Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Nephew visit

My nephew Ned Lochaya came to vist for the Memorial Day weekend. He's kinda' of a funny energetic guy. He really helped me this time. We went to a friend's house, dug up a bevy of tiger lily plants and planted them in the hardest ground in my whole yard. It was a daunting task, but we did it. Ned, of course, did most of it.

I helped a bit, but since I can't get onto my knees, my nephew had to do most of it. There we were, digging, planting, watering. And in the midst of it, he decided we needed to put grass seed down where the builders had left big spaces of dirt...so he did that too. Since our ground is so hard, I'm just hoping that the grass comes up.

Naturally, I didn't get a bit of work done over the holiday. Nada, Zip, Zilch. He goes back today, so I'll work like the devil tomorrow.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Working hard

I'm finally up to page 45 in VENGEANCE IS MINE. The book is really going well--at the moment. I'm taking eight pages to the Cambridge Fiction Writers' meeting and will let them pick away at it. I don't intend to change it much. I now have the necessary things in it to Chapter 4. I'm ready to send it to a contest or two. Should be interesting.

Saturday, I'll bring another section to the SRWA to see what suggestions they might have.......and will post it on WVU. It's like getting an editing job done with many different opinions. I only have to decide what I want in the novel. Feedback is a win-win situation.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

News from Angela Hoy

BookLocker Files Class Action Lawsuit Against Amazon.com

BookLocker.com has filed a class action lawsuit against Amazon.com in response to Amazon’s recent attempts to force all publishers using Print on Demand (POD) technology to pay Amazon to print their books. You can read the complaint here.

This article may be quoted and/or reprinted in its entirety.

BookLocker.com has filed a class action lawsuit against Amazon.com in response to Amazon’s recent attempts to force all publishers using Print on Demand (POD) technology to pay Amazon to print their books.

You can read the complaint here.

Amazon began their clandestine effort earlier this year by phone (nobody there seemed to want to put anything in writing), approaching POD publishers, and telling them they must pay Amazon to print their books or their active “buy” buttons would be turned off at the Amazon.com website. What this means is Amazon customers won’t be able to purchase those books directly from Amazon.com (and would not qualify for free shipping), but only through third-party resellers on the site.

Under the Amazon/BookSurge contract, Amazon:

* Controls the printing price of the POD books - The prices can change at anytime, at Amazon’s discretion, with 30 days notice.

* Controls the retail price of the POD books across the board - Publishers would not be able to sell their books for a lower price through “any other channel” (including other bookstores), and would not even be able to sell their books for less to their own customers under any circumstances.

* Controls the wholesale price of the POD books - Amazon’s new contract demands a 48%-52% discount (different contracts have been sent to different publishers). Many small, independent publishers can’t afford to offer this discount to bookstores and would be forced to raise their book prices, which will ultimately hurt book buyers.

* Controls the digital setup and scanning fees for each POD title - After the initial dump of current books, publishers would be charged approximately $50 per title (again, different publishers are receiving different contracts) in setup fees and/or varying scanning fees payable to Amazon/BookSurge. These fees can change at anytime, at Amazon’s discretion, with 30 days notice.

* Controls the formatting specifications - Many publishers can’t absorb the massive number of man-hours required to reformat every single book interior and cover file in their inventory to match Amazon’s specifications.

* Controls the quality of the books - Refer to THIS ARTICLE for details and links. It’s no secret that BookSurge has a poor reputation for quality, including complaints about pages falling out of books, upside-down pages, and more. If a publisher pays Amazon to print their books, their reputation could suffer due to any possible BookSurge quality problems with that publisher’s books.

* Attempts to control the public’s knowledge of who has signed the Amazon/BookSurge contract, along with the details of that contract, through a confidentiality clause, so that publishers signing it may feel they can’t talk about it at all.

* And, Amazon controls the golden nugget - that coveted “buy” button that book buyers want (so their order can qualify for free shipping).

In a public statement, Amazon offered only one alternative to publishers, which is their “Advantage Program.” However, they did not divulge in the public statement that the terms of the Advantage Program are even worse than their printing contract. The Advantage Program requires POD publishers to give Amazon 55% of the list price, pay them $29.95/year, and pay the shipping costs for books going to Amazon.

The Author’s Guild, the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA), The Small Publishers Association of North America (SPAN), YouWriteOn.com (the U.K.’s leading writer’s website) and the National Writer’s Union have all issued strong statements denouncing Amazon’s attempted power grab of the industry.

