Thursday, November 29, 2012

Nightingale by David Farland

The multi-award winning novel, Nightingale by best-selling author, David Farland is available in hardback, ebook, and now in a special iPad enhanced version. This young-adult fantasy novel has already been turning heads.
Grand Prize Winner of the Hollywood Book Festival, placed first in all genres, all categories.

Winner of the 2012 International Book Award for Best Young Adult Novel of the Year!

Finalist in the Global Ebook Awards

Some people sing at night to drive back the darkness. Others sing to summon it. . . .

Bron Jones was abandoned at birth. Thrown into foster care, he was rejected by one family after another, until he met Olivia, a gifted and devoted high-school teacher who recognized him for what he really was--what her people call a "nightingale."

But Bron isn't ready to learn the truth. There are secrets that have been hidden from mankind for hundreds of thousands of years, secrets that should remain hidden. Some things are too dangerous to know. Bron's secret may be the most dangerous of all.

In his remarkable young adult fantasy debut, David Farland shows why critics have called his work "compelling," "engrossing," "powerful," "profound," and "ultimately life-changing."

As part of the blog tour I was able to read an ARC, so here's my review of Nightingale:
There’s something different about Bron Jones. He’s been raised in foster home after foster home after being abandoned as a baby. When he’s sixteen he goes to live with Olivia, a high school teacher who recognizes right away just what it is that’s different about Bron.
Nightingale follows Bron’s journey of discovery with Olivia as he learns not only who he really is but what he really is. And what he is is not quite human.
I have to say I really liked Bron. He’s learned to close himself off from affection because of his lack of it in his life, and at the same time he yearns for it. Because of the glimpses into Bron’s past, and his emotional fragility I quickly began rooting for the kid.
Once Bron moves in with Olivia and her husband Mike, the story begins moving very quickly. While I liked the compassion Olivia immediately had for him, at times it verged just a little towards the ick factor as it hinted at some sexual attraction between the two. Every time the story veered that way I almost had to close my eyes and look away. Luckily, it’s a rare occasion that happens, and Farland eventually gives us an understanding as to why that happens (though it doesn’t completely make it okay). It does not detract from the story in any way, so please don’t read into this that there was anything inappropriate happening between them.
There was a bit of information dump at the beginning and at a few points throughout that made it a little confusing keeping straight who was who in this strange species, and who were the good guys and who were the bad, with just a hair too much history for me. But again, those things didn’t detract from the story for me. There was enough action and angst occurring to completely hold my attention. It was impossible to not care about what happened to Bron, which kept me quickly turning pages.
Overall, I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good paranormal or fantasy story. Or even anyone who just plain enjoys a good, well-told story. I look forward to the sequel to Nightingale. Farland has done an excellent job in creating a world that I want to know more about, and where I want to know how Bron turns out.
"Superb worldbuilding, strong characters, and Dave's characteristic excellent prose. --Brandon Sanderson, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author
"A wonderful tale of a young man trying to find his humanity, even though he's not quite human. One of Farland's very best!"--#1 International Bestseller Kevin J. Anderson

The enhanced version creates an amazing reading experience complete with illustrations from several talented artists and a sample of a soundtrack that coincides with the story. Published by East India Press a publishing company that takes e-books in a whole new direction with enhanced multimedia--soundtracks, movie clips, author interviews and more. From the site: "East India embraces emerging technologies and new distribution methods, producing every novel in three forms: as an enhanced multimedia experience, as a standard e-book, and as a limited edition hardcover."
Farland has plans for three more books in the series: Dream Assassin, Draghoul, and Shadow Lord.

About the author: 
David Farland has written and edited fifty published books. These include novels for adults, young adults, anthologies, middle-grade readers, and picture books. He often teaches writing workshops, and has trained a number of people who went on to become international bestselling authors—people like Brandon Sanderson in fantasy, Brandon Mull in middle-grade fiction, and Stephenie Meyer in young adult fiction.

As part of his dedication to helping other writers, David writes the David Farland’s Daily Kick in the Pants, an email bulletin for writers or those who would be writers. Many authors rave about how it has helped them. Out of devotion, he provides the Daily Kick free. You can register to receive it at
You can learn more about Dave and his books/writing seminars here:

Twitter handle @DavidFarland


Monday, November 26, 2012

Dreaming of Summer Giveaway Hop

It's a Love Thing is a compilation of 8 summer love stories by 8 different authors- of which I happen to be one.

