Thursday, September 30, 2010

Two Cheers For Senator Patrick Leahy

I'm really torn about this Bill. I read the Effector argument against the Bill, and I read the Copyright Alliance point of view.

Frankly, I have a sense... just a sense... of the "Don't Let A Good Crisis Go To Waste" mentality. However, it is only a Bill, and it is in Committee, isn't it? That's when a bit of common sense ought to be introduced, and draconian provisions should be modified, and unintended consequences ought to be anticipated.

Here's what I originally wrote.

"....the Chairman — who on Monday was the lead sponsor introducing bipartisan legislation targeting rogue pirate sites — equates infringement with theft, and emphasizes the importance of enforcement of creator’s rights."
Written by Patrick Ross

Oops. I see that Patrick was gracious enough to mention my name.

"...And I shared with Chairman Conyers how I had the pleasure of interviewing three artists in Michigan, authors Rowena Cherry (from the Detroit suburbs) and Lillian Cauldwell, and orchestral composer James Aikman."

My thanks to Patrick Ross and Lucinda Dugger for all they do to support creators and artists everywhere across this great land.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"What If..." World-building with Michelle Picard

First, thank you Rowena for hosting me here at your Space Snark blog. I’m off on a race through my month long blog tour to introduce my newest release, Surviving Eden. Surviving Eden is the second in the Eden’s Court series. The first of these books, Ruling Eden, won a second place final in the 2010 PRISM awards this past summer. I have an incredible new video book trailer for the new release if you want to stop by my website ( and take a look on my books page for the link.

The basic premise for these contemporary romance fantasies? What if a modern woman suddenly learns she is heir to the throne of a magical realm hidden in our world and the most powerful magical being on the planet? That’s Rachel’s story (my heroine) as she finds herself in charge and fighting to make peace between vampires, shapeshifters, faeries, witches, demons, angels and dragons. All set to the backdrop of the Garden of Eden.

As a fantasy writer, it’s a no-brainer that I’m in love with the process of world building. I dove into my world of Eden’s Court after developing a common creation myth explaining the joint origins of the seven paranormal races and humanity. I decided to blame it all on Lillith. Name sound familiar? As I sought a home for my paranormal creatures for my story and a place to symbolize the nexus of their creation, it was easy to fall back upon the Judeo-Christian mythology of the Garden of Eden saturating western culture. I knew this would be an easy access point for western readers. I like taking familiar mythology and twisting it to make it just a bit uncomfortable or different for my audience. So what sort of research did I do about Eden to bring this altered version of the mythology to my pages?

In Jewish folklore, Lilith was the first wife of Adam, then banished from the garden when she refused to make herself subservient to him. This story does not appear in the book of Genesis, but even for a non-bible scholar like myself, this mythology was floating in the ether around me. In the original story Lilith is made into a demon figure. She is evil and her tale is reminiscent of original sin and women as evil temptresses. I unequivocally reject these notions and instead have seen the use of the name Lilith by modern Jewish feminists as a positive figure who represents the equality of women to men. In my constant struggle to create morally ambiguous villains, I decided to name the goddess who created life on Earth Lillith (slight tweak to common spelling in the myth). Although not originally identified as a villain in my first story, Ruling Eden, by the start of Surviving Eden it is clear Lillith plays this role. Still, I was not interested in buying into the negative picture of Adam’s first wife. Part of the story arc of the series involves the unveiling of Lillith’s motives and the transformation of this character away from a definition as a “bad guy” to a more complexly motivated entity who is invested and cares in her own alien goddess way. I love that type of transformation. I love it when by the end of a story I have no bad guys left. And not because I’ve killed them off.

In addition to concocting my goddess, I made Eden as magical as I could. I littered it with every known plant possible from every climate, gave it an infinite number of climates, made it shrink and expand as needed, and finally gave it sentience. No apple trees, however. This view of  Eden wasn’t based on research. Research is fun, but I wanted to take the nugget of the picture of paradise and expand that in unlimited directions. I wasn’t satisfied with making it a wholly idyllic place either because I love duality in all things. So murder and mayhem happens in my garden and it’s sentience shrieks out in very unattractive ways. It’s a magically powerful place, which multiplies the strength of any other beings’ magic, but my heroine has a love/hate relationship with it.

