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Thursday, September 28, 2006

In Search of...Legal Music?

While I was creating my nifthy book trailers, I learned a lesson about those freebie MP3 download sites. It might be legal to download the music, but it is entirely a different matter using it on my website or blog. If you take a look at all that legal stuff that nobody reads (okay, maybe some people read, but I'll confess I tend to skip past it) you'll see that it is NOT permissible for you to download a track and use it for book trailers, myspace sites, etc.

Bummer! I'd found the PERFECT song for Mark of the Beast's trailer and I couldn't use it.

Lest you doubt me, I'll even copy and paste the applicable portions of the terms here:
All materials published on our sites, including, but not limited to, written content, photographs, graphics, images, illustrations, marks, logos, sound or video clips, and Flash animation, are protected by our copyrights or trademarks or those of our partners. You may not modify, publish, transmit, participate in the transfer or sale of, reproduce, create derivative works of, distribute, publicly perform, publicly display, or in any way exploit any of the materials or content on our sites in whole or in part. If you would like to request permission to use any of the content on our sites, please review our copyright notice and visit our Permissions and Reprints page.

(Note: Posting on MySpace/your website/blog is considered a "public performance".)

All content included on this site, such as text, graphics, logos, button icons, images, audio clips, digital downloads, data compilations, and software, is the property of or its content suppliers and protected by United States and international copyright laws.

Every other free MP3 music download site I visited had a similar clause in their terms of use.

And so, on a virtual quest I went, traveling far and wide, in search of reasonably-priced royalty-free music.

What did I find?

That most sites that specialize in the distribution of royalty free music charge a figgin' fortune for a license.

That a lot of people don't realize they're breaking the law when they snag their fave band's latest release and put it on their site. They have, after all, given credit. That's all that's required...right? (Wrong!)

That there are royalty free midi files available for free, but the music is pretty crappy (synthesized versions of pop music) and the quality isn't exactly the best. Plus, at least with MS Movie Maker, there's the thorny issue with having to convert the files to a format that MM will accept. Which means the quality suffers even more.

So, where did that leave me? I was going to have to get out the credit card and relinquish ownership of some dead presidents.

But which ones? And how many?

Depended upon the site and the rights I was after.

There was
Going rate there: $109 per album. Not bad per song, but ACK! That is a lot of dead presidents to depart with all at one time. Think I'll move on...

Then I found
Price: $29.95 per track. Still a little steep. I'll keep looking...

Price: 99.95 per download...unless you're a big spender and can afford to buy more downloads at the same time.
Price: 99.95 for an album of 12 tracks. I don't want to invest in 12 songs. I want one. Or maybe two. Oh wait! They offer that $59.95 per song!

There are hundreds of others. But you must see the theme by now. No one's going to let you use their music for free. And cheap doesn't seem to be in any of their vocabularies either.

I finally found a site that sells licenses for instrumental background music for a reasonable price--$7.00 a song (not $7.00 for a ten-second snippet). That is a STEAL in the market of royalty-free music.

Another person mentioned classical music. After all, much of that music was written at least a hundred years ago. They fall under Public Domain. So they're okay to use...right?

Not necessarily.

With music, there are two copyrights involved:

1. A copyright of the musical score or arrangement. The notes on paper. The copyright holder is the music's composer.

2. A copyright of the sound recording of the music, the performance on musical instruments, garbage can lids, whatever, captured on recording equipment and transferred to audio tape, disk or MP3 file. The copyright holder is usually the recording company or musician.

The first copyright could very well have expired, but it's highly unlikely (given the limited means of audio recording so long ago) that any copyrights for musical recordings you might find on the 'net have expired.

I pulled this quote from the website cited below:

"Music recordings are protected separately from musical compositions. Virtually every sound recording in the USA is under copyright protection until 2067. If you need a sound recording, you will either have to record it yourself or license one. A large selection of easily licensed sound recordings can be found in our Royalty Free Music sections..."

All that to say IF you can find a musical recording on the internet that was recorded pre-1922 (a date specified by legal-types), then it should be safe to use.

For more information on Public Domain, go here: "Public Domain Music"

So... anyone who has found a LEGAL and inexpensive source for royalty-free music, please step forward and share! I'd love to have some choices.

posted by Tawny Taylor at 1:01 PM | 4 comments

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

My Book Trailer!

Book trailers--mini-movies--seem to be all the rage these days. I've heard they're even being shown in movie theaters.

The problem is, they're extremely expensive, can cost as much as $400. OUCH!

Being the stubborn person I am, I refuse to pay that kind of money on something that many people won't bother watching. Granted, the professionally done ones are GORGEOUS. My cobbled together trailer won't compare. However, I wanted to post this to show folks that you CAN make a trailer that is attractive for minimal cost.

My tools:

Adobe Photoshop (for the still graphics)
A $3 royalty-free photograph, along with several free pictures
MS Movie Maker 2 (with free Creativity Pack)
Free MP3 soundclip
A free account at

This one belongs to Eden Bradley. She created it using the same tools.

So, what do you say? Are they obnoxious? Do you ignore them? Or do you find yourself watching them like I do?

posted by Tawny Taylor at 12:11 AM | 8 comments

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Memorable Author Bios

Over on the Romance Divas, someone was asking about what to include in her bio.

