As you know, all of my titles were previously published through Loose Id, which closed its doors last month. Some of Loose Id’s authors have gone on to other houses, some have gone indie, and some haven’t decided.
I was one of the latter until last week, when I decided I’d embrace self publishing for some of my works. It’s a big leap for me, and I’m both excited and terrified.
That being said, I’ve started the process, and my Challenged by Love series should be up and available for purchase soon. It’s going to be an exciting journey!
I posted a little tweet with my personal feelings on the #cockygate trademark scandal, and somehow lots of people like it. Thank you! I had no idea my two cents would touch so many. That being said, I do want to say a bit more on the subject and a few others, but that bit needs more that a tweet will allow.
So once more unto the breach.
First, I, like so many others, am currently wading my way through Friday’s hearing transcript (thank you, Courtney Milan!) Despite the positive results on Friday, I am still so incensed by the situation, and by Faleena Hopkins’ brashness in playing the victim after attempting to bully other authors into compliance, that I have a few more cents to toss into the ring.
Trademarking a common-use word is like blocking off a mall parking space so it can be yours exclusively. Get over yourself. No one has exclusive right to a public parking space, and marking it for your own use is about as arrogant as you can get. Attempting to do so is likely to result in an unpleasant confrontation with other angry shoppers. In my opinion, Ms. Hopkins’ trademarking “cocky” rises to that same level of arrogance. An attempt by a relatively unknown author to become an IMPORTANT PERSON. Unfortunately, in all the brouhaha, she’s sort of become what she wanted, though it’s possible she won’t have much of a career once things are over and done with.
In other news that’s been a bit less noticed, there’s #tiffanygate. Seems there’s a problem out there with what’s essentially a bait and switch game designed to maximize clicks and pages read to cheat Amazon’s KU algorithms and cash in. Book stuffing and high-dollar incentives for reviews. Amazon has already made changes, and maybe more are on the way. I’m still reading up on this bit of nasty business, so I’ll say more on that subject later.
To my mind, however, the most unfortunate issue in all this kerfuffle is neither the arrogance of Ms. Hopkins, nor the unethical attitude of those behind book-stuffing, paid reviews, and algorithm cheating. Romance writers fought long and hard–and still fight–to be recognized as “real” authors. How many of us have heard the tired phrase “yeah, but why don’t you write real books?” or heard our hard work derided as “bodice rippers”, “housewife-porn”, or “trashy” no matter how much research, craft, and deft wording we put in?
Now we have an author making a rather public stink, and other authors clearly so willing to rake in the money that they’ll cheat other authors to do so. For those of us who have struggled to eliminate the negative opinion of the romance genre, this type of unethical behavior leaves us all with mud on our faces.
On the other hand, by banding together and vocally opposing such bad apples, we can prove to the world at large that the true romance author community, from publisher to reader, will stand up for what is right. We can show that we will do our utmost to root out those rotten apples trying to spoil our barrel. That we are a united community, precisely because we fought so hard to have our efforts recognized as “real”.
Writing is hard enough. Writing under a constant cloud of judgment is harder. But writing while having your career undermined by someone from your own circle intent on cheating their way to the top is hardest of all.
As as said in my tweet the other day, a win for Faleena Hopkins is a LOSS for us all. That applies to any author, romance or otherwise, who tries to cheat the system, whether through trademarks or algorithms. We should all be in this together, not finding ways to claw our way to the top over each other.
Romance Readers Interest Survey: authors want to know- what do YOU want in a romance story? Let your voice be heard here:
If you’re looking for a fun, well-written Regency tale, with a little extra oomph, try His Pirate, by Stephanie Lake.
I love pirate stories. I love Regency stories. When the two are mixed well together, they rock my world. Stephanie Lake delivers a delicious, exotic blend of both. The chemistry between Rhain and Alastair drew me in from the beginning, and didn’t let go. His Pirate was truly an enjoyable tale – recommended reading for anyone who enjoys a good Regency pirate romp!
