Updates on a sinking ship… #ellorascave #problems #royalties

Just for you-know-whats and giggles, I emailed Ellora’s Cave’s contract department to 1980s-tbt-good-worker-high-on-cocaine-QpDsee what they’d charge me to buy back my rights on the three Icon Men books. I had no real expectation that they’d even reply, but miracle of miracles, I got one.

And they’re asking…

*drum roll*

For two thousand dollars, to buy back all three books.

At first I thought, “Huh. That’s not bad compared to some of the other figures they’ve demanded. Maybe I could scrape it together by…”

Then I realized, This is insane. Are you seriously considering handing these people more of your hard-earned money? Give it up. It’s only three books. Losing them won’t deep-six your career. You can always write more.

So that’s where things stand. A semi-reasonable offer on the table, which I might’ve actually considered if the parties I’m dealing with were actually trustworthy. I’m not maxing out my credit card to throw good money after bad.

Back to “wait and see” mode.

Hot military men, coming right up! #mm #military #romance #surrenderboxset

Unconditional Surrender Quotes - GrantHere’s a special sneak preview of The Only One Who Cares, my new military novella, coming in the Unconditional Surrender bundle this October.

(If you’ve read The Only One Who Knows & The Only One Who Cares, you already know who David is. Can you guess the narrator?)

In other news… if you’re in Seattle this weekend, c’mon by the Gay Romance Northwest Meetup at the Seattle Public Library this Saturday, September 20th. I won’t be on any panels, but I will be signing books at the Hotel Monaco afterwards.

I’ll have paperback copies of my Courtland books, Guarded, Breaking Free and some super-sekrit giveaways as well! :)

“The only sin is stupidity…” #ellorascave #problems #royalties #writerbeware

1315002635425_1139628It’s been an interesting last few days, dealing with the run-up to what I can only predict will be an ugly crash & burn for Ellora’s Cave. Just yesterday Dear Author reported on Twitter that EC’s managing editor Whitney Mihalik and COO Susan Edwards have both resigned. How long will it be until the website disappears and the rest of their employees arrive at work to find the offices padlocked?

At this point, I doubt they’ll last until Christmas.

Oscar Wilde got it right when he said, “The only sin is stupidity.” And I’m the guiltiest one of all, putting my faith in a company that didn’t deserve it. Isn’t that what we all do when we sign a contract, though? We have to trust that the company we’re throwing in with won’t shaft us.

When I signed my first EC contract in 2010, the company looked pretty good to me. I’d only had a handful of books released by then, and none of them had done particularly well. I figured I needed to get in with a higher-profile publisher, so when I met Kelli Collins at RT in 2010 and she asked me to submit something, I naively thought this was my ticket to the big time – or at least, decent sales.

And at the time, it seemed like such a thing might actually be possible. I knew highly successful authors like Kate Douglas, Lora Leigh, Emma Holly, etc., had launched their careers there. Superstars in the erotic romance genre still publish there – look at Laurann Dohner and Desiree Holt. Yes, I did have misgivings about some of the contract terms, but at the time it looked like the tradeoff was worth it.

And for a while, I did get decent sales compared to what I was pulling in before. My first four-digit royalty check came from EC. My editor was a joy to work with. For the most part, they gave me good cover art – except for the original Entangled Trio cover, which had my opera singer protags dressed in JEANS, not the evening clothes I asked for. Everything was fine for a few months, until I realized that Right of First Refusal clause was tantamount to a straitjacket.

But I signed that contract with my eyes wide open, so I’ve only got myself to blame. And, realistically, this doesn’t have to have a detrimental effect on my career. EC’s only got the rights to my 3-book Icon Men series, which is only bringing in about $60 a month now. It won’t kill me to lose that. But it does burn a bit, knowing I legally enabled EC to steal from me.

To any new authors out there – read your contracts with a fucking magnifying glass. I’m not kidding. And when you get to that clause that says, “In case of bankruptcy, all rights automatically revert to the authors” – don’t believe it for a second. It’s total bullshit. A bankruptcy judge will see it, laugh his ass off and put you at the bottom of the list along with all the other unsecured creditors. The most you can hope for is that your rights get sold off to a company better than the one that screwed you over.

That’s where I am right now, and believe me, it ain’t pretty.

Thank you!!! #ellorascave #problems

1331148130837_268271Hey all! I’m in a hotel with crappy internet, so I’m typing this on my phone. Bear with me!

