Friday, May 31, 2013

Red Tape

I've been tangled up in red tape recently.

You see... non-US citizens need tax identity numbers too. But just reading the application form instructions has my fingers tangled in my hair.

And then, there's a fact that certifying copies of my documents isn't technically as possible as you'd think. And there's NO WAY I'm sending my passport to the IRS. Not because I don't trust them, but that I don't trust my country's postage system.

So yeah... I'm paying a substantial amount of money (more or less a month's salary for me) to have a "Certified Acceptance Agent" do this for me.

Looking at those forms again, I'm thinking it's worth every cent. Worst is that once I have my TIN, I'll only be using it to get exempted from US Tax. So.... All this effort just so that I don't pay tax in the US. As supposed to 25% in South Africa. Sigh.

Anyone else have issues with sorting out taxes on your royalties?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

News Day

Hi all! Welcome to another News Day. Sorry it's so late. I needed time to find some links, and then yesterday was so busy, I didn't get time to write a word.

Still, rather than worrying, I'm putting up what I have. If you would like for me to add something to the list, just let me know in the comments (with the link) or mail me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com (in particular if you want me to put the link up next week).

Calls for help

David Farland's son, Ben Wolverton was in a terrible accident. Treatments are running at over $1,000,000 already and the family has no medical aid. A group of writers are holding a donation bomb on 7 June, so please help out if it's at all in your ability to do it. Go here for the full story and updates.

Pitch Competition

NA Alley is hosting the Editor in the Alley Pitch Contest, so if you have a NA book begging to be sold, go check it out.

Blogfests and Bloghops

DL Hammons is hosting the WIP IT GOOD Blogfest on 31 May. It's an excellent opportunity if you're looking for CPs.

Lisa Regan is hosting the Aberration Blogfest to celebrate the release of her new book. It's going down on June 6 and all you have to do is blog about five characters you love to hate the most.

Tara Tyler and Heather M. Gardner are hosting The Thrill of it All Blogfest on June 24. All you have to do is share your biggest thrill. Prizes to be won.

Sadly, that's all I have for today. I'll definitely try to be a bit better about finding some links for the coming week.

So... any links catch your eye?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Braiding story-lines

As I mentioned yesterday, I received my editor's suggestions on the same day I traveled home from Europe.

And... it didn't hurt. *Happy dance.*

There's something really wonderful about having an editor who understands what I wrote. She immediately caught on with what I want to do with the story, so her suggestions are amazing.

Well... By amazing, I mean my reaction is something like this: *head desk* Why didn't I think of that?

So... yeah.

There's one thing I picked out of her editor's letter that I thought I'd share. It's relevant to anyone who writes something epic and complex.

When we write stories like that, we have to deal with multiple story-lines.

That's great, because more than one story-line keeps things interesting. On the other hand, more than one story-line can dilute the tension. Especially when you're going to leave them open-ended for the purposes of a sequel.

How does one combat this?

Pretty much by making the plot-lines just long enough. In other words. The big problem with multiple plot-lines are that we don't give enough attention to enough of them. Which means that the reader doesn't get a chance to connect to that particular line enough to care.

What happens if something goes wrong in the sub-story? Does it matter at all? Why? The reader needs to know. Same as with the main story.

I'm not saying you need to take every line through the three-act-structure. All you need to do is pick more important ones, i.e. ones that will be important in the immediate sequel, then extend them a bit. Just enough so that the reader gets a feel for the goal, conflict and stakes.

Because that's what they'll care about when then they want to read the next book.

And then make sure you have some awesome main story-lines.

How do you approach stories with more than one plot?

P.S. In case you're wondering what happened to News Day, I moved it to tomorrow so I could get some news in. If you have something you think I should share, please e-mail me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Back Again

Hi all!

I'm back from Europe, but I'm a bit busy at the moment, catching up in the office. So. I'll be doing a better post tomorrow.

In the mean time, please don't forget to think about volunteering a prize for the Paying Forward Awards.

Also, please go check out the Word Master Challenge. Really hoping some of you will enter. But I want to reiterate. PLEASE don't enter your link to anything but your Word Master Challenge entry. Any links leading anywhere else will be removed.

Okay. That's it from me for now. Now it's back to the office with me. And after that, more editing, most likely.

But more on that tomorrow.

Missed you all! X

Monday, May 13, 2013

Word Master Challenge

Hi all! As promised, I have a fresh challenge for those of you who are up to writing something new.

I'll be doing a bit of final packing for my trip to Europe, so I'm going to get right to it.

