Posts tagged ‘janrae frank’

Sword and Sorcery at Goodreads

A bit of good news for me.  Periklis, one of the mods at An Earthier sort of Fantasy: Sword and Sorcery group on Goodreads recently invited me to join and gave me my own spotlight. My Chimquar the Lionhawk stories were widely published in the late 70s and early 80s. Wildside brought out a print collection of the tales under the title In the Darkness, Hunting, which is also the title of a novelette published by the Dragon Magazine from TSR in 1981. I have not posted anything yet, I’m way too tired to do it justice, but once I get a good night’s sleep I will be jumping right onto it. So watch this spot tomorrow.

The strange case of Lindsay's Aunt

Let’s start here with Lindsay’s bio. What I want you to notice here is that Lindsay says she lives with the following people: her parents, her sister, and two dogs. There is no mention of an aunt. Why mention the dogs and not the aunt? Especially if they were supposed to be close? Also Martha mentioned a brother of Lindsay’s living with them in her reveal. But Lindsay does not mention a brother either. Does she even have a brother?

I have taken screenshots of everything I’m linking you to.

Lindsay does the same thing to others that she accuses others of doing to her.  Read down to the third review.

I have complained in the past about false PR. This girl reviewed Lindsay’s book with great enthusiasm. This girl is also the face on the covers of Tabetha’s novels of the Draven, starting with Blood Magic.  You will note that the review is also riddled with grammar errors, spelling errors, and fairly empty headed.

Here is a link to Lindsay’s self published novel, Guilt of the Innocent.  The plot is your typical adolescent wish fulfillment tale of special powers and romance. The writing is chewing gum sentences. Without the circle jerk handsies from Tabetha’s harem of sycophants, I doubt that Lindsay would get any good reviews at all.

Lindsay wants to present herself as damaged goods emotionally. However, she also says she holds down three jobs.  She is only 6 months younger than my daughter. My ex was an abusive asshole; my daughter has PTSD. So I feel competent to recognize genuine damage. Lindsay is not damaged.

“Martha” says that referring to Lindsay as “the young artist” is normal for someone of her years. She claims to be 57. I’m 58 and would never refer to my daughter as “that young game designer” as if she were a child prodigy.

“Martha” claims to know nothing of computers, yet the first home computers came out while I was still in high school. It was “Martha’s” and my generation that got them first. So we know a huge amount about them.

“Martha’s” voice was clearly designed as a persona by someone who cannot write characters well. No Brit of my generation would speak the way that “Martha” speaks.

Oh, and Martha just posted a comment about not seeing what was abusive about Lindsay’s review. HAHAHAHAHAHA.  Yet, the mildest of criticisms of Lindsay are considered abusive. Pot meet kettle.

Lindsay started following me on twitter yesterday. I have blocked her.

I think this is enough to start with. Tally Ho! The Game is Afoot.

 

Phoenix Fire: The Project

First, I would like to express my gratitude to all of you who have posted here to bring so many aspects of the matters to my attention. I appreciate all of you.

You might notice that I have now created a page to document all that has gone on with Mystic/Phoenix Fire since it’s inception. Anyone who can give me dates and information on matters should feel free to contact me at janraefrank (at) gmail.com. Please tell me whether the information is on the record or off the record, etc.

And a mea culpa. I used the word “slut” in reference to Tabetha. I did it to set up a semantics one to three and it turned out to be a far too severe trigger word. If I had given it more thought I would have come up with one that was far more  useful for illustrating my point and far less provocative. For that I apologize to my readers.

The nice thing about timelines is that they are devoid of emotion and just list absolute facts. Facts and logic can lead to clarity and a deeper understanding of matters.

Several years ago, I had a rather vicious stalker. I informed him that if he did not leave me alone I would make him my next hobby. Needless to say, he did not enjoy becoming my hobby.

I do have a complaint about all the glamour photos that female paranormal and horror authors seem to be addicted to. What you look like is no clue to whether you can write well or not. I much prefer the photos of science fiction and fantasy authors who would rather look endearing or intelligent or both.

