Friday, October 30, 2015

Got my Ranty Pants On

I should change the name of this blog to "Eden Rants" because that seems to be the only time I blow the dust off this joint and invite y'all over for a cup of coffee.

And ranting is exactly what I'm doing, so if you ain't in the mood for me at my bluntest, pass this one up. If you dare, then pull up your big girl panties and let this old southern broad serve up a helping of truth.

I started Gas or Ass off with a rant. And today, I'm ranting again, and for the same goddamn reason. Author drama.

Now, let me say right up front, that when I use the term, it's not necessarily pejorative.


The romance community is astir again, this time about plagiarism. A prolific author has been caught re-writing (that's the kind term) a male/female romance into a male/male romance.

And guess what happened next?

Yep. My Facebook feed lit up like bottle rockets in July.

Post after indignant post about this heinous act has wallpapered my feed in the last week. (That's true, if the author being accused did the deed, it is heinous.) I have over 1000 writers in my personal FB feed, so when I say 'wallpapered' I mean, enough words to cover the Biltmore House, and have enough left over to paper the servants shed, have been written on the topic.

And, it's not the first time this has happened, but it could be the last.

Why do I say that? Well, consequences. See, fourteen months ago, a similar thing came to my attention. An author I do not know, nor do I have have any social media contact with, had her Christian romance stolen by a woman who turned Rachel's sweet romance into ....drum roll, erotic romance.

Rachel Nunes went through some shit in order to figure out who had stolen her work. That hideous person actually tortured her via social media and made outright threats.

But, Rachel decided to fight. She started a GoFundMe campaign. The original theft, as well as subsequent threats made by her plagiarist, designed to intimidate this author, is all laid out in Rachel's GFM campaign.

Today, she's raised about half of the money needed to take her fight to court. Her case is in the discovery phase. In practical terms, that means the amount she has raised is G-O-N-E. Used up to pay her lawyer to get to this point.

I donated then, and continue to donate whenever I can. But, why is she going begging? I mean, her win can only benefit every other author.

So, I watched all the posts go by last week about the NEW incident, but....dammit, money talks and bullshit walks. I've started to feel that the romance writing community would rather talk than DO.

So, here's the ranty part. If you know there's a GFM in the works, and you believe in the issue--as evidenced by the blizzard of posts on the matter in my feed--then, at what point do your posts stop being about raising awareness and start being just a twisted form of self-promotion?

And..if you weren't aware of Rachel's GFM, here is is. Now, ignorance is no longer your excuse. 

See, I still believe the thing I said at the beginning of Gas or Ass. We, as women, and particularly as women writers, can say, "Take my hand, I'll help you. I'll support you. I'll fight for you." And this can be done for the mere price of a goddamn dollar, or five, or twenty. Or, you can share her campaign. Because, we we well know from all the posts in our feeds doing giveaways, sharing is valuable, too.

We, as a community, can help end the plague of plagiarism by helping fund say, the next five GFM's by authors who have had their work stolen. I dwell on the magic of crowd funding, because I don't know many authors who can write a check for 25K to defend their stolen works. Ergo, we MUST stand united, or fall one by one.

Donating to Rachel's GFM is the cheapest goddamn insurance you will ever buy against having your work stolen. Much cheaper than that $35 copyright protection, that frankly, ain't worth the paper it's written on unless you ALSO have the 25K to back that shit up in court. Because, contrary to what some idealists in my feed seem to believe, that copyright protection ain't gonna speak for itself. Waving it at your thief won't slow their roll. You gotta hire an attorney to assert those rights given you by that piece of paper.

And he's gonna want more than most of us earn in five or ten years.

So, we can write blog posts. We can rant and bleed for our friends who've had their work stolen, and hope it never happens to us. Frankly, I think that's just noise pollution--which, incidentally, is why I rarely blog. I figure most any topic I think up has already been done, so I just decide I'll put those words on my work in progress and call it a day.