The theme for May/June is:

Famous Adaption

Take your favorite famous book. Write a scene from it. In a totally different genre.

Bonus points if the reader can guess the original book without you telling us. More points if you can do the scene without it strictly being from the book itself, but we get the same sense from it.

Word Count: No more than 300 words.

Closing Date: 30 June 2013

Prizes: $10 Amazon Voucher or a 10 chapter critique by me or a query critique by me.

PLEASE NOTE!!! Don't enter your link until you've written your entry. I want to be linked directly to your Word Master Challenge Post. NOT to your blog's home page. Also, please make it clear that the entry is in fact for the Challenge. I don't want to wonder about this later. Easiest way to do this is to copy/paste the badge above. Or to start the post's title with "Word Master Challenge".

That's it from me. What do you think of the Challenge's theme?

See you in about ten days!

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Today's one of those days where I'm just pretty much feeling mindless. 

You get them too? 

You know the ones. 

I wanted to go watch Iron Man III, but didn't get the chance. Now I have it, but I just can't be bothered to go out. 

Or I'm waiting for my editor's report on my book, so I should be writing, but I just don't feel like it. 

So I'm reading instead. 

Except I don't feel like reading anymore either. 


Time to go veg out then, I guess. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

News Day: Calling All Paying Forward Sponsors!

Hi all! Finally, I'm back to posting News Days again. For those of you who are new to this, News Day consists of all the bits about my blogs and others' that I think you might want to know about and read. But I can't get to all the blogs out there, so if you know about something and want me to spread the word, please send me a mail at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com with "News" as the subject.

Now. First things first.

Paying Forward Awards

The Paying Forward Awards are basically a way for the blogging community to make some of its members' day. We do this by recognizing and rewarding excellence. But I can't do this alone. I need your help. If you have anything that you think will make someone's day that you feel you can give as a prize, please become a sponsor. When I say anything, I mean anything. From query crits to care packages to vouchers to beta reads to e-copies of books and everything in between. Nothing will be turned away and nothing will go wasted. Also, I'm willing to reciprocate by hosting guest posts and/or interviews to promote your book or blog etc. 

If you are interested in taking part, please contact me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com with "Paying Forward" as the subject. 

Please note: I can only take gifts offered by e-mail, as I can't always reach everyone through the comments. 

Word Master Challenge

I will be announcing the theme to the Challenge on Monday 13 May. For those of you who are new, I host a writing competition (supposedly every month, but mainly when I have time to judge it). I keep the word counts short, but the subject might turn out to be fiendishly tricky. The month's Word Master gets the title along with a prize. So put on some creative thinking caps, people.


From 11-17 May, Annie Walls, Little Gothic Horrors and Wicked Way Productions are hosting May Monster Madness. One for all the monster lovers out there. 

Alex J. Cavanaugh, Livia Peterson, Stephen Tremp and Al Diaz are hosting the Best and Worst Movie Remakes Blogfest on May 17th. Name says it all.

Dani of Entertaining Interests is hosting the Heroes and Villains Blogfest on June 6th. Pick a side you like. Always on the Hero's side or do you sometimes find yourself rooting for the baddie?  

Cover Love

SUSY Asylum, Michael Pierce's sequel to Provex City is out now. Go check out the awesome covers. 

Worth Reading

Useful writing tips on what to do with repetition

A bit of a harsh view of traditional publishing. Still, worth thinking about. 

And, to end today's post on a high, a lovely thought on life and how to live it

That's it from me for today! Think I'm missing anything for today's News? Send me the link and I'll put it up. Have a great day!

Monday, May 6, 2013

What happens now?

Okay! Now I really feel like April is over and I'm getting back to my regular schedule.

BUT I learnt from when I went to Berlin. There's no chance of me doing regular postings from 13 to 24 May as I'll be in Europe again.

So... that leaves me unable to plan a Paying Forward Award or Word Master Challenge. So. What I'm going to do is this.

I'm going to start collecting prizes for the Paying Forward Awards from tomorrow. For the end of June. Which means this will be the biggest awards to date. As always, I'll need your help, so please start thinking of anything you have to offer that will make things awesome for another blogger. I'm more than willing to reciprocate by hosting a guest post by you or interviewing you or something like that.

As for the Word Master Challenge, I'll open it on Monday.

Who's excited for MFB's return to normal?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Pirates & Trolls But No White Knight by Beth Fred

Hi everyone, and thanks for having me Misha!