My advice: depends upon its purpose. Is it for a website? Then fresh, clever and funny works well. Check these out (God, I wish I could think of something this fun!)

Madison Hayes:

I slung the heavy battery pack around my hips and cinched it tight — or tried to.
"Damn." Brian grabbed an awl. Leaning over me, he forged a new hole in the too-big belt.
"Any advice?" I asked him as I pulled the belt tight.
"Yeah. Don't reach for the ore cart until it starts moving, then jump on the back and immediately duck your head. The voltage in the overhead cable won't just kill you. It'll blow you apart."

That was my first day on my first job. Employed as an engineer, I've worked in an underground mine that went up—inside a mountain. I've swung over the Ohio River in a tiny cage suspended from a crane in the middle of an electrical storm. I've hung over the Hudson River at midnight in an aluminum boat—30 foot in the air—suspended from a floating barge at the height of a blizzard, while snowplows on the bridge overhead rained slush and salt down on my shoulders. You can't do this sort of work without developing a sense of humor, and a sense of adventure.

New to publishing, I read my first romance two years ago and started writing. Both my reading and writing habits are subject to mood and I usually have several stories going at once. When I need a really good idea for a story, I clean toilets. Now there's an activity that engenders escapism.

I was surveying when I met my husband. He was my 'rod man'. While I was trying to get my crosshairs on his stadia rod, he dropped his pants and mooned me. Next thing I know, I've got the backside of paradise in my viewfinder. So I grabbed the walkie-talkie. "That's real nice," I told him, "but would you please turn around? I'd rather see the other side."
…it was love at first sight.

You'll never look at those people surveying properties again, will you? LOL

Here's another one of my favorites, Shannon Stacey

Shannon Stacey was a two-time Olympic gold medal winner, basking in the glory of cereal box appearances, before giving up the athletic world to pursue her love of music. Her command performance of "Mandy" reportedly brought the Queen to tears, but an unfortunate incident with a habanero pepper forced her to turn her attention to other pursuits. After swimming with sharks off the Great Barrier Reef and scaling Mt. Kilimanjaro, she once danced the night away in a little bar known as Rick's Café Americain.

Okay, I got a little carried away there. All fiction. Although, I'm pretty sure the Queen would cry if she heard me sing Barry Manilow. But I just love to make stuff up. My ability to veer away from the truth, and my horror of anything mathematical, made it pretty clear from an early age that I would be either a writer or a really bad accountant with a lot of good excuses. It wasn't clear until much later that my favorite stories would be about two people defying all odds to find their Happily Ever Afters.

I married my own Prince Charming in 1993, and we're the proud parents of a future Nobel Prize for Science-winning bookworm and an adrenaline junkie with a flair for drama. We also have two cats who refuse to curl up on my lap and keep it warm while I write. Fortunately, writing steamy love stories helps heat up the cold New England winters. I'm excited and honored that Ellora's Cave will be bringing my stories to readers.

(That last paragraph--all true.)

How about one more? Jaci Burton

In April 2003, Ellora's Cave foolishly offered me a contract for my first erotic romance and I haven't shut up since. My writing is an addiction for which there is no cure, a disease in which strange characters live in my mind, all clamoring for their own story. I try to let them out one by one, as mixing snarling werewolves with a bondage and discipline master can be very dangerous territory. Then again, unusual plotlines offer relief from the demons plaguing me.

In my world, well-endowed, naked cabana boys do the vacuuming and dishes, little faeries flit about dusting the furniture and doing laundry, Wolfgang Puck fixes my dinner and I spend every night engaged in wild sexual abandon with a hunky alpha. Okay, the hunky alpha part is my real-life husband and he keeps my fantasy life enriched with extensive "research". But Wolfgang won't answer my calls, the faeries are on strike and my readers keep running off with the cabana boys.

So you see, biographies for websites can be fun, imaginative and clever. People will remember them. Bios for queries, bylines, and so forth should be short and to the point. Your name, where you're from, your pseudonyms, website and publishing credentials.

posted by Tawny Taylor at 2:12 AM | 1 comments

Monday, September 25, 2006

Writers Behaving Badly

For the challenge, I decided to enter one of those competitive round-robin writing contests. A sidenote: there are some huge prizes, so the stakes are high. I've entered contests like this before. But I have never seen the kind of underhanded, nasty behavior anywhere else, at least not since Warner's iPublish program folded years ago.

Folks are attempting to raise their rankings by slapping horrifically low scores on other people's submissions, regardless of their quality. It's disheartening. Discouraging. I don't know why I'm bothering.

Is this really the way people want to gain their fifteen minutes of "fame"?

It's a shame, because this could have been a fun, valuable learning experience.

posted by Tawny Taylor at 7:40 AM | 2 comments

Friday, September 22, 2006

Which Would You Rather Hear?

I read the Crabby Cows blog yesterday and spent the last twenty-four hours or so thinking about the post. It's long and meaty and thought-provoking. Read it HERE (Scroll down to Thursday if they've posted another entry).

Evidently, #1's been editing unpubbed manuscripts for folks, so that they have something polished to submit to agents. A brilliant idea. It's hard to believe an editor would be so generous with her time.

