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Monday Midday Links: Amazon Author Episode 915

First up is the news that Random House wants to claim ebook rights for all books that are under contract. Random House took this stance in the early 2000s against Rosetta Books and sued Rosetta twice. Rosetta won both cases but the legal battle essentially froze Rosetta’s business. In order to forestall future suits, Rosetta agreed to an out of court settlement that paid Random House a licensing fee for each book sold.

Let’s sum this up. Random House got knocked down again and again by the court system but because it had deeper pockets and could continue to litigate claims that it knew it would not win, it was rewarded with a licensing payment from Rosetta Books. I feel for Rosetta. What else could the do?

The legal foundation that Random House rests upon is shaky at best. Author contracts are largely contracts of adhesion and as such any ambiguity is resolved against the drafter of the contract, meaning if a term “book” is deemed to be ambiguous by the court, then the interpretation that favors the non drafting party (the author) is usually upheld. In the Rosetta cases, the court didn’t focus on whether the contract was one of adhesion but looked to see if there was ambiguity in the term book (there was) and whether it included digital rights (it didn’t). Further, the court in the Rosetta cases determined that new uses referred to new uses in the same medium (ie print), not a different one (digital). Perhaps Random House is convinced that it could convince a different judge to come to a different conclusion.   This move is meant to strike fear in the hearts of authors who think to take their backlist titles elsewhere and for the majority of authors, this tactic will likely work.


Author Candace Sams (commenting under pseudonym NiteflyrOne)   runs amok over at Amazon, berating a reviewer and suggesting that the reviewer look to Harriet Klausner as an exemplar reviewing professional. Incensed by the one star review and determined to critique the reviewer back, Sams includes instructions on why Klausner is a better reviewer.   Klausner knows stuff.

Again…I point to Ms. Klausner as a number one reviewer for She knows that authors rarely have full editorial control; rarely do they have even ‘scant’ control over their covers or the language used in dialogue or even sequencing of scenes: love scenes, kissing scenes, scenes of violence, etc. These are ultimately controlled by editorial staff…very rarely the author alone.

I’m bolding that part.   I knew I should have gone to reviewing school.   I thought authors made decisions about dialogue and sequencing but alas, it is the editor.   Look what else the editor does:

Those conversations were, on the whole, fraught with sophomoric comments blaming authors for all kinds of editorial decisions over which they have no or very little control (kissing scenes, cover content, love scenes, language, etc., etc., etc).

Anyway, Sams wishes for more “cognitive readers” and more “equitable” ones and speculates that the unhappy reader is a “frustrated romance author – who could not get his/her own work published – or who cannot write a manuscript at all……there seems, therefore, to be a need to render rather caustic attacks and on those who ‘can’ write and who ‘can’ get published.”   Also, in commenting to another negative review, Sams notes that some reviewers just can’t handle the material that steps outside the box.

This has been the biggest complaint about romance on the whole – that they all sound alike. Apparently ‘some’ reviewers ‘want’ them to sound alike. When they don’t, they aren’t able to handle the material.

In conclusion, don’t complain about the author’s writing, complain about how the editor obviously took gold and turned it into dross.   Thanks to the reader who sent me the link.


Books on Mars posts the salaries of the top paid employees of the various writers’ organizations.   Mystery and romance writers associations pay the most with the Science Fiction position paying the lowest.   Allison Kelley, Executive Director for RWA, earned $106,572 in 2007/2008.


Barnes and Noble should hurry up with the updates for it’s nook because the nook is being savaged in reviews.


Author Barry Eisler who is making a concerted effort to get his books into romance readers’ hands had a nice surprise for him this morning when Salon named his book, Fault Line, one of the best for 2009. “Eisler has reinvented spy thriller for 21st century.”   Any romance reader want to take up the gauntlet and review Fault Line for Dear Author? I’ll buy you the copy and have it shipped to you, paper or ecopy.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and 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


  1. jody
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 12:42:13

    Re: Candace Sams

    Wow. Just wow.

  2. Kati
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 12:45:28

    Whoa. Someone needs to take Candace Sams’ keyboard away.

    It’s like a trainwreck. And of course, I can’t stop reading.

  3. katiebabs
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 12:55:47

    Harriet Klausner as an exemplar reviewing professional? I just swallowed my tongue. In what universe?

    OMG bad author behavior on Amazon strikes again. One bad review won’t do damage to an author’s livelihood but having an author get on her soap box and mouth off may just do that.

  4. Marsha
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 12:58:43

    Is Ms. Sams engaging in some kind of performance art?

    The whole thing reads kind of breakdownish and I was sympathetic right up until she started playing Who’s A More Legit Author with someone newly published. That’s just poor form. (And, really, if we’re going to allocate authoring cred on that basis alone, Ms. Sams would do well to remember that she’s a bit of a flea – or was it fly? – herself when compared to, say, Nora Roberts).