After hearing rumors of Amazon’s alleged activities, we spoke to an Amazon/Booksurge representative by phone on March 26th. You can read what transpired that day HERE.

After reviewing all the materials presented to us, and after talking on- and off-the-record with publishers, authors and industry representatives at all levels of this controversy, it is our opinion that Amazon may be positioning itself to directly print and control every book it sells. By forcing publishers to sign their extraordinarily oppressive contract, Amazon gains the power to charge publishers whatever printing and distribution costs it desires, as well as controlling the retail, discount and wholesale prices of the books it prints, and, through this contract, automatically positions itself to control the market.

We cannot say for certain if what Amazon is doing is legal or not at this point; that is for the Federal courts to decide. However, in our opinion, the seemingly covert manner in which Amazon has conducted itself in this matter seems to make their actions highly suspicious.

Amazon has already taken control of publishers’ ebook sales on the Amazon.com website by requiring ebooks to be available for their ebook reader, the Kindle. Now, Amazon is attempting to take control of the printing of all POD books. We wonder if traditionally published books are next. Some are speculating that Amazon won’t stop until they are being paid to print every book they sell.

You can read more information about this situation HERE, including a time-line of the events that have transpired. You can comment on this situation HERE.

According to Amazon’s public statement, ALL POD books will be affected. If you are a POD publisher (this includes self-published authors who publish their own POD books through a printer), or a traditional publisher using POD technology for some or all your books, and would like more information, please contact:

Angela Hoy, Publisher

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Since writing the contemporary suspense novel, VENGEANCE IS MINE, I've become interested in all things forensic and otherwise--things that would fit a suspense/mystery novel...so today, I've posted the same article on both my blogs.

Since wriPolice hope new forensic techniques can identify murderer

Date: 21 May 2008
IT WAS a brutal crime that shocked the country but has remained unsolved for a quarter of a century.

When Sheila Anderson, a 27-year-old mother of two, was found with horrific crush injuries in Edinburgh on 7 April, 1983, police launched a hunt for her killer. But with no apparent motive and little in the way of clues, the investigation ground toADVERTISEMENTa halt.

Now a fresh attempt at tracing her killer has been launched by detectives who said advances in forensic techniques had prompted them to re-examine the murder.

They said new tests on flecks of paint found on Ms Anderson's clothing could help solve the case.

Lothian and Borders Police said Ms Anderson was found dying from "horrific injuries" in Gypsy Brae, Granton, and died in hospital hours later.

Detectives also confirmed that Ronnie Wilkinson, a former officer with the force, had never been considered a suspect.

They launched an appeal for witnesses yesterday as part of a new attempt to find the killer of Ms Anderson.

Officers said they were following "several positive lines of inquiry".

Detective Inspector Steven Reed, who is leading the investigation, said he was confident the paint on the clothing would be identified, and confirmed the victim had been struck by a car.

However, he said there was no evidence to suggest she was run over repeatedly.

He said: "Minute particles of paint were found on Sheila's clothing and efforts were made to trace vehicles, witnesses and people who may have been with her in the hours before her death.

"In this tragic case we believe advances in forensic science may help us resolve some of the unanswered questions.

"This was an apparently motiveless killing and I am appealing to anyone who has information about the circumstances of Sheila's death to come forward. It was 25 years ago and I appreciate that memories might have faded."

DI Reed said people who might have felt reluctant to come forward at the time will hopefully now be willing to talk.

Inquiries at the time revealed the victim left her home in the Drylaw area about noon on 7 April.

There were various sightings of her during the day in west Granton and Leith. The final confirmed sighting was in Commercial Street, Leith, about 11:30pm.

Ms Anderson's handbag was found two days later near a car park at Longniddry Bents in East Lothian. She left two boys, aged seven and two.

DI Reed said Mr Wilkinson, a former detective sergeant who found the handbag, had been re-interviewed as a witness as part of the new investigation and had supplied a DNA sample.

The force said he had voluntarily provided a routine witness statement as part of standard practice, and had at no time been considered a suspect.

Ms Anderson's family welcomed the case being re-opened.

They said in a statement: "Sheila was a loving mother, wife, daughter and sister, and her death in such tragic and sudden circumstances was a shock to us all.

"She was taken from us at far too early an age but we still hold in our hearts the happy memories that we all shared.

"Latterly in her life she suffered personal problems. But despite that and everything she endured, Sheila maintained her wonderful sense of humour. We remember Sheila as a gentle, loving, caring woman.

"She touched the hearts of all who knew her and was much loved by us all.