You can buy a copy here:
A madman haunts the south of England, and Jeremy Takeshi Colbourne must hunt and kill the monster leaving savaged corpses like trash along the roads. One of the foremost vampire nobles in England, it is Jeremy’s sworn duty to catch the nosferatu and ensure the safety of all English lives, human or vampire.
More importantly, he must find a way to capture the heart of the man he has grown to love. Morgan Holland has denied Jeremy for more than a decade, despite the searing attraction they both feel. But when Morgan’s daughter falls prey to the madman, Jeremy faces an awful choice: to let the girl die, or bind Morgan to him and sacrifice any hope of love.
Morgan has lived the past dozen years as blood-host to the Baron of Colbourne, a nobleman of British and Japanese aristocracy. He has kept his master’s affections at bay, unwilling to dare such an intimate relationship with another man. With his daughter’s life at risk, he must decide: maintain his dignity and lose his daughter, or succumb to the pleasures of a vampire’s embrace.
Meanwhile, the nosferatu still hunts. And this time, Morgan Holland is his chosen prey.
Captain Theodore Hedgeford was once the Adonis of his cavalry unit. A devastating injury at Waterloo leaves him disfigured, and earns him a new nickname: Caliban. His lover abandons him, leaving Theo to suffer through his recovery alone. Determined to protect his heart from further pain, Theo finds his vow challenged by a not-so-chance encounter with cavalry groom Robin Thornfield. Unprecedented sexual pleasure and the comfort Rob provides war with the humiliation of being unable to care for himself.
Robin Thornfield has longed to be by Theo’s side since Rob was a groom for their cavalry unit. Undaunted by Hedgeford’s devastating injuries, Rob takes the position of valet and sets about making himself indispensable. He is determined to provide for all of Theo’s needs: physical, emotional, and sexual. When Theo’s former lover returns with blackmail on his mind, Rob knows he must protect both Theo and their newly discovered love.
The mineral waters closed abruptly over Theo’s head, and he flailed about, trying to get from his back to an upright position with his head above water where it belonged. Strong hands gripped him under the armpits and yanked him up above the water’s surface.
Spluttering and gasping for air, Theo was chagrined to find that he had made the mistake of relying on strength he no longer possessed. Now he was indebted to a stranger for his life.
“Thank you,” he croaked out between spasms of coughing. Thornfield’s strong arms held Theo steady, bearing his full weight without effort, seeming unconcerned that he held a naked man against his own skin.
The realization that this powerful stranger had stripped bare to enter the pool sent a flush of desire through Theo. He’d been held against too many male bodies not to realize this man was well formed everywhere, not just in his shoulders and face.
“Injured you may be, Captain, but at least one part of you is in prime condition.”
Theo went scarlet from his head to well beneath the water line. Embarrassingly, his erection did not diminish. The sound of Thornfield’s deep chuckle in his ear merely fanned Theo’s desire.
“Now then, Captain, if you are quite done with being offended at your friend’s interference, permit me to accompany you to somewhere more comfortable. I have a carriage waiting, so there is no need to call for a chair.”
After that ridiculous plunge beneath the water, Theo wasn’t certain he wanted to go anywhere at all with Thornfield. Even so, his body’s embarrassing reaction made Theo want to know the man more intimately. That calm, unruffled reaction to Theo’s arousal had awakened his curiosity.
“Here we go.” Thornfield pulled Theo’s left arm around his neck, catching Theo’s right hip with his other hand.
Theo gasped a little at the pain in his left side and back, until the pressure of a strong hand on his hip eased the strain. Though not a short man himself, Theo realized Thornfield likely stood several inches taller than six feet, to judge by the upward angle of his arm as it rested across those broad shoulders. Unexpectedly, Theo’s pride rebelled, though he’d accepted such assistance from his fellow officers. “I can manage,” he panted, pushing away from his erstwhile savior. Though admitting it would be humiliating, just staying upright was proving to be harder than expected.
“If you don’t stop fussing like a baby, I will carry you like one,” Thornfield remarked mildly, keeping a firm grip on Theo’s waist. “Bear with the indignity and the pain, please. Better that than have you fall again and injure that leg beyond repair.”
