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Topics - Carradee

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Make sure they only submitted your titles to the vendors you authorized them to and not anybody else.

Just this month, they sent one title to a wrong vendor. Yesterday, I discovered that they'd also done that to another title, I don't know how long ago, and hadn't ever submitted it to the vendor I'd told them to.

I don't know how many other times they did it to me, because once I found the one yesterday, I pulled everything (setting it ALL to "private"). And I sent them notice that I was pulling all my titles from them because of that screwup.

Their response? To submit the title I discovered yesterday to the vendor I'd originally asked them to, however many months ago. :-\ Even though the book's setting is still set to "not public".

So if you're using them or have used them, you might want to verify that they've submitted where you told them to or removed titles from where you told them to.

Writers' Cafe / Songs can have explicit vs. non-explicit versions…
« on: July 10, 2016, 03:58:57 pm »
So why not books?

I've long wondered that. Especially now, with e-books, it would be pretty easy to just replace the "explicit" words with even the first letter and two-em dash, as an equivalent of the deletion of the curse.

For creators who want to revise the line altogether--change the word or sentence, perhaps--computers mean that it's as simple as creating an alternate copy, whether as a separate book or in the same file.

Whenever JavaScript gets more common in e-books, it'll be even easier, where e-books will be able to be set so a click of a button could switch particular words/phrases/sentences to a "explicit" vs "non-explicit" version. (I expect e-readers will eventually have such a feature built in, where a reader could have a list of words they don't want to see spelled out and the e-reader will replace them. Much pranks and hilarity will ensue, as will some annoyance like the entire "kindle"-to-"nook" fiasco back when nook first came out and they had the "bright" idea to change all uses of the word "kindle" into "nook".)

Well, I've been wondering on that, and this novella series that's I'm releasing next month is a great opportunity to try it out. I'm taking the "revision" route, between the two, with the "explicit" version being the author's preferred edition, for some reasons that are part of why I'm doing it, though both will be in the same file.

Has anyone else played with having explicit vs. non-explicit versions? How'd you handle it? What were your results?

Has anyone else considered playing with explicit vs. non-explicit versions?

ETA: Note that I'm referring to both editions being in the same file, not distinctly published editions. I'm also referring to "explicit" in the sense of content that would get a movie an R rating vs. a PG or PG-13 one.

Writers' Cafe / Question for Fans of Cyberpunk (Sci-Fi), esp. Novellas
« on: February 22, 2016, 05:46:19 pm »
I'm working on a novella series that's essentially multiverse cyberpunk, where the MCs are illegal aliens from other somewhens.

Anyway, I have the initial first story available on Wattpad, but I'm hoping to release them officially via the Liliana Nirvana technique later this year. And other authors (and shows) seem pretty split on which methods they use.

So I'm asking readers directly. Which do you prefer? Elaboration and examples are welcome. :)

Thanks in advance to anyone who contributes to the discussion!

To back up a bit, I've already made more than one of these, and this one returning this error is using the same template that I made for the others that worked and passed validator. I'm assuming it's some typo.

If y'all can't help, might you know a good forum for asking these sorts of questions?

Per the EPUB validator, the problem is in the OPF file.

Code: [Select]
Error while parsing file 'Attribute name "media" associated with an element type "item" must be followed by the ' = ' character.'.
Code: [Select]
Item 'OPS/images/AA2P-2.jpg' exists in the EPUB, but is not declared in the OPF manifest.^and then that second error type repeats for what looks like everything in the EPUB.

Here's my OPF manifest:

Code: [Select]
<?xml version='1.0' encoding='UTF-8'?>
<package xmlns='' unique-identifier='AA2P01' version='2.0'>

<metadata xmlns:dc='' xmlns:opf=''>
<dc:title>Realities of Self-Editing</dc:title>
<dc:description>from a line editor</dc:description>
<dc:rights>All Rights Reserved</dc:rights>
<dc:creator opf:role='aut'>Misti Wolanski</dc:creator>
<dc:identifier id='AA2P01' opf:scheme='UUID'>AA2P01</dc:identifier>
<meta name='price' content='USD 3.69' />

<!--fix for iBooks per; content here must match item id below-->
<meta name='cover' content='cover-image' />


