Shara's E Zone

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Archive for the month “July, 2007”

Surfacing from Harry Potter

After just about 24 hours straight (with a few breaks for food, eye health, and sleep), I’ve finished reading the 7th installment of Harry Potter. And I’d love to tell you all about it, but I don’t want to spoil your fun! Plus my eyes are still in recovery…the computer screen’s looking a little splotchy and fuzzy. I’ve avoided all media as I waited to get my hands on the book, because I’d already seen the headlines about spoilers leaked and copies posted on the internet. That’s sad, really. Part of the fun is waiting with everyone else, whether at a party or at home by the mail box, then racing to read it and discussing it together. What fun is it to know first and have to wait and wait to talk about it?

Of course, some of my friends are still on Book 3! No hope for them, I’m sorry to say. They’re more caught up on the movies. Then there’s the hubby who decided to read the last page of the last book. What on earth is the point of that? The book is the experience–that’s why we read. Knowing the ending and nothing else doesn’t satisfy, doesn’t fill your soul, and wash you in emotions. Boy, is this book a wash of emotions!

Yesterday, just before the mail arrived, I started rewatching the 4th Harry Potter movie with my son. He finally watched the first 3 movies in the previous week, so he could go to one of the Harry Potter parties with me. We still haven’t finished the 4th movie yet. I’ve seen the 5th movie, of course, and plan to see it on IMAX as soon as I can. I really liked it. Thought it was the best movie since the first.

Sigh…now all there is to do is wait for the last two movies to be released…and reread the books again and again.



Hurry for some Good Karma!

Check out my News Page for my current giveaway contest, Good Karma. Very easy to enter! Deadline: Aug. 1st! And the July issue of my newsletter is out with a FREE Just for Sizzle read. The link to subscribe is on my News Page as well.


For Authors: EPIC Prez Speaks Out!


Reposted with permission:

Many of you are aware of the recent changes posted by RWA, most notably to me (even beyond the new requirement for advances for all publishers) the classification of all indie/e publishers as subsidy/vanity as per the primary mode of selling books being from a publisher site. I don’t know what rock RWA is hiding its head under, but having a publisher site to sell from, even if you do (and most do) employ other distribution channels, is a laughable and lamentable way to try and define vanity/subsidy presses. Yet again, RWA proves they are completely out of touch with the changing face of publishing today.

Likewise, MWA has revamped their recognition policies to state that all recognized publishers must do a minimum print run of 500 books on all releases, banning print on demand technology completely, even if the publisher routinely sells more than that amount in trade paperback or POD hard bound editions. This has, according to my sources, knocked out a large portion of their recognized list.

For all those affected by RWA’s blatant attempts, yet again, at causing a rift between NY-published authors and reputable indie/e…and for those affected by MWA’s short-sighted response, may I offer the following thoughts?

“A book is a book, regardless of form.” This nugget of wisdom was coined by Karen Woods of EPIC some time ago, and it’s true. All the mind games and politics in the world are not going to change the fact that books are books, whether presented on paper or by using a screen, whether printed 10,000 copies at a time or a single copy at a time. Given the chance to buy a book that sounds interesting to him/her, a reader will purchase it, whether it’s a POD trade paperback or one printed offset. READERS do not care what RWA does or says.

I would add to Karen’s words of wisdom. “Reputable is reputable, no matter how large.” There are NY-publishers that have bad reputations with authors but are recognized and indie/es that have few or no author complaints but are now branded “subsidy” by RWA, therefore unable to be recognized. The recognition list does not ensure ethical behavior on the part of a publisher.

To that end, the EPIC publisher’s coalition is currently working on a code of ethics (in addition to the EPIC model contract already posted on the site) that publishers will (electively) choose to sign, agreeing to certain standards of behavior, much like agents have the AAR.

It is time to re-evaluate why we care what RWA thinks. EPIC was originally organized as a chapter of RWA but quickly decided that wasn’t going to be a viable association. Even at that time, RWA was dismissive of indie/e publishers.