First, thank you to all the wonderful folks who’ve left me words of encouragement re: the EC fiasco. But please don’t paint me as some kind of hero – I’m just an author trying to make a living, & getting mighty fed up with being jerked around.

The fact remains, I did sign those EC contracts with the horrible life of copyright & right of first refusal clauses. I am partly responsible for the current mess I’m in – accent on “partly.”

That said, I’ve fulfilled all my obligations to EC – I turned in polished, proofed manuscripts. I returned my edits on time. I did everything I was supposed to do.

As for EC… After what I’ve heard from other authors in the same predicament, I have absolutely no faith that EC has dealt with me in good faith. The sharp decline in my royalties over the past year makes me wonder if they’ve ever reported my sales correctly. Going from $400-600 per month down to $60… That’s a huge red flag.

Between EC & Kindle Unlimited, my income has been decimated over the past few months. If things continue along this path, I may have to quit writing altogether. *shudders at the thought of 54-year-old me saying, “Would you like fries with that?*

All that said, this is release day for IN FROM THE COLD, which has me smiling. My 35th published book – there’s a milestone for you!

To celebrate – & to thank each  & every one of you who’s accompanied me on this long, strange journey…

For today only, I will send you one book from my backlist absolutely FREE. That’s right – any book of mine (except In From the Cold) is yours today for free!

Email me at: cat@catgrant.com with your request.

Thanks for listening, & have a lovely day. :)

In From the Cold is on its way! #courtland #novella #blogtour #giveaway

InFromTheCold_500x750So much to do, so little time! This weekend I’m off to LA to see 30 Seconds to Mars with LA Witt and Anna Zabo – yes, Lori and I have seduced another hapless author over to the Leto side of the force! BWAHAHA! Anyway, it should be a lot of fun.

And next week, I’m off to Seattle for GRNW!

And in between all that, I’ve got a new book out! The first book in a brand-new Courtland series!

For all the Courtland fans clamoring for the next generation…

Cold and sick, Seth Thompson must fight through a snowstorm to get home. Seth’s unconventional upbringing taught him to always reach out to strangers in need, and Iranian engineering student Bilal al-Mansoori is no exception. Being trapped together leads to an unexpected mutual attraction—and a feverishly hot night under the covers.

But Bilal needs more than simply a rescue from the weather—he’s trapped under lifetime of cultural pressures. His strict Muslim father and fellow Iranian students have no clue about his inner torment.  His attraction to Seth isn’t a welcome discovery—instead he’s trapped between the existence he’s always known and the prospect of living and loving openly for the first time in his life.

Starting on release day (9/15), I’ll be serving up insights, excerpts and interviews from this new novella, and dropping some hints about what’s to come!

Here’s where I’ll be!

Sept. 15th – All I Want and More

Sept. 16th – Joyfully Jay

Sept. 17th – Jody Faltys

Sept. 18th – Smoocher’s Voice

Sept. 19th – 3 Chicks After Dark

Drop by and comment to win backlist books, signed paperbacks, exclusive T-shirts and more!

Sept. 20th – LoveBytes – Revisiting old friends… – SENT

Asking for an unusual favor… #ellorascave #problems #royalties #writerbeware

pumpkin-spice-latte-fall-autumn-seasonal-depression-funny-ecard-hoEThis is a very strange – and very sad – post to write. Usually I’m on here telling you all about my upcoming books and conference appearances, but today I need to talk about something else. Something that’s happening to me and a lot of other authors. Not many of us have spoken out for fear of being perceived as whiners or just plain unprofessional. But frankly, the way we all have been treated by a certain publisher goes so far beyond unprofessional, I simply have to say something.

Last month Ellora’s Cave sent out a letter to all their authors letting us know what’s been going on at the company this year. It’s basically a long, rambling diatribe on about how Amazon’s screwed them over (join the club!) so we should send our fans to buy direct from EC’s website.

And here’s the part that should strike terror into every EC author’s heart:

“We are not bankrupt (rumors) and are not in any kind of shape to even file bankruptcy. While we have had some issues getting the royalty checks out as quickly as we have in the past, we are still within our contracts.”

Uh, if you’re not bankrupt (or even thinking of filing bankruptcy), then why mention it? If the purpose of this letter was to reassure your authors, you’re certainly going about it the wrong way.

The royalty problems have been going on (for me, at least) for well over a year. The excuse they’re still using for paying slowly (and in some cases, not paying at all) is that they had a new accounting system installed last December. Eight months ago, people. (And who’s the rocket scientist who decided to install a new system when their accounting staff would normally have their hands full closing out the year?)

