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The Book Wars

Feb. 3rd, 2010 | 10:21 am
location: stomping in my writing room
mood: crankyticked-off
music: stomping of my feet

I am on the outside of the book wars, and a writer, so my viewpoint is colored by how the debacle is affecting my future. That said, I do have opinions. I always do, even when I can see both sides. (I am, of course, open to new ideas, more info, and open debate!)


Long ago, books were hidebound for a reason – so they would last. But the makers of the books are now hidebound too, and stuck in the old ways, in the old business model. The market and world are changing fast, and the publishers were not ready for that to happen. They—and we writers—are losing.


Old business model, established after the great depression to get the economy moving in the book business again was:

Writer writes,

Editors buy and edit

Publishers publish books and *set prices for their product*

Distributors buy books

Books are shipped to distributors

Brick and mortar stores buy from distributors

Books are shipped to stores

Brick and mortar stores display books

Public buys from brick and mortar stores

Left over books are charged back to the publisher and destroyed or shipped everywhere and resold

The pieces of the pie were very tiny, and the process was *not* efficient or green.


Today, Amazon, an online *bookstore*, the big chains, and the superstores that sell everything (including books) want a bigger piece of the pie. Because the pie is only so big, it means cutting out some middle men. They want to set the price points themselves, cut out the distributor, and sell to the public. They have also been testing the waters to publish the books. (Oy… If you thought crappy books were making it onto the market already…)


So we have a book war.

My opinion?

Both sides are both wrong.

McM/Tor was stupid to set prices so high, wanting more of the pie.

Amazon is trying to be a store-distributor-and now publisher and wants ALL the pie.

And the writer is stuck in the middle with less and less.


In my opinion, the market has changed so drastically with the electronic age, and the superstore, super-chain age, that the old business model no longer works. And the publishers could fix that. They could, but they won’t.


Publishers, if they would, could take the entire process out of the hands of the distributors and stores and do it ALL! All they would need to do is agree to one e-reader, one software format, one site to show the public. Then they could set their own price points and they would be in direct competition with each other, but *in charge* of that competition.


Instead, a third party is still in charge. Will the publishers jump on the wagon and change things to their own advantage? No They have been divided and conquered. And we all suffer.


More comments? Another take on the issue. Believe me, I'd love to be wrong!


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Jan. 1st, 2010 | 09:50 pm
location: back at the PC
mood: jubilantjubilant
music: dogs snoring at my feet

If you want to see a short-short crossover about Jane and Joanne Walker, written by CE Murphy go to http://mizkit.livejournal.com/and scroll down to her DEC 28 post. Tres cool!

Plus, a podcast where the reviewers talk about Skinwalker. I heard it today, and it is *wonderful*!!!!

A BLOOD CROSS review I love?
SfSite put Blood Cross as its permier reveiw this month.(Sqeeeee!!!) I highly recommend you all become members of the site!

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Jun. 22nd, 2009 | 07:24 pm
location: pacing like a cat in a cage
mood: nervousnervous
music: Spirit of the Canyon by Ah Nee Mah

It is starting out to be an interesting week, with lots of really nice reviews on Skinwalker. I am excited -- in a nail-biting, hopeful way -- that sales will be generated by the reviews.  I really love this character and want to stay in print with her. (chewing on nails...)

Tomorrow (June 23) I am *all day* at BittenByBooks.Com. Some fans have asked where they can see my jewelry, and so I'll be giving away jewelry during the all day blog-fest, along with 8 advance, uncorrected, copies of the novel. ROC only printed a couple hundred of them, so they will be rare.

Come by, see the interview, and ask questions. I'll be there off and on for 24 hours!!!!


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Jun. 3rd, 2009 | 05:15 pm
location: pecking away, sorta like a chicken but without the clucking
mood: creative
music: peck peck peck

I blogged about writerly stuff today at

I blogged about SKINWALKER at
Gave a treat!

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(no subject)

Apr. 30th, 2009 | 11:12 am
location: memory of manatee faces
mood: happyhappy
music: manatees breathing

I am home!
My AKA Gwen Hunter won the RT award!!!!!!!! How cool is that! Sleep Softly was the best in its category for 2008! The awaard ceremony was fun and funny and lasted exactly as long as it should have. Whoowhoo!

I missed my mattress, my kitchen, fresh veggies, my pantry (hate to cook with so few condiments and I never take enough in the RV). LOL. The things we miss on the road.... Of course we vacated while traveling.

Here's a recap of one morning after the event...

Once I got over my usual panic at trying to use a snorkel (which activates my hidden, challenged, oft-confronted, always defied, but always returning fears of drowning) I swam with the manatees. They came to us for play. Wild animals wanting to be near humans.  So weird. They are gentle and amazing. And they are HUGE BTW!




First sighting and swim was just after dawn when they are still sleepy and lazy and even the adults are in a good mood. There were four in a mating pod, three males wooing a female at dawn, but they wanted a good morning scratch under their fins and throats and along their bellies (the hubby said, “Well, who doesn’t…”) before they started in on amorous foreplay. One of them wrapped fins around hubby and looked him right in the eyes and hugged him. Had to be the lady manatee, and I can’t say I blame her.

They got tired of us after a while and they left, swimming after me (which was weird because I was just off by myself at that point swimming.) They rose up under me one at time in a long line, scooting their bodies along mine as we swam. It was … bizarre. The dive guide was yelling, “Did they swim with you???” And I was gasping, “Yeah, they did. It was awesome! It was freaky but it was awesome.”

