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REVIEW: The Claiming by Trinity Blacio

Jane:

Maili, I understand you just finished reading (or is that too generous of a word) the words compiled into one PDF known as The Claiming by Trinity Blacio published by Siren Publishing-Bookstrand, Inc. The Claiming is ostensibly about a young woman whose family was killed in a bomb explosion on the family boat 10 years prior to the start of the story. Tabatha (also referred to as “Tab”) receives a frightening phone call from someone claiming to be responsible for those long ago deaths and promising to finish Tabatha off now. Tabatha believes that werewolves might be responsible for her family’s death but this doesn’t stop her from dressing up (or undressing given the scanty nature of the costume) for a Halloween party held at the local werewolf club. There she discovers that the Alpha is her mate and that a demon named Chax, summoned using her stolen car (don’t ask), is also her mate.

Tabatha is claimed by the two men, transformed by their seed “part werewolf and demon, being able to shift as she saw fit, and living as long as they chose.” There’s other stuff that goes on including that her brother isn’t really dead but has been hiding for 10 years and he gets to join a threesome claiming of his own.

Your email said that you were rocking slowly in a dark corner. Is there any one thing that you can point to that finished you off?

Maili:

“Then they heard Chax bellow his rage from the living room. He came storming into the room. He stopped at the foot of the bed and stared at them. His clothes flew off his body. Ever so slowly, he crawled onto the bed with them.”

It’s either that or at department store Macy’s, Tabatha somehow managed to floor two fierce demons by kneeling their balls. Or when fighting at her home, she suddenly shape-shifted into a werewolf and then a demon, to deal with a couple of demons. I’m not sure why she managed to do this when she didn’t at Macy’s. Actually, perhaps it was that moment when everyone stopped fighting after the Master of Hell – out of the blue – shouted, “Stop fighting!” There were so many. I think I was finished off by page 2, actually.

I just can’t get over that there was virtually no world-building. It seemed so random. Tabatha is probably the most inconsistent character I’d come across. What did you think of her?

Jane:
I admit that I was skeptical when I started this book as I was alerted to it by a reader who informed me via email it was the worst book that she had read; that she was never going to buy another ebook again; and that the author used “neither hole” twice in place of nether hole.

(neither hole exhibit A) and (neither hole exhibit B)

I didn’t fully appreciate how truly awful it was, however, until I started reading. It wasn’t just simply the lack of a coherent plot or the lack of worldbuilding but the consistent misspellings; lack of proper grammar; inconsistent details from page to page; and total disregard for use of punctuation. It actually read like a test you might give to a copyeditor who is applying for a job.

Maili:

Yeah! I don’t think anyone would dare to use it as a test because it’d take longer than an hour for a copyeditor to highlight all errors and inconsistencies. It’s the constant inconsistency that almost killed me. Chax’s height varied throughout the story. As far as I could remember, he was seven feet and one inch tall and somehow, became six feet and a half. In one scene he had shaven chest and in other scene, he had chest hairs same colour as his red hair. Oh, speaking of his hair. It was long enough to touch the floor, but the length varied since then. Down to his waist, his shoulders, his knees or God knows where else. A black-haired woman became a blonde bimbo. Some actions were repeated. Tabatha pulled her t-shirt off twice in one scene. Once in a while, it happened on the same page.

The Claiming read as if it was a first draft and completely unedited. I suspect the editor – if there was one – ran a simple spell check because we have so many WTF? words. Cheek for check, rapid for rabid, story for store (“Glancing around the story she noticed everything back as if there had never been a fight” ), and their for they’re (“Yes, they know their not too happy, but I didn’t care.“). It was truly crazy.
Jane:

Toward the end of the story, I was unsure whether the author’s native language was English. As you noted, rapid dog was used (twice in fact). There was a “coat cheek” and “he cheeked every nook of her body”.

The use of pronouns was optional:

"I thought you would like to have our ceremony with Melody’s. We could have out there by the lake."

The transitions were stunningly bad:

Tabatha blushed and looked up at her mates’ glaring eyes. They didn’t say a word to her as they disappeared from the store. Her head rose up and she glanced up and her headboard greeted her vision. Face down on the bed she tried to turn around but her…

Consistent tense is forgotten:

“Tabatha couldn’t believe it. This hunk of a man could dance, and he is gorgeous to boot.”

Maili:

Someone responded to a recent DA article about the etiquette for reviewers that a reviewer should find something good in a bad book. I honestly tried to find one in The Claiming. The nearest I could find: the author has had an interesting concept. Not original, but interesting. I could see the skeleton of her story, but the execution is so poorly done. There was no story structure and… I’m sorry, it was unbelievably bad.

Well, it did have some memorable bits. Such as these: -

  • Ben laughed a sad laugh as two cups of coffee flew at him.
  • She bent down to pick it up when she felt the wiz of something fly by her ear.
  • Tabatha stopped for a minute, thinking about it, and continued walking to the car.
  • Shane grabbed hold of her, stopping her progress. “Wait, let me check outside.” His nose sniffed around the door. He poked his head out doing the same thing. Okay, everything is clear.”

There are some poorly plotted stories that have good erotic scenes, but the erotic scenes in The Claiming aren’t erotic at all. All were the ‘Wham-bam-thank-you-Ma’am’ type. I wouldn’t even brand it bad porn. I wonder if the author skimmed the details and the world-building to fit the word count for a 85-page novella? Or is it too charitable of me to think that?

Jane:

You have to wonder how any house can put this work out and maintain a reputation as a credible publisher.

Maili:

Especially when the ending made it clear that there will be a series to come. I hadn’t read a Siren Publishing book before and having read The Claiming, I’m not sure if I’m willing to read another.

Jane:

If there was a grade below F, I would give it. I truly believe this book is unpublishable in its current state. It gives Siren a bad name and, by extension, epublishing a bad name. No self respecting publisher should put out this kind of product. I intend to read another Siren book to see if The Claiming is an aberration.

This book can be purchased via Bookstrand (unfortunately you have to buy a $5 voucher and the book itself is only $4.50).

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

258 Comments

  1. Jude
    Jun 07, 2009 @ 19:13:27

    So I guess we didn’t miss anything with not being able to finish rrtheatre? LOL

  2. K. Z. Snow
    Jun 07, 2009 @ 19:15:49

    Questions:

    1.) Is Siren-Bookstrand a POD pub?

    2.) I’ve been staring back at Nathan Kamp for years, just waiting for his clothes to fly off his body. So . . . do I have to be in bed with a werewolf (or what/whoever the heroine was in bed with) for that to happen? Because, hey, I’m willing to give it the ol’ college try!

    3.) Why do some people equate all e-books with the crappiest e-books?

    4.) Did y’all know Alyson, a reputable GLBT print pub, will be putting out paper editions of two RR books, one of which is by the inimitable Ryan Field? Some coup.

  3. theo
    Jun 07, 2009 @ 19:25:22

    @K. Z. Snow: Unfortunately, I think it’s more than ‘some people’ who equate them all with a handful of crappy books because frankly, which ones seem to get the most attention? It’s the ones you can poke fun at and tear apart because they’re so bad, they sound like the old infinite monkey theorem, and those few monkey’s really overshadow the legitimate pubs and wonderful authors who publish via ebooks.

  4. Dawn
    Jun 07, 2009 @ 19:37:02

    I was *horrified* to find out this book was published by Siren. I think in their push to be the menage capital of ebooks, they published something that was obviously not ready for publication. There are plenty of good books there and well-established authors. It’s a shame this one was used as representative of what they offer.

  5. Nadia
    Jun 07, 2009 @ 19:43:07

    Toward the end of the story, I was unsure whether the author’s native language was English.

    Actually most non-native English speaker who’ve gone through some rigorous ESL education won’t make mistakes like the ones you’ve listed. At least not the ones whose 1st language is an Asian language (meaning Japanese, Korean & Chinese). The things that usually give them away are their preposition, idiomatic phrase & article usage. You rarely if ever see them confuse “their / they’re / there” or “nether / neither” or “rapid / rabid” and so on.

    The author is just … illiterate.

    I admit that I was skeptical when I started this book as I was alerted to it by a reader who informed me via email it was the worst book that she had read; that she was never going to buy another ebook again

    I bet the reader does not mean she won’t buy any ebook in the future. She probably means she won’t buy ebooks from small / e-presses. When small epubs publish books this bad, they tarnish every epub’s reputation.

    Now…off to get my morning coffee!

  6. Anonymous
    Jun 07, 2009 @ 19:45:17

    If I’m not mistaken, I critiqued a few chapters of this book a year or so ago. I subsequently quit the critique group so I wouldn’t have to crit any more chapters.

  7. Jane
    Jun 07, 2009 @ 19:46:27

    @K. Z. Snow No, I believe that Siren is an actual press. Their website has a list of editors, although whether any one of them looked at this, I’d be surprised.

    I did hear that there will be paper editions of RR Books and frankly that Alyson would choose to publish Ryan Field makes me think that Alyson has taste issues. Perhaps they are into publishing porn.

  8. Jane
    Jun 07, 2009 @ 19:46:46

    @Jude Nope, it was more of the same and by same I mean, totally inconsistent.

  9. Appalled
    Jun 07, 2009 @ 19:54:12

    I bought this book and I have to agree with Dear Author’s review. I also saw that it got top review honors by Val at You Gotta Read Reviews. What does that say about the reviewer and the review site? There are 16 congratulatory comments (some by other authors) on the review and the commenters all seem to think this is an awesome read. I was appalled. How can any educated person not see the mistakes in this book?

    I know that as a long time romance and erotic romance reader, I’m certainly not going to place any more credence in You Gotta Read’s reviews. I know it’s subjective, but this is way past that into the lip service to the posterior zone. It completely reeks of author favoritism. And as a reader who usually likes to get an idea of what other readers think of a book, I feel betrayed. If this book had gotten mediocre reviews I wouldn’t have spent my money on it. Now, I just feel raped, by the publisher, the author and that review site. I don’t care how beloved a writer is. If they turn out something bad, it should be duly noted. I’m glad someone stood up and said this book was awful. Thanks, Jane!

  10. DS
    Jun 07, 2009 @ 19:57:00

    I was curious enough to google the author and look at her web site. I think she is a native English speaker, she just doesn’t have a good grasp of grammar and punctuation. There seems to be an audience for books like this, but I cannot guess who is in it.

  11. KateM
    Jun 07, 2009 @ 20:03:21

    Okay – So, I read this book. It was awful. I was trying to figure out the plot, but with the evil boss who summoned the demon who eventually became one of the heroine’s mates: the other mate who knew that her brother hadn’t really been killed because they were werewolves (she just couldn’t shift): the best friend who just happens to be mated to the heroine’s brother, and another werewolf (who works for the heroine’s other mate): the annoying and confusing story: and the evil genius who has apparently wanted the heroine dead since birth, but hadn’t managed to kill her yet: I was confused, frustrated, and sorry I had spent money on the book. I skipped multiple pages just to make it to the end. Just awful, no continuity, no focus. It was like a bad dream with all the jumping around and non-sense. I was hoping the bad guy got the heroine, just to make it stop.

  12. Jane
    Jun 07, 2009 @ 20:08:18

    @DS This might be harsh, but the author needs to work on her craft before calling herself a “published” author.

  13. Laura Ashton
    Jun 07, 2009 @ 20:10:02

    Hello Jane, I am a Siren author and I must say I’m shocked. Siren is a very good publisher. One of the best. I don’t know how this book got published in the condition it is. From my experience with Siren, their editing is quite thorough. In fact I just spent two weeks going over the edits for my second book. My first book, Jasmine’s Urban Cowboys was the next Menage Amour novel released after The Claiming. You mentioned you’d like to read another Siren book as a test. May I offer you my book.

    LA

  14. DS
    Jun 07, 2009 @ 20:21:42

    Well, I was trying to temper what I said about her because I haven’t read her book. Nor am I likely to do so any time in the future. To be fair she just said she had been writing for seven years, it looks like she has just started being published in ebook form in the last year or so. This stuff you have been reviewing by RR and now Siren is disheartening.

    I missed the edit window on my comment above. Alyson, which used to be a reliable publisher of gay fiction and nonfiction since the 80′s– Alyson has a new publisher who wants to branch out into pornography and a series about gay serial killers.

  15. Jane
    Jun 07, 2009 @ 20:27:53

    @DS Well, I guess we all have to have goals and plans for expanding our market. O_o

  16. Karen Templeton
    Jun 07, 2009 @ 21:25:12

    There seems to be an audience for books like this, but I cannot guess who is in it.

    And right there is the crux of it, IMO.

    Just as there’s an audience in all genres for what many of us feel is substandard work, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that for a lot of readers who are honestly reading these stories only for the prurience, world-building/ characterization/logic/language skills don’t count for a whole lot. And the sleazier and more bizarre the tale (or, in this case, tail), the more they like it.

    Which is why I think it’s kinda pointless to keep belaboring why these obviously badly written books keep getting published — because those publishers have found a market that doesn’t give a rat’s behind about quality, or they have a skewed idea about what that means.

    Or perhaps they know full well how bad the books are, and it’s all a big, fat joke?

  17. Gennita Low
    Jun 07, 2009 @ 22:00:37

    I’m still blinking at the “branch out into…a series about gay serial killers” marketing strategy.

  18. K. Z. Snow
    Jun 07, 2009 @ 22:41:34

    I did hear that there will be paper editions of RR Books and frankly that Alyson would choose to publish Ryan Field makes me think that Alyson has taste issues. Perhaps they are into publishing porn.

    Read all about it here.

  19. K. Z. Snow
    Jun 07, 2009 @ 23:02:40

    As much fun as we might have disparaging such shoddy work, its public appearance is a serious subject. I blogged recently about “too many unworthy books getting published” and got some interesting responses about who’s to blame.

    My conclusion? Readers. As long as people are willing to pay for dreck, can’t distinguish between it and sound writing, and don’t particularly care about the distinction, publishers have no incentive to offer anything of quality. Well, some publishers, anyway.

    The implications are both depressing and alarming.

  20. Zoe Archer
    Jun 07, 2009 @ 23:36:47

    @Gennita Low:

    I'm still blinking at the “branch out into…a series about gay serial killers” marketing strategy.

    They’re trying to branch out into that lucrative gay serial killer reading demographic.

  21. Anon Due to Backlash
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 01:01:37

    I have also read the book. There was so much hype surrounding it (false hype saying how good it was) that I went and bought it-’against my better judgment because I'd read excerpts from this author before. I was intrigued to find out how the editor handled the book. Obviously he/she hasn't. Also, I wanted to be able to say you can't judge a book by its cover. Unfortunately, in this case, you can. The inside is just as bad as the outside.

    By page one I wanted to close the document. It reads like a child penned it-’and that's being unkind to those children who can write a damn sight better. I don't believe the saying “Anyone can write”. Talent plays a big part as well as honing the craft. The author has no talent that I can see and hasn't honed her craft. It saddens me that authors like this claim to be authors. Likewise with editors. The editor of this book isn't someone I would trust with my work. I can safely say as an author I know more than this editor.

    I agree the concept was a good one; it's just a shame that the writing didn't convey the plot so that the book shone as it could have done. Written by someone else, I think we'd find a whole different reading experience.

    We're all used to seeing reviews that diss a book, but I don't feel this review justified quite how bad The Claiming is. It's one of those books that you'd have to read to believe. However, I wouldn't want to suggest anyone go and buy it. You'd kick yourself for the waste of cash.

    The problem is this: Author has listened to friends and relatives who haven't got the courage to tell her that she shouldn't be writing. I'm not being harsh here either, just stating the facts. I have seen comments from readers/other writers of her excerpts, and I have sat and wondered why these people are lying. The truth of the matter is that the author is such a nice, kind person that they don't want to offend her. I have remained silent in these situations because it is obvious to me that telling her she can't/shouldn't write is a waste of typing time.

    This book shows a total disregard for the craft-’almost pokes its tongue out at all those authors who do strive to produce the best they can. It's appalling and makes me sigh, because once again, one bad apple will give other e-book authors and publishers a bad name. I'm sure there are Siren books that are well written and edited, but sadly, after reading The Claiming, I won't spend my money at that site again.

