But who wants to try out Google Keep after the shuttering of Google Reader and the cancellation of Frommer’s travel guides? Skift
Dear Ms. Wylde:
I picked this up even though I had to buy it direct from the Ellora’s Cave site and even though I have never read you before (although my records indicate I purchased a book by you that was published in 2002, Price of Pleasure). The motorcycle club angle intrigued me as did the comparison by the reader recommending it to Kristen Ashley’s Motorcycle Man which I consider to be the KA gateway drug. I’ve never watched one episode of Sons of Anarchy and know next to nothing about Motorcycle Clubs but from what little I’ve read they appear to be breeding grounds for unhealthy misogyny and crime.
Reaper’s Property brings both those elements to life within the confines of a romance story. Will this raise a reader’s hackles? It did mine but the authenticity of the world in Reaper’s Property and the interesting power struggle made the story more compelling than most. I’d recommend this book to readers so long as they know what they are getting into. The story is told primarily in first person from Marie’s point of view, although there are several scenes told from Horse’s point of view, in the third person.
Marie took one hit from her husband’s fist but no more. She left him and moved in with her brother, Jeff, into the trailer where they grew up. Their mother is in jail for assaulting a police officer. Marie is without a job. Unbeknownst to her, Jeff has begun to do some work for a motorcycle club called The Reapers out of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The Reaper is a huge, well, gang even though the word is never used in the book. Their power structure spans several states and their reach includes Eastern Washington, Yakima Valley where Marie lives.
The motorcycle club comes to visit and one of the members, Horse, is attracted to Marie. Horse visits her over the space of a month or so, infrequently given that she lives about three hours from his home base in the Idaho. She is intrigued by him but is insulted by his constant use of the term “sweet butt” which she knows is no endearment. She bristles at the idea of being someone’s property and frankly, Horse has a violent edge to him that is scarier than her soon to be ex husband has ever emanated.
Jeff gets in serious trouble with the MC and the MC offer her the opportunity to either be Horse’s “house mouse” or Jeff will be killed. Marie agrees to go with Horse. There are a lot of other shenanigans that happen but essentially it is a) does Marie come to accept living within the confines of the MC rules? (yes) and b) does she begin to trust that her relationship with Horse can have some equality? (yes, but).
In many ways, this is a story of dominance and submission. Horse wants Marie to submit, but not just to him but to his world. He tries many times to explain to Marie that being his property isn’t the same thing as she perceives it to be. His paradigm is different from hers. To be his property, he declares, is to be cared for him and by the club. “Seriously, a biker’s old lady is like his wife. She’s his woman, his property, and if anyone fucks with her the entire club will come down on them. Hard.”
Marie resists and her resistance pulls at Horse all the more. Horse uses the word “tribe” frequently to describe the club. Within the tribe, different words have different meanings, or at least that’s the refrain that Horse tries to sell Marie. Marie plays role of the reader. She’s unfamiliar with the MC. She doesn’t like the idea of being property. She struggles with the offer she is being made and doesn’t understand the significance.
How much one enjoys this book depends on how willing they are to accept Marie’s consent. Marie is no doormat and indeed, the entire book rests upon Marie standing up for herself, frequently. Horse’s overbearing dominance would look even more menacing contrasted against a weaker female character. Marie’s refusals and independence invoke outbursts of temper by Horse and there were times I felt Marie was in jeopardy. But Marie’s willingness to resist Horse is part of what makes her so attractive to him. And importantly, at every juncture of Horse’s dominance, there is obvious willing consent on Marie’s part. In other words, his dominance turns her on and when she tells him to stop, he stops. Always. Most importantly, Marie can leave Horse.
Horse has only two real rules – don’t denigrate him or the club. He encourages Marie to get a job and an education. He provides the funds and ability for her to do so. These sorts of actions mitigate against the idea that Marie’s only life would be as Horse’s appendage. Through the daughters and wives and old ladies, Marie understands how to gain agency within the club.