But the problem is she's feeling a little guilty. Why? Because there's only so much copy edits are going to fix. Even with the excess modifiers slashed, the “dreaded words” annihilated, the telling changed to showing, etc. it’s still lacking that special spark. Kind of like putting a new, shiny paintjob on a 1972 Pinto with a blown transmission. Might look good, but it isn’t going far without a push-start.

So, what does she do? A publishing professional, she knows personal taste comes into play. But her gut instinct tells her the paintjob isn’t enough. The trans needs to be rebuilt.

The book isn’t “special” enough to get picked up.

What would you rather hear from an editor? Knowing that publishing is a subjective thing and what one editor might think is dreck another might love, would you want Crabby #1 to tell you the book’s going to languish in your dream agent’s slush forever? Or would you rather she do what she can to help you fix it and then take your chances?

posted by Tawny Taylor at 10:55 AM | 4 comments

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Is this NOT a gorgeous cover?

BRANDED by Emma Petersen Coming from Cobblestone Press September 22, 2006

Get Branded!

Jenny and Ty have known each other most of their lives and have been attracted to each other since they’ve been old enough to know what attraction meant. A tragedy has bought Jenny back home to Parsons' Pass and into Ty’s arms.

The heat between them is as hot as ever, but the scars he carries from his parents’ relationship and his own failed marriage keep Jenny at bay. When Ty comes close to losing the most important person in his life, he knows it’s time to bury the past and fight for their love.

Click here for an except.


I have to say Cobblestone Press--a brand spanking new epublisher--is putting out some of the most amazing covers. I'm impressed!

posted by Tawny Taylor at 7:53 AM | 2 comments

Monday, September 18, 2006

Ten Ways to NOT Get Published

A few chuckles, followed by some thought-provoking truths (I hope):

10. Mail the only copy that exists of your 800 page epic (typed on that uber-thin, transparent erasable paper) to Harlequin.

9. Confuse a series of catastrophes with “plot”.

8. Write your category romance from six different points of view, including the heroine’s pet lizard, Godzilla’s.

7. Post the name and email of the (unlucky) editor you’ve submitted your masterpiece to and tell all twenty people who read it to hound her with emails until she buckles under the pressure and buys it.

6. Bury your prose under towering mountains of adverbs and adjectives, unnecessary dialogue tags and redundant words.

5. Decide punctuation is for elementary school kids and literary conservatives.

4. Start your query letter with the following: “Dear Editor, the last ten romance novels I’ve read sucked, and so I thought...”

3. Go to a writer’s conference and stalk the editor of your dreams until you have her cornered in the bathroom/elevator/wherever, then slip her your manuscript, along with an adequate bribe.

2. Believe you are the next Dan Brown/Nora Roberts/whoever, and you don’t need to change a word of your masterpiece.

1. Never finish a project you start. Or never submit a completed manuscript.


The lessons learned from each:

10. Follow standard manuscript formatting, use good quality paper. NEVER mail the only copy of anything. And most importantly, know the publishing house you are submitting to. Harlequin does not publish 800 page least not yet.

9. Plot is NOT a series of disasters. That is a typical week in the life of a middle-aged housewife...but I digress. Plot is a complicated web of threads, woven to produce a compelling, page-turning story. Don’t understand what I’m describing here? There are plenty of craft books out there. Buy a few and read them.

8. Read MANY books published by your target house. I’ve used series romances as an example. Most often they’re written in two (with possibly a third--a villain’s) POV’s. Maybe you read one that had a pet’s POV, published back in ’83 (I wouldn’t know) but if the vast majority of recently published books have two POV’s, you’re best off following the masses.

7. FYI--editors don’t buy books because twenty people hound her to publish said book so they can “read the rest”. Unless those twenty people promise to buy a hundred thousand or so copies each. THAT might convince her. Otherwise, you’re just plain killing your chances of the editor taking you seriously.

6. Rather than writing sentences full of vague words that must be “prettied up” with modifiers, use words that are specific and paint a picture in the reader’s mind. Example: The tall man ran quickly across the street. Revised to: The behemoth zig-zagged between veering taxis, delivery vans and German sedans, tires screeching on wet concrete.

5. I need to explain this one? BTW, I made up the term "literary conservative". Don't know if there really is such a thing.

4. First, editors like to see query letters addressed to them by name. The greeting, "Dear editor" screams "multiple submission by careless/lazy wanna-be writer." Second, editors don’t want to hear that the books they loved (and spent the past twelve months reading, revising, pitching, promoting, etc.) suck. Not the way to gain favor here. Nope.

3. First, editors don’t want to be stalked. That’s creepy. And two, editors may appreciate having a little extra cash to spend on margaritas, but that won’t help them convince the PTB Monday morning to buy your manuscript (some houses use a committee-type setup when determining what books to contract). Finally, editors don’t want to haul 400 page manuscripts when they travel home. They'd rather haul all those fabu free (published!) books home instead. This is why it’s more likely they’ll toss all but the first page before heading to the airport, then mail you a “Dear Author” rejection letter a week before next year's conference.

2. Writers who eventually get published learn the value of honest critique partners. They realize they can stay true to their vision while making changes that will strengthen their story.

1. Unless you’re the ex-lover of a former U.S. president or survivor of some disaster (like the Titanic’s final voyage), to get published, you’re going to have to write, write, write. And there’s more! You need to write a book from beginning to end, not start a bazillion projects but finish none of them. And then after that you must polish that rough draft until it shines and submit, submit, submit. There’s no magic to it. Just lots of hard work.