    On another note, contrary to what I've just said, I'd be tempted to buy another book by this author from a different publishing company/editor, just to see how other editors handle this author's way-below-substandard work. I suspect a good editor (after wondering how such drivel got a contract in the first place and much cursing at his/her monitor), would be able to clean books like this until they are at least half reasonable.

    What we have here is a classic case of why e-books have such a bad reputation. This travesty further fans the flames of those who despise e-books, making it difficult for the very good, sincere, give-a-sh*t-about-their-work authors to be taken seriously.

    Furthermore, after reading The Claiming-’and I confess I couldn't finish-’I went to the author's page on Siren. I'm nearly 100% sure she said something rather worrying, though I see today that it is no longer there. I remember it because it gave me pause. She said something to the effect of worrying when your book comes out whether it has been edited well…and something like: How do you even know? (Apologies now if this line didn't exist on this particular author's page and I have read it elsewhere!)

    In my opinion, if you didn't know whether your book had been edited well, then you don't know enough about the craft to even be writing in the first place.

    Two other things on her author page stand out:

    “…find one or two people that are going to be by your side to tell you the truth about your writing…”

    She hasn't found them, in my opinion.

    “When I was first starting out I joined a critique group hoping to get help with my story. I submitted one chapter for them to tear apart and that they did. They were not nice. Needless to say, they said they wouldn’t use my chapter to line a cat box and this was from a well established author.”

    The well-established author spoke the truth, in my opinion. It may have stung, but had that been someone saying that to me, I would have given up and tried another hobby (recommended in this case), or studied the craft (highly recommended in this case).

    I wonder if those people who support this author will continue to lie to her after this review? I suspect they will. Doing so isn't going to do the author any favors-’and if they are true friends, they'll open their mouths before the author pens another mess and gets yet another honest review.

    The other review I have seen is the reviewer's opinion, obviously-’good for her if she enjoyed reading a book such as this. I can only imagine, if The Claiming received such acclaim from her, what rating a well-written book would get. Sadly, The Claiming received top marks, so anyone else who receives the same is put on a par with this dreadful attempt at writing a novella.

    If ‘rapid dog' and ‘neither hole' were repeated twice, then the editor and author clearly have no grasp on spelling and should take time out and seriously consider whether they should continue on this publishing path. How did critique partners also miss these typos (assuming it was beta read!)? How did a line editor/proof reader miss them too?

    All in all, this book opened up myriad thoughts for me-’some mentioned above-’and made me question whether I should dry out the quill and find something else to do with my time if books like The Claiming are held in such high regard.

    If this is the standard expected by readers, then count me out as an author. I stand no chance among those who write in such a manner-’because I actually learned the craft before I got published.

  22. Georgina
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 01:39:48

    DS: Alyson, which used to be a reliable publisher of gay fiction and nonfiction since the 80's- Alyson has a new publisher who wants to branch out into pornography and a series about gay serial killers.”

    More on Alyson’s press page, for those curious. My understanding from reading the interview is that Don Wise wants to publish non-fiction books about pornography, not porn itself. That’s from the context of it being mentioned in the same sentence as “true crime, sports, the military”. Alyson already publishes gay and lesbian erotica.

    The gay serial killer series, on the other hand, seems like a very big step. Not sure how I feel about a LGBT press saying, “Look at this evil gay psychopath!” Isn’t there already enough media around that presents that in one form or another?

    (Oh, is this the first book in the series? Body Count. Hmm.)

    Moving on, these are the two books for which RR has sold print rights to Alyson:

    Sex, Lies and Wedding Bells by EM Lynley.

    An Officer and His Gentleman by Ryan Field.

    Both seem to be erotic romance, or erotica, judging by their descriptions on the RR site. I remember DA not liking one of Ryan Field’s other books, but has anybody read either of these?

  23. Anon Due to Backlash
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 02:31:21

    Regarding Ravenous books:

    As with the Siren comment I made, I wouldn’t read any other Ravenous book after reading Land of the Falling Stars by Keta Diablo (though she can at least pen some lovely prose at times). That book is rife with laugh-out-loud dangling modifiers and contains dubious historical issues, among other errors. RR should seriously check each book edited before publication, as should Siren. These errors, and those in The Claiming, can do nothing but damage to a publisher to some degree, in my opinion.

    I’m afraid of reading books that have the ‘You’ve gotta read it!’ tag/hype. Every time I’ve read such a book, I’ve been left wondering what the hell those people are on that have given them such a title. But then there’s the ‘What suits some, doesn’t suit others’ angle. Obviously what suits the majority doesn’t suit me. Maybe liking coherent reading matter puts me in the minority.

  24. AnneD
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 05:36:05

    a series about gay serial killers

    Well, Dexter is doing rather superbly well for itself. It maybe that there is a market for it?

  25. Shannon Stacey
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 07:23:57

    You have to wonder how any house can put this work out and maintain a reputation as a credible publisher.

    Money over credibility. The Claiming released on May 11th. According to the author’s Twitter timeline, it reached the 500 copies sold mark on June 2nd—three weeks later. Forty percent of 3.99 is 1.60, so in three weeks the author made $800.00. The publisher made more. Not bad for a rough first draft.

  26. Anon Due to Backlash
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 07:40:28

    Shannon…your comment is staggering.

    I’m stunned by this information.

  27. Sandy James
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 07:58:48

    I can’t speak to Trinity’s book because I don’t read/write Menage. I do know that readers on many of my loops are screaming for more, more, more, so publishers are scrambling to put out new titles. I always watch with a bit of dismay and envy as those stories rise up the charts while my mainstream romances look for a following in ebook form.

    I’m on the BookStrand side of the Siren-BookStrand equation, so I can speak to my experience. All of my romances have been well edited. All have been finalists/winners in RWA contests including Turning Thirty-Twelve which was one of the finalists in the Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence Contest for Best Mainstream Romance of 2008. I would welcome you giving BookStrand another chance to show its worth by having you review one of my books. I believe I sent you Murphy’s Law back in March. It was a finalist in Heart of the Rockies, Golden Gateway, and Golden Rose. Just give me the word, and any/all of my ebooks will be in your mailbox in a heartbeat.

    As far as reviews, I’ve been reviewed many times, at least once by Val at You Gotta Read. Her write up was well thought out and very to the point. I suppose since she gave Murphy’s Law a “You Gotta Read” rating, I like to think she has excellent taste. :-) Her opinion of Murphys’ Law was corroborated by Night Owl, CoffeeTime, and Classic Romance Revival reviewers.

  28. Lex Valentine
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 08:07:03

    I know the author. She’s a very nice lady. When Yahoo dumped her website and email for spamming, I built the website she has now and gave it to her, domain and all. However, the verbiage on there is NOT my work. When I first saw it, I figured it was a rough draft. I didn’t realize she hadn’t gone back and cleaned it up.

    I’ve also seen some of her excerpts for The Claiming. They did have grammar and usage issues, but I assumed the excerpts were unedited. I didn’t think the book would have them since any editor worth their salt couldn’t miss those kinds of mistakes.

    Re You Gotta Read reviews, they’ve been very good to me with regard to reviews. Granted, Val did not do any of the reviews for my 3 books. Tir’s review for The Wise Guy wasn’t as good as Val’s review for The Claiming, which is a whole other can of worms I suppose since The Wise Guy doesn’t have the structural issues The Claiming appears to have. *sigh*

  29. Maili
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 08:13:06

    I was going to write this:

    I feel we are focusing on author’s CPs and friends too much because I think the key question is, what made the editor think The Claiming was good enough to be accepted and published?

    That’s what shocked me. I think the editor did the author – as well as Siren Publishing and readers – a massive disservice.

    Just before I posted this, I read Shannon Stacey’s comment. Mystery solved. Excuse me while I return to a dark corner and rock some more.

  30. Jane
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 08:16:29

    @Shannon Stacey I guess the positive side of this is that digi pub is obviously a serious business model. You can write crap and still make money. Off to cobble together some sentences that have cock and pussy in them.

  31. Shannon Stacey
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 08:20:38

    Don’t forget the neither holes. Those suckers are money in the bank, baby.

  32. Anonymous
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 08:21:29

    The book in question, The Claiming, and all signs of it including author name have now been removed from the Siren Publishing site.

  33. Lex Valentine
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 08:28:53

    @Sandy James Perhaps she just rates everything that way. I know we would all like to think that a book shown to have grave errors would not be rated as high or higher than a book without errors, but that apparently isn’t the case here.

    I too have reviews from other places including Night Owl and Coffee Time that would seem to corroborate Tir’s reviews of my books at You Gotta. Actually, Night Owl rated The Wise Guy higher than You Gotta did. The reviewer there liked that book better than my other two while Tir has the opposite opinion. She liked Shifting Winds and Hot Water better than The Wise Guy. They are all good reviews so I’m not complaining. At the same time, I don’t tend to use reviews as evidence that I write well. I’ll leave that up to the good folks who contract and edit me, none of whom are, or work for, Siren or Ravenous.

  34. Lorelie
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 08:33:11

    @Anonymous: Not true. A quick search (via mobile web, ’cause my work net-nanny said “Nuh-uh are you going there.”) shows both author and book still on website.

  35. Nadia
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 08:33:55

    @Anonymous:

    The book in question, The Claiming, and all signs of it including author name have now been removed from the Siren Publishing site.

    I don’t think so.

    I was able to pull this up:

    http://www.sirenpublishing.com/x-trinityblacio-x/

    It’s still active.

  36. ASable
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 08:34:41

    Jane,

    I laughed. I cried. I cringed in horror.

    All that from just reading the review and comments.

    This might have been a great candidate for a haiku.

  37. Anonymous
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 08:42:28

    @Lorelle: The site search may well be turning up when it WAS there. Go to the site itself. It’s gone. And for whatever it’s worth, I’m also told that the owner of Siren is a no-nonsense kind of gal and heads are going to roll.

  38. Nadia
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 08:44:23

    @Anonymous: I’ll believe it when I see it.

    Until then, I don’t think Siren cares since it’s selling well and making money (esp. w/ so little effort on Siren’s part).

  39. anon
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 08:51:16

    I am intrigued by the quick response by Siren to this review. I wonder how they will approach it internally? Re-edit? Have it re-written? Never speak of it again?

    Has anything like this happened before in anyone’s memory?

    I did a search and found that at the moment a lot of torrents seem to be available for the Claiming, which means the current book may become a ‘collector’s item’ and like KNIGHT MOVES turn into a crashing success when or if it comes back onto the sale list.

  40. Prue
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 08:56:01

    EDIT: Sorry, someone got there before me.

    I just went and looked her up at siren publishing. She’s still there.>

  41. Laura Ashton
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 08:58:18

    I disagree, Nadia, Siren cares a great deal about their books and their image. If they were only interesting in money why would they take a good selling book down.

    There had to be some kind of slip up with regard to this book. I know they rushed the Claiming into my slot when I wanted more time, maybe that was the problem. I know this was an anomaly and I am proud to write for Siren and if you asked Sandy James and all the others they would say the same.

    LA

  42. Lorelie
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 09:00:11

    @Anonymous: I’m sorry if I was unclear. I did a search for Siren Publishing, went in to the site via “Catalog by Author.” I then selected Trinity Blacio. The cover of The Claiming appeared, along with a “Buy from Bookstrand” button, a description, and author details. When I simply type http://www.sirenpublishing.com into my phone’s browser Trinity Blacio appears on that page under a list of Siren Authors.

    Admittedly, it does not seem to be listed under the “Menage Amour” collection listing. Also, the Bookstrand link calls it Menage Amour #79, but on the Siren website #79 is a story called Jasmine’s Urban Cowboys. Maybe it’s a rushed yank job, resulting in an incomplete wiping out?

  43. Pamela Turner
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 09:06:47

    What infuriariates me is that she claims to be a professional, having written for newspapers and genealogy magazines. If that were the case, then she should have a freaking grip on grammar, spelling, etc.

    *Sigh* Bangs head on desk. Again. And again. And yet again.

    That’s it. If and whenever I publish a book, I’m not going to refer to myself as a “professional” author. Apparently the definitions of “professional” and “amateur” were swapped and no one told Merriam-Webster.

    The more I see crap like this, the more I wonder why I’m even bothering to develop my writing skills. Oh, right. Because I want to put out the best product I can. I want people to enjoy my stories and not get hung up over simple errors that could yank them out of the story.

    Granted, publishers want stories that their audience will read, but are we really plummeting into a nation of illiterates?

    Sorry for the rant, but this is happening far too often.

  44. Sandy James
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 09:06:58

    I know this was an anomaly and I am proud to write for Siren and if you asked Sandy James and all the others they would say the same.

    Absolutely! My editor made all of my stories stronger, and I will always appreciate the opportunity offered to me and the trust the publisher gives me to produce a quality product.

    If only the mainstream romance could generate the same kind of interest that erotica and menage seem to. There are a lot of fabulous authors on the BookStrand mainstream list.

  45. anon
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 09:07:10

    It looks like the book’s page is still there but no way to buy it. She’s not linked or listed on any author pages, but yes, the search is still functioning since the pages haven’t been deleted.

    any minute now….

  46. Anon Due to Backlash
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 09:15:18

    @Shannon Stacey: God, you’re funny. I’ll resist the temptation to have neither holes in my next book.

  47. Anonymous
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 09:15:21

    @Lorelle: All I know is that I received an email from a Siren author telling me the book and author were gone. I checked the site itself for any signs. I cannot find the book, the cover, the author name, or excerpt anywhere. The top ten list no longer lists the book either. Not even listed under the Menage Amour Collection. I just looked again. I had three other people look this time as well. We don’t see it on the site itself.
    Maybe they are still in the process of taking things down. Who knows? I just know what I am not seeing on the site and what I was told by a Siren author.

  48. anon author
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 09:17:07

    If it’s this easy to get a contract at Siren, maybe I should start sending all my stuff to them. I guess they won’t reject it.

    Oh wait. I write romance and probably don’t have enough sex in my books to make the grade.

    If Siren is a reputable publisher, how did this book get released? There is rushing and there is doing nothing, and it seems the latter happened. Could they have accidentally published the first draft?

  49. anon
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 09:20:21

    Trinity’s page is still there:

    http://www.sirenpublishing.com/x-trinityblacio-x/

    Note the X’s on it, while another author has this URL

    http://www.sirenpublishing.com/cherieamour/

    Trinity’s been canceled.

  50. K. Z. Snow
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 09:22:14

    “It fell through the editorial cracks” is not an excuse I’m willing to buy. When a book is so dreadfully written that nobody can get through it without cringing multiple times, page after page, that book should never have been accepted in the first place! It’s that simple. Any publisher/acquisitions editor who accepts this kind of stuff has seriously deficient standards for quality. Period.

  51. Anonymous
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 09:27:53

    @anon: Don’t understand why I can’t access it from the site, but maybe that is the point. lol I can get it through clicking on your link though. But yes, looks like a
    cancellation to me too.

  52. Lynne Connolly
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 09:33:50

    A few things.
    I’ve always regarded Siren as a pretty decent publisher, so it surprises me that they let this go. However, there’s no doubting that this is the kind of book that gives epublishing a bad name, and I think it’s the newsworthiness of the thing that gives it so much publicity.

    I did see this coming, which is why, in my career, I’ve tried to go with publishers I can trust. I’ve just finished the final edits on a book which is a rewritten version of an earlier book. That means it’s had four editors (two at the old house, two at this one) and it’s only after 4 editorial passes they noticed my heroine walked out of the room to attend to a customer in her store with her bra unhooked and her sweater pushed up! So stuff happens sometimes.
    But there is a definite divide these days in epubs, as there tends to be in developing markets. The top publishers have editors on staff as well as editors who do it on a subcontracting basis, and the editors are rarely writers as well. They have actual real-life offices. They have decent sales.
    Which is why I kind of doubt the 500 sales a tiny bit. You just don’t get that kind of sale with a smaller publisher. However, it could be so, I guess.

    And I do worry about authors who are published too early. This goes for print as well as e. A writer who receives a savaging like this, deserved though it might be, will give up, or defy the review and either way doesn’t make her a better writer. Writers need to be nurtured, we aren’t all born with perfect writing skills in every department and it takes years to develop it properly. That’s the main reason small press (very) and self-pubbed tend to be so bad. The author wants it so much she takes shortcuts and ignores warning signs. We might just be losing a great author in the making.

  53. Shannon Stacey
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 09:40:19

    As for falling through the editorial cracks, apparently Siren will designate a book as Editor’s pick.

