I write like
Jack London

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Monday, October 20, 2014

When Real Life Gets in the Way

I hear a lot of writers bemoaning their lack of writing time. The ones I feel sympathy for are the ones dealing with some serious life issues. Chronic diseases such as fibromyalgia or MS which limit writers' mobility and energy. Providing care for special needs children or parents nearing the end of their lives. Or maybe they're working two or three jobs in order to put food on the table.

I haven't published anything under my name since last November. It doesn't mean I haven't been writing. Time is grabbed here and there. Standing in line at the post office. Waiting for my take-out order. The last few minutes before bedtime.

Why? Life's been crazy trying to get our house on the market. Then trying to get moved into our new apartment. A lot of things went wrong. A lot of things didn't. But through it all, I kept plugging away. And I honestly can't complain. DH and I made some hard decisions of what would be best for the family.

Sure, it's been slow on the publishing front. But things are looking up. I met with a graphic artist over breakfast this morning about the new logo for Angry Sheep Publishing. I've got a tentative agreement with a formatter for updating the Bloodlines novels and issuing print versions. I've narrowed down my prospective list of artists whose work I like for the new covers.

Now, I have to finish reviewing Zombie Wedding and Blood Sacrifice for typos because I found a couple in Blood Magick, and I need to finish the last four books of the series. Then it's on to the Justice series, and a couple of special projects that I'll tell you more about soon.

You should have a lot of new things to read from me in 2015.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes

If everything went according to plan, we closed on our house Friday, and I'm sleeping off the drive from Houston to Ohio.

Or DH could be dragging me around Toledo right now to furniture shop.

I'll let y'all know on Wednesday.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Batman Vs. Zombies

This is so warped that I had to share!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Cuteness Factor

Baby animals are adorable. Even dinosaurs!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Sexism and Superheroes

Back in the '80's, a gentleman (and I use the term loosely) wrote to Marvel. His letter was published in The Uncanny X-Men. (I can't tell you which issue number because my books are in storage right now.) The gist of his complaint was that he wasn't going to read that particular book anymore because the women of the team had stronger, cooler powers than the men. At the time, the team consisted of Storm, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Colossus, Shadowcat, and Rogue.

o_O Okkaaay. Yes, the guys of my generation could be insecure about their masculinity. At the time, I chalked it up to teen angst. I figured they'd grow out of it.

Jump ahead thirty years, and boy, was I wrong. These guys are still trying to exclude women from the hero world. This time, it's clothing for children.

The excuses are still the same. Boys won't wear girl characters. Girls won't wear superhero-related shirts. And they're both right up there with Warner Bros. excuse for not making a Wonder Woman movie.

Guys, you might want to take a look at my closet before you make that pronouncement. Girls like superheros. We like 'em even better if there are women superheroes in the mix.

And I won't just pick on Warner Brothers. Did Disney/Marvel think I wouldn't notice you didn't have one of the founding members of the Avengers in the movie? I'll give them a little credit. They did substitute Wasp with Black Widow instead of another male Avenger. And they are putting the Scarlet Witch in the next movie. Which still puts them a couple of steps above WB. But then drops them another step for not having Gamora with the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy on a t-shirt for little boys.


To the guys my age marketing shit to younger superhero fans: Kids today grew up with Buffy Summers and Katniss Everdeen and Hermione Granger. They'll wear shirts with Black Widow and Gamora. They'll even go see Wonder Woman if you make the movie right.

And by right, I mean having a team like Chris Nolan had for the Dark Knight trilogy. A team that passionately cares about the subject matter. Or is this all a plan to mess up the possibility of a movie because you don't want to see your sons wearing Wonder Woman t-shirts?

Guess what? Your sons are totally secure in their manhood. It's you that has the problem.

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Dear Author/Jane Litte Defense Fund

If you're a regular reader of my blog or involved in the erotica community, you should know by now that Tina Engler, in her capacity as the primary owner of Ellora's Cave, Inc., has sued Jennifer Gerrish-Lampe, aka Jane Litte,of the popular blog Dear Author for defamation.

