Avon, what are you thinking?!

Admittedly, Avon Romance has never been known for beautiful historical romance covers, but recently I’ve been cringing badly at some of their offerings.

There was the infamous – and awful – 80s prom cover for Lisa Kleypas’ Hello Stranger (a book I otherwise loved), and now there’s THIS.

I don’t even know where to begin! There’s the fact the people look like they’ve been poorly made in Photoshop. There’re the modern hairstyles. There’s the modern clothing.

However, the thing I find most awful about this one are THE VEINS. Both models’ skin otherwise looks smooth and artificial, so they stand out even more.

I don’t know when women collectively decided that bulging veins were a sexy trait for men, but they make me feel a little ill. It’s bad enough that the hero in this has hands that make him look a hundred, but why does he have bulging veins… on *his shoulders*?

Apologies to author Cat Sebastian. Often a good book is hidden behind a terrible cover.

Unmasked by the Marquess (Regency Imposters #1) by Cat Sebastian

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The Week: 4th – 10th June

Winter Lake Burley Griffin Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 9th June 2018 Carillon Nature Sunset pink

Winter Lake Burley Griffin Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 9th June 2018 Carillon Nature Sunset

Canberra’s Lake Burley Griffin – with the National Carillon (a gift from the Queen that she personally opened in 1970) – late on Saturday afternoon.

It was a surprisingly dreary week here. Usually winter is really sunny, but the last few days felt like winter! At least it got sunny on Saturday afternoon!

This week in the book world has been full of drama, which I seem to have written a few thousands posts about. Sorry for the spam!

My review of A Cowboy of Convenience (Sheridan Sweethearts #2) by Stacy Henrie

A Cowboy of Convenience (Sheridan Sweethearts #2) by Stacy Henrie

A Cocky Weekend

cocky-final-2 Cocktales the cocky collective cockygate cover

Book Stuffing and Author Ethics

Book Stuffer Kindle Unlimited Scammer

Why “outing” someone makes you an utter arse – #1

and

Why “outing” someone makes you an utter arse – #2

_86601698_authorandbook Richard Brittain used Facebook to track down the reviewer, a teenage girl from Glenrothes, and drove all the way (some 800 kilometres) from the south of England t

Cover Love

Someone to Trust (Westcott Book #5) by Mary Balogh

Book Stuffing and Author Ethics

If you keep up with dramas in the publishing world, you’ll probably have already heard about the scammers infiltrating the Kindle Unlimited program.

You can go to this Twitter thread to understand in detail what is going on.

Authors who enter their books into the Kindle Unlimited scheme must agree to sell exclusively through Amazon. They are paid via page reads, from a pool of money that is shared between ALL authors.

In order to make lots of money, some “authors” have been employing all sorts of tricks to make their readers skip through thousands of pages per book. By doing this they get paid a great deal per book – at the same time as stealing that money from their fellow authors. Having only one pool of money means there’s only so much of it to go around.

Book Stuffer Kindle Unlimited Scammer

A book with heaps of other books stuffed in the back.

The #cockygate drama helped to bring the scammers to attention (Faleena Hopkins, of cockygate infamy, is a book stuffer and system cheat).

One of the worst scammers, Chance Carter, has *finally* been removed from Amazon, after years of making his fortune by cheating the system in every imaginable way. His porny “romances” shot to the top of Amazon’s romance bestseller lists with thousands of fake or solicited reviews, stuffed books, and offers of diamond jewellery for positive publicity.

He was also collecting a bonus for being one of the “All-Star” bestsellers.

Chance Carter Book Stuffer Amazon Scammer

Chance Carter offers diamonds in the middle of a book!

Unfortunately the Kindle Unlimited scheme is full of male romance authors looking to get rich quick. They pose as women and publish books stuffed with five or six other, previously published books, often written by ghost writers.

This is especially troubling as when they pose as women they also go to social media with questions like this for their readers:

Kira Blakely Book Stuffer Kindle Unlimited Scammer

It’s creepy, and shows an agenda that has NOTHING to do with a love of the genre.

Many readers have uncovered these men’s identities when alarm bells started going off in the sex scenes of their books. The scenes contain revolting things no self-respecting woman would *ever* write, not even those writing kinky stories (I’ll spare you the details, but they’re on Twitter if you look). The lack of respect for women is appalling, especially considering the books’ target audience.

