USA Today Best of 2012

Friday, February 26, 2010

They don't sound like George.

This is a matter close to my heart.
Of late, I've been hearing more and more "new" (read: sucky" or "half as good") country artists remaking George Strait's songs. Now, I realize it's a sign of the original artist's greatness when this happens. And I know they are not trying to copy him, per se, but to make their own mark.

But I'll tell ya. In most cases, they're really just butchering his music. This annoys me to no end. Some things should be hallowed, revered...

I don't really listen to country music any more, aside from George of course, because the all sound the same (lame) but hubby listens to it lots.

Last night when one of these re-recorded slayings played on his Pandora, he said, "Well, it is a good song though."

Um. Hello? ALL of George's songs are good, silly.

Off to write my Congressman about proposed legislation to preserve and protect George's music...

Happy Friday. Stay warm and all that!

Autumn Piper

Got romance?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

In a perfect world

In a perfect world, there'd be none of the following:
  • Hangnails
  • Skipped Dish Fairy visits (which reminds me...)
  • Missed Tooth Fairy stops (the old bat keeps forgetting to come by when one of the kids lose a molar)
  • Cold sores, colossa-zits, and other temporary-yet-mortifying facial disfigurements
  • Wrinkles
Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Before we call authors "greedy", who really won the ebook pricing war?

Much dust has been kicked up since certain large publishers began fighting Amazon over ebook pricing.

Even though Amazon has been paying publishers $12-$14 for the bestseller ebooks (based on a discounted print price) it then resells to consumers for $9.99, a strategy to dominate the ebook market with its Kindle reader, publishers and some authors felt this devalued their books. All sorts of backlash name-calling ensued. Authors were deemed greedy bastards and if they spoke out in this battle, their books were given very low ratings on Amazon. Eventually, in part due to the deal Apple has offered publishers, Amazon was forced to kowtow to the pubs. Or so they say. Let’s do some math, because to me, it looks like the new business agreement isn’t going to pay the authors more – it’s going to pay them less.

The first model is an example of a BIG author, with a BIG publisher and her requisite agent. I’ll present a small author afterward.

Brandi Bigbritches’ novel A Million Heartbreaks, sells for $20 in hardcover. She earns 15% of cover price, which is $3.00, minus her agent commission (also 15%), so she nets $2.55 per sale. This is a best-case scenario, assuming her agent drove a hard bargain, by the way. Because lots of contracts are for 8%, or 10, or 12. And many are based on publisher net, not list price… Still. That sounds like plump potatoes. So let’s see how much she previously earned on those ebook editions through Amazon. Amazon paid her publisher $13 per copy they sold, of which she gets 25% (ebook royalties are higher than print, and the authors are really pushing big pubs to pay more, because smaller pubs pay higher), which is $3.25. She’s still got to feed Agent Lady, so she ends up with $2.76. That sounds even better! What was she screaming about? Answer – it wasn’t her screaming, it was the publisher, and because the prices are low at Amazon, readers at other etailers also think the price should be the same there. How much would she earn on a sale at Fictionwise? Well. Fictionwise discounts books as it sees fit, sending out awesome coupons to customers for 30 or 50% off their entire purchase, and that’s after their membership discount of 15%. So let’s see. Even if Brandi’s book started out listed at $15 on Fictionwise, then it was on sale for $12, then a member used a 30% off coupon for it, Dear Reader ended up scoring the book for $7.14. Fictionwise then pays the publisher 50% of its net…$3.57, and the author gets her royalty of $0.89, pays Agent Lady, and gets taxed on $0.76. Yowch. Doesn’t sound like much now. Remember her publisher pushing for higher pricing? Keep in mind that her publisher just took a much bigger hit per book than she did. Now let’s look real quick at the “new and improved” business deal her pub just made with Amazon. The publisher will set the ebook price – higher at first and then reduce it when it’s not so new. So let’s say she’s a real popular read and they set her price at $14.99. Amazon will now sell it and take 30%, so her publisher will net $10.49. (Of course, this is based on the Grand Assumption that Dear Reader is willing to pay this price…) Then they’ll pay her 25% of net (hopefully her contract is set up right and she won’t have to pay any of their overhead fees in this “net”. We’ll assume it’s all good since she’s got the stellar agent on her side). Now she gets a whopping $2.62!!! Her net just went down $0.14 per book… for now. In a year, when her book isn’t new and the retail price goes down, to, say for argument’s sake, $9.99… she’ll end up with $1.75. I bet she’s so happy her publisher made that fantastic deal! And I also bet she’d rather Amazon was still taking the loss per book, and not her.

