What I’m thankful for: The 2014 Edition #self-publishing #courtland

MjAxMi01NTVhNzkzMjBhMzkyYTVj It’s actually the day before Thanksgiving – Thanksgiving Eve? – as I write this, in between watching the extended edition of The Hobbit and petting my cat. While drinking tea in my pajamas.

So, what am I thankful for? It’s pretty obvious. I have the best job in the world. I write what I want. I set my own schedule. And, amazingly, people actually like what I write. They like my work so much, they helped me get my Icon Men books back from Ellora’s Cave.

Writing is a solitary occupation, which I don’t mind most of the time. But when the sun goes away for weeks, and the gloom outside invades my mind, it’s easy to forget that I’m not in this alone.

Keeping busy usually helps – another thing I’m thankful for. 2014 marked my most productive year ever, with ten books released. Well, nine to date – the new Courtland book is #10.

Next year I’m hitting the ground running. I’ve got Tap Out coming from Samhain at the beginning of January. I’ll be adding another 10-20K to The Only One Who Cares and releasing it as a full-length novel. There’ll be another Courtland book, possibly two. And the tattoo artist/porn star book Lori Witt and I are still working on. And a road trip story I’m kicking around.

That’s the thing I’m most thankful for – I get to do work that I love. Work that frustrates me too, especially when my characters insist on doing stuff I didn’t plan for. But when the characters start talking, that’s when you know you’ve got something good.

Oops! Bilal and Seth are calling me now. Back to work editing A Year in the Life! Mark your calendars for December 15th. :)

Courtland #cover #reveal, plus an announcement! #self-publishing #blog #tour

AYearInTheLifeLook what landed in my inbox today! Get ready, Courtland fans – the new novel’s coming December 15th!

And, of course, the new Icon Men boxed set’s coming this Tuesday. If you donated to my GoFundMe campaign, your copies will be arriving on release day. (Sorry, I can’t take the chance of someone putting it up on pirate sites before it’s even available to the public. Don’t laugh – this has happened to me more than once.) If you didn’t donate, and/or you have no idea what the Icon Men series is about…

Think rent boys, drag queens and a hot blues guitarist, and you’ve got it in a nutshell. :)

I won’t be doing a blog tour this time, for either the Icon Men or the new Courtland book. I started doing them back when hardly anyone was doing them. But now they clutter up my tweetstream and Facebook feed – and I scroll right past them. Judging by the poor response I’ve received on my last two or three blog tours, I suspect most people are doing the same with mine. Readers I already know hardly ever show up now, unless I’m giving away an expensive prize, and the rest are only there for the prize.

Just between you and me – I resent doing giveaways for people who have no interest in me or my work. It smacks of bribery and desperation, and frankly, it takes too much time away from my writing. Everyone says the best advertisement for your backlist is a new book, so that’s what I’m concentrating on. Counting the Icon Men set and the new Courtland book, I’ve released ten books this year – a new record for me. Next year I’m doing my best to break it.

Let’s see… once I put the new Courtland book to bed, I’ve got the tattoo artist/porn star book to finish and my Unconditional Surrender novella to expand into a full-length novel. (More Josh and David! Yay!) Then there’s another Courtland book to start, and that road trip story I’ve been kicking around and that dystopian/post-apocalyptic story and maybe even a third Courtland book…

I’m gonna be busy for a while. :)

In the meantime, watch this space for further announcements, or follow me on Twitter and Facebook. Or subscribe to my newsletter. (Don’t worry – I don’t send them out very often!)

And now, back to work. :)

New Icon Men box set, coming next week! #ellorascave #rights #reverted

IconMen_1400I’m putting the finishing touches on the final copy of my brand-new Icon Men box set. I’m delighted  to have these books back, so I can present them to the world in a form I’m proud of. These characters – Cameron, Trevor, Mike, Ryan, Chase and Brian – are all very near and dear to my heart. I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed spending time with them. :)

Icon Men — all three books in Cat Grant’s EPIC Award-winning series, available together for the first time in this special edition boxed set. Set in the glittery world of Manhattan nightlife, the men who work at the Icon Bar share friendships, family, laughter and heartache.

The First Real Thing

Cameron is the most sought-after escort in New York. He has only rule: never let anyone in. But when he picks up ad man Trevor Barclay in a hotel bar, Trev’s shy smile and soft green eyes have Cameron forgetting all the rules. Their steamy encounters leave Cameron shaken, breathless – and falling in love for the first time in his life. But how can he tell Trevor the first man he’s been with in sixteen years sells himself for a living?

