a truly fantastic feeling. It often pops up in unexpected places at unexpected times. Sometimes at really bad times, too. That’s happened to me more times than I can count. Nothing worse than driving the kids to school (or dance class, or sports, or parties) when an idea for a really hot story pops into my head.

Sometimes, I get my inspiration from various fiction genres, whether it’s a TV show, a movie, or even another book. Sometimes a bit of dialogue will trigger something, and the next thing I know, I’m off and running in a new world with new characters. I wrote a whole book based on one line of dialogue from a character in a campy 90’s TV show called Dracula: The Series. There are also times real events and real people will also spark my creativity. I think all writers are the same in that their inspiration comes from many different sources.

Lately, my inspiration has been coming from two of my favorite animated shows, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and Dragonball Z. Both shows have recently come back into my regular viewing orbit, thanks to my son, who adores both of them in their current rerunning on Nicktoons. (YAY! Someone to share them with!) As my friends know, I tend to get obsessive about my fandoms. Highlander and Harry Potter are my two favorites by far, but I have many many others, as well.

In rediscovering Avatar and Dragonball, I’m reminded of the incredible talent of their creators. The rich world of Avatar is steeped in Eastern philosophy and culture. Yet at the same time, it is vastly different in so many ways. The characters are complex and conflicted in various ways, and the mythology of the series, while at its core is a basic struggle of good vs. evil, is deep and multi-layered. Many things that seem unimportant in one episode turn out to be of major importance in another, as Aang’s saga progresses. There are many dramatic moments, just as many comedic ones, and yes, even romance. Characters act heroically, yet they also act un-heroically or childish (the core characters are all under 18 so that is to be expected), but they are REAL. In many cases, I find their reactions or behavior to be more realistic than some of the current prime-time drama shows. In addition to the core good and evil battles, it is also a story of redemption, for several of the characters. The way they grow and change, yet remain true to themselves, simply draws me in.

Dragonball Z is another example of a world where good must defeat evil. Goku, the Saiyan warrior who vows to defend Earth, is always fighting off some threat to his family and friends, and the general population of our dear planet – when he isn’t stuffing his face, that is! I love Goku, but I do find him a little “too” good for me. He’s at his best when he’s angry and fighting, in my opinion. As I tend to prefer the villains in general, Raditz, Goku’s brother, and Vegeta, the Prince of the Saiyan race, are two of my favorite characters from the show, and both are most definitely on the side of evil, at least at the beginning of the saga. Raditz, sadly, ends up dead very early on, which irks me to no end. He is one of my all time favorite villains. Oh, if he had lived… And that hair – he simply has the most gorgeous hair, and for an animated character, he is one of the hottest males I’ve ever encountered. I love to imagine just what he could do with that tail of his!

Vegeta, also superbly evil with apparently no conscience, also dies, but thankfully, he is wished back to life using the Dragonballs. Vegeta’s story is one of redemption as well, at least, I interpret it that way. Sadly, as he is not our noble heroic Goku, we don’t get to see as much of his journey to the “good” side. He still retains his gruff exterior, even though he goes from being selfishly focused only on himself and his needs and wants, to showing concern for others and even proves his love for his family in a most dramatic way. Yet, always lurking deep inside is his embrace of the dark side. He fights against it, but it’s still there, lending a dangerous edge to his personality.

Both of these shows have given me some ideas for books. While I currently have my Magiste series at the forefront of my work, I have been working out various scenarios for other worlds in which to play. Magic and other superhuman skills play a big part in my characters, which may be why I am so drawn to these shows. Yet at the same time, I realize I must find something lacking in them as well. While they may inspire me, I build my own worlds and characters with my own sets of rules, tweaking and reworking them until I get them right where I want. Right now, I am learning the planet Aldarra is in turmoil, and citizens of the Aldarran race are going to have a big effect on a few people right here on Earth. An entire race is in jeopardy and needs the help of us lowly humans to restore the balance – and so good will triumph over evil. Yet, good is a relative term in my worlds, maybe it’s more appropriate to say the lesser of two evils? Currently, I have the beginning of the first book written, but as more characters have come to life in my head, I can see at least three total for the saga. My spreadsheets are getting bigger every day.