I’m nowhere near as bad off as some authors – I only pubbed four books with EC. The reasons I quit them (and wouldn’t go back to them now even if they paid me a bundle)…

1) Snotty, dictatorial demands from the contracts department. I asked to have the right of first refusal clause removed/renegotiated from my contracts numerous times, and every time they turned me down flat. Finally, much as I disliked wasting my editor’s time, I had no choice but to submit a ms. I knew they’d reject. All to get out of a clause that basically treats authors like indentured servants.

They also forced me to retitle one of my books because “readers don’t like books with foreign words in the titles.” (Thus the exotic Habanera became the unenticing Entangled Trio. And the book sold so badly, they gave me my rights back on it last year.)

2) EC’s lowered their prices on third-party vendors lately, but back when I was publishing with them (2010-11), they’d priced my books prohibitively high on Amazon, B&N, etc. Seven or eight bucks for a 40K novella? That’s fucking ridiculous.

EC’s always tried to force readers to buy from their slow, difficult to navigate website – and guess what? They didn’t. People don’t want to side-load their books onto their Kindle or Nook because the publisher makes more money that way. Sorry, EC, but you can’t make a river run upstream.

3) With the exception of Entangled Trio (now republished under its original title, Habanera), they’ve refused to give me my rights back, despite me asking numerous times. Despite the fact that my royalty checks have been averaging $60 a month for over a year – when I get checks at all.

So, here’s where I ask for a favor…

Don’t buy my Ellora’s Cave books.

They still have the rights to my Icon Men trilogy – The First Real Thing, Appearing Nightly & A Fool for You. I want these books back. They’ve sold next to nothing over the past year, yet EC refuses to return them to me. So don’t buy them.

Better yet – don’t buy any EC books. Everybody knows they’re circling the drain, so let’s help them along. Put them out of their – and our – misery.

Frankly, I’m looking forward to the day when they close their doors for good.

Come join my new street team! #mm #kindle #romance #ARCs #swag

1291993981981_2400940

Have you enjoyed my books? (I’m assuming yes, or you wouldn’t be here!) Want to help me get the word out while earning some cool goodies?

How about joining my street team?

Q: What do I need to do?

A: Each week, I’ll post small “missions” – ie, pinning one of my covers on Pinterest, tweeting about a new release or a giveaway, voting in a poll/contest, leaving a review.

And that’s basically it. Join up, c’mon over and hang out. I’ll pop in regularly to say hi and post sneak previews of my works in progress, bonus features, cover reveals. Street team members get to see it all FIRST!

Do you like T-shirts? Fridge magnets? Rainbow Sharpies? Signed paperbacks? I’ll be running contests for all this, and offering exclusive swag available only to street team members!

Q: How do I qualify?

A: 1. Be a fan of my books. (Goes without saying! :)

2. Have a few minutes every week to come hang out and have fun with me and other readers.

 

Want to be among the first to get your hands on my new Courtland novella, In From the Cold? I’ll be giving away advance reading copies (in exchange for an honest review) to the first ten people who join.

How to join? Email at: cat@catgrant.com with a link to your Facebook profile, and I’ll add you to the group. It’s that easy! :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Courtland novella coming in 2 weeks! Are you ready? #kindle #mm #college #newadult

CourtlandBoxSetBelieve it or not, the Courtland Chronicles has been part of my life since long before I was ever published. It started out as a series of fan fiction stories, but these wonderful characters – Eric, Nick and Ally – quickly took on a life of their own.

I’d never read an m/m/f erotic romance that followed its characters over a number of years, never mind most of their lives, but once the idea got its hooks in me, I was a goner. Five books later, I put the series to bed, thinking at the time that I’d said all I could possibly say about these three extraordinary… lovers? Partners? Spouses? They were all that to me, and much, much more.

Deep down, I knew the final Courtland story hadn’t been told yet. But it wasn’t until a couple of months ago that Seth (Nick’s college-age son) came a-visiting with my fickle muse, both tapping me on the shoulder to say, “It’s time.”

