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FREE KINDLE BOOK!

Did I mention that my YA urban fantasy is up FREE for the Kindle this weekend?

CAMILLE'S TRAVELS, my gritty, streetwise YA fantasy/urban fantasy ebook is FREE on Amazon until Tuesday.

Camille MacTavish is a seventeen-year-old runaway escaping an abusive home life with a stolen magic dragon in the pocket of her jeans. Which could be fun, if the dragon didn't attract all the wrong people. Who is after her, and why?

PLEASE take advantage of this and get your FREE book. Tell me what you think of it.

Hey, what can it hurt--it's FREE!

http://www.amazon.com/Camilles-Travels-Without-Charley-ebook/dp/B002WN2XVW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1398553589&sr=8-1&keywords=camille%27s+travels+shalanna
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Brainstorming time

I need some brainstorming help!

I've finally realized why it has been such slow going (slogging!) on LOVE IS THE BRIDGE, my paranormal/techie romantic suspense ghost story. Some of y'all will remember this one as having started out as SONG FROM THE HEART with Paige the goody-goody . . . at least fifteen years ago. It's quite different now, as far as plot. (And she's not so goody-two-shoes.) I have the first 3/4 of the book. It's just the final bit that is messing with me.

At least I know what's missing now.

To set the scene: a ghost is pursuing Paige because it thinks she is the reincarnation of its old love, the Swedish Nightingale Jenny Lind. Or is it all an elaborate hoax done by some crazy stalker who has it in for both Paige and her new friend Alan? If it's a hoax, it sure is elaborate, and the hoaxer is an accomplished hacker who keeps screwing up Paige's life and Alan's business. If it's a ghost . . . well, Alan doesn't even believe in ghosts, but he's starting to think that the only way to get rid of this one (which has infested his business, a music studio where he does jingles for commercial radio and Internet radio clients, because it "heard" Paige singing there) is to treat it as if it is a real entity and convince it that Paige is NOT the person he thinks she is.

Okay. In the last fourth of the book, they "exorcise" the studio, first electronically and then by means of music (it makes sense in context, I promise). The entity is persuaded to leave via a spiritual chant and musical "event" of sorts. Poof, there it goes, and we are left to rebuild what it has destroyed . . . but it has also brought these two together, which is Fate and so forth. Yay?

BUT! What's missing here is . . . that I haven't ever been able to come up with a way to convince the entity that Paige is not the person he thinks she is and that he should go on to the next world, where he will find the real Jenny he seeks and will at last find peace. We "send him away" by means of ritual (basically), but HEY, this is a powerful entity. He wouldn't GO away for any reason (he kind of has to consent to leave) unless he were made to understand and believe that he has been in error. He'd just come back again. He still thinks she is the person he is after--how will we make him believe that she is NOT so that he'll leave peacefully?

I tried to say that Paige didn't know stuff that Jenny would've known, but of course she could be faking it, so my character (the ghost character!) didn't buy that. It didn't care if she looked somewhat different, because of course your second entry into the material world wouldn't necessarily look like the old you (even if the ghost claims her voice is EXACTLY the same). It didn't buy the historical arguments I dug up in my research. So I'm in a fix.

I have to come up with some reason that the ghost would suddenly gasp and say, "Of course! I should've known!" and agree that she is not the person he wants, and that he should return to the correct plane of existence (he crossed over from Limbo . . . again, I hope I've "explained" this in the first part of the book) to reunite with the real Jenny (or meet his proper fate, in whatever sense.) I got nothin'.

I can only hope that some brainstorming will help.

Help . . . ?
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APRIL, MAYBE JUNE launches in March!

(Information cross-posted, somewhat, from my other journals at http://deniseweeks.blogspot.com and http://shalannacollins.blogspot.com)

We have a cover and a release date for APRIL, MAYBE JUNE, my YA fantasy/adventure that kicks off what we're now calling the Bliss Sisters Magical Adventures series!