In my writing, taking the smallest piece of research brings me a long way when I add my creativity to the mix. It’s a jumping off point, but it tickles me to know something lies at the heart of the new idea, like the folklore tale of Lilith. And like a reference I made to angelic beliefs regarding the Tree of Life, with the image of this tree as part of the garden. (One of the paranormal races I feature in the story are angels.)

I hope you enjoy exploring Eden if you take a look at Surviving Eden or its predecessor Ruling Eden. You can find out more about me and my books at Don’t forget to watch my brand new book video trailer for Surviving Eden. As I said, the link appears on my books page on my website. You’ll find all the ways to contact me on the site in addition.

Be well, and I hope you find your own garden to nurture you. But don’t let it be too idyllic. What’s the fun in that?


Rachel Rieh wields enough magic to make a goddess jealous, or so she learned three weeks ago when she thought she was an ordinary, reclusive, and short-tempered gal from Boston. In this second story of Eden’s Court, Rachel, now the new ruler of the Kesayim, (angels, demons, dragons, faeries, vampires, shapeshifters and witches -- the goddess-created protectors of mortalkind) finds herself faced with the task of stopping vampire hunters from annihilating the vampire race. Her lover, Gabriel, half-angel, half-demon, stands by her side to help if she can escape her obsession with protecting him at all cost.

Earth is already on the verge of destruction within six months because magic is out of balance. The new threat to the vampires destabilizes the situation more. In her race to save the vampires, Rachel meets Lilith, goddess, creator of all Kesayim and humans, and the one with all the answers to Rachel’s problems. But is the cold-hearted goddess intent on changing Rachel into her image the greater threat to Rachel and everyone she loves?


Warning --since this is a PG blog-- the following contains explicit mention of body parts!!!  (Clinical terms)