<item id='ncx' href='toc.ncx' media-type='application/x-dtbncx+xml' />
<!-- list stylesheet(s) here -->
<item id='main-stylesheet' href='styles/stylesheet.css' media-type='text/css'/>
<item id='sub-stylesheet' href='styles/specific.css' media-type='text/css'/>
<item id='bibliography-stylesheet' href='styles/bibliography.css' media-type='text/css'/>
<item id='cover-stylesheet' href='styles/cover.css' media-type='text/css'/>
<item id='title-stylesheet' href='styles/title.css' media-type='text/css'/>
<item id='toc-stylesheet' href='styles/toc.css' media-type='text/css'/>
<item id='footnotes-stylesheet' href='styles/footnote.css' media-type='text/css'/>
<item id='adobe-template' href='styles/page-template.xpgt'
<!-- list various images here -->
<item id='cover-image' href='images/cover.jpg' media-type='image/jpeg'/>
<item id='book2-image' href='images/AA2P-2.jpg' media-type='image/jpeg'/>
<item id='book3-image' href='images/AA2P-3.jpg' media-type='image/jpeg'/>
<item id='bird-h2' href='images/bird.png' media-type='image/png'/>
<item id='bird-h3' href='images/birdL.png' media-type='image/png'/>
<item id='example-header' href='images/example-style_sheet-header.png' media-type='image/png'/>
<item id='example-table' href='images/example-style_sheet-table.png' media-type='image/png'/>
<item id='example-text' href='images/example-style_sheet-text.png' media-type='image/png'/>
<!-- list various chapters/sections here -->
<item id='cover' href='text/cover.xhtml' media−type='application/xhtml+xml'/>
<item id='title_page' href='text/title_page.xhtml' media−type='application/xhtml+xml'/>
<item id='notes' href='text/notes.xhtml' media−type='application/xhtml+xml'/>
<item id='foreword' href='text/foreword.xhtml' media−type='application/xhtml+xml'/>
<item id='section01' href='text/section01.xhtml' media−type='application/xhtml+xml'/>
<item id='section02' href='text/section02.xhtml' media−type='application/xhtml+xml'/>
<item id='section03' href='text/section03.xhtml' media−type='application/xhtml+xml'/>
<item id='section04' href='text/section04.xhtml' media−type='application/xhtml+xml'/>
<item id='section05' href='text/section05.xhtml' media−type='application/xhtml+xml'/>
<item id='section06' href='text/section06.xhtml' media−type='application/xhtml+xml'/>
<item id='thanks' href='text/thanks.xhtml' media−type='application/xhtml+xml'/>
<item id='excerpt' href='text/excerpt.xhtml' media−type='application/xhtml+xml'/>
<item id='bio' href='text/bio.xhtml' media−type='application/xhtml+xml'/>
<item id='books' href='text/books.xhtml' media−type='application/xhtml+xml'/>
<item id='toc' href='text/toc.xhtml' media−type='application/xhtml+xml'/>

<spine toc='ncx'>
<!-- list EVERYTHING in the order that it's to display -->
<itemref idref='cover'/>
<itemref idref='title_page'/>
<itemref idref='notes'/>
<itemref idref='foreword'/>
<itemref idref='section01'/>
<itemref idref='section02'/>
<itemref idref='section03'/>
<itemref idref='section04'/>
<itemref idref='section05'/>
<itemref idref='section06'/>
<itemref idref='thanks'/>
<itemref idref='excerpt'/>
<itemref idref='bio'/>
<itemref idref='books'/>
<itemref idref='toc'/>


Anybody see what I'm missing?

Thanks. :)

SOLVED! Some of the hyphens had gotten converted to minus signs somewhere. Fixed.

Thanks, everyone!

Writers' Cafe / 3 Experiences with Pirates in the past 12 hours
« on: May 09, 2015, 05:40:31 am »
I already know the arguments for/against piracy, and I see it as an author's prerogative to decide when and if they want to or will prosecute piracy. I share this so y'all can each decide what you want to do.

Last night, I happened upon a site offering one story of mine in exchange for an e-mail address. I poked into it and found both the subdomain my work was listed on and the primary domain had huge lists of works being offered.

Main domain: charactermakesthedifference dot com
Subdomain: biological42.charactermakesthedifference dot com

(Admin: URLs modified to avoid contributing to link credibility for the sites in question.)

I'm sure the site has further subdomains. (As I wrote this message, I found the listing for my book mirrored at; I'll be investigating that and, as well).

This morning, I opened my e-mail to find a Google alert for a title I released yesterday that's being offered via Facebook link (account name "Ebook Download"; The linked-to site, hotebookdownload dot com, even "offers" an audiobook that doesn't exist.

I share this so those who want to take action can do so.

Writers' Cafe / Need your website tweaked?
« on: July 09, 2014, 12:45:44 pm »
Need help getting your website to look how you want?

Since making my first website in 2006, I've given my main site a complete overhaul about once every 18 months. The end result is that I'm fluent in CSS and HTML. My site itself is coded by hand, and I often help folks tweak their sites or convert files by hand to website-ready HTML--like this short story of mine.

If your tweak is possible with your website software and theme, I should either know how to do it myself or be able to tell you what kind of programmer you're looking for. Get more details on what I can do on my website.

(If you need something more like hosting or a web admin, check out Rin's thread.)

Writers' Cafe / How to Fix Scrivener for Mac --> Smashwords DOC
« on: June 23, 2014, 08:47:08 am »
I export from Scrivener straight to DOC. It usually works like a charm, but today, I discovered it wasn't taking my file. The Scrivener website wasn't reading the file as a DOC.

But I also found a quick fix that doesn't take long at all (but you need to be using block paragraphs for it to work right).

Step 1: Open the folder so you can view all the DOCs you need fixed. (I just did 3 at once.)

Step 2: Open Terminal. (Applications -> Utilities -> Terminal)

Don't worry. You won't be breaking anything.

Step 3: In Terminal, type "textutil -convert doc".

Step 4: Go to the open folder and select every DOC you need fixed, holding down the command (⌘) key.

Step 5: Drag those over atop the Terminal window until you seen the green circle with the plus sign. Let go.

You'll now have the directories listed for those files you need fixed.

