Home Photography Writing About


The Publishing World - On the Brink of Change

I’m going to start with a bit of an explanation about publishing books. At the top of the ladder are what we call the ‘Big Six.’ These are the mainstream publishers: Hatchette, Macmillan, Penguin, Harper Collins, Random House, Simon & Schuster.

Then we have the smaller publishers. These are companies that have managed to continue to publish books as it is meant to be, paying the authors. There is also self-publishing and indie, which can vary from an author doing everything themselves to an author hiring others to edit and design.

Then we come to vanity publishers, the bottom of the pile. Vanity publishers charge the authors to publish their books. It can be thousands of dollars to get anything from a full editing and designing cycle to just having your book printed as is. That’s not how publishing works. We don’t pay to have our art circulated, we are paid.

This is all changing.

The Big Six are now the Big Five because two of them have merged.

And now we find out that two of them, at least, are turning to what they call ‘self-publishing’ but what is really vanity publishing. They are charging money–under different publishing names so as not to tarnish their beloved mainstream–to offer publishing services.

I always wanted to be published by a Big Six. It would be proof that I was a good writer. But seriously, not now. They are just big business now. They used to mean something, but I think they've lost it all for the money. Besides the fact that they are dying and merging and all kinds of other things to stay afloat.

I’ve been changing my opinion for a while now, as I work with small publishers and I really like what they are doing. I have to be honest, when I started editing in college, it was for a vanity publisher. This was all before I understood what that meant. I have since moved on and will not accept a job unless I have researched a ton and know it’s legit.

I think I’m finally to the point where I won’t even be trying to submit my work to agents and mainstream publishers anymore. The publishing world is changing. It’ll be a while before it settles into a rhythm again, maybe never. But that change is so obviously on the horizon now, and I want to be ready for it.


Robin Hood and the Girl - Original Fairy Tales Challenge

The conclusion of Robin Hood and the Girl for my Original Fairy Tales Challenge. The beginning is here.

Ann-Rentgen at deviantart

One night Robin called her over.
“Lil,” he said and slapped an arm around her neck. “We have a job for you. It will involve some danger, and quite a bit of strength, but it must be done and you need to prove yourself. There is a certain noble who has been giving too much trouble. Think you can pull him off his horse on the highway and steal whatever he has? Including the horse of course.”
She just nodded, her lips tight.
“Ok. We’ve been told he’s riding through later tonight. You better get a move on.”
She went. She found the road. She hid in a tree hoping to jump down and use the power of gravity to stop the noble. But he was riding on the other side of the road so when she jumped she only grazed him. He hauled on his horse and jerked to a halt.
“What is this? Children robbing me now?”
“Give me your things,” she said. Hoping her courage and strong voice would force him to comply.
He lifted his head to the sky and let go a big belly laugh. “I don’t think so little one. How about you come home and work for me in legitimate business?”
While he was laughing and persuading her, she had inched forward until she could jump at him. He caught her, still astride his horse, and they tussled. Her cap came off, her hair flowing down, and with his arm around her upper body he gave a shocking scoff.
“A woman?”
“No,” she squeaked.
“Come child. You are coming home with me.”
She started to fight with all she had, but he overpowered her and tied her hands, dumping her over his horse’s rump behind him. She had a mouthful of hair and dust before long.
He kept her in a dungeon with a barred window. He took her clothes and gave her a nightdress. She sat crumpled in the corner bathed in moonlight, picking at the seam of her dress with her fingers.
A face appeared in the window.
“Yes,” she said. Not realizing it was him, Robin.
“You’re not Lil.”
She stood. “I am,” she blushed.
“You’re a girl!”
“I am.”
He stared at her. Then he seemed to decide because he sent signals back to men behind him. He unscrewed the bars from the window and reached down to help her climb out. He gripped her hand and they ran into the forest.


Robin Hood and the Girl - Original Fairy Tales Challenge

I confess I didn't read all of Robin Hood this month yet. It's a lot of short stories so I've gotten the feel for it and written my own rendition. Here is the first half for the Original Fairy Tales Challenge, the other half will be posted later this week. Let me know what you think!