Do you still think the “greedy authors” were behind all this? Keep in mind, to Brandi, she’s feeling like every ebook sale gained is one print sale lost. Food for thought. It doesn’t “cost” authors any less to produce ebooks than it does print. Big name authors are slower to jump on the ebook bandwagon for a reason, it seems.

In case anybody’s interested, here’s what an author with a small press probably earns: Susie Smallslacks has a book out in ebook (list price, $5.50) and print-on-demand trade paperback (lists at $16.00). Her smaller publisher doesn’t get the star treatment with Amazon, so currently each copy of her book sold on Kindle nets her publisher $1.93 ( the new and improved business model might be a boon for her; then again, some of Amazon’s stipulations, such as pricing being the same or lower as on any other site, might hurt her when Fictionwise has a big sale…). Her royalties with a small epublisher can be anywhere from 20% to 40%. For this example, we’ll stick with best-case, and give her 40. So she earns $0.77. Now for print, she gets a flat 8% of list price (other publishers pay 10% of net, not list price, so there is some variation here). Sure, it’s lots lower than Ms. Bigbritches’, but she won’t feed an agent… on her $16 print book, she earns $1.28 per copy. Fictionwise? After a healthy sale and a coupons, she’ll end up with around $0.52… all in a day’s work.

A very small number of authors were actually cited in any of the articles I read regarding the ebook pricing controversy. I’m guessing most of them leave this stuff up to their agents. Methinks in a few months when the royalty checks start coming in, the new and improved deal might not look so good from the authors’ and publishers’ side. But hey. Maybe my numbers are messed up. Maybe Amazon didn’t just get the upper hand… Maybe.

(Amazon’s previous cost per copy of A Million Heartbreaks: $13. Retail price: $9.99. Net loss of $3.01 per copy. Amazon’s current cost per copy: $10.49. Retail price: $14.99. Net profit of $4.40 per copy.)

Piper Denna

Romance is sexy!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"Oh What a Good Story"

That was the subject line of a message I got Saturday evening from a lady who won a copy of Lone Star Trouble in an online giveaway I did. Here's the rest of her note (copied with her permission):

I just finished Lone Star Trouble...Loved every page...I read it all today...I couldn't put it down.
I loved Kie and Nate and Cleve..and all the characters...Even Stinky Dog was endearing...
Will there be a sequel? I want to know more about the families...and the expected baby and the sheep vs cows? The wedding?
There are lots of things to ask
I saw you have another book coming out in April..and thought that was a sequel...but I read the's a brand new story... so, I had to write and ask if there will be more about the Howells and the Days?
Looking forward to the next books...
Take care,

Well. Wasn't that nice of her?
And to further fluff my feathers, I've acquired another "Follower" here on Piper Patter, another giveaway recipient from last week, I do believe. 20 feels like a landmark number, somehow.

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Well, no WONDER I like figure skating!

I suppose I should specify -- I like to watch figure skating. Never tried to ice skate, and probably never will now (you know the old saying, the bigger they are, the harder they fall.).

Synchronized anything always captivates me (like swimming, or lots of people dancing the same choreographed number). People cooperating, working together as one... oh, but don't nominate me as Ms. Communal Hippie '10 just yet. I'm great about complying up until someone tells me to do something that doesn't make sense. And then all bets are off, baby. ;)

But I digress.

I watched the couples figure skating on the Olympics last night and was just as enamoured (the "u" is for all our Canadian friends because they're having a tough time of it this year, and clearly bummed about it. Chins, up, Kannuks! It's all good. Really. This too shall pass!)... uh, where was I? Oh yeah. Here I was staring at the couple on screen and it hit me: I had that same warm fuzzy feeling I get in a romantic movie! Couples skating is romantic! ding, ding, ding... Well, of course it is. Look at how dedicated they both are, to one goal. Look how in tune to one another they are. It's like ballroom dancing to the 100th power. And come on, even though most of the couples are not romantic pairings, those two have to know each other at least as well as most married people do. Factor in the great bods and... Yep. Definitely romantic.

