VIRTUALLY HERS came out Oct. 2009. Get it at SAMHAIN Publishing. VIRTUALLY ONE coming soon.

I've also made available at Amazon BIG BAD WOLF a COS Commando book, an earlier manuscript about Killian Nicholas Langley. You can sample the first five chapters right here. EBOOK now available for KINDLE, NOOK, and at SMASHWORDS for $4.99.

I appreciate all your emails. If you'd like to buy Virtually His NEW, please contact me. Thank you.


Big Bad Wolf Author's Note/CH. 1

Big Bad Wolf CH. 2

Big Bad Wolf Ch. 3

(more chapters on left side bar below)

To read excerpts of VIRTUALLY HERS, scroll down & click on the links on the right.



VIRTUALLY HERS OUT IN PRINT AUG 2010! Discounted at Amazon!

To read & comment on the poll (left column), click HERE. Thank you for all the wonderful posts there!



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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Figure Skating The Romance Writers Of Sports Pt 2

Here's another example of these "reporters" who are so bored and unhappy at having been assigned the Olympics. From SALON's wrap-up:

A sportswriter friend of mine is in Vancouver. He is not particularly happy about this. He would, no joke, rather be back home covering the NJ Nets in their deathless struggle to get to six wins. Yesterday morning sent me an e-mail. He was watching Elena Glebova of Estonia do her long program and needed to share.

"She just fell on her ass. I laughed out loud and 6,000 people tut-tutted me." (The fall is 3:20 into this clip.)

Another journalist friend quipped back.

"In my vast past experience covering Olympic women's figure skating finals (too many), I always found that the most fun is to be had shouting "Down goes Frazier!" every time another ass hits the ice."

When I read that, I spit orange juice through my nose.

Oh yeah, so darn funny to watch athletes fall. He did mention all the other falls by skiers and speedskaters, as well as crashes by bobsleders, but I guess it's funnier when the athlete wears sparkly clothes and fall executing their twists and turns to music. It's the music, isn't it?

So, of course I have to compose a letter. I've grown so tired of figure skating and my love of it being slammed by these snickering sports writers. I titled it

The next time you're assigned to go to the Olympics, just send me in your place and I'll take away your misery. You can stay home and play with stupid video games all your geeky mind can take.

I know I'll definitely enjoy all the events so much more than you and can present a nice critique of the ladies figure skating without laughing if any of them fall. It was, after all, the best ever flight of final six with a woman who achieved 3 triple axels in this competition, and all you could muster was a tired old snicker. Stay home. Give me your job. You deserve to just thumb through your ESPN channel.

Yes, I've been on a warpath about this. But enough with the snide remarks already. When you dare to strap on some blades and do a quad out there on the ice or be thrown by your partner and expected to land on one blade, without protective helmets and aero-dynamic suits, then you've earned the right to snicker. Butthead.

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Figure Skating The Romance Writers Of Sports

Having read many news and web articles on the Olympic figure skating competition these past two weeks, I've come to a conclusion, one that had never occurred to me. //smack on the head// I should have noticed it before--like years before--but maybe because I was so totally enamored with all things Michelle Kwan back then to really care what those writers say about figure skating in particular.

It just suddenly struck me, from the tone of many of the sports writers sent to cover figure skating, that they treat this sport the way many reporters sent to a romance writing conference treat romance writers and their work. Whenever I read a regular news article about a romance convention, or the romance genre, or a romance author, there is always that snide undertone that these aren't really books and that the writing isn't "real" writing. 'Purple prose' and 'bodice ripper' are two terms always brought up as something to giggle over. The fact that these books make money is more a condemnation of the readers' lack of ability to know "real" art/books.

Likewise with figure skating commentary in the written news world. There was an article that unapologetically announced that, since there is dancing involved, ice-dancing isn't a sport. Never mind that these athletes basically strapped blades onto their feet and go out on the ice and do immensely difficult athletic moves and yet stay in time to music, the fact that it's to music and that there are dance steps involved made this not a sport to that writer.

Then there are eleventy hundred articles on the make-up, costume, and the hairstyles. Yes, these elements are part of figure skating, as happy endings are part of a romance. The sports people hate it that there is a sport that is also judged for 'artistic' impression. Just as there are many people who sneer at romance writers and books, there are many who make fun of figure skaters.