Step 6: Hit return.

The Terminal function will run, and you'll be able to upload your Word DOCs without issue! :D

Writers' Cafe / Have you ever had recurring nightmares?
« on: May 28, 2014, 11:41:44 pm »
I had night terrors as a small child, recurring nightmares after that until my early–mid teens, and just now had my first nightmare in a long time. A new one. And I am praying it doesn't end up a recurring one. (And I'm quoting Psalm 23 to myself.)

I don't watch, read, or write true horror, though I'm fine with borderline or cross-genre work. My nightmares have given me plenty of that since before I could talk.

And as a follow-up question: Do you read, watch, and/or write horror now?

I don't. I sometimes have wondered why not, because I'm sure I could pull it off, but the fact remains that I don't read the genre. I refuse to try writing a genre I haven't really read. (Okay, I technically used to read some children's horror, but that was < 15 books, so far as I'm aware.)

And I don't read the genre because I fret that it'll make things worse. But I handle borderline genres without cringing, so perhaps I should pick up Carrie. It certainly sounds intriguing to me.

So what about you? Have childhood nightmares led to the enjoyment of horror, or have they led to you avoiding it?

My family is on the solid end of middle class, well liked and respected by those who know us. If you inquire at church, my family's full of nice, lovely people.

My family is also emotionally abusive and neglectful. Even before I was a teenager, I realized that my "normal" shouldn't have been--but when I spoke up, others dismissed my descriptions of chronic gaslighting, discounting, minimization, and other forms of emotional abuse. I was told, "Everyone does that sometimes."

I'd thought "sometimes" was my brother losing his temper and striking out at me for it. (And after all, he only choked me once, so that didn't even count as "sometimes"! Since the most-of-the-time emotional stuff was normal, something that happened that infrequently couldn't possibly have been abuse. He even denied doing it right after it happened!)

Very few people bothered to ask how common or consistent things were before they dismissed it as venting about a normal family blowup.

And even when I admitted it was more likely to happen than not, I was told that it's normal for kids to only remember the bad about their parents and that I'd appreciate them more when I was older. (And yet I was the friend that parents would call for mediation help, the student that teachers would consult for explanation of why my classmates were unhappy with them.)

My family was already telling me that I, as a child and a female, didn't have a right to my own opinion. Others' dismissal of my concerns just reinforced that.

It took more than a decade, strangers showing me more respect and consideration than my own family does, and the discovery that wanting to accept offered help produces a panic attack for me to finally start tearing at the blinders I'd put on myself for my own protection. Because I've known for a long time that we are dysfunctional.

But then I was going hungry because I was allergic to everything in the fridge and the others had eaten the food I'd bought for myself, ignoring what I'd gotten for them...and being held responsible for things like Dad eating Mom's dinner, or Mom forgetting to turn off the oven, or for doing exactly what I was told. ("I never told you that! Your memory's atrocious, and you remember conversations that never happened!" <--was also said regarding conversations where there were 3rd party witnesses, who my parents always refused to consult.)

I love my family. I don't like them very much, but I still don't want to admit they're abusive. (This is why I'm forcing myself to speak about it, so I can't lie to myself again.)

If you ever see someone freeze up upon being offered help, that's a red flag. I've gotten so many odd looks for that one, and I didn't even realize what was going on until this week when someone who had noticed it--over IM--helped me spot it. (Thank you, Rin.)

Someone has a hard time accepting a compliment? Red flag. Apologizes way too much? Red flag. A stranger being unusually eager to help you out, as if they feel responsible to help you fix your problem? Red flag.

Those reactions are learned somewhere. Maybe not from the family, but someone's taught the person to behave that way.

The vast majority of people who noticed those things about me have complained or called me weird. My family is calling me hateful, resentful. I've never been those things. But they've convinced my pastor--even people at church that I considered friends--that I am, and that even the events with 3rd party verifiable evidence were all in my head.

Over the past several years, only one person in my life--a friend's mother--has told me, more than once, "That isn't normal." Much of the time when she said that, I was just describing everyday life, not even things that bothered me. Because by the time I'd met her, I'd already learned that I didn't have a right to be bothered by anything.

Something else to be aware of: Someone who flinches or reacts to an extreme degree to an innocuous touch? They've probably been attacked in some way. Mocking them, teasing them, harassing them, or intentionally triggering them will not help them get over it.

My brother choked me once. (To be fair to him, that was the last time he lashed out at me physically...but he also claimed it never happened, even immediately afterward. But since it was the last time he lashed at me that way, I have to assume he remembers more than he admits.)

My family mocks and scolds me for freaking out if they try to touch my neck. (The choking incident also never happened, according to them.)

I don't remember anyone else trying to touch my neck, so I don't know how I react to that from non-family. But it's possible I just don't remember it because I'm that good at avoiding it. Or maybe it's just that traumatizing for me that I can't remember anyone doing it. Either one's possible. I do know I get anxious if my back's to a door.

This is why saying "Everyone does that sometimes" is such a bad idea. The person you're speaking to might just convince themselves that "sometimes" = "the vast majority of the time" and ignore outright attacks because they've happened rarely, or he only hit them once. Or they may want to slap you and scream "It isn't sometimes!" Or both.

