Monday, April 28, 2014

That Writing Thing You Do...

There’s a blog tour going around that’s helping spread the word about all of the great authors out there. Author Kathryn Le Veque asked me to participate with her and I was happy to say yes! You can visit Kathryn at her website here.  Kathryn Le Veque is one of the sweetest and funniest women that I know and I'm sure you will love her medieval romance novels. She's one heck of an author!

Everyone on the blog tour gets the same questions, so here are my answers to the burning questions that inquiring minds want to know:

1. What am I working on: I'm currently working on my sixth book, Frederick's Queen. This will be the second book in my Clan Graham Series. We first met Frederick in Rowan's Lady and this is his story. Frederick Mackintosh is turning out to be one of my most favorite heroes. While he tends to be a bit impatient and at points is a bit of an ass, he quickly redeems himself. This story has a bit of a darker story line, darker than what I'm used to writing. But I promise it will have an Happily Ever After. My heroine, Aggie McLaren, has had a rough life. Her father is beyond harsh, he's down right brutal. Aggie is as far from perfect as a body can get. Scarred, afraid, mute, and holding on to deep, dark secrets, she is as terrified as she is astonished that Frederick Mackintosh offers for her hand in marriage. This is a love story that starts out a bit rocky but blossoms over time. It shows us that love can conquer many things. Love is the light that shows us the way. We might not always get what we pray for, but we do get what we need.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre: Yes, I write Scottish Historical Fiction/Romance. Yes, I have big, brawny men who often go around all sexy and sweaty ...sorry, my mind wandered for a moment. Yes, I have big, braw, sexy heroes. I think where my stories differ is that the men aren't broody and you don't start out hating them only to end up loving them. I like to think we fall in love with them immediately. Though its easy to fall in love with my heroes, they are far from perfect. They are perfectly imperfect. My heroines usually need rescuing or help of some sort. But as my stories evolve, we find they rescue our heroes. Either from dark forces, or themselves. :D

I also create bad guys you love to hate. Bad guys my readers tell me they want to reach into the book and kill with their bare hands. Bad guys are fun to write. I tend to take a no-holds-barred approach to writing these despicable characters. I mean, its fiction, right?

My books also tend to have secrets, backdoor deals, missions to accomplish, and all sorts of adventure. They're more about the romance that develops between my hero and heroine. I don't write descriptive sex scenes. I tend to take a more humorous approach to that part of life. I mean, we all know it is insert tab A into slot B, right? And there are only so many ways you can describe what happens between two consenting adults. Yes, there is lots of passion in my books, but you won't find any velvet shafts or quivering sheaths in my stories. I mean you will, but I don't use those kinds of terms. ;o)

3. Why do I write what I do? I absolutely love this genre. I love anything medieval, but prefer medieval Highlanders. Its not just the sexy men with naked knees. Its the fact that Scots love freedom. Most of our founding father's came from Scotland after all. They want freedom to choose their own destinies, to live freely, to not be governed by power hungry men. Its more than the brogue, the scenery, the time. Its all of those things and so much more.

4. How does your writing process work? I write the entire book first. I do very few edits as I write, unless some idea comes barreling in out of nowhere, demanding to be heard and put into the story. Once I've written the entire story, then I go back and do my own personal edits. I try to have it as edited as I can get it before sending it to my editor and beta readers. I ask my beta readers to look for flow of story, any gaping holes, any questions that I might have let linger, excitement level, etc. Once I hear back from all of them, I do final edits. With Frederick's Queen, I'm going to do something new and send the fully edited book to a 'final look editor'. Sometimes, you just need another set of fresh eyes.

Now that I’ve answered your burning questions, join my fellow authors Anabelle Bryant and April Holthaus to find out how they do what they do! Click on these links to be taken to their websites.

Anabelle Bryant began reading at age three and never stopped. Her passion for reading soon turned into a passion for writing and an author was born. Happy to grab her suitcase if it ensures a new adventure, Anabelle finds endless inspiration in travel; especially imaginary jaunts into romantic Regency England, a far cry from her home in New Jersey. Instead, her clever characters live out her daydreams because really, who wouldn't want to dance with a handsome duke or kiss a wicked earl?

Though teaching keeps her grounded, photography, running, and writing counterbalance her wanderlust. Often found with her nose in a book, Anabelle has earned her Master's Degree and is pursuing her Doctorate Degree in education. She proudly owns her addiction to French fries and stationery supplies, as well as her frightening ineptitude with technology. A firm believer in romance, Anabelle knows sometimes life doesn't provide a happily ever after, but her novels always do. She enjoys talking with her fans. Visit her website at

April Holthaus lives in central Minnesota with her husband and they are expecting their first child, a boy in March 2014. April developed her passion of historical romances through her love of history and genealogy. Over the last several years she has compiled her family tree finding over 350 bloodline grandparents dating back to the 1100s.

She is currently working on the last book Highland Daydreams of her series, The MacKinnon Clan.
When not working or writing, April enjoys spending time with her family, reading and being outdoors. You can follow April here.

