My Immortal Assassin – More Bad Ass than Ever!

January 7th, 2017

I have obtained a reversion of rights to My Immortal Assassin, Book 3 in the My Immortals Series.

New cover, new backcover copy, UPDATED STORY

More about the book at my website page for the book.

Here’s the new cover.

A shirtless guy looking pretty bad ass against a glowy orange-red background. He's all moody and shit like a demon should be.

New Cover for My Immortal Assassin

And here’s the new backcover copy:

Sometimes revenge and love go hand-in-hand

Grayson “Gray” Spencer’s life as she knew it was over. Years of torture will do that to a person. Just when she’d given up all hope, someone sacrificed himself to save her and transformed Gray from a human into a mage. Determined to master her powers and exact revenge on those who imprisoned her, she must team up with a posh but sexy demon who will teach her everything… as long as she swears fealty to him.

Durian protects humankind from harm at the hands of his fellow demons. The highly trained assassin wants nothing to do with the punkish Gray, but her abilities are exactly what he needs to fulfill his mission.

Soon enough, Durian and Gray are bound together in a secret quest… and a fiery passion that makes the demon question everything he’s ever known. Their feelings threaten not only their hearts, but their entire society. They may survive, but how much will they lose in the process?

Changes? BUT WHY?

I did fairly intensive revisions. Unfortunately, there were errors (copy-editing and proofreading) but I’m pretty sure I got them all, though I surely managed to add some new ones (because that’s how such things work.) I am a firm believer in the Oxford comma, so I addressed that philosophical issue by adding those commas. The story remains essentially the same, but now reflects more of my vision for the series and a different editorial take. So, yes, the story structure is the much same, but I did significant wordsmithing and character-smithing. The changes got to the point that I had to concede to myself it’s a second edition. I have filed for a new copyright for this version.

The process of publishing this book would be a lot faster if the various vendors would allow authors to send them their reversion letters at the time of upload. In this case, Hachette removed their version of the book immediately upon revsersion– meaning in December 2016–which I greatly appreciate.

Irony of ironies, if they hadn’t, I could have done a DMCA take down and had the rights issue cleared before I published my version. This means the appearance of live links for my version will be slower as the vendors grind through their process for checking content. Which I also appreciate!

For the Curious

My Immortal Assassin has been under the income threshold for a reversion for over two years, but I wasn’t able to get Hachette to respond to reversion requests. I was informed by a lawyer I consulted that Hachette has no duty to respond to reversion requests where that request does not meet the terms of the reversion clause. No wonder authors are so frustrated with publishers. How does the author know if they’re being willfully ignored or ignored because the publisher has decided there are no grounds for reversion?

Ultimately (after two years and many many requests for a response) their position was that the book was still “in print” because there were 192 copies in the warehouse. Fair enough. I can do basic math so I knew that if I placed an order at, say, Amazon, I would pay $1500 for 192 books. Hachette can do math, too, so when I offered to buy back stock, they did some hand waving and shed tears over the $2,000 in royalties per year they would forego by reverting, and then offered to let me buy back stock for . . . $1500. I paid Hachette the money because I would get my reversion much faster and would not be at risk of someone deciding to print more copies.

Once Hachette was willing to discuss a buy back, things happened fairly quickly. I had my reversion letter in hand in mid-December. I very pleased Hachette and I were doing the same math. And I am thrilled to have the book back in my hands. None of this would have happened without the patience of my agent, Kristin Nelson.

 

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About All Romance eBooks

December 29th, 2016

As many readers have already heard, All Romance eBooks, a website that has been selling digital Romances direct to consumers since 2006 is shutting down December 31, 2016. I’m quite sure we have not yet heard the full story of this closure.

However, Authors were notified yesterday that they would not be receiving 4th quarter payments — that is, money due to them for sales from October forward and that there would be no payment for any books sold from the 28th through the 31st. Authors were offered 10 cents on the dollar for sales through the 27th, provided they agreed to give up any additional payments due and agreed not to sue for payment or any other damages.

Readers are in a terrible spot. They have almost no time to safely download their past purchases and may not be able to get all of them as many authors began removing their books from sale as soon as they heard they would not be paid.