  5. rosecolette
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 12:59:57

    Wow. Just…wow. The rambling by the author makes no sense, and I feel so very sorry for her editor.

    Am giggling over how Candace’s comments are being voted as relevant to the discussion and the dissenting opinions are being voted not relevant, which is such a hack of the system. All you have to do is refresh the window and you’re able to re-vote “yes” or “no” on comments. The commenting system doesn’t track whether or not someone signed in has voted on a comment.

  6. Jennifer Estep
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 13:02:13

    I met Barry a couple of years ago and have since seen him at some other conferences. He’s a very nice, personable guy. I think I read somewhere that Hollywood is making a movie out of his John Rain series.

    At the RT signing in Pittsburgh last year, I was a couple of authors down from Barry, and he was quite popular — his line stretched on past me several times. So I think he’s succeeding in his mission to get more romance readers interested in his books.

  7. Courtney Milan
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 13:04:37

    When I posted on that thread, I had no idea that “Nightflyer One” or whoever was Candace Sams. I just assumed it was some over-zealous fan, not doing Candace Sams any favors.

    As it is….


  8. Natasha Fondren
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 13:15:53

    Seriously, Jane? I’d totally love to review Fault Line. Although, I’m not sure I count. I’m not just a romance reader, I’m pretty much a love-all-genres reader. But I’d love to do it from a romance perspective, if a million people haven’t already jumped at the chance. :-)

  9. Jia
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 13:29:19

    I’m afraid I’m totally unable to take seriously anyone who holds Harriet Klausner up as the gold standard for reviewing.

  10. joanne
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 13:32:29

    The Random House issue makes me ill. The courts get it completely right for the ‘little guy’ and when they do the big guns just take out their wallets and all the time talking about how ebooks don’t really matter to publishing. Pox on them.

    *SIGH* now all my Author Fan Club Hats have to be changed to name the editorial staff. I hate when that happens.

  11. Jennifer
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 13:35:17

    What a train wreck that discussion is! I can’t believe an author would behave like that.

    If I ever were going to read one of her books, I won’t anymore. Sheesh! How awful!

  12. Rebecca
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 13:40:35

    Re: Candace Sams

    I can understand her frustration with 1-star reviews… no one likes to be dissed. But still, she could have handled it better. I don’t agree with her assumptions about what reviewers should and should not say (or who should and should not review… as a reader, I want to know what other readers think, not just what “professional” critics think). But I have to add that even bad publicity is good publicity.

    I confess to buying the Kindle book this morning to read about the Interstellar Feller competition for myself so that I might post a review of my own.

    So even if she is frustrated by her 1-star reviews, I can honestly say that 1-star reviews rarely keep me from buying a book (especially if I don’t know the reviewer, or if they seem biased or unintelligent), and I buy a *lot* of books on Amazon–especially for Kindle. So if her editors are offering contracts based only on her Amazon reviews and not on her sales, then that’s bad on them.

    We shall see if she is right about her own writing. As for the rest… gotta love a good s**t-storm.

  13. O-Anon
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 13:44:46

    OMG!!! Candace Sams has snapped.

    If anybody knows her in real life, they should seriously get over to her house with chocolate, a case of wine and a strait jacket. I don’t know if she got a foreclosure notice today or her husband went all Tiger Woods on her, but something is going on with that woman that is more traumatic than a one-star review.

  14. ReacherFan
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 13:54:19

    I read Fault Line and reviewed it on my blog back when it was released. It was dreadful.

    I love Barry Eslier, but that book was thriller drivel. Give me John Rain any day!

  15. Rebecca
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 14:04:12

    Okay, when I posted, I had only read the first page of the comments on that review, not realizing there were six more pages of comments.

    I am now sorry that I bought the book at all. If only I could return it and get my money back. Stupid Kindle.

    I am the first to jump on the “everyone deserves their own opinion” bandwagon. But her defense of her work has turned into an out-and-out attack which shows a lack of professionalism that I don’t respect.

    I hope some of her readers check out this thread. I know that if one of my favorite authors engaged in a public stunt like this, I would never buy a book of theirs again for the rest of my life… no matter who they were.

    And if I were her editor, I would be more concerned with her public attitude than any Amazon ratings or even sales numbers. That is a toxic spill waiting to pollute everyone associated with her.

    As someone already said, “Candace Sams has snapped.”

    On a side note, I’m about 40 pages into the novel in question… I don’t see what all the fuss is about. Not horrid, not great. We shall see.

  16. Jill Sorenson
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 14:17:37

    I haven’t read any of Barry Eisler’s books, but I have read some excerpts. For a man, he writes pretty hot sex scenes! I’ve also met him and he’s darned cute.

    (But don’t enter me, I’m in a romance-only reading mood right now.) : )

  17. Caligi
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 14:21:25

    I think at this point she might be plugging away hoping to salvage some morbid curiosity sales from this debacle. She can’t seriously think she’s behaving rationally.