This past weekend, the French commentators spent more time joking about Johnny Weir's costumes and sexuality than actually analyzing his programs during the competition. I cannot tell you the hundreds of similar echoes when I read an article about romance books; instead of looking at the genre in an informative way, I find jokes about an author's sex life, or how all the covers look the same, or how plagiarism is okay because it's just a romance book. Never mind that Johnny Weir the athlete or Mary Love the writer has spent years practicing and perfecting what they do.

Lastly, just as the romance genre, figure skating is actually the bestseller with the populace. People tune in to watch figure skating because they enjoy it, and yeah, like romance, it is condemned because of its entertainment value. No matter how many times the prowess of the skaters are brought up--three triple axels by a woman; the speed leading to the jumps; the hundreds of hours practiced side-by-side coordinated twizzles--there will always be those half-a-dozen inane reporters who feel the need to cheaply poke fun of the sparkly dresses and the diva melodrama.

Looking down at figure skating doesn't make it not a "real" sport. Just as dismissing the romance genre doesn't mean the writers aren't "real" writers. I think the sports people and "serious" academes feel threatened that their circle has been invaded by these upstart athletes and writers who can combine power and teh pretty to capture the masses, and actually become more popular than them.

All that glitter and prettiness don't hide the love of the sport and the art. The figure skater spend hours powering twists and turns through the air just as any gymnast does. The romance writer spend hours creating scenes to knit together their 100,000 word stories. We just have more personality, that's all.

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Thursday, February 25, 2010


Factoid #1

Remember my post on How To Become An Uber Male Virgin? In it, I found three famous but deceased male virgins through Google and a very interesting article about a group of women who have chosen to be "males" in their society. I also lamented that there weren't any male virgins alive to be found (tongue-in-cheek), not on Google, anyway.

Well. Not any more. A male virgin has bravely commented on that post and proclaimed himself the oldest virgin. However, I don't know him (his profile wasn't shared) and wished he would write a longer comment. So, Daniel, do speak to us again!

Factoid #2

If you're interested in how much a NYT Bestselling author makes and what her royalty sheets look like, multi-published author Lynn Viehl has generously shared this information with readers. Like the uber male virgin article, Ms. Viehl's revelation isn't what you think.

Also, I want to add that making the NYT and USAToday lists is all about timing. An author might sell 100,000 copies of her book and still doesn't make the big lists. On the other hand, an author's book sales might bomb and still get to boast "NYT Bestselling author" on their next book jacket. How so? Basically by the fact that the Big Lists look at sales numbers from the first two weeks, and nothing after. That's why authors are always begging their readers to not buy their coming books till the street date; the numbers game is very, very important for their next book negotiation.

Other factors are weighed too, of course, but we're just taking a glimpse at the NYT and USAToday promise of fame and fortune.

Factoid #3

Squirrels are evil dog tormentors. If you have never seen a squirrel hanging upside down on a branch and giving your dogs the finger while eating some nuts, driving your canine friends frantic and causing the Homeowners Association Bitches (HOABit TM) in your neighborhood to start typing a complaint, then you obviously have not met Squirrelisis Sciurus Floridameanies.

Factoid #4

No, I'm not afraid of driving my Lexus (Toyota) ;-).

So, do you have any factoids for me today?

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Multitasking Grief

For me, grief changes colors as I grow older. The raw pain when grief hits is dark blood. The muted numbness is more Persian blue, like the ocean at midnight.

Grief, they say, has many stages. I'd like to add that the stages is not all the same. Sometimes the pain hits last, after the shock has receded. Sometimes, it's like white noise, always at the edge of consciousness.

It's been a very fast two days since I returned home from my DC trip. In that time, I haven't had much time to actually deal with my feelings. I know I'm hurting but it seemed I spent more time comforting my dogsitter who was very upset and the girls at the vet, who adored Mira.

In today's non-stop whirlwind of living, I've found that I even multitask my grief. Since coming home, I've been catching up with email and job chores, taking the other Old Lady to the vet because of a worrisome cough, trying to find out delays with certain job projects, running around doing all the things I have to do, and for a few minutes in between, I'd think of Mira and I grief. Then I pick up the phone and call the insurance agent about some missing papers. Then I hear the coughing in the background and stress out because any changes in kidney doggies could be bad. And then I'd think of Mira again and the back of my eyes would start hurting.