It's taken me over a decade to admit how bad things are, because everyone dismissed my concerns when I brought them up as a kid. The more blinders I peel off, the more I'm finding, and I'm outright furious (and appalled) that someone offering me help I want to accept produces a panic attack.

So next time you're inclined to say "Everyone does X sometimes," at least verify that it is only "sometimes". Otherwise, you might just be the one who convinces an abused person that their experiences are normal.

Now, if you're reading this and thinking "OF COURSE you don't say that. What kind of inconsiderate person would?" Most people answer this way.

Even now as an adult, when I have witnesses and it's more obvious that my parents are less protective and more draconian, I still get that, most of the time! I've been told "I don't want to believe you," called unappreciative, and pressured to "reconcile" (...even when I was still talking to the family at least once per week).

I'm dismissed just as if not more often than I'm believed.

I spoke to a professional counselor I know personally, giving him a few details and asking for advice regarding what type of counseling I should seek, and he recommends I flee town ASAP for my own safety--that fleeing is important enough for me to break my lease!

But well-intentioned people still frequently tell me "Everyone does that sometimes."

Next time you feel like saying that, consider: Maybe the person's speaking up out of desperation because it isn't sometimes.

Maybe they're begging you for help.


I write dark fiction, and I'm increasingly realizing that my family background affects a lot of what I write…and what I write about, and how I handle it.

I have written some emotionally abusive characters, but they're difficult for me. (Thrice Uncharmed has one.) Now that I'm aware of why I struggle to write that and yet am drawn to stories about the abused, I'm going to seek to be more witting about it.

Because the way folks commonly respond to reports of abuse is a problem, and I'm not going to sit back and pretend I can't do anything about that.

What about you?

Writers' Cafe / Only 1/3 of the World Is Online
« on: March 27, 2014, 05:36:10 am »
According to the stats at, anyway.

And the various statistics I've heard quoted in different classes lately is lower, and their numbers were all a bit different, but the gist was the same: Most of the world is offline. And hundreds of thousands of people will be getting online for the first time in the next decade.

I was reminded of this yesterday, when I met a neighbor who has no computer, hates gadgets, and who barely uses a cell phone, much less Internet. She's an avid reader of those Harlequin lines you can pick up at Walmart and doesn't want an e-reader, even though I told her how it would help her eyes. (Since she wasn't interested when I suggested a cell phone carrier that would save her a good $20 per month + she's on the paranoid side [and admits it] to the point of not purchasing things online, I didn't mention how it would help her budget.)

That neighbor might never end up online, but it's a case in point that there are still people—a good number of them—who never use a computer, read an e-book—any of that. We who publish e-books can forget that so easily, because many of us live online. Some of us work online, too, making us even more likely to forget.

But something that's interesting about the stats: Internet connectivity is growing the fastest in Africa, followed by the Middle East, then South America.

The Internet started off as centric to North America, Europe, and Oceania, but the number of people online from those areas will soon be overwhelmingly outnumbered. Besides what that might do to marketing, different regions have their own preferences and tastes in what appeal to them in general. (Note how cover designs can vary quite a bit between countries.)

I don't know about you, but I'm intrigued by the prospect of what that might do to online publishing, since at least some of those hundreds of thousands of people getting online will be readers.

I just checked, being clear on the 1 cover, 1 buyer, sold 1x aspect. I was told that because it was made in advance of the client, it qualified as a template (in the "preset format for a document or file" sense1) and therefore would need the Extended License.

The lady's double-checking, since I told her I'd heard otherwise from others who'd asked her company, but I thought it best to point this out ASAP, particularly considering that image package w/ Mighty Deals.

I know there was a thread/link somewhere to a list of who was okay and who wasn't, but I haven't been able to find it this week. I did find people saying DepositPhotos was okay for pre-mades, which is why I'm posting this.

Writers' Cafe / Anyone Try Selling Stories as Apps?
« on: January 11, 2014, 02:45:17 pm »
To relax today, I decided to poke at converting one of my short stories into a Chrome app. It actually wasn't all that hard to produce a basic one, which got me wondering…has anyone tried releasing their stories as apps? If so, on which platforms? And in what way(s) do you find them valuable?

So I'm minding my own business, spending the day puttering about and (mostly) ignoring a particular penname's free run today for my single story in Select, at the moment. Okay, so I ran a tweet for the story yesterday, but I don't go around announcing anything with this particular penname, okay? My policy is to set it up and leave it alone.

But people keep talking about Select, today, which makes me remember "Oh, yeah! I set up some of those Select free days for a promo run this weekend." So I check my numbers, check my numbers…

Hey, Stormy/Rin is on IM. This story might be up her alley. Grab the link to message her, and…

Hey, does that say #3? :o

So I go digging to see what, exactly, that #3 means, right? And…


What on earth, Hugh? How did this happen?

UPDATE 5/13:

I never made it ahead of Hugh in the US, but I did hit #2 in a few subcategories.

But now that the free run is over, my sales rank is gone altogether, though I had a few paid sales before I even had the free run. I'm hoping it's temporary as the servers get caught up, but if not…that isn't something I was expecting.

Anybody else lose their sales rank altogether after coming off a free run?