009-cover-final

I'll be appearing at Left Coast Crime in Monterey, California, the week of March 18th (my birthday!) Muse Harbor Press is throwing APRIL, MAYBE JUNE a launch party there, and I'll be meeting the editor and publisher. I'll also be meeting the publisher of Oak Tree Press books (NICE WORK and my mysteries) and several fellow authors. I hope to do lots of networking and strengthening of connections. It should be a real trip. (Pun alert!)

More info as it becomes available.
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Sample Sunday! One of my witchy books

Today is Sample Sunday. I have a "witchy" book (think "Bell, Book, and Candle" or "Bewitched," and MAYBE even "Sabrina" with a sprinkle of "Charmed") that I need to finish. (I have the first 3/4 and the ending written--it's just a saggy part that has to connect everything that needs plumping up.) I thought it might be fun to see whether anyone would go out and read about MIRANDA'S RIGHTS.

MIRANDA'S RIGHTS by Shalanna Collins

PROLOGUE

The demon Asperioth felt himself being conjured just as he was finishing up a complex three-day working.

Because the first tug came when he had his hands full, he couldn't even try a countermeasure. The working was too strong, anyway; someone out there must have his Name. He rose up into the air tail-first, cursing and dropping the components for the last step of his spell as he was sucked into the vortex between the demons' realm and that of the mortals.

The feeling was like being pulled butt-first through a knothole. A too-small knothole.

He materialized in a deep-forest clearing bathed in the light of the full moon. Someone must know a little about what they were doing. His hooves crunched on pine needles; the scent turned his stomach. Looking down, he saw he stood in the center of a salt-encrusted pentagram inscribed in a double circle engraved in the soft dirt. Apparently, someone knew quite a bit.

Or had been reading up on Summoning in the occult literature.

He blinked. As his infravision adjusted to the harsh light, he could make out a petite figure. A human female stood before him with black-draped arms upraised, her toetips barely tangent to the edge of the magickal figure.

Her voice squeaked forth with a whiny nasal accent. "Asperioth, I command thee!"

She'd heard his Name somewhere, or read it in a book, he supposed. That made things tougher for him: once they knew your Name, you couldn't resist the conjuring when you were called. That was part of the reason he'd been pulled so suddenly. And unless you could fool them, you were compelled to obey. Within reason.

"What do you seek by calling me, O woman?" He boomed it out with an echo, hoping he sounded properly fearsome. Asperioth couldn't quite remember the language, the exact phrasing that he was supposed to use. It had been so long since he'd had his Name called by a mortal. "I have little time to spend here. Tell me your desire."

"I want more power." Her eyes gleamed in the moonlight. "More power at my command without all these material components and . . . rituals." Her lips parted, revealing slightly pointed canines at the edges of her smile, and she glanced over her shoulder.

Asperioth followed her gaze to a naked human male, almost as young as she, panting on a woolen blanket behind her. The youth lay unnaturally twisted and still, as though stunned from a working. It was a sophisticated method of raising power; she was no newcomer to the Craft, nor apparently to the rules of diabolical magick.

"I could give you more power in the same way this one has given it." Asperioth beckoned, hoping he wasn’t leering too obviously. "Come hither into the center of my pentacle, and I shall grant your request."

"I am young, but not one day old, dear." She grimaced. "A demon child is not in my plans. Anyway, I've never heard of going into the pentacle with the demon."

Asperioth winced. “Please--we prefer the more correct term, ‘antiangel.’”

She rolled her eyes. “Whatever.”

Asperioth spread his arms wide, then pulled them in a bit as a shower of tiny blue sparks shot from the edge of the pentacle’s central pentagon, in which he stood. “I will do you no harm and plant no seed. You will find I can give you great pleasure as I increase your power.”

She gave him a hard look. "Don't mess with me. You can give me power at my command with a single word. I want that word of power."

Well, it had been worth a try.

