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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Cold Blooded

Read from October 17 to 18, 2013

Book 3 Jessica McClain Series

I adore this series! A must read for anyone who loves UF with PNR mixed such as Kate Daniels or Night Huntress!


Jessica arrives back in town to find her best friend missing and the most powerful witch in the country is blaming her for it. But before they can move to save her, the group is attacked.

On the run, Jessica and Rourke head to the mountains. Several surprises await them, but in order to save her father they are forced to leave for New Orleans early.

Arriving on the Vampire Queen's doorstep unexpectedly, and bringing trouble on their heels, the Sects are thrown into an all out war. The vicious
skirmish ends up forcing the vamps and Jessica to fight on the same team.

The Vamp Queen ends up owing Jessica, but what Jessica doesn't realize is just how soon she'll have to cash it in.

My Thoughts:

I have been a fan of this series since book 1 and now I just finished book 3 and am still as pumped regarding the series. Jessica is a fabulous main character, she is strong, smart, loving, protective and just snarky enough to love and insecure enough in her new powers so that she is not overbearing. Rourke is her perfect mate. He is respectful, loving, totally bad ass alpha male. His instincts are to protect but believes in her enough to trust her.

Amanda Carlson is one of my favorite new authors, truly gifted with the ability to craft characters that are so likable even the bad characters such as the Queen of Vamps have a likability. Her secondary characters are amusing, loving and protective. Her use of every flavour of paranormal characters and rounding them up to act as a team reminds me of the "Lord of the Rings".

Her story is fast moving and flows seemlessly from book to book. I ended up staying up all night that is how gripping the story is...I just can't wait for the next book to see where Ms Carlson takes our friends next. I urge all of you who have not yet met Jessica McCain and friends to go out and buy this series you won't regret it.

A Furry 5 Bear read and effusive recommendation for all of you. 


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Monday, October 14, 2013

Amazon, Censorship, and the Right to Sell Whatever they want...oh! and Theft.

This is the hot topic on Goodreads at the moment and something I think every book reader/purchaser should be aware of:

On Gotta Have Romance with a Kick Group this Blog's good friend Bookie asked this question:

"Question: Good business decision or could this be the beginning to the start of romantic fiction censorship?" 

Retailer Amazon has removed several abuse-themed e-books from its Kindle Store after a report highlighted titles depicting rape, incest and bestiality.

Titles such as Taking My Drunk Daughter had been on sale.

Amazon and Barnes & Noble both say they are removing books found by technology news site The Kernel, but many others still remain, the BBC has found.

WHSmith and Kobo, which feature titles with similar themes, are yet to respond to requests for comment.

The BBC found that on Amazon's store, the search function automatically suggested explicit topics to users typing seemingly innocuous keywords - without age verification taking place.

Amazon has not responded to the BBC's request for comment on the issue, except to confirm that the specific books listed by The Kernel had been removed.

Barnes & Noble said in a statement the titles were "in violation" of its policy on content offered in the NOOK Bookstore and were in the process of being removed.

"When there are violations to the content policy that are brought to our attention, either through our internal process or from a customer or external source, we have a rapid response team in place to appropriately categorize or remove the content in accordance with our policy," it said.

Justice Minister Damian Green told the BBC "the government shares the public's concerns about the availability of harmful material."

The titles can be found in the self-published section of the retailers' sites - an area where authors can offer their own work. The companies take a percentage of the sales made through their stores.

One lawyer told the BBC that the retailers could find themselves guilty of a criminal offence for allowing such content to be found without protection mechanisms.

"The directors of Amazon have a very difficult question to answer: why are they making profits from pornography which, on the face of it, seems to be criminal?" said Mark Stephens, former chairman of the Internet Watch Foundation, a body responsible for monitoring criminal content online.

However, many of the authors have taken measures to stay within the law, adding disclaimers to their descriptions, such as saying characters were "over 18" or "step-daughters".

On Amazon, guidelines for self-publishing state: "We don't accept pornography or offensive depictions of graphic sexual acts."

It adds: "What we deem offensive is probably about what you would expect."

The other retailers give similar guidance.

In July, Prime Minister David Cameron said the government intended to make it illegal in England and Wales to possess online pornography depicting rape.

But it is unclear whether the written word - currently governed by the Obscene Publications Act (OPA) - will come under the proposed legislation.

