I'm afraid I have some bad news. As you might have heard, Torquere Press - my publisher - is going under. It happened about a year after the original owners sold Torquere to new owners.
It has been a bit of a long process, starting last summer when the royalties stopped being paid (and yes, that means that if you've bought any of my books during the last nine months, I haven't seen a penny of that money). It was also a bit of an ugly process (publishers going under often are). At first, we heard a lot of news from the owner about her being sick - very sick, very often. The author forums were filled with concern and well wishes and understanding - after all, not being paid is nothing compared to being critically ill, so we all were very understanding. Then suddenly a link showed up revealing that the owner hadn't actually been in the hospital yet another time as claimed, but in jail - for not paying an author.
So basically, we have no idea whether the owner really has been sick or merely lying all the time. I must say, personally, that I find it very hard to trust anybody who lied to me like that. Not least because I find it outrageous that we still aren't being paid. The owner is hoping to avoid an "expensive" bankruptcy case - but if "expensive" means "paying what I owe people", then I have a hard time supporting that wish. I want to be paid for my work; it's not okay that the owner has taken all the money I've earned for the last nine months and simply put it in her own pocket. Especially since the math isn't hard; when you as a publisher get your income from Amazon or any other seller, you don't touch half of it. Because it's not your money. It belongs to the authors. If that concept is too hard for you, then you probably shouldn't be a publisher at all. Well, they aren't; not for long anyway.
The really miserable thing wasn't so much the authors fighting among each other (the name calling wasn't pretty), but the fact that the owner stopped communicating - and we weren't given back our rights. That meant that the owner could keep selling our books, taking the money for herself, and none of us could do anything, because no other publisher will touch a book if it's sold by somebody else (doh). That left us all in a terrible situation: Somebody else had basically stolen our works, and we were helpless to do anything about it, since neither emails nor snail mail were answered.
Fortunately, that has changed, at least for me; I've been given back my rights on December 17 2016, and the publisher now has 30 days from that date to take down my books. It hasn't happened yet; I guess she's trying to get as much money out of it as possible (and yes, that also makes me mad; is it really such a foreign subject that you do not steal from people?). I'm angry, and I'm also sad; I was really happy with Torquere under the old owners. "Everybody deserves a happy ending" was such a beautiful motto. Alas, that's gone now.
What happens now: As soon as the books are taken down, I can start looking for a new publisher; I already have one in my sights. If they bite, you'll be able to buy my books again - I'm not sure how long that's going to take, but I will make sure to update my website as soon as I know it.
The good news (and yes, there is one good thing about this): I've started writing again and I'm currently putting the finishing touches on another book featuring the world's grumpiest Russian bear and the universe's most stubborn pain pig/art historian/karate geek. I've never had so much fun writing a book (or blushed so much. Those guys take any chance they can to get kinky). But I'll tell you more about that in another and more upbeat blog post. For now I need to keep Mischa from killing his wedding guests and Tom from killing Mischa.
And a very nice one at that! Alessia Brio went with one of my image suggestions, and the simple intimacy of it goes well with the story in my opinion.
At Torquere Press, we get the opportunity to give suggestions to the cover artist. It's sometimes difficult for me to help the cover artist, though. There's a point on the cover art request where you're supposed to describe your main characters (just so you don't get a blond man on the cover when both of your characters are dark-haired, for example). My first reaction when I did the CAR for Himiko: Bonding and got to that point was: How on Earth should I know that?? Then I realized that I probably was the most likely person to know...
However, I have two "problems" when it comes to the look of my main characters:
I often imagine the scenes from one person's point of view (like in the Himiko books) - and that means that I don't know how that character looks!
Apart from that, I don't like descriptions which are too detailed. I simply hate it when I read a novel and the writer describes the main character as Fabio. Try as I might, I simply can't get Fabio out of my head for the rest of the story. And I don't want Fabio anywhere near any characters I like;).
With Tom and Mischa, I do have a pretty clear image of how they look, though. I even found a couple of pretty good images when I googled to find the cover image for Happily Ever After. But just in case that someone has the same idiosyncrasies as me, I won't bring them here. Unless you insist, of course:).
Top 2 Bottom Reviews has an interview with me today, so hop on over and read it. I'm talking about reading, writing, and... well, that's pretty much all I'm talking about. Since that's pretty much all I do:).
And yes, I'm back from holiday and have some, uh, interesting photos to show you. So very interesting. I'm not going to reveal anything, but: Men in kilts. Oh, yeah.
They most certainly are, and they are hotter than ever. And kinkier. Unfortunately, they're also fucked up. I can't decide which part I enjoyed more:).