 In the Beginning
By: Cindy C Bennett

 Drake has lived a hard life. In and out of trouble with the law, sentenced to juvenile corrections and finally released to the custody of his parole officer, the strange, surfer-dude Tom, Drake is forced to move to the tiny beach town of Seaside. There, he meets Megan, Tom’s off-limits daughter. Though he tries to avoid her, it seems she turns up constantly in his life. It isn’t long before he finds himself looking forward to visits from the ultra-optimistic Megan. But does she really care for Drake, or is he just another charity case? And why does she seem so very familiar to him?

It's a Love Thing is a great beach read since the stories all revolve around summer. If, like me, you're nowhere near a beach, or it's too cold to read at the beach near you, this is still a great book to read in the middle of winter to help you dream about summer and the beach! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving! And a Love Letter to the Wigz.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Even if you're not in America and therefore not giving thanks by stuffing your face full of turkey and pie, I still want to wish you a happy Thanksgiving since I happen to be very grateful for all of my friends, family, readers, and other bloggers!

In paritcular today I want to give thanks to a group of people I couldn't do without. The Wigz! This is what my critique group call ourselves. My wonderful, amazing, invaluable group consists of myself (obviously), Sherry Gammon, Camelia Miron Skiba, and Jeffery Moore.

Cami's first wig
Our name comes from a couple of years ago as Cami was writing her novel, A World Apart, Jeff and I were driving her crazy with our critiques, and she told us she felt like tearing her hair out and she'd have to wear a wig. In response I sent her a purple wig. She took a pic of her in it, and posted it. Jeff immediately coined us the Wigz, and we've been the Wigz since then.

Recently Sherry, Cami, and I were able to have a Wigz writers retreat in New York (see photo below). We thought we were being so clever having it near where Jeff lives so we could at least spend one day with. Shows how smart we were - we were still several hours from him, and he was unable to get away from work. That's why he's not in the photo with us, though I have to say we might have had a hard time getting him into a long, sparkly wig!

Sherry, Cami, Me

Cami is responsible for putting our little group together. Her, Jeff, and I were all part of an online class on writing query letters. We got to know each other a little during this time, and when the class ended, Cami asked if anyone was interested in forming a critique group. Jeff and I were the smart ones who said yes, and our group was formed.

In the beginning we were very polite with each other, and our edits consisted of yellow hightlights and writing our comments in red in the text of the manuscript. (None of us knew about the review feature in Word). Now, we're politely harsh with each other. We understand it requires respectful honesty in order to help each other write to our full potential.

A little about these 3 peeps who are so important to me:

Cami was born in Romania and lived there until moving to the US 9 years ago. English is her fourth language. How amazing is that? Even more amazing is that she writes romance novels in English. Her life (which is her story to tell, not mine, so I won't go into it) is more fascinating than any novel I've ever read. Cami is not only a complete sweetheart, she's utterly gorgeous. Sherry and I had a great time in New York watching men fall all over themselves around her and/or stare at her. She has no idea just how beautiful she is, which is part of her charm. Cami flew from her home in Arizona to Salt Lake City last year to come to my book launch. It was the best part of my launch, having her here and meeting her face-to-face for the first time.

Jeff is very humble about how incredibly intelligent he is. It shows in his writing. He writes speculative fiction, and in the time the rest of us have written a few books, he's written 6 full length novels, and is working on his 7th. His books have these incredibly detailed, full worlds and new creatures that are utterly fascinating. He's a huge lover of idioms, the more abstract the better. Instead of "ran like the wind" he might say something such as "scurry away like a cockroach from the sun". Jeff is a dedicated family man, completely clear in how he lives his life and how he speaks of his family. He works as an IT guy, and he works hard - and sometimes really long hours. I think for him writing is his release from the stress of his job. We love having Jeff as part of our group because he gives us great perspective from a man's POV, and tells us when our male characters are saying things a guy would never say.

Sherry joined us a little later. I met Sherry when she came to Utah to see her new grandbaby about a year-and-a-half ago. I'd talked to her online a few times, and she wanted to know if there were any book signing opportunities while she was here. She came to my house to do a multi-author book signing, and I liked her right off the bat. She's extremely friendly, funny, and if she shows up and you're moving things around, she digs right in to help - whether she knows you or not. After returning to New York, she wrote to ask if I knew anyone who was looking to form a critique group like Cami, Jeff and I had. I wrote to Jeff and Cami to see if they knew of anyone who was looking, and they immediately extended an invite to have her join our group. She's been a perfect fit with the rest of us, like she belonged the whole time. Sherry is an amazing YA author who's had her first novel, Unlovable, optioned for a movie. How exciting is that? Sherry and I hit it off so well from our first meeting that we are now business partners in Prose by Design.

