Wednesday, October 1, 2014

October IWSG

Click here to find out more and to see a list of other IWSG blogs.
Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

The cohosts for October 1 are:

And it's here again! How can time be passing so quickly?

I've been trudging along with edits. Not particularly fast. My days have had neither super highs nor super lows. Just a mellow even keel.

That's okay, right? Don't forget to check out the IWSG anthology they're putting together.

And have you seen The Piano Guys's new video?

LOVE these guys!

Monday, September 29, 2014

A Mind Blown Monday Meandering

I attended some work training last week for my day job, and one of the classes touched on something I had never considered.

What happens to your digital rights when you die?
  1. What happens to all those songs or movies or books you've downloaded iTunes?
  2. What about the HUGE library of ebooks and audiobooks you've downloaded from Amazon and Audible and B&N or Kobo?
  3. Does your husband--or the grown child who will be the executor for your wills in the event you die at the same time--have access to your passwords? 
Number 3 above poses all kinds of questions that can come back and bite you.
  • If there's royalty money in your authorly PayPal account when you die, how will your spouse or significant other get the money out if s/he doesn't have your password?
  • Would your spouse be able to access your webpage account to keep it going if s/he doesn't have your password?
  • What about what you have on your blog or Facebook or Twitter or Google+ or any other of the myriad social media outlets folks have their fingers in these days?
The instructor suggested that we do the following:
  • Create an inventory of our digital assets--store it in a secure way.
  • Provide instructions about disposition.
  • Obtain competent estate planning advice.
He also counseled everyone to read those terms of service/usage that we automatically click agree to just so we can move on to actually using the site.

And did you know you can keep on tweeting after you die?

On a serious note, this class got me thinking. It's time for hubby and me to redo our wills. We no longer have to worry about how to care for minor children, but there are other but still equally daunting issues we need to get down on paper.

What about you? Had you ever considered your digital rights and whether or not you can bequeath them to someone?

FYI--the Kindle books are only licensed for your use and cannot be bequeathed to anyone. Same for those tunes you've downloaded. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Devil's Intern by Donna Hosie

My friend and mentor, Donna Hosie has a new book coming out. If you've followed my blog for a while, you know that she and I have "known" each other for several years. We met back when we were both moderators on The Leaky Cauldron forum, The Leaky Lounge. Our Harry Potter history goes way back. I was always struck by her fun sense of humor, so it's no surprise that it shines in this new release.

About the book:

"How did you die?"

It's the most popular question in Hell, and Mitchell Johnson has been answering it ever since he was hit by a bus at age seventeen and inexplicably ended up in the Underworld. Now Mitchell is The Devil's intern in Hell's accounting office. Lately, he's noticed a disturbing trend: the volume of new arrivals is straining Hell's limited resources. Then Mitchell overhears his boss discussing plans to limit newcomers with a legendary time travel mechanism. With a device like that, Mitchell realizes, he could change history and prevent his own death.

Mitchell's plot goes awry when his three closest friends—Alfarin, the Viking prince; Elinor, from 17th-century London; and Melissa, from 1960s San Francisco—insert themselves into his plans. It soon becomes clear that the fates of all four are entwined in dangerous and unpredictable ways. With unforgettable characters and a thrilling premise, this original novel is by turns funny, poignant, and thought-provoking.

★ "A comic, time-traveling trip to Hell and back. . . . Just outstanding fun for those who enjoy snarky comedy and suspense."—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

★ "Interesting characters, nonstop adventure, and humor with a touch of heart will not disappoint teens looking for a dark comedy. School Library Journal

Donna agreed to do a short interview.

1.  A wizard walks through the door right now wearing a Fedora. What does he say and why is he here?
It's Gandalf, and he's here for my INTERN launch party - although he's arrived late and as we're packing up after we sold out the place! He would say, "A wizard is never late, Donna Hosie. Nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to. Now where's the beer and my hat you borrowed for Comic Con. I look ridiculous in this Fedora!"
Gandalf in disguise. Hmmm. I kinda like it.

2.  What actor would play you in a movie about your life?
Kate Winslet. She's a Reading girl, and I moved there when I was 18. She actually had her wedding reception in my local pub! I used to drive past her acting school every week. I reckon she could pull off the insanity that's been my life pretty well. Plus she gets Oscar nominated for everything, so I'd go along with her to meet Benedict Cumberbatch!
Methinks we're seeing a theme here. 

