November 23rd, 2009


first e-books, now vanity publishing

Last week (the week before? very recently, anyway), Harlequin Books–the parent company which publishes my Walker Papers novels–decided to try to take a chunk out of Ellora’s Cave profits and open Carina Press, an e-book-only press for…well. Smut*.

This past week, Harlequin has decided to jump on the vanity press wagon. They’ll edit and publish your book for the bargain price of something like $6K, and then they’ll take 50% of the royalties on a book that’ll never go into the bookstores. I could rant, but author Jackie Kessler does it so well I’ll just link to her, and then follows up with Harlequin’s response after the Romance Writers of America said, “Sorry, we can no longer consider Harlequin a legitimate publisher,” and the Science Fiction Writers of America and the Mystery Writers of America echoed them. Anyway, it’s a big mess and I’m absolutely agog that somebody thought it was a good idea**.

*Don’t get me wrong. Smut sells fantastically in e-book form. I’m in no way slamming it. If I were going to write erotica I’d almost certainly look at Ellora’s Cave as the first market. I’m just sayin’ that’s basically what they’re looking to sell.

**I really can’t actually believe anybody at Harlequin *did* think it was a good idea. Apparently HQN’s parent company needs money, and I can see somebody at *that* level deciding it was a good idea, but holy beans.

(x-posted from the essential kit)

dry alaska is dry. and dark.

Agghlg. Dry Alaska is dry. I could sleep in a tub of lotion and I would awaken with all the lotion having schlucked into my skin and I would still feel dehydrated. This is not an aspect of Fairbanks that I miss. Nor is the early dark, though that’s not so bad right now. The sun’s gone down in Barrow and won’t be up again until late January, but Fairbanks still has almost eight hours of light. It won’t be until the solstice that it’s down to three. Still, when it’s full-on dark by 5:15, I do find myself getting pretty sleepy.

I do miss the amazing white frosted trees and the indirect gold sun and the pale blue skies that come with extreme cold and dry. Not enough to live here again, you understand, but it is absolutely beautiful.

We had a smashingly good Thanksgiving dinner yesterday. Turkey and ham and stuffing and corn and green bean casserole and mashed potatoes and three kinds of pie (oh man, Ted’s mom made a strawberry rhubarb crumble to die for), and everyone seemed to have a good time as we ate too much. We watched movies, played cards, and did a small gift exchange. We now have a gift certificate to the comic shop. I know what *I* want to spend it on, but I’ll see if Ted can be convinced. :)

We filled up the car while we were driving around yesterday–$45 for 13ish gallons (which, in terms of gas prices in Ireland, is still dirt cheap), and it got us off on the topic of how we’d changed, living in Ireland. Ted said, “It does my head in to throw everything away,” a phrase which I thought was proof of change both in content and semantics. :) I don’t even know if there’s a recycling company *in* Fairbanks, but recycling cuts down on our garbage by about 70%, and composting takes care of another twenty percent of it, and after four years, we’re completely in the habit of it now. It’s extraordinarily weird to just throw things away.

And it’s equally odd to drive twelve or fifteen miles to get into town. I’ve become so very accustomed, whether in Longford or Cork, to living within walking distance (and in walking weather) of everything I need, that the idea of living somewhere as spread-out as Alaska is truly peculiar. But what *really* throws us is the size of the vehicles, and the fuel inefficiency of them. We were saying to each other, “If we still lived here, we wouldn’t own the Jeep anymore because of the price of gas,” but I wonder if that’s true. If we moved back here, we wouldn’t own a Jeep, because it would seem huge and awkward and gas-guzzling, but I’m not absolutely certain we’d have switched it out if we’d been living here all along.

Also, we went out to shop yesterday morning, with ‘morning’ being the operative word. The shops (which they refer to as ’stores’ here) are all open early and remain open until late. It’s very strange. And they think *I’m* very strange *indeed* when I say, “I don’t need a bag!” and whip out one of my little foldable cloth bags. :) But it drove me nuts, last time we were here, to keep getting plastic bags at the stores. So wasteful!

All right, off to lunch with friends, and then to make a cheesecake!

(x-posted from the essential kit)