Needless to say, without these 3 my writing wouldn't be anywhere near what it is. I love these 3 friends of mine dearly. I can't say enough good about them. I highly encourage you to check them out and read their books. I've enjoyed all their books, in spite of the differences in our genres and writing styles.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Friday, November 16, 2012

3 Winners!

Congrats to the three big winners of the Thankful for Books Giveaway!

 The three winners are:

Fiery Na- Beautiful Beast
Giedre Slumba- Red and the Wolf
Marlene Breakfield- Snow White
Thank everyone for entering!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Gratitude Giveaway Hop

I absolutely love this time of year when we (here in America, anyway) celebrate Thanksgiving. I like that it kind of forces me to sit back and think about the things I am most thankful for. The list is long and it would take hours for me to list everything here. Instead I've decided to pick the one thing I'm most thankful for to tell you about.

It might be cliché, but the thing I'm honestly most grateful for is my family. That's it's cliché doesn't make it any less true or important. I was raised by a mom who loved me, and who let me know I was loved. I was raised by a dad who always provided for his family, and made sure our every need was met as much as possible. I had siblings that I may not have gotten along with growing up all the time, but who I now love to death! Those same siblings have given me extended family that I love as well, including nieces and a nephew that I couldn't love more if they were my own. I'm married to a man who loves me, and who is not only a great provider, but loves our children. 

Then there are my children. I wouldn't trade a single mess, temper tantrum, ruined couch, or heartbreak with them. Everything has led up to them becoming these amazing people that I can't believe I'm lucky enough to have in my life. In fact, my two sons have upped the ante by bringing me a couple of sweethearts for daughters-in-law. 

I feel blessed beyond compare for having these people in my life. And with all of the other things that are so great in my life as well, this year I have more reason than ever to be thankful.

Because one of the things that I am so very grateful for is all of you, my dear reader, I want to give you an Amazon gift card that you can use to buy that book you've been thinking about but just haven't wanted to splurge on - or any other thing that your heart desires. And all you have to do is tell me, in the comments section, what one thing (or one of the things) that you're most thankful for yourself this year. Good luck, and may your heart be overflowing as you spend time with loved ones at this festive time of year, no matter where you are.

Open to anyone who can shop at
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Greta & the Goblin King Book Blast


While trying to save her brother four years ago, Greta was thrown into the witch’s fire herself, falling through a portal to a dangerous world where humans are the enemy, and every ogre, goblin, and ghoul has a dark side that comes out with the full moon.

To survive, seventeen-year-old Greta has hidden her humanity and taken the job of bounty hunter—and she’s good at what she does. So good, she’s caught the attention of Mylena’s young Goblin King, the darkly enticing Isaac, who invades her dreams and undermines her determination to escape.

But Greta’s not the only one looking to get out of Mylena. The full moon is mere days away, and an ancient evil knows she’s the key to opening the portal. If Greta fails, she and the lost boys of Mylena will die. If she succeeds, no world will be safe from what follows her back…

Greta and the Goblin King on




"High adventure and hot romance. Greta and the Goblin King is a winner!"
~ Kelley Armstrong #1 New York Times bestselling author

"Don't miss this rollicking adventure through a fascinating world. You'll gobble up Greta & the Goblin King and be left hungry for more!"
– Deborah Cooke, bestselling author of The Dragonfire Novels and The Dragon Diaries

"Chloe Jacob's YA debut is unputdownable with a kick-butt heroine and a super sexy hero. This goblin king is a keeper!"
– Michelle Rowen, national bestselling author

"The fantasy world Chloe Jacobs created is stunning...Fans of Shadow and Bone and Throne of Glass, this one is definitely for you."
Teresa Mary Rose of Readers Live a Thousand Lives

Author Chloe Jacbos:
Chloe Jacobs is a native of nowhere and everywhere, having jumped around to practically every Province of Canada before finally settling in Ontario where she has now been living for a respectable number of years. Her husband and son are the two best people in the entire world, but they also make her wish she'd at least gotten a female cat. No such luck. And although the day job keeps her busy, she carves out as much time as possible to write. Bringing new characters to life and finding out what makes them tick and how badly she can make them suffer is one of her greatest pleasures, almost better than chocolate and fuzzy pink bunny slippers.

School/Library Visits:
If you would like to have Chloe visit your school, library, or other event, don’t hesitate to contact her at

Her presentations are informative as well as entertaining. She is an enthusiastic and knowledgeable speaker. She offers workshops and gives presentations on the craft of writing – from that first spark of an idea all the way through to implementation; the trials of getting published; the business of publishing; marketing and promotional tips and tools for authors; writing for young adults; why the young adult genre is so strong in today’s declining book market; balancing life’s passions with daily responsibilities; what it’s like to be a writer; how she gets ideas for books; and many other writing-related topics.