But what we cannot do is hope like hell that it's a NYT bestselling author who's work is stolen next, and not one of us indies who barely earn enough to eat ramen noodles four times a week. We cannot hope and pray that the kind of person who'd stoop to steal another's words is also stupid enough to pick a fight with someone who can afford to kick their ass in court.

But, we can help this author out with some hard cash or helpful publicity, and when she prevails in court, and is awarded ...cha ching! COMPENSATORY DAMAGES that cost her thief everything they could ever hope to earn...then the next asshat who decides to take a shortcut will think twice. In this day and age, you can run but you cannot hide. Plagiarists have to leave a money trail, else, why steal?

We can swarm the next, say five GFM campaigns to fight plagiarism, fund them in a red-hot hurry--remember, we'd individually be out of pocket, say, $25 bucks, if we gave Rachel AND the next four authors suffering this plague a $5.

But the cumulative benefit to each and every one of us is massive.We can put the fear of our community in the heart of the next would-be thief, by sticking together. By giving that five bucks or making a dedicated, ongoing publicity effort on those authors' behalf.

Anyone recall the blogger who was sued by a photographer because he found his copyrighted image on Google and he sued the blogger for damages--and won? Yeah. what happened next was a blizzard of posts about why bloggers needed to respect copyrights.

And... bloggers and authors stampeded to sign up at stock image sites. Or we found awesome free sites like Pixabay, where I got the images I used in this post.

 Most of us didn't realize that what this blogger did was wrong. but we damn sure understood the 8K it cost that blogger to learn the hard way.

And any compensatory damages Rachel wins would far outstrip that 8K for using a single image without permission...because...ta da! There is the little matter of intent. Book plagiarists INTEND to profit. Rachel's suit is asking for, I believe, $150,000 in compensatory damages.

And honey, 150K will give the next thief pause. Believe it.

We, as romance writers can either intend to help, or intend to benefit by means of the self-promotion garnered by toothless rants about plagiarism in general. Really, people already know it's wrong. Whatever you happen to write off the cuff on Facebook ain't eloquent enough to stop the next thief, much as it pains me to say so.
Because, this is one of those deals where, if you ain't part of the solution, you just might be part of the fucking problem. When we post so many heartfelt things, but never act, well, that, my friends, is all it takes for evil to triumph. (paraphrasing Edmund Burke)

Rant ovah. As you were.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Pedal to the Metal's release delayed

 You're never bugging me by asking. Don't think that's the problem. The problem is, the story's just not ready for public consumption. 

Pedal to the Metal's release is delayed yet again. 

I hear your groans. That's been my problem all along. I know you want the end of the story. We all want Shelby to find her HEA, me most of all. This is like being pregnant for the eleventh month. The doctor--who'd be my editor in this example--is saying the baby will come in its own time, but all I can think is that my family's giving me the side-eye for holding back on them.

I even fooled with the idea of adding another book to the series, so that I could end the tale where I am (on another cliffhanger) and release *something* today... but face it, nobody wants half a damn baby, me least of all.

And so, Pedal to the Metal will be born in its own time, after I sit back and figure out what the merry hell I'm missing. I have to identify what's causing the damn thing to run to over 108K words and yet, the conclusion, the scene that is so real and so perfect, you read it five times before you close the file, is eluding me.

That problem is never found at the end of a story, but somewhere in the middle, meaning I have to weigh each scene and figure out what stays and what goes, and then, re-write from that point.  

Not a thing I can do under pressure. Such is the pain and joy of being indie. No one has to be pleased but me. Because if I'm happy with it, you'll be happy with it, long after you forget your annoyance because you rushed to the hospital with flowers and balloons, only to find the expectant mother has been sent home to wait.

I won't set another release date until I have typed 'The End' and feel good about it. Once I do that, the file will go to Nomi, my editor.  She has a life too, so my inability to hit the deadline she and I agreed on will affect how fast she can get to it. 
To be sure you’re notified of the new release date, don’t forget to sign up for my mailing list”

Friday, September 4, 2015

Labor Day Blog Hop ~ Over 90 Participating Authors!


