Archive for October, 2016

What Stace had to say on Friday, October 7th, 2016
So…a follow-up/clarification

This morning I got a little curious.

Since–as you all know–I’ve been largely “offline” for some time (which actually means online, just not getting involved much in the writing/reading community), I haven’t seen any other reactions to the closing of Ellora’s Cave. I’d had a quick look before posting my own blog and hadn’t really seen anything. I decided this morning to have another look, and see what other reactions have been, if there are any. My own post about it the other day had been linked to a couple of times, so I figured I’d start there.

The first one I looked at was over at The Passive Voice, a blog I’m vaguely familiar with–I know I’ve read something there before, but it’s been some time. They basically just quoted the relevant parts of my post (i.e. the EC-related parts), which was, of course, perfectly fine.

But then I read the comments, where people were discussing unpaid royalties and, in a couple of cases, using disbelieving/sarcastic tones to ask where I’ve been the last few years or to sneer at my use of the word “feel” (as in “I know many people felt honestly cheated or betrayed”) because it wasn’t a feeling, some “feely-feeling,” it was fact, and they “don’t know how an EC author could not know…given EC’s principal carrying on all over the internet for at least two years…”

So let’s deal with this a point at a time.

First, I had no idea–absolutely no idea at all–that there were issues with royalties being unpaid. None. I had not heard of this or seen anything about it.

My own EC checks have for the last five years gone to a mail-forwarding service, and from there directly to someone who deposits them for me. I don’t see them. I don’t get the statements*. At some point late last year or early this year I started thinking about getting my rights back (with an eye toward publishing the omnibus I discussed here a few days ago) and made a mental note that I needed to contact EC about getting digital copies of those statements, to see if my books had fallen under the sales threshold for rights reversion. I never did get around to contacting them; I kept forgetting, basically. It wasn’t high on my to-do list.

*I’m sure there are now people reading this and wondering who the hell doesn’t look at her statements or bother with them. But the thing is, my last release with EC was 2008 or 2009–which was the last time I wrote or released a genre romance, btw. Those books weren’t exactly stuffing my bank account with fresh wads of cash at this point.

Which is why I didn’t really notice when those deposits stopped. I honestly forgot about them for a long while, and when it did occur to me, Hubs and I weren’t sure if there was an issue with our mail-forwarder–with whom communication has always been slow–or if checks were just not arriving. Given how low the royalties had fallen it seemed that it could be either. Checking on that went on our To-Do list and, like asking about sales numbers, fell by the wayside. (Things have been extremely busy here in the Kane household for the last year or so.)

I also didn’t pay attention to the rare group emails I got from EC; I skimmed one or two of them, I think, but since I was no longer “actively” publishing with them or writing in that genre, the emails didn’t seem relevant. I’d heard something about the EC/Dear Author lawsuit, but didn’t care, didn’t pay attention, and didn’t go to Dear Author or anywhere else to read whatever blog posts the case was apparently about. I knew it was a defamation suit, but beyond that I didn’t know the details. I still don’t, honestly.

I certainly wasn’t aware of anyone at EC “carrying on all over the internet,” in any way. The reason I wasn’t aware of this, or of any of the above, is because–as I said–I have not been involving myself in the online romance community. At all. For several years. (If you’d like to know why I deliberately removed myself from that online community, then really, the answer to that question is right here in this post.)

One of my publishers closed. It was a place where I had a good experience. I knew some authors didn’t have such great experiences, but all the stories I’d heard–this is all pre-2009, btw; seven fucking years ago–involved things like cover art or edits or personality conflicts. So I posted about how the house has closed, and it makes me personally a little sad because I had such great memories–but, being aware that not everyone had such great memories, I made sure to mention that I knew some people didn’t, that for some people this news was welcomed and celebrated, and that I was genuinely happy for them.

I’ve had issues with publishers myself, in the past. I’ve seen other authors have the same or different issues with publishers. One of the things I’ve always found upsetting and unpleasant about those situations is that, time and time again, when authors attempted to relate their experiences they were shouted down by others insisting that they were liars, that they “couldn’t accept editing,” that they were shills for other houses, that they were just jealous or pissed off about being rejected or any number of other accusations, and that House X was the greatest place on earth, one big happy family, they cared so much about their authors, and how dare some big mean poopyhead claim they were anything other than Messiahs with publishing software.

I didn’t want my post to seem that way, or like the experiences of other authors didn’t matter. So I made sure to mention that I knew some people felt they’d been treated badly and that not everyone had such fond memories. Again, the issues I was aware of were not misreported sales or missing royalty checks. Furthermore, to me, for the purpose of my post, the actual “facts” of these cases were far less relevant than the fact that the authors in question felt they’d been shabbily treated and betrayed.

