Transphobia and homophobia are major issues IRL, but I rarely, if ever, include them in my stories. My portrayals of homosexuality in the context of my fictional societies are idealized, I won’t front. (I can’t speak to trans* characters because I haven’t written any(1), but I can tell you that I’d probably do something similar.)
I’ve heard it said more than once that excluding transphobia or homophobia from fiction isn’t realistic, even in fantasy (which is my first and true love; coffee, I’m sorry, you’re taking a backseat) and other non-contemporary genres.
I think that’s horseshit. (I’d say pardon my language, but fuck that noise. ;3) To say that a world cannot be realistic unless there’s some segment of society that rails against LGBTQ persons in vicious and often violent ways is absolute horseshit. I write my worlds without transphobia and homophobia because I believe that’s something to aspire to, that’s something societies can be capable of, be they fantasy or contemporary.
When I was younger, I was teased a lot (not viciously, but normal kid stuff). I was shy and introverted, and my escape was my books. I loved seeing new worlds where silly things like weight and clothing and that sort of thing didn’t matter. It’s important to have books that deal with transphobia and homophobia, but I feel it’s equally important to have books that show places and times where it’s not an issue.
Books that normalize LGBTQ characters, that show them as primarily a king, primarily a mage, primarily an accountant, and oh yeah, they’re trans*/lesbian /bi/etc. are, to me, just as important as those that deal with the wrongs of society. That’s what LT3 is aiming for, and that’s why I write what I write.
(1) Footnote! I’d love to write a trans character, but quite frankly, I don’t have the guts. I’m entirely and thoroughly cis-gender and I’m not sure I could do a trans* character justice. Maybe one day I’ll have the courage and ability to make it work. In the meantime, I’m going to search harder to find and support the awesome work that’s already out there.
Definitely go and check out the rest of the Hop posts; they’re sure to be poignant and much better written than my little, non-scholarly thing. ^__^
Okay, so, giveaway. I’m offering up (1) a $50 donation in your name to The Point Foundation, an LGBTQ scholarship foundation that provides financial support to at-risk gay and lesbian students and (2) an ebook from my backlist, in the format of your choosing, anthologies included.
Winner will be picked at the conclusion of the hop using random.org. If you’re reading this on my LJ, please hop over to my website to post a comment, as I’ll only be picking from the website comments. To enter, please include your email address and what your absolute favorite LGBTQ story is. (You can leave multiple comments, FYI, on the off chance you forget something, but I’ll only count you once. ^__^)
I was told there’d be no math! :3 (Stealing that line shamelessly from LT3′s CFO. ;3) Before I get started on this topic, I’m meaning this to be informational. A lot of peeps know third-party vendors take a cut, and I’m putting solid numbers out there for those who are curious about the exactitudes of that cut. ^__^
Okay, so LT3 supplies our books to eight or so third-party vendors. Third-party vendors get us more exposure and make people more inclined to buy our books while they’re doing their other shopping (typically for books from other publishers). Sort of like the way WalMart and other stores picked up the super center model with groceries, general merch, and pharmacy and the like.
A rundown of LT3′s third party vendors:
Barnes & Noble
(We also do Smashwords, but their system is extra special complicated so for simplicity I’m skipping that one.)
Let’s start with Amazon. If the book is priced between $2.99 and $9.99, they’ll give you 70% of the list price. If it’s less or more, you get 35%. But wait! Amazon distributes to a bunch of different countries (think Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.com.br, etc.) If you don’t exclusively distribute with Amazon (the KDP Select program), you can only get 35% of the price in India, Japan, and Brazil. There’s no 70% option there.
Barnes & Noble has a similar tier setting. If your book is between $2.99 and $9.99, they’ll give you 65% of the list price. Anything else, you get 40%. No ifs, ands, buts here, just two simple tiers.
iTunes is simple and complicated. They give us 70% for all books, regardless of price. However! You have to match their price tiers. This is pretty easy for USD prices, as their price tiers pretty evenly match ours (everything must end in .99), but gets trickier when you start to do conversions to Euros, GBP, etc. >_<
Kobo also does tiered percentages. If you're between $1.99 and $12.99, you get 70%. Everything else gets 45%.