Under the OPA, publishers have a duty to protect the public from accidentally encountering material that could outrage public decency, said Mr Stephens.

A spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers told the BBC: "Rape is a serious criminal offence which has a physical, emotional and psychological impact on victims. It's very unpleasant and distasteful to use such a harrowing experience as the basis for entertainment and enjoyment.

"Investigating offences of rape is a particularly complex process because it often rests on the issue of consent."

John Carr, secretary to the Children's Charities' Coalition on Internet Safety, said parents would be "shocked" at what content was discoverable.

"At the very least there should be a certain class of material that is adult, which ought not to be universally accessible," he told the BBC.

However, others felt that Amazon's removal of some titles amounted to censorship.

"We outlaw snuff films, child porn and, increasingly, revenge porn, because actual people are harmed during their production," wrote PJ Vogt on OnTheMedia.org.

"Erotic fiction concerns fake characters who don't exist in real life."

Mr Carr stressed that he did not condone censorship, but that the content needed to be walled off.

"If this was a Soho sex shop, I wouldn't take the same view. I am concerned that this is next to things kids could search for."

By Matthew Wall and Dave Lee
BBC Technology News

I have borrowed this from C.J. Robert's Blog and she sums it up nicely.

From CJ Roberts blog:


Monday, October 14, 2013
The Censorship Police Are At It Again!

I have not yet been notified that CAPTIVE IN THE DARK or SEDUCED IN THE DARK will be removed from Amazon and Barnes & Noble, but it's possible.

For the record, I do not believe in censorship. Though I realize Amazon and B&N are publicly traded companies and have the right to form their own policies, I also believe the relationship between large corporations and our government cannot be ignored. Censorship is a slippery slope.

PayPal tried to do something similar over a year ago by pressuring Smashwords to remove erotic titles from its catalog and the collective outcry from readers put a stop to it. I hope the same happens here.

I wrote a blog post about what happened with Smashwords if anyone is interested.

For the time being, I recommend backing up your books on your computer if you want to keep them. Additionally, since Smashwords has already been through this debacle and defeated it. I reccomend NEW readers to purchase from them. Use the link above to find the series page.

Best of luck to all my fellow indie erotica authors as we go through this shit again!
SOURCE: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-...

UPDATE 1: B&N will refund removed books, but are removing titles. Not mine, but I know of at least one author who has had her books taken down (Bianca Sommerland). No word yet on Amazon refunds or if this affects US readers or just UK. The link was BBC.

From Bianca Sommerland (affected by censorship on Amazon): Hey, CJ! Thanks for the information, reading everything I can find. So far, my book is still on Amazon, but blocked on my dashboard and I was told they wouldn't sell it anymore. Starting when, I have no idea. Waiting for a reply about what's going on.

From Tymbar Dalton's Blog:

I got this from Tymber Dalton blog on 10/2/13

Tales from the Snark Side

Heads-up, self-pubbed smut writers: Amazon's deleting content again.
Posted: 02 Oct 2013 02:13 PM PDT

Yes, Amazon is a business, and as such is perfectly within their rights to delete content.

Again, it goes to HOW they're deciding to delete such content, without giving prior notice or without clarifying their "acceptable content" rules, that really sucks. (Again, please don't scream censorship. They're a company and can do what they want. Does it suck? Yes. Is it censorship? No, because only governments can enact "censorship" by legal definition.)

Link to the deets at kboards.com

Feel free to spread this story. I suspect if Amazon's going on a tear, it'll be a HUGE boon for Smashwords, who I hear is trying to perfect their sending files to Kindle feature. If so, it'll be Amazon's loss (in income) and Smashwords' gain.

My question is Where does it stop?  It seems the system Amazon is using is not only taking books that are deemed "Porn" off their site but books such as some of Laura Kaye's that in no uncertain terms can be described as "Porn". So again, Where does it end?  Speak up and let yourself be heard let the book sellers who are doing this know that you can make your own reading decisions and that you are capable of monitoring your own and ensuring that what they are reading is appropriate. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

To Serial or Not to Serial

I once again got caught by a free book on Amazon, yep I still love to browse and pick up a freebie when I can.  I have discovered some wonderful new authors that way and found myself with books that I probably would not have purchased but since they were free I'd give them a go.
Great! you say, and I would agree except for the new trend of offering books as serial reads.