Moonlight filtered through the windows of my bedroom, softly draping Gabriel’s naked body as he lay next to me on his stomach. His thoughts seemed to be somewhere else entirely. I loved how the pale light played along his flawless limbs, his smoothly muscled body. The silken sheets teased my already sensitive skin. I let my thoughts drift away from my gnawing guilt as I avoided discussion about my date with Colin. As Gabriel relaxed by my side, his aura glowed bright with his pleasure.
I’d given up on trying to shut-off my perception of auras. The dizzying visuals superimposed over everyone’s bodies were now becoming familiar, natural. Gabriel’s included the outline of a pair of wings jutting from his back. Their ghostly image had been present even before he manifested those wings for the first time during his battle with Michael in council.
Tonight was no exception. With downy feathers tucked magically away inside his body, a trick he alone of his angel counterparts could accomplish, his aura reflected their shining outline. The shadow wings were almost as lovely as the real thing.
I couldn’t resist running my fingers down the raised skin on both sides of his back while I lay beside him, my head supported by elbow and hand. I’d convinced myself Gabriel felt shy about the wings. I’d only seen them twice, including the time they manifested. But his hesitation to show them to me hurt. Perhaps he didn’t fully trust me. I dismissed that thought as ludicrous, but it still nagged at me.
My light tracing of the soft, barely perceptible tissue ridges sent pleasant tingles into my hand. His body tensed under the movement of my fingers and I felt his discomfort in the contact. Disappointed with his response, I stilled my fingertips.
“I won’t touch them if you don’t want me to,” I whispered into the hushed night of the room, holding my breath for his reply.
After a moment he relaxed, as if he’d fought through his initial hesitation to some decision. “Please continue,” he said, voice sleepy. “It feels good.”
I smoothed the ridges once again, delighting in the tiny shocks sparking into me. Gabriel’s voice bounced out into the moon-touched room, filling the space with its rich tones, surprising me with its serious intent. “When I was a child I fell asleep most every night dreaming of wings. I hated being born without them.” He paused. “The dream died long ago and I never thought to gain them. Yet… Here I am.”
My breath hitched hearing the pain of the memory in his cautious words. He sounded surprised to be speaking them. Guilt flooded through me for forcing him to expose himself to this hurtful past. Every day he walked into that negotiation room to manage the talks between the angels and demons. It was one thing for me to insist on facing my own memories head-on; another to see someone I loved forced into the same.
Gabriel caught my eyes before I could glance away. “I recognize that look on your face,” he chided. “You are blaming yourself, again.”
I kept my gaze on the window, the shadows of the garden just outside, wishing I could hide the waiver in my voice. “Don’t badmouth a little good old-fashioned guilt.” I tried to joke away his point-on comment. I swallowed past the lump in my throat and the will to give my smart-mouth rein died a sudden death. “My decision puts you in that room with them everyday.” I removed my hands from him, unable to continue my caress.
He shifted on his side, reaching his hand to cradle my face. “Being in that room may be frustrating, but it is valuable to me as well. I feel less need to run from them.”
My indignation surged on his behalf. I wanted to insist that he never ran, but hadn’t I accused him of the same weeks ago? My words had been to the effect that he’d bought into their crap about being an abomination. I’d wanted this experience for him--a chance to put to rest the ghosts that haunted him. I just hadn’t counted on how witnessing his pain during the process would shred my heart.
He smiled as if he’d recognized the play of thoughts and emotions running across my face and valued them. “I did run, in my own way. But being forced to watch the angels and demons confront their issues, I feel less like I am some shameful secret that must be denied.”
“I’m sorry this hurts you,” I blurted, my words choking me. I hated how out of control my emotions became with him. I valued my control.
His voice roughened with irritation. “You never forced me into the room. It was my choice, if you remember.”
“Yeah, but--"
“Do not make less of what I do by claiming responsibility for that choice. I survived hundreds of years making my own decisions before you were even born.”
Gabriel’s tone made my hackles rise for just a moment before I remembered his pain. He had a point, but I wasn’t about to give up on blaming myself in this matter. Call me masochistically stubborn.
His momentary anger dissolved, shifting into an all too different mood. His fingers moved in a caress of my cheek. He was a master at distracting me when he wanted and I’d sullenly noted before how most of the time this was a good thing. “Besides,” his voice lazed, “I need your mind focused elsewhere. It has always been my fantasy to make love to a woman with wings wrapped around us, brushing along our bodies.”
My mouth quirked up as my nipples tightened. “Any woman in particular, or will you just put out a personal ad? Wanted: female with wing fetish. Only those already butt naked need apply.” His chuckle tightened all things lower on me and I shifted on the bed, anticipation licking my skin.

Readers, please follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning.

The tour dates can be found here:

Author friends, please take this fantastic opportunity to observe and learn from Michelle Picard's tour. Check out her interviews and her topics for her articles. See which posts appear to be most successful in terms of the number and length of the comments left by followers and fans.

Anyone who needs creative services: blog tours organized, banners, posters, cover art, book trailers...

visit Marianne and Judy at

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Internet pirates are not happy with President Obama (an author) and Vice President Biden (a well known passionate defender of copyright). Today, I received this (from EFF):
Dear Friend of Digital Freedom,

The U.S. government has made two proposals this week that threaten online speech and privacy in radical new ways. Either one, if passed by Congress, will fundamentally rewrite the rules of the Internet. EFF is fighting hard for your rights and needs your help.

These proposals are the most frightening we've seen in a long time. The first is a bill called the "Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act," which would give the Justice Department new powers to censor websites accused of aiding "piracy." The second is an Obama Administration proposal that would end online privacy as we know it by requiring all Internet communication service providers -- from Facebook to Skype to your webmail provider -- to rebuild their systems to give the government backdoor access to all of your private Internet communications.