#LaborDayHOP #AuthorBlogHOP #Giveaway

Celebrate the Labor Day weekend and enter some amazing giveaways from some awesome blogs & authors. There are 90 authors participating so make sure you enter them all for more chances to win!

I'm giving away winner's choice of my erotic stepbrother romance trilogy, The 'Cuda Confessions, a series that's pure sex, speed, adrenaline and gasoline. 

Check out the rave reviews here: 

Find out why readers rave," I couldn't put this high-octane thrill ride down!" 


Comment below to win an ecopy of Gas or Ass 


the sequel, Turn & Burn 


the upcoming, spine-tingling finale, Pedal to the Metal, 

releasing Sept. 15th 

(winner's choice).

To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment telling me your dream muscle car (make and model) 

Don't forget to join my mailing list. There's a massive, multi-author freebie promotion coming up later this month. Sign up today, so you don't miss your invitation to the exclusive reader event.Then, follow this link to enter the next giveaway! Romance Divas

Master HOP LIST here: 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

New Release Date Set for Pedal to the Metal

 The release date of Pedal to the Metal has been pushed back to September 15th. The end just isn't where it needs to be, and we can't have that. 

But this is why Nomi's my editor.

If anyone needs me, I'll be in my writing, try not to need me. <grin>

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Gas or Ass Key Chain/Bottle Opener Giveaway!

Almost fainted when I found this key chain on Etsy. And the best part?
The seller is from Matthews, N.C. 

Ain't it purdy?

Of course I grabbed one to give away, to celebrate the release of Pedal to the Metal, as well as to say thank you for loving Shelby and the Hannah brothers.

(I made this mock up, and don't have the exact font that will be used. The actual item will have thinner lettering, exactly like NC vehicle tags and the vendor will ship to the winner directly.
Sorry, international readers, he'll ship to US addresses only.)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Release Date and Cover Reveal for Pedal to the Metal

Coming August 31, 2015

It’s complicated.

Once, I’d have scorned anyone who’d describe their relationship that way.
Now, I’d say, “You have no idea.”
I walked away from my stepbrothers again, this time to make my mother happy.
To make my best friend Caroline happy.
And what did those bad boys do?
They grabbed Caroline and came after me.

When you can’t please everyone,

One more race, one more wicked night was all they asked, because even Colt and Caine accepted one more was all we could risk before someone got hurt.
Then we’d do the right thing—or at least stop doing the wrong thing.
But fate had other ideas.

You got to please yourself.

When life shoved me into the wall, I realized that everything I believed about myself, everything I could ever hope to be, I’d learned from a racin’ man.
And it was by God time to put the pedal to the metal, so I went hammer down and hell bent, for love.
And, if what I've done bothers anyone, they can kiss my red-headed, NASCAR-man lovin', college-educated, country girl ass.
Now, it's a romance.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Pedal to the Metal, The 'Cuda Confessions #3

Are you getting excited for the release of Pedal to the Metal?
Want an Advance Review Copy? Sign up here, if you can receive a document on your Kindle and are willing to write a review and post it to Amazon (and Goodreads, if you use it) within the first two weeks after release.
Only 19 spots left before reservations close.
I think (hope!) it'll be about three weeks before ARCs go out.
The story's really rolling now :)

and follow the fun as I remove one puzzle piece a day until the cover of PTTM is completely revealed on August 13th. 
Tell me if you're #TeamColt, #TeamCaine, or #TeamRobert while you're there.
Join the page and don't forget to click to recieve updates, since I'm planning an exciting giveaway to celebrate completing the series.

The opening chapters won't be posted here until the 20th of August, so join my newsletter mailing list for the earliest possible peek at the first four chapters of the thrilling conclusion to Shelby's odyssey from virginity to full-blown womanhood.