Then we found a playful 2 yr juvenile in a different location. It was six feet long. Mama manatee (like 12 feet long) checked us out, decided we were okay to baby-sit her baby, and left him with us for over an hour. She went off to eat. Seriously. Baby would swim after us rolling over and over and asking to bump us or for scratching. He’d get up in a diver’s face and study him. Then gently tap faces.

Lastly, we went to one of the springheads for the Crystal River and swam (fins and snorkels) hard upstream into crystal clear water to the Three Sisters Spring Head which is in a…well, a grotto buried in the swamp. Here we swam with the cormorants. Okay – that’s my morning. And yes it is unbelievable. Just freaking wonderful. I loved it!

Anyone want to swim with the manatees in Florida, I recommend Bird's Underwater in Crystal Bay. I'll be putting up a video of the manatee event (I hope) soon.
Great people!
More on how I used this in my writing on my blog from yesterday at www.magicalwords.net

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(no subject)

Apr. 8th, 2009 | 11:28 am
location: shivering at my PC
mood: coldsneezy
music: do sneezes count?

I blogged this morning about beta readers at


Beta readers--if you get the right ones--can make the difference between a sale or a no sale in today's publishing market.

Also, this Friday, editor Bart Leib will guest blogging.

Bart Leib is Co-owner and Editor of Crossed Genres SF/F magazine. He is also the founder of Genre Challenge (http://www.genrechallenge.org), a genre writing challenge/charitable endeavor. Bart lives in Somerville, MA with his wife Kay and their son Bastian. When he's not writing, editing or playing with his son, Bart is... sleeping. That's all he has time for.

Crossed Genres, the magazine of Science Fiction & Fantasy with a twist, was founded by Bart Leib and K.T. Holt in September 2008. Every issue of Crossed Genres has a different "theme" genre - all stories for that issue combine the theme with Science Fiction and/or Fantasy. CG also contains articles and interviews about SF/F, writing, and the publishing industry, with the goal of informing aspiring writers. Issue 5 (with a theme of HUMOR) was released on April 1.

Crossed Genres website: http://www.crossedgenres.com

Crossed Genres blog: http://community.livejournal.com/crossedgenres/



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river and

Apr. 6th, 2009 | 10:53 am
location: not where I want to be!
mood: happyhappy
music: river gurgling and rushing

I am home again after a day on the river and a weekend at the lab. It was really wonderful.  [The river not the lab.  Labs are just stinky, dirty, (no matter how you clean them) windowless, places full of blood, poop, pee and ... well, it's not a fun place, but I love it anyway. I've been called contrary. Wonder why?]

The river was flowing fast and hard and we were able to take the little byways and side runs through tiny quirky channels. There were 4 of us, Hubby, Ralph Altman, my bro Benson Prater and moi. We laughed and chatted and paddled and had a wonderful time.  Ralph is a long time paddler and he is so wonderful to have around becasue he is so skilled and, like a lot of older paddlers, he is calm in any situation. Bro Benson flipped in a side channel current that was sweeping him into whirlpool and up under a downed tree. Not a big current or a big tree mind you, not dangerous, but it was tricky. Benson didn't panic, Ralph talked him out and was there to rescue boat and gear. And we all had a good laugh.

I went over on the same spot I always go over on. They kindly have named the rapid after me. (sigh) And it was cooooold! But it was grand. A really grand day! I have to write a book about a river mage who has a boat...

PS -- Yes, I got a lot of work done polishing Blood Cross!

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(no subject)

Apr. 2nd, 2009 | 10:48 am
location: dancing in the writing room
mood: sillyand sillier
music: dog panting and dancing with me

(Okay, it's just the first rough, but the hard part is finished.)
Book title is, officially.....(need a drumroll here)

Isn't that totally Fab!
So, I'm feeling a little silly and....

To the tune of Row Row Row your boat...

Write, write, write the WIP, words upon the screen,

Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, writing's just a dream.

(snerk snort)


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Mar. 27th, 2009 | 07:15 pm

To the tune of Rawhide:

Writin writin writin, siting here awritin. Writin writin writin, sorehiney! I'm sitting her awritin, deadline's on horizon, I'm sittin here a writin, sorehiney!

All kidding aside, I have a deadline for BLOOD CROSS, book two in the Jane Yellowrock, Skinwalker series due on Ap. 15. I have been a writing fool, turning out 46 pages this week. Yes, I did get a bit of rest, running the Catawba River from the dam to the RiverPark on Tuesday, sitting with a sick friend on Monday.  For the next 19 days I will writing like fool. And I LOVE this character! Today's favorite line?

“Card?” Troll asked. A man of few words. I liked him already. My new best pal. With two gloved fingers, I unzipped my leather jacket, fished a business card from an inside pocket, and extended it to him. It read jane yellowrock, have stakes will travel. Vamp killing is a bloody business. I had discovered that a little humor went a long way to making it all bearable.


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well, like *poo*

Mar. 17th, 2009 | 10:50 am
location: back blogging
mood: disappointedpoo'ed
music: dog pushing his bowl around trying to get attention

I was all excited about the sun out bright and then it went back behind the clouds. 
And I was all excited about tea with Kim today but she had a family emergency and took off for that.
So, I'm feeling all kinda like, *well, poo.* Now what?
I need to clean. Need to change and wash sheets. Need to fold 5 loads of clothes. Not even gonna mention the bathrooms...
Like I'm gonna do any of that stuff...

Guess I'll write. (It's always great for getting out of chores!)

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