AllRomance and Rainbow Ebooks both take a solid 40%, giving us 60%, and Bookstrand splits it 50-50.
So what does this mean? Well, LT3 gives our authors 40% of the price from books sold through LT3, and 35% of the gross we get from third party sales. Here's what that looks like (math!):
(Apologies for the size of that image, but no way was I coding that table by hand. x__X;;)
There you have it. ^__^ If you’ve got any questions, drop ‘em, though I may have to ping Sam to answer any tough ones.
The lovely Kay Berrisford interviewed me on her blog (ETA: here! I fail at all the linking today, yikes)! Kay’s good peeps, writes awesome and sexy fantasy stories, and you should check her out if you have not yet. (Prisoner of the Mountain Watch is her new short freebie, if you want to dip your toes in before jumping into the deep end with one of her novels. :3 Link is to ARe, but it’s available most retailers for free.)
… distracted. Uh, but if you’re inclined, stop by and check out the interview, and toss your name in the hat for the giveaway (backlist book or serial time!).
Also, M and I totally collab’ed in a mutual ‘verse sort of way to bring you the following short stories, due out in June. They’re all vampires and witches and shenanigans, oh my. :3 Will be up with official blurbs at some point tonight, but I’m impatient and posting them now (even though I’m in charge of posting them to LT3, yes, I know, but logic and I never get along).
All right, so, B&N directed me to their DMCA email address (DMCANOTICE@Barnesandnoble.com) to further the mission to get my stolen story taken down from their site. I emailed them, and went ahead and issued a DMCA notice to expedite matters. We’ll see how long it takes to be removed and/or where it goes from here, but also thought peeps might be curious about the process of issuing a DMCA notice. LT3 has done this in the past to some piracy sites, and I expect B&N will be quicker about removing the stolen works than they were.
Basically you send them the following (I prefaced it by a nice opening asking them to please take it down and thanking them for their help, b/c I play nice at first).
Pursuant to 17 USC 512(c)(3)(A), this communication serves as a statement that:
(1) I am the exclusive rights holder for all works written by me at the following sites:
[link to your work: http://www.fictionpress.com/s/2010433/1/Of-the-Spirit-of-the-Forest ]
(2) These exclusive rights are being violated by material available upon your site at the following URL(s):
[link to stolen work: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/spirit-of-the-forest-jj-abrams/1112437491?ean=2940014829342 ]
(3) I have a good faith belief that the use of this material in such a fashion is not authorized by the copyright holder, the copyright holder’s agent, or the law;
(4) I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.
(5) I may be contacted by the following methods: [email], [phone #], [address]
The lovely Mell Eight is hitting up my blog as part of her tour celebrating the release of Stealing the Dragon, the third book in The Dragon’s Hoard series. Today, she’s chatting about submitting the series and giving you another sneak peek behind the cover of Stealing The Dragon.
Handing in a manuscript to a publisher really is very daunting. Even now, when my seventh published story, Stealing the Dragon, has just arrived in stores. It’s nerve wracking to send something I’ve put so much work into and to then have a stranger read and critique. I always think my work is well written and solid, but there’s always the fear that I’m just deluding myself.
Rewind back to December of 2011. I felt damned good for finishing the writing for Finding the Wolf. I felt it was a fun story, a fantastical story, and that readers would love it too. But it was the first full-length novella I had ever completed, so I found myself sitting in front of my computer debating what to do with it. I could join the ranks of the people who write excellent work and post their stories online for free, something I had done before with smaller pieces. Or I could do something new and send the manuscript to an up-and-coming publishing group with a heck of a lot of chutzpa.
Obviously I chose to publish or you wouldn’t be reading this today, but it was probably one of the more difficult things I’ve done in my life. I swear, I read through Finding the Wolf two dozen times to look for any mistakes or anomalies that would cause Less Than Three Press to reject it. I double-checked LT3′s length and content requirements dozens of times. LT3 probably has me to thank for a high website visitor count that December.
One thing I’ve learned in my life is that sometimes you have to jump in and deal with the consequences afterwards or you can’t move forward. I once got on a plane to travel to Israel with no transportation or accommodations secured on the other end. It was horrible, but it was also such an amazing learning experience that I grew as a person immensely. I knew that regardless of whether the lovely ladies of LT3 accepted my manuscript for Finding the Wolf or not, I would learn and grow and try again later.