Robin Hood
krankyk on Etsy

Liliana crept through the forest, keeping her arrow nocked and her feet quiet. A fox ran in front of her and off to the left. Before she caught up with him, and he skittered off, she heard noise. Men. They sang in drunk voices. She thought she could hear drinks sloshing and a fire.
Looking around each tree before she continued forward, she saw them before they saw her. In a clearing was a party of men, all dressed in green and brown. They were indeed drinking and were roasting a boar on a big spit. One of them called out to a younger man in the center of the group, “Robin! To Robin!” Instantly Liliana knew who they were, and she ran.
Out of breath and fairly dirty, she had returned to the house with nothing to eat. So her stepmother took her out back, chose a particularly prickly branch, and beat her. She whimpered a bit but didn’t cry out or shed a tear. She went to bed hungry and sore.
The sun began to rise and woke her the next morning. Her stepmother was still asleep and her father was already in the fields. She took some of his clothes – trousers, a button shirt, and a cap – and tied them around her scant body as best she could. She tucked her hair under the cap, unable to bring herself to cut it off. Then she grabbed her bow and set off for the forest in search of the merry men.
She stomped through the forest intending to be found, and find her they did. Three of them dropped from the trees to surround her.
“What’s your business here,” the largest, she guessed Little John, said.
“To join you,” she said, trying to deepen her girl’s voice.
“I see,” he said. “Bind and gag him boys.”
She tried to fight but it was no use. They took her bow, to which she cried out, and dragged her the rest of the way to the clearing. She was set before Robin on his log. He leaned back and put his arms behind his head, extending his size. He wasn’t much bigger than she, or older.
“Who are you?”
“An orphan.”
“That doesn’t answer my question.”
“It’s answer enough,” she said. His eyes were a beautiful blue, and she couldn’t stand to look at them or she would blush and give herself away.
“Can you shoot?”
“Of course I can.”
“Let’s see it. Untie him.” They released her and gave her a bow and arrow, but not hers. This one was a much stronger wood with less bend and the bow string was very taut. Her shoulders were stiff from the beating, but she wouldn’t be laughed at. With a tiny grunt, she pulled the string back and let the arrow fly. It hit Little John’s hat and took it from his head to secure it to a tree behind him. His eyes were saucers.
Robin laughed.
“Very well. Get this man some sustenance.”
She managed to keep her secret. Whenever she needed to do something private she walked a few miles away. It turned everything into an ordeal, but it worked.
But every night Robin would pull his closest group together and talk. He tended to send looks her way, looks that were full of meaning. She just ate and drank, trying to stay inconspicuous.


The Adventures of Stanley Delacourt by Ilana Waters - Book Review

The Adventures of Stanley Delacourt: Book I of Hartlandia by Ilana Waters is a middle-grade story about standing up for what you believe in. An evil ruler has taken control of Hartlandia, and Stanley and his friend Sophie set out to stop it. Along the way, Stanley meets noble knights, silly professors, and the king of the elves.

The Adventures of Stanley Delacourt book cover

The story was fun, and I instantly loved everything about it. I couldn't even tell Stanley was only ten years old until very late in the book; it wasn't childish at all. And even though it obviously has a message, it never felt soap-boxy.

The details were wonderful: the elves are cowards and that's why they keep to themselves when conflict arises; the witches spells are complex and deep poetry; and when people are losing their minds to the control of the evil king you feel as if you are as well.

I wasn't quite emotionally invested, but it was engaging nonetheless. Really a fun and adventure-filled book for young readers.

I received this book from the author for review.


The Unseen Wonder by Anne Van - Story Review

The Unseen Wonder by Anne Van book cover

The Unseen Wonder by Anne Van is a sweet little story with a lot packed in. The family and characters are all wonderful and I really want to get to know them better. The ending was a bit anticlimactic. It ended well and good, but could have had more impact like the rest of the story. I was hoping for a bit more, but maybe these characters will show up in later writings and we can have more? The language was smooth and beautiful to read. All in all, a simple but nice, quick read.

I really look forward to seeing more from Anne.

You can also catch this story in Gaslight: A Golden Light Anthology.

I received this book from the author for review.


Su Blackwell Paper Art

Simply beautiful.

She cuts artwork from pages to depict scenes from the books. It's stunning.

Su Blackwell paper art

Su Blackwell paper art

Su Blackwell paper art


Bonded by Michelle Davidson Argyle - Book Review

Bonded by Michelle Davidson Argyle is a book made up of three novellas about magic and fairies and life. The three heroines find love, lose love, and learn a great deal. Cinders is a sequel to Cinderella continuing her life with the prince and how she really managed to snag a prince. Thirds is a retelling of Grimm's One Eye, Two Eyes, Three Eyes which embodies the original story and takes it far beyond what I imagined. Scales is a prequel to Sleeping Beauty, and wow does it dig deep to find reasons for the pretty princess to touch a spindle and fall asleep.

Bonded by Michelle Davidson Argyle book cover

Michelle takes Cinderella, and really all of the heroines, down a very unexpected path. The depth and imagination involved in the stories astounded me. They all three grow and change and become something fierce in their own worlds. Yet all three worlds are connected with smaller characters and the concepts of fairies, elves, sprites, humans, and bonding.

I love the not so happy endings of Cinders and Scales; I love the happy ending of Thirds. These stories go beyond the moral of a fairy tale, and yet they encompass and enforce that moral. Michelle breaths new ideas into the originals and brings so much life into them.

I really can not say enough about how beautiful these novellas are. They have stuck in my mind long after I finished them. I'm pretty stingy with my five-star reviews, but this wasn't even a question. Even if you are not a fantasy addict (clears throat), these stories have so much to show you.

I received this book from the author for review.