  18. RRRJessica
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 14:41:02

    Don’t mean to hijack the thread, but re Kindle: while at my laptop I accidentally one clicked on a Michelle Hauf romance I thought was free. turns out I bought a different book. I could not figure out how to unpurchase it. For future reference, anyone know?

    On topic: why is it that authors always think reviewers are so wise and insightful when they give positive reviews and so ignorant and confused when they don’t?

  19. Missy Ann
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 14:42:13

    1. You can have any “justice” you want. If you can pay for it.

    2. Sams; what a nut case.

    3. Eisler is a freakin’ genius. His John Rain Series is one of the finest spy/assassin/thrillers out there. Fault Line isn’t his best work to date, but it’s far from bad IMHO.

  20. Jane
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 14:53:01

    @RRRJessica & @Rebecca: Apparently you are supposed to be able to cancel/return a Kindle ebook purchase by emailing Amazon from their customer support page. You have 7 days after purchase.

    On it’s prohibited list of returns, there is no mention of ebooks, only downloadable software products.

  21. Rebecca
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 14:55:16

    On the Sams front, the “offending” reviewer (LB Taylor) posted a follow-up thread on Amazon discussion about what reviews of romance novels should and should not include that I found interesting.

    This is totally blowing up… kinda fun to watch, I guess, in a sick-sad way. It’s a nice diversion when I’m trying to procrastinate finishing a project.

  22. mahala
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 14:55:18

    The one star reviews of Sams’ books were not vicious or particularly hard. Two reviewers just didn’t like the book and stated that and an example or two of what bothered them.

    Ms Sams seems to feel that any criticism is a personal attack by readers who are too stupid to appreciate her work. Her words, not mine. I was especially fond of her comparison of her unappreciative readers to flies. Then she complains that bad reviews cost her lost sales and takes money out of her pocket. Oh, I don’t think it’s the one star reviews, Ms Sams.

    Indeed, I was so happy with her comments I sent off a letter to her publishers inviting them to read her comments. I’ll bet they will be just so proud.

  23. Kalen Hughes
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 15:00:53

    authors rarely have full editorial control; rarely do they have even 'scant' control over their covers or the language used in dialogue or even sequencing of scenes: love scenes, kissing scenes, scenes of violence, etc. These are ultimately controlled by editorial staff…very rarely the author alone.

    Just what publisher/editor is this person writing for?

    I think only an “artiste” whose work is too perfect to be improved upon by editorial input would agree with Sams (and DellArte has a publishing deal reading and waiting for these extra special snowflakes).

    I’ll agree that most of us have “scant” control over our covers, but that’s all. Editors make suggestions (mostly about plot points or characterization in my experience), but that's all they do: MAKE SUGGESTIONS. Authors ultimately have nearly complete control over their work (disagreeing that your hero is an asshat and refusing to address the issue may result in your book not being published, but it won't result in your editor rewriting your dialogue on the sly, LOL!).

  24. Jikie
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 15:18:56

    I thought everyone learned to handle critique in high school English where there was very audible groaning every time the teacher handed back essays completely marked up with red ink. Guess not.

    It’s unfortunate that Ms. Sams posted under pseudonym. If she had that much issue with the review, her criticism would have been better served under her own name. No point in hiding behind a pseudonym. Unlike what Ms. Sams said, I feel because of that, her eariler comments are no longer valid, if they were ever valid at all.

  25. Leslie Dicken
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 15:25:34

    Geeze, all I did with my one-star review was to ignore it. Maybe I’d have gotten much more attention if I’d made a big stink about it instead. *rolls eyes*

    Has she not learned anything about the word “professionalism” ???

  26. Stephanie
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 15:46:30

    @RRRJessica & @Rebecca:

    I have “returned” two kindle books. With both books I requested the return by calling the kindle customer service number. The purchase was credited to my credit card within an hour and removed from my kindle the next time I had my wireless on. My first return was an accidental buy and the second was a book that was offered for free about 10 days after I purchased it.

    I actually had Ms. Sams book on my Kindle wish list and quickly deleted it after reading her comments.

  27. DS
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 15:56:43


    Any content you purchase for Kindle from the Amazon Kindle store is eligible for return and refund if we receive your request within 7 days of the date of purchase. Once a refund is issued, the item will be removed from Your Media Library and will no longer be readable on your Kindle. To request a refund and return, click the Customer Service button in the Contact Us box in the right-hand column of this page to reach us via phone or e-mail. Please make sure to include the title of the item you wish to return in your request.

    I had to do this once. No hassle. The “this page” was

    I should probably add that if Amazon decides that someone is abusing this they can stop selling Kindle books to that person. One person posted about being cut off– he could read the books he had already purchased and kept but could not buy any new ones from Amazon.