Cockygate looks to have tanked Faleena Hopkins’ career, but she’s managed to do even more than that. Now she’s set off a chain of events that have widely exposed many other unethical authors.

A Cowboy of Convenience (Sheridan Sweethearts #2) by Stacy Henrie

A Cowboy of Convenience (Sheridan Sweethearts #2) by Stacy Henrie

Groom by Agreement

A real home–it’s what Vienna Howe dearly wants for her young daughter. Yet the ramshackle property she just inherited hardly qualifies. She can’t afford the repairs–until foreman West McCall suggests they start a dude ranch together. For propriety’s sake, they’ll need a marriage in name only…a practical solution for two wary hearts.

Years ago, West convinced Vienna to marry a man of means, never realising how cruel her husband could be. Guilt-ridden, he intends to secure the lovely widow’s future. But despite his reluctance to get close to anyone, this union might do more than fix Vienna’s ranch. It could open the door to a warm, loving future…

A Cowboy of Convenience (Sheridan Sweethearts #2) by Stacy Henrie

This is one of the better-written Love Inspired Historical books I’ve read recently. Set in Wyoming in 1901, it is a mature sort of book in that the characters are practical and sensible and have more in their lives to take into consideration than just falling in love.

A Cowboy of Convenience has a heavy focus on a child – as so many books in this line do – which isn’t always my thing, but this child was also written well and so I didn’t mind that aspect.

I didn’t find the faith elements overpowering here (this is supposed to be Christian fiction), and I liked the evolution of the relationship, which seemed natural to me.

If I’m going to be really picky, I’d say that the term “dude ranch” (which I had to look up, because I’ve heard of it but it’s not a term used here) wasn’t yet recorded at the time this book is set.

For fans of gentle Western romances.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

Why “outing” someone makes you an utter arse – #2

Following on from yesterday’s post about why Faleena Hopkins attempting to “out” the identities of authors she’s taking to court over her ridiculous trademark dispute, here is another reason why it’s such a terrible thing to do.

In 2014 a self-published author – who pretty much embodies the stereotype of angry, entitled incel – received a negative review on Amazon for his writing.

Instead of – you know – ignoring it, like any professional would do, he decided to retaliate, which wasn’t THAT surprising, considering his history as a stalker.

Richard Brittain used Facebook to track down the reviewer, a teenage girl from Glenrothes, and drove eight hours from the south of England to the Scottish supermarket she worked in (some 750 kilometres).

He found her, picked up a full bottle of wine, and smashed it over her head, knocking her unconscious and causing serious injury.

Brittain was arrested, tried, and found guilty of the crime. He was sentenced to several years behind bars.

Some authors are completely unstable. Richard Brittain is one. Faleena Hopkins is another. Hopkins is trying to ruin careers and lives by taking away people’s anonymity, and the writing community needs to continue to take a stand against her reprehensible actions.

Why “outing” someone makes you an utter arse – #1

In the ongoing trademark wars, it seems there’s a new drama every day.

In court last week, the lawyer for trademark troll Faleena Hopkins attempted to have the real names of authors under attack made public. From what I understand, this is an ongoing dispute.

Here is one reason why it’s so awful to take away an author’s anonymity:

Schooled by Deena Bright

In 2012, erotic fiction author Deena Bright was “outed”. Her real name was not only revealed to her employer, but she was dragged through America’s national news because of the genre she wrote.

Bright (that’s not her real name) was suspended from her job as a high school teacher because of this, and subjected to public humiliation for no good reason.

Hopkins would like to do this to other authors who she sees as competition. Already, she is forcing them into the courtroom to shut down their careers (good God, her me and nobody else attitude is such a reflection of the Trump era!).

Authors use pennames for a million and a half different reasons, which I’m sure I don’t need to explain here. Add in the misogynistic stigma attached to the romance genre, and the issues surrounding the use of real names double or triple – or quadruple.

That this is an inherently petty and nasty thing to try to do to someone is obvious.

Dragging innocent names into public view to “punish” people for doing nothing wrong can seriously damage an author’s life. Especially so if she’s a woman. And especially so if she writes romance or erotica.