    “Requirements for Editor’s Pick: Authors cannot request or nominate any book. It is entirely based on the unanimous votes of the Siren-BookStrand editorial staff.”

    The first paragraph of the excerpt from the book unanimously chosen by the editorial staff as Editor’s Pick?

    The stranger took a step toward her. “I’m Luke.” He touched her arm tentatively. “You’re so soft.”

  54. Dee
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 09:41:12

    by K. Z. Snow June 8th, 2009 at 9:22 am Reply to this comment

    “It fell through the editorial cracks” is not an excuse I'm willing to buy. When a book is so dreadfully written that nobody can get through it without cringing multiple times, page after page, that book should never have been accepted in the first place! It's that simple. Any publisher/acquisitions editor who accepts this kind of stuff has seriously deficient standards for quality. Period.

    I write for Bookstrand and I think we ought to stop the holier than thou attitude. This is one book not a pattern. This was her only book and I’m betting her last one. In the meantime there are a hundred other authors at SirenBookstrand whose books don’t suck. I’m not saying there isn’t another stinker in the hundreds of titles, but if there is I’ll bet it’s not even close to The Claiming.

  55. Anon Due to Backlash
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 09:45:19

    @Shannon Stacey: Oh, stop it! I can’t stop laughing at: “You’re so soft.”

    Good job it was him saying that to her. Imagine it the other way around in an erotic romance. A lot of good he would be to her in the bedroom.

  56. Heather (errantdreams)
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 09:46:44

    @Lynne Connolly:

    And I do worry about authors who are published too early. This goes for print as well as e. A writer who receives a savaging like this, deserved though it might be, will give up, or defy the review and either way doesn't make her a better writer.

    Absolutely true. Reviews are written for the consumer, not the author, so it doesn’t make sense for them to coddle the author. It doesn’t do the author any good to expose them to this level of criticism before they’ve progressed through less harsh and less nit-picky levels. From the consumer’s point of view, books like this shouldn’t be published because they’re a waste of the consumer’s money, like buying a vase and finding out it’s cracked. But it’s also a waste and a bad idea for the author, who isn’t ready for this level of criticism and can have their enthusiasm and motivation damaged by it.

    That’s why I always shake my head at authors who wail that reviewers shouldn’t be so mean—IMO, authors shouldn’t be publishing until they and their work are ready for the fact that reviewers will tell readers exactly what they think. No one does an author a favor by publishing them too early or encouraging them to publish too early—it just sets them up for a beating.

  57. Shannon Stacey
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 09:49:53

    @Anon Due to Backlash: While the dialogue’s certainly questionable, the actual construction of the paragraph is not well done. That’s what irked me.

  58. Barb
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 09:51:44

    Laura Ashton wrote:
    Siren cares a great deal about their books and their image.

    And this, my friends, is an example of their “image”:

    http://www.bookstrand.com/product-hotfornick-13967-192.html

    I rest my case.

  59. anon
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 09:55:16

    @Beth

    I’m speechless at that! I thought The Claiming had a very questionable cover, but this is unbelievable.

    If they don’t want their books considered porn, then someone needs to talk to the cover artists pretty soon.

    I don’t know whether to laugh or cry here!

  60. theo
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 09:57:16

    WTF kind of cover is that? *shock* Although…this line in the description of the book tends to substantiate the cover somewhat…

    She loves him too much to go down without a fight

    And she certainly is…going down…

    Remind me never to buy one of their books. Even Playboy is more tasteful than that!

  61. Anon Due to Backlash
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 09:58:28

    Yes, the covers need addressing. Dear Lord.

  62. Anonymous
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 10:06:20

    @Dee: Why is it whenever someone doesn’t agree with someone’s assessment then it becomes “holier than thou”? Your experience with Siren may be stellar, but as someone who bought the book, mine wasn’t. Think Siren would be willing to refund me my five bucks? Yeah, five cause you can’t just pay for the book which was less than five, you have to pay extra for some odd reason. Like I need my fifty cents sitting on the Siren site!

    But it seems that K.Z. Snow has a much better handle on all this than you. There is no excuse for this book falling through the cracks. The acquisitions ed should never have contracted it. Since they did, it means the ed was unqualified which means that Siren is at fault.

    And speaking to the poor author who has now been dragged through the mud, she very probably does have some writing talent. If it had not been for the idiot at Siren who contracted the author before she was ready, maybe all of this would not have happened.

    Maybe the author should sue Siren.

  63. Alisha Rai
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 10:07:13

    Oh Lord, Barb, tag a not safe for work on that link. I just went through a flurry of window closings :).

    I think, overall, Siren is a good publisher, which is why people are surprised. I’m wondering if the editor was the only one to see this before it went to print, and how many other authors she/he edits. It’s one thing to expect an editor to fix worldbuilding and plot construction (it’s not their job to write the thing), but they should definitely be able to catch grammatical errors. Or, even better, say to the author, sorry we can’t offer you a contract at this time, work on the story a bit more. A rejection never killed anyone.

  64. Anonymous
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 10:12:28

    Yep, that’s the other cover on the site that had a lot of people wondering. While we are taking a look at some of these publishers and the direction they are taking…
    What about this one? http://www.loveyoudivine.com/splash.php
    Scroll down to the third title.

  65. Anon Due to Backlash
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 10:19:12

    I feel very sorry for the other Siren authors in all this. Like I said in my first comment, one bad apple… And as Dee said, there probably won't be another book even close to The Claiming for sale at Siren. Having said this, Siren will lose some business now, I suspect. Again, I feel sorry for other Siren authors who strive to produce the best they can and risk many people never knowing their books exist due to a portion of readers being turned off of Siren now.

    I can imagine the author will be devastated at finding out her book hasn't been well received by some, but this is a business, a harsh one, and if you put yourself out there for all to read, then you should expect backlash if you don't write well. We all expect a nit-picking, don't we? It comes with the territory.

    The Claiming has been out for long enough that the author would know if her first draft had been accidentally published. This would have been remedied as soon as she spotted the errors in her final pdf copy. That she didn't know there were errors is indication enough that she isn't ready to be published yet.

    I agree with Lynne and Heather about the sadness of an author being published too soon, either because they believe themselves that they are ready, or others have told them they are. I also feel that Siren shouldn't have accepted the book-’or should have, at the very least, assigned a capable editor to work with Ms. Blacio until her book was ready for readers.

    I hope Ms. Blacio takes a break from submitting and takes herself off to learn the craft before submitting anything again. I would also use a new pen name.

    As for the covers on some sites lately-’I wouldn't buy the books because of them, even though we shouldn't judge a book by its cover. Again, another disservice to the authors, because inside those pdfs may well be some stunning work that readers will miss out on.

  66. Sandy James
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 10:22:50

    I agree the covers for some of my publisher’s erotica/menage are very over the top. But some readers love those kinds of images or else those titles wouldn’t sell so well in ebook form.

    Not all of Siren-BookStrand’s covers are that… busy. My cover for Turning Thirty-Twelve won the P&E Best Cover Art for 2008. My Damaged Heroes covers are beautiful.

  67. Helen Burgess
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 10:30:21

    I have bought various books at Siren which have been fine, though some covers should have a warning label – it can be difficult explaining a sudden shriek of laughter. Going back to the book – a hero with a free roaming nose! who does not want one of those.

  68. Anon
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 10:34:22

    like someone above mentioned, I also was in a critique group with this author last year. She posted a lot of excerpts on the group and on her website asking for feedback.

    I was horrified to find that all the comments were how wonderful her work was. It wasn’t, and it still isn’t. What good is a crit group if they love everything? I quickly left, realizing that I wouldn’t get the kind of feedback I needed to improve.

    Honestly, I would have been embarrassed to post some of the excerpts she did due to poor writing style, lots of typos, lack of sensuality in the so-called sex scenes, etc. She didn’t get the concept of revision and proofreading before you send something to even get critiqued. Have some respect for your fellow writers and take a few minutes to polish an idea, not throw them something that you just puked up onto a page (or keyboard).

    I think getting the right kind of feedback is crucial to developing writing skill. But all the blame for a book like this getting published goes to the editorial staff at Siren. This book should never have been released without a lot more work done on, and in a way the author will learn from. Good editors can be mentors and I know I’ve paid close attention to editors’ comments and changes. Now I check for those errors when I do revision if anything slipped through on an early draft.

  69. Anonx2
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 10:35:47

    This is why I do my own covers. After the first couple of covers slapped on as the face of my books, I was embarrassed to show them to people. I thought maybe the first one was just a one-time bad cover–and then I rec’d my second one. Ugh! It’s like Photoshop gone terribly, terribly wrong.

    Granted I’m no graphics designer, but even with a simple program that came free with my keyboard, my covers are more tasteful than the ones I’ve been given.

  70. Dee
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 10:41:17

    Think Siren would be willing to refund me my five bucks?

    Did you ask? How do you know they wouldn’t. But anyway I have to say this. Did anyone read the excerpt? It was a red flag. Anyone who read the excerpt and expected the book to be better…cavat emptor.

    Yes, the book should have never been picked up and even then the editor should have alerted management. Maybe it is a travesty, but this book doesn’t taint the other authors or the their books. I resent some saying all Siren books must be crap because of this one. Let them find another crappy book and then we can talk. Siren isn’t Ravenous Romances. My concern is for my and the other SirenBookstrand author’s reputation, which some want to saddle us with The Claiming.

    Dee

  71. FD
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 10:48:35

    God, that’s diabolically bad. I do feel slightly sorry for the author here, but feeling sorry for her doesn’t change the fact that this book should not have been published in the state it was in. Getting this nuts and bolts level (of deserved, sadly) criticism going to hurt badly now, after being published and theoretically, having already jumped all the hurdles.

    Unfortunately for other authors at this house, the company having released a book in this condition is going to make me look with careful careful eyes at any future purchases from Siren – Cerulean Sins & Incubus Dreams by LKH had a similar effect on my opinion and trust levels of Berkley.

    It’s interesting – a lot of the e-pubbed books I’m seeing slated lately are paranormal or sci-fi romance/erotica. Sci-fi / fantasy as a whole is big on world-building, it’s pretty much the genre constant. I’m wondering if we’re getting bad books because pubs are taking on the trappings of the genre because it’s ‘in’ but missing the heart of it. Like RR selling ‘romances’ that don’t have a believable HEA or even a HFN.

    Or possibly at least in my case, I’m struggling with pn romance because I’m bringing my expectations of the sf genre to the table, and they’re trying to sell to a different market. In this case, I hesitate to wonder what market exactly…

  72. Anonymous
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 10:50:04

    @Dee: For five bucks? I don’t think I’ll bother the people at Siren over it. They might need that five bucks to fix the fall out over all this. Then again, with the sales noted on this blog by someone, they might have plenty to just keep tossing the books at us. And No, I didn’t read the excerpt. I read the blurb. I actually didn’t buy the book for any other reason than the cover. I JUST HAD TO SEE WHAT WAS INSIDE THAT!!! It was a curiosity buy. And the old saying is pretty well on target: Curiosity does indeed kill the cat. Or in this case, at least maim.

    And ok. I’ll buy another Siren book. And I bet you have one to recommend to me don’t you? Maybe Jane will even read a few more books from Siren. In all fairness, it isn’t right to judge the Siren authors by this one book. However, we do have the right and definitely should judge Siren in all this.

  73. Anon Due to Backlash
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 10:50:53

    The excerpt is bad, but it doesn't show just how bad the rest of the book is.

  74. Anion
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 10:52:38

    Have to agree with Anon Due to Backlash here. I find it incredibly depressing to see garbage like this being put out, and reviewers and readers slavering over it. I judged a contest a few years ago and found one of the entries to be literally laughable; huge historical inaccuracies, terrible writing, ridiculous dialogue, silly metaphors. Google turned up countless great reviews for the thing. I cannot count the number of times I’ve seen people rave in Yahoo loops or whatever about how great a book is, only to find the book is abysmally written.

    If this is what readers want… It’s something I can’t give them.

    BTW, K.Z. is exactly right. This NEVER should have been accepted for publication, much less allowed to be sold in this form. Never.

  75. Anonymous
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 11:05:35

    @Anion: I swear, you and I must have run across the same historical, or at least one incredibly similar. Makes you think you’re the one who is crazy, doesn’t it? We all feel badly for the author, don’t understand why the publisher contracted this book, and then there is this:

    What about all those writers out there who constantly work to improve their craft and then see a title like this one selling over five hundred books? Maybe Ms. Blacio will quit writing, or maybe write under a new pen name. I have no idea. But it’s a slap in the face to authors who consider themselves to be professionals when they see a book like this getting a great review and a book that is well written getting something less. Reviewers are losing trust with authors left and right. It seems that maybe the reviewer of this book should share some blame for recommending it.

  76. Anon Due to Backlash
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 11:10:48

    I'm wondering if we're getting bad books because pubs are taking on the trappings of the genre because it's ‘in' but missing the heart of it.

    That’s a good point, FD. Also, authors deseprate to be published are writing what is ‘in’ and also missing the heart of it because no one is telling them what is wrong with their work. It’s all very sad.

  77. Heather (errantdreams)
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 11:11:24

    @Anonymous

    It seems that maybe the reviewer of this book should share some blame for recommending it.

    When I went to look at the positive review of this book, I noted that most of the comments were from people congratulating the author, which is not something I usually see on a book review. Usually comments are aimed at the reviewer or other commenters. To me that’s a red flag that the blog or reviewer might be aimed at “author worship” more than an attempt to help readers decide what they’d enjoy reading.

  78. Anon Due to Backlash
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 11:12:54

    But it's a slap in the face to authors who consider themselves to be professionals when they see a book like this getting a great review and a book that is well written getting something less.

    I agree.

  79. Kat
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 11:15:37

    I agree the covers for some of my publisher's erotica/menage are very over the top. But some readers love those kinds of images or else those titles wouldn't sell so well in ebook form.

    I would think what makes a book sell well in any format is the quality of writing and the appeal of the story. Granted, a provocative cover may be of help in attracting potential readers, but it shouldn’t matter if the couple on the cover is dressed or not.

    You can slap a picture of a naked man’s ass on anything. If the words underneath are not written well…

  80. Anonymous
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 11:17:56

    @Heather: Good point. I just assumed that the author is very good at promo and directed a group of her friends to the site. I get that a lot and go by and comment on a review for author friends. I did note that it seemed as though the commenters had actually read the book, which I thought a bit strange as it had only released. So, there again, contrived. Although that wouldn’t signal to me that the Reviewer was involved in it all. I’d expect the author to round up the troops and ask for support. But I’d still expect that reviewer to tell the truth about the book. And judging by what the reviewer said, she isn’t very savvy, is she?

  81. Wonders
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 11:29:26

    So now that Siren has pulled the book and author, does that mean the reviewers with egg on their faces will delete their glowing reviews?

  82. Dee
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 11:31:13

    This is a test. I wrote a response to anon due about the excerpt but it wouldn’t post.

  83. theo
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 11:31:13

    At the risk of getting myself in trouble…there are several blogs/sites out there now, including DA, where an unpublished author can put some of their story out for critique. The unfortunate thing that these sites have no control over, are the ‘critiques’ that say “love it, wanna buy it” or “didn’t like it, not my genre.” What good are those? They tell the author nothing from a technical/critical/even helpful perspective. The few that do probably are ignored by the authors who don’t want to believe there’s anything that needs polishing.

    If you’re in a crit group and get the same thing, and you’re serious about writing, you need to find somewhere else as someone above pointed out. She left because she wanted honesty and real help. Sure, it can be brutal. But I’ve said it before, if you can’t take the critiques who are trying to help you, no matter how harsh you might think they are, what are you ever going to do when you have a reader who goes after not only the book, but you as a writer?

    I have to think this writer is one of the “I’ll only accept the flowers and ignore the thorns” type when it comes to critiques prior to subbing. Because clearly, this was no where near being ready even for an editor to see.

    IMHO of course, as always…

  84. Anon
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 11:35:05

    Maybe some of the reviewers are her friends? She seems to have a strong bunch of supporters even if they don’t give her proper feedback on her work.

    I happened to see that Jamaica Layne of Knight Moves fame got 3 5-star reviews from one site in the space of about a week. Hmm, something’s rotten in Denmark when those kind of things happen. Or we really are in the Twilight Zone.