I've just decided to start blogging the first draft of a particular story, and I'm wondering… Where to release it? I was on FictionPress years ago (I think I still have an account), and I know Wattpad's popular, and I've seen some folks posting on DeviantArt…

Then there's the possibility of posting on my own site (but I don't think I want to do that).

So if you write or read web fiction, where do you do it?

Note: I'm not speaking of fanfic here.


Writers' Cafe / Need Help w/ Cover Settings for Amazon
« on: February 07, 2013, 08:19:00 am »
I make some of my own covers. Not all of them, but a lot of them.

However, I've run into a problem, lately.

A cover that looks nice when I'm fiddling with it (including when I reduce size to check the thumbnail) ends up really blurry after I upload it on Amazon, B&N, etc. The thumbnails look pretty bad. I check my file again, and on my end, even with the image reduced to the same size as the on-screen thumbnail, the results aren't the same.

So all I can imagine is that it's the file type settings. I use JPEG, RGB, 300 dpi, and a cover size ranging from 5x8 to 6x9. I just tried fiddling with TIFF, and though my cover still looks how it's supposed to on my end, the colors are inverted when I upload it to Amazon.  ???

Anybody have any idea what's going on here and what I might try to avoid it?


ETA: Link fixed.

Writers' Cafe / Pub It's "Technical Difficulties" - Any workarounds?
« on: December 19, 2012, 03:57:26 am »
I've been trying to update the covers for some of my short stories for a few weeks, now. I've double-checked that the size and resolution fall into B&N's stated required sizes, but I'm still getting technical difficulties, and the covers aren't updating.

Has anybody figured out what's going on here?

Writers' Cafe / Smashwords Formatting Tip
« on: December 12, 2012, 06:38:02 am »
This might be a moot point soon, since Smashwords is supposed to go to EPUB sometime in the near future (since 2012 is nearly over), but in the meantime…

Having trouble with your Table of Contents getting rejected by the MeatGrinder?

Change your in-text bookmark names to something that's 1 word, no underscore or special characters.

I've been riding along glitch-free since I figured that out.

Writers' Cafe / Darn—CreateSpace won't let me do this.
« on: December 08, 2012, 02:20:22 pm »
So I wrote this short story that's directly related to another short story of mine. Once it's finished its rounds to 'zine editors, if nobody takes it, I'll self-publish. I've the cover and formatting all ready, too.

All well and good, but then I got the bright idea of putting together a POD book that's a double—one side, you read through and it's one story. Turn the book around, and you get the other story. As in:

Not sure yet how the barcode will be handled, but that's one monster I'll figure out when I see what CreateSpace file-checkers think of the cover.

That's not what is making me pull out my hair. No, what's bothering me is how to make the file interior.

I tried fiddling with Scribus, which might've worked, but I would've had to completely redo all the text formatting (including italics) from scratch. I ultimately produced two independent PDF files, all set up as left-hand pages. Opened both files in Preview. Flipped every page around in one document, then merged them by hand.

All 49 pages.

It still took less time than completely reformatting the files from scratch would've taken, but double-checking page order was a pain.

Anyone know an easier way to do this?

UPDATE: CreateSpace says they don't support flip books at this time. :( So I'll have to see if someone else will. I'll update this thread when I get responses from others.

Writers' Cafe / Question: List of Non-English Short Story Markets?
« on: November 06, 2012, 06:07:09 am »
I used to have a link to a site that listed a bunch of non-English story markets. It might've been spec-fic only, but I don't remember.

Anyway, I changed computers in the interim, and I now can't find the link! Anybody have links to share to a resource like that?


Writers' Cafe / Yet Another Problem Publisher: MWiDP
« on: October 11, 2012, 12:26:56 pm »
I've posted the full story about my problems with Mark Williams International (MWiDP) here, but the TL;DR version is that they can't be bothered to send me so much as a royalty statement—which they're contractually obligated to send monthly—even when I ask for it.

I've heard rumor I'm not alone, but I don't know enough to be able to verify that rumor.

What happened to Ann Crispin with Ridan really kicked me in the pants about this, since I've been dallying about giving MWiDP a final, explicit warning that I'd go public. My situation's a nuisance, but I don't want anyone else to end up in a situation more like Ann's because I kept my mouth shut.

Anyone have their own experiences with this publisher to share?

Writers' Cafe / What do you think of this coupon code idea?
« on: May 26, 2012, 12:29:47 pm »
I'm finishing up the POD formatting for one book of mine, and I got an idea that I was curious what all of you would think of it.

The idea has 2 parts:

1. Put a coupon code for the e-book version in the POD version. (For a discount or free e-book.)
2. Put a coupon code for the POD version in the e-book version. (For a discount.)


ETA: I'm specifically referring to "version" of the same title, though now that it's been mentioned, I could see it being used for a tie-in short story in e-format.

Being royalty isn't all it's cracked up to be…

$3.99 US

A FISTFUL OF FIRE: Tales of loathsome kings and prophesied saviors aren't so appealing when you are a royal [illegitimate person] of prophecy…
Evonalé Yunan has never cared for tales of loathsome tyrants, seduced maids, and prophesied saviors. She herself is supposed to somehow free her grandmother's enslaved queendom. But she's merely a child, and her father is the powerful fire mage who subjugates the realm.