"As a family, we welcome the re-investigation into her death and hope that, after many years, we will obtain the answers to the questions that we have."

Mother's last hours before she met a killer with a car

Here is a timeline of events surrounding the murder of Sheila Anderson.

Noon, 7 April, 1983 – The victim left her home in the city's Drylaw area.

Afternoon – Various sightings of Ms Anderson, including in Leith's Blue Triangle of Commercial Street, Coburg Street and North Junction Street.

7:30pm – Ms Anderson was seen in the Willie Muir pub, West Granton.

11:25pm – Two plainclothes police officers saw her outside Lindean House on Commercial Street in Leith.

11:55pm – Ms Anderson was found unconscious with multiple injuries on a track by a sea wall at Gypsy Brae, off West Shore Road in Granton, by two CB enthusiasts, who immediately called an ambulance.

Early hours, 8 April – Ms Anderson died in Western General Hospital, Edinburgh.

7am, 10 April – The victim's burgundy suede shoulder bag was found near car park No1 on the shore at Longniddry Bents on the B1348 coast road from Musselburgh to North Berwick in East Lothian.

18 May, 2008 – A Sunday newspaper claims Ronnie Wilkinson, a former Lothian and Borders Police detective sergeant, is considered a suspect in the case.

20 May, 2008 – Cold case review announced by Lothian and Borders Police.

Officers said minute particles of paint found on Ms Anderson's clothing would be subject to new forensic testing.

Detectives leading the inquiry said Mr Wilkinson had been interviewed and given a DNA sample as part of standard procedure, but he was not a suspect.

Legal issues that leave murder cases gathering dust

THERE are more than 50 unsolved murders in Scotland, with some high-profile prosecutions collapsing due to lack of evidence.

One of the most notorious cold cases is Edinburgh's infamous World's End murders.

Detectives have never closed the investigation into the murders of Helen Scott and Christine Eadie, both 17, who were beaten, raped and strangled in 1977, shortly after drinking in the World's End pub. Their killer or killers were never traced, despite unprecedented publicity.

Angus Sinclair, a convicted paedophile and killer serving a life sentence in Peterhead Prison, appeared in the High Court in Edinburgh in August and September last year, accused of the rapes and murders. However his trial collapsed after Lord Justice Clarke said the Crown had insufficient evidence to proceed.

Since 2006, the Serious Crime Review Unit of Lothian and Borders Police has also reinvestigated the 1995 murder of Robert Higgins, whose body was discovered in a quarry in West Lothian. A suspect was identified and brought to trial last year, but the jury returned a not proven verdict.

On 21 January, 1987, the naked body of Ann Ballantine, 20, was discovered, naked and bound hand and foot, in the Union Canal, 100 yards from her flat in Polwarth, Edinburgh.

Police believe she was asphyxiated by a ligature round her neck. Her killer has never been caught.

Although a suspect was named and a report submitted to the procurator-fiscal, there was not enough evidence to prosecute.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Another interview

I have an interview on a blog. Thought some of you might enjoy reading it.


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Clan Gunn

I've been thinking over ideas for the sequel to Clan Gunn: Gerek I watch all the historical news of Scotland and came across this just today.

"May 29 1630 - King Charles II born.
May 29 1660 - King Charles II returned to England. Royal Oak Day."

Now, my sequel is going to take place during 1650-51. So now I know that in 1650, Charles II was twenty years old, and I will take that into consideration. I wonder what my Baen Gunn had to do with Charles and if it was something I could use in the book. It's fun thinking about things......

Yesterday, I spent from noon until seven watching the Preakness. I was thrilled to see Big Brown win--and by such a length. Now, I'm looking forward to the Belmont which takes place in three weeks. I'll be rooting like crazy.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Preakness

I'm off to watch a day of racing. The Preakness at Pimlico Race Track is the second leg of America's Triple Crown of Thoroughbred racing. I hate to miss races, so I intend to spend the day watching the tube. Would rather be there but that's not possible............so this is one time that I thank the world for TV.

My suspense novel involves thoroughbred racing, breeding and showing--so I'd better be at the TV to watch whatever I can.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Scene 2

Hurray! I have the second scene of the first chapter done and am already working on the third scene. So, so far, I have the Prologue, which introduces the villain, the first scene of the first chapter which introduces the heroine and a murder. I'm on my way and am feeling great about it. I might even get this damned novel done.

