Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Title, Title, Who Has a Title?

I am deep into work on my next (and final) novel in The Black Douglas Trilogy. It isn't coming easy. I hadn't researched the years after the Battle of Bannockburn as deeply as I had the years before and I needed some additional books. I am still waiting for the part of Bower's  Scotichronicon that covers from 1320 to 1360 and the cost made me cry. But I have most of what I need and am just looking for bits and pieces I may have missed. Of course, much of it is open to question and a lot of details are lost in the shroud of history. All the more fun for me.

I am still wrestling with a big question. Who WAS the mother of James Douglas's bastard son, later  known as Archibald the Grim or Black Archibald? Admittedly it could have been anyone, including the local milkmaid, but the fact that Archibald grew up in the King's household is rather mysterious. Even King Robert's illegitimate children were not normally a part of the royal household. And Archibald eventually became the 3rd Earl of Douglas. A bastard becoming powerful and inheriting was not unknown in 14th century Scotland, but was a long way from the norm. This leads me to speculate that the mother had some power in addition to his being Douglas's son. But who would she have been?

Another big question is the title. I am wavering on choosing "The Hammer of England" in spite of some people saying that it sounds as though he was English. TheOldNat suggested Mell of England since I've been known to sneak in a word or two of Scots. Of course, hardly anyone would know what the title meant (it means a wooden mallet in Scots) but that might not be a big issue. Or it might be.

I'm open to suggestion on both questions. 

Anyway, I am researching and writing away at it. The artist is working on art for the cover and I have a cover designer ready to design the cover. My editor is ready. Unless something really unexpected happens the final book in The Black Douglas Trilogy will be out early next year.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

2012 eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook Awards

I'm proud to announce that A Kingdom's Cost won for Best Historical Novel at the eFestival of Words. To be exact, it tied with Vestal Virgin by Suzanne Tyrpak. For those not acquainted with this award, the staff of the festival solicited peer-nominations from authors, editors, book reviewers, and publishers. Authors were not allowed to nominate their own books. Everyone was nominated by their peers in the industry. The voting was opened to the attendees of the eFestival of Words.

Here is the complete list of winners and runners up:

Genre Specific Awards

Non Fiction: General
WINNER: Hippie Boy: A Girl's Story by Ingrid Ricks (Ingrid Ricks)
RUNNER UP: Walk in the Snark by Rachel Thompson (Rachel Thompson)

Best Non-Fiction: DIY/Self-Help
WINNER: Let's Get Digital by David Gaughran (Arriba Arriba Books)
RUNNER UP: What Your Mother Never Told You: A Survival Guide for Teenage Girls by Richard Dudum (Island Publishing)

Non-Fiction: Religion/Spirituality
WINNER: Ever-Flowing Streams: Beyond Bible-Belt Thinking by Dana Taylor (Supernal Friends Publishing)
RUNNER UP: Northern Wisdom: The Havamal, Tao of the Vikings by Oaghan Odinsson (Asgard Studios)

General Fiction
WINNER: Finding Emma by Steena Holmes (Steena Holmes)
RUNNER UP: Someone Else's Fairytale by Emily Mah Tippetts (Emily Mah Tippetts)

Best Action/Adventure
WINNER: LeMans by Dakota Franklin (CoolMain Press)
RUNNER UP: Redaction by Linda Andrews (LandNa Publishing)

Chick Lit/Women’s Lit
WINNER: Carpe Bead 'Em by Tonya Kappes (Tonya Kappes)
RUNNER UP: Drawing Free by Elena Aitken (Ink Blot Communications)

Best Children’s Lit
WINNER: Alice Parker's Metamorphosis by Nicola Palmer (Kallisto)
RUNNER UP: The Lost Secret of Fairies by Tiffany Turner (Tiffany Turner)

Best Fantasy/Urban Fantasy
WINNER: The Black God's War by Moses Siregar III(Cup of Gold)
RUNNER UP: Mind Over Mind by Karina Fabian (Dragon Moon Press)

Best Historical Fiction
WINNER (TIE) A Kingdom's Cost by JR Tomlin (JR Tomlin)
WINNER (TIE)Vestal Virgin by Suzanne Tyrpak (Suzanne Tyrpak)
RUNNER UP: Fiji by Lance Morcan (Sterling Gate Books)