    Some people just have to push things to the limit.

  28. Anah Crow
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 16:02:12

    This feedback thing isn’t a problem that’s escaped mainstream notice. Being Erica — a show wherein the main character is an aspiring author and non-fiction editor — recently had her being fired over (a) a terrible first book, (b) siding with the editor who gave her her first break, and (c) going to the office of a major newspaper critic who panned the book to confront him about the terrible review, thereby embarrassing the publishing house. It was simultaneously fabulous and cringe-worthy to watch the earnest trainwreck in motion. It was bang on.

    I have to assume that this has always been an issue on some level, that writers have been calling reviewers to rave at them, and so on, but we just haven’t been privy to it before. I can’t imagine not. Analogous situations happen in academia (where I grew up), and while romance writers & reviewers are considerably less mad (on average) than academics, they’re still human. I’d love to read a historical look at Review Derangement Syndrome, wouldn’t you? Did it ever come down to pistols at dawn? Inquiring minds want to know.

    The only time I have had a true taste of RDS was when I found out that some people hate Gravity’s Rainbow. When I first saw someone say they loathed the book, I nearly fell out of my chair. And then I went and hugged the pieces of my first copy, which I read until it came apart in three. OMG, R U SRS? I am still not over that. *snuffle* Philistines.

  29. DS
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 16:12:17

    @Anah Crow:

    Did it ever come down to pistols at dawn? Inquiring minds want to know.

    It has, it has! Thomas Moore the poet challenged a critic to a duel. However although both remembered the black powder, both forgot the bullets! I’ll have to double check where I read that. I think there was a French author rather later in the 19th century who challenged a critic to a duel.

  30. Anah Crow
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 16:15:34


    It has, it has! Thomas Moore the poet challenged a critic to a duel.

    Thank you! I thought it must have, but I couldn’t for the life of me remember. Delightful. Those were the good old days when you didn’t have to have wits to be armed.

  31. A
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 16:19:28

    Gracious. Ms. Sams’s e-tantrum is a classic example of why people experiencing distress should eschew blogs, message boards, and other comparable outlets.

    That said, there are noticeable differences between professional reviewers and critics versus the amateur variety. I’ve read reviews just as bass-ackwards and annoying.

  32. jody
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 16:40:00

    Our mothers taught us to count to ten before responding to taunts.
    Our friends taught us not to mix alcohol and telephones late at night.
    Why, oh why, doesn’t anyone teach authors to respond to unfavorable reviews by backing away from the keyboard?

    I’m starting to feel sorry for Candace Sams. The poor thing is self destructing before our eyes.

  33. Nonette
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 17:02:26

    The office staff who ‘do’ know it are seeing some sales pile up and they’re telling me to ‘keep doing whatever it is that I’m doing’.

    Link. You have to manually open the post.

  34. Courtney Milan
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 17:32:29

    The office staff who ‘do' know it are seeing some sales pile up and they're telling me to ‘keep doing whatever it is that I'm doing'.

    Which is at least the fourth verifiable lie she’s told–her Amazon sales rank is in the 300,000s, which usually indicates Amazon hasn’t sold a book of hers in a handful of days or so.

  35. Janet W
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 17:45:29

    I’m feeling sorry for her too … she is literally destroying herself online. As much as the phrase is ridiculed in RomLand — authors shouldn’t say anything but nice things about other authors — it saddens me to see authors piling on, even if it is hysterically funny. I really wonder if she isn’t breaking down in front of our eyes. I have a relative who is prone to spells and she’s simply not herself when she’s in the throes of one. It’s too bad there’s no one who can firmly but lovingly lead this lady away from her keyboard.

  36. Deb Kinnard
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 17:58:13

    Wanna talk about the Random House thingie. Is it true that when Rosetta got the rights to pub the e-versions, they had to get them from RH and not from the authors? Isn’t it true that if the authors had never granted e-rights to RH, RH was selling what it didn’t own?

    Note to self: need keener legal mind and/or more info.

  37. Suze
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 18:54:08

    her husband went all Tiger Woods on her

    If anybody’s making a list of best new phrases in English for the decade, I’m voting for this one. It’s right up there with going postal.

  38. riley
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 19:15:36

    Really? I don’t understand, for a minute why this author’s tantrum is even news. Typical of Jane to bring this up. I wonder how many of you engaged the author to retaliate. Don’t you people have anything more to do with your time? Ridiculous, as usual. Head on a platter and all that.

  39. anon
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 19:19:15

    I find the Random House thing interesting. You may or may not be aware of this, but the same print publishers who laughed at digital books no longer than two years ago, are now releasing all backlist anthologies in digital kindle editions.

    When these books were published, the authors who submitted short stories to them were under the impression that the books would always be print books and that they would never become digital books. They were paid a flat rate (in some cases they were paid $25.00, plus one copy), which was fine at the time. No one is complaining about this.

