Archive | November 2013

No, It’s Not Okay

I write this blog, but I also write books. A shit ton of work goes into them, creating characters, bringing them to life, deciding what you’re going to remove/change after the first draft (and the second and the third…). Then are the costs of hiring an editor (it’s the smart move), a graphic designer to create your cover, blog tour coordinators, the cost of printing books, having merchandise made up, fees for signing events (Yeah, we have to pay them), travel expenses.

Part of the proceeds from my day job go to supporting my writing habit (because it sure as shit isn’t supporting me. Yet)

People have a notion of published authors that’s about 20-30 years behind the times: “Oh, look. She has a book out. She must have gotten a big fat advance check from a publisher because look- there’s her book.” Everybody knows that if you’ve published a book (or been in a movie or put out a CD) that you must be rich because ‘all of those people are so wealthy. The money just walks through the door every day.’

uncle pennybags

No, actually, it doesn’t.

The publishers have become extremely cautious (buyouts by media conglomerates and having MBAs running the joint instead of editors and writers will do that). I had a sheaf of rejection letters to rival Snoopy’s (Snoopy had a big pile of them). Nothing published. Then, self-publishing became affordable for individuals like me and the social media made publicity free/cheap/affordable. I haven’t sold a lot of books yet, but that’s in the works.

Have you ever bought an article of clothing with the intention of wearing it once, then returning it for a full refund? Yeah: we have that issue in e-book publishing. People buy a book on Kindle, read it and request a full refund from Amazon. The end result is that $1.98 in royalties that I had earned (and folks? Sometimes that’s IT for weeks) gets taken back. And claiming “I bought the wrong book” or “I didn’t like it” kind of rings hollow when you have a  Goodreads bookshelf titled “Bought and Returned Books” and there are 836 titles on it. I shit you not; there are people who are not only sociopathic enough to do this, they’re also FUCKING STUPID enough to mark a bookshelf as such. Really? This is the Information Age. They found Bin Laden. They found Richard III. Shit, they even found Waldo: do you really think your dumb, thieving ass is safe?

stolen ebook

I belong to several independent author groups on Facebook and one of the other members had her book go “live” (available) on Amazon and within 5 hours, it had been pirated.


Not cool. We who actually do the work are losing money.

I graduated from a law school that specialized in intellectual property law: patent, trademark, and copyright (DING DING DING). While I was not in the IP program, I am still tight with people who were not only in the program, but top of the freakin’ class. I don’t buy/use/view pirated DVDs (and have dropped dimes to Disney, Amazon, and MGM on those who have tried to pass off pirated copies as the real deal. Done the same with people selling fake Vuitton. Did I get a free Stephen Sprouse Speedy as a “merci’ from Vuitton? Non) The prevailing attitude is that “it’s no big deal.” Why? Because people think that if you have a published book, music album, or a video on Youtube, the Mississippi River of money (and yes, I did the thing in my head to spell Mississippi correctly) is flowing into your house.

It’s theft. The “buy and return” is theft by deception aka FRAUD. The conventional wisdom is that it’s nearly impossible to win a fraud conviction because you have to prove intent. I’d call a Goodreads shelf marked “bought and returned” pretty hard evidence of intent. (And these fucktards give high ratings to the books they read and return).

Hey, if  you like it, then you put a ring on it. Jay-Z did.


And Beyonce would NEVER “buy and return.”


We’ll get to this in a moment.

Let’s say for a minute that you are a salesman. Your pay is on commission; in order to get paid, you have to sell. Houses, cars, CLOTHING (looping back to “buy and return”). Your compensation for your time and effort for the employer is based on how productive you were in bringing money in the door. Here’s the thing: that dress that you sold two days ago? You WERE getting paid for it. That is you WERE until the shitweasel brought it back for a refund. Now, it’s deducted from your pay. The pay that you worked so damned hard to earn. And if enough people do it, you have worked  for free.

How does it feel? Let’s see you pay your light bill or put gas in your car with $0 pay.

Bottom line, if you “buy and return,” you are a douche bag. Oh, I’m disrespectful? To someone knowingly and intentionally committing fraud? FUCK YOU.

When you buy and return, you are stealing. It’s fraud. And, in this age of electronically stored receipts and people eager to tell you everything about themselves, it’s no longer so difficult to prove if you’re a repeat offender (I cannot get over the person on Goodreads who is so fucking dumb as to mark a shelf “Bought and Returned.” AND SHE’S NOT THE ONLY ONE!!!!!)

karma cafe

Look, you want to read a book for free? Get a library card. And they lend…(wait for it)… e-books.

Got an Amazon Prime account? You can borrow from the Kindle Lending Library for…FREE (the authors still get paid something). In fact, watch Amazon’s Kindle Store because free downloads are offered every day.

Watch Facebook for people promoting books and look for blog tours and GIVEAWAYS. Hell, in those Rafflecopter giveaways, you can win Kindle Fires, bracelets (I have to fix them first), autographed copies of the featured book, e-books from other authors who donate.

Join Goodreads and enter every giveaway on there: even the heavy hitters like Michael Chabon, J.K. Rowling, and Dan Brown offer books in Goodreads giveaways.I OFFER BOOKS IN GOODREADS GIVEAWAYS. GIVE-A-WAY, as in “you don’t pay for it.”  It’s called PROMOTION.

