Tag Archives: traditional

Authors: What to do if Your Book gets Pirated

There is not a lot of recourse against the site itself, especially if the site is out of the country. If the web hosting site is U.S.A., you can send a DMCA take down letter to the web hosting site. They are under pressure to break the links of sites performing copyright infringement. You are also required to share some personal information in the letter which you should do with the hosting company NOT the offending site.

How do you find the site hosting company?

You can search domain registration on whois.com at: http://www.whois.com/whois/

Once you find the web hosting site look for their contact info or legal contact. This is usually an email address link.

Gene Quinn has a sample letter you can personalize (copy and paste into email) and send to the hosting company:


You will need the offending site’s URL for your work. Once you get that GTFO. Don’t attempt to download your book.

Advise all readers you know to avoid these pirating sites as they are known to send viruses, plant adware, spyware and do phishing scams for more personal information.

Often, if you use site buttons to make contact with the site itself, your IP will be blocked. It is best not to engage the site, but go directly to the web hosting site.

This information comes courtesy of:  Law Office of Cynthia Conlin, P.A.
1643 Hillcrest Street
Orlando, FL 32803
Tel: 407-965-5519
Fax: 407-545-4397

One thing you can do to help protect yourself is set up a Google alert with your book title(s) and author name.

Yes, it is true, retail platforms should tighten up their security, but this is pretty much all we can do in the meanwhile.

Sunday Synopsis: WIP

I have thrown myself well into this WIP this week and I don’t plan on doing anything else next week beyond tossing a few chemicals in the pool and maybe working a couple of days doing wellness clinics, so I don’t think a bullet list of my progress is necessary to explain where I am.

There is a whole discipline dedicated to the study of relationships. It is called Sociology.

Psychology focuses on the individual and Sociology focuses on how these individuals relate to one another, whether independently or in groups.

My apologies in advance to all of you romance genre writers, I admire you (more and more everyday) but I really don’t like reading romance novels. I know the romance genre is a HOT TOPIC, but most of them bore me. I will read them if there is meat to the story beyond the relationship…a political conflict, a societal issue, a history to be discovered. I want some substance in my reading that speaks to a higher intellect. I don’t mean to sound snooty, but I can’t deny that I prefer literary or historical fiction over genre fiction.

I actually enjoy high minded ideals dissecting the human condition or creating timeless portraits of complex and interesting characters — in other words, I’m talking about going out and committing “literature,” whatever that might be.

The good stuff almost always works, first and foremost, viscerally. We are drawn into it because something there speaks to our deeper selves, gets inside us and takes hold.

Fiction always has to sneak past the barriers our intellects erect, because (by virtue of the label “fiction”) we know that the stories we’re being told are fabrications. We call this feat of mental gymnastics “willing suspension of disbelief,” and good writers tend to help us accomplish it in two ways: by making their fiction as plausible as possible, and even more significantly, by blazing through the brain and going for the gut.

But I am not normal.

My relationships have not been normal.

After a bizarre childhood, I was in therapy with a sociologist from 1979 to 1996 coming to terms with being married to a gay man who had a domineering mother. I have no qualms about that relationship, I came out of it a whole lot better off than I was when I went into it. But it was different.

I am writing a novel about two sisters who are not normal.

They are coming of age, though, in a society that has emphasis on traditional values, and at least giving the sense of an image of normalcy.

I have managed, I think, to show the relationships of the sisters to each other, their parents and authority figures, their community, but now they have reached the point of developing intimacy with the opposite sex.

So far, going between the two points of view in a fused third person perspective has worked quite well, but it seems to be seriously slowing things down at this point. I am now boring myself with the mundane and somewhat tedious task of developing these romantic relationships.

I am recalling the words in a very critical editorial review of my last novel concerning Sybil and Nathan: That I, “Rushed plot development,” through their relationship. (Which was brief, and not the gist of the story line.)

The reader did not feel as if I devoted enough time and effort into developing a meaningful relationship between the two before they were intimately involved, and then terminated their relations too abruptly. God forbid casual sex occur a few times between two consenting adults in their twenties out of curiosity.

There was a reason for that in RC&R, because Sybil was Bohemian, a free spirit, independent minded, and non-traditional. Part of what was to make that clear was how she reacted in relationships. It was 1954, and her behavior in that community was not supposed to be what one would consider acceptable or correct.

Again, we are in the late 1950’s.

Now I have these two sisters. One is involving herself in what would be considered an acceptable relationship, albeit a bit earlier that her elders had hoped.

The other is involving herself in a relationship that is clearly inappropriate. It is part of what will define her as abnormal by those standards that were in place in her community.

My dilemma, you ask?

I am boring myself into tears with the tedious task of painstaking plot development that I don’t find pleasant reading or writing.

I don’t like romance novels.

They are in relationships.

There is—must be—romance.

I want the walls to come crashing down!

I want to get on with the story!

Anyway. That’s where I am.


I hope you had a good week and have a good week in front of you.