Phoenix Fire: How to make enemies and create adversaries

Tabetha Jones and her cohorts arrived on my blog and created an amusing furor .

I stand by my statement that Phoenix Fire is run like a vanity press. They expect the authors to pay all of the costs up front. The established norm for a traditional publisher is that the publisher assumes all of the costs and gambles that the book will earn out its expenses. I am hoping to eventually be able to afford to pay a token advance to each author so that even if the book does not earn royalties, they at least have something to show for having published with Daverana.

“..,it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing” said Shakespeare’s Macbeth.  And such it is for what happened on my blog. So this becomes an article about what not to do.

I raised my daughter by the Socratic method. I turned arguments into questions. The Athenian philosophers confounded the Romans by arguing one side one day and the totally opposite on the other.   When facts are presented to back up statements, they carry weight and can make for a lively and interesting discussion. This is NOT what happened with Tabetha and her cohorts. They came in guns blazing. Their arguments were not backed by facts. For instance, I was told repeatedly to go speak with various unnamed people to support her claim.

Tabetha’s comments, and those of her cohorts, were filled with irrelevant statements and endless insulting non sequitors.  My questions to her were never answered. I got the usual reactions that are more appropriate to the famous “butthurt report form.”

Let’s start with her “60%” royalties. I asked her to tell me how she figured them. Traditionally, the author is given a fixed percentage of cover price. That does not vary unless (in print cases only) the book is remaindered or reduced in some other way. Trouble arises when the author is promised a percentage of the net. The net is what remains after all costs are covered.  Hollywood and the music industry are famous for their creative accounting practices that can reduce the net to almost nothing. The author should not have to wait for their money until the costs are covered. That is not how it works.  The author’s royalties should come off the top.

The publisher does not own the book. The publisher is renting the book. That is basically what a publishing contract is. The author sells the publisher license to publish. There are other forms, but I’m not going into them here (such as book packagers). The publisher assumes all costs. That’s just how it is.

Another old saying, “You catch more flies with a spoon of honey than a barrel of vinegar.” Tabetha needs to have that tattooed to her forehead so that every time she looks in the mirror she is reminded of it.

There is a huge difference between fame and infamy.  Intelligent people will know what I am talking about.

Time and again, an author or publisher or artist gets criticized for what they are doing and the result is that they make a laughing stock of themselves by throwing a fit. That is infamy. No one ever takes them seriously again. At least no one of worth does.  Now, I’ve put my foot in my mouth at times and had my cheeks burn for a week or more over it. But I did not repeat the error.

Tabetha continually repeats her actions expecting to have a different result.

Dog poops on the floor and instead of punishing him directly, you pat him on the head and “ooooh, honey, it’s not nice to poop on the floor. Mommy doesn’t want you to poop on the floor.”  What does the dog do the next day? He poops on the floor.

The very first thing that a publisher, a writer, an artist needs to learn is to separate themselves from their work/company/whatever. A criticism of the work or the practice is not a criticism of the publisher/writer/artist as a person. The work and the actions stand alone and must speak for themselves. That and only that carries weight.

Another old saying (I’m in one of those anecdotal episodes, so bear with me) is “Actions speak louder than words.” So in this case we have two kinds of actions to weigh. First is the fact that she has not denied that the writer pays for everything. That makes her a vanity. There is no getting away from it. Second is that her behavior is childish.

So what is she saying about herself?

What should we take away from her example?

Well, you have to remove your ego from your work. Yes, positive reactions and reviews are wonderful and they fill us up with fruit of validation.

However, they do not teach us anything. What we learn from is the negative. We learn deeper and more extensively from what we failed at. That’s when we pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off and vow never to make that mistake again.

I believe in triangulation.  I don’t know if shortwave guys still do this or not. If anyone knows, please let me know. But anyways, they have hunts. They have one member hide and let out a signal. Then three or more of them try to get a fix on it from different angles and finally the signals cross right and the hiding member is found.