Can't wait for the show tonight!

Autumn Piper

Got romance?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Funny

Cute joke to start the day off right:

My wife and I were sitting at a table at my school reunion, and I kept staring at a drunken lady swigging her drink as she sat alone at a nearby table.
My wife asked, 'Do you know her?'
'Yes,' I sighed, 'She's my old girlfriend. I understand she took to drinking right after we split up those many years ago, and I hear she hasn't been sober since.'
'My God!' says my wife, 'who would think a person could go on celebrating that long?'
And then the fight started...

Happy Friday!

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

New feature

I'm working on a new feature (weekly?) called "In a Perfect World". Had some keen ideas last night which seem to be escaping my poor sleepbefuddled brain this morning. Hoping to come up with some funny stuff.

Right now, not a funny one, simply this: In a perfect world, those we love could only enhance our lives and make us happier, not cause any pain.

Yeah I know. Kind of a downer.

So. Cheer yourself up. Go check out the collection of YouTube book trailers we've accumulated on the Coffee Time Romance page...

Piper Denna

Romance is sexy!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Out visiting and giving away loot

I'm a visitor at the Nights of Passion blog today, where they've been celebrating their birthday. Adding to the festivities, I'm giving away a copy of Trouble Under Venus to one lucky commenter...

See ya there!

Autumn Piper

Got romance?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Books that burn you up...

Tonight's my big "coming out" party at the library-- a romance lover's soiree, where we'll dish about what works in romance and what doesn't, nosh on steaming lava cakes, and generally kick it up.

I'll be giving away bookmarks and many shade-savers, the nifty drawstring sunglass bags with my name and tagline screenprinted on them.

It's also a big day because All Romance ebooks featured Trouble Under Venus in their Wildfire newsletter under "What's Hot". wooohoo!

Happy Tuesday, everybody. I think it's gonna be a good hair day. :)

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Climategate - oh my.

I'm not a politician, or an environmentalist. I'm no activist for causes. When I hear a story, or see a report on the news, I'm the person prone to arguing with the TV from my couch (even if the news comes from a "normal" network, not the old sensational FOX News, LOL).

Have I been a poo-pooer of the whole global warming hype-hysteria? Well, I recycle aluminum here in Colorado. In California where it was easy to do and we had curbside recycling, I sorted all our waste and put the appropriate stuff in the appropriate can -- because I could and should. Even when the neighbors laughed and thought it was silly to go to all that work. When we camp, we clean up our mess and leave the site as we found it, albeit a bit more trampled-down. Do I have a "green" vehicle? No, and that's mainly because we can't afford one. If we could, you can betcha we'd be driving a more fuel-efficient car! I have my own shopping bags I use when possible. Not only do I hate wasting so many plastic shopping bags, but it's also inconvenient to have heaps of them around the house. I confess: I still let my kid use one as a trashable lunch bag every day, though. Our house is heated solely by a woodburning stove. Do I feel bad about that? No, because I really think the carbon and gases it puts out aren't any more harmful to the planet than emissions released in manufacture of electricity. Not like we've got a choice, anyway.

So. Am I "green"? Hm. Probably more like turquoise.

I've never thought burning more fuel than necessary or manufacturing new cans, bottles, and bags when recyclables were available were good for our planet. Obviously that sort of thing will catch up with us eventually. Still, it's certainly seemed like "global warming" has gotten more and more screen time, and been hyped to the panic-max. Not to mention, the whole scene was a turn-off for me ever since Al Gore associated himself with it. (yuck).

Still, I'm completely shocked this morning after reading a succession of blogs and news reports about what a scam the whole global warming "crisis" has been. Started with a link to an article author Lori Foster posted on her Facebook page, and I just kept clicking links and reading.

