JK Rowling Hates You and Your OTP

Let’s talk about J. K. Rowling spitting all over my happy little Potter world.
According to NPR Rowling confessed in a recent interview that she regretted pairing my beloved ginger-headed Ron Weasley with Hermione Granger.
Rowling is quoted as saying, “I wrote the Hermione/Ron relationship as a form of wish fulfillment.  That’s how it was conceived, really.  For reasons that have very little to do with literature and far more to do with me clinging to the plot as I first imagined it, Hermione ended up with Ron.”
Why?  Why would say that?  I think we can all agree that it would have been way too predictable if Harry and Hermione had ended up together.  That would have been boring.  The hero always gets the girl.  Let’s face it there’s nothing particularly charming or alluring about Harry.  He was the boy who lived and brave and cared for his friends.  The same could be said for Ron, except for the boy who lived part.  Ron was funny and a little klutzy.  Neither Ron nor Harry excelled in school. So realistically neither was a great match for Hermione but in the Potter world it works.
Let’s face it Ron and Hermione were a compelling piece of drama unfolding.  It was a nice side story.  The fact that they were so different made it interesting.  Watching them grow up together and sort out all of those confusing dramatic angsty feelings was fun.  Ron getting jealous of Viktor, Hermione frustrated with his immature attitude.  Had it been harry it would have been boring.  They would have gotten along with little bumps in the road, except for the whole Voldemort deal.  It would have been cute watching them be shy at first but ultimately plain and uneventful.
Putting aside the typical hero gets the girl plot, why would an author speak ill about such beloved characters nearly seven years after the novels stopped?  Perhaps Rowling is trying to distance herself from the series that made her famous and wealthy.  If she wanted to anger and alienate fans then she may have succeeded.

From LA Times, “I know, I’m sorry,” she said in the interview.  “I can hear the rage and fury it might cause some fans, but if I’m absolutely honest, distance has given me perspective on that.  It was a choice I made for very personal reasons, not for reasons of credibility.  Am I breaking people’s hearts by saying this?  I hope not.”

Amazon Dodges Lawsuit from Ill Prepared Indie Booksellers

You may or may not have heard about the lawsuit against Amazon and the big Publishing houses.  I’m leaning towards not but that’s ok because I’m going to tell you a little about it right.
Some whack-a-doodle indie booksellers decided to right the good fight and sue Amazon and six big publishing companies alleging that by signing agreements that call for the use of DRM on e-books sold through the Kindle, the online retailer and the publishers have combined to restrict the sale of e-books.”  According to Jim Milliot at Publishers Weekly the complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and stated that Amazon and the Publishers (Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House, Hachette Book Group, and Macmillan) signed contracts for the sale of ebooks with DRM that was,  “specifically designed to limit the use of digital content” to Kindle devices.
Makes sense right?  Looking at the ebook market and deals with publishers I could see how one would jump to that conclusion.  However, to go as far as to take the matter to court they must have had indisputable proof.  A Recording of a shady backroom conversation between the big guys making deals that would screw over the independents.  But apparently not.
Federal Judge Jed Rakoff dismissed the claim that the Big Six and Amazon conspired to keep independent competition from selling ebooks.  

As stated in his ruling via GalleyCat:

“The evasiveness of this allegation is remarkable.  Plaintiffs do not allege an unlawful agreement, only vague ‘oral discussions or agreements regarding the use of restrictive DRM.’  Plaintiffs do not even allege that any such discussions or agreements actually occurred, only that they may have occurred.  And plaintiffs do not specify who participated in these hypothetical discussions or agreements, only that they may have involved ‘one or more’ of the Publishers and Amazon.”

That’s right.  They went to court without a shred of evidence.  Nothing.  How did it even get this far with just accusations?  Seems the judge really had no choice but to dismiss.  As an independent I’d have liked to support their efforts but when you have no proof you lose a lot of credibility.  Maybe they had something that isn’t being released or something that was buried by the publishers.  Or maybe the judge was paid off.  Probably not but might make for a decent story.