She is also more than happy to customize a presentation to your specific needs, and would be pleased to do Skype visits as well.


Giveaway Details:
$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash from Author Chloe Jacobs
Ends 11/21/12

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent's permission. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thankful for Books Giveaway!

It's time again for the Thankful for Books Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and author Tristi Pinkston.

Because this is about how thankful I am for my amazing life of being able to write for a living, doing what I love every day, I'm going to give away an e-copy of each of the books below, with a special giveaway graciously provided by my friend and co-author Sherry Gammon of her newest novel, Souls in Peril.

Max Sanchez is the “it” kid at Port Fare High. He’s the star of the baseball team, he’s dating head cheerleader Emma McKay, and he has a throng of wonderful, supportive friends.
JD Miller is the school’s punching bag, verbally and emotionally. He has a loving mother, but her choice in boyfriends is questionable, leaving him a target at home as well as school.

A tragic car accident ends it all for Max when his soul is prematurely removed from his body. The powers that be have asked him to go back to earth temporarily to help classmate JD. Max, always up for a challenge, takes it as a chance to see his beloved Emma again and quickly jumps at what he views as the easy task of helping JD. Max knows with a little cardio he can easily whip the guy into shape, ending all his troubles.While staying mentally connected to JD, Max’s soul steps into JD’s body. However, Max’s reality is shattered as he enters a world void of love and hope: JD’s world--life as the bullied kid.

Will he survive? Will JD? Did Emma's love for Max die also? Will Max be able to help these Souls in Peril, or is it all as hopeless as JD believes?

Calli is cursed by her beauty.

Though she knows it's cruel, Calli agrees to accompany her friends to Monster House where it is rumored the beast howls at the moon each sunset. When she hears him for the first time, her heart is wrenched by the anguish she hears in the sound.

Facing trespassing charges for her folly, Calli is forced to move into Monster House where she is to befriend the beast. Using the bribery offered by his father to gain some desperately needed money for her father, Calli accepts his terms. Horrified but trapped by her circumstance, Calli steps inside the doors of the great house to face the unknown.
Alex is cursed by his beastliness.

Alex believes Calli has bribed her way into his home in order to get a look at the beast of Monster House, and is determined to hate her. He isn't prepared as she batters down the hard walls of his soul with her kindness and humor.

Alex allows Calli into his inner sanctum, sharing with her the most private parts of his heart. But when he finds out the truth, will her love be enough to convince him of her true feelings, or will she lose him forever?

A sudden increase in the violence and frequency of wolf attacks in the forest surrounding Piera has all of the residents on edge.
Ruby: Three years ago, Rafe left their tiny mountain burg of Piera, leaving Ruby Hood behind to mend her shattered heart. Dealing with the fear created by the powerful and intelligent wolf would be enough for anyone, but now Ruby has to contend with more heartwrenching news . . . Rafe has come home.

Lowell: Rafe's brother, Lowell, has befriended Ruby in his absence. He's almost as gorgeous as Rafe, and nearly as charming, but the problem is . . . he's not Rafe.
Rafe: Rafe had no choice but to leave three years earlier, in spite of sharing an earth shattering kiss with his lifelong best friend Ruby. Now, he's back . . . and he's willing to fight for what he wants.
The death of Snow White's father has left her at the mercy of her stepmother Katarina. Katarina cares for one thing, and one thing only: herself.

Vain and arrogant, she sends Snow into the forest to be killed. Snow manages to escape and hide herself from the murderous Hugo. After wandering for days, lost and hungry, she stumbles upon Fableton, an enchanted village created by Katarina to entrap Prince Philip after he spurned her.

Philip has been unable to leave Fableton for half a millenium. Snow White just might be the one spoken of by a fairy who promised the day would come when a girl, pure of heart, would be able to break the curse and free the inhabitants of Fableton.

But is Philip willing to risk Snow's life to gain his freedom? Snow does the thing no one has ever been able to do before - leave the enchanted village. Her only hope of winning freedom for not only the residents of Fableton, but for herself as well, is to defeat the evil and powerful Katarina.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Secrets of the Red Box Book Blast

Secrets of the Red Box
Bonnie has secrets to keep - secrets with the potential to destroy lives, including her own. Running from her destructive and pain filled past, she recreates herself, believing she has escaped the damning evidence hidden in the red box. When her former life is revealed by a cruel twist of fate, Bonnie faces losing everything, including Glen, the only man she’s ever loved. But is Bonnie the woman he thinks she is? Set against the backdrop of the 1940s, Secrets of the Red Box is filled with intrigue and suspense - sure to keep you guessing to the very end!