3.  Who is your favorite literary villain and why?
Severus Snape - and before the world screams at me that he wasn't a villain and DEATHLY HALLOWS proves it, I will blow a big fat raspberry in your face and say he WAS a villain and nothing will ever change my mind. Snape is one of the greatest creations in literature. To get to book 7 in a series and still not know whether he was good or bad, is an amazing feat by the writer. Yet Snape was a villain. He was a vicious bully to his students, he didn't care about James or Harry; he only wanted to save Lily. He was emotionally blackmailed into helping Harry by Dumbledore. He was a Death Eater, and we still don't know what heinous crimes he did under that guise, but it is more than hinted at that his soul was already torn before he AK'd Dumbledore. Severus Snape is the most charismatic and complicated character in the Potterverse, but the greasy one was a villain.
Hear hear! I remember right after DH came out, Jo was interviewed. Someone said something like, "So Snape was a good guy?" Jo replied, "Do you think he was a good guy?"

Final Question.

4. What am I working on?
I'm juggling projects. I am currently in the middle of revising THE DEVIL'S DREAMCATCHER (Holiday House 2015), which is the sequel to INTERN. That'll be released in October next year. I have another release at the beginning of 2015 called QUEST OF THE ARTISAN, which is book five in my indie CAMELOT tales. That's written, so now comes editing and formatting once my critique partners have worked their magic. In terms of works in progress, I am currently drafting book 3 in my DEVIL'S series, and I also have a YA contemporary manuscript that requires some revising for my agent. Busy, busy, busy!

About the author
Donna Hosie is a full-time geek who fell into writing while working as a Warner Brothers fan consultant on movie tie-in video games. Writing reports about different characters and worlds eventually inspired her to create her own stories for young adults. Originally from England, Donna now lives in Australia with her husband, three children, and a crazy golden retriever named Harry (after a certain boy wizard).

Monday, September 22, 2014

Monday Meandering

My crazy busy September responsibilities is almost at an end.

Last weekend I attended another writing retreat, only one night. But I was one of the keynote speakers. It was humbling experience and an honor to have  been asked. I only put one person to sleep, that I could see. Or maybe she was checking her eyelids for holes.

View from the front of the house
The house we stayed in was amazing, and I had an opportunity to discover a beautiful little valley in northern Utah.

I understand Morgan is the only incorporated city in Morgan County. You drive through a canyon that opens onto a valley. Lots of farm fields and horses. Beautiful homes.

We got a little lost (missed a sign) so we took the scenic route. This is the only town I've seen where the elementary school, junior high, high school, and the university extension are all on the same block.

There was a pool and hot tube in back. Rough life, I know.
View inside the house.
Lots of bedrooms and open areas to write.

This is one of my speaker gifts. I love a sense of humor.

* * * * * * * * * * *

This week's final challenge is work related, giving a presentation on minutes and open meetings law. I've been working on the PowerPoint presentation for forever. I found this awesome video on how to avoid death by PowerPoint. I've implemented his suggestions. Here's hoping it works. 

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Hubby and I have tickets to see The Maze Runner tonight. So excited! I loved the book series by James Dashner. It was awesome to see the film take the top spot at the box office this weekend.

What did you do this weekend? Did you see The Maze Runner?

Friday, September 19, 2014

Sherry Gammon Audiobook Cover Reveal

Welcome my special guest, author Sherry Gammon!

Unlovable is now an audiobook!! If you click here you can get the audiobook for free with a 30 day free trial of Audible on Amazon!! You can't beat free!!

Along with the release of the audiobook, I've redesigned the covers of the first two books in the Port Fare series. ( I'm designing covers now. Click here and check them out!) To celebrate the new look, I am giving away paperback copies of the entire series. 

Here is the new cover for Unlovable. I didn't change it too much because I really loved the original one. (Thank you, Paul Beeley), but another author came out with almost the exact same cover, including the coloring :'(

I kept the girl on the swing because she fits Maggie's story perfectly, though I did add flowers to the swing. The rest has been changed completely. I love the blues and pinks, and I've always wanted a moon on the cover. I also added Maggie's trailer in the background!
                                                             Here is the eBook cover:

And this is the Paperback

     This is the audio book cover.