Everything from fudged studies (such as a 2007 report warning the Himalayan glaciers would be gone by 2035, based on input from a geology student in the Andes and a climbers magazine), to many countries ditching temperature-data gathering stations from cooler areas between 1970 and 1990, so that they only received data from warmer areas (they ditched the Andes weather stations and made up data by calculating it based on data gathered 1200 miles away from the Amazon and beaches of Peru... and they call this science?), to scientists including city data and refusing to acknowledge that temps in urban areas are hotter than in rural areas (hm. ever spend a summer day laying on the cool green... asphalt? dumbasses), a bunch of "stolen" emails which implicate a number of scientists who found ways to keep articles discounting climate change hysteria OUT of the public eye, and it seems much of the funding and research for all this disastrous news has come from.... wait for it...

Environmentalist organizations, such as World Wildlife Fund and Pacific in Peril. Wow, that last doesn't sound like it'll give out biased info, does it? Here's one of the links where I found most of this appalling story:

Is it possible that the stuff I'm reading today is now backlash hype? Certainly. But I still can't get over Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. With all the new proof of unfounded claims in reports from his "organization", all he can do is shrug and tell us no way will he apologize personally and we can't possibly hold him responsible for an entire 3000 page report.

Newly defected climatologists are now admitting the great warm-up ended in 1995, and our temperatures are now similar to what they were 70 years ago, before the massive increase in greenhouse gases.

Gee, no wonder our last 3 winters here in Colorado have been more like "when I was a kid".

Perhaps the end of the world is not nigh, after all. At least until 2012, right? In the meantime, I'll still be using my own shopping bags when possible, and the aluminum cans will still go to the drop box for the Senior center. We'll still be using lots of paper plates, because, well... that's how it is when you've got no dishwasher. And our fluorescent corkscrew lightbulbs are here to stay. Lower electric bills are good!

Autumn Piper (Cronkite)

Got romance?

Friday, February 12, 2010

V-day is all but here...

Cupid's day came a little early to our house this year. These roses were waiting for us at the office when we left school yesterday -- the "shorter" arrangement for our daughter from Daddy, and I got the red ones.

Romance is alive at our house!

Here's hoping you have a sweet day.

Autumn Piper
Got romance?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

More of the same -- but different

We choose those we like; with those we love, we have no say in the matter. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960

The ultimate test of a relationship is to disagree but to hold hands. ~Quoted by Alexandra Penney in Self

A bell is no bell 'til you ring it,
A song is no song 'til you sing it,
And love in your heart
Wasn’t put there to stay -
Love isn’t love
'Til you give it away.
~Oscar Hammerstein, Sound of Music, "You Are Sixteen (Reprise)"

Love is much nicer to be in than an automobile accident, a tight girdle, a higher tax bracket or a holding pattern over Philadelphia. ~Judith Viorst, Redbook, 1975

And gotta love this one:
Love is an exploding cigar we willingly smoke. ~Lynda Barry

Piper Denna

Romance is sexy!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

And still more quotes on love...

Do I love you because you're beautiful,
Or are you beautiful because I love you?
~Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, Cinderella

Love is an act of endless forgiveness, a tender look which becomes a habit. ~Peter Ustinov

The art of love... is largely the art of persistence. ~Albert Ellis

Love is the condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own. ~Robert Heinlein

If I love you, what business is it of yours? ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Happy Wednesday!

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tube Tuesday - love this song and the video too!

One of my favorites by Madonna. The ocean and that cute little kid are bonuses.

Also, I love Madonna's YouTube page. Nice! Her fans don't have to dig thru amateur postings and re-recordings to watch her videos. Always knew she was a "bandwagon" kind of gal...

Piper Denna

Romance is sexy!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Love this new word

From Urban Dictionary:

mondaze: n. daze you find yourself in due to it being Monday

I locked my keys in my car because I was in a total Mondaze. I hate the start of a new work week.

I'm so "there" today!

Autumn Piper

Got romance?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Grown-up quotes on love

Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love. ~Albert Einstein

You have to walk carefully in the beginning of love; the running across fields into your lover's arms can only come later when you're sure they won't laugh if you trip. ~Jonathan Carroll, "Outside the Dog Museum"

Infatuation is when you think he's as sexy as Robert Redford, as smart as Henry Kissinger, as noble as Ralph Nader, as funny as Woody Allen, and as athletic as Jimmy Conners. Love is when you realize that he's as sexy as Woody Allen, as smart as Jimmy Connors, as funny as Ralph Nader, as athletic as Henry Kissinger and nothing like Robert Redford - but you'll take him anyway. ~Judith Viorst, Redbook, 1975

Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction. ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Wind, Sand and Stars, 1939, translated from French by Lewis Galantière

Piper Denna

Romance is sexy!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

More about love from kids

'When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.'
Billy - age 4

'Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.'
Karl - age 5

'Love is what makes you smile when
you're tired.'
Terri - age 4

Have a great one.

