Basking (or should I saw wallowing) in greatness

More news from the Inkbots front.

John Dixon is getting a TV show as based on one of his soon-to-be-published books! Prime time on CBS too!

Intelligence. Even better, it’s got some big names in it, namely Josh Holloway (you might recognize him as Sawyer from LOST) and Marg Helgenberger (from the original CSI).

Yowza. The standards are getting higher for the group. I better get my ass in gear and sell something. Until that time comes, I will wallow in the group’s authorial greatness (success by affiliation).


More pimping

So, I’ll point out again that I belong to a writing group called the Inkbots, what’d once been called the Anxious Appliances. And some of the group have some neat projects just getting published.

There’s Wesley Chu with his debut SF novel, Lives of Tao, which is getting a lot of good buzz. And, yes, he really is that funny.

Then there’s Michael F Stewart, who’s self-publishing a YA novel called Assured Destruction. It’s heavily into exploring social networking and the concept of online identity. It too, is getting alot of positive buzz.

As for me? Still plugging away. Not getting anywhere, but still plugging away.

Hydra and Alibi contracts: more palatable

In this post, I discussed some pretty unacceptable contract terms being proposed by two e-book imprints of Random House.

After a great internet uproar, in which I’m pretty sure I had about zero impact, Random House has backed down, sort of, by at least giving authors an option at something more conventional. John Scalzi has more thoughts here and here.

A big improvement, but I’m not sure about this profit sharing deal as one of the options. It still opens the door to potential accounting shenanigans.

Hydra and Alibi book contracts: pathetic

I try to stay away from talking about the business of writing on this blog, because it’s stressful trying to draft, edit, re-edit, re-re-edit pitch, query, and potentially sell something. But then something happens that just pisses me off and I can’t keep my mouth shut.

This story is flying around the SFF author world like a bad bout of norovirus. And it’s just as ugly.

John Scalzi reviews an exploitative contract by Hydra, an imprint of Random House.

John Scalzi reviews a different exploitative contract, this one by Alibi, another imprint of Random House.

Victoria Strauss has another opinion.

In other words:


But there’s more.

SFWA finds that Hydra is not a qualifying market for membership and delists them

Random House responds to… something, I don’t know what because they don’t address almost all the criticisms laid against them.

SFWA responds to Random House’s response essentially telling them to go away unless they admit their contracts are the crap that they are and change their terms.

Essentially, it comes down to several things. The contracts offer:

1) No advance. How can a publisher like Random House, one of the biggest in the world, not afford an advance? No advance and there’s little incentive for them to try and earn that money back by, I don’t know, giving the book good editing, cover design, and promotion.

2) The rights–all of them, different languages, movies, toys, etc…–are held by the imprint. That’s a huge rights grab for tons of stuff typically held by the writer.

3) Out-of-print clause to get your rights back? Not defined. Not good. While a life-of-contract clause isn’t unusual, it’s typically limited such that, if the book isn’t selling, the rights revert back to the author. But the bar can be set so low (especially if it’s undefined in the contract) that the rights never revert back.

4) Profit sharing instead of a simple royalty. Sounds good? Nope. Incredibly bad. Costs of publication (like editing, cover illustrations, promotion, advertising, etc…) are downloaded onto the author and the author only shares in the net profit. Who determines what’s a profit? The publisher of course. And it opens the door to manipulative accounting just like it always has in Hollywood, where some of the biggest grossing flicks somehow never earn a profit.

So, and to keep with the Star Wars memes:

do not want

In other words, these two imprints of Random House are trying to completely redefine the author-publisher relationship into something that’s so exploitative that authors can probably expect to see jack shit for anything they publish with them. It’s absolutely pathetic.


Yeah, it’s been a while. No, McFuzzball didn’t send me head first down the stairs. Nor did she turn me into a midnight snack amongst other gruesome strategies.

I’ve just been very busy with a WIP that’s now in the hands of many, many betas (yay for betas! I love you all!).

But, I’m here to do some pimping. Two writers in my writing group (the Inkbots–I’d link to our page, but it’s not quite ready for primetime yet) have new books coming out. I’ve been fortunate to have been a beta for both, so I’ve known they’re very good before either of them hit the presses.

First, there’s Laura Lam, with her debut Pantomime, published by Strange Chemistry. While it’s YA fantasy, it tackles a very sensitive topic I really haven’t seen explored elsewhere and does it with grace. Plus with a neat plot twist. I won’t say more, just expect to be challenged.

Then there’s Lee Collins with his second book She Returns From War (his first was the Dead of Winter), both  of them published by Angry Robot. A blend of fantasy with western, it’s not often I can say a sequel is better than the first  book, but this is definitely the case.

Even maniacal arch-villains need their cuddlin’

Every creature, big or small, good or evil, needs some affection, some more than others. When McFuzzball looks to me for comfort, I’m fully aware she’s after my body heat and only my body heat, like an endothermic vampire. Sometimes, however, I see things I don’t think I’ll ever be able to explain.

Kitty cuddle

Cute? Absolutely. But, just be aware, the bunny was never seen again.

Grief and incomprehension

I was having a very good day today at work. I figured it was going to get better this evening (the original plan was to post something cute and funny) and then it’d continue into tomorrow when I went to visit some friends for Festivus.

But there’s nothing fun nor funny about today now.

There’s only grief and incomprehension.

Incomprehension of why.

It’s a big question. It’s complex and can’t be comprehensively captured in a sound bite, though no doubt many will try. The hard part for me is to avoid speculating, because, in the absence of facts, all we can do is take guesses, which don’t really help anybody. In the meantime, that’s all the media is going to do over the next 24 hours, fill its airwaves with wild speculation as the facts slowly roll in over the next few days to weeks.

I like facts, but I doubt I’ll find these ones comforting. They certainly won’t be comforting to the families of the victims.

What a shitty day, and be sure to hug your loved ones. I know I will.