    However, now that the books are being released in kindle editions, and some are selling faster than the print books ever did, the only people making money on them are the publishers and the editors. Over at, readers are buying these e-books based on the fact that they like a certain author who is known for e-books. I’ve seen it happen to a few authors.

    So, if anyone is planning to submit m/m fiction to any print publishers, I hope they realize that these books will become e-books, and it won’t be mentioned in the contract. And if they want their share of the royalties, they’d better ask up front. If all authors did this, and refused to submit work to print publishers who refuse to recognize writers in e-book sales, the contracts would change fast.

    A lot of writers work on volume, and every little bit helps pay the bills.

  40. HelenKay Dimon
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 19:42:35

    The newest kerfluffle is a good reminder of why every author needs a friend who isn’t afraid to call or email and say, “knock it the hell off” and then disable the author’s internet access.

  41. K. Z. Snow
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 19:43:27

    @Anah Crow:

    Those were the good old days when you didn't have to have wits to be armed.

    Alas, one needs even fewer wits today.

  42. DS
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 19:47:49

    @Deb Kinnard: If the Author’s Guild and the WAs want an issue, I think this would be worth tackling considering the number of authors who may be affected.

  43. Jessica G.
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 19:52:46

    A couple of things I’m urged to comment on:

    #1 – I love Rosetta Books, because they made “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley accessible for my Sony at a pretty darn good price.

    #2 – When I used to have my romantic fantasy review site, I used to want to strangle Harriet Klausner. She claims to read 3-4 books a day, but would review 7-10. I have a hard time believing that. And on top of that, nothing was under 4 stars. I don’t care who you are, but if you even read 100 books a year and you aren’t picky AT ALL (I tend to be lenient, hence why I don’t review anymore), you’ll find a handful of books that are, if not barf-worthy, at least bring about feelings of indifference. I think less of an author if they quote Harriet Klausner on their reviews page.

    #3 – I’ll go check out Fault Line right now, just because he has endeared me by trying to encourage romance readers to check him out. Now that’s a real man. And someone says he’s cute? Off to google images!

  44. raych
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 19:53:43

    I can’t post directly to the amazon thread because I’ve never purchased anything from there, but someone needs to let Sams know that she misquoted Eleanor Roosevelt on the bottom of p. 14 of the thread. The actual quote goes: “Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people.” Also, “beseech,” not “beseach,” “lose contracts” and not “loose contracts,” and a poor review would “affect” her ability to get further contracts, not “effect” it. She might want to get that editor she slammed to head in there and tinker with her comments.

  45. Eva_baby
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 20:18:37

    Re: Candace Sams – the commentor who told her that House was re-run and she was his/her entertainment for the night hit the nail on the head. Comedy Gold!

  46. Barbara B.
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 20:22:42

    “by riley December 14th, 2009 at 7:15 pm
    Really? I don't understand, for a minute why this author's tantrum is even news. Typical of Jane to bring this up. I wonder how many of you engaged the author to retaliate. Don't you people have anything more to do with your time? Ridiculous, as usual. Head on a platter and all that. ”

    Riley, this isn’t Sunday school, begone.

    Dear, sweet Jane knows that there’s few things more compelling than a authorial meltdown. When it comes to authors acting a damn fool I find it marvellously entertaining. It’s bizarre, okay? This mofo is going OFF! Shit, I’d love to clown every time I got criticized, but I have to suck it up just like most adults do. Hell, I couldn’t even get away with tantrums when I was a child. I’ll also admit that I DON’T have anything more to do with my time, but even if I did I’ve always been a multi-tasker. Besides, I had no idea Sams is as mad as a mongoose(Blackadder).

    I’ve read a few of Sams ebooks and loved one and hated the other. If the book she’s currently sparring over is in ebook form I just might buy it. I’ve got a soft spot for nutters. I know it’s hard for most authors in her postition; I didn’t even know that Sam’s had moved on from epublishers. I know she must be frantic for this book to sell well but this may not be the best way to go. Or maybe it is. I didn’t even know it existed and I’m sure a lot of other readers didn’t as well. She’s bound to get a few purchases just out of curiousity. I know I can’t resist a one-star book. Or a train wreck.

  47. JessicaP
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 21:03:05

    Harriet Klausner. A gold-standard reviewer. Really. I must have missed something, because I find her reviews beyond annoying. She’s quantity-over-quality in action, and she doesn’t seem to have ever read a book she didn’t like. With her speed reading, I doubt she’s absorbed anything in her reading, much less given it any thought, particularly given that many of her reviews seem to have been badly lifted from the book’s back cover.

    Anytime I find I’m getting wrapped around a particular axle, I try to remember to ask someone else for input. I’m sorry that Ms. Sams must not have had anyone to ask. This is a no-win situation for her, with more to lose than she can possibly ever gain.

