Friday, September 30, 2016
Yes. Yes. Let's forget the whole 'he's a dude, you're not' BS. This is fiction. We get to be any freaking thing we want, right? And that's the whole point. Gender. No gender. Stripes. Polka dots. Aliens with blue skin and green eyes. No less probable than a secret agent with a license to kill who manages to single handedly save the world, sleep with anything that moves and avoid the clap all at the same time. Why should I not be Sherlock?
Oh, yes. I am aware that character is fraught with baggage. But to be that clever, that sharp. Not to mention intrinsically immortal. For a character conceived and created in the Victorian Era, he's looking awfully well these days. Despite some tragic reboots and reimaginings of his adventures.
Maybe the real answer is that the geeky little girl who curled up reading everything she could get her hands on because real life was pretty lonely also wants to be as popular and well-liked as a cranky gum-shoe in a deerstalker hat. The very best thing about Sherlock Holmes is that he is a misfit who had managed to make his misfittedness work on his behalf and to win him influence and acceptance. And while I'm not crazy about the notion of stepping into the shoes of a cocaine addict . . . I - Yeah, I dunno. I think I'm stuck on the fact that this character can be so beloved and popular, even with (perhaps because of) his foibles. That's mighty attractive.
Would you swap places with him?
Thursday, September 29, 2016
His work also appeared in Norton Anthology of Hint Fiction and Rick Klaw’s anthology Rayguns Over Texas. He also has had several short plays produced.
Visit his website at mrmaresca.com
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
I've said for years that I was inspired by Jennifer Roberson's character Del in The Sword Dancer series because I wanted to be Del. I still stand by that. Why? Because she's unafraid to set a lofty goal and then she achieves it. It doesn't hurt that she can use a sword as well as the men around her who are taller and stronger and more experienced.
But, if that's the criteria...then a host of other ladies fit the criteria, such as Wonder Woman, Princess Leia, and Hermione Granger.
And hell, I'd be happy to be Han Solo or James Bond or Conan the Barbarian. Just sayin'.
I'm a sucker for the idea of an adventure.
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
I'll go with Anne Rice's über emo misanthropic brat Lestat. Responsibilities slide off him like oil on Teflon. He's unquestionably bold and daring to the detriment of everyone around him. He has amazing adventures with more amazing people...and gives no shits for how badly he wrecks them. The people and the places, that is. His selfishness lays low immortals and gods (you know that is a special level of It's Always All About Me when you're worse than a god). When he's overcome with self-pity, holed up or buried, wallowing in his bad hair day, one of his Stockholm victims comes to his rescue. Even when his peers attempt to hold him accountable, his charm and insouciant ways somehow lead him to be the hero of the moment or at least of the illusion.
Lestat is so completely who I am not, that it would be a gas to live his life with his utter lack of morals.
Monday, September 26, 2016
There are so many choices.
Superman. he'd be great. Not that sad sack from MAN OF STEEL, but the one that believes in truth, justice and the American way. That one.
Still, let's go a little deeper shall we?
John Carter of Mars had it pretty good Super strong, hottest girl in the universe on his arm. Still. A little too much like Superman when you get right down to it.
I'm going to go with Taran from the amazing Chronicles of Prydain, by Lloyd Alexander.
Tara started off as an apprentice pig farmer with delusions of grandeur. He wanted to be a brave hero. he wanted to fight the ancient enemies of the land, including Arawn the evil overlord who almost ruled the whole of Prydain before.
Seriously, you'd think with that start up that you'd get another mostly generic fantasy, but Taran lived an amazing life. he met incredible creatures and friends. He learned and he grew and before it was all said and done he got everything he wanted out of the world, and all it cost him was his dreams and his innocence.
In other words, he went from being a bratty kid to becoming a man of honor and integrity.
I think that's all anyone can ask for at the end of the day. Also, he got the girl. That's a lovely notion.
Absolutely one of my favorite series of books ever. Absolutely one of the best developed characters I ever ran across.