Striking out on their own was, in my humble opinion, the best thing that could have happened to EPIC. Over the years, the corporation has grown more inclusive, taking on every genre of fiction and non-fiction.

EPIC’s professional commitment is focused on only two things: indie publishing and e-publishing of any type, large or small, even those that self-publish. Members are not only published authors but also editors, publishers and other industry professionals.

Unlike RWA, EPIC does not cater to unpublished authors. That doesn’t mean published authors at EPIC are denied the same sort of support and information unpublished received with groups like RWA. Being published does not mean that the author ceases to need this sort of support system, one of the reasons EPIC has taken the road it has. While the EPICon is opened to everyone — published, unpublished or just has an interest in e-publishing and/or writing — the EPIC lists are only for industry professionals and those authors who have at least signed a
contract for publication, print or e.

EPIC is committed to indie publishing and e. Remember that, because it’s become increasingly clear that RWA and some of the other “professional organizations” have no wish to embrace the future. For that reason, it is high time we started asking ourselves why we care what RWA thinks? Or MWA or SFWA, for that matter?

Because they’re professional organizations? They are, but they are professional organizations with a very limited scope. I don’t just mean in terms of genre but also in terms of which authors and publishers they consider worthy of their attention and respect.

It’s time to change that mindset. Indie/e is no one’s follower. We are innovation, breakout technology and breakout books, the industry leader in adopting new and profitable genres. Indie/e does not need professional organizations that are not willing to acknowledge our
strengths. They are, simply put, a liability and nothing more.

Because its nice to have the respect of our peers? I don’t need RWA to have that. First of all, many of my peers are in indie/e. Why would I put money in the coffers of a monolith like RWA? I don’t need their approval. I certainly don’t need their permission.

Neither do I find that the lion’s share of NY authors I’ve met share RWA’s bias against indie/e. Sherrilyn Kenyon, who I might note was originally e-published in indie/e and still releases her books in e-book formats, is a wonderful woman and delightfully free of such prejudice. So is Piers Anthony, who started in NY but currently writes for both NY and indie/e. Piers is a staunch supporter of indie/e and does more to protect authors from unscrupulous publishers than I’ve ever seen RWA do. Even those who, to my knowledge, have never been an indie/e author, like Christine Feehan and Robin D. Owens, are known to be open and friendly to everyone, regardless of their professional affiliations.

So, why do we need to worry about what RWA thinks? Because we want validation that we’re really published? If you’re written and contracted a book, you’re published. “A book is a book, regardless of form.”

Because we want to enter the RITA? Why? No, really…think about that. What is so special about RITA? It isn’t inclusive of a lot of the genres authors want included. RITA is a private endeavor that doesn’t allow everyone, even those with print books sold by the publisher, to enter. It is a closed-group award, because only authors of recognized publishers are allowed to play. Readers don’t care… And it’s expensive. So, what makes the RITA so special?

EPPIE, by comparison, has 23 categories (5 romance (plus YA, GLBT and Inspirational, where romance may be entered if of the type), 4 erotic romance, erotica and Single Title/Mainstream, where heavy crosses and dark romance may be entered). You enter your books in e-book format, so no messing with the fuss and expense of sending paper books. And, the entries do not have to be novel-length. Stories as short at 10K may enter EPPIE. You pay only $20 for members and $30 for non-members to enter. And, it’s inclusive in that you’re competing with everyone with e-books who wishes to enter. We have first time indie/e authors
finaling and winning next to NY books and even NYT Bestselling authors.

In addition, Dream Realm runs a second professionally-judged award for e-books only, those of SF/F/H and cross-genres (YA, romance and erotica) thereof. Entry is only $15 plus an e-book copy to enter. And some of the more reasonable RWA chapter contests, like PRISM from FFP chapter, allow e-books to play alongside NY books, for a cost of $25 for members and $30 non-members…but you have to make print copies of the book to enter. Still, I personally consider PRISM one of the premiere judged awards in existence and very friendly to e-book

So, why would an indie/e author care about entering the RITA? It’s just another award, and readers largely dismiss awards, so it’s for industry recognition and not reader appeal. The industry that prizes the RITA so highly is not indie/e; it’s NY, so what is your focus?
Where should it lie?