I wrote a couple of novellas about six months apart. I love them! I love the characters. I think they’re great books. A lot of people agree. Some won’t, and that’s okay. The only thing that really matters is they’re mine. I wrote The Fate of A Marlowe Girl seven months into a problem pregnancy. It’s a short story, and because I was so sick it took a whole month to write it. I wrote the second book while taking care of an infant. I love my little ELF, but writing with a baby in your arms, or while rocking a stroller with your foot isn’t easy. So for obvious reasons, these books are special to me. But they’re chattel to others, so I’m here to talk about pirates and trolls in our modern world.

I uploaded the first book to smashwords a few weeks before its planned release date. I only left it live long enough to download a copy and see how the formatting was working out. But in that amount of time I sold a copy. Yay! No one knew it was available—and really it wasn’t. I unpublished it until closer to the release date—and still it sold a copy. A pirate bought it. I know because months later I put its original title into a search engine to see how it was doing. The first pop-up was a site for free ebooks. It had more illegal downloads than legal downloads! I didn’t get upset. The title and cover were going to change anyhow, so the pirates wouldn’t have the new version. I planned to make the first book free when the second released, and I wouldn’t release the second anywhere but Amazon. No real loss. Maybe some people who really liked the first book would buy the second.

I enrolled in Kindle Select, because I was only going to use Amazon, the cyber bully, to prevent pirating. The same thing happened again and I feel like Amazon encouraged it! Amazon is refunding ebooks with no questions asked for seven days. I uploaded the book weeks before its release date to create buy links for my blog tour host. That night I sold two copies of the second book and one of the first. All three were refunded within hours. The next morning both books were on dozens of websites for free. I was furious and heartbroken! Not only had my work been pirated again, but Amazon contributed to it. And the pirates got it for free. This is happening a lot. Not just to me. You can sign a petition against Amazon’s refund policy here.

Then I got stupid. I tracked the pirate to find out who stole my work. I found her bragging about how good she was in a forum. She saw a fb post where authors were complaining they knew their books had been pirated. Furious, I pasted the screenshot. That’s when I started getting trolled. 1 star reviews started popping up on goodreads from places where the book wasn’t legally available. In two days time they had my 4.5 star rating down to the low 3s.

So in this modern world, we have pirates and trolls, but there are unfortunately no white knights. If you’re a writer your book most likely will be pirated. Do a cost benefit analysis. If you’re self-published is it worth it you to pay for Muso? Until you have several books out, it probably isn’t. But once you are making a steady income from your writing, that’s a good investment. They’ll get your book removed from illegal sites for you. If you’re going through a publisher to make publish an ebook make sure they have a legal team, or use Muso. Other than that roll with it. There isn’t much you can do about it anyhow, and most of the people who were going to buy your book won’t download illegal copies. It’s not fair, but it’s life.

Available at: Smashwords Amazon

About the Author

Meet Beth Fred! That's me! I'm a full time ELF keeper and part time writer/blogger/writing instructor. I'm represented by Kathleen Rushall of Marsal Lyons Literary Agency. I like my tea hot, my romance sweet, and my guys chivalrous. Real men hold open doors, refer to you as ma'am, make promises they keep, and aren't afraid to profess their undying love. It's not breakfast if there aren't carbs (at least, not in the South). Fajitas, carnitas, and churros are just few of my favorite things. Bet you can't guess where I'm from ;) Wanna know more about me? Find that here:

Twitter: @bethfred08 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Reflections

So. We've come to another end of the A to Z Challenge. I won twice again, which makes me a bit happy. Still... the achievement was a bit anti-climactic.

But the main reasons I can think of is me. I loved the series I did for both blogs, and got back a lot of wonderful feed-back, but the fact is, I didn't do what I wanted to do. I wanted to meet new people while making sure to keep track of everyone I already knew. Last year I neglected the latter.

This year... I just couldn't manage to do the former as much as I wanted. It's just sort of impossible at this stage of my life.

Right now, blogging is still a wonderful activity, but the fact that I got a publishing deal changed the way I look at it. I'm not sure if it's a good thing.

Because the thing is... Writing has now become something that's getting somewhere for me. And because of it, it's also moving up in my list of priorities. So's editing.

Fact is, talking about writing isn't the same as doing it, so I just can't put blogging ahead of my writing/editing/creation related activities.

Which means I visited an all time low number of blogs. But I shouldn't feel even a bit guilty, because despite the above, the number is close to 700 comments this month. Problem is, I would have liked to do about double that, so I could find more of the new blogs.

Which really brings me to this point. I don't think I'll take part again next year. It used to be a fun activity that greatly expanded my readership, but now it's something that becomes work. And because of that, not all that fun after all.

Anyone else know what I'm talking about?