In my opinion, Jennifer didn't say anything that many other bloggers weren't already talking about--the death spiral of EC and its causes. For a company in the perfect position to take advantage of the e-book explosion, EC has failed to capitalize on the market changes. Personally, I think that Engler's desperate to shut up her critics, but going after an attorney wasn't the brightest move. Speaking from experience, if an attorney is sued or threatened with a lawsuit, we have a tendency to laugh and pull out the guns.

However, a lawsuit is still fucking expensive because no attorney in her right mind will represent herself in a case, and she definitely has to pay the other attorney. One nice thing is we generally know who the best in the business is. The second nice thing is the attorney we hire may cut us a deal on her rates. But the costs still mount up, and Jennifer's already put aside $20,000 of her own money to fight this case.

Sad to say, she's going to need a lot more to fight this. Sarah Wendell of the blog, Smart Bitches, Trashy Books has started a GoFundMe campaign for donations to help with the battle.

I'm going to make a statement that I hope my regular readers and new visitors understand:

I'm all for good snark, and I personally think both Jennifer and Sarah cross from snarkiness to downright meanness too much on their respective turfs, but I will defend to death their right to say whatever opinions they want on their own GODDAMN BLOGS!

Which means I'll be donating to the defense fund after I (hopefully) close on our house this week.

Bloggers, writers and readers shouldn't fear a lawsuit for criticizing publishers in public.

Angry Sheep, signing off

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Sheldon as Soft Kitty?

Here's an atypical cat video from the folks at Comediva.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Why I'm Glad I'm Not Practicing Law Anymore

Was it only last Friday that Ellora's Cave filed suit against Dear Author? *shakes head* This mess makes me singularly glad that I no longer practice law.

On Monday, I posted links to the pertinent sites involved along with other bloggers commenting about the situation. As I said before, I would have handled the pleadings differently than the EC attorney. It's not in the plaintiff's best interest to put a copy of the alleged libelous statements directly into a pleading, especially since:

(1) It's been mentioned in other avenues and outlets that the plaintiff corporation is having financial difficulties. Whether the difficulties are factual or not, such information in the public record can lead to new or additional financial damage to the corporation.

(2) The screen shot of the corporate principle flipping off her critics on Facebook doesn't shine a particularly gracious light on the principle or the corporation. When you request a jury trial, you know your opponent will try to enter that screenshot into evidence, and she'll succeed because you opened the door. Ohio is a rather conservative state, and you're taking an awful chance that screenshot won't backfire.

Yesterday morning, both sides presented a Joint Motion for Continuance of Temporary Restraining Order. What does this mean?

Both sides agreed that their best interests are served by taking more time to collect and present evidence on EC's request for an injunction. They named as October 27, 2014. What's most interesting to me is Section 3 of the Joint Motion:
3.   In the interim, all parties agree that neither they, nor anyone under their direct control, shall post on the Internet any comments specifically and directly related to the factual allegations that form the basis of Ellora Cave’s defamation complaint; further, they agree not to comment online, directly or indirectly, on the allegations that form the basis of the defamation complaint. Nothing herein shall prohibit Plaintiffs from responding to defamatory posts or re-posts made by third parties related to the issues raised in this litigation. 
So what does Tina Engler, the principle of EC, do? She commented over at The Passive Voice.

What exactly was the point of the gag request if you negate it almost entirely in the last sentence of the section? This is not helping your client. You can't stop third parties from discussing the case. By filing it, it's matter of public knowledge, therefore it's hard to stop public discourse on the matter. But by not keeping your client silent, and I'm referring to both sides of this case here, you're potentially giving your opponent ammunition to shoot your case with on the 27th.

In fact, I commented of TPV that I was glad I wasn't Tina's attorney. Occasionally, an attorney will get a client who literally can't keep their mouth shut. I had my fair share when I still practiced law. As I told more than one client, sometimes all I can do is keep the damage to the client to a minimum. That didn't stop some clients from making their problems worse despite my instructions not to talk about their case.

On the other hand, either Jane Litte, the proprietress of Dear Author, understands her silence is necessary as an attorney herself, or she's listening to her counsel. Either way, Jane's been quiet on the matter since she requested witnesses on her blog on September 30th. Such a request is allowed under Section 4 of the Joint Motion.