Kickstart Your Book

Ryan Dunlap is no stranger to online fundraising site Kickstarter.  He has successfully used the site to fund a few projects.  Previously, he exceeded his $3,000 goal for his book and film project The Wind Merchant and Greyscale.  The project was a steampunk adventure novel and “neo-noir” film. 
He has done it again with the children’s book, The Littlest Clockwork inspired by his previous novel.  As of today Dunlap has raised $6,136.00 surpassing the initial goal of $6,000.
Budding writers out there trying to find a way to make their print dreams come true site like Kickstarter are great resources.  As Dunlap has proven with hard work and word-of-mouth it is possible.  There are those out there willing to pledge for an interesting and original story.

Searching for A Community or an Editor?

Where does a budding novelist begin to take their dream from manuscript to ebook to print?  Where would one go to meet other authors, editors, agents etc.?  There are lots of agencies out there for actors, screenwriters, musician, and labor workers.  They are well known and some advertise.  Some have strict guidelines for membershipthat would exclude and intimidate absolute beginners.  But that entire aside, what about the creative writer? The poet? The novelist?  It seems we are left to dangle in the wind and go at it alone unless you already know someone or are working in the industry.  Luckily the internet came along and made self-publishing and marketing a lot easier.
IAG is a great community and resource for a hopeful writer.  It’s all right there in their mission statement. “One is to assist each other in writing the very best books that we possibly can. Our second goal is to increase awareness among those who buy and read books – whether they are readers, retail bookstores, or in the media – of the rich treasures that are available, outside the mainstream publishing channels.”

NAIWE is another great tool for finding writers and editors.   All of the above are worth checking out for their different missions, one may be more useful than another to you.

A True Free For All! Books Anyway

Libraries are catalogs of our greatest and worst achievements, everything we have learned over the centuries, and what passes for entertainment during each decade.  Unfortunately they are used less frequently with more student choosing the instead Internet which is full of unreliable sources.  Brewster Kahle spoke at the EG Conference way back in 2007 in Los Angeles, CA about his passion for building a free digital library and the challenges that have come with it thus far.  You can zoom to the past as I did through his TED Partner Series video.
At the time of the conference it cost about $60,000 to digitally house about 26 million average length books.  There are also the book mobile options that averaged about $.01 per page.  These were vans, trucks, or small RVs in different cities and countries that had digitized books and printing equipment inside and would allow children to create their own books on demand.
By far the biggest hurdles, of course, are legal and financial.  They set up scanning centers to scan books and were averaging 15,000 books a month with a goal of $.10 per page but had not achieved that at the time of his speech.  Then of course are the always-troublesome publishing rights and royalties.  Every author deserves and needs to be paid of course, or get behind the checkout counter.  Where traditional libraries and publishers have found common ground the digital world and intellectual rights are still battling it out.
Money issues aside Brewster has to be admired.  His passion for the projection is nothing short of inspiring.  I wish everyone cared this much about preserving the written word and free access to information.  We may not think about it now but libraries will eventually lose funding as the digital age comes full bloom.  Though I see the many benefits of e-readers (students say goodbye to 60lbs backpacks!!) the idea of printed pages and book covers no longer existing is a sad one.   This will only further separate the classes and nations.  Those who can afford to send their children off to school will fully loaded tablets and e-readers and those who cannot.  At least with his efforts, one day, the book portion of the scenario may be free. 

You Dirty Little Readers!

GalleyCathas released its weekly list of top self-published books and topping their list is Treasure Your Love from J.C. Reed.  I know you should never judge a book by its cover but in this case feel free, go right ahead.  One look at this cover and you can probably guess the summary word for word. 
“Brooke Stewart, a realtor in New York, was never in love until she met the green-eyed, sexy as sin, six foot two sex god, Jett. The man to whom she surrendered. The man who hurt her once only to conquer her heart again.