  48. Nadia Lee
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 21:07:27

    re: Candace Sams

    She knows that authors rarely have full editorial control; rarely do they have even 'scant' control over their covers or the language used in dialogue or even sequencing of scenes: love scenes, kissing scenes, scenes of violence, etc. These are ultimately controlled by editorial staff…very rarely the author alone.


    Authors rarely have any control over their covers, but they have the FULL CONTROL over the language used in dialogue and sequencing of scenes. Editors can ask for a change, but you don’t have to agree. It’s your name on the cover after all.

    Not even my agent can force me to change stuff before sending stuff out. It’s just ridiculous. Stop blaming editors and take full responsibility for your own writing.


  49. riley
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 21:07:28

    @Barbara B.:

    Barbara, You sound crazy as a loon. You belong here on DA. Have at it making fun of an author who is obviously as goofy as you , and Jane.

  50. Amy A
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 21:41:38

    I’m not touching the “authors behaving badly” thing with a ten foot pole :-) But I’d love to review Fault Line! It looks like you already have volunteers, but just in case you need another, drop me a line.

  51. Barbara B.
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 22:01:25

    “by riley December 14th, 2009 at 9:07 pm
    @Barbara B.:

    “Barbara, You sound crazy as a loon. You belong here on DA. Have at it making fun of an author who is obviously as goofy as you , and Jane.”

    I’m really quite sane, riley. But you seem a bit goofy yourself coming onto this website with your sanctimonious pronouncements as if anyone gives a damn about what you think. You’d do better to contact Candace Sams directly and save your proselytizing for her. On me it’s quite wasted. There’s nothing sacrosanct about a writer who flips at some mild criticism. Sams is rude and condescending and deserves a bit of mockery. As do you.

  52. riley
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 22:08:14

    @Barbara B.</a@Barbara B.:

    Thanks for the advice Barbara. Here’s some for you. Check your spelling. Just sayin’

  53. Jane
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 22:14:08

    @DS & @Deb Kinnard: I see Random House’s move as one of the more egregious things a publisher can do to an author. In some ways this is piracy, only on a much much bigger scale. Random House, with full knowledge of its legal failures, appears to be asserting arguments that it has rights to republication in any medium, any format. This prohibits authors from capturing new monies, creating new deals at more advantageous terms, due to the fear of being sued.

    As DS said, this is an issue for writers’ associations if they really are interested in protecting the careers of their published members. I’ll be very interested in seeing what developments take place from RWA, MWA, SFWA, etc.

    The Authors’ Guild did file an Amicus brief on behalf of Rosetta and against RH back in the day. It’s hard to see how AG could/would take a different stance today. If RH succeeds in arguing its point, all major publishers who have books under contract (i.e., the rights haven’t reverted) will take the same position to a significant financial detriment of the authors.

    Interestingly, though, RH’s litigation strategy was to sue and sue and sue Rosetta until Rosetta could not withstand further legal costs. I don’t see many authors able to withstand lawsuits from RH unless it is the really big authors with deep pockets. I find this totally chilling.

  54. Suze
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 22:35:33

    Interestingly, though, RH's litigation strategy was to sue and sue and sue Rosetta until Rosetta could not withstand further legal costs. I don't see many authors able to withstand lawsuits from RH unless it is the really big authors with deep pockets. I find this totally chilling.

    Chilling is the word. They know they’re in the wrong, they know they’re acting illegally, and they’re going to keep doing it anyway because they have all the money and power, and the little guys can just get out of their way or go broke fighting them? Holy crap. The corporations really are running amok.

  55. Kinsey
    Dec 14, 2009 @ 23:44:25

    I probably don’t know enough about the RH outrage to even comment – but hey, that never stops me – I wonder – what if a big time author, one of the Big Ones, like a Koontz or a Grisham, decided to take them on? If their backlist were at RH, of course…

    As for Sams – you never know, when watching a meltdown like that, if the melter is just a bitch, or genuinely crazy. If she’s just a bitch, then poking her with a stick seems like fun. But if she’s genuinely crazy – and it’s really, really hard to tell with this one – then poking her with a stick would seem inhumane.

    When I read her “who do you write for” bit to Courtney Milan, I kinda covered my eyes and thought ee-yowtch, no you didn’t….

  56. Nadia Lee :: Paranormal Romance Writer » Blog » Random House to Authors: All Your eRight Are Belong to Us!
    Dec 15, 2009 @ 01:07:29

    […] from Dear Author summed up the situation well, and I wanted to highlight it: The legal foundation that Random House rests upon is shaky at best. […]

  57. mina kelly
    Dec 15, 2009 @ 04:25:21

    It becomes a question of who’s got the money to go up against Random House. JK Rowling? Maybe if they decide she’s signed away the rights to have her books ePublished despite her stated wishes otherwise.