Sunday, September 25, 2016
It was an interesting question to ponder. I went through a number of choices before discarding them for various reasons. Like, I nearly said Eve Dallas from J.D. Robb's In Death series - but that's mainly so I could have Roarke. I wouldn't want her tortured past or to be a homicide detective. Similarly, I thought about Kate Daniels (now Lennart!) from Ilona Andrews Kate Daniels books. It would be cool to be kickass like her and have all that magical power, but she's had a sucky life, too, and has a tough challenge ahead of her.
This kind of thing is true for many characters who capture my imagination, and I'm a believer in looking at the entirety of a person's life. This is a great remedy for envy of all kinds, by the way. Whenever I find myself wishing I could have some other author's book success, I make myself consider everything about them and if I'd tried the whole of my life for theirs. Even with the most awesome people the answer is always no, because I like MY life and who I am.
So, using this rule of thumb, I ended up discarding most potential characters. I finally ended up with...
Lessa of Pern!
If you don't know, she's the heroine of Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey, the first of the Weyrs of Pern trilogy, and she appears in many of the connected books, too.
And yes, yes, yes - I KNOW. Lessa had a majorly sucky childhood, too. And nasty challenges to face.
It would totally be worth it to have a queen dragon. And F'lar. Plus she was the first heroine who really resonated with me. She's more interested in getting things done than in being nice. Her force of will and determination are qualities F'lar loves about her and made me believe I could be loved for that in myself, too. (And I am!) She's frequently bitchy and not afraid to be angry - but she's also widely appreciated and has a soft heart under it all.
Totally my role model!
~waits for dragon~
Saturday, September 24, 2016
Friday, September 23, 2016
If you'd like to win a sopy fo Damned If He Does, visit each of the site in turn and you will be entered. Books will be given away after 10/3
You were very patient. Thank you.
I'm sick. Got nothing to say, mainly brain fry. Sorry.
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
In 2013, I began seeing a counselor because I was starting to question my sanity; she helped me see that I wasn’t crazy. I ended a relationship with a man who was abusive in a way that she never formally identified but -thanks to book research afterward- I can call it gaslighting. It hit me hard when I realized he’d had nearly all of the classic traits. Months later, I had to file bankruptcy and I lost my car. (I’d never missed a payment on it but the bank took it anyway because they could.) So I walked to work for a while and bummed rides when I could.
The day before my birthday in January of 2014 a father-figure passed away and suddenly it felt like I hadn’t grieved my own father who had died in 2008. This was the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back.” I had my first real anxiety attack when I was supposed to leave work and go to this friend’s funeral. I made it as far as the front entrance of my workplace, then I found myself back in my office, door shut and sobbing because I COULD NOT GET IN THE CAR AND GO.
Looking back, having all this on top of regular stress and responsibilities, I can see how that specter was holding my hand, whispering to me long after a decent bedtime had passed, night after night after night.
I learned to know me better and recognize my warning signs. The shadows remain, and probably always will, but I have learned that there is truly no shame in seeking treatment. If I find I’m not kicking the occasional lows, or if the anxiety is unmanageable, or if the sleep stops again, I will not wait or argue with myself about going back to my doctor because I know that specter is out there, and I know what it does: It tricks you into the lonely dark and into stagnation where confidence dwindles and self-doubt grows to monstrous proportions.
Do not listen to that specter’s lies; things are not hopeless and you do not deserve this.
Do not let it convince you that it is shameful to ask for help.
Do not stagnate, you must keep growing and learning and doing and being.
Don’t wait. Take the initiative, please. It IS worth it. Reach out, let people help you.
About the campaign:#HoldOnToTheLight is a blog campaign encompassing blog posts by fantasy and science fiction authors around the world in an effort to raise awareness around treatment for depression, suicide prevention, domestic violence intervention, PTSD initiatives, bullying prevention and other mental health-related issues. We believe fandom should be supportive, welcoming and inclusive, in the long tradition of fandom taking care of its own. We encourage readers and fans to seek the help they or their loved ones need without shame or embarrassment.Please consider donating to or volunteering for organizations dedicated to treatment and prevention such as: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Home for the Warriors (PTSD), National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Canadian Mental Health Association, MIND (UK), SANE (UK), BeyondBlue (Australia), To Write Love On Her Arms and the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.To find out more about #HoldOnToTheLight, find a list of participating authors, or reach a media contact, go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/276745236033627/
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
At the Summer Solstice, we retreat. The days too long. The sun too painful. Everything is too bright.
