Brunch At Gotham – Anne Barwell

Being a Kiwi MM author I do 99.9% of my interacting with other authors online. While there are a few MM authors who live here, we tend to live in different parts of the country.

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting another Kiwi MM author for brunch. Gillian St Kevern and I had met years ago online through fandom, and then in person when she came to Wellington to stay over for Armeggedon which is our local pop culture expo. Since then we exchanged a few emails and after she moved to Japan we lost contact for a while. Then I received an email from her telling me about this vampire book she’d read. The writing style—and the fact one of the characters was a Kiwi and into graphic novels and in particular Nightwing—reminded her of me and she thought I might like to read it. Ben’s ringtone was ‘Slice of Heaven’ which was also the name of a Kiwi fandom site we’d set up together about fifteen years ago. The book was Shades of Sepia and I’d written it.

As a fun aside and a discussion as to whether we actually shared a brain in some form – she’d also written a vampire novel with a character called Ben called Fangs and Thorns. What are the chances of that?

When she contacted me to say she’d be in Wellington for a few days for a family wedding we decided it was long past time we met up again. With both of us being huge comic book fans, and especially DC and the bat family, with a side dish of Kon aka Superboy, we naturally decided to go to brunch at a local café called Gotham.

Gillian wore her Batgirl T-shirt especially for the occasion.


We spent a lively four hours catching up, and comparing our planning notebooks—both purchased from Typo! I really enjoyed being able to talk to someone about my writing process and plans for books face to face, and I can’t wait to read the books she is planning to write. It was a wonderful experience which I’d love to be able to do more often. The staff at Gotham were great too. They were very friendly, and kept us well supplied with water and tea. We went through two bottles of water and two pots of tea, not to mention the delicious food we had for brunch.

Apart from the digression into comics, and a discussion about Tim/Robin/Red Robin and Kon/Superboy, one of the big things that came out of the morning was that we both felt strongly that we needed to do something about a regular meet for MM authors in New Zealand. Given geography and leading busy lives, we’d love to set something up online first with it hopefully leading into the opportunity to meet up in real life. Stay tuned for more on that front, and in the meantime if you are a Kiwi MM author, we’d love to hear from you.

Changes, legacies and thinky thoughts

My basement flooded recently.

It’s a special sort of treat said no one EVER!

So what the heck does this have to do with writing you ask? Well, it turns out quite a bit.

When I moved to this house twelve-ish or so years ago I had visions of using my finished basement in all sorts of grand and glorious ways. I could have a whole other floor of living space. I thought creating a living room and dining room down there would be a great place during the hot summer months. It’s nice and cool, I’d save on my electric bill.

Then the darn thing flooded–every few years. Yeah, that’s soooo much fun I can’t even begin to describe it. My oldest son (thank heavens I had the foresight to give birth to a plumber!) suggested an indoor pool during the last flood. Excuse him, he’s convinced he’s funny.

After this last flood I realized I don’t even like it down there anymore. It was time for a change. I decided I needed to move some of the shelves and furniture and things down there up into my main living space.

One of those pieces of furniture was this cute little dresser.

Since it’d been previously sitting in my basement for a decade plus I decided to go through what was stored in those drawers. Discovered something interesting.

Writers keep A LOT of paper. Lined paper, blank paper, colored paper, no pens just paper–I don’t even write by hand anymore! Some of those papers (and notebooks) had things written on them.

Writerly things.

One of those drawers was filled with different stories I’d written or begun to write. Some were from long ago when I was in school. A few were finished, others were not. I’d venture to say I could look in any closet or filing cabinet I own and find such a stash. These little writing clippets range from not so bad to OMG I hope no one ever sees these!

For the better part of the last six or so years I’ve written almost exclusively on my computer. My research, notes, ideas, visual aids are all on there. I have a few friends who’ve I tasked with the duty that if I drop dead they MUST come wipe my hard drive. I’d die of embarrassment if some of those things were seen by others.

Which is silly, I’d be dead so what’s the difference?

My recent find in that little dresser made me think, what about all that stuff I have written on paper and squirrel away throughout my house?

From a writer standpoint this stuff is awful. Gimme a break some of it was written as early as grade school! That’s not to say the ideas are horrible, some I think I might revisit and use. But the writing–gah, blah!

But then I thought how my kids make comments about my writing. Not what I write, but that I DO write. It’s part of who and what I am. My youngest son has commented numerous times the thing he remembers most about me when he was small was I was always creating stories. Writing them down and later typing them out.

Even if I think these handwritten bits and pieces of stories are horrible is it possible they might become something treasured to my children or grandchildren someday? A memento of who Mom was?

Maybe. I won’t know because of that whole being dead thing.

