Jules Jones

Yog's Law: Money flows *towards* the author

hello world, hello sky
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I've been more or less off the air for the last three months, for a variety of reasons. Those reasons include the purchase and setting up of a shiny new computer, all the better with which to run Dragon. Which is a good thing, because having finally come to the end of a long run of reasons why I don't have time to play with my new toy... my shoulder's gone again. I've been reliant on Dragon to type more than a sentence or two for the last couple of days. I'm also now on enough codeine to be in "hello world, hello sky" mode, which does *wonders* for the concentration needed to use Dragon, let me tell you. This is because without codeine I will be on not enough sleep, ditto.

List of stuff To Do, for triage tomorrow, because PicoWrimo starts tomorrow:
--private commission
--review of Being Small (sorry, Chaz, really wanted to get this done earlier, but wasn't up to it)
--review of feminist historical romance series (is brilliant, lots of you will love it and need to know about it)
--book log
--revise novelette originally written for Dreamspinner anthology, then check current markets it might suit.
--work on one of the novel WIPs
--one or more of the ideas for porn short stories lying around in the ideas file

Any of the above to count towards 150 words a day for PicoWrimo, because it may be entirely random as to what I can focus on well enough to dictate. I suspect mostly porn shorts because I can dump snippets into a text file for later revision without worrying too much if they link up with an existing story.

Also need to
--update website
--check current calls
--send W9 forms to Smashwords
--trawl trunk for stuff to put on Smashwords
--put profic pseud and free pieces on AO3 (per discussion at Absolute Write)
--look over possible story for current Dreamspinner anthology call
--contemplate present to leave under the Gauda Prime tree farm this year

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Loose Id's Halloween giveaway
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Instructions from my shadowy mistresses at Loose Id to tell you all about the Halloween giveaway:

Loose Id’s giving away all 16 titles being released in November to two lucky winners. How do you play?

It’s simple.

On Halloween Day, October 31 from midnight EST to midnight PST, leave a review for any book you’ve purchased on our site as a treat for your favorite author.

Every Halloween Day review of three sentences or more (whether good or bad, and no matter the rating) will be entered for one of two chances to win a Halloween Treat from Loose Id.

There's also a prize draw for people helping to promote the contest - more details about both here http://loosenyourid.com/no-tricks-only-treats-win-all-16-november-titles-from-loose-id/

(If Treva happens to read this, she will doubtless be amused by the fact that Dragon heard Loose Id as lucid, and I have had to edit the vocabulary to discourage this in future.)

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Notes from the Kindle sale
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Some books of interest to this parish in the Amazon UK autumn sale, including Peter Hamilton's Void trilogy for 99p-1.19 per volume. UK only, although there may be similar sales going on elsewhere.

The Dreaming Void: The Void trilogy: Book One (Void Trilogy 1)
The Temporal Void: The Void trilogy: Book Two (Void Trilogy 2)
The Evolutionary Void (The Void Trilogy)

(I like Hamilton, but I'm not in the mood for what one reviewer described as "blockbuster epics so huge that the hardcovers can be used as aids to hippopotamus euthanasia", so I'm dithering on this one even at that price.)

My Word is My Bond: The Autobiography - Roger Moore's autobiography. I bought this when The Works was remaindering the hardback, and found it an enjoyable tour through the film industry, if not quite as entertaining as his friend David Niven's memoirs. And if you're old enough to remember Niven's memoirs with fondness, there is a (rather sad) coda to Niven's story from Moore. At 99p I bagged it in order to clear space by Oxfamming the hardback.

A Blunt Instrument - Georgette Heyer
One of Heyer's police procedurals, and great fun. At £2.07 not as heavily discounted as the others.

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Rejection - Dreamspinner
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"Please submit again" rejection from Dreamspinner a couple of days ago for the novelette I'd submitted to their Random Acts of Kindness anthology. I'm a little disappointed, because I'd written the story specifically for the submission call, but not surprised given how long it turned out to be. And that was after I'd trimmed it down to meet the length guidelines...

I'd already had thoughts on revising it to novella length, but hadn't done anything about it while I was waiting for a yes/no. I may make that my next writing job once I'm out from under a sore throat and Interesting Times At The Day Job. I have also had an idea for another novelette about an off-stage character from this one. That will take care of my PicoWrimo project this year. :-)

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legal defence fund for Dear Author
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I've been mostly offline for the last couple of weeks, so I'm late with this news. Romance book blogger Jane Litte and her group blog Dear Author have been sued by erotic romance publisher Ellora's Cave for reporting on the problems experienced by some of EC's authors. Those problems include allegations by a number of authors of late or non-existent royalties payments, and books being put out with little or no editing.

There is now a defence fund, as this is going to be an expensive suit to fight. I've donated, because I believe that Dear Author should be able to report legitimate concerns about a publisher's behaviour without fear. There's more information about the fund at Dear Author's post. As some people in comments have been concerned about their legal name being exposed by the donation process, I can report that the GoFundMe site asks for your name twice, the first time being the name to use on the public acknowledgement, and the second time defaulting to using the same name but allowing it to be changed to the name on your credit card. There's also an option to be anonymous on the public acknowledgement.