So, now that you've read my top ten ways to not get published, do you have any to add? I'd love to read them and perhaps extend my list. Thanks!

posted by Tawny Taylor at 9:09 AM | 5 comments

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Want to read/rate my Avon FanLit entry?

I have roughly 20 invitations to email to interested parties.

I kind of took some liberties with the setup and wrote a time travel. It has my trademark touch of humor. Entries are open for voting until Wednesday at 12:00 (eastern time, I think).

If you'd like to read and vote, please post your email in the comments and I'll send an invite with the direct link.

A few things to remember:

1. You must register to vote. But the process is fairly painless.
2. Reading but NOT voting hurts an entry's scores. So I'd REALLY appreciate it if you'd vote.
3. I don't expect you to give perfect scores (if you don't feel my entry is perfect) just because I send an invite.

Any takers?

posted by Tawny Taylor at 2:30 AM | 1 comments

Friday, September 15, 2006

Scam or Opportunity?

I just read the following announcement:


NEW YORK - A new and lucrative literary prize has just been started, with
some unusual credentials for the winner: The book must be unpublished and
the author must not have an agent.

The Sobol Award offers $100,000 for the best unreleased, agentless novel,
with prizes of $25,000 and $10,000 for the runners-up and $1,000 each to
seven others. The award was created by Sobol Literary Enterprises, a
for-profit venture started by technology entrepreneur Gur Shomron, as "a
venue to discover talented, unknown fiction writers and help them get the
recognition they deserve."

"For many talented writers, finding a publisher is more difficult than
writing their novel," Shomron said Wednesday in a statement. He added that
"not a single writer will face silent rejection," receiving two or more
evaluations from a panel of editors, librarians and others in the book

Shomron himself had to shop a novel, "NETfold," which he ended up
self-publishing, making it ineligible for a Sobol prize.

The Sobol Award Web site ( will accept up to
50,000 manuscripts, online only, with applicants required to pay an $85
entry fee. Winners will be announced next summer.

"As the winners' agent, we will nurture them, introduce them to publishers
and negotiate the best deal for them," Shomron said.

Sobol officials include Roger Riger, a vice president at Barnes & Noble
Inc.; Greg Tobin, a former editor-in-chief of Ballantine Books and author of
several religious works, including "The Wisdom of St. Patrick" and "Saints
and Sinners"; and Neil Baldwin, former executive director of the National
Book Foundation and author of biographies of Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and

F. Robert Stein, who has represented Janet Evanovich, David Baldacci and
many other writers, is Sobol's legal counsel. He told The Associated Press
that he initially turned down the job because he was thought the contest
"sounded terribly suspicious."

"I thought it would destroy my reputation," says Stein, an attorney with
Pryor Cashman Sherman & Flynn LLP.

"I laid out conditions for the contest, including that winners are not bound
forever to being represented by the Sobol agency. Gur Shomron had no
problems. I have been over every word on the Web site and every word of the
promotional material. I have been absolutely satisfied."

Okay. I'm not real clear on this one yet. If you value the opinions of Ms. Snark or AbsoluteWrite it's a scam. The high "registration fee" and the way the contract is worded, it's shoving me toward the Yes-It's-A-Scam side. Read below...

Dear writer contestant,

By agreeing online, you appoint Sobol Literary Agency, a division of Sobol Literary Enterprises, Inc., to act as your sole and exclusive literary agents for the disposition of any and all rights in:

(i) your submitted novel
(ii) any other of your literary works which we may sell with your approval to the same publisher in the same contract (your signature on final contract will indicate your approval thereof); and
(iii) any other literary work which you may in the future submit to us for representation if we agree via email or other writing to represent same
(collectively, the "Works")

in all media throughout the world, including without limitation book, audio, ebook, motion picture, television, stage and radio rights, merchandising rights, and computer rights.

We shall represent your interests to the best of our ability and will conduct all negotiations on your behalf in consultation with you. We will not sign any agreements on your behalf. We will present offers to you for your approval and contracts to you for your signature.

You shall instruct all publishers and other licensees of rights in the Works to send all payments due you to us, and to make them payable to us. We shall remit to you promptly, but in no event later than fourteen days after our receipt, all monies due to you which we receive on your behalf, less our commissions and expenses as set forth below, together with photocopies of all statements we receive from publishers or other licensees. Your certified public accountant may inspect and audit our financial books and records relating to your account once each year, at your expense and upon reasonable notice to us.

In consideration of our services hereunder we shall be entitled to receive and retain a commission of 15% of all monies and other consideration of any kind paid or payable to you; whenever paid ("gross proceeds") from any and all dispositions of rights in the novel(s) described above, except that, where we use subagents or corresponding agents, we shall be entitled to receive and retain commissions of 20% of the gross proceeds from any disposition of (i) rights in the United Kingdom and/or Commonwealth territories; (ii) foreign language translation rights; (iii) motion picture, television, video, stage or radio rights; and (iv) merchandising rights. If a disposition of world publishing rights in your work is made under a single contract, the commission will be 15% of the gross proceeds payable under any such contract.
Since we are located in the United States, our initial efforts on your behalf will be to place US publication rights in the Works. If we succeed in doing so, we will also attempt to arrange for publication in other English-speaking countries, and for publication in other languages.