Colors. People. Sky.
Everything is too loud. Insects. Rivers. Trees.
The earth burns and the air scorches.
We are unwelcome.
But at the Autumn Equinox, we are called. Come back, she whispers. I am here, she soothes. I grow stronger, she promises.
We are slow in our fear, but we rise. Emerging. Creeping. Approaching.
The ground is cool and soft beneath our feet. The air is sweet and kind.
We are cherished.
Under the stars, we dance with the night.
Monday, September 19, 2016
Jack had been at it a long time, of course, ever since Old Scratch had sent him on his way from the underworld with a single, burning ember of hellfire to light his way and keep him warm. That ember would never burn out, never become a faded ash.
That meant holding it someplace where it could not burn his flesh, or worse, still, his very soul. For that is what Hellfire burns and Jack had so many sins. Never meant for Heaven and not trusted to enter Hell, it was his lot to wander the world for all eternity. Cold and alone.
Thanks to he hellfire, not so cold.
Thanks to his own machinations, not so alone.
Every year there was one. Chosen on the Harvest Moon, offered to him in exchange for good fortune by the town of Summitville.
This year the offering was fair and sweet and would last better than the old turnips pr even the pumpkins he had used in the distant past.
The knife was sharp and thick, exactly what was needed. Jack drove the heavy blade into the top of his new lantern, feeling flesh part and bone crunch.
The souls of the dead he feasted on. They fed his hellfire ember.
The bodies hardly needed to go to waste, and so he made his lanterns of flesh these days.
The skull held up well and the flesh hardened when the heat of hell itself burned away the moisture.
Best of all, the hair made for a lovely handle.
The wet materials were easily removed. The knife carved away the eyes and the rest with ease.
Almost Halloween. Time for Trick-or-treaters and the veils between to worlds to thin out and allow easy travels.
One could almost get the impression I have Halloween on my mind. My next book release with a cover by the amazing Dan Brereton.
Sunday, September 18, 2016
We have a cover for The Tides of Bára!!
It's so incredibly beautiful, I literally gasped out loud when I saw it. The incredibly talented Louisa Gallie knocked this one out of the park.
Want to see it?
Yeah, you know you do....
And, since I was supposed to write Autumn Equinox flash fiction today, and you all know how I feel about flash fiction....
Here's a snippet from the recently (like, last week) completed draft. Chuffta, Oria's small dragon Familiar, has turned out to be a bit of a firebug...
Saturday, September 17, 2016
The world is smaller than you think.
People talk to other people.
People move around. Today's intern might be tomorrow's CEO.
There's no need to be anything but polite and professional.
This is a business. (Whatever business you might be in. I happen to be in publishing.)
On a Facebook loop with over a thousand members, even a sekrit or closed group, you have NO IDEA who else is reading your ranty post besides the twenty or so active people who post all the time. You are not talking to just your friends on social media. Ever.
In this world of social media and hacking and etc., anything you say anywhere anytime EVER can come back to bite you.
As my mother used to say, would you be comfortable to hear what you said repeated on the radio? (Since my mother was in that generation LOL.) Nowadays I'd ask if you'd be comfortable to see it repeated on all the many social media channels and late night talk shows until some other, hotter scandal overtook it? If the answer is yes, good and go for it. If the answer is no, then take a deep breath and hit delete a few times.
If you agree to a deadline, meet it. Or else do some good, clear communicating along the way about what's going on and why the schedule might slip on your end.
If you sign a contract, read every word first and be sure you understand it. Then fulfill the terms or else go back and try to renegotiate but do not deliver something that isn't what the contract calls for and hope no one notices.