I didn’t really care, for the purpose of my post, about the actual facts regarding whether Author B’s cover was truly shitty. What mattered to me was that Author B felt her cover was shitty, and did not get the support she expected from her publisher. I didn’t really care if Author Y’s editor was truly brusque or uncommunicative; what mattered to me was that Author Y felt that her editor was brusque and uncommunicative, and that made her feel marginalized, and she did not get the support she expected from her publisher. What mattered to me, also, was that since the details of those stories are now a tad fuzzy (since it’s been seven fucking years or so), I thought it was best not to give any details or even speak about them as if I knew all the facts, so it was best to simply acknowledge that some of my fellow authors had bad experiences which made them feel used/betrayed/cheated/whatever.

I didn’t want anyone to read my post and think I was looking back at EC as The House of Dreams, or that I was dismissing or just plain didn’t give a fuck that for some people, working with them had been a miserable, unhappy experience that they regretted. I wanted to make sure my post didn’t read as a defense of the company, but just as a brief personal note about my own personal experience.

So I wrote that. I said I knew some people felt they’d been mistreated, and that I did not want to erase those feelings/experiences but that I consider them valid. I said I didn’t believe that the publisher had been acting maliciously in the situations I’d heard of, but that didn’t change those people’s feelings or experiences, either. Nor did it mean their experiences or feelings were untrue, or that they were wrong.

It was intended to be supportive. It was intended to show those authors, if they happened to see it, that they and their experiences mattered, and that even though I had good memories of a good experience I hadn’t forgotten them. It was certainly not a defense of the company or all of its actions. It was certainly not intended as some kind of patronizing smirk at those whose experiences were not good or a dismissal of those experiences as mere “feelings.” It was certainly not intended as some sort of lip service, that I could afford to pay as I sat smug in the knowledge that I had my rights back so who gave a shit about anyone else? (For the record, I do not have my rights back.)

And it certainly was not intended to downplay or diminish an issue as serious as inaccurate royalty statements or unpaid royalties, for which there is no excuse or justification.

That’s all.

What Stace had to say on Wednesday, October 5th, 2016
Stuff, Things, and a Farewell to Ellora’s Cave

Well! I’d expected to be back here on the blog sooner, sorry–the girls went back to school, we all got sick, and I’m working my butt off. (Also, I’m allowing myself one hour three days a week to play through the Batman Arkham games on the PS3; I’ve finished Origins and am now halfway through Arkham City. I think City is a little more fun so far, but Origins has more fun things to do. Except for the Bird side mission, because that glitched for me and I never got to finish it grrr. I really wanted the damn “Disarm and Destroy” skill! Anyway.)

I have a couple of review for MADE FOR SIN that I didn’t blog before! First, a really lovely one from B&N:

Stacia Kane has a knack for writing damaged characters. …Kane draws her Vegas with all the casual depravity the city is infamous for, with aging Mafiosi, pick pockets, safe-crackers, fences, compromised cops, chorus girls, and thieves rounding out the cast…. I love Kane’s characters: they manifest a deep and riveting moral ambivalence, acted out in dark and magical worlds.

(It’s actually quite hard to pick an individual quote or two from that review, but the full thing is definitely worth a read.)

It’s About the Book has this to say:

If you like urban suspense with a twist, this book has it in spades. And while it might start off slow and gentle, it silently crawls under your skin and haunts your dreams. I know I’ll be thinking about it.

From All About Romance:

…the chemistry between Ardeth and Speare worked for me. They circle one another suspiciously, come to reluctant truces, and move from begrudging respect to sexually charged friendship in scenes that had me not wanting to put down my reader. This book has elements of romance to it, but it’s definitely more urban fantasy than traditional HEA romance and as with many an urban fantasy series, the ending of Made for Sin leaves things rather open-ended – and left this reader wanting to read the next book in the series right away.

And speaking of my books etc….

I imagine many of you have already heard about the closure of Ellora’s Cave Publishing.

When I started writing seriously in 2005/2006, EC was the biggest name out there in erotic romance. Everyone wanted to be an EC author; it was a goal of mine, and I’ll never forget the day I got that acceptance email from them. I was thrilled.

I know a lot of authors did not have a great experience with/at EC. I’ve heard (a few of) their stories. I know many people felt honestly cheated and betrayed by them, and those stories, those feelings, are valid; their experience was their experience, and just because mine was different doesn’t mean theirs was or is untrue. It’s the nature of publishing, to some degree, that different writers can have wildly different experiences with the same publisher. While I honestly saw/heard nothing that led me to believe EC was being malicious or deliberately mistreating authors, again, that does NOT mean that A) it didn’t happen; and B) that those authors are wrong to feel that they were maliciously or deliberately mistreated. In other words, if there are authors out there telling stories about their ill treatment at the hands of EC, I believe them–I absolutely do–and I’m not at all saying they’re lying or exaggerating.