    Randon House are in the wrong, they know they’re in the wrong, and they’re going to sit safe and securely in the wrong until someone bigger than them enforces the rules. It’s just… What’s the point in the system if the spoils always go the richest anyway?

  58. mina kelly
    Dec 15, 2009 @ 05:26:00

    Oh, and Random House are hoping to pull the same thing in the UK. My favourite quite from that article?

    “We have invested millions of pounds in the UK to develop, exploit – and protect – our authors’ digital future. ”

    Exploit? Yes, yes you are.

  59. kate r
    Dec 15, 2009 @ 07:20:56

    My theory is that candace sams has let loose with years of pent-up rage. She’s got the work background of someone, usually male, who deals with violence or tense situations. Better she should let loose on a forum and not be one of those “such a quiet guy” going-postal-at-the mall types.

    –the pseudo-psychologist with no training (but hey, I’ve read a lot of romantic suspense novels lately)

    Anyway. Here’s her bio:

    Candace Sams was a Police Officer for eleven years, worked on an ambulance for eight years as a Crew Chief, and is now an author. She graduated from Texas A&M University with a B.S. in Agriculture, worked as a police officer with the State of Texas, was with the San Diego Police Department, taught for the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and with a law enforcement agency in Alabama. She is the senior woman on the U.S. Kung Fu Team, awarded the Medal of Putien from China and the Statue of Tao for martial arts, holder of several International Martial Arts Titles, and is an Award Winning author of Fantasy fiction.

  60. Kitty Pryde
    Dec 15, 2009 @ 08:34:27


    Now she’s saying that someone has threatened her on amazon. I really don’t remember seeing anyone threaten her, but she’s trying to bring a lawsuit.

    Why couldn’t she have just let the 1 star review go? Why couldn’t she have just walked away from the whole thread? She’s only making this all worse on herself by throwing huge fits like this.

  61. kinsey holley
    Dec 15, 2009 @ 09:43:08

    This is weird. I know I commented here late last night, but now my comment has disappeared. I didn’t think there was anything objectionable in it – but then again, I was pretty bleary when I wrote it.

    Eh. I doubt it added much to the conversation.

  62. Jane
    Dec 15, 2009 @ 10:08:32

    @kinsey holley Sorry. It was in moderation. We have an aggressive spam filter. I have no idea why it was put there. Bitch maybe?

  63. Chrissy
    Dec 15, 2009 @ 17:35:10


    Walk. Freaking. Away.

  64. Bonnie
    Dec 15, 2009 @ 19:44:48

    Does this kind of thing happen outside of the romance genre?

    I certainly hope so. It’s very embarrassing. Really.

  65. Kinsey
    Dec 15, 2009 @ 20:21:09

    Although this explosion was especially fiery and prolonged, it happens in the literary set as well. Remember Alice Hoffman’s little tantrum a few months ago? and the guy who exploded all over a reviewer on the reviewer’s own website? it was a work of nonfiction but I don’t remember either man’s name…

    The Internet’s a dangerous place for people with poor impulse control.

  66. jody
    Dec 15, 2009 @ 20:32:48

    And lets not forget Dorothea Benton Frank’s Attack of the Manners Police, and wasn’t there something involving Ted Bell?

    Instantaneous communication is a mixed blessing.

  67. Bonnie
    Dec 15, 2009 @ 20:45:25


    The Internet's a dangerous place for people with poor impulse control.

    That’s the truth. Damn.

  68. Kriss
    Dec 15, 2009 @ 21:06:17

    I find Candace Sams bio a bit odd. The senior woman on US kung fu team? Really? I just can’t find anything to cooperate that. On the other hand, if Candace Sams is a asumed name that would explain it. Also please explain to me what the medal of Putien IS. I can’t find anything about it… Maybe this woman is a brilliant troll?

  69. Michael Z. Williamson
    Dec 15, 2009 @ 23:13:06


    “I confess to buying the Kindle book this morning to read about the Interstellar Feller competition for myself so that I might post a review of my own.”

    Ah, that must be the “huge jump in sales” she alluded to on page 12.


  70. dyserenity
    Dec 16, 2009 @ 13:30:18

    I just sent the Amazon link to Candace Sam’s publisher. Her behavior is unacceptable. Let’s see if they do anything.

  71. Celine
    Dec 16, 2009 @ 14:06:09

    Wow, Riley’s 3-for-3 on the Troll Bingo card! Bets on how long before we get the last 2?

  72. mahala
    Dec 16, 2009 @ 14:45:48

    I e-mailed Dorchester AND called them. They sent me a nice little note disclaiming any responsibility to and for Sams.

  73. dyserenity
    Dec 16, 2009 @ 15:06:34

    @mahala Really? Lame. I’d think they’d not want to publish more of her work.

  74. Michael Z. Williamson
    Dec 16, 2009 @ 15:42:42

    Mahala : Can you copy?