If a business relationship isn't working for your business (and yes, a self publishing author like me IS a business), then take steps to correct the situation or to end it. Remember, polite and professional...and no ranty posts later on that thousand person loop about how awful person X was etc etc. If you must vent, do so in private to your closest actual friends who you trust.
There are two sides to every story.
Be willing to receive professional feedback.
A burnt bridge is unpleasant but usually not the end of the world. There are always other possibilities!
OK and because this song has been stuck in my head all week while we discussed this topic here at SFF7, here's the classic Mike Curb song from the movie "Kelly's Heroes."
Friday, September 16, 2016
But, in short, the issue was this: I had a person who shall remain nameless who I believed I could trust. Over the course of our relationship, little snippets of key detail would be missing - things like 'awaiting instruction from author before this deadlined event can occur.' At first, I could put it down to my lack of knowledge - I mean I was a publishing newbie. For the person in question, it was old hat. Could it be a simple case of assuming I knew more than I did? Possibly. But it kept happening. And then, at a conference, another person who shall remain nameless stopped me in a corridor and said, "You know I'm waiting on a book from you?"
My eloquent, nonverbal response looked like this:
She nodded. "I suspected that message never reached you." I found my voice then with a shrill, "OMFG." I did not use the acronym.
Trust broken. Bridge afire. No clue who lit the match.
Do I regret the fire? Some days I do, because I strongly suspect the relationship with person 1 is no longer salvageable. Good, maybe? Who's to say. I hear it said that hindsight is 20/20, but frankly, I am still squinting through the smoke on this one. I'm no clearer now than I was when the bridge went up in flames. But I do know this. A relationship is only as good as the communication within it. At the very least, person 1 and I had a major communication dysfunction that ended up crossing my tolerance threshold. (Person 2 got the book she was waiting for.) I severed the relationship with person 1.
So peer through the bridge-burning smoke as tell me. From your perspective, who started the fire?
Thursday, September 15, 2016
If [EDITOR] hadn’t noticed us lurking about and convinced us to submit a short story to [ANTHOLOGY], we don’t become professional authors at all. [EDITOR] took us from nothing–nothing— and made us what we are.
His work also appeared in Norton Anthology of Hint Fiction and Rick Klaw’s anthology Rayguns Over Texas. He also has had several short plays produced.
Visit his website at mrmaresca.com
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Jeffe gave an example on Sunday of an author who abruptly dismissed her agent and set fire to the bridge, the roadway, and the connecting villages. Believe it or not, there are ways through business conflicts and even endings that can allow the personal connection to survive.
Conflicts are no time for you to be passive-aggressive, apologetic, or vague. If you hate confrontation with every fiber of your being, this process can be the raft to which you cling. If you have the bad habit of turning a professional conflict into a personal one, this process might help with that too.
Let's assume the conflict has arisen because whatever product or service to which you agreed hasn't been delivered at all or to the level of your satisfaction. Aka, there is cause.
What To Do If There's Cause for Conflict or Termination
1. Check Your Contract
If you have a contract with the person/agency, read the conflict resolution and termination clauses. There might not be a conflicts clause, but there should be a termination one. Make sure you have the legal right to end the business relationship. There are less-than-reputables out there who will present you with a contract that gives them all the power and you none. NEVER SIGN THOSE. Ehem, assuming there is a termination clause that allows you to end the relationship, it should tell you how many days notice, whether notice has to be written or verbal, and if there are any penalty fees. Follow the terms of the contract, with the exception of any "verbal only" requirements. Always follow-up with a written version to Cover Your Ass.
2. The Concern Call -- Desired Outcome, Improvement
With the Concern Call, you're giving your business partner the chance to fix whatever the problem is. They may be completely unaware that there is an issue. On the other hand, maybe they've long known there is an issue and dreaded telling you. The magic third hand could be that your expectations and theirs are wildly different. The call is the opportunity for everyone to get on the same page. At this point, there is still a good chance that both of you can come away with exactly what each of you wants.