    I can understand people wanting to help friends, but it eliminates any shred of credibility for anything that reviewer writes or has written in the past.

    Some of it may be that reviewers really do like it and it just means their taste is so unlike my own as to keep me from thinking we’d have the same opinion on anything.

  85. Heather (errantdreams)
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 11:39:33

    @theo

    there are several blogs/sites out there now, including DA, where an unpublished author can put some of their story out for critique. The unfortunate thing that these sites have no control over, are the ‘critiques' that say “love it, wanna buy it” or “didn't like it, not my genre.” What good are those? They tell the author nothing from a technical/critical/even helpful perspective.

    I remember a couple of years ago a writer for a webcomic I loved started branching out into fiction. He posted some short pieces on his blog and asked for real critique. It was very inspired stuff, but he still needed some polishing of his skills. All his readers were fervently telling him how perfect his work was. I was hesitant to say something negative for fear of getting jumped on by such overly-zealous fans, but since he seemed genuine in his desire for feedback, I started offering both my opinion of what I really liked, and a few suggestions for what I thought could use improvement. I was the only person who did so—and he was really grateful for the honesty. He truly did want to improve, but folks were dead-set on being worshipful instead of helping.

    Obviously not all authors are really okay with hearing honest critique, even if they think they are. But I also think that with that kind of zealous fan response, it can be hard to keep perspective as a writer. The open internet isn’t a great place to get helpful feedback.

  86. Dee
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 11:41:15

    by Anon Due to Backlash June 8th, 2009 at 10:50 am Reply to this comment

    The excerpt is bad, but it doesn't show just how bad the rest of the book is.

    Well I thought the excerpt was pretty bad. Not even getting into grammar and punctuation there’re tattoos that match Chax’s skin perfectly. Not complimented–matched. That means you wouldn’t be able to see them. Then Chax’s huge penis has a barbell piercing and he forces it up poor Tab even when screamed it was too big and what about the barbed tail in Tab’s VG and Hoyt’s anus. There’s more but you get the picture. The excerpt seemed to me like a house of horrors that was written by an oversexed fourteen year old boy.

    The ironic thing, which hasn’t really been discussed here is that reader reviews showed that many more readers liked the story than didn’t.

    I seem to have gotten a headache.

  87. Anon Due to Backlash
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 11:41:36

    We all go through having red faces. We all slap our foreheads (or is that just me?) when someone points out our errors, but we should be thankful they were pointed out. It would be a damn sight more embarrassing for an editor to pick up on them.

    I said to my crit partner just today after reading this review: Always give it to me straight. No bull.

    Otherwise, what’s the point? If I’m not told what sucks, and at times I won’t see it because I penned it and I’m too close to the work, how can I fix it?

    “I'll only accept the flowers and ignore the thorns” Never heard this term before, but I like it. Forget the flowers. Point out the thorns, please. And I seriously mean that, as my crit partner knows.

  88. Dee
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 11:44:05

    by Anon June 8th, 2009 at 11:35 am Reply to this comment

    Maybe some of the reviewers are her friends? She seems to have a strong bunch of supporters even if they don't give her proper feedback on her work.

    She does have a yahoo reader group. I’m sure that’s where the backing comes from.

  89. Dee
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 11:46:23

    I was the only person who did so-’and he was really grateful for the honesty. He truly did want to improve, but folks were dead-set on being worshipful instead of helping.

    And some don’t know the difference between chicken salad and chicken shit!

  90. Amazed
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 11:47:01

    I have several friends pubbed at Siren, authors good enough to be just a hair away from being pubbed by NY. They, too, have mentioned being discouraged at the type of book that often makes it to the top of the charts. It makes you want to stop writing.

    I read the excerpts and am shocked at the amount of readers that did purchase this thing. I hope they didn’t read those excerpts and still decide to buy it. It sounded awful from the excerpts.

    As for the reviews. I’m beginning to realize that a bad author can get a great review if they cultivate the right friends in the reviewer community. Not to say that all reviewers play favorites, but some seem to do that.

  91. Dee
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 12:07:41

    And ok. I'll buy another Siren book. And I bet you have one to recommend to me don't you? Maybe Jane will even read a few more books from Siren. In all fairness, it isn't right to judge the Siren authors by this one book. However, we do have the right and definitely should judge Siren in all this.

    Hi anonymous, I’m always welcome to new readers. I have eleven novels and short stories out. However, if shapeshifters is your thing, I’m afraid I can’t help you. The closest I have is a story about witches and the rest is contemporary.

    Sorry

  92. Anonymous
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 12:12:12

    @Dee:Somehow I just knew you had a few books for me to read.
    But since I don’t know your author name and where to direct the “morning after comments”, maybe I’ll just stroll through the Siren site and pick out another cover that talks to me.

  93. Sandy James
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 12:13:51

    I would think what makes a book sell well in any format is the quality of writing and the appeal of the story. Granted, a provocative cover may be of help in attracting potential readers, but it shouldn't matter if the couple on the cover is dressed or not.

    One would think… Perhaps in a perfect world, a good story would be all it took to get attention. There are just too many talented writers being overlooked and bad ones being published who prove otherwise.

    I’m as frustrated and bemused that so many people buy over-the-top stories with shockingly pornographic covers from all kinds of publishers (cough… Ravenous… cough) as many of you seem to be. What can we do about it? Buy good books.

  94. Anonymous
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 12:20:27

    When I purchased The Claiming, it was purely out of curiosity. As an author myself, I could not imagine what warranted that cover. And I can honestly say that if a publisher offered me a cover like that I would strenuously object. If the publisher didn’t relent and make a more professional, less pornographic cover, then I suppose contractually I’d be stuck with it. However, I don’t think I’d promote it. I could never promote something I could not be proud of. The cover and the contents.

  95. Dee
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 12:25:43

    by Anonymous June 8th, 2009 at 12:12 pm Reply to this comment

    @Dee:Somehow I just knew you had a few books for me to read.
    But since I don't know your author name and where to direct the “morning after comments”, maybe I'll just stroll through the Siren site and pick out another cover that talks to me.

    Likely story. The name’s Dee Dawning and I only have two books on Bookstrand, one of which I’m fairly proud of, but hasn’t sold well because of the tame cover. Now you know why some of the covers are zingers.

  96. Anon
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 12:26:12

    if a publisher offered me a cover like that I would strenuously object. If the publisher didn't relent and make a more professional, less pornographic cover, then I suppose contractually I'd be stuck with it. However, I don't think I'd promote it. I could never promote something I could not be proud of.

    From what I heard, she was very excited about this cover. But that probably doesn’t come as a complete shock after you read what she thought was a finished book.

  97. Tammy
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 12:26:52

    On the positive side…books like this provide an incentive to people like me, who let too many years go by before writing that first book.

    You get to the point where you start thinking… if books like THIS can get published, what do I have to lose?

    OTOH – crap like this DOES get published, which frankly doesn’t do much for our genre’s credibility.

  98. Sandy James
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 12:33:00

    Somehow I just knew you had a few books for me to read.
    But since I don't know your author name and where to direct the “morning after comments”, maybe I'll just stroll through the Siren site and pick out another cover that talks to me.

    I’d be happy to have you choose one of mine, and I’d love to field your “morning after” comments!!

  99. Savanna Kougar
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 12:38:49

    Okay, I’ll step into the murk of this, probably with no real good result, however. All of my books at Siren were rigorously edited, I mean, everything!!! How Trinity’s mss escaped that process I don’t have a clue. I spent a week to two weeks of constant intense going over my stories, line by line, before turnng them back in to be published.
    So, is anyone going to balance this review out by taking a fair look at what Siren has to offer?
    Gee, I well remember a conversation on the Passionate Ink forum where another very high profile E-Publisher let a mss get by the same way. Okay, mistakes were made. Did that make the rest of the books offered bad by association?
    Look, there are excerpts for a reason. Read the excerpts before you decide to purchase. I know that won’t eliminate every read that isn’t up to par, or one you don’t like, yet, it does cut down on the possibility.
    Also, if I were going to let reading one ‘not good’ book stop me from reading I WOULD HAVE STOPPED READING BOOKS PUBLISHED BY EVERY NEW YORK PUBLISHER OUT THERE!!! Talk about bad! IMHO! Which is one reason I turned to e-publishing as an author. And,yes, I am an author.

  100. Sofia Hunt
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 12:49:40

    I’d like to jump in here and offer a copy of the Tasty Treats 2 anthology which was just published today from Siren Publishing. That way you can get a sense of three representative authors with Siren/Bookstrand. Wendi Darlin and I were fortunate to do this anthology with Leah Brooke, one of Siren’s top-selling authors. I think you’ll see that the quality of the writing and editing is much higher than the book you’ve been discussing. I’d love to send a free copy to the reviewer/reader of your choice.

  101. Anonx2
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 13:03:33

    Along with what Amazed commented on:

    It is disheartening to see what is making it to the top of the bestseller list at times. Working on the 80/20 rule, I’d say 80% of the books that make it to the top are well deserving of that honor. However, there are those exceptions that just make you shake your head. I, however, will never make the exception the rule. I’m a techie by trade and if you program for the exceptions, your programs bomb. You program for the majority and deal with the exceptions when they come. This is how I think the exceptions should be treated. This isn’t just a Siren issue, or a Ravenous Romance issue. Hell, this isn’t even an e-pub issue. This is an issue in publishing as a whole.

    Have you ever picked up a book off the shelf at B&N and made “that face?” You know the one–the “how-the-hell-did-this-get-published” look? There are several ebooks out there that are far superior in quality than some of the garbage I see on the shelves at B&N. We all have to be selective on what we buy. No one has time to waste on crap, e-pubbed or other.

    My two cents.

  102. Donna
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 13:04:31

    I’m not really comfortable with lumping all Siren books in with this without consideration. That said, though, I’m not sure what a “fair look” at Siren’s offerings would be. Two books? Ten? A hundred?

    The fact is, a lot of people who encounter this book or this review thread are going to assume Siren only publishes crap. It’s certainly not true and it may not be fair, but that’s the way it goes.

    I wish I could say I blamed them. But if I bought a Ford and all the wheels fell off as I drove it off the lot, I’d sure as hell buy a Chevy next time.

  103. GrowlyCub
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 13:25:18

    Look, there are excerpts for a reason. Read the excerpts before you decide to purchase. I know that won't eliminate every read that isn't up to par, or one you don't like, yet, it does cut down on the possibility.

    That’s how I got snookered into buying 2 or 3 truly awful books at EC. I’m convinced they edit the excerpts very carefully and pick passages that are better quality to lure readers in (maybe the editors re-write them because I cannot even figure out how the excerpts got stuck in the middle of these truly awful books).

    I haven’t bought an EC book after the last fiasco.

    Whether or not Siren has better books, whether or not there’s crap being published by NY (and there sure is), this particular book and its blatant lack of grammar and spell checking reflects very negatively on the publisher and all their other authors. Whether that’s fair or not is totally irrelevant. It’s going to cost sales and it’s going to negatively affect innocent authors who offer a much better product, both at Siren and at other e-pubs.

    I applaud Siren for pulling this title. I really hope they aren’t going to come out with some ‘oops this was an error, we accidentally published an unedited manuscript’ kind of excuse, because anything of that nature would just compound the fact that this book ought never have seen the light of day aka nobody should have offered a contract on it.

    After perusing their covers, I cannot for the life of me understand why anybody who writes erotic romance, with emphasis on ‘romance’, would want to be published with them. I’ve seen porn movie covers that were more tasteful.

    It pisses the hell out of me that this is what people who diss romance think it’s all about. No wonder we can’t get any respect.

  104. Jude
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 13:30:55

    @Appalled:
    This was a sentence by Val, “This was an excellent that was fast paces and very sexual.” Uh, she obviously doesn’t edit her own reviews. And I did appreciate this comment, “This book has it all. Action, lust, attitude, witty humor that will make you laugh your butt off..” Well, we all know about that laughter, don’t we? *snicker*

  105. German Reader
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 13:32:46

    In my 4 years of ebook-reading I have come across a few of those books where I would have liked a law against this kind of consumer fraud. Whenever that happens I get really mad and would love to sue a publisher that dares to cheat me like this.

    An eyeopening example how far “friendly” reviews can push an unworthy book is the Amazon Germany erotic bestseller of 2006/2007 published by the only (afaIk) German ebook publisher of erotic romance.
    It had a 4,5 star rating and I didn’t read the reviews, just bought this and another one as ebooks directly from the publisher. While the other one was quite good, the bestseller struck me as odd right from the first page. Fifth grade writing style, repetitions, weird mixture of oldfashioned and modern dialogue. But the most annoying thing was that the author tried to put every known idiom into her book.
    Forty pages into the book I went back to Amazon and read the reviews – lots of 1 stars complaining about the same issues I had but not enough to decrease the overall rating. I gave up reading after 2 /3.
    How print magazins could recommend this book in good conscience is beyond me.
    But this author was for many years published with grandma romances (aristocratic romance category booklets) so I guess she made some friends at the right places.

    If a reader has too many such disappointing experiences who could blame her/him if she/he refuses to get screwed again and turns to a more “convenient” way of aquisition.

  106. Anon
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 13:40:46

    If a reader has too many such disappointing experiences who could blame her/him if she/he refuses to get screwed again and turns to a more “convenient” way of aquisition.

    I agree that getting burned too many times will cause usually law-abiding readers to resort to pirate sites rather than waste money on what could be total dreck. I’m very worried that this is going to happen and if the explosion of titles on some of the more egregious file sharing sites is anything to go by, it’s already growing exponentially.

    Publishers need to weed out the marginal works to keep readers trusting them. I want to be able to trust I’ll like anything I buy from a favorite publisher, but htat’s just not happening anymore. It’s important for the pubs to realize that fast money isn’t always the best way. Try to put out the best quality, even if quantity is low at first. Get us to trust you. Ravenous already learned that lesson the hard way. I see better reviews coming out lately and fewer new releases so I think they’ve changed how they are handling editorial issues.

    But Siren isn’t brand new and should know better.

  107. Anon Due to Backlash
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 13:44:16

    I’ve just spotted where I saw Ms. Blacio mention grammar issues regarding this book. Apologies for saying it was on her Siren page. It’s actually on her website:

    “Will the reviewers like the story? Did we miss something big in the plot line? Is there grammar issues?”

    Is there grammar issues?

    Uh, yes.

  108. DS
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 13:47:40

    @Georgina: Ok, a little thread drift to Alyson. I noticed that Don Weise dropped all the right names: from Ann Bannon to Gore Vidal. But Fred Rosen, the author of the true crime book about the gay serial killer– also a serial killer of gays, has mainly written quickie, ripped from the headlines, true crime books for Pinnacle. I– ahem– actually read Lobster Boy by Rosen about an abusive side show performer who was killed by his wife and stepson.

    I didn’t at first blush consider their erotica to be pornography although I looked around an done book was called Dorm Porn.

  109. Ciar Cullen
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 14:06:13

    What Lynne said. I actually don’t doubt the sales. I am not a prude (knowing someone will say I’m sexually repressed or hate alternative lifestyles or menages or some such). But what happened to a bit of finesse, a modicum of taste, a wee bit of class? Look at the catalogs of some small presses these days–the titles, covers… They’re gross, really. That’s beyond the issue of the quality of the writing. We’re hitting a new low. And people are buying the new low. Uck.

  110. Anon
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 14:13:12

    We're hitting a new low. And people are buying the new low. Uck.

    I think publishers are hitting the low. THere has always been a market for this kind of thing but it wasn’t being put out by reputable publishers. It was in a brown paper bag.

    I think it’s great that romance has gotten more erotic, but I don’t think I’d call a lot of this stuff “romance.”

    Publishers need to be VERY careful to differentiate the HEAT level from the ROMANCE level. A long term couple can get up to as much in bed as two strangers, but one has some romance and emotional attachment involved and the other is just f*king. I want to know which one I’m getting before I buy it.

    For me that’s one of the lines between erotica and erotic romance. Even erotica can be classy. What we’re seeing now is porn and being called romance. Some publishers need to take a step back and LABEL it properly. I don’t mind if they put out real “smut” but I don’t want to buy it by accident.

    I think this is at the heart of a lot of Jane’s criticism of publishers and their marketing tactics.