Purchase Link:

Author Vickie Hall

Vickie is a native of Utah, but growing up, lived in the states of Colorado, Idaho, Montana, and Nebraska. When she's not writing, she's composing music, or shopping with her sister. She loves animals of all kinds and camping with her family. Her favorite pastime is watching old movies on TCM, and unashamedly has a crush on Cary Grant.


Praise for Secrets of the Red Box:

Amazing book! Wow, it caught me from the first paragraph. What detail, mystery and suspense. Loved the main character, Bonnie, so relatable. Vicki is an amazing writer. I wish she would write more books!!!
~Amazon Review

Secrets of the Red Box is a great read! Whether you're looking for a book with an intriguing and unusual plot, or a story of how life's choices effect the rest of your life, you will love this book!
~Amazon Review

Blog Tour:
Be sure to check out the blog tour for the chance to win an additional $25 Gift Card.

Tour Schedule

Book Blast Giveaway Details

$50 Amazon Gift Card or $50 PayPal Cash from Author Vickie Hall
Ends 11/25/12
*You need not enter your twitter name for each entry. Simply enter it for the first person you follow and leave the others blank.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent's permission. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Monday, November 5, 2012


Thanks to everyone who participated in the Healer's Destiny Media Blast!

There were 10 winners, out of over 900 entries. Here are the winners and the great prizes they won:

Natasha May winner of the $50 Amazon Gift card and an eCopy of Healer's Destiny, compliments of author Julee Page

Kristin Erker-Campbell winner of an eCopy of Healer's Destiny, compliments of author Julee Page

Brandy Rocha winner of an eCopy of Healer's Destiny, compliments of author Julee Page

Giedre Sliumba winner of an eCopy of Soul's in Peril compliments of author Sherry Gammon

Trisha Custer winner of an eCopy of Snow White compliments of author Cindy C Bennett

Amber Nicole winner of an eCopy of Temptation compliments of author Jamie Canosa

Sheena-kay Graham winner of an eCopy of The Elephant in the Tree House compliments of author Maren Dille

Jennifer GW winner of a mystery prize compliments of author Felicia Rogers

Claire Taylor winner of an eCopy of Adrift compliments of author Elizabeth A Reeves

Lea Martin winner of 3 bookmarks compliments of Nikki at Vamps and Stuff

If you see your name here you should be receiving an email from the sponsor of your particular prize. If you haven't received an email, please contact

Again, congrats to all the winners, and thanks to the participants as well as much gratitude to everyone who so graciously donated a prize, and to author Julee F Page for her donation of the gift card and for hosting the giveaway to bring awareness of her book Healer's Destiny.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

In Response

Because I apparently have no idea about how to answer short and sweet, I've chosen to post my response to one of my blog readers who questioned my post about piracy. By no means do I think it was wrong of her to question it. She raised some good points and I simply want her to understand where I'm coming from on the piracy issue.

This is her comment, followed by my response:

I can sympathize that it's painful to see your work pirated, but in your discussion of the myths and facts, I couldn't help but notice that you never mention any of the pros usually discussed by pro-piracy authors. You also stated all the "facts" without support of any research or statistics or...well...facts. They may seem common sense truth, but people who start doing research in piracy in book publishing, software, music, etc. often find the numbers tell a different story.

For example, here's Neil Gaiman (wildly successful author) on why he went from fearing piracy to believing it's really good:

and here's Gabe Newell (game software producer rather than author, but also dealing with piracy) with some really interesting statistics and insights on piracy. For his company, he found that piracy isn't really a price issue, it's a service issue.

If all this seems interesting, I encourage you to read more from Cory Doctorow (also best selling author) who speaks and writes a lot about this piracy, copyright, and the future of publishing, if your interested. He's most quoted on the topic for saying "The problem isn't piracy, it's obscurity."