Kathryn Le Veque....Welcome to Medieval England - hard-core, battle-scarred, power-driven knights of the highest Norman order and the women that love them. Like High Middle Ages action and romance? Welcome to the Le Veque Medieval Machine - Medieval just got real!

Kathryn Le Veque is one of Amazon's top selling Historical Romance authors, consistently ranked in the top 100 authors of the genre. Kathryn is a dominant presence in the Medieval Romance category with several novels always in Amazon's Top 100 rankings. If there's a Medieval Romance list, chances are that Kathryn is on it!

Kathryn has been featured regularly on Kindle Nation, Coastal Conversations, Confessions of Romaholics, Goodreads, and a host of other blogs and websites highlighting her novels. Kathryn is an award-winning author and has legions of dedicated fans all over the world.

Kathryn's Medieval Historicals have been called 'detailed', 'highly romantic', and 'character-rich'. She believes that total immersion in a time period is essential to creating the perfect story. More than that, she writes for both women AND men - an unusual crossover for a romance author - and Kathryn has many male readers who enjoy her stories because of the male perspective, the action, and the adventure.

Although Kathryn's passion is her Medievals, she is very proficient at writing Contemporary Adventure Romances and one of her novels. "Fires of Autumn", received over 50,000 downloads on Bookbub in a two day period. Additionally, one of her novels, "Lady of Heaven", is currently being adapted into a screenplay.

Kathryn is the author of 45 novels and counting.

See Kathryn's fanpage on Facebook at

Join her on Twitter @kathrynleveque

Visit her website at

Monday, April 21, 2014

Special Announcement!

I've been holding on to a secret for a few days...that is not an easy thing for me to do! :D

Tonight of Facebook we made the official announcement and I am very happy to share the news with you now.

I am working with Ceci Giltenan, Tarah Scott, Lily Baldwin, Sue-Ellen Welfonder, Kate Robbins and Kathryn Lynn Davis and come November, 2014, we will be release a very special book bundle. These will be novellas, all new books/stories! Squeeeee!!!! All set in medieval Scotland. I'll be introducing some new characters to all of you.

I am so excited to be working with this beautiful group of women, phenomenal authors all! We will have more details to give you as the weeks go on. I'm sure you're going to love what we've come up with!

You can stay up to date on my Facebook Author Page. :D

Love and Blessings,

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Don't Call Them "Pirates"...

NOTE: When I speak of ‘sharing’ I am referring only to pirate sites, peer-to-peer sharing sites. I am not referring to readers who share books with friends and family. I’m speaking about pirating sites that strip all the digital rights management from ebooks and then upload them to a website or multiple sites.

Gird your loins folks, this is going to be a long post on an ugly topic. And I'm going to be brutally honest and very blunt.

Until I became an author, I had absolutely no clue that 'book pirates' existed. Whenever I wanted to read something, I either purchased a book, borrowed something from my mom or a friend, or went to the library. Needless to say, it was a rude awakening.

I really wish they would quit calling these people Pirates. The term pirate oft evokes an image of a misunderstood and handsome swashbuckler. (Think Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean.) I'm here to tell you that these people are not Johnny Depp-like characters. They're dishonest, disingenuous thieving bastards. There. I said it and I'm not ashamed.

Several times a week I either see a post on someone's blog or on Facebook on this very topic. I even receive private messages or emails with the same vein running through them: OMG! I just found out my books are being pirated and your's are too! Yeah, I know.

I know my books are being stolen. Countless numbers every day across the world. I know I'm not alone. I know it happens.

In the beginning, I used to spend hours contacting these pirating sites, demanding they remove my books, informing them they don't have permission to 'share' my books, and warning them to immediately halt what they're doing.

I'm here to tell you that this does absolutely no good. Its as smart as trying to scoop water out of a leaky boat with a teaspoon. A sane person would try to plug the hole.

As soon as you get one site to remove your books, another one pops up to take its place. No amount of haranguing, screaming, or 'sign the petition to stop book pirates' is going to get these people to stop. It doesn't matter how many times  you talk about it on your blogs or how diligently you work to warn people not to buy your books from anyone other than Amazon, B&N, Kobo, or other reputable book sellers. You can scream the message from the top of your lungs day after day after day until the end of time. These thieves breed like cockroaches and are just as disgusting.

By now, I'm sure many of you are floored by my apparent pessimistic attitude on this subject. A few of you might even believe I have a fatalist attitude and believe there is nothing we can do to stop them. Not true. There is a solution. Is it an easy one? No, but it is the only answer to stopping these people.

Does anyone remember Napster? Napster was a 'peer-to-peer' file sharing internet service. The operated under the guise of 'freedom of speech' or 'I should be able to share my music with my friends.' Hundreds of thousands of music files were downloaded for free. This went on for years. Artists and musicians lost lots of money. Napster swore they were simply sharing. I argue they were stealing.

Don't get me wrong, if my readers want to buy a paperback and hand it out to all their friends, I'm good with that. I'm even okay with them sharing the digital versions. I’m not talking about honest readers who get their books from bookstores, Amazon, Kobo, or other legitimate businesses.