We shall be entitled to retain our full commission even if you are contractually required to return advances to a publisher due to your failure to timely deliver an "acceptable" or "satisfactory" manuscript.

We will have the right to appoint others to assist us, including without limitation our subsidiary or affiliated corporations and associated entities, but in any case you shall not be required to pay more than a single commission as set forth above.

We will have the right to deduct from monies otherwise due to you hereunder, or to require reimbursement from you, of any expenses we may incur on your behalf for photocopying, books and galleys ordered from publishers for film, television, serial and/or foreign submission, shipping by courier or messenger, bank fees, overseas postage, long distance faxes and telephone calls, other similar and related charges, and any legal fees or other exceptional expenses incurred with your prior approval.

This agreement shall become effective if and when the manuscript you have entered into the Sobol Award for Literature Contest (the "Contest") is selected for the semi-final stage of the Contest. This agreement will automatically terminate and become void if such manuscript is not selected for the semi-final stage of the Contest. You also have the right to terminate this agreement at any time before you are advised that your manuscript has been selected for the semi-final stage of the Contest, by notifying us in writing of your withdrawal from the Contest. This right will expire upon our advising you of the selection of your Work to the semi-final stage of the Contest.

We shall each be entitled to terminate this agreement by written notice delivered to the other party, with respect to any Work for which a publishing contract has not been substantially negotiated within twelve (12) months after:

(i) with respect to the manuscript entered in the Contest, the conclusion of the Contest in which said manuscript was submitted;

(ii) with respect to any other later Works you may ask us to represent after the execution of a publisher contract for any Work entered in the Contest, our receipt of your completed manuscript (or, if we request only a proposal, within twelve (12) months after our receipt thereof).

Notwithstanding any such termination, we shall be entitled to our full commissions, in perpetuity, on all dispositions of rights in Works for which book contracts either are (i) executed by you during the term hereof or (ii) for which substantive negotiations for book contracts commence during the term and which are concluded and executed by you within twelve (12) months following the expiration or termination of the term, and to any substitutions, modifications, extensions and resumptions thereof so long as any such contracts continue in effect (and without regard to any temporary terminations of any such contracts).

You represent and warrant that you have the right to enter into this agreement with us and that you are not subject to any other agreement or arrangement which will conflict with this agreement, that you are and will be the sole creator and owner of all proposals and manuscripts you submit to us, and that such proposals and manuscripts will not infringe or violate any personal or property rights of any other person.

If you are not the sole creator and owner of each manuscript you submit to us, you must inform us as to the name and address of each other creator and/or owner, and all such other person(s) must also sign a representation agreement with us. Failure to so inform us will subject you to liability for our lost commissions if we are unable to complete a sale to a publisher because of disagreement between you and your co-author(s), or for our entire commission if we are able to conclude such sale, but unable to deduct the appropriate portion(s) of our commission from your co-author(s).

You acknowledge that we are in the agency business generally, and that we have the right to, and in all probability will, provide services from time to time similar to those we are to provide to you hereunder, to others having creative properties similar to yours, even though those other creative properties may be competitive with yours.

We will not be responsible for the loss of or damage to any manuscript and/or photographic or illustrative material submitted to us.

This agreement shall not be assignable by either party without the prior written consent of the other (except in the event of the sale of our agency), shall be binding upon your heirs and upon your and our respective permitted assigns, shall be governed and construed according to the laws of the State of New York applicable to agreements executed and to be performed entirely within such State, shall not be modified orally, and sets forth your and our entire understanding.

Please check the "I agree" box for this agreement online to confirm your acceptance of the terms set forth above.

Very truly yours,

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ENTERING this contest, you're giving them rights to representation of the book you're well as any other books you may write/have written/whatever for one year?

Be wary. Be very, very wary.

posted by Tawny Taylor at 7:51 PM | 0 comments

Thursday, September 14, 2006

I Did My Civic Duty...

...and have the coffee mug to prove it.

Don't believe me?

Let me tell you about my day. I woke up an hour earlier than usual, got myself showered, hair curled, makeup applied, whatnot, to go sit in a juror's room for an hour this morning. When I walked in (5 minutes late! ACK!) and saw all those people, I was so sure I'd NEVER get picked. Especially when I heard they were only taking 6 jurors.

This was a good thing. My hubby was hoping I'd be home in a couple hours.

We were herded upstairs to the courtroom, read a bunch of legalese, and then the first six names were drawn from the fishbowl. Those poor folks are asked a bunch of personal questions. (Thank GOD I wasn't among that first batch! Some of the questions they asked those people...yikes! Plus I was so nervous, you would've thought I was on trial!) So, five out of six of the original jurors were eliminated (most of them for no obvious reason) and lo, my name was drawn, I wasn't asked much of anything, and then the lawyers and judge did their little huddle thing and announced the jury had been picked.

So much for my hubby's grand plans.

I spent the rest of the day listening to details about police procedures I'd never in a million years expected to learn. The weird thing--I actually LIKED it!

Am I weird or what?!

The other jurors were cool. The judge was cracking jokes (as we returned from breaks--not during the actual trial). And in the end, I sent him a "yellow note" (the system we had to use for asking questions) for kicks asking if we could have one of the coffee mugs that were sitting in a box in the jury's special room (whatever it's called).