So what inspires you? What sort of things trigger an idea, a character, or a whole new world? Do you like to repeatedly write in that world, or is one time enough? I’m always fascinated by others’ world-building techniques, and love to hear about them.

Playing Around

As I travel around the web, I’ve come to the realization that my blog is rather plain. Sure I have a pretty background design, but that’s about it. I see so many really cool blogs with animated graphics, rolling pictures, etc. I’ve tried to add a couple of pictures with links on them, but I screwed that up and still have not been able to figure out. I keep playing around, but nothing seems to be working.

I do some web work at my day job – most of it consists of adding product information to an information repository that auto feeds the data to various pages on our site. The rest of what I do web-related is provide information and articles to the web marketing group, and they do the programming and uploading.

I’m in awe of some of the sites I’ve visited and follow. I want to jazz my page up a bit, but I’m not sure where to start. I’d love any input or guidance anyone might have, and I might even be willing to pay for some design services, though, being the penny-pinching bargain hunter I am, I’d prefer to keep the costs down as much as possible.

I’m sure I’ve got some internet tech-savvy friends out there – can anyone enlighten the clueless? Because after that, I’d love to learn how to make trailers, banners and other types of graphic promo materials. Then again, maybe I’ve got pipe dreams

Trail Me Teasers Blog Hop

Another blog hop – though I haven’t quite got the hang of getting all the good stuff in here (like the really cool logo!). I’m working on it! See below for the details:

Join us for Trail Us Teasers.

Readers – do you want to meet some authors you’ve never read before? Hop onto the blog hop, stop at each blog and leave comment.

Authors – If you write paranormal, historical, romance, join our blog hop and meet new friends!

Bloggers – Do you review paranormal, romance, historical, whatever? Add your link.

Here’s how it works:
READERS:
•Follow as many authors as you like. Just follow the Linky list and hop from blog to blog. The idea is to find some new to you authors and new reading material. Leave us a comment as you hop from blog to blog! We’d love to hear with you!

AUTHORS:

•Follow the Trail Us Teasers host Brita Addams along with the wonderfully talented authors and bloggers on the list. Enter your name and blog/website url into the Linky tool.

•Grab our super cute button and place it in a post. (THIS IS IMPORTANT!) If you don’t create a post for the hop, your readers won’t have a place to comment, and the hop will stop with you. You have 150 characters. Put the name of your blog, a sentence from one of your books, etc. So create a post, paste in the Linky code and start hopping!

•Please share the Linky list in a post on your blog! Follow the link and grab the code.

Blog Hop

I was invited to join a blog hop by my fellow Noble author, Brita Addams. It seems like a really cool idea, and a good way for readers to meet new authors, and vice versa. And as a reader too, it gives me more options to find new books and authors to read myself. I’ve decided to participate, and can only hope I got this all right. My somewhat decent technical agility has abandoned me when it comes to this blog!

Anyway, leave a comment, and then take a look at the list below and see who else you might like to meet/visit. And perhaps find some great new books to read as well!

The Good Old Days

So, tonight at my parents’ house for dinner, where I go each Sunday with the kids, we got to talking about home remedies. It started because while I was in San Diego, my team and I sat around talking about what their parents would give them – for everything. One guy had cod liver oil, another had something else, to be honest, a lot of beer had been drunk that night, so I don’t remember it all. But I do remember the horrified looks when I told them about one of my grandmother’s remedies – one she gave to my mother and my aunts. For a sore throat, a spoonful of Vaseline with sugar on it was the norm.

I mentioned this to my mother, and she started telling me about other things, which then brought up the point that most drugs that are illegal today, weren’t until the 1930’s or thereabouts. She dug this up to point out some other things either she, her friends, or my grandmother had been given. Probably my great-grandmother, but we have no way of knowing – she left her husband and daughter (my Grammy) to run away with another man when my grandmother was a baby.