I love readers, you all know that. But what makes the 'sharing a paperback' different than a peer-to-peer file sharing service is this: Someone originally bought the book. (Or I personally gave them a copy.) The original reader bought the book for his own personal enjoyment and if he or she likes the book, they’ll want to spread the word or even share their copy with friends and family. I do this all the time. The book might make its way to a dozen or so people. Again, I'm fine with that. But with peer-to-peer sharing, thousands upon thousands of people are getting to either listen to the music or read the books because someone (the thieving pirate) stripped the DRM (Digital Rights Management) from the original copy and made it available ‘to the world’. The thief didn’t purchase the book or piece of music with having it for his own personal use in mind. He took it with the intent of sharing it with thousands of people.

"But Suzan, what about the library? Libraries all over the country have thousands of copies of all sorts of books. People go in and borrow them for free all the time. Isn't that the same thing?" No, it isn't. Because the library bought the original copy or copies of the books or the audio books or the albums. While some pirates might buy one copy, many are able to steal them. But buying it with the intent to distribute it widely at no cost is still different than sharing with your immediate circle of friends and family

"But Suzan, musicians like the Beatles or Aerosmith or Toby Keith are all rich gazillionaires. Certainly they don't miss a few songs here and there." That's like your boss telling you "Listen, you worked 60 hours this week, but I need to buy my kid a new car, so I'm taking $15.00 out of everyone's paychecks for the next four years to pay for it. You won't miss it, its just a few bucks here and there." You'd be mad as hell.

Stealing is stealing, plain and simple. People can try to justify it all they want to.

Napster tried to justify what they were doing by saying this: A recent study of more than 2,200 online music fans by Jupiter Communications suggests that users of Napster and other music-sharing programs are 45 percent more likely to increase their music purchasing than fans who aren’t trading digital bootlegs online. (from ABC News.)

Excuse me? Your argument is that if I let people steal my music or my books, then they're more apt to actually by my music or my books in the future? That is BS and I'm calling BS. Why on earth would you purchase music or books if you know you can get them for free?

These sites act as both thief and fence. They steal the work -- be it from musicians or authors -- and give it away to potentially hundreds of thousands of people. All under the guise of 'sharing'. I don't know why they do it and frankly, I don't care. I simply want it to stop.

Yes, I make a very good living as a full time author. Yes, I give away lots of paperbacks, ebooks and audiobooks every year. It is my work. My blood, sweat and tears that went into creating the book. It is my right to give it away to whomever I please whenever I please because it is mine. And again, let me reiterate that I am fine with people who have purchased my books or people who were given my books as gifts, to share them with their friends and family. I'm not talking about my devoted readers sharing books. I'm talking about the pirating sites.

It doesn't matter who they're stealing from. Whether its the famous Hugh Howey's of the writing industry or the new guy just starting out, it is still stealing. This isn't about the haves and the have nots. This is about a group of people who steal from one group of people to give it to another group of people.

If someone wants to read my books buy them or go to your local library and borrow a copy. If your library doesn't have a copy, ask and they'll get a copy for you. I have lots of contests throughout the year so a person could even win a free copy. Just don’t steal it.

Just because I gave away copies to people doesn't mean someone has the right to come in and steal copies from me and then give them away. And that is what these sites do - they steal.

So what is the solution? Three words:

Class Action Lawsuit.

We need every author -- traditional or indie -- to come together and file a class action lawsuit against these thieves. Yes, it might take years of court battles and buckets of frustrating tears before we see a final conclusion. But I say it would be worth it in the end. It isn't about suing them to win a ton of money, its about getting these people to stop. What we want is to get these websites to quit stealing our work and giving it away. Personally, I’d rather see the bastards do hard jail time than for me to win a dime. Either way, I’d be happy with seeing these people punished.

We can't get these thieves to stop by sending emails saying "Take my book off your site." I would wager they get dozens of such emails every day. I imagine some idiot in a grease-stained muscle shirt, oily skin, and long dirty hair, sitting behind a desk littered with empty Doritos bags, a family sized box of Twinkies on his lap, and diet soda cans spilling out of the trash can, smirking every time he opens one of those cease and desist emails. I can hear him say, "Yeah, right. We'll take it down for now, baby cakes, but come next week? Your little book will be on fifty other sites! Take that honey pie!" After he promptly moves my cease and desist email into his trash folder, he switches over to the 24-hour porn sites. I wonder if he pays for the porn or steals that too?

And the DMCA? The DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) is supposed to protect authors, artists and musicians against these thieves. Ha! Its as effective as trying to use a peacock feather against a horde of pissed off Alaskan Brown Bears. What are you going to do, tickle the bears to death? All it does is give us a fancy schmancy letter to send to these sites. I bet greasy twinkie guy has wallpapered is third-floor walk up studio apartment in copies of the DMCA. He might even use them as toilet paper. Yeah, that’s how I picture these slimeballs.

Until we band together against these thieving idiots, we'll never stop them. I say we unite ourselves against these fools. Instead of waving our feather made out of DMCA notices, I say we become the horde of pissed off authors who stand united and letting them know we're not going to allow this any more. Who is with me?