Yes, this really should be a spoken conversation--phone, video chat, or in person--if you want to preserve a positive personal relationship. If your communications have always been online, then skip to the next stage. Do not, under any circumstance, do this in instant messaging or chat. That platform allows for unintended interruptions and mistimed responses that can blow the simplest of conversations out of proportion.
Before you place the call, WRITE DOWN your concerns and your expectations. Avoid statements of blame, they're counterproductive to progress. WRITE DOWN the specific deliverables/actions and the dates for those things to be completed in order for the business relationship to move forward. Limit yourself to no more than five key deliverables. All due within 30 days. All realistically achievable within that timeframe. It's okay to write this as a script if that makes you more comfortable. You're going to reuse this text in the next step anyway.
During the call, stick to facts not feelings. You want to be very clear about the severity of the situation while allowing your partner to maintain their dignity. They're already on the defensive, that's unavoidable. It's not your job to placate them. Your purpose is to lay out the path forward and to offer them the opportunity to walk that path with you. PLEASE, please make the extra effort to not dither, obfuscate your expectations, or apologize for having the expectations in the first place. It does neither of you any favors.
If your business partner refuses to meet your expectations, then the next step still happens but the tone changes.
3. Document The Caution (Immediately After The Concern Call) -- Desired Outcome, Improvement
The Caution is the written summary of your Concern Call and what agreements the two of you reached. The letter itself doesn't have to be long. Think bullet points.
As per our phone call on [date of call] discussing my concerns about [concise nature of issue] and our ability to move forward, these are the deliverables we discussed and the dates we agreed they are due:
Bullet points 1-5: Deliverable summary. Date due.
Thank you for your attention to this. Looking forward to our meeting on [Date, Time], to review our progress and next steps.
If the Concern Call was a disaster and there was no satisfactory resolution, you still send this summary of what you discussed and what they refused...and you combine it with The Notice mentioned below in 4b.
If you skipped the Concern Call and went straight to emailing The Caution, people who are professionals will respond, usually with a request to talk on the phone or they'll fire back an email. Expect a certain amount of surprise and defensiveness on their part. Remain objective and focused on the resolution. There will probably be some counter-negotiations. Document the final agreement and send it to them as The Caution Part 2. The point here is no surprises on a clear path forward.
People who are hiding from you will continue to do so. They will not engage or acknowledge. Regardless, they've been informed and you are armed for the next phase.
4a. Document The Improvement & The Plan for the Next 90 Days -- Desired Outcome, Continued Business Relationship
If the Concern Call and the Caution have been successful, then you're heading into the review meeting. If everything is delivered to your satisfaction, everyone is on the same page, and everyone is willing to go forward together GREAT. Send your partner a thank you note for taking your concerns seriously and outline your expectations for the next 90 days. Yes, thank them. Yes, document your 90-day expectations. This ensures that the resolution of one crisis was not an anomaly. Business relationships succeed when everybody understands the expectations and agrees to the deliverables. Will you have to have another status meeting at the end of 90 days? You should want to. If everything is going well, it should be a pleasant experience that ameliorates any weirdness or hostilities that popped up during the initial 30-days.
4b. Document The Notice of Termination -- Desired Outcome, End of Business
Assuming your business partner has failed to deliver on the items specified in The Caution and you actually have the follow-up meeting, the ball is in your court as to whether or not you give an extension or a chance for a re-do. If you choose to do so, repeat Step 3. Again, you send a follow-up note, summarizing the progress or lack thereof, the new dates, and the next follow-up meeting.
If your partner is ignoring you and/or doesn't show for the follow-up meeting then the note is very simple.
Disappointed that the expectations we spoke about on [Date of the Concern Call] and that I laid out on [Date The Caution Email Was Sent] in the email titled [email title] could not be met by you.
[Optional] Status updates on the bullet points from the previous letter.
As per our contract [if applicable], this letter serves as 30 Days Notice of Termination, effectively ending our business relationship on [Date 30 days from now].
By now, Bob knows this is coming. If he tries to dispute it, you have the documentation. Expect your business relationship to be dead at this point. If you're on a monthly retainer type of plan, you'll still owe them the money for the last month, just don't expect anything in return. Sad but true.