I hit the submit button and waited anxiously to hear back.
I have since published the second and third books in the series, Breaking the Shackles and Stealing the Dragon, and submitted the fourth book, Melting the Ice Witch. Stealing the Dragon arrived in stores on February 6th. It was the book I was most excited about, and it was the one book in the series I had no fear of rejection. I knew that after one glimpse of Tori playing with his hoard that no one would be able to turn away. Stealing also has a sense of humor that will make any reader smile and a storyline that is both engaging and fun. As I was writing it I already knew it would be the best one in the series. I think you’ll all agree with me, but here’s an excerpt so you can make your own opinion about how awesome Stealing the Dragon is:
Jerney looked down at what An’tatori was holding and gasped. It was a silver necklace with a delicate blue teardrop topaz hanging suspended in an intricate silver net. The topaz itself was such a clear light blue color that Jerney could see An’tatori’s hand through the stone. It was beautiful.
“I can’t accept this,” Jerney said with a shake of his head. “It’s beautiful, but I don’t want to take a part of your hoard.”
An’tatori held up the gem near Jerney’s face. “It matches your eyes,” the dragon said softly. “I want you to have it because I want you to be my friend.”
“Your friend?” Jerney asked, incredulous. An’tatori wanted to be his friend after his spells had allowed for the hatching gem to be stolen? Jerney was a thief and a witch, which wasn’t exactly friend material for a baby dragon.
“My big brother Nyle is friends with a wolf, so why can’t I be friends with a witch?”
Jerney swallowed at the casual reminder that lovers Dragon Lord An’nanyle and Prince Leon were related to An’tatori. He thought An’tatori’s logic was a bit off, but he was insistent.
“My name is Tori and I want you to be my friend,” An’tatori said firmly, holding the necklace out again.
“My name is Jerney,” he said softly as he reached out and took the necklace from Tori, “and I would be honored to be your friend.”
“Good,” Tori said with a happy smile. “Now put the spells on that necklace so you won’t lose it!” Tori grabbed Jerney’s hands and led him over to his bed. Jerney sat down across from Tori and set the necklace onto the blanket in front of them.
Tori was watching the necklace intently, one hand still clutching the ruby gem around his neck, as Jerney studied how serious the dragon really was. There was no indication that Tori was at all upset about how the night had gone—the tear tracks had all vanished from his cheeks and his gold eyes glinted with a child-like excitement that reminded Jerney again of his siblings when they were young and had found some new and exciting toy.
Jerney reminded himself that children could be fickle. There was every possibility that in a few days Tori would be at his door asking for the necklace back. But at that moment, Tori wanted his new friend to have it, so Jerney would oblige Tori for as long as the excitement would last.
Jerney prepared the spells in his mind, envisioning clearly the potion ingredients and the steps to brew it. Once he had a picture of the bottled potion in his mind, he lifted his hand and passed it over the necklace. A glance up at the dragon showed that Tori was biting his lip and wiggling in place in excitement, so Jerney added some sparkle and a flash of light to his spell.
The dragon jumped and giggled before reaching out to touch the necklace. “No one will steal it from you now?” he asked as he pushed the necklace towards Jerney.
“No one,” Jerney affirmed. He picked the necklace up and clasped it around his neck. It settled there comfortably, with the teardrop landing just below the hollow of his throat.
“Good,” Tori said with a nod. Tori yawned and shook his head. “We’ll have to play more later,” he said as Jerney got up off his bed.
I am also hosting a free giveaway to celebrate the release of Stealing the Dragon. All the information is posted on my blog: http://melleightwritingblog.blogspot.com/. Please enter and tell me about your favorite dragon!
If you want to know more about the Dragon’s Hoard—Stealing the Dragon or the upcoming fourth book in the series, Melting the Ice Witch—or about any of my other works please check out my website: https://sites.google.com/site/melleightfiction/
Thank you so much to Sasha Miller and to dragon lovers everywhere for giving me this opportunity to show you my hard work. I hope you enjoy Stealing the Dragon and The Dragon’s Hoard!