The fact remains, useful or not, these early stories I created do represent me. I’ve decided I’ll collect them all from their hiding places in the back of closest and forgotten drawers and put them in one place for others to find someday. If my kids don’t want them, they can toss them, no hard feelings and I’ll understand. However, it’ll be their choice. I shouldn’t take the opportunity from them to save something they might find precious and meaningful.

Now, as for the raunchy pictures that are purely research on my hard drive–they gots to go!

Until next month,

Elizabeth

To read the better stuff that is eBook compatible and not handwritten visit my WEBSITE.

 

Defending Your Copyright: What You Need to Know

Recently, I found out the hard way what you can expect in a battle to defend your copyright.

First, let me put a disclaimer here: this information, to the best of my knowledge, only applies in the US. You should check into the regulations within your own country.

summer_fling-200x300I’ve posted extensively on my website about the conflict I got into with Amazon over my right to publish A Summer Fling, but I’ll share the highlights with you here: a short time ago, I updated some information in my bio on a long-standing free short story on Amazon.

The next day, I received an email from KDP saying that prior to my submission they’d received a complaint and takedown notice from a third party and they declined to re-publish the story. A story that had been available for the last three years. I was given four days to prove I was the author of the story in question or face a lifetime ban from publishing on Amazon.

I was aghast. My initial thought was I’d done something wrong with the file changes. I contacted friends, who assured me this wasn’t all that unusual, and that Amazon was getting tougher about establishing copyright due to copyright claim jumping as well as people stealing the pen names of established authors to publish their own stories. Self-published authors may be at greater risk.

This is a good time to state here that in the US, copyright is conferred at the time the work is created, and it is not necessary to register it with the copyright office to claim copyright or even defend that copyright in court. Is *is* necessary, however, if you intend to sue for damages due to copyright infringement. I have since learned that having your works registered will go a long way toward defending your copyright in many cases without going to court–something most of us would probably prefer. I also believe in this age where theft of digital products is on the rise (funny how everyone wants access to the end product but few want to pay the actual creator of these works…), it behooves us as authors to think proactively about our stories.

From the US copyright office:

1. Copyright, a form of intellectual property law, protects original works of authorship.
2. Your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.
3. Registration is recommended for a number of reasons. Many choose to register their works because they wish to have the facts of their copyright on the public record and have a certificate of registration. Registered works may be eligible for statutory damages and attorney’s fees in successful litigation. Finally, if registration occurs within 5 years of publication, it is considered prima facie evidence in a court of law.
4. The United States has copyright relations with most countries throughout the world, and as a result of these agreements, we honor each other’s citizens’ copyrights. However, the United States does not have such copyright relationships with every country. For a listing of countries and the nature of their copyright relations with the United States, see Circular 38a, International Copyright Relations of the United States.

Here is the link for the US copyright office.

That said, I was able to provide Amazon with ample proof that I was the copyright holder of the story. I sent in the original draft (written in 2011), as well as links to where it appeared as a free story online during a fest, and then the 2013 Smashwords creation. I also, for good measure, retroactively registered the copyright and provided Amazon with that case number. Satisfied there was no way anyone could contest I was the author of A Summer Fling, I sent the email and dismissed it from my mind.

Only the next communication changed everything. Amazon no longer disputed that I had written the story. The problem was some third party claimed I didn’t have a right to publish the story. WTH?

This was no longer a case of random copyright theft. The number of potential claimants in this case was quite small. Two as a matter of fact. The first party contacted Amazon on my behalf and received a generic email response that told her nothing.

A fourth refusal from Amazon to re-establish the story included a generous invitation to continue publishing with them in the future–and a suggestion to hire a copyright lawyer. In the meantime, I’d been on the phone with Author Central and KDP, and I’d forwarded Jeff Bezos all my communications with KDP–including a statement from a now-defunct ebook retailer (who happened to have closed doors 24 hours before this problem arose) showing they had no publishing rights to my story. Because now I’m suspicious. Highly suspicious.

And then suddenly, I receive an email from Amazon stating ‘on further review’ they’ve decided to reverse their position and put the story back up again. No explanation. I have no idea if it was my loud persistence, the intervention of one of the two possible claimants, or my contacting Jeff Bezos about the matter that resolved it.

I doubt that copyright registration would have made a difference in this case because this was about publishing rights, not copyrights. But I will definitely be registering my previous and future stories with the copyright office as an extra layer of protection.

I will also download copies of *every* agreement signed to allow distribution of my stories. I was fortunate to still have access to a copy of the ARe agreement, even though I don’t know if they were the source of the conflict.

The takehome message here is to be proactive in defending your works. I was facing hiring a copyright lawyer to determine if a free story was being blocked by accident or a malicious attempt to lay claim to all my self-published stories. You can see why I had to seriously consider hiring that lawyer.