Evonalé has therefore fled home, her two half-siblings, and the father who really should've been her uncle. (She would flee her lethal but not quite insane faery godmother, too, if she could get away with it, but that's a side issue.)

Unfortunately, it's the middle of winter. Fortunately, following her mother's directions puts her in another king's hunting grounds. To Evonalé's bewilderment, that king picks her up and gives her a place in his palace. The prince seeks her out to tease and befriend. Then one of Cook's daughters starts teaching her magic, and a scullery maid proves herself immune to poison—making Evonalé realize that she isn't the only one with secrets.

A FISTFUL OF EARTH: She has the magic to save her friends—but it'll cost their trust to use it, if not her life…
Lallie Nonsire Cobbleson is no stranger to prejudice. Between her heritage as a not-quite-human and her childhood spent in an orphanage, she knows full well how most folks like people they find strange. So when her friend, the illegitimate Evonalé Yunan, gets a crown and a husband, it doesn't surprise Lallie that assassins soon follow.

Assassins that Lallie can kill in return, if she wants to. If she dares admit what she's become.

But folks fear and hate what she is with good reason. Protecting her friend the queen will force her to stop playing human and to admit what she is, abandoning the only life she's ever known. And that's only if she lives long enough to escape those friends whose trust she'll shred by admitting her lies.

Books 3 & 4 to come!
As I finish up readying A Fistful of Earth for publication, I'm regrettably eying the fund I'd had set aside for making print editions of the books—a fund that was depleted last year by some unexpected health issues.

To be able to get print-quality covers for both books and to release them in paperback format, I've set up a Kickstarter project.

Included in the project is an opportunity to get the e-books of both titles for less than they would cost otherwise—if the project funds.

So, if these books interest you, please consider contributing to the Kickstarter project or spreading the word about it.

Thank you.

Writers' Cafe / Should I use an alternate penname?
« on: September 28, 2011, 04:17:19 pm »
Here's the deal.  What I've released, so far, is sorta dark but nothing I'd have a problem with a teenager reading, although their parents might take issue.  I'd call them PG-13 in style if sometimes R in topic.  Example: Destiny's Kiss features a runaway teenage slave girl, who intentionally hides the baby from her master, but nobody gets raped on-screen.

I have some stories in the works that are even more disturbing, to the point that I intend to fully label them as for adults.  These are mentally and emotionally disturbing stories that often feature the completely psychotic.  Example: What if Beauty ended up with the Beast for the fear of her father, instead of for the love of him?

Should I use a penname?  I don't want someone to accidentally end up with the wrong type of story, but my usual releases do enter the dark side and get a bit gruesome, so it's not that far of a stretch.


(Note: I already have an alternate penname and domain name reserved, just in case.)

Writers' Cafe / Now Free—and has 1, 1-star review…
« on: July 14, 2011, 08:44:05 am »
My flash fiction story "Butterfly Boots" finally went free on Kindle, this morning.  (US link here.)

There's one, 1-star review on it.  It's actually fairly pleasant in tone, stating exactly what he thought was wrong with it, while admitting that it made him chuckle.  He thought it was a waste of time, and he rated it accordingly.

I actually feel worse about him wanting his 5 minutes back than I do about the 1 star.

Now, if a bunch of other reviews show up agreeing with him, then I'll know I screwed up…

Wonder why every UF heroine has to lunge at others' throats for every slight (often while wearing black leather and stiletto heels)?

Tired of the YA love triangles and centuries-old immortals whose crushes don't creep out the naive young women they're interested in?

Meet Destiny Walker, a teenage girl who lets her classmates bully her because they aren't worth her time, who will attack an undead creature with a wooden pencil, and who will be the justification used to start World War III if she isn't careful.

$4.99 US!

(for other vendors, see the Ganxy showcase)

The sequel has just released! See more information about Know Thy Frienemy[/url later in this thread.

It's also just started posting [url=]over on Wattpad
. Plan is for one chapter every Tuesday, until it's all up (which will be the last week of January).


Is saving a friend worth starting a war?

Destiny Walker is an exceptional student despite her youth, sullenness, and the werewolf baby she left on a stranger's doorstep. Across the Atlantic, Kismet Baros was a rare type of Magik who was under the protection of the vampire court. Only Destiny and the judge who emancipated her know why Kismet no longer exists.

When powerful Magiks from Kismet's past show up, Destiny must decide what she is—person or property—and if she’s willing to sacrifice the few friends she has.

If she isn’t, she'll be the gunpowder that sparks World War III.


A fast-paced dark urban fantasy novel, wherein a girl must figure out if it's worth starting a war to save her friend. Contains mature themes, some violence and gore, and a few cases of objectionable language.



March 31, 2009
South Carolina, United States

“Des!” Jordan’s call for me cuts through the between-classes crowd.

I scan the school hallway to find her and stumble into Mike.

He shoves me into the steel lockers. I catch myself with my forearms and push myself off before the pain registers. The iron in my bangles burns me enough.

Mike’s “Watch where you’re going!” contains his usual vulgarity.

I want to mutter a correction about actual b*tches, not that Mike would recognize a wynwolf if he saw one, unless she had one of those ‘Will Change for change!’ signs. But he isn’t worth my time. I clutch my backpack’s shoulder strap and give him a needlessly wide berth as I head over to Jordan, one of the few nice girls who doesn’t mind a sullen goth kid.