"All right. But within the confines of this figure, I feel cramped and uneasy. When I am made to be so, I cannot think." The pentagram seemed claustrophobically small; it was squeezing his potbelly and his rear pillows. "Rub out a line so I can come forth, and I will grant you a word which will allow you to command power in an instant."

"Forget it." She glared at him. "You're not coming out here, and I'm not coming in there. Do I look stupid? You stand right there and think fast. Just give me the word."

All right, he would give her a word. But first he had to know what it was worth to her. "What is the payment you are willing to give for each use of this word?"

She scowled, pushing her wild dark hair back behind one ear. "What are you talking about?"

So she hadn't read up as thoroughly as all that.

"I mean there is a cost for each use of the word. The power does not come from the sound of the word alone. It must be paid for by the sacrifice of some mortal component."

"Component." Her voice wavered a bit.

He paused for dramatic effect. "Your pet . . . the use of your right arm . . . your singing voice. . . ."

"Those things are not negotiable. They're too personal." She squinted into the blue light that surrounded him, as if thinking, although he doubted it was remarkably deep thinking. "What about another person?"

"That could be satisfactory." Asperioth looked at her with new respect. He had to admire her ruthlessness and her brazenness in demanding such things so confidently of a power like himself. And she was almost as free from the burden of compassion as he was. However, she should have had all her dragons in a row before Calling him. "This grows tedious. State your exact offer."

"I don't know yet. Can I state it at the time I use the word? Another person, still to be named."

"Named at the time of the casting. All right." He felt he was giving her ample exception.

But she paused. "Wait a minute--let me think if I want that, or if there's a better way." Stroking her chin as if she were an aspiring member of Z Z Top encouraging her beard, the human appeared ready to muse until Tuesday.

His own abandoned spell would be ruined, unrecoverable, if she kept him here much longer. He could feel steam rising out of both ears. "Do not anger me, mortal woman. Show the same courtesy you would use to a fellow magician, or better. You forget what I am and what you are."

"Sorry. Jeez--"

He clapped his hands over his ears before her invocation of Light could do any damage. "Please! No need for that kind of language. I have your word of power." After waiting one suitably solemn moment, he pronounced a word in the magickal tongue. Guttural and hissing all at once, it would be a challenge to her.

"Can't you give me an easier one?" She squinted at him as if things were blurring over, which would mean her hold on him was fading. She was running out of energy.

"The words are the words." He sent a hostile light out of his eyes to convince her. "They cannot be other than what they are."

"All right, all right. Say it again clearly so I can get it, and you can go."

He pronounced it once more for her, slowly, to be fair, because she had proven herself brave as well as admirably wicked. “Use it wisely. Remember the price.”

She smiled and raised her arms. “I release thee, Asperioth, and return thee to thy proper realm.”

He felt himself slipping back into his own dimension. "Thank you," he heard her calling as he clattered back onto the floor of his own workroom.

He bared his fangs in what passed for a smile. Her fatal mistake was a beginner's error. She had failed to pronounce the peace. She should have ended not with a stupid thanks, but with something like, "Depart now, and may there ever be peace between me and thee. So mote it be."

So now he had her. When she Called him next--if there was a next time--he had no obligation to comport himself with peace. "Mortals today," he muttered, picking himself up and dusting off his legs, which were sticky and covered with dried cinders from the floor. "Complete fools. But when has it ever been otherwise?"

Rhetorical question.

Chapter One


On the morning of her thirtieth birthday, Miranda Callahan came awake with the certain knowledge that her best friend was casting a spell on her.

"The moon enters the house of the dragon, and Hecate works her magick on me." Miranda groaned, raising her head off the sketches for her latest cartoon panel. She'd fallen asleep at her drawing table again.

Charcoal sketches are unforgiving. The entire page was smudged like yesterday's mascara. In the gentle morning light, the new cartoon seemed particularly uninspired. Her fingers flew to her temples, where they automatically started massaging in circles.