EFF is battling these threats to Internet users' privacy and freedom of speech, and we need your support. More than half of EFF's funding comes from individuals like you, and none of our funding comes from government grants. That means that when EFF goes toe-to-toe against government attempts to snatch away your rights, we pull no punches in defending the civil liberties of all technology users and innovators.

Become an EFF member today, and join the ongoing fight for privacy, free expression, and civil liberties on the Internet, as we face down these threats and secure a better future for us all.

On the other hand... (say I)

PayPal makes 0.40c every time some "sharing" Yahoo group manager sells a $2.00 link to authors' in-print, in-copyright books. Why is this allowed? Why are there SEVENTEEN "Bookmix" collections of dozens of copyrighted books, some of which include four recent works by the same author?

I could understand that sharing one book by an author might be good promo, but not an entire series. Does EFF not understand what they are helping to do?

Is it right that YAHOO and PAYPAL have no responsibility for the actions their business model supports and apparently encourages?

Is it right and fair that Club Freebie can charge "a convenience fee" of $2.00 and profit from copyright infringement by pirates? Is it right that Club Freebie can legally hide behind this wording:
"Please note that we are not the 'hosts' of these books, neither did we upload them to any hosting provider. We simply find links to books, that were freely available on the web and share our findings with our members."

'FREELY AVAILABLE'? I wonder whether the publishers agree that these books are "freely available".
"Freely available" is a bland euphemism for allegedly stolen property that could very well be infected with viruses, malware etc.

Nevertheless, they are charging $2.00 to sell links to "freely available" e-books that --it is reasonable to guess-- effing pirates have uploaded to the internet.

This isn't just a single book for promo... this is multiple works. So, if this is LEGAL, the law has to change. The alternative is for the general public to side with authors, and turn in pirates, and generally let it be known that "sharing" is not right or fair.

Here's a copyright alliance petition

Dear Copyright Advocates,

As promised, we seek to keep you updated with news from Capitol Hill that affects your rights as an artist or creator. Read on to find out more about a new bill that is targeting rogue pirate sites. And take this opportunity to make your voice heard!

On Thursday, September 30th, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on legislation that will target web sites that profit from infringing music, movies, books, images, software, and other creative works. These websites don't give a dime to artists. The legislation is called "Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act" or S-3804. It is sponsored by 16 Democratic and Republican senators and its chief sponsor is Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT).

Our online world is now polluted with professional, legitimate-seeming sites that offer a wide array of artistic works for free and are supported by ads sold on the sites. Sometimes these sites even charge subscription fees for access to creative works. NOT A DIME OF THAT MONEY ever reaches the artists who create the work, such as an independent filmmaker we blogged about recently or another independent filmmaker profiled today in The Los Angeles Times. These sites profit from theft, pure and simple.

The legislation would encourage online ad brokers, online payment processors (such as credit card companies) and ISPs to cut off the income flow that feeds this piracy. As comic book author and illustrator Colleen Doran said in her Creators Across America video, "These sites wouldn't be around if not for the dough."

A growing number of artists are banding together to support this legislation. Colleen has used her blog to promote the legislation (here and here). In addition, a coalition of artists has put together an online petition you can use to let your elected representatives know how important it is to keep rogue web sites from profiting from your work. As the petition notes: "The theft of copyrighted works like photography, music, movies, books, software and games is a devastating problem... This rampant theft inhibits the ability of American businesses to invest and innovate -- and stifles the capacity of American artists and creators to earn a living, support their families, and invest in their own creative development."

You might also want to let Senator Leahy know you appreciate the hard work he and his colleagues are doing on behalf of artists.

We'll keep all of you informed as this legislative effort continues.
Lucinda Dugger
Director of Outreach

Monday, September 27, 2010

10 Big Myths about copyright explained

Superbly original, list-style article that anyone could understand. I love it!!!

10 Big Myths about copyright explained

A Bootleg E-Book Bazaar Operates in Plain Sight | Publishing In the 21st Century

With apologies if I have already provided a link to this exposé of for-profit e-book piracy, which is perhaps just heating up after simmering for the last five days.