However, much of the agency Marie derives is premised on Horse’s emotional servitude to Marie and that is true for most of the women who aren’t “sweet butts.”
“…. We’re gonna practice every day until you’re comfortable with it, can do it without thinking. This gun is part of you now. You got me?”
“I got you.”
“Oh baby, you have no idea,” he replied ruefully, brushing back my hair and tucking it behind my ear. “No idea at all. Now let me watch you shoot. Chicks with guns are hot.”
This story came off tightly written and well researched. The motorcycle club rang authentic and even though I recoiled at some of the story, at the same time, I appreciated the grittiness of it. If you are going to have a motorcycle club story, why whitewash it? Make it work for me in all the non PC glory. I wouldn’t ever want to live in a MC or have a partner like Horse but visiting was a wild and compelling time. B
Dear Ms. Hunter:
I’ve read and enjoyed your shapeshifter romances in the past, so requesting this book from you was a no-brainer for me.
Chloe Bryant is mystified to find herself in front of The Wolf’s Den, a tattoo parlor in the seedier side of town. She’s determined to have a tattoo done over the crescent shaped birth mark that has just shown up on her arm. The birth mark itself itches and tingles and is bothering her something fierce. She’s decided that a nice, girly butterfly tattoo will be perfect to cover it up. Along with the birth mark have come some incredibly vivid dreams of a faceless man who does all sorts of luscious things to her. She’s completely freaked out about the whole thing, and just wants the tattoo to cover the mark and to move on with her life. As she’s getting out of the cab, she’s warned by the taxi driver that this is an unsafe part of town for a human, but she is not able to fight the compulsion to have her tattoo done at The Wolf’s Den.
Imagine Chloe’s shock when she walks into The Wolf’s Den and the man she’s been dreaming of is in front of her. Even without ever having seen his face, she knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jackson Donovan is that man. To go along with her shock, her birthmark is now painful and sore.
Jackson is, of course, Chloe’s mate. He’s known for some time that he was mated, as he’s been enjoying dreamsharing with Chloe. Even though he didn’t know her name, he knew for sure that she would come to him at his place of business. And now here she is – even more perfect than he could imagine. But Chloe is not just shifter, she’s also human. Jackson has no idea how his pack will react to their alpha taking a hybrid wolf as his lupa. But that Chloe is his mate is undeniable. Jackson can barely concentrate and is urged by his beta, Declan to take Chloe away from town in order to explain what is going on, and to consummate their bonding.
Chloe is not shocked to hear that Jackson is a wolf. She’s been fascinated with other species for some time. She is, however, incredibly shocked to hear that she is his mate. There are no wolves in her family. She doesn’t believe she is one, even though she can’t deny her overwhelming attraction to Jackson. It’s not until she takes Jackson home to meet her grandparents, that she learns the truth, Chloe’s father is the alpha of another pack of wolves in the area. He abandoned her when she was a child, and left her grandparents to raise her. They made the decision to never tell Chloe of her upbringing. Chloe’s grandfather insists on coming along when Jackson presents Chloe to his pack and the other packs in the area. Ostensibly to ensure that Chloe is treated with honor, but mostly to kill Chloe’s father, who he believes is responsible for her mother’s death. Will Chloe be accepted by Jackson’s pack? What will her father do when he realizes it’s his daughter mating with Jackson? Will Chloe be able to act as Jackson’s lupa?
This book is what I’d call a set-up book. It mostly focuses on building the parameters of the world, and setting up the next book almost to the detriment of the romance, which I thought was its main weakness. I wish that you’d spent more time exploring the many threads that you opened as the story unfolded. I never understood the reasons behind Chloe’s father’s abandonment. I didn’t really understand his motivations, and if I’d been Chloe I’d have been more unforgiving. You also introduce the fact that there are several packs in the area, but don’t really explain the politics between them. Are they rival packs? Do they work together? Who is their enemy? Do they have one? Also, you gave no introduction to Jackson’s pack, except for his beta, Declan, who is clearly sequel-bait. It seemed like there was a lot going on, but not much explained within the book.