So, there you have it! I learned some stuff I never knew before (like, jurors don't get all the pertinent details in a case), saw the legal system in action (judges and lawyers give such VAGUE answers to questions they don't want to answer!) and did something completely different from my normal get-kids-to-school-chase-baby-and-write-in-between-calamities thing.

I won't be called for jury duty for at least 12 months...bummer!

posted by Tawny Taylor at 8:00 AM | 1 comments

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Guy on Guy...what's the verdict?

Okay, I read a post about the RT survey and had to go see what that was all about. CLICK HERE

It seems RT has taken notice of the recent trend in erotica--specifically the increase in male/male storylines. I’ll admit right here and now I have NOT read a male/male sex scene yet. So I am totally ignorant on this topic.

What I wonder is--what is it about a male/male sex scene that appeals to readers? Clearly, there are a LOT of readers who LOVE this sort of thing. And I am NOT looking for an excuse to condemn them. I’m curious. That’s all. After having spent more than my fair share of time in “gay” bars back in the day (mid-80’s, when I was in college), and being a firsthand witness to intimacy between two men, I’m a little perplexed about why this subject matter is so hot right now.

Perhaps some suggestions on some books to read? I’d like to explore this further, but I don’t know where to start. Tell me, what books have you read? Can you pinpoint what it is about the scenes that is so erotic? Was the woman a part of the scene? Or was it strictly a gay erotica/romance story? And what (if anything) did you feel was missing from the books you have found so far?

Also, if you haven’t already, take a second and vote on RT’s poll. This could perhaps help them determine what books they will consider for review in the future.

posted by Tawny Taylor at 8:00 AM | 3 comments

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Oh ACK!!!!

That Avon FanLit thing...they picked REGENCY! That's it for me. I don't stand a chance.

But for those who might like to keep tabs on what's happening, HERE'S the link to the board.

WHAHHHHH! I wanted to play :( Oh well. Maybe next time they'll give contemporary or paranormal a shot.

posted by Tawny Taylor at 8:00 AM | 2 comments

Monday, September 11, 2006

Men in Tights...

…and other pleasant surprises.

I LOVE it when people surprise me–be that real people or characters in books.

Take for instance my hubby, who after holding strong in his anti-Renaissance Garb stance for nine long years, this weekend went hog wild and dressed himself head-to-toe in Festival gear! For those who don’t know, I am a costume FANATIC! To have my husband (the original Mr. Serious) kicking up his heels at Renaissance Festival with me…dressed up…I’m in heaven :) It was a wonderful surprise.

Why did he do it? He loves me :) *Happy sigh.*

I love it when a hero in a book does something TOTALLY out of character for the woman he adores. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for hard-edged Alpha heroes. They’re uber sexy. But when an Alpha does something super-sweet for the woman he loves, I just melt.

Anyone have a favorite scene from a book, where the hero did something that made you go all soft and girly? Or a real life example of something extra-special or completely out of character a man did for you? Share! Please! I’d love to hear.

Here’s a bit of incentive–Post a scene or true example on today's Access Romance All-A-Blog and I’ll randomly draw a name from those who respond. The winner will receive a download of one of my ebooks, winner’s choice. Good luck!

posted by Tawny Taylor at 9:33 AM | 3 comments

Friday, September 08, 2006

Feeling a Little Lost?

I recently responded to an author's questions about making an agent change. I thought perhaps there are others looking for this kind of info and thus, I'm posting the bits below on my blog for general consumption.

Please, remember, I offer this advice without any knowledge of the details of any one person's situation. If you have doubts/questions regarding your specific situation, you may want to contact an attorney. I did. And it was a good thing. At times where emotions are running high, having someone who is level-headed and looking at the situation from a more objective point of view can be a HUGE help.

Anywho, following are a few general suggestions regarding changing agents:

1. First things first. You MUST take a look at the contract you signed with your agent (assuming you had something in writing--not all agents require a written contract). The contract should have a separation clause detailing exactly what steps must be taken to cut ties. Usually it takes the form of a letter. Also, check and see if there's a specific timeframe for contracts on submissions. I think 60 days is common. This means if a contract is not offered within 60 days from the date on your separation letter (or whatever timeframe in your contract), then your agent loses claim/interest in the deal and it's open territory for a new agent.

2. Take a look at your current inventory. Do you have another book/proposal to submit to a new agent? If not, you might want to wait until you do.

3. Once you have something to shop around, go ahead and write the letter to your current agent. It's pretty much a given that agents will NOT look at you (at least not seriously) until you've taken this step. I know it's scary because you're giving up a sure thing (even if it wasn't working for you) for an unknown. What if you don't get a new agent? But it's a necessary step if you want to move on. BTW--Mail your letter registered mail.

4. Make a list of agents, ranking them based upon your level of interest. Do your homework ahead of time--talk to authors the agents currently represent. Talk to past clients if you can find them. Ask what made them move on. Then submit, submit, submit--starting at the top of your list and working down. Queries should go out in batches of 5-10. Get a few rejections? Send out another batch.

Finally, I've found it's helpful to mention you were represented by an agent but are making a change.

posted by Tawny Taylor at 10:53 AM | 1 comments

Thursday, September 07, 2006

New Review for Sex and the Single Ghost!