The hardest parts of the day are the simplest chores. I've to cook for my furbabies because the Old Ladies are on a special diet. The first time, I forgot and I cooked too much. When I handed out the snacks, I automatically counted the usual before putting back one. When I let them out, I'm looking for the missing one because she's always trying to hide behind the bushes. Not yesterday. Not today. I had to remind myself that she isn't there any more.

Perhaps it's the non-closure of it. I didn't get to say goodbye and even though I know Mira's gone, my heart won't believe my head. And it aches watching Temper look for her sister because they share the back porch room together. I'm thinking of getting her a companion because being a kidney dog, she can't stay inside with Jiggle Low and Lilah without supervision. And then I'd grief a little for Mira again while planning different ways to distract her grieving sister, who wouldn't eat today.

The color of my grief at this moment is like a load of laundry that had been stained by a item discoloring during the wash. The sock is still a sock, but it's a weird bluish red; the favorite teeshirt is still my comfy shirt, but it's blotchy. I look at them and am reminded of what I've forgotten to do--sort out that one dark item.

That's what multitasking grief can do to your psyche. Everything appears normal but there is something happening, discoloring and acting as a reminder.

I didn't want to write this blog entry. Grief is mostly a private thing, and open grieving can be very uncomfortable for many who come to this blog for entertainment. But you know what? This blog is my private space, in a way; I come here to be me. Writing demands absolute attention; there is no multitasking in writing, especially when it's personal.

Tomorrow it's back to whirlwind and worry, but for now, I'll take this time to let my heart properly say goodbye to Mira, the once-upon-a-time little thing that the vet told me "if she were alive in the morning, it'd be a miracle." Not only did she survive that night with me, she went on to live for another 13 1/2 years, always feisty and funny, and surviving two heart attacks and pyometra in her old age. She was absolutely my Miracle Girl.

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Eulogy To My Miracle Girl

Mira (left) and Temper (right), both of whom love to mug for the camera

Thank you, everyone, for all the outpouring of love and condolences today. I'm feeling a little numb but I'm doing okay. You know I go through this at a lot more these past few years what with the original six being up there in years. Their father had been with me since I started roofing! And Mira Girl, as I called her, was special because she wasn't supposed to make it as a baby and I nursed her all night by rubbing her nose and chest with wintergreen. That was over 13 years ago, and yeah, she lived up to her name.

I'd like to share a "reworked" poem sent by another reader to comfort me.

by Carla Baker

God promised at the birth of time,
A special friend to give,
His time on earth is short, he said,
So love him while he lives.

It may be six or seven years
Or twelve or then sixteen.
But will you, till I call him back,
Take care of him for me?

A wagging tail and cold wet nose
And silken velvet ears,
A heart as big as all outdoors,
To love you through the years.

His puppy ways will gladden you
and antics bring a smile,
as guardian or friend he will,
be loyal all the while.

He'll bring his charms to grace your life
And though his stay be brief,
When he's gone the memories
Are solace for your grief.

I cannot promise he will stay
Since all from earth return,
But lessons only dogs can teach
I want you each to learn.

Follow his lead and gain a life
Brim full of simple pleasure,
Whatever love you give to him,
Returns in triple measure.

Enjoy each day as it comes,
Allow your heart to guide,
Be loyal and steadfast in love
As the dog-child at your side.

Now will you give him all your love,
Nor think the labor vain,
Nor hate me when I come to call
To take him back again.

I fancy each of us would say,
"Dear Lord, thy will be done,
For all the joy this dog shall bring,
The risk of grief we'll run.

"We'll shelter him with tenderness,
We'll love him while we may,
And for the happiness we've known,
Forever grateful stay.

"But shall the angels call for him
Much sooner than we've planned,
We'll brave the bitter grief that comes,
And try to understand."


My dogsitter was kind enough to bring the last remaining sibling, Temper, to see her sister so that she won't wonder about her partner-in-crime. She told me Temper went and sniffed Mira and gave her a final kiss on the nose. I'd probably have bawled my eyes out if I were there.

My Chinese New Year celebration ended on a sombre note. Family get-togethers and family parting-of-ways. But that's what life is all about, isn't it?

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Family Too

I really need to set up a web cam system in my house. I get so worried about my furbabies when I'm away these days because of the two Grand Dames. This morning my dogsitter called and told me Mira wasn't breathing right and I wish I was able to switch my puter on and quickly look at her to see for myself, you know? Anyway, she's at the emergency clinic and I'm walking around here pretending to pay attention to what everyone's talking about while my mind is on my furbaby.