Anyone who's been in management will probably recognize the conflict & termination process as a modified Performance Improvement Plan (PIP). Being an author may not feel like being in Corporate, but there are lots of best practices we can borrow from big business when dealing with our small business.
If Your Business Relationship Is Ending due to a Predetermined Event/Time:
Even the best contracts expire and may not be renewed. Do yourself a favor and 90-days before that predetermined termination, verify that it is still happening. You don't want to be shocked by a detail that slipped past your notice or tethered by an auto-renew clause you didn't remember in the fine print. Plus, you want to kickstart the wind-down process for final deliverables, payments, and maybe even a party.
NOTE: Nothing contained in this post should be viewed as legal advice. The sample letters are intended only as illustrations.
Monday, September 12, 2016
We are, all of us, basically nothing without them. You have friends? Relationship. Lovers? Relationship. Editors? Relationship. Readers? Often times a relationship.
Sometimes, however little we might like the idea, relationships change or end. The problem is, as I suspect most of you already know, sometimes those long-term connections tend to go out in a blaze of glory.
A while back I had a friend of mine whom I had not seen much come up to me and at a convention and casually ask if I might be available to do lunch sometime. we got together a little over a week later and we chatted but there was a tension between us. Finally my friend looked at me and said, "Honestly, Jim, I thought I'd done something to offend you."
He had not. But I was dealing with my writing career, my full-time job and at that time, my wife who was dying by inches and needed my support. Here's the thing: I did not tell anyone that my wife was ill. It was not their business. She did not want it advertised and I therefore did not push it. People who saw us together could tell there wee issues. (the wheelchair was a dead giveaway.) I'm not saying any of this to be contrary. I'm pointing out that he did not KNOW what i was going through anymore than I knew what he was going through. We parted ways out of a lack of communication. We were never business partners or professionally connected though we both work in the same industry.
We fell to the wayside and eventually we repaired our differences. The fact that we fell away was an unfortunate side effect of life.
Another example from more recently. I saw a gentleman I have seen exactly once in the last 5 years last week at Dragon-Con. He made a point to hunt me down. I'm not hard to find when I'm at a convention like DC, but as I had a dozen panels and lots of people to catch up with (We're writers. we're ridiculously solitary a lot of the time. Conventions make up for it. In my case, so does working at Starbucks. You think I jest, but without that job I'd likely be a hermit. )
This particular gentleman was a good friend for years. We met up for movies, we talked books, we did a lot of things as part of the same group. Over time I got busy (you'll note a patten here. It happens a lot, which saddens me but is inevitable when I have deadlines) and he stopped hanging around with our group as much. From time to time I would basically look up from my writing, notice he was no longer around, and feel a little bad about that, but life moves on when you aren't paying attention and for all of the reasons already mentioned, I was not often paying attention.
He asked for ten minutes of my time at Dragon-Con. Seriously, ten minutes is nothing, but that particular day? I had 6 panels and a few meetings set up (remember that professional part? We're getting there).
Long story short, he first apologized for not knowing, when we'd seen each other the previous time, that my wife had passed. Again, I seldom make mention of that fact. You want details? Here they are. When Bonnie passed I told a handful of people. I did not post on social media. I took a week to recover and did my best to move on. It's just the way I'm programmed. So I was not at all surprised that he had not heard. he was horrified. He apologized profusely and I explained that it was;t necessary.
And I was glad to look into the face of a man I'd missed for a long time without realizing that I missed him.
He also told me that a mutual friend of ours (whom I have long since stopped speaking with because he is borderline toxic) told him that I no longer wanted to see him, because he and my wife were not famous friends. It happens. My friend and my then wife tolerated each other. They were never going to be close. Until that conversation--which I know nothing of--occurred, we had continued in the same circles. After a jackass who shared an opinion that had no foundation in truth had made that comment, we had been friends and then, pow. Separation. It was silent and it was complete and from time to time I looked up at the world around me and was sad that my friend was no longer there.