Appearing Nightly

Diva Michelle is the hottest drag act in the Manhattan bar scene. But behind the diva is Mike, a lonely man nursing a crush on the Icon’s hot new employee. Ryan’s not just another pretty face – the skittish, fearful young man’s holding back secrets. He may find comfort in Mike’s bed, but he’s not sure if he can trust Mike with the pain of his past.

A Fool for You

Brian Barclay is trying to make it in the New York music scene, but he doesn’t count on his boyfriend Kit stealing all the songs they wrote together. Kicked out of his own band, Brian has no choice but to ask his estranged father Trevor and his partner Cameron for help. Brian and Cameron quickly clash – Brian still blames him for his parents’ divorce – and when tensions at home escalate, Brian finds himself leaning on sexy blues guitarist Chase Aubrey. Chase and Brian make beautiful music onstage and off, but when Chase’s past threatens their newfound happiness, Brian fears he’s about to be played for a fool yet again.

Available Tuesday, November 25th, 2014 at:

AmazonNook - iTunesKoboAll Romance ebooks

 

 

A #sale! A sale! #military #marine #romance #mm

OnceAMarine_500For once, a blog post that’s not about Ellora’s Cave!

Okay, I know I’m a little late for Veteran’s Day – I’ve been up to my neck in edits this week – but better late than never, especially when there’s a sale!

From now until next Monday, November 17th, Once a Marine will be 50% off at all venues!

Separated from service under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, former Marine major Cole Hammond is trying to reinvent himself, but twelve years in the corps – and near-crippling PTSD – makes reintegration into civilian life hard. Add in poor law school grades and his homophobic ex-Marine father’s rejection, and Cole’s nearly at the end of his rope.

That is, until he meets Marc Sullivan, waiter by day, romance writer by night. Marc’s always had a thing for guys in uniform, so when Cole walks into the diner one rainy afternoon, his sweet, sexy smile and Carolina drawl pull Marc in like a magnet. But Marc’s been down this road with hot Marines before, and it always leads to heartbreak.

With Marc’s help, Cole seeks therapy for his PTSD, and a happy life together no longer seems impossible. But if they can’t conquer their fears – Cole’s fear of coming out, Marc’s fear of being abandoned – love might not be enough to save them.

Amazon / Nook / ARe / Kobo / iTunes

 

It’s all over but the screaming… #ellorascave #problems #royalties #rights

if-i-cant-take-my-book-im-not-going-a0b56Look what just landed in my inbox…

In consideration of your payment to Ellora’s Cave Publishing of US$2000, effective November 24, 2014, Ellora’s Cave Publishing Inc. will revert to you as author all rights to the three contracted and published works listed below, released under your pen name of CAT GRANT. On or by that date, we will cease sales of these works. We will notify our third party digital distributors (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google, ARe, Ingram, OverDrive and others) to remove the ebooks from sale; be aware it can take them several days to several weeks to implement a removal notice.

Books:

A Fool for You

Appearing Nightly

The First Real Thing

Note that this reversion is for your story text content only. The book ISBNs are registered to Ellora’s Cave Publishing and may not be used on any issue of these stories elsewhere. The cover art is owned by and copyright to Ellora’s Cave Publishing, and may not be used by anyone else.

Sincerely,
Contracts & Rights Management
Ellora’s Cave Publishing Inc.

It’s done. The books are mine again. *pinches self* I was afraid something would happen at the last minute to screw up the deal (or that EC would simply take the money and then refuse to revert the rights – not outside the realm of possibility, I thought, after some of the other shit they’ve pulled), but the Almighty Dollar prevailed.

I’m relieved, but also a bit sad. My experience as an EC author wasn’t all bad – Kelli Collins and Grace Bradley are two of the kindest and most professional editors I’ve ever worked with. Back when I was still publishing with them (2010-11), the editing process worked like a well-oiled machine, the art department was on the ball (the original A Fool for You cover’s one of my absolute faves – thanks, Dar Albert!) and books came out on a regular schedule. For me, it was often as quick as six weeks from submission to release day.

My interactions with the creative side of the business always ran smoothly. Dealing with contracts and accounting? That was another story. The red flags were there all along, I just didn’t want to see them.

I plan to be good to myself today, and go out for a green tea latte before schlepping back home to do laundry and get back to work. I’m pretty close to having the Icon Men bundle reformatted, and I’m doing a little re-editing as I go – ie., changing all the “racked” to “wracked” (as in, “He wracked his brain…), deleting a bunch of “Well”‘s and “So”‘s (my infamous crutch words) and generally making sure the books reflect the professional quality of all my self-pubbed titles.

