Friday, February 20, 2015

Finding Fiction Friday - Jen Winters

Jen Winters is an independent author, entering the world of self-publishing through digital media formats. Her first book, Kissing Demons, is a paranormal romance and available for Kindle and Kindle Unlimited.

Jen is a mom, a wife, a homeschool teacher, supporter of indie authors and a lover of paranormal romance and urban fantasy. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and enjoy a diversion in to homeschooling on her other blog, The Slamdunk Homeschool.

Jen, when did you first think about writing for publication?
Six years ago I found myself at a loss. I had an 8-month-old and my husband-at-the-time had left us to pursue a different life. I had zero marketable skills and a bachelor degree that was utterly useless. The only thing I had was a lot of people who encouraged me to publish some of my writing. So, I decided I wanted to try my hand at writing for a career and I put my pen to paper. That was March 2009.

Tell us one thing about yourself that you think might surprise us.

I am so utterly normal, but I do homeschool my children and I think that surprises some people because we are so utterly normal. We don’t give off that homeschool vibe.

Your first novel, “Kissing Demons” was released this past December.  Tell us a bit about this book and the inspiration for it.

Kissing Demons is a paranormal romance that takes place mostly in the Dallas/ Ft. Worth area.  I had been reading Sherrilyn Kenyon’s dark-hunter series at the time and she very much influenced my writing. The Guardians are women who during their first life lost a child and are now in their second life protecting others from the same loss. I based my main character on Beatrice Marguerite de Geneve, and called her Geneva Archer. I think you’ll like her!

As this is the first book of the series, give us an idea of what we might see in future installments.

The second in the series is called Falling Angels and it is written from the perspective of a fallen angel named Ambrose. He is good to the core, but bitter about his fate, sarcastic, and temperamental. This novel will give the reader a chance to get to know Yuruch (the antagonist in Kissing Demons) better as well. Lavinia will get her respite and Ambrose will figure out what destiny and redemption really are.

The third is called Raising Hell, and it will be a story of redemption for Yuruch. I haven’t gotten far along it, yet, but I do know that there will be a bit of archeology involved. How’s that for a teaser?

What drew you to write in the paranormal romance genre?

I love PNR! I love the escape it provides, the hope for magic and romance, and I love the idea that love can come from the most unexpected place. My own story of love could be written into a PNR if I embellished the angelic interference a bit.

If there is one character you’ve written or are writing that you would really like people to meet, who would it be and why?

Joseph of Aramithea. People need more unconditional, enduring, undeserved love in their lives.

What made you decide on self-publishing versus traditional publishing?

James Patterson’s huge success as an independent novelist has been a great driving force for me. That and my mother who thought indie publishing would be good for me.

What about the book industry in general has most surprised you?

As an indie author I have found a huge support network with other indies. It has been amazing and I didn’t even know that we were such a tight-knit group before I published. I hadn’t read a single indie book and now I can say that I have read more indies this year than traditional. The support, reviews, help and friendship I have found has been amazing!

Is there someone you can point to as being your biggest encouragement in moving forward with writing?

My father has kept on me since I decided to write for publication until today saying, “Finish the book, Jen.” Love that man.

Is there a particular genre other than paranormal romance that you might like to try someday?

I am thinking about writing a New Adult novel with an old writing partner. We have other books we are finishing up right now, but as soon as we are in a good place, we are going to write together.

What other things do you have bouncing around in your head for the future?

This is a funny question. Everyday a new idea comes to me. I’ve been considering doing a BBW PNR for a while, and it is slowing making its way to the top. I even have a character name and setting: Mitchell (werewolf), Rosie (human), and Great Bend, NE.

To close the interview, I have ten questions for you, plus one.  Here they go!
  1. What is your favorite word? flabbergasted
  2. What is your least favorite word? C@nt
  3. What turns you on? The smell of oil and gasoline on my hubby (he’s a mechanic).
  4. What turns you off? Metro-sexuals are completely unappealing to me. Nothing personal to my metro-friends, and they know that.
  5. What sound or noise do you love? My favorite is when one of my kids is playing pretend all by themselves.
  6. What sound or noise do you hate? My son’s screech when he’s mad (working on that).
  7. What is your favorite curse word? I don’t really have one, but I do let the bird fly when appropriate.
  8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? I think I might like to be a mortician. Macabre, I know, but…
  9. What profession would you not like to do? Pest-control…ewww
  10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? Well done.
  11. What question have you never been asked, that you wish someone would ask you? Were there moments that you found difficult to write? What were they?