There aren’t many fifteen-year-old high school juniors by the time spring break looms. My youth means the snobs refuse to accept me, my sullenness makes me unwelcome in chess club, and I’m barred from the emo gang by my good grades and job.

That drops me with the few people in the weird crowd willing to see past the ‘leave me alone’ façade I’ve stuck myself behind for everyone’s safety. Most of those kids are Magiks and therefore used to seeing the magical reality beneath the veneer of mundanity: the Darkworld. Jordan has the best protection in case my past comes to haunt her, so I hang with her the most.

My back hurts, so I slouch against the wall beside Jordan and let my schoolbag slide to the floor. I pick at one violet-painted nail and let the werewolf’s daughter speak first. Jordan’s dad is the area alpha, a widely known fact that perhaps a sixth of the city actually believes and the rest thinks a creative marketing ploy to help his merc business. When it’s too tense for cops’ comfort but not bad enough for SWAT, they call him. I don’t think he’s bothered to let a target escape him since he’s gone public about his furry hide.

I rent a room from one of the pack members, but I’m not sure if that’s common knowledge. I follow pack protocol anyway and let the alpha’s daughter speak first. That doesn’t take long.

“Hey. You okay?”

I shrug.

Jordan frowns. “Des, you look exhausted.”

And I am. But that you’ve been stalking a pair of mated werewolves to check on the baby isn’t something you confess. I shrug again. “You know Missis Gambrel. That history project is a killer.”

History class itself gives me the worst trouble. History is different between Magiks and humans. Heck, even the US legal system is, thanks to the Magiks of the South not actually losing the Civil War. States have more individual sovereignty, and slavery isn’t always illegal.

Okay, so it’s usually legal. But knowing that is something else you don’t confess. Jordan may not even know; her dad keeps his pack civilized.

Jordan scoffs at my claim that the history project has caused my fatigue. “I have the same homework you do, and I have fun on the weekends instead of moping around.” She pauses. “I mean, I know you work; but that’s, what, five hours a week?” More like twenty-five. “You can afford to come hang out on Fridays.”

One reason not many people keep me company is that I respond with yet another shrug. Another is that I sometimes body throw whoever who taps me on the shoulder. Like now. Fionn yelps as he lands unceremoniously in the hallway in the gap habitually left by passersby.

“What the—” Jordan shoots Fionn a look, and he gulps down the curse. He collects himself and glares at me. “What is your problem?!”

I don’t apologize.

Jordan speaks, instead. “Back off, Fionn. You know she does that when you startle her.” At least once a week.

He plows onward. “You’re, like, completely freakin’ paranoid about being touched—”

“So she dislikes surprises and happens to know a bit of self-defense.” Jordan’s glaring at Fionn. You’d think anyone with reason to believe her about her father would avoid irking her, but Fionn always surprises me with his poor sense.

I yawn and look at my watch, my black metal bangles tinkling as they hit each other. “Spanish class in eight minutes,” I comment.

That’s one class where my previous life makes less work. Italian’s not the same as Spanish, but I’ve managed to slip into the third year class readily enough. Señora Garcia lets me speak whichever I like, so long as she gets my gist. She nearly had a heart attack in her surprise when the new middle-of-the-year student (me) walked up to her and started speaking fluent Italian. Goths tend to dabble in dead languages.

The señora’s ensuing confusion when I told her I’m Greek was fun to watch. I’m sure it would be even more amusing to see her reaction to learning what, exactly, taught me Italian—but I’m already suspected of being a mite unhinged and don’t need to add that confession to the strikes against me. Belief in magic is on the upswing, but it still isn’t chic.

“You aren’t even listening to me, are you?” Fionn demands.

I glance at my watch again. Seven more minutes ’til the last class before lunch. “No.”

He proceeds to curse me out until Jordan socks him in the jaw. That’s a common enough sight that not even the hall monitors blink. I wouldn’t be surprised if Jordan’s dad was who taught her how to do that so well. She never shakes or blows on her bloodied knuckles, either.

A too-familiar tingle on my upper back keeps me from comprehending whatever Jordan says next. I quickly stop my widening eyes, but I know I’ve paled. I force my breathing and pulse to stay as close to normal as I can. I scan the hallway with what I hope looks like boredom and not panic.

A lot of things can trigger a bind-rune, I remind myself as magic flares along the lines of the magic-filled sigil tattooed on my upper back. An unfamiliar Magik can do it just by passing by. Fionn did, the first several times I was near him. His sealskin is probably dark brown if not black, judging from his platinum hair and pale green eyes. Selkies’ eyes complement both forms, and their pelts and hair never match.

I swallow, praying that it’s just an unfamiliar Magik that’s awoken the bind-rune and not—

“Ah, Signorina Fuller!”

Jordan looks towards the voice calling her. I stare blankly.

An Armani-clad Ambrogino Romazzo can’t be in the middle of this average US high school, walking my way, unimpeded by the teenage crowd thanks to his six feet and a few inches. He can’t. I shake my head. I pinch my arm.