So far, the title of the book is Happily Ever After. It's had another working title, but I think I'll stick with this one. Here's the blurb:
Mischa isn't stupid; he knows that happily ever afters only happen in fairytales. Still, he had thought that as soon as Tom got over the horrible assault that almost tore them apart, everything would be better. Perhaps not fairytale happy right away, but better. Instead, they seem to be falling apart, and quite spectacularly so.
What Mischa hadn't taken into account was the fact that violence have longtime consequences -- consequences that are threatening to shake the very foundation of Tom and Mischa's relationship. Because Mischa can handle Tom's weakness, but he can't face his own. He doesn't have a choice, though. Not if they're going to make it.
As Mischa and Tom struggle to rebuild their relationship, it turns out that happily ever after is damn hard work. It's also wildly kinky, because Tom and Mischa have to build a new trust in the playroom as well. One scene at a time, Mischa and Tom explore their new limits, and that's the kind of work that Mischa likes. After all, that's what badass Doms do.
I'll let you know as soon as I have a date for it!
I really think I did - finished the second book about Tom and Mischa, that is. This has taken me incredibly long time; I think it went wrong when I decided that this book was going to be a bit... Well, I thought "better", but I realize as I write this that I hadn't really thought about what "better" meant. Which is your recipe for if not disaster, then a very long work process right there.
But now it's done, and I'm going to send it in. I really have to keep myself for adding "after just reading through it one more time." I have already done that a thousand times so I'm probably completely blind by now - and if I know my editor, she's going to have a suggestion or two:).
Now I'm going to enjoy my holiday (which means working a lot, but working on the stuff that I like. Okay, and lying around in the sun a bit, as well. It is a holiday, after all!). Enjoy your Sunday!
Sometimes writing takes incredibly long time - or, in this case, editing. I'm working on the sequel to A Russian Bear, and Tom is getting better at his karate. Better than I am, in fact.
That means that I've just spent a long time researching that incredibly difficult kata I once learned at a seminar (or, rather, attempted to learn, but let's not dwelve on that). That in itself takes quite a lot of time (I didn't know that you may use it for your second dan grading examination, for example). But then there are all the other interesting things you find when you Google something: Original videos featuring Kanazawa, syllabus, and oh, I know that guy, I just have to see what he's been doing lately...
In other words, research is interesting, but time-consuming. And then we're not even talking about the stalling. But hey, I found a yummy-looking bread recipe, so at least I won't be starving.
In order to make sure that I'm not giving either Mischa or Tom a split personality, I'm actually reading A Russian Bear today before I begin editing the sequel. And it's really weird.
First of all, there's the familiarity; I've spent so much time on this story that I almost know it by heart. And then again; it's also weirdly unfamiliar because I haven't seen it for so long. That makes for a strange combination.
Then there's the remorse. All of the "why didn't I change that" and "why's he using that word so soon" and "God, I need to clean that up in the next edition". I am grateful that I've learned a lot since writing ARB, but it's still kind of frustrating to witness your own flaws like that.
But still, I like those guys, and I need to make them as good as possible, so I'll keep reading. Even though it makes me grind me teeth now and then...
However much I like to write, finally arriving at those two words is very sweet - and I just wrote them! Yep, the first draft of A Russian Bear II is finished. I still need to write a couple of things into the story and edit and proofread and have some betas read it before submitting it and repeating the whole process all over again - but apart from that tiny detail, I just finished another book. That's not a small accomplishment, since I've had a busy year and a particularly nasty bout of the winter blues.
So, what can you expect from our heroes this time? Well, more of the same, luckily: Mischa is still growly and Tom is still acerbic - and they're both still insanely hot together. But the attack on Tom has made a bigger impact on both of them than they realized, and this book describes their struggle to get back to the way they were before the assault. It's an eye-opening experience for both of them, and I thoroughly enjoyed writing it.
I just had Tom and Mischa get into a giant fight. I'm writing the last chapter of the sequel to A Russian Bear at the moment, and our heroes have a lot of fights. Some of them are quite serious, but this one was just delightful to write. Fighting really comes naturally to those guys...
Funnily enough, it also comes naturally to me. Not in real life; I'll do whatever I can to avoid serious confrontation in real life. But when I'm writing, some situations are easier than others. Sex scenes are easy, and so is dialogue - those are apparently the situations in which my characters really show their true nature. A good argument seems to combine the intensity of the sex scene with the back-and-forth of the dialogue, and I really like that. I simply feel like I get to know my characters better when they fight!
That doesn't mean that I'm going to deprive our heroes of their well-deserved happily ever after. Quite on the contrary - I've just written the most wonderful scene. Can't wait to share it! And it seems that the end of the novel is in sight now...
I read and I write - everything from corporate to kink. My naughty fictional friends are always there to make my life interesting. And pester me, of course. Pesky creatures.