Flowers from sky to earth just because it is springtime and they are pretty.
Flowers from sky to earth just because it is springtime and they are pretty.


Stand Alone or Series

This is a comparative post about two different story lines and how they would best be served, the feedback I received on writing my last novel and the feedback I have received on writing my current novel (s). Therein lays the dilemma.

I will try not to ramble. These are thoughts floating around in my head, so they may come out a bit disorganized. My head is like that.

If you have read “Red Clay and Roses” this will make much more sense to you, but you should be able to follow the idea even if you have not. “Red Clay and Roses” really turned out to be a family saga. It was; however forced into one book which covered a long time period. Being a fictionalized true story presented challenges. I did not want to deviate tremendously from what actually occurred.

Not setting out to write a novel, I wrote the book the way the events actually happened:

The Introduction: In 2012, Hannah recalling finding the ledger in 1992.

Part One: The interviews of interesting people involved in what occurred in the 1950s and 60s that took place in 1992-93 when Hannah found the ledger.

Part Two: Followed that with the story learned from Sybil, a cousin of Hannah’s who was deeply enmeshed with ledger and those people involved in the 1950s and 60s. This story that was gleaned from her diaries was put together in novel form rather than as diary entries.

Then, the conclusion, again in 2012, was derived from Hannah’s personal experience in bringing her lost family members together after so many years.

The problem here is that Hannah is a main character, but is not even born until 1960. She should have never been a main character. In fact, she might not have been involved at all until 2012 when she pulls the strands of the family together in a most hopeful outcome.

I struggled with determining main characters from the get go. Whose perspective did I want this book written in? I wrote it in Hannah’s because that was the perspective that I could most personally relate to. Part One ended up being written in first person and Part Two was written in third person. We go back to first person in the conclusion.

While the family saga played out nicely as a story line, the writing styles were fucked up. They muttled the story line making things somewhat confusing to follow. There was an enormous amount of ground to cover as cohesively as possible from 1953 to 2012. The back story derived from the interviews, which I read two opposing viewpoints on just today, could have easily been used for character development. The story could have started in 1953, culminated in 1971, with the finale in 2012. Instead, I have these two characters, Moses Grier and Ms. Bea, the good doctor’s wife, ancillary characters actually, relating events that occurred in their lives in the 1930s and 1940s. How fucked up is that?

So, the severe critique that I received recently has me thinking about the main character’s importance. I used the good doctor as an ancillary character, when he could have very well been the main character. I don’t know if I would have done a trilogy as the critique suggested, but approaching the story from that angle could have certainly simplified much of the story. There would have been a lot less unnecessary information, and the other characters would have been strengthened in their roles as they related to him.

Okay, this is all hindsight. I won’t be re-writing this story. I have no plans to turn it into a trilogy. But the critique has me thing about my current work.

“Red Clay and Roses” is a very good book, if you have the intelligence to process the purpose of Ms. Bea’s psychosis into how it relates to the storyline, and Moses’ grief and how it relates to the story line. Covering such a long time span from 1953-1971 in the bulk of the story was an enormous amount of information in a 445 page book. The pace was good and there was a lot of action (certainly not the kind that has flying unicorns with stars shooting out of their rainbow colored wing tips). It is a deeply reflective story, powerful and thought provoking.

I can’t expect all readers to have that sort of mind. Especially with all of the simplistic formulaic “book mill” material people are producing and reading these days, both traditional and independent.  True literature is fast becoming a dead horse. People don’t want to think deeply, they want TV action.

I am; however, looking at my current work in progress and trying to assure I don’t make similar mistakes with the character development. I am also trying to decide if I need to do this as one book or; perhaps, a trilogy.

I feel a need to say something here: I don’t write, nor do I plan to write mainstream genre fiction!


While there are many traditionally published books that I love, there are also many independently published books that I love. There are traditionally published books that I have laid down and could not finish and there are independently published books that I have set aside.  I don’t feel that traditional is synonymous with quality. I also don’t feel that traditional publishing is synonymous with success. I have known many amazing and talented musicians who never cut a recording deal. Does that make them any less talented or amazing?

There is a lot wrong with traditional publishing in my opinion. It has become far too formulaic and genre specific for marketing purposes. It has become a commercial industry losing its value in the area of creativity. Industry standards govern production to a point where authors are telling authors what is right or wrong about their product based on genre specific sales data, rather than literary merit. I don’t mean helpful writing advice or suggestions, but how to make it fit into a marketable box.  The tired, but tried and true, heroes and heroines with their happy endings in romance, and the criminals/villains with no color captured by the enterprisingly clever crime fighters bore me to tears. But they sell tons.