My family, being Chinese, has never been into pets. Not the same way we do here, anyway. So, their understanding of our emotional ties to our furbabies is almost nil. I remember when my first dog died, I cried my eyes out, and my parents thought I was crazy.

So, needless to say, my sisters here aren't treating the situation the same way I do, because you know, that's just a dog being sick, not a kid. I obviously don't see it that way ;-P.

Anyway, I'm hoping that Mira will get better. She's 13 and is an obstinate old lady. Can't wait to be home so I can have her in my arms. Some good healing vibes and prayers, if you can spare some, please!

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Saturday, February 20, 2010


Now I know why I live alone--it's hard to write when your sisters are chatting with you and yelling at their kids and your brother is busy playing with the other "boys" on the living room floor. So...very little writing is getting done.

The view from my sister's back windows is absolutely gorgeous--snow-covered trees, with still unmelted snow that look soft and fresh. I just love the stuff when I'm inside a warm building ;). I'm glad I postponed my trip last week; my other sis, who flew in from Malaysia, is still complaining about being forced to shovel snow on her first day here, heh. The driveway to the house slopes downhill because the garage is in the back. It would NOT have been fun shoveling those 40 feet!

We're going to try to catch a lion's dance in Chinatown this weekend. It'll be my first in years, so I'm looking forward to it. I've missed celebrating Chinese New Year, Chinese-style, with my family--the cooking, the special cakes, all the kids running around in their new brightly-colored clothes. It's all so fun, till we siblings start quarreling ;-).

It's also amusing watching my sister's reaction to American stuff. Imagine her expression as she kept changing channels during Tiger Wood's fifteen minute public apology, only to find that he was on EVERY FREAKING channel. She couldn't understand why that merited all the networks' live TV time. I couldn't agree more. I couldn't give any explanation as we all sat there, riveted to the TV, because really, there is nothing more important in the world than Tiger Woods apologizing about his sexual antics. //sarcasm

Did you know the I-Phone costs about US$800 in Malaysia? //bugged eyes My sis loves her I-Phone--you can write Chinese using a special app. and it can translate the word! Very cool. But uh, no thanks for $800. Yikes.

Also, mine must be the only family where the Big Sis (me) is asked to caulk the leaky windows and check the condition of the roof. The "little" bro is not going anywhere near the ladder. Fair exchange--they all get to feed me delicious food, except one specialty. One of the Low specialty is "kaya," a coconut spread that we like to use on food and pastries, and I'm the only sis who gets the consistency right. So tomorrow, I might make a big batch.

And oh...someone booked an all-sis makeover outing. I'm being dragged along. I can imagine the pandemonium at the salon. I pity the aesthetician.

So you see how there is very little writing time?!

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Blame The Good Book!

I'm in D.C. with my sisters. Four sisters and one brother in one house. With spouses and kids. Snow outside. Oh boy. I think I'd better start buiding my secret stash of snowballs.

I almost didn't make it out of Daytona today! There I was, with an hour fifteen minutes to kill, so I pulled out Ava Gray's SKIN GAME and started reading. The story is about a grifter heroine and an assassin sent to kill her. You're damn right that's a Big Conflict right there.

So there I was, happily reading the beginning of a long con, enjoying the sexual tension between the two newly-met characters, and...and...a tap on the shoulder. I looked up, dazed.

"Excuse me, Miss, are you going on Flight ****?"

I nodded. "Yes."

"Umm. Everyone's boarded and we're closing the plane door in one minute, Miss."



But I just started reading! I looked at the book and realized that I had absorbed quite a number of pages already. I mumbled some apolog, picked up my carry-on, and rushed into the plane. So much for congratulating myself about being early and having plenty of time.

So, anyway, I arrived safe and sound. My sister is already threatening to bury me in that mount of snow in her backyard. Everyone's talking all at once. Me, I'm going curl up in the corner and read a few more pages of Skin Game.

What good book have you read lately? Do you get as lost in it as I do?

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Olympic Gold Medal

Bet you're glued to the box watching the Winter Olympics ;-). Even I'm watching some figure skating, can you believe it? That's because I'm a die-hard fan of Shen and Zhao, the pairs who are in their 30s (!), trying to get their gold medal. These two already won two bronzes in the past Olympics but nope, they want the gold.

Their performance in the short program was so phenomenal, I don't see how they won't get their wish this time.