Today, I have a meeting of the Cambridge Fiction Writers, but I won't have anything to present. They've alreaday offered the comments on Chapter 1 Scene 2 and I've revised the scene to make it easier to read. Next week, I'll present Scene 3 for their feedback.

I got some wonderful feedback from one of the gals in the Writers' Village University group called Word Slingers. She gave me some spot-on comments on the first scene in Chapter 1. I revised that and it goes quickly...which is good, for it's the murder scene.

Tomorrow is the Preakness at Pimlico so I probably won't be writing on the blog. Gotta' watch my races.........lol

Thursday, May 15, 2008

An Interview

I've just had an interview posted in an Internet newsletter. If you'd like to read it, I'm posting the URL below.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Scene 2

I finally got the second scene of the first chapter done, adding the information the Cambridge Fiction Writers group critique felt I needed to put in. I think it's better now, more understandable.

I also got a critique from one of the Word Slinger's group at Writers' Village University. The feedback for the first scene of Chapter 1 was right-on. The gal mentioned what worked and what didn't, where I had lost the thread of the scene, allowing it to falter and where I had done a good job. It was the first time she had written something so spot-on and I was thrilled. It showed me that she has learned a lot in the years that she's been with the group, is able to express herself vividly and catches all the faults in a given post.

Editing someone's work is a hard thing to do. If it's a friend, you're always afraid you will hurt their feelings and they'll never like you again. BUT, if you're a real friend, you take that chance and edit as truthfully as you can. It might hurt your friend's feeling, but if they're really your friend, they'll understand that you wanted to help them. I have a friend that lives in the Adirondack Mountains. She often critiques my work. Sometimes she makes me cry, but she always tells me why something is good or bad. It treasure her, and every heartfelt bit of feedback.

Monday, May 12, 2008


Finally got a start on the revisions for Chapter 1 Scene 2. I wrote a million scenes before this one and found that not one of them moved the story forward, so I jumped. I tossed those scene in a file and went on to the next one in order. I found I was able to get all the information I needed for the story into the next day.

It was kinda' hilarious when I wrote a cop scene, an EMT scene, an ME scene, talk between the police and the medics and a host of other things--only to find they weren't necessary. All I needed to have in the next scene was the information as to where everyone (on the farm) was on the night of the murder. It's amazing to me how much you have to adjust your scene to the nearest bit of info necessary. I even managed to get a bit of suspense in the next day scene.

Now, I think I'll be able to eliminate the Memorial scene and go on to what's really important. It's like putting together a puzzle........and fun.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Blog, blog, blog

Blogging has gotten away from me this week. So has writing. For some unknown reason, something seems to be happening every day and I can't get to the office. And right now, my laptop won't get me to the internet and I'll have to call the computer guru to get it fixed.

Hopefully next week will be better. I almost has to be.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

No time

No matter what I do, it seems that everyone else has something they think I should do. It never seems to stop. I have been trying hard to finish the second scene of the first chapter of Vengeance Is Mine.

Everything gets in the way: the wash, the meetings, the occasional luch with friends, the gym program, the dogs, cooking, cleaning, getting the outside ready for enjoyment. Why oh why can't I seem to get anything done.

I feel like a writing slouch, and I hate myself. One thing after another and I leave the writing for the last. I'm going to try to rearrange my schedule and try to do the writing first. Of course, after exercise............I feel so useless.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

A friend in the Can of Cancer

A dear friend of mine, Alice Orr, is having great difficulty with the problem of cancer. Alice is a helleva gal and is coping well. She is writing in her blog, waiting out all the operations and continuing to keep her spirits up. I'm sending a great deal of ZEN to her.

Unbeknownst to her, she has been a mentor of mine from the very first day I met her at an International Women's Writing Guild (IWWG) conference at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York. I didn't actually meet her then, merely sat in a workshop she was giving. But, she blew me away. I had never heard a woman speak with so much knowledge and conviction. She instilled a sense of writing in me that I have never forgotten. She was dynamite and was the reason that I continued to go to IWWG conferences for thirteen more years. If she's not there, the activities seem to pale.

In later years, by the time I got a chance to read Alice's book, No More Rejections, I was thoroughly into her way of setting up a book. I had been practicing her "Characters from the Inside Out" for years. The only time I didn't use those techniques, I got a rejection saying that "my characters were not strong enough for the conflict of my novel." Well, you can be sure I went back and have now done all my characters using that method and will continue to do so.

In the meantime, I wish and want Alice to beat this current problem over the head--as she appears to be doing so. I want her around for a long time. I admire and respect her so ver much............