  75. Anon Y. Mouse
    Dec 16, 2009 @ 18:20:32


    I did a few searches and the *only* reference to her ‘medal of putien’ she supposedly was awarded is…you guessed it, from her bios all over the place. If there is such a medal it is so sooper seekrit only she knows about it. The same for her supposed ‘statue of tao’ award. It does not exist according to every search engine I tried.

    She appears to be completely making up her entire bio. I’d wager she’s also never been a cop, nor an ambulance anything, and the only kung fu she knows is Jack Black’s panda version.

    Her editor at Dorchester is Chris Keeslar (the one she claims hasn’t been seen nor heard from for months on end)…what a waste of a hottie on this nutcase.

  76. ShellBell
    Dec 16, 2009 @ 19:01:08

    This is her bio from the Dorchester website:

    CANDACE SAMS (also writing as C. S. Chatterly) graduated from Texas A&M University with a BS in agriculture. She worked as a police officer with the State of Texas, the San Diego Police Department, and in a teaching capacity for the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. Candace is the senior woman on the US Kung Fu Team (three black belts), and has been awarded the Medal of Putien and the Statue of Tao by the Chinese Martial Arts Confederation in Quanzhou, China. She holds international martial arts titles, and is an award-winning fiction author.

  77. Bonnie
    Dec 16, 2009 @ 20:06:15

    So, she can beat the shit out of you too! Cool.

  78. mahala
    Dec 16, 2009 @ 20:11:00

    Thank you for letting us know about this. Like any author and publisher, Ms. Sams
    has opinions entirely divorced from our own, and we at Dorchester have neither the
    time nor the manpower nor the right to police these. We like to think that comments
    posted online will be weighed with the merit they deserve, and we appreciate that
    readers will be wary of purchasing further (or any!) books from authors who engage
    in indecorous behavior in any forum. At the very least, please be assured that we
    neither solicit nor encourage any attack by our authors against readers or
    reviewers. We hope that you judge each of our authors based on his or her own
    individual works.

    There you go

  79. Michael Z. Williamson
    Dec 16, 2009 @ 20:12:12

    Yeah, they basically don’t care unless it affects her sales.

  80. mahala
    Dec 16, 2009 @ 20:13:22

    Sorry, the computer is fighting me. The above is from her publishers except for that last line which was supposed to be, there you go, Michael.

  81. Kate R
    Dec 16, 2009 @ 21:25:35

    Seems reasonable and really the only response they can give.

    She hasn’t broken any laws and it’s not up to a publisher to squelch anyone’s free speech–outside of the material they publish, that is.

  82. Somnopolis
    Dec 17, 2009 @ 06:59:21

    I discovered a website set up by Sams for a vampire series titled, wait for it….Night Watch. Although it apparently has not been published.

    Someone should give Sergei Lukyanenko a call.

  83. Michael Z. Williamson
    Dec 17, 2009 @ 07:01:37

    Titles get duplicated all the time. Not a problem.

    Now, if she copied characters or other specific details…

  84. Somnopolis
    Dec 17, 2009 @ 07:12:04

    Well the premise is awfully similar as well. Vampires and humans patrolling the night etc.

  85. PixelFish
    Dec 17, 2009 @ 17:00:24

    Yeah, don’t look now, but Night Watch is also the title of a Terry Pratchett Discworld book as well. And in one of the later books, a vampire specifically joins the watch. And I think “vampires and humans patrolling the night” is still pretty general enough as a premise. I mean, there’s Buffy, there’s Tanya Huff, there’s Pratchett’s vampires (which are hilarious), there’s so many vampires-working-with-humans stories that it’s no longer a subversive offshoot of the original lore, but a trope in its own right.

  86. Links of Great Interest 12/18/09 | The Hathor Legacy
    Dec 17, 2009 @ 22:56:37

    […] Sams is en route to […]

  87. Genrewonk » Self-Imploding Authors, just add crazy
    Dec 18, 2009 @ 06:03:31

    […] getting publicity out of this, by this point in the thread, people have mentioned links coming from Dear Author, e-mail lists, and other industry websites. It is a very popular trainwreck. A veritable […]

  88. Rebecca
    Dec 18, 2009 @ 22:56:18

    Finally got to return the Kindle Book. Thanks to all who suggested it! Did not get to read it, but I think I’ll survive.

  89. Jason
    Dec 22, 2009 @ 13:03:55

    When you say: “updates for it's nook”
    You mean: “updates for its nook”

  90. Everything I Learned About Bad Author Behavior, I Learned from Laurell K. Hamilton | Bark: A Blog of Literature, Culture, and Art
    May 11, 2012 @ 08:04:23

    […] always another lesson to learn out there. As bad as Hamilton can get, it’s nothing compared to the meltdown of Candace Sams, author of floozy sci-fi romance Mr. Interstellar Feller. By “meltdown,” I mean the trainwreck […]

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