Are you trying to write an overnight marketable product or are you trying to develop great literature? Truly great literature, like Charles Dickens and Mark Twain, Anne Rice and John Grisham, Tolkien and Rowling started as something much smaller than a best seller. There are many pieces of great literature that are only one book. Here are ten popular books by authors who never wrote more than one book:

1 Dead Medium 
by Peter John
2 Shadow Hills
by Anastasia Hopcus

3 To Kill a Mockingbird 
by Harper Lee

4 Wuthering Heights 
by Emily Brontë
5 The Picture of Dorian Gray 
by Oscar Wilde

6 Gone with the Wind 
by Margaret Mitchell
7 The Catcher in the Rye 
by J.D. Salinger

8 The Bell Jar 
by Sylvia Plath

9 Black Beauty 
by Anna Sewell
10 Doctor Zhivago 
by Boris Pasternak

Maybe I am in this thing for the wrong reasons. I don’t have a writing career objective.

I write with passion for the pure pleasure of writing.

I read volumes of historical fiction. I like learning about different time periods while I read. The stories are varied and colorful and often have unpredictable outcomes. My husband reads volumes of crime novels. He can always predict the outcome, but he has gotten bored with the traditionally published novels. He reads two or three a week and it is the same story told ten thousand ways. Good guys catch bad guys. If it weren’t for some regional authors, he would have given up on them long ago. He is starting to branch out into some interesting independent work that has him fascinated. Misha Burnett’s series is an example. I am proud of them both. Misha for writing such a captivating set of books, and my husband for giving them a try.

Now that I have rambled off topic for a few paragraphs, let me get back to my point. The trilogy idea.

This new work in progress is also a family saga of sorts. It also takes place in the 1950s and goes into the 1990s, so I am seriously thinking of breaking it into a three book series, not necessarily for marketing purposes, but because of the time span involved. I don’t want to rush or gloss over important relationships.

Not being altogether a true story, there is no inherent need to lay it out as it happened. Book One will cover Claudette and Carol coming of age struggling through a sordid past and dealing with the humiliations of mental illness.

Book Two will cover Carol’s suicide, Claudette’s dealing with the suicide and her healing process that involves helping others heal through music.

Book Three will cover Claudette’s own daughter’s suicide and how she processes through that while guiding her niece through the loss of her cousin who seemed like a sister to her as they grew up together and both became professional nurses; the latter book giving me opportunity to write my own autobiography contribution of sorts that I have been working on as a side project, and including my story in theirs.

This might actually lead to a Book Four.

I don’t intend to do this for marketing purposes, but to write three or four compelling novels that stand as a series. I would not release one, until I had all three or four ready for release. We are talking years down the road, but what do I have but time? I am not paying any bills here.

If you have managed to follow this long ramble on my disordered thought process, what do you think, stand alone or series?

Another question, and one I struggle with in all of my writing, what person to write in?

In a series, do I need to stay with third person if I start with third person?

Creative Expression to Collectively Open Minds

My soon-to-be four year old granddaughter refuses to try to color in the lines. She hates coloring books, but loves to draw and paint freehand. These are birds flying in the air:

Her daddy is an artist and these are a few of his works:

Misha Burnett did a post today that got me thinking about art, music and writing….mostly creativity, whether traditionally or independently produced.

Take art.

Jackson Pollock, Picasso and Rembrandt. All three different styles. All three with their own audience…all styles that were copied.

There are those who swear only their preferred style of art is worthy. Yet there are those art critics who can appreciate the variety of all three.  It is the unique expression of creativity from the soul that makes them worthy.

Take music.

Again, tastes vary tremendously. The people who enjoyed this:

Often Detested This:

And many who loved this:

Thought this was absurd:

Yet they all have had an audience. Many can appreciate all forms of music.

It’s all good. Influential artistry.
It demonstrates our collective creativity.

Now, more than ever, writers have an opportunity to express their creativity.

Dare to be Different!

Writing is like art and music. Along with specific genre choices, people develop an expectation of what is acceptable to them regarding writing style, content, voice, person, POV, execution techniques, formatting choices. When we deviate from that which is expected, we break out of a traditional mold and become creative. Breaking from tradition always carries risks. But, is creativity a bad thing or a good thing? I personally believe creativity is an awesome thing, a powerfully liberating thing…provided the artist, in this case the writer, can attract the right audience. Find your audience.

There are always going to be critics who don’t like your work. It is written in the “wrong” person, the prose is too flowery, the characters didn’t develop “properly”, and the ending was not satisfying. I have been reading reviews of great classics and people are making the same complaints about them as they are contemporary works, because everyone is a master in their own mind.

Industry standards are often creativity killers.

Be your own master.

Don’t be an industrial slave unless you choose to be.

Write what you are passionate about. Write how you feel it. Write in the way that is comfortable to you. Write what comes naturally. Don’t force your writing into a mold.

Sure, edit properly. Follow the rules that govern language and grammar, but don’t be afraid to deviate. Don’t be afraid to be creative. Sing your own song. Color outside the lines if it pleases you.

Can you think of books that opened your mind that were written differently than the traditional novel?

“The Color Purple” by Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize winner, comes to mind.

Ursula K. Le Guin challenged the world with her mix of fantasy and sci-fi at a time when to deviate was simply unacceptable.

“The Book Theif” by Markus-Zusak, published by Random House, is an historical fiction that was narrated by Death, and is a book for teens and adults, with nearly 8000 positive reviews.