Thanks to all of you who’ve supported me through this stressful time, especially those of you who contributed to my GoFundMe campaign. I can’t wait to send you your brand-new Icon Men bundle! As for everyone else… well, I hope you like my stuff enough to buy it. :)

New #releases on the way! #iconmen #bundle #courtland

1341188599129_3893698Five days on this new antidepressant, and I’m definitely feeling a lot more energetic and positive than I was last week. Such a relief to see the fog finally lifting so I can get back to work.

Speaking of… I’m currently reformatting the Icon Men trilogy as a three-book bundle and finishing up final edits on the new Courtland novel, A Year in the Life. Hoping to get Icon Men back out on November 25th, the day after the rights officially revert back to me – I’m not letting any grass grow under my feet on this one! – and the Courtland novel on December 15th.

As for next year… I’ve got a few things in the hopper. I plan to finish Hardcore Ink, L.A. Witt’s and my tattoo artist/porn star story, this December, hopefully for a late winter/early spring release. I’ll be adding another 10-20K to The Only One Who Cares (my David and Josh novella from the Unconditional Surrender bundle) to turn it into the novel it so desperately wants to be. (And besides, who can say no to more David and Josh?)

There will definitely be at least one more Courtland novel in 2015, possibly more. (And if I have my way, definitely more!)

Oh, and Tap Out, the third and final book in the Bannon’s Gym saga, is coming January 13th from Samhain.

Sounds like I should get back to work! *poofs*

Another step closer to #rights #reversion! #ellorascave #problems #royalties

MjAxMi0yZjJkMDQ3ZmQ1NGUxM2Zh_523b1c5ca6d3cToday I got an email from the Ellora’s Cave contract department saying they’ve received my $2000.00 cashier’s check. (Funny how they’re always too busy to answer my emails under regular circumstances, but when the Almighty Dollar’s involved…)

They say I’ll have my rights reversion letter in hand by this Friday, effective 11/24.

Okay, EC, I’m taking you at your word – and holding you to the letter of it. No more hinky business, or everyone and their dog’s going to find out about it right here.

That is, if anyone still cares. Things have grown rather silent on my blog lately. Everybody was cheering me on when I was being all pissy and defiant and telling EC to go ahead and sue me, but once I decided that approach was just plain crazy and would most likely result in me losing my Icon Men books forever, people lost interest.

The initial flood of encouraging email – aka, “You go girl!” followed by “I’d love copies of your Icon Men books!” – trickled down to a final few that got right to the heart of the matter. No encouragement, no “We’ve got your back!,” no nothing. Just, “Can I have your books for free?”

After EC shaking me down for money to buy back my own books, this really stuck in my craw. Yes, I did offer the books for free for a short time, and I was happy to give them to people who at least acted like they supported me. However, I have a very negative knee-jerk reaction to people shoving their hands in my face and shouting, “Gimme!”

The vast majority of you have been very encouraging, not to mention generous, but as for the rest – I am not your monkey. I don’t dance to anyone’s tune but my own. I value my work too much to give it away to bald-faced opportunists who’ll probably upload it to every illegal file-sharing site on the ‘net.

This is one of the reasons I’ve decided not to do blog tours anymore. Too many times I’ve given away ARC’s, and a couple of days later, there it is on Demonoid and The Pirate Bay. Also, I really resent having to bribe people with prizes to get them to buy my books. Isn’t a brand new release from a favorite author enough of a prize?

I remember back in the old days, when people actually read *shudder* paper books! Every Tuesday I’d haunt my favorite bookstore and I’d inevitably find a novel (mostly romance, though I did read a fair amount of sci-fi & fantasy in the ’80s-’90s) that made my breath hitch. I’d clutch it in my hot little hand when I went up to pay for it. I’d get that delicious little tingle – y’know, when you’re on pins and needles all over, but it feels good – that little zing! when you know you’ve got a treat in store.

Do readers still feel this way about ebooks? Or was there something about holding an actual physical paper book in your hands – smelling the fresh ink and paper, getting your fingerprints all over those glossy covers – that just can’t be duplicated in the digital sphere? While I appreciate the convenience and flexibility of ebooks (ie, changing the size of the type), I really don’t get as excited about them as I used to when I had to go into a brick and mortar store, talk to a real live sales clerk and leave the store with my prize tucked away in my tote bag. Hitting the Kindle app icon on the ol’  iPad just doesn’t carry the same feeling of delicious anticipation – at least, not for me.