  111. ME
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 14:13:17

    I agree the excerpt was brutal. I agree the cover was not tasteful at all. I haven’t read the book, but can certainly acknowledge that it is most likely pretty darn bad.

    I do however feel for this author. Siren contracted the book, Siren assigned an editor (we assume) Siren put together that godawful cover and Siren put it out there. Now, they’ve yanked the authors page. Dunno, no matter the naivety involved, or whatever…I feel bad for her. At some point the damn publisher has to step up and if they can’t put the effort into their authors then there’s something wrong.

    I think they’re just pushing smut out there to make a fast buck and to hell with the process and an author gets kicked to the curb along with the others that will be painted with the same brush.

    shame on siren.

  112. Anonymous
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 14:19:48

    @Sandy James: Thanks for the offer Sandy, however I must decline. Your books appear to be mainstream. IMHO, comparing an erotic work to mainstream is like apples to oranges. Certainly we could compare the editing, but the sex is, of course, a major selling point with erotic books and I’d like to see how each author handles it. I will read a couple more Siren titles though.

  113. Sandy James
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 14:30:23

    Thanks for the offer Sandy, however I must decline. Your books appear to be mainstream. IMHO, comparing an erotic work to mainstream is like apples to oranges. Certainly we could compare the editing, but the sex is, of course, a major selling point with erotic books and I'd like to see how each author handles it. I will read a couple more Siren titles though.

    Perhaps, but it seems to me ALL Siren-BookStrand authors are being lumped into a dismal category, therfore my offer stands, both for you and any Dear Author reviewers. I would be glad to provide any of my ebooks for you to read so you can see that Siren-BookStrand has well edited and well written books. I hope you find what you’re looking for. I would highly recommend Emma Wildes — she writes beautiful stories and has recently begun writing historical romance for NAL.

  114. azteclady
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 14:31:15

    @ Savanna Kougar (comment 99)

    So, is anyone going to balance this review out by taking a fair look at what Siren has to offer?

    Since when a reviewer (or a reader) has an obligation to “balance” a review wherein the product reviewed has no redeeming quality?

    And what’s with the intimation that the look given to this product is not a fair one?

  115. Lex Valentine
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 14:48:25

    @ Ciar Cullen I beg to differ with you. Just because a publisher is small doesn’t mean they put out a trashy product. I have 2 novellas at Pink Petal Books and my 3rd, a full length novel, will be out July 2. The quality of the books and editing at PPB is superb. I’m more than happy to have my books published by this house. There is a standard of quality there that I found lacking in a lot of bigger houses when I went hunting for a home for my Tales of the Darkworld series. The publisher is smart, savvy, and above all ETHICAL. She may be new, but she knows good from trash.

    Since the other authors who commented here were willing to put their writing where their mouths are, I’m more than happy to do the same. I write erotic paranormal novels and novellas published by a small house. Pink Petal Books released Shifting Winds and Hot Water in March and Fire Season will be out in July. Anyone wishing to review them is more than welcome. I think my publisher would tell you that they are solid, well-written stories that are erotic without being trashy.

  116. Anonymous
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 15:10:56

    I don’t mind reading a couple more Siren books. And will.

    I don’t think anyone here has condemned the other Siren authors. But the fact is, Siren did produce the work in question here. What’s happening is that Siren authors are rushing to judge those of us who are commenting on this book and what we consider an appalling move by Siren.

    The Siren authors need to consider the fact that the horrible cover for this book was not the first. What’s behind that other cover? Maybe that’s the book we all need to take another look at just to make sure Siren isn’t traveling down the road that some of the Siren authors have mentioned here today as belonging to RR.

    And since Siren has removed the book we’re discussing, maybe the Siren powers that be have seen the light and saved all of you Siren authors from traveling down that RR road. Because, IMHO, looks like that’s where they had all of you herded up and headed to go.

  117. Anonymous
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 15:19:27

    I don’t think anyone here has condemned the other Siren authors. But the fact is, Siren did produce the work in question here. What’s happening is that Siren authors are rushing to judge those of us who are commenting on this book and what we consider an appalling move by Siren.

    The Siren authors need to consider the fact that the horrible cover for this book was not the first. What’s behind that other cover? Maybe that’s the book we all need to take another look at just to make sure Siren isn’t traveling down the road that some of the Siren authors have mentioned here today as belonging to RR.

    And since Siren has removed the book we’re discussing, maybe the Siren powers that be have seen the light and saved all of you Siren authors from traveling down that RR road. Because, IMHO, looks like that’s where they had all of you herded up and headed to go.

  118. anonymous
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 15:24:56

    maybe the Siren powers that be have seen the light and saved all of you Siren authors from traveling down that RR road. Because, IMHO, looks like that's where they had all of you herded up and headed to go.

    This got my attention. Why are all the RR authors tarred with the same brush as the few that were reviewed here? Like this particular book, the pub is responsible for letting poorly written and edited books be released. None of the other RR authors’ were given even the slightest benefit of the doubt the way suddenly Trinity Blacio has. No one rushed to make the timid first-time authors that RR screwed over feel any better after the public massacre.

    Anyone publishing their first book trusts their publisher in a way that makes them vulnerable to a situation like this. RR has a bunch of other problems going for it, but there are some authors who don’t deserve to be ostracized because they picked the wrong place to sign their first book contract. RR should be ashamed of how it treated them and possibly hurt their careers by letting their books get released in rush. Now, it’s possible a lot of readers won’t touch their later work. But that’s not their fault for being new.

  119. Anon Due to Backlash
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 15:27:10

    At least Siren took the book down. They’ve gone up in my estimation.

  120. Ell
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 15:52:37

    I haven’t read the book, but I followed the Twitter RRT thread and now the review. Are we sure Trinity Bianco is a woman? To me, from what I’ve gleaned of the writing it seemed like it was written by a young male, perhaps a ninth grader.

  121. Anonymous
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 16:01:09

    @anonymous: Don’t see where anyone is giving Trinity Blacio a pass here. Looks like the woman has been pretty well crucified. And nope, I didn’t tar and feather anyone at RR. Although I think it became pretty apparent that there was more than one book at RR that should never have been contracted.

    The major difference here, at least at this point, is that it looks like Siren took some sort of immediate action, whereas RR just kept right on doing business as usual. Even came out with all kinds of statements. I seem to recall something about “feminist smut”.

    What you fail to discern is that as an author, I and others like me, feel your pain–your rage. No author should be treated the way some unscrupulous pubs treat their authors. Been there. Done that. By contracting Ms. Blacio’s work before she was ready, the publisher did her a disservice. Damaged the industry, IMHO.

    On another note. Just like with RR, authors from Siren have jumped at the chance to have their work reviewed. And now it will be closely scrutinized. And what will we discover? Hopefully, we won’t discover the same thing we did about RR. Which is that the authors who vehemently backed the publisher were not as great as they thought they were. Hopefully, we won’t discover like we did with RR that Siren now has some of their authors– who can’t for the life of them keep from writing a dangling modifier or prevent themselves from using the same tired prose time and time again, or write a believable story in general–now editing for the company.

    As far as newbies are concerned? It’s unfortunate, but there are pubs that will contract any work just to get it out there and crank up the money machine. What’s even more unfortunate is that in the rush for a newbie to become published, said newbie will forgo researching the publisher or giving a new pub the chance to prove itself. The allure of being published is just too strong. Don’t blame those of us who are pointing out the problems. Just as a publisher should own their mistakes and take responsibility, so should the author. I paid for my eagerness in spades. I owned it and turned it into something worthwhile. It was a lesson learned just like anything else in life.

  122. theo
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 16:10:12

    @Anonymous:

    It's unfortunate, but there are pubs that will contract any work just to get it out there and crank up the money machine. What's even more unfortunate is that in the rush for a newbie to become published, said newbie will forgo researching the publisher or giving a new pub the chance to prove itself. The allure of being published is just too strong. Don't blame those of us who are pointing out the problems. Just as a publisher should own their mistakes and take responsibility, so should the author.

    Thank you for saying this much nicer than I would have. There is so much information on the interwebs now, sites like DA, SBTB and dozens of excellent published authors, all with resources on what to look for when signing your first contract, how to make sure your ms is polished and a ton of other things.

    If a newbie author rushes into something like this because her/his so-called friends are feeding a line of crap to them by saying the ms is wonderful when what she/he really needs is a ruthless critique partner that she/he will listen to, then shame on them. That’s like seeing the fire, being told it’s wonderful and jumping in with eyes shut.

    They’re only going to get burned.

    IMHO as always.

  123. Ciar Cullen
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 16:18:28

    Oh, Lex, didn’t mean to insinuate all small pubs. I should have chosen my words more carefully, as these things tend to offend people easily. In fact, I started with the ever popular Triskelion, published at several small companies, including one that was fantastic in terms of care of editing, etc., but didn’t survive. I’m still at what many would consider small presses. So, a correction: not all small publishers put out bad product! I’ve reviewed books from at least six small publishers and found many treasures. And some large publishers, even NY, put out bad product. I was commenting more on the general trashy natures of titles, covers, and premises, wherever they are published! So thanks for pointing that out so I can clarify.

    @ Ciar Cullen I beg to differ with you. Just because a publisher is small doesn't mean they put out a trashy product. I have 2 novellas at Pink Petal Books and my 3rd, a full length novel, will be out July 2. The quality of the books and editing at PPB is superb. I'm more than happy to have my books published by this house. There is a standard of quality there that I found lacking in a lot of bigger houses when I went hunting for a home for my Tales of the Darkworld series. The publisher is smart, savvy, and above all ETHICAL. She may be new, but she knows good from trash.

    Since the other authors who commented here were willing to put their writing where their mouths are, I'm more than happy to do the same. I write erotic paranormal novels and novellas published by a small house. Pink Petal Books released Shifting Winds and Hot Water in March and Fire Season will be out in July. Anyone wishing to review them is more than welcome. I think my publisher would tell you that they are solid, well-written stories that are erotic without being trashy.

  124. Lex Valentine
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 16:25:20

    @ Ciar Cullen Thanks for the clarification. I wasn’t offended. Just wanted to point out that not all the small pubs are trashy. But it does seem there are more of them than there are quality ones these days. It’s unfortunate.

  125. Anonymous
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 17:15:09

    @theo: Would you believe I’ve run across authors who have never heard of DA or SB? GASP! So many authors go along with their heads in the clouds, and when a pub comes crashing down around them, they wonder why they didn’t see it.

    They seem to think that being published is only about the writing. Each morning before I start returning email and settle into writing, I tune into several blogs. DA and SB being two. Karen Knows Best, another. It’s the way I keep my eye on the publishing industry in general. Why should authors allow publishers to blindly lead us where they want us to go? Personally, I want to know where I am headed. And I am grateful for blogs like this which keep me up to date on all the latest. Great watchdogs if you ask me.

    And! You are so right. Never jump on the wagon just because your friend is riding with a particular publisher. Misery does indeed love company.

  126. Ana Thierry
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 17:31:05

    I’m so glad a reader sent me the link to this post. I’d posted my review of this book this morning and I wasn’t quite as nice as you were, Jane.

    http://www.ireadromance.com/wordpress/?p=1170

  127. theo
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 17:46:57

    @Anonymous: Unfortunately, I have heard the question “Who is Dear Author/SBTB/KNB” or a dozen other wonderful sites. That’s the problem. They’re in such a rush, they don’t bother to do any research at all. This one managed for whatever reason, to make it under the radar.

    What really bothers me though, and others have mentioned this as well, epublishers are fighting an uphill battle to be seen as legitimate, honest companies with the ability to offer the same caliber authors/stories that the ‘legitimate’ houses do. (And yes, I know, there are stinkers there as well.) Although the commenters here know there a many good epubs, the general reading public gets hold of a book like this and that’s the sour taste they continue to carry regarding ebooks in general. This just slaps all epubs in the face, regardless of who they are, and sets them back five years.

    *sigh*

  128. Kissa Starling
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 17:58:16

    Opinions are fine- we all have them but what I’ve read here today is true slander. I admire the authors and readers here who at least have the balls to use their real names on their post. For those of you who said you dropped out of this author’s crit group… you are idiots and I hope karma bites you in the ass! Critique groups are blanketed with a certain amount of anonymity. You aren’t meant to bring anything out into the public about them- no words, no comments, no judgement. I can see why you didn’t want to leave your names, who would ever want to work with you again? Is there a reason you couldn’t have spoken up and helped that author with her work if it needed editing as you claim? Obviously critiquing wasn’t your main objective.

    I haven’t read this book but if it has major editing problems as you all claim then you should badmouth the publisher or wow, here’s an idea- the EDITOR. Should the author have noticed the editorial changes that were not made? Maybe not if she was new and this was her first book. There are so many variables here that I don’t think any of us are prepared to judge.

    As for the review sites you all mentioned- Review sites are staffed by readers who read and review for free. They aren’t professional writers and they are entitled to their opinions just like we are. I’ve worked with several review sites and they are fun places to be, until something like this happens. Every book is not for every person.

    I have to wonder how many of you actually read this book or are you simply jumping on this ‘crucify an author’ bandwagon and then promoting your own book here. Someone said that e-publishing has a bad rap and you’re right- this doesn’t help. I’d like to think that as a group of e-published authors we would stick together. How else will we turn reader’s ideas about e-publishing around?

    Did any of you watch Ellen today? She said that public schools should teach compassion along with everything else. This thread proves that to be true.

  129. Lori
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 18:14:35

    Someone said that e-publishing has a bad rap and you're right- this doesn't help. I'd like to think that as a group of e-published authors we would stick together. How else will we turn reader's ideas about e-publishing around?

    Sticking together to protect sub-par work only serves to inflict more damage to the e-publishing industry. As someone who’s barely stuck her toe in the e-book pool, every bad book makes me more hesitant to head toward the deep end.

    And could you please point out the slander? Reading the excerpts, this certainly meets my criteria of a bad writing and bad editing.

  130. Anion
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 18:39:39

    No, Kissa, I didn’t watch Ellen today. Sorry. I realize TV talk shows are the most important things in the world, but I was actually interacting with other human beings instead of having feel-good pop-psych crap spoonfed to me by someone who, while I do find her likable, is exactly as qualified to discuss raising children and the public education system as my dog is. I’m also not clear how your caring’n'compassion viewpoint fits in with calling people who dropped out of a critique group and are now discussing that situation “idiots” and saying you “hope karma bites [them] on the ass” for it–as if joining a crit group is akin to signing a blood oath of secrecy. Perhaps you could explain that to me?

    In case you’ve missed it, this *is* the way to make sure not all epubs are tarred with the same brush. By letting them know, unequivocally, that readers will not stand for having unedited garbage pawned off on them any longer. By demanding quality and continuing to demand until we get it. By letting them know that we as writers stand up for quality, provide quality, and eschew that which is not quality, and that we will not accept substandard work from others any more than we will from ourselves.

    This isn’t a fucking church social, it’s business in the real world.

  131. Anonymous
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 18:54:28

    @Anion:

    This isn’t a fucking church social, it’s business in the real world.

    Good one!

    Slander: a malicious, false, and defamatory statement or report

    Nope. Don’t think that happened here.

    And we post anonymously in case we get a little crazy, say things we don’t have any real understanding of, and rant about it. That way we don’t look like total idiots when we call someone an idiot.

  132. theo
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 19:03:45

    If I read the comments correctly, the people who left this ‘author’s’ crit group did so because they weren’t looking to have their egos stroked, they were looking for honest, brutal if necessary critiques on how they could improve.

    Judging by this author’s entry, the commenters who dropped out were smart. Very smart. Because it appears the ego stroking continued, long after those ‘drop-outs’ left.

    So, Kissa, if you feel that their desire to improve is just cause for Karma to ‘come back and bite [them] in the ass,’ then you don’t understand the first thing about honest critiques. Because it’s the honest critique that can push you forward to succeed. Obviously, we’ve all seen what the strokes can do…

  133. Ell
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 19:04:22

    by Anon Due to Backlash June 8th, 2009 at 10:50 am
    The excerpt is bad, but it doesn't show just how bad the rest of the book is.

    Personally, I thought the excerpt was bad enough to pass on the book. Not even getting into grammar and punctuation there’re tattoos that match Chax’s skin perfectly. That means you wouldn’t be able to see them. Then Chax’s huge penis has a barbell piercing and he forces it up poor Tab even when she screamed it was too big and what about the barbed tail in Tab’s VG and Hoyt’s anus. There’s more but you get the picture. The excerpt seemed to me like a house of horrors.