What could be worse than waking to unfamiliar magick--except, of course, waking up in a cold bed without Alex. Which she'd cleverly avoided by conking out at her desk around three in the morning.

She had to put a stop to this enchantment, immediately. Being manipulated was never her preference, no matter how well-meaning the manipulator.

But the spell was already working on her.

This spell was benevolent, though, she'd swear. She felt optimistic, for a change, and a little buzzed, as if she'd been affected by the margaritas she vaguely remembered drinking in her dreams.

Her stomach guggled. She hadn't been spelled unexpectedly like this since her mother had semi-retired from the Craft.

Reaching toward the ceiling, she rolled her head back and forth, working at the crick in her neck. She knew she ought to be concerned, perhaps even panicky, about being magicked. As a confirmed control freak, Miranda was uneasy around witchcraft; she'd witnessed its unpredictable power too often in childhood. Yet she found that being the focus of a spell weaving its way around her moment by moment was oddly soothing. Somebody cared.

She was tempted to give in, to surrender to the euphoria that the spell wanted to build in her, maybe just a little.

"Dagnabbit, Zepp, quit it," Miranda said aloud. "Don't turn me into a frog, because I know what your idea of a great lilypad is. Isn't it bad enough having another birthday so soon?" But the spell was not to be waved away.

Sweet, misguided Zepp.

This old mock-Tudor mansion was drafty, especially up in this third-floor turret. It had been Alex's idea to add their aerie of a bedroom during the first phase of remodeling, but he hadn't realized how inadequate the cheapie brand of insulation would be. Slipping her feet into her marabou slides, she reached for Alex's brown velour bathrobe. Burying her nose in its collar, she sucked in his musky scent. She could hardly believe his "two weeks away to gain some perspective" had stretched out to seven and a half.

She doubled the robe's belt around her waist, shivering a little. Anything sprung on her without warning and utterly outside her control--such as this spell--usually made her teeth itch. Howsomever, Miranda was certain that Lynn Zepp wouldn't pull a trick like this unless the spell was intended to help, unsettling as the differences between her concept of "helpful" and Zepp's might be.

The intense aroma of bacon--with a suggestion of burning sugar, as in cinnamon toast--wafted up the turret's spiral staircase. Miranda sighed. She'd put on three pounds last week, yet she knew she'd offend her mother if she didn't eat a plateful. Cooking was Mim's passion and her current mission in life.

Mim--alias Mimetia McGaha, the "Divine Madam Mim," albeit retired--seldom practiced the Craft these days, at least not openly. Still, what Mim had learned over twenty-eight years she certainly hadn't forgotten in five. Miranda padded downstairs, confident that her mother would know what could be done about her impending ensorcelment.

As she emerged in the sunny morning room, her two orange Pomeranians rushed for her legs. She snatched up first Woofie, then his sister Amadée, and kissed each firmly on the head before setting them back down to compete for her attention. Deciding on the coy approach, she smiled at her mother. "Morning, Mamacita. Notice anything different about me?"

Mim looked up from behind the pastry island and smiled indulgently. The spot of flour on the end of her nose told Miranda that she'd been mixing up biscuits from scratch.

"Happy birthday, sweetie. Do you feel any effects from Lynn Elizabeth's magicwork yet?" Mim habitually called Zepp--along with everyone else--by first and middle names, despite Zepp's expressed preference for being called solely by her last name. Those who normally objected to this Southern-gothic practice made an exception for Mim. "She started raising power and sending a spell your way about forty minutes ago."

Miranda winced, for drama's sake. "And this didn't move you to come wake me--or, better yet, try to block the spell?"

*end of sample*
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    Christmas carols
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Little bookses on the hillside, all made of ticky-tacky

(That's an allusion to Malvina Reynolds' wonderful folksong LITTLE BOXES, as popularized by the great Pete Seeger.)