Okay, first up, Retirement is out! ^__^ It’s a cute, short little thing, but full of magic and snarking and cranky peeps. I <3 my cranky mages, NEGL. The whole Kiss Me at Midnight collection is made of awesome, so definitely check it out (seriously, there’s a femmeslash threesome, I can’t even at how awesome that is just for existing.)
Second up! The Novelty Maker is out there and available for anyone to snag a copy. ^__^ I’m seriously pleased with how that one turned out, and hope peeps like it. Also, while at LT3, definitely snag a copy of M’s Sandy Auction story, The Stable Boy. It’s a fucking awesome fairy tale.
And now I am to bed, b/c I’ve stayed up waaaay too late with these shenanigans. Why isn’t it weekend yet?
My Kiss Me at Midnight short, Retirement is now up for preorder! It comes out next week, along with nine other awesome short stories. ^__^ I totally recommend picking up the bundle, and checking out the other weeks’ stories.
Also coming soon, The Novelty Maker, which is a going to be a freebie. Written for the lovely Julia Alaric, it’s my Sandy auction story. She’s got first reading dibs, and I’ll probably put the download up for ya’ll this coming weekend/next week/whenever I’m not drowning in KMAM. ;3
As often as he can possibly manage, Cole slips away from the parties and teas inflicted upon him by his mother to visit Harlowe, the brilliant, mercurial novelty maker he met several months ago when commissioning a piece for his mother. Overwhelmed with work, and preferring to avoid people, Harlowe is not an easy person to know, and Cole values too much their hard-won friendship to ever risk it by telling Harlowe of his true feelings. Then Harlowe begins to receive letters from a secret admirer …
I swear there was more, but I do not remember it. Bedtime for me! Hope ya’ll are having a good week. ^__^
Drive-by-posting, wheee. So, due to reasons, Battle of Will has been bumped up from its February debut to uh, yesterday. I really like this story, NEGL. It’s an enemies-to-lovers mixup, which is something I haven’t done before, and I really, really like my two mains. Ackley is a mage from Skirfall, which is at war with Morcia. Ackley tries to stop a curse cast by one of his (sort of) comrades from hitting the Morcian Crown Prince, Beorn, and uh, manages to instead get himself magically bound to Beorn. As in, can’t leave Beorn’s side, magically bound. They are both THRILLED with this, and also that pesky little side effect where if one of them is injured, it affects the other in full and equal measure (so no shanking each other, much to their displeasure).
You can read the first chapter for free here. I hope ya’ll like! <3
My angel story is up on LT3′s Something Happened on the Way to Heaven serial (also, note that this will be the longest anthology title ever or else whomever comes up with longer is getting voted off the island, my tweeting can’t take it).
Uh, but The Book of Judgment! It’s a nasty little spell book that could destroy the world! Recently found by a professor/mage (Reza), it needs to cross the country to be archived in the sanctuary of the goddess, where it will be safe from those who would use it in their attempts to take over the world. Reza gets to go with it, ’cause he’s a very strong mage, trustworthy enough he won’t sell the book off to the highest bidder, and the book needs protections that only a mage can provide.
Of course, he can’t make the journey alone! That’s way too dangerous. Enter the mercenary: Edmé. A former battle priest (called angels for the terrible destruction they wreak), he’s to escort Reza to the sanctuary and protect him and the book. Granted, not the best job, since Edmé is preeettty sure Reza is a n00b in all of the things except puttering around in his professorial duties.
Obvs, they’re both in for some surprises with each other (and the goddamn book has its own surprises to throw at them), and shenanigans and shit go down.
In any case, if you are interested, definitely drop by the serial site! $3.25 a month for biweekly updates of five stories!
That’s all I got for now. ^__^ Oh, except also managed to clean up the website a bit over the past weekend. Published works is now up to date for the first time in like, six years (or six months; time, it is not my friend). THAT’S all I got. :3
I’ve been interviewed! ^__^ K-lee at Chaos in the Moonlight is running a series of author interviews and giveaways on her blog throughout the month of December. You can check out my silly, off-the-cuff interview here, and leave a comment for the chance to get a free copy of any of the titles in my backlist for free. ^__^