Seth’s story, entitled In From the Cold, is coming September 15th. It’s a standalone, but if you’d like to refresh your memory regarding his parents’ tumultuous romance, here’s a great bargain for you…

All five of the original Courtland novels in one huge box set! Over 200,000 words! On sale for a limited time at these fine venues:

Amazon / iTunes / Nook / Kobo

Annnd… drumroll…

InFromTheCold_400x600For all the Courtland fans clamoring for the next generation…

Cold and sick, Seth Thompson must fight through a snowstorm to get home. Seth’s unconventional upbringing taught him to always reach out to strangers in need, and Iranian engineering student Bilal al-Mansoori is no exception. Being trapped together leads to an unexpected mutual attraction—and a feverishly hot night under the covers.

But Bilal needs more than simply a rescue from the weather—he’s trapped under lifetime of cultural pressures. His strict Muslim father and fellow Iranian students have no clue about his inner torment. His attraction to Seth isn’t a welcome discovery—instead he’s trapped between the existence he’s always known and the prospect of living and loving openly for the first time in his life.

 Now available for pre-order at these fine e-tailers:

Amazon / Nook / iTunes / Kobo / All Romance ebooks

                                                           Available everywhere September 15, 2014!

Exclusive excerpt from THE ONLY ONE WHO CARES! #surrenderboxset #kindle #preorder #military

UnconditionalSurrender_500x750Want a sneak peek of the Navy SEAL novella I’ve whipped up for the Unconditional Surrender bundle?

Committed couple David and Josh are long past the injuries, separation, and chain-of-command issues that plagued their early years together as Navy SEALs. Now, with David about to embark on a new career as a therapist, the future looms bright and promising—until Josh returns to active duty and David gets some news that may change everything.

Excerpt:

“It’s been over a year, and I still wake up screaming,” the guy huddled on the couch across from me said, his gaze practically boring a hole in the ugly brown carpet. “My girlfriend doesn’t get it, and I can’t tell her…” He made a helpless gesture and ran a hand over his hair, buzzed nearly bare on the sides with maybe half an inch of bristly brown on top. The same “high and tight” haircut I still wore. “The only ones I can really talk to are the guys from my unit, and they’re all as fucked up as me, or worse.”

“I’m glad you came in, Corporal…”—I stole a glance at his intake form—“Sullivan. I think we can help you here.” At least, I hoped we could.I’d seen my fair share of broken, traumatized military men come through the clinic in the past few weeks, most of them self-referred. Guys at the end of their rope with nowhere else to turn.

“That’s more than the fucking VA’s done.” Adam’s apple bobbing, Sullivan glanced up at me for the first time since he’d walked into my cramped cubbyhole. The clinic did good work, but, being financed mostly by public donations, the offices were strictly no-frills. As for Sullivan…his eyes looked like two burned holes in a rug, his hands shaking. He couldn’t be much older than twenty-one, the same age I’d been when I graduated from the Academy. Too young to have three tours under his belt. Way too young to be such a fucking wreck. “I don’t even know when I’ll get an appointment there.”

I’d heard that plenty of times by now, and every time it made my blood simmer. I’d gotten lucky—evidently being an ex-SEAL had fast-tracked me through the system. But these guys were hurting too, and nobody in charge was listening to them.

“I know there are things you can’t talk about,” I said. “But I’ve been through my fair share of firefights. I know what it’s like to hear bullets whizzing past your ears, to have to carry a wounded buddy out of a war zone…”

Or in my case, to be carried out myself. I still remembered that bloody, terrifying night in North Korea like it happened last week. That bullet tearing through my leg right before I hit the ground. Josh bandaging my wound and dragging me out of that prison camp, into the fucking jungle where I’d come that close to dying…

Sullivan clearing his throat jolted me back to the present. “Sorry.” I forced a smile. “What I meant is, I’ve got an idea what you’re going through.”

Sullivan nodded warily, until a loud bump from the hallway outside made him jump.

“It’s okay.” I reached out to him, but he pulled away. “You’re fine. You’re safe.”

But the look in his eyes screamed, There is no safety. There’s just living in this hell I can’t escape.

“It’s not your fault,” I said softly. “You’ve served with courage and honor, and—”

“What the fuck d’you know about it?” He jerked his chin at the file I’d been jotting notes in. “You got my service record there? No? Then you don’t know shit.”

Slumping over, he buried his face in his hands. I leaned in closer, hoping he wouldn’t interpret it as an aggressive act and freak out again. “Whatever happened, you can for—”

“Forgive myself? No fucking way.”

I glanced at his file again, looking for his first name. “Alex, listen to me—”

“Why don’t you fucking listen to me?” Sullivan’s head snapped up, eyes shiny-moist. “The things I’ve done…I can’t forgive myself because they’re unforgivable. Everything I ever learned about right and wrong, every law of common decency, I flushed it all down the toilet in fucking Afghanistan.”