Books are getting ruined by being homogenized and made all alike. Authors are told that to make their work more commercial, they must write just like all the bestseller people. It ruins individual voices and makes reading boring. It's terrible when someone like ME finally stops liking to read (at least the new stuff).

Here's an eloquent post that says what I mean SO MUCH BETTER: http://gillpolack.livejournal.com/1223804.html
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Amazon reviewing can be a jungle--here are a few tips from someone knowledgeable!

I found these wonderful guidelines for Amazon reviews on Anne K. Allen's blog. She also gives helpful advice for those who are promoting books. What's not to like?

Summarizing a section of her advice:

Amazon reviews are guides to help other customers, not essays for the New Yorker. You don’t need to ask yourself, “Is this _War and Peace_?” A better question is, “does the book deliver as advertised?”

Here’s what an Amazon review isn’t:
• A school book report. It’s informal, so don’t worry about writing perfect prose or giving a complete synopsis of the book. Talk about the things you liked/disliked. Others will do the synopsis, and it isn't what readers need to know. (I {Shalanna} have given tips on writing reviews over on my Official Denise Weeks Author BlogSpot Blog.)
• A show-offy piece for the New Yorker. Don’t get your Pauline Kael snark on.
• All about your personal tastes. It’s not about you. Don’t give a cozy mystery a negative review because you personally prefer thrillers. Giving a bad review to a good book in a genre you don't particularly like isn't helpful to the reader.
• A critique to help the author “improve.” (If you think an author has made an error, it’s more useful to contact her through her blog or website than pan her book. Almost all authors are accessible to readers these days, and most of us would love to hear from you.)

Anything less than 4 stars means “NOT RECOMMENDED” to the AMAZON ALGORITHMS. 2 or 3 star reviews are going to hurt the author's sales, no matter how much you rave in the text. And you know what a 1-star does (pulls down the average, among other things.) I personally believe that until you've gotten a 1-star review, your reviews look like they're all from your friends . . . but that's not always bad.

Read the rest at Anne Allen's blog. Also see her post about the pitfalls of promotion, not including Penelope Pitstop (again I paraphrase!)

Thanks, Anne!
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Branding, or being a dual-boot author

Remember when you were eight and first read CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG by Ian Fleming? That was when I first read it, and I immediately marched over to the library (the low-tech book acquisition method in those days) to find more books by this wonderful author. Of course what I found were the James Bond books, completely different in every way except for the slightly tongue-in-cheek, twee, ironic tone that came across.

The librarian threw a wall-eyed fit upon discovering that I had been allowed to check out CASINO ROYALE, even though most of it went right over my head. Whenever I came across a word or concept I couldn't figure out, I simply BLEEPED over it and tried to press on, but the book seemed dumb to me at that age. I was sad that Fleming hadn't written any more "good" books about flying cars and tetched inventors.

Many authors can write in different genres and styles. Readers don't always appreciate both, and don't want to be misled about what they are getting. They want mysteries from J. D. Robb and romances from Nora Roberts, and that's that.

Thus was born BRANDING.

This is why I write my mysteries using my driver's license name of Denise Weeks, but continue to publish YA and fantasy novels as Shalanna Collins. Think of it as a Nabisco/Keebler divide. You can count on getting what you expect when you see the author's name on the spine.

Muse Harbor Publishing wanted me to have a separate Facebook presence for my APRIL, MAYBE JUNE series and other fantasy works. Thus I created Shalanna Collins Books to accompany the existing page Denise Weeks Books for my mysteries and literary/mainstream works.

This promotion stuff is a lot of work and takes up valuable time that could be spent writing, editing, polishing, or washing dishes. But it looks like my new publisher is knowledgeable and willing to help promote, which is exciting. Wow.
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The Friday Five for 4 October 2013...