And the Electronic Freedom Foundation has a lot of essays on the problems with current copyright system, including in Britain.
 ~Cathy B
Hi, Cathy. Thanks for writing.
I want you to know that this isn't a subject that just popped into my head on a whim. I've been reading about and learning about it (mostly firsthand) for the past few years. If it came across that I was making assumptions based on nothing more than this article, I apologize. I've been dealing with piracy long enough to understand the ramifications as well as most who've been dealing with it themselves.
I didn't mention any of the pros because for me, I don't see any. I wrote the post from a personal point of view and how it's affected me alone as well as how I've observed it affecting others. I genuinely can't understand how others think it's okay to take something free that wasn't intended to be free. There's a lot of justification out there from those who pirate books, music, movies, etc. I wanted to show from the POV of an author how it does affect me.
I'm boggled by the theory of "intellectual property belongs to everyone." Well, no, actually, it doesn't. Every product that exists in this world began as intellectual property. Someone, somewhere had an idea. Then they made that idea a reality. Now, as consumers, we pay for that idea by purchasing the product. Why is a book any different? Why is my work less valuable than anyone elses? Leaving marketing out of it, the amount of time that goes into writing a book can be astronomical: writing, researching, editing, exchanging editing/reading favors with others before publishing, formatting, creating a cover either alone or with an artist (who, by the way, is paid for their time). If I have the passion and even more, the talent and ability to create fiction that entertains other, why am I obligated to create it free? I've read a lot of posts where those who think pirating is okay talk about how any artist worth their salt gives their art away while working a "day job." 
Really? That's what makes my work valuable? Please do explain this rationale. Someone. Anyone. (Side note: Cathy did not bring this up or accuse me of needing to give my work away to be worth anything, so please don't think this is directed at her. It's not.)
As for those authors or other artists who think piracy is great, more power to them. Neil Gaiman (who I'm a fan of) is perhaps a little unfair of a comparison. The man already had a huge following, and had made a good chunk of money from his work before piracy came about. At this point, for him to laud the pirating of his work is understandable to me. He feels it's getting his work out to those who might not otherwise obtain it. If I were in his position, maybe my opinion would reflect his. Perhaps he can afford better than a new struggling author to blithely allow his work to be given away. The biggest difference, though, is that he is okay with and has basically given permission for his work to be pirated. I have not. Not yet, anyway. Neither have most other authors whose work is being pirated. Even Cory Doctrow admits there is no hard evidence to prove that giving away books is what has translated into higher sales, it's just his theory. But again, the difference is that he chose to give away his books, he chose to upload them free to his site to be downloaded. That was a personal choice and if that's what worked for him, I applaud him. I don't have his courage to take a risk like that. Not yet, anyway :). But again, that was his choice. It's not mine.
Here are a couple of links you might be interested in. One is from an author who talks about the pubbing process which might help explain all those affected by pirating.
Another is about an author who used to be one of the biggest proponents of pirating, until her own book was pirated, that is. In fact, she was one of the officers of Germany's Pirate Party. 
This one talks of yet another piracy site forced to pay for their theft of movies, and this one, while talking about music can also be applied to books .
I think most people assume that the items they're pirating come from artists whose income might go from $1.5M a year to $1M a year if they download their work without paying. Of course this is completely inaccurate. Most writers, musicians, filmmakers, etc., make minimum wage at best. Sometimes not even that. It's a very few who make a significant amount. Unfortunately those are the only ones who usually get the big notice, not the little guys who are just plugging away on a daily basis.
If someone who owns a torrent site came to me and said, hey, how would you like to give away your book on my site and use it as an advertising tool, and I'd agreed, then I couldn't and wouldn't complain. But these guys are uploading or allowing to be uploaded to their sites things that don't belong to them with the purpose of making an income off those things. I have a problem with that.
I just feel that anyone who makes the decision to download something from a torrent site should be doing so in an informed way. This post is nothing more than my own opinion of what it means to me as a new author who doesn't make much money from my 70-80 hours a week of work for them to do so. If, after reading my opinion as well as the opinions of anyone and everyone else whose work is being pirated, they still choose to download those items, then that is completely their own decision. This is my attempt at nothing more than a bit of education for those who might feel no one is being hurt by piracy.
Again, thanks for writing, Cathy. I do understand the other sides point of view. I do. I just don't necessarily agree with it.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Just Two Days Left

The media blast for Healer's Destiny, the great new novel from author Julee F Page, ends Sunday. Enter now for your chance to win.

Not only are you entered for the chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card, courtesy of Julee F Page, you also have the chance to win a copy of Healer's Destiny, as well as lots of other prizes from other authors and bloggers. In total there are 8 prizes to give away. That means 8 winners!

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A war is waged on humanity when the kingdom of Kavorin realizes only male heirs are being born. The curse can only be broken by a young girl brought up in secret. Her heritage protects her from human magic, but in order to break the curse she must leave everything she holds dear and face the most powerful man in the kingdom.