Piper Denna

Romance is sexy!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

No wonder they're still "unemployed"

Today I posted a no-nonsense lecture to querying authors, at the Lyrical Press blog.

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Since it's February

A few tidbits about love....

'When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.'
Karen - age 7

'Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.'
Tommy - age 6

'Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.'
Chrissy - age 6

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!

Monday, February 1, 2010

It's here, it's now, today is the day!

In writing books, you always hear, "Write the story of your heart," which for many authors ends up being their first book.

Well, for me it wasn't the first book. It's my 3rd release -- Trouble Under Venus -- the story of a young woman who joins an experimental time travel program so she can journey back and find out what happened to her Missing Person father. In some ways, this story was tough for me to write, because parts of it mirror my own life. My father has been missing since I was about 4 years old. He kept some questionable company, so it's likely he came to a bad end. But as a romantic at heart, I've always fantasized he turned state's evidence and went into Witness Protection, in order to disappear so completely. Writing the story was somewhat cathartic, but I'll be honest. Every stage of revising and edits, I cried at the same place. So for me, this is the story of my heart, the one that really touches me most.

Not everybody understands why Randi (the heroine) is going to such extremes to find her father, but here's an excerpt where she explains herself while on a hiking trip in Grand Canyon with her nosy fellow student:

“Science, hmm?" Mitch said. "More like science fiction. Sometimes I catch myself wondering if this is really going to work. Maybe Sudo's messing with our heads to see how long we’ll put up with it. Maybe that’s the real science he’s working on.”
“God. Now you sound like my mother.”
If he’d been a dog, his ears would’ve been pointing straight up. “She doesn’t believe it’ll
work, huh?”
I sighed and heaved my pack up to my shoulders. “I’d rather not discuss it today. Suffice it
to say, she has her personal fears about me going looking for my biological father. So she projects
those fears into doubt about the time-travel process.”
Mitch fell into step beside me again. “Why do you want to find your father so much?”
“He’s the unknown. Well, not him so much, but what happened to him. His fate is the ‘x’
in the equation of my life.”
“The ‘ex’? I thought his name was David.”
“No, the ‘x’, as in algebra. X plus seven equals ten.”
“X equals three,” he supplied.
“Why’d you solve it?” His brows were drawn, and he looked at me like I was crazy. “Isn’t
it enough to know x plus seven equals ten? Why’d you have to solve the problem and tell me the
value of x?”
“I don’t know. Because it’s there. Because we were taught for years if there’s an unknown
variable, to solve for it.”
“Exactly. So why should I do less when it concerns my own father?”
“Still. You’re willing to risk your life to solve it?”
“Risks are relative, Goodman. I seriously doubt I’ll die. The worst that might happen is I
end up in the wrong year, or can’t get back.”
“And what will you do then? If you’re in the wrong year, you still won’t figure out where
your father is.”
“I’ll have to deal with it, then. Or go back to Sedona and do the tele-time-transport thing all
over again. Again and again, ’til I end up in 1980.”
“You’re telling me, if you end up in the wrong year, you’ll keep trying to get to 1980 rather
than back to your own time?”
“Time is relative too,” I joked. “But seriously, I came here for one reason—to find out where
my father went. It’s my mission.” We climbed along in silence. Disapproving silence, if I was to
guess. Mitch was taking the same risks, but he seemed to think my cause was not worthwhile.
Double standards! “What’s your mission, Goodman? Or, Wheels? That’s what they call you back
at the Bureau, or the precinct, or wherever you came from. Why do they call you that? What are
you really traveling back to 1980 for?”
“So many questions, Ms. Drew.”
“Oh, so, what? You get to ask me anything, but I can’t ask you?”
“You can ask. Doesn’t mean I’m going to answer.”

Trouble Under Venus releases in ebook today, and print this April.

Autumn Piper

Got romance?