I thought the drive/need/desire whatchamacallit for that gold medal is so strong, I'd take a look at the artists and people who designed the Toronto Olympic medals. The 2010 medal definitely looks so awesome I want one myself. Wish there was a competition for shooting with nailguns....

Shen and Zhao's topnotch return also gives me hope for Michelle's comeback. Heh heh heh. Like Boston Legal's Denny Crane once said so wisely, "Hope springs a kernel."

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Post #2: Signing!

I have a signing tomorrow with wonderful authors Dara Edmondson, Louise M. Gouge, Catherine Kean, and Michelle Young at

600 Orlando Ave,
Winter Park, Fl.

from 2-4pm. You have to come! I'm giving away Big Bad Wolf as a Buy One Get One free promo. And other surprises. YOU MUST COME TO SIGNING! It's Valentine's Day on Sunday and you need to shop anyway :).

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"It's cold in my tent, all alone..."


Is this what your boy is doing with his X-Box?

This is the first time I've ever looked closely at an X-Box fantasy game. My mind boggles.

And now the inevitable--warrior/elf sexxoring!

If you follow the scenes, there are even girl-on-girl action, threesomes, and nekkid demon sex. DO YOU KNOW WHAT your boys are doing in their rooms?!!!

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Coming Up: New Year & Valentine's

Did you know that Valentine's Day and Chinese New Year fall on the same day this year? Perfect! :D

I'm planning to spend next week with my siblings and maybe have a traditional Chinese New Year meal. Some of the dishes:

Noodles for long life (don't cut them)
Whole chicken for wholeness and prosperity
Eight Precious Pudding for fortune
Fish for abundance through the year

and of course, Neen Gow, the traditional New Year sticky cake that defies description. Its main ingredient is glutinous rice flour, which signifies unity and cohesiveness. Like most trad. Chinese goodies, it's steamed over a very hot fire. My mom used to make the best Neen Gow and Joong (wrapped glutinous rice with pork filling); I remember staying up late at night with her as she tends to the fire.

Neen Gow is very sweet and can't be eaten at one sitting. It's soft and sticky sweet when it first comes off the steam wok, and then itll hardened into a rock-like cake. I know of friends who store them in the fridge for months.

I like it best when fried. Slice hardened Neen Gow, then just fried the pieces. Crunchy on the outside, sweet and gooey on the inside. Just yummy.

Anyway, CNY always makes me nostalgic about the foods my mom used to make. It's one of those things that are slowly disappearing back in Malaysia because people aren't cooking that much any more or they buy the factory-made foods that aren't really steamed. Trust me, you can taste the difference.

I'm looking forward to see what my sis is feeding me. What? You think I'm cooking? Bwahaha.

Here's a funny Valentine video to show your Dear Man. Tell him not to surprise you THIS WAY:

Unless, of course, his body looks like Hugh Jackman's :D.

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Monday, February 08, 2010

VIRTUALLY HERS In People's Choice Sammie Awards

Hey, Virtually Hers is up for three categories for the 2009 People's Choice Sammie Award!

1) Favorite hero in e-book
2) Favorite heroine in e-book
3) Favorite cover in e-book

Jed and Hell sitting in a tree ;-). Thank you, readers, for choosing these two.

Now click on the link and vote for your Favorite electronic and print books for 2009!

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Friday, February 05, 2010

Post #2: Sneak Peek At Another Steve McMillan

Speaking of MacMillan, I thought I'd introduce you to my boy Steve "Cat" McMillan, one of those darn McMillan boys that run rampant in my books.

Here are a couple of pages, something to whet your appetite. I'll be working on this to sell to New York publishers once I wrap up Virtually Hers for Samhain. I'll also be working on a proposal for Samhain too!

Here you go. The hero's actually nicknamed Catch because he's damn hard to catch, but the heroine calls him Cat for a lot of other reasons that will be revealed in the story. Let me know what you think:


Tentatively titled: Caught Fire

Steve knew he was fucked. And not in a good way.

Dangling 200 feet above ground next to a rocky cliff with a malfunctioning snap hook wasn’t exactly disastrous, but it was definitely going to cost him time. And he didn’t have much to spare, not with the kind of people coming after him.

The snap hook was supposed to easily swivel open to attach to the middle of his harness. Without the ability to do so, he would have to climb up manually. He could. If there were daylight. But in this semi-darkness, even if he could, it’d be painfully slow. His tiny flashlight he’d used to locate the waiting hook was definitely not going to be a big help.