    The ironic thing, which hasn’t really been discussed here is that reader reviews showed that many more readers liked the story than didn’t.

  134. the deserter
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 19:19:14

    Thank you theo.
    I left the group because it was clear they did not offer honest and helpful critique. THe comments made were the kind I needed and no one ever suggested how a story line could be improved. No one jumped on passive voice or POV head-hopping.

    I knew that group couldn’t help me improve as they couldn’t recognize the problems and inform about them.

    Yes, I could have stayed out of the goodness of my heart to help them, but crit is a 2-way street and with no benefit for me it would be a waste of time.

    That might seem bitchy or whatever as Kissa implied, but the whole point of crit is to help each other and you need to find a person or group that gives you what you need, otherwise it’s just beta-reading as a favor.

    I’m a much better writer now for looking elsewhere. As far as I can tell, that group is mostly still cheerleading for each other while I’ve been published several times over.

  135. Kissa Starling
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 19:22:57

    Hey, if I’m going to call someone an idiot I’ll do it out in the open instead of hiding behind and ranting off. And by the way- I don’t recall writing that talk shows were the best thing in the world. Thanks for saying I did though- maybe Ellen will have me on her show now to promote my book. : ) I’m sure that staying online all day is much more productive! Oh and did I mention that I’m on vacation? I’ll just bet you do this every day.

    Dropping out of the group was fine. Speaking of it afterwards was not. You can see that I’m not one for strokes but malicious talk and ongoing banter when the book is not even available anymore? That is not productive at all.

  136. Anonx2
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 19:31:16

    On the flip side of crit groups… I was a member of one way back and happened to give my honest opinion of a chapter one of the members had written. Yikes! You’d have thought I just kicked a puppy and set a kitten on fire! The looks I got from the other member, coupled with the defensive and finally down right pissed off remarks from the author were enough for me to drop out. Not everyone drops out because they want their ego stroked. I dropped out because I had a feeling if I showed my face there again, they’d lynch me.

    I also asked for constructive feedback on my chapters. Everyone said they love, love, loved them. Are ya kiddin’ me? Dude, I’m an unpubbed author starving for feedback and that’s the kind I get? You have to be in a group, or with a person who is willing to burst that little bubble of yours and tell you like it is. If you don’t, you are not only doing that author a disservice, you are also fooling yourself.

    More of my two cents. :-)

    ps –> and yes, I’m one of those chicken shit authors who is not willing to share my name. Hey, at least I’m willing to admit it.

  137. Kissa Starling
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 19:33:07

    You’re right- there are groups like that everywhere online. It doesn’t take a lot of energy to hit the delete button or opt out. What good is bashing someone’s work? If you don’t want to crit with someone then don’t.

  138. Michelle
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 19:35:29

    Ok, I think we need a post about the difference between libel and slander. People keep getting it wrong.

    I am so sick of the whole “you are just a bunch of meanies/mean girls”. Can’t we have anything more original?

  139. theo
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 19:42:11

    @Kissa Starling: So you consider a critique that tells the author honestly that “this doesn’t work, that isn’t going anywhere, you have plot holes here, you need to clean up your grammar there” is bashing??

    I’m going to step out on a limb here and tell you flat out, you’re wrong.

    Again, I’ll say, if you can’t take the heat in a crit group, get out of the business because if you ever get slammed for your crappy writing, how are you going to possibly react to that other than to whine that the reader ‘done you wrong’?

    Please…

  140. Anonymous
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 19:42:37

    @Kissa: Ouch! Went right over your head didn’t it? I never called anyone an idiot. Ahhh, that would be you doing the idiot calling. You need to read over what I said again. Ever heard of sarcasm?

    As for staying online all day? Well, duh! I work online. In addition to my writing that is. But all of this is really off the subject. The fact is, as someone else mentioned, blogs like this are important to this industry. And, while you don’t agree with the anonymity of it, it’s a necessity. God forbid that anyone should voice their opinion and then run across someone like you on a group somewhere. It’s obvious you are angry. Angry about what? It’s business.

    Let us know when you are a guest on the Ellen Show.

  141. Kissa Starling
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 19:46:45

    I will admit that this has my hackles up. The review wasn’t the problem for me. Whoever didn’t like the book is entitled to their opinion. Fine. Mentioning the grammar errors in it? Fine also, those should not have happened.

    Everything else I could have done without. It’s just sad to see all the roaches come out of the woodwork to join in on the bashing. Heck, rant away on the book and if you like it or not- turning to talk about the author personally, that is wrong.

    My opinion and I’m entitled to it.

  142. GrowlyCub
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 19:48:17

    Exactly what is the purpose of a crit group according to you, Kissa?

    I’m really puzzled here. It sounds like you think a crit group is a fangirl place to stroke folks’ egos.

    I’m so glad I’m just a reader and that I’m the one who gets to decide whom I’m supporting with my book dollars.

  143. the deserter
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 19:48:56

    You're right- there are groups like that everywhere online. It doesn't take a lot of energy to hit the delete button or opt out. What good is bashing someone's work? If you don't want to crit with someone then don't.

    Is this directed at me?

    I said I quit and you criticized me for that earlier. Now you tell me I should have quit? I can’t win.

    I never bashed her on that group. I didn’t even bash her here, I just mentioned how much support she got from her so-called peers, which was not what she needed, given the flaws in her writing. Yes, her writing has flaws. How is that bashing?

    Are your first drafts perfect? Do your crit partners find nothing to suggest or correct? Then you are perfect. Congratulations.

    By the way, I guess I kick puppies too.

    This is why I decided not to use my name, I’m not hiding, I’m terrified of being persecuted because we have different opinions. I also don’t want anyone to think I’m here trying to tout my books.

  144. Anonymous
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 19:49:28

    @Michelle: You are so right. Slander and libel. Two different animals. It’s late and I’ve edited about 30K today.

    And I’m with you on the “mean girls” thing.

  145. the deserter
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 19:52:16

    my comment from an hour ago got moderated but the last one didn’t wonder why… anyone else getting moderated?

    here’s what it said:

    Thank you theo.
    I left the group because it was clear they did not offer honest and helpful critique. THe comments made were the kind I needed and no one ever suggested how a story line could be improved. No one jumped on passive voice or POV head-hopping.

    I knew that group couldn't help me improve as they couldn't recognize the problems and inform about them.

    Yes, I could have stayed out of the goodness of my heart to help them, but crit is a 2-way street and with no benefit for me it would be a waste of time.

    That might seem bitchy or whatever as Kissa implied, but the whole point of crit is to help each other and you need to find a person or group that gives you what you need, otherwise it's just beta-reading as a favor.

    I'm a much better writer now for looking elsewhere. As far as I can tell, that group is mostly still cheerleading for each other while I've been published several times over.

  146. the deserter
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 19:53:02

    grr some of my comments are getting moderated and I cannot post. This is frustrating.

  147. Lex Valentine
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 20:04:09

    I posted with my pseudonym – the name people in these circles know me by. It’s not my real name but it is a name. I spoke the truth as I happen to know it. I count myself a friend of Trinity’s. If I wasn’t I wouldn’t have plunked down my own hard earned money and spent my weekend making sure she had a website and an email address when hers were stripped from her. However, I also happen to think the book as it stands should not have been pubbed.

    Rather than point fingers and find fault I can tell you this, Kissa – something I would say to Trinity’s face and have said to a couple of the groups she and I both belong to – if you have problems with what words mean, how to use them, and how to spell them, there are things you can do to help yourself. It’s called spell check, a dictionary and a thesaurus. AND a critter who doesn’t kiss your ass but tells you what sucks so you don’t have egg on your face later on. For me, this sad situation boils down to a case of irresponsibility not fault. I think that everyone is responsible for this situation from the author to her critters to the editor to the proofer to the publisher, all in differing degrees.

    I happen to think Trinity put too much faith in others when it came to this book. The people in her crit groups who felt so much compassion for her that they couldn’t tell her that there were problems that needed working out, the people who contracted it and then didn’t follow through on the editing and proofing, the people on the groups who say they are her friends, bought the book and never mentioned to her that there were errors in it, and the reviewers who just glossed over the mistakes and told her she was golden.

    I think ALL of those people hurt her far MORE than the people on this thread today. They all treated her with so much COMPASSION that it was like the Emperor’s New Clothes. They all let her parade in public naked, thinking she was clothed in the finest silk. They created a happy bubble around her by not speaking up and now that bubble has popped in a painful way that could have been avoided if someone had spoken up. That is just monumentally WRONG.

    And for the record, had I read the book, I would have told her.

  148. Anion
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 20:05:01

    @Kissa Starling:

    I'm sure that staying online all day is much more productive! Oh and did I mention that I'm on vacation? I'll just bet you do this every day.

    Umm..Yeah, actually, Kissa, I often do spend all day on the computer. Know why?

    Because I’m a full-time writer.

    Is that suddenly deserving of contempt? Would it be better if I was watching Ellen instead of checking in online during breaks from the three projects I have going right now?

    Nobody here that I saw, slammed the writer personally and called her names. They said her work was unpublishable and should not have been released in the condition it was released in. Period.

    The idea that no one who leaves a critique group should ever speak about it or why is so bizarre I don’t even know where to begin. It’s not the mafia. It’s not a sorority. It’s not a Mormon Temple ceremony, or a meeting of the Freemasons. It’s not Fight Club. I’ve never heard of a crit group signing confidentiality agreements. People are free to say whatever they like about them.

    (BTW, I won’t apologize for using a pseudonym here, as I’ve explained my reasons several times. Mainly it is, as someone else said, so that I cannot be accused of sucking up to readers, or of commenting here to promote my own books. Period. If you don’t like it that’s too bad.)

  149. DS
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 20:15:36

    @the deserter: email the contact address about your posting problem. Usually when comments don’t post it is a spam filter problem.

  150. theo
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 20:17:45

    @the deserter:

    :-)

    I am fortunate to have to critique partners, both multipublished, who were willing to take me under their tutelage because they saw a little possibility and because they knew they could tear me to pieces and I wouldn’t whine and stomp my feet and cry foul. And they have torn my stuff apart. When it was deserved. They’ve also told me when I’ve done something right. But they’ve never glossed over anything I’ve written and that is what’s made me so much better than I thought I could ever be.

    I still have a long way to go! I’m not fooling myself. But thank the holy crow, when I am published, I’ll know I don’t have to hang my head.

    And that’s the difference between a good critique group and a ‘lets pat her on the head and oooh and ahhh.’

  151. Lori
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 20:24:16

    Everything else I could have done without. It's just sad to see all the roaches come out of the woodwork to join in on the bashing.

    Wow. Just…wow. And another episode of Authors Behaving Badly airs between Ellen segments.

  152. Anonymous
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 20:43:09

    I’m the first one that quit the critique group that Trinity, edited to remove real name, was in. I was going to leave it at that but Kissa seems to have a burr under her ass so I’m going to say why. I crit three or four chapters of a book that I saw no hope of ever being published. In return, she critted five or six of my chapters which mostly consisted of her changing said to stated, saying said gets old and stated sounds so much better. This was well over a year ago and it sounds like her story hasn’t changed a bit after a year of critiqing. It was awful then and we know what it’s like now. She said in her author page that crit partners were mean to her and that one said her ms wasn’t fit to line a cat litter box, but then she found people to really helped her get published. Well, I and the cat litter gal helped her more than her sycophants did.

    So there Kissa, Maybe you should call her and offer to help her straighten out her book that two separate reviewers in the last day gave the equivalent of one star.

  153. the deserter
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 20:55:19

    I'm the first one that quit the critique group that Trinity, edited to remove real name, was in.

    Thank you. My comments about the group are not posting and I’m not sure why.

    Anyway, I had similar type of situations. I found another group where people said things like: “no way would A do that in that situation” and similar which made me question how believable my characters and storyline were. It took going back to the drawing board.

    I had one CP who thought my hero was an idiot for going back to an ex. It took me 40k more words to flesh the story out to make it work to her satisfaction. Had I listened to “friends and fans” rather than someone who wanted to help me where the story broke down, it would have been shorter, easier to write and improbable. Those 40k words turned a mediocre story into a really good one with much deeper characterization.

    We need people to say which things don’t work, or when a character looks like an idiot if she does something.

    I think what Lex Valentine said was really insightful. All those people who boosted Trinity up set her up for failure worse than just offering crit to help her become a better writer. I’m better off for not being part of that group, and I don’t think I should be criticized for finding people who knew how to help me improve.

    I kind of feel sorry for Trinity now.

  154. Ann Bruce
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 21:36:02

    All these authors saying how much they want honest critique makes me realize how much I miss Ann Somerville’s comments on the First Page posts.

    she critted five or six of my chapters which mostly consisted of her changing said to stated, saying said gets old and stated sounds so much better.

    Dear Lord.

  155. MPH
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 22:40:44

    After reading the review I feel compelled to ask is it possible the published book is some kind of error? By that I mean an unedited manuscript was published instead of a proofed, complete clean manuscript? It seems very odd to me that the types of errors mentioned could have gone unnoticed through a writer AND an editor unless both were inattentive to the point of negligence.

  156. anon author
    Jun 09, 2009 @ 00:09:21

    This is really such a sad situation, the author is undoubtedly devastated. I personally feel that she has no business writing, but the real villain here is the editorial staff that handled this manuscript. It should never have been contracted in the first place, and the editor should be booted. And yes, it was edited, I read an unedited excerpt.

    I know there are writers out there with language and learning disabilities, but they are skilled story tellers with dedicated editors. I don’t see that here. This is sort of a like driving past a car wreck, and being unable to look away.

    This is tragic, and I am so very, very sorry for Ms Blacio.
    I am also sorry for the other Siren authors who are excellent talents, but will lose sales because of the loss of trust in the publisher.

  157. MPH
    Jun 09, 2009 @ 00:26:00

    @Donna:

    I'm not really comfortable with lumping all Siren books in with this without consideration.

    This is what any sensible person would think. Are all Kensington books lumped together without consideration? All Dorchester? All MacMillan? All Random Press?

    For that matter, are all books by a single author lumped together? I love Laurell K. Hamilton’s first 7 Anita Blake books, suffered through 8-10, and finally abbandoned LKH at book 11. I still think those first seven books are fantastic.

    I'm not sure what a “fair look” at Siren's offerings would be. Two books? Ten? A hundred?

    The issue isn’t about what’s “fair” to Siren Publishing, it would make more sense to consider the company’s overall repuation as well as the reputations of other authors in their catalog. From there, one can make an intelligent decision as to whether this company provides adequate quality control as a rule or if “glitches” such as the book being discussed, are more the norm.

    The fact is, a lot of people who encounter this book or this review thread are going to assume Siren only publishes crap.

    This is not “fact” (although it probably does provide the reviewer with a most gratifying sense of empowerment.) Most sensible readers will not judge a publisher on a single “dud.” If every reader who ever experienced disappointment over a particular book boycotted the publisher forever, publishing would be a losing proposition.

    I wish I could say I blamed them. But if I bought a Ford and all the wheels fell off as I drove it off the lot, I'd sure as hell buy a Chevy next time.

    This does not constitute a good analogy in my opinion. The investment (time as well as financial and emotional) one places in the purchase/read of an ebook does not compare to the investment one makes in purchasing an automobile.

    I’ve bought books and ebooks that were “good” or “great” (in terms of satisfying me my investment was worth it) and I’ve bought books and ebooks that sucked big time. I still buy books and ebooks and I don’t avoid particular publishers.

  158. Nadia
    Jun 09, 2009 @ 00:43:35

    @Laura Ashton:

    I disagree, Nadia, Siren cares a great deal about their books and their image. If they were only interesting in money why would they take a good selling book down.

    Laura,

    I stand corrected as Siren has pulled the book officially. (You can’t buy it anymore.)

  159. Lynne Connolly
    Jun 09, 2009 @ 04:48:25

    Critiques – When I finally decided to come out of the hobby closet and make a real push for publication, three people helped me more than I can say. Barbara Karmazin, Margery Casares and Linnea Sinclair took the time to tear my work apart, show me where I was going wrong, and suggest how I could improve it. Without those ladies I wouldn’t have progressed any. If I could put my hands on those crits, I’d put them up anywhere you chose (with the permission of the critiquer) because they are great examples of how to do it.