Check out this fabulous review!
A hilariously funny story, SEX AND THE SINGLE GHOST is a treat. Ever since learning about reanimation, Claire has been planning what she will do; for the most part her plans involve taking care of any leftover regrets in her life. She has always wished that she had approached Jake while she was alive, and now, even though it may be for only one night, Claire will take a chance. Jake has the same feelings about Claire, and is just as thrilled to see her. The sex between them is hot and edges toward the kinky side, as Claire decides to try some new things. But there is also a romance, as two people that are perfect for each other try to battle the not-so-easy obstacles in their way.

When Claire tries to find out why she was shot, readers are also treated to a bit of mystery, and Claire is thrown for a loop. All of these elements blend seamlessly together, creating a fantastic book. I highly recommend SEX AND THE SINGLE GHOST.

Jennifer Bishop
Romance Reviews Today

posted by Tawny Taylor at 9:38 AM | 2 comments

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Chick Lit Authors!

This FREE Q&A is for you!
The anthology, THIS IS CHICK LIT, was conceived of by author Lauren Baratz-Logsted, as a response to Elizabeth Merrick's THIS IS NOT CHICK LIT, ORIGINAL STORIES BY AMERICA'S BEST WOMEN WRITERS. Merrick's book is basically a slam on the subgenre (and in doing so, slamming all genre/commercial fiction, actually).

While the THIS IS CHICK LIT ladies "reach across the aisle" in an appednix in which they give their favorite books in multiple genres, including "literary," the Merrick books starts out in the intro: "Chick lit's formula numbs our senses. Literature, by contrast, grants us access to countless new cultures, places, and inner lives."

Do you agree with Merrick? Does a book have to bear the "literary" title to "grant access to countless new cultures, places, and inner lives"?

Come join our Q&A this weekend, Sept 8-10 to find out.

Participating authors:

Lauren Baratz-Logsted (HOW NANCY DREW SAVED MY LIFE, out this week from Red Dress Ink, A THIN PINK LINE, CROSSING THE LINE, A LITTLE CHANGE OF FACE, and VERTIGO, out at the end of the month from Delta--a Victorian England romantic suspense)







Karin Gillespie (the Bottom Dollar Girls series)


Deanna Carlyle (contributor to BenBella Books' WELCOME TO WISTERIA LANE, founder of the Chick Lit Yahoo Loop and the International Women's Fiction Festival in Matera, Italy)

Where? (You must sign up for a username for the forums)
Direct Link: CLICK HERE

Friday, Sept. 8 through Sunday Sept. 10

posted by Tawny Taylor at 2:30 PM | 0 comments

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

I have been sooooo bad

I've posted like two blog entries in how many days?

BAD, bad Tawny!

But I've been busy. Really, really busy (says Tawny in her whiny voice).

I've been doing writing stuff...and yes, I took a little break to stomp around the Ren Fair for a day, and I spent yesterday helping my teenage daughter move back home. But I'm back to doing more writing stuff today...after I get the kiddies to school for their first day (only half-day, ugh!). I also need to get the teenager registered for school before she falls too far behind. It's her senior year. PLUS, one of my hubby's teenagers is moving back in today.

Our house is busting at the seams! Anyone have a spare bedroom?

What am I up to writing-wise?

1. Drafting a proposal for a new paranormal erotica series for my agent. I am SO excited about this project! And so is my agent :)

2. Plotting a vampire story for Ellora's Cave.

More to come soon! I promise!

posted by Tawny Taylor at 10:13 AM | 2 comments

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Cute Baby in Rennie Garb!!!

While the hubby and older kiddies are out of town, I took Jacob, our youngest, out for a Mommy and Baby day. We went to Ren Fair. This was his first.

I know I'm his mommy, so I'm bound to be partial, but the child got more looks than Justin Timberlake in a high school gym :) I felt like I was with a celebrity!

Check him out...

This was early in the day. He wasn't too keen on the fountain.

As you can see, he conquered his fear. Of course, if that fountain/pond/whatever had been in our backyard, the child would've been wading in it :)

Doesn't he look so little next to this suit of armor? Yes, that's what that is next to him.

Doesn't this one just melt your heart????

posted by Tawny Taylor at 7:15 PM | 15 comments

Friday, September 01, 2006

It's That Time Again...

2007 EPPIE Awards

EPIC, the Electronically Published Internet Connection, proudly announces its annual EPPIE contest. The EPPIES is the premier contest in the e-book and e-publishing world. The categories are judged by members of EPIC, all published authors. After the first round of judging, the works of the finalists are sent to a panel of finalist judges, and winners in all twenty-three categories are selected. The winners are announced at the EPIC conference's gala award ceremony at the annual EPICon Convention. This year's convention will be held March 8-11, 2007 in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Please read these rules in their entirety before entering. Questions may be directed to 2007 Contest Chairman Carol MacLeod

Eligibility: Any eBook published in English and released for sale between October 1, 2005 and September 30, 2006, including self- and subsidy-published books are welcomed for entry in the 2007 EPPIES.

Books previously published in paper may be entered, if the eBook version meets requirements of publication date and entry format. Re-released books, which qualify with the new publisher per the time-frame given above, are eligible, provided they have not been entered in the EPPIE in a previous year. This includes books which are updated, such as yearbooks, guides, etc. There will be no exceptions.