I have removed my books from sale there. The business is keeping money beyond their contractual share of revenue, and their suggested resolution requires authors give up potentially valuable legal remedies without any disclosure of the actual situation.

If you are a reader who cannot download a past purchase of one of my books, please contact me through my website contact or email me at carolyn AT carolynjewel DOT com. We’ll work something out.

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Who Gets to Talk

December 11th, 2016

So, the other day, Richard Spencer, whose goal is to one day have a Whites only State, had his Twitter account reinstated and verified by Twitter. Let’s be blunt, since I get to talk here in this space; Spencer is a White Supremacist. His views are hateful and vile. In the US, with certain narrow exceptions, the government cannot interfere with his right to say vile things.

Twitter has always said they value free speech. Even speech that others don’t like. Twitter is not the government, however. It’s their platform, and they get to set the rules of engagement. Twitter recently shut down ISIS related accounts. I’ve not heard they’ve been reinstated and verified.

What Twitter has done is say that this white male voice counts more than all the voices that have been and will be silenced or driven off the platform. They’d rather let this man speak than all the others Spencer and people like him target.

This isn’t an isolated experience.

Woman after woman after woman after woman, especially women of color, have been and are currently silenced because Twitter allows accounts that spew hatred to continue spewing hatred. They do this without giving the targets of that hated any tool to stay safe on Twitter or in their real lives.

Right now, there are a bunch of righteous white men at Twitter going, yeah, he’s vile, but he gets to speak! Free speech!

They say that because they’re part of the problem. They can’t hear women and people of color. They never have. They don’t hire these voices (because MERITOCRACY!!). And if somehow they do, they don’t listen to them.

Twitter gave Spencer back his voice back because the white men of Twitter, quite literally, cannot hear all the voices their policies and inaction have silenced. They think they’ve make a difficult decision to allow a man to voice his hatred. At twitter, one white man still counts more than a person of color or a woman.

If that weren’t true, there’d be effective tools for the targets of hate speech to keep their voices and their safety.

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Your Opinion Needed!

November 25th, 2016

I’m pulling together the new cover for My Immortal Assassin. Here are 4 possibilities. Which do you like? There’s a poll at the bottom of this post, but feel free to add other feedback in the comments. Models + backgrounds are not fixed, meaning, any of them could have a blue or orange background. So. What do YOU think?

Version 004

Blue glowy background, youngerish model with some tats, model is slightly to the right of the image.

blue glowy background, shirtless model with some tats

004

Version 005

Orange glowy background, youngerish model, tats, slightly more intense look. Center of image.

glowy orange background, no tat shirtless model

005

Version 006

Orange glowy background, olderish model no tats, hands behind head.

glowy orange background, no tat shirtless model hands behind head

006

Version 007

Orange glowy background, no tats, olderosh model, arms at sides.

glowy orange background, no tat shirtless model

007

Which version do you like best?

View Results

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Here’s Why

November 24th, 2016

Fahrenheit Press (if you love mystery and crime, this is a great press) just tweeted a link to this post about submissions in which they muse on why 90% of their submissions are from men. The post includes this:

a) men put themselves forward to speak more
b) men say yes more when asked to speak
c) women are more likely to refuse to speak when asked

I can tell you why A-C are true in addition to the fact that women tend to believe they need to be better even when they already are. Way better. (Because, as we so often see, we HAVE to be better. We don’t often have the luxury of being mediocre.)

a. Because women pay a high price when they put themselves forward. Men do not pay that price. Women have long, hard experience with seeing men chosen over them even when we’re more competent and knowledgeable. That high price includes being called a bitch, everyone saying we talk too much, silent demerits from management and colleagues (she’s not a team player, she complains too much…) and dismissal of our words– often those words and ideas are repeated by men to great accolades. The fate of Kathy Sierra and Anita Sarkesian are two obvious examples. There are millions more. It’s also wrapped up in b.

b. Women don’t say yes as often because of a. The abuse can be horrific. For God’s sake, not even Clay Shirkey understands this. Instead, he criticizes his women grad students for not putting themselves in line for being dismissed, called names, and generally devalued from the start. The playing field is not level, and women are not judged by the same standard as men. Heaven help you if you’re a woman of color. (Names reveal this. Google reveals this.) Until men like Shirkey understand this, we HAVE to consider silence as a survival tactic.

c. Because we know what happens when we speak out. Why risk it? Frankly, when it’s a guy saying he wants to hear more from women, we’re so cynical from years of A and B that we don’t believe in what may actually be a good faith offer.