He tugged at the obstinately shut hook again and cussed softly. He had to be careful not to pull too hard or his own rope would start swinging and twisting and that would be a disaster. The last thing he needed was to be spinning helplessly in mid-air and needing to call in help. That was an automatic deduction of points.

“Come on, you rotten piece of shit. You can’t do this to me now. Come on, open for me.”

His verbal and manual coaxing didn’t work. The damn thing refused to open. Steve sighed and began to reach for the pick hooked to his back gear.

A rustle below him caught his attention. He turned his head to squint across the darkness. A narrow shaft of light flowed across the small chasm, caught him for a moment, then traveled to upwards, looking for its target. Each hook was individualized by a neon color with the same color flag attached a foot above it. His was green. The light took note of his and then moved on to his right. He almost groaned when he saw the color of the hook the light stopped at. Orange. Shit. Please. Not—

“Well, well,” a soft female voice traveled across the velvety night as the flashlight returned to him. “If it isn’t Cat McMillan in my sights. Why aren’t you moving up, honey? Taking a breather from all that running?”

—her. Steve closed his eyes for a second. Of course it would be her. Talk about being fucked. A woman on a mission to beat him on a bet. She was out to get him tonight for sure. He heard the distinct twap of the other rappel line as the operative slid down from the ledge across from him. She would then be ten feet away and he was easy prey. He was so, so fucked.

All he could do was try to avoid being tagged. That was the rule. Once tagged, the runner had to stay as still as he could while his “captor” searched him. He had been tagged once so far, but Charlie was quick and efficient because he knew there were others coming behind him. His mistake was to choose a verbal delay in his hurry to outrun those on his ass and Steve had sat out the mandatory half hour punishment. A half-hour could be disastrous but not when there was so much course left to run. He’d caught up with Charlie a few hours later and returned the tag.

He’d been the leader since, using the coming evening and darkness for cover. Now and then he’d wondered where she was, half hoping she’d given up. She wasn’t a quick runner and the terrain was rough at night, testing both endurance and experience. Sure, she was a hell of an operative but he knew her limits.

He grinned. She was more quick thought and action than roughing it in the wild. His one fond memory of how they met in Kabul came back like a favorite movie. He was on the run in the crowded bazaar, trying to lose certain hostiles out for his blood, when suddenly a boy on a bicycle appeared out of nowhere and, in the melee of rushing runners, knocked a load of melons in the path of his pursuers, thus giving him precious minutes to escape. Later that evening, he’d discovered how his young rescuer was actually a cute female, this time in mouth-watering tight jeans and tank top.

Evangelina Cox, known as the Angel, was part of a specialized Spec. Ops team trained on rescue and retrieval. Smart and sassy, and boy, did they hit it off. But everything had to be her way all the time and Steve was determined to have the last say in some matters.

A figure touched off against the rocky cliff a few feet from him, swung back gently. He heard the snap of the slide hook, releasing its operator. Another click and snap. He frowned bad-temperedly in the dark. Her equipment wouldn’t malfunction, of course.

“So damn quiet,” she chided.

*********That's it for now ;-)*************

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MacMillan vs Amazon Pt 3: Fallout

It's Friday and yeah, of course I'm running late for work.

I was wondering: do you read less blogs now that you're twittering and Facebooking? Do you find that you write fewer posts?

I mean, everyone is twittering with their phones in 140 words or less everything they're doing at all hours of the day--standing in line, stuck in traffic, checking out people while shopping, in the theatre while watching the freaking movie!--so by the time one gets to blogging, thre is obviously nothing left to say. Is there?

I don't twitter or Facebook as much as my friends because of my work, but yeah, I "talk" a lot while watching TV shows because it's fun to comment about the scene along with a million other people. Now I'm wondering that this could mean the end of live-blogging of the NOSCARS (Nascar & Oscars) for this blog because who would be reading my musings when thousands would be online doing their live tweets about the show?

Things change, yes?

Yet things remain the same because we're still watching TV, only differently. We're still hooked to that remote.

So, to make a quick and not-so-deep comparison, things are changing in the publishing world but they are still the same and will be the same for as long as we love reading. There are flame wars being fanned by many online that seem to thing the end is near, that nobody is going to be able to afford to read anymore due to the price of ebook hiking.