In conclusion, attorneys CANNOT save you from your own bad decisions. If you've spent a ton of money to hire an attorney, listen to her. If you really, truly believe an attorney is giving you poor advice, you have every right to fire her and hire someone else. But don't blame your attorney when you do something against her advice that hurts you.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Bankruptcy and Publishing

With all the talk of small publishers, and possibly a few bigger publishers, filing for bankruptcy, I see a lot of misinformation traveling around the writer blogosphere. If your publisher has filed for bankruptcy, or is facing the possibility of filing, this is a time when a writer really, truly needs expert help in the form of a bankruptcy attorney.

Many contracts with American publishers have a clause in them, saying that in the event that the publisher files for, or is forced into, bankruptcy, all rights revert back to the writer. For all intents and purposes, this clause IS ABSOLUTELY MEANINGLESS!

Why? In the American legal system, contracts are governed by state law. In fact, there's usually another clause in the contract specifying which state's law is the deciding factor. (And it's almost always the publishers' home state.) Bankruptcy law is federal law. And the American system, federal law almost always trumps state law.

What does this mean? It means if your publisher files for bankruptcy, the rights he bought from you become part of the bankruptcy estate and can be sold to satisfy the publisher's debts. Not only that, but if your publisher owes you royalties, those royalties are an unsecured debt which put you the writer near the bottom of the list of people to get paid by the bankruptcy trustee. This isn't anything personal on the part of the trustee. The law ranks creditors in a certain order.

If you think your publisher is in trouble (such as the poor folks who sold rights to Ellora's Cave), you need to talk to an attorney who specializes in bankruptcy NOW. If you wait, you may never see your precious books again.

Monday, September 29, 2014

How Ellora's Cave May Have Just Committed Suicide

In case you actually had a life over the weekend and missed the blow-up, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc. and Jasmine-Jade Enterprises, LLC filed a civil suit Friday morning against Dear Author Media Network, LLC, and Jennifer Gerrish-Lampe for defamation. Ellora's Cave was a ground-breaking e-book erotica publisher. Jennifer is better known as Jane Litte, the proprietress of Dear Author, an incredibly popular romance blog and review website.

The subject of Ellora's Cave (aka EC) has been a major topic on the internet for the past few months. Jennifer wrote a piece that was, in my opinion, fair and factual in regards to their business problems. I linked to it when I compared EC's current behavior to the events leading to Dorchester's demise. Everything Jennifer mentioned is a matter of public record. She laid out the facts, and she gave an opinion about what may be going on behind the scenes and what the end result may be. Her post went live fifteen days ago on September 14th.

Three days ago on September 26th, EC filed suit against Jennifer in Akron, specifically the Summit County Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division. You can read the actual court documents here at the Summit County Clerk of Courts. I first heard about the lawsuit in an article on The Digital Reader. The Passive Voice has posted the actual filing, which is now a matter of public record, along with his own legal commentary. Inexplicably, EC's attorney attached a copy of Jennifer's blog post to the pleading.


I know it's been a while since I've practiced law (and nothing I'm about to say constitutes legal advice or legal representation of anyone WHATSOEVER), but what the fuck was that attorney thinking? The apparent objective of the lawsuit was to suppress Jennifer's analysis of EC and chill any further discussion of EC 's business practices. Yet, he just made sure everyone in the world can read it. As Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader said, the Streisand Effect will ensure everyone on the planet knows about the Dear Author blog post and shine a very bright light on EC's behavior.

In a case like this, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff, i.e. EC, to show that Jennifer deliberately lied to damage their business. Which means their going to have to open their financials to the court to prove one of the main allegations, that EC did in fact pay ALL their writers, editors and cover artists. Again, any evidence entered into the case will become a matter of public record. Considering how many EC authors are openly complaining about the lack of payment, these folks will be very interested in seeing the financial records of the company.

By Saturday afternoon, the Streisand Effect was in full force as bloggers spread the word about Dear Author getting sued. Outraged readers picked up the thread. Even Publishers Weekly broadcasted it through their Twitter account.

By filing this lawsuit, EC may have just hastened its ultimate fate. The company may not even survive long enough for this case to go to trial.