Now I have to be honest with you..and I won't sugar coat it..I HATE serials.  I have many reasons for my strong feelings.  I think I am of an age when I remember reading serials in different women's magazines such as Redbook etc.  I remember my mother waiting each month for the next to come out and if she really enjoyed the story she would order the complete story in 1 book and pay a bit for it.  This exposed her to different romance authors and she got not only her magazine but a part of a book for her money.  I have to note this was huge since there was really not enough money for her to splurge on a magazine and she had to save for it each month.

The Serial series released these days are different.  You may be able to get the first one free on Amazon or Smashwords but the rest of the series you can pay from $.99 to $3.99 per volume.  Depending on how many volumes the story requires this could add up to pretty large dollars for a book.  So is this the publisher's way of gouging the book buyer? especially the ebook buyer?  Is this the author trying to get their stories out faster since they can release a few chapters at a time.   (Oh I should mention that these volumes are between 15-50 pages.) Which ever the reason in the end the book buyer usually ends up paying more for the book in serial form than they would have if the book had been released complete.

My other reasons ..other than money for disliking this format is that usually each volume ends in a cliffhanger,  The characters tend to be sketchy and the plots are jagged and  not smooth flowing.  If this doesn't happen then we see what we think is a HEA in a volume to later find out it was only a HFN(happy for now) and the hero(ine) moves on to another partner.  I hate this.

So after getting hooked into another serial from a freebie..which I note I WILL NOT buy the next ones.  I may wait until the entire serial is released and purchase the whole thing together. I decided to find out how my fellow readers felt, so I started a discussion thread on my favorite Goodreads Group 'Gotta Have Paranormal Romance with a Kick'.  This group has readers who enjoy various genre's and are pretty outspoken about their opinions.  So, let me quote some of the comments...

"The idea of taking a book and splitting it up into individually sold segments feels like...cheating by the publishers..."

"I don't read them. If a serial is released as a full book later and not at the price the serial would be if you added up all of the releases."

"For the most part serials annoy me. I *try* to stay away from them..."

"I have a love/hate relationship with them. I thought it was just a money grab at first but a few authors explained that they do it to write a story at a more relaxed pace. Several differ about the price point but most agree on the rationale. I'll read them and I have --as long as it doesn't take more than 4 books to tell the story"

"don't like them typically ..to short, high $$ for what you actually get, cliff hangers, sometimes poor character, and plot development"

"I have been suckered into a few - but try to avoid them most of the time. if the author needs to make installments on their book thats just sad..if the publishing company wants to make more money on the book - thats just criminal "

"Hate em. Won't read them on principle."

"Series I love. Serials not so much. "

"I'm not a fan of the serial book. I suppose its like a series of short stories. As a writer, I couldn't imagine splitting up my work. I would feel like I'm cheating readers."

"I loathe them"

"I won't buy one. Period. It just encourages publishers to do something that annoys me. "

"Also, some are just not acceptable to me:
Like 30 pages for $2.99

"I have tried reading serials many times to find that they are neither satisfying or worth what I paid. 99 cents or more is too much to pay for every installment, which is, basically, a short and incomplete story that continues on and on. Many seem to lack depth in plot or character development, even after the 3rd or 4th installment. "

There were several other comments basically echoing these...This makes me wonder, if this is the general opinion of the buying public why are we seeing more and more of these types of books? It also makes me think that if they are still publishing serials someone must be buying them.  I'm not sure who....

What do you think of the current trend in Serializing books?  Will you buy them? How about if  there are only 3 or 4 volumes or does it matter to you?  If you hate serials as much as I do ..Let your money make your statement...buy a full novel and forget the serial until the compendium is released.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Worth the Fight

After a bit of a rocky start where I was questioning the quality of the writing it took off and never looked back.

I absolutely loved the characters of Elle and Nico. They were perfect for each other both with pieces of them broken and they only had the experience to heal each other.  The characters were fully evolved and the crafting of the story once you get past the first couple chapters is outstanding.  Emotionally this book takes you all around the spectrum..love, hate, fear, pain and self pity.

This is a sweet romance with characters you will love and a strong story line to back up the solid characters.  I loved how equally matched this couple was for each other.  Both fighting their own demons but both reaching for that one person who will understand them best and help them heal.

If you love a strong MMA fighter and heroine with a backbone..this is a great story for you.  Vi Keeland is a great up and coming author I encourage you all to discover her clever writing and wonderful characters

solid 4 bear read and a recommendation!


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