That's two examples of relationships falling apart. Neither of them were intentional. They have, thankfully, been mended.
The first one was miscommunication and busy lives. the second was the assumption of truth from a third party, and busy lives. We are, all of us, busy, aren't we? God knows most of my friends have to actively find the time for leisure.
Now that I've told you all of that, I'll explain a few simple facts from my perspective: Relationships end. Professional relationships often end badly, whether you want them to or not.
Once upon a time I was dealing with Publisher A, A small press that did limited editions of all of my books. Per contract (and I knew this going in, folks, but I'll always caution you again KNOW WHAT YOUR CONTRACT SAYS) half of whatever I made from reselling to a mass-market went to Publisher A. When one of my biggest novels to date (And by big I mean length here at 300,000 words) went into mass-market release, it became three books and the money was good. And half of that was going to Publisher A. Except it down;t work out that way. I had to overhaul books 1 and 2 in order for the books to make sense as a trilogy. I did a lot of extra work. And because I was doing a lot of extra work, I felt (and I still feel) that I should get a bit more of the money for literally adding 40,000 words to the effort. especially because the entire format of the novels had to be changed in order to make it a trilogy instead of one mammoth book.
Long story short, the new publisher and I worked out deal where one of the three books was essentially considered a new book. Publisher A got a nice chance of change, but it was 2/3 of what the publisher felt it should be.
We did not part on good terms. Publisher A felt cheated.
Some of you might agree. I did not and do not. Publisher A threw deeply nasty meal my way and that was the end of it in my eyes.
Later, Publisher A actually sent me a note of apology. Listen I get it. We all want our fair share. But I still stand by not wanting to give away half of the money for what amounted to a completely different novel when you added in the extra 40K.
That same situation also involved Publisher B.
It was a a rare and precious moment in my career. I had two publishers that wanted a book of mine. I was unaccented at the time I spent most of my career unaccented. Anyone that says you can't make a living without an agent is possibly incorrect, but its IS a lot more work. In any event, I would up with a bidding war. Publisher B. was doing several of my paperback reprints around that time and had WONDERFUL distribution. They paid squat, but you got into airports, etc.
Enter Publisher C. Not as aggressive, but definitely just as good for distribution and also one of the bigger companies.
Bidding war. Publisher C. won. By a lot. I made enough money to think there was a chance to survive as a writer. (My opinion on that changes daily, by the way).
Publisher B. was not pleased. On my next few books, they low-balled me on options and that was that. We parted company. There was no negotiation beyond that point. We had done a few originals together and they'd sold well enough but after the bidding war the honeymoon was decidedly over. I have since seen the representatives of Publisher B. on several occasions. We are civil and even friendly to each other, but there's almost always that awkward silence where we realize we no longer have much in common. Publisher B. has gone the way of the Dodo bird, by the way, and dragged a few careers into the muck in the process. I managed to avoid that, because we'd cut all ties by the time the publisher collapsed in ruination.
Publisher C. is still going strong and though we haven't done anything new together for a while I still get the occasional royalty check.
I still see the editor from Publisher C regularly. We often have a meal together at conventions, or at least a drink. There are other publishers I have NEVER worked with that I have meals or drinks with. Why? Because they're fun people, and because this is a small industry in many ways. In all cases, we are friendly and we can get along very well and have had several deeply passionate conversations of thew sort you can only have with friends. But do you want to know something? If I ever DO sell to them, and the time comes to negotiate? That friendship goes to the wayside until the talks are done. I'll do you one better, my agent will handle the negotiations, because that way the friendships are unaffected.
In any event, I will do everything I can to avoid ending the relationships I have with people in the industry. We may not work together, but there's nothing that says we can't remain civil.
I mentioned this article to Author E.J. Stevens.
She suggested telling the entire affair from Jonathan Crowley's perspective. I can't do that. The story would end in flames. Seriously, there was never a character more willing to end every relationship with carnage. So instead of making suggestions from Crowley's perspective, here: have a short story about Crowley and relationships. (Art by Alan M. Clark, who is awesome.)