You don’t have to be a lying,  thieving douche bag because karma will bite your ass.

karma dogs

At Last Cover Reveal

I’d like to thank Legalogos and Tom Roskelly (the designer).


Ain’t it pretty?


“These Foolish Things” is a response to all the love stories that begin with young lovers and end immediately after mutual declarations of love. Life continues after youth and love can happen anytime, anywhere.
“At Last” picks up where “These Foolish Things” leaves off. Elizabeth Gardner and Ty Hadley seem destined for “happily ever after,” but fate has challenges in store that could tear them apart. Is their love strong enough to survive?
Available on Amazon (paperback and Kindle) December 1.

My Education Continues

Between grade school, college, law school, and paralegal school (not in that order), I have spent 20 years with my butt in a classroom, supposedly to learn something (sadly, in some cases, the lesson was how bad the teacher was). I think I’ve had enough formal education at this point, but as one goes through life, especially taking on new endeavors, the learning process continues. As noted (and verifiable), I am highly educated. However, that doesn’t mean I know everything. If I did, I would have done better than third place on Jeopardy, June 3, 2010. (Also verifiable)


This is what I feel I need right now.

As it is, I have two people who want to punch me in the throat and kick my ass. With good cause.

We are working on a blog tour to promote my next book, “At Last,” the sequel to “These Foolish Things.” I use “we” in the loosest sense because I’m just hanging back throwing monkey wrenches into the works. Not intentionally, but still…

experience mistakes Oscar Wilde


1) When you ask someone how to do something or what she thinks you should do TAKE NOTES. Take lots of notes, take too many notes, take detailed notes. That way, you can remember what the experienced person told you  to do when you go to do the task. This is the Information Age. Ignorance should be punishable.

In my case, it’s setting the optimal date range for this blog tour. It’s for MY benefit, okay? People are rounding up bloggers and Facebook folk to help ME. For 10 days, blogs that sign up are going to be posting information about MY book in order to interest THEIR followers into buying MY book. Therefore, it would be prudent to schedule things so that participating bloggers have time to read the book and possibly concoct a review. This requires some patience.

Have you met me? Patience is someone else’s virtue.

So now, the author who is helping me is aggravated because I didn’t take enough notes and chose 10 days too early in the process. The blog tour operator (who had started a sign-up with the dates I chose) now has to go back and redo the scheduling, possibly irritating the bloggers.

My dad had a houseboat. He loved it. He loved working on it. I forget the circumstances, but one day, he accidentally managed to sever the power line running along the dock and there was no electricity to the docked boats for a while. The other boaters took a vote and decided he was not allowed to use anything more dangerous that a hammer after that.

I am my father’s daughter. (I cut the phone line into the house with a hedge trimmer one day while my mother was on the phone with my sister’s soon-to-be mother-in-law. Had I not taken the hedge trimmer away from him because of the boat dock incident, Dad would have done the cutting 5 minutes later. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it).

lessons experience

2) When you proudly tell someone of an “accomplishment” and his/her first reaction is “You did WHAT?”,  odds are pretty good that you are about to have to undo that “accomplishment”.

When I got the cover art for “At Last,” I was stunned. It is THAT good. (You’ll see on Friday). My author friend advised me to set a “cover reveal” date: you get individuals and bloggers to help you unveil the art. This is where social media like Facebook and Twitter are a huge boon to independent authors. It’s free advertising. Depending on how many followers a blog or Facebook page has, your reach could equal that of a daily newspaper in a mid-sized city without the high cost of buying an ad (You pay the blog tour coordinator, but it’s still less than a one-day one-page ad).

Remember what I said about patience? Yeah, keep that in mind.

Okay, cover reveal date set. But surely, I can post it on my own Facebook page. I don’t have a lot of followers; these are my friends. It’s not going to do any harm. Wrong.

Ayuh; what went up had to come down. And I can’t get one of the “Men In Black” neuralyzers to erase people’s memories of what they’d seen.  There is a pretty good existing equivalent, but I’d be shipping tequila all over the country.  That gets costly.

3) When you are paying people for their experience and expertise, LET THEM DO THEIR JOB. And if you are given an instruction to carry out: DO IT. Yes, I have degrees and diplomas. However, when it comes to promoting a book, I know squat minus. I am learning the truth of that statement.

I didn’t learn to treat cats and dogs with respect until after I’d been scratched and bitten a few times . The scars remind me. I would like to think that the claw and teeth marks I’m earning on this blog tour will serve as reminders on how to do it right for the next one.

Two Promotional Events….

1) Another Art Walk book signing!  Green Door Gallery

green door

Green Door

in the Santora Building

santora building

Santora Building

207  N Broadway, Santa Ana, CA




Until …

Come on down, buy “These Foolish Things,” talk to me about “At Last” and I’ll sign your book in gold ink. Oooooh.

The second item of promotion is the Great “At Last” cover reveal on Friday November 8

I need volunteers (individuals AND bloggers) to sign up and help out with their Facebook pages

Book reveal sign up

And, Bloggers? There is a Rafflecopter giveaway! Copies of “These Foolish Things” and ” At Last!”

Be in on the ground floor!