If you’re not getting submissions from women, it’s because you have to say more than “we want to hear from women.” You have to prove you mean it and that you’re doing your best to recognize that everything about publishing privileges the male.

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Writing News

November 19th, 2016

Surrender to Ruin

I have sent Surrender to Ruin off to the first round of editing. I expect to have that back in 2-3 weeks. I hope, but cannot guarantee, that I can turn that around pretty quickly. Then it’s off to a second round of editing.

The story is done and I love it so so much! Honest to goodness, this book is in the final stages.

The current, unedited, chapter 1 (updated version already posted! Mostly, it was tidying up work).  At some point, I’ll post additional chapters, probably 5 or 6, to the Members Only section of my website. This area is for people who subscribe to my newsletter.

My Immortal Assassin

I’ve bought back the remaining print stock for My Immortal Assassin, book 3 in my My Immortals series, so this book is reverting to me. The only changes will be a new cover (in progress), new back cover copy (also in progress) and formatting — the files are ready to go. Expect to see my version released before the end of the year.

I will be writing “prequels” to this book that will provide a new and exciting lead-in to the series, by the way, since I do not expect to get reversions for the first two books any time soon. This will allow me to set up a free or heavily discounted entry to the series. It’s been tough to get new readers for the series with Books 1 and 2 completely cut off from the rest of the books.

Historical Anthology

I’m doing another anthology with Grace Burrows, Shana Galen, and Miranda Neville. The title is How to Find a Duke in 10 Days. It’s a fun premise that I’m looking forward to writing! Look for that in September 2017.

New Series

I hope to be starting a new series in the next few weeks. Dark Elves. It’s been percolating in my writer brain for some time.

Other Projects

Additional projects on the schedule include a historical novella, Miss Fiona Harper’s Night of Passion.

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Penguin

November 6th, 2016

So, I saw the penguin video,* which depicts penguins fighting for the right to perpetuate the species.

I am totally cool with the nature thing of penguins. The narration, however, is NOT a nature thing. The narration is exactly the kind of bullshit that reinforces the message that male humans have a right to female humans and that violence is A-OK in enforcing that right.

Because lookit. Penguins are not people. They do not live by the norms of human culture. The female penguin wasn’t anybody’s wife. Male Penguin No 1 was not her husband. In fact, that male penguin had exactly ZERO right to the female penguin. ZERO.

Allow me to provide a different script:

Here is a female penguin with a Hot Stuff male penguin she believes is way more likely to be right for raising the kids successfully than the loser she used to be with. OH NO!!! Here comes that loser asshole male penguin No 1 who was such a major mistake. Now hot stuff and asshole are fighting! Wow. That is a lot of blood, but when a female penguin finds a better mate, an asshole’s gonna be an asshole and someone’s gonna lose.

I submit that this is an equally valid narration to what National Geographic supplied.

Thank you.

*Google Penguin Video, but be warned it’s bloody with bonus human misogyny

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Period

October 29th, 2016

So there I was on my lunch hour revising a scene in the MS when I suddenly needed to know a bit more about what women used when they had their periods. (This is for Surrender to Ruin, a historical romance, fyi). I had some ideas, but it’s always nice to do some research on such points. So off to Google I went. Fairly quickly, and not unexpectedly, I found that documentation is somewhat sparse.

This should be obvious to you-all, right? Not only is this a 100% female related event, but no one wrote much about going to the toilet etc. We know something about what people used for toilet paper in the Medieval era because there are a few places where conditions ended up preserving the material — moss, for example. But it’s not something people wrote down and then saved for posterity. I did not expect to come across copious documentation.