Even considering those complaints, I enjoyed Jackson and Chloe’s chemistry, when we spent time with them. You have always written extremely hot, inventive love scenes, and Marked is no exception. Jackson could have been a really interesting hero, as alpha and dominant as he was, even while showing true tenderness towards Chloe and her needs. But I wish that we’d been able to understand him and his history more. While this is not by any means my favorite of your books, I’m interested enough in the unanswered questions, that I’ll probably read the next book. I just wish you’d done more with the many threads you introduced. Marked gets a C+ from me.
Updated: Amazon just announced that AT&T is sponsoring its Kindle with 3G (and I don’t know for how long) so that the price of the Kindle 3G with special offers is now $139. Even without a touch screen, I think this is the best ereader on the market. The 3G makes it so easy to get books on your device. All you have to do is mail them to your Kindle address. Don’t forget to use the free.kindle.com instead of kindle.com so you don’t pay for any document charges.
Galley Cat reported that Justin Bieber can’t sell magazines and ponders whether book publishers should no longer be pursuing celebrity memoirs.
In a post analyzing recent magazine circulation figures, WWD Media revealed that Vanity Fair‘sJustin Bieber cover story tanked at the newsstand. Despite Bieber’s 10 million Twitter followers, his issue could be the worst selling edition of the magazine in 12 years.
Despite this showing by Bieber (and frankly Vanity Fair readership is not the Bieber audience), I’ve been told by publishing insiders that celebrity memoirs are the closest thing to a sure bet these days. A quick look over the NYTimes non fiction bestseller list and you can see why celebrities are pursued with vigor: Tina Fey, Anne Coulter, Tim Tebow, Chelsea Handler, Steven Tyler. Snooki, the person on Jersey Shore who is famous…for being on Jersey Shore? has signed a deal to write the sequel to A Shore Thing.
Kobo is signing some major agreements. First, it has a terminal in Grand Central Station. I actually love this. I wonder if this will lead to kiosks in malls? The kiosk will be staffed with Kobo experts:
- Kobo kiosk hours of operation are Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m. to 6 p m.
Kobo also announced the launch of its German store:
Canadian upstart Kobo, which is currently well behind the e-book leaders in the U.S., has always had a global strategy, and is now launching in Germany, with an e-bookstore that offers 80,000 German language titles and a total of 2.4 million eBooks. By contrast, Amazon currently offers around 25,000 German-language titles.
If you are a George RR Martin fan, you might be frustrated (or elated) to hear that Martin is likely to write three more books in the series as more plots and characters have been added in the previous two books, making it difficult for Martin to wrap up as he had originally planned. Actually, according to the Atlantic interview, Martin intended this to be a trilogy (which is why the first three books are awesome and the next two are messes). Also frustrating? Martin doesn’t plan to start book 6 until next year. I have to say I feel better everyday about cutting the Martin cord after book 3.
Jia is slaving over A Dance with Dragons and I suspect we’ll have a review up at some point in the next few weeks. (No pressure, Jia!)
Ellora’s Cave is loosening up its restrictions on subject matter in its books:
In an effort to stay with the times and to allow your stories to reflect modern sexuality and/or sexual fantasies, I am loosening up on the taboos listed under “submission guidelines,” which can be found at http://www.jasminejade.com/docs/AuthorInfo.pdf
1) I stand firm on the following: NO necrophilia, bestiality, pedophilia, or weapons stuffed up various parts of the female anatomy.
2) golden showers are now permissible in the kink, m/m and exotika lines ONLY. SCAT is still forbidden.