 This is the new cover for Unbelievable! It's a real change. I feel this cover fits the story so much better. Lilah feels trapped by her domineering father and his demands. She desperately wants to break free...can't tell you anymore or I'll spoil the story  I feel this new cover portrays Lilah and what she is going through in a much stronger way, and it seems to fit in better with the other covers. While I loved the old cover, and had a huge say in its design, (Thank you again, Paul) it seemed out of place with book one & three's covers. This one holds the same "feel," if you will.

Here is the Ebook cover:

And this is the paperback

Unbearable's cover didn't really change, only the back was updated.

So, what do you think??

Purchase links:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 15, 2014

Reality vs Fiction ... And Some Fun

This whole thing is beyond enough. I'm firmly convinced that if I tried to write this as fiction, few would believe it.

I've posted several times about this plagiarism issue. Having been kind of behind the scenes as the story has unfolded, it's been a sad and fascinating journey.

As a further update to the drama, Rachel Nunes (the author who was plagiarized) reported that she had been in contact by Army veteran Chase Weston about the article he wrote that Rushton also plagiarized (you can see details in John Dopp's post here).

The Westons were appalled to discover what had happened. Mrs. Weston wrote an open letter to Tiffanie Rushton and asked Rachel to post it (you can see it here). It's heartbreaking to read.

And if that wasn't bad enough ...

Last week I posted an update that included a list of plagiarist Tiffanie Rushton's sock puppet names. You can find the post here. Someone who appeared to be a parent of one of Rushton's students posted in the comments that the names of the sock puppets were children from Rushton's class!

I notified Rachel, and they were able to check the school's yearbook and, sure enough, they were. At the request of that parent in a subsequent post, I redacted the surnames of the students. John Dopp, when he found out about it, did the same on his post.

I understand that Rushton--finally--has been put on administrative leave by her school district. Once again, a plea to everyone not to attack the woman. It's in the hands of the court now. Others could be taking action against her too.

I hope this raises some discussions at family dinner tables about plagiarism and identity theft.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

On a happier note, I spent the weekend at the iWriteNetwork writing retreat. Something fun that we did was do the "beats" from Blake Snyder's Save the Cat while we watched the movie Iron Man.

View from the front
Kitchen and One Gathering Area
Hot Tub and Grill - Yum!
Gathering on First Night

Almost the entire group.

What did you do this weekend?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Plagiarism Update

Tiffanie Rushton aka Sam Taylor Mullens
Sam Taylor Mullens, the woman caught plagiarizing author Rachel Nunes, has been identified as a Utah school teacher by the name of Tiffanie Rushton. She's been served with a summons to appear in federal court. Some of the things she's been charged with include:

* Copyright infringement
* Defamation
* False light
* Injurious falsehood
* Harassment
* False advertising
* Deceptive trade practices

Evidently she faces statutory damages in the neighborhood of $150,000.00, if the case if successful. That's in addition to damages for every sale of the infringing work, damages, and attorney’s fees.

It's also my understand that the schools take quite a strong position on plagiarism. She could lose her job.

Through the course of this whole thing unfolding, people kept talking about sock puppets. In case you don't know what that is, it's when someone creates false online identities and uses those to post about products, in this situation, books.

Lucy Evans
Jennifer [REDACTED]
Abigail [REDACTED]
Abigail [REDACTED]
Jennifer [REDACTED]
Mercedes [REDACTED]
Bethany [REDACTED]
Moonshine and Books
Simple Book Reviews

It seems Rushton was also soliciting manuscripts under some of these, so she could review them. This is a cautionary tale about authors giving out their manuscripts in the hopes of getting reviews and ending up being plagiarized.
Plea - Rachel has asked that people not attack Tiffanie Rushton. It's in the hands of the court, and we should let it play out there.
John Dopp wrote a great article about the whole situation here.

David Farland also wrote a post here. He has suggested that he might stop buying indie books now because the issue of sock puppets seems to be so prevalent. I think that's a bit of an overreaction. I don't use sock puppets to boost my reviews, and I know a bazillion legitimate indie authors who don't use sock puppets. David Farland is a hybrid author now, as is Rachel Nunes. Should she be punished twice?

What do you think? Are you so put off by this whole situation that you might not buy indie anymore?

ETA: It appears that Rushton has used the names of some of her students for her sock puppets. A parent has requested that I remove the last names to protect the children. I have done so.

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