The daughter of a gifted blacksmith and student to the great magician Gethin, Eliana finds her world turned upside down as she leaves her home to fulfill her destiny. Trolls, heartless bandits, and dragons are only a few of the dangers Eliana will face on her journey. What she doesn’t expect to find is an angry god behind the chaos her world has been suffering from for so many years.  
About the Author
Julee Page is an RN from SLC, UT. She lives with her husband and two beautiful sons. Reading has always been a passion of hers and writing followed easily behind. While she loves all types of literature, Fantasy and Science Fiction are her favorites. She hopes her works will be enjoyed by many in the years to come.

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Maren Dille

Friday, November 2, 2012

Only 9 Commandments Left? Really?

I admit it, I was shocked, stunned, even, when I ran across this article: Good news! Ten Commandments Reduced Now to Only Nine by John Cougar Mellencamp. I missed that addendum in my bible, I guess.

The commandment that's been thrown out is "Thou shalt not steal." Why? Piracy, baby.

Now, admittedly I have a personal stake in piracy. I can't tell you how many sites I find copies of my books on. I used to actively hunt them down, but it was consuming far too much of my time. It's overwhelming the number of sites out there who have not a lick of conscience for making money off the books I wrote.

It's frustrating, angering, and yes, depressing. I finally had to stop, and now only go after ones that come to me (through a variety of channels). Even then, it's time consuming to complete all of the "requirements" of the site to have my work removed. Apparently they can put anything on their site they want on a whim, but I have to jump through hoops to prove I have the right to tell them to remove my work. I'm sure they take it down, wait a few days, then pop it right back up.

I'm kinda curious, too, who is uploading them? Someone who asked for a free copy from me for review who then figures they might as well make a few bucks on it? Someone who purchased my book and then felt they had the right to do so? Someone who downloaded it free from another site and now puts it on other sites? I hate the thought of any of my readers doing such a thing, because I adore my readers, and I know that 99.9% of them are honest people.

JCM has a few good points I'd like to reiterate. He speaks mostly of pirated music, but he's talking about all art forms: music, books, movies. "There is a law that exists to deal with copyright and the Internet that dates back to the good ol' days of 1990s: the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. It was supposed to bring U.S. copyright law into the digital age but it included something called "Safe Harbor Provisions" that basically says that each artist is responsible for retrieving his own merchandise and shutting down anyone stealing their property, which is kind of a joke. The law was written at a time when there were only a couple of kids running a handful of file trading sites in the world and was created to protect internet service providers from being sued if they facilitated the distribution of pirated material. This law now, unintentionally, allows big search engines -- like Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. -- to be the equivalent of a department store as both provide and sell many services and products."

I can't speak as to how the DMCA works on music, but on books if you "protect" them with DRM it only makes life difficult for those who've obtained the book legally. Those who would steal it simply break through the DRM and pirate them. The "Safe Harbors" means that really, I have no legal recourse when I find my work stolen. If the piracy site is "willing" to take it down on my request, there's nothing I can do to recompense money lost.

Before you argue that most of those people wouldn't have purchased the book anyway, let me stop you by saying, I know. But let me counter with this: on one site they'd given away over 2,500 copies of my book before I found them. Let's say of that 2,500 only 20%, or 500, copies would have legitimately sold. That's a lot. Even if it were only 10%, or 250, that's still a lot. How often do you work at your job for free? Just because?

"My answer, and it's really quite logical, is that current search engines ... need to be held responsible in the same fashion as any other business in this country. The law needs to be changed.  ... We need to write a new law that should declare, something to the effect, that if you own and operate a search engine, you cannot allow criminal activity to take place in your virtual town."

Couldn't agree more. If there were actual consequences, perhaps we could stop piracy. Hence, the next article I found. In the UK, which is apparently leaps and bounds above the US in making sure criminal activity is punished, recently did just that. A man was convicted of conspiracy to defraud by facilitating copyright infringement and given two sentences of 4-years imprisonment for running a piracy site. You rock, UK!

In the US, there is the "Copyright Alert System" (CAS) which will track ISP's that have "suspicious illegal activity" going on. Sounds a bit Big Brother-ish to me, I have to say. And yet, we've kinda been force into that, haven't we? I don't quite know how I feel about CAS. I mean, if it catches criminal activity (particularly people who watch kiddie porn) then it's good.


I don't know. Are they suddenly going to be arresting people who are maybe doing something they don't know is illegal? Or maybe a 10 year old is downloading a song because his buddy told him about it and now he - or maybe Dad - is arrested? This one isn't quite so black & white to me.