The anonymous husband of a bestselling author makes some masterful points about Cory Doctorow and Joe Konrath, comparing them to street buskers. I think you might enjoy the post.

A Bootleg E-Book Bazaar Operates in Plain Sight | Publishing In the 21st Century

Best wishes,

Rowena Cherry

Monday, September 06, 2010

Compare and Contrast Blog Tours

I am delighted to announce that I shall be hosting guest blogs on September 29th, and another on October 9th

On Sept 29th, this blog welcomes Michelle Picard, author of Surviving Eden, who is participating in a professional blog tour organized and run by my talented friends at (with whom I do quite a lot of business, and whom I heartily recommend).

Michelle Picard's tour began on September 20th, and runs through to October 15th, and you haven't missed out if you don't start at the beginning. There is no requirement that anyone has to be the first to post a comment. Conversations usually continue for the duration of the tour.

Something to know about professionally run (and DIY) tours is that the more that followers comment, the better their chances of winning whatever prize(s) are being offered. 

A disclaimer: with Goddessfish run tours, the tour host with the most comments will win as well.

The October visit is part of a DIY (nothing at all wrong with that) tour by Cherish D'Angelo to promote Lancelot's Lady. This tour begins on September 27th, and runs to October 10th.

While I may not post actively (because I believe that readers and unmotivated followers ought to have the best chances of winning whatever prizes are on offer), you can be sure that I will be following both authors' tours, comparing and contrasting, and learning.

I think you should, too.

Opportunities to observe, in real time, in the field how two different authors go about their blog tours, what kind of reaction and support they get... well, to quote another popular advert... are priceless!

This space was previously occupied by a really fun link:

Peter's Evil Overlord List: Too clever not to share, IMHO

Peter's Evil Overlord List

Sunday, September 05, 2010

YouTube - Meet Authors Lillian Cauldwell & Rowena Cherry

When Patrick Ross made the film, he warned us that we'd be well and truly pixellated, and we are.

YouTube - Meet Authors Lillian Cauldwell & Rowena Cherry

Some "Like it" votes would be very much appreciated, but to do that, you have to sign in.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Penny Sansevieri on Book Signings Beyond Bricks And Mortar

I subscribe to Penny Sansevieri's newsletter, and I think that you should do so, too. But... for those who don't, here is another excerpt from the most recent newsletter that I find worth sharing, and which I share thanks to the blanket written permission granted at the bottom of each of Penny's newsletters.

Feature Article: Beyond the Bookstore: Holding Book Events in Non-Traditional Venues