Best Horror
WINNER: 61 A.D. by David McAfee (David McAfee)
RUNNER UP: Zombie Bible: What Our Eyes Have Witnessed by Stant Litore (Dante's Heart)

Best Literary
WINNER: Village Books by Craig McLay (Craig McLay)
RUNNER UP: The Midget's House by Anita Bartholomew (Anita Bartholomew)

Best Mystery/Suspense
WINNER: Dead is the New Black by Christine DeMaio-Rice (Christine DeMaio-Rice)
RUNNER UP: Not What She Seems by Victorine Lieske (Victorine Lieske)

Best Romance
WINNER: Deadly Obsession by Kristine Cayne (Kristine Cayne)
RUNNER UP: Again by Diana Murdock (Diana Murdock)

Best Science Fiction
WINNER: Wool by Hugh Howey (Broad Reach)
RUNNER-UP: The Next Genesis by Humberto Sachs and Kimberly Coghlan (Two Moon Press)

Best Thriller
WINNER: The Chosen by Jay Hartlove (Damnation Books)
RUNNER UP: A Blade Away by Jack Wallen (Autumnal Press)

Best Young Adult
WINNER: The Book of Lost Souls by Michelle Muto (Michelle Muto)
RUNNER UP: Neeta Lyffe: Zombie Exterminator by Karina Fabian (Damnation Books)

Format-Specific Awards

Best Anthology
WINNER: Indie Chicks: 25 Women, 25 Stories (Still Waters Publishing)
RUNNER UP: Tales Of The Far West Gareth-Michael Skarka, editor (Adamant Entertainment)

Best Novel
WINNER: The Black God's War by Moses Siregar III(Cup of Gold)
RUNNER UP: On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves (Tracey Garvis Graves)

Best Short Story (Individual Story)
WINNER (TIE) Transfection by David Gaughran (Arriba Arriba Books)
WINNER (TIE): Chamber Music by Peter Balaskas (Uncial Press)
RUNNER UP: Matchmakers 2.0 by Debora Geary (Fireweed Press)

Short Story Collection (Single Author)
WINNER: Mortal Clay, Stone Heart, and Other Stories in Black and White by Eugie Foster (Eugie Foster)
RUNNER UP: After the Apocalypse by Maureen F McHugh (Small Beer Press)

Best Poetry Collection
WINNER: Trouble by Jess C Scott (jessINK)
RUNNER UP: Disreputable by Jane Holland (Jane Holland)
RUNNER UP: The Untasted Day by Mark Murray (Mark Murray)

Best Magazine in Digital Format
WINNER: Morpheus Tales
RUNNER UP (TIE): Apex Magazine
RUNNER UP (TIE): Clarksworld Magazine

Special Awards

The Harvey Award for the Book We Most Want to See Made into a Movie
WINNER: Wool by Hugh Howey (Broad Reach)
RUNNER UP: On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves (Tracey Garvis Graves)

The "I've Been Shyamalaned" Award for Best Twist
WINNER: The Survival of Thomas Ford by John AA Logan (White Butterfly Press)
RUNNER UP: A Blade Away by Jack Wallen (Autumnal Press)

Best Hero/Heroine
WINNER: Jetta, Firedancer by SA Bolich
RUNNER UP: Emily Grant, Not What She Seems by Victorine Lieske

Best Villain
WINNER (TIE): Salahn, Wrath of the White Tigress by David Alastair Hayden
WINNER (TIE)The Castus Organization, The Sin Collector by Jessica Fortunato
RUNNER UP: Victor Clay, She Cried Wolf by Lee Lopez

Best Cover Art
WINNER: Death at Bandit Creek by Amy Jo Fleming (April Martinez, artist)
RUNNER UP: The Weight of Glass by Stuart Heatherington

Monday, August 13, 2012

Let's Help Restore LendInk

I support this effort and have already made a small contribution. Like many authors, I'm not rich but every little bit will add up.