Flaws in writing, actions, and art  often can be revealed if enough negative feedback occurs and you start to see a pattern. I found a serious plot hole in My Sister’s Keeper (Journey of the Sacred King book one) when three readers had basically the same complaint. I was able to narrow it down and fix it. That’s the authorial blindspot, but that is also for another discussion.

What I am illustrating here is that both Lindsay Anne Kendal (Tabetha’s cover artist) and Tabetha herself could learn from the fact that they are getting this many complaints and negative observations here. They could fix the trouble. I have more hope for Lindsay than I do Tabetha.

Next point: I never allow the author to choose the cover.  That is for me and the editors because most authors would shoot themselves in the foot in terms of marketing decisions. They don’t have enough experience or knowledge of what sells to make a good decision. The cover promotes the book.  That is the first thing reader reacts to.

The publisher does not own the cover. Nor does the writer. Now, an artist can sell all rights, at which point the artwork becomes a stock image for the company or individual who bought it. However, normally the work is rented. The publisher acquires only certain rights and not complete ownership. These are spelled out in the artist’s contract. I mention this because Tabetha thought that having the author pay for the cover, which Tabetha commissions, is really quite novel and wonderful. Well, what do the authors then expect to do with the cover if they leave Tabetha’s company for another one? The new company is not going to want their edition (which might have been given a brand new edit and revision) to have the same cover the previous edition did. That’s just not done.

Well, you can’t eat a cover.

Anna Loobly posted the following comments.

“…attacking the authors title of their work is awful. What a rude man.”

“If the authors wants that as their cover that is up to them. It must have meaning to them.”

Let’s address it from a marketing stand point.

Authors want their books to sell. This is not entirely a point of vanity. If a publisher allows the author to have a cover and title that fails to catch the interest or, even worse, offend a reader or confuse one, then the book will not sell and in the end a disservice has been done to the author. It is a good publisher’s responsibility to prevent an author from shooting themselves in the foot.

Another good thing NOT to do is to add super glue to your foot once it is in your mouth.

Sometimes you have to swallow back the ugly comments you wish to make and suffer in silence. Or fix the situation after admitting you were wrong. It takes a big person to be able to sincerely admit they were wrong.  That makes people like Tabetha about the size of Thumbelina.  Please, if you hope to have a successful career or hobby, leave the super glue in the cabinet and your foot in your shoe.

International writing scams

The Taj Mahal Review  charges $25 a copy for a beautifully produced magazine.  They do not pay their authors and they do not give them a contributor’s copy. You have to buy it for yourself.  The expensiveness of the magazine combined with the latter aspects has always made me feel that they were a back end scam. I first became suspicious of them in 2005 when Nickolaus Pacione was bragging about selling them some stories and poems. I submitted a poem to them that was already widely available on the net called “Anksha.” They accepted it. That’s when I got the details about the costs and no payment or copy. Since that was a legitimate poem, I then sent them another poem.  This time the poem was deliberately bad. Guess what? They accepted it.

It was a guest post on Victoria Strauss’ blog that reminded me of it.

Americans tend to be a bit naive when dealing with people in foreign countries. There is a huge movement of PC people who say that it is wrong to criticize foreign people who are not from Western nations. I  have been banned from many feminist communities for sharing my negative experiences with Africans (and I don’t blacks in general) and Moslems.  PC and naivete can blind us to the fact that scams are universal and a full part of all cultures and all religions and all whatevers. It’s human nature. Now click the link below and read that post on Victoria Strauss’ blog.

International writing scams

PHOENIX FIRE PUBLISHING — AVOID IT

I discovered this blog (and subscribed to it) following a tweet by Victoria Strauss. Some of the names were familiar enough to make me wonder how widespread scams and general misbehavior is on the part of small press publishers. Phoenix Fire is charging their authors to publish their works in a back end vanity manner.