Originally posted by ariestess at The Friday Five for 4 October 2013...
Computers!
  1. When did you/your family get your first computer?
  2. What type of computer was it?
  3. What were your favorite things to do on your first computer?
  4. When did you/your family first connect to the Internet?
  5. How did you spend time online when you first connected?
    (sic)


I cannot tell a lie. When I first told people (back in 1982) that I was buying a computer, they said, "WHAT would you need or want a computer for? To do your checkbook?"

No. I wanted it to play Zork and to mess around with coding in Pet Basic (later Applesoft) and (most of all) to call BBSes and CompuServe.

"Why would you want to type to people you've never met and don't even KNOW? What kind of WEIRDOS are out there on COMPUTERS?"

Yes, this was the general consensus in 1982. The IBM PC had *just* come out in 1981, the year I graduated from SMU, and the Apple ][ Plus cost around $2500 bare-bones, $4000-$6000.00 tricked out with an Applesoft card and perhaps one 5-1/4 floppy and crappy dot matrix printer. But I wanted to run a BBS myself, and therefore I applied to my employer's program for software engineers who wanted to buy a computer through the company, at a discount, through payroll deduction. Alas, the only computer that Rockwell Collins then offered was the Commodore PET. (I would have to wait another year before I could buy an Apple ][ Plus from a computer store that was going out of business.)

No one knew what a modem was or why I would want one. Again, it was thought of as "extremely WEIRD" for anyone to get online, whether it be on CompuServe (I was [70356,62] Shalanna) or on a local bulletin board system (BBS). Later, when Prodigy came along, a few more people understood the appeal of online services such as GEnie (available only after 6 PM!), but you could still count on very few people knowing what you were talking about.

I discovered a couple of really neat bulletin board systems that were local to me. One was Teledungeon, a system run by a professor at UT/Arlington and maintained by one of the prof's favorite students. On this board, people played Dungeons and Dragons (or some variation thereof) through leaving public messages and having the DM run rounds about every day or so. Yes, it was REALLY slow. No, it WAS fun. There was also a general topics board on which you could post questions about computers or games.

I asked a question about Zork II and got an answer from the guy who maintained the board. He had completed the entire game, and told me about several Easter eggs and tricks. Soon we were talking online about books and which courses he was taking in grad school. I remember one exchange about Dickens, to which I replied, "You are smart," and he replied, "I'm not smart--just well read."

Around Christmas time of 1982, I'd had my BBS running for a few months at home on a second phone line and my new Apple ][ Plus. My mother and grandmother just shook their heads at the idea that I would spend SO MUCH MONEY AND TIME in order to have Other People using my computer. At the time, most systems were dedicated either to messaging or to downloading (of various pieces of code that were supposedly freeware, usually). Mine was dedicated to writers and to another online D&D game. The guy from Arlington became a regular user of my board. He'd page me (you could "page" the sysop by pressing CTRL-G, which rang the system's bell!) when he got home from his night job as a computer operator, and I'd wake up and get online to "chat." Think of this as an early version of texting. It was an extremely slow way to communicate, but it felt like a new and different online world.

I suppose it was, after all. Eventually I threw a Christmas party for the users of my board, and when I opened the door to this guy, it was love at first sight. Well, at least *click* at first sight. We started dating and were soon engaged. People thought we were CRAZY for "meeting someone online." Now that meeting online is the norm for people who are dating, I can say that we were early adopters, ahead of our time.

When we married in 1984, I had gotten rid of the Commodore PET and we had two Apple ][ computers and one IBM clone. Our families joked that we had more computer equipment than kitchen stuff, and they were right. We both had jobs in software engineering by that time, and were insufferable about belonging to various computer enthusiast organizations and being online a lot.