Sexy, handsome, and arrogant Jett Mayfield knows he has found his match. Brooke is like no other woman he’s ever met and he has every intention of keeping her in his bed…”
Sounds like another cheesy mommy porn ala 50 Shades, not really my cup of tea.  But clearly you horny devils out there love it!  Currently it has 200+ reviews averaging 4 ½ stars on Amazon.
Proving you are all a bunch of sexually frustrated perverts at heart, the rest of GC’s list is full of similar titles.
1. Treasure Your Love by J.C. Reed
2. Sweet Surrendering by Chelsea M. Cameron
3. Love is All Around by Helen Scott Taylor
4. Beat of the Heart by Katie Ashley
5. Maybe This Time by Chantal Fernando
Find the rest here.

Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl are back with more originality

Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, the creative geniuses behind the Beautiful Creatures series, which is in no way similar to a very famous witch novel or supernatural teen romance, are back, this time with a spinoff of their previous collaboration.  The 100% completely original and creatively named Dangerous Creatures series will star Ridley and Link from the original series.  The first book will be titled, wait for it, Dangerous Dream.   Did you catch it? Did you see what those clever rascals did?
From GalleyCat Little, Brown Books for Young Readers will launch the series on December 17, 2013 with the publication of a digital novella titled Dangerous Dream. The project will bridge the two series.
The Dangerous Creatures novel will be released in hardcover print, audio, and eBook formats on May 6, 2014.”
I wanted to like this series and the resulting movie but let’s be honest, as a KY gal I can only stomach a certain amount of over-the-top southern racist stereotypes, though, at least the love story was not as cheesy and vomit inducing as Twilight. The film seemed rushed, though I will say it was visually appealing, and the accents were terrible even from the usually talented award winning Emmy Rossum. A least her character is featured in this “new” series and if there are more movies to come I can only hope the dialect coaches will be better.

Get your genitals out of my genre

Everyone knows men are way better at everything including writing.  The rough and tough male ego can’t fathom women writing the sort of things that would entertain them.  They want to read about manly exciting topics like spies, detectives, soldiers, and killers written by other men. 
It’s this accurate reasoning that leads many authors and their editors and marketing teams to the conclusion that female writers are better off using their initials or pseudonyms on their books so they don’t alienate potential readers.  J. K. Rowling was told having her real name, Joanna Rowling, on the book would make it hard to sell a book about a young boy to young boys.  So she borrowed the K from her grandmother and became J. K. She’s not the only one, E. L. James anyone?
But she showed them.  Even after people realized their beloved boy wizard was the product of a female brain they continued buying the series.  Some, myself included, loved them even more.
Unfortunately, she did such a good job with the Harry Potter series and made so much money she created an abundance of haters.  No one wanted to accept that she could do anything but Harry Potter.   How dare she even try!  When “The Casual Vacancy” was released reviews were overly critical and harsh as if for sport.  “…Willfully banal, so depressingly clichéd that “The Casual Vacancy” is not only disappointing — it’s dull,”wrote New York Times critic Michiko Kakutani It was called needless dark and violent among other things.  Kakutani also criticizes Rowling for a sex scene that wouldn’t count as foreplay to the 50 shades crew.  Needless to say it was not well received or fairly treated.  She could not escape her fame or gender.  But kudos to her for trying, instead of just kicking back and counting her millions.
So after the reception of her first post Potter book, it’s no wonder she chose to release “The Cuckoo’s Calling” under a completely different name.  The initial reviews were good and critics praised the author, whom they believed was a former security expert who previously worked with the Royal Military Police, for creating such a vivid an dark lead character.  But in an over crowded genre the public didn’t really take notice.  It was yet another crime tale.  Alas, sales were about 1,500 before the big reveal.   Of course once word leaked that it was Rowling’s work amazon sales of the book jumped 150,000%. 
“Rowling is reported as saying to the  Sunday Times of London, “I had hoped to keep this secret a little longer because being Robert Galbraith has been such a liberating experience. It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation and pure pleasure to get feedback under a different name.” 
She’s right of course.  It was the only way she would have gotten honest feedback and to not scare away the men folk.  It was also the only way her venture into the crime genre would have been taken seriously.  Sadly, she had little choice but to create not just the pseudonym, but also a new persona, Robert Galbraith.  Had the same book been released under Rowling’s name she surely would have faced unwarranted harsh criticism again.  “Presumably Rowling and her publishers decided to go that route because they assumed that acrime novel by a male author would sell better.”