 

Bio:

Sarah Madison is a writer with a little dog, a large dog, an even bigger horse, too many cats, and a very patient boyfriend. When she’s in the middle of a chapter, she relies on the smoke detector to tell her dinner is ready. She writes because it’s cheaper than therapy.

Sarah Madison was a finalist in the 2013, 2015, and 2016 Rainbow Awards. The Boys of Summer won Best M/M Romance in the 2013 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Awards. The Sixth Sense series was voted 2nd place in the 2014 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Awards for Best M/M Mystery series, and 3rd place in the 2105 PGR Reviewer’s Choice Awards for Best M/M Paranormal/Urban Fantasy series.

If you want to make her day, e-mail her and tell you how much you like her stories.

Website: http://www.sarahmadisonfiction.com

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E-mail: akasarahmadison@gmail.com

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Write it and They Will Come by Charley Descoteaux

Hi everyone! Charley Descoteaux here for my monthly column, thanks for joining me. Hope you all enjoyed the holidays and are keeping warm (or cool :)) this crazy January.

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January is when we start working on the goals we made in December. I didn’t do a lot of goal-setting this year, but do have a couple. One is to launch a new pen name: Charli Coty. Eventually everything I write will be under this name, for many reasons. But those reasons aren’t what I’m talking about today.

Part of launching a new pen name—or a first pen name—is a social media presence. Some of us love social media , some loathe it, and most of us are somewhere in between. I like it when I’m having fun, chatting with friends or making cool graphics (when they don’t end up looking like a five year-old made them ;)).

2015-rainbow-rose-facebook-iconBut promotion is hard. When I began establishing the Descoteaux name I worked hard to promote it without going overboard, usually by hosting other authors on my blog and talking about their books. I’m much more comfortable promoting other authors than myself, and didn’t completely crash and burn, so I considered it mildly successful. With Coty, I wanted to take what I’d learned and work smarter, not harder.

Setting up the accounts was easy, but it’s another thing maintaining two complete sets of social media profiles, along with a day job and trying to write. I kept forgetting my Coty presence. With a book coming out Jan. 30 that’s no longer an option, so I came up with a way to give myself the needed incentive to post to my Coty blog at least once a week.

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#QueerBlogWed is like #MondayBlogs (in theory, not in scope :)). Every Wednesday I post something new and Tweet it on the hashtag, and most weeks a handful of Tweeps join me. It’s a fledgling group to say the least but I’ve been posting every Wednesday, so it’s a win. So far we’ve had a lot of snippets from WIPs and posts about yearly goals, book recommendations, and cool places to hang out online.

If you’d like to join us please do—no sign-up necessary—just Tweet a link to a blog post on Wednesdays, use the hashtag, and RT others. The post doesn’t have to be new that day; bring back a golden oldie or a post you’re especially proud of and get it in front of new eyes. Or just read the posts and RT the ones you like! The only two rules are no promo, and the content has to be by/for/about the LGBTQIA+ community. Check out the pinned post at @QueerBlogWed or the hashtag to see offerings from past weeks, but that’s pretty much it!

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The first novel originally released under my new pseudonym will be released by NineStar Press on January 30! It’s a dark paranormal with romantic elements and I hope you enjoy it!

thevisionary-fThe Visionary by Charli Coty

Colin Page, eighteen-year-old community college student, apple polisher and all-around goody-goody, has a secret. He sees things that aren’t there. Unfortunately, the Doc Martens on the floor of the mail vestibule in his apartment building really are there and attached to a dead body. Hunkered over the body is someone Colin had barely noticed before, Private Investigator Al Green. Most people scare Colin, but for some reason, Al doesn’t, even after he reveals that he knows about the hidden reality of their world.

Alonzo Green, despite his low-power mind, is determined to help right the wrongs he unknowingly contributed to. He’s also hopelessly smitten. He knows it’s wrong—probably even dangerous—to enlist Colin’s help with the investigation. And that’s before considering all Al has to fear from Colin’s fiercely protective and powerful mother.

Colin and Al put some of the pieces together, but as soon as one thing becomes clear, the picture changes. The search for the Big Bad takes them from Portland to Tacoma and Seattle, and eventually to San Francisco, but their journey into each other’s arms is much shorter.

Pre-order The Visionary at the NineStar Press store!

Join #RainbowSnippets for sneak peeks at The Visionary and more fabulous LGBTQIA+ fiction!

Keep up with the new me!

Newsletter: https://my.sendinblue.com/users/subscribe/js_id/2m34r/id/1

Blog:  https://charlicoty.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/charli.coty

NineStar Press Author Page: http://ninestarpress.com/authors/charli-coty/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/CharliCoty

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/charlicoty/

 

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