Really? The people who aren’t bothered by golden showers would be bothered by SCAT? I wonder if EC is hurting for submissions. Some of the new release pages are peppered with older books. These older books aren’t designated as older releases but you can tell when you click on the excerpt and see the copyright date. EC announced today that Laurann Dohner signed a 75 book deal with them. 75. O_o.
A historical fan? You might like this new community. A half-dozen Regency authors are starting a new group blog: http://www.theballroomblog.com and it launches tomorrow, the 14th. The authors involved include Tessa Dare, Sarah MacLean, Gaelen Foley, Miranda Neville, Katharine Ashe, and Sabrina Darby. They’ll have regular posts three times a week, and most posts will be dialogue, like snippets of conversation overheard in a Regency ballroom. For example, author-to-author, author-to-character, Lady B (the fictional hostess)-to-whomever she pleases. The Ballroom will be light, fun and reader-focused.
As of April 8, 2011, the three year lawsuit between Ellora’s Cave and Chris Brashear has come to an end. On April 7, 2008, Chrissy Brashear filed suit against Ellora’s Cave alleging that she was entitled to a distribution of profits from 2005 until the date at which defendants bought out her 5% shares. EC’s response to the litigation was to not participate, which you simply cannot do in a litigation.
EC refused to give up documents such as tax returns and ledgers. The failure to respond the request for documents impaired Brashear’s ability to proceed with her claim. EC blamed it on their first lawyer who they fired. EC retained new counsel but the pattern of delay and duck continued. Brashear filed a motion for sanctions (a request asking the court to punish EC for its delinquent behavior). The court granted the motion after EC and its counsel failed to show up for a hearing. EC asked the court to set aside the sanction and promised it would deliver the documents requested by Brashear. EC never did.
Ellora’s Cave was given one last chance to respond to the discovery but instead of responding, they filed for a protective order asking the court to limit what documents EC had to produce to Brashear. The Court granted the motion in part and denied the motion in part. A pretrial hearing was scheduled.
No attorney showed up for the pretrial nor did any of the representatives for EC. As the court order noted, the court placed phone calls, waited sixty-five minutes, and still there was no response. The court then ordered a judgment against EC in favor of Brashear. (PDF order here).
Fed up with Ellora’s Cave, the court set out the behavior by EC that it characterized as contumacious. (twenty seven page ruling (PDF)).
A trial would proceed but only on the damages that Brashears was claiming. Those damages were set out in a trial brief filed by Brashears. (PDF) The trial brief laid out the calculation of damages alleged by Brashear. First, it alleged Brashear was entitled to over $140,000 in unpaid distribution. The follow table represents the distributions made to Engler and Marks from 2006 to May 17, 2010.
[table id=59 /]
The distributions in 2010 only include data up to May 17, 2010, as Ellora’s Cave has not divulged any post May 17, 2010 data. Interesting that in this period of great digital growth, EC’s profits (as seen through it’s distribution) is declining. In valuing Brashears’ 5% ownership in EC, EC’s expert is alleged to opine that Brashear’s interest in EC amounts to approximately $51,700 whereas Brashear’s expert values her 5% shares at $121,500.
The trial brief also asserts that Ellora’s Cave is diverting assets away from the company. First, by borrowing money through commercial lines of credit and loans in EC’s name and then transferring those loan funds to Engler, Marks, and others at substantially lower interest rates. Second, EC is paying above market rate rent to its landlord (who happens to be Tina Engler). For example, in 2009, the market rent is around $40,131, and EC was paying to Engler $97,200 in rent.
All told, Brashears claimed about $350,000 in actual economic damages as well as damages for defamation and punitive damages (designed to “punish” the wrongdoer as opposed to “compensatory” damages that are designed to make the plaintiff “whole”) and attorneys’ fees.
The settlement is confidential (PDF) and thus we won’t know what has been paid although if Ellora’s Cave did pay in authors (as I suspect that they may have given their cash flow problems), we may see some authors’ backlists appearing on the Samhain site in the future.