Jen, thanks so much for spending time with us.  Can you let us know where to follow you, and where we can go to purchase your books?

Follow me on Twitter
Like me on Facebook
Follow my Blog 
Find my book, Kissing Demons on Amazon

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Used e-Books: Wave of the Future, or Legalized Piracy?

In 2012, on this blog, I examined the phenomenon of online e-book piracy in a five-part series.  In that series, I attempted to examine the reasons behind piracy, the impact that piracy could have on the publishing industry over time, and even tossed some ideas around about the way the industry might eventually change to make piracy less attractive to consumers.  That series can be found at the links below, and I think it’s a really good read for those who want to get educated on at least some of the issues surrounding this controversial topic.

It’s nearly three years later, and the industry is ever-evolving.  Independently published (a.k.a. self-published) books are more common than ever.  E-books are beginning to outpace printed books.  The Amazon Lending Library has been developed and led to other e-book lending programs.  Subscription services for e-Books that operate similarly to Netflix have begun to spring up.

But there’s one article that caught my eye recently and made me want to visit the issue, and that is the possibility of the selling of used e-books.

There has always been a used book market.  In fact, there have been stores that have specialized in the selling of second-hand books.  I know when I was in college, one would actively seek out used textbooks (as long as the newest editions was not required).  They were cheaper – one expected that the books would have some wear and tear but was willing to accept that for the lower price.

It is now reported that a group is working with “one of the world’s largest booksellers” in order to start up a used e-book marketplace.  Presumably, this would be a place for sellers to load their digital books for resale once they are done with them.

So that brings us to the big question – would such a marketplace even be legal?  The legal question involves the “first-sale doctrine” which prevents copyright holders from stopping the sale, trade, or lending of legally acquired property.  This is what makes things like used bookstores and Gamestop’s used video game market possible.  It also is what legally allows an owner of a DVD to let their neighbor borrow it.

There are a couple of key premises that make the “first-sale doctrine” work.  First, it was established in the early 20th century, at a time when the concern was the resale and lending of a physical good.  Physical goods, including books, sound recordings, and film, deteriorate over time.  Thus it is a given that the thing being resold or lent had lost some of its quality, thus some of its value.  This is a new time, and digital media has no such “shelf life”.  The file is the same quality whether it is the initial sale or it has changed hands dozens or even hundreds of times.

The second premise, and perhaps the hardest to enforce, is that upon resale or lending the product actually changes hands.  This means that the item should become unusable to the seller or lender.  (Actually, this is how Amazon lending works on the Kindle – when one user lends a book to another, it becomes unreadable by the lender until the borrower “returns” it.)  This is where things can get sketchy.  For example, one e-book resale site can only operate “on the honor” of the lenders, that they no longer have a copy of the e-book.

However, there’s a flaw in the system that could hurt the bookstore’s defense. One of the key provisions of the UsedSoft ruling was that, in order for the transaction to be legal, the seller must “make the copy downloaded onto his own computer unusable at the time of resale.” 
Tom Kabinet has no way of ensuring that this has happened, so it is easily possible for someone to both keep and sell the ebooks they’ve bought. The company can only run an honor system, asking people to confirm that they purchased the ebook legally and that they have deleted their own copy. - David Meyer, from an article on

This is where the distinction MUST be made between transference of a product, and creating another copy of the product, because if this distinction is not made and enforceable, then what could result is a form of legalized piracy.  Think about it … as a consumer I might choose to buy a $0.99 used e-book instead of a $2.99 “new” version off of Amazon.  This might be alright if it is only the one copy that the seller owned that is being sold.  But what if that person is just putting up endless copies of the e-book while they retain a copy for themselves, and selling each one at $0.99 where only they (and perhaps the marketplace) see that money?

Personally, I am keeping an open mind about this to see how things turn out, but authors should be vigilant about these potential changes to the marketplace.

Authors, what are your thoughts on this potential used e-book effort?  And readers, how would you feel about a used e-book marketplace, or do you think the momentum is headed more towards subscription services?