If you're tired of hearing "no" every time you try and secure a book signing, take heart. Signings have become a lot more challenging since more books than ever are being published each year and stores are cutting back on events. What's an author to do? If you're hungry for an event and not willing to wade through the endless submission process of a bookstore, consider doing events in non-bookstore markets.
What's a non-bookstore event? Well, obviously it's anything outside of a bookstore but more than that, it's a unique location, likely in your city or town. We've done events at video stores, electronics stores, grocery stores, restaurants, coffee shops, even Hallmark stores. When you start to dig into this market, the possibilities are really endless. It's just a matter of finding a place that will make sense to host your event.
Picking the Right Venue
The first piece of this is picking the right venue. The venue can depend on a few things; first, you might look at the topic of your book to help generate some ideas. We once had an author who wrote a book on wine/movie pairings - pairing the right wine with a movie. I placed this author in a Blockbuster Video and the results were tremendous. I had another author with a computer book and I placed him at a computer store on a busy Saturday afternoon. He sold out of some 65 copies of his book in one afternoon. Another great venue is a Hallmark or some other gift shop. Why? Because people are going to a gift shop or Hallmark for one thing: a gift. Autographed books make great gifts.
Selling the Idea to the Venue
This will take a bit of work because it's likely that the venue has never even entertained the idea of doing an event, let alone an author signing. You'll need to make sure they are clear on the WIIFM (what's in it for me): tell them you'll be promoting the event, marketing it to the media (which we'll cover further on in this article). Make sure they know that you'll handle the book orders (meaning getting the books to the store) if need be.
Yes, there is a lot more legwork involved for these events, but the payoff is huge. You may have to sell the books to them on consignment; what that means is that they take the books and can return to you whatever they don't sell. Encourage the venue, however, to keep a stock in their store after the event in case people come by when you're gone. I've done this before, and nine times out of ten the books never get returned to the author and are sold instead. Also, in many cases the store will often reorder and before you know it, you're part of their inventory.
The other piece to this is to try, whenever you can, not to go through their corporate offices. Much like doing an event at Starbucks (which I've also done) and Hallmark, a pitch to corporate could take weeks and even months to approve. Most stores have the ability to approve from 3-5 events per year, meaning that they can have events at their store without having to go through the corporate offices. Most major corporations do this so that the stores can provide community support without getting bogged down in tedious paperwork for event approval. If you can avoid the red-tape of a corporate approval, do that whenever you can.
Selling the Books
As I mentioned, you will likely have to do a consignment. The inventory part for most major stores gets tricky, and if the books have to be approved for inventory, you'll end up going through corporate again. More red tape. Try to work with the venue as much as you can so you don't have to create an inventory of your books. The upside, however, is that if the inventory process is easy, you will be on their reorder list for the future!
Marketing the Event
This is the easy part, believe it or not. Local media loves local authors and while that's a good foot in the door - the unique venue location will virtually seal the deal. Market yourself to media well in advance of the event and then again the event day. Also, if you're doing an event in a mall, see if you can get the other stores to participate by doing bookmarks or bag stuffers. Bag stuffers, by the way, are a great way to help the store market your event. You could also do a custom bookmark. With printing so cheap these days, it might be easier to have event-specific bookmarks made up that you can give to the store to help them push the event to their patrons.
Make sure you get the store OK first, before you hand them bag stuffers and bookmarks. Also ask if you can create a poster that includes your book cover and the event information. See if you can get a placement on the venue website and perhaps a notification sent to their mailing list. Unlike bookstores that crank out author events all the time, a unique venue that doesn't see author events all that much will be much more receptive to promotional ideas.
More Venue Ideas
Once you take your eye off of the bookstore focus, the opportunities for book events are endless. Consider the following: street fairs, farmers markets, gyms, yoga studios, wineries, art stores, Starbucks, coffee shops, restaurants, grocery stores, airports. Yes, I said airports. I've traveled a great deal and almost every time I go through the San Diego airport, Dallas Fort Worth or San Francisco, I see an author signing their books. Look out for this: if you're not paying attention you could miss it while rushing to catch your flight.
Other Benefits to Doing Non-Bookstore Events
The benefits of these types of events are pretty significant, especially if speaking and events are part of your marketing tool kit. Book events held in these exclusive markets will not only take you off the track of competing for space in a bookstore, but because they are unique they will draw much more attention both from the media and readers.
Having a traditional book signing is always great. It will help you get into the bookstore market and might even get your book on their shelf. But if bookstores aren't open to an event, don't let that discourage you from planning one. Being unique will not only help you gain more attention, but it will help to keep you out of the rejection funnel that often comes from competing in a high-traffic market. Also, venue events outside of bookstores are a fun way to build an audience, get your feet wet doing events and speaking and grow your career as an author!

Make Your Mark Online

Ready to make your own *big* impression online? We've had a *huge* success story I'm dying to share with you. A recent campaign we did got the author on PAGE 1 of Google out of 115 million competing web pages, and the best part? He wasn't even on Google when we started. If you're ready to get found online, consider one of our Red Hot Internet Marketing campaigns. Email us today for more information:

Need Book Marketing Content?
Visit the articles page on our AME website and you'll find a range of articles by Penny, which may be used along with her byline (provided at the top of the page). The complete list is at

Reprinted from "The Book Marketing Expert newsletter," a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques.