Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for September 10th, 2011

Just Reviewed Candace Camp’s “An Affair Without End” at SBR

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Tonight’s SBR review was for Candace Camp’s AN AFFAIR WITHOUT END.  This was one of the most fun Regency romances I’ve read in quite some time, a romance that reminded me in some ways of Rosemary Edghill’s excellent TWO OF A KIND (now lamentably out of print), possibly because the dialogue was outstanding, the detailing was very fine, and the art and craftsmanship of Ms. Camp was fully on display.

So without further ado, here’s the link:

http://shinybookreview.wordpress.com/2011/09/10/candace-camps-affair-is-one-fun-regency/

Enjoy! 

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** P.S. I am hoping that Ms. Edghill will be able to put all four of her fine Regencies back out there soon, though I’ve heard nothing about it.  I will keep you posted if I hear anything, however; those novels are so much fun, and are so well done, that they deserve to be widely read as often as possible.  (Aside from this book by Ms. Camp, I’ve read nothing by any contemporary author that comes close to Ms. Edghill’s art, craftsmanship, dialogue, and knowledge of the Regency time period.)  Ms. Edghill also has two collaborations with the late SF grandmaster André Norton, that are best described as “alternate Regency/fantasy.”  The first of these was THE SHADOW OF ALBION with the second being CAROLUS REX; these two, too, are well worth seeking out.

Written by Barb Caffrey

September 10, 2011 at 10:53 pm

Questionable Moves from Roenicke; Brewers Drop Fifth Straight

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Ron Roenicke, again tonight, made me question whether he has any in-game managerial skills at all.

Here’s the situation.  After John Axford pitched a solid ninth, which kept the Brewers tied 2-2, Roenicke sent up Nyjer Morgan for Carlos Gomez in the bottom of the ninth.  This was a safe move that unfortunately didn’t pay off, but I was glad he tried something.  Next, Roenicke sent Taylor Green up to bat for Axford rather than the much more reliable pinch hitter, Mark Kotsay; Green made a rather predictable out.  Finally, Jonathan Lucroy, batting ninth as he’d pinch hit for Randy Wolf in the 7th (Wolf, by the way, pitched quite well tonight, but took a no-decision), made another extremely predictable out.

So we go to the top of the tenth.  LaTroy Hawkins comes in to pitch for the Brewers, and he didn’t do badly as a pitcher.  However, he made a very poor fielding play — something that I know isn’t Roenicke’s fault, mind you, and something I’m sure Hawkins wish he hadn’t have done — and it allowed the Phillies to score the go-ahead run.

Now it’s the bottom of the tenth.  Corey Hart, the lead-off hitter, walks.  Mark Kotsay was in the on deck circle for the second time in the game, and was once again pulled back in favor of Craig Counsell.  Everyone watching the game knew Counsell was sent up to bunt, and he did on the second pitch; it was a beautiful bunt that advanced Corey Hart to second.

So here’s our situation.  We have a runner on second (Hart) with one out.  Ryan Braun comes up to bat.  He strikes out.  (It happens, even to good hitters.)  Prince Fielder comes up to bat.  He is intentionally walked (this, I knew, was going to happen, too; Fielder leads the league in intentional walks with 29).  Which brings up Casey McGehee, who hasn’t had a good year, but did have an RBI and one run scored in this game.

I don’t know about any other baseball fans, but I know I was screaming for Roenicke to put Kotsay up there to bat for McGehee.  If Kotsay could’ve gotten a hit, that would’ve more than likely have scored the speedy Hart, and remember, Counsell had already PH in the inning so he could’ve played defense at 3B at the top of the 11th if the Brewers had managed to get that far.

But no . . . Roenicke does nothing but allow McGehee to take his at-bat.  Worse yet, Yuniesky Betancourt was in the on-deck circle rather than Mark Kotsay — Betancourt is another light-hitting infielder who’s had at best a so-so year, and lacks McGehee’s power — so if McGehee had been patient and taken a walk (he was ahead in the count, 3-0, at one point), the Brewers would’ve had another guy up there who had no business being there in a clutch situation — Betancourt.

Instead, McGehee did something rather predictable; he hit a weak ground ball to third, and Hart was forced out.  Game over.

Look.  If the Brewers are to advance to the post season, as I know every Brewers fan wants, Roenicke needs to start managing every single game like it’s the seventh game of the World Series.  He needs to make good choices for pinch hitters (he did make one good choice earlier in the game by pinch hitting Rickie Weeks; I was glad to see him play.  Weeks drew a walk, and was immediately lifted for a pinch runner, Josh Wilson.), he needs to make good choices and pull pitchers out of there when they’re struggling (he never should’ve left Gallardo out there to get shelled against the St. Louis Cardinals last week; he shouldn’t have left Wolf, a few starts ago, out to get shelled against the Cardinals when the Brewers were playing at home).

So here we are.  The Brewers “magic number” to get in the playoffs stands at 11.  The Cardinals won again tonight, and the Brewers lost their fifth straight game, which means the Brewers now have a six game lead over the Cardinals with fifteen games to play.  And the Brewers have lost their second consecutive series, and their third series out of the last four, because Roenicke doesn’t pull his starters fast enough on the one hand (he should’ve pulled Marcum out sooner last night, too; this is one of Roenicke’s patterns) and sends up either the wrong pinch hitters or refuses to pinch hit for light-hitting Brewers regulars like McGehee or Betancourt when he still has someone like Kotsay sitting on the bench.

From this Brewers fan out into the ether: Roenicke, please get your head out of your nether regions and realize the Brewers might not make the playoffs, especially if you keep making bad managerial decisions.  You need to start managing like it’s the last inning of the last game in the World Series, or the Brewers won’t even sniff the postseason.  (You shouldn’t need a long-time fan like me to point that out, either, if you’re half the baseball man you think you are.)

About Self-Publishing from two examples; Kiana Davenport and Ric Locke

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Today it’s time to talk about self-publishing — the good, and the bad.

First, unfortunately, is something bad that happened due to self-publishing (which is, in and of itself, a generally good thing writers do when they’ve exhausted all other avenues of getting their books or stories out).  Kiana Davenport, a writer with many awards and sales to her credit, had a novel scheduled to come out in 2012 with a “Big Six” Publisher (she doesn’t, or can’t, name which one), but that contract was canceled after Ms. Davenport self-published two collections of short stories the very same publisher didn’t want.  (Hat tip to Sharon Lee, who posted about this on Twitter and Facebook.)

Here’s the link, and a relevant (unfortunately quite lengthy) quote from Ms. Davenport’s blog:

In January, 2010,  I signed a contract with one of the Big 6 publishers in New York for my next novel.  I understood then that I,  like every writer in the business, was being coerced into giving up more than 75% of the profits from electronic sales of that novel, for the life of the novel.   But I was debt-ridden and needed upfront money that an advance would provide. The book was scheduled for hardback publication in August, 2012,  and paperback publication  a year later.  Recently that publisher discovered I had self-published two of my story collections as electronic books.  To coin the Fanboys,  they went ballistic.  The editor shouted at me repeatedly  on the phone.  I was accused of breaching my contract (which I did not) but worse, of ‘blatantly betraying them with Amazon,’ their biggest and most intimidating  competitor.  I was not trustworthy.  I was sleeping with the enemy.

My lawyer  quickly pointed out that the  first collection, HOUSE OF SKIN, PRIZE-WINNING STORIES,  had been e-published  in December,  before I signed the contract with the publisher,  so they immediately targetted the second collection, CANNIBAL NIGHTS, PACIFIC STORIES, Volume II, published recently in July.

Most of the stories in both collections had  each been published several times before,  first in Story Magazine,  then again in The O’HENRY AWARDS  PRIZE STORIES anthologies,  the PUSHCART PRIZE stories anthologies,  and THE BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES, 2000, anthology. And, over  several years  both collections had been submitted  to each of the Big 6 publishers in NY.  I still have their rejection letters,  including one from the house I was now under contract with.  So you might say these stories were, in a sense,  recycled,  sitting  in my files rejected.  Yet,  as published collections,  this Big 6  publisher  suddenly found them threatening.

So, here  is what the  publisher demanded.  That I immediately and totally delete CANNIBAL NIGHTS from Amazon, iNook, iPad, and all other e-platforms.  Plus,  that I delete all Google hits mentioning me and CANNIBAL NIGHTS.  Currently,  that’s about 600,000 hits. (How does one even do that?)  Plus that I guarantee in writing I would not self-publish another ebook of any of my backlog of works until my novel with them was published in hardback and paperback.  In other words they were demanding that I agree to be muzzled for the next two years, to sit silent and impotent as a writer,  in a state of  acquiescence and, consequently,  utter self-loathing.

Note that Ms. Davenport is fighting back, as well she should.  Because to my mind, this sort of attitude makes no sense whatsoever; if Ms. Davenport’s short story collections do well in any format, anywhere, that can only help raise the name recognition for her novel in 2012.  And while I realize the “Big Six” publishers are nervous and don’t seem to completely understand the e-book revolution, why on Earth don’t they realize that any publication in any format, especially from an award-winning writer, can only help them down the line?

This is a short-sighted, self-serving attitude at best, and completely stupid at worst, from the “Big Six” publisher in question, which is why I’m making sure that anyone who reads my blog knows about this as a possibility with regards to self publishing, even though I hope it will not happen again to anyone else due to the utter stupidity of this happening at all. 

Ms. Davenport has the right to earn a living; it is absolutely, positively wrong for any publisher to try to keep her from doing so.  Period.  (And if you want to help her earn some money this quarter — I have no money or I’d throw some her way — go buy one of her short story collections, here or here.  That’ll help her, and spite her idiotic “Big Six” publisher, all at the same time — the very definition of a win/win.)

My hope is that by writing about this, and all the discussion of it (here, at Ms. Davenport’s blog, at Passive Voice, by Sharon Lee, and by many, many others) has to help get the word out that some publishers are just plain crazy.  And that “sisters have to keep doing it for themselves.”  (Or brothers.)

Now, on to a very good example of self-publishing that has worked well.

Ric Locke, who was a good friend of my late husband Michael, self-published his novel, the milSF TEMPORARY DUTY, at Amazon.com and other places.  (Here’s the link to his book at Amazon.)  Locke dedicated it to Michael, which I greatly appreciated once I found out about it (through correspondence with Locke, which I didn’t see for months due to not checking my e-mail as regularly as I should).**  I’ve read Locke’s novel — it’s excellent, and I don’t say that lightly — and believe it should’ve been picked up by someone in the mainstream, mainline publishing world.  But since it wasn’t, I’m glad he published it himself.  So far he has around 11,000 downloads since he put it up at the end of May of 2011, and that’s great.  98 reviews to date at Amazon.com, too — most of them positive.

All of that said, I’m still a bit leery of self-publishing even though I have seen it work for Ric Locke and have seen it work for a few other friends.  But it has become a worthy option for many, and it’s much better to have good novels like Locke’s coming out somehow rather than being forced to the sidelines because none of the “Big Six” liked what Ric was doing.

So, there you have it.  Self-publishing is how more and more authors are making a go of it to attempt to pay the bills, and it’s here to stay.  So let’s hope that whichever publisher Ms. Davenport was dealing with will get with the program and realize that, as the old adage says, “A rising tide lifts all boats.”

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** Note that Michael helped to edit Ric Locke’s novel.  (Which should tell you how long Locke tried to get his novel published before finally taking the plunge and publishing it himself, as Michael has been dead for nearly seven years.)  I read it and commented, too, but compared to Michael’s comprehensive efforts, it was nothing.