    When you go into a critique group, you should leave your ego at the door. That’s if you’re serious about progressing your craft to the best you can make it, rather than finding a shortcut to publication. If “being published” is your only aim, go to Lulu (who do perform an excellent service, btw). I’ve tried to give back the gift that these ladies bestowed on me, with varying results.

    Siren – before this, I considered them one of the better smaller publishers. I still do. One mistake doesn’t make it a pariah. I don’t like the extra-hot covers, though. Perhaps it’s that I like a bit of romance with my sex.

    Lex – well said. I didn’t buy Trinity’s book, but I’ve read the excerpts, and Trinity’s web page, and I’m wondering if she isn’t dyslexic. My son has it, and some of the mistakes she makes seem to be like the ones he makes, before he runs everything through spellcheck and then gets someone to check it for him. He’s better when he works on screen.

    I feel sorry for Trinity, and shocked that anyone would even consider this book ready in any way. Plot errors, typos, faults in world-building – it’s just not on. But surely, inside every writer, there’s a core. You have to take responsibility for what you do, and search inside yourself first.

    Kissa – shut up and walk away. With every post the hole is getting deeper. This thread isn’t doing you any good.

  160. Anita C
    Jun 09, 2009 @ 05:06:19

    Isn’t Siren accountable to its readers? If so, I’d like to know what exactly happened– or at least their version of it.

  161. Anonymous
    Jun 09, 2009 @ 05:24:08

    Honestly, I considered a learning disorder when I read this book. It would explain a great many things. Of course, it doesn’t explain why the book was contracted. There would be too much work for any publisher to tackle. And that is not “mean girl” mentality working–it just happens to be the truth.

    However, in considering the possibility of a learning disorder, I still could not get past the actual scenes. There are places you just don’t go in erotic romance. And yes, that is an opinion. One such place is where that tail went. Talk about the “ick” factor.

    And again, this is not “mean girl” mentality. It’s a simple statement of my opinion on the scenes in this book. The sex scenes were demeaning to women at the very least. I have to wonder about why these scenes were created and it seems the reasoning was to give the biggest bang possible. Don’t we all do that? Yes, I could be wrong there, but could anyone else give me another reason?

    Because of those scenes, which I believe are there for the purpose of upping the heat level, I have to question the learning disorder angle. Yes, Siren did a disservice to this author for contracting her work before it was ready. But to my way of thinking, the only person responsible for the story itself, those scenes, that tail going where it should not have gone, is the author. And that doesn’t have anything to do with an LD.

  162. Emmy Ellis
    Jun 09, 2009 @ 05:38:42

    Warning! Long comment ahead!

    Note: Just so nothing gets misconstrued, when I mean Trinity, I will say Trinity. When I mean Kissa, I will say Kissa. All other references, including the words: you, we, our, their, etc., are not aimed at anyone, and are used as a general term. It's sad when it comes to having to do this when commenting, but there you go. Happens in real-life situations too. It's the way of the world.

    Addressing the anon feature. People feel they have to use it for a number of reasons. In this industry, where whatever a person says could be seen as nasty, rude, and any other term you can think of, and their words can affect their reputation, it is an ideal tool to use for airing your real feelings without any fingers being pointed at your pen or real name. Sometimes we find ourselves in situations where we are dying to say something but can't for various reasons. It looks unprofessional. It can turn readers away from our books. It can make us look mean and spiteful. Whatever. To preserve our reputations, we use anon. Nothing wrong with that. In fact, for the professional and reputation reason, I suggest using anon when saying something controversial. Perhaps I should take my own advice here!

    Addressing the bad review issue. As writers, we should expect that if we produce a book that isn't ready for publication, someone somewhere will say it like it is and give a review of their opinion. Many will agree with that review. Many won't. It's subjective, right? However, when it is clear that a book has been submitted when an author isn't at a sufficient level of the craft for it to be sold to the public, when an editor assigned to that book doesn't appear to know how to fix it, when it is obvious that there are many issues, I fail to see how a review like this can be deemed wrong.

    I'm speaking from a professional not emotional point of view here. This is a business. We are not here to stroke people's egos. If you enter this business with that in mind, forget it, you've chosen the wrong career. Expect feedback like this. Expect a crit partner to be honest. Grow a thick skin. To gain a skin thick enough to be able to shrug a bad review off, you have to have at first spent years studying the craft, receiving red-face-inducing crits, and experiencing all the humiliating aspects of having your work shredded-’before you send your work out for submission.

    If you were a potter, would you send a company, who you expected to manufacture your cups, vessels with holes in them? Would you send them an example cup with hairline cracks, unfinished paintwork, and a lumpy finish? No, because you know damn well you'll get turned down. Who wants a leaky cup?

    This brings me to another issue discussed in this thread. Someone/s thought The Claiming (and many other books not ready for publication published by different publishers) merited an acceptance. Someone accepted it and passed it on to an editor for fixing. That editor was clearly not advanced enough to handle the issues in The Claiming. That editor should have alerted his/her superiors and admitted he/she wasn't advanced or experienced enough to handle extensive edits (and I feel sorry for that editor if he/she didn't want to appear inadequate to his/her bosses, but this is an author's reputation here. It shouldn't matter what impression the editor gives his/her bosses when it means shoddy edits make an author have to go through something like this). It happens. I know this because I have taken on many books in the past from other editors who were unable to manage a difficult edit. These books are fixable. They are able to be made coherent and readable-’if the author is willing to work hard alongside the editor.

    However, it is unfair on any editor to be given a book to edit that hasn't been revised. It is unfair of submissions editors who accept books that aren't revised and expect an editor to take care of them. It is unfair that publishing houses employ editors that cannot edit ALL aspects of a book. It is unfair of an author to expect an editor to fix what equates to rough drafts.

    I edit books for the author's sake and reputation. I do NOT want a book going out with things in it that will make the author embarrassed and gain a bad review. I also don't want to send a book out badly edited and not fixed to the best of my ability for my own sake. I also edit well for the publisher's sake. A trend that has cropped up here-’and it's terribly unfortunate that it has exploded all over Trinity's book-’is that while small publishers moan and whinge about the bad name e-books get, at the same time they-’and I mean many, not just Siren-’forfeit good editing for whacking books up for sale for the sake of dollars.

    What happened to quality? What happened to producing the best product possible (taking into consideration author agreement/cooperation regarding changes to their babies-’because sometimes we encounter a diva who won't listen, and no, I don't mean Trinity here)? What happened to good old-fashioned respect for the craft? Why are many people jumping on the author bandwagon and claiming to be writers without at least trying to learn the craft? Why don't some people take submissions seriously anymore? How come it's suddenly okay to send in an unrevised manuscript?

    What the hell happened?

    Speaking in general terms and of trends I have seen over the past few years as an editor, it seems the days are gone where some authors polish their books before submitting them. Many a time I've noted comments like: Oh, that's what an editor is there for. They can fix my all my mistakes.

    Umm, NO! An editor is supposed to be there to point out the mistakes that slip an author by. An editor is not meant to be presented with a manuscript that needs a radical overhaul-’sometimes two or three overhauls when dealing with adverb/passive/tell abuse-’before the editor even gets to the redlining stage. NO!

    My favourite days occur when I see a book in the editing queue that has been sent in by someone who has learned, studied, and only minor things need fixing. Believe me, these are few and far between. I accept that some manuscripts need more help than others. I realise everyone is on a different craft level, but my point in all this is that those books shouldn't even make it to an editor’s desk in the first place! Books should be returned to the author with tips and reasons why the book was rejected, a line stating that the book, due to the cool premise, will be looked at again IF the author does this, this, and this. It shouldn't be accepted with “Oh, an editor here will sort this out.”

    And look what has happened with just this scenario. We have a devastated author, angry readers feeling duped by author, editor, cover artist, and publisher, and myriad commenters who are sick and tired, like me, of this kind of thing even occurring in the first place.

    Yes, I know of Trinity. No, I have no emotions invested in her. We frequent a couple of the same Yahoo groups. The same with Kissa. I can totally understand why Kissa commented here. Support for her friend. Supporting her because she undoubtedly knows Trinity has been upset, but at the same time, and sorry for repeating myself, this is a business! Yes, Trinity and Kissa are very nice people-’darlings from what people have told me-’but an author's personality, their goodness towards others, their whatever other reason we can think of to bring up here, is not the issue. We all know that by writing we are opening ourselves up for criticism. We KNOW this, so for that reason, I urge Trinity and any other author not ready for publication yet, to step back, realise that you can gain your dream in years to come, and learn as much as you can. I understand the lure of being published, of being able to tell people you're an author, that you have a book out for sale, but you can get that after you've learned the craft. And write better for having learned.

    It isn't about collecting contracts-’or it shouldn't be. It should be about the love of words, of crafting a superb tale, of honing your craft until you're the best that you can be so that no one, NO ONE can give you a review like this.

    On the subject of reviews like this…I agree with them. Reviewers have the right to give their opinion on a book they have read. If they wish to bring up the bad points, so be it. If they wish to say they hated it, so be it. The same goes for good reviews. Not everyone will agree that The Claiming was a bad book; after all, it's evident that some people found it fine, thankyouverymuch, and not everyone will agree it is a good book.

    For all authors out there who commit the same kinds of errors as those pointed out in The Claiming (and any other book that has been reviewed like this), and because it appears people aren't telling authors the truth these days, I'll say this: You're not ready for publication. Stop submitting. Write. Study. Revise. Edit-’and repeat this over and over again until you have honed your craft. Seek a professional's advice. Listen to that advice. Act on it. People who gush and say that what you've shown them is wonderful probably say so because they don't know what else to say. Read. A LOT. Study punctuation, word use, pacing, plots, every damn thing you can. Soak it all up. If you're serious about the craft, you won't mind doing this. You'll enjoy it, devour it all, and revel in your accomplishments when what you didn't understand before finally clicks into place and you can say: I've got it!

    Maybe I've taken a risk posting as myself. Maybe I'll get heckled and shouted at. But d'you know what? I'm past caring if someone dislikes me for speaking my opinion on these matters. I care so much about the craft that when this kind of thing occurs it angers me. It could have all been prevented, yet it will go on and on and on with other authors, other publishers. Some of the points I've touched on in my comment, among many others I didn't mention, make me want to turn my back on this whole sorry mess publishing has become and say to hell with it.

  163. Lynne Connolly
    Jun 09, 2009 @ 07:28:58

    Emmy – word.

  164. theo
    Jun 09, 2009 @ 07:32:53

    I have to take exception with this one quote from MPH

    This is what any sensible person would think. Are all Kensington books lumped together without consideration? All Dorchester? All MacMillan? All Random Press?

    For that matter, are all books by a single author lumped together? I love Laurell K. Hamilton's first 7 Anita Blake books, suffered through 8-10, and finally abbandoned LKH at book 11. I still think those first seven books are fantastic.

    In this instance, you are comparing apples to oranges. In LKH’s case, it wasn’t the craft that suffered, it was the contents of the story. LKH, whether you love her or hate her, knows her craft and does it very well. And the books were edited, polished and printed because of that.

    I don’t know Trinity. I really do feel sorry for her that she is the catalyst for such a [sometimes] heated debate. But I can’t possibly feel sorry for someone who, judging by the comments of others who were in crit groups with her, refused to take seriously those few honest comments that told her she wasn’t close to being ready. Frankly after reading this, I doubt she ever will be. Not because she can’t learn, but because she won’t. I have two LD friends. Yes, some of this comes across that way, but much of it is just terrible writing. Period.

    If this book’s craft was good, if it was just the subject matter (I’m with someone else on the whole tail/ick thing) then of course I would have no comment about the publisher. But it’s not. It was clearly not ready for publication and whoever TPTB at Siren should have stopped it before it even reached an editor. They didn’t. In this instance, I have to blame the publisher as well.

    Maybe it was edited, maybe it wasn’t. But if it was, maybe the editor feared refusing to do it and lose their job. It happens.

    So yes, I can honestly say that I don’t know that I’d want to give two or ten or a hundred more books a read for a ‘fair comparison.’ I’d be too afraid I’d get another just like this one.

    And that is what’s hurting epublishing the most. This kind of badly written, badly edited, get it out there for the sake of selling kind of work. I don’t own a Kindle, I don’t even own an ebook reader. What little I read in ebook form is done on my computer or my Moto Q9c, which is a great phone but the screen is half the size of an iPhone. I am limited with space and reading comfort. So when I buy an ebook, I’m expecting the same quality (as I’m sure everyone else is) that I would see from the bigger print publishers. This was just a slap in the face to epublishing in general.

    Emmy and Lynne, I agree with your comments. Well stated.

    And now, I think I need to step out of this discussion as far as posting goes before I turn into a “mean girl” which so far, this discussion hasn’t been at all.

    edited for missing words due to lack of morning coffee…

  165. J.C. Wilder
    Jun 09, 2009 @ 07:46:49

    Emmy – well said.

    As an author, my job is to create the absolute best book I can. There is an unwritten contract between the author and the reader that when someone picks up my book, they can be assured that I have done just that.

    There is also an unwritten contract between the publisher and the reader. That contract amounts to, I give you my money, you give me a product that meets your in-house quality standards – ie: a professionally edited book.

    In this case, both of these implied contracts have been violated. Not only did the author fail to do her job, the publisher has done a huge disservice to the author, their customers and the genre as a whole. When you put your name on something then it had better be the absolute best quality product you can create or you will end up with egg on your face.

    As for the publisher pulling the book – they really need to address the issue with a statement on their website. It would go a long way toward reestablishing the reader/publisher relationship.

  166. Anon Y. Mouse
    Jun 09, 2009 @ 08:00:01

    Well this clears up how it got through. The author posted on a yahoo group apologizing to other Siren authors for her book being so bad and said this: “As far as editor I didn’t have one so called.”

    How does a book get published without an editor? Did she just fall through the cracks and it kept getting pushed ahead because everyone assumed someone else was fixing the mess? I feel bad for her, she really does seem rather simple and not very literate, and should never have been given the cruel belief that she could be a professional writer. She can’t. Not with that level of lack of talent. But now she’s got it in her head that she can do it and I blame Siren for giving her those delusions.

  167. ME
    Jun 09, 2009 @ 08:21:37

    I don’t even know what to say to that last post. sigh. It’s just sad all around and does nothing for epublishing. I feel sad for this writer. She may be delusional and self involved, but really, the buck stops at the publishing house. I feel pissed at Siren for being so delinquent as to let an unedited ms through and to the point of being published. I feel sorry for all the customers who were ripped off.

    Don’t know what else to add. I need to get back to my own wip.

  168. Lex Valentine
    Jun 09, 2009 @ 08:30:30

    I don’t know about anyone else on this planet, but when I go to work at my day job, I don’t do so wearing only my bra and panties with all my flaws and naked ick on display. I treat my writing the exact same way.

  169. Anonymous
    Jun 09, 2009 @ 08:35:59

    @Anon Y. Mouse: Authors at Siren, as it has been explained to me, don’t have an actual working relationship with their editors. They never speak with an editor directly. All their edits and communications to said editor go through a liaison–of sorts. Not really sure how this works, but it sounds like a major problem to me. You do actually receive a file with your edits red-lined complete with suggestions supposedly, but you never interact with the editor directly. One author said to me, and I am paraphrasing here: “I imagine them down there in a dungeon chained to their computers tapping out edts, only given sips of water and a crust of bread.”

    It would seem that Siren’s editing office needs a serious overhaul wouldn’t it? So she got an editor, just could not communicate directly with said editor. Another recipe for failure if you ask me.

  170. Emmy Ellis
    Jun 09, 2009 @ 08:45:37

    If that’s the case, then how the hell are Siren authors meant to discuss any problems through a third party? An editor/author relationship is imperative. Views can be aired, discussed, and issues can be sorted out via email, phone, or IM.

    I would hate to have a third party between myself and my authors. I have made many wonderful friends in authors, so to lose that alone would be hateful.

    If this is correct, yet another disservice has been done to Trinity and all Siren authors. If given the one-on-one option, Trinity and her editor may well have been able to tidy her book up much more by going over it together stage by stage. And if it’s true that she didn’t have an editor as such…appalling.