There is no limit on how many different titles in the same or different categories may be entered by a single entrant. However, a separate entry form and entry fee is required for each title.

Only electronic copies—in PDF format only—will be accepted. Do not password protect the PDF file.



Entering Your Book
Entries may be made by either author or publisher. Please check with your publisher before you enter to prevent duplication of entries.

There are 3 steps to the entry. All three steps must be completed before your e-book is actually entered into the contest.

Complete the Entry Registration Form
Make Payment of Entry Fees
Submit Your eBook

For payment, you may use either PayPal or send a Check/MO.

PayPal: Simply click on the logo below or go to If you are prompted for an email address to send the fees to, enter (EPIC's treasurer). You must include the following information in the PayPal payment comments section:

Your Name, Address, and eMail address
EPIC member—indicate Yes or No (indicate Yes if you are also joining now)
Title of Book
That you are paying for EPPIE-2007 entry fees

Mail check/MO to EPIC Treasurer Barbara Woodward:

Barbara Woodward
EPPIE Entry Fee
P.O. Box 2278
Glen Rose, TX 76043

You must include a copy of the online entry form with your check/MO payment.

You may also join EPIC at the same time. (See for membership information.) Note this when paying.

Until your entry fee has been paid; your ebook has been received; and your registration form has been entered, your entry is not considered complete. Failure to pay the entry fee, or not sending your book, or not submitting the registration form by entry deadline will disqualify your entry. If you have problems with payment, please contact for assistance in making your payment.

All entries this year will be sent as an email attachment (PDF format only) to and must be received no later than October 8, 2006 at Midnight EST. Entries received after that date and time will be refused and returned to the sender. Judging will begin on or about October 20, 2006. The final responsibility for making sure the entry is complete rests with the entrant and not with EPIC. A spreadsheet is provided by category on the EPIC site with status of entries. Entrants should check it daily to ensure that everything has been received regarding their entry.

To enter a flip book, contact the 2007 Contest Chairman Carol MacLeod directly.

All entries must conform to the following naming convention and be in PDF format:


For example, if you wanted to make an entry in the GBLT category called Forever Yours and your name is Jane Doe, the file name would look like this:


Names must not contain spaces. Names may not contain characters other than A-Z, 0-9, - (dash), or _ (underscore).

Files not conforming to the naming convention will not be processed and will be returned to the entrant for renaming.



Entry Fees
$20.00 for EPIC members in good standing.
$30.00 for non-EPIC members.

As stated above, a separate entry fee is required for each title entered. In the case of a canceled category due to too few entries, the category coordinator will contact the entrant for placement in another category. If no other category is acceptable to the entrant, fees will be returned and the entry will be deleted.

Submitting Your E-Book
Send PDF copy of each entered work to Carol MacLeod at It must be received by Carol no later than Midnight EST, Sunday, October 8, 2006.

See the FAQs for category explanations.

Contemporary Romance
Erotic Romance Contemp/Suspense/Mystery
Erotic Romance Historical Fiction
Erotic Romance Fantasy/Paranormal
Erotic Romance Science Fiction/Futuristic
Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Historical and Western
Historical Romance
Inspirational Fiction
Nonfiction: General
Nonfiction: Self-help
Romantic Suspense
Science Fiction
Science Fiction/Futuristic Romance
Single Title/Mainstream

Novellas and anthologies may be entered; however, there is no specific novella or anthology category. The novella or anthology should be entered into the category where it would fit were it a novel. It will be judged according to the same criteria as novels in that category. The fee and entry requirements for a novella are the same as those for a novel. If the novella appears as part of an anthology, the entire anthology will need to be entered. We no longer accept individual novellas from an anthology. The anthology must be entered as a whole in the appropriate category. Copyright date MUST appear at the beginning of the file in either case.

Note: Since e-books often cross genre, push the envelope, and often do not fit neatly into a single genre, it is the author's responsibility to select the proper category for his or her work. For example, if you think your book, which the publisher listed under romance, would best fit in the fantasy category, feel free to enter it there. However, points WILL be deducted if the judge feels the book is entered into the wrong category. A book may not be entered in more than one category, but an entrant may enter more than one title in a single category, as well as entering several titles in different categories.

Be aware when selecting a category for your book, judging is subjective. A romantic fantasy may be too much romance for fantasy judges. Your fantasy romance may not have enough romance for romance judges. So, select wisely. EPIC is not responsible for placing your book in a category, nor for informing you that your book would be better placed elsewhere.



Announcing Finalists and Winners
Finalists will be informed by e-mail before the public announcement during the first week of December 2006.

Winners will be announced at the Awards Banquet at EPICon 2007 in Virginia Beach, Virginia, Saturday, March 10, 2007. See for EPICon 2007 information.

EPPIE trophies will be awarded to those winners in attendance. Winners who are not present will receive their trophies by a shipment method at a later date after the conference ends.

Finalists, winners and winners' publishers in 2007 EPPIEs will receive official certificates.



Any questions should be directed to Carol MacLeod at



Frequently asked questions, and category explanations, can be found on the EPPIES FAQs page.

posted by Tawny Taylor at 9:39 AM | 2 comments
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