MOST ebooks are still cheaply priced. Samhain ebooks are still affordably under $9. And, if you go to many of the publishers' sites, they're giving away bundles of ebooks for free to promote their authors, as well as selling backlists quite cheaply too.

I'm not saying $12.99 or $15.99 is a good price for ebooks. Not at all. I don't think it's sustainable, but the PTB at big publishing companies want to save their hardcovers and the brick-and-mortar booksellers from dying. Because you know, less brick-and-mortar, more likely big publishing company may go under. Already, Borders is in deep doo-doo, and if it goes, one less place for us booklovers from which to puchase our books.

I also don't believe in dumping, the act of artificially setting a low price for a period of time to kill off competition. Walmart, I'm looking at you. If you aren't aware of how dumping works, just look at the disappearance of all the small businesses around town, or just google about Walmart dumping and try to figure out why there are always demonstrations from locals fighting a new Walmart from being built.

Yes, yes, yes, the convenience of shopping and the cheap pricing are always the argument brought forth by shoppers. I have nothing against that. I shop at Walmart too. But you have to admit that many of us have lost the choice of not shopping there. Besides going to the big malls or a shopping center, there are just no more local shops, who might have offered better and certainly, in many cases, more superior products.

So, meanwhile, as the publishing world turns, just as when the One-Stop-Shopping Box turns, certain elements suffer. In the One-Stop Shopping Box example, small businesses had to adjust, change, or go out of business. It's a slow process. Some became good at adapting their prices, even became niche markets. So that could be what the publishers have to go through before things settle down in the book world.

And things will. Prices might go higher, but that don't mean MacMillan wouldn't take them down. They're all about profit and if their decisions don't make them money, they'll rethink their strategy. No matter what, you will see many changes, some of no interest to many of you, dealing with insiders like agents, authors, and other industry players.

Meanwhile, reading will continue. Can I also add that borrowing from the library is a good thing, so stop making those threats. Libraries need our support too.

As of writing, authors writing under the MacMillan umbrellas are still unable to find their books for sale through Amazon. So that war is still going on. If you would like to hear how this affects their sales, here is an interview of Tor authors at Bloggasm:

Tor Authors Express Worry

Hopefully, not too many authors will be put out of business because of this, especially those with debut books whose numbers will be affected. God knows how I understand what numbers affected by Walmart not selling/distributing a book could do to a career. God, do I understand.

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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Amazon vs MacMillan pt 2, or, Authors: What About Us?

As of this writing, Amazon hasn't re-activated the BUY button to many of the MacMillan books, physical or ebook versions. I'm not a MacMillan author (which covers Tor, St. Martins, many others) but many of my friends are. John Scalzi says it best on his blog today, A Call For Author Support, that it isn't just about big corporations. There are authors whose livelihood have been affected by this tug-of-war.

Remember there’s more to bookselling than Amazon. Offline there are brick and mortar bookstores — go visit one. They like visitors. Tell them I sent you. Online there is Barnes and Noble. There’s Powell’s. IndieBound will hook you up. Specialty bookstores have their own web sites. You can often buy books online from the publishers themselves. Hell, even sells books.

Yes, yes. I know, you know Amazon isn’t the only place to buy books online. But that doesn’t mean you use those other places. I had a friend who used Barnes & Noble’s web site for the very first time in a decade today, because, as it happens, Amazon wouldn’t let him buy a book. He was pleased to discover B&N let him use PayPal. Good for him. The point is, he didn’t let a balky retailer keep him from getting a book he wanted. I suspect too many people do just that; they get used to going to that one place online and forgetting there are any other options.

I know most readers who want a book will know how to get that paticular book, on or offline, but there are so many people who are so focused on this Amazon-MacMillan thing right now, yelling at each other about prices and rights and ebooks and whatnot, that I feel the need to help my author-friends who are trying to reach readers LOOKING FOR THEIR BOOKS. Maybe even readers who are unaware about what's happening.

Man, it's like a war zone out there. I read posts telling authors they are stupid to side with MacMillan, while others want to boycott Amazon, and yet others threaten to forever buy MacMillan books second-hand or pirate its authors. No matter what, the losers are still the authors because readers looking for their books can't buy them, and you know how clicking off a page could be a lost sale.

There are so many conspiracies being bandied about, I think we need Jack Bauer to save the publishing world. ;-P

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Send My Publisher A Nudge