    I wondered earlier if Siren even have line editors or proof readers that check the books after the content editor has been through them. If they do, then isn’t that three questionable people who work there in this case? Subs editor, content editor, line/proofer.

    This is what is so upsetting. I said it before, but hell, all this was preventable. An utter shame for all concerned.

  171. Anonymous
    Jun 09, 2009 @ 08:57:39

    @Emmy: I cannot imagine not being able to email back and forth with my editor.
    Can’t imagine the amount of discussion and brainstorming that would be lost as a result of the way I am told Siren edits. It seems to me that this type of set up discourages an author from contacting their editor.

    However, even with that obstacle in place, that ms was still not ready for a contract. It is a loss to all involved.

    Someone mentioned that Siren should make a statement. I really don’t expect one, but I honestly think they do have some explaining to do. I’m also wondering about the fate of this book. Will the author get her rights back? Is Siren obligated to her monetarily for her loss? After all, it was Siren’s lack of proper scrutiny from moment one that got the book published.

  172. joanne
    Jun 09, 2009 @ 08:57:51

    by J.C. Wilder June 9th, 2009 at 7:46 am
    As for the publisher pulling the book – they really need to address the issue with a statement on their website. It would go a long way toward reestablishing the reader/publisher relationship.

    I have been hoping for two days that this is exactly what would occur. Or that the publisher or a Siren rep would come to this thread and say something happened — insert ‘we’re human, shit happens’ reason.

    If the Siren site had taken that one positive step then almost everyone would following this thread would probably go about their business as usual because we would ‘get it’. Mistakes do happen. They could have protected or rescued their site, their author and their reputation with a simple statement.

    Anon Y. Mouse June 9th, 2009 at 8:00 am
    …..The author posted on a yahoo group apologizing to other Siren authors for her book being so bad and said this: “As far as editor I didn't have one so called.”

    The authors’ statement makes me want to cry. Seriously, I’m not being facetious. I feel such empathy for someone who wants to write professionally and has such an obvious inability to express their own thoughts.

  173. joanne
    Jun 09, 2009 @ 09:03:31

    *snort* pride always goes before a fall lol!
    I can’t edit my own writing errors.
    Sorry!

  174. Emmy Ellis
    Jun 09, 2009 @ 09:06:20

    I would say that Trinity should still be paid. Why? Because Siren published her book. It’s their fault if they didn’t check it before release.

    Also, after thinking about all this again over the last few minutes, that ‘editor’, if the reported sales of The Claiming are true, will also get a nice chunk of change there.

    Payment for his/her part in allowing an author to go through this?

  175. Laura Ashton
    Jun 09, 2009 @ 09:09:10

    Despite the obvious inadequacies of The Claiming, in defense of the publisher, I feel should point out a couple things.

    1. Siren was not the first to publish Trinity Bianco. I believe she has a short story with Freya Bower. I understand the product was sub-par, but we can only conjecture what happened. Being published alone plus fabrications and exaggerations may have opened doors that would have otherwise been closed.

    2. Knowing what the rest of we authors go through, it’s no excuse but, it seems inconceivable that The Claiming was edited. There was just too much missed. As I mentioned before I spent two weeks rewriting and correcting my second book at the request of two editors. It’s finished, but I’m now so gun shy, I’m having a friend look at the rewrites before sending it back, where they tell me another editor will go over the book. In addition, I was told on the first book that a proofreader read the book before it was published.

    I understand this reflects badly on Siren and unfortunately on the authors as well (as if we had anything to do with this book) but I believe the prepondurance of SirenBookstrand books are well written and if they’re like mine, well edited.

  176. anonymous
    Jun 09, 2009 @ 09:11:11

    Not all e-pubs have a good editing process in place. I heard some of the Ravenous Romance authors never even saw the edited versions of their books until publication. They were not given a chance to discuss edits and there was no editorial guidance on storyline at all. Apparently some even had large portions of story removed to hit an arbitrary length guideline and still not consulted about how the edits were done or even that it was being done in the first place.

    I’m with a pub that has 3 very interactive rounds of edits and I’m free to discuss anything or even question what the editor has changed. I even have a phone number to call and discuss plot issues if necessary. I was shocked to discover that not all pubs have such a through process. Some certainly seem to be getting lazy, cutting corners or hiring editors who aren’t competent.

    As for the person who said a writer should do their research before submitting a book, I’m not sure that a lot of these details are available and any publisher that says they have an editorial staff to polish your book sounds like they are going to do it right. Until you’ve been through editing yourself, you really don’t even know what kind of questions to ask about how a pub does business. It’s no wonder first-time authors get caught and trust too much.

    Anyone who decides to divulge information about their publisher’s bad policies is usually attacked, so it remains a deep dark mystery until it’s too late.

  177. anonymous
    Jun 09, 2009 @ 09:21:09

    I would say that Trinity should still be paid. Why? Because Siren published her book. It’s their fault if they didn’t check it before release.

    Also, after thinking about all this again over the last few minutes, that ‘editor’, if the reported sales of The Claiming are true, will also get a nice chunk of change there.

    Payment for his/her part in allowing an author to go through this?

    I see no reason why Trinity should not be paid. I assume her contract offers a royalty on sales. She sold books. She deserves money. If readers did not get value for their money, I don’t think Trinity is responsible since she didn’t release the book and put it up on the Siren site herself.

    I’m not familiar with how editors are paid. Do they get a royalty cut, too, or paid lump-sum?

    I do wonder if she didn’t sell a lot of books from the train-wreck perspective of KNIGHT MOVES. That author bragged that Jane’s review pushed her book up the best seller list. Is that really what a writer wants to be remembered for?

    As for Trinity I admit I checked her website and twitter… she said things like “I’m sad my book dropped to # 3! Please get it now.” She came across as very unprofessional and I’m wondering why no one advised her how to market herself rather than practically beg for people to buy it.

    I heard that Lyrical press has a really good marketing course that all their authors must take and it sounds like some other publishers might want to consider offering some guidance.

  178. Anonymous
    Jun 09, 2009 @ 09:21:24

    @anonymous:

    Anyone who decides to divulge information about their publisher's bad policies is usually attacked, so it remains a deep dark mystery until it's too late.

    Ain’t that the truth!

  179. Emmy Ellis
    Jun 09, 2009 @ 09:27:27

    @anonymous: In my experience, editors get a cut. Depends how much on what house you edit for. In the past I’ve been paid 12%, 6%, and 4%.

  180. Anonymous
    Jun 09, 2009 @ 09:29:35

    I checked the author’s website. She seems to have a short story in an anthology at Freya’s Bower. No. I won’t waste my money to see what it is like, but I’d imagine that it wasn’t as bad as what we have seen from the book at Siren, or those other authors in that anthology would be screaming about now. Letting everyone in on what they have held in, I’d suspect.

    Her site also shows she has a release coming up with Red Rose Publishing. Now that will be interesting to see. Comparing how one publisher handles her writing skill versus another will be worth my money.

    Believe it or not, all of this is great research. It will give authors an idea as to where they do actual edits and where they don’t.

  181. Emmy Ellis
    Jun 09, 2009 @ 09:39:41

    When I worked for Freya’s, they had very good edits and 5 proofers PER BOOK before release.

  182. anonymous
    Jun 09, 2009 @ 09:39:55

    I checked the author’s website. She seems to have a short story in an anthology at Freya’s Bower

    That was a sweet anthology, so much less chance of the ick factor we saw in The Claiming.

    It was edited by Faith Bicknell-Brown and Trinity is one of her “mentees.” From the list of who is in the antho, it seems Faith was doing a few of them a huge favor by publishing them at all and she probably did it to help some new writers with more enthusiasm than talent. Again, writers need to learn the craft, and getting one story in your friend’s anthology does not mean you are an accomplished author, but apparently it gets more than your foot in the door, at least at Siren. Trinity seems to have gotten her entire body in this way.

  183. DonLinn
    Jun 09, 2009 @ 09:53:10

    I don’t know Emmy Ellis, but she is my new hero.

  184. Emmy Ellis
    Jun 09, 2009 @ 09:59:14

    @DonLinn: LOL!

    Well, that’s just made me smile.

    Pleased to ‘meet’ you.

    :o)

  185. Anonymous
    Jun 09, 2009 @ 10:08:30

    Just because an author is published elsewhere it sure as hell does not make them publish worthy automatically. Each book should be considered on its own merits.
    A friend just told me she had purchased a copy of that FB anthology. She read that story of Ms. Blacio’s again. Said it wasn’t bad at all editing wise. But that the story wasn’t all that. She also mentioned that there was a costume in the FB story. Author must have a thing for costumes. And since it is a sweet anthology, it won’t have an ick factor where sex is concerned either as someone else mentioned. Not a good comparison with the erotic work, although it was great to hear the editing was good.

  186. Anon Y Mouse
    Jun 09, 2009 @ 10:08:46

    @anonymous:

    Publishing people with no talent like Trinity is no ‘favor’. It also does a great disservice to a couple of those authors in the anthology who I happen to know are incredibly talented, namely Gwen Hayes.

  187. Tammy
    Jun 09, 2009 @ 10:09:17

    What’s chilling me to the bone is how many people feel they have to offer their opinions anonymously to avoid retribution of some kind. I’ve done this myself, though not in this thread.

  188. Faith Bicknell-Brown
    Jun 09, 2009 @ 10:14:56

    Okay, I’ve been lurking here since I was notified about the review of The Claiming. I’ve read the comments, etc….

    Let me state that although Trinity was one of my authors when I worked for Freya’s Bower, I put her through rigorous edits. I am a damn tough editor. Ask ANY of my authors. Trinity will tell you this too. And although that anthology has some stories in it that started out very raw, I also look for plot and other things in fiction. I’m known for working with new aspiring authors. And trust me, I have had scores of manuscripts that have had me ripping my hair out. But you know what? I _never_ gave up on those authors. Never.

    I have another author whose work started out very rough and she admitted that I’d have her in tears because I’d rip her manuscript apart not once, not twice, but several times. But I teach as I edit. That’s the key. I teach, I show how to do it, and I nurture as I teach and edit.

    That said, that particular author has grown by leaps and bounds since then, and I believe that Trinity’s work will too (I’m not even going to comment on the Siren editing…that’s not the thing to do nor is this the place to do it). Some people learn faster than others. However, what happens at another publisher is NOT my problem. I am NOT part of Siren Publishing. And I will add, that there are some things that an editor cannot edit out or fix unless the author is willing to do so, such as the tone of their author style (for example someone made the comment about The Claiming having a childish voice).

    What I have edited for Trinity is done professionally; I have several private clients I edit for too and a professional background in writing for national magazines. If anyone has any reservations, go to Freya’s Bower and buy a copy of One Touch, One Glance Anthology and check out Trinity’s story in it.

  189. Emmy Ellis
    Jun 09, 2009 @ 10:16:10

    @Anon Y Mouse: I so agree about Gwen’s talent. She’s bloody fabulous.

    :o)

  190. Anon Y Mouse
    Jun 09, 2009 @ 10:17:40

    @Faith Bicknell-Brown: I’ll have to pass on that. I don’t think I’ll be wasting any of my money buying anything by this ‘author.’ You’re honestly asking people to go buy more of her work after this trainwreck? I’m laughing on the inside, truly.

  191. Anon Y Mouse
    Jun 09, 2009 @ 10:18:22

    @Emmy Ellis: She absolutely is. Her Samhain book, Oh Goddess, is brilliant.

  192. Emmy Ellis
    Jun 09, 2009 @ 10:22:48

    She got into Samhain? Well, that’s the best news I’ve heard all day. Wha-heyyyyy!

    I was one of the proofers for The Chosen. Man, she is something else.

    :o)

  193. German Reader
    Jun 09, 2009 @ 10:37:08

    A few years ago I wrote reviews for a German review site (reviews in English). Reviewers were German, American and Canadian. I remember one reviewer ( native English speaker) who gave everything a 4 or 5 star rating. From all the reviews on the site, hers had the most typos.
    Then one day she retired from the site because she got offered a new job:
    Editor at Venus Press. (I think she used to be an accountant)

    Really made me wonder …… Venus was shut down just a few weeks later.

    ( I apologize for all typos and errors in my posts – I do use spell check if I’m unsure but sometimes words are the same in German and English but with a different spelling. Also, I love my commas and place them wherever they should be according to old German punctuation rules.)

  194. gaypride
    Jun 09, 2009 @ 10:44:01

    I didn’t read the book. But it sounds like there were editorial problems, and unfortunately that happens. And, even more unfortunate, the author usually takes the blame.

    But wow, you girls are really in an awful snit today. And it’s always why I love to read this blog so much. It’s like The National Enquirer of publishing.

    Keep up the good work, ladies.

  195. W. H. Mills
    Jun 09, 2009 @ 10:47:32

    First – I think you are all dried up old HAGS and have no life at all. You are probably post menopausal, divorced, because your real life never amounted to your ROMANCE NOVEL fantasy life and because of that, you have no hope in ever finding a partner except in your romance novels.

    Second – Your comments are biased, if any written works are praised or published by reputable outlets and does not include YOUR groups titles, you harshly trash the author and publisher hoping it will dissuade others from reading it. You don’t get it do you – YOU ARE TINY FISH.

    Third – Dear Author and K.Z. Snow, has to be one of the worst Blogs and most biased of them all, I would swear that all you “janes” are in cahoots with each other, making your comments worthless.

    Closeted BULL DYKES !

  196. Donna
    Jun 09, 2009 @ 10:57:39

    @W. H. Mills:

    Closeted BULL DYKES !

    Excellent. Nothing hammers a point home like a homophobic slur.

  197. W. H. Mills
    Jun 09, 2009 @ 11:00:43

    I AM GAY – Donna – can’t be a homophobe

  198. MPH
    Jun 09, 2009 @ 11:02:09

    @Lynne Connolly:

    When you go into a critique group, you should leave your ego at the door. That's if you're serious about progressing your craft to the best you can make it, rather than finding a shortcut to publication. If “being published” is your only aim, go to Lulu (who do perform an excellent service, btw). I've tried to give back the gift that these ladies bestowed on me, with varying results.

    Superlative advice, Lynne. Your advice applies not only to aspiring authors but to those already active in the trenches.

    An author/friend of mine used to provide me and some other friends with her manuscripts for critique. I had to withdraw from her “support group” when it quickly became clear the author was seeking sycophants and not honest constructive criticism.

    The sad thing? The author’s good and has managed to get some notice among the trendier genres in epublishing. Armed with the ego reinforcement of being a “bestseller” the author took steps to fulfill her ambition by submitting for a print publishing house. She secured an agent, made rounds at various writing conventions, brought a pitch towards some editors and was invited to submit her “baby,” the same manuscript I and others had told her was not working due to the characters being unlikeable, unrealistic, and inconsistent.

    New York did not like the baby. It tried to like it, even asked the author to re-edit and further develop the manuscript for resubmission, which she did do but without making any of the adjustments, brutal but neccessary, that would contribute to a salable well-rounded book. New York turned down the baby. Stubbornly, she held onto the manuscript and attempted to look for other marketing potential with a print deal. After several years without success she finally surrendered the manuscript to her original epublisher who was glad to have it, of course, because her reputation as a “good” author guarantees it will sell.

    Ironically, she still hasn’t learned her lesson. She continues to surround herself with sycophants who praise her work and refuses to acknowledge anything bad in her work. She blames the decline in the print publishing industry for her lost opportunity. Her on line reviews are generally good, but any constructive criticism that might be viewed as unfavorable she dismisses with “(The reviewer) just did not understand my book” or “I think what she really meant was blah-blah…”

    In a way, this author’s situation is worse than Trinity’s. She’ll probably swim in a fishbowl for a long time blaming budget cuts and misunderstandings for her inability to rise further in her publishing career. Trinity’s fall from grace sounds pretty spectacular in comparison, but at this point she has nowhere to go but up.

    The moral: no writer is above criticism. Even if they sell books.

  199. Heather (errantdreams)
    Jun 09, 2009 @ 11:02:49

    Why is it that the folks hurling the nastiest insults are always the ones claiming to have the moral high ground? Does not compute.

  200. Lori S.
    Jun 09, 2009 @ 11:03:19

    You gotta try harder than that, W. H. Mills. Minus ten points for lack of creativity. Besides, you forgot to mention my 40 cats and puffy ink sweaters.

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