I think a better deterrent is going after those who run the sites, rather than those who use them. Even better: education. I honestly believe that there are many who go to pirate sites without clear knowledge of what they're doing. So let me give you a small amount of knowledge from the POV of a writer.

Myth: Pirating doesn't hurt anyone.

Fact: Of course it does. I spent a great deal of time writing that book you're downloading free. Then even more time marketing it. I haven't ever done the math (afraid of the heart attack it might give me) but if I were to figure the amount of money made from my books vs. the time spent writing and marketing, I'd guess I'm making less than minimum wage. Whether my self-pubbed books, from which there are still several people making money (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Createspace, Smashwords, employees of all those companies, and me), or my books published by a publishing house (and all of their employees, editors, graphic artists, marketing editors, etc.) there are a lot of people whose income a living comes from sales.

Myth: Now you're saying that if I lend your book to my friend, or I let my friend borrow my CD, then I'm stealing.

Fact: Nope. Absolutely not. And I think any artist would agree. Any author knows, in fact hopes, that you'll lend our books to everyone you know. We'd never make any money if it weren't for word of mouth. If you're lending it, you're telling the world you like my work. Yay me! Maybe some of those peeps will now buy my next book. I have no problem with you lending a copy of my book to any (or all) of your friends. Just don't put it up on a site where someone else (you or the site owners) are making money off my work. Can't afford a copy? Let me know. There's a very good chance I'll just give you a copy in return for a review - good or bad review, I don't care as long as it's honest.

Myth: So it's all about the money???

Fact: No ... and yes. I write because I love to write.I need to write. I also need to pay my bills. Since when did it become undesirable to make money doing what you love? I'm not looking to become a millionaire ... well, okay, I wouldn't say no to a million bucks. But I do have to live. And that takes money. Why is my time and work less valuable than someone who is paving the streets or mowing the grass or running a company? As an author, I am running a company. I'm CEO and COO all in one. I work 10-12 hours a day, 7 days a week. Granted, this is my choice to work this much, but it's because I do want to be able to make a living from my work, so this is the time required. I'm fine with it. Just don't begrudge me the $4 I ask for my eBook, or say that because it came from my mind it's any less valuable than anyone elses work. (See my comment above about what my approximate hourly wage is. Why-oh-why couldn't I have written Twilight?)

Myth: Well, you're getting attention from people who might not otherwise read your books.

Fact: This might be partially true. But do I need attention from someone who isn't going to buy any of my work, but only steal it? Really? How is that helping me? I'm not in this for the fame. (What fame?) As I said, I need to pay my bills. I don't live extravagantly. I don't have an illusions that's going to happen as a result of my writing. Dreams, yes; illusions, no. But I'd like a bit of a return on my invested time. I don't know of any career wherein someone works for no wages. And this is my career.

Myth: Piracy only hurts the big guys who are making lots of money: publishers, movie studios, record labels.

Fact: You're not hurting the big money guys at those places. You are hurting the employees of those companies, the guys/gals who get up every day and go to work, make a few bucks and go home. In other words, the average Joe. You're hurting the person who created the art, because as a general rule it is the artist who makes the smallest amount of money in any project. Pay cuts, layoffs, book stores closing, studios shutting down ... all of these things hurt the little guy. Think it doesn't affect you still? Who do you think comes to your place of business and buys movie tickets, dinner, groceries, gas, cars, furniture, haircuts, whatever? Those same little guys who are now layed off, so they have no money to do/buy anything and so your company suffers. Now maybe you're the one being layed off. It's a vicious circle, and you, my friend, are caught up in it.

Myth: There's nothing wrong with downloading a free book, album, movie because it's there and if I don't do it someone else will.
Fact: Way to justify your theft. If no one pirated anything, all the sites would shut down and the scumbags who run them would have to get an honest job. You know, kinda like you and me. Maybe prices would come down, or at least steady, since the big guy doesn't feel the need to make up the difference in what they should be getting vs. what they actually are.

Bottom line is: don't be a thief. Have some integrity. If you wouldn't walk into a store and put a book into your purse and walk out without paying for it, then don't do it virtually either. If you can't afford the book/CD/movie, borrow it. The library, a friend, someone will certainly be willing to share. Contact the author. There's a good chance they'll give you a copy. Even publishers will share many times for the asking, in return for a review.

Okay, rant over. After all of that, I want to thank all of you who do have integrity and haven't pirated anything. Thanks for reading my work, whether you  loved it or hated it. Thank you for affording me the opportunity to make a few buck so I can keep doing this thing I love. My wish for you? That you, too, will find that thing you love and are passionate about and be able to live your life doing it!