At this point in my career, I figure most people with an interest in m/m or m/m/f menage fiction have probably heard of me. I’m one of those writers people either love or hate – not much middle ground in my Goodreads reviews, which I’m actually rather proud of. Even a reader with a strong negative reaction to my work had a reaction.

I’ve been around long enough that most people have no doubt made up their minds whether they like my stuff or not, so I don’t see much point in going out of my way to do promo. Anyone who’s really interested in what I’m working on, upcoming new releases, etc., is following this blog or subscribed to my newsletter. (Thank you, new subscribers – membership has shot through the roof these last few weeks!) I have a Facebook page and an active Twitter account. Again, anyone who’s interested is probably already following me.

And… I’ve veered off my original point, haven’t I? The upshot of all this is… authors deserve more respect. That ebook that just popped up on your Kindle or Nook is the product of weeks, maybe even months, of an author’s time. Just because you can’t hold the book in your hands doesn’t mean it isn’t real. There’s a good story between those pages, and an author waiting to be paid for it so s/he can pay their rent and other bills.

So don’t steal, and don’t take advantage. (Are you listening, EC?)

And the countdown to #rights #reversion begins! #ellorascave #problems #royalties

IMG_1743Well, the ball is now officially in Ellora’s Cave’s court. On Wednesday, November 5, 2014, I mailed off a cashier’s check for $2000.00, and here’s the proof…

The timeline they gave me said I should have a rights reversion letter in hand no later than 11 working days from the time they receive it. So, basically, this Monday, November 10th, is when the clock starts running.

Nothing to do now but wait.

Time for another episode of Royalty Check Roundup! #ellorascave #problems #royalties #rights

IMG_1724 Well, well, well, look what arrived in the mail today – my Ellora’s Cave royalty check for the princely sum of $80 and change.

(Notice the check is dated 9/30/14.)

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_1735

 

On the upside, they’ve started dating their postmarks (again, apologies for the crappy iPhone pics) which in this case shows that it was postmarked on 10/24/14.

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_1729

And here’s the first page of my statement. Notice how they’re still paying me royalties on one lone ebook copy of Entangled Trio from Barnes & Noble. The rights to this book (supposedly) reverted to me last November – that is, November 2013.

Also, for some unexplained reason, they’re charging me back thirteen cents on a copy of A Fool for You sold by Amazon.ca. Was the book returned? No clue.

And apparently I sold exactly one copy of A Fool for You off EC’s own website – for which they are paying me forty percent of the “per unit” price of $5.20, which I’m assuming is (or was) its price at EC’s website.

As for the other amounts, I have no clue what the “per unit” price means. Is it the retail price, or is it the amount EC actually receives from these third-party vendors? Without that information – which I doubt I’ll ever get – the rest of these numbers are meaningless.

 

Well, that was a nice way to spend my dinner break. Back to the new Courtland novel – I’m coming into the home stretch! :)

Taking a break… and this time I mean it. #ellorascave #problems #royalties #rights #haleno

toxic-friendships-career-futility-tv-ecard-someecardsOkay, this is it. I’ve reached critical mass. Everything in my Twitter & Facebook feeds is either about the EC debacle, or Gamergate, or Kathleen Hale. The toxicity out there is unbearable, and it’s keeping me from getting my work done.

So, I’m going dark for a while. I’ve got two books to finish, and I plan to spend the rest of October and most, if not all, of November doing just that. My goal is to get the next Courtland novel out in time for Christmas, since it does have kind of a holiday theme. (Oh, and just FYI – the story’s turned out to be a bit too complicated to wrap up in one book, so there will definitely be a second. Maybe even a third!)

Yeah, I know, I’ve tried to take Internet breaks before, but this time I mean it. I simply don’t have any room left in my head for this crap. I need to buckle down and get back to work, unless I want to be living in a cardboard box by this time next year.

As I mentioned previously, I’m leaving my GoFundMe campaign open until October 31st, but I won’t be posting any more updates or rattling my tin cup again. Constant begging for money can be a real turn-off, and I don’t want to cross that line.

To everyone who’s already donated, thank you! To those who haven’t… please don’t feel compelled to do so if it’s a hardship. You’ve all gotten me over the 50% mark, which is more than I thought I’d raise. Whatever happens now, I’ll take as a sign that it’s meant to be.

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