Back then, digital cameras were only a gleam in someone's eye, and cell phones were still lunchbox-sized and relatively rare. I've had the privilege of watching everyone else adopt and become addicted to "that weird hobby of yours." Ha! Too bad I didn't make any money doing all of this. It was all hobbyist at first and very much a subculture. The first time I suggested to my boss at work (by this time I was at E-Systems) that we use an e-mail system that was installed on one of our mainframes to talk to other employees, he said, "Why? You're afraid to meet me face-to-face?" To him, it was a sign of some sort of weirdness to want to be able to drop him a note as a status report instead of standing in his office doorway reciting my weekly accomplishments and being judged on what I was wearing and how my voice shook. Now people can't get off their phones texting long enough to drive down the street.

Actually . . . wow.
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(Publishing) They're getting scared! We're gaining on them!

Well, once again the traditional/New York publishing houses have noticed that we're here and that we're not going away. They didn't act when e-publishing began to be taken seriously, and they ignored those of us who went the indie route, saying we weren't WORTHY and we were writing CRAP (even though they've been putting out crap that's cloned from crap for several years rather than championing new authors and fresh voices.) They scoffed at us, and for a while that was enough to keep many readers away.

But now that the Kindle and other e-readers rule the roost and CreateSpace/Lightning Source routes make it possible for authors to be published independently of the Machine (and when most publishing is controlled by a mega-corporation that sees books as interchangeable widgets and only wants to put out "more best-sellers" from the mold of the most recent hit), they're getting frantic. Yet another "of course they aren't REAL" statement comes out of the Huffington Prattle, I mean Post. (A glorified blog, IMHO. They have a larger readership, but ultimately they're just a blog like this one. Where are their "credentials" as far as being the all-knowing ones? Nowheresville, man.)

Their latest article, "Are Self-published Authors Really Authors?" is tarring us with the same old brush. It's "poisoning the well" of the usual stripe. This is coming from the traditional publishing houses, who have now followed the Hollywood formula to put out ONLY works they're sure will bring in money (even if they don't). Readers grow weary of seeing nothing on the shelves but clones of the Same Old Thing with nothing original about them and fan fiction with the serial numbers rubbed off (and sometimes not even that).

Their business model is failing, and they don't know what to do other than advance the usual ad hominem arguments. "If we didn't publish them, then they're not worthy of being published and read!" they cry, like the boyfriend who said, "You're not pretty and you're not good enough for me, and no one will ever love you!"

The remaining "Big Five" publishers have always mocked anyone who took an alternative route, although they were not above picking up books that caught on after the writer sold books out of his or her trunk and did all the promotion on his or her own dime. They sniff at us if we're not one of their anointed few, but maybe they're NOT the most perfect things in the world themselves. Who made them demigods and rulers over all print? The public "bowed to their wisdom" for years. Now that wisdom has failed. Look at the recording/music industry and how it has fragmented into vertical markets rather than having a nationwide Top Ten list of singles that "everybody" is listening to on every radio station. They weren't ready for change, and it overwhelmed them and passed them by. Readers will do what music fans did. We are ready for CHOICES.

Why isn't there room for both traditional publishing and Indie publishing? If a book is not going to appeal to the broadest swath of readers, that doesn't mean it isn't of literary value and of interest to its audience. Most works will find an audience. If someone wants to publish independently, that shouldn't make the "pros" nervous . . . unless the indie stuff is threatening their pocketbooks.

Authors were once completely at the mercy of the old ways--agents who took 15% just to keep you from being taken advantage of (but didn't always succeed), contracts that grabbed all electronic rights in perpetuity for free, book launches that didn't even reach bookstores before getting returned and pulped (and books that stayed on the shelves for six weeks at the most, getting no publicity and no push from the publishing house). Now authors have a choice. If they feel they can get the word out about their books, and they are confident the books are good and properly copyedited and ready for prime time, they now have an alternative route. Where's the threat in that? You said you didn't want it, buddy boy. Why should you be able to say that if YOU don't take us to prom, you will prevent us from going at all?

Billie Sue Mosiman writes, "Now we are free and with freedom comes chaos sometimes, but in the end I will want the freedom over being without choice."

Agree?