Money should flow to the writer, not from them. It’s an old industry proverb.

The authors could self-publish for far less than they are being charged here. If you do an ebook, it is very easy to master the forms in which you upload them to the distributor. The Smashwords format works fine for kindle also. Making it double easy to just do a single format and publish to both.  The only change you need to make between them is that Smashwords wants the copyright page to feature the words “Smashwords Edition” so you just take it out of the version you send to kindle.

Publishers gamble on their authors earning back the costs of cover and editing.  They do not make the authors pay for them. And they should never promise more than they can afford to give their authors (blog tours, promotional objects, etc.)  or can reasonably handle.

Another aspect of this that is mentioned in the Suess’s blog post is that the “blog tours” turned out to be just three blogs operated by the same individual under different names. I had a personal experience of this several years ago. I hired a publicist for my company, Daverana Enterprises, and discovered that this was the only thing she did. I was appalled at the subterfuge and felt that it was both dishonest and cheating.  Since then, I have witnessed a fair number of “PR” firms holding to this practice.

Back when I was doing PR in the bad old days before the internet, I bought a $500 book each year that had the contact information for every newspaper, local TV and radio across the country, as well as the MAJOR places and shows, including Oprah and Regis Philbin.  You sent out press releases and made phone calls. When you landed an interview for your clients, it was real and not fake.

The internet has allowed for a huge percentage of fakery and all of us should take offers and brags with a grain of salt. Always google a company or individual before trusting them. And while you are at it, confirm that any testimonials are real. It has become a commonplace for some places to use alts to promote themselves. Others like the Albee Agency are attributing testimonials to real people who have no idea they even exist.

Read Writer Beware blog and make it a bible for avoiding scams.

Living with Diabetes

Last April I was diagnosed with diabetes type 2. I had been losing weight without changing my eating patterns. I’m very over weight, but not obese. I used to keep my weight off by exercising and taking long walks every day.  Then post-polio syndrome kicked in and I was unable to walk easily. less then five minutes of walking puts me into so much pain that I become nauseous from it.

I was never a big eater or a regular eater. I ate erratically, some times going all day without eating and then over eating the next day when my appetite returned.  I still have issues with food. Sometimes I have to force myself to eat.  Once or twice a year I’ll go four or five days without eating and then have to acclimate myself to food again.

In addition to the polio, I have PTSD (that has been discussed before in this blog). I think that there is a stress component to the periods in which I can’t eat.

However, once I could no longer exercise (I require a wheelchair to shop),  I put on ten pounds a year until I weighed 200 pounds.  I’m only five feet tall and that makes me a real tubby.  I have lost a lot of it since the diabetes arrived, mostly by changes in what I eat.  The hardest part of the diet is that I am supposed to eat three regular meals and three snacks. I take my glucose levels three times a day and I take metformin HCL.

I am still forgetting to eat some days, but I have begun using glasses of vegetable juice and sugar free fruit beverages that I create in my blender for the days I can’t bring myself to eat.  Regularity, as much as i can manage it, has curbed the binges.  My glucose levels are staying in the low normal range. I’m also making pots of soup and stews that are low carb.

I don’t miss the sweets. I have never been a big sweet eater, not even as a child. What I do miss is the pasta and potatoes that were the mainstay of my previous diet.

I am finding that the diabetes is manageable.  I had fish and fruit for lunch. In two hours, I’ll have half a banana with a tablespoon of peanut butter that contains no sugar. Reading the labels is a necessity. I was shocked at how much of our food contains high fructose corn syrup and/or sugar.

The older we get, the more physical issues we develop. I’m 58.  That means that they are piling up on me.

I was eight years old when I contracted polio, so I have very few memories of what it was like to be normal. In a sense, that is a good thing under the circumstances because I am very familiar with how to strategize around difficulties.  Over the years, I have seen how much harder it is for an adult to adapt to physical challenges after an illness or accident that disables them. They seem to be far less ready to cope than those who were disabled as children.