Why should we care about what RWA says? What does RWA give back to the indie/e members but continuous scorn and headaches (at the National level, not in the individual chapters)? If RWA’s aim is, as it seems it is, to try and change indie/e to be what they want it to be…to make it a mini-clone of NY, they are going to fail. They may get some publishers to play that game; there are always a few that will, but they certainly aren’t going to get all of us to play it.

And, we shouldn’t play it, because RWA is not focused on us. We don’t even blip on their radar, except as the red-headed step-child that they’d like to send off to our room. Too bad. Indie/e is here and we’re strong…and we’re growing every year.

Just remember that RWA needs members. We don’t need RWA. We don’t need SFWA. We don’t need MWA. EPIC is there, with open arms and open minds. If you would like to experience a professional organization that is focused on your needs, as an indie-print or e-published author or industry professional, EPIC may be the place for you.

The door is always open.

Brenna Lyons
President of EPIC
Permission to forward/repost granted in advance

I’ve been tagged!

Mima tagged me, so I pulled the rules from her Forum at SiN.

Here are the rules:
a. Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves.
b. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed.
c. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

Eight things about me:

1. I was totally moved by the Melissa Etheridge performance at Live Earth.

2. I discovered that blogging about Orlando Bloom or Johnny Depp really draws the hits to my blog!

3. I was painting my record cabinet (remember records?) a vivid blue during the original Live Aid broadcast. Remember Live Aid?

4. I lived in a camper for 4 months while we built our log cabin. Later the camper became a great place to host slumber parties. (There’s much more to this story…)

5. I’ve seen Rick Springfield in concert three times (I think) and I’ve lost count of the Indigo Girl concerts. At least five. Even took my dad to one.

6. It took me way too long to jump on the MySpace bandwagon, but now I’m addicted to seeing how many “friends” I have.

7. I’m planning to catch a late show on opening day of HP5 and I’ve got the 7th book on preorder at Amazon.

8. The first “rock” concert I ever went to was at the Salty Dog in Buffalo to see Parachute Club, and my dad got carded.

Folks I’m tagging:

1. Kathy Kulig

2. Mechele Armstrong

3. Treva Harte

4. Sasha White

5. Celine Chatillon

6. Ashlyn Chase

7. Sabrina Luna

8. Emily Veinglory

Well, that’s it! Hope I did it right!


Happy 4th and Happy Birthday Dear Doggy!

4th  HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA! And while you blow out your candles, I hope you’re wishing for a future of peace.

   But it’s not only America’s birthday today. It’s my doggy’s! And it’s a landmark year for her–she’s 15. Happy Birthday Ana! I know you can’t read and you can barely see and hear now, but you mean a whole lot to me and I can’t imagine life without you.Ana

You see, my dog predates my marriage and my child and my house. Even some of my friendships. I remember bringing her home on my lap when she was such a small and wiggly puppy. In that first week she scuttled out the door sending me on a chase through the apartment complex in my bathrobe. She did a lot of that. She used to shred the Sunday paper until it covered my living room from end to end. She could even open a paper clipped bag of cookies without ripping the box they were in. At the end of my first year with her, I lost my security deposit and my boyfriend.

AnaShe wasn’t responsible for the lost beau, only for the lost security deposit, but it was worth it!

I get sad when I think about her age. One of her vets said he had four cockers who only lived to age 14. I know she’s having a harder time now. She’s lost a lot of weight and a lot of verve, but she’s still the first one under your chair if you have pizza. For a long time my mom thought she was going to be her only grandchild! And she’s been there since the first day my son came home from the hospital. I believe she was wondering what that thing was, why it was so noisy and smelly, and when on earth were we going to get rid of it. *g*

So Happy Birthday Ana-Dog! I’m blowing out the candles for you.


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