Anyway, I’m sure this isn’t the first time this is out there, and I wish I knew who to credit it to, but I got such a chuckle, I thought I’d share. Of course, this is also one way of stalling with the scene I’m writing, as it’s not going as smoothly as I’d hoped. And oddly enough, I have a story idea for some of this, but I doubt anything will come of it. One of those “sounded like a good idea at the time” sort of things.

WHY OUR GREAT-GRANDPARENTS WERE SOOO HAPPY
Why Our Great-Grandparents Have Such Fond Memories Of Their Youth…I’m surprised that they could remember anything!!

A bottle of Bayer’s ‘Heroin’


Between 1890 and 1910 heroin was sold as a non-addictive substitute for morphine. It was also used to treat children suffering with a strong cough.

Coca Wine, anyone?


Metcalf’s Coca Wine was one of a huge variety of wines with cocaine on the market. Everybody used to say that it would make you happy and it would also work as a medicinal treatment.

Mariani Wine


Mariani wine (1875) was the most famous Coca wine of it’s time. Pope Leo XIII used to carry one bottle with him all the time. He awarded Angelo Mariani (the producer) with a Vatican gold medal.

Maltine


Produced by the Maltine Manufacturing Company of New York .
It was suggested that you should take a full glass with or after every meal. Children should only take half a glass.

A paper weight


A paper weight promoting C.F. Boehringer & Soehne Mannheim , Germany. They were proud of being the biggest producers in the world of products containing Quinine and Cocaine.

Opium for Asthma


At 40% alcohol plus 3 grams of opium per tablet, it didn’t cure you, but you didn’t care…

Cocaine Tablets (1900)


All stage actors, singers, teachers and preachers had to have them for a maximum performance. Great to ‘smooth’ the voice.

Cocaine drops for toothache


Very popular for children in 1885. Not only did they relieve the pain, they made the children very happy!

Opium for new-borns


I’m sure this would make them sleep well (not only the Opium, but also 46% alcohol)!

It’s no wonder they were called, ‘The Good Old Days’!! From cradle to grave … Everyone Was Stoned!!!

The Start of the School Year

School is starting! YAY! Although this year, we are starting late – September 13, to be exact. Why so late? Because our district observes the Jewish Holidays, just like many districts around here, though there are several that do not. And since this year, those holidays are the week of Labor Day, our traditional school opening week, it made more sense to remain closed the extra week. Either way, I am so glad to have the kids going back to school.

This year, my little guy is starting kindergarten, and my daughter is entering 8th grade. Last year before high school. When the hell did that happen? But it’s going to be an interesting year, since now both kids will have a heavy schedule. Between sports, dance lessons, CCD, National Honor Society and Girl Scouts, community service hours, not to mention homework, I’m going to be spending a lot of time on the road. Add in my own personal commitments, full time job, writers’ meetings and critique groups, and hopefully other writing-related events to increase in the coming months, and I’m going to be ready for a rubber room by November. No wait, can’t do that, taking the family to Disney in November. December then. No, then it’s the holidays. January is daughter’s b-day. Okay then, reserve the rubber room for February.

But as crazy as that all sounds, having the school year start actually does make life a tiny bit easier. No worries about who has to go where, do I have a babysitter while I’m working, etc. Plus, the kids are so damn tired after their crazy days, that they are all tucked in and usually close to or already asleep by 10:00pm. Then my time kicks in.

It’s going to be nice not to have to chase anyone off my computer (or stand in the kitchen with my work laptop) so I can write. I’ve even outlined a schedule for myself. I have two almost completed WIPs that I want to get wrapped up in the next couple of months. I have another one that I started recently, that stands at about 5K words right now. Big goals with not a lot of time to fit them all in. But if I keep myself organized (ha!) and focused, I should be able to do it. Of course, it would be so much easier if I didn’t have two business trips looming – one at the end of September, one the end of October (and don’t forget Disney in November!). They’re going to be huge time sucks, both during the day while I’m working, and even at home while I prep the household for my absence.

I’ve resigned myself to learning to function on less than 5 hours of sleep a night – for the next stretch, it looks like that’s all I’ll be able to fit in. And then that rubber room is going to look very welcoming.