However. That was not my experience. Not at all, not remotely. My time at EC was–truly!–nothing but pleasurable, professional, and fun. One of the first “I loved your book!” emails I got for UNHOLY GHOSTS came from Raelene Gorlinsky, EC’s publisher, and that was very typical of the way I was always spoken to and treated by everyone at EC. I always felt valued. I always felt professionally treated and like I mattered. EC went out of its way (seriously, out of its way) more than once for me, and I was and am grateful for it. I stopped actively writing for EC because I’d moved in a new direction with my work and didn’t have the time (or the option clauses) that would allow it, but that is the only reason I stopped. I made good money at EC. I loved being, and was proud to be, one of their authors–I always will be proud to have been one of their authors.

Again, I’m not saying others didn’t have different experiences, or that their experiences didn’t or don’t matter or aren’t valid. For them this news is either a sigh of relief or a moment of bitter pleasure, and I understand that, and am happy for them. But for me, EC was a great place. It was a house I loved working with and writing for, and I’m genuinely very sad to see it close down. I wish all of my former EC associates, from writers to cover artists to layout designers to editors (my editor Brianna St. James was, IMO, the best editor at EC, and I adore her and adored working with her) to management the very, very best in future.

However, their closure does mean that the rights to all of my EC books revert to me. For a while I’ve been toying with the idea of getting them all together, re-editing them (mostly to remove stylistic quirks put in place due to EC’s rather specific house style, which I admit to never being a huge fan of), and releasing them all–except, of course, for the two I co-wrote with the always-awesome Anna J. Evans–in one big omnibus edition, for a couple of bucks. That would be:


DAY OF THE DEAD was a novella (which I loved; it was written as a Halloween story [if the title didn’t give that away] and has a big hot-sex-in-a-graveyard scene, heh), but the others are all full-length novels; BLACK DRAGON is my medieval romance, which isn’t erotic per se but still has explicit sex scenes in it, of course, and, in addition to being only the second book I ever wrote, was my attempt to write an old-school-type of romance (so the voice is a little different). I actually re-read BLACK DRAGON recently; I was trying to remember a specific thing in it, so opened up the file and began perusing, and ended up going back to re-read the whole thing start to finish. That was pretty fun–I’ve always had a real soft spot for that book and its characters anyway–and I was pleased to see that, despite the many things about it I would probably do/write differently now, a dozen years or so after I wrote it, I still think it was a pretty good book.

Anyway. The point is, I’ve been considering compiling all those together and releasing them myself, and this is an opportunity to do so. The only hesitation I have, really, is wondering if that’s even something you guys would be interested in. All of the books (except BLACK DRAGON) are paranormals, and BLOOD WILL TELL has lots of action in it (and not just in a that’s-what-she-said kind of way but genuine fighting and car chases and such), but they’re still romance, not UF. ACCUSTOMED TO HIS FANGS is a MY FAIR LADY spoof, even, which has what I still consider to be one of the funniest lines I’ve ever written (my vampire hero, who’s been in hibernation for a hundred years or so, is making toast; he muses to himself that sliced bread is “in his opinion, the greatest invention since the seed drill.” Yeah, maybe it doesn’t sound as funny written out here like that, but I giggled like a loon when I wrote it, and I still giggle at it now). Point is (again) the book is written as a comedy and is supposed to be at least amusing. So none of these books are what you would typically think of when you think of me/my work.

The other hesitation, of course, is if it’s worth doing simply because if you’re interested in my erotic romances, you’ve probably already read them.

So, what do you guys think? Is an omnibus like that something you’d be interested in? Something you’d pay three or four bucks for? Let me know. It wouldn’t take a long time to put together, really, so doing it wouldn’t take me away from any of the other projects I’m working on (aside from Downside [both Book 6 and the second Terrible-POV story], I’m finishing edits on a gothic that my agent and I are both excited about, and toying with an idea for a sort of episodic story, and working on a sexy early-twentysomething [is “New Adult” still a term?] paranormal adventure romance, and considering some options for the dystopian YA whose concept–and thus its chances–that show “Penny Dreadful” completely shat upon, sigh) so that’s not really a concern. It’s more just curiosity/uncertainty if it would sell enough copies to be worth the effort at all.

Soooo…that’s it for today, I guess. I have lots of other stuff to blog about in the coming weeks, but for the moment we’ll end it there.

Goodbye, EC, and thanks for the memories.

Note: Since I wrote this post, I learned some things that, having been away from the romance/erorom genre for seven years, and having deliberately distanced myself from online drama for the sake of my fucking sanity, I was not aware of. Please see my follow-up post here.