It's been mentioned in the comment threads at Dear Author (and in the coverage at the Absolute Write Water Cooler, which is where I first saw the news) that a few authors have been publicly gloating about the lawsuit. The authors in question have had poor reviews, and as a result think that the Dear Author blog deserves everything it gets by way of punishment. They're being very short-sighted. It may give them a warm happy glow now to see their supposed nemesis punished, but the chilling effect of this suit is going to have major repercussions for authors if bloggers decide it's safer not to report on publishers' misdeeds. That includes the self-publishing platforms -- some of those have done some very naughty things that I'd rather know about when I'm deciding where to publish.

No, I'm not just saying this because Dear Author was nice to me. The only review I've ever had from Dear Author was a D, and I think it did hurt my sales. I'm saying this because I think that Dear Author's reporting is good for authors in general, and I resent someone trying to make them shut up.

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I should have bought another Kobo Mini when I had the chance
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I thought when I bought the replacement Mini that it might be going discontinued -- there were almost no accessories on the shelf in Smith's, and they had only the white model in stock and not many of those. I did consider buying another for a spare, but I do have a Touch as well, so wasn't sure I could justify it, and decided to think about it a little longer. Of course, they've been out of stock every time I've been in since. Having just done some hunting around online, it's now vanished from the Kobo website, and there are reports from all over that it's vanished from shelves and Kobo's marketing literature, so yes, it's been discontinued even if there's been no official announcement and Smith's is in theory still selling it. It would be nice if this was because a new 5" model was in the works, but I doubt it, and so do others. That niche has been taken over by the smartphone. Which is sad for those of us who prefer to read books on an e-ink screen and like to have one in pocket size. :-(

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It is officially an ex-Kobo
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You will remember the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth just shy of two weeks ago, when I discovered that my second Kobo Mini, delight of my heart, had had a meeting with a gentleman who speaks in SMALL CAPITALS. I hauled it into Smith's the next time I was in town, and was informed that as it was over a month old I would have to return it to customer services by post for evaluation, and moreover, they did not have any in stock in the store and were not entirely convinced that they ever would again. This prospect did not seem to delight them, and they'd been running low on stock even when I acquired Mark 2, so I think it was not a mere excuse. My own view is that the Sale of Goods Act does not really give them the option of "post it to Customer Services" were I to make an issue of it, but given that I wanted a replacement rather than my money back and they in all honesty had no replacement to give me then and there, I took the proferred freepost envelope and a returns form.

Which, it transpired when I got it home and looked at it, should have been in part filled in by the shop staff before it was handed to me. Which meant another delay before the next time I could get into the shop, and wait while it was filled out correctly.

After all that, O Best Beloved, the paperwork was scanned in case of accidents, and then placed in the envelope together with the late lamented, which went to the front desk at work to be handed to a passing postie on Wednesday evening. And tonight I got home to an email telling me that it is officially an ex-Kobo, and a new one has been ordered for me.

If perchance I do see any more in Smith's at thirty quid, I shall grab another as a spare. I like my Touch, and have been using it this past fortnight, but the Mini really is much more convenient for the daily commute.

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Chaz Brenchley's "Being Small"
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This isn't a review. It's just a note that over the last three days I have read Chaz Brenchley's new novel "Being Small" and that it is very good. And furthermore, that I may not be able to review it properly, at least not for those who come to it knowing nothing about Chaz himself. Usually I make a note to say that Chaz is a friend, merely to indicate that yes I may be biased. Here it matters for quite a different reason that I know something about the author. For I was reading it with an eerie double vision, both the words on the page before me, and the words I have seen Chaz write elsewhere.

This is fiction, not a memoir. Yet there are things in it that are taken very much from real life, even if melted and twisted and hammered and tempered in the way that a writer does; and not all of them are obvious. The obvious is Quin, because Chaz has written about Quin's dying before, and more than once. The less obvious is... well, there's a scene where the two boys go to a shop. There's a two for one offer. And I knew before it was stated what that two for one offer was for, and what the boys would do with it. My blood ran cold, not because of anything in the book, but because of the ore that scene was smelted from. A handful of words Chaz has written here and there, and some of them too damn close to home for me. There are the words on the page, and then there are the words elsewhere, laying a hazy film atop the page; a gossamer veil that I can see all too clearly, and yet not show to those who cannot already see it for themselves.

We each of us have our own reading of a book. This one is mine.

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Not a happy Kobo owner
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The first time I killed one was my own fault, even if I don't think much of the software design that led to it. This time -- just taken my replacement Mini out to read something, switched it on, and was greeted with lines across the screen and part of the screen frozen. The innards are still live and doing things on half of the screen, but they're not much use without a working screen. And the screens don't come back from this. This is a dead screen, it is no more, it has joined the bleedin' choir celestial, etc, etc.

It's under warranty. It's less than two months old, because I bought it on 9 July. I know this, because there is a blog post bewailing the loss of the previous incumbant and noting that I'd called into Smith's and bought a new one. Next thing is to find the receipt, which I will have put somewhere because it's a tax-deductible business expense.

Not just kidding about the business expense. I need to check what my own stuff looks like, and I've been buying other people's romance and erotica ebooks as market research. Doubtless this will provide some amusement to whomsoever is responsible for assessing whether it's really an ex-Kobo.

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Doctor Who 15 minute warning
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Capaldi!Doctor about to hit our screens. :-)

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