Theo stopped struggling at once. The thought of enduring more surgical ministrations on his leg left him queasy, though other parts of him were responding despite his feelings of humiliation. That large, warm hand easily spanned Theo’s hip, making him wonder how it would feel to have his cock wrapped in Thornfield’s strong fist.
Damn. That wayward thought brought his flagging erection to full mast again. With an effort, Theo redirected his mind toward the excruciating climb out of the baths. Despite the shallow steps placed for convenient entry and exit, his slip had wrenched his hip badly, and his legs were shaking beneath him. If Thornfield hadn’t been present, he might have drowned, unable to bring his weakened muscles to lift him from the water.
His ardor waned at last, and he sat shaking on the edge of the bathing pool. Damn his body for betraying him and leaving him vulnerable. He’d managed on his own just fine this morning—oh, yes, just fine, except for nearly falling on the floor in his attempt to reach the chamber pot beneath the bed. Quite humiliating to realize his salvaged leg could not bend worth a damn to allow him to sit with ease.
A large length of heavy linen landed across Theo’s shoulders, interrupting his maudlin ruminations and trapping the heat of the mineral bath against his skin. He looked up to see Thornfield standing over him with a similar length wrapped and knotted about his waist. “Thank you,” Theo replied, striving for the civility appropriate to the situation.
Thornfield didn’t immediately respond. When he did, his words had nothing to do with courtesy. “You nearly died at Hougoumont, Captain. That was barely six months ago. You really shouldn’t be out and about without an orderly.”
Hurt roiled through Theo’s gut. By rights, it should have been Joseph standing there, or Will Haverly, not this strapping lout with bad manners. “I’m fine, blast your hide! I’m perfectly capable of managing on my own.”
Then the meaning of Thornfield’s words struck home. You nearly died at Hougoumont. He swallowed. That meant Thornfield had been at Waterloo, in that damnable mess of a cavalry charge. Or at the hospital. “Who are you, Robin Thornfield? Just what do you know about me?” His voice came out in a croak, but he didn’t care. Suspicions flooded his mind—suspicions of Haverly acting in some damn fool manner to replace Joseph and give Theo what Will himself couldn’t.
“Who am I?” Thornfield’s voice held amused chagrin and the faintest touch of sarcasm. “Nothing but a groom, Captain. A cavalryman assigned to care for the horses until they all died or until I did.” After a pause, he continued. “What do I know about you? More than you think, but not as much as I’d like.” He squatted beside Theo, giving him an eyeful of what the cloth covered.
It was a nice eyeful, Theo thought, wishing he still had the courage to reach out and touch what Thornfield seemed to be offering. Thoughts of Joseph’s back as he stormed out of the tent interfered.
Thornfield leaned close, whispering in Theo’s ear. “Your grey was too gentle to ride into battle. You should have chosen a better mount.”
It felt like an accusation. “He was prime blood!”
Thornfield smiled at Theo’s infuriated retort, kneeling to take the cloth from Theo’s nerveless fingers. He began drying Theo, starting with his shoulders, rubbing firmly enough to sop up wetness, but gently over the tender flesh of the scars. “True, Captain. Even so, your gallant Smoke had neither the stamina nor the temperament to withstand cannon fire without terror. Had he been steadier, you might have escaped with less injury. You might have been able to flee on horseback with Captain Haverly rather than simply becoming his shield.”
Theo shivered at the memory of his horse shying from the smell of blood and the sound of cannon thunder, throwing Theo to the ground and shattering Theo’s leg in stamping panic. A convulsive twitch shuddered through him at the memory of the pain.
When Haverly had come to his rescue, dismounting to haul him up, there had been only the shrill, warning scream of the shot whistling. Only scant seconds to protect the man Theo loved more than life from the devastating shot flying at them.
Copyright © Autumn Montague
In honor of my new release, Loose Id has put my first novel on sale today! Blood Sworn 1: Salva Me is on sale for 20% off – if you missed it the first time, come check it out now!
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