But I did expect to find some scholarly speculation. My quick and dirty research came to a quick halt when I came across this article about what American and European woman might have done historically. Why this would be materially different from what women all over the world have done, I’m not sure, but people specialize in all sorts of arcane areas.

The author notes that ancient Egyptians made tampons and mentions evidence in other countries that women used rags and other materials such as sheep wool wrapped in cloth. So far I was thinking, yeah. This sounds totally reasonable. Some of this evidence includes European women. And then the author says:

“Read why I have concluded, in May 2001, that most European and American women probably used nothing at all, bleeding into their clothing.”

Here is a representation of my reaction:

What do you mean my files are gone?

What????

The article gets even more ridiculous. Apparently, several woman contacted him to relate their actual personal knowledge of what their relatives did, many of said relatives having been born in the late 1800’s. Some of those people were actual historians with actual evidence. Those emails are posted, along with rebuttals.

Rebuttals. Please go on. Tell us more about your theory that defies logic and actual experience of the subject matter.

My suspicion that the author had never had a period turned out to be correct. The author is a man. And in epic fashion, he has decided that he, a person who has never menstruated, can deduce what women did and to hell with all historical evidence and the women who basically said a nice version of “You are an idiot, and here is why.”

No woman would decide she’d just bleed into her clothes, particularly when the vast majority of women would not have been able to afford to replace their clothing that often. There would be evidence of blood-stained clothing. There would be references to the epic consumption of shifts among the female population. There would be references to monthly replacements of mattresses among those who could afford them.

As a person who has personally experienced periods, I can say with 100% confidence that no woman would just bleed into her clothes as a matter of course. It’s just so ignorant and insulting. I can’t even.

I will leave you with one of my favorite videos by one of my favorite YouTubers, Sabrina, of Nerdy and Quirky, in which she addresses the subject of period euphemisms. Enjoy.

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Progress is Made

October 23rd, 2016

OK, so yes, I am still working on Surrender to Ruin. The first round of revisions are done. My plan this weekend were to start a last paper read through before it goes to my editor. Last week I was pleased with the back half of the novel and really glad to see that I had very little work to do for the final chapter, which I finished Friday. Saturday was going to be that paper read through. Only, I ended up being really unhappy with Chapter 1. I love this chapter. I really do, but it wasn’t right and I decided I was done trying to make it work so I deleted it. And then I spent all day rewriting the new Chapter 1, which used to be Chapter 2 and it went really well.

This morning I reworked the new chapter 1 a bit more and then I had an opening I really really like. I printed it off and started my paper read through, with violet ink for those interested, around 11:30 AM. I got up to Chapter 7 without any drastic changes and then I had to go grocery shopping because otherwise there would be no food in the house.

And there is the Progress Report.

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The Disguise of Author Services

October 2nd, 2016

Here’s what I’m starting to dread and despise. I hear an interview with an author of fiction, and talk about their fiction etc and what they did to publish and market. And then there’s something along the lines of “Oh, and I put together this free resource, go here to check it out!”

And you do, and every damn one follows the same website format. A long, long, long, long page where you keep getting a bunch of marketing language, usually with big bright arrows and buttons, and all you really want to know is where you can get the material promised at the website/interview, which eventually you do get, along with the requirement that you turn over your email and HEY, HERE’S SOME PAID CONTENT where I tell more more stuff.

And then the content you were promised is really nothing that any reasonably informed author doesn’t already know. And ALL THESE GUYS — because they’re all guys, it turns out, actually got their start in non-fiction of some vague business-y content, and if they write fiction, they often won’t reveal the name their fiction is written under — OR they won’t reveal the name their non-fiction is under.

Because their real business is selling “self-help” which is either completely inappropriate for fiction or is something every dialed in romance author already knows. You have to have a great cover!!! OMG. WHO FUCKING COULD EVER HAVE GUESSED THAT!!!! You have to use the right keywords. Like some how that’s the formula for cold fusion which you can ONLY get from them because they are being so generous. You need a great cover blurb!  Really? Like that isn’t obvious? You need reviews! And on and on and on and just shut up already.

And then it starts to turn out that all these guys know each other from before they started writing fiction/selling self-help to authors.

And I am just really cynical now and it makes me want to cry. That’s all.

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