He’s still here, unless I’m hallucinating. If he’s seeking Jordan, at least he’s not here for a snack. He’s fond of high schoolers, claims we taste better. Cleaner than adults but riper than children. His words, not mine.

I cringe and glance at Fionn. From his frown, he can tell Signor Ambrogino is a fellow Magik; he just hasn’t yet figured out that the signore’s a creep even by Darkworld standards.

So Signor Ambrogino is the one making my tattoo go wonky. I didn’t have it when I knew him, so it’s adjusting to his magic.

Oh, merda. Does that mean his magic’s noticing it, too?

I flinch as I look up to meet the gaze set a good foot above mine. I swallow uncomfortably. His kind are creeps, but he’s passably friendly. I shove myself off the wall and turn away, biting my lip.

Please don’t let him recognize me, God. He’ll find out what’s happened, track down my owner, and… Things get bad when his kind and my owner’s kind get mad at each other. And Hollywood likes to think that it exaggerates.

Signor Ambrogino takes Jordan’s hand. “Signorina Jordan Fuller, daughter of the pack.”

Thankfully his attention stays on Jordan, so he doesn’t notice my shudder at his proper phrasing to call Jordan the alpha’s daughter and not merely a werewolf’s daughter. That distinction tends to remain unknown to people outside of werewolf packs. Jordan doubtless finds his knowledge surprising and reassuring. I would, except I’m pretty sure Ambrogino knows what he does about werewolves because he’s eaten them.

He bows over Jordan’s hand. “Ciao, signorina.”

Ciao,” she returns calmly, as if unknown and potentially dangerous Magiks often walk up to her in the middle of her ordinary school day for a chat. In Italian. “My friends: Fionn Dillan, Destiny Walker.”

His dark caramel-colored eyes pass over us with enough of a glance to avoid being rude and to enable him to remember us until we can be forgotten for our irrelevance in a few weeks, after he’s back in Rome. “Signor Dillan, Signorina Walker.” He bows to each of us.

Fionn smiles and nods politely, obviously still trying to figure out which type of Magik the signore is. Funny; I would’ve expected the Italian to give Fionn the right idea.

I just stare blankly at the signore for a couple of seconds then look at my watch. I shove myself off the wall and slouch. “Class in four minutes.”

“I’ll walk you.” Signor Ambrogino takes Jordan’s bag and offers to take mine.

I give him another dull look.

He smiles faintly and pulls it from me. “It would be improper for a gentleman to allow you to carry your own bag, signorina,” he explains politely, as if I’m a normal teenager without a trace of etiquette training.

My voice doesn’t tip him off, which makes me feel better. I’ve wondered how helpful all this goth getup actually is. That I’ve messily lopped my hair off and dyed it a nearly black green probably helps the disguise. I was always neat and well-kept in Rome, in the white that labeled me as not-for-meals, and my hair an only mildly abnormal coyote-brown color.

I sense Signor Ambrogino stiffen slightly, and I risk a sidelong glance at him. I’d think his narrowed gaze hungry, except he’s eyeing up my profile and not my arm. He reaches for my face, then lowers his hand. “You have an…interesting…jaw,” he says quietly.

I freeze, my heart clambering up my throat. He’s said that you can tell if a woman’s had a baby by her jawline. He’s also claimed you can often tell if a girl’s had sex by how she naturally walks, so I’ve never put much stock in either one.

I concentrate on walking…normally…and on not calming my thundering heartbeat, since he already hears it.

He stiffens in surprise that I evidently know he meant my jaw matches a girl who’s had a baby. He’s said artists tend to know about that. Do I look like an artist? “Forgive me, signorina,” he continues quickly. “I did not mean—that is, I meant…”

He glances at Jordan and Fionn, obviously guessing that they don’t know about the baby. He just as obviously guesses from my reaction that I have good reason to be freaked out by adult male attention. “It was a compliment,” he finally ‘confesses’, pointedly adding a bit more space between us and not looking at me directly. “I meant nothing untoward by it.”

In other words, he wasn’t hitting on me. I nod sharply and stiffly continue towards class, not trusting my voice. Sure, it’s matured in the past few years, but he could still ID me if he considers it. And with him noticing me now as more than Jordan’s inconsequential friend, I don’t need him to have more ammo to figure me out.

“Des?” Jordan asks. I’ve never mentioned what happened to the baby she knows I had. “You okay?”

I shrug—yes, again, fancy that—and resume my feigned sullen nonchalance.

Signor Ambrogino has gotten into trouble at Court more than once for his lack of tact, so it really shouldn’t surprise me when he draws a quick breath and asks, “You didn’t keep the child?”

I flinch, the action an admission that keeps Fionn from flipping out at the question’s implication that I fool around. “T…took after his padre,” I say, then flinch again when I realize I’ve just used Italian.

Thankfully, it’s the same word in— “Here’s our class. Spanish. Thank you for the escort, signore.” I grab my schoolbag from his lax grip and dart into the classroom and to my desk. It’s a few seconds before Fionn and Jordan follow me, but Signor Ambrogino doesn’t. He doesn’t.

As the bell rings and Señora Garcia begins class, I breathe a deep sigh of relief and slouch into my chair. He didn’t follow me. He doesn’t recognize me.

Thank God.

[end of excerpt]

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