What's more I am ashamed of the indie author community and what has been done to the LendInk owner, Dale Porter. There is no excuse for it and an "I'm sorry" from the people -- mainly indie authors -- who did the damage is not enough. This gives all of us a chance to make things right.

No, I did not take part in the attacks; in fact, on several forums I said that the site was NOT pirating. But I also feel that I didn't speak out strongly enough. Largely because I wasn't paying attention, I stood by silent while much of this happened.

So I apologize to Dale Porter, and I urge those who are concerned with righting a wrong to contribute to restoring LendInk on Fundrazr.

Here is Dale Porter's message discussing his plans for the site and what he needs to restore it:

Lendink.com is an online community created to help readers discovery new authors and books by way of facilitating the legal lending of eBooks via the Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble lending programs. The site was recently shutdown by a group of angry authors who thought Lendink was pirating their books. This was the result of misinformation being spread via numerous online portals and by the time word got out that Lendink was a legit service, the damages had been done and the site taken down due to threats to Lendink and their web hosting company.

We have had hundreds of people write us and offer their support to bring Lendink.com back but in order to do this, we must transfer to a web host capable of handling the increase demands the recent exposure has brought. We also want to have the site worked on in order to better explain the book lending process and ensure that authors and readers alike understand how the site works.

We would also like to have some additional features built into the site such as "Meet the Author" and "Book of the Week".

Unfortunately, we also anticipate further issues from some of the misguided authors that still do not fully understand how the site operates. To this end, we also need to setup a legal fund to hire legal representation.

The success of Lendink is dependent on your donations. If you like Lendink and would like to see the site back online, please consider helping us.

Breakdown of funds needed:

Legal Retainer: $3,000
Hosting (12 months): $1,000
Website Redesign: $6,000
 I sincerely believe this is the right thing to do.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

LendInk and a Twitter Mob

I've been trying to blog about this for several days. It is one of the few times I've been truly ashamed to be an author. I do feel like someone on the day after a lynching, wondering how something quite innocent could have gone so terribly wrong and who was to blame.

It started last week when someone (and it's hard to pin down the first post or tweet) started sending out messages and posting on forums and tweeting that LendInk was a "pirate" site with pirated novels on it. I took a brief look, saw that this was incorrect and didn't pay much attention to it at first.

So what WAS LendInk doing and why wasn't it piracy?

Well, when you buy an eBook from Amazon or Barnes & Noble, you are allowed to loan it one time for up to two weeks. While it is on loan it is not available on your Kindle or Nook. So a number of sites out there put together someone who has an eBook they are willing to lend with someone who would like to borrow it. The sites do not have the files; they act as, in effect, matchmakers. There is nothing either illegal or immoral about this. Hell, it's not even fattening!

On several of the popular writers forums, some of us such as Amanda Brice, Victorine Leiske and I amongst several others, were trying to explain this to fellow writers--and our explanations were falling on deaf ears. In the meantime, on Twitter the accusations went viral. Without bothering to check, author after author tweeted accusations that the site was pirating. It turned into a virtual mob (no pun) going after this business man. (I'm not naming names but it doesn't take much research to know the biggest offenders.) According to the LendInk owner, things even went so far as having threats of violence made against him and his family.

Then to make things even "better" as a response to the heavy influx of angry traffic and DMCA notices, the service providers took down the site. The fact that there was no truth to the accusations and no copyright violation anywhere on the site didn't matter. Not only were they NOT pirating, the site had links to Amazon and B&N where the novels could be purchased if they weren't available for a borrow.

In fact, having your book listed there was a GOOD thing, just as it is a good thing to have neighbors lending your book because they enjoyed it or people checking it out of the library. First: It was perfectly legal. Second: It is how people find new authors.

But what upsets me... What has me really angry is that there are still authors out there defending what they did! They put the man who owned it out of business by what is basically a mob action and they have NO shame. The worst I saw was on Critique Circle forums where some of this mob action was formed and where I WAS a long time member.

Not any more. I do not want to be any part of the writers' community that behaves in this fashion.

Addendum: I read on the site owner's Facebook page that the site hosts have offered to restore LendInk. After the threats to himself and his family as well as the stress of the last week, he apparently has decided not to restore it. I can hardly blame him.