I’d seen this way too much of late. Practically every military man I’d talked to here seemed to be suffering from not only a damaged psyche, but a damaged sense of self—no, a damaged soul.

I thought I was a good person, but I’ve done terrible things. Monstrous things.

How the hell was I supposed to heal that?

“Are you sleeping?” I asked.

“What do you think?”

I made another note in his file, hoping he didn’t notice how tightly—angrily—I was gripping the pen. How many times had I been tempted to drive over to the local VA and give the administrator in charge a piece of my mind? God knew, these men needed someone to advocate for them. “I can give you a referral to Dr. Tierney across the street, if you want. She’s authorized to prescribe for our clients.”

“Prescribe what?”

“A mild tranquilizer, maybe? To help you get some rest?”

He weighed it for a second or two before shaking his head. “Better not. I’d probably swallow the whole fucking bottle.”

An icy lightning bolt shot through me. “Have you been seriously considering”—I had to stop myself from saying “suicide”—“hurting yourself?”

“Every fucking day. The thought of going to hell’s the only thing that keeps me from doing it. That and my girlfriend.” Monroe’s expression softened. “The whole time I was over in the sandbox, all I could think of was coming home. Going to college on the GI Bill. Getting my life on track. Now I can barely haul my ass off the fucking couch.”

Panic attacks, check. Irritability, generalized anxiety, check. Insomnia, nightmares, double check. Hello, crippling PTSD. “Is that what brought you here?”

He nodded. “I don’t want to hurt like this anymore. I don’t want to hurt my girlfriend either.”

“Have you hurt her?” I tensed, not really wanting to know. If yes, I’d have no choice but to report it to the police.

Thank God, he shook his head. “I can usually feel the urge creeping up on me, so I go out for a walk ‘til it passes.”

Even in the midst of his suffering, he’d taken steps to make sure he hadn’t inflicted harm on anyone—well, no physical harm. I could only imagine the emotional toll…

Like when Josh helped you get through a year and a half of physical therapy?

Still, I didn’t think Sullivan posed a danger to himself or others. His body language had relaxed a bit, which I took as a good sign. Then I caught a glimpse of the clock over the door. Ten after five. Shit. I’d gone over again. “Looks like we’re out of time, but like I said, I’m glad you came in.” I set aside his file. “Shall we make another appointment? I’ve got some time free Thursday afternoon.”

“You want me to come back again this week?” He dug in his pocket and pulled out a ragged twenty and a handful of loose change. “I, uh…money’s a little tight right now…”

“We operate on a sliding scale. Whatever you can afford is fine.”

I held out my hand. Sullivan looked at it like he was afraid my fingers might turn into snakes and bite him, but he took it. His palms were still clammy-moist. “What branch did you serve in?” he asked.

“Navy. I was a SEAL, stationed right here at Coronado.”

“For real?”

I’d been sitting down when he came in, so he hadn’t seen me limping around. This time I gave him the full effect, grabbing both arms of my chair to push myself up. My bad leg got stiff when I’d been sitting too long, so I wobbled a bit, until I grabbed my cane. “That’s what my leg says.”

“Oh, Jesus…” He rubbed a hand over his face. “I had no idea. That sucks.”

“See? I wasn’t shitting you about having combat experience.” I ushered him down the short hallway to the reception area and laid a cautious hand on his arm, half expecting him to shake me off. When he didn’t, I added, “There’s no shame in asking for help. That’s what we’re here for.”

His Adam’s apple bobbed. “Thanks, man. It’s good to know somebody gives a shit.”

Strong. Sexy. Sizzling.

There’s nothing like a man in uniform, and sixteen of today’s hottest gay romance authors are celebrating military heroes and the men brave enough to love them.

These brand-new novellas feature all branches of the service and offer something for every reader. Almost 300,000 never before published words!

Join me, L.A. Witt, Keira Andrews, Em Lynley, Brien Michaels, Rhi Etzweiler, Lia Davis, Kerry Adrienne, Cassandra Carr, Sam Schooler, Amelia Gormley, Lucy Felthouse, VJ Summers, Brit Blaise & Sasha Devlin for stories about hot fighting men with big hearts (and even bigger… *koff*)…

 

Coming October 2014!

Now available for pre-order at the following e-tailers:

Amazon / Nook / iTunes / Kobo / All Romance ebooks

 

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